The Medusa Stone
The Medusa Stone
Written by Anne Olson
Comments? Write to me at email@example.com
NOTE: Telepathy is shown by [ ] to avoid confusion.
Doctor Daniel Jackson bent down to grab his hat as the breeze lifted it off his head and deposited it on the ground. He'd taken it off to brush some dirt off the rim and had forgotten to fasten the draw cord securely when he had put it back on.
He looked around him and sighed. This planet, PX251, reminded him of what the garden of Eden must have looked like. Green grass, as far as the eye could see, the hills crowded with a canopy of trees, and blue sky without a cloud in the sky. In the distance he could hear running water, a sure sign that there must be a stream or a river nearby.
If he ignored the giant stone circle of the Stargate behind him, he could well imagine he was on Earth somewhere. He and the rest of SG1 had come to check out the planet after they had been informed by the Tok'ra that the Goa'uld named Apophis had been using this planet as a base for some of his more recent activities.
Obviously the information had been out of date, for as they soon realised whoever had been here was long gone. Daniel had volunteered to search the area near the Stargate, while the rest of the team, Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Sam Carter, and Teal'c, went on a short scouting mission to check out the rest of the terrain.
The radio crackled, making him jump. "You still there, Daniel?" asked O'Neill. "Just making sure you're not having a rest while the rest of us are slogging away out here."
Daniel grinned and straightened his glasses before he replied. He could well imagine the expression on the older man's face, and the twinkle in his eye as he asked the question. Jack O'Neill was well known through Stargate Command for his off the wall sense of humour. "Just going to have a look at the river, Jack. Maybe I might find some Goa'uld remains in there or something."
"Yeah, right. Just be careful, okay. This place might look like Eden but remember every garden has its snakes."
"I'll try and keep that in mind. Jackson out." O'Neill's remark had brought him back down to Earth, or PX251, as the case was. He'd almost forgotten what they were there for, forgotten about the enemy they were fighting. The Goa'uld were aliens that looked like serpents, a parasitic race who inhabited other creatures whom they used as hosts. Once the host was taken over, the Goa'uld personality became dominant, the host themselves only able to take back control of their body when the alien became incapacitated. Daniel's own wife, Sha're, had been taken as a host. He felt his emotions rising to the surface as he remembered. Daniel struggled to deal with those feelings of anger and loss every time he thought of her.
He walked along, heading toward the sound of running water, his mind deep in thought. Before he knew it, he was standing on the bank of a small river. The water itself looked very inviting, so inviting that he decided to sit on the grass along side for a while. It would give himself a chance to collect his thoughts, and pull himself together before he met up with the rest of SG1.
The radio crackled again. This time it was Samantha Carter. "We're finished here, Daniel. Have you found anything at the river?"
"No, nothing here, as far as I can see anyway. Give me a couple of minutes and I'll meet you at the Stargate."
Daniel rose to his feet, and collected his gear. As he moved out, he didn't see the half buried object by the side of the river. His foot connected with it, and before he knew what was happening, he was flying through the air. There was a loud splash as he landed in the water. At least the rest of the team isn't here to see this, he thought to himself. It was times like this that he was all too aware that he was the only non-military person on the team.
"That's a good look for you, Daniel," said a familiar voice. O'Neill. Damm, he'd spoken too soon.
"We were heading back to the Stargate and decided to take the scenic, river route," explained Carter. Her blue eyes were twinkling; she looked as though she was trying hard not to laugh. She reached out her hand to help him out of the water.
Teal'c was bending over, looking at the something at the edge of the riverbank. At least he wasn't laughing like the others, thought Daniel to himself, but then Teal'c very rarely showed sign of emotion, of any kind. The big, dark Jaffa turned to O'Neill. "O'Neill, there appears to be something buried here. I surmise that this is what caused Daniel Jackson to fall into the river. His foot must have made contact with the object, thus causing him to loose his balance."
"You mean, he tripped over it?"
"I believe that is what I just said, O'Neill."
"Yeah, whatever. Can you dig it out so that we can have a look at it?"
It was a box, a small dark coloured box with a hinged lid. The main body of the box was covered in some sort of hieroglyphs. O'Neill opened it and peered inside. Carter opened her mouth to remind him that they didn't know what they were dealing with, and shut it again. Whatever it was, it was too late now; the damage had been done. The story of Pandora's Box came into her mind. She hoped that thought wasn't an omen of some sort.
Inside the box were a small stone and a manuscript. The stone itself didn't look as though it was anything unusual, but the manuscript was written in hieroglyphs, though they looked to be slightly different than those covering the box itself.
O'Neill looked at Daniel, who shook his head. "It's not a language I'm familiar with. It could be some sort of Egyptian dialect, but not one I've come across before. We'd better get it back to the base and try and decipher it."
Carter frowned. "I'd like to run some tests on the box as well, Colonel. It looks like some form of lead, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's something more alien in its make up."
"Do you think it could be naquadah, the stuff that's in the Stargate?" asked O'Neill.
"Not sure, Colonel. As I said, I really need to run some tests."
"Okay, kids, time to head back to Earth, then." O'Neill sniffed, then commented to Daniel. "I think you'd better have a shower before we debrief. That river might look clean..." He paused, and grinned. "There's definitely something rotten in the state of Denmark."
"A warning to the oldest of those who cannot die..."
Dr Daniel Jackson looked up in annoyance at the tall slim man standing behind him. He had just spent three days trying to decipher the message in front of him. The message written in an obscure Egypt dialect, so obscure that even he, familiar as he was with Ancient Egyptian, was really having to work hard to make sense of.
The fact that he was having difficultly reading the archaic language had annoyed him so much that he had left the Cheyenne Mountain complex and come to this bar, which was quiet at this time of the day, to try and find some peace so that he could work.
He leaned back in his seat, and turned his head to get a closer look at the person speaking to him. He looked to be about the same age as Daniel himself, and was dressed in jeans and a heavy jersey. He had dark hair, and spoke with an English accent. A grad student, thought the archaeologist to himself. Or maybe someone who liked to give that impression, he amended, after all, if he was able to read the language on the manuscript, he must have a bit more experience with languages than his initial appearance let on.
"Are you trying to tell me that you can read this?" he asked.
The other man looked rather apologetic as he replied. "I'm a bit out of practice but I used to be rather fluent a long time ago. A very long time ago..." He paused as though he was deep in thought, remembering something.
"Sorry, maybe I should introduce myself. I'm Daniel Jackson, and you are?"
"Adam Pierson," came the reply.
"So, Adam, how come you can read an obscure Egyptian dialogue?"
"I, er, studied it in my younger days. Part of a paper I was working on.Cultures of Ancient Egypt etc etc. Where did you get this anyway? It looks almost like a prophecy of some kind."
"I'm afraid I can't tell you that. But would you be able to help me decipher the same language if I had any more?"
"You have more of it then?" The reply was quite sharp and took Daniel by surprise. Adam seemed very interested in the prophecy, if that was what it was, and seemed keen to see more. Daniel wondered if he should risk showing him the rest of the manuscript, which he had left back at the base. It was classified though, and he couldn't very well tell the other man that it came from another planet, one that until recently had been known to be one of the bases used by the Goa'uld Apophis. Maybe he should talk it over with Jack O'Neill and the other members of SG1.
He chose his words carefully. "There is more, but it's classified. I'll have to talk to my superiors and get back to you. Where can I reach you?"
"Talk to Joe Dawson, the guy behind the bar. He's running the place for Charlie, while he's out of town. He knows where to find me."
Daniel looked over at the bar and saw an older man with a beard, washing glasses. The man nodded at him, obviously he had heard his name mentioned. He had a bit of a twinkle in his eye, Daniel thought he looked almost amused, obviously sharing some private joke with Adam.
Adam slid into the seat next to him, his cream jersey blending in with the colour of the booth they were now sharing. "You're not Daniel Jackson, the archaeologist, are you, by the way? I've read some of your work, very interesting ideas. Bit way out this idea of aliens building the pyramids though, don't you think?" His tone sounded quite sarcastic, though his look was one of pure innocence.
Daniel felt a bit annoyed at Adam's attitude. He knew his ideas had been proven correct. It was a pity he couldn't share it with any of his archaeology colleagues though. It sounded as though Adam could be quite useful to SG1 if he knew as much about ancient Egypt as he made out. Maybe he should get someone to check the man out -- he did seem to have an awful lot of information. He had the feeling Adam Pierson knew a lot more than he was making out.
He decided the best approach was to change the subject. "So what's a expert on dead languages such as yourself doing in Colorado Springs?"
Adam shrugged. "Just helping out a friend," he replied. "Joe was coming down here to take over for Charlie for a bit, so I thought I'd come with him. I haven't been to this part of the country for a while, so I'm reaquainting myself with the local sights. It's changed a bit since I was last here, though."
Daniel was about to ask how long ago, when he noticed the time on the big wooden clock over the bar. He looked at his watch again and shook it. It must have been damaged when he took the dive into the river on PX251. He was supposed to be meeting the rest of SG1 in about five minutes. He was definitely going to be very late.
He rose to his feet, grabbed the pile of papers he had been writing on and shoved them into his case. "Sorry, got to go," he mumbled. "I've just realised I'm running very late for a meeting. Thanks for your help. I'll leave a message with your friend Joe and catch you later."
"It's not like you to be so helpful, especially to someone you've only just met." commented Joe Dawson, as he watched Daniel leave. He had an amused expression on his face. "What's the matter Methos? Is MacLeod rubbing off on you at last?"
Adam Pierson a.k.a. Methos grimaced. "Of course not. I'm only looking after my own interests. Daniel had a portion of a manuscript, one that had a reference to me in it, so I just want to see what else it says."
"Okay, so what's a reference to you doing on a manuscript that this guy Daniel has? Something in your younger days catching up with you at last?"
"That's what I'm curious to find out. There's memories of Ancient Egypt that I'd rather forget. I'm hoping that this isn't one of them" the five thousand year old man replied.
Joe realised that there was a lot he didn't know about Methos still, and if the other got his way, probably never would. "Just be careful, okay."
"Joe, I didn't know you cared."
"Well, if something happened to you, who would pay your bar tab?"
"So what exactly do you know about this guy, Daniel?" asked Colonel Jack O'Neill. "Apart from the fact that he knows more about your favourite subject than you do?"
SG1 were sitting around the conference table in the debriefing room, listening to Daniel enthusiastically sing the praises of his new friend. Daniel had all his papers strewn over the oval table, and was showing them the translation that Adam had given him.
"I didn't say he knew more than I did. I just said he could translate the manuscript and I think we should give him a chance to try. I'm not inviting him to see the Stargate or anything like that, just look at the manuscript."
"But what if he wants to know where you got it from? Are you going to say, well, I just popped through this device called a Stargate that we use to travel to other planets, and there it was buried at the side of a river. Oh and by the way there's this nasty alien involved, and he probably put it there," came the sarcastic reply. O'Neill poured himself a cup of coffee, leaned back in his chair, and waited to see how the younger man would respond to his question. It was going to be hard to talk Daniel out of this one. When he got an idea in his head, he could be quite determined.
"I think Daniel's got a point," interrupted Major Samantha Carter, ignoring the glare that O'Neill gave her. "Maybe this guy Adam can help decipher the prophecy or whatever it is. We need to find out if this manuscript and the strange stone that seems to have come with it are worth worrying about or not."
"You don't actually believe in prophecies, do you?" O'Neill snorted in disgust. Academics, he thought, and now they were thinking of asking another one to join them. He could just imagine Daniel and this Pierson guy spending hours discussing the real meaning behind the manuscript. He was more interested in the stone itself. Surely they must be connected somehow? He had been hoping it was some kind of weapon that they could use in their fight with the Goa'uld and that the manuscript was the instruction manual. It seemed a bit strange to keep a piece of stone in a lead lined box -- must be something special about it. Daniel seemed to be sure that it was a prophecy of some sort. He blamed Pierson for that and hoped he wasn't being lead off on a wild goose chase.
"O'Neill," Teal'c the fourth member of SG1 interrupted his train of thought. "My people, the Jaffa, have found some of these prophecies, as you call them, to be quite correct in the past. In fact some people that have ignored them, as you are trying to do, have not lived to regret their actions."
O'Neill knew when he was outvoted. "Okay, I suppose it wouldn't do any harm for your new friend to see the rest of the manuscript. But no mention of where it came from and I want to run a complete check on the guy first. Also I want to come with you when you meet him again."
O'Neill checked the time on his watch for the fifth time in the same number of minutes. The bar seemed quite empty. Obviously most of the patrons did their drinking in the evening. He looked around the place, and made a note to come and try it out the next time he was off duty. As well as the usual jukebox in the corner, there was also a piano and a small stage. His eye caught a poster lying on the bar, a live band played in the evenings, a jazz ensemble, he noticed, reading a bit further. Yes, he'd definitely come and check it out. Maybe it was time to introduce Teal'c to yet another new concept.
He looked at his watch again. "I thought you said Adam would be here at 2pm?" asked O'Neill. "It's ten past now. Doesn't say much for his reliability."
"He must have got held up. I'll go and ask Joe Dawson if he's heard anything." Daniel wandered over to the bar, and started talking to Dawson.
The bartender shook his head. He seemed to be surprised that Pierson hadn't shown yet, surprised and maybe a bit worried. "Haven't heard anything, sorry. He should be here soon. I can check his cell phone if you like. Adam's usually on time." Unless he's deliberately running late, he thought to himself. I wouldn't put it past the old guy. Ah, speak of the devil.
"I got held up. Phone rang at the last minute." Methos shot Joe a look. He slid onto a barstool and gratefully took the beer that his friend put in front of him. "MacLeod seems to think I'm a walking fountain of information when he needs it. I thought that was your job description."
MacLeod... That was one of Pierson's friends. O'Neill remembered the research he had run on the guy. He supposed it made sense for an historical researcher to hook up with a former antique dealer. He stepped forward. "Hi, I'm Jack O'Neill. You must be the Adam Pierson that Daniel's been talking about" And talking about and talking about, he added to himself.
"Didn't know you were bringing a friend?" Methos directed the question at Daniel suspiciously.
"Jack's okay. We work together, so he wanted to see what you thought of our manuscript."
"Are you an archaeologist as well?" Methos was sure he saw the other man shudder at the thought.
"Definitely not," Came the reply." You might say I work in the field, finding artefacts and suchlike" Daniel shot him a peculiar look. More going on here than meets the eye thought Methos. Whatever O'Neill was, he certainly didn't strike the immortal as an archaeologist, well not the usual stereotype of one, anyway.
"What about the manuscript then. Have you got it with you?"
[I should have never have let you talk me into this] telepathed Megabyte Damon to his friend Adam Newman. He was bored, very bored and his expression was beginning to give his feelings away. There was just so much of looking at diagrams and photos that he could take. Listening to lectures wasn't high on the list of things he enjoyed doing either, in fact they usually sent him to sleep. Now if he could get a quick look at their computer system, then he could find out what really went on in this place.
The Australian turned to his friend. [Well, it doesn't hurt you to help your father out once in a while and play the dutiful son.] Adam realised that wasn't exactly the right comment to make as soon as he had 'said' it, and was quite relieved when he saw a familiar face approaching them.
"Enjoying the tour?" General William Damon asked his son.
"Yeah, sure. I bet all the really interesting stuff is well hidden somewhere else though." Megabyte didn't even try to keep the bored tone out of his voice as he replied.
Bill Damon smiled to himself. He knew Megabyte well enough to know that the boy wasn't really interested in seeing the official tour of the Cheyenne Mountain complex. The invitation had said he could bring his son and so he had offered, not thinking for a moment that he would actually come. He had a feeling that the change of mind had come from Adam, not Megabyte, especially when his son had asked if the elder Tomorrow Person could come as well. Adam seemed curious to see what resources the military had when it came to 'watching the skies' even if it was just the official version.
"So what do you think, Adam?"
"I agree with Megabyte. I think the unofficial equipment is probably more interesting."
Damon groaned inwardly. He hoped the two boys weren't going to try and go on an 'unofficial tour' "I hope you're not getting ideas. It wouldn't be a good idea for the two of you to get involved with the Military you know."
"Don't worry Dad," the redhead grinned. "We wouldn't dream of it" He glanced around the series of corridors leading off from the main lecture room, and wondered what was behind all those doors. The ones marked restricted access looked very interesting. Maybe he should have a look around later. A burst of telekinesis would soon solve the problem of any locks. Megabyte looked at his father again, this time with an expression of pure innocence.
Adam looked at his friend suspiciously, he knew that look. Much as he wanted to know what went on in this place himself, he'd have to remind Megabyte what would happen if the military ever found out about their abilities. The world, and especially the military weren't ready to find out about the existence of the Tomorrow People yet. They'd already come across people wanting to force them to use their powers against others. He didn't want to tun the risk of it happening again. They might not be so lucky next time.
His train of thought was interrupted by the approach of a dark-haired well-built man in a military uniform. He'd wondered how long it would take the corporal to notice that they'd lagged behind the main group.
"Come on," called the tour guide. "Wouldn't want to leave you behind, would we?"
"Well, are you going to share, or keep the good news all to yourself?" asked O'Neill impatiently. Pierson had been reading for a good few minutes now and so far hadn't said a word. He had the distinct impression that the other man was just as interested, if not more so, in the contents of the manuscript as they were.
"Just about finished.."
Daniel shot O'Neill an 'I told you so look'. He looked like a kid in a candy store thought O'Neill. What if it is instructions for the stone? How do I explain that to a civilian? Make that two civilians. He noticed Dawson seemed to be hanging around waiting for the translation as well. I don't remember giving him an invitation to the party.
"A warning to the oldest of those who cannot die... This is my legacy to you and those who helped destroy the one who served me. The tendrils of the medusa will reach out and destroy those who 'mind speak' and you will be unable to ..."
"Unable to what?" asked Daniel. Pierson had come to a halt and was looking a bit pale. He repeated himself. "Unable to what?"
"I don't know. That's as far as its goes. The rest of the writing has been destroyed. Age, I suppose." Methos cursed to himself. He had hoped he had seen the last of the mad Egyptian, Ramiis. He'd been enough trouble while he was alive, now it looked like he was going to cause trouble in the afterlife as well.
"Pierson, do you know what this is about?" asked O'Neill. He'd seen the other man's reaction and knew damm well he did.
