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Dedicated to all Jonas Quinn fans and also to those that know that Daniel is busy . . .


July 5, 2004




SG-1 could not possibly have predicted what they would encounter when they left Earth through the Stargate.  The MALP had shown a quiet planet with ancient buildings towering on a mountainside miles away from the gate.  It was a promising planet, full of vegetation, looking to be devoid of life, yet the ancient buildings perhaps held a wealth of knowledge.  They wouldn’t know until they visited.


Unfortunately, the MALP did not have the instincts of a human.  It could not have shown them that out of sight of the camera was movement of a humanoid nature.  The camera could not swing around and look at everything at once.


Hours after the MALP reported back in, SG-1 stepped through the gate.  They were a different group, composed of different people, both in temperament, looks, and background.  Colonel Jack O’Neill surveyed the new planet with sharp eyes.  Standing next to him was the newest member of the team, Jonas Quinn.  He possessed a keen mind, but his boyish looks gave him an innocence that was strangely reminiscent of the archeologist who had once been a member of the team.  Major Samantha Carter and Teal’c stood silent next to Jack and Jonas, pausing to take a look at the land around them before stepping down as the Stargate shut down.


SG-1 was ambushed the moment they stepped down from the gate’s steps.  Zat guns cocked and staff weapons smoothly covered them before any had a chance to draw their own weapons on the Jaffa who surrounded them.


“For Pete’s sake!” Jack exclaimed.  “Why does this always happen?”


They were outnumbered, and they knew that putting up a fight at this point was useless.  Swiftly, their weapons were taken and they were forced to their knees, weapons pointing to their heads from every angle.


Behind the Jaffa, a Gould stepped forward.  None of the members of SG-1 recognized him.  He wore gold armor, his dark skin was unblemished, and his head was smoothly shaven.  A scowl broke his features as he surveyed the team before him.


“I am Ahn,” he said, “Keeper of the heavens above and all the worlds in them.  Who are you that dare come through the chappa’ai without the consent of your god?”


“Ahn presided over the Sumerian deities who were judges in the afterworld,” Jonas whispered to the Colonel.  “In Sumerian literature he was a significant ruler with Enlil.”


“On?” Jack asked incredulously.  “As in ‘on the sea,’ ‘on top of the world,’ ‘on in the—’”


“Silence!” the Gould bellowed.


One of the Jaffa behind Jack viciously backhanded him.  Jack was sent sprawling into the dirt, then sat up, spitting blood from his mouth.


“Who are you?” Ahn asked.  “I have not seen humans such as your like before.”


“I thought you were a god and knew everything,” Jack commented sarcastically.


The Jaffa behind him made a move and Jack raised his hands in protest.  “Okay, okay!  I’m Colonel Jack O’Neill.”  He motioned to those sitting next to him.  “This is SG-1.”


“We’re explorers,” Jonas added.  “We didn’t come here to invade you or anything.  If you let us go, we’ll go back through the gate and never come back.”


Ahn was smiling now.  “Indeed.  I suspect you are of the Tauri, the explorers that many have been talking about.”  He paced in front of them, scrutinizing their appearance, and stopped in front of Teal’c, pointing at the gold emblem on his forehead.  “Indeed, you are a very interesting group.  This one here serves Apophis.  From what I have heard, Apophis no longer rules.  You serve a fallen god, Jaffa?”


“I serve no one,” Teal’c responded.


“Sholva?” Ahn questioned.  “Interesting indeed.”  He paced again, this time stopping in front of Sam.  “A woman explorer?”  He put a finger under her chin, tilting her head up.  “And a beautiful one at that.  We may keep you.”


Sam glared at him, and he stepped back, uncertain at her look, then smiled and passed on to Jonas.


“You have heard of me,” he mused.  “You possess intellect.  Are you of the Tauri as well?”


Jonas did not know how to respond, then truthfully answered, “No.”


When he did not elaborate, the Gould frowned, but passed him and went to Jack.


“You are the leader of this group?”


“Yep,” Jack said.  “Glad you noticed.”


The Gould looked disdainfully at the Colonel, then backed off and gave some orders to his Jaffa.


Beside Jack, Jonas stiffened when he heard the ancient language.


“What?” Jack asked.  “What’d he say?”


“I think they have a Gould they want to implant,” Jonas replied.  “He wants to implant it.  In one of us.”


Jack’s features hardened, and he moved to leap up, but the Jaffa behind him anticipated his actions and grabbed his arms, restraining him.  Sam, Teal’c, and Jonas were similarly restrained.


They struggled, but their attempt to put up a good fight failed.  A few bruises and scratches later, the SG-1 team was on their knees, subdued for the moment.


Ahn had walked away moments before, and soon came back with a black, serpent-like snake in his hand.  It writhed and squirmed, but he held it firmly and approached the team.


“This is Eril,” he said to them.  “It would please me if one of you would be host to him.  Of course, it does not matter if you wish to become a host or not.  It only matters that I wish it to be so.”  He held the Gould up to his face and spoke gently to it.  “Which one of them will it be, my son?  I care not who you choose, only choose wisely.”


The snake hissed and stretched yearningly toward the small group of humans and Jaffa.


“Oh yes, Eril,” Ahn added.  “I would advise that you kill the rest of these Tauri once you have taken a host.  No warnings shall be taken back about us to the rest of their kind.”


