Warning(s): Minor language.
Pairing(s): None. Hints of some cannon pairings, perhaps, but this is not a romance story. Sorry.
Spoilers: Complete series of both Buffy and Angel. Stargate up to the end of season seven. I doubt I'll mention everything, but it's all fair game.
Summary: In the wake of massive reshuffling at both the Watcher's Council and the SGC, SG-1 is attacked by vampires off-world and needs a Slayer's help to ensure that it doesn't happen again.
Disclaimer: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Angel", and related characters and situations are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, The WB, and UPN. "Stargate: SG-1" and related characters and situations are the property of MGM Television Entertainment and Gekko Film Corp. No money changed hands and no copyright infringement is intended or implied.
Feedback: All comments are welcome.
Author's Notes: This is VERY slightly AU in BtVS, as I am aging Dawn some. Otherwise, to the best of my knowledge, I've stuck to the timelines. Also, some of the spelling in the Stargate-verse is up for debate (e.g. Selmak/Selmac) so if anyone notices mistakes and has the official skinny, please let me know.
Major-General Jacob Carter, USAF, looked around his new office at the SGC. He sighed. When he'd come through the gate with Charlie and Ranel (one body, since Charlie was also a Tok'ra) Majors Paul Davis and Samantha Carter had nearly squealed in happiness. With General Hammond gone to run the newly ordinated but still being built fleet of Earth ships and Dr. Weir recalled to work on the Ancient facility under Antarctica and then sent across the universe to the Pegasus galaxy, someone had to run the facility. Paul Davis had rubbed his temples, decided that he probably was the best person for the job and then pulled several all-nighters to assure that both he and Sam could stay. Charlie was his "ward". Ranel had laughed himself silly at that before he realized that while he had been a qualified and talented pilot among the Tok'ra, he was not allowed to drive a car for a year or so. Selmak was still grinning non-stop at the memory of that.
A knock sounded on his door. "Come," he called out of habit just as he sensed the presence of...someone else with naquadah in their blood.
A familiar face entered. "Hi, Dad."
"Hey, Sam," Jacob grinned, going over to hug his daughter. Major Samantha Carter smiled at him, but like usual, it was a rather thin smile.
"We'll get him back, Sam," Jacob reassured her again. SG-1’s leader, Colonel Jack O’Neill “was currently indisposed” according to the official paperwork. Jacob could say he honestly wanted the man back, despite the joke he knew would come about the SGC having another bald general in charge.
"I know," Sam sighed. "The Asgard will come soon. They'll be here. I know. How are you settling in?"
"Ah...it's different. I never expected to be wearing this uniform again," he sighed. Sam looked him over. The uniform indeed. He had on the regulation light blue shirt, razor creased pants, and black shoes.
"It looks good on you," Sam told him.
"Selmak thinks it's weird," he said, shifting a little.
Sam grinned at his unease. "Davis reports that there's been no news from the Asgard, but he has said that the Tok'ra would like to get in touch with us. Something about requesting our assistance on a mission? I told him that you would, of course, need to speak with the Tok'ra about this mission request."
Jacob's expression became downright evil. "Yes. I believe I will have to talk to them about this."
Sam felt a lot of pity for whatever unfortunate Tok'ra that happened to come strolling through the Earth's Stargate. Except for Anise/Freya. She deserved everything that she got, and maybe some more.
Faith strode into the massive entrance hall of the new Watcher's Council Headquarters in Edinburgh and froze before bursting into a huge smile. "Angel!" She walked over to greet the vampire. "Good to see you. I guess it was worth coming out of my cave."
Angel turned to see her, but he didn't quite smile.
"Where's the watcher-boy?" Faith asked taking in Spike and some blue-chick who reminded her of Fred.
"He is dead," the blue girl told her without preamble or pause.
Faith felt like she'd been punched in the gut. Repeatedly. For several days. "What?"
"He...died helping us kill the Black Thorn," Angel told her.
"You got 'em, didn't you?" Faith asked.
"They're dead," Angel nodded. Faith was several shades paler than she had been a moment ago.
"What about Gunn? Or Fred? Or Lorne?" Faith asked. "What about Conner?"
"Fred and Gunn are dead, too," Spike sighed. "Don't know where Lorne's run off to. He told us not to look. Who's Conner?"
"They died fighting the Black Thorn, too?" Faith asked.
"Gunn survived the Black Thorn, but not the fight after," Angel told her sadly. "Fred..."
"Winifred Burkle died because I infected her," the blue chick announced, displaying an alarming lack of tact and timing. "My name is Illyria."
"You killed her?" Faith asked.
"Not...it's one of those complicated stories we all seem to have," Angel sighed. "It wasn't really Illyria's fault."
Faith bobbed her head up and down quickly. "Wes is gone?" she asked again.
Angel nodded miserably.
"Faith--" Robin began, putting an arm on her shoulder but broke off when Faith wrenched her shoulder from his grip and was suddenly brandishing a stake. He stepped back. Ever since their break-up, things had not been easy between the two of them.
"I need to go patrol," the brunette slayer told the assemblage before ducking out of the building.
Buffy followed her with her brown eyes, and finally said, "What was that all about?"
Dawn smacked her sister in the back of the head. "Dunce! Wes was Faith's Watcher. Duh!"
Buffy blinked. "Ooohhh..." She thought for a moment. "I... Do you think we should bake her cookies?"
Angel struggled to contain a chuckle. Apparently the two eldest slayers were still far from close.
"She might appreciate cookies," Giles agreed with a shrug. Buffy, who had not been close to any of the deceased set about trying to make things easier and more comfortable for those who had. This did include baking, but not too much. Angel, Spike, and Illyria were given rooms to sleep in and plenty of available clothes. Faith, when she finally got back the next morning, found a note tacked to her bedroom door. "Dear Faith, I left some chocolate-chip cookies in a tupperware in the fridge with your name on them. We've taken you off the mandatory duty list for the next week. You can still volunteer for as much as you like, though. Buffy."
Faith sighed and dove into bed. She'd worry about the rest of the world the next day.
The next day, Dawn rose to hear shouting in the library. She dressed and hurried out of her bedroom to see Angel yelling at Willow and Buffy.
"But Angel, this is a good thing!" Buffy protested.
"Why now? Why did it have to be now? If they could do this, why didn't they do it years ago? It would have made everything so much simpler!" Angel yelled.
"What happened?" Dawn asked Andrew.
Andrew began in a dramatic voice, "Willow was exploring the mysteries of the beyond while traveling through the astral plane..." before he realized that he sounded like the beginning to "The Twilight Zone" and began speaking more normally. "And, anyway, she met somebody. It was a messenger from the Powers That Be. Apparently, they made Angel's soul permanent."
"That's it?" Dawn asked. "Just like that? No song and dance and great apocalyptic fire?"
"The messenger apparently said something about being tired of their champion treading so close to the line between good and evil. They wanted everyone to know that he was good for good, and him to remember what side he worked for," Andrew whispered back. "Apparently the name Drogan and something about false visions figured prominently in their message. Willow and Buffy started trying to make Angel be happy about this permanent soulage, but Angel didn't want to be. They insisted and he started shouting."
