Chapter 1 - in which Four go through The Big Round Thing
Sergeant Davis stared at the monitor with a puzzled frown.
"That's odd," he muttered to himself.
"What's odd?" came a voice from behind him.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Major Carter," he said, turning round. "Didn't realize I wasn't alone."
"Must be my cat-like tread," Sam grinned. "So what do you have for me?"
"Maybe Colonel O'Neill was interrupted before he managed to input all the co-ordinates?"
"Hm, maybe. Well, only one way to find out. I'll organize a M.A.L.P."
P2X-269 looked both intriguing and exciting. The climate proved to be ideally suited for human life. Although the oxygen level was slightly higher than on Earth, there were no contra-indications.
"Hope your allergy shots are up to date," Jack muttered as Carter prattled on.
At least Hammond seemed to be paying attention. As for Teal'c, who knew? Sam finally concluded her analysis and Daniel took over.
"Well, the pictures from the M.A.L.P. don't give away too much information, though the 'green road' seems to broaden out just before the land begins to rise. To either side, you can just make out a single storey building through the trees."
"Guard posts?" Jack asked.
"Could be, although we haven't seen any actual guards. Because of the limited view, Sam followed it up with a U.A.V."
"I already said that," Sam muttered under her breath, a slightly peeved look on her face.
"Ah yes, Sam. Just wanted to make sure everyone got that."
"Good save," Jack grinned.
"Well anyway, the U.A.V. footage is much more useful. As you see, there are green roads linking up agricultural settlements. About three klicks from the 'Gate, there's a fair sized town and about another - oh, four klicks - beyond that, there's what looks like a major city. As far as we can tell through the early morning mist, this planet looks to have early Greek influences. The city is built at the base of what might be an ancient volcanic feature with a citadel and temple complex on the top, very much like the Acropolis at Athens. Now, bearing in mind the - the vast influence of the Greek civilization..."
At which point Jack tuned out what Daniel was saying and just allowed the soothing sounds of his voice to wash over him. He leaned back in his chair, alternately fiddling with his pen or doodling. Fiddling allowed him to watch Daniel's lips and fantasize a little; doodling took his attention away from Daniel's face. It wouldn't do to stare fixedly at him throughout. It might give the wrong impression, or rather, people might get the right one. Ah, there was his cue to pay attention again.
"...and in conclusion, I think we should arrange a mission to P2X-269. If this is a Hellenistic world that hasn't been visited by the goa'uld, who knows how far it could have developed unhindered?"
"You make a good case, Doctor Jackson. Colonel O'Neill, Teal'c, do you have anything to add?"
"I'm only a little concerned by the limited amount of open ground around the 'Gate. All those... trees... look very handy for setting up an ambush, sir."
"I concur, General Hammond, although no one has yet come to investigate the arrival of the M.A.L.P., nor has the U.A.V. picked up any signs of movement in proximity to the 'Gate."
"Very well, people, you have a go. And take care."
...... "Ya know," Jack remarked as S.G.-1 waited for the 'Gate to be activated, "I'm really not sure this is such a good idea."
"Why not Jack?"
"Well, look at all the 'superior' races we've already encountered - and what have we got to show for it?"
"Squat! That's what."
"So we've just been unlucky so far," Daniel replied.
"Doesn't mean every race we meet is going to think that way," he went on, "and when the only thing..."
"... we show any interest in is advanced weaponry, it's hardly surprising."
"What's your point?"
Daniel was about to say with extreme sarcasm, "Well, you wouldn't put a loaded gun in the hands of a child, now would you?" but managed to catch the comment before it detonated.
"They - ah - they might have other technologies we could use that they would be willing to share," he offered instead, his pulse racing at the thought of what he'd so nearly said.
"Daniel Jackson is correct, O'Neill. Your superior races seem merely desirous of not repeating previous errors."
Once the wormhole had stabilized, Teal'c continued. "Your own Government is extremely unwilling to allow your nuclear technology to fall into the hands of those who would misuse it."
Teal'c inclined his head and gave Jack a long hard stare. "Is it?" he asked.
"Oh, for crying out loud!" Jack muttered, stalking past his team, adding loudly, "Okay, folks, let's ship out."
The other three exchanged looks and followed him up the ramp and through the event horizon.
