Chapter Three Summary: A visit from Thor sheds some light on recent happenings for Daniel and Sam and his gift leaves Jack stunned and not sure exactly how to react.
The iris refused to close. The light from the wormhole bathed the gate room in softly undulating blue. The spectators held their collective breaths and pointed their firearms at the circle. A small figure stepped out of the shimmering blue circle, the ring shut down, the power come up, and there was a collective release of pent up breath. It was Thor. “Stand down, people,” came the command from General Hammond.
Jack was the first to reach the diminutive alien, and he grinned at him, as he exclaimed, “Thor, buddy. How ya doin’?”
“I am most well, O’Neill. My ship is in for its scheduled maintenance, which is why I have come by Stargate. I hope I did not alarm anyone,” Thor answered in his usual somewhat stoic manner. His large eyes blinked slowly at O'Neill.
“Well, we get a little nervous when we can’t close the iris, but we’re always glad to see you,” Jack answered cheerfully. He really liked the little alien, even if he did scare them half to death when he came through the gate like that. Then realizing that there had to be a reason for this visit, Jack made his next statement into a question, “Something tells me that you aren't here to just pay a social call, am I right?”
Thor nodded in response before saying, “You are correct, O’Neill. Perhaps we should adjourn to the meeting area of your facility. I believe your entire team should accompany us as well. Turning towards the remainder of the group, he spoke to them, saying quietly, “Greetings, Major Carter, Dr. Jackson, General Hammond, Teal’c. I am most pleased that you are all present and in good health.”
“It is always nice to see you too, Thor,” Sam said as she smiled at him. She had a soft spot for the alien, too. In fact, it seemed as if they all were rather fond of him. Not just because he had saved the Colonel, either. There was simply something about him that brought out those feelings of affection. Maybe it was the big eyes or the little body that looked so tough but was really so soft. Sam gave up on figuring out what it was and just enjoyed feeling it. Thor made her smile; maybe it was really just that simple.
Teal’c inclined his head in greeting, and Daniel grinned at him, offered a pat on the back, and a, “Hey, Thor, it is really good to see you again. One of these times maybe you will be able to come simply to visit, even if this time has another objective.”
Thor blinked up at Daniel this time, saying, “That would be most pleasant, Dr. Jackson, and perhaps when we have defeated the replicators, I will be able to do so.”
“How is that coming, Thor? Making any progress?” Jack asked as they continued to walk toward the briefing room.
“No, O’Neill, I am afraid we are not making any progress. However, neither are we losing ground against them. We appear to be in something of a standoff at this time, as I believe you would say. We do believe that we may find the answer within the information we removed from O’Neill. There is a massive amount of information, and we have not yet been able to access all of it, as we simply do not have the resources to do so free at the moment. Nonetheless, we feel confident that we will have it all processed soon.”
“That sounds promising, Thor. I am glad to hear it,” the Colonel answered him just as they reached the briefing room.
“Can we offer you some type of refreshment, Thor?” asked General Hammond as the group passed into the room.
“That would be most pleasing, General Hammond, thank you. Some water, perhaps?” Thor made his preference known, and while General Hammond was getting both Thor and himself some water, the others helped themselves to something to drink, as well.
“Coming right up, Thor.” General Hammond poured a glass of water and presented it to the alien. Then as they all took chairs, he asked, “So, what brings you to visit today, Thor? Nothing too bad, I hope.”
Thor nodded his thanks for the water, as he began to explain his purpose in coming to the SGC today. “On the contrary, General Hammond, my purpose here today is to relay excellent news to you regarding a proposal the Asgard Council brought before the Furlings’ Council of the Table. We received word today that it has been accepted, and the appropriate steps are being taken to put it into motion.”
“The Furling?” questioned Daniel Jackson. “We are not acquainted with them, Thor, but we know that they were represented on Ernest’s Planet.”
“Yes, we are cognizant of that, Dr. Jackson. However, as you indicated, we also know that you are aware of them, as well as being familiar with the knowledge that they are allies of ours. They are one of the four races that are in the alliance, along with the Asgard, the Nox, and the Ancients. They left this section of space some time ago, but they wish to remain informed and alert to what is happening here. They have had, on many occasions in the past, very much closer ties to Earth than they now do.”
