Summary: Familiarity can breed contempt. Thanks to Joy for the beta :-)
"It was an asteroid hit."
There are times when I wish that Sam wouldn't just come out with things like that. Especially when I haven't had enough coffee.
"Samantha? To what are you referring?"
See, it's not just me. It's Teal'c too.
"Why we had the global warming on Remoc. At a guess, we had a strike of such impact that the planet was either pushed slightly closer to the sun, therefore warming the planet up a bit, or wobbling it on its axis, pushing the poles more towards the sun and therefore increasing the temperatures there and melting the icebergs and floes. That layer of ash we found showed that we had some sort of massive eruption, either from volcanic activity or from a strike. It would make sense."
"And what does this have to do with our next mission, Sam?" Jack says as he pours us yet another coffee.
"Nothing," she admits. "I was just wondering why the warming... we all were," she adds a little defensively.
"Yes, we were, Jack," I'll come to her rescue. "Thanks, Sam. At least we can be pretty sure that this was something that's not likely to happen again in our lifetime."
"Yeah, major meteorite or asteroid strikes tend to only happen once in a blue moon."
"I do not understand that phrase, Samantha. I have heard it many times, and I know what it represents, but from where does the expression come?"
"Daniel?" Ach, they always do that to me.
"Okay, but this is one that you should answer, Sam. As you know, the phrase has come to mean something rare, but it can be traced back to a satirical piece written in the early sixteenth century when it was said, 'Yf they say the mone is belewe, we must believe that it is true', implying that it was something absurd and therefore untrue. Funnily enough, the following year to that article, the first mention of the moon being made of green cheese was made. You see..."
"Daniel, blue moon?"
"Sorry. Of course. Well, astronomically there is something called a blue moon. As you know, a lunar month is slightly shorter than the calendar months, so sometimes, instead of there being twelve new moons, there are thirteen in a year. The twelve 'common' full moons were all given names, like 'hunter's moon' and 'worm moon' and so on, but the thirteenth which doesn't happen every year didn't have a name, so it was given the 'blue moon' name.
"There are other tangents you can go off on when going through the history of the phrase, like the fact that the moon can look blue given certain atmospheric conditions, so taking the 'absurd and so never happens' through to 'absurd but does happen occasionally' and arriving at its current meaning of 'rare'."
"Thank you," Teal'c says. "Though I was not aware that Earth's moon was made of green cheese."
Jaffa humour, eh? Laugh? I thought I'd never start.
There are times when I find it most amusing to 'wind the others up'. Today, however, is not really one of them. We have received our new mission briefing and are awaiting Jacob's arrival with equipment for our task. We must go to a space station. This is not going down well with Daniel, nor O'Neill. Samantha and myself are not very pleased about it either. There is too much of a coincidence between this task and the task given to Daniel as Yu's slave.
However, there will be a few differences. One of which is that he will be accompanied by us all, and as we all now look a little different from the way we did, things may become more interesting.
I no longer bear the scar that I once carried with pride, but which denoted my slavery. The Tok'ra did a good job and there is no mark on my forehead, not even a trace of a faint scar to say that once I carried the golden brand of Apophis. We have plenty of 'stage make-up' to create temporary tattoos if it becomes necessary for me to once again play the role for which I was born.
But for once, I am going to go on a mission as a free man. I know that I was free before, but now I look it. If I could only get rid of the symbiote, I would be completely happy. I will take whatever steps towards that as I can.
Some minor Goa'uld are meeting at the space station. Unlike the System Lords, though, they do not have the power or influence to have one of their own, so they are meeting at one owned by Baal. Baal's people will be coming and going freely so we will have more ability to move around the station.
Our task is to find out as much as possible about the identities of the minor Goa'uld and whom they serve. After that, we are to kill them. Our undermining of the System Lords' power base is working. Just by taking out the most powerful of the lesser Goa'uld we have taken away some of the 'right-hand men' of the System Lords. It will take a while for the smaller Goa'uld to gain enough strength to take their places.
The alarm has gone off. Jacob has arrived.
"So, Jake, what have you got for us this time?"
Jacob looks at me with a wry grin.
"Not a snake-killing gas," he says. "Not if you're taking Teal'c. It would kill his symbiote."
"So, therefore you have what?"
"You have an asteroid. My sympathies, Jake. Have you got some cream for it?
That wry grin has turned into a facial groan. With a sigh I ask the obvious.
"What do you want us to do with it?"
"Crash it into the station."
"It's been done. Or rather, they tried to do it to us. Failed, naturally, what with the Einstein twins here, but hey, it's not original, Jake."
Jacob laughs quietly.
"Let's just call it 'justice', Jack. Besides, their attempt was to wipe out six billion people, yours will only take out the population of a small space station."
"How many people on it, Jacob?" Daniel asks quietly.
"A few hundred at most, Daniel. Nine minor Goa'uld."
"Jaffa and servants."
"There has to be another way. Give us the gas, we'll leave Teal'c on the ship when we deploy it."
"Can't take that chance, Daniel. Besides, we don't have the facilities to make it at the moment."
"We had to up stakes again. Nothing serious, just got wind of the possibility that Anubis had found our world. Here's the new address."
He pulls out one of Daniel's notepads and scribbles down the co-ordinates. We all look and learn them, then it's destroyed.
"How about just killing the guys in one room?"
"Not going to work, Daniel. Well, it might, but we couldn't guarantee that they wouldn't get to a sarc. Look, you know as well as I do what's at stake here. If we can take out the support base, we'll completely undermine the System Lords. Make them weaker, we make Anubis weaker. Besides, as you say, the asteroid thing has been done before. By Anubis."
"You're sure it was him?"
"Absolutely. No question now. And they'll know it. At least the System Lords will. Baal will not be a happy chappy to know his space station was taken out by the same method, and the others will not be pleased that they've lost their allies while they were in Baal's care. It'll make them think that Anubis was behind it, trying to weaken them to make it easier on him to take over their own territories. Add to that that after your insurrection on Ugarit, there has been a complete split down the middle of the System Lords.
"There are two factions. One is led by Baal, the other by Morrigan. We're not completely sure who's on what side, but we believe that Bastet is allied with Baal and Kali is with Morrigan. The others aren't openly saying whose side they're on yet, but there's plenty of rumbling."
"I think he's staying out of it, Daniel."
"Not surprising. His plan will be to wait and see. He'll watch them killing each other, basically wiping out his opposition. Then he's going to take over their territories and Jaffa."
"And then?" He's got us all intrigued.
"He's going to take on Anubis. Yu detests him. He was the last one to agree to Osiris' demands. He only did it because he had no choice. Well, he didn't even agree, but he was outvoted. He was not happy with the idea though."
"In your estimation, how dangerous is he?" Jacob asks.
"Yu is by far and away the most dangerous Goa'uld. However. If one Goa'uld were to rule the galaxy, I'd rather it was him than any of the others. He's ruthless, sure. He's also devious and can be underhanded. But having said that, you always know where you stand with him.
"He treated me respectfully when he thought I was his slave, and when he captured us a few months back he was decent. He didn't hurt us, provided us with food and so on. He's not like the others. Having said all that, I'd let him get almost that powerful, I'd certainly let him take out Anubis, then I'd kill him. If you want me to do it, I will."
I'm going to have to ask Daniel if he did a minor in intergalactic politics, one day. His interpretation of the situation seems to make perfect sense - and rarely is he wrong when he's figuring stuff out. Then of course, he likes to throw us for a loop by offering to assassinate a guy. But that's Daniel for you. If he knows why he's doing something and appreciates the reasons, he'll do it. He'll hate himself later, but he'll do it.
"I'll get back to the Tok'ra council with your analysis, Daniel," Dad says. "It makes sense to me. Maybe we can ally with Yu?"
"No, I wouldn't if I were you. If the other Goa'uld even thought for one moment that he had something to do with either the Tauri or the Tok'ra, they'd take him out and then gang up on us, petty arguments not withstanding. No, what we need to do is carry on with undermining the System Lords, break up any alliances they hold - maybe assist Yu without anyone knowing it.
