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Bark At the Shadows

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One dog barks at the shadows and a hundred bark at the sound."

The SG-1 team leaps through the event horizon and quickly dives to the side of the gate platform. Several plasma beams from staff weapons follow them through the wormhole only to glance harmlessly off the walls of the chamber. Major Sam Carter crawls immediately to the DHD and attempts to close the gate. After a few moments she is successful and the sudden silence is welcoming.

"Okay. Now what?" Colonel Jack O'Neill demands as he stands up and brushes dust off his BDUs.

Sam continues to work on the device as she answers. "Sir, I need to dial another address. That should keep the Goa'uld from being able to dial here. Hopefully, if we are successful in making it to another planet, that might get us some breathing room to dial Earth."

"Why can't we dial home now?"

"I wouldn't want to chance it. Look, they followed us through two jumps already. Whatever technology they have, they are able to trace our route. We can't risk them getting our signal and being able to get through the iris to Earth." She jerks her hand off the device as a power surge shocks her. "Damn."

"What's wrong now?"

"I'm not able to connect to P-3S-941."

"So?"

"It means that they have found a way to block us."

"Okay. Let me see if I have this straight." Jack counts off on his fingers. "The snakes have found a way to follow us through multiple jumps. We are three planets from where SGC expects us to be and, now, we can't go anywhere else."

"Yes, sir. That just about sums it up."

"Wonderful." Jack O'Neill looks around the chamber. "So, what do we know of this place?"

Daniel Jackson has walked over to an elaborately carved wall. He studies the writing in the dim light. "This writing looks like ancient Celtic writing. I remember some of this from the Book of Kells."

"P-36J78 is uninhabited. We sent a MALP but we haven't sent a team out here," Sam adds.

"I do not believe that this building is uninhabited." The deep tone of Teal'c's voice interrupts their conversation.

"What?"

He points at a pile of equipment on the floor. "This does not appear to be of Tau'ri origin and does not look like it has been in this place for long."

"Great. Just great." Jack walks over to the stash. "Daniel, any ideas?"

He leaves his study of the chamber wall to come over and pick through the stack of items. He lifts up a sifting screen and a small pick. "It looks like archeological supplies. Maybe there's another research team here."

"Are we sending out teams that I don't know about?"

"Not to my knowledge, sir, " Sam answers. "I chose this site because it hadn't had a team assigned to its study. I didn't want to endanger anyone else."

"Very noble, Carter," Jack replies sarcastically. "If we didn't send them here, who did?"

"Uh, sir?"

"What is it, Carter?"

"Perhaps we should ask them." She points at the entrance to the chamber. Standing there is a figure wearing a white robe.

Jack turns to look at the doorway. Instinctively, he tries to pull his semi-automatic into firing position. He grunts with the effort to lift it. "A little help, here?"

Startled, both Sam and Teal'c attempt to raise their weapons. It feels like a giant hand is holding the weapons down.

"I am sorry. I cannot allow you to harm me or mine." The voice coming from the doorway has a lilting brogue.

Daniel steps forward. "Hello. I am Daniel Jackson and these are my friends. Who are you?"

Another robed figure, this one obviously female joins the figure in the door. She peers over the tense shoulder. "Let them go, Muireann. Remember the Law of Return," she chides gently. "Besides, I don't think that they mean us harm." She touches her companion on the arm and enters the chamber.

Stubbornly the other woman shakes her head. "We know nothing of them."

"They are obviously not Goa'uld."

"That one is Jaffa."

"Yes. But he is apostate. Can you not feel that his symbiote is gone?"

The SG team looks at one another. Jack asks Sam, "Well?"

"I don't sense anything from them."

Teal'c nods. "I concur. These two are not Goa'uld."

"Hey, back to our question." Jack calls. "Who are you and what are you doing to my weapon."

"You should forgive my companion. She reacts quickly when she feels a threat." The woman walks forward and gazes into each of their eyes. "My name is Caoilinn inghean Mhic Dhomhnaill. My companion is Muireann inghean Ui Bhaoighill. We are researchers who have come to this place to study. Who are you and why are you here?"

"Let go of my weapon and we'll talk." Almost before he is finished with his statement, the force holding down his weapon disappears. It jerks up suddenly in his grip and nearly hits him in the chin. With a barely restrained growl, he returns it to the ready position. "I am Colonel Jack O'Neill of the SGC. The one by the DHD is Major Samantha Carter. You've met Daniel and this is Teal'c."

"Blessed be. From where do you come?"

"We are from Earth."

"An cruinne cé?" The two women look at each other in shock.

"That's Gaelic," Daniel says excitedly. "As are their names and clan designations."

"We never dreamed it was possible. To meet ones from Earth."

"See, I told you guys that our fame precedes us."

Sam tentatively touches the Dial Home Device in front of her. When she doesn't receive a shock, she goes back to try and activate the machine. She curses when the chevrons begin to engage on the Stargate behind her.

"I take it that's a bad sign?"

"They made the connection, sir."

"Damn. We need to find a place we can defend." Jack looks at the two women. "Got any ideas?"

"Whom are you defending yourself against?"

"This nasty Goa'uld System Lord by the name of Svarog.

"What? You have brought the Goa'uld here?"

"Look, it wasn't our idea for them to follow us through the gate. They just can't seem to get enough of us."

"This is terrible."

"Thanks for your sympathy."

"I am not thinking of you," Muireann snaps. "You obviously are prepared for battle. We are not." She speaks quickly to her companion in their native language. At her nod, she turns and looks at Sam. "Do you have another set of clothes with you?"

Glancing at O'Neill, Sam answers, "Yes."

"Give them to Caoilinn."

"Give me a good reason why?"

"Because we dare not stand out when they come."

"We have made a lot of enemies with the Goa'uld. You would be better off not to be mistaken for us."

"We have been at cogadh with the Goa'uld before your ancestors had come down from the trees."

At Jack's look, Daniel interpreted. "They've been at war."

