Chapter 30

The sound of the outer door opening made Moneypenny start. She looked up... to her favourite agent standing in the doorway. "James."

Bond smiled lightly. "Hello Moneypenny. Miss me?"

She smiled. "You missed all your regular reports, but then that's your normal style is it not?"

Bond affected a wounded expression. "How could you think so little of me?"

"I know you James." Her eyes drifted to the folder Bond held under one arm. "You have something for me?"

Bond smiled once as he handed the folder to her with a flourish. "My report, which I strongly recommend is filed away somewhere very, very deep where no-one will ever find it."

Her brow furrowed as she took the folder. "Why, what happened?"

Bond's eyes darkened, and she could have sworn that there was a hint of fear in them. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you." He said in a half whisper before he left the office, closing the door gently behind himself.

Moneypenny looked down at the plain folder in her hands, the only marks the official MI6 emblem embossed into the surface. Bond, scared? What could have happened? For a long moment she was tempted to look through it, but she reigned in her curiosity. She was not cleared to know the details. Sighing, she stepped towards the inner door.

X-X-X-X-X-X

Many miles north of where Bond was returning to his office, Lara Croft allowed herself to flop back into the couch, weary from everything. She'd spent an age in the bath, allowing the water to sooth her aching muscles. That Tok'ra's healing thing may have repaired the damage, but the memory of the injuries was still there. And it had no effect on fatigue.

Now, dressed in a loose shirt and tracksuit trousers, she closed her eyes, allowed her body to relax.

Her butler Hilary stepped over quietly, laying the tray he carried at her elbow with barely a sound. "You okay Lara?" He asked gently. "We were both worried when you didn't arrive at Heathrow..."

"I'm fine." She replied, cutting him off mid sentence. "I just... want to take it easy for a bit."

"So... should I tell Bryce not to set up the temple room?"

Lara's opened a fraction, just enough for Hilary to see her troubled eyes. "Yes. In fact, he can have the week off."

"Ah." Hilary straightened before walking quietly away. He shooed Bryce away as he did, having recognised the signs. Whatever had happened, it had been something that deeply affected Lara. She had only ever taken things easy after a particularly harrowing adventure. That business with the Cradle of Life and Pandora's Box had been a prime example. She'd not done anything of her normal past times for nearly two weeks afterwards.

Looking back at her, sprawled back loose limbed against the sofa, Hillary wondered how long before she recovered from this one...

X-X-X-X-X-X

Buffy sighed in relief as she dropped onto the sofa in her home. It was good to be home. It had been an uncomfortable flight back to the states for her, though she had seen that O'Neill had dozed off almost right away. And after the last few hours in the town, it had been something of an anti-climax.

The plane had landed on a base just outside San Diego for only a few minutes, just long enough for her and the other non-military people to disembark. After having them sign non-disclosure forms regarding the 'incident' they had been released to head to their various homes. She and Willow had to get a bus to reach Sunnydale.

Willow sank down besides her. "Nice to be home again, isn't it?" She asked tiredly.

"Yeah." Buffy looked across at her friend. "You okay?"

Willow nodded. "Uh huh. Take's a bit of time to settle in..."

Both girls started when the doorbell rang. After a moment Buffy stood up again and answered.

"Hey, welcome Back!" Xander said as he stepped inside. "I thought you were going away for two weeks?"

"Yeah, that was the plan, but... something came up." Buffy answered evasively.

"Well, as your back, how about we all go see a movie?" He asked, completely missing her evasion.

The tow girls looked at each other. "I suppose..." Willow started.

Buffy looked at the beaming Xander. "What movie where you thinking of?"

Xander's grin just widened. "What else? The new 'King Kong'. I can't wait to see how he wrestles with a T-Rex!"

Both girls' eyes widened. "On second thought, I need to patrol." Buffy said quickly, racing upstairs to get her weapons.

"I ah, I got to go study..." Willow followed her up the stairs, leaving Xander stood by the front door looking up after them in confusion.

"What I say?"

X-X-X-X-X-X

"Hey. How you doing?"

Regina opened her eyes to see Colonel O'Neill stood at the end of the bed she lay in, dressed in a loose green BDU, hands in his pockets.

"Well enough." She answered, sitting up a little in the SGC's Infirmary bed. After landing at Nellis they'd been driven to Cheyenne Mountain. SG1 and herself had been directed to the Infirmary for tests, while Mar'Tan had been separated and given some guest quarters. She'd heard O'Neill joke that this time Doc Frasier was the one getting the big needles jabbed into her, rather than her stabbing him with them. Janet had simply asked if he wanted her to take over his examination.

