Title: Distant Winds
Author: Nine members of the Thalassa DVD screen capture group (Thalassa, Becky, Scully, Jax, Blue Topaz, Em, Mary, Teri, Su)
Summary: The team gets separated and meets up with some very mystical characters.
Spoilers: Fifth Race, In The Line Of Duty
Season: Any after season two. .
Authors note, if you wish to see the wallpapers that accompanied this fic, go to :O)
Feedback as always is greatly appreciated :O)
Thank yous: I want to send out a special thank you to the wonderful Beta Reader, Audrey, for doing a fantastic job checking our grammar, making helpful suggestions and being a good sport for rushing during this busy season! Many kisses and hugs from all of us!!!
DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters belong to MGM, Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This fan fiction was created solely for entertainment purposes and no money was made from it. Also, no copyright or trademark infringement was intended. Any similarity to real persons, alive or dead, is coincidental. Author's note copyright December 19, 2003
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Jack slowly opened his eyes. He tried to focus on what stood
before him, but everything was blurry. All he could see was a figure sitting
about 2 feet away facing away from him. He tried to move his arms but his body
felt like lead. He moaned and the figure stood up and approached him. Bending
down, the figure reached for a wet cloth that was inside a bowl next to Jack
and proceeded to wipe his forehead and cheeks. Jack turned his head toward the
figure and saw, through blurry eyes, a woman kneeling beside him. She didn't
speak, just smiled softly. Jack tried to say something to her but nothing came
The woman placed her fingers over his mouth trying to make him understand that he shouldn't try to talk. He looked around some more, as his vision was clearing up. He tried to see if Carter or Jackson were anywhere nearby. All he could see was a small room covered in fabric, with a small table that had several lit candles, a wood burner and an area filled with pillows. He seemed to be on a mattress, which was lying on the floor on the other side of the room.
The walls of the room were made of burlap: Jack realized that it must be windy outside as the walls were waving madly. No sign of Carter or Jackson. He looked back up at the woman who was now rinsing the cloth out. She was a plain looking woman with long light brown hair tied back with single piece of yarn. Her clothes were simple: a brown dress with an apron worn over it and sandals. Suddenly, a man walked into the room and the woman stood up and walked toward him. Jack could see the man didn't look too happy. They argued for a while and then the man left. The woman turned and sighed. Jack tried to sit up but his head started to feel like it was swirling around and he suddenly felt nauseous. He groaned loudly and laid back down. The woman quickly came over to him and shook her head at him, while placing a fresh wet cloth on his forehead.
"What happened? Where am I?" asked Jack.
The woman said something but he couldn't understand her, as she wasn't speaking English. The wind outside seemed strong, as the walls started to whip around madly. It seemed as if it was getting stronger by the minute. The woman looked worried. She stood up and walked over to the doorway where she pulled down more fabric to cover it. She tied them to the wall and walked across the room. Once there, she picked up a couple of blankets and walked toward Jack. Placing them on top of the other blanket, she was startled when Jack reached out…
"Where am I?" he asked more urgently than before. "Where is my team?"
"Klork tadum mez" replied the woman as she gestured toward the door. "Mezak orcha ro", she said as she mimicked the waves of the wind with her hands.
Jack wished that Daniel were around to translate what this woman was saying to him.
He pointed to himself and said, "Jack. I'm Jack."
The woman looked at him and slowly replied, "Veena," as she pointed to herself. Jack smiled at her then, turned his body to the side and drew in the dirt floor a picture of the Stargate; he looked up at her to see if she understood.
"Chapa'ai," she replied, while shaking her head.
"Yes!" Jack answered back.
He then drew three stick figures next to the Stargate and then pointed at one and then at himself and said, "Jack." He looked up at her and she shook her head yes. Then he pointed at the other two figures and asked, "Where are they?"
She bent down and pointed to the Stargate. "Ecka Chapa'ai " she replied.
Jack was confused and wished he could remember what happened. Suddenly, his head felts hot and the room started twirling around. He closed his eyes to try to make it stop. He could hear the woman walk away from him and pour some water. While his eyes were closed he tried to remember the last thing that happened.
They were due to explore a new planet that circulated into the gate addresses. Carter found out that the Goa'ulds never visited PX729. Teal'c was off Earth spending time with his son, so Carter, Daniel and himself were assigned to explore the new planet. He remembered passing through the gate and he thought he remembered arriving at the other side, but that was it. Nothing else would come to his mind. His mind slowly let go of this memory and he drifted off to sleep.
Major Samantha Carter awoke cold and confused; gingerly,
opening her eyes she felt a searing pain in her head. Closing them once more,
she thought it must have been one hell of a party, and it was a shame that she
couldn't remember; a headache like that deserves at least some good memories.
Taking a deep breath, she tried to force her eyes open, and for a few minutes felt as if she were about to lose the contents of her stomach, the headache receding to a pounding feeling. Giving herself a moment to settle her stomach, she took a few deep breaths, and brought herself to a standing position. Steadying herself via a tree that she had been slumped against, she tried to pull herself together.
"Okay, won't be doing that again in a hurry," she thought, before realization took over that this wasn't the SGC, and she was alone. Dark clouds scattered overhead, tiny drops of water began falling on her head, and the sound of rumbling thunder could be heard in the distance. The winds began to build up, and she was sure she heard a whisper in the distant winds calling her name.
Confusion began seeping through her once more and she tried to recall how she got here. What concerned her even more, was that the others were nowhere to be seen.
"Okay, Sam, think!" she berated herself. As she tried to recall what had happened, she heard the winds whisper her name once more. A cold shiver ran down her spine and goose bumps rose on her forearms in response to the cold. She knew that if she remained out in the cold, she might not make it 'till the morning, as the temperature began to drop considerably.
