Chapter 9: Best Kept Secrets... Sort of
I'm looking at the unlikely bunch gathered in my briefing room and trying to make some sort of sense out of this one while I wait for the rest of SG-1 and Dr. Fraiser to join us. Making sense out of this one is not an easy thing.
To say that I was shocked when these people first showed up with Major Carter would be an understatement and to make matters worse there's also the fact that I haven't exactly being provided with an explanation as to how they got here in the first place. When I tried asking the major, the look on her face was almost comical... or it would have been if this weren't such a damned mess.
The thing is that even though we knew she had 'vanished', when it happened we simply assumed it had been the Asgard so we weren't really all that concerned about it. It was only when she came back and we discovered that she wasn't alone that we realized that there was something else going on here.
We have eight unauthorized and mostly unidentified civilians in our highly secure base, we have no idea as to just how they got here and they haven't been particularly forthcoming with information about basically anything. As far as I'm concerned that is unacceptable but at the same time I know that pushing it may not be the best idea under the circumstances.
Sure, these people look harmless enough, for the most part, but my instincts are telling me that there's a lot more to them than meets the eye and seeing how those same instincts have been instrumental in keeping me alive up until now, well, I'm not about to start ignoring them. That means I'm going to have to be very careful here because, if the way in which these people are looking at me is anything to go by, then I'm afraid that the mountain may be in danger of being leveled.
Well, if nothing else at least there's the fact that one of the civvies the major brought back with her is Buffy Summers. Sure, she still hasn't agreed to cooperate with us but at least she is here now --even though we really would have preferred to get her here on our terms--and I hope that, if nothing else, we'll be able to talk her into helping the Asgard. After all, that is our top priority right now, that is what triggered this whole situation.
As soon as Colonel O'Neill, Teal'c, Dr. Jackson and Dr. Fraiser join us things almost spin out of control, as most of our 'guests' seem to go on high alert. It takes me a moment to realize that they are reacting to Teal'c's presence, the problem is that --even though it is pretty easy for me to figure out what they are reacting to and why-- figuring out how is nowhere near that easy. In the end it is Major Carter who steps in and manages to defuse the situation... at least for the time being.
Trying to keep myself from sighing, and knowing that this is likely to turn out to be a very long day but also knowing that putting off the inevitable is not going to make it any shorter, I decide to get on with the formalities. After introducing everyone to everyone else --or at least trying to without much success, something I suspect is only natural considering that I don't even know most of these people's names-- I turn to Major Carter and say:
"Okay, major, now that we are all here, care to explain what's going on?"
"Well, sir, to tell you the truth I don't really know."
"What do you mean you don't know?" I ask, trying to keep myself from screaming.
"Earlier today I was working in my lab and then all of a sudden I was transported somewhere... to their basement," she says, pointing at our 'guests' and looking more than a little confused.
"Transported how?" I ask.
"I don't know, sir. They claim it was magic."
"I know it doesn't make sense,sir, believe me, but they have refused to provide me with a different explanation and I have seen no evidence of any kind of technology so I really don't have an explanation for what's happening here," she all but whines and that's enough for me to realize that she is really near the end of her rope.
"Because it's magic," interrupts the red headed girl who was introduced to me as Willow, rolling her eyes. Realizing that this is an argument that is likely to go on for a while, I decide to try to move things forward.
"Fine, well leave it at that for the time being," I say, throwing a warning glance at my scientifically-minded major. "What happened next?"
"Basically, sir, they asked me what part of 'a million years into the sky is Ra, sun god, sealed and buried for all time' didn't we understand."
"WHAT?!" I exclaim.
"That was pretty much my reaction too and then I asked them where they'd heard that. Mr. Giles said that his people wrote it, though he hasn't really explained that statement any further than that so I'm not entirely sure of just what he meant," says Major Carter, all but glaring at the man.
"Care to explain it now?" I ask, turning my attention to him and making it abundantly clear that that is not a request.
"Well, general, without going into too much detail, our people were among the ones who fought the Ghoa'ul and buried the gate ten thousand years ago."
