Here is the next chapter in Watching Atlantis.
Watching Atlantis – Part Three
For disclaimers see part one.
Awareness came slowly to Giles, but this time he remembered where he was so he continued to lay with his eyes closed, breathing normally. He also had a disquieting, blurry, memory of answering questions that he had no business answering. He felt a presence next to his bed, a presence that had a scent that was floral in nature but not something he ever remembered smelling before. A female voice spoke softly.
“Dr. Beckett, the indicators seem to be changing slightly, but he’s still unconscious. Is something wrong? I’ve seen people zatted before and they’ve never taken this long to wake up.”
Giles felt someone move next to the other side of the bed. “It looks like he’s sleeping normally now. He could be coming around at any time.” This speaker was a man with a pronounced Scottish accent. “The energy produced by the zat disrupts the electrical field in the brain, that’s what causes the person to lose consciousness. This man already had an injury to his brain, so the effect lasted longer.” The man snorted. “Bloody military, shoot first and ask questions later.”
“The Corporal said the man was threatening you.”
“He had just come to, and no doubt had a hell of a headache. He was confused. I’m sure he would have calmed down once I started talking to him.”
“Dr. Weir must have agreed with you since she had Major Sheppard remove the guards.”
The two continued to speak as they walked away from the bed, but Giles stopped listening. He was processing what he had just heard. The strange weapon that had been pointed at him, that must have been what they were calling a ‘zat’. An energy weapon of some sort. He had been under guard, but the guards had been removed on the orders of a Dr. Weir.
Dr. Weir. That name seemed familiar, but he couldn’t remember from where. The man treating him, Dr. Beckett, didn’t have a very good opinion of the military. Good. Wherever he was he had at least one ally. He wasn’t going to learn much more like this. Time to ‘wake up’, ask some questions, find out where he was and where Buffy was. Giles opened his eyes and looked in the direction that the two voices had gone.
Dr. Beckett was the man that he had grabbed earlier. Giles felt a small twinge of embarrassment about that. He was wearing the typical white lab coat that so many medical professionals used. From the clothes she was wearing, the girl wasn’t a medical person. In fact Buffy would have looked good in that outfit. Tan suede pants and a brown halter top that looked like it was made of leather. What really caught his attention was her hair. He had never seen anyone with hair quite that color. Honey brown, with hints of red. Amber, he decided, it looked like living amber. The girl glanced in his direction.
“Dr. Beckett, he’s awake.”
The little man walked back over to the bed and ran a professional eye over the instrument readings. He smiled down at Giles. "Hello again. I apologize for what happened earlier. Just a trigger-happy guard. Dr. Weir ordered that they be removed. How are you feeling?" He rambled on in that soft voice as he flashed a light in Giles' eyes and did a few other tests. Finally Giles broke in.
"Actually, I'm feeling quite well. Better than before. And I am the one who should apologize. Grabbing you that way was uncalled for. You had done nothing to warrant my treating you in that manner."
"No, no, perfectly understandable in the circumstances." The man stopped and looked embarrassed. "I'm forgetting my manners. I'm Dr. Carson Beckett."
The girl spoke up. "And I am Teyla Emmagan." She gave a short bow of her head.
Giles blinked. The gesture was oddly formal, yet she did it so naturally, as if she always introduced herself in that manner. "My name is Rupert Giles."
Dr. Beckett nodded. "I know." When Giles raised an eyebrow at him he stumbled a bit as he explained, "We checked your wallet, only for any medical problems I assure you. It's perfectly safe; Dr. Weir has it."
Again that name rang a faint bell. "Am I to understand that Dr. Weir is in charge of this hospital?"
"This isn't a hospital, but yes, Dr, Weir is in change. In fact, if you feel up to walking, Dr. Weir would like us to take you up to her office. But only if you feel up to the walk," he hastened to add, "if you don't she'll be happy to come down here. She just thinks it will be easier to explain things in her office."
Giles sat up carefully, surprised to find that he no longer had a headache. He stood, took a few experimental steps and said, “I feel well enough. I’d prefer to walk and take a look around.”
Carson nodded and led the way into the corridor. When he saw Giles start to speak he said, “I know you have a lot of questions, but I think it would be best if you waited to ask Dr. Weir.” At Giles’ look of suspicion he continued, “It’s not that I’m trying to hide anything. I just feel that she can answer your questions better than I.”