P2X-269's Stargate stood upon a large circular paved platform As each member of S.G.-1 stepped through the 'Gate, a tiny twin-pointed missile attached to a slender thread shot up out of the platform's rim. It homed in on bare flesh. A sharp electrical jolt knocked out each new arrival.
Chapter 2 - "Et in Arcadia ego."
The rectangular white-walled room had a window in the shorter wall to his left, and a door in the wall opposite it. Along the wall facing him were shelves with bottles, jars, packages and such like on them, and free-standing cabinets. A desk across the corner near the door faced the beds, all lined up along the fourth wall. The four hospital-like beds had raised side guards which, like the beds themselves, were made of wood, not metal.
He was on the bed nearest the door. To his left was Daniel, then Carter and finally Teal'c nearest the window through which could be seen a high bank of flowering shrubs somewhat like rhododendrons. They were all wearing short creamy-white tunics belted at the waist with soft white cotton cord. There was no sign of their own clothes. Or weapons. Daniel and Carter were beginning to rouse.
A hand on his shoulder made him whip round wildly. He saw a tall handsome lady smiling down at him. He hadn't heard her come in. She had golden brown skin and dark curly hair. Her chiton, a type of ankle-length tunic, was made of the same creamy-white material as his own and likewise cinched in at the waist. Recalling Greek statuary, his mind leapt from 'goddess' to 'goa'uld' in an instant.
Twisting, he tried to grab the nearest hand. Daniel cried out, "What're you doing, Jack?" But Jack wasn't quick enough. He felt a slight prick in the side of his neck and heard a faint hiss. The site began to tingle though not unpleasantly.
Using a small cylindrical device, the lady had injected him with something. The effect felt like a cocktail of morphine, muscle relaxant and hashish. He slipped limply back on to the bed with a pixilated smile on his face.
Daniel pushed himself up on to one elbow and looked around. Another lady of similar appearance had entered the room - or ward. She came over and stood between his bed and Jack's. Daniel looked up into her face a little warily. She seemed very tall - at least six foot.
"Is he... is he going to be okay?" he asked.
The lady looked at him with her head on one side. Her face had a pleasant expression. It wore a questioning look.
"Ah, I... guess you don't speak English. No reason why you should, I suppose." He had a stab at classical Greek. The lady looked amused.
"Daniel?" came a sleepy voice from his other side, "Having trouble?"
"Ah, just a little, Sam. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. These people could have come here three thousand years ago. Languages change, mutate. If you heard Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' spoken in the original Middle English, it would be difficult to understand, and that's only going back six hundred years.
"Ye are the folc of the Tau'ri?" the lady said suddenly, taking him by surprise.
A giggle came from Jack. "Fly-catching, Danny!" Daniel hastily closed his mouth.
"We haff heard well of you," the lady went on with a lilt in her voice that hinted at Scandinavian.
Who might speak well of the Tau'ri, Daniel wondered. "You know the Asgard!" he exclaimed.
"We do. Gerd comes to see us here sometimes."
"Tell him to give my regards to Thor. Name's O'Neill - two 'l's - great sense of humor!"
"Her, Jack. Gerd's female."
"Gerd knows Thor. It is from Thor that we haff heard of the Tau'ri."
"He mention me?" Jack asked chattily.
"Jack, you're not helping, here. But - at least we're communicating."
"Comm you nick ate... ingas...?"
"Ah, that's from Latin. ...And likely you left before the Romans came on the scene. No, wait. You know the Asgard. They know Latin - sort of."
"Yes. The language - er - the speech of the Ancients - the Old Ones..."
"Guess you don't know them?"
"We know of the Old Ones. Fjörl's folc haff told us of them, but we do not know them and we do not know their speech."
"Fjörl's people?" Daniel said, his brow furrowing as he grasped for an obvious yet elusive link.
"Yes. They help us, so we haff learned their speech. It is like thy speech - a little."
"Well, that's... good. Um, guess we'd better introduce ourselves. I am Daniel, and this is Sam. The man with the gold tattoo - er mark," Daniel said indicating his forehead, "is Teal'c, and that is Jack."
"You have heard of me!" Jack crowed, grinning from ear to ear.
"No, she hasn't, Jack. She's just confused because you have two names."
"Hey, so have you!"
"Yes, Jack, I know that," Daniel said patiently, "but I thought it would be simpler to stick to just the one name for now." To the lady, he continued, "I'm sorry, he isn't usually like this... Quite. Can you - er - make him normal - um - as he was?"
