Summary: The guys are at it again. Something creepy is happening and it's a race against time to work things out. Thanks to Joy for the beta :-)
"Daniel? You ready to go?"
Wha...? Haven't woken up. What does he mean, 'ready to go'? Go where? Why?
"Aw, Daniel, I told you that you had to get up early today. C'mon, I've been up for ages. Hang on, I'll get you some coffee. Perhaps that will help."
He's known me how long? Perhaps?
Ah, the smell of caffeine and that lovely ground roast. I'm so glad that I was able to persuade Jack to put a single burner in the cabin for this purpose. That's it. Gimme Jack. No, don't mess me about. Just give it to me. NOW!
"Just remember, Daniel, you can give it up anytime you want."
"Love you too, oh light of my life."
"Where are we going?" Perhaps changing the subject will help.
"Told ya yesterday. We're taking the ship and going to explore the next island for a couple of days. Just you and me. C'mon, whatd'ya say? It will be good. Just think of the privacy."
"Jack. We live on a tropical island on an otherwise uninhabited planet. The only other people here are a Jaffa who couldn't care less what we're up to, and a scientist who loves to spend most of her life underground. When she's not under the Jaffa, that is. We're many light-years from the nearest inhabited planet and only a few people know the co-ordinates of this one. You don't get more private than that."
He lets out a sigh and that's making me feel bad for some reason. WHY? I have no idea. I must be insane.
"Okay, we'll go. But first, can we snuggle for a minute, huh? I feel in need of a hug."
I don't, but he looks like he could do with one. I put my coffee down and he's crawled into my arms. Aw, that's sweet. He's kissed my cheek and now he's resting his head on my chest, wrapping his arms around me. Hmm, love the gentle feel of his hot breath on my chest. There's a bit of me that loves it too - oh yeah. Wonder if he's factored in some nookie time before we leave?
"Jack? Jack? Jack!"
I don't believe it - the bastard's fallen asleep!
A last minute tinker with the ship and I can clear it for the boys to go and play. When I mentioned that a cloaked ship would help our covert insertions to Dad, he agreed readily and managed to get a Tok'ra to steal one. It wasn't cloaked then, of course. But it is now - yay!
It's not as big as a teltac, being about three quarters the size of one. It's got places for us to sleep and a 'cell'. It was apparently used to transport prisoners by some minor snake or other. It does have the enhanced hyperdrive engines, so we can go as fast as a mother ship. Dad figured that we should have the best tech if we're to do our job properly.
Jack's been itching to have a look at the next island, and as Daniel can pilot it, he figured that they could go on their own. Not a bad idea. It means Teal'c and I get some time to ourselves too. Our cabin is nearly finished - the roof is on, we're just putting up partition walls. At least we don't have to make two bedrooms as such, but Teal'c does need somewhere to meditate in peace every so often.
I can't believe how tender Teal'c is with me, and how gentle. I should get annoyed with him as he does tend to treat me as if I'm likely to break, but I'm not... going to break or getting annoyed. I've had to fight for so many years to be treated as a 'mind' it's rather nice to be treated as a woman. It's not as if he doesn't respect me or my abilities.
Oh, there they are. Finally. I thought they'd have wanted to get going ages ago. Daniel looks long-suffering, though I don't know why. He makes Jack suffer more than the other way around.
"Everything ready, Sam?"
"Sure is, Jack. You're good to go."
"Great. Thanks. We'll be back tomorrow evening most likely. I'll try out the comms when we get over there to make sure that they work at that distance."
I acknowledge them, notice that Daniel has packed his coffee pot and some grounds as he kisses my cheek and then boards the ship. The inaugural Jack/Daniel 'we want to be alone' flight is about to take off.
"They are ready?"
"Yes, Teal'c. There she goes."
"Good. I hope they enjoy themselves."
I turn and look at him and notice that he has a small smile for me. Hmm, seems I may well be enjoying myself too.
"Daniel, why don't you want to do this?"
He turns and looks at me as his fingers do their thing with the controls.
"I do, Jack. It's just you say things like that to me in the morning before I've had a chance to wake up. And then you fell asleep on me!"
"Yeah, sorry about that. Didn't mean to."
I'm getting old, that's what it is. It must be. I need more sleep in the daytime now, but not as much at night. It doesn't make sense. A couple more years with Daniel and I'll have his sleeping pattern. I wonder what his will be like when he gets older? If it's even more erratic than it is now I doubt he'll ever do more than catnap.
"We'll be there in a minute," he says, snapping me out of my reverie.
"Good. I'm looking forward to it. Who knows what we'll find there."
"More jungle by the look of it, but there is a clearing. I'll set us down there."
I look out of the window, view screen, whatever it is and see what he means. It's more of the same.
"Nice landing, Daniel."
He grins. "Better than the one over Siberia," he says. He's never let me forget that one.
"C'mon, let's see if there's anything interesting out there."
Ah, trees. Trees and more trees. Some chattering animals, chirruping insects and large tropical plants.
"Home from home," he says wryly.
"Do you want to go back?" I guess I'd better ask him.
"Nah. Tell you what, why don't we take the ship up?" he points to the sky. "Let's see this planet properly. Sam's installed all the scanning equipment that she got off Jacob. We can use it, have a look at what's really here. It won't take long."
Sounds like a plan. I call up Carter and Teal'c, relieved to say the comms work perfectly well at a distance of a few miles. We'll test them when we're in orbit too, see if they go that far. We know the Tok'ra have some comms that work at those distances, but we don't know about these ones.
"How long will it take to orbit the planet?" I ask him as we take off again.
"Don't know," he says. "I'm not a pilot or an astronaut, Jack, I'm an archaeologist."
Fair enough. It doesn't take us long and we're in orbit, looking down on Remoc. And it's a surprise. Daniel's saying that it's one big archipelago.
"It's strange, Jack, as if there were different continents but they disappeared under water."
"Could be. Wonder what caused it... and if it will happen again? I think we need to do some really detailed scans, Jack. I'll set the autopilot to do some orbits from different angles... there, that's that organised. The scanners are set now, they'll do their jobs. I think it's going to take a while."
"How much of a while?"
"A long while, Jack. Sorry."
"Ach, it's okay, Daniel. Like you say, if there's been some sort of disaster there before, it's possible it may happen again. It'll be a good idea to know as much as we can."
I call up the guys, gratified to know the comms are still working, and let them know what we're doing. Carter sounds a bit miffed that she's not here, but it's not as if she won't get the chance to. I'll tell Teal'c to bring her up here on her own one day.
"Daniel? What the fuck?"
"I've turned off the artificial gravity, Jack," he says with a grin as he floats towards me. "I've always wondered what it would be like to have sex in zero G - you game?"
Am I ever!
Samantha is not happy that she isn't in orbit with the men.
"Samantha, I can fly the ship there later for you if you wish to see our home from space. We can be totally alone up there if that would suit you."
She smiles at me, her eyes are lighting up her face like two sapphires glistening in the sun. Truly beautiful.
"That would be wonderful, Teal'c," she sighs. "In the meantime, we're alone on the planet. So, what do you think? Shall we make the most of the peace and quiet?"
"I think that would be a very good idea."
She takes me to the jungle, leading me by the hand.
"See that tree," she says. "I saw Jack tied to that tree and Daniel, well, he was on his knees." Her face has taken on what O'Neill calls her 'evil maniac look'.
"Do you wish to be tied to that same tree?" I ask her.
She's undoing her shirt slowly. "Go get the rope, babe."
I shall not be long.
Of all the good ideas I've had, this one ranks up with the best of them. Clothes are off, we're kissing and touching, floating around in the air. Wow, it's wonderful. My heart is pounding so hard my ears seem to be vibrating. Trouble is, it's hard to get any sort of purchase to, er, thrust. And if I do thrust, I'm likely to send Jack smashing into the wall. Not to mention fluid has different properties in zero-G. If anything spills... ooh, I have a good idea.
Oh GOD his mouth is everywhere! Okay, I'm fighting back. We're twisting and turning, unconstrained by beds or floors or anything. Hands and mouths are touching, stroking, kissing, licking anything we can touch.
"Daniel, this is too much. Not going to last, babe."
"Me either. Let go and stay put."
