Summary: What happens when you take one half of a team and add it to the other half of another? The clock is ticking for the gang but they're getting bored.
Thanks, as ever, to Joy for the beta.
The news from the Tok'ra is that Hades seems to have ground to a halt. All of his ships - at least the ones we know about - are still where we found them. They're currently looking to try to get a spy in his camp, which would be a wonderful thing if they could.
So we've been busy at home while we wait. Everyone who can be briefed has been briefed. We're ready to go at a moment's notice, but the trouble is, we have no idea where we're going to go. In the meantime, we're building MIB's home, electrifying ours, and generally trying to take our minds off what might happen.
If we leave Annwn at all, one team stays behind. Gimli has only left here once and that was to pick up the building materials for the house, which are now on the ground, piled up to the side of the building site. We're actually glad that we have to build the house as it's something positive to do.
I've finished wiring our house and the workshops, and have nearly finished building the generator to run them. Jack's already installed the plasma screen TV and the DVD player in the living room and he can't wait for the opportunity to use it. He's planning a big 'film night', has put some beer aside for it and has made a request of Daniel for some 'Earth' food, such as pizza.
The house is coming on well. With all the materials marked up as if they're a jigsaw with numbers on each piece to make it easier to do, we can put our hands on each block of stone and put it in the right place according to the blueprints. As a result - and because we have four androids who don't really tire at all working on it - it's about three quarters done.
They've finally accepted that they're going to have to move here, but now they seem to be excited about the move. At night, when we're trying to sleep, they go back to the palace. I'm not sure what they're doing there. Packing, I guess. Though they can't have much to pack as all the research things they had were already here. Perhaps they're making the most of time on their own.
We'd prefer it if they were here all the time, but that's only because we worry that Hades will attack them. We're trying to forget that as a possibility, telling ourselves that the Tok'ra will alert us in plenty of time. We have to believe that or we wouldn't get any sleep.
It's been ten days since we were on Abydos and the waiting is killing us.
"Perhaps we should organise a mission or two?" Jack suggests as we eat dinner. MIB are still with us but it's decided to rain outside so they can't build any more tonight.
"Mission?" Daniel asks, looking up from his plate.
"You know, Furling searches."
"Ah. Of course."
"We could try the process of elimination that we tried before," I offer.
That's greeted with enthusiasm. I think that despite evidence to the contrary, we're not very domesticated. A week is about our limit before we get itchy feet.
"Both teams won't be able to go at the same time," John reminds us. "I suppose you guys can go first while we try to finish our house."
"If you like," Jack shrugs. "If it's not finished when we get back, we can take over while you go explore. The sooner it's completed, the sooner you can stay here. And then," he says a bit more vigorously, "when we're finally rid of Hades, we can all disappear on missions and not have to worry about knowing where each other is or leaving silly messages."
With that, he raises his goblet of wine and salutes MIB.
John and the others smile and nod with more enthusiasm than they would have a couple of weeks ago. That's good.
"Five hundred gates?"
"Five hundred and thirty-six to be precise," I read. Jack doesn't look impressed. Neither does anyone else.
"At least we've got a definitive number," Sam shrugs. "And we can run the list through our list of places visited by the SGC. Maybe that will cut the number down a bit?"
Less than energetically, we power up Sam's laptop with the mission details on it. Since George has been letting us know what's been going on at the SGC, we've found that there are quite a few places we don't have to visit anymore. Despite the orders to cut down on the exploring for scientific reasons, he managed to cover for it by calling it intelligence gathering.
Smart guy, the General.
The trouble is, all of the information has to be typed in by hand, so we don't have every detail that we need in it yet. We've built up our database of known planets with the 'red flags' and reminders on it and are adding the data we get from the SGC as and when we can, but it's a big, big job.
Sam pulls up the details, inputs the conditions and we wait for the result.
"Forty-two," Sam final says, making DJ and me grin.
"The meaning of life, the universe and everything," he mutters. "Okay, so that means we have four hundred and ninety four to check out. That's two hundred and forty-seven each," he adds, laughing hollowly as he does.
"Pfah!" Jack says. "Piece of cake."
I have a feeling we've got a long search ahead of us.
DJ and I have worked out the 'story' behind the pictures on the trunks. Unfortunately, it hasn't proved inspiring or particularly useful, except to tell us that the trunks were made comparatively recently and there are one or two other interesting snippets of information. The first image is of the gods in Olympus - Hades is obviously using Greek myth from the time he was on Earth. Then, he basically shows who died.
We think that from these images we can assume that he was behind the death of Zeus (and the downfall of Hera, but we still don't know how she got Jack's DNA as her alliance to the Morrigan doesn't shed any light on that). Then it shows Hades' move to his underworld palace with the Furies and Hecate. There was some hint by the eighth trunk that he has been planning the build-up of his fleet for quite some time. The ninth trunk was the eye-opener.
On one side of it was the death of Cronus. He didn't tell the truth on it, however, but seemed to claim Cronus' death as one he'd had a hand in. It's hard to tell from the images, but it's how it would look to anyone who didn't know the real story. On the other side was the image of an Asgard ship and a Replicator.
There isn't any hint as to how he took the ship from the Replicators, if indeed he did. But it does add to our thought that the Replicators had an Asgard ship at some point and had taken it to the system we found them at. That would have had to have been recently. There is a distinct air of salvage about the integration of Asgard tech in the ships we took - at least before Thor got hold of them.
Perhaps the Replicators found the system, saw the moon full of naquada and decided to abandon the ship while they replicated in safety.
The system where we found them had only one glyph different from the one with Hecate's planet in it. We're assuming that is how Hades discovered the ship, possibly by a misdial or by someone inputting the wrong final co-ordinate into a ship's navigation computer and coming out of hyperspace in the wrong place. That isn't beyond the realms of likelihood.
On the final trunk we got the best clue as to Hades' state of mind. In his head, he's already in charge of the galaxy. He's shown sitting on a throne with many people kneeling at his feet; some are in clothes which look like Greek civilisations, others are more generically representative of the various worlds.
The one which made us shiver was a man, who on close inspection, was wearing the uniform of the SGC. It would seem that our thought that he intends to take over Earth is correct.
Daniel and DJ have explained their interpretations of the trunks and we now feel we are a little closer to understanding the mind of Hades. His ego seems to be as great, if not greater than that of the average Goa'uld.
"So, when did he start building his fleet?" O'Neill asks. "You say it looked like he'd been planning it for some time, but he had so many ships that he had to have been doing it."
"I would agree," I say. "The information found on Gimli when we first took the ship would appear to back that up. It is my assumption that he built a great fleet, but initially, it was purely with Goa'uld technology. Then, he found an abandoned Asgard ship, one which had been taken over by the Replicators. As Thor said, they had not lost a ship to the Goa'uld directly in many years, but we know that they have lost ships to the Replicators.
"The Replicators' method of operation is to take what they desire and then destroy or abandon what they no longer require. If the ship took them to the moon with the neutronium, they could have then put themselves on the moon, replicating until they were able to build a ship of their own, one which better suited their needs."
"There's one thing about that assumption which bothers me," DJ replies. "I don't have any reason to disbelieve what you've said, by the way, it's just that given the timeline we're thinking about, it would have taken Hades a while to have learned how to adapt some of the technology to fit into his own ships.
"If that's the case, and at the rate the Replicators expand, then even though the ship we destroyed had been made up of many millions of Replicators, it probably wasn't big enough to account for even a few months' worth of replication."
"What are you saying?" Frankie asks.
"That there could well be more Replicators in our galaxy than we'd thought," he sighs.
Silence reigns for a few moments and then John says, "Ah, you just had to say it, didn't you?"
DJ shrugs apologetically.
O'Neill looks to Daniel and gets a similar shrug. It would seem that Daniel agrees. O'Neill's shoulders slump and he drinks his wine in one go before refilling his goblet from the carafe. He then looks at the goblet - one from a set that he himself had made - and runs his fingers over the ridges in the bowl before tipping it up and sipping more wine. He is saying no more, but we know that he is thinking about what we should do next.
"Could we contact Thor and ask him how to build our own versions of the Hammer?" Samantha asks. "If we pass the information to the Tok'ra and the SGC, then there would be more chance of us taking them if we were to come up against them in the future."
There is a general murmur of agreement and O'Neill gets up to find the communicator which Thor gave to him when we went to Jotunheim.
"I have a feeling that our trip out to find the Furlings is going to be put on hold," Daniel sighs.
"You are correct, Daniel," I agree. "However, if there is no sign of the Replicators when we have built our own disruptor weapon, there is no reason that we could not proceed as planned."
"I hope so," he states. "I'm feeling the need to explore."
I understand that.
Thor arrived most promptly and listened closely to DJ's thoughts about the Replicators. He was, as we had thought he would be, most horrified by that prospect and gave us the design for the Hammer as we had hoped.
O'Neill and Samantha have gone to Earth to share the information with the SGC, in the hope that they, too, will incorporate the weapon into their new ships as soon as possible. John and Frankie have similarly gone to see the Tok'ra in case they should encounter the Replicators. We cannot be underprepared and must assume that we shall face more than just the Goa'uld in the future.
Daniel and DJ have retreated to the tunnels, for what purpose I do not know. Possibly they are wishing to study or plan, or to discuss their own thoughts about the future.
Since the new house has been started, the tunnels have yet again been increased in size so that there is a link to the house and a set of rings which will come up to the extension to their house, as they do with ours. We had wondered if we should take the tunnel as far as the gate and put some rings there, in case we have heavy snow as we fear we will. However, we decided that we do not wish to take a chance on a Goa'uld coming through the gate and detecting the presence of the rings and the tunnels, so we will, if the snow is deep, use Gimli's transporters to take us to the gate.
I have noticed how excited not only MIB are becoming about moving here, but my teammates. Daniel especially. A mind such as his must feel very much alone if he has no one who understands him. With DJ, he has a like mind and no longer feels so intellectually lonely. I do not believe that Samantha has ever felt quite the same way. I am not sure as to why that is so, as she has an intellect that even Daniel does not understand.