Giles stood for a long moment, then nodded. As they began to walk, he said, “I do have one question that I’m sure you can answer. You keep saying ‘she’ when you are talking about Dr. Weir.”
Carson nodded. “Aye, Dr. Elizabeth Weir.”
“That name sounds familiar. Is it possible that she is the same Dr. Weir who I’ve read about in the newspapers?”
“Yes, Dr. Weir was chosen for this expedition because of her ability to negotiate.”
A thousand questions rolled through his mind, but Giles remained silent. He remembered the dimensional portal in the park and the journey through the darkness. Of everything that he had heard since he had awakened, two words stood out. Expedition and negotiate. He began to pay closer attention to his surroundings. They were in a very large building, with many levels and corridors leading off in all directions. The architecture was similar to the art deco style of the early 1900’s, but it also seemed somehow, alien. Any view out of the few windows showed either other buildings or water.
Giles stopped. Carson took a few more steps, then turned back, a look of inquiry on his face. “Just one more question. Did anyone come through the portal with me?”
Carson looked away for a moment. He shook his head. “No, I’m sorry. You were the only one.”
Giles just nodded and gestured for Carson to continue. A few minutes later they entered a large open space. Giles saw futuristic looking equipment hooked up to ordinary laptops. He looked closer at a desk next to him and saw triangle shaped buttons with words written in a language he had never seen before.
“Dr. Weir,” Carson began, but before he could complete his sentence, there was the sound of an alarm.
Down in a lower level of the room, Giles could see a metal ring light up and lights move rapidly around it, stopping at sections and setting off other lights. There was a whooshing sound, and a wall of what appeared to be water formed. It shot out the front, then the back of the ring, before stabilizing in the center. Giles stared at it in shock. It was the portal that had been in the park.
A man sitting behind one of the desks said, “Off world activation.”
A woman, who had been standing at a railing looking down at the ring, turned and said, “Is there an IDC?”
“Activate the shield.”
The man touched a control on the desk and shimmering barrier appeared in front of the portal. A few tense minutes later the man said, “Receiving Major Sheppard’s code.”
“Lower the shield.”
Over an intercom system a voice said, “Base, this is Sheppard. Make sure the gate room is clear, we’re coming in fast. Let Beckett know we have injuries.”
Giles watched Carson step over to a desk and touch a control. “Infirmary, this is Dr. Beckett. Medical team to the gate room.”
Giles turned his attention back to the portal. The gate? A vehicle of some sort came though. It looked a lot like the shuttles on that science fiction show that Xander had talked him into watching. The shuttle settled to the floor and the portal winked out of existence. The back opened and people came out, supporting each other. One man hurried up the steps and crossed over to the woman.
“We ran into a wraith patrol. Anderson was stunned, but he’s already coming around. Davis and Cavanaugh fell into a ravine while trying to evade the patrol. Possible broken bones, but nothing serious.” He took a deep breath and looked away, staring down at the shuttle. “The settlement was gone. Totally wiped out.”
“Is it possible that they relocated?”
“No, all their possessions were still there. Things were dropped as people tried to run.” The man turned to look across the room at Teyla. “I’m sorry. We were too late.”
Teyla lowered her eyes for a moment, then looked at him. “Thank you for trying, Major. I will pass the news on to my people.” She gave that little half bow and turned to go back the way they had come.
The man and woman standing by the railing noticed Giles for the first time. They exchanged looks and the woman crossed the room, holding out her hand. “Hello, I’m Elizabeth Weir.” Giles shook her hand, his grip tightening on hers as she added. “Welcome to Atlantis, Dr. Giles.”
Xander’s head slipped off his hand and hit the book with a thump. The sound drew Willow’s gaze away from her book. Xander sat up, blinking blearily. He glanced at the clock. “Buffy, I’m sorry, but I need to get some sleep. I’m supposed to be at work in three hours.” Everyone looked at the clock.
Willow and Tara looked at one another. “Um, Buffy, we need to leave too. I know this is for Giles, and any other time I would skip the class, but we’re having mid-terms in two of our classes tomorrow. We can’t miss that.”
Buffy just blinked at her, her brain slowly processing what had been said. “Oh, right. Mid-terms. You can’t miss those. You guys go ahead and go, we’ll” she waved her hand between herself and Ethan, “keep looking.”
