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Earthsong (rewrite)

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Summary: The activation of the Potentials has a longer reach than anyone anticipated. A story of Stargates, and Ragtag Fleets, Slayers, Cylons, and the destiny that unites them all. A Battlestar Galactica SG1 BTVS crossover.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Battlestar Galactica > General
Stargate > General > General: SG-1
WiseFR13944,73198436,88810 Nov 0520 Dec 08No

The Very Long Night of Kara Thrace, Part I

A column of light sprang up even as her Viper erupted in a hail of broken metal mixed with fire, and for a moment, Kara Thrace was sure she was going to die. It was funny, the things you thought about when you were sure you were going to die. Old regrets. Old lovers. Old friends. The moment seemed to stretch out into infinity. She saw herself jogging through the hallways on the Galactica just before the Cylon attack. She saw herself passing Zack because she loved him, when every instinct she had told her he wasn't ready. She saw herself a troubled young cadet at the Colonial Fleet academy, training to fly a Viper someday.

She saw her mother.

The sounds and smells of her mother's deathbed rose up all around her with a shocking suddenness. Strange colours rippled across the walls. Her mother spoke, but she couldn't hear anything. The roaring in her ears was too intense.

Leoben took her mother's hand, and the tough old woman looked up, seemingly surprised to see him.

Colonel Tigh snorted disgustedly and turned away from her, his shadow falling across Galactica's CIC like the fall of night.

The Caprican woodland rose up suddenly around her, sprouting out of the deck of the CIC and growing to life-size in the span of a few seconds.

Anders flickered in and out of existence, there and not, not and there, again and again, smiling hopefully. "You're coming back for me, aren't you?" he asked.

"Have you ever wondered what would happen if the barriers were stripped away?" Sharon's voice asked. Kara immediately recognized it as Boomer - for all that she and the new Sharon were identical, she could tell the difference, somehow.

"No," she replied, and it hurt to talk.

"You don't even know why they're there, do you?" Sharon chuckled. "We know more about your religion than you do."

She shook her head, shutting her eyes tightly and trying to will it all away.

"Yeah, sure, THAT'll work," O'Neill said. All at once, they were on the edge of a... lake. Woodland all around. A cabin nearby. O'Neill was older, middle-aged, sitting in a chair on the little dock with a fishing pole in hand as he watched her.

"You wanna tell me what's going on?" she asked.

O'Neill grinned. "Nope."

"Prick," she murmured.

"Bitch," he replied cheerfully.

"Your people are asleep, Kara," Sharon said. "You've been asleep for a long time. You had to. You didn't want to risk drawing attention to yourselves. Ten thousand years ago. But you're waking up now. " Her speech pattern was strangely choppy. Starting and stopping. Sudden surges forward and equally sudden stops.

Something about that voice...

Kobol.

The glade which held the Astria Porta was full of people - refugees - filing out into the untouched wilderness in groups of three and four. Behind them the event horizon rippled, and every moment more and more people trickled through it, some with little more than what they carried on their backs, some with what little they had managed to pack before the evacuation.

Starbuck stared, and even as she did so, her surroundings began to run like oil across the surface of a griddle. The sky grew dark, and presently she saw that the whole world was growing dark, narrowing to a single point.

Smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller and more and more muffled, smaller and smaller, until...

She sat up suddenly on a medical bed in a place she didn't recognize, and immediately she regretted it. She was sore everywhere, and it hurt to breathe. The regular beeps of an EKG announced her heartbeat to the world, and an IV was stuck in her arm. She was clad only in a hospital gown.

Immediately she began to panic, memories of the Cylon 'farm' rising fresh in her mind, and the scar burned like a brand on her side. She yanked the IV messily out with a tear of tape and tubes and flesh. Blood spurted for a few seconds before it stopped abruptly, and she looked at her arm in surprise. Deciding not to look a gift-horse in the mouth, she ripped off the little sensors that had been fitted to her body and tried to get out of bed.

