There are some wounds that time cannot heal; there are some stains that can never be washed away. Some acts will leave a place befouled forever. And though the place be destroyed, the evil remains, festering in the ruins long after that which gave it life was slain. So it was with Sunnydale. So it was with the Hellmouth. Darkness abides.
SG-3 picked its way through the ruins, scrabbling over the rubble-strewn crater floor. Now and again a large piece of a building blocked their way, and they were forced to take the long way around. Colonel Reynolds and his team made their way on a path of broken dreams and mangled homes, and this knowledge had stilled their tongues. Here they picked through the shattered remains of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, whose son, Cameron had been an exceptionally talented – perhaps Olympic level - swimmer until he’d met Coach Marin. Now Mr. and Mrs. Andrews were dead, their bodies buried somewhere in this rubble. And Cameron? Cameron had made the long journey through black abysses to the Cyclopean and many-columned Y’ha-nthlei. Now the SG team passed close by the remains of what had once been the happy home of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. The death of their youngest boy, who had been found in a ditch, *dissected*, had torn their family apart. Mr. Johnson had killed himself just last year. Mrs. Johnson had never remarried, and now lived with her remaining children on the east coast with her sister’s family. Nearly every bit of rubble here was the signpost of a like tragedy. Happy families did not fare well in Sunnydale. The Hellmouth could not long abide such love and affection.
A sense of watchfulness hung over the ruin like fog. There was a *presence* here, something filled with impotent malice. Only his long military training prevented Reynolds from shuddering openly. Whatever it was, it felt like it hated him. It hated him, and it knew his name. Private Meyers, the newest addition to their unit, did shudder. Every dark crevice seemed full of that lurking presence. No breeze cooled that place. It was hot. Hot, and damp. The water mains had burst when the town fell into the sinkhole, and parts of it were yet flooded.
“We’ve been at this for hours, sir,” Penhall said. “There’s nothing here.”
Reynolds glanced at his subordinate. “No, there’s something here,” he said grimly. “It’s nothing good, but it’s not nothing.”
Reynolds met the gaze of each of his men in turn. “We’ll search the woods once more. If we don’t find anything hostile, I’ll inform Doctor Weir that it’s safe to bring in the survey team. Any of you have a problem with that?”
“Good. Let’s move out, marines.” And they did, the three marines following the Air Force Colonel.
What they called the woods had once been the Sunnydale forest. Now, it looked more like a war zone, or the playground of mad giants. Most of the trees had been uprooted and flung about every which way, though some still stood, leaning at odd angles and visibly dying. The ground was much easier to travel here, lacking the concrete rubble of the ruined town itself, but the sense of watchfulness remained. There was something evil here, and without even thinking about why, they had already decided that they would not remain in this place after dark. Yet for all that they felt, they saw nothing. Heard nothing. Silence can be oppressive, and so it was in the ruins of Sunnydale, where every noise they made felt unwelcome.
It was with great relief that Colonel Reynolds finally led his men out of the Sunnydale crater a few hours later. It was safe enough for the survey team to begin their search, they decided. Provided they didn’t try to brave the place at night. And when they finally left the windless, half-lit Sunnydale crater behind them and reemerged back into the breeze and full sunlight, the world felt real again.
by P.H. Wise
An Angel crossover fanfic
Chapter 7 – Springtime for Baal
Disclaimer: I don’t own Angel. I don’t own Stargate. Please don’t sue me. This story contains spoilers for the final episode of Angel. This chapter contains small excerpts from the Stargate SG-1 episode, ‘New Order, Part 1.’ I don’t own that either.
Illyria strode imperiously through the doorway of Doctor Weir’s office, thoroughly vexed. “Doctor Weir,” she said.
Doctor Weir looked up. Jack O’Neill sat before her desk, newly recovered from the Antarctic ice courtesy of the Asgard. He raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. “Illyria,” Weir replied.
“This situation has become intolerable,” Illyria said. “You will rectify it. Now.”
“Now is not the time,” Dr. Weir began.