Perhaps it is the manner in which they think. Her mind follows a linear path, his mind seems to be scattered to the winds. Even if we cannot understand Samantha's work, we can understand her thought progression - how she comes up with an idea, rather than the idea itself.
Daniel, however, seems to make leaps of logic that we fail to grasp. We have to trust his ingenuity in a way we do not with hers. It must be very difficult for him. At least when he now has a sudden idea, he can be sure that DJ will understand how he arrived at it - and, of course, the other way around.
Even though I do not have the level of telepathy my human friends have, or the empathy that Daniel has, I have detected a sense of calm and inner peace within him that our current worries about the state of the galaxy would seem to belie. I had never once appreciated just how much he craves acceptance and understanding.
He does not crave popularity, neither does he crave fame. A simple acceptance of himself is all he ever wished. I wish I had understood that from the beginning.
What a day. What a week in fact. We seem to have more ups and downs than a super-sized roller coaster. Stop the ride, I want to get off.
Talk about getting off...
Daniel looks at me suspiciously as I get into bed next to him.
"Uh, hey?" he replies.
I understand why he's curious - after all, we've been together all day, except for the last hour or so when I was on Earth. Hammond's happy about the Hammer, but he's not happy with the thought that there may be more Replicators. Like I told him, don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger.
"I'm fine. You?"
I snuggle under the covers and reach around his waist to pull him close.
"Your fucking hands are freezing. Get them off me!"
Okay, so I'm not really sorry. It's livened him up, though.
"Why don't you let me warm them up... here?" I ask, sticking one of my hands between his legs and gently grasping his balls.
"NO! Move your hand now, O'Neill, or that'll be the last time you ever touch me there."
Perhaps I should have warmed my fingers first. Daniel never makes idle threats.
"I'm really sorry," I try, this time keeping my hands to myself but nuzzling into his neck instead.
"You better had be," he mutters.
"Really, really, really sorry."
He harrumphs, but I can detect amusement. It's not so easy for him to keep a straight face.
"Let me prove how sorry I am," I offer.
He turns his head and looks at me suspiciously.
Seeing as he's looking at me now, I've gotten an opportunity to at least try to get around him, so I kiss him.
"Will that do?" I ask when I break away.
He waggles his head in a so-so manner.
"You're getting there."
I kiss him again; deeper, harder, trying not to touch him with my still chilly hands. Don't want to set me back to square one after all. In the end, I figure it's easier to turn him onto his back, put my hands on the pillow either side of his head and kiss him like that. He's letting me do it, not kissing me back, but allowing me to do all the work. Typical.
When I break this time, I see his eyes are twinkling with mischief.
"Definitely better," he purrs. "But my balls are still cold after that dastardly attack on them," he sniffs.
Ah, there's my cue.
"Shall I kiss and make them better too?"
He raises an eyebrow in a 'what the fuck do you think?' manner, but he only says, "It might work."
Taking said cue, I slide down his body, taking my time and detouring to kiss his chest better. Not that I put my hands there, but just in case, ya know? Can't be too careful. I'd say, from the moans I'm hearing, that he seems to agree with my tactics. Although I do get a hissed 'bastard' from him when I lick the edge of his navel as he's extremely ticklish there.
Ah ha, my destination. Contrary to his apparent demeanour, he's obviously enjoying the hell out of this. I show as evidence object A, which is currently sticking up and, if I didn't know better, would seem to be aiming for my mouth of its own accord. Guess I'd better get on with my mission, eh?
"Oh fuck, yeah."
I'd say that Daniel agrees with me on that one, too.
When I was playing the field, this was only ever something I did so that I could either get it back, or fuck the guy I'd sucked off. Can't say I ever really enjoyed doing it. And I so never swallowed any of them. Just... Nah, it didn't really work for me.
Now, however, I could do this all damned day, if my jaw didn't start to ache. I mean, look at him. The way he reacts, the sounds he makes, the pleasure he gets from it... Kind of makes it all worthwhile. Turns me on, too. Never used to do that. I'd suck off the guy concerned, then, when either he sucked me off or gave me his ass, only then would I get hard. Now I'm as hard as he is, probably enjoying it as much as him, too.
I know he's doing his best to keep his hips pinned to the bed. At the moment, all he wants to do is grab the back of my head, hold it tight and fuck my mouth as hard as he fucks my ass. It's more apparent to me now, since we had our mental link, just how much control he's got to not give in to his desires. Every so often, I get images flashing into my head, just briefly, but the desire in him is so strong that he can't help but let them loose.
He's scared to act like that, though. Doesn't want me to think that he's treating me as nothing more than a mouth, doesn't want to hurt me physically, either. I get that. Better than most, I guess. I always hold back with him for the same reasons. But sometimes, just sometimes, the old testosterone tries to get the better of us, just as it's doing now with him. I admire his strength and self-control even more as a result.
He's nowhere near ready to come. Holding himself back from fucking my face is keeping him away from the edge. Guess I can give him what he needs, but in a different way.
With great reluctance, I let his cock drop from my mouth. With a lot less reluctance, I crawl back up the bed and kiss him. With no reluctance whatsoever, I get the lube and give it to him.
"Fuck me," I whisper against his mouth. "Hard."
He physically shivers at those words, his eyes nearly flashing like a Goa'uld's as the implications hit him. Oh yeah, baby, do your worst.
Before I know what's happening, he's flipped me onto my back, pushed my legs apart and he's lubing us both up as quick as he can. I am so glad I got myself fixed up and lost those fifteen or so years, 'cause otherwise, I wouldn't be as flexible as I am now. My legs are up on his shoulders and moments later, he's inside me.
If someone had tried fucking me like this all those years ago, I'd have castrated him. Didn't mind getting fucked, but it was usually face against the wall, anonymous. And if the guy didn't show that he was wary of me, didn't acknowledge that he was privileged for being allowed anywhere near my ass, then it was no dice pal.
Daniel doesn't care about that and neither do I anymore. I want him to do this. I want to be owned, fucked... Damn it, I'm going to have to say it, aren't I? Taken. That's the only word for it. It's my ass and he's taking it.
"Oh yeah... yes. Fuck, Daniel, so fucking good. Love you."
I don't think he's heard me, his eyes are staring into mine, fixing my gaze. The blue has gone the way it does when he's this damned worked up. Seeing the black in his eyes makes me even harder if that were possible.
"Jerk off," he pants.
He can't do it for me; his arms, his big, strong, muscular... hot arms, are holding him up as he fucks me into the next century. I see his head drop, feel his gaze as my hand takes my cock and starts to work it. He nearly loses his rhythm as I rub my thumb over the head and project the sensation to him. All it does is make him work faster, harder. He projects his feelings to me and it damn near overwhelms me.
We let our minds meld even though we both know that we can't take too much of that, as it's like a feedback loop. Because I feel what I'm feeling, what he's feeling - which is his own sensations and mine - and that adds to how I feel and so on. Oh fuck. Forget the roller coaster, this is the hall of mirrors; this way, that way... Which way is up?
He starts to pump inside me and I feel how amazing that is for him. It does the same for me and I'm covering myself moments later, my ass clamping on him even as he comes. Oh yeah.
We flop onto the bed, unable to speak or move. Screw the mess, we can clean up tomorrow. The sheets need washing anyway.
Thank you. That was incredible.
He snorts at my pronouncement.
Yeah, stupendous, he agrees. Jack?
Can we sleep now?
Chuckling to myself I do my best to pull the covers up over us. He's plastered to me. By tomorrow, he's going to be stuck solid.
I'm not sure I know how to make the Hammer for Gimli. I've been studying the blueprints all night and figure that it's going to take some time to do it. To be honest, I'm not really up for any exploration. I want this done.
Frankie and I are still staring at the instructions in the vain hope that they'll suddenly become clear. One thing is for sure, I'm glad I kept back some of the neutronium. We shared it with the SGC and they're going to need five times as much as we will, just for this weapon.
On the upside, we think we have more than enough to actually do it. On the downside, we don't even know the melting point of neutronium, let alone any of its other properties.
At least Thor was happy to go and ask the Asgard High Council for the planetary phase-shifting devices. He says that they can be adjusted to any phase that is needed, so the 180° difference required to keep the sky looking the same to people on Earth will be easy.
If we do phase-shift the planet, and the moon and all the local space around them, then everything within that area will look the same. Hubble will probably give a few odd results for a while, though, but hey, it's better to confuse some scientists for a couple of hours than to have a planet annihilated or subjected to slavery, right? Okay, maybe the guys at NASA and JPL will have something to say about that, but you can't please everyone all of the time.
From what we can tell about shifting an entire planet and the local space around it, it should mean that the usual effects of being phase-shifted are negated. People should get hungry, should get tired. And hopefully, they won't be able to walk through solid objects.
Note that I say 'should'. We're not really sure. Again, however, it would be better that we explain (after the event) to an incredulous population what had happened than have them face Hades and his Jaffa.
"We need to get up to the ship," Frankie says. "Perhaps it will become a little clearer if we have the ship's engine in front of us?"
I shrug. Well, what else is there to do? Guess I'd better have something to eat, first. That's the trouble with the androids, they keep forgetting that we get hungry.
"Whatd'ya mean, you don't want to come with us?" Jack demands over breakfast. He and Daniel have been discussing the fact that they still wish to go and explore and have suggested that MIB build the weapon instead.
"It's not so much that I don't want to go with you," I offer, "it's just that we need to get this weapon built as soon as possible."
I see Daniel's shoulders drop. He was looking forward to this.
"I'm sorry, Daniel," I try.
He shakes his head. "Don't be sorry, Sam. You're right. This is much more important, or rather, it's much more urgent. There won't be a point in trying to help the Jaffa if there are no Jaffa to help. And I'm sure that will be the case if the Replicators really are in this galaxy."
I see his face start to take on its 'I've got an idea' look. Or rather, it's the 'I think I have an idea, but I'm not sure if it's even possible, so wait a moment while I try to remember the English words which would best describe the jumble of thoughts that are in my mind' look. I think it's a bad state of affairs that I know him well enough to know the difference, and to understand what that difference is. I think I need a holiday. Alone. Preferably somewhere hot, sunny, with clear blue skies and clear blue water...
