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
I'm 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
Dimension's Fan fiction Highlander Archive. Indicates thoughts

"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 crouched squarely in
the middle of his life track.

Flexing the muscles in his shoulders the man tossed back his long
black that he wore in a loose tail down his back and looked out over
the landscape.

He had an excellent vantagepoint stannding atop the summit of the
tallest hill for kilometers around. Things had been different once;
the village and its 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.

'Murmuring 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.'
He thought with a quick shake of a dark head and a grimace of disgust
twisting his wide mouth into a sneer.

At that exact second he was distracted from 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
woman's 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 in her 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, wouldn't you agree?"

"We have had to put up with your theatrics, woman, in the council
sessions. Now, that all members have agreed that the Gou'ald
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 may 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 just emerging from behind the clouds showed a luminous face
at a half full, the bright spill of light on the rocks and sparse
shrub brush clinging to the mountain's 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, it's 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 needn't 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 Gou'ald, 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 timeserved as an Army Air Force hanger bay. The first
object through and down the ramp trundled 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 Gate's overhead arches.

"Good to be back, Sir." Colonel Jack O'Neil saluted his commanding
officer while with a determined stride he descended the ramp, keeping
one eye on Teal'C and his reluctant prisoner.

The prisoner's 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 prisoner's 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 wagging 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," O'Neil said.

Scene 3
Later

"All right, people, let's 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 SGC teams. Blue lights showed areas
that had yet to be explored and encoded in the bases 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.
'Odd enough in itself but it bothered her no end that after several
enturies how this one man had managed to survive when all the others
of his race perished.'

"One thing I don't understand if it that cryogenic chamber was a
Gou'ald project, and why abandon everything else but leave that one
area untouched?" Doctor Daniel
Jackson added.

"You'd think the guls would just stay with what's worked for
centuries, those Sarcophaguses. It's not their usual modus
operandi, " O'Neil said. "In fact, I'm getting to the point where I'm
used to it 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 couldnt 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.
"I'm 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 haven't had the opportunity to do any carbon dating on the
pottery shard that incorporated elements of Egyptian mythology. The
barbed trefoil."

"It's similar to the symbol adopted by the medical field, the symbol
of Mercury, except snakes wrapped around the center. So, what have
got here?" O'Neil asked.

"I lied," Methos whispered.

"About what," Hammond sighed. "My name isn't really Methos, it's
Thoth."

"Why pretend to be someone else?" Jackson asked, puzzled by the man's
reaction to the presence of the trefoil. He racked his memory for
where he came across the name Thoth before. "In Egyptian mythology
Thoth was minor god with the head of an ibis bird.
"I'm no expert, but wasn't 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, sometime during the 1940's 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
couldn't translate himself with his knowledge and research material
available to him. He had often had to contact an 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 Pierson's latest project had something to do
involving a chronicle of a fellow called Methos. " What are the odds
that they're one and the same person." The idea of a Watchers
Council, I don't know if like the Illuminati, or some of governing
body to maintain a checks and balance system like the government has,
all the same, it's 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. "There's something
else I want your team to investigate further."

"You are aware that after Hathor's short investiture here, the
Gou'ald 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."

"I'm going with you," the stranger burst out, his breath catching in
his throat. In the back of his mind, he wondered if this supposed
Gou'ald 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 I'm not, then just be
plain old Thoth."

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

Teal'C shifted his intent gaze from one speaker to the other,
concentrating and absorb 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 of his body,
stronger than the last. Teal'c felt sweat drip down his back and with
a slow, lethargic feeling Teal'C 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."

O'Neil contacted Dr. Frasier via the base intercom system, "Dr. we've
got a medical emergency, Teal's 's collapsed. We're sending him over
right away." Her voice slightly muffled by the intercom
static, "Understood. I'll be expecting you."

Scene 4

Dr. Janet Fraiser almost vaulted herself out of her desk chair, as
Teal'C was wheeled into the medical ward on a metal gurney it's 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. Teal'C 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," O'Neil 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 don't 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, "He's beginning to
flat line!"

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

"He's dying," Fraiser whispered, her head drooping. "Are there isn't
a damn thing I can do about it."

