The Womb of the Goddess dilated, spewing forth some form
of hideous creature. It was stone gray, squat and had one large eye,
which gleamed dully in the morning light.
Oberon, summoning the elements forth to aid him,
approached the creature warily. Reaching out with his senses, he studied
it fearlessly, swiftly reaching the conclusion that the grotesque thing
was in fact a machine. The intriguing device moved suddenly, swinging
it's eye back and forth, then just as suddenly, it advanced forward with
determination. Oberon, unsure of it's objective, halted the machine's
progress. It had been many years since the womb had dilated and brought
forth any traveler or devices such as this. Was this an omen? Perhaps,
this was the coming of the long awaited one; he prayed that it was so.
His people had waited so long now, that hope was slowly dwindling away.
Making a quick decision, he set out to alert the
Sitting at the elaborate control console, Major Samantha
Carter perused the data currently being relayed by the Mobile Analytic
Lab Probe or Malp, on a planet light years away.
Apparently, the Malp had emerged from the wormhole into a
meadow surrounded by rolling hills and forest. Within minutes, despite a
relayed temperature of 68 F, a thick, vision-obscuring mist slowly
rolled in, effectively preventing any further optical
the Malp's trajectory proved fruitless. 'If I did not know better, I'd
think it had just flown into a thick cloud bank!' she thought.
Attempting to signal the Malp once more, Sam panned the camera right,
then left, hoping to penetrate the mist without success. Still hoping
for more Intel, she advanced the Malp forward approximately 50 yards,
yet was still unable to get a visual. Abruptly, it just stopped no
longer responding to commands.
to one side of the Major, Doctor Daniel Jackson summed it up nicely.
"Well this is... bizarre."
Jack O'Neill was becoming impatient; all this maneuvering was getting
them nowhere fast. Usually Carter's doohickeys proved useful, she had a
penchant for brilliance and a dogged determination to solve a problem
head on. But, she also had a stubborn streak, a common trait he'd noted
in most scientists and which, on occasions like this, proved to be
irritating; a trait that could blind one to other possibilities now and
then, and made his talent for strategy part of the reason they worked so
well together. 'Time to change tactics,' he thought.
"Having a little trouble with your toys,
Carter?" He quipped.
"Sir?" Sam groaned inwardly. 'Not now!' She knew
that tone all too well, the Colonel was becoming bored and as usual,
sarcasm was his first line of defense. Generally she found his witty
repartee entertaining, but not when it was directed at her.
"Do ya think maybe it's time to rise above the
occasion?" He continued archly.
Turning to look at her Commanding officer, she
noted that contrary to his mocking tone of voice, Jack O'Neill was
looking back at her with his innocent puppy dog expression; the one that
never failed to turn her annoyance into humor. After all, how did one
stay annoyed with a child, albeit a big one?
She was about to respond to his query, when a
flickering image on the video screen caught her attention once more. The
blurred image of what appeared to be a face, flashed briefly across the
screen and then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, it faded away,
leaving only the blankness of the blue gray mist?
"What was that?" Jack was not fully sure he had
seen anything. The image was so brief. Turning to the technician seated
on Carter's right, he ordered, "Rewind that video feed Sergeant Walters.
I think Oz just got more interesting."
Once again directing his attention to Carter, he
"To answer your query Major, a UAV." Noting her
look of confusion, he elaborated archly. "Flight school 101; ascend
above the cloud bank to get clear of it."
The command was spoken softly, but firmly, by
their C.O. General George Hammond. Hammond needed full visual Intel,
before he'd consider allowing his people to risk their lives exploring
any planet, and the brief glimpse of a face, only served to emphasize
such a cautious policy as prudent.
After all, they had no way of knowing if the
planet's inhabitants were hostile or friendly. He was a soldier, not a
scientist; albeit a desk riding one these days, and despite all the
other valuable information the Malp revealed, he trusted his eyes first.
Within a short period of time, the video feed
was frozen on the computer screen before them, revealing the face of a
young looking man, with long white-blond hair braided in warrior
Hammond's experienced gaze took in the fact
that, although the warrior's face appeared unlined and fair, his eyes
were the eyes of someone much older; intense eyes, which held a wealth
of pain in their depths. Reminding the General of a similar pair of eyes
he looked into every day. These eyes reflected the same haunted,
world-weary look, of Colonel Jack O'Neill.
The (UAV) Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Visual
Probe, already on standby, was launched. It burst from the wormhole,
soaring above the clouds. The aerial data revealed that the mist-like
fog now completely encircled the Malp's position and rose at least ten
feet from the ground, at a radius of about sixty yards. Oddly, beyond
the Malp's position it was clear.
The UAV continued to fly over what appeared to
be uninhabited forests and hills. Every so often, other areas of the
strange fog were visible. The fog banks varied in size and shape,
completely obscuring the landscape. Roughly thirty miles from the gate,
the land narrowed and a large ocean or sea was visible. The UAV circled
around, continuing its reconnaissance. The data making it more and more
clear, to those back in the control room, that it was now flying over an
island and that the Stargate was situated at it's end.
As the UAV flew beyond the north shoreline, the
thick misty fog appeared once more. It extended several miles out into
the water. Thus, encasing the entire island, making it invisible from
the water; forming a barrier of sorts.
The General was intrigued. He'd seen all kinds
of weather related anomalies in his years with the Air Force. But, this
fog was something he had never encountered before. There did not appear
to be any of the normal environmental factors present, which would cause
such a dense fog to develop and frankly he was puzzled.
O'Neill had that creepy tingling feeling on the
back of his neck. The one he always heeded. The one that said, 'Jack
there is something more here than meets the eye.'
"I don't like it, Sir. I have never seen a mist,
or fog, quite like this one."
Sam Carter was puzzled. True, she was not a
meteorologist, she was a physicist, but her years here as Second in
Command of the elite SG-1, had required her to investigate more than her
fair share of weather related oddities. Still this was interesting...
"I am at a loss to explain it, Sir."
"Recall both the UAV and the Malp. After careful
analysis, the viability of a mission to PX627627 will be discussed."
The General's tone brooked no argument.
"Yes, Sir." Sam Carter was as eager as her C.O.
to get a better handle on all that they had just gathered. She signaled
the now responsive Malp and UAV, "I will have a full report as soon as
"Colonel O'Neill, Major Carter, Doctor Jackson,
I will expect your take on all this at 1500. That gives you six hours to
come up with a good reason for me to give this mission a go."
That said, the General returned to his office,
to tackle a mountain of odious paper work.
"Carter, what do you make of that face peering
into the Malp? Can you clear it up a bit? I'd like to have a better look
at the inhabitants of OZ, before we go see the wizard."
O'Neill wanted more Intel on the inhabitants,
before taking his team into possible danger.
Jack couldn't get the intense eyes, briefly
revealed in the blurry image, out of his mind. There was something
familiar about them, something hovering on the periphery of his memory....
"Yes, Sir. I have transferred the data to my
laptop. We can go to the lab, slow it down and then, enhance it for a
Carter's voice brought Jack out of his reverie.
Shaking his head over his sudden flight of fancy, he dismissed the
"You two go on ahead. I'll find Teal'c and fill
him in, then meet you there." He instructed, nodding at them as he left
to find the big Jaffa.
Teal'c had been otherwise engaged. While on
base, he was in charge of combat training lessons for the newer members
of the SGC. Goa'uld strategies and weapons, were new to the young
recruits and T' was just the Jaffa to enlighten them.
Having stopped off to alert Teal'c of the events
that had transpired in the Gate Room, Jack made his way to the mess hall
to grab coffee and sandwiches, for his team. After all, their health was
his responsibility and; knowing his scientists, they'd forget to have
lunch while they wrestled with the new data. He then proceeded
thoughtfully to Carter's lab, his sense of foreboding growing with each
Upon entering the lab, Jack was greeted, by the
promised enhanced image, of the face he had last glimpsed in the Gate
Room; shifting his highly attuned Special Forces observation skills,
into over drive.
This was no young untried village lad. No this
was a warrior, whose his lean, expressive face, clearly revealed that he
was a force to be reckoned with. 'Crap!' Once again, Jack found himself
transfixed by the man's eyes. They were deep green and burned with a
fierce depth of emotion. Emotions, which Jack understood all too well...
had felt all too often...
"Hey Jack, this fellow appears to be a Celt."
Daniel Jackson informed him with undisguised excitement, failing to
notice his friend's preoccupation. 'A Celt!'
"You see the woad markings along the side of his
face?" He continued gleefully. "They are clan markings like those seen
in Britain, long before the Romans invaded."
Jack had noticed the tattoos. But, he had been
busy noticing other things too.
