Chapter 6:Thirty Thousand miles and counting
Chapter 6 Thirty Thousand miles and counting
“The Chappa’ai is an intra-dimensional portal,” said Buffy.
“What!” exclaimed Giles, who unfortunately had overheard the conversation; since he was seated two seats over from Buffy.
“Giles,” Buffy admonished, looking around her at the crowded plane. She had wanted to fly first class, or at least charter a plane, but Giles didn’t want to, arguing about the lack of money. Buffy had opened her mouth to protest that she had the money, but Giles insisted, even when Adam said he would be willing to pay their way. But Giles became intractable, saying if he couldn’t pay their way then there weren’t going.
Willow, who wanted to go badly, said Giles could pay their way, so here Buffy was, sitting in coach trying to get so rest because when the plane landed in Colorado, nothing will remain the same.
Giles flushed and looked around him abashed, to find several people staring at him.
“Look,” said Buffy softly. “I will explain everything to you when we reach the hotel okay?”
“You’d better,” he said fiercely. “I am tired of getting information out of you piece by piece.”
Buffy nodded, and closed her eyes. When she finally told them what going on, their preconception of what they had known about her will be gone. She wondered how they were going to deal with that.
Deep inside the Cheyenne Mountain, on sub-Level 25. Colonel Jack O'Neill of the United States Air Force was sloughed comfortably in a chair, playing an interesting beat with a pencil on the desk. “Colonel, must you do that,” said General George Hammond exasperated.
Jack drew to attention and the pencil rolled across the table to stop in front of Teal’c. With one eyebrow raised in a quizzical manner, Teal’c took the pencil, started drumming in the same exact manner of the Colonel.
“As you were saying, Major,” said Gen General Hammond, motioning Major Samantha Carter to continued the report.
“Yes sir,” she said and launched back in the same speech.
Ignoring them, Jack leaned back in his chair, letting Carter’s voice just wash over him, lulling him to sleep. He was bored. Every planet they went on he couldn't seem to show any enthusiasm. They were all the same. Blue sky, green trees, brown mud, and endless, endless gray sand, as he sat there drifting off into sleep, he wished for some excitement to liven his dull life. Did Jack believe in Karma, destiny or fate? If he did, he wouldn’t be blasé about how dull his life was.
Buffy Summers sat on the edge of her bed in her hotel room, which over looked Pike Peak. It was a suite with two bedrooms and a Jacuzzi and an adjoining bathroom. Although Giles had fought her about the plane fare, he did not say anything about the cost of the room, especially after seeing the accommodations. She sighed as her eyes wandered around the room looking at the two immortals Duncan McLeod and Adam Pierson, the two watchers, Rupert Giles and Joe Dawson and the Scobbies, Xander Harris, Willow Rosenberg and Oz Osbourne. They were all sitting on any available surface, on chairs, floor and the bed, and in one instances leaning. Duncan was leaning on a column near the front door, his arms folded in a bodyguard mode.
Giles got out of his chair and walked to the middle of the room. He took off his glasses and started wiping them with a handkerchief in founded in his pocket. “So Buffy,” he said. “You were going to explained what’s going on.” “Please tell us about the Chappa’ai.”
Buffy frowned, watching them intently as her feet pumped up and down in agitation. “The Chappa’ai is an inter-dimensional portal,” she said bluntly.
“You’ve got to be kidding!”
“Is this a joke?” asked Giles, his eyes narrowing on Buffy with suspicion. “You are pulling my leg. No such device exists.”
“Yes it does.” She stiffened as if his doubt was a slap in the face.
“Do you know about this,” asked Mac peering at Methos in disbelief.
“Yes I do,” said Methos with a nonchalant shrug.
“So, if this device existed, why did we never hear of it?” demanded Joe, watching Buffy intently.
“It’s a secret,” she retorted tartly. “A couple of days ago, you never knew that vampires existed; now you know about the Chappa’ai.”
“How many secrets do you have?” Giles demanded almost shrilly.
“We all have secrets Ripper,” Buffy whispered mockingly.
