Chapter Nine Summary: Kataya gives an overview of the Furling, the Alliance of the four races, and she and Merdwin demonstrate some of the more interesting Furling abilities. After the meeting, Daniel realizes that he and Merdwin have known one another before…and they were not always on friendly terms with each other. Merdwin assures him that this will not be one of those times. Kataya and Sam work on teaching Sam to open a link herself. Then Kat helps Sam to touch the Universe.
Coeurata’irs: Heart-brothers, brothers of the heart "Italics": Symbiote-Host or Telepathic communications Characters: Sam, Kataya, Daniel, Merdwin
General Hammond walked into the briefing room and started the meeting with his usual aplomb. No one could have guessed that he had just been informed that the newest addition to the SGC could change, if necessary, into something distinctly feline. The news had actually made him feel slightly better. This was the SGC. What he had heard was bizarre. Therefore, things were back to normal. It was a relief.
“Good morning, everyone. It looks like we are all here, so we will get started. Colonel O’ Neill, Kataya, and I had a meeting earlier this morning. One of the things discussed was the idea that Kataya share a little historical background on the Alliance of the Four Races, and how they relate to one another, so that we can get a better understanding of our newest friends. Kataya, please, begin whenever you are ready.
Kataya stood, smiled briefly, and began her part of the briefing.
“As you all know there was once an alliance of four great races: The Nox, whom you have met. The Asgard, whose friendship you have won. The Ancients, whose technology, you, Colonel, have been in intimate contact with, and the Furling, with whom, up until now, you have had no contact.”
“The Nox and the Ancients are both powerful races. The Nox have become a pacifist society, interfering only in a non-violent way. While they tend to keep to themselves, they will interact with other races. They use illusion, as you know.” She stopped, obviously thinking, and then added, “They have learned to use the forces of nature to regenerate themselves and others.”
“The Ancients have ascended to another plane of existence. Occasionally they return to this plane and interact with us. However, they have policies of non-interference, which they usually adhere too. Because of this, we tend to class them as pacifist as well. When they do interfere, they are quite powerful. They are, in my opinion, one of the more powerful races.”
“In many ways the alliance of the four races is still strong. While the Nox and the Ancients do not join in the fight against the Goa’uld, they do not ostracize us because we do. In fact, many of our people spend, ah, time with them, studying and learning from them. More rare is for one of them to live among us, however that, too, happens.”
The Asgard and the Furling have remained, in many respects, warrior races. The Asgard have developed extensive technological abilities. Their intellectual capacity is truly amazing, and their battle fleet is second-to-none. Both the Asgard and the Furling, consider themselves friends to all and protectors of all, except the Goa’uld, or any other evil, of course.”
“The Furling’s strongest ties within this group of races are with the Asgard. Our philosophy is similar. Our goals are the same. When Thor approached my father, it reminded us that the battle against the Goa’uld, while slowly being won in our sector of this vast universe, is not going as well in others. At one time, the Furling had ties to earth, and it has always been my father’s intention to return to the battle here one day, when there was a need. Thor’s request simply brought the day of our return to this part of the Universe forward in time. I am the first to come to fight along side you.”
Kataya stopped speaking abruptly, looking undecided. It became evident that she was having a private conversation with Merdwin. “Do we tell them of the other alliance that is probably the most important in the Universe, Merdwin? I do not think they have yet come to understand just how ancient a race the Furling are. Do you think they need to understand that now, or do we leave it simple and talk only of this alliance?”
Merdwin frowned over the question, but not for long. “Leave it for now. The time will come when they need to understand, but it will not be this day.”
Speaking aloud once more, she gave her attention to the others in the room, saying, “I apologize for my rude behavior. I needed to clarify a point before I continued.”
She smiled at all of them and then calmly returned to the subject at hand, telling them, “Besides myself, my father has also decided to place some of our agents in System Lord Strongholds in this sector. They are extremely well trained and very adept at what they do. In fact, they have had centuries to perfect their abilities. They are extremely sensitive to others thoughts and have the ability to ‘intercept’ thoughts without being detected by the Goa’uld. Please remember that what an agent does in the line of duty is not ‘idle’ and, therefore, there is nothing forbidding it. I expect to begin getting reports from our agents soon. I will, of course, share all information gathered with the SGC. It is our hope that as our sector becomes more stable, we will be able to be of more help.”
“The Furlings are a powerful race. So are the Goa’uld, however, a more significant problem is in their great numbers. We have been at war with them for millennia, as have the Asgard. It has taken over a millennium to bring them under control in the Pegacian System, alone, which is the sector of my last posting. It is only in the last fifty or sixty years that we have seen significant progress throughout our entire sector. In a few places, the fighting is still fierce and every gain we make is hard won. We, the Katteri-enti Warriors, are few, in comparison to the Goa’uld.”
“As do the Asgard, we have protected planets. We call some of them ‘Clans of the Furling’. Wiccadia, my mother’s world, is one of them. In recent years, we have added even more planets to those under our protection. By doing so, it stretches our Warriors thinly. The reason I am telling you this, is so that you will perhaps understand that while the Furlings are powerful, we are a comparatively small force...and, too, we are neither invincible nor infallible. We have made and will make mistakes. We do not believe joining the Tau’ri in this war is one of them.”
“We have taken a page from the Asgard ‘Book of War’. We use the Goa’uld’s own fears against them. They are no different from us, in that they fear that which they do not or cannot understand.” Shrugging she continued, “In other words, we bluff as well as, if not better than, the Asgard do. We have learned our lessons well. The biggest weaknesses that the Goa’uld have are their arrogance and their belief in their own infallibility. We use those things against them as much as possible.”
“General Hammond also expressed a desire for me to explain a little about our abilities, so there would be no misunderstanding of what I can or cannot do.”
“Our abilities, that is, those of the Katteri-enti Warriors, have finite parameters. While they are useful, they are not without their own set of weaknesses. Energy, once used, must be replenished. To completely replenish our energies we use a light meditative state; however, we can also draw upon the universe’s power and energy in a conscious way. You will probably or possibly you already have noticed us doing this. When one of the jewels within our circlet lights, it is a sign that we are drawing power. Drawing power to replenish a depleted reserve in this way takes a rather long time compared to the other method, although it can be accomplished. The ways we can use our energy are varied.”
