17 December 2015

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Fabulous artwork by Antares

The Emerald Isle

Chapter 1

Daniel gets whumped (again)

Sam had never heard Daniel scream in such a way; she dropped the soil testing kit and ran. Teal’c was already yards in front of her and, as they ran through the archway into the temple, the scream died as Daniel lost consciousness. Vala and Mitchell were close but, at regular intervals, 6 inch spikes protruded from the stone mosaic on which he was laid.

“Dial the gate” yelled Sam. “Get Carolyn here, NOW”

Mitchell ran. Vala, in tears, had started towards Daniel but had been thwarted by the closeness of the spikes. In the distance, the kawoosh of the gate indicated that Mitchell was making contact with Earth. Within only a few seconds, the gate shut down and began redialling with an incoming wormhole.

Meanwhile, Sam and Vala were testing the liquid seen on the end of the spikes and Teal’c was trying his hardest to pull them out of the ground, unsuccessfully. Mitchell returned with a tense sentence informing them that the med team was on its way and then started searching for anything that could be an on/off switch for the spikes.

Carolyn and the med team arrived with SG2 and Siler, who was operating a F.R.E.D. covered with blocks and planks of wood. They immediately started laying a platform to allow the med team access to Daniel. Once that was in place, Siler started building a lifting scaffold so that Daniel could be eased off the spikes from above.

With a drip set up, the med team, with the exception of Carolyn, headed back to the SGC with blood samples and samples from the spikes. SG2 and Siler started the laborious task of feeding webbing under Daniel whilst all his vitals were being carefully monitored. Vala had worked her way across the platform and was softly talking to Daniel who was still showing only a few signs of life; her voice was the only sound that could be heard apart from the shuffle of feet and the whirr of the camera as Sam videoed as much of the temple as she could in case it was needed for further reference to save Daniel.

Everyone jumped as the gate started dialling and when Jack stepped through he was greeted with P90’s and zats. He pushed passed, making straight for Daniel but was stopped by Siler as they started the motors to lift Daniel off the spikes.

“No Sir,” Siler stated to the frustrated and angry General. “We are about to lift him. The best you can do for Dr Jackson, Sir, is to open the gate so we can get him back to the SGC.” Without a word, Jack turned and stomped back to the DHD, dialling quickly and efficiently before turning to see Daniel suspended above the spikes but with blood dripping profusely. He was quickly swung onto the gurney and two of SG2 were running with it towards him, closely followed by Carolyn and Sam. They disappeared through the wormhole, Jack barked instructions to “clear up this mess” to Teal’c, Siler and the remaining two of SG2 then promptly followed the others through the wormhole which shut down behind him.

General Jonathan “Jack” O’Neill surveyed the gate room, relieved that Daniel was already well on his way to the infirmary but angry with the lack of SF’s on duty. Staff Sergeant Walter Harriman, the gate technician, looked down from the control room and shrugged his shoulders. Everyone knew how popular the archaeologist was; somehow, Daniel managed to worm his way into everyone’s hearts despite being irritating, stubborn and compassionate as well as “hot”. Drawing to the correct conclusion that the SF’s had helped escort Daniel to the infirmary he indicated to Walter that he was heading that way and quickly made for the open blast doors and the elevator beyond.

The infirmary was in chaos but, when someone was in need that was usual. General Landry, in charge of the SGC, was talking to Dr Carolyn Lam, his daughter, as she continued to attach another lifesaving electronic instrument to Daniel’s torso. Two nurses were trying to wash out the wounds to remove as much as the poison as possible. Composing himself, Jack asked the question – “Report! What’s the situation?”

“So far, everything is under control Sir,” Dr Lam replied. “Dr Jackson is stable but still unconscious which is probably just as well as I will sedate him as soon as he starts to come round. No word from the labs yet.” As she finished, Dr Lee burst into the infirmary holding a test tube of clear liquid which he handed to Dr Lam.

“The poison was a simple one and this should work as an antidote but you should administer it quickly.” Carolyn took the proffered test tube and grabbed a syringe, preparing to inject the liquid into Daniel’s IV.

“Shouldn’t you test that?” Jack asked.

“Don’t think we have time, General. Although it’s a simple poison, Dr Jackson received a hefty dose …” and she turned and inserted the syringe into the IV, depressing the plunger. Jack, Carolyn and Bill Lee waited with bated breath but there were no convulsions, Daniel’s heart didn’t stop and his blood pressure didn’t change. Five minutes later, Carolyn allowed herself to relax and turned away, just as Daniel flat lined!

“Crash cart,” she yelled followed by “Charging,” then “Clear,” and the second attempt brought him back. Jack sat down heavily on an uncomfortable plastic chair, refusing to move as Carolyn tried to clear the room. Bill slunk away, back to the lab to work with Sam Carter just in case they needed a further antidote.

“Uncle Jack,” Carolyn shook the General’s shoulder. “Wake up.” Jack stirred.

“Whatsup?” Jack slurred as he quickly came awake.

“Daniel’s stirring – I thought you would want to know.” Jack looked over at Daniel to see those baby blues staring back at him.

“Hey, Spacemonkey, how you doing?”

“Wh’t h’p’d?”

“You got spiked, that’s what. How you feeling?” Carolyn finished taking Daniel’s vitals and turned to him with the penlight of evil.

“You have been punctured by many spikes, Dr Jackson, most of which were poisoned but General Carter and Dr Lee quickly synthesised an antidote so that is now neutralised but you still have about 20 holes in you, one of which narrowly missed your upper left ventricle so you are very lucky to be alive. One pierced your right lung so you have had restorative surgery on that and one tore the ligament on your left knee so you’ll need physio on that but, overall, I’d say you’ve come off lightly.”

The memory of what happened was suddenly very clear to Daniel and he turned to Jack; Carolyn walked away, her job complete for the moment.

“Is everyone OK, Jack?” Trust Daniel to be thinking of others before himself.

“Yes, Daniel, you were the only one injured and you had us really worried for a time there. Luckily, Carter and Dr Lee are really good at their jobs so they had an antidote pretty quickly. Mitchell, Teal’c and Vala are still off world with Ferretti’s lot trying to find the mechanism that will retract those spikes safely. And, before you complain, Carter videoed the whole lot in case we needed any info from it but you are not going back. But, any ideas you might have will help; Goa’uld? Asgard?”

“Can’t really remember, Jack but there was a reference to Padraig, aka Patrick that I need to follow up.”

“You’re not gonna tell me that Saint Patrick was a Goa’uld, are you?”

“Can’t say at the moment. Need to work on the translation more.”

“And that’s not gonna happen soon, Dr Jackson,” said Carolyn as she returned to his bedside. “You need to rest and General O’Neill must have some work to do.” She glared in Jack’s direction. Daniel’s eyes were closing as Carolyn introduced more sedative into his IV.

“He’ll be fine, General,” she said, reverting to a more formal mode of address. “He will be out of action for a few weeks but will make a full recovery.”

“So, why did he flat line? I know it’s a bad habit of Daniel’s but I couldn’t see a reason for it.”

“Just his body fighting the poison, Uncle Jack. He’s fine but you are now leaving. Doesn’t Homeworld Security have its own crisis going on upstairs?”

“How d’you know ‘bout that?” Jack enquired. “Nothing’s sacred here, is it?”

“No!” Carolyn smiled. “Go sort out that potential security leak. You can come back in a few hours but Daniel’s not going to be going home for a few days yet so don’t go asking,” as Jack started to ask about taking Daniel home.

"Vala, any luck?" yelled Mitchell.

“Not yet,” was the reply.

“Nothing here either, Colonel Mitchell,” intoned Teal’c.

“Ferretti?”

“Nothing Colonel. No wait, whoa!!”

“What? What? Ferretti, answer. Report – that’s an order. Ferretti!” Cam Mitchell was losing his rag. Lou Ferretti came running over.

“I’ve found a way under the temple, Colonel. We need torches cos if it’s ancient, there’s no one here with the gene.”

“OK, Vala, Teal’c, we might have something here – grab any torches you have and head over to where Ferretti is going to be any minute now,” as Lou took off for his previous position.

Mitchell headed back to the gate to inform the SGC of the find, knowing they wanted to be kept in the loop far more than usual, then, as he headed towards the temple, the gate activated and General O’Neill reappeared off world. Mitchell ground to a halt, turned and saluted.

“General, how’s Sunshine, err Dr Jackson, Sir?”

“Recovering nicely, Mitchell and really pissy as Dr Lam won’t let him out of the infirmary. What’s going on here?”

“Well, General, Ferretti discovered a way under the temple and I was on my way to meet him, Vala and Teal’c there.”

“Right, let’s go.”

“Forgive my asking Sir but why are you here?”

“Daniel sent me and, if it’s an Ancient installation, you’ll need someone with the gene.”

“Good enough, Sir and thanks for coming. Has Sam, err Carter, gone back to the Hammond yet, Sir?”

