Chapter 12: Immorality
Authors Note: Thanks SPK, for agreeing to be my Beta. AN: Ratings change to “R’ For minor language. Disclaimer: All characters from BTVS belongs to Joss Whedon and the world of Stargate SG1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret productions, and Gekko Productions. And the world of Highlander and its characters belongs to Panzer/Davis Productions and Marvel Entertainment Group. This fiction is purely for the entertainment of the writer and the readers not for commercial benefit *
Chapter 12 Immortality
“Who’s Christiana?” Willow had asked, and after a few minutes, Jack had to answer, “Our daughter.”
“What happen to her?” asked Daniel eagerly. “Where is she? Is she immortal like you?”
“She’s dead,” Buffy said matter-of-factly.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Daniel looking abashed. He took a soft cloth out of his pocket to wipe his glasses.
“That’s okay Danny, you didn’t know,” said Jack. He sounded tired. “After living for so many years, people always ache for what they don’t have. We can live for thousands of years, travel the world over, see wondrous sights, but there’s one thing we couldn’t have and that was children,” Jack said bleakly.
“I’m sorry O’Neill,” said Teal’c. Even though his son Ry’ac was not living with him and the Tau’ri, he missed him every day. He at least knows that his son is alive, becoming a man; a person to be proud of.
“Thanks T,” Jack said. “That is one of the downsides of being an immortal. After Christiana died___.”
“What did she die of?” asked Janet in sympathy. She knew what it’s like to want a child, and then watch them grow and die.
“Scarlet fever,” Jack said bitterly. All this time, the memories of his little girl’s death still haunt him. “At the time, we didn’t know what it was. So we had to watch our little girl wither away. She was only six years old.”
“It was the last straw,” Buffy said, in a low tormented voice. “Immortality grew to be, not a blessing, but a curse.”
“But–but imagine the things you seen,” said Daniel bewildered.
“Yeah imagine,” Buffy retorted. “Imagine watching your loved ones die one by one by simple cuts because they didn’t know how to treat it. Imagine out living your children until they are all but a memory. I got tired of watching my children die, so I didn’t want to anymore. Where my heart was concerned, children had no place in it. I couldn’t love them anymore. I just couldn’t. Jack and I would have raging fights about children. He wanted them, but I didn’t. Then I met Joyce.”
“I wondered how she ended up being your mother,” said Giles, his eyes were gentle and contemplative.
“Your mother?” asked Jacob, fascinated by the intricate life Jack and the young lady had. Accessing Selmac’s memory, he now knows how idyllic immortals would be as hosts.
“Immortals are foundlings. At least, the people who took care of us never claimed to be our parents. We grew up as nomads, so when we found a chance at happiness we took it. When Jack and I had broken up, I found myself floundering,” she said with a self-deprecating laugh. “I had decided to travel with a friend and we ended up in California. Still nothing was quite the same, so I ended up picking a fight with my friend and l walked out.”
Buffy smiled and her eyes lit up in remembrance. “It was the late fifties. Angel and I were fighting. I knew I had to absolutely get away from him, because…” Buffy paused. “That’s another story. Anyway, I was in a park in downtown Los Angeles when I heard a child crying. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t. I had to stop the crying. I went looking and found the cutest little girl imaginable. She was just four or five years old, and she seemed to be alone. This was a huge park, and it’s been awhile since I was around a child her age, but one thing I do know was that no child her age should be alone. I asked her if she was lost. She looked at me out of huge green eyes, glistening with tears. Can you guess what she said to me?”
“What?” said Jack with a smile. He had never heard this story before, but the way Buffy’s face lit up, it was worth it. He never did like it when she was sad. If it were up to him, he would make her happy all the time.
She said to me, and I quote. ‘No I am not lost, I run away.
