the incident with Sef't nobody took anything for granted. They'd
reached the Jaffa just in time, and although he hadn't said
a word to anyone since, he hadn't attempted to harm himself
in any way. Jack wasn't sure he liked the effect the recent
mission had had on his team. Daniel seemed permanently on edge
and was being quiet and distant. Teal'c spent frustrating hours
trying to communicate with his fellow Jaffa, and didn't seem
to be down the road any further than when he first started.
Then there was Carter, buzzing with curiosity about both Richie
and Adam, but Jack knew her well enough to know she was hiding
her deeper feelings about her brush with death. And as for himself
he really didn't quite know what to think. He'd spent some time
with both Richie and Adam, but mostly Richie, and he was slowly
beginning to get inside the kid's head. He couldn't be sure,
then again what about life was set in stone, but he was definitely
coming down in favour of the view that in Richie they had just
gained a valuable ally.
days after the end of the mission something happened which put
everyone in SGC in the same corner. On the Tuesday morning,
Mayburne arrived. Jack was a soldier, he had killed on several
occasions, but there was really only one person he ever wanted
to shoot on sight, and this time it was no different. Colonel
Mayburne walked in with a senatorial order, a dozen or so nasty
looking soldiers and dragged Richie away from the breakfast
he had been eating with Jack and Adam. Mayburne had double-crossed,
tried to eliminate and plain pissed off SG-1 so many times that
their leader didn't need an excuse to get annoyed anymore. After
a bit of shouting, O'Neill had half walked, half run to General
know," was the first thing Hammond said when Jack barged
into the General's office with as much control as he could muster,
"there was nothing I could do. I have Dr Frasier sitting
in on any debriefing Mayburne thinks he is doing, and I will
have this sorted out as soon as I can."
Jack had been about to say dried in his throat, as he realised
that it didn't need to be said.
there's no way I'm letting that animal get his hands on that
boy," the General stated firmly. "I'm putting you
in charge of making sure nobody from this facility causes trouble.
I will concentrate on the President."
Sir," was all Jack could find to say.
first thing Jack saw when he walked into Sam's office was Daniel
Jackson, and the look on the anthropologist's face showed O'Neill
there were some things in the universe that made Daniel madder
than a Goa'uld. If thoughts could have killed Jack realised
that Colonel Mayburne would have died in several very nasty
General is pulling strings as we speak," he informed all
his friends. "Mayburne has pulled another fast one, but
he's not going to get away with it."
what the others have told me," Adam spoke first, "are
you sure Hammond can handle this character?"
when he's annoyed," Jack replied evenly, "he can handle
are we going to do?" Carter sounded very unhappy.
now we wait," O'Neill told then calmly. "If something
happens that we don't like, then we'll act. Janet won't let
Mayburne get away with anything."
Dr Frasier's voice could have welded steel, "my patient,"
she stressed the 'my' with Hippocratic authority, "has
been through terrible stress over the past few days. If you
insist on trying to give him a mental breakdown I will have
you removed from this facility so fast your feet won't touch
was very glad of the respite, although the goons were far from
putting that amount of pressure on him. He had tried helpful,
but they had thought he was lying, he'd tried surly and they'd
decided he was hiding something, and he was up to cold and dispassionate.
It was difficult to keep his reactions under control, and every
time they annoyed him to the point when his eyes glowed or his
voice changed tenor, it just seemed to make them push harder.
If they weren't asking such damn stupid questions he might have
been able to help them.
growled something in a low voice to the doctor which Richie
couldn't be bothered to decipher, and then the Colonel turned
his attention back to him.
he said slowly, "let's put the attack on Earth aside for
the moment, and go back to this weapon."
man waved the ribbon device he had displayed on a table at the
other side of the room.
does it work, and how do we make more?"
actually found himself laughing.
think we're too technologically inferior to understand your
weapons?" Mayburne snapped, immediately jumping to the
got nothing to do with it," Richie replied.
going to go on, but Mayburne interrupted him.
know it would be much better for you if you co-operated,"
don't know exactly how it works," Richie told him for the
fifth time that morning.
you take us for fools?" the Colonel shot back.
Immortal bit his tongue before he sent back the reply that leapt
to his lips, and took a deep breath. Suddenly it came to him.
a soldier aren't you, Colonel," Richie said slowly, "you
carry a gun."
caught Mayburne somewhat by surprise.
course," the man replied without really knowing why.
me exactly how it works, and build me one using an old milk
bottle and a light bulb," Richie said bluntly.
actually shut up for a moment and Richie scored himself another
point, but it didn't last for long.
didn't leave until it was nearly midnight, and he left behind
several of his lackeys who refused to let Richie anywhere near
the rest of the SGC personnel. The General held a council of
been talking to the President," Hammond told SG-1 and Methos
as they sat in the briefing room.
his part that didn't fill the Immortal with a whole lot of confidence.