"A chance a happiness now," Angel sighed, quieter now. "What good is it? Cordelia's dead, Conner's gone, Nina broke up with me, and you still haven't made up your mind about Spike. And with Doyle, Fred, Wesley, Gunn, and Lorne gone, I'm not sure I could even be happy anymore...ever. I miss my friends but I'll never get them back. I don't want to celebrate, I don't want to have a party. I just want to rest. Let me be."
Everyone left, but Dawn still stood in the door, quietly. She didn't know what possessed her but suddenly she said, "Angel? Can I get you anything? Coffee, blood, cookies?"
Angel smiled a little. "No, Dawn. Thank you. I'm fine."
"Okay," Dawn said, and left.
The remaining three members of SG-1 and General Carter waited in the briefing room. Thor was due to arrive at any second. SG-1 was fairly confident that he would help revive Jack if it was possible. For some reason that no one could devine, the alien had taken a strange liking to the head of SG-1. Jack was irreverent, sarcastic, loud, and had no sense of procedure. Thor solemn, dignified, and only spoke as much as he needed to, just as one might think the being that had posed as the Norse god of thunder would behave. The first time they'd met, though he’d covered it well, Daniel but had been absolutely starstruck. Jack had not been, of course. Dr. Daniel Jackson had an excuse for being starstruck, naturally. As a twice over PhD and brilliant linguist, Daniel knew not only who Thor was but all the myths and legends about him. Jack had no idea about most of said myths and legends and managed to make more than one faux pas on the first meeting but somehow Thor really liked him. SG-1 liked him, too. A lot. And they wanted him back.
The dignified(and yet oddly ludicrous) figure of the Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet appeared in a flash of light precisely on time in the SGC briefing room. Those assembled there all looked unsurprised at both his punctuality and his rather sudden appearance. Teal'c seemed stoic as usual, Sam scowled at her briefing papers as if they were responsible for her current distress, and Daniel worried the handle of his coffee mug. In the general's mind, Selmak was practically hissing in disgust at the coffee while Jacob tried to placate it, reminding the symbiote that he'd given up coffee and wasn't going to touch the stuff again.
"Thank you for joining us," Jacob said.
"I am always pleased to be with all of you," Thor replied in his gentle manner. "It appears things have changed." The small, gray alien moved his large, black eyes around the room not missing that both Hammond and Colonel Jack O'Neill were missing.
"Your message said that O'Neill was in some trouble," Thor continued.
Daniel smiled ruefully at that and again decided to accept without question that Thor and Jack would always get on like brothers. When he questioned it, his head hurt.
"Colonel O'Neill had another library of Ancient knowledge downloaded into his mind," General Carter told Thor. He'd decided it would be best to get that said and out of the way.
"I see," Thor said, and blinked.
"We were wondering if you could remove it," the general continued. He felt a bit nervous about how to address the alien.
"How did this come to happen?" Thor asked.
As Sam and Daniel explained how Daniel had come back from the dead, the ensuing push to find the Lost City of the Ancients, the discovery of Atlantis, saving the planet, and Jack's current cryo-stasis under the Antarctic ice, Jacob couldn't help but note that despite the fact that Thor said nothing to indicate disapproval, and Sam and Daniel maintained a consummate professionalism, the two still somehow had airs of guilty children confessing misdeeds to a teacher whose approval they valued.
Thor blinked again when they were finished, and said, "We will attempt to revive him. However, it may not be possible. His mind was nearly gone when he was frozen. I will return to you momentarily."
Thor disappeared in another flash of light. Daniel sighed and sipped his coffee. He then frowned at it and drew his eyebrows together. "He didn't say how long 'momentarily' was."
Silence reigned in the room. SG-1 tried not to worry too much.
It was about two minutes later when Thor returned. Another flash of light appeared at the same time, and then Colonel Jack O'Neill was sitting in the chair next to Teal'c. He was dressed in a silver garment that resembled a cross between a toga and a hospital gown.
Thor actually looked somewhat abashed. "His own clothes were ruined by the freezing and we do not often dress humans."
"Jack?" Daniel asked.
Sam couldn't say anything. Teal'c laid a hand on the colonel's.
"Hey," Jack responded with a small wave. "I feel like I've been asleep forever."
"You are fully recovered, O'Neill," Thor told him, "although you will not fully recover all of your memories from after you used the device. I would advise you don't do this again."
"I'll try," Jack said with a nod. "Thanks, Buddy."
Thor inclined his head regally. "I must return to my ship. I will, however, be 'in the neighborhood', as you say, for the next several days. You are all welcome to contact me, if you so desire."
With that, Thor disappeared. Jack blinked. "Did he just ask us to hang out?"
"Jack, we thought we were never gonna get you back," Daniel told him, having returned to worrying the handle of his coffee mug.
"To that end," Jacob announced, "I want you all to take the next two weeks off." Everyone stared at him. "You just saved the planet, and you've spent the last month worrying about a teammate, and trying to get him back. You all need a break. Go relax. Get out of the base. This is an order."
Jack blinked in surprise. "An order?" he asked, noting for the first time that Jacob was in his uniform as a major-general and not dressed as a Tok'ra.
"Yes, Jack," Jacob smiled as they all stood. "A lot's happened since you've left. And there's a boy who very much wants to meet you. Do you remember Charlie, the re'tu kid?"
"He's here?" Jack asked.
"He's here. You should all drop by and see him sometime," Jacob told them. "Dismissed." He shook Jack's hand before going. "It's good to have you back."
The colonel turned to his wondering team and said, "I guess you've all missed me."
"We have indeed," Teal'c replied.
"Why don't we all go out for dinner after I get changed. This thing is...just weird," Jack told them all.
In the end they went to Jack's house and microwaved burgers. Sam had said she'd rather not be around a lot of people and so they had changed their plans. The entire team wound up sleeping on the floor of Jack's living room.
Faith looked up from her book unhappily, flipping her brown hair back over her shoulder. She looked out the window and finally threw the book onto her bed. After scowling at the room in general she finally decided to leave. She'd take a walk. That might help.
The arrival of Angel, Spike, and Illyria had changed things around the Watcher's Headquarters. Some of the news besides "everyone's dead" was rather unsurprising. Harmony was still evil, Wolfram & Hart was destroyed as was the Circle of the Black Thorn, and evil had had yet another serious dent created in its armor. Harmony's evilness came as no surprise. She was a vampire. Of course she was evil. Faith didn't get why Angel hadn't staked her, but she figured they'd get her later. Harmony liked to make a splash.
She decided against the walk when she heard voices raised. Angel, Spike, and Buffy were getting into another fight. They seemed to do that a lot these days. Those three had more baggage than all of United, Delta, and Northwestern put together. Angel and Spike were both vying for Buffy's affections and the blond slayer was angsting about things. The entire house was so full of the melodrama that Faith sometimes wanted to scream. Conversation with Buffy was now a minefield of hidden traps and surprises. The two vampires, while they seemed to still hate one another, didn't take things out on anyone else.
Dawn came in. Faith smiled at her.
"They're fighting again," Dawn said, unnecessarily.
"I noticed," Faith sighed.
"I was wondering...if you were working on something," Dawn asked, "because if you had been, then I could help. But you aren't, so maybe I should go."
"Wait!" Faith exclaimed with a grin. "Look, you can't come in here all pouty and incoherent and expect me to leave you hanging. Come on. I need to train. You can help."
"How?" Dawn asked, as the two of them strode towards the gym, leaving the squabbling voices behind.