“We can, for instance, throw up an energy field around several people as long as they are fairly close together, and it does not need to stay in place for a long period of time. We can throw up a barrier to slow the enemy’s progress. Doing things like this takes large amounts of energy. We can also throw energy, much the same way as the Goa’uld, using a ribbon device, our dagger or a sword. It will be helpful for you to know that we cannot, for example, maintain more than our personal shield and continue to keep multiple telepathic links open. In other words, the amount of energy required determines what we can do and for how long.”
“We cannot defend against large numbers unless there are many of us.” She smiled somewhat wryly. “And in your case, there is only one.”
“You are already aware of our telepathic abilities; therefore, I will not again discuss them.”
“The last advantage we have against the Goa’uld is our natural ability to control and/or kill a symbiote if it attempts to take us as a host.”
Kataya’s gaze seemed to roam indifferently from the General, to the Colonel to Teal’c as she continued speaking. “As for my personal abilities, from my father I inherited the Katteri-enti spirit, that is, the ability to draw on the energies of the Universe and channel them for use in energy weapons, telepathy, and some healing.”
She smiled. “From my Wiccadian mother, I inherited the ability to draw, use, and channel some of the forces of nature. My empathic abilities also come from her. I can use them to heal minor wounds as well as to take pain away. We can sustain a person with major injuries with our own life force for a limited period, but they must be taken to a healer,” she nodded toward Janet, “or Doctor, as soon as possible before our life force is drained. Eventually, we must make a choice if there is no healer. We must relinquish the person who is injured, or both of us will die.”
She hesitated and again, her eyes went to the three men. “Last night, I discussed my ability as a Katteri-enti with Colonel O’Neill and Teal’c. The Colonel in turn relayed my information to the General this morning.” She stopped speaking, and her gaze settled on Daniel. Then she continued, “It was not my intention to go into the details of my abilities with all of you at this time, but this morning, Merdwin convinced me that it is information you should have.”
“As he pointed out, it is a shocking thing to see when you are aware that it can happen; how much more so to be taken unaware? So in the interests of the team, Dr. Frasier, and General Hammond, we decided it would be best to induce a complete manifestation of the Katteri-enti Warrior.”
Colonel O’Neill sat up straight in his chair, where he had been lounging. “Complete? As in you didn’t show us everything last night?”
“I showed you the manifestation as it affects my physical appearance,” she replied, “I just did it without the light show.”
With those words, Kataya stepped well away from the table, drew her sword from its scabbard, swung it in a few graceful arcs, and proceeded to show the members of the SGC what it was that really scared the hell out of the Goa’uld. It was not just her eyes that glowed like a large jungle cat, the inch-plus long claws that could gut them in seconds, or the incisors that could rip their necks open or simply break them with a well-placed bite. It was the unearthly flashes of multicolored lights that rippled around her and sprang from the tip of her sword, like bolts of electricity. The flashes of colors and energy encircled her body running around it freely only to suddenly run down her arm and fly from the tips of her fingers. It appeared to be building and they watched entranced as what looked like a cloud full of lightening formed beneath her feet and began to climb her body, throwing out arcs and spikes. They all began to worry that it would fly from where it encircled her, until they realized that she had complete control of it and that it was doing her bidding, rather than being an entity with nothing to hold it in check. She was both building and controlling this amazing light show.
Merdwin rose and stepped away from the table to stand near her. He caught the pulses of energy she threw to him and flung them back to her. It was as if the two beings were playing or dancing with it. She stopped it as quickly as she had begun. It left a slightly charged feeling to the room. She looked around the table at the faces watching her and Merdwin in silence. Her eyes stopped and dwelt on Daniel’s face. “Now you know exactly what we are.”
Daniel looked at her with a wide startled gaze. Then he smiled at her. “I have always thought it beautiful. I never grow tired of seeing the Fire Dance.”
Colonel O’Neill was the first to say something. He turned to Daniel and demanded, “What the hell is a Fire Dance?”
Still looking at Kataya, Daniel did not hear the question. Merdwin came to their rescue. “It is a manifestation of our energy, Colonel O’Neill. While it can be amazing to look at as well as to experience, the form Kataya and I used, is harmless. We would not use a harmful form in such a confined space with not only all of you, but these delicate instruments around. When a Katteri-enti attacks, we manifest as you have just seen, but we use a more harmful form of our energy. As you can imagine, in a true battle situation, we have only a limited amount of energy to expend. When we use the energy to wound or kill, it leaves us and does not come back, unless, of course, we kill as a Katteri-enti. I believe Kataya explained that to you.”
“I don’t know what it means,” Samantha Carter spoke up.
Kataya’s eyes did not leave Daniel’s as she spoke. “When we kill using our hands rather than a weapon, Major Carter, we absorb the life force of the one killed. It helps to replenish our energy, but we rarely kill in that manner. Sometimes the Goa’uld and Jaffa refer to it as a ‘ritual killing’. We try to give the Jaffa the choice of leaving their “God” or leaving the planet. If we have to kill in that manner, and we send the Jaffa back to the System Lord they came from, it is rare that we have to repeat it. If we are lucky, we only have to kill one or two in that manner, and the others go back to tell the tale of the ‘killing power’ they encountered. Unfortunately, quite often, if it is a fairly large group, they refuse to leave, and we end up sending them all back to the System Lord.” She shrugged. “It is another form of bluffing, except that there is at least something to back it up. I am not, of course, speaking of a pitched battle situation. In those, there are no questions asked; we simply disable or kill our enemies in whatever way we can, just as you do. During that type of battle there is no formal return of the bodies or the Goa’uld.”
Sam was obviously deep in thought. “So if you can absorb energy, then staff weapon blasts don’t affect you?” She asked.
Kataya shook her head. “Staff blasts are a different form of energy and can hurt us substantially. We are able to absorb only a small portion of it. We can however, heal ourselves of a staff blast that is not fatal in much the same manner as a Jaffa or a Tok’Ra, which, of course, is convenient.” She paused slightly, and then continued, “The ribbon device is another matter all together. If a Goa’uld gets close enough to attempt to use one on us, we can reflect it back to them. As you can imagine, they only try that trick once.” She smiled an evil little smile, remembering a past event.
