Chapter Sixteen: Loose Ends
SGC, Briefing Room
Skaara, Sha're, Drey'auc, Teal'c and Rya'c sat around the table in the briefing room along with Jack, Sam, Daniel, Duncan and Methos. General Hammond was in his office, talking on the red phone.
Methos looked across the table at Sha're and Daniel. They were sitting together, holding each other's hand and gazing into each other's eyes. Daniel was clearly happy to have his wife back, safe if not entirely sound after her experience. Skaara watched them both, concern for his sister clearly written on his face.
General Hammond stepped out of his office and addressed the group, "I've just finished talking with the President. Given the situation we've been placed in, he's concerned for the safety of any non-combatants here on the base. Anyone that can't contribute something to the Program is going to have to leave the base. I've discussed this thoroughly with the President and he feels that the following people would best be served and protected at another site. Drey'auc and Rya'c are clearly not able to be of any strategic value, at least not at this time. It's not safe for them to return to Chulak and we don't have a safe place anywhere off world to send them at the moment. Captain Pierson, I'm hoping that you may have somewhere we can send them that is safe and yet remote enough not to draw attention to them?"
Methos sat back at the news and thought about it for a moment. "Well, I do have a villa in the Pacific Islands. It's on an Island by itself and I think I can set it up as a sort of sanctuary. I'll just need a week or so to arrange things."
Hammond nodded, "Good," he turned to Drey'auc, Rya'c, and Teal'c, "I know this may come as a bit of a shock to you, but you can't stay here. We're an underground military base and that's no place for children to be raised in. You need sunshine and plenty of open space to thrive in."
Teal'c spoke, "I understand your concerns, but I don't think I want my family to go to this 'villa' as you call it. I want them here, where I can protect them."
Daniel nodded, "I can see where this is going too. I don't want to be separated from my family either."
Methos smiled, "You won't be separated much. I can set up a transporter system, or have Phandora send you there anytime you wish. You can even live there when not on duty. The island will be well protected once I'm done with it."
Hammond added, "Sha're and Skaara will need to go there too. We can't send them home, not for at least one Abydonian year. They can't stay here, they don't know our customs well enough to blend in with the locals. We can send someone to tutor them so they all can come back at a later date, but for now this is the best solution for them, and for us."
Sha're held Daniel's hand tightly for a moment then said, "It is alright, my Danyel. Skaara will be with me and as your friend Adam has said, you will be able to live with us too."
Daniel and Teal'c exchanged looks, Teal'c gave a slow nod, it was acceptable.
Daniel turned to Adam, "As long as we can live with them when we're not here, I can live with that."
Hammond smiled, "Then it's settled." He looked down at a folder in front of him and opened it. "Up next on our agenda is the implants proposal. Captain Pierson has a set of injections with him that will help us fight the Goa'uld and give us a huge head start understanding the technology that he is offering us. These injections are of something called nanites Captain Pierson?"
"Yes General, they are harmless as long as they are used wisely. I have sets of three types and on injection of a fourth type that is exclusively for Dr, Jackson. The first three are Military Skills, Medical Skills and Science Skills. Now then, while each set of nanites is building a particular type of implant, the implants can still hold additional skills as needed up to, but not including, command grade skills such as my implant has." Methos said.
"So your implant is special in some way?" asked Hammond.
"Yes sir. My implant is reserved for fleet admirals and planetary governors. The implants I'm giving you are for personnel that normally work under the direction of Command Level Implantees. You don't need to worry about me or anyone else tapping into the implants and using them to spy on or control you. They are merely a tool, like a book or a computer; they're just something that will be much faster than using either of those. Another bonus is they will be able to upload or download information. They can also act as communications devices in the field, allowing for almost instant tactical and strategic plans to be exchanged over large distances. The best part of that last one is you don't make a sound, giving away your position to the enemy. They can use a vast range of frequencies both in radio and subspace based bands, so you can likely go undetected if they are monitoring for it." Methos said.
"I don't think I'm ready to have one of your gizmos in my head Pierson. I like myself just the way I am, thank you very much." O'Neill said looking slightly green at the thought.
Hammond nodded, "This will be a strictly volunteers only proposition. No one will be forced to have an implant, not on my watch."
"Agreed." Methos stated. "I don't want to force anyone to do this. It's strictly for those of you who wish it. That being said, I do need to point out that we're all living on borrowed time right now. The Goa'uld are coming, it's just a matter of time. Wouldn't you want to have every advantage you could get against them?"
O'Neill and Carter looked at each other and then looked at everyone else in the room. O'Neill spoke, "Look, I know we could use this, I'm all for it, I'm just not willing to do it myself. The thought of having something in my head that's as smart or smarter than me scares the hell out of me."
"While the implants are high tech as you'd call it, they don't have any kind of AI or even the ability to do anything beyond what they're programmed for. They aren't going to control you in any way Colonel. You have my word on it." Methos said in earnest.
