cell was relatively small compared to the one Daniel and the
others had seen in their last stay as Goa'uld prisoners. There
was a stone lip around the inside of the room, and SG-1 was
sat around trying to come up with something like a plan. Ever
since O'Neill had recovered from his blow to the head, they'd
been talking. Daniel wasn't very impressed with the amount of
useful ideas they had between them, but he also realised that
saying so wouldn't do them any good.
we can't just go back, even if we do escape," Carter pointed
out firmly. "We have to make sure that Shu is destroyed
and none of the other Goa'uld find out about what happened.
If any of them even suspect there may be more like Richie on
earth they won't stop until they've found them."
means we have to find Adam too," Jack said with an annoyed
shake of his head.
how do you stop someone who's Immortal?" Daniel asked dejectedly,
they'd been in some pretty bad situations before, but this was
right up there with one of the worst.
don't know," O'Neill spat back in his frustration. "Drop
a mountain on them or something like that."
been stuck in the cell all night, and there didn't seem to be
any way out. No one had bothered to feed them; it didn't appear
that the Goa'uld believed in a last meal for the condemned.
Daniel knew they would have to attract attention some how, but
doing so without getting themselves killed straight away was
not going to be easy.
planning was interrupted by some loud noises from just outside
okay, I'm going aren't I," came an unhappy complaint, "no
need to shove."
door opened and the sight of a ruffled but seemingly otherwise
undamaged Adam being half thrown through the opening backed
up the evidence of Daniel's ears. Following closely on his heels
was a Jaffa with the markings of Shu on his forehead and an
evil looking staff weapon in his hand. The warrior took up a
position just to the left of the door, poised should anyone
dare to move. As the next figure appeared in the doorway the
reason for the Jaffa's vigilance became obvious, and Daniel
had to stifle the thoughts running through his head from leaving
archaeologist barely recognised Richie in the full regalia of
a royal Goa'uld and the gaze that scanned the room showed no
warmth and only cursory recognition. Daniel couldn't say he'd
had much time to really get to know the Immortal before everything
had gone straight to hell, but the creature in the doorway wasn't
even close to the person he had briefly known. Shu's peculiar
taste in altering his host's eyes and teeth made Richie seem
all the more alien and on his left hand was a ribbon device
and each finger guard was tipped with a black claw.
couldn't help but stare and he knew his contempt and hatred
were probably showing in his face. He'd never been good at hiding
his emotions, and as this Goa'uld walked further into the room
it was no different. This was the same kind of monster that
had taken Shauri from him twice, and if it had been within his
power he would have tried to kill it with his bare hands. This
was Shu, and Daniel removed Richie from his mind. Behind the
parasite was yet another Jaffa, but this one was not heavily
armed, in fact he appeared to be acting as a beast of burden.
flicked his hand and the vassal behind him placed the box he
had been carrying down on the floor. It was at that point that
the morning became that little bit stranger. Shu reached out
and to Daniel's surprise as well as that of the Jaffa in question
took his servant's staff weapon.
he said coldly, "and close the door."
Jaffa whose weapon Shu had taken looked very startled.
Master," were the only words he uttered before Shu turned
Goa'uld's eyes were white with anger, and he did not look at
you questioning me," Shu said very slowly and deliberately.
left hand came up a small way with every word, and the Jaffa's
expression went from surprise to terror.
out, and if I see you again before sundown I will have you both
killed," Shu said and turned away from his escorts as if
dismissing them from his mind.
two Jaffa no longer hesitated and vanished through the door,
letting it slam shut behind them.
as the other members of SG-1, was looking astonished, and for
a few seconds nobody moved. The tableau was broken by what had
to have been probably the most unexpected thing that Daniel
could have thought of. Shu handed the staff weapon to Adam and
freed of the burden used his right hand to rub the back of his
these people need a lesson in fashion," he said and his
voice was perfectly normal.
just let his mouth drop open, and he could see all the others
in equally obvious modes of shock. The archaeologist looked
at Adam who grinned back.
isn't he," the Immortal said almost as if they weren't
on a foreign planet at peril for their very lives.
how?" Sam was the only one to voice the question.
and I had an argument over whose body this was and I won,"
Richie told her with an irreverence Daniel had heard before.
"Playing god really isn't my style, so I figured you guys
might like to get out of here."
you are Goa'uld," Teal'c pointed out what they had all
out of ten to the man in the corner," Richie replied, "but
after you've been possessed by a demon, an alien is a push over.
Right now I think we should leave before Sef't decides to tell
my beloved sister he's just left me in here on my own."
Immortal turned quickly and flipped open the box behind him.
ammo, and everything else the Jaffa confiscated," he told
them. "Your backup teams were forced back through the gate
a few hours ago, but as long as we don't bump into Tefnut, no
one is going to try and stop me, no matter who's with me. Shu
has a reputation for being erratic anyway."
followed the others as everyone slowly climbed to their feet,
and he could tell they were all reticent. The shock over, practicalities
were going through all minds. They didn't trust Richie, no matter
what he was doing for them. Daniel was right with them on that
point: Goa'ulds were trouble, and there were no exceptions.