“Yes, Mitchell, her leave was over and they’re off to the Pegasus Galaxy with orders to send back McKay if we need any real expertise. The PTB are very reluctant to let Carter off the Hammond again for the moment. Daniel thinks this might all have something to do with Saint Patrick and, as I would rather think of him as a possible Ancient rather than a Goa’uld, I thought I would come see.” They had reached the tunnel that descended under the temple and, as they entered, lights came on in front of Jack.

“Definitely Ancient,” he mumbled as exclamations were heard from below as the lights lit up. Further excited voices were heard along with the sudden hum of machinery. O’Neill and Mitchell broke into a run and skidded to a halt in front of a large device, nothing like anything that they had seen before.

“Report,” barked Jack.

“This device activated, O’Neill, as you entered the tunnel. This is obviously of Ancient origin and I have not seen the likes of it before.”

“Vala?” asked O’Neill.

“Nope, never seen anything like this before, General.”

“Ferretti?”

“No, Sir, General.”

“OK folks. What do we have and what do we need?”

“We have an unknown device O’Neill and we probably need you.”

“Thank you, Teal’c. Any clues as to what it does?”

“May be operates the spikes?” ventured Vala.

“Good point. Mitchell, run out please and see if the spikes have retracted and maintain radio contact as I am gonna try a few experiments if they have.” Mitchell disappeared and, within seconds, reported that the spikes had indeed retracted. Jack thought “Spikes out,” and immediately Mitchell radioed that the spikes had reappeared. Jack played with the spikes for a few seconds, wishing Danny was here to see him using his Ancient powers; Danny was jealous that he didn’t have the gene, especially as he was the one who had ascended, twice. Well, Jack liked to think that it was so! Daniel would have just rolled his eyes and made some sarcastic comment about boys and their toys!

“OK, Vala, can you video as much as possible for Daniel. Teal’c, please investigate the perimeter to see if there are any further tunnels, chambers, whatever. Ferretti, head back to the SGC and report to Landry. We need a full team of marines here 24/7 for the foreseeable. Then go see Daniel, please and if he is awake, keep him in the loop. Go people. Mitchell, I need you to report to me as I test this out a bit more,” this last said by radio.

When General O’Neill gave orders, everybody jumped. One of Jack’s main objectives was to see if the spikes returned coated with poison and Mitchell soon reported that they appeared to although, as expected, he would need to touch them to confirm so rooted in his sac to find tissue and polybags for samples to take to Dr Lee.

SG3 were in place on P37 HT6 and Jack and SG1 returned to the SGC, samples and video ready for analysing. Jack, on asking for a briefing in 30 minutes, headed straight for the infirmary to find Daniel and Lou in earnest conversation about the possibility of Saint Patrick being an Ancient. If Merlin and Morgan le Fay were, it was quite possible that Patrick was too. Daniel’s laptop (who let him have that, thought Jack) was open on his Amazon basket page, full of books about Saint Patrick and Irish myths and legends; Daniel always said that myths and legends had a basis in fact. Jack could see a large parcel in the near future taking the attention of his archaeologist and sighed. Ferretti jumped and sprang to attention.

“At ease, Ferretti, I think we’ve known each other long enough to dispense with that except on formal occasions. What’s up? How you feeling, Daniel?”

“Fine, Jack. Get me out of here will you?”

“You are not going anywhere just yet, Dr Jackson.” Dr Lam had sneaked up on them. “You need at least 48 more hours bed rest and the only way I can be sure that you will get them is to keep you here.”

“Carolyn!” Daniel whined.

“Daniel!” she whined back! Carolyn was getting good at giving back what she got from this crowd. “And what are you doing with your laptop? General?” Ferretti was slinking away.

“Ferretti!” yelled the General as said person jumped and ran! Jack laughed then turned back to Daniel, deftly removing the laptop.

“Jack, I need that.”

“And you shall have it, later. Meanwhile, I have briefing to attend to after a quick check from one of Dr Lam’s lovely staff and I will press order on this lot and I might even fork out for priority delivery if you rest.” Daniel rolled his eyes but agreed to relax, not noticing that Dr Lam had been adjusting his IV to up the dose of sedative again. His eyes began to close.

“He needs more rest,” she said, sotto voce, to the General, “otherwise he’s going to disturb all the dressings on the puncture wounds. He also lost a lot of blood and, although the tear on his lung was small, with Daniel’s medical history, I want to keep a close eye on him; we don’t want any chance of pneumonia developing, do we?” the last added with extra emphasis. Jack agreed and a male nurse was assigned to him for a quick check as he had been off world again, albeit for a short time, then he headed to the briefing room.

Landry, Mitchell and Ferretti were already there and Jack was closely followed by Teal’c, Vala and the rest of SG2 along with Sgt Siler who looked very uncomfortable to be attending a briefing. Landry handed the chair to Jack who immediately asked for confirmation that the temple was in SGC hands and well protected and received an affirmative answer. Next were reports about Dr Jackson’s present welfare and Dave Siler was then asked to explain how he had extricated Daniel so quickly and safely before being excused as the environment was obviously way beyond his comfort zone. Vala and Teal’c reported on their finds in the temple and were assigned the job of categorising and compiling the data that had been obtained. A Dr Julie Hilliard was to be assigned to them as she was Daniel’s best trained member of staff who could read and speak Ancient.

Ferretti and SG2 were stood down for 24 hours and, after giving brief reports, left although Lou was obviously very reluctant to go and Jack was pretty sure he would find him back at Daniel’s bedside. The friendship between those two had begun on Abydos years ago and Jack had always been grateful for Ferretti’s support of Daniel, especially in dealing with obfuscate rumours about the closeness of SG1, particularly those concerning his archaeologist and himself. The fact was that, in those days, they really had just been friends; it had been difficult to convince many of the marines but Daniel wheedled his way into the hearts of so many of the SGC that tales and whispers were soon quashed. Many years later, when Jack and Daniel did finally give into the UST that plagued them for so long, DADT had been repealed and, anyway, they had saved Earth so many times that it would have been a crime to have taken Jack to trial!

Mitchell was assigned to investigating the technology. Both Generals quickly decided that, as General Carter was on the Hammond, they did need McKay. Mitchell groaned but agreed to work with him and Landry left to instruct a gate technician to contact Atlantis. Pulling Mr Woolsey out of bed was not conducive to ordering him to send Rodney McKay back to Earth but he had no choice and agreed to Rodney transferring “temporarily” to the SGC in a few hours, probably accompanied by John Sheppard to keep him in line. Woolsey decided that Sheppard’s team could have some down time and Teyla would go visit Torren, her son, on the mainland and Ronan was wanting to check on the progress on Sateda as they were rebuilding their society.

Jack returned to his Homeworld Security Office, presently situated just under NORAD and above the SGC, a move he had managed in return for staying head of HS. He had a rogue civilian to deal with who was threatening to go to the press about the Stargate program unless his demands were met. These demands, basically wanting some form of employment for his extended family who were rather destitute due to a recent hurricane in the Caribbean, were unreasonable but Jack was looking into ways that the younger men and women, all nine of them, could be gainfully employed in Colorado Springs; Daniel had certainly made his mark in the way Jack thought about people problems. Two adjoining properties had been temporarily assigned to the family and Jack now needed all of his negotiating skills to remove the guy from HS with a package of sweeteners that would be acceptable yet realise minimal loss. He made some phone calls.

Later, chewing the end of his pen, perhaps another habit he’d gleaned from Daniel, he glanced at the clock and decided he could make another visit to the infirmary. He wanted to take Daniel home, to be able to touch him and be reassured that he was alright. Not for the first time did he wish that Janet Frasier was still alive to run the infirmary; not that he didn’t trust Carolyn, in fact, he had recommended her for the job but Janet, well she was just the best. Also, not for the first time did Jack wonder if they could appropriate a Janet from another Universe! Sighing, he stood up and walked out of his office, told Sgt Green, his aide, that he was going down to the infirmary and could he please get Colonel Paul Davis out to Colorado Springs asap and headed for the elevator.

Daniel was still fast asleep so Jack dragged the uncomfortable infirmary chair close by and sat down with the pile of reports he’d brought. Nurses came and went; Jack fell asleep too until Carolyn came back on shift and sent him away at which point he retired to his on base quarters. Mc Kay gated back from Atlantis with Sheppard and Mitchell took them off world to the temple.


Chapter 2

Of healing and St Patrick

Having kept Daniel more or less sedated for 48 hours, Dr Lam finally allowed Jack to take him home with strict instructions to not let him move about much, allowing the wounds to heal further. Vala had taken the healing device to Daniel to aid in his recovery but another 48 hours were considered prudent in order to ensure complete recovery. Daniel spied the Amazon box as soon as he walked through the door.

“Aht! Sit down and relax first, may be a decaff then you can look!” Jack teased.

Daniel just peered over his glasses with a most supercilious look but headed for the couch, throwing “Bring me” back over his shoulder. Jack grinned, picked up the box and dumped it at Daniel’s feet and headed for the kitchen.

