…to the way things might have been.
Colonel Jack O’Neill is a complicated man. I think we all know that. But we never learned quite as much about him as we might have if the series had taken more opportunities to look at him through the eyes of those who’d known him since before the creation of the SGC. Had he survived beyond the first few episodes, Charlie Kawalsky might well have served as a lens through whom to examine O’Neill. So might Lou Ferretti, if the showrunners had opted to utilize him properly.
In my mind, however, there is one character in particular who would have made the perfect foil for Jack, the best reflection by which to know him better: Colonel Frank Cromwell. We only saw him once, and his presence offered a tantalizing glimpse at a past that Jack never really said much about to anyone. In Season Two’s A Matter of Time, we got just a hint at the strength of a friendship. During the penultimate scene, when Jack and Frank are suspended over the wormhole’s gravity well, I believe we saw forgiveness. Just before Jack lost Frank, I truly think he had made peace with his old friend.
What if that loss was not forever?
Sometimes, the universe accepts our intentions at face value. Sometimes it has other plans…
Jack O’Neill’s one-time best friend had sacrificed himself while helping Jack save Earth from a black hole. But was he really gone?
The past be damned; Jack wasn’t about to leave Frank Cromwell behind if he could help it.
Lost on a planet in rebellion against the Goa’uld, and with no knowledge of the gate address for Earth, Cromwell finds unexpected allies while waiting for the chance to go home. But he is unprepared for a shocking discovery that will take him on an odyssey that no one could have anticipated.
Book One: All That We Leave Behind Follow Colonel Frank Cromwell’s experiences on the other side of the Stargate, and SG-1’s search to find him.
Book Two: By Honor Bound What happens when you get a second chance? Jack O’Neill has his best friend back home where he belongs. Frank is a changed man after his journey, but Jack’s own journey of healing has just begun.
Book Three: Undying Just when you think you’re right where you belong, you sometimes find the last missing piece of yourself.
By Honor Bound is built upon a framework provided by A Matter of Time and additionally inspired by the works of fan authors Flora and Gallagater, collected here in the anthology A Light In Dark Places. I can but stand upon the shoulders of giants. Many thanks to you, dear ladies.
I. A Light In Dark Places During the attempted Goa’uld invasion of The Serpent’s Lair/Within the Serpent’s Grasp, nobody outside the SGC had any idea of the threat facing Earth. Or did they? At Christmas of 1998, stationed in Germany and preparing for war in Kosovo, Frank Cromwell hears some strange rumors, and wonders what kind of trouble Jack has gotten himself into this time. Plus memories of a happier Christmas, a brave teddy bear, and why it’s NOT a good idea to drive across the Rocky Mountains in a snowstorm.
II. All Go Down Together “Sometimes in combat, you get two seconds to make the call. Sometimes you make the wrong call. And then you have to live with that for the rest of your life.” How did Frank Cromwell’s team wind up being the ones sent in when the SGC dropped out of contact with the rest of the world?
III. What Love Remains Sara never really got any explanation of the events of Cold Lazarus. And when an old friend of Jack’s shows up unexpectedly, she is determined to get some answers.
Bonus story: So Builds An Absolute Trust In 1986, Jack O’Neill and Frank Cromwell run into some trouble when Frank is wounded on a top secret mission to Nicaragua and Jack is captured by government forces. And that’s just the beginning of their problems…
A few content disclaimers:
This is a slash-free zone, and while you may find a bit of romance in some of my stories, I don’t really write ‘ship, either. At least not in terms of romantic pairings between, say, Jack and Sam or Daniel and Janet, etc. (Nothing wrong with ‘ship or slash if that’s your thing — I’ve read some the was quite well done — but that just isn’t where my writing has taken me.) However, I’ll happily pair canon characters with original characters if the story calls for it. While I may include a mild sexual scene I don’t write smut, so in that regard my stories are safe for mature teens, etc. But be aware that I do include profanity in some of my dialogue. After all, many of my characters are military personnel who’ve seen a lot of harsh things, and in my experience (I’m the daughter of a wartime veteran), such people do tend to use “colorful” language in certain situations. It won’t be gratuitous, but it will be present. You have been warned.