Daniel didn't know Richie well enough to be able to tell if
he was really acting like Richie, he appeared to be trying to
help them, but Tefnut at least had been shown to have a warped
idea of fun, which could mean that anything was going on.
forgive us if we don't take anything you say at face value,"
O'Neill said as Richie turned back from the box.
young Immortal looked a little unhappy at the statement, but
he seemed to understand it. He took a deep breath, and Daniel
was a little perturbed to see a momentary flash of white behind
the man's eyes. This person really wasn't human anymore, he
was the same irreverent young man who had walked into Daniel's
apartment, and yet he wasn't at the same time.
Richie said slowly, "I know you don't trust me. Believe
me I know all about Goa'uld games. I know I look like an extra
from Cats, but I am on your side. I can't explain how I defeated
Shu, I can't even tell you exactly what's going on in my head
right now, but I do suggest we get out of here as fast as possible.
Look at it this way, those guns are loaded, this staff works,
so at least you have a fighting chance. Staying here you are
is true," Teal'c observed as calmly as ever.
and Richie stood there looking at each other in silence for
a moment. Daniel knew Jack was weighing the odds, and the archaeologist
realised with unhappy certainty that there was only one decision.
the Colonel said finally, "we move out. You step out of
line just once and I'll fill you full of holes. I know it won't
kill you for long, but I'll make sure it hurts like hell."
looked surprised and Daniel realised that Adam must not have
had time to fill his companion in on how much SG-1 knew.
told them," the dark haired Immortal stepped in quickly.
"This place was off limits until the gravity of the situation
was made clear."
that at the top of my 'I thought it would never happen list',"
Richie shot back.
comment might even have been worth a smile if it hadn't of been
a Goa'uld saying it. The presence of an alien parasite really
put humour off the menu for Daniel. The younger Immortal glanced
around the room, as if taking in the faces of his companions
for the first time. When his eyes reached Daniel the archaeologist
felt as if he was somehow being assessed, he just stared right
he agreed, "I go wacko, you shoot me, fine, but to get
out of this we need rules. First play prisoners, look dejected,
beaten and hide the guns. I'll carry the second staff, if we
run into trouble I'll give it to Teal'c. If we meet anyone I'll
do any talking necessary, me they'll listen to, you they'll
blast into a million pieces."
watched Jack look at Teal'c who just raised an eyebrow.
would seem a logical course of action," the Jaffa replied.
good, can we go now?" Richie appeared to have an impatient
streak which came shining through.
now that's the Richie I've come to expect," Adam said,
and Daniel had to adjust to the man not just being his grad
friend as the Immortal leant past the others to pick up his
hadn't been lying when he'd told the others he wasn't sure what
was going on in his head. Ever since Shu had tried to take over
his body he'd had a weird second take on the world. At first
Shu had tried to squash Richie's will and supplant the control
of his physical form, but the Immortal had fought back. Blind
panic had taken over as the alien had attached himself to his
system and no matter how had he tried, he couldn't remember
anything that had happened.
he had come to himself Shu, as an entity had been gone, which
was the only plus Richie could see in the current situation.
There was no battle going on inside him, there was just a strange
dual knowledge. He knew what Shu had known, or at least part
of it. He knew how to behave, what to say, how to use Goa'uld
technology. In fact, Richie knew how to be Shu, he could even
empathise with the way the alien had thought. His original persona
overrode the desires of the Goa'uld, but Richie still knew what
they were. He was almost sure there were gaps, things that had
been lost in whatever had happened, but most of it was there.
almost like stepping into another skin when he became Shu, when
he let himself pretend to be the alien parasite. He let Goa'uld
instincts rule his actions with his human awareness sitting
in the background. It was strange, he had woken in what should
have been a terrifying situation, and yet he hadn't panicked
at all, in fact he had simply turned it to his own advantage.
he had just let things happen, allowed himself to adjust to
the new things, and then he had taken control. He had all but
seduced Tefnut, and that was one of the things that really bothered
him. It wasn't the fact that he had used her that was the problem,
when death was the alternative certain actions were admissible,
but what he had felt whilst doing it worried him. He really
had desired her, even felt a strange sense of love, as if experiencing
the echo of what Shu would have felt.
was more than a little confused, but as the party strode through
the palace nothing showed on the outside. SG-1 were showing
themselves to be very good actors, and nobody gave them more
than a passing glance. That Shu was escorting prisoners on his
own may have been strange, but people who wanted to live didn't
question a Goa'uld, and they were left alone. Sneaking around
back passages was not what a royal Goa'uld was prone to doing,
and so Richie lead them through the main hallways. Eventually
he had no choice but to take them into a part of the building
where Tefnut might actually see them. Fate was yet again, against
the party and as they entered one of the main antechambers Tefnut
appeared with two Jaffa, one of them being Sef't.
what are you doing?" the female Goa'uld asked, frowning
at the now still party.
let a smile wander across his face and strode towards her as
if nothing was wrong.
my darling," he said and gallantly kissed her hand. "I
woke this morning with the desire to find you a host such as
a hand under her arm and steered her away from her guards.
did not wish the Jaffa to hear of the plan," he told her
conspiratorially, "you never know when one will be captured
and tortured to gain information. This discovery is ours to
share, and no one else's. This power shall be ours to do with
as we wish."
