TITLE: A New Guard
DISCLAIMER: Anything you recognise belongs to somebody else, Buffy, West Wing, Stargate, Spin City… If you recognise it from TV, then it ain't mine... I'm just borrowing them for a spin :)
"Well?" Major Ferretti called up the ladder, with five of them in the tight 'Jeffries tubes' as Major Warren had called them, it hadn't been a comfortable experience, but following Major Warren's lead they'd navigated through what felt like the entire guts of the ship until he'd paused ahead.
"One second sir," Major Warren called back, obviously fiddling with something up ahead, though with Sands and Casey between them, Major Ferretti had no clue what was actually going on.
"Come on, what's taking so long?" Ferretti muttered to himself, drumming his fingers on the side of the Jeffries Tube.
"I too dislike these tubes," Teal'c announced from below him where he was perched on the ladder like the rest of them, if anything, Teal'c actually looked more uncomfortable than the rest of them, his larger frame taking up more room width wise than the rest of the Tau'ri soldiers, and several times during their traverse through the tubes Teal'c had had to pause and carefully navigate his staff weapon around the odd corners that he was being led down.
In short, he'd swiftly decided that this vessel was definitely not of any design he was familiar or comfortable with, these interior tubes seemed the most inefficient and infuriating manner of moving around he had ever come into contact with.
"See, even T's getting sick of it in here," Ferretti shouted back up. "So what's…" He paused as a mechanical noise hissed through the tube, below him he felt Teal'c stiffen on the ladder as more light came in from above.
"All clear sir!" Major Warren called back after a few moments pause.
"Thank god," Ferretti nodded. "Everyone out, clear the area but wait for Warren's lead before touching anything." He ordered up, smiling to himself when he saw Sands and Casey were just as anxious to be out of the tubes as he was.
Climbing out of the tubes Ferretti looked around, Warren was off to one side looking at a flickering display, while Sands and Casey were stood by three brown leather looking chairs. "What have we got?" He asked, climbing out to make room for Teal'c to free himself behind him.
"Main bridge sir," Major Warren confirmed, gesturing around the obvious command centre of the ship.
"I guessed that," Ferretti shook his head as he got to his feet. "Tell me something useful."
"Master systems display sir," Major Warren explained, gesturing to the large screen that dominated the back wall where he was stood.
"Ok, walk me through it." Ferretti nodded. "Sands, Casey, spread out and check the rest of the area." He said, gesturing to two doors he could see at the far side of the bridge next to a large cracked screen of some sort.
"Power systems are down to emergency support," Warren explained, tapping on the systems display to bring Ferretti's attention back to the large screen. "No communication between the drive section and here, must have been damaged in the crash."
"Ok?" Ferretti shrugged, not seeing the relevance but accepting what he was being told.
"The EPS grid is still functioning, shields and sensors are down, weapons and life support too." Warren explained further. "EPS, electro-plasma system, they use plasma conduits instead of electricity to power the consoles and… well, everything sir."
"Gotcha, high tech stuff." Ferretti nodded, wishing Carter was here more and more so he wouldn't have to go through all this stuff.
"Dangerous stuff sir," Warren explained. "A plasma leak could be deadly to anyone in the area, I wanted to check the damage before we started a deck to deck, just in case any decks had suffered plasma or coolant leaks."
"Good thinking," Ferretti nodded in agreement. "All safe though?"
"As far as I can see," Warren nodded. "There's no communication with decks fifteen or sixteen, but they're right at the bottom of the saucer section, they'd have taken the brunt of the landing."
"Anything else?" Ferretti asked, trying to see what else the display could be telling Major Warren.
"I'd have to go through the systems manually to find out more sir," Warren explained. "With only partial power, it's going to take a while to get through everything here."
"We don't need everything, just the important bits." Ferretti frowned. "Can we check if anyone's on board from here?"
"If we had access to the computer system, we could so a ship wide broadcast…" Warren said after a moment's thought.
"Ok, and we're not doing that because?" Ferretti jumped in.
"Because we don't have a communications badge to link in to the main computer system." Warren trailed off patiently.
"Ah," Ferretti nodded. "Ok, you continue doing… whatever it is you're doing." He explained, waving dismissively to the master systems display panel before moving off towards the centre of the bridge, just as he was reaching to touch one of the smaller control panels by the three centre seats a familiar quiet 'woosh' sound came from one of the back corners of the bridge.
"Major!" Teal'c called out, bringing his attention to where he was now knelt down by a brunette female.
"Warren, we've got a survivor!" Ferretti called out, darting over to where Teal'c was checking the female over. "How'd you open it?" He asked, noting to where the woman was laying on the ground in a small circular room that had been closed off with doors when they'd first swept the bridge.
"I do not know," Teal'c frowned. "I was moving past when the doors opened without warning."
"How is she?" Warren asked, watching as Ferretti checked her pulse and rolled her over gently so they could see her face.
"Breathing, shallow but it's there." Ferretti called out. "Casey, Sands, get back here." He said aloud after clicking the broadcast button on his radio. "Anyone you know Warren?" He asked, gently cradling her head in his hands so Warren could get a better look.
It was Major Warren's turn to pause now as he looked the woman over, she was in her mid-twenties by the look of in, the dark blue collar under the grey and black uniform signalled she was science or medical. "No sir, not one of the main bridge staff or anyone I know from the movie anyway." He explained, moving to brush some of her dark hair aside to check her rank he frowned. "Commander, science or medical." He explained looking over at Major Ferretti.
"She needs medical," Ferretti frowned back. "I'm guessing concussion, broken bones," He paused, wiping some of the blood away from her face where a shallow cut across the forehead was dripping down to her eyebrows. "I'm surprised she survived the crash." He muttered to himself. "We need a medical team from McMurdo over here." He said, looking up as Casey and Sands came over from the room they'd been exploring on the other side of the bridge.
"What about the ship's sick bay?" Warren said after a moment, clicking his fingers as the thought came to him. "The EMH is on a separate power system for emergencies, we should be able to activate him."
"Activate him?" Ferretti asked, raising his eyebrow at Warren's suggestion.
"EMH sir, Emergency Medical Hologram." Warren explained. "He'd do a better job than anyone else at McMurdo, hell, probably better than anyone on the planet."
"OK, and how do we get to this sick bay?" Ferretti asked, willing to follow Warren's lead on this one. If they could have one of their own treat injuries, then it would go a long way to proving trust and working towards a mutual alliance.
"Deck seven," Warren explained. "Three decks down from where we entered."
"I said how, not where." Ferretti grimaced. "There's no way we can climb through that mess of tunnels again carrying her."
"We don't have to," Warren smiled, tapping the communications badge on the woman's chest.
"That's why the doors opened for Teal'c," Ferretti nodded, catching on. "The badges, they're not just communications, they're linked to the ships computer."
"Exactly sir," Warren explained, nodding up at Teal'c. "It opened because she was already inside with her badge, the computer just assumed she was waiting for you or something."
"So she can use these lift things?" Ferretti asked curiously.
"If we keep the badge with us, we all can sir." Warren said with a smile.
"See, no more tunnels or tubes, or whatever…" Ferretti grinned, waving off Warren as he started to correct him. "Warren, you're with me and T." Ferretti nodded, standing up. "Think you can carry her big guy?" He asked, motioning down at the unconscious woman.
"Indeed." Teal'c nodded before kneeling down by the woman and carefully picking her up.
"Casey, Sands, hold the fort here. We'll radio in once we know what's what." Ferretti nodded. "There isn't much room in these things, so just keep an eye out here and see what you can do." He explained.
"Oh, stay away from that," Warren said, pointing to a computer station that was free standing to the sides of the three chairs. "And that." He motioned to the other console that mirrored it. "Tactical consoles, we don't need a torpedo arming or anything while we're down here." He explained with a smile. "Oh, and those two," He pointed to the front two consoles that had seats built into them at the front area of the bridge away from everything else. "Helm control and…"
"Oh for god's sake," Ferretti frowned. "Just leave them the bridge blueprints, don't touch anything that could be dangerous, but see what you can find out." He nodded as Warren handed over the top leaf of the blueprints that showed the bridge area. "You got her T?" He asked, checking Teal'c was ok with the smaller woman in his arms.
"Indeed." Teal'c nodded slowly, being careful not to cause the woman any further discomfort.
"OK, Warren, you're up." Ferretti nodded as he followed Teal'c's lead and stepped inside the small room where they'd found the woman.
"Yes sir," Warren grinned as he stepped inside the turbolift, if anything his grin got wider as the doors slid shut behind him with a quiet 'woosh' sound. "Deck seven, sick bay." He said loudly, resisting the urge to jump for joy when the turbolift started moving with a quiet hum.
"Trekkies," Ferretti grinned as he muttered under his breath, fighting the urge to shake his head at Major Warren's enthusiasm and excitement.