’” Buffy said laughing. “Mind you, she said it so seriously, all the time still crying, that I couldn’t help but to laugh. After talking to her about her tale of woes, I found out that her mother had given birth to a baby boy two days prior and because they had been paying more attention to the baby and not to her, she believed they didn’t need her. After calming Joy down with some ice cream, I asked her for her address and then took her home. Her parents were suitably grateful and we became instant friends. It was a great friendship that lasted ten wonderful years.”
“Why ten?” asked Willow, fascinated to hear about another side of Buffy and Joyce Summers.
“Her parents and younger brother died in a car crash when Joyce was fifteen. Drunk driver. They left me guardianship of Joy. During the ten years, that I had known the Barnes’, I had of course confided my secret to them. Having to take care of a fifteen-year-old girl was interesting to say the least, but we coped. While Joyce grew older physically, I remained the same, so outside the home we’d do a role reversal. At one point, we were sisters, then Mother and daughter. It was awkward at first. But we had to deal, so we did.”
“I am sorry about your loss, Ms. Summers,” said General Hammond. His tone had a degree of warmth in it. “From what I just heard, being immortal is not what it is cracked up to be.”
“It has its moments,” said Jack admitted softly.
“But why I brought you and your friends to this room was because we have some information that Colonel O’Neill said you could help us with” Hammond said gruffly, clearing his throat.
Buffy looked at Jack startled.
“The Crystal of Immortality,” he said succinctly.
“What!” Buffy said her voice rising in surprise.
“You have heard of it?” said Hammond, his voice held a rasp of excitement.
“Yes,” she whispered in a dull and troubled voice.
“What is it?" asked Giles, watching the play of emotions on his Slayer’s face. Buffy was not one to show her emotions readily. As the slayer, she had a poker face. She had to, especially in combat where she had to anticipate her opponent’s moves.
“What does it do?” asked Daniel. As an archeologist, his purpose was to analyze and find out how an object worked.
“It is said when all the pieces are gathered together, the Crystal would double the power of an Immortal, making him the most skillful and dangerous Immortal in existence,” said Adam in a trouble voice. “Where have you heard of the crystal?” he asked.
“From me,” said Jacob.
“You,” said Adam eying the other man in disbelief. “How would a Tok’ra know about the crystal? Only an immortal would know about it.”
“Jacob and Selmac heard it from me,” said Anise, for the first time entering the conversation. It was fascinating learning more about O’Neill but time was wasting away. They had to get back on track.
Adam eyed the woman thoughtfully. She was beautiful on the outside, but she gave off as much warmth as a Popsicle. Brr.
“During a routine mission to the moon on Project Four while I was doing reconnaissance, I heard someone mention the crystal. At first, it had no significance. Then I heard about it again a few days later.”
“Mmm,” Adam murmured thoughtfully. “What do you know about the crystal?”
“Nothing really,” said Anise, shaking her head with frown. “But I know it is a highly prized possession.”
“Pardon me, General,” said Giles. “Why are we here? I know it’s not my business, but I was wondering what we have to do with this crystal you were talking about?” he asked with a frown.
“Nothing,” Hammond said with a sigh. “Nothing, Mr. Giles. From what I understood, it has to do more with your colleagues here,” he said with an emphatic gesture, putting Buffy and Adam in his line of sight. He rubbed his forehead and sighed. “Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “I don’t want to insult anyone, but when I woke up this morning, I didn’t expect all this. It was so routine,” he moaned. “Look, on any other normal day, what I have to say would be considered national security. In fact, it is national security. But I need everyone to know what’s going on. Therefore, I’m going to come out and say it. The Crystal that everyone seems gung ho about is on Earth and apparently so is Ammut.”
“Ammut?” asked Buffy with a puzzled frown.
“A Goa’uld,” said Jack.
“What!” Buffy shouted, her mouth dropping open in an unattractive manner.
“That was my first reaction too,” Jack muttered.
“I thought the reason for the Stargate in such a secure location was to prevent Goa’ulds from entering Earth?” Buffy questioned, her mind racing. What does this mean?