She made it two steps before vertigo overwhelmed her, and she fell flat on her face.

The privacy curtain swept back, and there were O'Neill, Lieutenant Fraiser, and a group of four men she didn't recognize, all lying on similar beds, being examined by a medical staff plus a dark haired woman in a white coat whose demeanor screamed 'doctor.'

Kara tried to scrabble back to her feet, but her dizziness was not helping, and she found herself unable to do more than sit still as the room seemed to spin around her.

Lieutenant Fraiser hopped off her bed and cracked her knuckles, and there, kneeling on the floor, Kara got that sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.

"Lieutenant Thrace. Nice of you to join us," Lieutenant Fraiser said.

Then O'Neill grinned an insolent grin. "As the great poet Homer once said: 'doh!'"

"Oh, frak," Kara whispered.

Off to her right, a dark-skinned Earth soldier with a name tag that read 'Fischer' coughed twice.

---------

Earthsong
A Stargate SG-1 crossover fanfic
By P.H. Wise

Chapter 8: The Very Long Night of Kara Thrace, Part I

---------

Doctor Carolyn Lam stepped coldly between Cassie Fraiser and Kara Thrace. "I'll thank you not to pummel my patient into submission, Lieutenant Fraiser," she said, fixing the young Lieutenant with her best withering glare. It worked far better than she'd anticipated: Cassie stepped back, her eyes widening. Even the O'Neill clone looked abashed at that, and the members of SG-6 exchanged grins.

"Thanks..." Kara started to say, and Carolyn cut her off.

"Shut up. The only reason you aren't standing before a military tribunal right now is because Lieutenant O'Neill specifically asked the General not to press charges for what you did to him." Carolyn reigned in her fury over what had been done to Jack O'Neill. "Now, let's check you over."

"Er, ma'am..." Kara began again.

"Not. A. Word." Doctor Lam snapped, and Kara stared at her for a long moment before shutting her mouth with an audible click.

"Good. Now, look here."

Kara obediently followed Carolyn's directions, and the good doctor allowed herself a brief moment of savage satisfaction when the Colonial pilot winced at suddenly having a pen-light shone in her eyes before she smothered the reaction beneath layers of icy professionalism. O'Neill was not quite so tactful. Out of the corner of her eye, Carolyn saw that even as she poked and prodded Kara Thrace with needles and lights and various instruments, O'Neill was grinning openly.

"Revenge is so sweet," he said.

"Out," she said, pointing to the infirmary's exit.

He pouted. Then he noticed that she was pulling a stethoscope from the notorious bottom drawer of the medical cabinet - a drawer well known for producing nearly icily cold stethoscopes, and he brightened immediately.

She tried very hard not to shake her head in disbelief. "Out," she said again. "You too, Lieutenant Fraiser. Both of you have checked out fine. General Landry wants you in his office ASAP."

O'Neill was a strange, strange man.

Lieutenant Fischer spoke up, then. "Ma'am? I'm supposed to attend General Hammond's speech in a few hours, and I really need a shower before that happens." SG-6 voiced very noisy agreement with this latter statement, and he ignored them - they smelled just as bad as he did. "Is there anything else, or can I go?"

Lam looked to one of the assistant doctors, who nodded. She did likewise. "Go ahead, Lieutenant."

And just like that, Lieutenant Fischer walked out of Doctor Lam's infirmary, and into the general population.



Funny thing about viruses: they like to spread. Oh do they ever like to spread. Lieutenant Fischer, not feeling ill and really only clearing his throat at the time, had sent a bounty of infection spraying out into the infirmary just in time for it to be shared with Doctor Lam, the rest of SG-6 (though they'd had ample time to be exposed already), Lieutenant Jack O'Neill, and Cassie Fraiser. It didn't stop there, though. On his way out of the SGC, he clapped a friend of his from SG-3 - Colonel Dixon - on the shoulder as he passed him in the hall, and that was enough to spread it to him.