He stepped up to the DHD and punched in some symbols, activating the Stargate.  It leapt outward in a wave of watery blue.


“You may go now, Eril,” Ahn said, setting the snake on the ground.


Chaos erupted when the Goa’uld was released.  A shout came from Jack as the black snake leapt from its keeper’s hands and raced toward the group of humans and Jaffa.  The Jaffa immediately released their prisoners and stepped back, weapons ready.


Jack dove away from the snake’s path, taking Sam with him.  Immediately, they took to higher ground, leaping onto a large rock behind them.  One of the Jaffa followed, attempting to knock them off the rock and back into reach of the Gould.  Jack jumped on the man’s back, taking him down to the ground behind the rock, trying to wrest the man’s staff weapon from his hands.


Jumping down to help her CO, Sam managed to obtain a zat gun.  She hesitated, though.  The two men were wrestling on the ground, and if she shot one, they both would be knocked out.  With the Gould loose, that was not a good option.


“Shoot the snake!” Jack yelled.


Trusting the Colonel, Sam swiftly climbed on top of the rock and tried to locate the snake, shooting the ground near it as it kept moving towards the group of humans.


Ahn watched impassively, standing ready to step through the Stargate.


Teal’c, in the midst of the confusion, grappled with one of the Jaffa nearest him, gaining the upper hand quickly and knocking the man to the ground with one blow.  Without stopping from the movement of that blow, Teal’c spun around, staff weapon ready, and aimed it at the snake as it moved across the ground.


Fire burst from the weapon, shooting up dirt and smoke in the area of the Gould.  The Gould, however, was fast, with snakelike reflexes.  It narrowly avoided the blasts from both the zat gun and the staff weapon.  Smoke and dust hung in the air, obscuring the human’s view of the Gould as it moved.


Jonas, you idiot!” Jack yelled.  “Get out of the way!”


Jaffa!  Kree!”  Ahn roared, pointing at Jonas.


Jonas scrambled backwards as he realized he was now the center of attention.  The Gould seemed to zero in on him and snaked its way towards him, still avoiding the blasts from Carter and Teal’c.


Jonas Quinn!” Teal’c bellowed in warning.  He was not fast enough, however.  One of the Jaffa ran up behind Jonas.  It was clear to the rest of the SG-1 team that Ahn now wanted at least one of their team members subdued.  Too late, they spun around to train their weapons on the Jaffa.


Before Jonas could turn to counterattack this new danger, the Jaffa had swung his staff weapon around like a bat, catching Jonas full in the stomach and ribs.  Jonas immediately doubled up and collapsed.  The sound of breaking bones was clearly discernable.


The Gould was nearly upon the fallen man now, and it leapt towards his face.  Miraculously, Jonas caught it behind the head inches from his face and struggled to stand, making it to his knees and still holding the wriggling Gould.


Sam!” Jonas yelled, panic tracing his voice.  “Shoot it!”


Sam knew her shot would knock out both man and Gould, but it was the best option available.  Jack was standing behind her with his mouth still open, amazed Jonas had caught the creature.


The miracle did not hold, however.  Though Jonas had a strong grip on the snake, the Jaffa behind him swung the end of his staff again, this time catching Jonas in the head.  The young man lost consciousness immediately as blood spurted from a deep gash on the side of his head.  The force of the blow spun his body around and he dropped to the ground, rolling several feet before lying still.


The Gould slipped from limp fingers into Jonas’ mouth and was gone.


Immediately, Teal’c shot the Jaffa was his weapon and took out two others.  The Gould threat was gone for the moment, and the Jaffa still needed to be dealt with.


Ahn watched to make sure the Gould had indeed invaded a host, then turned to the Stargate and vanished.  None of the members of SG-1 noticed when he left.  Sam and Jack both had zat guns now, and together they took out the rest of the Jaffa.


In moments, it was over.  Dead silence seemed to hang over the three remaining humans.  They glanced at each other with no hope in their eyes before Sam ran to Jonas’ side, despite the doom a glimmer of desperation left that perhaps, just maybe, the Gould hadn’t taken hold yet.  It took some time, a few moments, perhaps, before the Gould could completely establish its hold over its new host.  After that, it was only hours until the host was irretrievable by any means known to the human race.


Jonas!”  Sam reached the crumpled and bloodied figure first, calling his name.  She hesitated to touch him.  He was still . . . so still.  Thoughts raced through her head.  Why did they have to lose yet another member of their team, and so soon?


Shaking her head, Sam rolled him over onto his back, biting back an exclamation when she saw the gaping wound on his head.  Blood trickled out of his mouth, nose, and ears.  His eyes were still closed, and she pried them back to try and further determine his condition.  His eyes were rolled back in the sockets.


Jack and Teal’c approached more cautiously.  Jack held the zat gun in his hand, ready to use it at a moments notice.  He wiped some blood from the corner of his mouth.


Carter?” he questioned quietly.  His tone was enough to ask a hundred questions with just those two syllables.


It seemed as though Sam was on the verge of tears.  She sniffed and wiped her nose on the back of her hand.


“I don’t know, sir.”  Her voice broke as she spoke, but she kept talking.  “It takes a while for the Gould to establish full contact with their host.”  She took a deep breath, trying to control herself before going on.  “I can’t tell here, but I think he has a skull fracture, along with whatever damage that blow gave to his ribcage.”  She shook her head, finally looking up at Jack.  “It’s not good, sir.”