"But let him gain from others' downfalls without it looking as if he had a hand in it. Put the blame squarely on the major players - Morrigan, Baal and Anubis. Another reason for not even approaching Yu is that he'll be distracted by his gains. As and when the time comes that he's becoming too powerful, we can take him out when he's not looking. If he doesn't think that we had anything to do with the various actions, he won't be looking our way.
"Hopefully, if by the end he's being credited for the gains, he may even begin to believe the publicity. He'll take his eye off the ball, so to speak."
Yup, Daniel's definitely got a great way of seeing the galactic political situation. I wonder if his time with Paul Davis had anything to do with it?
Dad's going, he's left us all the technical doodads (as Jack calls them) and we're collecting up our supplies and making ready to depart. We're going to fly there, naturally. There's no gate on the space station anyway. First, we have to figure out how we're going to do this.
The supplies are loaded and we're sitting around the table in the tunnel. I once wondered why we don't meet up in the more cosy cabins, but I think it's because it's our off-duty space. Our cabin gives Teal'c and me somewhere to retreat from the guys, as theirs does for them to retreat from us. We've hardly stepped foot inside the other cabin. Given the we're in each other's pockets day after day, I think we need that.
So, this is our work space, somewhere that we can concentrate on the job in hand. If the four of us want to play together, then we either go onto the beach, if the weather's fine, or we go into another room we've created down here, a sort of den. It's for when the weather's really bad (as it's been getting over the last few weeks). No TV, but Dad managed to sneak out a few board games and packs of cards for us a few trips back. Said he wanted to teach the Tok'ra how to play Scrabble and poker. Go figure.
We could really do with some comfortable chairs or bean bags, but we raided the pleasure palace and brought back some large cushions which are nearly as good. Jack made a low table for the room, so we don't have to put the games on the floor.
I'm wandering again. Hell, I'm getting nearly as bad as Daniel.
"We need to organise this so that the timing is just right," Jack says with a sigh. "Any ideas?"
"What if two of us were to collect the asteroid in Mia while the other two stay on the space station and collect the necessary information. When the collision course is set, Mia can then leave the asteroid and collect the remaining two from the station, departing it before the impact."
"Okay, we can do that, Teal'c. But, something's bugging me about this."
"Jack." I think I know what it is. "Shielding. They're bound to have shielding on the station. We have to destroy that, too."
"I knew there was something. Right then. We'll need to get into the space station, find out what we need to, then destroy the shields, and all before the rock turns up. Will they have weapons to shoot it out of space?"
We all sigh. Yes, they may well have.
"There is a possibility that they won't notice it. It all depends on the make-up of the rock itself. Some meteorites and asteroids are virtually invisible to the telescopes on Earth, so maybe their sensors won't spot it? I dare say that the Tok'ra have picked one that would be difficult to spot."
"How about cloaking it?"
We all look at Daniel in amazement.
"I'll call Dad," I say and head off to the rings.
Sam's disappeared to call Jacob, Teal'c's gone to meditate for a moment and Jack and I are still sitting at the table.
"Jack? What's wrong?"
"Ach, Daniel, I'm not sure. Something about this mission isn't sitting right with me. I'm not sure if it's the mission or the way we're going about it. I think we've missed something. I'm probably overreacting. I guess I'm not happy about blowing up an entire space station just to get at a couple of snakeheads, ya know?"
"Yeah, I do. But Jacob's right. There's no point in just killing them off on the off chance they don't have a sarc there. Let's just hope that there's not too many innocents there. I told you about that Loh'tar, didn't I?"
"Slave. Baal's right-hand human. Wanted to become a Goa'uld, would have done anything to be implanted. Some of the humans on board the station may well be the same. We won't be able to trust anyone other than ourselves there."
He nods, knowing that already, I guess, but it didn't hurt to emphasise it.
When did I become so immune to killing? When did I become inured to 'casualties of war'? I'm not sure I have. Sure, I understand the intellectual necessity that sometimes it's going to happen and in the long run it will be for the best, but it still hurts to have to do it. Hopefully, if there is an afterlife, I'll be able to face the spirits of those I killed. Sometimes I hope that there is no afterlife.
Jack's put his hand out to me and I'm taking it. Now I'm being pulled gently to sit on his lap. I won't do this too often, but I think he needs it. I've straddled his thighs and I'm now facing him, my head's on his shoulder as he wraps his arms around me and holds me close.
"You have to be careful out there, Daniel. I couldn't bear it if something happened to you."
"Same goes for you, Jack. Don't you go doing the heroic stuff without me, you hear? We come home together..."
"Or we don't come home at all. Yeah, I know."
He's kissing my neck, so I'm joining in. We're not going to take this anywhere, but it's nice just to spend some time necking like a pair of teenagers. At least the desperate need to boink like bunnies that we got from the hot spring has passed.
"Guys, cut it out." Sam has just walked into the room, so we break apart.
"Spoilsport," I tell her.
Surprisingly enough, neither Jack nor I are worked up. A little aroused, yeah, but nothing serious. Good. I love doing that.
He drops a kiss on my nose and I get up off his lap. It's time to go.
It's going to take us a day to get there, then it will take about five hours for Sam and Teal'c to reach the asteroid. So that will give Jack and me ten hours on the space station to learn as much as we can while preparing it to blow. Maybe some explosives by the power source will help?
"Um, Sam, Teal'c? Do you think that we could put some C4 by the power source? Perhaps we can use it as a back-up plan if something goes wrong with the asteroid?"
"It would be difficult, Daniel," Teal'c says. "The power source is shielded. You would need the right key to lower it. If you did lower it, the control panels would light up to warn the Jaffa that the power source was no longer shielded. You would have to plant the explosive and get out of there almost simultaneously. Not to mention that their guard would then be up. They may even find the explosive and would know that saboteurs were on board. I would not recommend it."
Bang goes another idea. Or not as the case may be.
Jack and I are off to rest. We're going to take it in turns to man the controls, even in hyperspace. Something has made us jittery about this mission, so we're not taking any chances. It could be because it is too close to two events in our lives, neither of which we want to remember.
"Daniel? You coming to bed?"
"Yeah, just let me take a leak and I'll be with you."
Mia's bathrooms are weird, but we're getting used to them. Should be by now, I guess. There, that's better. Back in the room and now I'm lying down with him, just snuggling up.
"Do you mind that we're not making out every five minutes these days, Daniel?"
"Nah, I like it like this. Strange, but true. Not that I've got anything against making out, mind you," I add, getting a quiet snort back. "But this is good. You?"
"Same here. It's comforting, isn't it?"
Hmm. It is. My head is on his chest, his arms are wrapped around me. I think it's time for a sleep.
We are nearly at the space station. O'Neill roused Samantha and myself from our turn at rest and we are all ready. They have put on some clothes that will help them fade into the background, unremarkable attire that will not stand out among the other humans. They also have bags with the explosives and zats. I do not like leaving them to do this on their own, but Samantha's expertise is needed to cloak the asteroid and I will not leave her to do that alone.
We are still cloaked as we approach the docking port. I am flying the ship to the correct spot. Samantha has sent the code that we were given to open the door. Now is the time when we find out if the information we were given was accurate.
"The door's open. It's time to go, guys."
"Set your watches," O'Neill orders. "I want you back in ten hours on the dot."
We do as he says. The men kiss Samantha's cheeks, we nod to each other and then they leave. It is time for us to depart.
I have input the co-ordinates of the asteroid. I wonder why we need this specific one?
"Samantha. Why could the Tok'ra not have found an asteroid or meteor closer to the station?"
"I'm not sure, honey. Maybe it has something to do with the make-up of the rock. Let's think about it. The station is of a certain construction, probably designed to take small hits of passing meteors if its shields go down because of a technical fault. So the asteroid would have to be bigger than the design allows for if it's going to make any impact damage. Add to it the increase in velocity that it will have..."
"Increase in velocity?"
"Yeah. Any body travelling through a solar system in an orbit of a sun will have a certain velocity range. Those velocities can be observed and then protected against. I'm guessing, guessing mind you, that when they built it, they'll have taken note of all the bodies in this system - they'll have the technology to do it in a way that they wouldn't on Earth for example - and will have calculated the possibility of any collisions.