"You just graduated Watcher U, right?" Faith asked.
Dawn nodded. It was true. She'd tested into and out of most of the classes to become a watcher and had graduated from college as a full fledged Watcher. She was currently writing doctoral dissertations for PhDs in Vampiric Culture and Traditions and Demonology.
"You're a Watcher, then. You can Watch," Faith grinned.
Dawn scowled at her. The two entered the gym. Andrew was seated on a bench, reading a comic book. Ironically, he had just graduated from the Watcher's Academy as well. He had double majored in Physics and Metaphysics. He and Dawn had managed to strike up a tolerance for one another on the basis of Homestarruner.com. They had long debates about whether Strong Bad was gay.
Faith began training, demonstrating ways that Dawn could help her. Andrew watched, and occasionally took notes. Faith couldn't help but have the old, clichéd mantra of "there must be something else for me somewhere" run loudly through her head.
Jack heard a knock on his door and went to open it. There stood a boy of about fifteen with a backpack. "Hi, Jack."
Jack frowned and wracked his brains for who this boy was.
The boy grinned. "I had a feeling you wouldn't recognize me. It's Charlie. Charlie Ranel now."
Jack blinked a few times and finally said, "Your symbiote agreed to let it's name go second?"
"Come in," Jack said suddenly. "Come in. Tell me about yourself. What did you think of the Fourth of July?"
"It was fun. I liked the fireworks best." Charlie gave a wry smile.
"Jacob says you're a pilot but you're not allowed to drive?"
Charlie made a face. "Some of these human rules make no sense!"
Jack grinned, ducking into the kitchen to get some drinks. Jack handed Charlie a coke as they sat down in the living room. "I love these," Charlie commented.
"What do the Tok'ra drink?" Jack asked.
"Water, coffee, tea, some other herbal stuff that you find on a few other planets, a few fermented things. Manufactured drinks take too long to make, though, so we don't have cokes and things," Charlie explained.
"What are you up to these days? Are you going to school?" Jack asked.
"Next year," Charlie sighed. "I'll be a sophomore in high school. I thought about just testing out of everything, but Ranel talked me into going through the process."
"That's right. You'll be cheating on tests whether you try to or not," Jack said, quirking his head and thinking.
"Not really. The idea of a test is to discover whether you can use the material covered in the class. Since I'm going to be a two-person unit for a very long time, it makes sense to test that way."
"What are you going to do with yourself?" Jack asked.
"You're kidding, right?" Charlie asked. "I'm going to join the Air Force and work my way into the SGC. Like I could sit out on protecting the galaxy."
Jack grinned. "It is addictive."
"By the way," Charlie said, reaching into the backpack, "I brought you something. I always felt bad that I could never send you birthday presents even though you always managed to get mine to me. The Council would never let me visit, no matter how hard I pushed them to."
"You didn't have to," Jack told him.
"But I wanted to," Charlie protested. He handed Jack a package. "Happy Un-Birthday." The colonel just stared at it for a moment before Charlie laughed. "Open it, already."
Jack tore open a several boxed DVD sets. It was all the seasons of "The Simpsons" that he didn't already own. Jack burst out laughing. "How'd you know?"
"I asked Major Carter," Charlie smiled.
"Have you ever watched this show?" Jack asked.
"Nope," Charlie replied with a grin.
The two went into the den and Jack proceeded to instruct Charlie in the ways of the Simpsons.
Andrew strolled into the den, carrying two sodas with him. Xander looked up. "Mind if I play?" Xander asked.
Andrew looked at him in confusion.
"There's a little video controller next to you," Xander said, by way of explanation. "Odd how they always look like those old Nintendo joystick-thingys no matter what system the person is going to use."
Andrew nodded. Willow had searched exhaustively for a method of getting Xander's eye back. She never found one, but she did find a way to give him something else. His new eye could see clues about a person. What they would encounter in the near future, who they were, what they could do. Xander had once mentioned that Dawn always had a small, green, glowing, old-fashioned key near her. The new talent didn't help much in a fight, but it was incredibly handy, when screening guests.
"Sure," Andrew told Xander. "Could always use an opponent." The two sat down at the tv and Andrew started up the system. Buffy and Angel started fighting in the next room. Andrew sighed. "You don't suppose they'll ever stop fighting?"
"I don't...think about that too much, because it's none of my business," Xander replied.
Andrew snorted. "Sure, it's none of your business. They fight all over the building. I know I'm immature and talk way too much about comic books and movies, but it seems to me like they'd be old enough to keep their business to themselves. When they bring it out from behind closed doors, it's not really just their business anymore, is it?"
Xander looked at Andrew in surprise. "Maybe so, but then again, they both have super-powers. Do you want to go yell at them?"
Andrew shrugged and turned back to the game. The stress of living with constant squabbling was starting to get to him. For a moment, he envied the Jedi character in the game. He had a destiny, he was useful, and he had the hope of being happy if he could just kill the next sixty bad guys. Andrew had none of that, and it was starting to grate.
SG-1 looking like their old selves, stood before the Stargate, watching it engage. Daniel loved watching the wormhole form. That peculiar whine-groan and then a whoosh as a blue-white splash reached out for them and then snapped back, settling into the event horizon.
"Good luck, SG-1," Jacob Carter told them. Ah yes, Daniel remembered, things are not the same.
Still, when Jack tossed a careless salute in the direction of the control room and SG-1 strode towards the event horizon, Daniel decided that he could adjust.
They emerged into a forest on the other side of the gate. Daniel took a moment to marvel at the fact that nearly all Stargates aside from the one on Earth, on the Asgard planet, and on Kelowna sat on open terrain. There was the occasional gate near a town or at the end of a thoroughfare, but for the most part, they were all in the woods or on a plain or in a desert.
The four of them each scanned the area.
"Well? See anything besides trees?" Jack asked.
"Binary suns, sir," Sam offered, looking up.
"I believe there may be a town in this direction," Teal'c added.
"Let's follow the yellow brick road, then," Jack suggested.
After a little walking, SG-1 entered a small village. At first glance it seemed normal, but all the people they saw peered at them from inside doorways and behind windows. The houses were built mostly out of stone and brick. The people looked rather nervous about the newcomers.
"Sir, they're terrifed," Sam said.
"Ya' think?" Jack replied, although his usual sarcasm was dampened by his concern. These folks were even shier than the folks on that planet the Canon had run were.
"It is possible there is an active Goa'uld presence on this planet," Teal'c stated.
"Not Goa'uld!" a voice behind Teal'c announced. "Vampires."
SG-1 turned and were immediately set upon.
The fight that followed was fast and confused. Teal'c blasted the head clean off one creature and the body turned to dust. Bullets served mostly to annoy the creatures. It wasn't until Daniel shot one of the creatures right in the eye that SG-1's guns seemed to have any effect at all.
It was Jack that saved them all. He wrenched the zat gun off of Teal'c's hip and began shooting the creatures as fast as he could until they had all disintegrated.
"Okay," Jack said. "What were those things?"
"I am unsure," Teal'c replied just before collapsing in a heap onto the ground.
Sam got to him first. "Sir, he's bleeding badly."
Sure enough, out of twin holes in Teal'c's neck, directly over his carotid artery, massive amounts of blood were spurting.
"Carter, go dial home! Tell them to get the doc to the gate room! Go now!" Jack ordered. "Run!"
