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Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

Subject: Paul Davis is involved and in danger
Mood: . concerned

Music: 'Meet Me in the Morning' from 'Blood on the Tracks' - Bob Dylan

Jack dropped me off at the Travelodge. With rare tact, he refrained from telling me what to do, or maybe just accepted that it would be pointless. {g} Allowing full rein to my paranoia - if Harry had gotten in, so could anyone else - I checked around for bugs and such like. Thinking that someone may be watching your every move gives you a very creepy feeling.

Logic says this isn't so - that you really aren't living in a goldfish bowl - but... You simply cannot tell for certain when you are and when you're not, so you have to assume you are. If that makes sense. Anyhow, I e-mailed Sam and kept it short - 'We have trouble. May need the team. Treat as v. urgent and remain on stand-by.'

Sam 'phoned my cell almost immediately, which made me think she was indulging her penchant for WX fans' stories. ::sigh:: I went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. Yep, really getting into the paranoid habit.

"What's the matter, Daniel? You've got me worried."

"You remember the last time we had a little help from Agent Barrett? Well, the same problem's resurfaced."

There was a slight gasp from the other end. "You mean B—"

"That's exactly who I mean," I said, cutting her off a little brusquely. "I can't say much because I'm not sure how secure we are."

"I see."

"So anything you can think of that we might use - well, bring it along."

"Okay, I'll think on it and get on to the others."

"Thanks, Sam. Knew I could rely on you. Erm, I think you've got time to finish your 'Dainty Denzil' story first," I said and heard an outraged squawk as I hung up. {g}

The following morning, I went to the Pentagon and asked to see Colonel Davis. He had me admitted straight away.

"Daniel, nice to see you," he said with a smile. "Is this just a holiday visit or is there something you need?"

"It began as one and ended as the other - unfortunately."

"O-kay," he said with a look that combined interest and sympathy. "Ask away."

"I'd rather not talk here," I said. "I'm not sure how secure it is here."

"What? This is the Pentagon. If this isn't secure— " He looked searchingly at me. "You're serious, aren't you?"

"Yes I am. So, where can we go?"

"I know a nice little eaterie where they do a really good breakfast," he grinned. "I guess this is too early for you to have had breakfast already?"

"I haven't even had a coffee yet."

His face fell. "God, it must be serious. Let's go then." He paused only long enough to 'phone down for a car, then grabbed his jacket and we left.

"Back here at 1000, please," he told the driver as he stopped outside a smart deli off Jefferson Davis Highway. We went inside, and I chose a seat facing away from the road. Paul sat down opposite.

"So what's going on?" he asked quietly after we'd given our order. I gave him a broad outline - that Baal was attempting to coerce Jack into making decisions beneficial to his business dealings.

"If National Security's involved— "

"It isn't. So far as I know. Jack said he would've resigned if that were the case. He feels he's more use where is than stepping aside for someone Baal's groomed for the post."

"How far has he infiltrated our organization?" Paul wanted to know.

"We're not too clear on that. That's why I've come to you. Harry's— "


"Er, yes. Is that a problem?"

Paul gave me a slightly shifty look. The Maybourne effect?


"Ah no, not a problem as such."

"Then what? Don't get all cloak-and-daggery with me."

"God, you sound just like General O'N— " I could see the penny drop and groaned. "I see, " he nodded.

"You won't...?"

"Of course not. What do you take me for?" he asked.


"Besides, I haven't asked and you haven't said anything compromising, so don't worry about it. We seem to have bigger things to deal with."

"Much bigger," I agreed. We stopped talking then as the food arrived. And coffee. Mmmm. Paul has good taste. As I was pouring my third cup of coffee, Paul asked me what I wanted him to do. I filled him in on Harry's investigations to date and asked if he could ferret out Baal's H.Q. and contacts, and if possible, more information about his clones, though I conceded that that was a bit of a long shot.

Paul paid for the food - "my treat" - and we left. Glancing up the road, we saw a black car approaching. Paul waved then turned back to me.

"He's in good time - even a little earl— "

Time flipped into slo-mo as the car mounted the kerb. I grabbed Paul's arm - yanked him back towards the deli's entry. We fell into a tumbled heap as the car sped off.

"Shit!" Paul groaned, picking himself up and offering me a hand.

"You okay?"

"I'm fine. You?"

"Yeah, except that we obviously have a bigger problem than I thought."

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Subject: Making progress
Mood: . determined

Music: 'Working on It' from 'New Light Through Old Windows' - Chris Rea

The following day, the team flew in and moved into the same Travelodge as me. Paul had given our problem top priority. It was now his problem, he said, since it had gotten personal. Jack had been busy, too, interrogating those closest to the two 'joggers' that Harry had killed, but without overmuch progress. Mostly, they only told him things we already knew. They did eventually come up with three names of others involved that we hadn't known about, including one high up in surveillance.

In the early evening, we all went to Harry's favorite hang-out for dinner. It seemed possible that it was a safe place. Sort of. Jack wasn't altogether happy that I'd dragged the rest of S.G.-1 out to Washington.

"We're gradually getting on top of our problem," he'd said earlier. "I'm sure they have better things to do."

"Just accept that you could use a little help. It's help you can trust," I pointed out, " and I can't think of anything more pressing at the moment."

"What about the Ori?"

"We seem to be eroding their operations reasonably well for the time being. Right now, you're more important."

He gave me a grateful smile. "Well, it'll be nice to see the gang again."

Although not actually invited, Harry showed up at his usual haunt too, arm in a sling. At his suggestion, after dinner, we went on to his latest hideaway. It was another dingy, sparsely furnished studio apartment where we struggled to find somewhere to sit on the uncoordinated chairs and battered sofa. Then we began our debriefing. Finally, things seemed to be coming together.