looked over at the prisoners who were still doing a good impression
of being beaten.
are the key," Richie continued calmly, "the key to
Earth. Our last strategy did not work, but maybe we were too
hasty. What we need are puppets whose masters will not see the
strings. The humans shall be our game pieces and they shall
open their world for us. Never let it be said that the Lion
Gods are not cunning."
was beginning to appear a lot happier with the situation. The
plan sounded plausible, and it was obvious she liked the idea
of having her own invulnerable body. The race for power always
outweighed other considerations in Goa'uld life, and Tefnut
was no different. She wandered towards the prisoners, leaving
Richie to the task he had had in mind in the first place. Tefnut
could be dangerous, but the greatest hazards in the room were
the two Jaffa. With a slight nod at Methos, Richie revealed
his true colours. His left hand shot up and an energy wave flew
across the room. Sef't and his companion were flung backwards,
and Sef't at least did not get up again when he hit the wall.
A single shot from the staff finished off the Jaffa who refused
to stay down.
was staring at Richie in horror when he finished his task, and
by the time she glanced at the so-called prisoners they were
all brandishing weapons.
she asked almost desperately.
obviously thought of treachery from her fellow Goa'uld. She
looked like a woman scorned, and Richie suspected she had no
inkling of what had really happened.
have ruled together for millennia," she entreated him,
"why abandon me now."
is gone," Richie said evenly, "you are appealing to
nothing. Playing with things you do not understand will get
Immortal had thought Tefnut appeared horrified before, the new
expression on her face made that emotion look pale in comparison.
She seemed caught between disbelief, rage and terror, but her
emotions slowly coalesced into a hard, cold shell of anger.
will have you dissected," she said icily. "Shu will
be returned to me."
found himself laughing despite the situation. With totally certainty
he knew that even if she had been in the position to carry out
her threat, it would not do her any good.
weren't listening," the Immortal told her almost as coldly
as she had, "I didn't say I dominated him I said Shu was
gone. He played with fire, it destroyed him, and now we're leaving."
disbelief was back on Tefnut's face: she seemed frozen. Her
Goa'uld sensibilities just couldn't deal with the idea Richie
had thrown at her. That her brother's will could have been overcome
was almost inconceivable, but that he could be gone forever
didn't seem to be in her mindset at all.
do we do with her?" Carter asked as SG-1 finally mobilised.
looked stunned and empty, Richie didn't think any of his companions
would have the heart to kill her.
take her with us," O'Neill said eventually. "The game
plan has changed, we're leaving here using a royal hostage as
couldn't help but feel relief at the Colonel's decision. On
an academic level he knew she was a monster, but in his heart
he still felt for her. Maybe back on Earth there may be hope
for her yet. The new strategy would bring them into direct conflict
with the forces between them and the gate, but deception was
not really an option any more. Sooner or later someone would
find out what had happened, and this way they had a much better
royal hostages," Richie pointed out and handed Teal'c the
well we'd better confiscate those pretty bangles then,"
O'Neill pointed out, and held out his hand for Richie's only
of the corner of his eye the Immortal saw Carter step towards
Tefnut, and he saw his sister goddess move. With a cry of fury
the female Goa'uld turned on the Major bringing up her own weapon
before the human could react.
will all die," she yelled, and energy ripped out at Carter.
screamed the moment it touched her, and Richie knew the woman
was dead if he didn't get there immediately. Almost instantaneously,
horrible black and green blotches appeared on the Major's skin,
there was no time to lose. Forced into action the Immortal never
hesitated and he turned, pushing Carter out of the way. Tefnut's
power turned on him, but even as the corruption touched his
skin it vanished almost as quickly as it appeared. His Immortal
body was an easy match for the death touch that Tefnut dealt.
woman was engulfed in a rage so great nothing could possibly
reach her, she had to be stopped or she would destroy everyone.
Richie's own hand came up and even as her power poured into
him so his poured into her. Within a few seconds she began to
was shock in her eyes as her skin began to flake from her body,
and Richie almost stopped, but at least this way she would die
quickly. He locked his eyes with hers and turned every ounce
of power he had on her. In seconds Tefnut, Goddess of moisture
and Daughter of Ra was a dried out husk. Richie couldn't bring
himself to destroy her completely. Turning her into a pile of
dust was not something he could do to a woman that part of himself
had loved for so long and he released her body to fall to the
a long moment Richie just stood there unable to take his eyes
off what he had done, and then a hand touched his shoulder.
He looked round to see Methos' understanding face, and Richie
knew he wasn't alone. With the back of one hand he reached up
and wiped away the single tear running down his cheek.
to plan A," O'Neill said shortly.
turned to see Daniel holding the staff weapon, Teal'c carrying
an unconscious Carter in his arms, and O'Neill looking very
have to get Sam back to Frasier as quickly as possible,"
Jack stated firmly, "and that means now."
was noise from the other side of the room, and all turned to
see Sef't on his feet, staff in hand. Every SG-1 member who
could raised a gun.