"I'm still not comfortable with the idea. I'm sorry, but count me out of this." O'Neill said.
Samantha Carter sighed, "I'm reluctant too, but as Captain Pierson has pointed out, the Goa'uld are coming. We need to be ready for them. I volunteer." She looked at Methos with a little apprehension.
Duncan spoke up. "I don't think I'm ready for that kind of thing either at the moment, maybe later, once I'm used to the idea more. It still gives me the creeps when you stop to talk to Phandora sometimes."
Methos grinned at his Highlander friend. "No worries Duncan, you and I have a link of sorts that transcends the implants anyway and I can be patient for this."
Hammond watched the two Immortals exchange banter then said, "I'm out too, I'm too old fashioned to like the idea of an implant in my head. What about you Teal'c? What do you think about having an implant?"
Teal'c raised an eyebrow and looked at his wife and child. "The prospect is a daunting one, if I am understanding this proposal correctly. These nanites, they are tiny machines?"
"Yes Teal'c, they are." Methos replied.
"And these machines, what will happen to them, once they have finished creating this implant you speak of?" asked Teal'c.
"They will integrate themselves into the implant, becoming extra memory, and act as repair drones if the implant becomes damaged." Methos said, "They will not be a danger to you or any other Jaffa."
Teal'c looked down at his son and then gazed into the eyes of his wife. "This is acceptable. Indeed, it may prove to be a valuable tool against my former masters."
Methos grinned, then turned to face Daniel. "Danny, I have a special set of nanites for you. Your implant, if you choose to have it, will allow you to access a multitude of skills. You'll be able to understand every language we might run into, both here and off world, from English to Ancient and Goa'uld; be it written or spoken. You'll also have access to advanced medical and survival skills as well as a few fighting techniques."
Daniel thought about what Adam had told him for an instant then asked, "How will these skills present themselves? How will we gain access to them with the implant?"
"Most of these skills will be like memories of things you've done. Some are from personal experience and others were taken from Phandora's crew, long ago. The crew would download their logs through their implants or by allowing Phandora to do it with a more direct approach. While Phandora's approach was more direct, it wasn't as efficient as the implants, but many Alterans didn't use them either. Phandora or other ships' AIs could make a scan of the crewmember's mind and make a sort of copy of it. It's a crude analog to what another race called the Asgard uses for its people."
"The Asgard? Who are they?" asked O'Neill with interest. Any race that could copy memory patterns was a subject of interest for the Stargate Program.
"They're a race that the Ancient Alterans came across a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." Methos joked.
"I'm not amused Pierson. Can they be contacted? Would they help us?" O'Neill asked.
"Perhaps, it's been a long time since I've seen one. Their appearance is one you might find surprising and even slightly disturbing, given their worldly reputation. You see, they look like the Roswell Grays, big black eyes, small in stature, large heads and small mouths." Methos stated.
Hammond looked at O'Neill and smirked to himself. He's a little xenophobic, something he'll overcome I think. "These Asgard, the name implies something to me. Are they where the Norse Mythology came from?"
"Indeed, as our Jaffa friend here likes to say. They are the benevolent 'gods' of legend." Methos replied.
Teal'c nodded, "The Asgard are much feared by the Goa'uld. There is a treaty between the Asgard and the Goa'uld, but it is one that is contested from time to time. It is said that the Asgard are all powerful, though that is not spoken of in front the Goa'uld. It would mean the death of whoever said it."
"So these Asgard are likely to become allies with us, if we can prove ourselves worthy, like in the Norse tales, of Valhalla." Duncan said, jumping in.
"It is possible, just one more thing to think about. Anyhow, getting back to you Daniel; your implant will be something of a prototype. It's never been tried to make one with these particular skills. It will have Anthropology and Archaeology skill sets included and it will have a library of books on those subjects as well. Whatever books it doesn't have, you can add as needed." Methos continued.
Daniel thought it over, "Can I think about this for a while? I need more time."
"Certainly Daniel, take all the time you like. Just let me know when you make your decision." Captain Carter, if you'll follow me, I'll take you down to the infirmary for this. A Dr. Fraiser wants to monitor all aspects of the process." Methos said, getting up.
Hammond stood as well and addressed the room. "I know this is a lot to take in people, take your time and think this through. I'll be making a formal request later today of all department heads and their staff at 1500 hours. You're dismissed."
O'Neill, Carter, Methos and Duncan all saluted the General and then the group broke up.
Methos and Carter headed towards the Infirmary. Hammond went into his office and the others went to the guests quarters together.
Doctor Janet Fraiser reviewed her domain again and sighed. Whoever had been in charge prior to her reassignment to the SGC hadn't been as thorough or as professional as she would have liked. The supply room in the Infirmary was a mess and the infirmary itself looked like someone had performed triage in it instead of using one of the two operating rooms in the next section over. The floor was in need of a good scrubbing down and now to top it off, some fly by night doctor with questionable credentials was going to inject some of the base's personnel with an experimental form of nanites. Nanites that to the best of her knowledge weren't past the theoretical stage according to what she could find on the world wide web.