The lady's eyes twinkled as she laughed.
"It will soon go," she said, pointing to the side of her neck. "I am Demris. That is Zephra. Jack tried to harm her. That is why she did it."
"No, Jack wouldn't harm her."
"I know. He was in fear."
"Actually, she's right... sort of," Jack responded with a rueful smile, sitting up. "I was disoriented, and I thought she was a goo'ld."
"Yes Daniel, a goo'ld. She looks like one of those statues of Greek goddesses, and if you change the hair color, it - she - could be Osiris. I was just trying to protect us."
Daniel looked up at Demris and explained, "to keep us safe."
Jack shot him a puzzled look.
"Bear with me, Jack. Their language has changed so much that I don't have a handle on it. Fortunately - amazingly - they speak some sort of early English but seem to be missing words of Latin derivation. Glad to have you back to your usual snarky self, by the way."
"Up yours, too, Jackson!"
Daniel saw Jack's affronted expression and lost it.
"God, no!" he cackled, and went on to explain the concept of surnames.
"Excuse me," Sam said as he finished, "but shouldn't Teal'c be coming round by now?"
"Teal'c is not like you three," Demris said.
"A Jaffa," Zephra interrupted, looking stern. "We know that."
"Whoa! You know the Jaffa?" Daniel exclaimed, and turning to Sam he went on, "I thought you said the co-ordinates of this world weren't on the Abydos cartouche."
"They aren't," Sam said, very puzzled. "I... I thought the goa'uld had never come here...?"
"They do not come often," Zephra said. "When they do, we send them back through the stone ring."
"You do?" Jack asked, suddenly interested. Daniel saw the direction his mind was headed - could almost hear the cogs clunking round.
"Jack, just don't mention"
"Big honkin' space guns?" Jack mouthed.
"Right. Because if they do have - them - then probably they won't want them getting into the hands of"
"'Kay. Just so's we've got that cleared up. So - how do you send them back through the ring?"
Daniel rolled his eyes and Sam grinned.
"I mean, don't they try to stop you?"
"No." Seeing Jack's disbelieving look, Zephra went on, "All who come through the stone ring are - are sent to sleep. Those who come with ill-will are sent back."
"And we don't come with ill-will so you let us stay?" Daniel asked.
"That is right," Demris smiled.
"So what about Teal'c," Sam persisted.
"We were not yewiss about him. He came with you, yet there is ill-will within him."
"No. That's not Teal'c, that's his symbiote."
Demris looked enquiringly at Sam. "Simm be oat?"
Sam sighed ruefully. Presumably the Jaffa hadn't been kept around long enough for the locals to learn how they functioned. With help from Daniel, she explained about Teal'c and about Jaffa in general.
"So the 'ill-will' inside Teal'c stays inside. It won't harm you," Daniel finished.
"Then he may stay here," Zephra agreed.
"Thank you," Daniel smiled. "Ah, may I ask where 'here' is?"
"Indeed thou mayst. This land is called Arcadia in our speech."
Chapter 3 - in which Daniel puts two and two together.
Once Teal'c had recovered, S.G.-1 was conducted to a reception room in the same building.
He hadn't been too happy when he'd discovered that his own clothing - and other things, specifically his P90 and stash of C4 - were being 'kept safe' until he and his friends returned through the stone ring. Daniel saw the incipient signs of O'Neill obduracy and kicked him.
"Hey! What was that for?" Jack whined.
"Let's just not get off on the wrong foot here," Daniel said in a low voice. "We haven't been threatened"
"We got knocked out!"
"Precisely. If they'd wanted to kill us, they'd have done it already, so let's not offend our hosts, all right?"
The look on Jack's face said it was far from all right, but at least he stopped making an issue of it. Demris had left them while Zephra was taking them to the reception room. She rejoined the team shortly afterwards bearing a large tray laden with assorted fruits, sweetmeats, an earthenware flagon and four earthenware goblets. Once their four visitors were comfortably settled, the two ladies withdrew to see the Horse Theyn and the Spell Theyn.
"'Horse Thain'? 'Spell Thain?' Daniel, what the heck are they?" Jack asked.
"Ah, well, I suspect the Horse Theyn may be something like a - a logistics officer"
"Logistics? With horses?"
"So I'm thinking no big honkin' space guns?"
"It would seem to be unlikely, O'Neill," Teal'c agreed mildly.