Dave Dixon grinned easily as Lieutenant Fischer passed him. After a moment, they fell into step together, as they were both heading the same way. "Off to the races, Fischer?"

Fischer nodded, his face breaking into a smile. "General Hammond's giving a speech, Sir. They want an SG presence, even if we can't admit to what we do."

Dave hit the button for the elevator, and after a moment, they both stepped into it.

"How about yourself, sir?"

"Me and the wife and kids are heading out on leave," Colonel Dixon said. "My youngest still hasn't been to Disneyland."

They traded small talk for a few seconds longer. Then the elevator doors opened, and the two men stepped out and immediately went in opposite directions.

"Enjoy yourself, sir!" Fischer called.

Dixon grinned. "Try not to get too stir crazy at the speech, Fischer," he replied.

Colonel Dixon loved his family. An hour later when he walked in through the front door of his Colorado Springs home, he sneezed. He covered it with his hand, but it didn't much help: he gave the virus to his wife and children - two sons and two daughters. On their way out of Colorado Springs, they gave it to old Jim Anderson at the gas station they stopped at to fill up for the drive to California.

Jim Anderson was approaching seventy, and he'd seen a lot in his time. He was cheerful in his old age, and he liked his job. He'd been the owner of his gas station for thirty five years, and he had no plans to retire any time soon for all that it had been the site of a number of strange occurances over the years, the weirdest of which was oh, seven or so years back when he'd been convinced that monsters were crawling all over the walls, the pumps, the cars... he'd found out later that it had actually been caused by some kind of experimental chemical that'd been spilled and made everyone hallucinate. Vernon had taken that harder than he had, but it had turned out right in the end.

Speaking of Vernon, the mechanic was actually the next person to get the gift that kept on giving. Between the two of them, they infected most of the people who stopped at the gas station that day. It was getting close to sundown when the CDC people finally showed up, but that's another story.

Let's do a little math. Assume a very kindly, conservative estimate that each person exposed to the Prior plague in turn infected another five people. It's probably more, but we'll go with it for now. That means that Fischer infected five others, and each of those five infected five others, and each of THOSE five groups of five infected five others. Five. Twenty five. One hundred and twenty five. Six hundred and twenty five. Three thousand one hundred and twenty five. Fifteen thousand six hundred and twenty five. We're getting ahead of ourselves in the numbers, but the point is this: within a few hours, the whole Colorado Springs area was bubbling with the nastiest thing this side of Captain Trips that the world had ever seen.

Now, the SGC was on the ball. They caught it within a few hours. Colonel Barnes of SG-6 was the first. He came in complaining of fatigue, and an hour later he could barely stand. High fever, chest pain, respiratory distress, the works: in short, a Prior plague. Coordinating with the CDC, they instituted a quarantine of the greater Colorado Springs area, closing down air ports, shutting down highways, putting troops even on backroads on the off chance some crazy sick bastard might try to get out of town that way. Soldiers in hazmat suits burst into the main aircraft hanger at Peterson Air Force Base just after General Hammond's speech had finished, and they went about their business with a professionalism that befitted members of the United States Air Force.

They were too late.

None of this meant very much to Kara Thrace, of course, newly discharged from the SGC's infirmary and walking down the unfamiliar corridors escorted by a pair of marines to meet with an Earth general.

Earth. She was on Earth. The thought alone was almost enough to make her dizzy. These people all around her didn't seem so different from the typical Colonial, and yet... and yet... they were the thirteenth tribe of Kobol! It was a strange, fantastic thought. These people were the hope that the fleet had been seeking for ... gods, it felt like years for all that Kara knew that it had only been two hundred days since the end of the worlds. She stifled an hysterical giggle at the thought. Two hundred days since the end of the worlds, and each day had been like an eternity, running on adrenaline, constantly ready to fight and die to let the fleet get just one step further away from the Cylons, to escape and live for just one more day.

"Ma'am?"

Kara blinked. One of the marines was talking to her. Her eyes focused on him, and she forced herself to process what he was saying.