Richie said quickly. Grief would have to wait, for now there
were other priorities.
a purpose he didn't think he had left Richie strode across the
room towards the armed Jaffa. At he suspected Sef't did not
fire, the man was unsure of what to do, and Richie stopped a
few feet from him.
gods are dead," the Immortal stated coldly and looked the
Jaffa directly in the eye. "You can serve the new order
or you can die. It is your choice."
an emotionless ultimatum and Richie drew on all his empathy
with what was left of Shu to give it. Inside the Immortal was
a bit of a mess, but as far as the world could see he was as
cool as ice. Sef't looked shocked at the words, but slowly he
brought his staff back to its vertical position.
Richie said evenly, "now we're going to the Stargate."
deception was easy enough; Shu with prisoners and a Lion Guard
were not challenged as they strode towards the gate. Richie
walked up to the DHD barely looking at the guards who flanked
it. He was met by a priest who bowed to him reverently as he
calmly surveyed the podium.
is time to send the Tau'ri a message," Richie said coldly:
his voice reverberating with Goa'uld power. "I will have
them recognise the superiority of the Lion Gods. Open the Chaappa'ai
onto their world: I have a gift for them."
priest obeyed without question and the Stargate began to spin
into life. Richie ignored Shu's minions completely and watched
the gate impassively.
he said evenly as the wormhole erupted from the portal, "take
the woman through to the other side. Her end will come quickly
compared to yours. Remember your Gods when you feel the pain
of the traitor's death. Tell the Tau'ri to fear my name."
simply stared ahead until Sef't poked him in the back with his
staff weapon. Richie had to admire the Jaffa: he was a good
actor. Slowly the large man stepped up to the Stargate. Sam
had been carrying the code generator and it was Teal'c's job
to send SG-1's signal. They had planned their exit through the
Stargate carefully and Richie waited for the Jaffa to finish
his task. As Teal'c calmly stepped through the gate it was time
to forget the charade.
spun away from the priest towards the two Lion Jaffa guarding
the gate. He spared them only a cursory thought as he brought
up his hand and sent them flying backwards. Ignoring the helpless
priest SG-1 and their companions charged towards the gate and
ran through the wormhole just before it shut down.
though they had given the correct signal the SGC were taking
no chances, and as the team materialised on Earth they found
themselves surrounded by armed marines. Teal'c was standing
very still at the top of the ramp.
need a medic now!" were the first words out of O'Neill's
look at Carter's face, covered in green and black lines told
Richie that she was going to die. Tefnut had gone too far with
the damage, and the Immortal knew, without knowing quite how
that modern medicine would not be able to save her. As a medial
team arrived and Teal'c deposited his burden onto the gurney
they brought with them, something stirred at the back of Richie's
the first time he had run across one of the blanks he had from
his joining with Shu, but he knew he had to act. However, he
wasn't on a Goa'uld dominated planet at the moment, and the
second he so much as moved a muscle where he stood on the gate
ramp, six machine guns focused their attention on him. At danger
Richie's eyes flared, but he fought down the need to react.
sound of guns O'Neill turned from where he had been anxiously
watching Dr Frasier with Sam. Richie knew this was his one and
only chance to help Carter and he took it.
dying," he said evenly, "she'll be dead in ten minutes
if they don't let me past."
looked slightly undecided, some of Richie's behaviour had been
very strange and the Colonel had obviously noticed. He glanced
to where Frasier was doing the fastest preliminary examination
she had ever managed, and when the doctor's head came up their
eyes met. She didn't look hopeful. Jack turned his attention
to the higher authority of Hammond standing in the command centre.
on our side, sir," O'Neill finally said.
him through to Major Carter," Hammond ordered almost immediately.
guns didn't lower, these marines weren't fools, but they did
clear a path to the gurney. Richie walked down the ramp slowly
trying to seem as unthreatening as possible. This was difficult
being in full Goa'uld regalia, but he did his best.
me," he said with a tone much calmer than the way he felt.
obviously knew a dying patient when she saw one, and knowing
she couldn't save Sam she stepped aside with only a slightly
worried glance at Richie. Not quite sure what he was doing,
but knowing that he had to do it Richie reached up to the circlet
on his head. He pulled at one of the feathers and it came away
in his fingers. As he saw it in his hand he hesitated slightly,
not quite sure what to do, but eventually he placed the ornament
on Sam's chest.
brought up his left hand several of the guns rattled ... all
the marines knew what had happened to the technicians, but no
one fired. Acting purely on instinct now, Richie let power flow
from his hand and onto the feather. At first it glowed mutely,
but slowly the golden colour changed to white, making it seem
almost molten. As if to prove the point it slowly began to flow
and it disappeared through the gaps in Sam's clothes.
really wasn't quite sure what he was doing, but it held his
entire concentration. With agonising slowness he let the power
flow into Carter, and her skin began to glow with the same light
as the feather. The Immortal was dimly aware of the rest of
the SG-1 team hovering nervously at his back, but he ignored
them. Gradually the foul corruption and open sores which dotted
Sam's skin began to fade. Richie lost track of time as he watched
the damage heal, and it was almost hypnotising. He had no idea
how long it had taken, or exactly how he knew, but Richie let
the power stop as he felt it was the right time. Carter remained
still on the gurney, but her breathing was even and there was
no sign of illness anywhere on her.
back to the soldiers the one thing that Richie noticed most
was the completely astonished look on Sef't's face. The Immortal
was feeling a little confused and he realised he was dizzy.
