was left of some of the buildings was very beautiful, but it
had been uninhabited for a very long time. As soon as they walked
out of the room that housed the Stargate it was obvious that
not a lot lived in the vicinity. Daniel stood there just looking
for a while and it reminded him of a scene from some post-apocalyptic
movie. Only here the wind whistling through the derelict buildings
was real, and the emptiness seemed to surround the team. There
were few visual clues as to the culture behind the structures,
and nothing really suggested any particular era from Earth's
history to explain their origins.
home," Jack said from where he stood slightly to the front
of the others.
place feels like a tomb," Daniel commented.
you so much for that happy imagery, Dr Jackson," O'Neill
shot back sarcastically.
looks much like a city Apophis decimated while I was in his
service," Teal'c provided in his normal stoic tone. "I
would suggest that this place was destroyed by the Goa'uld a
very long time ago."
the sixty four thousand dollar question is - 'Why?'," Jack
said, obviously as unhappy with this mission as he had been
from the first moment it was mentioned.
world had shown up as dead when the probe had gone through,
but some of the pictures it sent back had perked the interest
of the scientific side of SGC. Daniel had actually been quite
excited by the things he had seen, but then as Jack so often
reminded him, his idea of fun was playing in a big sandpit with
dead people. The first indications were of an Earth type culture,
but standing there Daniel wasn't so sure any more. It was definitely
a city, but for some reason he couldn't quite pin down he didn't
think it was a human city.
say the answer is down there," Sam offered her opinion
on the problem and pointed to a group of large important looking
let's get on with the history lesson then," Jack decided
and moved off. "Teal'c check out the perimeter, make sure
were not going to suddenly have company. You know how I so dislike
surprises. The rest of you follow me."
took one last look around and then headed after the rapidly
disappearing Colonel. This place felt old, and as usual anything
with age called to him to investigate. Archaeology and anthropology
were what he had been born to do and long ago he had decided
there was nothing he could do to stop his instincts. He followed
Sam into the first of the buildings and just stopped in the
doorway, stunned by what he saw. The whole place was open, no
supporting walls and no pillars to hold up the vast ceiling.
His brain did take a fraction of a second to wonder how it stayed
up, but the rest was totally occupied by the paintings that
covered every wall.
of the paintings were abstract, and some were scenes. There
was no longer a question about the alien feel of the city --
the people who had lived here were humanoid, but the crest ridges
over the top of their heads and the wide, colourful eyes showed
they were definitely not from Earth. The first thing Daniel
noted was that the story on the walls showed everything from
birth to death, but there was not a solitary battle. This building
gave the anthropologist an underlying sense of peace and it
was actually quite a profound moment.
Sam said as she looked around.
maybe, Major," O'Neill responded, "but is this what
we came for?"
forced down the retort that came to his lips and instead walked
further into the building. He was getting a picture of the people
who had lived here, and he was already almost sure about several
think we may be looking at a culture as or more advanced than
the Goa'uld," he voiced his opinion out loud before Jack
could ask Carter any more terse questions. "That looks
like a depiction of space flight," he pointed to his right,
"and over there, I think anyway, is something like a sarcophagus.
In a primitive culture I'd say it was a scene of magical healing,
but with the rest of it I'd have to go with some sort of medical
he looked back at Jack, the officer didn't look very impressed.
they were so advanced why aren't they still here? How were they
driven away?" he asked pointedly.
has a point, sir," Sam put in her two cents. "Look
around," she suggested, "do you see one picture of
war? In many cultures it's the warriors and heroes who are depicted
in art. If these people were peaceful it's possible they didn't
defend themselves. They could have been pacifists like the Nox."
credit Jack did glance up at the paintings again.
point taken," he said, and Daniel had a sneaking suspicion
that the scientists of the group did actually have an effect
on their leader even if the Colonel would never admit it.
took the opportunity to wander off and look around. It was a
very beautiful building, even if part of the roof was missing
and there was rubble on the floor. He found an anthropologist's
dream scratched into the wall behind one of the large piles
or stone. It wasn't part of the design of the building, it was
scratched into the bright red dress of a character in one of
the scenes. Daniel was peering at it so intently that he didn't
realise Sam had walked up behind him until she leant over his
shoulder to have a look.
you can translate?" she asked as he finally looked at her.
"It doesn't look similar to anything I've ever seen."
either," the anthropologist admitted slowly as he glanced
back at the text. "Bits are almost familiar, but in this
combination it's unique in my experience."
two studied it for a while longer and then O'Neill joined them.
Daniel tried to ignore him and get on with the job at hand,
but Jack had a way of being very present even when he wasn't
saying anything. The anthropologist could feel the officer's
eyes burning a hole in the back of his head.
what's it say, Danny?" O'Neill finally asked in a totally
neutral, but unerringly annoying tone.
don't know," Daniel had to admit, and hoped he kept the
pique out of his voice.
should move on," Jack told them, "there might be more
interesting stuff than alien graffiti in some of those other
patience was stretched very thin, but he managed to keep his
is interesting," he said and refused to look anywhere but
at the writing. "It isn't anything to do with the rest
of the design it could be important."
makes you happy," O'Neill replied in an infuriatingly off-hand
tone. "You can stay here, Carter and I will go and look
for other junk."
chose not to reply and he didn't glance up until he was sure
his companions had at least reached the door. He knew Jack didn't
really mean anything by what he said, but it was so frustrating
some times. Shaking his head the anthropologist went about the
task of recording what he had found.
just stared at the text in front of him, and wondered for the
thousandth time what it said. He was supposed to be able to
read anything, but this, this language was a total mystery.
He had no frame of reference from which to decipher the script,
he didn't even know which way round it was supposed to be read.
Daniel Jackson, the genius translator, was stuck, totally and
completely. The annoying thing was that he was irrationally
sure that he had to read what Jack seemed to think was an irrelevant
piece of gibberish. His friend's view was a perfectly logical
one, but all Daniel's instincts told him that the text was important.
had found no other writing on their entire exhibition; lots
of pictures yes, but no writing. The current theory was that
the indigenous race had been at a point in their history where
they had kept all their texts on the machines that had been
found destroyed in various places. Daniel had tried to point
out that they couldn't always have done this and there should
have been some sort of records, but he was a small voice in
a multitude. At least General Hammond had given him leave to
study the script for as long as it took.
looked vaguely familiar in parts; the problem was it didn't
actually seem to fit any particular pattern. Some of it was
pictographic, some was a little like cuneiform, and certain
things almost appeared interchangeable. Bits of the pictographs
seemed to contain parts of the symbol-based script, and there
appeared to be some significance to the way these were arranged,
but it was such a huge puzzle that it just didn't make any sense.
It didn't seem to have been designed with anything like the
human way of doing things. The alien race that had left it behind
was definitely different from anything SG-1 had seen before.
took his glasses off and sat back in his chair, rubbing between
his eyes to try to return the vestiges of distance vision he
had left after years in academia. Bookwork just didn't seem
to be helping, and the leaps in logic that usually helped him
with these things weren't making themselves known. He had been
working on this for two weeks, and he was getting nowhere. SG-1
had already been on another mission, leaving him behind so that
he could continue his work. They had finally let him take it
off the base when he pointed out that he would work far better
with all his notebooks and reference texts around him. One over
zealous commander had suggested they ship the contents of his
apartment to SGC, but thankfully General Hammond had put a stop
to that. If Daniel couldn't translate it, it was very unlikely
anyone else could, and the military had finally had the sense
to see this.
were books all over the table, texts on everything that Daniel
had even remotely thought of when looking at the alien script.
He was coming to the conclusion that this race, whoever they
were, might actually have been to earth at some point and interacted
with the natives. There were things in some of the more obscure
ancient languages which seemed to reflect parts of what he was
seeing. It wasn't the type of evidence that had led him to the
work that had brought him to the Stargate project, but it was
convincing to him, even if another scholar would probably come
up with an entirely different view.
up one book and turned it over in his hands, opening it and
just glancing at the first page to distract his over taxed brain.
He read the inscription and smiled slightly: -
Never let them tell you your work is nonsense, they weren't
been so long since he had thought of his days before the Stargate
program; it seemed so far away now. Travelling to other worlds
had rather dwarfed the experience of his academic career. Adam
had been a good friend when no one else would even talk to him,
a fellow researcher, and the best linguist Daniel had ever met.
They had found each other purely by accident at a conference
on the use of pictographs in mesa American art.
had been on the verge of taking off his nametag and trying to
be anonymous after two other delegates had tried to pick an
academic fight over some of his theories. Adam had popped up
out of nowhere and taken the other two anthropologists down
a peg or two. They had spent the rest of the conference in each
other's company. Daniel remembered Adam having the strangest
sense of humour as he laughed at some of the oddest times. They
had conversed in letters for ages after that. With a guilty
pang Daniel realised that he had never answered Adam's last
letter that had been just after the Stargate program took over
anthropologist just sat there for a while looking at the spidery
handwriting before letting his eyes slip back to script he was
studying, and then it hit him. Adam Pierson was his answer.
If anyone could help him it was his old friend, and as he reached
for the phone he never even stopped to think that the military
might not like what he was about to do.
the Highlander at home?" Methos breezed into the dojo as
if he owned the place, and Richie gave up on his interrupted
went DIY shopping about an hour ago," the younger Immortal
replied unenthusiastically, "he's planning on redecorating."
saw the smirk work it's way into Methos' demeanour and he had
to put down the desire to wipe the expression off the five thousand
year old Immortal's.
I chose the right time to pick up my stuff," he announced
with completely irritating cheer, and headed for the elevator.
followed--he'd almost finished his workout anyway, and Methos
might have been annoying, but he was at least more interesting
than an empty dojo.
ancient man just stood there as the machine took them to the
loft and his silence finally goaded Richie into a question.
"What stuff?" he asked.
Methos replied, "I left them here, oh, about two years
ago now. I was moving ...I think. Been meaning to come and get
them for ages."
raised an eyebrow, if there was one thing he had learned it
was that Methos didn't do anything unless he had a reason, and
he was curious.
they've been here this long," he said slowly, "why
other Immortal grinned, and for a moment Richie thought he wasn't
going to tell him.
had a call from an old friend," Methos told him, "and
I need them. I'm going on a road trip."
elevator reached its destination and the two men walked out.
nice?" Richie enquired.
special," Methos replied.
ancient Immortal made a beeline for a trunk in the corner of
the room, and Richie was left to survey the loft. Most of the
furniture was covered in polythene, and there were paint drip
sheets everywhere. This time MacLeod was serious about redecorating,
and Richie just knew he was going to be landed with all the
really dirty jobs.
doesn't he just get the decorators in?" Methos mused, changing
the subject back to MacLeod. "It's not as if he doesn't
have enough money."
know Mac," Richie replied, imagining all sorts of tortures
the Highlander could find for him, "a man's home is his
walls and a roof if you're lucky," the other Immortal commented
cynically, "and castles were not all they're cut up to
be. If there's someone else who can do it make sure they do,
that's my philosophy. Of course when you get to my age there
are some things that you just have to do yourself..."
some company?" Richie said on impulse, interrupting the
ancient man's flow of words: anything had to be better than
gallons of paint and varnish, even Methos.
companion looked up from where he was rummaging, he expression
appeared genuinely surprised.
I stay here I'll be sanding for the rest of my life," Richie
told his companion, hoping that the puppy dog look would work
on Methos this one time.
can come if you want," Methos told him, the Old Man was
obviously in a generous mood, "but you'll probably be bored
out of your tiny mind. Daniel is an expert in ancient languages."
is better than here," Richie replied.
the Highlander is on a mission you could be right," Methos
agreed. "If that house was anything to go by, you're safer
anywhere but here. Stand still long enough and he'll paint you."
had seen Daniel in days, and even though O'Neill would never
tell his friend, he missed him when he wasn't around. Jack kept
up the facade of military man, fixed on the mission, no time
for talking, but he found Daniel's continual quest for knowledge
stimulating. Sometimes he could be annoying, especially when
he was right, but the team didn't feel complete without him.
When Carter had suggested they go see how their friend was getting
on with the translation, Jack had readily agreed. What they
had found when they reached Daniel's apartment was a man knee
deep in paper, and less than happy about life.
waved them all through the door and kicked several pieces of
paper out of his path as he headed for the table. He was definitely
distracted, and Jack was almost sure he'd been wearing the clothes
he was in for a couple of days straight. They had that crumpled;
we've-been-slept-in look that O'Neill remembered from occasions
in his own past.
there's fresh coffee on in the kitchen," the anthropologist
said absently, "help yourselves. I just have to go change."
he turned and left them standing there, almost as if he'd forgotten
don't think I've seen him this spaced since he was working on
the gate glyphs," Jack commented and headed for the inviting
smell of coffee.
like he's really into this," Sam commented as she followed
her commanding officer. "Wonder how it's going."
just shrugged and tried to find some clean mugs. It looked like
everything Daniel had eaten over the past however long was from
a packet and there were enough water filled mugs in the sink
to fill two cupboards. In the end O'Neill washed a few of them
up and Sam dried them.
wandered back into the living room with four steaming coffees
to find Teal'c peering at the mess on the table. Jack walked
over and looked down, staring at the hand drawn copy of the
alien writing. The first thing he wondered was whether he was
looking at it the right way up. Finding it just a jumble of
shapes he switched to glancing over Daniel's notes, and was
equally bemused. At a guess the anthropologist had been using
shorthand, alternatively it could have just been a bunch of
tiny little lines. There were two options, keep looking and
try and appear as if it was something he could even remotely
understand, or admit defeat and just give up. Since the little
squiggles threatened to start moving he took the later option
and decided to focus on his coffee. It wasn't long before Daniel
reappeared. He even seemed to have managed to shower in the
short time he'd been away: O'Neill was impressed.
how's it going," Jack asked as his friend wandered back
into the room.
you want what I've been telling General Hammond or the truth?"
Daniel replied wearily.
bad?" Sam sounded sympathetic.
so complex," the scientist told her, and Jack recognised
the excited look appear in Daniel's eyes: they were in for the
works. "I've never seen anything quite like it. It a very
beautiful looking language, but there are fifty seven different
symbols in what seem like almost random sequences."
breathed a sigh of relief as the doorbell interrupted his friend's
monologue. For a moment Daniel looked as if he was confused
by what had stopped him, but with a shake of his head he walked
towards the door. Jack was sure he'd never quite understand
intellectuals. He watched as Daniel peered through the spy hole,
and saw the younger man's whole demeanour change. The anthropologist's
face lit up and he almost missed the door handle in his eagerness
to reach it.
you made it," Daniel greeted almost before he'd swung back
anthropologist never really talked about life outside the Stargate
project, and he'd definitely never mentioned a friend called
Adam. The way Daniel was reacting; it was like his best friend
had just come back from the dead. As his friend moved slightly
to the left Jack caught his first glimpse of the new arrival.
O'Neill was quite surprised to see two people; a tall dark haired
man in a long overcoat and a slightly shorter blond man hovering.
a puzzle this interesting, how could I refuse," the dark
haired spoke and proved himself to be Adam. "This is Richie,
I hope you don't mind me bringing him along."
problem," Daniel replied, "come in both of you."
was no logical reason for Jack's hackles to be up, but as he
saw Daniel's friends something bothered him. For some reason
he couldn't quite explain both men, but especially Adam, set
his teeth on edge. Maybe he'd been in the military too long,
maybe gating from world to world was making him paranoid, but
he couldn't shake the feeling.
Daniel turned back, it was quite obvious he hadn't thought through
the situation to that point and the half-unsure look that so
often shaped his expression appeared.
ah, Richie," the archaeologist began, "these are some
of my colleagues. Jack O'Neill, Sam Carter and Teal'c. Guys,
I'd like you to meet an old friend of mine from my purely academic
to meet you," Adam had a disarmingly pleasant smile, and
Jack found himself smiling back as the stranger spoke, even
before he realised it.
kid Adam had called Richie hung back looking a little awkward,
and the way he scanned the room reminded Jack of a trapped rabbit--the
Colonel corrected himself, no he didn't look that helpless,
maybe a trapped cat. Now that he was getting over the surprise
that Daniel had other friends, O'Neill was beginning to take
stock of the situation. His eyes wandered to the papers scattered
on the table, and back to Daniel: he had a sneaking suspicion.
as in also a linguist?" he asked slowly.
the anthropologist replied, oblivious to the veiled question
under the one he was answering, "Adam and I met at a conference
a few years ago. He's one of the two people in my field who
will still talk to me."
anthropologist was so pleased to see his old friend that it
took a few seconds for him to realise Jack did not look equally
happy. O'Neill saw the light dawn and Daniel began to look a
he admitted eventually, "yes he's here about the script.
I can't translate the writing alone, and Adam is the only other
person who could help me. He's the best of the rest."
had a sinking feeling.
me if I'm wrong, but do I sense classified in this conversation?"
Adam didn't appear to be very worried.
could feel the frown knitting his brows, and he made no effort
to remove it.
take that as a 'yes'," was the stranger's matter-of-fact
if we want this translated, we need Adam," Daniel tone
left little room for argument.
bells were going off in O'Neill's head, but one thing he did
know was that his friend wouldn't lie to him. Daniel was being
perfectly honest, which left them in a quandary.
it's so vital why didn't you go through Hammond?" he asked
wait a year until the powers that be come back with a no,"
Daniel replied, "you may not have noticed this but Adam
isn't a US citizen and some of our colleagues get nervous at
Sam stepped in, "let's not fight in front of the guests."
sarcasm got to them both, and Jack saw Daniel lose his obstinate
look, as he himself tried to reign in his training. He was calming
himself down when he noticed that Adam's attention had wandered
away from him and was now focused on Teal'c. The Jaffa was wearing
his hat as usual since he was off base, and although Teal'c
was quite large and an eye catching individual this seemed too
slight a reason to be causing what appeared to be intense interest.
What made Jack start to feel edgy was that Adam was not staring
at Teal'c face, he was looking straight at the other man's chest.
When the sharp piercing gaze flicked upwards and peered under
the rim of the Jaffa's hat to where a fleck of gold was just
visible, O'Neill's alarm bells started ringing.
was definitely wrong, and this time Jack wasn't trying to ignore
his instincts. He glanced around and everyone else in the room
had noticed Adam's interest: the other two human contingent
of the SG-1 team looked vaguely nervous and the rest of the
room didn't appear too comfortable either. The only person who
looked calm was Teal'c and he didn't count because he only had
one everyday expression. Daniel looked awkward; Sam definitely
didn't like the situation; even Richie appeared uneasy about
something and had moved closer to Adam. As for the mysterious
source of the tension himself, the dark haired man had a frown
rapidly growing on his face. O'Neill was absolutely positive
none of this was good.
had felt awkward just entering the apartment; once what sounded
like government involvement had been announced he was even less
happy; now Methos was acting strangely and everything was going
down hill. The guy introduced as Teal'c might have a funny name,
and he didn't look like someone you'd want to meet on a dark
night, but that didn't explain the ancient Immortal's behaviour.
Methos was always calm and collected; Richie had almost never
seen him thrown by anything. He was five thousand years old
for heaven's sake: what he hadn't seen didn't need mentioning.
His dispassionate approach could be as annoying as hell, but
Methos' current reaction was far more worrying.
younger Immortal found himself wishing he was anywhere but where
he was, that was, until he actually looked hard at Teal'c. Something
stirred at the back of his mind as he let his paranoia go for
a second and considered the situation. It was totally weird,
and he had no idea what was happening, but he felt something.
