ENTER THE STALKERS 2: SCOUTS HONOR
The Merry Prankster
“Wins raised his hand and was recognized. “I have set our communicators to frequencies so the enemy will not be able to eavesdrop on our communicators. In addition, each team will be assigned a Nubian Forward Air Controller (FAC) to coordinate with the gunships and just off the press. We have a squadron of Star fighters standing by should we need any close air support.”
Jack pondered his question for a moment before voicing it. “How do we call on the fighters if we need them?”
“Luckily, when McGyver and myself set up the system, we used standard US Army doctrine. We will be using the same protocol as if we were back on Earth. Each team will be given colored smoke grenades to mark position. Also, one thing. If you are danger of being overrunned and wiped out, send out the message “Broken Arrow.” When our flyboys hear that, they will be here in numbers and quickly.”
“Thank you Wins. We link up with the Jedi, our combined forces will move to the landing pad and load the children on gunships that will bring them back to Fort Apache. When the children are safely away, we will finish mopping up operations. Okay people lets move out.”
Ruins outside Kali Township
Wolfgang Blackmoore was making his rounds, looking over the installation when he entered the communications shack. He walked over to Bothan radio operator, a human sized rodent creature, and picked up the data pad.
“When did this come in?”
“Just a moment ago, sir.”
The Black Mage and now Sith apprentice scanned over the message. He then went back to the com unit and made contact with his master. Pressing the send button, he stood back as the Sith Lord's holographic image appeared. <Hmmm, lets see what the old fart has to say>
“Through my contacts with the Republic, I have learned that the two Jedi have sent for reinforcements. I am very disappointed in you.”
“But master, I have done as you ask and strengthened my defenses. There were some soldiers that appeared without warning. But, they have been dealt with. Besides, I am ready for the Jedi and will crush any attempt to interfere with the operation.”
“Be that as it may, I am sending you a mercenary company to help deal with any unexpected visitors. They should arrive within the day. In addition to your normal duties, I want you to find out where the Jedi are staying and wipe them out before the situation gets out of hand. Am I clear?”
“Good, I do not want to make a special trip to see why you haven’t fulfilled your goals.”
The image of the Sith Lord vanished. Blackmoore stared at the holopad, <Sometimes I wonder why I ever took this job>. He reached down to his personal com unit and contacted his second in command. He listened as his minion reported on a pirate’s disappearance.
“But sir, he was only a pirate and they are not the most reliable of allies.”
“I know, but double the guards and patrols. I don’t want anybody sneaking up on us. Got it?”
Jungle outside Kali Settlement
“Is everything all right?”
Anthony “Saint” Christopher briefly looked up at his master and friend. Flashing a slight smile, he replied, “Yes nothing’s wrong. I was just checking my gear, making sure everything was ready.”
Qui Gon paused and gave Saint a look saying that he was not telling everything. The Jedi master examined his young friend. Saint was loaded up for this mission, expecting a long hard fight. He was still wearing his tiger striped fatigues. However, he had added his helmet and flak vest. Hanging off his web gear, was a light saber, pistol, ammo pouches and grenades of various types. If the Jedi had to hazard a guess, he would have to say it looked like Saint was overloaded.
As Saint filled every remaining pocket with ammunition and grenades, the master Jedi used the Force and found out what his young friend had left unsaid. “You do not need to hide your unease.”
Saint closed his eyes and waited a moment before replying. “You know this is only my third real combat operation. My first ended with my ship being shot down and my second saw one of the men under my command dying in my arms. This is not like that raid on the warehouse. Sure, I led you, Master Windu and Obi Wan into helping rescue those kids. But, everyone else involved were experienced Jedi Knights and I wasn’t directly responsible for them. Today, I may once again lead people into the “Valley of the Shadow of Death”. I have this feeling that some of our people may not make it out alive. It’s easy to put yourself in a situation where you may die, but damn hard to send others.”
Qui Gon gently squeezed Saint’s shoulder and sent out calming waves through the Force. “Let go of your unease, Anthony. There are many things each of us must do for the common good. In my years with the Jedi, I have seen more comrades than I care to remember become one with the Force. We each have our part to play and I do know that yours is not over. You will do fine.”
“You always have that knack of knowing the right thing to say. Thanks, I needed that.”
“Its no problem. However, we must join the others if this operation will go off as planned.”
Qui Gon and Saint walked out to the courtyard where the other Jedi were assembled. As agreed, they would ride speeder bikes to two miles of the enemy installation. Special mufflers were installed on the speeder bikes to cut down their engine noise. As a result, you could hear them outside two miles. The Jedi would hide the bikes two miles outside the ruins and make the rest of the journey on foot. With a quick nod, they mounted the bikes and were off.
Daniel McGyver quickly ran through his preflight checklist. It wasn’t that long ago when he was a crew chief on a Blackhawk helicopter. Now, he was piloting the lead ship in the assault formation. The American turned his head to see Colonel O’Neill and the members of SG1 board his ship. Jack tapped McGyver on his shoulder to get his attention.
“You know the plan, you will break off from the main formation and get us to our primary LZ one mile from the ruins.”
“Roger, I’ll turn lead position over to Lt. Beagle, call sign “Snoopy” and get you into position without spreading the alarm.”
Jack O’Neill looked at his watch and gave McGyver a thumbs up signal. He turned back and looked out the open side hatch. As he watched, the remaining Naboo Rangers boarded their crafts. The throb of the gunships engines turned into a high pitch whine as the ship began lifting up. The other ships followed suite and were in the air soon afterwards.
Jack looked over his people, riding in what appeared to be fold down canvas seats. The American soldiers could be seen undergoing a variety of emotions ranging from eerie calmness to thinly disguised nervousness. A couple of the soldiers were even fast asleep. O’Neill sat back and thought, <You can tell the veterans from the green troops by seeing who was asleep.> He looked back at his watch. <We should be breaking away from the formation any minute now.>
McGyver quickly turned on the noise suppression system and the loud engine turned to a whisper. The formation flew close to the earth for most of the flight. Five minutes into the mission, McGyver turned lead over to Snoopy and broke off. Jack felt the ship bank to the right and nose down, gathering speed. He blinked a few times at the image of green blurs flying past his vision at eye level, < I know the Nightstalkers have some of the best crews in the US Army. But, having the tops of trees flying past above your head is a bit too much.>
The pilot turned back to Jack and through the intercom yelled out “Two minutes to LZ”
O’Neill motioned to get the SG1 team’s attention. “Listen up, we will be jumping. The ship will not be landing. We will be jumping!”
The gunship quickly decelerated and dropped into the clearing. Jack felt his stomach rise up in his mouth as he yelled to his team to exit the craft. Once the other soldiers had left the craft, Jack himself jumped. The SG1 commander rolled on the ground after falling six feet. Looking up, he saw the gunship quickly leave the area and silence once again settled on the jungle.
The Americans quickly assembled and moved off into the jungle toward the ruins. It did not take long to reach the assembly point near the landing pad. In fact, they were lucky to find the one area that had not been reinforced by Blackmoore’s goons so they were safe for now. All they had to do was wait for the signal.
McGyver quickly reached the area behind the ridge, which had been, designated the holding area for the Rangers. The other ships were hovering in anticipation of the go code. Now all they had to do was wait for the Jedi’s signal.
The Jedi quickly reached the edge of the jungle and got off their bikes. Saint could feel the presence of the battle droid sentries and warned the others to cloak themselves with the Force and to move through the jungle to avoid detection. Halfway through the jungle, Saint held up a hand, silently telling the Jedi to stop. Listening closely, he could hear the approach of several beings crashing through the jungle.
As one, the Jedi melted into the underbrush and waited for the unknowns to come into view. Moments later, the first pirate walked by the hidden Jedi, talking loudly to his comrades.
“Why do we have to walk through the jungles? I mean there is no local army or any group bad enough to threaten us.”
“Shut up you fool.” Hissed the leader, “Blackmoore must have had a good reason to send us out here. Besides don’t you remember Connacht vanished yesterday?”
“Look, Connacht was a fool and a drunk. He probably ran off to the local town to get a drink and be with the ladies. Besides as you can see, there’s nothing out here. Nothing.”
Saint gave the all clear as the voices of the pirates faded off in the distance. <Man, that was close.>
After a few more minutes of walking, the Jedi reached the edge of the complex. Saint selected a section of wire that was isolated from the rest and quickly cut a way in.
Saint pointed to the ruins and softly whispered. “The main temple is this way. Lets go.”
<Hmm, what was that?”>
Jekser Mintor was manning the sensor grid when he noticed a strange reading. The shift supervisor, a squid faced Quarran, came over to see what was going on. Looking over Jekser’s shoulder, he asked.
“What is it?”
“I don’t know sir. A blip appeared momentarily appeared on the perimeter then disappeared. Should we inform Blackmoore?”
The quarran scratched it’s head. “Has the anomaly returned?”
“Then we just continue monitoring. Our black robed leader is busy getting his beauty sleep and doesn’t wish to be disturbed. You know how he is when he is woken for unimportant matters.”
Jeksor thought back to the incident a few days ago when one of the pirates had barged in on Blackmoore taking a shower and shuddered. <That pirate didn’t even look like was human when it was over. I mean all of his skin had been stripped from his body and his internal organs pulled out through his mouth. Thank God, the poor wretch didn’t stay alive.>
“Sir, I’ve got an idea. Lets wait until we have something more definite.”
The four Jedis crawled through the opening made by their companion and moved toward the temple. Obi Wan looked around <There don’t appear to be many guards around here.> They crept past the communications shack and heard the technician reporting an anomaly to his superior. Mace Windu and Adi Gallia exchanged glances before moving to the ruins.
Upon reaching the ruins, Qui Gon reached out through the Force to see if there were any bad guys in the vicinity. Fortunately, there were none. He turned back to relay the information when he noticed Saint focus on one building marked “Danger, Explosives”. The Jedi Master sighed as he noticed the evil grin forming on his young friend’s face.
“Anthony, what are you up to?”
It was amazing how quickly Saint was able to change his expression, because he was now the picture of innocence. “What ever do you mean Master Jinn?”
The other Jedi noted Saint’s innocent expression and felt a sense of foreboding wash over them. It fell to Obi Wan Kenobi to express what they all felt. “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Qui Gon quietly responded. “You have that look you get when you are about to do something the rest of us will regret.”
“Lets just say I have found our signal. Why don’t you four continue on to the children while I set up the signal.”
“Anthony, remember the distance between that building and the temple. We do not want to be forced to dig ourselves out of any collapsed buildings. Understand?”
“Yes sir. You go on I’ll be right behind you. Trust Me.”
Obi Wan spoke up. “Although it is against my better judgement and I may need to have my head examined afterwards. I will stay with Anthony and oversee his preparations.”
After the rest of the Jedi had disappeared into the temple, Obi Wan turned to Saint. “Try to limit the collateral damage will you?”
“Don’t worry. Have I ever done anything like that?”
Obi Wan declined to answer and only shook his head in resignation. <Once this is over, I will need a stiff drink and I don’t drink!>
Saint and Obi Wan stopped outside the storage shed. Obi Wan sensed there was nobody inside and the two quickly entered. The room was stacked with explosives of every type. Saint looked in the room until his eyes settled on what he was looking for. He placed his bag on a nearby table and quickly removed some items.
“Uh, Obi Wan could you guard the door? I have work to do.”
Not bothering to pay attention to Obi Wan’s reply, Saint got to work. Within minutes, the room was set up to explode in a series of low order detonations followed by one big blast. The American pulled out a remote fuse and made sure it was working, as was the transmitter.
Obi Wan was watching the door when Saint tapped him on the shoulder. “Come on it’s time to go. I can tell you this much they will certainly be holding a party in the near future. In fact, it will be a blast.”
Obi Wan could only shake his head and groan at his friend’s joke. The two left the shack and quickly moved to join their friends.
Unknown to the Jedi, a stranger had been watching them the entire time. The stranger, wearing black leather, appeared to be a young human male and sported a short goatee. <Hmm, and I thought this universe was going to be boring. I do need to get an avatar and this ‘Saint’ character may be the one. I think I will stay just a little longer and see how it turns out.>
Upon entering the temple, the Jedi quickly sensed the presence of many beings and droids. They needed to be careful if they hoped to get to their objective undetected. They managed to avoid most of the guards and get to the underground level in one piece. It turned out that the underground level had only four guards. Some people have all the luck.
As they were moving into the lower level, they were joined by Saint and Obi Wan. Adi Gallia, the female master, turned to Saint “Enjoy your side trip?”
“You betcha, in fact you could say it was a blast or soon will be. By the way what’s the situation down here?”
A collective shudder went through the other Jedi as they pondered Saint’s response. Master Windu, the Samuel L. Jackson clone, told Saint that there were four guards just outside the cells and needed to be gotten rid of. Saint thought about the revelation <Why am I thinking about ‘Blazing Saddles, at this time?>
He smiled evilly and turned to Adi Gallia. “Guys I have a plan and it involves Master Gallia”
Master Adi Gallia was looking around the room when she got the feeling she was the center of attention. <Why do I feel I am about to be sacrificed.> She turned to Saint, spotting his smile. <Oh Shit>.
Adi Gallia asked Saint what his plan was. Saint would only say that he needed the Jedi Masters to wait in the room while the guards were lured into the room.
It had been another dull day guarding the children. The Black Mage had assigned four of the pirates since he didn’t fully trust his battle droids. It was a boring assignment and the four pirates were bemoaning the fact they had not seen any females since taking the job. They had just settled down when Saint stepped around the corner, shouting out in a sing-song voice.
“Yoo Hoo. Hey boys, look what I got here.”
The young American yanked Master Gallia by the collar into view yelling, “Why is it there’s never a good man around when you need him?”
Saint turned to look at the female Jedi, wondering what she was talking about? Master Jedi shrugged, “You were broadcasting your thoughts pretty loudly. When this is over, you will have to tell me more about this “Blazing Saddles”. Shaking his head, the young American quickly ran off after the female Jedi. The four pirates ran after the two fleeing Jedi to see them duck into an adjacent room. Thinking that the Jedi were cornered, they rushed into the room, only to run into three scowling Jedi Masters. The four pirates were quickly subdued and tied up. Qui Gon turned to Saint and admonished his young friend.
“Anthony, that was rather immature. You are an officer and a Jedi Padawan. Try to act like one.”
“But Master Jinn, it got the job done and nobody got hurt. Besides, it was funny.”
“But, Master Gallia thinks it’s funny.”
Qui Gon turned to face the female Master. “You are not helping”
“Young Anthony is right it was funny. Besides you need to lighten up.”
Qui Gon began rubbing the bridge of his nose. It was going to be one of those days. He seemed to be having quite a few since taking Anthony as an apprentice.
Masters Mace Windu and Adi Gallia took up guarding positions at the stairwell. Saint and Obi Wan joined Qui Gon as he opened the cell door. They were fortunate that the pirates had the keys and they were able to enter the cells with little difficulty. Qui Gon entered the cell and looked over to the far end where the children huddled against the wall. He reached out through the Force and called out to the children in a soothing voice. “It’s alright children, we are Jedi Knights and here to rescue you.” The quiet tone of voice won the children over and they quickly gathered around the tall Jedi.
“Are you here to take us home?”
“I want my mommy!”
Saint looked over the gathering and smiled. <It’s times like these that dispel any doubts.> The young American quietly moved out of the room, followed by Obi Wan, and moved to where the other Jedi were standing guard. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the transmitter. Both masters nodded for Saint to proceed. <SHOWTIME>
Anthony flipped the cover, which powered up the transmitter. Taking a deep breath he pushed the red button.
The entire building appeared to jump in the air and shake. Plaster fell from the ceiling and the lights flickered off and on. Finally, the emergency lights came on and stayed on. As if they were one person, Mace Windu, Adi Gallia, and Obi Wan Kenobi turned around and stared at Saint. Adi Gallia chewed her bottom lip for a few seconds before breaking the silence.
“Think you used enough explosives?”
“Well there wasn’t as much as I normally like to use. Besides it worked didn’t it?”
Master Windu shook his head, “Anthony, Anthony, Anthony, what are we going to do with you?”
“It just matches my personal philosophy. To put it in understandable terms, when a blaster bolt will do, use a thermal detonator. When a thermal detonator will do, throw in the entire case. Hey, it works.”
The other could only look at each other as one thought went through their minds. <And he’s a warrior of light. I’d hate to see him turn to the dark.>
Jungle Outside Ruined Temple
“I would guess that was Lt. Christopher’s signal.”
“You are right.” <St. Wolf and Christopher must be related somehow.> Jack raised one arm in the air and swung it in the direction toward the temple. “That’s the signal, lets move out!”
SG1 rushed out of the jungle towards the camp. The explosion had stunned most of the guards, many of whom were wandering around aimlessly. One or two of the droid took shots at the advancing Americans. However, they were quickly eliminated by the concentrated fire. Jack was marking targets as he ran when he caught something out the corner of his eye. Without a conscious thought, the SG1 commander pumped six rounds into the thrashing pirate.
Teal’c had been stunned by the magnitude of the blast. However, when Jack gave the order to rush the base, Teal’c was in the forefront. He was running toward the temple when he spotted movement in one of the upper story windows. Without a second thought, a blast of energy from his staff eliminated that threat.
The SG1 team was halfway to their objective when the high pitch whine of jet engines shattered the air. Jack was momentarily taken aback by another sound. <If I didn’t know better, I would swear someone is playing opera music.> Upon reaching the door, he looked back toward the landing strip to see the gunships racing into view.
Captain Panaka was sitting in the back of the gunship when the sound of a massive explosion ripped through the air. It was so loud, one could hear it over the roar of the lift engines. The Naboo captain tapped the pilot on the shoulder and pointed towards the camp.
“Looks like we have our signal.”
Wins looked back to the black captain and nodded. “Oh Yeah, when Saint gives a signal, he really gives a signal!”
As one, the flight of gunships approached the landing zone. Since it was expected to be a hot LZ, with lots of unhappy people, none of the ships would be touching down. Daniel McGyver, reached down to one of the nonstandard items he had installed and flipped a switch. Within seconds, the booming sound of Wagner’s ‘Flight of the Valkyries’ could be heard for miles around.
Blackmoore had just come out of the shower when the blast hit. Rising to his feet, he staggered over to the wall mounted com unit. He brushed away some plaster that had landed on him while he contacted his second in command.
“What the hell, just happened?”
“Master Blackmoore, we don’t know for sure. All of a sudden, the explosives shack just blew up. Hold on a minute……”
<This had better be good or someone will learn to breathe without a trachea> thought the Black Mage. Suddenly he looked up. <I must be hearing things. For a moment I could have sworn somebody was playing Wagner.> The beeping of the com unit interrupted his musings.
“Master Blackmoore, are under heavy attack! Sentries on the western corner are reporting somebody is infiltrating the base from their side. Also, we have word that unknown craft are landing soldiers on the landing field.”
“I want you to send a group of droids and pirates down to the children. If anybody comes near them, I want the droids to kill every last child. Got it?”
“Finally get the battle droids to retake the landing field. Finally, do you have any word on those mercenaries Darth Sidious sent us?”
“Yes sir, they just landed a few miles away from the base and will be here within thirty minutes.”
“See to it. I will be down in the command post shortly. Do not let those kids be rescued. Got it?”
Blackmoore turned off the com unit, pulled out some clothes from a closet, and got dressed.
Obi Wan leaned his head in the direction of the stairs, listening to commotion going on above them. He quickly made out the sound of many feet rushing down the stairs as well as many living beings shouting out words of encouragement. It had been agreed that Adi Gallia would stay with the children while the rest of the Jedi met the approaching enemy as they left the stairwell.
Saint unslung his Mauser and sighted it down the hole. Since that was the only way in or out of the cellar, The young American chose not to stick to the pulse laser. The first pirate, a Aqualish, rushed into the room firing his blaster pistol indiscriminately. His body was quickly thrown back against the wall by the impact of several laser blasts. His fate was similar to that of the next three pirates to come through the door. Finally, six pirates of various races ran out of the stairwell in two groups of three. The shock on their faces gave evidence to the fact that they were not expecting four Jedi Knights with drawn lightsabers. Needless to say, they did not last long.
Saint wiped the sweat from his brow as this first assault had been beaten off. Mechanical sounds from the floor above caught his attention. Thinking back to his first battle on Naboo, the young American immediately recognized the sound of battle droids. Saint turned to his companions.
“Looks like the pirates flunked their morale test but passed their intelligence test. We got battle droids on the way. Stay cherry people!”
McGyver banked his gunship to the right and raced ahead of the formation to ‘prep’ the LZ by blasting anything that looked to be a threat. Looking around, he spotted a freighter in the process of powering up, getting ready to fly. McGyver flipped a switch and armed his missiles. <Most people would not power up their shields while sitting on the ground.> Throughout the approach, the door gunners were busy filling the sky with blaster bolts. The freighter filled his gunsight as McGyver rolled in on an attack run. A moment later, six large missiles were streaking toward the freighter. As he was pulling up, he looked over his shoulder to see the grounded ship rise up in many pieces as multiple explosions ripped the freighter to pieces. <One last threat to the boys on the ground>
The other gunships made their landing runs in groups of three with door gunners spraying every nearby building, tree, bush or cover with blaster fire. They dropped to three feet above the pad and slowly moved forward as the Rangers tumbled onto the ground.
Upon reaching the ground the Rangers formed up into platoons and moved to their stated objectives. First Platoon, composed of thirty Rangers, set up a defensive perimeter and secured the landing zone. The others moved out and advanced on the remaining defenders.
Snoopy dropped down and began his landing approach. On the way in, he became the target of several returning patrols and surviving base defenders. Each hit was marked by a flash of light and a light jarring motion to the craft. He had just made it to the landing zone when the critical shots came in. First his door gunner was hit. Then, his control mechanisms were shorted out and the gunship began to spin as he attempted to regain control. With smoke pouring out of the cabin, several Rangers jumped out as soon as they got near the ground. Finally, a series of shot to the cockpit shattered the controls and hit the pilot. Snoopy slumped over the cockpit as the ship smashed into the ground and rolled on it’s side.
A battle droid appeared in the smoke filled passageway and was quickly dispatched by Teal’c. At first, the enemy did not notice the Americans rushing through the halls. In fact, it appeared that SG1 and the enemy were going in the same direction. Jack turned to Teal’c
“Think they know something we don’t?”
“It is possible Colonel.”
The sound of laser blasts and the hum of lightsabers became clearer as they approached the stairwell. Suddenly three destroyer droids rolled into view, unfolded, activated shields and began firing on the SG1 team. Jack dove behind a stack of crates as he yelled out.
“Take cover. Wilson, Jeremy, and Jefferson, start throwing grenades to take out the tincan’s shield. Teal’c use your staff when the shields go down.”
One soldier stood up to throw a grenade and was thrown against the wall by several hits. Another soldier ducked as several shots tore through the space he had vacated. Fortunately, his throw was accurate. Teal’c blasted the droid once the shimmering light field flickered off. The other two droids quickly met the fate of the first and SG1 cautiously walked down the stairs.
Jack held up his hand, directing the others to wait. He listened to the hum of lightsabers for a minute before yelling out.
“Don’t shoot! We have SG1 coming down.”
A voice, clearly recognized as Saints yelled back. “Come on down, we have the situation well in hand down here.”
Obi Wan looked up as SG1 came pouring in. Colonel O’Neill walked up to Master Jinn and began conferring with him.
“We’ve cleared out most of the bad guys upstairs . You ready to leave?”
Qui Gon nodded and O’Neill pulled out his com unit.
“Net call, Net call, Hostages secure. Ready for extraction.”
“Confirmed, get the hostages to the landing field, provide escort, and wait for the gunships to arrive.”
“Roger that, O’Neill out.”
The children were quickly rounded up and escorted out of the temple. It was an easy walk to the landing pad where three gunships were waiting. Panaka stood nearby and supervised the loading. Saint walked up to the Naboo Captain as the children boarded the ships. Panaka’s com unit beeped and as he listened, the expression changed from surprise to anger. The captain looked up as Saint tapped him on the shoulder.
“What’s going on?”
“The platoon guarding the southern perimeter is under heavy attack by mercenaries. Their platoon leader is down, critically wounded, as is the platoon sergeant. The corporal, new kid out of training, is screaming for help, but all of my remaining forces are busy clearing the remaining buildings and won’t get there in time,”
Saint bit his lip in deep thought. A lot had changed in the last few months since his arrival. He had spent the last few months becoming familiar with the technology, military organizations, and capabilities of the various factions in the Republic. He was no longer the ‘stranger in a strange land’ that had appeared in the skies over Naboo. Finally, he yelled out, “Captain, I’ll go down there, see what can be done and try to salvage the situation.”
Panaka nodded and relayed the information to the scared corporal. Jack turned around and faced the Jedi. It was obvious what he intended and they agreed to it. O’Neill detailed half the SG1 team to finish loading the kids and get them back to Fort Apache. Once that had been settled he followed after Saint.
The perimeter south of the landing field was total chaos. Laser bolts flashed through the air. Every so often one would find it’s target and another Naboo soldier went down. Picking his way along the line, Saint approached the corporal talking on his com unit. The corporal whirled around and faced the American.
Saint tapped the Corporal on the shoulder yelling, “Who’s in command here?”
“You are SIR!!.” Noting Saint’s rank insignia, he had two one American and the other Naboo, he relinquished command.
“What’s the situation corporal?”
“Sir we are outnumbered and in danger of being overruned. We’ve already sustained at least 30% casualties.”
Saint stood up, ignoring the shots firing overhead, and looked around. Finally, he pulled out his com unit and contacted the craft still in orbit.
“This is Roman One, Broken Arrow. I say again Broken Arrow!!!”
“Roger, we confirm Broken Arrow”
The scene on the orbiting ship was complete chaos as the pilots rushed to their ships and launched into space. The flight leader homed in on Saint’s transmitter and began talking to the young American.
“Roman One this is Flight Lead. My pilots cannot find the lines. Need you to mark your positions.”
Saint reached to his web gear and detached a single canister. Pulling the pin, he tossed the smoke grenade in front of his position. Three seconds later, bright purple smoke began pouring into the air, drifting towards the East.
The lead fighter spotted the smoke and keyed in, “Roman One, I see Grape”
“Roger, I confirm Grape. Listen up. We have enemy advancing North on our position at One Five Zero.”
“I see them, making my attack run.”
The Naboo Starfighters screamed over the enemy troops strafing them with high power lasers and gravity bombs. The enemy, not expecting such an assault, nonetheless pressed on. Meanwhile, Saint had taken position behind a large boulder and continued calling in corrections.
“Bring it in closer at Three Hundred Fifteen Degrees at Zero Five Zero.”
“Enemy in the open advancing on my position at One Five Zero.”
“Bring it in closer …………….”
Jack had been watching the young lieutenant take charge. <The kid is doing well.> However, something didn’t seem right. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted one of the Naboo Fighters roll in on it’s attack run. <It’s almost as if………..> Jack grabbed Saint by the shoulder and pointed up at the incoming fighter.
“Saint, you need to call the Son of a Bitch off!”
Saint looked in the direction Jack was pointing to. His eyes grew wide as the implications set in. Keying in his mike, he screamed. “ABORT NOW. PULL UP, PULL UP!!!”
The wingman cut off his attack run but the leader had already dropped his bombs. Saint could only look in horror as the bombs fell toward the Naboo troops. Jack yelled for everyone to get down and take cover. The bombs struck the far end of the Naboo positions and killed five. Jack moved back to Saint. Saint shook his head and continued to direct the attack runs.
“Attack against the tree line.”
For ten minutes the fighters kept up their attacks. Finally, Saint could feel a shift in the battle. Reaching out through the Force, he could tell that the enemy was on his last legs. Looking around, he yelled out “Fix Bayonets” and detached his lightsaber. The enemy were still advancing although more cautiously. The enemy had approached within fifty meters of the line when Saint flicked on his saber, jumped up and yelled “FIRST PLATOON FOLLOW ME!”
Saint quickly parried two blaster shots with his lightsaber. Reaching into the Force, He leaped into the middle of a group of mercenaries. The Naboo quickly were in close contact and hand-to-hand combat broke out. Finally, the remaining mercenaries began to raise their hands. First one, then a whole group. Their will broken, the enemy surrendered.
Captain Panaka showed up in time to witness the charge. He walked up to Saint and congratulated him on saving the day. Thanking Saint for his actions, the Naboo captain took charge. The young American could only nod. He was too numb for any other kind of response. Time seemed to stand still as sound from the last shots faded away. Saint walked over the battlefield, taking in the sights and sounds. One Naboo Ranger lay down holding a major wound in his abdomen, moaned in discomfort. The medics swarmed the area, looking for the wounded. The young American felt the bile rise in his throat as he oversaw the results of the air strikes. < Wellington was right when he said that there was nothing worse than a battle lost. Except for a battle won. > In fact, it was almost as if the world turned into shades of black, white, and gray. Someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around to face a medic.
“Sir, I need your help getting this man out of here.” Saint looked down to where the medic was pointing and saw a private who had wounded in the ‘friendly fire’ incident. It seemed as if half the man had become burned hamburger. The man’s moaning turned to a shriek when Saint grabbed him by the legs. The American nearly lost it there when his grip pulled a layer of burnt skin. The medic tapped him on the shoulder once again and told him to carry the wounded man back to the landing zone.
Saint picked up the wounded man as gently as possible and carried him back to the Landing Zone. Qui Gon and Obi Wan had just finished loading up the last of the children when they saw their young friend approach, carrying the wounded man. Qui Gon saw the stunned expression and felt his young friend’s numbness through the Force. After Saint finished placing the Ranger in the gunship, the Jedi Master reached out through the Force to help him. Saint felt a wave of calmness wash over him as he turned around to face his Master. Qui Gon led his friend to a box on the edge of the landing pad and motioned for him to sit down.
“I get this feeling that there is something you need to talk about.”
“I was walking on the battlefield and I was suddenly struck by the horror. I mean, I know that I did the right thing by calling in the air strike and we won. I don’t know if I will ever get those images and the smell out of my head. You know the worst thing is the smell of death. I swear, I am sick of fighting, the death, and yet the alternative would be much worse if they won.”
Qui Gon placed his hand on Saint’s shoulder. “You will always remember the sights, sounds, and smells of but they will fade in time. The fight to keep the darkness from winning is not easy and was never meant to be. In spite of or even because of your antics, we will be there for you.”
“Thanks, I needed the talk. It’s times like these that makes me feel like an old man at nineteen.” Looking toward the temple, Saint continued “On our way into the temple, I noticed some carvings that could shed light on how SG1 and my chopper got here. Since the area is pretty much clear, lets get Dr. Jackson in here
and see if he could shed some light on their meaning.”
“Colonel O’Neill has already sent the message and the good doctor will be arriving shortly.”
The conversation died down and the two men turned and walked back to the temple.
Daniel wiped off the lenses to his glasses and put them back on. There had been many things going through his mind as he accompanied Saint to the temple. Getting back to Earth topped the list. However, living in a movie world turned real came in for a close second. They went down the hallway and continued into the cellar where the children had been held. Saint pointed to a room at the far end.
“There are some hieroglyphs on the wall that may prove interesting. Colonel O’Neill suggested that you may be able to make sense of them.”
Jackson entered the room and noticed the variety of machinery in the center. He turned to Saint and asked what the devices were for. Saint rubbed his chin for a few minutes before answering.
“The bad guys were hooking the children up to the machines. For what purpose, I don’t know. However, it was not good.” Daniel was led across the room to the far end. “Dr. Jackson, here are the pictures we were talking about. “
Daniel moved closer to the wall and examined the pictures more closely. “Hmmm. They have some traits common to Summarian or Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Look here, that symbol is almost a copy for of the pictures found in Mohenjo Daro.”
Saint tried to follow Daniel’s explanation but none of it made sense. “Look Doc, while I recognize the names you are referring, the rest is Greek to me. Give me a couple of years to work on my archaeology degree and I might be able to have an intelligent conversation.”
“That’s alright Saint, or would you prefer Anthony?”
“Either one is good. You have something else on your mind?”
“Ever since I met Qui Gon Jinn and the other Jedi I’ve been wanting to ask you the following question. How are you able to be so calm around the main characters from Star Wars, Episode 1, The Phantom Menace?”
Saint had been looking at the machinery when Daniel’s question hit him. He quickly turned around with a puzzled look on his face. “What are you talking about?”
“Come on, do you know how many people back home would jump at the chance to be where you are? Everybody around here is a character from the movies. I wouldn’t be surprised if a little green troll named Yoda is walking around in this universe. You have been spending the last seven months living in a Star Wars universe, hanging out with the main characters and didn’t know it?”
Saint looked up. By the look on his face, one could assume he had just realized something. “Dang you’re right. I never thought about it. Come to think about it, I did notice something familiar with the sights and people when I crash-landed on Naboo. Until you brought it up, I never connected the dots.“
Daniel shook his head amazed that some people could be so dense. He pulled out a small digital camera and began taking pictures. The pictures looked familiar and the appeared to refer to some artifact that allowed movement between the veils of time. However, he could not be sure and for all he knew the pictures could be some creatures way of saying ‘Kilroy Wuz Here’. Finally, he got up and told Saint that he needed more information before he could decipher the glyphs. Saint scratched his head for a moment and suggested that they could try the library at the Jedi temple. It contained the knowledge of the Jedi from thousands of years. That was just what the good doctor needed and he asked Saint when can they go. Saint was about to reply when suddenly he stiffened and grasped his lightsaber.
It was not a good day to be on the bad guys team. Wolfgang Blackmoore had just spent the last few hours watching his operation go up in a puff of smoke. The children had been rescued and his base in ruins. He thought back to his master Darth Sidious. <There’s no way he’s gonna let me live after this>. The Black Mage was creeping down to the cellar when he ran into Jackson and Christopher. <At least I will have the satisfaction of eliminating one ‘White Hat’ from the universe.> One of the more useful things acquired from his master was a lightsaber and beginning lessons. Sidious had promised to complete his training once this operation had been completed.
Turning the corner, the Black Mage unhooked his saber and flicked it on.
Saint felt the presence of Blackmoore even before the Black Mage turned the corner. <I don’t have time for this shit.> thought the young American. With a sigh of resignation, he listened as the Boy in Black started talking.
“I thought I was free of you boy scouts when I left Earth. You wrecked my operation and my life but I will have the pleasure of ending yours. Now prepare to die!!”
Dainile watched on as Saint shook his head and started to pull his lightsaber. Just as he was about to grab his weapon, the American changed his mind, pulled out his pistol and shot the Black Mage between the eyes. Blackmoore didn’t even have time to say anything before he slumped to the floor.
Daniel could not believe his eyes. “Why did you do that?”
“It’s been a really long day and I’m just too tired for anything fancy.”
Saint replaced his pistol and drew his lightsaber. Activating it, he quickly separated the black mage’s head from his body. Daniel asked Saint why, since the guy was already dead. The only reply was a slight shrug and being told “I wanted to be sure.”
Mace Windu, Qui Gon, and Obi Wan felt a disturbance in the Force. As one, the three Jedi walked off toward the temple to find out what it was. They arrived in the cellar in time to see the confrontation between Saint and Blackmoore. Qui Gon asked Anthony why he decapitated the man in the black robe. Without facing the three, the young man replied “This guy admitted he was from Earth and he matched the descriptions of a group of really bad people back home. Sometimes, those guys would come after you even after being apparently killed. I just wanted to be sure. Besides lets get out of here.”