Thanks to her injuries in the Goa'uld Time Chamber, she'd been confined to the Infirmary to recover and bade to rest. So far, her mind was too active to allow her to sleep.

Those few minutes in the Time Chamber kept on running through her mind, replaying over and over. She kept on trying to see how she could have evaded the Allosaur, how she could of escaped with her team. But every time it was the same.

Her thoughts from before the insanity stole back into her mind. Was her situation truly bad, or was it a chance to live again, one without the constant fear and tension from the Terrorism War as it had become known, even if only for a few years? She brought her attention back to O'Neill as he spoke once more.

"That's good. Doc reckons you should be up and around again in a couple of days." He half sat on the end of the bed, his expression slightly softer. "Thought about what you're going to do now?"

Regina sighed. "Truthfully, no. It's not like I have anywhere I can go."

O'Neill half smiled. "You thought about joining the SGC?"

Regina gaped at him, stunned. Her, join the Stargate Program? She had to admit the prospect had a great deal of appeal...

"You're a good fighter, and smart. We need people like you."

"What about clearance? Technically, I'm still a little girl somewhere in New York."

O'Neill smiled. "And there's a second 'me' attending High School." He waved a hand, dismissing the matter. "Point is, we can get around that. So, you want in?"

Regina sat still for a long moment, thinking. Then she nodded. "Yes. I'm game."

O'Neill nodded. "Good." He pulled a hand out and tossed a cloth disk towards her. It landed Velcro backing up on her lap, and when she turned it over she saw a stylised looking 'V' symbol surmounted by a black roman numeral... the numeral for '1'.

"Welcome to SG1." At her startled look, he explained. "I talked with General Hammond already. We were thinking about expanding the teams, starting with SG1, and I want you on my team. Can you handle it?" There was a teasing note in his last sentence.

Regina smiled. "You know I can."

"Excellent." He eased off the bed. "Mar'Tan's heading back to the Tok'Ra today at fourteen-hundred hours tomorrow."

Regina smiled lightly at the implied message.

X-X-X-X-X-X

"Chevron four encoded."

Mar'Tan stood at the base of the ramp that led up to the Earth Stargate, watching the inner ring spin as they dialled. It both amazed and impressed him that the humans of this world had managed to build their own dialling device without any reference except the Stargate itself.

Around him the guards that were stationed in the Gate Room stood nervously, fingers close to their weapons triggers. Mar'Tan understood their fear completely. He still did not know what his fellow Tok'ra would think. His continued suppression of his host ran contrary to everything the Tok'Ra believed in... but then again, none of them had ever suspected that one of their kind would have a very powerful and intelligent predatory beast as a host. Certainly nothing as potentially dangerous to humans as the raptor he now existed in.

And yet... it was an intelligent being. He'd allowed the raptor to go through his memories of his friends and confidents. It had slowly began to change in its outlook on the people around it. Maybe, with time...

"Chevron five encoded."

The huge blast door to his right slowly moved aside. Mar'Tan tipped his head a little to the side, to better see who was entering. When he saw SG1 step through, he twisted about to face them fully.

"Here to see me off?" He growled playfully.

"Actually it's for Jacob." O'Neill answered jovially, indicating the elderly man that was walking besides Sam Carter.

As father and daughter talked quietly, a lithe bright red-haired figure half-limped in behind them, stepping around the Carters to approach Mar'Tan directly. He looked into Regina's face, noting in passing that she was dressed in SGC BDU's.

"Thanks once again." She said simply.

"Chevron six encoded."

Mar'Tan bowed before her, before turning to look at the rest of SG1. Teal'c dipped his head in a Jaffa show of respect, and Mar'Tan mirrored the action.

"Chevron seven locked."

The Stargate engaged, the out rush of the vortex stunning the raptor within him. Mar'tan noted how Regina also jumped, though to her credit she only took a half step back. After one last hug Jacob stepped back from his daughter and stopped at Mar'Tan's side. After a shared look, the two of them stepped forwards and up to the waiting wormhole.

X-X-X-X-X-X

The five of them watched the mismatched figures step through the Stargate. Sam continued to look at it even after the wormhole disengaged.

"He'll be okay Carter." O'Neill told her quietly, knowing what was on her mind.

"I know..." She replied. "I just sometimes wish..." The rest she left unsaid.

"Yeah." O'Neill glanced back at the gate, then to the rest of the team. "So... O'Malley's?"

