A Stargate SG-1 Alternate Universe Jack/Daniel slash novel.

A new AU slash novel (Jack/Daniel) by Graculus.

The discovery of a Goa'uld artifact in the hands of a professor of archaeology brings Colonel Jack O'Neill face to face with a man he should have already met, if the fates hadn't conspired where Daniel Jackson's future was concerned. What they discover about the artifact and what it contains will send them on an unexpected journey, a journey of discovery in more ways than one.

Approximately 89,000 words. Color cover. Two color inserts

Benedictus on Paper

Benedictus on CD

Cover art and interior artwork by The Cat’s Meow Creative Arts.

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Here are some short excerpts from the novel. They don’t give away much of what happens hopefully but just let you get a little bit of the “flavor” of the story: (coming soon)

Life, Jack O’Neill was certain, wasn’t supposed to be like this. He felt as though he’d been sleepwalking for years, tied to a job he was good at but didn’t really like.

It had been a lifeline, of course, back when he’d been so close to the edge of the abyss that he could stare down into it and wonder just what it would be like to use his service weapon, and he couldn’t have said what had stopped him. The recall to active duty, unexpected, had thrown him a rope in many ways—at least it had given him a reason to get up in the morning, even if in the end nothing had come of it.

He remembered Catherine Langford enthusing about some young genius who was going to come and revolutionize their thoughts about that big stone whatever-it-was they’d been landed with, but the genius had never arrived. Jack had been stuck there, in a mountain full of geeks; apparently geeks who also weren’t that good at their jobs. None of them had been able to figure out what the thing was, the thing that had later turned their preconceptions of the universe on their heads, and they’d been left to find out by accident.

Still, at least it had got him out of the house and away from all those memories. Maybe it had been that, as much as anything else, which had almost made him take that fateful step. Being there, surrounded by memories he couldn’t talk about with anyone, not even Sara. Back in the saddle again, away from a house where every corner reminded him of Charlie and all the things that would never be, the urge to kill himself just wasn’t as strong. Jack had seized on work as an excuse not to go home and by the time it was clear that work wasn’t going to give him much to be going on with, home just wasn’t home any more.

The Air Force had been happy for him to carry on being in charge, though, and Jack had stayed there ever since, even when General West was found other things to do—guardian of the secrets of the universe, as they’d later discovered. Not that anyone had known that was the case at time, or at least not until someone calling himself Apophis had come through the device and changed their world forever.

He’d been unlucky though, that particular Goa’uld—the hostages he’d taken were tougher than they looked. One of them had not only been able to figure out how the whole chevron thing worked, she’d also been able to escape and make her way back to the Chappa’ai and then back to Earth. Her sudden arrival, disheveled and half scared out of her wits regardless of the use she’d made of her unarmed combat training, signaled the beginning of a new phase for the Air Force. A beginning Jack O’Neill was well placed to exploit, considering his own background in special ops and the fact he wasn’t actually doing anything else he’d need to be pulled away from.

So, in short order, Jack had found himself reporting to another general, one he’d never met before—who seemed like a guy who had his head screwed on okay—and getting together a team to head out into the unknown. Which seemed like old times, really, particularly once he’d been able to pull a few strings he wasn’t sure were still effective and get a couple of his old unit back.

They’d gone out there, exploring the universe, and kicked some butt while they did it. Sure it wasn’t always pretty, and one of their early missions had cost him a good man and a good friend in Charlie Kawalsky, but Jack was certain they’d done more good than harm. They’d also brought back all kinds of gizmos that were shipped off to Area 51, things that looked like props from Star Trek, and that was all part of the mission parameters as well from early on. The aliens—they called themselves the Goa’uld—had all sorts of nifty things just the thought of which made Captain Carter’s geeks at Area 51 wet themselves. Who was Jack O’Neill to deny them that?

Unfortunately, as time had gone on they had to import some geeks of their own as well, even though Jack didn’t particularly want to give them houseroom. The first time something they’d brought through had blown up in a Marine’s face, taking half his head with it, Jack had realized the error of his ways. This stuff was dangerous, if they didn’t know what it was, since they had a tendency to just grab whatever they could.

And that was where Rothman and his team came in. One of them would be on hand to cover any trip through the Chappa’ai, on the other end of a video link to give a running translation of anything with symbols on it, to avoid what had happened before. They’d noticed, after all, before the explosion there were marks on the thing that had blown and the thought was that they must be some kind of hazard warning.

When stuff was given the all clear, which had been pretty successful up to now, Rothman’s geeks would also check it over, cataloguing stuff until they had a pretty good collection of pictures covering things they’d accumulated along the way. Always useful when the science guys figured out what something did and wanted more of them, if they had a kind of visual shopping list for reference.

There was something about Rothman, though, that set Jack’s teeth on edge every time the two of them were in the same room. It wasn’t that Rothman didn’t know what he was doing—there was no way Jack could fault him for that—but the incessant sniffing just got to him. It was like nails down a chalkboard, after only moments of Rothman being in the room, and so he tried to avoid the scientist as much as he could. Which wasn’t too difficult, considering they were only scheduled to meet four times a year, barring major problems in some shipment back to Earth.

