TITLE: New Guard: Secret Origins
AUTHOR: Methos (methos )
DISCLAIMER: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon; Superman and all DCU characters belong to their respective... Ok, easier just to say this is going to be quite a big multicross, so just count anything you recognise as belonging to someone else ok? Nothing is mine, only the extremely twisted idea…
"So, what else do you like?" Jack asked with a shrug. "Hockey, sports, I'm guessing superhero comics are a given." So far he'd found that trying to talk to Xander about his life in Sunnydale and family was akin to having teeth pulled. In the thirty minutes or so they'd spent together in traffic, he barely knew anything about Sunnydale other than it seemed to have a small gang problem and he had two friends by the names of Willow and Buffy.
After about half an hour of them all trying to learn more about Xander's past, they'd given up and attempted to play poker between the four of them. Attempted would be the best word he could actually think of to describe what it was they had actually been doing, Carter was vaguely familiar with the game but was constantly trying to apply formulae and probability percentages to it to help her play, Daniel it seemed had never picked up a deck of cards in his life and had no clue how to actually play the game.
While Xander did seem to have quite a rudimentary understanding of the game, he was still a bit nervous about actually playing and talking with any of them, at best he seemed to be bonding with Daniel better than any of them. He'd tried to add in some jokes about using x-ray vision on the cards to cheat, or using his super speed to shuffle the cards in his favour, but each joke had left Xander looking more worried and if he wasn't mistaken, surprised somewhat at the jokes, like he was still accustoming himself to having these powers and was definitely not used to anyone talking to him about anything out of the ordinary.
"Uh, yeah comics are good." Xander said with a small smile.
"And, well, what, come on kid, give me something to work with here," Jack grinned across the car. "You like cartoons, the Simpsons?"
"Homer's cool," Xander nodded with a smile.
"See, now we're getting somewhere." Jack smiled softly at him. "What about sports, wrestling? Football? Baseball? Hockey?" He added the last hopefully.
"I was never really any good at them," Xander shrugged honestly. "Never tried out or anything at school, I got on the swim team once but it didn't last."
"Swimming, ok, I guess that's something." Jack nodded.
"What about other academic clubs?" Daniel asked this time from his seat next to Jack. "You said you spent a lot of time in the library with Doctor Giles. You like reading?"
"Nah," Xander laughed, feeling more comfortable at Daniel's questions. "I just hung out there with Buffy and Willow, fetched the doughnuts, helped with research, that sort of thing."
"Research?" Daniel asked, his eyes smiling at this bit of knowledge.
"School stuff, homework you know?" Xander covered up quickly. "Willow's the smart one; she knows all the computer stuff and books."
"Willow, is that your girlfriend then?" Daniel asked, trying to learn more about Xander's home life. He'd guessed from Jack's questions that he wanted to learn as much as he could about Xander's life in Sunnydale but wasn't comfortable pushing the questions, so he'd decided to try and more roundabout way of finding out.
"Willow, god no," Xander laughed. "She's like my best friend; we've known each other since kindergarten."
"So Buffy then?" Daniel asked.
"Nah," Xander shook his head slowly. "She's dating this guy called Angel."
"I'm guessing there's a story there," Jack interrupted. "Don't like the guy much I take it."
"Is loathing a good word?" Xander answered honestly. "He's just… I just don't like the guy alright."
"But you like Buffy," Jack could easily see where this was going, a love triangle between Xander, Buffy and this Angel character. He'd feel safe putting good money on the face that this Angel was everything Xander appeared not to be, probably tall, well built, a jock or something at the school, the popular kid who had all the girls drooling over him.
"She's with Angel, I don't even register on her guy-meter," Xander said sadly, remembering the hot and heavy dance Buffy had given him when she'd returned from LA just to make Angel jealous.
"Her loss then," Jack shrugged. "You can throw planes around like elastic bands or something, if that ain't going to impress the ladies then I don't know what will."
"Not all women are just interested in men's bodies' sir," Carter defended her sex from next to O'Neill. "Just because someone can be built like Mister Universe doesn't mean they're an interesting person or are right for a relationship."
"I know that Carter," Jack defended himself back. "I was just trying to explain to the kid that he's got tons of stuff going for him, if this Buffy girl isn't interested, then there's plenty more fish in the sea."
"Yeah I guess," Xander nodded. "I'm… I guess I'm just not the guy women go for." Xander said sadly as he sat in the chair and tried not to mope as the car drove on to its destination through the night-time city.
General Hammond looked up to the door to his office, ready to deal with whatever Sergeant Harriman was about to announce. Half of him hoping that he was coming with news that this Superman stunt was exactly that, and would be able to be written off as a hoax in the paperwork shortly. "What is it?" He asked, putting down the paperwork he'd been going over.
"Sir, we have NASA on the line." Sergeant Harriman explained. "They're tracking an unidentified craft in orbit over the western coast."
"Do we have contact?" General Hammond asked, standing up from his desk with urgency and moving out of his office to deal with this new information.
"No sir," Sergeant Harriman shook his head. "NASA are transferring direct feeds to us from the satellite links, we should have visual within the hour."
"What do they have so far?" General Hammond asked as he walked down the stairs to the main control room with Sergeant Harriman following him.
"Not much sir," Sergeant Harriman shook his head as they walked. "The contact was picked up at eighteen thirty two on a low orbit, they're awaiting confirmation but it appears the ship is locked in a geosynchronous orbit."
"Above where?" General Hammond frowned, wondering if this mysterious ship had anything to do with the new Superman in their midst, it was too much of a coincidence for a ship to appear in orbit the same day as an unknown alien on the planet. "And why are we only hearing about this now?"
"We're waiting for that information as well sir, NASA were attempting to confirm contact before informing us." Sergeant Harriman explained. "Once NASA have moved the satellites into position, we should have that information along with a visual on the ship."
"Understood," General Hammond nodded. "Inform me as soon as we have any further information." He said, glancing up at the screens that were showing the information from NASA, a clear unidentified ship in orbit above the planet. "And find out how that thing got here without us knowing about it."
"Yes sir," Sergeant Harriman nodded as he moved back to the phone to contact NASA again.
"Is everything in order?" Major Davis asked as he watched Giles sign the last of the documents on the SF three one two form."
"Yes, yes, it all seems quite rudimentary for a document such as this." Giles nodded as he signed the last and replaced the pen cap before sliding the documents back over the table to Major Davis.
"Why are we filling in secrecy documents for a meeting with Xander though?" Ethan asked curiously, finding some of his old strength again now that the manic day of sending himself back through time, replacing the version of him in this time frame, and then performing the possession ritual was over.
"I assume you have some questions regarding our intentions towards Mr Harris, likewise I have some of my own questions regarding his origins so to speak." Major Davis explained, giving Ethan a nod at his own question. "Before we get started, would you like a cup of coffee or something, I realise it is quite late for a meeting like this."
Giles nodded in thanks. "Yes, though tea would be preferable if you have it."
"Coffee's fine," Ethan said simply.
"I'm sure we can find you something," Major Davis said with a smile as he stood up and made his way to the front of the jet where the refreshments were kept, normally they would have had an attendant or something on board with them, but given the sensitive nature of the conversations they would be having, it was felt best that it was limited to only essential personnel on the jet at this time.
"So, if I may ask, what are your plans with Xander?" Giles asked as he stood up from the chair and followed Major Davis to the area at the front of the plane where a burgundy curtain was hiding the refreshment area from being seen by the usual passengers.
"That entirely depends on him," Major Davis answered as he retrieved two cups from the cupboard. "I'm assuming he is in high school at the moment."
"Yes, in his junior year," Giles explained as he watched Major Davis rummage through the cupboards for some tea bags.
"A tough time for most teenagers then," Major Davis nodded as he found a small box of tea bags. "Earl Grey?" He asked, pulling the box out. "I think there is also some herbal if you'd prefer."
"No, no, Earl Grey is fine thank you," Giles nodded with a smile.
"And how is he doing at school, if you don't mind me asking," Major Davis continued as he made a coffee for himself and then used the water heater to pour out some boiling water into the cup he'd placed the earl grey tea bag in. "Milk, sugar?"
"No, thank you, black is fine." Giles fought the urge to roll his eyes at the American idea that tea was always served with milk and sugar. "Yes, I believe he's doing well enough. A young friend of his is helping tutor him in math and some of the sciences."
"Good to hear," Major Davis nodded as he finished stirring the cups. "Shall we?" He nodded back through the curtain to where Ethan was still sitting.
"Yes, sorry," Giles smiled as he led the way back this time, carefully holding the cup of tea in his hands so he wouldn't spill any in the obviously expensive jet.