“Katteri-enti translates into Kat entity. We do not change into cats; we simply take on some of their attributes.”
Teal’c suddenly spoke up, “I realize this will be a trivial question, but it has been, as the Tau’ri would say, sprinting through my mind—”
“He means ‘running through my head’," Jack interjected.
“—since last night. Do you have increased night vision?” Teal’c continued speaking, as if O’Neill had not said anything.
“Our vision is considerably better than most at night, but not in the manner, or to the point, of a cat’s. We lack the cellular structure in the eye that cats have. Our hearing, also, is much better than average.”
“Are there anymore questions?”
“Yeah, can I get one of those cool swords?” Colonel O’Neill asked, sending a somewhat cocky look Merdwin’s way. “Maybe something with a few extra blue waves?”
“Merdwin laughed at him, and replied, “I will see what I can do, Colonel. I see no reason why we could not do that. The colors emitted, however, will depend on your energy patterns.” As he looked at Janet Frasier he continued, “I will deliver it myself.”
“People if I could have your attention, please,” General Hammond was ready to get his briefing back under control. “I think we have all been given enough information to think about for now.”
“Colonel O’Neill and I both feel that while Merdwin is available to us, we should concentrate on sessions with the two of them. He will be helping Kataya in working with all of you, and other key personnel, to train you in the use of the telepathic links. We are hoping that at least some of you will be able to develop the ability to activate the links for yourselves once Merdwin or Kataya have placed them.”
“SG-1 has a routine meet and greet scheduled in two weeks with the Heyerians. Let’s see if we can’t at least have a basic network up and running by then. Since it is a routine mission, it is a perfect time to try out your new advantage without being under pressure. I will let you work out your own schedule of when who wants to work with whom. If there is nothing else, dismi…”
“Excuse me, General Hammond.”
“Yes, Major Carter?
“Sir, I am wondering if we should be letting our other allies know of the latest development. After all, the Tok’Ra are allies of ours who have agents already in place with many of the System Lords. If Kataya’s father is sending their people in, then might it not be a good idea if we could at least let them know what is going on?”
“An excellent point, Major Carter. Thank you for reminding us of it. We, also, are allied with the Tok’Ra who are in our sector, so we are very familiar with working with them. Would we need to go to them, or will they come here?” Merdwin directed his question to the General.
Jack looked disgusted. “General, do we have too?”
General Hammond sent Jack a warning look. “I believe they are right, Colonel. This could help them, as well as us, and as allies it is our responsibility to inform them of anything that might either help or hinder them.”
“I don’t see them going out of their way to inform us of everything that happens,” Jack grumbled. As far as he was concerned, the only time the Tok’Ra came to them was when they needed something.
“Perhaps not, Colonel. However, I am still going to inform them and request that they send someone to come to meet with us on a matter of mutual interest.” He smiled at the Major. “I don’t think there is any real hurry.”
He then turned to Merdwin and Kataya. “Major Carter’s father is Tok’Ra. He is the liaison.”
Merdwin nodded “In that case, we will hope to see him. It will be a pleasure to meet with Major Carter’s father.”
“All right, people, if there is nothing else?” Raising his eyebrows in a silent question, he proceeded, saying, “Dismissed.”
Daniel stood and approached Merdwin.
“Hi. I don’t know if you caught my name or not, but I am Daniel Jackson.”
“I remember you, Dr. Jackson,” Merdwin acknowledged. “You were the one that volunteered to link his mind with Kataya’s.”
“Yes,” Daniel said baldly. “You usually join with Kataya in the Fire Dance. This time you did not enter her aura. Why? And an even better question, how do I know that?”
“It is not for me to explain. You must discuss that with Kataya.”
“Then Sam was right; she is putting images into my head.” Daniel sounded angry.
“No, she is not. She is the trigger, nothing more.” Merdwin looked directly into Daniel’s eyes. There was no evasion there. He was giving an honest answer.
Daniel hesitated, obviously troubled by some thought. “We have been enemies.” Realization came into his eyes, and he stared at Merdwin. “No,” he said slowly and bluntly, “we are more than enemies. We are rivals.”
Merdwin nodded, “In the past, we have been Coeurata’irs, brothers of the heart, as well as rivals, and we both danced the Fire Dance with her. Why did you not join her today? You wanted to. You knew she would never hurt you.”
“Yes,” Daniel ground out, “I wanted to.” He eyed the other man. “I need to know what is happening to me.”
“You need to speak with Kataya. She will tell you. Neither of us is hiding anything. I admit I did not realize at first who or what you were.” He gazed levelly at Daniel. “Things change. We will not be rivals this time; we will be Heart-brothers. Now, if you will excuse me, I promised General Hammond and Janet that I would work with them on the link. I do not wish to keep them waiting.” He gave Daniel a short bow, turned, and left.
“Daniel? Are you all right?” Sam asked, as she walked up behind him.
“Yeah, Sam,” Daniel sighed. “I am great if you consider realizing that you think you are in love with an alien you have just met is great.”
“Welcome to the club, Daniel.” Sam smiled crookedly. “Now you know how hard it can be.”
“At least Martouf is human,” Daniel replied somewhat testily.
“So is Kataya, and at least there is only one of her,” Sam shot back.
“Martouf doesn’t have inch long claws that could gut you, or fangs that could snap your neck,” He retorted.
“Kataya can’t crawl inside your head and take control of your body,” Sam snapped.
“Martouf does not play with bolts of energy that could kill you,” He retaliated.
“He does when he uses a hand device,” was Sam’s immediate come back.
“You want to go out to get something to eat tonight? Maybe have some wine and talk?”
“Yeah, I think I do. Let’s not waste time by going out to eat. How about we go to my place and order a pizza?”
“Sounds good. I will pick up some wine.” He looked at her and then suddenly smiled. “I will also bring my own Jammies. Your sweats might not fit me.”
Sam just shook her head and laughed. She knew that he was right. He would need his sweats. They had tested those waters and found them sweet, but not sweet enough for them. They were both looking for that passion that burned and writhed within the Fire Dance.
As they left the briefing room, Sam decided she wanted to see Kataya. After all, she had the perfect excuse, being the only member of SG-1 who had not tried a mind link. There was no time like the present.