Sam took off at a dead run for the gate. Jack and Daniel carried Teal'c after her as quickly as they could without killing him. They hurried through the gate.
The gate room had been cleared of every non-essential person. Doctor Warner had Teal'c on a stretcher, headed for the infirmary in next to no time.
"Are all your missions this short?" Jacob had been waiting for SG-1 to clear the gate room.
"I hope not, sir," Jack replied.
"Yes, but...vampires?" Jacob sighed as he and SG-1 went over the reports again. "I'm finding that a bit hard to accept." A team of marines had been sent through the gate to P2X-810, the planet on which SG-1 had been attacked, and when they had come back with everyone injured and one dead, the planet had initially been locked out of the dialing computer. When SG-13 had returned from another world, that was nowhere the one where SG-1 was attacked, sporting the same types of injuries and stories the next day, and SG-22 had come back on the nineteenth with more of the same, it was becoming obvious that something had to be done.
"That was their claim," Teal'c answered. The bandage on his neck covered up his wound, but they had all seen it. Two large puncture holes connected by an arch of smaller punctures or near punctures. There was no denying that it was a bite mark.
"Actually, sir," Sam and Daniel began at the exact same moment. Sam ceded to Daniel.
"Sir, the legends of vampires are very prevalent in our own society, it's not ridiculous to suppose that they were brought back through the Stargate," Daniel told them.
"If I may," Sam told them. "I was able to secure some records from a failed project called Initiative. Before I go any further, this knowledge is shared only on a need-to-know basis.
"The Initiative was an NID-run program in affiliation with the Army with a mission statement of capturing Hostile Sub-Terrestrials, or HSTs and studying them for any possible benefit to mankind. The most common form of HST they encountered was vampires. These encounters are very well documented." The major handed them each a folder with some typed and notarized reports. She waited for a moment while the men scanned over them.
"The project ended when it moved to Sunnydale, California and a Dr. Margaret Walsh was placed in charge, and began literally building a new super-soldier out of parts of both humans and HSTs. Her creation, named Adam, killed her and began plans to bring about the end of the world. He failed when a group of civilian insurrectionists, led by what is called a Vampire Slayer, entered the Initiative, killed Adam, and rescued the personnel trapped in the complex, which was, at the time, a battleground."
"You're saying there are vampires living on Earth, too?" Jack asked in astonishment. Daniel couldn't get past the "building a super-soldier out of parts of humans and non-humans" bit to speak at all.
"Yes, sir," Sam sighed. "I think that the planet we were on is probably run by them. How they were out in broad daylight, I don't know. The reports all said that they burned up in sunlight."
"Then not only are they real, but they live on Earth?" Jacob asked. "Do we have any defense against them?"
"Yes," Sam nodded. "The Vampire Slayer I mentioned earlier. She's always female. When one dies the next one is chosen, always in her early- to mid-teens. At the time of the Initiative, there were two, due to the fact that one had already died and been revived."
"How did they revive her?" Jack asked. The word "sarcophagus" was flashing brightly in his mind.
"With CPR, sir," Sam replied. "She drowned. Her respiratory and circulatory functions had ceased, but a friend performed CPR and she was fine in moments."
Jack visibly relaxed.
"Do you suppose she'd help us?" Daniel asked.
"I'm not sure we'd want her to," Sam told them. "Maggie Walsh was...definitely in the wrong, but bear in mind she led a group of civilians in revolt against the law and the government. She's got other things on her record as well. Vandalism, destruction of government property. Her two best friends also have records. One is a computer hacker that seems to make infiltrating locked databases, like the FBI's mainframe, a hobby. Another is suspected of stealing some rather heavy armaments from a nearby Army base. Her sister had a string of shoplifting for a time. Apparently, some of her current allies include and escaped murderer, a boy who was wanted for murder, but disappeared, possibly to Mexico, and two unidentified men, who have been suspected of various felonies."
"Then we have leverage," Jack said out loud. "If she can make this threat go away, we'll make her record and the records of everyone she works with go away. If not, we'll lock her in the clink."
Daniel shrugged uncomfortably. Sam didn't look terribly happy with the plan. Teal'c, as usual, said nothing.
"And we'll keep a close eye on them so that if anyone falls back on their old ways we can toss them in jail before they even know the handcuffs are on," Jack added tiredly.
"Okay, then. Go get this vampire slayer. Bring her back with whatever she needs to get this job done and we'll pair that with a member or two from this facility. They clean out the vampires on P2X-810, and we let them go, home free," Jacob summarized. "Can we get an address?"
"She's living in Edinburgh," Sam told them.
"You leave in two hours," Jacob told them. "Dismissed."
Dawn had been working for several hours on translating some of the Council's encrypted documents. It wasn't working so well. She threw down her pencil and stalked out of her room, muttering angrily about idiots mixing Cuneiform, Cyrillic, and Sanskrit. "Should be shot! Repeatedly!" Dawn savagely vented. "Three separate alphabets! Morons!"
In her disgust at the document, she failed to watch where she was walking and barreled right into Spike.
"Oh!" Dawn exclaimed, nearly falling over. Spike caught her.
"Careful, Nibblet," Spike told her, helping her find her feet.
"Sorry," Dawn muttered ruefully.
"You don't even understand why we did any of that!" Buffy was yelling at an unfamiliar person.
"I don't care. As far as I'm concerned, you're all crooks. We're throwing you a huge bone here. You'd be an idiot not to take it," the person returned.
Dawn looked around. Four unfamiliar people were in the room, which now registered with her as "the planning room". Along with the four unfamiliar people, were Buffy, Faith, Angel, Spike, Willow, Xander, and Giles.
"Missed the memo," Dawn said quietly. She'd forgotten that the room had very good acoustics. Everyone heard her.
"Apparently these people are here to make a proposition to us," Xander told her.
Dawn looked at him curiously, wondering if he saw anything about the four newcomers. Especially the one that wore the hat. He looked kind of...off.
"We've been asked to help them with a vampire problem," Buffy explained.
"In return, anyone here with a criminal record will receive full pardon, and the clearing up of legal troubles...like last names," Willow added.
"If we don't co-operate, however, we will be brought to trial," Giles finished.
"But you can't, Buffy," Dawn protested. "We have...that thing that you have to do."
Buffy frowned very deeply for a moment, trying to figure out what in the world "that thing" was code for before remembering that there was indeed a very powerful ritual sacrifice set to go down some time in the next month that needed stopping. She needed to be around.
"Oh," Buffy said. Suddenly those felonies she'd committed didn't seem like such good ideas.
"Let me go," Faith sighed, hopping down off the table she'd been perched on.
The four newcomers looked uneasily at one another.
"Are you a Slayer?" the blond woman asked.
"Yup," she grinned.
"I see," said the one with glasses. Dawn thought he looked somewhat like a little-college-boy-lost. Except for some rather prominent eyebrows.
The four of them exchanged a glance. The blond woman frowned. "You're the one that was in prison."
"Yes," Faith said.
"The murderer?" asked the glasses-guy.
"One count of voluntary manslaughter, two of murder one, two of felony assault. Was convicted based on a confession and because I voluntarily turned myself over to the cops, they gave me twenty-five to life with possibility of parole rather than the chair," Faith recited tiredly. "Escaped prison with the assistance of my next-of-kin, Wesley Windham-Pryce, and have been a fugitive from justice ever since. Happy now?"
