The Lost Ones
Karen Galarneault

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and all related, events, concepts, and
characters belong to their respective creators. They are not mine and
are not used for profit; no money is from this. They are the property
of Gekko Films, LTD, MCA Studios, and the Fox Network. They are only
used for entertainment purposes. You know the drill. Slightly AU, so
Iím not entirely positive where in series continuity this would fit
into, but probably shortly after the 4th season episode "Hathor".
Disclaimer 2: Highlander: the Series and all related characters,
events, and concepts belong to Rysher Television, Panzer/Davis
Productions. The pretend Methos who appears in the story is actually
in reference to the character that was in the season 5 episode "The
Messenger".

Note: This is a rather belated combination response to several story
challenges that were posted on the message board for the Seventh
Dimensionís Fan fiction Highlander Archive. <Indicates thoughts>
Although it takes place in roughly the same universe as my previous
story: "Echoes." It can stand alone without having to read the
previous story. 

The Lost Ones by Karen


Prologue

Peach streaked with Rose Those were the first words that came to mind
as the last streak of sunset washed over the ground where the obelisk
squarely sat in the middle of the track of his life. Squaring his
shoulders, the man tossed the long black hair worn in a loose tail
down his back and looked out over the landscape. He had an excellent
vantage point standing atop the summit of the tallest hill for
kilometers around. Things had been different once; the village and it
surrounding neighbors had lived in peace. He shifted his gaze from the
ridge to the sky, watching the sun complete its travel down to the
ocean and disappear. He stuffed his hands into the pockets sewn into
his gray robes and awaited the arrival of the rest of the Immortal
Council. The wait seemed longer than it actually was. With the sun
going down it was impossible to judge the exact time of night since
the first early warning sings came to his people in the form of smoke
and fire.

íMurmuring of the priests acting as intermediaries for their Gods;
The signs of imminent doom are all shouting loud and clear, to be seen
by anyone possessing the knowledge to do so, or the desire
to.í> he thought with a quick shake of a dark head and a
grimace of disgust twisting his wide mouth into a sneer. Just then he
was distracted by his gloomy thoughts as the remaining Council members
climbed up to the summit and greeted him by name given to him:
"Methos." The man thus addressed extended out his arms and to the
other Council Member and clasped him around his forearms. 

They stood locked together for a while, and broken the grip with a nod
of acknowledgement. "Thoth." "Methos." "Shall we begin?" a womanís
voice asked, sounding annoyed. "Sekhmet," Thoth said a warning note in
his voice, his dark hair thinning around his scalp.

Sekhmet, either pretending to be oblivious of the implied warning,
ignored him, and casually reached up to remove the lion-headed mask
that she wore in honor of her adopted namesake. With the mask removed
her face was revealed; narrow chiseled features, black hair swept up
in, its ebony strands marred only by a silver slash that drooped down
over her dark eyes. She turned the mask over hands, the fingers
tapered and colored with a blood red lacquer. She alternated her fixed
stare between the two men watching her, and the mask and then dropped
it to the ground. "A bit much, wouldnít you agree?"

"We have had to put up with your theatrics, woman, in the council
sessions. Now, that all members have agreed that the Gouíald represent
a threat to our civilization, it may be far too late to finally take
action," Thoth replied.

"Thoth, dear boy," Sekhmet purred, "Do not tell me that you suspect a
spy on the Immortal Council?"

"Not a spy, just someone too afraid of his own shadow," Methos
interrupted. "You said yourself that we be acting too late to affect
any meaningful change. I concur with you brother, Thoth. We are all
resolved to accomplish this, then I for one, say let us get on with
it!"

***

The moon had just emerged showing a luminous face at a half full, the
bright spill of light on the rocks and sparse shrub brush clinging to
the mountainís stony skin. Approaching the rock wall, Sekhmet reached
out a hand and thrust aside the clinging shrubbery, swearing under her
breath as a thorn pierced her skin. Yanking with more force than was
strictly necessary, she activated the hidden lever and a stone door
swung ponderously open. Entering the hidden chamber and allowing the
door to slam close up just until the point to allow a shaft of
moonlight to seep through. Torches were lit high up along either wall
of the chamber providing additional illumination Sekhmet went directly
to the far wall where hundreds of clear glass boxes lay in orderly
rows, each one containing the body of the their people. "Are you
certain this is only course of action?" she tossed over her shoulder
at Thoth. "If it is not, itís far too late to back out now." 

Thoth nodded, and rummaged in the pouch slung around his waist,
removing another smaller cloth bag which contained an incense stick,
and a pouch of the lighter. The stone streaked with the same colors
streaking the dawn sky. From another pouch he removed something
remarkably similar to a cameo brooch carved with a triple-pronged
image surmounting a slender tree trunk. "The trefoil."

"Three of us, three points on the trefoil," Sekhmet murmured. "It
makes sense." With that she strode forward farther along the plateau
of the mountain not deigning to glance over her shoulder to see if the
men would follow her, or if they were at all put out that she had
taken the investigative. She neednít have worried, they were right
behind her, almost treading on her heels.

She nodded and proceeded to encode the final glyphs into the console
embedded into the metal surface, its raised face warm to the touch, a
dull throb filling the chamber like the beat of her heart activating
the cryogenic system and praying to a higher deity that she did not
believe in, that this would save their people from the Gouíald, or
worse from oblivion.