"Daniel, before you get too excited and want to
make nice with the 'paint boy' here; you need to notice, this is no
village lad. This guy, young, though he may seem, is old in the ways of
the world. We will need to go cautiously with this one."
After everything they had been through in the
past few years, Jack knew Daniel had come a long way in curbing his
naïve enthusiasm, but there was always room for improvement.
"I hear you, Jack."
Daniel understood that his friend was concerned
first and foremost about his welfare. The safety of the entire team was
always Jack's first concern.
"I haven't missed the warrior braids, or the
look in this guys eyes. He reminds me a lot of someone I know."
The wry comment was not lost on Jack O'Neill.
'Danny is spending way too much time around his acerbic team leader,'
"In that case Danny boy, I will breath a whole lot
O'Neill directed his attention to his Second In
Command, Major Samantha Carter, scientist, warrior, friend; and secretly
hidden in his heart of hearts, much more.
As usual the short question was fully understood
by his competent second.
"Well, Sir; I agree with Daniel. This man
appears to be a Celtic warrior of some kind. What I cannot figure out is
just why his appearance is so brief. He just appears to have dissolved
into the mist. It looks like he probed the Malp with a spear, or sword,
then he is just gone."
It was clear from her tone that Sam found all
this disturbing. The Malp should still have gotten at least a few more
seconds of visual on the warrior, before he faded out.
"I've had the Malp checked out, Sir. Sgt. Siler
has just assured me, it is fully functional. We have no explanation."
Jack O'Neill was not surprised. He knew a trick
or two about "fading out" himself.
"Forget it for now, Carter. What else can you
tell me about this little piece of heaven, we may be traveling to?"
"The air quality is similar to ours, Sir. Eighty
percent oxygen, twenty percent carbon dioxide..."
Noting his expression and the curt hand signal
to shorten the lecture and get to the point, she summarized her findings
with; "It's fully compatible with our own, Sir. The terrain is not
unlike the coastal areas around Maine."
"Good. Can we find any reason, not to take this
little journey, to the other side?"
"Scientifically, none Sir."
Sam didn't fail to note the look of quickly
hidden disappointment in the Colonel's eyes.
She knew that look. He had one of those weird
feelings again. The ones that he rarely voiced, but which were always a
prelude to a mission gone bad. Damn!
"It is a great opportunity to study ancient
Celtic culture, Jack. Do you realize the magnitude of this?"
Daniel, still oblivious to Jack's mood continued
to lecture him excitedly.
"They had no written language. Very little
information survives, outside of folklore and myth. Jack, we have to
At 0700 the next morning, a very chipper Doctor
Daniel Jackson, was uncharacteristically, the first one to arrive at the
Gate Room, excited that soon he may well encounter descendants of the
Celts. He was an archeologist after all and, this was for him, his
life's blood. It was his true calling. Being a member of SG-1 was his
life now. But, the study of ancient cultures and languages was his first
Jack O'Neill was surprised to find Daniel there
before him. Usually, Danny was late. It irked him a little; he liked
arriving first so he could tease Danny about his lack of punctuality.
Teal'c and Major Carter arrived almost on his
heels. The mission was a go. Jack heard the Stargate fire up; the
chevrons lock. Felt the little thrill that he still felt, even after a
multitude of "embarkations." He ran a mental checklist of all his gear.
As usual, he regretted his limited ability to
carry, what he considered, enough ammunition. He had his P-90, ten extra
clips and enough C-4 to blow up a small army. At his side, he carried
his Zat, along with his ever-present side arm. Actually, he could carry
more, if he left his supplies of food and first aid, behind...
"God speed people." The General's good wishes
called Jack back from his musings.
"Alright Teal'c, Carter, move out. Daniel and I
will be on your six. Daniel, I hope I do not have to remind you to use
caution on this one." While he knew, he really didn't need to keep
reminding Danny, he was unable to restrain himself; that creepy feeling
had him in its grip again.
"Jack, you've got that feeling again don't you?"
Damn! Jack was usually right on target with his
'ESP,' as Daniel silently referred to Jack's uncanny instincts.
"I promise you, I'll be a good boy, Dad." Daniel
added, trying to engage him in friendly banter; hoping to lighten Jack's
Usually, Jack would have given it right back;
calling Daniel, "Sonny", or some other sarcastic taunt. But, he was too
caught up in his concern to take the bait. The image of the warrior's
eyes danced suddenly before his eyes, causing him to stop and mentally
Noting Jack's silence, Daniel suddenly felt very
wary himself and; preceded Jack through the wormhole with his best
O'Neill emerged last from the wormhole, joining
his team in the quiet meadow. Surrounded by hilly forests, it looked
peaceful, even benign, despite the presence of storm clouds overhead. As
he descended the short number of stairs at the base of the Stargate, a
sudden break in the clouds, cast him into a beam of sunlight that made
him seem to glow. For a moment, he appeared almost ethereal to his
startled team, mesmerizing them briefly. Oblivious to their stunned
silence, he began giving orders.
"T' take point. Daniel, Carter, together. I'll
watch your six."
Daniel looked at Sam, a question on his lips.
Sam shook her head silently, indicating, that now was not the time to
comment on the strange light show. Teal'c, his eyebrow raised in
consternation, nodded his agreement. So, Daniel dismissed his query, as
they proceed on the course they had already determined they would
follow. North ten clicks, to where the UAV had captured a hazy image of
a ring of standing stones.
Daniel had really gone gaga over that little
tidbit. It was consistent with the Celt theory; so that would be their
first stop for exploration. Jack was confident that 'Paint Boy' and his
friends would make contact with them, somewhere along the way.
They'd gone no more than one hundred yards, when
the bizarre mist began to creep and swirl, around them. A faint herb
like odor also permeated the air, mixing with the earthy scent of the
meadow. It was autumn here, the trees in full glorious color; the crisp
breeze buffeting the fallen leaves about them.
"O'Neill, this is most strange. I have not
encountered a mist such as this before."
While his tone was matter of fact, revealing
none of his apprehensions, O'Neill understood T's unspoken concern.
The mist had surrounded them on three sides,
leaving only a clear path ahead.
"Understood. Let's just see where this mist
leads us, eh?" Jack's instincts told him that they were being watched.
They followed the open path due north, by the
compass, with the mist keeping pace.
Eventually, they entered a heavily wooded area.
Here the mist seemed to recede somewhat, while the clear areas
increased. Though cautious, they had covered the ten miles quickly, in
spite of their escort. The forest fell away, revealing a
glade, filled with partially upright stones. The stones were white,
about the size of a large man, situated in a semicircle, with a pool of
water at the center. The pool was roughly circular, approximately twenty
yards across, with the stones standing at intervals around it. The still
water reflected the blue of the now cloudless sky above. Bird song and
other forest sounds, gave the area a peaceful mien.
Daniel's attention was on the stones. He noted
markings on each; faint but definitely visible.
"Jack, there are markings here!" He expounded,
already opening his pack and hastily removing his camera and supplies,
eager to begin his study of the stones.
Jack shook his head with a wry grin. Danny would
never learn to be subtle in his excitement, he thought fondly.
"O.K. kids, we'll make camp here. Carter, you
can get your soil and water samples afterwards. Teal'c check the
perimeter. Our escort seems to have left us."
Jack rubbed the back of his tingling neck; the
mist had dissipated, almost as soon as they had entered the glade. But,
the feeling of being watched had not. He wondered just how long it'd be,
before 'Paint Boy' showed up. Until that time, he would just watch over
his scientists carefully while they worked.
The day passed without encountering the locals,
night fell quickly here, hourly checks of the perimeter, revealed
The water in the pool checked out safe, but ever
cautious, Jack used his purifying tablets in his canteen. It was still
warm enough, so they had decided to forgo a campfire. He was more than
reasonably sure that their position was not a secret. But why advertise?
Grateful, he'd had that huge breakfast this morning, he munched on an
"I should have brought more reference
materials." Daniel said, half to himself, as he reviewed his notes in
his tent by moonlight.
Jack, perched nearby, could just make out the
frown on Daniel's face, through the half opened tent flap. Clearing his
throat to get Daniel's attention, he tossed him a small flashlight,
silently indicating he should use it to enhance his study.
"So Danny, what do the stones say?"
He asked relying on Daniel as usual, to find
some clue, as to just whom they were dealing with.
"I'm not sure just yet, Jack."
Daniel replied, peering at his notes, mildly
embarrassed, that in his enthusiasm he'd neglected to employ his own
"Mostly, they appear to be Druidic symbols. No
one really, has much of an idea just what most Celtic symbols mean. They
left no written history."