“And not decaff, please!” came the plea from the couch, a hand already digging into the Amazon box. Daniel was searching for J B Bury’s biography of Saint Patrick, probably the most comprehensive account of the saint’s life. Nose already buried in said book, he reached out his right hand into which was gently put his mug of coffee and mumbled a thank you. Jack sighed, resigned to having a studious Daniel on his hands until this particular puzzle was resolved and left him to it, heading off to deal with lowly chores around their house. He detoured via the home office to pick up Daniel’s laptop and, as reluctant as he was to give it to him, Jack was aware that Daniel would only go searching for it within minutes of discovering something important.

Two days later, Daniel had his presentation about Saint Patrick complete and was now convinced he was an Ancient. Mitchell and McKay had made progress with the machinery on P37 HT6 and Vala and Teal’c, with the help of Dr Hilliard and Dr Lee, had a good idea of what the writings were indicating and what the poison was. Landry called a briefing for 0900 and, at five to nine, all were there, papers and laptops strewn across the briefing room table. Landry came out of his office with Jack and they both sat down. Daniel raised an eyebrow, not aware that his partner was attending the meeting.

“I’ve asked General O’Neill to sit in with us as he has been involved in this from the start and we may need someone with the Ancient gene.”

“But Sheppard and I have it,” piped up Rodney McKay. Landry smiled tolerantly.

“Correct, Dr McKay but should you be needed back on Atlantis at any time, we will have no-one with the Ancient gene.”

“I could go to Pegasus and get the gene therapy from Dr Keller or Dr Beckett.” Daniel was desperate to be able to operate the Ancient devices and was very peeved when they didn’t respond to him, especially as he had been ascended, one and a half times! Indulgent smiles all round!

“Let’s just get on with business, shall we?” Jack was very reluctant to let Daniel have the gene therapy and knew it was because it gave him an edge on Daniel and that wasn’t very professional so he was always quick to dismiss such talk. Not that he could have stopped Daniel if the latter was really determined; Jack liked to think that is was in deference to him that Daniel didn’t push for it. “Dr Jackson, would you like to tell us why you think Saint Patrick was an Ancient?”

“Well, yes, of course.” Daniel got up and headed to the white screen, pushing the remote as he went to bring up an image of Saint Patrick.

“The information available on Saint Patrick is sparse; he himself wrote some “Confessions” at the end of his life but there is not much to go on. We know he was ‘born’ (Daniel used his fingers to indicate inverted commas) around 389AD and it is reported that he was around 17 when he was captured and taken to Ireland where he was indentured for 6 years, finally escaping and crossing France. Two things point to him being an Ancient; one is that he seems to have “produced” a food source, a drove of pigs, for his starving companions on the road and two, his many dreams, including one where he spent a [JK1] night on a mountain in snow, ice and rain and felt no pain, of one where Elijah visited him and removed a great weight from his limbs and one where he saw a man, Victorius, standing by his side. It is possible, as Patrick spent a lot of time in contemplation, that these may have been other ancients, trying to Ascend with him or trying to help him Ascend.”

As ever, Landry was impatient. “Yes, yes, but how does this help us?” Daniel, by now used to the SGC’s commander’s edginess, ignored him and carried on.

“Patrick studied with a man called Pelagius. Pelaguis was a student of free will as opposed to innate sin and his opponents named him serpent and his doctrines the poison of the serpent so we have our first hint that Pelagius may have been a Goa’uld. Also, Patrick went to study on an island called Lerinus which was supposed to be infested with snakes so may have been a Goa’uld stronghold. Lerinus is offshore of Cannes which fits in with Patrick’s travels across France.” Daniel switched to another slide.

“This is from the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Here again is reference to the snakes in Ireland, indicating that it too may have been a Goa’uld stronghold. Notice the reference to the lake amid the Kerry Hills. There are three lakes south of Killarney, anyone of which could have been the one referred to here and I would like to go and do some local research.”

“Of course, you would,” muttered Jack. Daniel just glared and changed slides.

“This is the bell of Saint Patrick, in Dublin, and I really need to go see it. Teal’c, Vala, tell the Generals what you found out about the bell, please”

Teal’c inclined his head but deferred to Vala. Vala quoted:

“The bell is reputed to have belonged to St. Patrick. It is made of two sheets of iron which are riveted together and coated with bronze. This bell is frequently mentioned in written sources as one of the principal relics of Ireland.

Formed of a series of bronze plates joined at the edges by tubular bindings, the shrine in which the bell is housed is topped by a curved crest which covers the handle of the bell. The front of the shrine is covered with a silver-gilt frame that originally held thirty gold filigree panels. These are arranged in the shape of a ringed cross. The sides of the shrine are adorned with openwork panels depicting elongated beasts intertwined with ribbon-bodied snakes. The back of the shrine is plainer and flatter, and is decorated with an openwork silver plate featuring interlocking crosses.

The bell itself is simple in design, hammered into shape with a small handle fixed to the top with rivets. Originally forged from iron, it has since been coated in bronze. There are inscriptions on it that so far, no-one has been able to translate. I suspect it’s in Ancient and it’s all so exciting, don’t you think?” Daniel smiled; Vala could be quite endearing at times.

“Thanks, Vala. It is also interesting to note that Patrick could well have been a contemporary of Merlin and Morgan le Fay and I really need to look into this – the fact that there is a bell may mean that there are other artefacts as there were under Glastonbury Tor. More knowledge of the Ancients, possible weapons, Jack, and, hopefully, no Universe hopping device (this a back reference to when he and Vala were transported into the minds of Harrid and Sallis in the Ori Galaxy) but, may be, the real Clava Thessara Infinitas. We have got to go. The writings on the temple wall mention a place in the west of Ireland called Na hAilichi, known now as Allihies. We need to go.”

“Well, we have no ship to beam you there and I cannot spare SG1….” Landry was interrupted by Daniel.

“Sir, I wish to take some leave. I must be owed weeks. Two will do. SG1 can manage without me and I’ll go do the research.”

“I don’t know, Dr Jackson. I understand you have a great deal of leave owing but is this wise?”

“I’ll go to.” Jack jumped in. “I have plenty of leave too and I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland. My great grandfather came from west Ireland and I could do a bit of research of my own.”

Daniel looked askance at Jack.

“You? Research? Where is General O’Neill and what have you done with him?”

“I can do research!”

“No you can’t!”

“Yes I can!”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“No, Jack, stop! Where would you start?”

“Guys, Guys. Stop!” Mitchell bounced. “General, why can’t we all go?” Mitchell looked in Landry’s direction.

“Sorry, folks but you are needed on PR6 784 and we will struggle to explain why Dr Jackson isn’t accompanying you. Perhaps Dr Hilliard will stand in? Dr Jackson?”

“Julie will be fine, General, Sir but she hasn’t been off-world yet….”

“She’ll be fine,” interposed Jack seeing a vacation with Daniel on the horizon. “So, that’s settled. Just need to make a few phone calls, book flights and a hotel and we’re off – Colonel Davis should be here soon so I can leave....”

“Jack, a word, outside!”

“General?”

Landry shrugged as Daniel walked out and Jack followed.

"Jack, you had this all planned, didn't you?"

“Daniel?”

“Jack, Paul Davis is on his way? I have a great grandfather from Ireland? Come on Jack, this is low, even for you!”

“Daniel, I’m hurt. Don’t you want me to come with you?”

“Jack, we could just book a vacation like normal people!”

“What would be the fun in that, Daniel? And my great grandfather was Captain Francis O’Neill from a small village near Bantry which is also in West Ireland and I’ve never been. So, what’d’y’say, Danny? Can we go to Ireland? Please?”


Chapter 3

Vacation in South West Ireland

Daniel and Jack stepped out of the plane at Dublin International Airport, just two tourists on vacation. They collected their luggage then picked up a car which Daniel insisted on driving as he'd studied at Oxford and had driven on the left. Jack sat beside him, snarling about people driving on the wrong side of the road until they reached the centre of the city. They spent the next 24 hours “recovering” from the flights in the Arlington Hotel then Daniel was off to the museum to view Saint Patrick’s bell after some considerable leverage was needed to allow him to actually examine said bell in a controlled environment. He returned to a very bored Jack, full of enthusiasm and bounce, complete with translation of the inscription on the bell which confirmed that Allihies was the place to go. He’d also arranged two surprises for Jack. One, tickets to Riverdance that night, that he was not sure would be appreciated but he wanted to see it and the other, well that would come later!

They both enjoyed Riverdance followed by huge steaks and a drink in the bar of their hotel where Púca were performing traditional Irish Music. They were up and about for a hearty breakfast the following day then set off on the 4 hour drive to Glengarriff. After booking in at the Eccles Hotel, Daniel spent the next few hours poring over maps. He had found out that there was a monument to Captain O’Neill and was prepared to get that out of the way before they headed out along the Beara peninsula to Allihies. Jack was dozing having ordered and eaten from room service whilst Daniel had coffee.

It turned out that Captain Francis O’Neill was a captain in the Chicago Police Force and was responsible for preserving much of the Irish music that is heard today. He had emigrated to America at the time of the potato famine in 1864 and had become a distinguished officer, eventually becoming Chicago’s Police Superintendent; and Jack really was related to him. One of his daughters had married Jack’s grandfather and the family had stayed in Chicago despite the pull of Ireland. Now it was time for Jack’s second surprise as Daniel dragged him out to the car (there was a rerun of the Simpsons showing on Sky TV) and they headed to a small town east of Bantry. Trailblane was Captain O’Neill’s home town and above it, Daniel took Jack to the monument celebrating his life. Jack was enthralled, no more so when Daniel produced a plaque which Jack could add to the memorial wall nearby, stating his relationship to the Irish gentleman.

