Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland
ffutures

The Key to Byzantium - X

Here's the next part of The Key to Byzantium, my BtVS / Stargate crossover. Comments please before I post to archives. Previous parts are here



This is a crossover between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Stargate SG-1. For continuity details, credits, etc. see the prologue. Characters from these series belong to their respective creators, production companies, etc., and are used without any intent to deprive them of income or otherwise infringe on copyright. This story may not be distributed on a profit-making basis.

Note: one phrase in this chapter is borrowed, with permission, from one of Booster's livejournal icons.

The Key to Byzantium
by Marcus L. Rowland

X

"...haven't heard anything this side," said Lorne, leading the group along a trail through some remarkably creepy looking woods. "Last I saw of Angel, he was setting things in motion. I did my part of it then bailed out. I'd had enough."

"It's pretty much all we know," said Willow, "I felt things happening, but it took a while for me to pin down where it was..."

A few yards behind them, Jack tuned out the conversation and turned to Sam. "You really think we can get to Russia by walking a few miles through the woods?"

"Apparently there isn't a one to one correlation with our geography," said Sam. "No reason why there should be really. Can I ask something?" she added quietly.

"What's that?" Jack replied, just as quietly.

"Why are you going along with this? Why aren't we going through official channels, or at least preparing properly for the mission?"

"Think about it. What happens if we do things our way?"

"We get the job done."

"Maybe... but there's another side to it."

Sam thought for a moment, then said "They see how we handle things."

"Bingo. This way we're giving away as little as we can, and we're seeing a hell of a lot more of their operation. One thing I forgot to ask though," he added, in a more normal tone. "What about that entropic thing?"

"Entropic cascade failure?"

"Yeah, that."

"We ought to be through here in a couple of hours, and none of us exist in this dimension. There shouldn't be time for it to hurt us."

"Hurt?" asked Kennedy. "Why should you be hurt?"

"There are physical laws," said Sam, "quantum effects that damage anything that stays too long in another dimension."

"Don't sweat it," said Kennedy. "Some friends of Willow's spent a week here a couple of years ago, didn't come to any harm. And there was a girl that was stuck here for five years."

"That's impossible," said Sam, "even if there wasn't a single molecule in their bodies..."

"You're thinking science," Willow said over her shoulder. "Magic uses different rules. How long were you on Earth, Lorne?"

"About five years. I was kinda swapped for Fred when she came here."

"See what I mean?"

"I guess so." Sam didn't look at all happy about it.

"Where is Dana?" Teal'c asked from the rear of the party.

"Damn," said Kennedy. "How long's she been gone?"

"She dropped behind us about five minutes ago," said Daniel, "I thought she was just tired of ignoring me."

There was a sudden roar from up ahead, and something vaguely humanoid ran towards them.

"Drokken!" shouted Lorne, "Run for it!" He began to ran back though the group; Sam grabbed him and shouted "Stay with us, it'll pick you off if you're on your own."

In seconds everyone else had a weapon in their hands, from crossbows to carbines and a zat. "The fangs and claws are poisonous," said Lorne, recovering a little courage. "It's like a gorilla crossed with a gila monster."

"Okay," said Jack, putting a three-round burst into its head. It staggered, then roared and advanced towards them. "Any suggestions?" asked Sam, as Teal'c hit it with his zat without slowing it.

"Aim for the butt," said Lorne, "that's where the heart is."

"Okey-dokey," said Jack, aiming lower. Sam fired a burst of her own, while Kennedy put a crossbow bolt into it, about where the appendix would be in a human. It staggered again then collapsed. Kennedy cautiously approached it and cut off its head with her axe.

"Watch out," said Lorne, "they usually hunt in pairs. There'll be a female around somewhere."

Something rustled in the bushes to one side of the trail and they turned to see Dana dragging another corpse behind her. This one was missing its head and arms.

"That works too," said Lorne. "Usually takes a sword dipped in thrombite, but..."