Jack was silent.  Teal’c looked at him expectantly, then all three tensed as a slight groan came from Jonas.


Immediately, Sam put her hands on his shoulders, shaking him slightly.  Jonas?” she said.  Jonas, can you hear me?  Jonas, you have to fight it.  Hold on, okay?”


With effort, he managed to open his eyes.  Though free of the familiar glow of a Gould host, Jack, Sam, and Teal’c did not let down their guard.


“Major?” he whispered.  “Major?  Go . . . go away . . .”


He writhed a little bit on the ground, closing his eyes briefly, then snapping them open.  “Colonel!  Colonel!  It’s trying to get in.  Get it out!  Get . . . out.”


Sam looked up at the Colonel.  “Sir, what should we do?”


Jack O’Neill was torn.  A man he had grown to respect, and, he realized, was a valuable member of the team, was about to become the host of a Gould.


Jack knew the drill.  Once taken by a Gould, there was no hope.  They had never successfully extracted a Gould from its host without killing the host along with the Gould.  Jonas Quinn would essentially live life trapped in his own body, but with an alien mind in control of his body and actions.  It was a living hell.  Now, though, the man was still in control.  It was just a waiting game.


At one time, Jack himself had been implanted with a Gould, but sufficient time had passed for them to kill the Gould before it could take over his body and mind completely.  Here, none of the resources they had at that time were available.  They could only watch as their comrade’s mind disintegrated into that of an alien that believed it was a god, an alien with a mind so twisted it would force Jonas to kill his friends.  Jonas, the gentle diplomat, turned into a sadistic killer.  Jack had seen it happen many times, to many good men.  Not many of them had deserved their fate.  He was only glad that Daniel’s fate had not been that of the men that Jack had known.


“We can’t just kill him, sir,” Carter pleaded.  There were real tears in her eyes now, threatening to spill.  “His mind is still intact.  It hasn’t taken over yet.”


Jack closed his eyes before saying softly.  “If we bring him back with us he’ll have to be put into custody.  The last time we did that with a Gould it was a disaster.”  He turned away, saying even more softly, “I . . . I can’t kill him.  Not like this.  But I can’t leave him like this either.  He would be better off if we . . .”  He couldn’t finish.


Sam looked at Teal’c, a question in her eyes.  In answer, Teal’c bowed his head.  “I agree, O’Neill,” he murmured.  It was not his place, or his nature to add or detract from the Colonel’s decisions.


Jonas was moaning now, his palms pressed against his temples, the blood from his head wound cascading over his fingers.  “Get it out, get it out,” he whispered over and over.


“Colonel,” Sam said, straightening and standing before her CO.  “I suggest we wait.  We could take him back with us.  We could keep him on the base, monitor him.  We possibly could—”


She was cut short by Jonas’ cry of alarm.  The three dashed his side without thought.  A faint glow had entered his eyes and his features had stiffened.


Jack cursed.


“Oh God, no,” Sam pleaded.


The glow faded, and his features clouded with pain.  “Get . . . get out . . .” he said faintly. 


His voice was still his own.  The Goa’uld’s deep, warped voice had not intermingled itself with his.


Sam looked up sharply at Jack.  “Sir—”


All of them felt deeply that something was not right.  Something was wrong about the scene before them, but none of them could quite point out what it was.  Wasn’t the Gould supposed to have taken Jonas’ body and used it against them by now?  Shouldn’t he have at least taunted them in the alien voice of the Goa’uld?  Why had this not yet happened?


Teal’c!” Jonas had caught the Jaffa’s arm, his eyes wild.


Again, the glow in his eyes caused his comrades to draw back in alarm, but again, he fought the Gould inside of him, moaning and murmuring deliriously.


Again, Sam looked at Jack.  “Sir, I don’t see how this is happening.”


Jack never took his eyes off of Jonas.  “How what is happening, Carter?” he asked icily.  “I know there’s something not right about this, here.”


“From the signs I’m seeing, he should have been completely taken over by now,” Sam replied.  “I don’t see how it hasn’t taken over yet.”


“Perhaps we should bring him back to Stargate Command,” Teal’c suggested.  “I, too, feel that something has happened to delay the Gould’s domination of Jonas Quinn.  Never before have I seen this.”


Jack turned to the Jaffa.  “Really.  Well that makes three of us.”  He looked down at Jonas, then made his decision.  “Let’s pack it up.”


* * *


General Hammond was at the window overlooking the gate room for 99% of the time the Stargate was open.  It had started out as a good day.  So far, one team had arrived this morning, right on schedule and with no conflicts in their mission.  They had even found some faint traces of naquadria on the planet they had explored, a potential for another visit.


Hammond studied the surface of the gate as it turned, expecting the arrival of another team.  He felt as though he knew every niche and symbol on the gate as though they were an extension of his own body.  He knew exactly how the gate rumbled when it was activating.  If there was ever any difference in the sound, he knew something was wrong.  This time, though, the rumble was secure, comforting.  He relaxed slightly.  No spatial anomalies tampering with the gate on this mission then.


“It’s SG-1, sir,” a young lieutenant informed him.


The General stood at attention, watching the watery blue surface of the gate for the four members of SG-1.


“Open the iris,” he ordered.