Xander rose to his feet, stretched, and gently shook Anya’s shoulder. For the first time Buffy noticed that she was asleep. Anya blinked around at the others, then up at Xander. “Let’s go home, honey.” He helped her up and they stumbled out the door.
Tara whispered something to Willow and she turned to Buffy. “Will you be alright here alone with him? And when are you going to get some sleep?”
“When we find Giles.”
“Buffy, you can’t stay awake for a whole week.” When Buffy glared at her she hurriedly continued, “If it takes us that long, which it won’t of course. But you need to sleep, and what about patrols. You can’t take him with you on patrol. How are you going to handle that?”
“Sunnydale will have to take care of itself for a few days. I’m not letting him out of my sight.”
Tara nudged Willow. “Uh, Tara has a suggestion.”
Tara blushed but said, “We could do a sleep spell.”
Buffy looked puzzled.
“It’s very simple. It’s just puts him to sleep until he’s told to wake up.” She looked at Ethan. “There is one small problem. The person has to give their permission, or it doesn’t work.”
“Not a problem. You’ll give your permission, won’t you Ethan?”
“And why should I? How do I know I can trust you?”
Buffy gave him a chilly smile. “Simple, if you don’t let them put you to sleep, I’ll knock you out. So, what’s it going to be, a sleep spell or a concussion?”
Ethan faked a yawn. “I could use a nap.” He looked through the door into the training room. “The couch, I assume?”
“No, the floor. You can stack up the mats, and there are a couple of sleeping bags in one of the closets. I’m taking the couch.”
Ethan spent the next few minutes getting his ‘bed’ arranged while the girls spoke quietly in the front of the shop. “Ready,” he said.
“Willow and Tara are going to put wards on the doors as well as the sleep spell. You’re not going anywhere so don’t even try, it’ll just make me mad and you don’t want to see that.”
Ethan raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. He made himself as comfortable as possible on the floor. Willow and Tara joined hands and murmured the spell. Ethan’s eyes closed, his body relaxed and his breathing became deep and regular.
“And you’re sure he’ll stay that way?”
“Yes, until you touch his forehead and tell him to wake up.”
Buffy hugged the two girls. “Thanks. Go get some sleep and ace those tests.”
Willow gave her an extra squeeze. “We’ll come back as soon as we can.” She pulled away and smiled. “Don’t worry, we’ll find him.”
Buffy smiled tightly. “Yeah.” She followed them out to the front and locked the doors behind them. She turned off the lights and returned to the back room. She stood for several minutes watching Ethan, making sure he really was asleep, then walked over and started pummeling the punching bag.
In her minds eye she again saw Giles disappearing through the portal. She punched the bag harder, her mind filling with rage. Untold minutes later she stopped, her knuckles bruised and bleeding. She walked over to the bathroom and rinsed her hands off in the sink. As she wiped them on a towel she saw, on top of the hamper, the sweat shirt Giles had been wearing when they trained together that afternoon.
Hands shaking, Buffy picked up the shirt and went back to the couch. She sat down and held the shirt up to her face, breathing in Giles’ lingering scent. Her whole body started to shake. “Oh, god, please, I have to find him. He has to be alright.” She buried her face in the shirt. “Giles,” she whimpered, and started to cry.
Giles stood on the patio outside the command center, watching the moon rise over the ocean. For miles in any direction all that could be seen was the ocean. Dr. Weir had told him that there were land masses on the planet. In fact most of Teyla’s people had chosen to form a settlement on the southern continent rather than stay on Atlantis. They had been trying to bring groups from other worlds here as well, since the Wraith seemed to be unaware of the location of this planet. At least, so far.
Giles shook his head. Atlantis. It was real, and he was there. In the years since he had learned his destiny he had seen, and heard about, many strange things. In the time that he had been Buffy’s Watcher he had discovered more. He had truly believed that there was no longer anything that would surprise him. Until now.
The last few hours had certainly been an education. Aliens were real. Interplanetary travel was possible. Humanity had evolved, developed advanced technology and left Earth, only to return millennia later and help to re-build civilization again. There were humans alive now who were descendants of those ancient beings, and they still carried the gene that enabled them to operate the machines left behind.
