Myths of Avalon V

Seeds of Change

Author: Nu-klear <nu_klear[at]>

Author: Kyle Bernard <csktech[at]>

Summary: a lot of things went on behind the scenes of Years End. This is but one of those tales.

Disclaimer: All characters belong to the respective owners, including any that belong to me.


After the second week of battle the maintenance staff found themselves overwhelmed. None of the personnel assigned to repairing the Hammerheads had gotten much sleep and it didn't look like there would be much of a chance any time in the near future. It seemed as if there was a never ending line of ships to be repaired, or rearmed. Just when they thought they had a handle on the situation, another attack would take place and all of the previous work would be undone.

Deep in the bustling hanger Captain Samantha Carter looked up from the Hammerhead she was trying to repair and frowned as she saw a Hammerhead being pulled away from the slot the black-furred female named Cles was working at as another was being placed in. As Sam watched Cles work, she shook her head and sighed as her frustration with trying to figure out the Hammerheads welled up. Her pent up curiosity about the more *exotic* people on the base just increased her frustration. <How did she get the hang of repairing these things so quickly? I can't figure out how she gets to the repairs so quickly, it's almost like she doesn't even run the diagnostics.>

"Is there something the matter, Captain Carter?" Merlin asked as his image appeared next to her.

"Huh?" Sam said as she snapped out of her thoughts and turned towards Merlin. "Sorry, I was out of it for a moment there. what did you say?"

"I asked if anything was the matter, Captain Carter." Merlin repeated in a concerned tone.

"No, not really." Sam smiled slightly, glanced at the Fa'lur and shook her head again. "I guess I'm just feeling a little inadequate."

Sam's eyebrow went up when, after Merlin glanced from Sam to Cles and back with a thoughtful expression, a look of understanding spread across his face and the AI actually began to chuckle. "Captain Carter, are you trying to tell me that you feel inadequate because you are not as good at repairing things as a Fa'lur?"

Sam's head snapped towards the Fa'lur when she heard Cles begin making a whistling noise that sounded suspiciously like laughter, only to find the fur covered female leaning against the Hammerhead she was working on with one arm wrapped around her chest, while her other hand covered her eyes as she shook her head. Sam looked between the two with an annoyed expression. "What.?"

"I apologize if I have offended you, Captain Carter. My amusement was not meant to appear to be at your expense." Merlin sobered and hastened to explain upon seeing her expression. "It's just that the idea of someone thinking of themselves as inadequate for that reason is preposterous!"

"Why?" Sam asked as her annoyed expression changed into a mixture of curiosity and confusion. "I've been trying to figure out how to do the repairs to this equipment for over two weeks now and still haven't gotten anywhere while she's been doing repairs on the Hammerheads almost since the moment she got here."

"A fact that has nothing to do with you or your abilities, Captain Carter; and everything to do with what Cles is. Fa'lurs' are. were. renowned in the Republic for their ability to repair almost anything. By any chance are you familiar with a type of creature that I believe are currently referred to as gremlins?"

"Yeah, they're monsters that delight in causing things to break or just flat-out go wrong." Carter nodded and chuckled with a smile. "My grandfather used to tell me stories about the trouble 'gremlins' caused the service back in WWII."

"Really, I find that hard to believe as gremlins are consummate cowards that tend to avoid areas of conflict." Merlin actually looked amused for a moment before taking on a thoughtful expression. "I would be surprised if anyone in this day and age would even be able to identify the signs of when a gremlin was truly involved."

"Wait a minute," Sam looked at Merlin wide eyed, "are you telling me that gremlins are real?"

"Oh yes, gremlins are quite real; they are race of sentient entities that possess the unique ability to instantly know how to make any 'machinery', the more complicated the better, breakdown or malfunction." Merlin nodded then looked over at the nearly recovered Fa'lur female. "That brings us back to the Fa'lur. The quickest, if not the most accurate, way to explain a Fa'lur is that they are the polar opposite of gremlins. Where as the gremlin possesses the ability to destroy the Fa'lur possess the ability to instantly find the damage to and repair almost anything within reason. It's a pity that we no longer have the ability to request the aid of more of them."

"Whoa," Sam looked at Cles wide eyed, possibilities flashing in her eyes and then swallowed, "why."

Merlin smiled at her kindly at her, holding up his hand to forestall the questions he knew she had. "If you wish to know more than that about her species I will be happy to provide what information I have. However, my records are woefully out of date in regards to her species as I have not had a reason to gather information on non-hostile entities to date, but if you wish any information that is not at least millennia old, it would probably be best if you were to ask her."