On the way outside, Saint noticed an unopened door. <Hmmm. I wonder what’s behind door Number 1?> After checking for booby traps, Saint led Daniel and the three Jedi into a room filled with treasure. Daniel was the first to speak up.
“Man look at that. There’s more riches than Fort Knox!”
None of the Jedi recognized the reference but they agreed with the feeling. There was a lot of treasure in that room. Obi Wan noticed Saint having one of those looks on his face. He quietly poked Qui Gon and Mace to get their attention and pointed at Saint. It fell to Master Jinn to voice their concerns.
“Anthony, once again you have the look saying you are up to something.”
Daniel could not resist adding “Yeah, spill it.”
Saint rubbed his chin and waited a few minutes before speaking. “Master Jinn, you remember Anakin’s mother back on Tatooine?” He waited for Qui Gon to nod his head before continuing. “Considering Anakin’s attachment and the fact that she’s still enslaved back on Tatooine. I was thinking about using this treasure to buy her freedom. I mean we can stop by Tatooine on our way to Coruscant. Besides, it feels to be the right thing to do.”
Daniel felt his jaw hit the ground as he considered the implications of Saint’s suggestion. Finally, he asked the Jedi’s permission if he and Saint could discuss something in private. Without missing a beat he dragged Saint into an empty storeroom.
“Are you out of your freaking mind? Do you know how that will mess up the movie. I mean, his mother’s death will be the event that starts Anakin down the path of being Darth Vadar. Without Vadar, we don’t have the first three Star Wars movies.”
Saint suppressed his anger before replying. “Look Daniel, we’re not talking about some stupid movie. Look around you, these are living people with lives and feelings. We are living an a real world not some movie dreamed up by George Lucas. If my actions stop the rise of the emperor so be it. Besides, I already messed up the movie timeline when I pumped four nine-mill hollow points into that red faced bastard back on Naboo. I’m not sorry one bit because by my actions, Qui Gon was not killed and I gained a close friend and teacher.” Saint continued his discussion while poking Daniel with his finger. “These people, are not characters in a movie. They are my friends and a few have become my family in this world, so don’t you talk to me about being out of my mind got it?” Qui Gon felt his young friends irritation and sent used the Force to clam him down. “Besides Anakin is a good kid and I’m going to free his mom because it is right. Stopping the creation of Darth Vadar is a bonus.”
Daniel and Saint rejoined the Jedi. Saint turned to the three with a big smile. “You know how I love ripping the carefully laid plans of evildoers to shreds.”
ENTER THE STALKERS 2: SCOUTS HONOR
The Merry Prankster
Planet Tauri Alpha V
Star Wars Universe
(Star Wars Universe)
“Well, that should just about do it.”
Anthony “Saint” Christopher looked up as the last transport carrying the children back to their homes lifted off the landing pad. The young American turned to walk back to the operations center. During his walk, he took the time to reflect on the last few days. The operation had been a success. The children were saved and the dude in the black bathrobe, defeated and killed. However, there was the matter of SG1 and Saint’s crew still being stuck in what he now knew to be the “Star Wars” Universe. A staff meeting had been called to go over their next move.
Colonel Jack O’Neill, commander of SG1 looked over to Saint and remarked. “Nice to see you were able to make the meeting.”
“Sorry sir, I was just seeing the last of the children off.”
“I understand Lieutenant, do not let it happen next time. Now, that we have rescued the children, defeated the bad guys, and leveled the base, we turn to another matter. How do we get back to Earth?”
Daniel Jackson stood up. “ While searching the temple’s cellar, Saint and I uncovered writing that made reference to some artifact that could allow travel between universes. Unfortunately, the information describing where this artifact is located, how to work it, and just about anything else are in a language I can’t make heads or tails of it.”
Daniel sat back down and was replaced by Mace Windu. The Jedi Master had spent most of the day communicating with the council going over what had been uncovered in the base. The black Jedi rose from his chair addressed the group. “I have just finished my report to the council. The Jedi Council has decided that all aid will be given to help SG1return home. Based on the information uncovered by Dr. Jackson and Anthony Christopher, Master Yoda requests that Colonel O’Neill’s group accompany Master Gallia, Jedi Kenobi, and myself back to Coruscant.” Mace turned to look Saint directly in the face. “Master Yoda has also made it clear that Master Jinn and Saint should proceed directly to Coruscant and present their report to the council in person.”
Saint turned to his friend and master, Qui Gon Jinn. “Is this standard procedure for Jedi Knights?”
“Normally, the council will accept transmitted reports. But in our case, in-person reports are required.”
“Does this have anything to do with your previous ‘reckless behavior’ or my current ‘reckless behavior’?”
Jack cleared his throat loudly to get Saint and Qui Gon’s attention. Saint turned around to look at the SG1 commander, who continued. “So it is settled, My SG1 team will ride back to Coruscant with Master Windu. Major Carter and Teal’c will ride with Lt. Christopher and Master Jinn. Are there any questions? Dismissed.”
The meeting broke up as each person left to gather up his/her things and load them onto their perspective ships. While in the meeting, Sam had been observing Saint and Qui Gon. She almost missed the look on the young American’s face when Master Windu had relayed the instructions for the two to go immediately to Coruscant. <That Saint is up to something and I will find out what it is.> Noticing that the two objects of her observation were about to leave, she rushed to catch up to them.
“Hey wait up!”
Saint and Qui Gon were about to leave the room when Major Carter caught up with them. Her shout caused both of them to stop and turn around. Saint waited until Sam had reached them before speaking out.
“Is there anything I can help you with Major?”
“Yes there is. I noticed that you had a strange look on your face when Master Windu relayed the council’s orders for you to go directly to Coruscant.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Don’t try to pull a fast one on me lieutenant. I’ve been around long enough to know when someone’s about to do something. Besides, that look was the same one you had when you described creating the attack signal."
Saint looked over to Qui Gon and asked him if he could have a minute alone with the major. The older Jedi replied that he had to check the ship anyway and walked up. Saint turned back to Sam and led her off to an empty storeroom.
“Major, you are right. I was planning to take on a little side trip. All Master Windu said was that Master Jinn and I were to proceed to the council. I have a little errand that needs to be taken care of immediately.” Anthony looked around to see if anyone else was listening. “Major, did you ever see the movie Star Wars?”
“Yes, and if your referring to what I think you are, then yes, I know we are in Star Wars. I believe it to be the fourth movie, The Phantom Menace.” Sam rubbed her chin in thought before “Wait a minute, you aren’t thinking about changing what is going to happen are you?”
“I already altered this reality from the movie when I saved Qui Gon’s life from that Sith, Darth Maul. Look, this is no longer a movie to me. I have gotten to know many of the characters and they are no longer faces on a screen to me. Qui Gon and Obi Wan saved my life back on Naboo. In fact, they have become somewhat my family in this universe. Queen Amidala gave me shelter while I recuperated. What I am trying to say is that they are my friends and family and I will do everything possible to help them.”
“I understand. So what’s your newest alteration?”
“Well, lets just say I plan on stopping by a familiar desert world called Tatooine and free a certain female slave.”
“Hold on, you are going to rescue Anakin Skywalker’s mother? Don’t you know what that will do?”
“Anakin is a good kid who loves and worries about his mom. Lets just say, I’m gonna give him an extra reason to stay with good guys and not start down the road that leads to the creation of Darth Vadar.”
Sam looked at the ceiling as she considered the implications of that last statement. “So what about the emperor?”
Saint had been walking back toward the ship when he paused for a moment. Without missing a beat, he replied “Lets just say by the time I’m through, there will never be an emperor.”
Spaceship, “Nubian Raider”
Voyage to Coruscant/Tatooine
Star Wars Universe
(Star Wars Universe)
Disassembling what became known unofficially as Fort Apache was accomplished quickly. Saint joined Wins in the cockpit for the flight back to the council. Wins asked his former pilot to punch the jump coordinates into the navi-computer. Wins had a feeling that Saint was up to something and turned around to ask him when he noticed that the “boy-scout” did not punch in the coordinates for Coruscant.
“What’s going on? Those are not the coordinates for Coruscant.”
“That’s right. We are making a little detour to Tatooine.”
“Tatooine? Wait a minute……….” Wins thought back to where he had heard the name Tatooine before. It was when his parents took him to see Star Wars as a kid. <Wasn’t Tatooine the home planet of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars? And, according to the movie, Luke’s father Darth Vadar was once Anakin Skywalker. Therefore.. OH, SHIT!> Wins’ eyes grew as round as saucers with the implications of their side trip sinking in. “Just what the hell is going through that thick Boy Scout skull of yours?”
“When I discovered the treasure, Daniel and I were talking about a familiar movie and it hit me. We are in a real time Star Wars universe and have already begun making changes. Saving Qui Gon, and nearly getting killed in the process, was the first alteration to the movie. So I figure, why not take the treasure and use it to buy Anakin’s mom’s freedom.”
“Saint, my good friend, you are such a boy scout.”
“Hey you got a minute?”
Qui Gon looked up from his meditation as Sam entered the cabin. He motioned for to join him at the table.
“What can I do for you major?”
“I just overheard Wins and Saint talking in the cockpit. Apparently, Wins was not too excited about Saint’s little course adjustment. There was another reason, I wanted to talk to you. If I remember correctly from talking to Obi Wan, the Jedi do not usually allow anyone over age two to begin training. Saint is much older than that. So why was he accepted?”
Qui Gon sat quietly as he contemplated his answer. “Anthony had already shown an ability to use the Force that was combined with a gift for getting involved into sticky situations for the sake of doing one of his ‘good deeds’. The council was convinced that he would continue to use the Force whether he had any formal training or not. Therefore it would be wise to place him with a suitable master to train and keep an eye on him.”
Sam considered the older Jedi’s answer. <Of course they would have to saddle you with him.>
A loud beeping interrupted any further conversation. Qui Gon walked over to an intercom and pressed the receive button. “What is it?”
“We are about to drop out of hyperspace, so you two need to strap in. We will be landing at Mos Eisley in an hour.”
Watto’s Junk Shop
Mos Eisley, Tatooine
Star Wars Universe
(Star Wars Universe)
Sam took a deep breath as she exited the landing bay. <I never thought I’d be walking in Luke Skywalker’s home town. Lucas got the location right, this place does look like some of the places in North Africa.> She turned around to see Saint, Master Jinn, and Wins join her.
Qui Gon mentioned to Saint that the Jedi were not often welcome in certain areas on the Outer Rim and it would be wise to keep a low profile. Then he voiced the question that the others were afraid to ask “What is your plan?”
Saint’s companions began to get a sinking feeling in their stomachs at the slight smile forming on his face. Imitating Marlon Brando from the Godfather, the young American simply replied “I plan on making him an offer he can’t refuse.” Both Sam and Wins silently mouthed “Oh Shit” while Qui Gon rubbed the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger <I am getting too old for this.>
The twinkling melody of chimes announced Saint and company’s entrance into the junk shop. The shop was about the size of a small shop back on Earth. Inside various pit-droids walked around placing merchandise on the various shelves. Sam took the initiative an announced their presence. “Hello, is anybody here?”
“I’ll be with you in just a minute!” Watto, a short insect-like creature had been in the back looking over his books. He had only just now begun recovering from losing his wager on the pod race that ended up freeing Anakin Skywalker. Grinning to himself, the shop keeper was practically drooling over the chance to make another sale. Flying out of the back, his joy evaporated as he recognized Master Jinn.
“Oh No! Not you again. The last time you came in here it ended up costing me one of my more gifted workers and set me back financially. You Jedi are nothing but trouble. Get Out and Don’t come back!”
Saint noticed that the shopkeeper was not too happy to see Master Jinn and decided to take charge. Putting on his biggest ‘Trust Me’ smiles, the young American cleared his throat to get the insects attention. “But you don’t even know why we came to you? For a few moments of your time, you could end up being much richer”
The shop keeper flew up to Saint and scowled as he considered the offer. “Who are you and what do you want?”
“My name is Anthony Christopher. I am a friend of Anakin Skywalker and I am here to buy his mother’s freedom.”
Watto flew around the group and sneered “I don’t care who you are. You could never get enough money to free Anakin’s mother. Shmi Skywalker is not for sale. Now get out before I call the authorities on you. Jedi are not welcome here!”
Qui Gon felt a wave of anger arise out of his pupil and tried to calm him down. “Anthony…..”
Sam turned to Wins and asked him what was going on. Wins didn’t even look back as he replied. “I think out boy scout has just appointed himself, Anakin’s very overprotective big brother.”
As if he had heard them, Saint gave a short nod in their direction.
The Jedi master’s talk was cut short as his pupil moved quickly across the room and slammed the insect up against the wall. Watto had never experienced such a reaction from any of the Jedi he had encountered in the past. Looking into the young American’s eyes, he could see no compassion. Collecting his wits, he stammered “Wait, you Jedi never lose your tempers. What is so important about that Jedi brat and his mother?”
Saint ignored his master as he stared at the insect and in a low voice answered. “First, I’m not like the other Jedi. Second, a friend of mine made me realize a couple of days ago that I really liked Anakin so much that I would do anything to help him. So don’t think of Anakin as the former slave or Jedi brat. Instead, think of him as MY BABY BROTHER. “ Then for Sam’s and Win’s amusement, he continued with line from a familiar movie. “I am willing to give you more than the going rate for female slaves. So, you can either profit from it or be destroyed by it. Your choice.”
The shopkeeper, looking defeated, sighed and simply said “Show me what you are offering as payment and I will turn Shmi Skywalker over to you.”
A bright smile formed on Anthony’s face as he turned to his friends. “See, I told you he would be reasonable with the right form of persuasion.”
When they had reached the street, Qui Gon put his hand of Saint’s shoulder to stop him. Saint closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath as he mentally prepared himself for another ‘talk’. Finally, he turned around raised his hand, and faced his master.
“Master Jinn, I have a good idea of what you about to tell me. I know you do not approve of my actions back there and I’m sorry for making you disappointed. But, he was not going to listen to you and I had to make him want to do whatever it took to get rid of us on a good note. Besides, mission accomplish.”
Qui Gon shook his head as he chided his pupil “Anthony, it’s not your goals I worry about. It’s the methods you use to reach those goals. I am concerned that one day you will lose sight of what you are fighting for and fall into the darkness.”
<Man, is he good. I swear Master Jinn could be a travel agent for the guilt trip.> Saint had been looking at the ground as Qui Gon talked to him. Finally he looked up at his friend and master. “Then I am extremely lucky to have you as my teacher and friend to save me from myself. I’ll do better.”
Releasing a slight smile of his own, Qui Gon patted his student on the back and suggested that they go to the Skywalker house and get Anakin’s mother ready for her freedom.
Star Wars Universe
(Star Wars Universe)
Dr. Daniel Jackson, of Earth, let out a whistle as he took in his surroundings. It was one thing to see the city of Coruscant on a movie screen. It was an entirely different matter to see the city first hand. It had been a relatively short trip from Tauri Alpha V to Coruscant. However, Daniel had nearly drive a pair of Jedi masters crazy with his incessant questions on the spaceship, the Force, and generally life in the Republic. So it was with great relief that that the trip was finally over.
Jack climbed into a open top air taxi and sat down next to Mace Windu. As the taxi left the landing pad, Jack leaned over the side and quickly pulled his head back and tried to sit as far away from the edge as possible. <It is certainly a long drop> He noticed that the black Jedi master was smiling. Mace Windu cut off any response from the SG1 leader and simply said “I apologize for making you unease. It is perfectly normal for a person to have a concern for heights.”
Jack, Daniel, and Teal’c were met at outside the Jedi Temple by Yoda. The little green troll looked over the group before walking up to Mace. Looking the black Jedi in the eye, Yoda simply asked.
“Master Jinn and Saint were supposed to be with you, I believe. Hmmmmmm?”
Jack had been watching the scene in quiet amusement. <Dang, the little green troll doesn’t look half bad in real life.>
The small master Jedi cocked his head as if considering something. He turned around, walked up to Jack and whacked the American across the shins with his walking stick.”
To Daniel’s amusement, the SG1 commander began hopping up and down, holding his injured legs, and saying a few choice words. Finally he calmed down enough to ask Yoda what was that for? The older Jedi calmly replied. “Troll, I am not.”
Daniel eyes grew bigger as he realized that the little green Jedi had somehow detected Jack’s thoughts. <Okay, note to self. Do not think anything around the Jedi Master that can’t be said out loud.> Daniel became a little more concerned when Yoda turned directly to him and simply said “See that you do.”
“Uhhhh, Master Yoda, sir. I believe I can tell you what happened to our missing companions.”
Yoda had turned back to talk to Mace Windu and Adi Gallia when Daniel spoke up. The Jedi Master motioned for the young American to continue.
“I believe Saint said something about taking a little detour on the way back here to take care of some unfinished business.”
“And what business would be so important that it would entail ignoring a order to proceed directly to Coruscant and report back to the Council?”
“I don’t know but all Saint said was “Trust Me”
Mace Windu turned first to Adi Gallia and then to Obi Wan Kenobi. Each Jedi was thinking the same thought at this latest revelation. <Oh Shit>.
Shmi Skywalker’s Apartment
Mos Eisley, Tatooine
Star Wars Universe
(Star Wars Universe)
It was agreed the Qui Gon would be the first to go up to the door and announce their presence to Anakin’s mother. Noticing that the door chime wasn’t working, the tall Jedi knocked on the door. A female voice sounded through the door.
“Just a minute.”
Saint could clearly hear the sound of footsteps approaching the door. A few moments later the door slowly opened to reveal an middle age woman. She had obviously weathered some tough times from the condition of her face. However, her eyes lit up with joy as she recognized Qui Gon and she immediately welcomed the group into her modest home.
“Master Jinn it is so good to see you again. How is my dear Ani doing? Now, where are my manners. Can I offer you and your companions something to drink?”
Qui Gon waved his hand saying that they really didn’t need anything. He told her that Anakin was doing well in his studies but that was not the reason they were there. The Jedi Master introduced everyone and pointed to Saint, mentioned that the young American would be better at telling their reason for being there.
Saint took a deep breath. “Maam, I’m not the type of person as they say on my homeworld, to Beat Around the Bush. So I’ll lay everything out in the open for you. I dragged Master Jinn and my companions to secure your freedom.” Shmi Skywalker sat down in surprise as the implication sank in. Seeing that he had her undivided attention, Saint continued. “I have gotten to know Anakin pretty well for the last year and have become somewhat protective of him. He’s a great kid by the way. So I recently came into some wealth and decided to do something for him. As of right now, you are to gather your belongings together and accompany us back to Coruscant."
Shmi looked over to Qui Gon for confirmation. His nod was all she needed to move into action. Wins, Sam, Qui Gon, and Saint all helped Anakin’s mother get her stuff loaded on the ship and escorted her to get the slave control device deactivated and removed. Once everyone was safely loaded aboard the ship, Wins leaned over to Sam and whispered “See what I mean? He never turns down the chance to do a good deed.”
Sam looked back to where Saint, Gui Gon, and Anakin’s mother were sitting at the table. Shaking her head in slight disbelief, “You are right, he is such a Boy Scout”
Star Wars Universe
(Star Wars Universe)
“Will you just sit down? There’s nothing to worry about.”
Jack looked up from his pacing before replying. “Nothing to worry about? In case you haven’t noticed we are presently waiting outside the chambers of the Jedi Council to ask for their aid in helping us get back to our world. Aren’t you a little concerned about not being able to get out of this movie and back home?”
Daniel shook his head and sat back in his chair. “First, as Saint informed me so effectively, this is not a movie. We are in a real universe, sitting on a real planet, and interacting with real people. Besides, if the real Jedi are like their movie counterparts, then we have nothing to worry about.”
“I hope you’re right.” The doors to the chamber opened and Mace Windu informed the two Americans that the council will see them. “Showtime.”
To the contrary, the meeting with the Jedi Council was short. Daniel explained that he and Lt. Christopher had uncovered a series of hieroglyphic writing on the walls of one of the temple chambers. Further examination had revealed that parts of the frieze were written in a understandable language. However, the rest was unknown to the doctor. What he had been able to decipher pointed to an artifact that unlocked the barriers between the universes.
Master Even Piell, a long eared and long lived Lannik, listened as Daniel voiced his observations on the hieroglyphs. Finally, he had heard enough and suggested that Daniel be escorted to the Jedi Library and teamed up with one of the esteemed Jedi linguists. After a short debate, it was agreed that Daniel would be teamed up with Luminara Unduli for this task. She was quickly brought before the council.
Luminara had been standing next to Jack O’Neill during the council’s proceedings. Something caught her attention and she turned just in time to see Jack slap his forehead and groan.
“What is wrong?”
Jack looked up at the exotic near-human Jedi Knight and shook his head. “The council doesn’t know what it has just unleashed.” To Luminara’s unspoken question, Jack pointed at a visibly excited Daniel. “Sending Daniel to the Jedi Library is like giving a young child a match, gasoline, and telling him to go do something. We will need to organize a well trained strike force to get him OUT of the library.”
Yoda had ended their audience and the SG1 team members began filing out the door. The exotic-looking Jedi continued out with Jack, commenting “Then I will be sure to keep him on the assigned task and keep him out of trouble.”
O’Neill gave Luminara a hard look before replying “Good Luck.”
Spaceship, “Nubian Raider”
Landing Pad 3-2b-56
Star Wars Universe
(Star Wars Universe)
A slight shudder ran through the cockpit as the Nubian Raider touched down on the landing pad. Anthony “Saint” Christopher leaned back and scratched his head. “Man, it feels so good to be back home.”
Wins looked over from the pilot’s seat. “Are you sure? I mean, I’m pretty sure Yoda and the rest of the Jedi council won’t be too happy over our little side trip.”
“Wins, you’ve got to be more positive. Look at all we have accomplished. First, we shut down the child kidnap ring. Second, we discover that the Sith lord was behind it. Finally, we rescued Anakin’s mom and the chance of a future Darth Vadar entering on stage is greatly diminished. What could go wrong?”
Wins just stared for a minute at the grinning boyscout before answering. “ Lets just say that from what I heard about Yoda, I’m glad I’m not in your shoes.”
The two pilots climbed out of the seats and met up with the rest of their little group at the open hatchway. Saint took a quick look out the hatchway before turning back to his companions. “Well, the welcoming committee is out in force. I counted at least three Jedi Masters waiting with the taxi.”
It turned out that Masters Eeth Koth, Plo Koon, and Ki-Adi-Mundi were there to ensure that Qui Gon and his student got to the council chambers without any further side trips. Shmi Skywalker leaned over and asked Master Jinn what the other Jedi were talking about. Qui Gon took a deep breath before answering, “Young Anthony has this incredible talent for getting in trouble. In the short time I have known him, he has shown a drive to do good deeds often in spite of regulations and orders from higher authorities. Then, he compounds this with calling in all his friends and anybody nearby to help with his good deeds. He has often been reckless in the past and it is a challenge to reign him in.”
Shmi looked over at Saint. Something about the young man’s character impressed her. “He has a good heart. I believe that the universe would be a much better place if more young people did so much for others. And, he is lucky to have you as a teacher to watch over him.”
“You are right about that.”
Qui Gon and Saint were led directly to the council chamber. The three escorts took their seats and waited for Even Piell, a long-eared Lannik, to start the session. The female master gave the young American a long hard stare before speaking. “If I recall, your orders were to investigate the rumors of foul dealings on Tauri Alpha V and report your findings to council. Instead the council had to learn from other sources that you had organized a small army, assaulted the base, and rescued the children without asking permission from the council.”
Saint took a deep breath, <The again, maybe not all is well with the council> before responding. “But Master Piell, I contacted Masters Gallia and Windu and informed them about what was going on. So, according to a certain point of view, you could say I did contact the council, since Master Windu sits on the council.”
Yoda got out of his chair and walked over to Saint and hit him across the shins with his glimmer stick.
“OW! What was that for?”
“To teach certain young padawans not to disobey the wishes of the council. On at least three occasions, you have either exceeded your instructions or acted on your own without informing the council!”
“Master Yoda, I have the greatest respect for you and the council, but the boy in the black robe was murdering CHILDREN! If I hadn’t acted the way I did back there, more children would be dead. When, you first interviewed me about how I would act in these situations, I told you that I could not let innocents suffer. Who is more innocent than a child?”
Yoda appeared to look at Saint’s very soul before sighing. “Much anger I sense in you. Danger is the dark side”
“But that is anger toward the evil doers of the universe. I know I have a tendency to dive into a situation without thinking. But Master Jinn has been there each time to pull me back when I get too close to the edge.”
Ki-Adi-Mundi stood up and added his observations. “Anthony, I concede that you have a point about keeping the council notified through Master Windu. However, you were ordered to proceed directly back to the council and report on the recent operation on Tauri Alpha V. Instead, you took that little side trip to Tatooine against the direct instructions from the council and we would like to know your reasons.”
Saint looked around the chamber, considering his options, before answering. “What I have to say could have direct implications for the survival of the Republic and the Light. Should the information I reveal fall into the wrong hands, it could be disastrous for our cause. Therefore, I request the council’s permission to tell this to Master Yoda alone.”
After a short deliberation, the council agreed with Saint’s request and he was left alone with the little green Master. Yoda leaned back on his cushion and directed Anthony to begin. Saint took a deep breath <I pray to God I am doing the right thing by this>. A few tense seconds passed.
“Master Yoda, since my arrival on Naboo and the fight to liberate that planet, I have had this nagging feeling that I had seen many of the places and people before. It took meeting up with SG1 and Dr. Jackson to fit these pieces into place. On my world movies are Earth version of the holovid. One of the more popular motion pictures was a science fiction movie called Star Wars.” Saint took another deep breath “The reason that the events on Naboo were so familiar was because I had seen them before. Only in that world the characters were images on a screen. Here, they are real. Master Jinn was killed by the Sith in the movie and Anakin became Obi Wan’s padawan.
Yoda’s eyes shown in their wisdom as he gently prodded the American to continue.
Saint’s voice dropped into a whisper, heavy with emotion. “Master Yoda, within the last year, I have made many friends and have come to see the people here as real. Master Jinn and Jedi Kenobi have become, in effect, my family in this universe. Heck, Master Jinn saved my life and is my closest friend. He has taught me to not give in to my anger and was there when I needed a mentor. My presence has already changed this reality from the movie. Master Jinn did not die and is there to train Anakin more effectively than Obi Wan. Also, by freeing Shmi Skywalker, I have eliminated one more factor that would have contributed to the fall of the Republic and the destruction of the Jedi. If this information were to get out, it could have severe implications for the galaxy. I beg you to keep this quiet.”
Yoda considered the padawan’s words “You are right, this does not need to come out. I will keep your secret.”
“Thank you Master Yoda. It has been a privilege to get to know you in person. One more thing, keep an eye on Palpatine.”
“Why is that?”
“In the movie, Senator Palpatine is actually the Sith Master, Darth Sidious. He was behind the Trade Federation’s invasion of Naboo. To give him control of the galaxy, he orchestrated each event. I do not have any solid proof of his culpability. However, it would be wise to keep an eye on him.”
“I will keep that in mind. Now, go to the library. Your Dr. Jackson has uncovered some interesting information concerning a possible way to get you home.”
“YOW, what was that for?”
Daniel Jackson had been spending the last day sequestered in the archives going over the inscriptions discovered in the temple back on Tauri Alpha V. With the help of the archivist, Jocasta Nu, he had made much headway. He was taking a break and had his feet propped on the table. Suddenly, he felt some kind of force yank his feet off the table. Getting a feeling that someone was watching him, he turned around to see the elderly archivist staring daggers at him. <Dang, she reminds me of my second grade teacher back on Earth. Both were elderly, female, and could control the most unruly student.>
Jocasta Nu had gone back into the stacks and retrieved some discs. To her irritation, she saw the young man had propped his feet on one of the tables. <Didn’t his mother teach him any manners?> Without a second thought, she used the Force to correct Daniel’s posture. To his question, she coldly stated “You are too old be reminded about propping your feet on the tables. They are not footrests. Besides here is the information you requested.” She reached down and placed the data disc into one of the terminals. Immediately images and words appeared on the screen. “As you can see, the computer has been able to translate the inscriptions.”
Daniel moved his chair closer to the table as he moved to get a better look. He adjusted his glasses, “Hmmm, you are right. This translation……” His observations were shattered when another person spoke up. “Hey Daniel, what have you found out?” Looking around to the source of the interruption, Daniel noticed Saint, Qui Gon, and Jack walking into the room.
“If you hadn’t interrupted me I would have been finished translating the inscriptions. So, Saint, would you please BE QUIET!!”
An angry “shhhh”, came from across the room as Daniel apologized for yelling in the archives. Taking a deep breath, the young American explained that Master Nu and he had discovered that the inscriptions told about a crystal that cut through the barriers of universes. Saint pulled up a chair next to Daniel and examined the translation.
“Daniel, the more I look at this inscription, the more I get the feeling that I seen it before. Did the inscription identify where this crystal is located?”
“The translation identifies the crystal residing in a sunken temple on some place called Naboo. Apparently, they temple was part of an ancient city inhabited by a race of amphibians.”
“I GOT IT!!! The race of amphibians has got to be the Gungans. Naboo has two sentient races living there. One, being human colonists and the other, the Gungan. The two races had kept to themselves in the past but the recent invasion has brought them together. I know exactly where that city is and how to get there.”
“And, once we find that temple, we have a good chance of getting home. Saint, you are brilliant!”
Saint and Daniel rubbed their sore hands and looked up at the archivist. Jocasta Nu had enough of their outbursts and rapped their knuckles with a stick of some kind. Jack and Qui Gon smiled as they watched Jocasta scold the young men about showing better manners. Saint motioned for Qui Gon and Jack to join them. In a much quieter voice, Saint explained that they had discovered evidence pointing to a crystal artifact that could be the key to getting them back home. Jack scratched his head and decided to call a staff meeting to go over their findings and the next step.
The staff meeting was short and sweet. It was decided that Saint, Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and SG1 would go to Naboo, investigate the temple, and see if they could find a way to get the Americans back home. They would leave the next morning. A knock sounded on the door and Sam got up to answer it. Standing in front of the door was Anakin Skywalker. Saint called the boy over to the table, then addressed the rest of the group.
“I believe we have one more matter to clear up before leaving.” Saint looked Anakin straight in the eye. “Ani, it has been a joy to have you around and I thought it would be good to do something for you.”
Puzzlement covered the young boy’s face as he said “Huh, what are you talking about?”
Jack, Daniel, and Obi Wan were puzzled by the wide smiles sported by their friends as Saint continued. “Lets just say your fondest wish is about to come true. Master Jinn, would you do the honors?”
Qui Gon smiled, walked over to the other door, and opened it. Anakin’s eyes grew wide in astonishment as he said “Mom?” The figure nodded her head and that was all the boy needed. Without a second thought, he raced across the room and into his mother'’ arms. Sam turned to Jack and grinned. “ I always love these happy endings.”
Obi Wan Kenobi walked over to Saint. “Is this the reason for your little side trip?”
“You betcha. I always believed that to separate a mother from her child is a crime. I am glad I could bring these two back together.” Clearing his throat loudly to get everyone’s attention, Saint said “I have no desire to end such a happy moment but there is something I have to add. I’ve was talking with Queen Amidala, back on Naboo. She wished to extend her hospitality to Ms. Skywalker and you to know that you have a place to live there, if you want it.”
Tears of joy ran down Shmi Skywalker’s face as she took in Saint’s announcement. Getting her emotions together, she simply stated “I would be honored to accept the queen’s hospitality.”
Saint turned to Qui Gon who simply said “Then it looks like we will have one more passenger for our flight to Naboo. I’m sure I speak for all when I say, welcome aboard.”
The next day Saint Company boarded the Naboo consular ship for the trip back to Naboo. The Jedi Council saw them off. Mace Windu, felt a disturbance in the Force and turned to Yoda and asked him about it. The little green, troll-like master closed his eyes in quiet reflection.
“From the Sith, the Republic is still in danger. Our eyes wide, we must keep.”
“But Master Yoda, I have the feeling that Anthony will be leaving back to his home universe.”
“That is true. For now, his work here has been completed. But he will be back and causing us endless irritation as he fights the darkness.”
Mace thought for a moment and smiled “Be that as it may, He did make life interesting around here.”
“Correct you are.”
Royal Palace, Theed
(Star Wars Universe)
The ship gave a slight shudder as the landing gear touched down on the palace landing pad. Jack O’Neill looked over to his second in command, Samantha Carter and quietly commented “Ever thought you would wind up in here?”
“Not in my wildest dreams. We might as well head on out.”
Saint was out the door as soon as the engines were turned off. Looking around the hanger, he noticed Queen Amidala and her Handmaidens waiting off to the side. Smiling broadly, the young American walked up to the queen.
“It’s good to see you again, Your Majesty.”
Amidala gave Saint a brief hug, “Anthony, this is not a public reception. You are among friends, so you don’t have to be so formal. Besides, I have been getting reports that you continue to confound the Jedi Council with your sometimes reckless pursuit in doing your Good Deeds.”
“What can I say, I’ve gotta be me.”
“Wins was right when he described you as a Confounded Boy Scout. Now are you going to introduce me to your friends?”
Saint slapped his forehead as if he just remembered an important item. He motioned for the SG1 command staff to come forward, “Where are my manners. I’d like to introduce Colonel Jack O’Neill, United States Air Force and commander of SG1. The young lady beside him is his second in command, Major Samantha Carter, also of the United States Air Force. Dr. Daniel Jackson is a premier scientist and the man behind deciphering many ancient inscriptions. Finally, we have Teal’c while not a native of Earth, is a true friend and ally. ”
Wins turned to Daniel, pointed to Saint and commented “You see, this is what I’m talking about. Not only does he have a beautiful girlfriend waiting back on Earth. He has this amazing ability of being around beautiful women no matter where he goes. I have got to know his secret.”
Amidala and the Handmaidens softly laughed at the antics of Saint’s co-pilot. Dorme, one of the Handmaidens turned to her companions, who nodded in agreement to the unspoken suggestion. As one, they surrounded Wins and welcomed him back. By the time the women had pulled back, Wins could only stand there with a stupid grin on his face. Dorme simply told him “We didn’t want you to feel left out.”
Upon the completion of the introductions, Amidala informed the group that rooms had been prepared for them and that they should get ready for dinner. Obi Wan was talking to Panaka when he happened to glance back at Saint. Noting his friend’s expression, he quickly nudged Qui Gon in the side to get his attention. Qui Gon turned around and quickly suspected that his young Padawan was up to something.
Throughout the flight to Naboo, Saint had been considering the details for a prank to be played upon one Jack O’Neill and Samantha Carter. The final details clicked into place upon arrival and he asked the queen if he could borrow a few moments of her time.
Amidala looked at Saint and immediately knew he was up to something. So when he asked her if he could talk to her in private, her suspicions were confirmed. She led him into a vacant office, closed the door, and stared him straight in the eyes. “What are you up to Anthony?”
Saint’s face became a model of innocence as he asked “Whatever do you mean?”
Amidala raised one eyebrow and in a no-nonsense tone replied, “Don’t give me that innocent act. It won’t work. If you want my help you will have to tell me what you are planning.”
“Okay, okay, what I wanted to ask is to have Colonel O’Neill and Major Carter assigned to the same room. Oh, by the way is Jar Jar around?”
