Weapon Shop 5

Immortal Friends

Author: Kyle Bernard <csktech[at]yahoo.com>

Copyrighted: Oct 26, 2003

Category: Crossover


Spoilers: None

Keywords: None

Warning: Crossovers

The Following TV Series or books have been included in the story.

Characters from the Book Stony Man Doctrine and the Executioner series by Don Pendelton

Six Million Dollar Man

The Bionic Woman

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Legalese: All characters with their respective rights, properties, and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers, and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.

Latest addition

Chapter 1

Two hours out from Los Angles, the drone of the C-130 Hercules engines filled the background lulling Kevin Griffen into a drowsy state. The pilot shook his head, "Damn Sean, I feel like I haven't slept in a week."

The redheaded Irishman glanced over at his friend. "Well Boyo, there's a reason they put a cot on these things. You've more than enough time to bag a quick forty winks and still be bright eyed and bushy tailed before we get home."

Kevin thought about his copilot, there was no doubt that Sean could handle the Herc, the Air Force didn't give out a command rating on AC- 130's to just anyone. No he admitted to himself, "I like being in control." He laughed at himself and he pulled off the headset. "You've got her mate," he yelled as he stumbled back toward the crew rest area.

The events of the recent past had rocked Kevin's world. First the call from Xander claiming that he knew Kevin and even worse than that had been the invocation of Daa'naal's name. That had been enough for Kevin to take a chance on the young man, even so far as to call Steve Austin when Xander said he needed pilots that could be trusted. Who could have foretold the history shacking events? What bothered Kevin even more was that even the battle with the Goa'uld and their defeat wasn't the high or low point that had come near the end of Kevin's final battle.

Kevin could still feel the point of the dagger piercing his heart and the absolute power that filled his body. "Time to consider that crap later," he mumbled to himself as he loosened up his boot laces and lay down on the cot.

Kevin found him surrounded by a thick mist. There was a surreal feeling that he wasn't dreaming and yet it also felt different than any other time that Daa'naal had called him into the state that the elf called the dreaming. He could feel the ground, yet he could not see it. "Daa'naal." He yelled into the ever thickening mist. Seconds past and his own voice echoed back to him as if he were in a large empty room.

Fear and loneliness, an empty feeling that he'd never experienced before, not even as he lay dying on the small island where his escape capsule had left him when his Hammerhead had been destroyed, seized Kevin by the neck...

"Relax Mr. Griffen," came from the fog.

"Who the hell are you?"

"We were not formally introduced on Avalon; my name is Giles, Rupert Giles." A section of fog vanished and the stocky Englishman appeared, "Daa'naal thought that it might be best if I were to explain," Giles shrugged, "current events, so to speak."

"So let me get this straight, Daa'naal sent you to do his dirty work."

"Let's get something straight from the start, there was a steely look to the watchers eyes, "you were chosen to carry the dagger for one reason, you could be trusted not to abuse its powers."

"That's not the point," the hotheaded pilot started to interrupt.

"That's exactly the point. You haven't a clue on what that dagger is, nor how important it will be to the future of the human race. Giles paused; there wasn't any point on getting angry. "Look about you Mr. Griffen, what do you see?"

"Nothing but you and this damn fog."

"Precisely, and haven't you asked yourself why that is. From what Daa'naal has told me you've always come into the dreaming in the same scene... ask yourself now... Why is this different?"

Kevin stood there dumbfounded. The question was one that he hadn't even considered and yet he felt as if he should know the answer.

"It is different my friend," a loud voice came from behind Kevin, "because it was you... not I that created it." Daa'naal, the Sword of Life, grasped Kevin on the shoulder and gave him a reassuring squeeze. "We have much to discuss Kevin."

"The dreaming is a mirror of the soul that created it. This world of yours is shrouded in mist because you yourself are uncertain on where you belong and what your role shall be." The tall elf leaned forward, "Concentrate Kevin, forget where you are and concentrate on a single thought."

Kevin brow sank in thought and his eyes narrowed. In his mind he saw the glade that had become so familiar to him that it felt as if it were the place to be. The harder he thought, the thinner the mist became. Patched of green began to fade in and out. The mountains in the background grew out of nothingness and solidified.

"Very good Kevin, now picture the details." Daa'naal knew that what was forming was merely a reflection of Kevin's memories, but it was a start.

Kevin could feel the formation of the rocks and the trees and even the remain of the B-17 Leper Colony and in one final push something in his mind clicked and he knew he'd succeeded. He turned around and searched the glade for any unformed parts. "Wow; didn't know I had it in me." It took Kevin a second to notice that there were odd double shadows, he looked up and instead of one sun there were now two, "Uhm Daa'naal!"

"Do not be concerned, that second sun in the representation of the dagger itself, no matter what you do, that sun will be there, or so we shall hope. Giles if you would please."

Giles found himself searching for a handkerchief that wasn't there, to clean glasses that were no longer needed. He cleared is throat and in his best curator voice he began to explain. "This glade is just an image. The true form of the dreaming reflects the state of the dreamer's soul. Daa'naal and I suspect that your confusion and indecision about joining the knights is the cause of the fog."

"No!" That's the least of my worries." Kevin hesitated for a second, "there was never any doubt that I would join, what I'm having trouble with is the fucking live forever thing. Do you realize how many friend I've buried?


"No let me finish... When you disappeared it was like my reason for living was gone." Kevin struggled with the words. "Now you tell me that baring certain events I will live forever... Do you have any idea how goddamned lonely that thought is?"

Giles and Daa'naal looked at each other, Daa'naal nodded, and this wasn't the time for a lesson in the dreaming. Giles rose to speak. "We believe that we can help with that. There is a man in Los Angles that is sharing your same thoughts."

Kevin shot up off the cot when he was shaken by the shoulder. "Goddamnit," He yelled after bumping his head on the bulkhead.

Sean had been there before and had stepped back so that he wouldn't get decked by Kevin, who rarely woke up easy. "Get a grip man; we're about 40 miles out."

Still dazed and sleepy Kevin asked a stupid question, "Who's flying the plane Sean?"

"Are ya daft man...? Col Austin has the controls."

"Good... Look call ahead and have the Mustang fueled and readied, looks like I'm going back to LA."

Daa'naal and Giles watched as Kevin faded into the mists and the local terrain faded into a non-defined gray, in its place the forests of Toril morphed into existence... The tall elf stepped forward, onto the spot that Kevin had recently occupied. His eyes glazed over in thought and his hand began stroking his chin. "He's not taking this well Rupert."

The ex-watcher joined Daa'naal and stood shoulder to shoulder with him. "No I suppose he's not." Giles glanced over at Daa'naal, "Then again I doubt that you or I would do much better."

"That is not for us to decide."

"Isn't it Daa'naal? You seemed to think it was a good idea at the time."

"No it was the best idea that we had at the time, there is a huge difference Rupert. The elf turned away from his partner, "It was the only choice we had. I merely wish we could have had the time to explain all of the risks to Kevin."

"Would it have made a difference?"

"Perhaps not, but when he finds out... that little temper tantrum will seem like nothing."

Ojai County Airport

"Fifty-one November Alpha," crackled through Kevin's headphones. "You are cleared to land on runway two thirty left. Winds are 8 from south southwest."

Kevin thumbed the second button on the updated control stick, "November Alpha, roger." Keying the intercom he checked with his passenger, "How ya doing back there Steve?"

"I'll be better when we get home." Col. Steve Austin made the decision to leave the Beech Stagerwing back at Falcon filed. He'd noticed that Kevin had been acting strange, even depressed after the final battle with the Goa'uld. So far he couldn't get his friend to talk about what had happened after Kevin had crashed, but he wasn't giving up that easily. It's was a good thing that Steve couldn't see Kevin's face. "Hey!" he shouted, watch your approach speed."

There was a smile a mile wide on Kevin's face. "Go tell your grand ma how to suck eggs." Kevin shoved the throttle against the firewall. "Ojai County, Fifty-one November Alpha, I have a gear malfunction and am shooting a missed approach. The 1600 horse power of the Rolls Royce designed Merlin engine shouted out its unique belch as it responded to the added fuel. The big fighter roared down the runway, its props missing the ground by inches, churning up old bits of rubber and tossing them around in a tornado of prop blast.

"Fifty-one November, are declaring an emergency?"

"Negative, I'll go around again and see if I can sort it out." Kevin pulled back on the stick and banked the plane sharply. He kicked the opposite rudder, sending the fighter into a snap role. Steve and Kevin grunted against the g-forces, as the polished wings spun across the sky.

The headphones in Kevin's helmet crackled, "Fifty-one November, be advised that we have an Alpha Hotel as an airport manager." Kevin snickered at the controller's use of the military alphabet. It was an old joke, but the air traffic controller had just called his boss an asshole.

It was from the back that the controller's answer, "Ojai County," Steve replied in his soft Texas accented voice, "Be advised that the Alpha Hotel that you referred to is currently riding in Fifty-one November. Steve switched back to intercom, "That should teach him some manners." A sharp grin plastered itself on Steve's face beneath the oxygen mask.

"Roger that Fifty-one November." The controller's voice was tinged with embarrassment, "You are number one to land. And welcome back Colonel Austin."

The sleek fighter lined up on the runway and the clam shell doors of the landing gear opened smoothly. Twenty seconds later the telltale chirp of the main mounts hitting the runway was the only indication that the flight had ended.