He does as he's told. I use him as a guide and spin myself around. I'm going down - or is that up? I have no idea which way is which at the moment and to be frank, it's not a problem. He's got the message. Sixty-nining it just seems appropriate. But this time, there's nothing to stop me wrapping both my arms around him and him doing the same to me.
He's teasing me with his tongue, suckling the head of my cock while his hands run up and down my thighs, inside, outside, oh GOD that feels good. I'm doing the same, taking him a little further with each tease. He's mirroring my actions and I feel his hot, wet mouth start to engulf me, just as I feel his long, hard dick slide over my tongue and towards my throat. He tastes so good, feels so good.
Fingers now, tickling my ass as mine play with his. I feel my hole twitching with anticipation, knowing that he's going to... ooh he's done it. One dry finger, inside, stroking me, twisting, turning, thrusting in time to the licks and sucks on my cock. I have to try to ignore it, to give to him what he's giving to me. Hmm, I think I've got him, I just spoiled his perfect rhythm.
He's taken me down so I take him as far as I can too. Just concentrating on making him come now, fingers of one hand stroking his legs and balls, fingers of the other hand in and around his ass - no 'my' ass, because I damned well own it. He's doing the same to mine, to 'his'. Heaven knows he owns my ass too. We own each other, possess each other - need each other and want each other. He's so good, too good. Oh fuck, I'm gonna...
We come hard, both of us trying to swallow quickly. Don't want to have to explain semen stains on the ceiling to the others.
"Fuck, Daniel," he gasps.
"You've recovered already?" I tease.
He sniggers. "C'mere. Jeez, Daniel, you're going to be the death of me."
I'm back in his arms, we're holding each other tightly, kissing and nuzzling, and generally being vomit-inducingly sappy.
"Did you like?"
"Like? I'm making this a regular thing, Daniel. Once a month, say, we don't want it to get boring. You and me, up here, exploring the solar system - and fucking in zero gravity. What do you think?"
"I think," I tell him as I trail kisses over his chest, stopping to suck and nip at his nipples. Back up now and next to his ear. "I think that that is a wonderful idea, Jack. I told you, you go, I'll follow. And I'll follow you anywhere, especially up here."
The guys have called, they're coming back down sometime soon. Pity. I have just had the most amazing sex I have ever had in my life. I was kinda hoping for a repeat performance at some point. Still, if the guys had fun, maybe they'll go away again. They've only been away about twelve hours, not staying overnight as they thought they would.
I'll get some food on. We're eating underground now, it would appear that autumn, winter or 'rainy season' or whatever it is on this planet, is setting in. It's cold in the evenings, not just chilly. Just as well I've got me a six-four teddy bear to snuggle with at night.
Teal'c caught some water fowl this morning, so roast 'duck' it is. We had a delivery of fresh vegetables from the Land of Light recently, so we get to eat well. They seem to like the fish we catch here in return. Jack made a large net and we use it to trawl from a boat he insisted on making.
Using the Tok'ra cutting tools, we hollowed out two large tree trunks, debarked them and shaped them, then attached them with a couple of poles, so it's like a catamaran canoe. We use it to fish from now, but when the weather warms up again, I can see us using it to play in the water.
The Tok'ra cooking facilities are like microwave ovens in a way, but they roast at the same time. One bird only takes about ten minutes till it's well done. I'm used to them now. I hated them at first, always overcooking stuff. The potatoes only take about four minutes - and these only need washing to make their skins fall off. Talk about convenience food.
Ah, here they are.
"Had a good time, guys?"
"Wonderful," Daniel replies with a wicked grin. "It's a beautiful planet, but strange," he adds, shaking himself as if coming out of a dream. What did they do up there?
"Strange? In what way, Daniel?" Teal'c's interest is piqued.
"The entire planet is made up of one ocean filled with lots and lots of islands. It made me think of Earth and what it would look like if the water level rose by, I don't know, a hundred or so feet. A fair amount of the planet would just disappear under water, but the higher grounds would look like islands. It made me think it's possible that at one time this planet was inhabited.
"I've done detailed scans, including the seabed. I haven't looked at the data yet; thought I'd do that with you, Sam. Maybe there's some hint as to what happened. Jack thought it may be global warming causing it. It's as good an idea as any. We need to know if it's stopped - or if it's a cycle."
"Even if it is on a cycle, Daniel, the chances are it won't affect us. Geological timescales are massive. Yesterday in geology is prehistory to humans, pre-human even."
"True, but geological eras have to start and finish somewhere. Also, there were a couple of groups of actively volcanic islands, we noticed. So far, they're like Hawaii and its islands, chugging out constant, but comparatively small amounts of lava. The problem would start if they suddenly erupted with massive force. Lava, of course, isn't the problem."
"It is not?" Teal'c is really interested now.
"No, it's the ash. That's the problem."
I dish out our food and we sit down. I notice that the guys are sitting without problems, so they didn't get too energetic up there.
"Look, back around 1,630 BCE, on the Mediterranean island of Santorini, a volcano erupted. The Minoan civilisation disappeared as a result of it. Modern study has shown that when it blew, it did so with a force never since seen. The entire island was devastated. Given that they think that between thirty and forty cubic kilometres of magma erupted, I'm sure you can guess what destruction that caused when it landed. Basically, a caldera was formed, the sea rushed in, and then the shit hit the fan."
"It hadn't already?" Jack asks - he's positively in raptures listening to Daniel.
"Not really, no. A massive tsunami was formed and it's more or less certain that it took out all of the coastal areas in Crete. That in itself was bad enough, but their civilisation survived for about fifty years, though no longer as the leading power in the area. What finished them as a power was the layer of ash over the eastern side of the island.
"Volcanic ash is actually made up of tiny slivers of glass. The crops were ruined, the animals starved to death, the water supply spoiled. And to cap it all, the ash is carcinogenic, so basically, if the starvation didn't get them, cancer did. To add insult to injury, we're pretty certain that the Mycenaeans came and burned down the remaining settlements."
"I suppose that the people on Santorini were wiped out," I put in.
"Ah," he grins.
"Ye-ah. They've never found any bodies in Akrotiri - a huge dig there that's been going on for decades. It would seem they upped and went before the volcano let loose."
"Daniel, don't hold out on us," Jack warns.
"Just a thought," Daniel says distractedly. "The Therans - the people of the island - were Minoan."
"And, so, but, therefore?"
"So are the people from the Land of Light."
"You think there's a connection?"
"It's a possibility. Wouldn't stake my life on it. Anyway, back to the point about the ash. Not only would a massive eruption like that cause localised chaos with agriculture, it could effect the entire planet. You have to understand that when the really big ones go, the ash gets high up into the atmosphere and stays there. It can literally cover the entire planet, blocking out the sun."
"That's what they think did the dinosaurs in," I say. "When the asteroid struck, it did it with such force as to throw huge quantities of dust into the upper atmosphere. Not to mention it was likely to have been the trigger event for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and so on. It apparently even caused them on the other side of the planet, opposite the strike, according to one source I read. Add it all together and it caused what we know as a nuclear winter."
"But life wasn't wiped out on Earth after the Santorini eruption," Jack puts in.
"Only locally. But it could have caused a couple of severe winters and cold summers in other parts of the world, maybe leading to crop failures and so on. Life would have been hard for a few years. Back in the late 18th Century, there was a mini-ice age. In Britain, the Thames at London froze so thick they were able to have fairs on it. It's thought that something similar, possibly an asteroid strike or massive eruption caused it."
"How will that effect us here?"
"I don't know, Jack. Global warming is usually caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It can and does happen naturally - hence the cycle of ice ages and temperate climates we have on Earth. A series of volcanic eruptions could possibly release enough gases to do it... I just don't know. I'm not a geologist."
He looks at me and I shrug. I'm an astrophysicist, for crying out loud.
"They think that the end of the last major ice age was the trigger for the flood stories, you know, Noah and Gilgamesh and all those. It's thought that the Black Sea and the Med were separated by a 'wall' which came crashing down when the ice flows suddenly melted. The water level of the Mediterranean rose till it was too much and then broke the rock away, pouring into the Black Sea and raising its level by a hell of a lot."
I must admit, my mouth is open wide. So is Teal'c's. So is Daniel's. I don't know why. We always knew Jack was smarter than he let on.
