Chapter 11: The Blending
A/N: Some non-canon background coming up.
Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.
Challenge: #5248 'The Nox!' by Almadynis. Tentatively until I hear from Almadynis.
Thanks to my beta: zigpal.
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Stargate characters belong to Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright / SyFy Channel. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
After she got settled on the bed, Anne asked with a shaky smile, "Is everybody ready for this? 'Cause I know I'm not!"
"Don't worry…Anne just says things like that when she's nervous," Giles commented, looking at the Nox. Then he turned back to his friend and directed his next words to her, "She's strong enough to handle this."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," she quipped gratefully.
Giles squeezed her hand and said, "I'm only speaking the truth, dear girl."
Once she took in Egeria, Anne laid down. The difference between blending with a Goa'uld and a Tok'ra was startling to her. In cooking terms, the Goa'uld felt like being shoved into a blender; if Egeria was representative of the Tok'ra, they felt like gently folding in with a rubber scraper. A clumsy metaphor, but one her Home Ec teacher would have appreciated.
It didn't take long for Bast to determine that Egeria was the genuine article. Unfortunately, the forced breeding had indeed weakened her too much to survive another blending right away – unless they got some help healing her.
Opening Anne's eyes, Bast turned to her people to request that help, "My Nox, I need your assistance in healing Egeria. Without it, she will die shortly. I will be able to save Anne if that happens, but we would lose a valuable ally."
Quickly, the Nox gathered around the Ancestor's vessel and began their healing chant. Because the symbiote was not natural to this dimension, it took longer to heal it – something they noticed before, but hadn't considered the reasons behind it. They were determined not to fail Bast again, so they kept going until they literally dropped in exhaustion.
They had done all they could do; the rest was up to Bast, Anne and Egeria. Giles moved them to chairs in the room so they could wait.
Giles hovered nervously at Anne's beside throughout the night. Despite Bast's assurances, he was scared he might lose his Slayer- er, friend.
He breathed a huge sigh of relief when she opened her eyes and muttered, "I wanna smack those Pangarians for what they put Egeria through. That was not pleasant."
"Is she…is she well?" he asked hesitantly.
"Yup, and excited to kick some Goa'uld ass!" Anne replied with her usual zip. "The three of us have decided that it would be nice if she found a permanent home in somebody else, though. The main reason for that is 'cause it's getting crowded in here, but also 'cause it would be nice to have a physical ally – especially when we go to meet the Tok'ra. The trouble is finding somebody to be her host," she finished with a frown. Even though the blending was nicer, it was still a bit overwhelming to a human. She could imagine it would be worse for somebody without a goddess helping them.
This was something Giles had been thinking about since the Nox began healing Egeria. His idea both terrified him and gave him tremendous hope. "I know somebody back on Earth. My sister has been catatonic for the past 15 years. Maybe Egeria could help unlock her mind and give my baby sister back to me?" he inquired hopefully.
Anne saw his angst and immediately asked, "Do you want to talk about it?"
He shook his head, "Not until I find out what happened to her."
"Alright," she agreed for the moment. "Then I guess we should figure out how to get back to Earth."
"Our choices are returning through the gate or getting one of Bastet's ships, correct?" he checked.
"Yeah. I'm afraid that either choice could freak out those soldier-types," Anne replied. "Somebody coming through the gate cover thing or a big scary ship in orbit? Not exactly great options if we want to be friends later."
Lya, who had been standing quietly in the corner since Anne woke up, inquired, "Why do you not want to speak to them, Anne? They are good people – even if they are more violent than we are comfortable with," she said in order to give her seal of approval…assuming it meant something to the Ancestor.
Giles handled the explanation; a throwback to their previous relationship of Watcher/Slayer, "People of our planet – especially the military people – prefer to have clear plans when dealing with dangerous situations. If we approach them before we know how we are going to implement our plan, they won't take us seriously. However, if we wait until after we've successfully started…"
"They'll see us as equals," Anne finished.
The Tollan representative spoke up, having entered just moments before, "Then might I suggest subterfuge?"
"What do you mean?" Giles asked.
"We have not informed the Tau'ri that we survived the Goa'uld attack on our last homeworld. A group of our people could visit to tell them of this while you went to retrieve your sister," the Tollan offered.
Before they could discuss it further, Opher came running in. "Ancestor! Ancestor! We believe we have discovered where the others went!" he shouted excitedly.
Bast looked very pleased at the news. "You have? Where?"
"It isn't a where, but when…which is probably why they haven't returned home yet," Opher guessed. "They were chasing a Goa'uld by the name of Hemera who believed she could manipulate time by using the Gateway. She believed that by going to the right point in history, she could wipe out her father's enemy, Ra, and all of his children. Then Erebos' children could rule the galaxy. Erebos was her father," he explained for the group.
"I wonder what went wrong with her plan. After all, if she had been successful, the bad guys would have different names now," Bast commented, sounding a little like her host.
Glad that they had learned so much in such a short time, Opher answered, "She didn't count on the majority of the Furling chasing her, Aither – her husband and brother – and their combined armies through the Gateway. They must have defeated her on the other side."
"How do you know all this now when you didn't the first time we asked about the Furling?" Giles wondered aloud. He didn't mean to hurt the Nox, but it piqued his curiosity.
Still, Opher lowered his head in shame. "The Furling left a scroll, explaining what they intended to do. Those who came before had read it, but when the decision to turn into a peaceful race was made, the scroll had been set aside. While you were rescuing Egeria, we asked the others to look up any information we had on the Furling. That was when the scroll was discovered again," he explained.
"This is wonderful news! Now I can find the Furling and bring them home…assuming they are still willing to follow me after all this time," Bast added belatedly. She was lucky the Nox were so forgiving; it might not be the same with the Furling.
The Tollan representative appeared astonished. He knew the apparent limitations of the gate system. "You can time travel?"
"No, but if it involves the gates, Janus can help get us there," Bast replied confidently. "Or whoever is fulfilling his role if he was truly made mortal as punishment for the Goa'uld disaster."
Opher handed the Ancestor a piece of paper. "Here is the scroll; it has the coordinates of the world they went to, and the Nox who went with them. When a search team was gathered to go to that world, we were unable to establish a connection using the Gateway."
Looking at the coordinates, Bast said, "That's because this isn't a normal gate address. There are eight symbols listed, not seven."
"Yes. The scroll said that Hemera believed the eighth symbol was a marking for time," Opher informed them.
Bast shook her head, "No. I'm not sure how time travel is accomplished with the gates, but this isn't it. An eighth symbol is used to go to a different galaxy. The Furling didn't move through time; they moved outside this gate system. If I'm not mistaken, this is in a different galaxy that the Alterans colonized."
A/N: Next…The Furling – and maybe Giles' sister.
EDIT A/N: Oops, terribly sorry for my mistake at the end of the chapter. Didn't mean to imply the Ori galaxy.