Scene 2

Denver, Colorado present day

The iris of the Gate cycled open like the many-lidded eye of an
enormous sea-going whale, along with the electronic hum of metal
circuitry and technology seamlessly working in harmony might as well
have served as its own counterpoint. The arrival of the SG-1 team was
announced by the ring of technicians arranged in a loose semi-circle
in the center of the enormous room that had at one time served as an
Army Air Force hanger bay. The first object through and down the ramp
was the metal probe that appeared to be nothing more than a slightly
squat television screen mounted on wheels. It rolled it way down and
came to a halt directly in front of General Hammond. 

"Welcome, home." General Hammond, his uniform spotless and pressed,
and anyone who did not know him well would think that this was always
the case. He turned his body slightly, the tension he had been
bottling up showing in the lines of his torso. With a nod of his head,
he glanced at the technician responsible for matching up the chevrons
sigils carved into the Gateís overhead arches. 

"Good to be back, Sir." Colonel Jack OíNeil saluted his commanding
officer while with a determined stride he descended the ramp, keeping
one eye on TealíC and his reluctant and stubborn prisoner.

The prisonerís skin was as pale as the underbelly of a dead fish, so
that it was almost ivory. <"Not surprising after spending
hundreds of years literally frozen in time"> Major Samantha
Carter thought to herself.. The prisonerís mouth was wide and twisted
in a permanent sneer, as if he thought quite well of himself. His eyes
were blue and he wore his dark hair to almost shoulder length.




"Who is that?" Hammond demanded, gesturing a thumb at the black-haired
man lagging behind the others, his wrists crossed in front of him and
encircled with metal restraints. 

"Calls himself Methos, Sir." Major Samantha Carter shook her head; her
blue eyes narrowed at darted daggers at the man they had found huddled
inside a hidden cave. Tilting her blond head to one side, she mulled
recent events over for a few seconds, raking her gaze over the slender
form of the strange man. They had gone on the mission and things have
run almost according to standard operating procedure. 

"A mystery for another time," Hammond said. "Get everyone cleaned up,
and then I want you all to meet in the Conference Room for a mission
debriefing ASAP," Hammond ordered.

"Acknowledged, Sir," OíNeil said.



Scene 3 

Later

"All right, people, letís get started," Hammond began once every
convened in the conference chamber and took their accustomed places.
Hammond stood at the head of the table, beside the plasma screen
computer monitor mounted onto the wall, hanging in the only available
space was a star chart, red lines connecting all the bright points of
light that indicated star systems and planets already documented by
the various SG teams. Blue lights showed areas that had yet to be
explored and encoded in the baseĎs databases as viable dial-up
locations that could be safely reached through their local Star Gate.

"All but one of the stasis units were in operation," she added aloud.
<Which is odd enough in itself but it bothered her no end that
after several centuries, how this one man had managed to survive when
all the others of his race perished. >

"One thing I donít understand if it that cryogenic chamber was a
Gouíald project why abandon everything else but leave that one area
untouched?" Doctor Daniel Jackson added.

"Youíd think the guls would just stay with whatís worked for
centuries, those Sarcophaguses. Itís not their usual modus operandi, "
OíNeil said. "In fact, Iím getting to the point where Iím used to them
by now. Any departure from the norm makes me nervous."

"We arrived at the designated coordinates exactly on schedule." Carter
began. "The place had been abandoned and did not appear to be a recent
evacuation."

"Any signs of a struggle, or some other natural disaster?" Hammond
asked.

"I couldnĎt say for sure," Carter replied. "It appeared the planet had
suffered from centuries of naturally occurring disasters; such as
floods, earthquakes. I detected a history of seismic activity. 

"Iím not sure what period of time or type of civilization that would
have taken place, but it was not any time in the recent past," Daniel
Jackson added. "We found this pottery shard with the symbol of a
trefoil carved onto it. I havenít had the opportunity to do any carbon
dating on the pottery shard that incorporated elements of Egyptian
mythology. The barbed trefoil."

"Itís similar to the symbol adopted by the medical field, the symbol
of Mercury, except snakes wrapped around the center. So, what have got
here?" OíNeil asked.

"I lied," Methos whispered.

"About what," Hammond sighed. "My name isnít really Methos, itís
Thoth."

"Why pretend to be someone else?" Jackson asked, puzzled by the manís
reaction to the presence of the trefoil. He racked his memory for
where he come across the name Thoth before. "In Egyptian mythology
Thoth was minor god with the head of an ibis bird. 

"Iím no expert, but wasnít he credited for inventing the spoken and
written language," Carter asked.

Daniel nodded in, staring at the stranger. "He was the scribe of the
god and patron of all scribes. As lord of the books he was the royal
astronomer, mathematician, and keeper of all knowledge. Rather
arrogant of some folks to name their kid after him."

"It was easier." he shrugged, and swallowed a sip of water from the
glass sitting in front of him.