It was so faint that if Methos had not been acting so strangely
he would never have noticed, but part of him knew Teal'c was
not all he seemed. For some reason he could not fathom his eyes
moved slowly to the bottom of the guy's chest. This whole situation
was just too freaky.
who didn't know him Methos probably looked relaxed, but Richie
knew the ancient man was nothing of the sort. If he had not
clamped down on his fighting instinct the younger Immortal would
have been reaching for his sword. Methos then surprised the
whole room by saying one word.
out in such a tone of derision that there was totally stunned
silence, even from Richie who really didn't know what his friend
was talking about. Several faces looked as if they were trying
to come up with something to say, but it was Teal'c who spoke.
did you know?"
lost the conversation there as Methos said something that sounded
to him like complete gibberish. Teal'c just looked at him, and
then replied, also in the same incomprehensible language.
what do you mean? Why did you refer to yourself as the enemy,"
Daniel had translated the conversation, but he didn't look as
if he understood it.
are you doing working with them?" Methos replied, sounding
very unhappy and pointing at the six foot something black guy
in a way Richie thought was probably unwise. "Tell me they're
archaeologist looked speechless, and Richie was totally confused.
Methos was acting very un-Methos like: he never talked in straight
lines if circles would do, but he was being nothing if not plain.
Richie might not understand what was going on, but he was sure
everyone else did.
is on our side," was what Daniel eventually said. "No
they're not back."
eye opened wide as if he'd just realised something and then
he frowned again.
say you didn't help someone open the Gate of the Gods,"
the ancient Immortal said, and Richie gave up trying to understand
any of the conversation.
seemed to be about to say something, but the linguist's friends
did not seem interested in that and Richie knew trouble when
he saw it. The O'Neill guy was looking dangerous, and for the
first time the Immortal wondered if the other man's jacket might
hide more than a shirt.
do you know about the Stargate, and where did you find out?"
the man Richie was positive was military stepped forward.
know it was buried for a very good reason," Methos' voice
was angry, "and I know it cost thousands of lives to do
it. Putting it back together has to be a particularly modern
arrogance. There were wars fought over that thing, and it should
have stayed shut."
was something unnerving about Teal'c and Richie found his eyes
drawn back to the big man. It wasn't really his size or his
deadpan expression, Richie had faced worse in his short Immortal
career, and he couldn't work out why the guy spooked him. However,
his scrutiny was rewarded by the view of Teal'c's face actually
moving for something other than speech. From the new expression
Richie figured Methos' diatribe had sparked a memory.
Enemy," Teal'c spoke slowly as if piecing together fragments
of thought. "There are legends of the Tau'ri, of men who
were not like their brothers. They walked with fallen gods and
led humans in rebellion against the true gods. They are forbidden
tales. These men were known as the Enemy."
you a part of some secret society?" Daniel seemed to be
trying to rationalise what he was hearing. "Are there people
out there who know about the Stargate."
was calming down, at least on the outside, and he looked at
the others in the room with disdain.
worry, I'm all that's left," the ancient Immortal said
coldly. "No one else remembers."
watched as Methos pushed his way past O'Neill towards the table
and looked down at the papers. Since he already knew so much
the military man obviously decided it wasn't worth stopping
is incredible," Daniel had a weird look in his eye, and
even though his friends were anxious, he looked of all things,
excited. "Where did you learn about the Stargate? Did you
know about it before we were at school together?"
way before," Methos returned, "let's just say it has
a lot to do with my knowledge of ancient languages."
didn't like the situation one little bit, but at least as Methos
glanced at the papers on the desk he seemed to relax a little.
The younger Immortal was almost beginning to hope they might
be able to salvage the situation. He'd thought about making
his escape several times, but he wasn't about to leave Methos,
and besides, being chased by the very large black guy was not
top of his to-do list. He was also curious about what the hell
was going on. So far he knew that Methos thought Teal'c was
not a good guy; that he was something called a Jaffa; and that
everybody here was involved with something called a Stargate.
It was a lot of information; unfortunately it was all completely
useless without some explanation.
can read it?" Daniel had watched Methos scan the transcript
of the writing they had found, and it hadn't been difficult
to realise the Old Man understood it: even Richie could tell
a bit rusty," Methos told his friend, "but yes I can
read it. This is the language of the Lenerai. They were on earth
before the Goa'uld and they tried to help humanity when it was
invaded. Unfortunately they were a peaceful people, they only
evacuated communities in danger from the Goa'uld, and they had
no offensive capabilities. Shu and Tefnut wiped out their planet
in 1500 BC by our calendar. The last known Lenerai died helping
lead the rebellion on Earth, but it's possible some of them
are still alive out there. This is from their home, and warns
any visitors of their fate, and the danger of the Goa'uld."
was slacked jawed and Richie had to admit that he was impressed
as well. The one person who didn't look at all thrilled was
right now I don't care what it says," the man announced
to the room in general. "This is all classified information,
and I don't know who's telling the truth about what, but I'm
going to find out. We're taking this to SG command, and I'm
not taking no for an answer."
didn't know what exactly SG command was, or where it happened
to be, but the idea of not having a choice but to go there,
worried him. The fact that the only other person in the room
who looked slightly anxious about the idea was Daniel also caused
the young Immortal some concern. Methos for his part just turned
around and looked at the military man. The ancient Immortal's
anger and momentary lack of control had passed, and he gave
the impression that he was totally in charge of the situation.
you insist," he said calmly.
just knew he was in big trouble. The fact that he was wearing
his slightly longer leather jacket, and hence was carrying his
sword with him was no longer as comforting as it had been. He
had considered leaving it in the car, but where Methos was concerned
you could never be too sure what you were walking into. When
they had begun their walk to the apartment it had seemed like
a sensible precaution, now Richie thought he might have been
I have absolutely no idea what is going on here," the Immortal
bad, kid," O'Neill told him, "because you're along
for the ride."
some effort, but Richie managed to bite back the retort that
came to his lips at the "kid" comment. Opening his
mouth now would most likely get him into even more trouble,
and no matter what Mac might think Richie had actually learnt
some restraint over the past few years. The day was turning
out to be a very bad one; Richie just prayed it wasn't going
to get any worse.
seemed to know exactly what he was doing, and with military
efficiency he separated Methos from Richie. The older Immortal,
Daniel and Teal'c were in one car, and Richie was in the other
with O'Neill and Sam. Richie decided it wasn't such a bad arrangement
as he found himself in the back seat next to the rather attractive
woman. Her whole attitude screamed military, from the way she
seemed to be assessing him the moment she sat down to the fact
that she kept looking to O'Neill for guidance. Richie knew he
had a weakness for a pretty face, and he tried to clamp down
on his hormones by reminding himself constantly that she was
of The Establishment. It was difficult when The Establishment
looked quite so good.
drove in silence for a good five minutes, but it appeared that
Sam wasn't as military as her companion, because she didn't
seem particularly comfortable just sitting there not saying
are you from?" she finally asked, and Richie saw O'Neill's
eyes flick to the rear view mirror.
Richie replied--he didn't see much point in keeping it a secret.
These people could locate his file any time they felt like it,
he knew how the system worked. "It's near Seattle."
there long?" was Sam's next question.
long as I can remember," the Immortal returned hoping his
mouth wouldn't run away with him. "I've moved around a
bit the past few years, but I always end up back there; bit
like a homing pigeon."
back seat companion smiled at that, and Richie found himself
smiling back. Sam seemed pleasant enough, and she wasn't radiating
suspicion out of every pore like O'Neill. If she hadn't been
part of his escort to what was probably a military base, Richie
might even have hit on her. As it was, a mantra started in the
back of his mind, telling him she was not to be trusted.
is where the heart is," she said lightly. "If you
don't mind me asking, how do you know, Adam Pierson?"
obvious that she was fishing for information, but Richie decided
it was better here than when they reached their destination.
have a mutual friend," he explained, "and we bumped
into each other one day. I wouldn't call us best buddies or
anything, I'm only here because otherwise I'd be sanding our
mutual friend's floor. Redecorating with my friends can be scary."
grin became wider.
have friends like that too," she told him and the little
voice in the back of his mind dimmed worryingly.
glanced forward and Richie tried to look as if he wasn't noticing
the silent signals going on between his escorts.
you really have no idea what's going on here?" it was half
question, half statement.
a clue," Richie replied truthfully, "when Adam opened
his mouth he surprised me as much as you. Then again you know
Adam long enough you come to expect things like this. Weirdness
is a way of life with my friends. For all I know you could have
just stepped off another planet."
went quiet, and the Immortal knew he'd said something, but he
wasn't sure what. She covered quickly, but her body language
spoke volumes even if she didn't. The mantra in his head came
back to full volume. Richie began to contemplate what had actually
been going on, and he started to think about the things Methos
had said. It was beginning to dawn on him that maybe the Old
Man's comments about Earth, and different races weren't just
figures of speech. Stargate, suddenly made sense and Richie
came to the conclusion that it was his comment about other planets
that had cause Sam's momentary discomfort. This wasn't about
ancient cultures; this was about aliens.
you even know anything about languages?" Sam was just making
small talk now, but Richie decided to play along.
know Sanskrit from Swahili," he replied, and tried to look
as relaxed as if he hadn't just had his world turned on it's
chatted for a while about nothing, Sam always digging for information,
Richie giving it and then steering her away from subjects he
didn't want to discus. It was when the Immortal saw the base
that he began to feel anxiety again. It was literally built
into a mountain, and it had top security written all over it.
Richie began to pray that they wouldn't search their "guests":
he hadn't been able to come up with an excuse for the sword.
He didn't think they'd buy the old line about being a dealer,
or a courier. Then again if the worst came to the worst what
else could he say.
so the courier line just wouldn't wash, especially since both
Richie and Methos had been carrying their swords. Metal detectors
were an Immortal's worst nightmare, and the base had soldiers
carrying hand held ones. The weapons had been confiscated and
both Immortals had been escorted to a locked room where they
had been left.
to go on ruining a vacation, Old Man," Richie said sarcastically,
and pointedly ignored the camera looking at him.
down," Methos shot back evenly, "this is more important
than just us. They need my help, they'll have to let us out
of here eventually, because it's more important than the US
military as well."
glared at his companion.
have to let you out," he said pointedly, "but what
about me? Thanks to the swords, Major Carter," the various
ranks of their captors had been revealed when they'd entered
the facility, "thinks everything I told her on the way
here is a bag of lies. They think we're part of a big conspiracy
to do with this Stargate thing." He paused. "What
is the Stargate anyway?"
a device for travelling to different worlds," Methos told
him. "Unfortunately it was taken over by a rather nasty
race several millennia ago, and the one on Earth was buried
to keep them away. An archaeologist dug it up again in the forties,
and the last I heard their experiments had failed. If I'd known
the US government had started the program again I would have
tried to find out more about it. The Goa'ulds could quite easily
wipe this planet off the face of the universe."
let the information sink in, and tried to make himself come
to terms with the situation.
know," he finally said, "I wish, just once that my
life could be simple."
play dumb and let me do the talking," were the words of
wisdom he offered.
two swords lay on the table as silent accusers, and Richie stood
in awkward silence beside Methos. The room was large, and was
obviously some sort of conference room. They'd been introduced
to General Hammond, and Daniel and company were seated around
the table. Richie was beginning to feel like a criminal dragged
in front of the judge, and he had never liked that sensation.
you care to explain these?" Hammond said in a bland tone
that belied the expression on his face.
just looked at him and kept his mouth shut: this was Methos'
old tradition," the ancient Immortal said calmly. "The
swords are a heritage nothing more."
do with your knowledge of the Stargate I suppose," Hammond
continued with equal dispassion.
time Methos just nodded.
Ryan claims no knowledge of the Stargate, Mr Pierson,"
the General stated evenly, "and yet he carried a weapon
of the corner of his eye, Richie saw Methos smile, and he tried
to appear as calm as his ancient friend.
comes first, knowledge later," the older Immortal told
those in the room. "I will need a successor, since I am
not going to live forever," Methos' tone was dismissive
and Richie hoped his face didn't give the other man away. "I've
been lax in finding someone to teach. Richie knew he was joining
a fraternity, but he had no idea about the Stargate."
General was silent for a moment, and fixed Methos and then Richie
with his gaze.
this true?" he looked Richie straight in the eye and demanded
young Immortal knew he was not a good liar, so he chose to tell
the literal truth.
really didn't know anything," he said, hoping his voice
wouldn't betray just how nervous he felt. "I still don't
know exactly what's going on, but I'd be lying if I told you
I didn't have my suspicions."
frankness of the reply had an effect on Hammond, and he nodded
as he heard it. He appeared to be a man who respected honesty.
O'Neill and his team tell me that you know more about the origins
of the Stargate than we do," the General turned his attention
back to Methos.
possible," the ancient Immortal replied, "but I don't
know what you know so I couldn't be sure. Man's history is very
incomplete, and some facts were hidden for a reason. Some people
chose not to forget, however, and the knowledge has been passed
on. The fact that there were aliens on this planet several thousand
years ago is one of those pieces of information, that there
was more than one species is another. I could tell you where
and when the rebellion against the Goa'uld started, and how
long it took, but that's not really relevant at this present
watched as Methos swept his eyes around the table, making sure
he had everyone's attention.
is relevant is what that text you recovered tells you,"
he continued. "It's a general warning about the Goa'uld,
but it's also a warning about the two who destroyed the Lenerai's
planet. If I may ask where did you find the text?"
information is classified," Hammond replied without hesitation.
let me just say," Methos continued, appearing not at all
surprised by the response, "if you found it on a desolated
world you've probably found the Lenerai's home, and if so you've
probably alerted Shu and Tefnut to your presence. The text talks
of a never-ending vigilance for signs of Lenerai survivors so
that they may be hunted down. It's possible you may have gained
the attention of two very nasty Goa'uld."
definitely held everyone's attention.
who are Shu and Tefnut?" Hammond was looking at Daniel.
was interested as well, and even though this still sounded like
an episode of the twilight zone, so much of his recent life
had been strange that he did not even question it.
twin lion gods," Daniel didn't appear to have any trouble
with the explanation, "Shu the male, god of dryness, Tefnut
the female, goddess of moisture and humidity. In the older texts
they are the children of Amen the creator, but in later texts
such as the book of the dead they are described as the children
of Ra and Hathor."
SGC personnel were looking at each other meaningfully.
there's no way they could get in here," O'Neill said confidently.
SG-2 are investigating the site," Sam reminded them all.
held up his hand.
our guests back to their room," he instructed the two guards
beside the door.
knew his observation of the situation was over.
had been through the gate, they had conferred with SG-2, nothing
was wrong. There was no sign of life on P3X157, and no sign
that anyone was looking for any. SG-3 had returned and that
left SGC with a mystery. Four hours after the original meeting,
SG-1 and General Hammond were once again around the briefing
why would he lie?" Daniel felt the need to defend his friend
after the General had shown them the reports.
to throw us off," O'Neill's answer wasn't what Daniel really
wanted to hear, but it wasn't completely impossible either,
"gain some time."
linguist couldn't think of a good answer, and it was unsettling
not to be able to trust a man who was his friend.
how well do you know Pierson?" Hammond addressed Daniel
spent three years working together," Daniel replied earnestly.
"He was the only one who didn't immediately tell me I was
insane when I started to form some of my theories. He even backed
me up with the funding body once or twice. He's a good friend
or I never would have called him in the first place."
General raised one eyebrow at that comment, and Daniel knew
that he had not heard the end of the consequences of that action.
At the present time, however, they had other worries.
until we can ascertain the truth of Pierson's statements,"
Hammond told them all, "I've recalled SG-2. They should
be returning on the hour. Jackson I want you to work with Pierson
until you have a working knowledge of this new language. I assume
you could tell if he was making it up."
nodded: it would be almost impossible for Adam to falsify the
text if he was teaching the syntax and semantics.
O'Neill, you work on Ryan," Hammond continued. "Make
friends, see what you can find out. Take him to the mess hall
or any other low security parts of the base, whatever you see
fit. I want answers people, and I want them quickly."
look on Jack's face clearly said that he wasn't very happy with
the assignment, but Daniel saw him bite back his objections.
With the mood the General was in, subtlety was the best policy.
Major Carter, confer with SG-2 when they return, look over their
logs and make sure nothing was missed," their commander
left the room as quickly as possible.
did not like playing baby-sitter, but he could see the reasoning
behind the General's order. Pierson acted as if he was perfectly
calm and in control of the situation; he would be a hard nut
to crack, but the kid let every thought flow across his face.
Relax him a little and Ryan might actually let something slip.
was not happy, but he managed a vaguely friendly expression
when he walked into the room where Ryan was being kept. He had
waited until Daniel had been along and moved Pierson, and he
had to admit that the kid was looking a little dejected when
he walked in. The background check had so far come up with a
juvenile record, an age and a list of foster homes: the young
man's recent history seemed to be a little more difficult to
track down. That he was nearly 24 had been quite a surprise
when Jack had skipped through the kid's file, come to think
of it he was going to have to stop thinking of Ryan as a kid.
He had the face of a teenager, but he clearly wasn't.
Jack opened the conversation when the "guest" looked
up, "I suppose you're having a bad day."
an understatement," Richie replied, and O'Neill decided
dejected was also an understatement.
I can't guarantee that it's going to get much better,"
Jack told him, almost feeling something for the puppy dog eyes,
"but I am allowed to let you out of this room. How does
serious?" the question was wary and Jack noted that this
guy seemed to have a healthy suspicion of authority.
expression was edgy, but he didn't look as if he was going to
refuse out right. O'Neill registered the fact that the kid seemed
to prefer anything but being locked up. Well even a Special
Forces trained Colonel could sympathise with that. Considering
his background, O'Neill couldn't blame him. Ryan's file was
nothing if not interesting, and his juvenile record had probably
given him a lot of experience with The Establishment.
I ever am," Jack told his charge. "Now the mess food
is as likely to kill you as nourish you, but most of us take
grinned at that and managed to look even more like a kid.
I'm just about hungry enough to risk it," the young man
replied, "but I warn you when I start to eat I've been
known to cause a famine."
found himself grinning back before he realised it and decided
that maybe he was going to have to watch this kid a bit more
closely than he had thought. Ryan's wit and unorthodox manner
could be disarming.
this way then," Jack told him and indicated the door, "I'll
tell you to close your eyes if we go past anything top secret."
rolled his eyes and Jack congratulated himself on a sharp move
as he saw the young man let his guard down just a touch more.
two men made their way to what served as a mess hall 28 floors
down inside a mountain, and O'Neill was surprised to find out
that Ryan had not been exaggerating too much when it came to
how much he could eat. They talked as they ate and Jack found
that Richie was shrewder than he would have given him credit
for. He diverted questions with much more skill than O'Neill
expected, and on his part he didn't ask any probing questions
of his own. He asked the odd thing, but it was all harmless
small talk, as if he was making sure Jack knew he was not a
threat. Ryan did let slip that he had ridden motorcycles on
the professional circuit for a while, and he'd travelled extensively
over Europe. O'Neill made mental notes of anything that Intelligence
might find useful in a background check, and made small talk
for the rest.
end of the meal, Jack was actually beginning to believe that
Richie was as clueless about the Stargate as he had claimed
to be. As they walked back towards the bunkroom cum holding
cell, O'Neill had to admit that if the situation had been different
he could actually like the kid. Jack was just considering trying
to find something else for them to do so he could learn more
about his companion, when a Sergeant accosted them.
Hammond wants to see you in the briefing room, sir," the
young woman told O'Neill brusquely with practised efficiency.
"I've been ordered to take the," she almost said 'prisoner',
but caught herself when Jack glared at her, "guest back
to the secure area."
well, sergeant," O'Neill replied, "treat him nicely."
had just reached the bottom of the stairs in the briefing lounge
when the klaxon sounded to announce that someone was coming
though the Stargate. Everyone in the room, including Daniel,
Carter, Teal'c and the General looked through the now-open blast
shield towards the control room and the gate.
has SG-2's signature," the controller announced before
anyone could react. "Iris deactivated."
Gate room itself contained four marines on semi-alert, and a
whole group of technicians to help with the equipment SG-2 would
be bringing back with them.
least now we can ask those on the ground exactly what they found,"
Daniel commented, and Jack realised he had missed an earlier
SG-2 up here as soon as they've handed over their gear,"
Hammond ordered through the intercom. "I want to know if
what you found, Carter, was a glitch or whether we may have
attracted some unwanted attention."