Methos chose his words carefully. He knew that he would have to give some sort of explanation, or they would keep asking until he gave one.
"When I was working on my paper on Ancient Egypt I came across a strange story. An Egyptian priest named Ramiis thought that he had a direct line to the god Apophis. This guy was as mad as a hatter of course. He got it into his mind to rid the planet of all of the god's enemies, all those who could be a threat to him, all those who apposed him. Actually there weren't too many, as most of the natives were scared witless, as I remember," He added hastily "the story went. Ramiis got it into his mind, or what was left of it, that the boy king Tutankhamun and some of his friends were a threat to Apophis. He had the crazy idea that they were telepathic or something similar, they called it mind speaking in those days."
"So what happened to Ramiis?" asked Joe
"The kids had some help. Someone else who didn't agree with Ramiis' activities. There was a fight and according to the legend the priest lost his head. Literally. Just before he died Ramiis said that his god Apophis would seek revenge on the kids, if not on them, then on those like them."
Daniel was curious. "How come I haven't heard of this legend before? I thought I'd heard most of them."
"It's not that well known. Legend has it that Apophis wasn't very happy at the loss of his faithful follower and threatened death to those who repeated the story. I found it in a very obscure set of chronicles. "
O'Neill snorted. "Sounds a bit suspect to me. Telepathy and the like! Next you're be telling me that they could disappear into thin air and move objects with the power of their mind as well."
"It's called teleportation and telekinesis, Jack" observed Daniel. "Not as far fetched as you would think. There was a fair bit of documented evidence of it in the 70's. A guy named Professor Cawston came up with quite a lot of evidence to support that it wasn't as unlikely as you would think."
"Okay then but if this story is true, what's this rubbish about the tendrils of a Medusa then?" This last question was pointed at Methos.
"Pass." He seemed lost in thought as though trying to remember something. "Was anything else found with the manuscript?"
Daniel and O'Neill looked at each other. Pierson definitely knew a lot more than he was letting on. "Well actually there was"
"Daniel, this is classified. Need to know only."
"Well, Jack, I need to know." Daniel ignored the look that the colonel was giving him. "It's not going to hurt to show him the stone. There might be some more information he can give us from seeing it. Remember that there were hieroglyphics on the box the stone came in, as well, they were different again to those written on the manuscript. I couldn't translate them at all. It sounds like he could."
"Why do I feel like I've been ambushed again?" groused Jack. "I'd better contact General Hammond and okay it with him first though"
"Did you say general? Are you people military?" Pierson didn't look too happy with that thought, and neither did Joe Dawson, O'Neill noticed.
"Jack's military, but I'm a civilian doing research for them," explained Daniel. 'They're quite a decent bunch of people once you get to know them. Don't panic, they won't try and shoot you or anything."
"Adam, can I have a word please?" asked Joe. He was beginning to worry about what exactly Methos had got himself into. "Excuse us, Daniel. This won't take long"
As soon as they were out of earshot Joe turned to the immortal. "What the hell do you think you're doing? An immortal getting mixed up with the military? You must be out of your mind. What if they find out about you? What happens then?"
"A bit louder, Joe. I don't think they quite heard you." Came the reply. "I have to look into this. I owe my life to Tutankhamun and his friends. I sort of promised I'd return the favour if needed. Besides I'm just a historian, remember. I can look after myself if I need to. I have to make sure that there isn't a threat to any of their kind, if they exist, in the present day."
"Okay but watch your head." Dawson leaned on his cane as he spoke, Methos' words hadn't reassured him in the least. Being ex military himself, he knew full well what could happen if the miliary found out the truth about his friend. "I also want the full story about what really happened with that priest Ramiis. That was you that took his head, I take it?"
Methos noticed that O'Neill was beckoning them over." We'll discuss this later, Joe. I think he wants us." Dawson wondered if he would ever get the full story of Ramiis and Apophis out of Methos. He wasn't usually very forthcoming with these sorts of details. It must be one hell of a story, he thought to himself, especially if Methos felt he owed something to someone. That was one scenario he never thought he'd see.
"I've cleared it with the general. You can come and look at the stone but there will have to be someone with you at all times. We don't want you wandering off. Got it? Daniel, I'm making you responsible for this, seeing you're the one with the bright idea. Okay?" O'Neill still had his reservations, but General Hammond thought it was important to find out all the information they could. He thought about the rest of the translation. "Tendrils of the Medusa. Maybe its some kind of energy weapon?"
"Oh, I don't think its anything as simple as that." Pierson replied almost absentmindedly.
The three men sat in O'Neill's car in relative silence during the drive to Cheyenne Mountain. Daniel was scribbling furiously, noting down the Ramiis legend that Pierson had told them. He went through the whole story again in his mind, storing up the thousands of questions he wanted to ask the historian. Obviously he had made the right decision asking the other man to join them, Adam Pierson knew far more about the manuscript than Daniel originally thought.
As they approached the entrance to the Cheyenne Mountain complex, Methos reflected again on how much the area had changed since he had been here last. Mind you, he thought, one hundred years is a long time. At least this time he wouldn't have a posse chasing him, that was one consolation.
He had heard there was a military base inside the mountain itself, NORAD wasn't it? Didn't they watch the stars or something similar from here? He remembered reading an article about it once; seeing it in the flesh, though, was quite different. It was certainly very impressive, at least from what he could see, from the entrance. He wondered how far underground they would be going -- the further underground, the less places to run, he reminded himself. He was pleased he'd bought his sword. At least he still had a weapon with him, if he needed to leave in a hurry. He'd thought about leaving it behind, but after all these years, he felt quite naked without it. The wording of the prophecy, if that's what it was, worried him as well, and he wanted to be prepared for any eventuality
As they got out of the car, Methos turned to O'Neill. Speaking of weapons, it was probably a good idea to mention his Ivanhoe before the sentry on duty noticed it, or the metal detection alarms went off.
Making up an excuse for why he carried it, that would be the fun part. He could hardly say "actually I'm an immortal and I need the sword in case I need to take someone's head."
"Jack," he hesitated before continuing. "I think I'd better tell you about something before we go any further."
"Is something the matter, Adam?" asked Daniel. "I told you, the military types on this base are quite friendly, nothing to worry about." Apart from the aliens that come through the Stargate he added to himself.
"Maybe I'd better show you," came the reply. "I'm, er, carrying a sword in my travel bag. Silly really, it's my lucky sword. I found it at a dig a few years back and when I'm working on something a bit tricky, it brings me good luck." He put on his best Adam Pierson look, and hoped for the best.
Daniel gazed at the bronze sword in unveiled admiration. He lifted it, using both hands, and was surprised at how heavy it was. "Whoa, that's a beauty. It's an Ivanhoe, isn't it? I remember seeing one like that a few years ago in an antique shop, haven't seen one like it since. Remember Jack, I told you about it once."
"Yeah, that was the sword you insisted in taking me to see, only to find that once we got there the guy had shut up shop. What was the name of the place again, Russell Nash Antiques or something similar."
Methos stifled a laugh. What was it about MacLeods and antique shops? He remembered reading on the watcher database that Connor had used that alias for a time. No one had seen much of him since, hopefully the elder Highlander was still around and hadn't lost his head yet.
"I can't see that being a problem, can you Jack?" asked Daniel. "I mean it's not as though he really knows how to use it or anything."
"I'll check with the general. A lucky sword. Now I've heard everything." O'Neill turned to Daniel.
"Hey, maybe if ask nicely he'll let you have a play with it."
"Daniel, go and get Adam his visitors pass and meet us in the debriefing room. I just want to check something out with the general. I'll meet you there." O'Neill was still wondering how he was going to tell Hammond about Pierson's sword as he left the reception area.
Methos looked around the Cheyenne Mountain complex with interest. As far as he could see, it looked like your typical military base, well what he could remember of the little he had seen of them during the last World War, anyway. He tended to avoid the military as much as he could, usually. This manuscript had better be worth the risks he was taking.
He wondered what the chances were of actually running into any others like Tutankhamun; after all, he hadn't seen any since the days of ancient Egypt. There had been rumours of the existence of powerful telepaths about twenty years ago, but never any solid proof. He wondered what Joe and Mac would think if they knew that he tried to keep up to date with all the research done in the field of physic powers. A Professor Galt had tried to publish a paper about some new proof he had discovered about seven years ago, but the man had been dismissed as a bit of a nutcase.
As they approached reception he noticed a boy arguing with one of the security guards. The boy, he looked as though he was in his late teens, maybe a fraction older, was trying his best to sound indignant.
"Hey, last time I looked it wasn't a crime to try and find the bathroom..."
"It is when you're trying to find it through a door marked restricted access." The guard didn't seem to be buying the story. "Don't worry, young man. Your father is coming to get you. You can try and explain it to him"
"What's going on here?"
"Oh, good morning Doctor Jackson. It's all under control, sir. This kid wandered away from the main tour group. We found him heading for the restricted area."
"I told you, I was looking for the bathroom."
Methos moved in a bit closer. This sounded like it was going to be fun. He wanted to see what would happen when the boy's father showed up. He was probably some bigwig or something, the kid would get really chewed out.
Megabyte stopped his train of thought suddenly. He felt the presence of someone else in the room. Someone who's psychic aura felt different, very different. As a Tomorrow Person he was aware of the faint mental auras of the other people in the room. He was used to that. He and the others referred to it as "background noise". This aura was decidedly different, stronger, almost overpowering. He noticed a man watching the conversation. He seemed almost amused by it.
Megabyte moved closer to the man and was surprised at the strong mental images that assailed his mind. Images of men on horseback he could handle, but when one of them swung a sword and Megabyte saw that he was going to behead the other, he started to feel ill. He involuntarily took a step back. This was weird, way too weird.
"Don't worry, I don't bite." The other man was looking at him curiously. Megabyte wondered if he'd noticed his reaction.
[Adam, where are you?] he 'pathed.
[Just coming round the corner with your dad. He's not very impressed. He thinks... ] Adam stopped suddenly
Megabyte could feel the confusion coming from his friend. So Adam could feel it as well. He saw General Damon and Adam approaching. Adam looked a bit pale.
[It's this guy here. I got really strange mental images from him when I got close. His aura feels strong too, unnaturally strong.]
"Are you feeling okay?" asked Daniel. The red headed boy had suddenly turned a shade paler. He noticed a dark haired man approaching with another boy, about the same age as the red head, in tow. Must be the boy's father, he surmised. I'd feel like that too if I'd been caught doing something I shouldn't, he thought.
"Megabyte, can't I take my eyes off you for one minute without you getting into trouble? What did I tell you about leaving the tour group?"
"I was only going to find the bathroom."
"And I'm the toothfairy," came the reply. "Are you all right, Adam?" The last question was directed to the dark haired boy next to him who had suddenly come over with a fit of coughing.
"Sorry, General. Just lost my breath for a minute" Methos noticed he spoke with an Australian accent. This was getting more fun by the minute.
"Megabyte... Never mind. I'd better go and have a word with General Hammond and apologise for your behaviour." Damon looked at the two boys suspiciously. He had the feeling he was missing something. He'd talk to them later, in private. "Wait here."
The man at reception spoke up. "Doctor Jackson, Colonel O'Neill says to come down. They're waiting for you and Mr Pierson, sir."
Methos lent over to the redheaded boy on his way past. "Hope you find the bathroom Megabyte." Both boys looked at him. He felt a shiver go down his spine. Something about them was familiar, some look about them. He couldn't put his finger on it. They weren't pre immortal, he would have known if they were. There was something though.
"Come on, Adam"
The sound of Daniel's voice broke his train of thought. Right, he thought. Concentrate on the business at hand. Let's see what this stone is about.
The two Tomorrow People watched the two men enter the lift. Megabyte turned to Adam. [That was weird] he 'pathed. [Did you see those images too? Men on horseback, villages burning. Looked liked something out of the Middle Ages. I thought I was going to loose my lunch when I saw the sword cutting someone's head off.]
[Major weird,] agreed Adam. [I think we'd better find out some more about this guy. He was looking at us strangely as well. I don't think he knows about the Tomorrow People. At least I hope not.] He thought for a minute and added, [And next time your dad says something, don't send me a mental picture of it, okay?]
"Adam Pierson, this is General Hammond, the man in command of this base. General Hammond, this is Adam Pierson, the man who has been helping Daniel with the manuscript."
"Pleased to meet you, Mr Pierson. Colonel O'Neill has told me a lot about you. I wanted to thank you for offering to help us out with this matter." Hammond held out his hand to the historian.
"My pleasure, General. I'm wondering why the military is interested in an old manuscript though. It's not as though it would be vital for national defence or anything."
If only you knew, Hammond thought to himself. "I'm sorry, Mr Pierson, but that information is classified. We can tell you what you need to know to decipher the manuscript, but I'm afraid that's all."
"General Hammond," interrupted Corporal Young. "Sorry to disturb you, sir but there's a man to see you. He says he is an old friend. His name is Damon. General William Damon."
"Sorry, Mr Pierson. I'll have to talk to you later. Colonel O'Neill will fill you in on what you need to know."
Curiouser and curiouser thought Methos. Hammond knows Megabyte's father. Maybe Joe was right. Maybe I should leave while I still can. Oh, well at least on the bright side, the general hasn't mentioned the sword. They probably think it's still in my travel bag. He mentally shrugged. What they don't know won't hurt them.
O'Neill opened the door to his right and ushered him into a room. Daniel had gone on ahead while they had been talking to Hammond, and was already spreading his papers out over the oval table in the middle of the room. Obviously it was some type of conference room, Methos guessed correctly. There were two other people in the room besides Daniel: a woman and a tall, dark, well built man.
"I'll just introduce the rest of the team. This is Major Carter," O'Neill nodded towards the very pretty blond woman. "Daniel, you already know of course, and this is Teal'c."
Teal'c inclined his head, his way of a greeting, Methos surmised. He noticed the strange symbol on the other man's forehead. I've seen that somewhere before, he thought to himself. Now where was it?
"I believe you can help us with our investigation, Mr Pierson. We are very grateful for your help."
"Hope, I can help, Major. Call me Adam if you like. Seeing that we're going to be working together."
"My name's Sam. Short for Samantha."
O'Neill groaned to himself. The guy was trying to hit on Carter. He'd noticed the way he had looked at her when they had been introduced. "Okay, kids. Let's get down to business shall we. You can make friends later."
Daniel put a small box on the table. "This is what was found with the manuscript. We don't know what it's for, that's what we're hoping you can help us with. There's hieroglyphs on the box as well as the manuscript, but they're quite different to those you deciphered earlier."
Methos picked up the box for a closer look. "It feels quite heavy," he commented. "Have you had a look at what's inside yet?"
Sam Carter answered him. "It seems to be lined with some sort of material, similar in make up to lead. The box itself seems to be a combination of several elements, we're not sure exactly what yet, I've still got some more tests to run to be certain. Something that acts like a shield maybe, but we're not sure why. All that was in the box when we found it was the manuscript, and a stone. Open it and have a look if you like."
Methos opened the box, and saw to his surprise a small smooth stone inside. "Why would anyone need to put shielding on a box because of a stone?" he asked. As he bent down to examine the stone, it began to pulsate, emitting a strange green glow as it did so.
"That's odd," O'Neill noticed. "It didn't do that last time we looked at it." Okay, the stone wasn't as ordinary as they had first thought. Maybe it was some sort of weapon after all, but if so, what had activated it?
"Maybe it has found some sort of power source, O'Neill. A power source that wasn't available to it last time the box was opened." Teal'c looked at Methos, who shrugged.
"Don't look at me. I don't know. I'm just an historian, remember."
"I told the boys to wait in reception," Damon told Hammond as they came out of the lift. "It's really good to see you again after all these years, George. How long has it been? Ten years, maybe."
"At least," came the reply. "Not since you were my aide on that last big hush hush project in the late eighties. Speaking of hush, my sources tell me that some of the stuff WorldEx is involved in is very classified, as well." Hammond had heard quite a few strange stories about some of the projects his friend had been working on. When he had tried to find out, he had found it hard to access the details, in fact some of those details almost didn't seem to make sense. It was almost as though the most important facts had been deliberately left out of the reports. Then there was the fact that Damon had quit the Scientific Intelligence Agency almost overnight, several years ago, citing personal reasons. There were rumours about a cover up within the organisation, but again, the details were impossible to find or verify.
Damon changed the subject. "So, George, what exactly is it that you are working on here?"
Hammond laughed. It sounded as though he wasn't going to get any answers, at least not today. "Okay, Bill, I won't ask about your work if you don't ask about mine."
"I wonder if there's a drinks machine or something around here?" asked Megabyte. He and Adam were sitting in the reception area waiting for his father and General Hammond to put in an appearance. The receptionist looked up from his work and smiled when he heard the remark. To Megabyte's disappointment though, he didn't answer his question.
Adam looked around. The place looked like a typical military installation, as much as he knew from the movies, anyway. Although the reception area was quite spartan, the chairs were comfortable enough, and there was a small pile of magazines on the small coffee table. "Don't you ever think about anything else but your stomach?" he asked his friend.
"Hey," said Megabyte. "Not my fault if snooping around makes me thirsty, is it?" He had decided it might be a good idea to change the subject, especially with the receptionist obviously listening. They could always continue what they had been discussing telepathically, but surely the soldier would be starting to get suspicious at the seeming lack of conversation soon. Much as he wanted to talk about the strange feelings they had picked up from Adam Pierson, it wouldn't do to have anyone wondering how exactly they had picked up on those vibes, especially seeing that someone was attached to the military.
"So, Adam, you never did tell me what you thought of the Star Wars film that Kevin and I dragged you along to." Even though Kevin Wilson was a lot younger, he and Megabyte had been friends even before they had both ' broken out' and become Tomorrow People. To celebrate Kevin's return to England, the three boys had decided to go to the new Star Wars film together. Adam and Megabyte had both missed the younger boy while he had been away in New Zealand with his family.
"I must admit, it was a lot better than the type of movie than you usually end up watching," admitted Adam. A distinct improvement on the 'Attack of the Killer Cucumber' series of films that Megabyte usually made him sit through, he thought to himself.
"It's a shame the kid grows up to be Darth Vader, though," replied the American.