Daniel Jackson shifted in his seat, wondering where he heard the name
Methos trying to put the puzzle pieces together so it would form into
a complete picture. He hard the name in connection with several
archeological digs and scholarly essays that had been published almost
immediately after the a team of scientists and professors from both
the United States and Germany had uncovered the alien artifact fact in
Egypt. Admittedly it was before his time, during the 1940ís, and he
would not even have been involved in the project if not for being
contacted for his expertise in translating Egyptian glyphs. While he
hated to admit that there were times when even he was stumped when
confronted with a mystery or obscure glyph that he couldnít translate
himself with his knowledge and research material available to him. He
had often had to contact a research associate at the Museum of
Egyptian Antiquities in Upper Pacific Coast, a fellow by the name of
Adam Pierson. He had been out of touch lately with friends and
colleagues in the academic world for some time now. He worried the
bits and pieces, mentally shuffling them around as he would a real
jigsaw puzzle, until they formed themselves into a cohesive whole,
when it clicked.

He remembered that Adam Piersonís latest project had something to do
involving a chronicle of a fellow called Methos. "<What are the
odds that theyíre one and the same person." The idea of a Watchers
Council, I donít know if like the Illuminati, or some of governing
body to maintain a checks and balance system like the government has,
all the same, itís an intriguing idea." Daniel thought to himself,
when he felt a sharp jab in his side as Major Carter nudged to bring
his wandering attention back on the task at hand.

"A few more things on the agenda," Hammond added. "Thereís something
else I want your team to investigate further."

"You are aware that after Hathorís short investiture here, the Gouíald
have gained access to some of our more vulnerable military
intelligence. As a result other System Lords have used that knowledge
to infiltrate our base, and managed to integrate themselves into human
society here on Earth."

"Iím going with you," Methos burst out, his breath catching in his
throat. In the back of his mind, he wondered if this supposed Gouíald
was whom he suspected it was, and if so, if he would recognize him.
"I told everyone I was Methos, and for it while it was fun to
pretend. The real Methos left us long ago came to this world called
Earth. He was the one who helped to uncover the Stargate present on
this world. Not me. What will happen to me when they discover that I
am an imposter? All those centuries, alone, with no one to talk to. It
was far better to pretend to be someone Iím not, then just be plain
old Thoth."

"Absolutely not," General Hammond began, folding his arm across his
chest.

TealíC shifted his intent gaze from one speaker to the other,
concentrating and absorbing what was being said. Trained from a very
younger age to stoically ignore any discomforts of extreme heat or
cold, or aches of the body, he dismissed the buzzing that began at the
base of his skull and slowly wrapped its way around his head much like
a snake wrapping its coils around its prey. He squirmed in his seat,
wondering if anyone noticed his restlessness. No one did. A quick
spasm of pain crossed his features. He wrinkled his brow, the gold
sigil tattooed into his forehead which made the lines crease even
deeper. He leaned back in his chair, the fingers of both hands clasped
in front of him. Another spasm took hold on, stronger than the last,
Tealíc felt sweat drip down his back and with a slow, sleepy feeling,
he slid from his seat to the floor. The last conscious thought he had
before succumbing to the blackness was: "I should have dodged that
last energy blast."

OíNeil contacted Dr. Frasier via the base intercom system, "Dr. weíve
got a medical emergency, Tealís ís collapsed. Weíre sending him over
right away."

Her voice slightly muffled by the intercom static, "Understood. Iíll
be expecting you."

Scene 4

Dr. Janet Fraiser almost vaulted herself out of her desk chair, as
TealíC was wheeled into the medical ward on a metal gurney itís wheel
squealing on the metal floor every time it turned a corner. She glided
over, issuing orders to the nurses and medical assistants, to make her
patient comfortable on the examining table. He pulse was racing, and
he was unconscious. TealíC was not a small man, and his long legs
dangled over the far edge. With a stethoscope in hand, and his medical
chart in the other, she ran it over him, shouting out orders to the
nurses to bring the file on his unique physiology up on one of the
nearby computer monitors. He was a Jaffa, with almost identical
systems and vital stats to those of a human from Earth, except for the
presence of the symbiote. "What happened?" she demanded of the room in
general.

"He collapsed during the post mission briefing," OíNeil replied,
trying to find an out-of the way spot to observe the proceedings
without actually getting in the way.

"A quarter CC of tetrachloride, and administer it at the base of his
neck, that might bring him around, or at the least stabilize his
neural system."

The nurse did as she was told, and the hiss of air escaping from the
pneumatic device sounds loud and jarring in the hush of the examining
room. "I donít understand, The symbiote is supposed to be heal any
injury, compensate for almost any attack on his central nervous system
or immune system," 

"Dr. Frasier," the nurse said, her voice breaking, "Heís beginning to
flat line!"

"What the hell!" Fraiser yelled. "We had him stabilized, whatís
causing it?"

"Heís dying," Fraiser whispered, her head drooping. "Are there isnít a
damn thing I can do about it."

"Snap out of it!" OíNeil shouted, gliding over so he was standing
beside her, "Youíre a doctor, damn it! Think of something!" He grasped
her by her shoulders and nearly shaking her until the teeth rattled in
her head.

"Okay, okay," she managed to get out. "Let me go and stop shaking me.
The only thing I can think of is to perform an operation to remove the
symbioticÖ."

"Wait a minute, that will kill him as surely as the pain from the
injuries heís already sustained! Carter shouted.