Uh oh, here we go.
"You know we know what frequency the Replicators communicate on," he starts thoughtfully.
"We have powerful scanners on the ship, don't we?"
"Does the frequency of the Replicators happen in nature? I mean, would we hear things like stars, pulsars and so on if we tuned into them?"
"No, it's out of that sort of range."
I wait. I know there's more. The others know there's more, too, as they're all quiet. At least my guys are. MIB aren't here. Frankie's already on the ship and the men are building their house. They really are like us.
"Would it be possible to somehow listen to the galaxy at that frequency?"
"Probably not the whole thing at once, Daniel. They use radio waves which travel at the same speed as light. So if we listened in and heard them, chances are they wouldn't be where the signal had originated by the time we'd arrived at those co-ordinates. They'd be long gone. Given the speed of Gimli, it would be quicker to visit the entire galaxy than to listen in like that."
"So how do they communicate across vast distances? We assume they must, otherwise how else would they know what each group was doing?"
He brings me up short. I mean, I hadn't thought of that.
"It would have to be in some sort of subspace, or hyperspace, or..." I say, thinking as I speak. "There are different sorts of subspace anyway. But you're right, it would have to be something like that."
"So if they can communicate like that, is there some way we could listen to their communications when we were in hyperspace?"
"I don't know. We could try."
I look at Jack and he shrugs.
"Wouldn't you think that the Asgard would have thought of that already?" he asks.
We all look at him in astonishment.
"Nah," Daniel finally says. "After all, they don't have dumb ideas, do they?"
Jack chuckles to himself and stands up, heading directly for the comms device Thor gave to him. I'm thinking that Thor will get giddy with all the toing and froing from the Asgard home to here, not to mention to Earth, too.
Thor's here again. The poor guy is looking frazzled; at least, as frazzled as an Asgard ever looks.
"So you are saying that we could possibly listen to the Replicators' communications in hyperspace?" he asks.
We've discussed the idea with MIB, too, and they're as intrigued by the possibility as we are. We're all gathered around the table and Thor has beamed down with his own chair again.
"Or subspace or whatever type of space that is the sort of space that would allow near instant communications," Sam replies.
I'd swear that Thor is crossing his eyes in confusion. Even after all these years, he still finds our methods of thinking as we speak and trying out ideas as we think of them a lot confusing. Can't say I blame him. I confuse me a lot. I know I've gotten into a bad way when even DJ doesn't understand me.
He stops, thinks, then he answers. We should probably do that, but if we did, we probably wouldn't come up with so many dumb ideas.
"I am not sure how we could find their communications," he states. "There are many different degrees of subspace and they could use any one of them."
"Do you think your engineers could try to come up with an idea?" I ask. "After all, it would benefit you in your galaxy as much as us in ours."
He blinks, then he nods slowly.
"It may take some time. However, I do believe that you may have the beginnings of a potential advantage for us. Knowing the whereabouts of the enemy allows there to be a solid plan of attack."
"Spoken like a true god of war," Jack says with a grin.
He gets the blink from Thor for that. I swear I can sense amusement.
"Tiwaz was the god of war," he states. "I was considered the god of the sky, thunder and the divine protector of the people of Midgard."
That's the first time I've heard him state his 'divinity' like that, and now I'm sure I can sense amusement in him.
Jack looks at him wryly. "War... thunder... one's as noisy as the other," he shrugs. "Besides, I don't reckon the giants saw you as a divine protector. More like a pint-sized pain in the ass."
Thor does the blinky thing again and now I can really sense near hysteria in him.
"It would seem that you and I finally have something in common, O'Neill."
That does it for us. Even Teal'c is laughing out loud. Jack isn't, but hell, who cares?
I'm bored. And frustrated. So's Jack. Actually, DJ and John are, too. The ladies have gone up to the ship with Thor. He's promised to assist them in whatever way he can. I have no idea what our Jaffa are doing. We can't work on the house as it's chucking it down with rain. I hope that it stops soon, 'cause otherwise, it's going to be spring before we get it built. The temperature has dropped out there, it's at least ten degrees colder than this time last week. Brrr.
Jack's thinking. I can tell these things. I can almost hear the cogs grinding in his head.
"How about we go explore?" he finally asks.
"Sam's busy," I reply.
"Nah, we'll leave the gals behind. And the Teal'cs to keep an eye on them. We'll take John and DJ. At least there will be four on the team," he shrugs.
I haven't anything better to do, so I agree. It's not like we haven't been on missions together, is it? And it's not like we'd be much help on Gimli. Who knows, we might even find something useful... mightn't we?
O'Neill has asked that Kar Shel and I remain with our women while they explore. I am uncertain that they should leave us, but he has written down the address of where they are going and has said that I can open the gate and call to them should we need them. I understand their frustration and have agreed. I would not have left my woman alone, especially not during this time of uncertainty.
However, I do not wish to have two bored O'Neills on my hands, or two bored Daniels for that matter. I feel we would make more progress without them and their practical jokes. I have not yet forgiven O'Neill for painting a smiley face on the back of my head when I was in deep meditation. And that was in the first year of my joining the SGC. I have a very long memory.
"VCD shows no sign of life, no apparent threat, good weather... which is more than I can say about here, and we're good to go."
O'Neill's voice breaks over the comms on the peltac. We wish them a safe mission and the link breaks.
"I hope they don't get into any trouble," Frankie sighs.
Thor looks at her and blinks.
"There are two O'Neills on that mission," he states. "Would they do anything else?"
I believe that Thor knows them too well.
The Hammer is progressing well. Thor has done what he can here and has now gone home to discuss the idea of an 'aural' sweep of the galaxy with the High Council and the Asgard engineers.
To save him coming here to discuss ideas in future, he has augmented the communications on Gimli so that we may speak to him remotely. He believes that the subspace communications system may well be able to be adapted to help us track the Replicators. We hope so, although as O'Neill would say, ignorance is sometimes most blissful.
"Samantha. It is time for you to eat."
"Again?" she asks in shock.
"Indeed. You have been working for six hours since you last ate."
"I have? Whoa. Doesn't time fly?" she says, not looking up from her work.
"Samantha! You must come with me."
I take the tool out of her hand and put it down. Then I lift her up to her feet.
"You will eat."
I see her rolling her eyes but she follows me anyway, muttering under her breath about 'bossy boyfriends'. I would not normally speak to her in this manner, but I fear that she neglects her health when she is working like this. Last night, she barely slept. I worry. I also know - because of our link - that despite her apparent dislike of my concern, underneath it all, she is most pleased. From what she has told me of previous relationships, not one partner showed the same level of concern and a need to protect her.
I understand that she is a most capable woman, and most independent, but it does not hurt for her to know that I need to take care of her in the manner in which I do. And she understands that it is my way of showing my love for her. She is showing that understanding now as she takes my hand before we transport to the house.
Something's up with Daniel. I noticed it the moment we stepped through the gate, but he isn't saying what it is. Guess he's trying to figure it out himself. I'll give him a few minutes and then I'll ask. No way am I going too far from the gate if he's sensing trouble.
"Daniel? Is something wrong?"
That's DJ picking up on it, too. Glad about that, it's not just me so I'm not imagining things again. I hate it when I do that.
"Uh, I'm not sure," Daniel replies cautiously. "I can't detect any emotions, so I don't think we're being watched or are in any immediate danger."
"The readout said that there were no detectable life-signs," DJ reminds him.
"The operative word being 'detectable'," Daniel mutters. "I'm not even sure there are any life-forms here, at least not sentient ones. But there's something about this place that's putting me on my guard."
"That's it, pack up and dial it up," John orders before I can.
"Wait! It's not that," Daniel insists. "It's just..." He waves his hand around the place. "Look at it. Doesn't it give you the impression that someone lived here once?"
Frankly I can't see what he's talking about, and neither can John. DJ, however, is looking around and he's got that 'hmm' look on his face that Daniel gets when he's thinking.
"I think I see what you mean," he states. "The ground looks like it was once cultivated."
"So, where are they?"
Daniel looks at me and shrugs.
"Damned if I know. Come on, let's go over to that hill. Perhaps we'll see something over there."
"What if there's a trap?" I ask. I guess one of us has to mention it.
He shrugs again.
"Jack, if we're constantly worried about walking into traps, we'd never step foot through the gate. If we want to find the Furlings, we're going to have to take some chances."
Dammit. I hate it when he's right. I look at John and see the same feeling from him. Without saying anything, we surround the Daniels and have our hands firmly on our guns. Just in case, ya know?
It's taken us twenty minutes to get to where we were going and there's still no sign of life. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. I prefer my enemies out in the open, and not leaving me wondering if they're there or not.
"Look over here!"
We all look to where DJ is pointing and see a beautiful pool at the bottom of the hill with a waterfall dropping into it. The whole area is reminiscent of the equatorial region on Earth, full of trees, except near the gate where there was pretty short grass.
Now I see what Daniel meant about it looking cultivated. Where there has been no human cultivation, the trees are usually plentiful in places like this, with few, if any grassy areas. And when there is grass, it tends to be pretty long unless there's a grazing herd nearby. Which we didn't see. Of course, they could have wandered off.
Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, O'Neill.
"Sure looks like it," Daniel replies.
"Can you read it?"
You know, just for that moment, I could almost see his glasses on his face. He's giving me the same look he used to when he was peering over the top of them. The withering look doesn't have the same impact on me without them.
"Jack, there are probably many thousands, if not millions of different writing systems in the universe. I know I know a few, but hell, even I don't know all of them!"
"Worth a try," I shrug.
"I think we're going to be here for the duration," John mutters.
Agreeing with him, I let the boys go play with the scratches on the rock face and settle down. At least it's warm and dry here. Very warm indeed. Damn, that water looks cool and inviting...
"I hope the guys are okay," I say as we clean up the meal's remnants and wash the dishes.
"I am sure that they will be, Samantha. Would you like to check on them before returning to the ship?"
I shrug. The answer to that is 'yes', of course, but I can't justify it. Between them, the four have notched up way more mission hours than most long-serving teams, so I'm sure they can be trusted to go on a mission without us. I guess I'm a little annoyed that they went without me, but having said that, I need to be here. It's not like they didn't want to take me, is it? I'm just being irrational. So why is my stomach turning?