He paused, waiting for Jack to give him a hard
time about his lack of progress. Usually, this was the point in the
conversation when Jack would ask impatiently just how long it might be
before Daniel came up with anything useful.
But Jack was too preoccupied to razz Daniel
tonight. The creepy feeling at the back of his neck, had begun to
increase from a tickle, into a full blown tingling, causing the hairs on
the back of his neck to stand on end. Rubbing his hand over the back of
his neck in an effort to subdue his apprehension, he dropped the
subject, gazing at the stars. It was his nightly routine; as he found
the bright pinpoints of light winking at him highly reassuring, even if
they were not the ones he was used to seeing.
"Teal'c, you take first watch. Daniel you're
second; then Carter."
Jack informed them quietly, sometime later,
still preoccupied with the heavens above. Sighing, he slowly focused his
gaze on the Major.
"Carter, wake me at 0330 sharp and I'll take the
Tiredly, Jack crawled into his tent to rest, the
feeling of being observed had not lessened and he was reasonably sure
he'd not rest this night. Trying to find a comfy spot, he drifted off,
waking suddenly at 0245, surprised that he had slept and wondering what
had awoken him so suddenly? Every thing seemed quiet.
Crawling out of his tent, he found Carter, near
the edge of the pool, chewing on a chocolate bar.
"Have a bite of chocolate, Sir?" She inquired
tiredly. "The caffeine will help. There is something about this place
that induces sleep."
Accepting a piece, he popped it into his mouth.
"Trouble staying alert, Carter?"
He was a tad concerned. Carter usually could be
relied upon to keep awake; but without a cup of Danny's coffee, it
appeared she was not up to it tonight.
"Why don't you hit the sack? I've got the
"Yes Sir" Carter replied, covering her mouth as
her words changed into a yawn.
Jack grinned. "Sweet dreams, Carter."
Watching until she disappeared into the tent,
Jack walked the perimeter. 'Nothing unusual,' he thought. Just the same
old night sounds he was used to. Still, he felt as if they were being
watched from afar.
'Get a grip O'Neill,' he admonished himself
rubbing at his neck once more.
Remaining on the alert, Jack found a boulder
near the edge of the pool and eased his tired body down. He'd chosen to
make camp, at the open end of the semicircle, with the pool behind it.
As a result, he had a full visual of the entire open area. Every half
hour, he rose quietly and walked the perimeter once more.
At 0530, he thought he noticed a faint glow near
the edge of the pool. With the campsite at his back, he eased toward it.
As he approached, the glow intensified. It was as bright as a truck
headlight on a dark moonless night. 'What the heck is that,' he
wondered? Trying to shield his eyes and get a good look, he continued to
inch closer. The glow glided forward suddenly and surrounded him.
Jack felt as if he'd been enfolded in a warm
embrace. Unable to move, he sensed a presence. Odd sensations coursed
through him. He felt light headed, no longer able to keep his balance,
collapsing, he clutching his P-90 to him. The glow lifted him up. It
bore him to the pool. The water was warm as it enveloped him. Totally
relaxed, he fell into a deep sleep and dreamed of a beautiful woman,
with long golden hair and huge green eyes, eyes, which fascinated him
with their familiarity...
She was tall, almost as tall as he, with a regal
bearing. Her face was unlined and refined. A small crescent shaped blue
mark, at the corner of her right eyebrow, was the only blemish, on her
otherwise flawless skin. She was dressed in a blue-gray robe of some
kind that flowed around her. Tenderly, she reached for him, drawing him
closer, embracing him. Then she placed her hands on either side of his
temples, whispering to him in a musical voice.
"Taliesin you have come to us at last."
Sighing, she lightly brushed her lips to his. It
was sweet, so sweet, desire coursed through him and; deepening the kiss
he pulled her closer. Fleeting images danced through his brain. He felt
an overwhelming sense of peace, something he'd not felt in a very long
time. The first glimmer of recognition assailed him and he began to
remember her. Abruptly, from far off, he heard Teal'c call to him,
drawing him back to the present, and the woman vanished, leaving him
Teal'c was frightened. O'Neill was lying face
down, submersed in the murky waters of the pool! He continued to call
O'Neill's name as he rushed to aid his fallen comrade. What could have
befallen his friend and C.O.?
Roused from slumber by the Jaffa's cries, Sam
and Daniel hurried to assist Teal'c, as he pulled O'Neill from the pool
and staggered ashore, cradling his limp form.
Teal'c continued to try to rouse his friend,
while Major Carter and Daniel Jackson, began to administer CPR.
Sam was stunned! The Colonel wasn't breathing!
He appeared to have drowned! On closer inspection, She found he did have
a weak pulse; but his body was cold, his lips blue. Placing her warm
mouth over his cold and unresponsive lips, she blew deeply, trying to
contain her panic, hoping to restore his breathing once more.
After several minutes of mouth to mouth, he
choked, violently expelling a good deal of muddy water from his oxygen
Once his retching ceased, Jack lay on his side
gasping for breath, confused and angry.
"What the hell happened?"
"I heard a splash and leaving my tent, I
observed you sinking beneath the waters of the pool, O'Neill. I called
to you, but you did not respond. I then proceeded to pull you out of the
Teal'c was visibly upset, a rare occurrence for
"What happened, O'Neill? How did you come to be
in the pool?"
Now that he could breath again, Jack realized he
was trembling with cold. His head felt like he'd been on one hell of a
bender. The events leading to his little nighttime swim, escaped him. He
felt fuzzy, confused and generally aggravated.
"I'm not sure. Carter, just what kind of
chocolate was that? My head feels like it's been used as a football."
His lungs felt like they were on fire and every
breath he took was a struggle, but he kept that to himself. Why worry
the kids more? 'I'll be fine as soon as I warm up,' he told himself
"Just plain old milk chocolate, Sir." Carter
responded quietly noting his trembling, with alarm.
Opening a packet of mild pain reliever Sam
passed the tablets to the Colonel. Despite the fact he was now able to
breath on his own, his breathing was ragged and his lips were still
vaguely blue. Frankly, the whole incident was frightening. They'd almost
lost him and to a shallow pool of water no less!
"Recommend we return to the SGC. Dr. Frasier
should check you out, Sir."
"Negative, Major! I'll be fine." His irritated
lungs and throat, enhanced his bark, but his audibly wheezing cough,
enhanced her doubts.
"Sir, with respect...." She began.
"Carter! I'll be fine!" Now just who was in
command here for crying out loud? "It's not the first swim I've taken.
Probably won't be my last, so can it Major!" A violent fit of coughing
did little to enhance his argument.
"Jack, are you saying, that you don't know how
you ended up submerged, face down, in the pool?"
Daniel was just now starting to recover from his
shock, at the sight of Jack lying limply in Teal'c arms, dripping with
water, his face blue.
"Well I am not too clear on that Daniel." He
The shock and cold were starting to take their
toll on his abused body, Jack realized. Normally, the idea of sucking
face with the lovely Major would have been a pleasant one. But currently
he had no idea just what had occurred and it made him cranky as hell!
"But yes, that is exactly what I am saying. The
last thing I remember, was walking the perimeter... I saw a faint glowing
near the pool and the next thing I know, I am getting my face sucked by
Sam wrapped a blanket around his shoulders.
"We need to get you warmed up. You should change
out of that wet uniform, Sir. It's almost dawn and I think we can be
pretty certain, that a fire won't give away our position." She advised
him, making every effort to control her concern, she moved to tend to
This was just so strange! She could hear the
Colonel's labored breathing across the camp. Why did he have to be such
a hardheaded Jackass! She prayed that aspiration pneumonia wouldn't set
in. At least, her checks on the water in the pool had been clear of
Glad that, for once he had packed an extra
uniform, Jack shakily changed. He dropped his wet clothing near the now
crackling fire, gratefully accepting a cup of Daniel's favorite strong
brew. As he sipped at the bitter fluid, the chill slowly left his abused
body. But, the urgent feeling that he needed to remember something did
Cursing softly, he set about cleaning his
weapons. Meanwhile, Carter cooked up a breakfast of oh so delectable MRE
eggs for the group. Teal'c was scouting the perimeter.
Daniel watched Jack, a look of concern etched on
his features. Jack's tortured and labored wheezing continued. But that
was not Danny's only worry. No, for Jack to end up face down in the
water, with his weapons pulling him under, he would have had to be
totally out of it! This was not a case of sleepwalking! This whole
mission was getting bizarre, first, the mist, and then this near fatal
event. What next?