"That's me," O'Neill nodded over at the newcomer to the base as he entered with two security guards following him.
"Toby Ziegler, from the White House." Toby announced himself, holding out his White House ID card for the Colonel to take.
"Welcome to the mad house," Colonel O'Neill nodded with a smile, checking the ID card against the man that had handed it to him before handing it back. "Just got down here?"
"I had a meeting this morning with the head office at DC Comics," Toby explained wearily.
"Ahh," O'Neill nodded, not really sure what else to say to that.
"How is… he?" Toby asked, unsure how to talk about the teenage Superman he was here to investigate.
"The kid?" O'Neill shrugged. "Taking it pretty well I guess." He explained, gesturing for Toby to follow him through the quiet Air Force base. "Carter had him outside testing his strength earlier, sight to see I'll tell you that."
"Oh?" Toby looked over, genuinely intrigued.
"Bench pressing a Humvee," O'Neill explained, resisting the urge to laugh as Toby's eyes went a bit wide at the thought. "Right there with you." He grinned. "Carter's having trouble quantifying his strength as well, but without moving on to tanks or trains, a Humvee is the best we're going to get around here."
"And he can lift one?" Toby asked, trying to put the image of a single human lifting a Humvee out of his head.
"Started off as a bench press, kid crawled under it and lifted." O'Neill nodded. "Then he lifted it over his shoulders as he stood up." He explained. "Thought I was going to have a coronary when he started tossing it in the air like a piece of paper."
"I see," Toby said after a moment's pause, the thought of someone juggling a Humvee now stuck in his mind. "And… sorry, he threw a Humvee in the air? A full size military transport?"
"Like it weighed nothing," O'Neill nodded as he led Toby through to the cafeteria area they'd been using as an unofficial meeting area of sorts. "Daniel, Doctor Giles." He smiled over, motioning to where the two were sat down discussing something over two mugs of drink. "Toby Ziegler from the White House, Doctor Jackson and Doctor Giles." He said by way of introduction as he led Toby over to the table.
"Pleasure," Daniel said with a smile as he stood up an offered his hand.
"Likewise," Toby nodded, shaking the offered hand before moving on to Doctor Giles.
"Mr Ziegler." Giles smiled as he stood up and shook the mans hand as well.
"British?" Toby asked as he caught the accent.
"Ah, English, yes." Giles smiled at Toby's look of surprise.
"I didn't think there were any foreign members of your team." Toby asked, looking at Colonel O'Neill.
"Giles isn't part of my team," O'Neill explained. "He's with the kid."
"I see," Toby nodded. "Very well."
"So, what brings you down to see the new Superman then?" O'Neill asked with a grin as he sat down at the table where Daniel and Giles had been talking and gestured for Toby to do the same. "Guessing you're not just here to check up on us and see how the kid's doing."
"No, no I'm not." Toby shook his head as he sat down in one of the spare seats. "The President asked me to come and speak to you, and to Mr Harris, and see what exactly we can do to… soften this weekend's incident for the press."
"Ah," Giles frowned, obviously not having thought of how wide reaching Xander's exploits had been.
"There are other matters to consider here, but that is the foremost reason for my being here." Toby explained.
"Take it news of a Superman running around ruffled some feathers up there then." O'Neill half smiled as he tried to imagine some of the briefings that must have happened in the higher military ranks.
"You could say that," Toby nodded. "There are, other considerations, but today the President is meeting with four ambassadors personally along with constant updates from military advisers. I don't have to tell you how important this weekend has been."
"Too right," O'Neill nodded back. "General Hammond says you've been briefed on the Stargate Project, so we don't have to treat lightly here." He said with a shrug. "Bottom line, if the kid is half as powerful as Carter thinks he is, then he could do a hell of a job out there against Apophis."
"Ahh yes, the Goa'uld," Toby shook his head in disbelief. "Hardly a briefing I'm likely to forget Colonel."
"Are we forgetting all the good Xander could do on earth, you know, in cities like New York or anywhere else around the world?" Daniel interrupted. "I don't think we should rush taking him through the Stargate when he could do so much right here for us."
"Well, yes, there are merits to both I believe…" Giles trailed off thoughtfully, the pictures Ethan had shown him of cities being blown into ash by invading warships burnt into his thoughts. "Likewise, I believe Xander would quite appreciate doing what he can on earth as well as… adventures, shall we say, through this Stargate of yours."
"Xander, is that how he prefers to be known?" Toby asked, sounding out the name distastefully. It was hardly a name that could be spoken respectfully in the Oval Office without sounding like some sort of joke.
"Ah, yes, Alexander. Though he prefers to go by Xander." Giles explained. "It's a rather long story, going back to a childhood friend of his…" Giles trailed off. "Though quite irrelevant now." He said bashfully as the looks he was getting.
"Well, better than Lex I guess," O'Neill snorted a laugh.
"Yes," Toby resisted the urge to roll his eyes at Colonel O'Neill, the odd humour a stark contrast to the decorated war hero and 2IC of the Stargate program he'd been briefed on. "And Mr Harris is where currently?"
"Out on the track with Carter and Ethan." O'Neill nodded. "She had some problems testing his speed in the gym, so went with free running instead." He explained with a shrug.
"Fine," Toby nodded thoughtfully. "So aside from his strength and obvious speed, what other… abilities have you been able to test?"
"Well he was flying yesterday," Daniel said helpfully. "Took us a while to figure out how to get him down, but getting up wasn't a problem."
"I see," Toby said after a moment, the mention of a man flying stunning him a bit.
"He was trying again this morning," O'Neill stepped in helpfully. "Or, well, jumping I guess." He said with a shrug. "Hasn't got the whole flying thing down yet."
"I see," Toby said thoughtfully, noting that down. "Has he exhibited other powers similar to the comic counterpart, or is the uniform merely a coincidence that we can brush aside?" He asked with a frown.
"Other powers?" Daniel asked.
"Mr Ross at DC had these for me," Toby explained, pulling out some papers from the briefcase he'd put next to his chair. "Strength, upward limit unknown. Stamina, limit unknown, Invulnerability, flight, speed, x-ray vision, heat vision, some sort of super breath that he explained several times and I still don't understand. Hearing, vision, and some note of intelligence."
"That's… quite a list." Giles said, reaching up to take his glasses off and clean them thoroughly on his shirt. When Ethan had talked about Superman, the obvious abilities were the ones that stuck in his mind, not the list that had been rattled off for him matter of factly there.
"Intelligence?" Daniel asked curiously.
"Let me see," Toby frowned, flipping through various pages of information until he found it. "Kryptonian's are millions of years more evolved genetically than humans, even on their own planet they were considered one of the most highly evolved species in the galaxy until their destruction." He read off.
"The kid's a genius?" O'Neill asked, raising his eyebrow at Giles.
"A Kryptonian would be, you mean." Daniel caught on. "So if Xander is a Kryptonian, then his brain would naturally be millions of years more evolved than ours, it makes sense."
"If by making sense you mean comparing a comic character to real people, then sure." Toby groused as he flicked through the papers.
"But Xander was raised here, on earth I mean." O'Neill interrupted. "None of the high tech fancy learning stuff they had on Krypton or wherever."
"So was Superman," Daniel countered.
"Quite," Giles shook his head in bemusement. "Very well, I think what Mr Ziegler is asking is are we able to confirm Xander has the abilities listed that quantify him as a… sorry, Kryptonian did you say?" He continued when Toby nodded. "Or are his abilities different in any way?"
"I'm going with a big tick on the Kryptonian column." O'Neill nodded, glancing to Giles who nodded in agreement.
"You seem sure of this considering I was told his origins are still under investigation." Toby said with a frown.
"Ah, yeah, about that…" O'Neill grimaced, rubbing his face. "I hate to use the word classified, well, I don't actually, but in this case it's kinda…"
"What Colonel O'Neill is trying to say is that Xander's origins have been explained, to a degree." Giles offered. "To where Major… Davis was it?" He checked with Colonel O'Neill before continuing. "Was satisfied with the explanation."
"I see, and I wasn't told about this because?" Toby asked with a frown.
"Classified." O'Neill shrugged. "Look, you got read in on the SGC and the kid, and whatever else, fine, but there's a whole lot more out there that you don't even want to know about. Trust me on this." He said, catching Giles with a glance who nodded in agreement.
"I agree with Colonel O'Neill however, his origins, as classified as they are, do point to the fact Xander is as much Kryptonian as the Superman in the comics would be." Giles explained. "Perhaps these other powers you listed are simply further things Xander has yet to experience."
"Well the speed and strength thing is something he can control," O'Neill nodded thoughtfully. "Nothing new there right, aside from his levels of course, but you know what I mean."