Paul had followed a paper trail to Kenilworth, New Jersey. Fairly recently, the MBC Corporation had acquired itself a new CEO after the eldest brother, Morton Roberts - the M of the MBC Corp. - had been seriously injured an accident.

"It was a 'hit and run' accident," Paul said pointedly. "The new CEO is one, Angelo Lucchese - ex-Farrow-Marshall."

"Baal?" Cameron asked, though I guess we all knew the answer. Paul nodded.

Jack looked puzzled. "Angelo Lucchese?"

"Yeah. The Lucchese group is the smallest of the five L.C.N. families in New York, but it also has a strong presence in New Jersey," Harry said.

"L.C.N.?" Sam asked.

"La Cosa Nostra," I said.

Her eyes opened wide as Jack growled, "Shit, that's all we need, Baal in bed with the Mafia."

"It has one plus point though," I pointed out. Jack gave me a suspicious look. "It makes a good case for, ah - 'evidence' - having been tampered with."

He looked puzzled for only a moment then quirked a faint smile. "Or even totally faked."

"I don't get how Baal's managed to muscle in on Mafia territory," Cameron said.

"He's claiming kinship with another branch of the Lucchese family in Sicily," Paul explained.

"And he is certainly capable of holding his own in any power struggle," Teal'c put in. "He also has much to offer."

"Yes well, moving on," Harry said, "we still have problems. Baal's taken the penthouse suite in the MBC Tower, so he'd not going to be easy to get at."

"That's where I come in." Sam looked like a kid who's bursting to share a secret. Then she disappeared.

There was a stunned silence for several seconds, then everyone stood up, all talking at once, and started a probably futile hunt for her. After a couple of minutes, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I spun round and found myself nose-to-nose with a cackling Sam.

"Oh Daniel! Your face!" she hooted, and wiped the tears from her eyes as everyone joined in, laughing more from relief, I like to think.

"What the fuck just happened?" I demanded as we all resumed our seats.

"Ah. You remember the stuff you and Cameron brought back from P8S-111? Well, SG-13 went back there and retrieved some more items including this."

She showed us a metallic bracelet around her wrist. There were Benevoli symbols etched in the metal. In the center was a flat circular disk about the size of a silver dollar, maybe a little bigger. It looked like naquadah. On top of the disk was a square pale milky blue gem.

"Jennifer Gonzales worked on translating some notes that were with it as you were busy. I tinkered with it with Doctor Lee, and we finally managed to get it to work. If you rotate the blue stone, you— " She disappeared again and reappeared almost immediately "—come back again."

"So this is what? A small cloaking device?" Jack wanted to know.

"Better. It turns you out of phase, like Daniel was on P7X-377."

"Better? How is that better?" I demanded. I still have nightmares about being unable totally cut off from everyone.

"I can go wherever I want to without being seen. I'm not going to be discovered if someone walks into me, and if I can't be seen or touched, no one's going to capture me or shoot me or anything. It's the perfect thing for spying out the MBC tower. What could possibly go wrong?"

"Ah, Sam, before you says things like that, you might like to consider that Providence is very weak-willed when it comes to temptation," I warned.

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Subject: Pastime with good company
Mood: . irritated

Music: 'Us and Them' - 'Dark Side of the Moon' - Pink Floyd

This morning, I went into the S.G.C. where Janet signed me off as fit to return to duty on Monday. It was nice to get out of the house despite the cold - not that I'm going 'stir crazy' yet - but the fresh air made a pleasant change.

In the evening, I went round to Teal'c's apartment for what seems to be becoming a team tradition - watching the latest escapades of Maxwell, Denzil, Steph and Tella'c.

Tonight, we watched an episode that featured the Fori and their Friars again - except that there weren't any Friars in it and the Fori have yet to put in an appearance. All we've seen so far are flames which I find difficult to understand as they're basically the same as Oma - or me when I was ascended, come to that. Sam thinks it's because the half-wits in charge - or THWIC as she calls them - haven't a clue about what they might look like and are leaving it to the viewers' imagination.

"So what does the title, 'Ethon,' mean?" Cameron asked afterwards, looking puzzled. "There wasn't anyone called Ethon in the story, was there? Or did I blink and miss it?"

I opened my mouth to respond but Sam got in quicker. (Is Janet really sure I'm back to full fitness?)

"I think it's THWIC's attempt to look like they know something about physics - or they've taken a few minutes to do a little Googling," she said, looking peeved. "You see, there are two theories of light - particle theory and wave theory. The first theory asserted that light consists of particles called photons. Well, actually, Newton called them corpuscles," she grinned. The grin faded as she took in our blank looks. Must be some sort of physicist joke or something. She sighed.

"Yes, well..." she muttered, and continued brightly, "on the other hand, wave theory, or ether theory, is that the universe is filled with small particles called ethons. Ether - nothing to do with anaesthetic gas - is considered a medium for light. Einstein called it 'lumeniferous ether'. The idea behind wave theory is that light travels through the ether in waves, similar to the way sound travels through water."

Cameron was getting a glazed 'head her off at the pass' look as she warmed to her theme.

"Now according to Tesla, ether contains a tremendous amount of energy which could— "



"Chill. I get it. An ethon's a tiny particle. That's all I need to know. You're not at work now so you don't have get all technobabbly."

She looked a little crestfallen and turned to me for support. "Is it just me, or has Cameron started channeling General O'Neill?"

"I noticed that a while ago," I grinned back. Cam feigned hurt feelings.

"You say that like it's a bad thing." We all laughed.

"Actually, I think it's more likely to be a distortion of mythology," I said. "Your THWIC seem to be the sci-fi equivalent of Budge..."

"Please explain," Teal'c said.

"Ah, well, in Greek mythology, the story of Prometheus is long and complicated." There were groans. "So I'll cut it short." (Cheers, huh...) "Well, quick at least," I grinned.