Her thoughts tumbled to the forefront of her mind, she had to find the others and get to the Stargate. If she remained out here, she'd die from hypothermia. Berating herself once more, she tried desperately to think clearly!
"The radio!" Sam realized; she still had her radio. Moving her hand slowly down her body, she checked for her P-90, but it was gone. "Damn!"
Raising her radio to her mouth, she called Colonel O'Neill first. "Colonel… come in? Colonel, this is Carter, please respond!"
Getting only static as a reply, she attempted to call Daniel. "Daniel, it's Sam, do you copy?" Again there was nothing. As she began to contact Teal'c, a flash of memory resurfaced, and she realized that Teal'c hadn't come on this mission with them.
Now aware that she couldn't contact her team mates, she knew that her first priority was to keep moving, and hope to find her team before it was too late. With more conviction than she felt, she began to walk through the dark forest, searching for that friendly face. Her pace was slow and awkward, her body felt like lead. The further she walked, the more confused she became. Instead of feeling cold as she had before, she felt her temperature begin to rise. Initially she believed it was due to the fact that she had been walking, but the further into the forest she went, the more certain she became that it wasn't the walking that was causing her body temperature to rise.
As she collapsed once more to the ground, she closed her eyes in an effort to gain strength. "C'mon Sam, get up!" she told herself, before lifting her body off the ground once more.
She didn't know how much longer she could hold on, and hoped the others were fairing much better. In the stillness of the forest, she called out to her comrades, "Colonel O'Neill…. Daniel!"
After a few minutes, she moved forward and tried again, "Daniel! Colonel!", then slowly sank to the floor, the exhaustive efforts clearly evident in her soft features. Her eyes normally full of life and passion reflected tiredness and worry, not just for herself, but also for her colleagues. She wished that she could remember what had happened when they had stepped through the Stargate, but her memories refused to surface, and it frightened her. Shaking her head in an effort to clear the confusion, she tried to force the memories to come forward, but they refused to comply, the more she tried, the more frustrated she became. The tension resulted in a blinding headache. She became aware of the fading light ebbing away. Darkness surrounded her vision; she heard a rustle a few feet beside her. Trying desperately to remain conscious, she heard the sound of a familiar voice.
As her vision blurred, she felt a soft touch on her face, and the voice spoke once more. "Sam! Can you hear me?" Before she could answer, the darkness took over, and she fell unconscious once more, fever ravishing her tired body.
As Daniel knelt down beside her, he slipped his arm under her head, and whispered, "What the hell is going on here!"
Within Daniel, reluctance to leave Sam warred with the
survival instinct. The most important thing at the moment was to find a safe
place, well, a relatively safe place before dark settled on them. So, he left
her after reassuring her he'd be back. The glazed look in her eyes told him
that, very likely, she was way past understanding.
Safe place found. Fire started. Sam tucked in both their sleeping bags fast asleep. He'd managed to get her awake enough to swallow some aspirin and the antibiotics that Janet insisted that they all carry. But she was still burning up with fever, occasionally mumbling incomprehensible words.
He'd awakened earlier, beside the Stargate, with a sizable knot on the back of his head, a whopper of a headache, blurred vision and Sam nowhere to be found. No weapon either. If he'd been thinking clearly, he'd have just dialled home and gotten help. It had taken him two hours to find her. He'd marked his trail but, in the waning light, he couldn't see it.
He threw another hunk of wood on the fire and drew closer to warm himself. Absently, he wished he could get his entire body warm instead of toasting only one side at a time.
As he sat there, the sounds on the wind began to freak him out. It felt like the breeze whispered his name. Spooky.
He turned again, his left side now well done and his right half frozen. In the flickering light of the fire he thought he could see his breath.
He nearly jumped out of his skin before realizing that it was Sam who called his name.
She was awake.
He moved over to her side and crouched beside her. She looked up at him from a pale face with eyes that were clearer.
"Where are we, Daniel? Where's the Colonel?" she whispered hoarsely.
Jack would say something like 'I've got bad news and worse news' or 'We're not in Kansas anymore,' but Daniel was too tired and too worried to even try to be funny.
"Well, I think Jack is still back on PX729."
"Well, um, we might have a problem there."
"Daniel," she said in her best Jack voice.
"You don't remember?"
"No." She frowned. "Tell me."
"Um, well, the fine folks that took Jack opened the Stargate and threw us through. I didn't see the address and, well, I have no idea where we are."
Very slowly, Jack became aware of his surroundings again.
The first thing that he noticed was that the wind had gone, the second was an
awful sensation in his stomach like he had eaten more than he should. And now
he could hear another breath, kind of an odd one, in the room with him. He was
on his side facing the woman that had taken care of him. She was in a dark part
of the room cutting something on the table and now was turning to look to him.
He tried one of his famous smiles.
The woman came by his bed and put her hand on his forehead.
"Klad at nee loqw."
"If you are saying that the fever is gone I'm inclined to concur with you. But I have this other probl... ow"
He was cut off of finishing his sentence as the woman pushed up his black t-shirt and applied something very cold on his belly, right where his sore stomach was. It made him feel better almost immediately.
"On ecv hu."
Jack slept for the most part of the day; he couldn't do any other thing even if he wanted. His stomach had proven to be very unhappy when he moved, so he stayed quiet. He hadn't seen the man from the day before and the woman had been gone for quite some time now.
After some careful consideration, Jack decided to try to get up. His gear was on the floor near the door. He walked toward it and grabbed his radio.
He opened the door and what he saw made his jaw drop to the floor.
"That can't be..."
The moon shone brightly, creating a perfect mirror on the
surface of the still water. A massive white mansion stood magnificently on the
side of the lake. Two men stood face to face inside the main room.
"Tell me where my friends are," demanded Teal'c. His staff weapon was pointed straight to the other man menacingly.
"They do not belong here." Calmly, the reply was given.