"Are you okay?" interrupted Willow. "Did it hurt you at all? Even a scratch?"

"No," said Dana, dumping the corpse with the other. She stared at the Zat in Teal'c's hand.

"It is a weapon of the Goa'uld," said Teal'c, closing it and putting it away. "We have captured several." She stared at him for several seconds before turning away.

"Better get rid of the bodies," said Kennedy. "Leave them on this trail, there'll be scavengers by the time we come back."

"We'd better build a pyre," said Sam. "There's plenty of dry wood under the trees, but we need to make sure there isn't a forest fire."

"Don't bother," said Willow. "Ignis" The bodies burst into flames, and in a minute or so were reduced to a pile of ash and bones.

"Willow..." began Kennedy.

"It's okay. Not gonna flip out and destroy the world just from doing that."

"Destroy the world?" Jack asked cautiously.

"I kinda lost it for a while when Tara was killed," said Willow, "if a friend hadn't talked me down... But I'm okay, really. That's one of the first spells I learned, it's pretty safe."

"Okay," said Jack, "We'll try not to get you too annoyed. By the way, don't piss off Carter. She blew up a sun once."

"A sun?" echoed Willow. Sam nodded. "Okaaay," said Willow. "No losing our tempers. I can relate to that."

"Can the Goa'uld do that?" asked Kennedy, "Could they zap our sun?"

"We hope not," said Sam, "it isn't the right type of star, and we have.. well, not exactly allies, but there are some very powerful neutrals who are prepared to intervene if we're attacked that directly. Might not help us, but we think it's deterring the Goa'uld."

"Nice to know," said Willow. "I think that when this is over we definitely need to sit down and talk about this war. See what we can do to help you, maybe what you can do to help us."

"That'd be nice," said Jack. "Okay, how about we get moving again. There's still a way to go."

"We can take a pit stop soon," said Lorne, "my family's place, the facilities are a little basic but better than the woods. You really don't want to try our version of poison ivy."

"Thanks, know exactly what you mean."

They walked on for another fifteen minutes or so, Willow trying to keep up with SG-1 and the Slayers, then something loomed on the trail ahead. A huge hairy form, bloated and repellant.

"That's hideous," said Jack, drawing his gun. "Anywhere special I should aim?"

"If only...," said Lorne, then shouted "Hi, mom."

"Krelorneswath?" shouted the apparition, "You have brought fresh cows? That ridiculous law has been overturned?"

"No mom, they're my guests."

"Hah! The vile excrement returns with more of his cow friends." She turned and shouted over her shoulder. "Numfar! Do the dance of shame!" Further down the trail a distant figure began to caper jerkily.

"They're paying, mom."

Lorne's mother turned again and shouted "Numfar! The dance of Capitalist Supremacy."

"Hey, I know that one," said Willow, "Anya used to dance it with Dawn."

"Mom, will you try to remember that it's a socialist state these days?" said Lorne. "You really don't wanna say things like that too loudly!"

"Hah! Another thing we can blame on you and your cow friends!" She turned away and angrily waddled back the way she'd come.

"Family," said Jack. "Can't live with them, can't live without them."

"Why did you think I spent five years on Earth?" said Lorne.

* * * * *

"I'm still itching," Daniel complained an hour later, and another couple of miles toward their goal.

"Well yeah," said Lorne, "but nobody told you to slip into the pit of lice."

"It wasn't exactly sign-posted," grumbled Daniel.

"Don't worry," said Lorne, keeping a safe distance, "they're demon lice, not human. Most of the ones that sucked your blood must be poisoned by now. Just be glad it wasn't the pit of fleas, they like humans."

"It still itches. Willow, can you do anything?"

"Not really," said Willow, trying not to giggle. "Don't you have some insect repellant or something?"

"Sure," said Jack, "if we were carrying full field gear. Not exactly standard issue for Los Angeles."

"Anywhere I can take a shower?" asked Daniel.

"Not unless you want to find out what our leeches are like," said Lorne.

"Never mind."