"I thought that concept was quite interesting, actually. You know, the whole idea behind Star Wars is really good versus evil. The Force and the Jedi knights represent good and the other side represents evil. Obviously somewhere along the way in the next couple of films, Anakin is going to be tempted to use his powers for evil and will turn into Vader."
Megabyte stared at his friend. He and Kevin had enjoyed the awesome special effects and the space battles. He hadn't thought past that, and certainly hadn't looked for any hidden meanings and concepts. Mind you, it wasn't him taking the philosophy papers either. The advanced computer course he was taking didn't exactly cover philosophy 101. Trust Adam to come up with that comment. There were times when he felt that the Australian came from another planet, not just another country.
Adam seemed to suddenly notice the look Megabyte was giving him. "Sorry, must be the papers I'm taking at Sydney University. The philosophy course is starting to rub off on me a bit. You must admit it's interesting though." Okay, time to change the subject, obviously his fellow Tomorrow Person wasn't as interested in the whole philosophy thing as he was.
Megabyte noticed his dad approaching, talking with another, older man. The other man wore general's stripes on his shirt. The face seemed vaguely familiar, though he was sure he remembered him with more hair. Mind you, it must have been a while since they had met.
"That must be General Hammond. He and your dad seem to know each other quite well."
"Yeah. Apparently they worked together quite a few years ago. I remember meeting him once when I was a little kid." Megabyte winced and turned to Adam. [Can you hear that noise? It's giving me a headache.]
[Do you mean that high pitched whine? I noticed it too. Wonder where it's coming from? Maybe their speaker system is on the blink. Hey, maybe you should offer to fix it for them, Megabyte.]
"General Hammond, you remember my son Marmaduke." Damon wondered what the two boys had been talking about. He had seen that familiar glazed look in their eyes as he had approached and knew that he was interrupting a telepathic conversation. He hoped Hammond hadn't noticed, but then he hadn't had the years of experience of these things that Damon, himself, had.
"Megabyte," the young man corrected. Gee, he hated his given name, he still wasn't sure what had possessed his parents to come up with it. "Pleased to meet you. This is my friend Adam."
"Pleased to meet you General." Adam stood up to shake hands with Hammond and found he had to lean back against the wall to steady himself, as he suddenly felt very dizzy.
He noticed Megabyte had put his hands over his ears, and seemed a bit unsteady on his feet as well. "That whine, Adam, it's getting louder."
Damon was looking very concerned. "What whine? I can't hear anything."
Adam and Megabyte looked at each other. If the two men couldn't hear the whine and only they could, they must be picking it up telepathically. Who or what could be sending out a signal that only affected Tomorrow People? Adam hoped no one had seen Megabyte using his powers during his unauthorised tour, he'd warned him to be careful. He'd realised a long time ago that once his friend set his mind on something there was nothing he could say to talk him out of it. But surely the military hadn't developed any weapons that could be used against their kind? After all, why would they? As far as he knew, they still didn't know of their existence.
[Adam, Megabyte. Are you okay?] Ami's telepathic voice sounded very concerned. Obviously she'd picked up on some of the panic they were feeling.
[Ami, there's something here. I think it's affecting us somehow. Stay away. Tell Jade and Kevin to as well. We'll contact you when we're clear.]
The last thing they needed was for the other Tomorrow People to walk into whatever it was as well. Adam could hear Jade arguing with him telepathically. [No, Jade. I mean it. Stay away.]
He turned to Damon. It was becoming an effort to think straight. "I think we'll head home. Must be some kind of bug or something." He could tell from the look on Hammond's face that the general wasn't buying his excuse, mind you he wouldn't if the situation were reversed either.
"A bug that suddenly affects both of you, at the same time?" Hammond turned to Damon. "Bill, I can get our doctor to have a look at them if you like."
Adam stood up, ready to argue and found that his legs wouldn't hold him. He could also sense an echo of the same pain he was feeling, coming from Megabyte, who was leaning on the wall for support, next to him.
The American was groaning, holding his head in his hands. "Adam, we need to get out of here, now."
"You're not going anywhere, young man. No arguments. I 'm going to get Dr Fraiser." Whatever was wrong with these boys, Hammond thought, they needed medical attention. They looked more as though they were some kind of pain, rather than just feeling off colour as they were claiming. He headed for the reception desk to contact the infirmary.
Damon leaned over and whispered to the two boys. "No one's looking. Can you teleport? I'll cover for you." He didn't like the idea of them being looked at by a military doctor any more than he imagined they did themselves.
Adam concentrated and tried to gather up enough energy to teleport. The whine in his head was getting worse. He could feel himself fighting to stay conscious. He shook his head and immediately wished that he hadn't. He turned to Damon. "There's... something... here... affecting ... us." It was an effort just to get the words out. "It ... hurts... I can't..." He closed his eyes and let the blackness engulf him.
Megabyte turned to his father. "Dad, I can't sense Adam, and I can't teleport. You've got to find whatever this thing is and stop it." Damon noticed he was gritting his teeth, and there was a sense of panic in his voice as he spoke. He still had his hands over his ears, as though he was trying to shut out a loud noise.
"Hang in there, Megabyte." Damon noticed that Adam was unconscious, and that Megabyte was looking like he wasn't too far behind. He lent over his son, who was now on his knees on the floor, feeling very worried. What on earth was George working on here?
He looked around. It looked as though they were running out of choices. He'd just have to worry about George finding out about the Tomorrow People when, and if, it happened. "Hurry up, where's that doctor?"
"Bill, are you sure you've told me everything?" asked Hammond. "Like why only your son and his friend have collapsed and no one else? Look you can trust me. I'm only trying to help."
Damon glanced over at the two boys hooked up to life support. He was becoming more and more worried as he saw how pale they looked, whatever had caused them to collapse, it obviously only affected Tomorrow People. He wondered again how his son and his friends always seemed to manage to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Doctor Fraiser had said that they were getting weaker, their energy levels were just draining away. She couldn't find any reason for it and she didn't know how to stop it either. Damon didn't think telling her why, whatever it was, was only affecting Adam and Megabyte would exactly help her...
Damon's train of thought was interrupted by his cellphone ringing. "Excuse me George." He walked out into the corridor as he answered the call, and didn't notice that Hammond was still close enough to hear what he was saying.
"Hello, Ami. How did you know..? "
"Of course, Megabyte... Yes I'm very concerned as well. They're hooked up to life support at the moment. The doctor doesn't know what to do."
"No. I haven't told her everything. I was just thinking whether I should or not. I know Adam wouldn't want to, but if I don't, she won't know what she's dealing with. Mind you, I'm not sure she will know what to do anyway."
There was a long pause. Hammond correctly surmised that the person on the other end of the phone had handed it to someone else. He felt guilty listening in to a private conversation, but hell; he had to find out what was wrong with these kids so that Fraiser could help them. Damon was obviously hiding something, but for the life of him, he couldn't imagine what could be so important that he would risk his own son's life for it.
"Jade, Ami tells me that Megabyte sent you something before he passed out." Another pause. "What kind of images?" Damon thought for a moment "What was the man's name? Okay, I'll look into it. Don't worry, I'll let you know if there is any change at this end. Contact me if you get anything from either of them, anything at all."
He turned to Hammond, his face grim. "George, we need to talk. In private. Is there somewhere we can go?" He poked his head in the door of the infirmary and glanced again at the still forms lying there. He gestured to Dr Fraiser, at the same time hoping he was about to do the right thing. At least the other Tomorrow People agreed with him that it was the only course of action left open. "Could you let me know if there's any change, any change at all?"
O'Neill looked up as Hammond and another man came entered the conference room. The man with Hammond looked about the same age as O'Neill himself, and whoever he was, he didn't look very happy.
"SG1, this is General William Damon. We need to know what exactly you've found out about this stone you've been working with." Hammond noticed O'Neill glance towards the other man, wondering how much he had been told, if anything, about the Stargate project. "Don't worry, Colonel. He's got clearance."
Damon recognised the man he had seen in the reception area earlier and took a step towards him. "You must be Pierson. You've got some explaining to do. My son and his friend are lying in the infirmary hooked up to life support and I suspect you may have something to do with it."
Carter spoke up. "What's going on, General? Adam has been here with us the whole time. He couldn't possibly have done anything to anybody."
Methos put two and two together." Of course," he said to himself. "I should have realised. Must be losing it in my old age." He noticed everyone else in the room was looking at him. He turned to Damon. "The red headed kid, Megabyte, has something happened to him and his friend?"
"They collapsed a short time ago. Very suddenly, with no warning. We can't find a reason for it." Apart from the fact that they received some very strange mental images from you, he continued to himself.
"Would that be about half an hour ago?"
"But that would be the same time that we took the stone out of the box," interjected Daniel, beginning to follow where Methos was going. He quoted. "The tendrils of the Medusa will reach out and..." He stopped suddenly, realising what he had just said.
"I knew I had seen that look before. Tutankamen had it." Methos turned to Damon. "Megabyte and his friend, they're," he hunted for the word the boy king had used so long along, "Tomorrow People, aren't they?"
"You do know," breathed Damon, finding it hard to keep himself under control. "If I find out that you're responsible for this..."
"Hold it, could someone explain to those of us that haven't seen the movie yet? I'm feeling really lost here. What are Tomorrow People?" O'Neill turned to Methos "And what do you mean the same look that Tutankamen had? How would you know that?"
Methos reached out for the stone, put it back in the box, and closed the lid. "Don't you think we should put this away, first, just in case it is what's caused the kids to collapse? We'll worry about explanations later." Or maybe not, he thought to himself. He wondered how he was going to explain without telling them exactly who and what he really was.
"Okay," said O'Neill, "Let's see if I've got this right." He'd seen a lot of strange things since he'd started journeying through the Stargate but he wasn't sure he was quite ready to believe the stories that Damon had told them. He noticed that the general looked a lot happier since Doctor Fraiser had contacted him to let him know that Megabyte and Adam were improving. She had promised to let him know the moment either one of them regained consciousness.
"Your son and his friend call themselves The Tomorrow People, and are the next stage in human evolution. They have telepathic powers and can teleport anywhere by just thinking about it. Apart from the fact that it all seems like something out of a science fiction program, what's to stop this new species wiping us all off the face of the planet?"
Damon had hoped not to have to bring this part up. He felt uncomfortable enough that these people had learnt about the Tomorrow People, he didn't want to give away all their secrets. He noticed everyone in the room was looking at him expectantly, waiting for an answer. George had said that they could be trusted to keep secrets. It sounded as though he would have to believe that, after all, what choice did he have?
"They can't kill. It's something in the genetic makeup. We don't know what exactly."
"What about to protect themselves?" This question came from Teal'c. The Jaffa couldn't understand how a race that couldn't kill would be able to survive for long.
"Not even to do that." Damon remembered when Colonel Masters had threatened him when Megabyte had first 'broken out' and become a Tomorrow Person. His son had turned the gun on their enemy, tried to use it, and couldn't.
Damon noticed Pierson sitting quietly, conspicuous by his lack of questions or look of surprise. "What I'd like to know, is how come you seem to know so much about what's going on? You seem to know about the Tomorrow People and talk about Tutankhamun almost as thought you've actually met him. I think it's time you gave us some sort of explanation."
"Are you a time traveller or something?" Daniel turned to O'Neill. "We know that sort of thing is possible. Remember that time we went through the Stargate and ended up in 1969?"
"Shut up, Daniel."
"You have a functioning Stargate? I thought that thing was a myth"
O'Neill and Methos spoke simultaneously. I'm really going to have to have a word to Daniel about security thought O'Neill to himself. The younger man's enthusiasm tended to run away with him at times. He noticed Pierson was continuing with his questions and that they didn't seem to be getting the answers they needed out of him. He interrupted the historian.
"Information here is a two way street, in case you hadn't noticed. I think you should be giving us some information before you find out anything else. How about it? Spill..."
They were interrupted by a knock at the door. Corporal Young tried his best to look apologetic. "Sorry to disturb you General Hammond, but you're needed in the control room. There's a message coming through from someone calling himself Ramiis."
"That's impossible, Ramiis is dead." Methos added to himself, I took his head and felt his quickening, it must be some sort of trick. I don't like the sound of it at all. First the stone and running into Megabyte and Adam, and now this.
O'Neill glared at Pierson. "I suppose you'd better come as well, seeing that you are the resident Ramiis expert, but after this I want an explanation, the full chapter and verse." He wasn't too worried about the historian, if that's what he really was, saw the Stargate; after all, he'd obviously heard of it. He was beginning to suspect that Pierson knew full well most of what was going on at the base anyway.
Methos didn't feel surprised when he saw all the high-tech equipment in the room that Hammond ushered them into. When he had realised O'Neill and his team had a Stargate in their possession and that the Tomorrow People were involved as well, he had decided he wouldn't even be surprised to see a white rabbit consulting its pocket watch. At this point even that would be preferable to running into his old enemy again.
When he saw the figure on the screen, Methos stopped in his tracks. This had been the one thing he had hoped wouldn't be true. "It can't be. You're dead!" he exclaimed. Ramiis looked exactly the same as he had the last time they had met, same dark hair and eyes, same narrow mouth, probably still had the same unpleasant nature as well, he thought to himself.
"That's not a very nice way to greet an old friend," came the reply. "How long has it been, two, or three thousand years? Mind you, I'm not surprised to see you, Methos, you always were a survivor."
O'Neill was definitely beginning to feel like he'd lost the plot somewhere. "You two know each other? Who's Methos? How many thousand years?" Pierson's explanation had better be good.
Methos sighed. This wasn't exactly the way that he had planned to explain the concept of immortality; actually he hadn't planned to explain it at all. Now it looked as though he no longer had a choice.
Ramiis seemed to be enjoying his discomfort. "Come on, your friend wants some answers."
Methos retorted,"he's not the only one. Last time I looked, when you lose your head you're supposed to stay dead. Not pop up out of the woodwork a few thousand years later to annoy people."
"I think I might be able to explain that one," interjected Daniel. "You used an sarcophagus, didn't you?"
Ramiis stared at the young man for a moment and then laughed. "Very good, you must be the illustrious Dr Jackson. My lord Apophis has mentioned you, and the rest of your team."
"Yeah," said O'Neill, "I'm sure he did. We're not exactly top of his Christmas list at the moment."
"You mean Apophis is real? I always thought Ramiis used him as an excuse to justify his actions, I never thought he really existed." Something else clicked into place in Methos's mind. He turned to Teal'c. "Now I remember where I've seen that symbol. Ramiis' bodyguard, he had the same thing on his forehead. He called himself a Jaffa. I remember Ramiis calling for him when I took his head..."
Egypt 1353 BC
Methos stood in front of the small window, looking out across the Nile Valley. From where he was he could see what he presumed, from this distance, were hippos swimming in the river. He strained his eyes to read the symbols on the many boats sailing past, but he was too far away to make out any details.
One thing you could certainly rely on in Egypt, he thought to himself, was the heat. Even though painting the house white was supposed to reflect the sun, it was still just as uncomfortably hot inside as it was out. He let his mind drift back to the last time he had been here, as he reached for his cup to take another sip of wine.
Suddenly there was a loud popping noise and a flash of bright light. Methos jumped and automatically reached for his sword, as the young girl materialised in front of him "I will never get used to that, it doesn't matter how long I live," he exclaimed.
"Sorry, Methos," apologised Neret. She was a young girl, in her mid to late teens, very attractive with long, dark hair, and softly spoken. Her job in the royal household was that of companion to the Queen, though there were rumours that she was also very close, in more ways than one, to the boy king himself. "I didn't mean to startle you. Can I help you clean up the mess?"
Methos shook his head, and bent over to wipe up the spilled wine. "Don't worry, Neret," he said. "I suppose it makes up for the feeling you and Tutankhamun get when I approach you without being noticed." The feeling the two Tomorrow People, as they called themselves, had described reminded him of the feeling he got from the approach of another immortal. After much discussion they had decided it must have something to do with the storehouse of energy from all the quickenings he had received over his long lifespan.
Neret laughed, and Methos noticed again how animated her face was when she did so. He felt sorry for her, surely she was aware of all the gossip that surrounded Tutankhamun and herself. It was a situation that was unlikely to change as well, as the two of them could hardly tell the general population the real reason why they spent so much time together. When Neret had become a Tomorrow Person, the king had recognised her as one of his own kind, and had installed her in the royal household.
Neret started to say something to the immortal and paused. Her eyes glazed over and Methos could tell that she was mindspeaking to the young Pharaoh. After a few minutes, she turned to him, looking very worried.
"The high priest, Ramiis, has Tutankhamun's wife. He says we have offended his god Apophis and must die. Quick, Methos, you must help them. Here, take my hand and I will take you there."
Methos reached out his hand hesitantly, and closed his eyes. The only thing worse than being surprised by people who disappear and reappear out of thin air, is when they take you along for the journey, he thought to himself. Teleportation, as they called it, was another thing he was finding it hard to get used to. The two Tomorrow People had told him that to them it came as naturally as breathing.
Methos still wondered why they trusted him so much. He supposed it was because they knew his secret, as he knew theirs. He remembered the day they had met. He had been standing in the crowd watching Tutankhamun pass by with his royal entourage. Someone had tried to kill the young ruler and Methos, without thinking, he still wasn't sure why, had thrown himself in front of the shower of arrows and saved the boy king's life.
He had come back to life in the Pharaoh's own chamber, and was surprised to find that young Tutankhamun and his friend Neret didn't seem at all surprised. They had told him that they could sense he was different and were sure he had come to fulfil the prophecy. As he listened to them, he noticed there was some look in their eyes that told him that there was something different about them, but he hadn't realised how different until they explained to him what they were.
Apparently a wise woman had come to the Pharaoh in a dream not long after he had developed his powers and told him that a man with an old soul would come and be protector to him and his kind. Methos had been very sceptical about this, until the two youngsters had demonstrated their powers to them. They seemed to trust him and were convinced that he was their protector. Now, a few months later, he counted them as good friends and was enjoying his stay in the royal court. Tutankhamun had also covered up the fact that he had died while saving him and told his people that Methos' injuries had not been as severe as they had first looked.
Tutankhamun hoped that Neret would bring their protector, Methos, soon. He had thought of trying to get close enough to his wife to teleport her away, but so far had not had the opportunity. Ramiis had accused them of acting against his lord, Apophis, and didn't want to listen to anything the boy king said in his own defence. He kept saying that Apophis would take revenge on him and his kind. Obviously he knew then, about the existence of the Tomorrow People, Tutankhamun hoped he hadn't shared the information with others. As he listened to the ravings of the priest he wondered again what sort of a god would give him powers that he could not use to kill others in order to defend himself and his loved ones.
