Chapter 1: Deer in Headlights
Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate SG-1 or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.Ring.
Samantha Carter rolled over, glaring at the shadowed silhouette of her telephone on the bedside table. She wiped her eyes and reached out to turn on her lamp. She waited a split second. “It was just a dream,” she muttered, slamming her face back into the pillow.Ring.
“Maybe not,” she reasoned. With a groan, she picked up the receiver. “Carter.”
“Ehh. . .Hi, Sam. It’s Daniel. Sorry for calling so late--make that early.”
Sam raised a brow, pushing herself up on her elbows. “Is something wrong? What time is it?” She glanced over at her alarm clock. It read three-fifteen. She frowned, realizing that she had been asleep for less than an hour.
“Nothing’s wrong, per se
.” Daniel’s end was silent a moment. “Actually, something may be seriously wrong. I was doing some work—I’ve gotten behind on my more terrestrial projects, so I began translating a new volume that one of my old colleagues sent me a few months ago. It’s a fascinating read but. . .”
“But?” Sam asked. “Daniel, where are you? Did they open the base already? Janet said they wouldn’t be cleared for another twenty-four hours.”
Sam, herself, had planned on using her layover time to finish a few of her own projects that had been collecting dust in her laboratory, and Daniel had made similar arrangements. However, after going out for a steak with their two teammates, they’d received a message from the SGC. Apparently, SG-3 had managed to bring back mold spores on their uniforms which caused a unique case of very literal sleeping sickness. More than half of the base was under quarantine, including Dr. Jackson and Major Carter’s workstations and private quarters. Jack had only smirked at the information, offering them the chance to join him and Teal’c on their fishing trip. Daniel and Sam had backed down less than gracefully.
“No, I’m at home,” Daniel groaned. “And apparently the quarantine station has left the phone off the hook. I’ve tried to call them for the past ten minutes, but all I’ve gotten was a busy signal.”
“So, you called me on the rebound?” Sam asked, smiling.
Daniel took a moment to process the statement before answering. “Well, I suppose you could look at it that way. I just thought that this would probably be Janet’s area. On the other hand, an astrophysicist could help me more.”
“What is it?”
Sam sat up, switching the receiver to her other ear. “Stuck where? I thought you were at your house?”
“In my chair. I was reading one of my translations and . . .I’m stuck. It’s hard to explain.”
Sam’s eyes widened. “Do you need me to call an ambulance? Can you move your feet?”
“I can wiggle my toes, if that’s what you’re asking. And I still have feeling in my legs. I don’t think this has anything to do with my health, unless my predicament is entirely a figment of my imagination. In which case, I may be having another mental breakdown. Could you swing by?”
“Give me fifteen. Just stay put.”
Sam sat down the phone and was halfway to the closet before she realized that she was still in the same clothes she had worn to the restaurant. “Really tired,” she muttered, reaching out to slip on her shoes. She snatched her jacket and keys, walking out the door toward her silver Mustang.
Minutes later she was heading toward Danny’s place. The streets were reasonably empty other than the occasional diesel or late night worker. She reached out automatically, expecting a cup of coffee to be awaiting her (Daniel’s habitual mug was rubbing off on her). She swore to herself, noticing that the cup holder was empty. In the second that she looked down, she felt her stomach clench, her gut instinct screaming out for her to pay attention. Her blue eyes widened, all fatigue gone as she looked back up.
A man, one single solitary being clothed in black and with skin paler than the moon, was standing in the middle of the street, his body posed as if he had been running before coming to a sudden halt. His mouth hung agape as he straightened, staring dumbfounded at the oncoming headlights.
Petal hit the floor, but it was already too late. Sam forgot to breath. Her brakes squealed wildly. The world moved in slow motion. The man in front of her took on a cartoon-like expression of self-pity as his body made contact with the front of the Mustang, rolling over her hood and into the broad windshield.
The glass broke but held; however, the unfortunate pedestrian’s blond head had been the center of impact. Sam saw the blood streaming onto the glass from his temple and knew that he was already gone.
A small cry escaped her lips. The body rolled back off onto the pavement as the car finally came to a complete stop. Paler than any specter, Sam opened her car door and stepped out, eyes on the mangled form lying on the street.
“Oh God,” she whispered. “I killed him.”
The body twitched suddenly, a hand scratching at the black top. “I wish,” the man groaned.o)0(0
Dr. Daniel Jackson—archeologist, anthropologist, linguist, and freelance inter-galactic diplomat—was having a bad day. It was not an ‘extremely’ bad day as there was not a new source of impending doom currently heading toward Earth, but it was, nevertheless, no where near a good day.
“This is all Jack’s fault,” he said, attempting to wiggle out of his chair once again. It did no good. Not only did his body refuse to obey him, but his attempts to tip over his chair hadn’t helped him in the slightest. In fact, the only part of him that he could still move freely was his arms.
“If Jack hadn’t been in the mood for cow, I would still be at the base, possibly knocked out in the infirmary, but, apparently, I’m not that lucky.” He sighed, removing his glasses and rubbing his eyes in frustration. “I just hope Sam gets here fast.”
Daniel lazily picked up the half-finished translation in front of him, one of the few things besides his phone that he could still reach. Beneath the paper was the book of original text. He had already come to the conclusion that he was in his present situation because he had read the page aloud in its natural tongue. Perhaps the word ‘incantation
’ in the line above should have served as a warning.
Putting aside his frustration, he picked up his pen, attempting to translate the word that had been giving him so much trouble in the first place and that had inevitably led to him speaking it aloud. With a groan, he wrecked his brain again, trying to figure out where he had seen the dialect before.
“Summoning of . . . No, that’s definitely not it,” he muttered. “By. Summoned by. . . By what? Wait a second.” He cocked his head suddenly, clicking his tongue. “That’s it. That’s it! It’s not a word; it stands for a phrase. Alright, so the first part could stand for willful or willing—most likely willing considering the context. And the last bit refers to a yearly festival.”
He reached out for one of his reference texts, quickly flipping through the pages. “Here it is.” His bright blue eyes skimmed the passage. “Refers to a sacrificial festival held to summon the gods or the ‘god keeper’. Well, that sounds familiar. So, the text translates to ‘summoned by the willing sacrifice.’” He frowned. “Oh, boy.”