_ Chapter Seven Summary: - As Janet attempts to do a physical on Kataya, she learns things about the Furlings— such as her age, her name, and what her name means—she also learns a few things about Merdwin and his relationship with Kataya. Later, Jack and Teal'c take Kataya with them for their evening meal, after which they go to her quarters for a chat and an after dinner drink. Once more Jack learns something about his newest team member that shocks and stuns him, but he decides that she may have definite advantages on a battlefield.
Author’s Note: This is a long story and there is a lot of background to set up before the Tok'Ra enter it, but they do join the Tau'ri and stay at the SGC...So please be patient. Chapter Pairings: Sam/Daniel: Janet/Other: Main pairings remain for the story.
“Italics” – Telepathic or Symbiote-Host communications
Janet Frasier turned her attention to General Hammond as he dismissed the meeting. “Sir, I am going to need to check Kataya and Merdwin out, as per our medical procedures.” She turned to Merdwin and Kataya. “I am sorry, but our procedures dictate that we check everyone who comes through the Stargate for any type of contagion and, for, um, Goa’uld symbiote infestation. It won’t take long, but it does need to be done right away.”
Merdwin turned to Janet, and smiled. “There is nothing to apologize for. It would be highly remiss of your people if they did not take some precautions. You can count on our complete cooperation,” He answered her comment with warm approval in both his voice and his eyes.
“You do not have a problem with a medical checkup do you, Kataya?” He turned to her and was startled at the look in her eyes. He followed her intense gaze, and somehow, he was not completely surprised. Ah, so this was one of the reasons she had so easily not only accepted, but also actually requested this assignment. He frowned to himself as he recognized an anomaly in his reaction to this discovery. He was definitely somewhat confused at his response; his lack of jealousy was completely unexpected. However, while it puzzled him, it was actually a relief not to feel what he considered one of the more uncomfortable emotions. The petite woman beside him probably had a great deal to do with his response. That was not exactly an unwelcome thought.
Kataya managed to pull herself away from the deep blue pools she was drowning in to answer Merdwin. “I agree,” she stated calmly, belying her inner turmoil. “I believe it is a very wise precaution, and I will be quite happy to undergo whatever tests you deem necessary.” She smiled at Janet as she voiced her approval and agreement with their procedures.
She then turned to General Hammond saying, “If it is acceptable, I would like to wear the uniform of the Tau’ri. I realize that will take time to arrange. In the meantime, if it would be acceptable, I would like to change into my own uniform.” She grinned at him. “Now that the formalities are over I would like to get comfortable.”
George Hammond returned her smile, “That would be fine, and we will see about getting you some uniforms to wear as soon as we can. It should not take too long once they find out what sizes you need. We have about every size imaginable, which should make it easily accomplishable.”
“Thank you, General Hammond, it will be appreciated,” she told him. It was apparent that she found the arrangements quite acceptable.
Acknowledging her response, the General then nodded at Dr. Frasier, telling her, “I would like you to be Lord Merdwin’s guide while he is our guest, Dr. Frasier.”
Merdwin was pleased. In fact, he looked very much like a cat that had just been given a large bowl of cream.
“Yes, sir. I would be delighted to do so,” She smiled briefly at Merdwin. This was so not good. Janet, on the other hand, looked just a little like a mouse being hunted by a very hungry cat.
“Please, General Hammond, it is Merdwin. We stand on ceremony only when it is required. Unfortunately, for us, that is quite often in our public lives, as our people expect it of us. In our more personal relationships, we prefer a more relaxed, comfortable atmosphere when out of the public eye.” Changing the subject he continued, “I wish to thank you for your hospitality. It is very much appreciated.” He looked at Janet Frasier, as he added almost to himself, “Very much indeed.”
“You are very welcome, Merdwin. We look forward to your visit and the beginnings of our races friendship.” That said he turned once more to Dr. Frasier, saying, “If staying late will cause a problem for your daughter, she can come here.”
“Thank you, sir, but that will not be necessary. I will call Cassie and arrange for her to stay with a friend. It is a standing arrangement when I have to stay over.”
“Very well. If you need anything, I will be here for several hours yet. Merdwin, if I do not see you again this evening, I will see you tomorrow morning, I am sure.” With those words, he returned their acknowledging nods of agreement and good-bye before he left the room. As he passed through the doorway, he heard Merdwin ask Janet, “You are mated? You, too, have children?” Merdwin sounded disappointed.
“I was married, um, mated, a long time ago. It did not work out. Cassie is adopted. She was the last survivor of an attack on her planet by the System Lord, Nerti,” She explained.
He looked pleased at her disclosure. “So you are compassionate as well as lovely.” He smiled at Janet in a way that made her catch her breath. In all truth, this man should either be outlawed, or labeled as a risk to all of womankind. A short while later, she realized they had been standing in the same place in the briefing room for some time now, simply looking into each other’s eyes. She vaguely wondered how much time had actually passed, but she also realized that she was not sure she actually cared.
Janet’s heart was in trouble, and she knew it. She was about to drown in this man. “What a way to go. I do not believe I just thought that,” she said to herself.
With an internal groan, she turned and headed for the door, saying, “We should probably go to the infirmary. We need to get you checked out, so that you can get settled into your room and then have something to eat. I can take you by your quarters after we are finished if you would like. They should have them prepared by then,” she assured him over her shoulder as she stepped through the door.