He still didn't really understand what he had just done, but
it had obviously taken a lot out of him. He wanted to say something
to O'Neill, but as he opened his mouth he couldn't remember
what it was. The world was suddenly a lot of effort, and with
a vaguely surprised expression in the Colonel's direction Richie
gave into an overwhelming desire to sleep.
cover story was that the Goa'ulds had tried an experimental
technique on Richie to produce his healing abilities and this
technique had caused his defeat of Shu. Dr Frasier went about
her examination with this idea in mind, but she was still amazed
by what she found. Having an unconscious patient helped with
the scans since there was no way Richie could move and screw
up the imaging, but it meant Dr Frasier had to be forever vigilant
of him waking up.
given Sam a thorough examination, and the Major seemed to be
well on her way to recovery. Carter was awake and although tired
was very interested in everything Janet was doing, and kept
asking questions. The two women had swapped hypotheses about
some of the results, and at other times just bounced meaningless
ideas off each other. Carter had seemed to know to whom she
owed her life without being told, and Frasier noted that Sam
seemed to be siding with the young man in her sick bay.
looked at the computer representation of the scan she had just
taken for the sixth time, and she still didn't really know what
to make of it. She'd found the Goa'uld larva all right, but
it didn't exactly look like it was supposed to. There was alien
tissue in Ryan wrapped around the spinal column, but it was
no longer the separate parasite Frasier had been expecting.
Whatever had happened larva and host were no longer two separate
entities that could be parted, they were the same being. The
substance of the larva had actually been integrated into the
spinal column and the surrounding tissue, fusing human and Goa'uld
is just incredible," Janet commented to Sam, "it's
as if the larva has actually been made part of his system."
was perched on a chair close to Frasier's desk, and she nodded
as she looked at the scan.
can barely tell what it used to be," Sam agreed.
must be why Richie has control," Janet concluded slowly,
"the larva is so far broken down that there is no neural
activity to take over the host."
how is he still Goa'uld," Carter asked reasonably, "and
how did he know everything about Shu. If the larva has been
broken down, why do his eyes still glow and his voice change?"
was a good set of questions; Frasier had to think for a moment.
possible that the Goa'uld attributes have actually been integrated
into Richie's nervous system," she hypothesised. "As
for the knowledge of Shu, it may be residual memories. If some
structure still exists in the larva then memory could be maintained,
but independent function may have been lost. Why they would
risk such a dangerous experiment is what I want to know. I'm
assuming that it is the strange energy in Richie's system which
causes the healing, but why would they risk implantation with
one of their highest ranking System commanders?"
just ummed at that and Janet assumed she was feeling the strain
don't you go and lie down," she suggested. "In fact
I'll make that an order if you don't accept the friendly advice.
You're exhausted, and nothing more interesting is going to happen
here, I promise. When something does, I'll wake you."
didn't look particularly happy by the suggestion, but eventually
the defiant look disappeared from her eyes and her shoulders
boss," she said and wearily climbed to her feet, "but
remember your promise."
just grinned and waved her away.
as if her guest was going to sleep the day away, as for four
hours Frasier checked on her patient at fifteen-minute intervals.
He looked so peaceful, and the only thing to remind her that
he might actually be a dangerous alien was the guard on the
door with his gun slung across his chest. The soldier hadn't
moved a muscle in almost as long as her patient, but Janet found
it impossible not to notice him. It was about four and a half
hours after SG-1 had returned through the Stargate, when, as
Frasier lent over Richie to check on something he moved.
doctor took a slight step back just to be on the safe side and
waited to see what would happen next. She was rewarded with
a squinting gaze settling on her.
man, what hit me?" was the quite surprising question.
found herself smiling at the comment.
back," she greeted, and couldn't help but notice that suddenly
there was life in action man in the corner. "Do you remember
patient put his hand to his head and nodded at her.
I remember," he told her slowly, "gate room, Major
Carter, something to do with a feather."
frowned slightly at the answer.
seem a little unclear on the details," she prompted.
doctor was actually surprised to see her patient smile at that.
was a little unclear of the details when I did it," he
told her. "I remember doing it I just couldn't explain
it. What I don't remember is the guy with the jackhammer in
my head trying to get out."
I could give you something for that if you like," Janet
offered, "but I couldn't swear to what effect it'll have."
Richie told her, "I'll just pray it goes away."
made a mental note that her patient's sense of humour seemed
to be in place, and wondered if maybe he was hiding behind it.
She hadn't exactly expected him to be in such a good mood, being
kidnapped by the Goa'uld could really ruin your century.
than the head, how are you feeling," the doctor asked.
was the immediate reply.
a little fast to have been considered particularly hard, but
for now Frasier took it at face value.
if you don't mind I'd like to give you the once over now you're
awake," she said. "I did some tests whilst you were
asleep, but there's nothing like feedback."
grinned at that, and Janet couldn't help noticing the fangs.
She'd done some x-rays as well as other scans, and from what
she could tell the old teeth had been removed and the new ones
fused to the jawbone. She put the fangs out of her mind and
turned to the task as hand. Pulling out a small light she moved
close to her patient.
look straight ahead," she told him with a smile, "and
tell me if anything is too bright."
practised calm Frasier waved the torch in front of her patients
eyes and watched the pupils respond with incredible efficiency.