Daniel hadn’t seen Jack so moved for a long time and was so glad that he had made this effort to find out more about Jack’s ancestor. After a short time, Daniel presented Jack with a brown paper bag which held “A Harvest Saved: Francis O'Neill and Irish Music in Chicago” by Nicolas Carolan, the biographer and Jack indulged in a hug and a quick peck, a rare occurrence in a public place. Then it was time for the important business of the trip as they set off to Allihies.

They drove along the coast road of the Beara peninsula which was both beautiful and remote. Jack was pretty sure he wouldn’t want to live here but it was a fabulous place to see. They arrived in the village of Allihies with little idea of where to start. They had to wait up to another 4 days before the Hammond returned from Atlantis to scan the ground and bring SG1 if required, although that would give them time to go to Killarney too, to investigate the lake legend. Daniel headed for the mining museum, Jack trailing after him, moaning about the rain. Daniel was quickly given access to the archives whilst Jack was, surprisingly, fascinated with the use of a man-ladder in the copper mines in the 18th Century. But, an hour later, Jack was bored; he went in search of Daniel to drag him off for lunch to the nearest pub which was called after his namesake. Jack insisted Daniel took a photograph of him and then grabbed a passer-by so they didn’t need to do a selfie.

This was the menu which had Jack salivating and choosing the Steak Salad and the Lamb. Daniel, after much huffing and sighing at being dragged from his work went for the Fish Cakes followed by the Duck.

Sated, they looked at each other and grinned.

"Time to go?"

"Please, but you can stay here if you wish. Jack; I'll be a couple more hours then we don't need to come back here until the Hammond arrives to do a scan." Daniel headed off whilst Jack finished enjoying his beer and dug in his pocket for his cell. Getting through to Landry was problematic but eventually he was talking to Hank and learned that the Hammond would be available in two days which gave them a whole day to do as they pleased tomorrow. Jack headed to the bar to spend a pleasant hour talking to the barman and learning about the local area, discussing sport and the weather!

Collecting Daniel later, they headed back to Glengarriff, had another big meal (we'll be putting on weight Jack, if we keep this up), watched Manchester United get thrashed by Liverpool on the big screen in the bar then retired for the evening for a bit of 'relaxation'.

Most of the following day was spent as tourists. Daniel had arranged to visit the archives in Killarney but after an hour of fruitless searching, they decided to head for the National Park and walk to Torc waterfalls and up to Avoca at Moll's Gap for lunch. The afternoon was spent hiking in MacGillycuddy's Reeks and they returned to their hotel to catch a good night's rest before the explorations began.

Gear stowed next morning and a hearty breakfast inside, Jack decided he was going to take the wheel and they headed back to Allihies. The Hammond was expected around midday and they found a secluded spot along the coast where they could be beamed up without causing consternation. Right on time, they found themselves on board the Hammond with Sam Carter grinning at them.

"Welcome aboard, Sir, Daniel. Reporting for duty!" The men both smiled, Jack returning her salute followed by Daniel giving her a hug. "The scan is already underway," she continued around Daniel, "and we are expecting results momentarily. Teal'c, Mitchell and Vala are on standby at the SGC, oh and Rodney and John of course. General Landry suggested we came here first and shifted orbit if we need to retrieve them. What have you discovered? And how's the leg?" Jack looked at Daniel.

"Leg's fine thanks but we have not discovered a great deal really, Sam. There seems to be no evidence of Saint Patrick actually chasing snakes out of Ireland although it is a huge myth here. However, Saint Patrick's bell did refer to this area and I suspect we will find a similar underground area as we did under Glastonbury. It is likely that Patrick and Merlin knew each other because, although they are not exactly contemporaries, they were both Ancients so their death dates probably refer to the time they just disappeared from the daily goings on of people at that time." Major Marks had come to stand deferentially behind Sam.

"Marks?"

"We have similar telemetry to that which was found under Glastonbury, Ma'am." He reported. "Shall we head back to Colorado and retrieve the rest of SG1?" Sam gave the order and, within minutes, the three missing members were stood beside them. Greetings and hugs, in the case of Vala, exchanged, SG1 headed to the armoury and Jack and Daniel quickly changed out of their civvies into BDU's. Thirty minutes later, they were geared up and ready to go and they headed to the ring room.

In a circle, facing outwards, weapons raised, SG1 plus General O'Neill ringed down to a cavern under Allihies Mountain.

"Look sharp!" Mitchell took charge quickly, perversely not wanting the General to assume command. SG1 was his now! Jack had actually taken a step back into the centre of the circle, knowing he should defer to Mitchell. "Spread out, explore. Teal'c you're with me, you other three go that way; keep in touch - we may have challenges like in Merlin's grotto" and he pointed off to his right where a tunnel sloped downhill and round a corner.

"Right, Daniel, take point, I'll watch your six. Vala, you're with me." Jack moved his two out as Mitchell and Teal'c snuck off in the opposite direction.

This time there was no sword to pull from the stone, no rooms with puzzles for Daniel to solve and no clues whatsoever. 20 minutes later, they gathered back at the point of the rings, puzzled and frustrated. Daniel stood apart, his clever mind backing through all the puzzles he'd had to solve when in similar situations.

The concept that was constantly invading his thoughts was that of the Bell that he had seen in Dublin. After all, that was where he had found the link to Allihies. What if the sound of the bell was needed, similar to the way the tones on the corridor, deep in Atlantis, had opened the wall to Janus's hidden lab. Jack turned to him and in the one word uttered, his name, he asked Daniel what he was thinking of, what solution he had come up with and what they were going to do about it. Daniel wandered back to them.

"How long till Sam expects one of up for a progress report?" Daniel enquired. Mitchell looked at his watch and saw that they had only a few minutes before that would happen.

"You volunteering, Jackson? What's the current thinking?"

"I think I need that bell, you know Jack, the one I examined in Dublin that directed us here. I need Sam to get me to Dublin, I need Landry to tell the President to tell the Prime Minister of Ireland that we need that bell if the authorities won't let me take it and I think we need to ring it, somewhere down here." He stood in the ring space, waiting for that disconnected feeling that would indicate he was heading back to the Hammond. A few seconds later, it happened, as Vala operated the ring mechanism, and he was setting in motion the events that, two hours later, led to him having Saint Patrick's bell in hand. He ringed back down to the Allihies cavern as it was beginning to be known to find SG1 and Jack in the middle of what looked like a picnic! Jack raised his canteen to Daniel.

"All sorted, Danny?"

"I have the bell, Jack, if that's what you mean. I see you are all quite settled!"

"Just waiting for you, Danny-boy, just waiting for you," The roll of the eyes from Daniel set Jack off giggling, not something one saw very often from an Air Force general.

"So, are you all ready? I intend to ring the bell and we have no idea what will happen." Everyone jumped up, the remnants of the meal disappearing immediately and Daniel took the bell out of the box he was carrying, held it up and rang it. Nothing was immediately obvious. Then, slowly, a pedestal arose from the floor of the central cavern. On top was a bell shaped depression onto which Daniel placed that which he held; as with Merlin's cave, many, many piles of artefacts and other bits and pieces suddenly appeared.

"Oh, goody, more treasure," exclaimed Vala but Mitchell just beat Daniel to restraining her before she waded in. They stared at the piles of stuff, this time it being more technology than gold and precious gems. "We need to get Sam down here!" was Daniel's first reaction.

"No Daniel, you can't take a captain from a ship whilst the rest of the crew remain aboard. She'll have to go fetch Mackay."

"Or you could go take charge," retorted Daniel. Jack gave him a very hurt look.

"Are you trying to get rid of me?"

"No, it's just.…"

"Yes you are."

"No I'm not Jack but do you know what to do with any of this?"

"Well, I do have the gene." Daniel had temporarily forgotten that.

"OK, we get Rodney. So, can someone go ask Sam to bring Rodney over; I presume you brought him back to the SGC, Mitchell?"

"Sure did, will be back momentarily," Vala operated the rings and he was gone.

They really didn't know what they were looking for; Daniel still entertained hopes that he would find the real Clava, Jack was looking for Ancient tech that would respond to him and Vala was searching for golden trinkets. Teal'c, well, Teal'c was being Teal'c and standing stoically on guard. Not long after, Mitchell and Mackay appeared, Sheppard trailing behind. Jack had just picked up an artefact that had lit up in his hands and was presently showing a hologram of what Daniel presumed was Saint Patrick. Rodney, in his usual polite manner yelled,

"Don't touch anything!" Daniel swung round and immediately retaliated.