"Now, if we could get back to Mr Harris' origins." Major Davis explained. "This may be quite a complicated conversation, so if you do have any questions about my side of things, don't hesitate to ask." He said as he sat back down in his chair and placed his cup of coffee on the table before shuffling the papers Giles had signed back inside the briefcase and pulling out several manila folders marked 'top secret' in return.
"I will, thank you." Giles nodded as he returned to his seat.
"So, what can you tell me about where Mr Harris comes from?" Major Davis asked, pulling out another folder and flicking it open. "We had our people look into the records for Sunnydale, and could only find one Alexander Harris born there." He spun the papers around and tapped at the photo copy of the driver's license and birth certificate for Alexander Lavelle Harris.
"Yes, these are Xander's documents." Giles nodded in affirmative as he flicked his eyes over the various papers. They all looked real enough and the photo on the photocopy of the driver's license was definitely Xander.
"So he was born in Sunnydale General Hospital, December twenty ninth," Major Davis read off the paperwork. "To Anthony and Jessica Harris."
"I confess to not actually knowing his parents' names, but if that is what it says on his birth certificate then it is more than likely correct." Giles nodded as he took a small sip of the tea, blowing on it first to cool in down slightly.
"That's his parents," Ethan nodded in confirmation. "Not that he'd ever admit it really. Not exactly the white picket fence family if you know what I'm saying."
"I see," Major Davis nodded, taking note of that. "And when did he first start developing his powers," Major Davis asked as gently as he could to broach the subject. "You see, at first we were under the impression that Mr Harris was an alien, much like his comic counterpart Superman, though these birth records and hospital records seem to be in order, we both know that records can be falsified."
"An… an alien?" Giles asked, pausing in mid sip from his tea.
"Well, it's quite obvious that Mr Harris gains his powers from somewhere, the Superman costume notwithstanding, the footage we have of him catching the plane, along with eye witness accounts of him actually being run over by the same plane upon landing it, seem to indicate he at least has the same powers of flight, strength and invulnerability that his counterpart in the comics does." Major Davis explained. "If he is an alien, one that possibly shares the same or similar histories to Superman, that it is something we would rather know now before we go any further."
"Major Davis, may I, you seem to be accepting the idea of alien life quite easily as an explanation for Xander's powers," Giles explained, casting a curious glance over towards Ethan, both of them wanting to know exactly what the military thought Xander was before he got into any further explanations, though what he was actually going to tell them about how Xander got his powers was still a blank page in his mind.
"Yes well," Major Davis smiled as he pushed the first manila folder over to Giles' side of the table for both him and Ethan to look through. "If you'd please turn to the first page, perhaps this will explain things a bit more."
Giles just nodded slightly before opening the folder and looking at the first page of the paperwork inside. The heading was marked 'Giza, 1928' and had a large faded picture of what appeared to be an Egyptian cover stone cantered in the page with writing underneath it.
"In nineteen twenty eight a device was found underneath the sands of Giza in Egypt by archaeologists searching for hidden tombs," Major Davis started to explain as Giles read through the paperwork, his eyes immediately growing wide at the implications of what he was reading here. "In nineteen thirty nine, this device was brought to America to be studied by the top minds of the time…"
Giles just focused on what he was reading and Major Davis' voice seemed to fade into the background as he flicked over the page and was faced with a large colour image of a metallic circle with the title 'The Stargate' marked underneath.
"Good lord," He whispered out as he read what the scientists in 1945 had managed to do, piecing together what he was being told here along with the letter and photos Ethan had left for him.
"So, here we are." Daniel smiled as he opened the door and got out first, holding the door open for Carter to get out next, and then Xander followed by Jack.
"Well it's not home, but close enough," Jack said with a smile as got out of the large car they'd been traveling in, the security guards around the sides of the entrance saluting him crisply as he walked past with Daniel and Carter following with Xander.
"You'll be fine," Daniel smiled across as he walked alongside Xander and Sam a few steps behind Jack
"Sorry," Xander said sheepishly as he looked at another set of guards that were stood next to the large gate that guarded the main entrance to the base. "I just don't like guns much."
"They're just here for security," Carter explained with a smile. "Nothing for you to worry about."
"Not that he has to worry about guns anyway right?" Jack called back with a grin at he stopped by the guards and flashed his security ID pass. "Head on in, I think the mess hall should be our first stop. Don't know about the rest of you, but I could do with a coffee and something to eat."
"That sounds good," Daniel nodded in agreement. "Xander?"
"I could eat," Xander admitted with a small nod.
"Go on, you kids find something to eat, I'll check in with General Hammond." O'Neil explained with a nod, even though he wasn't familiar with Mitchel Base himself, there was a standard layout to all Air Force bases that should make finding their way around easy enough.
"Ok sir, we'll see you in there." Carter said with a smile as she led the way inside the base.
"Don't worry kid, nothing bad is going to happen here," Jack reassured Xander as he saw his hesitation. "You're safe, trust me."
"I'll stay with you," Daniel added his reassurance, causing both Jack and Xander to smile at him. "You saved my life up there, it's the least I can do."
"Oh, you'll probably want these as well." Jack added with a smile as he handed over the plastic bag he'd been carrying containing the Superman costume top, cape and boots. "Just in case, ya know." He grinned as the three of them walked in through the doors to the main building itself. "See you in ten."
"Sir," Carter nodded before she led the way into the base itself.
"So, uh, what is it you guys do anyway?" Xander asked after a few moments silence as they walked through what appeared to him to be a deserted base.
"It's complicated," Carter explained with a small smile. "Once you've been properly briefed, I'm sure you'll have lots more questions."
"Yeah right," Xander nodded in return. "So you're like a scientist or something?"
"Astrophysicist," Carter nodded. "I'm also a Captain in the air force."
"And you're…" Xander asked, turning to Daniel this time.
"An archaeologist," Daniel smiled back. "My speciality is in ancient Egyptian and linguistics." Daniel explained.
"Ahh, gotcha, book guy." Xander nodded sagely. "And Jack?"
"Colonel Jack O'Neill," Carter explained his full name and rank. "He's supposedly second in command of the base we're stationed at, though he tries to get out of it whenever possible." Carter explained with a small smile.
"Second in command? Of an entire base?" Xander asked, his eyes going wide, the thought the air force had actually sent someone that high up in the chain to talk to him was a bit mind blowing at the moment, even if he had already spent the last couple of hours talking to them all and getting to know them.
"As I said, it's complicated." Carter explained with a small smile.
"Ah, ok then," Xander shrugged, he didn't know much about military terms or hierarchy at the best of times, only knowing roughly where the different names just Captain and Colonel actually were in the list compared to titles like General.
"You'll be fine," Carter smiled at him. "Colonel O'Neill will be along shortly after we find something to eat, so he'll be able to answer any other questions you have."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" Xander laughed nervously as they walked past another pair of guards into an open room that was far larger than the cafeteria at the high school that he was used to.
"There's no reason to be nervous," Carter said to him reassuringly as she gestured for them all to take a seat at one of the tables. "We've just got a few questions for you, nothing really for you to worry about."
"What sort of questions?" Xander asked hopefully, hoping that he could start practicing his answers now so he could get out of here as soon as possible.
"I'm sure you'll be fine," Daniel smiled at him. "You'll be free to leave at any time you want I'm sure." He smiled at him, completely missing the wince that Carter gave as the words left his lips.
"They just want to know what you're planning to do," Carter explained, hoping to get away from Daniel's comment that he was free to leave. "Catching that plane was a big deal; the newspapers around the world will be running with the story for week now I guess. The government just wants to make sure you're going to be doing the right thing out there, it's a big responsibility having those sorts of powers, and they just want to make sure you're going to be alright with them."
"Weeks?" Xander's eyes flew open at the idea of him being in newspapers for weeks to come, he'd barely got his head around the idea that the video footage of him under that plane had made it to news stations, the idea of seeing himself on newspapers wasn't something he'd even considered. "Look, I don't even know what I'm going to do myself yet, everyone's treating this like it's some big deal or something, like I'm some sort of hero."
"You are," Daniel said earnestly. "You saved hundreds of people's lives tonight when you caught that plane; if you hadn't been there it might have crashed who knows where, maybe even in the city somewhere. You're the hero of the hour here Xander, you're going to have to get used to that."
"What if I can't?" Xander answered honestly, turning to Daniel and hoping he would be able to offer a better explanation. "I'm not a hero or anything like that, certainly not Superman, I don't even remember catching that plane, let alone flying with it or anything. I'm just the doughnut boy, nothing special here."
"You are," Daniel smiled at him, reaching up and laying his hand on his shoulder lightly. "You have the power here, if other people could do what you could do, they'd probably use it to rob banks or set themselves up as some country leader or something, you saved people's lives, that's a hero's job."
"But I'm not the hero here," Xander said honestly, leaving off the words 'Buffy is' that formed in his mind.
