Chapter 3: Who's That Girl?
"Major Carter, care to explain to me why you all but asked Thor not to provide us with military technology in exchange for our help?" I ask --desperately trying to rein in my temper-- after Thor disappears and I excuse both Colonel O'Neill and Dr. Fraiser.
"Yes, sir, the answer is fairly simple: while I may have identified the problem here the fact is that our existing databases are not likely to enable us to identify someone who actually has the specific genetic sequence the Asgard are looking for. That means that Thor has a far better shot at finding what he is looking for than we do," she says.
"So?" I insist.
"Well, sir, the way I see it, Thor is likely to conduct a worldwide search and that means there's a 95% chance that the one he finds won't be an American, in fact there's a 20% chance she will be Chinese. That is the most likely scenario," she explains. "I couldn't ask in front of him but I assumed that chances were you didn't want us to take a chance on other countries, or maybe even a hostile country, getting their hands on Asgard weapons. I figured that should be our top priority, even if it was at the expense of our own ability to negotiate a similar deal if we were to get lucky... especially because the odds were so heavily against us, sir."
"I see," I say, realizing that she has a point and feeling more than a little grateful that she actually considered it... especially because I wouldn't have had. If I had been in her position I would have gone along with what the government would have expected me to do under the circumstances and that could easily have turned out to be a fatal mistake.
"In addition to that there's the fact that if Thor succeeds chances are that we will already find a lot of our own secrets exposed and that is something we may want to keep in mind. If we are lucky he will locate an individual and that will be the extent of the damage. If we are lucky he will locate a woman and this situation won't go beyond that one person... but I don't think we should count on it staying at that. I think we should prepare for the possibility of having to deal with a worst case scenario here: a situation in which a foreign government may learn of what we do," she warns me.
"In other words, you are saying that by helping the Asgard we may just have digged ourselves into one heck of a hole and you were trying to do some damage control, though we better get ready to deal with the fallout of a full-blown revelation?" I ask, not liking the possible consequences of that but knowing enough to realize that they may well turn out to be unavoidable.
"So, any ideas as to how we can dig ourselves out of this mess?" I ask.
"Not really, sir. Ideally we should try to find a woman in the US with the necessary clearance and the appropriate DNA sequence but the odds against her even existing are astronomical... and even if she does, we have no real way of tracking her down. I'll do my best but I wouldn't hold my breath here," she warns me... and I know that when Major Carter describes the odds against something as being 'astronomical' she is not guessing.
"See what you can do, major... and do everything in your power to find her," I say, knowing that she'll understand.
"Sir?" she all but yelps.
"You've got your orders, major," I confirm.
"Yes, sir," she says before making her way out of the briefing room.
I'm sitting in front of my desk going over a mountain of tedious requests that must be signed and approved before the end of the month when I hear a knock on my door. Relieved by the reprieve I say 'enter' and hope that this time around the interruption is not about an 'end of the world' crisis.
"I think I may have found her, sir," says Major Carter, sounding more than a little excited, though I can also detect a touch of apprehension in her voice.
"Who did you find, major?" I ask, not really knowing what she's talking about.
"The woman Thor is looking for, I think I may have found her, sir," she explains, reminding me of our conversation last week in the aftermath of the Asgard's departure.
"You have? But I thought you said you had no way of tracking her down!" I exclaim, not quite believing my ears. Just last week she was telling me that finding that woman was almost certainly going to turn out to be impossible.
"I didn't, but we just got incredibly lucky... maybe," she says before sobering up a bit.
"What do you mean, 'maybe', major? Have you or haven't you found her?" I ask.
"I have a lead but I haven't exactly found her just yet, sir" she explains before going on. "As to whether or not we just got lucky, well, that will probably depend to a large extent on how she feels about the military. I guess the one bit of bad news is that, going by the files I've been able to uncover so far, chances are that the answer to that particular question is going to be 'pretty distrustful' in the best of cases. She would have plenty of reasons to be."
"What do you mean, major?" I ask --again-- still feeling like I'm only been presented with half the picture.
"Well, sir, when you told me to see what I could find I decided to go through some government files that I felt might hold some promise. I wasn't particularly optimistic but I focused mostly on those projects that could possibly include a full genetic profile of an individual woman. The thing is that --given that there was only a handful of projects meeting those requirements to begin with-- I figured that even if my chances were only one in several hundred thousands, I really had nothing to lose. The way I saw it going through those projects was worth a shot because even if the search didn't yield any positive results it still wouldn't take too long to complete," she explains and I nod for her to continue... even though I'm not sure I'm following her.
"Anyway," she goes on, "I knew I had to start somewhere and those projects seemed to be my best bet... even if the odds were anything but favorable. The way I saw it, even though chances were that the needle wouldn't be found in that particular haystack, the haystack itself was small enough to make it worth searching. As I was conducting that research I ran into some files from a highly classified project dating back to a couple of years ago. The whole thing was NID at its worst and it blew up on the NID's faces... literally. They sustained some pretty heavy casualties and after that everything pertaining to that project was supposed to have been destroyed in one massive cover-up."