"Of course, there's always the chance that two bodies will hit each other and one will be sent careening out of its normal orbit. It will be travelling pretty quickly, and will make a serious dent, but I doubt it would cause a hole because they'll have taken the potential velocities and masses of what they know into consideration.
"But, what they won't have thought of is a larger body, or a more dense one depending on what it's made of, coming out of hyperspace and then let go, as if flung from a catapult. The speed it will come out at will be vastly increased on 'natural' speed - we're talking orders of magnitude here. That asteroid will go through an unshielded station as if it wasn't there.
"And of course, if the asteroid has naquada in it, the mass per square foot will be much much greater than if it were just plain old everyday rock. Even granite wouldn't have the same impact. Having said that, at the speeds we're talking about, a granite asteroid would make one hell of an impression on it," she adds with a grin.
I think I now know what has made us all 'jittery', as Daniel put it. O'Neill said that we were missing something.
"I see a problem with this scenario."
"What's that, hun?"
"If we let go of the asteroid as we leave hyperspace, how will we reach O'Neill and Daniel in time to retrieve them?"
We would contact them, however we are now in hyperspace. Time is, as they say, of the essence. We are scheduled to be back there in nine hours, thirty-five minutes. We cannot go back. Neither can we drop out of hyperspace and call them. We do not know if they are in a position to answer our calls. We may in fact alert the enemy to their presence. We will have to hope that they will figure it out themselves.
"How are they going to use the rock, Jack?" Daniel asks as we casually stroll up the corridor, trying to look as if we belong here.
"Damned if I know, Daniel. I'm sure that whatever Sam comes up with, it's going to be very clever. When is that meeting scheduled again?"
"Eight hours from now. Jacob said that they'd have some sort of reception first. That's likely to take a couple of hours."
"Do you think we could get into that?"
"Maybe. We'll have to find the kitchens."
"Okay. Look, as you say, we have about, what, six hours before that would start?"
"About that, yeah."
"Right. In the meantime, let's find the shields. I want a mental map of the layout of this place. Take note of escape routes, especially ones to the docking ports. We may need to steal a ship if we get the timing wrong."
"Are we going to plant the you know what yet?"
"No, not until it's near the time. It's not a good idea because they may find it, then the game would be up."
"Got you. Okay. We've been walking for about 500 yards along this one corridor. I'm thinking that we're pretty close to the centre. Ah, yes, look."
Damn, he's good. He's been making a mental note, possibly counting his steps as we came along. That training I made him go through is helping. He looks at me and grins.
"It's an archaeologist thing."
"Knowing the size of buildings you're surveying."
I'd laugh out loud but we've just turned up in what looks like a huge hall. I'm guessing it's the middle of the station as Daniel says. There are various corridors going off to different 'arms' of the station. I settle for a shit eating grin.
"We need to go down to the basement, or whatever it is. Jacob said that the workings of the station would be there."
"Okay, let's look for an elevator then."
We stick to the edges of the room as we look, as nonchalantly as we can, for the elevators. Daniel nods at me and his eyes show me a door. I'm guessing that that is one of them. There must have been similar ones on that other station that he was on.
He's right. He commands it in Goa'uld to do something. What, I don't know. I ask him.
"I'm going to teach you how to speak that when we get home," he mutters through gritted teeth. "Where do you think I told it to go?"
"All the fucking way, O'Neill."
I have no idea how we're going to get the boys off the station. However, my first concern is to cloak the asteroid. I will have to pop out there and onto it and put the device on it. The device has its own power source and is like a mobile cloak, so to speak. When we get home I'm going to ask Dad to give me one. It may come in handy for future missions.
Anyway, we're going to be there in a couple of hours. I have the device ready, we've found some pressure suits that Teal'c says the Jaffa use if they have to work in space. They're thinner than the ones they have to use back on Earth (or off it - whatever). Trouble is, they're all a bit big for me. It's going to make doing this a bit difficult.
The cloaking device will fit into the asteroid with a spike. Whether it's going to hold it in place as it moves through hyperspace I do not know. However, the Tok'ra seem to think that it will, so who am I to argue?
Time to resume pacing back up and down, I think.
Okay, we've scoped the shield generators. There are only a couple of techy-type-Jaffa wandering about the place, so we're pretty sure we can get in without them seeing us when the time comes. Jack's found the best location to place the C4. We're going to put one near the shield mechanism and another near the connectors to the main power cables (or whatever they are). I think that Jack's been taking lessons on Goa'uld tech, because he seems to know his way around the system. It doesn't surprise me though.
Jack's professed stupidity has always pissed me off. I've never really found it amusing, unless he's acting like it in front of either the enemy or morons. Then it's fun when he comes out with something that either floors them or kills them, depending on the circumstances.
I've never underestimated his intelligence. Maybe I've underestimated his past, his previous actions and so on. When he 'raped' me on Hera's planet, he was desperately upset by it because he loves me. And, I thought, because it's out of character for him.
Later, he confessed that there would have been a time that he'd have been able to do it without a second thought. That he's tortured and killed people without compunction if it was necessary for the mission. No second thoughts, no remorse and so on. He'll do it now, if it's what it takes to protect me, Sam and Teal'c. Though I'm not so sure that he'd do it purely to accomplish a mission anymore. Protect, yes; succeed? Hmm.
And me? What am I capable of these days? Am I really capable of pressing the button? Nuking somewhere to prove a point? No, I don't think so. But I am prepared to kill innocents now, in a way that I'd not have done before. Sam said I was changing, I see what she means.
But one thing she doesn't know about is my dark side. My ability to act the same way as Jack. I've done things that I am not proud of, things that I will have to live with till I die.
I've hurt. I've killed. I've betrayed those I love. I hope Jack doesn't find out.
Ach, I shouldn't do this, should just concentrate on the job in hand. My mind has a habit of wandering when I least want it to.
We're hiding out now, looking for the conference room, banqueting hall or whatever it is, kitchens and so on. It's hard not to look conspicuous though.
Oops. We weren't expecting to see that here. A brothel?
"Gentlemen," a woman's coming over to us. "What can we do for you? We have many beautiful bodies here, I'm sure that at least one will satisfy your needs."
Jack's swallowing hard. There are a lot of scantily clothed women lying around on couches and cushions, some young, good-looking men too. I think he's going to run. However, I have an idea.
"Uh, we were looking for a room, that's all. Do you have anywhere we can go? Just the two of us?"
I slip my hand into Jack's and give it a squeeze to let him know to play along. He nods and grunts in a 'what he said' manner.
"Surely two such handsome creatures as yourselves would like some company?"
"No, not really," I sigh, trying to look like a lovesick puppy at Jack. He's rolling his eyes at me. "We've not had any time to be alone recently," I add. "Please?" I try the fluttering eyelash and smile trick that usually works on Jack. It's working on her too.
"I understand," she says in a 'you can confide in me' way, patting my arm. "Come with me. I'm sure that we'll have everything you boys need."
We follow her and she takes us to a room. YUCK! Goa'uld central or what? Over-decorated, tacky, tasteless... but it's got a bed, ooh, and some lube. Okay, we'll take it. Hell, it's overpriced too. Just as well we have the currency.
The door shuts and we're on our own.
"Jack, we needed somewhere to hide out for a couple of hours. This place isn't big. We'll find everywhere else later, but for now, we need to blend in with the scenery."
"If we blend in with this scenery we'll never be able to set foot in Ikea again."
I really don't know how to answer that so I kiss him instead.
We are at the asteroid. First of all we captured it with what Samantha calls a tractor beam. I believe she has been watching too much Star Trek. Jacob brought us the entire series of The Next Generation on DVD, which we watch on one of the laptop computers that came as an upgrade. I was hoping for Deep Space 9. That may come in future.
For now we must concentrate on the task, and Samantha and I see why this asteroid was chosen. It is not particularly large in physical size, but it is almost pure naquada. In the markets of the galaxy, this would be worth a few planets. However, financial matters are irrelevant. We have a job to proceed with.
