Chapter 10 - The Devil You Know...?
Daniel sat beneath the guardroom window for sometime, shaking. He felt cold and numb inside. Of course he'd killed before - in self-defence - in the heat of battle - and those whose lives he'd ended had known their danger.
Now he'd struck down two men who'd had no chance of defending themselves against him - he'd just snuffed them out as easily as a candle flame - alive one moment, dead the next.
But what had really appalled him was that he'd enjoyed the killing.
Softly spoken words drifted unbidden into his mind: "There is only one thing we can truly control - whether we are good or evil."
Daniel gave a mirthless laugh that cracked into a sob, and buried his head in his hands.
~ Hey Bro', you O.K.? Your eyes is leaking. Can I fix it? ~
~ No! - damn you! You've already done enough! ~
~ Gee, Bro', I thought you was getting to like it... ~
~ Aaarghh! I did enjoy it, and I shouldn't have done! Hell, outside sex, nothing has ever felt so good in my life! ~
~ So what's your beef, Bro'? ~
Daniel dragged a corner of the blue robe across his face and sighed mournfully. He tried to pull together a scramble of unwelcome thoughts.
~ Well, you see, Danny, you do evil things in innocence... because you aren't aware of anything other. I wanted to be your mentor - to teach you that there's a better way. I knew it wouldn't be easy - Christ, it takes human children years to become responsible for their actions - And I fell at the first hurdle.... I did an evil thing two evil things - knowing that they were evil... And I didn't CARE! ~
~ Yeah but - they was bad people, Bro' ~
~ We don't know that. We - I - passed judgement on them. I played God with their lives...! Don't you see, Danny, I had no right to do that! ~
~ Well... if you say so, Bro'. Say Bro', didn't you wanna rescue your other brothers...? ~
Reluctantly, Daniel pulled himself to his feet. He had to confront his demons - check out the guard room. No one paid any attention as he sidled along the alleyway and slipped through the doorway.
Looking at the headless corpses - and the decapitated heads, the expression on one frozen in terror - he almost barfed. Forcing himself to focus on the task in hand, he rummaged through the chests stacked at the back of the room. Yes, S.G.-1 must be here.
He pulled out four combat jackets, several P90s, 9mils., and a couple of zat guns, then retrieved Teal'c's staff weapon which had fallen down behind the chests. Too much to carry. He settled on the 9mils and the zat guns for starters, and returned, unobserved, to the alleyway.
It wasn't difficult to associate the opening in the wall with the cell from which the prisoner had been dragged. He lay down among the vegetation and peered through the hole.
It took a while before his eyes adapted to the darkness and could make out anything in the cell below him. The figures within seemed to be on the far side, gathered around the door.
"Jack," he called softly.
There was no response.
One of the shadowy figures turned, looking round but not at the window.
"I'm here, Jack."
"Oh great! Now I'm hearing voices! The ghostly presence of Daniel Jackson returns. Funny - hadn't noticed any air-conditioning in here!"
"I'm not a ghost, Jack. Want a 9mil.?"
"I said, 'want a 9mil.?' Or would you prefer a zat gun? Erm, look up. I'm outside the window."
Jack looked straight at him then.
"What the Hell! Daniel...?" he breathed, as if unable to believe his eyes.
"Yeah. Live and - um - kicking ass."
"Well, you son of a gun!"
Sam and Teal'c joined Jack below the window.
"He's dead but he damned well won't lie down!" Jack exclaimed.
"Daniel?" Sam's eyes were round with wonder. Teal'c raised an amazed eyebrow.
"Ah, ye-es. Now would you like to get out of there, or shall we just chat amongst ourselves?"
"Um, did you say 9 mils.?"
Daniel passed the 9mils and the zat guns down through the window.
"If you promise you won't shoot me, I'll come down and let you out."
"Shoot you?" Jack responded. "Would there be any point? You still don't seem to have gotten the hang of dying..."
Chapter 11 - Learning Curve... Lessons in Love?
Daniel hurried back down the steps and into the dark passageway. A much bemused S.G.-1 were released in short order, and followed the blue feathered one up to the guardroom to collect the rest of their gear.
"Geez! What happened here?" exclaimed O'Neill, looking at the remains of the guards in surprise.
"Ah, I'd rather not talk about that right now, Jack, if you don't mind."
"O Ka-ay," O'Neill said with a sidelong look at Daniel. "And the - er - costume, too?" he added, gesturing at the plumed headdress and the robe with his 9mil. "It's it's very you, by the way..."
"It is very pleasing to see you return, DanielJackson," Teal'c said, retrieving his staff weapon.
Sam looked searchingly into Daniel's face, then took hold of his arms as if to assure herself that they were solid - that he was real.
"Well, I thought I was past being surprised by anything," she said wonderingly, "Or am I going to wake up and find it's all just a dream?"
She bit her lip to quell the tears that were threatening to fill her eyes.
"No, it's not a dream, Sam. It's really me," Daniel reassured her, giving her a brotherly hug. "Anyway, I guess we'd better get out of here before the rest of the guards come back. We can catch up on the how and the why later."
