ENCOUNTERS

Dragonlots aka Dana Bell

They would never have found the thing if it hadn't been for me. Not that they actually knew what it was. I did of course, since I'd been part of the original project. Well, not officially anyway. No one pays attention to you if you're small and furred and seem only to want to be pet and sit in laps.

And it was a great way to learn. I sat in on all sorts of high level meetings, listened to calls to the president, heard all the debriefings. Even got to watch the group go off to explore a distant galaxy. Little did they know another of my kind was already there and just waiting for someone to come again. I just hope one day the city is refound and we get to hear the wondrous stories of what has happened there.

Now where was I? Oh yes, the discovery we made. You see, I was part of the Away Team. The first officer, well, he just glared at my companion and told him not to bring me again, but since I was already there he saw no reason to send me back to the ship. Suited me just fine. I took off bounding across the hard dirt, stopping to sniff at interesting scents, climbing higher up the hill, my long time friend not too far behind.

I know I saw it first. Resting there on the top, round with symbols along it, the, now what did they call it? Oh yes, the DHD not too far away. My friend paused saying, "Now what in the known galaxy is that?"

You have to understand he and I don't communicate. He just thinks I'm a common ordinary housecat and I'm content to allow him to think so. Would shake up his world to learn otherwise. Humans have such limited capacity for some things, despite how far they've ranged out in the galaxy.

"What did you find, Lt?" The big lumbering man the Captain called Number One joined us.

"I'm…not sure what that is, sir." Richie scratched his head, his red hair shining in the sun. "I haven't seen anything like it before."

Well, that's true enough. None of the Immortals were part of the military and therefore not privy to all I knew. I hadn't joined Richie until after the war. In fact, just a few weeks before the historic meeting with the Vulcans.

"Any speculation on what it might be?" Riker absently stroked his beard.

"Something new. You know there's another historian on board. You might want to ask her."

The first officer made a face. I knew who Richie was talking about. Jasmine Vanner. That woman had been a problem and half since she came on board. But too, she'd been a problem for a certain general as well.

I remembered my first meeting with her. She'd worked with the Phoenix Foundation and they'd done a lot of the research on the artifacts brought back from the various missions. They'd even taken over part of the funding. Jasmine had come to meet with general.

"You must the infamous Jack O'Neill I've read about," she'd greeted with a winning smile.

The new general seemed uncomfortable and indicated she should sit. I jumped up on the desk. "Get down you flea infested nuisance," he'd ordered.

Not that I obeyed. I promptly sat down and started to clean myself.

"Leave the poor thing alone." She'd reached a hand over and stroked my head.

"The Foundation told me what you wanted. The answer is no."

"Now look here general," she'd leaned forward. She hadn't dressed sexy or anything. Her attire was simple and business like. A pale pink blouse, just slightly open at the neck, a matching dark blue skirt and blazer. "Part of the reason for our research is to find a defense for Earth. But not all of it."

"Answers still no."

"Hammond warned me about you."

"I'll bet he did." O'Neill sat back in his big comfy chair.

"Would you mind if I just looked around?'

"Not at all. Guard!"

One of the green garbed soldiers appeared.

Jasmine cast a strange look at the general and then smiled. "Thank you. I'm sure we'll talk again."

"I'm sure we will."

She'd stayed for a few hours and left. But not before she and Colonel Carter became good friends. The two of them sent emails a lot and I'm not really sure what they were working on. I can do many things but accessing a computer file is not among my many talents.

We beamed back up to the ship. Richie gave his report to the captain and again suggested they talk with Jasmine. "She's researched a lot of stuff I haven't. I know she's difficult to work with, but she knows her history, particularly the pre-war classified files."

"Yes, I know," Picard agreed. "You really think you should consult her?"

"Yes, sir."

"Very well then. Show her what you've found and report back to me."

"Thank you, sir."

Richie picked me up and started to carry me out.

"And Lt, please don't bring that cat again to my ready room."

"Yes, sir. Sorry."

Leaving the bridge we took the turbo lift to another part of the ship. Richie found Jasmine's quarters and buzzed. The door slid open to reveal the lovely woman I remembered.