"Prometheus was a god, son of the Titan, Iapetos. Under orders from Zeus, he made the first humans. These were in the same form as the gods but, under Zeus' orders, they were pathetic primitive creatures. Prometheus felt sorry for them and shared with them some of the arcane knowledge of the gods - how to tell the seasons from the sky, healing drugs, the alphabet so they could record their thoughts - Prometheus means 'forethought' by the way - arts and crafts and many more things.

"Finally, because the people were cold, Prometheus stole fire from the chariot of Helios, the sun god. When Zeus found out, he was furious and had his smith, Hephaestos, chain Prometheus to a rock high up in the Caucasus. Worse, he had an eagle tear at his liver all day. It repaired itself during the night, but when Eos brought the dawn, it all began again."

"Yeah, yeah, we've heard all that before," Cameron whined.

"I have not," Teal'c said with some hauteur. "Please continue, Daniel Jackson."

"Yes, where does Ethon come in?" Sam asked.

"O-kay. There was a monster with a hundred dragon heads called Typhoeus, or Typhon. He coupled with Echidna who was half woman and half snake— "

"A goa'uld?" Sam asked, all big-eyed.

"No." I thought about it. "Well, I dare say there is, or was, a goa'uld out there with that name, but that's not the point. Among their offspring were the Sphinx, the Chimera, Cerberus - and an eagle called Ethon."

"Ah, so Ethon was the eagle that fed on Prometheus' liver?" Cameron said. "And that's why the Prometheus was destroyed. That was a shame."

"It wasn't just a shame, it was a complete travesty!" I snapped.

Teal'c looked concerned. "How so?"

"Because Prometheus survived!. Heracles, the Greek version of Hercules, killed Ethon and set him free."

"You mean THWIC did it again?" Sam said indignantly.

"I think we can safely say so," I agreed with a scowl.

"Well... well that sucks!" Cameron spluttered. "I liked Colonel Pendleton."

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

Subject: "What could possibly go wrong?"
Mood: . sceptical

Music: 'I Can't See You' from 'Tim Buckley & Goodbye & Hello'

Oops, suddenly realized that I haven't finished my account of our exploits in D.C. Well, as far as it - and they - could be said to be finished anyway. Busy, busy, busy, that's me, especially as I have three of my department off sick. Well, Doctor Hoshiko Tsuyaku's off sick, Doctor Vigeland's mother died suddenly and he's returned to Trondheim for her funeral, and Jennifer Gonzales is on maternity leave after the slightly premature birth of her son. Which leaves me rather short-handed.

Jack and Paul left the infiltration of the MBC Corporation to us as they were both required at the Pentagon. Jack provided us with a surveillance van as a base for our operations and a squad of S.F.s for back-up. Paul supplied us with schematics for the MBC Tower. He also had a military ambulance on standby in case something went wrong.

"It won't," Sam said with great confidence, "though I'm taking my nine mil. with me, so there's no need to worry." Yeah, right... ::snort::

She'd also brought a whole lot of computing and communications equipment with her and was wearing a wire for use when she wasn't out of phase. Teal'c brought donuts...

We parked down a side street from which we could watch the main entrance of the twenty-seven story tower block, not that that was the aim of taking the van. It was principally a convenient place for Sam to gear up, and for us to wait out of sight and monitor whatever was going on. We were also in contact with Jack and Paul.

"Wish me luck, guys," Sam said, twiddled the blue gem on her wrist, and disappeared.

The plan was that she would try to find information about Baal and his clones. She would only be able to see what was on display but if alone, she would return to her normal state for more extensive investigation. She would also make use of bathroom cubicles to make sit.reps.

Waiting is not easy. She contacted us a couple of times, just to let us know she was okay. The third time, she reported that Baal, as Angelo Lucchese, had a place out near Timber Ridge on the state boundary between Virginia and West Virginia.

"It's isolated so it could be where the cloning technology is," she suggested.

Soon after, we had our own piece of information to pass on.

Cameron was on watch. "Heads up guys. Isn't that Senator Grey?" We looked. It was. "Now what would he be doing here?" he wondered.

Grey was heading directly for the tower and went inside. We took photos and forwarded them to Jack and Paul.

"Good. We must have gotten someone rattled then," Jack responded. "He seems to be the one acting as their public face, judging by the things he keeps 'bringing to my attention.' Perfectly innocently of course. I think he's being groomed to step into the, possibly late, Senator Kinsey's shoes with regard to the Stargate Program. Senator Sorensen [ Kinsey's current replacement ] doesn't seem the type to succumb to any sort of outside pressure."

Well, we would've passed all this on had things gone according to plan...

The next thing we heard from Sam's end was a couple of shots and the sound of transporter rings.

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

Subject: Sam's enterprise...
Mood: . relieved

Music: 'Break on Through (to the Other Side)' - Doors

It was a heart-stopping moment.

The fact that we could hear something of what was going on meant that Sam was no longer out of phase and therefore vulnerable. For all we could tell, she was possibly wounded, maybe even— well, we didn't want to go there. She might possibly been whisked off-world and was now in Baal's power. Such thoughts raced through our minds as silence held us like a cobweb for several seconds.

Then over the wire came— "I'm okay guys— " Oh, the relief!

There were sounds of movement, an exclamation of surprise then, " Hands on your heads - that includes you, Senator. No heroics please. I don't want to have to shoot you."

"Who are you and what the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Colonel Carter. I'm taking this man prisoner. Take this and bind his wrists behind his back... Now. Sir."

At this point, we broke out of our trance.

"We're on our way, Sam," I said, and asked her for her location.

Cameron called in the ambulance guys and S.F.s and gave them directions. We followed them into the building as they ran through the foyer yelling that they were responding to a nine one one call from the penthouse. No one tried to stop us or got in our way.