Stargate burst into life and flicked with its strange watery
sound. What stepped through was not what anyone watching was
expecting. Two Jaffa in lion head shaped helmets were the first
revealed, and they took down the marines without a second thought.
All the alarms sounded and the blast shield started to come
down automatically. The last thing O'Neill was able to see were
three more figures appearing from the gate. Another Jaffa carrying
what looked like the body of one of SG-2, and what had to be
training that had been instilled into Jack over years he took
in every detail he could with one glance. One of the Goa'uld
was female, the other male. She wore a headdress in the style
of a lioness, which framed her cold but beautiful face, he a
circlet with two feathers moulded in metal. O'Neill was trying
to get a better look as the shield blocked the view completely.
Before it finally shut there was the sound of numerous staff
weapons being discharged.
facility was shutting down faster than a turtle into its shell.
The sergeant had drawn her gun the moment the alarm had sounded
and she had moved Richie into a side corridor. She took hold
of Richie's arm and he had the distinct impression that a bull
elephant couldn't have stopped her taking him wherever she wanted
him to go. Richie didn't even try and stop her, but they didn't
make it more than a few feet: The lights dimmed, sparked, and
the junction box beside both of them exploded. The last thing
Richie felt was heat, and then there was complete blackness.
guess, Adam was telling the truth," Daniel said as the
fail-safes went into action around them.
we to assume that these are Shu and Tefnut, Doctor?" Hammond
asked as he was handed a print out of stills from the close
circuit cameras. The surveillance devices had been destroyed,
but not before they picked up some nice close ups.
nodded. "An exact match," he told everyone in the
room. "Shu is usually shown with between one and four feathers
on his head, and you all saw the big cat touches. Tefnut usually
has the head of a lioness." He peered at the pictures the
General had placed on the desk. "My god, they have golden
Goa'ulds have funny eyes," O'Neill pointed out.
look," Daniel insisted and pointed at a particularly good
still of Tefnut, "they've changed their eye colour: it's
like a cat."
teeth," Sam offered as she leant over, "look at this,
they have fangs."
was indicating a shot of the triumphant looking Shu smiling
at the chaos around him.
people really like the old lions, don't they," Jack said,
his tone more than a little sarcastic.
they got caught up in their own propaganda," Daniel mused
aloud, "anyway, it doesn't seem that these Goa'ulds have
changed their images lately."
General didn't waste any time.
down there, Colonel," he ordered, "and make sure they
don't get out of that room. We have to contain this situation,
or this mountain is the last place any of us with ever see."
as Jack ran to the stairs yet another alarm sounded.
closed," one of the controllers announced, "but they
brought through at least another ten people. They used something
we haven't seen on the door, they're into the main complex."
had only been five minutes since the original break through
the Stargate, but already there was chaos. The intruders had
split into two groups and they were causing havoc. One group
seemed to be almost suicidal, and they were attacking anything
that moved. This included air conditioning, and cameras as well
as the humans they came across.
other group, which included Shu and Tefnut, were working their
way to a goal, which seemed to be anything and everything to
do with the control of the facility. The defenders could only
guess that someone, possibly members of SG-2, had given them
information on the layout of the facility. The marines seemed
to be having better luck at keeping this group under control,
the Jaffa were protecting their royal commanders as well as
fighting, and it slowed them down. They had with them three
of the technicians from the Gate room and they were using them
as shields whenever the need arose.
was not pleased, not pleased at all. The initial intelligence
had revealed that the technology of these humans should have
been no match for theirs, and yet they were not winning as swiftly
as he wanted. It seemed that maybe Apophis had not been trying
to cover his own bungling with the reports he had sent to his
brethren. Apophis and Shu had never been friends, although they
were not open enemies, and Shu had assumed his royal cousin
had been either covering up his incompetence or hiding something
about the humans. All the observations from most sources had
shown that humans could not match Goa'ulds, but they seemed
to be doing just that.
must regroup," he ordered suddenly, and stepped over the
charred remains of one of the enemy. "This enterprise is
not going as planned."
turned and her brother saw the momentary anger in her eyes:
they glowed with Goa'uld power, but she soon contained her wrath.
are right, beloved," she said, calming herself, "maybe
we have miscalculated."
was a groan from Shu's feet and he looked down. It seemed the
body on the ground wasn't as dead as it had seemed. His golden
eyes scanned the burnt face, and he almost raised his hand to
put the creature out of its misery. It wasn't from any feeling
of compassion; Shu just enjoyed reminding himself of his own
supremacy every now and then. A spark of blue fire stopped him,
and something very unexpected happened; part of the injury on
the human healed.
love," Shu said slowly, "look at the slave."
looked down, but there was contempt in her eyes, only when the
blue spark appeared again did she really take notice.
heals so quickly," she commented. "Our intelligence
from Apophis' campaign did not mention this. This enterprise
may not have been fruitless after all."
carry the slave, we are returning through the gate," Shu
ordered without pausing.
you command, Master," the nearest guards responded and
effortlessly threw the charred human over his shoulder.
other Jaffa began clearing their way back to the gate room,
which took the marines by surprise. Taken off guard by the sudden
change in objective, the soldiers really didn't stand much of
do not use our technology to activate the Stargate," Tefnut
pointed out as the royal party moved towards their escape, "how
will we remove ourselves from this place."
smiled and glanced at the three terrified technicians they were
still dragging along.
will value these lives," the Goa'uld told his companion
with a smile, "we will bargain, using them to gain our
return home. It is not difficult to fool humans."
stormed into the control room.
just broke back into the gate room," he told the General,
more than a little exasperated. "They just turned around
and fought their way back in."
that can't use the gate," Daniel pointed out, blissfully
ignoring military protocol as usual.
right, doctor," Hammond concluded, "the question we
have to ask is what is their game?"
had moved into the control room, and now the whole of SG-1 was
gathered there. Hammond had refused to let Carter and Teal'c
join the fighting, he wanted their expertise with him, and now
that Jack had returned the group was complete. O'Neill couldn't
help feeling just a little like it was them against the rest
of the universe ... again. Suddenly the com. system hissed nastily.
the hell..." Jack never completed the comment.
we will speak with you."
voice was as cold and as ruthless as any Goa'uld Jack had heard
before. There was a monster the other side of the blast shield
and O'Neill had to swallow his urge to blow up the speaker that
issued its voice. Hammond hesitated only a second and then reached
for the microphone.
should we speak with invaders?"
was a laugh from the other end of the communication.
you wish to avoid further bloodshed," the voice returned,
"and because we have several of your people. Their deaths
will not be pleasant."
any one of them and there will be no talking at all," Hammond
told them very quickly.
same contemptuous laugh greeted the words.
you wish to see it," the negotiator replied. "Call
your people off and I will guarantee their safety ... for now."
looked at O'Neill and they both knew they were being led by
the nose, but they had no choice.
Hammond turned to one of the soldiers stood at the back of the
room, "make sure our people hold their positions, but tell
the commanders there are to be no offensives until I tell them
officer saluted and left.
will assume you are negotiating in good faith," the voice
from the gate room said. "The deal is this: you will activate
the gate for the co-ordinates we give you, and we will pass
through, leaving your people and this facility behind us."
impossible," Hammond told them plainly.
you will hear the screams and see the blood of many more of
your people," the voice replied. "Bring the woman
here." The Goa'uld had definitely left the mike open so
that those in the command centre could hear exactly what was
going on. "We shall execute them one by one, and then we
shall destroy this place."
was the scream of a woman from inside the room, and the sound
of her being dragged where she did not wish to go.
Hammond could not let anything happen to his people, and Jack
could feel the conflict radiating from him.
the gate, and aiding the invaders would be in direct violation
of all protocol, but that had never stopped the General doing
the right thing. O'Neill did not envy his superior at all.
guarantee do we have that you will not harm our people after
we open the Stargate?" the General asked.
is none," the voice returned, "only the knowledge
that we wish to leave, and disposing of your people would slow
us down. If they do not try and obstruct us, we will let them
live. Any attempt to prevent us leaving will, however, result
in their deaths."
was no emotion in the voice, it was cold and calculating, Jack
did not doubt that it would carry out its threat. Hammond cut
the mike and looked at his companions.
all due respect, General," O'Neill told him, "getting
them out of this facility is our first priority. We may not
exactly win if we open the Stargate, but it's a better scenario
than fighting it out."
General looked at him silently for a moment, and Jack almost
decided that he had been out of line. Then Hammond nodded.
happen to agree with you, Colonel."
the mike once more.
open the gate," he told the enemy, "but I want our
people out of that room first."
you think we are fools, human?" the voice sounded angry.
have my word as an officer of the US Air Force, that once our
people are free the gate will be activated," Hammond returned
sincerely. "We do it our way or not at all."
was silence from the other side of the communication.
give us little choice, human," the voice said slowly. "If
your word is worth nothing you will pay with the lives of all
go down and make sure those technicians are safe," the
General instructed calmly. "Everyone else, prepare to open
moment the three terrified hostages walked through the half-open
gate room door into the safety of their comrades, O'Neill signalled
Hammond and the Stargate jumped into life. The medical team
swooped down on the three technicians, and Jack followed as
the two men and one woman were whisked off to sickbay. Military
efficiency and a desire to make sure none of them had been booby
trapped, meant no one was paying much attention to them. Every
five seconds someone would ask them a question, and like the
good little soldiers they were they'd answer, but nobody really
gave them much chance to speak on their own. It was only as
they were sat down in sickbay that anyone actually started to
listen to them.
took someone," one of the two men said suddenly, "they
took someone with them."
blanched and turned on the spot. Once again the Goa'uld had
betrayed any trust in them. Hammond had to know about this.
Dr Faiser and General Hammond sat round the briefing table,
and no body was looking happy with the world. Sam couldn't help
trying to assess how her friends were dealing with this, as
they sat in silence waiting for the General to finish scanning
the report in front of him. O'Neill looked angry, something
nasty had happened on his watch, and he didn't like it one little
bit. For his part Daniel was coping better than Jack, and although
he looked agitated, he definitely didn't look like he wanted
to kill anyone. Teal'c was looking like he always did, but Sam
knew him well enough to know that if he ground his teeth any
harder there would be squeaking noises coming our of his mouth.
Then there was Janet, Florence Nightingale to SGC, and at the
moment thoroughly pissed off with the world. If a Goa'uld had
appeared at that moment, Sam decided there would have been little
between whether Janet, or O'Neill got to it first.
variations on the ribbon device they use," Hammond asked
in a tone that revealed no matter how calm he looked, he was
as wound up as everyone else, "do we have any idea how
the eye witness reports and analysis of the residues left behind,"
Dr Faiser offered the explanation, "in Shu's case his weapon
seems to use some form of energy to remove all water from a
body. All that was left of Private Selby was a small pile of
minerals. Tefnut's ribbon device is even nastier; it transmits
a form of fungal growth. On it's own it's not a danger to human
life, but the assumption is that she then uses the device to
accelerate it's formation. Once it has a hold on something it
decomposes it, reducing it to base substances. Lieutenant Hallow
was a small pool of ooze when we found him."
tried very hard not to think about exactly what the doctor was
describing, it was just too horrible. Instead of letting her
imagination run away with her she just filed the information
under the dangerous weapons section in her brain and waited
for the conversation to continue.
people," O'Neill commented as Janet finished her description.
part of their image," Daniel gave his input. "In ancient
Egyptian culture, Shu is the god of dry air, desert winds, he
holds up the sky. What better way to enforce your power than
turn people to sand. Tefnut is his opposite, goddess of moisture,
often associated with the corruption of decay. These Goa'uld
seem to take their roles very seriously."
they're just as slippery and underhand as all the others we've
ever met," Jack concluded. "What I want to know is
why they took the kid."
do I," the General agreed. "Do we have anything on
been Sam's job to interview those who had come in contact with
the invaders, but she wasn't exactly happy with the amount of
information she had gleaned.
three technicians who were used as human shields all agree that
the Goa'uld seemed to think there was something unusual about
Ryan," the Major began her report. "Unfortunately
they were under fire at the time and they were more worried
about being shot at than exactly what Shu and Tefnut were doing.
Private Kilner remembers seeing two bodies when they were forced
into the corridor and at the time both appeared dead. It really
doesn't make much sense for the Goa'uld to take an interest
in a downed man."
there's something more to this enemy thing," O'Neill suggested
with a shrug.
looked at Teal'c who merely raised an eyebrow.
have told you all I know about the Enemy," the Jaffa told
the rest of the room. "They appear in legend as Tau'ri
opposition to the Goa'uld invaders. The stories mention that
they are different in some way, but I have never heard how.
It is told in such a way that I do not believe it is truly known.
The only one who can answer your questions is Adam Pierson."
swung her gaze towards Daniel, and out of the corner of her
eye saw everyone else do the same.
far as I knew he was just another linguist," the anthropologist
said slowly after a moment's pause, "a very good one at
that, but just another academic all the same. I've never noticed
anything strange about him. I suggest we just tell him the truth
and ask him."
wasn't so sure they'd get a straight answer out of their guest.
She hadn't really trusted him the moment she'd laid eyes on
him, and whether it had been woman's intuition or a healthy
dose of paranoia didn't matter any more: Pierson had too many
secrets. The Major suspected that to get any straight answers
out of their guest they would have to back him into a corner.
more likely to open up to Daniel," Sam found herself saying.
"I don't think he's going to talk to the rest of us."
may be right, Major," General Hammond agreed. "We
need to know exactly what we're dealing with here. We've lost
some good people today, and I don't want to loose anymore. There's
no way we can risk sending a rescue party, but at least we can
find out why the Goa'uld took Ryan. Will you do it Dr Jackson?"
nodded even though he didn't look too pleased.
course," he said quietly.
could sympathise with him, sometimes the line between friends
and duty could be a hard one.
walked towards where he had left Adam three hours previously,
very slowly. The anthropologist didn't know how he was going
to tell his friend about Richie's disappearance, let alone broach
the subject of why the Goa'uld might have wanted the young man
in the first place.
the hell's been going on?" were the first words out of
Adam's mouth as Daniel walked through the door.
were invaded," the archaeologist told his companion evenly.
"You were right, Shu and Tefnut came through the gate instead
seemed to take the fight right out of Adam, and he sat down.
happened," he asked, "were they killed?"
shook his head slowly.
had hostages," he explained, still trying to figure out
how to tell Adam the whole truth. "They negotiated passage
back the way they came and retreated."
friend looked him straight in the eye, and Daniel knew he was
aren't you telling me?" he asked simply.
didn't realise at the time," Daniel finally admitted, "but
they had another prisoner other than the technicians with them
in the gate room. They took Richie with them, I'm so sorry."
looked totally stunned and the archaeologist watched as the
colour drained out of his face.
why?" he said very quietly.
to the other hostages," Daniel explained, "they found
him when they were trying to invade the facility. He was caught
in an explosion and was hurt. They remember Shu thinking there
was something unusual about Richie. More than that we don't
eyes went totally cold, and Daniel suddenly didn't recognise
the man sitting in front of him. The normally relaxed, friendly
lines of his friend's face were suddenly hard and Daniel knew
Adam was now deadly serious.
have to get him back," the man who had become a stranger
said with absolute clarity. "This is more important than
you could possibly imagine."
didn't know why, but he believed him instantly. There was one
snag, however - he might believe, but how could he convince
the military. Hammond had already vetoed O'Neill's request to
retrieve Richie. Jack had asked as soon as they'd found out
someone was missing, he hadn't cared who it was. The General
had refused point blank.
have to know why," Daniel said after several seconds' silence.
"General Hammond won't let a rescue party through the gate.
We'll need a damn good reason."
a moment the archaeologist almost recognised his friend again
as the man took a moment to think.
your General be trusted?" he asked slowly. "If I put
my life and the lives of others in his hands will he stand by
situation immediately sprung into Daniel's mind and he did not
was silent for a moment longer, as if considering a very heavy
about the rest of SG-1?" he asked.
can trust them as much as you trust me," Daniel told him.
I need to see them all," Adam said emphatically, "and
had left quickly after Methos' ultimatum, and the Immortal was
left to his own thoughts. He had made the decision that these
people would have to be told something as soon as he'd heard
what had happened, but that didn't mean he knew what to explain.
How could he tell military officers about the threat that Richie
could pose and not end up with a witch-hunt on his hands? Daniel
had been adamant that his friends could be trusted, but Methos
had been betrayed before in his life, and he sure as hell didn't
want it to happen again.
problem was, the possibilities Richie's kidnap threw into his
head were much worse than most other things he could imagine.
The idea of Immortals being pursued by humans was one thing,
but the thought of a planet subjugated by the Goa'uld, their
minions seeking out every Immortal they could find: it was just
too horrible. Goa'uld in Immortal bodies just didn't bear thinking
about. The Game would be irrelevant, hell, just about everything
but staying alive would be irrelevant.
choice was there? He'd seen the power of the Goa'uld before,
and it had taken many lives and a lot of luck to fight them
then. With an incentive like Immortal hosts to back their armies
what hope would Earth have at all? It was time to make a stand,
whether Methos liked the idea or not. The oldest living Immortal
knew he was going to have to reveal what he was and his devious
mind began to form a plausible story that would give him knowledge
but play down his part in the Stargate mystery. There was no
way he was going to admit that he was a commander of a legion
in the rebellion.
only people in the briefing room were Hammond, O'Neill, Carter,
Jackson, Teal'c and Adam. The security monitors were off, the
room was as sealed as it could be, and the SGC personnel waited
for Adam to begin whatever it was he had to say. Daniel watched
as his friend made sure he had everyone's attention.
I'm about to tell you can go no further than this room,"
he finally started. "I mean, it can't go up, it can't go
sideways, and it definitely can't go down. The one and only
reason I am telling any of you any of this is because the Goa'uld
each face in succession and Daniel didn't feel very comfortable
under his gaze when he reached him.
Richie is a friend, but that has nothing to do with why we *have*
to get him back," Adam continued slowly. "The real
reason is very simple: it's possible that Richie could become
a very powerful weapon for the Goa'uld, and if he does they're
not going to leave this planet alone ... ever."
was listening very hard. No one chose to ask questions, they
knew the answers were coming.
not exactly what I appear to be," suddenly Adam really
was a stranger to Daniel. "I'm older than I look by a long
way and some of the people I have known were older. I don't
know about the rebellion because I'm the latest in a long line
of people who passed the knowledge down. I know because I was
mentored by someone who was there."
was total silence and Daniel tried desperately to rationalise
what Adam had said. He thought of the mirror that had sent him
to an alternate dimension, and his mind shifted to ideas of
do you mean someone who was there?" Hammond asked the question.
mentor was in the rebellion," Adam replied evenly. "He
and several of our kind were recruited by the Lenerai to fight
against Ra. He lead a resistance group in the rebellion, he
watched the Stargate being buried, and he hoped it would never
be uncovered. He told me about it because he knew there was
a possibility of exactly what you're doing."
was this guy?" O'Neill asked quickly. "Some sort of
actually laughed at the question. "No," he said slowly,
"He was alive before the rebellion began and he was still
standing when it ended. He was Immortal, and so am I and so
looked at his companions and tried to gauge their reactions.
