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Posted August 23, 2012

Fan Fiction: Uncle John

11: A Miracle of Rare Device

The trip to the Alpha Site had been almost a letdown after the revelation that she and her sister would be traveling to other planets and meeting aliens.

Sure, Buffy had known that life existed out there somewhere after what had happened with the Queller, but actually going after it had never been on her agenda. After all, the youngest woman ever to go into space, as far as she'd heard, had been 32 years old and a multiple PhD. Buffy didn't have that kind of time, either in probable length of life or for schooling.

Really, she was lucky she'd even managed to finish her bachelor's degree before the NID found out about her familial connection to the Stargate program and upended her entire life. Apparently, Zombie-Mama Walsh had thought the 'scientific' explanation for her abilities was that she was something called a hok'taur, a genetically advanced human being... and in the NID's eyes, that status made her rightfully government property. General O'Neill had negotiated a way around the issue, but it had meant putting her last attempt at 'normal' finally behind her.

Buffy had decided she could deal with that, as long as it kept her family together and gave the Scoobies an in to yet another potentially apocalyptic government program. But somehow she'd expected something a little more exotic on her first visit to another world. Trees, hills, blue sky, even a single moon; visiting the SGC's primary offworld base was like taking a vacation to Canada. Eh, much?

The trip on the Daedalus-- which, had anyone on the naming committee realized they were invoking the name of a guy mostly known for inventions that caused more harm than good?-- had been even more boring, once she and Dawn got over the novelty of being able to look out the windows and see starlines. It was a flying metal box, and not all that big of one, crammed with people wearing uniforms and not much in the way of entertainment. Dawn spent a lot of time talking to the creepy little grey guy in charge of the engines, and Buffy spent much of her time in the gym trying to burn off excess energy. In between her adventures in going nowhere, she looked into the files General O'Neill had sent along to familiarize her with her new home. And that was maybe the most boring part of all.

Despite all the classified details and otherworldly adventures, the files read like some bureaucrat's homework assignments. Between all the acronyms, sixty-four thousand dollar words, and carefully elliptical references to anything that had been deemed too sensitive to go on semipublic record, she was soon using them to put herself to sleep every night. Even her correspondence with Uncle_JS had been more informative than that, in terms of things she might actually need to know. Especially if her 'psychologist' title was supposed to be more than merely an excuse to get her off Earth.

They did tell her one thing, though, that she found very interesting indeed-- and more than a little concerning. Uncle John had not been supposed to be at all involved in the leadership of the city. He'd been taken along as little more than a light switch over the objections of the Marine colonel in command of the expedition's military, and gained his current position by being the ranking officer after that guy died. Reading between the lines, he might not even have been allowed that much if the colonel's official second, a fresh-faced Lieutenant named Ford, had had more time to get used to the responsibilities of command, and probably wouldn't have kept it if Elizabeth Weir hadn't insisted on it.

He might still be the boss out there, but his position wasn't one hundred percent solid, no matter what impression O'Neill had given her. And the only reason he'd been there at all was because he'd won the genetic lottery, and they'd needed him more than he'd needed them. Plus, given that their genetic heritage seemed to be the reason he'd been encouraged to get back into contact with Buffy again, just in case she and Dawn had it too, even before the whole hok'taur issue came up....

Well. She wasn't ever going to be used as leverage against any of her family, and that was final.

On the other hand. If O'Neill's rosy talk about getting to continue their educations by correspondence, and help people who could really use a hand that didn't have a gun in it, actually came true... it could be the most amazing thing that had happened to her and Dawnie since leaving Sunnydale.

By the time the spaceship finally reached Lantea, she was more than ready to have her fears settled one way or the other, and Dawn was hardly less impatient to transport to the surface. The younger Summers had picked up a reading comprehension in both the Ancient and Asgard languages already from hanging out with Hermiod, and was itching to get into the city's computers.

Atlantis, Buffy repeated to herself, testing the word for resonances of home. Despite everything, a surge of wonder stirred in her chest at the thought; she reached out to link her shaking hand with her sister's, and turned to see the same sparkle of amazement in Dawn's blue eyes.

The city itself looked sort of like a snowflake from orbit: a fractal shape floating on endless alien waves. A gift from the heavens. She hoped that appearance wasn't a lie.

"Ready, ladies?" Colonel Caldwell asked them, looking up from his command chair.

Buffy took a deep breath and nodded. Their luggage had already been sent with the cargo offload; all that remained was to beam down themselves. Given their VIP status, they would be sent directly to the Gateroom, where Elizabeth Weir and their uncle would be waiting.

"Ready or not, here we are," Dawn agreed.

The colonel gave the command, and the world dissolved in a wash of light.


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