only reason Mayburne is here, is because otherwise he would
have had Richie removed from this facility to Area 51, something
none of us want," the General went on. "The President
has assured me that Mayburne will conduct his debriefings and
if he tries anything he's going to have to go through us,"
Jack said with a tone in his voice that made Methos believe
we will do this by the book," Hammond reminded his officer,
but his voice didn't sound quite as sure to the ancient ears
listening. "Is that understood."
sir," was the barely contained reply.
people," the General continued, "that man annoys me
as much as he does you, but this is a military establishment
and insubordination is not acceptable. Unfortunately covert
operations attract weasels like Mayburne, but the only way to
handle them is through the proper channels."
officer glanced around the room and his eye met Methos' for
a moment. The Immortal let his face stay placid and calm, but
his mind was working furiously. If this was going as badly as
he thought it was he had one more card up his sleeve, but it
was definitely going to be a last resort.
all due respect, sir," it was Daniel who spoke, "Richie
isn't in the military. He didn't sign on for any of this and
he sure as hell isn't being paid for it. If we let Mayburne
get away with this, it won't just be unfortunate, it'll be criminal."
sat down with a sigh, and Methos had to admire Daniel's spirit.
He knew that the anthropologist had trouble with Richie's presence
because of what he represented, but he was still willing to
fight for him.
all know it's not that simple," the General replied. "That
young man is technically an alien, and a hostile one at that."
also a citizen of the United States," Methos left his voice
neutral, and in doing so his message went through loud and clear.
that's not going to mean much to people like Mayburne,"
Carter sounded very annoyed.
fact that Jack did not leap in and agree caught Methos' attention,
and the Immortal noticed that the Colonel was looking around
at the rest of his team. The officer was obviously considering
if Mayburne doesn't just go away?" O'Neill asked slowly.
there are several courses of action open to us ..."Hammond
any of them definitely come down to a win for the good guys?"
Jack didn't give him a chance to finish.
things in this world are not definite," the General replied,
"but we are going to do everything in our power."
he were a valued member of staff, would that give you better
leverage?" O'Neill was not letting this one go.
watched as Sam caught on to what her superior was suggesting,
as did Daniel, who looked worried for a second, and then just
you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?" Hammond
did it for Teal'c," Jack pointed out. "What could
be more useful to an exploration team than someone who knows
a large amount of the terrain? Look at all the information he's
already given us on the star charts."
watched as the four members of SG-1 all glanced at each other,
a silent question going between them.
all agree, sir," O'Neill said evenly. "We'd like Richie
on our team."
Methos wasn't sure his Immortal friend would be thrilled at
the idea, but it was a damn site better than his other prospects.
The oldest living Immortal smiled to himself and kept his mouth
keep that under advisement," Hammond finally agreed. "If
it comes to that I'll give you my support."
about Sef't?" Daniel asked quietly.
I'm not sure how to help," the General told them all. "He's
not co-operating, and we don't have the man power here to watch
him 24 hours a day."
you do not mind, General, I have some thoughts on this problem,"
Teal'c spoke for the first time.
looked at him since he usually had something important to say
when he did open his mouth. Methos had to admit to himself that
he really hadn't given much thought to the problem of the lion
Jaffa, but he decided he was interested anyway.
on, Teal'c," Hammond encouraged.
believe, Master Bra'tac may be Sef't's best hope," the
Jaffa responded calmly. "Bra'tac's name was respected through
many systems, and I think Sef't would respond to his teaching.
It will also remove him from this facility and harms way."
may be right, Teal'c," the General replied thoughtfully.
"I'll see what I can do."
you, General," the Jaffa said sincerely.
caught up with Daniel as they left the briefing room.
you okay with this?" the Colonel asked his companion almost
as soon as the anthropologist acknowledged his presence.
this was a question Daniel didn't quite have an answer to yet,
and he decided to think about it before he gave an answer. Jack
took this the wrong way.
if you're not happy I'll go in there and tell the General that
we need a new plan," O'Neill told his friend. "If
I'd thought you had any doubts in there I wouldn't have pushed
it. If Richie is going to be a problem ..."
Daniel interrupted him before the officer could get overly worked
up about the subject, "it's okay. If I'd really objected
I would have said so in there ... I just have to get used to
the idea, okay."
didn't look convinced.
not just saying that?" he enquired.
the anthropologist promised, and hoped Jack would believe him.
"I know I'm having trouble accepting that Richie is around,
but I'll get over it. It's not as if he acts like a Royal Goa'uld,
it's just my prejudices getting in the way."
He was actually pleased that Jack had cared enough to ask, but
he was slowly coming to believe his own answer.
it's fine, honestly," Daniel tried once more to shift his
friend's dubious expression. "Besides, I'm just like the
rest of you, I'll go to hell and back to get Mayburne."
did it; O'Neill actually smiled.
put him back now!"
seven o'clock in the morning and Mayburne had arrived to cause
trouble very early. Hammond was to say the least, furious.
have orders to transport the prisoner to Area 51," the
Colonel returned from where he was escorting two of his men
who had Richie in restraints being dragged between them.
don't care about your orders," the General was barely concealing
his anger. "Put my guest back in his room, remove those
ridiculous chains and then report to my office."