Okay, stop that Sam. It's just because you don't know what's going on. You know you always get like this when the guys are away.
Right, that's that then. I'm going back to the ship and I'm not going to think about them until it's time for them to come back. They said they'd check in if they weren't going to come home tonight and depending on the weather at their location, they'd either stay there overnight if necessary or return here, stay at home, then go back in the morning. I hope it's the latter.
I hope they find something useful too. We could do with a break. Oh, I know we're better off than we could have imagined when we first left Earth. The house, the things... Not to mention our personal development and the ship and so on, but...
But what? But we don't know what's going to happen next. Okay, we never know what's going to happen next, but in the past, the Goa'uld threat has always been less specific. Now we know that Hades has us in his sights and we know that he has all those ships. We haven't really tested his Jaffa in battle, yet. It could be that they're out of practice, easy to overcome, to out-think. It could be that they've spent many years studying us and our tactics. They could be the worst enemy we've ever come up against. We just don't know.
That's what's bothering me. I'd rather know what I'm up against. I'd rather face the Replicators. At least I know what they can do, how they do it and so on. They're a quantitative threat. Hades isn't. Yet.
And speaking of the Replicators, we have to constantly think of them, too. There, in the backs of our minds, the ever-present threat of the little metal bugs. With no emotions, no moral Achilles' heel for us to appeal to... to use... they're a tough opponent.
But now we have a weapon we can use. We can only hope that they have not adapted to it yet. If Thor and his people can come up with the subspace scanner, we might be able to find them, to know where to go to attack them. Will we be able to use the same tactic as before? I don't know.
Look at me. I'm on the floor, my head in an engine, trying to construct a connection from the weapons array to fit to the Hammer when we've finished building it. All I can think of is what I can't know. I try to shut off the thoughts but they're like white noise, blanking out any possibility of single-minded concentration.
White noise. White noise? Oh! White noise!
"Time to eat, Daniel."
"In a minute, Jack."
This writing system is crackable, I know it. They're runes of sorts. Not like the Asgard runes. Closer to hieroglyphs in theme, but they are definitely not Egyptian or Mayan.
Dammit, he gets so annoying sometimes. My immediate reaction is to yell back at him but I bite my tongue. It's too damned easy for us to start fighting over something which isn't important. I'm fed up of doing that.
"Okay, okay, I'm on my way."
I look at DJ and he grins.
"There are times when I'm glad that I'm an android," he mutters. "John can't make me eat."
"Lucky bastard," I growl, putting down my pencil.
"DJ? Come here and take a break!"
John's voice breaks through and makes me laugh.
"John, I don't need one."
"You've been working for hours. Come here!"
"I'm thinking he's lonely," I say, tugging at his sleeve.
DJ rolls his eyes and puts his things down, too.
"Okay, just for a few minutes," he concedes. "I think we're getting somewhere with this."
"We are?" I ask in shock.
"Sh, don't admit to not having a clue," he whispers. "Or they'll drag us back through the gate and we'll have to work on it from the pictures. Would you rather be in a Tok'ra tunnel or out here?"
He's got a good point.
We sit next to our partners, doubling up without even thinking about it. Jack passes me a mug of coffee and some sandwiches which we'd made at home. Ah yes, definitely better than MREs.
"So, you think you have an idea?" John prompts DJ.
"Su kai sou stomatos megalou," I mutter to DJ and he looks at me in shock. He wasn't expecting John to say that, though why, I don't know. Him and his big mouth indeed.
"Well, they look like glyphs of some sort," he offers. "And we know what they're not."
"They're not Egyptian, Mayan, or, frankly, any other glyphs that we've seen," he admits.
"But that doesn't mean we won't figure them out," I put in. "We just need some time."
"You can do that back home, Daniel," Jack states.
"Jack, the glyphs are scratched into the rock-face. We don't know why they're there. They could well refer to something right here. They could just be graffiti for all we know. But, if we don't check them out in situ for as long as we can, we will stand less chance of working them out. There could be more here, and you know that it's easier to crack a code if you have more information."
He concedes that and covers for his concession by eating something so he doesn't have to say it.
"So, how long do you want?" John asks.
We shrug. We could figure it out in a moment, we might never get it. I need to get this across to them so that they're a bit more patient. I have an idea.
"Like DJ said," I say, finding a stick and moving to a bit of muddy ground next to the pool. "We're positive they're glyphs. Now, in some linguistic systems, glyphs represent sounds. In others, they represent words. We haven't worked out what they're saying yet."
"But if they represent words, surely you'd be able to figure out the patterns?" John prompts.
"John, remember the Mayans. Their writing system had developed from the complex picture to the simpler form, making it much more difficult to work out their original meanings. It could be the same here. Uh... Look, tell me what this is."
I draw a stick figure of a four-legged animal, just a line for the back, two medium-sized legs at each end in a downward V shape, a medium-sized tail sticking out, a medium-sized straight line for a neck and then another line for the head, which continues up and past the neck for a little way. I've drawn it this simply for a reason.
"It's an animal," John says.
"What sort?" I ask.
"What, a dog? Cat? Horse? Deer? What?"
"I don't know! I can't tell from this. The line up from the head could be ears, it could be antlers..."
His voice trails off as it dawns on him what he's saying. The drawing makes sense to me, it would make sense to him if I told him what I'd been drawing in the first place, but as with the glyphs we have on the wall, there are many different possible interpretations, each one valid.
And when it comes down to it, and if, for example, it was a dog that I'd drawn, would the glyph actually represent the dog, or the sound the dog makes, or the sound of the word 'dog'? After all, the rebus system would allow two or more such glyphs to be put together to make another word which means nothing like the meanings of the original glyphs, such as in Egyptian hieroglyphs.
"Perhaps you two could look around and see if there are more markings anywhere?" DJ tries.
They shrug in that typical O'Neill way, the one that says 'I'll do it as I have nothing better to do'. Jack's eyeing the pool wistfully. I think he wants to swim in it. Can't say I blame him, it's getting really hot.
We finish eating and DJ and I head straight back to the writings. I'm sure I can figure it out. And I'm getting the feeling that I'm going to need to.
Samantha has had an idea which makes little sense to me, but she seems to be very excited by it. She is speaking of subspace scanners, white noise generators and the potential to eliminate the Replicator threat once and for all. I wish I understood her.
At least it has stopped raining. Kar Shel and I have now retreated to work on the house and we are making good progress. The women have gone to the workshop, to melt some neutronium. Frankie has made some moulds out of wet sand, which, she says, will allow her to form some of the parts that are needed for the Hammer. Samantha has drawn on our other reserves of metals and is making moulds for other parts to be made out of them.
As we do not understand the mechanics of this weapon, Kar Shel and I have decided that staying away from them is probably safer. They can contact us immediately if we are needed.
I understand Samantha's worries about the men. We have not heard from them since they left and are concerned about them.
"Perhaps we should dial up the planet and call to them?" Kar Shel suggests.
"It would set the women's minds at rest," I agree. "We should do it."
We move to the house, pick up the paper with the address on it and then make our way to the gate. Neither of us is speaking, but we do not need to. We have spent many hours in each other's company without speaking. I find it most restful. My human companions speak far too much.
Kar Shel is dialling the address and I have my communicator at the ready. As soon as the gate engages, I call out.
"O'Neill. Daniel. Can you hear me?"
"I can hear ya, Teal'c. Is anything wrong?"
"No, O'Neill. Samantha has apparently had a very good idea, however, I shall leave her to explain the details on your return."
"I am not a bird, O'Neill. I merely wish to ensure that Samantha's idea is explained to its fullest."
I hear him laughing at me.
"So, what's up?"
"I was just ensuring that you were well. We had not heard from you and the women were most anxious."
There is a pause before he answers.
"The women. Right. We're fine. Thanks for asking. Daniel and DJ are happily trying to translate an unknown language and John and I are looking for more of it. The weather's great, the place is uninhabited as best we can tell... Tell them not to worry, okay?"
"I shall. Will you be returning tonight?"
"I'm not sure. It depends on the Daniels. We'll call up in... oh... three hours? Will that do you?"
"It will. I shall speak to you then."
We sign off and the gate is shut down. I look at Kar Shel and see that he feels as disappointed as me. If we were honest with our friends, we would admit to wanting to fight. The waiting for Hades is making us both most anxious.
"Look over there," John calls out, pointing at something in the distance.
We've been at this search for hours and if I'm honest, I'm getting even more bored. But the guys are happy, so we're letting them get on with it. Over the last few weeks, their lives have been turned this way and that. Not saying ours haven't, but we haven't been hit with that empathy thing and we both know that Daniel is extremely affected by it.
This is better than being alone for him, I think. He's with only one person that gives out emotions and I'm desperately trying to keep projecting that I'm calm and happy. He's gotten the best company he can have - DJ. The one being in the universe who knows just what buttons to push to make Daniel talk, happy, whatever. Even I don't know them all.
And it's good that Daniel's gotten a new mystery to solve. They always make him happy. Having lost so many chances to learn new things over the last year or so, it'll do him good to figure something out.
I look at where John is pointing and realise that I can't see anything. So I get out my field glasses and try again. He's right, there's something there. Not sure what it is.
I'm going to project an image in my mind. Tell me what you think it is.
I stare through the glasses at the... whatever it is, and wait to hear from him.
That's interesting, he muses. It doesn't look natural, does it?
Well no. That's why we're looking at it.
Jack, can the attitude. How far away is it?
I look at the distance gauge and see that it's a klick. Through trees, dammit. We're up on the side of the hill which is why we can see it.
About a kilometre.
We should investigate it. That's not far.
I feel that he's torn between investigating and continuing with the translations.
How about one pair of us goes to investigate and the other one stays here? I offer.
Uh, okay, that could work. Hang on, I'll talk to DJ.
I look at John and see that he's talking to DJ in his head, probably coming up with the same idea.
"Who's going to look?" I ask.
"We'll go," he says. "It's already starting to get dark. At least the sun's beginning to set. We can be over there quicker and get back in the dark if we have to."
