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Fanfic page with pictures, music, previews, staff bios and episode listings, all you could want, and more, for Highlander fiction fans. HFS season one is finished, we have a total of 23 episodes, and they're all available if you follow the HFS link.

by Tasha - A Highlander/SG-1 Xover


Part 1

What 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.

"Nobody's home," Jack said from where he stood slightly to the front of the others.

"This place feels like a tomb," Daniel commented.

"Thank you so much for that happy imagery, Dr Jackson," O'Neill shot back sarcastically.

"This 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."

"And 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.

The 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.

"I'd say the answer is down there," Sam offered her opinion on the problem and pointed to a group of large important looking buildings.

"Well 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."

Daniel 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.

Some 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.

"Wow," Sam said as she looked around.

"Wow, maybe, Major," O'Neill responded, "but is this what we came for?"

Daniel 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 things.

"I 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 miracle."

When he looked back at Jack, the officer didn't look very impressed.

"If they were so advanced why aren't they still here? How were they driven away?" he asked pointedly.

"Daniel 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."

To his credit Jack did glance up at the paintings again.

"Okay, 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.

Daniel 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.

"Anything you can translate?" she asked as he finally looked at her. "It doesn't look similar to anything I've ever seen."

"Me 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."

The 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.

"Well what's it say, Danny?" O'Neill finally asked in a totally neutral, but unerringly annoying tone.

"I don't know," Daniel had to admit, and hoped he kept the pique out of his voice.

"We should move on," Jack told them, "there might be more interesting stuff than alien graffiti in some of those other buildings."

Daniel's patience was stretched very thin, but he managed to keep his temper.

"This 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."

"Whatever 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."

Daniel 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.

Daniel 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.

SG-1 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.

It even 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.

Daniel 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.

There 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.

He picked 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: -

To Daniel,
Never let them tell you your work is nonsense, they weren't there.

It had 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.

Daniel 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 his life.

The 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.

"Is the Highlander at home?" Methos breezed into the dojo as if he owned the place, and Richie gave up on his interrupted kata.

"He went DIY shopping about an hour ago," the younger Immortal replied unenthusiastically, "he's planning on redecorating."

Richie 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.

"Then I chose the right time to pick up my stuff," he announced with completely irritating cheer, and headed for the elevator.

Richie 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.

The 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.

"Books," 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."

Richie 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.

"If they've been here this long," he said slowly, "why now?"

The other Immortal grinned, and for a moment Richie thought he wasn't going to tell him.

"I had a call from an old friend," Methos told him, "and I need them. I'm going on a road trip."

The elevator reached its destination and the two men walked out.

"Anywhere nice?" Richie enquired.

"Nowhere special," Methos replied.

The 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.

"Why 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."

"You know Mac," Richie replied, imagining all sorts of tortures the Highlander could find for him, "a man's home is his castle."

"Four 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..."

"Fancy 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.

His companion looked up from where he was rummaging, he expression appeared genuinely surprised.

"If 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.

"You 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."

"Anywhere is better than here," Richie replied.

"When 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."

Nobody 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.

Daniel 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.

"Ah, there's fresh coffee on in the kitchen," the anthropologist said absently, "help yourselves. I just have to go change."

Then he turned and left them standing there, almost as if he'd forgotten they existed.

"I 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.

"Looks like he's really into this," Sam commented as she followed her commanding officer. "Wonder how it's going."

Jack 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.

They 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.

"So how's it going," Jack asked as his friend wandered back into the room.

"Do you want what I've been telling General Hammond or the truth?" Daniel replied wearily.

"That bad?" Sam sounded sympathetic.

"It's 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."

O'Neill 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.

"Adam, you made it," Daniel greeted almost before he'd swung back the door.

The 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.

"With 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."

"No problem," Daniel replied, "come in both of you."

There 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.

When 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.

"Adam, 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 days."

"Nice to meet you," Adam had a disarmingly pleasant smile, and Jack found himself smiling back as the stranger spoke, even before he realised it.

The 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.

"Academic as in also a linguist?" he asked slowly.

"Yeah," 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."

The 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 little sheepish.

"Okay," 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."

Jack had a sinking feeling.

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but do I sense classified in this conversation?" Adam didn't appear to be very worried.

O'Neill could feel the frown knitting his brows, and he made no effort to remove it.

"I'll take that as a 'yes'," was the stranger's matter-of-fact response.

"Jack, if we want this translated, we need Adam," Daniel tone left little room for argument.

Alarm 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.

"If it's so vital why didn't you go through Hammond?" he asked pointedly.

"And 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 that."

"Guys," Sam stepped in, "let's not fight in front of the guests."

The 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.

Something 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.

Richie 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.

The 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.

