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Forever And Ever, Amen

Chapter 3

"I’m telling you, there’s a Pre-Immortal here. It’s that woman they just brought back from-" Methos bit off the rest of the comment. "From where they found her," he finished. He wasn’t sure if his phone call was being monitored, but he wasn’t going to take any chances. Classified was classified, and for now certain details didn’t matter.

On the other end of the phone Duncan MacLeod sighed. "So you want me to come out there? Are you still going to talk to that general of yours…uh…"

"O’Neill," Methos supplied. "There is a lot going on here, and we can help these people. If they’ll accept our help."

The fact that Methos wanted to help anyone was more than just a surprise. Methos was first and foremost interested in maintaining his anonymity and his own personal safety. But MacLeod kept his thoughts to himself. Their friendship was one of trust, now. If the ancient Immortal felt this was important, then it certainly must be. And if someone needed help…well, Duncan MacLeod had never walked away from a situation like that. He sighed. "Old man, I don’t know what’s going on. What you’ve told me about those ancient writings has me thinking about a lot of things. If you think we should do this, then I’m there for you. If you think they’ll be able to handle knowing about us-"

Methos snorted. "Immortals are the least of their worries. Just get here. I’ll set up the meeting with O’Neill. He’ll know by the time you get here. And I’ll have clearance for you so that you’ll know everything."

"I’ll call from the airport."

Methos hung up the phone, sighed, and went to look for General O’Neill. He found him in the commissary, arguing with Carter over whether blue Jell-O was better than red Jell-O. Their mission debrief had been rather short, considering they hadn’t even been on the planet for more than twenty minutes before Casey had fallen, literally, onto Daniel.

Methos waited until the career military man acknowledged his presence. He had heard stories about the general, whispers of special OPS so black that even the people who authorized the funding of such undertakings weren’t aware of most of the details of each mission. "General O’Neill, could I speak to you?"

Jack groaned silently. One of the geeks. Anthropologist or archaeologist or something like that. Geeky scientist. "Sure…uh…"

"Pierson. Doctor Adam Pierson."

"Sure, Pierson. What'cha need?"

Methos glanced uneasily at the general's companions: Doctor Daniel Jackson, multi-doctorate holder and the leading linguist and archaeologist at the SGC - a man who could speak twenty three languages, and read at least three times as many. The man who had helped translate and open the Stargate, even though he was just barely into his thirties; Lieutenant Colonel Doctor Samantha Carter, astrophysicist, and without a doubt the brightest scientist in the mountain; and the huge black man with the gold tattoo in the middle of his forehead, the Jaffa, Teal'c. "I would rather speak to you in private. Sir," he added belatedly.

With a sigh, Jack stood up. "Meet me in my office in five minutes." He turned back to his team. "Why don’t you go check on our guest. She knows you, Daniel, so seeing you when she wakes up will help keep her calm."

Daniel nodded. He headed towards the infirmary, Sam and Teal'c right behind him. The three of them were in hushed conversation as they rounded the corner and passed out of sight.

With another heartfelt sigh, Jack turned the opposite direction and headed toward his office. He hated talking to scientists. It was always so…so…boring. Methos was pacing when Jack arrived. "Okay...um...Pierson, what can I do for you?"

Methos closed the door. "What I’m about to tell you is rather…unbelievable. I need to know that you can keep my secret."

"Oh-kay. I think you’d know from working around here, secrets are our business," Jack said with his normal crooked smile.

"This is a secret I’ve kept for a long time. Over five thousand years as a matter of fact."

"Whoa…what?" Jack stared at the young man in front of him. "Did you just say that you have kept this secret for over five thousand years?"

Methos nodded. "It might be better to just show you. Please, do not call anyone, nor activate any alarms. Promise."

Jack nodded. "Promise."

Methos sighed, reached into his pocket and pulled out a small caliber handgun. His many years of experience had made smuggling it onto the base nothing more than a slight challenge. He quickly twisted a silencer on the barrel. "I hate doing this."