"And a Spell Thane? Please tell me they're not into Voodoo, Daniel," Jack begged.
"That would be highly unlikely, Jack, given that Voodoo is based on the island of Haiti. I'm thinking that 'spell' is the nearest word Zephra could find to 'message', so possibly he's something like a communications officer."
"Pigeon post, huh?" Jack grunted. He looked round at his team. "Okay, then what do we have here? I'm open to ideas. Carter, you've been very quiet. What do you make of these Harkonnens?"
"I think that's Arcadians, sir," Sam responded, smothering a smirk.
"The Harkonnens live on the planet of Arakis, O'Neill, not Arcadia."
"Welcome to the dark side, Colonel. I see Teal'c's finally managed to lure you into the joys of science fiction," Sam grinned, picking up on the 'Dune' reference.
"Damn! Busted!" Jack returned the grin. "So what do you got, Carter?"
"Well, I'm a little confused, sir. The use of wood and earthenware suggests a fairly low-level of technology, and this material," she said, running the edge of her robe through her fingers, "feels natural, like a soft cotton, not an artificial fiber. Also, the usual off-white color suggests that it's unbleached yet this has not only been dyed, it's been dyed mauve. Mauve is a synthetic dye which wasn't developed on Earth until the nineteenth century."
"Okay, but please - spare us the science lecture, would ya?" Jack interrupted, suspecting yet another Carter excursion into arcane mysteries. "What further light can you shed? And make that the quick 'n' easy flashlight version, not the full stadium lights."
"Right," Sam said, her face taking on its prim expression. "Well, although at first sight, they seem to be less technologically developed than we are, they do seem to be fairly close to us in medical developments. They may even be a little ahead of us in fact, judging by that neat little device they use instead of a hypodermic syringe. I didn't get a very good look at it when Zephra used one to rouse Teal'c, but it seemed to be made of glass or maybe even plastic. And the drugs they use seem pretty effective."
"Yeah, tell me about it!" Jack exclaimed. "That was a real doozey of a slug that Zebra woman stuck in my neck."
"Yet it didn't render you unconscious," Daniel commented.
Jack looked thoughtful for a moment. "Ya know, I ought to have a killer of a headache after that, but I don't. In fact, I feel fine."
"Me too," Sam agreed, "in spite of being knocked out as soon as we came through the 'Gate."
"Yeah, about that. What happened exactly?" Jack asked. "It felt like I'd been zatted."
"I don't know, Colonel, but it doesn't seem in keeping with the rest of what passes for technology here. Maybe it was already in place when the Arcadians first came here and they just make use of it."
"Like the goo'ld?" Jack demanded. "They take advantage of other people's tech. and stuff."
"I haven't sensed anything like that since we came here," Carter said.
"Nor have I," Teal'c concurred.
"Of course!" Daniel exclaimed as the elusive link he'd been seeking suddenly arrived front and center in his mind.
"What?" Jack asked, all at sea.
"Fjörl's people! The Old English for the people associated with a particular chieftain is 'ingas'. Fjörl-ingas... They're the Furlings!"
"Wow," Sam said softly. "One of the four advanced races. That would make sense. The low-tech stuff is Arcadian and the high-tech stuff is Furling."
"Which raises two questions," Jack said. "How will the Furlings react to us, and do they have any big hon"
"But we need advanced weaponry."
"There are other things we need more," Daniel insisted.
"Oh sure. Allies. Folks that're great with the fancy talking, and nowhere in sight when we actually need them! How many times have we had to save the world by own efforts? Tell me that!"
"If we managed without them, then we didn't really need them, did we? And when we did, they were there Thor's people when you got the knowledge of the Ancients downloaded into your brain - Bra'tac on Klorel's ship. His men gave their lives in our cause," Daniel said fervently. "What more do you want?"
Jack was silent.
"A-a-and look at this world. We thought the goa'uld didn't know about it, but they must do, or how would Zephra have known about Jaffa? Yet Sam and Teal'c have no sense of any goa'uld here."
"Well, maybe not here here but"
"Let me tell you something about the original Arcadians. They were a rustic people, living lives of pastoral simplicity. They'd be a pushover for a small bunch of rogue Girls Scouts, let alone an army of Jaffa. Yet what was the first thing we saw through the M.A.L.P.?"