The metal iris folding back was almost a work of art unto itself, protecting the Stargate from any unwanted intruders.  As it furled back  into its place it revealed the watery pool behind.  The wormhole was a fascinating, mesmerizing piece of work.


Carter emerged alone, a ripple marking where she had come through.  “We need a medical team!” she shouted frantically.  They were the words Hammond dreaded.


The gate controllers were already relaying orders to those standing below them.  General Hammond raced out of the room, not waiting to see if the others were coming through yet.  The doors slid open before him, and he could hear Dr. Frasier shouting at someone in the hall behind him, racing feet telling him that the more extensive part of the on-staff medical team was coming.  There were always one or two medics stationed at the foot of the gate for every incoming mission, but if Carter was calling for a med team the moment she stepped through the gate, it had to be something serious.


General Hammond entered the gate room just in time to see Colonel O’Neill and Teal’c stumble through the gate with Jonas between them.  Dr. Frasier rushed in with her team behind the General.


Jack swung Jonas’ arm over his head and helped Teal’c lower him to the ramp as the Stargate closed behind them.  The younger man was totally limp, and blood seemed to be everywhere.


“Stand back,” Dr. Frasier ordered.


Jack didn’t move.


Colonel O’Neill,” Dr. Frasier protested, pushing him back a step.  “What happened?”


Jack looked at Hammond.  “General, I suggest you keep some security around him.”  He motioned towards Jonas.


Janet was making a quick assessment of the situation.  “Colonel, he is in no shape to do anyone any harm.”


Jack shook his head, then forced the words out that the General never expected to hear, yet always dreaded he would hear someday.  “He has a Gould in him.”


Almost immediately, every soldier in the room raised their gun and aimed it at the unconscious man.


“Hold your fire!” the General ordered.  He approached Jack, his features hard.  “Why did you bring him back here?”


Sam broke in.  “Sir, for some reason, the Gould hasn’t taken over yet.  Before we came through the gate, Jonas was coherent and speaking to us in his own mind.  By that time, the Gould had been in him nearly half an hour.  That isn’t normal, sir.  We had to bring him back.  We’re hoping that maybe there’s a way we could save him.”


The General took a moment to mull over the situation.  He had worked on the Stargate project for years and was highly knowledgeable when it came to the Goa’uld.  Scenarios played out quickly in his mind, but he pushed them aside and looked at Jonas.  The Doctor had him loaded on a cart now, ready to go when the General gave the okay.  The General was no medic, but he could tell that the young man’s situation seemed to be dire.


He nodded.  “Go ahead, Doctor.”  He waved at Janet, and she immediately pushed off with the medics behind her, yelling orders left and right.  He addressed Jack, saying, “I want a full guard on him at all times, and once his condition has been assessed by the doctor, I want him in restraints as well.”


Jack nodded wordlessly, and dashed off.  Teal’c and Sam followed him closely.


The General sighed as the door closed behind them.  This was not going to be a good day.


* * *


Two hours had passed since SG-1 had come back from their mission, and Jonas’ condition had not improved—nor had it deteriorated.  Janet was not sure which she was happier about.  She turned from Jonas’ bedside to strip her gloves off and saw a man standing uneasily in the doorway.


“Colonel,” she said, greeting Jack.  Behind him she could see Sam and Teal’c.


“Come in,” she motioned towards the bed where Jonas now lay.   Two guards were stationed on either side of the bed.


“How is he, Doc?” Jack asked, as he, Sam and Teal’c approached the bed.


“Not too good,” Janet replied honestly.  “You say that a Jaffa hit him with his staff weapon?”


“Yeah.  He didn’t use the firing end,” Jack responded.  “He just used it like a club.”


Jonas lay quietly on the bed, a bandage around his head, blood soaking through.  His shirt had been taken off in order to assess his condition, and even in the dim light, they could see dark bruises lining his ribs and stomach.  His eyes were closed, and he seemed to be in a fitful sleep, concentration on his every feature.


Sam noted that they already had him in restraints.  Heavy leather cuffs encircled his wrists and ankles.


“He has a skull fracture,” Janet said quietly.  “A nasty one, too.  He also has nine broken ribs and massive internal bleeding.  I’ve listed him as in critical condition.  I couldn’t say when he will wake up, if he even wakes up again.  He hasn’t regained consciousness since you brought him back.”


“And the Gould?” Sam pressed.


Janet sighed, leading them over to a wall covered with pictures from multiple x-rays.  Among the pictures of Jonas’ badly broken ribs and skull fracture, they could see a few pictures taken along the back of his neck and along the spinal column.  The alien was twisted along his spine, long and deadly looking.


“I can’t tell enough about that part of it yet,” the doctor said.  “Since he isn’t conscious, I can’t gauge if it has actually taken over.  Right now, I would think that it’s concentrating on keeping him alive.  It doesn’t appear to be damaged in any way.  I honestly don’t know what to say since you said that Jonas appeared to be in control until he lost consciousness.  I just don’t see how it’s possible.  Until he comes to, I’m going to monitor his brain functions to see if there’s anything we can learn.”


Jack nodded silently and shoved his hands in his pockets.  His face was expressionless, and he did well to hide the guilt.


* * *

None could have known the hell that Jonas was going through.


Pain.  That was one word to describe what he felt.  Pain in his head, his ribs, his chest, everywhere.