“I can have the room assignments changed to fit your request. As for the second, yes Jar Jar is……” The proverbial light bulb went on in Amidala’s head as she put the two requests together. “Wait a minute. You don’t mean, That is so cruel and evil.” As she considered the implications a grin matching the one worn by Saint appeared on her face. “I want in. Let me know how you plan to carry it out and what you need.”
Saint grinned as he outlined his plan to set up Jack and Sam. <They will want revenge for this later on>
For a time the queen and army officer reverted back to being two teenagers plotting imminent doom on their friends.
The dinner went off without a hitch. Sam looked around the huge dining room and smiled at Jack. <I never thought I would be seeing this room up close and with Jack. I could get used to this.> The SG1 command staff had spent most of the dinner answering questions about Earth from their Nubian hosts. All in all, it was a time filled with good food and good conversation. Finally, the tables were cleaned up and the queen announced that they should retire for the evening and get ready for tomorrow’s events. Amidala had begun to leave when she suddenly stopped and appeared to remember something. Turning back to her guests, she asked Jack and Sam to come over.
“A pipe broke in the guest wing. I’m afraid the quarters assigned to you were flooded out and will not be suitable for a few days. Fortunately, we managed to find another room you can use close by.” One of the queen’s Handmaidens came over. “Dorme will show you to your new quarters. Good night.”
Saint looked over to the queen as she called over Jack and Sam and grinned evilly <Showtime>. He began to quietly walk out of the room when someone tapped him on the shoulder. Turning around, he saw that his friend and master wanting to speak with him about something.
Qui Gon took a deep breath and his best no-nonsense tone asked “What are you up to?”
The young American never ceased to amaze him with his ability to change from looking like the devil incarnate to the picture of innocence. “Master, what are you talking about?”
<Oh Force, He IS up to something> “You have a look that bodes ill for some poor individual.”
“I promise that no one will be seriously injured, just their egos.”
Qui Gon could only shake his head in disbelief as his protégé walked out of the dining room.
Saint glanced around the corner to see the targets of said prank walk into their room. As soon as the door shut, he spoke into his communicator. “Green Light.”
Upon receipt of the go code, R2D2 rolled over to a convenient computer jack and told the palace computer to seal the door on the room. Saint’s grin grew even wider as he mentally counted <Five, Four, Three, Two…> Upon reaching one, someone began pounding on the door, demanding to be let out. Wins had been walking by when he noticed his friend hiding around a corner. It didn’t take long for him to uncover what Saint was up to. Letting a whistle, Wins commented “You realize, this will call for some major payback when they finally get loose.”
“Yeah, I know. But, I have cameras set up to record their state in the suite and when they exit the suite tomorrow.”
Jack walked into the room after Sam and shut the door. <Why do I feel something bad is about to happen?> Sam remembered that she had forgotten something back at the ship and needed to go back. When she pressed the panel to open the door, it wouldn’t open. She tried again before letting out a scream of frustration. Turning back to Jack “We are locked in”
“What are you talking about? Here, let me try.” Jack pressed the button and examined the panel. “There’s nothing wrong with it wonder what is going on? Here, I’ll make a call to get someone down here and let us out.” He pressed the call out button, but nothing happened. Suddenly, the sound of movement in the back bedroom drew their attention. As one, both Americans slowly turned around to see a familiar Gungan from the Star wars movies walk out. The character blew his tongue at them and stated “Looks likes we’ll besa roomates tonight”
Sam looked at Jack and they immediately began screaming and pounding at the door to escape the most annoying creature in the Star Wars universe.
Saint took one last look at the suite. Noting the pounding and screaming coming from behind the locked door, he began to walk back to his quarters whistling the British Colonel’s theme from ‘The Bridge Over the River Kwai”. <My work here is done.>
The next morning, Teal’c and Daniel came down to the dining room for breakfast. They quickly noticed that two of their comrades were missing. Daniel turned to one of the queen’s handmaidens, Dorme, and asked her if she had seen Colonel O’Neill and Major Carter. Dorme replied that the last time she had seen them was when she had shown them to their room after dinner. Thinking that would be the best place to start, the two left the room.
Qui Gon and Obi Wan were on their way downstairs when they ran into Daniel and Teal’c moving quickly in the other direction. Qui Gon asked what was going on and Daniel replied that they were going to check on Jack and Sam and see if they were all right. The two Jedi joined them and together walked up to the suite.
Approaching the suite, Qui Gon enhanced his senses with the Force and noticed a faint rapping coming from the room. The older Jedi knocked on the door and called out to see if they were all right.
Jack was surprised to hear someone knocking on the door. <God, I thought no one would ever come.> Pulling in the last of his breath, he yelled out. “The door is locked and we can’t get out. HELP!!!”
Gui Gon and Obi Wan turned to each other and used the Force to open the door. They were surprised to see Jack and Sam stagger out of the room. Both were red eyed and haggard. It was obvious that they did not have a decent nights sleep.
Being locked in a small room with Jar Jar Binks for twelve hours was beyond what any normal human could endure and stay completely sane. Jack was heard muttering to Sam “I don’t know where, when, or even how. But I will get even with Saint for this.” Sam replied “Just let me know and I’ll be there”.
Qui Gon, Obi Wan, Teal’c, and Daniel looked on in amazement at the two’s condition. Daniel turned to Obi Wan and in a low voice stated “You realize that there will be some major payback for this prank. I would not want to be anywhere near Saint when it happens. However, I will be happy to observe from a safe distance.” Just then, an unconcerned Jar Jar Binks walked out, commenting on how rude some people are.
Obi Wan shook his head and let loose a sigh of resignation “I know what you mean.”
Jack O’Neill and Samantha Carter finally made it to the dining room and were served breakfast. Wins attempted to start a conversation with Jack but decided against it when he noticed the dark looks Jack directed at him. The entrance of one, cheerful Anthony “Saint” Christopher, broke the quiet atmosphere at the table.
Saint looked over the assembled crew, glancing at Jack and Sam, he thought about last night’s prank. <I will say that was one of my better set ups. I have my work cut out if I hope to top that one. Hmmmm, wonder if Jack and Sam are still upset?> The young American took in the haggard appearance of his victims and the evil looks directed at him. <They do seem to be a little ticked off. Better watch my back around those two for the foreseeable future.>
Teal’c, Daniel, Wins, Qui Gon and Obi Wan tensed in anticipation of the expected blowup. However any words from Jack were interrupted by Amidala’s appearance.
Saint had met up with the queen earlier in the morning and accompanied her to the security room. Both teenagers snickered as they reviewed the results from their labors. Amidala made sure to make several copies for friends. Thus when she walked into the room, she could not help but take a little poke at her guests. “I hope you were able to get a good nights rest.” Jack and Sam gave the teenage queen looks that clearly read, if she only she were not the ruler of Naboo, something unpleasant would happen. So Amidala, did the only thing possible in such a situation. She twisted the knife and pushed it in even deeper. “It’s amazing what the roommates can do to make a stay more pleasant.”
Daniel and Wins snickered while Qui Gon and Obi Wan looked stunned as they realized Amidala was a major player in last night’s prank. Even worse was Saint sitting quietly and sporting a look of pure innocence. Teal’c noticed Qui Gon’s disappointed look and leaned over to the older Jedi. “Even with their positions and responsibilities, they are still teenagers. Let them have their fun for now. For tomorrow, who knows what may come?” Qui Gon thought for a moment and nodded that he understood.
Jack had planned on visiting the temple once they had finished breakfast. He and his men were anxious to return home. However, Amidala had other plans for her guests and made it clear to all. She turned to Jack, Sam, Daniel, and Teal’c. “I understand your desire to get back to your homes and loved ones as soon as possible and will do everything possible to help.” Standing in front of the table, she looked over to Saint and Wins.” However, before you leave for the Gungan temple, there is something I want to show you.” Captain Panaka and the Handmaidens met Saint, Qui Gon, Obi Wan, Anakin, Wins, Shepherd, McGyver and the rest of SG1 at the front of the palace.
The crew boarded some hover busses and drove to a recently constructed building at the outskirts of Theed. Daniel noted that the white marble building reminded him of an immense Greek temple. Almost like a larger version of the Temple to Athena in Atehens, back on Earth, Amidala walked up the steps, turned around and addressed the group. ”This is the “Liberation Remembrance Museum”. As you know, last year, this planet was ravaged by a foreign invasion. Through the sacrifice of many Naboo, Gungans, and others we were able to free our planet from this oppression. It is important that you see this and reflect on what you see here before you leave this universe.”
Jack O’Neill walked through the front door and into the lobby. As he scanned the room, looking at the various paintings, something familiar caught his eye. There, in the middle of the room was a black pedestal topped by a bronze statue. It was the subject of the statue that caught his eye. Nudging Sam Carter with his elbow, he pointed at the statue and walked over.
Amidala smiled as she watched Jack notice the memorial and lead Sam, Daniel, and Teal’c to it. The sacrifice of the Americans that day had been felt by the planet as a whole and it was decided to place a memorial to them at the entrance so that would be the first thing noticed by the visitors.
Saint also noticed the SG1 command staff walking over to the memorial. Flashbacks from that day came to him. He thought back to the time in the hanger when he comforted a dying Sgt. McCoy. So caught up in his emotions, Saint was startled when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning around, he accepted Qui Gon’s comfort and quietly said. “It still hurts even this long after the event. I still intend to keep my promise to see that his daughter is taken care of when I get back.”
The older Jedi smiled, “I know Anthony, I know.”
As he approached the statue, Jack realized what was so familiar about the statue. It showed two men. One kneeling down to grasp the hand of what was his dying comrade. <I could swear that looks like Christopher up there.>
Teal’c leaned over to Daniel as they walked up to the statue “The statues appear to be American soldiers.”
“You’re right, I recognize the helmet worn by the kneeling figure. Not only is wearing a US issue K-Pot, but he is carrying what looks like an M-16 assault rifle.”
“In fact, the kneeling figure looks a lot like Lt. Christopher.”
Sam was right behind Jack and began to read the inscription out loud. “In the year 32BSW five American servicemen arrived on our world and stayed to free Naboo. This was not their fight. They did not have to stand with up against the Trade Federation. Yet, when asked they did so. With this monument we honor the sacrifice of Sgt. Jack McCoy, of the United States Army’s Delta Force, who gave his life so that Naboo would remain free. Though, his body died, his spirit continues to watch over us.”
was little talking among the group after that as they walked through the museum.
They passed through rooms showing holograms of the battlefields.
Other rooms help recovered battle droids that had their powerpacks
removed permanently. The Naboo
starfighter flown by Anakin Skywalker held a place of honor and faced off a
Trade Federation droid fighter. They
continued their journey deeper into the museum and entered a large room. The
room had been set up to represent the plains outside the city of Theed. A
skylight allowed the sun to shine on the central exhibit that had been set up in
There, on the grass, was a broken craft of an unknown design. The craft was painted a dark green and Teal’c could see on its fuselage, the words, ‘United States Army’. The craft was in a sorry shape. It's landing gear had collapsed and the craft sat on it's belly. Two of it's four blades drooped, touching the floor. The other two were lying beside it where they had broken off the rotor. The windows in the bottom part of the nose had been shattered by the impact. Finally, the tail section of the craft was pitted with holes and showed evidence of fire.
Saint walked over to the SG1 team and in a quiet voice spoke “It’s hard to find the words to describe what I’m feeling right now. But here goes. There, in front of you is “Super 6-4”. It’s hard to believe that this bird brought my men and me to this world and started a chain of events that led to where we are today. It wasn’t that long ago, I was a wet behind the ears, green second lieutenant just out of flight school, eager to take on the world and live the adventures.” For a moment, a haunted look fell over his eyes as he continued, “Now, after the liberation of Naboo and that fight on Tauri Alpha V, I feel like an old man at nineteen. It’s amazing how quickly the sense of adventure goes away when the first bullets start buzzing around your head. On one hand, journeying to this universe was the best thing that ever happened to me. Yet, I can’t help but wonder what if I had never made that flight, McCoy would still be alive and a father to his daughter.”
Jack looked at Saint with a new understanding. Here was a boy who went off to join the Army for the adventure and found himself growing up too soon in many ways. The SG1 commander deliberately used Saint’s first name as he responded. “Don’t beat yourself up over this Anthony. There was nothing you could have done about McCoy’s death. It’s not personal, it’s just war. You did allright by getting your men this far. Now, bring your people home.”
Queen Amidala had been standing off to the side listening to the exchange. She could not help but join in. “Anthony, Colonel O’Neill is right. You can’t dwell on what could have happened or should have happened. You did come here and for that I am thankful.” The queen smiled a little, “Besides, the universe would be a little duller without your humor and good deeds confounding the Jedi Council.”
Saint let out a laugh he had been holding in. “Dang, you’re good. Thanks for bring me back to reality.” The young American took a quick glance at his watch. “Well gang, we need to get going if we hope to reach the Gungan city before sundown.”
Daniel stared out the side of the landspeeder as they drove to the lake containing the Gungan city. He was struck by the wide grassy plains and rich blue sky that made up the scenery. He turned to Teal’c and pointed around them at various sights. “Have you ever seen anything like this?”
“I will admit that the scenery is breathtaking. It is refreshing to see a planet so untouched by pollution.”
A submarine was waiting at the edge of the lake. Once everybody was seated, the craft dove down into a underwater paradise filled with all varieties of life. As they dove to the bottom, Daniel mentally cataloged fish that looked like they came from Earth’s prehistoric times. One fish with a bony armored head and sharp teeth swam close by the sub before deciding it wasn’t worth the trouble. Eventually they came to the city. It was as if somebody had planted huge bubbles on the lake bottom and built weird structures inside. Obi Wan turned Qui Gon and commented. “It feels different from the last time we were here.”
“I agree, not having to flee from the Trade Federation makes a difference.”
Queen Amidala noticed Saint sitting silently looking out the porthole at the world outside. He reminded her of someone lost in his memories. Deciding that he needed some cheering up, she spoke up.
“It seems that I always find you thinking deep thoughts during these quiet moments. What brings on that look of seriousness on your face?”
“For the longest time, I eagerly looked forward to going back home. Now that the time has come I find myself missing the friends I leave behind. I mean I have gotten use to living in this universe, the wonderful variety of worlds and creatures, and now I feel like I’m about to lose a part of myself . It’s almost like leaving home again. I’m torn between wanting to go back to Earth and staying here.”
Amidala put an arm around her friend to comfort him. “Anthony, you will always have a home here to come back to no matter where you are. I was just talking to Master Windu prior to your arrival and the Jedi Council believes that threat to the Republic is not finished but merely postponed. If the Warrior of Light prophecy is correct, and I believe it is, You will not be gone for long. Besides, you are going to introduce me to your girlfriend, Katie, and invite me to your wedding.”
A big smile filled the young American’s face as he looked back to the queen “I don’t know how I’ll pull it off, but you will be coming to my wedding. I promise.”
It turned out that the Gungan leader knew about the temple and crystal. He led them to the temple and explained that many centuries ago, the Gungan were entrusted with keeping the crystal safe. The Crystal of Time and Space was not to be taken lightly. Everybody assembled outside the door. SG1 walked into the room with their gear, ready to leave. Something tapped Saint on the shoulder and he turned back to receive farewell hugs from Amidala and the Hadmaidens. Daniel and Teal’c watched the farewells with looks of wonder. Daniel turned to Teal’c and commented “Wins was right, Saint does seem to get the girls. Lucky bastard.”
Teal’c scratched his chin and commented “While I do not agree with the second part. He does seem to make friends with the ladies quite easily.”
As Saint walked into the chamber, he felt something was not right. He turned back and saw Wins, McGyver, and Shepherd staying with the queen and her Handmaidens. He walked back to his co-pilot and asked him. “What gives? Aren’t you coming back?”
Wins chewed his bottom lip for a moment before answering. “Saint, I have been asked to speak for the others but we have decided to stay.”
“What are you talking about? We are a team. I mean you are Tonto to my Lone Ranger, Robin to my Batman, Garf to my Wayne. Now you want to break it up?”
“Saint, when we realized that we could be going back home, we had some hard decisions to make. Sure, there’s the Army and flying, but other than that there’s really nothing for us back on Earth. Our families have passed on and basically there’s no one for us to go back to. Here we have important jobs. I’m one of the queen’s personal pilots, Shepherd is the father of the Naboo army, and McGyver is finally a pilot and a leading force behind the air wing of the Nabbo. Then each of us have been seeing someone we are serious about. So, as much as it hurts to say it, our place is here. Besides you’ll be back. It’s in the prophecy. Good luck old friend.”
Saint shook his co-pilot’s hand for one last time “Farewell”. He walked into the chamber to where everyone was clustered around the crystal. They waited for something to happen but nothing did. Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Anakin were waiting outside for their friends to return home when they noticed nothing was happening. Finally as one, they walked in. As soon as Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Anakin got to within three feet of the crystal, a bright light filled the room. Obi Wan turned to Qui Gon and said “I have a bad feel………………….”
When the light died down, Amidala looked in to see that the room was empty. <I will be waiting for that invitation.> She blew a small kiss in to the empty room. “Until we meet again”
“Captain, do you have any idea as to what happened to Colonel O’Neill and his team?”
“No Sir. Our Allies on the Planet XJ8295-D stated that nobody had come through on their end. Our scientists have been working on the problem and have come up with a possible explanation.”
General Hammond, the commander of the Stargate command post sat back and listened to the report. It had been over a week since SG1 had taken that fateful mission and disappeared, never to be seen again. When Colonel O’Neill had not reported back at the required time, Hammond had sent another team to see what happened. All they had been able to say was that Colonel O’Neill and his team had not arrived. <Now where the hell is he?> Now he realized that he had to perform what was probably the worst job of any military commander, listing his people missing in action-presumed dead.
Suddenly, alarms began to sound in the base. As red lights began flashing, an automated voice began warning of intruders in the base. Hammond leaned over to his intercom and called up the control room.
“Captain Miller, what is going on up there?”
“General Hammond, sensors have detected an unauthorized presence in the Stargate room. I have sent a security team under that new navy guy, Lt. Beegle to secure the area he should be arriving there any second.”
“Keep me informed, Hammond out.”
A bright flash filled the room housing the Stargate. As the light faded back to normal, Several people who had not been there before, appeared in front of the Stargate. The security team quickly surrounded the intruders with drawn arms ready to defeat any potential threat. Lt. Beegle examined the intruders closely and noticed that something was familiar about some of them. <Dang, it looks like SG1 has finally come home. I’d better notify the general. He’d want to know about this.> The naval security officer called up the general and reported the good news.
Anthony ‘Saint’ Christopher was a little disoriented by the trip. One minute he was standing in a Gungan temple back on Naboo, saying goodbye to his friends. Now, he was in a large room in front of this big circular thing. Shaking his head, he mentally took stock of the situation. Colonel O’Neill and the rest of the SG1 team had made it back safely. However, something was not right. Turning his head, he was surprised to see the last three individuals he’d expect back on Earth. <Oh. My. God. Don’t tell me I brought Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Anakin back to Earth with me. I am in deep trouble now.> Any further musings was cut off by the security detachment surrounding them. Being a teenager, Saint could not resist pulling out a map, looking it over then turning to Obi Wan commenting “I knew we should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque.”
General Hammond and Doctor Janet Frasier raced down the hallways to stargate chamber. Upon arriving, they took in the fact that SG1 was indeed back and with friends, no less. <Wait a minute, those guys in the brown robes look familiar almost like….> Hammond shook his head, and thought back to last Christmas. His grandchildren had become fans of the latest Star Wars movies and were begging for any Star Wars toy they could get their hands on. Thinking back to the Christmas shopping incident, the general remembered that his grandson nearly pulled out his arm while attempting to show him the Qui Gon action figure. <My God, they look exactly like the main characters from Star Wars.> The general shook his head for a second and turned to address Jack.
“Colonel O’Neill, if that’s who you are, where the hell have you been? It’s been nearly a month since you left. Also, who are your friends?”
“General Hammond, as to where we have been, lets just say we were sent a long time ago and a galaxy far, far, away. As for my companions, it would be wise to hold that until we are debriefed in a secure location.”
General Hammond thought for a moment and turned to Dr. Frasier. “Doctor, I want you to do a full examination of everyone. I want to know if they are who they say they are and even if they are human.” He then looked back to Jack. “Jack, once the good doctor has okayed you, your command staff, and new friends will report to the briefing room and tell me just what the devil is going on here. Dismissed.”
Janet had been on her way to the general’s office when she responded to the alarm in the Stargate chamber. She walked into the chamber and stopped dead in her tracks. Her mouth dropped as she stared at two gentlemen who looked exactly like her favorite characters. <Damn, those two look better in real life. That Liam Neeson is such a hunk!>
Sam noticed the doctor’s catatonic stare and took the opportunity to needle her friend. “You should scrape your tongue off the floor and close your mouth. You are making a spectacle of yourself.“ Janet’s face turned red as she considered her friend’s words and slowly left the room to get ready for the examinations.
Dr. Frasier performed every test in the book on SG1, their companions, and confirmed that they were indeed human and who they said they were. Major Carter noticed that the doctor was taking an extra long time to examine Qui Gon and Obi Wan. She could not resist needling the doctor about getting her tongue off the floor and getting back to the job on hand. Once they had been given a clean bill of health, Jack led Sam, Daniel, Teal’c, Saint, Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Anakin to the briefing room. General Hammond had been looking over the doctor’s report when they came in. SG1 and the Jedi sat down while Jack began to explain just what had been going on for the last month.
Jack stood up and began his briefing by introducing the Jedi. “General Hammond, before I give my report, I’d like to introduce the newcomers. On my right is Master Qui Gon Jinn, Obi Wan Kenobi, and the youngster is Anakin Skywalker.” Hammond’s eyebrow rose upon receipt of that information. Jack paused a moment before continuing. “On my left is Second Lieutenant Anthony Christopher, US Army, last assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.”
The last name rang a bell in Hammond’s mind. <Wasn’t there a Christopher involved in that action back in Mauretania two weeks ago?>. The general stared at the young pilot for a moment, “Weren’t you flying in that African rescue operation two weeks ago?” He waited for Saint’s answering nod before asking the question on the top of his mind. “I thought you were dead?”
Saint mouth twisted into an evil smile as he answered simply “I got better.”
Hammond let loose a chuckle before telling O’Neill to continue.
“We found ourselves in the middle of jungle ruins being attacked by these robots. We retreated, and ran into Christopher and friends. We talked and decided that the ruins held the key to getting home so we joined forces. To make a long story short, we wiped out a child kidnap ring, met the Jedi Council, got directions to this planet called Naboo, and found a crystal that got us back here.”
The briefing went on for some hours as Saint, Qui Gon, and Obi Wan talked to the general. Finally Hammond called an end to the meeting. It was decided that the party would be under observation for two weeks, After that, all American military personnel, including, Saint, were given leave. The Jedi were another matter since they were not inhabitants of Earth and nobody had any ideas for getting them back. Jack had pulled the general off to the side and mentioned that it would probably be a good idea to not let the Jedi see any of the Star Wars movies just yet. Hammond agreed and made it a general order. Saint’s commanding officer at the Nightstalkers was notified of Saint’s return. However, it was decided that it would be good idea to keep an eye on Christopher, so Saint was temporarily assigned to SG1.
“Mom, I’m fine, really. I know I’ve been gone a long time but the Army wants to keep me under observation for a few more days. Then, I have a couple weeks leave and I’ll be seeing you and dad.”
The last two weeks were filled with more medical tests on everybody. In addition, Saint had been tasked with filling out two After Action Reports concerning the events of June 3, 2000. One of the reports, classified Top Secret, detailed ‘Super 6-4’ crew’s adventures in the alternate universe. The other, considerably cleaned up was released to the 160th SOAR.
Jack O’Neill and Samantha Carter walked into one of the offices now occupied by a thoroughly frustrated Anthony ‘Saint’ Christopher. The young American had spent the last three hours pecking at the June 1st After Action Report. Jack could not resist offer some soldierly advice on the matter.
“I heard you were writing the After Action Report for the Africa mission and I thought I’d stop by and offer some advice.”
Saint looked up over the computer monitor and stared at the SG1 commander. <I wonder what he is up to?> Of course, Major Carter’s thinly disguised amusement wasn’t reassuring. Jack took Saint’s silence as a request to go ahead and grinned.
“This isn’t the last great novel. First you should write in the first person plural form. You know, use we throughout the report.”
“I’ll keep that in mind sir. Was there anything else?”
“No, nothing else. Keep up the good work soldier.”
Saint shook his head as Jack and Sam left the room. Saint sighed as he went back to completing his report.
Saint had been pecking at the keyboard working hard to complete the report when someone walked into the room. The young American looked up to see his friend and mentor, Qui Gon Jinn walk in the office.
“Come on in. What brings you here, Master Jinn?”
“According to Major Carter, You have barricaded yourself in this office for the last two days, working on these reports. I sensed that you were feeling restless and decided to come. Besides it will be a good time to continue your training.”
Saint had gone back to the tedious chore of typing out the report when that last statement sank in his skull. “Huh, what are you talking about? I mean, here we are back on Earth where I have to go back being Second Lieutenant Anthony Christopher, an officer of the United States Army. Now you want to talk about training?”
“Anthony, I have spent many days meditating through the Force to find why Obi Wan, Anakin, and myself came back with you. It became apparent that we are here for a reason and one of those is to see that you become a full Jedi. In case you haven’t noticed, you are still able to use the Force even here. If you do not finish your training, then you could fall to the Dark Side and I will not let that happen. Besides, you need a break from all this paperwork and lightsaber practice has always been a good way to relax the mind and body.”
Saint took in his teacher’s smile and thought it over for a little bit. “You know, I do need a break from this paperwork. I’ll meet you in the gym in, say thirty minutes. I’m almost finished with this report and I have to place it on General Hammond’s desk by 1800hrs.” Just as the tall Jedi turned to leave the room, Saint called out. “Oh, one more thing. I talked to my mother this morning and told her as much as possible about where I’ve been and what happened. I’m meeting my family in Los Angeles and mom insisted I introduce my surrogate family from my adventures. Therefore, you, Obi Wan, and Anakin are coming with me to Los Angeles. Besides, it’s the least I can do.”
The older Jedi scratched his chin for a minute, “Los Angeles, doesn’t your young lady live there?”
Saint nodded as his master continued. “Then I will be honored to accompany you and meet your family.”
Dr. Janet Frasier was walking back to her office when she ran into Daniel. After picking up her papers, she asked what was going on. Daniel responded that Master Jinn and Saint were busy sparring in the gym with lightsabers. General Hammond, Colonel O’Neill, and Major Carter were already in the gym. Janet had put her folders in the filing cabinet, and thought about the Liam Neeson look-alike. <Hmm, can’t turn down the chance to see that good looking guy in action.>
She reached the gym just in time to see Lt. Christopher parry a blow to his legs then back-flip out of range. Then the young American switched to the offense and launched a flurry of blows at his master. Master Jinn continued to instruct his pupil throughout the match, pointing out better ways to do each action. Finally, Qui Gon knocked Anthony on the floor and the match was over. Saint grasped Qui Gon’s hand and pulled himself to his feet. “You were right, that was a great way to work off some of my tension.”
“You are learning quickly it will not be long before you are constructing your own lightsaber.”
Saint grinned, “Think so? I couldn’t have gotten this far without your help. You’re a great teacher. Remember, we are meeting my parents in Los Angeles next week.”
Jack had been listening to Saint’s conversation with Master Jinn and the lightbulb went off in his brain. <Hmm, so the Boy Scout is going to visit family and friends Los Angeles? That’s not far from Sunnydale and living in Sunndydale is….>
Sam had been standing off to the side when she saw Jack break into one of his widest grins. She became suspicious and walked over to O’Neill and asked what he was up to.
Jack looked at his second in command, responded “Remember that little stay with a certain Jar Jar Binks?”
Sam shuddered as she remembered that particular twelve hours in hell. She nodded for him to continue.
“Lets just say I have thought up of a way to get back at a certain wisecracking white knight.” He started walking toward the door, “I’ve got a call to make”
317 Bryant Terrace
June 14, 2000
“St Wolf residence”
“Steve, it’s Jack O’Neill.”
“Jack, where have you been. General Hammond had even called me to help find you a week ago.”
“Why didn’t you tell me you had a little brother running around?”
Steve looked the phone for a second. “What are you talking about?”
Jack could not help grinning as he responded, “I’ve just spent the last week in an ‘Galaxy Far, Far, Away’ and ran into a teenage American hotshot chopper pilot who is using your methods to do good deeds. In fact, he told me a couple of days ago he had heard rumors of a ‘Wanderer’ and used him as his role model. Steve if I didn’t know any better I would swear he is a younger version of you.”
“Okay Jack, I know you didn’t call me just to ask about any long lost relatives. So spill.”
“Well, lets just say the kid set me and Sam up real good back there and is begging for some serious payback. He’ll be meeting with family and friends next week in Los Angeles and I was wondering if you would be willing to have a little fun at this kid’s expense.”
Steve let out a big laugh, “I’ll do it. Let me guess, you want tapes made and sent out to various individuals?” The Wanderer continued after Jack’s confirmation. “Tell the kid The Wanderer has heard of him and wants to meet his ‘little brother’. Have him come to be my house next Wednesday at 5:00pm. Oh, is there anything else I need to know?”
Jack looked up at the ceiling for a moment “Steve, this kid is a full fledged Jedi Knight like in the Star Wars movies. Expect him to be able to use the Force to move objects and try the old Jedi ‘Mind Trick’. I just saw him sparring in the gym with his master and let me tell you he is good with the saber. You can also expect him to be fast and able to jump really well.”
“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. Goodnight”
Buffy Summers turned over and groggily asked “Honey, who was on the phone?”
“That was Jack O’Neill. Apparently, there is a younger version of me running around and he will be in LA next week. Jack wouldn’t go into specifics, but this kid, Anthony Christopher, got him really good wherever they had been and Jack asked my help in getting some payback”.
“Hmm, wait didn’t Katie Heart mention something about an old boyfriend who had been declared Missing In Action?”
“You’re right, and her mother just happens to be a detective in Los Angeles. I’ll give her a call.”
A hand reached for the lamp next to the bed. “Thanks, Mark. I’ve got it. Whoever this is, you had better have a good reason for calling me at 3:00am. If not, I’m gonna track you down, shove my hand down your throat and rip your balls off from the inside.”
“JD, it’s Steve St. Wolf. There’s something I wanted to talk to you about.”
“It had better be good Wanderer or you are a dead man. Many times over.”
“Jack O’Neill called me a few minutes ago asking for my help in setting up a young man, Anthony Christopher.”
JD Heart shot up from the bed. “Let me guess you want my help in making sure that he makes it to your place and site of said practical joke. Look Steve, the kid has been through a lot. According to my sources, in addition to being shot down, he has been cut off behind enemy lines and participated in at least two major battles. Take it easy on him, he’s been through a lot and has just come home.”
“Don’t worry, I understand completely. I won’t be giving him the full treatment. Lets just say I wanted to initiate the little brother I never knew about into our little group.”
“I’m in and I’ll make sure he’s there.”
JD was reaching for the light when Steve asked her who she was going to hurt. The blonde detective rolled over to face her lover spoke, “That was St. Wolf. Apparently he has been asked to play a prank on Anthony Christopher. You remember him. He was my former student who became a helicopter pilot.”
“Wasn’t he in town about a year ago and had dinner with us?”
“That’s the one. Thanks to the Wanderer, It’s gonna be a pain in the ass trying to get back to sleep.”
“Who said anything about sleep. In fact we can…….”
June 14, 2000
Jack finished his call and left the room. Unknown to him, two of the Jedi had been getting some coffee and happened to catch the end of the conversation. Qui Gon and Obi Wan listened in interest as Jack plotted the demise of their friend. Obi Wan turned to his former master and relayed his now familiar phrase “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Qui Gon continued to watch the SG1 commander walk out and smiled “Anthony brought it on himself when he locked Colonel O’Neill and Major Carter in that room with Jar Jar for twelve hours. It would be good for our ‘boyscout’ to learn some humility. Perhaps, he will think twice about playing pranks afterwards.”
Obi Wan also began smiling as he considered the planned set-up. “Before we left Naboo, Wins mentioned that Anthony’s prank would call for some major payback and that he would not want to be anywhere near our young friend when it happened. I do agree that I wouldn’t mind observing from a safe distance.”
“Anthony’s mother has invited us to join his family in Los Angeles tomorrow and we must get ready.”
“Master Jinn, do you really think Anthony will change after this prank?”
Obi Wan and Qui Gon considered the older Jedi’s remarks. <Not Really>
Los Angeles International Airport
June 21, 2000
The plane ride from Colorado had been an interesting experience for Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Anakin. Anakin was happy to be in anything that flew while the older Jedi compared the trip to the numerous spaceflights made in the other universe. The Jedi master thought back to the last few days’ back at Cheyenne Mountain. Samantha Carter and Janet Frasier had taken the three Jedi clothes shopping after hearing about their upcoming trip to Los Angeles. Now, it was doubtful that any of their acquaintances back in the Republic would recognize them. Qui Gon, with his hair tied back and dressed in slacks and a button down shirt, looked exactly like a father traveling with his two sons.
Anthony ‘Saint’ Christopher looked over his companions and smiled. <I’ve got to hand it to the ladies. Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Anakin match their cover identities to a tee.>
Prior to leaving Stargate Command, new identities had been handed out to the Jedi. Taking into account, their accents and mannerisms, it had been decided that the three Jedi would pose as a recently widowed father and his two sons recently arrived from the United Kingdom. Thus Qui Gon became known as James Quigby, a retired investigator from Ireland. Obi Wan was now Ben Quigby, James’ eighteen year old son and college freshman. While Anakin’s new identity was that of James’ youngest son, Andrew, nicknamed Andy. It was also decided that Anthony had spent the last year cut off behind enemy lines in Africa. The Quigby’s had been living in the area and sheltered the young American until they could get back to friendly territory as a group.
The trip was amazingly short and it wasn’t long before the boarding gate had attached itself to the Boeing 757 and the passengers began leaving the plane. Qui Gon felt a disturbance in the Force and looked over to his newest apprentice and white knight, Anthony ‘Saint’ Christopher. The young American was visibly nervous <Probably over the upcoming meeting with his mother and girl friend> thought the older Jedi.
Anthony sat back and thought about what he was going to say to his mother. A calming cut off his musings feeling. He turned back to his friend and silently mouthed “thanks”. The stewardess gave the all clear and the passengers began leaving the plane.
“ANTHONY! OVER HERE!”
Saint quickly looked up to see a woman waving her hand to him and he waved back. He turned back to his companions, “That’s my mom, we had better get over there.”
Qui Gon looked over to where his young friend pointed to. The Jedi Master took a moment to examine Saint’s mother. She was certainly a striking woman. In spite of her age, somewhere in her late thirties or early forties, her features and long brown hair made her appear to be much younger. It was also apparent by her clothing, an expensive dress, that she was well off.
Mary Katherine Christopher had been in Los Angeles on business when she received word that her son was alive and back in the states. The last year had been very hard for the mother of two as she struggled with the presumed death of her son. Now, she was the happiest woman alive. She could not resist calling up her old friend, JD Heart, and telling her the good news. Anthony and his friends were arriving in the late afternoon and the two women decided to surprise Anthony with a welcome back dinner at BBQ Bobs.