"You are now." Daniel smiled at him as he looked around the cafeteria. "So, soda?" He asked, eying the empty kitchen area before standing up to go in search of some food that they could all enjoy while talking this out.
"This… this is unbelievable." Giles stammered out as he turned over another page and blanched slightly at the complex set of mathematical equations shown on the paper. "You mean to tell me that the United States government has been aware of extra-terrestrial life for some time now, and has not only had contact with them, but has actually been exploring other worlds through this… this Stargate?" He frowned, rubbing his eyes as he came across a photo of what was titled a 'Goa'uld mothership' that matched the photo he had in his overnight bag precisely.
"That is precisely what I am explaining to you," Major Davis nodded. "The SGC, or Stargate Command, is charged with exploring new worlds through the Stargate, meeting new alien life and hopefully brokering trade agreements with the various civilizations they meet."
"I… I confess I don't quite know what to say to all of this." Giles admitted, glancing at Ethan and seeing him just as engrossed in the photos and information on the papers, obviously filling in the gaps that he didn't know about the aliens during the invasion. The thought that the military already knew about all of this was frankly astounding, and worrying him more now that he knew he had evidence and weapons that were obviously known alien technology in his bag only a few feet away from him in his bag.
They'd been talking for most of the flight now, with various explanations for the Stargate and how it was found, what it did, and how the government had actually been using it, taking up most of their time. Piecing it together it was obvious that these Goa'uld were the ones responsible for their attack in the future, which was what had driven Ethan to come back and use the spell responsible for the costumes tonight.
"And this… this is why you believe Xander to be an alien then?" Giles asked after a moment's thought, trying to bring himself back to dealing with the matter at hand instead of focusing on the fact that he now knew for certain they weren't alone in the universe.
"Indeed," Major Davis nodded in agreement. "Our best guess is that Mr Harris was possibly born to an alien race, or perhaps modified genetically by an alien race, and then left on earth. If his powers have only just begun to mature, it's possible he was abandoned here as an infant and his birth records falsified to show this. Perhaps if Mr Harris knows anything about his birth place or origins, we might be able to actually help him find his original planet of birth and help him relocate there."
"I am reasonably sure that Xander is not an alien," Giles said honestly, trying to figure out how he could actually talk his way around this without revealing the knowledge he had of the future to come. "In fact I am almost certain of the fact, and given the fact that I am also sure you have medical records there from Xander's past, possibly blood and eyesight tests as well, you have enough information to gauge his, well, humanity for yourself."
"We do," Major Davis admitted, finding the folder that had Xander's life history printed out inside. "Various trips to the hospital for broken bones, bruised muscles, slight internal stomach damage when he was twelve, blood tests show nothing out of the ordinary."
"There you have it." Giles nodded, though inwardly was actually thinking about Xander's medical records, nothing he'd ever said had posed that he'd been in trouble with fights or vampires before knowing Buffy, but that amount of medical history at the hospital wasn't normal for a teenager growing up.
"We believed these records were altered at some point," Major Davis explained. "We don't expect to find this amount of hospital records for someone as young as Mr Harris."
"Neither did I actually." Giles frowned openly as he took off his glasses and started cleaning them. "As to his medical past, you will have to talk to Xander about those, to him being an alien however, I can vouch that Xander is as normal as they come, perhaps a bit of a slacker in certain areas, but nothing more than is to be expected from a typical teenage boy."
"You're certain this birth record is accurate?" Major Davis asked.
"As certain as I can be without talking to Xander." Giles nodded in agreement.
"If he was born as a normal human being then, we can only ascertain that he was altered somehow, perhaps recently if this is his first experience with his powers." Major Davis mused as he shuffled the alien theory away in his mind and focused on other explanations for the powers that had been witnessed by so many people.
"Quite possibly," Giles nodded, turning to look at Ethan and nodding along, hiding the wince at how close Major Davis had been to the truth, and realising that this was going to be far more complicated than Ethan's original plan had been.
"Hey kids," O'Neill smiled as he opened the door and walked in with a pile of papers under his arm. "Sorry about the wait," He smiled as he walked into the cafeteria, eying the coffee pot and various packets of chips that were on the table. "Found some snacks then?" He asked as he sat down.
"Did you manage to contact General Hammond?" Daniel asked as he slid over the coffee pot he'd liberated from the kitchen for Jack.
"Yup," O'Neill nodded. "Major Davis is flying in with Mr Giles and Mr Rayne; they'll be here in a few hours." He explained as he poured out a mug of coffee. "He's been dealing with The President, trying to figure out what exactly we're going to do here."
"A cover story?" Daniel asked curiously.
"That's something being discussed." O'Neill nodded slowly. "Like I said, you did the hero thing pretty well." O'Neill explained to Xander with a small smile. "We're just trying to figure out exactly what the story is here and where we can really go with it."
"Uh, thanks?" Xander half asked as he picked hesitantly at a bag of chips that he'd opened on the table.
"You're not in trouble alright?" O'Neill said after a moment's thought, trying to reassure the kid. "If anything, it should be us thanking you for what you did tonight, even though it's caused a lot of people back in Washington a big headache." He explained, pausing to take a mouthful of the coffee. "Look, we're just trying to see how we can work this out, I mean, it's not as if we can cover this up anymore, with the news reports and footage, it's all going to be nationwide by the end of the night."
"I guess," Xander nodded after a moment's thought.
"So you see the problem," O'Neill nodded over as he tapped the papers on the desk. "I had these faxed over after our people pulled up your history, so, Sunnydale? Not some alien with a ship waiting in orbit?"
"Uh, yeah," Xander nodded. "I mean no, no to the ship thing, Sunnydale born and bred sadly." He laughed nervously over the table as he picked at some more chips.
"I think what Colonel O'Neill is trying to ask, is what you have planned now?" Carter asked helpfully. "When we asked you about the Stargate before, you indicated you haven't heard of it before."
"The Chap'pai?" Daniel asked hopefully.
"Like I said, born in Sunnydale," Xander said with a shrug. "No Stargate's or Chapper-thingies or whatever you want to call them." He explained.
"So you're just magically able to do all the stuff you can?" O'Neill quipped with a smirk. "'Cause if you're not planning on anything else, I can think of a few guys I'd love to introduce you to." He said with a grin, picturing Xander throwing around Jaffa with ease and punching Apophis into orbit.
"Uh, no?" Xander shook his head, wondering what the right answer was here. "I don't even know how I did the arm wrestling or speed cards thing; I just did it you know?" He tried to put his thoughts into words to explain what he was trying to say. "I mean, I don't even know how I did the flying thing, and I definitely don't want to try it again anytime soon."
"Hey, relax; we're just here to see what it is you can actually do here." O'Neill said reassuringly with a smile.
"Sorry," Xander nodded, taking a breath to calm himself. "This is all just freaking me out alright, I mean these things," He gestured to the handcuffs that were still attached to each of his wrists like bracelets. "It was like tearing tissue paper when I broke them."
"You wanna get rid of them completely?" O'Neill said, looking at the set of military grade handcuffs that had been snapped along the chain.
"Huh?" Xander asked, looking at the handcuffs. "You mean twist them off or something?" He asked, contemplating how to actually get the things off of his wrists.
"Go for it," O'Neill nodded.
"Well, I guess I could…" Xander trailed off as he held the thick bit off the handcuff where the lock was held between his thumb and index finger and twisted sharply, the sound of metal screeching for a moment filled the room before the handcuff snapped away from his wrist and dropped to the table harmlessly. "Oh, uh, yeah, guess so." Xander nodded as he did exactly the same with his other hand and dropped the two pieces of broken handcuffs on the table in front of him.
"See, super strength." Jack nodded with a small smile.
"I guess," Xander nodded, poking the handcuffs with his finger. "Not fake or plastic or anything?" He asked, turning to Jack hopefully.
"These are the same handcuffs used to secure prisoners," Carter explained as she picked up one of the broken pieces of metal and examined it. "They are made of a toughened steel alloy."
"See, see what I mean," Xander breathed out as he picked up one of the broken handcuffs and proceeded to bend it around in his fingers. "This could be plastic or play dough for all I know." Xander said before dropping the now twisted and warped chunk of metal on the table with a clang. "I just want to go home."
"We'll see what we can do," Daniel nodded with surprise, a bit taken aback by the frustration and surprise that he could almost feel radiating off the young man in front of him.
"Uh, is there a restroom or something around here?" Xander asked cautiously, looking around the cafeteria for anything that could have directions to a men's room he could use.
"Down the hall," O'Neill nodded to the main doors. "Left hand side, can't miss it." He explained. "Daniel, wanna show the kid back there?"
"Sure," Daniel smiled helpfully as he stood up.
