AN: We'll keep it simple today. You guys rock.
Standard disclaimers apply.
I'll answer all reviews from Ch. 13 after dinner.
************** Trick-Or-Treat: Chapter Fourteen *************
"Going to the chapel, and I'm, going to get marr-rr-rried!"
Janet Frasier glared darkly as him and stomped over to all the nifty
machines he was plugged up to in order to check the read-outs.
Xander, despite himself, was having a blast. Didn't matter that he
had to jump through more rings than a circus, he was frankly just
happy to be out of the damn room.
No wonder he had been so depressed living at home, aside from the
obvious reasons that home included his parents.
He switched to whistling and got supreme satisfaction out of the
shudder of distaste that ran through Dr. Frasier. He hadn't thought
his singing was THAT bad but then, he only sang in the shower and
because of a random rogue demon's spell.
Major Carter was openly laughing at her friend's distress as she
went up and upped the settings on Xander's treadmill. Life, for the
most part, was good. Sure he was still being held underground by a
secret military organization that had more toys than the Initiative,
but he was being fed and walked, err, run, and so far, all of his
essential body parts were still intact and Xander was fairly certain
that all these detailed tests would only verify that he was as human
as they came.
Maybe if he got out alive he could consider the entire fiasco some
sort of twisted vacation.
"Hey, Major Carter, can I call home after this?"
She upped the speed a little more but smiled good naturedly. "I
don't see why not." Her eyes danced as she whispered, "Janet HATES
Xander chuckled and saluted sloppily before belting out another
tune. "And I-ah-I-ah-I, will always love you-ou-ou, will always love
Janet Frasier actually growled as Xander laughed.
Malcolm Barrett stood at what would have passed for parade rest in
his direct superior's office. Benjamin Locke wasn't the highest
power in the N.I.D., but he was touching the clouds and the clouds,
the clouds were not happy.
Locke frowned as he processed Barrett's report and sighed, resigned.
"So, there's been a leak, and on the Initiative too. Damnit!
Barrett, you helped clean up that mess, any idea about who would
have been stupid enough to leak something like that?"
Malcolm shook his head regretfully. "No, sir. Of the surviving
soldiers the only one I'd peg as a potential leak would have been
Agent Finn. The others don't fit the psyche profile."
Locke's frown grew speculative. "No, it wasn't one of the men. I've
seen footage and none of them would have wanted to stir that up
again. It had to have been someone further up the chain of
"One of the rogue's?" Malcolm asked softly.
His superior glared at him before finally sighing and nodding in
agreement. "Probably. Have you tracked down the direct recipient
of the information?"
Malcolm nodded. "Yes, sir. Colonel Jack O'Neill..."
Locke ran an aggravated hand through thinning hair and sighed again.
"Of course, who else? That would explain the hits security has
reported that we've been receiving on Mr. Harris's file. Barrett,
I want you to set up a meeting with Colonel O'Neill and find out
what in the hell is going on but for god's sake, be careful. O'Neill
is like a pit bull and the last thing we need is for the Initiative
to be brought out into the open again."
"And find out what kind of trouble Harris is in. Knowing our luck
it's going to be an issue of national security before this is all
"Xander?" Lindsay went weak with relief when his cheery
voice actually answered her.
"How's it hanging, Kid?"
The relief turned into an urge to maim. "How's it hanging? How's
it HANGING? Xander... I..." she seethed with incoherent rage. A
stampede of feet announced the arrival of the rest of the house who
clustered around, eager to hear Xander's voice.
Xander's voice gentled. "I miss you too Linds. Are things holding
together on your end?"
She swallowed but managed a watery smile. "Yeah, they're good.
Faith and girls are still helping out and Dawn is keeping us all in
There was a beat of silence before his wonderfully familiar voice
cautiously asked, "Mostly?"
Lindsay cringed. "Umm, how attached were you to that vase in the
Another beat of silence. "Well," Xander responded pleasantly
enough, "I think that depends on how attached BUFFY was to it since
she gave it to me last year. Am I to understand that the vase is no
"Well, its still there, its just kinda in pieces. Lots of pieces."
He sighed. "Put whoever did it on the phone."
She swallowed and silently handed the phone to a white-lipped Ashley.
Ashley hesitantly put the phone to her ear and said, "Hi?" meekly.
Or as meekly as she got.
"Yes... No... I'm SO sorry Xander. My sword slipped and... I
know. I know. No sword play in the house unless it's in the
basement. Yes, sir. Miss you too."
Ashley handed the phone back, usually sparkling blue eyes sullen.
Lindsay vaguely heard Dawn chiding the pixie Slayer in the background
but she really only cared about Xander. "You still coming home in
two weeks, three days, right?"
"Of course. I'm never late."
"You're never early either," she snapped.
His tone warmed again. "I'll be home soon, on time at the very
least. I promise. Love and miss you all."
"Bye," Lindsay whispered before she was echoed by the sixteen girls
Xander laughed before he replied softly in kind and gently hung up.
