Chapter 8: It's a Kind of Magic
Okay, the good news is that I'm back at the mountain and that is incredibly reassuring... the bad news is that I have no clue as to how I got back here in the first place, that and the fact that I'm not alone and I have no clue as to how am I supposed to explain the unauthorized presence of eight civilians to General Hammond. Well, if nothing else, at least I'll get a chance to introduce Giles to Daniel and maybe I'll even figure out a way to get myself some answers... and Willow will have a chance to test her theory, a theory I freely admit I'm more than a little curious about. She sounded almost certain that Faith will be a match and if she's right that means she knows something I don't... and somehow I get the feeling that that something may well hold the key to more than the Asgard's survival. If she is right then that will confirm my suspicions that the Ancients' gene is not invisible after all and it may even give us a better understanding of just what it is that that gene does here on earth.
The problem is that now that we are back at the SGC chances are things are going to get even more complicated. From what I've been able to see, these people are not exactly big on formalities, protocol and procedures and somehow I don't think that attitude is going to go over all that well around here. In that regard I am more than a little relieved by the fact that there was no one here to greet us when we arrived, after all the security camera must have captured my disappearance --though I suspect that the whole incident was merely dismissed as the result of me being summoned by Thor and that's why we haven't seen a welcoming committee... yet. The thing is that even if my disappearance didn't raise any red flags, the fact that right now I have eight unauthorized civilians with me is not going to be so easily dismissed and that means that the time has come for a little preemptive action.
"We should really go to see the general now," I say turning to 'Giles', who I assume is in charge of this lot, even if I haven't seen much evidence of that fact.
"Is that really necessary?" he asks cleaning his glasses and looking at Buffy rather warily.
"Yes, if you want to be allowed to move around freely. Let's face it, explaining your presence here won't be easy... besides, you see that security camera over there?" I ask, pointing toward the far corner of my lab. "It has captured everything that's happened here, from my disappearance to my reappearance and that means that we can expect some company in less than two minutes. Going willingly to see the general now would be seen as a gesture of good will on your part but in the end the truth is that it's not really optional... and believe me when I say that you don't want to be faced with a group of armed and anxious SF's if you can avoid it."
"Crap!" mutters Dawn and I see my 'guests' exchange a worried glance. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that they are having a whole conversation without words here and that only adds to my already exceedingly long list of question. These people are not just friends, they are more than that: they are a team, one that is at least as close-knit as SG-1 and that only adds to my confusion. We've learned to trust each other because we've been relying on each other for our very survival for years now, what could possibly have led this mismatched bunch to have developed such a level of trust in the first place?
"What is it?" I ask.
"Nothing," says the teenager, looking at Willow who merely shrugs before nodding.
Okay, so far so good. At least they are not arguing against the idea of going to see General Hammond, though if Dawn's reaction is anything to go by then they are far from happy at the prospect and that means I'm going to get stuck acting as a mediator. That wouldn't be so bad if it weren't because I really know next to nothing about these people.
Sure, I know Buffy Summers has the Ancient's gene, I know 'Giles' knows a lot more about the Goa'uld than he should and I know Willow managed to break into our system and has a theory concerning Buffy's genetic make-up, but other than that I am totally in the dark here and that is going to make it all but impossible for me to provide General Hammond with the answers I know he is going to be demanding. What I have are a bunch of first names at best --I'm assuming, for instance, that 'Xander' is short for something else-- and a couple of assumptions. Of course, in my defense I can honestly say that I didn't bring these people here... in fact that brings me back to the nagging question of just how did we get here, after all, these people are not exactly the Asgard so I'd really like to know how they pulled this one off.
"You do realized that I still don't have the first clue as to how am I supposed to explain your presence here, don't you?" I say, turning to Willow, who had claimed to be responsible for my presence in their basement a short while ago.
"Don't worry, I've got you covered," she says, still not volunteering anything else.
"So, care to explain?" I prod.
"Simple, it's magic," she says with a smile.
"There's no such thing as magic," I say, rolling my eyes at her explanation.
"Hate to burst your neat and orderly scientific bubble, but there is," she insists.
"No, there's not."
"Fine, then come up with your own explanation."
"Some sort of technology..." I begin but she cuts me off before I can go any further than that.
"Nope, no technology involved," she says, openly grinning at me.
"I already told you. It's maaagiiic," she insists.
"You can't honestly expect me to believe..."