"Thanks," Xander smiled as he stood up and followed Daniel out of the cafeteria, thankful that the group of people here seemed friendly enough and willing to listen to him, not at all like he'd pictured official type people to be.
"Well?" O'Neill asked, raising his eyebrow at Carter as he picked up the twisted lump of metal that used to be one of the pieces of handcuff, tossing it between his hands before holding it out for Carter to take.
"If I had to guess sir, I'd say he's exactly who he appears to be." Carter said with a frown as she tried to twist the metal back to its original form. "He seems quite surprised at being able to do what he can, I get the feeling he's actually unnerved at his level of strength. Overall sir, I'd say he's exactly what he appears to be. If we didn't have proof of these abilities he possesses, he seems to be just a normal teenager."
"Seems that way," O'Neill nodded in agreement. "He said anything that explains these powers?" He asked hopefully.
"I wasn't sure at first, but the way he hesitates and avoids questions about his parents and life back in Sunnydale, it all adds up sir. If these powers are new to him, they possibly manifested as a result of the abuse received."
"So what, he just woke up one day with the powers of Superman?" O'Neill asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Not quite sir," Carter shook her head. "I don't know enough about his genetic makeup to pose a current theory on how he is able to do the things he can, if, like he claims, he was ordinary until a short time ago."
"So, what, are we talking alien experiments here?" O'Neill asked with a frown. "Another Goa'uld on Earth?"
"I don't think so sir," Carter shook her head. "We were talking while we were waiting for you, I idly mentioned ideas of aliens, flashing lights, glowing eyes, anything that would signify the fact that he had encountered a Goa'uld."
"I'm guessing that's a no then," O'Neill nodded thankfully, knowing if Carter had suspected any Goa'uld was behind this, she'd have told him immediately.
"I thought there was a reaction to the flashing eyes comment, but he laughed it off and started asking about gang members on drugs." Carter explained. "However it is he is doing what he does, I don't believe it's the result of Goa'uld manipulation."
"Perhaps someone else? I can't really see the Nox doing something like this." O'Neill mused aloud, trying to find a reasonable explanation for what he'd witnessed so far.
"I don't think so sir," Carter shook her head. "We have no reason to believe the Nox are performing experiments on humans, and it doesn't feel like something the Tollan would do. Neither race showed any interest in us, or performing experiments on other humans."
"Yeah, too young," O'Neill nodded, remembering how the Nox treated them. "I just don't like the idea that we've got a kid here with all the powers of Superman, and we've got no hope of trying to control him if he goes rogue. I mean, could we bribe him or something, get him to work with us?"
"He's only a teenager sir, not even out of high school is my guess," Carter explained.
"And has the powers to take down an army on his own," O'Neill frowned. "General Hammond is already getting calls from the Oversight Committee and higher up the food chain, we're to try and recruit him if possible. Basically I'm guessing that the joint chiefs don't want someone with that sort of power going free. So unless we can restrain him, which I'm guessing has a chance of about zero," O'Neill said, picking up the twisted handcuff metal and tossing it around in his hand. "We're to do whatever we can to convince him to work with us."
"I…" Carter trailed off as she thought about what she'd seen of Xander so far. "I think we could persuade him sir, he's a bit rough around the edges, but seems to get on with Daniel well enough. I think he's just in shock. If we take it as his word that tonight is the first time he's experienced anything like this, then it would explain why we haven't seen or heard any stories of a teenage Superman saving the day in the Los Angeles area."
"Admiral Fitzwallace," General Hammond saluted crisply as the elevator doors opened to reveal the older Admiral stood there.
"General Hammond," Admiral Fitzwallace nodded crisply. "What can you tell me?"
"Not much," General Hammond said as he gestured for Admiral Fitzwallace to walk alongside him. "We have NASA pinning down information on the new contact as we speak, though satellite telemetry has been coming in for the past hour or so."
"That's good," Admiral Fitzwallace nodded. "What do we have?"
"It's not Goa'uld, we've been able to ascertain that much." General Hammond explained as they continued to walk. "The design of the unknown ship is recognisable, but I'm leaving that up to the scientists to go over that one with me."
"Explain," Admiral Fitzwallace frowned over.
"It's best you see it for yourself Admiral," General Hammond said after a moment's thought as one of the airmen ahead opened the doors to the briefing room for them. "Ahh, Teal'c, good. This is Admiral Fitzwallace, Admiral Fitzwallace, Teal'c."
"I've heard a lot about you," Admiral Fitzwallace said, holding out his hand for Teal'c to shake. "Word is you've been doing good work here."
"Teal'c done his fair share for this planet," General Hammond nodded as Teal'c shook the offered hand. "This is what NASA have been tracking Admiral." General Hammond explained as he moved to the briefing table and opened the file he'd left there, sliding the low resolution images out for Admiral Fitzwallace to see.
"Is this what I think it is General?" Admiral Fitzwallace asked with a frown, glancing at the images for a few moments before turning back to General Hammond.
"I am not familiar with this vessel either Admiral Fitzwallace." Teal'c said with a nod.
"I am," Admiral Fitzwallace frowned. "What's going on here General?" He demanded.
"I wish I knew Admiral," General Hammond frowned back, looking at the photos. "The similarities between the ship currently in orbit and the designs used in Star Trek are too obvious to be overlooked."
"Like the similarities between our new Superman and his fictional counterpart," Admiral Fitzwallace frowned in thought. "Am I to assume there is a link between the two?"
"We're working under that assumption," General Hammond nodded in agreement. "Though Colonel O'Neill informs me that Mr Harris, our new Superman, has no knowledge of alien ships, and claims to be from Earth."
"I find that unlikely General," Admiral Fitzwallace said with a frown, glancing at the photos again. "Have we received any contact from the ship?"
"None," General Hammond shook his head. "We've tried directed radio signals, and with Teal'c's help have tried numerous Goa'uld frequencies. We received no answer to any of our attempts."
"Possibly because it belongs to Mr Harris who is in New York with your team," Admiral Fitzwallace said thoughtfully. "Tactical options?"
"The ship is in a low orbit above the eastern coast," General Hammond explained, sliding across another photo showing the ship's orbital path. "It appears to be locked in a geosynchronous orbit above the Los Angeles area."
"And we're the only ones who know about this?" Admiral Fitzwallace asked hopefully.
"For now," General Hammond nodded. "I have people continuously monitoring the news broadcasts for any information on the ship or any new information regarding Superman, but for now all the channels are focusing on the plane crash and speculation regarding Superman."
"I see," Admiral Fitzwallace said thoughtfully. "And Mr Harris has flatly denied any link to this alien vessel?"
"According to Colonel O'Neill," General Hammond nodded in agreement.
"Then we can't allow an unknown alien vessel to retain tactical positioning above our planet without incident," Admiral Fitzwallace said with a simple nod. "It could be performing scans on our military capabilities as we speak."
"Indeed," Teal'c nodded in agreement with Admiral Fitzwallace's statement. "It would be unwise to allow such a vessel to remain in orbit of your planet."
"For the moment, there's little we can do," General Hammond explained. "As Teal'c explained, we know nothing about this race or their technology, their offensive or defensive capabilities. Any act on our part to force the ship away from its orbit could lead to an attack by them."
"You say you've tried communicating with them, what else is there?" Admiral Fitzwallace frowned, glaring down at the pictures.
"There is also the matter of diplomatic communications," General Hammond reminded Admiral Fitzwallace. "For all we know, there could be one of many reasons they haven't answered our communications, I'm not ready to sanction a tactical strike on an unknown vessel simply for violating our space."
"I am," Admiral Fitzwallace said with a curt nod. "To leave a vessel of unknown capabilities in orbit above our country is tactical suicide."
"Perhaps further attempts at communication would yield success," Teal'c interrupted.
"Teal'c is right Admiral," General Hammond said, looking back to Admiral Fitzwallace. "I won't sanction a tactical strike without knowing more about this vessel. We'll try to initiate contact, but keep a tactical strike on standby in case they appear hostile."
"I'll inform The Pentagon," Admiral Fitzwallace said simple, his tone saying he didn't agree with General Hammond but was willing to give him a bit more leash on this one than he normally would. "The Columbia is in orbit currently," Admiral Fitzwallace said thoughtfully. "Commander Kregel if I remember correctly. I'll contact NASA to see what we can do."
"Very well," General Hammond nodded in agreement, he'd been thinking of contacting NASA regarding a shuttle launch himself, though it was obvious Admiral Fitzwallace had more influence and knowledge over NASA's launch schedule than he did. "Would you have Major Ferretti report to us?" He asked, looking over at Teal'c who simply nodded before moving away from the room.
"It's a hoax right?" Stuart was the first one to catch sight of Mike and Nikki as they came back into the main offices of City Hall.