It appeared very much as if General Hammond was caught halfway
between laughter at the ludicrous suggestion and anger at having
his time wasted.
worry, General," Adam continued, "I don't expect you
to take what I say on faith, I can prove what I say."
warning the man reached out across the table and grabbed the
pen that was sat in front of Daniel. Much to the archaeologist's
horror Adam then rapidly stabbed the object through his hand.
in heaven's name ...," Hammond started and O'Neill tried
to grab the so called Immortal to stop him injuring himself
obviously both thought they were dealing with a lunatic. Adam
just took a step back, and with a grunt pulled the pen out of
watch," he said calmly, and moved back to put his hand
flat on the table.
had trouble believing what he was seeing as right in front of
his eyes the wound began to close. Even most of the blood was
to my mentor I'm just a kid and Richie's only a baby,"
Adam told them, "he's exactly who his record says he is,
but he's Immortal like me. Imagine a Goa'uld that doesn't need
a sarcophagus to heal, one that really is Immortal, who's immune
to staff weapons, and at best will only be dead for a while
if you fire bullets at them. Imagine what the Goa'uld will do
if they think there are more like Richie on Earth."
people had their mouths open and were just staring, until Hammond
turned to O'Neill.
he said slowly, "we have a rescue to plan."
opened his eyes slowly and tried to focus on the world around
him. The last thing he remembered was an explosion behind him,
and falling, but he definitely wasn't on the floor now. It took
his muddled mind a few seconds to realise he was in a half upright
position, strapped to some sort of frame. He began to get a
very bad feeling about the whole situation, and when his eyes
finally focused it became much worse.
were wondering how long it would take you to regain consciousness,"
the very strange looking man in front of him said.
was going on, Richie was sure it had something to do with the
Stargate. Most military personnel did not go around dressed
as if they had just stepped out of the "Mummy's Curse",
and they most definitely didn't have golden eyes.
are you supposed to be, King Tut?" Richie retreated to
his smart mouth for cover.
a moment the man just stared at him, and then he smiled. The
long fangs he revealed did nothing to calm Richie's disquiet.
Then reality took a left turn as the man's eyes glowed white
almost obscuring all but the pupil.
am Shu, Lion god, master of the dry air, son of Ra" Richie
had decided it was a creature not a man, "and I find you
most interesting. You heal with a speed unknown before in your
kind, and with such completeness as to be almost miraculous.
Yes, I find you very interesting indeed."
Immortal went cold. This thing knew at least part of his secret,
and it didn't look as if it was being friendly about the matter.
will know the extent of these healing powers," Shu continued,
"and if you are satisfactory you will be given the greatest
gift of all. You will be made a god."
some reason Richie didn't find that comforting at all. For the
first time he noted a smaller man off to the left, and this
individual was eyeing him up and down like a piece of meet.
out all you can, Amar," Shu told the man, "and be
careful with him: he is a valuable prize."
course, Master," the man responded and almost prostrated
himself on the floor.
whatever he really was turned and strode out of the room. Richie
didn't like the look in Amar's eye as he walked up to him. The
man picked up a knife from a table beside the frame to which
the Immortal was tied, and Richie knew he wasn't about to carve
we shall find out just how well, and how fast you heal,"
Amar said coldly, and lifted the knife.
there are easier ways to get answers than this," Richie
tried desperately. "I will tell you how well I heal."
how would I know if you were lying?" Amar's reply was so
logical as to be ice cold.
point most of Richie's clothes had been removed, there was nothing
stopping the blade as Amar pushed it against the bare skin of
the Immortal's chest. The first wound was shallow, and Richie
just grunted at the pain, but the second was deeper, and the
third deeper still--by then Richie was screaming.
was measured in how many different forms of pain Amar chose
to inflict. There had been the knife, flames, some sort of energy
Richie had never seen before. As the minutes crawled by each
successive torture became worse, and the Immortal's wracked
body took longer to heal. Nothing seemed to be beyond Amar's
twisted imagination, and yet he went about his work like a scientist,
noting things as he worked. At one point he had been about to
cut off several fingers to see what happened, but Richie's vehement
promises that it would be permanent stopped him. It was only
later that he finally made a mistake.
was testing the combination of knife wound and quarterisation
and the knife slipped: he cut too far and Richie felt the cold,
welcoming embrace of death.
stood in front of Amar, his eyes flaming. The body of the slave
hung limply from the x frame, eyes closed in death, and Amar
trembled beside it. It had taken the Jaffa on guard less than
a minute to report Amar's mistake, and Shu had wasted no time
killed him you fool," Shu raged. "The most interesting
find in centuries and you killed him. To revive him could damage
am sorry, master," Amar tried to get out his excuses, but
Shu was not about to listen.
have failed me, Priest," he spat coldly, "and I do
not accept failure."
held out his arm, and the errant priest looked on the crystal
in his palm with terror.
is time to die, Amar," he said mercilessly.
energy ripped out of the device like a ribbon and touched Amar's
head: instantly the man began to scream. Shu bared his fangs
in a snarl and turned the full force of his personal weapon
on the priest. First the man's skin became dry and wrinkled
like parchment, flaking off where his hands reached desperately
to his face. Then his eyeballs shrivelled, caving in on themselves
as his cry rose as a warning to others who might fail their
god. All the fatty tissue of his body began to disappear, and
his clothes started to hang loosely on a frame close to a skeleton.
His fingernails turned yellow and cracked, and the muscles and
tendon in his body began to crumble. His scream died as his
lungs and larynx ceased to function and slowly what was left
of him fell in on itself. As it did so it turned to dust.
stared at his handiwork for a few seconds and then turned his
back on it.
up this mess," he ordered the nearest Jaffa.
annoyed, no more than annoyed, very angry. The new human specimen
had seemed so promising, and he had been looking forward to
taking the advantage over his royal cousins. Now he would have
to start again and find a new specimen. Shu moved to leave the
disaster behind him and then he heard something. With lightening
speed he turned on the spot and looked at the captive. Shu was
amazed, the human was breathing, and there had been no outside
help what so ever. As the Goa'uld realised the truth of the
situation he began to laugh.
hosts was not something a Goa'uld did often, or without serious
thought, but this chance was far too good to ignore.
him for implantation," he ordered quickly, "today
your god becomes truly invulnerable."
rescue was a relatively simple plan with little or no subtlety.
SG-3 and SG-7 would go through first, taking positions and laying
down covering fire. SG-1 plus Methos were the rescue party,
being the only ones who knew the truth, and whilst battle was
joined they would attempt to locate and remove Richie from Goa'uld
hands. How to find him would be a problem solved once they were
on the other planet in one piece.
arrogance the Goa'uld had not expected an attack. They had increased
the guard on the Stargate slightly, but the armour of the four
Jaffa killed in the attack on SGC had provided enough of a disguise
to secure the position. Reinforcements soon arrived, but by
that time SG-1 were long gone.
I have a bad feeling about this," Methos said as the group
moved towards the temple. "Diversionary tactics don't usually
work unless the enemy is really stupid."
we have to look for him somewhere," O'Neill countered,
"and this is about the likeliest place as any."
didn't say we had any other choice," Methos shot back,
"I just said I have a bad feeling."
just glared at him. The Immortal was carrying a gun and his
sword, which looked rather strange in conjunction with the camouflage
gear he had borrowed. Unfortunately for the group his words
were somewhat prophetic. They crept towards the outer wall of
the large structure and suddenly, out of the undergrowth, like
so many ghosts, seven lion helmeted Jaffa appeared.
in trouble," was all O'Neill could say.
so being thrown at the feet of a beautiful woman might be some
guys idea of a good time, but Methos had to side with the fact
that it was a bad idea when that woman was a homicidal maniac.
Tefnut had taken residence in one of the large halls of what
could only be described as a fairytale castle, and there were
lion Jaffa everywhere. What had happened to Richie and where
Shu might be were both questions the ancient Immortal would
rather have answered sooner than later.
favour, Tefnut was an incredibly beautiful specimen of the human
species. She was the kind of woman who would have made super
models grind their teeth in envy. She had a main of jet-black
hair which was platted ornately over her scalp and hung in long
tresses down her back. The golden headdress that she wore to
frame her exquisite face was of the finest craftsmanship and
if Methos had been in a whimsical mood he might almost have
believed he could hear the lioness roar. The ancient Immortal
would also have been letting his own gender down if he hadn't
noticed just how few clothes she was wearing. Inside, away from
the temperate climate of whatever planet they were on, the air
was warm, and the Goddess of moisture was clothed only in a
bejewelled bikini and light silk skirts which did nothing to
hide her shapely legs.
prisoners were thrown to their knees at the base of her throne
she looked at them with cold golden eyes. The smile that adorned
her face gave her expression no warmth, and her gaze chilled
the invaders," she said, her voice edged with Goa'uld power.
"A rescue party, how touching."
walked down the steps of the dais on which her throne stood
and wandered around the prisoners. Watching her could have had
fatal consequences, but Methos still had to clamp down on all
his instincts to keep his eyes towards the front. Losing sight
of Tefnut was something that made the Immortal very nervous.
is it you managed to cause Apophis so much trouble?" her
voice was as cold at her stare, and the only emotion it contained
was amusement. "Your motives are so transparent."
wandered back into Methos' line of vision and he watched her
surreptitiously. Tefnut was every bit the Goddess.
must admit that your defeat of Apophis was impressive,"
she continued as if she had no intention of ever stopping, "but
we, unlike the Serpent Lord, think before we act. You will feel
the retribution of the Lion Gods."
moved up one step on the dais and put her hands on her hips,
sweeping her gaze over the prisoners. Methos made sure his eyes
were down when she came to him. The last thing he needed was
to be noticed.
question is how should I kill you," the amusement was gone
from Tefnut's voice; she was deadly serious now.
was absolutely no doubt in Methos' mind that this Goa'uld had
no compassion what so ever. Her tone only went to confirm that
he was listening to something that couldn't even conceive of
a conscience, let alone have one.
could have you thrown in a cell and leave you to starve to death,"
she pondered aloud. "Or I could have you tortured in the
market place as an example to others who would consider rebellion."
paused and Methos took the chance of peering up at her again.
She had a thoughtful expression on her face; she really was
trying to decide how to execute them all. This wasn't a game;
it was very real.
again, maybe I should just kill you now," she said and
a malicious smile curved her lips upwards. "How would you
like to watch as I kill you one by one ... and you'll never
know who I'll choose next?"
moved off the step onto the main floor once more.
who to choose first," she said, and Tefnut was playing
kept his eyes firmly on the floor; if she chose him they were
in real trouble. Two Immortals in Goa'uld hands was a very bad
the woman," Tefnut mused as much to herself as everyone
else. "Or should I let you watch the Jaffa die first? You
haven't seen anything quite so entertaining until you've seen
a Jaffa without his larva."
whatever you're gonna do, just get on and do it," O'Neill
growled, which wasn't much of a surprise to Methos.
Immortal knew if anyone would try and attract Tefnut's wrath
it would be the Colonel. Surprisingly enough his attempt to
annoy her enough to focus her anger didn't quite work. The Goa'uld
would dare to speak in my presence?" she said, amusement
tinged with surprise in her voice.
speak where the hell I please," Jack returned and Methos
heard the thud of a Jaffa staff on flesh as the Colonel was
rewarded for his impertinence.
must think me a fool if you believe you can goad me into a choice
of victim," Tefnut said and her tone was once again emotionless.
"For that you will see at least one of your comrades die,
maybe even all of them, and at some point I will kill you the
most slowly of all."
moved closer to them all, and Methos began silently praying
to any and all gods that might hear him as she stood next to
him. The ancient Immortal was not afraid to die, but the fact
that he probably wouldn't was what worried him.
she said coldly, and stopped in front of Daniel. "You have
a face full of knowledge, and knowledge is dangerous. I shall
kill you first."
reached out her left hand with its ornate, but deadly ribbon
device, Methos saw O'Neill move out of the corner of his eye.
The leader of SG-1 didn't even get two feet as a Jaffa hit him
over the back of the head with his staff. The Colonel dropped
like a stone and didn't move. Tefnut just looked down at him.
to spoil my entertainment will make his death all the more painful,"
she said coldly. "Oh well, I'm sure I can save at least
one of you for when he wakes up, but I tire of this game. Prepare
to die, human."
hand moved a second time, and then Methos felt the presence
of another Immortal.
said a familiar, but horribly distorted voice.
blood froze as he saw the figure which had just entered the
hall behind the thrones. The blonde hair and boyish features
were still the same, but that was about all the ancient Immortal
recognised about Richie. Emotionless golden eyes flicked over
Methos as he stared, and as his one time friend smiled long
fangs were revealed. Tefnut for her part looked slightly annoyed
at the interruption, but as the newcomer smiled her expression
softened slightly. Richie was wearing a short Egyptian style
skirt, an ornate collar, and the headdress of two feathers.
His skin had been oiled, and he was armed with a ribbon device.
With complete certainty, Methos knew he was looking at Shu,
god of the dry air.
did not mean to upset you, my love," the Goa'uld said calmly
and walked further into the room, "forgive me for interrupting."
knew the skilful handling of a psychopath when he saw one, and
he wasn't quite sure if he was pleased with this new arrangement.
At the plea for forgiveness Tefnut caved, and she smiled back
at what had once been Richie.
my darling," she said sweetly, "you I would forgive
all have been romantic if it hadn't been for the fact that it
was two alien parasites talking to each other in stolen bodies.
Methos tried to hide any emotion, and prayed that he was not
about to be singled out.
have an alternative suggestion," Shu said, and walked up
to his consort. "I believe it may be wise to save the prisoners.
Their deaths will be of much more use to us if our brethren
witness it. It would not hurt for the others to know that we
succeeded where Apophis failed."
didn't quite believe it, but Tefnut almost pouted. The only
way the ancient Immortal could describe her was a spoilt child.
love," Shu said and reached out his hand to touch the woman's
face, "it pains me to see you so disappointed. Maybe if
you just keep one."
as if they were talking about toys, not sentient beings. The
Goa'uld's eyes swung across the prisoners and settled on Methos.
one is not really part of this group," Shu said evenly,
"and is therefore of no value to us. I am sure you could
amuse yourself with him."
eyes brightened as she too stared at Methos, and the Immortal
felt like a slave in the market.
would kill him now," the woman said coldly and went to
move forward, but Shu caught her arm.
towards her with a conspiratorial grin and whispered something
in her ear. Her face went from passive to smiling brightly as
Shu spoke to her. Methos definitely didn't like that expression,
especially when it was directed towards him.
have such wonderful ideas, beloved," Tefnut said brightly.
even pausing she barked some orders at the Jaffa and Methos
found himself being dragged in the opposite direction to his
comrades. Shu had made no mention of Immortality, of Methos
being the same as Richie, or anything that would suggest he
even knew the truth. Possibilities kept going round in the ancient
man's head, and most of them were not good. Even as he was dragged
to his unknown destination, the last thing he saw before the
door closed behind him was Shu kissing Tefnut.
watched her husband as he moved around their private apartments
as if exploring them for the first time. She had never seen
Shu so affected by a new host, but in a way it made her happy.
this new body pleases you?" she enquired.
turned to her and smiled.
words," he told her and walked to where she lounged on
a couch. "He is strong and virile. I have not felt this
alive in centuries."
her hand and she smiled as he kissed her fingers. He moved up
her arm slowly, placing his lips a few millimetres up each time.
is desire in this body you would not believe," he told
let him kiss her, savouring the taste of the new host and then
she broke away. Her own passions could be roused quite easily,
but today there were other needs.
we not oversee the repulsion of the Tau'ri, my love," she
purred in his ear. "War and then passion."
smile grew wider as if considering her proposal, but then he
caught her under the chin and looked straight into her eyes.
His golden irises almost sparkled, and she could not fail to
see the desire they contained.
the soldiers worry about the humans," he said and growled
at her quietly. "They will be defeated soon, and then we
shall enjoy the destruction of any survivors. I want to feel
this new body as it caresses my beloved, and then I want to
plan some executions."
leant into him as he ran his hand down her breastbone. She could
control her passion only so far, and Shu's argument was convincing.
She let a growl rumble in the back of her throat and curled
her lip to reveal her long fangs. After millennia Shu knew just
how to react to his wife, and he seized her by the shoulders.
He pulled her into a fierce embrace, and kissed her hard on
the lips. She responded by running her long sharp nails down
his back. She savoured the taste of the new host for a while,
enjoying the different feel of this extraordinary male body.
On impulse she pulled out of the deep kiss slightly, and quite
deliberately sank one fang into the soft lips, which caressed
hers. The metallic taste of blood ran into her mouth even as
Shu pulled back in surprise.
smiled at her beloved and watched fascinated, as the small puncture
mark on his lip vanished as fast as she had created it. She
laughed, her wonder sparking a new wave of desire. Shu's surprised
expression turned into a smile as he looked back at her, and
then he pushed her down onto the couch.
was not exactly feeling sorry for himself: the puzzle that was
Shu was far too interesting for that, but the Immortal was slightly
worried. The ancient man had been dragged to a holding cell,
and chained to the wall. He had no idea what his captors had
planned for him, and he had been trying to figure out a way
in which he could avoid it. It was the fact that Shu didn't
seem to know any of the details of his own Immortality that
really had Methos' attention. Why the Goa'uld had not denounced
Methos for what he was, and for that matter didn't seem to have
any idea of the Immortal call sign, were the questions that
plagued the oldest living of them all.
really was ignorant of the truth then it was possible that Methos
might get out of this situation with his head. The way to freedom
might be very unpleasant, and dying would probably be on the
list of things that would happen in between, but it was nothing
the ancient Immortal couldn't cope with. He had been pondering
these ideas most of the night right up until the point when
his royal visitor had arrived.
entered the cell closely flanked by a Jaffa, and just stood
there staring at his prisoner. If anything it was the golden
eyes which bothered Methos the most; they appeared empty as
if where the soul should have been there was nothing. It was
an eerie feeling and one that the Immortal did not like.
do you like the accommodations?" the Goa'uld finally chose
decided silence was the better course of action, and just seethed
quietly at the alien thing in front of him. Standing up all
night chained to a wall was not Methos' idea of fun, but he
could think of worse things, and he really didn't want to start
a verbal war with the enemy.
full of bravado like your Colonel?" Shu jibed with a superior
better at controlling my tongue," Methos couldn't help
himself, which he found quite ironic considering what he chose
laughed at him and stepped closer.
have great plans for you," the Goa'uld told him as if Methos
really wanted to know, "you will draw quite a crowd in
the market place when you are executed. Tefnut wishes to kill
you herself, and my Queen is very good at what she does. I always
find it best to indulge her whims."
Immortal bit his tongue to keep the comment that jumped into
his head finding verbalisation.
before I let her have you I would like to talk to you,"
Shu continued and then turned to his guard. "Wait outside,"
royal Goa'uld went back to staring at his prisoner as the Jaffa
did as he was instructed. The superior behaviour of the creature
that wore his friend's body was beginning to annoy Methos, so
he stared right back. It was probably not the most sensible
of actions, but he was tired, and Shu seemed to find it amusing
anyway. The arrogance in the face that looked at him just basically
pissed him off.
as the door shut something changed. Methos had to blink to make
sure he wasn't imagining things and he stared at Shu for a long
moment and the Goa'uld stared back in silence. Something wasn't
quite right here.
know you're slipping, Old Man," Shu said suddenly.
a moment to realise that the Goa'uld's tone had changed completely
and then an idea slowly resolved in Methos' mind. He couldn't
quite believe what he was thinking, but he had to find out.
he asked slowly.
very same," his friend replied, and actually smiled. "Some
rescue party you turned out to be."
was Methos' immediate reaction, and he narrowed his eyes at
the other Immortal.
this your idea of a game?" he said tersely.
game," the Goa'uld replied. "If I ever get a handle
on what's happened I will explain it, but let's just say I think
it was bad when larva met Immortal."
so much like Richie, and the expression he was wearing definitely
wasn't Shu's. Methos actually let himself hope.
happened?" he asked, not quite willing to trust just yet.
don't really remember," Richie told him with what looked
like total honesty. "They dragged me off to some ritual
chamber, tied me down and Shu transferred into me. I panicked
like you would not believe, I felt him try to take over, and
then everything gets really hazy. The next thing I knew I was
lying in the royal apartments with Tefnut hovering by my side.
It's funny, but I knew exactly how I was supposed to react,
what I was supposed to do. It's like Shu's memory is part of
me, but whatever was actually him is toast."
looked thoughtfully at his companion for a moment.
suppose it is possible," he said slowly.
mind continued to muse on the problem, but he didn't voice any
of the thoughts.