"General Landry is ready to see you, Ma'am." He gestured for her to enter through the open door in front of her. When had that gotten there? She couldn't remember. She had a very vague recollection of passing through rooms full of technicians with lights and panels and buttons, but that was all. She put it out of her mind, and walked through the door.

She immediately recognized the room as some sort of conference room. A large red and black wooden table dominated the room, comfortable looking seats all around it. On the far wall behind the table she could see a window overlooking a massive silo. She couldn't see much through the window, but she did see the top of what looked like a giant... ring? It looked vaguely familiar, but she couldn't recall where she might have seen one before.

Gathered around the table was a smallish crowd of assorted humans: a blonde woman with short, styled hair, a man with glasses and short brown hair, another man with short brown hair, Lieutenant Fraiser, Lieutenant O'Neill, and an impressive looking man with dark hair shot through with flecks of gray seated at the head of the table. Immediately, Kara knew that he was in charge; he had that air of authority that the Old Man had always carried so effortlessly.

The General looked up as Kara walked into the room, and immediately she felt as though he had judged her and found her wanting. Even so, there was no sign of it in his tone when he said, "Have a seat, Lieutenant."

She sat.

All eyes were upon her, and there was silence for a long moment, no one willing to be the first to speak. Fraiser and O'Neill looked studiously at the table in front of them, not meeting her gaze.

At last, the General produced a spoke. "Lieutenant Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace of the Colonial Fleet. Welcome to Earth."

Kara fought back tears at that. All at once, it all seemed [i]real[/i]. She was really here. This was really happening. Her gaze touched upon Lieutenant O'Neill, and her heart sank. She didn't trust her voice, but she replied anyways, her voice thick with emotion. "Happy to be here."



Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop. Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop.
Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop. Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop.
Again, again, again, again. Again, again, again.
Four movements. Yet to Kara Thrace, they had become her world.

She'd grown to detest being reborn. There were some advantages. Natalie came to mind. She still wasn't sure what was going on between the two of them - Natalie had been the first thing she'd seen since the Cylons had relocated her from the... farm, where she'd been born. Everything before that was a little hazy. That's what happens when your memories are copied out of the skull of a human. Not that she of all Cylons had any room for contempt of humans.

Kara had a section carved out for her own here, in a Projection of Galactica's weight training room. Officers and enlisted personell went about their business, some of them stopping to exercise, others heading off to the showers, others still just passing through. She'd been trying progressively heavier weights ever since she'd gotten enough of a sense of her new body to walk unassisted, and thus far the results had been... disappointing. Oh, she was able to lift considerably more than she'd been able to previously, and that was good. However, her performance just wasn't scaling the way it should have considering the Original's immediate improvement upon awakening to what was now Her destiny.

It was now a few days after the battle against the 'Jaffa fleet' in orbit of the world they'd been led to believe was Earth, and taken off guard as they were, the Cylon losses had been horrific. Nothing that couldn't be replaced, but until reinforcements arrived from the homeworld, they had more consciousnesses than they did bodies to house them. It would delay their advance significantly.

"You're trying too hard," Natalie said, walking through the apparently solid wall of the Galactica's weight training room as she stepped into Kara's Projection. She took in the surroundings, and immediately looked disappointed. "This again?" she asked.

A flush of shame spread through Kara's body, and she almost banished the familiar surroundings.

Almost.

Instead, she met Natalie's disappointed gaze challengingly.

Natalie shook her head bemusedly. "You never take the easy route, do you, Thrace?" Her lips curled into a fond smile. "Maybe that's why I love you."

"Maybe I'm just that good in the rack," Kara replied. It felt like an old, familiar argument between lovers. ... It had always felt like that. Right from the start. Maybe that's why she didn't quite trust it, for all that she couldn't deny the way she felt.

She had flown against the Colonial Fleet for this woman.

Natalie gave Starbuck's curves a mock-hard look. "Don't flatter yourself." There was amusement in her eyes now, and Kara felt herself wincing at the terrible, terrible pun she'd allowed the other woman to make.