"I don't expect you to believe anything," she interrupts me, losing the grin and sounding almost resigned. "In fact I'm pretty sure that you won't believe me no matter what I tell you or what you see, but that's not really the point, is it? You asked for an explanation and I provided you with one. Magic is the only explanation you are going to get, what you do with that explanation is up to you. If you want to go looking for evidence of some non-existent technology be my guess, you are not going to find it."
I'm trying to work on that because the problem is that --as crazy as this whole thing sounds-- I'm having a hard time coming up with a different explanation. My instinctive reaction that it must be some sort of technology seems to be contradicted by the fact that I'm not dealing with aliens here, heck, I'm not even dealing with a group that is likely to have access to some sort of cutting-edge human technology. What I'm dealing with here is a group of civilians in my own world --in a world I was fairly certain I knew and understood up until a few minutes ago-- who have pulled off some pretty remarkable feats I can't quite explain... not to mention that Willow seems to be oddly convinced of what she's saying. In a way that is the most disturbing aspect of this whole thing.
I think back to my encounters with the Nox, they are an ancient people, that's for sure, and the Asgard respect them as equals but the fact remains that even to this day we still don't have the first clue as to how they do what they do... we just assume they are using some sort of technology we are not aware of. Unfortunately I just can't explain WIllow away using that same theory.
That is something that is definitely bothering me, especially because from what I've seen her do with a computer and going by the questions she was asking earlier about genetics my guess is that she has an incredibly bright scientific mind. Magic is an explanation I can understand coming from off world cultures that are deceived by the Goa'uld, from civilizations that are less technologically advanced than we are or from the Goa'uld themselves, since they enjoy pretending to be gods, but that is not what I'm facing here and that is making Willow's explanation far more unnerving. We are not talking about a gullible kid, we are talking about a bright young woman. We are not talking about someone who believes in magic, we are talking of someone who claims to be able to do magic... and to make matters worse the fact remains that I haven't seen anything to contradict that assertion, at least not in this particular instance. I was transported from my lab to their basement, that is a fact, just as it is a fact that I was transported back, and all I ever saw her do was mutter a few words under her breath, words that were spoken in a language I couldn't quite understand but that sent shivers down my spine nonetheless.
In addition to that there's also her calm acceptance of my need for a different explanation. She is not protesting that it is magic and that I'm a fool for daring to disbelieve but rather she is telling me that I'm free to look for a different explanation, though she is warning me that I'm not going to find it. She seems to be totally accepting of my own disbelief, in fact it is almost as if she had been expecting it. Yes, I know it's not magic, I know it can't be magic because there's no such thing as magic but the problem is that since it is impossible to prove a negative it is up to me to prove that it is something else and right now I don't know how to do that.
Of course, the fact that Willow is the most disturbing puzzle I'm being confronted with here doesn't mean she is the only one. Another one is 'Giles'... and not just because of what he knows about the Goa'uld.
I have to say that to hear him quoting the warning on the cover stone threw me for a loop. I certainly wasn't expecting that and his comment about the fact that his people wrote that warning only served to make matters worse. Who are his people? What did he mean by that... and how does Buffy Summers fit into this? I know that so far I haven't seen any evidence that there is a connection but I am almost certain that there is... in fact if I had to go with my gut I would say that she is the one that holds the key, the one who drew this group together in the first place, she and I suspect Faith. There are too many coincidences around this girl and I intend to get to the bottom of this.
Buffy Summers has a purpose, of that I am almost certain but what that purpose could possibly be remains a mystery. Does that have something to do with this 'slayer' Giles mentioned? And since we are on the subject, just what is a 'slayer' anyway? Going by the way Giles said it, it sounds almost like a title. He said that the Goa'uld were what the slayer was originally meant to fight, what did he mean by that and if the Goa'uld were what this 'slayer' was originally meant to fight, what has that slayer been fighting since the Goa'uld were defeated?
I have no answers for any of those questions and I know General Hammond won't be happy about that. Sure, I can leave it up to Willow to try to explain things away by claiming it's magic but I don't see that particular explanation going over very well and I suspect that in the end I'm the one who is going to be held responsible for this one if for no other reason than the fact that they came with me... not that I could possibly have prevented it. I may not like it but somehow I think this is going to have to be their show. The way things stand right now it's going to be up to us to earn their trust and that means that we will have to let them take the lead.
Yes, it was my 'snooping' --as Willow so eloquently phrased it-- that drew their attention to us but regardless of who's to blame we are all here now and the next step is probably going to have to be up to them.