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Alpha Males 7

out of phase

Summary: You want a summary? I don't do no stinkin' summaries. Oops, sorry, of course I do. Those damned voices again. Where was I? Ah yes, summary. Well, they go after Nirrti. I'm not telling you whether they get her though. It would spoil the story. Thanks be to Joy for the beta and her and Jo for the laughs while I struggled. NB: off camera het action warning for those of you that don't like such perverted things as that ;-)

"We can't go," Jack says. "We can't do this. Daniel's face and mine are too well known. Nirrti knows us all too well. Undercover work isn't going to... work, that is."

We're in a meeting - yet another one. Jacob's here, as is George. SG-1 as well. Nirrti has to be taken out and fast and we don't know how we're going to do it.

The news is that Nirrti has four ships. Between us, we have four ships. And ours cloak. Hers, however...

"Has she mastered phase shifting well enough to hide mother ships?" Sam asks.


That one word actually manages to scare the crap out of us all. Even the Asgard would have difficulty with this one. Jack contacted Thor the minute we heard, but the news is that the Replicators have turned up in yet another part of the Asgard domain and he's required there. Fair enough, he has to take care of his own first.

"What about the TERs?" Teal'c puts in.

Silence for a minute. We're all thinking about this one. I have an idea.

"Sam? Could you work with Tok'ra engineers to convert the technology to something large-scale? We'd need the scanners and the weapons to work."

"I'll try," she says, sounding worried. "But I have no idea if it's possible. I'll go and get some of them and see what we can come up with."

Jack and George nod, Jacob agrees too, and she leaves us. If she can do this - if they can do this, it will give us the advantage we need.

However, we need more information about possible attack targets and so on. And Qabil and Talnet are the Tok'ra's most experienced undercover operatives. They have to go.

"Haven't you found two hosts yet, Jake?" Jack asks.

"We've been too busy, Jack. You know how it is. What few resources we have are spread thin. We only got the information about Nirrti because Boch heard it and he came to tell us. Seems he felt grateful to you guys for that stunt you pulled back on Earth."

Well, we had to do that. Still, it paid dividends. I have one more idea.

"Jack? Why don't you come with me? I think I may have a possible pair of hosts, but I wouldn't hold your breath. We have to ask them though."

"Who?" he asks as we stand up.

"Holly and Gerry."

He nods. So we go to find them.

I find Holly first and she tells me where Gerry is. The three of us go to find her and then head for the rings and transport outside. Jack pulls up a rock and I sit next to him, the two women sitting on the ground opposite. Jack looks to me to start.

"What do you know about the Tok'ra?" I ask.

"They're our friends, our allies. Fantastic tech, great engineers. Genetically the same as the Goa'uld but act in symbiosis instead of as parasites," Holly replies.

"Do you like them?" Jack asks.

"Got no problem with them," Gerry retorts. "Not met one I want to put through a window or anything, but then we haven't been here long. Why?"

"Look, ladies, what I tell you now is top secret, okay?" They look at me strangely and then nod. "They need two hosts and quickly. A mission has come up - a dangerous and vital mission. The two operatives they have most suitable for this task are in two, frankly unsuitable hosts. They are a pair - mates. They need to be with a couple. We thought to ask you first."

"W.w.why?" Holly asks.

"Most obviously because you're a couple - long-term, right? From what you've said to me, permanent?"

They agree.

"But there's other things. We know the symbiotes well. We also know they'll get on well with you and vice versa. And your faces are unknown out there. You would have a much safer time as undercover agents. You also said you are in no contact with your families. To be blunt, fewer people would miss you. I know that sounds harsh, but you must understand where we're coming from here."

"What's the mission?" Gerry asks. I look at Jack and get the nod.

"Nirrti - one of the old System Lords and the last one left has gotten herself some mother ships. She's been experimenting with phase shifting. If she acts we'll have no defence. We need to know details. Where, when, against whom and so on. SG-1 would have done this, but she knows us too well. We wouldn't get very far at all. You on the other hand are unknown to her and would stand a much better chance."

"But we're not trained for undercover work," Holly says.

"Neither was I, but I learned on the job. You won't have to do anything. The symbiotes are very experienced in this sort of work. They've been doing it for over two thousand years. Just let them take over."

"What about after that?" Gerry asks.

"It's a one shot deal. Unless you really, really don't get on. But we think you will. There's a major upside to this, you get healed from injuries quickly, you'll probably live to two hundred; you get a friend for life too."

"Downside?" asks Holly.

"A permanent nag in your head," Jack sniggers.

"You're the hosts, aren't you?" Holly is observant.

I bow my head.

You are correct, says Qabil. I am Qabil. My mate Talnet is with Jack. We have spoken together - that first night in the bar for example. What Daniel says is right, ladies, we are in desperate need of new hosts. We love Daniel and Jack dearly, but Nirrti knows them. For us to go there would be suicide. We do like you a lot and we're sure that we would get on well. However, this is a big decision for you. Please, talk to each other and then come to find us. Do not mention this to anyone yet though. It could be dangerous for Daniel and Jack if you do.

They agree to keeping silent and promise to come to us as soon as they've made up their minds. We leave them in peace, promising them that they can say 'no' if they want to.

Daniel and I are in his office. We told the girls they could find us in here when they want to. We're both very quiet, sitting on his couch (which got moved over here) and snuggling up together, not saying a word.

(I'm going to miss you Tally.)

[As will I miss you, Jack. However, we don't know if Holly and Gerry will want to join with us.]

(True. But if they do, you're going to have to join with them quickly. Guess I want to say my goodbyes just in case. Don't want them seeing me getting upset.)

[I understand. I will also be upset, Jack. You helped me so much to deal with Hasana's death. I thank you for that, and thank you for giving me life. I will always feel a debt of gratitude to you Jack.]

(Don't feel like that Tally, you gave me just as much in return. I'd say we're even there. I never thought I could get used to having a symbiote, let alone get so upset about losing you.)

[Maybe one day you'll be in a position to take another symbiote?]

(Nah. I could give you a home, I know that. But none other. I doubt I'd get on so well with any other. Oh Christ, they're here. This could be it, love.)

[If it is, know that I love you, Jack.]

(Same here, Tally, same here.)

"Ladies, come in," Daniel says shutting the door behind them. He's looking a bit upset too.

"Thank you. General, Doctor, we've decided to take you up on the um, offer. We feel that we could be of better service to Earth this way. And Alpha of course. Um, which symbiote goes where? And how?" Gerry's trying not to sound scared, but I know she is. They're very brave to do this voluntarily.

"I think that Qabil and Holly will get on best," Daniel tells them. "Gerry, you'll be with Talnet. She's really nice, quite bossy at times, but very friendly. Qabil's a hoot, Holly. You'll love him, I promise. And as to the how... sorry, Gerry, Holly, but you're um, gonna have to kiss us."

Holly giggles. Gerry scowls at first, then she giggles.

"Gerry, if it makes you feel any better at all," I tell her, "you do about as much for me as I do for you. I'm really not interested in women at all anymore. Neither is Daniel. So this is going to be very perfunctory - we won't be trying to seduce you."

They relax a little.

"When? Where?"

Daniel leads them to the couch and sits them down. He sits next to Holly, I sit on Gerry's other side.

"Do yourself a favour and shut your eyes," I tell them. It's not good for the symbiote to see the last host's face just after transfer.

They hug each other and then turn to face us and we kiss them.

My throat is sore. Very sore.

"It will heal soon," Talnet says using Gerry's voice. I don't know why she's doing that. Perhaps she thinks it will be less painful to me. "Best go to see Janet though, make sure everything's okay. Thank you Jack, we will see you as soon as we can get back with information."

I can't speak. I want to but I can't. I just nod and give them a hug. Daniel's doing the same to Holly, neither of them wanting to let go. I nudge him and grin. He smiles back. It's hard to act jealous when you can't say a word.

Holly however does make a crack about the earth moving, getting a nudge in the ribs from Gerry for that.

The ladies leave us alone now - they really have to go. Now it's time for Daniel and me to hug each other. We're not crying, though I think that both of us feel like we want to. Instead we pull ourselves together and head off to see Janet.

"General? Daniel? What's wrong?"

Damn, but that woman's perceptive. We both point to our throats. She sits us on a bed next to each other, we open as wide as incredibly sore throats will allow and she shines a light in our mouths. One at a time, obviously.

The light dawns on her. She prescribes some antibiotics to be on the safe side - giving us a cover of an infection so we don't have to explain anything.

"Are you two okay?" she asks quietly.

Daniel hoarsely whispers, "We will be. Feel so alone."

She gives us both a hug - very unprofessional, but what the hell. We've been friends for too darn long to stand on ceremony these days.

"You should talk to Sam," she tells us. She's right. Sam was only with Jolinar for a short while, but Joli died for her. She was cut up about that for a long time. Daniel and I had been with those two for a few months. We got to know them so well, and they us.

"Did you say goodbye to Qabil before they came to us?" I whisper. That's as loud as we can get at the moment.

He nods. We're going to need to talk a lot later on I think. But for now, there's work to do. Back up to see George and Jacob.

"Gentlemen?" George says as we head back into the briefing room.

"Just us," I croak.

"Are you all right?" Jacob asks. He knows how lost he'd be without Selmac now.

"Will be. Sore, very sore."

"I'll get something for you later, we have a medicine that will speed up the recovery process."

"Got antibiotics for now." Christ I wish I didn't have to talk.