Jack backed up against his desk. "Whoa, hold on here, let’s talk about this. I’m sure we-" He was stunned when Methos pointed the gun to his own head and then pulled the trigger. It took a minute for the shock to wear off, and then Jack knelt down beside the body, checking for vital signs he knew wouldn’t be there. Shit! He did not need this crap today! The paperwork for a suicide in his office would be enough to wallpaper the entire Pentagon. He stood up, wondering what could have driven the linguist to end his own life. He was about to pick up the phone when he heard a deep gasp behind him. Jack whirled around, and watched, his jaw hanging open, as Doctor Adam Pierson stood up.

"We need to talk," Methos said simply.

Jack dropped into his chair. He had seen a lot of strange, unbelievable things in his time at the SGC. This was definitely at the top of the list. "Yeah."

"My real name is Methos. I was born in what is now Syria, over five thousand years ago. I’m an Immortal. I can’t die, unless someone takes my head. There are others like me…"

 

 

 

By the time that Methos had finished, Jack was leaning back in his chair, a wide grin on his face. This hadn’t been so boring after all!

For a brief moment Methos wondered what MacLeod would think if the Scot heard what he was now proposing. He would probably laugh, and demand to know where the real Methos was. For centuries Methos had survived by not getting involved in the affairs of others, especially mortals. The stone tablets had shaken him to his core, something that hadn’t happened in several millennia. Methos leaned forward in his chair, resting his arms on his thighs and linking his fingers loosely. "I would like to help fight the Goa’uld. Not just translate artifacts, really help. What I’ve translated from the stone tablets brought back from PX3-695 seem to indicate that Immortals were put on Earth to help "keep the history", and there are several stanzas that seem to indicate that we’re also to be 'protectors'. I have a friend who is also interested in helping. The writings that were found with the 'gate…" he started, the thought of what those involved in the SGC had inadvertently done nagging at the recesses of his mind.

Jack frowned, waiting for the man to continue.

"Doctor Jackson told me about them, and let me read them," Methos explained.

Jack nodded, and smiled again.

"Anyway, according to those writings, those warnings, the 'gate was not to be disturbed. Do you have any idea what you’ve done by opening that thing?" he blurted out unexpectedly. Methos shook his head. Children, he thought. Always getting into things they shouldn’t.

The smile disappeared. "After almost nine years, I damned well do know what we’ve done. Believe me, I know what the Goa’uld can do. I’ve been there, up close and personal, if you get my drift."

Methos smiled. "I believe I do. Nasty buggers, are they?"

Jack snorted. "That’s a …polite…way of putting it."

Methos stared down at his hands. "The young woman you brought back today-" he stopped and looked up at the man on the other side of the desk.

"What about her?" Jack asked. The abrupt change of subject left him momentarily confused.

"She’s Pre-Immortal."

"She’s what?"

Methos smiled. "She’s Pre-Immortal. "

"What the hell does that mean?" Jack demanded.

"It means, General, that if, or rather when, she’s killed, she’ll become Immortal. She’ll come back just as I did. Of course, with the first death, reanimation does tend to take longer. Up to forty-eight hours sometimes. And, when she does become Immortal, she’ll need a teacher, someone to teach her about Immortals and the Game. How to fight with a sword and protect herself. I have someone in mind. The same friend who's interested in joining me in my…adventure. He’d be a real asset to the SGC."

Jack nodded his head to indicate he understood. Which he really did…for the most part.

"It would be best if we arranged for her…death…as soon as possible."

Jack looked as if he had been sucker-punched. "You want to…kill…her?"

Methos nodded. "She’s young, healthy, and from the pictures I’ve seen of her on the news, beautiful. It’s best to ‘die’ at this age, when physically she’ll have the best chance of survival in the Game."

Jack felt as if his brain were melting. Forty-five minutes ago he had been blissfully ignorant about Immortals walking the planet, and the Game, and Quickenings, and the Watchers, and all the lovely tidbits that had come with Pierson’s, rather, Methos’ explanations. Now this man calmly sat in front of him, telling him they needed to plan the murder of the young woman that SG-1 had just rescued.

