Author's notes: This story is a part of my The Sentinel/MacGyver series, set in time between The Road Not Taken and The Haunting of Christmas Past. Since the relationships between Blair, MacGyver, and Sam are drawn in the first five stories (The Maze, Control, Coatlicue, Ares Bugle, and Heirs to a Nightmare), you may wish to read them first.

In The Sentinel universe, this story takes place hours after the last scene in 'The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg'. This is my stepping stone into the life of the characters after the series.

This story is also crossed with Stargate SG-1, which initially airs on Showtime before going into reruns on other stations. I have set this story between the second and third season, since I have yet to see a third season episode. (Can't afford a movie channel for just one show, even if it does star my favorite actor!)

As always, I do wish to extend my thanks to many people: Shallan, for all her great help with the military portions of this story (of course, anything I get wrong is my fault!) and with a quick beta job. Sealie, for the use of her terms, 'Weardian' and 'Witan', which she introduced in her great TS/Poltergist:The Legacy story, Our Unconquerable Souls. She was also great source for the Celtic/Gaelic portions of the story. Susan, for beta'ing. Zadra, for keeping me on track with the SG-1 trivia. Malu, for a great betaing job (even more impressive when you consider English is her second language) and who is the best cheerleader a writer could have. And of course Wolfpup, who both keeps my grammar in line and posts my stories!

I must apologize to all my fans out there. I never expected to take so long with this story. The concept and many of the scenes have been floating in my mind since rumors of how The Sentinel would end its run began circulating last March, over a year ago now. However, I had major writer's burnout from my last Roachia story(Under the Cover of Darkness), and it took a while for me to get back into the groove again. Also, my numerous duties with Black Panther Productions' Cascade Virtual Tales took up much more of my time than I expected. Please go check out our 5th TS Virtual season there are many wonderful stories by very talented writers, edited by great people, mixed with truly creative commercials, all artistically organized and presented on our website. I am quite proud of the entire season and the crew who made it possible.

Please send any comments to spacecloud@juno.com

Enjoy the ride.

Disclaimer: Most of characters are not mine. I'm borrowing them out of deep reverence, affection and respect. I will accept only personal fulfillment, and no monetary gain. If you do sue, you will not get much and I will send over my Black Lab mix, who will stare at you pathetically for hours and probably con you out of all your food.

Please do not reproduce, copy, or otherwise use any part of this story without permission from the author.

Rated PG-13, mostly for language. Jack honestly speaks that way



Prologue

Colonel Jack O'Neill was never sure what to expect when stepping out of a stargate. The system that provided travel to anywhere in the galaxy allowed for all sorts of scenarios. It could be a forest or a desert, inhabited or desolate, peaceful or in the middle of a battle. The natives could be friendly, could be suspicious, could want to kill them on sight. But they needed to find ways to combat the alien Goa'uld before they tried to enslave Earth again, so it was a necessary risk. It certainly made life interesting though.

As usual, the momentum from traveling through the gate propelled O'Neill out of the ring of fluid light and a few steps onto the stone platform. He was already scoping out the terrain as the rest of his team, SG-1, arrived out of the gate. While Captain Samantha Carter and Teal'c also looked for possible danger in the surrounding forest, their archeologist, Dr. Daniel Jackson, searched for any signs of artifacts.

"Colonel O'Neill!" Teal'c pointed at a rustle in the brush.

It was gone almost before Jack could turn to look. "What was that?"

"It was two human children," Teal'c replied.

"Then I guess we don't have to worry about announcing ourselves," O'Neill sighed.

"This is so neat," Daniel exclaimed, paying no attention to his colleagues. He was down on his knees, examining the engraved designs in the nearby stones.

"What did you find?" Carter asked as she knelt next to him.

"Doesn't this look like a wolf to you?" Daniel pointed. "And this writing looks like q-Celtic, possibly Goidelic."

"Can you read it?" O'Neill interrupted, still scanning the surrounding forest for their welcoming committee.

"I'm not sure how close this is to the modern Gaelic I know, but I think it says..."

"O'Neill!" Teal'c called out.

Ten husky men, dressed in a mix of leather and homespun clothing, stepped out from the woods carrying weapons. "Kids," O'Neill softly called to the rest of his team, "Recess is over. I suggest you start paying attention." Carter and Jackson slowly stood up.

A tall man leading the group stared at each member of the team. He paused briefly on Carter, puzzled. Then he turned to point at Teal'c, calling out something. Instantly, all the weapons were trained on the Jaffa, ends glowing eerily similar to the Jaffa's staffs.

Eyes wide, Daniel jumped in front of Teal'c, jabbering in a language O'Neill didn't understand. The rest of SG-1 held their breaths as the natives first looked puzzled, then slowly lowered their weapons. A shorter man, brown hair mixed with gray, stepped out and asked Daniel a question, or at least what sounded like a question to O'Neill. Daniel waved his hands and continued to converse in the foreign language, pointing at Teal'c, then O'Neill and Carter.

Finally, the conversation slowed, and Daniel turned back to his team. "Well, I think I took care of that problem."

"WHAT problem?" O'Neill asked, slightly miffed since he didn't have a clue what was going on.

"They were ready to kill Teal'c since he's a Jaffa, but I think I convinced them that he's a GOOD Jaffa."

O'Neill shook his head. "We really need to get you a sign, Teal'c."

"Sign?" the Jaffa asked, confused.

"The one that proclaims you're with us and not the Goa'uld," O'Neill explained. Then he turned back to Daniel. "I take it you understand them?"

"Well, I think their language does stem from q-Celtic, which is what Gaelic stems from, but of course it has followed a different path than Earth's modern Gaelic, so there are some differences..."

"Daniel," O'Neill growled impatiently. He slowly enunciated, "Can you understand them?"

Daniel pushed his glasses back to the bridge of his nose. "I can't say I understood everything their wise man said, but I think I caught most of it."

"How did they know that we weren't Jaffa or Goa'uld?" Carter asked, watching the natives talking among themselves.

"Apparently, their Weardian could smell the infant Goa'uld inside Teal'c."

"The who could smell what?" O'Neill asked, startled.

Before Daniel could answer, the older native walked forward and spoke again. Daniel quickly replied, then turned to O'Neill. "Jack, the wise man wishes to offer the hospitality of his village and to speak with the warrior leader from the old world."

O'Neill gave the man what he hoped was a friendly smile. "I don't like this, Danny." He wasn't sure he trusted this group enough to leave the relative safety of the gate.

"Yeah, but how else are we going to find out how they could smell Teal'c's Goa'uld?"

Conceding the point with a nod, O'Neill shifted his weapon onto his shoulder. "Then tell him we'd be honored."


Half an hour later, O'Neill found himself in a stone house, sitting on a padded wooden chair while facing a group of elders with a mug of something like beer in his hand. Daniel was busy translating the introductions. After carefully pronouncing the names of Jack and the rest of the team and their role, he then translated for Jack. "This is their chieftain, Erwyn." Jack nodded to the huge man Daniel indicated. "His elder/advisor, Brit." Brit was a tiny, wrinkled woman comfortably seated next to the fireplace. Yet O'Neill noticed her eyes were bright and alert. "The wise one, Botolf," Jack nodded to the man they had met before. "And his weardian, Marston."

Jack nodded to the man who had earlier pointed out Teal'c, carefully asking, "His who?"

Daniel looked puzzled. "I'm not quite sure. It roughly translates into 'guardian'. I get the impression that he's guardian of the entire village, yet Botolf sounds like there's this connection between just the two of them. For that matter, I'm not sure if 'wise one' is the correct translation of Botolf's title of witan, either. It could also be 'guide', but that doesn't make much sense."

Mentally shrugging, O'Neill noticed the puzzled looks exchanged between the leaders. "We'll worry about that later. I think the natives are getting restless."

Two hours later, Daniel had provided a quick background of the Earth's history with the Goa'uld, then translated the planet's history for Jack. "They were brought here long ago from the old world to this place by the ones whose eyes glow. While they were forced to work in the Glowing Eye's mines for several generations as slaves, the warrior blood had not been driven from them. The gods blessed them when a weardian was born, whose special talents stretched past their captors and allowed him and his witan to form a plan. Together with the clans, they drove out the Glowing Eyes and their pouched ones, using weapons created by their craftmen in secret from scavenged Jaffa's staffs. Since then, the tribes have thrived on the land and have slowly gained knowledge and technology."

"How many humans are on this planet?" Carter asked.

After several minutes of conversation, Daniel translated, "Erwyn says nearly a thousand villages are scattered around, with between a hundred up to a thousand in each." The rest of the team looked impressed for a moment.

"Do they routinely guard the gate?" O'Neill asked.

"Yes. It's tradition that at least one Weardian and Witan pair stays close to the gate, to protect this world and send out an alarm if fighting men are required."

"Weirdos and Witless?" Jack questioned.

Carter shot the Colonel an outraged look while Daniel rolled his eyes and corrected, "Weardians and Witans. Apparently, they come in pairs."

"I want more information on these," Jack paused, trying to make sure he had the pronunciation right. "Weardians and Witans."

Daniel conversed with Botolf for quite a while before translating. "Okay, we're really hitting the language barrier here, but I think I have it now. Apparently, Weardians are gifted at birth with all five senses heightened well beyond a normal person's. That was how Marston could pick out Teal'c. He could smell the infant Goa'uld inside him. He even could tell that Carter had been 'touched' by one, but is not now a Goa'uld."

O'Neill was surprised at the information. "You mean, like a bloodhound?" Daniel nodded. "And all the rest of his senses are heightened too? Like seeing farther, hearing, taste, the whole nine yards?" Daniel nodded again. Jack paused a moment in thought. "Okay, then, what does the Witan do?"

"Again, I'm not sure I fully understand it, but Botolf says that his role is to ground the Weardian. Apparently, Weardians can become 'lost' if they focus too much on one sense. The Witan also protects the Weardian while the Weardian protects the village." Daniel paused, listening to Botolf some more. "But Botolf says he is confused. These abilities are said to have been on the old world as well. He doesn't understand how we could not already know this if we are from there, or why we don't have weardians and witans ourselves."

O'Neill gave the man a sad smile. "Tell him that we on Earth are far removed from our roots. We have lost much of the ancient knowledge." Then a thought struck him. "Daniel, do you think there just might be some of these 'Weardians' running around Earth now? They could be a big help if they could also smell out Goa'ulds."

Daniel turned thoughtful for a moment. "You know, there could be. It's well known that some people have a better sense of smell or taste than other people. I could research the topic when we get back."

"Sounds like a plan. Now let's continue to get to know our new allies, shall we?"


Three weeks later, Cascade, WA

For the first time since the reporters had mobbed Jim's truck outside the loft, Blair Sandburg felt like his life was falling back into place. Stepping into his Volvo after dropping his mother off at the airport, he reflected on the changes in the past twenty-four hours.

After the University had predictably dumped him when he announced that his Sentinel research was a hoax, Blair had figured Captain Simon Banks and the Cascade PD would do the same. Without the cover of doing research, there was no reason for Blair to continue being an 'observer'. He had been willing to accept it. If that was the price he had to pay for not protecting his sentinel's secret better, so be it. Anything was worth protecting Jim Ellison's life and allowing the special man to use his senses without feeling like 'a freak'. However, that didn't mean the rejection from the two most important institutions of his life didn't hurt.

Yet the men and women of Major Crimes had surprised him. When he had gone there to clear out his stuff, they had gathered to meet him. Even Simon, who really should have still been in the hospital, was there. Even more surprising was to find his mother, Naomi, with them, her smile just as bright as the others. They presented him a badge, his own badge, saying that he could become a detective as soon as he completed the Academy and weapons training. To have Simon, Megan, Taggart, Brown, Rafe, and all the others there smiling at him was an image Blair wanted to keep for the rest of his life. He could still feel the warm glow of belonging. But the best part was that, in spite of everything, Jim still wanted him as a partner.

While he still had a lot of 'processing' to do over the loss of his Ph.D., not to mention the thought of carrying a gun, Blair could sense this was the right path. Now he could devote all his time to guarding his sentinel's back instead of only when the University didn't required him. Jim's abilities were vital in protecting their city and Blair was eager to do his part in keeping their 'tribe' safe.