"I know itís radical, but it might be his only chance. Whatever we did
this time it having a negative affect on the both the host and the
symbiotic. Itís as if theyíre no longer compatibleÖ"

"Youíre saying both the host and the symbiont are fighting for control
of his body?" Carter asked, remembering when she too had been in a
similar situation. "We should ask what he thinks of all this," she
said aloud. "Heís unconscious, and I donít think I can bring him
around long enough for us to ask if he wants the symbiotic removed,"
Fraiser snapped. "Ordinarily, I wouldnít even consider suggesting such
a thing, but under the circumstances I believe we donít have a
choice."

"Agreed," Carter said. I donít have to like it, but youíre right. It
is the only way."

"I will not let a member of my team die on my watch!" Docotor Fraiser
said, and set her jaw, bending down to run a whole battery of tests in
a flurry of motion.

"Itís agreed then, that weíre going through with this? Good. Then I
want everyone to clear out of here," she added, waving her arms in a
shooing motion. "Go, goÖ"

"Weíll wait outside," OíNeil agreed, backing out of the room, yanking
Daniel by the arm followed by Major Carter. They got as far as the
hallway and OíNeil began pacing up and down its length. "What the hell
was I thinking when I agreed to this?" he muttered under his breath.
The other two just watched, and privately wondered what would happen
to their friend now.

***

Making certain that they wouldnít come back in to the emergency room, 

Doctor Fraiser went over to the sink and began rinsing her hands with
soap and water, issuing instructions over her shoulder to the aides,
to begin doing the same and providing the patient with anesthesia. 

With that done, she went through the procedure of checking that her
surgical instruments, lying a silver metal row on the equipment tray,
were completely sterile. Satisfied that they were. she donned a pair
of blue surgical scrubs and a white mask to cover the lower half of
her face. She squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. The
preparations were in place and the stage was set, there was nothing
for it now than to plunge right in. The aide had removed Tealíc jacket
and shirt, to expose his muscled chest, the bronze almost honey
colored skin seemingly lacking its usual healthy sheen.

"Anesthesia administered," she asked the technician

"Yes, Maíam."

"Scalpel." Accepting the instrument from the nurseís outstretched
palm, Dr. Frasier brought the scalpel level with his stomach and began
to slide the cutting edge of the blade in parallel arcs from left to
right making shallow incisions along the bodyís natural lines, careful
not hit bone or draw blood. That was inevitable, as parallel streaks
of blood began leaking from the incisions, The aide stepped forward to
dab at them with a sponge, with another aide standing by with the
requisite three pints of blood in case he patient should need a
transfusion. 

The incision completed she motioned for the instrument to extract the
symbiotic. Instrument in hand, she inserted into his stomach,
alternating her the focus of her concentration from the computerís x-
ray screen, where she could see it displayed, and contrasting that
with what she saw with her own senses, careful to distinguish between
the parasitic gul wrapped around his stomachís interior and his actual
internal organs. In the back of her mind she realized that could
arguably be considered one of the most delicate operations she had
ever performed. She probed deeper feeling the symbiotic resist, and
squirm unpleasantly. She wrapped the instrument around the parasite,
making sure it would come free when she pulled it out

Janet kept going, pushing aside things like fatigue, worry, and
nerves, settling into the familiar routine of an emergency operation.
Ignoring the sweat that run an in unpleasantly warm trickled down her
back and made her brown hair plaster to her face.

Once she had it all, she slowly backed out along the path she had
already created and removed the symbiotic. With A curt nod, she
indicated that the nurse place the symbiont in the glass jar prepared
to receive it, the ambiotic fluid silvery in the dim lighting of the
emergency room. 

Heaving a sigh of relief that Tealícís vital signs were still
registering, she motioned for the surgical needle and thread and began
with pain-stabbing delicate motions to sew up and knit together his
skin where she had made her incisions. 




*

Scene 5

Afterwards

Four hours later the nurse straightened up and then went over to the
sink to watch her hands. That task accomplished she glided over to the
door, and opened a crack, just long enough to stick her head out and
tell the members of the Sg-1 team that they could come inside again.
"How is he?" OíNeil demanded, squeezing past her. "Best you see for
yourself, Sir." 

TealíC sat up on the operating table, his vision blurry and a vague
tingling spreading throughout his body. It was an odd sensation. One
he had never felt before. For a moment there it was as if his
consciousness were leaving the flesh and blood vessel of his body,
while it went off to explore another realm, but with an almost audible
yank it was brought back. "Did I have a near-death experience?
He thought to himself. "Where am I?" he asked, staring around the
room, seeing peopleís faces swim in and out of his consciousness.

"You collapsed, then blacked out. The disorientation and dizziness
youíre experiencing right now, is normal after a lengthy surgery."

"Surgery?"

"The injuries you sustained during the mission were extensive," Dr.
Frasier replied. "In order to stave off the spread of the infection,
and because the symbiotic and your system fighting each other, I had
to remove the symbiotic."

Daniel paused to gather his thoughts, taking a deep breath he said:
"What I donít understand how he could be dying of a simple energy
blasts from one of the Jaffaís energy spears." 

"You should understand, Daniel. Iíve lost count of how many times
youíve gone through the Gouíald rejuvenating Sarcophaguses," Jack
replied.