"You just want to get out of waiting here," I accuse.
"That too. But you know it makes sense."
Dammit. It does.
"Fine. You go. I'll head back to the gate and check in. Shall I tell them we'll probably stay overnight?"
"Yeah. No point in rushing back, is there? They can call us if they hear anything from the Tok'ra."
DJ's just heard from John and he says that they're going to the structure.
If it is one, I remind him.
I think it might be. Wouldn't it make more sense if I went with John, or DJ went with you? Just to keep continuous communication going, that is.
Fuck, he makes sense, too. I look at John as we make our way down the hill to meet up with the guys and pass on his message. Seems he's had the same one from DJ.
"And what if we have to stay over there all night?" he growls into his comms so that he can tell them both at the same time.
"Yeah? And?" comes straight back at us. Can't tell which one said it, either.
I look at John and he looks at me in exasperation.
"You trust me with Daniel?" he asks.
"No further than I can throw you. You trust me with DJ?"
We're both lying and we know it. I trust no one in the galaxy more with Daniel's welfare and John feels the same about me and DJ. The only niggling doubt in our minds has nothing to do with welfare, however. We both know that if we're separated like that overnight, I'm so not going to be sleeping on my own, and neither is he. The question is, do I trust him not to start something with Daniel?
Okay, John doesn't sleep as such, so he'll be awake, watching over him. Watching him sleep. I won't be able to do that with DJ. I need to sleep.
By the time we get back to the guys, we've conceded that one of us is staying here. Not sure which one. Daniel and DJ have already separated the supplies between the two pairs of us and are happily laughing about something.
"So, who's going?" I ask.
"I'll go with John to the structure," Daniel offers. "I know how much you love trees," he adds, grinning. "You call up Annwn and let them know what we're doing."
"Why you?" I ask.
"DJ's going to work on the writing tonight. Light a fire and he'll keep on going. That way, we'll be a bit further ahead tomorrow and maybe, we'll even crack it. He'll stand a better chance of figuring it out quickly than I will."
"Don't forget to eat tonight," I order. "John, you make sure he eats and rests, right?"
"Of course. Besides, he's a big boy, he can make his own mind up," John replies.
"Oh, like you let me!" DJ howls. "You're as bad as Jack, so cut the crap, O'Neill."
Then he puts his arms around him and hugs him closely, kissing the shit out of him in a very proprietorial manner. I notice that Daniel does the same to me, too.
"Behave, O'Neill," he growls.
"Yes, you. Behave or I'll kick your ass."
He could, too.
"I'll behave. Promise. Keep in touch," I point to my head.
"That's the idea," he answers.
I get another kiss off him and watch as he and John disappear into the trees.
"I'll just go to the gate to call them up. Feel like a walk?" I ask.
"Sure, why not?"
We stroll for a few minutes in peace and quiet, not touching each other, just looking around. I can't help but sneak surreptitious glances at him.
He's had his hair cut and styled the same way as Daniel. They did it together at the SGC. Daniel never did look his age, and as DJ doesn't have any lines or wrinkles, it's hard to tell that he's supposed to look about ten or so years older than him. I notice the scars on his face and arms, though. They're the ones that he got when they had to cut him open to fix him and stop him from bleeding to death.
He hasn't gotten around to going to the Tok'ra who fixed him up when we met. He says he'll go there when he has the time, but I wonder if he'll bother. It's something that sets him apart from his 'brother'.
That should confuse me but it doesn't. When I was growing up, I looked like Pat so much that someone who hadn't seen us for a while would wonder which one I was until my name was said. The thing was, I wanted to look like him. Pat was a bit of a tough guy and I looked up to him. Still do, he's two inches taller than me. But much as I wanted people to think that I was Pat, I still wanted to be myself.
So I get it. I know why DJ wants to look like Daniel; after all, he used to be him, in a way. But he also wants his own scars. His own identity.
Daniel's body is scar-less. It shouldn't be. He should be as covered in them as DJ is. That fucking sarcophagus took away each and every mark. I should be glad about that. Oh, not that him having scars would make him less attractive, or any other 'body conscious' crap. Not that at all. What I mean is, when DJ looks in the mirror, he's going to remember that fucking glider. When I look in the mirror, I remember the shit that's happened to me. So I should be glad that Daniel doesn't bear those physical reminders.
But when it comes down to it, and it's kinda perverse to think like this, he earned each and every one of those marks. They're badges of honour, I guess. And just as at the SGC, where he was never truly acknowledged, never given a medal to show what he'd done, to mark his bravery, the fucking sarcophagus has taken away the only other identification of his deeds. Bastards.
Dammit, I hate this not talking crap. It means I think. Thinking leads to depression. It's not all it's cracked up to be. DJ notices my change of mood and the next thing I know, he's holding my hand. It feels like Daniel's hand. Fuck.
I'm tired, but I can't seem to stop working. We need to get this weapon made. We've poured the metals into the various moulds and we're going to wait till morning for them to cool down. Then we'll have to tidy them up using the different tools we have here, drilling holes, filing down the rough edges and so on.
I'm still not sure how this weapon works, but we're following Thor's instructions to the letter, so it should work. It has to.
"Sam, go to bed. There isn't much more to do tonight. I'll finish it," Frankie urges.
I guess she's right. I can't stop yawning.
"Hmm, okay. You make sure you rest, recharge your batteries or whatever it is you do," I insist.
"I will. Don't worry. Besides, I'm sure Kar Shel will be here before long, ready to whisk me off."
I laugh a little at that. Wish I had that sort of energy.
"Will you stay on Annwn?"
"Yes. We'll go to our room in the tunnels."
"Good. I can't wait for the house to be finished," I add with a yawn. "Then we can be together all the time."
"That'll be good," she agrees.
I stop for a moment, then ask, "Are you sure you're okay about moving here? I mean, we want you here, but only if you're going to be happy. You have to do what is right for you."
She smiles at me and nods.
"We're used to the idea now," she says. "At first, it wasn't an easy decision to make. But with working closer with you, working more with you, it makes sense. Besides, it's a nice place here. We like it."
"But it's not your home."
"Neither was the palace," she shrugs. "We made it a home, but it was built by the Goa'uld. And no matter that Daniel and DJ have managed to shrug off what happened to them the first time the palace was visited, I don't think that John - and probably Jack - has managed it. Kar Shel and I have been noticing that John's eyes are looking more and more haunted every time we go home."
"Perhaps it's since he nearly lost DJ?" I suggest. "You know how one bad event can run into another, the emotions seeping from one to the other... Maybe he wants to take DJ somewhere that has no bad memories?"
"Could be," she agrees. "Whatever, this is going to be our home and we're happy with the idea."
I bend down and give her a hug.
"Good. Because we want it to be your home, too. I can't tell you how happy it makes us."
We wish each other goodnight and I leave, heading for MIB's new house before going back to ours. Teal'c's still there with Kar Shel. I see how much progress they've made, even though it's already getting dark. The roof will be going up next. The frame's already there, they just need to tile it. For now, there's a lot of plastic sheeting covering it to stop the rain coming in. It's been raining on and off all day, stopping the guys working from time to time. It's been driving them nuts.
"Teal'c. I'm going into the house. Coming?"
"I shall join you in a few moments, my love," he says, his low voice seeming to rumble like thunder. "We are just clearing away our tools."
"Great. See you there."
The house doesn't seem right without Jack and Daniel in it. We heard from them a little while ago. Jack said that Daniel and John are off exploring somewhere and DJ seems to be happy. I'm not sure that Jack is, though. Whatever, he'll be fine. He said they'll settle down for the night, so there's no point in worrying about them, is there?
I want my boys back.
We've arrived at the structure and it's still light, thank God. Not very light, but enough to work for a while. And it is a structure. Reminds me of the Nox, although part of the building is made out of stone. I'm trying to work out if it's been abandoned or if it's a temporary shelter, like a hunter's lodge.
I've been connected to Jack and keeping him informed at all times. That's the only way to keep him happy. John's connected to DJ all the time, too. He's passing on DJ's ideas to me about the structure and asking me questions about the translation, too. This is great, I can work on both problems at the same time.
"Any ideas?" John finally asks.
"Do you think that it looks a bit like the Nox?"
"Yeah. I can see what you mean. What about that pond outside it? You think that has any significance?"
I go out and look at the pond and see why he's asking.
"That's been made, hasn't it? It's not natural."
"Yeah, I'd say so. Have you found any writings yet?"
"Not yet. Let's look around the pond. Remember the writings back there were on the rocks next to the waterfall."
We split up and wander around the pond in different directions. I can't lose the feeling about the Nox. Don't know why. Come on, Daniel, think about it.
Right, the writings. They don't look like the Nox' writing. I know, from the process of elimination, which writings at Heliopolis belonged to the Nox. There is definitely no resemblance there. But, the house. The whole... aura, for want of a better, less new-age word, of the planet is Nox-like. So, perhaps there's another race of beings which are like them? More fairies? No way am I mentioning that thought to Jack, it would be leaving me open to far too much abuse.
Think about fairies, then. Or similar peoples, beings, whatever, on Earth. Elves? Nah, that's silly. Goblins? Trolls? Nymphs?
Nymphs! Nymphs... Nereids and Oceanids, the sea-nymphs. Wood nymphs? Dryads. They could explain the Nox in part, I guess. Perhaps the Nox really did have something to do with Earth?
"Daniel! Over here!"
I take off at a run, and I'm soon next to John.
"Here. On this rock, look."
There's a large stone and John's right, on it are some more scratches. These are a little clearer, though some are covered in moss. I'd better get that off them. My gear's quickly off my back and I tip out my tools. In moments, I'm scrubbing the moss away as carefully as I can.
These glyphs are more deeply cut than the ones at the waterfall, and, it would appear, easier to identify. My first thought as I look at them (still cleaning the moss, but trying to do two things at once again) is that there is a definite picture of what looks like a goat.
"John, stare at these images and let DJ know what you've found. Maybe they'll help him?"
"Already doing it," he replies. "I'm well trained."