“Yes, thank you, I would appreciate that,” Merdwin responded mildly. He was very aware that she was very wary of him and his intentions. Possibly even of her own emotions. Perhaps he would need to tread slightly more carefully. It would not do to push her too quickly and have her retreat from him. He was beginning to believe that at the very least he had found a Heartmate in Janet Frasier, if not something even more…important. He could not be sure at this early stage; however, the signs were there. Time would prove the truth of them.
She nodded, as they started to walk down the hall. “Was Kataya with one of the others?” She asked. It was better to have an innocuous conversation with Merdwin than to listen to the voice in her head that was cautioning her in strident and insistent tones.
“I can contact her if you wish to find out where she is. I believe she was with your Colonel O’Neill when she left,” Again Merdwin kept his tone neutral and placid.
“Really? I have to admit that surprises me. Colonel O’Neill tends to be suspicious by nature and,” she hesitated, obviously not sure how to express what she wanted to say, before coming up with, “somewhat abrasive.”
Merdwin nodded his understanding of not only what she was saying, but also that which she was leaving out. His expression and voice tranquil, he commented quietly, “Kataya respects him and believes him to be an excellent warrior. She has told me about her time observing them while making her assessment of the viability of a joint venture and her inclusion into the team.” He looked thoughtful, and then, choosing his words carefully, he told her, “Janet, do not underestimate her. She is an excellent, highly trained, and capable Warrior. Colonel O’Neill has yet to see her in any type of military situation and, therefore, he cannot judge her well. It is inevitable that, as she no doubt appears to him, that he will have preconceived ideas of her abilities. It is even possible he will see her as a liability that he will be called upon to, er, ‘nursemaid and protect’. It would not surprise Kataya or me, for that matter, to find that he resented and disliked the fact that she is joining his team. In all probability he looks on her as a, I believe your words would be, "piece of fluff" who will cause more trouble than she will be worth. He may even believe that Artereos believes her a better Warrior than she actually is.”
Seeing the rosy color rise in Janet’s face, he was quite sure he was very much ‘on target’, as the Tau’ri would say, in all of his speculations. He laughed shortly and then, his voice lightly sardonic, he continued, “Her beauty, her casual, easy manner, and her often gentle and kind responses frequently mislead her enemies, as well as those who do not know her, into a false sense of confidence and feeling of superiority. Please believe me when I tell you that the enemies who underestimated and attempted to overcome her have received very different outcomes than they expected to achieve. In fact, the enemies that underestimated her are now, shall we say, "resting," in all probability for an extended period, if not for eternity.” He paused and a small amused smile touched his lips, as he recalled the many times he had watched her triumph over odds not in her favor, simply by looking delicate and harmless, thereby luring her opponents into making unwise decisions and taking unwise chances.
Leaving that train of thought, he returned to addressing his remarks to Janet, saying, “When the time finally arrives that Colonel O’Neill must depend on her in a tight, dangerous, probably precarious situation,” he shrugged and smiled wryly, “well, let us just say that he will learn to respect her and her abilities, as she now respects his.”
Leaving that subject abruptly, he looked down at Janet, telling her, “I have located Kataya. She is already in the infirmary. Colonel O’Neill is there with her, and I believe they are practicing using the link. It seems that the Colonel is enjoying his new,” he coughed to cover his light amusement before finishing his remark, “toy. He has quickly grasped the possibilities that will open up to them when they learn to manage and use the link. His opinion seems to be that it will give them a definite advantage in perilous or touchy situations, and he is very enthused about it.” He smiled fully at Janet this time, silently urging her to join him in his gentle amusement over the Colonel’s almost childlike glee.
She smiled back, knowing exactly what he meant about Jack O’Neill’s enthusiasm and reactions. Then indicating a doorway just ahead, told him, “We are there, too.” Standing aside, she gestured him into the room and followed him in.
After stopping by her quarters, where she quickly changed into her Katteri uniform, Kataya and the Colonel made their way to the infirmary. She smiled at O’Neill, saying, in all sincerity, “Colonel O’Neill, our conversation was very enlightening, and I enjoyed talking with you. Thank you for taking me to my chamber, er, quarters, so that I could change my clothing, and also for bringing me to the infirmary.” She added a friendly look and slight smile to her statements as she continued to build a sense of rapport between them. It was imperative that the two of them not only become comfortable with one another, but also come to an understanding of each other.
Jack nodded his acknowledgement, adding, “You’re welcome. I couldn’t very well leave you wandering around the halls unescorted, now could I? No telling where you might have found yourself.”
“Very true, indeed. I would immediately have gotten lost. Your corridors are very much alike; however, I am sure I will find my way around soon though.”
As they stood together awaiting Janet and Merdwin, Jack decided it was as good a time as any to question her about some of her abilities. Having come to that conclusion, he cleared his throat and ventured a gambit, “So, this telepathy thing…Daniel said it wasn’t hard or invasive.” At Kataya’s confirming nod, he continued, “Well, if it is going to be helpful to us, maybe we should try it. I mean sometime when you are not so tired.”
At the roundabout invitation, Kataya immediately set a link and answered him telepathically, “I am not tired, Colonel. Our respective worlds and Avilion the Sanctuary appear to be close to one another for it is about the same time there as it is here; therefore, I am not feeling any great fatigue. There is no reason why we cannot do it now.”