We've had a couple of days off, the kids have been orgasming over the scanning data. Teal'c and I have hardly seen them, just dragging them away from it to eat and sleep.
Any-hoo, 'tis time to go and pick up the mission briefing. We haven't had one in over a week, and both the big guy and I are getting antsy. The kids aren't, they wanted to stay and play with their findings.
Carter's designed a 3D image of the seabed and Daniel's convinced that at one time, there definitely were continents throughout the planet. One set of islands is completely barren on top, like the tops of mountains above the tree-line, all rock and no soil. Carter's image would seem to bear this out, the islands are like icebergs, with vastly greater quantities of land underneath the water than on top. What the significance of this is I do not know. Probably very little, but it makes them excited.
Crap. It's hot on this planet. I thought our jungles were hot and steamy, this place is like a sauna. Blink and you break out into a sweat.
"It's not there," Daniel calls as he looks in the drop point.
"Perhaps there is no mission for us," Teal'c says, rather unnecessarily.
Or perhaps there is. Shit.
"Hey, Lou. You're late."
"Hey Jack, you're early."
"Um, no, we're not. Look, we were told to be here after 18:00 hours. It's now 18:30."
"17:30, Jack. You forgot the date. Clocks went back."
I look at Carter, she's supposed to know that sort of thing.
"Oops," she shrugs.
"Ah well, damage is done. Have you got anything for us?"
I look at the kids, they're currently mugging the others for... what? Chocolate, snacks, spare coffee... of course.
"Here. How are you guys doing?" Lou asks as he laughs at Daniel chasing Daisy for her last chocolate bar.
"Fine, thanks. We've settled in, it's home now, I guess. We miss everyone back home though. Well, maybe not everyone. How's things with the NID and the less-than-friendly Pentagon these days?"
"Not much fun. The heart has gone from just about everyone there, Jack. There's no joy there. If it wasn't for the covert work, Hammond, the Doc, hell, me too, we'd all have gone. It's knowing that we're still making a difference by doing this that is keeping us at it. All the powers that be want is for us to find weapons and more weapons."
"Are you finding them?"
"Not as often as they want. I think I know what your mission is this time, by the way. SG-6 found something and the guys at the Pentagon are creaming themselves over it. Hammond's scared."
"That doesn't sound like him."
"No, it doesn't. But things aren't the same, Jack. I wish you guys were back home, fighting our corner."
"Lou, it's a choice between fighting the bad guys out here, or fighting them back home. I get more of a kick out of killing off the snakes than I do fighting our own. Besides, we can't go back now. We'd be shot on sight."
"Maybe one day, Jack."
"Hopefully. Got any spare C4 on you?"
"You need it?"
"Not really, but I will at some point. I've got a little stockpile. I need detonators too, had to use a lot on our last one out."
"Haven't got much, but you can have what we do have. I'll tell Hammond we had to use it to blow some rocks or something."
Laughter comes from the others, it would seem that they're catching up on gossip.
"Time to go, kids," I call out as Lou hands me all their C4.
We disappear into the trees as Lou dials up and SG-1 go home.
"Jack, are you okay?"
Daniel sounds concerned.
"Yeah. Let's get home, shall we?"
He looks at me, knowing where I'd really rather be going, nods, then he dials up and we go back to Remoc.
The mission envelope is large, there seems to be copious amounts of data. We sit at the communal table, they have coffee, I have fruit juice, and we read the brief.
"Oh boy," Daniel says. "I'm going to be very, very busy. Lou was right, Jack, they think that this is a weapon."
"It's hard to read upside down, Daniel, why don't you read it out to me."
"Forget your glasses?" Daniel teases.
"Cheek, I don't need them anymore, my eyes got fixed when my knees did," O'Neill replies.
"Shame. You looked really cute in them."
I tire of this. "Enough. Read out the briefing, please, Daniel. I have no desire to know how attractive you find O'Neill. I do not see it myself."
Daniel is now laughing out loud, smacking his head on the table for some reason. Samantha is also amused. O'Neill isn't.
"Yeah, yeah, very funny Teal'c. Yuck it up. Anyway, it's not for you to find me attractive, that's Daniel's territory. Got news for you, big guy, you don't do much for me either."
"I am relieved."
Daniel has finally regained his composure and he starts to tell us what's involved.
"Basically, it's my job," he says, not taking his eyes from the papers. "SG-6 found a planet with buildings, vehicles, roads... at a similar or slightly higher technical level than Earth. However, there were no people there. Not only that, no life whatsoever that wasn't plant life.
"The only thing they found that gave any indication that it may have something to do with the disappearance of the life was a machine. Or of course, it may not have. There's no sign of war or a struggle, so the Goa'uld don't look like suspects for once. There's no sign of any obvious natural disaster either. There are markings on the side of the machine that may or may not indicate what it is. There's not many of them, so cracking it will be difficult."
He has a large bunch of papers, ah, they are photographs. Digital images that have been printed so that they are large and clear.
"It would have been better if I could have gone here and looked at it in situ," he sighs.
"Why? You've got all you need. Hang on, what's on that CD?"
A small packet has just fallen out of the papers, it is, as O'Neill says, a CD.
"I'll get my laptop," Samantha says and she quickly goes to her lab. One of the rooms here in the tunnels is used by her for study, as is the one across the corridor for Daniel. That way, she says, they can work together and ignore each other just as easily.
She has arrived back and is now powering it up. I should like one of these for myself. Daniel has a very interesting game on his and I should like to be able to play it from time to time.
The CD is in.
"It's a CD ROM," she says. "Look, Daniel, it's the original digital film of the machine."
It is clear now why SG-6 did not take this back to the SGC with them. It is very large, too big to go through the gate. It makes me wonder what the Pentagon want with this.
Daniel studies it carefully, then nods sharply. "I really could do with going there, Jack," he insists.
"Daniel, try to study it as it is now, and if you really can't crack it, we'll go, okay?"
"Why are you so worried about going, Jack?"
"Simple, according to this bit of the briefing, Hammond is saying that the Pentagon are on a race to crack this code, so they may send teams there. They think this may be the ultimate weapon. George's worry is that it will be used indiscriminately, wiping out entire planets just to get to a single snake. The mood back there tells him that it may already be coming to that."
"Shit. So, if we can't figure it out before them?" Daniel asks.
"We blow it up."
"We'd have to be there for that, Jack."
"I know. I don't like this Daniel. Anyway, why don't you two go and look this over. Teal'c and I will go and catch dinner or something."
They leave us, taking Samantha's computer and all the papers.
"I don't like this Teal'c."
"You already said that."
"Yeah, well, I really don't like it. What if the Pentagon find out it is a planet-busting machine?"
"They will likely take it apart and retrieve it."
"We can't let that happen. There was a time when I wouldn't have thought twice about letting them have something like that, but not anymore. I can't do it."
"What made you change your mind?"
He looks at me and smiles. "I met Daniel."
I understand. There was a time when I too would have retrieved such a weapon without question. Then I met O'Neill and realised that I no longer had to do it. I will follow him till I die for that.
This is going to be a tough one. I don't recognise the patterns at all. Okay, that's not true, they look vaguely familiar, but I can't remember exactly where or when I've seen whatever it is they look like.
I'm guessing that the words on the side of the machine, weapon, whatever it is (and assuming they're words, of course), are one of two things. One - they're its name, simple as that. Two - it could be the instructions to make it work. Of course, it could be both, or it could be a mystical incantation to be uttered in the hope of making it work.
"Any clues?" Sam asks. Huh? I've only been at it for eight hours. She wants clues already?
"No, not really."
"Not really? That usually means you have something, Daniel."
"Ach, not really means not really, Sam."
"Anyway, it's dinner, Daniel. Jack has cooked it."
"Oh. What is it?"
"Chilli I think."
"Chilli? Where did he get the spices?"
"Tuplo. He's been 'trading' with Hammond on our behalf. He sends stuff to the SGC, George sends him Earth stuff, then we trade him for the fish, boar, whatever here. I thought you were there at that discussion."
"I probably was physically, but not necessarily in mind. Anyway, let's go eat. I could do with a break."
This chilli isn't bad. Jack's actually used some spice in it for a change. I compliment him on it and he looks at me as if I've grown another head.
"I can cook," he complains.
"I know. You just don't do it very often."
"That's because you do it better."