I can't help but look up at him and laugh when he says that. I've just about completely managed to separate John from Jack in my mind. I guess it helps that he looks so much more different from Jack (at least compared to the difference between DJ and me), but when he says something like that, I flashback to when my Jack looked like that and for that moment, John is Jack once again.
"That really looks like a goat, doesn't it?" I try, desperately attempting to put my mind back on track.
I've never admitted it to Jack, but I miss his grey-haired look sometimes, and seeing John... It's not always easy.
"I'd say so. It's a lot clearer than the other glyphs."
"What about this?"
I point to a circle. We'd seen another one of these back at the waterfall.
"What about it?"
"It's on the right of this glyph, which we think might be the glyph for a tree. It looks like the Greek psi, a round 'bowled' Y with a line going up the middle." I draw a Y on a piece of paper and he sees the resemblance.
"You think there are Greeks here?"
"Nah, not that. But I can't help get the feeling that there's something about this place..." I shake my head. "Probably just my imagination."
I shake my head. "Nothing, John. It's just my mind running all over the place again."
"Get that moss off there, let DJ see all the images. I'm sure he'll think of something overnight."
I hope so.
We've decided on two glyphs for definite, at least as definite as we can get. One is a goat, or other similar animal. The other is the tree. At the waterfall, and not here, was another glyph that could mean 'waterfall', in that it was three vertical wavy lines.
The circle is bothering me, though. I mean, does it mean 'sun'? Moon? Planet? Pool? Stargate? Nothing? I don't know. And I get the impression that it is important. Damn it, it could be a crystal ball for all I know.
And why did we find what looked like a semicolon next to the circle in both places? What does that mean? That they didn't have an alphabetic language but had invented punctuation? WHAT?! Gah. It's driving me nuts.
"Come on, let's go back to the hut. You can eat and sleep. Maybe you'll dream up an answer," John says after a while.
All the glyphs are clear now, though, so that's helping. It's getting dark, so I might as well do as he suggests.
I can't help it. As I make my way to the hut, I think about the various glyphs I've seen and try to make some sort of sense of them. I wonder if the one that looked like a sideways V represents a bird? I ask John and he shrugs. I get the feeling that there are a number of naturalistic representations there, some more obvious than others.
"Water... trees... Why a goat?" I ask as we enter the hut. "There's a connection there that I'm not seeing."
He can't answer me, but then I don't expect him to. I'm just thinking out loud.
I eat my food but don't taste it, concentrating as I am on the glyphs. I notice out of the corner of my eye that John's preparing some sort of bed, but all I can do is look at the notes I've taken and try to get an answer.
"Come on, Daniel. It's time to sleep," he orders after a while.
"Okay, let me go take a leak," I say, getting up and wandering outside.
The sky is black now, full of stars. I can't help but look up at the moon as I go to the trees. It looks very silvery and pretty. As I take a leak, I try to connect to Jack in my mind, but he must be asleep already as there's no answer. Hell, I wanted to talk to him. Ah well, never mind.
"Ya know, standing there with your dick in your hand makes you a very tempting target."
I jump a mile, ready to lay into John for following me out, when I see that it's Jack. Despite the darkness, I can tell the difference immediately.
"Jack! What the fuck are you doing here?"
"I sneaked off," he admits. "Can't not say goodnight to you, can I?"
"What about DJ?"
"Ah, he's wrapped up in his work. He won't even notice I'm gone. I'll go back as soon as I'm done here, anyway."
"Done? What do you mean?"
He doesn't tell me, instead he shows me, pinning me to the tree and kissing me hard. God, I don't think I've ever gotten so hard, so fast. His hand is on my cock and he's holding it tightly, but it isn't hurting. My hips automatically thrust forward and I start to fuck his hand.
"Gotta be quick and quiet, Daniel," he whispers. "Come for me, then turn and face the tree. I'm gonna fuck you hard."
Jesus, that's just... Oh fuck it, what do I care what it is? I buck into his fist faster, biting my bottom lip to stop me from yelling out loud. John is going to fucking kill him for leaving DJ alone.
"That's it, come for me. Let me see your face when you pour over my hand. Want to taste you. Eat you. Fuck you."
That does it. I don't think I've ever been so quick for a hand job in my life! But then, I don't think there's ever been a better one, either. I still feel horny, more so when he raises his hand and licks it clean.
"Turn around, Daniel."
He growls as he speaks and I'm hard again. This evolving shit has a lot to answer for. It's like my groin is hardwired to my ears. A couple of words, a particular sound, and I'm ready for action.
I feel his fingers push inside me, twisting, turning, stretching me roughly. My hands are clamped firmly to the tree, almost as if I am unable to release them. The next thing I know, he's fucking me. I didn't even feel a break between his fingers coming out and his cock going in. Perhaps I'm greying out? I don't know. Do I care? Probably not. This is incredible.
He isn't holding back, he even feels bigger than normal. Maybe it's the fact that we shouldn't be doing this that makes it so? I don't care, I really don't care. Nothing's ever felt this good.
I feel his rough chin on the back of my neck, smell his sweat as he works hard. One of his hands is on my hip, the other is back on my cock and this time, he's jerking me off as he fucks me. So fucking good.
"God, Jack," I groan. "Love you."
"Yeah. Love you too," he says, but he doesn't sound like he usually does. "Hush. Don't want John to hear."
I try to connect to him in my mind but I can't. Maybe he wants to play the 'anonymous' game? Yeah, it's got to be like that. He grunts hard and jerks me faster, his body urging me to come again. It's like I don't have any control over it because I do, covering the side of the tree. That seems to do it for him and he comes, too.
"Stay here for a moment, then go back inside," he whispers. "Don't you dare mention this to John."
Without another word, he pulls out of me and the next thing I know, I'm on my own again. Damn, but he's good at sneaking through woods.
I pull some tissue out of my pocket and clean myself up as best I can, then head back into the hut.
"Where've you been? You get lost or something?" John demands.
"Uh... just looking at the stars. Thinking. You know how it is," I reply, trying not to sound like I've had my brains fucked out.
"Whatever. Go to bed. You look fucked."
I nearly trip up when he says that and then realise that he means 'tired'.
"Yes. Absolutely. Night, John."
Samantha awoke early this morning. She is most anxious to see the outcome of the metal casting. I, on the other hand, am not at all anxious about today. There will just be more house building, I fear.
"Teal'c, have you eaten yet?"
"I have, Kar Shel. I shall be with you momentarily."
"Good. We should start the tiling today. Do you know how to do it?"
"I do not. Let us hope the instructions that the masons supplied will cover the technique."
"Indeed. Either that or we shall have to study O'Neill's 'Bumper Book Of Do-It-Yourself Techniques' again."
I fear that may be necessary.
I can't believe that Daniel got away from John last night, made his way up here, caught me taking a leak - watched me taking a leak - fucked me senseless and then made good his escape without the androids noticing. To be fair, it was worth any fallout if they had noticed. I'm thinking the boy has grown somewhat. Sitting is not high on my agenda this morning.
We've heard from them, they're on their way back. Daniel hasn't found anything except for the hut and the glyphs, and there was absolutely no clue in the hut at all. I think that we're going to be heading back home more or less as soon as they arrive. DJ seems to have cracked a couple of the glyphs, but not many.
There don't seem to be any people that can help us, or weapons here, so we may as well pack up.
I'm feeling really sweaty. For some reason, the heat seems to be getting to me today in a way it didn't yesterday. I'm starting to stink.
"I'm going to shower," I tell DJ, pointing to the waterfall.
He looks up from his notes and says, "Yeah. That would be a good idea. You smell like you got rode hard and put away wet."
"Jeez, thanks for the compliment."
I get no respect. Trouble is, he isn't wrong. I do smell like that, mainly because I was. Ridden hard and put away damp, if not wet, that is. I don't think I've ever been ridden harder. Never knew Daniel could be such a brute.
Hey! Where are ya?
Nearing the camp.
Where are you?
Just going to clean up under the waterfall. Wanna join me?
Uh... Yeah. I could do with a good wash. The pond at the hut was way too muddy to wash in.
Hurry up, or I'm going to start without you.
Needless to say, it doesn't take him long to appear.
The water is cool, Daniel is hot and I'm finding it hard to breathe. Not that I'm trying to breathe. Daniel, as soon as he entered the water with me, grabbed me and decided that kissing me till I pass out would be a great idea. I agree, by the way. Somehow, I know that John and DJ are probably either watching us or making the most of a few minutes peace and quiet. Good luck to them.
The one thing about this waterfall is that it's making it impossible to speak out loud. Not that I can speak with Daniel's tongue halfway down my throat.
God, Daniel, you're on fire.
Just as well we're underwater, eh?
Hell yeah. But what's brought this on? We were only apart for one night.
One night too long.
Did you sleep with John? I tease.
I slept. John was there. Interpret it how you like. I'll be more blunt; did you have sex with DJ?
Did you want to?
I stop querying him when I hear him laughing in my head. Eek. That's weird.
Bastard. And no. Besides, after what you did last night, I wouldn't have had the energy. I can barely stand up and I sure as hell don't want to sit.
He stops kissing me and I can just about make out confusion in his face.
After what I did? You were the one to leave DJ alone, follow me into the woods and fuck me senseless.
No I didn't. I left the camp to take a leak, took one and when I was pissing, you watched me, got turned on and fucked me.
I didn't leave the area around the hut all night, Jack. I went into the woods to do the same as you, then you were there, jerking me off, then pushing me up against a tree and fucking me.
Daniel, I didn't. Believe me.
Okay, I believe you. But if it wasn't you fucking me, and it certainly wasn't me fucking you, who the fuck was doing the fucking?
All of a sudden, this waterfall doesn't seem so inviting.
"White noise? Samantha Carter, you are not making much sense."
Dammit, I know what I'm thinking. Trouble is, getting my ideas across isn't always easy. I look at the hologram of Thor that's on the bridge of the ship and try again.
"It's a generalised term we use for when a sound on a particular frequency is negated by a... playback, I guess would be a good word, of the precise same frequency, acting as a barrier to stop you hearing the original noise. We use white noise generators on Earth to blank out background noises when we need to hear something specific, like a voice trying to speak above the noise of a waterfall, for example. Or it's used to improve acoustics in concert halls.