Viviane was distressed. Her attempt to dream
walk, with the one who called himself O'Neill, had failed. She had just
begun to touch his spirit and reach his soul, when the call of his
servant had broken the spell. Thus, she had been unable to remain
connected to him.
Severing the connection so abruptly, while not
in physical proximity, had therefore placed him in grave danger. Frantic
with worry, she cast her dream to Oberon.
Oberon felt her enter his dream. Hearing her
unspoken plea, he awoke, calling forth his men. Unfortunately, they were
some small distance from the strangers and it took more time then he
would have liked to reach them.
Teal'c moved quietly back into camp, using hand
gestures to signal his C.O. that they were not alone.
'At last,' Jack thought, 'Paint Boy in the
flesh, maybe now we'll get an answer to a question or two.'
Rising up faster than he should have, Jack felt
a wave of dizziness over take him.
Daniel reached out a hand to steady his friend,
his worry plain to see.
"I'm alright Daniel." He stated tersely,
shrugging Daniel's hand aside.
Regaining his equilibrium, Jack shifted into
full combat ready mode. His finger as ever, poised on his once again
functional P-90, with Carter and Teal'c, battle ready at his side.
A small group of warriors entered the glade,
stopping at the perimeter. A lone man moved slowly forward, his hands
devoid of any weapons. Daniel, seeing that the man he assumed was the
leader came forward unarmed, moved slightly ahead of the rest of the
team, to speak for them, noting that this man was the same Celtic
warrior the Malp had captured briefly.
'He is far more impressive in person,' Daniel
The Celt was as tall as Jack, with a similar
build. Lean, wiry, hard muscled strength was evident in his every step.
Clad in a kind of tunic and trousers, the color of the forest, he'd
easily blend into it. His face held an expression of concern and not
hostility. Approaching them slowly, he bowed his head slightly in the
age-old gesture of respect.
"Greetings. I am Oberon of the Faer Folk. I have
come seeking the welfare of the Pendragon."
Speaking in a lilting and musical tone, he
directed his penetrating, concerned gaze to Jack.
Taking in Jack's battle ready stance, he smiled,
showing very white healthy teeth.
"I see that you are hail and hearty, Pendragon."
He bowed his head slightly to O'Neill.
"Pendragon means..." Daniel began to explain in a
"I know what it means Daniel."
Jack whispered back flatly, without taking his
eyes off the newcomer. He was a Colonel for crying out loud! Didn't the
kid realize, that understanding military tactics meant having some
knowledge of history? At least that of the Roman conquest of Britain,
not to mention most of the known ancient world!
'My own fault I supposed,' he thought sighing
quietly. 'Playing dumb, while strategically an advantage, does tend to
send the wrong message when used too often.'
"I've read my share of King Arthur, Danny." He
"Oh, ah, sure Jack, just trying to..." Daniel
looked decidedly sheepish.
"Understood Danny, no sweat." Jack excused him.
Looking the tall warrior in the eye, Jack
assessed him quietly, before answering the question posed. Once again
feeling the strange sensation of recognition he'd felt in Carter's lab.
As he'd expected, this was no mere village lad.
The man who stood before him, was a no nonsense, battle hardened,
intelligent warrior and older than he at first appeared. It was not so
much his unlined face, which communicated this to O'Neill, as it was his
Unarmed and apparently relaxed, he still
couldn't hide the underlying tension from another seasoned warrior with
the same abilities. Even unarmed, this man was capable of inflicting
great harm, if the need arose. O'Neill respected that. Still, there was
something about this man that touched his memory and made the hairs on
his neck stand on end... Shaking off his dejavu, he wheezed a response to
the question, with a studied nonchalant he did not feel, trying to
suppress the urge to cough.
"Oh, I'm just peachy thanks."
Oberon liked the silver haired Pendragon's
bravado. He recognized another leader, a warrior not unlike himself. His
highly attuned senses also recognized, that the man before him was far
more ill than he or his friends realized. He needed to get him to the
Merlin for help. But, not wishing to cause offense, Oberon understood
that he needed to proceed slowly.
Unable to suppress his urge to cough any longer,
Jack doubled over in an effort to catch his breath. He coughed so hard
and for so long, that his eyes watered, and he almost lost his
Finally, drawing in a ragged breath, he realized
that Oberon was speaking urgently to Daniel.
"We must take your master to the Merlin. He is
ill. The Merlin can cure his illness."
"I'm fine. But, I thank you for the concern,
Oberon. These people are not my servants, they're my team." Jack
responded with a strangled wheeze, embarrassed and ill at ease, with the
title of master.
"I'm Colonel Jack O'Neill, this is Major Carter,
Doctor Daniel Jackson and Teal'c. We are travelers from Earth."
That long speech cost him another bout of
coughing. He looked at Daniel, nodding slightly for him to take over
speaking for him.
"We thank you Oberon, for the thought. But, we
need to get our leader back home for treatment, as soon as possible."
Daniel was becoming alarmed. Jack was flushed
and sweating. His cough was agonizing to hear, the wheezing getting
louder. He noticed that the mist, which had dissipated last night,
suddenly, began to swirl around them again, obscuring their
surroundings, as well as Oberon's warrior escort, once more.
Suddenly Jack collapsed, boneless, to the
ground, before Teal'c was able to catch him.
"It is much wiser for us to travel to the Merlin
for aid." Oberon urged them.
"The Merlin is a great healer and can easily
heal your Colonel O'Neill. We know our way through the mists and can be
there quickly. The Pendragon is more ill than you know."
Oberon continued confidently.
Sam, knelt, examining her commander and friend.
The Colonel's breathing was even more labored, the wheezing becoming
louder, giving it a strangled sound. He was clammy, his lips faintly
blue. His face strained even in unconsciousness, with his effort to draw
a breath. His pulse was racing. 'Damn!' she thought. Looking around her
at the heavy mist, she gazed up into the face of the concerned Oberon
and made a decision.
"Alright, Oberon. Please, take us to this
Oberon signaled his men forward. The twelve men
melted out of the mist and assisted Teal'c in laying O'Neill, gently on
a makeshift stretcher.
Leaving their campsite, the rest of SG-1
hurriedly followed the stretcher-bearers, amazed at their ability to see
through the heavy mist.
Sam noted, that these Faer Folk were all dressed
in a similar fashion as that of their apparent leader, Oberon. They
blended into the forest, seemingly becoming one with the mist. Her first
concern was for the Colonel. But ever the military officer, she knew it
was her duty to be observant and gather as much Intel as possible, in
case these folks were not as friendly as they seemed.
Despite his growing concern for Jack, these
people fascinated Daniel. Was he truly amongst a tribe of Celts? They
sure seem to fit history's description so far, with their clan markings
on the side of their faces and golden torques around their necks. Each
man carried a long spear, in addition to a sword or a longbow. It was
like stepping back in time and reliving history!
The ragged sound of Jack's labored breathing
drew him back to reality. Ashamed he had neglected his friend; he
stepped closer to the stretcher and adjusted the blankets covering
Jack's shivering form.
Teal'c was on their six keeping his vigil. His
concern for O'Neill had not dimmed his awareness that the mist had
seemed to appear rather abruptly. In fact, all too soon after Oberon's
invitation had first been refused.
He had seen many oddities in his years as First
Prime and understood that for now at least, they needed these people's
help. He'd bide his time and remain vigilant, watching over Daniel
Jackson and Major Carter, as well as his friend. But once O'Neill was
out of danger he'd require answers. O'Neill would expect no less.
They'd traveled quickly, despite the mist. For
the past half hour, they had been slowly spiraling upward, along a
well-worn path surrounded by the forest and the ever-present mist. They
were climbing a large hill, or Tor.
Jack thrashed about on his makeshift stretcher,
in obvious delirium, while Sam gently wiped the sweat from his face.
'How had he become so very ill this quickly,' she worried.
If her suspicions were correct, then he had
aspiration pneumonia. If so, he would need intravenous antibiotics and
fluids, to recover fully. He needed Janet Frazier M.D.! Sam prayed the
healer would at least help break the Colonel's fever and keep him
comfortable. Beyond that, she could only hope that Oberon would agree to
lead her back to the Stargate, to get help from the SGC.
Suddenly, a woman appeared in the path. She
hurried to Jack's side, commanding the men to stop so she could examine
him. The men quickly obeyed, open admiration evident on their faces.
Sam watched the woman, gently running her
concerned hands over the Colonel, with worry, despite the admiring
attitude of their Faer Folk escort. She was tall and willowy, with
golden hair and her unlined smooth skin, made it difficult to determine
her age. Sam thought she was lovely, despite, the odd tattoo of a
crescent at the corner of her eyebrow. But, she had learned early in her
career, that people are not always what they seemed.
