'The Drake Equation' by Eos

Ever wonder what Jack and Daniel would get up to if they were marooned, alone and incommunicado, on an unknown planet with no stargate? Wonder no more!

This is an ex-zine story with adult content.


"Well, this just fucking sucks."

Daniel looked around, bewildered, while Jack ranted. They stood in the tall grass of an enormous prairie. To his left, Daniel could see the purple-gray shadow of mountains in the distance. To his right and behind him, a dark green line across the horizon hinted at a forest.

"What just happened?" Daniel finally asked, turning his head to look at Jack, who was still seething.

"One minute we're on that ship and the purple-people-eaters are telling us they don't have any more use for us and then...." Jack sighed, his face grim. "Quite honestly I expected to be dead at this point. Instead we're here."

"And here would be?"

"Damned if I know," Jack said. "You see a stargate?"

"Um…no," Daniel said apprehensively as he turned in place, surveying all 360 degrees of the horizon.

"Damn," Jack muttered. He glanced at Daniel and frowned, his look full of concern. "You okay?"

"What?" Daniel asked. Jack gestured at his own cheek.

"Oh." Daniel put his hand up to the shallow cut that crossed his right cheek, catching his lower lip and chin. He winced a little when his fingers brushed the raw surface. "It's nothing. Just a scratch."

"Right," Jack said, clearly not believing him.

"They left our packs," Daniel observed.

"Big of them," Jack said, glancing down at the packs with a scowl.

"It's better than nothing. With any luck that's all we'll need until we find the stargate. Get rescued. Something," Daniel said. He watched as Jack crouched down and started going through the packs and taking inventory of the contents.

"Something," Jack repeated, muttering.

Part 1

Four months later...

"They're not coming, are they?"

Daniel considered the question. In the beginning they'd had this conversation ad nauseam. Then the speculation and conjecture had become sporadic. At least openly.

He could feel Jack looking down at him as he sat on the ground, attempting to scrape some small skins, working them into useable condition. Shoes. Going barefoot wasn't a good option most of the time, and their boots were on their last legs.


"They don't even know where to come to," Daniel reminded him, gesturing around the place they now called home. They'd built a temporary shelter at the border where the tall grass of the prairie gave way to woodlands. And for as far as they could see in any direction, as far as they'd been able to search, there wasn't one single sign of civilization.

Jack knew the facts as well as, if not better, than Daniel. Yet this time there had been a hint of resignation in Jack's voice that Daniel hadn't heard before.

"It's been four months," Jack said. "This is longer than I was stuck on Edora."

"That was different," Daniel said. "We knew where Edora was and we would've gotten there eventually, one way or another." Daniel looked off into the distance, remembering. "We knew we'd get there. We just didn't know if you'd still be alive when we did."

"Still," Jack said. "Four months. No stargate. No way for Carter or Teal'c to know where we are."

"We don't even know where we are," Daniel pointed out. Jack scowled. "Not that we could do anything about it even if we did."

"You've been taking this all very calmly," Jack said, sounding annoyed by that fact.

"Well, I could run around wailing and gnashing my teeth but it wouldn't do any good," Daniel said pragmatically. "Besides, wailing and gnashing teeth all by yourself just looks stupid."

"I may be the only human being you'll see for the rest of your life."

Daniel let the skins dangle from his hands, forgotten, as he looked Jack over carefully. Like Daniel, Jack was dressed in his faded S.G.C. issue uniform. His hair was longer than Daniel had ever seen it before, and ragged where Daniel had cut it with the spare knife Jack had luckily had concealed in his pack. He had several days' growth shadowing his face but being somewhat anal, in Daniel's opinion, Jack never went too long without trying to scrape off the worst of the beard. Jack was, if possible, even leaner than he'd been before they'd been marooned on an uninhabited and gateless planet.

"I'll adapt," Daniel said simply.

"Anthropologists," Jack complained.

"Annoying as all hell but you gotta love us," Daniel said.

"Doesn't look like I have much choice." Daniel glanced cautiously at Jack's face, not quite certain what he'd meant by that statement. His bland expression led Daniel to believe that he hadn't meant what Daniel would've liked him to mean.

"You could pack up your toys and go...somewhere else," Daniel suggested.

"But then who would I have to complain to?"

"The squirrels seem to find you very entertaining."