"Keep taking them, you don't know if you'll get an infection from the hole in your throat. They should have prevented bleeding..."

We both nod, not really wanting to talk about it. Jacob gets the message and we get back down to business.

It's a matter of waiting for the news now. Qabil and Talnet went straight to Nirrti's home world. Until we hear back from them we won't know what to do. Sam came to see us, as did Mom, both of them interrogating us as to how we were coping. Not as well as we would have hoped, but better than we thought we would. I feel so empty, so alone. Jack and I can't stop cuddling each other.

Teal'c knows. He's just had to go on a day-long training exercise with the military guys here. We can't officially make him head of the military wing - his alien status screws that up - but everyone here recognises his experience and talents. Jack relies on him completely, so he's in effect Jack's second. Jack has two seconds-in-command. Sam is one. She is sort of official - in the sense that Jack hasn't appointed an official one. There are more senior officers here, but they don't want the hassle. Teal'c is the other one. He was a general himself and the military men here know it. His strategy against a Goa'uld incursion would be the best. His training to fight Jaffa is thorough and the soldiers actually queue up to learn from him. He's happy to be doing this. He set up a training camp about ten miles from here and soldiers from Earth come out to train with him. I've never seen him look so relaxed.

I got Sam to tell Andy too. He can tell the others - if he told the others to start with. I just don't know. Nothing has been said. I'm rambling in my own mind, missing Qabil tell me to shut up and let him get some sleep.

We had the Tok'ra medicine. It was foul. Would it have hurt them to make it taste nice? Still, our throats aren't so sore now. Just feel like I've been shouting a lot.

"Danny, you're thinking aren't you?"

"How did you guess?"

"We're lying on our bed, naked, you're tucked up under my arm with your head on my chest, you're awake, silent and we're not making out. You're thinking."

"You know me too well. Want to do something?"

"Sleep. I'm tired. Trouble is I can't."

"Know what you mean. Every time I try my mind starts to wander."

"Perhaps we should, you know, take our minds off things?"

"Sounds like a good idea."

We kiss each other gently. It's not the usual frantic passion that we end up in, it's our quiet exploration. I love this, just touches and kisses, strokes of fingers on bare skin which send shudders down our spines and cause gooseflesh to appear. To give in to the sensual is wonderful. It takes our minds off things, just focusing on how we feel. Incredible - and very erotic in many ways. We won't stop till we've both kissed every inch of the other one's skin... or there's a knock on the door. Obviously.

"Who is it?" a very frustrated Jack calls out.


Ya know, that's never a very helpful answer.

However, we know who it is, so we pull the covers up over us and Jack bids Pat enter.

"I heard," he says. No need to say what he's heard about.

"Come in, Pat, stick the coffee on, will you?" Jack asks.

When I got back from Egypt I discovered that everything I had asked Jack for was here. A small fridge for milk, (and knowing him things like squirty cream, chocolate sauce, etc), a coffee maker (mine is in my office, of course) and a cupboard for mugs. And six mugs, given that we have people dropping in. And coffee of course. Lots of it. I love him so much.

In the meantime, we're now sitting up in bed and waiting for the coffee to be made.

"How are you coping?" Pat asks.

"Better than we thought we would - haven't gone into mourning if you like," Jack replies.

"Did you think you would?"

"Yes, to be honest. You can't begin to imagine how close we got to those guys, Pat. They knew everything about us. They let us keep our really private memories to ourselves, they didn't pry, but they knew exactly how we would react to things."

I start to giggle.

"Danny?" Jack's looking confused.

"Well, you know what you just said about memories," he nods. "Well, you do realise that Holly and Gerry now have access to Qabil and Tally's memories when they're allowed them."

"Of course," Jack replies. Then his eyes open wide, his mouth drops open and the implications dawn on him. Gerry is going to get a really good idea of what Jack was like when he was fucking me and being fucked by me. As Holly will do on my part - but I don't have such a problem with that. Jack's a very private man when it comes to his sex life. Pat's picked up on my meaning too, I think. He's trying not to laugh.

Instead, he heads over to the cupboard to get the mugs out. As he's pouring the coffee, he gives in and starts to laugh.

"This is priceless," he howls. "I can just see it when they get back. The one that has Talnet won't be able to look you in the eye, Jack."

"I doubt Jack will be able to look at her either," I add.

Jack is bright, bright red.

Typical Pat. Last night when he came in he got everything out of us, even stuff that had been kept from Mom. And when he left we were laughing our asses off. We slept well, woke up, made out in the shower and now we're at work, waiting to find out anything from the girls.

And waiting. This isn't easy. Whenever we waited for information from the Tok'ra in the past it wasn't too bad - just the usual impatience. But this time... it's Qabil and Talnet, for crying out loud. We know them, we love them so much. Listen to me thinking like this. I always swore I'd never do that, never voluntarily become a host. But circumstances forced us and we both grew to love them. This is so hard. I want Qabil back. More to the point I need Jack.

He's in his office I think. Nope, he's not. I'll try Sam's then. He's probably annoying the crap out of her.

Second time lucky.

"Jack, leave Sam alone. She's far too busy to have you hanging around."

Sam shoots me a 'thank you' look. Jack's obviously been bad then.

"I just wanted to check on progress," he complains as I grab him and lead him up to the commissary. It's lunchtime anyway.

"I know, Jack, I understand. But how can anyone progress when you keep asking questions?"

"I sometimes give her ideas when I ask stuff," he sniffs.

"True. And when she's stuck she'll come and search you out. Then you can bug the crap out of her to your heart's content. But not now."

I know the ideas he gives her sometimes. The murderous look on her face tells me she has many, many, many ideas on how to dispose of his body.

"That's it. We're bringing the Italians in on the project." Jack seems adamant.

"Um, why?"

"Pizza shouldn't snap - at least the cheese bit shouldn't. Neither should they come in varieties such as tuna and banana."

"Ah, Mrs. Alvarez, today's cook- she's pregnant. Six months gone I think. Serious cravings by the sound of it."

"Sara used to make me get up in the middle of the night to get her pickles."

"So do I."

"Daniel! You never said! I'm gonna be a dad! When's it due?"

We're getting funny looks from around us as I start to laugh my ass off and spill my coffee.

"Jack! You are so fucking disgusting."

"Coming from you that's rich," he snorts as he gives up tackling his brittle pizza. I was going to go for the stew, but some of the soldiers came in from 'hunting' yesterday with manic looks in their eyes. I haven't seen one of their number either. Nope, I'm not trying the stew.

Hammond summoned Jack back to Earth - some meetings or something. Anyway, it means I'm bored, got no one to annoy. I think I'll go and see Sam.

"Hey Sam, how's it going?"

"Don't you start. It was bad enough with Jack here. How do you deflect him, Daniel? I mean, he comes and annoys the shit out of you when you're working, doesn't he?"

"I just tell him to fuck off."

"Now you see, I can't do that."

"You could try, 'fuck off, Sir'?"

She hits me and giggles.

"So, why are you stuck, sis?"

"It's the whole thing about getting the TERs to form a field large enough to see a ship. The power gives out as we widen the field."

"You don't need to do that. A narrow beam would be enough. Just organise it so we can do sweeps. Once we see where the ship is, the weaponry can focus on the bit we find. It should be just as effective. If nothing else it may convince Nirrti to decloak."

I'm getting filthy looks from her and all the engineers. Oops. I start to whistle and leave the office.

"Daniel! Get back here!"

I turn around and see her giving me her cute smile. She hugs me, kisses my cheek and tells me she hates my guts. Glad to be of service.

Meetings. Fucking meetings. I hate meetings. Still, they're over. We've been given the go-ahead to conduct the Nirrti hunt from Alpha with the Tok'ra and we can call on any resources we need from the SGC. So, that's that sorted then. I left a message for Daniel to come home so now I'm waiting on him.

His car is up in the parking lot here and he won't let me drive it, so I need him to drive us there. While I'm waiting I think I'll head to the gym. I haven't worked out in days and it's starting to tell. We've still got our quarters here because we need to spend time at Cheyenne, so go there, get my kit, and head off to the gym.

Oh boy, it's full. Of young men. Shit. I'm feeling old.

"General! Good to see you over here!"

"Hey, Ferretti, you showing the youngsters the ropes?"

"Watch it, I'm not as old as you." He's one of the few that can get away with that sort of talk. Anyone else tries it and they'll get the sharp end of my tongue.

"Heard you went to Egypt," he says as he comes closer, offering to spot for me while I do some weights.

"Yeah, Nile Cruise. Danny'd never done one."

"Any good?"

"Wonderful, thanks. I think he got a kick out of being a tourist for a change."

"What about you? You don't like the heat the way he does."

"True - I nearly melted, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world, thanks. Um, by the way, our, er, house guests, they've gone."

He gives me an acknowledging grunt.

I'm getting a bit hot and sweaty, time to change exercise I think. I'm getting frustrated waiting for Daniel, so I head over to the punch bag. Lou laughs.

"How long have you two been apart?" he asks, holding onto the bag.

"Since just after lunchtime."

"You need help, Jack, this separation anxiety is a bit much, you know."

Damn, he's not wrong. Still, this punch bag is helping a bit.


"Danny, over here," I call and he heads over with a smile.

"Thank God for that," Lou puffs. "He was wearing me out. Take him home, Daniel, please, and don't leave his side in future. I don't think the punch bag could take any more."

"Fucking cheek," I tell him, but he's laughing at me. I'm losing my touch I think.

"C'mon, Jack, let's go home," Danny sighs.

