Changing of the Guard

(1) Changing of the Guard (Stargate/Highlander)

By Ecolea
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 22nd January 2001
Tags: Novella

This was great! Unputdownable. (I stayed up til 1:30am reading it) I knew from the opening paragraph that the author had a good grasp of Jack, I could hear his dry voice:

The planet was your typical desert dream world, Colonel Jack O'Neill thought. Sun, sand and more sun. Oh, and hey, how about a little more sand? He yawned in the heat waiting patiently while Daniel and Carter did their scientific thing on the only remotely interesting structure in the vicinity. A sort of step pyramid, or ziggurat about half a mile from the Stargate. It was the only thing left on P4X37 that wasn't covered with sand. Long range reconnaissance showed a handful of other monolithic structures, but no people. Over the millennia the planet's orbit had shifted fractionally, making what had once been a marginally habitable planet into a giant sand dune. Whatever civilization had been here, was now long gone. A condition Jack hoped to find himself in fairly quickly.

The author has a way with dialogue too:
    "You two okay?" Jack called down the narrow rectangular opening in the floor, where a pair of blond heads could dimly be seen among the tangled limbs.
    "We're fine," Carter called up.
    "Yeah, fine," Daniel wheezed. "I broke Sam's fall." There was short scream, followed by groan of agony.
    "Uh, sir," Carter reported. "I think he broke more than my fall."

The story concentrates mostly on Jack and Methos as the main characters, and they're done well. Methos is himself, not a super-Methos, but with all his edgy, witty, survival-oriented, self-depreciating, lying, curious, loyal, cunning self intact. I'm not entirely sure that Methos would be so unconcerned (in one part) with the destruction of historical artefacts, but the point he made (that people are more important than pots) was a good one (and the unspoken subtext that having lived history, he isn't so much in awe of it), and it was also set up as a contrast with Daniel. It was fun how Adam Pierson was introduced to the Stargate folks as a shy, studious, academic type like Daniel (and in some ways he is) -- little do they know the surprises they have in store! This is just what I like about good crossovers -- to see Our Heroes from another perspective. The other characters get good shows, Teal'c, Daniel, Sam, General Hammond, Duncan, though we don't see all that much of some of them.

This story is also lovely and long. One gets to savour it. Things aren't spelled out but told with subtlety. Yes, this one has yet another theory about the origin and nature of immortals, or at least, the origin of Methos (I'm not so sure about the immortals... I think the author was a bit too subtle there...) which I didn't find too implausible.

Sequel! Sequel! Sequel!

(2) The Ninth Chevron (Stargate/Highlander)

By Ecolea
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 21st September 2002 (1)
Tags: Novel

After my rave review of the first story in this series, this one was rather a disappointment. I like long stories, but this one kind of dragged. The summary says: "An important discovery in the Egyptian desert leads SG-1 on a dangerous mission to save the Earth. Caught between the man he was and the man he is, can all of Methos' skills and knowledge help the team survive, or will that be his undoing?" The reason it kind of drags is that they spend a lot of time getting from point A to point B through potentially hostile territory, and I felt a bit as if I was being given a lecture on the socio-political situation, with a digression or two for the author to stand on a soap-box.

Like the previous one, this one concentrates on Jack and Methos, but a trend I'd hardly noticed in the first one was visibly more pronounced here: Daniel gets too much of the naive innocent, hopelessly geeky and a bit insensitive and judgemental, while Jack is the Only One Who Understands Methos, because Methos is really a Warrior At Heart. This loses one of the things which I liked so much about the first one, and that was seeing Methos being a scholar. Not to mention that, while I like Jack, this kind of UberJack doesn't sit well.

There were a few interesting surmises about Methos's character, though I'm not entirely sure I agree with them. And there were good moments and good lines through this.

(3) Be All That You Can Be (Stargate/Highlander)

By Ecolea
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 21st September 2002 (2)
Tags: Novel

Well, I still don't go for the UberJack and Methos thing, but there were a lot of good bits in this third story in the series. The summary says: "When super advanced alien weapons technology falls into the hands the Goa'uld, SG-1 and the Tok'ra need all the help they can get. Can an Immortal strike force really make a difference, or will Basic Training bring them to their knees?"

The point about Basic Training was that, even if you have Immortals who are terribly experienced at being warriors and even those who have been part of armies, apart from the Horsemen, no group of Immortals has ever worked together. How do you forge such individualists into a team? And that was an interesting point. There were also some very good points made about the Tok'ra near the end.

There were some fun double-take reactions (which I can't say more about for fear of spoilers). Another thread of this story was about Methos and Cassandra, and that was pretty good; I think the treatment of Cassandra was a nice balance, but I'm a bit tired of the way some fanfic (including this one) whitewashes what Methos did as a Horseman by spouting moral relativism, that different times means that they had different standards or that people back then didn't know any better, ergo, what Methos did wasn't really that bad. But there were some good insights about Methos too, and their perceptions of each other, then and now.

Alas, I feel that the, er, extra thing that had happened to Jack was just a bit too cute -- and of course it made him even more of an UberJack...

(4) The Road To Hammelcar (Stargate/Highlander)

By Ecolea
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 21st September 2002 (3)
Tags: Novel

This one goes in even more for the Methos-and-Jack-forever routine, since we hardly even see the rest of the team, and both Jack and Methos get draped in heavy angst and mutual support (not to mention that little speech about friendship historically being the only really worthwhile relationship someone would have). The summary says: "A simple reconnaissance mission turns deadly when the specter of Methos' past arises. Will he survive this dangerous confrontation, or will O'Neill's sanity become a casualty?" Alas, that portion of the suffering completely lost me, because I simply couldn't believe it would have happened, not in a universe which obeys the laws of biochemistry. I could be wrong, of course, not being intimately acquainted with the properties of dead bodies, but as it stands, I just couldn't believe it.

There were some amusing things to do with the President, and mistaken identities. We learn more interesting things about Methos's past.

(5) Terms of Engagement (Stargate/Highlander)

By Ecolea
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 21st September 2002 (4)
Tags: Novella

Well, this one again has that plucky team of Methos and Jack in the thick of it, with everyone else mainly on the sidelines. The summary says: "Methos and O'Neill attend an intergalactic conference. When trouble happens, as usual, they're in the middle of it. Is nothing ever as it seems?" The plot of this one was really quite engaging, getting into the politics of the Alliance, sneaky Gou'ald tricks, immortals on other worlds, and even tosses in a bit about the origins of the Game.

But if you thought Jack was Uber before, that's nothing to how Uber he is by the end of this story...