"It is a good thing that we look like you. Hopefully, we will be unnoticed. Please."

Jack nods, "Whatever. It may be your funeral. Literally." At the steady gaze, he orders Carter, "Give her the clothes." He turns to Muireann. "What about defensible positions?"

"The best place would be the upper chambers of this building. They would not dare destroy the building, as it houses the gate room and there is only one way in."

"Lead on."

The small group leaves the gate room and follows the corridor. It is built on a slight incline that climbs around the tower. As they walk, Muireann removes her robe and tosses it into one of the abandoned rooms they pass. Underneath the outer covering she is wearing natural fiber trousers and tunic in a dark green. Her hair, now revealed, is a burnished auburn that falls below her shoulders.

"Our backs will be to the wall in there. Is this a wise course of action?" Teal'c asks Jack.
"We don't have much of a choice. We do what damage we can until captured and then we'll escape."

"I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of your plans, Jack O'Neill."

"You wound me, Teal'c. I mean, honestly, have I failed you yet?"

"Indeed, you have not."

***


"My, my. So this is what the fabled Tau'ri SG-1 looks like." Svarog prowls around them. "There is the scientist, Dr. Jackson." He touches Sam's hair. "I am pleased to see the woman warrior; she looks quite tasty." He only laughs when Sam jerks away from his touch.

He stands in front of Teal'c. "It will be my pleasure to do what Apophis never could. Removing the traitor Jaffa and stopping your puny attempts to foment a rebellion against the gods."

Teal'c stares at him implacably. Svarog looks disappointed that there is no challenge from the large warrior. He paces to the right and stops in front of the leader of the team. "And you. You must be Colonel O'Neill."

"Guilty as charged."

"I must admit to some disappointment. You were easier to track down than I expected."

"You're going to have to learn to live with disappointment."

"And you will not have a chance to do any more living. A fair trade, I think."

"You know, it never ceases to amaze me that anyone believes you people to be gods." Jack laughs. "I mean, how many times have we been threatened with death only to turn around and open a big can of whoop ass."

One of Svarog's Jaffa cracks his staff weapon against O'Neill's shoulders, driving him to his knees.

"You would do well to speak to me with respect." He watches idly as Jack climbs back to feet in silence.

The false god steps before the two remaining prisoners. "Who are you? The system lords have records of these others but we don't know anything about these two." He pauses before Caoilinn. "You remind me of something."

She keeps her eyes firmly down. He reaches out and grabs her chin. As they make eye contact he shoves her back and, in one smooth motion, raises his hand device and fires it at her. She takes a hit directly to the chest and is flung backwards.

Muireann shouts, "Nil!" She punches her right arm at him and, with an invisible shove he flies back into the wall. Slamming into the hard surface, his eyes briefly glow before his body slides limply to the ground.

She stalks after him and shoves a hand into his upper chest. She feels around and pulls out the wiggling symbiote. There is remarkably little blood on her hands. She throws it on the floor of the chamber where it screams and wiggles around. Holding both hands to her chest she forces them down and shouts "Duine dígeanta!" The floor around the worm sinks several feet from the force of the invisible blow. The symbiote itself is reduced to a paste smear on the broken slabs.

With an inarticulate scream, she turns from the dead symbiote and waves her arm. All of the Jaffa in the direction of her move are hurtled back by the force of the energy behind her push. They follow their leader in sliding bonelessly down the wall, no longer a threat to anyone.

SG-1 breaks from its fascinated witnessing of this and makes fairly quick work of the remaining guards. The fracas is over quickly.

Muireann tries to get to Caoilinn but the injured woman has a seizure when she gets close to her. She turns and goes to the former host. He is gasping on the ground, clutching both hands to the wound she left in his chest. Laying her hands on him, she heals the wound. She returns to her companion and lays a hand on her forehead. The seizure ends.

She stands and glares around the room. Clenching her fists, she moves to the ranks of the Jaffa kneeling on the floor.

"You see now that the one you followed was no god." She points at the trembling and babbling figure, whose mind is obviously damaged after being a host for so many years. "Do you repudiate him?" She asks as she stands over the first warrior in the line.

The warrior looks at her with terror in his eyes. "I do."

She steps to the next one in line. "Your answer? Do you wish to be free of your false god?"

"He was not false."

"He lied to you and now he lies dead. Join him." She strokes her fingers over his cheek. His eyes roll back in his head and he collapses to the floor.

Jack stands between her and the next Jaffa in line. "Whoa. We don't kill prisoners."

"He will not renounce the false god. What would have me do?"

"We will give him to the freed Jaffa. They can make them believe in freedom."

Turning to Teal'c, she points to the defeated Jaffa. "Do you believe they can change or should they die?"

"I had a change of heart."

Nodding, she steps away from the prisoners. "I will leave them in your custody then." She moves to Sam who is cradling her arm against her chest. The white of bone sticks out through her sleeve. She stops by her, reaches out and puts one hand on the injury and the other on Sam's upper chest.

Sam stiffens from the sudden, intense heat. Just when she is clenching her teeth to keep from yelling in pain, the heat disappears. Swaying for a moment, as Muireann lets go, Sam looks through the blood soaked cloth to a cleanly healed arm. There is no scar or sign that she had even been injured.

She kneels down beside Caoilinn. Daniel glances up from doing CPR. "Her heart has stopped." The red-haired woman reaches out and touches the prone woman. Daniel jerks with surprise, when there is suddenly a pulse under his fingers.

Jack looks around the chamber. "I think it may be safe to head home now."

"Yeah. What about them?"

Sam and Jack look down at the two women. Daniel has remained on his knees beside them.

"I can't do anything." Muireann holds her hand inches from the unconscious form and Daniel frowns.

"Jack, her pulse is very erratic."

"Sir, let's take her back to the Mountain. Maybe Janet can do something."

"Yeah. Let's blow this Popsicle stand before anybody else tries to come through the gate." Jack looks to Teal'c. "You cover the prisoners. I will send a team back here to help guard them and you can deliver them to Bra'tak."