Illyria met Elizabeth’s gaze challengingly. After a moment, Doctor Weir sighed. “What situation is that?”
“When I agreed to come here,” Illyria began, her voice slipping into and out of a Texan twang, “I did so because of Daniel Jackson. I was told that what y’all do here is much the same as what I did as the Burkle persona while working for Angel Investigations. I found this appealing. Furthermore, I was told that you could help me, as much as it galled me to admit that I needed help. Yet in the time I have been here, not only has there has been no help forthcoming, but I have been ignored. You have not sought my aid, and your debt to me has not been repaid. Do you treat all of your allies thus, or just me?”
Doctor Weir and the newly promoted General O’Neill exchanged glances.
“Doctor McKay has been conducting a full investigation into your...” Weir began. Illyria cut her off.
“Doctor McKay is a mewling, pathetic creature, blind to everything save his own so called genius, every moment in whose presence continually tempts me to rend him limb from limb and make a trophy of his spine.”
O’Neill considered that description, and then shrugged. “Can’t argue with that,” he said.
“You’re not helping,” Weir said. She turned to Illyria. “Illyria, try to appreciate our position. You are an unknown factor, extremely dangerous, and we have no way of knowing that you really do want to help us. In our place, what would you do?”
“I would do the same,” Illyria conceded, “But this is not a question of what I would do in your place, but of what you have done in the past. I have read your records. The alien ‘Teal’c’ was not treated as I, nor was Jonas Quinn. They were equally unknown factors that became vital members of your organization. Why do you shun me when you embraced them? Why do you shun also the Groosalug, who is no danger to you, and has freely offered his services?”
“She’s got you there,” Jack said.
Weir sighed. “I’ll take in under consideration, Illyria. Ultimately, however, it is not my decision. Until a decision is made in this regard... try not to make a trophy of Rodney’s spine?”
Illyria’s lips quirked ever so slightly, as if she were trying not to smile. She nodded, turned, and departed.
“So,” said O’Neill.
“She is definitely one part of commanding this base that I am not going to miss,” Weir said, and shook her head. “Do you think you’ll be able to handle her?”
Jack smiled lazily. “Ya sure you betcha.”
“Why do I not find that encouraging?”
Jack shrugged. “So, you heard the latest from Sam?”
Elizabeth nodded. “I have.”
SG-1 had arrived at the place Illyria had identified as Boca Del Inferno. SG-3 had done the recon, given the all clear, and SG-1 had moved in with the survey team. They’d soon learn if there were any truth to the tale of Ancient technology buried beneath the ruins of Sunnydale.
In spite of himself, Brigadier General O’Neill wished that he were out there with them.
Faith sat up. Something was very off. Her room was dark, and the only sound was her own breathing.
*FEAR* *DANGER* *DEATH*
The lights came on, and she realized that she wasn’t in her room at all.
“What are you doing in my bed?” Dawn asked, folding her arms and staring imperiously down at the dark slayer as best a fourteen year old could.
Wait a minute... fourteen? Dawn hadn’t been fourteen in - oh hell. She was dreaming.
“Sure you’re dreaming, but that doesn’t excuse you from being in my bed,” Dawn said.
“Sorry,” Faith replied, and stood up.
*FEAR* *DANGER* *DEATH*
Faith’s heart began to race. “What the hell was that?” she asked.
Dawn shrugged. “You tell me. You’re the Slayer.”
Faith shook her head. “There was something there. Images. They went by too quickly to make them out.”
“Why don’t you slow them down, then?” Dawn asked innocently.
“If I knew how to do that, I’d have already done it.”
“I guess you’ve got a problem, them.”
“Guess so.” Faith looked thoughtful. “So are you really here,” she asked, “or are you just a part of the dream?”
Dawn shrugged. “Guess we’ll find out when Dawn wakes up, won’t we?”
“Yeah, whatev...” Faith trailed off as the world shifted around her.
*FEAR* *DANGER* *DEATH*
She stood suddenly before a great machine, its energies filling the grand cavern that housed it, refracting off of the gem-lined walls in brilliant streams of blue, green, and red.