"Ah, no, not really," the glasses-guy repeated.
"Where is this Wesley now?" asked the one that was apparently in charge.
"He's dead," Faith told them. The four looked at one another unhappily again. Faith sighed. "Look, you were gonna clear my record anyway. This way you can keep a closer eye on me. And if you really want to, take me out of the deal. Pardon everyone else, and throw me back in the clink."
"Faith! We need you!" Buffy protested.
"Not anymore, B," Faith returned. "There are more than enough Slayers to go around these days. I'm kind of expendable. And I still have time to serve."
"How about this?" the one in charge, suggested. "We'll let you come with us and do this job. Contingent on what we see during this, we'll either include you in the deal or send you back to prison. Everyone else still gets off, and you have the chance of pardon as well."
"You just want me to clean out a nest of vampires? There's no trick to this?" Faith asked.
"Ah, well...there may be...a slight trick," the glasses one replied, seeming uncomfortable.
"Huh," Xander quietly announced.
Every head in the room turned to him.
"Oops," he muttered. "Forgot about the acoustics."
"What?" Buffy asked.
"When he said 'slight trick', the same picture appeared by all four of them. A stone ring at the top of a ramp with a vertical pool of glowing, blue water in it," he told them.
Faith gave them a strange look.
"A slightly classified trick," the one in charge told them firmly.
"But I do this, and everyone here gets out of trouble?" Faith asked.
"That's the deal," In-Charge Guy repeated tiredly.
"Great. But with this little 'trick' involved, I'm gonna want to bring some people," Faith told them.
"Fine," the guy told her.
"Dawn, get packing. Tell Andrew to pack as well," Faith told the girl.
Dawn's eyebrows nearly arched off her head.
"What?" Buffy demanded.
"Buffy, they graduated from Watcher School. If you trust them enough to let them work with a slayer, then trust them enough to let them work with a slayer," Faith told the blond.
Buffy pressed her lips together. "I don't like it."
Dawn bit back an angry retort and left the room.
"When do we leave?" she heard Faith ask as she walked away.
On a plane to Colorado, Dawn and Andrew were introduced to Daniel Jackson, Sam Carter, Teal'c, and Jack O'Neill.
"You said that there were more than enough Slayers to maintain control over the vampires of this world," Teal'c said to Faith. "Were you referring to the fact that there are now two?"
"There's something like three hundred thousand, now," Faith told him.
"Three hundred thousand?" Carter repeated in surprise.
"There would be around a million if the First's blind dudes hadn't been picking them off," Faith told her in frustration. "That red-head that you saw earlier did a spell to make every Potential Slayer into a Slayer-Slayer. How do you know about Slayers anyway?"
"That's classified," Sam replied. "And that's a lot of Slayers."
"There's six billion people on the planet. That's not exactly a small territory to cover," Faith muttered.
Dawn tore off a paper from her notebook at this point and began tearing it into very small strips as she moved towards a trash bin before returning to frown at the document before her and continued trying to translate it.
"What is that?" Daniel asked.
"It is a Council document," Dawn told him. "The Bringers killed just about every Watcher there was about two years ago. Restarting a multi-national, secret organization from near scratch and encoded documents like this is no mean feat."
"It's in code?" Andrew asked excitedly.
"The letters used are from mostly Cyrillic, Cuneiform, and Sanskrit. But they spell out words in Latin. Very bad Latin. It's like they had a five year old Roman citizen with only barely enough schooling to write, put down everything that they needed on paper and then started picking letters to form those sounds from other alphabets. And if they can't find the right letters to depict a sound in any of the three alphabets they're already using, they started dipping into Greek and Korean. I don't think that even the council members who wrote this mess could translate it back fast enough to be helpful," Dawn vented. Faith's and Jack's eyes had rolled up into the back of their heads near the beginning of this rant, but Daniel smiled sympathetically.
"Might I help?" Daniel offered.
"No, you might not," Dawn replied. "I have no doubt of your abilities, Dr. Jackson, but these Council documents are in code for a reason...I think, and as much as y'all know about Slayers now, you've only begun to scratch the surface. We have our secrets, too."
"Secrets like harboring killers?" Jack interjected.
"Hey!" Faith said. "We're dancing to your song! We're going to kill the vamps! Enough already! I'm not proud of what I was, but believe me when I say I had a good reason for leaving prison! I can't do any more than I'm already doing! Give it a rest!"
Jack opened his mouth to say something but Teal'c jumped in, "O'Neill! We have made our point."
Jack stared at Teal'c as if remembering something about he'd nearly forgotten and then did not speak.
The group had spent the night at the Air Force Academy before traveling to Cheyenne Mountain. When they entered the complex Jack took them to rooms on one of the lower levels and told them an SF would be along to tell them where they needed to be and when and that the mess was at the end of the hall.
SG-1 then scurried off to General Carter's office, wondering what the General would say to this.
"...so we brought this Faith girl back with us, and she said she'll take out the nest," Jack told the general. Jacob frowned.
"I can't say I like having a convicted murderer and a suspected murderer run around my facility, but...we do need them. We'll hold that deal. Full pardon for everyone else and option of full pardon for Faith. It's pretty generous, but we're not exactly equipped to deal with vampires here," Jacob finally said.
"I'm still having trouble believing it. Even with the bite marks and the Slayers," Sam sighed.
Daniel finally sighed. "Sir, I am having a very serious problem with us just handing out pardons to a murderer and a suspected murderer. The shoplifting, and even the hacking, yeah, I can live with, but murder is not stupid youth."
"We promised to give her a chance," Jacob sighed. "Maybe the fact that she turned herself in means that she really wanted to change. Maybe she did really change."
"She told us her reasons for escaping prison were good ones and volunteered to return there if we deemed her unfit to remain outside custody," Teal'c offered. "I believe that she truly has changed and wishes to make up for what she has done."
Daniel sighed. "Maybe she has. I'll give her that chance, too. I just don't want to loose another Destroyer of Worlds."
SG-1 shuddered in agreement.
"We'd better tell them what's going on here. Bring them to the Briefing Room," Jacob told Jack. The colonel nodded and headed off.
"Major, you'd better find Lieutenant Kennedy," Jacob continued. Sam trotted off.
"Teal'c, I'd like you to be prepared to field questions about the goa'uld, if they come up. They'll probably have a bunch of them."
The Jaffa gave a deep nod and entered the Briefing Room. Jacob closed up a few files and went into the Briefing Room himself.
Faith, Dawn, and Andrew entered not long after that, following Jack. Sam led another young man with an SGC uniform in. He had sandy brown hair, and gazed nervously at the three newcomers with hazel eyes. SG-1 and that boy sat on the opposite side of the table from the three guests, looking cagey. As soon as the three got done signing their non-disclosure forms and so on, the Stargate engaged and the three demon fighters turned to the window to watch it. When the iris slid open, Dawn gasped.
"A stone ring at the top of a ramp with a vertical pool of blue, glowing, water. That's what Xander was talking about," Dawn breathed.
Men descended down the ramp.
"Where'd they come from?" Faith wondered aloud.
"That must be...a portal to other dimensions or something!" Andrew exclaimed. Faith and Dawn glared at him. He sat. The two girls followed suit.