"They weren't laughing at me," Jack said defensively.

"No," Daniel agreed. He didn't bother to add "but I was." Daniel knew they weren't really squirrels, of course, but the small mammals seemed to fill the same ecological niche on this planet. And they really did seem to find Jack amusing.

"I still think this may be part of a test," Daniel said.

"It's not a fucking test, Daniel. They dumped us here because they didn't have any further use for us and could not have cared less whether we survived."

"They did leave us our packs."

"Just adding insult to injury," Jack said bitterly.

Their captors, the purple-people-eaters known more formally as the Djouma, had stranded them on this world with nothing but the clothes they were wearing and their packs. Between Jack's training and Daniel's knowledge of how ancient humans had lived, they'd managed to survive in relatively good condition. Thinner and dirtier than either of them would have liked, but healthy and whole.

Unconsciously, Daniel's fingers went to trace the scar that crossed his cheek. Most of it was hidden now by a rusty brown beard. He heard Jack's angry grunt at the reminder of their captivity. In truth their physical treatment hadn't been all that harsh. Daniel's scar was the reminder of a blow that had been more accidental than deliberate. But Jack blamed himself for it, for allowing the aliens to capture them in the first place, and then not being able to get them out.

"Does it make me look dangerous?" Daniel asked, trying to lighten the mood.

"Daniel, the most dangerous thing about you is that you don't look dangerous," Jack said. "No one ever sees you coming."

"Except you."

"Sometimes not even me." Jack scrubbed at his face and sighed. "I'm gonna make a little trek. Go see if...see if there's something I haven't seen before. Should be back in a couple of days."

"There's nothing out there we haven't already seen," Daniel said quietly. All they had now was each other, and it made him nervous when they were separated. He knew Jack periodically needed a little space. Daniel just wished Jack didn't need quite so much space.

"Look at this place," Jack said. Daniel frowned to himself and continued scraping the hide. He didn't need to look. This place was all he'd seen for four months. "Moderate climate, fertile soil, abundant wildlife: there has to be some kind of intelligent life here."

"Not necessarily," Daniel said. "And even if there is—what if they're like the Djouma? What if they are the Djouma? Or the Goa'uld or...."

"Don't you want to go home?" Jack asked.

"Yes, of course I do. I just don't think we're going to find the way out there."

"Neither do I." Jack admitted almost inaudibly. He gripped Daniel's shoulder for a second. "I'll be home in a couple of days."

"We need to build some kind of more permanent shelter," Jack said a couple of days after returning from his latest trek. They were stuck here. Permanently. Time to suck it up and deal. Past time, probably, but they'd both needed to hope as long as possible.

"Something to keep the rain out would be nice," Daniel agreed.

"We need to consider the fact that the weather probably won't always be this nice. We have no idea what the winters are like around here." Jack wasn't looking forward to finding out either. The sturdy lean-to they'd built shortly after being stranded served its purpose, but it wasn't something Jack wanted to spend the rest of his life in. He could do wilderness survival when he had to, but he preferred comfort when he could get it.

"I've been thinking about that," Daniel said. "We've been here a little over four months, but so far I haven't detected any change in the weather or the length of day."

"Well," Jack said, scratching at the scruff on his chin. "It all depends on this planet's degree of tilt along the axis, our location in relation to the planet's equator.... It may simply have longer seasons."

"Or there may be no seasonal change at all."

"We can't count on that."

"No, we can't," Daniel agreed.

"It's the usual 'what do we have, what do we need?' scenario," Jack said, his mind beginning the task of re-prioritizing their needs. So far their efforts had been directed at short term survival. He'd resisted making longer term plans despite the knowledge that rescue would be long in coming...if ever.

"A stargate would be nice," Daniel suggested.

"You bet. I'll get started on that in the morning."

"Okay, so permanent shelter," Daniel said. "Food?"

"We're not doing too badly on that front," Jack said with some small pride. "We're getting fish and small…mammals."

"Rats," Daniel said dryly.

"They're not rats."

"They look like rats," Daniel insisted. Jack gave him an exasperated look. "I'm not complaining."

"I should hope not. I've seen you eat lizard before."

"Finger lickin' good," Daniel said with a nod. Jack snorted in amusement. Daniel's expression turned serious again. "We can get enough protein and fat from the meat, but we need vitamins, too."