"Precisely," Giles nodded. "Physical control of muscles like running or lifting something is something Xander is already familiar with, the levels of his speed and strength are simply new things for him to adjust to. These other powers, flight and… heat vision shall we say, are things that a normal human wouldn't have control over so…"
"Simply put, the kid's still growing into them." O'Neill broke in, interrupting Giles. "The strength, speed, invulnerability, he's getting the hang of. Everything else… just give him time."
"I see," Toby nodded, noting all of this down. "And Mr Harris receives his… powers, and I don't think I'll ever get used to saying that aloud, from our sun as well?"
"If that's what the comics say," O'Neill shrugged, not having had chance to go through the comics he'd bought himself.
"Then if you are all in agreement with Colonel O'Neill's assessment that Mr Harris is quantifiably a Kryptonian biologically, then we are lead to believe his weaknesses would be similarly linked to his comic counterpart, correct?" Toby asked thoughtfully.
"I'm not sure where this is going but…" Giles frowned, getting ready to stand up and retrieve Xander if the meeting with the White House representative went badly.
"I'm sure Mr Zeigler is just double checking everything, I mean he obviously wouldn't want to be researching ways to harm Xander knowing that the kid might already have his superhearing and could lobotomise him from across the room now, would he?" O'Neill interjected, trying to get Toby to see sense on what he was saying.
"I meant nothing like that," Toby bristled thoughtfully, though now Colonel O'Neill's picture was firmly implanted in his brain, and he could see from the look Dr Giles was giving him that he was on very thin ice here. "The fact remains, the weaknesses shown by Superman in the comics do not exist here." He explained. "Kryptonite, magic, those are not things Mr Harris is likely to encounter should anything happen to him."
"Any your point?" O'Neill said firmly. "The kid's doing what he can, he's a good kid, he saved that plane yesterday and is willing to help out with anything else we need. And you're here listing off ways to hurt him if it comes down to it." He glared, standing up. "I don't know where the White House gets off on planning out methods to cut down people that are helping them, but it's not the sort of thing we do here." He bit out. "You can find your own way our Mr Zeigler." He said firmly before walking away from the table, Giles and Doctor Jackson following him moments after in silence.
"Ok, slow it down now." Carter called out, after testing Xander's speed out on the running track for over an hour now, she was comfortable calling him back when she noticed his speed moving out of her comfort level.
The blur that was running around the track in loops faster than she could see slowed down just as fast, coming to a stop next to her within seconds with a whoosh of air blowing around her in his wake.
"So, how'd I do this time?" Xander grinned, jogging on the spot and wondering if he'd beat his previous speed.
"I pulled you back at just over seven hundred and fifty miles per hour." Carter explained, almost in disbelief at her own words. Only the experience of the past day and knowing she was here dealing with it herself was standing in the way of complete disbelief over the entire experience.
"So cool," Xander grinned. "I can go faster, pretty sure anyway. It didn't feel like…"
"Not here," Carter said with a smile. "If you went any faster than that you'd risk breaking the speed of sound."
"Ohh, bad?" Xander winced thoughtfully.
"Not for you," Carter smiled, thinking of his own invulnerability that would protect him. "The sonic boom however would cause more than enough damage to the base, not to mention bring attention here from anyone who heard it."
"Gotcha, no making boom things." Xander grinned over.
"You really think you could go faster?" Carter asked after a moment, noting some things down on her pad where she'd been measuring Xander's speeds through the afternoon. "You're not feeling worn out or anything?"
"Feeling great actually," Xander said after a moment, looking up at the sky and smiling at the way the sun felt on his skin. It was a lovely clear day, with blue skies and sun that warmed up everything. "Haven't felt this good in ages actually." He said with a shrug.
"Colonel O'Neill did say that your abilities came from the sun," Carter said thoughtfully. "Do you think it's the bright day that's keeping your energy levels up?"
"Don't look at me, you're the science type." Xander grinned. "I'm just the fast muscle around here." He laughed as Carter rolled her eyes at him. "So, uh, what's next? If running's out, you know, without creating one of those boom thingies, and throwing more cars around is out…"
"I don't think juggling cars is an effective way of measuring your strength," Carter mock glared at him, though truth be told the fact Xander had managed to hold one of the impressive Humvee's over his head with one hand, without the undercarriage straining or breaking, was one of the most impressive feats she'd ever seen.
"It was fun though," Xander grinned back. "What else is there?"
"Well, we have the matter of your uncontrolled flight to experiment with." Carter said thoughtfully. "Perhaps finding a way for you to control yourself in the air, or take off at will, should be next. Or there is the matter of your durability."
"What now?" Xander asked curiously.
"Your… invulnerability." Carter said, fighting back the wince that her scientific brain processed as she said the word. "Like how your feet can stand up to the speed and friction on the ground when you were running, but your trainers and clothes can't." She explained, gesturing to the several rips in his t-shirt and running pants from where he'd been testing his speed out. She'd brought out several pairs for him to change into and had already gone through four pairs of running pants and three t-shirts.
"Ahh, invincibility." Xander grinned. "I like the sound of that." He laughed.
"I thought you would." Carter rolled her eyes. "We can start with some simple tests on the durability of your body if you're ok with that? Perhaps if we went to the medical station I could find some equipment to help me with the tests."
"Sounds good to me." Xander nodded with a shrug. So far today had been the most fun he'd had in years, half of him was still expecting the military types to start treating him like a freak or something, but while Giles and Ethan were talking about plans and how to stop this alien invasion thing, he'd been learning to adjust slowly to the changes that Ethan, or himself apparently, had thrust upon him.
It was weird, he still thought of himself as human, and was still definitely the same Xander as before, but something had definitely changed for him. The powers were one thing, the strength and speed were so much fun and he could definitely get used to those, but the downside was that everyone was looking at him expecting him to be the Superman from the comics. Like he had this legendary status to live up to.
He watched as Carter was packing up her things, the speed gun she'd used to measure his speed went back in the case and was packed away with the torn clothes from his running experiments. But he could see the way she looked at him, the same way Daniel did, like they were both expecting him to be this great comic character and save the world, which, as Ethan and Giles had explained, was exactly what he was supposed to do at some point he guessed.
All in all, being a living Superman wasn't quite what he thought it would actually be like. The powers were great and all, but living in the shadow of a comic character that performed feats normally attributed to Gods, certainly hadn't been in the instruction manual.
"In here." Major Warren indicated a set of double doors to the left of the corridor, moving to them and watching as they slid open to show the futuristic medical bay inside. It was a soft muted grey room, much like everything on the ship, well lit with various medical beds around, some of the free standing ones had been thrown against the far wall, obviously from impact, with a large office off to one side where the large glass windows had shattered, leaving fragments over the floor close to them.
"Need something like this for the SGC," Major Ferretti commented offhand as he followed Teal'c into the medical bay, picking one of the beds at random and gesturing for him to lay her down gently there. "Ok, fine, we're here, so what's this medical hologram emergency thing going to do then?"
"Just watch," Warren said with a grin before looking up at the sick bay celing. "Computer, activate the emergency medical hologram." He said aloud before looking around, smiling to himself as a figure shimmered into view in the center of the sick bay.
"Please state the nature of…" The EMH trailed off as the chaos around the sick bay became apparent. "Medical emergency, what happened here? And who are you?" He asked, staring at Major Ferretti and Major Warren.
"Your ship crashed, crash landed, whatever." Major Ferretti explained. "We came on board to see if we could help and found her." He explained, gesturing to the woman Teal'c had placed on the medical bed.
"Crashed?" The EMH asked in shock as he moved over to check the woman, looking around for a tricorder as he did.
"Big burn," Major Ferretti explained.
"Saucer separation, this half came down controlled on the ice shelf, the drive section wasn't so lucky." Warren explained.
"I see," The EMH frowned as he moved over to find a tricorder from one of the cabinets that had been tipped over in the crash. "The rest of the crew?"
"We've only found her," Warren explained with a nod. "She was in the turbolift on the bridge, deck four and the bridge are completely deserted."
"The emergency pods?" The EMH asked as he came back with, having found a tricorder and started running the device over the crew member.
"MSD says they're all accounted for," Warren said thoughtfully. "I thought the crew might have been down here with you."
"Hardly," The EMH frowned. "Concussion, several cranial fractures, broken collar bone and scapula."
"Sounds serious," Ferretti winced at the list of injuries the young woman had sustained during the crash. "Are we going to need a medivac team here to treat her? Because we're pretty far out down here and…"
"I wouldn't say so. Her injuries are serious but not untreatable." The EMH said with a nod, heading over to the far side of the room again and fetching some more equipment from the sideways facing cabinet.
"Here," Ferretti nodded, gesturing for Teal'c to help him as he followed the EMH over and between them lifted up the cabinet and the one beneath it, righting them both before picking up some of the odd equipment that had fallen out and placing them on the shelves inside.
"Thank you," The EMH nodded in return. "I should be able to treat her here." He said, picking up one of the instruments and running it over her forehead, ignoring the look Ferretti gave him as the cut on her forehead healed in seconds as the device did its work.