“Buffy you said the Chappa’ai is an inter-dimensional portal,” Mac said, his brows pulling into an affronted frown.
“Yeah,” she said with an incline of her head.
“Where does it go?”
“To other worlds,” she said in a low voice.
There was heavy silence fraught with tension, as every one tried to imagine what that means.
Xander could feel his heart pounding in his chest. Several years ago, he and every one in Sunnydale had lived in ignorance about the subculture that had existed in the town. But when Buffy Summers came to Sunnydale all that had changed. Part of him blamed Buffy for that. Because of that, he no longer lived in ignorance. He misses that naïveté necessary to say everything was right within his world. Now his innocence was gone. For the pass couple of days he had been floundering, mired in doubts and regrets. He felt as if the bottom had dropped out of his sailboat. He remembered the first day he saw Buffy Summers on the steps of Sunnydale high. The wind was blowing gently and California sun had lit her hair like a golden halo. She was a goddess. He knew that a guy like him, could never get someone as hot as Buffy, but he could remain friends with her. To find out that he never knew her at all, that they never had, make him angry.
His eyes roamed over to Willow and Oz. What were they thinking, he wondered. Was their disappointment keen as his? He shouldn’t have come on this trip especially after listening to all the lies and secrets that Buffy had withheld from them. He sighed; maybe it was his fault for expecting more. “Like E.T. phone home,” he said, in a shaky voice. He had sought to erect a wall of defense against Buffy but it wasn’t working.
“Yes,” said Buffy, her eyes studying his face. “It’s almost like that.” She angled herself towards Giles. “Giles, I am going tell you a story,” she said abruptly. “Do you remember your Egyptian history?”
“Well yes,” he said, eyeing her in puzzlement. He walked over to large armoire to lean negligently on it.
“This is more about Egyptian mythology... Once upon a time in Ancient Egypt, Amen-Ra the Sun God was the creator of the universe, but an entity from another planet came through the Chappa’ai borrowing the religion and culture of ancient Egypt. The creature was powerful, so powerful that it believed itself to be a God. And the people believed he was a god because he used technology as weapons on humans. The people had never seen such a level of technology before, so they believed. And this being in the guise of Ra used that power to enslave people. Remember it was a time, when people were simple and ignorant. They wanted to believe. I guess in that time they needed something or someone to believe in. Here was their God Ra, come to earth to be with them,” Buffy said, with a depreciating laughter. She shook her head at how young and naive people were. “I was a young Slayer just coming into my power when I was kidnapped with several people including Jack and Methos.
For several years Ra would use the Chappa’ai bringing humans through, seeding the galaxy. So right now there are planets out there with humans on them.”
“Oh dear lord,” Giles said in fascinated horror. “How do you know this?”
“In a minute,” she murmured. Buffy stared in the distance, remember the smell of the unwashed bodies and people huddle in misery in the dank cell of a room. She shuddered inwardly as she remembered the lonely feeling she had. How she felt different from all of the other girls because she was freakishly strong. The others grew afraid of her because she had taken out five-serpent guards. “I met Jack and Methos that day. Ra had decimated the village that I came from, taking all the men and woman under thirty. No one was spared. The youngest of us was twelve years. Anyone younger than that or older than thirty died. In the three of us, he saw something special,” she said her mouth twisting wryly. “We found out, he was no god, but a parasite.”
“A parasite?’ Willow whispered her eyes round with fright.
“Yes a parasite. They look like slimy snakes and they burrowed into your skin, subduing your personality, exerting his or her own will upon your own. They are called Goa’uld. Ra needed a new host for his wife because her body was deteriorating, not even a sarcophagus could heal her.”
“A sarcophagus?” mumbled Giles, frowning intently.
“Yes, the Goa’uld use sarcophagus to heal wounded hosts. Remember their technology is more advances than ours. Imagine us in 1977 when George Lucas created Star wars, how his idea of a future looked different from our reality. So were the Goa’uld and their technology. The Egyptians had never seen anything like that before, and the sarcophagus could do a lot of things, even bring back the dead. Because Ra wife couldn’t be healed I was chosen to be Ra’s wife.” Even now after all these years, Buffy could feel the cold slimy snake touching her skin. Her chest felt as if it would burst. She wrapped her arms around her waist, breathing in quick shallow gasps.