The Jaffa's eyebrows drew closer together as he tried to comprehend what he was hearing. But he didn't give up that easily. "Then tell me where they are."
"I do not know."
"Do you speak of the truth?"
The blue eyes only looked back at him. Fearless. Challenging.
"You know for certain that I do."
Accepting this was not an easy thing to do, but the logical side of him had made him realize that there was not much that he could do in this situation. Reluctantly, he lowered his weapon.
"They should not have gone through this," Teal'c said solemnly. "They did not deserve this."
The older man just smiled. "It is not for us to decide that."
With a heavy heart, the big warrior agreed, "No, it is not."
"Come." A hand was upon his shoulder, giving him a small comfort. "We can only wait."
He nodded. "Yes, waiting is the only thing that I can do." A pause. "Therefore, I shall wait here."
The man assessed him for a brief moment before finally saying, "Very well." He walked to the door that led him further inside the mansion.
And soon, Teal'c was left alone.
Daniel watched as a look of dismay spread over Sam's face.
"Come on, Sam. Between us we have half the alphabet after our names. We can
figure this out."
A slight smile crept across her face. It might not be a time for O'Neill humour, but it was a time for Jackson humour. He saw her smile fade and her shoulders start to tremble.
"Daniel, it's bad enough being sick, but to be lost as well…" Sam said softly.
Daniel moved next to her and put his arm around her shoulders. "We will survive this."
Sam gave him a doubtful look. She tensed as she heard something.
"It's just the wind," he assured her. "It plays tricks on you."
"Is it?" she asked, pointing to a small figure in front of them.
Daniel looked over and saw what appeared to be a young girl; no more than eight, her long black hair tied neatly back and her dark eyes sparkled. She was dressed in a tan, long sleeved shirt and matching pants which clung to her lean frame. Around her waist was a leather belt with a small purse on it. She walked towards them and started to speak.
Her words sounded like nothing Daniel had heard before. He listened more intently. If she was as human as she appeared, then she could be speaking any one of the five thousand languages now spoken on Earth. It was also possible that she was speaking a language that had long ago died out, he reminded himself.
The girl stopped talking and sat down in front of them, waiting.
Daniel wanted to ask where she was from and how she had found them. He realized she had probably told them when she first came in. He pointed to himself and said, "Daniel."
Sam blurted out her name faster and more harshly than she had intended to; being sick always made her edgy.
"Sagira," the girl said, laying an open palm on her chest. She reached into the metallic purse and pulled out a small vial. She uncapped it and started to speak again as she handed it to Sam.
Sam took the vial and looked questioningly at Sagira. The girl made a drinking motion and smiled.
Sam sniffed it cautiously. She had been expecting something acrid, but instead it smelled sweet. Sam looked at Sagira. The girl laid a hand on Sam's knee, as if to reassure her. Sam took a deep breath and drank the contents of the vial.
"Do you feel anything?" Daniel asked. He knew the sort of luck they usually had.
"Nothing bad, if that's what you mean," Sam said.
Sagira stood up and motioned them to follow.
"She's sick," Daniel said, knowing Sagira would not understand.
Sagira motioned once more for them to follow.
"It's all right, Daniel. I'm starting to feel better," Sam, said getting up. "It's probably the stuff you gave me when we first got here."
Daniel looked over at Sagira. He pointed to the empty plain in front of them and shrugged, hoping she would understand this to mean, "Where are we going?"
The girl drew a circle on the ground. "Chapa'ai."
"You know where the Stargate is?" Daniel asked.
Sagira pointed to the vast expanse.
"Daniel, she might be the only way we have to find the Colonel," Sam said. "Don't worry about me, I'll make it."
He knew they had been through worse in their travels and he knew she was also right about Sagira.
They stowed their gear and put the fire out and followed their unlikely guide into the night. It had taken Daniel two hours to find Sam and he forgot how long it took to find that sheltered spot. He was quite surprised to reach the 'gate in thirty minutes. He realized at that moment that he had been walking in circles for most of that time. He looked at the DHD and felt helpless. He needed a point of origin for any address he punched in. He looked at Sagira.
She turned to him and lifted her arms.
"I think she wants you to pick her up," Sam said softly.
Daniel gently grabbed Sagira around the waist and lifted her up. She began to punch the symbols on the DHD and then laid her hand on the red dome. He was relieved to see the 'gate activate. Sagira wiggled to let him know she wanted down. She ran to the side of the Stargate platform and returned with their weapons. Daniel could have kicked himself. How many times had Jack told him to do a quick recon in unfamiliar situations?
Sam looked over at Sagira. "How do we know she isn't leading us on a wild goose chase?"
"We don't. But given our present situation, we don't have much choice." He knelt down and took Sagira's small hands into his and smiled.
She smiled back and let go of his hands. She went over to Sam, who likewise knelt. Sagira put a hand gently on Sam's forehead. Sam removed her hand, "I'm feeling much better, thank you."
Sam got to her feet and went over to Daniel. They climbed the steps and walked through the Stargate. They emerged to see a large mansion bathed in moonlight.
"I think we're in Oz," Sam quipped.
Daniel gave her a sideways glance, his lips raised in a half smile. "Do you think anyone is home?"
"Let's go find out," Sam said and started walking down the steps toward the house. She expected there to be some sort of security given the size of the place and was surprised when she found they could walk right up to the front door. Not seeing a doorbell, she knocked.
An older man with intense blue eyes opened the door. The eyes clouded with anger when he saw them. "You do not belong here!"
Sam and Daniel looked at him quizzically.
"You were sent away. How did you return?"
"Through the Stargate," Daniel said, hooking a thumb in that direction.
"I thought you said you did not know where my friends were," a familiar voice boomed.
"Teal'c? How did you get here?" Sam asked.
"General Hammond sent me when you failed to return," Teal'c said as he came along side the older man.