"And hello to you Rodney. Do you really think that, after all these years, we are going to go round touching things indiscriminately? We do know what we are doing, you know." Jack looked askance at Daniel as though to say we do? The hologram was beginning to speak, welcoming them to Patrick's Domain and advising them to follow the Blue Bell of Ireland. The recording shut down. Mitchell, feeling a little out of sorts with the situation, immediately tried to take charge.

"OK, people, Daniel, what do we look for?"

"Anything that has any sort of bell inscribed on it or is in the shape of a bell. I think we need to find something which has a depression similar to the one which I placed the bell in to get the hologram.”

“Like this Daniel?” Vala held up a blue box with an image of a harp or lyre on it, Daniel wasn’t sure which, and there was another bell shaped depression below the image. Both he and Jack moved to her and Daniel placed the bell.

“Okay, where is everyone?” They were completely on their own, in a large room with one huge door and a Stargate but no DHD.

“Daniel, remove that bell from that thingy,” said Jack, intelligently. It wouldn’t budge. “Give it here, weakling!” Daniel’s eyebrow imitated Teal’c but he passed the blue box to Jack who could not remove the bell – surprise, surprise.

“Having trouble Jack?” remarked Daniel. Jack put the box back in Vala’s hands and ignored him.

“What do we have and what do we need?”

“Come on, Jack, do we really need to go through that? Obviously the conjoining of the box and bell sent us somewhere, out of phase maybe or somewhere completely new. Let’s try the door as we have no DHD.” Daniel headed to the door, closely followed by Vala only to find Jack jumping in ahead of them to halt their progress.

“Aht, CO goes first.” Jack turned to the door to be confounded by the fact that there was no handle or any type of mechanism that would open it. He whirled back at Daniel.

“How do we get out?”

“You’re the one with the Ancient gene, try touching it!” Daniel was becoming exasperated. Jack moved to the door which looked as though it was constructed from Naquadah and would, consequently, be very heavy. The frame was heavily ornate and Daniel was frantically looking for a piece that was out of place or worn or could be manipulated in some way.

“Jack, put your hand here.” Daniel had found what could be a slight depression on the frame which Jack palmed and the door swung open. He breathed a sigh of relief. Vala took off her pack, rifled around, pulled out her straighteners and jammed them in the hinged side of the door.

“Good thinking but do I really want to know why you bring hair straighteners on a mission?”

“Don’t ask, Jack,” said Daniel as he peered around the door.

Jack took point and they moved out into blue skies, sunshine and trees!!


Chapter 4

How many times can we lose Daniel?

“OK, where’d they go?” Mitchell was bouncing around for no particular purpose. Teal’c, stoically stood, raised his eyebrow and shrugged his not inconsiderable shoulders. “Mackay, do something!”

“And what, pray, would you like me to do? We can all see that they are not here, they are gone. They may be out of phase or they may have been transported elsewhere or they may be ….”

“Don’t say it!” Mitchell interrupted. “OK, any other thoughts, suggestions?”

“Samanthacarter used to have a life signs device,” Teal’c responded.

“Rodney, we have one – did you bring it?”

“John, I thought I was coming to look at Ancient technology, not search for lost people. It’s on Atlantis.”

“OK,” said Mitchell for the third time, “I’m going back up to the Hammond to see if Sam has a gizmo with her and, if not, we’ll go back to the SGC and get one. Sheppard, come with me in case you need to go back to Atlantis to fetch a …. (Mitchell waved his arms about) …. thingy. Teal’c, take care of Rodney.”

As the pair ringed up, they could hear Rodney protesting that he did not need looking after!

It was two hours later when Mitchell and Sheppard returned, having had to explain to both Landry and Woolsey what the problem was and then wait whilst Landry placated the Irish Prime Minister who was almost threatening World War III if his national relic wasn’t returned, pronto!! Rodney immediately got to work but, 20 minutes later, the only conclusion they could arrive at was that there were only four people, or three people and one Jaffa in Allihies Cavern; the general and the rest of SG1 were gone!

The general and the rest of SG1 were in paradise; the sun was shining, a light breeze blew through the trees and Jack was getting more and more worked up. Daniel and Vala trod carefully behind him as he muttered about trees, archaeologists who hadn’t learned not to touch even after over ten years, about space pirates who encouraged said archaeologist and he also threw in a complaint about his knees, despite the fact that he had had knee replacements last year. In the far distance, the mountains were beginning to glow red as the sun was beginning to drop in the sky; in the near distance, a building started to emerge in amongst the trees.

“Well, what’d’y’know, a temple,” thought Jack “or maybe it’s more like a cathedral.”

“OK, stay sharp, I’ve got your six. You two go play in the temple thingy but DON’T touch anything; I don’t wanna lose you two.” At Daniel’s quizzical but hopeful look, Jack shooed them on. Daniel double-timed it, Vala close behind, those ridiculous pigtails flying out behind her.

Although ruined, the cathedral was beautiful. Apses and naves seemed to soar skyward, the darkening sky visible in many places where the roof had collapsed. Daniel moved to a central point and turned full circle, gazing around and upward. Vala, feeling an unusual reverence, whispered,

“What are we looking for, Daniel?” Daniel shrugged his shoulders.

“A bell, something bell shaped? Anything that looks out of the ordinary although you wouldn’t know what would be ordinary in a religious building like this, would you?” He turned and smiled at her as it was not an accusatory statement, just fact. “But, you know what Ancient technology looks like, right? So just let me know if you see anything unusual.” They set off in opposite directions and Jack hovered in the huge, open doorway, weapon at the ready, feeling unusually calm which itself worried him.

The building was definitely the worse for wear but there was an altar which looked remarkably like it was hinged; Daniel called to Jack.

“Jack, can we open the box, please?” Jack came running and slid to a halt next to Vala.

“Daniel?”

“This alter, Jack, looks like it is hinged. Actually, it looks very similar to other old ‘boxes’ we have found – Tomin shot one open with a staff blast but I thought I would check with you first before I opened the playbox.” The latter somehow seemed to take on a sarcastic tone and it was Jack’s turn to do the Daniel trademark eye roll. He walked around the altar.

“Are you sure this isn’t a sarcophagus? Remember that pyramid..”

“Ziggurat,” Daniel interrupted.

“I knew that. But it had a Goa’uld in it. We decided, didn’t we, that ole Paddy was an Ancient, didn’t we? Are you sure, Daniel?” Jack was now very serious. “If we are going to open this, one of us need to be ready with a zat, just in case.” Daniel nodded.

“OK, who’s gonna do the honours?”

“You’re a far better shot, Jack. Vala and I will open it, if we can, and you can stand guard with the zat.”

Thanking whoever had brought them here that they had not lost their weapons (as they had on many inter-galactic transportations), Daniel and Vala, one at each end of the altar, easily lifted the lid. No Goa’uld appeared. Daniel peered inside; all he could see was a box similar to the one into which they had fitted the bell. He went to reach in.

“Aht, my job,” said Jack and he gingerly picked up the box, placing on the floor next to the one from Allihies Cavern. He then reached for the bell which, surprisingly, released. He called both Daniel and Vala to him, Vala picked up the original box, he placed the bell in the second box and suddenly they were back in Allihies Cavern.

“Woah,” shouted Mitchell as Vala materialised virtually on top of him. “Sir, Jackson, Vala, good to see you again.”

“Obviously, we have a transport mechanism.” Daniel and Rodney were already geeking over the two boxes. “Where did you go?” asked the latter. Tales were told and then plans had to be made. Jack didn’t want any further exploration; Daniel was desperate to get back to Planet Patrick as Jack had decided to call it and Rodney wanted to go too. Vala was taking her time extricating herself from Mitchell’s arms as her attentions had focused on the leader of SG1 since she had finally come to terms with Daniel’s unavailability. Jack decided it was now time to take charge. He wanted the boxes tested and he wanted Carter on it now; not that he didn’t trust Mackay. Ok, he didn’t trust Mackay quite like he did Carter.

Contact was made with the Hammond and Carter, who had about 36 hours left to hover over Ireland before the ship started a run back to Atlantis, and they were all ringed aboard. Sam, Rodney and Daniel spent the next part of the day examining and testing the two boxes and the bell; Jack retrieved his and Daniel’s belongs, taking Teal’c and Vala with him and giving them time to experience a real Irish pub and have a walk along the wonderful Atlantic cliffs.

The scientists had made little progress and when the Allihies bound travellers returned, Jack complaining about the expense of having to arrange for the car to be returned to Dublin airport, the only thing left to do was try the devices again. It was decided all six would go, despite Jack’s better judgement and Carter would attempt to monitor their ‘space hop’ from the Hammond as well as ringing down some of her crew to go through the ‘treasure trove’.

Staying in ring formation with Daniel and Rodney each holding a box and all maintaining contact with at least two of the group, Daniel moved the bell to the original box and they materialised back by the altar. Apart from a few of their dusty footprints from the previous visit, nothing else could be seen. Mitchell quickly ordered Teal’c and Vala to go left, he took Jack and Sheppard and they scouted right although the latter was very reluctant to leave his archaeologist alone. Meanwhile, Sgt Siler, who had been pulled away from the SGC, was setting to work with the naquadah generator and laptop, hoping to be able to dial the gate.