Ramiis fell silent as he felt the telltale buzz that warned him that another immortal was close by. He pulled Ankhesenpaaten closer towards him, pressing the blade of his sword against her throat, and turned to her young husband. "Tell whoever is out there to come out, or I will kill your wife. I know she cannot disappear into thin air as you can, and I am sure you cannot move fast enough to save her. Any tricks and her death will be very slow and very painful."
A tall slim man moved out of the shadow of the pyramids, before Tutankhamun had a chance to speak. Methos shivered in the hot sunlight in spite of himself. The pyramids themselves made him feel very uneasy. He wasn't sure why; it was as though there was something almost unearthly about them. Surely he was above believing the local superstitions, he chided himself. After all he had seen many such beliefs come and go over the years.
"I am Methos," he said. "Let her go, she is young and not one of us. Are you hiding behind children now? "
Ramiis pushed the young girl towards her husband. He motioned to the large man who always seemed to follow a short distance behind. Methos noticed the strange gold symbol on the man's forehead. The man bowed his head towards the priest.
"Jaffa," said Ramiis. "Watch these children. Soon we will take them to our god, Apophis, and offer them to him as hosts. When I have defeated their so called protector and taken his head, I will join you."
The Jaffa drew his weapon, a strange looking metal staff, and herded the two young people towards the pyramid. Neret watched from her hiding place, behind a date palm, and waited to see what would happen next. She noticed that the Jaffa was making sure that Ankhesenpaaten had no physical contact with her husband. Obviously he was aware of their teleportation capabilities.
Methos drew his own sword. This man is crazy, all this talk about gods. He seems to think that Apophis really exists.
"You're still a child yourself," he goaded as he lunged at the other immortal, his sword gleaming in the bright sunlight.
Ramiis roared in anger, as his sword swung up to block Methos' attack. "You will die, for your actions against my lord Apophis."
Methos was surprised at the strength of the other man's sword arm. He lunged again, noting with satisfaction that he had drawn blood. Not as good as you think you are, priest, he thought to himself.
Suddenly Ramiis threw dirt in Methos' eyes, temporarily blinding his vision. He involuntarily took a step backwards, and lost his footing. The other man's shadow loomed over him, momentarily blocking out the sun from his limited vision. Obviously the other immortal wasn't going to fight fair, thought Methos. He should have expected something like this. Two can play at that game he thought to himself.
As Ramiis swung his sword, ready to deliver the final blow, he drew a small dagger and plunged it into the other mans chest. Ramiis gave him a look of utter surprise and dropped his sword in the dirt. Edging closer, Neret used her telekinetic powers to shift it out of his reach. "Jaffa," he yelled, "Save me!"
"Goodbye, Ramiis. It doesn't look like your god, or anyone else, is going to save you after all." Methos brought his sword down, slicing off his opponent's head with one clean swoop, and waited.
He dropped onto his knees as he felt the full force of the quickening. As bolt after bolt of lightening hit him he was dimly aware of someone moving in behind him, but he was in no position to do anything about it. When it had finished, he got shakily to his feet, just in time to be hit by a blast of what felt like lightening. He heard Tutankhamun yell "No!" and then the blackness engulfed him.
Methos came to, feeling the sudden intake of breath that usually accompanied his return to life. He could hear the sound of the river Nile close by, and could hear the splash of what sounded like some animal playing in the water. He leaned back in the long grass and opened his eyes. To his surprise the moon was high in the sky, and it was night. Tutankhamun, his wife Ankhesenpaaten, and Neret were standing over him.
"What happened?" he asked.
"Ramiis' bodyguard shot you with a strange weapon while you were recovering from the," the boy king stumbled over the strange word, "quickening. I managed to teleport you away before he was able to take your head. It is not safe for you here now, Methos. You have protected us and fulfilled the prophecy. It is time for you to move on." He looked at the immortal with what seemed like sadness in his eyes.
Methos opened his mouth to argue and then shut it again. He could see the point the young Pharaoh was making. If he stayed his life would be in danger. He would leave for now, and maybe return in a few months when it became safe for him to do so. After all, he would not be able to protect them if he were dead.
"I owe you my life." Methos bowed his head toward the young Pharaoh. "I will leave for a time, but will return when I am able. If there is ever any way I can be of service to you or your kind, I will be there for you."
"You took his head?" O'Neill could see Daniel's mind ticking over. "But that was thousands of years ago. Who are you?"
Carter put two and two together. "Adam, are you this Methos?"
Ramiis laughed. "You are calling yourself, Adam, now are you? That is good, the first immortal using the name of the first man."
Methos cursed in ancient Sumerian. He noticed Daniel's face turning red; obviously he knew what he had just said. He decided to change the subject.
"Okay, you're obviously not as dead as I thought you were. I'll worry about the how later. For now, what do you want?" "I thought that was obvious, Methos. Apophis notified me that the Medusa Stone had been activated. I want the telepaths, to make them suffer for what their kind did to me. I doubt you can protect them any better than you did the boy king. He died under your protection, remember. Rameses Ak'Hara, now that is a person to learn from, a great man..."
General Damon, who had been silent up to this point, interjected. "I hate to point this out, but your great Rameses Ak'Hara is dead. My son and his friends defeated him four years ago."
"Your son? Your son is one of the telepaths? I hope you have made your peace with him, because he and his kind will not be around much longer."
"We'll see about that. Your Medusa Stone hasn't worked. We found out about it in time."
"A good strategist always has a contingency plan. I am not finished with them, yet." Ramiis turned to Methos. "And I am not finished with you either. I remember all too well what you did to me. I am challenging you to finish it, now. I am sending the coordinates of this planet to the Stargate computer. If you step through the gate when the wormhole opens, we can finish what we started. If you do not come to me, I will come to you. The choice is yours."
"General Hammond, chevron one is encoding." The technician added, "and General, the iris is opening!" All eyes in the control room looked through the big glass window, towards the Stargate, the outer circle of which was moving.
Methos and Damon saw a large stone circle sitting in the middle of a otherwise fairly empty room, with a ramp leading up to it. There was a thick, what appeared to be metal shielding across the inner circle of the device. They both noticed the iris appeared to be opening, as though of its own accord.
"Get it closed again, quickly. How is this Ramiis getting access to our computer?"
Carter by this stage was typing frantically at the computer keyboard. She turned to Hammond. "Sir, whatever is happening, we're locked out of the system. We can't stop it!"
Daniel noticed Methos moving behind him. "Sorry, Daniel," he heard the other man say," I have to do this. There's no other way." He felt cold metal pressed against his throat.
"Hey, where the hell did that come from?" Oh crap, thought O'Neill. He realised he'd been had. Right, Jack, let the man bring the sword onto the base, it wouldn't hurt anyone... besides it was supposed to be under lock and key with the rest of Pierson's gear.
Methos backed out of the room, heading for the Gateroom itself. He kept Daniel close to him, giving the archaeologist no chance of escape. He paused at the bottom of the ramp leading up the Stargate, and looked up towards the control room.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I have to finish this, if I don't accept his challenge, too many people may die." He nodded towards Damon. "I owe their kind, I can't let him finish what he started." Daniel heard him say, almost to himself, "I am definitely spending too much time with MacLeod, I'm even beginning to sound like him.
"Leave Daniel, you don't need him," began O'Neill.
"And you'll just let me go through the Stargate without him? I'm afraid I don't believe that for a minute. I've known too many military people over the centuries. Don't worry, I'll send him back as soon as I get through the other side."
Methos looked at the Stargate, feeling a bit hesitant as he saw the white light erupt out of it towards him. As he watched, the matter stream settled into the shape of the circle itself, looking for all intents and purposes like the entrance to a glistening blue waterfall. Okay, maybe he was wrong, there were things out there that he hadn't seen yet. Oh well, he thought, into the valley of death... With that thought he backed up the ramp leading to the gate and disappeared through, with Daniel in front of him as a shield.
"O'Neill, Ramiis' image is gone from the monitor," Teal'c observed.
"Maybe he's busy playing with his long lost friend," came the sarcastic reply. O'Neill turned to Hammond. "We need to get after them, I don't see Daniel coming back, do you?"
"That could be a bit difficult," interrupted Carter. "The wormhole is closing. We'll have to wait for the computer to dial up again."
"Have we got the Gate address, Major?"
"Yes, General." Carter double-checked the symbols showing on her computer screen to be sure. "It's the same planet we found the manuscript and the stone on, sir."
The first thing that Megabyte saw when he opened his eyes was the concerned face of his father looking down at him. He struggled to sit up and immediately wished he hadn't. He sank back down on the pillow again.
"How are you feeling?"
"Fine, Dad, how do you think I'm feeling?" Megabyte saw the look on his father's face and regretted his sarcastic answer. "Sorry," he apologised. "I've got a splitting headache and I feel really tired." He looked over and saw Adam lying on the bed next to him. The Australian was still out cold. He sent a telepathic probe out to try and reach him.
"Megabyte, what's wrong?" Damon noticed that his son had winced as though in pain.
"I think I'll wait a while before I try that again," came the reply. "Obviously telepathy isn't a good idea for the time being. I tried to reach out to Adam and all I got for my trouble was an even bigger headache." He noticed a woman in a doctor's coat hovering around and hoped she hadn't heard what he had just said.
He looked around; they seemed to be in some sort of infirmary. The room they were in had about half a dozen beds in it, and there was medical equipment close to his bed and Adam's. He wondered to himself if they had been hooked up to it. He still felt very hazy about what exactly had happened to them. Judging by the surroundings they were probably still on the military base, he guessed.
Damon saw the look his son had given Dr Fraiser and hoped he and Adam would understand why he had let on about their 'secret'. "Don't worry, Dr Fraiser knows about you and Adam, and about the Tomorrow People."
Megabyte pulled himself up into a sitting position again and the doctor adjusted his pillow for him. She had a nice smile, he decided, wondering how much his dad had told her about himself and Adam.
"Here, Megabyte, isn't it, this will help your headache." Megabyte looked at the small pill in the doctor's hand suspiciously. "Don't worry it's just a painkiller."
He took the medicine and the glass of water she offered. "Thanks, Doctor." He nodded towards his friend. "How's Adam doing?"
Fraiser looked at the redhead curiously. She was still finding it hard to believe what she had been told about these youngsters, yet she knew from experience that appearances could be deceiving. "He should be coming around soon. Your father tells me that you can talk to each other telepathically. Can you sense anything from him at all?"
"At the moment, the only sense I'm getting is a pounding headache. I can feel Adam, but only faintly. I don't think my powers are fully back on line yet." Megabyte turned to his father. "What happened? The last thing I remember is a loud whining noise. It got louder and louder and then everything went black. It was like the feeling we got from those sonic flowerpots that Dr Culex had, but about a million times worse. I could feel the pain coming from Adam as well, and it ... Well, I hope I never feel it again."
"As far as we can tell, it seemed to come from an alien artefact. When Pierson, if that's what his name is, put it back in its protective case, you seemed to get better," his father explained.
"Adam Pierson, that's the guy we met in the reception area. Dad, we got some really strange images off him. I don't think he's what he appears to be. Where is he now? I think you'd better keep an eye on him."
"You don't say," came the reply. "I think I'd better fill you in with what's been happening while you've been catching up on your beauty sleep."
"If you wait a minute, you can tell both of us. Hi, Adam, you look like I feel." He noticed the other boy holding his head in his hands. "Sorry, I should have warned you not to try using telepathy for a bit. Doesn't do much for the headache."
"Thanks, Megabyte, for the warning. Better late than never, I suppose." Adam shook his head and grimaced. "What happened, by the way? I feel like I've been hit by a truck."
The first things that O'Neill saw as he stepped through the Stargate were two bodies. Daniel's hand was reaching for the DHD device. He'd obviously been about to dial out when he'd been attacked. Pierson was sprawled on the ground, sword in hand, unmoving. There was a nasty hole in his chest, probably the result of a Goa'uld staff weapon, he thought. Poor guy, no one could survive that. It didn't look as though the battle with Ramiis had gone well at all.
O'Neill looked around. The ideal weather they had experienced the last time they were here seemed to be changing. He could swear he could see storm clouds gathering on the horizon. "Teal'c, go scout around and make sure that whoever did this isn't still in the area. Carter, how's Daniel?"
"Still alive, sir. It just looks as though he's unconscious. The odd thing is that there's no mark on him." Carter looked around. "Colonel, there's a sword on the ground next to him. I wonder what that's doing here." Carter picked it up and examined it closely. There appeared to be patches of dried blood on the blade, she wondered if it belonged to Adam Pierson or to Ramiis.
"Maybe the other guy left it behind. Something must have scared him off. Come on, let's head back through the gate before whatever it is decides to come back again." He turned to Teal'c. "Did you find anything?"
The Jaffa's face was totally impassive, as always. "No, O'Neill, I did not. Whoever or whatever was here, has moved on."
"Carter, dial home, then give me a hand with Daniel. Teal'c you'd better bring Pierson's body back. All this talk about thousands of years ago. Sounds like these guys have been watching too much science fiction. We'd better get Doc Fraiser to check it out, all the same." What had Ramiis called the historian? Methos? He shook his head. It looked like they weren't going to get the explanation they wanted from the man after all.
Damon led the way to the conference room where Hammond had taken him earlier to meet Pierson. It was a shame the two boys weren't going to meet the man. He sounded as though he knew an awful lot about them and their kind. He knocked on the door; O'Neill rose to his feet to meet them as they entered the room.
"Adam, Megabyte, this is Colonel Jack O'Neill. Jack, this is my son Megabyte and his friend Adam Newman." Damon had explained to the two boys what had happened while they were unconscious, and was relieved that they seemed to understand that he had had no choice in sharing their secret with General Hammond and his team. In fact they seemed quite keen to meet O'Neill and the rest of SG1.
O'Neill looked at the two boys in front of him. They looked awfully young to have the responsibilities resulting from the powers that Damon said they had. Seeing them brought back memories of his own son. He wondered again what Charlie would be doing now if he hadn't been killed so tragically, killed with Jack's own service revolver. No, he wasn't going to think about that now. He'd dealt with the grief and the guilt surrounding his son's death.
He shifted his thoughts back to Adam and Megabyte. They were still looking a bit pale, he thought -- obviously they were not as fully recovered from their experience as they were trying to make out. Whatever the stone had done to them, it had not been a very pleasant experience. In fact, in the light of what Doctor Fraiser had told him, they were lucky to have survived. He found it hard to believe that one small stone could cause so much trouble for the -- what had Pierson called them? -- Tomorrow People, and yet had seemingly not affected anyone else on the base. It sounded as though the far-fetched story of telepathic powers and the like must be true after all.
"Pleased to meet you." O'Neill paused. He was feeling a bit uncomfortable about asking, but there was one thing about the telepathy idea that was bothering him quite a bit. "General Damon says that you are," he stumbled over the word, "telepathic. Can you read my mind, do you know what I'm thinking right now?"
Megabyte answered grinning, "What do you think, Colonel?" He winced as his father glared at him and Adam nudged him in the ribs.
"Don't mind Megabyte," said Adam. "That's what passes for his sense of humour, or lack of it."
"Hey," protested his friend.
Adam ignored him and continued. "Our telepathic abilities are limited to between ourselves. We can pick up on what we call background noise, surface thoughts, that sort of thing, but no, we can't read your mind."
"So, how did you pick up images from Adam Pierson?" asked Carter.
"Sorry, guys. Carter's jumping the gun a bit, introductions first, eh. This is Major Sam Carter, as you've probably gathered she's the scientist on the team." O'Neill gestured towards the Jaffa, "and this is Teal'c."
Teal'c bowed his head in way of greeting towards the two boys. They both involuntarily took a step back. O'Neill noticed them looking at each other for a few minutes, he wondered if they were 'talking'. He hoped they weren't going to make a habit of that; it was worse than when Daniel went 'native' and communicated with the other beings they encountered on some of the planets they'd visited through the Stargate. Mind you, at least in that situation he could hear something, even if it was in a language he couldn't understand.
Adam spoke first, very hesitantly. He didn't want to rock the boat but decided they had better be up front about what they were feeling. After all these people seemed to be very aware of what he and Megabyte were. He wanted to be sure of what and whom they were dealing with.
"Pleased to meet you. Er, I don't know how to say this but we're getting some very funny vibes off you. A sense of another, not very friendly mind as well as your own." He didn't tell them that the vibes were also making the two of them feel a bit ill, as well. Even though he wanted to be honest, he was still a bit wary as to how far that honesty should go.
"Oh, great," commented O'Neill. "They can sense 'Junior'." Junior was the nickname he had given Teal'c's symbiot.
Carter seemed quite excited by the idea. "Don't you see what this means, Colonel. They can sense the Goa'uld. Think of how useful that could be in our fight against Apophis and the system lords."
Megabyte interrupted, "You mean he's got one of those snake things my Dad told us about inside him? Gross."
"That is indeed correct, Megabyte Damon," confirmed Teal'c. "However this is not a full grown Goa'uld. The larva and I share a symbiotic relationship. There is nothing to fear from it. It is only when it reaches maturity that it takes a host."
"Sorry, Teal'c," apologised Adam. "It's just that the vibes we're picking up from your symbiote are making us feel a bit uncomfortable. I suppose we'll get used to them in time, won't we Megabyte?"
O'Neill noticed that Megabyte, how did the kid end up with a name like that anyway, didn't look too convinced. It looked as though Adam was the unofficial leader of the two, he guessed.
Damon looked around, realising someone was missing. "Where's Daniel? Is he okay?"
"Yeah, he's fine. A bit shook up though by the whole thing, though -- he's gone to lie down for a bit. Doesn't seem to remember much of what happened once he went through the Gate either." O'Neill gave the two boys a grin. "Wait till Daniel feels better and starts asking questions. The Spanish Inquisition has nothing on him." He turned to the man who had just appeared at his shoulder. "Yes, Corporal, what is it?"
"General Hammond wants you to meet him in the infirmary, Colonel."
"Did he say why?"
"No, sir. He said to bring the rest of your team and your guests as well."
