HelLex VI: StarBat: SB-1
by cHarley

Part 8

A bit disoriented she said and cold... I feel like I've been in a washing machine then hung out to dry in Antarctica.

"What a rush," Tim gushed.

"Beats heroin," Dawn agreed.

"What?" Sam and Jack said at the same time as they turned to face Dawn.

"P-pardon?" Daniel said a beat later.

"You've never done something you shouldn't but thought was exciting and did it anyway? I'll know if you're lying. I've been taught to detect that. Anyway it wasn't addiction stage and I've sworn it off. I promised Robin and Arsenal and I don't lie."

"Uh... ok," Jack said. "I don't think I want to know any more right now."

We were saved a long and painful explanation by the arrival of a busy looking little man in midnight blue robs and a black cape held closed by a brooch shaped like a bat. He blinked, surprised, then bowed. "Welcome."

"Hello. What is your name?" Daniel asked with a welcoming smile and no threatening gestures.

"My name is unimportant of great ones. I was placed by the gate to receive the great god Abraxas upon his return." The little man addressed Bruce. "Your prophet preceded you as you said he would, as it says in the writings."

"Could we see these writings?" Daniel asked.

The little man looked at Bruce.

"Show us these writings," Bruce commanded.

We were lead into a chamber off the one we were in where even the low ceiling and floor were covered in two forms of writing.

"Perhaps this room will no provide the answers you expect Doctor Jackson," Bruce said, crouching down to pick up and examine a near invisible piece of dust that only he thinks is out of place in this dusty foreign structure.

"You *are* he returned," our self-appointed guide said with excited awe. "The great god of wisdom and knowledge, god of the night. Abraxas has returned," the man began yelling.

"At least their gods weren't g'oauld."

"Do not be too certain MajorCarter," Teal'c said pointing at writing on the walls of the wide passageway.

"Heiroglyphs and... runes?" I asked.

"Words of the false gods and message to Thor," Daniel said nodding. I'll assume I was right then.

"Abraxas isn't a Norse God," Willow said, retrieving a palm sized computer from her pocket. "These writings are the story of this god Abraxas in ancient Egyptian and an ancient Norse script," she said, using the little inkless pen-thing to stab at the small screen. "Apparently, he left through the stargate and promised to return, saying they would recognise him by his skills and by the demon-prophet who preceded him, who would profess both wonder and anger at his skills and abilities and who would be accompanied by... a daughter? Or is that a priestess of the god... It's unclear. Perhaps she is both."

"Ra's al Ghul," Bruce hissed. Oh goodie. The Bat's second most annoying archenemy.

"Err... the- the, uh, Demon's Head?" Daniel translated.

"Yes. If Ra's is here..."

"Maybe that little guy in the dressing gown can lead us to him?" Jack suggested.

"Or maybe he's in Ra's service," I mumbled, weaving between Jack and Bruce, Sam and Tim to wander ahead of them. Running my hand over the wall, just above it, I felt rushing air from a groove in the wall. "I feel like Indiana Jones. Please don't let there be a temple of human sacrificers down here..." I muttered as I ran gentle fingers over the runic symbols on the wall to the left of the groove. Nothing. So I moved on to the next broad column of symbols, then the next. "This would be too easy if it was right."

"What's that Buffy?" Dawn asked me, coming to stand beside me.

"These symbols here are the same as 'door' in English. I was just thinking that it would be too easy if pushing on the word made the door I think is here somewhere open."

"Stranger things have happened than a simple solution."

"Very true... but do i really want to know?"

"Probably not," she smiled. "Push it and see."

So I did and lo and behold a panel slid away revealing a flight of stairs so long the end faded into dark. "God of the night, lead on..." I said to Bruce who had also come to stand beside me as I inspected the wall. He glowered at me. "Remember that I'm unimpressed by that look B-boy."

"Wait! We can't just go down there," Daniel said, alarming tinting his voice.

"Why not?" Dawn, Willow and I asked in unison.

He paused to think. "We need more light."

"You have a torch," Tim pointed out.

"What about a recon exercise?" Daniel suggested in desperation.

"Too late. Ra's will have heard us by now," Bruce said.

"You're sure it's him," Jack asked.

Bruce held up the speck of dust he'd inspected. "This is from his garments."

I took Bruce's arm and pulled him away from the door before closing it. He looked at me expectantly. "He'll be expecting us whether we go now or in 30 minutes so just relax. Teal'c? Can you show me how to use one of those things?" I asked him, pointing at the stick like weapon he was carrying a pair of.

He handed me one. "This opens the weapon. This fires it."

I found a way to hold it in imitation of Teal'c and pretended to fire.

"It has a hell of a kickback," Jack said.

"So what's your plan Buffy?" Willow asked.

"Bruce, you've had most experience with Ra's. What's your take on this?"

"He could have simply used the gate to escape earth."

"But?" Jack and I asked at the same time.

"But I doubt it. Those stairs probably lead to a Lazarus pit and Ra's main chamber. There will be followers somewhere near. They'll act as his guards. His daughter Talia will be close by."