"Where is Col. O'Neill?" Teal'c demanded. "Someone must know where he is."
The man looked at a maroon door and said softly, "The Doyen might know."
Looking at each other, both Sam and Daniel asked at the same
time "Who is Doyen?"
Daniel then asked, "Better yet, what is a doyen and how can the Doyen lead us to our friend?"
The man turned back toward the maroon door and spoke ever so lightly, "The doyen is the wise counsellor of my people. It knows all that was, all that is and all that will be. It is the protector of my people. We are kept sound from outsiders such as yourselves. We seek its wisdom on all matters."
Teal'c once again addressed the man, "Then we need to speak to your Doyen NOW."
Turning back from the door, the man looked at Daniel and Sam. "They do not belong here therefore they cannot see the doyen."
Not understanding what they have done that was so wrong Daniel looked at the man nodding his head up and down. "Okay, we understand that we don't belong here. But you must understand we are not leaving without some answers about our friend Jack. So . . . . . . . either all three of us go in or just Teal'c, it doesn't matter. BUT we will go through that door if we have to break it down in order to do so."
The older man started to shake his head as Daniel spoke, "No, no, no you must not break down the door. My people will not allow you to anger the doyen. Let me first speak to him and see if he will allow all three of you to go in or just him," pointing once again at Teal'c as he spoke. "But you must understand that whatever the doyen decides, it must be obeyed. We have never gone against a Doyen for centuries. We have to obey, because he protects us. I don't know what he will say about the three of you. I don't know where this man Jack is but the Doyen must for as I spoke before he is all knowing."
Watching the older man go through the door the SG-1 team minus their leader had no choice but to wait once more to hear from the Doyen.
Jack stood at the entrance of the billowing tent, the faint
scent of saltwater invading his nostrils as he stared out into what looked like
a bay of some sort – a large bay, fed by a river snaking in from the west,
surrounded by bright leafy foliage and the occasional ancient ruin. He couldn't
believe the Stargate had been so close all along, but there it was on the other
side of the bay, shining brightly in the light of the planet's small sun.
Slipping his vest over his shirt and strapping it on, he decided he'd had enough time in the shabby tent. His hosts had been kind; especially the woman, but he had played the part of cooperative patient for way too long. Now was the time for some over-due recon. As he made his way around the edge of the bay in the direction of the 'gate, he saw no sign of his team-mates. No boot-footprints, no evidence of a shoot-out, no fragments of clothing left behind. He doubted Carter and Daniel were anywhere on this planet, since his hostess had informed him that his two team mates had gone back through the Stargate – but Jack was a firm believer in the power of information. The more information you had, the more power you had, and right now, Jack could've really used both.
As he neared the 'gate, Colonel O'Neill felt the wind's gusts increase, forcing him to put a hand on his head to secure his favorite tan baseball cap. The wind ruffled the hair on his neck, and then blew up his black t-shirt playfully, though Jack noticed the trees in the immediate vicinity did not seem to be affected in the same way. He hated to say it, because it was crazy, but it almost seemed like the air stream was messing with him *specifically*. Even stranger, the strong breeze almost seemed to be speaking as it whipped around him, blowing in his face and kicking sand up around his feet. It was taunting him, gusting harder at the base of his hat, then at his feet, causing him to trip on a newly formed pile of sand and fall flat on his face.
"Aw, crap," he muttered angrily as he spat out the crunchy grains of sand that had found their way into his mouth. He pushed himself up on his good knee, and was surprise to see a boy standing mere inches away, starting down at him.
The boy's skin was tan, his hair dark and childishly dishevelled, his clothes loose and made out of some kind of burlap-like material.
"Jack," the boy said simply, the whites of his eyes brilliant against the deep brown pupils.
Jack nodded warily, standing up the rest of the way and eyeing his hat, which he now saw clutched in the boy's fingers.
"Hey, how'd you get that?" Jack asked, pointing to the hat.
The boy's eyebrows went up slightly on his head. "Jack," he repeated, placing the hat on his own head and peeking out from under the over-sized bill. The boy then puffed out his chest and changed his expression to a scowl that bore a striking resemblance to Jack's own.
"Cute, kid. Now give me back my hat and let me get on with my job, okay?" he said with a trace of impatience as he tried to take the cap off the kid's head.
The boy instantly backed up, removing the cap from his own head, but still clutching it tightly in his little fingers. "Segiro," he said simply, his free hand thumping his own chest with an open palm.
Jack nodded, "Right. Segiro, nice to meet ya. I'd introduce myself, but somehow you already know who I am, so…"
"Chapa'ai," the boy spoke, glancing behind him at the Stargate, a smile forming on his face.
Jack paused, regarding the boy carefully. "Well, aren't we smart?" he said, rubbing his hair, wishing he could get his hat back. "Don't suppose you know where my friends went? Guy with glasses," Jack said, forming his fingers into two circles and putting them up to his own face as if to create a picture. "Lady with a gun," he continued, pointing to his own P-90 hanging from his vest.
The boy nodded vigorously and began walking quickly towards the DHD. "Chapa'ai," he repeated, turning only when he reached the device. "Sagira geiota Doyen, pene Chapa'ai," he rambled excitedly, pointing up at the DHD but unable to reach the buttons.
"Hold on, I'll give you a boost," Jack said, detaching his gun, laying it on the ground and then picking up the small boy.
Segiro pushed the buttons with exceptional dexterity, as if he had done it a thousand times. Jack watched in interest as the last chevron engaged, and the telltale kawoosh told him the connection had been made.
Jack set the boy down, then reached for his gun, re-attaching it to his vest. "Thanks, kid… I think…" Jack mumbled, glancing at the active wormhole.
"Danel, Sam, Teealk…" the boy sounded out, pointing towards the Stargate. "Doyen, pena," he said, taking Jack's hand and pulling him urgently towards the 'gate.