The little alien paused, as if choosing his words carefully, “As you no doubt realize, we do not have resources to spare right now for your fight with the System Lords. We will do all we can should an emergency arise that breaks the treaty, but our hands are tied in many ways. The Furling, however, are not now, nor have they ever been, part of the protected planet's treaty. What they may choose to do has no affect on it, in any way, which is why the Asgard High Council chose to approach them with a request. It has been granted.”
“So, Thor, buddy, just what was this request? I’m kinda getting the feeling that maybe it has something to do with us,” Jack spoke up hoping to cut to the chase, rather than going the long way around.
“You are quite correct, O’Neill. It does. We believe it will be a great asset for Earth,” Thor answered, still not saying anything concrete as far as Jack was concerned.
Jack rubbed his hands together, as he let his imagination run through several different scenarios in a matter of seconds. He finally chose his favorites, the ones at the top of his wish list, to present. “They’re gonna outfit us with some big honkin’ space guns or a few nice, new mother-ships?” Jack’s voice was hopeful.
“No,” Thor’s answer was brief and succinct, but not very informative.
Obviously still considering his words, the diminutive alien paused once more, as he looked around the table at these humans that he had grown to admire and like. Perhaps there was affection there, as well. He supposed there was. He definitely felt the urge to protect and help them, if it was at all possible.
Observing the patient, yet expectant, expressions on those faces, he knew he would have to explain more fully, exactly, what the High Council had done. First, however, he decided that a little background surrounding the request was in order. Therefore, that is what he now spoke of, stating, “Recently, during an Asgard High Council meeting, the Protected Planets Treaty, and the fate of Earth was brought forward as a topic which should be taken under advisement. I am sure that you are mindful of the fact that the Asgard have taken an interest in Earth in the past. We would not wish to see it destroyed by the Goa’ uld or any other threat.”
He stopped to take a sip of his water. This would be the…surprising…part of his disclosure. After glancing around the table once more and perceiving the continuing interest in what he was saying, he continued, “That being the consensus of all those concerned, it was decided that, since we could give only minimal help at this point in time, it would, perhaps, be of some benefit to enlist the help of the Furling. To this end, we requested that they consider sending a seasoned Warrior to join SG-1, to help in the battle against the Goa’uld. They agreed to consider the request. As I mentioned before, they also have an interest in seeing that Earth remains free and intact.”
He waved one of his small hands, as if pushing something aside, as he said, “But I digress. After some discussion, their Council decided that in order to gather the needed information, they would dispatch a seasoned Warrior to shadow SG-1, and report back on the viability of one of their Elite Warriors joining your team. The reports Artereos of Cadwaellon received from his Warrior convinced the Council of the Table to agree to her reassignment to SG-1. As soon as she gets her affairs in order, she will be joining your team.”
Five pairs of eyes were staring at him, though showing no signs of comprehension. No one moved; perhaps no one breathed. The stunned silence around the table was of the ‘you could hear a pin drop’ variety. Dr. Jackson was the first to recover, and his eyes were the first to regain a semblance of understanding, intelligence, quickly hidden flashes of panic, and what could have been horror. Thor could not be sure; they passed too quickly for him to be confident he had interpreted all of them correctly. At least their first reactions were much as he had anticipated they would be.
Daniel swallowed, hard, and then attempted to not only speak but to also make sense, something he was not sure he could accomplish, but he tried, saying, “Ah, Thor, that is, um, a really, a very nice thing for you to have done. We really, really, appreciate it.” He cleared his throat and wondered, with increasing alarm, how in the world they were going to handle this situation. He had doubts that the U.S. Military would accept an alien they knew nothing about, but then he discarded that idea as he thought of Teal’c. He revised his thought to a ‘perhaps they would’ as they had done so before. Nevertheless, no matter how things eventually worked out, they really needed to be diplomatic about this. He sent a desperate look towards General Hammond, who looked like he had been pole axed, and then to Jack, who was doing an excellent imitation of a fish out of water. Both men made choking sounds. Oh, God, they could not, absolutely could not, afford to insult the Asgard. Daniel readied himself to continue talking, until one of the others came to their senses, but in the end, thankfully, it was not something he had to do.