Kevin taxied the plane to the largest hanger on the small airport. He revved the engine up to scavenge the fuel system and shut the Merlin down. Rolling the canopy back, be peeled the flight helmet off and hung it on the windscreen support. After hours of listening to the engine purr, the only thing that broke the silence was the ticking of the engine cooling, that was about to change.

Sitting on a jeep off to the side of the hanger was a woman. Small of stature and middle aged, her body still showed the toned muscles of a professional athlete, which Jamie Summers Austin had once been. Jamie jumped off the hood of the Jeep and tossed her sunglasses onto the seat as she went to meet her husband.

"It's about time you came home. I was beginning to wonder if I'd be scorned for another woman." Jamie grabbed Steve as he jumped off the wing and gathered him into a bear hug. "I have missed you old man," she whispered into his ear.

"That feeling in mutual," Steve paused, wondering just how much he could say out in the open. "Hun we are going to have to talk. Some amazing things have happened recently and as always we are going to be in the middle of it."

Jamie glanced sideways at Kevin, who was buttoning the Mustang up. "Oscar has been going crazy. Every intelligence agency in the world has been reporting some very strange stuff."

"I know," Steve answered; "Kevin and I were in the middle of it. That's what we need to talk about. Look Jamie, listen to what we have to say and if you don't agree, then that's it, I'm out of it. But I will tell you this, its important, not just to us but the whole damn world, maybe the universe.

Jamie stood thee speechless and only Kevin's shout pulled her back from her reverie.

Kevin stood by the heavy hanger doors, "Are you guys gonna stand there all day or can you give me a hand?"

Steve kissed his wife on the cheek. "Be right back."

"But, she mumbled, she still didn't know how to respond to what Steve has said.

"What's up," Steve asked as he joined Kevin by the hanger.

"God damned motor is burned out. The freaking doors won't budge."

"Stand aside junior and see how it's done." Steve grabbed the stuck hanger door and gave it a shove. Stevens enhanced bionics kicked in; the doors rocked back on the tracks and flew open.

Jamie was more than a little surprised that Steve would make such an obvious display. Although their bionics were years out of date, the information was still classified top secret and code word cleared. "Steve," she asked in confusion.

"It's ok Honey, Steve answered as he pulled the Mustang into the hanger, "He knows," Steve turned his head in Kevin's direction, "Or he will tonight. We all have secrets that will come out tonight."

Chapter 2

Steve and Jamie's ranch bordered the Ojai county airport. A situation that Steve wholeheartedly felt was the perfect place for him. He could indulge in both of his passions, flying and horses. Managing the small airport didn't consume much of his time and it paid well. That, along with his Air Force pension, plus the monthly retainer that the OSI paid him, let Steve and Jamie live the lives that they had always wanted.

Jamie, for her part, loved the place. It gave her the time to volunteer at the local school and still be close enough that if Oscar Goldman called, she could back up her husband. Not that it happened all that often, The Austins were semi-retired.

Steve still found time to work with the Air Force, but he was a contract specialist. He worked the projects he wanted to, which had become rarer over the years. Mostly he spent the time restoring and flying the Beech Stagerwing that he'd found in and old junk yard.

Steve stood by the arcadia door watching his friend. Watching Kevin stand by the corral fence and not moving at all was filling Steve with worry. He could only guess at the man's thoughts but he knew Kevin, and the gloomy silence was anything but typical. Xander had told Steve that he'd invited Kevin to join the Kine'Iende, but Kevin had been noncommittal. That surprised Steve. It was like being told that the earth was square, no something was definitely wrong.

Jamie watched her husband, watching Kevin. She stood in the doorway and amped her bionic ear to max gain. The beating of Steve's heart was the only thing that broke the quiet of the ranch house. She crept over to Steve and wrapped her arms around him from behind. She leaned in and rested her head on his shoulder, "Penny for your thoughts."

"I wish it were that easy," Steve said gruffly as he revelled in the closeness of his wife. "Something happened out there, something bad."

"Out where? Even when the OSI recruited you, you've never been this mysterious Steve." A glimmer of hope sprung into Jamie's mind. Steve, does this have anything to do with why Oscar has been calling?"

Steve turned and faced his wife with a wry grin on his face. "I'm sure it does." He glanced over his shoulder, checking that Kevin was still there. "look Jamie, before I tell you, you have to promise me that what I say will never, ever, be told to anyone else, not Oscar, not Rudy, no one. Can you make that promise?"

Fear tinged Jamie Austin eye's and a flush of concern reddened her face, "What if I can't make that promise?"

Jamie's counter question nearly floored Steve. Unconsciously he took a deep breath. <Well there it is, he thought, <The one thing I never considered.>


Steve Austin was a man that got paid to make the right decision and make it fast. He let out his breath in a slow, controlled, stream. "If you can't make that promise, then it ends here. We never speak of it again and go on with out lives just as we were."

A frown creased Jamie's face, "And what about Kevin? You seemed convinced a few minutes ago that whatever is bothering him is," Jamie paused for a second, searching for the right word, but without knowing what was happening between her husband and Kevin... Connected," was the word she finally came up with. "That's just not right Steve; he's been our friend for a long time."

"Jamie... You and I... our past, we let a lot of things come betweens us before we realized that we belong together. I can't, no; I won't let that happen again." Steve hugged Jamie as tight as he safely could.

Long minutes passed, with the couple in that warm embrace, until two whispered words filled the room. "I promise."


Chapter 3

Kevin leaned against the split wooden railing. Looking out on the pasture, but not really seeing the horses that grazed there. Fragmented memories of the recent past filled his thoughts. So deeply stuck in his own thoughts, he never heard Steve come up from behind him. His first clue was ice cold water dribbling down his neck from a cold bottle of beer.

Kevin's first reaction was to turn around quickly, as if he were reacting to an attack. His hand swung around quickly, only to be caught by Col. Austin's bionic arm. He tried with all of his strength to free his arm, but it wouldn't move a millimeter. Kevin had known his friend was strong, but not this strong. Kevin glared at Steve who, simply looked back, with a glint of amusement in his deep blue eyes.

Kevin's eyes narrowed and he fruitlessly added his other arm to the contest, with the same results: Steve's arm never moved.

"Now the way I see this," Steve started, "We can stand here all day or, you can have a nice cold beer. Your choice, but I have to warn you I can keep this up a long time.

With a final and somewhat useless tug, Kevin gave in to the ice water running down his back soaking his shirt and Steve's logic. He let go and added, "I guess I could use a beer."

"I always thought you were a man of great wisdom. Now to the rest of the evening; what I have in mind is, first we burn a cow on the grill. I have some special steaks that I have been saving for just the right occasion and I can't think of a better time that now. Second, we are going to sit down and tell Jamie everything."

"Steve, are you sure?"

"I'm sure!" Steve turned and walked away.

"And the plot thickens," Kevin whispered to himself. Still there was something in Steve's voice that told Kevin that this moment could be a life changing one, and that caused him to reconsider. For all the years, he'd never told anyone his secret, taking great pains to hide his past. And here was the chance to let all of that go, even if only with two people.

Steve had never made any bones about the fact that he wanted to join the Kine. In fact, Steve's first reaction had been to tell Xander yes. It was something that Kevin could understand on the most basic level. That place in the heart of heart where you know what you are doing in the right thing. In that sense, Kevin and Steve were two of a kind, Men born to fly. <Perhaps, we were born for this too.> that thought… that single realization made up Kevin's mind. Kevin drained his beer, then turned around and headed toward the grill.

Kevin arrived at the back porch grill just as Jaime was delivering the meat to the already apron gowned Steve. "All right" he said in a too loud voice, "Where's the beer? We can't have a barbeque without lots and lots of beer.

Jamie reached down into a cooler that was hidden by the grill and tossed Kevin a longneck. "I've been married to a pilot long enough to have some of the basics down fairly well."

"Damn skippy," Steve said absently. Only after the words were out did he remember how that was one of Chappy Sinclair's favorite sayings. He glanced over at Kevin. Both men looked up to the sky and raised their beers. "To Chappy," Steve added.

"To Chappy," Kevin echoed. He hadn't known General Sinclair very long before his death at the hands of the Goa'uld pilots, but what he'd seen, he'd liked. "Smooth landings general."

Jamie saw the shared look between her husband and Kevin, "I think I'll get the rest of our dinner ready and let you two do… whatever you do," she teased as she headed for the kitchen, " if anything that is, she added playfully"

Steve chuckled at his wife's small joke. Kevin on the other hand, was more serious about it. "No Jamie, please stay."

The tone of his voice surprised Jamie a little. She returned to the picnic table and sat down.

"How old do you think I am?" he asked her.

Jamie thought about it for a second, "Mid to late thirties, on a guess." She answered with a puzzled look on her face. "It's and odd question for Kevin to ask," she thought silently, "why" she added out loud.

"Your about fifty years off." He strolled over to Jamie and took her hand in both of his. "You are going to learn even more unbelievable things in the next few minutes" A hint of sadness entered Kevin's voice, "I can remember where I was when Pearl Harbor was when the Japs attacked." Kevin lets the words soak in, from the looks on Jamie's face she needed some more evidence. Kevin searched him brain and failed to find anything. "Look Jamie you're gonna have to take some of this on faith, at least until we can come up with some concrete evidence."