"Alright already," Jack said, removing his hand from the boy's and walking the rest of the way up the stairs leading to the 'gate.
Suddenly, the boy looked down at the Colonel's hat, which was still safe in his left hand. Segiro's eyes widened as he moved to give the hat back.
"No, keep it. I've got a dozen back-ups," he smirked, and nodded a silent thank you to the kid.
"Doyen, cagen," the boy whispered, his eyes narrowing as if he was telling Jack something very important.
"Doyen, cagin. Gotcha," Jack murmured as he waved a quick goodbye and walked through the open wormhole, suddenly wishing that Daniel was around to tell him what the heck that kid had just said, and why he looked so darn terrified when he said it.
As he came through the other side, Jack looked around
cautiously. There was a large mansion a little way off. "Crap! Where the hell
was he now?" At least it didn't appear that he needed a yellow brick road to
help him out. The mansion looked like a place someone called a Doyen would
live, so he started to walk that way hoping this Doyen fella wasn't some scum
sucking Goa'uld with a fancy title.
Doyen might be the name of the building or planet for all he knew. Doyen meant elder, or something, didn't it? That was English, though, not some alien language that he had absolutely no clue about.
Had the kid been trying to warn him about something? He'd look pretty frightened at the idea of the Doyen. Jack guessed he was about to find out. Alert and ready for almost anything, he walked towards the mansion.
As Jack walked, he didn't see another living soul. He pondered the relationship between the two planets and how this Doyen might hold thrall over both. Sounded a bit Goa'uldish to him, but they've encountered nastier guys than just the Goa'uld in their travels. Oh boy, had they? The mansion certainly didn't look very Goa'uld like.
The kid had implied that Daniel and Carter might be here. It occurred to Jack that he should try his radio.
"Carter? Daniel? Do you copy? Carter…Daniel!"
The rest of SG-1 was still waiting; concerned about their missing leader and what lay in store for them at the other side of the door. The butler, manservant, or whatever he was, had come out of the room earlier and told them to continue to wait, not even saying whether they had been granted an audience with the doyen. They all wondered what or who this doyen was, discussing it in hushed tones.
"The guy referred to the doyen as 'it' most of the time. That implies not human to me, what do you guys think?" whispered Daniel.
"I don't know Daniel. Could it just be a use of language thing? You're the expert." When Sam said that, Daniel raised his eyes to the heavens, but she ignored him and continued, "It's all a bit spooky, don't you think? I wish Colonel O'Neill was here."
Sam was hoping she could handle whatever it was that came next. It wasn't so much that she lacked the confidence to lead in place of O'Neill, but she really didn't think she was up to his standard of leadership and strategic skills. Not quite yet, anyway.
The Colonel could be a pain in the butt sometimes, but he was *their* pain in the butt, and it comforted her to have him around. She sincerely hoped that he was okay, feeling frustrated that they didn't know his fate, and they were not yet even sure that they would be able to help him. He could be dead for all they knew.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow at her, gently touching her arm.
"Do not alarm yourself, Major Carter, I am confident that O'Neill will be in perfect health." He said, quietly.
Sam wondered how it was that Teal'c seemed to sense what she was thinking sometimes. It could be unnerving. Or was what she felt so plainly written on her face? She made a mental note to herself to try and better suppress her emotions. The Colonel could be pretty good at it; she should take that lead. At that moment, the radio sparked to life.
"Carter? Daniel? Do you copy? Carter…Daniel!" It was the Colonel's voice.
"Colonel O'Neill? Sir?" Sam replied. "Are you alright? Where are you?"
She was relieved to hear him and smiled at the others.
"I'm fine, Carter. Well, the old knee's playing up slightly and my back could be better. You know…same old, same old. Thanks for asking, by the way." Sam grinned at the Colonel's jovial tone, "Are you and Daniel all right?"
"Yes sir. Do you know where you are?"
"Well… are you in that big old mansion like place near the 'gate?"
"In that case I happen to be in the neighbourhood. I'll pop round for dinner. Can you call the pizza place and get a delivery? I'm famished. Hold the anchovies, ok?"
All three of his team-mates smiled at that, Teal'c only slightly less broadly than the other two.
Not long after that, there was knocking at the door and the flunky went to answer it. Jack stood there, smiling happily, relieved that he was about to be reunited with his team.
"You do not belong here!" barked the flunky at Jack.
"Hi. I've dropped in to see my friends." Jack was determined to stay friendly, if possible. Daniel had taught him a thing or two about that. Tact and diplomacy were Jack O'Neill's middle names. Yes, siree!
"You are with the other strangers?"
"Yeah sure ya betchya. Nice to meet ya, I'm Colonel Jack O'Neill of the United States Air Force. Planet Earth. Ever heard of it?"
The flunky looked slightly startled. Jack noticed he had vivid blue eyes that were slightly unsettling.
"Yes Colonel O'Neill. Your friends have been concerned for your welfare. I am Shegino. You may enter."
Shegino bowed slightly and showed O'Neill to his waiting team, then left them alone. Jack was pleased to see them, albeit taken aback to see Teal'c there too. Daniel and Sam both tried talking at once and Jack raised his hands to hush them.
"Okay, kids. Do any of you know what actually happened?"
"Um…not really Jack." Daniel answered, a little shame faced. Sam nodded her agreement and Jack just shrugged in a gesture which spoke, 'oh well I guess we'll just have to wait and see'. Jack turned towards Teal'c.
"Teal'c, old buddy. Good to see ya. Been here long have ya?"
"Indeed, O'Neill. I have been waiting since long before DanielJackson and MajorCarter arrived." Jack smiled that Teal'c always answered so literally. "When you were overdue, General Hammond sent me to find you." Teal'c bowed slightly to O'Neill and smiled softly.
"Good old George. And we are waiting for… what exactly?" Jack's face was a picture of enquiry.