General Hammond finally seemed to catch his breath enough to answer Thor, “Um, yes, Thor, Dr. Jackson said that very well. Of course, I will have to clear this with my superiors. I mean, I don’t have the authority to accept this on my own.” So glad the buck does not stop here was written all over his face. General Hammond was beginning to feel a great deal of panic himself. Thor was not disturbed. At least, he didn’t appear to be disturbed. With Thor, facial expressions were hard to read. His next words confirmed the fact that he had fully expected their reactions…and that they had not disappointed him.
“I am sure you will be able to convince them that this is the best thing to do at this time, and if you cannot, then I will visit your Washington, DC, myself. I cannot state the case too strongly, General Hammond. You must not insult them. Please attempt to understand and believe me, insulting the Furling would not be in Earth’s best interests. They are a powerful race, and there is the potential here for you to become allies at some time in the future, if this posting succeeds. Artereos is sending you his daughter, Kataya. She is a Warrior of much skill, and she has some abilities, which, I believe, will be a significant addition to your team.”
Colonel Jack O’Neill cleared his throat and questioned warily, “What types of abilities would those be, Thor?”
“Kataya is Katteri-enti, one of their Elite Warriors. She is both a telepath and an empath. She has the ability to establish and maintain links between many minds at one time and allow communication between them. She has some natural healing abilities, and the ability to use energy as a weapon. Moreover, if a Goa’uld attempts to take her as a host, they will immediately find that they cannot take control of her mind. In fact, she has the ability to destroy the Goa’uld, should she so choose. All Furling have this ability, but priestesses and priests of the Katteri-enti have it in a much more refined way. She has also been a host to a Tok’Ra, so she is familiar with their society and their military goals. She will be able to work well with them.”
“I thought you said that she kills the symbiote? How could she have a Tok’Ra if she kills the symbiote?” Jack asked, puzzled.
“I said she had the ability to kill it, not that it is inevitable. Moreover, O’Neill, as you are well aware, hosting a Tok’Ra is certainly not the same as hosting a Goa’uld, although actually, Kataya has hosted both. She was very fond of her Tok’Ra mate, and I believe that the Goa’uld she hosted came away from the encounter, somewhat, shall we say, changed by the experience.”
“Thor,” Daniel began as he suddenly realized something. An arrested expression on his face he completed his thought and asked, “Thor, did you say that she has been watching us for a while now?”
“Yes, Dr. Jackson, in fact, I believe she has been shadowing your team for about six of your months. They decided that she should evaluate your military reaction to different sets of circumstances. However, just as important to them, they also wished to know more about you as a people, so she was also to determine what human traits and abilities you possessed, as well as how you used them to respond to different situations.”
Daniel’s face broke into a broad smile as he swung toward Major Carter. “Sam, that is what we both felt. That is who told me to open the gate today. It is no wonder the Jaffa have been having trouble. She has been using her abilities on them, helping us. More than that, if what I am saying is true, then she has more than telepathic and empathic abilities.” He paused, his brow furrowed in thought. “No, wait, wait, wait. That can’t be right. I have only noticed something strange for the last couple of months and only now and then. So that would not explain it, either.”
Seeing where Daniel’s thoughts were leading him, Thor broke into his musings to tell him, “On the contrary, Dr. Jackson. At first, Kataya would have been observing only. Until she made her decision, it would have been most counter-productive for her to interfere. She had to make her judgment based on the abilities and interaction of your team and the situations you faced. To have affected the outcome of a mission would have thrown off her data.”
Staring at the table in front of her, Sam, also, appeared to be deep in thought. She looked up as she started to speak, “I think Thor’s right, Daniel. I have noticed the change only in the last couple of months, too. However, it does make sense. Once she made up her mind, she would have started to intermingle with us. By occasionally interacting with our technology and us, she could determine if her abilities would benefit us. Now that she is assured that our technologies and abilities will work together with hers, she is willing to take the next step and join the team. I would say she has been pretty helpful already, and we haven’t even met her.”