"Okay, tell him we'll be there in a minute." Maybe Fraiser has found something out about Pierson from his body, thought O'Neill. This should be interesting. It's a shame I can't ask the man himself, the guy was a real mystery.
"I suppose you wouldn't believe that the rumours of my death were greatly exaggerated, would you?" Methos saw the look on O'Neill's face and decided he wouldn't. "You can pick your mouth off the floor now, Jack. The look doesn't really suit you." It looked like the cat was out of the proverbial bag, he thought. Oh well, at least he wouldn't have to keep the Adam Pierson act up any longer.
The historian was sitting up on one of the beds in the infirmary. Fraiser had obviously just finished giving him a thorough examination. She was shaking her head in amazement. "He's very healthy for someone who was for all intents and purposes, dead." She was still feeling a bit shaken from the experience of seeing a man she was about to perform an autopsy on come back to life before her eyes. She had checked his life signs only a moment before she had been about to make the first incision, and there definitely hadn't been any.
Methos did his best to look modest. "Don't worry, I've heard that comment a lot over the last few millennia."
Carter turned to O'Neill. "Colonel, the hole in his chest, it's gone." In fact there was no sign it had even existed. Where the gaping hole had been, was now smooth skin. She knew she hadn't imagined it, but holes in people's chests didn't just disappear on their own, did they?
"I can see that, Carter. Right, Pierson, if that's really your name. Who and what are you? I want an explanation this time, not the crap you've given us before. Yeah, and what's this sword thing? I notice the other guy had one at well."
Hammond decided to reassure the man. "Don't worry son, you have nothing to fear from us."
Methos laughed. "No one has called me that for a long time. Most of my friends refer to me as the old man."
"Exactly how old are you Adam?" asked Carter. "Ramiis called you Methos. Is that your name? He also said that you were the first of the immortals, what are immortals?"
"Whoa, slow down Carter," said O'Neill. "I want the answers in his own words, lots of his own words, if you catch my drift." There's no way he's getting out of giving me a full explanation this time around. Maybe if I'd had all the facts before, he would have never got through the Stargate with Daniel. He felt a responsibility towards the archaeologist -- after all he was the soldier, Daniel wasn't. He also still felt annoyed at being taken for a fool over the sword.
"Okay. Firstly my name isn't Adam Pierson, it's Methos. But I'd prefer if you'd keep calling me Adam. I'm a bit of myth among my own kind and I'd like to keep it that way. I'd like to last another five thousand years, if you don't mind. I've grown rather attached to life after all these years." He noted with satisfaction the look on the faces of the others in the room and continued, "Yes, I am five thousand years old, well that's as far back as I can remember anyway."
"What about this immortality bit?"
"I am immortal, that is I don't stay dead when I die..."
"Unless someone takes your head off with a sword," interrupted Adam. The vision that he and Megabyte had seen was now starting to make sense.
O'Neill looked at him suspiciously. "I thought you said you couldn't read minds."
"We can't. When we first met 'Adam', Megabyte and I got some mental flashes from him."
"That's right," confirmed Megabyte. "It looked like the Middle Ages. People on horseback burning villages. I saw a sword cutting someone's head off." He still felt quite sickened at the thought of what he had seen.
The Horsemen always seemed to come back to haunt him, thought Methos to himself. Of all the things to pick up on, it would be that. He hadn't been going to mention that immortals could die when you separated their head from their shoulders. He'd have to have a quiet word with the current group of Tomorrow People he decided. It didn't pay to tell everyone all your secrets. It was always a good idea to keep some bits of information tucked away for a rainy day.
He continued Adam's sentence, they already knew about the beheading, it wouldn't hurt to give them the whole story on that front. "And with it takes our quickening." He continued, seeing the puzzled looks, "our power, you'd call it our life force."
"That is why you would not want anyone to know who you really are," surmised Teal'c. "If you are the oldest, your power would be truly great."
"That's the theory, and I'm not about to test it out. I've become rather attached to my head staying where it is, thank you. Anyway, I try and avoid the Game whenever I can. It's easier to keep your head when you don't fight."
"This taking heads, it's a game? Sick sort of game if you ask me."
"Don't blame me, Jack, I didn't make up the rules. I just try to survive." Methos decided to try and change the subject. He wasn't about to give them a list of the other immortals he knew or tell them about the Watchers, the secret society of mortals that had recorded information about his kind through the centuries. He definitely didn't want MacLeod or any of his other immortal friends involved in this. He would have enough explaining to do to Joe later without adding anyone else into the loop. Maybe this would be a good time to shift the focus of the discussion onto something else.
"So, Megabyte and Adam, how are you feeling? I haven't come across any Tomorrow People for a long time, not since Tutankhamun." That reminded him of something else. "How's Daniel?"
"Fine, no thanks to you. What happened anyway? I take it that your long lost friend is an immortal as well?" I wonder how many of these so called immortals there are, thought O'Neill to himself. Maybe there's another threat on the domestic front, one that's been here for thousands of years already, one that we didn't know anything about. At the moment he didn't feel as though he could trust Methos as far as he could throw him. He'd lied about who he was. How could he be certain that he could trust him now? He noticed Carter seemed absolutely fascinated with the guy; must be scientific curiosity he told himself.
Methos nodded. "We went through the Stargate, "he explained. "Ramiis was waiting on the other side. I told Daniel to re engage the wormhole so that he could go back. He started dialling in, I think you call it, with one eye on the fight. Ramiis hasn't changed much since the last time we fought, in the fact that he still doesn't follow the rules. He blasted me with some kind of weapon. The same kind his Jaffa blasted me with three thousand years ago when I was recovering from his quickening." He paused and looked suspiciously at Teal'c. These people said they could be trusted but he was finding it hard to ignore the niggling doubts that were still in his mind. He didn't usually tell people so much detail about immortals, much less about himself. He hoped he wasn't going to regret it later.
"Don't worry about Teal'c, he may be a Jaffa but he's on our side. One of the good guys," O'Neill reassured him.
"He lent over me with his sword, ready to take my head and then I heard the Stargate opening. It must have been you people coming through. Ramiis wasn't very impressed. The last thing I remembered before I lost consciousness was Daniel screaming. Then when I came to, I was here."
"I don't understand," queried Damon. "Why didn't he take your head, you said he was just about to when the Stargate opened?"
"My guess is that the quickening would have left him in no position to escape." Methos saw the puzzled look on the faces of the others in the room. "A quickening, especially a powerful one, takes a lot out of you. He obviously couldn't take that chance, luckily for me. I suppose I owe you my head. Thanks."
Carter realised what it was that was bugging her. "Obviously the sarcophagus brought Ramiis back to life, as Daniel suggested. If you separated his head from his shoulders and took his quickening, how come he is still immortal? I know the sarcophagus can bring people back to life, we've had experience with that before, but reattaching a head, that seems a bit much."
Methos agreed with her. "Something else has been bugging me as well. When I met Ramiis I didn't feel the buzz that we usually feel from the approach of another immortal. It's like an early warning system, a defence mechanism." He'd noticed the quizzical look on the faces of the others in the room. At this rate, he thought, I might as well just give them the watcher's handbook on immortals to read.
"What does this buzz feel like?" asked Adam. "I'm wondering if that's what Megabyte and I felt when we first met you."
"From what Tutankhamun and Neret said, it probably is, or at least something fairly similar. We decided it had something to do with my age as well, the accumulation of life energy. As an immortal gets older the storehouse of his or her, let's call it, quickening would become quite strong. It used to really annoy them when I sneaked up behind them. Mind you, they used to make me jump when they appeared out of thin air."
"I can relate to that one," confirmed Damon. "I've lost count of the number of cups of coffee I've spilled over the last few years."
"Neret, was she another Tomorrow Person?" asked Megabyte. "We've met the Pharaoh before, we thought he was on his own."
Methos nodded, remembering the last conversation he and Neret had had before her death. Part of him wanted to remember that conversation, yet part of him tried to forget. He wasn't quite ready to share those memories with anyone else; in fact he wasn't sure if he ever would be. "One day, I'll tell you the whole story," he promised.
Yeah right, thought O'Neill. He was sure the old guy was still only telling them as much as he thought he needed to. He noticed that since he'd stopped pretending to be Pierson, the immortal was less the quiet historian, and more what he would term 'a sarcastic smart ass'. He wasn't sure which one he preferred.
"So, are you are the only so called telepaths there are, or are there more of you?"
"Daniel, how are you feeling? I didn't see you come in."
Daniel stood framed in the doorway. His eyes looked unnaturally bright, he was looking around the room as though he wasn't sure exactly where he was. He pushed his glasses further up his nose before replying.
"Fine, Jack. Shouldn't you have Pierson under lock and key, after what he's done? I'm not very happy about having him running around the base after he pulled his sword on me."
Hammond noticed that the archaeologist didn't seem to be very pleased to see the immortal. In fact he seemed very angry. He stepped in to defuse the situation. "Methos, or Mr Pierson, as he prefers to be called, is our guest for the moment, Doctor Jackson. I don't think there will be a repeat performance of what happened before, will there, Mr Pierson?"
"No, General. I'm sorry Daniel, I couldn't take the chance of Ramiis coming through the Stargate." That reminded Methos of something. "I don't suppose there's any chance of having my sword back. I don't like being without it."
O'Neill laughed." You mean your lucky sword. Don't push it, old timer, one thing at a time, okay. I still can't believe I fell for that crap you fed me before."
Methos pretended to look hurt. "If it makes you feel any better, I've had years of practice. Byron always appreciated my penchant for crap, as you so nicely put it."
Great, thought O'Neill, now he's going to start dropping names from history. He was beginning to think that the Adam Pierson persona was gone for good. This Methos was just far too sure of himself. Something suddenly occurred to him. "Daniel, are you feeling okay? I thought you'd be bombarding Pierson with questions by now."
Daniel certainly didn't look like his usual self. This whole thing must have shook him up a lot more than they had originally thought. He looked very pale and tired and the look he was giving Methos wasn't very pleasant. You would almost think that he hated the guy. Come on, Jack, pull yourself together, this is Daniel we're talking about here.
"Sorry, I'm just feeling a bit tired. I've also still got a bit of a headache. Anyway," he turned to Adam," you still haven't answered my question. Are there more of you?"
"Ami and Jade, is that right?" asked Hammond. "Sorry, Bill, I overheard you talking on the phone."
Adam sighed. He had hoped to keep the existence of the other Tomorrow People a secret. No point putting their lives in danger as well. Well at least they don't know about Kevin, he thought. "Yes, that's right," he replied. "I've told them to stay where they are until we make sure that the Medusa Stone or whatever you call it, is no longer a threat to us." He also wanted to make sure that this Ramiis was safely out of the picture. If he were anything like the other Egyptian they'd encountered he wouldn't give up too easily. The idea of the existence of something like the Medusa Stone gave him the creeps as well. He hoped it was the only one of its kind.
[I hope so too,] telepathed Megabyte. [Sorry Adam, I couldn't help but overhear, must be the effects of that stone, your mental shields aren't working as well as usual. You're broadcasting your thoughts quite loudly.]
"So when do we get to meet them?" asked Daniel.
"Daniel, are you sure you're feeling okay?" asked Carter. She was beginning to worry. Even Daniel usually had a bit more diplomacy than this. He's definitely not acting like himself at all.
Daniel shot her a murderous glance. "Of course, I'm okay. I feel fine, considering all that's happened." He suddenly put his hands over his head, and bent over as though he was in pain.
Fraiser moved in quickly. "Doctor Jackson, what's wrong?"
"I..." He suddenly straightened up. "I've got a bad headache, that's all." His tone seemed colder, more distant.
"Hey, Daniel, lighten up. The Doc is just trying to help that's all." Something else was bugging O'Neill. "Something must be causing these headaches. Are you sure you don't remember what happened on PX251?"
"What?" Daniel seemed to become aware that everyone in the room was watching him. He shook his head." No, I don't remember a thing. This Ramiis guy is freaking me out a bit. I think I'll go and have another look at the manuscript."
"Methos, sorry, Pierson, maybe you should go and help him?" asked O'Neill. A thought occurred to him. "I suppose you learnt the language when it was still being used? Come to think of it, you did tell Daniel it had been a while since you had spoken it."
Methos shrugged. "Quite often people just don't take what I say the way I mean it. Mind you, it depends on your point of reference, I suppose." He turned to Daniel, "Look I'm sorry for what happened. You're just going to have to forget it and move on. I learnt that a long time ago, and the fact that you can't always feel guilty about past regrets as well."
Adam noticed the way the man looked at himself and Megabyte. He had the distinct impression it was more do as I say rather than do as I do. There was something about his relationship with Tutankhamun and his friends that he wasn't telling. He felt a sense of regret or maybe even guilt coming from him.
Daniel looked uncomfortable. "Let's leave it at that then, shall we? Just don't give me any reason to distrust you, okay? I get a bit nervous when people pull a sword on me." He seemed to think for a minute. "General Hammond, is it possible to have a look at the sword that you found next to me?"
"It's in the same place that we have the stone and manuscript. Mr Pierson's sword is there as well. By the way, Mr Pierson, how did you manage to get your sword out of the secured area in the first place? That place is locked up tighter than a drum."
Methos coughed modestly. "I have a friend who has taught me a thing or two about breaking and entering."
Oh well, thought O'Neill. I suppose I should be relieved that he didn't say he'd learnt it riding with Butch and Sundance. He opened his mouth to say something smart and shut it again. No, I'd rather not know, he decided. Five thousand years is a long time, I wonder what other things he's done that he's not telling. When Daniel is feeling more like himself, I'll get him to find out. The old guy will wonder what's hit him...
O'Neill noticed Adam was looking at him, he seemed as though he wanted to say something. The boy opened his mouth and then shut it again.
[Do you want me to talk to him?] 'pathed Megabyte. He was sitting on one of the beds, his legs dangling over the side. Adam was pretending to look at the medical equipment they had been hooked up to, trying to decide what exactly to say to O'Neill.
[No, I'll do it.] Megabyte wasn't exactly known for his sense of tact. Adam still remembered when they had first met Ami during the Culex affair. His friend had started talking about the spaceship before Ami had even got used to the idea of being a Tomorrow Person. All his comments had done was convinced her that that were both mad.
O'Neill and the two Tomorrow People were alone in the infirmary. Daniel and Methos had gone to look over the hieroglyphs on the box housing the Medusa Stone. Carter had gone with them. She was going to run some more tests on the box, hoping to find out more about what it was made up of.
Hammond had suggested that Damon might like a tour of the base. Teal'c had volunteered. O'Neill suspected that the Jaffa was very curious about Adam and Megabyte and wanted to ask Damon some more questions about them.
"What is it, Adam?" asked O'Neill. "I don't need to be telepathic to know you want to talk to me about something." He noticed the Australian boy had stopped what he had been doing and was running his hands through his dark hair, trying to hide his apparent nervousness. He wondered what Adam wanted to talk to him about -- obviously he wasn't sure what sort of reaction he was going to get, whatever it was.
Adam decided the best approach was just to get straight to the point. He liked O'Neill, but didn't want to upset him by saying something that the other might construe as out of line.
"It's about Methos. I can sense that you don't trust him very much. I just wondered if you had thought about the whole situation from his point of view."
"His point of view? I don't know what his point of view is, that's the trouble. He's not particularly forthcoming when it comes to sharing information. I still think he's only shared as little as he thinks he can get away with."
"I understand what you're saying, Colonel..."
"Call me Jack, Adam."
"Jack," Adam continued. "I know that Megabyte and I, as Tomorrow People, live with a fear of what would happen if the military got their hands on us. Imagine the potential for experimentation. A lot of people would fear what we can do, what we are. It's really hard going through every day pretending to be something you're not because you can't take any chances. We don't even tell our friends, because our lives and theirs may depend on their not knowing the truth. Not everyone reacts to our secret the same way that you have."
"Then there's the people that would want to use us as a weapon against others," interrupted Megabyte. "We've already run into people like that and I wouldn't like to try a repeat performance." He was now standing beside Adam, ready to give him some moral support, if needed.
"Okay", said O'Neill. "I see your point." "Now imagine how those same people would react to someone who couldn't die. Imagine the potential weapon in that. If the military got their hands on an immortal, they could kill him over and over again while they tried to find out what made him tick. The perfect lab rat." Adam shuddered. "It would be a living hell."
O'Neill agreed. "Yes, that does put quite a different spin on things. Maybe I owe the guy an apology." Another thought struck him. "You know that you people are quite safe here, with us, don't you?"
Megabyte nodded. "Yes, we trust my Dad's judgement and his friendship with General Hammond. Methos hasn't got someone looking out for him though, remember and it sounds as though he's been watching his back, or should that be head, for a very long time. Five thousand years, wow. Imagine all the things the guy has seen over the years."
O'Neill poked his head around the door of Carter's lab. Equipment was strewn all over the small table in the middle of the room. Carter was looking at something under a microscope, shaking her head as though she didn't believe what she was seeing.
On the other side of the room Daniel and Methos were arguing about what the writing on the box actually meant. O'Neill wondered again how Daniel was really feeling. He had thought that the archaeologist would have got on really well with the ancient immortal. Imagine all the questions he could be asking him about what he'd seen and who he had met over the years. Instead he seemed to have almost embarked on a hate campaign against the man.
"Sorry to interrupt the fun, people, but could I have a word please, Methos, sorry, Adam."
Methos looked over in surprise. This was the first time that O'Neill had called him Adam instead of Pierson since he'd found out about the whole immortal thing. Maybe things were looking up. He was getting a bit tired of arguing with Daniel anyway. Nothing he said seemed to please the other man. Obviously he hadn't coped too well with being dragged through the Stargate with a sword at his throat.
O'Neill cleared his throat. "In private, please. Sorry Daniel, I'll send him back in a minute." Daniel shot him a look. "No rush. I'm sure I can survive without his company for a bit. Take as long as you like."
"Actually Colonel, I'd like a word as well, when you've finished, sir." Carter was becoming quite worried about Daniel. Working in the same room as the two men, she noticed the way he kept looking at Methos, when he thought no one was looking. There was definitely something wrong with Daniel, but she couldn't put her finger on it. He was normally quite easy to get along with and certainly didn't usually bear grudges. He seemed quite unable to forgive the other man for what he had done to him.