"I will do as you say."

"Look, we might be able to treat your friend at our base. Will you accompany us?"

Muireann raises her head, there are tears trailing down her cheeks. "Please. I cannot let her die."

Daniel lifts the injured alien and carries her back through the building to the gate room. This time, when Sam dials the chevrons engage. She pulls out the GDO and enters SG-1's iris code.

With one last look around, the small group enters the event horizon.


***


"We need a medical team here on the double," Sam calls up to the control room. She sees General Hammond give the order.

The Chief Medical Officer hurries into the gate room, trailed by several nurses. "What do we have?"

"A female humanoid who took a shot from a hand device to the chest."

"Put her on the gurney and let us have a look at her."

Gently, Daniel sets her down on the gurney. Janet places her stethoscope against the unconscious woman's chest and listens for a moment. "Her heart is in difib, we need to get her to the medical center stat."

Janet looks at the rest of the team. "Where is Teal'c?" She quickly and professionally notes that they all seem to be uninjured.

"He remained on the planet, guarding our prisoners."

"Is everyone else generally in one piece?" The group nods. "Okay. Report to the infirmary for your post mission checks." She turns and hurries after the stretcher.

General Hammond enters the gate room and walks to the bottom of the ramp.

"General, I need a team sent to back up Teal'c on whatever planet we just came from. We have some prisoners to watch while we contact Bra'tak and some technology goodies that might please you."

"All right. SG-8 is prepared for their mission. I will send them to P-36J78 instead."

Muireann is standing on the top of the ramp. She is looking with intense concentration at the iris that is now closing over the gate.

"Colonel O'Neill. Why don't you introduce your guest?"

"Uh, I am not sure I have the pronunciation down right."

The tall woman turns to the General. "I am Muireann inghean Ui Bhaoighill."

"Welcome to Earth. I am General George Hammond."

"It is an honor. When we lost contact with our colony, my people feared that this planet was lost to the slavery of the Goa'uld. We are most pleased that you are free."

"Your colony?" He looks at the rest of SG-1. "We will have a briefing as soon as you are all cleared through medical. I look forward to finding out just how you got to P-36J78 and more about our guests."

"Believe me, General. It is a real doozy." Jack exclaims.

"I would like to be with Caoilinn," Muireann interjects.

"Of course. Major, show her to the infirmary."

"Yes, sir."

***

As Muireann comes close to the surgical bed all of the monitors connected to the injured women cease to function and display only snow. Janet looks up from her position at Caoilinn's head. "What the hell is going on?" she barks to no one in particular.

"I'm sorry. I did not realize that your technology is so poorly shielded." She backs up to the entrance of the emergency room. As she steps away, the screens begin to stream data again. Janet looks between the woman and her equipment but is stopped from asking any questions when her patient stops breathing. She calls for an intubation tray.

Muireann is silent as she watches the medical teamwork on Caoilinn. They are forced shock her several times in order to get her heart back into rhythm. Each time, Muireann winces and she rubs her chest in sympathetic pain.

Turning to Major Carter, she points at the four occupied beds in the infirmary. "Are these people in need of healing?"

Sam looks at Dr. Webster. He nods. "They are all recovering from their wounds. Most of them will be discharged tomorrow or the next day." Glancing at Sam he points to the blood on her sleeve. "Is that yours?"

"Yes. I had a compound fracture."

He motions for her to remove her jacket and then he examines the perfectly healthy limb. "Tell me more, please."

"I am not sure I understand it myself. I took a blow from a staff weapon and I could see the bone piercing the skin. She took a hold of my bicep, there was a flare of intense heat and my arm is as good as new."

The two humans watch as Muireann walks over to the hospital beds. She stands at the foot of one of the beds with her eyes closed. Taking a deep breath, she looks at Sam for approval. At her quick nod, she steps beside the bed. Laying a hand on the center of the prone man's chest, she closes her eyes and puts her other hand on their forehead.

Muireann moves from bed to bed, healing each of the patients. As she reaches the last bed, she is stumbling. One of the nurses steps toward her to offer support but she waves them off. "No, do not touch me."

She moves as quickly as she can to Caoilinn's bed. Janet waves the medical team away from their patient and no one breathes as a trembling hand strokes the pale forehead. Muiereann's other hand finds a place at the center of her partner's chest. She stills and focuses on the unconscious woman beneath her hands.

After a moment, the monitors, which had continued to stream data in her presence, begin to fluctuate and she reluctantly steps away.

Coming forward, Janet looks at the injured woman. She places her stethoscope on her chest and smiles. "There is a definite sinus rhythm now."

Janet steps away from the bed and quickly examines several of the soldiers in the beds. They are all completely cured. She calls for one of the nurses to bring the portable x-ray machine over to check out the broken legs on Sergeant Miller before she is willing to cut the cast off.

***

Less than an hour after returning to Earth, the SG-1 team is sitting around the conference table outside of General Hammond's office.

"Give me your report."

Jack O'Neill grimaces. "Everything was proceeded smoothly on P-whatever. We made contact with our informants and began training them in various sabotage techniques when death gliders suddenly appeared over the camp. We made it back to the gate and jumped." He pauses. "Carter?"

"We made the one jump and immediately dialed another address. The wormhole formed and we made it through safely. As we were preparing to dial Earth, the chevrons engaged with an incoming wormhole. I don't know what new technology they were using but it enabled them to track us through multiple jumps."

"I have told Colonel Darchy to search the prisoners for any technology. I can't tell you how worrying it is that they are able to follow our teams."

"There was a gap in time, so we would still have been able to come through the gate and engage the iris before they could make a connection."

"Then why didn't we come home?" Jack asks her.

"So far, the system lords have been reticent about the information they are willing to share with one another. It has been good luck that only a few of them have figured out this address. I wasn't about to give it to a Goa'uld we'd never even heard of before."

"Good call, Major." General Hammond looks over at Daniel. "Dr. Jackson, what can you tell me about our guests?"