When we arrived, Sam had a her gun trained on Baal who was sitting on the floor, and the senator was propping up the wall, looking sullen. Both were taken into custody and transferred to the Pentagon. We also returned to the Pentagon for a debriefing with Jack.

After Sam's last sit.rep., she'd gone up to the penthouse suite. Passing into a small hallway, she'd heard voices behind a door to her right and had stepped through into the room.

There, she'd found Baal in conference with Senator Grey. What she'd heard was enough to bring him before the courts on corruption charges at least, if not outright treason. However, this would mean revealing the Stargate Program to a much wider public than we wanted. On the other hand, we had his nuts in a vice which meant he could be a potentially useful pawn for the good guys. :-)

It was decided, therefore, not to press charges on condition that he have no further contact with Baal, the Mafia, or the MBC Corporation, except at Jack's express command. We then moved on to the action-packed part of this 'covert' mission, the part Sam had said wouldn't happen...

While she'd been engrossed in her eavesdropping on Baal and the senator, another Baal walked through an archway in the opposite wall. She was initially surprised, then realized that Baal, too, was surprised, and was looking straight at her as the object of his surprise. Which meant that he was out of phase too.

Sam drew her Beretta as he ducked back through the archway into the room beyond. She ran after him and fired several shots at him. When they appeared to pass straight through him, she realized he was no longer out of phase and reverted to normal herself.

Before he had time to operate the transporter rings, she'd gotten off two more shots - the ones we'd heard. One hit his chest knocking backwards but otherwise doing no harm. This indicated that he was wearing body armor since he wasn't using a personal shield.

She fired the second at his thigh. This brought him to the floor, the amount of blood pulsing through his fingers indicating she'd hit his femoral artery.

"This is not over," he'd declared with the boom-box voice and glaring, glowing eyes. Then he was whisked away, presumably to some cloaked vessel above the planet.

"Well, I think we had the better of that encounter," Jack said with a satisfied smile. "We've eliminated Grey as a threat, we can probably round up the people Baal's got working as moles here and we've got Baal in custody."

"Ah, I think that was probably one of the clones," Sam said. "They're expendable. Baal himself had to get away, especially after what he did to you, sir."

Jack conceded her that point. "Well, maybe he can be persuaded to reveal more about Baal's cloning technology."

"I think it is possible that Baal may have beamed down to the place near Timber Ridge," Teal'c said. "He may yet be unaware that we know of its whereabouts."

"Good thinking, T. I'll send a detail straight away - see what we can find there," Jack responded. "You guys want to go with? Or is that a no-brainer?" We all nodded. "Okay, I'll square it with Landry." With that, the debriefing ended.

I was the last to leave Jack's office. After the others had left, I said, "So, are we still good?"

Jack gave me a gentle smile. "Better than good. And thank you. I should have put you in the picture much sooner and I'm sorry I didn't. Forgive me?"

I returned his smile. "Yeah."

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

Subject: A raid on Baal's hunting lodge
Mood: . satisfied

Music: 'Bat Out of Hell' - Sam Carter Meatloaf

As it turned out, we went in ahead of the main squad. Jack let us borrow the Imprezza. It was getting dark by the time we set off.

Wasn't surprised to find that Cam is a bit of a boy racer. Was even less surprised to see flashing lights on our tail. We pulled over and waited for the cop to pull in behind us.

"Git outta the car and put yer hands on the roof where I can see 'em." Cameron duly obliged. "This your car? Sir."

"No, it isn't," Cam sighed.

"Ya happen to know who it belongs to?"

"Major General Jack O'Neill of the Pentagon. Sir."

"Don't try getting lippy with me, son. I clocked you doing eighty six miles per hour back there."

"That all? I must be slipping," Cam muttered as we all cringed.

"You got some form of I-dentification on ya?" the cop asked, surprisingly overlooking the genuine lippiness. Maybe he'd had a rethink about Jack's name and decided to back off a little, just in case it was true. Cameron reached into his jacket with one hand and the cop leapt back pulling his gun and taking aim.

"Take. The gun. Out - slowly and carefully," the cop said very sedately, "then put it on the ground and kick it towards me."

Cam did so. "Would ya just take a look at my I.D.," he growled. "I'm Lieutenant-Colonel Cameron Mitchell of the United States Air Force. My team and I are on a covert mission involving National Security and we don't have time for this."

"You need back-up, Bob?" yelled his partner, getting out of their patrol car.

"No he doesn't," Cameron cut in, "and would you please call off your pitbull before I have the pair of you transferred to Alaska! And yes, I can do that." (Can he?)

"Excuse me, officer," Sam said as Cam and 'Bob' glared at each other like a couple of fighting cocks, "but he is telling you the truth. I am Lieutenant-Colonel Samantha Carter, and we are on a vital mission authorized by the Pentagon. " She looked at Bob for acquiescence then slid gracefully out of the car and went round to the driver's side, flashing her I.D.

Bob subjected it to close scrutiny. "Hm," he grunted. "Seems to be in order."

"Perhaps you'd feel a little more comfortable if I drove, officer?" she suggested with aplomb. I nearly laughed out loud at that, having been privy to the earlier argument about who got to drive Jack's new car. I could almost feel the waves of indignation washing over Cameron.

Bob thought about it for a long while. "Very well, ma'am, but you go steady, ya hear?"

"Yes sir, officer, I certainly will," she gushed, and then we were on our way again at a sedate 45 m.p.h.

"Yes sir, officer, I certainly will," Cam mimicked grumpily as we crawled up to the brow of the hill. If he was unaware that Sam's way more of a speed freak than he is, he soon found out. Once we were over that next rise, round a bend and hidden from the patrolmen by the trees, she put her foot down.