"'Fraid not," Mike commented offhand, taking his coat off and throwing it over a desk at random. "The Air Force have taken control, they've taken Superman down to Mitchel Base to talk." He explained. "Where's Paul?" He asked, looking around.
"He's been on the phone all night," Stacie explained from her desk.
"Get him in here," Mike said as he walked into his office with everyone following him.
"Superman's real?" Stuart asked, walking alongside Nikki as they headed into the Deputy Mayor's office.
"More like Superboy," Nikki said with a nod. "But from what I saw, he's real enough."
"So we're his Metropolis?" Stuart grinned. "I wonder if there's a Supergirl out there to match," He said with a smirk. "'Cause I know this brunette who does this routine in a Wonder Woman outfit with the lasso…"
"The guy carries passenger flights with his hands Stuart," Mike said as he hopped up and sat on his desk. "Making comments like that about any of his family is probably not the best idea."
"Gotcha," Stuart nodded, accepting the advice after picturing someone that could pick up a plane hitting him, not something he actually wanted to feel at any point if I could help it.
"But I am liking the idea of keeping him in New York," Mike commented thoughtfully. "We could definitely use someone like him around."
"We'd have our own superhero?" James asked excitedly. "That's so cool."
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves." Mike said with a nod, holding up his hands to calm everyone down. "We don't even know what the Air Force has planned here, so we're waiting on them before we can make any decisions."
"We could always pay him?" Nikki commented from the couch in the office. "He's just a kid, so he'd need somewhere to stay, food, clothes, that sort of stuff right? We put him on a salary, he stays around and we get him an apartment or something."
"Paying Superman?" Mike mused aloud. "It could work I guess." He said with a shrug as he looked up to see Stacie and Paul walking in to the office. "Paul, tell me you have something."
"I'm sorry Mike, I'm being blocked left and right here," Paul shook his head apologetically in frustration. "The Air Force have been on the line all night, I can't even ask questions without them calling it national security and closing me down."
"It's alright, I expected as much." Mike nodded along. "So far the official word is no comment, if anyone asks. We can talk about the plane, anything that happened there. The FAA are investigating but the Air Force will be issuing statements separately. Until then we have no official word on…" He trailed off as the side door to the office opened, letting The Mayor walk in. "Sir, I was going to talk to you once we'd finished up here."
"Is it true Mike?" Mayor Randall Winston asked as he looked around the gathered group. "I've been watching the news and had calls from The President himself tonight. What's going on?"
"I'm afraid it's true sir," Mike nodded in agreement. "Superman is currently over at Mitchel Air Force Base in Westbury."
"So it's true, we have our own superhero in our midst." The Mayor smiled happily.
"Not quite sir," Mike shook his head with a frown. "We were just discussing what to do if Superman decides to stay here, but until the Air Force tell us differently, we're not to comment on anything the press ask about him."
"But unofficially?" The Mayor asked hopefully.
"Unofficially we're going to try and bribe him," Mike said with a smile. "If any city gets to have their own Superman, we're getting him first."
"That's what I like to hear." The Mayor smiled, slapping Mike on the shoulder happily. "President Bartlet has been on the phone all night. We're to give full cooperation to the Air Force in this matter."
"We're doing just that sir," Mike nodded. "As soon as we know more, I'll let you know."
"Carry on then," The Mayor smiled with a nod. "But I'd love to be able to tell the people of this city that we have a real Superman out there to protect them." He said with a smile as he walked back towards the side door.
"As would we all sir," Mike nodded along before closing the door behind The Mayor and turning back to the group. "Ok people, how do we bribe a teenage Superman to work in the city? Ideas?" He asked hopefully, looking around and quickly dismissing Stuart's hand that went up just as quick. "And no Stuart, Wonder Woman strippers are not an option here."
"As I was saying, Colonel O'Neill is a member of Stargate Command as you know; when we arrive there he'll be the one you speak to prior to seeing Mr Harris." Major Davis explained as they got into the large black car that had been waiting for them at LaGuardia Airport once they'd landed.
"I can understand that," Giles nodded in understanding as the door to the car was shut behind them and the driver started driving out of the airport.
"We do have some other things to discuss however, the discussion of the Stargate having taken up more time on the flight over than I had anticipated." Major Davis explained from where he was sat by the window. "Your involvement with the Watchers Council I believe should be first on our agenda."
Both Ethan and Giles went wide eyed at that twist in the conversation. "Wh… what?" Giles spluttered out, flicking his head around to look at Major Davis properly.
"I was briefed on the Watchers Council while flying down to Sunnydale, when Mr Harris requested your presence, your name was run through various checks to approve you for knowledge regarding the SGC. Needless to say your name was flagged by various international agencies, following this trail we were called at high levels by the British government." Major Davis explained. "We have worked with the Watchers Council before, on several occasions in fact. Though the latest agreement between our governments was during the second world war, when our Demon Research Initiative was working in direct cooperation with your Watchers Council to facilitate the war against Hitler and preventing him from retrieving the Lance of Longinus."
"I… I apologise, I was unaware the United States had any ties to the Watchers Council other than peripheral knowledge of our work." Giles spluttered out after a moment.
"It's true that the Demon Research Initiative broke away from the Watchers Council sometime after nineteen fifty eight, since then we have worked on the hostile sub-terrestrial problem, demons as you would call them, on our own terms." Major Davis explained. "I have worked with the DRI several times to broker military contracts between them and working on foreign soil, as such I have enough knowledge of their mandate and the types of hostile sub-terrestrials they deal with."
"Ri… right, of course then," Giles nodded, a bit stunned at this bit of information and wondering how this would change their talks now.
"Is Mr Harris a hostile sub-terrestrial of any sort?" Major Davis asked point blank.
"No," Ethan answered simply as Giles tried to find his thoughts again.
"Do you have any idea as to how Mr Harris can do what he is able to?" Major Davis asked, again not being subtle as they drove through New York.
"I have some theories, but none that would constitute knowledge." Giles admitted honestly before taking a deep breath. "Last night there was an incident shall we say. I'm not honestly sure how to explain it without going into larger details that I don't quite understand yet, but it appears that Sunnydale was the focus of a chaos mage, a magic user if you will." He explained, glancing over at Ethan but not giving anything further away.
"I haven't been fully briefed on the sub-terrestrial magic users, though there has been mention of them." Major Davis nodded. "You believe he transformed Mr Harris into whatever he is now." Major Davis nodded.
"It's my belief," Giles nodded back, trying to concoct the story on the fly but keep it close enough to the truth so that it would be easy to keep straight.
"This complicates things somewhat." Major Davis said as he sat back in the chair and tried to think how he was going to explain this to the joint chiefs.
"In what way?" Giles asked as he took off his glasses and started polishing them against his shirt, wondering how much more complicated things could actually get.
"We believed Mr Harris' powers were alien in origin, which had been the first idea by the joint chiefs and was the reason why the SGC had been brought into the equation." Major Davis explained.
"And the people at this Stargate Command…" Giles trailed off as he realised where Major Davis was heading.
"Have no knowledge of the Demon Research Initiative or the existence of the supernatural." Major Davis continued. "The Demon Research Initiative is a highly secret project; I believe the amount of people that know of both the Demon Research Initiative and the Stargate program could be counted on two hands." Major Davis paused as he actually named in his head all the people that actually knew of both programs. "Including us." He said finally, looking at both Ethan and Giles.
"Good lord," Giles whispered out as he continued to clean his glasses against his shirt.
"If you'll excuse me." Major Davis said before pulling out his cell phone and dialling a specific number from memory. "Senator Blanco please, it's Major Davis. We have a complication."
"Uh, Jack?" Daniel asked, pushing through the doors to the cafeteria urgently.
"What?" O'Neill asked, quickly looking up from his coffee, expecting more trouble from Daniel's tone of voice. "The kid alright?"
"You should come and see for yourself," Daniel explained as O'Neill stood up, making his way to follow Daniel with Carter following him a few steps behind. "It, um, started when he was… you know…"
"What star… ah," O'Neill nodded with a frown, seeing the problem as he walked down the corridor following Daniel's lead, to where he could see Xander trying to pull his way out of the bathroom, using the top of the door for leverage as he was floating a clear three or four feet off the ground. "Right," He muttered to himself, his brain trying to make sense of what he was actually seeing in front of him. "Having some trouble?" He asked with a grin.
"Oh thank god guys," Xander breathed out. "Can you, uh…" He trailed off, nodding to the ground.
"He just started floating in the rest room," Daniel explained. "There was a little, accident I guess with the urinal."
"Accident?" O'Neill asked, almost dreading the answer.
"It, um, broke?" Xander offered hesitantly. "I was just, you know… and crack, shatter, pieces on the floor."
"You broke a urinal?" Carter asked with a frown.