"Daniel? You okay?" Lou asks.

"Yeah. Um, did Jack tell you?"

"Oh yes. How are you coping."

"As well as can be expected. No news, by the way, Jack."

I nod, we'll talk about it later. I thank Lou and then we head back to our quarters so I can shower and change.

"Want some company?" Daniel asks as I strip off.


We get into the shower and he takes the cloth off me and starts to wash me down. I love this. It's so intimate.

"Have you any idea what you looked like in the gym, Jack," he moans as he wipes my arms. I say nothing, waiting for him to carry on.

"Your face was so red and sweaty. You looked like you do when you've been fucked - well and truly had, Jack. Puffing and panting as you hit the bag. It turned me on so bad."

Oh crap - I doubt we'll make it home before we - ye gods. Ooh, he's on his knees. I get so carried away when he's like this - his actions deliberate, demanding even. I guess it's because sometimes, just sometimes, I need to hang up my military hat and let someone else make the decisions. And he's decided that I'm gonna get off like this. Who am I to argue? He's stopped! Why?

"Jack, you're thinking. I'm going to make you stop thinking. I want you to move Jack, you're going to fuck me like this and you're going to come in my mouth. And I will drink you down to the last drop. Then I'm going to fuck you up against the wall. Any questions?"

"Yeah. Why did you stop?"

He doesn't answer but he does push me to lean against the wall and then lifts my left leg and puts it over his shoulder. And now? Now his tongue is behind my balls, licking at each one, oh hell, he's sucking at them, his finger is pushing inside me, he's slicked it with conditioner and it's going up. Oh God this is good. Jeez, he's swallowed me whole, pulling my hips, thrusting his fingers inside me. I can't go on, can't hold out, I'm gonna-a-a-a--y-y-yeess!

He's licking his way up my stomach, sucking on my nipples, my neck, biting me as he turns me around to face the wall.

"Spread 'em, Jack," he growls. That is such a turn on.

Now he's in me, thrusting hard.

"Gonna fuck you, Jack, till you cry out for me, gonna make you want me again. But you can't have me till we get home, because when we get there you're gonna make me scream so loud the whole street will know what you do to me. How you turn me on so bad, make me so fucking hard - make me come so fucking hard I'll be seeing stars. I'm gonna do that soon too, your ass is so tight, so hot, so perfect I'm gonna come, oh God, gonna come hard Jack, oh Christ, I'm coming, now!"

I made him howl as he requested last night. We didn't say a word as we left the mountain. He drove carefully but quickly, the car purring along the road. As we went along though, he did something unexpected and pulled up one of the roads into the forest. As soon as we got out of anyone's sight he stopped, got out of the car and walked around to my door. He opened it, still without a word and indicated that I should get out. So, I did. He moved to the front of the car, undid his belt, then his flies, dropped his pants, turned around and leaned over the hood. Then he told me to fuck him. I had to take it on trust that he was ready for this because he didn't give me any lube. I made him wet me, taking me in his mouth first, it was nothing more than a token but I couldn't have done it otherwise and I knew he'd kill me if I didn't. He was ready, thank God.

As on the Rascal after we first took on Qabil and Talnet he didn't make a sound as I fucked him. I wasn't making love to him, no way. He didn't want that, but he did need what I gave him. We both came hard, the location adding to the eroticism of the moment. He still said nothing till we got back in the car. And then he cried. And so did I. Losing our symbiotes fucking hurts. I don't understand this, how could it hurt so much? I never wanted to be joined, ever.

He didn't howl there or then, but he did when we got home. He nailed me against the door as we got in. I had him in the shower again. Then again in bed. As soon as we recovered we woke the other up and went for it - even without bothering to wake the other up sometimes. I woke up with his dick up my ass at one point. Frantic passion ruled the night, we were climbing all over each other, kissing, touching, fucking each other's brains out. The only thing we didn't do was laugh last night. We usually do at some point. Our loving is always mutual, respectful, equal, special. Last night it was selfish, dominant, the dominance swapping from one to another as the urge came. Neither of us could turn the other one down. We needed that for some reason, a desperate aching need.

Neither of us can sit without wincing this morning.

I can't look at Jack as he tries to sit. What was I thinking last night? I wasn't, obviously. My ass is no better. How could we need that much? It wasn't even desire, it was a biting, intense, urgent hunger for touch, for possession of each other. We had to combat the painful void left when our symbiotes went and the only way was to be attached to each other, to have the other inside our bodies.

"Sorry Jack, I'm so sorry," I tell him as he screws his face up when he sits at the breakfast table.

"Don't sweat it, Danny, I'll bet you can't sit too well either, can you?"

I have to admit that he's right. I doubt I could ever have been like that with any other lover I've had. It's at times like this that I really appreciate just how well Jack knows me and how much he loves me. I think it's the same for him.

We clean up the dishes and then head back off to work. Straight over to Alpha this morning. We commute from one side of the galaxy to the other. How ridiculous is that?

Mom is back on Earth. She's worked it that she'll be based there, but will come for a couple of days a week over here unless she's needed in an emergency. We don't have a permanent psych here, maybe one day we will. But for now, Mom's only a 'phone call' away. She's having the time of her life. Jack says she wasn't as happy when she was with his dad, even though they were devoted to each other. Perhaps it's because of the freedoms she has now in comparison to then. No kids to bring up, no money worries, a job that's more different from any she could imagine... I'm happy for her too.

Still no news from the girls. I'm trying to organise the distribution of translation work in my department as much as a displacement activity as anything else. I'm not even going to try to translate a thing. I can't concentrate to do it. Even with Qabil in my head chatting to me, I could do it so much easier.

Perhaps I should spend some time in the gym, working off some of the frustration. Yeah, that sounds good. I tell my secretary (I've got a proper full-time one now, thank heavens) where I'm going and head off to our quarters to get changed. Oh, there's one of the Tok'ra. Perhaps he's got news.

"Hey Mehmet, Faris, how's it going?"

"We have finished engineering the crystals you requested, Daniel," Mehmet says.

It was a challenge. Thank you. I enjoy such challenges. Making the seats was the most difficult bit but I think we have it solved. Anytime you think of something new like that, please, feel free to call me. It makes such a change from boring old tunnels and rooms.

"Thanks, Faris. I'm glad to be of service," I laugh back. "Do you have them with you?"

"I do."

"Come on then, I know exactly where we should put them. I've had quiet words with the architects. Jack's going to love this. I just need to call the techs, so hang on a sec."

I head back into my office and call Chief Master Sergeant Siler (he got promoted around the same time as us to head his section. 'Bout time too. Sam wanted him here, of course, but the poor guy has to keep going back to Earth to fix things there). He's on his way.

While we wait, we talk in Goa'uld about me losing Qabil. Of course all the Tok'ra knew that we were hosts, we also knew that they would never say a thing so as to protect two of their own. It was a shame that we had to do that, but so necessary. If push had come to shove I think that Jack and I would have left the SGA/SGC and gone back out into the field rather than inflict living in secret on them. We couldn't have kept them secret for too long anyway, something would have happened. That accident on the mountain gave us away to Andy as it was.

"Ah, Siler, great, c'mon, a secret project for you."

He looks askance, but comes with me anyway. I explain what I want from him and he grins.

"Not a word to the General, okay? It's a surprise for him. I think he'll love it."

"You know him best, Sir," he says. Wish he wouldn't call me that. Habit I guess.

Mehmet/Faris open the box and show us some crystals. They engineered staircases for us as well as the different tunnels and rooms. Amazing technology. He sticks a crystal in the wall and a short staircase appears. Siler measures the hole and promises that a door will be made to keep the noise up in the room we're making. He's really good at that sort of thing. His department are the guys - and gals - that build stuff, maintain stuff, fix stuff and conjure things out of thin air. Couldn't be without them. More crystals go in various places and I see that my idea has come to fruition. Jack's going to be thrilled to bits.

"What are the acoustics like?" I ask.

"They should be perfect, almost echo free," Mehmet tells me.

I tell Siler what I want done in the room, he nods and says he'll get his people on it straight away, with instructions to keep it under their hats. We need some equipment here too, so I'm off to see the quartermaster.

It's all organised. Hopefully the room will be up and running and functional in a couple of days. The quartermaster has some serious acquiring to do. I've always kept on her good side though, so she'll pull as many strings and contact as many contacts as she can to pull it off. Everyone in on the surprise loves Jack, so I think we'll do it. For now though, I've been called up to his room. Hope he doesn't want me to sit.

Crap, he does. Jacob's here. Perhaps he has news.

"Nirrti is going to attack Nergal - a minor Goa'uld who is becoming more powerful. He has himself attacked and defeated a number of the other minor Goa'uld and is on his way to becoming a System Lord."

Jack looks at me with a question in his eye.

"Nergal was a Babylonian god, Jack. Very little is known except he was an underworld god, later associated with the planet Mars as his territory. Probably because of its red appearance. However, as with the other underworld snakes, such as Sokar, I doubt that he's a reasonable or 'standard' Goa'uld. She could be doing us a favour. My advice would be to let her attack and then attack her before she takes over his territory."

"Wait, watch and then spring the trap, you mean?"

"Yeah. It's risky, but I think that we could pull that off. Do you know when the attack will be, Jacob?"

"Two days' time. It doesn't give us long. We can get there in a day from here, and the Tok'ra ships are all nearby too."

"Better call them down to the 'parking lot' outside," Jack suggests. "I also think that we need to see if Sam and her geeks are ready for us."