"I had though of trying that, but when I asked that guy she came with, Dragan, about the best way to approach her." Sam swallowed at the memory of the look Dragan had given her when she had innocently asked him about approaching Cles to learn more about her species, and the hostility in his tone when he had informed her that it 'wouldn't be a good idea' and that she 'should mind her own business', "He became very uncooperative, informing me that Cles and her species were none of my business and then he 'encouraged' me not to pursue it any further."

"You've got to be kidding me; he didn't really do that, did he?" Cles asked as she sat down beside Carter, unconsciously making sure she was close enough that she was just barely touching the outside of Carter's thigh with her knee and cocked her head to the side inquiringly. When Sam nodded her ascent, Cles shook her head and clicked her beak in fond annoyance. "I'm sorry if he. acted inappropriately, he gets a little overprotective sometimes; I'll make sure he apologizes to you ."

"I wouldn't lay any bets on that, if I were you," Merlin muttered barely loud enough for them to hear. He barely raised a holographic eyebrow at the glare he received from Cles in response and looked pointedly at her knee that was touching Carter. "You know it is considered common courtesy to ask permission before doing that."

"Only when I'm projecting, and I'm merely reading at the moment," Cles said defensively as glanced at her knee then looked at the avatar, her ears back, and clicked her beak in annoyance. "Besides, it's also common courtesy not to talk about others behind their back!"

"Ah, may I ask what you're talking about?" Sam looked between them, uncomfortably aware of the other female's knee but unwilling to risk insulting her by pulling away from what was obviously not an intimate gesture.

"Oh, this Ken'sk thought I was going to violate the rules of conduct." Merlin bristled slightly at that but Cles turned to look at the human woman, before he was able to respond, and tilted her head inquiringly as her ears lay back. "Why are you so uncomfortable?"

"What makes you think I'm uncomfortable?" Sam hedged as she shifted slightly in her chair, looking between the AI and Fa'lur. "And what does Ken'sk mean?"

"Please! I can feel it; right now you're feeling worse than Dragan in a business suit!" Cles whistled in amusement as her ears went flat in frustration and crossed her arms. "Ken'sk is a word in the Fa'lur language, I think the closest translations would either be 'broken beyond fixing' or 'can't fix anything'."

"You would be nearly correct..." Merlin confirmed, sounding less than pleased. "I believe the term 'malfunctioning piece of worthless junk' might be a better modern translation of the first meaning. However you forgot to mention it also seems to be your species term for an AI."

"Okay, thanks." Cles clicked her beak in annoyance then whistled in amusement again, "Guess you're good for something after all, Ken'sk!"

"Feel it?" Carter asked warily eyeing Cles as she broke in, hoping to prevent the conversation from deteriorating into an all out fight.

"Fa'lurs' are empathic; their ability to communicate developed to rely on emotions, Captain Carter. Where as approximately seventy percent of human communication is nonverbal such as body language, only around ten percent of the Fa'lurs' is. Sixty percent of Fa'lurs' ability to communicate relies on their ability to sense the others emotions," Merlin explained, then indicated where the Fa'lur's knee was touching her. "However, to accurately read a person of another species they require a physical, emotional or mental link to that person. So they find communicating with other species such as humans very confusing and difficult if they are not able to touch them."

"." Sam stared at the AI wide-eyed for a moment, trying to find something to say that would express her feelings of embarrassment and outrage at this revelation; her emotions raged for what felt like an eternity, only to be shocked out of them when she noticed the glazed look in Cles' eyes. The moment Carter was broken out of her emotional conflict the Fa'lur quickly pushed away from her, grabbed her head and let out a pained whimper. Carter reached out to steady the Fa'lur. "Are you okay?"

"Don't!" Cles jerked away from the Captain's outstretched hand, curling herself around her head as her entire body began trembling. "Shrai'meken! Too much. too intense. too different. twisting, mixing, confusing, *HURTS*."

"Don't touch her Captain Carter; she requires time to recover from the emotional burst." Merlin's tone brooked no argument as he looked at the Fa'lur intently, closely monitoring her body's attempts to deal with the 'overload'. Finally he gave a small nod with a relieved expression; turning to Carter, Merlin's expression harden slightly. "She should be alright in a few moments. it would be wise to take greater care in the future, Captain Carter."

"Huh?" Sam looked from the Fa'lur to avatar and back with a confused and slightly worried expression. "What do you mean? What happened to her?"