Viviane mourned the grave condition of the
O'Neill. 'I should have waited till I knew more of his power and
knowledge, before attempting to dream walk with him!' She berated
herself. It would take more than mere herbs to bring him back to health.
It would take all of her strength and power. Turning to the warrior
woman who had been tending him, she asked.
"Are you his woman?"
In her heart of hearts Sam's reply was yes. From
the look the woman gave her, she could almost believe that she had
answered out loud. Covering her true feelings hastily, she quickly spoke
"He is my friend... The Commander of our team,
The woman gave her a knowing and sad smile,
making it clear she had seen through Sam's indifferent façade.
I shall do all in my power to heal your friend."
Turning back to the men, she ordered, "Bring him to the temple
They were led to a small city carved into the
side of the Tor. Where Jack was taken to a wide white marble hall, open
on three sides. Large stone pillars, supported a roof, seemingly covered
by a small forest. 'No wonder we could not see it from the air,' Sam
thought. A glance around revealed all the dwellings were capped by
The Colonel was gently laid on a stone slab, or
altar, with a burning brazier at his head and feet. Viviane was already
crushing, what looked like herbs, into a cauldron over an open hearth.
She quickly cut away Jack's sweat drenched jacket and shirt, gently
laying a poultice over his chest. Then, she placed several pillows
beneath his shoulders, to elevate him and assist his efforts to breath.
Testing the contents of the cauldron, she then poured the brew into a
Gesturing to Teal'c, Viviane bade him to, "Help
me to get the O'Neill to drink this tisane."
Teal'c assisted the now semiconscious O'Neill in
drinking about half of the brew. After which he seemed to quiet and fall
into a deeper state of sleep, his breathing less strained.
"Sam, I'll stay with Jack, while you and Teal'c,
speak with Oberon about going back to the SGC for Janet."
Daniel stated confidently, acknowledging that
someone would need to go for help. He understood that his place was
here, watching over Jack. If Jack stayed true to form, he'd become
violent in his delirium and could endanger both himself and the healer.
There was no other option. For, despite the fact that he knew many
primitive herbal cures were efficient, Daniel was not about to risk the
life of his best friend on them.
"Agreed, Daniel. Keep him safe."
Sam turned to Teal'c, a look of complete
understanding passing between them.
Teal'c knew where his duty lay. He would protect
the Major. Together, they would bring back help for O'Neill. Nodding his
thanks to the healer he followed Major Carter outside to seek out the
Oberon was waiting for them just outside of the
"What can I do for you, My Lady?"
Oberon was well aware of her impending request.
He had given the matter a great deal of thought. Although he was loath
to bring more strangers to his home, at least until he knew more about
them, the determined expression on the beautiful female warrior's face,
made it clear, she would stop at nothing to have her way. She reminded
him of Viviane, strong willed and valiant.
The large dark warrior took a menacing stance
beside her. Here was a man, who would not allow the woman to fail in her
objective and would willingly give his life to protect her.
"The Colonel is very ill Oberon and while we
appreciate your healer's kindness, her skills may not be enough." She
addressed the tall warrior in her best command voice. "We need you, or
one of your men, to lead us through the mist to the Stargate so we may
summon aid for our Commander."
His look of confusion, when she mentioned the
Stargate led her to explain further.
"The large rings in the meadow, about a two hour
walk from the standing stones..."
"Ah, the Womb of the Goddess. You were brought
forth from the Womb?"
Oberon knew this already, but he did not as yet
wish to reveal that fact to her.
"We call it the Stargate and yes, we traveled
here through it, from our world. Can you help us return?"
Sam held her breath in anticipation, hoping
things would not turn ugly. Despite his outward easy manner, she sensed
this man was used to being in charge. She doubted that she and Teal'c,
formidable as he was, could force this man to do anything he did not
wish to. Further, she was well aware, that he knew they'd come through
the Stargate just as the Malp he'd examined had; he was aware of more
than he let on. 'Just like the Colonel,' she acknowledged to herself,
"I will of course assist you." Oberon responded
"I will send my son, along with a small
contingent of warriors, to lead you through the mist. But, I must insist
that you bring back only those necessary to help the Pendragon."
He added, quietly but firmly. Perhaps, by the
time these travelers returned, Viviane would have accomplished her
quest. Till then he would be wary of O'Neill's minions.
Sam understood the softly spoken command. This
man's first priority was to protect his people.
"Thank you Oberon. How soon may we be on our
way? I don't mean to be ungrateful, but the Colonel is..."
"I will summon them immediately Major."
Oberon interrupted her with a gentle and
"While I gather them, you should partake of
refreshments and rest briefly, to ease your journey."
Oberon gestured for them to follow him and led
them to a large dwelling, where food had already been prepared. Then he
left them to fulfill their request.
"Well that went well. I hope we don't have to
wait long for our guide." Sam was anxious to get back to the SGC and
collect Janet; the Colonel's life might depend on it.
"I am most certain, that Oberon will not tarry.
He understood the urgent nature of our request."
Teal'c had not failed to notice her distress. He
knew of course, about the Major's deep attachment to O'Neill. He shared
her concern. But, they needed to take care of themselves as well, or
they would be of little use to their friend.
"But now you must eat something Major Carter. It
has been an eventful morning and if we are to assist O'Neill we must
have our strength."
In less than a half an hour, Oberon returned. By
his side was a man, who matched him in height and build, but had the air
of one much younger.
"This is my son, Tristan. He will lead you, if
you are ready."
The young man bowed slightly, and then led them
outside, where a small group of five other warriors waited.
Using her radio, Sam informed Daniel, of their
departure. She reassured him, that they would return with help ASAP.
Daniel informed her that Jack still slept deeply.
Saying another silent prayer, Sam and Teal'c,
followed Tristan, as he led them down the Tor.
Daniel breathed a sigh of relief. It would not
be long before Janet would be here, to work her personal magic on Jack.
She had snatched Jack from the jaws of death more than once and Daniel
had no doubt in her ability to help him now.
He had watched Viviane, over the past hour, as
she had cared for his friend. She was gentle and quiet, saying little.
He'd helped her move Jack, into a bed in another chamber in the Temple,
allowing his concern for his friend to guide his actions.
Daniel wondered what Viviane thought of them,
but hesitated to interrupt her. Having helped her remove the last of
Jack's clothing, they bundled him in blankets. Jack was sleeping, his
breathing still labored. As he'd done countless times over the years,
Daniel settled into a wooden chair next to Jack's bedside, to keep his
He must have dozed off.
With a gentle tap, on his arm, Viviane woke him
and gestured to a tray of fruit and cheeses.
"You must eat. You will do your friend no good,
by becoming ill yourself."
She sounded just like Janet, which gave him
"There is fresh water in your goblet, as well."
She pulled up a stool, to keep him company, sharing his lunch,
Once they had eaten, Daniel could no longer
contain his natural curiosity.
"Thank you for helping Jack."
Viviane's answering smile was open and friendly,
so he felt free to question her further.
"What is the name of your city?"
"You are on the Isle of Apples. Our city is
called Avallo." She responded graciously.
"You are called Daniel?"
Viviane had listened carefully as the strangers
had talked amongst themselves. They had great respect and affection for
one another, as well as for their friend the O'Neill. She had found the
concern, this one showed for his friend particularly admirable.
"Do not worry so for O'Neill. I will heal him."
Her lilting voice reassured him. But, the name
for the city excited him.
"That is Celtic for Avalon! So your people are
His excited interest amused Viviane.
"Many years ago, our people fled through the
Womb of the Goddess. We fled a villain possessed by an evil spirit. A
small group of our people stayed behind in Dumnonia to destroy the entry
to the womb, so that he could no longer journey here and trouble us. We
have lived here in relative harmony, since that time."
She wondered if she should reveal all to this
gentle young man. She had eased into his mind while he slept, finding
him to be compassionate and trustworthy, a fierce warrior and protector
of his people. He and the O'Neill shared a bond older than time, a bond
stronger than that of a blood brother. She had known this soul before.
He had a questing mind and a vast knowledge of
her people's Earth history.
His help and understanding, could be useful in
her cause. But, after her accidental injury to the O'Neill, she
"It would seem that the people who stayed
behind, vanquished the villain and lived on. Their descendants still
live on the Isle of Britain."
He told her carefully, unsure of the reception
such information would have. When she seemed merely interested, he
continued his questioning.
"Did their leader have a name? What was the name
of the villain?"
Daniel could hardly contain his excitement. What
historian, or archeologist could? Dumnonia had been a considerable
kingdom in the southwest of England, after the Roman conquest.