"We've found a few fruits and veggies that are safe," Jack pointed out. "Those gooberries probably have vitamin C or something."

"Maybe," Daniel said, shaking his head at Jack's insistence on calling the tart fruit gooberries.

Jack simply shrugged. Squeezing one of the reddish-purple berries produced not a watery liquid, but a more viscous…goo. To make it drinkable they had to cut it with an equal amount of water. Jack thought gooberry was a perfectly apt name.

"But if you think the weather may turn on us, we'll need to gather extra food and find a way to store it," Daniel continued.

"Drying or smoking the meat and fish," Jack said, nodding and making a mental note of the raw materials they'd need.

"Do you know how?"

"Theoretically. I've never actually done it."


"What? You don't think I can make the leap from theory to practice?" Jack asked.

"I didn't know that you knew there was a leap from theory to practice," Daniel said, glancing sideways at Jack.

"Bite me," Jack said. Daniel just grinned as he inventoried their meager possessions.

"Clothes," Daniel said, studying the increasingly sad condition of his BDUs.

"I flunked Home Ec.," Jack informed him.

"I never took Home Ec.," Daniel countered. "And anyone who can tie a fly can surely stitch together something to wear."

"Give me something to stitch with and I'll give it a shot."

"Bone," Daniel said. Jack gave him a puzzled look. "That's what ancient people used for needles: bone."

"Okay," Jack said, thinking that it really wasn't such a bad thing to be an expert at old dead stuff.

"Well?" Jack asked. Daniel tried to wipe away the sweat that was stinging his eyes before stepping back to join Jack in surveying the result of their labor.

"Very nice.... Hut?"

"It's not a hut," Jack said indignantly. "It's a genuine log cabin."

"I know. It's just...kind of short for a cabin, isn't it?"

"Hey—find more trees of the right size and we'll make it bigger."

"I'm not criticizing, Jack. I was just making an observation. It's short."

Daniel studied the structure critically. They had fit the roughly finished tree trunks together as best they could. One side was slightly higher to allow the roof to be slanted. A crude opening at one end would be the door. Approximately twelve feet square, the space was minimal but adequate. Once the roof was on, though, they would have barely enough room to stand up. Somehow it had seemed so much taller when they'd been breaking their backs building the damn thing.

"Yeah, it's short," Jack conceded. "But at least it'll be someplace to get out of the rain. Or snow, if it comes. I thought I'd try to fix up some decent pallets for sleeping. Put a little padding between us and the ground anyway."

"Sounds good."

"You got that thatching ready?" Jack asked.

"Almost. I just need to lay out some kind of a grid for support. I'm going to try to use those vines, assuming I can find enough."

"Need a hand?"

"No, I've got it. You go ahead and work on the beds."

"If and when the weather turns, we'll need to make our fire inside. But for now I'd like to leave it outside," Jack said.

"Okay," Daniel said easily. When he could forget, for a few moments, the reality of their situation, he enjoyed the campfire. Sitting together in the growing dusk, cooking whatever food they'd managed to ensnare, dig up, or gather, watching the stars emerge in the sky.... It had its attractions.

"What's that?"

"A duck," Jack said proudly, holding up his kill for Daniel to see.

"Ducks have feathers," Daniel said. He thought that should've been self evident.

"It's an alien duck," Jack retorted. Daniel stared at the scaly creature Jack held by its feet. As far as Daniel was concerned the creature looked a lot more like a lizard than a bird.

"Where did you get it?"

"There was a whole flock of them over at the lake," Jack said, spreading one of the creature's leathery wings curiously.

Daniel frowned. The lake was only about a half mile away. One or the other of them was there on a regular basis, for bathing or fishing. The stream that ran near their encampment, and from which they took their drinking water, was too shallow and chilly for comfortable bathing. Not to mention the fact that they preferred to keep the stream as clean as possible.

"I've never seen one there before," Daniel said.

"Maybe they just flew in."

"Migratory," Daniel said thoughtfully.

"Seasonal change?" Jack asked, immediately understanding where Daniel's thoughts were going.

"I still haven't detected any difference in the length of the day," Daniel said. "Maybe they're just following their food supply."

"Maybe," Jack said grimly. "Still—wouldn't hurt to work a little harder at getting the cabin fixed up."

"I hate rain. Have I ever mentioned that I hate rain?" Jack asked, lying restlessly on his pallet and listening to the raindrops splatter on the ground outside.