General," Mayburne made the mistake of trying to argue.
face was eerily calm when he placed it only an inch from the
is my facility," the senior officer said evenly, "you
are man handling a person who is my responsibility, and you
didn't even ask first. Now if you so much as breathe in the
wrong place I will personally throw you off the top of this
mountain. Is that understood?"
face was pale where he tried to stand his ground.
Sir," he said very tightly.
was not a happy man, and he was barely holding onto his composure
as he watched General Hammond speaking to the President on the
phone. At least he was in good company, because from the look
on O'Neill's face the Colonel felt the same way. It was obvious
that Mayburne had been hoping to get Richie out of SGC without
too many people noticing. The fact that everyone had been expecting
such underhand tactics was the only thing that had prevented
the evil little man getting away with his plan. One thing that
Methos was damn sure about, he wasn't letting any government
lackeys get their hands on Richie.
sir, I realise this is slightly different from Teal'c's situation,"
Hammond was saying, "but my team is willing to do this.
Colonel Mayburne's initial report is inaccurate and inflammatory,
Richard Ryan does not pose a threat to national security."
was a pause.
sir I am willing to stake my career on this," the General
mood was getting darker by the second. There was another pause.
Mr President, if he is removed from SGC it will be that much
harder to get him back," Hammond continued.
General looked about as pleased with everything that was going
on as Methos, and his expression didn't get any better in the
sir, I understand, but..." the General definitely didn't
want to give up on this one.
oldest living Immortal it looked like a loosing battle and he
finally made a decision.
he said stepping forward, "give me the phone."
looked up at him sharply, but Methos stared him down. Looking
into eyes that had seen over five thousand years was a daunting
challenge and the General was not up to it. Reluctantly he handed
over the receiver.
morning, Mr President," Methos said in a calm pleasant
tone, "you don't know me, but I have something very important
to tell you. This is a Prometheus matter, Mr President."
was a pause from the other end.
make the necessary calls," came the reply from the other
you, Mr President," Methos replied, and handed the phone
back to General Hammond.
see the questions building up in the room, and rather than answer
them all at once Methos just turned and walked out. He hadn't
really wanted to do what he had just done, but he hadn't been
able to see any other way. There was only one person he knew
who could sort out the current mess, and he hadn't seen him
in fifty years. Methos was one of only a dozen or so people
who could call on him for assistance and it was something he
would only ever do in a dire emergency.
spent the best part of the next two hours trying to find Adam
and ask him what the hell was going on, but it seemed that the
Immortal was a master of the vanishing act. When things started
happening again as if by magic, Adam reappeared.
you going to tell me what's going on now?" O'Neill asked
pointedly as he found the Immortal on the way to the outside.
a lot to tell," Adam replied, and Jack really wasn't sure
whether to believe him or not. "I've involved an old friend,
most people call him Prometheus, and he solves problems."
problems?" unanswered questions were one of the Colonel's
pet hates, and he didn't like the feeling this operation was
days ago his world had been complicated enough when it involved
aliens and Stargates, now it was even more of a nightmare and
Jack was beginning to think a lot more things were beyond his
control than he had first thought.
Adam told him calmly.
who?" O'Neill was in the mood to push for answers. "What
is he, US Black Ops?"
tell you the truth I'm not exactly sure about the answer to
that question," the Immortal replied. "When I say
everyone I mean everyone ... Prometheus handles the problems
no one else can fix, for anybody who needs it. I met him in
1937 in Greece and we found it mutually beneficial to keep in
contact for several years. Heads of state all over the world
do their damndest to remain on his good side, and that's all
I can tell you."
paused as the soldier on duty passed them through to the outside.
he's so useful why didn't you mention him as soon as Mayburne
showed up?" Jack asked as they moved on.
Prometheus always makes up his own mind," Adam said evenly.
"His idea of solving this situation may be to make Richie
disappear. He always looks at the big picture and sometimes
that makes him a really dangerous man."
chose not to ask any more questions.
stood beside Colonel O'Neill and General Hammond as the helicopter
landed, and three men got out. They all wore dark suits and
carried themselves like people who knew they were supposed to
be exactly where they were. The man in the lead looked the youngest
of them all, but the familiar sensation of another Immortal
just underlined to Methos that he was nothing that he seemed.
