21

Jack studied them they were a lot taller than the Asgard, almost as tall as he was, but they were just as skinny, they had regular features and looked almost human but they had the air of tranquillity that surrounded Lya the Nox woman that SG1 loved so much. They were all blond and their skin was very pale, and all had green eyes, and just visible under the hair of one of them were pointed ears. Elves!

He could not think of any other description, not the tiny fairy folk, the tall majestic sort of elves that Tolkien had written of. Their movements were graceful and studied as if they planned everything to save the maximum effort, and they exuded an air of…peace.

Thor spoke first to them in his own language and placed a stone on the table on front of him, as it landed his voice changed so that the humans, and presumably the Furlings could hear him in their native tongues, it saved time translating. It was programmed with the basic Furling language that the Asgard had known and with English, and of course, Asgard and Thor assured them that except for language drift it would be accurate.

He introduced the humans and then in turn the Furlings "Please be welcome Nol, Nom and Fer." The three aliens bowed their heads and Jack said

"Hiya folks" making Daniel cringe. "Let's get down to business shall we? What d you need, and why did you think WE" he gestured to Sam and himself "Could help?"

A slight hissing sound issued from Nol and was translated by the stone in the centre "We are a race dying, we do not wish to die, to pass from this place without being missed, without leaving something that said 'we were here' and yet we have no such legacy to leave, we need to survive to not just fade away"

"Do you know what it is you need in order to survive?" Daniel chipped in and Fer looked at him, tilted her head and then turned back to Jack and said

"There is something about your species that will not die, not because YOU will not die, but because you have something that will echo down time, we wish to learn what it is that you have and integrate it into ourselves"

"But you have no idea what 'IT' is?"

"Soul" came the reply.

"Soul?" Jack said surprised "You couldn't be a bit more specific?" he had already dismantled the pen next to his pad and was now doodling with the pencil

"If we could find a single thing that makes you as you are we would already have solved the problem, but we have not. In our studies of you we came across the phrase soul on your religious broadcast, it seems to describe everything about you that we lack. We thought that by helping to create new humans we would be able to find this 'soul' as it was created, but we failed." The people around the tabled gaped at each other. Were they serious? But Thor was nodding his head.

"Yes we too have noticed the souls of the humans, and their willingness to die for a cause, even one not their own if it will help others. They have overcome odds that any other race would have crumbled to face, and have come through with majesty, this is the thing that the Asgard esteem more than anything else"

"You have no suggestion as to how to transfer the 'soul'?"

"We do not, we see it as an integral part of humans, and of O'Neill in particular, his ability to love far surpasses anything we have seen before, and his willingness to sacrifice himself for that love goes beyond normal humans as well"

Jack was blushing furiously at this for cryin' out loud he was nothing special!

"However we could offer a suggestion" Thor said everyone looked at him. "We could take DNA from a group of Furlings and clone them, then we could transfer the consciousness of the O'Neill children into them as we would ourselves when we need new bodies. The children are too young to know what is happening and will grow as Furlings but have human souls. This will effect the children in no way at all, they would never know they had been copied unless they were told. As the clones would be genetically unrelated then they could mate with anyone they chose, including each other." Jack wasn't sure about this and wrote a big '' on his pad and slipped it to Sam, she nodded her head slightly.

She passed her pad to him and on it she had written "children aging?"

"Just a question here" Jack said "The children have accelerated aging, is this going to continue?"

Nol looked at Fer and then at Jack "We can stop that if you wish and return them to normal speed, we just realised that they would not develop to the point of interaction for some time so we accelerated things" Jack nodded

"Yeah you can do that for us now." He said and sat back, making sure it was obvious that nothing was going to be said until it was sorted. Fer stood and in a flash of light she was gone, Jack went to the Generals office and contacted '13 in the nursery, the alien was hovering over each child in turn and a gold light was emanating from his/her(?)/its hand, Jack waited until Dave told him it had vanished and then returned to the briefing room to see it waiting for him.