Pulling into his parking space behind the building where he lived, Blair turned off the engine then stepped out. He twisted around to pull back the seat. Grabbing a box of files from his office, he placed the folder of forms he needed to fill out for his new job on top. Blair then slammed the door of his Volvo shut with a kick and began hauling his first load to the loft. He was too busy trying to see where he was going to notice the three men in suits step out of a dark van behind him.

"Mr. Sandburg!"

Blair turned, barely able to see over the box in his hands. "Yes?"

"We'd like to have a word with you."

Noticing the tall men who looked like they had just stepped out of the movie 'Men in Black', Blair felt the hair rise on the back of his neck. Every paranoid instinct his mother had ingrained in him about the government flooded his mind. "What about?"

"Your future," the middle one replied.

"My immediate future consists of carrying this box up to my place." Blair turned towards the stairs. "After that, it's none of your concern."

"What if we told you that sentinels do exist in modern times?"

Fear now joined the paranoia churning in his stomach. Schooling his face, he took a deep breath and turned back. "I have already told Cascade and the world that my work was fraudulent."

"What if we helped you find real sentinels to continue your work?"

Blair felt his blood run cold. Oh man, do they know Jim's the real thing? "I'm sorry, I can't help you."

"But Mr. Sandburg, we can offer you a job, a salary. Do you honestly think anyone will hire you after this?"

"I've already had job offers this week," Blair informed them coldly. Thank you, Phoenix and Major Crimes. "Jobs that are much more appealing than working for black suits. So, if you'll excuse me, this box is getting heavy." Blair turned around and marched forcefully towards his building, ignoring the calls of 'Mr. Sandburg' behind him. Practically holding his breath, he didn't really breathe until he was in the elevator. Once to his floor, he nearly ran to the door, keys held precariously in his right hand against the box. It wasn't until he had awkwardly opened it, rushed in, then slammed and locked the door behind him, that Blair felt even remotely safe.

Still cold from the fear surging through his blood, he took another deep breath. Oh God, the government is on to us. Now what am I going to do? His guide instinct kicked in. Before he even understood his actions, Blair found the loft phone in his hand, ringing his sentinel's cell.

"Ellison," the voice at the other end barked.

"Jim," Blair answered, struggling to keep his voice from cracking. "I think we're in trouble."

At his desk in the Major Crime bullpen, Jim immediately straightened. He could almost feel the fear radiating from his friend across the connection. "What's wrong? Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay." Jim was not reassured by the wobbly voice. "I was just met outside the loft by three spooky guys in dark suits and sunglasses."

Jim closed his eyes, trying to maintain his calm against all the fearsome possibilities Blair's words aroused in him. "What did they want?"

"Something about there really being sentinels and offering me a job to help search for them."

"Damn," Jim muttered, rubbing his face as thousands of questions raced through his mind. "What did you say?"

"That I already had job offers and wasn't interested. But they were scary, man. I don't know if they'll let it go or not."

Pausing to steady himself, Jim opened his eyes to spot the picture on his desk. It was of Blair and himself, taken by Blair's half brother at his cabin. Sam. MacGyver, of course! "I think it's time to check out Phoenix."

Blair dropped onto the nearby chair in relief. The Phoenix Foundation was where MacGyver worked. Just the thought of his laid-back father began to calm his nerves. Surely if anyone knew how to handle spooks, it would be the former DXS agent. "Sounds like a real good idea, man."

"Okay," Jim replied, his military training kicking in. "Pack up a few things for a trip, but don't be noticeable about it. Stick with normal routines. I'll contact Mac and be there in an hour."

"No problem," Blair replied. "And Jim? Please hurry."

"See you soon, Chief," Jim promised comfortingly before hanging up the phone.


Unknown to either, the three men sat in the black van listening to the entire conversation. "Hell, Sandburg is running to Arizona," one of them swore.

"Why would he go there?" another asked.

Then a lieutenant colonel leaned out of the shadows. "To cross the border into Mexico, of course! Which means we have to push this project to the next level."


Breathing easier now, Blair started glancing around the loft in search of where to start packing. Okay, I need a couple of changes of clothes, money... Suddenly, Blair spun around. Damn, I left my backpack with my wallet in the car! I can't go anywhere without it! Pushing back his fear, Blair forced himself to leave the safety of the loft. As he trotted back down the stairs to the street, he sorted out the logic. Jim said to act normal, and it would really look weird if I DIDN'T get the rest of my boxes.

Even so, the young guide carefully searched the area on the other side of the door. Not seeing the van or the men, he stepped outside and walked as casually as he could towards his Volvo. Scooping up his backpack and another box, Blair turned as the van, side door open, screeched to a halt in front of him. A sudden shove pushed him forcefully inside. Hitting his head against one of the metal braces for the seats, Blair felt his world go black.


Four hours later

MacGyver paused at the door of the safe house and took a deep breath. He had to be calm so he could think. His son's life might depend upon it. Releasing the breath, his hand rose to knock.

A muffled voice asked, "Who's there?"

"MacGyver."

The door opened to reveal the worried face of Detective Joel Taggart. Once inside, Joel offered, "I'm sorry, Mac. We had no idea Blair would become a target." Mac studied his friend's large, dark face for a moment, uncertain. Joel quickly assured him. "I know Blair too well to think his research is fiction, and the news reports explain just too many things I've seen Jim do. In any case, I'm behind them 100 percent."

"Thanks." Mac had believed that Blair's true friends would see through the media coverage. It heartened him that Joel was one of them. He sighed, then glanced around. "Where's Jim?"

"This way."

Mac followed Joel to a small living room. He swiftly spotted Ellison pacing, in spite of a limp. That's right, Blair said Jim had been shot in the leg only days ago by the Iceman. Which is why Banks isn't here. I doubt he'd even be out of the hospital yet.

The cold blue eyes, dark with pain and anxiety, suddenly focused on the new arrival, halting the sentinel's feet. "Mac?"

"Hi, Jim," Mac greeted, walking over and gently laying a hand on Jim's shoulder. "You okay?"

Jim snorted, disgusted with himself. "I'm fine. It's Blair I'm worried about."

Mac could only squeeze his shoulder in response. The cold knot of fear grew tighter in his stomach as he thought about his missing son. Then he shook it off to get back to more practical matters. "Maybe you should sit down and take your weight off that leg."

"My leg is fine."

"Humor me." Mac firmly led Jim to the nearby couch, noticing the relief flooding Joel's face. Apparently, the former bomb squad captain had suggested the same thing. However, it was tougher for the sentinel to ignore a guide, even if it wasn't Blair. Once Jim was seated, Mac quietly asked, "What do you know about these men?"

"Not much," Jim replied tersely, running a hand over his hair. "Just what Blair told me before he disappeared." Jim swiftly relayed the conversation to Mac. "I was there within an hour, only to find the Volvo's passenger door hanging open and Blair nowhere in sight."

MacGyver took another deep breath and released it. "Sounds like the goons didn't like taking 'no' for an answer."

The stressed out sentinel could only shake his head. "I knew from Blair's description they were trouble, but I thought we'd have time to contact you and hopefully be on our way to L.A. before we were missed."

"Since this has 'government' written all over it, we thought it best to keep Jim someplace safe," Joel inserted.

"Agreed," Mac nodded, feeling his frustration grow. He had spent several years of his life working for his government. It angered him to think that same government could have abducted his son off the street. "So the question is, which particular division of the government is responsible for this?"

"We have a friend of Blair's working on that right now," Joel explained.

"I have Pete and Nikki putting out feelers as well," Mac added. "Pete and I still have contacts from our DXS days."

Jim suddenly slammed his fist in the cushion next to his leg. "Why? After that damn press conference, I was hoping we'd at least have some breathing room."

MacGyver could only shake his head. "If we knew who, then we might be able to guess why."

"The thing is, if they believed the previous reports and NOT Blair's press conference, why didn't they go after Jim at the same time or sooner?" Joel asked quietly. The other two men instantly turned their attention to him. "After all, those reports declared Jim as the sentinel. If you were interested in finding sentinels, why not take the one already identified?"

"Maybe that's the problem," Mac replied thoughtfully. "They did believe the press conference. However, Blair would still be the only person who knows anything about sentinels."

Jim dropped his aching head into his hands. He had been half hoping someone would try to abduct him, providing a link to his missing guide. But if the people behind this didn't believe Jim was a sentinel, Sandburg was unlikely to volunteer the information. That meant his guide was on his own at the mercy of who knew who.

Another knock on the door brought Jim's head up. He focused his hearing to follow Taggart's walk back to the door and listened to the exchange. Then he closed his eyes. "Megan's here with Jack Kelso."

Before Mac could ask how Jim knew Kelso, the dark blond man with glasses entered the room, Inspector Megan Connor a step behind his motorized wheelchair. MacGyver absently noticed the Inspector's white sling. The Iceman had caused a lot of damage before his demise.

Then Kelso recognized him. "MacGyver! It has been a long time, old friend."

"Yes, it has," MacGyver returned, shaking Kelso's hand. Seeing Jim's puzzled face, Mac added, "At least fifteen years."

Jack simply shook his head. "Time flies. Though I wish we were meeting under different circumstances. At first, I couldn't believe it when Blair told me you were his father. Then I wondered how come I never put it together myself." His faced turned serious. "I will do everything I can to help you get him back."

"Any ideas?" Jim asked. He suspected the former CIA operative, now a University teacher, had been working frenetically since his call. Kelso had a soft spot for Blair.

"Yes, though I still am amazed at where it all leads." Jack rolled over to the kitchen table, soon joined by Mac and the members of Major Crimes. "Now, most of what I have so far is whispers and rumors, but the trail definitely seems to lead to one place." Setting his laptop on the table, Jack turned it on and began to type. "MacGyver, have you ever heard of the Stargate Project?"

Mac shook his head. "No."

"I'm not surprised. I've heard only the barest whispers of it and not even the faintest hints as to what it's about. It has even tighter security than the Manhattan Project. However, I have discovered that this project has recently shown interest in Blair's graduate work, even before the media blitz." Kelso shot Jim a covert glance. His gut said that Blair's press conference denouncing his work was full of more B.S. than a stockyard, but that could only mean the man next to him WAS a sentinel. Which meant Ellison was just as much at risk as Sandburg.

"Before?" Megan questioned. "But how would they know about Sandy's research before the first press release?"

"There was a former agent who had been keeping an eye on me since Peru and following Blair's career since his first undergraduate paper on sentinels," Jim replied worriedly.

"Brackett," Kelso confirmed. "That particular rat was the first one I checked, but he's still in his cage. However, the activity has only been in the last few weeks. All I could gleam was that the interested party is a Dr. Daniel Jackson and after much digging, I found him heavily connected to Stargate."

"Who is Daniel Jackson?" Jim frowned.

"An archeologist and Egyptologist. Supposedly he was once highly regarded in translating ancient inscriptions. Then he himself was denounced by his colleagues due to his interpretation of his findings."

"Wait a minute," Mac interrupted thoughtfully. "Wasn't he the one who, oh about four, five years ago, claimed that the pyramids were much older and perhaps made by someone other than the Egyptians?"

Kelso nodded. "That's the one."

"Why would someone say that?" Jim asked, puzzled.

"Actually, geological evidence does point to some of the pyramids being much older than previously thought," MacGyver explained. "But most Egyptologists refuse to accept it. I think Jackson tried to bring in some supporting evidence, but his work was basically laughed at."

"He pretty much disappeared in disgrace afterwards," Kelso added. "Though now it looks like he's working for the government."

"Like someone might expect Sandy to do now," Megan muttered to herself.

"What do Egyptian pyramids have to do with Blair's sentinel work?" Taggart asked in confusion.

Jack took off his glasses a moment to rub his eyes. "That's the question. As far as I can tell, not one single thing."

For a moment, Mac wondered if some of the ancient writings had discussed sentinels. Then he mentally filed the information away, intending to forward it on to Nikki and have her do some digging. "Where is the Stargate project located? D.C.?"

"No, it's actually in one of the ultra top secret bunkers in Colorado."