Clear green eyes scanned the three of them and then Prometheus
how nice to see you again," he said lightly as he settled
Adam now," Methos said calmly, Prometheus just smiled again
and turned his attention to the others.
you must be General Hammond and Colonel O'Neill, I've heard
great things about you both," he said in a disarmingly
reached out his hand and the General shook it.
to meet you, sir," Hammond said, obviously not quite sure
how to take the youthful figure in front of him.
call me Prometheus," the Immortal said amiably, "every
one else does. These are agents Kovor and Davis, my associates."
to SGC, gentlemen," the General greeted.
found Prometheus looking at him again, and he stared back calmly.
you don't mind, I'd like to have a word with my old friend before
we dive into the red tape," the younger Immortal said evenly.
course," Hammond agreed, "why don't we show Agent
Kovor and Agent Davis the way in."
two Immortals waited as the other four men walked away, and
then Prometheus' mask of cheerfulness was replaced by an expression
that told Methos he was now deadly serious.
official reports say Goa'uld technology has created a man with
incredible healing powers," the green-eyed man went straight
to the point. "I assume he is actually one of us."
assume correctly," Methos replied without the least trace
any of the mortals suspect?" Prometheus obviously wanted
to know exactly what was going on before he moved in.
Hammond and the SG-1 team know the truth," the oldest living
Immortal supplied, and wondered just exactly what was going
through his companion's head. "It was the only way to launch
a rescue mission. The information will go no further."
companion looked a little unhappy at the news, but he didn't
comment, just nodded.
when there's big trouble do you always seem to be in the middle
of it?" Prometheus asked shortly.
talent I've being trying to shift for centuries," Methos
replied. "I've led them to believe I'm a little over two
hundred years old, I would appreciate it if it stayed that way."
two men regarded each other for a long moment, and in the end
it was Prometheus who looked away.
let's get on with this then," he said with just a trace
to walk towards the entrance, but Methos caught his arm. The
ancient man looked into his companion's eyes.
my friend," he said calmly, his tone totally neutral, but
the expression on Prometheus' face said he understood the meaning
were many things Richie could have been feeling, but having
been dragged out of his room, chained up and then virtually
thrown back in he had settled for really annoyed. If he'd let
himself he probably would have been terrified of the prospect
of being imprisoned at Area 51 for the rest of his life, but
he was covering that with seething anger. Hence when he felt
the presence of another Immortal he was ready to yell at anyone
and that included Methos. His plans fell into pieces, however,
when it wasn't Methos who stepped through the door.
first thing Richie noticed about the newcomer was his bright
green eyes, and the second was the fact that he did not look
morning," he said in an even tone, "my name is Prometheus."
just sat very still trying to figure out what was going on.
this moment I am working for the United States government, Adam
called me," the stranger went on.
you here to kill me, or help me?" Richie decided to be
blunt, he was in no mood for games.
Prometheus actually smiled.
I see," he said and walked further into the room, "and
to answer your question, I haven't decided yet."
at least this was going to be an honest conversation. It was
something Richie had not seen a great deal of since Mayburne
to one report you are the greatest find since the Stargate itself,
according to another you the biggest threat," Prometheus
told him. "Once I have decided who is right I'll decide
which course of action to take."
cards were on the table. Richie knew his future was now never
going near Area 51. He gazed at the man who held his life in
his hands and tried to come up with a plan should this not go
me about yourself," Prometheus said calmly and sat down
on a chair next to the door.
don't have a god complex if that's what you're wondering,"
Richie responded trying to think of something useful to say.
"I'm just me, which isn't quite who I used to be, but it's
pretty close. I have no idea what Mayburne had been saying about
me, all I can tell you is he asks really dumb ass questions."
that count, everyone seems to agree with you," the other
man said, and then fell silent again.
knew this was going to be a very long few minutes.
stood beside O'Neill and General Hammond, and watched with great
satisfaction as Mayburne's men loaded everything they had brought
with them back into their truck. It had taken over an hour,
but Prometheus had emerged from his conversation with Richie
and given the Colonel his marching orders. Sam didn't really
know who this man was, and she had decided that she definitely
wasn't going to ask any questions, she was just pleased he seemed
to be on their side. Watching Mayburne get his ass kicked was
like a cloud being lifted from the whole base. They were certainly
dragging their heels about leaving, but Sam knew she was watching
the losers packing their bags.
was quietly smiling to herself when she caught the approaching
figures of Adam and Daniel out of the corner of her eye. The
Major turned to greet them and realised that they didn't look
up guys?" she asked and saw Jack take an interest.
gone," Daniel said tersely.
you mean Prometheus," Sam said, not quite sure what her
friend was getting at, "I don't think he's left yet. The
other two lifted off a few minutes ago, but he stayed to look
around the complex."
him," Adam supplied helpfully, "Richie. He's not in
his room, and no one has seen him for at least half an hour."
Sam looked to where the helicopter had been standing and as
she looked around at her companions she realised they were all
thinking the same thing.
wouldn't have double crossed us would he?" she asked.
really wasn't sure enough of the man to know if it was possible,
but from the look on Adam' face it seemed that it might have
been on the cards.
doesn't make sense," the Immortal said after a pause. "He's
a devious son of a bitch, but he's never lied to me like this
were other possibilities of course, and Sam didn't want to be
the first to voice them.
it possible that he could have escaped on his own?" the
General had to put forward the counter argument.
is many things, General," Adam replied, "but he's
not stupid, and he doesn't let his friends down. He wouldn't
run out on us."