"I may be able to tell you a bit about their
"Do you indeed know their fates? Our people have
long wondered. The possessed one was called Medrawt. It was his father
ArtGywr, who stayed behind to lead the others against him."
From his reaction, she could see that he did
know of their fate and it gladdened her heart.
Just then, Jack began to moan and thrash about,
calling for Daniel. His breathing was once again quite labored, his
chest retracting with each strangled breath. Viviane and Daniel, both
hastened to his side.
"I'm right here Jack." Daniel told him, leaning
close to look into his eyes.
Jack looked at Daniel blankly, panicked
confusion plainly written across his pale and gray, features. He
struggled to rise, but was too weak. Daniel assisted him, attempting to
facilitate his effort to breath and glanced up at Viviane, in
"He does not know you in his delirium." She told
him with sympathy. Moving closer to touch the O'Neill's forehead,
Viviane felt the burning heat from his raging fever.
"The herbs are not working as I had hoped. But
he is a strong man and I shall try another remedy."
As she spoke Viviane stroked Jack's brow.
Slowly, he quieted, falling back into sleep. Covering him with a blanket
once more, Viviane gently pushed Daniel aside, lost for a moment in
thought. Then, looking deeply into Daniel's eyes, she reassured herself
that he would not recoil in fear; and summoned her powers.
The air began to move, as if a breeze had blown
inside the closed room. A soft glowing light suddenly surrounded
Viviane, increasing in intensity, until she actually seemed to glow from
within. Reaching out, she pulled Jack into her embrace and he too began
to glow, both of them surrounded and engulfed, by the incandescent
Transfixed, Daniel could only stare in
amazement, as they both began to float above the bed.
Viviane murmured to Jack, in what Daniel
imagined, was old Celt. Slowly, the ragged sound of Jack's breathing
became less labored; his body relaxed and became limp. The glow
continued to grow brighter, until it blinded Daniel and filled his
vision completely, with white light.
The claxons began to blare and the chevrons to
lock, in the Gate Room of the SGC. General George Hammond rushed from
his office to the control room. What now? He wondered. No teams where
due back as yet. Nor was anyone due for radio contact at this hour.
Sergeant Walters sat tensely, awaiting a team
identification code, so that he could inform the General. If it was one
of the SG teams and they were under enemy fire, he'd need to react
quickly, in order to open the iris, an impenetrable barrier covering the
Gate, or those traveling through the wormhole would crash against it and
"Receiving SG-1's IDC Sir." He reported
promptly, his fingers at the ready on the controls.
"Open the iris. They have only been gone a
little over thirty hours."
General Hammond was savvy enough to know, early
contact meant that one, or all, of his premier team may be in serious
"Colonel O'Neill isn't due to check in till
1900. Notify Dr. Frazier to standby, Sergeant."
His worry deepening, he held his breath. Only
SG-1 could find trouble this often!
Major Carter and Teal'c, rushed through the
wormhole and down the ramp.
The General met them half way, as did the
diminutive volcano, known as Janet Frazier. The absence of Colonel
O'Neill and Dr, Jackson, heightened Hammond's concern.
"Report, Major. Where are Colonel O'Neill and
"Sir, Colonel O'Neill is gravely ill." Major
Carter told them, her worry evident in her tone.
"He somehow took a tumble into a pool of water
during the night and drowned!"
Noting the General's incredulous look, she
"We initiated CPR successfully. But despite his
initial recovery from that, I believe aspiration pneumonia has set in.
We had no choice but to leave him in the care of the locals, Sir and
gate home to get help. Request a medical team to return STAT."
"Understood, Major. I assume Dr. Jackson is with
him?" At her nod, he continued.
"We'll debrief quickly, while Dr. Frazier
collects her team and supplies." He instructed. Turning, he caught the
worried frown on the Doctor's competent face.
"Doctor, how soon can you be ready to
"Less than twenty minutes, Sir. With the
General's permission?" Janet Frazier was already moving toward the door.
Turning to the SF contingent, still at alert, he
"Stand down people. Major, Teal'c, in my
Janet Frasier rushed into the infirmary, to find
her competent charge nurse, Captain Kris Martin already gathering
"The Colonel is in trouble isn't he Ma'am?" Kris
asked her, he feelings for Jack O'Neill clearly reflected in her worried
tone and eyes.
Janet was momentarily startled. How had Kris
gotten wind of this so quickly?
Noting the Doctor's amazed expression, Kris
"I... That is... Well Ma'am, I had a dream last
night. In it the Colonel drowned." She explained, with mild
"So when the claxons started blaring and you
were called to the gate room, I had a gut feeling, that it may have been
more than just a dream."
She rushed on, not really caring if she sounded
slightly deranged. This was Jack they were discussing, her 'Hard Candy
Colonel,' and her friend. They'd become very close, ever since she had
acted as his aide, while he recovered from a serious injury. Now the two
had an almost supernatural affinity for one another. When her jeep had
broken down last month, leaving her stranded in the middle of nowhere,
with a dead cell phone, it had been Jack who'd found her. He had somehow
sensed something was up, saying later that he'd "had a hunch, so he took
Moreover, Kris seemed to understand the
Colonel's many moods, as well as his often, 'off the wall' sense of
humor; knowing just how to approach him, even when others were at a
Janet was aware of their blossoming friendship
and reliance on one another. Secretly, she wished she too could connect
on such a deep level with the enigmatic Colonel. Besides, she couldn't
ask for a better assistant in the field than Kris Martin.
"Alright Captain, glad to see you are on your
toes. Gear up, we have less than twenty minutes." Turning to the
corpsman nearby, she indicated he too should gear up for the rescue.
Twenty minutes to the second, after the
General's command was issued, Dr. Frasier, Captain Kris Martin and
corpsman Sam Dean, had assembled in the Gate Room, carrying essential
medical supplies and fully battle ready.
On the other side of the wormhole, Tristan
waited patiently for the warrior woman and her champion to return. He
found the woman, Samantha, intriguing. She had obviously earned the
respect and devotion of the men who traveled with her. There was no
doubt that her champion, the one called Teal'c, was a fierce warrior,
though he said little. His father had informed him of what little they
knew of the others, and he looked forward to meeting the O'Neill, as
well as his other traveling companion. He wondered what mysteries were
yet to be revealed.
The Womb dilated, pulling him from his reverie;
heralding the return of the warrior woman and her champion. They had
brought with them, another man and two women. Both of the women were
quite lovely. But it was the smaller of them, a petite redhead, with
large brown eyes, that caught his immediate attention. She carried
herself, with an air of quiet authority and determination, reminding him
of Viviane. He could see from her aura, that she was indeed a healer.
Stepping forward to bow slightly to her, he turned his attention back to
the warrior woman.
"You have returned most quickly, Major Carter.
We need to make haste, if we are to return to the city before night
Noting the agreement in her eyes, he led them
hurriedly onward, Samantha introducing the trio of new travelers to him
as they walked.
Journeys through the mist, always took longer
than he would have liked. But it was necessary, his Father had informed
him; and while he did not fully agree, he obeyed his Father's
Daniel's vision began to clear as soon as the
bright light faded. Jack was once again asleep on the bed; his color and
breathing, appeared to be normal once more.
Viviane was draped in obvious exhaustion, on the
chair by his side, gazing at Jack.
Daniel cleared his throat, gaining her
"Is he... Will he live? What...?"
"He is once again restored to full health,
Daniel. Now, we both must rest." Vivian told him, her voice trembling
Then, smiling at him with reassurance, she
promptly fell asleep in the chair.
Daniel was flabbergasted, his mind whirling!
Sinking down on the stool beside them both, he looked at his watch. He
estimated that almost two hours had flown by! 'How bizarre!' 'What had
just happened?' Unable to assimilate it all, he rested his head in his
hands, exhausted; finally succumbing to sleep.
Jack drifted up slowly from deep sleep, to the
state of semi-awareness, which just precedes awakening. He felt great,
relaxed and for once, refreshed. Usually, this was when his achy knee
reminded him he was no longer a youth, but, not today. His mind drifted
back to the dream he'd just left.
A gorgeous blonde had embraced him, her touch
sending waves of pleasure and contentment, through him. Much of the
dream escaped him, as most dreams do, but he had an impression he'd
known her before...just when he'd known her was still unclear. He
wondered, dreamily, who she was...
Then the memory of awful sensations returned.
The pain of slowly suffocating... The searing pain in his inflamed
Assailed by a jolt of full awareness, he awoke,
heart racing, as he remembered just how hard it had been to breath.
Trying to focus, he slowly sat up.