Mary Christopher leaned against the barrier as she waited for the passengers to finish debarking. Finally, her wait was over as her son walked into view. The mother could not help thinking back to another time many years ago, when she was waiting in another airport for another soldier to come back home. Back then, her new husband was coming back from his second tour of duty in Vietnam. Now it was her son, coming back from Africa. Like her husband that time long ago, Anthony was wearing his class A uniform, looking every bit the handsome young officer. She barely noticed her son’s companions as she rushed up and hugged him tightly.
A warm feeling washed over the young American as he returned his mother’s hug. <It’s times like these that makes you remember why moms are so important.> Finally, he spoke out to get her attention. “Mom, could you be a little careful, I need to breathe.”
Mary, tears rolling down her cheeks, looked her son in the eye “I’m just so happy you’re alive.”
“I know mom, I missed you too.”
Mary dried her eyes and finally noticed the three nearby Jedi. Putting on her best mother face, the businesswoman turned back to her son. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friends? I thought I raised you better than that!”
“Sorry Mom. I was just focussed on being back with my mother.” Saint motioned for the three to come closer as he made the introductions. “Mom, I’d like to introduce Jim Quigby and his sons Ben and Andy. Mr. Quigby is the man who took me in after I was shot down and kept me alive back there. You could say they became family back there. Before you ask, Jim was born in Ireland before taking a job with the British government. His duties with the crown took him to Scotland, where Ben and Andy were born and raised. Later on he was assigned to the British mission in Africa. That’s where I met them.”
Mary looked at Qui Gon “It is good to finally meet the people who helped bring my son back to me. What kind of work did you do for the British government?”
Qui Gon responded “I am honored to meet you as well. Anthony has told me much about you. As for my service you could say I was an investigator, of sorts. I’m afraid, that’s all I can tell you at this time. I did want to express my thanks over your invitation to visit this fair city.”
“It was nothing. You are among my son’s closest friends. You brought him back, and you are my guests.” The older woman looked down at her watch “Well, the car is waiting so we had best be going.”
“Mom, this isn’t the way to the hotel. What’s going on?”
“We aren’t staying in a hotel. After you hung up, I talked to JD Heart. You remember her don’t you?” She continued after Saint nodded. “She is living in this mansion in Malibu and insisted that we stay with her for the time being. Besides, it will give you a chance to see her daughter once again. Besides, JD and I insist on holding a welcome back party. ”
Saint leaned back in the passenger seat and considered the implications of said reunion. <Man, I hope she’s in a good mood or she will kill me.>
Los Angeles, California
June 21, 2000
Katie Heart had just begun to fix her makeup when the doorbell rang.
“Jessica, could you get the door? If it’s Alex, tell him I’ll be ready in a few minutes.”
Jessica moved toward the front door, yelling out “HOLD ON I’M COMING!”
The young woman opened the door and had a sense of déjà vu. She immediately thought back to another night last year <Oh no, not again. Can’t the Army leave well enough alone? > Collecting her wits, Jessica, calmly looked the young soldier in eye and coolly asked. “Is there anything I can help you with Lieutenant?”
The young officer smiled before introducing himself “I believe so, I’m Anthony Christopher and I was wondering if Katie was around?”
The color drained out of Jessica’s face <He’s alive. My God, he’s actually alive>. “Could you hold on a minute?” The young woman turned around and began yelling out to the back “ KATIE COME QUICK, ANTHONY’S ALIVE AND HE’S……………………….>
The fast paced click of high heels resounded throughout the house as Katie Heart raced to the front door, only to pause suddenly. “Anthony….”
“Anthony, you look all right. So stop fidgeting.”
“But Mom, This is the first time I’ve seen Katie since shipping out to Africa. Are you sure my uniform looks okay?”
Qui Gon Jinn chuckled softly at the sight of his newest padawan check himself in the mirror for what seemed to be the thousandth time. <And this is the confident young man who caused the Council so much grief over his good deeds.> Finally, he decided to let his young friend off the hook. “Anthony, you mother is correct. You look fine in your uniform and if Katie is the young woman you described to me before, then what you look like will not matter. She will be too happy seeing that you are alive.”
Saint took one last look in the mirror before replying. “Thanks Mom, Jim. I’m just nervous at seeing her again. Oh well, were here.”
The car turned into the driveway of one of the seaside mansion. Qui Gon and Mary decided that they would wait a minute before getting out of the car to give Anthony a few minutes with Katie. Anthony put on his overseas cap and walked up to the door. While approaching the house, Saint used the Force to look over the house. There were two people in the house and one animal. However, he was getting some really strange vibes from the Force. It was as if there were some strong forces in the house. But, to his relief, none of the vibes resembled anything dark or evil. Instead, it was as if there was someone in the house strong in a variation of the light side Force. It did not take long for the young man to walk up the steps and was at the door before he realized it. Taking a deep breath for the last time, he rang the doorbell.
JD Heart and Steve Sloan turned the captured suspect over to the uniform cops and walked back to the car. Detective Sloan turned to JD to remind her about the Christophers coming over. JD’s eyes drew wide as she considered his words “Damn, I was going to call Katie and tell her about Anthony’s being alive but got side tracked by this call.” Steve winced at the level of colorful language coming from his partner’s mouth. Finally, he looked at his watch. <Oh no, we were supposed to meet up with Mary and Anthony ten minutes ago.>
“Uh JD? We need to get back to the house as soon as possible.”
“What are you talking about? The meeting is not until… CRAP, They’re already there!!!”
Steve had just buckled his seat belt before being slammed into the back of his seat by the car’s sudden acceleration.
Saint was signaling his mother that everything was okay when he heard the voice of someone he had only dreamed about for the last year. Within seconds, the young pilot found himself in his girlfriend’s embrace and smothered by a deep kiss. Saint closed his eyes and savored the welcome. <If this is the welcome I get for being gone for a couple of weeks, maybe I should get lost more often.>
Katie broke off the kiss and looked her boyfriend in the eye. “That was for coming back alive.”
Saint barely noticed Katie’s expression change from relief to anger. Her punch to the stomach took him completely by surprise. <How in the blazes did she get so strong? I haven’t been gone that long. > Also, slamming into the wall was not what he expected on his return home. He was sitting, back against the wall, stunned when he felt Katie pull him to his feet.
“And, that’s for driving me crazy thinking YOU WERE DEAD!”
Once Katie had entered the living room, Jessica walked outside to greet the rest of the guests. She recognized Anthony’s mother but there was something familiar about the other three. <Now, where have I seen them before? They look almost like those three characters from Star Wars.> Jessica gave Mary Christopher a brief hug and welcomed Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Anakin. She watched as JD Heart and Steve Sloan drove up and began talking to the others. A crash echoed from inside the house <Looks like Katie’s taking it out on Anthony> and the young lady asked if JD would like her to show their guests around the other parts of the mansion.
JD and Steve drove up to the mansion only to find their guests already there. The female detective walked up to Saint’s mother and greeted her. Mary held out her hand and introduced Anthony’s British guests. JD blinked in recognition. < I swear, I’ve seen those three before. If I didn’t know better, I would swear the old man was Liam Neeson and the teenager, Ewan McGregor.> She took another, more detailed look at the three guests and noticed the energy flowing off them. It was as if they had some sort of inherit power. Fortunately for them, that power was obviously good or they would not be up for long.
While JD was examining the three Jedi, Qui Gon was doing the same. It was obvious to the older man that JD was very powerful, possibly even more powerful than the best Jedi Masters was. Qui Gon decided to break the ice. “You must be Anthony’s former teacher, JD Heart. Anthony has said many things about you.”
JD’s eyes seemed to glitter as she responded. “Oh really, just what has he been saying?”
Her partner, Steve Sloan also asked the older Jedi what he meant.
The Jedi held up both hands in a non-threatening gesture. “Just that after his parents, you were one of the important people who made Anthony the man he is today. He credited his desire to protect the innocent and combat the darkness to you.”
Any further conversation was interrupted by a commotion at the mansion. The adults turned around to see Katie’s punch throw Anthony through the front door and into the living room. Qui Gon contacted his student through the Force and realized that nothing was wrong. He mentally told his student to be careful.
Obi Wan turned to his former master and asked him “Are you sure we are at the right house?”
Mary Cristopher began moving toward the mansion after seeing her son get punched. She felt a hand on her shoulder, holding her back and she turned to face the Jedi Master.
Qui Gon quickly moved between the adults and the house and motioned for their attention. “There is nothing wrong. Anthony and Katie are merely working out their differences. Lets give them some time to talk it over. Besides, young Jessica has offered to show us around and I believe it to be a wonderful idea.”
Saint shook his head and stood up to face Katie. <Man, can she throw a punch. Saint, old boy, you had better think of something quick or this will get really unpleasant soon.>
Katie was about to deliver another punch when she noticed that Anthony was wearing the locket she gave him before he left for Africa. She moved over to the couch and motioned for Saint to join her. “You still have that locket?”
Saint took the locket from around his neck and showed it to her. “Katie, in all the time away, I never took it off. Back there, whenever I felt like I would not make it home, just one look at your picture would take away all doubt.” He placed took hold of her hands and looked her in the eye. “Katie there are some things I have to say. So please let me finish without interruption.”
Katie noticed the caring look in his eyes and the tone of voice, nodded for him to continue.
“Katie, Katie, so much has happened since that dinner. I don’t know where to start. I was not even on Earth for most of the time. Hell, I was not even in this universe. I’ve been to many worlds and met many people. Do you remember the movie Star Wars? Lets just say I was there. In fact, I’m a Jedi in training.”
Katie’s eyes grew hard “I thought you were being serious Anthony. What kind of fool do you think I am if you think I’ll believe such a cock and bull story………..” Her tirade died down as she watched Saint pull out a silver and black cylinder, press a button. The device began to hum as a beam of green light extended from what was obviously a handle.
“As you can see I’m not joking. When I was shot down, my helicopter somehow appeared in the skies over Naboo during what was shown in the last part of “Star Wars, Episode 1, The Phantom Menace.” I helped with the liberation of Naboo and became personally acquainted with the main characters. I helped save Qui Gon Jinn and the council assigned him to be my teacher and master. Master Jinn tells me that I am making good progress and won’t be long before I construct my own lightsaber. ” Saint’s expression changed as something crossed his mind. “Katie, when I first arrived on Naboo, Qui Gon did a Jedi Mind Trick that showed me the history of that universe. It was like suddenly going through grade school. In moments I knew what was going on. What I’d like to do is use that same trick to show you what I went through the last year. I won’t be going into your mind instead I’ll be allowing you to see my memories. It takes a lot less time than telling the story.”
Katie considered her friend’s request and thought it over. She closed her eyes and sent a prayer to her patron goddess for direction. Soon, she received her reply from Arty. She got up from the couch and led Saint into another room that had been set up as a shrine of sorts.
Saint followed the young woman into the room but paused upon feeling the presence of a very powerful being in the room. Katie sensed her friend’s unease and told him that the being inside was someone very important to her, almost a second mother. The two entered the small room that had obviously been set up as a shrine of sorts. The slamming door caught Saint’s attention and he turned around to face the being he had detected through the Force.
Unknown to Saint, Katie had become an Amazon and had been helped out by Artemis. Saint turned back around to see the goddess in the middle of the room. <Okay, there is a very beautiful and extremely powerful female being standing in front of me. I’d better be on my best behavior.>
Saint’s thoughts were interrupted by the woman simply saying. “You had better be or I’ll kick your butt.”
“What? You read my mind? Who are you?”
“Yes, first, you were broadcasting your thoughts quite clearly. Second, I am Artemis.”
Saint turned his head and muttered, “Well that does explain how Katie was able to knock me clear across the room.” As he thought about her response for a moment, Saint could not help but ask Artemis “Have you been talking with Master Jinn? He has been counseling me about broadcasting my thoughts on numerous occasions within the last year.” Finally, the young man sported a wide grin as he faced the goddess. “It’s an honor to meet you maam and I have a feeling Katie asked for your help in determining if I was telling the truth.”
“You are right about that last point. Normally most mortals feel some unease or surprise at meeting a Greek goddess in person. However, you do not appear to be scared at all.”
Saint held up his right hand and began to count off his fingers. “Within the last month, I have: One, been sucked into an alternate universe onto another planet. Two, I have met more creatures of other races than found at a Star Trek convention in San Francisco. Three, many of those same creatures turned out to be powerful Jedi Knights who I thought were found only in George Lucas’ head. So after all that I gone through, meeting a Greek goddess who happens to be my girlfriend’s patron is just one more. Besides, if Katie trusts you why shouldn’t I?”
Saint rubbed his chin and stared at the ceiling. “Now that I think about it, for about a month, the unusual has become the story of my life.”
Rubbing his sore head, Anthony turned back to Katie, who was standing right behind him with a satisfied look on her face. “Katie, I don’t mean to pry, but, WHY DID YOU DO THAT?”
“Cause you were being smart mouthed to my patron goddess.”
Suppressing, a giggle over the sight, the goddess turned to Katie, “What Anthony is about to show you is real. He did go to an alternate universe that you thought to be only a movie and he is a Jedi knight in training. There is nothing harmful about his mind trick and I will stay here with you as he does it.” Artemis then turned back Saint and gave the ‘mother’ talk, “Anthony, I see that you have a good soul and mean no harm to Katie. However, she is my daughter and if you ever harm her, I will….”
<Oh great, first it was JD giving me the parent talk, now I have a Greek goddess doing the same.> “Maam, not only would I never dream to do anything to harm Katie, it’s against my nature to hurt those I care about. Besides, if I did I would get it from Katie, JD, my mom, and now you. I would have to be nuts to do so.”
With Katie’s patron goddess looking on, Anthony asked Katie if she would agree to the mind link.
Katie looked back to Arty and then back to Saint. Finally, she nodded and told him to continue.
“What I want you to do is close your eyes and concentrate on me.”
Images flew through Katie’s mind as she saw Saint getting hit and struggling to save his chopper and crew. Then, came the landing on Naboo, meeting Qui Gon, Obi Wan, Anakin, and Queen Amidala followed by the liberation of the planet. She gasped involuntarily as she saw her friend nearly get himself killed trying to save Qui Gon. Images of Coruscant and the Jedi Council came next followed by the operation on Tauri Alpha 3. She let loose a giggle as she witnessed Saint setting up Jack and Sam. Finally she opened her eyes and hit Saint in the shoulder before hugging him tightly.
“You nearly died”
“Katie, I just couldn’t let Qui Gon get killed. He, Obi Wan, and Anakin became a sort of surrogate family while in that universe. Forgive me?”
“You had better give me a good reason, buster.”
“How about, flowers and candy?”
“Not good enough.”
“A nice candlelit dinner at an exclusive restaurant?”
“You’re getting closer.”
“Okay, how about meeting Queen Amidala in person on Naboo? Besides, she told me she wanted to meet you after she saw your picture in the locket.”
Katie’s eye grew big at that offer. “That just might do it.”
Artemis had been watching the scene, laughing quietly at the amazon and the boyscout. She could not help but think as she disappeared. <Looks like there’s another Wanderer in town.>
The two young people had begun hugging when a loud coughing caught their attention. They turned around to see Jessica staring at them. “I don’t want to break up this hallmark moment, but there are some people in the hallway who wanted to know if it was safe to come in.”
Katie got up and welcomed Saint’s mother as the others entered the room. She did a double take at the appearance of the three Jedi. She had been prepared for many things but not this. She turned back to Saint for an explanation. “Anthony, these are not who I think they are?”
Saint took a deep breath and began, “Uhh Mom? I sorta stretched the truth back at the airport. Any other information about my guests has been classified Top Secret by the government and I’m not a liberty to tell. To make a long story short…”
Jessica, Katie, and Obi Wan could not help interrupting and yelling out “Too Late!”
Shooting a hard stare at his friends, Saint continued giving a cleaned up thumb nail sketch of where he had been and what he had been doing. Silence settled over the room as that information sank in. Steve’s father, Mark had finally come downstairs and reminded his son about the dinner reservations. Finally, Steve Sloan broke the silence. “Well that was interesting. Who’s hungry?” Hands shot up in response and plans were made to drive over to the BBQ Bobs for dinner.
Alex had driven up to the mansion just in time to see Katie give the young officer a deep kiss and hug. <What the hell is going on here? I’ve driven all this way to pick Katie up for a date only to see her with another guy.> Feeling his anger rise, the doctor got out of his car and began walking up the driveway.
Jessica had been looking out the window when she noticed Katie’s date driving up. <Uh oh. This could get bad really quick if I don’t do something.> The young lady excused herself from the others, saying that she needed some fresh air and left by way of the front door.
Alex had nearly reached the house, when Katie’s friend had intercepted him. “Get out of the way, Jessica. I’m going to have a few words with Katie and that man she’s seeing.”
“Just stop right there mister. That young man has spent the last two weeks stuck behind enemy lines and has just gotten back to the states. JD and the others have planned this welcome home dinner and YOU are not gonna screw this up.” Jessica took a couple of steps forward until she was inches away from Alex’s face. “You understand me mister?”
“Dang it, Katie and I had this dinner date scheduled for the last week. Now, I come by to pick her up, only to find her in the arms of an ex-boyfriend. It just ticks me off.”
Finally Alex began to think about what Jessica told him and some of his anger faded away as he considered her words. With a snarl, he threw the flowers he was carrying to the ground. After a few minutes, Alex clamed down enough to remember the young lady standing in front of him. Sighing deeply, he turned to Jessica and asked her if she would like to go to dinner.
“I’ll be happy to go with you. However, I have got to be honest. Alex, you really need to keep an eye on your blood pressure. Keep this up and you will have a stroke. Besides, if you stormed in there like you were planning, you would’ve gotten your butt kicked by JD, Steve, and Mark for hurting Katie like that.”
As they drove off, Jessica looked back to the house, thankful that the confrontation had been averted.
Los Angeles, California
June 21, 2000
Anthony “Saint” Christopher reached into his wallet to pay for their meals when he felt his old teacher grab his hand. “You are the guest of honor here. I’ll pick up the tab this time.” Commanded JD.
“Yes maam, but I’ll be taking you out to lunch tomorrow. Besides, the government owes me a year’s worth of backpay and combat pay. “
Anthony’s reply triggered a memory about a phone call from a certain Steve St. Wolf. JD sat down her glass and told her former student. “That reminds me, I got a phone call from a gentleman who calls himself ‘The Wanderer’ right after I talked to your mother.”
“Waitasecond, isn’t he supposed to have something to do with that cult incident here a few years ago? I heard rumors about this guy but I thought he was an urban legend. You know the kind that keeps the bad guys off the streets and looking over their shoulders.”
The detective’s eyes twinkled as she replied. “Well kid, you’re about to discover that some legends are real and this ‘urban legend’ wants to see you tomorrow night at 5:00pm.” JD pulled out a notebook, tore out a sheet of paper, and handed it to the young man. “Here are the directions to his house. He lives in Sunnydale, not far from here and will be waiting for your arrival. Look kid, I bragged about you, told him you were a former student so don’t do anything that would embarrass me or your new teacher. Got it?”
Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi looked up at the change in topic. The two Jedi tuned into the conversation. Obi Wan leaned over and whispered to his former master. “I wonder if this has anything to do with that communication made by Colonel O’Neill before we left Cheyenne Mountain?”
The older Jedi reached out through the Force and sensed that while their hosts were hiding something, there were no hints of maliciousness about them. After a few minutes, he turned the Obi Wan and replied “It could be possible. We will just have to see.”
Katie Heart had been listening to her mother and boyfriend. <There is something going on here. I’d better find out what it is and quick.> She reached out and tapped her mother on the shoulder and nodded towards the restrooms.
“Uh, Katie, what’s going on here?”
“Sorry Anthony, not to be rude, but we need to have a little private mother/daughter talk.”
Catching her daughter’s hint. The blonde detective excused herself from the table and followed her daughter to the restroom. Katie looked around the restroom. Satisfied they were really alone, the amazon leaned back against the counter and carefully asked. “Okay mom spill. I know Steve wouldn’t invite Anthony over for just a talk.”
JD grinned an evil grin. “Lets just say, young Anthony was a busy boy back in the other universe and managed to get somebody really good. Upon returning to Earth, said somebody placed a call to St. Wolf an arranged a long distance setup.”
Katie thought back to the mind meld she shared with Anthony back at her home. “Does this have anything to do with locking a certain Stargate SG1 commander and his second in a room with a very annoying creature for twelve hours?”
Prior to heading out to the BBQ place, Katie had told her mother everything revealed in the mind meld. The blond detective remembered her daughter describing the prank and scenes from Star Wars Episode 1. “Anthony locked O’Neill and Carter in a room with Jar Jar Binks for TWELVE hours?” <That does deserve some serious payback. Maybe he did learn a few things.> Composing herself, the detective continued “Anyway, Steve plans to give Anthony the special initiation.”
Katie finished drying her hand and turned around and seriously told JD. “Mother, I hope St. Wolf doesn’t plan anything major. Anthony has been through a lot over there, He has seen some serious combat and even had one of his men die in his arms. He told me that he felt like an old man. I believe a talk from his old teacher could do wonders for him.”
JD gave her daughter a brief hug. “Don’t worry St. Wolf promised me he would go easy on him. Besides, I’ll sit down and have a long talk with him after the meeting at St. Wolfs.”
“Well in that case, I need to make a call.”
Katie reached into her purse and pulled out a cell phone. Punching in the numbers, she waited for the other person to pick up.
Willow Rosenberg raced out of the bathroom yelling out “HOLD ON, I’M COMING!!!”. The witch took a quick look at the display before picking up the phone and saying “Hello Katie.”
“How did you know it was me?”
“Caller id. Whats up?”
“Do you know anything about a setup Steve is planing on to pull on my friend Anthony Christopher?”
“Yeah, Steve briefed us on it this afternoon. He mentioned something about a unknown little brother running around playing Jedi Knight and doing good deeds. The others can’t wait to see how it comes out on tape.”
“Well about that, do you still have the Star Wars: Episode 1 soundtrack lying around?”
“Yes why do you ask?”
Katie smiled an evil smile as she replied “Well, my long lost boyfriend is a Jedi Knight in training and it would be appropriate to play the “Duel of the Fates” number from the soundtrack while he is sparring with Steve.”
A similar smile formed on the face of Willow as she chimed in. “Then we add in an appropriate beginning like the Star Wars movies. We can even call it “Star Wars Episode 1 ½: The Return of the Saint”. It will be great.”
“I’ll even talk Anthony into wearing the black outfit Luke wore in Return of the Jedi. You better believe it will be great.”
“Oh Yes. I’ll get everything ready.”
“Okay, look I gotta go. My family’s about to leave. I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye.”
317 Bryant Terrace
June 22, 2000
“Katie, tell me again why your mom wanted Master Jinn, Obi Wan, and Anakin with her?” Saint pulled at the black tunic shirt, “Also, why did I let you talk me into wearing this? All I need now is to dye my hair blonde and I can stand in for Luke Skywalker.”
“Anthony, mom wanted to show your mother and your friends around town. Besides it’s not often that she will take a day off to do so. I only wish Steve could have done likewise. Here we are, why don’t you head up to the door, I’ll be right behind you.”
The car slowed to a stop in front of the house. Saint took a few minutes to examine the building through the Force and noticed several energy signatures both around and inside the dwelling. It was as if someone had protected the house with several protection fields, all of high level. Walking up to the front door, the young man could not but notice the nicely printed sign on the front porch saying: “All Visitors, Please Check In.” He glanced back to his girlfriend in car before raising his hand to ring the doorbell. <Well, it’s now or never. It’s not everyday that one meets his hero face to face.>
Saint had just rang the bell when he detected someone coming to the front door. The door slowly opened to reveal a black-haired young lady with almond eyes, peering around the door. For a minute, she took in the appearance of the young man in front of her. He was dressed entirely in black from his tunic shirt down to his high black boots. Anthony could feel her almond eyes gave him the once over, lingering over the silver cylinder hanging from his belt. “Hello can I help you?”
The young man pointed to the sign and stated, “ I saw your sign and wanted to check in. Oh, my name is Anthony “Saint” Christopher and I have an appointment to see ‘The Wanderer’. About the clothes, all I can say is I couldn’t say no to my girlfriend.”
Shaw Hunter smiled and nodded at the young man’s explanation. She opened the door and motioned for him to follow her into the house. Saint felt some vague feelings of unease as he followed Shaw through the house to a closed door. The half-elf turned back to Saint and pointed to the door. “The Wanderer is a busy man and does not see visitors often. Those he chooses to see must pass a trial of sorts to see if the person is worthy. Behind this door is your test. Upon entering, you will encounter a man whom you must successfully get by. Upon completion of this task, you will be able to meet ‘The Wanderer’.”
Anthony pondered the girl’s words. <Something about this screams set-up. Then this woman feels to be a lot older than she appears. The plot thickens.> Nodding his acceptance to the girl, he took off his cloak and placed on a nearby chair. Before opening the door, he decided to lay it on thick as he voiced his concerns. “Dear Lady, I have a question before undertaking this challenge. Will this challenge involve actual weapons, training weapons, or unarmed combat?”
It didn’t help Saint’s nerves when the girl gave him a evil grin and replied “The rules for this challenge call for actual weapons but no blood. If you draw blood, then you have failed.”
Shaw could not help but smile when Saint muttered “Yea though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death…” as he entered the room.
Willow looked up from the computer monitor as her friend and fellow amazon entered the computer room. Katie walked in and looked at the people gathered in front of the holographic image of the training room. It looked like St. Wolf had managed to get most of Section 7 for this event. She walked over to the red haired witch and sat down next to her. Leaning over slightly, Katie whispered “Do you have the soundtrack ready?”
“It’s all set to begin as soon as Anthony walks into the training room. This will be good. I thought your mom was coming with you?”
“She was but needed to show the sights of LA to our guests. Don’t worry, she’ll be here within the hour.”
Willow turned up the volume and watched as the door opened to the dojo. <Showtime>
Orchestra music began to flow out from several speakers located throughout the room. Anthony paused a second as he listened. <I’ve heard that piece before. It sounds like some of the music from the Star Wars movies.>
“Well here goes nothing.”
Anthony walked into the room and immediately noticed the large man in the middle of the room. He was over six feet tall and was also dressed entirely in black. From the black armor to the black ninja mask that completely covered his head. Then one had to factor in the glowing sword in the guy’s hands. <If I didn’t know better, I would have mistaken that sword to be a lightsaber.> The young man could feel the power flowing around his opponent. Yet, that power was from the Light not the Dark so it was to be a friendly match.
Anthony’s introspection was interrupted by the man’s booming voice. “You have to get past me before you can see the Wanderer.”
Sensing that the man in black was basically good, the Jedi-in-training decided to avoid fighting all together. Gathering his breath, Anthony rushed forward and attempted a Force enhanced jump to go over the other. He was surprised to hear the other say, “I’ve seen that move before.” Seconds later, the young man picked himself off the floor from where the other man threw him. <He grabbed my foot in midair. Nobody should have been able to do that.> Closing his eyes, he reached out to a couple of benches through the Force and flung both at his opponent. To his surprise, the big guy blocked the objects with what appeared to be some kind of bracers and flung them back in Anthony’s direction.
Steve St. Wolf was grinning under his mask as he defeated the first two attempts to get by. He could not resist telling the young man in his best Darth Vadar impression “You are strong in the Force but you are not yet a Jedi.”
Laughter erupted among the Scoobies watching the monitors. Willow, turned to Katie and in a spat of giggles agreed to her friend’s earlier suggestion. “You were right, we have got to add a soundtrack, opening and closing scenes before we send out copies to our friends.”
Amy finally picked herself off the floor and between laughs, suggested, “Maybe V.A.N. should put copies up for sale or at least send a completed copy to George Lucas.” The young Wiccan rubbed her chin for a moment before turning to Shaw. “Do you think Steve knows Lucas?”
“Could be. He does appear to know everybody.”
The target of St. Wolf’s taunts calmed himself down from the anger he was feeling. Looking the big guy in the eye, the young man asked. “Shall we switch to swords?” At the other’s nod, Anthony reached down and removed his lightsaber from it’s holder.
With a snap hum, a beam of bright green extended from the handle. Saint held the weapon in a two handed grip as the man-in-black drew his weapon and waited. Then, he rushed into the attack and the two blades met, the other blade holding it’s own nicely against the lightsaber. For the next ten minutes, the two men lunged and parried, attacked and defended. The Force powers of the Jedi-in-training were easily countered by the skill of the other.
Saint did a backflip toward the door to avoid being slashed when he noticed the lightswitch on the far wall. A plan formed in his mind and he gave an evil grin as he switched off his weapon.
Steve St. Wolf frowned as he watched the kid back up and turn off his weapon. <That kid is better than O’Neill let on. Hmm, wonder what he is up to?>
Anthony focussed on the switch <If I am going to pull this off, I‘ll have to time it just right.> Reaching out through the Force, he turned off the lights a second after switching off his saber, plunging the room into eerie blackness that was broken only by the soft glow of St. Wolf’s sword. Saint drew even more from the Force as he raced across the room and jumped only to find himself slamming against the far wall. <Well at least I got past him. Only not as I had hoped.>
The lights came on and the other man pulled off his hood, revealing a evil grin. “Congratulations you got past me and now I’d like to introduce you to The Wanderer.”
Saint looked up <Oh Shit, I just got my butt kicked by The Wanderer> and grasped the offered hand and pulled himself up. “It’s an honor to finally meet you. I’m Anthony Christopher but you can call me by my call sign, Saint.” Looking around Anthony, could not help but mutter “Well, THAT was a humbling experience.” The young man examined the room until he saw what he was looking for. Pointing at the camera in the ceiling he asked his host “I take it this is payback for the prank I pulled on Jack O’Neill and Sam Carter?”
“You’re right on the money. Jack called me up a few days ago and requested this long distance setup. He told me all about you and described you as my previously unknown ‘little brother’. I can honestly say, he was right.” Steve laughed as he watched Anthony stand up and gave the camera a slight bow. “Come with me to the living room and I’ll introduce you to everyone.
The Wanderer led Anthony back into the living room, which was now filled with people. Anthony immediately recognized his former girlfriend. Walking over to her and speaking in a low voice he asked her. “Did you know about this little prank?”
Katie gave her former boyfriend a big grin as she replied “You betcha. I found out last night when I talked to mom over at BBQ Bobs.” She waved her hand over Anthony and continued “Why else do you think I insisted you dress up like Luke Skywalker. Oh, that reminds me. Mom is bringing your friends over here to meet everybody.”
A loud coughing interrupted the Amazon. Turning around, she noticed The Wanderer wanted to say something. “Katie, would you like to tell us who these friends are?”
“It’s Anthony’s call.”
Saint was still digesting the fact that his ex-girlfriend and probably his former teacher were in on the prank. He looked up when Katie slowly repeated the question. <Hmm, they don’t know about Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Anakin. I think I’ll leave that for a surprise.> The young man grinned. “Sorry Steve, you and the others will just have to wait until they arrive. All I will say at this point is that one of them is my newest teacher in many things.”
Cordelia Chase could not help but interrupt the conversation. With narrowed eyes, the brunette pointed to him and asked “Just who do you think you are? Coming in here dressed like that and swinging that lightsword, Luke Skywalker?”
Saint gave the brunette Amazon an evil grin. “Sorry, he hasn’t been born yet. Would you settle for Anakin Skywalker’s overprotective big brother?”
The others blinked as that response settled in. Steve shook his head and motioned for Katie to introduce her friend to the Scoobies. Katie smiled and pointed over to her guest “Gang, I’d like to introduce my former boyfriend Anthony Christopher. He is currently serving as a First Lieutenant with the U.S. Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also known as the ‘Nightstalkers’, as a helicopter pilot. As you saw from the little sparring match, Anthony is also a Jedi Knight in training. Umm Giles, would you mind introducing the others?”
“Very well. Lieutenant Christopher, my name is Rupert Giles and you have already met Steve St. Wolf.” The librarian could not help chuckling hearing the young man mutter “And I’m still sore from it”. Pointing at two red headed young people, “Starting with the couch, may I introduce Cordelia Chase and her boyfriend Xander Harris. Sitting next to them are Oz Green and his girlfriend Willow Rosenberg.” Rupert walked over to a young adult blonde woman and the red-haired boy next to her. “This young lady is Randi Jessup and next to her is her brother Bran.” A lady, older than the others, walked up to Giles and wrapped an arm around his waist. “This good looking lady is my wife Jenny. Continuing, the three women on the left side of the room are Buffy Summers, Kendra McPherson, and Faith Pryce. Sitting next to Faith is Larry Blaisdell. You already know Katie Heart. Standing behind her is Amy Madison and you already met her cousin, Shaw Hunter Madison.”
“Thank you Giles aren’t we missing somebody?”
“Robin called to say he would be a little late.”
Saint had been listening to the introductions with a look of amazement. <Man, these are some powerful people. I’m getting Force readings off the scale.> The young pilot walked over to Katie and addressed the Scoobies, “It’s an honor to finally meet you at last. Even if it’s after getting my butt kicked. By the way Steve, I look forward to a rematch.” Anthony waited for the laughing to die down before continuing. “Oh, by the way you can call me by my callsign ‘Saint’”.
From the back of the room, Amy remarked “You mean we now have a ‘Saint’ Christopher among us? So, does that mean you and Joanie are dating?”
Katie shot Madison a dirty look while Saint blushed and looked away for a second “In the military, pilots are given nicknames by their fellow pilots. Most times, they are designed to embarrass the victim. Heck, in my unit, we had one guy made the mistake of getting airsick on his first training hop and you can guess what his call sign became. I got lucky. ‘Saint’ is a play on my name but also because I had this tendency to drag my friends into helping do various good deeds off base.”
The class clown of Section 7, Xander Harris, leaned over to St. Wolf and quipped. “He’s one of you!”
Shaw Hunter had been curious about Anthony’s reaction to being subjected to the prank. Smiling and giving the camera a bow was not the standard response to being on the wrong end of a prank. Speaking in a quiet voice, Shaw asked, “How is it that you are not the least bit irritated over the set-up?”
Saint thought for a moment before answering. “I have always believed that if you are going to pull a joke on someone, you have no right to be angry when one is pulled on you. Besides, I have pulled my fair share of pranks, sooner or later one will come back on me. The important thing is that everyone, including the victim, has a laugh afterwards.”
The doorbell rang and Katie got up to answer the door. Saint gave an evil grin that was noticed by the others as he thought <They’re here. I can’t wait to see their reaction to meeting the main characters from Star Wars brought to life.>
Jaws dropped at the sight of the two gentlemen accompanying JD Heart. Amy Madison looked over to Randi Jessup, and then to Buffy Summers. All three of them thought the same thing <They look even better in person> Finally, Cordelia Chase gathered her wits and was able to say what the other girls were thinking. “OH. MY. GOD. It’s Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor!”
JD Heart and her daughter looked at each other and grinned. Katie gave the others a couple of minutes to stare at Qui Gon and Obi Wan before bringing them back to their senses. Clearing her throat, the young Amazon yelled out to the Anthony, “Hey Anthony, You had better get some buckets or Steve will have them mopping up their mess.” The other Amazons immediately closed their mouths.
“Do you want me to get the buckets?”