Jacob sends Mehmet, who was in the room with us, off to call the ships back and the three of us head off to see Sam.

"How are you two coping?" Jake asks.

"Getting better," Jack responds, but he still sounds a bit down.

"What he said," I add. Not much else we can say.

"Bet you never thought you'd feel that way, did you?" he asks us. We have to agree with him.

"Carter, we've got two days. What's the news?" Jack demands as we walk through the door.

"Getting there," she replies. "Could do with more time, as usual, but using Daniel's idea we should be able to adjust the scanners and weaponry."

Jack glares at me. "You gave her an idea?"

"Well, she wanted one," I say in my defence.

Sam explains the idea to him and he and Jake have to agree that in the short space of time that we have it's probably the best solution. She also tells him that she hates me even more than before, making him grin.

Typical. Danny told me off for bugging Carter and it turns out he was doing the same when I was on Earth. Still, it's worked out for the best, by the sound of it. Just hope the darn thing works. We can't test it because we have nothing that big to phase shift. Fingers crossed as they say.

As we head up to the transport rings, I keep getting funny looks off some of the techs. What on earth is going on now? I'm not getting anything from Daniel, that's for sure. They haven't seen me wincing as I walk, have they?

I brought my new laptop with me to lunch. I downloaded my emails before we left Earth, but I haven't had a chance to look at them yet. Danny's doing the same. He's got way more mails than me. Huh. So, while I tuck into something unrecognisable (and unlabeled, probably just as well because I'm buggered if I want to know what it is), I open my email program thingy. And what do I get? Junk.

"I don't believe this," I tell him. "How many millions of miles from Earth are we? And the first thing I get in my email is junk."

"Spam," says Danny tucking into a sandwich.

"Didn't think they made that anymore. Are you sure it's spam?"

"No, not my sandwich, junk email - it's called spam. What are they trying to sell you?"

"Oh, I see, let's have a look. Insurance. Hah! No chance I'd qualify for this insurance. Not as if I have a job I can tell them about. Let's click delete for that one. Whoo, pictures of... naked women. Um, no. Delete that one too, seem to have gone off that sort of thing."

Daniel sniggers into his coffee. I glare at him.

"No, I'm not laughing at you. Paul sent me some funny stuff that's all. Twenty ways to pretend you're working when the boss is around. Stuff like walk around carrying papers, but not a newspaper because it looks like you're going to the bathroom. If you don't carry anything it looks like you're going to lunch. Anyway, what else is in your box?"


"Shh, Jack, calm down, you're attracting attention. What are they trying to sell?"

"Fucking Viagra. It's not as if I need it or anything."

Daniel starts laughing. His email had better be the reason.

"No, babe, you don't. Absolutely not. I still can't sit without wincing. No need there, I promise."

Hmm. That's better. More crap, more crap, ooh, a letter from Bridie. File that to read and reply in a minute. And... shi-it. No. That sounds painful.

"I think I'm gonna find out who's sending this load of shit and explain things to them."

"What now Jack?"

I can't tell him. No way. No fucking way. Not in public. Crap, he's pulled my laptop around and now he's cracking up.

"Oh Jack, they don't know you at all then, do they? Don't worry, it's only a bulk mailing, it's nothing personal, I promise."

"What isn't?" No, it's the Doc and she's grabbed the computer. And now she's laughing her ass off.

"Hey Sam, come here and look what the General's been sent."

I try to snatch it back but she won't let me. Daniel's being no help at all, he's currently suffering from mild hysteria. So is Carter now.

I finally get my laptop back and click on delete. No fucking way do I need a penis enhancer. As Daniel can attest, it's big enough as it is, thank you very much.

The geeks will have the adjustments done by morning, so we're having an early night tonight. I can't stay behind, just can't do it. I'm not one of those guys that can lead from a desk. I have no idea how George does it. None at all. It takes all my powers of self-control not to want to supervise every mission that I send through the gate - and they're all scientific ones. Fortunately, George is going to indulge me. This is going to be one of those missions where brainpower over brute force is needed, so SG-1 is going. Teal'c and Carter will handle the Scamp, Daniel and I will fly the Rascal. We'll have geeks on board to help us with the weaponry and scanners, but we try to keep the manpower right down on missions so that there are fewer casualties if something goes wrong.

We still haven't laid eyes on Holly and Gerry, they're remaining on Nirrti's world, trying to get as much intel as they can. Heard from them about an hour ago though, confirming Nirrti's plan and giving us as much as they have. Definitely four ships, definitely phase shifted. As far as they can tell, Nirrti's been out of the loop enough that though she has heard of the downfall of the System Lords, she doesn't know the specifics. So, she doesn't know that we have cloaked ships too. Gerry said Nirrti had been torturing people that she captured from different planets, other Goa'uld's Jaffa and so on. She's getting desperate for information. Good. That means she could be careless. Though we so have to watch her, she's one of the smart ones.

So, the plan is we head out to this Nergal's system, cloaked of course, and hide out. We wait for Nirrti, let her damage him, take out his ships if he has any, etc, and then we pounce. Sounds simple. So why am I waiting for something to go wrong?

"Danny?" I knock on his office door. He's buried himself neck deep in translation work to take his mind off tomorrow.

"Hey Jack, you okay?"

"Fine. Knocking off now. C'mon, let's get something to eat. Maybe a quick drink in the bar and then bed. Busy day tomorrow."

He looks at me as if he's going to argue, but then he stands up, gives some instructions to his deputy and then comes with me. Something's bothering him. If he's so meek when he's translating, then something's definitely bothering him. I'll wait till later to ask though, I doubt I'd get anything from him now.

Dinner was worse than lunch if that's possible. The cooks are complaining that the ovens aren't heating up properly or something. I got in touch with Siler for them and he came rushing in, streaks of white paint over his hands. He explains that they're waiting on parts to be sent and suggests that in the meantime I eat salad. Then he goes, muttering about 'project this, fix that, get this, organise that, who do they fucking think I am, Superman?' No, I'm not going there. He's obviously having a busy day.

Danny's gang are in the bar. There's a surprise. I think they're responsible for at least half the profits between the four of them. When Danny joins in that goes up to two-thirds.

We sit with them and chat. Daniel's cheerful enough, but I think that they are picking up on his distraction. They know him well enough to say nothing either.

So, off to bed then. He's snuggling up, naked but not horny. This is not normal.

"So, you going to tell me what's bothering you now?"

He snorts, a puff of air ghosts over my chest.

"Oh, just being silly. We defeated the System Lords, Jack. We did it - wiped them out. Turned the whole political fabric of the galaxy on its head. And what happens? More of the fucking bastards. And I suggested we wait for one to murder innocent civilians who live on another's planet - because that's what could happen - and then attack and kill, ourselves. What have I become, Jack? What sort of monster have they turned me into? Am I as bad as them?"

"Can you see a snake beating himself up over this, Daniel?"

"Um, no, guess I can't."

"So, you're no monster. We've been through this before, love. Casualties of war and all that. Yes, you're right, civilians may die tomorrow. If they don't, we could be leaving the way for many more to die the day after. You know this. You're just thinking tactically, Danny, that's all. Organising an efficient way for us to deal with the threat to our people. You know as well as I do that after she's become powerful, Nirrti's going to attack Earth, if we let her get that far."

"I do," he sighs. "Sorry about that."

"Don't you ever be sorry for being you, Daniel. Your compassion is one of the many things I love about you - and it's the most important thing too. If you didn't have an amazing capacity to love and forgive, you'd never have got together with me, would you? Not after the way I treated you. I'm glad you're like this, okay? Don't you change. Tomorrow, we'll go out there and do our jobs and I'll be here for you if you need me after it's done."

"Thanks Jack. You do realise that as it's a mission, we have a very important ritual to perform."

"Do I ever? But my ass is too sore."

"So? Since when has that been a problem?" His eyes twinkle at me and he removes himself from my arms, turns himself around and JESUS.H.CHRIST he's deep-throated me. Well, seeing as I'm seein' eye to, er hem, eye with him, I'd better return the favour. Oh God, feeling him moan when he's got me in his mouth... it's fucking incredible. Love this so much. Fingers stroke around my balls, I'll do the same to him. I'm gonna stay away from his ass though, he'd better stay away from mine too. Hmm, so good. OW! His fucking knee knocked my ear. We need a bigger bed. Oh jeez, this is better, he's twisted me till I'm on my back and he's over me, holding himself up with his hands and knees, though still low enough. This is good. Who am I kidding? It's amazing!

Not going to hold out, not when we're like this. Neither is he. Oh God he's coming hard, so-hooo-oo am I!

"Oh God Danny, so good, so good, come back here please."

Oof! He's flopped onto me and knocked my breath away. Worth it though. He's asleep already and clinging onto me like velcro.

So, here we are again. Up in the Rascal and heading off into the unknown. Jacob's on one of the Tok'ra ships, Mehmet's with him. Not sure who's flying the other one, I didn't see who got on. There's some human and Tok'ra engineers on each one too. The adjustments have been made to the scanners and weaponry on the Rascal and Scamp - they're going to do the other two on the fly, so to speak. They say they'll have them done by the time we're there, so fingers crossed. It's going to take the best part of a day to get to Nergal's territory, but Jack and I are staying put in the peltac. We've moved a couple of bed rolls into it so we can rest but be on hand. The engineers are camping out near the engines and the mechanics of the scanners and weapons so they'll be ready if anything goes wrong.