“Don’t I need to sit down, shut my eyes and concentrate or something?”
“Not at all; however, we will sit down simply to be more comfortable, as we await Dr. Frasier and Merdwin. Now, as far as talking to me through the link, the only requirement is that you stop talking aloud, and think about sending your thoughts to me. Pretend to ‘throw’ your words at me, Colonel. To communicate in this manner, it is simply a matter of holding a door open for you to enter my mind. It is not a difficult thing to do. You will find that once you learn the feel of the link and become accustomed to speaking this way, you will no longer even have to think about it. Your mind will become attuned to the link and will answer when it is active. What may or may not be difficult is teaching you all to initiate the contact between and by yourselves. You will need to rethink your ideas about mind reading; however, I believe that once you realize how little invasion of your mind there is, you may come to accept it more readily.”
Jack nodded and then asked, in what seemed to be the inside of his own mind, “So, can you hear me now?”
“Yes,” she replied, smiling slightly at him in an encouraging way.
“Cool.” Jack grinned, obviously caught up in this new toy.
“It is certainly convenient in a tense situation, when you need to communicate, but do not wish to use the, er, radio? I believe that is the correct word,” she returned promptly.
Becoming serious as he took in the advantages this could have in a battle or capture situation, he said, “Yes. I can see advantages to this. It definitely gives new meaning to the concept of operational silence. When I think of all the times I would have loved to be able to do this.” He looked a little sad, but smiled at her, obviously pushing whatever thoughts had brought it on away to some far place.
Kataya looked at O’Neill intently before saying, in a voice almost gentle with understanding, “You are a soldier who has had to do many things you think are contemptible and dishonorable. You have done no more than follow orders, even when those orders called for distasteful, horrifying, and ruthless actions. We are much alike, Colonel.” She shrugged mentally. “I understand because it is also the way of the Katteri- enti. We, too, are elite killers who are occasionally even assassins. Do not be so hard on yourself. Without us, the universe would be unbalanced. No matter how much we abhor what we have had to do, what we have witnessed, and what we will do in the future, we both know that we are the best defense our worlds have. Knowing this, we will continue to kill. Any way we have to.”
Her ‘voice’ was colored with sadness, and Jack felt her pain as he caught a glimpse into her mind. Lightening her ‘tone,’ she continued, “I believe I should explain to you that I did not look into your mind to learn those things about you, Colonel. When we touch a mind, as I did when setting the link, we get impressions and sometimes emotions. I could ‘see’ nothing and even my impressions were of nothing specific.”
“I think I understand.” Jack paused, looking a little uncomfortable. Then, pushing his discomfort aside, he forged ahead, telling her, “I, um, had a flash of your feelings when you were talking to me just now. That is what you meant, right?”
“Yes, however, I can also pick up stray thoughts. People rarely realize how loudly they think to themselves. We call them ‘throw-away thoughts.’ It is fortunate that we can block most of it out if there is a need. Most of the time, we can simply ignore it, and it becomes no more than a murmur, which is easy to tolerate, and thus we do not actually ‘hear’ it. Then there are also those thoughts that are sent out with so much emotion attached to them that we cannot avoid picking them up, unless we are actively shielding. Of course, there are other times when those thoughts are extremely helpful. Do not confuse it with reading someone’s thoughts deliberately for they are in no way similar. Actually entering a person's mind takes a true effort, and it is much more invasive and obvious to the target, unless one is very, very adept at it. Furthermore, there are those of us that are very adept at slipping into a mind without causing as much as a tickle. Those that can do so make excellent operatives, as I am sure you can understand.”
Frowning slightly as he contemplated what she told him, he commented, “I can see where both of those abilities could be very useful in certain situations.” Then a rather mischievous look came over his face and he grinned at her, before saying, “Or it could be both embarrassing and annoying. I imagine you get pretty tired of hearing about other people’s love and, er, sex lives.” He chuckled as he gave more thought to what it must be like. “I imagine that if you are in a crowd it could get really annoying as well. There are probably bunches of people that are very vocal mentally.”
Kataya laughed, delighted at his matter of fact acceptance. It made it so much easier if a person was not afraid or leery of the link. Otherwise, they tended to fight it, sometimes consciously, sometimes not, but the result was the same; it was almost impossible to keep the link open, as they continually closed it. She decided to answer his first comment first, so she said, “Yes, it has been helpful during battle for us, and I am sure it will be helpful for you. As to the other, you are correct. Sexual thoughts are perhaps the hardest to keep out without using a complete block. Those thoughts are Always accompanied by strong emotion of one kind or another. You are also correct about crowds. We rarely go into one without blocking, as it just becomes overwhelming otherwise.”
While they were in a comradely mood, he decided that he should ask about the other ability about which they knew next to nothing. “Thor didn’t tell us what a Katteri-enti Warrior is. I still don’t know,” Jack said, for once probing almost tactfully.
Her eyes glinted slightly as she glanced sharply at him. “You will see when it happens. It is only used in extreme situations. We are ordinary soldiers, Colonel O’Neill, as well as Katteri-enti Warriors. We use weapons and tactics just like any other Warrior.”
She sat quietly, apparently contemplating nothing, but Jack knew better. Her face might be blank, but after the glimpse of her mind that he had seen, he would bet his paycheck that her thoughts were not just dark, but black. “What aren’t you telling me?” Jack wanted to know. “I get the distinct impression that there is a lot more to being a Katteri- enti Warrior than being an ordinary soldier.”