"Dragan's Bar," Steve tossed in, "Convinced the hell out of me."

"Yea that would do the trick. I was thinking along the lines of something more appropriate, like a Hammerhead." Steve's head tilted and he glanced at Kevin like he'd lost his mind. Kevin didn't give him a chance to speak. "Look buddy, how far do you want to go with this?"

That question went to the crux of Steve's dilemma, "All the way. She's either in or out. If she doesn't join the Kine, neither do I."

Jamie was totally lost. "What are the Kine?"

Los Angeles
Immortal Arms

Andy sat in his chair, fuming at the idiocy of the world in general and in the sales staff of FN in particular. He'd been on hold for more than an hour and his temper was long gone. "Hello," nothing but the sound of elevator music answered. "God Damnit," he yelled. He slammed the phone back on the cradle, cursing the morons that wouldn't ship him anymore P90's. They hadn't even had the guts to call him, they'd sent a letter instead that read, 'Current production of the P-90 ha already been exceeded, therefore, we can not, at this time, honor your request. We anticipate that we can resume new sales within 180 days and your order will be processed at that time. Thank your for doing business with FN Manufacturing.'

"Good fucking thing I ain't in Belgium. Well looks like its time for plan B." Andy rolled over to his work bench where he had a CAR-15 waiting for him. "Hmmm," he said to Recon who was lounging in the corner as usual, "Wouldn't be all that's difficult, chop the mag well and re-barrel. Andy's practiced hands stripped the assault weapon down to the component parts in a few seconds. "Ok it's doable, I'd better call Colt and see if they can ship me some barrel blanks."

With his anger fading, Andy set about converting the M-16 over to 5.7mm.

Ojai California

Steve watched and waited. The threesome has sat down to dinner and Steve and Kevin had tried to explain The Kine'Iende. Jamie, her dinner untouched, sat there not believing what she was hearing. Finally she broke her hour long silence, "Let me get this straight, you've been fighting aliens, in fighters that are over 10,000 years old and this Knighthood once protected the universe from evil."

"Well when you put it that way it seems a bit far fetched," her husband conceded.

"Not far fetched at all, purely crazy. Steve, we need to go see a doctor." Concern was plastered on Jamie Austins face, "Your both suffering some, I don't know, mass delusion."

"What if we can prove it? What if we can take you to Avalon and you can see for yourself, would that be enough? Please Jamie, this is important. Maybe the most important thing to happen in recent history"

"Steve…" doubt clouded her voice.

"Gives us two days and we can prove everything we've said."

Jamie's conflict was plain to all there. She loved her husband more than anything else. She wanted to believe that he was fine but everything was pointing her in the direction that he, and his friend had lost their minds. "Two days" was all she said.

"Well that's it. We better call Sean and have him bring the Staggerwing over here. Kevin rushed to the phone and started dialing Arizona.

"Better call Andy too Kevin."

Who's Andy," Jamie asked quizzically

"He's the Master at Arms of the Kine'Iende and one of the few people that have access to Avalon.

Chapter 4

Ojai California

Andy's callback didn't surprise Steve, but the instructions did. He and Kevin had been planning on flying to L.A and picking Andy up there, the gunsmith nix that idea in a forceful manner. His exact words were, 'Not only no, but hell no. I'll come to you. Just make sure that the field is clear.'

Early the next evening Steve climbed the stairs to the control tower. As expected there was only one controller on duty. Ojai County was a small regional airport and didn't rate any more budget from the FAA, Steve counted on that fact. He opened the door with the card key that he always carried and put on his manager face.

Tony Peterson, the controller on duty had his feet up and the ball game on the television. There was only one flight scheduled for the night and that wasn't until after 9:00 PM, so unless on of the few planes that called Ojai county home, he had a slack night ahead.

"Mr. Peterson, Its time we had a little chat."

The Colonel's voice startled the young man. His chair tipped back and he fell to the floor with a loud crash. "Col Austin," He stammered.

Steve offered the man his hand and helped him up. "Relax Tony; I was just messing with you."

"Yes sir, Sir about yesterday…"

"Don't worry about it. I can be a little uptight at times." Steve leaned down, "Just don't do it again. What's on the board for tonight?"

"AMR 4823 is due in 9:05 and departs at 9:27, after that nothing."

Steve smiled, that fit the schedule that Andy had arranged. "Ok here's what I need, after 4823 departs, I want you to close down and go home."

This wasn't the first time Col Austin had made strange requests and the rumor mill had him still heavily connected to both the Air Force and NASA. Which excuse should I use this time, malfunctioning RADAR?"

"Why mess with something that always works. Do it that way"

à"More Dreamland stuff sir?"

Steve winked at Tony, "Now you and I both know that's there's no place called Dreamland, don't we Tony."

"Yes sir." With that final comment, Tony went back to work and Steve went home.

Ojai California

Jamie Austin stood outside of the large ranch house she shared with her husband. It had been a strange days for the former tennis player. Around Noon, a large van had pulled up to the house and a larger Saint Bernard had come bounding out straight at her. She had been ready to run with all of her bionic enhanced peed when a loud and very rough sounding voice has yelled "Recon Front." Much to Jamie's surprise the big dog disappeared just as fast as he'd appeared. Her second shock of the day came when the owner of the voice rounded the van and into her view.

Jamie saw a dark-haired man in a wheelchair and her first impression was one of trust and it was a feeling that she couldn't have explained, even if her life depended on it. She stood there blankly for a few seconds, "Oh I'm sorry can I help you?"

Andy rolled up to the stunning woman, "Yes Ma'am, I'm looking for Colonel Austin, I hope I got the directions right."

"I'm Jamie Austin. Is my husband expecting you? à"I'm afraid he didn't tell me we were having guests."

Andy's head titled back in annoyance, "Ma'am, I think the Colonel is having a little fun, at our expense. I'm Andrzej Konzaki, but you can call me Andy, everyone does."

Jamie's face went from curiosity to anger, "YOU," she bellowed, you're the one supporting this insane story that my husband had been telling." Jamie was ready to blast the man, wheelchair or not when she felt something wet and squishy soaking her hand. She looked down and Recon had started licking her hand and slobbering all over it.

The absurdity of the scene totally deflated Jamie's anger. She started to laugh. "Come on in Andy, Steve's probably in the hanger with Kevin.

After making sure that their guests were comfortable, they had gone to bed early when Steve had convinced her that it was going to be a long night. Some where around 10:30 Jamie's Bionic hearing picked up a scratching noise and that woke her up. She followed the sounds, only to find Recon digging at the back door. "What's the matter boy, did Andy leave you on your own?"


Recon went about exploring, while Jamie followed. First the garden, then the driveway and finally he found just the right place, over by the hanger. A high pitched noise over road her bionic ear and Jamie had to work to dampen it down. "What the hell," she wondered. Recon began barking and running around in circles and Jamie was ready to run for the house when a black, boxed shape craft landed on the tarmac next to the hanger.

From inside the craft a servo whined, and the door opened. Later Jamie would never be able to say just why she went into the craft, or even how she got there, the only thing she could clearly recall, was a voice, sounding older than the hill speaking to her. "Welcome Jamie Austin, I am Merlin, Keeper of Avalon."


Chapter 5

àDressed in flight suits Steve and Kevin were calmly walking toward the Orca, when Jamie's scream split the night. Kevin turned to his friend, "Dude you are so screwed."

"Don't I know it? Jamie will cool down. I hope." He added wishfully.

The pair entered the transport to find Jamie staring at the display monitor in the cockpit. "Steve, she said blandly.

"Yes dear?"

"It talked to me."

"Yes dear."


"Yes dear."

What is this? One of the ten thousand year old fighters you told me about?"

"Steve looked around, "No dear. This is an Orca class transport. Think of it as the Kine version of the C-47, if there a job to do there's usually a way to modify an Orca to get the job done."

A little light had returned to Jamie's face. "But its ten thousand years old. She protested.

"Hon I promise you it safe. We didn't let the commander near it, Andy fixed this one up."

"Yep," a voice insisted from the back of the Orca. "Kids a great commander, but God help him he ain't got much feel for machines."

"Excuse me," Merlin interrupted from the console, "but our window expires in three minutes."

Steve kissed his wife on the cheek. "Sorry dear, I have to go help fly this crate. Andy will get you settled in and I'll come back after we have cleared the continental defenses."

"C'mon Mrs. Austin lets get in back where passengers belong." Andy guided Jamie to the back benches. As she sat down she could feel a heavy weight descend on her. "Don't let that worry you. That's the inertia field, sorta of a deluxe seat belt that will keep you in place if the Colonel has to take evasive action."

Jamie sat there in a mild daze. After listening to Steve and Kevin, she was sure they had both gone insane, now she doubted her own sanity. A weight landed in her lap. She looked down and Recon had lain down beside her and parked his head in her lap. She subconsciously reached down and started scratching his ears and her mood lightened.

In-Flight over the Pacific

àAfter two hours of flight Jamie broke her self imposed silence. "Andy can I ask you a question."

"Fire away."

"Ok, bear with me for a second I'm not sure what to ask first. These aliens that Steve and Kevin fought, what would have happened if they had won and we had lost?"