“It is, perhaps, better this way,” a familiar voice said.
*FEAR* *DANGER* *DEATH*
The world burned. Fire spread across its surface. Mountains were blasted to rubble, and the seas boiled to steam. Everywhere, everything was dying in agony. The demons. The vampires. The animals. A great black egg hung suspended in the sky, and all around it, vast celestial hosts did battle.
Faith had never seen an angel before. Not in all her long years as a Slayer. She’d seen demons of every size, shape, and configuration, sure. But never something like this.
Two hosts there were, each numbering in the billions. The one was vast, serene and primal, holding human form yet goodlier, more awful, more divine. The other host shrieked their hatred to the stars, and the stars winked out in response. There was no compassion in the visages of the other host. Less than human they seemed: full of blind hatred and rage.
‘Oh shit. Am I seeing the fall of Lucifer?’
No. This was a thing to occur in the future, not the past. That at least, she was sure of. This is what WOULD occur. The heavenly hosts would do battle, and the world would burn.
Faith woke up, sat up, and shook her head in wonder.
A few minutes later, she was on the phone. “Giles? Yeah, it’s me. Look, I know I wrote you guys off as assholes after what happened with Angel, but I just had a dream, and if what it showed is true, then something is about to happen that’s a lot bigger than my beef with the rest of you...”
It was two days later when Illyria finally left the mountain. Thoroughly annoyed with the inaction on the front of getting either herself or the Groosalug involved with the mission of the SGC, she sought refuge outside its too-confining walls in the city of Colorado Springs. She knew not precisely what she was seeking in going there again, but she knew at least that she couldn’t stand to be bound up between narrow concrete walls any longer. The guards had watched her nervously as she departed, and a unit had been assigned to tail her, as usual. She lost them within an hour of her departure from the base, also as usual.
She did not go near the Pelian Spear, not wanting to risk a confrontation with the girl she had saved That Night. Instead, she found herself wandering through the frozen Colorado night towards the building where the Groosalug had been staying for the past few days.
“Old one,” he said as she came through the door.
His was small room, and cramped. She could barely bring herself to step through the door. A bed, a bathroom, a sink, a television, a Groosalug, two chairs, and little else filled the narrow space. The Groosalug sat in one of the chairs, his attention rapt upon the videogame he was playing.
She sat in the other chair. “I have spoken to Doctor Weir on your behalf.”
The Groosalug set down the controller and looked up. “And is there ought for the Groosalug to do besides waste his time on frivolous entertainments?”
“No,” Illyria replied. “They have taken no action. They accept my help when it is convenient, but they ignore me all other times. Truly I begin to wonder if Stargate Command is worth my time.”
Groosalug nodded. “Perhaps we would be better suited joining our efforts to the Vampire Slayer Faith.”
“She is here?” Illyria asked.
“Indeed. She arrived several days previous. It was she that provided me with this room, using what she called ‘Council Money.’ She is staying across the hall.”
Illyria nodded thoughtfully. “Perhaps I will see her before I return to the mountain. I owe her a great debt.”
Speak of the devil, and he shall appear. Although Faith was not the devil, there were some who would say that she was close enough that it didn’t make much difference. At that moment, she came in through the door. “Hey Groo, you willing to make a trip...” she trailed off. “Bluebird. Thought you were getting all cozy with your new friends. Least that’s what Groo here’s been telling me.”
“They want little to do with me, it seems,” Illyria said.
Faith shrugged. “That’s too bad. Listen, I can use all the help I can get - are either of you willing to come along for a little trip to the former Hellmouth?”
The old one and the champion both looked at Faith for a long moment. Of all the things she could have said, that was perhaps the most unexpected. It was Groo who spoke first. “Was it not destroyed?” he asked, his surprise at being asked this clearly evident in his voice.
Faith nodded. “Yeah, but I had a Slayer dream a few days back. Giles did some checking. Apparently, there is a...” she looked at Groo and Illyria expectantly.