"That's a good point, sir. We were waiting in the hope of finding out what had happened to you. Waiting to see the doyen, whatever, or whoever, that is," Sam replied, smartly.
"No reason to wait anymore then, huh?"
Jack was about to suggest they just leave before something nasty happened, knowing Daniel would protest because this Doyen thing would fascinate him. Shegino re-entered the room and bowed.
"The Doyen will see you all now."
They entered a large stately room. Gigantic maroon velvet looking drapes lined the walls and, in front of them, stood large statues that wouldn't have looked out of place in a Roman or Greek palace. At one end sat an old man perched upon a small throne. He looked slightly discomforted. Leading to the throne was a long maroon carpet and Shegino took them along it, almost gliding as he went.
Jack leaned towards Sam and whispered in her ear.
"That's the Doyen? He doesn't look very scary, does he Carter? Look a little like the guy who played the Wizard of Oz in the movie, don't you think?"
Sam hesitated slightly in response to Jack's question, as
she felt a soft whisper brush past her ear.
"Earth to Carter!"
Still getting no response from his 2IC, Jack began to get a bit worried. "Hey, Carter, you okay?"
Jack felt his heart rate quicken at his friends silence. Turning his body inward, he looked directly into her eyes, "Sam? Can you hear me?"
At this point the others stopped at the sound of Jack's raised voice, and came up beside them, concern etched in their faces.
Sam was sure she heard the wind calling her, whispering her name, urging her to listen. Her eyes glazed over, and all her concentration was on the voice tingling within her mind, her breathing became fast and shallow. A softness escaped her lips as she said to no one in particular, "Can't you hear them, calling? It's beautiful!"
"Jack! What's wrong with Sam?" Daniel enquired worriedly.
Placing his hands on her shoulder and shaking her slightly, "Okay, Carter, time to snap out of it! C'mon!" Jack urged with hint of fear in his voice. He'd never seen Carter like this, and it scared him.
All Sam could think of was the whispers deep within her mind. Without giving him a second thought, she nudged Colonel Jack O'Neill out of the way. The voice in her mind unyielding, urging her forward to the elderly man sitting in the centre of the room. His arms open wide, beckoning for her to move towards him.
A smile played on the elderly man's lips, as he watched the female move closer. "Come my child."
"Carter, STOP! Don't make me have to rugby tackle you!" Jack shouted at his 2IC, who appeared intent on ignoring him.
As Sam moved forward, the remaining members of SG-1 refused to let their friend out of their sight, and quickened their pace to keep up.
Daniel placed his hand on his team leader's forearm. "Jack, I think we should just let her go. It seems as if the Doyen is calling her. If we stop her, we could be causing more harm than good."
"Are you nuts? Who knows what that man wants with her! He could be a Goa'uld or anything!" Jack replied.
"I have not sensed the presence of a Goa'uld, O'Neill." Teal'c replied, diplomatically.
"Teal'c! You're not helping!" Jack replied a little too harshly.
With a slight nod of his head, Teal'c realized that anything he stated at this moment of time would result in increasing his friend's agitation.
As they neared the throne, Sam walked up the narrow steps that led to the elderly gentleman, and closely on her heels were her colleagues. Within seconds they had reached the top, and as the elderly man arose from his throne to greet Sam, Jack intervened, placing his body in between her and the "wizard".
"What have you done to her?" Jack questioned harshly
"Samantha knows, don't you, Samantha?" The elderly man replied ignoring Jack, and looking straight into Sam's soft features.
"It's beautiful! Don't you feel it?" Sam advised breathlessly, her voice sounding distant. Her eyes sparkled at the sound of the man's voice, and in that instant she knew what she had to do.
Jack hesitated for a few seconds; part of him understood what she meant. Ever since waking up, he felt the stirrings of…. something inside his mind, and ever since coming into this room, the sensations that coursed through his veins had begun to escalate exponentially. He didn't know what it was, and frankly he didn't really care. His main concern was the protection of his team, and he would do whatever it took to keep them safe. For the moment those feelings would have to be buried.
Turning towards her commanding officer, Jack noted that Sam's eyes sparkled in the dim light, taking on an slight translucent quality. Smiling wistfully she continued, "Thank you, sir, Teal'c, Daniel, for everything that you've given me over these last few years. I have enjoyed serving with you, but my place is now with the Doyen."
Jack and Daniel replied in unison, physically taken back by her statement.
"Major Carter, this is not a wise course of action. I believe that this man is deceiving you." Teal'c explained taking a step forward.
"Thank you, Teal'c but I know what has to be done. Now, I must leave you all," Sam advised, quietly moving towards the alien.
As if coming out of nowhere, Jack heard the sounds of the distant winds once more, and he shook his head in an attempt to focus on the situation.
Regaining his voice, Jack tried to grab her, "Like hell you do!"
Within in instant, a bright light built up a small vortex of energy and particles built up within the great hall. Daniel, Teal'c and Jack watched in amazement as the vortex took form. Samantha Carter felt her whole body lighten at its presence, and within a heartbeat the wind engulfed her, leaving a bewildered SG-1 staring at the innkeeper.
"What the hell was that?" Jack shouted, enraged that an alien species had the audacity to kidnap a member of his team.
"Daniel, Teal'c, you're with me!" Jack shouted, expecting them to follow his orders without question or hesitation. Sure enough, they didn't need to be told twice, and the three remaining members went to find some answers. Jack had a good idea where he would start – the innkeeper, who had disappeared from sight.
Marching side by side, Daniel was the first to speak. "Jack, before you go barging in, all guns blazing, I think you should hear something about what happened before we found you."
"I think I already figured that one out, Daniel. I think they planned this all along."
"Jack, I think Sam was drugged."