"I hope that this cloak and spike will work, Teal'c," Samantha says distractedly. "Pure naquada is incredibly hard."
"I am sure that the Tok'ra will be aware of that fact, Samantha. Let us put on our suits and install the device. We have little time."
She sighs, then puts on the smallest spacesuit. It is a little large, so this is going to be awkward for her. But we must do this. My suit is on, I am helping her tighten hers up as best we can. Now it is time to step out onto the asteroid. She narrowly avoids tripping over her too-big shoes and starts to thump around on the asteroid. I do not believe she is happy. I am hearing mutters of "I'm going to kill Dad when I see him" coming across the communicator.
I am never happy to step out into space. I am not one to suffer from phobias, but I get a greater understanding of agoraphobia and vertigo when I am in such a position. There is no 'down'. Nor up. It is... disorientating.
I have the cloaking device in my hands. Samantha is looking for a suitable place to put it. Somewhere that the naquada is at its least dense. She has called me to her, so I proceed with caution. We put the device on the 'floor', for want of a better term, and she presses a switch. There is no sound out here, so we cannot hear if the device's implantation was a success. A green light has appeared. I assume it means it worked. Taking the device into my hands, I rock it. It does not move. Good.
We return to the ship. I start to fly it back to the space station as Samantha tests the cloaking device. It does not appear to be functioning.
Okay, I understand why Daniel said what he did, but the predatory look in his eye wasn't doing much for his professed 'innocent' reason. Still, he's right. We have a few hours that we need to stay out of sight for, so why not? We haven't had more than a good kissing session for a coupl'a days. Not that we've had problems, not at all. We've just gone past the minks on speed thing.
So, he's now having a good look around the room, seeing what is there for us to play with.
"Ooh, look what I've found!" he announces. And he's found...? Silk scarves. Whoop-de-doo. Ach, this should be fun.
"C'mere, Daniel," I reply, in what I hope is my most seductive voice. It seems to be working, he's right by me. "Strip, why don't you?"
He does - boy, does he ever. Slowly. Seductively. Hnnng.
Now he's walking backwards to the bed, crooking his finger at me as he goes. I'm following closely.
"Lie back, Daniel," I tell him, "and put your hands over your head."
The filthy, filthy smile I get in return tells me he's going to do just what I say.
I use one of the scarves and tie his hands gently but firmly to a ring that's in the wall behind the headboard. I'm guessing it's used for this normally.
"Fine," he gasps. He's hard already. Tying him up always gets him going. Another scarf now and I'm tying it around his head, blindfolding him. His breath hitches, so I ask if he's okay with this.
"God, yes, Jack. Love you, trust you, just do whatever you want, okay?"
Okay? Sure I'm okay. And I'm about to repay his love and trust. First, get my own clothes off. I'm not talking to him, he loves it when I stay silent. He has to guess what's going on.
I'm not getting on the bed, yet. I'm going to surprise him. I take one foot in my hand and lick the inside of the his ankle, slowly, getting a low, hungry moan. Now I'm going up his legs, even more slowly, kissing and licking as I go. Maybe I'll just give him a little hickey, right about... here. Yeah, the inside of his thigh should do it.
Yup, my Daniel is writhing around and groaning. Haven't got to the 'begging to get off stage' yet though, so let's take leg number two.
Still not begging, though his dick is dripping. A quick swipe up the shaft and over the head has him howling. Ah ha! Completely changing tack and walking along the side of the bed, I lean over and start on his nipples, sucking and nipping and blowing.
The begging is about to start. So, let's shut him up, shall we? I'm now on the bed, straddling him, on my knees and holding myself up with my hands. My tongue is now playing 'Twister' with his. He can't complain, can he? He's moving his hips though, jerking up to me, but I'm above him, not touching him, not letting him touch me. He's not going to last, I know his body language all too well. He's actually come like this before now.
Time to help him along. I'm not a considerate lover for nothing, ya know. Oh baby, wouldja look at that? Hard, purple, soaking wet... and mine all mine! Hmm, tasty.
Aw, don't I get my reward? I've just looked at my watch. I've been quietly driving him insane for forty minutes. I am such a bastard to him at times. His head's thrashing around, his hips are twitching. He's trying not to jerk up into my mouth, not wanting to hurt me. Let's give him a little bit of encouragement, shall we? I could spend all day doing this, but I think he'd kill me if I did.
Oh, go on then. Take a breath, relax my throat, arch my neck and...
That's my baby. Pouring down me, giving me everything he's got. And it's a lot, I can tell you. Wow. He's calling my name, begging me to stop sucking. Spoilsport.
"Undo me, please, Jack, undo me."
That's not like him, he usually likes to be tied when I'm fucking him, and he's gotta know that I still need to come. Still, he wants to get undone, it's not exactly a problem. There he goes, blindfold first so he can see that I'm doing it, then the hands.
"Daniel? Something wrong?"
"No, just got to do this."
He grabs my head, oh boy, he's laying a brain-melting kiss on me. I think I'm losing IQ points here. I'm also flat on my back. He's moving, doing something while he's still got his face attached to mine. Ooh, I know. He's plastering my dick with something; it's warm, slippery, he's moving again, still kissing... ah yes! How to get fucked and fuck at the same time. Be bottom on the top, or in my case, top on the bottom. Ride me, cowboy. Snigger.
I wonder what the boys are doing? Hiding out I guess. Probably having to keep quiet and out of the way until it's time to blow and ride off into the sunset. I'm worried sick as to how we're going to do this. I've been working solidly on the asteroid's cloaking device as we go through hyperspace. Not the actual device, of course, but the remote computer link (for want of the Tok'ra term). I can send it messages. I think it's getting them.
Of course, I can't actually see what's going on, and my Goa'uld reading skills aren't very good. Teal'c is teaching me, and at the moment he's reading out the displays for me and translating on the fly, but I really have to learn how to read and speak it myself. Trouble is, I was useless at languages at school. Basic Spanish is my absolute limit. I have no idea how Daniel stores so many different languages and dialects in his head at once.
But then he's never sure what I'm talking about, so I guess it pans out in the end.
As best as I can tell, though hyperspace could be completely mucking up the signals, the cloaking device is now working intermittently. It's better than nothing, I think, but not by much.
"Samantha, you should rest and we should both eat."
Ah. Teal'c's hungry. This is something I've learned over the years, long before he and I even got together. He has no desire to admit to hunger, tiredness or thirst when we're on a mission. The rest of the time, it's not so bad, but mission time, he has to be the big, strong Jaffa. So, by suggesting that I am hungry or tired, he can then join me when I agree to rest or eat. It took me a while to figure this out. Poor thing must have been starving on some of the early missions.
"You're right, honey. We have a few more hours before we get to the system anyway. Lead on."
He's smiling and heading straight for what we've renamed the galley (on the grounds that it's where we store the food and eat it. Among doing other things there like planning missions and so on). We've made Mia into a real home from home.
When I suggested we had access to a ship, I wasn't expecting that we'd need to use her so often. But she's been a life-saver - quite literally. Jack's even dropping hints about going home in her. She's cloaked so we could get there unseen, maybe visit a few people... I'm digressing. Anyway, we've been trying to make her as comfortable as possible. Given that we can spend about a week on her during a mission, it made sense.
He's got the food out and his face is telling me that he's thinking about something. Teal'c was virtually unreadable to the others at the SGC, but to us, his face can be an open book at times. It's in his eyes.
"What's up, Teal'c?"
"I have been considering how we shall proceed when we arrive at the system in which the space station resides."
"I do believe that we should give the men time to leave the station by leaving hyperspace as far away as we can without making the asteroid take too long to reach its destination. If we call them and tell them to get out as soon as we leave hyperspace, we may give them enough time to reach a ship or some escape pods."
"Okay, I'll look at the map and work out how much time they'll have when we've finished eating. I think you're right though."
This is not going to be easy for them. Or us. We'll have to wait and see if they make it or not.
Much as our little 'interlude' was fun, Jack and I have to get back to work. We've found the kitchens and I'm listening into the conversations.