"Now that we're all here," Jacob said, "I'd like to welcome you all to the SGC. Obviously, under the circumstances, you are not the ideal choices we have to be handling this problem, but we don't have a lot of options, either."
"Look, it's great that you're being honest and all, but I'm not really into preamble so much," Faith broke in. "Why do we need a big sit down to tell a Slayer how to kill vampires? What's the catch?"
Jacob blinked. "The catch is that thing out there. Several years ago, Dr. Jackson here figured out how to operate that device, which is called a Stargate. When the proper address is input into the Stargate it will connect to another gate on another planet and create a wormhole between the two. This facility has, for the past seven years, been the headquarters of Earth's exploration of other planets."
"Other planets?" Faith asked in disbelief.
"Actually, when Ben summoned the Queller demon to get rid of all the crazy people, he summoned it from the moon. It isn't too much of a stretch to assume demon life exists on other planets," Dawn told Faith.
Andrew had started busily scribbling something down. He double-checked with something on a PDA and looked back up grinning. "I think I was right. Correct me if I'm wrong, but was that gate ever called a 'chappa'ai'?"
"Yes...," Jack said, looking curiously at Andrew. Dawn was casting a strange look at him as well. Faith was struggling not to look bored.
"In one of the older books that we recovered from the old Watcher's Library," Andrew told them, "there was a very short mention of an old variety of snake-like, parasitical demon, the goa'uld, who used a device called a chappa'ai to travel amongst planets. Apparently they all left and the chappa'ai was lost. The Council has been looking for it for years, but they never found it."
"Good thing," Dawn snorted. "The old Council was horrible. Power-mongering jerks."
"Yeah, whatever," Faith sighed, "there's history of these guys. What are goold demons?"
"They're shaped like snakes and parasitical, like I just said," Andrew told her. Faith just smiled, a little too sweetly.
"It is unlikely you will meet any goa'uld on this mission. However, SG-1 will accompany you, should that situation arise," Teal'c told her.
"Okay, cool. Tell me about the vamps you ran into," Faith told them.
"Well, we traveled through the gate to P2X-810," Sam told the three, "that's the designation of that planet—and everything seemed normal until we entered a town just a short walk from the Stargate. We noticed that the inhabitants of that town were terrified of us, and just after noting that, we were attacked by a group of about ten vampires. The colonel ended up shooting them, and we retreated through the Stargate. Teal'c nearly died."
"You shot them? How did that help?" Dawn asked in astonishment.
"Special gun," Jack told her. Dawn did not look satisfied, but Jack didn't offer any further explanation.
"Terrified townsfolk? Sounds like the underworld took over," Faith sighed. "I suppose it would be too much to hope that you know where in this town the nest is?"
SG-1 shook their heads.
"It's important to note that it was daylight when we were attacked, though," Sam told them. "And we had no cover above us."
"It was not!" Faith and Dawn exploded.
"Not even Dracula could go out during the daytime," Dawn told them.
"There's no way that a group of vamps attacked you in sunlight," Faith agreed.
"How many suns does that planet have?" Andrew asked.
Dawn and Faith glared at him again.
"Two," Sam replied in surprise.
"That's probably how," Andrew sighed. "Sunlight in other dimensions, like Pylea, doesn't affect vampires. It's possible that binary suns sort of 'cancel each other out' or something like that. I'd have to do some research and run some math to be sure, but a lot of metaphysics is location related. Certain spells only work when performed on a hellmouth, for example. It's possible that, in this dimension, vampires only burn from the light of one sun or even from just our sun."
"We'll take them on in daylight, then," Faith nodded. "There's no reason they should be able to see and not us."
"So, you'll do it?" Jacob asked.
"Yeah, we'll do it," Faith nodded.
"Good. You'll be designated as SG-A and I'm assigning Lieutenant Hale Kennedy here to work with you. You'll leave at 0900 tomorrow," Jacob Carter told them all.
"Ooh, military time," Andrew said. "That's so cool! So...nine in the morning? That's very much not cool! Why so early?"
"Because you'll be holding a joint briefing here tomorrow at seven in the morning to give us all the ins and outs on vampires and what SG-1 and Lt. Kennedy need to know to actually help you," General Carter informed him, barely holding in his amusement.
At precisely seven AM, Dawn strode to the front of the Briefing Room and turned to those assembled.
"Faith won't be giving the briefing?" Daniel asked in surprise.
"Nope," Faith told them. "Giles emailed last night and told us that Dawn has been reassigned as my Watcher on a temporary basis. She's the smart one. I just kill the demons."
"Watcher?" several voices asked.
"Watchers and their relationship to Slayers is not important to this briefing," Dawn told everyone. "If, when I'm done telling you how easy it is for you to get killed, you'd like to ask questions, then I'll answer them. For now, not the point."
Those assembled at the table looked only slightly chastised. Dawn shook her head. "Okay, vampires. As far as demons go, vampires are the bottom of the totem pole. Every evil one else is badder than them. They are however, stronger and faster than any human being you will ever encounter. Two of our friends are vampires that have souls and therefore fight on the good guys side. I've seen both of them run at around fifty miles an hour at a sprint, and leap—from a standing start—one-and-a-half stories straight up. Vampires also have better hearing, a better sense of smell, and can see better in the dark."
"So, basically, we'll never beat them in a fight," Jack summed. "That's depressing."
"And not true," Dawn grinned. "You would think that a fight with something that can hear your heartbeat even when you're relaxed, smell your blood no matter which way you run, and beat you in a footrace on its worst day would be totally unwinable, but lucky for humans, most vampires are pretty stupid. Especially the younger ones and the grunts. They don't always pay attention to all of their senses and they don't always realize that they can indeed outrun you any day of the week."
"Sweet," Jack said.
"Weaknesses, and how to kill them," Dawn continued. "Something wooden through the heart—surprise, surprise, beheading, setting them on fire, throwing them out in the sunshine...sunshine on this planet, will kill them. Well, the fire usually works. Vampires tend to be very flammable. Crosses will burn them, but only if they come into contact with skin. If you're just holding a cross up to a vampire's face, expect to get it knocked out of your hand about a second-and-a-half before you feel your blood draining from your neck. Holy water also burns."
"What about garlic?" Daniel asked.
"Not so much. Garlic just smells really strongly, so they don't like it so much, but being clinically dead, all they have to do to stop smelling it, is to stop breathing. Don't bet on garlic to save your life," Dawn informed him.
"So, how do you plan on finding this nest when we get there?" Jacob asked.
"I'll find it," Faith told them. "All Slayers have a...spider sense, of a sort. Tells us where to find the big evil. Also, despite the fact that Buffy never learned how to work hers, a Slayer can tell whether or not someone is a vampire."
"So, we just walk up and start killing them?" Sam asked.
"Not entirely. First, we see where they're holed up and how many there are. Then, we decide if we can take them on without more help. If we can, then we go ahead. If not, we back off and try again with more people and better weapons. But unless you can provide me with a layout of the building or buildings that they are holed up in and an exact count of how many there are and where they're at, then that's as good as the plan gets for now," Faith returned.
Sam glared at her. "We're going to get killed."
"Well, give us something else to work with. You aren't being real helpful. You don't know where the nest is, you don't know how many there are, you don't know if they were after you specifically, you don't know who is in charge of them. If you can't give me more specific information, then I really can't make a more specific plan," Faith ranted. "What you need to understand is that most vampire victims can't even tell me what you told me. You fought them off. You counted them up. You even took in a little of their fighting style. Most folks it's incoherent and 'They came from over there.' I go into a situation with not enough information and I save the day anyway. That's my job. With back up and an escape plan, this is gonna be five by five."