Jack's brought his I Book and he's working quietly on his translation. I've read a bit of it and it's good. Funny in parts. Whether he gets awarded his doctorate for this or not, it's going to be worth publishing. He's got quite a talent for it.

I've flipped open my laptop and I've pulled up a game. Can't concentrate on a translation anyway. It's normally the other way around, with Jack playing stuff and driving Sam and me insane while we try to work. I think we've been together too long.

It's been hours. I need coffee, but we've drunk all that's made so I'm going to have to go and make some more. *sigh*

"Coffee, Jack?"

"Sure thing, thanks. Better stay alert as Chaucer says:

They woulde drinken in no manner wise
No drinke, which that might them drunken make,
But there in abstinence pray and wake,
Lest that they died:"


"Just as well we don't have beer or wine, Danny. We need to stay sober."

"Ah. Okay. Chaucer was never one of my favourites."

"No, I know that Daniel. Terry Pratchett is more your thing."

Too damned right. I know people like the wizards. And the librarian? Sheesh - much better than some of the ones I've known. And the less said about the vampires the better. And the trolls...

"Stop muttering Daniel and just get the coffee, there's a good linguist."

There's someone in the 'kitchen', galley, whatever it's called.

"Hey Daniel!"

"Oh, hi Luke - making more coffee?" It's one of Sam's guys.

"Yeah - need to stay alert."

"True, but you guys should rest till we get there. You may be needed to work flat out under fire. You going to be all right about that?"

"Yeah, no problems. You're sounding more like the General every day, you know."

"That's what comes of living with him for so long," I laugh as I put another pot of coffee on. We've got thermoses to fill. They only have decent coffee on board after that, eh hem, event with Yu.

"How do you do that?" he asks.


"Live with him? He's psycho. The way he acts the dumb grunt all the time, it would drive anyone nuts."

"He doesn't do that with me anymore. I know him too well. It's just the way he is, Luke. I've known him a long time. It has its advantages."

"It does?"

Oh yeah, but none that you're going to hear about that's for sure.

"He's a good man, Luke. I love him."

"Yeah, well, we all know that. It's bleeding obvious to anyone that knows you. But still, think I'd rather gnaw my own arm off than voluntarily get into bed with him. I guess the fact I'm straight sorta goes against him."

He has me giggling about that one.

"You leave curling up with him to me, Luke, I'll endure it."

He snorts and grabs his stuff. With a cheery 'bye' he leaves.

To be honest, that's not the only time I've been asked that one. Jack has such a hard man persona at work. He is one - no one harder really. And the grunts are already five feet in the air before he tells them how high to jump. But then I've never been intimidated by him. I said once I was just too damned stupid to be afraid of him. I guess I just knew I'd be safe with him around. Ah, the coffee's ready. I grab some sandwiches from the fridge we installed. We all refused to bring MREs and took our lives in our hands and asked the canteen to make sandwiches instead. They did offer to cook something but we declined on health and safety grounds. Our health and safety that is. So, back to the bridge then.

Jack was going loopy at some airman a few months back and it was all I could do to keep a straight face. This poor guy had done something wrong, but it wasn't that serious. I turned the corner of the corridor and saw Jack yelling, really wiping the floor with him. His pals were standing to one side and sending out sympathetic vibes. That same morning Jack had been reciting love poetry to me in bed after a long, hot and steamy make out session. So, I was feeling benevolent and walked up to them. I could feel all the other guys' eyes on me, watching in a 'ohmygod he's going to get marmalised' way. I put one hand on Jack's shoulder and he snapped around ready to yell at me. I smiled at him, said, 'problem? Can I help?' and he backed right off. Dismissed the airman and let me lead him away quietly to our quarters. Well, he did need to calm down, it's not good for his blood pressure. That airman was really nice to me after that.

I'm back and he's still head down and typing. He looks up and smiles and says

"The lord knew well, that he him loved and drad.
And when this sergeant knew his lorde's will,
Into the chamber stalked he full still."

"You need to get a life, Jack."

"That's rich coming from the book boy."

"I never learned Chaucer well enough to be able to quote quite so appositely from memory, Jack."

"Don't know what you're missing Danny Boy."

"You can't call me that anymore, Jack, I'm forty now. It's downhill from now on."

That gets the expected response and I duck.

I hand him a sandwich and a drink and sit next to him. We don't say anything, we don't have to these days. I never thought I could ever get this comfortable with someone. As soon as we finish, I put our debris on the tray and sit back next to him, but facing him this time.


"I saw Luke in the galley, he said he'd rather gnaw his own arm off than voluntarily go to bed with you."

"Oh. Good. Don't like him much either."

"I'm relieved. I'd gnaw his arm off if he tried to."

"You would, too, wouldn't you?"

"Better believe it, flyboy."

He grins and leans towards me to kiss me.

"We're on duty," I mutter.

"And we're in hyperspace, on our own, the geeks are down in the bowels of the ship, we can lock the door. I wanna make out."

So do I, but we can't. Can we? What he says makes sense. But then, we have to behave. I have a more subtle idea.

"How about we just lie down, maybe smooch for a bit, and try to get some rest. The controls will sound when we arrive at our destination."


"I know. I'll make it up to you when we get home."

"I'm on a promise?"

"Jack, darling, you're permanently on a promise with me, you should know that by now."

I just get a lecherous grin back at me and we go to lie down.

We've arrived at the rendezvous point. The other ships should be with us soon. All the engines were souped up when we got the ships way back when, so they're as fast as the one that Apophis tried to take out Earth with. Pretty neat. We're all cloaked, of course, but we have a rarely-used frequency to communicate with so we all know where we are. Daniel's doing something with the scanners.

"We can't use the TER scanners yet, it'll give the game away," he says. "I'm looking to see if there's any activity in the system, such as exploding ships or anything."


"Quiet as the proverbial. Ah, the others are arriving. Perhaps when we get further into the system we'll see something."

We call up the other ships and get acknowledgements. So now we slip quietly into the system. Daniel's staring at the screen, not saying a word. There are mother ships there - three of them. The smaller variety like the Scamp.

"Perhaps she hasn't started the fight yet?" I suggest.

"Perhaps it's already over, this sort of fight never takes long - or of course, we got misinformation."

That's a possibility of course, but we had to take a chance on this being right. Our biggest fear is that she's not coming here but heading to Earth instead. I get the others on the communicators and we discuss the various scenarios. We're coming to the conclusion that we are wrong and there's not going to be an attack.

Or perhaps there is.

All hell has just broken loose ahead of us. Nirrti has decloaked all her ships. WHY? She doesn't need to.

"Perhaps it's because she wants people to know who she is, Jack," Daniel calls back as we watch one of Nergal's ships go up. "You know what those snakes are like. All posture and posing - it's their biggest failing and the reason we beat them so often." He's got a good point. However, all our weaponry has been converted to fire in the out-of-phase mode.

"Dammit - do we reconvert or not?"

Teal'c's voice comes over the air - "Return two ships to normal, O'Neill, so that we are covered whichever way we have to fight."

Good, great, we'll do that. I call to the smaller Tok'ra ship to convert, the one that Jacob's not on. We'll do that too. Jacob's ship is a big bastard. Not quite as big as the Rascal, but pretty close. The fire power should be even then. I give the order to our geeks to change it too. Let's hope the battle out there lasts a while. The ships appear evenly matched, but she outnumbers them two to one now. They lost their first one because of the surprise attack, the other two are moving around, giving her a hard time. Time's going on - we can see that she's going to win this one and fairly soon now. Daniel's listening into the communications between the fighting ships. Nergal is panicking, ordering his ships to withdraw. We don't want that to happen. Neither would Nirrti by the looks of it. She's throwing everything she's got at them.

"How's the conversion going?" I call out.

"Two minutes," comes the breathless yell.

I don't know if we're going to have two minutes. Ninety seconds. One minute. I'm going to have to give the order to attack in a moment. Thar she blows! Both of Nergal's ships have just gone up. One snake down, one to go.

"We're done!" The cry comes. Danny nods that our other ship is ready. I tell the others to stand in reserve and we go in to attack. Our advantage is that we can attack while cloaked. Daniel flies the Rascal while I target and fire. We cut through two ships in moments. We don't have Nirrti's vessel yet, but she's down to her own ship and one other. Damn it, she's shifted.


"Got it!" It's up to his ship and Sam and Teal'c on the Scamp now. We still have our scanners apparently, it's only the weaponry that got changed. We can at least watch what's going on.

WOO HOO! One more down. The Scamp is taking some hits, random shots that have managed to find them.

"Fly the damn thing!" I call out. They're not moving nearly enough. There, that's better. They're concentrating their fire on Nirrti's shield generator area, hoping to break through. We were lucky with the others, the Rascal's weaponry was able to cut through the much smaller ships quickly.

Ha. Got you. She's dropped back out of phase. We see a small transport ship heading our way. I look at Danny and we decloak.

Nirrti calls us. She's not on the transport ship. It's still coming our way. Who is it? What is it? We can't lower our shields till we know. It could be a bomb.

"O'Neill. I am surprised to see you."

"Well, ya would be, I just decloaked. Time to say bye-bye, Nirrti. This is for Cassie and all the people on Hanka."

I fire. I'm not talking to that bitch anymore. The Tok'ra ship joins in and we manage to finish off what the others started. Somehow I doubt that Daniel will cry for this one. I take no little pleasure in watching her go up.

He's calling the transport ship, not getting any response. What do I do? There could be innocents on there. There could be a bomb big enough to take out a system. Daniel's calling and calling. Finally, an answer.