Mac paused a moment in surprise. No way. It can't be that easy. "Which one?"

Jack brought up a map, pointing at the location with the tip of his finger. "That one, near Cheyenne Mountain."

A huge smile stretched across Mac's face. Jim instantly noticed. "What?"

"I worked on the security for that one." Now Mac had everyone's attention.

"Do you think you could get me in?" Jim asked, hope finally warming his eyes.

"Ellison, you're still hurt," Mac lightly reminded him.

"Yeah, but if YOU are going in there, so am I. They have Blair."

Blue eyes locked onto brown. Seeing the determination, MacGyver could only concede to the sentinel's wishes. "Alright, we'll go in together. But first, we have some plans to make."

Taggart, Connor and Kelso leaned closer, willing to do anything to help get Blair back.


Jackson's work room, Stargate Command Center, Colorado

O'Neill paused in the doorway, watching the archeologist work for a moment. It was good to watch Daniel get so involved with this particular project. The last two years had been difficult on him with his beloved wife a host for a Goa'uld. Yet the young man still was able to pour himself into these projects, hoping that one day he would make the discovery that would restore Sha're to him.

Stepping into the room, O'Neill cleared his throat. Daniel glanced up. "Oh hi, Jack."

"How's it going, Danny?" O'Neill asked, indicating the laptop with piles of papers spread around it.

"Things are getting interesting," Daniel replied, sitting up straighter. "You know that one Master's thesis I found based on Burton's Sentinel work?" Jack nodded, leaning a hip against the desk as he waited to see where his friend was going. "Everything in it corresponds to what I've learned from Botolf and Marston. However, just this past week Sandburg denounced his Doctorate work on the same subject as fraudulent."

"What?" Jack exclaimed, straightening up.

Daniel nodded excitedly. "There had been earlier press releases saying that Sandburg had written a potential best-seller on a sentinel who was supposed to be a supercop in Cascade, WA. There wasn't much in the reports, but what there was also fit with what I've learned. But just a couple of days ago, Sandburg said he had made it up due to not finding a sentinel to study and the pressure of having to publish something."

"So Sandburg's a fraud?"

"Maybe in his doctorate work. Strangely enough, it seems that Sandburg hadn't even turned it in to his committee before the publicity, which is not how it's normally done. Thus, I haven't been able to see a copy of it. However, he's still the closest to an expert we have on Earth, and it sounds like the reason he was forced to make up his results was due to not being able to find a sentinel."

"So if he had a sentinel to study, he would be able to help us," Jack concluded. He looked down into his friend's eyes. "Do you think this Sandburg would work for us?"

Daniel shrugged his shoulders. "After this his name is pretty much mud in the academic circles. No one is going to give him any more money to search for sentinels, or to do much of anything else for that matter. I know how that feels." Daniel paused, thinking back to his own disaster and how his life had changed afterwards.

"So he'll jump at the chance to work on this subject, even if he can't publish the results?" Jack suggested softly, seeing the bittersweet memories in Daniel's face.

"Maybe, maybe not. It's hard to know how he'd feel about working for the government. There are some academics who think any secret government project is evil and should be avoided at all costs."

"Think you could talk him into it like Katherine did with you?" Jack's smile slowly crossed his face as he saw Daniel's eager eyes.

Daniel grinned back. "I'd like to give it a try."

Jack clapped a hand on his shoulder. "Then let's get you to Cascade."

"Hey, you guys," Sam Carter announced from the doorway, "have you heard the news?"

"What?" Jack asked.

"That possible sentinel expert, Blair Sandburg, is here. The General wants us up in the conference room in ten minutes to meet him."

Jack and Daniel exchanged surprised looks. "That was easy," Daniel commented.

"Too easy," Jack replied with a frown.


Infirmary, Stargate Command Center, Colorado

Blair slowly awoke, sick, groggy and nursing a throbbing headache. Somehow sensing he was in a strange place, he cautiously attempted to sit up. A small hand curved around his elbow. "Easy there," the soft female voice admonished. "Let me help you."

Blinking, Blair found himself staring into the face of a woman with soft brown hair and a gentle smile. "Thank you," he hoarsely whispered through his dry throat.

"Would you like some water?" she asked.

Blair started to nod, but thought better of it. "Sure." She gently held a cup for him. He carefully took a sip of the water, hazily remembering coming to, only to have a needle stuck into his arm. Not tasting anything foreign, he drank more, wishing again for Jim's heightened senses. Hopefully, they've drugged me enough today. Then a tablet appeared in the woman's hand. "How about taking this for that headache I suspect you have."

With a faint smile, Blair reluctantly took the pill. It certainly looked like ibuprofen. While he didn't like modern medicine, he couldn't think at his normal level with his head hurting. He knew he'd need every scrap of his intelligence to get himself out of the trouble he was in.

As he drank more water, she began asking the standard questions to ensure he wasn't suffering from a concussion. Satisfied with his answers, she decided, "All right, you sound like you'll live. Why don't you let me take care of that," pointing to his eyebrow, "then we can see about getting you a bed."

"Thank you..." Blair paused.

"Dr. Janet Frasier," she filled in.

"Thank you, Dr. Frasier."

As the attractive doctor worked on the gash above his eye, Blair for once didn't even consider asking if she was available. Instead, he carefully studied his surroundings. He knew he wasn't in Cascade anymore. While the sterile room with its gleaming furnishing didn't look too different from other hospital ERs, it still felt different, more regimented and plain. There was also a sense of being closed off, similar to the prison he briefly worked at while Jim was undercover. Blair carefully analyzed the feeling. There were no windows as far as he could see, so perhaps that was it. Wherever he was, Blair suspected that escaping would be difficult. That didn't mean he wasn't going to try at the first opportunity, though.

"There," Dr. Frasier announced to her new patient. "How's your headache?" She again glanced into his eyes, checking for any signs of concussion. Instead, mistrust was the main thing she saw. Janet again forced back her anger. She had heard just enough to suspect the young anthropologist had been brought to the base by force. The situation made her furious, but she held her tongue. More than likely, Col. O'Neill would be yelling enough for all of them once he found out.

"It's okay. Thank you," Blair replied softly, the politeness Naomi had instilled in him still in force. He glanced around the room again. Before he could ask what would happen next, a man in a US Air Force uniform entered.

"Mr. Sandburg, thank you for coming."

Janet did a double take at the heated glare the previously mild mannered man gave the officer. "Strange. For some reason, I don't remember accepting the invitation."

"This is a matter of National Security."

"Yeah, that's probably what they told the Russian dissidents just before shipping them off to Siberia," Blair replied sarcastically. Janet gave him a sharp look. While she didn't like Colonel Maybourne, she rarely heard anyone backtalk a high ranking officer, unless it was Col. O'Neill. But O'Neill had the clout to do it.

However, civilian Blair Sandburg had no idea what the officer's rank was, nor did he care. He simply intended to be as difficult as possible until they gave up and took him back to Cascade. Preferably before Jim gets the bright idea to rescue me and bring more attention to himself. Oh well, I'm not Naomi Sandburg's son for nothing.

"Well, Mr. Sandburg," the officer practically sneered, "you WILL be going to a briefing in five minutes and you WILL listen."

A short bark of laughter burst out of Blair, causing him to wince slightly from his headache. "Trust me, after teaching Anthropology 101, I KNOW you can't make anyone listen if they don't want to. So you might as well give it up now."

"Besides," Janet Frasier broke in, "Mr. Sandburg really should rest."

"He can rest later."

Janet wasn't liking this at all. "Colonel..."

"Let's go." Maybourne waved his hand toward the door where four guards waited to escort Blair.

Blair took a deep breath, drawing his inner strength around him like a cloak. He had a feeling he was going to need it.


General's briefing room

Daniel looked up eagerly when the door opened, only to frown when he noticed the guards surrounding the long-haired man in jeans and a flannel shirt. "What's going on here?"

Maybourne ignored him. "General, this is the sentinel expert, Mr. Blair Sandburg."

"Excuse me," Daniel insisted. The anger brewing in the eyes of the expert worried him. "Why is Mr. Sandburg under guard?"

"I think Dr. Jackson has asked a very good question, Colonel Maybourne," General Hammond commented. "Why is this young man under guard?"

Blair glanced at the huge man with rows of ribbons across his chest, then continued to study the rest of the room around him. When his eyes landed on a lanky blond at the table dressed in fatigues, his jaw nearly dropped open. Mac? How did MacGyver get here so quick?

The brown eyes, familiar yet different, studied him a moment. Then the man straightened up. "What happened to him?" he growled dangerously, waving at the butterfly bandage on Blair's eyebrow.

Struggling to maintain his composure, Blair returned his focus on the general. Don't want to give anything away and blow Mac's cover.

"Mr. Sandburg hasn't been very cooperative," the colonel answered. "We had to use some persuasion."

Anger flared in spite of Blair's efforts to remain calm. "So that's what you call abduction now-a-days?"

"Abduction!" O'Neill shot up from his chair. "What in the Hell did you do, Maybourne?"

Blair stole a surprised glance at the man. While admittedly he hadn't known Mac all that long, he could have sworn heated outbursts weren't his style, even if he was undercover.

"We had to move fast."

"But I was going to go to Cascade to give him a job offer," Daniel inserted, confused.

"We already gave him a job offer," Maybourne announced smugly.

"Which I turned down since I've accepted another," Blair replied. "Speaking of Cascade, may I go back home now?"

The Colonel ignored him. "General, Mr. Sandburg's knowledge is essential for this project."

"So that justifies kidnapping, Maybourne?" O'Neill questioned angrily. "Instead of letting Jackson persuade him, you jump in and turn the expert against us from the very start?"

"Are you questioning my methods, Colonel O'Neill?"

O'Neill was now in the other man's face. "Hell, yes, I'm questioning your methods."

Blair blinked. That's sounds more like Jim than Mac.

"Just because you've been leading SG-1 for two years doesn't mean you have any say outside this facility," Maybourne blustered.

"It does when you ignore the perfect man for the job just to advance your career, then screw it up in the process!" O'Neill yelled back.

Two years? How could Mac be on some secret undercover assignment for two years without me knowing it? Admittedly, I don't know everything, but he certainly couldn't have kept that haircut secret. It can't be Mac. With that realization, disappointment sank Blair's hopes to the floor.

"It's up to you to make him work out." Maybourne waved his hand in Blair's direction. "I just bring them in."

"Then you can take me back," Blair growled, anger now rising in place of the disappointment. "In fact, just drop me off in front of my car where you picked me up."

"Please, let's calm down here people," General Hammond soothed. "Let's work out a solution."

"I don't understand the problem anyway," Maybourne continued. "Nobody'll miss him. He's just a discredited bastard son of a new age flower child. Hell, she was too high to even know who his father was."

That did it. Registering the insult to Naomi, Blair's temper erupted. His fist flew, landing a clean blow to Maybourne's nose. Then running on instinct, he ducked under the grabs by the guards. Dodging between them, he made a break for the hall. Unfortunately, he had only taken a couple of steps before running into a pole. Then the pole latched onto his shoulders. Tilting his head up, Blair found himself staring into the dark face of a man, a gold emblem on his forehead.

"O'Neill," Teal'c called out over Blair's shoulder to his commander. "Do you need this person?"

"Yeah," O'Neill replied with a chuckle.

"Great," Blair grumbled as he was grabbed from behind. "You'd think after all my time around Major Crimes I'd know how to dodge human mountains."

"Take him to a holding cell until we can get a handle on this situation," General Hammond ordered, not pleased.

In the corner, O'Neill leaned against the table next to Daniel and Sam, watching the expert being led away. The respect in his eyes tempered the smirk on his face. "You know, I think I've finally found a scientist I could actually like."

Daniel and Sam exchanged glances. They had both been targets of Jack's disdain for scientists.


Next morning, pre-dawn, Denver, CO

"I still wish I could be there, Dad." The frustration vibrated through the voice over the satellite link.

MacGyver sighed, rubbing his nose. "I know, Sam. But this is the best way to handle it."

A matching sigh filtered over the phone line. "I know. Just tell Blair I back him no matter what. And tell..." Mac's eyes opened as he heard his son's voice crack. "...tell Jim that, whatever happens, I'll keep my promise."