She ordered several nurses to begin cleaning the floor and was about to enter the supply room with a clipboard when two Captains entered the Infirmary.
"Doctor Fraiser? I'm Dr. Adam Pierson, and this is Captain Samantha Carter. She's the first volunteer for the procedure I'll be conducting. I believe you wanted to monitor the process?" Methos said as Fraiser stepped up to them.
"Yes, listen, who in bloody blazes was in charge here before I came? This place is a mess!" Janet complained.
"Sorry, that would have been Dr. Warner. He's still part of the staff, but he's on vacation right now. In his defense, we've been pretty busy with everything and General Hammond had to order him off base before he could get things reorganized for you. He was working triple shifts there for a while, to get everyone processed before we sent most of our guests home." Carter supplied looking around sheepishly.
Fraiser nodded, "I think I'll cut him some slack, but he's still a slob by my book. Look at the supply room, nothing's where it should be." She turned to Methos, "I suppose you should use one of the ORs, this area isn't too sanitary at the moment. Take OR One, I'll join you in a moment."
Methos sand Carter watched the new doctor fumble through some of the scattered supplies for a few seconds then looked at each other. Methos shrugged and pointed the way toward the Operating rooms area. Carter gave a nod and together they headed to OR One.
Janet followed them in a moment later. She looked at the black leather case that Methos was carrying and grinned, "I haven't seen one of those in years. You do home visits?"
Methos grinned back and said, "No, it's a shame that it's not done that way anymore too. Frontier Medicine they used to call it in old days. No, this bag is a family heirloom; I use it occasionally to store my injection equipment." So saying, he pulled out a pneumatic injector and turned to Sam who'd hopped onto the OR bed. "Captain Carter, I'm going to put you under for this procedure, it's not strictly comfortable and I want to reduce your body's stress as much as possible. The Implant will be inside your skull after all."
Carter nodded, "I understand, I'm a little nervous though."
Methos smiled reassuringly and then injected Sam with a strong sedative. "Don't worry. I'll be here to walk you through this when you wake back up." With a small nod Sam was out.
Fraiser spoke up, "What did you dose her with?"
"It's a new drug, it puts the recipient out for a set amount of time and then dilutes itself, breaking down into its core components. It's called Methosanesthatelin." Methos smirked to himself and then loaded the injector with a set of Science Implant Nanites.
Fraiser frowned at the name he'd given the drug. "I've never heard of that drug before. Where does it come from and is it approved?"
"It's a drug I concocted myself, and it's quite safe. I've used it many times before during my research years." Methos replied, referring to the years he'd spent researching a way for the Immortals to propagate their species, thousands of years ago, before his memory was stolen from him.
Fraiser scowled. "I don't like you using anything that's not approved by the FDA and the AMA. It could have unknown side effects!"
"There are no negative side effects to Methosanesthatelin, it's not even technically a drug either. It's purely organic. I just combined a few plants together genetically to make a new plant with the desired traits. Then I ground the leaves of the plant and added them to a liquid. The result is the stuff in this ampoule," he held up the ampoule he'd pulled out of the injector a moment ago, "and I can tell you unequivocally that it's safe. If you have any doubts, talk to General Hammond."
Fraiser continued to scowl, but finally nodded. "Okay, fine, but I want a sample so I can research it for myself."
"That's fine. Now may I please continue?" Methos asked, looking slightly put out.
Fraiser's scowl was replaced with embarrassment. "Sorry, please, go on with your experiment."
Methos grinned and then turned back to Sam. He injected the nanites at the base of her skull and then set up a scanner to monitor their progress. The scanner was Ancient in design and Fraiser watched enviously as he worked the device effortlessly.
Together they watched as the nanites worked their way up to the top of Sam's skull and began to process the blood in her body.
"What are they doing?" Fraiser asked, looking puzzled.
"They're collecting the necessary minerals and metals from her blood. I'll need to give her a dose of vitamins and minerals to compensate for the loss later." Methos said.
The process took several hours before the nanites began to shift and change things around inside Sam's head, making room for the implant in between the two hemispheres of her brain. The shifts were subtle and very gentle so as to prevent any possible bruising as the implant was created.
For Dr. Fraiser it was utterly fascinating to watch as the tiny machines made the implant, hardly disturbing the surrounding tissue in the process. It was almost impossible to believe.
After eight solid hours of work, the nanites arranged themselves around the newly created implant and hooked into it forming a protective wall around it.
During those eight hours, various personnel would go in and out of the observation room above the OR, watching from behind the glass. Monitors in the observation room were displaying the scanner's readout in real time as the nanites worked.
