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

The Key to Byzantium - I

Here's the first chapter of The Key to Byzantium, the BtVS / SG1 crossover I started on Saturday.

I probably won't update this fast after the first couple of chapters. As always comments would be appreciated before I post it to archives etc.

Repost with some changes to General Hammond's dialogue. Thanks, Booster!

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. Please note - BtVS characters won't appear in the first few chapters.

The Key to Byzantium

by Marcus L. Rowland


"They're definitely not Jaffa," Doctor Janet Frasier said two days later in the briefing room at Stargate Command. "No pouch, no evidence of larval Goa'uld. And none of them ever carried Goa'uld, there's no naquadah in the remains. The tattoos are normal tattoo inks, not Goa'uld embossed metal. As far as we can determine, given the time since death, they're normal humans."

"Could they be brainwashed, like the followers of Seth?" asked Jack. "The drug he used wouldn't show up, would it? How long is it since they died anyway?"

"The state of mummification, the humidity and pH of the soil and indicators such as calcium leeching suggest they've been there two to three years."

"Is that the best that they can do?" asked Doctor Daniel Jackson.

"There's evidence for late May 2001," said Captain Samantha Carter, checking her notes. "That's when the service station was burned out. The highway patrol spotted it while they were looking for a stolen camper. They would have assumed that it was lightning or accidental, but there were signs of recent vandalism. When they took a closer look they found several arrow-heads in the ruins. In the end they decided that someone had been playing cowboys and Indians with real fire arrows. Since the station had been abandoned since ninety-eight they didn't take any further action."

"Arrow heads, Captain?" asked General Hammond. "Flint or steel, or something exotic like Trinium?"

"Steel hunting arrows, a type sold by most sporting goods stores. The police found identical arrows amongst the weapons buried with the bodies."

"What killed them?" asked Jack.

"Blunt force trauma in nearly all cases," said Janet, "except for a few with deep stabbing and slashing wounds, a couple of decapitations, and some limb amputations which I'd have to say were simply torn off, not cut."

"When you say blunt force trauma....?"

"The kind of injuries you'd get if someone hit you with a sledge hammer or a large club. Massive damage to ribs and spine, skulls caved in, and so forth."

"Through chain mail?" asked Jack.

"The mail is torn where they were hit."

"So we're looking for someone with a club? Fred Flintstone on the list of suspects?"

"That's what I thought at first, but the shape and size of the weapon seemed to vary. Sometimes a single round impact point, sometimes a flat shape a couple of inches wide, sometimes several puncture wounds an inch or so apart."

"Were all the injuries caused by hand blows?" asked Teal'c. "Fists for the round mark, a flattened hand for the flat shape, fingers for the puncture wounds?"

"It could be," said Janet. "No human could do it but a Goa'uld might possibly have technology to enhance his strength to that extent. Other than that, we haven't seen many creatures that strong. About all I can think of is replicator androids."

"That's a nasty thought," said Jack.

"Relax," said Sam, "Replicators reproduce exponentially, they'd have already eaten half the world if one was loose in California three years ago. I doubt we'd have missed that."

"I shall consider myself reassured," said Teal'c.

"Very well," said Hammond. "What leads do we have? Any ideas where they came from?"

"Fingerprints are negative so far," said Janet, "the bodies are well-preserved, good enough to get prints from a few of them, but so far nothing that matches our records. We're trying them with Scotland Yard, Interpol, and other international agencies. DNA shows most of them as Caucasian or Latin ancestry. The dental work apparently suggests a European origin, but the forensics haven't pinned it down beyond that."

Jack said "All of their clothing, apart from the armour, came from Wal-Mart and other US chain stores. No documents, no credit cards, most of them had a few dollars in cash, all the money at least three years old, but that was it for personal possessions."

"What other clothing?" asked Daniel.

"You ever tried wearing armour without something on underneath?"

"Good point."

"Anyway, I'd say that the bodies were sanitized before they were buried, any indication of origin removed."

"Do we even know where they came from, Colonel?" asked Hammond.

"The road they were on leads from nowhere to nowhere," said Jack, "it doesn't go anywhere that isn't served better by other routes. That's why the service station went out of business. It's why the police can't give us an exact date for the fire, it isn't patrolled regularly."

"What about the camper Sam mentioned?" asked Daniel. "Where did that come from?"

"Sunnydale, California," said Sam. "Someone reported seeing it turn onto the road."

"Was it found?"

Sam checked her notes then said "No, it was never recovered."

"I'll get someone on to looking for it," said Hammond. "Maybe it's still out there somewhere."

"Sunnydale?" asked Jack. "Anywhere near Sunnyvale? The Navy intel base?"

"It was a small city on the other side of Los Angeles," said Hammond, showing the location with a laser pointer. "About seventy miles from the burial site.The whole town collapsed into a cave system last year. All that was left was a crater full of rubble, most of it underwater. I think you were off-world when it happened, but I would have thought it would have been in your news briefings when you returned, Colonel."

"Who has time to read that stuff?" asked Jack.

"Were there many casualties?" asked Sam.

"A few, mostly looters. There was apparently some warning, the residents evacuated."

"And we didn't investigate this?" Jack asked incredulously.

"Why would it be our business, Colonel? Everyone seems to agree that it was a natural disaster, like the Los Angeles meteor storm a few weeks earlier. I know someone's out to get us, but we don't want to be too paranoid."

"Okaaay. So we've got a bunch of wanna-be Jaffa corpses, the only trail we can find leads to Sunnydale, and the entire freaking town vanishes a couple of years later. And we're dismissing it as a coincidence?"

"And your proposal, Colonel?"

"First of all make sure that there's a link between the grave and Sunnydale. If there is, find out as much as we can about Sunnydale, interview any survivors we can track down, and see if anything weird pops up."

"Very well, I'll have it seen to."


"Colonel, you don't have to do everything yourself. If anything interesting emerges you'll be told. We really don't need you on the ground in California at the moment."

"I guess."

"Very well. Teal'c, did the tattoos look familiar?"

"General, I regret that they did not. While there are some similarities to Goa'uld designs, they are like none I know."

"Doctor Jackson?"

"I'm still working on it."

"Very well. I agree with you, this one has an odd feel to it. You aren't scheduled for another mission right now, so you might as well look into it. Colonel, I'll start making calls, I'd suggest you try your own contacts. Doctor Frasier, keep in touch with the forensic scientists. Captain Carter, see if there was anything odd about Sunnydale. Doctor Jackson, keep on those tattoos. Teal'c, find out if the Jaffa or the Tokra know anything. Let's get to work."



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