Immortal sounded so sure, but Sam couldn't quite bring herself
to totally believe him. The fact that these people lived their
whole lives pretending to be what they were not bothered her
a little, although she could see exactly why they did it.
sorry, but I'm going to have to make this official," the
General said and snapped Sam out of her reverie. "Where
ever he is we have to find him."
opened his mouth to reply and then shut it again, looking back
the way he had just come. There was a vague hope in his eyes
and Sam realised the Immortal thought he might be about to see
Richie. Over the past couple of days the younger of the two
had been quite open about his own Immortality, and had explained
that he and Adam could feel each other coming. As it was the
man who appeared in the entrance was Prometheus. He walked directly
over to the group, covering the few feet in only a couple of
hear we're missing a piece of the puzzle," he said almost
before he stopped.
immediate reaction was to ask how Prometheus knew, but she bit
her tongue as her senior officers got there first.
did you find that out?" Hammond asked pointedly.
have spent a very long time keeping an eye on things, General,"
Prometheus replied, "I notice these things. Before you
ask, no I did not have anything to do with it. If I had you
wouldn't have noticed yet. That leaves two options ... our Goa'uld
has gone AWOL on his own, or someone on this base has kidnapped
was nothing like stating the obvious, but Sam held on to her
reaction to this unsettling man. On the whole Carter believed
she could get on with most people, but Prometheus gave her the
assume that if one of you gets close enough you'll be able to
find him," she eventually heard herself say.
frowned slight, he didn't seem to like the fact that she knew
his secrets, but he nodded, as did Adam.
lets divide into two teams and start looking," Hammond
awoke to find that his head hurt. This was not an unfamiliar
sensation from over the past few days and he wished it would
just go away. A fraction of a second after this he opened his
eyes and found that it was very dark and there was very little
space around him. He was lying down, and he seemed to be in
some sort of box. Following this his memory clicked in and he
remembered how he came to be in his current predicament. Mayburne
and one of his goons had come into Richie's room and shot him
with something. When the Immortal moved he found that his hands
and ankles were chained in a similar fashion to when the Colonel
had tried to remove him earlier that day.
were not known for their patience, and Richie had a hot temper
of his own. His current predicament made him very angry, and
as Mayburne's gloating face filled his mind's eye rationality
stepped out of the picture. With a roar that came from deep
in his chest he took hold of his chains and pulled. No one really
knew how much stronger a human could be with a Goa'uld symbiant
living inside him or her, but Richie managed to push the envelope.
There was a satisfying clink as more than one link gave way
and then he forced his arms upwards. Wood splintered as his
hands connected with it and light flooded into his world.
prisoner bursting out of his captivity was obviously something
that had not crossed the mind of the soldier guarding the box.
If Richie had been in anything but his current frame of mind
he might have actually felt sorry for the man as a look of sheer
terror crossed his face. As it was the Immortal took one look
around himself, noted that he seemed to be in the back of a
truck and then grabbed the shocked soldier before the man could
react. One good throw and the unfortunate individual went flying
out the back of the vehicle and Richie quickly followed.
the Immortal yelled at the top of his lungs, barely noticing
that his voice held the Goa'uld edge to it.
was the only emotion coursing through Richie, and with it came
the thought of retribution. His gaze swung around the loading
area and he found his quarry with very little trouble. The Colonel
was looking surprised and a little afraid; he obviously hadn't
expected his captive to be awake let alone free. It was almost
as if everything was in slow motion as Richie took a step towards
Mayburne. He felt the touch of an Immortal presence, but didn't
bother to wonder where it was coming from. All that mattered
was venting his fury.
quite suddenly pain shattered his incoherent state of mind.
He came crashing back to himself and looked down stupidly at
the front of his shirt as it slowly turned red. It seeped into
his brain that someone had shot him and then his legs gave out
and he was dead before he hit the ground.
stopped running as she saw Richie fall to the floor; it just
didn't seem quite real. One minute the General had been dividing
them into two teams and the next people had started drawing
guns. Her logical brain told her that Richie was Immortal, that
he would get up again soon, but the rest of her was screaming
that some bastard had just killed her friend.
shook herself out of the shock and realised that there were
now two groups out the front of SGC and they were pointing guns
at each other. There was Mayburne and his men, and the SGC soldiers
including O'Neill. It looked like a war about to happen.
going to count to ten," General Hammond's voice reverberated
off the mountain, "and if anyone is pointing a gun at anyone
else by the time I am finished I will have you all court marshalled."
Sam wasn't sure anyone was going to take any notice of him,
but as O'Neill put away his sidearm, others followed suit. Slowly
the war was being averted. Daniel and Adam were the first to
run to where Richie had fallen, but it was Prometheus who caught
Sam's eye. There was an expression on his face that could have
killed all by itself.
Mayburne," he said, and he wasn't shouting, but his voice
the officer pinned down with his gaze, and he walked over slowly,
closely followed by Hammond. It seemed that the General was
leaving this to the really big guns.
you care to explain what you think you were doing?"
a simple question, but it caused Mayburne to make like a goldfish.