"Iím not certain what just happened here." Dr. Fraiser straightened up
from where she had been scanning the information scrolling across her
computer screen. She whirled around, clipboard in hand with the
matching charts of known physiological traits of both the Jaffaí and
the Gouíald. She had been with the SG command long enough to be aware
that although humans and the different races they come across on the
planets either inhabited or enslaved by the parasitic aliens, the
Gouíald; they were existed some very real fundamental differences in
the genetic makeup of TealíCís people. The fact remained that he had
managed for years to keep his own personality intact, even although
the symbiote was still present and aware inside of him. Up until now,
it had been pretty much a given that he could not survive for long if
the symbiotic were removed from his body. He had a very difficult
decision to make and it wouldnít be easy for him to accept it either. 

"True, but the gul that TealíC has, excuse me, had, worked in a
similar manner," Daniel said.

"General," O"Neil said, speaking into his com-badge, "You had better
get in here, Sir. This is something you have to see with your own
eyes. Iíve seen it, and Iím not sure I believe it."

"What is it, Colonel?" 

"Youíll see when you get here."

***

"Heís dead, but heís not dead," Jackson said, once Hammond had
arrived.

"Letís pretend," Hammond said, raising a hand to stem the tide of
arguments," that for the sake of argument, that Iím following all of
this. Are you saying that TealíC died upon removal of the gul?"

"Thatís exactly what Iím saying, Sir," Dr. Frasier nodded. 

"Heís looks very much alive to me," Hammond replied, turning to
address the patient lying in the bed of the military convalescent ward
of the base. "How do you feel, son?" 

"The host is supposed to die after, right?" Jackson asked.



"Right, he did, and he didnít." Dr. Frasier replied, staring at the
vital signs that fluctuated wildly.

"I died, Doctor," TealíC murmured, sitting up straight in the bed. "I
do not understand, OĎNeil. How can I still be alive when I am dead?".

"Neither do I," she muttered.

ĎI might be able to help with that. Everyone better make themselves
comfortable for what I have to say is going to sound rather strange,"
Methos said, dragging over a folding metal chair stacked by the near
wall. "This might take a while, and Iím really not sure where to
beginÖ"he trailed off.

"All I want to know if Tealícís fit to return to duty," OíNeil griped.

"How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough," Thoth replied.

"This had better be good," OíNeil warned.

"Well, Itís like this. Iím not really certain that youíll understand
Actually, on second thought it be easier to show you. The man who now
called himself Thoth, turned to Doctor Frasier. "Doctor, might I
borrow something sharp?"

"Depends on what you want to use it for." handing him a blade with a
serrated edge. Freshly washed with antiseptic.

He nodded to her and then rolled up the sleeve of his gray sweatshirt
so that his bare arm showed all the way to the elbow. Thoth turned the
blade over in his hands, and then without so much as flinching or
crying out, he plunged the sharp blade into the skin of his forearm,
Bright red bubbles of blood sprouted.

Major Carter quickly glanced around trying to find gauze or something
else appropriate to staunch the bleeding, in the few seconds she took
her attention off of him, bright blue streak of electricity sprouted
up along the puckered edges of his skin, to her eyes it was as if
suddenly the energy patterns generated by static electricity had
finally become visible spectrum of light and energy seen by the naked
eye. A few seconds later his wound closed without even so much as scar
to show it had even been there.

"Care to explain that magic trick?" OíNeil demanded.

"Well, itís, You see, I am a Immortal." Tooth shrugged. "There are
many like me, some good, some evil, There were more at one time, and
only a handful remained behind on our world to attempt a last ditch
attempt to save our civilization from the Gouíald."

"Were did the others go?" Hammond asked.

"They had already escape through the Star Gate and arrived on this
planet."

"There has got to be a catch to this, immortality, from almost all the
cultural myths and legends from around the world, "Doctor Jackson
said. "The bottom line is, things are never everything theyíre cracked
up to be"

"Youíre right," Thoth said. "We die, we just donít stay dead. And as
for Teal'C, I believe that heís what is referred to as a pre-immie.
Usually, these are people completely unaware o that aspect of their
nature until theyíve Ďdiedí for the first time and revived."

"If they are Immortals present on this planet, which I doubt," OíNeil
said, "How come no one has ever heard of you before?"

"They have, Itís not like weíd be out to shout our presence from every
rooftop.

Thereís a secret society called The Watchers who observe and record,
to chronicle the lives of Immortals." Itís part of a Cosmic Game,
where each Immortal has to go around and challenge each other to a
fight to the death."

"And what does the winner get?" Hammond asked, heaving a sigh,
obviously after thousands of years in cryogenic sleep, his sanity had
gone with it. 

"When the dust settles at the Endgame, the last one standing will have
the accumulated knowledge and power of every Immortal who ever lived;"
Thoth shrugged, "Enough to rule the world."