"Snap out of it!" O'Neil shouted, gliding over so he was standing
beside her,

"You're 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 symbiote…."

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

"I know it's 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. It's as if they're no longer compatible…"

"You're 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. "He's
unconscious, and I don't think I can bring him around long enough for
us to ask if he wants the symbiote removed," Fraiser
snapped. "Ordinarily, I wouldn't even consider suggesting such a
thing, but under the circumstances I believe we don't have a choice."

"Agreed," Carter said. I don't have to like it, but you're 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.

"It's agreed then, that we're going through with this? Good. Then I
want everyone to clear out of here," she added, waving her arms in a
shooing motion.

"Go, go…"

"We'll wait outside," O'Neil agreed, backing out of the room, yanking
Daniel by the arm followed by Major Carter. They got as far as the
hallway and O'Neill 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 wouldn't 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 Teal'c's
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, Ma'am."

"Scalpel." Accepting the instrument from the nurse's 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 body's 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
symbiont.

Instrument in hand, she inserted into his stomach, alternating her
the focus of her concentration from the computer's 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 stomach's 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 Teal'c's 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?" O'Neil demanded, squeezing past her. "Best you
see for yourself, Sir."

Teal'C 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 people's faces swim in and out of his
consciousness.

"You collapsed, then blacked out. The disorientation and dizziness
you're 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 symbiont and your system fighting each other, I had
to remove the symbiont."

Daniel paused to gather his thoughts, taking a deep breath he
said: "What I don't understand how he could be dying of a simple
energy blasts from one of the Jaffa's energy spears."

"You should understand, Daniel. I've lost count of how many times
you've gone through the Gou'ald rejuvenating Sarcophaguses," Jack
replied.

"I'm 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 Jaffa' and
the Gou'ald. She had been with the SG command long enough to be aware
that although humans and the different races that they come across on
the planets either inhabited or enslaved by the parasitic aliens, the
Gou'ald; they were existed some very real fundamental differences in
the genetic makeup of Teal'C's 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 wouldn't be easy for him to accept it either.

"True, but the gul that Teal'C 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. I've seen it, and I'm not sure I believe it."

"What is it, Colonel?"

"You'll see when you get here."

"He's dead, but he's not dead," Jackson said, once Hammond had
arrived.

"Let's pretend," Hammond said, raising a hand to stem the tide of
arguments,"that I'm following all of this. Are you saying that Teal'C
died upon removal of the gul?"

"That's exactly what I'm saying, Sir," Dr. Frasier nodded.

"He 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 didn't." Dr. Frasier replied, staring at the
vital signs that fluctuated wildly.

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

"Neither do I," she muttered.

"I 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 I'm really not sure where to
begin…"he trailed off.

"All I want to know if Teal'c's fit to return to duty," O'Neil griped.

"How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough," Thoth replied.

"This had better be good," O'Neil warned.

"Well, It's like this. I'm not really certain that you'll 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?" O'Neil demanded.

"Well, it's, 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 Gou'ald."

"Were did the others go?" Hammond asked.

"They had already escaped 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 they're
cracked up to be"

"You're right," Thoth said. "We die, we just don't stay dead. And as
for Teal'C, I believe that he's what is referred to as a pre-immie.
Usually, these are people completely unaware o that aspect of their
nature until they've died' for the first time and revived."

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

"They have, It's not like we'd be out to shout our presence from
every rooftop.There's a secret society called The Watchers who
observe and record, to chronicle the lives of Immortals." It's 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."

"I've had it!" All I want to know if he's fit to return to duty an go
on the mission," O'Neil 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, I might have to take along the annoying fellow,
Methos, after all. While I'm happy that Teal'C no longer has to have
that nasty parasite worm inside his belly, it had its advantages.
He's had it so long, and until we ran into him on the planet once
ruled by Apothosis, it was part of TealC's identity as one of the
Jaffas.

Now it's not there anymore. Teal'C's s a strong man, solid,
dependable. I'm glad he survived the operation. Never been one for
going under the knife, and I'm glad he's 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 hadn't registered, and it
hadn't.