Daniel was asleep at his feet, his upper torso
half sprawled on the bed, his lower half, teetering on the edge of a
stool. The woman he'd dreamt about was asleep, draped in a nearby chair.
There was no denying that she was lovely. 'But, who the heck is she?' He
asked himself, feeling bewildered. 'Just where the heck are we?
"Daniel wake up!" He barked with annoyance. Jack
O'Neill did not do bewildered.
Daniel slowly roused from his nap.
"Jack? Hey, you're awake! How do you feel? You
had us very worried." Relief flooded his sleep-flushed features.
"I'm one hundred percent, I think Danny." He
replied, his mind still in a muddle.
Sometimes Daniel brought out the taciturn side
of Jack's nature. But, not today. No, Jack needed a few things cleared
up and pronto!
"Just what the hell has been going on? Who is
that woman? Where are we? Are we still in OZ?"
Daniel, unsure just where to begin, hesitated,
feeling off balance, and Jack lost his patience.
"For crying out loud Dr. Jackson, just tell me
what is going on?" He demanded acerbically, using his most intimidating
His outburst woke Viviane.
'Ah,' she thought, with a bemused smile. 'Some
things never change.'
"O'Neill, there is no need for concern, your
friends are quite safe." She told him, in a quiet and musical tone of
Jack returned his annoyed gaze to the woman. The
lilting tenor of her voice, both relaxed and intrigued him; and his
Sensing him begin to relax, she smiled
reassuringly at him, pleased that she had begun to relieve his
"You have been gravely ill. My brother Oberon
brought you here to our city, for healing. You are feeling fully
recovered, are you not?"
"That is good. Are you hungry? Thirsty? What
would you desire?"
Realizing for the first time, that underneath
the blanket, which had fallen away from his chest when he sat up, he was
completely naked, Jack flushed deeply.
Tilting his head toward Daniel, he pulled the
covering upward once more and replied.
"No offense intended Ma'am, but I need a few
words with the good Doctor Jackson here, first."
Jack really didn't wish to be rude to the woman,
but he hated to be kept in the dark. Right now what he needed most was
his uniform and an explanation!
Viviane nodded her understanding.
"I shall inform Oberon that you are awake and
return anon with food and drink."
With that, she left to give them privacy.
Jack watched her leave... Flashes of memory
flitted through his mind, making him feel he should remember something.
But, he was unable to capture more than a few vague images.
Turning back to Daniel, he waited for an
Abruptly, Daniel's radio began to click,
followed by the sound of Sam Carter's voice, distracting them both.
"Daniel, its Sam. We are almost to the top of
the Tor. Our ETA is fifteen minutes. I've got Janet with me. How is the
Before Daniel could respond, Jack grabbed the
"The Colonel is just peachy, Major." He reported
wryly. "Is Teal'c with you?"
Now at least he knew the location of the rest of
SG-1. Evidently, they'd gone to get old Doc Frasier. Just how long had he been
out of it? He must have been pretty far gone, if they'd gone to fetch
the good Doctor. CRAP!
"It is good to hear your voice, O'Neill." Teal'c
responded, relief in hearing O'Neill's sarcastic confirmation of health,
flooding his tone.
"We'll debrief when you arrive..." not precisely
sure where he was, Jack hesitated. "...O'Neill out." Jack clicked off the
radio and handed it back to Daniel.
"Alright Daniel, while you fill me in on just
where I am and what has been happening, you can get me my uniform."
His tone made it an order and not a request. He
was so not going
to let Carter and the others, catch him naked! Not if he could help it!
It made him feel vulnerable, for crying out loud!
"Ah Jack...well your uniform, we ah... we had to cut
it off you... sorry. Sam is bringing you a fresh one." Daniel waited for
the outburst he knew this news would bring, with a half grin. Finding it
somehow endearing, that a battle hardened and jaded, old soldier and
adventurer, like Jack, could still be embarrassed by his own nudity.
Besides, he found Jack's 'squirming' amusing.
"Really couldn't be helped Jack. Besides, it's
not like it is the first time we've seen you in this state of dress. Or
should I say undress?" He couldn't help rubbing it in. Usually it was
Daniel, who bore the brunt of Jack's teasing.
Jack decided to let Daniel have his fun. What
could he do about it anyway?
Wrapping the blanket more securely around
himself and, collecting what dignity he could, he changed tactics.
"O.K. Then, start filling me in. Number one,
just where are we?"
"Not funny, Daniel." Jack was not in the mood
"Really Jack, this is Avalon. At least, I think
it is. The Faer Folk call it Avallo, which is Celt, for Avalon."
This was an exciting discovery! The myth of
Avalon was a fact and Daniel Jackson couldn't wait to share the truth
'Uh oh.' Jack knew that tone and expression, all
too well. Daniel was so not joking. He pinched himself; just to
be sure he was not still asleep. Ouch! He was all too awake and this was
"Alright, so the name of their city is Avalon.
That doesn't prove anything. It may be a coincidence." Yet Jack felt a
tremor of recognition in his soul.
That creepy feeling at the back of his neck was
starting to nag at him once more.
Daniel, undaunted by Jack's cynicism, continued
"Viviane told me a little about the history of
her peoples' arrival here through the Stargate. She said they fled here
to escape a villain, who was possessed by an evil spirit. Some of her
people stayed behind, to destroy the other Gate and vanquish that
Barely taking a breath Daniel rushed on.
"That villain was called Medrawt, and it was his
father ArtGywr, who stayed behind to do battle with him. Jack, those are
old welsh derivates of the names Mordred and Arthur!"
'Some day Daniel's head is going to explode just
from the sheer volume of knowledge trying to escape it,' Jack thought.
But, Jack needed more information, before he was
willing to jump to the same conclusion, which had so wired his young
"Slow down, Danny. Now, tell me just who this
"Oh, she's the woman who just left us. She is
the healer who healed you, Jack. Which was just so amazing, I cannot
even begin to describe exactly what it was she did."
Daniel's face reflected awe and wonder, as well
"Maybe I should wait for Sam and Janet, before I
try explaining all this further. It will save time and they may
understand some of this better than I do." His tone had an almost
pleading quality. "It was just so...miraculous, is the only word that
comes to my mind, Jack!"
Jack sighed, suddenly feeling very tired.
When Daniel Jackson, passionate speechmaker and
lecturer, was at a loss for words it only spelled one word for Jack;
"Alright, Daniel. I'm going to take a wee nap.
Poke me, when they get here." Jack told him wearily.
Lying back on the bed, he closed his eyes and
covered his face with his left arm. Which in the language of Jack
O'Neill, meant 'no more talking, I need to be alone for a while.'
Daniel bit back a retort. After all, Jack had
just had a rough day. Plus, he never did enjoy the same enthusiasm for
discovery, which he and Sam shared.
Deciding to give Jack the time and space, he
needed to assimilate all he had been told, Daniel left him, and hurried
off to meet the others.
Viviane found Oberon, in his chambers, with the
rest of the high council. They were gathered around a large oval shaped
table, comprised of one solid piece of oak. The table was inlaid with
other pieces of polished wood, in various colors, depicting scenes from
the history of the Faer Folk.
'The young man Daniel will be most excited to
see this hall,' she thought. The walls were hung with rich tapestries,
depicting additional stories from her people's oral tradition.
"What news, Viviane? Is The Pendragon the one we
have so long awaited? Is he Taliesin of the Myrddin? His aura would seem
to indicate that this is indeed so."
Oberon felt the tension of the other councilors.
They too had patiently awaited Viviane's news, having no doubt that
despite O'Neill's grave illness; Viviane would return him to full
"He is once again hail and hearty."
As the collective group sighed, she
"While he slept, I dream walked with him. He is
our own Taliesin reborn."
Seeing the dawning hope in their faces she
"Unfortunately, he is unaware of his identity,
or his powers. It would seem, that the folk of Earth no longer adhere to
the old ways. We have become mere elements of myths and legends. The
young are no longer taught to tap their inner power, or that of the
The assembly gasped, in disbelief, at her
"However, O'Neill's power is very strong. It
will take only a small amount of teaching, from us, to bring it to the
fore. Unbeknownst to him, he already taps into many of his talents
"What of the others?" Oberon was concerned. If
these people did not believe in the elements and inner powers, they may
prove difficult. Thus, preventing the Faer Folk from enhancing O'Neill's
natural use of his gifts.
"The young one, Daniel, is also one of our
At that moment, Viviane choose not to reveal all
she knew of the man called Daniel to the council. She was still
uncertain just what role he played in the life of the O'Neill. And just
what affect their relationship would mean to her people's plans for him.
