Which Came First?
by CorwalchI would like to thank Sierra Nicole for reminding me that I forgot all the legal stuff. I do not own Highlander, Stargate, or the Mummy and this story is not intended to infringe on any of the copyrights of Rysher, SciFi, or the producers of the Mummy. I wouldn't mind having the rights to Rick O'Connell, Daniel Jackson, or Methos, even if only for a little while. They are yummy (sigh). I'm making no money off this, so don't bother trying to sue, all you would get is my bills, but if you want them, I'll give them to you without you having to sue.
(AN: The idea for this popped into my head when I read a story by Jedi Buttercup and got permission from her to use part of her idea. Jedi got her plot bunny from a drabble written by Sophia, so any blame (Credit! Credit! Author shrieks as she ducks thrown objects) for the idea should go partly to them. It's based on the age old question, 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?' It takes place early in Season 7 of Stargate after Daniel has descended and I don't know when in the Highlander universe, probably after the last movie. It is a major foreshadowing for Moebius. I hope you enjoy. Also there will be a sequel, but it just won't be written any time soon because already have 5 stories going and I think that's enough WIP's for any writer.)
As they left to room containing jewelry and other ancient artifacts, Duncan observed in old Gaelic. "It's hard to believe that Alex O'Connell is dead."
"I always thought that Steven Spielberg patterned his character Indiana Jones off of Alex." Adam put in also in old Gaelic. "A pity his children aren't cut out of the same mold. It would have been interesting to see another generation of O'Connell's charging around the world getting into trouble. I remember his father Rick very well. I swear trouble could have found that man even if he were totally alone in the desert. His wife, Evelyn, was just as bad."
"That's probably why Alex had it put in his will that he wanted all the books and artifacts auctioned off." Duncan commented. "He probably knew his children would do the same thing and probably to someone who wouldn't appreciate them."
"I'm just glad that he did. It will give me a chance to get some of my journals back. Not to mention some of the things one of my early teachers wrote."
"Oh," Duncan couldn't help being intrigued. Methos rarely talked about his early years as an immortal. In fact the only time he knew about prior to the 1500's was when the old man had been part of the Horsemen. "Would I have heard about him or her?"
"I doubt it." Methos told him. "The name I knew him by was Dan'yer of Abydos."
Methos paused for a moment, caught up in memories of a man he hadn't seen in five thousand years. "Dan'yer had a great thirst for knowledge that he passed on to me. He was willing to befriend with just about anyone. He was also the one who taught me how to read and write, among other things."
While it was usually hard to read the old man, Duncan got the feeling that Methos had been very fond of this immortal who had once been his teacher.
"What happened to him?" Duncan asked his friend gently. "Did he lose a challenge?"
"To tell you the truth, I don't know." Methos was examining one of the scrolls looking for the special mark Dan'yer had always put on them. "I was with him for a few years, then he suddenly disappeared. I don't think there were any other immortals in the area and I saw none of the usual signs that a duel had been fought to its obvious conclusion. He was just gone, leaving all his possessions behind."
Adam shook his head in frustration. "My memories of that time are very sketchy for some reason."
"Could you have suffered a head injury of some kind?" Duncan wondered. He knew that damage to nerve tissue was the only kind that was slow heal on an immortal, if it healed at all.
Adam shrugged. "Maybe. The only thing I clearly remember about that time is Dan'yer of Abydos and what he taught me."
"How did the O'Connells get hold of some of Dan'yer's things?" Duncan didn't want his friend to get lost in the past, trying to recover memories that might be lost forever.
"Well, I spent a few more years in the area, waiting to see if he would return and passing on what he had taught me to the Egyptians living in the area." Adam seemed to have returned to the present. "When it became apparent he wasn't coming back, and given that I didn't have his body, I buried him symbolically, by entombing all his things in a cavern on the far north end of what would one day be the Valley of the Kings. Evelyn O'Connell found them on one of the last digs that she did before the start of World War II. Since it wasn't a major dig and there were only scrolls there, the government let her take them back to Britain."
Both Immortals went silent as they felt a pre-immortal enter the room and began looking around, trying to find him or her.
Looking at the number of people in the hall, examining the books, scrolls and other items that were being sold from the O'Connell estate, Jack groaned. I'll never get Daniel out of here, without a sizable chunk of the budget being spent.