"If it was supposed to have been destroyed how did you manage to find it, major? Or is this one of those instances in which the less I know, the better?" I ask, knowing what her tacit orders were. 'Do everything in your power to find her', that's what I told her... and I know just how lethal Major Carter can be when she's let loose on a computer.
"Don't worry, sir, technically the files weren't classified... they probably should have been, but they weren't," she says, trying to reassure me.
"Care to explain that one, major?"
"Yes, sir. It turns out that the woman in charge of that project --a woman who was killed before things got completely out of control-- had gone rogue even by the NID's standards," she explains. "Because of that, some of the information she had managed to gather actually survived the purge. Simply put, those files survived because the ones in charge of the cover-up never knew they existed. That is also the reason why the files weren't technically considered classified. They may have been a serious security violation on her part but they were her unofficial private files. Anyway, sir --from what I've been able to find-- it seems like that project, which was intended to develop some sort of super-soldier, came across a young woman --a college freshman who was in her late teens at the time but should be in her early twenties by now-- displaying supernatural strength. The girl in question was remarkable enough that the head of the project had a full genetic profile of her done without her consent. I've been going over those files and the results are conclusive. She undoubtedly has the Ancients' gene, sir, two copies of it."
"That's great, major. Good job," I say.
"It gets even better, sir," she says with a smile.
"Yes, sir. Before things went south, this girl was given security clearance to access their base --a clearance that was high enough for her to be told about the stargate without raising any eyebrows-- and, once all official records concerning that project had been eliminated, that clearance basically fell through the cracks. No one ever got around to revoking it so she is everything we had hoped we could find and more... or she will be if we can get her to trust us, that is. The only problem is that, going by the files I've found, I must warn you that that probably won't be easy. I haven't been able to find any detailed information on what that project was about, on how they intended to create a super-soldier in the first place or exactly what caused those heavy casualties --remember that I'm only working from a handful of files that shouldn't have survived a pretty massive purge, sir-- but if the few hints I've come across are anything to go by, then this girl has been burned and burned badly by the military before," she warns me.
"How badly are we talking about here?" I ask, thinking back to what she said about the project. Somehow things like 'rogue by NID standards' don't set my mind at ease... especially because I never thought such a thing was possible... I never thought the NID had standards they could sink below. What could the woman in charge of that particular project possibly have been up to? I'm not sure I want to know, but I'm afraid I'm going to find out. Also, what does Major Carter mean when she says that they were trying to develop a super-soldier? Develop how? And, more importantly, how is this whole mess likely to have impacted the young woman who up until now sounds like the answer to our prayers? I shake my head and turn my attention back to Major Carter, hoping that she will be able to provide me with some additional answers.
"Well, sir, as I said, I don't have any specific details because of the fragmentary nature of the information I've been able to find so I can't be absolutely sure of just what it is that we are dealing with here. It's as if someone had tried to cover up the existence of the SGC by shredding every single bit of evidence they could find but a mission report had somehow managed to survive. Someone reading that report would be able to gleam some information about what we do here but the picture such a file would paint would be incomplete to say the least. In a way what we are dealing with here is a similar scenario."
"I understand that, major, but I still need to know where we stand here," I insist.
"Yes, sir. The thing is that I'm not familiar with the details of what she's been through but --considering that the information I've been able to find stems from an unauthorized genetic profile that was done on her-- I think it is possible to make an educated guess. That a genetic profile could have done without her consent is serious enough and a clear indication of the kind of situation we are likely to be dealing with here. In addition to that, I've also come across some references to a series of experiments that were being conducted on a group of soldiers without their consent as part of the same project. In other words this is likely to be one of those 'as bad as it gets' kind of scenarios, so --if my suspicions are correct-- she is going to have plenty of reasons to be wary of us. That means that if and when we approach her we are going to have to be very careful. We will get one shot at convincing her to help us and one shot only... if we get even that much."
"I see. Thanks for the warning, major, though I have to ask, do this project and this girl have names?" I ask, still wondering how to approach this. I really need more information before I can make a decision here... unfortunately information is the one thing we apparently don't have.
"Yes sir. The project was code named 'The Initiative' and the girl's name was Buffy Summers. Unfortunately I don't have a current address but tracking her down shouldn't be too difficult. Do you want me to get started on that?"
Author's notes: Okay, now you know what the crossover was supposed to be here.
As for the timeline of this thing Buffy-wise, this is post-Chosen and sticks close to canon up until about five minutes before the end (in other words, there's a slight deviation on a matter of principle). It also takes place in the same universe as one of my short fics called 'Cassie' (you can find it in the Buffy section), you may want to read it as it will make the next chapter make a bit more sense.
Now for the good news: things are about to start moving now!