NOTE from the PHOENIX: This is like the fourth or fifth story in the series. The first one is called SG-1 K-9. Without reading the rest this one will make NO sense.
Daniel lopped through the dark forest on all fours. Being in Jackson's canine body had a lot of advantages. Right now the two that Daniel was counting on was his speed and keen sense of smell. Daniel paused for a moment and put his nose to the ground. Sniffing delicately at the leaf litter he picked up on the trail once again.
Keeping his nose low Daniel broke into a run as the scent became stronger. When he came to a marshy area the scent became confusing once again. Unable to determine where the scent lead to next Daniel started to panic. He was racing against the clock, and for all he knew time had already run out.
'Think like a human for a moment...where's the logical path?' Daniel thought to himself.
Rearing up on his hind legs Daniel scanned around to see where the path of least resistance was. It was a general rule of tracking that unless your prey was working hard not to be discovered that they would tend to take the easiest path through the brush. Daniel spotted a dry animal trail off the the side walked over to it.
'Bingo, this way.'
Having found his way once again Daniel ran till his heart was pounding in his chest. Along the way he was leaving a trail of white power as the flour and glitter he had rolled in shed off his thick coat. Daniel had learned that people had a lot easier time believing in a white wolf spirit than in a giant dog hybrid. He wasn't sure why that leap was so much easier for everyone, but time and time again it had proven an asset to have his coat shimmer in sparkly white.
Tonight the moon was full so Daniel's coat truly had an other worldly sheen to it as he dashed through the forest. His hot breath was forming small clouds as it met with the cold autumn air. His nose pulled him off the animal path when the scent he was after suddenly turned to the right. He followed it to a steep slope that ended in a small ravine.
Daniel carefully made his way down to the edge of the ravine and peered in. Although it ran a thousand feet long it was only about ten feet across and twelve to fifteen feet deep. Daniel paced the edge of the ravine as he continued to search. The smell was so strong here that it was impossible to pin point where it was coming from. Jackson had good night vision, but it wasn't good enough in the dark crevices in the ravine.
Thinking more like a dog Daniel closed his eyes and let his ears do the searching for a moment. He instant heard the distinct sound of breathing. Daniel honed in on the sound to a spot where the edge of the ravine was crumbling. Peering down he finally found what he was looking for. Having found the spot he marked it the best way he knew how. Walking over to a near by bush he lifted his hind leg and urinated on it.
Having left his mark Daniel was confident that he could easily find his way back. Digging his claws into the dirt Daniel ran head long through the forest back the way he came. He didn't have to take the same twisted path that he'd used to follow the scent trail, this time he could just run in as straight a line as the landscape would allow. It wasn't long before he heard voice.
'Now comes the dangerous part.' Daniel sighed mentally.
Taking a deep breath Daniel made his way towards the invaders in the forest. He had to be very selective to who he showed himself to. Circling the group he looked for the most likely candidate. There was always someone in front of the pack, someone who was less disciplined than the others and wandered off on their own.
When Daniel found the stray he circled around in the under brush and determined what direction the man was traveling in. Running a few hundred feet ahead Daniel crossed in front of his path and waited out in the open. When the man stumbled into the clearing and caught sight of the enormous wulf he gasped sharply. He took a quick step backwards and tripped over a stone, crashing down onto his butt.
"Pl...please don't hurt me, good...um...I'm going to guess 'dog'." The man sputtered.
'Get up.' Daniel ordered silently.
Terrified the man had made no moves to get back to his feet. He was trying to remain still in hopes that Daniel would go away. Daniel bowed his head submissively and took a step back. The man took the opportunity to stand up. When the man tried to back away again Daniel bared his sharp teeth at him and growled menacingly. Daniel gestured his head in the direction he wanted the man to go. The man furrowed his brow and took a step in the direction that Daniel had indicated. Daniel instantly relaxed his aggressive posture.
"You...you want me to go this way?"
Daniel nodded and took off back towards the ravine at a hurried pace. The man only hesitated for a second before following Daniel through the woods. They were leaving the voices of the others far behind, but the man never slowed his pace to call for his friends. Daniel made sure that the man could always see his tail as he kept ahead of him. A few times he was forced to stop while his pursuer caught up to him.
When the got to the ravine Daniel gather up as much speed as he could as he ran down the incline. Reaching the edge of the drop off he launched himself into the air and gracefully flew over the gap. Landing on the far side he turned around just in time to see the man peek out from the top of the hill. The man slid down the incline and stopped just short of the drop.
"How...how did you get across?" The man asked stunned.
Daniel's only answer was to stare intently into the darkness of the ravine. At first the man didn't pick up on the less than subtle hint. Daniel made low growl as he continued to stare. Looking down into the ravine himself the man seemed to forget the flashlight in his hand. Daniel snarled at him again and he shined his light down into the depths.
Daniel yelped in alarm when the man dove down into the ravine as well. Ignoring what must now be a broken leg the man scrambled over to the young girl that lay at the bottom of the natural trap. Daniel held his breath as the man collected her in his arm. Weeping bitterly the man brushed her long brown hair out of her dirty and bloodied face.
"Jessica, Jessica, Baby, open your eyes, please...please!"
"I'm here, I'm here. Thank God."
Still crying the frantic father held his daughter to his chest protectively. Daniel watched motionlessly from his perch on the far side of the ravine. Eventually the man look up at him, tears still streaking his face.
"Thank you, bless you, I...I don't have words...thank you."
Daniel stared into the man's eyes for a moment before dashing away from the edge of the ravine and back into the dark cover of the forest. He found a hiding spot where he could watch to make sure that his job was done. The man had a radio on him and it didn't take him long to guide the rest of the Search and Rescue team to him. The search dogs started going crazy and paced at the edge of the gap. The rescuers figured the dogs were barking at the found humans, but Daniel knew the dogs wanted to get to him. However they couldn't make the jump the way he did.
It took the team fifteen minutes to get both father and daughter up out of the ravine. Paramedics were already on their way to assist, but a quick look at the pair showed that they weren't in any immediate danger. One of the uniformed rescuers knelt down next to the pair.
"Damn it, Rolands, you nearly gave me a heart attack when you went running off like that. How did you know she was here?"
"I didn't, there...there was this wolf...no, a Spirit, a Wolf Spirit he brought me here. He saved my little girl."
"A wolf spirit?"
Daniel could tell from the tone in the cop's voice that he didn't believe it. He was also painfully aware that the officer was going to be suspicious that the father was the one to blame for the girl ending up in the ravine. Every time a child goes missing there is always a cloud of foul play suspicion that follows it. However, Daniel knew the truth, Jessica's scent had been the only one in the woods. She had wandered and become lost. Below the cop was already starting to ask questions and making accusations.
Getting to his paws Daniel threw his head back and howled a long mournful note. Everyone had been chattering, arguing, trying to control the dogs. After Daniel's cry everything, even the dogs, had fallen silent. Before disappearing into the night he dashed out of cover for a moment to give them all a glimpse of his artificially iridescent coat. The officer in charge was left staring slack jawed at the sight.
"Officer?" Rolands asked fearfully.
"Take you little girl home...the forest wanted you to have her back."