To anyone 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.


It came 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.

"How did you know?"

Richie 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.

"Adam, 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.

"What 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 not back."

The 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.

"Teal'c is on our side," was what Daniel eventually said. "No they're not back."

Methos' eye opened wide as if he'd just realised something and then he frowned again.

"Please 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.

Daniel 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.

"What do you know about the Stargate, and where did you find out?" the man Richie was positive was military stepped forward.

"I 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."

There 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.

"The 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."

"Are 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."

Methos was calming down, at least on the outside, and he looked at the others in the room with disdain.

"Don't worry, I'm all that's left," the ancient Immortal said coldly. "No one else remembers."

Richie 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 him.

"This 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?"

"Oh, way before," Methos returned, "let's just say it has a lot to do with my knowledge of ancient languages."

Richie 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.

"You 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 that.

"I'm 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."

Daniel 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 O'Neill.

"Okay, 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."

Richie 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.

"If you insist," he said calmly.

Richie 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 wrong.

"Okay, I have absolutely no idea what is going on here," the Immortal finally said.

"Too bad, kid," O'Neill told him, "because you're along for the ride."

It took 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.

O'Neill 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.

They 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 anything.

"Where are you from?" she finally asked, and Richie saw O'Neill's eyes flick to the rear view mirror.

"Seacouver," 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."

"Lived there long?" was Sam's next question.

"As 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."

His 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.

"Home is where the heart is," she said lightly. "If you don't mind me asking, how do you know, Adam Pierson?"

It was obvious that she was fishing for information, but Richie decided it was better here than when they reached their destination.

"We 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."

Sam's grin became wider.

"I have friends like that too," she told him and the little voice in the back of his mind dimmed worryingly.

She glanced forward and Richie tried to look as if he wasn't noticing the silent signals going on between his escorts.

"So you really have no idea what's going on here?" it was half question, half statement.

"Not 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."

Sam 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.

"Do you even know anything about languages?" Sam was just making small talk now, but Richie decided to play along.

"Wouldn't 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 head, again.

They 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.

Okay 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.

"Way to go on ruining a vacation, Old Man," Richie said sarcastically, and pointedly ignored the camera looking at him.

"Calm 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."

Richie glared at his companion.

"They'll 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?"

"It's 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."

Richie let the information sink in, and tried to make himself come to terms with the situation.

"You know," he finally said, "I wish, just once that my life could be simple."

Methos actually smiled.

"Just play dumb and let me do the talking," were the words of wisdom he offered.

The 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.

"Would you care to explain these?" Hammond said in a bland tone that belied the expression on his face.

Richie just looked at him and kept his mouth shut: this was Methos' party.

"An old tradition," the ancient Immortal said calmly. "The swords are a heritage nothing more."

"To do with your knowledge of the Stargate I suppose," Hammond continued with equal dispassion.

This time Methos just nodded.

"Mr Ryan claims no knowledge of the Stargate, Mr Pierson," the General stated evenly, "and yet he carried a weapon like yours."

Out of the corner of his eye, Richie saw Methos smile, and he tried to appear as calm as his ancient friend.

"Training 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."

The General was silent for a moment, and fixed Methos and then Richie with his gaze.

"Is this true?" he looked Richie straight in the eye and demanded an answer.

The young Immortal knew he was not a good liar, so he chose to tell the literal truth.

"I 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."

The 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.

"Colonel 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.

"That's 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 time."

Richie watched as Methos swept his eyes around the table, making sure he had everyone's attention.

"What 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?"

"That information is classified," Hammond replied without hesitation.

"Then 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."

That definitely held everyone's attention.

"Just who are Shu and Tefnut?" Hammond was looking at Daniel.

Richie 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.

"The 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."

The SGC personnel were looking at each other meaningfully.

"Well there's no way they could get in here," O'Neill said confidently.

"But SG-2 are investigating the site," Sam reminded them all.

Hammond held up his hand.

"Escort our guests back to their room," he instructed the two guards beside the door.

Richie knew his observation of the situation was over.

SG-3 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 table.

"But why would he lie?" Daniel felt the need to defend his friend after the General had shown them the reports.

"Maybe 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."

The linguist couldn't think of a good answer, and it was unsettling not to be able to trust a man who was his friend.

"Just how well do you know Pierson?" Hammond addressed Daniel directly.

"We 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."

The 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.

"Well 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."

Daniel nodded: it would be almost impossible for Adam to falsify the text if he was teaching the syntax and semantics.

"Colonel 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."

The 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.

"Teal'c, Major Carter, confer with SG-2 when they return, look over their logs and make sure nothing was missed," their commander finished. "Dismissed."

Everyone left the room as quickly as possible.

End of Part 1

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