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.
of Part 1