"The simplest way to answer that would be that you overloaded her empathic 'receiver' with a sudden violent surge of intense emotion. if you had continued much longer you might have caused her permanent damage." Merlin informed the Captain coolly. "As it is, you 'taxed' her 'receptor' severely. we can only hope you didn't cause her any harm beyond giving her a headache."

"I didn't do." Sam fell silent and just looked at the AI for several moments as the implication of what it had said sank in; then to her annoyance, she felt a finger of guilt worm its way into her mind. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to."

"I am aware of that, Captain Carter, and Cles probably is as well." Merlin shook his head, his expression unreadable, and turned back to where Cles was slowly uncurling as she recovered from the seizure like trembling. "However, you have to understand that Fa'lurs have built in 'safeguards' which prevent sudden surges in either the intensity of the emotions they're 'projecting' or the 'amount' of the emotion being transmitted from others. Humans do not have these, so sudden surges of intense emotions are transmitted through the connection like a power surge through a house's electrical system. with much the same effect."

"She had to have known that this could happen," Sam looked up at the AI with a confused expression, "so why would she risk it?"

"Wasn't much of a risk. for the last millennia we Fa'lurs have trained ourselves from childhood to limit the amount of the emotions we receive, so when we are attacked again by. if there is another attack on our home, the fear and pain of the injured won't overwhelm or incapacitate us." Cles answered softly as she completely uncurled and began to gently rub her temple. "However, it is limited in that we have to consciously choose to reduce or completely block each individual emotion. so if there is a burst of an unexpected emotion, it will bypass the blocks completely and go straight through to slam into your mind like a thunderbolt."

"I'm sorry," Sam looked at her hands with a slightly guilty expression. "I didn't mean to."

"It's okay you didn't know." Cles wave off her apology and turned to Merlin "Hey Ken'sk, you wouldn't happen to be able to get me something for this headache, would you?"

"Yes, I would. however you will not be given any medication until you reach the medical facility and receive a full check up to establish what, if any, damage has been done. I can't allow you to continue working on the Hammerheads while you may be injured." Merlin crossed his arms and looked at her tersely. "We currently have enough fighters to outfit the squadrons for some time. and my systems are clearing others as we speak so as this is not an emergency situation. There is no reason for you not to take the time to insure your health."

"I don't need any check up. so if you won't give me something for the headache I'll just get back to work." Cles stood and turned to go back to the station she had been working at when it powered down completely; turning back, Cles crossed her arms and glared at the impassive avatar.

"I'm afraid I must insist." Merlin motioned towards the door, "if nothing is wrong you may return to work if you wish. It will only take a few moments and no harm will come to you, I swear."

After a moment Cles sighed, clicked her beak and started in the direction he indicated. "Where's Dragan?"

"." Merlin silently deliberated the best way to say what he was about to say for several seconds; when he finally spoke his tone all but dripped with disapproval. "Your mate is currently in my physical training facility."

<My mate. Why didn't he just call him Dragan?> Cles' ears laid back in confusion as she turned and blinked at the AI. "What is he doing there?"

"I do not know as he has engaged privacy mode," somehow Merlin managed to sound fairly annoyed and amused at the same time "However if I were to hazard a guess: I'd say he's probably doing his best to completely wear out the remainder of my training equipment."

"Huh?" Cles tilted her head, staring at the AI for a moment, then her ears went straight up and eyes widened, then half closed as her ears went to half mast. "Oh. I see; would you show me to the training room after my check up? I'd like to go 'talk' to *him*?"

"Very well, if that is what you really." Merlin winced slightly but nodded. "However, I must inform you that I will not let you into the room if I feel you would be in any danger."

"Danger.? Your 'guests' are more of a threat to me than *he* could ever be! " Cles made a high pitch snort like noise. "While we're on the subject of your guests; tell your 'commander' that the next time one of them refer to me as some kind of 'trained animal', I'm going to ask Dragan to show them what a *real* animal can do!"

"I will inform the Commander of your mistreatment." Merlin's voice was hard. "But I should warn you that leveling threats against anyone on Avalon would not be recommended course of action!"

"Really. Interesting, seeing that it didn't seem bother anyone when they were trying to reactivate Avalon." Cles' eyes narrowed as she hissed at the hologram, "or does it only apply when the one threatened is a human?"

"Are you trying to imply that I would allow *anyone* that is under my care, even *him*, to be threatened in an attempt to influence a vote." Merlin's holographic image stiffened, his entire 'body' screaming outrage. "That would not only be a violation of one of my primary responsibilities, but it would be a violation of the spirit of everything that the Kine stand for! If what you seem to be implying is true it would invalidate the vote. I would have to start an immediate investigation and if true place Avalon back into conservation mode!"