Jack watched Daniel pace the briefing room with no little amusement,
mostly because when Daniel was excited, REALLY excited about
something, it was just damn funny. Right now he was waving his
notebook in the air, flushed, with glasses askew and his shirt
collar flipped up. Jack didn't think he would EVER understand
Daniel's fascination with languages and culture, book learning in
other words, but he was glad than Danny had something to be
passionate about. His luck with women was about as good as
"Dr. Jackson, please, calm down, and explain more slowly."
Jack smirked as Daniel shot an outraged look in General Hammond's
direction. "Breathe, Danny," Jack called out and watched with
further amusement as the outrage turned into a withering glare that
pinned him in his seat.
Daniel listened though as he paused and took a deep breath before
trying to explain in his usual articulate manner. "Remember those
ruins we found near the gate on P3R-22X?"
"Which one was that?" Jack asked.
"Desert," Teal'c responded.
"The Ra planet?"
Daniel scowled. "The planet that used to be one of Ra's human
colonies. There were ruins near the gate that were fascinating
enough, but there was a monument that was significantly newer, only
several hundred years old. I'd been concentrating on the ruins in
order to give me context to the monument but it turns out I needn't
had bothered. The monument was meant to stand alone, as a warning."
Carter was the first to take the bait. She leaned forward, hands
resting on the table. "What kind of warning?"
Daniel's eyes gleamed triumphantly. "As a warning to the inhabitants
of P3R-22X and other Goa'uld." Their favorite archeologist paused
dramatically before flipping to a page on his notes and reading, "All
ye under the Dominion of Ra, Ultimate and Supreme Being..."
"Yadda, yadda, insert lies here..."
Daniel glared at Jack before continuing, "... I, Ra, forbid all
under my Dominion from visiting Horaka, sister colony to Harukna..."
Jack leaned towards Teal'c. "What's a Harukna?" he whispered.
Teal'c regarded him gravely. "P3R-22X."
Jack leaned back, pleased with the answer. "Gotcha."
Daniel coughed not so delicately. "If you are quite finished?"
Jack held up his hands, palms out, in a placating gesture that didn't
help one bit. "No, no, please continue. I'm all ears." He smiled
toothily in response to Daniel's obvious annoyance. You'd think
after four years he would have learned that reacting to Jack only
made things worse...
"Fine, I mean... Well it goes on in the same vein for quite some
time before it gets to the interesting part. Horaka has forsaken
the protection provided by I, the Sun, and Lord of this Universe.
All that come from Horaka are unclean. All who go to Horaka will be
killed. Horaka is forbidden."
This time is was Jack who took the bait. "Forbidden? Teal'c, buddy,
you know anything about this?"
Teal'c tilted his head to one side as he considered the question. "I
am unfamiliar with the totality of Ra's many human colonies. It is
most unusual for such a warning to be posted though. It shows
Carter's brows knitted in thought. "That would be true unless the
weakness was universal..."
What was going on in that little blonde head? "Carter?"
She jumped up and joined Daniel excitedly. "Think about it, sir,
sirs," she amended, with a hasty look towards the ever indulgent
Hammond. "Almost all of the planets that are forbidden to the
Goa'uld and the Jaffa are because they contain something that the
"Major Carter is correct."
Jack considered their past experiences with Thor's planet, Oma's
Kheb before silently agreeing. "Is there any mention specifically
of why this Hor- whatever is forbidden?"
Daniel studied his notes again. "There is but the monument was
damaged so my translation is inexact. I think it talks about the
Scourge of the Goa'uld or something equally ominous."
General Hammond raised his brows as Jack piped in, "Ominous is good,
"If it frightens the Goa'uld, it might be, sir. It sounds like
something worth checking into."
"I'll second that! Anything that freaks out the snakes has to be
"Thank you, Colonel O'Neill," Hammond said dryly before he turned
his attention to Daniel. "Dr. Jackson, do we have the address for
"Yes, sir, we do. It was listed on the walls of the ruins."
"All right then, we'll send a MALP through and look around. If it
seems promising we'll send SG-3 in to scout it out."
"SG-3?" Daniel asked, disappointment clear.
General Hammond wasn't budging though. "Barring an emergency, until
Xander Harris is off base, you four are staying on-world. You can
process any information SG-3 brings back IF they do go."
Jack slunk low into his seat. "Damn Marines get to have all the
Hammond, as usual, ignored him. "Major Carter, what is the updated
status on Mr. Harris?"
Carter shrugged helplessly and looked rather like a deer caught in
the headlights. Sam without an answer to a question was almost as
entertaining as Daniel WITH the answer to one. Though neither one
beat a decent hockey game. "We are really just getting started with
the tests but so far he appears to be 100% human, just like his
original blood work indicated. I put a call through to the Tok'ra
and they'll send an operative through as soon as someone is
Jack muttered some uncomplimentary thing under his breath, despite
Carter and Hammond's quelling glares.
General Hammond frowned. "Well, keep at it. I'd hate to let an
opportunity go to waste. Teal'c, have you found time to spar any
with Mr. Harris?"
"I was planning to do so directly following this meeting, General
Their fearless leader sighed. "All right then, keep up the good