It was two and a half weeks since Kataya joined the SGC, and things were going well. While Merdwin was still there to help out, they had worked to find which personnel might have the ability to activate the links.
It turned out that Samantha Carter, Sergeant Davis, Lieutenant Simmons, and Daniel proved to be quite sensitive, and all of them except Daniel began training. Kataya thought Teal’c should have been able to activate a link, but believed his symbiote was interfering in some way. They were working on it and slowly making some progress. Both Sam and Daniel were extremely sensitive. Sam and Kataya were working intensively, and Sam was beginning to activate the link more often than she failed. There were a few other people who would also probably be capable of opening a link eventually…but it would take more training than these four were going to need.
Daniel was sensitive as well, but he did not feel comfortable working with Merdwin and had been to busy to do a training session with Kataya. He seemed to be in a state of denial when it came to his memories. Kataya left him alone to work through the situation and come to his own conclusions. She knew that eventually his curiosity would get the better of him, and he would seek her out for an explanation. Until that happened she could do nothing; he had to be the one to take the initiative. She expected a break through to come before very much longer. She knew he was not sleeping well because he was dreaming. She knew because she was doing the same thing. Past, present, and future were all coming together.
Artereos agreed that Merdwin should continue to be the liaison, and he was already making trips between the Furling world and the Tau’ri. The delivery of their swords, first to O’Neill, then to Teal'c, and finally to Daniel were among the first. He could, of course, have waited and delivered them all at the same time; however, she did not blame him for using any excuse he could find to return to Janet. He also made several trips with other supplies that Kataya needed. She was doing her best to encourage the relationship, and often found herself deciding which thing she needed most, and asking for things one at a time. Artereos simply chuckled and did his best to fabricate errands with things that Kataya simply must have. It was wonderful to hear Merdwin so very happy for once. He and Janet seemed to be getting along well, and it was obvious to anyone who bothered to look that they had fallen deeply in love with one another.
Kataya contacted her father and gave exact instructions on a sword she wished to have made specifically for Samantha Carter. She also instructed Merdwin to make sure the circlet he was making for Sam would calibrate perfectly with the sword.
Sam, in Kataya’s opinion, had untapped strengths. She intended to make Samantha her apprentice, teaching her the ways of the Katteri, at least as far as being able to utilize the energy. She could not manifest physically, without going through the fire, but the potential for energy abilities was there regardless. Sam would learn to fence and then to use her energy with the sword.
Both Teal’c and O’Neill had astonished everyone with their immediate understanding and ability to use the swords. Not having the energy resources that the Furlings had and despite them not being practical weapons, the swords had proven to be an enjoyable new exercise for the two men and an exciting display for personnel to watch. Even General Hammond sometimes joined them showing his abilities with his much more ornate weapon. It seemed that he fenced when he was younger and it came back to him quickly. He was surprisingly light on his feet and he fenced well. It was a nice diversion and everyone looked forward to the evenings when they would be practicing with their swords.
Only Kataya and Merdwin had so far refused to show what they could do with their swords. The Marines thought it was because O’Neill and Teal’c could beat them with their own weapons.
O’Neill figured it was because they did not want to tear hell out of the room. Teal’c came the closest with his observation that perhaps they did not wish to manifest, without good cause. He suspected that using the sword in an intense encounter could cause the Katteri- enti physical manifestation to take place, at least to some extent. He also suspected that they did not want to shock the personnel, which could happen if they were not first prepared. It would be better for the rumor mill to spread the rumors of what they became, rather than simply manifesting with no prior warning of any kind.
SG-1’s scheduled meet-and-greet was postponed until tomorrow. It was a routine mission; it would be a perfect chance to try out their new skills in an off world, non-combat situation.
General Hammond contacted the Tok’Ra. Jacob was on assignment at the time, but he was due to arrive at the SGC in about four days. In the meantime, SG-1 was becoming a cohesive unit with its new member.
Sam and Kataya’s immediate liking of one another had deepened into friendship.
Sam and Daniel had talked about his situation, but Daniel refused to question Kataya. As far as he could tell, Daniel told Sam, “It is as if I don’t exist most of the time.” Sam agreed it was a little odd if what Daniel suspected was true. She could not see a way to resolve it, but she was working on it.
Her own romantic quandaries would, she hoped, come to some sort of resolution soon. In the meantime, she was learning to activate her link with the other members of the team. She really wanted to be able to use her new skills tomorrow off-world.
Sam and Kataya were working on Sam’s ability to activate the mind link. They worked on the activation of the link with Sam using Kataya’s circlet, and she activated it at least a half a dozen times with Daniel and four times with Teal’c. Sam was amazed at how much energy it took to activate it. Kataya thought that would get better with practice. Sam was feeling tired.
“Do you suppose it would help if we all had circlets?” Sam asked. The stones response to the energy patterns intrigued her.
“Merdwin is bringing some for you and the others, as well as armbands, although I doubt that the Colonel will bother to wear his and truth to tell, except for boosting the link, it will be of little use to him unless he learns to pull energy to him. As you know, he does not do well sitting still for any length of time. I suspect that Teal’c will not only learn to use at least the armband but will do so to great effect. Merdwin should be here with them before long, and tomorrow will be an excellent trial run to see how well the bands work. Pack your circlet and wear your armband. I want to try it out in field conditions.” Kataya lit some candles. They smelled of roses and musk, and Sam recognized it as Kataya’s signature scent.
“Do not give the circlet to me yet,” Kataya, instructed her.
“I am feeling drained, Kataya. I am almost too tired to move.”
“I am going to help you to feel better. Close your eyes.”
Sam followed her instructions. “I want you to concentrate on how you feel.”
“Okay. I am feeling tired.”
“Do you wish to go to sleep?” Kataya questioned, forcing Sam to analyze how she was actually feeling.
“No, not that tired. I feel like I just want to sit down in a comfortable chair, put my feet up for a while, and relax.”
“Do you feel the stones warming? Can you tell which ones are heating?”
“Yes. I think it is the topaz stones and perhaps the diamonds.”
“I want you to visualize the sun. I want you to see the sun’s energy flowing into those stones and from there into you. It is feeding your energy fields. When the stone begins to feel uncomfortably warm, tell me.”