Conscious of Natalie's eyes upon her like the sun upon closed eyelids, Kara Thrace turned back to her weights, her training dummies, and her regimen of tests.

Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop. Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop.
Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop. Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop.
She was in love with a Cylon. And a female Cylon.
Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop. Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop.
Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop. Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop.
She was a Cylon herself, and it disturbed her more than she could ever explain. She disturbed the others, too. Not the Sixes, but the others. Every time she introduced herself as 'Kara' instead of as the number they'd given her. Every time she longed for the home in the Colonial fleet that the Original had, and had taken for granted for so long.

That was over now. The Original was dead. She'd shot her down herself. It figured. The only pilot good enough to shoot down Kara Thrace was... Kara Thrace.

Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop. Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop.
Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop. Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop.

She was a Cylon.
Lucky Thirteen.

Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop. Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop.
Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop. Punch. Pull. Lift. Drop.
It was better, easier, not to think about it, and there, as she lost herself in the movements of her routine, she managed to do just that.

For a little while.



In the quiet, calm voice of one who has long since become accustomed to living without the luxury of introspection, Kara Thrace told her tale to those assembled in the briefing room at Stargate Command. "All of this has happened before," she began, "All of this will happen again." It had the air of an invocation, and Daniel Jackson couldn't hide his interest at that. "This time around, I guess it all started when people decided that we needed machines to do the jobs we didn't want to do ourselves..."

Daniel listened, fascinated as she went on, occasionally exchanging a glance with Teal'c or Sam as something she said seemed to touch on points related to what they already knew to be true about the galaxy.

"... they rebelled..."

It was becoming a common theme, it seemed: someone creates artificial life, and they insist on seeing it as a tool instead of as a sentient race all its own. He had only just finished reading the latest reports from Atlantis before this whole situation had begun: they too had encountered a race of artificial beings. The Asurans.

"... Returned after forty years, they knew exactly where to hit us," Kara said.

"We saw some of that," Mitchell remarked. "Came out of hyperspace in the middle of a ghost-fleet, planet below all nuked to hell..."

Kara nodded, her expression a haunted one. "If it hadn't been for Commander Adama and President Roslin, we would all have died in the Holocaust. When initial attack was over, we really only had one choice: gather what survivors we could, and run. We ran. Ran away from our homes, from our dead, from our worlds." She paused for a long moment, staring at the table in front of her.

"Why were you looking for Earth?" Cassie asked.

Kara looked to Cassie. "The sacred scrolls speak of a Thirteenth Tribe of Kobol which left the birthplace of Mankind to found their colony on a planet called Earth."

That definitely piqued Daniel's interest.

"Woah, woah, woah, you think we're your Thirteenth Colony?" Mitchell asked.

"Yeah, that's likely," Jack said sarcastically.

Kara looked at Mitchell and Jack suspiciously. "Of course you are. I was there when we opened the Tomb of Athena to find the way here. 'When the Thirteenth tribe landed on Earth, they looked up into the heavens and they saw their twelve brothers.'"

Blank looks all around, and the young woman was clearly disturbed at that. "The sacred scrolls?" she asked.

All eyes went to General Landry. "Lieutenant," he said gently, "Why don't you tell us what you know about Athena, and we'll take it from there."




After the meeting, Cassandra Fraiser found herself swept along like a leaf in a flood. With half of her team dead, it wasn't like they could just get back out there on another mission. Not before they found replacements for their deceased members, anyways. Not to mention, the base was under quarantine on account of the Prior Plague situation. So here she was, sitting on a bed in one of the guest quarters on base, reading - of all things - an old copy of Cosmopolitan magazine. Apparently, there were fifteen fantastic new sex tips that would instantly win the heart of any man. To Cassie, having spent much of her teenaged life with a medical doctor for a mom, some of them seemed... physiologically suspect. Not that this prevented her from imagining herself and a certain young Lieutenant attempting to put some of the tips into practice.