“It is not for the fainthearted, Colonel. Although, I know that eventually we will no doubt be in a situation that calls for the Katteri, I would put it off as long as I can. You will, in all probability, be…” she closed her eyes and sighed sadly before finishing, “appalled and shocked.”
“I doubt anything you have done would bother Teal’c or me. As you yourself said, I have seen and done things that would definitely not make my mother proud, and would make the majority of people,” Jack paused before using the very words she used, “appalled and shocked. Perhaps the three of us could get together later. Have something to eat while we talk.” Jack felt the need to know more about this woman. He grimaced to himself. No, he wanted to know more about not only the woman, but also the person, the soldier…and the Katteri-enti, no matter what that turned out to be.
Obviously deep in thought, Kataya did not answer him at once. It was evident he would not be put off with what would clearly be platitudes. Truth to tell, he had every right to know exactly not only what she was, but that which she could become and accomplish. She was a team member now; he could reasonably expect to go into battle without being blind to her abilities. Knowing his questions were appropriate to the situation in which they found themselves, she finally smiled slightly and agreed. “After giving it some thought, I believe you are correct and you should know what my capabilities are. Therefore, I would be delighted to have a meal with you; however, I will not discuss a Katteri-enti killing during it. I will discuss it later, if you like. Perhaps in my, er, quarters?”
Happy with her answer, Jack grinned, telling her, “Great, sounds like a deal to me.” Then he changed tacks and reverting to their original discussion, he said, “You know, I think I’m getting the hang of this linking thing.”
“Yes, you are doing exceptionally well.” She gave her approval to his quickness in picking up the basics. Perhaps it was not going to be as difficult as she had feared it might be. The Tau’ri seemed anxious for new experiences, and that would work in their favor.
How well Daniel must fit into this world. His eagerness for new experiences and new information had been the cause of many of their partings through the millennia. She hoped the other races he had joined over the years he was gone had also given him peace and joy. She also hoped that he had found happiness here among the Tau’ri. He had lost a dear Heartmate not long ago, which she knew. However, his other Heartmate was here with him, and they were very close. She was not sure they realized what they were to one another, though. It was possible, since he had been with Sha’uri, that he did not know about his other Heartmate. She might not know him for what he was to her for the same reason. Ah, well, it would all work out. If they did not recognize their bond soon then she would…
“After Doc Frasier is done with you, how about we go get Teal’c and something to eat? I am getting kinda peckish.” Jack broke into her musings bringing her back to the here and now.
Kataya nodded her agreement to his query before changing the subject and saying aloud, “Do not feel obligated to stay here with me, Colonel O’Neill. Merdwin and Dr. Frasier are almost here. The sooner she begins our examinations, the sooner they will be accomplished, and the sooner we shall be able to eat.”
Jack stared at her. “How do know they are here?”
“Merdwin’s mind was searching for me. I told him we were here,” her answer was nonchalant, as if that occurrence, was in no way out of the ordinary.
“Just like that?” Jack's eyebrows shot toward his hairline.
“Yes, Colonel, just like that. The link is useful in many situations. The act of finding someone becomes quite simple.” She smiled in amusement at his tone of surprise.
“Cool. I’ll see you a little later.” He waved as he headed for the exit.
“I will be ready as soon as Dr. Frasier completes her examinations,” Kataya assured him before she turned and greeted Dr. Frasier and Merdwin, as they entered the doorway through which O'Neill was attempting to depart.
“You two seem to be getting along a little better. I am glad. Sometimes the Colonel can be a little, er, abrupt and,” Janet paused and finally fell back on the word she had used to Merdwin, 'abrasive'. He is not the diplomatic type, I am afraid,” she informed her.
Kataya laughed briefly, before responding, “Yes, I believe I understand what you are attempting to say, Dr. Frasier. He was actually very polite and helpful. I trust we have come to an understanding with one another. It will take time and experience before he begins to accept and trust me. I understand that.”
Janet nodded and asked her, “Would you like to go first? It really shouldn’t take very long.”
“Yes, that would be fine.” Kataya nodded briefly in acquiescence.
Janet turned to Merdwin. “If you would just wait in my office over there?” She indicted the door with a nod of her head.
“Of course. I will use this time to contact Artereos and have a few of my belongings sent through the portal. Kataya, you still have the stone that Thor gave to you, do you not? I could probably hold the iris open; however, I am loath to do that, if I can avoid it.” Merdwin frowned, as he gave thought to how to accomplish the retrieval of whatever personal possessions he deemed necessary for a short visit. He would also be able to discern whether Artereos was speaking truthfully about his absence not being a problem.
“I would suggest that you talk to the General, Merdwin. He may have a suggestion as to how they wish to handle the process. At the least, you can contact father and have your things ready to send. If needed, we will send the stone through to them,” Kataya suggested mildly.
Merdwin nodded his agreement, bowed slightly to Janet and headed for her office.
Turning back to her newest patient after Merdwin left, Janet said, “Okay. I need some basic information. If you will tell me your full name?”
“Kataya Morna’Catira of Cadwaellon,” Kataya answered promptly.
“Do names on your world have meanings attached to them? Some of ours do and it is something that I find interesting,” Janet commented as she wrote her name into the form.