A quick look at Daniel's face confirmed his guess. Daniel looked like a kid in a toy store, not quite knowing where to go first.
"Tell me again why we're here?" Jack demanded, trying to distract the linguist."Because the O'Connell family has been in the archeology game for almost a hundred years." Daniel told him absently as he headed for the nearest table of books and scrolls. "If half the stories I've heard are true, then they had a reputation of following obscure legends and conducting digs in some very dangerous places and of always getting back out alive. I had a chance to talk with Alex O'Connell once when he allowed me to use some of his mother's books for some research I was doing for my Masters thesis. One of the stories he told me was of how his parents met because of Hamunaptra."
"It's the fabled city of the dead built by Seti the First to guard some very powerful treasures and magics."
"That still doesn't tell me why you talked the General into letting you come here." Jack pointed out.
"Given that the O'Connells had a reputation of getting into and out of some obscure and dangerous places, it is possible they picked up some Goa'uld artifacts." Daniel paused for a moment to put on some gloves before picking up and old leather bound book that was cracking and flaking. "While there was nothing obviously Goa'uld in the sale catalog, Hammond thought it might be a good idea to check it out. There is one other factor to consider. Alex's mother, Evelyn, loved collecting books and journals in old and also obscure languages. She even recorded the ones she found on site walls. Alex let me look at a few of her personal journals and if my memory isn't failing me, then I think on at least one of her digs she recorded some of the ancient's language."
"You think that the O'Connells may have stumbled across one of the Ancient's settlements here on Earth?" Jack questioned softly. "Do you think they might have found information on the lost city?"
"Possibly," Daniel told him absently as he picked up a nearby scroll. "I won't know til I actually find the journal and translate it."
"Well let's see if we can find it." Jack sighed as he looked at the tables filled to overflowing with books, scrolls, and loose paper.
Taking pity on the other man, Daniel told him, "Why don't you go and check out the rest of the stuff and see if there are any Goa'uld artifacts. Make note of their numbers. I'll call you if I find anything interesting."
"I'll do the same." Jack headed out of the room.
Slightly relieved to be rid of his companion, Daniel began seriously checking out the contents of the room. It wasn't that he didn't like Jack, he did. It was just that when it came to what Jack called his rocks, they held about as much interest for the airman as the Simpsons did for him. He knew that he would be able to do this job much quicker and more thoroughly, if Jack wasn't standing there, looking over his shoulder and making snide remarks.
Daniel quickly checked out two long tables. They had contained nothing more than old books on Ancient Egypt that he wouldn't mind adding to his own collection and some scrolls and papyrus that dated back to the Middle Kingdom. He was halfway down the third table when he encountered something unexpected.
He had picked up several pieces of papyrus that were sealed in plastic. The post-it note placed on the top one, indicated that this had been done some time ago to protect the fragile documents from further damage. He could see where parts of the papyrus had flaked away and thought it a wise precaution. It was the contents of the sealed sheets though that stunned him.
Moving mechanically, without removing his eyes from the shocking documents, Daniel pulled his cell out of his pocket and called Jack. When the airman answered, he said, "Jack, get in here now. There's something you need to see."
The two immortals split up so they could cover more ground before the one they were looking for disappeared. It was a fairly strong presence for someone who was not yet an immortal. They kept in contact using their cell phones. Normally that would have made two men searching a room stand out, but in here just about everybody had a cell phone or headset stuck to their ear.
Methos was in the middle of the room and it felt as if the pre-immortal were close enough to touch. "I think I found it, Mac."
"Where are you?" Duncan asked.
"Middle of the room..." Methos' voice trailed off as he caught sight of a man with light brown hair, standing a few feet away. Dan'yer!
Duncan grew a little worried when Methos suddenly stopped talking and moved quickly to join his friend.
Even though Methos was only looking at a profile, there was no mistaking who he was. He had spent about four years with the man after all. How could Dan'yer be here and feel like a pre-immortal?
Before he could approach his former friend and teacher, another man came hurrying over and joined him. The way the gray-haired man moved practically screamed: military.
As Duncan joined him, Methos moved closer to the pair, trying to overhear what they were saying.
"Adam, what's up?" Duncan asked.
"Ssshhh," Methos hissed then pointing to the pair of men behind him, softly said, "I'm trying to listen."
"...we can use, Danny boy?" The older man was asking in a low voice.