Feeling a full body blush coming on at that thought, Cassie fell back onto the bed and stared up at the ceiling. Damn but she needed to go slay something. She always felt better after she'd slain something. ... That wasn't an option at the moment, however, so she held the magazine over her head, studying the image on the cover. Her eyes slowly drifted shut.

Doctor Venkman's body exploded in a shower of gore as a burst of automatic gunfire tore through him, and Cassie frantically turned her head and held up her hands to escape a faceful of the man's brain.

Her eyes shot open, and bile crept up in the back of her throat. The magazine suddenly seemed totally unappealing, and she threw it aside. It sailed through the air with a sound of fluttering pages before impacting against the far wall with a loud thud.

Presently, she realized that someone was knocking on the door.

She sat up. "Come in," she called.

The door opened, and Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter entered the room, an expression of concern gracing her face.



In another part of the base, Lieutenant Jack O'Neill shook his head. "Sir, the mission was FUBAR right from the beginning. Venkman was clueless in a firefight, and Colonel Richards..."

General Landry shook his head. "I'm sorry, Jack. I'm not putting you in charge of SG-9."

"I've got years of experience! Does it, in fact, say Colonel anywhere on my uniform?" Jack looked at his uniform, and seemed disappointed to find that it did not.

"I said 'no,' Jack. You might have the memories of an Air Force Colonel, but you are not Jack O'Neill." Landry looked over his desk at Jack. "Technically, you're on file as his nephew," he said, smiling faintly.

"I'm the best man for the job, and you know it."



"You want to talk about it?" Sam asked, sitting down beside her.

Cassie met Sam's gaze and said nothing. She couldn't think of anything to say.

"That bad, huh?" Sam asked.

Cassie nodded mutely. Sam put an arm around the younger woman's shoulder, and Cassie, comforted by the presence of the woman who had been all but a second mother to her, leaned into Sam's body.

Silence hung between them for several minutes. Then, in barely more than a whisper, Cassie asked, "... Does it get any easier?"

"You learn to live with it," Sam replied after a moment.

Silence for a beat.

"I thought the... changes I went through would make it easier."

Sam nodded. A little while after having arrived at the Air Force Academy, Cassie had suddenly begun to exhibit abnormally high levels of physical ability. While there were a number of theories as to the cause - some of them patently ridiculous, such as the one peddled by that one-eyed carpenter - they had finally more or less settled on the easiest: Cassie was a hok'taur after all.

"If Jack hadn't been there, I'm not sure what I would have done..."

Carter compressed her lips to a thin line. That's what she'd been afraid of. The wistful look on Cassie's face when she referred to the O'Neill clone was total confirmation. "That's the other thing we need to discuss," she said.

Taking in Carter's demeanor, the look on her face, and her tone, Cassie began to sweat.



"Is there anything else?" General Landry asked. He had assumed the conversation was over and gone back to reading the post-mission report, but when Lieutenant O'Neill hadn't moved to depart after a minute, he'd looked up to find the Lieutenant uncharacteristically squirming in his seat.

"... Yes sir. It's Cassie, sir."

Landry raised an eyebrow. "Lieutenant Fraiser?"

"Know any other Cassies?" Jack asked flippantly.

"Five," Landry replied.

Silence for a beat.

"Ah," Jack said.



"... Leave Jack out of this," Cassie said, rising to her feet and striding angrily a few paces before turning to face Sam in a more confrontational stance. "The way I feel about him is..."

Sam cut her off. "Completely inappropriate for two officers serving together."

Cassie reacted as if she'd been slapped. "You don't understand, Sam. I'd be dead if not for him!"

Sam met Cassie's gaze, then, and the depth of pain there revealed took the younger woman aback. "I do understand, Cassie," she said sadly. "Believe me, out of everyone on this base, I understand exactly how it feels to love Jack O'Neill. I also understand the reality we have to live with. If you were to act on your crush..."

"It's not a crush," Cassie insisted.

"... both of your careers would be ruined."

"I'm willing to..."