Methos leaned forward in his chair. "Rumor has it that this young woman will probably be offered a position here at the SGC…"

Jack rubbed his hand over his face. "It's been discussed. With everything she’s seen and been through, she’s going to need some counseling. She certainly can’t tell her story to anyone who doesn’t have the clearance for it. And, if she decided to go to the media with it, we could find ourselves facing some unwelcome scrutiny," he admitted. Thought briefly about the meeting in which Casey’s future had been discussed. He was still angry that there were those willing to have her admitted to a civilian psychiatric ward for an unspecified period of time, until she was no longer considered a security risk. Both he and General Hammond had adamantly opposed this, pointing out that the young woman in question was not insane, but rather the victim of the inadequacies of the NID. She had the right to some type of ‘normal’ life, and several other civilians who had inadvertently been exposed to the SGC or worse, the Goa’uld, had been successfully ‘absorbed’ into the program, becoming contributing members of the close-knit, secret society that dwelt in the belly of Cheyenne Mountain. "We’d prefer to keep her here where we can…keep an eye on her," he said.

"Being Immortal, she’ll have twice as much to face. Keeping her here would be safer for her in many ways."

"But you’re still determined to kill her," Jack said.

Methos nodded again. "When my friend arrives, we’ll take care of it."

Jack shook his head. "Just like that. You and your friend will kill her, and hopefully she wakes up."

Methos smiled. "Trust me, she will wake up."

"I don’t like this, Pierson…er…Methos," Jack growled. "I don’t like it at all."

Methos sighed. Just like MacLeod. Full of morality and chivalry. "It’s not for you to like or dislike, General. It just…is. As strong as her…Quickening…already is, she’s a target for every head hunting Immortal around. She has to be made Immortal, and she has to be taught to defend herself. There are no choices here."

Jack took a moment to think about this. He finally nodded his head and sighed. "Okay. When your friend gets here, let me know. I’ll get him a pass to get down here. Then we’ll sit down with General Hammond and talk to him. I’ll brief General Hammond on what we’ve…uh…discussed here."

 

A   A   A   A   A   A

 

General Hammond stared first at O’Neill, then at the two men sitting at the end of the table. "I find this difficult to believe, gentlemen."

"Trust me, General, it’s the truth. Methos here put a bullet in his brain in my office, and before I could call for help he was getting up. The clean up crew had a shit fit when they saw all the blood on the floor, and the wall," Jack added, a grin on his face.

"And you propose that we…murder…this young woman, because you say she’s a…"

"Pre-Immortal," Duncan said quietly. He wasn’t convinced that Methos was right about this. Perhaps they should explain to this young woman what she was, and let her decide when she wanted to suffer her first death.

Methos nodded. "The sooner she becomes immortal, the better."

General Hammond shook his head defiantly. "I don’t think so. This young woman is under the protection of the SGC, and as long as she is…"

"If she steps foot outside of this facility, she could lose her head to an Immortal who would have no second thoughts about killing her, and then taking her Quickening, such as it would be," Methos argued.

Hammond shared a look with O’Neill. "You’re positive this young woman will…come back to life?"

Again Methos nodded. Beside him, Duncan also nodded. "I know it’s difficult to believe, General," the Scot said softly. "But Methos is right. She’s in grave danger if she leaves here, and you admit that you can’t force her to stay, even though you would prefer to have a reason to detain her, at least for awhile. This is the answer to your dilemma. And really her only chance." He gave a glance at his friend. He was still amazed that the man had actually given these people his real name! Except for Joe Dawson, even the Watchers were unaware of who he really was, and the Watchers knew all there was to know about the Immortals!

Hammond heaved a sigh. "All right. Jack, I’ll let you take care of this" He looked toward Methos and MacLeod. "I’ll take your other offer to join the SGC on a permanent basis under further consideration. Dismissed, gentlemen."

Jack ran his hands through his graying hair. His gut wrenched at the idea of allowing Methos to do what he wanted, and claimed must be done. It went against everything he believed in.


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