Chevron 8

By Ted Sadler


"Unauthorised Offworld Activation!" sounded the severe tones of the loudspeaker.

"Close the iris!" commanded General Hammond. Automatically the Marine squads took up their defensive positions in the Gate room, under the flashing warning lights.

"Major Carter, you must come immediately," said Sergeant Davis over the intercom. "Chevron 8 has activated!" Sam sprinted into the control room and stared through the window at the orange glare underneath the ramp. She was followed into the room shortly afterwards by the rest of SG-1. The computer screen in front of them kept flashing the words "Sequencing Error 22B-847V. Code page function does not match input". Nobody in the control room understood what the error message meant, but it looked impressive.

This was a first in the Stargate program. There had been many investigations and debates concerning the purpose and function of the two chevrons at the bottom of the Gate. Unfortunately that part of the ring structure had resisted all attempts at dismantling and analysis. They had never found a dialling sequence here or on other worlds that activated the two bottom chevrons. So they forgot about them in the excitement and joy of just being able to use the Stargates.

"Cool," said Jack O'Neill. "Good job we dusted under there last week."

Suddenly the iris opened of its own accord. The already tense Marines scanned the wormhole event horizon even more closely and prepared to fire on command.

"Threat analysis, Major?" asked Hammond.

"Impossible to say, General," replied Sam. "This is unprecedented."

No-one who was there would ever forget the next few moments.

"Stand away from the ramp, lads - I'm comin' through!" shouted a loud voice in full Irish brogue - from inside the wormhole! Followed seconds later by the appearance of a rather dusty white Austin van with ladders strapped to the roof-rack. It slowed to come to a halt at the base of the ramp. A stocky man in blue overalls and cloth cap opened the door on the right-hand side and got out from behind the steering wheel.

"Whoever's in charge here, tell 'em to put the bloody guns away!" he called out, but to no avail, as he was quickly surrounded and frisked for weapons. Another team threw open the van doors, but quickly re-appeared, shaking their heads at the control room window.

"Stand down!" commanded Hammond. "SG-1, come with me." He led the way down to the Gate room.

"I'm General Hammond, in charge of this base," he said as he approached the man. "Who are you and how did you get here?"

"Pat O'Neill! Pleased to meet you," replied the man, extending his hand. "I've come to service the Stargate. According to our records, this one's not been done for 2000 years and is overdue."

They started to take notice of the writing on the sides of his van. "Stargate Servicing Ltd." it said in big red letters. "A subsidiary of the Ancients Corporation" in smaller black letters underneath. "Wormholes cleaned and stabilised. Worn chevrons repaired." The rear doors were covered in small stickers with the names of planets he'd visited.

Since the General appeared to have been rendered temporarily speechless, Padraig O'Neill looked around at the rest of them, taking in their name tags. When his eyes scanned Jack's tag, he smiled and looked up at him. "I haven't come across a family member in decades!" he exclaimed, and stepped across to shake his hand in the heartiest fashion.

"Likewise, Pat," said Jack, taking an instant liking to the man. "How long are you going to be here?"

"Just a few days, although it might be longer," replied Padraig. "You've got an unlicensed iris and somebody appears to have lashed together a computer to operate your Gate. Where's the DHD?"

"What do you mean, lashed together?" said Sam indignantly. "It took us years to develop it when we couldn't salvage a DHD."

"Well, that's all very well, darlin'," replied Padraig, "but you've repeatedly overridden safety protocols and essential start-up sequences for dial-outs. If I don't fix it now, you'll suffer an enormous entropic backflush through the Gate in the next few months. Then you'll be sorry."

He seemed to know instinctively that Jack was from that part of the O'Neill clan which hadn't understood a word of his explanation. He looked at him and said "It'll be like a mega-huge explosion that'll take away most of the surrounding countryside and a large part of the planet's atmosphere. It's like the Universe is re-balancing a state of order after you keep jumping ahead of natural time every time you use the Gates."

"Well, you'd better let us know how we can assist you," said General Hammond.

Settling In

The next three days saw Padraig's status growing with every SGC member who was "volunteered" to work with him. He could charm the birds from the trees, thought Hammond. Even Teal'c was impressed with the way Padraig had stripped down and serviced his staff weapon during one of his many tea breaks.

Sam had expressed doubts about his judgement when Padraig had specifically asked for Jack's help in the Gate room, but had laughed until tears appeared in the corners of her eyes when she saw what Jack was doing. While the rest worked on the Stargate, Jack was working on Padraig's van, changing the oil and tuning the engine. "I can't get the parts off-world", he had explained.