"Are you?" Sam asked, interrupting the younger woman. "Are you really prepared to give up everything? The Air Force? Your future?"

"I..." Cassie trailed off, looking uncertain.

"You have to let it go, Cassie. He's the closest thing you ever had to a father. Do you really think it's healthy to pursue this?"

"I don't have an Electra complex!" Cassie snapped, but Sam pressed on.

"And if you try to hold on to your feelings but don't ever act on them, it isn't any better. Years, years wasted, waiting for something that Can't. Ever. Happen."

Cassie was near tears now, and her gaze sank away from Carter's until it reached her own shoes. There it remained.

"Listen to me, Cassie. I don't want you to have to go through what I did. I don't want to have to order you not to pursue this."

Silence for a long moment.

"... you won't have to," Cassie whispered at last.

Sam's expression softened. "If you ever need anyone to talk to..." Cassie gave her a look, and the sentence died in her throat.

A moment later, Samantha Carter nodded, turned, and left the room, shutting the door behind her.

Cassie stood silently in the center of the room, eyes downcast, and remained silent.



"Spit it out, Jack," Landry said.

Jack looked uncomfortable, and then all at once, "... You have to take Cassie off my team, sir. She wants to jump my bones."

Silence held in the room for a beat. Presently, Landry began to chuckle, and the chuckle broadened into a full blown laugh. Finally, the General wiped his eyes and regained control of himself. "What are you now, two for two? If we didn't take Carter off your team when you two were so obvious that Walter had an open betting pool on whether or not you'd shack up before your command ended, what makes you think I'll take Lieutenant Fraiser off your team when your ability to work well together has been demonstrated the way it was on your first mission? Deal with it, son, and keep it inside the regs."

Jack's cheeks burned, and it was all he could do to say, "Yes, sir."



It was nearly twenty four hours later that Kara found herself once more in Stargate Command's primary briefing room, waiting for Doctor Lam and the general to arrive. She didn't think much of the humans at the moment, trying to explain away her religion as the result of Goa'uld tampering with human populations. It was hard to like people who told you that everything you believed in was a lie. Add that to the strange sickness that was going around on the base, and the way nobody was willing to talk about it (to her at least), and it was shaping up to be a pretty frakked up week for Kara Thrace.

Here she was, waiting for the tests to come back and tell her whether or not she herself had contracted whatever this disease was, barely aware of the fact that the young man she'd come to know as Jack O'Neill had entered the room, accompanied by the large Jaffa, Teal'c.

"T, buddy, you can be honest with me, right?"

"Indeed."

Her eyes flickered across the large window overlooking the gateroom. The gate was active, its light undulating across the silo's bare walls, filtering through the glass and playing across her face in strange, shifting patterns.

"Was there really a betting pool on whether or not maxi-me and Carter were going to shack up before I retired?"

That broke her out of her haze. She blinked, and turned to look at the two who had just taken a seat at the table. Standing by the door, a marine on guard struggled to keep a straight face.

Taking Teal'c's silence as a denial, Jack looked relieved. "I knew it! He was pulling my leg!"

Teal'c remained silent.

"T, buddy, ... I note that you are not jumping in to confirm my eager dismissal of potentially embarrassing information."

Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "Indeed I am not, O'Neill. Your lack of romantic initiative was responsible for my loss of nearly a fortnight's pay."

Starbuck stifled a giggle, and Jack seemed to notice her for the first time, sending a warning glare her way.

"You bet a week's pay?" Jack asked incredulously.

Teal'c looked solemn. "Daniel Jackson has never let me hear the behind of it."

Jack glared. "You're doing that on purpose!"

Teal'c only raised an eyebrow, his expression stoic and unreadable.

Starbuck burst out laughing. It felt good, but it was all too brief. As if summoned by the sound of laughter, the General and Doctor Lam entered the briefing room, one after the other, from opposite sides of the room.



"What do you have, Doctor Lam?" Landry asked. They were all seated now around the table. The general looked tired. They all looked tired, except for Kara.