When the last nanite stopped moving a few of the gathered watchers cheered.
Methos glanced up into the gallery and smiled. "Ladies and Gentlemen, while I appreciate the gesture, it might be a bit premature. Let's let Captain Carter recover in post op and I'll be happy to discuss the process after I've had a chance to talk to her."
The crowd quieted down and began to file out of the gallery. General Hammond stood up from his chair in the room above and saluted Pierson. It was a gesture of respect that the Old Man didn't fail to notice.
Dr. Fraiser was of a similar opinion, though she didn't salute herself. She'd missed the gesture altogether as she monitored their patient.
Hammond left the room above and headed back to his office. It was now about 5pm in the evening. He'd made his formal request as he'd planned at 3pm and it had been interesting to see how people reacted to it. He'd then told them that Captain Samantha Carter was undergoing the procedure in the Infirmary. This allowed more than a few to see exactly what was going on and for a few it was what they needed to decide. Volunteers began to put there name down on a petition form.
For others, it had the opposite effect. O'Neill had watched for an hour and then decided his decision would stand. It just wasn't something he was willing to do.
Hammond was of a like mind, he was more than happy with the laptop he'd been given. He used it every day for at least an hour, so as to come up with new, or old depending on how you looked at it, ways to do things. He'd found the programs on the laptop were a godsend as far as filling out paperwork went. His overall workload had dropped to almost nothing as far as requisition forms were concerned. He was the envy of several other Generals in this regard. He just dictated what he needed to the laptop and it filled out the necessary forms, in triplicate if needed, and used an electronically created signature to sign them. Then the forms were sent through the proper channels at the speed of light. He could order something that would normally take weeks to acquire and have it within three days. At first he'd had a problem with overstocking, but soon the program compensated for this automatically. As soon as something arrived, it was scanned into the system, giving him and the program a real time view of the inventory on the base. It helped him save the Stargate Program several thousand dollars a day, something that made his superiors sit up and take notice.
As far as Daniel was concerned, he'd made up his mind that he could use any advantage they could give him to fight the Goa'uld. As soon as he could speak to Sam, he'd let Methos and everyone else know of his decision.
Samantha Carter's first moment of consciousness was a strange one to say the least. As her mind left REM sleep, she noticed an icon representing the Stargate's chevron for Earth seemed to be in the corner of her eye. As she focused on it, the icon expanded and filled her vision, superimposing itself over the image of the room around her. It blinked in and out a few times and then faded. A string of strange symbols passed along from left to right and from the bottom of her vision to the top. This continued for a few seconds and then a new set of figures appeared. As far as Sam could tell, the figures were a representation of her vitals and a few other variables that she couldn't understand. She sighed and tried to focus on the room instead. The figures shrank and faded back into a corner of her vision again and she was able to see the room normally.
At that moment, Methos entered the room and walked up to the bed she was in. "Welcome back among the living Captain. Are you feeling okay? You look a little pale." As he said this he activated the networking feature in his implant and queried the implant now in Sam for a simple handshake protocol. It responded with a brief acknowledgement then fell silent.
To Sam, the Icon appeared again, blinking in a bright red for a second, then a line of text appeared. A Command Level Query has been initiated, do you wish for this person to have access to your implant? Sam thought about it for a moment then looked at Methos. "What's this query about?"
"I sent a query to your implant via my own. I and Darius are the only ones that can do this without both implants making such a query together. For example, if someone else wanted to talk to you through the implant on a computer level such as this, they must make a general broadcast saying more or less 'come talk to me'. Your implant would pick up on this and as long as everyone is willing to broadcast data a handshake protocol would occur to then encrypt the data exchange. I can make a direct request whereas you would need to make the indirect one I just mentioned. It's a bit complicated, yet still simple." Methos said.
"I get the gist of what you mean." Sam replied. She turned her attention back to the inquiry. "How do I respond to the implant?"
"Just concentrate on it and think what you want to occur. For this instance I want you to think the word 'no', okay?" Methos asked.
Sam nodded and did as he asked. The icon flashed up again and then a new line of text was visible. Access has been denied to User 001021. The icon once more appeared and then shrank again.
For Methos the same message appeared except for the user name being different. "Good. Now I'll try a general query and this time I want you to accept it, okay?"
Sam nodded. A new icon flashed up this time, a symbol that looked like a two people facing each other. A general query has been received, do you wish to participate in this exchange? Sam thought the word 'yes' and the symbol flashed a light green. A new line of text appeared. Data exchange initiated. Receiving requests for the following data: Vitals, diagnostic logs, status report. Do you wish to send this data? Sam thought yes again and saw a single text word. Acknowledged… A moment later the symbol for their communications faded to red and blinked out. Exchange terminated. Data has been sent and received correctly, came up in her vision. She closed her eyes and noticed that the image of the text firmed up. "How am I able to see this stuff?"