"Jack!" Daniel stated agitated, annoyed at his friend's sarcasm
"O'Neill, I think it is wise that you listen to Doctor Jackson. It may assist us in locating Major Carter." Teal'c interjected.
"Jack, when we regained consciousness, Sam and I were separated, it took me a while to find her. Anyway, she was really sick, for a while. I gave her some antibiotics that Janet gave us, and I thought at the time, that it was them that helped, but…"
"…. but what?"
"I think it was something else. We met a girl on route to the Stargate, and she gave Sam a vial to drink, and, well…."
"You think this girl drugged Carter?"
"Yeah, I do. It was her that brought us here."
"Great, just great! What the hell was she thinking, drinking some unknown concoction? It's not like her, Daniel."
Daniel was slowly losing patience, he knew Jack acted like this whenever a member of his team went missing, and he also knew that he felt guilty for not being able to protect his team more. Sometimes though, it seriously ticked him off! "I know, I know, but what's done is done. If it's any consolation, I don't think they'll hurt her. If that was their intention, then why the elaborate ruse to bring us here? Why allow us to meet up with you and Teal'c? It doesn't make sense. I think it's a test, or a dream?"
Jack came to a complete stop. "A dream? So what… we just click our heels three times and say 'There's no place like home!' Somehow Daniel, I don't think it's going to work."
Daniel rolled his eyes upwards, there was just no use talking to him, maybe Teal'c would have better luck.
As they neared the entrance to where the innkeeper would be, Jack felt a pressure building up once more inside his head. The feeling of being called grew stronger, and he fell to his knees, suddenly overwhelmed by sounds and images; which seemed vaguely familiar to him.
Jack's voice had taken on a slight distance, just as Sam's had, and his eyes appeared to sparkle as the images assaulted his mind. "I can feel it…calling me. We have to go back, it's waiting for me."
"Jack, we can't let you go. Try and stay with us!" Daniel advised, concern clear in his voice. Kneeling down beside the Colonel, he couldn't understand why this was happening or what they could do to stop the process.
"I have to. Teal'c help me up." Finally gaining strength his head began to clear, and he knew that the time was approaching.
"O'Neill, do you not think it would be wise for us to search for the innkeeper? He may be able to provide the answers that we require." Teal'c responded, helping his friend.
As if reading the Jaffa's thoughts, the innkeeper materialized instantaneously. "There is no need, it is clear that he is 'one'!"
Getting up with alacrity, Daniel moved in closer to the elderly man, leaving Teal'c to support his friend. "'One' what? What do you mean?"
"I cannot reveal this to you, your friend has been chosen, it is he that must converse with the Doyen!"
Daniel shook his head, in an effort to try and understand the complexity of this world, "Um…I thought you were the Doyen."
The elderly man laughed heartily, his sparkling blue eyes crinkling at the corner, "Oh, goodness me, no, no, no. I am what you would describe as the welcoming committee. I am here to ensure that only the 'worthy' see our leader. Now, please, your friend must go now, to delay, could cause even greater pain to your friend. He must do what he is destined to do." Seeing the distraught look on Daniel's face he continued, "Do not be alarmed' he will not be harmed."
Raising his arms above his head, the innkeeper closed his eyes and brought forth the vortex, its core shimmered in the darkness of the room, illuminating the faces of those that stood near it. The wind called to him, like a soft breeze blowing in the night, and not giving his comrades a second thought, he stepped into the wind, and vanished from sight.
"Where has our friend gone?" Teal'c approached the innkeeper menacingly, his staff weapon raised in preparation.
"As I said, he, nor your other friend, will be harmed."
"Sam? He's been taken to where Sam is? I don't understand?"
"You were not meant to understand, Daniel Jackson, nor was your friend here. Only the 'ones' can pass through the vortex, those that can hear the calling of the distant winds may meet our leader."
"Are you saying that Teal'c and I aren't special?" Daniel enquired, slightly hurt at the man's statement.
"No, no, no. You misunderstand me. I am well aware of your accomplishments. You are a brilliant scholar, Doctor Jackson, and your quest for answers to unanswered questions is your greatest gift. We also know your friend Teal'c, here. As former first prime to Apophis he is renowned for his cunning, skill and prowess. We accept that he was once in the service of the system lord, and has since redeemed himself, but we cannot allow him access to our leader. We have suffered many losses at the hands of the Goa'uld, and cannot at this time take the risk that it could reoccur, no matter how much he has changed."
"I can assure you that I would not betray your people." Teal'c responded softly, his eyes betraying a hint of sadness at the man's words.
"Please, I did not mean to offend. We know that you would not betray us, but transgressions *did* occur. As a result, we cannot allow you to pass - I am truly sorry."
Teal'c simply nodded in understanding. "Why, were Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter chosen?"
Excitedly the elderly man rubbed his hands together, "Your friends each have special qualities, the female - Major Carter, once shared her soul with another. When she came through the Stargate, we probed her… 'Essence'. As a result of her blending, we found that she has qualities within her that could assist us in our fight against the Goa'uld. Her powers as yet are still in the embryonic stages, and her 'gift' must occur naturally, we cannot interfere with this process. You must not tell her of the things we have discussed."
Teal'c and Daniel appeared somewhat sceptical; sure, they knew that Carter's physiology had changed with the introduction of naquadah careering through her veins, but why would Jack be taken?
"Ah, yes. He is a great example of how the human species is evolving. Colonel O'Neill once contained the secrets of the ancients, his mind is able to comprehend more than we thought was possible at this stage of the human evolution."
"How do you know all this?" Daniel asked worriedly. He wasn't sure where the elderly gentleman had gotten this information, and it scared him.
"I am sorry, I have said too much already. I must bid you leave now, please take a seat in any of the rooms. When it is time, your friends will be returned to you." Imitating the mannerisms of the alien Jaffa, he bowed his head slightly and winked out of existence.
