As missions went, this one was pretty boring, but Lieutenant David Phillips had come to appreciate boring. Boring meant that no one was trying to kill him. He'd take a boring mission over an exciting one, any day of the week.
They were camped out in a jungle on a world that had been abandoned for thousands of years. He and Ry'ac's jobs consisted of making sure that their perimeter was secure and that none of the carnivorous animals on this planet got close to Dr. Summers as she moved from one cuneiform covered stone to another.
Dr. Summers wasn't as oblivious to her surroundings as many of the other scientists that he'd had to cover over the years. He could tell that she was always aware of what was going on around her. She always looked up whenever anyone approached her, and she'd kept her 'second best sword' with her at all times. (He sometimes wondered where she kept her best sword.) Phillips had no doubt that she knew how to use it, even though he hadn't seen her do it yet: he had seen her sister throw down with a sword and an axe one time.*
The day had started out warm and it had gotten hotter as the sun rose over the jungle, and Dr. Summers had shed the outer layers of her clothing. Summers looked better than most of the scientists that he'd had to guard over the years, but he tried not to think about that. Right now, she was part of his team, and as such was completely sexless, just like Colonel Carter (who also looked a lot better than any colonel should) but unlike the Colonel, she wasn't a permanent part of his team. When this mission was over she'd revert to being a girl. He let himself entertain one or two fantasies about asking her out on a date, and where such a date might lead, while never letting down his guard.
Of course, she wasn't like any other girl. Among other things, he'd seen this girl's sister carve up and kill a golem that had withstood everything that the military's premier demon hunting squad had thrown against it. A golem that had been less than a second away from obliterating Phillips before Buffy had shown up. And then there was the whole "Key Thing." Phillips didn't know everything that entailed, and neither did anyone else. Even Summers didn't seem to know what all she could do, but he knew enough to know that it was a good thing that she was on their side.
Best not to think about any of that now. His job was to guard their perimeter. There were some big cats out there in that jungle that would like nothing better than to eat them, and people had been gone long enough from this world that they'd forgotten just how dangerous humans could be.
Dr. Summers was still distracting, though he tried his best not to be. He tried not let his eyes linger on her bare legs and arms, as he swept them over the site. He tried not to be distracted as her bag started to play the opening chords of "Smoke on the Water." Wait a second…
Dawn Summers left the stone she had been clearing vines away from, and went to her bag. She started digging through it, until she came up with a cell phone. She flipped it open.
"Hello?" she said, oblivious to the looks of the other people around her.
"Hey Buffy, I'm kinda busy right now. Is this important?" she asked.
"No, I don't have time to do that now. Why don't you check with Simone in Records?" She looked up and she saw the Colonel, Ry'ac and him all staring at her. "What?" she asked.
"Your phone works here?" asked Colonel Carter.
"I guess," said Dr. Summers. "It's a Willow Special: guaranteed to work anywhere."
"You realize that we're fifteen thousand light years from Earth," said Colonel Carter.
"Hey Buffy," said Dr. Summers into her phone. "Do you know that you just set a record for the longest long distance phone call, ever?" She looked back up at Carter. "What's that in miles?"
"About a hundred quadrillion," said the Colonel.
"A hundred quadrillion miles," said Summers into her phone. "Yeah, that's a really long way. Good thing the phone company isn't billing you for all of them. … I'll have to call you back later." She snapped her phone shut, and looked around. "What?"
"You've just had a telephone conversation over a distance of fifteen thousand light years," said Carter.
"Yeah, I guess that is pretty amazing, if you think about it," said Summers.
"Can you call anyone else with that phone?" asked Carter.
"Sure," said Summers. "As far as the phone company is concerned, this phone is sitting in my apartment back in Colorado Springs."
Carter held out her hand. "May I try it?"
Summers handed over her phone. "Sure. The SGC switchboard is number three on speed-dial."
"Thanks," said Carter, pressing buttons on the phone. She lifted it to her ear. "Hello, this is Colonel Carter. Please put me through to General O'Neill. … Hello General. … Yes, I am still offworld. … I think you need to get in touch with Miss Rosenberg, about buying a bunch of cell phones for us. …"
*See The Volunteer, Story ID 311877