"Yes, Jack, trees. And other plants, all carefully tended, yet arranged to look as if they'd grown naturally. And the U.A.V. transmissions. There was no sign of heavy industry that I could see. How about you, Sam?"
"You're right, Daniel," Sam replied, impressed by his observations, "and now you mention it, the sensors pick up hardly any trace of the atmospheric pollution we have back home. The mist was just uncontaminated water vapor - with hygroscopic dust particles, of course."
"Of course," Jack muttered.
"And another thing," Daniel went on earnestly, "there's no meat in the food they've provided. It all adds up to a gentle, peace-loving race of people living unmolested in harmony with nature. Unmolested, Jack. Think about it."
"So... the Furlings are protecting them?"
"It makes sense, sir."
"It also makes sense to act purely as representatives of a trading nation," Daniel continued, pushing his advantage. "Maybe they'll introduce us to the Furlings. We offer to trade with them, too - there must be something we have that they could use. Once we've established friendly diplomatic relations, then we can see about negotiating some sort of defence strategy."
"You are one devious little shit, Doctor Jackson," Jack said giving him a long hard look.
"Like that's news, sir?" Sam murmured under her breath.
Chapter 4 - Travelling hopefully
Demris and Zephra soon returned.
"Come with us, an ye will," Zephra said with a smile. "We will take you to Mantinea, to the Simbouleon Megaron, to meet some of our Simbouloi."
"What's that, Daniel?" Jack demanded under his breath.
"Ah, something to do with their council - councillors - or something. I think," Daniel replied as they rose and followed the two Arcadians.
"I told you, the language has changed a great deal since they left Earth."
"So how come you understood that?"
"I'd guess that official words have changed less than most. Think about it, Jack. Back home, it's the youth culture that plays around with language and makes new words. The old folks try to preserve the old ways, and the ones in power are most likely to succeed in that. Guess that's what's happened here."
"A-and words carved in stone - say on the front of an important building - would be a constant reminder of the original forms."
The four looked around as they left the single storey building to which they'd been taken. It had white walls, a red pantiled roof and a covered colonnade across the front providing shelter above the entrance.
A perron led down to a driveway of creamy water-worn pebbles. Wooden tubs and boxes flanking the driveway overflowed with cascades of tastefully chosen flowering plants. Butterflies danced around them. The area was attractively surrounded by trees and shrubs, much as the 'Gate was, though of the 'Gate there was no sign.
As S.G.-1 followed the two ladies down the three shallow steps of the perron they heard, above the apparently ceaseless birdsong, the sound of wheels on the pebbles. Two conveyances came smartly around the building, putting the birds to flight and causing raised eyebrows from O'Neill and Teal'c. They pulled up beside the visitors. Each was drawn by two bay horses in tandem, the lead horse ridden by a tunic-clad youth.
The vehicles consisted of a sturdy wicker carriage, rather like an old-time shopping basket, with padded bench seats to front and rear. The sides were low in the central section to allow ease of access. Four polished wooden poles, set into the rounded wickerwork 'corners', supported a green and white striped awning intended to provide some shelter from sun or rain.
When everyone was settled - Jack and Daniel with Demris in one vehicle and Sam and Teal'c with Zephra in the other - they set off.
"How much do you know about us? About the Tau'ri?" Daniel asked.
"Yes, what's Thor been saying about us?" Jack chimed in.
"That ye are mighty beornas."
"I think in this case, Jack, it probably means warriors." To Demris, Daniel continued. "We can be - ah, mighty... beornas - if we have to be, but we are also explorers - um - we... we seek new worlds and new friends. We're traders - cheapmen. We're scholars, too - oothwittan? - and I'd really like to learn all I can about your people. Folc."
"I feel thy seeking for knowledge, Daniel. I am glad to help thee."
The rest of the journey was spent in a halting exchange of information using Demris's second language and Daniel's fifteenth. He was forced to draw on several other languages from time to time, and his expressive hands also added to the texture of their communication. Jack sat back, quietly enjoying watching the linguist at work.
Daniel was in his element, despite having his language skills taxed to the limit. He learned that Arcadia was indeed an idyllic world. According to their history, Fjörl's folc - the Furlings - had secretly watched over them and protected them in Hellas on the first world, Gaia. Demris was amazed when Daniel identified the first world as the world from which he had just come.