"I really don't have that much information. They speak what seems to be a form a Gaelic. They appear to be familiar with Earth but don't seem to one of the slave races."

"The one mentioned a colony here. Any ideas what she meant?"

"I haven't really had a chance to talk to either of them. We were only around them for a few minutes before the Jaffa came through the gate."

"The way she threw Svarog and the Jaffa into the wall was exceedingly cool to watch."

"I did not care for the way she was able to keep me from bringing my weapon into firing position."

General Hammond looked up as Dr. Fraiser enters the room.

"What can you tell us about our new patient?"

"It has been touch and go."

"Prognosis?"

"I cannot keep her heart going. " She looks at the other members of the team. "She only took the one blow from the hand device?"

"Yes."

"I don't understand. A single blast should not be affecting her so badly."

"It seems that there are a number of questions here. Why don't we ask our visitor?"

"Yes, I would like to ask her about the remarkable recovery of all my other patients."

"Good idea." General Hammond calls to the Airman at the door. "Invite our other visitor to join us in the conference room."

In less than five minutes, Muireann walks into the room. "How may I help you?"

"We would like to ask you some questions to hopefully allow us to help your companion."

"I will do anything."

"Can you tell us why she is not recovering from the single blow?"

"The Goa'uld weapons were designed with my people in mind. Staff weapons and ribbon devices are deadly to my kind. They are almost always fatal because they scramble our ability to control electrical impulses."

Janet sits forward, "Is that why the monitors scramble when you step near them?"

"Yes. My culture uses very little technology because of the shielding that would be necessary for them to operate."

"After you touched the personnel in the infirmary, the machines did not react until after you had been touching Caoilinn."

"Yes. In my normal state, I emit energy. I can direct it as a force. Caoilinn is my opposite. She is a receptor. The ribbon device altered her energy flow."

"If you take your homeworld, could they heal her?"

"Yes."

"Then do so."

"I cannot return for 3 more days."

"Why not?"

"We don't have the ability to block our Stargate as you do. Because of that, those who go off world can only return safely at a specified day and time."

Janet shakes her head. "I do not know if I can keep her alive for three days. The damage to her heart is extensive. I am amazed that she has a pulse at all."

"Are there any others who need healing?"

"No, we have been pretty lucky with our off world teams. Those five were the only ones still injured."

"Do you have anyone who is diseased?"

Janet shakes her head. "Not on duty right now."

"I must drain my energy reserves before I can take the excess from her," she gets up and paces around. "It is not acceptable for her to die." Walking over to a desk light, Muireann takes a hold of the stand. The light comes on. She holds on for a moment before letting go. The light stays on. "What method do you use to store this energy?"

"Uh, we have a power station and several batteries."

"May I see them?"

General Hammond nods his head. "Do it."

Sam leads her down several corridors to a series of junction boxes and large capacity batteries.

Holding her hands out, Muireann unerringly finds the four batteries that are not as charged as the others. "Can you detect when they are full?"

"Yes, we have dials over here."

"Excellent. Tell me when they have reached full capacity."

"All right."

Muireann places both hands on the first battery. She closes her eyes and leans into the piece of equipment. Shifting her eyes between the woman and the readout, Sam calls out, "Done."

The woman disengages and moves to the next box. The next two take her longer and she is reeling when she is finished. She turns to Major Carter. "I may lose consciousness after I fill this unit. Please ensure that I am taken immediately to Caoilinn's side and place my hand upon her chest."

"I will see to it."

"Do not make skin to skin contact until after I have touched Caoilinn. It would be dangerous for you."

Sam looks at one of the guards. "Go and get a gurney from the infirmary." As he hurries away, she turns back to Muireann. "Go ahead. We will be ready."

She nods and touches the last battery. Before the dial reads green, she slides to her knees but keeps her hands on the unit.

"Done," Major Carter calls.

She releases the battery and falls to her side. They take her to Caoilinn. After being touched, the other woman begins to breathe on her own again. Muireann lies unconscious beside her.

***

Sam steps into the lab. "Hey, Janet."

Janet looks up from the eyepiece of the microscope. "Hey, yourself."

For a long moment the two long time lovers just stare at one another. They have not had a moment alone since SG-1's return from off world.

"Dr. Webster tells me that you broke an arm."

"Yeah. It got a little crazy there for a bit. I tell you I have never seen anything like what she did to Svarog."

"What happened?"

"You know that scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when that insane priest puts his hand into that guys chest and pulls out a still beating heart?"

"Don't get me started on the unreality of that scene." She stops talking as she looks at Sam shaking her head.

"Janet, I saw it. She shoved her hand into the host and pulled out the symbiote. It was squealing until she did this...this," Sam pauses as she searches for the right way to explain what happened. "Its like she pushed and the symbiote and the floor just sank from the force of it."

"So she kills and heals. An interesting combination."

"Does the way she heals remind you of anything?"

"Yeah. Ayiana."

"That's what I was thinking too. Do you suppose that these two are from the same species?"

"I have the blood and brain workups that I did in Antarctica. Let me sit down and examine these numbers with Caoilinn's and I will get back to you."

"All right." Sam looks at her for couple of minutes. "I miss you."

Glancing up at the security cameras, Janet shakes her head. "Sam," she warns with a smile. "I'll see you tonight and we can talk after Cassie goes to bed."

"Promise?"

"I promise to do more to you than just talk if you don't go away and let me work."

She licks her suddenly dry lips. "I hear and obey."

"That's what I like to hear. Now shoo."

***

For the next several hours Janet compares the available data and is astounded by the results. "This cannot be a coincidence." She pages Sam. Pacing around her lab, while she waits for Sam to come to her, she shakes her head.

"What have you got?"

"Look at this." Janet directs her to the chair in front of the monitor. "The first slide is Ayiana's brain scan. The second is Caoilinn. Now, brain scans are similar among species."

"These seem to be pretty similar."

"Yeah. This set of slides is a DNA comparison. I only ran it tonight, so we are only looking at a 19 point comparison."