Jack should have followed his instincts although it was Rodney, not Daniel who was the perpetrator of the following crisis. Examining the bell, he dropped it onto the second box, grabbed for it and he and the box disappeared, taking the bell with it. Daniel stood, aghast. Rodney had returned to Allihies Cavern, he presumed, without taking the original box with him. He couldn’t return and the rest of them were stuck unless Siler could get the gate working. Daniel sincerely hoped they wouldn’t need the 8th chevron! On that thought, Jack returned, looked around, shrugged his shoulders in a where did he go manner.

“He dropped the bell on the returning box, grabbed it and disappeared.” Daniel stated factually.

“Great! No pressure Siler!”

“Not taking any, Sir,” was the sergeant’s reply.

“OK,” Jack turned back to Daniel. “What do we…” Daniel interrupted him.

“Yes, Jack, yadda, yadda.”

“Stop stealing my lines!”

“Jack!”

“Daniel!”

“Jack – no, we are not getting into a name exchanging match now. Find anything elsewhere?”

“Nil, nada, zilch except trees and the sun is out. Night is very short here.”

“Maybe it is summer and we are quite a way from the equator of this planet.” Distractedly, Daniel continued. “I’ve been translating the Ancient around the altar and there are gate addresses here and some are 8 chevrons.” He repeated his concerns to Jack about the dialling of the gate and the power necessary for an 8th chevron dialling sequence. Jack turned again to Siler.

“Siler, we got enough power for 8 chevrons?”

“Not sure, Sir. Didn’t know we might be dialling 8 chevrons, Sir. Maybe I should go back to the SGC and get another generator if you want to try 8 chevrons, Sir.” Then he thought! “But we can’t do that, can we, Sir?”

“Like I said, Siler, no pressure. How much longer do you need?”

“30 minutes should do it, Sir.”

Jack turned back again to Daniel who was in his customary exploratory position, cross-legged in front of the altar, scribbling away in notebook three million or so!

“How does he still manage to sit like that?” Jack mused. At 50, Daniel still looked a youngster although there were grey hairs that Jack had so kindly pointed out to him a few weeks ago; although not travelling through the gate as often as before, Daniel had kept himself fit; Mitchell, Vala and Teal’c had seen to it that they often dragged him to the gym for a workout or to shoot some hoops, their trademark sporting activity. Jack wandered around the room, wondering where Mitchell and Sheppard had got to as he thought he had come back with him and thinking it was about time Teal’c and Vala returned. He was just about to key his radio when the former pair walked in and immediately needed explanations as to the presence, or lack of, Mackay. Sheppard was particularly vitriolic; Jack felt almost sorry for Rodney and the consequences when Sheppard caught up with him and couldn’t help a swift comparison with his archaeologist and himself!

Meanwhile, Rodney, back in Allihies cavern, was beside himself; annoyed at his own clumsiness, he took it out on everyone in sight. A brave airman asking how he could help was pushed aside; another ran to and operated the rings once he realised what had happened and disappeared up to the Hammond to report to General Carter. Sam, on hearing the plight of her friends, once again was regretting her promotion and command of the Hammond. She wanted to be with them. She missed them, missed going through the gate with them and, more than anything, wanted to ring down to that cavern and help Rodney get them back. But, as captain of the Hammond, she could not leave whilst on a mission and this was definitely a mission. She demanded the airman ring back down to Allihies Cavern and bring Dr Mackay back to the Hammond and once again cursed the inability of the radio signal to carry through the earth to these Ancient strongholds.

Mackay appeared a few minutes later, by now distraught at the thought that he had stranded his friends and colleagues. He clutched a piece of paper on which he had scrawled what he could remember of the gate addresses he had seen as Daniel transcribed them into his notebook, not sure if they would be of any use. A cup of coffee materialised in his hand from a member of the crew and he gulped a mouthful then swung around looking for Sam. A contrite Rodney was not something Sam had faced before. The man was stuttering his apologies and thrust the piece of paper at her. Puzzled, she took it and perused the contents.

“They are all I could remember of Dr Jackson’s squiggles – I think they are gate addresses,” he finished lamely. Sam agreed and immediately had Marks send them to Stargate Command. She spoke to Landry, explaining the situation and suggesting he get Daniel’s geeks on it right away and try some of the combinations. She also demanded being stood down from going to Atlantis until the situation was resolved. Not happy but understanding where she was coming from, Landry agreed to relay her ‘request’ to Homeworld Security but, as he reminded her, General O’Neill wasn’t there to field it!


Chapter 5

Mackay’s mistake

Vala and Teal’c had returned. Vala was carrying what looked like a mailing tube and Teal’c a large urn. Daniel jumped up (fluidly, Jack noted) and almost reverently took the tube from Vala as Teal’c deposited the urn on the altar. Daniel fished in his pack for a clean pair of gloves and opened the end of the tube. A handful of rolled documents on parchment were visible and, knowing he couldn’t have pristine conditions in which to look at these but that they may well be important, he asked Jack to get a space blanket out and spread it on the altar so he could have a reasonably clean surface. He gently removed the parchments, asked quietly for some stones large enough to hold the pages at each corner and proceeded to examine the contents. Knowing he would be a while, Jack dragged everyone except Vala through the door to the gate where Siler was still doing his best with the generator and laptop. A few minutes later there was an exclamation which sent them all running back to Daniel.

Vala hushed everyone as they ran through and Jack held out his arms to stop them. Mitchell, Sheppard and Teal’c all came to a standstill.

“Daniel?” whispered Jack.

“Sorry guys, false alarm,” and he was buried in the study of the parchments again. Jack shooed the others out and stood watching Daniel. Seeing Vala was not actually doing anything, he beckoned her over.

“How’s he doing? Does he know what he is looking at?”

“Daniel thinks it is part of Patrick’s memoirs. Apparently he wrote some ‘Confessions’ and Daniel thinks this is the bit that you ordinary mortals wouldn’t understand and know about. He also mentioned that he thought there was a reference to destiny but wasn’t sure if it was Patrick’s destiny or if it referred to the missing Ancient ship that you have people stranded on – that was what the exclamation was for, General.” As Vala was not usually so polite in her mode of address, Jack realised that she was actually taking things seriously. He knew she could be a great help when she wasn’t doing, as Daniel put it, the “flirty sexual thing that you do” and she had looked after Daniel when he, Jack, wasn’t there to do it so he really couldn’t fault her. When Daniel had finally sat her down and explained that he really did like her as a friend but that he wasn’t available, she had taken it well and was quite circumspect in her teasing of him these days, especially when Jack was around; clever little minx had put two and two together so quickly.

“He hasn’t looked in the urn yet, has he?”

“No, General; he said we needed to be careful in case it held something nasty like a Goa’uld.”

“What say you and I investigate and I’ll get the T man in with a zat? Daniel, Vala and I are gonna investigate the urn, OK?” Daniel mumbled, Vala fetched Teal’c, Mitchell and Sheppard stood in the doorway moaning about being bystanders and Siler stood up and announced he was nearly ready to try dialling the gate. That gave Mitchell and Sheppard something to do as some manual help might be needed in order to help the chevrons lock. Jack and Vala approached the urn which was at the opposite end to the area of the altar on which Daniel was working, Teal’c wielding a zat. Jack easily removed the lid from the piece of pottery after digging once more into his sack. Out had come his little mirror on a stick and he held it over the opening which was about three inches in diameter.

Nothing moved inside but there was definitely something in there. Gingerly, and warning Teal’c of what he was about to do, he upended the urn and some small bells, a few jewels and a golden cross scattered in a small area on top of the altar.

“Don’t touch anything,” he said as Vala leaned forward. Jack examined the urn to be sure that everything was out, replaced the lid and set it on the floor beside the altar. Then, having a change of heart, picked it back up and set it beside the contents. “So we don’t kick it by accident,” he said in way of explanation. Daniel, having been roused from his study of the parchments, walked over to examine the insides of the urn. Jack grabbed his arm as he went to pick up one of the small bells.

“Aht, no touching yet. Vala, have we got such a thing as a Geiger thingy with us?” Vala produced a gizmo that measured, amongst other things, radiation, held it over the little pile and declared it safe. Daniel reached for one of the bells and then jumped as the gate kawooshed.

Rodney was sulking. He knew it was his fault that he had left the others stranded and, because Sam wouldn’t let him go back to Allihies Cavern or to the SGC, he felt powerless to help. He had been pacing and annoying everyone within yards of him so had been banished to the mess and told to eat. Sam, in constant contact with the SGC, was relieved to hear that the others had been able to establish a wormhole and that IDC’s had been received. Mitchell, Sheppard and Siler were safely back and the rest of SG1 and the General were still planet side, the address of which was one of those downloaded by the then Colonel O’Neill when he had been inputting gate addresses into the mainframe after his encounter with the ‘head-sucker thingy’. With a treasure load of technology and valuables on board, Sam shifted the Hammond back to airspace over the SGC and started beaming the spoils into the SGC. The movement of the ship brought Rodney running as Sam, rather unkindly, had not told him all was fine but she had been very annoyed and worried over the whole debacle; a swift apology and she sent Mackay off her ship, back to the SGC. He arrived on top of a pile of gold, overbalanced and landed awkwardly; everyone heard the crack as his ankle broke. Sheppard turned from his conversation with Landry, quickly excused himself and rushed to Rodney’s side. For once, Rodney’s protestations were for real and Dr Lam quickly had a gurney and whisked him off to the infirmary to reset and plaster the ankle. Sheppard reluctantly returned to his conversation with Landry.