I figured you guys would like to get off this planet,"
Richie said to fill in the gap, "so I thought I'd come
find you. It shouldn't be too difficult to get out of here with
a royal escort."
about Tefnut?" the question sprang to Methos' lips before
he really thought about it.
shouldn't be up for another couple of hours," Richie replied,
"it was a long night."
older Immortal stared at his companion after that comment and
watched as Richie's cheeks slowly coloured.
that usually known as fraternising with the enemy?" Methos
asked with a dead straight face.
cell was relatively small compared to the one Daniel and the
others had seen in their last stay as Goa'uld prisoners. There
was a stone lip around the inside of the room, and SG-1 was
sat around trying to come up with something like a plan. Ever
since O'Neill had recovered from his blow to the head, they'd
been talking. Daniel wasn't very impressed with the amount of
useful ideas they had between them, but he also realised that
saying so wouldn't do them any good.
we can't just go back, even if we do escape," Carter pointed
out firmly. "We have to make sure that Shu is destroyed
and none of the other Goa'uld find out about what happened.
If any of them even suspect there may be more like Richie on
earth they won't stop until they've found them."
means we have to find Adam too," Jack said with an annoyed
shake of his head.
how do you stop someone who's Immortal?" Daniel asked dejectedly,
they'd been in some pretty bad situations before, but this was
right up there with one of the worst.
don't know," O'Neill spat back in his frustration. "Drop
a mountain on them or something like that."
been stuck in the cell all night, and there didn't seem to be
any way out. No one had bothered to feed them; it didn't appear
that the Goa'uld believed in a last meal for the condemned.
Daniel knew they would have to attract attention some how, but
doing so without getting themselves killed straight away was
not going to be easy.
planning was interrupted by some loud noises from just outside
okay, I'm going aren't I," came an unhappy complaint, "no
need to shove."
door opened and the sight of a ruffled but seemingly otherwise
undamaged Adam being half thrown through the opening backed
up the evidence of Daniel's ears. Following closely on his heels
was a Jaffa with the markings of Shu on his forehead and an
evil looking staff weapon in his hand. The warrior took up a
position just to the left of the door, poised should anyone
dare to move. As the next figure appeared in the doorway the
reason for the Jaffa's vigilance became obvious, and Daniel
had to stifle the thoughts running through his head from leaving
archaeologist barely recognised Richie in the full regalia of
a royal Goa'uld and the gaze that scanned the room showed no
warmth and only cursory recognition. Daniel couldn't say he'd
had much time to really get to know the Immortal before everything
had gone straight to hell, but the creature in the doorway wasn't
even close to the person he had briefly known. Shu's peculiar
taste in altering his host's eyes and teeth made Richie seem
all the more alien and on his left hand was a ribbon device
and each finger guard was tipped with a black claw.
couldn't help but stare and he knew his contempt and hatred
were probably showing in his face. He'd never been good at hiding
his emotions, and as this Goa'uld walked further into the room
it was no different. This was the same kind of monster that
had taken Shauri from him twice, and if it had been within his
power he would have tried to kill it with his bare hands. This
was Shu, and Daniel removed Richie from his mind. Behind the
parasite was yet another Jaffa, but this one was not heavily
armed, in fact he appeared to be acting as a beast of burden.
flicked his hand and the vassal behind him placed the box he
had been carrying down on the floor. It was at that point that
the morning became that little bit stranger. Shu reached out
and to Daniel's surprise as well as that of the Jaffa in question
took his servant's staff weapon.
he said coldly, "and close the door."
Jaffa whose weapon Shu had taken looked very startled.
Master," were the only words he uttered before Shu turned
Goa'uld's eyes were white with anger, and he did not look at
you questioning me," Shu said very slowly and deliberately.
left hand came up a small way with every word, and the Jaffa's
expression went from surprise to terror.
out, and if I see you again before sundown I will have you both
killed," Shu said and turned away from his escorts as if
dismissing them from his mind.
two Jaffa no longer hesitated and vanished through the door,
letting it slam shut behind them.
as the other members of SG-1, was looking astonished, and for
a few seconds nobody moved. The tableau was broken by what had
to have been probably the most unexpected thing that Daniel
could have thought of. Shu handed the staff weapon to Adam and
freed of the burden used his right hand to rub the back of his
these people need a lesson in fashion," he said and his
voice was perfectly normal.
just let his mouth drop open, and he could see all the others
in equally obvious modes of shock. The archaeologist looked
at Adam who grinned back.
isn't he," the Immortal said almost as if they weren't
on a foreign planet at peril for their very lives.
how?" Sam was the only one to voice the question.
and I had an argument over whose body this was and I won,"
Richie told her with an irreverence Daniel had heard before.
"Playing god really isn't my style, so I figured you guys
might like to get out of here."
you are Goa'uld," Teal'c pointed out what they had all
out of ten to the man in the corner," Richie replied, "but
after you've been possessed by a demon, an alien is a push over.
Right now I think we should leave before Sef't decides to tell
my beloved sister he's just left me in here on my own."
Immortal turned quickly and flipped open the box behind him.
ammo, and everything else the Jaffa confiscated," he told
them. "Your backup teams were forced back through the gate
a few hours ago, but as long as we don't bump into Tefnut, no
one is going to try and stop me, no matter who's with me. Shu
has a reputation for being erratic anyway."
followed the others as everyone slowly climbed to their feet,
and he could tell they were all reticent. The shock over, practicalities
were going through all minds. They didn't trust Richie, no matter
what he was doing for them. Daniel was right with them on that
point: Goa'ulds were trouble, and there were no exceptions.
Daniel didn't know Richie well enough to be able to tell if
he was really acting like Richie, he appeared to be trying to
help them, but Tefnut at least had been shown to have a warped
idea of fun, which could mean that anything was going on.
forgive us if we don't take anything you say at face value,"
O'Neill said as Richie turned back from the box.
young Immortal looked a little unhappy at the statement, but
he seemed to understand it. He took a deep breath, and Daniel
was a little perturbed to see a momentary flash of white behind
the man's eyes. This person really wasn't human anymore, he
was the same irreverent young man who had walked into Daniel's
apartment, and yet he wasn't at the same time.
Richie said slowly, "I know you don't trust me. Believe
me I know all about Goa'uld games. I know I look like an extra
from Cats, but I am on your side. I can't explain how I defeated
Shu, I can't even tell you exactly what's going on in my head
right now, but I do suggest we get out of here as fast as possible.
Look at it this way, those guns are loaded, this staff works,
so at least you have a fighting chance. Staying here you are
is true," Teal'c observed as calmly as ever.
and Richie stood there looking at each other in silence for
a moment. Daniel knew Jack was weighing the odds, and the archaeologist
realised with unhappy certainty that there was only one decision.
the Colonel said finally, "we move out. You step out of
line just once and I'll fill you full of holes. I know it won't
kill you for long, but I'll make sure it hurts like hell."
looked surprised and Daniel realised that Adam must not have
had time to fill his companion in on how much SG-1 knew.
told them," the dark haired Immortal stepped in quickly.
"This place was off limits until the gravity of the situation
was made clear."
that at the top of my 'I thought it would never happen list',"
Richie shot back.
comment might even have been worth a smile if it hadn't of been
a Goa'uld saying it. The presence of an alien parasite really
put humour off the menu for Daniel. The younger Immortal glanced
around the room, as if taking in the faces of his companions
for the first time. When his eyes reached Daniel the archaeologist
felt as if he was somehow being assessed, he just stared right
he agreed, "I go wacko, you shoot me, fine, but to get
out of this we need rules. First play prisoners, look dejected,
beaten and hide the guns. I'll carry the second staff, if we
run into trouble I'll give it to Teal'c. If we meet anyone I'll
do any talking necessary, me they'll listen to, you they'll
blast into a million pieces."
watched Jack look at Teal'c who just raised an eyebrow.
would seem a logical course of action," the Jaffa replied.
good, can we go now?" Richie appeared to have an impatient
streak which came shining through.
now that's the Richie I've come to expect," Adam said,
and Daniel had to adjust to the man not just being his grad
friend as the Immortal leant past the others to pick up his
hadn't been lying when he'd told the others he wasn't sure what
was going on in his head. Ever since Shu had tried to take over
his body he'd had a weird second take on the world. At first
Shu had tried to squash Richie's will and supplant the control
of his physical form, but the Immortal had fought back. Blind
panic had taken over as the alien had attached himself to his
system and no matter how had he tried, he couldn't remember
anything that had happened.
he had come to himself Shu, as an entity had been gone, which
was the only plus Richie could see in the current situation.
There was no battle going on inside him, there was just a strange
dual knowledge. He knew what Shu had known, or at least part
of it. He knew how to behave, what to say, how to use Goa'uld
technology. In fact, Richie knew how to be Shu, he could even
empathise with the way the alien had thought. His original persona
overrode the desires of the Goa'uld, but Richie still knew what
they were. He was almost sure there were gaps, things that had
been lost in whatever had happened, but most of it was there.
almost like stepping into another skin when he became Shu, when
he let himself pretend to be the alien parasite. He let Goa'uld
instincts rule his actions with his human awareness sitting
in the background. It was strange, he had woken in what should
have been a terrifying situation, and yet he hadn't panicked
at all, in fact he had simply turned it to his own advantage.
he had just let things happen, allowed himself to adjust to
the new things, and then he had taken control. He had all but
seduced Tefnut, and that was one of the things that really bothered
him. It wasn't the fact that he had used her that was the problem,
when death was the alternative certain actions were admissible,
but what he had felt whilst doing it worried him. He really
had desired her, even felt a strange sense of love, as if experiencing
the echo of what Shu would have felt.
was more than a little confused, but as the party strode through
the palace nothing showed on the outside. SG-1 were showing
themselves to be very good actors, and nobody gave them more
than a passing glance. That Shu was escorting prisoners on his
own may have been strange, but people who wanted to live didn't
question a Goa'uld, and they were left alone. Sneaking around
back passages was not what a royal Goa'uld was prone to doing,
and so Richie lead them through the main hallways. Eventually
he had no choice but to take them into a part of the building
where Tefnut might actually see them. Fate was yet again, against
the party and as they entered one of the main antechambers Tefnut
appeared with two Jaffa, one of them being Sef't.
what are you doing?" the female Goa'uld asked, frowning
at the now still party.
let a smile wander across his face and strode towards her as
if nothing was wrong.
my darling," he said and gallantly kissed her hand. "I
woke this morning with the desire to find you a host such as
a hand under her arm and steered her away from her guards.
did not wish the Jaffa to hear of the plan," he told her
conspiratorially, "you never know when one will be captured
and tortured to gain information. This discovery is ours to
share, and no one else's. This power shall be ours to do with
as we wish."
looked over at the prisoners who were still doing a good impression
of being beaten.
are the key," Richie continued calmly, "the key to
Earth. Our last strategy did not work, but maybe we were too
hasty. What we need are puppets whose masters will not see the
strings. The humans shall be our game pieces and they shall
open their world for us. Never let it be said that the Lion
Gods are not cunning."
was beginning to appear a lot happier with the situation. The
plan sounded plausible, and it was obvious she liked the idea
of having her own invulnerable body. The race for power always
outweighed other considerations in Goa'uld life, and Tefnut
was no different. She wandered towards the prisoners, leaving
Richie to the task he had had in mind in the first place. Tefnut
could be dangerous, but the greatest hazards in the room were
the two Jaffa. With a slight nod at Methos, Richie revealed
his true colours. His left hand shot up and an energy wave flew
across the room. Sef't and his companion were flung backwards,
and Sef't at least did not get up again when he hit the wall.
A single shot from the staff finished off the Jaffa who refused
to stay down.
was staring at Richie in horror when he finished his task, and
by the time she glanced at the so-called prisoners they were
all brandishing weapons.
she asked almost desperately.
obviously thought of treachery from her fellow Goa'uld. She
looked like a woman scorned, and Richie suspected she had no
inkling of what had really happened.
have ruled together for millennia," she entreated him,
"why abandon me now."
is gone," Richie said evenly, "you are appealing to
nothing. Playing with things you do not understand will get
Immortal had thought Tefnut appeared horrified before, the new
expression on her face made that emotion look pale in comparison.
She seemed caught between disbelief, rage and terror, but her
emotions slowly coalesced into a hard, cold shell of anger.
will have you dissected," she said icily. "Shu will
be returned to me."
found himself laughing despite the situation. With totally certainty
he knew that even if she had been in the position to carry out
her threat, it would not do her any good.
weren't listening," the Immortal told her almost as coldly
as she had, "I didn't say I dominated him I said Shu was
gone. He played with fire, it destroyed him, and now we're leaving."
disbelief was back on Tefnut's face: she seemed frozen. Her
Goa'uld sensibilities just couldn't deal with the idea Richie
had thrown at her. That her brother's will could have been overcome
was almost inconceivable, but that he could be gone forever
didn't seem to be in her mindset at all.
do we do with her?" Carter asked as SG-1 finally mobilised.
looked stunned and empty, Richie didn't think any of his companions
would have the heart to kill her.
take her with us," O'Neill said eventually. "The game
plan has changed, we're leaving here using a royal hostage as
couldn't help but feel relief at the Colonel's decision. On
an academic level he knew she was a monster, but in his heart
he still felt for her. Maybe back on Earth there may be hope
for her yet. The new strategy would bring them into direct conflict
with the forces between them and the gate, but deception was
not really an option any more. Sooner or later someone would
find out what had happened, and this way they had a much better
royal hostages," Richie pointed out and handed Teal'c the
well we'd better confiscate those pretty bangles then,"
O'Neill pointed out, and held out his hand for Richie's only
of the corner of his eye the Immortal saw Carter step towards
Tefnut, and he saw his sister goddess move. With a cry of fury
the female Goa'uld turned on the Major bringing up her own weapon
before the human could react.
will all die," she yelled, and energy ripped out at Carter.
screamed the moment it touched her, and Richie knew the woman
was dead if he didn't get there immediately. Almost instantaneously,
horrible black and green blotches appeared on the Major's skin,
there was no time to lose. Forced into action the Immortal never
hesitated and he turned, pushing Carter out of the way. Tefnut's
power turned on him, but even as the corruption touched his
skin it vanished almost as quickly as it appeared. His Immortal
body was an easy match for the death touch that Tefnut dealt.
woman was engulfed in a rage so great nothing could possibly
reach her, she had to be stopped or she would destroy everyone.
Richie's own hand came up and even as her power poured into
him so his poured into her. Within a few seconds she began to
was shock in her eyes as her skin began to flake from her body,
and Richie almost stopped, but at least this way she would die
quickly. He locked his eyes with hers and turned every ounce
of power he had on her. In seconds Tefnut, Goddess of moisture
and Daughter of Ra was a dried out husk. Richie couldn't bring
himself to destroy her completely. Turning her into a pile of
dust was not something he could do to a woman that part of himself
had loved for so long and he released her body to fall to the
a long moment Richie just stood there unable to take his eyes
off what he had done, and then a hand touched his shoulder.
He looked round to see Methos' understanding face, and Richie
knew he wasn't alone. With the back of one hand he reached up
and wiped away the single tear running down his cheek.
to plan A," O'Neill said shortly.
turned to see Daniel holding the staff weapon, Teal'c carrying
an unconscious Carter in his arms, and O'Neill looking very
have to get Sam back to Frasier as quickly as possible,"
Jack stated firmly, "and that means now."
was noise from the other side of the room, and all turned to
see Sef't on his feet, staff in hand. Every SG-1 member who
could raised a gun.
Richie said quickly. Grief would have to wait, for now there
were other priorities.
a purpose he didn't think he had left Richie strode across the
room towards the armed Jaffa. At he suspected Sef't did not
fire, the man was unsure of what to do, and Richie stopped a
few feet from him.
gods are dead," the Immortal stated coldly and looked the
Jaffa directly in the eye. "You can serve the new order
or you can die. It is your choice."
an emotionless ultimatum and Richie drew on all his empathy
with what was left of Shu to give it. Inside the Immortal was
a bit of a mess, but as far as the world could see he was as
cool as ice. Sef't looked shocked at the words, but slowly he
brought his staff back to its vertical position.
Richie said evenly, "now we're going to the Stargate."
deception was easy enough; Shu with prisoners and a Lion Guard
were not challenged as they strode towards the gate. Richie
walked up to the DHD barely looking at the guards who flanked
it. He was met by a priest who bowed to him reverently as he
calmly surveyed the podium.
is time to send the Tau'ri a message," Richie said coldly:
his voice reverberating with Goa'uld power. "I will have
them recognise the superiority of the Lion Gods. Open the Chaappa'ai
onto their world: I have a gift for them."
priest obeyed without question and the Stargate began to spin
into life. Richie ignored Shu's minions completely and watched
the gate impassively.
he said evenly as the wormhole erupted from the portal, "take
the woman through to the other side. Her end will come quickly
compared to yours. Remember your Gods when you feel the pain
of the traitor's death. Tell the Tau'ri to fear my name."
simply stared ahead until Sef't poked him in the back with his
staff weapon. Richie had to admire the Jaffa: he was a good
actor. Slowly the large man stepped up to the Stargate. Sam
had been carrying the code generator and it was Teal'c's job
to send SG-1's signal. They had planned their exit through the
Stargate carefully and Richie waited for the Jaffa to finish
his task. As Teal'c calmly stepped through the gate it was time
to forget the charade.
spun away from the priest towards the two Lion Jaffa guarding
the gate. He spared them only a cursory thought as he brought
up his hand and sent them flying backwards. Ignoring the helpless
priest SG-1 and their companions charged towards the gate and
ran through the wormhole just before it shut down.
though they had given the correct signal the SGC were taking
no chances, and as the team materialised on Earth they found
themselves surrounded by armed marines. Teal'c was standing
very still at the top of the ramp.
need a medic now!" were the first words out of O'Neill's
look at Carter's face, covered in green and black lines told
Richie that she was going to die. Tefnut had gone too far with
the damage, and the Immortal knew, without knowing quite how
that modern medicine would not be able to save her. As a medial
team arrived and Teal'c deposited his burden onto the gurney
they brought with them, something stirred at the back of Richie's
the first time he had run across one of the blanks he had from
his joining with Shu, but he knew he had to act. However, he
wasn't on a Goa'uld dominated planet at the moment, and the
second he so much as moved a muscle where he stood on the gate
ramp, six machine guns focused their attention on him. At danger
Richie's eyes flared, but he fought down the need to react.
sound of guns O'Neill turned from where he had been anxiously
watching Dr Frasier with Sam. Richie knew this was his one and
only chance to help Carter and he took it.
dying," he said evenly, "she'll be dead in ten minutes
if they don't let me past."
looked slightly undecided, some of Richie's behaviour had been
very strange and the Colonel had obviously noticed. He glanced
to where Frasier was doing the fastest preliminary examination
she had ever managed, and when the doctor's head came up their
eyes met. She didn't look hopeful. Jack turned his attention
to the higher authority of Hammond standing in the command centre.
on our side, sir," O'Neill finally said.
him through to Major Carter," Hammond ordered almost immediately.
guns didn't lower, these marines weren't fools, but they did
clear a path to the gurney. Richie walked down the ramp slowly
trying to seem as unthreatening as possible. This was difficult
being in full Goa'uld regalia, but he did his best.
me," he said with a tone much calmer than the way he felt.
obviously knew a dying patient when she saw one, and knowing
she couldn't save Sam she stepped aside with only a slightly
worried glance at Richie. Not quite sure what he was doing,
but knowing that he had to do it Richie reached up to the circlet
on his head. He pulled at one of the feathers and it came away
in his fingers. As he saw it in his hand he hesitated slightly,
not quite sure what to do, but eventually he placed the ornament
on Sam's chest.
brought up his left hand several of the guns rattled ... all
the marines knew what had happened to the technicians, but no
one fired. Acting purely on instinct now, Richie let power flow
from his hand and onto the feather. At first it glowed mutely,
but slowly the golden colour changed to white, making it seem
almost molten. As if to prove the point it slowly began to flow
and it disappeared through the gaps in Sam's clothes.
really wasn't quite sure what he was doing, but it held his
entire concentration. With agonising slowness he let the power
flow into Carter, and her skin began to glow with the same light
as the feather. The Immortal was dimly aware of the rest of
the SG-1 team hovering nervously at his back, but he ignored
them. Gradually the foul corruption and open sores which dotted
Sam's skin began to fade. Richie lost track of time as he watched
the damage heal, and it was almost hypnotising. He had no idea
how long it had taken, or exactly how he knew, but Richie let
the power stop as he felt it was the right time. Carter remained
still on the gurney, but her breathing was even and there was
no sign of illness anywhere on her.
back to the soldiers the one thing that Richie noticed most
was the completely astonished look on Sef't's face. The Immortal
was feeling a little confused and he realised he was dizzy.