“Yes, many of our names have other meanings. On our world, Kataya means Pure Strength and Morna’Catira means Beloved Warrior.”
“Really? Did your parents know what both of them meant when they named you? They certainly go together well.” Janet commented.
“My parents did not name me. I was named by the All,” Kataya said answered absently. She was so familiar with the story of how the All had named her that it did not seem unusual to her.
“Ah, I…see,” Janet answered, although it was patently obvious that she did not have the first clue as to what that statement meant. She decided to change the subject. “What does Merdwin mean? Did his parents name him?”
Kataya decided, after seeing the blank look that her answer about the All had engendered, to skip the second part of her question and concentrate on the first part. “Merdwin’s name is actually Merdwin Pendrawain of Werllockian. The first means Wizard or Enchanter of Great Power. The second, Dragon of Great Strength. Do not let the meanings fool you. He is a pussycat at heart.”
Janet’s eyes sparkled with humor, but she declined to comment. She also realized that Kataya had not answered her second question, which probably meant she did not want to have to explain how they received their names. Okay, she could do that.
“Let’s see, the next question is: Birth-date…” she shook her head, murmuring, “never mind it probably would not make sense to us.”
“Ah, okay, here is one: Age:”
“I am approximately Five hundred thirty-eight earth years.” Kataya did not add, “this living,” as she knew that it would only be confusing and besides, she really did not want to have to explain the Furling life cycle today.
“Wow,” Janet gasped, looking astounded, “You, uh, look really great. I tell you what, why don’t we just get on with the tests?”
“That would be quite acceptable, Dr. Frasier. We will do it in whatever way works best for you.”
“Please, call me Janet. I hope we will be friends and we are not always formal here.” At Kataya's nod of agreement, she cleared her throat and asked, “Um, Kataya, how old is Merdwin?”
Remembering the shock on Janet’s face as she told her own age, Kataya’s answer was laconic, “You do not want to know.” Suddenly a thought came to her, and Janet watched as her eyes lit with laughter and her lips curved into a wide smile. Still almost chuckling she commented, "You do have a saying here on Earth that might cover his age though."
Janet cocked her head and looked at her in inquiry, "Would I want to hear this? Yes, from the look on your face, I think that perhaps I should."
"Very well, Janet. I believe that your people often say that something or someone of great age is, er, 'older than dirt'. I believe that would probably be an accurate answer to your question about Merdwin."
Janet's eyes widened and she burst into laughter before saying, “That is what I thought.” Then she shrugged as she continued, “Age is not very important in any way that actually matters though is it. There are other things that are much more important than that.”
“Very true,” Kataya agreed. “What else would you like to know?”
“Do you still love him?” Janet surprised herself by asking the question aloud. She closed her eyes briefly in mortification. “I am sorry; I have no right to ask that,” she muttered, appalled as well as embarrassed.
Kataya looked closely at her, and then said, quietly and firmly, “I will always love Merdwin, Janet, and he will always love me. However, for us, that is the Furling, love is a much coveted, protected, and cherished emotion, and our ways may be difficult for you to understand at first. I will attempt an explanation; I do not love Merdwin as my Soulmate. Although you do not realize it that is the relationship, about which you are asking me. Therefore, allow me to tell you a few truths about the Furling and their loves. Perhaps it will give you a little insight into the personal world of the Furling.”
Kataya repeated what she had told her daughter only three weeks before. The only thing she left out was the fact that she knew her own Soulmate was here on the Tau’ri world. Quite close by, in fact. That was something that would become known at a later date she was sure. All in good time; for now, patience was her only recourse.
Janet smiled tremulously when Kataya finished her explanation and description of how the Furling look upon and feel about, the loves in their lives. “Thank you for telling me. I think I understand what you are telling me. I know it is probably as complicated, or as simple as I wish to make it.” She paused for a time contemplating what she was told and then said, quietly, “You truly do not mind if Merdwin and I, well, if we find, that is...” Janet blushed unable to go further with her comment.
“Janet, I love Merdwin dearly. Because of that love, I can tell you quite honestly that if you and Merdwin should come together as Heart or Soulmates, I would be the very first to congratulate you and wish you well. It is because I love him so very much that I am able to want that for him. I think that if you think about all that I have told you, you will see my truth.” Kataya squeezed her hand, telling her softly, “If you ever have any questions or concerns about what is occurring, please feel free to come and ask me to explain it. I will be more than happy to do so.”
Janet squeezed back. A friendship was born.
Jack O’Neill sat in his office staring into space and contemplating SG-1’s newest edition. He might have been wrong about her. When they were 'talking' and he’d had that glimpse into her mind, he had understood that she was right; they were very much alike.
From that glimpse, he would guess that she had done and seen some horrible things in her lifetime. He had a feeling she could be cold-blooded when the necessity arose. Time would tell he supposed. He glanced at the clock. He had not realized so much time had passed. She was probably finished with Doc Frasier by now, which was good because he was getting exceedingly hungry. Guess he should not have insisted they have such an early lunch. Of course, if he and T had been able to have cake, it would be different. Well, he would go get her and head for Teal’c’s room. He headed for the infirmary. It did not take him long to get there.
Jack stuck his head in the infirmary door. “You ready to go?”
Janet turned at the sound of his voice. “She is finished, Colonel. There were no problems that I could find.”