"Daniel?" It's Holly!

"Holly, are you okay?"

"No, we're not, let us on board, please, quickly."

He looks at me and I nod. We have to see what's wrong. He drops the shields, calls Jake and then we run to the cargo hold.

The transport comes in as we arrive. The door opens and Holly staggers out dragging Gerry. Crap.

"Talnet! Tally! Are you okay?" I'm over to them and taking Gerry from Holly's arms.

Jack, we are feeling unwell. We do not know what this is. We are not injured.

"Good, that's a relief. C'mon, let's make you comfortable. Holly, come with. Daniel, can you make sure our bed is made? Gerry looks like she needs to lie down."

"I'm on it, Jack," and he takes off.

The noise of transport rings alerts us to Jacob's presence.

Talnet? What is wrong?

Oh hey, hi Selmac.

We are unsure, Selmac, we feel different, we are changing and we do not know why.

What's with the 'we' thing? Tally has always said 'I' unless she really was talking about the two of us. Is Gerry changing?

Selmac shrugs and we carry on up to the bedroom. As we go we discuss the battle. I send a message to the other ships to head back to Alpha - Carter says that she and Teal'c are fine, a bit battered and bruised from the beating the Scamp took but nothing's broken. There better hadn't be. If I find she's got more than a few bruises when we get back I'll have her hide.

Talnet, explain your symptoms.

I do not know how to, Selmac, I feel... I feel...

Yeah, we got that bit.

"Tally? C'mon, love, talk to me, please. Tell me what's wrong."

I do not know how to put this Jack. I feel like I need something, but I am unsure as to what it is.

"She's been very bad-tempered since yesterday," Holly says. "Sort of like PMS on steroids."


"You're telling me. Gerry's bad enough normally but with Talnet on board - sheesh."

"I'll break out the chocolate rations then, shall I?"

That earns me a snigger from Holly and a filthy look from Gerry. Oops.

"Talnet, has this ever happened when you've been in a female host before?"

It has not. A symbiote can help regulate the hormone fluctuation that causes it. I seem to be unable to control this.

"Okay, is Gerry's body rejecting you somehow?"

"That would be highly unlikely," Jacob says. "I've not heard of that ever happening, not in normal humans anyway. Boch's people of course can't have symbiotes."

"Gerry? Is there something you're not telling us?"

Another filthy look from her but then she grins. "I have been accused of being less than human around this time of the month, but no, as far as I know I'm a true-blue Tauri."

We arrive at our room and lead Gerry to the bed. She says she feels the need to sleep. Holly offers to stay but she says she prefers to be alone so we all leave her alone. This is confusing.

"Any ideas at all?" I ask Jacob/Selmac.

I have seen similar behaviour once before, but I did not like to say anything until I had gathered my memories.

We wait for Selmac to think and then she continues.

About 1000 years ago, I was working undercover as an attendant to one of the major System Lords. He took a woman from an Amazonian tribe. These women were strong, independent, and did not like men at all.

We look at Holly and groan. We think we know where this is going.

They would only take men when they wished to reproduce. This new host went through a similar change to the one that Gerry and Talnet appear to be going through.

"What happened to them?" Holly asks.

The Goa'uld became a queen.

This could be a good thing for the Tok'ra. Zero population growth among both Goa'uld and Tok'ra has meant that we have the snake problem under control, but we're losing our allies. They haven't had a queen in a hell of a long time. We've killed off most of the Goa'uld queens. However, I see a problem here.

"Um, Selmac, Gerry really doesn't like men," Holly says in a sorry tone. "She's never been with a guy in her life. They do nothing for her at all. I mean, she's not a man-hater but..."

"You don't need to apologise for her," Daniel says. "She is what she is. Jack and I have male friends the same. Not in the slightest interested in women but they're not misogynists. Women just don't do a damned thing for them. It might explain things too."

We look at him for an explanation.

"Look, when Kinsey did his report on human sexuality, he found that the majority of people sat in the middle of the scale - very few were a zero or six."

Selmac looks confused so he explains a little further.

"He rated sexuality on a scale from zero to six, where zero rated people were entirely heterosexual and those rated at six were entirely homosexual. Now, most of his study was done on men, but I doubt whether women are that much different. Only a small number fitted the extreme ends of the scale, with the majority inside. Jack and me for example - we were talking about this not so long back, he's a five, I'm a four. In other words, though we're no longer interested in women, we have had heterosexual relationships to a lesser or greater degree. If you're saying that these women, both the original host you met and Gerry are both sixes then that may well have something to do with it. Nobody knows what makes someone gay or straight - nurture is unlikely as both my alternate military self and me are the same, though he's a six. He was brought up by our parents because they lived in his reality. That's beside the point, hang on, I'm rambling again. What I'm trying to say is if it is a nature thing, hormonal or whatever, it could explain this and why it's so rare to get a queen - especially if it's the host that triggers it. Holly, hell, I hate asking personal questions of women I don't know well, but you have to know that whatever we ask here is purely out of concern and in no way prurient..."

"Yeah, it's nearly her time of the month. Give her two days and she'll break out in spots and be craving chocolate and ice cream."

Daniel sighs with a smile. "It could explain why this is happening now - upset hormones and all that. Selmac, what do we do? Can she ignore this?"

No, absolutely not. Later on it will be possible, but when a symbiote first becomes a queen she has to reproduce or else she will go insane, taking her host that way too. And it will have to be soon. She will choose the man - it has to be a non-blended human or male of whatever species she is in.

I look at Daniel, he looks at me and we sigh. Poor Gerry. She's never been with a guy in her life, never wanted to be with a guy in her life and never should have to do this. And her choice? Two gay guys or some geeks she doesn't know. What a choice.

I'm getting a bad feeling about this. If I was in Gerry's position I think I'd want to get rid of Talnet. I look at Jack and see he's thinking the same thing.

"Qabil? Selmac? Could I take Talnet back to stop this? I mean it would be wrong to ask this of Gerry."

The guys look at each other. Qabil shrugs, he doesn't know. Selmac however says not. Besides, the Tok'ra need this to happen. Shit. Double shit, Gerry's awake and heading our way.

We know now what is wrong. We need a mate and now.

"Yeah, we kinda figured that out, Tally. Can we speak to Gerry please?"

She bows her head and Gerry reappears.

"You'd better sit, love," Holly says and we explain the situation to her. It would appear that Talnet is less than communicative at the moment.

"So you're saying that I've got to sleep with a guy? Shi-it. The things I have to do." She smacks her head on Holly's shoulder and curses.

At least she's taking this well.

"The worst thing is it has to be now. This leaves you with a choice. There are two human males in the engineering section... or one of us. Which really leaves you with the two guys in the engineering section," Jack tells her.

"I don't know them," Gerry complains. "Look, it's bad enough I have to do this, but I can't just go up to a guy I don't know and say, 'scuse me, wanna fuck because I need to make alien babies.' It just doesn't work for me, ya know?"

Jack snorts at that, even Jacob is laughing.

"Well, that leaves Jack then," I say, "which could be amusing." Especially as I know he really, really doesn't go for women anymore.

"Why Jack?" Jack asks.

I just look at him and his face falls.

"Crap. Sorry Danny, I didn't think."

"It's okay, I just don't think that I could do this."

The ladies are looking to us for explanations. They can get them from Qabil and Talnet. Jack told me that Tally found out a bit about Hathor and what she did to me, so she knows. They go quiet for a minute and then the light dawns on them.

"Shit, Daniel, we can't ask this of you," Gerry says. "Pity, I guess you're okay for a guy."

Thanks, I think. So basically this leaves us nowhere. As Jack points out to her he's way more gay than I ever was and no matter how he thinks, she really doesn't do a thing for him. She doesn't do much for me either. I mean, she's pretty enough, I guess. Nothing wrong with her at all, and I really, really like her. She's a lot like Jack in her attitude - protective towards Holly, irreverent, funny, fiercely loyal. And I know that if I was to do this, Jack wouldn't go ape on me - this isn't something for him to get jealous over at all - and I know that it wouldn't hurt my relationship with Jack either. Oh crap, it's going to have to be me, isn't it?

"Tally? Who do you want, love?" Jack asks.

Gerry's eyes flash and then Talnet takes over and she looks at me.

We have made love before, Daniel, we know you. We do love you. You know this. We are so very sorry, Daniel, we do not wish to cause you any pain, but you are our desire.

I fucking knew it. I look at Jack and he nods. Back to Gerry and she looks resigned. I take her by the hand and lead her back to our chambers.

"You've really never been with a guy before?" I ask Gerry as we sit on the bed together. I wasn't this nervous on my first time when I was fifteen for crying out loud. But then I didn't have people outside waiting for me to be done either.

"Nope. I mean, I know the MO, but ew, ya know?"

"Let Talnet take over. You don't have to know what's going on. She'll probably want that anyway."

"Yeah, though I'm kinda curious now. I mean, I don't want to do this, but I want to go insane even less. Tally's nuts enough as it is without her going gaga on me. It's not as if you're going to want to marry me or anything, is it?"

"Nope. Funny, most of the girls I've slept with would have been wanting some sort of relationship. You do know that I really do care about you, don't you?"

"You don't have to try to seduce me, Daniel," she giggles.

"I know, but it's true. I've liked you since we met. You're a good person - I like good people. You're a lot like Jack."

"Hmm, Tally says that too. Not sure how to take that."

"As a compliment. I've never loved anyone the way I love him."