"I thought you hated trees," Daniel said. He was sitting close to the door, trying to get enough of the gray light so that he could see well enough to continue weaving the coarse prairie grasses into usable mats.

"Trees," Jack agreed. "Rain and trees. And sand. And ice. I really hate ice."

"Is there anything you do like?" Daniel said, looking at Jack with one eyebrow raised, teasing.

"Minnesota," Jack said firmly.

"Minnesota has trees," Daniel pointed out.

"That's different," Jack said. He got up from the bed, grunting in disgust when he had to duck to avoid putting his head through the thatch roof. He motioned for Daniel to hand him some of the loose grass. "Those are Minnesota trees."

"And ice."

"Minnesota ice," Jack said, Daniel echoing him.

"I see," Daniel said.

"No, you don't."

"No, I don't," Daniel said, smiling to himself.

"We've got to make this place bigger if we're going to spend much time in here," Jack said. "Not just taller, although that is the first priority."

"Well, we either have to wait for weather or time to knock down more trees in the immediate vicinity, settle for using the smaller trees we can chop down, or we have to go farther to look."

"We can't go any farther than we have," Jack argued. "Any trees big enough to be worth using would be damn near impossible to drag back here."

"Well, I'm fresh out of any other ideas."

"Jesus, I'm an idiot." Jack slapped himself on the head.

"You are?"

"The river. We search upstream and all we have to do is get the trees to the river. They can float the rest of the way."

"The river goes shallow not far from here," Daniel pointed out.

"Exactly. That'll keep the damn things from floating all the way to the lake. They'll bottom out just upstream from here. It won't be that much work for us to haul them the rest of the way back."

"The river," Daniel said thoughtfully. He nodded to himself. "You are an idiot."

"Up yours," Jack said amiably.

"It'd be a lot easier if I could just get the hang of making a decent axe." One seminar on experimental archaeology did not an expert tool maker make. Daniel had managed to fashion some crude stone tools, but he didn't quite have the knack of getting a really good, sharp edge. Not one strong enough to bring down a living tree of any significant size. Of course, given that they didn't have the manpower to move trees of any significant size, his tool making skills hadn't been a huge issue yet.

"You'll figure it out eventually," Jack said, sounding unreasonably confident.

Jack walked around the side of the cabin and stopped dead.


"Huh?" Daniel said absently. He was squatting, leaning slightly forward as he added some moss into a muddy mixture sitting in a section of bark, attempting to formulate a usable chinking for the cabin. His previous attempt had turned out to be too dry; it wouldn't stick in the gaps between the logs the way it should.

"What are you wearing?"

"Um...I guess technically you'd call it a loincloth," Daniel said, glancing down at himself as if he needed a reminder of what he was wearing.

"I know that. What I meant was—why?"

"Why?" Daniel said, standing up and stretching his cramped muscles.

"Yes. Why?" Jack groaned inwardly, wishing Daniel would stop...tempting him. Because it was tempting. Jack wasn't blind after all. Nor was he dead. And he'd have to be one or the other, if not both, before he'd fail to notice that Daniel was an attractive man. Although Jack had been both blind and dead in the past, he was currently neither. So he...saw.

"Come on, Jack. Our clothes are going to wear out sooner rather than later. And the weather is so mild that most of the time I don't need to wear anything more. Truth is—I really don't even need this much, except for modesty's sake. Although, with you around, modesty is sort of a moot point."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"No idea," Daniel said. He really didn't know. Sometimes things just popped out of his mouth, most commonly when he was talking to Jack. And he didn't know why except that he was certain that it must be Jack's fault.

"That thing gives you no protection. None," Jack argued. "There are rocks and animals and bugs out there."

"I wasn't planning to wear it when we're out hunting or chopping wood or anything like that," Daniel said agreeably. "But if I'm just sitting around here...why not?"

"I worked my fingers bloody making you a pair of pants," Jack said indignantly, waving his allegedly previously bloodied hands at Daniel. "The least you could do is wear them."

Daniel got a funny look on his face, then he smiled.

"Yes, dear. And I appreciate all your efforts to keep me fully clothed," Daniel said with mock solemnity. "But I thought I'd save those for when I really need them, otherwise I'll wear them out too fast. So you see—I'm only thinking of you."