"When the water sprayed out, he jumped back and… well, didn't come back down." Daniel explained with a shrug. "I tried pulling him back but…" He trailed off as O'Neil reached up to Xander's arm and tried pulling him down, much the same way he'd tried himself. "See."
"Having a little problem with the down part," Xander said honestly, holding his hand out for Daniel to grab as well, where O'Neill was holding on to his arm and lifting himself off the ground.
"Sir, are you…" Carter trailed off as Daniel tried pulling Xander down as well. "
"A little help here Carter," O'Neill said in frustration, pulling down on Xander's arm and effectively only pulling himself up off the ground in the process. "Grab hold or I'm just going to tear your shirt here." He explained up to Xander, letting go of his shirt and holding his hand out for Xander to take. "Good, now hold on tight while I…" He trailed off and grit his teeth as Xander squeezed down on his hand. "Ok, let go, let go…" He breathed out in relief as Xander released his grip on his hand, pulling it back gingerly. "Jesus," He muttered to himself, shaking his hand to get some feeling back in his fingers from where Xander had gripped it, to him it had felt like his hand had just been crushed in a steel press.
"Sir, if Xander can lift the Colson carrier without strain, then I don't see how the three of us could put enough weight on his body to force him down." Carter explained with a frown, her brain still in disbelief at what she was seeing in the hallway.
"Well how are we supposed to go anywhere with him just floating like that?" Jack groused out, still rubbing his fingers again before grabbing Xander's arm with his other hand and tugging down. "It's like he's fixed in the air or something, I can't…" He grumbled letting out a grunt as he pulled down on Xander's arm again and lifted himself off the floor by a foot again before dropping back down.
"Can you move at all?" Carter asked, walking up to investigate the phenomenon close up, seeing underneath Xander where he was still bare foot under his jeans, with the bottom part of the blue tights poking out to his ankles.
"I don't even know how to get down, let alone move around." Xander explained, wafting his hands through the air in an attempt to push his way back down to the ground.
"I wonder…" Carter trailed off as she reached her hand up and took hold of Xander's arm before turning around and taking a step forward, pulling Xander along with her.
"Aha!" O'Neill nodded happily. "So we can move you." He said with a grin, watching as Xander simply floated along in the air with Carter pulling him.
"Great, I'm the human push toy," Xander grumbled aloud as Carter took another step, pulling him along through the air.
"For now it seems to be an involuntary reaction," Carter explained. "It could be a physical control, but I'm suspecting it's more a mental reaction. He thought about jumping up to get away from the water, and he went up. I'd assume that in time, flight would be much the same for you as walking would be." She explained as she pulled him back towards the cafeteria. "Though I am confused as to the resistance in returning you to the ground, there appears to be no friction or weight in response to your movement with me pulling you."
"In simple terms Carter," O'Neill frowned as he walked ahead and held out the door for Carter to pull Xander through back into the cafeteria.
"Sir, I'm just thinking that the resistance you felt when you tried to pull him down must have been resistance controlled by Xander, as I have no problem moving him around horizontally." Carter explained as she led the way through the doors, causing Xander to duck his head down as she pulled him through into the cafeteria.
"So he didn't come down when I pushed because he didn't want to?" O'Neill asked, trying to get it straight in his mind.
"Something like that sir," Carter nodded.
"But I want to get down, really," Xander nodded enthusiastically. "The ground is my friend."
"Well figuring out how to get you back on the ground is one thing," O'Neill nodded thoughtfully. "But at least you know how to get up now." He offered happily.
"I'm not sure spraying water on the ground every time he wants to fly is a good idea," Daniel answered for him.
"While we do work on returning you to the ground, perhaps it would be an idea to test the amount of weight you are capable of lifting while airborne." Carter explained. "If we move to the gymnasium, we could test out the weights there and see. We can also pad the floor there to make it more comfortable for you if you do manage to bring yourself down successfully."
"Sounds like a plan," O'Neill nodded in agreement. "You two head over to the gym while I try and find someone to take care of the water stuff. I'll get a call out to Major Davis and see how long he'll be with Mr Giles, then meet you there."
"As you can see, the footage we have here of the dramatic rescue of flight one four seven is only part of the story, with questions regarding the flight's mysterious saviour so far unanswered by any official." The broadcaster announced as the background of the studio wall screen changed to show the black and white footage of Superman landing the plane. "What is apparent is the strain placed upon Superman during this amazing feat, shortly after landing the plane Superman appeared fatigued from the effort and fell from the undercarriage, it is unclear at this time if the Man of Steel was unharmed." The scene changed again to a close up of Superman's face on the screen for everyone to see. "When we return, we'll be following the story further, and will continue to bring you updates as they come to us." The announcer explained as the picture of Superman's face faded to a commercial break.
"Can you believe this?" Rachel asked from the kitchen in their apartment, fetching a glass of orange juice for herself while Monica continued watching the TV. "Superman, here in New York."
"It has to be some sort of stunt," Monica said thoughtfully from the couch. "I mean Superman, come on Rachel, it's a comic, not some real life hero that catches planes for a living."
"You saw the news," Rachel commented. "It's on every channel; if it's a stunt then he's pulled the biggest joke in history here."
"I just…" Monica trailed off, turning to the door as a knock sounded.
"I'll get it," Rachel said as she walked over from the kitchen. "I'm not saying he's Superman, not the comic character anyway, but flying around, catching planes. It sure sounds like him." She explained as she opened the door. "Hey guys."
"Are you two watching this as well?" Chandler asked, looking back to his apartment door where Joey was stood keeping an eye on the TV from the doorway.
"Come on in," Monica called over. "They're on commercial at the moment."
"What do you think of this all?" Chandler asked, beckoning for Joey to join them as he walked into the apartment as Monica stood up from the couch.
"Real?" Rachel asked hopefully. "I mean, it's not as if anyone could fake that sort of thing right? You saw the plane landing and everything right, that wasn't some movie special effect."
"That's what I'm saying," Joey nodded as he walked in and closed the door behind him. "There's no way that was fake, I know actors, and he isn't anyone I know."
"Joey, if it's a Hollywood promotion then you wouldn't know him anyway," Monica countered. "It has to be some sort of stunt that the news stations are promoting for a movie, it can't be real."
"See," Chandler nodded along, thankful that someone agreed with him. "Superman isn't real Joey; it's just some stunt for an upcoming movie."
"Looked real to me," Rachel shrugged. "Besides if it were just some stunt, then why are the news crews waiting around for an official statement?"
"To make it seem authentic?" Chandler offered. "I mean come on, a guy flying around in blue spandex and a cape, that's not the sort of thing you see outside of the gay pride parade."
"You won't be laughing when it turns out he's real." Rachel said smugly. "Then New York will have its own Superhero, and all you doubters will see."
"I'll believe that when I see it," Monica said with a roll of her eyes.
"When we see him flying past the window with our own eyes that is," Chandler expanded on Monica's comment. "No special effects or computer images."
"Fine," Rachel nodded. "Ten bucks says he's real."
"I'll take that," Monica nodded, getting in on the bet. "Ten say's it's a fake."
"Why not," Chandler nodded. "Fake." He nodded in agreement with Monica.
"Real." Joey said with a nod, moving to stand beside Rachel.
"The bet's on until we have solid proof he's real or a fake," Monica stated the terms.
"Fine," Rachel nodded in agreement. "You'll see." She said smugly as they all turned back to the TV to continue watching the night's news unfold.
"General Hammond," Colonel O'Neill nodded as General Hammond answered the phone, where he was pacing outside of the cafeteria in the cool night air.
"Colonel, do you have something?" General Hammond's voice came over the line.
"Yes sir," Colonel O'Neill nodded even though he knew General Hammond couldn't see it. "We can confirm Mr Harris has the speed and strength of Superman, those that we can test so far anyway." He explained, taking a breath before continuing. "And he can fly sir."
"I'm sorry, can you repeat that Colonel?" General Hammond asked in a bewildered tone.
"I saw it myself sir," O'Neill said matter of factly. "Hovering three feet off the floor in front of me, I wouldn't have believed it myself if I wasn't there sir. He's not going to be swooping around saving the day gracefully or anything, well, not yet anyway, but he can definitely fly."
"I see," General Hammond continued. "Am I to take it that he possesses the other powers from the comics as well?"
"We haven't tested any of his vision based powers yet sir," Colonel O'Neill explained. "Carter seems to think she'll be able to test his strength more in the base gym here sir, so we might be able to find out more there."
"Keep me informed Colonel." General Hammond said over the line. "I don't need to tell you that there's word coming down from Washington that we're being watched on this. President Bartlet has already been in touch and Admiral Fitzpatrick from the Security Council here to work as a liaison between the SGC and the White House on this matter. We're to begin talks regarding Mr Harris' possible appointment as a paid superhero."