"Well," Caroline Lam said, "Our new guest is in luck." She looked directly at Kara. "Your system shows no sign of infection by the Prior Plague."

Jack perked up at that. "She's immune?"

Doctor Lam nodded. "We ran a full battery of tests to find out why. The results were surprising to say the least."

Kara wasn't sure how to react to that, but she nodded reluctantly. "Ok..."

"Go on," Landry said.

"We ran the tests several times to be sure, of course. The closest thing we'd seen to it before was Lieutenant Fraiser and General O'Neill, both of whom rank as having the highest concentration of the ATA genes on record. Lieutenant Thrace blows both of their counts out of the water. Their blood samples have shown significant resistance to the plague, albeit not complete immunity, but in Lieutenant Thrace's case, it's more than that. Lieutenant Fraiser and General O'Neill might be resistant to the disease, but they're not immune the way Thrace is... We think it's because this plague is keyed only to target humans."

Kara felt her heart sink into her belly. No. No way was she a Cylon. No frakking way. "What are you saying?" she asked, her voice near a whisper.

Landry echoed her a moment later. "What are you saying, Doctor?" he asked.

"I'm saying that Kara Thrace isn't human, sir. If my theory is correct, none of her people are."

Kara's world whirled around her. Was this what Boomer had felt like? Horror and revulsion ran through her in equal measure, and she wasn't really listening anymore.

"If she's not human, what is she?" Landry asked.

Lam gestured to a technician, who promptly brought up a display on the far wall which displayed a visual representation of a genetic sample. It wasn't so much there for any kind of accuracy to an actual genetic sample as it was to aid in the explanation. It was fairly typical of the sort of dumbing down of any technical matter that tended to be done when delivering specialized information to command officers.

"This is a representation of Kara Thrace's genetic code. I won't bore you with a long explanation of the details - I just want to bring your attention to these sections in particular." She gestured as a few sections were highlighted on the representation.

"This," next to Kara's sample appeared another, "is a sample taken from the woman identified as 'Ayaina,' recovered in the ice near what we now know is the Ancient planetary defense platform. As you can see, the highlighted areas are identical, or nearly so."

"Are you saying..." Jack began, looking incredulous.

"Lieutenant Thrace is an Ancient."

Kara blinked, her angst vanishing beneath surprise and confusion with the suddenness of a popped bubble. "... what?"



Far away, though only in terrestrial terms, a woman sat motionless in the dark, a single candle providing the room's only illumination. Its soft, flickering light played gently across her face and her long, red hair, but she paid it little mind.

Something was different.

Something had changed.

Ever since she'd cast the spell to awaken the Slayers, Willow Rosenberg had been connected to them in a way she'd never been able to explain. It was something deep. Primal. They were in her and she was in them. But now... now there were others. Not Slayers. Outsiders. Others. Their presence in the link was a dull, muted thing, but it was growing stronger. She frowned in consternation as she struggled to maintain her meditation.

There.

One of the strangers was here. Well, not here specifically, but here in the United States. She focused her energies, trying to locate the... hum in the link. It was stronger than the others, somehow. More deeply rooted.

Colorado. Colorado Springs. NORAD.

Wait, NORAD?

She inhaled, and seemed to breathe in the scent of the woman her senses had focused in on. She really was different, wasn't she? She could almost see her face. ... Blonde. Short hair. ... Slayer.

That threw her for a loop, and clear out of her meditative trance. All at once, it was all gone. The sense of the woman's location. The image. Everything. Even as the knowledge faded from her mind, she snatched up a pen and pencil and scribbled out the following: 'Colorado Springs. NORAD. New Slayer. Blonde.'

A moment later, Willow Rosenberg stared down at what she had written in confusion, not remembering having written it. "... What's going on here?" she asked the flickering candle in front of her.

The candle made no reply.

END CHAPTER 08

The End?

You have reached the end of "Earthsong (rewrite)" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 20 Dec 08.

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