Sam paused to catch a breath and turned to her left. “General, I think this could be a very important addition to our team. The possibilities and benefits could be far reaching. If nothing else, we should at least attempt a trial period to see if it would work.” Sam’s excitement was growing as quickly as Daniel’s was. Both of them could see how much of a wild card this could throw at the Goa’uld. They exchanged glances, both of their minds racing.
Having been his usual stoic self thus far, Teal’c made the decision to join the conversation and add his opinion. “Indeed, I, too, think this could be a very important event. I also vote for her admission to the team.” That said, he turned to Jack. “What are your feelings on this development, O’Neill?”
Facing the looks his team was leveling at him, Jack capitulated with barely a murmur. If he voted against this, he would never hear the end of it. Besides, maybe it would work out for the best. Yeah, he would keep telling himself that anyway. Realizing that everyone was still awaiting his input he quickly blurted out, “Well, we don’t know much about this, um, ah, person. But, in the interests of intergalactic diplomacy, I guess we can give it a shot. Sure, why not?"
“General, if we are taking a vote, then I am in favor of this. We should at least try it to see if it could be of benefit. And if it does not work out, then we have offended no one, and we have avoided an incident that could have far reaching consequences to our world,” Daniel nodded firmly to emphasize his conclusions, as he quietly pointed them out.
“That is a good and valid point, Dr. Jackson. It sounds like we have solid reasons for this plan to put before the Joint Chiefs and the President. Is there anything else we should know about this, ah, species, ah, woman, Thor? I need all of my facts before I take this proposal to my superiors.”
“I am sure there are other things that will come up over time as you get to know her. Kataya has many abilities that I am sure will be beneficial to you and the SGC. However, for now, I believe that the information I have given you should be sufficient to convince your people that this is a necessary addition to the SGC. Please remember that we are discussing a very powerful race of beings. Should this first attempt go well, they could become very useful and loyal allies. The first-born Furling are more powerful than Kataya is, of course, but this would be an excellent first step to take toward a more integrated future alliance. I would also like to suggest that, in all probability, the Council of the Table will suggest a trial period to monitor the interaction and progress, much as Dr. Jackson and Major Carter have suggested.”
Jack seemed confused. “She’s not a Furling?”
“Kataya is half Furling. Her mother is Wiccadian; her father is Furling. The Furling and the Wiccadians are both very old races. Mating has been occurring between them for millennia. They have a somewhat complex society, rites, and rituals, which to you will no doubt seem archaic. Please, do not be led into error by this. Although their appearance could lead you to believe them less technologically advanced than some, that would be a grave error to make. Their technologies are quite advanced.”
“They are quite tolerant of other species and their customs. They accept all sentient beings as worthy of respect and protection—except, perhaps, the Goa’uld and the Dark Mage Daemon Lords and their minions. They know that the Goa’uld must be, shall we say, controlled. They will respect your societal customs and rituals and, in return, will only ask that you respect theirs. I have known her, and her family, for a very long time, and I feel that you will soon learn to trust Kataya and to value her, as she should be valued. And now, General Hammond, please make your contacts, as I really must be on my way soon."
“All right, Thor, if you will just excuse me for a while; I will do this as quickly as I can,” the General said, as he left to go make his phone calls.
“So, Thor, buddy—when will we be receiving our newest member?” Jack asked.
“I am unsure of their arrangements, O’Neill; therefore, I really do not know what their plans are. She will come as quickly as she can; I am sure. When she arrives, I know you will make her entourage welcome. They will not stay long, but it will be necessary for them to do the formal handing over of her command and her office. I do not know if her children will accompany her or not, but I would guess that, as a gesture of respect, they will be part of her attendants.”
“She has children? How many?” Daniel seemed somewhat taken aback by this information, although he could not have said why.
“Four. The oldest daughter will probably take her mothers’ place in the political arena while she is gone. The eldest of her sons is with the Ancients at this time. Her other two kits are still in training, but I believe they are soon to achieve Rank and admittance to the Council. They are the ones that I would expect to accompany her; however, if they are with a field unit and in battle, it would not be possible. They will soon be ready to enter the Katteri-enti. Thor paused for a moment before continuing, saying, “In some ways, I am surprised that she has agreed to be the one chosen to join you.”