A little later, Sam realized that several of the stones were getting hot. “It is hot.”
“All right. Imagine a huge forest of trees and meadows full of green grass and red flowers. Can you see them?”
“Yes,” Sam answered but her voice sounded distant, as if she was in a trance, which she was, though not deeply so.
“They are sending you waves of green and red energy. Watch the energy spiral towards you. Let it flow through the stones and into your energy fields. Again, when they become almost too warm, tell me,” Kataya continued to coach her in learning to draw energy through the circlet.
They sat quietly for a long time. “It is beginning to get warm, but it still is not hot. I think I feel better though.”
“Watch and gather in the spiral a little longer, please,” Kataya requested.
“Twenty minutes later Sam said, “It is getting uncomfortable.”
“Excellent. Envision the blue sky. Imagine it wrapping you in waves of blue energy. Absorb them. The blue topaz and sapphires should warm.”
It was almost an hour later before Sam said, “It is getting hot, and I feel much better. Not nearly as tired as I was before we started this.”
“All right, now for the last stone.” Kataya came and sat behind her. “You will probably fail at this one, Samantha. It is to be expected. Often it takes many years to master this particular stone’s energy-giving power. You have pulled energy from the world around you, from Nature. Now you will close your eyes again, and you will see a vast lonely blackness. It is cold and empty. It is the infinity of the universe.”
Kataya spoke in a soft, melodious voice, almost but not quite, chanting.
“I see it,” Sam’s voice sounded nervous as she whispered, “It is so large, so empty.”
Kataya’s voice came back to her even more softly, “No, Samantha, it only looks so at first. See over there? The darkness is beginning to change to become a deep velvety purple.”
“I can see it. It is so far away,” She said plaintively.
“It is coming closer. There are jewels shimmering in the sky. They are brilliant drops of light setting the velvet curtain of the universe alight with a multitude of purple tones. They are the stars of your Universe, Samantha, sparkling, glittering, and blazing in the sky around you. Now there are misty spirals scattered about your universe. Clouds and nebulas. Solar flares, novae, supernovae. Everything in your Universe is for you Samantha.”
“Yes, yes, I see them.”
“They are energy, Samantha, as are the stars. In fact, all of this, when put together, transforms your empty universe into a wildly pulsating, living being ablaze with enormous amounts of energy. Call it Samantha; try to bring it to you.”
Several minutes later Sam cried out, obviously frustrated, “I can’t. It won’t come to me, but I can feel it all around me.”
“All right, Sam, it is good that you can feel it around you. Now, I will help you to pull that energy into you so that you can utilize it.”
Kataya positioned herself more closely behind Sam and placed her hands on her temples with her fingers on the circlet. Then she began to sing.
Sam did not understand the words, but she had heard this type of song before. It was like a Gregorian chant and it was beautiful. Onewellwyn Avilionium Sanctisorium wyn Wiccadium, Cadwaellon, Tau’riellon Alphellyn, Omegellyn, Universium unisillium Maestllyn allaewon wyn Universium.
As Kataya continued to chant, Sam began to tremble and then to laugh in wonder. The amethyst stone in the circlet on her forehead glowed brightly—Sam joined with the wonder of the Universe for the first time.
As the feeling slowly lessened, Sam turned to her and said, “Kataya, that was absolutely fantastic. It was…It was, I don’t have words for it, it was such an exceptional experience. What exactly happened?”
“You are learning to utilize the energy around you. This time, I had you use the parts of nature that I use. The next time perhaps you can choose the things you prefer. As you learn your own energy patterns, it will take much less time to work. The ritual at the end may take you many years to master completely. It took me almost five years to be able to fully contact and absorb the energy of the universe alone, and I am half Furling.” She paused frowning. “I was also extremely young, and Artereos insists that is why it took me so long. He is very probably correct, as he usually is. You may not have to wait that long before you can touch the Universe at will, however, do not be disappointed if you cannot do it by yourself, and do not wear yourself out trying. I will help you do it, and I will teach you the song of the All.”
“You have the ability inside you to master this. However, for a replacement of your energy levels you really only have to be able to go up though the blue stones. Thankfully, the forces of nature are much easier to tap into than the forces of the universe. The energy of the universe is stronger, more powerful, and longer lasting; on the other hand, it is also very much harder to control. The energy of nature is much easier to access, but it flows away from you much more swiftly. On the up side of that, nature energy is easy to replenish while doing other things, if one must. The power of the Universe can also be accessed while doing other things, but it is much more difficult to harness and achieve success,” Kataya explained what happened and how it worked.
“What was the song you were chanting? The words I mean.”
“I am one with Avilion, the Sanctuary. Wiccadian, Furling, and Tau’ri we come to thee. You, the universe, are the beginning and the end. I would join with thee, transforming into a Master of the All, at one with the Universe.’’ Kataya smiled at her. “That is a loose translation.”
Kataya looked seriously at Sam. “I am having a sword made for you to my exact specifications. It is not ready, but the circlet that Merdwin will bring you will calibrate to it in perfect harmony.”
“Why?” Sam asked, startled and surprised.
“You have the ability and power within you to use it.”
“That may be why you are giving me the sword, but why are you bothering to teach me all of these other things? You are not teaching them to Sergeant Davis or Lieutenant Simmons.” She paused. “Or to Daniel.”
Kataya shook her head. “I do not know if I can explain it exactly. Our lives are entwined in some way. Our spirits are going to touch.” She frowned slightly. “Perhaps they will even join or bond in some way. I know it is through Daniel to some extent, but I believe there is more. I wish I could explain it better, but I do not yet know myself.”
“The mirror of the Mysts shows a great sea of tears and blood surrounding us together, Sam. It is never wrong, but sometimes what one sees can be changed, not completely, but in ways that can either mitigate, or worsen, what we see. I believe that we are facing a great deal of pain and sorrow. I am also seeing a very intense battle. Only by standing together can we survive it.” She looked at Sam. “I hope I have not frightened you. I have not seen a death. I would like you to look in the mirror, Samantha. I believe you have the ability one needs to scry.”
Samantha swallowed. She did not believe in such things, did she? She was a scientist, a realist, a facts-and-figures person. She would not do anything so silly. “All right,” She agreed.