"Ok, we definitely need something like that for the SGC." Ferretti grinned over at Warren.
"A dermal regenerator, nothing exotic." The EMH explained as he used a second device, placing it gently on the woman's forehead before activating it and moving back to the tricorder to scan over her head again. "The cranial fractures are dangerous but not life threatening, she should recover within the hour."
"Within the hour?" Ferretti asked, wide eyed at the thought of the technology they were dealing with here. "You can fix skull fractures in an hour?" He whistled, even Teal'c looked impressed at that piece of information.
"Hardly the most complex surgery I have performed to date," The EMH said with a nod. "And you say there are no other survivors on board the Enterprise?"
"We have encountered only her." Teal'c said solemnly.
"What's the last thing you remember?" Warren asked curiously. "I mean, when were you last activated?"
"Stardate five zero eight nine three," The EMH said simply. "I can't answer further until the commander wakes up and establishes a chain of command."
"Understandable," Warren nodded.
"Why can't you tell us what's been going on?" Ferretti asked curiously.
"Because he's a computer program," Warren explained with a shrug. "He can't go against his programming, so information is limited to crew and Starfleet members only."
"Exactly," The EMH nodded. "The Enterprise has crashed, are we on a Federation world?" The EMH asked.
"That's… uh, that's a tough one." Ferretti grimaced, looking over at Major Warren to explain.
"Err, well, yes, kinda, but no?" Warren hedged around. "Honestly, we're not exactly sure how your ship got here or why it crashed in the first place."
"Here? Where is here?" The EMH asked curiously.
"Earth," Warren said apologetically. "But not Starfleet Earth, but it's not time travel either."
"Time travel?" The EMH asked, double checking his medical tricorder and running it over the three military people in his sick bay. "What's going on?" He asked, running the tricorder even slower over Teal'c.
"It's Ninety Seven, nineteen ninety seven." Ferretti explained. "November first."
"Sorry I don't know what that is in Stardate terms Doc," Warren said with a shrug.
"The federation didn't have contact with alien races in that time period." The EMH said simply. "And your readings, while similar to human, are not."
"I am Jaffa." Teal'c said simply.
"Yeah, like I said, not time travel." Warren explained. "Look, we don't know how the ship got here anymore than you do. It crashed early this morning, we came to investigate, found her, brought here down here."
"I see," The EMH said, looking down at his tricorder again. "Your readings do indicate extensive time in a post-industrial civilisation."
"Post what now?" Ferretti asked, looking for warren for an explanation.
"Twentieth century era," Warren waved off the comment. "I don't know if it's an alternative dimension thing, or a universe thing or whatever. But the ship's here, and chances are, she's the only one with the answers." He explained, motioning to the unconscious woman lying on the medical bed.
"Then your answers will have to wait until she regains consciousness." The EMH stated simply as he moved to check on her once more, seemingly happy with the progress the progress the osteo-regenerator was making on the crew member.
"Indeed." Teal'c said with a small nod, watching as the hologram worked around them.
"General Hammond," General Hammond announced as he picked up the standard telephone on his desk, smiling apologetically to Admiral Fitzwallace who was sat across from him while they worked on some logistic measures.
"We have an incoming transmission from SG-2 being rerouted through McMurdo sir," Walter's voice came over the line. "Would you like me to patch it through?"
"Please," General Hammond nodded, pressing the button on the phone to change to speaker setting before replacing the handset. "Major Ferretti, you have something to report?" He asked when the connection was made.
"General Hammond," Major Ferretti's voice came back clear. "Yes sir, we're on board the Enterprise now. Reporting one injured crew member, currently undergoing medical treatment."
"Undergoing treatment? Are they alright?" General Hammond asked, from the satellite pictures he's received, the controlled crash of the Enterprise wasn't anything he actually expected the crew to walk away from.
"Skull fractures, broken bones, the Doctor here says she'll be up and running within the hour though sir." Major Ferretti reported back.
"The doctor?" Admiral Fitzwallace broke in.
"Major, this is Admiral Fitzwallace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs." General Hammond explained, hiding a smile when he could almost hear Major Ferretti straighten his stance over the line.
"Yes sir," Major Ferretti's voice came back more rigid this time. "Major Warren can explain it better than I can sir. But the ship it equipped with some sort of holographic technology, including a medical doctor that can treat the crew in emergencies. He called in the Emergency Medical Hologram."
"And this hologram is treating the crew member?" Admiral Fitzwallace asked curiously.
"Yes sir Admiral," Major Ferretti replied. "He's using the technology from the ship, I watched him heal a head wound that would have left any of us scarred, he did it in seconds sir."
"Remarkable technology," Admiral Wallace nodded thoughtfully, the thought of a ship from the Star Trek universe appearing had shield and weapons technology they could only dream of, but they'd never thought about the medical technologies that such a ship would have access to.
"The crew member is expected to make a full recovery?" General Hammond asked hopefully.
"Yes sir," Major Ferretti replied. "Hopefully we can get some answers when she does."
"I'll hold you to that Major," General Hammond smiled over the line. "Anything further to report?"
"No sir, the ship is as damaged as it appeared in the satellite photos. I wouldn't expect this thing to ever get off the ground again sir." Major Ferretti replied. "Honestly though General, we could do with Captain Carter down here, this stuff is way ahead of anything we're used to dealing with. Half the stuff here would make the Goa'uld look like primitives."
"You don't know how happy I am to hear that Major," Admiral Fitzwallace said with a wry smile. "The technology you're walking around could be the key to protecting this planet from the Goa'uld."
"You'd be right there sir." Major Ferretti's voice came back. "Even if half the technology on this ship works as advertised, then it's a huge step up from what we've seen the Goa'uld using. Shields, phasers, sensors that can detect ships from distances I don't even want to think about."
"You're preaching to the choir here Major," General Hammond smiled.
"Which is why I'm respectfully requesting Captain Carter be sent down sir," Major Ferretti's voice came back. "Sir, no offence, but around here I'm afraid to touch anything without Warren's say so. This ship could be a death trap if we touch the wrong thing here." He explained, breathing out deeply. "According to Major Warren the entire ship uses electro-plasma to pump electricity through the systems, the same sort of plasma that can explode out and melt through skin if there's an accident."
"I read you loud and clear Major," General Hammond nodded, noting how Admiral Fitzwallace obviously felt the same. "Is there any sign of more surviving crew members?"
"We've only been able to check the bridge, decks four and seven sir." Major Ferretti explained. "So far the ship looks deserted."
"The crew must have gone somewhere Major, a ship that size can't be manned by one crew member and a hologram, no matter how advanced it is." Admiral Fitzwallace broke in.
"Major Warren feels the same sir," Major Ferretti's voice came back over the line. "All the escape pods are still here though, but there's no sign of anyone else aboard so far. Once she regains consciousness we might be able to get some answers though."
"She?" General Hammond paused at that description.
"Yes sir," Major Ferretti came back on the line. "Female crew member, mid-twenties. Major Warren says she's science or medical personnel, rank of Commander."
"Very well," General Hammond nodded thoughtfully. "Once she's awake, try and find out what you can. Ships like that don't just fall out of the sky without reason Major, I'd like to know how it got here and what happened to it."
"You and me both sir." Major Ferretti replied crisply.
"I'll contact Captain Carter and apprise her of the situation, but until the crew member is awake and has an explanation, I'm reluctant to send SG-1 down there." General Hammond said after a moment's pause.
"Understood General." Major Ferretti replied. "I'll report back once the Commander has regained consciousness."
"I'll speak to you then Major." General Hammond said with a nod before closing the line off with a push of a button.
"An advanced alien space craft, with just one crew member, sitting there?" Admiral Fitzwallace asked dubiously. "Why does it feel like the Gods have just answered our prayers?"
"Because we're not that lucky." General Hammond said with a thoughtful sigh. "First an alien Superman saves a plane and offers assistance, then a space ship with technology ripped straight from a television show appears ready for us to use against the Goa'uld." He said with a frown.
"I don't believe in looking gift horses in the mouth general," Admiral Fitzwallace paused with a nod. "But you're right. There's something here we're not seeing." He said thoughtfully, drumming his fingers on the table. "A Goa'uld trap?"
"I don't think so," General Hammond shook his head. "Teal'c would have recognised Goa'uld technology on the ship, this doesn't feel like the sort of thing they would try." He explained, thinking about it more. "No, I don't think this has anything to do with the Goa'uld."
"I'd agree," Admiral Fitzwallace said with a nod. "But if not them, who? It's not like someone just ripped a space ship out of a television show and left it here for us without telling us why. That ship had to have come from somewhere."
"But how did it get here, and what happened to the crew." General Hammond said, following Admiral Fitzwallace's train of thought. "I hope you get your answers soon General, the Russian and Chinese teams will be on the Antarctic shelf within the day. And you can bet they won't be as patient with getting answers as Major Ferretti is being."