“Bella?” said Methos walking over to Buffy. “Are you okay,” he asked sitting beside her and looked at her intently.
“I’m fine,” she said with a wave of her trembling hand. “I might be having an anxiety attack but I’m fine,” she said, smiling thinly into his frowning face.
His mouth tight and grim, Methos studied her for a few minutes. What he saw convinced him, as he let out a long, audible breath.
Little by little, warmth crept back into her body. She took a deep breath and tried to relax. “For several years I had a Goa’uld inside me, using my body as it sees fit,” Buffy said, shuddering.
Everyone could only stare at her wordlessly.
Methos pulled her towards him, and wrapped her in his arms.
“Oh dear God,” whispered Giles, appalled.
“Ra's race was dying. The only way to survive was by taking a human host, an Egyptian boy. Others did the same, taking humans as hosts or slaves.”
“Are you telling us that we have aliens on earth,” asked MacLeod with an edge to his voice.
“Why I am not surprised?” asked Joe, shaking his head in disbelief. “First immortals, then vampires and now aliens.”
“The Chappa’ai was destroyed and buried because the people saw thru Ra, and they staged an uprising. Ra was defeated and set packing, and our bodies died forcing the Goa’uld to free itself. Upon which, the people killed it. If Adam, Jack and I weren’t immortals, we wouldn’t be here today.”
“How long were you a ghoul?” asked Joe. Everything was new to him. He knew when he came out of Vietnam and joined the Watchers, a secret society of people who watched immortals, who knew he would get such a rich education? First he found out that vampires existed, now aliens, how cool was that?
“It’s not ‘ghouls
’,” said Buffy really smiling for the first time. “It’s actually GOA apostrophe ULD. Goa’uld.
“Goa’uld’s are dangerous,” said Adam. “They rule by force. Their numbers were very few but they are growing because of the worlds colonized by humans.”
“Astonishing,” Giles said with a shake of his head. “How many worlds do they control?” asked Giles.
“Many. Hundreds. Perhaps more, we don’t know. But this I do know, they were a threat to our way of life.”
“Buffy?” said Willow hesitatingly. “You don’t still have that thing in you?”
“No,” she said firmly.
“Good,” Willow said with a sigh of relief. It was not as if she were afraid. Okay she was afraid, she thought snuggling into Oz arms.
“If the Chappa’ai was destroyed, why are we in Colorado?” asked Mac, looking from Methos to Buffy.
Buffy shrugged out of Methos arms. “The Chappa’ai is functioning again,” she said baldly. “And we can’t have that happen.”
“Who? What?” Mac sputtered. Listening to the story, he knew that would be a bad thing. It was like letting Pandora box open.
“Jack,” she said
“Why?” he whined. Normally, he didn’t whine, but this situation seemed to call for that.
“I know don’t know,” she said aggrieved.
“Do you know a Daniel Jackson?” Giles asked suddenly.
Buffy shook her head no.
“I’ve heard of him,” said Adam frowning slightly. “Isn’t he the fore most expert on Egypt?”
“As a matter of fact, yes he is,” said Giles, excited. “He is an Egyptologist. He wrote a paper purporting that the pyramids were built by some one other than the Egyptians, but he was laughed out of most respected scientific community. I was one of those who laughed. I thought his ideas were a joke, maybe he knew about this Chappa’ai.”
“Whoo, woo,” cried Willow, putting her hands up in the air, as if in a classroom.
“Yes Willow,” Giles said smiling at the enthusiastic redhead.
“I’ve heard that name before. You did too Buffy,” she said.
“Me?” said Buffy taken a back.
“Yes,” Willow said firmly. “Remember that story on the computer about a group called the SGC?”
“Yeah,” Buffy said with a puzzled frown on her face.