"What is it, Richie?"

"Found something. Thought you could help."

"Hello, Sir Galahad." She rubbed under my chin. I half closed my eyes and rewarded her attention with a purr.

"He sure likes you." My friend put me down on the floor. I jumped up on a soft round cushion.

Jasmine laughed. "How long have we known each other, Richie?"

"A long time. Not as long as I've known others."

Jasmine sat down at a small table. She pointed at the other chair. Richie joined her as he ordered, "Computer, run the recording I made."

I urped and leaped up so I could watch, too.

"Curious little thing aren't you?" She smiled at me. I always got the feeling she knew about me.

The picture unfolded and she gasped. "It can't be."

"Can't be what?" Richie inquired.

"You really don't know what you've found?"

He shook his head.

"My friend, "she sat back, tapping a long finger nail. It clicked loud in the silence. "That is a Stargate."

"You're kidding. I thought the stuff about the Stargates were just fabrications."

"No." She sounded sad. "I helped with parts of the scientific research from some of what they brought back."

"Is that why you don't age?"

Jasmine smiled. "My people live long lives. Happens among the older races."

He snorted. "Right."

"Richie, long ago Earth held treaties with a lot of advanced races. The Tollen, Tok'ra, Asgard."

"And what happened to them all?"

"The Tollen got over taken by a common enemy. The Asgard are dead, and the SGC had some sort of falling out with the Tok'ra." She shook her head. "When Stargate Command shut down,"

"Because of the war." Richie sometimes had his moments of insight.

"Yes. Many who worked there fled through the gate to one of sites they'd chosen as a refuge. I can't tell you much beyond that."

"Can't or won't."

"Hard to keep track of someone if you don't really know where they went." She got up and paced. "We checked out the Alpha site. A few of the political leaders were there, but not the military from the SGC."

"And you just stopped looking?" He frowned. "How'd you get there?"

"They weren't a threat. And we ourselves had more pressing matters at home." She tossed a teasing look at my friend. "We have our own methods of transportation." Jasmine stopped pacing and touched Richie's arm. "Surely you haven't forgotten what Adyra told you?"

"Wouldn't be here if I had."

"Nice to know the 'Game' has been discontinued."

I noticed Richie sit forward, his tone almost eager. "Are you of the same people?"

Her face shadowed. "Yes and no."

"What does that mean?"

Jasmine sighed. "I'm what they don't want to admit exists."

"I hate it when you're vague."

"I know." She sat back down. "I'm part human and part Time Lord."

"What!"

"The Time Lords are purists. If they'd had their way, I would have been 'disposed' of."

Richie shivered. I didn't blame him. I, too, remembered the Eugenics Wars.

"I inherited their long lives, but not their ability to regenerate. Though," she glanced back at the computer screen. "I do heal faster than a normal human."

"Dr. Crusher know?"

"Not exactly. I've managed to keep my records just scrambled enough to keep her from figuring it out."

My friend got up. "Guess that's why you keep transferring isn't it?"

Her face took on sorrowful look and I felt pity for her. "Unfortunately, yes. Even though there are a few hybrids, I can't afford to be found out."

"At least you have a friend here."

She smiled. "I'm thankful for that, Richie." Her hand rubbed my head and I knew she included me as her friend as well.

0000000000000000000000000000000000000

In the 'morning' as if there's really such a thing on a starship, I jumped off the bed and used my litter box. When I was done I scampered into the room and dove into my food. Richie knows what I like and today he left me tuna. When I'd devoured it and washed my face, I was ready to begin daily routine.

My friend never leaves the door locked because he knows I like to roam around. I normally go to sickbay and visit anyone there. My presence seems to cheer people and I've heard Dr. Crusher say they recover faster. I sometimes sit in her office and purr at her while she's doing her reports. She strokes my head and when I'm very good, she gives me catnip.

When I'm done there I go see Jasmine. She doesn't socialize with the crew very much. I like her room because she keeps old photographs on every ledge she can find. Often I spend my entire day there looking at them. Some of the people I recognize, like SG1. Other's I don't know. There's one of a strange man with a bone crest around his baldhead. I've often wondered who he is and why she keeps a picture of him.