"Steve, Kevin and I would be dead, along with a lot of other brave folks." Andy decided to give her the whole unvarnished picture. "All the major cities would be rubble. Every ones life would change, lucky ones would be dead. The rest would be subjugated serving only as slaves. Any useful technology would be taken by the Goa'uld. The mineral wealth would be stripped away and then the planet would be left an empty husk. You should ask the Colonel why his flight was called the Angry Angels."

"And you and my husband stood in the way of that."

Andy rubbed his chin, "More so the Colonel than me. He and the others did the dirty work, I just helped out. I did what needed to be done, if I could do it."

In a tone that echoed her feeling of growing belief, Jamie answered the man in the wheelchair, "Somehow Mr. Konzaki, I doubt that very much. You don't seem like a man that would stand by and do nothing."

"You've hit the nail right on the head Ma'am. The idea of the Kine'Iende, we won't stand by and do nothing if we can help. You'll see more of this when we get to Avalon."

Jamie let loose a snort that she just couldn't control. "I'm sorry, she apologized, "it feels like I'm trapped in a dream."

"I wouldn't worry about it Ma'am. Everyone reacts that way at first." Andy grinned. You should have seen some of the pilots that we pulled from the drink."

"So who are the Kine, not what are they" she added, but who?"

"Well there Xander, He's the commander. He has a quality that makes you want to trust him, even if he comes in asking impossible things and expecting you to pull whatever rabbit out of your hat. Don't underestimate the Kid; he's brighter than he looks and then there's something about him that you know he will succeed, or die trying. I'm sure you'll meet him soon. Then there's Giles. Hard to describe Giles, he's the Mage of the group, or at least one of them.

"Mage… you mean as in magic?"

Andy smiled at the incredulously woman. "The Kine knew all sorts of interesting things. Magic is just energy directed in a more artful way, or so they tell me."

"You're avoiding answering the question, what about you?"

Andy was quiet for a second. "Yep, I'm Kine." The silence resumed and then in a whisper that Jamie could barely hear over the noise of the Orca, "Feels Kind of strange to say it out loud, But I am Kine." Then in a much firmer voice, "So is your husband and so are you ma'am. You just don't know it yet."

More hours had passed. The time was split up between Steve coming back and checking on his wife and staring out into the darkness of the western pacific. Jamie's mood had switched back and forth several times. She started out, confused and angry, now she was confused and curious. "Andy, if you don't mind, can you tell me why you joined?"

"Well the kid asked me."

"That's not an answer, it's an evasion."

"Caught me didn't you?" Jamie just nodded. "Ok if you want to know. My part really started three days after the final battle with the Goa'uld."

Three days after the destruction of the Goa'uld ship

Late at night Andy rolled into the armory. He'd been spending his days fixing various spacecraft, He'd discovered that he had the gift that let you see the system as a whole rather than specific parts. With Kine technology that was the key. Nothing was ever in the same place on the same ship and it took a fine eye and almost intuition to replace only what was necessary. It had gotten to the point that Andy could nearly tell who had built any particular ship merely by the way the circuitry was arranged. All of the battle damage had been repaired on the Hammerheads and while He enjoyed the work, it wasn't where his heart was. He wanted to be in the armory, so he had taken to working there late at night when everyone was asleep.

"Good evening Merlin, can I have the schematics for the feedback systems on the holodisplay please?"

From the very second that he'd seen the powered armor in storage, Andy had been fascinated. He spent every spare minute trying to figure it. Oddly enough he'd found that it helped him in the repair work on the battle craft as well. He was so absorbed in what he was doing that he never heard the door open, or Xander walk into the room.

"Working a little over time huh Andy?"

Andy didn't even look up from the screen. "This is just brilliant. Look here kid, Andy pointed to the spine of the battle suit. "Sensors run from the tail bond all the way up to the base of the helmet. Now the odd thing is, I can tell if it reads the electrical signals or if that simply monitors the movement of the suit. If I had to make a bet I'd say this thing can almost read your mind…"

"Hand on there Andy, I hear what you're saying but, I'm not understanding more than every other word that you're saying."

"Ok think about it like this, you don't have to think about walking, you just do it. With the way they designed this stuff, wearing armor is all most as simple. Hell Kid, you could drop this suit from 20,000 feet and the guy inside would be shaken up, but he'd walk away."

The intensity of Andy's enthusing told Xander that he'd made the right choice. "Andy, slow down a second I need to ask a favor."

"What else is new?" Andy saw the hurt in Xander eyes, "Sorry Kid. What can I do for you?"

You know what we are trying to do here," Xander found himself trying to find eloquent words but none came. Elan was equally silent. "Look its like this, I can't do this alone and I need someone who understand this stuff better than I do and I cant think of anyone that Id rather have in charge here, Andy I need you to accept the job of Master of Arms for the Kine."

Stunned, Andy sat there in his chair. "Damn kid I don't know what to say."

"That's easy… say yes."


Aboard ORCA 041


Andy snickered at Jamie's response. That's pretty much how I felt about it. There was a ceremony a few days later and I stood with the others of the Kine and took the oath."

"That sounds pretty simple to me."

Jamie, there's nothing simple about being Kine. On a seconds notice you could be called to give up everything, even your life. At the same time, I've never felt so good about a decision in my life."

After hours of unchanging noise, the change in the power on the engines was subtle. "Looks like we are here, Welcome to Avalon."

Chapter 6

With Merlin's welcome echoing in their ears, the group made its way down the ramp. Merlin shimmered into the room, "welcome ladies and gentlemen."

"Howdy Merlin, situation report please." Merlin stood mute as Andy waited for the report. "Well?"

"I am sorry Master at Arms, that information is only available to the base commander," there was a pregnant pause in Merlin's speech, "Or of course, his designated second." And even longer pause filled with silence blanketed the room. "That of course is after command has been transferred." The AI even managed to get a reasonable look expectation on his face.

It took Andy a few minutes to figure out what Merlin was looking for. "Merlin, security access, voice print identification, Konzaki, Andrzej."

"Identity verified."

"I'm assuming command of Avalon. Status report please."

"Command transfer acknowledged Master of Arms. Core power taps are operating at 35 percent of capacity, all consumable are within limits. All category 1 craft, are on 1 day alert status, with the exception of Angel flight, they are at alert 5 status."

As Merlin and Andy talked, Jamie's head was searching back and forth, taking in the hanger. She leaned over to her husband, resting her head on his shoulder, and whispered in his ear, "Steve, Where is the hanger door that we came though?"

"Shh, that's a little complicated, I'll explain later." < Much later if I have anything to say about it.> Steve wrapped his arm around his wife and pulled him to him.

In all the excitement, no one noticed that Recon had gone missing. From the back from the Orca they heard a growling. Recon had found one of the cleaning bots and proceeded to treat it like a cat, but it refused to act that way, confusing the poor Saint Bernard, so he growled at it.

"God Damnit," Andy swore, "Recon, front."

Recon's head turned over his left shoulder. His master's voice got his attention, but the bot was much more interesting. He looked back and the bot, and then back in Andy's direction. With a final growl, he padded back to Andy. When Recon reached Andy he sat down by the chair and waited to be scratched.

When Merlin saw Recon, his face went nearly white, or as close as a hologram could come, "Dogs are not allowed in Avalon," he said firmly.

Andy's head snapped up. "What?" He bellowed.

"It's been a long standing policy that animals are not allowed in Avalon." The distaste was clearly visible in Merlin's voice, "the hair gets everywhere and the… feces they leave behind are disgusting. I'm afraid he will have to go."

Andy glared at the AI, "Well listen here you digitalized Alfred, I didn't hear you object to Mikki or Chyra, you'd better find another option, cuz Recon ain't leaving."

"They are different, they are sentient beings, dogs are just animals and don't belong in this facility. I supposed we could make a place for him on the surface,

"That's unacceptable;" Andy was just as intractable as Merlin was being. Recon, sensing his master's frustration at the AI growled at the old man and lunged, only to find himself diving though the hologram, confusing the poor dog even further.

Andy rolled forward. "Look you just spent fifteen minutes convincing me that I was now in command of Avalon, override your precious policy and do it now."

"Very well, But he won't be happy here." The tone of Merlin's voice made that statement completely clear. And so the battle lines were drawn.

The next few weeks passed quickly. Andy was spending nearly all of his time in the armory working on the power armor, The rest of the crew had found different way to pass the time and make themselves useful Steve and Jamie took over the challenge of feeding the motley crew, Though it was more a case of getting everyone to eat rather that ordinary cooking chores. Getting Andy to eat when he was engulfed in a project was a major effort.

Steve and Jamie had also assumed the 'dog' duty. Merlin absolutely refused to have anything to do with Recon, which had led to a few unfortunate circumstances. So Every day around noon, the married couple would round up Recon and take him to the surface and let him run around.

The pair had confiscated one of the larger rooms for their living quarters. Jamie was fascinated with nearly everything that she saw in Avalon, though the Atlantean's love of open spaces was one of her favorite things. She and Steve would spend hours in the tub passing the time. That's where Merlin found them one day.

"Excuse me for intruding, but Mrs. Austin's presence is required in the infirmary."

Jamie quickly grabbed a towel. "Don't worry honey," Steve reassured her, "Merlin usually shuts the video down if someone is in the tub. Merlin… what's going on, why would you need Jamie? Oh hell," he mumbled, "Privacy off."