Methos grinned, "The implant is tied in directly with the visual and memory portions of your brain. What you are seeing is really just an optical illusion that your brain perceives as something you are actually viewing. It's one of the great breakthroughs that my father Falran achieved before he passed away. The implant can record every second of your life from this moment on as well."
"Every moment?" she asked looking embarrassed.
Methos laughed, "Well, you can edit the data it records, tell it not to record when you want or you can turn that feature off altogether. I recommend against that. It makes the implant harder to integrate into your life. You can tell it not to record any moment where you might be naked or in the loo for instance, or having sex. Unless you want to share that sort of thing..." he laughed.
Sam turned as red as she could and glared at Methos. "I DON'T want to share something like THAT, EVER!" she almost shouted.
Methos made placating gestures and said, "Easy Captain, just having a bit of fun. Try to loosen up a little, you can joke around and still be a professional. Now, as I was saying, you have complete control of what the implant does, even diagnostics and repair. It never needs to recharge itself because it uses the body's electromagnetic field as a power source. The nanites do as well. In dire moments it can use blood cells as a power source, though this will eventually cause you to die as you run out of blood to the brain. In the unhappy event of your death, the implant will use a last protocol to download your memories to the nearest implant or computer core. If this is not possible, it will use the nanites as data storage for your memories and have them wait for a signal. It will then self-destruct so no one can gain the knowledge it holds. If it can make contact and download properly it will simply shutdown and await retrieval along with the rest of your body. I know that last part is a bit grim, but I want you to understand the value of the knowledge you can now access. Now then, let's walk you through a normal communications exchange. This will be like talking on your radios, but it will be much faster and silent." Methos concentrated for a moment and accessed the communications suite on his implant. He then sent out a message for Captain Carter.
Sam saw a new symbol appear, this time of two people and a box with wavy lines flashing bright blue. She concentrated on the symbol and 'heard' Methos calling out to her. "Sam, can you hear me? Come in Sam."
Sam looked at Methos in astonishment. "I can hear you, but you aren't speaking!"
"Yes Sam, you're perceiving my thoughts as if I were talking to you. Wonderful devices, these implants are." Methos sent.
Sam nodded and said, "Yes they are." out loud.
Methos frowned, "Sam, think it and I'll pick it up, just be careful not to let your thoughts stray too much or I'll hear those too." he sent.
Sam grinned. "I can see what you mean." she sent.
"Okay, one limitation to this form of communication is it's 'audio' only in nature. You can't 'show' me what you see, but you can describe it to me, and do that far faster than if you speak it." Methos informed her.
"I understand." she responded. "What else can the implant do?"
Methos stopped broadcasting to her and spoke up, "The next thing I want to show you is how to access the knowledge in the memory core. First, concentrate on the symbol for Earth, then think about what you want to know about. You need to be fairly specific. Don't ask for everything at once, you'll be told nothing that way. Ask it for the specifications for the Stargate first."
Sam did as he instructed her and saw the schematics in her mind's eye as she now saw it. When she focused on a particular part of the Stargate a new set of schematics would appear, showing her exactly how to make each component. If there was something she didn't understand, the implant would respond by filling in the blanks. Giving her the knowledge she needed. In less than a second, she knew more about the technology involved and how it worked than she'd been able to learn on her own in years of study and work at the Stargate Program. She was needless to say, amazed.
Methos smiled as Sam's face changed from curious to wonder. "It's an amazing piece of technology isn't it Sam."
Samantha nodded, "I wasn't even close! I was so wrong on some of my calculations. It's no wonder it took the Cartouche on Abydos for us to get the Stargate back up. I can even see how you were able to update our computers to make the Stargate work at peak efficiency. I might even have a few ideas to improve on your calculations!"
Methos smirked. "I'm sure you can, those calculations were made by Darius in his spare time, once he knew the Stargate was unburied. I just plugged them into the system."
"Adam, this is fantastic! What else does this implant have on it?" Carter asked getting more excited.
Methos patted her arm, "Calm down Captain. You can make queries to the implant all you want later. Right now, I want you to sit back and relax for a moment, while I review the diagnostic logs and check your vitals. Then I'm going to run a few scans and see how your body is responding to the implant. It wouldn't be a good thing if it gets rejected."
Sam sat up soberly. "My body might reject the implant?"
"It's unlikely, but still possible. Let me do my checks Sam, I'll know for sure once I'm done." Methos replied, holding up a handheld scanner to her head. He didn't wave it around like you might see in Star Trek he just pointed it and pressed a button on it. After a few seconds the device bleeped at him and he read the results. He then compared the scans to the diagnostics and the Vitals he'd received from Sam's implant.
"Well? Am I okay?" she asked, getting impatient. She'd queried her implant about the scanner as soon as she'd seen it and knew how fast it worked, as well as how to build another one. It was truly amazing her more and more with each passing second.