"I'd had the same thought," General Hammond frowned. "I'd rather not turn this into an international incident."
"We may be beyond that already George," Admiral Fitzwallace said sombrely. "I'll contact the president and advise him of the situation." He said, standing up.
"Go ahead," General Hammond nodded, standing up himself and gesturing to the phone on his desk. "I'll contact SG-1 and brief Captain Carter, hopefully she'll have some news regarding the Superman incident as well."
"Interesting times," Admiral Fitzwallace smiled to himself as General Hammond moved to leave the room, leaving him alone to contact the President.
To put in bluntly, President Bartlet wasn't having the best of days. The same feeling could be said for Vice President Hoynes and Leo, both of who had been fielding calls from international ambassadors all day, though C J Craig, working as the Press Secretary, had had far worse with her meetings.
"Yes?" President Bartlet asked aloud as he picked up the phone.
"Admiral Fitzwallace for you Mr President." Mrs. Landingham's voice came through the phone. "Would you like me to put him through?"
"I'll take it," President Bartlet sighed as he sat back in his chair, wondering if this call would be the first good news he'd had in days now. "Admiral, how are things under the mountain?" He asked as the call connected.
"Better than they were Mr President." Admiral Fitzwallace's voice came through clearly. "We've established contact with the team in Antarctica, they've entered the crashed vessel and found a surviving crew member."
"Someone survived that?" President Bartlet asked in surprise. "How is he?"
"She Mr President," Admiral Fitzwallace informed him. "A Commander on the vessel from the report we've just received."
"A commander," President Bartlet nodded thoughtfully. "Not a captain?"
"No sir," Admiral Fitzwallace's voice came back. "We're waiting on further contact, the commander was injured during the crash and is undergoing medical treatment aboard the vessel itself."
"The team down there are equipped with medical training?" President Bartlet asked curiously.
"No Mr President," Admiral Fitzwallace explained further. "Treatment is being administered by, and I'm reporting this word for word Mr President, an emergency medical hologram."
"I'll assume that's a good thing even though I have no idea what it means." President Bartlet frowned, writing down the term so he could ask Zoe about it later on and find out exactly that one of those was.
"Yes Mr President." Admiral Fitzwallace continued. "The team will report back once the commander has regained consciousness, hopefully then we will get some answers regarding the vessel's appearance."
"Some answers would be nice Admiral," President Bartlet frowned in thought. "I don't mind telling you, we've got ambassadors crawling out of the woodwork around here asking questions, the press are hounding CJ every minute of the day. I think you've got the right idea staying under that mountain." He paused, rubbing his forehead. "A hologram?" He asked, thinking back to what Admiral Fitzwallace had said previously. "They use holograms as doctors?"
"I wouldn't know Mr President, I'm going on what was reported to me." Admiral Fitzwallace explained. "Though today, I don't think anything would surprise me anymore."
"I know the feeling," President Bartlet smiled at that. "Very well, update me when you have something further."
"Yes Mr President." Admiral Fitzwallace said respectfully before waiting for the President to close the line.
"A hologram doctor," President Bartlet mused to himself as he hung up the phone, idly wondering what his wife would think of that idea. Tapping his fingers on the table he waited for a moment before standing up, leaving his jacket for the moment and walking to the side door through to the Chief of Staff's office.
"Is he in?" President Bartlet asked Margaret as he walked into Leo's secretary's area.
"He's on a call with Toby Mr President," Margaret explained.
"Ahh good, I've been expecting that." President Bartlet nodded before stepping through and opening the door to Leo's office, moving quietly inside before closing it behind him and nodding to Leo.
"Toby, The President is here, so I'm going to put you on speaker alright?" Leo said, nodding back to President Bartlet before standing up and switching the phone to speaker mode.
"How's it going down there Toby?" President Bartlet asked as he moved over to the desk where Leo was now standing.
"Not good Mr President." Toby's voice came back.
"They had a little crossed communication problem," Leo explained. "Toby was trying to figure out Mr Harris' suspected origins, listing powers, weaknesses, and things like that, and it came across the wrong way."
"I see," President Bartlet said thoughtfully. "And you're going to fix this, right Toby?"
"Actually, I'm thinking of bringing Toby back," Leo explained before Toby had a chance to respond. "He's done the meeting with DC Comics, but any further discussion needs someone with a more legal background to tie up the problems."
"Sam?" President Bartlet said with a nod, understanding where Leo was coming from here.
"I'd recommend that too Mr President." Toby's voice came over the line. "I haven't spoken with Mr Harris yet, but I have seen him talking with Captain Carter while they ran some tests." He explained before pausing. "I don't think I'm the right person for this, I'd recommend Sam, possibly Donna."
"Donna?" President Bartlet asked curiously. "Sam I can understand, but Donna?"
"We need someone here who can talk to Mr Harris and approach him in a friendly manner Mr President. The Colonel here is as unorthodox as they come, I'd recommend Donna deals with Mr Harris while Sam deals with the military and legal departments." Toby's voice came over the line explaining things.
"You're recommending we put discussions with quite possibly the most powerful being on this planet, in the hands of Donna Moss?" President Bartlet asked dubiously. "She's an assistant Toby. Josh's assistant at that."
"She's also the youngest staff member we have that we trust," Leo said thoughtfully. "Mr Harris is seventeen according to the papers, having someone down there closer to his age might actually be a good idea."
"I'm just not comfortable handing the reigns of Superman over to Donna Moss," President Bartlet said with a small smile.
"He's kidding Toby," Leo translated for Toby who couldn't see the President's face. "Come on back, we'll send Sam and Donna down to finish up with Mr Harris."
"Thank you Mr President." Toby's voice came back one last time before Leo hung up the line.
"I just had Admiral Fitzwallace on the line," President Bartlet explained as he motioned for Leo to follow him back towards the Oval Office. "You know, I think he had the right idea staying under that mountain."
"You and me both sir," Leo nodded with a wry smile as he followed the President through into the main office and closed the door behind them. "There's news?" He asked once the room was secure.
"General Hammond's team managed to get inside the ship, one crew member." President Bartlet explained. "She's alive and being treated there before we can ask her anything."
"Just one?" Leo asked in surprise. "Everything I've read puts the crew at nearly a thousand for a ship like that."
"Which matches what Zoe told me," President Bartlet nodded in agreement. "General Hammond's team is going to report back in when they have more, so I'll be waiting for Admiral Fitzwallace once they do."
"They'd better hurry up," Leo frowned thoughtfully. "The Russian and Chinese ambassadors both hinted they knew something was going on down there. I'd say they already have teams on the way themselves Mr President."
"I thought as much myself," President Bartlet nodded. "When is Doctor Weir due to arrive?"
"Early tomorrow morning," Leo said after a moment's thought. "I'll have her brought straight in from the airport."
"No, let her get some rest first." President Bartlet shook his head. "Ask the Chinese and Russian ambassadors for a combined meeting as soon as you can, we'll arrange a short discussion, I'll try and get them to back off from Antarctica, and then further discussion can go ahead once Doctor Weir is here."
"I don't think they'll listen Mr President," Leo said doubtfully. "Not without an awful big carrot to back it up."
"I had the same thought," President Bartlet frowned. "Who do we have in the area?"
"Military wise?" Leo asked thoughtfully. "No much sir, maybe a few submarines on manoeuvres, I can't think of anything we've kept down there for any reason."
"Hunt around, see what you can find," President Bartlet said with a nod. "If these ambassadors don't want to listen to talks, then we're going to have to keep them away from that ship before we can decide what to do with it."
"But if there's still a crew member on board…"
"I don't think the Chinese or Russian's will find that much of an obstacle, do you?" President Bartlet asked carefully, knowing the answer before Leo's face certified it for him. "I'll speak to the British, see where they stand on the matter. In fact, I know just the person." He said with a smile.
"Oh no, not him." Leo's face fell as he realised who President Bartlet was talking about.
"Lord Marbury," President Bartlet nodded. "He's our best hope at getting the British on our side with this."
"He's a lunatic," Leo said, shaking his head in disbelief.
"He's had dealings with the Chinese and Russians before, he's a good man Leo." President Bartlet said as he walked around the table to get to his phone before picking it up. "Mrs. Landingham, can you get Lord John Marbury on the line for me, he'll be reached through the British consulate."
"God help us," Leo muttered to himself as he watched the President hang up the phone
"I heard that," President Bartlet mock glared over to Leo as he sat down at his desk. "Did you know, on this space ship down there, they have holograms as doctors?"
"Is that relevant Mr President?" Leo asked with a frown.
"Well seeing as one of their holograms is treating one of their commanders, I'd find it relevant, and interesting." President Bartlet mused thoughtfully. "A computer as a doctor, imagine the possibilities."