"'Eighty six miles per hour back there,' huh? 'I must be slipping,'" Sam teased, "Right back atcha, Cam!" All that was missing was the "Yeee-hawww!"

The rest of the journey was uneventful apart from the occasional slight skid which Sam handled with consummate skill while Cameron gripped the dash and squealed like a girl.

"Hey, whatever happened to the dare-devil all-American hero?" I laughed.

"That's different. Then, I'm in control," he said. "Right now, I'm not. Hey! Watch that— Um... carry on."

"Perhaps, Colonel Mitchell, you would like to exchange places with me?" Teal'c suggested.

"No thanks. Why?"

"Then you may be a true backseat driver..."

Teal'c's sly sense of humor really amuses me. For the record, I was enjoying the white-knuckle ride and Sam's promised to take me rallying sometime.

We parked up in a track way through the trees off Smokey Hollow Road. Thunder Lodge - how very Baal - how very egotistical (in myth, he's known as the Thunderer) - was about a mile away. It was surrounded by a high wall topped with razor wire and there was a guy on the gate. This posed no problem at all. Sam, who was still wearing the bracelet, flipped out of phase then tossed the bracelet over the wall from the other side for the next one to follow and so on.

The hunting lodge was a sprawling shadowy mass seen through the trees that surrounded it. There were no lights on which didn't mean a great deal - no one at home, everyone asleep, or maybe they had long range sensors and were lying in wait.

We crept into the moon's shadow of the house and found a rear entry. It was agreed that Sam would enter out of phase. If the coast was clear, she would let us in. If there was any trouble she couldn't handle, she'd yell for help and we'd shoot our way in.

Apart from the light wind rattling the trees and the sound of an owl, all was quiet for a while, then the door opened. Sam indicated three staff present, all asleep and none of them Baal - clone or otherwise. She'd also found a lab. in the basement which was our first objective. It was interesting.

There was a mass of equipment all around the big room, and in the center were six large tanks full of a pale blue, slightly opalescent liquid. Two of them were empty. Of the other four, two contained infants about the size of a two-year-old, and the others had clones which looked like Baal's host might've done at around fourteen or fifteen years of age.

"Hey, I'm an astrophysicist, not a geneticist," Sam said when Cam asked for information about what was going on. "And biology isn't one of my strengths either."

"Really?" Cam said. "I thought you had a handle on anything scientific?"

Sam looked like she could cheerfully nail him to the door by the gonads.

"Colonel Carter, have you not noticed, as have I, that to a non-scientist, all branches of arcane knowledge fall under the general term of 'Science'?" Teal'c asked, sketching in air quotes which made me laugh. "You are 'a scientist' therefore you must know all about 'science'."

Sam gave an exasperated sigh. "Yes, Teal'c, surprisingly, I had noticed and you know who's to blame for that misconception, don't you?"

"I think she means T.H.W.I.C." I said knowingly.

"Too right! And what we could really use right now is someone who is a specialist in genetics, or at the very least, some sort of organic science."

As if on cue, there was a bright flash of light and an Asgard appeared along with a collection of items of Asgard scientific equipment.

"Loki!" Sam exclaimed. (How does she tell them apart?) "What are you doing here?"

"Commander Thor said that you might require some assistance."

"Jack's been in contact!"

"That is so, Doctor Jackson. Commander Thor also said that I should use this opportunity to make amends for the trouble I caused him some time ago. Now, what is the problem?"

We put him in the picture while he listened, head tipped a little to one side and nodding occasionally.

"I think I know how I might help," he said finally, picking up a couple of small phials and some sort of pointed implement. "But first, Colonel Carter, would you extend your finger please."

She did so. Loki tapped the little gizmo into it and collected a couple of drops of blood in one of the phials. "

And now, Master Teal'c, would you do the same please?" That done, Loki went on, "Please would you find something to - ah - gladden yourselves with while I do my work."

"I think you mean 'find something to amuse ourselves with'," Teal'c suggested.

"Indeed," Loki said. I swear there was a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

"Guess we'd better get out of your way then?" Sam said. She grinned at me and promptly disappeared. It is not true that the Asgard do not have facial expressions. Loki's eyes widened and his mouth formed a completely round 'O' and then he blinked several times.

"I see," he murmured.

The rest of us left the conventional way, up the stairs and through the door, to where Sam was waiting for us.

"Good one, Sam," I said. "You nicely out-Lokied Loki." Cameron looked blank. "In Norse mythology, Loki was a trickster god. This Loki likes to live up to that rep."

"Oh. Are we going to be safe around him then?"

"Yes, I think so. This time anyway. Baal, on the other hand..." I grinned.

We split up to search the building, avoiding the bedrooms. No point in taking unnecessary risks. Sam and Teal'c went for Baal's office while Cam and I found another basement room. I didn't like what we found there. It was a sarcophagus, and judging by the blood soaked into the concrete floor between it and the ring area, Baal had used it recently.

"Do you have any C4 on you?" I asked.

"Well duh," Cam said like I'd asked if snow was cold. "What do you want it for?"

"We have to blow this thing," I answered, like he'd asked if snow was cold.

"What? Why?"

"They're evil things— addictive. They contribute substantially to making the goa'uld as vile as they are."

"Oh yeah. I read about your experience with Kylie—"


"Whatever. I thought it was a mistake to destroy her sarcophagus."

"If I hadn't, she'd've carried on using it and she would've ended up like Pyrus. Her father."

"Maybe, but that doesn't mean we have to destroy them all. And has it never occurred to you that if you hadn't destroyed it, it would've been there for you to use after your heroics with the naquadria bomb?"

"That was a low blow, Cam. In any case, my death turned out to be quite useful in the end. I doubt we'd have found P8S-111 without it, along with the means to diminish the power of the Ori. But— I can't deny that if there'd been a sarc. available, I would've used it."

