Home (The Other Version)
Chapter 14: Home
(The other version of the final chapter)
The medevac helicopter had taken them to the Royal Navy base at Faslane, in Scotland. The medics on board wanted to take Buffy to the base hospital, but she refused to go. They were very surprised by the way she got up, and walked off the helicopter.
Someone had already been in touch with the base, and had given instructions that they were to be provided with transportation to wherever they wanted to go, so they found themselves being directed toward another helicopter. This one had been outfitted for VIP passenger service, and even had a bar. Kennedy and the group of six Slayers that she was leading through some training exercises were a little surprised when the Royal Navy helicopter that had landed in the yard of their house disgorged five slightly drunk, and very smelly passengers. The blue and purple goo staining most of their clothes was getting pretty ripe by that point. The Royal Navy crew of the helicopter seemed very happy to see them go, and Kennedy overheard one of them mutter something about fumigating it before it would be fit to carry anyone else.
Five days later an unmarked van arrived at the house in Westbury. The men driving it unloaded all of the gear that they had left behind on the island. One of them handed Giles a clipboard with an inventory attached, and asked him to sign it. He did so without bothering to check to see if everything was accounted for.
Willow had created a magical map of the island that had little red dots on it that indicated the location of each and every living spider. They had been slowly disappearing, and one week after they had left the island the only dots remaining were all clustered at the site of the dig, indicating the ones that were still underground. They all vanished in an instant on the morning of the seventh day. That afternoon the scoobies were all gathered in the library, trying to figure out just what they had experienced.
“I have looked through all of my books for anything on demonic arthropods,” said Giles, “and while there are lots of demonic spiders out there, none of them seem to match those things on the island. If they were demonic, they were something new.”
“What do you mean, ‘if they were demonic’?” asked Buffy. “What else could they be?”
“Why would an archaeologist, with theories about how the pyramids were built by aliens, be working for the Air Force, on a project that does ‘Deep Space Radar Telemetry’?” asked Dawn.
“And those weapons of theirs,” said Willow. “The bug zappers, and Teal’c’s staff—I didn’t feel any
magic from them, but there is no way I know of to pack an energy source powerful enough to do what they did, into something that small.”
“They’re an Air Force unit, that knows about monsters, but doesn’t
know anything about the Initiative,” said Xander. “And Teal’c? Definitely not from around here.”
“And when I called the spiders ‘hostile sub-terrestrials’ they did seem to be pretty surprised by the ‘sub’ part.” Buffy looked around the table, at the expressions on everyone else’s faces, and saw that they were all thinking the same thing, even though none of them wanted to be the first to come right out and say it. She took a deep breath.
“Okay, looks like we were fighting a bunch of alien
SG-1 stayed on the island, trying to learn more about what was held under the ruins while Major Finn’s people did a very efficient job of hunting down the spiders. They hadn’t been able to re-enter the tunnel directly—the camera that they had re-inserted through one of the holes in the slab showed that the tunnel was still crawling with the little spiders—but Major Carter had noticed that the entrance was large enough to fit a MALP through, so they had one dispatched to them from the SGC.
Inserting the MALP, without letting any more spiders out, was accomplished with a little help from some flame throwers—Finn’s people really did have the most astonishing array of weapons available to them. Jack had asked one soldier why all of them seemed to have a wooden stake as part of their kit, and the man had told him, with a perfectly straight face, that they were just in case they ran into any vampires.
The MALP rolled down the complete length of the tunnel, and into the chamber at the end of it, without detecting any sign of anything out of the ordinary—other than lots and lots of spiders. The rubble from the collapsed roof covered much of the tunnel floor, it had been bulldozed enough by the passage of the big spider for the MALP to roll over it. The MALP circled the chamber without detecting anything that remotely resembled any sort of alien device, or any sign that there were any more tunnels to explore. It couldn’t detect any sort of electromagnetic radiation that couldn’t be traced to terrestrial sources. There weren’t even any inscriptions for Daniel to puzzle over.
In the end they withdrew the MALP, and Finn’s people pumped the tunnel and the chamber full of propane. Everyone stood well back when they detonated it. The amount had been carefully calculated and measured to make sure that it didn’t actually blow a hole in the ground, but it did cause the dome to collapse, leaving a visible crater in the ground over where it had been. Then everyone packed up, and went home.
Someone, from some British agency that Jack couldn’t remember the name of, had issued a press release stating that there had been an outbreak of a disease that was killing all the lemmings, or some such rodent, on the island, and that it was now under a quarantine: off limits to all visitors to keep the disease from being spread to other islands. Someone would be monitoring the island carefully for the next few years, to make sure that none of the spiders had survived, before anyone from the public would be allowed back on it.
SG-1 spent the next week trying to dig up more information on Buffy Summers, and the others, without drawing attention to themselves. They met in Sam’s lab to discuss what they’d learned.
“I cross referenced all of our personnel’s records with Riley Finn’s,” said Jack. “I found a couple of guys who have the same hole in their files about five years ago that he has in his. I had a little chat with them.”
“What did they tell you?” asked Sam.
“Not much,” said Jack. “They confirmed without confirming that they knew Finn, and that they had met Summers too. Cited ‘national security’ and ‘need to know’ when I tried to ask for details. Wouldn’t say what they were doing, but did say that it had nothing to do with extra-terrestrials. I asked if it had anything to do with ‘hostile sub-terrestrials’ and they got very quiet. And then half an hour later I got a phone call from Major Davis, asking me to stop asking them questions like that.”