Sam didn't look much happier.
"Have you got any other ideas on the table?" Faith asked pointedly.
"No," the major sighed.
"Then you're just going to have to trust that the Slayer can slay," Faith told her.
Faith, Dawn, and Andrew all entered the Embarkation Room exactly at the expected time. Lieutenant Kennedy did so as well, but from the other direction. He looked slightly nervous. Dawn went over to him.
"Relax," Dawn instructed.
"First gate trip," he said.
"That's not why you're nervous," Dawn told him. "You're nervous because Faith is supposed to be in stir for offing somebody."
"As someone who's never committed a felony, and has had to live with Faith for a year, let me tell you that Faith is okay," Dawn said. "Believe me, I was nervous when she first came back, but she's saved my life a few times, and she's proved to me that she's changed. There are times when she bugs the stew out of all of us, and she's got a temper, but she won't hurt anyone unless that one is trying to hurt another one. She's one of the good guys."
The gate started dialing. Hale chose that moment to note the weapons that SG-A was carrying. "Crossbows, stakes and a sword?" he asked incredulously. "What'll you do if we meet a goa'uld?" He seemed to draw himself up, as if feeling superior by virtue of carrying a P-90 and a handgun.
"That's why we have you along," Faith told him with a grin. "Besides, guns tend to just piss vampires off. Shoot them, and they snarl and come back."
"Chevron five encoded," came the voice of the man in the control room.
SG-1 came striding non-chalantly into the gate room, unconsciously announcing the fact that they were in charge and everyone would do exactly as they said for the entire duration of the mission. The Slayer-Leader in Faith rebelled against the very idea, but she quashed the irritation and focused on the whirling gate.
"Chevron six encoded," the disembodied voice announced.
Faith looked up and saw General Carter standing in the control room above, looking at her. She didn't change her expression any. She had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that this was not going to work out like she hoped and she'd spend the rest of her life dealing with strict rules and imposed order. She didn't relish the thought. She turned back to the gate.
"Chevron seven...locked." The gate engaged.
Everyone who'd never seen it before, including Hale Kennedy took an involuntary step backwards. After a moment's silence, Dawn said, "Wow."
"You can see the event horizon!" Andrew said, getting excited. He ran up the ramp and laid his hand on the fluctuating blue. Faith and Dawn exchanged a glance that clearly said "What the heck is he talking about?" as the rest of the group joined him on the ramp. Teal'c laid a hand on Andrew's back and pushed him through before following. The others followed until just Faith and Jack were left on Earth. Jack gave her a look and Faith just walked through. Jack followed quickly.
The two arrived on P2X-810 to find Dawn and Andrew on the ground. Apparently the two of them hadn't made a terribly dignified landing. Teal'c looked stoic and solid, Daniel looked around curiously, Hale appeared to be on shaky legs, and Sam just looked unhappy.
Faith looked around and then grinned. "This way."
Dawn and Andrew peeled themselves of the ground and the three of them had taken all of two steps before Jack hollered without warning "Ten-hut!" in a very carrying voice. Sam and Hale snapped to attention while Faith, Dawn, and Andrew froze in their tracks.
"I appreciate the dedication," Jack snapped, "but let's first off, not go moving out without orders to do so, and second, be sure of our directions. You're positive that's where they are?"
Faith nodded. "It's this way."
"Sir, if she follows that trajectory, it'll take us straight into town," Sam pointed out.
"Assuming you didn't tip them off by shouting a minute ago, we'll start being sneaky before they spot us," Faith assured him. "Again, we do this all the time."
Jack frowned. "Faith, take point. Kennedy, stay with her."
Faith rolled her eyes, but didn't protest. Dawn and Andrew walked behind Faith and Hale. SG-1 was behind them.
Faith spotted the edge of town before even Teal'c. She turned to Jack and suggested they enter the forest to complete their approach. When the two SG teams arrived at the edge of the forest which doubled as the edge of town, the only trouble they'd encountered was Andrew getting entangled with a rather thorny variety of local flora.
"Are they here?" Dawn asked. "The place looks...normal."
Indeed it did. They caught glimpses of people moving around about their business and not looking in the least terrified of anything.
Andrew looked up. "Only one of the suns is out."
"Of course," Sam exclaimed. "Sir, in a binary system, it's impossible for both suns to be in the sky all the time."
"Then the local yokels prolly realized that vamps can only be out at certain times of the day," Faith surmised.
"And stay in their houses the rest of the time," Dawn agreed.
"Waaay smarter than the folks in Sunnydale," Andrew sighed.
"Why were they then frightened of us?" Teal'c asked.
"They probably figured no humans would be stupid enough to be outside where a vampire could eat them," Dawn reposted.
Teal'c managed to look stoic and affronted all at once, and raised an eyebrow.
"You're saying they thought SG-1 were vampires?" Hale asked.
"That'd be the obvious assumption. Vampires can look entirely human if they want," Faith explained. "Look, are we gonna sit in the bushes all day or are we gonna go after them?"
"Lead the way," Jack sighed. Faith strode out into the town, ignoring the looks that were thrown at the eight of them from the townspeople. She led them up to a temple-like building on a raised stone base.
"They're in there. No guards. No nothing. I'm feeling like there are about fifteenish, total. We're gonna want to catch one alive and make sure that they don't have any friends stashed somewhere. It'd be a shame to leave these people in this fix when we go," Faith told them.
Jack frowned again. "You go in first."
"Duh," Faith said. She'd slipped a stake into her hand.
"Where were you carrying that?" Daniel asked.
"Wouldn't you like to know," Faith grinned.
Dawn pulled out a cross and a stake. Andrew retrieved his water gun and handed another to Hale. "Holy water. Go for their eyes. That really stings, apparently."
SG-1 looked a little disappointed. "No toys for us?" Jack asked.
Faith handed them each a stake and a cross. "Don't drop 'em."
Jack's eyebrows hit his hairline at that, but he didn't have time to say anything else because Faith marched up to the doors of the building, followed resolutely by Dawn and Andrew and reluctantly by Hale. SG-1 scurried after them in time to get a good view of Faith flinging the temple's front double doors open and calling out a cheery, "Good morning, kids! Rise and shine!"
Dawn and Andrew split up and went to the nearest windows and wrenched the coverings off them. More sunlight flooded the room. The five vampires that had been sleeping on the floor were piles of smoldering ash in just a few seconds. Two more raced down the stairs and met the business end of Faith's stake before they even had time to burst into flames. SG-A raced upstairs, with SG-1 hot on their heels. Four more vampires met dusty ends as the three demon fighters cleared the stairs, although Andrew spent more time gathering himself off walls and floors to return to fighting than he did actually fighting.
"Count?" Faith asked.
"That's eleven," Hale responded, breathing hard.
Everyone glanced at him, Dawn and Andrew in surprise, Jack in evaluation, and Faith in appreciation.
"Good job," Faith told him. "You're doing well for someone who's never done this before."
"Thank you," Hale replied.
"So, there's what, somewhere between four and six left?" Dawn asked.
"Only three," a voice on the other end of the room informed them, "but we won't go down so easily."