Teyla and her people, in fact all the people on the various planets in this galaxy were human as well. Descendants of the people that the Atlantian’s had abandoned when they had retreated to Earth. Major Sheppard had told him that some of the people still resented the fact that their ancestors had needed to fight for survival while Atlantis hid behind its technology.
Teyla. An interesting girl. Very like Buffy in many ways. He had heard her chiding Major Sheppard for not practicing his training. When he had asked Dr. Beckett what that had been about, he was told that Teyla was trying to teach the Major a style of hand to hand combat that her people had used to fight the Wraith for many centuries. He had asked if he could observe their next session. Maybe he could pick up some new fighting techniques to show Buffy when he got home.
He looked back up into the night sky at the unfamiliar stars.
“You can’t see our sun from here.”
Giles turned to see Dr. Weir standing in the doorway.
“I didn’t really think that I could, I was just wondering…” his voice trailed off.
“The general direction?” Giles nodded. “I asked Rodney, Dr. MacKay, that a few days after we arrived. Due east, right where the moon is rising, but not until much later. It seems that the section of sky that holds our sun isn’t visible until just before sunrise this time of year.”
“Please, call me Elizabeth.”
Giles nodded and gave her a shy smile. “Very well, Elizabeth. Is there truly no way to get home?”
“I’m sorry, no. The generators we brought with us barely supply us with enough power to run the city. We’re working on building solar panels, but there still remains the question of how to store the power. Every time a team goes off world we search for more power modules, but we haven’t found any yet. We all knew that this could be a one way trip.”
“You knew, but I came to be here by mistake. I have to get home.” He looked back out across the ocean. “I need to be home,” he whispered.
They stood together in silence for a long time. Finally Giles said, “If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll turn in now. It’s been an eventful day.”
Elizabeth nodded. “Get some rest, we’ll talk more tomorrow.”
Giles went back through the command center, down the corridor and found the room that had been assigned to him. He picked up his wallet and took out a picture. ‘Buffy, I’ll find a way home, I promise. Don’t worry about me. Take care of yourself.” He lay down on the bed and stared at the ceiling for the rest of the night.
Ethan Rayne wasn’t worried. Oh, Buffy had frightened him in the park, but once she calmed down he knew he just had to bide his time. It had been a snap to get away from those government idiots; how hard could a group of teenagers be?
He had spent the evening doing honest research. After all, he didn’t really want Ripper hurt, just out of the way for a while. Although that scheme was out now that he was going to have to leave town. And Ripper had quite a selection of books. He might just have to liberate a few when he left, for their own good of course. Those kinds of books were too dangerous for them without Ripper there to keep them from doing some of the spells.
When the little witches brought up the notion of using the sleep spell he almost laughed. They were so sure it was fool proof, when in reality there was any number of ways around it. And he knew all of them. So, let them put him to ‘sleep’, wait for Buffy to really go to sleep, and he would be gone. The wards they put on the doors were nothing. He could feel how weak they were. At least to someone with his level of ability. Really, far too easy. He almost wished he could see Buffy’s face when she woke the next morning to find him gone.
He lay breathing normally, giving the illusion of sleep. The others left. Buffy came and stood over him, watching him for a long time. He was beginning to think she was going to stand there all night, but she moved over to the punching bag. He heard her hitting it for a very long time, then she washed up and came back to the couch. He expected to hear her getting comfortable, but instead he heard, “Oh, god, please, I have to find him. He has to be alright. Giles.” And to his great astonishment, Ethan heard Buffy crying. Deep, wrenching, sobs that went on for a very long time. She finally slowed, and then stopped. Ethan knew that she had cried herself to sleep.
Ethan opened his eyes and stared into the darkness of the room. She cared about Ripper, she really did care. All that anger in front of the others had been to keep from breaking down. Damnit, why did she have to cry? He could withstand anything but real tears, and these were obviously real since she didn’t know he could hear her. Ethan carefully sat up and looked at her. Although she was asleep, tears still streamed down her cheeks and her breath still hitched with an occasional sob. In her hands she clutched a man’s sweatshirt. Ripper’s no doubt.
Ethan stood up and moved over to the couch. He took the throw off the back and draped it over Buffy. “I’ll find him for you, I promise,” he whispered. He lay back down and eventually drifted off to sleep.<'lj-cut>