"More technically, it's a signal that must have zero auto-correlation with itself over time. Um, of course, that's except for at zero time-shift. I can give you the various formulae in relation to it, if you want."
He nods slowly, getting to understand what I'm saying. I could use the more technical language, but if he hasn't even heard the term 'white noise', there is every possibility that he might not have heard the more scientific terms we use on Earth, either. They could use completely different terms to describe the same thing.
For example, he might call black 'white', and I wouldn't know it unless he pointed out something black and described it as white. So I need to make sure that he understands the principle on a basic level or else misunderstandings and mistakes could occur.
"I understand," he finally says. "It is similar to the jammers that we used. However, I am not sure how this will apply to a more broad-spectrum attack on the Replicators."
"Well, it all depends on whether your people can develop the subspace scanners to detect them. Assuming for one moment that they can, would it be possible to build a subspace broadcast which could feedback their communications, blocking their ability to 'speak' to each other?"
"The machine would have to be exceedingly powerful," he says, mainly to himself. "But there is the possibility that it would work."
"Good. What I propose is this. We find the Replicators, send ships to each place, all of the ships with the Hammer weapon installed. The ships wait until they get the word that the white noise generator is functioning and then we launch a co-ordinated attack, using the Hammers and the more localised, radio wave jammers. That way they can't communicate with the Replicators outside of whatever system they're in and find out what's going on.
"When they're disrupted and blown apart, we can destroy them."
"I see. Well, we would need to look into this more closely, but I believe that I understand your idea. I shall speak to the engineers and hope that they will come up with a way of executing your plan."
"Great. Let's hope something comes of it."
Let's hope they really do understand what I imagined. It's weird, trying to dumb down explanations to people that know more than I do, but hell, we really cannot allow for any mistakes. In the end, that's the best that I can come up with. I wish Daniel had been here. He'd have understood me, I'm sure.
"Was it the androids?" Jack asks as we start to get dressed again.
"I don't know, Jack. I honestly thought it was you. I mean, I can see how you would mistake DJ for me in the dark, but you and John still look different enough for me to know who's who. It looked like you. It sounded like you. I wouldn't have gone off with anyone..."
He puts his hand on my arm.
"There's no question of any blame, Daniel. We both thought we were with each other. It's not like we went cruising, is it?"
"Of course not."
"And if, for one moment, either of us had thought it was someone else, we'd have stopped it, right?"
"Absolutely. Told you, I don't cheat. At least not when I'm in my right mind," I add, muttering to myself.
"And that doesn't count as cheating," he sighs. "Cheating is a deliberate act. It just ain't gonna happen."
"Right. Perhaps we should go where you were. See if there are any clues?"
He shrugs. "Guess we can. I went over there."
He points out an area near the camp and we make our way through the trees to it. We don't get too close, we don't have to. There's only one set of boot-prints; Jack's. However, next to them is something that horrifies us both.
"HOOF PRINTS?" Jack screams.
"Goat? What fucking goat?"
"The one in the glyphs. Remember, I said it was clearly a goat or very similar animal. Which made it unusual because most of the other glyphs were much more primitive, less-easily interpreted."
"So what does this mean, we were fucked by a goat who can pretend to be a human?"
Okay, that sounds crazy even to me. There's something missing.
"We need to go talk to the others. Maybe they'll think of something."
"You want to tell them we had fucking sex with an animal?" he hisses.
"Not intentionally! Besides, we believed it was each other."
"And that's going to look great to them, isn't it? That we'd believe that our other half would leave their other half alone just to get laid."
My eyes cross as I try to make sense of that sentence then give up, understanding the gist of it anyway.
"Jack, if what's been going on is... I don't know, alien influence, I guess, then we're not to blame, are we? If an alien is messing with our minds, how can they get angry with us?"
Okay, that was a stupid thing to think, especially where John is concerned.
"Hey! We didn't ask for this to happen!" Jack yells at him. "We were kind of rooted to the spot. I couldn't fight Daniel - or whatever the hell the thing was - off. I didn't leave DJ, Daniel didn't leave you. The furthest we went was to have a piss in private."
"Well that wasn't very successful, was it?" John snipes.
I send a 'Help!' look to DJ and he backhands him.
"John, that's not helping. Don't you think you can be a little more sympathetic? They're both the victims of a pretty strange sort of assault."
"Yeah, I guess," John sniffs. "So, you think it was a goat?"
The look on his face is one which I am about to wipe off, with my fist if necessary.
"We didn't think it at the time," Jack hisses. "Jesus, I knew telling you guys would be a bad idea. Didn't I say it, Daniel?"
"Yes, dear," I sigh.
He knows not to push it when I say that. Using any sort of endearment outside of 'babe' or 'hun' (and those I use sparingly) tends to mean 'shut the fuck up or I'm going to kill you'. Fortunately, John knows it means that too, and has now clamped his mouth firmly shut. Solidly around the two feet he's already got in there, obviously.
"Pan," DJ suddenly says. "Not a goat, it's Pan!"
"Pan? Wasn't that some sort of pipe player?" Jack asks.
"Well, he's often portrayed with pipes," I say. "Kind of half-goat, half-man. He's a satyr."
"I didn't think he was very funny," Jack snaps. When I glare at him, he mouths an apology.
"What colour was this planet?" I ask. "On the holomap," I add for clarification.
"Green," Jack says.
"That could explain it. And we could be in trouble."
"Well I'm glad it's clear to you, 'cause it's as clear as mud to me."
"Okay, give me a minute to wrap my brain around this. Look, Pan was a god of the countryside and things in it. He was also accredited with a high sex drive, among other things. If I tell you that he's supposed to have fathered a son who became known as Priapus, perhaps that will give you a clue."
"Ah," Jack groans. "I think I understand last night, then. So why are you worried? If all this Pan guy is interested in is sex then he's had it. Twice in one night. We can leave him, forget it ever happened and lock this planet out of our list. We can let the SGC know not to come here, too. Can't see SG-3 or 6 enjoying a mission here."
"Oh, I don't know," DJ answers. "At least two of them would enjoy the hell out of it."
I throw a twig at him to shut him up, then continue with the thoughts. Maybe if I say what's on my mind, they'll make more sense later.
"Pan's father was supposed to be Hermes," I try. "The Greek equivalent of Thoth as bringer of writing and apparently the holder of a bunch of lost writings, the Hermetic scripts, which cover mysticism, magic and alchemy. Sound familiar?"
"A Ka?" John asks.
I shrug. "I have the feeling that there are a number of spirit-like alien species out there, some of whom will have had connections." Another thought strikes me. "Priapus was supposed to have tried to rape Lotis, a nymph, at night in the woods. She managed to get away from him, but the reason he was in the woods at night was that he was apparently 'disfigured' by being rather over-endowed and his mother banished him to the mountains."
I look at Jack and see that he seems to remember feeling that 'I' had grown in much the same way that I thought that he was bigger than normal.
I think we might need to get checked up, Jack states, trying not to let on to the others what we're saying.
Who the fuck would we see?
I don't know. Guess we'll have to check each other.
I smother a smile. I think I know where this is leading.
In the meantime...
"Are you feeling hot?" Jack suddenly asks.
"Uh, yeah, as you mention it, I am."
We're not speaking about the same sort of heat we felt yesterday, either, more of a burning sensation. I wonder if it's anything to do with last night? I'm feeling a desperate need to get into the water. I stand up and start to undress. It's not as if they haven't all seen me naked before, is it? I have to get into that pool.
Out of the corner of my eye I see that Jack feels the same need. DJ and John are watching us, mouths open but if they're speaking, I can't hear them. I have to get into the water. Have to. Now.
"Oh yeah, that's better," Jack growls as the water starts to cool us off.
"Definitely," I gasp.
I should be feeling really cold, but I'm not. Usually when you're boiling hot and you go in a freezing cold pool, it takes your breath away. That's not happening. Uh... is that steam rising?
Kar Shel and I have started on the roof and we are making progress. At least it is not raining, which is good.
"Can you hear something?" Kar Shel calls out.
I stop hammering and hear the gate engaging. We both drop our tools and make our way down the ladder as quickly as we can. Before we can reach the house to check the receiver, however, we see Jacob running through the trees.
"Teal'c! Kar Shel! Where are the others?" he calls out.
We run to him as he seems to need us urgently.
"The women are on the ship, the rest are exploring but we can contact them. What is wrong?"
"Some of Hades' ships are leaving his system. We don't know where they're going, there hasn't been any inter-ship communication, but our people said that many gliders entered the ha'taks before they left. It looks like he's going somewhere."
"Are your people following them?"
"No, they couldn't. Before they could get close, the ships had jumped to hyperspace. We have no idea where they're going."
"How many ships?" Kar Shel asks. "Perhaps the number could give us a clue?"
"Three ha'taks," Jacob replies.
"Then he is probably not going to Earth."
"Perhaps not. Perhaps he is so confident that he feels he could take Earth with just three ships," I point out.
"All of the ships destined for Earth have arrived there," he reminds me. "They are all fully equipped with the Asgard technology. Even if Hades attacked, he would fail."
"We can but hope," I agree. "However, we should inform Earth immediately to put them on their guard. Perhaps we should take our ship to Abydos in case Hades is going there?"
"And what if he isn't?" Jacob asks. "Sure, Daniel doesn't tend to be wrong, but there's no evidence that Abydos is high on Hades' agenda. He could be going anywhere. We're going to have to wait until we've heard from our people throughout the galaxy. Someone will hear where the attack is going to take place."
"If indeed there will be an attack," I say. "Remember that Daniel saw Hecate speaking with Hades via the vo'cuum. It could be that he is just gathering a few ships in a different location."
The others acknowledge my point.
"Should we call the others back to Annwn?" I ask.
"What are they doing?" Jacob replies.
"Apparently Daniel and DJ have discovered some writing. They are currently trying to understand it."
His face drops. He knows as we do that there is the possibility, no matter how remote, that the Daniels could be uncovering some relevant information and to take them away from it prematurely might mean that we would lose that advantage. And until we know where, or if, there is an attack, there is nothing we can do but prepare and wait.