There was also a struggle going on.  His mind, he knew, was being invaded.  Memories and thoughts rose unbidden that he knew were not his.  It was more in confusion that he fought those thoughts than in fear.


The Gould’s name was Eril.


Jonas Quinn.




Just let me come in.  If you do so, the pain will go away.




Pain, again.  It was sharper, longer, more intense, concentrated in his head.  Jonas screamed in his mind.


The pain will leave.  I can heal you.  Just let me in.




Sharp, throbbing, lingering pain.


“No . . .”






He could feel frustration, and he himself was confused.  Did it always happen this way?  When a Goa’uld entered your mind, was there this struggle?  It happened quickly.  It always happened quickly, moments, sometimes hours.  Maybe it did not seem so quick to the host.  Maybe it felt like it lasted forever when in reality it was only a few moments.  Jonas didn’t know.  He had lost all sense of time in his mind.


There was something that was helping him block the Gould.  There seemed to be a wall in his mind.  It was a wall that he had not put there.  It helped him in his fight to keep the Gould out of his thoughts, to keep the Gould from taking over completely.  He didn’t understand what was happening, but he didn’t need to.  He only had to trust that the wall would hold, for if it didn’t, he knew the fight was lost.


* * *




Yes, Sam?”


“How is he doing?”


Dr. Frasier scanned the instruments beside Jonas’ bedside.  “Same as before.  No worse, but no better either.”


Sam nudged Jack, who was sleeping in a chair next to Jonas’ side.  “Sir.”


“What . . .”  Jack opened his eyes and rubbed them blearily.


“Do you want me to sit with him a while, sir?”


Jack looked around the room as if trying to figure out where he was, then nodded slowly.  “Sure, Carter.”  He eased himself out of the chair, then added dryly, “Just don’t talk his ears off like I was doing.”


Sam grinned, then took his place as he left the room.


“He still hasn’t regained consciousness,” Dr. Frasier told her, “but he’s strong enough that I haven’t needed to put him on life support.  I would rather not do that at this point, but if he gets any worse, I will be forced to.  Did Jonas ever write out a will or give any instructions as to what to do if . . . if it ever came down to this?”


Sam shook her head.  “I doubt it.  Jonas has such an optimistic attitude I can’t imagine him writing a will at all.  I could ask the General, though.”


“It’s just a foresight,” Janet added quickly.  “I don’t know if we’ll ever have to . . .”  She left the sentence unfinished and looked down quickly, hiding her eyes.


“We still don’t know if the Gould has taken over yet,” Sam said gently.  “And I don’t think we will know until he wakes up.”


* * *


It was a strange thing, to be conscious of what felt like real time inside your mind, but he had part of the puzzle figured out.


Jonas thought he knew how he was blocking the Gould—at least it was a theory.  Of course he couldn’t prove his theory, unless he could look at some charts of his brain functions.  He had a pretty good idea of what was going on, though.


He only prayed that Dr. Frasier would figure it out in time, for he knew he was starting to slip.  The Gould was strong, and its constant voice was wearing him down.  Every moment that passed he clung to, pushing himself to hold on for a little bit longer.


After a time, he realized another voice was with him.  It was not the Gould.  The Gould had the voice of a devil, deep and warped, yet sly and cunning sounding at the same time.  This voice was new.  It sounded young, intelligent, yet also sounded familiar.  He could not place where he had heard it.  Was his mind playing tricks on him?  Was he now starting to lose his sanity along with control over his mind?


Jonas,” the voice said.  Jonas, you need to hold on.”


He was tired.  He was tired of thinking.  He was tired of pushing the thoughts of the Gould away.  How could he push this voice away as well?


“I can’t hold on,” he said.  “I can’t do it.  I’m not strong enough.”


“Hold on Jonas.  You just need to hold on a little longer, okay?  They’re trying to help you, Sam, Jack, and Teal’c.  Just hold on.  They can’t lose another member of the team.  Not this soon.  Not yet.”


Let me in. Don’t listen—


“No,” Jonas said again.  He felt new strength return.


He addressed the voice, “Who are you?”


He imagined the voice taking a breath, hesitating, stalling a moment before replying, “You might not remember me.  I’m Dr. Daniel Jackson.”


* * *


It had been three days since they had returned from the planet where Ahn, it had seemed, temporarily resided.  Jack had taken the remainder of SG-1 and SG-4 back to the planet to see if there were any clues as to Jonas’ condition, but the ancient ruins they explored turned up nothing.  It appeared that Ahn was only visiting and had been in the process of leaving when SG-1 arrived.  The archaeologist on the SG-4 team claimed that Ahn was perhaps hoping to find someone at the temple to become host to Eril, but the temple had been abandoned for years before Ahn arrived.


It had been a freak accident.


No one could have predicted, not even Ahn himself, that SG-1 would walk right into the Gould’s arms at just the right moment.  Ahn and SG-1 alike had been surprised, though Ahn had more time to get ready.  It was one of those times when sending a MALP through the Stargate ahead of a team had proved to be their downfall, warning the enemy of what was to come.


Jack kicked himself for becoming too predictable, but orders and procedures had to be carried out, despite the consequences.  No one could have known, yet Jack knew that he was not alone in blaming himself for Jonas’ condition.