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

"I hate to be a worrywart, but how is this one of teammate is an
Immortal going to go over with the brass?" O'Neil 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 together…"

"He'll 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 who's hiding out at this safe house is really
Methos," O'Neill 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

Teal'C 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 symbiont. 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 were gone, as weere the scars from the surgery to
remove the symbiont nothing more than a memory. Teal'C 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 O'Neil 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 .

It was the best they could do at a moment's notice, being unable to
find anything else more suitable among the base's discards and
laundering services. Thoth didn't seem to mind, although Teal'C
wasn't sure which was worse, the fact that the man's 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 Teal'C 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. Teal'C
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 Gou'ald First System Lord, Apothosis.

Teal'C 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 stood alongside other
soldiers in the battle to defeat the Gou'ald's 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 professionaly and unobtrusively stand by 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 alien's
corpse.

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

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

"I'm 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. You'd think another Immortal would have the chutzpah to wait
until I've 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? O'Neill asked, folding his arms across his chest.

"Who wants to know?" Methos replied.

"Not very hospitable is he?" O'Neill remarked to no one in
particular. "All right, "I'm Colonel Jack O'Neil, we're with a
special branch of the United States Air force, and it's our
understanding that you're something of a expert in translating
ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics."

"Okay, you've alternately flattered, insulted, and intrigued me,"
Methos replied, taking a few steps backwards, and processing all this
through his mind. As he did so, O'Neill and his buddies seemed to
take as tacit invitation to enter his house. "Ah, the living room's
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. "I'd over you coffee, but I'm
fresh out."

"Don't worry this won't take long," O'Neill replied. "Allow me to
introduce everyone here, "Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Daniel
Jackson, and Teal'C, and I believe you already know him. Calls
himself Thoth." he rattled off the round of introductions all in one
breath.

"Don't 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. "I'm
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 wouldn't want
anything to do with him. And what does he think he's 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. "It's from German
language and literally means double-goer, and as such falls into the
wide category of spirit double."

"Daniel," O'Neill whispered, glancing at him over his shoulder.

"Sighting a doppelganger is often considered a death omen, but it
isn't definite," Daniel continued on, ignoring both the warning note
and look in the older man's 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."

"He's not me. He's an impostor," Methos insisted, staring with
sneering contempt at the man with the shoulder length brown hair and
light blue eyes. "I don't know why you think you're me, because I've
been me longer than you have."

"Nice, so that's 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.

"I'm sure you'll 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 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 saw that symbo. He glared at Thoth, Damn
you Why couldn't you leave well enough alone 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.

"It's a long story," O'Neil replied. "I'm 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
gasped.

"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! That's 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 you've 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," Teal'C 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 don't 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 isn't the way it's
done, and we both know it." Methos stared into the other man's 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 it's no wonder that you would revert to form."

"Don't even go there," Methos 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 couldn't even remember his
first death'. "I remember seeing Thoth before, and learning about
the Stargate's discovery during the late 1940's 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 doesn't add up."

"Let's say," Methos began, smiling, baring his teeth again. "For the
sake of argument, that you're right. Live, learn, fight and grow
stronger, and live to fight another day, that's 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 O'Neill.

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 can't
believe a coward like you could have lasted 5,000 years. Let alone 5
years. Be that as it may, you've got my attention."

"I've been in cryogenic sleep on the old Immortal homeworld," Thoth
replied, and while my body was frozen, my mind was very much aware,
and I've 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 it's 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 other's outburst.

"Experiments?" O'Neill 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," Teal'C 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 you've 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 aren't the
only Immortals around, right? In that case, between the two of you,
you've ten thousand years of experience and I'm sure that's more than
enough to teach Teal'c here everything he needs to know about being
Immortal."

"Oh," Methos stopped in his tracks. "I'd 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," O'Neill replied.

"Oh sure," Methos replied.

"I'm serious," O'Neill replied.

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

"That's about the size of it," Carter smiled.

"Maybe after 5,000 years I'm finally going senile," Methos groaned
and collapsed back into his seat. "Okay, I'll do it."

"Honestly, I didn't believe that you would agree so readily,
brother," Thoth said.

"Bully for you," Methos whispered.