Prometheus had stopped half way between where Mayburne was and
where Sam was, and he just stood there.
here, Colonel," he said in a completely neutral voice.
almost like watching the condemned on the way to the executioner's
block as Mayburne turned his back on where several people were
trying to find out if Richie was alive, and walked to where
the other Immortal stood. Sam found herself edging closer, as
if her limbs had a will of their own.
Prometheus prompted again.
... I was under orders," the Colonel spluttered.
to kidnap an American citizen," Prometheus said slowly,
"orders to shoot him? Orders to destroy what could be the
most incredible discovery next to the Stargate itself?"
seemed to discover at least a little backbone as he pulled himself
to his full height.
to remove the deadliest threat to a neutral place," he
said, a little foolishly as far as Sam was concerned.
lifted one eyebrow.
orders, Mayburne?" he asked evenly. "They weren't
from the President, and they weren't from the senatorial sub-committee.
Is there another player in this game you would like to tell
the Colonel appeared to discover that silence was the best course
know all the players, Colonel," Prometheus said eventually,
"and I have a pretty good idea who would have put you up
to this. Believe me when I say that they will leave you out
to dry. I could have you court marshalled for this, and they
wouldn't lift a finger to help you."
was morbidly fascinated by the Immortal's verbal deconstruction
of the officer in front of him. Mayburne actually seemed to
shrink a little. Then Carter realised that the activity behind
the Colonel's shoulder had ceased, and she moved slightly to
see what was going on. Her eyes opened wide at what she saw.
again there are worse things I can think to do with you,"
she heard Prometheus say, just as a hand reached out and tapped
Mayburne of the shoulder from behind.
Colonel turned and before he could even react he went flying
backwards as Richie's fist connected with his jaw.
was hovering, he knew there were plenty of other places he could
be, but he really couldn't help himself. He'd seen someone come
back from the dead without the help of man or machine, and it
had been quite an incredible sight. Of course he'd been a witness
to the powers of a sarcophagus before, but this was entirely
different. A marine had ripped the front of Ryan's shirt and
tried to put some life back into him, and it had given Daniel
a view of the healing process. Watching flesh and bone actually
knit back together without leaving so much as a trace of an
injury was incredible.
Richie had decked Mayburne, knocking him cold, both men had
been taken to the sick bay. The Colonel had woken up en-route,
and Dr Frasier had sent him away as soon as possible with two
aspirin. Janet had then turned her attention to Richie who was
doing a good impression of someone surprised to be alive. SG-1
all knew that he was Immortal, but as far as the others were
concerned he'd just been a fast healer. Daniel was actually
quite surprised that the Immortal had the presence of mind to
pretend, it had, after all, been quite a morning.
watching Richie hit Mayburne had changed Daniel's attitude towards
him. Goa'uld's were capable of incredible violence, but they
tended to express it slightly differently. The Immortal's reaction
had seemed so human, even if his eyes had been bright white
at the time. Daniel wasn't sure why he was hovering in the sick
bay as Dr Frasier finished the examination of her patient, but
he couldn't quite bring himself to leave. The more he looked
at Richie the more he was beginning to see more of the man and
less of the monster.
even a trace," the doctor said as she examined the x-ray
that she had taken of Richie's chest.
Immortal himself was sitting on one of the beds, bare torso
available for inspection.
even if we have the technology it's irrelevant, he can rebuild
himself," Richie quipped.
you watch too much TV as a kid?" Janet shot back with a
a product of my generation," he replied.
found himself smiling. To begin with there had been other people
hanging around as well, but Jack and Sam had been dragged away
to talk to General Hammond, Teal'c had gone to see Sef't and
that left just Daniel and a nurse. No one seemed to object to
his presence so the anthropologist had decided to stay. He wasn't
sure exactly why; he thought he probably wanted to talk to Richie
at some point, being the only one of SG-1 who hadn't really
done so yet, but he wasn't certain he wanted it to be now.
you going to hover in my doorway all day, Dr Jackson, or are
you actually coming in?" Dr Frasier suddenly took an interest
coloured slightly and tried not to look too embarrassed. He
took a few steps into the room.
I ... ah ..." he tried to think of something to say.
just smiled at him.
I want to get these results into the computer as soon as possible,"
the doctor announced to the room. "Daniel would you mind
making sure no one steals my patient while I'm gone? He keeps
disappearing these days and I'm almost afraid to leave him alone."
could always handcuff me to the bed," Richie offered with
a wicked grin.
give me any ideas, kid," the doctor returned with a twitch
of her eyebrows.
was laughing as the woman walked passed him towards her office.
The nurse who had also been in the room a couple of seconds
earlier had vanished, it seemed that people were conspiring
against Daniel. In this case he came to the conclusion that
it might be a good thing. An awkward silence fell as the anthropologist
tried to find something to say, and he took to staring at his
told me about Shauri," it was Richie who spoke first and
his tone was quiet and serious, "I'm sorry."
head came up sharply and he gazed directly at his companion.