He still didn't really understand what he had just done, but
it had obviously taken a lot out of him. He wanted to say something
to O'Neill, but as he opened his mouth he couldn't remember
what it was. The world was suddenly a lot of effort, and with
a vaguely surprised expression in the Colonel's direction Richie
gave into an overwhelming desire to sleep.
cover story was that the Goa'ulds had tried an experimental
technique on Richie to produce his healing abilities and this
technique had caused his defeat of Shu. Dr Frasier went about
her examination with this idea in mind, but she was still amazed
by what she found. Having an unconscious patient helped with
the scans since there was no way Richie could move and screw
up the imaging, but it meant Dr Frasier had to be forever vigilant
of him waking up.
given Sam a thorough examination, and the Major seemed to be
well on her way to recovery. Carter was awake and although tired
was very interested in everything Janet was doing, and kept
asking questions. The two women had swapped hypotheses about
some of the results, and at other times just bounced meaningless
ideas off each other. Carter had seemed to know to whom she
owed her life without being told, and Frasier noted that Sam
seemed to be siding with the young man in her sick bay.
looked at the computer representation of the scan she had just
taken for the sixth time, and she still didn't really know what
to make of it. She'd found the Goa'uld larva all right, but
it didn't exactly look like it was supposed to. There was alien
tissue in Ryan wrapped around the spinal column, but it was
no longer the separate parasite Frasier had been expecting.
Whatever had happened larva and host were no longer two separate
entities that could be parted, they were the same being. The
substance of the larva had actually been integrated into the
spinal column and the surrounding tissue, fusing human and Goa'uld
is just incredible," Janet commented to Sam, "it's
as if the larva has actually been made part of his system."
was perched on a chair close to Frasier's desk, and she nodded
as she looked at the scan.
can barely tell what it used to be," Sam agreed.
must be why Richie has control," Janet concluded slowly,
"the larva is so far broken down that there is no neural
activity to take over the host."
how is he still Goa'uld," Carter asked reasonably, "and
how did he know everything about Shu. If the larva has been
broken down, why do his eyes still glow and his voice change?"
was a good set of questions; Frasier had to think for a moment.
possible that the Goa'uld attributes have actually been integrated
into Richie's nervous system," she hypothesised. "As
for the knowledge of Shu, it may be residual memories. If some
structure still exists in the larva then memory could be maintained,
but independent function may have been lost. Why they would
risk such a dangerous experiment is what I want to know. I'm
assuming that it is the strange energy in Richie's system which
causes the healing, but why would they risk implantation with
one of their highest ranking System commanders?"
just ummed at that and Janet assumed she was feeling the strain
don't you go and lie down," she suggested. "In fact
I'll make that an order if you don't accept the friendly advice.
You're exhausted, and nothing more interesting is going to happen
here, I promise. When something does, I'll wake you."
didn't look particularly happy by the suggestion, but eventually
the defiant look disappeared from her eyes and her shoulders
boss," she said and wearily climbed to her feet, "but
remember your promise."
just grinned and waved her away.
as if her guest was going to sleep the day away, as for four
hours Frasier checked on her patient at fifteen-minute intervals.
He looked so peaceful, and the only thing to remind her that
he might actually be a dangerous alien was the guard on the
door with his gun slung across his chest. The soldier hadn't
moved a muscle in almost as long as her patient, but Janet found
it impossible not to notice him. It was about four and a half
hours after SG-1 had returned through the Stargate, when, as
Frasier lent over Richie to check on something he moved.
doctor took a slight step back just to be on the safe side and
waited to see what would happen next. She was rewarded with
a squinting gaze settling on her.
man, what hit me?" was the quite surprising question.
found herself smiling at the comment.
back," she greeted, and couldn't help but notice that suddenly
there was life in action man in the corner. "Do you remember
patient put his hand to his head and nodded at her.
I remember," he told her slowly, "gate room, Major
Carter, something to do with a feather."
frowned slightly at the answer.
seem a little unclear on the details," she prompted.
doctor was actually surprised to see her patient smile at that.
was a little unclear of the details when I did it," he
told her. "I remember doing it I just couldn't explain
it. What I don't remember is the guy with the jackhammer in
my head trying to get out."
I could give you something for that if you like," Janet
offered, "but I couldn't swear to what effect it'll have."
Richie told her, "I'll just pray it goes away."
made a mental note that her patient's sense of humour seemed
to be in place, and wondered if maybe he was hiding behind it.
She hadn't exactly expected him to be in such a good mood, being
kidnapped by the Goa'uld could really ruin your century.
than the head, how are you feeling," the doctor asked.
was the immediate reply.
a little fast to have been considered particularly hard, but
for now Frasier took it at face value.
if you don't mind I'd like to give you the once over now you're
awake," she said. "I did some tests whilst you were
asleep, but there's nothing like feedback."
grinned at that, and Janet couldn't help noticing the fangs.
She'd done some x-rays as well as other scans, and from what
she could tell the old teeth had been removed and the new ones
fused to the jawbone. She put the fangs out of her mind and
turned to the task as hand. Pulling out a small light she moved
close to her patient.
look straight ahead," she told him with a smile, "and
tell me if anything is too bright."
practised calm Frasier waved the torch in front of her patients
eyes and watched the pupils respond with incredible efficiency.
The golden irises almost glowed under the light, and Janet was
reminded of a vampire movie she had seen only a few weeks before.
She wanted to run some more tests on those eyes, she was almost
sure they had been changed more than just for aesthetic value.
aches and pains?" Janet enquired as she peered at the little
she could glimpse of the retina of Richie's left eye.
really," the young man replied, "the headache's going
now as well."
chalked another one up to the incredible healing powers her
patient seemed to have gained. She tried a few more cursory
tests, but she had to admit that he seemed to be in perfect
I'm going to have to give you a clean bill of health,"
Janet said eventually.
was by this time sitting with his legs over the side of the
bed. The soldier in the corner had looked very nervous as soon
as he'd moved, but Janet had pointedly ignored the marine's
if I stand up and work out some of the kinks," the young
man asked as Frasier wrote some of her findings on one of her
charts, "or is he going to shoot me?"
you're not going to shoot my patient are you?" Janet said
and turned to the soldier with a perfectly formed serious expression
on her face.
man hesitated for a moment and so the doctor frowned at him.
ma'am," he finally replied, but looked even more unhappy.
leant closer to Richie.
don't make any sudden moves," she said in a conspiratorial
whispered, and grinned at him.
crossed my mind," he whispered back.
watched from the door for a moment as Dr Frasier and Ryan animatedly
talked about something to do with motorcycle racing. Well that
was a new piece of information about SGC's very own doctor that
might come in handy. He filed it away just in case he could
ever use it.
had sent up her report that their Goa'uld guest was awake approximately
half an hour ago, and Hammond had called Jack into his office
immediately. They'd already discussed what SG-1 had seen in
a team debriefing, but the General had wanted Jack's private
opinion on the matter. They'd talked for a good twenty minutes,
and now Jack had been sent down to collect Richie to see Hammond.
kid really didn't look very threatening sitting cross-legged
on one of the medical bay's beds. He was wearing regulation
combat trousers, and a green T-shirt, and he didn't look much
like a Goa'uld. He seemed to be the same young man Jack had
just begun to know before Shu and Tefnut made a house call,
and that on the inside Richie might not be what he appeared
was not a settling thought. If the safety of his team hadn't
been on his shoulders he might just have given in to the urge
to trust Richie, but he had to be sure first.
finally stepped into the room golden eyes flicked round to stare
at Jack, and he was sharply reminded of what Shu had done to
Richie. Now he knew more about what Richie really was, and what
he had become, O'Neill could see it in those eyes. The windows
of that soul showed just about everything, and Jack didn't have
to see their colour to know the person he was looking at was
not quite human.
afternoon," he greeted as Dr Frasier noticed him as well.
"I've just come from General Hammond. He would very much
like to see you if you're feeling up to it."
met the strange eyes calmly, the kid probably had enough problems
without seeing anything O'Neill might be feeling as well. Richie
had all but proven his loyalty to his human friends, all Jack
wanted was time, time to find out exactly what was going on
in that blond head.
doc's the expert," Richie told him with a grin.
patient is recovering nicely, Colonel," Frasier said evenly,
"and if he comes back on a gurney I will hold you personally
smile was trying to force its way onto her face, and to help
its progress Jack saluted sharply.
ever you say, Doctor," he promised faithfully.
cheerful atmosphere was not quite what he had been expecting,
but Jack was happy to play along.
small problem," Richie commented as he stood up.
that?" Jack asked.
young man looked at his feet, and O'Neill's eyes followed. Richie
was barefoot. When they'd brought him into the medical bay all
Goa'uld regalia had been taken away, including the boots.
floor's getting colder by the second," the Immortal commented.
stop by supplies on the way," Jack promised with a smile.
however, wasn't the only problem as he turned back towards the
door. As Richie moved to leave the room the soldier stepped
into the doorway.
prisoner must be restrained during transport between secure
areas," the marine intoned evenly.
immediately disliked the idea. Richie had saved his life and
the life of his team, he did not want to put the kid through
the indignity of being shackled. Military protocol sometimes
got in the way of doing things right and Jack couldn't help
the bad taste that the marine's observation left in his mouth.
If the military had had their way Teal'c would have been treated
in the same way when he first arrived and that would have lost
them a very good friend. Then the answer hit Jack between the
eyes and he smiled slightly.
don't suppose it has occurred to you that this whole base is
a secure area?" O'Neill said in a triumphant tone, and
stared the man right in the face. "We are inside a mountain,
there is only one way out. Between here and there are several
dozen of you. The prisoner is just fine the way he is."
that Jack strode purposefully out of the door, and hoped that
Richie was following along behind.
was as scared as hell. What he hoped the rest of the world saw,
was a nonchalant, happy go lucky individual, on the inside he
was anything but. His emotions were in turmoil, and he really
wasn't sure whether his life was over. So many possibilities
ran through his mind, from Dr Frankenstein to Government games,
and he didn't much like any of them. Richie was practical enough
to realise that The Powers That Be weren't just going to let
him go no matter how he proved he was still in control. He was
no longer exactly human, and he knew far too much to be anything
less than a security risk. Right about now he'd be a real hit
on the Goth scene as well, and there weren't many ways he could
Immortal laughed and joked with O'Neill as they walked from
stores towards General Hammond's office, but inside he was terrified.
Then to top it off he was grieving. How could he ever explain
to anyone that he had loved what they so feared. They'd lock
him up forever if they knew just how much it hurt to lose Tefnut,
how much guilt he carried with him for killing her.
here we are," Jack said with half a smile. "Good luck,
old Richie Ryan would have seethed at that comment, but the
new one was far too busy with other thoughts to even care. He
smiled back at the Colonel with his best confidant expression,
and O'Neill knocked on the door.
in," was the immediate response.
opened the door and entered, followed by Richie and the marine
who was their constant shadow.
afternoon, gentlemen," the General greeted as they came
in. "I hope you are recovered, Mr Ryan."
I am," Richie replied, and forced yet another smile.
you, Colonel, marine," were Hammond's next words, "I'd
like to speak to our guest alone."
course, General," Jack responded lightly, he had obviously
known that the request was coming. "Marine, we can wait
soldier did not look particularly happy, but he couldn't exactly
say anything to a General and a Colonel. The pair left as quickly
as they had arrived.
have a seat," Hammond offered the moment the door closed,
and retook his own.
followed the advice, and tried to assess the man on the other
side of the desk as he sat down. He didn't know much about General
Hammond, but from the few things O'Neill had hinted at, Richie
didn't think he was being thrown to the wolves.
the General said calmly, "this is an informal meeting.
Nothing here is being recorded, and I will treat this conversation
as confidential unless you tell me otherwise. I asked to see
you because I can't let you loose on this base unless I'm totally
sure of you."
opening surprised Richie in its honesty, and in its implications.
The idea that he might actually regain some sort of freedom
hadn't been at the top of his concepts for the day, and it shocked
him so much that he actually let his guard slip for just a moment.
don't know what you expect of the military," Hammond said,
reacting to the expression Richie knew had crossed his face,
"but I will do my damnedest to make sure that nothing happens
to you, you don't deserve. If you do anything to endanger my
people, however, I will make sure you end up in the darkest
deepest hole I can find."
nodded slowly: they understood each other.
not a threat to you or anything here," the Immortal said,
and let the cheerful facade fade to seriousness. "I am
not Shu, Shu is dead."
look on Hammond's face said he wished he could believe that,
but he was still unsure.
know what you did for the team," the General told him evenly.
"Without you they would still be stuck on PX 1287, and
Major Carter would almost definitely be dead. You've proved
your worth, but you do understand that I have to make completely
sure you're not suddenly going to turn around and change your
mind. You are after all Goa'uld."
course I understand," Richie said with a little more feeling
than he had meant, "I know first hand what Goa'uld are
capable of. Shu is gone, but I remember lots about his whole
twisted existence. I know the way they think, and I know exactly
how much human life is worth to them."
Immortal hadn't expected the outburst, it had sort of just happened,
and he didn't like it much. From the expression on Hammond's
face he hadn't seen it coming either.
Richie apologised quickly.
me who should be apologising," Hammond responded almost
instantly, "I was wading in like a bull in a china shop.
Coping with what has happened must be terribly difficult."
let out an ironic little laugh, and then caught his emotions
before they could give him away. He was not going to fall apart
in this man's office, no matter what.
well, I've coped with big revelations before," he said
with more certainty than he felt.
Immortality," the General said evenly. "I won't pretend
that I know much about it, but Pierson explained what we needed
to know for the rescue. That knowledge will go no farther than
SG-1 and me."
well it's a bit of a shock when you come back from the dead
for the first time," Richie returned, "but it has
it's up points."
to hide behind the wise crack, but somehow it didn't come out
quite right. Too many ideas were going around in his head, and
they were jamming his defence mechanisms.
sorry to have to bring this up, but I must know," Hammond
began again after a moment's silence. "In their reports
several of the team noted that you were crying after you killed
Tefnut. Was that Shu's emotion or yours?"
looked down at his hands, he had hoped no one had seen that.
He was still worried that they would lock him up and throw away
the key, but he needed talk to someone.
never had family," he said slowly, "never really known
what it felt like to have blood relations. I've been close,
but there's always a little doubt when you've been through the
system. You may not realise this, but Goa'uld are capable of
just as deep love as any we feel. They don't show it very often,
and it takes them much longer to develop it, but Shu and Tefnut
had been together for millennia. He loved her more than I can
explain, and that's part of me now. I know it comes from him
and not me, but I can't ignore it completely."
up all his barriers, and clamped down on all his emotions. Richie
wanted Hammond to know some of it, but if the General knew how
deep that emotion affected the Immortal, Richie doubted he would
allow himself to be so sympathetic.
was both of our emotion," he concluded slowly.
don't mean to labour the point," Hammond continued evenly,
"but exactly how do you see Shu?"
had to think about how to answer that. He hadn't really had
time to decide what he thought about that, and it wasn't exactly
an easy question. Of course he had an advantage over anyone
else in that he'd absorbed people before. At least one of those
had come back to haunt him, and he was not unaware of the dangers.
understand him," Richie said finally, setting aside any
emotional reaction for the moment and looking at the situation
from a detached point of view. "I know him almost as well
as I know myself. I can step into his mind, but it's always
me pretending to be him, not me becoming him. I think I may
have picked up on some of his instincts, some of my reactions
are a little different now, but only on a physical level if
that makes any sense."
Immortal looked at the General to see if he was getting through,
and the man nodded for him to go on.
are some blanks," Richie continued, "but I can do
just about anything he could. I know what he has learned, I
can remember things he has seen, but I always know they are
his memories, not mine. I could be like Shu if I wanted to be,
react like him, talk like him, even think like him, but I can
never become him. I'm still me and I always will be--Shu no
just looked at him as he finished his explanation, and they
stared at each other for a long moment. There were idea's flying
behind the General's eyes, but Richie couldn't tell what they
strike me as an honest young man," the General said slowly,
"and my instincts aren't usually wrong. I'm going to put
you in Colonel O'Neill's care. You'll be escorted at all times,
confined to base of course, and we'll have to limit your movements,
but I don't see any reason to keep you locked up. If you don't
mind I'd like Dr Frasier to investigate you physiology some
more, but other than that your time is your own."
just sat there for a moment, not quite believing what he had
heard. The General just didn't fit any idea the Immortal had
of the United States military.
let me down, Mr Ryan," Hammond said calmly and stood up.
climbed to his feet as well.
won't, Sir," he replied, and for the first time his mind
didn't quail at the possibilities before him.
really didn't know quite what to do with himself. Everyone was
interested in Richie, including him, but to actually face the
young man was going to take more than a simple decision on Daniel's
part. Logically the archaeologist knew that Richie wasn't a
Goa'uld, well at least he was partially, but not as far as the
way he thought and felt. It was getting his subconscious into
line that was causing Daniel problems. The moment O'Neill had
led Richie into the room, Daniel had had to leave before he
said something he'd regret later. He'd seen the man who had
saved all their lives, and the one thing he had felt most of
all was a desire to kill him.
was not a violent person usually, but when it came to Goa'ulds
it was a different matter entirely. Rational thought had little
to do with the way he reacted to them, and reigning in his instincts
was not the easiest thing for Daniel to do. Richie had got them
out of captivity; he had saved Sam, and yet all the archaeologist
wanted to do was throttle him with his bare hands.
of course there was the "but why" thoughts going around
in his head. The ones that asked over and over why this man
was blessed to over come the Goa'uld possession, but Shauri
had been doomed to life as one of their puppets and finally
destroyed by them. He knew Richie was Immortal, knew he had
a gift that Shauri did not, nor never could have, but still
the questions continued round in his head.
time to think, needed time to sort out his feelings and come
to terms with the new situation. He had come to terms with Teal'c
... eventually, he could cope with this too.
so the first few minutes had been a little awkward as everybody
fumbled for something to say. Daniel Jackson's sharp exit hadn't
helped the situation much, but a smart-alec quip about "maybe
it's the teeth" had broken the ice. They had all been there,
and they had all had their questions. Sam had thanked him for
saving her life, and them brimmed over with curiosity. Methos
had asked a surprising amount of questions, O'Neill had put
in the odd comment, and Teal'c had sat and watched for a while.
only after they'd grilled him thoroughly, and were just chatting
that Richie finally had the nerve to ask a question that had
been bothering him for a while.
happened to Sef't?" he said tentatively.
SG-1 team members looked at each other, and Richie had the feeling
that maybe he shouldn't have asked. It was just he was genuinely
concerned for the man.
after you passed out on us," O'Neill finally spoke, "he
was taken to the med bay same as you. The doc gave him the once
over and he sorta went all quiet on us. I'm sorry, but we're
not allowed to let you two near each other."
a sentiment Richie could understand; after all it was not wise
to allow a dethroned god near his General straight after the
understand," the Immortal replied, but there was just one
thing he had to check. "Just ... quiet how?"
won't talk to anyone, won't look at anyone, just sits and meditates,"
Carter supplied quickly.
didn't like the sound of that as certain things Shu knew about
the lion Jaffa hung at the back of his mind. The twin gods had
adopted their Jaffa in a similar way to what they had done to
their hosts over the centuries, making them slightly different.