"Yes," Methos said after concluding his work. "You're just peachy as O'Neill would say. I just have one last thing to show you and then I want you to get something to eat, okay?"
Sam nodded. "What is it?"
"The diagnostics program." Methos replied.
"I'm way ahead of you Adam. I started that as soon as I thought about your scanner and got the details on how it worked." Sam grinned.
Methos grinned back and said, "Good then, now go get something to eat, and let me know if you feel any side effects like dizziness or nausea, okay?"
"Sure, I'll do just that." Sam said, sitting up and getting to her feet. It took her a second to find her balance before she turned back to Methos. "Thank you. This means so much to me, you have no idea." She gave him a hug and then headed towards the door.
Methos was speechless as she walked out...
A week went by quickly and Methos made the necessary preparations to his island villa. He placed a shield and a cloaking field on the island to hide the technology he had added to the place and each could run at the same time being separate systems. He made sure the power source, a core tap, was adequate for the task and then added a few defensive weapons as well. These were similar to the Staff weapons in nature, but they were strong enough to be mounted on a ship. He placed two of them on either side of the villa from east to west. He then gave each person who would be going back and forth from the island a medallion, one that could be used to contact Phandora, much like the armbands the Immortals now had.
Daniel now had his special implant and Teal'c had a military implant. At first Teal'c's symbiote had tried to reject the implant, but soon it gave up and allowed it to remain. Something told Methos, that he needed to find a way to free the Jaffa soon. After reviewing this feeling for a moment, he traced it back to the time as Osiris died inside him. He had felt a connection beyond the physical with the snake as it died and now he realized what that meant. The Goa'uld are telepathic when they want to be. It's part of how they gain their knowledge, not just the genetic memory!
Knowing this, Methos took special steps to shield his implant from EM frequencies and then did a general upload to all the other implants on the planet. The EM field was how telepathy worked. By just altering how the implants used the field for power, he had now blocked them from being accessed by telepathic contact. He had MacLeod attempt it through his link and they both received a headache for their trouble. It was like walking full speed into a brick wall. So long as Mac didn't think about the implant while using the link with Methos, things went fine. If he slipped and let a stray thought about it happen, then they each were given a migraine.
After the third such slip, Methos started to become agitated with the Highlander. "MacLeod, I'm going to kill you one of these days." he said half jokingly.
The Highlander wasn't impressed. "That'll be the day the Earth stands still."
"Haha, just stop doing that damn it. I know you can do it." Methos snapped.
"Okay, okay, I'll try. That's the best I can give you Old Man." The Highlander looked around the villa. "Looks like we're ready for your guests to arrive."
Methos nodded, "Indeed," and then he smirked.
MacLeod scowled at Methos but then smiled as a crowd appeared in a flash of light. Gathered together were, Teal'c, Drey'auc and Rya'c, along with Daniel, Sha're and Skaara. Along with the new tenants were Colonel O'Neill, General Hammond, Major Kawalsky and Captain Carter.
Captain Carter walked up to Methos and said, "Adam, I've been thinking about another implant we can make for the engineers. It could have all the technical data on how to build things, along with the science behind each object to a limited degree."
"That sounds like a great idea Sam, thanks for coming up with it." Methos said.
"I'm glad you gave me the implant. We're already building things in the science lab that would fit in any science fiction show." Sam replied.
"Good, we could use whatever you come up with. You may even find ways to improve on the designs the implants have on file. If you do, please be sure to update your fellow scientists and Phandora. She'll be happy to receive them, I'm sure." Methos stated.
General Hammond stepped up and shook Methos' hand. "It's too bad I can't order you around like I can these fine folks anymore." He said, pointing at Sam and Jack. "I understand why you quit the Air Force, but I don't much like it."
Methos sighed. Two days ago, he'd been approached by Darius and asked why he needed to remain in the US Air Force. At first Methos hadn't understood what Darius meant and then it hit him. He couldn't rightly serve two masters and Darius was now technically just that. He demanded that Methos resign his US commission and come back to the caves. Methos had balked at the order and finally they'd come to a compromise. He would resign his commission, but remain most of the time at the SGC as an advisor and a member of SG-1. Duncan also resigned his commission siting that he was Immortal first and an American second. Methos had sighed at that, but known he wouldn't be able to change the Highlander's mind.
General Hammond had taken it hard at first, thinking that the Immortals might pull out of the Program altogether and take their knowledge with them. It was only after having a long talk with the President and Darius that an agreement was reached to allow Methos to follow his plan.
Already, Earth was beginning to reap some of the benefits of having the Immortals around. Several medical centers around the world had sprung up overnight and begun treating people at little to no cost. This was upsetting several pharmaceutical companies and their constituents, as well as some competing medical centers in the areas where the new centers were located. Every time a pharmaceutical company sent a representative to sell their products to these new centers, they were turned away and practically laughed out of the buildings. Trouble was brewing in the winds for the new centers too. The FDA and AMA were about to file injunctions against the centers that the Immortals had set up in the USA, attempting to stop them from practicing medicine. More than a few spies were being sent in to try and find fault with the centers.