“Well, Daniel Jackson’s name was mentioned. He’s a civilian consultant for the SGC. The SGC seems to stand for Stargate Command. Not only is Dr. Jackson is an expert on Egypt, but he’s also a linguist too. That night,” said Willow shuddering. She remembered the aftermath of that night. Nothing was the same. “That night,” she said again, swallowing heavily. “After Buffy had left, I did some research, because I thought it was important, especially after her reaction.”
Buffy felt a surge of affection as she watched Willow. In the last couple of days, they had being through a lot. But Giles and Willow had being handling it a lot better than she thought. Sometimes Giles would give her this look, as if Buffy was an alien, but otherwise they were taking everything in stride. Oz went along with what Willow is feeling, so he mostly lackadaisical, but Xander barely talked to her. It wasn’t so much the idea that Buffy was immortal and lied about it that caused him to quit talking to her, but it was the idea she was unattainable. Buffy knew of his crush on her of course, but she always chalked that up to puppy love.
“You know,” said Methos thoughtfully. “For the last couple of years I being hearing rumors of a secret project in the Cheyenne Mountain, but I always discount it, because there always rumors of some project or another. And now I come to find out that Jack and this Daniel Jackson works for this Stargate Command,” he said matter of factly. “I remember reading about this Dr. Jackson. “It’s said, his knowledge of language almost rival my own.”
“No one could rival you,” Buffy retort, with a grin. “You are old; of course you know more languages.”
“Don’t forget Jack,” Methos answered indulgently.
Every time she heard the name Jack, she got an odd twinge inside her stomach. Soon she thought. Recovering, she said lightly. “I didn’t.”
“Jack is probably hiding the fact that he’s intelligent,” he said, his mouth quirked with humor. “You and Jack have that in common, downplaying both your intelligence. Plus I don’t think Jack told his military buddies that he’s immortal. It’s probably not fun to tell the military that you are a few hundred years old. They might mistake him for a frog and dissect him.”
“Do you think so?” asked Buffy, her voice was rough with anxiety. Her feelings toward Jack were so confusing. “Look, we are going to stir up a mess, when we invade his life. Is it all worthy it?”
“Well yes!” said Methos. “I didn’t fight all those years ago to get that damn Goa’uld off this planet for more to find their wayhere.”
“You Methos? Duncan said, staring at the other man in surprise. “You got rid of them?”
“Didn’t I tell you that,” said Buffy clearly surprised. “I was host to Ra wife, while Adam was host to his advisor.
“My Goa’uld Onuris would befriend the people,” said Adam, one corner of his mouth twisted upward. “Showing a benevolent side to them, while Ra was sadistic and cruel. Onuris would incite riots, calling for an uprising against the other god and his family. During the revolt, I was badly wounded and without a sarcophagus to heal my body, I naturally died. When I came to couple hours later, I remembered everything I did as the Goa’uld. But I also remember a fearless young woman and a young man, who during a brief lonely moment in that pit were my friends. Not willing to have them live as prisoners in their own bodies, I sought to free them. In the end not only did I free them from captivity; I freed them from a mortal shell to immortality.
“The Chappa’ai, where is it?” said Mac
“Whoo, I know,” said Willow putting her hand up again.
“Willow,” Xander admonished his mouth full of chips. “This isn’t a class, and we are not in race.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, blushing slightly.
Sitting beside her, Oz patted her hand in support.
“Go ahead,” said Mac, smiling at he shy redhead.
She looked around, with a half grin on her face. “The Chappa’ai is in the Cheyenne Mountain in Norad.”
“That’s a military base!” Giles said in a choked voice.
“It’s just one other obstacle to overcome,” Buffy said, with a dismissive gesture.
“How are going to do this?” Adam asked matter of factly.
“We will confront him,” said Buffy, not willing to admit to anyone how her heart was racing by the idea of seeing Jack again.
“But we can’t just walk up to him and say, hey.”
Unconsciously her brow furrowed. “Who say we can’t?” Buffy retorted.
“It s a highly defensible instillation,” said Joe Dawson surveying the room worriedly.
“Yeah,” said Buffy. “But we have something they don’t have.”
“What?” Giles asked suspiciously.
“The element of surprise,” said Buffy grinning sweetly.
“Bloody hell,” moaned Giles.