Merlin's avatar faded into the room. "I've spoken to the Commander and he has approved the same modifications to Mrs. Austin cybernetic implants that we gave you Col. Austin."

"Steve," Jamie said in a shocked tone, how does he know about 'That'?"

He probably scanned you the moment you walked in hon. There's nothing to worry about. You go to sleep and a few hours later you wake up and now you have better shielding then even Rudy could envision." Steve turned to the AI, "That right Merlin?"

"Essentially you are correct. In fact it should prove to be even less invasive than your procedure as we don't have to deal with the optic nerve."

Steve ushered Jamie into the infirmary, calling it an infirmary didn't do the place justice. In any other place in the modern world it would be considered a miracle of modern medicine, for the Kine, it was a place to get you boo boos fixed up. Any real problems would have been transferred back to Atlantis, where real doctors could treat nearly any type of injury.

Jamie scanned the room and saw that Kevin was on one of the tables, seemingly asleep. "Steve what's he doing?"

"Some project with Andy."

àKevin's voice rang out from under the large helmet he was wearing. "It has something to do with the powered armor project he's got going."

Merlin shimmered into the room. "It's called a neurological baseline scan. When combined with the telemetry data from the Hammerheads, it establishes how each particular body sends data to each individual muscle."

"Can we try that in English please?" It wasn't only Jamie's that Merlin had lost with his explanation, Steve and Kevin both nodded their heads.

"It tracks when a neuron is sent down a never bundle and identifies which muscle is affected. Properly scanned, you simply wear the suit and it follows your commands just as your muscles do. Be that as it may, I'm afraid we have more important things to do today. If you will follow me Mrs. Austin, we can begin."

"I'm a bit confused," Jamie admitted, "what are we doing here today?"

"It truly nothing to worry about, the colonel has already gone through the procedure."


Merlin turned to Steve Austin, "Id assumed that you'd explained it all to her."

Steve glared at the AI, "It obvious that you've never been married." He focused on Jamie. "Jamie. Rudy did the best he could, but there are problems with our bionics that," Steve poked his thumb in Merlin's direction, He can resolve."

"What kind of problems?"

Steve hemmed and hawed for a few minutes, not sure how Jamie would take to the idea of space flight. "Well it's like this…"

"Oh for goodness sake, Mrs. Austin, your primitive cybernetic systems are prone to failure when subjected to unshielded radiation which is most common on space craft. What I shall be doing is installing a much more efficient shielding and some minor modifications to the prosthesis. In such a manner we can any future problems. It is actually very simple and we encountered no problems with the Colonel's"

"Please Jamie." Steve's voice said it all, Jamie could hear the worry that he felt and with only seconds thought she said "OK."

Merlin led Jamie into a small room that was populated with strange looking instruments. "Please remove your clothes and lay down on the table. When Jamie was comfortable Avalon's AI directed a device that looked very much like a crown onto her head, "What is that?" She asked nervously.

"It's calla Lethe field. Small electrical pulses at the right frequencies and in the right place will cancel any pain signals the brain may receive. Lie still now; this will be over in just a few moments."

Jamie was about to ask another question when her world went black.

The next few weeks fell into a pattern. The surgery on Jamie, and the effects were forgotten in a few days and the foursome, well five, if you count Recon, fell into a predictable pattern. Jamie assumed the duties of keeping men and dog fed. Steve joined Kevin in the scanners. The pair of them worked all day every day and came 'home' every night exhausted. Rarely did they last long past dinnertime before they were asleep. The next day, they would start all over again.

Andy spent nearly waking hour in the armory working in the power armor he convinced himself that he suit was ready for a test run, but wanted a few more days data. He'd secretly had Merlin do the same series of test that he was putting the two Kine pilots through.

All that changed when Mother Nature came to call.

Chapter 7

"This is CNN"

"Good morning, I'm Bobbi Kline thanks for watching. The story of the hour is an unusually large hurricane, a so called storm of the centaury that is building up in the south west pacific, with more on this story we go to Amber Evens in Pearl Harbor Hawaii."

The rain splattered camera lens focused in on a very wind swept pier. "Good morning Donna, as you can see I'm standing on one of the main piers here at Pearl Harbor where wind speeds have already been recorded at over 100 miles per hour. The U.S Navy has decided to sit this one out and all of their ships in the affected area have put to port, even the vaunted Hurricane Hunters of the Air Force are grounded as this storm is simply too dangerous to fly in."

"Have there been any estimates on casualties yet?"

"Thankfully not, or at least none have reported so far! And with the exception of the Chinese freighter, Golden Road, all shipping has been redirected to avoid the worst of the storm. For CNN this is Amber Evens, at Pearl Harbor."

Aboard the freighter Golden Road

Thirty foot waves blasted the old Liberty ship as her one lung diesel engine tried to make steerage. For the last seven hours the crew of the ship had been fighting a losing battle against the forces of nature. Her Captain, a brutally ugly man named Choy Ming tried everything in his arsenal of skill to save the ship. Not out of any true concern for the crew, but for the only reason that existed for Choy Ming, money and if he didn't deliver his cargo, he didn't get paid.

A metal on metal groan came from aft of the wheelhouse of the battered ship as wave after wave roared over the gunnels. In normal circumstances he'd never taken the rout he'd chosen, leaving him far from help where he could have called for one of the worlds navies to help, but that wasn't to be. For you see not only was Captain Ming ugly externally, he was the worst sort of a human being, A slaver.

Choy Ming waited. The runner he's sent to the engine room should have been back long ago. He slammed the useless phone system back into its cradle He turned to his first mate, "Order another runner aft. I need a status report from the chief engineer." Even as the Captain spoke the steel hatch opened and a skinny Korean force his way into the bridge, fighting the walls of water that continued to pour all over the decks.

With water dripping down his face and the overflow from his rain suit leaving puddles on the deck, the runner spoke in a fast Korean dialect, "There is no hope captain, the engine is flooded and cracks in the plating are letting in more water than the pumps can handle."

"We have no choice." There was one thing that Choy Ming valued above money, which was his life. "Secure all hatches and ready the launches, we will make for that island off the starboard bow." He pulled the first mate off to the side. "Make sure that the cargo can not escape."

The door to the armory slid open. Recon padded into the room followed by the rest of the current residents of Avalon. Andy looked up from the suit of armor he was working on, "Howdy folks, glad you could make it."

Steve took the lead, "Well you've been so damn mysterious for the last month, and how the hell could we refuse. Now what the hell are we here to see?"

Andy waived them over and invited them to sit down. "First some basic facts; from the records I've found the Kine had three different suits of armor. The most common was the Marauder. Basic infantry stuff, lots of ammo and jump juice but short on CCCI. The second type was the command suit was similar to the Marauder but more com gear and somewhat faster. The third type is what we have here, A scout suit."

Sitting in a very large chair was a combat suit. Though the description wasn't all that flattering, Kevin looked at the suit and thought it looked like a gorilla on steroids. The suit was half again as big as a man and with over sized arms and legs.

Andy rolled over to the suit and opened a small access hatch on the front of the suit. "Here's where the power source goes." The gunsmith pulled a test tube sized container from the open compartment. He held it up, showing the fluorescent green liquid inside, "This is naqueda. In the right form there's enough pure energy here to vaporize this entire island, as it is, it will power this suit for a week, four days if in constant combat."

"What about weapons?"

"Nothing onboard, combat is not the scout's primary job. I'm assuming that they carried something similar to assault weapons and there is a mounting point for the smart guns that we found in the security vault. Watch this," Andy reached into the open face plate and pushed a switch. The suit went from an olive drab green to a midnight black. "Built in camouflage, there are dozens of possible combinations, there's even one named Martian dust storm." Andy clicked the switch rapidly. The suit changed colors, ending up a ruddy red.

"Take a look at this." Andy moved over to his work bench, shooing Recon out of the way. He picked up a bundle of what looked like fine fiber optic cable. "This is the heart of the system. I call it pseudomuscle. It works the same way our own muscles work only ten times harder. Each strand is independently controlled by a host of processors that are nearly invisible to the human eye."

Steve rolled his eyes at Andy. He'd seen this before in every aerospace engineer that he'd even worked with. To them, the devil was in the details. "Andy… Andy, while I'm sure this is vitally important, how does this affect us?"

Andy grinned sheepishly. "Sorry I know I get carried away sometimes, but this shit is out of the world. Look as the computer control nexus, there's not just one." Andy trailed off, "I did it again didn't I?"

Ok here's the deal. I've gone as far as I can with just reading the manuals and studying the circurtry, it's time to try it out and I need your help."

With the words 'try it out, both Steve's and Kevin's ears perked up. They took a quick glance at each other, both thinking the same thought; who gets to go first. The looks didn't go unnoticed by Andy. "Relax you two. I'm going to be the test dummy."

Kevin saw his chance slipping away. He'd been in that damn scanner all day every day, and he wanted to be the first. "Look Andy, I don't mean to be insensitive, but you're a…" he trailed off rather than say the word.


"Well yes. Don't you think that one of us should be first?"

"I know these systems better than either of you do. If I'm right that won't make one bit of difference." Andy could tell that both flyers were unimpressed. "What's the worst thing that can happen? I fall flat on my face. C'mon give me a hand here."