Methos moved so he was directly behind Dan'yer and picking up a book, pretended to be studying it, while he eavesdropped.
"Part of this is in the Ancient's tongue, but that's not what has me worried." Dan'yer was saying.
"What's the problem, Daniel?" The other man asked. "We buy it and then you can finish translating it. Unless you already know there's nothing on it we can use."
"I wouldn't say that, Jack." Dan'yer/Daniel began cautiously. "I think there's something we can use..."
"Then what's the problem?" This Jack person sounded slightly impatient. Methos would have thought years in the military would have gotten that out of him, given that the old adage for any military branch was 'hurry up and wait.'
"I wrote it." Dan'yer/Daniel said very softly.
There was a pause, before the other man said, "come again? I thought I heard you say you wrote it."
Methos decided he was going to have to start thinking of Dan'yer as Daniel, at least for the time being.
"How is that possible?" The other man sounded openly skeptical. "I thought all these things had been authenticated."
"They have been. In fact all the papyrus has been carbon-dated." Daniel told him. "Alex O'Connell told me he had it done back when carbon dating first came out. This particular batch of papyrus according to the certificate has been dated at around five thousand years, give or take a couple of hundred years. Yet this is my handwriting. It even has my mark."
"Your mark?" Jack sounded confused.
"See here. I started using that to mark my personal journals when I was living with Sha're on Abydos."
Methos looked at the pair for a moment, even more confused than the other man sounded. Dan'yer had always been very precise with his words. Why would he say 'Living on Abydos' and not 'Living in Abydos'. Abydos had been a city further down the Nile from the Giza plateau and that was where the Egyptians had all thought he had come from.
He didn't get so caught up in the contradiction that he missed Dan'yer's next words. "It's also written in a code I developed based on our travels over the last few years."
"Could you have written it last year when you were with Oma?" Jack asked.
There was silence for a moment, then Daniel replied, "apparently not. The top page is a letter I wrote to myself."
"So did you have anything earth-shattering to tell yourself?" Jack asked flippantly. "Like how you could write a letter to yourself over five thousand years ago, if you weren't part of the glow club?"
Glow club? Methos couldn't help wondering if the military man were referring to the Quickening each immortal had. And if he were how did he know about it seeing he wasn't an immortal? And who was Oma? He had never heard of an immortal named Oma before.
"Not really," Daniel told him. "The only major thing it does confirm is that it wasn't because of the time I spent with Oma."
"Then what caused it?" Jack wanted to know.
"I didn't say. Probably because of the same reason that Sam gave us when we took that unexpected trip to see Sara, Michael, and George." Daniel commented. "One thing is for sure though, we have to get these sheets. I haven't had a chance to go through all of them yet, but they may contain important information we need."
"Are we done in here?" Jack wanted to know.
"Not yet," Daniel said. "My letter did say there were a few other things of interest here and that I was right Evelyn's journals do contain some of the languages we are looking for. We need to find those at the very least."
"Let's get moving," Jack ordered. "I didn't see anything of interest in the other room, but you might want to make a sweep just to make sure."
Duncan was surprised when as the two men moved away from them Methos made no move to follow. He had certainly been interested in the younger of the two men. Why was he now letting him out of his sight? "Adam, what's going on?"
"You remember my telling you about Dan'yer?" Adam asked.
At Duncan's nod he continued, "That was him."
"That's not possible!" Duncan disagreed. "There's nothing that I know of that can turn an immortal back into a pre-immortal."
"Nothing I know of either." Methos told him as he picked up the top sheet that had so interested the other pair. In the lower right hand corner he found Dan'yer's mark, a pyramid surrounded on top and sides by three circles. "But that was Dan'yer. This is his mark. I know it like I know my sword."
"How could he have become a pre-immortal again?" Duncan returned to the main question.
"I have no idea." Methos looked thoughtful. "From the way he was talking to the other man who is or was in the military, by the way, he doesn't even seem to remember being there." His eyes followed his former teacher as he moved to the next table. "One thing is for sure, we are going to need to find out who he is and where he lives. I'm going to need to insinuate myself into his life so that when he does become immortal again..."
Methos face took on a stunned expression. "He knew! Somehow he knew."
"He knew what?" Duncan was having trouble following his friend's thoughts.
"One of the last things he told me before he disappeared was that he had been my teacher, but that one day I would be his."