Daniel watched silently for a while as Jack moved about the cabin restlessly.

"I'm gonna...take care of some business," Jack announced finally.

"You could just do it here."

The only business Jack was going to take care of was his dick. Daniel knew that. Jack didn't bother announcing calls of nature. Why he felt the need to notify Daniel that he was going to jerk off was something beyond even Daniel's substantial understanding of the mind of Jack O'Neill.


"Just do it here," Daniel repeated, pushing an errant strand of hair behind his ear. He was offering purely out of Jack's best interest, of course. Not because he would get a cheap thrill. Not because he'd use it to fuel his own fantasies for months. Years. Possibly even for the rest of his life.

"You can't even say it," Jack taunted.

"Masturbate. Jack off. Choke the chicken. Wank. Spank the monkey," Daniel said, enunciating each word precisely. "Shall I go on?"

"Er...no," Jack said, flustered.

"We're both big boys, Jack."

"Some of us bigger than others," Jack mumbled.

"Excuse me?" Daniel waited but Jack stubbornly refused to clarify. "I'm just saying that we both have...needs, and we both know what that means. We both know what it looks like, sounds like, smells like...."

"Daniel!" Jack interrupted harshly. Daniel flushed a little himself when he noticed Jack's heightened color.


"I'm not jerking off in front of you."

"Okay. Then just ask me to leave for a while. There's no reason you have to go off in the woods," Daniel said matter-of-factly. Either way Daniel would probably be watching. Jack never wandered too far from the cabin, not in the dark. And Daniel had been honing his ability to be stealthy. He did feel bad about spying on Jack, but he had needs, too.

"No, I...uh...." Jack stammered.

"Or we could, you know, take care of each other," Daniel suggested hesitantly.

"No." Jack stared at him.

"I just meant...."

"I know what you meant. The answer is still no," Jack said firmly.

"You said it yourself, Jack. We may never see another human being for the rest of our lives," Daniel pointed out. Was it really such a horrible proposition? Even ignoring Daniel's orientation and attraction to Jack, they were alone. The only two humans on the entire planet as far as they could tell. "Do you really intend to go through the rest of your life without sex?"

"I'll blow up that bridge when I get to it. In the meantime, I'm perfectly capable of taking care of my own...needs."

"Suit yourself," Daniel said with a shrug. He didn't want to push Jack, especially not when his motives were less than pure. He just wanted to put the idea out there. He wanted Jack to know that it was an option. An option, not a demand, or even a request. Daniel would never ask Jack, even if he was the only other human being on the planet. But it was hard. And so was he.

"Judas fuckin'...."

Jack's verbal barrage of obscenities continued unabated while his mind stuck on two thoughts: how the fuck did I do that? And how the fuck do I undo that?

"Jack?" Daniel called. He came crashing through the undergrowth, stopping abruptly when he saw Jack. "Jesus, Jack! What did you do?"

"I don't know. It just...." Jack waved helplessly at the small branch he'd been trying to remove from the fallen tree. The wood had been far drier than he'd realized. It had snapped sharply under the pressure of Jack's hand, and the end of the broken branch was now imbedded in his left palm.

"It didn't go all the way through, at least," Daniel said, gently checking Jack's hand with his own careful fingers.

"Feels like it," Jack said through clenched teeth. "Well, don't just stand there. Pull the damn thing out."

"I might cause more damage if...."

"Just pull it, Daniel!"

Daniel gripped the chunk of wood firmly and pulled; Jack let out a howl.

"Oh, shit," Daniel hissed as he slapped his own hand on Jack's, pressing firmly.

"Well, that ain't good," Jack said, having seen the blood pumping briskly from his torn palm.

"C'mon," Daniel said, tugging at Jack. "We need to clean it. And the cold water in the creek may help slow the bleeding."

Jack followed wordlessly as Daniel led him to the stream. He gritted his teeth against the pain of letting the swift flow clean the wound, but the cool water did help numb his hand a little. Once he was sure that Jack wasn't going to die in the meantime, Daniel hurried back to the cabin to search for something with which to bandage the injury.

When the wound was as clean as Jack could get it—an excruciating process Jack had no desire to ever repeat—he pressed firmly against the injury with his other hand. But even as he did he realized that it wasn't going to work. The blood welled up, coating his palms and dripping out from between them, with no sign of slowing down.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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