"Let us make sure that all of our equipment is on board the ship," Kar Shel suggests. "We can also ensure that the ship is ready to go as soon as necessary. Jacob, you should remain near the gate. Call us the moment you are contacted. "
"Contact the SGC and put them on alert. Then you can go to the house, the alarm will inform you if there is any further contact. Please, feel free to avail yourself of refreshments," I add. "We shall go to brief the women."
At last, there is the possibility that we can take action. I feel most invigorated. Now, I have to hope that we hear of the location in time to do something about it.
"FUCK!" God, my head hurts. The images, they're... No, I can't think about them. What are they? Memories? No, they can't be. They don't make sense. I need to get out of here. I can't see. The only vision I have is filled with pictures of torture, death, destruction. The waterfall is running red as if it's full of blood. And those people... Were they people? The voices were strange, like I heard them underwater. I really need to get out of here.
I feel hands on my shoulders, pulling me close. Do I go? What if it's the enemy?
"GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!"
"Jack! Listen to me!"
"NO! You're... That thing!"
I feel a mouth on mine. That can only be Daniel. It's not that creature that kissed me last night, it feels so different. Loving. Okay, I can open my eyes... It's...
"Sorry, Jack, it was the only way to stop you screaming."
I look around and see that John's had the same idea with Daniel.
They break apart and Daniel suddenly seems as aware as me.
"Come on, back to dry land. Then you can tell us what the hell that was about."
I wade over to him and grab him, he pulls me close and we hold each other tightly.
"Fuck, Jack, that..."
"I know. Believe me, I know. Come on, John's right, let's get out of here. We need to make sense of it."
By the time we're out of the water, DJ's gotten a fire going and we sit right next to it. We're shaking hard, but not because we're cold. That scared the shit out of me, out of him, too.
"So, are you going to share?" John asks, handing my clothes to me.
I want to tell him to shut up, but know he needs to know. Besides, I've got to sort it out in my head.
"Images," Daniel suddenly says, pulling on his pants. "Horrible, dreadful images. Death, rape, torture... God, there was blood everywhere!"
He turns to look at me and I hug him close again. I can feel him shaking with fear against my body.
"It wasn't real," I assure him. "It couldn't be, could it?"
He nods his head.
"Naiads," he says, confusing the fuck out of me.
"Naiads," DJ speaks for him. "Freshwater nymphs. It would make sense if you really had come into contact with Pan or something similar last night. The two are often connected in myth."
"What the fuck has that to do with this?" I demand.
"Nymphs were supposed to be associated with prophesies."
Daniel looks shocked, then angry. "Mantis!" he yells.
I look around to see if there are any marauding insects but can't. "Daniel?"
"The Greek word for prophet. The two glyphs make sense, now. Man, from mehn, the Greek word for moon..."
"The circle," DJ says excitedly.
"Yes! And the semicolon. It makes so much more sense. It's a rebus."
"Daniel? What the fuck has punctuation got to do with it?"
"Oh, sorry. The Greeks wrote a question mark like a semicolon. The word 'tís;' means 'Who? What? Why?' - a questioning word, so to speak. So put the two together, you get 'mantis'. Prophet. Seer... There's someone here that knows what's going to happen!"
DJ nods and adds, "The naiads were supposed, in some myths, to be the protectors of the rivers of Hades. If you saw images, there's every possibility you were seeing some sort of prophesy, or future image, of something to do with Hades himself. What did you see exactly?"
Shit, that really takes the cake, doesn't it? Fucking Hades again.
"Thousands of Jaffa. It looked like they were attacking DC, but it really wasn't making a whole load of sense," Daniel offers. "The images flashed through my mind in split seconds. It was like watching a bunch of photographs being flicked, like one of those kids' animations you do at the corner of a series of pages, making it look like someone walking or something. But because the images weren't connected in content, it wasn't like seeing a cartoon.
"Just as my mind placed one image, there was another one of something completely different, in a totally different place. One image was of people in modern dress being forced to rebuild the Parthenon in Athens. Oh God, they were whipped, blood pouring down them..."
He stops talking and I hold him closer. I guess I should say what I saw.
"Glider battles," I say. "Coming out of hyperspace, launching a surprise attack on Earth's ships and winning. Other places, women and men being systematically raped and beaten. Some in modern Earth-type clothing, others in ancient dress. Some images were of sandy areas..."
"Abydos?" DJ asks suddenly.
"Couldn't tell you," I shrug. "Just that there was sand. Some were green places. Some seemed familiar though I couldn't place them at the time because it went so fast. The overwhelming sensation was one of pure evil. Believe me, if this was Hades and his Jaffa, don't feel sorry for any of them if we kill them. There didn't seem to be any redeeming features in them. The Jaffa..."
Shit, I feel sick as I remember it.
"They take pleasure in torture," Daniel murmurs. "Real pleasure. They hold no compassion, for their victims or even themselves. One image that stuck in my mind was of a Jaffa being injured. Instead of helping him out of the way, the nearest Jaffa to him stuck a knife in his throat and walked off."
"Nice," John spits. "We need to get home to tell the others about this."
"Yeah," I agree. I want to go home now.
"Not yet," Daniel says. "We need to talk to the naiad."
"What naiad?" John demands.
"I guess that's what I saw. You know when they do those computer generated images where there's a shape of a person, it moves, seems to speak and so on, but it's made up of what looks like water. That's what I saw. A humanoid shape rise up out of the water, holding its form but dripping everywhere. It didn't seem to lose any of its mass, either. It was weird. It spoke, but it wasn't easy to hear what she said."
"They're usually female," DJ replies. "And often vindictive if they fall in love with a human male who doesn't reciprocate."
"In which case, we're definitely getting out of here," I insist.
Daniel stands up and wanders back to the pool.
"Not now, Jack," he growls. "Come here!" he shouts to the water. "Show yourself! Elthé!"
Don't know what that meant but it seems to have worked. We see what he saw. I saw something similar, but there seemed to have been lots of them. Looks like he just saw the one. I have no idea. It's just as he described, though, just as I saw them. The water has risen and taken the shape of a human. It's making its way to Daniel and he's standing his ground.
"That far, no further," he orders when the creature from the deep gets close.
It stops and we watch in awe as it seems to change and become more recognisably human.
"Who are you?" Daniel demands.
"I am a naiad, as you suspected," comes the voice in return. "You speak the language of the old people?"
"Uh... oh, classical Greek. Yes. I do. You speak English?"
"Your mind is full of many languages, Daniel."
How does she know his name? Hang on, how does she know about his mind? That's my territory. To mark my territory, I move right next to him and take his hand in mine. There's going to be no unrequited love thing going on here. Not with my guy.
Somehow, I don't feel much better when she looks at me as if I'm something the cat dragged in.
"What happened to us?" he demands. "All of it."
"You saw," she replies. "You saw what was, what is, what shall be."
"What shall be?" he yelps. "You mean that's the future?"
"There were many possible futures," she says. "It depends on many things. Your actions. Your inaction. What could be, what will be."
"We need to stop it. Was it Hades?" he asks firmly.
The naiad says nothing for a moment as if it's thinking, then says, "It was one and all. The gods are not the same as they once were. Hades is but a name."
Great. It's like trying to get a straight answer out of Oma.
"So, you're saying that if we don't kill off all the Goa'uld we'll be left with a galaxy swimming in blood?" I ask.
"That is a possible future," she replies. "Evil left to grow unchecked will eventually consume all."
"We need to get going," I tell him. "Now. I've got a bad feeling about this."
"Me too," Daniel replies. "Before we go, those runes. Did you write them?"
The creature shakes her head. "That is the language of the others."
"Others? What others?"
"Those that are here."
"The thing that assaulted us last night?" I ask.
She looks at me and blinks, then shrugs.
"There are many here. Few are as they once were."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"Uh, Jack, I think they've evolved," Daniel states. "Perhaps like Thoth and Oma. They were once mortal creatures but then they became something else."
"So, that goat thing was able to become human?"
The naiad nods. "If that is what you met, then that is possible. It is at once one thing and everything."
"Pan," Daniel says. "Pan means 'all' or 'universe' in Greek."
"Yeah, well, I don't want to meet up with him again. Let's go, Daniel."
"Now. Don't argue."
He looks into my eyes and probably sees how stressed I'm feeling.
"Okay," he says softly. Then he turns to the creature and says, "We'd better go. Thank you."
Thank you? After what she just did?
Jack, she gave us a clue. And she didn't harm us.
Harm? Maybe not. But I am so not looking forward to tonight.
We're all gathered around the table. The guys are back, thank God. Without them, this place didn't feel right. We're a team of four; two teams of four. Take even one from the mix and we aren't able to function as easily. We don't settle.
They've told us about their encounter with the water nymph. I have a feeling that they're keeping something from us, but it's obviously something distressing. I'd like to know what it is, but I also know that sometimes, they prefer to keep the bad things to themselves.
All we can do now is wait for news. The SGC is on alert. We can't go to Abydos just in case Earth really is the target. After the guys' visions, it's a possibility. We need to stay here.
Daniel managed to contact Skarra, who happened - fortuitously - to be on duty in the pyramid. He's warned him that there is the possibility that the alarm might go off. If it's to happen, he's under strict instructions to contact us immediately, but also to hide everyone in the pyramid just in case there's an attack launched through the gate. They've been told to not engage the enemy but to hide. Do not resist. We'll come as soon as we can.
Daniel wants to drink some Scotch, but Jack is stopping him, telling him he needs to keep a clear head. His hands are shaking slightly and all Jack can do is hold him. He wants to go to Abydos to be with his people.
John's making him eat now. We've all been reluctant to eat, but we need to. Even Dad isn't particularly calm. There's nothing worse than waiting.
Do we go to bed? We've waited all day. All work has stopped, all talk has ceased. Both Daniel and Jack dozed for a little while, but they were on the sofa in the living room as if they couldn't leave us again. They have hardly let each other go in all the time that they've been home. They're really shaken up.
The alarm is sounding and we look at the receiver, our hearts beating hard. Who is it? Uh...