Ha! He just says that to get me to do the cooking.
We talk about the mission, the guys are bouncing ideas off me but nothing is sticking. It's just too damned vague.
We've been here for hours, I guess I should get back to work.
"Oh no, Daniel, it's late. C'mon, let's go to bed."
"Jack, Hammond needs me to get this done asap."
"Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. How long had the so-called experts been working on the stargate glyphs before you took over?"
"Um, two years."
"Not to mention all the work that was done before on it, right?"
"How long did it take you?"
"So, don't you think that you already have the advantage? That we have the advantage? You're on our side, not theirs. Therefore, we'll win the race to crack the code."
"Jack, just because I got lucky before doesn't mean I will this time. I don't have an airman sitting with a newspaper anywhere around. Unless you've got one stashed away somewhere?" He looks at me with exasperation and ignores my 'question'.
"Okay, let me put it like this. You've been working on it eight hours straight and have gotten nowhere. So you need to give it a rest. Not to mention that our little foray out to Swedish Saunaland has made us all a bit ripe. You need a shower, Daniel - so do I. I'm sure that Sam and Teal'c would put up with you showering down here, but as we have a perfectly functioning one up in our cabin near the bed where you will sleep, I think it makes more sense if you come with me."
"Jack, c'mon, let me work for a few more hours."
Fuck. When did he get the zat? Okay, okay, I'm coming.
"Night guys, see you in the morning."
"Yeah, night Daniel, Jack. Get some rest why don't you?"
"Only if you do, Carter," Jack grins.
Jack was right, we did need to have that shower. I'm feeling a load better for it.
"Jack, I would really like to go to that planet. How about we take the ship there? If we see that the Pentagon boys are there, we stay cloaked and keep an eye on them. Please, hun? Huh? For me?"
I'm turning the charm on, stroking his thigh and dropping kisses down his jaw.
"If we go, I'll pilot the ship again when we come back. We can go back up into space and see if we can't find some more interesting positions to play in."
He's weakening. I can tell. He's also hard as hell.
"I'm sure we can work out the best way to get off, maybe against the wall. My back pressed against it, my legs wrapped around your waist. You won't have to hold me up, Jack, you can use your hands any way you like, touch me anywhere you want. I won't weigh a thing. Just think, as you bury yourself in my body, you'll still be free to do whatever you want."
Definitely weakening - he just let out a quiet whimper. Maybe if I just climb over him like this, grab the lube and...tee hee, he gasped when I covered his dick in it. He's going to give me whatever I want in a moment, mainly because... I'm... going... to... sit... Yeah! That feels so good.
A cure-all, that's what it is. A delivery of Colonel Cock makes me feel so much better.
"C'mon, Jack, push up, that's it. Push babe, I want more of you, all of you. I can take everyone of those inches in. Ye-ah, oh that feels so good."
"Move, Daniel, you've got to move. Can't go on, can't hold out. You're so beautiful, babe, so fucking beautiful."
Let's forget why I'm sitting on his dick, shall we? In fact, let's just forget everything. This is so good.
"Touch me, Jack, please. I need to come."
He's got me, jerking me off while he thrusts up to meet me coming down. His face is base, animalistic. I can feel mine reddening with sweat. Our bodies are glistening with the strain of holding back as best we can. Can't go on, I have GOT to come. Like NOW!
Ew, I need another shower. That is the one big downside to sex. It's messy. There are times that I love the mess, enjoy getting sticky and sweaty and generally awful. But there are other times, especially when I've just got clean, that it annoys the crap out of me.
Hey ho - back to the shower.
"We can go tomorrow."
"Thanks, babe. Love you."
"You're a manipulative, scheming bastard. Love you too, by the way."
Yeah, still got it.
Daniel must have worked hard on Jack because we're currently leaving orbit in the ship.
"We have got to name this ship," I say. Can't keep calling it, 'the ship', it's daft.
"Any ideas, Sam?" Daniel asks.
"No, not really. I just want a name for her."
"Mia," Jack says with a shrug. "As in Farrow."
"Why?" Teal'c asks.
Jack looks at him as if he's gone mad. "Simple. What is the team's new designation?"
"M.I.A." we chorus. Doh! Of course. Mia. Makes sense. So, Mia she is.
I saw what Daniel meant about the planet looking a touch odd. I'm as convinced as him that some natural disaster took over the place. I still want to know what it was. We haven't finished the seabed map yet. It's going to take a lot of work. We've only done the bit in our region. It just doesn't look right. I wish I'd done some geology at college. I'll have to get the General to send some books on it through with Dad at some point.
Teal'c's flying Mia, Jack's looking out into space, and Daniel's headed off with a notepad.
"Carter, go and check on Daniel, will you?" Jack asks. "I'm afraid he's going to push himself too damned hard again."
"You weren't there at the beginning. He nearly killed himself, lived on coffee and doughnuts for two weeks. Would have done a lot longer if he hadn't cracked it."
"Gotcha. I'll just go and check on him then."
I find him in the cargo hold or whatever it was, sitting propped up against the wall, head down and staring at the page in front of him.
"So," I announce as I walk in. "What did you two get up to when you came up here then?"
He looks at me, his eyes narrowed, twinkling with mischief. I get the feeling that I may regret asking that.
"We came, we scanned... we had sex," he replies with a grin.
"In zero gravity."
Okay, that wasn't predictable.
"I want details- spill!"
"Well, we didn't."
"Spill," he sniggers.
"Daniel?" What does he mean? Oh. OH! So if neither of them 'spilled' and they had sex that means they either took it in turns or...
"One at a time or both at the same time?"
"Both at the same time - almost simultaneously," comes the smug reply.
"Damn." I'm impressed. "I've never managed that."
"What, 69 or simultaneous orgasms?"
He bursts out laughing and pulls me close.
"Get Teal'c to bring you up here and switch off the artificial gravity, Sam. It really will blow your mind!"
We're down, landed near the gate, which is, thank heavens, near the structure that the machine is just outside of. No sign of the opposition, yet. I'm not going to be complacent though. Teal'c and I are on high alert while the kids do their thing. Carter put an early-warning device by the gate, so we'll get a shout if someone comes through. But we can't guarantee that they're not already here.
"O'Neill, come and look."
Only here a couple of hours and Teal'c's found something. Oh! It's a room. How interesting. How rare. How in hell's name did that get in there?
There's a huge pillar in the middle of the room, but it is way too big to have come in through the door. Perhaps they built the room around it or something.
There's writing on it. Better get the expert.
"Daniel, come here. Teal'c's found more writing for you."
There, I knew that would get him in here quicker than a pot of his favourite ground roast. We've got Tuplo trading for the weirdest things, but he and his people have developed a real taste for our fish and game. They don't have anything like them on their planet. So, for every batch of fish and game, we get roasted coffee beans, the bread, cheese, wine and veg from the Land of Light (and very nice it is too), medical supplies, sunblock, toilet rolls and, er, lube. At least Jan hasn't got to account for any of it anymore.
Hammond made this official, sending SG-9 out there on a trading mission. The SGC gets naquada - some was found in the hills a good few miles from their settlement. There had to be a reason for the people to be taken there, we supposed. They'd forgotten about them because they'd been abandoned by their 'god' many centuries before and so hadn't worked the mines. So, the Pentagon is happy, Tuplo is happy - he gets medical supplies and some items that he can't get elsewhere and has taken a shine to - like boot polish. Apparently, the USAF issue boot polish is perfect for a type of leather they have there. They can't make one as good.
I guess that when you want something, it's valuable; when you don't want something, like the stupid old naquada, it's worthless. A fair trade then. We're not asking them to mine it either, our people are doing that themselves. It's why only Teal'c goes there. The Pentagon knows that Rya'c lives there, and they're assuming that Teal'c is with Bratac. They still don't know where we are, we hope.
Ah, Daniel's now hopping around the room and looking like he wants to kick himself.
"OF COURSE! Dammit. I knew I'd seen this somewhere before. It's like the Mayan glyphs, Jack. What's here isn't the full glyph, but a partial one. I should have seen it."
"You should have seen something that a) you have admitted in the past is not your area of expertise, b) you only saw a few small examples of and c) is only partial. Oh yes, you should have seen that, Daniel. Shame on you."