Jack turned to Daniel. “Did you learn anything about that Slayer thing? Finn called her ‘the Slayer.’”
Daniel pushed his glasses up his nose, a gesture that Jack had long ago learned meant that Daniel was about to say something that Jack wouldn’t like. “What?”
“Um…there are references to ‘Slayers’, or something that could be translated to that, in many myths, from all around the world,” said Daniel.
“So, they are always girls, usually young, teenagers even. According to one source I found, umm…” Daniel flipped to a page in his notebook and read from it. “’In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.’
“Vampires?” asked Jack, thinking about the wooden stakes that Finn’s people all carried.
“Demons?” asked Sam.
“Forces of darkness?” asked Teal’c, not wanting to be left out.
“That’s the legend,” said Daniel. “I’ve found similar accounts in several languages. The Slayer is a mystical warrior, chosen to protect the earth from the demons.”
“What about that axe of hers?” asked Jack. “Anything on it?”
“There are some very old references to a special weapon used by the Slayer, but nothing specific,” said Daniel.
“Buffy Summers’ weapon was of very advanced construction,” said Teal’c. “No known material could have kept so sharp an edge, after such use, not even trinium.”
“What about Willow Rosenberg?” asked Jack.
“I did some more digging on her,” said Sam. “Found some interesting things: She’s very
smart. Pretty much had her pick of any university in the country, and a few overseas, full scholarships offered from MIT, Harvard and Caltech, but she chose UC Sunnydale.
“While at university, she was taking a pretty eclectic mix of subjects. Heavy into the sciences: physics and chemistry especially, but with a lot of other things too: ancient languages, mythology, history, sociology. She also seems to have a strong interest in the occult.”
“None of that explains how she can do the things she does,” said Jack
“There’s a strong occult connection with Rupert Giles too,” said Daniel. “Much of his academic work has been tracing myths and legends of demons across multiple cultures. He even owned an occult shop in Sunnydale for a couple of years.”
“I thought you said he was a librarian.”
“After the high school blew up, he opened up the shop,” said Daniel. “It was destroyed by an earthquake, a couple of years later.”
“The high school blew up?”
“Yeah,” said Daniel. “During their Graduation ceremony. It was caused by a gas leak. Luckily, the ceremony was being held outside, so there weren’t nearly as many casualties as there might have been.”
“A lot of things seem to get destroyed around these people,” said Jack. “Their school, their shop, their town.”
“I talked to a couple of our geologists about that, Sir,” said Sam. “They say that there is no way that the public explanation given for what happened to Sunnydale could be the truth. Something else must have happened there.”
“We seem to have gotten away from how Willow does what she does,” said Jack.
“It doesn’t fit with any of the technology we’ve seen,” said Daniel. “I think she’s
doing it. You know Clarke’s third law.”
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” said Sam. “That’s how the Goa’uld pass themselves off as gods.”
“There’s a corollary,” said Daniel. “Any sufficiently advanced magic, is indistinguishable from technology.”
“You’re saying she’s using magic
?” asked Jack.
“We’ve seen people use telekinesis,” said Daniel. “Nirrti has been trying to breed an advanced host for herself, with abilities like that, for generations, maybe she already exists, here on Earth.”
“Are you saying that Willow Rosenberg may be a Hok’taur?” asked Teal’c.
“Could be,” said Daniel.
“And what of Buffy Summers?” asked Teal’c. “Do you think that her physical prowess is because she too is a Hok’taur?”
“You know, there is no way that giant spider could have been a natural animal,” said Sam.
“What do you mean?” asked Jack.
“There’s a reason why insects tend to be small, Sir. Their basic body design can’t scale up. They aren’t strong enough.”
“But I thought that if you scaled a spider up to the size of a man, it could lift a car,” said Jack. “Works for Peter Parker.”
“That assumes that strength scales linearly with size, Sir, but it doesn’t, it follows a square-cube law.”
“Skip the math.”
“Effective strength scales inversely with size. If you make something twice as big, it is effectively only half as strong. Even the little
spiders were too big. They shouldn’t have even been able to lift their own body weight, let alone run or jump the way they did.”
“This spider’s exoskeleton was exceedingly strong,” said Teal’c.
“But it wasn’t,” said Sam.
“Huh?” asked Jack. “Bullets bounced off the thing! Teal’c’s staff couldn’t even singe it!”
“After it was dead, I was able to cut off pieces for analysis with my knife, Sir,” said Sam. “It came back as perfectly normal chitin, just like a regular spider’s exoskeleton. It shouldn’t have stopped our bullets, and those legs wouldn’t have been strong enough to hold up its body without breaking under the strain.”
“So, how come our weapons didn’t do anything to it?” asked Jack.
“I don’t know.” Sam gave him a sort of a shrug. “Magic?”
“So,” said Daniel. “We’ve got a spider that couldn’t possibly exist, a girl with advanced ‘magical’ abilities, with a strong interest in the occult, a man who also has a strong interest in the occult, and had made a career out of researching legends of demons, and a girl who seems to be some sort of chosen demon fighter. This girl has a magic weapon that could injure something that our weapons couldn’t touch, until she softened it up for them. Then the government sends a team that specialises in ‘sub-terrestrial’ creature extermination to the island to do the mop up.”
“Oh, for crying out loud!” said Jack. “Are you trying to tell me those were demon