"Your people?" I ask, feeling more than a little confused.
"Yes," he says, offering no further explanations.
"Wait," jumps in Dr. Jackson, "what do you mean 'your people', and why did you call the Goa'uld 'Ghoa'ul'?"
"It's a long story, and 'Ghoa'ul' is just the ancient name of the beings you have come to know as 'Goa'uld'."
"Ancient name? You mean to tell me that you actually know what happened when the Goa'uld were expelled from our world? Are you saying that there is a surviving account of the rebellion, that there's been a record of what happened here on earth all along?"
"Yes. As I already explained to Major Carter, the Ghoa'ul were the basis for both the myth of the Ghoul and that of the Golem."
"That's fascinating and I had never considered that possibility but what I... wait, your last name is Giles, right?" asks Dr. Jackson, out of nowhere and by the look on his face I can see that he has some sort of theory... or at least I hope he has because we really could use some answers here.
"Are you the Dr. Rupert Giles who used to be in charge of the occult collection at the British Library back when that collection was still housed in the British Museum?"
"Er... yes, but that was years ago," says the man as he nervously cleans his glasses while most of his young friends give him a rather puzzled look, a look I can't quite understand.
"I know, before the bulk of the library was moved to..."
"People, could we get back to the subject at hand?" I interrupt before things can get any more out of hand than they already are. Myths about the Goa'uld are relevant to our current situation, the location of the British Library is not, though that doesn't mean I'm not deeply relieved by the fact that at least now we have another full name to add to the list. What can I say, full names are important when filling out reports concerning major security breaches in highly secure military bases.
"Sorry sir, it's just that..."
"Later, Dr. Jackson," I say, determined to at least try to keep things moving, something I suspect won't be easy with this particular lot.
"Dr. Giles, would you be willing to share that information?" I ask.
"The information pertaining to the Ghoa'ul? Sure," he says without even hesitating, though I suspect that that will earn us far less cooperation from this man than I would have liked and that his question about what kind of information we were after was more an attempt to limit what he was agreeing to tell us than anything else. This man is slippery, I'll certainly give him that.
"Okay, right now, however, a more pressing issue is the one having to do with Ms Summers. I believe Major Carter has already explained the current situation to you?" I ask, turning my attention to the tiny blonde.
"Kind of," says Ms Summers, wrinkling her nose and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that she is not particularly thrilled with the idea.
"And I must say that at the time she did not seem particularly inclined to cooperate, sir," adds Major Carter, basically confirming my suspicions.
"Jeez, understatement much?" she asks, glaring at the major.
"I see," I say, realizing that we are almost certainly going to have a fight in our hands here... and that trying to bully her into agreeing is not an option, at least not until we can figure out how these people got here in the first place. What can I say, years of fighting a superior enemy have given me a very clear picture of just what my limitations are and a very healthy sense of when am I way out of my depth.
"Anyway, Willow said that she wanted to test a theory," says Major Carter.
"And what theory would that be?" I ask, turning to the red head.
"I'd like to see if the sequence you are looking for is found in someone else," she tells me.
"Did Major Carter explain the odds to you?" I ask.
"Yups, but as she said, I have a theory," she explains, shrugging her shoulders.
"Okay. Dr. Fraiser, how long would you need to conduct your test?"
"At least several hours, sir."
"That long?" asks the young man with the eye-patch, not looking particularly thrilled at the thought, not that I blame him.
"I'm afraid so. We are talking about a detailed genetic mapping here, not a mere genetic fingerprinting," points out Dr. Fraiser.
"I see, so you may as well get started, after all, it looks like our 'guests' will be staying with us for a while," I say, wondering how am I supposed to handle this mess. After so many years at the head of the SGC there aren't that many situations I would still label as being totally unprecedented... this is certainly one of them.
"Yes, sir. Who am I testing?" asks Dr. Fraiser, turning her attention to Willow.
"Me," says the young woman who was introduced simply as 'Faith'.