"The Night Watch" by Karen

John Winchester is no stranger to the bizarre and inexplicable. In fact it has pretty much defined his entire life. So when he came across the prone and semi-lucid woman dressed in the remnants of a military field flak jacket and slacks. Her coat sleeves dangling by threads, John immediately went to her rescue, without thinking much about the consequences of his actions.

He checked all of the requisite life signs just as a certified EMT would: pulse, blood pressure, and breathing.

The woman is alive, barely. Lifting her up in his arms John carried her over to where his truck is parked on thee shoulder of the road and carefully laid her down, so as not to jostle her. Aside from being the right thing to do, John is curious about her presence.

John finally got her patched up and resting comfortably. Then he shuffled over to the chair by the bed and sat down, picking up the much-thumbed through tattered journal, and began turning the pages.

He was searching for any references that might explain how a perfectly ordinary woman could have fallen out of the sky and left an indentation in the ground and managed to survive. If he had been somebody else, he would be looking for a more rational explanation, such as a plane crash survivor, but then there would be more debris, right? Maybe she'd been hang-glding, whatever the case, he kept searching, turning the pages with stubby fingers.

Until he came to a reference from an old Iroquois myth of the sky woman, with a cross-index to various Native American Creation stories. They believed the world to have seven levels, our Earth is the middle level and the time of the story, the entire globe was covered in water. In the topmost level, in the roof of the world a young woman became pregnant much against her father's wishes.

The girl's father was the ruler of the world and he became quite furious when he learned of the pregnancy that he ripped up a tree.

The hole thus created made a gigantic tear in the roof of the world, and one could see all the way to the bottom level, to our world.

The father, unable to contain his anger, threw his daughter into the well, and she fell, and fell, until it all she knew was the sensation of free-falling, end over end, and weightless, and then blackness.

The animals dwelling on the surface looked up and saw her danger, and as she plummeted, the geese flew upwards and caught her on their wings, breaking her dsecent.

The great turtle surfaced and told the other animals they could live on his back. The animals dove deep into the cold waters around the turtle to make mud, spreading the mud upon the back of the great turtle to make it soft enough for the First Woman to live upon. She gave birth to the First Man, and the lived upon Turtle Island, which is now called North America.

"It's a pretty little tale," and I'm sure it is marvelous for the Indians," John muttered into the dog-eared pages of his book, "But it does not really answer my questions."

It's been a while since he has had company of any kind on his lonely quest to hunt down and put an end to the threat pose by the world of the paranormal. He should know better than anyone, that outside of the local Native American folklore, women do not just fall out of the sky. While he is getting the unidentified women situated, John darted a backward glance at the spot where he'd found her and noticed that the loose soil is torn up and the imprint of her body is sharply delineated in the shallow earth.

Aside from a being a damn coincidence, from just a visual and physical check John could not detect any outward signs of anything too out of the ordinary or paranormal about her appearance.

Back at the hotel room John had rented out for the next two weeks because he had not been sure how long his stay in Watseka, Illinois would be.

He tended to her until she finally regained consciousness.

She was rather ordinary, when he could finally look into her blue eyes, though she did have a certain delicate grace and resilience a kind of mental toughness, like one who has experienced freedom from the planet's gravity.

"Where am I?" she asked.

"With me," John replied, as if that would answer all of her questions.

Janet Fraiser didn't know where she was or what had happened to her. Her last concrete memories where of the planet PSX-666 where she had been separated away from her field team. The well-planned offensive put together by General Hammond and the members of SG-1 one that had rapidly crumbled under the continued brunt of the Jaffa shock trops and the even more worrisome 'super soldier.'

At least the Jaffa, could, by some measure, be reasoned with, however the faceless, walking weapon was another matter entirely. Even their best weapon to use against it, the Zat gun, seemingly had proved ineffective.

Janet tried to brush aside this lingering worry, after all, her job is to make certain that folks stayed in one piece, and even the got injured, to patch them up. Janet knew going into her line of work, that it would not be easy, but then as a little girl, she had learned nothing worth having would be easy. She didn't make it all the way to the top of her profession and then finally promoted to Chief Medical officer of the Star Gate Command by playing it safe.

If she concentrates and tries to bring her scattered memories of the battle into a concrete and reliable form, she remembers the smell of ash and ground up soil, the smell of blood and panic wafting on a late fall breeze. In the distance, but drawing gradually nearer to the position where she kneels over the prone form of an injured airman, she can hear the thrum of fire arms whirring away, shouts and garbled orders, along with the ominous thud-thud of the Gou'ald war-leader Anubis' 'walking death' machines.