"Sorry, can you repeat that sir?" O'Neill asked, the last comment having stopped him in his tracks as he held the phone to his ear with a dumbfounded expression on his face.
"I had the same reaction Colonel," General Hammond said over the line. "There's talk in Washington that there's interest from various parties in paying Mr Harris to continue acting as a superhero. I can't discuss details here, but it is one avenue being discussed that you can offer him aside from joining the SGC if that is his wish."
"Yes sir," O'Neill nodded again started walking again, pretty sure he would have to step back and pick up his jaw from the ground after what General Hammond had just said. "Sir, I think Major Davis and Mr Giles have arrived." He explained, watching where two of the guards from the main entrance were waving him over to where a plain black car was parked near the entrance barrier.
"We have our own problems here Colonel." General Hammond explained. "We have a ship in orbit that appears to have appeared around the same time as Mr Harris' first appearance." He explained.
"A ship sir?" O'Neill asked, motioning for Major Davis to stay where he was for the moment. "Goa'uld?" He asked with a wince.
"It doesn't look like it Colonel," General Hammond's voice came back. "I'm prepping Major Ferretti and SG-Two to investigate the ship for the moment, are you sure Mr Harris' has no knowledge about the Stargate or this ship?"
"If he does he's hiding it pretty well sir," O'Neill answered thoughtfully. "I'm siding with the kid here General, I don't think he knows anything more than he's saying at the moment."
"Very well," General Hammond's voice came back. "We've had no contact from the ship so far, and despite objections, I've managed to restrain a tactical strike against the ship for the moment. Contact me if Mr Harris' shows any sign of knowing about this ship or anything further, I'll have documents sent over to Mitchell Base for you to look at."
"Yes sir," O'Neill commented to himself, frowning as the line went dead before he folded the cell phone closed and put it back in his pocket as he walked over to where the security guards were stood by the car and its two occupants.
"Colonel," Major Davis nodded as Colonel O'Neill came over. "This is Doctor Giles from Sunnydale. And Mr Rayne."
"Doctor," O'Neill smiled as he held out his hand for Giles to shake.
"Yes, thank you," Giles nodded with a small smile as he shook the offered hand, causing Colonel O'Neill to wince slightly. "Sorry, are you alright?"
"It's nothing," O'Neill said as he took his hand back and massaged it gently. "Think the kid is still getting used to his strength."
"So I've been told," Giles nodded.
"Colonel, if I might have a word," Major Davis said quietly, stepping forward away from Giles for this.
"We're kinda busy here Major, can we take this inside first?" O'Neill asked, not wanting to put off this talk with the two men that had come for Xander any longer than was necessary.
"I'm afraid not sir," Major Davis shook his head. "This may be more complicated than we originally perceived sir."
"Alright," Colonel O'Neill nodded. "I'll be with you in a second ok?" He said with a small nod towards Giles and Ethan before stepping aside with Major Davis.
"Of course," Giles nodded over as Colonel O'Neill and Major Davis moved away from the car to talk quietly.
"The military?" Giles hissed out in a whisper as he watched Colonel O'Neill and Major Davis walk away so they could talk in private. "You didn't think to tell me the American military would be involved in this?"
"I assure you, this is just as much a surprise to you as it is for me," Ethan said honestly, looking over at Colonel O'Neill and Major Davis wearily. "When the Goa'uld invaded, there was no sign the military had prior dealings with them."
"Well I'd say this Stargate of theirs certainly counts," Giles blustered, removing his glasses as polishing them against his shirt. "No wonder they weren't surprised to be dealing with a real life Superman, if they have experiences going through this Stargate, no telling what they've seen out there." He hissed out, nodding upward to the night sky. "Do you think they know?"
"If they did, then they would have used this Stargate of theirs to evacuate their important people before the invasion," Ethan nodded wearily. "There wasn't time for that, not when their ships and bombs came."
"I see," Giles nodded thoughtfully. "Then perhaps, they are in the same boat as we are."
"But we hold the cards," Ethan said with a wry smile. "I assume…" He trailed off, looking at the holdall Giles was carrying.
"Yes," Giles nodded, checking the two military people weren't watching or listening in to their conversation. "Though I fail to see how we will be able to talk to Xander regarding his future self's wishes without sounding somewhat crazy in front of these people."
"It doesn't matter what they think," Ethan said determinedly. "We're here to change the future, not let the military take over."
"What happened to chaos not playing favourites?" Giles asked quietly as he noticed the two military people coming back.
"I'm not chaos," Ethan said with a nod. "And for one, I like this planet as it is, so you don't have to worry about that."
"Why don't you let me decide on what I should worry about," Giles said softly, rubbing his temples for a minute to help fight off another headache. "You worry about how to explain all of this to Xander."
"Is this about the ship?" Colonel O'Neill asked as he walked back to the main guard post with Major Davis, leaving the two guards by Doctor Giles and the car. "'Cause General Hammond just filled me in on that…"
"No sir," Major Davis frowned, putting aside the comment about the ship for the moment and focusing on what he did know about the situation. "We have a slight conflict here sir," Major Davis said as looked around to make sure they were alone "I have been given clearance to brief you on the problem but it's considered top secret beyond that, not even the rest of SG1 have been cleared for knowledge regarding what I'm about to tell you."
"Ohhh kay?" O'Neill drawled out after a moment, trying to picture what sort of clearance would be needed to be in the know about whatever Major Davis was about to tell him, as far as he was aware, the SGC was the highest clearance level in the government currently, there were some people working at Area 51 that didn't have the necessary clearance to know about the SGC or what actually went on here.
"Doctor Giles has worked with a British secret project for several years now," Major Davis explained. "A British version of a project we have had under wraps here for nearly fifty years now sir. I'm assuming Mr Rayne has at least a passing familiarity with the project as well, given Doctor Giles' openness in speaking about it in front of him, but we don't have any information on him yet."
"The Doc's in the British army?" O'Neill asked as he looked over, catching sight of where Doctor Giles was stood by the car talking with the other man, his tweet jacket easily visible in the security lighting around the base.
"Not quite Colonel, the project on the British side appears to be a civilian run project, not connected in any way with their military or government." Major Davis explained. "You may find this hard to believe Colonel, but the project I am referring to is the Demon Research Initiative."
"The Demon Research Initiative?" O'Neill repeated Major Davis' last words with a sceptical tone and a raised eyebrow.
"I was as sceptical as you are at first Colonel," Major Davis nodded, understanding where the man was coming from. "I'm afraid I don't have the necessary papers here to brief you fully on the program itself."
"Are you trying to tell me that we have a program, within the military itself, specifically focused on researching demons?" O'Neill asked, if this had been anyone else he would have already been laughing in their face, coming from Major Davis however it was different. Davis was known for being a straight shooter who always went by the book; it's why he was chosen to liaise with the SGC on any international problems that might arise from the Stargate program.
"Precisely that Colonel," Major Davis nodded. "The program was first started during world war one, we came to work with the British version of the program during world war two when we were forced into international cooperation towards the end of the war."
"This is a joke right?" O'Neill asked hopefully. "Come on, that guy's a demon hunter? Like Van Hellsing or something?"
"I'm afraid not sir," Major Davis shook his head slowly. "You, Doctor Giles and Mr Rayne are now members of a very select that now know about both programs, if we had known Doctor Giles had prior ties to the Demon Research Initiative program, we would have had agent from their company sent to interview Mr Harris instead of the SGC."
"And this, Demon Research Initiative, or whatever the hell it is." O'Neill said with an exasperated tone, he hated dealing with other top secret programs, especially when they dealt with politics or one holding secrets over another. "Do they have any claim to Mr Harris?"
"None whatsoever sir," Major Davis shook his head. "As far as they are concerned, the Superman incident was under our mandate, as dealing with extra-terrestrial life is. They are unaware of Mr Harris' ties to the DRI or any supernatural interference."
"And you're telling me what? The kid's some sort of demon?" O'Neill asked with a frown, barely holding back the urge to yell at Major Davis.
"This isn't a joke Colonel," Major Davis added with a frown. "After talking it over with Doctor Giles and Mr Rayne, we are in agreement that Mr Harris is a complication born of supernatural incident, not extra-terrestrial incident."
"Are we handing them over to the DRI now then?" O'Neill asked, unsure as to where Major Davis was actually leading with this.
"It's a bit more complicated than that Colonel," Major Davis shook his head. "I have been in touch with Senator Blanco, we have agreed that Mr Harris will remain under the SGC's mandate due to the obvious nature of his powers and possibly biology, the DRI will be kept out of the loop to prevent them from gaining knowledge of the SGC."