She was less pleased, however, when she came down one morning and couldn't log onto the Gate computer. She sent for Padraig.

"What have you done to it?" she demanded.

"Well, your hardware isn't too bad considerin' everything," replied Padraig, "but your software wasn't even up to the standards of our old Stargate 3.1 operating system. I installed Stargate XP Home Edition. You'll probably find your printers and scanners don't work any more, but you can download new drivers through the Gate."

She was preparing for a heated argument with him, but a commotion on the Gate room floor took both of them away immediately.

Padraig dived for his toolbox and took out the oddest looking spanner they'd ever seen. He inserted it into Chevron 8, took out his mobile phone and connected it to the Chevron, and proceeded with a long conversation with someone on the Planet of the Ancients. When it was finished he stood up and kicked his tool box.

"Feck! Feck! Feck!" And Feck again!" he cried. "You didn't tell me about the time loops!"

Sam looked puzzled and then remembered the incident that had started with their visit to P4X-639. "Oh, you mean the 200 or so loops we went through without realising it - except for Teal'c and Colonel O'Neill?"

"Try 2000 or so loops," said Padraig. "God, they must have been going nuts if they were the only two who realised what was happening. Here, I'll play back the Gate recorder at fast speed, so you can just highlight the loops where something different happened in the Gate room."

"There's a recorder in the Gate?" asked Sam. Padraig ran the sequence so that it slowed to normal speed only when something different happened. Quite a crowd was looking over their shoulders in the control room. They all burst out laughing when Jack rode past on a bicycle, and split their sides when he and Teal'c drove golf balls through the gate. But nothing prepared them for the sight of Jack passionately kissing Sam right in front of General Hammond. Sam looked around with murder in her heart, but no-one had noticed Jack and Teal'c running for the elevators a few moments before. However, before long she saw the funny side of it as well - she just hoped that the General would see it the same way. 2000 loops of the same day was rather a lot to handle.

"So what have the time loops done?" she asked.

"Fried the sub-circuits in the lower Chevrons," replied Padraig. "It'll take a few days to get the new parts here, and there's nothing I can do in the meantime."

"Can I have one of those keys for accessing the Chevron?" asked Sam hopefully.

"Sorry, love, but as a fully paid-up member of the Gatemenders Union, I am sworn not to let one go to customers. It's more than my job's worth." said Padraig. "Chevron 8 is for the exclusive use of Gate Service Personnel."


When Jack and Teal'c finally re-appeared later that day and Sam had (almost) forgiven him, Jack agreed to take Padraig back to his cabin for a short break until the parts arrived. Since the base was non-operational, she arranged to visit her brother and then join Jack and Padraig for a day or two before they all returned.

For three days, Jack and Padraig discussed O'Neill family ties, fished on the lake and drank the local grocery store out of Guinness and Irish whiskey. Padraig explained how he had been recruited by one of the Ancients when he had been down on his luck in Ireland in the 1980's.

"They wanted to provide me with a crappy old hand-cart, so I insisted on keeping my van instead," he said, which explained his unique mode of transport.

When Sam arrived late on the Sunday morning, she found the O'Neill's recovering from their hangovers. She was about to make coffee when she noticed a small solar panel array that had appeared in the garden. On further investigation she found that the sewer and drains had been connected to a small circular device, with wires leading to an on/off button. Of course, her astrophysics degree meant that she was entitled to push the button. The deepest, darkest hole about 20 centimetres wide appeared in the circular device and the waste water ran into it. She turned it off again.

"Do you like it?" said Jack, behind her. "It's connected to a black hole on the other side of the Galaxy. Pat set it up yesterday."

Sam was impressed, and they spent the rest of the day with Padraig lunching, talking and relaxing. However she thought that converting a Zat gun into a firelighter was going a bit far, and convinced Padraig not to bother this time. The next day they returned to the SGC as the Gate parts were due in.


When the Gate was finally re-assembled and tested, they booted up the new software, which of course didn't work. After several hours of computer technicians running around, they finally responded to Padraig's cries of "RTFM!" and looked in the manuals he'd left in the control room.

Finally, Padraig's departure was upon them. Everyone gathered round to say goodbye and wave him off. His polished and serviced van was parked on the ramp. After shaking many people's hands, Padraig turned to Jack and Sam, and said, "Jack, Mrs. O'Neill, thanks so much for your wonderful hospitality this weekend. You promise you'll come and visit the family soon, now!" and drove off through the event horizon.

Sam and Jack stared after him at the ripples in the wormhole, with fixed smiles on their faces, not daring to look round at the 40 pairs of eyes now directed at them.