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.
of Part 2