"Even at 19, there are a lot of similarities."

"Yes. You remember that book that talked about was actually an Eve because of all humans had a similar matriarchal strand?" At Sam's nod, she continues. "These two share the same family line as well."

"We estimated Ayiana to be several million years old."

"I know. But you look at this data and these women could be grandmother and grandchild."

"Could they be clones?"

"No. If it were a clone, the strand would be exact. There is another blood line here." Janet paces around. "I need to ask Muireann for a blood sample."

"If you tell her it might help Caoilinn, she would do it in a heartbeat." Looking at Janet, Sam asks, "Do you think they are lovers?"

"I can't readily tell since Caoilinn has not been conscious since she was brought into the infirmary. The protectiveness and the connection seem to indicate a level of intimacy."

"It's awful."

"What, sweetie?"

"Dying on another planet, far from home."

Janet glares at her. "I don't intend to let her die."

"That's not what I meant."

Stepping over to her lover, Janet ruffles the short hair. "I know that it scares you sometimes to leave me."

"Oh, Janet, I do. But it isn't just that. What we do here can never be told to anyone outside of the program. Add that to the military's transient and solitary nature and I wonder sometimes if anyone in the world will even know our sacrifices."

"If we fail, they will know." Janet watches Sam pace. "You know why the program has to remain secret?"

"Sometimes I doubt all the reasons we spout. Look, there are hundreds of brilliant scientists out there that could come up with some pretty terrific uses for alien technology if they only had access to what data we have collected. That paper I put out on the hypothetical uses of wormhole gravimetrics was really well received. I think we are needlessly making things harder on ourselves by not raising the veil of secrecy."

"Do me a favor, hon. Don't you be the one to defy the Official Secrets Act."

"I'm not going to do anything that foolish."

Whatever else she was going to say was lost when the intercom burst to life. "Medical Emergency. Dr. Fraiser to the Medical Center."

***

It was a long night. Several more times Caoilinn's heart stopped beating. Muireann, who wouldn't leave her side, paces between the beds. Anyone who stands too long beside her feels the hair of their body stand up.

Sam comes to stand beside her.

"On the surface of your planet, what time is it?"

"Huh?"

"It seems to be night here. However, we are very far from the surface and I do not know if you are following the Earth day."

"You can tell that we aren't near the surface?"

"Yes. I am very sensitive to planetary electrical fields. That is my prime contribution to our studies of Hashim."

"That's the planet we found you on?"

"Yes."

"Back to your question, yes. It's night topside. Why?"

"I would like to see the stars." She looks over at the blonde. "We have star charts that show your planet's position in your solar system. When we lost contact with our Stargate we thought your planet was lost forever."

"You mentioned your colony. Your people have been here before?"

"Yes, we had a small group of scientists assigned to your planet. They reported great changes to the weather and planet surface before they became lost to us forever."

"Let me go see about getting permission from General Hammond and Janet." She leaves the other woman to her solitary vigil.

It is a fairly easy process to get a protective detail mustered to escort them.

Sam takes her above ground at night to see the stars. She weeps to see the stars of Earth. As she cries, she says, "tá mé go maith di."

"What does that mean?"

"I love her. I cannot bear to live in a world without her heartbeat in it."

"Don't give up. Janet will keep her alive until you can take her home."

"I fear that it will be too late." She drops to her knees and buries her fingers in the soil. Around her fingers, new growth of grass springs up. She stays still for a long moment before struggling to her feet. "Let me go back to her now."

***

Janet held out her hand, "Thanks for stopping by."

"I don't understand, Dr. Fraiser. I thought you told me that there was nothing left to do."

"I don't want to get your hopes up but I want to try something."

Janet looks at the young Captain. Dianne Baton had been diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks ago. She was in Stage Three and not even surgery offered her an option. At the end of the month, she was going to be discharged to close out her affairs. "Come lie down."

It was a measure of the level of trust in which the SGC held Janet Fraiser that the young woman complies without any further question.

"Muireann?"

Captain Baton looks up at the woman approaching the bed. "What is this?"

"My name is Muireann. I would like to try and heal your abnormal cells. Will you allow me to touch you?"

She glances quickly at the calm face of the doctor before nodding. "Sure."

Muireann kneels beside the bed. She puts her left hand on Dianne's forehead and her right hand on her chest and slows her breathing to match. Dianne stirs as she feels the heat from the hands but stills when she sees Janet standing calmly beside the bed. They maintain their silent tableau for 20 minutes.

"Do you wish to bear children?" Muiereann's voice breaks the silence.

"What?"

"I feel that there is no connection between your egg sacks and your birth canal. Would you like me to repair the connection?"

Dianne looks at Janet before shaking head. "I had my tubes tied after Jerry was born. I haven't even considered having other children." She looks at Muireann. "You can do that?"

"Yes." She smiles at the young Captain. "If you need time, just say so. It doesn't have to be now that I heal the rift."

"Is the cancer gone?"

"Yes." She struggles to stand up. "You should rest for a while. Your body will be weak from the healing." When she regains her feet, she staggers to Caoilinn's bedside and lays her hands on either side of her partner's face. The warning beeps from the monitors quiet. Her partner's heartbeat regains a rhythm and she breathes on her own.

Muireann steps away from the bed. "Are there others? Like this one?" she asks as she puts a trembling hand to her own forehead.

"Yes but not here now. I will have to call them in." Dr. Fraiser looks at her. "You don't look so good. Should you rest?"

"I cannot. I have to help her."

"You won't be much help to anyone if you collapse."

"Don't worry about me. I will have time enough to rest when all of this is over."

Janet steps closer to the young woman. "I know what it is like to see someone I love sick and in pain. I also know that I can help them best if I am at my best."

"Dr. Fraiser. I believe that you think you understand my emotions but you do not understand it all." She drags her hand through her hair. "I cannot live without her."

"Can you explain?"

"We were bonded 6 cycles ago." She glances at Janet. "If I remember my lessons correctly, our years are slightly longer than those here on Earth."