"Promise?" Mac gently prodded.

"Jim'll know. Love ya, Dad."

"Love you too, and stay safe." Mac hung up the phone, then glanced over as Jim left the bathroom, towel-drying his hair. "Sam said to tell you he'll keep his promise?" Mac let the question hang in the air, hoping for enlightenment.

Blue eyes, filled with worry, glanced up. "That's between Sam and I. Right now, I'd just like to get Blair out and safe so Sam doesn't have to keep it."

Knowing a losing battle when he saw it, Mac dropped the issue as the sentinel limped over to his duffel. "How's the leg?"

"Sore, but good to go." Pulling on a T-shirt, Jim asked, "What are we going to do after we get Blair out? After everything he's been through, I'd hate to make him go into hiding. Blair would go nuts with that kind of secrecy."

"Nikki and Pete are working on that now." Mac stretched, working out some kinks. "Once we have Blair, we'll be holding most of the cards. I have a temporary place to stash you both while Phoenix makes a deal." Mac paused a moment. "How do you feel about going into hiding?"

Jim shook his head. "I knew it could come down to this. Hell, I even started making plans when word of Blair's diss hit the media. I just..." Jim took a deep breath and stared at the ceiling. Softly, he continued, "I don't know if I could leave Cascade permanently. It's hard to explain, but even now something's tugging at me. It's not as strong as the need to get Blair back, but it's there. Whatever it is, it wants me in Cascade." Jim turned to Mac and shrugged. "Maybe Blair can figure it out."

Mac leaned back in the lounge chair thoughtfully. "Perhaps your instincts consider Cascade your territory, so that's why you're drawn to it." After a moment of thought, Mac shelved the idea with a shrug. "In any case, I'm hoping we can wrap this up quick. I want both you and Blair to be able to sort out your lives without intervention from someone else."


Holding cell, Stargate Command Center

Blair sat cross-legged on a bunk, staring at the dull wall. Man, not a bright color in sight. Definitely a military operation. Rubbing his eyes, he reflected on the previous hours.

When he had first been shoved roughly into the cement cell, the young man had been furious. He had paced the short length, making savage turns at each end. But as time passed, his temper cooled. His mind back in control, Blair had investigated every nook and cranny of the room, searching for a way out. All he found was dust and a camera watching his every move. After flipping the bird at the camera, Blair had settled on the lowest bunk to wait. Apparently fate had decided to give him some time to process recent events.

The long hours of introspection had led to some interesting revelations. The most surprising was that, even if given the chance, he didn't want to go back to Rainier. Thinking over the last few days, his anger towards that institution had grown by leaps and bounds. His first warning should have been the incident over Brad Ventriss. That they would be willing to dump him simply because he refused to let a rich student get away with cheating had shaken his confidence in the high standards of academia. But he had been so close to obtaining his Ph.D. he had ignored the tremor, thinking he could get out of there before the 'big one' struck. He should have known he wouldn't be so lucky.

Instead, the Dean went along with Syd the slimy publisher and announced his dissertation to the world without his permission. Hell, they announced it before he had even handed the paper in to his committee, let alone had the chance to defend it. That, he now realized, had been totally against any school policy he had ever heard of, but apparently due process disappeared where he was concerned. The Dean had only thought of the good publicity she could obtain from his research and Nobel Prize nomination. She'd never given a thought about how it might affect the student. She and the university had shoved him into a corner where his only true options were going along or committing professional suicide. It wasn't surprising that they would toss him out like trash when he took the second option. They never cared about him or his teaching or his research. They only wanted him to serve their image and egos. After devoting so much of his time and energy to Rainier, it angered him to be betrayed by them.

Yet in a flash of honesty, Blair had to admit to himself that he was also partly to blame. He should have changed dissertation topics after Lee Brackett. The whole incident should have been a warning of the possible consequences to his sentinel if word of his abilities were made known. Then Jim's reaction to reading the intro should have made him think twice, even though Jim had backed down later and given him the go ahead. MacGyver had specifically warned him that release of Jim's name could start a chain reaction of events that was impossible to foresee or control. Blair had just been too caught up in his work to really think it through.

Even the incident with Alex a year ago should have shaken him from his obsession but didn't. Looking back, Blair could see that his all-encompassing devotion to academia and his excitement in finding another test subject had blinded him to the downward spiral his roommate was in. It had taken being kicked out of the loft for him realized that Jim was out of control. Yet by the time of his wake-up call, Jim had been so deep into primal sentinel instincts, Blair couldn't reach him. It continued to haunt him, wondering if he could have stopped the sequence of events that had nearly led to his tragic death had he paid attention to his own sentinel instead of Alex.

Yet even that harsh brush with reality didn't stop him from writing his dissertation on sentinels. He was so focused on the goal, he hadn't really thought of what finishing it would mean to his life and the people around him. Why hadn't he changed topics? Why didn't he see that his dissertation had the power to destroy the sentinel, the very thing he wanted to study and protect? He had been so načve four years ago when he thought he'd just help Jim out for a few months, get his information, write his Ph.D., and leave the sentinel behind. Instead, he had been drawn deeper and deeper into Jim's world, into the drive of the sentinel to protect his people from the predators that stalked the tribe. Blair had become the partner Burton had hinted at in his monograph. The one who guided the sentinel, guarding his back and anchoring him to prevent a zoneout. Blair hadn't been acting like an objective researcher; he had 'gone native'. No wonder his diss had been a disaster. Hell, even Mac had seen it coming and in his gentle fashion had pointed it out to him, but Blair had been too deep into his obsession to heed the warning.

So where did he go from here? It suddenly dawned on Blair that there was only one place he wanted to be. All the time he thought he was preparing to be an anthropologist, he had really been preparing for his true destiny. He was a sentinel's guide, without whom the sentinel could not fully function. His true place was at Jim's side, guarding his back as they protected their people. If it meant that he had to become a cop, that was okay. At least his friends in Major Crimes had backed him when the University kicked him out. If being a cop meant he had to carry a gun, so be it. Blair wouldn't like it, but he would do it to protect Jim and to hold up his end of the sentinel deal. He would even consider cutting his hair if it meant being Jim's partner full time. Just as Jim had been forced to make the choice to be the Sentinel after Incacha's death, now Blair had finally made the choice to be his Guide.

However, he could not be a guide from within some military compound. How would he get out? Did anyone even know where he was? Deep within his soul, he knew Jim would be searching for him. Which led to another concern, that Jim would walk right into these idiots who wanted to find sentinels. Blair didn't want them to get their hands on Jim, too. He could only pray that his father had joined his sentinel and could keep Jim from doing anything too stupid.

Thoughts of Mac brought thoughts of the other man who had looked so much like him. The more Blair thought of the man's actions, the more he realized it couldn't be his even-tempered father. MacGyver would have thrown logic at that colonel, out-maneuvered him mentally. He wouldn't have sworn at him or yelled in his face. That was more like Jim than Mac. Yet Mac didn't have any living family besides Sam and himself, or at least that's what he had said. Surely he would have mentioned a twin brother if he had one. While Naomi might have shunned a family member in the military, Mac had been in 'Nam and didn't make those kind of judgments against people. If he had any other family at all, Mac would have found some way to maintain contact.

So who was this guy? The human pole he'd run into had called him O'Neill. He apparently had the clout to yell at that colonel, so he must be fairly high up in the military ranks. The colonel had mentioned O'Neill had led something called SG-1 for two years. What was SG-1?

Perhaps more importantly, what did it have to do with sentinels? He had been introduced as a sentinel expert which everyone seemed to think they needed. That one guy with the glasses, Dr. Jackson, even mentioned traveling to Cascade to offer him a job. What kind of job did they have to offer him? Why would the military need a discredited anthropologist? Did he really want to know? Though if he knew what they wanted, perhaps he could convince them that he really wasn't what they wanted after all.

A loud 'clunk' of the door lock signaled that someone was coming in. Blair stood up and pulled himself together. He was going to need all his wits to get back home.


Daniel took a deep breath as the guards unlocked the door. Once again, he was being called upon to play peacemaker between the military and a civilian. Yet this time, he felt even more responsible. It was his research that had unwittingly targeted Sandburg. Now it was up to him to not only make peace with the fellow scientist, but to try to convince the man to join forces with them. How he was suppose to do that without revealing anything about the Goa'uld or the danger to earth he did not yet know.

Putting a friendly smile on his face, he entered the small cell. Sandburg stood facing him, neutral blue eyes quietly studying him. In spite of the youthful look and grunge clothes, Daniel could sense the strength in the personality in front of him. Man, this is going to be an even harder sell than I thought. "Hi," Daniel greeted. "I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to talk before. I'm Daniel Jackson."

"Blair Sandburg," the other man replied. He reluctantly took Daniel's offered hand, still trying to decide whether he was friend or foe.

Daniel hoped he could turn the tide soon to 'friend'. "Have they brought you breakfast yet?"

Sandburg lifted an eyebrow. "They haven't given me any food yet."

"What?" Daniel turned to stare pointedly at the guards. "You must be famished by now. I guess I'd better take you to get something to eat."

"Dr. Jackson, the prisoner is supposed to stay here," one of the men put up a token resistance.

"And starve? Do I need to go talk with the general and Colonel O'Neill about this?" Both men immediately shook their heads. They had heard that O'Neill was on a rampage, and neither wished to get in the way of his sharp tongue. They also knew that O'Neill would be there at the first word from the scientist in front of them. Their reaction was noted by the prisoner.

"All right then. Let's go to the mess hall." Daniel led Sandburg down the halls. "The food's okay here. Not terrific, but I've tasted worse. There was one time in Egypt..."

Blair listened with half an ear to the other's story while he studied his surroundings.


Somewhere in the foothills of the Rockies, Colorado

The first rays of sun were just barely touching the horizon with color when MacGyver raised his hand. Ellison halted as he surveyed the dry, rocky terrain around them, broken only by an occasional juniper or patch of sagebrush. As far as Jim could tell, there was no reason to stop here. He turned back to MacGyver, only to find the older man on his knees and pulling his backpack around. Puzzled, Jim watched as Mac swiftly set up his laptop and satellite receiver. He finally decided that Blair's dad must know what he was doing. Jim turned his attention to their surroundings, staying alert while carefully shifting his weight off his aching leg.

Mac took a deep breath before he started to type. He was sincerely praying that Dr. Jill Ludlum hadn't changed his security clearance during the past few years. When a happy beep and a welcoming message scrawled across the screen, Mac couldn't contain his grin. Apparently, his back way into the facility in case of a problem was still in place. He briefly wondered if anyone else knew he still had access. Then he shrugged before typing in several codes and commands. He would deal with any repercussions after he knew Blair was safe.

As Jim stood guard, a soft swooshing slowly penetrated his consciousness. He carefully picked his way to the sound, discovering a huge vent hidden among several boulders. Glancing at Mac, he caught the older man's eye. Mac gave him a self-satisfied smirk. Suddenly, Jim realized the fan inside had slowed down. Mac swiftly packed up and joined him. "How'd you do that?" Jim whispered as he gingerly knelt by the metal grid.

Spinning his Swiss Army knife in his palm as he unwound the screws, Mac softly replied, "It's all computerized. I just needed to send the right command to the right computer." He gave Jim another pleased smile. "I even set it so that the cameras in the guard room are displaying images from yesterday. Not that they ever really pay much attention to these shafts, but I didn't want to take the chance."

"Good idea," Jim replied as he placed the screws under a bush. Then he frowned, laying one hand on the grill, the other on the ground next to it.

"What?" MacGyver softly questioned, also laying a hand on the grill.

"I feel a shaking, like a tremor," Jim explained. His face wrinkled in concentration. "It's very faint, like it's coming from deep underground." He raised his head to meet the other man's eyes. "What on earth do they do down there?"

Mac shrugged. "Whatever Stargate is, I guess. But I don't think there's enough space to test a bomb if that's what you're worried about."

Still frowning, Jim took the last screws and placed them with the others. Then together they lifted the grill and glanced down. Mac pulled back and took a deep breath. He turned to study Ellison. "Do you think you can handle the climb?" An icy stare was his answer. Then Jim gingerly slipped into the shaft. MacGyver simply shook his head over stubborn sentinels and followed him, easing the grill back into place.