“It is,” Hammond admitted. “Major Carter will run a diagnostic on the gate and all systems. If they came through the gate, then she will find it. “
“Pardon me, General,” said Buffy. “It’s not that I don’t have faith in your judgment and Major Carter,” she said eying the other woman thoughtfully for a moment. “But I rather my own people look into the situation as well.”
“Your own people?” Hammond blustered.
“Yes,” said Buffy stubbornly.
“This is a military installation,” said General Hammond. His response held a note of impatience. “This place is a secret to the public. We cannot have civilians running around the place.”
“You don’t have to have any extra civilian running around the base,” Buffy denied. “We will utilize the ones we have here.”
“Who?” Hammond demands, looking at said civilians sitting around the room.
“Willow,” she said.
“Me,” squealed Willow hiding behind her hair. “But-but.” She stammered, blushing a delicate rose, when everyone turned to look at her.
“No buts,” Buffy said firmly. “I have faith in you,” she admits, giving the redhead a warm smile.
“You do?” said Willow, staring at Buffy with complete surprise on her face.
“Yeah Wills, I do,” Buffy said. She turned towards General Hammond and said earnestly. “Willow has a near genius IQ; there is no practical problem to which she cannot come up with the answers. She’s not the only one.”
“She’s a teenager,” said General Hammond, eying Willow in concern.
“So,” Buffy said with a dismissive shrug. “This teenager knows more about computers than anyone I know, plus she will have Oz to help her. What Willow doesn’t know, Oz does.”
Oz nodded quietly.
“Ms. Summers,” said Hammond in authoritative voice. “I understand your point of view, but I still cannot let civilians work on the gate. At least not without some form of authorization.”
“Authorization!” Buffy cried, staring at him in disbelief. She couldn’t believe that the General was being stubborn about this. If he was going to be stubborn, so was she. She wouldn’t give up. They had the Stargate for years, and she knew that Jack didn’t tell her everything. If a Goa’uld managed to be on Earth without them knowing, why should she trust them to know what they are doing? “You need authorization,” she repeats.
“Well yes,” Hammond said, eying her with a small hint of triumph.
She met his eyes without flinching and walked to the red phone in the corner of the room. Her hand hesitated briefly over it. “May I?” she asked, with a nod to the General.
He nodded, caught a little off guard.
“Harry?” Buffy said into the phone. “I am at Stargate Command. I need you to clear some friends of mine and me.” She nodded several times into the phone, then she handed the phone to General Hammond. “For you,” she said with a smirk.
With a slight hesitation, barely visible, Hammond eyed SG-1 briefly before he walked towards the phone. “Hammond here,” he said. After ten minutes, he gently hung up the phone. “Oh my God, your security clearance is higher than mine.”
Buffy shrugged. “I told you I knew Harry.”
“Yes well,” he said shell-shocked, sitting heavily into his chair.
“What do you mean that she has a high security clearance?” asked Jacob staring wordless. “What’s so special about you?” he asked looking bewilderedly at Buffy. She seemed ordinary.
“I’m nobody special,” said Buffy with a wry smile.
“Yeah?”-said General Hammond, revaluating what he knows so far about the young woman in front of him. “A nobody with such high security clearance,” he muttered. “It’s higher than mine. Did you know about this?” asked Hammond to Jack.
“Know what?” he asked half in anticipation and half in dread.
“Don’t be facetious Colonel.”
Jack shrugged, “No, I didn’t know. Remember I haven’t seen Bella for fifty years. Why would I know how she had a security clearance?”
“Hello, I’m right here,” said Buffy, rolling her eyes in exasperation. She so hated it when someone talked about her as if she was not there.
“Sorry, Ms Summers,” said Hammond abashed. “Back to the subject. Although Major Carter will be checking the Stargate with your friends, Rosenberg and Osborne...”