On another front, several auto makers were crying foul as new plants sprang up in run down areas and began to churn out a viable line of new vehicles that cost thousands less than what was already available on the open market. Unions were screaming for a chance to represent the workers in these factories. Unfortunately for the unions, these factories were almost totally automated. They were also secretly making parts for ships that would be used to fight the Goa'uld. When the unions learned about how the new plants were automated they wanted to cry foul even more, but suddenly thought better of it when the plant owners of the major car companies began getting curious about how the new plants were run. The unions were threatened with the possibility of being left out in the cold if they kept up the complaints. The old auto makers noticed this and began squeezing the unions for more cuts, trying to bring the costs down for their own vehicles in order to compete with the new plants. They too filed for injunctions, hoping to stem the tide.
O'Neill came up behind Carter and spoke, "Captain, let's leave the good General and Mr. Pierson here alone to talk. I'd like a tour of the villa if that's okay with you Pierson?"
"No problem, Duncan, can you show everyone around while I have a talk with the General?" Methos asked the Highlander, looking at Mac with a smile.
"I think I can manage that." Duncan gestured to everyone else and said, "Come on, I'll show you around. Skaara, we have your rooms set up just as you asked us to do. I think you'll like how they turned out."
Skaara smiled and patted MacLeod on the back. "I believe I will enjoy my stay here, even if it isn't like home." He looked out towards the beach and the visible ocean beyond. "Yes, it will take some getting used to, I think."
Daniel and Sha're followed Skaara's gaze. Sha're let out a startled sound and held more tightly to Daniel's hand. "So much water!"
"Don't be afraid. You're quite safe here. Even a Tsunami wouldn't be able to disturb this island now. The shield will protect it." Methos said.
Sha're glanced at Methos and put on a brave face. She could survive being a Goa'uld, what was an ocean compared to that? She smiled and then the party followed Duncan into the villa.
Methos looked at General Hammond and asked, "What's on your mind General?"
"It's how you've been changing things abroad. The President wants you to slow down with that aspect of your affairs, he's worried that the world isn't ready for so many changes so quickly. He's also worried that he'll lose his party's next election if he allows you to continue at the pace that you've set. He needs assurances from you that he can take back to his people as leverage in the next set of elections. He knows he's out of the picture in the next Presidential election, but he wants his successor to get the nomination and the Presidency in 2000." Hammond replied, looking a little out of his element.
"I can understand his misgivings, change is sometimes hard, but it's necessary. The auto plants are a good cover for our parts building efforts and the medical centers are good fronts for recruiting people to fight on those ships. We're going very slow with the medical centers as it's going to take a while before we have any ships to crew, but we are making progress. The plants and the centers are worldwide General. If we are forced out of the US, that will mean less Americans will be available for assignment." Methos responded. "Go back to the President and tell him what we're doing. Have him use that as leverage in the right ears and pray that it doesn't get leaked to the general population, if it does, those plants and centers will be targets and not a route towards our salvation."
Hammond gazed at Methos in astonishment. "You're using the medical centers as recruiting stations? What are you telling these 'recruits' of yours?"
"We screen each new patient that comes into our centers both medically and psychologically, if they are willing to undergo the examinations and tests. If they are we give them a full workup and assess their potential for recruitment. We only select one out of five hundred for the next round of tests and these men and women are paid for the trouble. If they pass, we begin by revealing the existence of Immortals and then go from there.
"We've been using the Watchers as recruiters as well. Some Watchers have been dropped. These are monitored as best as we can, but we can't watch all of them all of the time a few have dropped off the grid. We think those are rogues and we've used our sources to get their names and faces on the wanted lists in the US and on Interpol."
"You've thought this through then. How much are you telling them about the Stargate Program?" Asked Hammond.
"At this point, nothing. The recruits are just told that the Immortals are an ancient race that has been to the stars before, but not for a long time. We tell them about the Goa'uld and say that our last fleet was wiped out to a ship and then we introduce them to Phandora. Needless to say, one look at her Avatar and most are hooked on the idea of becoming part of the greater scheme of things as we call it to them." Methos continued.
Hammond mulled all of this over for a moment and then said, "Alright then, I can't find much at fault with your reasoning, but I do think you should definitely address the people of Earth about your plants and centers. Get approval for them in the US and please, don't let anyone in on the Stargate Program if you can avoid it. I was about to retire when all of this started. Now I want to be around to see it through to the end, if I live long enough."
Methos smiled at Hammond and patted his back. "I can make no promises General, but if it's in my power, you'll be there to see it, one way or another."
Hammond smiled and looked over towards the villa. Care if I come here to unwind from time to time? This place looks amazing."