“Why would it surprise you that she would be chosen to join us, Thor? I thought you said she was a good soldier.” Jack appeared puzzled by the little alien’s statement.
“She is an excellent Warrior, O’Neill. In fact, she is one of their very best tacticians, as well. That is the reason why I am surprised. I would have expected her to request her next assignment to be in another sector where there is heavy fighting, now that her sector, the Pegacian System, is almost won. There is still occasional heavy fighting taking place in areas of that system, but much more so, in other Systems in which they are involved. However it came about that she chose or was chosen to come here, I believe that you will like her.”
“I am sure we will, Thor. You have certainly given her a glowing recommendation.” Daniel sent Thor one of his sweetest smiles, the one that made everyone want to see to it that he was happy and content. Thor was no different from most, and he responded with a nod of his head, the closest that he could come to a smiling response.
Daniel fell into a reverie, thinking about the reaction he had felt to this woman’s name. It had sent a shock through him, but he had no idea why. Had someone from his childhood had a similar name? He frowned to himself. That simply did not ring true. Well, there was no point in worrying about his reaction now because he had no clue to what caused it. He came back from his thoughts to find Jack asking Teal’c a question.
“Teal’c, you got anything to say about this? Do you know anything about this Catery thing?” Jack sent a questioning look toward Teal’c.
“Indeed, O’Neill. If it is true that this woman is Katteri-enti, and she has indeed been on the same worlds we have, then we now know why the Jaffa on P39-987 left so precipitously. Obviously, she communicated to them that they were about to be exposed to a Katteri-enti. When I was First Prime of Apophis, had I come across one, I would have left as soon as was possible myself. It is something that all Jaffa are taught. Superior numbers are the only way we were told to go into combat against one.”
“What in the hell do they do that causes that reaction?” Jack wondered aloud.
Teal’c gazed at an invisible spot on the wall across from him. Slowly he began to speak; “I recall an incident that happened when I was quite young. Two-dozen Jaffa were sent to scout a world that Cronus coveted. Rumors reported that it was under the protection of the Katteri-enti. I do not now recall the circumstances, but for some reason, my father remained behind and did not go on the mission. A few hours after they left, Cronus received the remains of his scouting party. Each Jaffa, had their throat slit through the jugular vein on each side of their necks. Each symbiote was removed, beheaded, and placed in a coil with the severed head placed on top of the coil on their respective Jaffa’s chest. Blood from the symbiote was used to inscribe on their foreheads a sword and the symbols, which translated, meant Katteri protection.”
“My father took me to see the bodies so that I would always remember what would happen to Jaffa who refused to leave a Katteri protected planet. Cronus did not send another party of Jaffa there. It is said that Jaffa are often offered protection, if they will leave the service of their false god, or that they will be allowed to leave and return to the world they came from. If they refuse both, I believe they are executed and returned to their Master in this manner.”
“Teal’c, did that appear to be done in a ritualistic way? I mean, that sounds almost like a symbolic type of execution.” Daniel seemed fascinated by the way the Jaffa were killed.
“Indeed, Daniel Jackson, it was done in such a way. I have never witnessed a Katteri-enti killing, but from those I have talked to that have seen it, I have received the impression that, once seen, one never forgets a Katteri-enti killing. Legend says that the Katteri do not kill in this manner, unless there is no other option. I am looking forward to meeting this Katteri warrior and learning more of their ways. There is no doubt; they are formidable warriors.” Teal’c looked very pleased at the prospect. It was quite obvious that he considered this change something to look forward to with a great deal of anticipation. Jack couldn’t share his enthusiasm, but he wouldn’t prick his balloon, either.
Daniel seemed to have slid into his own world, but as Teal’c stopped speaking, he snapped back to them. “I am too, Teal’c. Their society must be truly fascinating.”
“Are you sure ‘bizarre’ wouldn’t be a better world, Daniel? And if they are that powerful, then why haven’t they wiped the Goa’uld out already?” Jack sounded frustrated as well as skeptical.