"I'd rather not," Leo said after a moment. "I like my doctor's to have a bit of humanity in them, at least then I can trust them to make decisions on what they know, not what they're programmed to do."
"A good point," President Bartlet nodded in agreement. "I don't think Abby would be too keen on the idea either."
"I think she'd hate you for even suggesting the possibility Mr President." Leo said with a smile.
"Probably true," President Bartlet smiled back with a nod. "You're right there, but it does open up some interesting thoughts. I wonder what other things they'll find on that ship for us to talk about."
"Probably enough to keep us here all night no doubt Mr President." Leo said, shaking his head at the thought.
"Probably several nights," President Bartlet said with a smile at Leo's face. "Go, tell Sam and Donna to head down to New York, then see what we've got around the Antarctic we can get down there in a hurry. I'll let you know when Lord Marbury arrives."
"Lunatic Brit," Leo muttered to himself as he stood up from the chair by the President's desk.
"What was that?" President Bartlet asked with a wry smile.
"I'll get on it Mr President," Leo replied with the same wry smile.
"You do that," President Bartlet chuckled to himself as Leo left the Oval Office, leaving him to the paperwork he had been doing before Admiral Fitzwallace had called.
"Captain?" Colonel O'Neill asked aloud as he poked his head into the medical area where Carter and Xander were last seen, checking they were in there before entering.
"Colonel," Carter nodded, looking up from where she was poking Xander's arm as he relaxed on a table looking quite bored with the entire process.
"Whatcha doing?" O'Neill asked curiously as he moved over to watch, curious as to what tests Carter had come up with now for their Superman.
"Poking me?" Xander quipped, looking up at the Colonel from where he was laying down.
"It's a bit more scientific than that Colonel," Carter defended herself as she moved away from Xander. "Ok, you can sit up now." She said, putting down the scalpel she'd been using for this round of tests on the side with the other medical instruments she'd been using.
"Looks like poking to me," O'Neill said with a smirk as he eyed the various sharp instruments Carter had put aside on the table.
"Felt like it too," Xander grinned over.
"Yes, pressing as hard as I could on your forearm with an acid edged scalpel felt like poking to you, we've established that." Carter smiled, rolling her eyes as Xander laughed at her.
"Hey, can't help the invulnerable thing, but yay for no needles." Xander grinned at her.
"No needles?" O'Neill looked over curiously. "None of these worked?" He raised an eyebrow at the various assortment of sharp and needle like tools Carter had been testing against Xander's skin with.
"None sir," Carter admitted as she started cleaning up the tools. "His skin reacts like we'd expect it to sir, but pressure that would normally stretch the skin further or cut into it is simply… well sir, it's impossible."
"No needles?" O'Neill asked again, looking at Xander this time. "You lucky, lucky, lucky man." He grinned at him.
"I know," Xander grinned back. "She tried them all, even let me try some." Xander explained, holding up a severely belt scalpel for O'Neill to take.
"Guessing no luck there either?" O'Neill asked curiously, taking the belt scalpel off of Xander and checking it through carefully. The blade itself was nearly doubled over, with the point looking like it had been used as a chisel against piece of tank armour. Where the handed was dented in some areas, looking like someone had hit it repeatedly with a ball pin hammer or something.
"Even using Xander's increased strength his skin was too resilient for these sir," Carter explained, pointing to the various bent needles on the table. "I'd say the invulnerability lives up to the comic version sir, I can't explain it for the moment, but if I had to guess I'd say his skin was far denser than any material I've come into contact with before sir."
"Ok, so needles, knives, nothing?" O'Neill asked, just double checking her findings for himself.
"Nope," Xander nodded over, reaching over and picking up one of the scalpels again and jabbing his hand with it. He could see the skin move in from the impact, but once it reached a certain point the skin simply stopped the scalpel cold like it was being scratched on metal or something.
"So we're talking bullet proof here then?" O'Neill asked.
"We haven't tested anything further than various blades or needles here sir, but I'd say it's a good bet." Carter said with a nod as she finished clearing up the tools she'd been using.
"Good to know," O'Neill nodded thoughtfully. "If you've finished here call back to the SCG, give General Hammond an update. He called earlier but didn't want to interrupt your tests." O'Neill shrugged. "Guess he's just as curious as you are."
"Yes sir," Carter nodded before turning to Xander. "Everything ok?" She asked, checking where Xander was still idly poking his hand and arm with the scalpel.
"Yeah, fine," Xander nodded up. "It's just odd." He admitted, he could feel the pressure of the blade against his skin, but it was confusing, his brain was telling him this should hurt and he should be able to feel the blade cutting him, but his body was telling him that the blade was putting about as much pressure on his palm as a piece of paper would do, no matter how hard he pressed.
"Ok," Carter nodded back with a smile. "We've tested your strength, speed and durability so far today, we can continue with testing your flight reflex and ability later on if you're still alright with that?"
"Sure," Xander shrugged, still not sure how to explain flying or how he even did it in the toilets before in the first place.
"I'll check in with General Hammond sir," Carter said, looking at Colonel O'Neill.
"Go for it," O'Neill nodded. "See you back in the mess when you're done."
"Yes sir," Carter nodded before taking one last look at Xander, her brain still trying to figure out a scientific explanation for the things he could do, before leaving the medical area to head back to the office area of the base to contact the SGC.
"Speed? More running?" O'Neill hazarded a guess as Xander hopped off the table he'd been sitting on for Carter's tests.
"Laps," Xander nodded. "Got pretty close to a boom thingie before she told me to stop."
"Sonic boom?" O'Neill asked with a raised eyebrow, motioning for Xander to leave the medical room with him.
"That's it," Xander nodded back. "Speed of sound thing right?" He double checked.
"You must have been moving pretty fast," O'Neill nodded thoughtfully as he led Xander back through the corridors to the mess hall area. "Remind me not to be around you if you do that again." He grinned over.
"Yeah, Sam said it was a pretty bad thing to be around if you weren't… you know, invulnerable." Xander grinned back.
"Yeah yeah, rub it in for us poor mortals," O'Neill laughed back. "Drink?" He offered as they entered the mess hall.
"Coke'd be good," Xander nodded. "You mind?" He asked, looking up at the TV that was positioned up on the wall.
"Knock yourself out," O'Neill nodded before heading off behind the food serving area to find some drinks from the cold storage lockers in the kitchen area behind.
Turning on the TV Xander flicked through the stations idly, standing there as he tried to find anything to watch. An old episode of The Simpsons came on that he was tempted by, but like most episodes of The Simpsons he'd seen it far too many times to find it funny anymore.
He flicked through a few more channels before his eyes caught up with one he'd flicked past, moving back a few channels he stared at the screen, watching for a few seconds before running off as fast as he could, the wake behind him blowing around the mess hall as he blew through the double doors faster than he'd ever moved before.
"Here you go," O'Neill said as he came back through the kitchen area, holding out a cold coke ready for the kid as he looked around the mess hall. "Kid?" He asked, double checking around that Xander hadn't wandered into the kitchen area with him. "Xander?" He asked when he couldn't see him anywhere.
"Where the hell…" O'Neill trailed off as he looked at the TV where he'd last seen Xander, his eyes widening a bit as he saw the CNN logo on the bottom of the channel it was tuned in to. "Awww crap!" He muttered to himself as he registered the blazing fire that was being shown on the news channel, the subtitles filling in the fact that firefighters were unable to reach the blaze in rush hour New York traffic.
"No, no no no kid," O'Neill muttered to himself as he looked around, trying to figure out how to actually catch up to someone that could run fast enough to create a sonic boom on his own. "Awww crap!" He muttered again, pulling his hands down his face before running out of the mess hall and heading over to the offices area to find Carter and fill her in.
The startled look on Ethan's face when Xander blew into the room, his wake pulling up the photos and papers that were scattered over the bed and blowing them around the room was definitely a picture Xander decided. One he'd savour some other time when he didn't have something possibly monumentally stupid to do.
"Xander, what…" Ethan trailed off as he noted the half serious look on Xander's face, it was one he'd seen many times before when Xander had been planning surprise strikes or ambushes against the Goa'uld armies in the future.
"No time," Xander shrugged. "The Superman suit, where'd Giles put it?" He asked, looking around for the bright red and blue suit he was familiar with now.
"The trunk, kept away with…" Ethan frowned as Xander immediately dove for the trunk at the foot of Giles' bed and opened it, hunting through for a second before pulling two suits out. "Ah, yes, I hadn't had chance to…"
"Black?" Xander raised his eyebrow at the suit he had in his right hand. Holding up the normal one in his left he eyed the blue and red suit before tossing the black and silver one back in the trunk.
"For night time patrol and your… other activities shall we say?" Ethan explained cautiously.
"Gotcha," Xander nodded, the explanation of a night time stealth suit making more sense than patrolling in a bright blue, red and yellow suit. "Now how do I…" He muttered to himself before blurring around for a second in a mess of limbs and motion to Ethan before standing there in the Superman suit for the first time since the plane incident.