He gives me his patented 'Jack, don't be an ass' look, then shrugs. To him, he should have spotted something so damned simple. To the rest of us mere mortals, it still only looks like scratches.
He's got out a pen and paper and he's drawn a glyph. I know it's a glyph. You don't hook up with an archaeolinguist for a couple of years and not recognise a glyph when you see one.
"If I were designing a writing system, I may want to make it pictorial - making it easy for people to understand. So, if I wanted to describe 'rain', I'd do it like this. But, there's a lot of work going into writing just the one word, so I may want to cut it down, to write it in 'shorthand' so to speak. For that, I'd only want the basic information. So, I'd ignore the surrounding box and make it simpler. So, like this..."
He's scribbling down something else... ah, I see it.
"You see? It's only a partial glyph but it gives me the same information. But, after a while, the dotted line may become 'blurred' and you end up with..."
"Yeah, I get it. I see why it's not easy to pick it out, too. Give yourself a break, Daniel. At least it's dawned on you. You can crack it, now that you know what glyphs you're dealing with."
"Yes," he sighs. "Trouble is, Mayan glyphs were incredibly detailed. It hasn't been deciphered as a language yet either - some of it has, but comparatively few glyphs are known. And, as you say, it's not my area of expertise. If it were Egyptian hieroglyphs, I'd stand a chance. But I really don't think I will with this one. On the upside, it will keep the Pentagon busy for years. Even when it dawns on them what language it is, it will take cracking the whole of it on Earth before they start on these."
"You're not going to try?"
He looks at me and wrinkles his nose. "I didn't say that, Jack."
This machine is incredible, amazing, humongous... and I haven't got a clue what it does. Don't know why but I don't get the feeling that it's a weapon. I think it's something much, much... more than that.
I keep feeling like I'm being watched, turning around as I feel it, but there's no one there.
"Samantha, I am here."
"Do you get the sensation that you're being watched?"
"I am unsure. There are times when I am certain that I am not alone, but when I look around, there is no one there. I will ask the others if they feel the same."
When was the last time I felt like this? I can't remember, but it was significant. Come ON brain. Work it out.
"I have spoken to them. O'Neill does not feel it, but Daniel has admitted to feeling 'jittery' since he got here. He put it down to the excitement of the mission."
"Thanks Teal'c. Have you found anything else that may help explain this?"
"Not yet. I shall go and remove O'Neill from Daniel's presence. I feel it may aid Daniel's concentration if he is not there. We shall look around."
Now, all I need is a good idea of my own.
There are the glyphs on the side of the machine but they may as well be grains of sand for all the use they are to me. I hope that Daniel comes up with something. There are also some things that look like buttons, a switch and what looks like a power source. It's crystalline and not naquada. I daren't touch a thing. Whatever wiped out the life on the planet may decide to wake up for another go. The more I'm here though, the more I'm convinced that this machine, whatever it is, had something to do with it. Just what that something was though, I do not know.
I've been here for hours and made exactly no progress. Okay, that's not true. It doesn't move and I'm sure it has nothing to do with harvesting, medicinal purposes or distilling liquor. After that, it's anyone's guess.
A cry has gone up from Jack. Quite unnecessary, he could have used the comms. Must be excited.
I meet Daniel coming out of the room where he's been all this time.
"None whatsoever. Still, I could do with a break."
"Yeah, me too. I'm stumped, Daniel."
"You and me both, babe. Ah, there he is."
"Daniel, you gotta come and see this!"
"It's not like Jack to get excited about something," he says wryly. We head in there as quickly as we can.
"OH WOW!" Daniel's virtually orgasmic over the sight before him. Everything from scrolls to books to what look like data pads.
"Don't touch the books or scrolls," he shouts as Jack heads to them. "Sam, have a look at the data pads, please. See if you can work out how to switch them on."
"Why can't I touch the scrolls?" Jack whines.
"Because they're obviously very old, Jack and they may fall apart. Let me handle this side of things, will you?"
Jack reluctantly backs off, goes and gets Daniel's pack for him and returns quietly to his side. I see Daniel turn and smile at him, thanking him for his consideration. Aw, Jack's gone all shy, dropping his head and smiling back.
Daniel's put his gloves on and he's pulling out a book.
"Why that one, Daniel?" I ask.
"I think it's the most modern," he says. "Look, they started filing the scrolls on the left, the data pads or whatever they are, are on the right. It would seem that they're filed chronologically. The newest book stands the least likelihood of falling apart. I don't want to damage anything here."
I've hit some buttons and hit pay dirt. There are blueprints on this one.
"Teal'c, hit the buttons on the pads, press the one on the top first. It's the power button. Tell me what you see."
"I see what appears to be blueprints."
"Yeah, me too, and on this one... and this one. Daniel? What's in your book?"
"This looks like the description to an invention - it's got as many pictures as glyphs. Oh my God, I know what this place is!"
"A library?" Jack asks.
"Of a sort, but for the local equivalent of the Patent Office."
"All the inventions are here, guys," I call out.
"Good," Jack calls back. "Look for the one for the machine, will ya? It's bound to be one of the most recent ones. Sorry, Daniel, you'll have to put those books back. If we have the time, you can come and look again."
"Jack, if we can't find the blueprints and figure out the machine that way, I'll have to go through this lot from start to finish somehow."
"To chart the progress of the glyphs, work out where they started from so to speak."
"Then you have to figure out what they mean?"
"With the pictures, that should be a lot easier. I stand a much better chance of cracking Mayan hieroglyphs than anyone ever has. Pity I can't tell anyone about it."
Jack puts his hand on Daniel's shoulder in sympathy. It was okay for me back at the SGC. If I could prove things mathematically, I could prove it to the outside world. Daniel needs to show where he got his ideas from and what sources he had. He couldn't do that. And the worst of it? He's discovered more than I have.
We've been here for hours, searching through all the blueprints. They must have started this collection as soon as they got to this planet. I tentatively touched one of the scrolls and found that they weren't paper, but parchment of some sort, treated with an oil, I think, to keep it supple. It's a fantastic breakthrough. I have seen that the original writing was indeed the same as the Mayan hieroglyphs back on Earth, so that's confirmed my theory.
Unfortunately, if the Pentagon guys come here too, they'll know the same as me. I'll have a little head start but that's all. It's up to the guys to find the right blueprint for the machine outside. If they can get that, we're way ahead of the game. It's a bit of a race. In the meantime, I've been charting the progress of the writing and it has indeed simplified over the years to cursive form. That's going to make it tough to crack, but I'll have a go.
I've filmed the prints from about twenty scrolls from the earliest to the latest. Now I'm going to chance an early book. If they've been that careful with the parchment, there's a good chance that the books will have survived. Carefully does it... yeah, it opens and hasn't fallen apart. The spine is cracking though so I'm going to do this as quickly as I can. I'll take a random selection from the books too. Then there's the data pads.
"I hope you're filing those back in the right places, guys," I call out as I see them merrily going through the pads.
"Who's gonna know?" Jack asks.
"Jack, please, just put them back where you found them. Maybe the people that lived here will come back one day. They won't be best pleased if they find their library all messed up."
"I wish we could find some sort of index," Sam sighs.
"You're right, Sam. There should be something. Trouble is, we wouldn't be able to read it if we found it."
I'm hungry, we've been here for absolutely ages, the sun is setting and I haven't eaten since breakfast.
"Jack? Can we eat?"
"Amazing! Daniel notices his stomach while he's busy. That's got to be a first."
"Okay, okay. I'll go back to Mia and get something. No point in asking you guys if you want to leave this place, is there?"
"Not really, no."
He's only been gone a couple of minutes and Sam's jumping up and down.
"I think I've got it!"
Teal'c and I are at her side in seconds. By Jove, I think she's really got it!
"Look, that's the casing, that's the button I saw... this is it guys!"
I call Jack and tell him the good news.
"Great! Well done Carter."
"Jack? You're sounding distracted."
"The gate is starting to light up. Better get out of there and to the ship, guys. And NOW!"
Fuck! Let's move. We grab our things and try to make the room look like we haven't been here. Then we sneak out towards Mia - which has gone?
"Jack?" I whisper on the comm.
"I've cloaked her. We were right, Daniel, the Pentagon boys are here. I'm watching from the view screen. Where are you?"