Kevin and Steve gave in gracefully; sadly both expected Andy to fail.

Andy keyed the lift and the top of the suit was pulled away from the bottom. The Men grabbed Andy by the arms and legs and lowered him into the bottom of the suit. "Ok careful here, make sure that the six latches around the waist are all aligned," Andy warned.

Steve inspected the connections, "Looks good, lower away Kevin." A heavy whine filled the room. Andy lifted his arms above his head as the torso unit came down slowly. He threaded his arms though the shoulder joints.

"Looking good so far," Andy added.

The torso came to rest on the bottom and then with a hiss of air and a series of loud clicks the suit sealed. Andy toggled the startup sequence with his chin and then keyed the external speakers and microphone. "I'm on internal power; disconnect the black and blue cables on the left hand side."

Kevin pulled the cable connection apart. He knocked on the helmet, "Any one home in there?" à

Andy gave him the thumbs up, "I'm," he paused to take a deep breath and then found he needed another one, "Good to go. Do me a favor and stand back. If I fall I don't need to know that I crushed one of my friends."

Andy grasped the arms of the chair and tried to stand up and all hell broke lose. The Martian red dust colored suit shot to the ceiling, smashing the helmet against it. Andy found in a battle between power armor and the lab ceiling the power armor won hands down leaving a huge dent in the ceiling.

As Andy started to fall, the emergency accelerometers kick the suit jets in, sending Andy flying across the room. Andy would have happily crashed into the wall and let it lay there, but Kevin, Steve, Jamie and Recon had chosen the worst possible place to stand. They all had fallen to the floor, leaving Andy one choice, He mashed the control for the jets and bounced off the wall and headed back for the ceiling. "Jesus Christ," he swore.

Andy managed to turn his body so that the majority of the second impact with the ceiling was absorbed by the body of the suit, leaving a slightly smaller dent this time. Andy took the last possible action He keyed the main power switch and let the suit fall.

The power Armor hit Andy's work bench and crushed the metal beyond recognition.

Merlin appeared and got the last word in. "Master of Arms, while it's not unusual for a trainee to damage the fitting room on his first try," Merlin looked upwards, "In all my years I don't believe I've ever seen that particular damage before. Be that as it may, we have intruders on the island."

Chapter 8

"Jesus fucking Christ!," Andy swore with a vengeance inside of the helmet unaware that his words were being picked up by the passive mic that had switched on when the emergence shut down had been engaged. "Merlin what the fuck happened?"

"I would say that you underestimated the strength of the suits jump capacity."

"Ya think?"

Merlin glared down at the suit. "I was going to add, Along with that, the muscles in your legs have forgotten how to walk, so I'm sure you overcompensated."

Andy nodded to himself in the helmet. "Well get me over to the hoist. I feel like I just went ten rounds with George Foreman."

Steve and Jamie ambled over to the downed suit and started to lift it.

"I wouldn't advise that," Merlin tossed in. "The suit weight over 2000 pounds and at a dead lift I'm afraid it would tear your shoulders out of their sockets. Master of Arms restart the suit, you will have to crawl very gently over to the lift. Remember that you are now 10-20 times stronger that you were."

Andy didn't acknowledged Merlin's advice but initiated the start up procedure. The inside lights flickered to life and Andy felt the cooling system kick in. "alright," he warned, "Stand back!" The suit slowly bent at the waist and Andy carefully, almost as if in slow motion, got his feet under him. With exaggerated care the armored form rose from a squatting position. Inside the suit, Andy was sweating like a whore in church. It was taking more concentration not to move than it did to move normally. Ok I think I have this baby under control."

Without lifting his foot up, he slid his right leg forward. Tittering like a newborn, Andy mad his way over to the suiting chair. àHe tongued the system into stand by mode, which would keep the armor hot but disengage the propulsion system. "OK its safe; Get me out of this thing."

With the upper half of the suit hanging over his head, the group let out a collective gasp. Andy's arms were covered in the sickly green colored bruises. "Damn Andy, did ya get the license plate number?" Kevin joked.

Andy tore open his shirt to revel even more of the already healing bruises. "This can't be right," he mumbled to himself.

"Its not," Merlin answered the unasked question. Most pilots know enough to engage the auto-gel system before they start crashing around the room."

"Auto-gel?" It was clear by the timber of his voice; Andy didn't have a clue what Merlin was referring to.

"The auto-gel system is what allows the pilot to pull heavy g's with out serious damage."

"Wait a freaking second. You knew about this system and didn't tell me?"

"You never asked," Merlin replied politely, "Besides it didn't seem relevant at the time. It's not like you were going to die." A wry grin or what passed for AI humor drove Merlin to add, "If I weren't so busy looking after that damned animal, I might have remembered to tell you about it. Now if you will get dressed and meet me in the command center, we have a situation to deal with."

Point to Merlin, the war of Avalon just heated up.

On the lee side of the island, the crew of the Golden Road had managed to land the life boats and take shelter in a protected cove. Even then, the winds were driving the rain sideways at over 80 miles an hour.

Choy Ming, his clothes soaked through and his hair plastered to his face, drove his crew relentlessly. He needed to assure their survival to guarantee his own, so for once he acted like a Captain. "Drag the boats onto the beach. We will use them as shelters until the storm has passed. You",: he bellowed at one of the crew, "Why aren't you working?"

Eyes wide with fear, the man staggered to his feet clearly injured. "Sir I broke my leg boarding the life boat."

"That is unfortunate." Choy calmly drew the old pistol from its holster and shot the man in the head. "If you can not work you are of no use to me," He announced to the rest of the crew. The pace of the work increased tenfold, as Choy knew it would.

The four of them entered the control room, curious about what had happened. Andy, dressed in his normal attire of cut off fatigues was the first in. The bruises that were so plain a few minutes ago had faded to become merely shadows on his body.

"Lady and Gentlemen please be seated."

What's the situation Merlin?" Steve Austin asked in a quiet, no nonsense voice.

"Approximately three hours ago, sea scan LIDAR pick-up up a large freighter approaching the island on a very erratic course. It was clear to me that they had lost steerage and were out of control. I estimated that they had less than five hours before sinking, so I disabled the masking systems and allowed them to approach unimpeded. That was before I found this."

Merlin activated two large viewing screens. One was the sheltered cove where Choy and his men were hiding and the Second was CNN. "Once I knew the name of the ship I was able to check the registry and various databases. The results made me regret letting them land."

"What's so bad," Jamie innocently asked."

"The Golden Road is well known to various law enforcement agencies across the world under varying names. Both INS and Interpol have rather large dossiers on both the ship and her captain, Choy Ming." Merlin's face took on deadly hue. "There is a shoot on sight order from the Chinese government.

Exasperated Jamie asked again, "What?"

"The very worst of human vices, he's a slaver."

Jamie grabbed Steve's hand and held on for dear life. Even the word repulsed her.

Andy's face went pale, but a fire was lit in his eyes. He'd seen human slavery in Viet Nam and he was damned if he would let the bastards draw another breath. He turned his chair around and headed for the exit.

"Master of Arms, Where do you think you are going?"

Andy's head turned back toward Merlin. "I'm going to suit up and stomp those mother fuckers into goo"

"Given your precarious control of powered armor I doubt it."

"Then I will give it my best try."

"The sentiment it admirable, but hardly practicable, besides that we have another problem.

"And the hits just keep on coming." Kevin added.

"There are 960 people trapped in the hold of that ship, I estimate the have 4 hours before the ship sinks if something isn't done."

Andy rolled back over toward Merlin, "Tell me you have a plan."

"I do, though it hinges on your ability to at least control the armor and a lot of good fortune."

That doesn't make any sense. On one hand you doubt my control and on the other you're counting on it?"

"In a much different task than stomping people into goo, yes"

"Ok Lets hear it."

CLUMP…CLUMP…CLUMP…CLUMP, the sound of armored footsteps echoed across the hanger. When the armored suit reached the largest of the Orca series, a Carryall, Andy triggered the speakers, "Ok Kevin open up."

"Roger that."

Andy walked into the cargo bay. He set the heavy welder down and with no other place to go, he magnetically clamped himself to the side of the transport. He changed the broadcast range with his chin and whispered, "Radio check."

"Got you five by five," Kevin answered, Hey Dude, "did you find the Auto-gel system this time?"

"Fuck you Kevin," Andy said good naturedly

"Not on your best day dude."

Merlin's plan was simple. The LIDAR scan and a magnetic scan of the Golden Road had reveled that one crack was causing most of the problems; Andy would go over the side and weld it shut. Then the pair would hook the old Liberty ship to the Orca and tow it out of danger.

The only problem was, that left only Steve, Jamie and Recon to handle the slavers.

Chapter 9

While Kevin and Andy waited in the Orca, Steve, Jamie and Merlin tried to come up with a way to handle the slavers. It would have been a simple task to used one of the smart guns, but that left open the possibility that they may miss one and compromise the security of Avalon. No, A little guile was called for. The trio discussed several possibilities and hit upon one that they all though feasible.

Steve and Jamie dressed in some of the uniforms left behind by the international group that had fought the Goa'uld. "Ok that's it then. Merlin I'm going to need a couple of Zats from the armory."

"Security access is granted."