The Immortal's face had lost its playful expression, and had
gained a youthful sincerity.
understand if you never want to lay eyes on me," Richie
looked at each other for a while, the Immortal had obviously
said what he wanted to say and was waiting to see what the reply
Daniel finally said, "I'm not quite fine with you here
yet, but I'm getting there."
expression emerged on Richie's face, and he relaxed a little.
When he didn't have a serious frown the Immortal actually looked
very young, and Daniel found himself wondering about the person
behind the revelations for the first time.
old are you?" he heard himself ask.
was the somewhat surprised reply, "27 in the summer."
don't look it," Daniel commented.
Richie replied with a resigned sigh and a grin, "I will
always look 19. You have no idea how irritating that can be."
Daniel thought he had and he smiled.
looked about 18 until I was 24," he told his companion,
"I can sympathise. I lost count how many times I was carded."
anthropologist wandered over to one of the other beds and sat
you'll never age at all?" he asked, trying to understand
the other man's condition.
Richie confirmed, "I'll be like this at 500 if I make it
caught Daniel off guard a little.
wouldn't you make it?" he asked.
looked a little awkward for a moment, as if he wasn't sure what
quite to say, but after a moment his features cleared.
can die," he said honestly, "but I hope you understand
if I don't go broadcasting how."
actually smiled; he could see the reasoning behind that one.
The anthropologist walked further into the room and perched
on one of the empty beds. He did not want to miss this conversation.
entirety of SG-1, General Hammond, Methos and Richie sat round
the large table in the briefing room. The meeting had been called
once Mayburne and his people and Promethius' team had all left.
The base once again belonged to the SGC staff and they alone
and it was time to deal with the leftovers. Richie knew it was
crunch time, but he felt a great deal more comfortable knowing
that his fate was in the hands of the people around the table
rather than those he had met that day.
Ryan," the General greeted after everyone had sat down,
"I believe you realise we have a problem here."
simply nodded; it was mostly a rhetorical question.
cannot in good conscience simply let you go back to your life,"
Hammond continued in a sympathetic tone. "Although you
have continued to prove that you are not under the influence
of the Goa'uld larva which took residence in your body you are
in possession of knowledge which could be damaging to the security
of this planet. If our enemies were to find out about you, you
could become a powerful weapon against us."
was not news to Richie; he had been expecting a speech like
this. Part of him had dreaded it and part of him was coldly
analytical about the whole situation: after all it could have
been worse. He did not think that Hammond was going to have
allow you to run loose on this planet is not an option,"
Hammond concluded firmly and paused. "However," he
continued shortly, "we have two possible suggestions to
resolve this issue."
was impressed; he couldn't even find one.
are allies with the To'kra," the General told him calmly,
"and although they know nothing about you yet, we are willing
to contact them for you. They are probably the closest people
to your own situation and I have no doubt that the information
you possess would be of use to them."
name To'kra caused Richie a moment of distaste as Shu's prejudice
against them made itself known, but he put it aside. It was
after all an option and one that did not have him locked up
for the rest of his life. It would mean leaving everything Richie
Ryan knew and all the people he cared about, but it wouldn't
be the first time his world changed. He nodded for Hammond to
second option is that you join the SGC," Hammond said and
actually surprised Richie. "Your knowledge of the system
lords and the rest of the Goa'uld would be invaluable to us."
sounded so much more appealing than the To'kra that Richie couldn't
keep the interest off his face, however, there were a couple
would I be doing other than acting as a fount of knowledge?"
he asked, trying to sound calm about the whole subject.
like you to join SG-1," O'Neill said before Hammond could
answer and grinned brightly at the younger man.
if the offer to join the SGC had surprised Richie, this simply
stunned him. Jack looked as if he was enjoying the effect as
he simply beamed at what Richie knew was a slack jawed expression
on his own face.
serious," he said, not quite sure what to say.
you saved our necks once already," O'Neill said after letting
him suffer for a few seconds. "I for one would feel very
safe with you at my back."
knowledge would be invaluable every time we go through the gate,"
Sam added with a warm smile.
would be an honour to serve with you," Teal'c put in stoically.
left Daniel who simply looked at him for a while
objections here," the anthropologist said calmly.
couldn't believe it: what they were offering was better than
his wildest dreams. He looked at Methos who simply appeared
knew," he accused and that drew an even smugger grin from
the ancient man.
I take it you accept our second solution," Hammond said
grinned and then set his face in a very serious expression.
one suggestion," he said earnestly.
what would that be," the General asked, sobering his own
we tell Dr Frasier the truth, please," Richie said lightly.
"If she x-rays me every time I heal I'm going to glow in
was the first to crack and he seemed to find the comment extremely
that when General Hammond wanted things done he could make the
wheels of officialdom move very fast. Before Richie really knew
where he was it was a week later and he was on the payroll.