Gateroom, Stargate Command Center

Sam Carter was still rubbing the sleep out of her eyes as she joined O'Neill and the General in the gateroom. The rings on the Stargate were in the final stages of clicking into place. "What's going on, sir?" she asked the general respectfully.

"Apparently, Botolf and Marston have decided that today is a good day to take up our offer of a visit," General Hammond replied as he watched the iris inside the center ring open.

"But what about Sandburg?" Carter inquired. "An anthropologist would easily spot something was different just by looking at their clothes."

O'Neill shrugged. "Guess we'll just have to keep them away from Sandburg."

"He should still be in his holding cell," the general commented. The three then stood shoulder to shoulder to greet the Weardian and Witan coming through the gate.

As the two men and their translator, Captain Margie Warren, stepped out of the simmering ring, Botolf took in the tall, dark room. The translator from the first group, Jackson, had explained that the original world had placed their gate deep underground to provide a barrier between any enemy that may come through from the outside world. Personally, he thought the room could use some decoration.

Then he noticed that Marston had not moved. The sentinel had zoned on the sensations of traveling through the gate. Softly muttering a few of his world's swear words, Botolf rubbed his partner's cold arm, talking in his deep, soothing, guide voice. He was barely aware of Carter and O'Neill approaching him.

"Is he okay?" Carter inquired softly, Margie just as softly repeating the words in Gaelic.

Suddenly, Marston inhaled deeply. Botolf carefully supported him as he told the translator, "He will be okay now. The gate travel is hard on a sentinel's gifts." He heard Margie repeat the words in the other tongue while Marston pulled himself together. "I am sorry, my brother-friend," he whispered softly. "I should not have dragged you here."

Marston gave him a reassuring smile. "The Gods lead you here. Where you go, I go, brother- friend." The two men nodded to each other. Their partnership spanned nearly three decades, their bond so strong they almost didn't need words to communicate. They stood together to meet their hosts.


Mess hall, Stargate Command Center

Blair hadn't realized how hungry he was until he sat down with the plate of pancakes in front of him. While his all-natural, ultra light version was much better, these still tasted good. Man, now I know why Jim doesn't mind eating at Wonderburger. It probably isn't too different from Army food.

Daniel wrapped his hands around his coffee. "I am truly sorry you've been treated this way," he softly apologized. "If I had known you didn't get dinner last night, I would have brought you a tray myself."

Blair lifted an eyebrow as he swallowed. "They would have let you do that?"

Daniel blinked, then nodded as he shifted in his chair. "Sure. I work here. I'm not a prisoner."

"Must be nice," Blair commented wryly as he shot pointed looks at his guards. He dipped his head as he speared another piece of pancake.

"Honest, you weren't suppose to be taken like that," Daniel explained, pushing his glasses back up his nose. "I had planned to talk with you in Cascade about accepting a job here. Maybourne's just a jerk who jumped the gun. I think Jack's still chewing him out."

"Jack?"

"Colonel Jack O'Neill. He leads my unit. Trust me, his bite is almost as good as his bark. He was helping me set up my trip to Cascade."

Blair tucked that piece of information away to check out later with his father. Then he pinned Daniel with his serious blue eyes. "And after I had turned your offer down, would he have sent Maybourne in?"

"No, of course not," Daniel denied vehemently. "But are you so sure you would have turned me down? I know what it's like to have all your grants pulled. What would you have done?"

"I honestly do have two job offers," Blair replied, waving his fork in the air. After taking a sip of coffee, he continued, "From the place I had been working as a consultant and at my Dad's facility."

Daniel leaned forward, hoping he had the winning shot. "Yeah, but at either place, will you have the chance to actually work with sentinels?"

You have no idea. Blair let his hair cover his face, concentrating on soaking up more syrup with the pancake while he composed himself. Then he quietly stated, "I'm tired of the academic ivory tower with its walls of gray. I want to be out in the real world making a difference."

"You would be making a difference," Daniel argued. "I know it doesn't look like it, but there is very important work being done here." Like protecting Earth from hostile aliens with glowing eyes who have already tried to invade us and want to use us as hosts and slaves. "You'd be working with a team, seeing places you've never seen before, helping people."

"And if I wanted to join the Peace Corp, I'd have called my Uncle Obie." Blair shook his head. "I'm already doing important work with a team helping people. And, amazingly enough, they still believe in me and want me to continue working with them. There is nothing else I want to do."

Daniel finally saw the determination in the other's eyes and sighed. Man, short of showing him a Goa'uld, I think this is a lost cause. "Guess I can't change your mind?"

Blair shook his head before downing his last sip of coffee. "All you can do is help me get back to Cascade where I belong."


Somewhere else, Stargate Command Center

The light from the small battery lamp barely penetrated the gloom. While MacGyver knew these remote service areas were rarely visited by base personnel, he found himself searching the dark for sentries. Then he berated himself. If there was anyone out there, the sentinel by his side would know. Jim had been in full alert mode since they had started their trek in. Mac just hoped the younger man didn't wear himself out before they rescued Blair. He knew Jim's leg had to be throbbing by now, even though Jim refused to admit it. With a sigh, Mac pulled out his laptop, plugged it into a small jack, and began to type.

Jim bent over to peer down a service shaft. It would be a tight fit, but he could manage it. He was just going to have to make sure he dialed down his sense of touch before attempting it. His injured leg was not going to be happy with the crawl. Standing up, he noticed a hatch. He walked over, gently laying his hand on the cool metal. "What's on the other side of this door?"

Mac glanced up. "That's the water reservoir. I figured if we needed an easier way out than crawling through the tunnels, we could swim through."

Jim nodded, realizing that if Blair was hurt it would be easier for all of them to float him out than to drag him. He just hoped Blair was considered too valuable for rough treatment. His friend had been through so much in the past few days, it didn't seem fair that Blair would be attacked so soon afterwards.

Jim ran a hand down his face as he thought about the press conference and the resulting fallout. Blair had given up so much to protect him. Never before had anyone cared enough to give up anything for him, let alone an entire career. There was no way Jim could repay him. All he could do was to give Blair support and provide the option to continue as his partner. Yet thanks to Blair's abduction, Jim never got a chance to find out how he felt about the offer from the police department. While Jim prayed that Blair wanted the job, he knew that it was solely up to the young man on whether he accepted it. After all the publicity, he wouldn't blame his friend for running as far away from Cascade as he could. Jim just didn't know if he, the sentinel, could survive without his guide.

All of which was moot unless Jim and Mac rescued Blair from his current predicament. Taking a deep breath, Jim turned back to his friend when the pressure in his ears increased. Suddenly, Jim found himself on his knees, MacGyver rubbing his shoulder and staring at him worriedly.

"You okay, Jim? Is it your leg?" Mac whispered softly.

After swallowing hard a few times, Jim continued to rub his ears as he answered, "No, not my leg; my ears. It feels like being on a jet that takes a sudden nosedive, only worse."

Mac's eyes widened. "Oh yeah. I forgot how sharp the pressure changes are down here."

Jim glared at him a moment. "Pressure change?"

"The pressure changes are magnified down here. They warn everyone to keep their car windows cracked open or else they can break."

"Great." Jim tried a wide yawn, still attempting to equalize the pressure in his sensitive ears by making them pop.

"Here." Mac pulled out a pack of gum and tossed it to Jim. "That should help."

Jim glanced at the label. "Bubble gum?"

Mac smiled as he went back to his laptop. "Old favorite from my school days."

Sighing, Jim pulled out a stick, praying none of the military personnel would catch a whif of the distinctive smell on his breath later. "You know, I'm really beginning to hate this place."


Corridors, Stargate Command Center

They were getting closer; Botolf could feel it in his bones. The young wolf was near. Then the meeting for which he had dragged his sentinel across the stars would be at hand. He sure hoped it would be worth it. This strange world had been rough on Marston with its mechanical smells, loud machinery, and sudden pressure changes. Yet the dream indicated that this meeting with the old world's witan needed to take place.

As the beautiful Captain Carter led them around another corner in the narrow hall, Marston's head cocked. Sure enough, a small group containing Dr. Jackson and another young man was approaching. Botolf smiled in anticipation.


"The pyramids in Egypt were strictly for burying the Kings and to show off their status." Daniel was enjoying himself in spite of the situation. He didn't get to talk about ancient cultures very often with someone who enjoyed the science, not just what was needed for survival.

Blair was also rather enjoying himself. "Not so with Mayan structures, though they have found a few with very small burial chambers. But mainly they appear to be religious and ceremonial in nature."

Daniel was about to ask a question when he nearly ran into Sam. "Oh, excuse..." His voice died away when he spotted Marston.

Blair paused with Daniel, taking a quick glance at Colonel O'Neill. Man, he looks like Mac. And he doesn't look very happy at the moment, either. Then he noticed the two men with O'Neill's party. Both gentlemen were in their fifties, wearing clothing that was a mix of leather and natural fibers. The young anthropologist's eyes narrowed. He had only seen similar clothing in a couple of textbooks on old Celtic tribes. The shorter man had a long pouch slung over his shoulder with what resembled rolled parchment peeking out. An intricately carved knife handle was visible from the sheath attached to the belt of the taller man. Blair would have loved to have examine it.

"Danny, what's going on here?" Jack asked, trying to figure out some way to ease out of this situation without raising the suspicions of either party.

"Blair and I just finished breakfast," Daniel replied, confused. "No one told me Botolf and Marston were coming."

"You weren't around," Jack pointed out. He didn't like the way Botolf was looking at their 'guest'.

Then Botolf stepped up to Sandburg and spoke. Daniel's eyes widened a split second before Margie automatically translated, "Hello, young witan."

Blair gave the older man a hesitant smile. "Witan?"

"Ah, that would be equivalent to 'Guide' in your thesis," Daniel slowly replied, shooting both Blair and Botolf penetrating looks.

Blair felt his stomach hit the floor. Oh shit. He instantly obfuscated nervously, "I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about."

Botolf did not even wait for Margie to translate. This was just like his dreams. He quickly spoke to the young man with the scared blue eyes in his soothing guide voice. Margie translated, "Where is your Weardian?"

"Weardian?" Blair repeated, just barely keeping the squeak out of his voice.

"Sentinel," Carter answered, studying him.

Blair took a deep breath and pushed back his fear. He had convinced the rabid media that there wasn't a sentinel. This should be a piece of cake. "I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about." As the redhead translated, Blair had a sneaky suspicion this guy in the out-of-date clothes wasn't buying it. There was just something vibrating from him. Definitely time for a fast retreat. He turned to his guards, "Could you take me to my 'room' now?"

"Wait a..." Jack began when Botolf interrupted.

"He said, let the young witan go," Margie translated.

Blair quickly followed the guards away from the man who was blowing his deception.

Botolf glanced at Marston, sending a message with his eyes. Imperceptibly, Marston agreed then leaned on his partner as he rubbed his eyes. Botolf spoke to the confused Margie, who translated, "Botolf asked if they could go somewhere private. Marston is getting a headache."

Jack, even more confused than Margie, waved his hand. "Go ahead. Tell Marstie I hope he gets to feeling better and let us know if we can get anything for him." Margie, the witan, the weardian and their escort walked away. Once out of sight, Jack turned to Sam and Daniel. "What just happened?"

Sam and Daniel answered with shrugs. "For some reason, Botolf seems to think Blair is a witan bonded to a weardian," Daniel summed up.

"Could Sandburg have met a sentinel at some point during his research and not know it?" Carter questioned.

"Maybe, though our sentinel expert looked like he was going to have a heart attack there for a second," Jack observed. "Which means we need to know what's scaring him. I want you two to dig up everything you can about our tough little scientist. Find out who he knows, where he lives, and what exactly he's been doing while he's been researching his fake paper."

"What are you going to do?" Daniel asked, noting the worry on his friend's face.

Jack sighed. "I've got to figure out some way to explain all this to the General."


Marston glanced around the room they had been shown. "Why is everything so plain? Don't the people from the old world like beauty?"