"Hiding in the trees. We'll let them go then come to the ship."
"Okay. Keep your heads down. You can't be seen."
Yeah, we know that. I recognise one of the men in the team. He's not SGC, but he is a linguist. Not a very inspired one at the best of times. He was in the audience of the lecture back in DC that time. Trouble is, he is a Mayan specialist. How did they figure that out? Maybe they struck lucky.
Anyway. He's got about as much imagination as a doormat, so I'm hoping that we'll win this one. Not to mention we have the blueprint. It's getting dark now, my stomach is rumbling. I'm watching them as they look at the machine. Good, none of them are looking at the surrounding buildings. Fingers crossed, they won't.
Finally, we're at the ship.
Well, we needed a password that meant something to us all and nothing to anyone who doesn't know us, and we couldn't think of a more meaningful word than that.
We're on board. Teal'c has moved the viewer, camera, whatever it is so we can watch what they're up to. Setting up camp, that's what. Looks like they're in for the long haul.
"So, do we stay here or go back to Remoc?" Sam asks.
"If we stay here, there is always the possibility of discovery," Teal'c points out.
"In a cloaked ship?"
"We are in the vicinity, they may stumble upon us."
"But if we take off they'll notice the noise." Sam's got a good point too.
"Yeah, but they won't know what caused it," Jack replies with a grin as he hands me some food - yay! "Just think, we could scare the shit out of them."
"They'll think the place is haunted," I add, liking where Jack is going with this.
"I thought that," Sam says. "If they get the same spooky feelings that we got and then hear a strange noise, it will really frighten them. Let's wait till it's really dark!"
"I had no idea you were so nasty, Sam."
"You have no idea, Daniel. I used to hide out and frighten Mark all the time when we were kids."
"Why doesn't that surprise me?" Jack sniggers.
Sam says nothing, but I think that at some point soon she's going to frighten the life out of him. Jack's looking a touch worried now. I think he's worked that one out himself.
"It's midnight or thereabouts," Jack says as he nuzzles up into my neck, sitting behind me on the floor, his legs and arms wrapped around me. I like this!
"Yeah?" Well, I am tired.
"Yeah. Time for take-off?"
"Sounds good. I want to go home."
"Yeah. I want my bed."
"To sleep, Jack. I'm tired."
"I knew that."
Right. Anyway, I get up and go to the console. Jack's watching the camp at the machine as I start her up.
"HA! Look! Teal'c, Sam, come here!"
We look out of the screen and see the expedition force running around, looking for the noise. Some of them are looking at the machine, some are pointing towards the gate. They look shit scared. To quote an email phrase, we're ROTFLOAO (ours, not mine). Here's hoping they won't be here when we come back.
It has only taken us five hours to reach Remoc. The Mayan planet is one of our nearest neighbours. Daniel is extremely tired, but he would not relinquish the controls. He said he was thinking while flying, that sometimes while he did two things at the same time it helped him find answers. It would not have appeared to have worked this time.
"Time to land, Teal'c. Go and wake Sam and Jack, would you?"
I go to the sleeping area. We have mattresses on the floor in there. O'Neill says that we should make proper beds for comfort's sake. I believe he feels that he is getting old. I am amused. Samantha and O'Neill were lying on the mattresses next to each other. They are now wrapped up in each other's arms. It would seem that they have found each other in their sleep. O'Neill does not like sleeping on his own, he admitted. I am assuming that the same is now for my Samantha.
I was extremely pleased to find she felt the same about me as I felt about her. Ours is an interesting relationship. I have had to reconsider my position about the treatment of a wife. For that is what she is, if not legally, then by custom.
I am not her master as I was for Draya'uc. It surprised me to find that it did not matter. I have come to accept the Tauri notion of partnership and equality. I have always had the greatest respect for her and her abilities, so I believe that helps. I loved, no, I still love Draya'uc and I always will. O'Neill says that he feels the same for his wife, Sara. They are the mothers to our sons and for that they will always be revered.
But Samantha is different. A good different, I think.
"O'Neill, Samantha, it is time to wake."
They open their eyes then jump up, looking embarrassed by the position I found them in.
"Sorry, Sam," O'Neill mutters, "and, er, sorry Teal'c. I didn't mean anything by this... not that I don't think that Sam is a wonderful woman and all but..."
O'Neill is digging himself into a hole, I believe.
"Teal'c, help me up, will you?"
I put my hand out to her and lift her. Her eyes are bleary so I pull her into my arms and then lift her.
"Quiet woman," I tell her. "I shall take you to our cabin."
Her mouth opens, then shuts, then opens again. She looks into my eyes and then grins. She knows that I am teasing her. I would never speak to her the way I spoke to my wife. She would kill me for it.
I don't know how Teal'c got away with that one, but he did. If I'd said it to her she'd have handed me my balls on a plate. Hey ho, not my problem. She'll make him pay one way or another.
"Daniel? You coming?"
"Jack, I just want to go to sleep."
Sheesh. Sex on the brain, that boy.
"That's what I meant."
"Oh. Well, yes then."
I steer him out of the ship and take him to our cabin. He hasn't even gotten undressed, he's just crashed face down onto the bed. Typical. I take off his shoes, socks and pants. He can sleep in his boxers and T, I think. Time for bed.
He's poring over his books again. Jacob has been bringing more and more out here with every visit. He must have at least fifty by now and most of them are on the table.
He's muttering threats alternately to my life and my manhood. Ouch. That sounds painful. He'd better not do that! My scrotum is currently residing behind my rib cage for its protection. Still, he's following me, so that's good.
I daren't ask him how it's going. I don't think I'd survive the tirade. He's not paying any attention to his meal or to me. Three days we've been back. He's worried sick that he's missing something. I'm worried sick that he's going to make himself ill. Teal'c and Sam have gone back to the planet to check up on the progress of the Pentagon staff. We got a message back that they're still there.
Perhaps I should try to take his mind off things. His plate is empty - and so are his eyes. He really needs to have his mind removed from this problem.
"Daniel? Come on, you're coming with me."
"Jack, I have to get back to work."
"No, you don't. You can take a few minutes off to get some fresh air. That's an order."
"Jack. You are no longer a colonel and I was never military. You can't order me about."
"True. But I thought you guys had decided that I would still be the team leader."
"So, this is your team leader speaking. You need to do this, Daniel."
"Since when do I listen to him?"
"Never," I sigh. "How about your partner then? The one that's worried about you? Please, Daniel. For me."
He hates it when I resort to emotional blackmail. I hate it when I have to. But I'm sneaky and prepared to do whatever it takes to protect him.
He's coming with, but his body language is shutting down. I know what it is, he's going over the glyphs in his mind. One of the downsides to having a photographic memory is that forgetting is hard. So, it's up to me to make him think of something else.
"Jack? Where are we going?"
"I thought you wanted me to get some fresh air."
"You shall; between the rings and the cabin and then back again."
"Why are we going to the cabin?"
"Wait and see."
He's growling now. That is such a fuckin' turn on. Brings out the alpha in me. Hmm, an idea strikes.
We're at the door, I push him in and slam it behind us.
"Stand still," I order.
He's frozen to the spot. I see a shiver run across his shoulders. I'll bet anything that he's as hard as nails already.
I move behind him and grab him by the shoulders, then turn him to face the door.
"Hands on the door, Daniel."
I see him swallow hard as he puts his hands on the door in front of him.
I go and get the lube, gratified to see he's still in the same position when I return. Without a word I kick his legs apart, then reach around and unbutton his flies, deliberately running my fingers over the fabric covering his dick. Yep, I was right. Could knock nails in with that cock.
He knows what's going to happen. I'm going to fuck him. I'm not going to make love to him, I'm going to take him, mark him, make sure he remembers that I own his beautiful ass. He could stop me any second and he knows it. One word, one look, that's all it takes. But he wants this too, knows just how much he needs it. His pants are undone, his black briefs the only thing stopping me reaching my goal. I show him what else I brought to the door. My knife.
He gasps, then lets out a low, hungry moan. He knows what I'm going to do.
I slide the knife gently down his back, then back up again. He feels the blade as it comes over the top of his T and to the neck. It's a testament to how much he loves and trusts me. He knows I could kill... I have killed like this. He also knows that I'll do everything in my power to avoid putting so much as a scratch on him with this sharp, shiny metal. I slide the blade inside his shirt and then pull, tearing the fabric away and ripping it down his back.