She remembers becoming distracted from tending to her patient, then the cold eyes of a Jaffa' solider looming over her. Janet also remembers one hand holding the wounded airman down, the other trying to unobtrusively reach for her own weapon, and then a bright stabbing pain, throbbing light and then a gradual fall into a blessed, painless sleep.

She tried to focus on her present surroundings, thinking as she does so, that this room, by no stretch of the imagination, does not resemble her infirmary at the Cheyenne Mountain Base. In fact, she would have to say that it looks suspiciously like your average room in an economy hotel chain.

"I'm afraid," Janet said, sitting up straighter in the bed. "You are going to have to do better than that. I can see that we're here, but could you be more specific?"

"Well," John mutters and scratches his growth of stubbly facial hair.
"I think for starters, we'll go with formal introductions, John Winchester, at your service, Ma'am."

"Dr. Janet Fraiser."

"Welcome back to the land of the living, Janet. How do you feel?"

"What do you mean? And you don't have to call me 'ma'am." Janet shrugged. "Aside from feeling a bit woozy and completely out of it, I feel fine."

"I mean that when I found you," John paused, "You looked pretty far gone. In fact, I thought you were not long for this world."

Janet looked down at the torn sleeves of her flak jacket, stained with soil and blood. Then she saw a pile of her other belongings had been neatly folded and cleaned, then placed on a chair by the television. "You've been busy while I was out, but thank for the save, but why go to all that trouble on my account. You could have just called in the authorities, or at least 911."

"Let's just say, that I'm the sort that prefers to do things my own way, in my own time." John smiled. "And you're right, Ms. Fraiser, I'm not exactly follow the establishment kind of guy." John looked up at her, curious and a little surprised about how natural and easy it was to talk to her, about how ordinary and pleasant it was to strike up a conversation with a stranger whom he had rescued from a free-
fall out of the sky.

"So, where you from?"

"Colorado."

"That's a long hike." John replied, mentally calculating the distance in miles she would have had to travel, either by air or by car, before she arrived at the scene of the crash. After he'd rescued her, carried her back and tended to her injuries, he should have gone back and searched the entire surrounding area, for clues or at the least to satisfy his own curiosity about what happened.

"So, what happens now?" Janet asked.

"Well now," John smiled. "And no, it's not what you're thinking. I'm not the type to take advantage of you. First of all, we're going to need to find you some proper clothes, and then we'll get something to eat."

"The way you talk reminds me of how southern belles would 'always rely on the kindness of strangers.'. Janet grinned as she shifted positions on the double bed while watching John who was seated on the opposite double bed across from her.

"You don't want to eat?" John replied, back to practicalities.

"I could eat." Janet replied. "To be honest with you, John, I can't remember the last time I ate, or the last seventy-two hours, or even how I got here.

"What is the last thing you do remember?"

"Something about getting the wounded out of harm's away,' then nothing after that until I woke up here." Janet sighed. "It's not that uncommon for people to be knocked unconsciousness in one place and wake up in a completely different place, with no memory of how it happened, is it?"

"Not if you belonged to the Mob," John replied. "I'm kidding, really."

"Hysterical, really." Janet burst out laughing, wondering in the back of her mind if some lingering post had caused this entire conversation because of a fever, and it was all in her mind. "The Mob?"

"Yeah, stranger things have happened," John replied, seemingly speaking to himself, "You'd be surprised."

"Why should I trust you?"

"You've trusted me this far. What to go double or nothing?"

"Did anyone ever tell you, you are incorrigible."

"Yeah, my ex-wife, my kids, and most everyone I ever met." John grinned. "So that makes number seventy five, I think, but who's counting?"

"Well then, if you don't mind, I think I want to get cleaned up, and then about that dinner and some clean clothes."

"Okay, I like you and I want to help you," John smiled, leaning forward and extending his hand to her. "I'm in."

"You're a scamp, but I think I owe you my life, and I'm hungry." Janet returned the smile, extending her own hand out to shake his. "I'm most likely going to regret this, but for the moment, thank you."

"Fair enough. John smiled, leaning back and stuffing his hands into the pockets of his denim jeans. "You get cleaned up, I'll order some food, how does Chinese takeout sound?"

"Just fine, thanks."

"You are very welcome, and you can call me John. All of my friends do." He smiled.

"Janet, since we've reached a first name basis," she replied.

Continued in chapter 2: Those Who Hunt By Night