Methos nodded appreciatively, "You can anytime you want, I have a room made up for you too in my personal wing."
"Thank you, Methos. I'm glad you came along. Things would be a bit different I expect." Hammond said as they walked towards the villa's main entrance.
"I think you're right, George, I think you're right." Methos responded. Together the two men entered the villa and joined the rest of the group as they toured it. All in all, it was a good day to be alive.
Somewhere in Goa'uld controlled space...
Apophis, System Lord and ruler of several key worlds among the stars, basked in the light of a distant star, gazing in satisfaction at the large shipyard before him. His first two new Ha'taks were nearly complete. Once they were, he would vanquish a few of the lower level Goa'uld and begin building ships in earnest. By the time he attacked the Tau'ri, he would have a fleet large enough to cause fear in his enemies… some sixty ships all told, and, with time, more as he expanded his holdings.
Of course he would not leave his territories unguarded while he attacked the Tau'ri's homeworld. Most of the ships he would build would be left behind, to guard his interests. He was no fool. Twenty Ha'taks would be more than enough to destroy the surface of that world. He had no other choice.
If the other System Lords learned that part of the Tau'ri population might be Hok'tar. They would swarm the planet in search of one. He would rather destroy the planet than see that happen.
He sat back in his throne and thought about the day the Hok'tar had come to Chulak. He had to be Hok'tar, Apophis was sure of it now, having burned the face of that hated being into his memory. He could now recall the time he had sentenced that same creature to be hung, thousands of years ago! Only the Goa'uld or a Hok'tar could live for so long and survive being hung as well.
There were tall tales of another being that he'd heard his slaves tell their children at night. This being was said to eat souls and leave nothing but a dried up husk after it had satisfied its hunger, but Apophis had never seen such a being and dismissed them as a fairytale.
The Hok'tar on the other hand had been seen in the past. These wonderful hosts were much craved, but hard to tame. Only the strongest Goa'uld, Ra himself, had been able to acquire one so far as he knew.
A/N: (Ra took a pre-immortal as a host in this universe, before the boy's first death. When he was killed in battle for the first time, he rose again without the sarcophagus and this is what cemented his power as Supreme System Lord. The quickening energies that were formed during his first rising were unable to distinguish the Goa'uld from the boy, so they didn't harm the snake. This is true for any parasite, so long as the parasite is in the host at the time of their first death. It won't be recognized as a foreign body since the body hasn't rejected it. Needless to say, I seriously doubt any Immortal body can survive taking a nuke to the face…)
The Goa'uld had spent hundreds of years on the Tau'ri homeworld, idly searching for a Hok'tar. When one was found, the Hok'tar was tied down and tortured to death. Then a Goa'uld would boldly attempt to claim the being as a host. When this failed, the Hok'tar was destroyed. They tried to find a key factor in the DNA of the Hok'tar they captured, but this too failed. It seemed to be totally random if a human could become a Hok'tar.
Whole villages had been slaughtered in hopes of finding another Hok'tar and studying the change as it happened. There was the hope that if they could see how the change progressed that the process might be duplicated in their present hosts. This too failed to glean any useful data and then Ra was thrown off of the Tau'ri homeworld by a rebellion.
The Stargate was buried and the Goa'uld were forced to send ships to the homeworld. After a few centuries of doing raids for more hosts and slaves, the populations of other seeded worlds made it easier to get hosts and more slaves that way. The Tau'ri world was abandoned as impractical because Ra guarded the territory in which the Tau'ri's homeworld was located, and he was jealous of anyone who made a successful raid there. He eventually stopped Sokar from raiding there and no more raids were ever made after that punishment was met out.
Apophis knew that the only way he could save face for his humiliating defeat by the Hok'tar was to lay waste to the Tau'ri homeworld, and this he would do...
"What is the decision of the new council?" asked the first man as he sat in the shadows of a dark room.
"We have decided to break away from the Watchers and start a new campaign against the Immortals. They are finally making their move to take over the world, just as we feared they would one day. They must be stopped!" Said a second man, his face equally hidden.
A third man spoke, "We could start by bombing one of their medical centers or automobile plants. It would certainly make a bold statement as to what we mean to do."
The first man spoke again, "No, at least not yet. Public opinion is in favor of the medical centers at the moment and people are starting to buy the new vehicles the Immortals are building. We have to tread carefully so as not to turn the public against us. We must first begin to cause problems at these places. Make someone who's been to a clinic die of an unknown cause, make a new vehicle crash in a spectacular way like killing a school bus full of children in the crash. Those are the tools we need to use to turn the public's eye against the Immortals. Then, after the public is against them, reveal the Immortals to the world and let nature run its course. The Immortals will be hunted down like mad dogs and we will be left with the riches they leave behind..."
Here ends the first story of the Origins of Life Series. Stay tuned to my author's page for more stories in the series.