***

"Iíve had it!" All I want to know if heís fit to return to duty an go
on the mission," OíNeil demanded, out of patience, and began tapping
his left foot on the metal floor. In the back of his mind, he thought
with some disgust, ĎI might have to take along the annoying fellow,
Methos, after all. While Iím happy that Teal'C no longer has to have
that nasty parasite worm inside his belly, it had it is advantages.
Heís had it so long, and until we ran into him on the planet once
ruled by Apotheosis, it was part of TealC's identity as one of the
Jaffas. Now itís not there anymore. TealíCís s a strong man, solid,
dependable. Iím glad he survived the operation. Never been one for
going under the knife, and Iím glad heís alive. It is just my
imagination but does he look smaller now, diminished somehow?">
He shook his head, and began tapping his right as the feeling in his
feet started going numb. He was jolted out of his rambling thoughts
when Dr. Frazier tapped on his shoulder and repeated what he had said
the first time, only louder, thinking it hadnít registered, and it
hadnít.

"Yes and No. By all rights he should not even up and around. Iíve seen
people come back to life on the operating table. As much as weíve
learned about the guls, Iíd say yes. No, because he nearly flat lined
shortly after I extracted the symbiotic."

"I hate to be a worrywart, but how is this one of teammate is an
Immortal going to g over with the brass?" OíNeil asked, then rubbed
the corners of his eyes with the back of his hands, trying to soothe
away a lingering headache. "The last thing we need is Colonel
Maybourne jumping at shadows, and then once he finally puts two and
two togetherÖ"

"Heíll end up with four squared to tenth power to find excuses to make
trouble for us. Then he will likely go running off with everything he
knows to whisper into the wrong ears, and pull the wrong strings"
Major Carter added. 

"Let me worry about that, Major," Hammond said. "Our priority right
now is making defusing this situation with a possible Gul is residence
in the upper Pacific Northwest."

"What if the gul whoís hiding out at this safe house is really
Methos," OíNeil sneaked a sidelong glance at Thoth, "A 5,000 year old
man from another planet who came to this world along other members of
his race in pursuit of what?"

"I wish I could answer that for you, Colonel" Thoth replied. "I wish I
really were Methos, but the only person who can answer that question
is Methos, and I think you already know where you can find him."

***

Scene 6

The next evening

TealíC shook his head, the lines in his brow growing ever deeper. It
had only been a matter of a few days since he had been separated from
the symbiotic, and much to his surprise and the shock of his team-
mates and colleagues, not only was he still very much alive, but the
injuries he had sustained from the power surge on that side of the
Gate of the planet, but t he scars from the surgery to remove the
symbiotic were now nothing more than a memory. He took his attention
off what the others were saying about this supposed scholar who could
interpret more obscure Egyptian and Sumerian hieroglyphics, and
reached to rub at the short hairs at the back of his neck, wondering
why they were standing on end, and he was suddenly developing a
headache that sounded much like the scrapping of filament insect wings
rubbing together; running from the soles of his feet then all the way
up his body to end at the base of his skull. It was irritating. He
glanced into the floor to ceiling window of the house the team had
identified as the residence of one Adam Pierson, a senior research
associate with a local museum specializing in ancient Egyptian and
Sumerian artifacts.

Daniel Jackson was walking and expounding on a theory he had on the
trefoil glyphs which caused him to trip over his own feet. Major
Carter was there to help him regain his balance. Flanking them,
Colonel Jack OíNeil stared fixedly at the gravel pathway underneath
the soles of his boots, occasionally glancing at Thoth who was dressed
in a spare gray jumpsuit and a blue sweatshirt because they had been
unable to find anything else more suitable among the baseís discards
and laundering services. Thoth didnít seem to mind, although TealíC
wasnít sure which was worse, the fact that the manís conviction that
he was 5,000 years old, and originated from the abandoned alien planet
they had discovered only a few days before, or the fact that he was
utterly convinced that they had to find Adam Pierson, in order to
solve the mystery of the glyph on the ancient pottery shard with the
barbed trefoil carved onto its surface. 

At this point TealíC did not much care what they did with the trefoil,
smash it into a million pieces, or wrap it up in industrial packaging
and ship it off to some Egyptian Antiquities Museum where it would be
studied; forgotten among the dust of centuries. TealíC felt his
forehead with a free hand, where the gold sigil tattoo was still
etched into his skin. At one time it had represented his rank among
the elite of the alien Gouíald First System Lord, Apotheis. He had
once had served as one the elite bodyguards, the Jaffa; now it was
merely a reminder that he no longer was a servant of the parasitic
aliens, and was his own man. Now he alongside other soldiers in the
battle to defeat the Gouíaldís expansion of conquest throughout the
universe. 

Through layers of fabric he could still feel, just barely, the scar of
the surgery, as Doctor Janet Fraiser prepped him for surgery, the
nurses professional and unobtrusively stand near ready to hand
operating instruments and dose him with medicines as instructed. He
had been under the knife for hours, but it had felt even longer while
he been out cold. The scar was about as long as the gul that had taken
over at its host. He thought back, and wondered if he had been such a
good idea to keep the container holding the dead alienís corpse.



OíNeil approached the front door of the rambler, and wrapped his hand
around the wooden knocker carved to resemble a lionís head. He rapped
it a couple of times and then tried the doorbell. 

"Daniel, are you sure this is where Adam Pierson lives?"

"Iím sure."