So far, so good. Jack had been able to avoid Rothman for a couple of months and all was well in his world. The teams going off world were doing good work, bringing back lots of fodder for Area 51 with minimal casualties, and everyone from the Pentagon down was happy. And if they were happy, Jack O’Neill was happy; that was how it worked.

That was probably why he wasn’t prepared for what happened that afternoon. Jack certainly never encouraged Rothman to come to his office—whenever they met, Jack always made a beeline for Rothman’s corner of the world. That way he didn’t have to try and get the other man to stop talking and leave; he could just get the hell out of there himself whenever he’d had enough.

To cap it all, Rothman didn’t even bother to knock, just came right on in like it was the most commonplace thing in the world for him to be in Jack’s office in the first place.

“Colonel,” he gasped. Rothman paused, bent over with his hands on his thighs as he tried to catch his breath again. Had he run all the way from his lab? “Colonel, you have to see this.”

This, it turned out, was a crumpled copy of the National Enquirer. At least it was crumpled now, from being grasped in Rothman’s sweaty hand, and Jack took it from Rothman more than a little reluctantly.

“What am I looking at?” Jack asked, peering at what appeared to be an article about the secret conspiracy between aliens and the makers of Pringles chips.

“Not that,” Rothman said. He reached out one hand, but Jack took a step backwards almost instinctively. “The other side. The headline says something about ‘a mysterious robbery’.”

Jack turned the paper over. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Rothman continue to gasp for breath, the odd mottled shade of his face giving him more than a little cause for concern.

“Sit down before you fall down,” he said, trying to figure out just what it was that had Rothman so riled up.

He wished Isobel would stop fussing over him, like a hen with just one chick. The headache had subsided within a couple of hours, though Daniel knew he’d been lucky not to have his head cracked open by the blow—it was just good luck that meant he’d been turning at the time the blow landed, so the impact had been a glancing one instead of straight on. He’d folded anyway, crumpled to the ground with the same force as if he’d been well and truly pole-axed, which was surely the aim of the person who’d hit him.

Whoever that was. Whoever it was who’d stolen the Duamutef jar, for whatever reason they’d done such a thing. He couldn’t figure it out, even though Daniel knew nothing quite like it had ever been discovered before. It was an exquisite piece, so in some ways he could see the attraction, all that white alabaster and gold—in remarkable condition too, even though it had been buried for a couple of thousand years, give or take a few centuries.

At least he still had pictures of it, even if he didn’t have the jar itself. Daniel pulled the file from his desk drawer, spreading the pictures out across its surface like a hand of cards. Exquisite indeed, and the loss of it cut like a knife.

As he picked up first one photograph, then the next, Daniel wasn’t all that certain what was worse—to lose the canopic jar, or the manner in which it had been lost. It was quite possible it was on the way to some private collection, a place where it would never see the light of day again and nobody would get to appreciate it, or study it. Even now it might be gracing some millionaire collector’s private cabinet of curios, somewhere in the Middle East or in one of the former Soviet republics.

Wherever it was, Daniel was certain that its true value wouldn’t be appreciated. Not its monetary worth, though that was substantial as a result of both its unusual nature and its fine condition, but its worth to the academic community. How many things had been lost to archaeology because one person decided they had a monopoly on things that would otherwise enrich the academic community beyond their wildest dreams?

Daniel sighed, raised one hand to rub the back of his neck where he could feel a knot of tension forming. It had been a long week, one way and another, and the robbery had pretty much put the cap on it.

First there had been the problems with plagiarism, with one of their apparently most promising students turning out to be substantially less promising than anyone had thought. Then the difficulties over funding for the next financial year, which threatened the scope of courses the department might be able to offer. An argument with Steven, the latest in a long line of bitter wrangling, had Daniel feeling like the week couldn’t get much worse. Then, of course, it had.

“Professor Jackson?” That was Isobel, who else could it be?

“What is it, Isobel?” Daniel asked, shuffling the photographs back into some kind of order and replacing them in the folder. “I didn’t want to be disturbed.”

“Are you feeling all right, Professor?” she asked. Isobel was standing in the doorway, but Daniel knew that even from there she could probably see how tense he was. At least he had only bumps and bruises from his encounter with the burglar; otherwise she’d probably have refused to let him out of his sight. “I could get you some coffee,” she continued. “And don’t forget, you have that appointment at four.”

“Appointment?” Daniel flipped open his diary, scowling at the indecipherable mark he’d left there, the mark that was supposed to tell him who he was due to meet that afternoon. “I can’t read my handwriting,” he admitted, after scowling at the scribble for a moment.

“You remember,” Isobel said. “That Air Force colonel. The one who phoned. O’Neill.”

What was the Air Force doing sending a colonel on a trip to some university’s archaeology department anyway? The message they’d had was vague: something about O’Neill needing to speak with him and that nobody else would do.

“Right. And coffee would be great. Thank you.”

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