“Prophecy,” Illyria said, sounding both rather bored and immensely Fred-like.
“Prophecy,” Faith confirmed, not sounding too pleased about it either. “This one says somethin’ about ‘those cast down’ arising from a destroyed Hellmouth. Giles’s version was way longer. But if that dream is anything to go by, it’s going to be extremely apocalyptic if we don’t stop it. There should be a few other Slayers there to back me up, but like I said, I’ll need all the help I can get.”
Illyria thought about that a moment. “I will go,” she said at length.
Groo nodded. “If there is a danger rising from this place, I cannot ignore it. I too will go.”
And so it was that some sixty minutes later, Faith, the Groosalug and Illyria were on board one of the Council’s private jets, heading for California.
There are moments that define us in ways that we cannot begin to understand. Moments in which everything changes, and suddenly our lives are divided into what came before, and what came after. You don’t know when such a moment is coming, but when it arrives, you know. Daniel Jackson had experienced such a moment in his ascension. Now, even after his return to a human existence, everything had changed. He knew things now, even half remembered and as barely conscious of that knowledge that he was, he knew things that had changed him. He was not now the same person he had been all those years ago when the Stargate program had first began, nor the same person that the Stargate program had made him into.
He was something else, now.
And so it was that when he arrived at the site of the Sunnydale crater with the survey team, it was with a profound sense of unease.
The place felt wrong. Tainted.
Even so, something here felt strangely familiar. Like an old tune half forgotten that had once been especially meaningful; like the unremembered memories of nursing at his mother’s breast. Something here was calling to him. Something very familiar; it was on the very edge of his awareness, and if he could just listen for a few moments longer, he would surely know...
“Doctor Jackson?” one of the other members of the survey team asked.
Daniel blinked, and shook himself. He had not realized that he had been walking away from the group.
“Are you all right, Doctor Jackson?” the other man – Doctor Zelenka – asked worriedly.
“Yes, fine,” he replied distractedly. “Is the equipment ready?”
Radek Zelenka nodded. “If there are any energy sources here, we’ll soon know.”
As the sun began to set over the destroyed Hellmouth, Doctor Jackson shivered, feeling as though someone had just walked over his grave.
The newly promoted Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter stood close at hand, with Teal’c at her side. SG-1 had joined SG-3 in providing security for Doctor Zelenka’s survey team. The Sunnydale area had always been ignored by the media – this had not changed in the wake of the Los Angeles incident. People had not really believed the government explanation of what had happened in Los Angeles, and wild theories were being thrown about at a near fever pitch. Society was changing. As a whole, people were beginning to believe in monsters once again. The coolly analytical mindset of the scientist was growing unpopular, and more and more people were turning to mystics and quacks for answers.
All of that annoyed Carter to no end. There was a perfectly reasonable explanation for what had occurred in Los Angeles. The only problem was it was so very classified that it would never be revealed to the public, and the cover story boys had really failed to come through. Popular opinion had been swung towards the mystical, and as a result, people just weren’t terribly interested in the activities of the military these days. It worked for their advantage, to be sure, but that didn’t mean it was not incredibly annoying – especially to a scientifically minded woman like herself.
But that was neither here nor there. Shaking her head, Carter brought her attention back to the here and now. She had a mission to run.
And far away, in the depths of space, Baal smiled grimly. The time to strike was now. He was betting that a small strike force of cloaked cargo ships full of troops would be able to sneak past Earth’s defenses – bypassing even the Ancient weapon, if it was still functional, land at the site he suspected the Ancient artifact was buried, and quickly retrieve it. It was worth the risk – succeed, and almost unlimited power would be his to command. Fail, and he would lose only a few dozen cargo-ships and a few hundred Jaffa.
Yes, the time to strike was now.
End Chapter Seven
It was much shorter than most of the other parts, I know. With any luck, there will be more material to cover in the next few parts. Things are coming to a head, and we are not now very far away from the end.
As always, if you loved it or hated it, let me know - but more importantly, explain why.