Faith glanced up at the three vampires standing before them. They just oozed power and age.
"Well...shit," the Slayer said.
The three attacked.
In next to no time, SG-1 and SG-A found themselves on their backs looking at the vampires that were now supremely angry. Daniel had managed to dust one of the three entirely by accident as he was falling and had thrown his arms up, and caught the vampire on his stake.
Andrew and Teal'c were the only ones with their crosses anymore. Dawn was unconscious and bleeding against the wall. Sam was nearly unconscious and Hale might have broken his ankle.
"We had thought that the current Slayer was blond...and a Tau'ri," one of the vampires said.
Faith exploded in anger. "Buffy! It's always about Buffy! Buffy is not the be-all and end-all of Slayers!" The brunette Slayer viciously kicked, punched and twisted. Barely had she dusted one of the vampires when she had turned to the last one. "Name!" Faith demanded in wrath.
Jack watched as the formerly powerful creature set its face, but couldn't manage to hide its fear. Faith whipped off her cross necklace, and stabbed it savagely into the vampire's shoulder, all the way down to the crossbar. "Name!"
"Jenor!" the creature screamed in pain.
"Now, then, Jenor," Faith said, "why don't you tell me who your friends are?"
"Not a chance!" the vampire snarled.
Faith twisted the cross, but all that produced was a scream. Faith grabbed the only unbroken holy water gun left, and squirted a little of it up Jenor's nose.
"Ba'al!" the unfortunate creature yelled. "Ba'al sent us!"
"What?" Jack demanded.
"I will only speak to the Slayer!" the vampire returned.
"You'll speak to whoever asks you to speak!" Faith told him.
Jenor looked like he might protest, but at the look in Faith's eyes complied. "Ba'al sent us. Hired the entire order to go after Tau'ri wherever we found them. We've been setting up on planets that you were likely to vist."
"You're entire order?" Faith asked in disbelief. "How big is that?"
"There were about a million of us on four separate planets before we took on this commission," Jenor told her.
"And now?" Faith asked.
"More. We've been told to change whomever we thought could help," Jenor replied.
Faith staked him with a flick of her wrist. She walked tiredly over to Dawn and checked her over. Andrew looked on nervously. Even Hale seemed concerned.
"She'll be alright," Faith assured him. "Just sleep for a while, I think." Faith picked Dawn up and the group painstakingly made their way out. Hale was leaning heavily against Daniel and Teal'c was carrying the major.
The eight of them emerged from the building into the sunlight and discovered a crowd had gathered because said crowd burst into applause when they stepped from the door into the light. People rushed to them on all sides. After some discussion, Daniel and Jack decided to stay behind while the others returned to Earth and the infirmary.
Jack and Daniel had not made it back to earth until late on the twenty-fourth and Selmak talked Jacob into letting everyone have a good night's sleep before they debriefed.
So now SGs 1 and A, and General Carter sat in the briefing room, having finished the obligatory first-this-happened-and-then-this-happened.
"Ba'al hired them?" Jacob asked rhetorically. "That certainly changes the ballgame."
"Hey, we had a deal!" Faith protested.
"We won't change that deal," Jacob assured her. "We've already spoken with the President."
Faith's eyebrows went up.
"You have our deepest and most sincere apologies for doubting," Andrew said, a shade too dramatically.
Jacob just gave him a strange look and didn't say anything for several moments. Finally, he said, "Then this trouble will only get worse from here."
"Well, you've got a solution blinding you with its obviousness, here," Dawn suggested. When all heads turned to her, she continued. "There's got to be a Slayer running around out there that would want to join the Air Force. With Slayer strength, Basic would be to her what kindergarten was to you. Bring her into the program."
"It would be simpler," Jacob sighed, "to recruit the three of you and make SG-A a permanent fixture here."
"That would be…a lot of paperwork," Andrew commented after a moment.
"It would," Jacob sighed making a mental note to get Paul Davis something very nice for Christmas, "but SG-1 has vouched for all of you. We'd like to keep an eye on Faith, but if you worked here we could do that."
Faith looked down. A little voice in her head—that sounded suspiciously like Angel—told her that these people needed help. Wasn't it her duty to help them? And didn't she want to anyway? "If you're offering me a job, sir, I'll take it. I can't speak for Dawn and Andrew, though."
"Are you crazy?" Andrew burst out. "Anytime you talk like that, you can totally speak for me! Plucked from obscurity and given the incredible task of defending the Earth!" He broke off, realizing how he sounded. Andrew blushed and looked down and said, "I mean, I'm in."
"Ah...while I don't share the same amount of enthusiasm as Andrew apparently does, I could use the job," Dawn sighed. "Besides, I was assigned as Faith's Watcher. Giles would eat me alive if I left my Slayer alone."
"You never did explain about that," Daniel pointed out.
"Watchers are exactly what the name suggests. They watch the Slayer. They write down what they see and that knowledge is available for all other Slayers who need it. They also help Slayers through periods where they don't have jobs and have contacts all over the planet to keep things that the public doesn't need to know out of the public eye," Dawn explained.
"Sweet," Jack grinned.
"So, we have a new team. Faith will be the commanding officer with Lt. Kennedy as her second. I'll have the right files and so forth sent to all of you about what you should know regarding this facility and its operation this afternoon.
Faith was on the phone when Lt. Kennedy knocked on her office door. "Come," Faith called.
Hale walked in. The four of them had been on one mission since that first to P2X-810. They'd been accompanied by SG-1 on the second one as well.
"No, Buffy, I'm not going to come back," Faith sighed. She'd had this conversation she'd-lost-track-of-how-many times before and it was starting to get easier and easier to answer the questions that she was asked.
"You don't need me. You did fine before I showed up and you'll do fine after," Faith told the phone.
Hale grinned as he sat down on the opposite side of Faith's desk. The girl, as Miss Faith Windham-Pryce, was taking some correspondence courses over the internet on psychology, tactics, and weapons. It was an odd mix, but Faith had just muttered something about wanting to understand the murder rehab psychobabble when she was questioned.
"Buffy, I am where I need to be, okay? It's not because of Wes. It's not because of you. It's just because."
There was silence for a moment and then Faith rolled her eyes.
"If I told you, then I'd have to kill you."
Another long pause.
"Goodbye, Buffy." Faith hung up.
"New mission," Hale told her, handing Faith a folder.
"Joy," Faith grinned. She felt very comfortable in her SGC fatigue pants and black tee.
"Solo," Hale added.
"SG-1 isn't doing the chaperone thing?" Faith asked in surprise.
"The general specifically ordered them not to," Hale grinned. "I think the conversation contained something about knowing that it was awfully soon for us to be on our own, but thinking we were good at what we did and wanting to let us go on and do it."
Faith grinned as she looked over the mission folder. Her grin changed to apprehension when she looked at the times. "Holy crap! That's...now!"
"Intelligence from some Jaffa spies in the Resistance," Hale informed her.
"Dawn and Andrew?"
"I sent a couple of SFs after them."
After making a quick stop in the locker rooms, Faith and Hale arrived at the gate in time to watch it engage.
"You okay, Faith?" Andrew asked.
"Five by five," Faith replied as the gate opened. "Let's go."
"SG-A," announced a voice that the four recognized as Colonel O'Neill's, "you're clear for embarkation. Good luck."
The four of them strode up the ramp and through the gate.