“Great. C’mon, let’s go find Teal’c and get something to eat. I am hungry.” Jack motioned for Kataya to join him. She hopped down from the infirmary bed she was sitting on. “Thank you for the enjoyable and informative conversation, Janet. I will look forward to seeing you again tomorrow. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight. I will see you tomorrow.” Janet waved her goodbye and turned back to Merdwin. Jack and Kataya headed for Teal’c’s room.
Answering the door when Colonel O’Neill knocked, after they arrived at his quarters, Teal’ c agreed to join the two of them for a meal. They walked companionably down the corridors, wending their way ever closer to the “mess”.
While eating, the conversation had been mainly about military tactics as they all expressed an interest in it. The time passed quickly as Teal’c had his first session of telepathic communication, picking it up just as quickly as the Colonel had. Kataya decided to try a three-way link. They caught on quickly to that as well, adjusting with no problems to the peculiar feeling of having two voices in their minds at one time. It did not take them long to sort it out.
“You seemed to manage that well. I do not think using the links will prove difficult at all. I hope that finding which of you is capable of activating an inactive link, and using it without me to channel the energy, will be as easy,” Kataya commented, her satisfaction obvious to the two men.
“In this three-way thing, we can each hear what the other is saying. Won’t that get kind of annoying to the people not in the conversation? I mean, what if one of us is asleep, and the others are talking like this?” Jack asked.
“You can shut the link down to that person, or you can talk softly, as you would if they were sleeping and you were holding a verbal conversation with someone else near by. There really is no difference in this and oral speech, except, that others cannot overhear you,” she explained.
Kataya mentally cleared her throat, before asking, “Um, Colonel, who are those men at the table in the corner, and why are they staring at us?”
Using an amused tone, he said, “They are staring at ‘you’, not at ‘us’.”
“Am I doing something wrong? Using the eating utensils incorrectly, or forgetting some ritual?” She asked, puzzled.
“They are just jarheads, er, marines. They always stare at attractive women. That uniform of yours is, um, eye-catching. They just are not used to you yet. When you get into air force BDU’s they won’t notice so much,” Jack answered.
“What are air force BDU’s?”
“It is the basic duty uniforms, which Colonel O’Neill and I are wearing.” Teal’c frowned. “It is disrespectful for those Marines to stare at Kataya in this manner.”
“Whoa, down, big fella. It is just their way; they don’t really mean anything by it. If they step over the line of good manners, just tell Teal’c or me, and we will take care of it.” Colonel O’Neill looked reassuringly at Kataya.
“I believe I will be able to handle it, but thank you for offering,” she responded, sincerely.
“Marines can get somewhat macho and, uh, rough. They can be hard to handle. Do ‘not’ take any grief from them,” O’Neill insisted.
“I assure you that I will take no ‘grief’ from anyone; however, I will alert you should the need arise,” she said, as she realized what a genuinely sincere gesture he was making. “Thank you for being so thoughtful. I believe I am finished. The meal was—nice. Thank you for bringing me, Colonel, Teal’c.” She smiled warmly at both of them.
“You are most welcome,” Teal’c replied, with a nod of his head, in his usual manner of acceptance.
“If you are finished, perhaps we could retire to my chamber, er, quarters, for our discussion if you still wish to do so,” Kataya suggested.
“Do you have any snacks or drinks in your quarters yet, Kataya?” Teal’c inquired.
“I have some Wiccadian Port, and a Furling honey Mead, which I brought with me. If you find them pleasing, I can send for more. I do not, however, believe that I have ‘snacks’. Is there something in particular that I should have available? If so, then I shall procure some as soon as it is feasible to accomplish the task.”
“Port, huh? Sure, we’ll give it a try.” O’Neill was willing to try most things once. “As for the snacks, don’t worry about that. Teal’c and I always keep plenty around. You never know when you might need some. We’ll just stop by my office and pick up a few things,” he assured her.
Feeling that they had maintained the three-way link long enough, for a first time, Kataya switched to verbal speech. “Very well, I will allow you to bring the snacks. As for the mead and port, they will grow on you, Colonel,” Kataya promised as they left the mess hall behind.
The trio settled comfortably in Kataya’s quarters and sampled the Mead and Port. All were now enjoying it. Teal’c seemed to prefer the Mead. O’Neill admitted, after a few sips of the port, that it did grow on you. Sam and Daniel would have appreciated the slight chocolate flavor. He wondered, briefly, where they were this evening. Daniel was acting a little off earlier. Jack could not put his finger on what it was, but something just did not feel right about him. He had said almost nothing during the meeting, until he had offered to do the link. That was in character for him, but the quietness Jack had noticed, was not. Well, he could not do anything about it now, so no point in worrying tonight. He had other things to accomplish this evening.
Colonel O’Neill had shown her how to get music on the little box. It was not much, he said, but it was something. She was already showing a predilection for country music. Teal’c would have her in cowboy hat and boots before the month was out. He promised her a TV in a few days. She would like it, he asserted. Teal’c admitted that he found it very entertaining. Perhaps she would, too.
Sensing that all of them were quite relaxed, she abruptly asked, “What do you wish to know, Colonel?”
Jack was just as blunt in his response, “What is a Katteri-enti?”
Kataya gazed at him and then took the circlet from her head. “We use energy, Colonel. You noticed the stones glowing when I talked to my father.” He nodded his agreement to her statement.