~ Hey Bro', how come your brother's so... lumpy? ~
~ Ah, that would be because he's a she ~
~ A she? ~
~ Yes, now can we talk about this later, Danny? We really don't have time to hang around ~
~ O.K., that's cool ~
Daniel had slight misgivings as he felt Danny disappear on another voyage of exploration around his mind, but turned his attention to the job in hand.
"So, Jack, is this a recon. mission?" he asked.
"Well that's how it began. However..." Jack replied, frowning.
"There's a 'however'?"
"Yes, Daniel, there's a 'however'. It's called Jonas Quinn," Jack scowled.
"Quinn? From Colona?"
"That Quinn, yes."
"Why did you bring him along?"
"Well, believe it or not, Daniel, he is your replacement."
"Don't ask me. I wanted... Anybody else. But The Powers That Be, wa-ay up above decided it had to be Quinn. I suspect Senator Kinsey had a hand in it. Reckon he thinks Quinn'll mess up so much that we'll have to close the Stargate for good."
"Oh, that's a bit harsh, isn't it, Jack?" Daniel asked, casually glancing round. "Ah, where is he by the way?"
"That's a good question."
"It would make life a whole lot easier if I knew," Jack growled. "Your light-fingered friend just had to help himself to an 'interesting artefact' while we were attempting to make some sort of contact with the... Tatty-locos, or whatever. Only turned out to be a golden idol of their favourite god!"
"So now we're gonna have to put our lives on the line - again - to rescue him. I'm mean, I'm all for letting the Tatty-locos make an example of him, but I imagine that wouldn't sit too well with the folks on high back in the Pentagon."
"No, it wouldn't," Daniel confirmed. "These Who did you say...?"
"This world is called T'latti'lolco, A5Z-203, DanielJackson."
"Ah, thank you, Teal'c. Anyway, they're descendants of the Aztecs and, if you look over there at those pyramids, you'll see that they, likewise, make human sacrifices."
"Well, the sacrificial victim is taken up to the platform at the top of the pyramid and held down by four priests. Then the chief priest takes an obsidian dagger and makes an incision below the ribcage - here. Next, he pulls out the beating heart and casts it into the flames while the other four priests throw the body down the steps."
"That's if you're lucky."
"Lucky?" Sam exclaimed.
"Ah, yes. The Aztecs had a god called Huehueteotl who demanded the most brutal sacrifices. The victim was drugged first then thrown into the fire on the top of the pyramid. Before the fire killed him, the priests used hooks to drag him out of the fire. Then the living heart was ripped out and thrown back in the fire."
"Nice," Jack grimaced.
"Actually no, Jack."
"Well, it's nice to have the walking encyclopaedia back anyway," Jack said with a wry smile.
"Yes, welcome back, Daniel."
"Yeah, thanks, Toots! Nice knockers! Now, how about a quick sh"
Daniel, taken by surprise, somehow managed to choke off the end of the sentence with a cough.
"Not now, Danny! That is not the way to attract a female! And get the Hell out of my gonads! I can do without that sort of distraction right now."
~ Gonads, Bro'? What's gonads? ~
~ But they's my nuts too. Do we take turns or do we get one each? ~
"Aaaarrghh! Not now!" Daniel exclaimed doubling up and clutching his head in his hands.
He suddenly became aware that his team mates were trying to make sense of the apparently one-way conversation. The three pairs of eyes focussed on him held a mixture of incredulity and mild hostility.
"Ahh! Sorry Sam, that - er - that w-wasn't me talking... Ah, well it was - sort of. Um - er - it's a very long story, but the thing is, I've - er - I've sort of... picked up a... travelling companion..." he tailed off.
"Oh yes?" Jack said harshly.
"Ah, it's not a goa'uld, if that's what you think."
"I concur, ColonelO'Neill. I do not sense the presence of a goa'uld."
"Then what the heck...? Schizophrenia?" Jack demanded.
"No! Been there, done that " Daniel said, a little exasperated, "He - er - he calls himself Danny. He's - um - he's a sort of elemental spirit."
"You're possessed?" Sam asked doubtfully.
"Ah, not as such, no."
"Then why did you call me 'Toots', and...?" she asked suspiciously, gesturing descriptively.
"Um, that was Danny talking. He's kind of like a kid, learning about the world and, ah, not always getting it right..."
Sam put her hand to her mouth to smother a snigger.
"Yeah. He's also a very powerful kid"
"So he did that?" Jack asked, indicating the guards. He gave a soundless whistle as Daniel nodded.
"Well, that is... we were kind of working together, but Danny supplied the power, yes. Hm," Daniel went on thoughtfully, "you'd better know that, while I seem to have been able to get his co-operation in some ways, I can't actually control him. He knows you're my friends - a bit like brothers, which is how he thinks of his relationship with me - so I'm kind of hoping he'll respect that and not do anything to harm you."
Jack looked askance and Daniel went on. "I don't think he will unless you do something that he construes as a threat to us. If that happens... then use your P90. I think a zat gun would just give him more power..."
Jack looked shocked.
"Damage limitation, yes."
"Colonel, we have company," Teal'c interrupted. "Four priests and around a dozen guards coming this way..."