"And the rest of my team?" O'Neill asked with a raised eyebrow. "Carter and Daniel are in there with the kid now, if he starts talking about all this classified stuff…"
"I don't believe he will Colonel." Major Davis shook his head again. "Neither Doctor Giles nor Mr Rayne were unaware of the existence of our side of the project; it's a fair assumption that Mr Harris has no knowledge of the DRI either."
"So… what, the kid's some demon hunter that got turned into Superman somehow?" O'Neill asked in frustration, running his hand through his hair.
"We're still working out how exactly this seems to have happened. If Mr Harris explains what he knows to the rest of SG1, then we may have to bring them in the loop, until then they are not authorised to be told of the existence of the DRI or the British affiliation on an official level."
"This..." O'Neill muttered with a frown. "Fine, so far we've got Superman in there floating around, why the hell can't we have Dracula come to the party as well." He groused as he rubbed his temples.
"I can tell you that Dracula is actually in the employ of a separate organisation working under The Crown in England, though we have no actual sources to verify how the Hellsing…" Major Davis trailed off as Colonel O'Neill held his hand up to silence him.
"Gah!" O'Neill shook his head in frustration as he held his hand up. "Don't need to know, not interested." He said fervently. "I'm already skating close to a psych evaluation because of the kid in there; I don't need thoughts of Dracula fighting Superman after throwing Goa'uld in the mix." He explained quickly, shaking his head. "Unless I need to know, then I'm not interested. Got it?"
"Yes Colonel," Major Davis nodded with a small smile. "If I'd have had more time, I would have been able to brief you on the DRI project fully, as it is, that will have to wait for another time."
"I look forward to it." O'Neill groused out sarcastically, inwardly wondering how many levels of Top Secret he currently held under his belt now.
"I'll be working with the city government on this Colonel, we still have to work out how to explain away the Superman incident tonight, also I have reports to give about what I've learnt here and a lot of paperwork to do regarding your new knowledge and Doctor Giles. Internationally this is going to be a pain to sort out." Major Davis explained.
"Paperwork or dealing with a real life Superman," O'Neill joked, balancing his hands out and gesturing them up and down like scales. "Not sure which of us has the better side here."
"Yes sir," Major Davis nodded with a small smile. "I'll be at City Hall if you need to contact me regarding anything."
"Gotcha," O'Neill nodded as they both made their way back towards the car and where Doctor Giles was stood.
"I'm leaving you both in Colonel O'Neill's capable hands." Major Davis said with a smile as he held out his hand for Giles to shake. "As I said before, Colonel O'Neill has been briefed on the DRI, or the truth shall we say. So you're both on the same page now."
"Quite, thank you for the help so far." Giles said with a smile as he shook the offered hand.
"Have fun with the politicians," O'Neill nodded as Major Davis got back inside the car. "Right, um, better take you down to see the kid then."
"Is he alright Colonel?" Giles asked as he followed Colonel O'Neill through the grounds of the base.
"Bit shaken up I guess," O'Neill nodded. "Know the feeling actually." He muttered to himself at the latest revelation Major Davis had just dropped on him. "The kid's really a demon hunter?" He asked in disbelief.
"Of a sort," Giles said with a small smile as they walked. "And I likewise could ask about your activities fighting aliens."
"Touché," Colonel O'Neill said with a grin as he led the way into the building containing the gym where Carter and Daniel had taken Xander.
"Are you keeping track of this?" Carter asked, watching from her side as she worked, methodically tightening up the notches at either side of the weights bar after adding more weight.
"Seventy kilograms on each side," Daniel said with a nod as he made sure the last notch was tightened before stepping back.
"Looks like you're clear." Carter said as she stepped back. "Same as before. If you feel any strain then I want you to drop it immediately."
"Yeah just an extra twenty five K," Xander whispered, still in shock at the ease that he had lifted fifty kilograms with. Taking a deep breath he reached down from where he was still floating in the air and gripping the weights bar evenly in his hand, remembering not to squeeze the bar too tight, he'd found that out the hard way the first time, their first weights bar still had dents in it from his fingers where he'd gripped it.
"Three, two, one…" Carter counted down, on the last count she watched as Xander casually picked up the weights with ease. "Incredible," she breathed out as she walked around Xander to get a better look.
"Ok, that's impressive." Daniel nodded in agreement from where he was stood watching the show. "Doesn't look like it's enough to change the height he's floating at though, you ok with that?"
"Yeah, got a good grip." Xander nodded, causing Carter to step onto the weights bench itself so she could reach and start measuring his pulse again on his neck.
"Same as before," Carter nodded. "If anything, you're even more relaxed than you were when we started. Pulse seems perfectly normal from what I can feel."
"How do you feel?" Daniel asked, looking up at Xander who was still floating there.
"Fine I guess," Xander nodded, adjusting his grip slightly. "I mean, I can feel the weight there, I know it's there, but it feels like I'm lifting a sheet of paper or something."
"You think you can go higher?" Carter asked with wide eyes.
"Yeah probably," Xander nodded. "Hold on." He said, causing everyone to step away from him for a moment as he put the weights bar back on it holder, causing the metal to creek slightly under the strain.
"What are you…" Carter asked as she watched him put the bar down, only to pick it up again, only this time with one hand in the center of the bar. "Oh." She said quietly as she blinked a few times at what she was seeing.
"Hold on," Daniel said with a frown, kneeling down for a second. "You're lowering down."
"I am?" Xander asked, looking down, the moment he looked down it was if gravity snapped back for him, dropping him to the padded floor instantly. "Yes, ground, oh I've missed you." He said with a grin.
"Better?" Carter asked with a smile, seeing how happy Xander was to be back on solid ground, though he was still holding the weights bar easily in one hand. "And you're not feeling any strain whatsoever?" She asked as she moved forward again to check his pulse, she even paused to run her hand over his bicep that was holding the weight to see how much it was straining from the weight, to her surprise the muscle was actually in a completely relaxed state, completely at odds with the extreme amount of weight that was being held casually in the arm attached to it.
"Nah," Xander shook his head, lifting the weights bar slowly up until he was doing a curl with it before lifting it above his head with ease.
"This is incredible," Carter said in awe. "To lift that amount of weight without assistance or strain, I can't even fathom how it would be possible."
"Same here, only with less words." Xander grinned at her, actually feeling a lot more at ease around these people now that they weren't treating him as a freak or anything.
"Xander?" Giles called out from across the room where he'd entered with Colonel O'Neill and Ethan.
"Oh, hey Giles, am I thankful to see you." Xander grinned as he raised the bar above his head with ease.
"You could'a waited Carter," O'Neill groused as they walked over. "See you got the kid back on the ground though. Weights get him down finally?" He asked, eying the heavy weights that Xander had in his arm and was lifting easily.
"Sort of sir," Carter nodded as she stepped down from the weights bench. "We've been running Xander through a few tests to see how much he can actively lift while in the air. Though I'm not actually sure we found a limit before he appeared to float down to the floor on his own accord."
"Ok, so what's the verdict here?" O'Neill asked. "We talking cars, tanks, buildings?" He asked the last, raising both eyebrows at the idea.
"We're not sure entirely sir," Carter said apologetically. "He's got about one forty on the bar at the moment, and it's not even putting a strain on his arm."
"Good lord, you mean to say you're lifting a hundred and forty kilograms?" Giles asked as he stepped forward.
"I'd say that's not even close to his limit as well sir." Carter explained. "Captain Carter, you must be Doctor Giles." She said, introducing herself as she walked over and held her hand out for Doctor Giles to shake.
"Yes, hello." Giles nodded as he shook the blonde woman's hand.
"This is Doctor Jackson," Carter introduced the other man who was stood with Xander.
"Pleasure to meet you all." Giles smiled at them all in turn. "This is Ethan Rayne, a… an old friend." He finished off, deciding it would be best to talk to Xander in private before talking with the military about their newfound problems.
"Uh, can I put this down now?" Xander asked from where he was still holding the weights bar above his head.
"Is something wrong?" Carter asked, moving forwards to check on him.
"Nah, just getting bored here holding it up." Xander shrugged with a small smile.
"Oh, yes, then slowly bring it down." Carter nodded with a smile, motioning for him to lower it back to the weights bench slowly, where the bench creaked under the weight being put on it.
"Thanks doc," Xander smiled as he brought the bar down before laying the sacks of weights on the floor where they resounded with a clash of metal against the concrete floor of the gym.
"You doing ok kid?" O'Neill asked, looking over to where Xander was poking his bicep with his fingers.
"Uh, yeah, I'm good," Xander shrugged, moving his arms around a bit to test he hadn't pulled or strained anything. "Yeah, I'm fine."
"Ok, well if you guys have had enough fun here without me," O'Neill said with a small smile towards Carter and Daniel. "What you all say to heading back to the cafeteria so we can talk about this over a coffee and some snacks?"