“…I don’t believe that the Goa’uld has come through the Stargate.”
“Really? Why are you sure?” Buffy demand.
General Hammond shrugged. “I know this facility. And I think we would have known if any Goa’uld walked thorough the gate,” he said decisively.
“Uh, George,” said Jacob with frown.
“Remember the Reetou,” asked Jacob, “and their invisible capabilities?”
Hammond stiffened. “Yes, I remember. What about it?” he asked, not liking where the conversation is heading.
“For several months now, the Tok’ra have been working on a device similar to the invisible capability of the Reetou. Maybe the Goa’uld also came up with a similar idea.”
“That would be…”
“Shit!” Jack said.
“Oh for crying out loud,” Jack muttered.
“What is a Reetou?” asked Buffy looking at Jack quizzically.
A tense silence enveloped the room.
“Jack?” Buffy said, giving him a long, searching look.
Jack gave an anxious little cough. He searched the room, but no one came to his rescue. He sighed. “The Reetou are an alien race that came through the Stargate secretly with one of the SG teams, working towards the goal of taking over the base,” he said.
“Oh dear lord,” said Giles eying Jack in disbelief.
“So you believe that this Goa’uld Ammut has the same capacity as these Reetou.”
“Yep,” he said. “That sums it up.”
“I still believe no one entered the Stargate without authorization,” General Hammond admits.
“The General is right,” said Carter. “Although I will be checking the gate for any anomaly, I agree with the General that no one entered the Stargate without permission. We have precautions for things of that nature.”
“What kind of precautions?” asked Adam.
“Anyone leaving or entering the Stargate must have a G.D.O. And before you ask, a G.D.O. is a device we invented that allows certain codes to be entered. It is affectionately called a Garage Door Opener. These codes are only given out to allies. We also put a shield made out of the same material as the gate called naquadah
. This mineral is ten times as strong. It would take a lot of force and heat to penetrate that shield. And we have also created a phase disrupter; it is actually ingenuous in the design. It also has a naquadah
base lining to work the gate’s internal sensors. When the gate opens, the sensors are activated. Anyone that enters or leaves the Stargate is scanned.”
“Wow! What a great idea,” said Giles. “Who thought of that?”
“I did,” said Samantha, with a delicate blush on her cheek.
Not for the first time that day, Giles noticed how lovely Major Carter was.
“So basically you are saying that no one can enter the Stargate without you knowing.”
“Yes,” said Hammond in relief.
“Mmm,” Buffy said thoughtfully. She suddenly had a disturbing thought. She eyed Methos and Jack, unwilling to say aloud what she was thinking. But before she could say something, Hammond interrupted her train of thought.
“Ms. Summers, although trying to work out how the Goa’uld got to Earth is important, it’s not my priority right now. What I’m trying to ascertain is do you know where the other pieces of this crystal are?”
“You are not talking about Methuselah’s stone?” asked Mac in disbelief.
“What?” asked Daniel.
“The Crystal of Immortality is sometimes called the Methuselah Stone,” he said.
“What do you know it about son?” asked Hammond.
Duncan hesitates and eyed Adam.
“Son,” the General prompt.
“Go ahead Mac,” said Methos with a sigh.
“Methuselah was said to be the first Immortal and he had this crystal that gave eternal youth. Before he died, he gave it to his grandson Noah who carried it through the great flood. What happened to it, nobody knows. But several thousands of years ago, a savage came to possess it, giving him immortality and eternal youth. The savage had super human strength and possessed various powers. From then on, it is believed that anyone who possesses this crystal will become immortal.”
“What if that person is already an Immortal?”
“The Crystal would double the power of an Immortal, making him the most skillful and dangerous Immortal in existence,” said Adam
“So what happened to it?”
“It travels down the ages until an Immortal named Rebecca had it. Truly believing that not one person should have the responsibility of such a gift, Rebecca divided it and gave a piece to each of her students. Later, someone who also wanted the gift killed her.”