"And because you needed it, you wouldn't've got addicted, would you? Because if I remember correctly, it only turns you evil if you use it when you don't need to?"

"You weren't there." I glowered at him.

"Whoa! Careful, Jackson. I think you're eyes just glowed there for a moment," he grinned.

"Not funny, Mitchell. So not funny!" I snarled.

"Jeez, it must be dangerous if it has that effect when you're just standing by it," he said a little less flippantly.

"I've a good mind to fuck you seventeen ways into the middle of next week," I snapped, then took in his expression and realized what I'd just said. "Ah - figure of speech. Forget I said it."

"If you say so," he said with a speculative - make that a hungry look - that seemed to be stripping me naked. "Cold?" he asked as I shivered. And I just shivered again at the memory. We certainly seem to have a little sparkage.

"Nope," I replied. Chilly as it was, the temperature of the basement had very little to do with the shivering.

"O-kaay." He sounded disappointed, but got back to the matter in hand. (Gah! Message to brain - stay out of the sewer for now. Maybe later...)

"Look, Daniel, it's perfectly possible to keep this thing in the basement at the Pentagon, with two different locks and two different keys that have to be operated simultaneously - like the destruct mechanism at the S.G.C. That way it could only be used with proper authorization."

"I suppose."

"And maybe, scientists could investigate what causes the addiction and separate it out so we could just use its healing properties?"

I thought about it. "Well, that's a very tempting idea. Emphasis on the tempting..."

"Why not put it to O'Neill? ... Daniel?"

"Sorry. I'm just thinking about what happens when the politicians get to hear about it and it gets into the wrong hands."

"You think that would happen?"

"You think it wouldn't?" I asked. I really didn't know what to do for the best. But there was no point in dithering. Didn't want Baal coming back and spiriting it away. I reached a hand out. "C4, Cam. Now. We'll blow it as we leave."

"Hey, you're a member of my team. I give the orders."

"Yes," I agreed. "Also, technically, I outrank you. So pass the C4. I'll take any flak for it."

Reluctantly he handed it over. I placed it in position and set the detonator. "Okay, now let's go see how Loki's getting on."

We passed Baal's office on the way. Sam and Teal'c were still there. They'd found a number of documents incriminating several big names in politics, banking and industry, and had taken possession of them.

"Still think the sarc. wouldn't get into the wrong hands?" I asked Cam.

He shrugged. "You could be right," he conceded.

We went down to Baal's lab. and could see changes in the occupants of the tanks already. The younger ones had developed a noticeably darker skin. The more mature ones had much lighter hair and their genitals appeared to be atrophying.

"Loki, what have you done?" Sam asked suspiciously. "You haven't turned them into clones of Teal'c and me - have you?"

"I have not, Colonel Carter," Loki responded calmly. "I have simply spliced in one or two significant genes. Baal will have difficulty in passing off either a blonde-haired female or a dark-skinned male as himself, I think. Furthermore, if he attempts to create further clones, they too will be - different."

"So, once he runs out of the clones he already has, he'll be stuffed?" Cameron asked. Loki blinked.

"It takes a while to become familiar with the idiosyncracies of the speech of the Tau'ri," Teal'c said, understanding the puzzled expression and looking distinctly smug. "What Colonel Cameron means is that Baal will have run out of options - that he has been thwarted. For this, we thank you." He gave Loki a courteous bow.

"You are welcome, Master Teal'c. It is most pleasurable to have a little fun without expecting to be punished for it later. So thank you!" With that, he touched one of the Asgard stones and was beamed upwards.

"Okay, people, time to go," Cameron announced. As we went out, I blew the sarc. There was the dull boom of a job well done. "Damn, I thought you might've forgotten," he said.

The other two looked a question my way.

"Now Baal's thoroughly stuffed," I smiled.

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Subject: The shape of things to come?
Mood: . relaxed

Music: 'All I Really Want to Do' - The Byrds

We have finally caught up with our Teal'c's recordings of WX which has now finished its nineth season. I'm quite getting into the show. It's funny watching caricatures of oneself doing the kind of things we do.

It's also a little irritating that, when the writers put WX-1 into a situation that's way over their heads, there's always that lurking deus ex machina to beam them up out of trouble. As Sam jokes, a little sourly, "How fast can a spaceship travel?" the answer being, "As fast as the plot requires."

She was kind of torn over the seventeenth episode, 'The Plague.' She was spitting bullets about the crap science, which was fair enough. I am not an expert but— It does seem highly improbable that you'd get a large tankful of bugs from one small spoonful of paté. In the real world, you don't get lots of something from pretty close to nothing.

"I think someone must have passed on your complaints to T.H.W.I.C., Samantha," Teal'c smiled. Sam looked a question back at him. "They did not turn Colonel Carpenter into an entomologist." We all laughed after Sam's little outburst at Thunder Lodge.

"Yeah, very surprising considering who wrote it," Cam said.

"What's even more amazing," Sam said, beaming from ear to ear, "Is that they gave Steph her spine back! She actually behaved like a plausible Air Force officer for once." She scowled and added, "It's been a long time coming..."

We enjoyed it though. Jerry and Perry are very good at writing humor. Shame about the plots... Though we did get a laugh out of the 'red shirts' ending up as bug fodder while all the noise WX-1 made was pretty much ignored. {G}

We watched that episode back-to-back with 'The King's Cloak,' and it was Teal'c's turn to spit bullets as his favorite new characters, the Sohard warriors, had been wiped out. We all felt his pain on that one. >:-(

Afterwards, we discussed future missions - ones we'd like to get General Landry to agree to now that the Ori threat was receding - at least temporarily. Sam's prime target is P3V-273. She's had it earmarked from around four years ago. According to M.A.L.P. and U.A.V. reports, it's trinium rich and has a flourishing civilization. The tech level isn't too far behind our own - about 1920s-1930s.