"Okay, Carter, give us a couple of minutes and then we'll meet you in the infirmary. Corporal Young can stay here with Daniel and keep an eye on the box." He looked at Daniel. "Just in case someone tries to open it. We don't want a repeat performance of what happened before, do we?"
Megabyte looked at the sign on the door. Yes, this looked like the right room. All the corridors and rooms in this place looked the same. The military certainly believed in sticking to basics when it came to decor. Miles and miles of grey; a person could get bored with that colour really fast.
O'Neill had asked if he would go and tell Daniel to meet them in the infirmary. He'd thought about teleporting there but Adam had reminded him that the fewer people that saw them disappearing into thin air the better. It had been a good excuse to nose around anyway -- maybe he and Adam should ask for a tour of the place as well. His dad had seemed impressed with what he had seen. He would like to get a good look at this Stargate at any rate. It sounded like something straight out of a science fiction film.
He looked into the room. There was equiptment still strewn over the small table in the centre of the room. Obviously whoever had been here last hadn't had time to clean up after themselves. There were also a couple of coffee cups sitting on a bench at the side. The smell of coffee still permeated the room. Strange, Daniel didn't seem to be anywhere in sight. He must have left in a hurry, judging by the state of the room, and fairly recently, too, thought Megabyte, the leftover coffee was still quite warm.
[Adam, he doesn't seem to be here.]
[Are you sure you've got the right room, Megabyte?]
[Of course I'm sure,] he 'pathed indignantly. He noticed something in the corner of the room. [Hang on, there's someone lying on the floor. I'll just go and have a look.]
[Aren't I always?] Megabyte decided to ignore the reply Adam sent him and approached the body on the floor. It was Corporal Young. He was dead, very dead with a sword sticking out of his back. There was blood everywhere, and Megabyte felt the bile rising up in his throat.
[Megabyte, what's wrong?]
[It's Corporal Young, he's dead.] Megabyte dropped to his knees. He felt as though he wanted to throw up. As a Tomorrow Person he had a hard enough time coping with the thought that a person could do something like that to another, let alone seeing it in the flesh, up close. It wasn't only the fact that he couldn't kill, the whole concept of violence and killing made him feel physically ill. One of the joys of being a Tomorrow Person he thought to himself.
He heard a sound behind him and turned to see who it was.
[Adam!] he 'pathed frantically.
Adam suddenly swooned and leaned on the bed for support. He was dimly aware of the concerned faces around him.
"What's wrong, Adam?" Damon looked very worried. "Is it Megabyte? Are you okay?"
The young Australian's dark hair stood out sharply against his pale face. He pulled himself up. "I heard Megabyte call my name and then I felt very dizzy for a moment. I'm feeling fine now, whatever it was, it's gone now. I'll just contact him and see if he's okay." He eyes glazed over as he tried to contact his friend.
"It's no good, I can't even sense him. It's like he's dropped off the face of the planet. Even if he were unconscious, I'd know. There's not even that."
"You can even sense if one of you is unconscious?" asked Carter.
Adam nodded. "But at the moment, there's nothing. I'm really worried. I should still be able to get something from him. He was going to take a closer look at the body, he called my name, and then nothing."
"Body? What body? When were you going to tell me about the body?" O'Neill saw the look on Adam's face and decided to leave the third degree until later. "Do you know where Megabyte was when he called you?"
"He was in Major Carter's lab, looking for Daniel. Daniel wasn't there, but Corporal Young, or rather his body, was."
"Come on, Carter, Teal'c." He put a hand on Adam's shoulder. "No, kid. You're staying here, at least until we find out what's going on. Pierson, you and Bill stay here with him. One missing Tomorrow Person is enough at the moment. Don't worry, I'll let you know as soon as we find anything."
O'Neill approached Carter's lab very cautiously. He motioned to Carter and Teal'c to cover him and burst through the door. Whoever had been there was long gone. Corporal Young was lying on the floor covered in blood, with a sword sticking out of his back. A sword, what else, he thought to himself. There was also a pool of blood lying underneath the body. There was no sign of a struggle. Whoever had killed Young, had been very fast and very efficient. The Corporal had obviously never even seen it coming. From behind, too, O'Neill noticed. Someone liked to play dirty, he thought. Neither Daniel nor Megabyte was anywhere in sight.
"Sir," Carter interrupted. "The box with the Medusa Stone is gone. Whoever killed Young and took Daniel and Megabyte has the stone as well."
O'Neill jumped as Adam suddenly appeared in a flash of light in front of him.
"Sorry," he apologised. "I couldn't sit there and do nothing. Any clue as to what's happened to Megabyte?"
O'Neill supposed he'd better not mince words. He had an idea that Adam knew what was coming anyway, judging from the expression on his face. "Whoever took Daniel and Megabyte took the stone as well." He repeated Carter's earlier statement.
"They have used Methos' sword to kill Corporal Young," observed Teal'c, leaning over the body. "I would presume that you will find the other sword is missing as well. We are dealing with someone very proficient in the art of killing. I would say he has plans for the Tomorrow People, if he has taken the stone as well. Things do not bode well for either Daniel Jackson or Megabyte Damon."
Megabyte opened his eyes and looked around. He appeared to be in a storeroom of some kind judging by the rows and rows of grey shelving. It looked like the grey decor spread to shelving as well. He shook his head, trying to clear the cotton wool feeling from it. He had a pounding headache; it felt all too similar to the one he had experienced in the infirmary earlier. He tried to put his hands to his head and found that they were tied securely behind him. Tied with thick rope by the feel of it, he surmised.
Great, he thought to himself. He concentrated, thinking that he would loosen his bonds with telekinesis. To his surprise nothing happened. He closed his eyes ready to teleport when a voice interrupted him.
"I would not waste my time, if I were you. Your powers are gone, all of them."
"Daniel? Hey, what's going on? This isn't very funny you know. I thought you were supposed to be on our side, one of the good guys." Megabyte didn't like the look that Daniel was giving him. It was a look of pure hate. Whatever the archaeologist's problem was it certainly seemed to involve the Tomorrow People.
"You mean you have not concluded the obvious yet? For the so-called next stage of human evolution, you and your companion are not very bright. Jackson is here, but he is not exactly in control at the moment, I am."
It suddenly dawned on Megabyte what the man was talking about. That explained a lot, an awful lot. "Ramiis..."
"Bright boy. I am surprised you telepaths did not work out that something was different about Jackson. Mind you, his so called friends did not notice anything either."
Megabyte realised he was in a lot of trouble. This Ramiis had a real vendetta against Tomorrow People. He had to find some way to warn Adam. Maybe he could find some way to loosen Ramiis' control over Daniel. He noticed Ramiis had his head in his hands and wondered if Daniel trying to break free was the cause of all the headaches that the archaeologist seemed to be suffering from since he returned through the Stargate.
"Daniel, listen to me. I know you're in there somewhere. You've got to try and break free. Use your will power, fight him!"
Daniel/Ramiis let out a cry of pain. He looked up at Megabyte. He spoke slowly as though each word was an effort.
"I'm trying but it's so hard. He's very strong. I'm not sure how much longer I can stay in control. You have to stop him or he will destroy..."
"Come on Daniel, you can do it." Megabyte wished he had his powers, he felt so helpless without them. He was sure he and Adam together could help the man to break free.
He gasped. Ramiis/Daniel had slapped him across the face, hard. He could taste blood in his mouth. Obviously Ramiis was back in control again.
"Nice try, telepath." The man almost spat the word out. "Jackson is not going to able to break free so easily with the power source so close."
"You mean the stone?"
"You really do not know, do you? Have you not ever heard of barlumin?"
Megabyte shook his head. Maybe if he kept Ramiis talking he could find out something that would help him, and Daniel, to escape. One thing he'd learnt in all his years of watching B grade movies is that the bad guys always like to show off. Hopefully he could use it to his advantage. He knew this wasn't a movie, it was real life, but in the situation he was in, he was running out of options, fast.
Ramiis laughed. "I thought all telepaths in the galaxy had heard of it. Barlumin is deadly to your kind. It negates your powers, leaves you in a weakened state, and with long exposure, can kill. One of the components of the Medusa Stone is barlumin, that is why it affects you."
Great, thought Megabyte. Kryptonite for telepaths, just what we need. "So that's why my powers are gone. He looked around and noticed the box sitting on one of the shelves nearby. The lid was closed. That explained why he was conscious.
"Adam?" Too late he realised he'd thought out loud. He didn't want to give Ramiis any ideas. He had plenty of those without helping him out with any more.
"Do not worry about the other telepath. He is all right, for now. A short burst of barlumin only affects those at close range. He probably felt a momentary weakness, nothing more."
Megabyte breathed a sigh of relief. As long as Adam still had his powers they stood a chance against this madman. "So this barlumin is the power source that is enabling you to control Daniel as well?"
Ramiis shook his head. "Barlumin only works against telepaths. The box, however, that is something different, again." He paused, looking at Megabyte suspiciously. "You are trying to find something you can use against me, are you not, boy? Well, do not bother. I would spend my energy trying to stay alive if I were you. At the moment your life expectancy is not looking too healthy."
Ramiis pulled the Tomorrow Person to his feet, seemly enjoying the way the boy gasped when he did so.
Megabyte was still feeling a bit unsteady, after the exposure to the stone, but he was determined not to show it. He wondered if there was any chance of making a run for it. Maybe not, he thought to himself as he noticed the sword in the man's hand and then felt the cold metal pressing against his throat. Now I know how Daniel felt when Methos dragged him through the Stargate.
"Where are we going?" he asked. The only reply he got was Ramiis shoving him roughly towards the door of the storeroom. Obviously the man was not in the mood for further conversation. Megabyte got the impression he had pushed his luck in that department as far as he should, anyway. It seemed as though Ramiis wanted him primarily to use as a hostage, for the moment, or as bait for Methos and Adam.
His thoughts drifted to his father. Damon would probably be worried about him by now, especially if Adam had received the mental picture of the body, and his last telepathic cry for help before he had passed out. Reports of him being held at sword point by a madman weren't exactly going to ease his state of mind. Often he thought that Damon had had to do just as much adjusting to his son being a Tomorrow Person as he had himself.
"I don't believe it," said O'Neill. "Daniel would never do something like that." He was staring in disbelief at the image that the security cameras had picked up as Daniel and Megabyte had entered the gate room.
Carter spoke up. "Colonel, I don't think that is actually Daniel. I mean, it's him but I don't think he's in control of his actions."
"Are we talking mind control, Carter? But who? It's not Goa'uld. Fraiser ran the usual tests when we returned through the Stargate. She didn't find any sign of anything out of the ordinary."
The next comment came from Methos. "Think about it, Jack. Who have we met recently who hates telepaths and isn't too fond of me either? It would explain Daniel's behaviour too. Remember I told you the last thing I remembered hearing before I lost consciousness was him screaming. That was probably when it happened..."
"Ramiis." O'Neill felt so stupid. It had been staring him in the face all this time and he hadn't seen it. Hadn't wanted to see it. He had known that Daniel had been acting totally out of character and still he hadn't thought of the obvious. How was he going to explain this to Daniel if, when, he corrected, they managed to get out of this mess?
"Are you saying what I think you're saying?" asked Damon. "My son is in the clutches of a lunatic who has a vendetta against Tomorrow People? I'm sorry but I'm more worried about his safety at the moment than that of your Doctor Jackson."
"Look, I know you're worried, Bill. I would be too if it were my son, but at the moment it looks as though Ramiis is more interested in using him as a hostage than actually killing him." Hammond tried to sound reassuring, even though he didn't feel it himself.
Teal'c interrupted the conversation. "General Hammond, it appears as though Ramiis wishes to speak with you."
Daniel's voice came through the Gate room intercom system, through to the control room. "Open the blast doors so that we can see each other," he said. "I want to see who I am conversing with."
At least it sounds as though the guy wants to make a deal, thought O'Neill. He tried not to think about what the deal would entail. He had a sneaking suspicion it would have something to do with either Methos or Adam or both.
"This is General Hammond. I presume I am speaking with Ramiis and not Doctor Jackson."
Damon and Adam moved forward, closer to the big glass partition between the control room and the gate room. Now that the blast doors were open they had a good view of the gate room itself, and of Ramiis/Daniel and Megabyte. Adam could see how worried Damon looked when he saw his son. It was times like this that he was pleased that his own parents weren't aware of their son's abilities, but at the same time, watching Damon, he wondered again if he should have stayed in contact after what had happened between them.
Megabyte looked awful. They both noticed at once the bruises on the boy's face and the dried blood around his mouth. His hands were bound behind him and he seemed quite unsteady on his feet. He noticed them watching him and gave them a shaky smile.
"Very observant, General. Doctor Jackson is, shall I say, not available at this point in time. He, and the boy, shall be returned to you unharmed if you comply with my request."
"Yeah right," interrupted O'Neill. "And what makes you think we believe you for a minute? We have absolutely no reason to trust you, none at all."
Hammond glared at him. "Colonel O'Neill, please be quiet." He turned to Ramiis. "Please excuse him, he is worried about your hostages, as we all are. Would it be possible to speak to Doctor Jackson?"
"No it would not." Ramiis tightened his grip on Megabyte. "You may speak with the telepath. Then we will negotiate."
Megabyte could see the worried looks on the faces on those in the control room, especially his father and Adam. I'm sorry Dad, he thought to himself. He knew this was his only chance to help Daniel, he had to take it, and worry about the consequences to himself later.
"The box," he yelled. "You've got to destroy the box, it's how he's controlling..." He felt something hard hit the back of his head, and then ... nothing.
Ramiis stared at the still figure on the floor in disgust. He had expected the boy to beg his friends to save him, or at least reassure them that he was relatively unharmed, not this.
Damon jumped to his feet as soon as he saw Ramiis hit Megabyte with his sword hilt. "If you've harmed my son..." he began.
Adam took him by the arm. "Sit down, General. You can't do anything for him now. We'll get Megabyte out of this, somehow." He wished he felt as confident as he sounded. He wished his friend still had his powers, then at least he would be able to confirm that he was only unconscious.
"Okay, Ramiis. Let's cut the small talk and get straight to the point. What do you want?"
"Why, General Hammond, I thought that was obvious. I want Methos, of course. We have unfinished business, which I wish to finish now. Remember Methos, there can be only one. I intend to be that one. Or maybe you intend to let children fight your battles for you again? Do you wish to add one more telepath to the list of those whom you failed to protect? I believe Tutankhamun was calling your name as he died."
"That wasn't my fault," Methos replied, more to reassure himself than Ramiis. He still carried the guilt of the deaths of Tutankhamun and Neret, even all these thousands of years later. If he hadn't left Egypt when he had, he might have been able to save them from Rameses Ak'Hara. Looking back he was sure that the boy king had told him to leave because he had suspected that another more powerful enemy waited in the wings to kill him. He remembered the look in their eyes as they had all said goodbye for the final time. They had known that he would not see them again, he had just not wanted to admit it to himself. Looking out for himself, as usual, he thought to himself. Sometimes he regretted all he had had to do over the years to ensure his survival. He wondered if it was all worth it.
His thoughts returned to the present as he looked at Megabyte lying on the ground in the gate room. Obviously Tomorrow People haven't changed much over the years, he thought to himself. Still putting the welfare of others before their own. The boy must have known what Ramiis' reaction would be when he spoke up.
This time would be different. There was no way he was going to be responsible for the deaths of another generation of Tomorrow People. "Ramiis, I accept your challenge..." he began.
Hammond interrupted him. "Sorry, son. I can't allow this, not on my command. We will not trade one hostage for another. I'm sorry Bill, I know that's your son down there, but I'm not about to trade one life for another. I don't think for a minute that Ramiis would release Megabyte once he has Methos anyway."
"General Hammond, this doesn't fall under your jurisdiction. I know this is your base, but this is immortal business. There is no inference in The Game, mortal or otherwise. Methos could see he was wasting his time, there was no way he was going to be able to get past the armed guards either. Unless...
He moved deliberately closer to Adam. "I still need to get my sword," he said to him. "You know we're out of any other options don't you? I know how your kind feel about violence, we just need to distract him..."
Adam nodded. He held out his hand to the immortal and closed his eyes.
Damon suddenly realised what was happening. "No, Adam!"
Adam and Methos disappeared in a flash of white light leaving a very surprised General Hammond and SG1.
"Okay," said O'Neill looking accusatively at Damon. "They can teleport others as well as themselves. Anything else these kids can do that you forgot to mention?"
General Hammond was not feeling particularly happy. From his point of view the situation had just got worse. Instead of Ramiis having two hostages, if you counted Doctor Jackson that is, he now had four.
Methos and Adam had appeared in the gate room a couple of minutes after they had disappeared from the control room. Methos was now wielding his sword in his right hand -- Hammond guessed they must have made a detour along the way. He remembered the immortal mention his sword to the young Australian boy before they had disappeared. Obviously he had been fully aware of the extent of Adam's teleportation powers and taken advantage of them. He shook his head. Hindsight was a wonderful thing.
Ramiis smiled as he noticed Methos and Adam appear in the flash of white light that accompanied teleportation. "Methos!" he exclaimed. "How nice of you to accept my invitation. I see you have brought me the other telepath as well. How considerate."
This man is a lunatic, thought Adam to himself. The sooner I get Megabyte out of here the better. He noticed his friend was stirring, and felt a light telepathic touch in his mind. The effects of the Medusa Stone were obviously wearing off.
[Megabyte? Are you okay?]
[Adam?] Megabyte's telepathic reply was very faint. He switched to speech. "I see you've brought the calvary."
Adam noticed his friend's expression change. "Adam, teleport!" He looked behind him and noticed what the other boy had seen. He closed his eyes to teleport and reached for Megabyte at the same time.
"Megabyte, it's not working!" Adam began to panic. They were still in the Gateroom, and the room itself seemed to be spinning. He felt the same sickening feeling he had felt in base reception area except this time it seemed to be affecting him a lot faster. He heard Methos' voice from a long distance away, saying something he couldn't quite make out...
"Ramiis, give me the box. It's me you want, not them. They're only children." Methos tried reasoning with other immortal.
Ramiis put the box down, next to Adam and Megabyte, who had lapsed into unconsciousness. He stood in front of them. "Only children?" he jeered. "Only children? Their kind prevented my lord Apophis' plans once before. I will not allow them to do it again. When I take your head and the force of your quickening destroys the Stargate my mission will be complete and Apophis will be well pleased with me."