Botolf shrugged as he sat cross-legged on one of the narrow beds. "Perhaps they have as few artists as they do witans and weardians." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

Marston sat on the other bed. "Do you think this will work?"

Botolf opened one eye. "The young one is scared and upset. He will know that he has to calm down in order to think. I will reach him."

"You better hurry," Marston urged his partner. "His weardian is coming."

Botolf opened his other eye. "You feel him?"

"Yes, and he is getting closer."

Botolf rolled his eyes then stared.

Marston sighed. "He is strong with a good heart. He feels a bit older than the young witan. He is very worried."

Botolf settled back onto the mattress. "I will learn more when I reach the witan."

Marston leaned against the wall to wait, muttering, "It is not good to separate witan from weardian."


Blair was again pacing his small cell. Oh man, oh man, oh man. They are going to find out about Jim now. If anyone checks, there is no way my sentinel could be anyone else. I've got to figure something out, and do it fast!

Realizing he had to calm down to think up a solution, Blair fell back to his mom's training. He sat on the bed, crossed his legs, and settled down to meditate. "I am calm. I am relaxed. I am terrified... no, that's not going to work." Blair took a deep breath, then forced the tension out of his limbs. "I am calm, I am relaxed. I am calm, I am relaxed..."

Time eased as the darkness behind his eyelids was suddenly replaced with a forest. It reminded the young man of England. Surprised, Blair sprang to his feet.

"Hello, young witan." Blair spun around to find Botolf standing there. "I hope you do not mind visiting my world. But we needed to talk, and you left before I could ask permission."

"Permission?" Blair blinked. "Wait a minute, I can understand you now."

"That is how it is, here in the place of dreams." Botolf lead Blair next to a fire pit where he sat on the ground. Patting the dirt next to him, he invited, "Sit, young witan. We have much to discuss."

Blair slowly sat down in the indicated spot. "What do we need to talk about?"

"Would you mind exchanging life stories, young one? While mine is longer, I suspect that yours is much more interesting." Botolf held out his hands, palms up.

Blair studied him a moment. "You call me a witan. Are you a witan, too?"

Botolf gave him a reassuring smile. "Yes."

An eager smile stretched across Blair's own face. "All right." He placed his hands on Botolf's, and immediately was launched into another world.


Jim ran a hand down his chest to flatten a wrinkle, then inspected his clearance card again. "Major John Elias," he repeated to himself. Then he checked to make sure all the flaps were properly secured. The cammies Kelso had obtained for this adventure were different from what he was use to. He sure hoped they matched everyone else's, or they could be in trouble.

There were a lot of things that had to be just right or they were in trouble. Jim suspected that due process would be out the window if he and Mac were caught. Hell, they'd probably be shot on the spot. Unless someone realized they were connected to Sandburg, then they'd be a means to force Blair to comply with their wishes. Jim would almost rather be shot.

Jim took a deep breath. He had no intention of getting caught or being used against his partner. Yet he couldn't seem to shake the tension that rang through his body. It was as if every nerve ending was on the edge of firing, in expectation of... something. What exactly Jim wasn't sure, but it seemed to be growing the further into the facility they traveled. He needed to get Blair back and see if he could make sense of it.

He glanced back at MacGyver, who was consulting his palmtop. Blair's father had cut his hair before this adventure so as not to stand out in the military crowd. In cammies and army hat, Jim would have never guessed what a peace-loving soul was under all the drab green. He just hoped 'Colonel John O'Mackey' remembered enough from his war days to pull this off. Softly, Jim whispered, "Think you can find Blair?"

MacGyver nodded as he tucked the small computer away. "Yeah. Blair got his non-existent sense of direction from his mother." He took a deep breath and led Jim into the first narrow hall of the Command Center.

Jim followed, forcing himself not to limp. He breathed a silent sigh of relief when they passed a couple of airman without even a second glance. They might get away with this yet.

They walked down several narrow corridors, past labs, offices, and medical facilities. Jim was impressed in spite of himself. It looked like a tight operation.

"Colonel O'Neill!" Unable to ignore the young, eager airman, Mac and Jim stopped. The dark haired man saluted as he beamed up at Mac. "I got your signal device for the iris all fixed. Just pick it up before you head out next time."

"Thanks," Mac swiftly read the young man's tag. "Sanchez."

The young man took off with another salute. "Any time, Colonel. Have to take care of you and SG-1, don't I?"

MacGyver gave him a wave as he whispered to Jim, "Colonel O'Neill? S. G. what?"

Jim shrugged. "Don't ask me. I'm still trying to figure out why you'd need a signal device for a flower."

"I think we'd better find Blair and get out of here," Mac softly replied.


It was amazing. Botolf's life unfolded to Blair like a movie. To learn about another human culture on an entirely different planet was beyond his wildest dreams. Admittedly, the tale of the glowing eyed aliens made it a rather scary movie in spots, but Blair was enthralled. Of course, it was more embarrassing when his own life story sailed by. Blair could only hope Botolf wouldn't think too badly of him, especially the part about Alex Barnes.

When it was over, Blair blinked at Botolf. "Amazing, young witan. You and your weardian have overcome many difficulties."

"Yeah, and I've failed about as much," Blair mumbled.

Botolf laid a hand on his shoulder. "You are blazing a trail that no one has ever traveled. You will make mistakes and find dead ends. But you are adept at finding your way back to your true path, and that is the main thing."

Blair gave him a tentative smile. "There is so much I want to ask you."

"I would love to answer," Botolf told him sincerely. "However, I believe your father and weardian are close at hand."

"What?" Blair's eyes widened in alarm.

Botolf squeezed his shoulder. "Do not worry so, young one. You will get out. Just remember what I have told you about the glowing eyes. They threaten both our worlds."

"I will remember," Blair replied solemnly. Then he woke up to find himself back in the cell and the door opening.


Jim stood by impatiently while MacGyver played with the panel next to the door. The sentinel could see Blair meditating inside, frowning as he noticed another butterfly bandage on his guide's eyebrow. Yet he remained silent. Mac thought there might be a sound monitoring system in the cell block, and they didn't want the escape to be captured on tape.

MacGyver opened the door. Blair's eyes popped open and he hesitated when he saw who stood there. However, the mischievous eyes full with warmth assured the younger man that it really was his father and not O'Neill. Pointedly, he looked at the camera mounted above the door. Mac gave him a reassuring smile, raised a finger to his lips and bobbed his head to indicate Blair should join them.

Like a shot, Blair was off the bed and into the hall. Jim grasped his upper arms to look into his face, then inspected the bandage. Blair swatted his hands and glanced pointedly at his friend's injured leg. Jim gave him a playful cuff to the head, turning to check their escape route.

Then Blair turned to MacGyver. With a wide smile, Mac pulled him in for a tight hug. The father in him needed to make up for the turbulent days when he had been too far away from Blair to do more than advise. He also needed the reassurance that his son was okay.

Blair relaxed briefly in the older man's arms, soaking up the warmth. So much had happened since the last time he had seen his father. For a moment, he felt like everything would be all right because his dad would make it so. Then Blair stepped back and positioned himself behind Jim. They still had to get out of wherever they were, and Blair was determined to do his part as Jim's guide to ensure that they did escape. Together the three men started their journey back.


Several hours later, General Hammond's office, Stargate Command

"What do you mean, Sandburg escaped?" Hammond roared. "How in the hell did an anthropologist get out of a cell in a high security base? Were you people napping?"

The sergeant simply shook his head. "There's nothing on the cameras. My techs say our main computers have suddenly developed amnesia as far as Sandburg is concerned. We're still trying to sort it out."

As the General continued to yell, O'Neill slid up to Teal'c. "Did you find anything?"

Teal'c shook his head. "I am afraid I have failed, Colonel O'Neill. I did not find Blair Sandburg. Though there are many places to hide that I may have missed."

"It's okay," O'Neill pointed a finger at security. "That's what they're paid for."

"Dismissed." The General turned his glare to O'Neill and Teal'c. "What else can go wrong with this situation?"

Margie hesitantly knocked on the open door. "General, sir? Marston and Botolf would like to see you before they leave."

Hammond and O'Neill exchanged looks. "All right, bring them in."

Marston and Botolf walked in. "You look better, Marston," O'Neill noted with a smile.

Waiting for the translation, Marston replied. Margie translated, "Yes, I am. But I would like to go home now."

Botolf then added something. Margie's eyes narrowed in puzzlement. "When you have made peace with the young witan and his weardian, we will return."

Hammond also looked surprised. "Do you know what happened to Mr. Sandburg?"

Botolf pulled out a piece of parchment from his pouch and rolled it out onto the table. "The weardian and the older witan have reclaimed their clansman," Margie slowly repeated.

Jack looked down at the drawings. It looked like a black cat and a fox with a gray muzzle was meeting a young wolf-looking dog. He raised his eyebrows as he pointed at the sketches. "Let me guess, the weardian and the witans?"

Botolf nodded. He pointed to what looked like a lion, a white bandage around its chest. "The injured warrior chief awaits their return. They are needed to keep the clans safe." He then pointed to a bird with hawk-shaped tail feathers. It looked like it was flying off the paper. "The bird of prey was sent away."

Jack sighed as he listened to Margie's translations. It was the kind of situation when they really needed Daniel.

Marston set a hard gaze on the General as he spoke. "It is not good to separate witan from weardian," Margie explained, looking worried.

Nonplussed, the General replied, "I assure you, we will do everything we can to rectify the situation."

Marston simply nodded. Margie explained, "They would like to go home now."

Hammond nodded. "Of course. I wish you a safe journey."

As the weardian and witan left, Jack made a call to Daniel.


"Wow," Daniel whispered in awe as he studied the parchment. "This is really nice work, especially since Botolf has never seen earth animals."

"Do you know what it means, Dr Jackson?" Hammond inquired, hoping to hurry him up.

Daniel straightened up and shrugged. "Many ancient cultures would assign totem animals to the members of their tribes. Native American shamans called them spirit animals. My guess is that Botolf drew the totem animal for each person." He bent his head over the table again. "My guess from the position of the animals is that this wolf represents Blair. Who the other animals represent, I haven't a clue."

"Sure isn't much help identifying Sandburg's accomplices," O'Neill grumbled.

"Maybe more than you think," Sam Carter replied. She pointed at the lion in the corner. "You said that Botolf called the lion the 'injured warrior chief'?"

"That is correct," Hammond affirmed.

"Well, Daniel and I have come up with a theory about Sandburg's weardian." Sam glanced at Daniel.

Daniel pushed his glasses back up his nose. "What if, instead of lying on his dissertation, Blair Sandburg's only lies were at the press conference he gave?"

O'Neill and Hammond exchanged looks. "Go on," Hammond ordered.

Carter took a deep breath. "For the past four years, Blair Sandburg has been an observer with the Cascade Police Department, supposedly researching 'closed societies'. However, instead of shifting to different departments and talking with numerous officers, detectives, and staff as you would expect, Sandburg rode exclusively with one Major Crimes detective: James Ellison."

Hammond looked puzzled for a moment. "That name sounds familiar."

"Wasn't he that Army ranger who was MIA a few years back?" O'Neill suggested thoughtfully.

Sam nodded. "Captain Ellison and his team were on a covert ops assignment when their helicopter crashed in Peru. Even though the rest of his unit died in the crash, Ellison was taken in by the local tribe and continued his mission."

"Peru?" Teal'c questioned.

"A remote area on Earth," Daniel explained. "The people living there have very little contact with the rest of the world."

Jack gave the general a significant look. "A covert ops guy might be able to get in here."

"Only if he has computer knowledge," Hammond pointed out.

"In any case, he and Sandburg are apparently very close," Sam continued. "Sandburg even rents a room in Ellison's home. In addition, Ellison's previously good crimes-solved rate has skyrocketed since being teamed with Sandburg. In fact, Ellison won 'Policeman of the Year' not too long ago. So when the early press releases named Ellison as Sandburg's sentinel, it wasn't hard for the local community to believe it."

"Until Sandburg's press conference," O'Neill commented thoughtfully.

"Exactly," Daniel picked up. "But the really interesting thing is that only a few hours before Sandburg's press conference, Ellison's captain was critically injured. A hitman they had been investigating shot into his office. Ellison was reportedly standing right next to him at the time, so the bullet could have been meant for him."