"Hello, there," Jasmine greeted me from her computer terminal. "And how are you today?"

I meowed back. To not do so would be rude.

She laughed. "At least I know you're talking to me." Jasmine went to the food dispenser. "How would you like some cream?"

Meowing loudly I circled around her ankles. I heard the familiar beaming sound and soon a bowl of cream was on the floor and I lapped it happily. The taste is sweet and filling.

"Richie doesn't know, does he?" Her hand stroked my back. "My little intelligent friend. I know your people well."

She does? I stop drinking briefly to stare at her.

"Yours are the keepers of history."

Okay, she does know about us. I sat down and blinked.

"No doubt a good thing considering what happened to the matrix on Gallifrey."

I'd heard the stories, of course. About the horrible time war that destroyed the Timelords and their planet.

"Ah. You do know."

"Merow."

"Dear, Gally." She called me that when Richie wasn't around. "Not your true name, but you allow us humans to call you what we will."

Sometimes she twists her words funny. I'm not sure why she does that.

"Much have your people recorded." She got up and picked up the picture of the funny bald man. "His name was Valen."

Vaguely an old story surfaced about him being on Vulcan for a time. I hadn't heard it in a long, long time.

"Legend has it that he will return again."

That wasn't possible. I knew where he was and I doubted he would be freed anytime soon.

"I would not be so sure." Jasmine put the picture back. "His would not be the first Katra returned to a body."

I heard about Spock. He died putting his Katra in McCoy. After many events the priestess managed to return it to the body of the Vulcan. He lived on but had to be re-educated.

"True."

Jasmine must be a telepath. How else she could read what I was thinking?

"Of course, I am. I did inherit that talent from the Timelords."

The door buzzer sounded.

"Enter," she called.

Richie stood there when the door opened. "There's Galahad."

"He comes here every day. I honestly don't know why you're surprised."

"Touche'!" Richie scooped me up. "How about a sparing match later?"

"Not today." Jasmine gave my friend a smile. "I found some interesting records in the old classified files."

"I thought no one could get into those. Even Data hasn't had any luck."

"Data doesn't have access to any of the old pass words."

"Don't let him know that." Richie sat down in a chair near the terminal. I sat on his lap furring his nice clean black pants.

"He wouldn't understand as it is."

"Oh, I don't know. I've heard about that incident with his head."

Seems they found Data's head in an old dig. Then they went back in time and stopped some aliens and met Giunan. She runs Ten Forward. Sometimes she give me special treats and gives me a look that makes me think she knows about me, too.

"I'd really rather no one learn about my past. Just as I'm sure you don't want them to know about yours. Could prove awkward don't you think?"

"Yeah." He inclined his head. "Find anything useful?" His hand scratched behind my ear. I liked that and I purred for him.

"I'm not sure."

"There you go being vague again."

Jasmine laughed. "Actually, I was looking at the sunspot activity around the time the war started."

"Is that important?"

"I remember Sam saying something about it once."

"Then it's important."

She gave him a look even I couldn't read. "Perhaps." She sat down. "Any idea on how long the captain intends to stay here?"

"I'm not privy to command level decisions."

"I thought perhaps you'd heard something."

"Sorry."

Her nails tapped on her terminal. I watched her fingers thinking it might be fun to grab one of them. "I'd really like to go down there."

"Why not talk to Commander Riker? I'm sure if you explain you know something about it, he'll agree." He shrugged. "If nothing else, he'll want it for the log."

"I suppose." She sat back. "I hate these types of situations. I always have to think through everything so I don't slip up and say or do something stupid that I'll have to come up with a logical explanation as to why."

"Believe me, I understand." Richie had been a number such episodes. I'd helped him out when I could. I can be distracting when I like.

"So tell me, how do you keep Dr. Crusher from figuring out you're immortal?"

"Trade secret."

I saw the look in her eyes and the slow smile that spread across her thin lips. "That's what I thought."