She chose instead to present Daniel as possible
"He is more open to new ideas and teaching. He
and the O'Neill are closely connected. Their bond is that of brothers,
as well as friends. And his understanding will help insure the
cooperation of the others."
Daniel hurried to meet the rescue party,
disappointed that Jack had been so unenthusiastic. He never gave up the
hope, that one day Jack would share his excitement in discovering that a
myth could be based on a reality.
Daniel knew Jack had an imagination. His uncanny
ability to relate to children, reflected that regularly. Not to mention,
his insanely sarcastic sense of humor. But, he always hid behind the big
bad dense Colonel façade. It irked Daniel sometimes. Well, at least he
could count on Sam's understanding and interest, in all he had learned
Sam took point along with Tristan. She admired
the man's ability to maneuver through the dense mist; he was both
helpful and charming. But, she sensed he was hiding something, which
disturbed her. He seemed so young; it was difficult to guess the ages of
any of these people and maybe, that had her spooked as well. After the
short radio interplay with the Colonel, they had picked up the pace.
Janet hurried along silently. She was anxious to
see for herself, that her most unwilling, but all too frequent patient,
was indeed fully restored to health. If Sam's description was accurate,
the Colonel should still be gravely ill. So how was it he'd been
restored, to what sounded like, full health in so short an interval?
Kris Martin was likewise amazed. But the
sarcastic voice she'd heard over the radio not too long ago, seemed to
indicate that Jack was once again his old self. It was odd, but as soon
as they had come through the wormhole, she'd felt relaxed and confident.
Somehow, she knew without a doubt, that Jack was already on the mend.
She supposed she should be spooked by this fact. But this 'unspoken
communication' with the Colonel, had been growing for sometime now and
they both had quietly decided to accept it.
Teal'c covered their six. He was most disturbed
by his inability to see much of the terrain through the mist. It would
be difficult to find their way back to the Stargate quickly, should the
need arise. A fact he knew would displease O'Neill greatly.
Daniel met them, as soon as they entered the
city's perimeter, with thinly concealed excitement.
"I am so glad to see you guys! You will never
believe what has happened, or what I have learned."
Catching Sam's cautioning gaze, he stopped
himself from spilling forth the entire saga of the day's events, with
chagrin, falling into step beside Sam silently.
Tristan gave no indication of what he thought of
Daniel's sudden silence. But, once they entered the city proper, he and
the rest of the Faer Folk, drifted away.
As soon as they were alone, Daniel filled in the
rest of SG-1and the rescue party, with unabashed enthusiasm, as they
walked to the Temple to see Jack. As usual T's only response was a
lifted eyebrow. Janet, Kris and Sam Dean, remained preoccupied with
their concern over the Colonel. While Sam, who had been listening
intently, responded thoughfully.
"Daniel, I have to agree with the Colonel. We
need a great deal more information, before we jump to the conclusion,
that we are talking about the King Arthur Saga." Sam told him gently.
At his crestfallen look, she added, "But it sure
does seem like there is a connection."
'Ah good,' she thought, seeing him smile, his
patented wry half grin of concession. Now, they could check in with the
Colonel. The past hours of haste and stress, had taken a toll on her
nerves. She needed to see for herself, that he really was recovered.
Janet Frasier had tolerated Daniel's excitement,
about their hosts long enough. Frankly, after several hours of dread,
she was reining in her impatience. She needed to see for herself that
the Colonel was really all right. From the details she had been told
about his rapid deterioration, it sounded like he'd developed
Aspiration of irritants, like the silt of a
stagnant pond, could cause significant irritation to the fragile lining,
of even the healthiest of lung tissues. Pneumonia was bad enough, but
pneumonitis was a far more difficult infection to treat, due to the
gross trauma it caused to the delicate lining of the bronchiole
"Daniel, I want a full report on just what this
healer did to the Colonel. What kind of herbs did she use? From what Sam
and Teal'c have already told me, it seems unbelievable that he is fully
"Well, unbelievable would be a pretty good word
to describe what I've seen here, Janet. But, I think it will be easier
to fill Jack in at the same time. I haven't explained it to him yet,
either. We thought a group debriefing would be more efficient."
He had to agreed with Jack on that point, at
least. Leading them to the antechamber Jack currently occupied, he
stopped talking as they ran into Viviane.
Realizing they had not as yet been formally
introduced. Daniel introduced the healer to the rescue party. Bowing
slightly she smiled. Then she excused herself, with the explanation that
she would see to refreshments for them all. As one, they stopped to
watch her drift away, fascinated by her grace, and then moved on to see
They found him deeply asleep. From his mumblings
and thrashing about, they deduced he was in the throes of a nightmare of
some kind. Janet shook her head no, to Daniel's unasked question
regarding waking him from the dream and, with a gesture; she cleared the
small room of all but herself. She had witnessed the Colonel's nocturnal
wrestling before and understood, he would wish for no witnesses. She
also knew, it was extremely dangerous to attempt to rouse him, when he
was so far in slumber, and settled down at his side in a chair, to watch
over him and wait.
Despite his intention to just grab a quick nap,
Jack had drifted off to sleep.
He dreamed he was in a forest and a battle was
going on. The combatants wore hose and tunics; similar to the ones he
had seen Oberon wearing. But, they also wore leather armor and helmets,
inlaid with bits of metal. Many were on horseback and engaged each other
Judging by the gold metal adorning their armor,
two of the warriors appeared to be opposing leaders. One fought with a
sword that caught the waning sun's last rays, in a harsh shaft of light.
He'd lost his helmet in the ensuing battle and Jack could see he was an
older man, his hair a cloud of silver, tangled about his bloodied face.
The other combatant seemed younger, his red locks escaping from under
his helm, as he battered his opponent with a battle-axe.
Abruptly, the axe wielder knocked the swordsman,
from his horse. But, the downed man reagined his footing quickly and
with a gesture, enticed his opponent to join him on the ground. The axe
man, leaped from his saddle and the battle continued savagely. The
swordsman received a vicious blow to his shoulder that despite his parry
opened it to the bone. But, after he parried, he lunged and ran his
sword through the axe man's abdomen, impaling him upon it.
Jack found himself dispatching the axe man with
his dirk, and then he was kneeling at the side of the swordsman.
Supporting the dying man, the blood from the man's mortal wound now
covering them both.
"Taliesin. Last of the Myrddin, my friend, our
people's survival rests upon you. Lead them well. Protect them. Let no
harm befall them. You must be sure to destroy the entry to the womb. The
evil ones must not find our people." The dying man gasped with
Jack, felt the overwhelming sorrow of the loss
of a man of greatness, and his best friend.
"I will ArthGwr, you have my pledge that it will
"Then, I die easy, my friend. We will meet
again, you and I. Our spirits will not rest, till we are once again
united with our people, farewell."
That having been said, he died. Jack nee
Taliesin bowed his head and wept, broken hearted.
The dream began to fade. But, the sense that he
had accomplished only a portion of his mission did not. Jack floated in
the hazy half-awake state, where dreams are so vivid and he easily
remembered it. Piecing together what little he knew about the last few
days, he had a growing sense of unease and de-ja vu.
Slowly, as his senses began to focus on his
surroundings, Jack became aware that he was not alone. Someone was
nearby. From the light scent of that person, he recognized his friend,
sometime protector and oft times Napoleonic Power Monger, Dr. Janet
Frasier. He was surprised at first, that she was not peeling back his
eyelids to point the ever-hated penlight into his eyes. But, he quickly
realized that her hesitance to touch him when he first awoke, generally
indicated, that he had been active in his sleep.
Sighing slightly, he worried that he had perhaps
struck out at her, and slowly opened his eyes.
Jack stared with quiet intensity into Janet's
eyes. His unspoken concern clearly etched on his handsome face. Her
smile and a slight shake of her head, answered his question no, so he
relaxed. Embarrassed by the tears still drying on his cheeks, he
resorted as usual, to goofy humor.
"Eh, what's up Doc?"
'Now that is the Colonel O'Neill we all know and
love,' Janet thought, schooling her relief into an air of professional
"I'm still in the dark about that, Colonel. We
are all still waiting for some kind of explanation, from either
yourself, or Daniel. From what little I do know, you were gravely ill.
Both Sam and Teal'c were convinced that I needed to get here to treat
you as soon as possible. I'd like to examine you first, then call the
others in, so we can discuss just what is going on."
As she spoke, she had begun taking his pulse,
then continued with her usual thorough examination, much to his
Her stern expression, warned him that no amount
of cajoling, would sway her so he endured it like a good little soldier and
settled for muttering under his breath. "Napoleonic Power Monger! Oh God
not, the penlight! Crap!"
On to Part II