The gods have started to arrive. We must hurry and take them refreshments.
Are they in the main hall?
They are. Their conference will be in the adjoining room. Quickly now, take the food and drink there.
Jack and I slink back into the shadows, wait for a servant to emerge and... yeah, there's one. We're following now, keeping back, pretending not to look at him as he enters the room and meets some others already there.
I'm listening carefully to the excited chatter and even though I've been through this before, I still can't believe what I'm hearing. They're actually pleased to be doing this, hoping that one day they'll get the chance to serve the gods in whatever capacity they're allowed. One's even hoping to be a bed slave. I can't understand these people. But there's no point in trying to explain things to them, they don't want to listen.
The room is near the kitchens - I guess the Goa'uld like their food hot. We wait till they leave, then we sneak in. It's in the typical tacky style, drapes down the sides, fruit in bowls, yadda, yadda. There are some snakes here that we don't recognise, so Jack and I grab a few bowls and creep up to them, holding them out as if we're serving them. They're ignoring us for the most part, some are taking bits of fruit without even looking at us. Good. This is what we're after.
The servants are coming back in, so we surreptitiously put the bowls down and head off to the side. As quietly as we can, we sneak out of there.
"What did you learn, Daniel?"
"Not much, yet. I've found out a couple of the snakes' names. "Somnus, Minos and Montu for a start. We're talking bit players here, Jack. Look, we've only got four hours left. Why don't you help me find some suitable serving clothes? These are unobtrusive out there but they're different from the servants'. Then I can hide in there, listening out, while you go and plant the C4 at the shield generator."
"Okay then. Do you think you'll be safe?"
I just look at him and roll my eyes.
I'm on a space station, with no way off yet, which is full of snakes and their loyal servants, which we're about to blow up.
Safe? HA HA HA! Don't make me fuckin' laugh.
Right. I'm in costume and pretending to be one of the servants. Where have I done this before? There are some coming in with the snakes as before, so nobody knows if I'm with them or the station. Needless to say, I am not enlightening them. I've learned about the different Goa'uld and I'm starting to find out who's allied with whom.
Edeke, a god of disasters if memory serves - not that any of these creatures are the real 'gods' anyway; Plutos, minor god of riches; Somnus, minor god of sleep; Minos, minor god of the underworld; Montu, one of the Egyptian 'local' war gods; Morpheus, minor god of dreams; Renenutet, a snake goddess - quite apt if you think about it and Inmutef, another minor god, 'bearer of the heavens' and a known associate of Hathor.
That's only eight. There were supposed to be nine. I guess someone's fashionably late.
Somnus and Morpheus are supposed to be related, according to myth, but it's fairly obvious that they can't stand each other. Somnus is on Baal's side, and Morpheus is with Morrigan. Plutos and Renenutet are both on Baal's side, but the animosity between them is tangible. Inmutef and Montu are, I think, on Morrigan's side. Inmutef's host is nice-looking and Montu is all over him. Sheesh. Montu is a dog. Edeke is staying out of the discussions, generally looking on and observing, I think.
Minos, meanwhile, is pacing up and down as if he's waiting for something. Maybe number nine? Whoever or for whatever reason it is, we're running late. There's no sign of the conference starting on time. I'm not picking up much in the way of information, either. They're just bitching at each other, complaining about the various gains the other snakes have made at their expense. Some are complaining that their System Lords are taking them for granted. All is not well in Snake Town.
We shall be emerging from hyperspace in one hour. I am starting to feel agitated. Even my symbiote is distressed. Perhaps it has grown fond of Daniel and O'Neill. I jest.
Samantha is also upset. She is desperately trying to find a way to get the men off the station before the asteroid hits it and fails with all of her simulations. Each time we miss by a few moments. However we do this - and we will do it - we will be 'cutting it fine' as O'Neill says.
"Samantha, calm yourself. You will do the men no good if you are too tired to think when the time comes to rescue them."
She smiles weakly at me and nods. She knows that I am right, and that I know that she will have difficulty in following my suggestion. I put my hands out to her and she comes to me.
"I'm scared," she tells my chest.
"I know," I tell her head.
I've made it to the shields unseen, but I have a problem. There are more Jaffa here now than there were before. Somehow, I have to hide the explosives, set the timers, then retrieve Daniel, get the hell off this station and away from it, all in the next forty-five minutes. It's not going to be easy.
I want to call Daniel, but given his circumstances, I think I'd be putting him in danger if did. While he's been doing his undercover servant thing, I've visited the docking ports. Found a couple of unmanned ships and some escape pods too. It may yet come to that.
I check my watch and see that the asteroid is due in the system in forty-one minutes. It'll take a couple of minutes for the thing to hit - it could take years, but I think that the exit velocity from hyperspace and the fact that Carter will bring the ship out fairly close to the station will mean it will be a close run thing. I'm assuming that they're going to give us time to get out of the station.
I think I've figured out how they're going to do this. I haven't mentioned it to Daniel as I'm sure he's got enough on his mind as it is. It dawned on me as they left that he and I are on our own.
It's not easy, but I'm sneaking around, hiding in the shadows. I'll need a distraction from the shield generator area itself. I think I can see what I want. There's a large container on the side of the room. No one's here, so... ooh, it's full of weapons. What the fuck are they doing here? Who knows? Who cares? Anyway, it's giving me an idea.
A while back, Teal'c showed me how to overload the power supply on a staff weapon. It's not easy, these things are designed not to do this accidentally because if they do - kapow! So, I flick this bit here... undo this bit there... disconnect the safety and get the hell out of Dodge. It'll take a few minutes before it actually goes. I don't want a massive explosion, just enough to get everyone's attention on this bit of the room, and something that won't necessarily look deliberate.
I'm back in the shadows, near to the generator itself. I can hear a quiet whine which is building up. It's starting to get their attention all right. Curious faces are looking around the room, a couple of Jaffa are walking towards the container. Yeah, guys, you go and look at that. I'm behind them all now and they're all looking in the opposite direction. The whine is getting louder and louder. Yup, I think...
Thar she blows! All hell's breaking loose over there, I guess I've got about a minute before I'm seen.
I've quickly placed some of the explosives along the pipe that takes the power to the shield generator, and some either side of the generator itself, all out of sight. They've all been timed to blow in forty minutes. Thirty-nine minutes thirty seconds and counting. Time to get Daniel.
We'll be at the system in thirty-five minutes. We're going to come out of hyperspace about four minutes' travel from the station. Hopefully the guys will be working to time.
I'm on edge, even Teal'c is pacing. I've done what I can with the cloaking device. I'm not sure if it's going to work, but by the time they've seen it, hopefully it will be too damned late for them to do anything about it.
I carefully look at my watch and see that I have just over twenty minutes. I've found out what I can. And I've found out just who Hera was allied to. Morrigan. So, the question remains, how did Morrigan get Jack's DNA? I still think that Nirrti's in on it somehow. Either that, or Yu is, but that doesn't ring true to me for some reason.
There's a fuss at the door. Ah, this must be god number nine. Shitshitshitshitshit.
"Ah, Anat, it is about time you graced us with your presence. And how is the lovely Morrigan?"
It's Minos talking. I'm guessing by the tone of his voice that he's either enamoured with Anat or her puppet master. I wonder what side he's on? Ah well, the point will be moot in less than twenty-six minutes anyway. I think it's time that I leave. I pick up an empty tray and head for the doorway, keeping my head down as I go. I have to get past her to escape.
So far so good, I'm about five feet from the door. Three. One.
Okay, I've stopped. I'm keeping my head down.
"What can I do for you, my lady?"
Hell. There's nothing I can do, is there?
"I know you."
"I am afraid that I have never had the honour of meeting you, my lady."
"I do know you. You were on Ugarit."
"No, my lady, I have never been somewhere with that name. I would surely remember seeing a goddess such as yourself."
"You lie! Who are you?"
"No one, my lady. Just a servant."
"Your name, slave. What is your name?"
"Nicholas." Well, the old goat had to be good for something.
"I do not believe you. You are extremely familiar. Your hair was longer and darker then, but it is you I am sure of it. Perhaps a turn in a sarcophagus would refresh your memory of me?"