Kataya handed Sam a small mirror, the glass surrounded with the same intricate, delicately woven gold and stones as the circlet. She looked into it and caught her breath. The mirror swirled with a smoky blue haze. Nevertheless, in and out of the haze, sudden images would appear. They came and went quickly. When the images stopped coming, she handed it back to Kataya.
“What did you see, Samantha?” Kataya asked quietly.
“Blue mist is all I saw at first, then only glimpses of things.”
“Could you make anything out?” Kataya asked intent on what Sam had to say.
“I saw you, holding a symbiote in your arms. You were in your Katteri uniform, and you were crying,” Sam said softly as she looked at Kataya with sympathy in her eyes. For some reason, that particular vision had affected her very deeply and, though she did not mention it, she had seen it several times.
“You had a vision of my past. That is good. Did you see a battle?”
“I think so, but it was very out of focus. I could not tell for sure,” Sam responded.
“What else did you see?”
Sam swallowed. “I saw Daniel with a man. They were arguing, fighting. There was blood. You were lying on the floor, and I was holding you. I was so angry with them. Kataya, the blood, I think it was yours, but I could not see any wounds. I am not sure, but I think it was because of them,” Sam almost whispered the last as that vision, too, had seemed to be especially significant. It had repeated several times, each time a little clearer, a little more focused. Except for the man, that Daniel was fighting. She could not make out if she knew him, but she felt that she did. In fact, she was sure of it.
“You did very well for a first time, Sam. The blood is mine, but I will not die. I, also, have seen this. I do not recognize the man. Did you know him, Samantha?” Kat asked her. She hoped she would recognize him and in that way, perhaps they could avoid the confrontation all together.
Sam shook her head. “No, he was very out of focus, but I felt as if I should know him. No, it was more than that. I feel that I do know him. He was wearing BDU’s though, so he is probably from here on the base, but I don’t know why Daniel would be fighting with him. That is so out of character for him.” She frowned again. “How do you know you will be okay? It looked like quite a bit of blood to me.”
Kataya shook her head, saying “There was a significant amount it is true; however, Merdwin will be here. He is in the vision I see. If need be, he will sustain me with his life force and take me to Avilion to the Sanctuary.” She shrugged, obviously unconcerned that she had seen a vision of herself, possibly near death with only Merdwin to take action and save her. Sam did not like the sound of that scenario at all. She liked Merdwin, but she did not want to have to depend on him to see to it that Kataya survived whatever was going to happen.
Ascertaining from her expression and the emotions flowing around them that she doubted Merdwin’s abilities to take care of the situation, Kataya smiled at Sam. “I know that to outsiders Merdwin appears to be a charming and engaging rogue, perhaps even a dilettante. The truth, Sam, is that Merdwin is a very powerful Furling. He is the greatest Enchanter of the All, A Master Mage, and second in Katteri-enti spirit to only one.”
“Who?” Sam asked, curious.
“My father, Artereos.”
It was time to change the subject. Kataya stood up and turned on some lights before extinguishing the candles. She took up their previous conversation; “Merdwin will calibrate the circlet he brings for you tonight.” She smiled and then continued, telling her, “You will find it much easier to use a circlet that is set to your particular energy patterns.”
“Thank you.” Sam was lost in thought. “You said Merdwin is coming today? Are the things in the mirror about to happen?”
“I believe those things are still in the future. Not the distant future; they would be much hazier. If they were going to happen as soon as tonight, I believe I would sense it, and I do not. I cannot always, of course, but in this instance, I am sure the time is not yet.” Kataya felt that the man in the vision was not of the SGC, but she did not mention that to Sam.
“I hope Merdwin is not delayed. He is also bringing a circlet for Janet. I am hoping it will help Janet to link with him. Being the link for those two is exhausting,” Kataya said solemnly, but her eyes started to twinkle with humor.
“They certainly seem to have really made an impression on each other. I am not wrong, am I? It was a mutual attraction?” Sam asked.
“It was immediate and intense on Merdwin’s side. I have known him all my life, and I have never seen him like this. I am extremely happy for the two of them. They both deserve to find that kind of love.” Kataya said softly, as she contemplated the joy that Merdwin would finally find. He so deserved to find happiness and a deep abiding love.
“Janet is a really nice person. We are close friends, and I don’t want to see her get hurt,” Sam said thoughtfully.
“I want happiness for them both. Merdwin is a wonderful man. He will treat Janet as if she is the most precious thing in the universe, because to him, she is,” Kataya assured her.
“You seem to know Merdwin very well. You must be as close as Daniel and I,” Sam said.
“Janet has not told you.” Kataya looked surprised.
“Told me what?” Sam asked.
“Sam, Merdwin and I are very special friends. We know each other as well as we know ourselves. He is the father of my two oldest kits.”
Sam stared at her. “Janet knows that you are his wife?”
“I am not his wife. I am the mother of his children. We never joined. Sam, Merdwin is a wonderful man, a charmer of the first rank, and more dear to me than I can say, but he is not my Soulmate. Although he would have joined or entwined with me at any time these past years, I refused because of exactly what has occurred. He has found a Heartmate, perhaps his Soulmate. I do love him, and I always will, just as he will always love me. It is the way of the Furling. You could ask for no better man as a friend than Merdwin. Daniel is very like him in many ways, you know.”
Sam found her voice. “I didn’t know, but I think I understand. You are right about Daniel. He is a really wonderful person, too,” Sam replied. “We are best friends. You are working on the link with him, aren’t you?”
“No. He is a very busy man.” Kataya smiled wryly. “At least, he appears to be covered up with work. You and I both know he is avoiding me, Samantha. He wants to know why he is having these visions, but is afraid to ask. I cannot go to him. He must remember on his own or at the very least come to me. I cannot force this on him in any way. It is not acceptable to do so.”
Sam had agreed not to tell Kataya anything Daniel had told her, about the dream, or the connection he had felt with her. That was all. She cleared her throat. “I think that Daniel finds you very attractive. He can be somewhat shy around women, well, maybe not shy, it is just that he does not realize the affect he has on females. We are very good friends as I said, and I do love him, but there is not anything romantic between us.”