***

Scene 7 Encounter

Methos rose from his chair to answer the insistent ringing of the
doorbell muttering a curse in several languages as somehow of the
black liquid of his coffee sloshed over the rim of the can and onto
his clothes. He opened the door to find four people standing on his
front porch. . Twisting around on cat quick feet, trying to remember
in a fuzzy not enough caffeine sort of way, where he had stashed his
sword. <Youíd think another Immortal would have the chutzpah to
wait until Iíve had my morning coffee before making a nuisance of
him/herself> Methos thought with some disgust, the tell-tale
"Buzz" of another Immortal presence causing the short dark hairs on
the back of his neck to stand up. He gave his surroundings a 360-
degree inspection, and was irritated to note that his senses read not
one but two presence's, one much like his one, and one that was
relative newborn. "What the hell do you want?" Methos growled.

"You Adam Pierson? OíNeil asked, folding his arms across his chest.

"Who wants to know?" Methos replied.

"Not very hospitable is he?" OíNeill remarked to no one in particular.
"All right, "Iím Colonel Jack OíNeil, weíre with a special branch of
the United States Air force, and itís our understanding that youíre
something of a expert in translating ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics."

"Okay, youíve alternately flattered, insulted, and intrigued me,"
Methos replied, taking a few steps backwards, and processing all this
through his mind. As he did so, OíNeil and his buddies seemed to take
as tacit invitation to enter his house. "Ah, the living roomís right
over there.

"Thank you," Carter replied, smiling.

Once every one had taken a seat on the circular black leather couch in
his living room Methos sat down. "Iíd over you coffee, but Iím fresh
out."

"Donít worry this wonít take long," OíNeil replied. "Allow me to
introduce everyone here, "Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Daniel
Jackson, and TealíC, and I believe you already know him. Calls himself
Thoth." he rattled off the round of introductions all in one breath.



"Donít you recognize me?" the other said, stepping forward into the
full illumination of the fluorescent lights, until it etched his high
narrow cheekbones, showed his dark eyes and hair, and the narrow
mouth, its full lips pressed together with determination. "Iím Thoth,"
the other announced without the formality Methos was accustomed to
when encountering other Immortals.

Methos had been drinking heavily in the last couple of days, and two
and two refused to add up to four. After a moment it clicked, this was
Thoth. <"The coward," Methos thought to himself, even Kronos
wouldnít want anything to do with him. <ĎAnd what does he think
heís doing trying to pass himself off as me?">

"Have you ever heard of doppelgangers?" one of the strangers asked.

Daniel Jackson perked up, and scanned through the compartments in his
head for the obscure reference of the supernatural being. Admittedly
his specialty lay more along the lines of Egyptian Mythology, but he
knew he had heard of such creatures before. "Itís from German language
and literally means Ďdouble-goer, and as such falls into the wide
category of spirit double."

"Daniel," OíNeil whispered, glancing at him over his shoulder.

"Sighting a doppelganger is often considered a death omen, but it
isnít definite," Daniel continued on, ignoring both the warning note
and look in the older manís eyes. "The most entertaining version of
doppelgangers has to do with a belief surrounding mirrors and the
spirit world. Sometimes what you see in the mirror is not just your
own reflection; but a window into the realm of spirit, so what you see
is actually your doppelganger looking back at you."

"Heís not me. Heís an impostor," Methos insisted, staring with
sneering contempt at the man with the shoulder length brown hair and
light blue eyes. "I donít know why you think youíre me, because Iíve
been me longer than you have."

"Nice, so thatís why vampires have no reflection," Carter said,
humoring him. "As soulless creatures, they have no duplicate in the
realm of the spirit."

"All well and good, so long as my doppelganger decides to stay on its
side of the glass," Methos said, folding his arms across his chest.
"This is all very entertaining, and even informative, but what do you
really want?" he demanded.

"Iím sure youíll recognize this," Jackson said, rummaging around in
the pockets of his jacket and coming out with a pottery shard carved
with the symbol of the barbed trefoil. 

"So, that you could have come from just any museum from anywhere in
the world. I should know," Methos replied, lounging back in his chair,
deceptively at ease and t

trying not to show that recognized the symbol. Admittedly, it was
rather common in usage in the field of botany. And in use in the field
of chemical, especially as warning labels on dangerous chemicals
indicating biohazards. Although his memory of the last five thousand
years was murky at best, he knew where and when he first seen that
symbol, turning to glare at Thoth, <ĎDamn you> Why couldnít
you leave well enough aloneĎ he thought to himself. Aloud he said,
"Why the hell are you mixed up with the military?"

Thoth curled into himself trying to burrow deeper in the deep seat
cushions of the black leather couch, trying to avoid making eye
contact with Methos.

"Itís a long story," OíNeil replied. "Iím given to understand that it
has something to with an alien race of Immortals." He shrugged. "I,
however, have my doubts about their supposed ability to live forever.
That is not possible."

"You already know about Immortals? How did that happen?" Methos
stammered.

"I told them," Thoth whispered. "Do you remember the Star Gate?"

Methos let his assumed façade of unconcern and confidence ooze
away like blood from a wound, then jolted to his feet. His narrow
mouth twisted into a grimace, his teeth bared, he sprang forward,
hoisting Thoth into the air, holding onto him by the lapel of his
sweat shirt, he began shaking the smaller man repeatedly until the
teeth rattled in his head. "Why did you tell them! Thatís not in the
Rules! Damn it all to hell!" Speaking of which, Hell, I could count on
the finger of one hand the sum total of people I trust about being
Immortal, and YOU! YOU, go and tell the whole friggin United States
Military? Do you have any idea what youíve done! Do you!"