"So Sandburg was trying to protect Ellison by telling everyone he's a fraud?" Hammond asked, stunned.

Daniel shrugged his shoulders. "It's something I'd do for any member of SG-1. Sandburg was protecting his sentinel the only way he could."

"And the injured captain could be the lion waiting for Sandburg and Ellison to return to Cascade," Carter pointed out.

Teal'c nodded. The idea made sense to him.

"So the question is, did Detective Ellison come alone, or did he have help?" Hammond stated thoughtfully.

"According to Botolf, there were two," Jack reminded him.

"I have an idea on that," Daniel began, only to be rudely interrupted.

"Here he is!" Maybourne stormed in with three military policemen. "Arrest him!"

"Arrest me?" O'Neill stared at the fellow officer like he had lost his mind. But then, the bruised, swollen nose Sandburg had given him did make the colonel look a little clownish. "What for?"

"For helping in Blair Sandburg's escape," Maybourne stated haughtily.

"Excuse me?" O'Neill was quickly becoming angry. Teal'c stepped in front of his commanding officer to protect him from the security men.

"Just a minute, gentlemen." Hammond held out his hand to stop the MPs. "What evidence do you have that Colonel O'Neill had anything to do with Sandburg's escape?"

Maybourne snapped his fingers. A young airman, after glancing to the General for permission, slipped a tape into his VCR and set it to run. "This is a camera that's independent from the regular system," Maybourne explained. "It's aimed at the cells."

Everyone watched as two men walked up to Sandburg's cell. "Sir, that's Detective Ellison," Sam pointed at the muscular man.

However, none of SG-1 was prepared when the face of the second man was revealed. Teal'c stared at Jack in shock. "Colonel O'Neill?"

"That's not me, Teal'c," O'Neill assured him, his eyes glued to the screen. He watched as his double unscrewed the panel next to the door.

"It certainly LOOKS like you, Colonel," Maybourne accused.

"It's not him," Carter and Daniel spoke at the same time. They both smirked. "The Colonel would have never opened up a panel," Carter explained.

"Yeah, Jack would have shot it with the handiest weapon," Daniel added.

"I think I resemble those remarks," Jack replied with a faint smile.

"Besides, at the time of this tape, Colonel O'Neill was with me," Hammond pointed out.

"Then who is this?" Maybourne demanded, glaring at Jack as he pointed at the screen.

"How in the hell would I know?" Jack asked, exasperated. "First, a crystal being comes back from a mission looking like me. Then some mad scientist on another planet makes a robot that just like me." Jack waved his arms, his anger growing. "What is this? Do I have 'copy me' written on my forehead?" Then he stopped, stunned, as his double gave Sandburg a hug.

"Then explain THIS!" Maybourne pulled out a framed picture. "This was found in the box of office supplies Mr. Sandburg was carrying yesterday."

Jack tore his face away from the screen and took the picture. He stared in amazement at the faces. There was his double, arms around Sandburg and another young man.

"O'Neill?" Teal'c again asked.

"Oh, for crying out loud, this isn't me, Teal'c. My hair hasn't been that long since I graduated from high school."

"Then who is it?" Maybourne demanded.

"I don't know!" O'Neill barked back.

"I think I may have an idea." Daniel nearly winced when all eyes focused on him. "According to one of my friends at Rainier, Blair Sandburg met his father for the first time a couple of years ago. Since then, he has become quite close to him and a half brother. Blair even told me that he had a job offer from his father's facility. This may be a picture of them."

"Do you know their names?" Hammond asked.

Daniel shrugged. "Only that one is named Sam and the other is Mac. My friend wasn't sure which was which. He did remember that the father works at a think tank in California."

"That still doesn't explain how they got through our security system so easily," Maybourne grumbled. "I still think Colonel O'Neill should be held pending an investigation."

Jack rolled his eyes. "Oh, for crying out loud, I didn't help them. I didn't even know I had a double."

Before Hammond could intercede, there was another knock at the door. An airman led in an older blonde woman. "Sir, this is Dr. Jill Ludlum. She designed our security system."

"Thank you for coming, Dr. Ludlum." Hammond shook her hand. "As you can guess, we are in a bit of a turmoil since this happened."

"That's all right, General," Ludlum replied. "I'd like to know how my system was breached." Then her mouth dropped open when she spotted O'Neill. "Mac? Did they call you in, too?"

"Mac?" Jack drawled slowly, remembering what Daniel had just said.

"This is Colonel Jack O'Neill," Hammond explained. "Who is 'Mac'?"

Dr. Ludlum smiled. "MacGyver, with the Phoenix Foundation. He helped me test and modify the security system here. You look just like him." She examined O'Neill again and shook her head, amazed at the similarities.

"MacGyver? THE MacGyver?" Carter asked, stunned. "You mean the legend who brought people and information back and forth across Eastern Block borders with only a Swiss army knife and a roll of duct tape? That MacGyver?"

"Yes," Dr. Ludlum confirmed.

"And he worked on this security system?" Hammond asked slowly.

Dr. Ludlum nodded. "He did a lot of the testing phase, seeing if he could break in. He also helped me a lot with the computer coding."

They all looked at each other as the realization set in: They had abducted the son of the man who knew their security system better than they did.


Evening, somewhere in Wyoming

"I don't know." Jim shook his head as he stared at the cabin rafters above him. "Aliens that take humans for hosts but their eyes glow? Warriors who incubate the baby aliens in a pouch cut out of their abdomens? Traveling from world to world by circles with shimmering centers? Talking with humans from other planets whose ancestors were Celts? Sounds more like you've been watching too much Star Trek again, Chief."

"Jim..." Blair began, setting his drink on the table made of scrapes of wood as he prepared to argue.

Jim held up a hand, though he didn't move from his reclining position on the couch. His leg hurt enough as it was. "No, I don't doubt you. Just that it's going to take me a while to absorb this."

"It would explain the name 'Star Gate' for the project. Here I figured it was just one of those weird word combos the Pentagon picks at random." Mac stared at his glass as he thought over what Blair had described. "You know, the shimmering could indicate that the device creates a wormhole."

"A wormhole?" Blair's eyes lit up with awe at the thought. "That would be so cool! It would also explain how you could go from one place in the galaxy to another so fast."

"It would also explain your friend Botolf's description of coldness and light," Mac added. "The molecular change would..."

"Damn, I AM stuck in a Star Trek episode," Jim moaned, plopping his head back onto the pillow. Then he raised up again. "Except for one thing." Blair and Mac turned in their chairs to meet Jim's serious eyes. "If all this is true, these aliens could be a major threat to Earth. As in our planet. As in our only home. And we don't have the Enterprise or even phasers to stop them."

All three fell silent for a moment. Then Blair softly asked, "So what do we do? Go back and join up? Return to Cascade and pretend this never happened? Disappear into the night? What?"

"Staying in that underground hole isn't an option." Jim stared into his guide's eyes, begging him to understand. "I'm being drawn back to Cascade."

Blair blinked a moment, then snapped his fingers. "Of course!" He jumped up and began to pace.

Mac gave Jim a puzzled look. Jim returned a slight smirk. "Hang on, I think we're on the fast track into the Sandburg Zone." Mac only looked more puzzled.

"This is just like Chicago, right Jim? You said that wasn't your place, right? Oh man, that makes so much sense." Blair paced a few more steps then turned back to his partner. "Did you have any job offers anywhere else besides Cascade after you quit the Army, Jim?"

"Several."

"Did you even consider taking them?"

Jim paused a moment. "No, not really."

Blair began to pace again, much to Mac's amusement. "But why? You hadn't spoken to your father or brother in years, so it wasn't due to family. There was no girlfriend waiting for you, no close friends. You hadn't lived there in years. There was nothing to bring you back. Why go there? It would make more sense for you to want a clean start somewhere else."

"After Peru I just wanted to go home," Jim replied simply.

"Of course you did!" Blair pounded a fist onto his other hand to emphasis his point. "You spent your entire childhood in Cascade. It was your home, your territory, your tribe. In Peru, your sentinel senses were renewed and strengthened. Your instincts sent you back to your territory, even though you didn't understand why. It would take a major catastrophe destroying Cascade to force you to change territories." Blair waved his arms in the air. "It makes so much sense. Some sentinels would be nomads because their tribes wandered. Yet other tribes had definite locations or lands that they called home. You never wandered during your childhood. Your territory is Cascade."

"And if I met a wandering sentinel? Or simply another sentinel in their territory? Would I react like I did with Alex?" Jim asked.

"What did you feel in the Stargate complex?"

Jim and Mac shared confused glances. "What do you mean?"

"What did you FEEL?"

"Well," Jim slowly drew out the words, "I did feel kind of, I don't know, tense. Like all my nerve endings were ready to fire. Like, Like..."

"Like you did with Alex?" Blair questioned, trying to keep the excitement out of his voice.

"Not exactly," Jim replied, trying to remember. "More like in expectation of something, well, good."

"That's because you were approaching a good sentinel." Jim and Mac both stared at Blair. Blair grinned widely. "Marston, Botolf's sentinel, came with him through the Stargate. You felt him, Jim. Yet somehow, your instincts were telling you that he wasn't a threat."

"Are you sure, Blair?" Mac asked carefully. "Could it have been simply because you were on neutral territory?"

Both Blair and Jim shook their heads. "I met Alex on neutral territory. And I did try to protect her. But that was more, well..." Mac was surprised to see tough man Ellison actually blush.

"That was more a mating sort of thing," Blair declared, wagging his eyebrows suggestively. Jim's blush grew deeper. Mac couldn't keep from chuckling. "So there's no question. We have to go back to Cascade because that's your territory."

"Are you sure, Chief? You used to travel quite a bit during your childhood and with your education. After all that's happened, do you really want to return to Cascade?" Jim steeled himself for the answer.

"Yes," Blair replied with conviction. "I am a sentinel's guide, a weardian's witan, a detective's partner. Botolf left his village to join Marston's. In fact, maybe guides are the ones that travel, looking for their sentinel." Blair waved his hand at his father. "Mac has traveled the world and so is Sam at the moment. Maybe something within them is searching for their sentinel. I'm just the one lucky enough to have already found mine." With a wide smirk, Blair declared, "Your territory is my territory."

"So I guess it's up to me to make sure you both can return." Mac stood up and stretched.

"Are you sure going with Thornton and Nikki is a good idea?" Jim asked worriedly. "They could arrest you, you know."

Mac shrugged. "They can try. But then they'd have to explain why I broke in, which means they'd have to confess to abducting a civilian." Mac gave Blair one of his slow, reassuring smiles. "I have all the information, so I am the one who can make the best deal. Just be prepared for plan B if the word is sent."

Both Jim and Blair nodded solemnly. Mac had already gone over the details if they needed to go into hiding. "Though I'd rather not have to go that route," Blair added.

"You won't," MacGyver vowed.


Same evening, O'Neill's house, Colorado Springs, CO

Daniel found Jack right where he expected: on the roof of his home, sitting by his telescope and staring at the stars. Quietly, the young archeologist sat down next to his friend. Just as quietly, Jack reached down and pulled out a beer from the cooler at their feet. Accepting the cold glass bottle and unscrewing the top, Daniel also leaned back to study the stars. As always, he first checked the star grouping that contained Abydos. He missed the planet where he and Sha're had been so happy.

Taking a sip of beer, Daniel covertly studied his friend. There was a moodiness about Jack that signaled he was thinking of the past. Jack still felt the death of his only son deeply. Also, he was worried about Skaara, the boy he had befriended on Abydos, now lost among the stars as a host of a Goa'uld. Noting the framed picture of Blair with his family resting in Jack's hand, Daniel knew what had set off the brooding episode. He returned his gaze at the stars, hoping that maybe Jack would want to talk about it, but knowing better than to push it. He picked out the constellations he knew as he listened to the crickets and the faint sound of a dog barking in the distance.

Several minutes later, Jack did break the silence. "Did you bring the folder?"

"Yeah, right here." Daniel laid the file on MacGyver on the camp stool between them. He stole a glance at the older man. "Have you ever heard of him before?"