* * * * *

Eventually they stopped at a clearing that looked exactly like a hundred others they'd passed along the way, where more green-skinned Pyleans in hooded robes were waiting. Lorne talked to them in a language that none of the humans understood, then one of them gave him a length of silver chain with a dangling device that looked like a cross between a gyroscope and a compass, the "needle" a rod of dark crystal. He turned back to Willow and Jack and said "Okay. You want to link arms or hands or whatever, take hold of this thing, and walk forward until the bar points down and starts to glow. Then the gate'll open and land you in some woods about five miles west of the place you're looking for, or that's what the wizard says anyway. Once you're through you just go back to the same spot to return here, but you'll need to let things settle down a bit first. Give it at least three or four hours. I've gotta warn you, you didn't give us much time to get this organised, and Pylean Travel Inc. can't take any responsibility for any problems. Also, these guys don't actually like humans much, they'll do what you're paying for but they don't really care if you end up in a swamp or something. Any questions?"

"Why don't they like humans?" asked Willow.

"They used to be priests of the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart, Angel and the guys kinda wrecked their operation in this dimension. Anything else?"

"What happens if we aren't holding hands?" asked Sam.

"You could end up miles apart. That it?"

"I guess that's it," said Willow. "The gold's gonna be shipped through from London, and if you ever feel like visiting Earth again you're welcome to stay there or at our place in Rio. We're thinking of buying Cordy's old place too. Anyway, don't be a stranger."

"Don't think I want to drop by any time soon, Wolfram and Hart are still kinda active on Earth, but if you feel like a vacation on Pylea you know where to find me. Your friends too, of course."

"Uh, that's nice of you," said Willow, "but I could kinda live without the fleas and the lice."

"Don't be silly, I've got a condo that's to die for in town. Just because my family are hicks, doesn't mean I am."

"Thanks, maybe we'll take you up on it." Willow took the chain from him and gave him a brief hug; Lorne blushed darker than usual and kissed the top of her head.

"Thanks," said Jack, "It's been... um..."

"Uncomfortable and occasionally disgusting?" said Lorne.

"Took the words right out of my mouth."

"Better get moving," said Lorne, glancing at his Rolex, "I hate long goodbyes and it's gonna be dawn soon in Russia, I'd guess you're gonna want to find somewhere to hole up before sunrise."

Jack checked his watch and said "He's right. Let's get this show on the road."

"Everyone gather round," said Willow, "hold onto one another, try and keep as close together as you can. Is everyone set? Okay, move with me on the count of three. One...."

"Now I'm starting to itch," said Kennedy, who was standing next to Daniel.

"It's your imagination," said Willow, "Two...."

"Actually I can feel them too," said Sam.

"Great," said Willow, "maybe we can boost some DDT while we're in Russia. And three..." She walked forward, and everyone else came with her, more or less in unison. At the fourth step the crystal flared white, and a disc of rippling energy formed under their feet. "Oh crap!" said Jack as they fell through.

* * * * *

"Everyone all right?" whispered Jack once he had his breath back. There was a chorus of whispered replies. Everyone seemed to be okay. They were under a cloudy night sky, with a faint hint of dawn in the east. "Stay where you are while I get a GPS check." He switched on his receiver, checked the coordinates, and used a tiny flashlight to check the map that the NSA had faxed them.

"Okay," said Jack. "Good news and bad news. The good news is that we're about two miles from the Charm School. The bad news is that we're in the cleared fire zone around the school, if we try to head out we'll hit a minefield and barbed wire, if we head in we're gonna stand out like sore thumbs at daybreak. Any thoughts?"

"Move in," said Teal'c, "if we're fast we will reach shelter before we are detected."

"Sounds good to me," said Kennedy, "place that size, there's probably empty buildings."

"Willow?" asked Jack.

"I can give us a little protection, kinda like the glamour I used on the cars. Won't be much use in full daylight though."

"It's a plan," said Jack. "Okay, let's do it."

TBC

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