"That's sweet. Look, I don't know about you but I want to get this over and done with. Can we just get on with it?"

"This is hard for me, Gerry. Despite what you hear about guys we don't have buttons to press 'Turn on here'. If I don't get with the programme ain't nuttin' gonna happen."

"Ah. Of course. All I have to do is lie there and wait for you to, er, finish. So, how do I, um...?"

"Well, I suppose it would help if we got undressed?" I suggest. She gives me a 'duh?' look and giggles. Perhaps I should kiss her?

Well, that was a damp squib. Unless we get some sort of sparkage I'm gonna need freaking jump leads to get going. I have now, in my arms, a naked babe - and she is one - who I care about. She's funny and kind and I like her a lot. And I am so not getting turned on.

"If this had happened a couple of years back I wouldn't have a problem. Even after getting together with Jack. But I'm most definitely gay now," I say with a sigh.

"This is a problem. How about I turn to face away from you? Maybe my ass will do more for you?"

This could be a tragic situation, but it's turning into a comedy. She's got me in stitches.

"Oh no, c'mere. I think I can think of a few tricks."

I try the kiss again. Still nothing. Maybe her neck? It's getting moans from her, but I am so not rising to the occasion.

I flop back on the bed and groan.

"I'm sorry, Gerry, I'm so sorry. I don't know what to do."

"Can't you, I dunno, fantasise about Jack or something?"

"I can try."

"Can I ask you a personal question?"

"Gerry, you're lying naked in my arms and I'm trying to work up the enthusiasm to take your virginity. I think you've earned the right."

She snorts at that. "I was just thinking, are you, er, um, oh Christ I don't know how to put this... you know, do you have roles?"

"You mean is he the butch one?"

"Er, yeah... don't mean anything by it."

"It's okay. It's not like that between us - we're partners. You're wondering if I'm the one that gets fucked, eh?" Another giggle from her. "Come on, you know Tally, you can access her memories. You should know what it's like between us."

She goes quiet for a minute and then comes back.

"Who knew the General was such a sap?"

"Yeah, but don't tell anyone or he'll kill me. Let me talk to Tally, will you?"

Daniel? I'm so sorry, my love.

"I know. C'mere, Tally, I think it's going to be easier on me if it's you, for some reason. You know what buttons to press, don't you?"

I do, Daniel. Lie back, my heart, and let me take over.

So I do.

What's keeping them? They've been in there an hour.

"Jack, stop pacing up and down, will you?"

"I'm sorry, Jake, it's..."

"Daniel's not going to suddenly decide he's straight again and try to run off with them, is he?" I get a withering look from Jake and shrug. Of course he's not going to. And I'm not jealous. I should be, but I'm not. I'm just concerned.

"Look, Jake, the last time he was doing this he was nishta'd up to the freaking eyeballs and being raped by that bitch. Now, I know better than anyone else that Tally would rather die than hurt him - when she's in her right mind. But you've said, she isn't in her right mind at the moment. I'm worried, okay? And I think I've got every right to be anxious about him, don't you? You don't know what this is going to do to him. It might start him back on the fucking nightmares he had after he was assaulted. I stayed with him for two weeks after that attack, Jake. He spent the night screaming the place down. Every fucking night."

Holly and Jacob say nothing about that - there's nothing they can say, but they have pain written all over their faces.

Finally the door opens and they emerge.

We need to get home as soon as possible, Tally says. We, the Tok'ra, will have a secure future now, thanks to Geraldine and Daniel.

Yeah, babe, we know that. Just don't remind Daniel of it too much, please.

"We'll be back by the end of the day, Tally. Can you hold out till then?"

I can. I must go and rest now.

I grab Daniel and take him to one of the side rooms.

"Danny? Are you okay?"

"I managed it."

"I didn't doubt that, Daniel, I want to know if you're okay."

"It was Tally, Jack, not Hathor. She was very sweet and gentle if you really want to know. And it took me an age to even get turned on enough to fucking do it."

He's angry. I don't know why.

"Talk to me Daniel, don't shut me out, please," I beg.

He's sitting on the floor and looking up at me with sad eyes.

"I couldn't," he whispers. "Not when it was Gerry there. All I could think of was that it was wrong. She's a lesbian, for crying out loud, she doesn't even like men. What I did was tantamount to rape."

"What you did was save her sanity, Daniel. She could have said no."

"No, she couldn't. As you said, she'd have gone insane if she did. How she'll ever be able to look me in the eye or trust me again, I don't know. I had to have Tally there, she had to take over. She had to fucking seduce me, Jack. I couldn't do it otherwise."

Crap. I have no idea how I'm going to deal with this. He knows he had to do that. But it's raking up old hurts for him. I know why he feels guilty about Gerry, but somehow I doubt she's going to hate him for it. I sit next to him and reach out to hug him but he winces and jumps back.


"You still want me?"

"WHAT? Of course I do. Love you, you know that. You did what was absolutely necessary, Daniel. You saved Gerry's sanity, Talnet's sanity - quite possibly their lives. Not to mention you've given the Tok'ra a chance at a future. How could I not want you? I didn't think you were suddenly straight, you know."

"I know that, but I've cheated on you, haven't I?"

"Crap, Daniel. It was you or me, hun, and there's no way I could have done it. Besides, you think it was bad for Gerry being with you, how bad do you think it would have been if her ex-commanding officer had to do it. Eh? You saved me, babe, and I love you. You couldn't cheat on me, I know that. And to prove that I know it, you can go out with Gaz when we get back. Have that one-on-one conversation that you want. I do trust you Danny. I trust you with my life and with my heart. And I'm proud of you - proud of everything you do, including and especially what you did just now."

I reach out again and this time he lets me hold him.

"Sorry, getting oversensitive again, aren't I?"

"You are, but don't be sorry, hun. Not gonna stop loving you, I promise. Jeez, for someone as pissy as you, you can't half be touchy with your emotions. And that's not a complaint, by the way. It's part of you and who you are. Come on, let's go and see how long it's going to be before we get home. We can get something to eat, maybe a coffee?"

His eyes light up.

"Caffeine whore," I accuse.


We should be back on Alpha in an hour. Daniel's gone to rest. I've already had a nap. Gerry/Talnet have appeared on the peltac and are wandering back and forth.

"Tally, you'll wear a hole in the floor if you're not careful. What's wrong?"

Jack, nothing, we are sorry. We're just anxious to return to Alpha.

"I know, love, but walking up and down isn't going to get us there any faster. Do me a favour and let me talk to Gerry, will ya?"

Her head bows and Gerry smiles nervously at me.

"Jack?" She's calling me that on my instruction, but her tendency is to still call me 'General' I think.

"Hey, how are you doing?"

"Fine, under the circumstances. I feel a bit weird, but Tally says that once the larvae are spawned I'll go back to normal. Somehow that doesn't reassure me."

"I get it. Daniel's cut up about what happened. He feels guilty about doing that to you."

"He shouldn't, he saved my sanity. Do you want me to talk to him?"

"I don't know, to be honest. If he thinks I put you onto him..."

"Leave it to me, I can do tactful when I want to."

They say she's like me. I don't see it myself.

W.w.wha? Noise. Ugh. Okay, okay, you can come in.

"Hey Daniel, do you mind? I come bearing caffeine. I was told it was safer to do so."

"Oh, hi Gerry. Yeah, please, come in. How are you?"

"Feeling slightly less nuts than before. Look, I just wanted to say thanks before we get back to Alpha. I'm guessing that you want your part in this kept quiet. Don't want salacious rumours getting around, do we? I certainly don't."

"No, that wouldn't be good. Are you sure you're okay?"

"Yes, I'm fine. Daniel, I know this must have been terribly hard for you. I just want you to know how much I appreciate what you did for me."

"You do? I mean, I know you've never wanted to..."

"Nope, I never have. And to tell the truth, I doubt I'll ever want to do it again either. No offence, I mean, it's just not me."

"None taken. Hope you're not offended that it took me so long."

"Not in the slightest. I'm glad it was you, Daniel, I doubt that anyone else would have been so respectful or careful with me. That means a lot, you know. I think if you'd been a straight guy you might have been more, um, not forceful but..."


"Yeah, I guess so. It was a lot better than I expected, that's for sure."

"Thanks, I think."

"Can I ask you to do something for me?"

"Sure, shoot."

"Would you mind, um, holding me for a minute? I could do with a cuddle."

I can do that. I pull her into my arms and we lie and hold each other for a while.

"If we'd known this would happen to you, we'd never have asked you to become a host, Gerry, you have to believe that."

"I do, honestly. I'm not sorry, either. I know what this will mean to the Tok'ra - and to the alliance. You do realise that it gives the Jaffa on our side a future now, don't you? Tally will stay a queen now, as long as she's in a female host. It just took me to trigger it. So, no matter what, our Jaffa will have the means to stay alive. That's got to be worth something. When I joined up, I had no idea that I could be doing something so important. I wanted a stable life, maybe a future. Then I met Holly and I fell in love. We spent so long hiding it was hard on us. You and Jack gave us our chance to be together. Now you and Jack have given us a chance to be really useful, vital even. We're grateful for that chance, Daniel. Don't you ever forget that. No matter what happens to us. Even if we were to get killed on our next assignment. We are not sorry. We are grateful."

I'm choking up here. Can't say a word. I plant a kiss on her head instead and get a grin back up at me. I can live with the decisions now I guess.