"Well it was right before the vote to reactivate Avalon."


"You honestly expect me to let you give Avalon, a base filled with some of greatest and the most powerful military equipment in this dimension over to that, that. *Kine*!" Dragan growled at Chrya as he crossed his arms belligerently. "No fucking way. He'd send the planet back into another Dark Age within a century!"

"I guess I should take you at your word," Chrya dryly replied, "I mean you should know, after all you were the cause of the last one."

"Would you please not say things like that. I don't need you giving Merlin any ideas; I'm on thin enough ice with him as it is." Dragan turned and glared at the small dragon. His anger clearly flared in his eyes, "Last thing I need is him to start thinking that, especially when you and I both know it isn't true. A good man doing a very stupid and foolish thing started the last one. I wasn't even in the dimension at the time."

Cles woke up from the combination of the volume of Dragan's voice and the intensity of his conflicting emotions, blinking sleep from her eyes she got up to see what was going on. She walked over to the bedroom entrance but stopped short of entering the main room when she heard Chrya voice.

"Dragan, this is something that has to happen! You and I both know that nothing on this earth can withstand a Goa'uld attack..."

"*humph* I did. but I know what you mean," Drag conceded grudgingly. "But what's worse-- the Goa'uld, or unleashing a power that could, and nearly has, destroyed the entire world into the hands of someone that looks like his nuts haven't even dropped."

"Kind of hypocritical there aren't we. I mean coming from someone that ages as well as you do." Chrya shook her head flittered over to the ancient mercenary's shoulder... "Like we have a choice. You listen to me, Dragan. I know you're not afraid of pain, death, or even Hell. but what about your kids?"

Cles' eyes narrowed dangerously at the feelings of angry disappointment and even a little betrayal that question caused in her mate.

"What are you getting at?" Dragan asked after a moment his tone was full of warnings.

"What do you think the Gou'ald will do with any of them that are unlucky enough to survive?" Chrya asked pointedly. "When and if the Gou'ald invade, rather than bomb the planet to ashes, your kids will fight for their freedom and their homes, just like they've been taught to. and they will die or those that share your luck will wind up as slaves or hosts. "I know you have doubts. But the fact that you aren't convinced that Xander is the right man for the..."

"The right man?!" Dragan roared, "He's a racist brat... And if you doubt it, go ask about how he met that Were then ask yourself this: if it had been a group of non-humans beating a twelve year old to death, would he have settled for making their lives miserable or would he have left their rotting corpses for the crows?"

It was then that Cles stepped out and defended Xander. "The situations are not the same. Sure, he has a bias for humans, he is still just a child and you expect him to make that differentiation with his limited experience. I dare you to tell me you wouldn't have done the same at that age. He made a difficult choice with very little time. Consider this Mr. High'n' Mighty," Cles taunted," If we lose, how would you feel if you were taken as a host... what would that do to your precious freedom? Now get in there and do what's right, or we are through. I will never speak to you again as long as I live." Cles's beak chattered with nervous energy and emotion. "Which wouldn't be very long after the Goa'uld land!"

Dragon's eyes fell to the floor, Cles's logic and the implied threat were enough. Drag knew that his mate was right, but in his heart he also knew that he was playing with fire either way... He chose the lesser of two evils. The most immediate threat had to be dealt with. In his own mind he wasn't comforted; he knew he'd have to deal with this again in the future. <Well, at least we will have a future. for now.>

Dragan stared at his mate, for several moments before sighing in defeat. "Granted," he whispered softly than walked out of his room. Pausing at the door to the room they had been told to met in Dragan looked over at the miniature dragon and growled. "But don't expect me to vote. This is your idea; you cast the vote for our people...I'll fight the fucking war but I don't want my name on anything to do with the debacle."

-*End Flashback*-

<I guess our species are not all that different after all.> Sam thought as she smiled at the now significantly improved demon as the entered the medical bay. "I see human women aren't the only ones that can use their feminine charms on their men."

"So it has always been," Cles whistled in amusement as she got on the table Merlin indicated, "so shall it always be."

"If you were the one to threaten Dragan," Merlin frowned and raised an eyebrow as he started the diagnostic equipment "I fail to see the point of your outrage over it."

"Well, nobody here seems to mind that he was threatened into it." Cles snorted at him. "Why shouldn't I be outraged at that?"

Merlin closed his eyes and shook his head with a pained expression.


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