Shu and Tefnut interacted with Goa'uld society, but they had
there own little insular world as well, and what they touched
they made their own.
he doing anything in particular?" the Immortal asked, trying
not to sound worried.
and Carter frowned at each other, they obviously thought that
was a weird question.
just sitting there like this," Sam offered and did her
best impression of the Jaffa.
Richie saw how she put her hands he went cold.
going to commit suicide," the Immortal said as he wished
it wasn't true. "You have to stop him."
SG-1 team looked shocked, and Teal'c did not look as if he believed.
is not an honourable death," the Jaffa pointed out evenly.
"No warrior would seek to die in such a senseless manner."
liked the idea, okay," Richie shot back immediately. "She
liked the idea that she could order them to kill themselves
if she felt like it. Sef't probably thinks this is what she
would have wanted. He's going to remove his larva, and since
it can't be given to anyone else, he'll kill it and then he'll
die. The meditation is a purification ritual, once it's over
he will kill himself."
Immortal was deadly serious, and he was relieved when Jack finally
stay here," he told everyone, "I'll go and sort this
the incident with Sef't nobody took anything for granted. They'd
reached the Jaffa just in time, and although he hadn't said
a word to anyone since, he hadn't attempted to harm himself
in any way. Jack wasn't sure he liked the effect the recent
mission had had on his team. Daniel seemed permanently on edge
and was being quiet and distant. Teal'c spent frustrating hours
trying to communicate with his fellow Jaffa, and didn't seem
to be down the road any further than when he first started.
Then there was Carter, buzzing with curiosity about both Richie
and Adam, but Jack knew her well enough to know she was hiding
her deeper feelings about her brush with death. And as for himself
he really didn't quite know what to think. He'd spent some time
with both Richie and Adam, but mostly Richie, and he was slowly
beginning to get inside the kid's head. He couldn't be sure,
then again what about life was set in stone, but he was definitely
coming down in favour of the view that in Richie they had just
gained a valuable ally.
days after the end of the mission something happened which put
everyone in SGC in the same corner. On the Tuesday morning,
Mayburne arrived. Jack was a soldier, he had killed on several
occasions, but there was really only one person he ever wanted
to shoot on sight, and this time it was no different. Colonel
Mayburne walked in with a senatorial order, a dozen or so nasty
looking soldiers and dragged Richie away from the breakfast
he had been eating with Jack and Adam. Mayburne had double-crossed,
tried to eliminate and plain pissed off SG-1 so many times that
their leader didn't need an excuse to get annoyed anymore. After
a bit of shouting, O'Neill had half walked, half run to General
know," was the first thing Hammond said when Jack barged
into the General's office with as much control as he could muster,
"there was nothing I could do. I have Dr Frasier sitting
in on any debriefing Mayburne thinks he is doing, and I will
have this sorted out as soon as I can."
Jack had been about to say dried in his throat, as he realised
that it didn't need to be said.
there's no way I'm letting that animal get his hands on that
boy," the General stated firmly. "I'm putting you
in charge of making sure nobody from this facility causes trouble.
I will concentrate on the President."
Sir," was all Jack could find to say.
first thing Jack saw when he walked into Sam's office was Daniel
Jackson, and the look on the anthropologist's face showed O'Neill
there were some things in the universe that made Daniel madder
than a Goa'uld. If thoughts could have killed Jack realised
that Colonel Mayburne would have died in several very nasty
General is pulling strings as we speak," he informed all
his friends. "Mayburne has pulled another fast one, but
he's not going to get away with it."
what the others have told me," Adam spoke first, "are
you sure Hammond can handle this character?"
when he's annoyed," Jack replied evenly, "he can handle
are we going to do?" Carter sounded very unhappy.
now we wait," O'Neill told then calmly. "If something
happens that we don't like, then we'll act. Janet won't let
Mayburne get away with anything."
Dr Frasier's voice could have welded steel, "my patient,"
she stressed the 'my' with Hippocratic authority, "has
been through terrible stress over the past few days. If you
insist on trying to give him a mental breakdown I will have
you removed from this facility so fast your feet won't touch
was very glad of the respite, although the goons were far from
putting that amount of pressure on him. He had tried helpful,
but they had thought he was lying, he'd tried surly and they'd
decided he was hiding something, and he was up to cold and dispassionate.
It was difficult to keep his reactions under control, and every
time they annoyed him to the point when his eyes glowed or his
voice changed tenor, it just seemed to make them push harder.
If they weren't asking such damn stupid questions he might have
been able to help them.
growled something in a low voice to the doctor which Richie
couldn't be bothered to decipher, and then the Colonel turned
his attention back to him.
he said slowly, "let's put the attack on Earth aside for
the moment, and go back to this weapon."
man waved the ribbon device he had displayed on a table at the
other side of the room.
does it work, and how do we make more?"
actually found himself laughing.
think we're too technologically inferior to understand your
weapons?" Mayburne snapped, immediately jumping to the
got nothing to do with it," Richie replied.
going to go on, but Mayburne interrupted him.
know it would be much better for you if you co-operated,"
don't know exactly how it works," Richie told him for the
fifth time that morning.
you take us for fools?" the Colonel shot back.
Immortal bit his tongue before he sent back the reply that leapt
to his lips, and took a deep breath. Suddenly it came to him.
a soldier aren't you, Colonel," Richie said slowly, "you
carry a gun."
caught Mayburne somewhat by surprise.
course," the man replied without really knowing why.
me exactly how it works, and build me one using an old milk
bottle and a light bulb," Richie said bluntly.
actually shut up for a moment and Richie scored himself another
point, but it didn't last for long.
didn't leave until it was nearly midnight, and he left behind
several of his lackeys who refused to let Richie anywhere near
the rest of the SGC personnel. The General held a council of
been talking to the President," Hammond told SG-1 and Methos
as they sat in the briefing room.
his part that didn't fill the Immortal with a whole lot of confidence.
only reason Mayburne is here, is because otherwise he would
have had Richie removed from this facility to Area 51, something
none of us want," the General went on. "The President
has assured me that Mayburne will conduct his debriefings and
if he tries anything he's going to have to go through us,"
Jack said with a tone in his voice that made Methos believe
we will do this by the book," Hammond reminded his officer,
but his voice didn't sound quite as sure to the ancient ears
listening. "Is that understood."
sir," was the barely contained reply.
people," the General continued, "that man annoys me
as much as he does you, but this is a military establishment
and insubordination is not acceptable. Unfortunately covert
operations attract weasels like Mayburne, but the only way to
handle them is through the proper channels."
officer glanced around the room and his eye met Methos' for
a moment. The Immortal let his face stay placid and calm, but
his mind was working furiously. If this was going as badly as
he thought it was he had one more card up his sleeve, but it
was definitely going to be a last resort.
all due respect, sir," it was Daniel who spoke, "Richie
isn't in the military. He didn't sign on for any of this and
he sure as hell isn't being paid for it. If we let Mayburne
get away with this, it won't just be unfortunate, it'll be criminal."
sat down with a sigh, and Methos had to admire Daniel's spirit.
He knew that the anthropologist had trouble with Richie's presence
because of what he represented, but he was still willing to
fight for him.
all know it's not that simple," the General replied. "That
young man is technically an alien, and a hostile one at that."
also a citizen of the United States," Methos left his voice
neutral, and in doing so his message went through loud and clear.
that's not going to mean much to people like Mayburne,"
Carter sounded very annoyed.
fact that Jack did not leap in and agree caught Methos' attention,
and the Immortal noticed that the Colonel was looking around
at the rest of his team. The officer was obviously considering
if Mayburne doesn't just go away?" O'Neill asked slowly.
there are several courses of action open to us ..."Hammond
any of them definitely come down to a win for the good guys?"
Jack didn't give him a chance to finish.
things in this world are not definite," the General replied,
"but we are going to do everything in our power."
he were a valued member of staff, would that give you better
leverage?" O'Neill was not letting this one go.
watched as Sam caught on to what her superior was suggesting,
as did Daniel, who looked worried for a second, and then just
you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?" Hammond
did it for Teal'c," Jack pointed out. "What could
be more useful to an exploration team than someone who knows
a large amount of the terrain? Look at all the information he's
already given us on the star charts."
watched as the four members of SG-1 all glanced at each other,
a silent question going between them.
all agree, sir," O'Neill said evenly. "We'd like Richie
on our team."
Methos wasn't sure his Immortal friend would be thrilled at
the idea, but it was a damn site better than his other prospects.
The oldest living Immortal smiled to himself and kept his mouth
keep that under advisement," Hammond finally agreed. "If
it comes to that I'll give you my support."
about Sef't?" Daniel asked quietly.
I'm not sure how to help," the General told them all. "He's
not co-operating, and we don't have the man power here to watch
him 24 hours a day."
you do not mind, General, I have some thoughts on this problem,"
Teal'c spoke for the first time.
looked at him since he usually had something important to say
when he did open his mouth. Methos had to admit to himself that
he really hadn't given much thought to the problem of the lion
Jaffa, but he decided he was interested anyway.
on, Teal'c," Hammond encouraged.
believe, Master Bra'tac may be Sef't's best hope," the
Jaffa responded calmly. "Bra'tac's name was respected through
many systems, and I think Sef't would respond to his teaching.
It will also remove him from this facility and harms way."
may be right, Teal'c," the General replied thoughtfully.
"I'll see what I can do."
you, General," the Jaffa said sincerely.
caught up with Daniel as they left the briefing room.
you okay with this?" the Colonel asked his companion almost
as soon as the anthropologist acknowledged his presence.
this was a question Daniel didn't quite have an answer to yet,
and he decided to think about it before he gave an answer. Jack
took this the wrong way.
if you're not happy I'll go in there and tell the General that
we need a new plan," O'Neill told his friend. "If
I'd thought you had any doubts in there I wouldn't have pushed
it. If Richie is going to be a problem ..."
Daniel interrupted him before the officer could get overly worked
up about the subject, "it's okay. If I'd really objected
I would have said so in there ... I just have to get used to
the idea, okay."
didn't look convinced.
not just saying that?" he enquired.
the anthropologist promised, and hoped Jack would believe him.
"I know I'm having trouble accepting that Richie is around,
but I'll get over it. It's not as if he acts like a Royal Goa'uld,
it's just my prejudices getting in the way."
He was actually pleased that Jack had cared enough to ask, but
he was slowly coming to believe his own answer.
it's fine, honestly," Daniel tried once more to shift his
friend's dubious expression. "Besides, I'm just like the
rest of you, I'll go to hell and back to get Mayburne."
did it; O'Neill actually smiled.
put him back now!"
seven o'clock in the morning and Mayburne had arrived to cause
trouble very early. Hammond was to say the least, furious.
have orders to transport the prisoner to Area 51," the
Colonel returned from where he was escorting two of his men
who had Richie in restraints being dragged between them.
don't care about your orders," the General was barely concealing
his anger. "Put my guest back in his room, remove those
ridiculous chains and then report to my office."
General," Mayburne made the mistake of trying to argue.
face was eerily calm when he placed it only an inch from the
is my facility," the senior officer said evenly, "you
are man handling a person who is my responsibility, and you
didn't even ask first. Now if you so much as breathe in the
wrong place I will personally throw you off the top of this
mountain. Is that understood?"
face was pale where he tried to stand his ground.
Sir," he said very tightly.
was not a happy man, and he was barely holding onto his composure
as he watched General Hammond speaking to the President on the
phone. At least he was in good company, because from the look
on O'Neill's face the Colonel felt the same way. It was obvious
that Mayburne had been hoping to get Richie out of SGC without
too many people noticing. The fact that everyone had been expecting
such underhand tactics was the only thing that had prevented
the evil little man getting away with his plan. One thing that
Methos was damn sure about, he wasn't letting any government
lackeys get their hands on Richie.
sir, I realise this is slightly different from Teal'c's situation,"
Hammond was saying, "but my team is willing to do this.
Colonel Mayburne's initial report is inaccurate and inflammatory,
Richard Ryan does not pose a threat to national security."
was a pause.
sir I am willing to stake my career on this," the General
mood was getting darker by the second. There was another pause.
Mr President, if he is removed from SGC it will be that much
harder to get him back," Hammond continued.
General looked about as pleased with everything that was going
on as Methos, and his expression didn't get any better in the
sir, I understand, but..." the General definitely didn't
want to give up on this one.
oldest living Immortal it looked like a loosing battle and he
finally made a decision.
he said stepping forward, "give me the phone."
looked up at him sharply, but Methos stared him down. Looking
into eyes that had seen over five thousand years was a daunting
challenge and the General was not up to it. Reluctantly he handed
over the receiver.
morning, Mr President," Methos said in a calm pleasant
tone, "you don't know me, but I have something very important
to tell you. This is a Prometheus matter, Mr President."
was a pause from the other end.
make the necessary calls," came the reply from the other
you, Mr President," Methos replied, and handed the phone
back to General Hammond.
see the questions building up in the room, and rather than answer
them all at once Methos just turned and walked out. He hadn't
really wanted to do what he had just done, but he hadn't been
able to see any other way. There was only one person he knew
who could sort out the current mess, and he hadn't seen him
in fifty years. Methos was one of only a dozen or so people
who could call on him for assistance and it was something he
would only ever do in a dire emergency.
spent the best part of the next two hours trying to find Adam
and ask him what the hell was going on, but it seemed that the
Immortal was a master of the vanishing act. When things started
happening again as if by magic, Adam reappeared.
you going to tell me what's going on now?" O'Neill asked
pointedly as he found the Immortal on the way to the outside.
a lot to tell," Adam replied, and Jack really wasn't sure
whether to believe him or not. "I've involved an old friend,
most people call him Prometheus, and he solves problems."
problems?" unanswered questions were one of the Colonel's
pet hates, and he didn't like the feeling this operation was
days ago his world had been complicated enough when it involved
aliens and Stargates, now it was even more of a nightmare and
Jack was beginning to think a lot more things were beyond his
control than he had first thought.
Adam told him calmly.
who?" O'Neill was in the mood to push for answers. "What
is he, US Black Ops?"
tell you the truth I'm not exactly sure about the answer to
that question," the Immortal replied. "When I say
everyone I mean everyone ... Prometheus handles the problems
no one else can fix, for anybody who needs it. I met him in
1937 in Greece and we found it mutually beneficial to keep in
contact for several years. Heads of state all over the world
do their damndest to remain on his good side, and that's all
I can tell you."
paused as the soldier on duty passed them through to the outside.
he's so useful why didn't you mention him as soon as Mayburne
showed up?" Jack asked as they moved on.
Prometheus always makes up his own mind," Adam said evenly.
"His idea of solving this situation may be to make Richie
disappear. He always looks at the big picture and sometimes
that makes him a really dangerous man."
chose not to ask any more questions.
stood beside Colonel O'Neill and General Hammond as the helicopter
landed, and three men got out. They all wore dark suits and
carried themselves like people who knew they were supposed to
be exactly where they were. The man in the lead looked the youngest
of them all, but the familiar sensation of another Immortal
just underlined to Methos that he was nothing that he seemed.
Clear green eyes scanned the three of them and then Prometheus
how nice to see you again," he said lightly as he settled
Adam now," Methos said calmly, Prometheus just smiled again
and turned his attention to the others.
you must be General Hammond and Colonel O'Neill, I've heard
great things about you both," he said in a disarmingly
reached out his hand and the General shook it.
to meet you, sir," Hammond said, obviously not quite sure
how to take the youthful figure in front of him.
call me Prometheus," the Immortal said amiably, "every
one else does. These are agents Kovor and Davis, my associates."
to SGC, gentlemen," the General greeted.
found Prometheus looking at him again, and he stared back calmly.
you don't mind, I'd like to have a word with my old friend before
we dive into the red tape," the younger Immortal said evenly.
course," Hammond agreed, "why don't we show Agent
Kovor and Agent Davis the way in."
two Immortals waited as the other four men walked away, and
then Prometheus' mask of cheerfulness was replaced by an expression
that told Methos he was now deadly serious.
official reports say Goa'uld technology has created a man with
incredible healing powers," the green-eyed man went straight
to the point. "I assume he is actually one of us."
assume correctly," Methos replied without the least trace
any of the mortals suspect?" Prometheus obviously wanted
to know exactly what was going on before he moved in.
Hammond and the SG-1 team know the truth," the oldest living
Immortal supplied, and wondered just exactly what was going
through his companion's head. "It was the only way to launch
a rescue mission. The information will go no further."
companion looked a little unhappy at the news, but he didn't
comment, just nodded.
when there's big trouble do you always seem to be in the middle
of it?" Prometheus asked shortly.
talent I've being trying to shift for centuries," Methos
replied. "I've led them to believe I'm a little over two
hundred years old, I would appreciate it if it stayed that way."
two men regarded each other for a long moment, and in the end
it was Prometheus who looked away.
let's get on with this then," he said with just a trace
to walk towards the entrance, but Methos caught his arm. The
ancient man looked into his companion's eyes.
my friend," he said calmly, his tone totally neutral, but
the expression on Prometheus' face said he understood the meaning
were many things Richie could have been feeling, but having
been dragged out of his room, chained up and then virtually
thrown back in he had settled for really annoyed. If he'd let
himself he probably would have been terrified of the prospect
of being imprisoned at Area 51 for the rest of his life, but
he was covering that with seething anger. Hence when he felt
the presence of another Immortal he was ready to yell at anyone
and that included Methos. His plans fell into pieces, however,
when it wasn't Methos who stepped through the door.
first thing Richie noticed about the newcomer was his bright
green eyes, and the second was the fact that he did not look
morning," he said in an even tone, "my name is Prometheus."
just sat very still trying to figure out what was going on.
this moment I am working for the United States government, Adam
called me," the stranger went on.
you here to kill me, or help me?" Richie decided to be
blunt, he was in no mood for games.
Prometheus actually smiled.
I see," he said and walked further into the room, "and
to answer your question, I haven't decided yet."
at least this was going to be an honest conversation. It was
something Richie had not seen a great deal of since Mayburne
to one report you are the greatest find since the Stargate itself,
according to another you the biggest threat," Prometheus
told him. "Once I have decided who is right I'll decide
which course of action to take."
cards were on the table. Richie knew his future was now never
going near Area 51. He gazed at the man who held his life in
his hands and tried to come up with a plan should this not go
me about yourself," Prometheus said calmly and sat down
on a chair next to the door.
don't have a god complex if that's what you're wondering,"
Richie responded trying to think of something useful to say.
"I'm just me, which isn't quite who I used to be, but it's
pretty close. I have no idea what Mayburne had been saying about
me, all I can tell you is he asks really dumb ass questions."
that count, everyone seems to agree with you," the other
man said, and then fell silent again.
knew this was going to be a very long few minutes.
stood beside O'Neill and General Hammond, and watched with great
satisfaction as Mayburne's men loaded everything they had brought
with them back into their truck. It had taken over an hour,
but Prometheus had emerged from his conversation with Richie
and given the Colonel his marching orders. Sam didn't really
know who this man was, and she had decided that she definitely
wasn't going to ask any questions, she was just pleased he seemed
to be on their side. Watching Mayburne get his ass kicked was
like a cloud being lifted from the whole base. They were certainly
dragging their heels about leaving, but Sam knew she was watching
the losers packing their bags.
was quietly smiling to herself when she caught the approaching
figures of Adam and Daniel out of the corner of her eye. The
Major turned to greet them and realised that they didn't look
up guys?" she asked and saw Jack take an interest.
gone," Daniel said tersely.
you mean Prometheus," Sam said, not quite sure what her
friend was getting at, "I don't think he's left yet. The
other two lifted off a few minutes ago, but he stayed to look
around the complex."
him," Adam supplied helpfully, "Richie. He's not in
his room, and no one has seen him for at least half an hour."