"Xander, is there something that…" Ethan trailed off as Xander shook his head.
"Sorry future man, guess it's time to see if I can fill these boots, I mean, not that I'm not already…" Xander finished with a shrug. "You know what I mean." He smiled over. "Be back in a flash." He said with a grin before vanishing in another blur, this one a more signature blue and red blur that blew up the papers and photos around the room again in a miniature gale wind.
"Go get them," Ethan smiled to himself, wondering what exactly Xander had rushed off to do, but knowing he'd felt the need to dress as Superman for it, it was obviously something his normal persona couldn't do.
"Carter!" O'Neill shouted out as he pushed his way into the office where Carter was on the phone. "Xander, news, fire." He said concisely as Carter looked at him from where she was on the phone.
"One second General," Carter said in confusion before looking at O'Neill again. "Colonel?"
"Xander, saw the news, big fire in the city." O'Neill explained. "Kid's gone, ten to one he's there right now."
"General I…" Carter started to explain before he interrupted her.
"I heard Captain," General Hammond's voice came back on the phone. "Contact me again when you have Mr Harris back at the base."
"Yes sir," Carter nodded, staring in disbelief at O'Neill who was stood by the doorway tapping his feet impatiently.
"Hammond out." He said before hanging up the line.
"A fire sir?" Carter asked as she hung up the phone. "Colonel I'd hardly think Xander is ready to…"
"He saw the news Carter," O'Neill broke in. "You'd just finished running him through tests showing him just how fast, strong and invincible he is. Now he's gone." He explained. "Doesn't take a genius to figure out what the kid's doing right now."
"Yes sir," Carter nodded back, following O'Neill out of the office and into the corridor.
"Get Daniel, don't tell the Doc or that Ethan guy yet though, don't want them worried about the kid until we know what's what." O'Neill ordered, motioning for Carter to head to where Daniel said he'd be researching through the Superman comics they'd bought earlier for Xander before heading off down another corridor. "I'll meet you outside in five."
"Yes sir," Carter nodded before jogging off to find Daniel, the sense of urgency hitting her as she realised Xander might well indeed be in the process of another very public stunt without anything they could do about it.
Blurring through the roads was both easier, and harder than he'd actually expected, running at a speed careful not to make the sonic boom things Sam had warned him about was one thing, dodging between cars and trucks along the highway was equally as easy, though running at high speeds with his cape being constantly pulled back by his wake and speed, threatening to tear around his neck, was another thing entirely.
He'd barely made it through to where the signpost said 'Queens' before pulling the cape around his neck and holding it bunching up in his hands while running to make it easier for himself.
"Note to self, learn flying ASAP." He muttered as he continued on, surprising himself how he didn't feel winded or fatigued yet. In the tests he'd done with Sam he'd obviously run for longer periods than this, but running around a track and dodging between cars and trucks on a highway were two very different things.
"Ohh, airport, I remember that." He grinned to himself as he blurred past the LaGuardia Airport turnoff, concentrating on reading the sign posts for Lower Manhattan on the roads, and following them ahead to the bridge leading over the East River. "Ok, flying would be much easier," He muttered to himself, dodging around the toll booth onto the bridge, knowing he was moving far too fast for the guards to even see him, let alone try and charge him the bridge toll.
Blurring through Randall's island park he jumped another toll, leading up onto the Robert F Kennedy Bridge and putting on an extra burst of speed, again careful not to break the sound barrier that Sam and Jack had been worried about.
"New York, far too many bridges," He grinned to himself as he headed down into the main city, blurring past cars and busses in rush hour traffic, his wake kicking up litter and leaves behind him in a blur of red and blue motion.
"Gotcha, Madison Avenue," He smiled to himself as he found one of the main roads running the length of Manhattan, recognising the street name from the news footage he'd seen back at the base before pushing himself faster as he ran down the street, the plume of smoke ahead now visible in the afternoon sky.
"Fire, think…" He muttered to himself as he approached the block of flats that was ablaze, news and camera crew standing a respectful distance away from the heat while two obviously undermanned police officers tried to keep people safe from the fire until the firefighters managed to get through. "Ok, people, people first." He muttered to himself, bracing himself to sound exceedingly stupid and get laughed at as he blurred through the crowd and pulled himself to a stop by the police officers, his wake kicking up a gale force wind around him for a second and blowing around the bystanders, knocking both officers' hats off their heads.
"What the…" One of the officers asked aloud, reaching down to pick up his hat before noticing the red boots that were stood by his hat.
"Sorry about that," Xander grinned at he reached down quickly and picked up the two hats, tossing them to each of the officers and doing his best to ignore the stunned silence of the crowd, the silence punctuated by the occasional flash of a camera and news casters yelling at their camera men to focus on him. "Is there… uh, anything I can do?" He asked sheepishly, not wanting to come off stupid or anything in front of the cameras and police.
"Superman… you're… you're…" One of the officers stammered out as he looked over Xander, obviously not sure if this was some sort of prank or as real as the White House news broadcast had made him out to be.
"Here to help," Xander nodded. "I saw the news, is there anything…" He trailed off as a scream broke through the quiet, looking up he could see a young woman reaching out of a window on the ninth floor, screaming and waving for help.
"We can't get up there until the firefighters get here, by that time…" The officer trailed off sadly. "IF you can do what you think you can…"
"I've got it," Xander nodded, hopefully sounding a lot more professional and confident than he felt inside. "Is there anyone else in there?" He asked, turning around to glance at the door to the block of flats before looking back at the officers.
"We don't know," The officer admitted quietly. "We tried to get as many people out as we could before the heat and smoke got too much." He explained.
"Great," Xander nodded with a smile. "Ok," He muttered taking a deep breath and heading towards the doors. "Invincibility, hope you work as advertised." He whispered to himself, reaching out and opening the doors before stepping inside the blazing building.
The first thing that hit him oddly enough was the smell, he could feel the heat but it wasn't unbearable or anything that would force him back, feeling more like the sun on a warm day outside than the torrenting fire he could see around him. The smell and light from the smoke and flames were worse than the fire, filling his vision and nose with smells he knew he wasn't going to forget easily.
Pushing those thoughts aside he focused on the problem at hand, moving through the fire easily, cautiously at first until the flames started licking at his cape, once he patted his hand on them and realised that he wasn't feeling any pain at all from the flames he smiled, filled with new confidence. "Ok, rescue time." He nodded to himself, setting his jaw and walking through the flames towards the stairs, doing his best to ignore the 'run for your life' reaction that was instinct in his brain.
The stairs were burning just as quickly as the walls downstairs as he moved up them, pushing and kicking burning pieces of wood and wall out of his way as he jogged up the stairs, not wanting to move into 'super speed' in case he caused more damage to the building than the fire was already doing.
"Hello, anyone?" He shouted out as loud as he could as he reached the second floor, pushing his way into the corridor before shouting out again. "Anyone here?" He yelled loudly, listening as intently as he could before moving back to the stairs.
"Man, ok, flying and x-ray vision, gotta get those fixed." He muttered to himself as he pushed another beam of wood out of the way, tossing it down the stairs with ease as he focused on pushing ahead.
Screaming out again for anyone on the floors he passed he quickly made his way to the floor where he'd seen the woman yelling out of her window, ignoring the flames that were still burning up his cape no matter how many times he'd patted them out against himself.
"Lady, lady are you here?" He shouted out, pushing his way into the corridor on the ninth floor. It barely took a second for him to register her screams as he ran through the corridor, the flames burning around him on the walls and floor as he pushed through to where he could hear the screams coming from.
"In here?" He yelled out, tapping on a door loudly that had been closed and was starting to smoulder and smoke in the heat. As he heard another scream from inside he pushed the door open, the wood splintering under his hand as he pushed his way through, stepping through the door itself as it crumbled and started smoking behind him. "It's ok, I'm here to help." He offered with a smile, knowing he didn't exactly look like a firefighter and with his cape on fire and soot and ask covering him, he didn't exactly look like his best sort of hero either.
"S… Superman?" The woman asked in disbelief, looking away from the window where she'd been screaming and cradling a young child in her arms. "You… you're… real?"
"Come on," Xander smiled, holding his hand out for the woman. "Let's get you two out of here." He said, offering the most reassuring smile he could, even though he knew he probably looked like hell after making his way through the fire. As the woman took his hand he turned around, looking at the smoke filled corridor he'd come through. "Is there another way down?" He asked, looking at her for any information, knowing he couldn't take her back through the stairs he'd used to make his way up here.
"The… the fire escapes on the back of the building," The woman explained, gripping Superman's hand tightly. "But… the… the fire!"
"The fire fighters are on the way," Xander said reassuringly. "Come on, let's get you two out of here so they can do their thing when they get here." He explained with a soft smile. "Where can we get to the fire escape?" He asked, looking at the woman again.