She stopped talking for a moment, gathering her thoughts, then began, “A Katteri-enti Warrior is trained to be a soldier, first. Then, we train to be a Priest or Priestess, ‘a Master of the All’ at Avilion, the Sanctuary. One must be both Warrior and Priest or Priestess to become Katteri-enti. Without the calm and control of a minimum third level Priest or Priestess, the All will not accept the supplicant.” She stopped speaking, again putting her thoughts in order, before deciding on a way to convey everything that needed to be explained. She changed the direction of her comments.
“Colonel, from the moment we are old enough to channel energy, the Furling teach their kittdren to control and use it. To become Katteri-enti is an intense strengthening of our natural abilities. We teach our Warriors how to channel the energy that is in all living things, and the universe, and to use that energy to kill or to heal. A Katteri-enti is a protector of all, except the Goa’uld, or any other evil, of course. Those we destroy. We can kill either as a simple soldier, or as a Katteri-enti Warrior. To be Katteri is to be more than a soldier, it is to be a Warrior of the All. To be Katteri is to wield your sword and shield, your blade and your power in the name of the All of the Universe.”
“I don’t think I understand.” Jack looked puzzled and somewhat lost.
“Yes, I am sorry, Colonel, I am not explaining it well. I do realize that. I will attempt to explain again. This time I will be blunter with my words. You see, it is like this; as long as I use a weapon to kill, I am just a Warrior doing my job. I kill as Katteri-enti only when necessary.” Looking at him, she realized he was not going to be satisfied with a simple verbal explanation, nor would he fully believe her without a demonstration. She said quietly, “If you will watch I will show you the Katteri-enti side of myself, Colonel.”
The next few minutes were filled with silence and shortly after, Jack O’Neill swallowed hard and stared in disbelief. “Okay. What did I just see?”
Kataya smiled and her incisors showed plainly, although they were nowhere close to their maximum length. “Perhaps you should tell me.”
“The changes are subtle at first, but even then they are there. The pupils in your eyes glowed. Green at first, I think, but then I saw purple, too. Your pupils changed from round to vertical slits.” He frowned, “And unless I am dreaming, which I know I am not, you just grew fangs, top and bottom, like a…” He stopped speaking abruptly and his eyes widened. “Like a cat.” He looked at her hands. Hands he had earlier dismissed as too elegant and lovely to belong to a person who could kill, now looked decidedly deadly. The razor sharp claws must have been well over an inch long. That could hurt. “How’d you do that?” He asked, pointing to her claws.
She held her hand out for him to examine. The ends of her fingers had opened up and allowed the claws through. Retracting them, there was now no sign of them.
“Were you purring?” He exclaimed. “I heard you purr.”
Kataya laughed. “I also snarl, scream, rumble, growl, and hiss.”
Suddenly, she became very serious again. “I am half Furling, Colonel. I am a Kat entity, but more than that: I am a Katteri-enti Warrior.”
“I think it means more. Stuff, things, that I don’t understand. What else does it mean?” he asked.
“You are correct, it does.” Holding up her hands, she continued, “It means I often use these to slit my enemies’ throat,” She stated the brutal fact simply with no embellishments.
Jack looked at her hands. They had returned to looking like ordinary hands; hands incapable of killing anybody. No wonder she had not been concerned about a couple of marines getting fresh with her. Hell, she could probably slice them to ribbons.
“There is still something more. What makes that different? Why does slitting their throats make a difference,” Jack was like a dog on a scent and the scent was leading him down a path toward the answer he was seeking.
Kataya sighed. This was the part that usually appalled and shocked. She shrugged fatalistically. What would happen would happen. She would not try to pretty up the answer to make it more palatable. “If I slit the throat of my antagonist, then I absorb their life force. If it is a Jaffa,” she sent an apologetic look to Teal’c, “I remove the symbiote and sever its head. If it is a Goa’uld, I kill it and remove it from the host body. Unfortunately, that means the host is usually killed as well, but not always.”
“Becoming Katteri-enti depends on the circumstances in which we find ourselves,” She continued talking as the men watched her carefully. “You will understand if you ever see it, although we prefer not to use this method. Every time a Katteri Warrior becomes Katteri-enti and kills in this fashion, they must go before the council to justify what they have done, unless it was done in a pitched battle situation where there was obviously no choice. If it was not, in the Council’s judgment, a justified use of Katteri-enti energy, then the Warrior is cloistered for a length of time set by the council. All of the energy they gained by the killing is taken away as well as an amount of their own energy; how much is decided by the council. If the Council finds that there was absolutely no justification for it at all, then the Katteri is put to death.”
“I don’t see what makes killing that way any different than killing with a gun, a sword, or any other weapon,” Jack stated, obviously still somewhat puzzled. His mind had not yet allowed him to understand what she was saying.
“The difference is that when I kill using my bare hands, and not a weapon of some kind; I kill by literally absorbing my enemy’s life force. I—drain—them—dry. It is not a pretty sight, Colonel, to watch someone being drained of their life force.” A sad wry smile touched her lips. “Each time we do that we gain more energy, more strength…more power. That is why the restraints are placed upon us. If there were no restrictions on how and when it could justifiably be used, it would become corrupt. Its use must be justified. That is how it should and must be. I will only use it as a last resort. It is never used lightly, Colonel, never.”