"Go on."

"We exchange energy. Without her assistance to maintain proper levels, I become a danger to those around me."

"Are you a danger to us?"

"No. Right now I am discharging everything in order to counter her change in polarization."

"How long can you keep this up?"

"I don't know. I am not a trained healer. I have no history to fall back on; I just know that I cannot fail her." She brushes a few strands of hair off the face of her unconscious partner. "She is my life."

Janet touches her shoulder. "I will do everything in my power to help you both. Let me make some calls and get another couple of cancer patients here."

"Thank you." She nods at Major Carter who is entering the infirmary. "How long have you two been partners?"

Both of the humans cough and blush.

"I'm sorry. Have I misjudged your relationship?"

Janet beckons her into her office. "Come here, please."

Mystified, Muireann follows her. "What is wrong?"

"We have security devices in the main room that record our words. I was able to convince them that I needed a space to discuss confidential information."

"You cannot speak freely about your partnership?"

Sam perches on Janet's desk. "On our planet, same gender relationships are not recognized. We could not serve in the military if anyone knew."

"Does anyone really believe that by failing to recognize a truth you can make it untrue?"

"Well, that is something that 10% ask ourselves."

"10%?"

"Yeah. From a study conducted a number of years ago."

Janet interrupts, "Flawed."

"Okay, a flawed study that determined that approximately 10% of the population is attracted to members of its own sex."

"That number is far too low."

"Yes, that is one of the flaws." Sam shakes her head. "How did you know? I mean, about us."

"You two are obviously connected." She holds out her hands. "I can feel the energy flowing between you." She steps forward. "May I try something?"

"Sure," they agree.

Muireann directs the two of them to stand facing one another. "I am going to touch you both. I want you to touch one another once I have made contact."

The two women gaze into one another's eyes. "All right."

She touches her fingers to the back of their necks. "Go ahead. Reach out to one another."

Janet reaches out first and lightly draws her index finger along Sam's cheek. She suddenly shivers as she feels the sensation on her fingertips and on her own cheek. Sam is bolder: she places her hands on Janet's shoulders before smoothly sliding down to cup her firm breasts. She moves her thumbs over the already erect nipples.

"Oh, Jesus, Sam." Janet murmurs.

The sensations are incredible and both women lean in as they feel the slight pressure on their neck. When their lips meet in a kiss, they are lost to the awareness of each other. They can feel each other's lips and feel what the other is experiencing. In a few short moments they are both gasping, more aroused than either has been before.

They feel an acute sense of loss when Muireann removes her fingers. "I am sorry. This is not the best time or place for you to lose yourself in sensation."

Both women struggle to bring their panting under control. "You are right," Janet confirms. "I can't believe that I came so close at work."

"And just from kissing." Sam shakes her head. "Wow. That was incredible."

"The feedback that you two enjoyed can be regained once the energy between you is harnessed."

"You can teach this?"

"I can't." She smiles at their disappointed looks. "I do not have the proper skills. It is something that is taught on my homeworld to those who have bonded, however."

Sam picks up a report off Janet's desk and fans herself. "We really need to set up an alliance with your people."

"The knowledge that Earth has been found will bring great joy. I have no doubts that the Council will make every effort to reunite our peoples." She puts her hand on the doorknob. "I need to get back to her side."

"Uh, Muireann?"

"Yes, Janet?"

"We are not open here at work."

"To anyone who can see, you are."

"Are you going to tell anyone?"

Muireann looks offended. "I will maintain silence. I will do nothing that would cause damage to either of you."

"Thank you."

Janet and Sam lock gazes again once they are alone in the room. "That was intense."

"You're telling me. Um, Janet?"

"What, darling?"

"You think we can maybe take a break at lunch today?"

"An off base break?"

"Mmmhmm."

Closing her eyes, she relieves the sensations again. She has to bite her lip to keep from moaning. "I will see what I can do."

***

General Hammond," Muireann calls.

He turns from his discussion with the logistics team. "Yes?"

"It is time for me to return to my planet."

"All right. Tell the airman the address to dial and I will have a medical team bring your companion to the gate room."

"Thank you."

"I only wish that we had been able to send you both home in better shape."

In only a few minutes a small group stands at the bottom of the ramp. With steady fingers, Dr. Fraiser removes the intubation tube and takes a step back. "You should go now. She can breathe on her own for about 10 minutes."

Major Carter signals to the control room and the chevrons begin to engage. Daniel steps forward.

"Good luck."

Muireann glances at Daniel before picking Caoilinn up off the gurney. She looks at the shimmering wormhole. "I appreciate what you and your people have done for me." She stands with her burden. "I will inform my planet and I am sure that they will send a delegation."

"Here," Daniel places a box on top of the unconscious woman. This device will emit the proper codes for us to unlock our iris."

"How does it work?"

"Just send it through first. It will do all the work."

"We toss it in?"

"Essentially, yes."

"I will let them know."

"Go on. Get your friend the help she needs and we shall see you again."

***

Three days later there is off world activation of the wormhole. General Hammond comes into the control room from his office.

"Report."

"We are receiving confirmation. It is the control code that was sent to Domhan."

"Open the iris," he commands. "Notify SG-1."

"Yes, sir."

The team converges on the gate room and waits for their visitors. Jack has begun shifting from foot to foot when two robed figures step out of the event horizon.

"Welcome to Earth."

"Thank you. We are the Voice of the Council of Elders. We are here to share our knowledge with you."

"Excellent. Will you follow me to the conference room where we can have a discussion?"

"Yes."

The two women lower their hoods and walk down the ramp. Both are older women, at least twice the age of their earlier visitors from the planet. They are silent for the short walk to the conference room.

The older of the two women speaks first, after they sit. "I am Niamh inghean Ui Bhaoighill and my companion is Aithbhreac inghean Corcadail."

"You are a member of Muiereann's clan," Daniel says.

"Yes. She is the youngest daughter of my youngest sister."