Cordelia Chase and the others were still staring at the two Jedi while the little exchange finally sank into their skulls. A few minutes later,
Xander Harris turned to face his irritated girlfriend and the others, rubbing his sore head. However, he was thinking about the movie he had watched a few days ago. <This is a dream come true. I’m standing in the same room with two of the main characters from Star Wars, Episode 1. > Without even thinking, the young man muttered “Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi?”
However the Jedi had very good hearing and heard everything Xander said. Qui Gon turned to face the young man and asked. “You know who we are?”
“Yes, you’re Qui Gon Jinn and the gentleman beside you is Obi Wan Kenobi. But how can you be here? I mean not only are you a couple of characters from a popular movie,” Xander pointed at Qui Gon as he continued, “But you were killed off at the end of “Star Wars, Episode 1 by Darth Maul.”
Anthony ‘Saint’ Christopher had been sitting down and observing the other’s reactions. His amusement was swiftly replaced by anger as he listened to Xander’s question. Not giving his master a chance to respond, the young man growled “He wasn’t killed because I pumped four nine-mil hollow points into that red faced, tattooed bastard.”
The room fell silent as everyone turned and stared at the young man. Qui Gon Jinn sent out a calming wave through the Force and chided his pupil. “Anthony……”
Saint wasn’t buying it. He turned back to his friend and master. “Master Jinn you and Obi Wan, back there, as well as now, you two were my family and that Sith nearly took you away. It’s perfectly normal for a human to get a little irritated about someone threatening his family.” Turning his attention back to Xander, Saint continued “You are right these are Master Qui Gon Jinn and Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi and if you haven’t guessed it by now, I was sucked into a Star Wars universe when I was shot down. I will tell you this much. The movie was correct up to the point where Queen Amidala was planning the liberation of Naboo at the end of the movie. That’s where I crashed onto the scene and helped liberate the capital.” Pain was evident in the young man’s voice as he talked about entering the palace and having Sergeant McCoy get blown in half and die in his arms.
Qui Gon and JD looked at each other and moved over to Anthony and offer their support. Saint had been looking at the floor while he struggled to get his emotions in check. He looked up to his newest teacher after feeling a hand on his shoulder. “Master, I still mean what I said back on Naboo. I will see that McCoy’s daughter is taken care of.”
“I know Anthony, I know. What is this Star Wars movie you are referring to?”
Shaw Hunter had been standing at the doorway to the kitchen, watching the exchange between the Jedi master and his student spoke up and suggested that since Steve already had the movie, perhaps they could show it to their guests.
“That’s a good idea, Shaw.” Steve scratched his head for a moment, before telling the others “How does everyone feel about having pizza delivered and having dinner and a movie?”
A loud growl echoed throughout the room and everyone looked in the direction of it’s origin. A visibly embarrassed Jedi apprentice looked up at the others “I didn’t eat lunch today, sorry.”
Faith Pryce had been standing off to the side, examining the newcomers and Saint. She waited until after Steve placed the order before asking the question that had been on many of the Scoobie’s minds. “Uh Saint, out of curiosity. Just what did you pull on Jack O’Neill and Samantha Carter that made them call Steve to get back at you?”
The previous look of embarrassment was swiftly replaced by a look of pure innocence. “Well, lets just say I locked the two in a suite with Jar Jar Binks for twelve hours. Oh, I also had Queen Amidala and her Handmaidens help with the prank.”
Several jaws dropped to the floor as that image sank into their minds. Amy turned to her cousin and speculated “If he really is another Wanderer, then he will have taken pictures of the prank.” Shaw’s answering nod stopped suddenly as Saint innocently asked the group. “Anybody want to see the pictures?”
Xander and Cordy had moved next to Amy and Shaw, overhearing their conversation. A common thought went through the minds of the Scoobies. <Oh Shit, there are TWO Wanderers in the world?>
Steve St. Wolf watched as Cordy fainted into her boyfriend’s arms and began rubbing the bridge of his nose as he walked back to his office. <I’m getting way too old for this shit.>
“Anthony, Qui Gon, JD, can I see you in my office?”
Steve looked over to JD and Qui Gon. Both nodded in agreement to the Wanderer’s request. Shutting the door behind them, Steve offered the others to take their seats. Then, he turned to Saint and seriously asked the young man. “You saw a lot of combat over there didn’t you?”
Saint jerked back in his seat and looked over to his two teachers, who motioned for him to answer the question. The young man took a deep breath and quietly asked, “How did you know?”
“Kid, I was serving with the 5th Special Forces Group when I was your age and been on some hairy operations, many of which never made the news back here. You want to tell us about it?”
“Steve, JD, Qui Gon, when I joined the Army right out of high school, I joined for the adventure. I was finally doing something important in my life. I mean, I was one of the youngest officers in my unit and I became mission qualified with the 160th SOAR in record time. I had these visions of saving the day and coming home with a chestful of medals. The sense of adventure vanished when the first bullets began pinging on my Blackhawk. Then, I get shot down on my first combat mission and find myself on Naboo helping liberate the planet. I wasn’t even nineteen when I had the first man killed under my command.” Saint turned back to Steve with a haunted look in his eyes. “Jeez Steve, the man had the lower half of his body blown away. I.I…held his hand as he passed away. After that, you can throw in being seriously wounded nearly to the point of death. But that nowhere compares to writing the letter to McCoy’s wife and daughter when I got back.”
JD and Qui Gon had seated themselves to either side of their pupil and both grabbed his shoulder in a show of support. Saint gave a slight smile in appreciation before continuing. “My next major combat operation took place seven months later when I organized a strike force to rescue a bunch of kids being held for human sacrifices. Near the end of the battle, after the kids had been rescued, we were nearly overrunned by an arriving force of mercenaries. The commanders of the unit guarding that side of the perimeter had been killed and I took command. I began calling in airstrikes, which turned the tide, but one hit some of the men under my command. I was responsible for their deaths.”
“Anthony, JD had given me a thumbnail sketch of what you went through when I talked to her earlier this week. Your teachers and I are in agreement on this one. You made the right calls back there. Shit happens in war. During Desert Storm back in ’91, most of the American casualties were caused by friendly fire. If you didn’t call in those fighters, a whole lot more people would have been killed. As far as Sgt. McCoy is concerned, he knew what he was getting into as did the rest of your men on Naboo. I’ve seen many types of officers in my time. The good leaders are those who put their men and mission in front of their own personal safety. You did what you had to do to get the mission accomplished. On that last operation, you got the children out.”
“I… understand, Steve. It’s just that I feel like an old man at nineteen.”
JD Heart placed both hand on Saints shoulders and turned him to face her. “Anthony, you had to grow up too soon. You are no longer the smart mouthed boy I tutored back in Sparta. You left Earth as a naïve boy looking for adventure and came back a man. I’ll tell you this, you will never forget the people who died but you will move on and be stronger for it.”
Qui Gon picked up from where JD left off, “Anthony, Mr. St. Wolf and Detective Heart are right. You will face many trials in the future, From within and without. Don’t linger over the failures but use them to make you stronger. Learn from your experiences. Being a Jedi is not an easy life. But I know you will succeed.”
Steve backed his chair away from his desk when the doorbell rang. “Looks like the pizzas are here. Anthony, I want you to know, if you ever need to talk to someone who has been where you’re at, you can talk to myself, your teachers, or if you want someone closer to your age, I’ll ask Shaw if she would mind spending some time with you.”
“Thanks guys, I feel a lot better.” Saint stopped in front of the door and turned back to Steve and JD, “You know, I used to be a huge fan of Star Wars. Funny thing, now it feels like it’ll take all of my willpower to watch the movie to the end.”
Waiting just outside the Wanderer’s property was a dark haired, bearded man dressed in black leather. <So, the Cubscout’s feeling some doubts? Boy, you have a destiny to fulfill.>
Artemis interrupted the man’s introspection. The Greek goddess gave her brother a long hard look before speaking. “What are you doing here Ares? Didn’t you learn your lesson when you tried to convince Shaw to be your Avatar?”
“Aw, common sis. I was only taking a look. But the hour is getting later so I’ll be going now. Bye.”
The Greek god of war vanished in a flash of light leaving his sister to ponder, <He’s up to something. I wonder if it has anything to do with Anthony? >
“Come and get it!”
While Steve paid Ted, the pizza deliveryman, Shaw put Star Wars: Episode 1 into the DVD player. Willow pressed play when everyone had settled down.
JD settled down next to Saint and kept an eye on her former student. Ten minutes into the movie, the doorbell rang again and Xander got up to answer the door. Willow paused the movie. Soon afterwards, Xander and another man entered the room.
“Sorry I’m late, but the was an accident near city hall that had traffic tied up for a while. Did I miss anything?”
Steve answered, “We just got to the part where the Jedi have realized they were being set up by the Trade Federation. Before we get back to the movie, why don’t you introduce yourself?”
“Sure thing Steve, I’m Robin Goodfellow and……”
Robin looked at the guests and back to the paused movie several times. Several thoughts went through the sprite’s mind, <Waitaminute. They can’t be. Oh Shit, THEY ARE!!!> Turning back to St. Wolf, the sprite asked him, “Steve, please tell me that the two gentlemen in front of me are Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor and not Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi.”
Grins formed on several faces as Steve responded, “I can’t lie to you Robin. Not only do we have the two beforementioned Jedi seated here and sharing pizza and a movie, but the blond kid petting Duke is none other than Anakin Skywalker.”
Robin’s jaw dropped and he took several breaths before continuing. “What did you think you were doing? Not only do you have two characters from a science fiction movie in your living room. But now you’re showing them the movie and in effect telling them their future. ARE YOU OUT OF YOU’RE FREAKING MIND! You aren’t satisfied with saving the world? Now, you have to try to change alternate universes. Even worse, exposing those same characters and worlds to American teenagers?”
Anthony Christopher had been watching the exchange with amusement, thinking, <Hmm. So this is the famous Goodfellow. I’d better let St. Wolf off the hook.> Finally, he decided to speak up and get the sprite’s attention. “Uhh, Robin, Steve had nothing to do with this. I am the one who brought Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Anakin back here.”
“Just who are you?”
Sporting an evil grin, Saint responded, “Anthony ‘Saint’ Christopher, U.S. Army helicopter pilot and student of JD Heart and Master Jinn. As far as messing up the timeline in that alternate universe. I already did that by crashing my Blackhawk on Naboo, saving Master Jinn from Darth Maul, and saving Anakin’s mom. Besides, they got here by accident when I came back with the rest of SG1. So don’t blow your top at Wanderer.” The young man made himself comfortable before continuing. “Are you going to watch the movie and eat pizza with us or stand there with your mouth open, catching flies?”
Robin pulled up a seat while Willow restarted the movie. Halfway through the movie, Anthony began revealing where reality changed from the movie.
“At this point, my Blackhawk came crashing down. I still wonder how my crew survived the crash.”
“Sgt. McCoy was killed at this point.”
“This is near the part, where I stopped Darth Maul from killing Master Jinn and nearly bought the farm myself. I don’t remember the rest since I was unconscious and trying to stay alive with the help of Qui Gon and Obi Wan.”
Finally, the movie ended. Steve let everyone know that it was time to return the Jedi back to their home reality. Anthony embraced the Jedi he considered to be family farewell and stepped back. Robin Goodfellow got ready to send them back when nothing happened. Steve asked the sprite when he was going to do it.
“I’m trying, Wanderer, but something blocked it. Let me try again.”
Still nothing happened. Finally, after three attempts, a visibly frustrated Robin had still not sent the Jedi back. “I don’t know what’s happening. I have my full power but something’s blocking it.”
A soft voice rasped out from behind everybody. “The reason that you can’t send them back is that the Big Guy needs them here for the time being.”
Steve swirled around and found himself face to face with JP Withers. “What are you doing here you old bastard?”
“Mike sent me here to relay a message from the Man Upstairs.” JP pointed towards Saint, “Sometime in the future, Wanderer Jr. over there will be at a crossroads where he can either stay in the light or turn to evil. If he is to have any chance of staying on the right side, he will need to finish his Jedi training.”
Robin responded “So, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
“Goodfellow, if Anthony turns to the Dark Side, he would make Darth Vadar look like a pansy.”
Obi Wan turned to his former master and asked, “Who is this Darth Vadar character?”
Without turning around, Robin answered for the older Jedi, “I’ll tell you later.”
The rest of the scoobies listened to the exchange. Finally, Shaw spoke up. “Then it would appear that we would need to make arrangements for the Jedi to live here for the time being.” The half elf began to tick off several points in the air. They will need new identities, housing, employment and help fitting into Earth society.”
Once again, the doorbell rang and Willow got up to answer it.
Saint, JD, and Katie had retired to the kitchen to talk about what to do now that the Jedi were here to stay. The blonde detective noted that there were more than enough empty rooms to accommodate the Jedi in the West wing. Saint asked her why the West wing? To which, JD responded. “That way you will have to get past my room to get to Katie.”
“Now wait a gosh darn minute. I……”
Saint had been in the process of offering a snappy comeback when out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Willow returning with two gentlemen and a lady dressed in black suits. The young American could not help thinking, <First, it was a Greek goddess, then a character out of Shake sphere. Now, it’s the Blues Brothers plus one>. Unfortunately, his mouth began operating independently of his brain when he stood up and asked. “So which one of you is Jake and which is Elwood?”
The older man slowly turned and walked up to the speaker. Stopping inches away from his target’s face, K began talking. “I don’t know who you think you are, sonny. But you need to respect your elders. To answer your question, we are not the Blues Brothers.” Willow and St.Wolf interrupted the older agent’s response.
“K, J, L, what brings MIB to my humble abode?”
“MIB? What is that, Made in Bulgaria? Cause you certainly have the 60s communist agent look down pat. All you need is a trench coat. Don’t get me started on the alphabet gang over there.”
Steve began rubbing the bridge of his nose as others began laughing at Saint’s remarks. Finally the laughter faded and K answered him.
“Zed got a call from General Hammond over at SG1 concerning three aliens who had suddenly appeared at Cheyenne Mountain. Zed sent us here to investigate the matter and make recommendations about what needed to be done.”
Steve introduced the three Jedi and Saint to the agents. After a short interview with the three visitors from the Star Wars universe, K decided to recommend that the three be allowed to stay as long as necessary. Of course having Arty and JP Withers give their input helped. MIB would help with the creation of identities for the three. Thus Qui Gon Jinn was officially Jim Quigby, a former British agent born in Ireland. Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker were officially recognized as his sons. That done, JD Heart offered the spare rooms in her home to the now officially Quigby’s until they could find more permanent housing.
Giles stood up, turned toward Anthony and in a quiet voice, stated, “Well now that that’s settled, what about you?”
Saint and Xander had been engrossed in a discussion concerning which Monty Python skit deserved to included in the Hall of Fame. Hearing his name called, Saint looked up and said, “Huh?”
Giles sighed, “At the risk of repeating myself, what are you going to be doing now that your friends will be settling on Los Angeles?”
Saint began to pace around the room for a few minutes before stopping. “I was waiting for the right moment before telling this. But now is as good a time as any.” The young man took a deep breath before continuing. “I have been doing a lot of thinking about the events of the last year and where my life was heading. Once my leave has ended, I will be leaving active duty and transferring to the Guard. As of next Friday, I will be officially a member of the 140th Aviation Battalion, California National Guard. The unit is based at Los Alamitos, about 22 miles south of LA. They’re flying UH-60 Blackhawks for air assault, and transportation. It’ll keep my flying up to par. The commander was happy to get someone with my background,”
Xander could not help smirking, “Turning into a weekend warrior?”
Saint answered with a shrug, “Pretty much, the rest of the week will be spent being UCLA’s newest archaeology major.”
Katie leaned over and softly spoke, “Smart move, choosing a major where you have an inside track thanks to a certain Daniel Jackson over at SG1.”
The chair slammed back onto the floor as he responded, “Whaa. Now wait a gosh darn minute. I chose that major because I happen to enjoy taking looks at the past. Not because it would be an easy ‘A’.”
“Easy, easy, I was only joking.”
“At least, Anthony will have no problems with completing his training.” JD Heart turned back to Qui Gon and Obi Wan. “I have enough room at my place for both Anthony and his companions. Plus, Master Jinn can use my gym to continue Anthony’s training.”
“It’s getting pretty late. So lets get a good nights sleep and take up where we left off tomorrow.”
Los Angeles, California
June 22, 2000
Katie had just finished making breakfast when she heard someone coming downstairs. She finished sitting down at the table when Anthony entered the dining room.
“Hey Anthony, there’s bacon and eggs on the stove. Plates and glasses are above the sink and there’s juice in the fridge.”
The young man walked over to the sink, pulled out a plate, silverware, and a glass. After getting his breakfast he sat down at the dining room table and began eating. When he had gotten up, Anthony had noticed that Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Anakin were not in their rooms. He pondered that thought for a moment and turned to Katie. “I noticed that Qui Gon and Obi Wan weren’t around when I got up. Do you know where they are?”
Katie took a drink of orange juice before responding. “Oh, your mom and my mom took them house hunting. Qui Gon left word that they should be back before lunch time.”
“That’s good. Hey, can you drive me over to West Coast Choppers? When my mother found out about my plans to go to school here in LA, she left me some money for some wheels and settling in until the Army gets the pay thing straightened out.”
Katie sat back and thought for a moment. <Now where did I hear that name from? Hmmm> Finally, it clicked, she remembered going over to one her friend’s house last week and noticed a motorcycle magazine on the coffee table. She had been pretty board, waiting for her friend to get out of the bathroom and started thumbing through the magazine. She turned over to her guest and asked him. “Anthony, just what are you going to do over there? From what I remembered, that shop custom makes motorcycles and there is a waiting list. Not to mention those things cost anywhere between twenty to fifty thousand a bike.”
Anthony gave a slight grin and responded “Before I shipped out to Mauretania, I placed an order with Jesse James for a custom chopper. Mom had given me the money as a graduation gift from flight school and you know we pilots have to have sharp wheels. I can’t wait to show it to you. It will knock your socks off.”
“Well my calendar is pretty clear. So, I’ll take you right after we finish breakfast.” Katie cocked her head to one side and looks her friend in the eyes. “Was there something else?”
Anthony had been going back to the kitchen to refill his glass when asked that question. Turning slowly around he responded. “You remember me telling you about Sergeant McCoy? The one killed back on Naboo?” He waited until she had nodded before continuing, “ I found out that his widow and daughter had moved to Sunnydale and I was going to visit them. I sure could use some company for this.”
Katie could not help smiling as she took in what Anthony has said. <He is such a Boy Scout, If only I wasn’t dating Alex.> She got up to clear the table with Anthony helping out. As she put the dishes in the dishwasher, she looked over to him and said, "You couldn’t keep me from it no way. Besides, Faith and Shaw were talking about going shopping later on. I’ll be there with you on condition that you come with us to the mall.”
Saint stopped and slowly turned to his friend. “I’ll do it. God help me. But I’ll do it.” Looking at her victorious smile, he could only think. <Why am I getting a bad feeling from this? More importantly, why am I thinking like Obi Wan?>
West Coast Choppers
Los Angeles, California
June 22, 2000
“Saint, when did you get back and more importantly, where have you been?”
It didn’t take long to reach the garage where some of the best hand made choppers were brought to life. Saint walked over to the owner and master mechanic and grasped his hand.
“Man it’s good to see you gain. I just got into town yesterday and as to where I have been lets just say I have spent way too much time behind enemy lines and leave it at that.” He waved for Katie to come over. “Jesse, I’d like you to meet a close personal friend of mine, Katie Heart. Katie, this is the world famous Jesse James, the top custom motorcycle maker in the known world.”
After introductions were exchanged, Jesse led Anthony and Katie back to the garage. Sitting in the middle of the room, was the cycle. Without a word, the master mechanic pulled the cloth off, revealing his latest creation. The chopper was painted a midnight blue with bright orange flames dancing over the fuel tank and framework. But, it wasn’t just the paint job that made this one special machine. There were many non-standard items that made this chopper one of a kind.
“You know, it wasn’t easy to install the items you requested. The last pieces arrived only yesterday.”
“Sorry, for the short notice. But you do seem to thrive on it. I got it, why don’t you have your own TV show. Maybe get in a group every week to trick out some vehicle into something special.”
“You mean like turning a limo into a fire truck? That does have possibilities.”
“Why don’t you call it Monster Garage?”
“I like that. But to get back on subject.” Jesse began pointing out various features, “As requested, you have a miniaturized UHF radio communications set installed underneath the seat. The interfaces are common so you can plug in your standard pilot helmet. Send and receive buttons are on the right handlebar. Then, there is the CD player with loudspeakers so you can break windows while listening to Steppenwolf. Finally, I installed a smoke generator on the engine that’s good for twenty minutes. The smoke comes out the exhaust. The souped up engine will get up to 150 but I’d recommend you make sure the radar warning receiver isn’t picking up any local police taking pictures.”
“Jesse, you are a genius. Here’s the final payment. Well Katie, what do you think?”
Katie grinned, “I like it a lot. Let me drop off the car back home and I’ll help you break in your wheels on the way to Sunnydale.”
“It’s a deal. Lets go.”
“As you can see, the house has it’s own private gym in the basement. Detective Heart had mentioned that you and your sons are practitioners of the martial arts.”
“This is a nice house and it fits my family’s needs. However, I cannot afford such a house at this time.”
As soon as the group had gotten back from Sunnydale, JD called her realtor. The two were on the phone for over an hour, discussing options. Finally, the detective decided to take the day off and bring Qui Gon to look at houses. So, here they were, being driven along the side streets of LA, looking at houses. Finally, they came back to her neighborhood and stopped at a house that was only a block away from her house.
JD listened in growing irritation as Qui Gon attempt to gracefully turn down the house. Finally, she had enough. She politely excused herself and led the Jedi master to another room.
Throughout the previous evening, Qui Gon and Obi Wan had gotten feelings that some of the people that had met were much older than they appeared. The older Jedi had mentioned it privately to JD and she had explained that she was much older than she looked. He still remembered the wicked smile she wore when she proudly informed him that she was older than Yoda by many years. So, they spent a couple hours going over immortals, the game, and the current fight against the darkness here on Earth. One thing she made clear was the fact that she was nowhere near penniless and intended to help her new friends from the other reality.
“I understand that you are new to this country, planet, hell even this universe. But, you are going to get set up with a new house before the day is over. If you are thinking about cost, forget it. I will be buying the property and you can rent it from your income with that private investigation agency Steve set up. Besides, you don’t know my realtor. Morticia Adams just loves to lose money and I wouldn’t be surprised is she doesn’t offer to pay us to take the house off her hands.”
Qui Gon held up his hands to calm down the irritated detective as he responded “All I meant was that I did not wish to impose.”
JD looked up at the ceiling for a moment, “You are not imposing. When I was the Chief of Detectives back in Sparta, I had gotten to know the Christopher family pretty well. In fact, both families have looked after the kids as if they were our own. From the moment I saw you, I knew that Anthony considered you to be his other family. So, if Anthony considers you to be family then your also part of mine and let me tell you this. I never turn a back on family. Besides, with you nearby I can keep an eye on Anthony.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
“You had better believe it. Now lets go sign those papers. We have to meet Katie and Anthony at the Sunnydale Mall by 2:00pm.”
The throaty sound of a motorcycle engine ripped through the air, getting louder and louder. Faith pulled back the curtains to see what was coming up the street and let out a loud whistle. The slayer could not help but admire the machine pulling up to the house. This was no ordinary machine. The chopper was painted a midnight blue with bright orange flames dancing over the fuel tank, framework. All in all, it was a sweet machine.
“Hey Faith, what is it?”
The dark haired slayer shook her head and yelled back. “Looks like Katie and Saint have arrived. You have got to see the wheels that boy’s got.”
Shaw and Cordelia had just entered the living room when the doorbell rang. Faith opened the door and let the two visitors in. Anthony presented a different look than the one from the night before. Instead of the Jedi attire from the night before, he was wearing jeans, cowboy boots, and a leather flight jacket. On the left breast of the jacket was a patch showing what looked to be the grim reaper wielding a flaming sword, and riding a red-eyed Pegasus. Above and below the patch were the words ‘Death Waits In The Dark--- Nightstalkers’. Combine that with his gold framed aviator sunglasses, Anthony definitely looked like the dashing young aviator.
Katie walked in right behind him and asked if everybody was ready. Cordelia was grabbing her purse when she remembered something and told Katie “Your mother called and said that she has Gui Gon and Obi Wan with her. They will be meeting us at the mall.”
A loud whistle shattered the air and interrupted any reply. Faith had retrieved her purse from the kitchen and could not help but take a shot at her soul sister. “You know we have a real Star Wars/Star Trek crossover in this room.”
“What do you mean?”
The slayer gestured toward Shaw and Anthony. “I mean, here we have a real live Jedi Knight in training and Spockette in the same room. It’s like one of those fanfics brought to life.”
Anthony and Shaw both cocked an eyebrow at this revelation. Everyone else caught the gesture and began to laugh their heads off.
The Jedi in training leaned over to Shaw and asked her. “Is she always like this?”
June 22, 2000
Saint quickened his pace to catch up with the others. Walking up behind them, he tapped the dark haired slayer on the shoulder to get her attention.
“Uh, Faith. Can I see you for a moment?”
“What do you need Grasshopper?”
“Grasshopper? Now what the.. On second thoughts I really don’t want to know. I just wanted to ask you to hold off comparing Qui Gon to any characters played by Liam Neeson for now.”
“Oh really. First, why would you even think I would do something like that. More importantly, why should I agree to not do that?”
“That little crack back at Steve’s house gave it away and it’s something I would have done. Besides, it would screw up a little set up I have planned for yon Jedi. I found out that they knew Colonel O’Neill was planning the little meeting with St Wolf and didn’t see fit to warn me. Here they are practically family and they did not give me a heads up. There’s a law somewhere that states that a little payback is in order. So, if you were to spill the beans, then I would be forced to leave you out of it.”
Faith thought for a moment before agreeing to put the cracks on hold—for now. Katie looked up from her watch at the sound of approaching footsteps. Glaring at Anthony, she asked him, “Are you done? Mom said to meet them at the food court. We are already late.”
The group entered the shopping center and began moving towards the food court. They had just passed by the jewelry store when Shaw realized Anthony was no longer with them. Looking back, she noticed the object of her search had stopped at a magazine rack to examine some kind of pamphlet. While the others continued on to the food court, she and Katie turned back to retrieve their missing friend.
“See anything interesting?”
Saint had been so engrossed in the pamphlet that he didn’t notice the two girls standing behind him. Turning around slowly, the evil grin that had graced his face faded into a look of pure innocence. “What ever do you mean?”
Katie wasn’t buying it and neither was Shaw. The blonde amazon walked up and grabbed him by the collar. “Drop the innocent act. We both saw your face and know you are up to something so spill it.”
Without a word, Anthony handed over the pamphlet he had been reading. Plastered on the top of the page in big black letters was the following announcement. “Star Wars Expo 2000, June 22-26. Come see your favorite character from Star Wars Episode 1. Liam Neeson, Ewan MacGregor, Natalie Portman, and Mark Hamil will be signing autographs from 8:00am to 1:00pm each day.”
Shaw turned to Anthony and looked him straight in the eyes. He simply nodded to her unspoken question.
Within the last couple days, Katie had gotten to know the houseguests from the other universe. They were both nice people and easy to get along with. < I can see how Anthony would consider the two family > Looking at the flyer, it was becoming obvious what he was planning. “You don’t mean.. I mean that is pure evil. My God Anthony, he is like a father to you. How can you even think of such a thing?”
Without missing a beat, Saint stated in a quiet voice, “In case you didn’t notice, the convention will be held at the Holiday Inn in downtown LA. I was thinking about taking our favorite Jedi out to lunch tomorrow, say around 1:00pm.”
Shaw continued where he left off. “Of course the restaurant just happens to be in the same hotel as the convention.”
“And by coincidence the actors will be signing autographs around lunchtime.” Added Katie.
“Which means Master Jinn and Obi Wan will most likely be mobbed by autograph seekers thinking they are the actors.” Finished Shaw.
Anthony pursed his lips and nodded. He turned to Shaw and asked, “Think Robin, Xander, and the gang will be interested in helping out?”
“Wild horses couldn’t drag them away.”
“Why do I get the feeling that something bad is about to happen?”
Qui Gon turned to his former student and nodded in agreement to his observation. JD listened in as they drove into the parking lot. She looked over to Anthony’s mother who smiled and shook her head in amusement at the Jedis antics.
Mary Christopher placed her compact and mirror back into her purse. She could not get over how much the two guests looked like the actors. <Ahh, if I wasn’t married, Jim Quigby you would not stand a chance.> she thought. As the adults exited the car, Mary could not help offer a few words of support to the two Jedi. “Don’t worry, all we are going to do is help you guys gets some clothes so you fit in.”
JD could not resist joining in and twisting the figurative knife. “And, Katie’s friends will be right there offering fashion tips and helping out.”
Qui Gon and Obi Wan looked at each other and cringed at that image.
Anthony, Shaw, Katie, and Faith were discussing the details for the upcoming set up when the adults showed up. Saint felt the two Jedis presence in the Force as soon as they entered the mall and changed the subject before the victims walked into hearing distance. While waiting for the adults to show up, the teens ordered drinks. Saint turned to the others and coughed to get their attention.
“Look guys, I know you girls can not wait to get Qui Gon and Obi Wan trapped in the clothing stores.” He waited a few minutes for the pretests to die down before continuing. “However, I want you to take it easy on Qui Gon. He is old enough to be our father and needs to get clothes appropriate for someone his age. So no far out fashion picks. Just keep it stylish and age appropriate.” He didn’t say anything for a moment and snapped his fingers in the air. “Oh, one more thing. When I mean age appropriate, I do not mean tweed. While I may respect Giles, I do not want my teacher turning into a stuffy Englishman. He’s supposed to be Irish and looking like an Englishman would be an insult.”
After the chuckles had died down, Faith glanced over in the direction of the approaching Jedi and smiled. “That takes care of Qui Gon. What about the boy toy, Obi Wan?”
Anthony thought for a moment before sporting a sly grin. “He’s fair game. Go for it”
Anthony reached out to massage the sore spot on his head and turned to Katie. In a quiet voice he asked. “ What, my dear Katie, was that for?“
“For selling out your friend. He’s almost like a brother to you and you do this?”
“And your point being?”
Katie gave the pilot a sweet smile and replied. “No point, you needed to be slapped upside the head. It was long overdue.”
<Women, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.> thought the young pilot.
Cordelia, Shaw, and Faith watched the scene and listened in. Cordelia turned to the others and remarked. “Are you thinking what I am thinking?”
“That Katie’s taking lessons from you?” offered Xander.
“That maybe Anthony would be a better choice than Alex for Katie?” smiled Faith.
“They do seem to be made for each other. It looks like we have our latest project ladies.”
“But what about Qui Gon and Obi Wan? They are both good looking and single.”
“True, then it looks like our work is cut out for us. I always liked a challenge”
Qui Gon had resigned himself to spending the day being ‘helped by the girls’. Fortunately, Buffy and her mom after deciding to go shopping had ran into them in front of Abercromby and Finch. Joyce caught the pleading look in the older Jedi’s eyes and decided to take pity and help out. Under her direction, it was decided that the group would split up. JD, Mary, and Joyce would accompany Qui Gon and ensure that his clothing would be reasonable for someone in his age group. Obi Wan, on the other hand had no such luck. He was placed firmly in the clutches of Cordelia, Faith, and Buffy. It turned out that Obi Wan’s bad feeling came true for himself.
“Uh, Anthony, do you want to help out here?” pleaded the younger Jedi as Cordelia, Buffy, and Faith dragged him to the dressing room loaded down by their choices.
Anthony had pulled up a chair with a good view and called back. “Don’t worry you’re doing fine.”
“Thanks a lot.”
“Hey Anthony, there’s an empty dressing room back here if you need it.” Called out Faith. “I’m sure Katie will let us help you pick out some new clothes.”
“That’s all right, I already have a large enough wardrobe. Besides, my stuff should be arriving from Fort Campbell any day now.”
A chorus of “Awww, spoilsport” echoed from the dressing rooms as well as a choked off cry for help.
While. Obi Wan was being overwhelmed in Abercromby and Finch, his former master was having a much easier time in Macys. Joyce reached over the dressing room partition and handed him a couple of shirts to try on. A couple minutes later, he walked out.
Joyce and Anthony’s mother gave the tall Jedi a once over. Joyce thought back to a movie she had seen the previous week on TNT. <Lose that ponytail and you, Mr. Quigby, would be a dead ringer for Liam Neeson in Rob Roy. > She let out a sigh, then quickly remembered where she was and sat back up to look at the smiling faces of JD, and Mary.
“Joyce, come back to Earth.” Mary called out. She waited patiently before continuing. “As I was saying, don’t you think this looks good on Jim?”
“Definitely, it brings a quiet sophistication air to him. It’s very complementary.”
“Ladies, thank you for your help. I believe I have enough to get me by until I get my first paycheck.”
Saint looked at his watch and noticed that they had spent over three hours helping Obi Wan. He walked over to Katie, who was in the process of handing the Jedi another stack of choices, and tapped her on the shoulder.
“Katie, it’s almost six o’clock. I told McCoy’s widow that we would be by to see her and her daughter sometime around nine. That leaves us only three hours for me to get back, change and make it to her house.”
“Huh? Oh, right. Don’t worry, while you were getting ready this morning, Mom brought your uniform with her so we don’t have to drive all the way back to LA to get ready.”
“Katie explained everything and you can change in our house.” Offered Buffy.
“Thanks. Qui Gon and our mothers are coming this way. If I didn’t know any better I’d say they bought out the store.”
“Not likely, we haven’t even looked at shoes.”
“SHOES? You mean we haven’t finished yet.” Gasped a tired Obi Wan as he collapsed into a nearby chair.
“Not be a long shot, Tough Guy.”
Obi Wan took a deep breath before turning to Anthony. “I thought we were practically brothers. How can you leave me to this?”
“Obi Wan, my good friend, I learned long ago. Never, get on the wrong side of females. They can make your life heaven or hell.” Anthony paused for a moment before waving his arm around the room. “Besides we have two slayers, one half elven medicine woman, three mothers, and two Amazons who insist on helping you shop for clothes. If they were to get irritated by lets say, me thwarting their designs. Well, I can do the math.”
“You had better believe it!” chimed in the two slayers, two Amazons, and said medicine woman.
The object of their help only put his head in his hands and sighed as he was led off. “I knew I had a bad feeling about this. But no, I had to let myself be talked into coming anyway. I should have jumped out of the car when I had a chance before we got to Sunnydale.
“Shit, what now? I haven’t broken any traffic laws this time.”
They had finished shopping and were on the way back to St. Wolf’s house when the police car pulled up behind them and flashed his lights. Katie moved over to the side of the road and waited for the officer to come up to the car. A faint tapping at the window signaled his arrival.
“Can I see your license and registration ma’am?”
Lieutenant Stein had been driving back toward city hall when he recognize the car in front of him. <If I can’t get St. Wolf or the Summers chick, at least I can have some fun with her friends. Lets see I can either get her for speeding or running the stop sign. I know, I’ll get her for both and drag the others in for something else.>
Katie was not in a good mood and recognized the plains clothes police officer as the same one who had been out to get Buffy. Giving the cop her best glare, she testily replied. “I don’t know who you think you are but we have not broken any laws.”
Stein unfastened the catch on his holster, “Lady I’m going to have to ask you to leave the car with your hands in sight.”
