"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
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
"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
"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.
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
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
"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
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
"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
"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."
"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 iswhat 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
"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,"
"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
"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
"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.
"We're not doing too badly on that front," Jack said
with some small pride. "We're getting fish and small
"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
"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
"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
"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
"Heyfind 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."
"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
"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
"Maybe," Jack said grimly. "Stillwouldn'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
"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."
"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
"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
"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
"I know that. What I meant waswhy?"
"Why?" Daniel said, standing up and stretching his
"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 isI really don't even need this much,
except for modesty's sake. Although, with you around, modesty is sort of a moot
"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 seeI'm only thinking of you."
Daniel watched silently for a while as Jack moved about the
"I'm gonna...take care of some business," Jack
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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 itan
excruciating process Jack had no desire to ever repeathe 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.
Eos' Home Page
F.D.A.S. Archive Index Page