He's panting, I notice his dick is dripping from the excitement. Oh no, my friend, not yet. I put the blade inside his briefs, carefully touching his skin in-between his butt cheeks, running it down the crack. It must feel to him that I'm going to slip it inside him. I'm not, of course I'm not. He's absolutely rigid, knows he can't move a millimetre. I repeat my actions and rip down the back of his briefs, leaving them on but giving me access to my final goal.
I throw the knife away, it's his cue to move. He thrusts his ass back towards me, groaning loudly when he hears my zip yanked down. I lube myself, place a little at his entrance, line myself up and push.
He's relaxed quickly, letting me slide home with a minimum of fuss. And I am home. We're the only two people on this planet. We may as well be the only two people in the universe. I have a galaxy to explore, but the only exploration that I want to do is inside his ass.
He pushes back as I push in, getting me as deep as I can go.
"C'mon, Jack. More, babe. You know I can take it. Do it, babe, fuck me please. Please babe, loveyou-wantyou-fuckmenow!"
Over and over he repeats it, I don't think he knows what he's really saying. Begging me to just make him mine. I bite his neck, sucking hard, letting him know he's going to be marked. He calls out, "Yes, yes, more, please. God, Jack, I fucking love you!" I tell him that I love him too, that's he's mine, that nobody will ever take him from me. Can't talk now, working hard, thrusting harder, faster, giving him everything that I've got.
He's coming, splattering over the door, hammering on it as he screams my name, taking me with him as I pump my semen up his ass.
I collapse on his back, kissing his neck. I tell him how much I love him.
He turns his head to kiss me and I see unshed tears in his eyes.
"I love you," he whispers.
Now I want to cry.
I wonder how Jack's managing with Daniel? If I know them, Jack's nagging, Daniel's threatening, Jack's cajoling and then Daniel's manhandling Jack out of his study area. Teal'c and I have been holed up here for thirty-six hours, watching and waiting. We 'parked' a little further away from the camp this time, then Teal'c snuck out and stuck a VCD where it could watch what was going on. We've been charting their progress. And, um, having a little fun.
Last night, while they were sleeping, leaving only a couple of soldiers on watch, we crept out of the ship and set up a few surprises for them. When we got back, we watched the fun and games as we set off the detonators. They're only small charges, no more than a pop. We didn't want to blow anything up at all. But a branch that Teal'c had noticed was very weak came crashing down, waking everyone up.
When they'd settled down and gone back to sleep, we set off another one. This caused a wooden door on one of the side buildings to come crashing off its loosened (by us) hinges. By the time Teal'c dressed in black and sneaked out, quickly slamming co-ordinates into the DHD before running off into the trees, they'd been woken up yet again and were absolutely frantic.
It's getting dark again now. We can hear them debating whether to go back to Earth until morning. The scientists see no problems with it, but the soldiers are too embarrassed. If they don't, we'll have some more fun at their expense.
I'd always been a witch when I went trick or treating when I was a kid. I reckon I should have been a ghost.
"Would a gremlin not have been more appropriate, Samantha?"
Yeah. That would have been just perfect.
They're still awake as we sneak out for this one. They always say there's no smoke without fire. Not so. There's a tree here with a big hollow in it. A smoke canister set off inside it, especially in the evening light, will do just nicely. The hollow's too deep for arms to find the canister later too. I can set this off by remote. Along with the one in the second canister that Teal'c's hiding in another tree and a third that I have just put down a rabbit (or equivalent) hole.
This is great! They haven't seen us - we're good at this infiltration stuff, Jack's been teaching us at home in the jungle and even on the beach. Daniel's brilliant at sneaking around, beats us with every game we play. Says it's because he was used to keeping quiet as a kid. Yes, back on board, they're sitting down to their evening meal, the sun's just going so we press the button... right... about... now. Damn, they're predictable.
"We should really return to Remoc," he tells me.
He's right, we should. They're not making any progress. We'll wait till they're asleep though and leave the VCD there to hear them.
Time to go. It's the same time we left before. They're asleep. We haven't done a thing. Yet. Teal'c's starting the engines and I'm watching and listening as they all wake up again, some let out frightened yells and they start looking around. The soldiers look like they want to shoot something.
Right, that's it, I'm going back! There's nothing more I can learn here anyway!
That's the voice of the one that Daniel told me was at his lecture. Bastard. I'm so not sorry to have upset him.
By the time we get into orbit and the transmission starts to fade, we see that they're on their way home. Good riddance is what I say.
We're back. There's no sign of the guys, but that's to be expected. It is late, even here, not as late as it was on the Mayan planet but probably around two in the morning - I lose track. But Jack will not be best pleased if we don't report in.
"Jack? Jack, we're back."
"We're back Jack."
"Operation Hocus Pocus was a success. They left with their tails between their legs."
"Mmrrmf. G'd. W'll d'n."
"Yeah. Night Jack."
I think Daniel's worn him out.
The guys enjoyed telling us the mischief they'd got up to. I'd loved to have seen that. Oh! I can! Aw, Sam's recorded it all for me. I'm so going to enjoy watching that miserable bastard suffer. Never knew I was so horrid. Still, no real harm done and hopefully it will give George a damned good laugh. He could do with one.
I don't have enough books. Jack will dispute this, but it's true. I can't ever have enough books, on the grounds that that one piece of information I'm looking for will undoubtedly be in one I haven't got.
There's something vaguely familiar about two of the glyphs that appear in the title (we assume) of the blueprints and the side of the machine. I think they're going to be the key to it all. One of them looks like pi with a line under it and three feet, the other, looks like a winking eye next to a round nose, also on three feet. It's weird.
But even though they're only partial and nowhere near the full glyph, they're familiar. Why? I don't really know that many. Only the months and so on. Some of the months have three 'feet' under them, but I can't place this description. Dammit, where is that book? Perhaps it isn't here?
"Hel-lo, Daniel. Answer me something. Do you know what day it is? It's your day off, that's what day it is."
"Um. Jack, I'm trying to find a book here. If you're not going to help, go and bug Sam or Teal'c, please."
He sighs. Oh crap, I didn't mean to hurt his feelings.
"What book?" he asks quietly.
I tell him, it's a treatise on the works in progress regarding the deciphering of many of the lost languages. He starts to move my books around as he looks.
"Lookie here," he says, calling out the languages they deal with as he piles them up. "Latin, classical Greek, Akkadian, Etruscan, cuneiform, hieroglyphs, demotic script, Meroitic, Zapotec... It's like the Tower of Babel, Daniel."
Tower of Babel. I'll give him the fucking Tower of Babel. Tower of Babel? Oh... my... God! I've been working on this for days, he comes in and says two things that solve the fucking puzzle! I don't know whether to kill him or kiss him.
"Cimi and Ben!"
"Cimi and Ben! The glyphs! That's what they are! Thank you."
I'm not going to kill him, it's too messy. Still, he's not putting up a fight while I trawl for his tonsils.
We break away, panting hard. That's not the only thing, but I can't go there now.
"Much as I love having the shit kissed out of me, Daniel, would you mind explaining what the fuck you're talking about?"
"Of course. Get the guys to meet us in the kitchen."
He calls them up and helps me start the coffee.
"You've cracked it?" Sam asks breathlessly as she runs into the kitchen.
"Yeah, I think so. Hear me out and tell me what you think."
Teal'c appears, Jack's hovering, waiting for the coffee to brew. I'll start though, this is going to require a leap of faith on their parts so it will take some explaining.
I watch as Daniel gathers his thoughts and then he lifts his head up and starts to tell us what is in his mind. It is fascinating.
"Jack said something that triggered my realisation about the nature of the machine," he starts. "Sam, do you remember the story of the Tower of Babel?"
"Sure. The people all spoke one language, they wanted to see God without having to die first, so they decided to build a tower up into Heaven. God wasn't happy with this, so he cursed them all to speak different languages and they found they couldn't understand each other anymore, so the tower was abandoned."
"Exactly!" Daniel says, his eyes lighting up. "Now, remember just who the gods are to these people."
"The giant white aliens?" O'Neill asks quietly.
"Precisely. Now, remember how you get to meet them?"