Methos realised that he would have to defeat Ramiis before he would be able to save the Tomorrow People. Time wasn't exactly on his side, either. He remembered the effect the stone had had on them the last time they were exposed to it, and that had been from a distance. At this short range, he surmised, the whole process would probably be accelerated considerably.
The stone itself, sitting in the open box, was emitting an eerie green glow. It looked as though it was drawing power directly from the two unconscious forms in front of it. As they grew weaker, the light from the stone seemed to get brighter, increasing in power.
Methos and Ramiis circled each other, both looking for an opening to strike the first blow. Methos saw his chance and lunged. The other man fell backwards, catching his foot on the ramp behind him, the ramp leading up to the big circle that was the Stargate. He had drawn blood, he noted with satisfaction, as a thin red line trickled down Ramiis' arm.
That had been a bit too easy, he thought to himself, suspiciously. It was almost as though Ramiis had opened himself up for the blow.
Ramiis smiled, a thin cruel smile, which reinforced Methos' opinion of the other man's mental state, or rather the lack of it. "I am sure that Doctor Jackson will thank you for mutilating his body when I return it to him. Remember it is not me you will kill if you take a head, it is your friend. You already have my quickening, if you kill your friend, you will achieve nothing, my consciousness will simply return to my own body, and I will continue the work of my lord Apophis."
Methos glanced up at the figures in the control room. I could do with a bit of help here, people, he thought to himself. He knew he had told Hammond that mortals couldn't interfere in the Game, but hell, this fight wasn't exactly being played by the standard rules anyway.
"Okay, then. If I already have your quickening, how come you're not dead? How come you are still immortal?" If I can distract him maybe I stand a better chance of disarming him without hurting Daniel he thought to himself.
"There is more than one type of immortality," came the cryptic reply. "Do not try and distract me by conversation. Your young friend tried that tact earlier and did not achieve anything by it." He moved off the ramp and towards the two boys. "They look so defenceless do they not? I could cut one of them with my sword..." He ran the tip of his sword lightly along Adam's arm, as though to reinforce his intentions.
He's trying to goad me, Methos thought to himself. Making me choose who I am going to let die, whose death I will be responsible for. Either I fight Daniel or...
"No," he yelled. "If you want to kill me, Ramiis, you're going to have to fight me, not play mind games." Methos moved away, towards the big steel doors at the entrance of the room, inviting the other man to follow. He hoped he wasn't backing himself into a corner. He looked again at the control room. He didn't want to cause the death of any of his friends, he'd lost far too many over the years as it was, but he was running out of options, fast.
O'Neill was pacing the floor in the control room, feeling frustrated. There must be something they could do. He hated feeling so helpless. Usually he was in the thick of the battle, not on the sidelines watching. They had already ruled out breaking through the doors into the Gateroom. The doors had been designed to keep enemy forces coming through the Gate in a contained space and unfortunately it worked just as well in reverse. Even if they could burn their way through, timewise it would be too late.
"Come on, you guys. This is your base. Can't you do anything?" Damon could see Megabyte and Adam, whom he'd come to think of as a son as well, dying before his eyes. Damm, he couldn't cope with this. He'd thought about contacting Ami, Jade or Kevin, after all they would be able to teleport into the room, and then had decided against it. After all, Adam had done the same thing in an attempt to save Megabyte and now they were both in trouble.
"Got it!" All eyes in the control room focused on Sam Carter. "I think I've found an answer to our problem. The box the Medusa Stone is housed in, it's partially made of naquadah, the same element that's in the Stargate. I had suspected as much since we found the box, but now I've confirmed it." While everyone had been watching the unfolding drama taking place in the Gateroom, Carter had been keying equations into the base computer.
"And this helps, us, how?" asked O'Neill. "I'm sure that's a great discovery, Carter, but I really don't see how it solves the current problem."
"Actually, Colonel, it does. Adam and Megabyte are being affected by the Medusa Stone right? Remember last time when we placed the stone back in the box, they recovered..."
"So if we can get the stone into the Stargate itself, it should work the same way as the closed box and they should start to recover," finished Damon.
O'Neill coughed. "Kids, I hate to put a damper on things here, but if it were that easy, surely we could just shut the box. We seem to be forgetting one very important fact here, we can't get into the Gateroom, remember."
Carter answered him, her blue eyes shining with excitement. She leaned back in her chair. "But don't you see, if we activate the Stargate from here, the Stargate itself should negate the power of the stone. It won't matter if the box is closed or not. It's the naquadah itself that negates the stone, I'm assuming, not just the box."
"But the box will still be there. From what Megabyte said that's what is allowing the bad guy to control Daniel. We still need to lose the box. I think the old guy is a bit busy at the moment to worry about destroying a box as well as fighting off Ramiis, Daniel, whatever." O'Neill was still feeling a bit sceptical about the whole idea. "Besides if this box is made up of naquadah, it's going to be a bit hard to destroy anyway."
"That's why we need to send it through the Stargate. Then, once we close the Gate, Ramiis' hold on Daniel should be over."
"We... you're still forgetting something, Carter. We're in here, the box is in there, spot the problem." O'Neill noticed Carter was smiling at him, he wondered what he was still missing. He smacked himself on the head. Of course, it was obvious...
Methos noticed a movement out the corner of his eye and spun around to investigate, keeping a close eye on Ramiis at the same time. He hoped O'Neill and his team would do something soon, he was running out of energy and his sword arm was beginning to ache. It was times like this that he regretted the fact that his preferred weapon of choice, the Ivanhoe sword, wasn't exactly lightweight. He was also beginning to feel some empathy towards the Tomorrow People's inability to kill. It was hard work trying to fight someone that you couldn't maim or kill. It certainly gave Ramiis the upper hand. The fact that Ramiis was using Daniel's body didn't seem to be slowing him down either; he seemed to have adapted very quickly.
The outer stone circle of the Stargate was spinning. It stopped for a moment, the first chevron locked into place and then it started moving again. They were opening the Stargate, Methos realised, what the hell were they up to? He remembered what he had seen the last time it opened. The wormhole had reminded him of a geyser. He'd better make sure he wasn't anywhere near the ramp when the last chevron engaged. He imagined being in front of the wormhole when it 'blew' wouldn't exactly do wonders for his health.
Another thought struck him. Daniel. Blast, he'd better get him out of the way as well. He noticed that the other man was distracted by the Stargate, good. He dived towards Adam and Megabyte, grabbed the box, and closed it. If this doesn't get his attention, he thought, nothing will.
"Give me the box," screamed Ramiis.
Methos edged away from him, making sure that he was drawing his opponent away from the Stargate. "If you want it so badly, maybe you'd better come and get it," he goaded.
"Wormhole engaged," came Carter's voice from the control room.
Imagine the power in that thing, Methos thought to himself again. Hang on a minute, power? The word reminded him of what had happened earlier. Something Megabyte had said. The box was the power source, the thing that allowed Ramiis control of Daniel. He looked at the wormhole again and smiled, an idea forming. He glanced up at the control room again; wondering if that was the reason that they had opened the Gate. Oh well, only one way to find out. Things could hardly get any worse, could they?
His train of thought was interrupted by a burning feeling. He looked down and noticed a long cut down his forearm. He blocked Ramiis' sword with his own, dropping the box in the process. He edged back and didn't see the wooden crate on the floor behind him. The next thing he knew he was sprawled on the floor. The arm he had landed on, his sword arm, was hanging out at an awkward angle. He could feel pain shooting through it, and realised he must have broken it in the fall.
He reached for his sword with his good arm, and Ramiis kicked it away from him. "There can be only one!"
Sorry kids, Methos thought to himself and looked around frantically, forcing himself to his feet. It looked like the only option was to run, but to where? The room they were in suddenly seemed to be a lot smaller, as he worked out his options, or rather lack of options. The only way out was through the Stargate itself and he didn't think much of his chances of getting to that in one piece.
He stepped back and felt his foot connect against something. How much stuff do they leave lying around this place anyway, he thought to himself, and then realised what it was. He must have moved around in a circle. It was the Medusa Stone and the box.
Before anyone realised what was happening, Methos brought his foot back and kicked. The box went flying through the air and straight into the Stargate.
"Goal!" cheered O'Neill. "Carter, quick, close the Stargate."
Carter looked around in a panic. "Colonel, something's wrong. I can't get the wormhole to disengage." Ramiis looked up at her and smiled.
"Colonel, I think we're going to have to break Ramiis' control ourselves, another way. He's keeping the Stargate open, somehow. He is still able to use the power source, even through the wormhole!"
[Megabyte, wake up!]
[Adam?] Megabyte opened his eyes and looked around. The last thing he remembered was Adam trying to teleport them both out. He noticed the ropes binding his hands together were gone. Adam must have untied him. Hang on, his headache was gone too. He moved gingerly, remembering how weak he had felt before he had lost consciousness.
[Adam, what's going on? I don't feel any side affects from the stone, none at all. This is weird.]
Adam nodded. [It's as though we've never been in contact with it,] he agreed.
A loud yell interrupted them. Methos had noticed they were awake. "Adam, Megabyte, you've got to help Daniel! He's still under Ramiis' control. "
Ramiis had Methos backed into a corner, Adam noticed Methos' right arm was hanging limply by his side and his sword was lying on the floor on the other side of the room. Ramiis looked as though he was moving in for the kill.
[Help me, I don't want to do this... ]
[Megabyte, did you hear that? It sounded like Daniel.]
[But Daniel's not telepathic. How could we hear him? It doesn't make sense.]
Adam noticed the stone circle. It seemed to be full of rippling blue water, or was it light? He wasn't sure.
[They must have activated the Stargate; maybe it's affecting our powers somehow, increasing them, maybe? If we can hear Daniel, maybe he can hear us,] he 'pathed. [Maybe we could get inside his mind and help him break free of Ramiis.] He brought his hands up in front of him, palms out.
[Okay, I get you. Mind-merge.] Megabyte brought his hands up to meet Adam's and reached out his mind to him. A blue glow formed around the two boys as they merged their abilities and reached out for Daniel. The air around them seemed to crackle with psychic energy.
On the other side of the room, Ramiis screamed and held his head in his hands. The sword fell out of his hands. While he was distracted, Methos headed for the doors and punched the button on the wall to open them.
Adam broke the link, and started to shake. "I can't do this," he said. He looked as though he had come face to face with something out of a nightmare.
Megabyte had never seen his friend like this before. "Come on, Adam, we have to. What's wrong? You look as though you've seen a ghost."
"It's just like the place Rameses sent me to. I would have never got out if it hadn't been for you and Ami. I'm not sure I can go back there. I had nightmares for months afterwards. I couldn't face it again."
"Sure, you can. Remember you're not alone, this time. Also it only exists in Daniel's mind. It's not real, like last time. It must be an illusion or something. Dad said that Ramiis knew Rameses, maybe he taught him some of his tricks." Megabyte realised that Adam had never talked much about what had happened when he had been trapped in the Rameses' realm. Obviously it had spooked him out a lot more than he had let on. Typical Adam, he thought. Encourages the rest of us to talk about our problems but never tells us about his own.
He grabbed his friend by the arm. "C'mon, we're running out of time. I don't think we've got a choice in this. Too much is at stake. Remember that you won't be alone this time. We can always pull out if we have to."
"Okay, I'll give it another go." Adam hesitantly raised his hands again and concentrated. Megabyte did the same and within seconds they could feel the mind-merge take effect.
O'Neill looked in amazement at the scene in front of him as he entered the gate room. Ramiis was doubled over with his head in his hands and the two Tomorrow People were sitting on the floor, hands together, surrounded by a blue glow, oblivious to what was going on around them. He was about to say something to them when Damon stopped them.
"Don't interfere," he said. "It looks like a mind-merge. I've seen them do this before. They must be trying to help Daniel break free of Ramiis." He noticed O'Neill's sceptical look. "The best thing for us to do is to let them get on with it, and keep an eye on Ramiis. They know what they are doing." I hope, he finished under his breath. He knew he sounded a lot more confident than he felt. He, Megabyte and Adam were going to have a very long talk when this was all over, he decided.
The landscape around them didn't look right, somehow. The colours seemed all wrong. It reminded Megabyte of a movie he had seen recently, a movie where everything had been in black and white where it should have been colour. This was more than just lack of colour, though; it was like looking at the negative of a film or photo. No, he corrected to himself; it was more like being inside the negative. He shivered. I knew I shouldn't have watched those re runs of Sapphire and Steel last week, he thought to himself.
Lightning filled the air, and for a moment he could see everything around him clearly, as it should be. As soon as the flash died away, his surroundings returned to whatever he supposed was normal for this place.
[This looks exactly the same as it did the last time I was here,] 'pathed Adam. [It still gives me the creeps.]
[It looks as though Ramiis definitely took some lessons from Rameses then.] A thought struck Megabyte. [Poor Daniel. Imagine how long he's been in here. No wonder he's having trouble breaking free. This place is really depressing.]
[Now you know why I wasn't too keen to come back. Come on, the sooner we find Daniel, the sooner we can get out of here, wherever here is.] Adam wondered how exactly they were going to free Daniel when and if they did find him. Last time he had been in this place, no not this place but something similar, he had been able to leave by teleporting. As he and Megabyte weren't physically here, he wasn't sure what would happen if they tried that, this time. Sure, they could leave by severing the mind-merge, but that wasn't going to help Daniel, was it?
They both noticed the slumped figure at the same time. Daniel looked up at them in undisguised horror. He leaned back against the smooth part of the rock and struggled to pull himself to his feet. His eyes had a haunted look about them. He looked like a man who had been trapped inside a nightmare, a nightmare he couldn't wake from. It was bad enough that he was in this place. He certainly didn't want others in here. He wouldn't wish his experiences of the last few days? Or was it hours?, He'd lost all track of time, on anyone else.
[Adam, Megabyte, how did you get here? You've got to leave now, while you still can.]
[Gee, thanks for the warm welcome,] 'pathed Megabyte. [I bet Luke Skywalker never got this kind of response.]
[Shut up Megabyte.] Adam wasn't in the mood to listen to his friend's so called sense of humour. [Daniel, have you got any idea how we can get you out of here?]
[Oh, great, you've come to rescue me, but you're not sure how... ] Daniel noticed that he could hear what the two boys were saying but they weren't actually using speech. Come to think of it, neither was he. [How are we communicating? It can't be telepathy; I'm not a telepath. At least I don't think I am.]
[It's the Stargate,] explained Adam. [It's boosted our powers, somehow. That's why we can hear you, I guess we're picking up your thoughts and broadcasting ours to you.] A thought struck him. [Daniel, you do know where you are, don't you?]
The archaeologist shook his head. [Some planet, somewhere, I'm not sure where. It's weird though, I keep having these dreams that I can see myself back at the base, but it's not me. I'm doing these terrible things, I try to stop myself, but I can't. It's as though I have no control over my actions, like someone else has control of my body.]
The lightning flashed again and Daniel saw the bruises on Megabyte's face. He remembered the boy trying to help him to break free of this place, and what had happened as a consequence. He buried his face in his hands. If the bruises were real, the dreams must have been as well. He couldn't have done all those things, he couldn't...
Adam and Megabyte exchanged worried looks. [He's been right out of it,] 'pathed Megabyte, making sure that the other man couldn't hear his thoughts.[I don't think he has any idea of what exactly has been going on. He doesn't even know where he really is. We've got to tell him.]
[I'll do it.] Adam laid what he hoped was a reassuring hand on Daniel's shoulder. [Daniel, don't you realise where you are?] Daniel shook his head. [This isn't an alien planet, this is a psychic landscape created by Ramiis. We're inside your mind.]
[Actually, you are wrong there, telepath.] Adam and Megabyte became aware of the presence of another mind. The mental projection was one of hate, of a magnitude that they had rarely come across before.
[You are correct in assuming this is a psychic landscape created by me. But you are not in Doctor Jackson's mind. The three of you are in my mind, my domain. In here, everything and everyone follows my rules, my ideals.]
Ramiis stepped out of the shadows. He gestured and, as though on cue, was illuminated by the short burst of lightning that followed.
Adam and Megabyte saw a tall man, with shoulder length dark hair, dressed in the fashion of what they presumed was that of Ancient Egypt. He had a long, thin face and a cruel expression on his face.
Daniel recognised the man he had seen on the screen in the control room, before Pierson had dragged him through the Stargate. The same man whom he had seen fighting on PX251. That's right, he had called himself Ramiis. He remembered this Ramiis had shot Pierson when the Gate had opened, too. In one of his 'dreams' he had a vague recollection that his friend had come back to life. He was a bit hazy about the details though. However, there was also something else he noticed about Ramiis this time, something he hadn't noticed before. Something he really wished he hadn't seen at all.
[Goa'uld. You're a Goa'uld!] exclaimed Daniel. One of Jack's favourite phrases came to mind. Oh crap!
Ramiis' eyes glowed momentarily and then returned to normal. [You are almost correct. The Goa'uld and I have a relationship similar to that experienced by the Tok'ra. I am, however the dominant personality. The Goa'uld obeys my thoughts and wishes at all times.]
Yeah right, thought Daniel to himself. I've seen enough of the Goa'uld over the last few years not to believe that one.
[Yeah, this guy is even more deluded than we first thought] 'pathed Megabyte.
Daniel made a mental note to be careful to watch his thoughts while they were in this place. He wondered how telepaths coped without any privacy.
[We use mental shields] 'pathed Megabyte helpfully.
[And we don't eavesdrop, do we Megabyte? I hate to break up the TP 101 lecture, but let's keep our thoughts on the problem at hand eh?]
Ramiis watched the exchange with a look of amusement on his face. Soon the telepaths and their friend would have more to concern themselves over than making idle conversation. He had noticed that mortals, when facing death, often tried to make humorous remarks. It was an attribute he would never be able to understand.
[Let us see if you still show such optimism once I have finished with you.]
Adam gestured to Megabyte. He raised his mental shields so that, hopefully, Ramiis would not be able to hear his thoughts. He cleared his throat, hoping that speech worked in this place as well as telepathy. To his relief it did.
"Megabyte, can you link with Daniel? I've got an idea for something that might work."