“I am surprised there is not, Sam. You make a perfect couple. I am glad that the two of you are close friends.” She looked intently at Sam. “I believe that Daniel will need a close friend. Give him all the comfort and warmth you have to give, Samantha. He truly deserves it,” Kataya said earnestly.
“I will. Daniel is very special to me.” She hesitated and then said, “I think I could have loved Daniel, but I am attracted to someone else.”
“Samantha, there is something I would tell you,” Kataya spoke seriously. “In each lifetime we can find a Heartmate, who will always be the ‘adored of our heart’, sometimes we find more than one. It can be a wonderful and fulfilling love. I believe Daniel is your Heartmate. It is not that you could have loved him, Sam, you do love him.” Sam started to protest, but Kataya stopped her. “This is not a bad thing. A Heartmate can remain platonic love, or blossom into a truly passionate mating. A Heartmate remains special, and adored by you, even after you find your Soulmate. There is no other relationship quite like it. Please, remember that.”
Quietly thinking over Kat’s words she asked, rather hesitantly, “Kataya, can I ask you something, well, personal?”
“You may ask, but I reserve the right to refuse to answer.” Kataya smiled at her to take any sting there might be, out of the words.”
“First, I want to tell you that even though Daniel is my best friend, if I give my word, I won’ t repeat what you say—not to anyone.”
Kataya looked at her steadily for some time, and then nodded her head. “I believe you, Samantha Carter.”
Sam nodded. “I won’t tell him your answer, if you tell me, I promise you, but I think, no, I believe I need to know.” She plunged into her question bluntly, “What is the relationship between you and Daniel?”
Kataya seemed to light up from within, and she smiled softly, “Samantha, Daniel is my Soulmate. Our souls have lived countless lifetimes together. He knows this. Our relationship has always been a volatile one. I am a Warrior. I always have been, just as Daniel has always been a scholar. Oddly, Daniel has always been able to accept that part of me; the part that is Katteri-enti. What he has trouble accepting is that I refuse to join our souls. I will agree only to an entwining. Many lifetimes he chooses to forget. His soul is as old as mine is, so the memories remain, he can access them, and he knows all about us and what we can have together. He must remember and come to me.” Kataya hoped that Sam was not going to ask her to explain the Furling life cycle. She really did not want to have to try to explain something so very complicated.
Luckily, Sam’s focus was on Daniel, but she frowned before looking at Kataya and whispering, “So Daniel was right. There is such a thing as reincarnation.” She shook herself free of her careening thoughts and emotions as she turned back to Sam. Forcing herself to return to the original subject, she said, “I don’t understand the difference between an entwining and a joining. Or even what you mean by those phrases for sure.”
Kataya nodded. This she could answer simply and with straight forwardness. The reincarnation she would avoid as long as she possibly could. That decision made, she answered Sam promptly, “When we find our mate, be they a Soulmate or a Heartmate, we can choose either an informal bonding or a formal one. Most Heartmates are the informal kind because our rites and rituals come from the Myst-time and are archaic in the extreme. We wish it to be this way, so that only those lovers who are very sure of the permanence of their emotion will join in such a way.”
After pausing for a moment she continued, “When our souls are only entwined, they can be separated. In a joining, they cannot. It is the same for the heart. An entwined heart can be separated, a joined one cannot. The consequences are different for each, though. One half can survive a joining of the heart if the other dies, if they choose to do so. In a joining of the soul, there is no choice. I wish for Daniel to have the choice,” Kataya told her, speaking solemnly.
“Are you telling me that if you agree to—to join your souls and you died in battle, Daniel would also die?”
“Yes,” She said with a rather sad smile, “I am.”
“And he wanted this?” Sam asked, incredulous.
“Yes,” she said, “I am afraid so. You must understand, Samantha. There is nothing more intense, more passionate, more enchanting, and wondrous, than a full joining of the heart and soul. I have never agreed, but my resolve is weakening. Our relationship is truly complicated, Samantha, which is why I have chosen to reveal this to you. The time may come that Daniel may need you. As his Heartmate, platonic or more, you can give him immense comfort, believe me.”
“I see,” Sam said slowly as she thought about what she had just learned. “I see something else, too. The kind of love you have for Daniel has no room for anything other than his welfare. If being my Heartmate would give him comfort and happiness, then you would freely and gladly encourage that relationship.”
“Yes,” Kataya answered simply, but it conveyed a wealth of emotion from one woman to the other.
Sam looked determined. “Daniel and I had a talk recently. We talked about the things you mentioned, at least, I think we are talking about the same things. We talked about the feelings we have for one another.” Sam stopped talking as if suddenly realizing that what she told Kataya could be repeated.
“I am not going to discuss what you say, either, Sam,” Kataya reassured her quickly and sincerely.
Sam nodded and continued. “I didn’t quite tell you everything earlier when I said I loved Daniel. I, um, that is we accepted that what is between us is love and that it is strong and deep. We have never admitted, even to ourselves, that what we felt for one another was love until recently. We both know that if circumstances had been different, we would have become lovers. We both know that we could have a very passionate relationship, but my heart is telling me to wait and so is his. I am sorry I didn’t just come out and tell you this earlier,” Sam said, feeling contrite.
“I already knew it, Samantha, and there is no reason to feel guilty about not telling me your innermost feelings. They are yours, and as such, it is your right to disclose as much, or as little, as you choose about them, whenever you decide to do so,” Kataya answered her earnestly.
“Thank you; I am glad you feel that way. There is something else that came up in my talk with Daniel. I,” she blushed, cleared her throat and said, “This will sound crazy, but ever since I saw the Fire Dance, I have known that passion should be like that. I want that kind of passion with my lover. Not that Daniel wouldn’t be passionate, he would, I know, and I know that once passion was burning between us, it would be very hard to put out, but,” she stopped to think and sighed. “I don’t know how to explain it, it was odd the way it took place, I mean, it was almost as if we were taking vows which is silly, I know. The point is that Daniel and I agreed to stay loving friends, and I really do feel the word you used earlier. I adore Daniel. I feel like I always will and Daniel agreed that he feels the same about us, and he says he always will, too.”
Sam shrugged, as she realized that she had not conveyed how deeply they had both been affected that night. She could not expect Kataya to understand, but at least she would know that she was not a rival for Daniel. On the other hand, she needed her to know that the feelings between them were deep and unbreakable. She watched Kat wanting to see her reaction. She was surprised at what Kataya said, but quickly realized she should not have been.