The husband and wife team trudged down to the armory and Steve introduce Jamie to the Zat'Nikatel. He handed her one of the snake shaped weapons. "It's simple and equally deadly." He pressed the button and a whine shrieked from the Zat and there was an audible whine that filled the silent room.

"You press the firing stud once and the target falls down in extreme pain; hit the same person a second time and they die."

Jamie gulped.

Steve felt a flush of worry for Jamie. "Are you sure you can handle this?"

"Steve Austin, I may not like it but it won't be the first time I've killed somebody.

"Right," Steve said dubiously."Look I can handle this on my own if you like."

Jamie looked back at Steve and a steel edge entered her voice. "There's too many for just one person, you already know that. I love you for trying to protect me, but don't."

"Right," he said. Steve handed her the weapon and drew another one from the rack. "Ok let's get it done."

The pair headed for the corridor that led to a false rock front that concealed the surface entrance. Recon, thinking that it was time for his walk followed them. Jamie bent down and scratched the Saint Bernard on the head. "No Recon, stay."

Recon sat down. Looking to the whole world that he was planted on that spot till Steve and Jamie got back, but when Steve opened the false door the big dog jumped ahead of the pair and took off into the rain forest.

"Damn it," swore Jamie. She and Steve took off after the dog but the jungle effectively neutralized the advantage that their bionics gave them. After a few minutes of a futile chase, both were soaked with water and chilled to the bone by the now 50 mph winds.

Upset that their careful plan had been upset by a dog, the pair moved along a path that had been created by Mikki and Xander. When they came to an outcropping that was the boundary of the cove, they stopped and made their final plans.

"Remember the cover story. We are the survivors of a downed KC-10 that got caught by the Typhoon." Steve stuck his Zat underneath the borrowed flight jacket and stepped forward. Putting his most innocent face he shouted, "Hello in the camp." The whistling wind nearly drowned out the ex-astronaut's voice so he stepped into the clearing and shouted even louder. "Hello."

The sight of an American pilot startled Choy Ming. He reached for the pistol. When he saw a second pilot, a woman this time, also enter the clearing he thought twice about shooting the man. American pilots have radios he thought, perhaps this is my chance.

He casually walked over to the pair. "Hello," he said in broken English.

"Boy are we glad to see you." Steve covertly scanned the camp, mentally counting how many men were there. He offered Choy Ming his hand. "I'm Colonel Steve Austin and this is my boomer Sergeant Jamie Summers."

"I am Choy Ming. May I ask how you came to be on this island?"

"Our KC-10 got caught in the Typhoon. Might have made it but we swallowed a bird too…" Steve's voice trailed off as he noticed that the oriental man's eyes were twitching back and forth between Jamie and Him.

Choy Ming's eyes went wide. The wind had caught Jamie's jacket and reveled the Zat she had stuck in the waist band. He quickly reached for his won gun, but Col Austin was even faster. He straight armed Choy with all the might in his bionic arm, sending the slaver flying into the jungle.

"Steve He'll get away."

"It's an island dear, he wont get far, we deal with the bigger threat first. We can always have Merlin track him down later."

The pair of Kine warriors raced into the middle of the camp and began the distasteful task of exterminating the slavers. Blast after blast from the Zats caught the slavers off guard. When all 18 of them were down, Steve turned to his wife, "I can take it from here Jamie."


"No buts, you don't have anything to prove here. There's no sense of both of us having nightmares. Wait for me by the boats and we will see about tracking down out missing bastard."

Jamie could read her husband better than anyone else in the world and she knew that tone of voice, there wasn't any arguing with Steve when he got like that. "Ok," she conceded as she headed for the tree line, "But don't be too long."

The sound of the Zats firing roused Choy Ming. He found himself at the base of a large tree. His face was batter and bruised and blood was freely flowing out of his nose and ears. He staggered to his feet and like a man on a week long drunk headed for the cove. Had he been listening carefully, or even just a little more aware of his surroundings, he would have heard the sound of rattling in the underbrush.

Choy got to the edge of the jungle and when he looked into his carefully prepared camp all he saw were bodies. He grabbed the pistol from his belt and stepped forward, only to run into Jamie Summers- Austin.

Jamie gasped. The sight before her looked like something out of a horror movie. She raised the Zat, but had already safetied the weapon, that nearly cost Jamie her life.

Choy raised the old revolver and with his sight shrouded by blood he fired by instinct, pleased when the blasted woman fell to the ground clutching her arm. He stood over the wounded woman and gloated, "I may die, so do you."

One hundred and eighty pounds of wet, smelly Saint Bernard hit Choy full force, knocking the slaver to the ground. Choy turned his head to see what had happened and the only thing he saw was a pair of dark brown eyes with a feral look to them. The last thing Choy ever saw on this earth was Recon's teeth, getting ready to sink into his throat.

Fifteen minutes later, Steve found his wife on the ground, bleeding from a grazing gunshot wound. He also found Choy's body; the throat had been ripped out. Recon was lying by Jamie's side, protecting her from harm.

Steve lifted Jamie and carried her back to the false doorway that led to Avalon.

"Gunslinger one, you are cleared to launch. Colonel Austin was successful."

Merlin's voice was music to Kevin's ears, "Roger that Merlin. Gunslinger one is light on the skids."

Chapter 10

The large craft lumbered against gravity. In the hold, Andy had to snicker about Kevin's description of being light on the skids. There was nothing about the Carryall that would be considered light. The largest of the Orca series, the Carryall dwarfed all of it brothers. There was a huge grappling hook mounted directly beneath the center line of the large craft for lifting nearly anything the claw would fit around. Kevin had chosen that one because it was also carrying a small personal container that had originally been designed to carry troops; the current configuration was the optimum choice for the rescue work and heavy hauling.

In the cockpit Kevin struggled with the Carryall. Though used to flying large planes, the Carryall was larger that anything Kevin has confronted in the past. He gently added thrust and pivoted the massive four engines forward and headed for the catapult.

Merlin's voice echoed in his ears, "catapult ready, you may launch at your discretion."

"Gunslinger one acknowledges."

The massive carrier lumbered forward on its antigravity drives till it came to the launch point, One second it was there and with a flash of light it was gone.

The Orca broached the broke though the launch point and the typhoon scale winds drove it downwards. Kevin fought the control. He tried adding more power but the ship fell off to the port side in a wicked spin. "Whoa Bessie, Kevin muttered to himself. That's it. Come on back." Kevin added more power and tried trimming the craft to counteract the steady wind. "Ok that's it. I got you now."

Andy keyed his mic, "Yo Kevin I thought this was a spacecraft not a roller coaster."

"Just what I need on the intercom a comedian."

"Hey if it walks like a duck."

"If it walked like a duck, I'd be a happy camper. No this thing flies like a drunken elephant. I think I'm gonna name it Dumbo. "He continued his battle with the unfamiliar craft. With the altimeter winding Kevin finally caught up with the plane. He pulled the Carryall out of the spin and hauled back on the controls and the carryall went screaming across the ocean surface, shooting rooster tails three hundred feet long. Kevin rejoiced, "Yeee Haaaa, Who's your daddy, who's your daddy."

In the cargo hold, Andy wasn't enjoying the ride as much as Kevin was, "Get a grip man. Remember we didn't come so you could indulge your fantasies"

"Right," Kevin said sheepishly, "Back to work." And with those words he headed the carryall back towards Avalon.

The Golden Road had fared better than anyone had any right. The cheaply built world war two ship was still afloat and against all odds, hadn't broken in two, which was a common occurrence among Liberty ships.

Kevin laid the Carryall into a hover above the bow of the ship. "All aboard," he said as he opened the rear ramp. "Ok Andy lets get on the same page. Set the tow lines first. I will keep her steady while you zip her up."

Andy unlocked the magnetic clamps and lumbered to the ramp. He saw the think milky whit lined all curled up. "What the hell is this stuff? No way it will ever hold." Andy kicked the bundle over the ramp.

"Don't be the family jewels on that. Merlin told me that its synthetic spider silk. Damn near unbreakable, makes steel look like butter."

"If you say so," he answered dubiously. Andy jumped from the ramp onto the deck of the freighter. He landed with a thud, but this time he kept himself vertical. "Radio check, Merlin do you copy?

Merlin's voice came through the suit speakers, "I have a good signal Andy. Pass along to Kevin that Mrs. Austin is going to be fine."

"Umm, ok. Hey Merlin, can this thing float?" That thought had just popped into Andy's head when he was convinced that Kevin was going to dump the Carryall into the sea.

"Really Master of Arms, don't you think you should have asked that before" Merlin didn't even give Andy time to answer. "The Atlantean's were as attached as much to the sea as they were to the land, so of course they would have designed that capability into their equipment.

"Its so comforting that you tell me theses little things."

"When the suit is immersed in water a secondary screen will appear. That switches the suit jet function."

"Thank you very much Merlin." Andy grabbed the patches that he'd scrounged from inside of Avalon and jumped over the side. The thirty foot fall left Andy just enough time to begin to worry if Merlin was messing with him again, thankfully, when the suit hit the water, a new screen replaced the jet control and Andy found that he could control both depth and direction with just a little thought. "Thank you Merlin."

Below the waterline the sea seemed calm, a refreshing change from the last few days. Andy found the cracks. "We may be better off then we first thought. I've got about a ten foot section that will need to be patched and I can weld the rest."