Jack’s mind was finally allowing him to see what she was saying. While he was a little shocked, he was not appalled. He had never even considered that form of killing. Kataya was still explaining some of the details of what being a Katteri Warrior meant. “If we need to gain more energy, we can obtain it by spending time at Avilion, the Sanctuary. We do Not have to kill and absorb a life force to gain in power and strength. Certainly, it is easier to simply absorb it; however, that is not the method we all prefer. Our preferred method is to go to the Sanctuary and learn to build our personal power and strength there. It is actually a stronger power than that which is absorbed from another being. I suppose it is important for you to realize that we can manifest as Katteri-enti and not kill as Katteri-enti. The manifestation in and of itself is not proof of Katteri-enti killing. We often manifest during battle, but continue to use our weapons, and as long as we do not personally absorb the life force, it is not considered Katteri-enti killing.”
Jack O’Neill nodded. Now he actually understood not only what this woman was but also what she was capable of doing; it would take time to get used to though. He was not sure it would be easy. He had a picture of a dried up husk of a body being all that was left when she finished with it.
He looked at her and cleared his throat. “So, when you, do that sucking thing…” he paused still not sure how to phrase the enquiry. He tried again, “Like I was saying, when you do the, the absorbing of the life-force, what, um, what is it that is left afterwards?”
Kataya gazed at him, not sure what he was asking her. “I am sorry, Colonel, but I am unsure what it is you are asking me? What do you mean by ‘what is left’ afterwards? Are you speaking of the life force? There is none remaining. I was being quite truthful and serious when I told you that we drain them dry.”
“Yeah, that’s what I mean, sort of, that is, it is not exactly what I mean, but…”
Teal’c spoke up as Jack paused yet again, “I believe what O’Neill is attempting to discover is what remains of the body. He wishes to know what happens to it.”
“Yeah. That is it exactly. What is left afterwards?”
Kataya nodded, as she understood now what he was misunderstanding. “We absorb their life force, Colonel. Their essence; their power. We do not take their body, its flesh, or fluids, nor do we take their soul if that is another part of your question. Their soul will return to wherever it should return. Does that help?”
Jack let out the breath he was holding, and then said, “Ah, yeah, that answers it. I had visions of these dried up husks lying around the battlefield. I am glad you mentioned the souls, too, because that did cross my mind. What you did with it, that is. I wondered if you were, you know, walking around with a bunch of souls just…” he waved his hands toward her body, indicating what he was imagining.
Kataya grinned at that and assured him, “No, Colonel, we do not have numerous souls living within us.”
“Good, that is, that is, good. Okay, so is that everything? Is there anything else we should know before it happens?”
“It is enough for now. I have shown you the physical manifestation. I can not really throw energy around this room so that must wait for a later time and another place,” She stated.
Teal’c looked at Kataya, and said, “I, for one, look forward to going into battle against the Goa’uld with you.” He smiled slowly, as if savoring a picture only he could see. “I welcome you to our team, Kataya of Cadwaellon,” Teal’c said in an oddly formal way.
She answered him in the same manner, following his lead. “Thank you, Teal’c of Chulak and Earth. That means a great deal to me.” She smiled back at him and then turned to the Colonel.
“I believe that I should hold the right to explain it to the others when I choose. If you feel you should explain to the General though, I understand and that is fine with me.”
Jack nodded his agreement, saying, “All right. I will inform the General tomorrow morning. We should both meet with him before the briefing. Would 08:00 be all right with you?”
She nodded her acquiescence, and then said, “Now, I have a request. Colonel, I wish to learn how to use your weapons. I can do it your way, learning through time and practice, or I can use my way and know it all at once. It would take quite some time to learn about earth weapons; how they go together, how to operate them, when and why each is used. I can learn it much more quickly from you. Then, all I will require is practice to become adept in their use.”
“I can do this by a simple procedure, Colonel. In your mind, think of everything you know about your weapons and their various uses. Imagine yourself using them in different situations, from simply holding them while walking and standing, to using them in many different battle situations. At the same time, I will link to you and simply learn it through your thoughts, gaining insight on how to use them physically. Will you be agreeable to this?”
“Well, yeah, I will try it. You aren’t gonna suck my brain dry so I wake up and not know how to use my weapon are you?” He asked as he smiled at her. He made himself comfortable while she connected to his mind. He thought about all the weapons he had used that were available at the SGC.
Kataya laughed softly and Jack O’Neill became more aware of her charisma, “I assure you, you will retain all of your knowledge.”
Within minutes, Kataya had a working knowledge of most basic Tau’ri weapons. She was already familiar with Goa’uld weaponry. The test, of course, would be whether her instant information, would prove helpful in actually using the weapons. She could always use her sword or ribbon device, but she wanted to be able to use the Tau’ri weapons as well.
“Well, tomorrow is another day, as they say, so we will let you get some rest.” Jack and Teal’c stood and prepared to leave.
“Very well. I believe we have taken the first steps toward a better understanding. I realize I know more of you, and your people, than you do of the Katteri, but in time, we will learn of each other. Perhaps tomorrow, I can fill you in on a little of the Furling history and philosophy. A condensed version, I promise, Colonel,” she was quick to add as she saw dismay in the Colonel’s eyes. “Thank you for a pleasant evening. Good night, Colonel, Teal’c.”