The golden irises almost glowed under the light, and Janet was
reminded of a vampire movie she had seen only a few weeks before.
She wanted to run some more tests on those eyes, she was almost
sure they had been changed more than just for aesthetic value.
aches and pains?" Janet enquired as she peered at the little
she could glimpse of the retina of Richie's left eye.
really," the young man replied, "the headache's going
now as well."
chalked another one up to the incredible healing powers her
patient seemed to have gained. She tried a few more cursory
tests, but she had to admit that he seemed to be in perfect
I'm going to have to give you a clean bill of health,"
Janet said eventually.
was by this time sitting with his legs over the side of the
bed. The soldier in the corner had looked very nervous as soon
as he'd moved, but Janet had pointedly ignored the marine's
if I stand up and work out some of the kinks," the young
man asked as Frasier wrote some of her findings on one of her
charts, "or is he going to shoot me?"
you're not going to shoot my patient are you?" Janet said
and turned to the soldier with a perfectly formed serious expression
on her face.
man hesitated for a moment and so the doctor frowned at him.
ma'am," he finally replied, but looked even more unhappy.
leant closer to Richie.
don't make any sudden moves," she said in a conspiratorial
whispered, and grinned at him.
crossed my mind," he whispered back.
watched from the door for a moment as Dr Frasier and Ryan animatedly
talked about something to do with motorcycle racing. Well that
was a new piece of information about SGC's very own doctor that
might come in handy. He filed it away just in case he could
ever use it.
had sent up her report that their Goa'uld guest was awake approximately
half an hour ago, and Hammond had called Jack into his office
immediately. They'd already discussed what SG-1 had seen in
a team debriefing, but the General had wanted Jack's private
opinion on the matter. They'd talked for a good twenty minutes,
and now Jack had been sent down to collect Richie to see Hammond.
kid really didn't look very threatening sitting cross-legged
on one of the medical bay's beds. He was wearing regulation
combat trousers, and a green T-shirt, and he didn't look much
like a Goa'uld. He seemed to be the same young man Jack had
just begun to know before Shu and Tefnut made a house call,
and that on the inside Richie might not be what he appeared
was not a settling thought. If the safety of his team hadn't
been on his shoulders he might just have given in to the urge
to trust Richie, but he had to be sure first.
finally stepped into the room golden eyes flicked round to stare
at Jack, and he was sharply reminded of what Shu had done to
Richie. Now he knew more about what Richie really was, and what
he had become, O'Neill could see it in those eyes. The windows
of that soul showed just about everything, and Jack didn't have
to see their colour to know the person he was looking at was
not quite human.
afternoon," he greeted as Dr Frasier noticed him as well.
"I've just come from General Hammond. He would very much
like to see you if you're feeling up to it."
met the strange eyes calmly, the kid probably had enough problems
without seeing anything O'Neill might be feeling as well. Richie
had all but proven his loyalty to his human friends, all Jack
wanted was time, time to find out exactly what was going on
in that blond head.
doc's the expert," Richie told him with a grin.
patient is recovering nicely, Colonel," Frasier said evenly,
"and if he comes back on a gurney I will hold you personally
smile was trying to force its way onto her face, and to help
its progress Jack saluted sharply.
ever you say, Doctor," he promised faithfully.
cheerful atmosphere was not quite what he had been expecting,
but Jack was happy to play along.
small problem," Richie commented as he stood up.
that?" Jack asked.
young man looked at his feet, and O'Neill's eyes followed. Richie
was barefoot. When they'd brought him into the medical bay all
Goa'uld regalia had been taken away, including the boots.
floor's getting colder by the second," the Immortal commented.
stop by supplies on the way," Jack promised with a smile.
however, wasn't the only problem as he turned back towards the
door. As Richie moved to leave the room the soldier stepped
into the doorway.
prisoner must be restrained during transport between secure
areas," the marine intoned evenly.
immediately disliked the idea. Richie had saved his life and
the life of his team, he did not want to put the kid through
the indignity of being shackled. Military protocol sometimes
got in the way of doing things right and Jack couldn't help
the bad taste that the marine's observation left in his mouth.
If the military had had their way Teal'c would have been treated
in the same way when he first arrived and that would have lost
them a very good friend. Then the answer hit Jack between the
eyes and he smiled slightly.
don't suppose it has occurred to you that this whole base is
a secure area?" O'Neill said in a triumphant tone, and
stared the man right in the face. "We are inside a mountain,
there is only one way out. Between here and there are several
dozen of you. The prisoner is just fine the way he is."
that Jack strode purposefully out of the door, and hoped that
Richie was following along behind.
was as scared as hell. What he hoped the rest of the world saw,
was a nonchalant, happy go lucky individual, on the inside he
was anything but. His emotions were in turmoil, and he really
wasn't sure whether his life was over. So many possibilities
ran through his mind, from Dr Frankenstein to Government games,
and he didn't much like any of them. Richie was practical enough
to realise that The Powers That Be weren't just going to let
him go no matter how he proved he was still in control. He was
no longer exactly human, and he knew far too much to be anything
less than a security risk. Right about now he'd be a real hit
on the Goth scene as well, and there weren't many ways he could
Immortal laughed and joked with O'Neill as they walked from
stores towards General Hammond's office, but inside he was terrified.