Recognizing that someone was going to be hurt, Anthony decided to act. <Now would be a good time to do my version of Obi Wan Kenobi using the Jedi mind trick from Star Wars.> He looked over at Shaw, who nodded at his unspoken suggestion and leaned over in the direction of the police officer.
“Uh excuse me officer, pardon my girlfriends attitude it’s been a long day. Perhaps I can be of some assistance in clearing up this matter.”
“Just what kind of fool do you think I am?” responded Stein. Taking a long look at Anthony’s jacket, he continued “Do you think I would listen to a common gang member? Now stay quiet or I’ll run you in for obstruction of justice.”
“First, I am not a common street thug. I am a commissioned officer in the United States Army and the patch on my jacket doesn’t belong to any gang. It’s the unit patch for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment of which I have been proud to serve.”
Shaw and Faith were beginning to respond when Anthony began talking to the officer. Smiles appeared on both of their faces as they watched their new friend wave his hand in front of the officer’s face. Faith had to bite down on her arm to keep from laughing out loud while Shaw simply grinned at being able to see the Jedi mind trick in action.
As soon as he got Steins attention, Anthony quietly spoke. “You don’t need to see her license and registration.”
Stein’s face lost all emotion as he responded in a monotone, “I don’t need to see your license and registration.”
<It’s actually working!! I guess it’s true that the Force does work well against the weak minded.> Anthony turned back to his friends and gave a evil grin before turning back and saying that famous line.
“These are not the droids you’re looking for.”
“These are not the droids we’re looking for.”
“You have to be at the courthouse and let her off with an apology.”
“I’m sorry for keeping you. It was obviously a mistake. You can go, drive safely.”
Katie was chewing down on her lip during the entire time Anthony was talking to Stein. When Stein had driven out of sight, she turned toward her friend and slapped him upside the head.
With the others rolling around the back laughing their heads off, Saint glared at JD’s daughter. “Now, what was that for?”
“For ripping off Lucas with that line about missing droids.” To everyone’s surprise, she paused for a moment before grabbing Saint by the head and landing a kiss. “And this is for getting us out of a hairy situation.”
“Will you two get a room?” yelled out Cordelia.
Shaw did not look pleased with Saint’s rendition of Obi Wan confronting the stormtroopers in Star Wars. In a soft voice, she rebuked the young pilot. “Anthony, that was not very nice. The officer did a good deed when Faith and I had a little trouble at a bar.”
A sense of quiet fell over the car. Anthony looked Shaw in the eye and seriously responded, “Shaw, I apologize for any hurt I caused you over this incident. While I recognized that Stein, like most people, has his good points, I would remind you that he had pulled Katie over for no reason other than the fact that she was a friend of Steve and Buffy. I’ll keep what you said in mind the next time such a situation crops up.”
Xander leaned over to Shaw, pointed at Katie and Anthony, and whispered, “If they keep this up, our Amazon matchmakers won’t have to do anything but sit back and enjoy the show.”
317 Bryant Terrace
June 22, 2000
Anthony was fixing his tie when someone began knocking on the door. Taking one last look in the mirror, the young soldier opened the door to see Robin and Xander standing in the hallway. Inviting them into the bedroom, he grabbed his jacket from the closet door, speaking over his shoulder. “What can I do for you guys?”
“Shaw filled us in about the little setup you had planned for Qui Gon and Obi Wan tomorrow afternoon.” Responded the living character from Shakespeare.
Anthony gave an evil grin as he slowly turned around to face his peers, “So, you guys interested?”
Xander was about to ask a question when another knock at the door interrupted their discussion. Shaw walked over and let Katie in. “Sorry guys, did I miss anything?”
“No, we were just going over the details of yon upcoming prank.” Answered Shaw.
“As I was about to say before we were interrupted. Let me get this straight, you want to invite your teacher, who is a father figure and the Jedi you consider to be a brother to lunch only to have them swarmed by autograph seekers at a Star Wars convention?”
“Yes, that pretty much covers it. It’s simple, straight to the point, and should be a load of laughs if it goes down right.”
“There is one thing I don’t understand?” asked Katie.
Anthony raised one eyebrow and replied in a quiet voice. “ Understanding is a three edge sword.”
Robin and Shaw shared grins as the others responded with “Huh?”
Katie thought her friend was up to something but could not help grabbing the bait. “Anthony, you are not making any sense?”
Seeing that his friend had taken the bait, Anthony twisted the knife a little deeper. “Ah, you seek meaning? Then listen to the music and not the song.”
Finally, Xander broke in. “You are not making any sense. I swear, talking to you is like talking to a Vorlon.”
With that remark, the light came on in Katie’s head and she walked over and slapped Anthony on the head.
“You need cut down your watching Babylon 5 or I’ll have mom confiscate your TV.”
Clearing his throat to get everybody’s attention, Robin commented “Now that that’s settled. Can we get back to the prank?”
Anthony sighed and looked at the ceiling. “Oh, if you insist. I know it’s short notice, but for a prank of this style, cameras are a necessity. Someone may be needed to nudge traffic in their direction.”
Talking like a Mexican in a bad Western, Robin replied “Cameras? Cameras? We don’t need no stinking cameras.” Suddenly serious, he continued, “I can do this without a camera and save time normally needed for setting up this prank. Although, I’m sure I can get something ready in no time.”
“So I take it you’re in?” asked Anthony. As soon as the sprite nodded, he turned toward the others. “How about you guys?”
“Count me in”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Shaw added, “You do realize this will be cause for payback?”
“In most cases. But revenge comes from the Dark Side and our two subjects will not give in to such emotions. More likely, Qui Gon will provide some interesting training situations for the near future. Man, look at the time. Katie, we need to get going if we want to get there on time.”
Faith, Buffy, and Willow were sitting in the living room, making plans for that night when a noise caught Faith’s attention. The Dark Slayer let out a loud whistle and pointed towards Anthony, who was in the process of walking down the stairs. “Hunter, B, take a look at that. Soldier Boy cleans up pretty nice!”
“And, Katie doesn’t look bad either.” Commented Buffy.
Anthony and Katie had disappeared into various bedrooms soon after walking into the house. A few minutes later the pilot had emerged wearing his dress uniform while Katie had changed into a blue dress. Buffy had called Steve at the antique shop and relayed that the wife and daughter of Sgt. McCoy, killed during the liberation of Naboo, were living in Sunnydale and Anthony was going to see them later that night. Steve suggested that Anthony use the SUV for the visit and Buffy relayed the offer.
“Buffy, tell Steve thanks.”
“Don’t worry about it Anthony. Steve recognized how important this visit is for you and wanted you to know he is with you all the way.”
Katie looked at her watch for a second before yelling “Anthony, it’s time to go.”
“Okay Katie, I’ll be right out.” Anthony paused at the door and yelled back toward the living room. “Hey Buffy, have you seen Anakin? I could’ve sworn he was here when we went to the mall.”
Buffy thought for a moment before responding. “Oh, that reminds me. Randi was taking Brian to the mall for some clothes and decided to get Anakin outfitted as well.” Noticing the look on Anthony’s face, she added with a wink “Don’t worry. Anakin’s in good hands. He won’t be too traumatized by the experience.”
Saint just shook his head and left without saying a word.
Qui Gon had just sat down when Steve entered the office, carrying two drinks and shut the door. The older Jedi accepted the offered drink and took a sip.
“So, Mr. St. Wolf what is it you wanted to talk about?”
“Please, call me Steve. As to your question, After you had left, I began thinking about you being here and what JP told us.”
“Whatever help we can give is yours.”
“Thanks. How would you feel about combining resources or working with my group if only in a reserve capacity? You could have Anthony come here on occasion and train with my people. Likewise, my people would greatly benefit from the opportunity to learn from you and Obi Wan?”
“That is a great idea. Perhaps, Obi Wan and I can also help with your patrols against the forces of Darkness Anthony has been talking about?”
“Definitely, how would you like to accompany some of my people on patrol tomorrow night?”
“That will be good. I look forward to working with you.”
2354 Reagan Drive
June 22, 2000
Anthony pulled over to the curb and placed the SUV in park. Turning off the engine, he managed to get a good look at the house. The house was a yellow single story ranch with a two-car garage off to the side. Following his examination, Anthony turned back to Katie, who was looking into her backpack. Cocking an eyebrow at the sight, he inquired. “I still don’t know why you insisted on bring the lizard with us.”
A low hiss of indignation came from the bag in response and Katie shook her head in resignation. “First, Godzilla is not a lizard but an Iguana. Second, I keep him with me for protection.”
“I still don’t see how such a small animal can be that much of a threat.”
Katie responded with a slight grin. <Too bad, nobody’s talked to you about guardian spirits. If only you knew, if only you knew. > “Lets just say having Godzilla around makes me feel better”
Anthony gave a slight chuckle before becoming serious. “According to my sources, McCoy’s ex-wife has just moved in with her newest boyfriend. It looks like he’s away on business so it’ll be just you and me with them tonight. Here’s the plan. While I’m talking to the mother, why don’t you take the daughter to another room until I give the all clear. I don’t know how mom is going to react to what I have to say and some of the stuff I have to say is not for young ears.”
“Okay, we’ll do it your way.”
Tracy McCoy was putting the dishes in the dishwasher when the doorbell rang. She had separated from her husband a couple years ago and moved back home to California. Within the last month, she had met a police officer, and moved to Sunnydale. At least her boyfriend Roy Barnett had a steady job down at the police station and was attentive to her daughter, Susan. She walked to the front door, opened it, and froze. She had been prepared for many things but the sight of a soldier in service dress continued to be a burden. Even if standing next to the soldier was a pretty young lady not a chaplain.
“Hello, can I help you?”
“I certainly hope so ma’am. My name is Anthony Christopher and the young lady standing next to me is Katie Heart. I was wondering if I could have a few minutes of your time. You see, I was with your husband and was with him when he died. He asked me to give you a message.”
Tracy opened the door even further and motioned for the two young people to come inside. She led them to the living room. Soon after they had sat down, a head stuck out from around the corner.
“Mama, is everything alright? I thought I saw a soldier at the door.”
“It’s okay Susan, one of your father’s friends came by for a visit. Why don’t you come in?”
Nine year old Susan McCoy had been really close with father. She shared her father’s interest in fairy tales and Tolkien in particular. Whenever, he was on deployment, Sergeant McCoy would write and illustrate tales from Middle Earth and send them home. He had promised her the final chapter from his latest story when he was listed MIA. She walked over and stood next to her mother who made the introductions.
“Lieutenant Christopher, Ms. Heart, this is my daughter Susan.”
Anthony gave the girl a bright smile. “Hello Susan, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Your father told me many things about you when we were in Africa.” He paused for a moment and turned to face Tracy. “Ms. McCoy, what I have to say may be a little too much for children.”
Tracy quickly caught the implied meaning and leaned over to her daughter, “Why don’t you show Ms. Heart your room? I’m sure she would love to see the stories and drawings your father made for you.”
“I would like to see those stories very much. Would you let me see them?” asked Katie.
Susan grabbed Katie’s hand and led her to her room at the back of the house. Once the two were out of sight, Anthony began his story…
Katie followed the young girl into the room. The room was your typical girl’s room but there were some variations. First the posters on the wall leaned toward fantasy. There were pictures of unicorns and other mythical beasts. Right above her bed was a framed picture of what appeared to be a beautiful woodland city nestled above a river with waterfalls in the background. In addition to the books normally read by young girls, off by themselves were versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, formatted for young readers. Susan walked over to the shelf and pulled out a large spiral notebook and waved Katie over to her bed. As the two sat down, Katie remarked “I see you like unicorns and even Tolkien?”
“Yeah, Daddy used to read me stories from Lord of the Rings when he was back.” Susan turned around and pointed towards the picture above her bed. “That is my favorite picture. Do you know what it is?”
“No, could you tell me?”
“It’s Rivendale, one of the Elvish cities in Middle Earth. I loved to listen to the stories Daddy made up about the elves. You know, sometimes I wish I could go there.”
“I know what you mean, there some places I would like to go as well. If only in my dreams.”
“Ma’am, your bag is hissing.”
“Oops, I forgot about Godzilla. Have you ever seen an Iguana?”
“Isn’t that some kind of lizard?” At Katie’s nod, she continued “Can I see him? Can I?”
“Okay, but you will have to be gentle.”
Katie pulled out the Iguana out of her backpack and set him on the bed. Susan’s sleeves rode up her arms as she reached for the reptile. Katie spotted thick red lines crisscrossing the girl’s arms before Susan quickly pushed the sleeves back down. She also noticed the look in Susan’s eyes that hinted of bad times. The Amazon gave a slight shuddered as she thought back to the time before being adopted by JD. <Oh my God. The last time I saw wounds like that was when my father abused me. >
“Uh Susan, are you all right?” inquired Katie.
Susan inched away from the Amazon, stammering. “Yeah there’s nothing wrong. I just had an accident.”
“Susan, when I was about your age, my ex-step father abused me. I thought it was my fault until I was rescued by the policewoman who later became my mother. You don’t have to say anything, but if you need someone to talk to, I’ll be there.”
“Thank, I just don’t know. I mean, he is usually nice except for the times I am bad.”
“Look Susan, you have done nothing wrong.” An idea popped into her head, “I need to be away for a little while and I need someone to take care of Godzilla. He’s very special to me and I need someone who is completely trustworthy to look after him.”
<You listening to this?> Katie sent out to her guardian spirit.
<You betcha. How do you want to handle it?>
<I want you to keep an eye on Susan. If mom’s new boyfriend tries anything, keep her safe. Try not to harm him except as a last resort. Since, Anthony and I are heading back to LA tonight, keep an open link with Duke so that Steve knows what’s going on.>
<I’ll avoid shredding him to pieces unless the kid’s life is in danger. Don’t you think Anthony should know about guardian spirits? Anything else?>
<I’ll tell him later, just make sure Steve knows what’s going on.>
Susan’s eyes grew wide. “You want me to take care of him?”
“It’s only for a short while, will you do it?”
Susan gave Katie a quick hug. “You bet!! I’ll just make sure Roy doesn’t find out.”
“You do that. I think it’s time we went back.”
“So you see, Ms. McCoy I promised your former husband that you and your daughter would be taken care of. My family has money and.” Offered Saint.
“I want to thank you for your offer. But I don’t take charity.”
“Ma’am, this isn’t about charity. It’s about doing the right thing. Your ex-husband continued to care about you and asked me to look after you and your daughter. To do otherwise would insult his memory. Will you at least allow me to set up a trust fund for Susan’s college?”
Tracy thought for a moment and smiled. “I’ll think about it. It was nice for you to come over. I know my husband rests a little easier knowing that you did. If I need any help I’ll give you a call.”
Katie waited until Anthony began driving back toward Steves before voicing her concerns.
“Anthony, I think Susan has been abused.”
“What are you talking about?”
“God Anthony, when I was in Susan’s bedroom, I noticed that she was covered in bruises. The last time I saw those kind of bruises was when my ex-step father wasn’t too nice to me.”
Anthony slammed on the brakes. To Katie’s surprise, her friend appeared to change into someone she did not know and was actually afraid of. In a quiet voice Saint asked. “Where is he? I want to have a little chat with him.”
Placing her hands on his shoulder in a attempt to calm him down. “Don’t worry, he’s already been taken care of. Don’t go all Darkside over him.”
“What do you mean it’s been taken care of?” Anthony replies as he starts to relax under Katie’s touch.
“Simple, I left Godzilla with Susan. He can protect her if anything happens.” Katie replies with a smile that makes Anthony wonder what she’s up to.
Anthony put the car in gear and began driving again. “And just how is a small Iguana supposed to do that?”
Katie gave him an evil grin and simply stated as she inched her way closer to him. “Lets just say, Godzilla is more than he appears to be besides, through him, I can keep an eye on Susan.”
“I hope you’re right. I hope you’re right. Let’s return the car and head back home. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.”
June 23, 2000
“I know that look, so spill it. What do you want Buffy?”
Buffy reached into her purse and pulled out the flier that Saint had been looking at and handed it to Steve. Smiling sweetly, the immortal slayer told him. “I just thought that we should take a little trip to LA and have lunch with the gang at this restaurant near the Holiday Inn. I was told the food is good and the entertainment even better.”
Steve took the pamphlet and began reading. His eyes widened slightly over the announcement concerning who would be there signing autographs and what times they would be available. Even though he had the feeling that he really didn’t want to know, the Wanderer voiced his concerns. “The friends we would be meeting wouldn’t happen to be Anthony and Katie now would it?” Buffy nodded enthusiastically as the pieces fell into place. “Let me guess, Anthony invited Qui Gon and Obi Wan over for lunch, neglecting to tell them about the convention.”
“You got it. Robin, Shaw, Faith, Willow, and Xander are already there getting the place ready for our visiting Jedi.”
Steve returned Buffy’s evil grin and nodded, “Okay, I’ll take you. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind seeing how those two react to being the subject of so much attention. Besides, I can’t wait to see how Master Jinn responds to being set up by his student.”
Buffy nodded and took another sip of her coffee, “It will be interesting either way.”
“That reminds me, Duke mentioned something about being in contact with Katie’s guardian spirit. It seems that she thinks McCoy’s daughter is being abused and left Godzilla over there as protection. If anything happens, Godzilla contacts Duke, and Duke lets me know.”
“If he is abusing the girl, then we will have to show him the error of his ways. Won’t we?”
Steve looked at his watch, “Yup, we need to be going if we want to catch the prank in session.”
Los Angeles, California
June 23, 2000
Qui Gon noticed that Anthony was putting off some strong emotions through their Force bond the night before and wanted to talk to him about it. Anthony and Katie had returned home late last night and the master Jedi to postpone the meeting until today. However, when he went to talk with Anthony, the young man was nowhere to be found. He searched all over the mansion without any luck before running into Steve Sloan as he was getting ready to go to work.
“Detective Sloan, have you seen Anthony this morning? It appears that he is not in the house.”
“He, had to go down to Los Alamitos this morning. Said something about completing some paperwork necessary for transferring to that Guard unit. Katie went with him and asked me to remind you about lunch today. Was there anything important?”
“No, that’s alright. It can wait until this afternoon. Do you know where this Holiday Inn is located?”
“Sure, in fact, I could drive you over there during my lunch hour. The restaurant serves good food.”
“I look forward to it.”
LOS ALAMITOS ARMY AVIATION SUPPORT FACILITY
Los Alamitos, California
June 23, 2000
Anthony handed the corporal the last completed form. The young man was wearing just his uniform shirt and pants for visiting the base. <No sense dressing up for this> thought the young pilot. He had just spent the last two hours filling out various paperwork, confirming his new status with the California National Guard. His relief at finally being finished with the induction paperwork was shattered by the intercom.
“Corporal Hastings, when Lieutenant Christopher finishes up his paperwork, have him report to my office.”
“Yes Sir!” Corporal Hastings, company clerk for the unit turned back to the officer seated in front of him. “You heard the colonel, sir. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to the unit.”
Anthony got up and walked over to where Katie had been patiently working on her laptop. Wearing an apologetic look, he told her. “Sorry about the wait. I forgot how much paperwork is involved when doing a transfer.”
“That’s okay, just get it finished. We have to meet Qui Gon and Obi Wan for lunch.”
“The colonel wants to see me. When I’m done, we’ll head off to the restaurant.”
Colonel Lonny Jones was looking over the personnel folder of one Lieutenant Anthony Christopher. Upon getting the transfer request, he had placed a call to an old friend who just happened to be the executive officer for the Nightstalkers. According to Major Coonts, the young man was one of the most gifted pilots as well as the youngest in the unit. A knock sounded on the door and without looking up, Lonny gave the word, “Enter.”
Anthony walked up to the desk, stood at attention, and saluted. Without looking down, he yelled out “Sir, Lieutenant Christopher, reporting as ordered, SIR!”
Lonny returned the salute and told the young man, “At ease. Take a seat.” He waited until the young man had sat down before continuing. “I just got off the phone with your old c/o at Fort Campbell. He had some interesting things to say about you.”
Lonny made the pretense of shuffling through a stack of papers for a moment, “Colonel Lamonte was sorry to see you go. According to him you were one of the shining stars in the 160th SOAR. However, there were a couple of things that I needed clearing up.”
“First, there is the matter of vanishing for two weeks without a trace of wreckage. Second, you suddenly coming back alone and being immediately assigned to some top secret Air Force unit at Cheyenne Mountain.”
“Sir, with all due respect. Due to security concerns all I can say about the first question is that I was shot down and trapped behind enemy lines, trying to make my way back to friendly territory. As to the second, I am not at liberty to say since it was labeled top secret.”
Anthony got a bad feeling when the colonel flashed an evil grin and moved to close the door. Returning to his seat, he turned a coffee cup all the way around showing off what appeared to be a picture of the Holy Grail. <I’ve seen that image before. Now where was it? Wait a minute. Steve St. Wolf had that image on his armor when he kicked my ass day before yesterday>
“I see you recognize the symbol. Lieutenant, what I am about to say to you does not leave this room. Understand?” Saint nodded and Lonny continued. “I have other sources, whom I contacted, which deal with events that never make the six o’ clock news. Those same sources relayed an amazing tail of alternate universes, movies come to life, and boyscouts doing good deeds. Lets just say I know more about you than you know. There is one thing that I want to know. Why did you want to leave the Nightstalkers to come here?”
Anthony was in the process of getting over what he had been told and did not catch the last part. He asked the colonel to repeat himself and thought about how he would answer. “Well sir, while I was gone only two weeks here. Over there it was more than a year. During that period, I got involved into some serious combat, did those good deeds, and had some people under my command get killed in action. When I got back, I realized I wanted to do something different. I still wanted to stay in the military. Yet, I felt it was time to continue my education and renew some relationships. I have friends and family here and there is a good college offering archaeology courses. I guess I wanted to take the time to explore what else I can do. Since I wanted to continue flying, I managed to convince the Army to allow my transfer to a local aviation unit.”
Lonny stood up and offered his hand to the young pilot. “Well, the Nightstalkers loss is our gain. Welcome aboard.”
Anthony also stood up and returned the handshake. “Thank you sir. It’s an honor to serve under your command.”
Colonel Jones returned Anthony’s salute and dismissed him. As the young man walked out the door, he could only think <Mark, I wonder if the Old Degenerate knows about real life Jedi Knights living in California. If half of what you said about this man is true, then interesting times have arrived. Come to think about it, I’d better give Mark a call and find out what is going on with Merlin’s champion and my newest pilot. >
Anthony walked over to Katie, who was busy finishing up a document. Tapping her lightly on the shoulder, he asked, “Are you ready to go?”
She gave him a questioning look before responding. “If you are done with everything involved with joining up. By the way what did the Colonel want?”
Helping her to her feet, Anthony responded “Just usual welcoming to the unit stuff. Oh, by the way, do you know anything about a Grail symbol?” Katie’s eyes grew wide as he continued “The colonel had a grail symbol on a black coffee cup. I saw that same symbol on St. Wolf’s armor. I think I’ll ask Steve about it next time I see him.”
“That would be a good idea.” Agreed Katie. “Besides, we have to get going if we want to be at the restaurant in time for the fireworks.”
“Then lead on fair lady, lead on.”
Los Angeles, California
June 23, 2000
Steve Sloan pulled the car into the parking space and waited for his passengers to get out. <If these two are gonna be here for a while we’re gonna have to get them drivers licenses> thought the LA detective. Walking into the restaurant, he was struck by the activity in the adjoining conference rooms. Obi Wan had also noticed the activity and leaned over to his former master and quietly commented. “It looks like there is some kind of function occurring today I wonder what it is?”
Qui Gon thought for a moment before responding, “You are right, there does appear to be something going on the adjoining rooms. It would be best to avoid it for now. Besides, Detective Sloan is motioning for us to go in.”
Even though, he had passed the tests to become a full fledged Jedi, Obi Wan still found it easy to slip into the role of Padawan Learner around his old master. Inspite of the older Jedi’s reassurance, he was getting a uneasy feeling about the entire setup. <With Anthony and Katie not being here, I have this nagging suspicion that we are being set up.>
Both Qui Gon and Obi Wan noticed the looks they were getting from various young people as they were led to their table. Heck, even Steve was noticing the looks and leaned over to the older Jedi and commented, “If I didn’t know better I would say you two are very popular around here. It seems everybody has been stealing glances at you since we got out the car.”
“I agree with you. When they left this morning, did Anthony or Katie look like they were up to something?”
“No, not at all. Anthony was in uniform and told me that he needed to finish some in processing paperwork at the Guard base. Katie added that will meet us here. Wonder where they are?”
Unknown to the Jedi, their every word was picked up and recorded by the other part of the practical joke team. As planned, Willow and Xander were in a suite, monitoring specially situated cameras. At the same, time Faith and Shaw were moving to preplanned positions in the convention hall. At the prearranged time, the ‘Twin Towers of Tactlessness’ would wander around the room commenting about two famous actors having lunch nearby. Robin had pulled up a chair in the dining room to watch the upcoming event.
At exactly 1215 hours, Willow leaned over the microphone and gave the go code with an evil grin. “Showtime”
Buffy and St. Wolf arrived just before the Jedi and were able to be seated before the victims entered the room. Sporting identical smiles, the two waited for the show to begin.
Obi Wan looked around at the growing crowd entering the dining room. <I definitely, have a bad feeling about this.” A waitress came up and asked the three if they were ready to order. Qui Gon responded that they were waiting on two others and would like to hold off until their arrival. Once the waitress was out of sight, Steve reflected, “Does anybody else notice the growing numbers of young people coming in and looking at you two.”
“Yes, it’s almost as if….”
Qui Gons reply was cut off by a group of teenage girls rushing up to the table and babbling something about how excited they were at finally meeting Liam Neeson and Ewan MacGregor in person, how they loved their movies, and would they sign autographs. Qui Gon took the lead and tried to tell them the truth. Unfortunately, the girls were not buying his explanations and had begun begging for signatures much to the Jedi’s discomfort. Qui Gon had to resort to using the Jedi Mind Trick to convince the girls to leave them in peace.
Once the first group of girls had left, Obi Wan began to sense a disturbance in the Force. He turned to Qui Gon and quietly said, “Master Jinn, have you noticed a disturbance in the Force?”
“Yes, but it’s not anger or having anything to do with the Dark Side. In fact, it’s almost as if a group of people were finding great amusement at the expense of others.”
The older Jedis, response trailed off as he and Obi Wan noticed first Buffy and Wanderer sitting at the other table sporting wide smiles. Then, Obi Wan pointed out Robin sitting at another table, raising his glass in a toast. Finally, another even larger group of teenagers were moving toward the table in an effort to get autographs. Moments before being swamped by fans, the two Jedi spotted Anthony and Katie standing at the door. From the looks on their faces, it was obvious that they were desperately trying to not laugh. Both Jedi turned to one another and groaned in equally annoyed voices “We’ve been set up”
Steve Sloan had been listening in and observed. “Looks like the kids got you good. Perhaps when this is over, you should visit some payback on them.”
Desperately attempting to fend off two crazed female fans, Qui responded over his shoulder. “Revenge or payback is the path to the darkside. However, I believe some intensified training will be in order.”
Katie gave Anthony a smile as he held the door open for her to enter. They had arrived just in time to see the latest group of rabid fans cluster around the two Jedi in the search for autographs. Anthony nudged Katie in the arm and pointed toward their increasingly flustered friends. Finally, he turned toward the Amazon and commented.
“Looks like they’ve been through a lot. Think it’s time to let them off the hook?”
Katie gave him an evil grin before replying. “I say lets milk this for all it’s worth since they will probably get us afterwards. So, lets make it something really worth getting punished over.”
“I agree. Since they’re looking over this way, wave at them.”
The two teenagers waved at their victims who returned the dirtiest looks ever graced on a living being by a Jedi.
Qui Gon, using the Force to get rid of one persistent blonde teenager, told Obi Wan. “I’m going over to Sir Steven and put an end to this prank. Why don’t you go over to our young instigators and lead them to our table?”
Obi Wan gave his master a slight bow, replying “Of course. Do you have any idea of when Anthony shall begin his period of penance?
“I was thinking this afternoon will be a good time to begin.”
Qui Gon moved through the crowd toward Steve’s table, patiently explaining to the fans that he was not Liam Neeson. Unfortunately, they were not convinced. Just as he reached the object of his travel, someone bumped into him.
“Sorry, I didn’t see where I was going.”
“That’s alright. In fact…….”
The other gentleman turned to face the Jedi Master with a look of surprise on his face. He could be Qui Gon’s twin but for the short hair and lack of beard. The surprise faded away as he collected his wits and smiled and offered his hand.
“Hello, I’m Liam Neeson. Yes, I too can see the resemblance. If you lost the beard and cut your hair,”
“We could be twins.” Answered the older Jedi. “Where are my manners. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jim Quigby and sitting at my table is my older son Ben.”
“Well Mr. Quigby, call me Liam. Are you by any chance from the old country? I seem to detect a slight accent.”
“Yes, I was born in Dublin but my family moved to the United Kingdom shortly thereafter. Would you care to join us? We were just about to order lunch.”
“I would be honored to do so. Would you mind if my co star, Ewan MacGregor, joined us?”
“There is no problem, I was expecting my student and his friend arrive shortly, but the table should be able to hold all of us with no problem.”
Liam moved toward the crowd and asked for their attention. The fans faced the actor and listened as he explained that autographs will be handed out an hour later in the convention hall. The manager of the restaurant moved with a few waiters and escorted the fans outside.
Ewan MacGregor showed up soon after the last fan had been escorted out of the dining room. Introductions were made and menus examined. Obi Wan and Ewan had hit it off very quickly. They shared so many interests, that it was scary. While Steve, sat back and listened, Liam asked Qui Gon,
“So what line of work are you in?”
“Prior to moving here, I was with the British government. My specific job is classified. I am currently working with a private investigation firm in Sunnydale on weekdays. In my spare time I teach martial arts. Which reminds me, I have a sneaking suspicion that the fans coming in here was no accident”
“My current student in the martial arts has shown himself to be a practical joker.” The older Jedi waved his arms around the room. “In fact, this whole situation screams set up.”
Liam rubbed his chin in quiet reflection. “I can see why you think so. If it is true, then your student will need to be taught the error of his ways.”
“Do not worry. I have an interesting day of instruction planned out him as well as his accomplices. Speaking of which here they are.”
Liam looked up in the direction Qui Gon was pointing. JD Heart was approaching what appeared to be a young army officer and his girlfriend.
The officer and the amazon were laughing their heads off at the spectacle of the two Jedi being overwhelmed by rabid fans. Without warning, they each felt a hand on their shoulder. Both turned around to face the woman Katie called mother.
JD finished her paperwork earlier than expected and was able to meet her family and guests for lunch after all. As she walked into the restaurant, several things caught her attention. First, there was the matter of her former student and daughter standing just inside the dining room, laughing their heads off. The detective gave a mental sigh as she pondered <Those two are up to something. Now just who did they set up?> Looking across the room, she spotted the crowd surrounding one table. For a split second, the crowd parted and she was able to recognize her two guests in the middle of it. <Anthony Michael Christopher, you have not been in town for even three days and you are already setting up your teacher and someone who is practically your brother. When this is over, your buts are mine!>
Coming to a decision, the detective walked up behind the two teenagers and grabbed their shoulders. As they turned around, she growled in a low voice. “I think this prank has gone on long enough. Don’t you?” She waited for Anthony and Katie to nod in agreement before continuing. “Katie, you are going to round up your accomplices and bring them over to the table, got it?” Katie gave a meek “yes ma’am” before moving off to grab the others.
JD waited for Katie to leave before grabbing her former student by the ear and walked him to the table. Anthony could only follow with his head tilted toward the side as he tried to keep up. <Dang, I haven’t been led by the ear since high school. JD has kept in practice since then>
Liam was back comparing various places with Qui Gon when a string of “Owowowowowow” approaching them interrupted him. Looking up, he saw the female detective leading the officer by the ear to the table. He couldn’t help but grin as he asked the Jedi, “I take it this is your current student and practical joker?”
Qui Gon waited until the two had settled down before making the introductions. “Yes, the young man is my student Anthony Christopher. Leading him by the ear is JD Heart, a Los Angeles police detective and our current host.” He then turned to JD and asked, “Detective Heart, where is your daughter? I thought she was with Anthony?”
“She was, but I sent her to round up the rest of Anthony’s band of Merry Pranksters. In fact here they are.”
While Shaw, Faith, Willow, Xander, and Robin were being led to the table, a grinning Wanderer and slayer dropped by. Steve could not help tweak the Jedi’s nose, “Looks like the kids got you good this time.”
“Well now that the set up has concluded and the pranksters have been assembled. We come to the burning question. What consequence should be given out for such a bold undertaking?” mused the older Jedi.
Obi Wan snapped his fingers and offered. “I know, how about some accelerated and intensified training for our new padawan leaner?”
“That’s well for young Anthony. But what about the others, they had an equal hand in said prank and deserve some punishment for their actions.”
Steve rubbed his chin and grinned at the Scoobies, “How about having my group also join in some increased unarmed combat exercises and weapons training? Lets say after lunch would be a good time.”
“Very well. Faith, Shaw, and Xander will have two hours of hand to hand with me and other various opponents.” Decided Steve.
“That’s all very well, but since Anthony is the instigator, his punishment shall be as follows: unarmed fighting practice against Buffy, Faith, and Kendra. Following which he shall practice with swords against Steve, Obi Wan, Shaw, and myself.” Added Qui Gon.
Katie breathed out a sigh of relief as she realized that her boyfriend would be getting the worse of it. JD squashed her daughter’s good feelings by adding. “Since my daughter was also involved in this little incident, I am going to add sparring with Anthony to their punishment.” The detective then looked over at Anthony who groaned at her evil grin, “Since the instigator of this prank is my former student and he had the balls to spring on my guests, Anthony can add in sword practice with myself.’
Anthony turned to his fellow pranksters, “See what I told you. We might as well have a good meal because I have this feeling we will be really sore this afternoon. By the way, Robin. You got the pictures?”
“Not only that, I was able to also send copies to the Jedi Council. Yoda and Mace should be enjoying a lot of laughs at your expense.” Added the sprite in a whisper.
Ewan looked over to his double and in a serious tone of voice stated. “You have no option but to really lay down the law.”
Obi Wan gave an evil grin that did Robin proud. “You have no idea, my friend. No idea.
June 23, 2000
A muffled thud escaped from the closed off dojo. Xander Harris winced and turned to his companions.
“That makes how many times Saint’s gotten slammed within the last hour?”
Robin thought for a moment before counting his fingers. “Hmm, lets see. First there was Kendra, then Faith kicked his butt….”
“Hey everybody, quiet down. They’re coming out. “ warned Amy.
The door opened and out staggered Saint, followed by a grinning Buffy. He and Katie had stopped off at her house to change before coming over to St. Wolf’s for a little discipline sparring. They both agreed it would be wise to change into exercise gear and now the young Jedi in training turned a pleading eye to his teachers
“Now that I’ve gotten my butt kicked by all three slayers, can I take a breather?”
Qui Gon turned first to Obi Wan and then to JD who shook their heads, no. Returning to look his student in the eye, the older Jedi made his decision. “I believe that is enough hand to hand practice for today.” He announced. Saint’s look of relief changed to resignation as his master continued. “However, tomorrow, you will fight both Katie and JD in unarmed combat without using your Force powers.”