The Furlings, a race so secretive as to make the Nox seem like a New Orleans jazz band by comparison, were forced to reveal themselves to the Basileus, or king, when catastrophe threatened. Invaders were coming to take the Arcadians' land and to destroy them. They had to flee immediately. This much was known. How the Basileus was convinced by what the Furlings said, and how they brought the Arcadians to the new world - Gaia-Koree - were the subjects of myth and legend.
Since then, the Furlings had continued to be their protectors and their friends - more openly now. They provided what Daniel took to mean manufactured goods in exchange for the produce of the land. Thus Arcadia remained unspoilt by heavy industry and the Arcadians could concentrate on the things they did best - agriculture, viticulture, the arts and medicine.
Jack, who had spent most of the journey between threat-assessment of the green idyllic scenery and appreciation of the beguiling voice of the peaceful explorer at work, couldn't help butting in eventually.
"What about weapons?" he asked, ignoring a sharp elbow in the ribs from Daniel. "Do the Furlings give you those too?"
"Weapons?" Demris replied, puzzled. "We haff no need of weapons."
"Course you do! Everyone needs weapons of some sort."
"Why would we need weapons, Jack? Their only mundyen is to harm and... and to kill. No one wants that."
"So when bad guys"
"come, what do you do?"
"We send them back through the stone ring."
"We already know that, Jack," Daniel said with a minatory scowl.
"Yeah, but how do you know where they come from to send them back?" Jack asked suspiciously.
"The stone ring knows."
"It does? How?"
"I do not know. Fjörl's Folc haff made the stone ring keep us safe."
"Oh. Okay, so what happens when they come in ships?"
"Yeah, from the skies."
"Yeah, you know. Big things that fly through the air."
"Geesen?" Demris asked looking baffled.
"Geese. Jeez, Jack, I would've thought even you could work that one out!"
But Jack was nothing if not persistent where weaponry was concerned.
"You know, machines that go like this," he said stretching his arms out and making death glider noises.
Daniel was laughing now. "Give it up, Flyboy. She obviously hasn't got a clue what you're talking about."
"Hey, it worked for you with the weird little bald, white, naked guys on P J 2... whatever!"
"Only because they'd actually seen the U.A.V. If they hadn't, I'd've gotten the same reaction from them as you're getting from Demris. Give. It. Up, Jack!"
So Jack flopped back in his corner with a sour expression on his face.
"I think your friendship needs some healing, Daniel," Demris said, looking concerned. "Ye should talk about how ye feel. It will help the healing."
"I can see what he means, though," Daniel said. "In my land, everyone can have a gun - that's a kind of weapon, to defend - wereth - himself."
"But these... gunnen... can be for onsetten, too?"
"Yes, they can."
"And folc are killed?"
"So gunnen are a bad thing?"
"Yes, they are."
"Shush, just a minute, Jack. You see, Demris, if you are small and weak, you are a target for those who are big and strong."
"Yes, thank you, Jack - and bad."
"Ye have small folc?"
"You do not?"
"There is little missenliekness in height. Our men are a hand's length taller than we are. But even if some of your people are small, is it not better to stop the men afore they kill, and put right what is wrong that makes them kill?"
"Well, if we could tell beforehand what they plan"
"Ye cannot?" Demris asked in surprise.
"No," Daniel said, a little puzzled. "Wait. You can?"
"What? You read minds?" Jack demanded, sitting up sharply and leaning forward in concern at the security implications.
Demris smiled. "I have not been reading thy mind, Jack. I cannot."
"Having trouble finding it?" Daniel grinned.
"There is little need to read minds. It is rude to do so. Only if there is a bad misdeed do we call for the mind readers."
"Then how do you know if someone plans to do a bad thing?"
"We read feelings, Daniel. We know when someone is feeling sad - or bad - afore it shows on the outside, so we put it right afore harm is done."
"Cool," Jack put in. "However, we can't do that, so we really do need weapons. And then there are the goo'ld - very, very bad g men... snakes. Whatever. They just turn up and start shooting. Bad. Very, very bad."
"I see. I am sorry we cannot help you in your fight against them."
"We do seek other things besides weapons," Daniel continued, while Jack - yethwertan again - resigned himself to the watcher's role. "I think you have other things we could trade, and if not, I hope we can still be friends?"
"I hope so too," Demris smiled.
Chapter 5 - in which Daniel smells a rat
By now, the two vehicles were entering Mantinea. There were no city walls. Most of the white-walled, red-roofed, villa-style dwellings had one storey only, and were surrounded by attractive gardens.