Daniel frowned. "What's the occasion?"

"Do we need one for steak?" O'Neill shot back, softening it with a smile. Sam couldn't help but smile along with him. "But now you ask... meet our newest team member." He said stepping to Regina's side. Three sets of wide eyes looked at him.

"You serious?" Carter asked.

"Yes I am." O'Neill answered.

Teal'c was the first to get over the surprise. "It will be an honour to fight besides you once more." He told Regina, bowing to her in a show of respect.

"Sweet. Carter, I'm sure you and Frasier can sort out something for her to wear. And while you're at it, bring her too."

"Colonel, I think she was planning on spending time with Cassie..."

O'Neill's smile didn't break. "Bring her too." He called over his shoulder as he headed for the locker rooms.

X-X-X-X-X-X

Nine days later, SG1 were about to embark on their first mission as a five man team. O'Neill glanced up from his P90 as Regina walked into the Gate Room. Like them she was dressed in green BDU's with a tac vest over the top. Her head was bare, allowing her red hair to shine in the overhead lights. A heavily modified SAW was in her hands, a strap running over her body. With her past life and training, Hammond and O'Neill had decided that she would be their 'weapons specialist', proficient in any firearm they might take or could find. Doc Fraiser was pressing even harder now to be assigned to the team herself, and to be honest O'Neill wasn't opposed to the idea. She had handled herself well during their trip to South America, and it was not as if the SGC was lacking in qualified doctors now that could stand in while she was off-world…

"Got everything?" He asked good-naturedly, a small smile twisting his mouth..

Regina smiled and started counting off with her fingers. "Think so. Beretta, Zat, MP5's, rocket launcher, SAW, fragmentation and Goa'uld shock grenades, C-4..."

"Ah ah ah!" O'Neill waved her off, while Carter shared a smile with Regina. The two of them had become good friends over the last week, and she'd taken to Cassie almost as quickly. Cassie had found her a little aloft at first, but had quickly warmed to her.

The wormhole engaged, and for a couple of second they all looked up at the glowing pool.

"Let's go." O'Neill commanded, and the five of them trooped up the ramp. Regina hesitated at the threshold, and the rest of SG1 paused with her, giving her a moment. But before O'Neill could even think to push her through Regina hardened her eyes and stepped forwards.

Jack shared a smile with Carter. Their new teammate was going to work out just fine.

X-X-X-X-X-X

Paula watched the vortex of the Time Gate with her heart in her throat. Her papa had been right behind her, so where was he?

Another figure tumbled through just as the vortex began to shrink. Rick's lean form rolled across the floor before he stood up slowly.

The portal was half it's size when Dylan came diving through, landing hard on his stomach. Behind him the Time Gate shrunk and vanished.

"Papa!" Paula ran over to him and helped him up, hugging him tightly. But then she noticed something; one of them was missing.

"Where's Regina?" Gail asked coldly. Dylan glared back at him.

"She stayed behind."

They barely had a chance to take in their loss when one of the guards that ha surrounded them, almost totally ignored till now, stepped forwards. "Sirs, Ma'am, the Colonel wishes to see you."

Rick and Gail exchanged a surprised look. In the four years that SORT had been in operation, no body from the front lines had ever seen the Colonel. Orders were passed down via the internal network without any face to face contact.

Handing in their weapons, the four of them followed the guard through the complex until they reached the Commanders office. The clunk of a disengaging lock sounded as the door opened a fraction, and the four of them stepped through.

A large redwood desk separated them from the Commander's chair, which was turned away from them, facing the windows that looked out over southern Colorado. A flat screen computer sat just below the window, with framed pictures either side.

As they stood waiting, Rick glanced at the pictures... then looked again. There was the one which appeared to have a half dozen people in it, one of which had vibrant red hair...

The chair suddenly shifted, turning. Rick switched his attention to the chair... just as the Colonel's head came into view.

As one four jaws fell.

From the chair a nearly ten year's older Regina smiled lightly at them. Sliver Colonel rank tabs gleamed from the lapels of the slate grey BDU she wore, from under which a high collared black top emerged, covering almost her whole neck. A small scar marred her right temple, vanishing into her hair, which was still a vibrant red though worn several inches longer than she had in the past. A silver streak picked up the line of her scar, fading out as it climbed her crown. "At ease, and sit down. I expect you have a wild tale to tell..."

The End


I'd never thought I'd get here. But we have, and it's thanks to all of you who reviewed time and again.