Strangely, Jack felt that Jonas was growing on him.  When one sat Jonas Quinn and the man he replaced, Dr. Daniel Jackson, side by side, they had little in common.  One was from Earth, one was an alien to Earth.  One was an archaeologist, one was a historian—though in Jack’s mind, both professions were the same.  They were different ages, different levels of intellect (though both too smart for their own good), different tastes, and yet . . . yet there were small things about them that made them very much alike.  In that way, as Daniel had grown on Jack after so long, Jonas was beginning to grow on the Colonel as well.


It was a pity that Jonas Quinn now lay trapped in his own mind, unable to even plea for help.  The snake in his head would give him hell, Jack was sure.  God knew he had gone through it before, but in his case, he got lucky.


* * *


Dr. Jackson?”


Yes, Jonas?”


“Are you what’s here stopping the Gould from taking over?”


A pause.  “No.  No, I’m afraid not.”


If Jonas could have frowned, he would have.  Instead, he prompted again, “Well, if you don’t mind my asking . . . Why are you here?”


Another pause, then a sigh—or rather, what appeared to be a sigh to Jonas.  “The others don’t want me here, Jonas, but I can’t let SG-1 lose you.  It’s not your time, and they’re not ready to lose someone so soon.  I’m going to help you fight this Gould, Jonas . . . but I can’t do anything but talk you through it.”


Pain.  Jonas writhed, feeling his fists clench in a body that did not quite feel as though it were his.  He felt a hand on his forehead, heard a whispering voice.


Shock hit him.  He could hear!  He could hear a real voice!  One not inside his head, but one that he heard with his ears!


“Sh, Jonas,” said the voice.


He struggled to open his eyes.


The voice changed.  Jonas?  Jonas, can you hear me?”




Jonas’ vision was blurry, but now, yes, he was opening his eyes, and he was looking through them.  He was not just listening in the dark to the voices inside his head.


Dr. Jackson?” he whispered.


Daniel’s voice was gone, yet the Gould’s lingered, harshly grating in his mind, fighting against him, whispering thoughts and suggestions, causing pain.


A blonde head thrust itself into view.  Jonas!”


He squinted, trying to focus.  He could not.  Something was wrong with his vision.


Sam?” he questioned weakly.


Another person was there with a light, shining it in his eyes.  Pain exploded through him.  He moaned, tried to move.  Somehow it slowly dawned on him that he was stuck.  He couldn’t move.  He was stuck to the bed and his muddled mind could not grasp how or why.


“I don’t want to give him any painkillers,” the other voice next to Sam was saying.  “I can’t risk him losing consciousness for good, and I don’t want to give the Gould the upper hand.”


“The Gould . . .” Jonas tried to say.


Sam leaned in closer to him.  “What about the Gould, Jonas?  Can you tell us what’s happening?”


He tossed his head back and forth, gritting his teeth against the pain in his head, his chest, his ribs.  His jaw set, he murmured, “Sam, there’s a . . . a wall . . .”  The Gould angrily screamed in his mind, and he fought against the restraints holding him down.  Hands were on his shoulders.


Concentrate, Jonas.  Take it slow.”


He focused, fought so that his mind was facing outward, rather than in with the Gould.


“Concussion?” he asked weakly.


“Yes.  You have a very bad concussion, Jonas.”  Dr. Frasier looked down at him with a worried face.


“The Gould can’t get in yet,” Jonas whispered.  “Concussion . . . maybe?”


A light dawned in Janet’s eyes, and she looked wildly at Sam, whipping her head around so sharply that the Major looked up in alarm.


“What is it?”


Sam!  Maybe it’s the concussion that the Gould can’t handle.  Maybe that’s why it hasn’t taken over yet!”


Janet raced across the room and tore off the latest CAT scans, studying them carefully.  “My God!” she exclaimed.  “This could be exactly what we need to fight the Gould!”


* * *


“So you think that in his state, it is still worth the risk to get this Gould out?”


Janet hated it when General Hammond gave her his look of skepticism.


“Trust me, sir,” she answered.  “I believe that the concussion Jonas received caused swelling in the area of the brain the Gould needs access to in order to make him a host.  I know I can’t prove it, but it’s a hunch, a gut feeling, sir.  My gut has never been wrong on record.  I would like your permission to go ahead and try to remove the Gould.”


“How do you know this is the area the Gould needs to get to?”


“That’s just it, sir.  I am not one hundred percent certain . . . but sir, we have to try.  I can’t help but feel that Jonas is running out of time.”


Jack leaned in the door, still wearing his military fatigues and baseball cap, and rapped loudly on the doorframe.  “What’s up?” he drawled.


Colonel O’Neill, come in,” General Hammond motioned the man into his office.


“We just got back sir,” Jack said.  “We didn’t find anything.  Archie says the planet looks like it’s been abandoned for several years.  Apparently, our man—err, Gould—Ahn, was visiting to see if anyone was left.  What happened wasn’t expected by any side, General.  We caught him by surprise with our appearance just as much as we were caught by surprise.  We think he was there to find someone to . . . implant the Gould in, sir.  We just came at exactly the wrong time.”


“I’ll expect the rest in your report, Colonel,” Hammond replied.  “Right now, I’d like you to hear what Dr. Frasier has to say regarding Jonas Quinn’s condition.  As leader of his team, you have as much a say in this as I or any other member of your team.”