“I’m putting a team together to go back to PR7 TG0 and I presume, Colonel Sheppard, in the light of the latest event, you do not wish to be included. Mitchell, take Ferretti and two or three others as General O’Neill has been recalled to Washington by the President.”

“But I thought he was on vacation, Sir,” chimed in Mitchell.

“Generals cannot always do what they want to, Mitchell. You are going back, in charge. It’s an SG1 project now; I just want Ferretti and a few others with you and as I just stood the rest of his team down, you have your pick of those here and before you ask, Ferretti asked to stay once he knew what had happened and has volunteered. Take volunteers please, do not press gang anyone; this is slightly under the radar.”

“Yes, Sir.” Mitchell turned to Sheppard. “Well?”

“Depends when you are leaving. I need to see Rodney but if you still haven’t gone once I’m sure he’s settled, I’ll come too.” Mitchell turned back to Landry.

“Gate time is 1500. That gives you 4 hours and gives us time to clear this pile of galactic trash from my gate room.”

Meanwhile back on the planet, which had the new designation of PR7 TG0 unbeknownst to those in residence, said people had stopped for a snack and a review of the position so far. Daniel had to be dragged away from the parchments and bells. He had discovered that the patterns on the bells, of which there were five, were also on the parchments. They were of differing sizes and it seemed that there were originally 12 of them, including the one from the Dublin museum that was who knew where just now. If there were 12 bells, the complete musical scale was covered. SG1 were in possession of six, if they included the Dublin bell. Where were the rest?

Daniel was in his element translating and thinking outside the box. Jack continued to marvel at the gigantic leaps of Daniel logic the man made in order to solve mysteries and problems. His refusal to return to the SGC at present was due to his increasing surety that there was more on this planet to find. He had come to the conclusion that this had been Patrick’s retreat when he was older and the place where he had disappeared to when presumed dead. There was no way Daniel would stop now before he possessed all twelve of those bells and he quickly returned to the parchments to continue his translating; Vala went with him, offering to scribe for him to speed up the process whilst Jack and Teal’c decided to walk a perimeter and see what else they could discover. When the Stargate started engaging a few hours later, they had discovered what looked like the ruins of a dwelling and unearthed a further box containing, amongst other things, two more bells. Daniel’s excitement was contagious and they had, after delivering the latest find, returned to search further.

Jack was in his element. He’d had an off world adventure a few months ago; an amended SG1 had accompanied Daniel, affected by a latent prior virus, who was following clues found on tablets uncovered on the north eastern seaboard of the USA (see The Key to Infinity story). This led to the final defeat of the Orici at the hands of Morgan-le-Fay and Shifu. He still missed going off world with his team, that is, Daniel, Teal’c and Carter. He’d wanted the designation SG1 retired once the other three members moved on, Daniel trying to get to Atlantis but foiled by Vala, Teal’c back to Chulak and the emerging Jaffa nation problems and Carter in charge of Research and Development at Area 51 but Mitchell was so ‘gung-ho’ about being part of SG1 that he’d managed to get the team back together and Jack hadn’t the heart to say they couldn’t be SG1; SG1 mark two they might be but they were still the premier team under his indirect command. It was a shame that his time off world was about to come to an end with the return of Mitchell and Sheppard accompanied by Ferretti, Reynolds and Lieutenant Hayley.

Wishing he’d not bothered to rush back to meet the newcomers, Jack dragged Daniel away from his study and the pair disappeared outside for a few minutes to say their farewells. Mitchell was also taken aside and given a very stern talking to about the care and feeding of archaeologists. Taking good wishes back to Rodney from the remaining three who’d stayed planet side, Jack headed for the gate, taking Sheppard with him to retrieve the original bell, turned and waved, then stepped through the redialled wormhole and left. Vala gave Daniel a quick hug and they returned to work. Leaving Ferretti in the gate room for first watch, the others set out to continue to explore the planet.


Chapter 6

Of bells and briefings

It wasn’t surprising that eventually the other four bells would turn up. Ferretti, after his watch had ended, had found another dwelling by stamping over an area and falling through a thin layer of soil to what seemed to be the ruins of a granary. He’d found two more of the bells and Teal’c had discovered the last two in a further ruined building. Daniel sat all twelve bells on the altar, in order of size, having the original and largest bell still attached to its box; it had made its way back to the planet after Jack had gone back to Earth with Sheppard who had retrieved it.

“12! (12 factorial) combinations of sound,” mused Daniel. “That’s a massive number. There must be a clue somewhere which tells us how to ring the bells.” He had been handling them all very gently as he did not want to be sent elsewhere. He picked the largest free bell up and carefully examined the surface. The bells were fairly ornate but it was pattern only. It wasn’t until he grasped the bell with his thumb inside that he felt a slight indentation and, yes, there was a roman numeral inside. Vala and he quickly recorded the numbers and put the bells in order on the altar. He then had to send Sheppard back to the SGC for the second box so the Dublin bell released.

Putting Teal’c, Mitchell and Sheppard on alert, Vala and Daniel rang the bells in the order he had transcribed. There was a flash. The ruined cathedral was suddenly full of Ancient technology but, of course, Daniel and Vala were gone. Panic ensued, Mitchell bemoaning that his career was finished as the men quickly searched the ruins and the surrounding area. Sheppard detailed Ferretti to join Teal’c and Mitchell whilst he searched through the technology, setting of all sorts of machinery off with his Ancient gene in the hope of finding a transporter or a life signs detector or similar. Lt Hayley was pouring through Daniel’s notes, hoping to find a clue. What she found was 20 or so gate addresses which she suggested they try. Although reluctant to go back to the SGC and face General Landry’s wrath let alone General O’Neill when he returned from Washington, Mitchell eventually gave the order to return, leaving Teal’c and Ferretti to remain on watch and continue the search.

General O’Neill was still in Washington. Landry agreed to send a MALP to the 20 planets but dialling the gate had to fit in with the normal roster of gate travel. By the end of the day, 7 planets had been visited with no luck but the eighth, which, of course, had no DHD, showed footprints leading from the plinth on which the gate stood and, after a few minutes, Daniel and Vala appeared, none the worse for wear and, in Vala’s case, very bored. The planet had nothing to offer within the immediate vicinity of the gate and they hadn’t dared wander too far, having complete faith that their team would rescue them. Time for Siler to set to work again as he and Mitchell took a generator and laptop through on the rescue mission.

With Daniel and Vala’s return, Landry decided it was time he was brought up to date and called for a mission briefing at 1500 the next day. Ferretti and Hayley were recalled but, whilst the gate was open from the SGC’s end, Vala slipped through to retrieve Daniel’s gear and to help with bringing yet more Ancient tech back to the SGC. Daniel went home. Jack was due back and he wanted to see him, to be with him and feel again. The whole experience had been intense and he was so pleased when he was met with a hug and a kiss at the door of what was now almost openly their home. Jack had been able to re-buy (at a greatly increased price) his old house when Homeworld Security had moved to Cheyenne Mountain. Pizza was ordered, they curled up together on the sofa and, after eating, took to their bed. Jack was still unaware of the events that had removed Daniel and Vala again and the former decided to keep it that way just for the moment.

He regretted that decision during the briefing when Jack found out and he knew he was in for a severe tongue lashing afterwards, but not so much as that which Mitchell would receive. Overall, however, the mission had been very successful in the procurement of technology, some of which was going to be extremely useful in defending Earth if needs be and in making huge strides in the further development of space going ships. Sheppard and Mackay returned to Atlantis, all places visited were secured and that should have been the end of that particular mission. The Dublin bell was returned to Ireland by a detail of SF’s and SG1 were put on stand down for 48 hours.

Jack and Daniel walked quietly to the latter’s office. Expecting Jack’s ire, Daniel was surprised when the General just collapsed on the old couch. Daniel sat at his desk, steepled his fingers and rested his chin on them.

“Aren’t you going to call me out?”

“No energy.”

“Jack, you OK?”

“Daniel, I’m fine. It’s just … well, this is getting such old hat. You work hard, you go missing, you get found, you brush it off and so the cycle starts again,”

“Well, at least I didn’t die this time!”

“Don’t even joke about it. How much longer do you think we can keep doing this? A year, two?” Daniel didn’t answer. He had no answer. He had cut down on off world exploration when Jack had come back to Colorado Springs and rarely went on missions that involved more than a few hours away from Earth unless negotiations were stalling and his expertise was needed.

“Do you want me to stop going off world altogether, Jack? Don’t you trust me anymore?”

“Daniel, it’s not you, it’s some of those other clowns. Mitchell’s OK but he’s invested in the SG1 label and Vala still wants to get into your pants. Teal’c not always there, Carter has been promoted away from you, Mackay and Sheppard are a joke gone wrong...”