"Great, now we're left with more questions than answers. So what do we do now?" Daniel asked, turning to face his colleague.
"We await the return of Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill," Teal'c replied simply.
With nothing left to do but wait, the two men sauntered into one of the adjourning rooms, to await news of their friends.
When Sam materialized in the wide-open spaces of PX-729; the silence echoed loudly all around her. She had never in her life felt so much peace, the wind, crooned gently in her ears, calling out her name. Images of places and far away times flashed through her, like some fragmented memory, and even though she was physically alone, she knew there was something surrounding her, watching her intently. Her face reflected calmness and serenity and her eyes moved upwards towards a large conical shape that appeared to surround her on all sides, lifting her senses.
"What are you?" Sam called out to the wind.
"I am all that was, all that is, and all that will be," the wind replied mystically.
A smile crept onto her face, and she suddenly understood. "I understand… you are the soul of the planet, it's guardian."
Although the omnipotent being could not be seen in physical form, Sam could have sworn she saw or felt a smile emerge from within the entity.
"Is this my destiny? To remain here with you for eternity?" Sam enquired innocently.
Before the wind had the chance to respond, Sam was discreetly nudged to one side, with the arrival of another.
Jack appeared miraculously alongside Sam, and he stumbled slightly, disorientated for a few moments, Jack shook his head to clear his thoughts. Sam placed a hand on his arm in an attempt to steady her CO.
"Sir, what are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing, Carter! What the hell did you think you were playing at disappearing like that?"
"Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black, sir?" Sam advised cautiously, teetering on that fine line of insubordination.
Jack mumbled in response, knowing full well that she was right! Sam smiled serenely, never taking her eyes off of the energy that surrounded them.
Instantaneously, the wind began to swirl around them individually as if soaking up their thoughts and energies. Within moments, the conical shape took a different form, it's unique structure filled with energy particles and cohesively joined into an image they both recognized.
Jack and Sam stared at each other in surprise. "Twins?" Jack asked surprised.
"No, I don't think so, sir! I think they're the same person."
"Carter, in English please."
"Well, you see, sir. When we travelled PX-729, we were split up, and I think it was initially some kind of test to see how we would cope with losing members of our team. The Doyen appears to have a unique way of taking precautions against enemy hostiles."
Jack pulled a face, trying desperately to understand what Carter was talking about.
"Remember, when we were all split up? Well, I think that *this* entity is the guardian of this world, and protector of it's people. It wanted to see if…" Sam paused, trying to find the most suitable analogy, "…if, we would leave anyone behind, like some unwanted garbage. As far as I can make out, this world prides itself on taking care of its people and would never ally with those that abuse their own."
"The Goa'uld attacked them some time ago, didn't they?" Jack stated simply. He had no idea how he knew that or where the information came from…he just knew! Turning to Carter, he whispered, "So, you think we passed the test?"
"I don't know sir, maybe she'll tell us."
The young female smiled enigmatically, "Welcome to my world, you are both correct in your assessments. The Goa'uld attacked this world many years ago. Its people were enslaved for the purposes of serving beings that had no right to exist. Many were killed. Those that survived ascended to a higher plane of existence, but chose to return to share their experiences and wisdom. We fought off the Goa'uld after a long hard struggle, using technological marvels that your world can only dream of. It was not our wish to use these methods of eliminating the evil from our midst…but we had no other alternative. You were both chosen for your unique abilities. When you both entered the Stargate, I knew that our worlds could be great allies, but I had to be certain that we could trust you, and that you would not abandon your family when obstacles were placed in your path. The technology we have to offer will enhance your world in unimaginable ways, but it will only come to fruition when you have both reached your true potential."
Jack raised his hand and scratched his head, "Um…I don't mean to sound dense or anything, but …. I still don't get it."
Sam grinned like a Cheshire cat; this was pure O'Neill. "Sir, they have placed information in our minds that could help us fight against the Goa'uld. The reason why you and I were able to hear the wind was because we are different. In essence, what the guardian is saying is that we have taken another step forward to become the fifth race."
"Ah!" Jack replied, finally understanding what this was all about. "Feel any different, Carter?"
"Apart from a blinding headache? No, sir, I don't."
"Oh yeah, I so know how you feel! That nail in the head thing is starting to become a habit!" Jack remarked wincing slightly from the pain. Turning back to the Alien he asked inquisitively, "So, 'oh great and powerful, Oz, where do we go from here?"
"Oz, I do not understand the reference." The guardian advised.
Waving his hand dismissively, Jack replied, "Don't worry, bad joke."
"You must understand the importance of the information you both hold within you, it is not something that can be taken lightly, and it may be many years before you are able to harness the knowledge held inside you. When you are ready, you will find a way to return here, but for now, you must return from whence you came." The guardian replied, raising its arms to return them
"Hang on, a minute, we have more questions…"
Before Jack had the opportunity to finish his sentence, he and Carter found themselves transported back to the gate alongside Teal'c and Daniel. Surveying their surroundings, they realized that everything had gone, the forests, the people, it was as if everything had winked out of existence.
"Jack, Sam!" Daniel exclaimed happily, pleased that his friends had returned, and apparently, in one piece.
"Daniel, Teal'c?" Jack stated simply, unsure what had transpired.
"O'Neill, Major Carter! I do not understand what happened here."
"It's a long story Teal'c." Jack answered with a slight bemused expression on his face.
Daniel piped in, "One minute we were in a room waiting for you, the next minute we are standing here. What happened to both of you? Are you both okay?"
"Nothing that a couple of Advil wouldn't cure, Daniel," Sam advised softly, her clear blue eyes looking slightly bloodshot.
"Make mine a double!" Jack replied frowning, this was going to be a very long briefing.
"Where to now, sir?"
With a big grin on his face, he answered in typical O'Neill fashion, "Well Dorothy, you know what they say, "There's no place like home!"