He had official quarters on the base, security clearance and
everything he needed to be part of SG-1. That left one loose
end when it came to the SGC and as soon as Hammond gave him
permission he wandered into sickbay.
Janet" he greeted as he found the person he was looking
for checking her supply cabinet.
yourself," the doctor said cheerfully, "and what brings
you to my domain?"
actually I really want to get you in your office alone,"
Richie said with a suggestive twitch of his eyebrows.
boy," Janet laughed.
Richie said with a grin, "I would like to talk to you somewhere
private. Since I'm going to be a permanent resident there are
a couple of things you need to know."
into my parlour said the spider to the fly," Janet said
cheerfully and indicated her office.
both walked into the smaller room, Janet shut the door and they
what was it you wanted to tell me?" she asked with a smile.
took a deep breath.
be mad," he opened his gambit, "but you know all that
surprise about being alive after I was shot."
nodded, obviously not sure where this was going.
was acting," Richie admitted honestly, "I wasn't surprised
at all. The story about the experimental technique Shu was trying
out on me is a cover. The Goa'uld didn't make me Immortal, I
doctor didn't look as if she knew how to take that one.
are people on Earth who don't die and don't age," Richie
hurried on. "We're normal until we're killed for the first
time and then nature just stops for us. I'm who my records say
I am, but I died for the first time seven years ago. I'm for
all intents and purposes, immortal."
why they had to rescue you," Janet said slowly as if this
finally explained something that had been bothering her. "If
Shu had managed to take you over he would have been unstoppable."
only people who know are you, SG-1 and General Hammond,"
the Immortal said calmly, "if this got out ..."
be a witch hunt," Frasier finished for him, then she smiled.
"Thank you for the truth," she told him, "I'll
keep your secret happily."
sighed with relief, he had had faith in Janet, but he had still
been just a little worried. Some people did not take the news
of Immortals very well.
tell me more," she said with a huge grin. "How many
times have you died before?"
grinned back: he knew there was a reason he liked Janet.
days and two hours after Mayburne had been given his marching
orders there was one more departure going on and it was a sadder
one. His time at SGC had been a little more exciting than he
would have liked in Methos' opinion, but then life became boring
without the odd adventure. The oldest living Immortal was packing
the few things he had acquired in his stay into a bag when Richie
knocked on his door.
ready to go then?" the younger Immortal said in what was
supposed to be a nonchalant tone.
didn't fool Methos for a second and the older man couldn't help
but feel guilty about leaving him. They had decided that he
would return and smooth everything over at home since Richie
couldn't go. Methos was going to keep in touch, but for both
of them to vanish would have MacLeod on the warpath looking
for them. The Stargate was top secret and they had solemnly
agreed to keep it that way even among their closest friends.
Richie had taken a job at the research establishment where Daniel
worked as far as the outside world was concerned. Methos was
going to drop some hints about a member of the opposite sex
and large amounts of money paid for computer skills that Richie
had picked up over the last few years.
Richie had a secret identity as a hacker he had not shared with
his friends, and which was now coming in very handy. It helped
that Richie did know something about computers, and he was pretty
sure he could bluff Mac into the ground on the subject. The
Highlander used modern technology out of necessity; he did not
like it anywhere near as much as he pretended to.
arrive with anything, so I think leaving with a bag is an achievement,"
Methos said lightly.
the towels then?" Richie replied with a grin.
never notice they're missing," the older man said mockingly,
"military operations are always the same. If they just
kept track of their stores the US government could halve their
made Richie laugh, but he sobered quickly.
Mac I'm sorry to desert him like this," the younger man
said quietly. "I'll call when I can."
let him know," Methos promised and he meant it for once.
just a little guilty for getting Richie into this mess, after
all it was his fault they had entered the SGC in the first place.
Methos had been around too long to let the idea get him down,
but he couldn't escape it entirely. Richie may only have been
a toddler compared to himself, but the kid had seen far too
much in his short life. The oldest living man did not envy his
sorry," he finally said, unable to just dismiss this problem.
your fault," Richie said slowly and looked him straight
in the eye. "You couldn't have predicted what was going
to happen, and we both know that this is more important than
either of us. You were there the first time round, now it's
time for us younger ones to have a go."
grinned at that as Richie smiled at him irreverently.
well I expect you to keep me up to date," he said pointedly.
"I know the military and they're never going to tell me
everything. If you need me I'll be around."
know, Old Man," Richie said calmly and Methos could see
age in his eyes that did not belong to the younger Immortal.
Richie Ryan Methos had involved in this fiasco no longer existed
and the older man knew he had had a hand in killing him. Yet
the new Richie was just as earnest, just as brave and a damn
sight more interesting. Methos hoped the new Richie Ryan would
be better than the old one could ever have imagined.
universe is the limit," Methos said quietly. "Stay
smiled at him again and then before Methos could say anything
else he turned and left. The ancient man was left with a feeling
that either the galaxy was on the verge of something exciting
or in really big trouble.