"UHH, UHH," Thoth responded, unable to utter anything more coherent
from the breath cut off, and the repeated shaking.

"Let him go," TealíC evenly said, gliding forward and stepping in
between the two men. 

"What Rules?" Carter asked, intrigued in spite of herself." From your
reaction and obvious emphasis, they are important enough to risk this
kind of public outburst."

"I donít owe any of you an explanation," Methos muttered under his
breath, collapsing back into his chair. 

"I think you do," Thoth whispered. "We do not have to fight," the
other began, a sickeningly sweet smile spreading across his face. "We
can lay down our swords and reach a mutually beneficial
understanding."

"You gotta be kidding me." Methos sneered. "That isnít the way it's
done, and we both know it." Methos stared into the other manís eyes
and is expression changed from disbelief to one of surprise. He
twisted around on the soles of his feet and without saying anything
and no warning given, punched the other man right in the face. 

"Typical," Thoth replied, standing up and rubbing his sore jaw. "When
in doubt, resort to violence or run away. Methos, after all these
years, I suppose itís no wonder that you would revert to form."

"Donít even go there," Methos he whispered under his breath. After
five thousand years of existence as an Immortal one thing the he was
certain of, "I am the real Methos" not this sorry wannabe poser," he
muttered to himself under his breath. His memory of the last 5,000
years, admittedly, was a bit hazy; he couldnít even remember his first
Ďdeathí. "I remember seeing Thoth before, and learning about the
Stargateís discovery during the late 1940ís and how it was unearthed
at the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. But how does that have anything
to do with some obscure branch of the United States Air Force. It
doesnít add up."

"Letís say," Methos began, smiling, baring his teeth again. "For the
sake of argument, that youíre right. Live, learn, fight and grow
stronger, and live to fight another day, thatís my Philosophy."

"Indeed," Thoth smiled, "Might I have the opportunity to convince you
to adopt another one?"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Methos snapped.

"Maybe we should leave the room," Carter whispered in an aside to
Colonel OíNeil.



Scene 8 Conclusion

"Methos, trust me on this. All those countless centuries of fighting
to death, of taking each other heads for some mystical a potentially
unobtainable prize. 

"Where have you been, brother," Methos said, sneering, "I canít
believe a coward like you could have lasted 5,000 years. Let alone 5
years. Be that as it may, youíve got my attention."

"Iíve been in cryogenic sleep on the old Immortal homeworld," Thoth
replied, and while my body was frozen, my mind was very much aware,
and Iíve had time to think"

"Pardon me, while I heave up my guts," Methos interrupted. "Frozen in
time? Literally? Do you expect me to believe that?"

"No, but itís true," Thoth replied. He gulped and swallowed another
sip of water, the corners around his eyes beginning to twitch back and
forth showing his inner tension.

"The Immortals were experiments created by the Gou'ald, they had to
battle each other, until the last one standing would become one of the
System Lords," Thoth replied, ignoring the otherís outburst.

"Experiments," OíNeil echoed, startled enough that he lost his grip on
his coffee and the black liquid splattered over the front of his
uniform.

"I would not put anything past my former slave-masters," TealíC said.

"And what do you expect me to do about it?" Methos demanded.

"Well, they already know about us, so what could it hurt to give the
path of a peace a try?" Thoth said.

"Because you told them!" Methos shouted.

"Well, yes," Thoth blushed. "I had to, and part of the truth seemed to
me better than a complete lie. Who knows I may be the first Immortal
to completely fess up when push came to shove."

"Damn it all to hell and gone! Do you have any idea of how manage
trouble youíve caused?" Methos cursed in several languages and began
pacing around the circumference of his living room.

"I have a solution," Carter said.

"What might that be?" Methos glared at her, and despite the turbulent
emotions, and the potential damage control he would have to do, he
found her rather attractive, even if she did wear her blond hair very
short, almost sweeping around her ears.

"Well, you two arenít the only Immortals around, right? In that case,
between the two of you, youíve ten thousand years of experience and
Iím sure thatís more than enough to teach Tealíc here everything he
needs to know about being Immortal."

"Oh," Methos stopped in his tracks. "Iíd forgotten all about the
newbie. Turning to Thoth, "Tell me, this was all part of your plan.
That you did this deliberately."

"Yes, and No," Thoth replied.

"I hate taking on students," Methos snapped, but I feel like a worm on
a hook" He shook his shoulders, loosening the kinks in his muscles,
"All right, exactly what do you do again at this Star Gate project?"

"We protect the planet from aliens," OíNeil replied.

"Oh sure," Methos replied.

"Iím serious," OíNeil said.

"And you want me to join up with your little crusade in protecting the
planet while showing the newbie Immortal here, the ropes," Methos
said.

"Thatís about the size of it," Carter smiled.

"Maybe after 5,000 years Iím finally going senile," Methos groaned and
collapsed back into his seat. "Okay, Iíll do it."

"Honestly, I didnít believe that you would agree so readily, brother,"
Thoth said.

"Bully for you," Methos whispered.

END