My stories are set in a slightly alternate universe that very much resembles the canon ‘verse as we knew it in the first five seasons of the show. The major differences include a few extra characters and my firm conviction that the Tok’ra culture is not as monolithic as portrayed in the show. There are no Ori and no Replicators in my ‘verse. As for the Goa’uld, I always thought the show could have done with some more detail about how their society really functioned, because that would have made them more three-dimensional and less like cardboard villains. Hence I do delve into the unseen workings of Goa’uld civilization and culture. I do the same thing with my Tok’ra, so as to present the reader with a fully-realized vision of what it might be like to live as a member of a blended species.
My Gateverse has its point of divergence occurring during the events of the Season Two episode “A Matter of Time”. My flagship story, All That We Leave Behind, focuses on Colonel Frank Cromwell from that episode, and tells of his experiences after falling through the Stargate. He awakens on P2A-870 — although he doesn’t know the planet’s designation — after surviving the gravitational forces within the wormhole and its “skip” from the black hole-orbiting planet P3W-451. Back on Earth, Captain Samantha Carter realizes that Cromwell may in fact have survived. This launches SG-1 on a search and rescue mission, but they face a number of complications. Cromwell, in the meanwhile, encounters complications of his own…
I should note that my vision of the pre-existing friendship between Jack O’Neill and Frank Cromwell owes heavily to the work of fan author Flora, who wrote a series of very powerful stories chronicling their past history. Flora’s trilogy of A Light in Dark Places, All Go Down Together and What Love Remains, along with So Builds An Absolute Trust, (written in collaboration with another author, Gallagater) was originally archived at www.jackfic.net but is also housed in anthology form on my own website. I began writing my epic before reading any of her material, but early on an astute reader pointed me in Flora’s direction and once I’d read her work, I realized there was very little point in my reinventing the wheel, especially given how wonderfully she had already done it. Because my Frank is essentially Flora’s Frank, and his history with Jack is the same, I include her works here on my site for your enjoyment and as a reference for my own series.
Reading those stories, while not completely necessary to understanding my own works, will provide more depth to anyone choosing to do so. The history they have given to Frank and Jack forms the basis for my own rendering of the characters and my stories are intended to continue and pay tribute to what Flora began. (It should be noted that the interactions between Jack and Sara, and between Sara and Lisa, from What Love Remains wouldn’t actually have occurred in the universe in which my story takes place, for timeline-related reasons which will become obvious to my readers, but the interactions between Frank and Sara from that story ring very true to my own universe.)
All credit for the existence of Lisa Cromwell, Captain Stuart, Sergeant Douglas and the 121st Special Tactics team goes to Flora, for they are her creations. I am only borrowing them, and will forever remain more deeply indebted to her genius than I can express. Sadly, no new fic from Flora has been seen in about a decade.
Standard Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1, its characters and all related entities are property of Stargate SG-1 Productions (II) Inc., MGM Worldwide Television Productions Inc., Double Secret Productions, Gekko Film Corp and Showtime Networks Inc / The SciFi Channel. No copyright infringement is intended. I am in no way affiliated with any of the foregoing entities; these are not my characters, I’m merely taking them out for a little exercise and fresh air, I’m not making any money from this, etc. (In fact, if I did own the Stargate franchise, elements of this story would have formed part of a major arc, and at least one group of aliens would have been a little less hard-assed. Also, Seasons 8, 9 and 10 would have been very different. Well… Ahem. Anyway.)
Special thanks to fan author Sealurk (Morgan G) for diligent beta reading, and to fellow ficcers Roeskva and Hathor Girl for regular and much-appreciated feedback.
This series is for David Cohen, wherever he may be. Godspeed, my friend.