"How are Muireann and Caoilinn," Dr. Fraiser asks.

"We were unable to heal the injury to Caoilinn. The damage was too severe and prolonged for even our abilities."

"Our healers were very intrigued that you were able to keep her alive as long as you did."

"A lot of that was Muiereann's doing. She was able to touch her and keep her heart going. How is she?"

The two women glance at one another. "Muireann chose exile."

Daniel Jackson stares at them in disbelief. "You exiled her? She did nothing wrong."

"You misunderstand." Niamh leans forward. "With the death of her partner, she would have become dependent upon others to safely discharge the buildup of power. That is not the way she wanted to live."

"She told us that a buildup of energy could be fatal."

"Unfortunately, that is true."

"She was able to discharge her energy here."

"As one of a bonded pair she had sufficient impetus to do so. With the death of her partner, it is not unusual for her not to want to continue alone."

"She is dead?"

"I cannot say for sure at this time."

"What?"

"She decided to return to the planet where you met her. We do not know her current status although we will send a team to Hashim in another ten day."

"How can you just abandon her?"

"Abandon? We are honoring her choice."

"Daniel, enough." The quiet voice of General Hammond breaks the tension. "While I am sure that we would all like to revisit this issue, we do have other things to discuss."

"Thank you." The younger woman inclines her head. Her long braid is color of steel and rust. "I believe that some historical information will be helpful."

"By all means."

Aithbhreac continues. "Our people are like children of the Ancients. They shared with us their technology. When the plague came they chose to end their existence in our dimension leaving behind much that was useful."

"Much of their technology could not be converted to our use. But we used the charts they left us and traveled through the gates."

"We spent many eons exploring the universe. We found your planet recovering from a great catastrophe. The circumstances were right and so we seeded your planet with some of the essential building blocks of life. It was a joy for our people to come and revisit. We marveled at the development of sentient beings."

Picking up the story, Niamh clenches her fists. "What we did not anticipate was the coming of another age of ice. We lost our gate and our colonists."

"Because we do not travel except by gate you were lost to us. In our archives, we kept star charts of your system."

"To our shame."

"Yes. We came across the Goa'uld when they were newly entering into their power. They were joined with the Unas and managed to communicate a willingness to blend with us. Many of our kind were intrigued by the offer of living in symbiosis. They offered us even longer lives and the ability to use some of the technology of the ancients that we had been unable to convert. We were criminally naïve to their evil."

"They raped the minds of their hosts and attempted to enslave us all. Our star system was plunged into civil war."

"It became a gender war. The Goa'uld preferred males for their hosts. They are physically more commanding and also more easily managed."

"The battle was joined and many died. Eventually, we were able to push them off our worlds and out of many of their unwilling hosts."

"We both withdrew from the field and attempted to avoid further bloodshed. We retreated to worlds that were not archived. The majority of our people settled on Domhan."

"They developed their energy weapons to deal with us. One shot will kill one of our kind."

"Our people were then and are now explorers. Many generations after the dark times, we came upon a planet that the Goa'uld had transplanted people from your planet.

"How did you know they were from Earth?"

"We used ourselves as your species base. If you compare our two peoples, the mother line is revealed as the same."

Dr. Fraiser nods. "That would explain the DNA point match."

"One of the tenets of our Rede is to accept responsibility for the good and bad that results from an action. We feel guilt that the Goa'uld were able to use our knowledge to find this word."

"We cannot attempt to undo the damage that our failure to protect you caused. So, the Council of Elders has decided to make an exception to our rule against interfering in a developing world."

"Whoa. You are trying to tell me that this whole life on Earth thing is a grand experiment but that you don't meddle anymore?" Jack's voice is derisive.

"Our actions during the yeasty times of your planet were before mammals were the dominant species. We seeded your planet with amino acids that help prime intelligent life. After that, we merely observed."
"We have a saying that the act of observing changes the subject under observation."

"For this reason, we no longer have colonies on any of the planets we study. We realize the danger that too much knowledge can breed."

"Do you think your original colonists survived the ice age that buried the gate?"

"Yes, I believe that it would explain our language being understood by your Dr. Jackson."

Daniel taps on the desk. "Excuse me. The time between the last ice age and the presence of a specific language group in Ireland is almost a million years. How long do your people live?"

"We estimate that our lifespan is equivalent to 10 of yours."

"How is that possible?"

"You have seen a portion of what can be done with a proper harnessing of energy." Niamh opens her hand toward the pitcher of water in the middle of the table. It slides across the table into her hand.

"Okay. That is a neat trick." Jack grins. "Is this something you can teach?"

"We will need to examine your potential but we can offer you other energy sources."

"What do you have for us?"

"We offer these." Niamh pulls out of her satchel two trays. "This is only a small sample."

"What is it?"

Stirring the contents of the tray with his index finger, Teal'c looks at the two women. "These are crystal seeds."

"That is correct. Muireann spoke to us of your energy systems. We offer you a much more efficient form of power."

"Power?" Sam questions.

Teal'c speaks up. "These are the crystals that power the mother ships."

"Yes." The women glance at one another. "We also will include instructions for their cultivation and use."

General Hammond leans forward. "What do you want in return?"

"We are greatly shamed that our experiment led to the enslavement of so many of the peoples of your planet."

"We no longer fight the Goa'uld directly. Therefore, we offer to share with you knowledge that we have gained in our studies.

"Weapons?"

"Muireann told us of your battle with the system lord. Surely, your weapons are a match for them."

"We were kind of hoping for something a little more powerful." Jack interjects.

"I am sorry. We use directed energy. We have no use for staff weapons or other devices."

"We are very grateful for the crystal seeds. Is there anything else you would be able to share?"

"My people would like to study your iris technology to see if we can develop something that we can use. We offer fair exchange for this. You may send scholars to study our ways."

"We do have one request."

"Yes, what is it?"

"We would like to extend a personal invitation to Dr. Janet Fraiser and Dr. Samantha Carter."

"Why them in particular?"