The fucking bitch! No way. However, I have to keep my face straight.
"But that is only for the gods!" I sound shocked that she would even suggest such a thing.
Christ, I think I'm going to be sick. She's running her hands over my face.
"I know your face. You have used my sarcophagus. You lied when you swore allegiance to me. You stood at my side before you started that rebellion among those worthless slaves. You will die for that."
She has no idea how true that is.
Ten minutes. That's all we've got. I'm at the banqueting hall door and I'm listening in. It's Anat. She's recognised Daniel. He's insisting that he's called Nicholas. Shit. What should I do? Do I go in there and ask for the servant Nicholas? The other snakes are starting to get antsy.
"Anat? What is going on?"
"That is what I want to know, Minos. This creature was on Ugarit, I am sure of it."
"Perhaps you are mistaken, all of these humans have a similar look to them."
"No, no, I know this one. He laid with me."
He did? He never said! I'll fucking kill him for keeping that from me! How dare he? Calm down, O'Neill. You get him out of there first, get off this station before it blows, then you fucking kill him. It's not that I think he cheated on me, for crying out loud. It's that he didn't tell me about it.
He's stammering, stuttering, shaking. Fuck, she's got him going. Either he's acting scared or he's really scared shitless. I know that the thought of going into the sarcophagus scares him worse than the thought of dying. She's threatening him with it again. He's still insisting that he's called Nicholas, that he's a servant.
"To which god?"
He's stammering an answer, but he's hard to understand. Hell, what now? There's someone coming down the corridor.
OHMYFUCKINGGOD. This is all I need. Yu.
"What are you doing here?"
"Yes you. You look different O'Neill, younger. But it is you, isn't it?"
Daniel said this guy was different, I guess he's going to get the chance to prove it. I put my hand on his arm, his one Jaffa guard jumps to his side, but Yu tells him to back off.
I take him away from the door.
"You have..." I look at my watch "...eight minutes to prove to me that Daniel was right about you."
"What do you mean?"
"He told me not to kill you on your planet. Said you weren't like the others. Said you were smart. Are you?"
He looks at me, staring into my eyes. Then he nods sharply. "Speak."
"Get Daniel out from that conference, then get us off this station. Seven minutes and counting. And say nothing."
"Why should I?"
"It'll save your life and be to your advantage in other ways."
"And for you?"
"You get us off, then let us go. When you do that, we'll let you in on the secret."
"How do I know you will keep your word?"
"How do I know you will?"
"I have not given you my word," he says with a smile.
I have to laugh. Neither have I.
"I've saved your life on my planet, spared your life on yours. Daniel's saved you too. I think you owe us."
He says nothing else, just turns and strides into the banqueting room. All of the snakes are standing back in amazement, I don't think they were expecting him. All except Anat who has her hand on Daniel's shoulder and she's got him on his knees.
"What is going on here? What are you doing with my servant, Anat?"
"Boy - out! Return to my ship."
I see Daniel's keeping his head down and saying nothing as he stands up and gets the hell out of there. Yu's glaring at Anat. If looks could kill... Oh, in five minutes they won't have to.
"Move it, Yu," I whisper as we start to leave. His Jaffa looks confused. Tough. There's a crackle on our communicators.
I must take the chance to call O'Neill.
"I know. We're on our way."
"No. Yu. The snake."
"Not now. Watch out for us."
"We shall do that."
I like talking to O'Neill. His conversations are usually short and to the point.
One minute. One fucking minute. We're nearly at the ship.
"What are you doing here?"
"I came to rest. I am not travelling in my hat'ak, but the teltac. It has been a long journey."
I do believe he's not telling the whole truth, but close enough. Come on, come on, we have to get out of here.
"Are you going to tell me what is going to happen?"
"Give it a minute and you'll find out. Is this it?"
We're in front of a teltac.
"Yes. Get in."
"Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly." I look at Jack as he says that and shrug. Like this fly has a choice? Spider, one hand; swatter, the other. I'll take my chance with the spider.
I don't think he knows the idiom, but he gets my meaning. He's undocking and we're getting away from the station.
"It should have happened by now, Daniel," Jack whispers. We're not expecting to see anything from the shield generators going up, but we're waiting for the asteroid to hit.
"I know. Can you see anything?"
I ask Yu to put the station on the view screen. It's still there. Has something gone wrong? Oh no. Would you look at that!
The cloak worked as we re-entered normal space. Teal'c called the men and they were on their way off the station. I only hope to God that they managed it.
The asteroid has just gone through the station like a hot knife through butter. They must have got the shields down. A teltac is flying away from it. We're guessing that it's Yu's from what Jack said. Question is, are they alone? We're staying cloaked and Teal'c is following it. Debris from the impact is scattering over a huge distance and he's having to avoid the various chunks of metal and... ew... bodies. I think the power source has gone too. There was just a huge explosion. I'm not going to call the men. It's up to them to call us. They know we're here. It's time to wait. Again.
"You will explain," Yu announces.
"Let's just say that we had advanced warning of an asteroid strike," I tell him. He's not too happy with that explanation.
"Why did you save my life?"
"Again." Well, it doesn't hurt to point these things out now and then.
He actually smiles a bit and nods in acknowledgement.
"I told you before, Yu," Daniel sighs. "It's not to our advantage to kill you off. Yet."
He's laughing. I don't believe it. The snake is fucking laughing.
"If anyone else were to say that, Daniel Jackson, I would kill them where they stood."
"But you know it's to your advantage to keep us alive."
"For now," Yu replies, getting a chuckle from Daniel.
Then despite his own warnings to keep Yu in the dark about our actions, he says, "Yeah. For now. We're not at war with you personally. It's Anubis, and you know it. I know how much you hate him and the others. I know how much you want him dead. Let us go and we'll do the job. We're going to destabilise the System Lords, Yu. We'll take out your enemies for you."
"Then I'll kill you."
Yu's Jaffa has just picked up on the fact that Daniel isn't joking. He doesn't get the reaction of his god. He's still laughing. I guess that Yu's missed some of Daniel's more subtle undertones, though. The ones about the political instability. All he's heard is that we're going to do some of his dirty work and then try to kill him. That'll do me.
"Very well. When the time comes, Daniel, you may try. Be warned. When you come to kill me, I will kill you."
"You can try."
"A truce. No more."
"Good. That will suffice."
Yu's grinning as he looks out of the view screen. There is one hell of a mess. Chunks of station are flying everywhere. He gives an order to his Jaffa, I'm guessing that he's telling him to get away a bit faster because we're heading to the nearest planet and away from the debris.
"Where do you wish me to take you?" Yu asks. I don't get this guy. I'm trying to, but I don't.
"Oh, nowhere. Hang on a minute."
I turn my back on him and press the button on my communicator.
It is so good to get a warm Jaffa's voice on the end of the line, so to speak.
"You in position for a beam up?"
"One moment... we are now."
"Okay. Hang on. Yu? Do you have transport rings?"
"I do. They are in the cargo hold."
We make our way into the room and he shows us where to stand.
"We will meet again, Daniel Jackson." he asks.
We get the flash of light and appear back on Mia.
"Hey guys, good timing."
"Are you going to tell us what that was all about?" Sam asks as she comes and hugs us both.
"On the way home, it's a long story."
I look at Daniel as the others leave Mia's cargo hold. "Daniel?"
"Jack?" His eyes are darting around, unwilling to settle on mine.
"I heard what she said, babe. Why didn't you tell me?"
I see his face shut down. He's bracing himself for a beating, I think.
"How could I?" he whispers. "How could I?"
"Talk to me, Daniel."
"Not here. Not now."
He's starting to walk away from me so I put my hand out to him and grab his arm. His face says nothing to those that don't know him. To those of us that do, he's crying. No tears, no sobs, but I can feel his heart snapping in two. I pull him into a hug and hold him tightly.
"It's okay, Daniel. We're okay. I'm pissed with you for not telling me, but we're okay. We'll talk about it when we get home."