“Jack, that’s not fair. Yes, Mitchell is outright jump around boy but Vala has switched her game play to him and I think he is finding that difficult to deal with, just as I did, especially as I think he has his sights set on Sam. Sheppard is completely in awe of you and makes like a raw recruit when you are around; his hero worship is so palpable that you can almost touch it and Mackay’s Mackay; you will never change him and actually he has matured somewhat since those early days when he did nothing but wind Sam up. You are tired, Jack. Our pseudo vacation was cut short, there’s been a lot of worry and so much travelling and that reminds me, what did the President want?”

“Just a little matter of organising some more recognition for the SGC. I think that if someone had bothered to tell him that I was off world on a mission, it would have waited but Landry is such a stickler for the rule book that when the President called, he jumped. But seriously, Danny, you’re only 50 but I’m 63 and I’m getting too old for this. I know I said I wanted to see things through so we could get Destiny back….”

Daniel was frantically delving through the organised chaos on his desk muttering about knowing he’d forgotten something. Triumphantly, he held up one of the many legal pads he used then started flicking through it.

“Found it.” He sat down beside Jack. “Do you remember when I found something about destiny and wasn’t sure if was Patrick’s destiny or The Destiny?” Jack nodded, knowing one of Daniel’s huge leaps of logic was on the cards. Well, I think it is The Destiny. I will need to do more research but look at this – it’s a 9 chevron gate address. I thought it was two partial addresses but what if it’s the address to Destiny? We never managed to get the address out of the Lucien Alliance. Maybe this will at least go to that galaxy?” He looked so hopeful that Jack knew he couldn’t stop him yet. Daniel wouldn’t be Daniel without the constant problems to solve, research to do and people to find and help. He sighed and risked a quick kiss to Daniel’s nose.

“OK, so you’re not ready to stop yet but I’m thinking of retiring, again. That was the other thing I discussed with the President and before you say anything, he offered it to me with the proviso that I stayed on for the time being as a civilian consultant. I would have discussed it with you first otherwise and I’m staying in charge of HS until someone with the right sympathies can be found. There are advantages,” and Jack held up his finger to stop the inevitable protest about to issue from his love’s mouth. “Firstly, I get a huge pay out so I can pay off the mortgage on our extremely expensive house and we can have the extension build that we so often planned with a large office and a garden room and have proper steps built up onto the roof. Secondly, I won’t be at such a beck and call of the President and the Joint Chiefs as I am as a member of the Air Force and thirdly, and perhaps this is the most important, we can get married.” Jack slid to his knees. “Will you marry me, Daniel Jackson?” For once, Daniel was speechless. Then he stood up, pulled Jack up from his knees and buried his face in Jack’s neck mumbling “Yes, Jack, it’s all I’ve ever wanted,” as tears streamed down his face onto Jack’s collar.

“I’ll retire too, we can leave, go to Minnesota, anywhere you want as long as I’m with you … and I’ll stop getting all sappy on you now.”

“You’re not ready yet, that’s why I’m staying as a civvy. And now, you and I are going to go look at all this Ancient technology you found, yes, YOU found,” as Daniel began to protest, “and see what I can work with my gene. And then, I think you and I need to go spend some time on Atlantis and you need Beckett’s gene therapy and we can explore the city together.”

“But first, we need to try and find Destiny and I still haven’t found the real Clava Thessara Infinitas!” Jack was already dragging Daniel out of his office towards the elevator and as the younger man continued to talk about what he still needed to do. Jack dragged him into the car, pressed the button for level 16 where all the ‘treasure’ had been stored and watched him with a sappy grin on his face; this was his Daniel. He was the luckiest man in the world.

The next few hours were spent going through crates and boxes of Ancient technology. Stargate Command’s personnel were certainly the best; much of the gear had already been sorted and catalogued so Jack and Daniel could pick and choose what they wanted to look at. Jack found a gizmo that lit up the ceiling of the room they were in with kaleidoscope type patterns and came to the conclusion it was an Ancient baby soother. Daniel had found a tablet with a stone that ‘turned the page’ similar to ones found previously by SG1 and was sat on a crate, diligently reading and try not to laugh at Jack’s antics when he discovered what could only be described as an Ancient’s set of juggling balls, all made of gold. It wasn’t until Jack dropped one that it opened and a hologram appeared. It was Saint Patrick.

Both Jack and Daniel gaped at the hologram that was spouting in Ancient. Three sentences and then it shut off. Daniel had no idea what it had said. He came to life, telling Jack not to touch anything and left at a run to hit the elevator and get his video camera and laptop. Back within 5 minutes, Jack dropped the golden ball again and Daniel recorded the hologram. Jack then did the same with the two other balls which also revealed holograms of Patrick, again spouting three sentences. Daniel then plugged the camera into his laptop, downloaded the recording and set about translating whilst Jack searched and found three more golden balls which he duly recorded for Daniel.

Jack sent out for coffee and snacks. He virtually fed Daniel cookies and regularly filled his coffee mug until Daniel finished. Jack rifled through the tech noting when a gizmo responded to his gene but his heart wasn’t in it and when Daniel finally looked up, he smiled.

“OK, Spacemonkey, what have you found?”

“Let’s have a formal briefing about this Jack as others need to hear this.”

“Daniel, it’s 0200 hours. Everyone went home long ago and you are supposed to be on stand down anyway. That means you don’t need to work, you can vamoose, go home and relax with your buddy, Jack.” Daniel had the grace to look sheepish. “Let me have the gist of it please then can we at least get some shut eye on base?”

Daniel stood up and walked across to Jack.

“Why didn’t you tell me it was so late?”

“Daniel, I’d not have been able to stop you anyway. It’s what you do and it’s what makes you, you. So, what did Paddy have to say?”

“Let’s go back to my office and I’ll tell you on the way.” They left the storage area. “Basically, the story is that Patrick gave up on his quest to Christianise Ireland when he became infirm and he retreated to PR7 TG0 as we guessed, in order to ascend. He was joined by Merlin and Morgan-le-Fay and several others and they set up a community similar to the one that the original Ancients did. They were well aware of the growing power of their opposing faction, the Ori, and were attempting to put in place measures to stop them. They were developing what we call Merlin’s weapon, the one I used just before I de-priorised, when they were afraid that they had been betrayed by one of their group and Patrick and Merlin hid all the information in that head sucker I used to allow me to build it, after our quest for the Sangraal. There’s not a lot else in there about defeating the Ori and we have already done that but there was a gate address of nine chevrons and it matches the one that I thought I had found on the altar so our next target is to convince the President and the Joint Chiefs to let us dial it. It will require a huge amount of power. We need to get Sam on this or get Rodney back but you, Jack,” Daniel paused and turned to him as they had just entered his office, “you can’t resign yet until this is sorted. We have to have someone at the top to get this authorised. I am not sure that Landry is invested enough in this – it’s gonna be up to you.” Daniel sat in his chair, Jack leant his butt on his desk and crossed his arms.

“Bang goes my extension and mortgage pay off.”

“Jack, if I knew this worried you, I’d have paid it off. I have been working for the SGC for nearly 20 years and haven’t spent a fraction of what they pay me even with the college trusts.”

“What college trusts?”

“The ones that see Cassie and Jon through college.”

“Oh, I thought the Air Force was paying those.”

“Well, they pay the fees but I didn’t want either of them to have to work if they didn’t want to so I set up trusts for them.”

“Nice thought, Danny; why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t mean to tell you know, it just slipped out. Anyway, a plan?”

“Don’t change the subject.”

“Jack, it’s not a big deal.”

“Yes it is, Daniel, the little critters are getting at least 2 trust funds each, probably 3 or 4!” Daniel laughed.

“Well, at least we know they won’t want for money. I often wondered what Teal’c spent his earnings on apart from magazines and DVDs along with the occasional trips off base and I should have realised Sam and/or Janet had made provision for Cassie. So back to the plan. You go to Washington, tackle the President and JC’s, can you get Sam back? I’ll get working this end and put Bill Lee and his geeks…”

“Not Felger and co?”

“Yes, Jack, they do know what they are doing these days and hopefully in a few days or even weeks if it has to be, we can dial the nine chevrons and maybe we will be able to do something about Destiny? What d’y’u think?”

“I think I’m gonna marry a genius in not too many weeks’ time – you haven’t forgotten have you? This is our last mission with me in the Air Force then I retire, you become a stay on world consultant like me and we get a life. OK?”

“OK, Jack. One last mission then we get married.”

TBC – one last mission to save Destiny and find the Clava Thessara Infinitas

Acknowledgements for sources


Encyclopaedia Britannica

Ireland's Saint: The Essential Biography of St. Patrick Kindle Edition: by J.B. Bury (Author), Jon M. Sweeney (Editor) Paraclete Press 2013

Allihies Copper Mine Museum: http://www.acmm.ie/

O'Neill's Bar & Restaurant: http://oneillsbeara.ie/

Francis O’Neill: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_O%27Neill


ll placed the bhere was another bell shaped depression. Both he and Jack moved to her and


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