“You're going to love this,” Daniel said, looking up from his laptop, “Hammond grabbed a sat that was passing overhead to get us some up to date recon of the area… it picked up this near to LAX”
The archaeologist his play, then watched his friends faces as they followed the short, grainy clip. If he had bet money that their jaws would drop, he would have won, would have been a sucker bet though he thought.
“Chel Nok!” Teal'c said, his tone awed.
“Did that kid just turn into a bird?” O'Neill asked, his voice sceptical.
“Well, we did expect shapeshifters,” Carter commented, shaking her head disbelievingly as her eyes followed the shapes on the screen.
“Yes, but there is a subtle difference between being told shapeshifters and you know, actually seeing one” O'Neill answered.
“Indeed,” Teal'c replied, “they must come from a highly advanced society”
“Unless it's an inherent ability of their race,” Carter suggested, frowning, “that should not have been possible, the bird form appeared to be far smaller then the original, near human shape it came from. Mass has to be conserved and yet, it didn't appear to be”
“Answers one question though…” Daniel paused, “well, two actually”
At the questioning glances from his teammates, he continued, “one, whether there are actually shapeshifters in the area and two, are there more then one”
“Daniel Jackson is right,” Teal'c nodded, “according to the timescale, that shift we just witnessed happened whilst the bird was following us”
“Great,” O'Neill replied, “still doesn't answer the biggest question, are they friendly?”
“We would need to observe them more,” Teal'c frowned, “however there shapeshifting abilities would give them a considerable advantage at concealment”
“Maybe not,” Daniel noted, glancing out the window, “the bird that was following us has ducked out of sight for a few minutes once an hour… now he could be reporting to base, but it could also indicate a time limit on the shapeshift. Also, why has he only used one bird form? They must know we are aware of that one by now”
“You think they only have a limited number of forms?” Carter shrugged, “its possible”
“Ah Danny, I so proud,” O'Neill commented carefully wiping a tear from his eye, “analysing a situation like a soldier… I've taught you so well”
Rolling his eyes, Daniel just said, “shut up Jack” and ignored the snickering coming from Carter.
“O-Okay,” she stammered, smiling slightly as the older man walked up the steps, leaving her alone in the store.
She might need this job to help pay her college fees, but that hadn't been why she had applied, why this had been the job she had hoped for. She had seen the people that were in here all the time, more importantly, she had seen their auras and they weren't pure, though they were close. No, that hadn't attracted her, what had was the solid core of strength in them, the odd augmentation aside.
Not only were they strong, not only had they very white auras, but there was something else, a little mark, hiding away in the back of their aura, one she had only seen once before, when the vampire Angel had saved her life in LA as she made her way to this town, to her college.
The mark of a champion.
More, several of them didn't have the mark that her research indicated said they were chosen as champions, no they had a far purer mark, one that said they had chosen to become champions. They still had their free will and they fought anyway.
It was beautiful to see, it brought her hope that there were some truly good people in the world. Pity her ‘family' weren't like that.
Still, she might not be able to fight, but for people like those, she would do what she could. Besides, Dawn would be here in a year or two and she needed to be ready for that.
“You know,” Buffy said, shaking her head bemused, “I've heard many strange things since I became slayer, but Alien takes the biscuit”
“I hear you,” Faith nodded, “anyone else in would be asking what they were smoking, but boytoy? He's the most perceptive of us by far, if he says alien…”
“Nice to know I'm appreciated,” Xander said, bemused, walking into the large library, “but… boytoy?”
“Well, a girl” Faith grinned, and then sent Xander a look that screamed pure sex, “can dream can't she?”
“Epp!” Xander squealed, as Buffy's face began to burn red, even though the look wasn't directed at her.
“Oh look,” Faith grinned, “I broke him”
“Faith!” Buffy shouted, still blushing, “that wasn't nice”
Laughing, Faith walked over and began nibbling at Xanders ears, her voice purring suggestively, “who ever said I was nice?”
With a strangled gulp, Xander fled the room.
Buffy's mouth twitched, the blonde slayers eyes screaming her amusement. Faith licked her lips suggestively, and it was too much. The blonde slayer broke out laughing, holding her side desperately.
Oz smiled slightly as he listened though the window, they hadn't yet figured out that he was using a different form to Xander, good.
It meant they were far less guarded about what they said, had been ever since Xander had left, still in reet form. He didn't think they had even spotted him, which was a big advantage of this Leet form. Sure, you wouldn't want to try fighting, but you just looked like some small rodent. That and the concealment buff the form offered meant it was easy to just not be spotted.
Of course, it lacked the coolness factor of flying but hey, you couldn't have everything could you?
Still, they were dropping names and information quite casually. They weren't dropping anything that could be considered classified perhaps, but now he knew there boss was a General Hammond and they were based in Colorado Springs.
Very useful information, which he would have to pass to Willow next time he had to reset his polymorph, it would make it far easier for her to figure out which government computers she had to crack to find out more about these military officers and what exactly it was they did for a living.
They thought of themselves as the good guys, but that wasn't new, Walsh had as well, right up till her bastard creation had killed her, and she certainly hadn't been a good gal. Well, not from their point of view anyway.
NID… he had heard of them before, they had been associated with the initiative disaster. Minus points for mentioning them, but bonus points for the name-calling and very derogatory tones.
And even more bonus points for mentioning names of NID agents… names they could check up on, Maybourne, Simmonds, and Kinsey… Kinsey, that named sounded familiar. Wasn't there a senator with that name?
Well, it wouldn't be the first time that a politician turned out to be the scum of the universe, witness the former and very deceased Mayor.
Still, he would need to pass this on next time he reloaded his polymorph.
“We are still being watched,” Teal'c carefully signed, glad that he had learned the various sign-languages the Tau'ri used. The military signs were extremely useful in battle, doubly so when you had to remain quiet and the Jaffa had nothing equivalent, but this deaf-dumb sign language also had its uses for when you wanted to carry out a conversation without being heard.
Of course, it wasn't meant for that, but that wasn't the point.
O'Neill eyes said, I know.
Carters said, I haven't spotted them yet.
Daniels said, since when did you know sign language?
Carefully, the Jaffa signed, they are not in bird form.
The result was grim slight nods from the rest of the group as they switched their vocal conversation to the mundane.
“Seen anything odd?” O'Neill carefully, somewhat clumsily signalled.
No, none of them had, yet they all had the feeling of being observed.
“Well, I think its time for bed, we'll recon in the morning” O'Neill said aloud, rising swiftly from his seat, the team nodded, understanding his other message, we cant do anything useful whilst we are being observed, best get some rest.
Silently agreeing, everyone slipped off to bed.