"There… but…" She started to say, looking in horror at the way the flames were licking around the corridor and filling up the apartment doorways leading to the far end of the corridor where the window out to the fire escape was.
"Ok, scratch that," Xander shook his head. "What about the roof, if we get up there the fire trucks could put a ladder up, could you do that?" He asked hopefully.
"The…" The woman went wide eyed for a second before clutching her child tightly and nodding.
"Ok, up then." Xander nodded, leading her back to the stairwell where he'd come up. "Definitely up." He muttered to himself, looking down the stairwell where the flames were getting more and more intense, burning their way up. "Come on." He said reassuringly, holding the woman's hand gently in his own before leading the way up the stairs.
Stopping at the next floor up he nodded to the woman. "Just wait here a sec, just need to check if there's anyone else stuck in here." He said with a smile, pushing through the door onto the top floor and looking around for any signs of people. The fire wasn't nearly as bad on this floor, but the smoke was even worse, filling up the top of the corridor and flooding the area with soot. "Anyone here?" He yelled out loudly. "Anyone?" He yelled again after a few seconds, listening intently for another few seconds for anyone that was replying before moving back to the stairwell where the woman was still standing, cradling her crying child in her arms.
"Ok, let's do this." Xander nodded reassuringly to the woman. "You're going to be alright, I promise." Xander smiled, looking down at the young girl who couldn't have been more than four or five.
"You… you're going to save us?" The little girl asked through tear filled eyes. "You'll save mommy too right Superman?"
"Of course," Xander smiled at her, hoping he sounded a lot more confident than he was feeling right now. "Come on." He nodded with a smile, looking up at the woman again before moving towards the stairs leading up to the roof, the woman still carrying her little girl tightly in her arms following barely a footstep behind.
"It's locked!" The woman shouted as they reached the top of the stairs, a solid metal door blocking their way further. "The super is always complaining about people smoking up there, so he keeps it locked to stop…" She trailed off as Superman simply stepped forward, pushing on the door with one hand, the sound of metal screaming in protest filled the stairwell for a second before the door crashed off its hinges to the floor.
"I told you I'd save you," He smiled down to the little girl, who rewarded him with a tear filled smile of her own. "Come on." He said, holding his hand out for the woman to take again before leading her out onto the roof, the cold air and sunlight a welcome change from the dark acrid smoke filled building he'd fought his way through.
"You… you did it…" The woman said in disbelief as she followed Superman out onto the roof top, the cool air filling her lungs and making her cough from the smoky air she'd been breathing inside.
"Come on firemen," Xander whispered to himself as he walked to the edge of the building, looking down in hope that a fire truck or something would be there waiting for them. Sadly there was no such luck, the crowds around the building seemed to have more than tripled since he'd arrived, and with an extra police car and ambulance on the roadside, but no fire truck in sight. "Why is it there's never a fire truck when you want one." He muttered, his brain flashing back to his seventh birthday when all he wanted was a toy fire truck, then the house next door had burnt down and he'd thought Willow had set the fire to bring the firemen out for him.
"What are we going to do?" The woman asked, a bit calmer now than she had been inside, but not by much, the little girl was still wrapped in her arms though she'd stopped crying now.
"Jump?" Xander offered offhandedly.
"Jump, are you crazy or something?" The woman almost yelled, doing her best not to stare at him like he was crazy. "You might be able to jump tall buildings in a single bound, but I'm not…"
"I can carry you," Xander said reassuringly. "I'll hold you both, jump down, and take the fall. It'll work, trust me." He said, trying to sound as confident as he could. Truth be told, he couldn't exactly think of another way to get off of the building, though he was fervently wishing he'd worked out the flying thing with Sam in the afternoon instead of playing with the needles and knives.
"You… you'll catch us?" The woman asked carefully, her eyes looking at him with a glimmer of hope.
"Carry, not catch." Xander offered with a nod. "That fire will be up to the top floor soon, so we've got to get out of here." He explained, stepping towards the edge of the roof and putting one foot up on the ledge, silently sending a prayer to whoever was listening that his invulnerability would last a ten story drop and that he could keep hold of the woman and girl without hurting them. "I'm stronger than I look." He said with a smile, holding his hand out for the woman to take. "Trust me." He said reassuringly.
"I…" The woman faltered, looking up at Superman and then down the ten story drop to the street below.
"Trust him mommy," The little girl in her arms said quietly. "He's Superman."
"He is," The woman smiled at her, using her free hand to brush away some of her soot coated blonde hair before looking up at Superman again. "You can carry us both?"
"I can bench press a car," Xander offered with a grin as he turned around to face the woman properly. "Just hold on to my shoulder." He said, reaching down as she stepped forward and sliding his hand under her legs, lifting her easily off the floor and cradling the young girl between them against his chest.
"I like your S," The girl smiled up at him from where she was pushing her cheek against his chest.
"Thanks," Xander smiled down, looking at the girl and then over to the woman. "You ready?" He asked as he stepped up to the edge of the building again and looked down, fighting the urge to swallow nervously at he looked at the drop.
"No?" The woman replied, squeezing her eyes shut and willing herself not to look down.
"Me neither," Xander whispered to himself as he took the last step and hopped into the air off the building.
"CJ!" Josh shouted, darting from office to office through the West Wing until he found her going through some paperwork and dropping some pieces off in Toby's office. "CJ, you gotta see this!" He said urgently, reaching over and grabbing her hand, pulling her out into the bullpen where all the assistants were sat at their desks, looking up at the TV screens on the far wall that were all tuned in to different news networks but all showing the same story.
"What Josh?" CJ shouted at him, pulling her arm free. "I'm busy here, can't you see…" She trailed off as she looked up at the TV screens to see what everyone was mesmerised by, the papers she had been carrying dropped to the floor in shock as she lost her grip, the TV screens now having her full attention. "Is this live?" She asked out, looking around at everyone.
"It's on every network," Josh explained as he moved to the front of the bullpen to get a better look. "See he's up there now with a woman that was stuck inside the building, I don't know what…" He trailed off as he saw the little girl in the woman's arms as well.
"Oh god," CJ whispered to herself, the news crew on one screen focusing in tightly on the roof, showing Superman picking the woman up in his arms easily and moving towards the edge of the roof.
"He looks kinda young doesn't he?" Josh offered thoughtfully. "I mean can he even…" He was interrupted by a short scream of shock from CJ, pulling his attention back to the screen where she was watching intently as Superman just stepped off the building, only instead of falling like every law of physics was telling him he should, he simply hung in the air, holding the woman and her girl while the wind whipped his cape around them. "Ok, that's impressive." Josh admitted with a nod, watching as the news stream focused tightly in on Superman as he held the woman and started slowly lowering himself through the air.
"He's real," CJ whispered out, watching the footage intently, noting every little detail from the smoke stained blue costume, to the burnt and torn cape that was floating around him as her drifted slowly through the air down towards street level, the camera pulling back slightly as he came down, focusing in on Superman's face. "Not just a dream, he's real, like some sort of angel." CJ whispered in disbelief, looking at the way Superman simply floated through the air with the woman and child in his arms like they weighed nothing at all.
"The President is going to want to know about this," Josh said with a nod, watching the screens as intently as CJ was.
"I'll… I'll brief him," CJ whispered, her eyes still firmly glued to the screen as she watched Superman come down to the ground level, landing as gently as a feather before letting the woman step down from his arms. Even though the various TV screens were on mute, she could well imagine how loud the crowd there must be as the camera crew panned around to show the cheering crowd's reaction.
"Oh yeah, score two for Superman." Josh grinned out. "First a plane, now a burning building." He smiled, turning to CJ. "You know they're going to go crazy for this right?"
"Uhuh," CJ nodded, already imagining how the evenings press briefing was going to go. Any other story now was incidental, there could be a war breaking out in Europe tonight but she knew the only thing she was going to be asked about was going to be Superman.
"Find me Leo," CJ said, looking at Josh. "I need five minutes with him as soon as I can."
"Good luck," Josh muttered, nodding his head and willing to help though.
"I'll… I'll be in…" CJ stammered out, kneeling down and collecting all the papers she'd dropped in shock when she'd seen the news.
"In with the President?" Josh offered, helping her pick up the papers.
"Yes, the President," CJ nodded, offering him a small smile as she took the papers from him, clutching them tightly before moving off, ready to drop them in her office before heading off to catch the next five minutes with the President that she could get.
The image of Superman floating down like an angel carrying that woman and child in his arms, his burnt cape whipping around them with the blazing smoke filled building behind them was one she knew was going to be on every newspaper around the world by the morning, it was the sort of iconic image newspapers would kill for, and she'd just seen it live.
"Times are a changing," She whispered to herself as she dropped her paperwork on the chair by her desk before moving off purposefully towards the Oval Office.