"Via the crystal skull. We know this. Get on with it, Daniel."
I fear that O'Neill is not happy with the mention of this time in our past. Daniel, however, is ignoring his frustration.
"Um, Daniel?" Sam puts in. "Quetzalcoatl was an Aztec god."
"Of course he was. Look, a lot of the gods appeared in neighbouring mythologies under different names, but were the same one. Hathor, for example, has been identified with Ishtar, Astarte and God only knows how many other fertility goddesses.
"It therefore stands to reason that Quetzalcoatl, one of the many creator gods for the Aztecs could be identified by the Mayans or the Zapotecs or any of the peoples there - and there are numerous tribes and races native to the continent - as one of their many creator gods. Or maybe, in his manifestation as the god of the wind, he was the same as Chaob to the Mayans - their wind god.
"We have no evidence that the Goa'uld had any real influence in South America. Only Hathor turning up in Mexico. That's a one-off - and I'm inclined to believe she was imprisoned there by one of these aliens. You see what I'm saying?"
"Not really, no," O'Neill says.
Daniel sighs and drinks the coffee he has been given, then he tries again.
"Okay, this is going to take you guys having some faith in me and my theories."
"We can do that for you," O'Neill tells him, getting a very warm smile in reply.
"Right then. Assume for the moment, that the gods of the Mayans are the very same aliens that we met - the same as the Aztec gods, even if their names are different. They could be cousins, or just that there were loads of giant white aliens buzzing around South America."
We can accept this. That theory is not far-fetched.
"Accept also, that the people were taken there, maybe to protect them from Goa'uld invasion or from natural disaster or war back on Earth."
"That is also acceptable," I tell him. He smiles at me gratefully.
"Now, these aliens don't seem to be the sort to actually have much to do with their loyal followers. Maybe there's a skull on the planet for the leader or priest to contact whichever alien is responsible for taking them there - kind of like the Hall of Thor's Might with the Cimmerians and the Asgard."
"Yeah, I get that," O'Neill encourages him.
"Right then. Put yourself in the position of a leader that maybe hasn't seen their 'god' but wants to. Maybe, there's civil unrest and a lot of local leaders want to meet their god to ask for advice."
"We're getting into the realms of speculation," Samantha tells him.
"True, but I'm trying to find a good reason for the building of this machine. And so far, this is what I've come up with. Give me a chance, will you?"
"Sure, go on."
"Thanks." His tone is dry, I think he was being sarcastic. He only gets like that with us when he is very tired. I am not surprised.
"You said yourself, Sam, the machine's power source is crystalline."
"Yes, I did."
"So, think of this. They're given something like a crystal skull. They build the machine, maybe somehow they've worked out how the crystal works... or maybe... maybe, they broke the original and they were trying to build a new one. Whatever. They build the machine, flip the switch, and then they all disappear to see their god."
"I don't think they got there," Samantha says. "I kept feeling the same sensation that I got when you were 'haunting' the SGC."
"Don't forget, Sam, Nick could see me because he'd been there. If they were on the planet, I'd likely have seen them."
"Not necessarily. You couldn't see Nirrti when she used the phase-shifting device, could you?"
"No, no, I couldn't."
"Just like there are infinite alternate universes, the number of different phases we can have are astronomical."
"How?" O'Neill asks.
"Okay, in simple terms, think radio and radio stations."
"Just flip the dial, get a new wavelength?"
"Yeah, something like that."
"How do you know so much stuff, Carter?"
"Know? I'm making this up as I go along, Jack. It's what makes sense to me. Narim was right. Humans, at least the Tauri, are primitive really."
"So how do you make things work if you don't know how they work?"
I've always wanted to pin Carter down with that question. She's grimacing, but she's going to give it a good go, I think.
"Okay. Imagine this. You're a perfectly intelligent human being, who lives quite happily in the middle of nowhere with your family and tribe. You hunt, maybe grow a few crops. You may have gotten as far as inventing the wheel. Don't forget, the wheel has been invented many times over in different places.
"Now, one day, you're merrily going about your business, when suddenly, someone from the big city that you've never heard of, much less wanted to visit, turns up. He unloads a portable TV from his truck, attaches a solar-charged battery to power it, fixes a satellite dish to it in lieu of an aerial. Then he calls you over, shows you which button to press to turn it on, change channel and so on - then he disappears.
"You're smart, so you work out in your mind that the people you're seeing are not in the little box but a long way away. You see the battery, and by unplugging it, you notice that the picture goes away, so it must be the fuel to drive it, like the logs for your fire. Then you move the dish and discover that the picture fluctuates, so you know then that it regulates the picture in some way. You know what the buttons do, so you can operate this strange machine. You may even, eventually, come to understand its purpose. But it will likely never be explained to you how it works, you just have to accept that it does."
I get that, it make sense. There's one more thing though.
"Thanks, Sam. Um, Daniel? What were those words you shouted at me? Ben and See Mee or something?"
"Ben and Cimi, Jack. They're days of the Mayan calendar."
"And, so, but, therefore?"
"Right, their direct 'translations' are 'worldbridger' from Cimi, and 'skywalker' for Ben. And if you start making quips about Yoda or Darth Vader I'll kill you where you sit, O'Neill."
I'm not saying a word. He continues.
"There are descriptions that go with these words, for Cimi, they include transition and transmutation. For Ben, they are angelic messenger, or space or time traveller, or journeyer. You see why they make sense in this context?"
Yeah, I think I do.
"We have to go back," he says suddenly. "They're there, Sam's right. We have to go back and flip the switch and get them back to their proper reality."
"Okay, I think we can do that. It will certainly sweep the rug from under the Pentagon's feet if we do manage to get them back. Are you sure that we won't be sent to a different phase ourselves?"
"No," Daniel shrugs.
Sam gives me her 'don't ask me' look, and Teal'c is giving nothing away. I guess we go and hope then.
We're back on the planet. No sign of the opposition, so that's good. I'm looking at the machine again to confirm in my own mind that we're going to flip the right switch. Given past history, Teal'c may be the only one left if we get it wrong. He's promised to find the Tok'ra if that happens, then he'll accompany a non-symbiote holding sympathiser to what's known as Nick's place and try to get help from the giant white aliens.
"How come all the animal life on this planet got phase shifted?" Jack asks.
"Who knows? Perhaps it's a very powerful machine. I really don't know, Jack."
"Okay, best get on and do it. Fingers crossed, guys."
With crossed fingers, I press the button.
The machine is powering up, lights are flashing, sending rays up into the atmosphere. They seem to be going all the way up and spreading over the sky. I wonder if they're going to go all over the planet? Perhaps this is how it happened before. I'm holding Teal'c's hand now and he still feels as real to me as before. The guys are just watching in amazement at the scene that's unfolding in front of us. People are appearing. Animals, insects, the noise is deafening.
A man comes over to us and speaks to Daniel. I have no idea what he's saying.
"We knew you would help us," the man says. "We thank you. Our way to the gods did not work as we had hoped."
"We're glad to be of assistance," I tell him. "Anytime."
He smiles, pats us on the back, glad to be able to touch something I think.
"We shall celebrate!"
Sounds like a plan to me.
Oh my God. I thought parties on Abydos were heavy-duty. We were there for DAYS. We're finally back on Remoc, laden with gifts and an open invitation to return any time we want. I was given a book - a real book - about the transition from the ancient glyphs to the modern cursive writing. It's in Mayan, so it's going to be hard to crack, but I can see the progression of the individual ones. I was even taught the sounds of some that aren't known on Earth, so maybe I'll manage to do it one day.
One of the best things we discovered was that some plants from Earth had been literally transplanted with the people. Including cocoa and coffee bean plants. They make chocolate bars!
And they use coffee as we do. It's a rich, dark roast and I love it. They gave me a couple of sacks of it and loaded Sam down with as much chocolate as she could carry. I am so going back there to visit. We've told them that we may find something that we can trade for, we'll look into it and travel across Remoc to discover something special from here. We'll use the gate to get there so it won't take but a moment to reach my second and third favourite things in the universe.
My first one is by my side. Snoring his head off. I've never seen him party so hard before; he's going to have one hell of a headache in the morning. And I think that he's going to be as embarrassed as hell when Sam shows him the recording she made of him drunkenly singing 'Danny Boy' down on one knee.