The Colonel sat in a chair next to Janet and nodded, “Go ahead, Doc.”


“Sir,” Janet began, “We think we may have discovered why the Gould hasn’t taken Jonas as a host yet.”


Jack cocked an eyebrow.  “Oh?  Is it his charming wit and personality that is annoying the Gould to death?”


The Doctor pulled some papers out of a file she was holding and arranged them on the desk before the Colonel, ignoring his sarcasm.


“This is a CAT scan we took when you brought Jonas in,” she said, pointing to the picture.  “This is the one I took just a short while ago.”


Mentally shuddering as he looked at the hideous diagram of the snake curled around the base of Jonas’ skull, Jack scrutinized the two pictures.


“They look the same.”


“That’s because they are the same—or nearly so.  Jonas’ condition hasn’t changed since you brought him here, Colonel.  He hasn’t gotten any better, yet he hasn’t deteriorated either, which is very unusual considering what had happened to him.”


Jack winced as he remembered the staff weapon slamming into Jonas.


“I have a theory,” Janet continued.  “I think that the reason the Gould can’t take over Jonas’ mind is because of his head injury.  I think his concussion is giving the Gould problems.  He must have gotten hit in just the right spot.”  She pointed to a circled area on the scan.  “If I’m right, I think that this is the spot the Gould needs to initiate a takeover of its host.  If I’m wrong . . . I may only make things worse if I try to get in there and take it out.”


“That doesn’t sound like a theory,” Jack said.  “It sounds like a hunch.  And a dangerous one at that.”


“Well, I suppose you might call it that, Colonel,” Janet replied, then quickly added, “With all due respect.”


“What do you need to do, Doctor?” General Hammond asked.


“Since Jonas doesn’t have any family we know about, there really isn’t anyone I can contact to let them know what’s going on.”  She turned to the Colonel.  Colonel O’Neill, would you mind letting the rest of your team know?”  She turned back to the General.  “I still haven’t asked Jonas if it’s alright.”


“You have my full permission to go ahead, with or without his consent,” the General said.  “I think that the risk is better than the odds Jonas Quinn is facing right now.  We can’t risk another Gould running around.”


“Understood, sir.”


* * *


Don’t resist.


“I have to.”


Pain flared along his spine.  Even though the Gould could not get in control, it still knew how to use the pain against him and enhance it.


Jonas cursed the Gould in every language that he knew, then occupied himself by making up new lines.


Presently, in the middle of his stream of curses towards the laughing snake, he became aware of another presence.




Dr. Jackson?”


“Yeah, it’s me.”


Jonas tried to pull away from the pain, struggled to concentrate on the voice.  It was his beacon of hope, though—“I think I’m delirious,” he said to the voice.  “You’re dead.  It’s unlikely that a dead person could be speaking to me . . . Highly improbable.”


Daniel was silent for a long time, then responded quietly, “It’s okay, Jonas.  They’re trying to help you.  They think they found a way to get the Gould out.”


“Oh.  Really . . . ?”


Jonas felt that he was fading.  He could see light above him, heard voices outside of his mind again.


“He’s delirious,” someone said above him.


If he could have laughed, Jonas would have as he said again to Daniel, “See?  I was right.  You’re not really here.”


Jonas.”  Someone put a hand firmly on his shoulder.  “Snap out of it.  Come on.  Wake up.”


“I have to go now,” Daniel said.  “I’ll be back.”


“Wait,” Jonas protested.  “Come back . . .”


Jonas, listen to me.  We’re going to try and get the snake out.”


Jonas heard shuffling, then a muttered, “He can’t hear me.  Why am I even trying?”


Jack . . . ?” he questioned weakly.


“Yeah, it’s . . . it’s me.  Don’t worry Jonas.  We’re gonna try and get it out.  It might not work, but Doc Frasier thinks that if we don’t at least try something, well . . .” Jack trailed off unexpectedly.


Jonas tried to open his eyes and realized they were already open.  All he could see were shadows flitting across his vision.






“I can’t see.”


Jonas heard Dr. Frasier’s voice, then felt movement at his side.


“He’s starting to lose consciousness again,” Janet said.


Jack?” Jonas mustered again.


“What is it, Jonas?”


 “Go ahead and do it.”


A scream resounded inside his mind, a protest.  Eril knew what was going on.


Jonas pushed his objections away and fell back into dark oblivion, hoping that Daniel was right, hoping that somehow everything could be put to right.


* * *


Sam looked down on Jonas.  The drugs that had been fed into his system had done their work well.  It had now been two hours since the attempted extraction and he was still unconscious, in a blessed oblivion from the pain.


Dr. Frasier had had to abandon the extraction early on in the operation.  Jonas had gone into convulsions, and they had to restart his heart twice.  Sam suspected it was the Gould’s attempt to try and deter them from the operation.  Janet finally ended up severing the Gould’s spinal column—or rather, what she thought was its spinal column.


She had been hoping that the experience would give them further insight into ways that they could fight the Gould, and so she monitored every little detail of the damage to Jonas’ brain.  Unfortunately, the damage could not be replicated without causing serious harm and so the idea was dropped.  There appeared to be no way they could use the data in order to fight Gould invasion without a 99% chance of hurting someone beyond repair.  All Janet took away from the experience was information showing them where in the brain the Goa’uld needed to invade when they took a host.  It was a miracle that Jonas had held on as long as he did and managed to remain mentally intact.