He's rigid, letting me hold him but not holding me back. I let him go. He obviously doesn't want to be touched just yet. He agrees to talk when we get back. I think it's going to be like getting blood out of a stone.
I have no idea what is up with the men. They should be in a good mood. Jack told us about the mission, made some veiled references to a room in a house of ill repute, said how they'd found the shield generators. Then he told us about how he'd blown them, about the weapons there - a mystery still to be unravelled as Teal'c said they shouldn't even be there - and then how Yu had turned up in the nick of time. Daniel hasn't said a word.
He's staring out of the view screen again. I've walked up to him, he knows I'm there but he flinches when I slip my arm around his waist.
"Crap. You've hardly spoken since you came back on board."
He sighs and looks at me before looking back out of the view screen at the multicoloured streaks that pass by.
"How many people died, Sam?"
"I'm not sure; a couple of hundred?"
"What does that make us?"
"What do you mean?"
"What does it make us? Freedom fighters? Terrorists? Murderers? Heroes?"
Ah. I get it.
"It all depends on your perspective, Daniel. To the Goa'uld, we're terrorists and murderers. To those that they enslave, we're liberators, heroes even. We're not trying to impose a radical government on those we free. We're not trying to convert them to a particular religion..."
"We're taking away the religion that they have."
"True. But it's one that encourages slavery, killing, torture. Daniel, you of all people shouldn't question what we do."
"You're wrong. Of all people, I should. Am I doing this for freedom? Am I doing this to get rid of a tyrannical regime? Or am I doing this for revenge? What are my motives?"
"Does it make a difference?"
He turns and waves his hands around as he strides over the floor, turning on his heel as he faces me again.
"Yes, Sam. It makes all the difference. On Earth, we have groups of terrorists killing and maiming by the hundred purely because they think that those that aren't them are decadent and against their religion, or they want everyone to follow their particular brand of politics. That's what makes them terrorists.
"But then we have groups that look to overcome a dictatorship, or who want liberation from a foreign nation, and we call them freedom fighters. Both groups will kill randomly, Sam. Both want their own way.
"If I'm doing this to free people, maybe I can live with the murders I commit - because that's surely what I'm doing. But if I'm doing it for revenge for what they did to me, to my Shau're, to Skarra, to the many generations of humans, then I'm no better than those bastards back home who will kill you because you worship a different way to them. I'm no better than the Goa'uld."
I really don't know what to say to that. Jack's at the door, as is Teal'c. They've been listening into his rant. Jack shrugs his shoulders. For once, he doesn't know what to say either. Teal'c is coming forward. He has put his hand out to Daniel.
"Daniel. Hear me. I was born a slave. The son of a slave who was murdered at the whim of a parasite. This same species of parasite still enslaves me, even though I no longer carry the scar on my forehead, no longer serve them. My own son is enslaved to its kind. Yes, people are dying in our quest to rid the galaxy of the Goa'uld. But if we succeed, and this is what you must cling to, future generations - my grandchildren - will be born free.
"How many millions have died at the hands of the Goa'uld? How many millions more will die if we do nothing?
"You speak of terrorists on Earth. They kill to make a point. They will get nothing from it, other than the hatred of their own people, those who are more tolerant, less extreme in their viewpoints. They will lose everything in the long run. They will free no one, save no future lives. All they serve is hate and evil. They are the ones who are no better than the Goa'uld. But not you, my friend.
"On Ugarit, some of the townspeople died. But now, the remainder live in peace with others of the same ancestry. In peace to live as they choose. No Goa'uld. No Jaffa. No slavery. Do you consider the price of a few lives too high for future peace and prosperity? For their children's freedom?"
"I don't know anymore," Daniel whispers. "Every single life is sacred. That is what I was taught. That is the only belief I have. Every single fucking life!" He's shouting now. "I want freedom for all, Teal'c. But I don't want anyone to die to achieve it. I know that's unrealistic and that I should grow up, okay? I know you probably all think I'm being a stupid, childish idealist for even thinking this way. But I can't help it."
Jack's walking over to him and putting his hands out, pulling Daniel into a hug. Daniel's fighting him but Jack isn't letting him go.
"We were worried about you," Jack says quietly. "Worried that you were changing."
"What do you mean?" Daniel's voice is muffled by Jack's shoulder.
"You seemed to be more of a soldier these days. Too fucking accepting of killing. Don't you get it yet, Daniel?"
"We need you to be this way, babe. We've always needed you to think like this. Yes, it's unrealistic and idealistic and so on and so forth, but Teal'c, Sam and me, we can accept the military options too damned readily. That's not always the best way to be either. We need you to balance us out. I doubt you've noticed but it takes three of us to take on one of you. And still we lose with monotonous regularity."
He makes me chuckle, even Teal'c is smiling. I think I heard a snort from Daniel too.
"You're just saying that," he says eventually.
"Uh huh. I always said you were too much for me. Surely this proves it?"
Daniel's arms are finally going around Jack's waist. Time for me and the big guy to beat a hasty retreat.
We're back. Time for that chat, I think. He's doing his best not to upset me. It's me that's upset him. I should have told him.
He's found a bottle of whisky that we've traded for and he's passed it to me. We can't sit out on the sand, it's chucking it down out there. We've built a fireplace and chimney out of stone, plastered it with a home-made cement and it seems to work quite nicely, so we're sitting in front of the fire, just him, me and the alcohol.
We're saying nothing, just taking swigs from the bottle now and then and passing it back. I hear him breathe in.
"You gonna tell me now?"
"Not much to say, Jack. I was there, being forced into the sarc on a short cycle, time after time."
"What, like a 'quick rinse'?" he jokes.
"More like the spin cycle. I was dizzy, not able to think straight. After about three or four goes, she sent Sam out of the room, got them to strip me and shoved me onto a bed."
"Hence the change of clothes?"
"Yeah. I'd have thought she'd have wanted me 'stripped, washed and brought to her tent' the way she was behaving."
"I think she liked it rough and ready."
He snorts, raises the bottle before swigging it. "I'll drink to that," he says with a grin.
He's put his arm around my shoulder and he's hugging me close. "So, did ya?"
"I fucked her," I admit. "No feeling, no passion. I didn't want to. But she told me that if I didn't she'd have Sam killed. I knew she'd want to do that anyway, but I had to distract her till you guys could rescue us."
He nods. I know he's not pissed with me for doing it.
"You didn't cheat on me," he says in understanding. "It's no different from what happened at Hera's place. I am pissed that you didn't tell me before, but not because of what you did. You had other things to contend with - misplaced guilt shouldn't be something you need to deal with now."
"It's not," I admit. "I didn't tell you because at the time I was coming down from the sarc addiction. My mind was elsewhere."
"I get that," he concedes. "You said at the time that you wouldn't be yourself, that you'd be angry and so on. Was this part of the reason?"
I'm blushing. I can feel it.
"I wanted to warn you how I might be. I knew what I'd be like when I came down. You knew what I'd be like then. But till then... When you're fit and well and high on the sarcophagus, it heightens everything, Jack. On Shyla's planet, I was in it more times than on Ugarit. I, um, oh God... I forced myself on a couple of guards."
"Yeah. Shyla wouldn't give in. I wasn't keen on her anyway. But she had a couple of nice-looking guards. I told her that I wanted them. She was shocked, but ordered them to comply. No way had they done that before."
"You fucked them?"
"Oh yeah. Your libido under those circumstances isn't the same as normal, Jack. You know when we did the fountain of youth thing with the fucking like bunnies bit after?"
"Like I'll ever forget that."
"Well, it's not like that. Then we were horny, but we were able to see the funny side, if you like. Yes, we needed to have sex almost constantly, but I wouldn't have dreamed of going with anyone to get it. It was only you that made me want it."
"Like normal then?" He's laughing as he asks.
"Yeah, like normal. Only more so."
"Good. 'Cause if you're in your right mind and you go after someone else, I'm gonna get mad."
"Same here, babe."
He's leaning in, kissing me gently on the side of my face, sending shivers down my spine.
"Do you want me to finish?"
"Go on. I've got plans."