“You did exchange vows, Sam, and there is nothing wrong with that. You have proven to me that I was correct in what I sensed about your relationship. You and Daniel have a very strong Heartmate bond, and you are correct about the Fire Dance. Two souls, who share it in love, share a glorious experience, and I will promise you this; if your lover is your Heartmate or Soulmate, I will invoke the Fire for the two of you to experience. You will remember it forever. In addition, I will do it for you and Daniel, also, because Heartmates and friends do share it. Merdwin and I used to dance in the Fire together often.”
She smiled and said, “My heart will rejoice with you if you have found your Soulmate, or a passionate Heartmate. However, your relationship with Daniel is a special one. I hope your lover can understand that because the two of you would find it nearly impossible to give up the place you have in one another’s heart.”
Sam blushed, as she murmured, “He is not my lover, er, not yet anyway.”
“Perhaps he will be soon,” Kataya said.
“I am hoping it will happen. I should know before long now.”
Sensing that Sam did not want to discuss that subject further, Kataya looked at the clock. She had given her friend a lot to think about, and it was time to distract both of them, so she said, “I need to take a report to the General’s office.”
“I need to stop by Daniel’s office and the control room. Do you want to come along? Merdwin will be here soon, right?” Sam asked her.
“Okay, give me a second.” Kataya took the circlet she still held in her hand and returned it to her own head. She picked her clasp up and attached it to her belt. It was the one thing she seemed to wear regardless of which uniform she was wearing. She indicated her readiness to leave. They headed towards Daniel’s office. “That is a beautiful clasp, Kataya. It has special meaning doesn’t it? You gave one to your Second in Command when you promoted him. What does it indicate?”
“They denote rank. The far right stone indicates the level of Katteri-enti. The next indicates if you are,” she frowned searching for a Tau’ri equivalent, “air force, army, Special Forces, etc…the next indicates your rank within your branch. A fourth stone, indicates you are in the elite guard of Artereos of Cadwaellon. There are only four stones on that level of the lion’s crown. The fifth stone, here, on the first peak of the crown, indicates that you are both a Warrior of the Table and a Governmental Representative at the Table. The sixth stone indicates which house you represent. My father presented this clasp to me many years ago when I became a member of his elite guard. It has a great many emotional memories attached to it. With each increase in rank a stone is added or replaced by a different colored stone.”
“How many more can you receive?” Sam asked, her curiosity aroused.
“One. If I ever stop fieldwork, I will become a member of the Advisory staff of Artereos. It will be Artereos’s stone. An Emerald.”
“It’s beautiful,” Sam said as they entered Daniel’s office.
Daniel looked up from the tablet and statue he was working on and smiled at them. “What is beautiful, Sam? Besides you two, that is,” he said, almost gallantly.
“I was asking Kataya about the clasp she wears. It is their way of designating rank. She was explaining it to me, and I was admiring it.”
“I have to agree,” he said. “It is lovely.” He was staring at Kataya. “So the stones indicate what rank you hold?”
“That is correct,” She replied quietly.
“How many more can you receive?” Daniel asked.
“The amethyst stones indicate the highest rank in each category, except the last, which is an emerald. It is the only one I have not received. I will not receive that until I retire from field duty and become an advisor to Artereos. I am not ready to do that yet.”
There was a sudden extreme tension in the room. Sam said, “Listen, I will be right back.” They never heard her leave.
“No, you are very much a Warrior, aren’t you?” He asked.
“Yes, Daniel. I am.” She looked at him, and it was as if this conversation had passed between them many times. Daniel walked toward her. When he reached her, he caressed her cheek. She turned her head to kiss the palm of his hand. Her lips lightly caressed him and he caught his breath.
Placing his hand on the back of her neck, he cradled her head as he brought his lips down to lightly kiss and caress hers. Never had a first kiss seemed so completely right. He had known she would taste exactly like this. Her lips were sweet. He dipped his head to drink from the nectar again. This time it was no gentle testing of the waters.
Daniel slipped his other arm around her and proceeded to plunder the sweetness of those lips. He pulled her roughly towards him and melded their bodies together. Their tongues began a dance as old as time, and the kiss took on an overtone of desperation. She could feel the hard ridge of his passion pressed against her hip. Her hips rocked his in that sensual thrust and parry, known by lovers since the beginning of time.
He moved to ravish her throat with lips that were branding her with fire, leaving his mark for all to see. She growled low in her throat, a wild, untamed sound. How she wanted this man, wanted him hard and fast, no quarter asked, and none given. It would be so easy to let him take her here amongst the ancient artifacts he loved so much, the knowledge, and the mysteries of the ages, surrounding them.
As desire swirled around them, through them, she gasped and forced herself to pull back. His arms loosened around her; he rested his forehead on hers as he drew in great gulps of air. He could feel her tremble in his arms, and he wanted nothing more than to sink himself into her and lose himself forever. She stepped back and out of his embrace, her hands and voice shaking from the storm of emotion they had just passed through. “It is always thus between us, but the reality still stands. I will always be a Warrior. You have always known this.”
“Yes,” Daniel answered, “I have. It made no difference in the past. It will not this time either.”
Kataya broke their eye contact. “That is yet to be seen,” she stated, as she stepped even farther away from him. “We need to talk, but not now,” she said, as she took a shaky breath.
“When?” Daniel, asked his voice terse.
“I want you,” he stated baldly. Then he gave a short, almost harsh, laugh. “Understatement of the year.”
“Yes.” Her eyes told him all he needed to know about how much she wanted him. “Sam is coming back.”
Sam entered the room almost hesitantly, as though she did not know what to expect. She found them both looking at the tablet. They looked up as she entered and smiled at her.
“Thank you, Sam,” Kataya sent to her.
“You are welcome,” Sam sent back.
“So Daniel, we are going to the control room for a while. Want to come?” Sam asked.
The urge to stay near this woman overcame him. “Sure, why not? I could use a break,” Daniel responded.
“Great. Come on, let’s go.”
The three started down the hall chatting amicably. They focused on what they hoped to achieve on tomorrow’s mission. Personal issues would wait for now.