"Hell, yes," Jack replied. He took a swig of beer, staring straight ahead. "Not a lot about him, but like Carter said, he's a legend with the covert ops guys. Mostly rumors of him helping soldiers and pilots caught behind enemy lines, even though he didn't carry a gun or any weapon other than his pocket knife. Supposed to be able to make almost anything explode. I wasn't even sure the guy was real before now. Hell, I don't think I've ever heard his first name."

Daniel chuckled. "That might have been on purpose." Jack turned to his friend and raised an eyebrow. "His first name is Angus."

Jack winced. "Ouch. Certainly not on the top ten list of baby names." He stared at the label on the beer bottle. "Anything else?"

Daniel smiled, knowing Jack was more interested than he was letting on. "He's originally from Minnesota, now lives in L.A., but has traveled all over the world. Worked with the DXS for a while, most of which is classified, of course. Now he's a troubleshooter for the Phoenix Foundation. Never been married as far as we can tell. No living family that we can tell, either."

Jack raised the picture. "What about the other kid?"

"All we could find is that he paid the bills for a Sean Malloy to go to college. However, considering that Sean's middle name is Angus, Sam and I suspect there's a connection."

Jack chuckled. "Yeah, I'm sure there's not too many American kids running around with 'Angus' as part of their name. Is Malloy still in school?"

"No, he's graduated and is now an international photojournalist."

"Oh man, a reporter?" Jack frowned, not liking the idea of another reporter sniffing around the Stargate project again.

"Thankfully, most of his work is out of the country. Though if we still had Sandburg, I don't know how long that would last. I know I'd be digging if my brother suddenly disappeared." Daniel sighed. "But what I don't understand is why there isn't any obvious connection between MacGyver and either Blair or Sean. Doesn't he want to admit they're his sons?"

Jack leaned back and stared at the stars above him. "In his line of work, he's certain to have made a lot of enemies. He's probably trying to protect them, especially the reporter if the kid's overseas a lot. If Malloy was running around with the last name of MacGyver, it could unexpectedly get him into trouble with the wrong people. Besides, the guy just broke into a high security, secret military base where he could have been shot if discovered, just to rescue Sandburg. Doesn't sound like someone who ignores his sons to me."

Daniel noticed that Jack was falling back into his brooding, most likely thinking of his own young son that he had failed to protect. Trying to break it before Jack got too deep, he asked, "What's going to happen now?"

Jack blinked, then shook his head. "Not sure. We still need Sandburg's expertise, especially if he's really a witan. Would be helpful to bring Ellison on board, too, if what you and Carter suspect is correct. Yet it doesn't do us any good if they don't want to help us."

"Blair was very definite about not wanting to work for us," Daniel pointed out. "He wants to stay in Cascade."

"Then we'll have to see if we can work out some kind of deal." Jack ran a hand through his hair. "I won't have that kid forced into anything, though. I've fought against countries that abduct their citizens off the street just because they want to. I'll be damned if I'm going to be a party to that in my own country."


Next day, Denver, CO

MacGyver took a deep breath before following Nikki Carpenter and Pete Thornton into the conference room Phoenix had rented. No matter how confident he had sounded to Blair and Jim the evening before, he still wasn't sure what was going to happen in this meeting. However, he knew he had to be here. Thanks to Blair's 'conversation' with Botolf, he now possessed highly classified information he didn't dare pass on even to his closest friends. He rather wished he didn't know that Earth was threatened by superior aliens. But it was information he would use to gain his son's freedom if he had to.

Waiting inside were the representatives from the Stargate project. MacGyver barely noted the General or the pretty blonde with the captain's bars. He did make note of the Colonel with the swollen nose whose nametag read 'Maybourne'. He would deal with him later. For right now, he was staring at the man who could have been his twin.

In spite of all the other times Jack O'Neill had faced a double, for some reason this was different. Perhaps because he knew this one hadn't been made by aliens trying to duplicate him. MacGyver was a homegrown Earth boy like himself with his own extensive background and accomplishments. Maybe that also explained why he instantly felt at home with this man, even though he was another damn scientist.

Nikki watched as the two men stared at each other. She carefully leaned over to Pete and whispered, "Blair was right. O'Neill does look exactly like MacGyver."

"Just as long as we remember he isn't MacGyver," Pete gently reminded her. He was almost glad he couldn't see his friend's double. He wanted to keep his mind on the business at hand. He laid his folder on the table Nikki had led him to, then spoke loudly. "I'd like to get started."

Maybourne growled, "What is HE doing here? He should be locked up for breaking into a high security military facility!"

"Hello, Colonel Maybourne." Nikki broke neatly into his tirade without raising her voice. She had come prepared for this. "I've been wanting to meet you. I am Ms. Carpenter, Assistant Director of Operations for the Phoenix Foundation. This is Mr. Thornton, the Director of Operations." She indicated Pete with her hand. "We are Mr. MacGyver's employers. If you insist on having Mr. MacGyver arrested, we will be forced to have our friends in the FBI issue this warrant for your arrest." She pulled out thick folder and slapped it down on the table, letting out a little of her anger. "It outlines the charges against you for the assault and abduction of Mr. Blair Sandburg outside his home in Cascade, WA. The FBI was particularly interested in the fact that you transported Mr. Sandburg against his will across state lines to Colorado. We have detailed descriptions of you and your associates from both the neighbors in Cascade and from the victim himself. I assure you, Colonel Maybourne, your military contacts will not get you out of this one. So, shall I call the FBI?" Righteously defiant eyes stared at the Colonel, causing the much bigger man to wilt. Jack could barely contain his smirk.

Once she was sure she had made her point, Nikki then asked, "I'm assuming you are with the Stargate project. May I inquire who we are speaking with?"

After the introductions were made, everyone sat down with the four Air Force personnel on one side of the table and the three Phoenix people on the other. Pete cleared his throat. "We understand that your project has made an offer to hire Mr. Sandburg. Yet at this time, Mr. Sandburg does not wish to join your operation in a full time capacity. However..."

"He WILL join us!" Maybourne snarled as he stood. "It's a matter of National Security!"

MacGyver lifted his eyebrows. "Are you going to tell us what National emergency so desperately requires my son?"

Maybourne glared at him. "It's top secret. None of you have the clearance required."

"Then my son will chose for himself what he wants to do. It's his right as an American citizen."

Ignoring the glare from Hammond, Maybourne sneered, "Are you sure about that? He should first consider the fate of the occupant in room 103 of a quaint hotel in Turkey."

Everyone else glanced at each other in confusion as MacGyver casually shrugged his shoulders, hiding his anger. "Are you sure you know who's in room 103?"

"Of course we know a reporter named Malloy is there," Maybourne returned smugly. Nikki's eyes widened with anger at the implied threat to Sam.

Jack felt his own temper rise at the mention of the other young man in the picture. "What did you do, Maybourne?"

"He can't do anything," MacGyver quietly broke in. "Sam's not there anymore because I told him to disappear for a few days. My son can speak four languages fluently and knows enough of seven others to get by. He can blend in anywhere he wants. You'll never find him."

"The bird of prey was sent away," Carter softly whispered to O'Neill.

Jack was still glaring at Maybourne. "Carter, do you remember the dialing coordinates to P2A-509?"

"Taldor?" Carter asked, remembering the horrible prison planet with no way to dial out. "Of course. I want to make sure we never go back there again."

"Good, because Maybourne will be taking a one way trip if he goes anywhere NEAR Sandburg or Malloy again." Jack shot his most deadly glare at the other Colonel.

"If there's anything left of him after Ellison gets done," MacGyver added matter-of-factly. "He's rather protective of both my sons. And he did spend all those months learning from the Chopec warriors."

Maybourne glanced back and forth, not sure which look-a-like was more dangerous at that moment.

"Colonel Maybourne, I believe you are hindering these proceedings. Will you please remove yourself." Hammond's tone made it obvious the request was really an order. Maybourne glared at everyone as he left the room. "Now, may we see what kind of deal we can make?"


Three weeks later, private ranch, Colorado Rocky Mountains

Mac sat on a sun-drenched boulder, watching from a distance as Daniel Jackson interpreted between the two pairs of weardians and witans. He could tell that Blair was having a ball, barely waiting for Daniel to translate before hopping to the next question. Even Jim looked semi-relaxed, examining Marston's knife. He hoped that Botolf could give Blair the information his son was craving to learn.

It hadn't taken long to strike up a deal with the Stargate project once Maybourne was out of the loop. It soon came out that O'Neill and Carter suspected that, contrary to Blair's press conference, he and Jim were a witan/weardian pair. Once that was out in the open, MacGyver informed the trio that Jim's territory was Cascade and that to move them to Colorado might be detrimental to the weardian. He also told them about the communication between Blair and Botolf, providing just enough information so that the General and his people believed him. Then Mac assured them that he, Jim and Blair would keep the project secrets if they weren't coerced into anything.

Thus, Blair and Jim had been signed up as 'consultants', on call in case the project needed them. Blair was also committed to notify Stargate if he and Jim ran into any other sentinels and guides so that they could be used if required. Since Earth's only weardian and witan pair understood the danger that threatened their home, it was something they were willing to do. In return, Jim and Blair could continue their lives in Cascade.

Another lanky figure sat down next to him, handing him a glass of reddish iced tea. "Daniel said you might like this. It's from one of the Celestial Seasoning's herb teas he likes. Lemon something or other, I think."

"Thanks." Mac took a sip, his eyes still trained on the group in the meadow below. "And thanks for setting up this meeting before Blair goes to the academy."

O'Neill studied his double a moment. "You're not too keen on Blair becoming a cop, are you?"

Mac shrugged. "Blair's been a cop in all but name since I've known him. While I wish he could do something safer that didn't involve a gun, it's what he wants. Considering I've never played it safe in my entire life, it would be hypocritical of me to stand in his way. Besides, I know Jim will keep an eye on him." He turned to face Jack, again studying the features he knew from looking in a mirror. "You know, I still can't believe this. We have to be related somehow."

Jack chuckled. "You think? Though as far as I know, there are no MacGyvers in my family tree. My mother's maiden name was Petersen and my paternal grandma's was Pratt."

"Pratt? Hmmm." Mac grew thoughtful. "A while back, a friend had my genealogy done by this expert. He was coming up with some pretty wild leaps, so I only about half believed what he wrote down. However, I do remember that he claimed there had been some rumors that my grandfather's grandmother had gotten pregnant by another man before marrying her husband. So my great-grandfather might have really been the son of some dimebook novelist named Ernest Pratt."

"Who wrote the Nicodemus Legend books?" Jack asked, stunned. "Yeah, he was an ancestor of mine. In fact, one of my great-aunts claimed I looked like him. But then, I always thought Aunt Hattie was a little off her rocker. You don't suppose..." Jack's voice trailed off as they stared at each other.

Then Mac shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows? Though it would explain it."

Jack shook his head, then glanced back to the meadow. "You have a good son there. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him punch Maybourne."

"Sounds like he had good cause."

"He did. I suspect everyone has wanted to deck Maybourne at some point. I've come close a few times myself." Jack glanced at his double. "Your other son have a good right?"

Mac chuckled. "Not bad. Sam's been taking martial arts classes during the brief times he's in the States. Which is a good thing. The way he and his brother attract trouble, it's amazing I'm not totally gray by now."

Jack smiled, though the humor didn't quite touch his eyes. "Doesn't seem like any of us live safe lives."

"No, but I've learned it helps to have friends along the way." Mac gave his double a smile.

Jack offered his hand. "Then consider me one of them. If you ever need my help, just let me know."

"Same here," Mac returned, shaking the hand of his maybe cousin.

The End


Author's note, 5/14/00: And thus begins the adventures of Cascade's sentinel and guide after The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg. And trust me, there are many more adventures for Jim, Blair, MacGyver and Sam, whenever I have time to write them down! In fact, I'm about half- way through their misadventures in San Fransisco with the three Halliwell sisters in 'Charming the Hawk'. Hopefully, that story will be done in another month or so. Then I'll have to get started on my next CVT episode. But hopefully after that, I can start work on either another Roachia story, or a visit by Murdoc at Halloween.

Cindy


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