Then to top it off he was grieving. How could he ever explain
to anyone that he had loved what they so feared. They'd lock
him up forever if they knew just how much it hurt to lose Tefnut,
how much guilt he carried with him for killing her.
here we are," Jack said with half a smile. "Good luck,
old Richie Ryan would have seethed at that comment, but the
new one was far too busy with other thoughts to even care. He
smiled back at the Colonel with his best confidant expression,
and O'Neill knocked on the door.
in," was the immediate response.
opened the door and entered, followed by Richie and the marine
who was their constant shadow.
afternoon, gentlemen," the General greeted as they came
in. "I hope you are recovered, Mr Ryan."
I am," Richie replied, and forced yet another smile.
you, Colonel, marine," were Hammond's next words, "I'd
like to speak to our guest alone."
course, General," Jack responded lightly, he had obviously
known that the request was coming. "Marine, we can wait
soldier did not look particularly happy, but he couldn't exactly
say anything to a General and a Colonel. The pair left as quickly
as they had arrived.
have a seat," Hammond offered the moment the door closed,
and retook his own.
followed the advice, and tried to assess the man on the other
side of the desk as he sat down. He didn't know much about General
Hammond, but from the few things O'Neill had hinted at, Richie
didn't think he was being thrown to the wolves.
the General said calmly, "this is an informal meeting.
Nothing here is being recorded, and I will treat this conversation
as confidential unless you tell me otherwise. I asked to see
you because I can't let you loose on this base unless I'm totally
sure of you."
opening surprised Richie in its honesty, and in its implications.
The idea that he might actually regain some sort of freedom
hadn't been at the top of his concepts for the day, and it shocked
him so much that he actually let his guard slip for just a moment.
don't know what you expect of the military," Hammond said,
reacting to the expression Richie knew had crossed his face,
"but I will do my damnedest to make sure that nothing happens
to you, you don't deserve. If you do anything to endanger my
people, however, I will make sure you end up in the darkest
deepest hole I can find."
nodded slowly: they understood each other.
not a threat to you or anything here," the Immortal said,
and let the cheerful facade fade to seriousness. "I am
not Shu, Shu is dead."
look on Hammond's face said he wished he could believe that,
but he was still unsure.
know what you did for the team," the General told him evenly.
"Without you they would still be stuck on PX 1287, and
Major Carter would almost definitely be dead. You've proved
your worth, but you do understand that I have to make completely
sure you're not suddenly going to turn around and change your
mind. You are after all Goa'uld."
course I understand," Richie said with a little more feeling
than he had meant, "I know first hand what Goa'uld are
capable of. Shu is gone, but I remember lots about his whole
twisted existence. I know the way they think, and I know exactly
how much human life is worth to them."
Immortal hadn't expected the outburst, it had sort of just happened,
and he didn't like it much. From the expression on Hammond's
face he hadn't seen it coming either.
Richie apologised quickly.
me who should be apologising," Hammond responded almost
instantly, "I was wading in like a bull in a china shop.
Coping with what has happened must be terribly difficult."
let out an ironic little laugh, and then caught his emotions
before they could give him away. He was not going to fall apart
in this man's office, no matter what.
well, I've coped with big revelations before," he said
with more certainty than he felt.
Immortality," the General said evenly. "I won't pretend
that I know much about it, but Pierson explained what we needed
to know for the rescue. That knowledge will go no farther than
SG-1 and me."
well it's a bit of a shock when you come back from the dead
for the first time," Richie returned, "but it has
it's up points."
to hide behind the wise crack, but somehow it didn't come out
quite right. Too many ideas were going around in his head, and
they were jamming his defence mechanisms.
sorry to have to bring this up, but I must know," Hammond
began again after a moment's silence. "In their reports
several of the team noted that you were crying after you killed
Tefnut. Was that Shu's emotion or yours?"
looked down at his hands, he had hoped no one had seen that.
He was still worried that they would lock him up and throw away
the key, but he needed talk to someone.
never had family," he said slowly, "never really known
what it felt like to have blood relations. I've been close,
but there's always a little doubt when you've been through the
system. You may not realise this, but Goa'uld are capable of
just as deep love as any we feel. They don't show it very often,
and it takes them much longer to develop it, but Shu and Tefnut
had been together for millennia. He loved her more than I can
explain, and that's part of me now. I know it comes from him
and not me, but I can't ignore it completely."
up all his barriers, and clamped down on all his emotions. Richie
wanted Hammond to know some of it, but if the General knew how
deep that emotion affected the Immortal, Richie doubted he would
allow himself to be so sympathetic.
was both of our emotion," he concluded slowly.
don't mean to labour the point," Hammond continued evenly,
"but exactly how do you see Shu?"
had to think about how to answer that. He hadn't really had
time to decide what he thought about that, and it wasn't exactly
an easy question. Of course he had an advantage over anyone
else in that he'd absorbed people before. At least one of those
had come back to haunt him, and he was not unaware of the dangers.
understand him," Richie said finally, setting aside any
emotional reaction for the moment and looking at the situation
from a detached point of view. "I know him almost as well
as I know myself. I can step into his mind, but it's always
me pretending to be him, not me becoming him. I think I may
have picked up on some of his instincts, some of my reactions
are a little different now, but only on a physical level if
that makes any sense."