“They are few in number in comparison to the Goa’uld, O’Neill. They are even now fighting the Goa’uld in the Morovian System, among others, and while they are slowly winning, they cannot spare many resources. Much of their power is based on their personal energy. When it is depleted, if they cannot absorb more energy, either from another life force, or through the ritual of renewal, they will die. They are not all powerful, or indestructible. Their abilities are limited by restraints of time and space. I believe the abilities Kataya has that will benefit you the most are her telepathic and empathic ones, although as I explained she is a formidable Warrior and a very good healer. She will be an asset in many ways; I have no doubt of that at all. Kataya will explain more fully how they use their energy and I am sure that in time you will come to understand. It will be a learning experience on both sides.” As usual, Thor was methodical in his explanation.
“Thor, the President, and the Joint Chiefs have agreed to a trial period. I have instructions to do whatever is necessary to make our newest member feel comfortable and at home,” General Hammond said, as he re-entered the room. “Is there anything in particular that we should obtain for her? Any special foods or, er, unusual accommodations? I mean, well, will she sleep in a bed like we have here or do we need to get different furniture in, or well, anything?” General Hammond appeared uncomfortable with the discussion, but he did his best to make sure everything was comfortable for their newest member.
Thor blinked at him for a moment. He opened his mouth only to close it. He took another sip of his water before saying, “I must apologize for not being clear in my explanation. I should have realized when you did not know what to call her, that you did not know if you would be dealing with a human-type being or something else. You will find the Furling to be very human in form and actions. There are some differences, of course, as they are a different race, or I suppose I could even call them another species. However, for all intents and purposes, you will find that if it makes you comfortable, then it will also be fine for her. As for her personal appearance, as I said it is very human. I believe that she is often described as a quite attractive woman, and I have also heard that her eyes are considered especially beautiful. I will leave you to decide if rumor is true or lies for yourselves. Ah, yes, you asked about food, as well. The Furling eat the same types of foodstuffs that other humans eat, so I believe that the food you have here will be very acceptable to her.”
Relief spread across General Hammond’s face. Going by the name of their race, he had pictured some kind of furry being that might eat very unusual food and sleep other than in a bed. He was relieved to know that he would not have to try to find some exotic food or a bed of, fur or, well, something. He smiled at Thor, “Thank you for clearing that up, Thor. I will admit that the name of their race had me wondering if they were perhaps not a human-type species, er, race.”
“Very understandable, General. I was at fault in this instance for not being clear about the Furling.” The little alien stood and bowed his head in the General’s direction. “That your leaders have agreed to the trial period is excellent news indeed. I am most pleased. Now, I must return to my home and finish my preparations to return to my command.” His huge dark eyes blinked slowly and he looked at each of them in turn.
“I want to thank you again for thinking of us in this way, Thor. It is much appreciated and it will not be forgotten, I assure you,” General Hammond said as he walked beside the ‘little grey guy’ down the stairs and into the gate room.
“You are most welcome, General. Knowing that the Furling will be here with you relieves our minds. They will contact us if you need us, and if that happens, we will come if it is at all possible. I do not doubt though, that anything in the way of an emergency will, in all probability, simply be taken care of by Artereos. He is most efficient and capable.” With a wave of his hand, the Stargate blossomed to life, and Thor walked slowly up the ramp. At the top of the ramp, he turned back to them, saying, “Until we meet again.” And, with those words, he was gone, leaving behind him a group of people who were not sure how they should really feel about the latest turn of events.
“Well,” drawled Jack O’Neill, “Thor’s a little harder to say no to than the Russians.” Suddenly, his gaze caught that of his 2IC and the team’s archaeologist. “And just what do you two mean, that explains the feelings you’ve been having? Just where did that come from, and why wasn’t I informed? What feelings? I didn’t feel anything. And what type of things happened? Nothing weird happened to me.” Jack almost sounded as if he felt left out.
General Hammond caught the Colonel’s eye. “I think an adjournment back to the briefing room would be appropriate.” As he led the way back towards the briefing room, he could be heard mumbling under his breath, “and I was hoping for some quiet, ordinary, downtime for everyone. That has sure been blown all the way to hell and back!”