Notes: This takes place during the SG1 episode "Seth," and the opening dialogue and scenario are based on that episode. This can be roughly placed in the second half of Buffy season 4, though exactly where in that season is not terribly important.
Disclaimer: The characters and elements of Stargate: SG1 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer don't belong to me. Many rich people, including MGM and Joss Whedon, own them. The somewhat-fallacious inference here is that because I don't own them, I'm not rich. This is, however, correct. Suing me would waste time that could be spent writing Furling episodes for season ten (as you can see, I'm more worried about MGM than Joss.)
Jack, Daniel and Sam came to the end of the tunnel beneath Seth's compound. "Daniel?" the colonel asked after a moment spent staring at the room they had entered through the vault door.
"What?" the archaeologist responded.
"Now what?" O'Neill sounded somewhat exasperated.
"Why are you asking me?" Daniel mirrored the other man's tone.
O'Neill started looking around the room, panning in a slow circle.
"Well, you knew there'd be tunnels, so…" Carter trailed off.
"Well, in the digs there were stairs leading up to the main structure." He shrugged at the obvious lack of any such formation.
Before O'Neill could complete his (in Daniel's opinion rather unnecessary) surveillance, a bright glow filled the room and rings descended on the three.
They were transported into a decorated room, with lanterns shining on the walls and a few dozen cult members passed out on the floor, their chests rising and falling.
"Damn," Jack said. "The snake must have gotten away."
"But how could he know we were coming, sir?" Carter asked. "We didn't detect any surveillance as far from the compound as we set up." She nudged one of the unconscious men with her foot, testing to see if it was a trap.
"He could have hacked a satellite and watched us the entire time," Daniel suggested. "Or even… hey, guys, look over here."
The body of the man they had identified as Seth Fargough was slumped in a throne. "He's still breathing, sir," Carter confirmed. "I don’t sense a symbiote in him, though. Just naquadah traces, like my own."
"Great," Jack replied without any indication that he was using one of the word's conventional meanings. "Carter, contact Jacob, get a med team in here to look at these people, and make sure they have backup. I'm going to take a look around."
Sam nodded her assent and the crackle of receding static could be heard as she began, "Hey, Dad…"
Ethan Rayne smiled in the back of the armored car in which he was being transported. The government had no idea how to manipulate even the simplest forms of magic and, as such, he still had full access to any sources of power he could find along the road.
Unfortunately for him, in northern Washington State, that didn't amount to enough energy to tie his shoes. Or it hadn't, at least.
Now he could feel something sharp and strong penetrating the ether of the mundane. Metaphorically, he would have described it as comparing to normal enchanted artifacts the way a laser compares to a light bulb, if he had been inclined to speak to the guards sitting across from him. Instead, he felt content to let his almost feral grin throw the three young men off their guard.
He concentrated, pooling what energy he could grasp from the mysterious source, and spoke a word steeped in darkness.
The car's engine died, and as it slowed and the guards were pounding on the wall demanding to know what was going on, he touched his hand to the lock on the rear doors and channeled the leftover energy into breaking it. The doors flew open and he leapt out. Seconds later, the car exploded.
He stood there for a moment, stretching his aging joints to quell their protests of his jump from a moving vehicle. Then he began to walk towards the direction from which he sensed the source of power.
He arrived a quarter of an hour later, and immediately had the sense of guns being trained on him. A cult of some sort,
he mused, guessing from the fence and the armed guards wearing outlandish robes.
"I can feel the power in this place of purity," he intoned, laying it on as thick as he could. Never let it be said the British can't act,
he thought. That "upright ponce" routine of Ripper's being a prime example.
"Do you wish to join us?" one of the guards asked, slowly. Ethan was satisfied that his first impression was correct; brainwashing tended to have an adverse effect on a person's intelligence.
"Yes, yes, exactly so," Ethan replied. The guard nodded, and began walking towards the main compound, Ethan following him.
A short time later, he and the guard entered the main room of the compound, which was adorned with gold and jewelry. Several young women had strewn themselves around a throne, on which sat a dark-haired man. From this position and his obvious arrogance, Ethan was not surprised to find that he was the center of the power emanations he had felt earlier.
"You have accepted Seth as your true god?" the man asked, amused by the unusual age of this new recruit.
"Seth is a god of chaos," he replied cryptically. "But I came here because I sensed your power. I should warn you that the military has set up an operation just outside the compound and there is at least one there with an energy similar to yours."
Seth swore with a deep, resonating voice. "Kill him," he commanded one of the guards, his eyes flashing.
Ethan immediately held up his hands in a gesture of surrender. "I'm no spy," he insisted. "I released myself from military custody not half an hour ago." Seth raised an eyebrow and gestured to the guard who had brought in Ethan; he left the throne room, carrying with him a pair of binoculars.
The gears of Ethan's brain were turning furiously, trying to recognize the signs of Seth's voice and eyes. Suddenly, he had it. "I know what you are," he said. "They undoubtedly know what your current host looks like; they're probably circulating the image around the continent just in case. But only a few backwater operatives have seen me."
as a host?" Seth laughed.
"It's my age that bothers you, I assume," Ethan replied. Not even needing to pool any power, surrounded as he was by naquadah, he summoned a staff weapon from the hands of one of the guards, fired at Seth, and then dissipated the blast energy before it reached the erstwhile god. "But how many have you seen of any age who can do that?"
Seth schooled his features to keep from showing his surprise; somewhat easily done, given that he was actually an alien serpent. He was given a chance to regain control of the situation when his guard returned from surveillance. "He's right," the man confirmed.
"I accept your proposal." Seth spoke a word in Goa'uld, sending all of his followers in the room into unconsciousness. He gave Ethan no more warning than that, ejecting from his host's mouth and burrowing into the older man's spine.A few backwater operatives?
he asked with a tone mixing amusement and ire.I may have downplayed that aspect,
Ethan admitted to the false god now sharing residence in his mind. But we do have a common enemy. Do you believe the risks outweigh the benefits?No,
Seth replied. Ethan's eyes flashed as a ribbon device floated onto his hand. Indeed I do not.