We're back on Alpha. First thing we have to do is find Teal'c. Holly and Gerry have gone with Jacob to the Tok'ra home. Gerry/Talnet will spawn the larvae and they'll live in an incubator that the Tok'ra are going to have to build pronto. Teal'c will be the first recipient - if he wants to, that is. The Tok'ra will not force a Jaffa to carry a larva. They can mature in the artificial incubators. They'll just give them to the Jaffa that they trust and only then if they volunteer.

Jack's gone up to make his report to George. He'll tell him how it went with Nirrti for the record. I dare say he'll tell him about the Tok'ra off-the-record. He promised me that nobody'll hear about my part in it officially. If I know him he'll tell Mom and I'll get interrogated by her soon. But I'm okay with it now. Gerry helped me a lot. If she's okay with it, I can be okay with it. After all, I've been Tok'ra and I support them wholeheartedly now.

"Jan," I see her first, "have you seen Teal'c?"

"He's in the gym, giving some of the soldiers a workout, I think," she replies with a smile. "Is everyone okay from the trip out?"

"We all were okay on the Rascal. How were Sam and Teal'c and the others on the Scamp? They said they were okay."

"A few bumps and bruises, but nothing that warranted treating. You lot definitely okay?"

"Not so much as a scratch, Jan. It was an easy fight."

"Good. You need me, you know where I am."

"Always, hun, always."

So, off to the gym. I think I'll work out as soon as I've passed on the information to Teal'c. I could do with it.

"Teal'c! Are you okay?"

"I am fine, Daniel. I felt the need to work here as soon as I returned. I am putting the soldiers through their paces."

They can't have been here long. The Scamp only left the battlefield a short while before we did, and our ship's faster. The soldiers are all puffing and panting. Heaven only knows what he's been doing to them.

"Can we talk, please?"

"Of course." Teal'c turns and issues instructions for the soldiers to complete so many circuits of the gym and then follows me out.

We head off to my quarters. I don't want to talk in public. I get him a drink of juice and have one myself as we sit.

"Did you hear that Holly and Gerry were on Nirrti's ship?"

"I heard something of it. What happened?"

"Well, they were doing their job. As soon as the battle with us started, they got on a transport and got the hell off her ship."

"That is a relief. Were they injured?"

"No. Not injured." I tell him what happened. All of it. I'll tell Sam and Jan at some point later. I know none of them will judge me. For now though, Teal'c will know.

"You were most courageous, Daniel. Tell me, is O'Neill jealous?"

"No, he says not. He understands why I had to do it. How do you feel about it?"

"I am happy that the Tok'ra will have a future. You should be proud of your part in the proceedings." I nearly giggle at that. It makes it sound like a committee meeting.

"Teal'c, they told me that they would like to offer you the first Tok'ra larva. You do not have to accept it. This is why I'm asking you in private. You know the Tok'ra will not take an unwilling host, well, they do not wish to impose on a Jaffa either. It's your choice."

"I would be honoured, Daniel. To carry the future of freedom is a far greater thing to do than to carry the future of slavery. It is my choice."

Damn, he's got a way with words.

"Then go to the Tok'ra, Teal'c. They will be thrilled to bits that you have chosen to do this. There is no Jaffa that they trust more than you."

He gets up, actually smiles at me and finishes his drink before leaving without another word.

"Danny? Oh - there you are. Look at you, you look shattered. C'mon, shower for you and then something to eat I think."

"Hi Jack, yeah, could be a good idea. Kinda sweaty I guess."

I've been working hard on the weights. Haven't done any real workouts in ages. He's thrown my towel at me so I can wipe my face. His eyes are blackening. Oh boy. I guess I must look like this when I watch him work out. The hot and sweaty look does it for me too.

Not the gym showers then? Ah. Off to our quarters without speaking. This is going to be good.

The door slams behind me. I don't move. NeanderJack is about to pounce and I don't care. In fact, I'm rather glad. He doesn't realise quite what his alpha male displays do to me. I'm no wuss, I'm certainly not femme, but to be carried off to the JackCave - woo hoo! He's growling. His IQ is now taking up residence in his scrotum. Just the way I like him.

He's pacing, walking slowly around me, not taking his eyes off me. God, this is such a turn on. I'm getting harder and harder by the second.

"Strip." One word. Oh boy. Yes, Sir! I do.

"Beautiful. So fucking beautiful." Why thank you kindly. Now why don't you get on with the beautiful fucking?

Oh. My. God. He's licking the sweat from my neck. Does this man have a clue what that does? If he walks around to my front the clue will be sticking in his groin.

He's standing in front of me. Eyeing me up and down. Jeez, he's peeling his clothes off in front of me. I think I'm gonna come just by watching. I wonder if there's a seismometer for sexual tension, 'cause it's off the fucking scale in here at the moment.

He's naked and as hard as me.

"On your knees, Danny, and suck."

Yes, Sir, absolutely, Sir, gonna carry out orders for once in my life. I so want this.

He tastes so good. The taste of skin and sweat and salt - the evidence that he wants me - me - now. I still can't see how I got this lucky, but I'm so not going to argue. I'm putting my heart and soul into this. He tells me not to touch him, to keep my hands to my sides, so I've got to do this with only my tongue and mouth. Whaa? He wants me to stop? No, no fair. Want to make him come. I'm sulking now.

"On your feet, Daniel, and go to the bed."

I can do that for him. Sure I can.

"Get on your hands and knees."

Yup! That too.

Oh God! Ohgodohgodohgod! He's pushed into me. He's slicked up, but I wasn't expecting that. He never does that without preparing me. I'm not arguing, I can take this. Just a determined relaxation of my muscles and he slips in in one movement. This is so good. I'm getting my brains fucked out. If I die now I'll be happy. It does not get better than this. He's staking his claim on me all over again. He doesn't have to. I'm his for life. But hey, I'm not complaining.

He's howling my name, calling it over and over again. I'm calling his too. He's not touching me but he doesn't have to. He's hitting the sweet spot with every thrust. I'm gonna come any... second... now!

"Oh God, Danny, my Danny," he's panting, holding onto my back. I can't stay up anymore and I flop onto the bed.

"Love you Danny, so fucking much."

"I know, I know babe. Love you too. Thank you, that was incredible."

I think I need a shower. Maybe after I have a little nap. Then we really should get something to eat.

Ugh. I can't open my eyes.




"Oh. 'Kay."

I was lying on him. What time is it? 0800? Oh crap. We slept through the night. Well, must have needed it I guess.

"You stink, Danny."

"Not surprised. You didn't let me shower last night. Put some coffee on, will you?"

I can do that. I think. I should be able to do this in my sleep. I am virtually doing this in my sleep. C'mon, c'mon, make, will ya? Finally. The pot's done.

"Here, Danny. Caffeine."

"Good. Gimme."

"Sorry, Danny."

"What for?"

"Going alpha on you last night."

"Um, why?"

"Whatd'ya mean? I must have hurt you. But you looked so fucking sexy in the gym. I couldn't help myself."

"Did I complain?"

"Um, no."

"Well then? Jack, it's okay," he sighs. "I've told you before. You don't hurt me doing that. It's such a turn on for me, honestly. Nothing turns me on like you going nuts like that."

"Oh. Okay. Your ass hurting this morning?"

"Nope. I'm fine, Jack. Stop worrying will you? You gave me what I wanted, what I love, what I needed too. You can do that anytime you like. You can get a bit rougher if you like, I'm not going to break, you know. I'll stop you if you hurt me, I promise. You should know that by now. I'm a big boy, I can take it."

Tell me about it. Haven't found a damned thing he can't take yet.

He knocks down his coffee and heads for the shower. He gets there, looks coyly over his shoulder and says,

"Coming with? I'd like the company."

I am so there.

I just got my brains blown out. I was in the shower with my honey when he dropped to his knees and sucked me so hard I thought he'd get my guts with it. Talk about cleaned out. He's good at that. Then he kissed me senseless while I jerked him off. He loves me doing that for some reason. Still, anything to keep him happy.

He was actually whistling while he strolled to his office.

Damn. Paperwork and more paperwork. Teal'c came in earlier and told me that he was carrying a Tok'ra larva and he smiled when he told me. He's carrying Danny's baby. How screwed is that?

"General? Could you please go up to the recreation level? Dr. Jackson is asking for your presence, Sir."

"Okay, thanks Susan." Wonder what that's about. I get my secretary to hold all requests for my attention unless they're life-threateningly urgent. Danny wouldn't call me unless it was important. So, up the rings and there he is.

"Ah, Jack, come with me, will you? I've got a little surprise for you."

Ooh, I like surprises.

"What is it?"

"It wouldn't be a surprise if I told you, would it?"


So, I follow him to... a door? Ok-ay. He opens the door and I follow him up some stairs. I'm sure this wasn't on the original plans for this place. There's the top. We go up and...

"WOW! Amazing. How did you? Wow!"

"You like?" he asks with a shy grin.

"I LOVE. Was it your idea?"

"Yeah. Mehmet had to design the crystals, so we worked together. Siler and the techs put all the finishing touches in. There's a sound system here too, so we can use it for concerts or lectures, but I figured you'd approve of its primary purpose."

"Approve? Of course I approve. How soon before we can use it? Hell, I'm gonna be busy. We've got to arrange it now, Danny. Alpha's first hockey tournament on its very own indoor hockey pitch. 360 degree seating to boot. This is incredible. Thank you, love, thank you so much."

I give him a hug and kiss. The techs say 'aw'. I don't give a stuff.

"You're very welcome, babe," he murmurs into my neck, "you're very welcome indeed."