Andy plugged the ion torch into the power outlet of the suit and went to work. First he tacked the patches into place. Next he worked the torch around the un-patched areas, melding the metal back together with a flame even hotter than the sun.

For the next two hours Andy did nothing but weld, Inch after inch, foot after foot. He was so intent that he never noticed the little clown fish swimming around his helmet, fighting the current coming off the ship with only one good fin.

Andy finished and unconsciously went to wipe his forehead and then he remembered the helmet. He climbed back onto the deck and radioed Kevin, "Ok that's it. Let's get the show on the road."

Chapter 11

Pearl Harbor
24 hours later

The conference room had hastily been set up as a pressroom. Sitting in tightly packed chairs and surrounding the back walls were members of the world press. The story of the Golden Road had become the story of the minute. Rumors of human slavery had disgusted and fascinated the world audiences and the press knew how to feed them what they wanted.

A tall naval officer entered the room from a side door and proceeded to the podium that was now festooned with microphones. "Good morning. I am Lt. Commander Sampson; I am the base public relations officer here at Pearl. As many of you have already reported, the SS Golden Road was rescued after suffering damage from the recent typhoon."

"What about the report of human slaves," an anonymous reporter shouted out.

Commander Sampson gave the gather press his best smile, "If you give me a second I'm getting to that." He looked back down at his notes. "Rescued from the ship were 960 people. Most were of Chinese and North Korean decent." Sampson shuddered, "there was documentation found on board that shows that the passengers," He looked up grimly and then varied from his notes, "And I use that word in the best possible light, were destined for sweatshops in South America. The survivors are currently undergoing debriefing or being treated for various ailments here at the base hospital. Pending further disposition the survivors are in INS custody and will be returned to their home countries when their condition warrants it." Sampson put his notes away, "I'd be happy to answer your questions.

Shouts of Commander from all over the room deluged the public information officer, He choose a fat man sitting in the front row, with a curt "you."

"Neal Shaw with AP. Commander what if any information do you have about the crew, are they also in custody or if not, why?"

"The crew apparently abandoned the ship somewhere along the line. Both launches are missing from the Golden Road, other than that, I'm sorry, we just don't know. A search is currently under way, but so far it hasn't produced any results and given the severity of the typhoon we don't hold much hope. Yes Ma'am?"

A blonde reporter stood up, "Amber Evans with CNN. Commander, are you aware of stories that someone, perhaps aliens, saved the ship?"

"Miss Evens, I have heard those rumors. But I can guarantee you that they are just sea stories. Like the Devils Triangle. I think its one way for some very scared people to explain what happened to them. Next question please."

The Commander answered questions for another few minutes and concluded the press conference with the promise that if anything else came to light he would make that information available as soon as possible. Leaving the room he was joined by his JG. "Imagine that commander, Aliens saving a beat up old ship, those people will do anything for a story."

Sampson stopped and glared at the young Lieutenant "Tell me this Carter, who the hell welded the side of that ship? He turned away and continued, "There's a hell of a lot that we don't know about this. I'm passing this up the chain, something's rotten in Denmark.

Hollywood CA

Andy's van crept to a halt at his home for the first time in over six weeks. Relief washed over the gunsmith. Though the time at Avalon was well spent, he'd gotten Steve, Kevin, himself, and even Jamie scanned so that the Kine now had some troops that could use the power if it became necessary, but he was afraid of how much work was going to be backed up at the shop. Hell he felt a genuine sense of relief of finally getting to sleep in his own bed again.

Recon on the other hand, seemed disappointed to leave and Andy was curious as to why. The war between Andy and Merlin over Recon's presence on Avalon had cooled a bit. Instead of Merlin purposely misguiding or excluding some information, now it was a bickering match that seemed to crop up and the oddest times. Andy could live with that, it a way he'd won, sure it hurt, but Recon wasn't banished from the base.

"C'mon Recon, let go kick back and relax." Recon's only answer was a lick on the face and slobber all over Andy's shirt.

As he rolled up to the front door, Andy could hear the sound of the television on inside. "Recon front," he said as he pulled out the old Smith & Wesson that he always carried on the chair. He barged through the door and drew down on the intruder.

Lynn turned in time to see he Uncle Andy lower the pistol. "Andyyyy!" she screamed as she jumped to her feet, only to be knocked down by Recon, who proceeded to wash her face with his tongue. Lynn squirmed and giggled under Recon's attack, it was an old game between two friends.

"YOU SUMABITCH! You low down, no account, don't bother telling me squat… You fucking knew the whole god dammed story and you left me in the dark."

"Ah, Terry, I guess Xander had that…" Andy was interrupted but a bowl of spaghetti hitting him in the face. Andy collected some of the food with his finger, "Hmm not too bad." There wasn't much Andy could do until Terry cooled down. He turned his chair and headed into the living room to watch TV with Lynn. "Hey," he shouted back at Terry, "that's my Mother you're talking about."

"Come back here you bastard, I'm not done yelling at you yet."

Andy ignored him. "Hey Munchkin, how long has he been like that?"

Lynn kept watching the history channel as she answered, "Ever since that nice boy met us at the hotel in that funny town."

Sunnydale CA
A week earlier

Terry Powell answered the knock on the door. He'd been waiting a long time to find out what was going on. The Kid wouldn't tell him shit and Andy was much better. It had finally come down to the nitty gritty and he'd had to cut the Kid off till he got some sort of explanation. "Hey Kid how's it going?"

Xander causally strode into the room. He tossed a suitcase on the bed. "Not too bad Ter." He unzipped the suitcase and opened the top. "That should square my account," Xander grinned, "at least for now."

It took a few seconds for Terry to collect himself. His eyes met Xander's, "Look Kid, you and I both know that it wasn't about the money. It about being kept in the dark."

"I know that."

C'mon Kid we're all friends here. Have a seat and let's hear it."

For the next hour, Xander spoke and Terry listened. The longer Xander spoke, the calmer Terry got. Finally when Xander finished his story he asked Terry the only impotent question, "Are you in or not?"

"One thing, how did Andy answer?"

A smart assed grin filled Xanders face, "You already know that don't you?"

"I'm gonna kill that sumbitch."

Xander couldn't control the burst of laughter. "You and I both know that won't stop Andy."

Hollywood CA

Andy waited for Terry to come back from putting Lynn to bed. When his best friend came back into the living room and motioned him over to him. He pulled Terry down, so their eyes were on the same level. "I only knew the truth a little while before you did, and there was no time for me to come see you and explain and no way I was gonna try and explain it over the phone.. I'm sorry you found out this way."

Terry clapped Andy on the shoulder, "That's okay dude, Shit happens. How about a beer and you can tell me everything, and I mean everything, now."

"Sounds like a plan to me."


Terrace Points Montana

Lynn rushed in from school. The two weeks she'd spent out of town with her dad made her the target of envy of all the kids. Now at fourteen, Disneyland isn't supposed to cause a lot of excitement, but when she told them, that because of her uncle Andy they got to go to the head of every line, she could just see everyone wished that they'd been there.

"Dad, I'm home." Lynn knew that it was unlikely that Terry would be home, he'd been even further backed up than Andy was at his shop. The young girl grabbed a quick snack and headed for her room.

She tossed her tennis shoes into a corner and powered up the new computer that Andy had given her. She waited as it went thought the BIOS boot and then the splash screen popped up, Starting Windows 98. Somehow Andy had managed to get a preproduction version of the new OS and Lynn had been hooked ever since.

Lynn quickly logged into the shops mainframe and went searching the web for information on Daniel Boone. Her history teacher hadn't been amused at the fact the Lynn had been gone for two weeks, so he'd assigned her a report to make up for the work she'd missed.

She'd just started to cut and paste information from a web site when the Navigator screen blanked out, only to be replaced by a DOS screen with the word HELLO, in bright red letters. "That's not right," she muttered to herself.

"Hello," she typed rapidly. Who are you?"

"I'm a friend."

"Yea right," she aimed at the screen, "whose friend are you?" She spoke the words out loud as she typed. "How do I know that you aren't some hacker that managed to invade my computer?" Lynn added a whole row of question marks after that question.

"I suppose that technically I am a hacker as you put it. But by no means do I mean you any harm. You may call me.


"Merlin," appeared five rows between the last lines.

Lynn grabbed a few chips and considered what she should say. If he really was a friend then no problem, on the other hand, her dad would kill her if she allowed anyone access to the shops computer. She grabbed her soda and took a quick swallow.

"You didn't answer my question. How do you know me?"

"Let's say that your Uncle and I are old friends."

"You know Andy?" Lynn thought fast. <How can I trip this guy up?> She went back to the keyboard, "If you know Andy, then tell me what are his favorite shoes?" Lynn grinned at her own cleverness.

"Since the Master of Arms lost his legs to a land mine, I'm afraid that he hasn't any real preference or use for shoes.

"Wait a second… Wait a second, Lynn shouted at the computer. "MASTER OF ARMS," she typed in all caps and a row of question marks.

"Be that as it may Lynn, He tells me that you like computers, how would you like to become my student?"

Lynn's face scrunched up. Half of her wanted to say yes and the other half knew better. "I'll have to check with Andy." She typed.

"Very well, I shall monitor this address, you may simply type my name and I will answer.

"COOL" Lynn headed for the phone. When it was answered, "Uncle Andy, do you know a guy named Merlin?"

The End


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