“Are you telling me that there is no way to retrieve the crystals?” Hammond asked in disbelief.
Duncan shrugged. “The crystal was in the Watcher’s Gallery at one point. And two thieves broken in and stole it.”
“One of the thieves was captured,” said Adam with a grimace. “And the other was made to exchange the crystal for their life.”
“So it’s back at this Watcher’s Gallery?” questioned Daniel.
“No,” said Duncan.
“No?” said Daniel.
“What happened to it?” asked Carter. “Did the Watchers get it back?”
“Yes and no,” Duncan with a wry grin. “It was set to be exchanged, but one of the persons involved decided that they wanted the crystal for himself and threatened the hostages. While they were debating about the Crystal, there was a small explosion nearby. There were a few injuries. After it was all said and done, the kidnapper was killed, and the crystals had fallen apart and landed in the Seine River.”
“If the crystal was destroyed, how did Ammut receive three pieces?” asked Jacob.
“That’s what I want to know,” said Hammond.
“There was a second stone,” said Buffy quietly.
“What!” said Mac flummoxed.
“There was a second stone,” she said with a wry smile. “Few people knew about it.”
“There was a second stone,” he said gawking at her in disbelief. “Adam, did you know about this?” he asked, eyeing his friend in outrage.
Hesitating a second, Adam nodded.
“Secrets, old man,” Duncan said, in a low nasty tone. “Why am I not surprised?”
Adam opened his mouth to answer.
“Alexa!” Duncan suddenly shouted, startling the group to look at him.
“What’s going on here?” asked Hammond, a shadow of annoyance flashed across his face.
“Alexa is dead,” Adam said caught off guard. “You saw her grave,” he said.
“Is she?” Duncan asked cynically. These past few days have been one revelation after another. Everyone has secrets, he thought. But he thought he and Methos were friends. To find out that there was a life that he never knew about, that was hard. He eyes the Scooby Gang; imagine, they are going through the same turmoil as he. It is not fun to learn that the people you come to care about have been lying to you for years, and all you can do is to take it in stride.
Adam avoided his gaze.
“She is alive, isn’t she?” he asked him thickly.
“Yes,” said Adam miserably. “Mac, I couldn’t tell you about the second stone because that wasn’t my secret, and if you saw Alexa alive, you would have questioned it, so we parted ways. I haven’t seen her in six years.”
“The crystal worked?” he questioned in disbelief.
“Oh yeah,” said Adam, his face alight.
“Why did it worked on Alexa, but it didn’t work on Geiger?” Duncan said with a frown.
“It worked with Alexa because she deserved it,” he said simply.
“Are you telling me, that even if this Goa’uld Ammut assembles all the pieces, it might not work for her?” Daniel asked excited.
“Yeah,” Adam said. “The crystal seemed to recognize goodness.”
“But we cannot be sure,” said Hammond. “Where is the crystal now?”
“After it helped heal my friend, I kept one piece,” said Adam
“And Jack and I both have one piece each,” Buffy said.
“That accounts for six pieces,” said Daniel. “You three have one each and Ammut has three pieces. Who has the other two?” he asked, his eyebrows rose inquiringly.
“Angel has one piece,” Buffy said quietly.
“Angelus?” Adam said, his eyebrows rising in amazement. “What! Are you crazy? Why give him a piece? He’s not an Immortal.”
“So what?” Buffy snorted. “He kinda is, plus he’s my friend.”
“Bella,” he said through clenched teeth.
“Adam,” she said equally stubbornly. “Get over it. It happened years ago. So what if he stole your girlfriend?”
“It was my wife, and what he did with her after,” he said shuddering.
“He’s changed,” she said quietly.
“Oh yeah, he changed; I forgot he has his soul now,” he growled.
“Yes,” she snapped. “Can’t you let bygones be bygones? You did much worse.”