The Simbouleon Megaron or Council House was one of a large complex of white buildings all connected by covered colonnaded walkways. The Simbouleon Megaron itself was one of the few buildings that had a second storey and was significantly more ornate with fluted columns supporting a triangular pediment.
The two Arcadian women led S.G.-1 up the steps of the perron, through the portico and into a large airy reception hall. Here, they left their guests in the care of three tall youths dressed in tunics, and went off to announce their presence to Leandros, the Archisimboulos or Chief Councillor.
The team was seated on carved stone benches around the circular hall. To help the time pass more pleasantly, the youths kept them supplied with more food and water. This gave them time to take in their surroundings. Other Arcadians took notice of them too, bowing and smiling as they passed. Presumably the pale mauve robes caught the eye.
Like the first building, it had white walls, but this hall had a beautifully patterned floor made from polished marble of different types and colors. It echoed to the sound of quiet voices and the slap of sandaled feet as people passed through. Flowering plants growing in tubs placed at intervals around the hall, or cascading from stoneware pots in niches, filled the air with a sweet fragrance.
It was certainly a pleasant place to dally though Jack, unsurprisingly, was inclined to fidget. Fortunately, Demris soon returned to take them to an audience chamber to meet the Archisimboulos.
Leandros was several inches taller than Teal'c, but of a more sinewy build like Jack. His curly black hair was cut short and was showing a sprinkling of silver in places. He was wearing a creamy-white robe over an ankle-length tunic. The only part of his appearance that denoted his high office was an inch-wide border of gold embroidery to his robe.
Daniel had noticed that most of the women and the older men wore long tunics while the younger, and more active people like themselves had short ones. They seemed to follow Henry Ford's school of thought - any color so long as it was white.
The meeting with Leandros went very well - mostly. It helped that Jack had got the message about big honkin' space guns and the like. He and Teal'c opted for a guided tour of the city, including a climb up to the acropolis, leaving Daniel to deal with the minutiae of the visit. In this, he was assisted by Sam who was very interested in the anomalies in the scientific development of Arcadia.
In the absence of any threats from outside, and likewise the lack of a need to develop heavy - or even light - engineering, thanks to Furlings, the Arcadians had focused all their talents on medicine. Sam was amazed to learn that the average life-span was around two hundred and fifty years. Ill health was unknown. Problems were fixed at a genetic level.
"If you live so long," Sam asked, "why do you not have a big population?"
"Many children," Daniel put in.
"Gaia-Koree must be weardoden."
"Earth's daughter must be protected, yes. So you limit - er, put mearcas - on how many children you have?"
"That is so, Daniel," Leandros replied. "When one of the elders can no longer be kept alive in happiness, he goes to Elussion."
"The Elysian Fields."
"Then a new child may be shurpen."
"Shurpen? Created..." Daniel said warily, "as in 'eugonismos'?"
"Oigonzima? Yes," Leandros agreed, smiling benignly.
"Daniel?" Sam asked, concerned by the sudden chill in Daniel's demeanor.
"Eugenics, Sam," he responded grimly, remembering their last mission, and the people of Euronda. Leandros looked puzzled.
"Maybe eugenics means something different here, Daniel," Sam suggested. Seeing the adamantine look in his eye she went on, "Find out, Daniel. You may be jumping to the wrong conclusion."
It proved difficult to ascertain the facts using only mutated forms of Old English and Ancient Greek, but between linguist and non-medical scientist, they came to some sort of understanding. From what they gathered, both parents contributed D.N.A. which was combined in a single cell in the equivalent of a Petri dish. Once this fertile cell had begun to divide, it was checked for faulty genes.
At this point, Daniel began to simmer until it was explained that no individual, once created, was ever discarded. The faulty gene was simply corrected, or replaced with a different one from the relevant parent if that was not possible. The child-to-be was then implanted in the parent and carried to term normally. It did not affect the personality of the child; it just provided him or her with a healthy body that functioned correctly.
The child was checked regularly during the gestation period. Abortion was never an issue as any problems that occurred were dealt with before or immediately after birth, and all children were created because they were wanted. As a result, all children were strong and healthy with a long life expectancy, and the planet could support her population without undue strain.
With Daniel mollified, the discussion continued along more conventional - and more friendly - lines, fortunately for the success of the evening's entertainment.