Now, there was no activity from the Gould, but since they knew so little about it’s anatomy and how it invaded the higher brain functions of the human mind, they were still being wary.  Dr. Frasier could do no more during the operation, and now they were waiting for Jonas to wake up.


Sam had been by his bedside since the operation, and Teal’c also had waited with her.  Jack had come and gone several times, nervously waiting.


The Major took the young man’s hand and squeezed it.


“Come on, Jonas.  I know you can fight this thing,” she whispered.  She silently prayed that he would come out of the operation unscathed, but hadn’t it been enough that he had managed to come this far?  It was one chance in one thousand, a stroke of luck so large it should have been unfathomable.  How could it be that SG-1 defied every obstacle thrown against them?  Were they blessed, or were they just incredibly lucky, or—something that bordered on unimaginable—was something or someone watching over them, making sure that they kept defying the odds?


Immediately, Sam thought of Daniel, then almost as immediately shook the thought away.  He had “ascended.”  He wasn’t supposed to interfere with normal human beings anymore . . . but even so, she could imagine Daniel defying the others who had ascended and helping her friends out.  Was his hand in all of this?  There was no way to know.


* * *


Daniel watched Sam and Teal’c at Jonas’ bedside, and kept another eye on Jack who was in another part of the base pacing and fretting.  No, he wasn’t supposed to interfere with the destiny of mortals, but he still felt the tug on his heart that reminded him of when he had been one of . . . them.


If found out, he most likely had risked expulsion from the others when he entered Jonas’ mind, but he couldn’t just sit there and watch as the younger man’s mind was eaten away by the parasite within him.  SG-1 couldn’t lose yet another member of their team so quickly.  It would tear them apart.


Strangely enough, Daniel really hadn’t needed to interfere.  Apparently, Jonas had figured out the Gould hadn’t taken hold yet because of the concussion he had suffered immediately before Eril had entered him.  Little did everyone know, but Jonas and Dr. Frasier were right when they postulated that it had caused damage to a part of the brain the Gould needed in order to take hold of its host.  Thankfully, it wasn’t enough damage to cause Jonas’ mental functions to disintegrate.


It was still surprising to Daniel the things that he knew—and also could not yet know—in the ascended state.  He knew more about the Gould now than he did before he ascended, yet there was also so much that he didn’t know, that he needed to find out for himself.  Oma had told him that it was a part of being ascended.  You were constantly learning, otherwise you would want to make yourself nonexistent with boredom.  Not knowing everything added a little spice and flavor into his life.  Yet there were also times where he knew he needed to know so much more before he could help people.


Daniel had not known why the Gould had not taken hold of Jonas’ mind.  Jonas had figured that out on his own while Dr. Frasier and others filled in the details.  It frustrated Daniel that he couldn’t know everything—and yet he was also glad that he wasn’t like a god.  If he were, it would be very hard indeed to remember his place.  He was only to be an observer, not a doer.


* * *


Jonas.  Jonas, wake up.”


Jonas batted at the face in his view and muttered, “Why are people always telling me that?”


Without even focusing on the people in the room, Jonas could tell that a flood of tension had just been let out.  Relief spread throughout the room.


Jonas realized that the face in front of him was Dr. Frasier’s.  Behind her stood Jack and Teal’c, and on his other side was Sam and General Hammond.


“Welcome back,” Sam smiled.


“Um, hi,” he struggled to sit up, confusion clouding his features.  He felt as though he had just had a very long nightmare.  Strange and distorted memories flashed through his mind.


Dr. Frasier held a flashlight to his eyes, then asked him, “How do you feel?”


Jonas paused, then answered, “Like I got hit by a falling mountain.  What happened?”  He started to run his fingers through his hair, and stopped when he felt the cloth wrapped around his head.


“Do you remember anything that happened, Jonas?” Sam asked.


Jonas sat still, his brain working, trying to remember and knowing that he was missing something.


“That last thing I remember,” he began slowly, “is that we were going through the gate to P3X-897.”  He shook his head.  “Other than that I can’t really tell you anything.”


Dr. Frasier pursed her lips and looked to the other members of SG-1.  “I was afraid this might happen.  It’s always a risk with a surgery such as his.”


“Surgery!” Jonas exclaimed.


“Boy have we ever a story to tell you,” Jack grinned.  “It’s a whopper.”


Teal’c raised an eyebrow.


Sam hid a smile as Jonas looked slightly confused at Jack’s wording.


“Whopper?” he questioned.


Looking down at the group, Daniel had to grin.  His work here was done.


* * *


After many follow up checkups, Dr. Frasier finally declared that the Gould’s body was beginning to disintegrate into Jonas’ system.  His memory had been wiped clean of the experience, though it would take many months for his body to heal.  Occasionally, Jonas complained of phantom pains, which Janet suspected were remnants of the Gould’s attempt to subdue the historian.  Other than those few complaints, Jonas healed quickly, and soon SG-1 was back on the field.  For months afterwards, though, Jonas began experiencing partial flashbacks of the experience.  It was not enough to alarm him, but he analyzed the memories for anything that Earth could use in their fight against the Goa’uld.


As of Doctor Daniel Jackson, he remembered nothing.  No one ever knew that Daniel had been there through it all, and that he still was keeping an eye on his comrades.