“I-I,” he said eying her with a hint of dislike.
“Enough!” said Hammond. “Let’s get back to the subject at hand. We know where seven pieces of the crystal are. Where is the eighth?”
“In the British museum.”
“I rather not.”
“Why did you put there?”
“Because it’s the one place that you couldn’t just walk in and take it,” Buffy said.
“So we do know where the crystals are,” said Daniel. “We just need to get that one from the British museum.”
“Why should we retrieve all the pieces? Isn’t it much simpler to get the ones we don’t have from Ammut,” asked Giles.
“Well yes, that would be simpler,” Daniel admits.
“It would be fun to try to break into the British museum,” Adam said gleefully.
“How did Ammut get the three she has in the first place?” Carter asked, her eyebrows slanted in a frown.
“Yeah,” said Daniel, leaning his elbow on the table.
“Bella, who did you give the other three to?” asked Adam.
She spoke in a broken whisper, “To Robert, Kay and Desdemona.”
“Who are they?” asked Giles bemused.
“My students,” Buffy said, her eyes had a faraway glow to them.
“You were a teacher, Buffy,” Giles asked gently.
“Yes,” she said with a bare hint of a smile. “We weren’t born knowing everything. They were young Immortals I had guided. We were all students at one time. We had to be taught to fight to survive the game,” she said. “Robert would be the oldest at 100 years old. And Kay and Desy would be at least sixty. At one point, we were a family, but you know kids, they want to be independent – live in the big, wide world. Over the years I kept in touch with them, but I haven’t heard from them lately.”
“Excuse me Bella, are you talking about Kay Spencer and Desdemona Wright,” asked Joe Dawson.
“Yes, do you know of them,” she asked.
“Sort of, they died recently,” he said, his face clouded with uneasiness.
“What! When?” she demand in a shrill voice.
“Six months ago,” Joe said in low composed voice.
“Oh my God,” she cried in choked voice.
“Bella,” Jack said, walking towards her. He drew her stiff form into his arms.
“How didn’t I know about that,” demanded Adam.
“You are not in the Watchers’ Council anymore,” said Joe.
“So,” said Adam, frowning with annoyance. “You could have mentioned it.”
“Why should I?” he retorted. “I don’t think you know every Immortal.”
“You should have told me, that’s all,” he muttered.
“How did they die?” Jack asked, rubbing his hands up and down Buffy’s back, as crystal tears ran silently down her cheeks.
“They were both challenged by Robert,” Joe said, as his expression stilled and grew serious.
Buffy gave a quick intake of breath.
“What!” Jack said, his voice rose with surprise.
Hammond, SG-1, Paul Davis, and the Tok’ra could only watch helplessly as the news hit their friend like a solid blow.
“They were both challenged by Robert,” said Joe. He hated giving bad news.
“He killed his sisters,” he said moaned in disbelief.
A tense silence enveloped the room.
Buffy breathed in shallow, quick gasps, holding her raw emotions in check.
“When have you last heard from Robert,” Jack said softly to Buffy.
She swallowed with difficulty and found her voice. “About a year ago,” she said. “How about you?”
“You were closer to the kids than me,” he said gruffly. “On my last leave, I flew to Paris, where I had dinner with the girls. They told me they hadn’t heard from Robert prior to that.”
“Why would Robert challenge them?” Buffy said, her voice quavering. “They were practically brother and sisters. There are many Immortals named Robert. Are you sure?” she asked trying to make sense of it all.
“I could call a friend,” Joe said quietly. “But I have my facts right; it was Robert Gannon.”
“Buffy, why would your friend do that, if it was your friend,” asked Giles, aching for his Slayer.
“Power,” she said wearily.
“He always wanted power,” Jack admits wearily.
“But to be in league with a Goa’uld,” Adam asked shock.
“How did he get in touch with a Goa’uld?” Hammond asked.
“That’s the ten thousand dollar question,” Jack admits.