Niamh smiles. "We with to thank them for their efforts on our clanswoman's behalf. Additionally, Muireann spoke of their interest in studying energy fields."

Janet and Sam very carefully do not make eye contact with their superior officers. Janet nods her head. "We did have a discussion with her."

"Well, considering how well this conversation has gone, I don't think that we will have a problem sending a delegation to your planet to continue fostering good relations between our peoples."

"Thank you."

"Now, how about a tour of our facilities?"

"We would appreciate the opportunity to stretch our legs."

The group stands and follows General Hammond from the room.

***

"Put your fingers in me," Janet whispers.

Sam is kneeling on the floor by their bed, leaning forward between Janet's open legs. She glances up to see her lover watching. Shifting her weight to her right side, Sam strokes her middle and index fingers into the damp folds. Finding the hot center, she pushes in, slightly downward and back, past the tight outer muscles. The wall close in around her fingers and she can feel Janet's strong muscles squeezing her fingers.

Moving her fingers in tight circles, Sam returns to licking around Janet's clitoris, slowly writing out the alphabet with her tongue. As her lover's breathing quickens, Sam moves her left hand up to the brunette's breast and begins to play with her nipple, squeezing and releasing in sync with the motion of her fingers inside her lover's body. Sam starts to move her tongue faster, up and down, as Janet makes small mewing sounds.

Suddenly Janet freezes, her heels pressing into the mattress and her hands holding tight to the sheets. Sam maintains the tempo. With one long groan Janet's body begins to shudder and her vagina clenches around Sam's long fingers. Sam continues to lick her clit until Janet reaches down and pulls her head away.

Sam moves back onto the bed, keeping her fingers inside, feeling the continuing contractions. Janet's hands tighten her grip on Sam's hair as her breathing slows. She kisses Janet's neck and chest and slowly pulls her fingers out.

Janet smiles as she watches Sam lick her fingers clean. "You are very sexy."

"Why, thank you Doctor Fraiser." Sam lies back against the pillows of their queen size bed. She holds Janet in her arms. "Are you ready to go to sleep now?"

"My insides have melted. I am good for nothing else."

"Then my work here is done." She kisses her lover. "Sweet dreams, darling."

Janet dreams. She sees a woman toss a pitcher into the air. It turns and spins before it morphing into a chess piece and falling into Cassandra's open hand. Her adopted daughter smiles before her eyes glow.

With a gasp, Janet sits up in bed.

"What is it?" Sam reaches over and switches on the bedside lamp.

"I think I know what Nirrti was doing with Cassandra's people on Hanka."

"What?"

"She was attempting to create hosts like what they had when they first left the Unas."

"What are you thinking?"

"The Domhan's are the perfect host. If you combine the longevity to the symbiote to their own natural lifespan, you have a virtual immortal." Janet takes both of Sam's hands in her own. "We have seen that the Goa'uld has the same limitations of the host. What if they found themselves a host with such abilities as the Domhan?"

"Look, we know that she failed to create super humans."

"But Cassandra was close to ideal. Remember, Nirrti has her blood and can have already started a new breeding program. What if instead she was able to get her hands on just one member of Muiereann's race"

"Are you sure about this?"

"It was just a dream. I'll need to compare the medical records from her crisis with the scans on Caoilinn. I hope I am wrong."

"If you are right, an alliance could be the worst possible thing we can do."

"If knowledge of them reaches the Goa'uld because of us, we will be guilty of a creating super-Goa'uld's."

***

"Thank you for meeting with us."

"It will need to be quick as we have a very narrow window for our safe return."

Niamh places a soothing hand on Aithbhreac arm. "We welcome continuing dialogue but what more is there to say? We need to return to our world and prepare to receive SG-1 in one weeks time."

General Hammond points to Dr. Fraiser. "We have come into some information that we feel that you ought to know."

"Yes?"

Standing up and moving to the monitor, Janet brings up a picture of two blood samples. The samples are similar but different. "Please watch." She pushed the remote control and the picture changes frame by frame until both samples looked the same. As time continues to elapse, the cellular structure of the changing sample breaks down entirely. "What you are seeing is a sample of Cassandra's blood on the right and Caoilinn's blood on the left. You just watched Cassandra's blood go from unquestionably human, to Domhan and then losing all cohesion."

"I am afraid that I do not understand the significance of this."

"Several generations ago, a system lord by the name of Nirrti set up a breeding population to try and create the ideal host; i.e. you. We have the only surviving member of that culture and, at puberty, she entered a crisis stage that nearly killed her. It would have killed her, if that same system lord had not stopped the change."

"You allowed this Goa'uld to experiment on this human?"

"No." Janet looks unable to continue.

"Look, it is a long story but suffice to say she followed us home." Jack interrupts.

Sam continues. "In exchange for saving Cassandra's life, she was allowed to leave with a sample of blood."

"Why are you telling us this?"

"We want to make sure that you are aware of the ramification of an alliance with Earth. We know that there are Goa'uld out there who would relish the opportunity to leave their human hosts for one of your people."

Aithbhreac leans forward in her chair. "When we withdrew from conflict a millennium ago, we feared that the Goa'uld would pursue. That they would seek us out one by one and force us to become slaves. As time went on, we lost our fear."

"I see why you wanted us to see this." Niamh looks at General Hammond. "You are an honorable people. We discussed the possibility that any alliance with an enemy of the Goa'uld would bring their attention back to us. We came here full aware that we are risking our safety."

"We have no choice. Our failure to destroy an obvious evil has meant a multiplication of evil throughout the galaxy. We can no longer hide from our responsibility."

Aithbhreac opens her arms. "We are not a martial people but the symbiote's will find it very difficult to take any of us as hosts. The knowledge we can share with you should help strengthen your own ability to resist as well."

"Now," Niamh says as she stands. "We must complete our journey. We look forward to your upcoming visit."

"Back at ya." Jack responds.

At their blank looks, Daniel interjects. "He means that we too look forward to seeing your world."

"Blessed be."

"Goodbye, for now."