Immortal looked at the General to see if he was getting through,
and the man nodded for him to go on.
are some blanks," Richie continued, "but I can do
just about anything he could. I know what he has learned, I
can remember things he has seen, but I always know they are
his memories, not mine. I could be like Shu if I wanted to be,
react like him, talk like him, even think like him, but I can
never become him. I'm still me and I always will be--Shu no
just looked at him as he finished his explanation, and they
stared at each other for a long moment. There were idea's flying
behind the General's eyes, but Richie couldn't tell what they
strike me as an honest young man," the General said slowly,
"and my instincts aren't usually wrong. I'm going to put
you in Colonel O'Neill's care. You'll be escorted at all times,
confined to base of course, and we'll have to limit your movements,
but I don't see any reason to keep you locked up. If you don't
mind I'd like Dr Frasier to investigate you physiology some
more, but other than that your time is your own."
just sat there for a moment, not quite believing what he had
heard. The General just didn't fit any idea the Immortal had
of the United States military.
let me down, Mr Ryan," Hammond said calmly and stood up.
climbed to his feet as well.
won't, Sir," he replied, and for the first time his mind
didn't quail at the possibilities before him.
really didn't know quite what to do with himself. Everyone was
interested in Richie, including him, but to actually face the
young man was going to take more than a simple decision on Daniel's
part. Logically the archaeologist knew that Richie wasn't a
Goa'uld, well at least he was partially, but not as far as the
way he thought and felt. It was getting his subconscious into
line that was causing Daniel problems. The moment O'Neill had
led Richie into the room, Daniel had had to leave before he
said something he'd regret later. He'd seen the man who had
saved all their lives, and the one thing he had felt most of
all was a desire to kill him.
was not a violent person usually, but when it came to Goa'ulds
it was a different matter entirely. Rational thought had little
to do with the way he reacted to them, and reigning in his instincts
was not the easiest thing for Daniel to do. Richie had got them
out of captivity; he had saved Sam, and yet all the archaeologist
wanted to do was throttle him with his bare hands.
of course there was the "but why" thoughts going around
in his head. The ones that asked over and over why this man
was blessed to over come the Goa'uld possession, but Shauri
had been doomed to life as one of their puppets and finally
destroyed by them. He knew Richie was Immortal, knew he had
a gift that Shauri did not, nor never could have, but still
the questions continued round in his head.
time to think, needed time to sort out his feelings and come
to terms with the new situation. He had come to terms with Teal'c
... eventually, he could cope with this too.
so the first few minutes had been a little awkward as everybody
fumbled for something to say. Daniel Jackson's sharp exit hadn't
helped the situation much, but a smart-alec quip about "maybe
it's the teeth" had broken the ice. They had all been there,
and they had all had their questions. Sam had thanked him for
saving her life, and them brimmed over with curiosity. Methos
had asked a surprising amount of questions, O'Neill had put
in the odd comment, and Teal'c had sat and watched for a while.
only after they'd grilled him thoroughly, and were just chatting
that Richie finally had the nerve to ask a question that had
been bothering him for a while.
happened to Sef't?" he said tentatively.
SG-1 team members looked at each other, and Richie had the feeling
that maybe he shouldn't have asked. It was just he was genuinely
concerned for the man.
after you passed out on us," O'Neill finally spoke, "he
was taken to the med bay same as you. The doc gave him the once
over and he sorta went all quiet on us. I'm sorry, but we're
not allowed to let you two near each other."
a sentiment Richie could understand; after all it was not wise
to allow a dethroned god near his General straight after the
understand," the Immortal replied, but there was just one
thing he had to check. "Just ... quiet how?"
won't talk to anyone, won't look at anyone, just sits and meditates,"
Carter supplied quickly.
didn't like the sound of that as certain things Shu knew about
the lion Jaffa hung at the back of his mind. The twin gods had
adopted their Jaffa in a similar way to what they had done to
their hosts over the centuries, making them slightly different.
Shu and Tefnut interacted with Goa'uld society, but they had
there own little insular world as well, and what they touched
they made their own.
he doing anything in particular?" the Immortal asked, trying
not to sound worried.
and Carter frowned at each other, they obviously thought that
was a weird question.
just sitting there like this," Sam offered and did her
best impression of the Jaffa.
Richie saw how she put her hands he went cold.
going to commit suicide," the Immortal said as he wished
it wasn't true. "You have to stop him."
SG-1 team looked shocked, and Teal'c did not look as if he believed.
is not an honourable death," the Jaffa pointed out evenly.
"No warrior would seek to die in such a senseless manner."
liked the idea, okay," Richie shot back immediately. "She
liked the idea that she could order them to kill themselves
if she felt like it. Sef't probably thinks this is what she
would have wanted. He's going to remove his larva, and since
it can't be given to anyone else, he'll kill it and then he'll
die. The meditation is a purification ritual, once it's over
he will kill himself."
Immortal was deadly serious, and he was relieved when Jack finally
stay here," he told everyone, "I'll go and sort this
of Part 3