Saint looked first toward his former teacher, who returned an evil grin then to Katie, who smiled sweetly. Unable to detect any mercy from the two, he crumpled onto the couch and groaned. “I had a feeling I was going too far with that last set up.”
Shaw, returning from the control room, cocked an eye and asked. “If you knew you were going too far with the prank. Then why did you do it?”
Turning over to face the older Soul Sister, Saint shrugged “I was too busy going too far.”
A noise caught Saint’s attention and he turned towards it. Walking into the room was his host and leader of Section 7. Steve looked over the gathering and announced. “While that settles Anthony’s instruction for the day, I believe there are other co-conspirators who need to do their time.” He waited a couple of moments before turning back towards the Jedi. “Master Jinn I do believe that some melee weapons training has been specified for my three. Would you do the honors?”
Qui Gon nodded his head and informed the others. “Sir Steven and Miss Summers were kind enough to offer me a ride back here and we discussed how this remedial training would be carried out. Now, after careful consideration we decided that Xander will face myself. Next match will have Faith against Steve. Finally, I remembered that Obi Wan needed some practice and will go against Shaw.”
Xander had known that there would be some payback for the prank. But this, <My God, I always dreamed about being in Star Wars when I was a kid. But this is too much to ask for.>
Qui Gon noticed the look of wonder wash over the young man’s face and knew he has dying to ask a question. As he led the Scoobie to the training room, he inquired, “Was there something you wanted to ask me?”
“Well sir, I was wondering if we could use lightsabers. It has kinda been a dream of mine to actually use one.”
A slight smile appeared, and to Xander’s relief, Qui Gon replied “I just so happen to have brought a set of training lightsabers. We shall use those for the first lesson.”
LOS ALAMITOS ARMY AVIATION SUPPORT FACILITY
Los Alamitos, California
June 23, 2000
Colonel Jones was going through the latest operations reports when the phone rang. Being the commanding officer of a military unit is not always fun and games. A large amount of the duties entailed mountains of paperwork. So, he was not in the best of moods to be interrupted. Picking up the phone, the officer growled. “Yes?”
“Colonel Jones, there is a Marc Le Chevalier returning your call.” Replied Corporal Hastings.
Without a thought, Lonny ordered the Corporal, “Put him through. “
“Lonny, what did you want to talk about?” asked the Knight General of the Order of the Grail.
“Marc, a Lieutenant Christopher has just transferred from the regular army to the guard this week. After giving him the standard, ‘Welcome to the Unit’ speech, I happened to look out the window and saw him driving off with the JD Heart’s daughter. My curiosity aroused, I took a second look through his folder and noticed that he is staying with the Hearts. And, he gave St. Wolf’s phone number as a secondary contact number. Do you know if the Wanderer has been taking on any more ‘boyscouts’ into his group?”
“I haven’t heard any recent recruits. I’ll talk to Merlin and see if he knows anything bout it. Is there anything else you can give me to relay to Merlin?”
“For one thing, he has to be one of the youngest Second Lieutenants in the Army. Heck, he hasn’t reached twenty and has flown MH-60s with the Nightstalkers during that action in Africa. Most of what happened has been marked for clearance levels higher than mine will ever be. But he has a record of being a highly professional officer and a great pilot. One more thing, I got the impression that there’s something more that I just can’t put my finger on.”
“Alright, I’ll talk to Merlin and might even pay Sir Steven a visit and see what’s going on. Just keep an eye on him for now.”
Lonny gave agreed and hung up the phone. At that moment Corporal Hastings appeared to his resignation with another load of papers needing his signature. The Colonel looked up to the ceiling before returning to his paperwork. <Only two more hours before heading home. >
“Thanks, you’re a lifesaver.” Mentioned a grateful Saint as he accepted the coke from Amy. The distant hum of lightsabers and electrical discharges could be heard coming from within the training room. Looking over his shoulder, he called out to the computer room. “Hey Willow how’s it going in there?”
“Actually, Xander is holding his own. If I had to guess, I’d say your master is taking it easy on him for now.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised. Qui Gon is an excellent teacher and patient with students. You know, judging by the look on Xander’s face, I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to a reward for him rather than a punishment.”
“Just wait till I get hold of him, then we’ll see.” Injected a grinning JD.
Saint turned to Katie and mentioned. “I kinda feel a little sorry for Xand right now.”
A sweet smile flowed over Katie’s face as she responded, “The person you need to feel sorry for is yourself. You have to face mom tomorrow and she won’t be as easy on you.”
The doorbell sounded and Amy got up to open the door. <Oh Crap, I forgot about Annie and Lizzie coming over for a practice session with Shaw. >
Saint had been talking to Shaw about losing friends in battle and how to live with knowing that they died while he survived. <Steve was right. It is a lot easier talking someone closer to my experience. Even if that someone is actually older than mom is. > Suddenly, he noticed the half elves stiffened and look towards the door. He could not help but ask. “Uh, Shaw is something wrong?”
Any response was cut off by the appearance of the Madison twins who quickly joined them. Shaw turned to Saint and began the introductions. “Anthony, I would like to introduce my cousins Elizabeth and Anna Madison. They have recently moved to Sunnydale with my Aunt Joan and are taking lessons from me.” Lizzie’s expression of irritation over her formal name was cut off as Shaw continued. “Elizabeth, Anna, this is Anthony Christopher who has just joined the group.”
Lizzie looked over the Jedi in training for a moment before blurting out, “So, what special powers do you have?”
Saint looked over to Katie, who only rolled her eye at his evil grin, before turning back to the twins. Motioning for them to come closer, quietly he revealed, “I’m a Jedi Knight in training and a hot shot helicopter pilot.”
Anna gave him a look of disbelief, “Yeah, right. If you’re not going to tell me the truth then…..” Her response was cut off as her sister tugged at her arm and looked the direction Lizzie was pointing. “What do you want? OH. MY. GOD!”
Obi Wan Kenobi had gone in the kitchen to grab a snack. He noticed the two teenage girls <obvious twin sisters> talking to Anthony and Shaw as he entered the room. Being a master of the obvious, the young Jedi immediately became very concerned. <Why are those two girls looking at me like that. More importantly why are they coming over?>
Lizzie turned to Shaw, “Why didn’t you tell us that you had Ewan MacGregor over? You don’t know how much we could have gotten out of our friends. They would cut off their arms for an autograph.”
Obi Wan looked over to Saint as if to say <Why Me?>
Saint took on the look of a wise Jedi master as he calmly informed his friend. “You must face the fact that you will be facing more of this during your stay here. The actor is very popular, thus by that measure, you too must face the reality of being mobbed by insane teenage girls.”
Shaw, on the other hand, took pity on the Jedi and corrected her cousins. “Elizabeth, Anna, the man before you is not the actor. Instead he is the Jedi Knight Obi Wan Kenobi.”
The Madison twins made is very clear that they did not believe their cousin. Saint looked over to Obi Wan who nodded in agreement to his silent suggestion. To Anna’s and Lizzie’s surprise, the two men pulled out silver cylinders and pressed switches. Their eyes grew wide as twin beams of light erupted from the handles and a hum filled the air. It was then that they caught the sound of clashing lightsabers from the other room. They could only say one word. “COOL”.
2354 Reagan Drive
June 23, 2000
“Susan, I need your help setting the table. Roy will be home any minute and you know how he is after being on the job.”
“Yes Mother, I’ll be right down.” Replied the teenager. Susan marked where she had stopped reading before placing “The Fellowship of the Ring” on her nightstand. Walking out the door, she gave a soft sigh , thinking,
<If only I could fly away to Middle Earth, at least Roy will never find me hiding among the elves. Rivendale would be safe.>
Unknown to the teenager, a little lizard had been listening to every word and relaying it to Katie and through Duke to Steve St. Wolf.
<Duke, you there?>
<Yeah, Godzilla. What’s happening over there?>
<Not much. Susan has just been called downstairs to help with dinner. She did say something about wanting to go away and live among the elves and get away from mom’s boyfriend. I’ve got this feeling that something is about to happen.>
<Understand, I’ll keep Steve up to date.>
<Good, Susan’s left the door open. So I’ll sneak downstairs and keep an eye on the kid.>
317 Bryant Terrace
June 23, 2000
Silence reigned over the training room as Obi Wan picked himself off the floor. He stood up and gave his opponent a slight bow, acknowledging her victory. Shaw accepted the gesture with a smile and told him. “It is always a pleasure to fight a normal opponent.”
“What do you mean? You had me on the floor in no time. I haven’t been beaten this badly since my first years at the Temple” countered Obi Wan.
With a wave of her hand, the half-elf continued, “I merely found a weakness and exploited it early on. Remember, elves and half elves live longer than humans do. While I look and act like your normal teenager, I am closer to Master Jinn in age and have been fighting longer than most people here have been alive. Believe me when I consider you to be my equal with the swords.”
“I stand corrected, dear lady.” Acknowledged Obi Wan who looked over toward the door, saying “However, my former master is reminding me that Sir Steven is calling a meeting in the living room.”
“So, shall we pick up where we left off tomorrow?”
“I shall most certainly look forward to sharing techniques amongst ourselves.” Replied the Jedi as they exited the room.
Seeing, the last two enter the room, Steve stood up and raised his hand for the other’s attention. “Listen up. Now that we have everyone here, I’d like to once again welcome our visitors from a Galaxy Far Far Away to my humble home.” Looking over the assembled group, he followed up with going over assignments for that night’s patrol. “First we’re gonna introduce our visitors to Sunnydale’s local nightlife. Thus, Qui Gon will be with Buffy, and myself. Obi Wan, you will go with Xander and Cordy.” Both Scoobies nodded as he continued. “Finally, Saint and Katie will patrol with Faith and Shaw. Are there any questions?”
A small hand raised up. “What am I going to do?” asked Anakin Skywalker.
Steve was about to answer, but held his tongue to allow Qui Gon the honors. “Anakin, Steven and I have decided that we need you here with Brian and Willow, monitoring communications between the groups.”
Steve looked at his watch and ordered, “Alright then, lets get loaded up and heading out, suns about to go down and that means the bad guys will be out.”
June 23, 2000
Walking through the park gave the Jedi master time for reflection on this New World he found himself in. For one, the town he was currently visiting had a large number of cemeteries. <It feels as if the town is one big graveyard. Yet the townspeople take no notice of it.> thought Qui Gon. He and his companions had finished the first leg of their patrol with no contacts until they reached the park. Upon entering it, they were attacked by a group of five vamps. Buffy mentioned that were probably newly arisen, since the older vamps knew by know to run away from the Slayer and Wanderer. The four companions tore into the undead like a tornado and quickly ended their unlife.
A cloud of dust settled on the ground as the Jedi Master looked on with interest.
“So, when you kill these creatures, they turn to dust?” inquired Qui Gon.
Buffy answered. “Yes. In most cases a stake or just about any piece of wood through the heart will do it. Or, if you prefer, decapitation will work just as well.”
“They are already dead. So we are, in a way, merely destroying a body.” Added Steve.
“Is this because when the person is originally killed by the vampire, the body is inhabited by a demon?” asked Qui Gon.
“I see you have been talking to Giles.”
“He was pretty informative on the subject of slayers, demons, vampires, and the other foes you have faced in this realm.” Added Qui Gon.
“That he is.” Agreed Steve who looked at his watch. “It’s still early we can continue through the park and see if anything else jumps up. You want to take the next vamp?”
“I think I can handle it.”
2354 Reagan Drive
June 23, 2000
“Hold on a minute, I’m coming. I’m coming.” Shouted out Tracy McCoy as she put the last dish on the table. Opening the door, she paused to see her boyfriend Roy, waiting outside. “What are you doing out there?”
“Sorry, forgot my key. Can you let me in?”
Tracy turned around and began to walk back toward the dining room. “Okay, come right in. Dinners on the table. We were about to sit down.”
Roy’s face began to change with bumps and ridges forming. He grabbed Tracy by the arm and hissed through his pointed teeth, “Don’t worry about it, I was just thinking about grabbing a bite to eat right here.”
Saint, Katie, Shaw, and Faith walked past the Methodist church and turned down Reagan Drive. Like the others, they had not found many evildoers on their patrol. However, Saint was no assured by the lack of activity. <It still fells like the bad guys are up to something. I can just sense the evil through the Force.> thought the Jedi in training. He turned to Shaw and asked, “Have the other groups faced any opposition?”
“Steven’s group came across some vamps in Weatherly Park, but they were no match for them. Oh, Qui Gon took care of a couple and understands what we’re against.”
“Good, but Obi Wan’s group haven’t faced anybody yet?”
Katie moved up alongside her boyfriend and tapped him on the shoulder. “Anthony, isn’t this the street where McCoy’s family lives?”
“Yes, it is. In fact……….” A look of horror fell across Saint’s features and he began running towards the before mentioned house.
Faith’s slayer sense began going off the chart as she detected a nearby group of undead. She turned to her soul sister, saying. “This place really stinks. Looks like we found the vamps.”
“I feel the same thing.” Shaw drew her sword and turned to warn the others when she noticed Saint’s eyes grow wide with fear, anger, and determination washing over his face. <Goddess, he reminds me of the time I was a slave to my anger and hatred.> She was about to say something but Saint took off running towards the house, pulling his lightsaber at the same time.
Katie was puzzled by Saint’s reaction but quickly realization sank in as word came in from Godzilla. “Anthony, what’s going on? Oh my God, SUSAN!” She quickly realized where Anthony was running to and chased after him. <Goddess, he is giving into his anger. I have to get there before he completely gives in to the dark side.> As she chased after her boyfriend, she turned back toward the Soul Sisters and shouted. “Godzilla just called in and told me Roy’s back, is a vamp, and he’s killed McCoy’s ex. We have to get there before Anthony goes Darth Vadar over those bloodsuckers.”
Shaw and Faith both turned to each other and remembered the impromptu Star Wars marathon at St. Wolf’s the night before. Thinking about how Anakin became the prime villain, they both cursed “OH SHIT” and chased off after the other two.
Susan turned the corner to see Roy leaning over her mother, kissing her neck. Only something didn’t seem right. To her horror, Roy lifted his head and she could see the blood seeping from her mother’s neck. Tears filled her eyes as she asked in a voice that began quietly and gathered in strength and volume. “mom? Mom? Mommy?”
Roy looked up to see Susan standing at the foot of the stairs. <Hmm, children’s blood is always the sweetest. Looks like I’ll get my first taste tonight.> He dropped Tracy’s lifeless body and stalked towards the stairs when suddenly a hissing reptile appeared at the foot of the stairs snarling at him. The newly made vampire could only think <What’s a Kommodo Dragon doing in my house?> Turning to his cronies, the former policeman ordered .”Take care of that overgrown lizard and I’ll let you have part of the kid.”
Susan began backing up the stairs, away from the monster, which used to be her mother’s boyfriend. A Kommodo Dragon appearing between her and the monster broke her shock. In a small voice she asked “Godzilla?” The reptile turned it’s head toward her and nodded as if to say yes and motioned towards the bedroom. The young girl needed no more suggestions, raced up the stairs to her room and locked the door.
Godzilla had been watching after his charge, when he noticed Roy turn to vamp mode. Although being unable to save the mother, the guardian spirit put him between the bloodsuckers and Susan. All the while sending out his alarm to Katie and Duke. <Katie, Duke, get over here now. Roy’s a vamp and Susan’s mom is dead.>
Saint raced down the road, pulling out his lightsaber and silently praying. <Oh God please don’t let me be too late> He did not even notice that his companions were no longer with him but racing after him. Turning the corner, he noticed a group of what were obviously undead congregating on the front yard. A sense of rage clouded his senses as the cry of terror tore through the night air.
Reaching out through the Force, the young American pilot increased his speed and Force jumped over the high hedges, ringing the front yard. A snap hiss filled the air, causing the vampires to look up but having no time to react as what appeared to be an angel of death landing in their midst.
Katie, Shaw, and Faith arrived seconds later to see Saint yell out in his rage and leap in the middle of the vamps. The girls turned to one another and shared a common thought. <Oh Shit, Vadar Mode.> Katie also caught the rage coming from her guardian spirit and moaned <Great. Just Great. I now have both an enraged boyfriend and guardian spirit to calm down.>
Faith and Shaw were running across the street when they were attacked by a group of vamps. Taking care of this new group of vampires slowed them down enough for Saint to finish off his group. Faith yelled out to Shaw and Katie and pointed towards the house. The Jedi-in-training had dusted five vamps single-handed and used his weapon to force open the front door. More sounds of violence emanated from within the house as the three entered the front door. Mouths dropped at what greeted their eyes. At the foot of the stairs was one of the largest reptiles seen firsthand standing in front of the stairs. Before the guardian spirit were many piles of dust.
Katie was walking up to calm down Godzilla, when she noticed the hum of an activated lightsaber coming from the living room. Turning the corner, the young Amazon spotted Tracy’s body, lying in a pool of blood. But that was not the scary part. What was really scary, was the sight of her boyfriend slicing away the vampire, a little at a time. Obviously, he was taking his time and making the vamp suffer. Taking a deep breath she called out, “Anthony, don’t give in to the rage. Don’t fall for the Dark Side.”
Faith and Shaw recognized that the threat had been eliminated, walked carefully into the house. Shaw followed Katie into the living room and added her voice to Katie’s pleas “Anthony, listen to Katie. This isn’t you. Don’t let that rage consume you.”
Saint shook his head as their pleas hit home. <My God, what am I doing? I’m becoming what I am fighting against?> With a swing of the blade, Saint ended the fight and Roy was dust in the wind. He switched off his weapon as his friend embraced him, whispering “That’s it you can come back. We’ve won.”
Katie gently led her boyfriend to the couch while looking over her shoulder at the Soul Sisters. “Faith call Steve and tell him to get Qui Gon over here yesterday. My hands are full trying to calm down both Godzilla and Anthony. I need some help.” Next, she turned to Shaw. “Hunter, can you go up and check on Susan? She’s a big Tolkien fan, loves elves.” As the priestess left, Katie turned back to Saint. “We’re gonna be okay.”
Faith nodded and pulled out her cell phone. “Hey Steve, we have a situation here. We’re at McCoy’s family’s house and run into vamps. Mom is dead, daughter is up in room and we have a enraged GS and Saint’s gone into Vadar mode. Katie’s managed to get him out of the rage but we need Qui Gon to finish the job.” The dark slayer closed the phone and told the others “Steve’s group is on the way and will be here within five minutes.
Godzilla stared to attack the approaching figure, but stopped when he recognized the half elf. The Kommodo Dragon moved aside to let Shaw pass and began changing back to non GS mode.
June 23, 2000
Steve, Buffy, and Qui Gon were completing their circuit of the park when Steve’s cell phone began ringing. He motioned for the others to hold up as he answered the phone. Qui Gon and Buffy took advantage of the pause to compare slayer powers to that of the Jedi. Suddenly, the Jedi Master detected a disturbance in the Force, so strong that he grasped his head. Buffy stopped the slayer talk when she noticed he wasn’t paying attention. Feeling concerned, she leaned and inquired what was wrong.
Qui Gon looked up with a somber expression, replied “I just felt a disturbance in the Force. Anthony is feeling strong sorrow, pain, ………” His eyes widened as the implication struck him. “and intense anger. I have not felt such anger over the padawan/teacher link since losing one of my students to the dark side.” The older Jedi, grabbed Buffy’s arm and in a strained voice relayed. “Anthony is standing on the edge between the dark and the light We must go to him NOW!”
Buffy began to realize the implications of what the Jedi master was telling her. She was about to respond when Steve finished the call, telling the others in an urgent voice. “We have got to get a move on. I’ll explain in the car.”
The three had no sooner put on their seat belts then the SUV rocketed down the street. Buffy turned to Steve and asked him. “Does this have anything to do with Saint? Master Jinn felt something was happening.”
Steve kept his eyes on the road while responding “That was Faith. They were finishing up their patrol when she noticed the presence of vamps in the area of Reagan Drive. Apparently Saint felt it to. Because he shot out like a bat out of hell and rushed towards McCoy’s house. When the others caught up, they found he had gone into Vadar mode as she put it.”
“Vadar Mode?” asked Qui Gon.
“Yeah, Vadar mode. Saint apparently didn’t like finding McCoy’s ex-wife becoming vampire food and his daughter about to be attacked. Remember the last time Shaw went into Hulk Mode?”
“Yeah, I still have nightmares over that.” Responded Buffy.
“Well Saint’s gone into a Jedi version. Katie’s managed to calm him down but she has her hands full trying to calm down both Saint and Godzilla. We need Qui Gon to ensure Saint is completely back on the light side.”
“So that explains JP’s little message when Robin tried to send Qui Gon and Obi Wan back.” Reasoned Buffy.
“Give the lady a Cupie Doll.” Replied Steve as he drove around the corner.
Outside the First Baptist Church of
June 23, 2000
Xander, Cordy, and Obi Wan had just finished checking out two of the cemeteries near the Baptist Church when Xander’s cell phone went off. Answering the phone, the young man listened for a few seconds, then the color seemed to drain from his face.
Cordy, looking on asked. “What is it Honey?”
“That was Willow. She just got off the phone with Steve and wanted to relay the news. McCoy’s ex-wife has been killed by her boyfriend, who is now a member of the local nightlife, and Saint’s gone into Vadar mode.” Replied Xander.
“That would explain the feelings I was getting through the Force.” Reasoned Obi Wan. “However, I would suggest we meet up with the others and make sure Anthony stays on the light side.”
“We’re already on the way.” Assured Cordy.
2354 Reagan Drive
June 23, 2000
While Katie continued to calm down her boyfriend, Shaw walked over to the upstairs bedroom. She was about to knock on the door when she started to think about what Katie had told her. <Katie said that Susan was a Tolkien fan and loved elves. I think it will be better if I end the glamour and approach the girl as my true self. >
Susan was sitting in the corner with her arms wrapped around her knees. A slight tapping at the door caught her attention and with tears cried out. “Go Away!”
“It’s alright Susan, the bad men are gone. You remember Anthony and Katie? They were here last night to talk to your mother.” Shaw listened as the little girl acknowledged the truth of the statement “Katie asked me to come up here to see that you were not harmed. Would you open the door for a minute? I really need to talk to you. Don’t be afraid, Godzilla is right in front of me and will continue protecting you.”
A slight shuffling noise was heard from within the bedroom and the door slowly opened a little. Terror filled eyes glanced around, to see if any of the bad men were still there. Those same eyes grew wide as she looked at the Soul Sister standing in front of her bedroom. She quietly motioned for Shaw to enter and looked on in amazement. “Your ears, You’re a….”
Shaw gave the frightened girl a warm smile and replied “Yes Susan, I am of elvish decent, in particular a half-elf. My mother was elvish and my father human. Katie told me you liked elves and wanted me to see you and talk.”
The soul sister walked into the room, looking at the various posters, knickknacks, and books. <Katie was right, she is a Tolkien fan.> She took a seat next to the young girl who asked her with pleading eyes, “My mother?”
“I’m sorry, but your mother has passed on to the next life.” Tears began to form at the corners of Susan’s eyes. She looked toward Shaw, who simply drew the sobbing girl into an embrace. Shaw let the girl cry before asking her. “Do you have any family?”
“No, after dad died. It was just mom and me. I.I.I. I’m alone.” Susan looked off into the distance as the reality hit her and in a small voice continued “so alone.”
“Shhh. It’s gonna be alright.” Soothed the half-elf. Suddenly an idea entered her head. <I wonder if Toby can help out on this one?> She looked down at the girl and asked, “How would you like to meet some other elves?” As the girl nodded yes, Shaw pulled out her phone and dialed
“SERRA offices, Toby Baird's office," a female voice answered
“I need to speak to Tobabaird.”
“May I ask who’s calling?”
“Just tell him his dancing partner wants a little word with him.”
“Alright, I’m transferring you now.” Replied the secretary.
The other phone picked up and in a concerned voice Toby asked “Shawukay, what’s happened now?”
“Tobabaird, we have a situation where a young girl has just lost her remaining family to vampires. I remember you mentioned something about the elves of Elfhames Fairgrove and Misthold have on occasion fostered human children.”
“In extreme cases. Most of time we let the human authorities handle this sort of situation. Why do you want to know ?”
“This child has lost both parents within the last month, been repeatedly abused by her mother’s boyfriend who later became a vampire and came back to murder both of them. Her only escape has been the works of Tolkien, particularly stories concerning the Elves of Lothlorian and Rivendell. After being with her and talking to her, I believe only the elves of this world can help her.”
Toby thought for a moment. “I’ll call Lord Dharinel and ask if he can send someone down there and see the girl. If he agrees, then I see no problems with it. After that, we’ll take it from there.”
“Thank you, Toby. I’ll bring Susan to JD Heart’s house. We can set something up from there.”
Steve had no sooner stopped the car, then Qui Gon and Buffy jumped out and raced into the house. On their way in Buffy noticed a large amount of dust on the front yard and within the passageway. <Looks like quite a few vamps bit the big one> thought the slayer. She quickly followed Qui Gon into the living room to see Katie and Saint on the couch. The slayer waited in the hall as the master Jedi walked over and stood in front of the two teens.
Saint looked up and confessed: “I don’t know what came over me back there. One minute I was walking along talking with Faith, Katie, and Shaw. The next thing I knew was hearing Susan’s screams and seeing those vamps on the front yard. It was as if another person took over. All I could see was red and all I could do was rush in to save his daughter. I mean I promised that I’d take care of Susan only to have this happen.”
From out of the corner of the room Faith injected “By the time Religion Girl, Katie, and I got here it was all over. Grasshopper had already taken out the vamps in the front yard and was taking Roy down one piece at a time.”
“Is this true?” asked Qui Gon.
Saint looked down at the floor, his face turning red with embarrassment. “Yes she’s right. When I saw Roy going after Susan, I lost it. I just wanted to make him feel pain for killing Tracy and hurting Susan. Here, all this time I was trying to keep Anakin from turning into Darth Vadar and I find myself becoming that which I feared. I was the threat. If Katie and Shaw had not been there to pull me out of it.” He looked up at his master with a haunted look in his eyes, “You would have been forced to come after me. If having the Force means I end up hurting the one’s I love, then I don’t want any part of it.”
The Jedi master sat on the other side of his student. He waited a moment before responding. “You cannot get rid of the Force any more than you can get rid of your heart. It is a part of who you are. We have known from the beginning that you stand on the edge between the dark and the light. That is why Obi Wan and I came with you back to your home universe. So, you can be ready to overcome the darkness when it confronts you.”
With that, Steve, Buffy, Xander, Cordy, and Obi Wan entered the room. Cordy in one of her more thoughtful moments spoke out. “And don’t forget the rest of your friends. We are also here for those times when you need friends to stand by you as you face those tough times.”
Obi Wan walked up and said, “We have been through a lot since you crashed on Naboo and began causing the Jedi council endless consternation. So let me say, you can always turn to your extended family during these difficult times.”
“Thanks Guys, That makes me feel so much better. But, I still feel this coldness within my soul that needs to be removed.” whispered Saint.
Qui Gon looked towards Steve and decided out loud “After careful thought, I believe that we can skip the lessons planned for tomorrow. Instead, we should concentrate on meditation and self-calming techniques to prepare you for future situations.”
“Saint, Shaw and I are going to be spending some down time tomorrow afternoon. Why don’t you and Katie come up and have lunch.” Offered Faith.
Saint looked over to his teacher and then towards Katie. Both nodded yes to his question. With a slight smile Saint agreed to attend.
“Well, now that’s decided, lets head back to my house.” Decided Steve. “I just got off the phone with JD and Susan can use the spare bedroom for now until her situation is settled. Shaw, Katie, grab Susan’s stuff and bring it back to JD’s house.”
Faith pointed over to a covered form in the other room. “What are we going to do with Tracy?”
“Master Jinn, Obi Wan, and I will take care of it and help with the funeral arrangements.” Stated Steve.
Saint looked up at that last sentence. “What about me? Sgt. McCoy was under my command. I promised him I’d take care of his family.”
Obi Wan answered the question, “Anthony, you have been through a lot within the last hour. Let us share your burden. That’s what family is for.”
“And, it would be better for you to be with Susan in the near future. You are her only remaining link to her father. Besides, you will be fulfilling your promise.” Added Qui Gon
“Now that’s settled. Let’s get moving people.” Ordered Steve.
Los Angeles, California
June 23, 2000
It had been a relatively quiet night in Los Angeles. JD Heart and Steve Sloan had only two calls that night. One, a burglary gone wrong with a dead burglar. Apparently, the homeowner didn’t like anybody breaking into his home and met the intruder with twelve gauge buckshot. The blond detective turned to her partner and commented, “That was a long shift. I’ll be glad to get back to a warm bed.”
Steve gave his partner a leer and added, “And three free guesses as to how that bed will be warmed.”
“You got it. But I’ve got this nagging feeling that something happened while we were gone.” Added JD as the car turned into the driveway.
Katie backed out of the bedroom and shut the door behind her. <Well, one down, one to go.> thought the Amazon as she looked over to Saint’s bedroom. The last few hours had been interesting to say the least. First, Susan’s mom getting killed, then Saint going Darth Vadar over the killer, and now a new guest staying at Casa Heart. Upon arriving, Qui Gon suggested that Katie help Susan get ready for bed. The young girl was not happy with the possibility of being alone, so Katie offered to have Godzilla spend the night. Remembering how the guardian spirit protected her from the vampires, Susan quickly agreed.
Once Susan was tucked in and Godzilla keeping watch, Katie knelt down and reassured her that nothing would happen while she slept. Not getting a response, Katie saw that the girl had fallen asleep, so she quietly exited the room.
Upon entering the hallway, she thought. <Now, if only it was so easy with Anthony.>
Steve pulled on the parking break, got out the car, and followed JD into the house. Walking in the living room he noticed Qui Gon, Obi Wan, and Katie sitting around with somber faces. His curiosity piqued, the detective asked what was going on and why the glum faces.
Katie looked up at her mother and in a quiet voice answered, “We had a situation on patrol tonight. You remember how Anthony promised his sergeant that his daughter would be taken care of?” She waited for Steve and JD to nod before continuing. “Well, The mother’s dead. Courtesy of her boyfriend turned bloodsucker, and we have Godzilla keeping Susan company in one of the guest bedrooms upstairs. She only fell asleep a few minutes before you arrived. And, that was only with some Jedi help, thanks to Master Jinn and Obi Wan”.
A hush fell over the room as JD began to pace and start cursing in various languages. Both Qui Gon and Steve Sloan began turning shades of red as the blonde detective began to plan out loud the various tortures she planned to visit on the vampire. Katie shook her head and thought. <Uh oh, Mom’s pissed. I’d better do something before she wakes Susan.>
Walking up to her mother, Katie said. “Mom you don’t have to worry about Roy. Saint took care of him soon after the vamp killed Susan's mother.”
JD paused and in a quiet tone of voice that sent shivers down the backs of those who listened, replied “Whatever Anthony did is mild compared to what I would have done.”
“Be that as it may, Detective, young Anthony was deeply affected be seeing the mother killed. He came very close to the Dark Side this night. He was taking his time with the vampire and enjoying it. It was only through the intervention of your daughter and Lady Shaw that he did not fall to the Darkness.” Explained Qui Gon.
JD let loose another string of curses before calming down and saying. “I need to have a word with Anthony. Where is he?”
Obi Wan looked up from his drink and answered, “He went to his bedroom soon after Susan went to sleep.”
The detective nodded and walked up the stairs towards her former student’s bedroom. Steve followed her closely and waited beside her as she knocked. From the inside he could hear a muffled “Yeah, who is it?”
JD spoke up. “Anthony, it’s me. We need to talk.”
“Come on in. The door’s unlocked”, responded her former student.
JD and Steve entered the darkened room. Saint was sitting cross-legged on the bed, staring out the window. Steve stood by the door as his wife walked over to the bed and sat down beside Saint. Without even turning around, Saint began to describe what happened.
“I’ve been going over what happened tonight in my head over and over. I lost it back there. Here I am trying to keep Anakin from becoming Darth Vadar and I’m the one falling into the Darkness. Seeing, Susan'’ mom lying there in a pool of blood with that S.O.B, leaning over made me snap. What happened next is still a blur. One minute, I’m at the door taking in that scene and the next Katie and Shaw are calling out for me to come back to the light.” Saint paused and turned to his teacher with a haunted look in his eyes. “What am I?”
“Anthony, these things happen to the best of us. We all have that dark side we keep under control. Wanderer did the same when a madman stabbed Buffy and threatened her mother. Hell, I have even had my personal battles. Do you remember what St. Wolf said about a group of immortals running around.” Saint nodded and JD continued, “I am one of those immortals he was talking about. I have been around for awhile and I want you to use the Force to look at my memories.”
Saint shook his head and backed up and desperately cried out, “NO, I can’t. I mean I’m not ready for it. The last time I turned into my worst nightmare.”
JD put her hands on his shoulders to reassure him. “It’s alright. There is nothing to be afraid of. It is so much easier to show you about my battle against my personal darkness than tell you. I trust you. Master Jinn trusts you. It will make it easier for you by letting you see the PG-13 version.” While talking to Saint, the detective mentally told her sentient swords to let him do the mind probe.
Saint took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Reaching out through the Force, he established the mind link with his teacher. Images flew past him. I was like that first meeting with Qui Gon back on Naboo all over again. He saw a beautiful city and later it’s destruction. Her training with JP Whithers and finally, her battle with a Dark Quickening that was ended with the intervention of a young boy and the destruction of her army by her own hand.” He opened his eyes and stared at his teacher with a new sense of wonder, “You really did some terrible things.” He thought about what he had seen for a moment and asked, “Just how old are you anyway?”
“To answer your question, I have been around since before the fall of Atlantis. As to doing some terrible things, all I can say is yes I did. That was when I was under the influence of a Dark Quickening. It happens when an immortal defeats a truly evil immortal. There is a chance that the immortal can be overwhelmed by the evil immortal’s life force or quickening. I was under the influence for quite a while. I formed an army and raided villages, murdering and pillaging as I went. It was only when I ran across this brave boy who wouldn’t back down. He pulled the evil out of my body and saved me. Unfortunately, my men saw it and killed the child. I gave the soldiers a choice of leaving or dying. They stayed and I killed them all. I spent the next hundred years wandering around before coming to terms with it.” JD put her hands on Saint’s shoulders and continued. “Anthony, I still get the nightmares and flashbacks but I will tell you it will get easier in time. As long as you realize what you did and do what you can to prevent it from happening again, you will be okay. Remember, you have family here that will help you if you let us in.”
Steve had been listening and decided that this was the time to speak up. “Listen to your teacher. I can tell you that JD even had trouble dealing with some of the stuff she talked about. Don’t hold it in and talk about it to Master Jinn, JD or myself. We are always willing to listen.”
JD noticed the emotion behind Saint’s eyes and pulled him into an embrace. Saint broke down and cried as his teacher quietly said “That’s it just let it out.” After a few minutes, Saint pulled back and gave his teacher a slight smile. “Thanks I needed that.”
JD gave Saint a pat on the back and said “What you did wasn’t bad but how you reacted was. I know I am one to talk. But know this, reacting that way against evil is okay but you lost control. Do you remember my Number One rule?”
Saint grinned, saying “It’s been awhile and a lot has happened since Sparta.”
“Do you really want a refresher course?” inquired the detective.
“Not really but the rule is, When in a situation, NEVER LOSE YOUR HEAD!”