"I'll be quick. Basically, when you're high, you want rough sex only. You want to fuck. I don't know how Shyla wasn't permanently horny - perhaps it was because she was a virgin, I don't know. But for me, I had to have sex and I didn't care who with. So, those poor guards got it in the ass. I raped them."
He's staring at me, nodding. Good. No platitudes. I know what I did and I live with that every day. He's also starting to understand why I understand his dark side, even if I don't want to acknowledge it. The same reason he doesn't want to acknowledge mine.
"With Anat, it was the same. I was still compos mentis enough to want to protect Sam, but I'd have fucked anyone else. It didn't take long for me to get to that stage. I'm guessing I'm always going to be like this if I get into a sarc for no reason."
"Why didn't you get like that at the SGC?"
"I don't know. Possibly because my mind was elsewhere. I just wanted to get back to the bastard thing. And I was coming down off it already. More dependency seems to make you need it sooner. Anyway, I didn't tell you after I came down because I was embarrassed and I wanted to forget it. I know I didn't cheat on you, not really, but at the time I was concerned about it. Forgive me?"
"Doing it. Not telling you. Whatever."
"Nothing to forgive, Daniel. Never anything to forgive, okay?"
I hope that Daniel is all right. O'Neill has been treading carefully with him since their return to Mia. I am sure that nothing happened on the space station, but I am concerned that something else has happened. Maybe it brought back bad memories for them both. O'Neill said that Anat was there. I could be something to do with that. His withdrawal from the sarcophagus was painful for them both.
"Teal'c? What's up, honey?"
"When you were on Ugarit, did something other than Daniel's sarcophagus addiction occur?"
"I'm not sure. We were separated for hours, then after she was putting him in it, they took me away again. The man that brought me the zats said she'd use him for entertainment, but given the state of his face when I saw him before his first go in it, I guessed that he meant that Daniel was being tortured."
"That could be it. Memories of the torture may be surfacing. Should we go and offer comfort to him?"
She puts her hand on my arm.
"No, honey. I think that Jack will deal with this one. If Daniel's kept this to himself up till now, whatever happened there will be something that he doesn't want to remember. Us talking to him about it now will only serve to remind him and upset him. Jack will know what to do. We have to trust him to tell us if he thinks it's something we need to know. If we don't need to know it, then forget it. I don't want to hurt Daniel any more than he's already been hurt. Sometimes, no matter how much you just want to sweep him up into your arms and hug the crap out of him, it's better to leave him be."
"I understand. I do believe that it is time to retire. Will you join me?"
"Try keeping me away," she says with a smile.
I would not try that.
I think I need to help Daniel take his mind off Ugarit. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your viewpoint, I know of only two ways of doing it. One is to get him drunk. He's nicely tipsy right now, but I think that getting him drunk will be worse than anything. At least tomorrow morning he won't have a hangover if I go with option number two. A sore ass maybe...
"Bed, Daniel. Now."
"Um, I need to take a leak."
"Hurry up. I told you I have plans for you."
"Which consist of?" His voice is trailing off as he disappears to the bathroom. That's a misnomer. We have a latrine, washing facilities (I won't call it a sink, but it's close) and a shower. We need to expand it and build a hot tub, I think.
"Hurry up and you'll find out."
He's rushing, I can tell. I'm naked and lying on the bed. I wish he'd get a real move on, I'm freezing and I need a hot body to warm me up. Make sure I've got the lube handy. Yup, there it is. The flavoured one. Yummy.
Ah, that's why he's been taking so long. He's naked. Good. Saves time here.
"So, what do you have in mind?" he asks, virtually bouncing on me.
"What do you want to do?" I throw the question back at him.
He looks at me, his eyes blackened with lust, his mouth slightly open, panting gently. I can see that he's already hard.
"You," he says, trailing a few kisses over my face. "I want to do you."
"What if I want to do you too?"
He snorts a little. "Then you've got me, babe. Any way you want me. On my back? On my front? Standing up?"
"How're you going to do me if I do you?" I ask him as I push him onto his hands and knees.
He sticks his ass up into the air and says, "Wait and see."
I can wait. I'm not going to bother with foreplay - to be frank, I'm too damned tired, and I think he wants to get to it anyway. But a little tease to start with. See if he can hold out against this assault. Where's that lube? There. Not gonna warm it up - I am such a bastard.
Yup, I am a bastard. Straight onto his ass and swiftly being prodded inside him with my tongue.
I'm doing it. Pushing my tongue inside, licking him out, cleaning that lube off him while I soak the ring with my spit. He's so wet already, his cock is dripping too. No fucking way is he going to hold out.
I go to lube myself up.
"No, just do it," he gasps.
"WHAT? Are you fucking NUTS?"
"Quite possibly. DO IT!"
Oh God. He's insane, I'm sure of it.
"Please Jack, I can take it. I want it."
Fuck. He needs it hard. All I can say is I'm glad I'm cut 'cause a foreskin would snag I'm sure. I can try to do it, but if it hurts either of us I'm pulling out of there.
He's relaxed his ass and I'm getting past the ring.
"God Jack," he moans. "So good, so fucking good."
I'm not saying a word. I can't. The heat is incredible, the friction amazing. I'm going slow, but building the speed up as he gets looser. He's pushing back onto me, urging me to fuck him hard and fast. I'm doing what I can for him but it's not easy. If I speed up, I'm gonna come. FUCK! He's just tightened his muscles. I'm coming. The bastard!
"Jeez, Daniel," I gasp as I pump into him. "You prick! Why did you do that?"
I'm lying over his back now, panting hard and sweating like a pig.
"So I can do this," he growls.
He's pushed me off him and twisted himself around. He's still hard. I am in so much trouble. What a shame.
Oh God, he's kissing me, his stubble's battling with mine. If we're not careful we're going to start a fire. Tongues clashing, he's got my head in both his hands, not letting me go as he kisses me senseless.
I'm on my back. He's got the lube, putting tons of it on himself. My legs are round his waist, it means he wants to keep kissing me. Good. I want that too. Ye-ah, he's in me. One swift movement, but carefully nonetheless. He's not going to fuck me the way he wanted me to fuck him. I know why. He wanted me to hurt him, to own him. Now he's showing that I'm his too, but more gently.
Hmm, he's back, we're kissing, his hips are merrily pounding into me. Hell, I'm getting hard again. I love this being young again. I have the experience of a forty-seven year-old in the body of a thirty-one year-old - with a part-time libido to match an eighteen year-old. This is the life.
He's noticed that I'm hardening, he's thrusting harder to match. We're not kissing now, he's kneeling up, angling himself to hit my prostate whenever he can. I'm not going to need Mia to go into orbit soon, he's going to put me there himself.
"Shit, Jack, I'm gonna come," he gasps.
"Do it," I tell him. Fuck it, I can jerk off if I have to. He hasn't touched my dick.
He's coming, grunting like a cave man as he does, his face possessive and wild to match.
"Wow," he groans as he pulls out. Oh yeah, he's slid down the bed and he's taken me in his mouth. He's panting over my dick, the hot air combined with his wet tongue are so doing it for me. More. Please?
Ohmyfuckinggod. He's arched his neck and taken me down so far his lips are on my balls. I think I'm gonna come. Right about now.
He's still asleep. Hardly a shock, after all, it is still morning. He woke me up in the night for round two. Feeling distinctly horny himself, he started jerking me off in my sleep. Not that I was asleep for long. My fingers worked on instinct, found his cock and returned the favour. I think he was asleep when we did that. I wouldn't be surprised. That guy is so full of testosterone that fucking in his sleep shouldn't be unusual. Whatever, he was snoring after we both came.
I'd get up and take a leak, maybe make him a coffee, but I can't move. He's laying across me, his head on my chest, his arms possessively holding me tight. Every time I try to move, he squeezes me tighter. I have got to go though.
"Daniel? Hey babe, wake up, please."
"Shift, will ya? I need to take a leak."
He's rolled off me at least. All I need to do now is get the blood back into my various limbs. Aw fuck, wouldja look at that? I said limbs not organs. Gimme a break, will ya?
"Coming right up, hun."
Some things never change.