Teal'c has a mind to visit P9J-844 also known as Bìnàn Suô to the locals. It means Haven. He'd heard about it from the Sodan. Their legend tells of Fuxi (pronounced something like Foo-shhr), a minor goa'uld who did what goa'uld usually do - tyrannize some planet's unfortunate population.

The snake was challenged and slain many years ago by a warrior maiden called Li Chi. She declared the world off-limits to goa'uld and a safe haven for Jaffa. So Teal'c has a fancy to enlist some more recruits to the Free Jaffa Nation.

Cameron hasn't any specific planet in mind. He just wants to find a world only a little more advanced than Earth - somewhere where the technology is within our ability to master and where we might have something of equal value to offer in return.

So far, we've met the Asgard, the Nox, the Benevoli a.k.a. the Ancients, and Nick's Giant Aliens who are millions of years ahead of us, and the Ori, ditto, and undesirable under any circumstances. While some of them have been really good to us, it's been pretty much a one-way street. All we've had to offer is our primitivism. ::rolls eyes:: Kind of like some Aztec derived culture offering us their newly developed top-of-the-range atlatl which will make our spears fly twice as far. At least!

Then there were the Tollan who wouldn't share and the Aschen who would but were to be avoided at all costs for some reason. Cam wants to go somewhere like Orban whose people we have to thank for the naquadah generator technology.

Me, I have a yen for P77-982 . It has a Mayan look to it and reminds me of my time at the dig in Yucatan. Then there's the Nicholas Ballard connection. Maybe there's a link with P7X-377.

Friday, March 24th, 2006

Subject: Casualties of war
Mood: . sad

Music: 'No Bravery' - James Blunt

We went to P3V-273. It was not a good experience.

We decided to give the PATTs another airing. Sam had added small cloaking devices to them. They aren't that expensive in the grand scheme of things, but they aren't cheap either so we really don't want anyone stealing them. The nearest town was about twelve kliks away so the PATTs saved us a lot of time.

Most of the journey took us along a broad grassy track through pleasant airy woodland. It suggested that the 'Gate wasn't used overmuch. As we neared the town, however, we realized that something was very wrong. There seemed to be substantial damage to a number of the buildings - not what we expected based on the earlier U.A.V. footage. The latest M.A.L.P. footage, on the standard range of view, was too far away to spot the changes.

On closer approach, we could make out bullet holes in the walls and signs of mortar fire. It seemed like a good idea to park the PATTs and continue on foot with extreme caution. Teal'c was on point, alternating with Cam, with Sam watching our sixes.

As we entered what we took to be the suburbs, there was almost complete silence apart from the occasional dispirited twitter from the local bird population and the clatter of small arms fire in the distance. We saw no one. A lot of the houses in what looked like the better part of the town had been looted. Some had suffered substantial damage. It reminded me of photos from European wars.

The sounds of a fire fight came from the center of town, probably a fight to take control of the seat of government. Round a corner, we came upon a burnt out vehicle which looked pretty much like a small tank. There was a smell of decomposition around it which suggested that someone - maybe more than one - had not gotten out in time.

We'd seen no one, but then, as we were conspicuously carrying arms, this was not surprising. Non-combatants would give us a wide berth and those with weapons, as we hadn't been shot at - yet - were presumably involved in the fighting in the center.

Along the way, we passed unclaimed bodies. The stench of death increased the further we went. Next we came to a large, fire-damaged building. It had the look of a church or temple about it. Cam called a halt outside it. Large solid wooden doors, now splintered by explosives and blackened by fire, were hanging off their hinges and most of the roof was gone.

We went inside off the streets for a discussion and found we were not alone. A woman in a bulky coat and dusty bluish headscarf was sitting on a remaining bench seat at the opposite end.

There were a few more pews upturned, and some heaped together, partially burned, like the remains of a bonfire. We suspected that someone had managed to put it out. There were signs that other 'bonfires' had been successful in the burning of the building.

The woman looked up as she heard us enter, and the color drained from her face in fear. She stood up and faced us resolutely. She'd been crying, I noticed as the sunlight glinted on the tracks of her tears.

"All right, kill me," she said in what I recognized as a variant of Greek. "You've taken everything else that I valued. There is only my life left and that is now worthless."

I unclipped my P90 and laid it on another undamaged pew, signaling Sam to do the same. I took her hand then, and went towards the woman, holding up my hand in peace.

"We mean you no harm. We're strangers here and we have no idea what's happening."

At that, she slumped back down on to her seat. Sam and I sat on either side of her. Sam took her hand as the tears flowed again. Little by little, I found out what was going on. She said her name was Alethea and she'd lived with her husband, two sons and a daughter in a modest house nearer the town center. They'd had a good life - not rich, but comfortable.

Thessalia had been a prosperous democratic country. It had be generous and open to all. Gradually, more and more immigrants had arrived to take advantage of the prosperity. Most came with the intent of contributing to it, but some of the immigrants were of a different stripe. They belonged to a devout and restrictive cult that had gained popularity with under-challenged young men.

Alethea's elder son, Nico, fifteen, had fallen in with them. That was three years previously. At first, she'd thought it was just a phase that he'd grow out of, but then he became worryingly domineering, particularly with her daughter, and later with herself, saying they weren't sufficiently respectful of the men folk.

She was also worried that her younger son would get drawn in also, but he seemed more inclined to stand up for his sister. It caused a rift between them, and after a row with his father, Nico had walked out.

Meanwhile, the Piotos, had tried to infiltrate the government. Failing to gain acceptance legally through the ballot, the 'spiritual leaders' had organized a coup. It was only partially successful and had plunged the state into civil war.

"Makes sense," Cam said as I translated. "It's usually religion that fucks things up."