Megabyte closed his eyes, thought of Daniel, and reached out with his mind. He nodded. "I can feel him joining in the mind-merge now. Wow, this Stargate effect is really cool. Okay, what's this idea of yours?"
Adam noticed that his friend had followed his example of using speech instead of telepathy. He also noticed Ramiis was just standing there, watching. It was as though he didn't think that they would be able to actually do anything against him.
"Break the mind-merge..."
Megabyte interrupted him. "Adam, are you nuts? We can't just leave Daniel in here, with him." His face turned red as he felt Daniel's unspoken question through the merge. "Oh yeah, of course. His mind is merged with ours, where we go, he goes."
"Are you ready?" Adam concentrated, and to his relief, felt the link dissolve. However there was still the nagging suspicion in the back of his mind that the whole thing had been just a bit too easy. As he opened his eyes again he saw his own reservations echoed on Megabyte and Daniel's faces.
"Adam, it's not working! We've broken the mind-merge but we're still here." Megabyte was beginning to understand something of the fear Adam had talked of earlier. He wished that Adam hadn't listened to him when he had reassured him earlier that everything would be okay. He remembered all too well what he had said to his friend about being able to pull out if they had to. He hoped it wasn't going to be a case of famous last words.
"You certainly have a funny way of reassuring people," complained Daniel. He noticed the redhead's questioning look and continued, "Famous last words?"
"Sorry, didn't realise I was thinking aloud. Adam, are you okay?"
Adam was staring at Ramiis with a horrified look on his face. "You knew this was going to happen didn't you?"
"Of course I knew, you foolish boy. Your kind is no match for me, nor can you stand in the way of my lord, Apophis. You and your friends will be trapped in here forever." A thought occurred to him. "Unless you would prefer the honour of becoming hosts for the Goa'uld. The choice is yours."
Daniel noticed Adam and Megabyte looked quite sick at the thought. Mind you, the thought didn't appeal to him either. Catch 22, he thought. Prison, or freedom at a price. He knew which option he preferred.
"I will give you a moment to consider your options. Do not take too long, I have other more pressing business to attend to."
"Hey Bill," O'Neill called Damon over to look at Adam and Megabyte. "What does it mean when the blue glow thing stops?"
Damon shook Megabyte, and then Adam, trying to wake them. They didn't even stir, and looked to all intents and purposes as though they were in a very deep sleep or a coma. "I don't understand it. Every other time I've seen them do a mind-meld, as soon as the light show stops, they've snapped out of it."
O'Neill glanced at his watch as he thought of something else. Damm, he thought to himself, so much for that idea. "Carter," he said, "Do you realise that the wormhole has been active for just over forty minutes?"
Damon looked at him in surprise. "And this means?"
Carter answered his question for him, her voice echoing slightly as it came over the speaker system of the control room. "Normally an outgoing wormhole can only be sustained for thirty eight minutes at the most. I was hoping that it might automatically shut down when it reached that deadline, but unfortunately it looks as though Ramiis is somehow overriding the cut out mechanism of the wormhole."
"So, you're telling me, whatever they're doing, the boys and Daniel are on their own?"
"Sorry, General Damon. It certainly looks that way."
Methos joined them and took the situation in at one glance. The immortal's arm seemed almost back to normal, observed O'Neill. Gee, those guys can heal fast. Jealously will get you nowhere, Jack, he chided himself.
Methos noticed Daniel seemed to be in a similar state to Adam and Megabyte. Ramiis obviously had no further use for his body, at the moment at least. Whatever power was keeping the Stargate open, it was keeping the two Tomorrow People and Daniel was returning from wherever they were. Wherever their minds were, he corrected himself.
O'Neill noticed both boys' eyes were moving rapidly under their eyelids. "Wherever they are, they're certainly having an interesting dream."
Adam's body twitched for a moment, and Methos leaning closer, could hear his heart racing. "No Jack, I think you're wrong there. Not so much of a dream. More of a nightmare."
"I don't think there's much point in discussing our options, do you?" Adam asked Megabyte and Daniel. "We're definitely not going to become hosts for these Goa'uld, and I really can't see a way out of here." His shoulders slumped. He felt as though he was reliving the nightmares he had experienced after his encounter with Rameses. Except this time it wasn't a dream, it was for real. He really couldn't see any way out this mess. The negative energy of this place really got to him, in a big way.
"Pull yourself together, Adam. There's always a way out, there's got to be. It's not like you to give up so easily."
"Remember, Megabyte, I've been here before. Now you know why I wasn't too keen to come back. I barely got out last time."
Daniel tried to sound optimistic, even though he certainly wasn't feeling that way. "You've got to keep sounding positive," he said. "I know it's hard with this negative energy all around us."
"That's it, of course it's obvious. Daniel you're a genius!" Megabyte smacked his head with his hand and grabbed Adam in his excitement.
"What's obvious? Megabyte, have you finally lost it?"
Now both his companions were staring at him as though he was crazy. "Adam, remember that conversation we had just before we felt the effects of the Medusa Stone. The one where you went all philosophical on me."
Adam still looked blank.
Megabyte put on his best Obi-Wan Kenobi voice. "Use the force, Adam, use the force." Gee that's corny, even for me, he thought to himself, before he continued. "Don't you see, that's the answer to everything. That's how we can defeat Ramiis."
Daniel noticed Adam start to smile, a smile that turned into a wide grin as he obviously worked out what Megabyte was saying. "Would one of you like to explain? Is this TP code for something I don't know about?"
"Sorry, Daniel. When we were waiting to meet General Hammond earlier we started talking about the new Star Wars film." Adam noticed Daniel was still looking blank. "What's the basic premise of Star Wars? Good versus Evil. You've got to fight negative energy with positive energy. That's how we're going to defeat Ramiis and get out of this place."
"Okay," said Daniel slowly. "No offence, but I don't think we're strong enough to defeat him on our own, positive energy or not."
"Hey, don't look at me," exclaimed Megabyte. "I haven't got to that bit, yet. One flash of genius at a time, guys."
"Remember, when you and Ami combined your powers with mine to help Millicent and I escape?" A thought had occurred to Adam. "We also used the power of the Ship. That's what we'll do this time. If we can contact the Ship, it should give us the extra power we need."
Daniel felt as though he had fallen straight through the rabbit hole and come out the other side. "Ship? As in spaceship? You people have a spaceship? I thought you said that you were from Earth, not some other planet. What sort of power can you access from a ship?"
"This isn't just a space ship, Daniel," explained Adam. "It's more like a living entity. If we link with it, it will boost our powers still further."
Megabyte noticed that Daniel still didn't look any the wiser. "When we break out, that is, become Tomorrow People, we are drawn to the Ship when we first teleport. It acts like a homing beacon, except it's a bit off. We usually end up taking a bath the first time, until we can overcome its effects."
Daniel shook his head. "I'm still feeling lost. Tell you what, when we get out of here, you can take me to it and maybe then I'll understand what you're saying. In the mean time, just tell me what to do and I'll do it. The situation the way it is, I'll try anything once."
"Megabyte and I will mind-merge again and then we'll try to contact the Ship. The extra power the Stargate is giving us will help. Hopefully with the extra power of the Ship we'll be able to defend ourselves against whatever Ramiis decides to throw at us."
"Okay, I'll just keep a look out for him then. By the way, have you got any idea of how exactly we're going to use this power against him?" Both boys shook their heads. "Oh, right. We'll just make it up as we go along then, shall we? Great."
Daniel watched as Adam and Megabyte initiated the merge. As he noticed the blue glow that appeared around them grow brighter; he wondered idly what other powers these two possessed. If the Stargate itself were boosting their powers, as they claimed, what would happen if they actually took a trip through the wormhole? Maybe that was something they should look into once they got out of this place.
Ramiis returning interrupted his train of thought. He hoped that his companions had managed to contact this Ship of theirs, and that they had worked out what exactly they were going to do next.
"Have you come to a decision yet?"
"Well, actually we have." And you're not going to like it, he thought to himself. "We've decided not to take you up on your kind offer to become a Goa'uld, but we don't fancy the thought of staying here either." Daniel noticed that Ramiis didn't seem to be impressed, but mind you, he hadn't really expected him to be either. He hoped Adam and Megabyte weren't going to take much longer; Ramiis didn't exactly strike him as the patient type.
"I do not seem to remember giving you that particular option."
"Well, we didn't particularly like your wide range of choices, so we decided to add a few of our own," replied Adam.
At the same time Daniel could hear Adam speaking in his mind, [follow my lead.] Whoa, that's spooky, he felt like he was following two conversations, each on a different level. He concentrated on Adam's mental voice and at once became aware of Megabyte's presence in his mind as well. He also felt the tendrils of something else, something quite alien. It seemed to permeate through the link. He could feel the added power, power that definitely hadn't been there last time he had felt the effects of a mind-merge. This must be their Ship, he reasoned to himself.
They ducked as Ramiis hurled some sort of energy bolt at them. Daniel waited for Adam to reciprocate and was surprised when he didn't.
"Hey guys. Wasn't the whole idea of this to fight back with an equal and opposite power? The way I look at it, if he hurls something at us, we should hurl something back. What happened to 'follow my lead'?"
Adam looked at bit pale, at least from what Daniel could see through the weird lighting of this place. "We can't," he whispered.
"What do you mean, can't?" Daniel was having trouble not yelling his question. What was wrong with these kids?
"If we send back what he hurls at us, it might kill him. That's why." Megabyte sounded quite testy. "It's the no killing problem."
Daniel stared at them in disbelief. He remembered Damon saying that the Tomorrow People couldn't kill, but surely this was taking things just a bit too far. He ducked again as he asked the next question. The air was beginning to crackle with electricity as a result of Ramiis' attack. "You are kidding, right? Tell me you're kidding. This guy is going to kill us!"
Adam shook his head. "Quick, behind this rock. I wish we had a bit more light, at least then it would be easier to find somewhere to hide."
The three of them lay there, panting. Daniel pushed his glasses up his nose, a nervous habit he had picked up when he was younger, and tried to think. "I wonder what Ramiis is using as his power source," he said. "I mean, it must be taking an awful lot of energy to run this place." He remembered something. "The Stargate is still open, right? Otherwise I wouldn't be able to take part in this mind-merge of yours. Maybe he's still able to connect to his power source through the wormhole."
"Of course," exclaimed Megabyte. "The power source is the box. Daniel, do you remember what happened to the box? Try and remember."
Daniel reached back into his memories; the memories of what he had thought had been dreams. "The box went through the Stargate, I seem to remember Adam Pierson kicking it through the Gate. Maybe Ramiis is keeping the Gate open somehow?"
"So all we have to do is distract him long enough, so that your friends can close the Stargate, and disconnect him from his power source. When his psyche goes back to wherever the rest of him is, this landscape should disappear as well," Adam theorised.
"Oh, is that all?" asked Megabyte sarcastically. "Simple, really, any ideas of how we're going to distract him? He doesn't really look as though he's the distracting type."
"Think, Megabyte. It was your idea. Positive versus negative." Something clicked inside Adam's mind. "Hey, what do you say, we add a bit of light and colour to this place?" He turned to Daniel. "Now, you can follow my lead."
Ramiis hurled another energy bolt. It was as he had always suspected. All telepaths were cowards. They did not even possess the courage to defend themselves. Maybe when he had defeated them he would present them to his lord, after all. It would be a fitting presentation. Apophis would be very pleased with the capture of one of the members of SG1 as well. Very pleased.
Ramiis felt the intrusion of another psychic force into his landscape. Someone was daring to try and change his realm. He could sense brightness and light permeating the overall feeling of darkness. How dare they? He pushed back against the intruders, noticing the dirt under his feet, now seemed browner in colour, instead of the black it had been previously.
Daniel tried to imagine the surrounding landscape coming to life with a burst of light and colour. His mind thought back to PX251, that planet had been like Eden. Guess you were right about hidden snakes, after all, Jack, considering all the trouble that's been caused by what we found there. He smiled as he heard Ramiis cry out in rage. It looked as though Adam's plan might work, after all.
Adam felt the beginnings of a headache forming; he was feeling very tired. Through the link he could feel that Megabyte was reacting the same way. To his surprise, Daniel seemed relatively unaffected. Even though the archaeologist was adding his energy to the merge, he didn't seem to be feeling the same side effects. Maybe it was because he wasn't a Tomorrow Person.
[I don't think we can keep this up much longer,] 'pathed Megabyte. [I'm getting some strange vibes coming from the ship. I think it's feeling the strain as well.]
Daniel felt surprised at Megabyte's comment. The boy sounded very tired, yet he himself had just been thinking the whole thing was a lot easier than he thought it was going to be. He opened his eyes and looked around. The landscape itself was changing; black and white was slowly being replaced by colour. The ground underneath him was growing green grass, and red flowers were beginning to blossom on the trees. The trees themselves were no longer black and white, but varying shades of brown and green. The black sky had turned blue, and he could see white clouds forming.
He found it hard to remember that the whole battle was being fought on the psychic plane. He still couldn't shake the feeling that he was on some planet, somewhere. The whole place seemed so real. He glanced over at Adam and Megabyte and was shocked at what he saw. They seemed so pale; sweat was dripping down their foreheads, why wasn't he feeling that way himself? It must be because it was their powers that were driving the link; he was only able to take part because of their input. The Stargate might have increased their powers, but obviously there was still a limit to how long they could sustain that level before it began to drain them.
Ramiis himself was beginning to show signs of wearying as well. He had lost that confident, smug look. It had been replaced by a look of anger.
"You cannot win against me," he shouted. "This is my realm, my rules are obeyed here, not the rules of nature."
"Something's happening, Colonel. I've got control again. I'm attempting to close the Stargate, now."
"Hurry up, Carter. I don't like the look of these kids, whatever they'll doing in there, I don't think they can keep it up much longer."
Doctor Fraiser looked up at O'Neill and shook her head. "Their vital signs are dropping dangerously low, Colonel. Even their breathing seemed laboured."
"Daniel seems fine, Doctor," called out Methos. "He's still not coming around, but at least he's in no immediate danger."
O'Neill noticed the immortal seemed to know what to look for as he checked Daniel over. He made a mental note to ask whether he had ever had any medical experience. Carter let out a cheer and he suddenly realised that the wormhole was gone, replaced by the heavy steel of the iris. The iris that was supposed keep out hostiles -- hopefully that now included Ramiis.
Daniel groaned and sat up. He became aware of Methos leaning over him, and noticed the concern in his eyes. "Adam and Megabyte?" he asked.
"They're coming around," called out Fraiser. "Take it easy, young man," the last comment was directed at Adam who was trying to sit up. "Whatever you've been through, it's taken a lot out of you."
Adam still looked pale and a bit shaken, but at least he was conscious. He looked around as though he couldn't quite believe where he was. "It worked," he breathed.
"Megabyte?" Damon shook his son. "C'mon, wake up!"
"Dad, is that you?" Megabyte opened his eyes, and noticed that they were back in the Gateroom. "Ramiis, is he gone?"
"You tell us," replied O'Neill. "I don't know what you guys did while you were in that mind-merge thing but it worked. We got control back of the Stargate and Carter closed it down."
"I'm presuming when the wormhole closed, he lost contact with his power source and with it the gateway to Earth. His mind, his psychic presence, whatever you want to call it, must have gone back through the Stargate to wherever he was physically. I suspect he's trying to explain his failure to Apophis, even as we speak." Daniel put forward the most plausible explanation he could think of.
"What do you think Apophis will do to him?"
"That's open for debate," replied O'Neill. "He might kill him outright, or just torture him for a while to teach him a lesson. I have this nasty feeling though, that maybe we might not have seen the last of Ramiis. Oh well, I suppose that's one more enemy to add to our ever growing collection."
"How did you get him to loosen his grip on the Stargate, anyway?" Carter had entered the Gateroom and was following the conversation, with interest.
Adam smiled weakly. "I'm not sure you'd believe us if we told you, Major."
"I'll believe you," chipped in O'Neill. "After all I've seen lately, immortals, Tomorrow People and the like, I'd believe just about anything."
Methos coughed. "Yes," he said. "That's the other thing that's worrying me at the moment. You now know about the existence of my kind, and theirs." He gestured towards Adam and Megabyte.
"I wouldn't worry too much about that, son," Hammond replied. "We couldn't have saved the Stargate if it wasn't for you people. We're not about to betray your trust."
"But what about your reports?" Methos knew how pedantic the military were about their reports.
"I'm sure George can write them in such a way that the events of what happened are reported properly, but make sure that some of the important details are kept deliberately vague. I've had a lot a practice at doing that myself over the last few years." Damon smiled affectionately at his son and Adam.
Methos decided that obviously he was going to have to trust them, after all he could see that Damon would be looking out for any 'breaches of security', and SG1 seemed to have a lot of practice at keeping secrets. "Anyway, he said, "you were going to tell us how you managed to distract Ramiis long enough for Sam to close the Stargate?"
[You can tell them, Megabyte, I can tell you're dying to.]
"Okay," said Megabyte. A grin formed on his face, as he thought about what to say. Adam groaned. He knew that look...
His friend started to explain. "You see, a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away..."
~ The End ~
© March 2001 The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.
Author's Additional Disclaimers: The characters of Methos (a.k.a. Adam Pierson), Joe Dawson, Connor MacLeod, and Duncan MacLeod belong to Panzer/Davis, Rysher/Gaumont Television. So do the concepts of Immortality, the Game, and the Watchers. Likewise, the characters of Adam Newman, Megabyte Damon, General William Damon, Ami Jackson, Jade Weston, Kevin Wilson or any names or events linked to the Tomorrow People TV series do not belong to me either. They are the property of Roger Damon Price, Thames/Tetra and ITV Television.
Author's Note: Thanks to Caroline and Michele for letting me 'borrow' their explanation of why Tomorrow People can sense immortals. Thanks also to Bev, Sarah and my Dad for their support and for lending an ear while I sorted through a few of the ideas. Big thanks to Kirstin for checking the grammar and spelling side of this story. Also to Nicole for her feedback as well. A special thanks to my friend, John, for beta reading for me, and for all his input and support, while I was writing. If it weren't for him, this story would probably be a lot shorter.
Yes, this is the first story in hopefully an ongoing series. The second story will be NS Tomorrow People/Roswell, the second story NS Tomorrow People, and the third NS Tomorrow People/Highlander. That's the plan at the moment anyway, of course it's very subject to change...