"Sam, a word?" he inclined his head to the office and she stood and walked towards him he led her inside and shut the door "there is another thing we didn't tell you. When you were brought back that first time you were in a bad way and Thor took you to his ship." she nodded, she remembered waking up there, though not arriving. "Thor discovered that… that… your ovaries had been removed, we think the Furlings did it but we don't know why" she went pale and started shaking, he hugged her tight to stop her from falling, he was about to open the door and call for Daniel to help her when Heimdall appeared in the room.

"We have been monitoring and have decided to ask if you need our help in this matter, we can grow organs separately if we wish, though we do not usually as it is as easy for us to change whole bodies, easier in fact."

Sam looked at him, thinking, "We have eight beautiful children, and with everything my body has gone through this last decade or so I don't know if I could have any, Janet thought I may have problems after the whole Jolinar thing. I very much doubt I am going to want more than the ones we have now, even if I did get them by cheating. But I want the ovaries destroyed, they are not going to be able to keep making my children to experiment on."

Jack nodded, she could have taken it a lot worse, he held her, whispering words of love in her ear until she recovered completely and they both went and sat down. The whole room was silent as if nothing could be said or done without them there

"We have another thing to discuss, though this is NOT open for discussion, so don't believe it is, you still have Colonel Carters ovaries, you will hand them to the Asgard. Thor, you will check and make sure they are hers by whatever tests you need and then you will destroy them. The same goes for any sperm reserve you have of mine. You will NOT be making more children from us!" The president and Hammond looked shocked, Jack had not told either of them about Sam as she had been present most of the time. Nol and Fer both looked at each other and then agreed, Jack noticed that Nom had not said or done anything since arriving, the other two almost ignored it.

Jack, ever the diplomat, said "Nom do you agree?" The two others looked shocked at his address. Thor answered quickly

"The Furling society is matriarchal, Nol and Fer are male, and as such are the mouthpieces of Nom, who is the elder female of the ship. This was not always the case, in times past both sexes were considered equal but the problem with decreased birth rate has meant that females have gained more and more influence as they try to solve the problem."

Jack was glad '3 wasn't about he could imagine the comments that load of chauvinists would make.

In the end the meeting broke with not much decided, Jack promised them access to specialists in fertility, if they could locate any with security clearance, and offered to meet them any time they asked, and consider any reasonable request. Daniel was dying to find out their history and they promised that they would have someone available to talk to him when he returned from Atlantis. Teal'c offered the services of the Free Jaffa Nation, if they needed it and Thor offered to act as mediator at any and all meetings.

The Furlings left and Thor told everyone that Hermiod had the shields ready for the children, so they trouped up to '21 and into the nursery, the president included. Hermiod had attached all but Richards bracelet and he held it up to show them. St. Christopher was there carrying the Christ child on his shoulder, and around the edge was written 'Richard O'Neill' with gaps for the chevrons. He placed it on the babies wrist and it locked in place.

He handed the adults their shields, the disks being slightly larger so they could be activated with their larger fingers Jacks said 'Jack O'Neill' and Sams said 'Samantha O'Neill' he was abut to protest when she put her fingers over his lips and smiled.

"I was going to change my name when we got married and Novak knew it, that's why she had that name engraved" Jack swung her into his arms and kissed her thoroughly.

"We have one more surprise for you Jack" Henry Hayes said "sort of a physical sign of my apology for being such a klutz earlier, but I am afraid it won't be ready for a while yet" he turned to Thor and said

"Could you please show him?" and a hologram of his old house appeared and a machine with a wrecking ball! They knocked down the house as he watched!

In place of the building in the hologram came a 3D image of an artists sketch, showing a very large house on the same land, it covered double the area and was three stories tall. In the back garden was a patio with a brick built barbeque on it, and a decent sized swimming pool and a fenced off section with a swing set, a slide and sandpit.

"Hopefully it will be ready in a month or so, we bought part of the land behind as well so you can have some private time amongst the trees if you need to, though with your holiday cabin you may not wish to."

Jack and Sam looked at the home in the hologram and hugged each other, here they were two people who had had a total of 4 dates and had been engaged just a week, and now had eight children and the president of the US of A giving them a dream house to live in, they couldn't be happier.

The End

Continued in Keeping it in the Family