Sam looked to where the helicopter had been standing and as
she looked around at her companions she realised they were all
thinking the same thing.
wouldn't have double crossed us would he?" she asked.
really wasn't sure enough of the man to know if it was possible,
but from the look on Adam' face it seemed that it might have
been on the cards.
doesn't make sense," the Immortal said after a pause. "He's
a devious son of a bitch, but he's never lied to me like this
were other possibilities of course, and Sam didn't want to be
the first to voice them.
it possible that he could have escaped on his own?" the
General had to put forward the counter argument.
is many things, General," Adam replied, "but he's
not stupid, and he doesn't let his friends down. He wouldn't
run out on us."
Immortal sounded so sure, but Sam couldn't quite bring herself
to totally believe him. The fact that these people lived their
whole lives pretending to be what they were not bothered her
a little, although she could see exactly why they did it.
sorry, but I'm going to have to make this official," the
General said and snapped Sam out of her reverie. "Where
ever he is we have to find him."
opened his mouth to reply and then shut it again, looking back
the way he had just come. There was a vague hope in his eyes
and Sam realised the Immortal thought he might be about to see
Richie. Over the past couple of days the younger of the two
had been quite open about his own Immortality, and had explained
that he and Adam could feel each other coming. As it was the
man who appeared in the entrance was Prometheus. He walked directly
over to the group, covering the few feet in only a couple of
hear we're missing a piece of the puzzle," he said almost
before he stopped.
immediate reaction was to ask how Prometheus knew, but she bit
her tongue as her senior officers got there first.
did you find that out?" Hammond asked pointedly.
have spent a very long time keeping an eye on things, General,"
Prometheus replied, "I notice these things. Before you
ask, no I did not have anything to do with it. If I had you
wouldn't have noticed yet. That leaves two options ... our Goa'uld
has gone AWOL on his own, or someone on this base has kidnapped
was nothing like stating the obvious, but Sam held on to her
reaction to this unsettling man. On the whole Carter believed
she could get on with most people, but Prometheus gave her the
assume that if one of you gets close enough you'll be able to
find him," she eventually heard herself say.
frowned slight, he didn't seem to like the fact that she knew
his secrets, but he nodded, as did Adam.
lets divide into two teams and start looking," Hammond
awoke to find that his head hurt. This was not an unfamiliar
sensation from over the past few days and he wished it would
just go away. A fraction of a second after this he opened his
eyes and found that it was very dark and there was very little
space around him. He was lying down, and he seemed to be in
some sort of box. Following this his memory clicked in and he
remembered how he came to be in his current predicament. Mayburne
and one of his goons had come into Richie's room and shot him
with something. When the Immortal moved he found that his hands
and ankles were chained in a similar fashion to when the Colonel
had tried to remove him earlier that day.
were not known for their patience, and Richie had a hot temper
of his own. His current predicament made him very angry, and
as Mayburne's gloating face filled his mind's eye rationality
stepped out of the picture. With a roar that came from deep
in his chest he took hold of his chains and pulled. No one really
knew how much stronger a human could be with a Goa'uld symbiant
living inside him or her, but Richie managed to push the envelope.
There was a satisfying clink as more than one link gave way
and then he forced his arms upwards. Wood splintered as his
hands connected with it and light flooded into his world.
prisoner bursting out of his captivity was obviously something
that had not crossed the mind of the soldier guarding the box.
If Richie had been in anything but his current frame of mind
he might have actually felt sorry for the man as a look of sheer
terror crossed his face. As it was the Immortal took one look
around himself, noted that he seemed to be in the back of a
truck and then grabbed the shocked soldier before the man could
react. One good throw and the unfortunate individual went flying
out the back of the vehicle and Richie quickly followed.
the Immortal yelled at the top of his lungs, barely noticing
that his voice held the Goa'uld edge to it.
was the only emotion coursing through Richie, and with it came
the thought of retribution. His gaze swung around the loading
area and he found his quarry with very little trouble. The Colonel
was looking surprised and a little afraid; he obviously hadn't
expected his captive to be awake let alone free. It was almost
as if everything was in slow motion as Richie took a step towards
Mayburne. He felt the touch of an Immortal presence, but didn't
bother to wonder where it was coming from. All that mattered
was venting his fury.
quite suddenly pain shattered his incoherent state of mind.
He came crashing back to himself and looked down stupidly at
the front of his shirt as it slowly turned red. It seeped into
his brain that someone had shot him and then his legs gave out
and he was dead before he hit the ground.
stopped running as she saw Richie fall to the floor; it just
didn't seem quite real. One minute the General had been dividing
them into two teams and the next people had started drawing
guns. Her logical brain told her that Richie was Immortal, that
he would get up again soon, but the rest of her was screaming
that some bastard had just killed her friend.
shook herself out of the shock and realised that there were
now two groups out the front of SGC and they were pointing guns
at each other. There was Mayburne and his men, and the SGC soldiers
including O'Neill. It looked like a war about to happen.
going to count to ten," General Hammond's voice reverberated
off the mountain, "and if anyone is pointing a gun at anyone
else by the time I am finished I will have you all court marshalled."
Sam wasn't sure anyone was going to take any notice of him,
but as O'Neill put away his sidearm, others followed suit. Slowly
the war was being averted. Daniel and Adam were the first to
run to where Richie had fallen, but it was Prometheus who caught
Sam's eye. There was an expression on his face that could have
killed all by itself.
Mayburne," he said, and he wasn't shouting, but his voice
the officer pinned down with his gaze, and he walked over slowly,
closely followed by Hammond. It seemed that the General was
leaving this to the really big guns.
you care to explain what you think you were doing?"
a simple question, but it caused Mayburne to make like a goldfish.
Prometheus had stopped half way between where Mayburne was and
where Sam was, and he just stood there.
here, Colonel," he said in a completely neutral voice.
almost like watching the condemned on the way to the executioner's
block as Mayburne turned his back on where several people were
trying to find out if Richie was alive, and walked to where
the other Immortal stood. Sam found herself edging closer, as
if her limbs had a will of their own.
Prometheus prompted again.
... I was under orders," the Colonel spluttered.
to kidnap an American citizen," Prometheus said slowly,
"orders to shoot him? Orders to destroy what could be the
most incredible discovery next to the Stargate itself?"
seemed to discover at least a little backbone as he pulled himself
to his full height.
to remove the deadliest threat to a neutral place," he
said, a little foolishly as far as Sam was concerned.
lifted one eyebrow.
orders, Mayburne?" he asked evenly. "They weren't
from the President, and they weren't from the senatorial sub-committee.
Is there another player in this game you would like to tell
the Colonel appeared to discover that silence was the best course
know all the players, Colonel," Prometheus said eventually,
"and I have a pretty good idea who would have put you up
to this. Believe me when I say that they will leave you out
to dry. I could have you court marshalled for this, and they
wouldn't lift a finger to help you."
was morbidly fascinated by the Immortal's verbal deconstruction
of the officer in front of him. Mayburne actually seemed to
shrink a little. Then Carter realised that the activity behind
the Colonel's shoulder had ceased, and she moved slightly to
see what was going on. Her eyes opened wide at what she saw.
again there are worse things I can think to do with you,"
she heard Prometheus say, just as a hand reached out and tapped
Mayburne of the shoulder from behind.
Colonel turned and before he could even react he went flying
backwards as Richie's fist connected with his jaw.
was hovering, he knew there were plenty of other places he could
be, but he really couldn't help himself. He'd seen someone come
back from the dead without the help of man or machine, and it
had been quite an incredible sight. Of course he'd been a witness
to the powers of a sarcophagus before, but this was entirely
different. A marine had ripped the front of Ryan's shirt and
tried to put some life back into him, and it had given Daniel
a view of the healing process. Watching flesh and bone actually
knit back together without leaving so much as a trace of an
injury was incredible.
Richie had decked Mayburne, knocking him cold, both men had
been taken to the sick bay. The Colonel had woken up en-route,
and Dr Frasier had sent him away as soon as possible with two
aspirin. Janet had then turned her attention to Richie who was
doing a good impression of someone surprised to be alive. SG-1
all knew that he was Immortal, but as far as the others were
concerned he'd just been a fast healer. Daniel was actually
quite surprised that the Immortal had the presence of mind to
pretend, it had, after all, been quite a morning.
watching Richie hit Mayburne had changed Daniel's attitude towards
him. Goa'uld's were capable of incredible violence, but they
tended to express it slightly differently. The Immortal's reaction
had seemed so human, even if his eyes had been bright white
at the time. Daniel wasn't sure why he was hovering in the sick
bay as Dr Frasier finished the examination of her patient, but
he couldn't quite bring himself to leave. The more he looked
at Richie the more he was beginning to see more of the man and
less of the monster.
even a trace," the doctor said as she examined the x-ray
that she had taken of Richie's chest.
Immortal himself was sitting on one of the beds, bare torso
available for inspection.
even if we have the technology it's irrelevant, he can rebuild
himself," Richie quipped.
you watch too much TV as a kid?" Janet shot back with a
a product of my generation," he replied.
found himself smiling. To begin with there had been other people
hanging around as well, but Jack and Sam had been dragged away
to talk to General Hammond, Teal'c had gone to see Sef't and
that left just Daniel and a nurse. No one seemed to object to
his presence so the anthropologist had decided to stay. He wasn't
sure exactly why; he thought he probably wanted to talk to Richie
at some point, being the only one of SG-1 who hadn't really
done so yet, but he wasn't certain he wanted it to be now.
you going to hover in my doorway all day, Dr Jackson, or are
you actually coming in?" Dr Frasier suddenly took an interest
coloured slightly and tried not to look too embarrassed. He
took a few steps into the room.
I ... ah ..." he tried to think of something to say.
just smiled at him.
I want to get these results into the computer as soon as possible,"
the doctor announced to the room. "Daniel would you mind
making sure no one steals my patient while I'm gone? He keeps
disappearing these days and I'm almost afraid to leave him alone."
could always handcuff me to the bed," Richie offered with
a wicked grin.
give me any ideas, kid," the doctor returned with a twitch
of her eyebrows.
was laughing as the woman walked passed him towards her office.
The nurse who had also been in the room a couple of seconds
earlier had vanished, it seemed that people were conspiring
against Daniel. In this case he came to the conclusion that
it might be a good thing. An awkward silence fell as the anthropologist
tried to find something to say, and he took to staring at his
told me about Shauri," it was Richie who spoke first and
his tone was quiet and serious, "I'm sorry."
head came up sharply and he gazed directly at his companion.
The Immortal's face had lost its playful expression, and had
gained a youthful sincerity.
understand if you never want to lay eyes on me," Richie
looked at each other for a while, the Immortal had obviously
said what he wanted to say and was waiting to see what the reply
Daniel finally said, "I'm not quite fine with you here
yet, but I'm getting there."
expression emerged on Richie's face, and he relaxed a little.
When he didn't have a serious frown the Immortal actually looked
very young, and Daniel found himself wondering about the person
behind the revelations for the first time.
old are you?" he heard himself ask.
was the somewhat surprised reply, "27 in the summer."
don't look it," Daniel commented.
Richie replied with a resigned sigh and a grin, "I will
always look 19. You have no idea how irritating that can be."
Daniel thought he had and he smiled.
looked about 18 until I was 24," he told his companion,
"I can sympathise. I lost count how many times I was carded."
anthropologist wandered over to one of the other beds and sat
you'll never age at all?" he asked, trying to understand
the other man's condition.
Richie confirmed, "I'll be like this at 500 if I make it
caught Daniel off guard a little.
wouldn't you make it?" he asked.
looked a little awkward for a moment, as if he wasn't sure what
quite to say, but after a moment his features cleared.
can die," he said honestly, "but I hope you understand
if I don't go broadcasting how."
actually smiled; he could see the reasoning behind that one.
The anthropologist walked further into the room and perched
on one of the empty beds. He did not want to miss this conversation.
entirety of SG-1, General Hammond, Methos and Richie sat round
the large table in the briefing room. The meeting had been called
once Mayburne and his people and Promethius' team had all left.
The base once again belonged to the SGC staff and they alone
and it was time to deal with the leftovers. Richie knew it was
crunch time, but he felt a great deal more comfortable knowing
that his fate was in the hands of the people around the table
rather than those he had met that day.
Ryan," the General greeted after everyone had sat down,
"I believe you realise we have a problem here."
simply nodded; it was mostly a rhetorical question.
cannot in good conscience simply let you go back to your life,"
Hammond continued in a sympathetic tone. "Although you
have continued to prove that you are not under the influence
of the Goa'uld larva which took residence in your body you are
in possession of knowledge which could be damaging to the security
of this planet. If our enemies were to find out about you, you
could become a powerful weapon against us."
was not news to Richie; he had been expecting a speech like
this. Part of him had dreaded it and part of him was coldly
analytical about the whole situation: after all it could have
been worse. He did not think that Hammond was going to have
allow you to run loose on this planet is not an option,"
Hammond concluded firmly and paused. "However," he
continued shortly, "we have two possible suggestions to
resolve this issue."
was impressed; he couldn't even find one.
are allies with the To'kra," the General told him calmly,
"and although they know nothing about you yet, we are willing
to contact them for you. They are probably the closest people
to your own situation and I have no doubt that the information
you possess would be of use to them."
name To'kra caused Richie a moment of distaste as Shu's prejudice
against them made itself known, but he put it aside. It was
after all an option and one that did not have him locked up
for the rest of his life. It would mean leaving everything Richie
Ryan knew and all the people he cared about, but it wouldn't
be the first time his world changed. He nodded for Hammond to
second option is that you join the SGC," Hammond said and
actually surprised Richie. "Your knowledge of the system
lords and the rest of the Goa'uld would be invaluable to us."
sounded so much more appealing than the To'kra that Richie couldn't
keep the interest off his face, however, there were a couple
would I be doing other than acting as a fount of knowledge?"
he asked, trying to sound calm about the whole subject.
like you to join SG-1," O'Neill said before Hammond could
answer and grinned brightly at the younger man.
if the offer to join the SGC had surprised Richie, this simply
stunned him. Jack looked as if he was enjoying the effect as
he simply beamed at what Richie knew was a slack jawed expression
on his own face.
serious," he said, not quite sure what to say.
you saved our necks once already," O'Neill said after letting
him suffer for a few seconds. "I for one would feel very
safe with you at my back."
knowledge would be invaluable every time we go through the gate,"
Sam added with a warm smile.
would be an honour to serve with you," Teal'c put in stoically.
left Daniel who simply looked at him for a while
objections here," the anthropologist said calmly.
couldn't believe it: what they were offering was better than
his wildest dreams. He looked at Methos who simply appeared
knew," he accused and that drew an even smugger grin from
the ancient man.
I take it you accept our second solution," Hammond said
grinned and then set his face in a very serious expression.
one suggestion," he said earnestly.
what would that be," the General asked, sobering his own
we tell Dr Frasier the truth, please," Richie said lightly.
"If she x-rays me every time I heal I'm going to glow in
was the first to crack and he seemed to find the comment extremely
that when General Hammond wanted things done he could make the
wheels of officialdom move very fast. Before Richie really knew
where he was it was a week later and he was on the payroll.
He had official quarters on the base, security clearance and
everything he needed to be part of SG-1. That left one loose
end when it came to the SGC and as soon as Hammond gave him
permission he wandered into sickbay.
Janet" he greeted as he found the person he was looking
for checking her supply cabinet.
yourself," the doctor said cheerfully, "and what brings
you to my domain?"
actually I really want to get you in your office alone,"
Richie said with a suggestive twitch of his eyebrows.
boy," Janet laughed.
Richie said with a grin, "I would like to talk to you somewhere
private. Since I'm going to be a permanent resident there are
a couple of things you need to know."
into my parlour said the spider to the fly," Janet said
cheerfully and indicated her office.
both walked into the smaller room, Janet shut the door and they
what was it you wanted to tell me?" she asked with a smile.
took a deep breath.
be mad," he opened his gambit, "but you know all that
surprise about being alive after I was shot."
nodded, obviously not sure where this was going.
was acting," Richie admitted honestly, "I wasn't surprised
at all. The story about the experimental technique Shu was trying
out on me is a cover. The Goa'uld didn't make me Immortal, I
doctor didn't look as if she knew how to take that one.
are people on Earth who don't die and don't age," Richie
hurried on. "We're normal until we're killed for the first
time and then nature just stops for us. I'm who my records say
I am, but I died for the first time seven years ago. I'm for
all intents and purposes, immortal."
why they had to rescue you," Janet said slowly as if this
finally explained something that had been bothering her. "If
Shu had managed to take you over he would have been unstoppable."
only people who know are you, SG-1 and General Hammond,"
the Immortal said calmly, "if this got out ..."
be a witch hunt," Frasier finished for him, then she smiled.
"Thank you for the truth," she told him, "I'll
keep your secret happily."
sighed with relief, he had had faith in Janet, but he had still
been just a little worried. Some people did not take the news
of Immortals very well.
tell me more," she said with a huge grin. "How many
times have you died before?"
grinned back: he knew there was a reason he liked Janet.
days and two hours after Mayburne had been given his marching
orders there was one more departure going on and it was a sadder
one. His time at SGC had been a little more exciting than he
would have liked in Methos' opinion, but then life became boring
without the odd adventure. The oldest living Immortal was packing
the few things he had acquired in his stay into a bag when Richie
knocked on his door.
ready to go then?" the younger Immortal said in what was
supposed to be a nonchalant tone.
didn't fool Methos for a second and the older man couldn't help
but feel guilty about leaving him. They had decided that he
would return and smooth everything over at home since Richie
couldn't go. Methos was going to keep in touch, but for both
of them to vanish would have MacLeod on the warpath looking
for them. The Stargate was top secret and they had solemnly
agreed to keep it that way even among their closest friends.
Richie had taken a job at the research establishment where Daniel
worked as far as the outside world was concerned. Methos was
going to drop some hints about a member of the opposite sex
and large amounts of money paid for computer skills that Richie
had picked up over the last few years.
Richie had a secret identity as a hacker he had not shared with
his friends, and which was now coming in very handy. It helped
that Richie did know something about computers, and he was pretty
sure he could bluff Mac into the ground on the subject. The
Highlander used modern technology out of necessity; he did not
like it anywhere near as much as he pretended to.
arrive with anything, so I think leaving with a bag is an achievement,"
Methos said lightly.
the towels then?" Richie replied with a grin.
never notice they're missing," the older man said mockingly,
"military operations are always the same. If they just
kept track of their stores the US government could halve their
made Richie laugh, but he sobered quickly.
Mac I'm sorry to desert him like this," the younger man
said quietly. "I'll call when I can."
let him know," Methos promised and he meant it for once.
just a little guilty for getting Richie into this mess, after
all it was his fault they had entered the SGC in the first place.
Methos had been around too long to let the idea get him down,
but he couldn't escape it entirely. Richie may only have been
a toddler compared to himself, but the kid had seen far too
much in his short life. The oldest living man did not envy his
sorry," he finally said, unable to just dismiss this problem.
your fault," Richie said slowly and looked him straight
in the eye. "You couldn't have predicted what was going
to happen, and we both know that this is more important than
either of us. You were there the first time round, now it's
time for us younger ones to have a go."
grinned at that as Richie smiled at him irreverently.
well I expect you to keep me up to date," he said pointedly.
"I know the military and they're never going to tell me
everything. If you need me I'll be around."
know, Old Man," Richie said calmly and Methos could see
age in his eyes that did not belong to the younger Immortal.
Richie Ryan Methos had involved in this fiasco no longer existed
and the older man knew he had had a hand in killing him. Yet
the new Richie was just as earnest, just as brave and a damn
sight more interesting. Methos hoped the new Richie Ryan would
be better than the old one could ever have imagined.
universe is the limit," Methos said quietly. "Stay
smiled at him again and then before Methos could say anything
else he turned and left. The ancient man was left with a feeling
that either the galaxy was on the verge of something exciting
or in really big trouble.