“You got it. Now get some sleep!”
Katie took one last look towards the stairs as her mother disappeared from view. The young Amazon took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and sent out her prayer to her patron goddess. <Lady Goddess, I need your help. We nearly lost Anthony to the Darkness tonight and barely managed to bring him back. Please, lend him your strength as he fights the darkness that threatens to overwhelm him.>
A slight smile graced her face as she received her answer. <Clear your mind of such worries my daughter. For I will watch over him during this time of need. He is much stronger than even he realizes and will pass this trial and stay in the light.>
Obi Wan looked up from the downstairs towards the bedroom. Turning towards Qui Gon, he asked, “Just what are they doing up there?”
“Giving Anthony that which he needs the most, a shoulder to cry on and the assurance that in times of distress and trial he will have his family to support him.” Qui Gon closed his eyes and reached out through his training bond. He nodded absent-mindedly and added. “Anthony has realized that he never has to face his inner demons on his own. And, he has just gotten to sleep.”
June 23, 2000
Two men were watching the scene in the Heart household courtesy of a convenient scrying pool. The older one, dressed in black leather, wearing a beard, slammed his fist on the bowl, shattering it. The younger one looked up and asked. “If she is interfering with your plans, why don’t you kill her?”
Ares took a moment to calm himself down before replying. “That Bitch is worse than Xena to kill!!”
Strife was about to reply to the Greek god of war, when a second being joined their little group. Artemis had heard Katie’s prayer report, thinking <This has Ares fingerprints all over it.> Turning to her brother, Arty asked him what he was doing?
Ares replied “Nothing, I just love watching a good fight.”
The Greek goddess wasn’t buying it. Looking her brother in the eye, she added, “Look Ares, you had better be good or I’ll tell JD that you have been hanging around her house and daughter. That would be a good way to find out the legend on those swords of hers are any good.”
Strife looked concerned, <Just what is she up to?>. Finding his voice, the minor god asked Arty, “What legend?”
Artemis gave the two an evil grin as she replied, “Oh, only that they are the actual ‘Fangs of Mala Shia, the mother of all dragons and they can kill a god!”
All color drained from Strife’s face as he turned towards the god of war. “Is this legend true?”
Ares thought about his last encounter with one of St. Wolf’s newest scouts and shuddered. He still had nightmares, if it was possible for a god to have nightmares, about the initial punishment handed out by the half-elf. <I’d better keep on my toes. Especially after that little incident where Artemis and Melieki carried out Shaw’s punishment.> Finally, he said “That is one legend I don’t plan on finding out if it’s real or not.”
Artemis watched as Strife digested the news and laughed at both of their expressions. <You would think they would have learned by now to not mess with Wanderer’s group by now.> Finally, she said. “That was nice, but I have to go see Millie.” She pointed at the shattered bowl and added before vanishing. “If I were you, I’d leave the kid alone.”
Strife stared at the space recently vacated by Artemis for a few minutes before turning back to Ares. Noticing that the god of war was in thought, Strife quipped, “Are you sure the real reason you won’t interfere has something to do with what Artemis and Melikki did to you the last time?”
A scowl fell over Ares’ face as he slowly pivoted to face Strife. A sudden movement of the hands and Strife found himself flying across the room, courtesy of a fireball. As Strife got off the floor, Ares smiled and commented. “Damn, that felt GOOD!” He rubbed his chin for a second and mentioned, “I need to start doing that more often.”
Los Angeles, California
June 24, 2000
Qui Gon walked up to the bedroom door and knocked softly. A thud sounded from within the room, followed by muffled curses. The Jedi master winced as he recognized some of the language. He thought, <I must have a word with Detective Heart about the language she is teaching him. > Taking a deep breath, he yelled. “Anthony, Katie has fixed breakfast and everybody is waiting for you to come downstairs.”
Saint moaned, “I’m coming, I’m coming.”
Satisfied that his young charge was on his way. Qui Gon rejoined the family in the dining room and waited for Saint to show up.
Katie had just finished setting the table when Saint walked in. <Here comes dead man walking,> thought the young lady. Saint began stumbling towards the table when suddenly, he began sniffing the air. His eyes became focussed as he rushed into the kitchen murmuring,“coffee.”
It took but one gulp of that magical brew to wake up the Jedi in training and he proceeded to fill his plate to the brim. Sitting down, he turned to Katie and asked her. “Now about last night. Is there something you want to tell me about a certain familiar reptile?”
Katie finished off her sausage and innocently replied with another question. “What do you mean?”
“When I crashed the bloodsucker get together back there, I noticed a very large Kommodo Dragon guarding the stairway, surrounded by several piles of dust. The creature had a similar pattern to Godzilla and you were not even phased when you walked within two feet of him.”
“Very well, I was gonna spring on you later. But now is as good a time as any. Godzilla is actually a Guardian Spirit. He watches my back and keeps in contact with me telepathically.”
Both Qui Gon and Obi Wan listened in on the conversation in interest. Finally the older Jedi rubbed his chin and commented, “Hmm, that would explain how you knew what was happening in the house before you even got there.” He closed his eyes for a moment in quiet contemplation as he silently went over the events from the previous night. Suddenly, he opened his eyes. “Katie, would any other member of Section 7 also have one of these Guardian Spirits? When we got back to Sir Steven’s house, I noticed that Buffy appeared to be having a silent conversation with what you call… a dog.”
Katie nodded her head, “You are right. The Guardian Spirits become linked with their owners and have comparable intelligence.”
Saint had been listening and an evil thought went through his head. <Ohh, I know I’m gonna get killed but I cannot let this opportunity for a smartass comment slip past. > Putting on an innocent look that immediately had everyone on guard, he commented. “Well since most reptiles have a brain, the size of a pea. That would explain some of the things you have done since I met you.”
A loud hiss could be heard from the living room as Katie slowly turned her head around. Obi Wan and Qui Gon shared a look that clearly said. <Anthony has gone too far with this one.> Without a word, the young lady got up, picked up a pitcher of ice water, and poured it down Saint’s pants. Then, she slapped him upside the head, hissing, “You had better apologize buddy or what you went through yesterday will seem like a cakewalk. Got that buster?”
Saint, took a towel from Jessica who had been watching the exchange with visible amusement. After taking a few minutes to dry himself off, he offered his heartfelt apology to Katie and Godzilla. The angry hiss in the other room drifted off as if the Guardian Spirit accepted the apology and went off to do other things.
Qui Gon only shook his head at the spectacle. <I had to take on another pupil.> He allowed his student to dry off before getting up and directing him to come to the back yard for that days lesson in cleansing the dark side from his inner being. Obi Wan and Anakin began moving towards the indoor gym for their lesson.
St. Wolf Residence
Tara and Amy were talking about the Jedi when the doorbell rang again. Both girls got up to answer the door to reveal young men and a young lady.
“Lord Dharinel, Welcome. Would you like something to drink?”
Dharinel raised his hand, “That is unnecessary, we are not thirsty but thank you anyway Amy. Allow me to introduce my companions.” Gesturing to the couple beside him, he introduced. “To my right is my cousin Lord Ringeristion and his wife Lady Vinyaernilwen. Tobabaird called me up last night and mentioned something about a young child who would like to be fostered by the elves.”
“That is correct, her father was a soldier, killed in action while on a rescue mission to Africa. Her mother was murdered last night by a boyfriend turned vampire. She has no living relatives and nowhere to turn.”
“Be that as it may. Usually, such children are placed with the local childcare agencies. What makes this case any different?”
“Susan, that’s her name, has problems with being around humans of any sort at this time. Shaw needed to fully reveal her elven heritage before the girl calmed down. She’s been through a lot, with her father being killed. And, now her mother is drained by a vamp in front of her very eyes. The girl’s a big fan of Tolkien. In fact her bedroom was covered in Middle Earth memorabilia, particularly anything dealing with elves. We thought it would be better if she could stay with you guys.”
Lady Vinyaernilwen, a blond haired, green eye, tall elf, coughed to get the others attention. “My Lord, perhaps it would be better to continue this conversation with the others present.” She returned her attention to the two young ladies. “When Lord Dharinel told us about this child’s situation. Well, nothing could keep us from coming. You see, my husband and I are unable to have children and were thinking about adoption.”
Amy nodded, “Then let’s get this show on the road.”
The three elves followed Amy and Tara into the training room. There they found Susan talking with Dawn, Debbie, Brian, Kait, Angelique, Carson, Anna, Lizzie, and Shaw, while petting a dire wolf and a saber tooth tiger laying next to her and enjoying the attention.
While the others stood up, the half-eleven priestess walked up and greeted the visitors. Following the greeting she turned to introduce the elves to the others.
“Beside me is Lord Dharinel, lord of Elfhame Misthold. The gentleman to his right is his cousin Lord Ringeristion. Finally, the lady standing next to Lord Ringeristion is his wife Lady Vinyaernilwen. They have answered my request for aid in deciding on how best to handle Susan’s situation.”
Vinyaernilwen smiled and walked over to Susan and knelt beside her. As the child looked on, the elf ended her glamour and smiled, “You must be Susan.” The little girl nodded her head as the elf pointed toward Dharinel and Ringeristion. “We’ve heard a lot about you. In fact, when Lady Shaw told us about your interest in all things elvish, we had to come see you.”
Ringeristion smiled and turned around and asked the others. “Would it be possible to interview the child alone?"”
Amy nodded, “Susan, why don’t you take Duke, Kait, Lord Ringeristion and Lady Vinyaernilwen up to your room and tell them what you told the rest of us.”
Dharinel smiled and said “That is a good idea and meanwhile we can talk about a few other things.”
Amy agreed and suggested that they wait in the living room for the interview to finish.
The group filled into the living room, and Tara, Amy and Shaw got some refreshments. Brian had held back as the others sat down. The elf lord noticed the young man looking at him.
“Is there something you wanted to know?” asked Dharinel.
“As a matter of fact there is. What is going on up there?”
“Lord Ringeristion and Lady Vinyaernilwen are examining the child to see if bringing her into the elven community is the best for young Susan. Young man, we are all after the same goal, to see that Susan is taken care of. Why are you so concerned with the child?”
Brian took a deep breath and explained, “I’ve lost my parents to Vampires two years ago. Susan’s father died in the line of duty two weeks ago in this reality. She lost her mother yesterday to her abusive stepfather turned vampire I’ve still had my older sister, and Steve was there for us from the beginning. Some of us were not so fortunate, and were alone, like Susan is now. One of our friends, her fathers CO, promised to take care of Susan on his deathbed. We simply want to be sure that there’ll be some place for her.”
Dharinel gave the young man a reassuring smile and said “You have already done that by contacting us. My cousin and his wife have been longing to have a child in their home for many years. I promise you this. Should it be decided to bring Susan into the community, love and guidance will surround her. But you understand that she has to deal with her problems. Ignoring and suppressing the problems won’t help her.”
Brian nodded, but Kait answered, “We know that. That’s why we were talking about it with Susan. But for the moment she isn’t comfortable around humans without visible supernatural beings around. It would be impossible for her to function in a human society for some time to come.”
“And if we wouldn’t take her?”
“Mom would take her in,” Dawn replied.
“Susan, slow down. Children shouldn’t run in the house. Especially in someone else’s.” Chided Vinyaernilwen.
Like many an excited child before her, Susan didn’t hear the command to slow down. Instead, she raced down the stairs, into the living room and up to the couch where Brian, Kait and Dawn were sitting. Without a pause, she began telling the good news to everyone in the room. While the elven visitors had no chance in catching the talk, the others had enough experience with Willow-babble to get most of what was said.
“Lady Vinyaernilwen said I can come live with them after all. I’m gonna live with the elves!”
Dharinel’s cousins walked in as the others let Susan know they were happy for her. Ringeristion and his wife stood behind Susan, confirming that they considered Susan to already be a member of their family and would formally adopt her in a fostering ceremony, to be held in two days. Dharinel leaned over to his cousin and whispered something. Ringeristion did the same to his wife who looked him in the eyes and nodded.
“If you want, Susan can stay here until final preparations are made. Steve’d tell you himself, if he’d finally get up, but he gave his okay yesterday,” Amy told the visitors
Vinyaernilwen thanked her, and turned the others, “Lord Dharinel has informed us of the promise to Susan’s birth parent and your concerns. To set your mind at ease and at the request of our daughter to be, I would like to invite you and your companions to the fostering ceremony."
Amy thanked her and made it clear that she and many of their friends would be there.
Susan asked. “What does this ceremony entail?”
“Elf children are few and the introduction of a child into our society by birth or adoption is a call for great celebration. Upon the birth or as in this case, adoption, the entire village turns out to celebrate with the children’s parents. These are joyous occasions for all and typically last several days and conclude with the naming of the child. In the case of fostering from outside the community, a new name is bestowed on the child.”
Vinyaernilwen picked up “Children are given a private name by their parents and then a public name. The secret name is known only to the elf, his or her parents, and the priest presiding over the ceremony.” Dharinel continued the explanation of the ceremony “ Gifts and wishes are often bestowed upon the child by family and close friends. Such presents have a lasting impression, for favors given to a child are far from ordinary. . “
Amy nodded, “We’ll be happy to attend this ceremony. Is there anything else we should know about?”
“Only that you should dress semi casual. No need to turn up in full plate armor.” Added Ringeristion.
Susan suddenly remembered her other rescuers from the night before and added. “Don’t forget Mister Christopher and Miss Heart.”
“That would be the same Lieutenant Christopher, who commanded Susan’s father?” asked Vinyaernilwen.
“Yes and Katie was with him last night. Then there is Mister Quigby and his two sons. They were also with Sgt. McCoy when he was killed.” Supplied Shaw.
“Very well, they too shall be invited.” Decided Ringeristion. “As the person closest to Susan’s family, Lieutenant Christopher has an important part to play in the ceremony. The ceremony will be held in two weeks. Lady Shawukay, would you contact the Lieutenant and the others and help them be ready for their roles in the ceremony?”
“I would be honored to do so.” Replied Shaw.
Vinyaernilwen knelt beside Susan, giving her a part embrace. “We need to go and get ready for the ceremony. We look forward to welcoming you into our home.”
Outside the Galactic Senate
Star Wars Universe
(Star Wars Universe)
Night had fallen over the city-covered planet, hiding the presence of two black robed figures. They had exited the senate from one of the private exits, available to members of the government. The two figures moved slowly along the walkway, discussing their plans for taking control. Finally, they stopped as a steady stream of speeders whisked by at high speeds. The shorter one, paused and motioned for his companion to stop. In a gravelly voice, he asked. “How went your mission to Kamino?”
“Better than could be expected, my master. I used the name of the recently deceased Master Kuze to place the order. The cloners claim they will have the order ready when we need it.” Replied the young man.
“Good, good. However, we have to be careful. The Jedi Council suspect something is about to happen and are keeping my public persona under close scrutiny. Blast, that arrogant whelp from Earth. Thanks to Christopher’s meddling, I’ve had to move back my plans to take over the galaxy.” Cursed Darth Siddious.
Darth Agonius looked at his master in surprise and countered, “But master, Christopher is back in that alternate universe where he came from along with one of our most dangerous enemies, Qui Gon Jinn. They cannot have any effect on our future plans from where they are.”
The dark lord held up a hand to stop his subordinate’s protest, “Normally, I would agree. However, I have been getting visions in the Force. In one version, we are victorious and my glorious empire replaces this rotten shell of a Republic. The other variation has this ‘Saint’ returning with a large army just as our plans are coming to fruition and defeating us once and for all. No, I will not allow the second vision to come true. ‘Saint’ will have to be destroyed before he becomes a bigger threat.”
“But master, how will you eliminate him?” asked Agonius. “He is not even in the same universe.”
Siddious patted his apprentice on his hand, “Do not worry yourself with that. I am already searching for a means to track down this ‘boyscout’. When I find where he is hiding, I’ll have you go there and take care of the threat once and for all.”
The younger Sith nodded and asked, “Within the short time spent in this universe, he has shown an ability to acquire many friends. What shall I do with them when I find him?”
A beam of light from a passing speeder illuminated the wrinkled features of Sith Master, prematurly aged from his use of the Dark side of the Force. With a hissing voice, he concluded. “Wipe them out. All of them.”
Los Angeles, California
June 25, 2000
Katie had just finished setting the table for breakfast when Qui Gon and Obi Wan walked in from the back. The Jedi master sat down at the table and turned to the young Amazon, asking. “Where is Anthony? I noticed that he was not in his room this morning.”
“He had some things to take care of at the college. Something about meeting his academic advisor and finding out what he needed to be ready when the fall semester starts.” Replied Katie.
Qui Gon nodded and poured some syrup on his pancakes. He felt that the young lady wanted to ask him something so he observed, “There was something else you wanted to ask about?”
“No, yes. Well, I was wondering how long you plan on being in our little spot in the universe? I mean, Anthony has gotten hooked up with friends and kept his promise to Sgt. McCoy. He even survived his encounter with the Dark Side.”
The older Jedi put down his fork and closed his eyes for a moment. Taking a few moments to collect his thoughts, he replied, “I was thinking that very thought a few days ago and decided to see what I could find out through the Force. It is my belief that the Force brought Obi Wan, Anakin, and myself here for a purpose and that purpose has yet to be fulfilled. Even though Anthony has passed that test by facing the darkside and coming back, I sense that it is but one of many that he will face. From that first meeting on Naboo, I have been certain that Anthony will play a major role in defeating the darkness that threatens both my home universe.” He got up and looked out the window, “Yet, he also has a role to play here in his home planet. I have seen that he is destined to complete his Jedi training here on Earth. For that reason, Obi Wan and myself have accompanied him to this planet. It is during this period of learning, here, that Anthony will make many of the allies who will play major roles in the upcoming fight against the darkness both in the Republic, and even here.”
“What Master Jinn is trying to say is that the Force intends for us to be on Earth for the foreseeable future.” Added Obi Wan. “Besides, we have no intention of allowing Anthony face these trials on his own.”
“That explains a lot.” Agreed Katie. The sound of the doorbell caught her attention and she got up to answer the door. Alex had previously asked Katie if she would like to go to the beach with him. She had agreed and had been waiting for her boyfriend to show up. He wrapped his arms around her and planted a lingering kiss on her lips. A moment later, the two broke apart and Alex asked.
“Hey Katie, Ready to go?”
Katie smiled, “You bet. Get the car started and I’ll be out in a second.”
Katie returned to the dining room to pick up her beach bag while Alex was starting up the car. On her way out, she turned to face the older Jedi. “If my mom calls, tell her I’m at the beach.”
Qui Gon quickly assured her that they would do as she requested and told her to have a good time at the beach.
Obi Wan was busy washing the dishes when the doorbell rang yet again. <Hmm, we seem to be getting our fair share of visitors today.> Putting away the last plate in the dishwasher, the Jedi walked to the door. This time Katie’s best friend, Jessica, was waiting on the doorstep. He immediately noticed that the teenager appeared to be somewhat nervous and had not taken off her dark glasses.
In an attempt to put her at ease, he smiled and asked, “Jessica, it’s a pleasure seeing you again. What brings you over here?”
The young lady replied, “Uh, I was looking for Katie. Is she here?”
Qui Gon called out from the dining room, “Ben, why don’t you invite the young lady inside?”
Using his cover, the younger Jedi replied, “Yes father.” He turned back to Jessica and said “Where are my manners. Would you please come in?”
With a nervous look, the girl tried to refuse. Obi Wan noticed her skittishness and felt out through the Force. <The girl is definitely in pain but I sense an inner turmoil. I need to act.> With a soothing tone, he asked, “You appear to be in pain. Is there anything I can do?”
Jessica looked up in surprise. She took off her glasses and replied, “Oh, if you are referring to the shiner. I just had an accident. Fell down the stairs. I guess I’m still a little shaken up.”
Qui Gon had walked up as she removed her sun glasses. He offered, “Why don’t you come in. I just made a pot of tea. There’s nothing like a soothing cup of hot tea to sooth the nerves.”
“I guess, I can spare the time for a glass of tea.”
Qui Gon smiled and led Jessica in, “It’s always good to have a fresh face for tea.”
Obi Wan shut the door and followed the two back in. While Jessica was getting settled in, the young man joined his former teacher in the kitchen to get some cups. Qui Gon was retrieving the tea bags when the younger Jedi walked over and whispered, “Master, I sense that something has happened too. It feels like she is attempting to hide the source of her pain.”
Qui Gon nodded, “Your feelings do you justice. I too feel the conflict within the young lady but she wishes to keep it private. Do not fear, when she is ready, she will let us help her. We just need to make it know that is she needs someone, we will be there to help.”
“Oh course master. But for now, lets get some of that tea.”
Los Angeles, California
July 15, 2000
“Tell me again why am I wearing this getup?”
“Because you look good in it and you fit right in with Qui Gon and Obi Wan” answered Katie.
“Now why did you talk Master Jinn and Obi Wan into wearing Jedi robes? You know how we are trying to get them inconspicuous as possible. For the last three weeks, we have been getting them to dress and act like normal Earth people or as normal Irish and Scotsmen can be. Now you make them, not to mention me, the target of every sci-fi nutcase within line of sight.” Moaned Saint.
“Anthony, don’t be such a worry wort. You are beginning to sound like Obi Wan with his ‘I have a bad feeling about this’ act.” The young Amazon ignored the indigent “Hey!!” yelled out by said Jedi. “It’s dark outside, which will limit the amount of attention. Then, the Elfhame is magically shielded from unwanted visitors. Finally, Lord Dharinel and his people helped out Steve during the ‘Wish’ incident, so they are used to the unusual being associated with the Wanderer. So don’t worry.” She ended with a sigh.
JD peered through the rear view mirror. “Listen to Katie. We are going to an adoption ceremony where a human child is brought into an Elvish family from Earth. Said ceremony is presided over by a half-elven priestess of Mielikki. What are a trio of Jedi knights compared to that?”
“Point” conceded Saint.
“Exactly how will this ceremony be carried out?” asked Obi Wan from the rear passenger seat.
Katie turned back to answer the Jedi’s question. “When I talked to Shaw this afternoon when she came by to pick up Qui Gon, she said that it would be held in the Elfhame and will include lots of dancing and music. You can also be sure that there will be a lot of magic involved.”
Obi Wan nodded. “Thank you. But I found it unusual that Lord Dharinel would want to talk to Master Jinn prior to the meeting.”
Katie laughed, placing emphasis on the young Jedi’s name. “Obi Wan, even the elves on this world are familiar with popular movies. Lord Dharinel probably just wanted to compare notes with our esteemed Jedi master and see how much of the movie was fact versus fiction.”
“Of course, Master Jinn will also be interested in learning as much as possible about the elves in return.” Responded the young Jedi.
Saint looked out the window, deep in thought for the rest of the trip. <I wonder how this ceremony differs from the ones described in the Forgotten Realms sourcebook? We’ll soon find out as soon as we get there.> His reminiscing was interrupted by the stopping of the car and JD yelling out “we’re here!”
Lord Dharinel had been interested in meeting with the Jedi since learning of their arrival while meeting with St. Wolf. Since the adoption ceremony required a few hours to get everything set up, the lord of Elfhame Fairgrove had requested that Qui Gon accompany Shaw when she came by to get ready. The Jedi master and Elf lord stood off to the side as the final preparations were put in place.
“Your elfsteeds are fascinating creatures. I have never met anything that could change from a living creature to a machine in all my travels.” Observed Qui Gon.
Dharinel accepted the complement. “Thank you Master Jinn, they are indeed fascinating creatures. So how did your ride with Lady Shawukay compare to those of your home?”
Qui Gon pursed his lips, “It reminded me of the times I rode on a speeder bike. Her steed in automobile form is almost as fast as a speeder. It was certainly faster than your lower tech automobiles.”
Dharinel was about to respond when a car drove up. “It appears that the rest of our guests have arrived. So we shall begin shortly.”
The ceremony was held in a large clearing surrounded by ancient trees that had been carefully shielded from mankind by elven magic. For the ceremony, a large bonfire was lit in the middle of the clearing. Magical balls of light bathed the clearing with soft light.
The adoption ceremony proceeded in stages. The first part of the ceremony involved the person representing the child’s natural family would bring the child to the priestess. Then the adopting family would come up. Following a series of prayers, the child would be presented to her new family upon which she is given her elven name and is considered part of her new family. This is then followed by the showering of gifts from the new family and close friends. Finally, three days of celebration follows.
<Showtime.> thought the half-elven priestess of Melikki. She looked over the gathered crowd and raised both hands. Musicians, who had been playing a variety of Elven tunes, stopped and put down their instruments.
With a strong voice, Shaw began the ceremony. “Greetings elves and elf-friends. We gather here tonight to celebrate the arrival of a new addition to the family of Lord Ringeristion and Lady Vinyaernilwen. A child is precious no matter how that child comes into the family whether by birth or adoption. Either way, this is a cause for joy. In the cases where the child comes into the family through adoption, it is customary for a representative of the birth family to lead the child to the new family.” She turned to her left where Saint, Qui Gon, Obi Wan, JD, Steve, and Katie stood beside Susan. <Even though, Dharinel said casual dress was appropriate, I must say that Jedi robes are right for Anthony, Qui Gon, and Obi Wan. > “Who escorts this child into her new family?”
Saint had been standing next to Susan with his hand on her shoulder. Katie stood to her other side. Saint gave Susan a warm smile and looked back to Shaw saying, “I, Anthony Christopher, son of William and Mary, student of JD Heart and Qui Gon Jinn, and friend of Jack do so.”
Shaw returned the smile, replying, “Then come forth, Anthony son of William and Mary with Susan.”
She waited for Saint to bring Susan in front of her before she turned to her right. “Lord Ringeristion and Lady Vinyaernilwen come forth and accept the child from her old life.” The two elves joined Saint, Susan, and Shaw at the alter. Taking on a solemn look, the priestess asked, “Do you, Lord Ringeristion and Lady Vinyaernilwen take this child into your home to love and cherish. To teach her to walk in the light and be part of Fairgrove?”
Lord Ringeristion and Lady Vinyaernilwen shared smiles and turned to Shaw, “We do, with all our heart.”
“Then Susan, daughter of Jack McCoy, go stand with your new mother and father.”
His part done, Saint watched as Susan approached and was embraced by her new family. <I’ve kept my promise old friend. I only wish you were here to see it in person.> thought the young man.
Shaw waited a moment before continuing, “As it is customary to give the child a new name to go with her new life. Lord Ringeristion, what name have you for this child, new to Elfhame Fairgrove?”
With his left arm wrapped protectively around his new daughter, he responded. “My wife and myself have chosen Galadriël Arcamenel for our new daughter.”
Shaw looked at Susan with a big smile, “Then, I bid you welcome Galadriël Arcamenel, daughter of Lord Ringeristion and Lady Vinyaernilwen into your new home. And this concludes the adoption please enjoy the reception following the ceremony.” With this, the Elfhame gained a new daughter and the party began.
While the other guests danced and ate, the new family and close friends turned to give gifts to Susan, now named Galadriël. Katie and the Jedi followed the party into an area that had been shielded from the rest of the party by a wall of illusions.
Once everybody had assembled, Lord Ringeristion announced, “As the father, it is my duty, but mostly pleasure, to start the gift giving.” He gave his daughter a fatherly smile and cast a spell over her. “My dear daughter, I give you ability to talk to dragons. It won’t be long before you will have many more wonderful friends.”
Galadriël’s eyes began to tear up and she wrapped her arms around Ringerstion. “Thank you father. I will always treasure this gift.”
Lady Vinyaernilwe was next. She knelt down to look Galadriël in the eyes. “You do not know how long I have yearned for a daughter. So this gift also comes from my heart. To my flower, my beloved daughter, I give you the ability to ride as an elf.”
Katie turned to her mother and both nodded, it was time. She reached into her backpack and pulled out what appeared to be a lizard similar to her guardian spirit, which immediately jumped into Galadriël’s arms. “I was trying to find the perfect gift when I remembered how much you cared for Godzilla. This little fellow needed a home and I knew you would be perfect for each other. He is a guardian spirit just like Godzilla and will watch over you the rest of your days.” She pulled out a sheet of parchment. “On this paper, is the spell which will link you and her. Just give the word.”
Galadriël looked to her new mother and father who both nodded yes. Once the spell was completed, she felt a presence in her mind. <Hello Galadriël. We are going to be such good friends.>
The young girl blinked and “You are just like Godzilla.” To which the guardian spirit nodded. “But we need a name for you as well.” She looked to her mother and asked, “Mother what is the elvish form of Tyrannosaur?”
Vinyaernilwe smiled and shook her head. “That, my young one would be “
Galadriël turned back and asked the lizard. “What do you think about ?” To which the guardian spirit snuggled in her arms.
Finally, it was Anthony’s turn. He looked first to the new parents then back at Galadriël. “When I was on my last combat mission, I promised your father I would see that you were taken care of. I do not have the ability to cast spells or can give guardian spirits so this gift I give you comes from my heart. You will always be under my protection no matter what. At the time of your greatest need, just give me a call and I will move heaven and Earth to save you. As far as you future is concerned, I give you this money in a sealed account to be accessed when you turn twenty-one or start college.” The girl gave him a brief hug in thanks.
Once the gifts had been handed out, Ringeristion called for everyone’s attention and said. “It is late and Galadriël needs to get some sleep. But feel free to enjoy the festivities in our absence.”
Saint turned and looked at Katie before replying “I’m sure we will. I’m sure we will.”
Katie was standing near the refreshment table, talking to Shaw. They were deep in a discussion going over that night’s events when Saint joined them. They shared a look and offered the young man a drink.
Saint was sitting back, enjoying the music when he noticed Shaw and Katie huddled together and looking his way every so often. <Okay, now what are those two up to? I know I’m going to regret this but I had better go over and find out.> While walking over to the refreshment area, he spotted Obi Wan, JD, and Steve Sloan were also looking his way and wearing sly grins. His sense of apprehension increased accordingly, <Now, I know I’m being set up. The question is how and when. I’d better keep on my toes if I hope to some out of this in one piece.> Katie, picked up her drink and moved up to Anthony.
“Anthony, it’s nice of you to join us. Shaw and I were talking about the quality of the illusions used to disguise the ceremony.”
Shaw smiled and commented, “You look like a man with a thirst.” She handed the Jedi in training a glass filled with a bright red liquid. “Here, try this.”
Saint accepted the drink and looked first to the soul sister and then to the Amazon. <This drink is definitely spiked. This is a good time to put my latest lesson to good use.> He asked Shaw, “And just what is in this drink?”
“Oh nothing special, just berries, flowers, all combined with sun+moonlight. It is a drink unique to Elvish culture, called Elverquisst and has a refreshing taste.”
Saint’s danger sense went up a notch as he watched Katie’s reaction to the explanation. <I am definitely using that new Jedi trick. With my luck, this is one of the most potent drinks ever distilled.> He quickly passed his hand over the drink and used the Force to eliminate any alcohol content. With a single drink, the glass was emptied. Taking a napkin to wipe off his mouth, the young man commented, “You were right. That is one of the most refreshing drinks I have had in a long time.”
Katie gave him a questioning stare, “Anthony, don’t you feel any different?”
Her question was answered with a shrug. “Not really. Then again, one of my more recent lessons with Master Jinn involved using the Force to eliminate poisons from food or drink.” Explained Saint.
Shaw immediately caught the implication and observed, “Since alcohol is often considered a poison…”
“I used my newly acquired knowledge to make this drink safe and totally non-alcoholic. When I saw you two having a conversation and constantly looking back at me, I got concerned. Now, maybe Obi Wan has been rubbing off with his ‘I have a bad feeling’ saying, but you guys were kinda obvious about being up to no good. Besides, our spectator crowd over there also clued me in that something was up.” Added Saint.
“Aww spoilsport.” Chided Katie. To which Shaw responded, “As Faith would say, It appears Grasshopper is learning."
Dharinel and Qui Gon observed from the shadows. Once the happening had begun to die down the two turned back to their discussion.
“Master Jinn, I have been getting a feeling that some great evil is approaching.” Commented the elf lord.
Qui Gon nodded and sighed, “I agree. I have been peering into the Force and I see a great evil is on it’s way and the forces of good on this planet must be prepared.”
“How much time do you think we have?”
“I do not have an exact timeline. There are many currents in the Force and I see two outcomes. One has both this world and my home galaxy falling to the darkness. The other path leads to victory and the continued freedom for all. As one of the Earth philosophers once said, “We are living in interesting times.”
“However, tonight is a time for celebration lets rejoin your friends and party. We can leave the oncoming darkness for tomorrow.”
Qui Gon agreed and the two moved off to rejoin the party.
The End (For Now)
Author’s Note: Thus concludes the second installment of Enter the Stalkers. While reading some of the emails at Karroll.com, I noticed one reader bemoaned the lack of a big villain. Hopefully, the upcoming visit of the Sith apprentice and meddling by Palpatine will fulfill that request. The next story, “Rainbow Slayer” will continue chronicling the Jedi stay on Earth and Saint’s continued training to become a Jedi. Expect to see a rise of terrorists attacks throughout the world, the appearance of Rainbow, and a Sith Dark Lord joining forces with Satan Section. In any case there will be lots of action in the next story.
On a side note, I recently received a flaming email complaining that the characters of Saint and his helicopter crew were thinly disguised copies of Michael Durant and the crew of the original Super 6-4, a Blackhawk that was shot down in 1993 and ended with the capture of the pilot and the death of his crew plus the two Delta snipers who protected the injured pilot until they too were killed in the action. This was followed by a demand that the fanfic be pulled. To set the matter straight, Saint is a composite character based on a number of historical figures including Warrant Officer Wolcott (Who was killed in the same fight), and a number of Vietnam era scout pilots such as. Lt. Larry Brown (A scout pilot with the 1/9th Cavalry, 1st Air Cav Division and known as the ‘Super Scout’), David Bray (He also flew Scouts with the 1/9th Cav), and other teenage pilots, thrown into flying lightly armed OH-13 and OH-6A helicopters at low altitude, flushing out any hidden NVA or Viet Cong. By the same token, Raymond Winslett, Saint’s co-pilot, is loosely based on a Earl Beegle, who was with Explosive Ordinance Disposal in the Army and later trained as a naval aviator and served as a flight control officer on a frigate.
In any case, the story in no way attempts to denigrate the efforts and accomplishments of the men in uniform and for the record, The operation in Somalia was a defeat only to the camera. An outnumbered American force took 100 casualties, achieved their objective, and walked out with their comrades. Meanwhile the opposing militia took over 1000 casualties. That is an American victory in any case. If you wish to find out more about what really happened in that Operation, read “Blackhawk Down” and listen to the participants tell their story on the History Channel Special. Likewise, check out ‘Headhunters’ by Matthew Brennan to find out more about the men of the 9th Cavalry during Vietnam. The American soldiers involved in both Vietnam and Somalia and the upcoming conflict with Iraq are truly heroes and should never be forgotten.
That said. This story is a work of fiction. If you have problems with parts of it, let me know with suggestions on how to correct them. But to the writer of the flaming email, if you want to bring someone over to your point of view it is a lot easier to do so through a civil conversation and offering ways to address your concerns. A flaming email filled with accusations and demands will only make the target of your ire become more likely to either ignore or reply in kind. Lets keep the discussions civil, shall we?
Finally, to the former members of the armed forces who sent words of support and encouragement, I am extremely grateful and give my heartfelt thanks.