"So do we charge down the stairs?" Jack asked. "And what is a Lazarus pit?"

"We prepare weapons and ourselves. I personally need to warm up for a fight after going through that gate."

"I'm hungry," Willow smiled.

"And I need the bathroom." Dawn giggled, "I know. I should have gone before we left."

Jack rolled his eyes. Sam smiled at Dawn. "Let's go outside then."

We pause outside to survey our surroundings and see that a team from earth has already arrived on this world.

A painfully familiar young man approaches quickly and crisply salutes Jack. "Colonel."

"Lieutenant Finn. Report."

"There have been no sightings of the people from the earth. There is a village to the east and a large, advanced city to the north, over those hills. There also seem to be no goa'uld here at present. We haven't found any indication that they actually settled here either."

"This is..."

"Yeah we've met before. Riley. You remember Willow and Dawn. This is Bruce, Dick and Tim. What next Jack?"

He takes everything in stride. "We review what we know about this Ra's guy. Bruce explains about Lazarus pits without being boring. We find these people and take them back to earth."

"Buffy... One of the people who came through..."

"Yeah it was Ethan. Like I'm surprised Riley. Ok," I continue and walk toward the largest and only open tent in the cluster. "We know that Ra's is several thousand years old and that he uses the Lazarus pits to keep himself alive and physically healthy. Apparantly the earth has become too polluted for the pits to work very well anymore. Our working assumption here is that he's come here to create an unpolluted source for himself. Are there any other gates on Earth?"

"They don't work," Jack said shortly.

Willow looked up sharply from the computer she had commandeered. "Could they?"

"In theory..." Daniel began.

"But it's highly unlikely," Sam finished.

Willow, Dawn and I sighed. "Ok. Anything else you wanna spring on us?"

"We'll let you know. How does the Lazarus pit work?"

"It is impossible to explain without being boring," Bruce grumbles and Jack nods. "After he has used the pit there are a few minutes of extreme violence and insanity. It passes but each time it takes longer. His daughter Talia is his assistant along with a bodyguard named Ubu."

"Ethan Rayne is a magic user. He's a bit crazy. One Halloween he used the god Janus to turn everyone who bought a costume from his store into what they were dressed as. I became an 18th century noble woman and Wills became a ghost which wasn't all bad cause she could pass through things. And Xander turned into Military Man which was cool."

"Oh yeah cause then he got you that rocket launcher for your seventeenth birthday," Willow said excitedly.

"Probably not the best time to mention that spot of theft Wills," Tim pointed out with a smile. She nodded.

"Ethan is human," Dick commented.

"Yeah, unfortunately. I'd really love to have thanked him for turning Giles into a demon... Anyway, he's mostly harmless and more importantly he's a coward. If he can be cornered somewhere away from Ra's and Talia it'll only take one threat for his submission. Of course a punch to the face to knock him out never hurts. It cost a fortune to remove that tattoo he so kindly gave me."

"Ethan gave you a tattoo?"

"Oh yeah," I answered Tim. "Not long after the Halloween fiasco Eyghon the Sleepwalker decided to reclaim Giles and Ethan and some of the friends of their youth, anyone who bore his mark. Ethan knocked me out while I was trying to get him to somewhere safe and I woke up as he was putting the finishing touches on the tattoo on the back of my neck, after he'd removed the one on his arm of course. It was Wills fast thinking and Angel's vampire status that saved us. Point is, there isn't anything he can do that we can't stop. Ra's may be a problem though. He thinks big but not very thoroughly. Batman always manages to out think him."

Bruce grunted at that and seemed to be delving into memories of the things that got him booted from the JLA. "Talia can be a wild card but I will deal with her..."

"No. You deal with Ra's Wills or I will deal with Talia. Don't want you to break that 'no hitting girls' rule."

"First problem is finding them," Dick pointed out.


"One of the recon teams brought these images back. This passage..."

"It talks about Abraxas' palace and the place of the prophet."

"And these five numbers and three symbols are a latitude and these six numbers and three symbols are a longitude. All we need is to find a corresponding location and work it out."

"What are we looking for?" Jack asked.

"Well a meridian line and a map with 'you are here' clearly marked wouldn't go astray," Daniel remarked.

"Failing that?" I prompt, managing to swallow most of my laugh.

"Well I think we can be fairly certain that the building the stargate is in is the prophet's place."

"How do you figure that?" Jack asked.

"Well, this part of the text says that the stargate is housed in the prophets place," Daniel replied.

"Makes you wanna hit them huh?" I asked Jack. "Are there any other useful instructions?"

"There is a city mentioned, built to house visitors to the palace and the gate. It's to the north of the palace and the west of the city by a quarter days march."

"Then let's get started. If Ra's was in the prophets place he'd have come for us or given us a clue by now."

"And his ego wouldn't allow him to stay in an underground place like that if there is a palace to be had," Dick added.

"So we head west," Tim said. Everyone nodded except Bruce who wasn't paying attention to us.

Continue To Chapter Nine

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