"Not so much religion, more the people who pervert it to their own ends," I said. "Think about it. Most of the founders of the world's religions are peacemongers. The further you get from the source, the more the message gets twisted - like Chinese whispers, or duck soup."

The next time Alethea saw Nico was four menas (months, however long that was) previously. There had been a bombardment of her district with incendiary devices. Cam thought that sounded like they had some sort of R.P.G.s.

As people fled their burning homes in the night, Piotos troops had massacred them. She'd lost both her younger children and her husband. A few days later, Nico's body was returned to her. He'd been killed in a shoot-out and a neighbour had recognized him. Later still, she learned that her parents and her widowed mother-in-law had also been rounded up and shot.

"See?" I said, "See? See why I'll never get the military mindset?"

"Hey, we don't do things like that," Cam said, a little defensively, I thought.

"That sort of thing happens pretty much anywhere there's a war," I said, "and while I'll concede that our troops are better than most, can you guarantee that none of them cross the line from time to time?"

"Guess not," he shrugged. "Well, let's get going folks. Looks like this mission is a bust."


"Well it doesn't seem likely that they'll be in a position to negotiate a trading treaty at the present time does it? And don't say we have to help these people, Jackson, because we can't."

"He's right, Daniel," Sam said.

"I wasn't going to suggest it," I replied mildly.

"You weren't?" Sam and Cam exclaimed together.

"Look, you may regard me as a woolly-headed idealist, but I'm not completely impractical." I got a look of surprise back from all three. Gee, thanks! "The problem here is way to big for us to deal with. Even if we could get the remains of the U.S. military - who would need extra security clearance - plus equipment, through the 'Gate, or deployed by the Prometheus and the Daedalus, what would we do? Impose peace like we have done in Iraq or Afghanistan?"

"Ouch," Cam said. "I think I prefer the woolly-headed idealist..."

Alethea had been listening to us - not what we said, obviously, but the way we said it.

"Where are you from?" she asked suddenly. I resisted the 'galaxy far, far away' line and just settled for telling her that we came from another planet. "Take me with you," she pleaded.

"I don't see that that would be a problem," I said and passed on her request.

It seemed there was nothing for her there. As there was just the one person, we figured we could find a new home for her somewhere.

"Please, wait here a moment," she said after I gave her the green light. I assumed she'd got a few belongings hidden away some place. I was right, but not quite in the way I expected.

When she returned, she was followed by crocodile line of twenty or thirty very subdued children, some wounded, aged from thirteen or fourteen down to three toddlers and a babe-in-arms carried by another elderly woman.

"Jackson?" Cam scowled at me. "Care to explain?"

"I'm as much in the dark as you," I said then turned to Alethea.

They were all war orphans whom she and Jocasta, an equally bereft neighbor, had been caring for in their equivalent of a crypt.

"I'm sorry, Jackson," Cameron said after I'd filled him in, "but we can't take all those."

"Yes. We can. And if you mention paperwork, you're a dead man!" Cam opened his mouth to repeat his veto, but I was having none of it. "It's the military mindset at work again - just can't think outside the box!"

"All right, smart ass, what's the solution?" he demanded.

"We don't even need to go through the S.G.C.," I said with immense smugness. "I know the perfect place for them."

Teal'c caught my eye and gave a knowing smile. "Vyus," he said.

"Oh. Yes," I replied, feeling a little deflated.

"Of course!" Sam exclaimed. "I'm sure they would take them, though they probably have a few children of their own by now. It's what? Six years ago? I think it's a great idea, Daniel."

I passed the news on to Alethea and Jocasta. They recommended waiting until nightfall as there were still bands of Piotos roaming around looking for people to terrorize or kill or both. Seemed sensible.

While Sam stayed behind to protect our new charges, the rest of us went off to look for some means of transportation as we couldn't expect all the children to walk to the 'Gate. We managed quite well, considering. Most vehicles were burnt out wrecks or had no fuel, but we found one working automobile that had escaped the devastation. We also found a number of barrows which we thought might be adapted to be towed behind the PATTs.

As this would need tools, we did a little looting of surrounding properties. It didn't seem likely that anyone would miss what we took. There was a little excitement when we came across one of the raiding parties. As they were heading in the direction of the children's sanctuary, even I had no qualms about taking them out.

We spent the afternoon working on our transportation and by nightfall, felt we were reasonably well equipped. We sent Alethea and co. back into the crypt while we went off to fetch the PATTs. All went well for once and we reached the 'Gate without incident. The children remained subdued for the most part.

"I think we might have to send a trauma team to Vyus," Sam said, looking sadly at the innocent victims of war. Then she dialed up the planet. She seems to have a mental address book for planetary coordinates.

Teal'c and Cameron stayed behind in case of trouble while Sam and I went through to prepare the ground. There was a guard on the 'Gate when we arrived. Fortunately, the Vyans remembered us and we were taken to see Orner. After we'd explained our problem, he said they would be delighted to find homes for the children, so we brought our sleepy-headed tribe through.

"Layale will have no difficulty in finding suitable couples," Orner said. "We are lucky. We have a child of our own now, but since the Vorlix, it seems that fertility is very low."

"Has Ke'ra been unable to help?" Sam asked.

"Ke'ra has not been here for several years now, and sadly, there is no one else with her level of knowledge."

"Wait, Ke'ra's not here?" I asked. "What's happened to her."

"She stayed for two years, helping us to rebuild our lives, then she said it was time for her to move on," Orner explained. "She said she could be of more use elsewhere, now that all debts had been repaid."

"Oh shit!" I exclaimed.

"What?" Cam asked.

"I thought you'd read all our mission reports," I said.

"Well, maybe I missed one or two," he shrugged.

"Did you miss the one about our imprisonment on Hadante as well?"

"That the one where Linea helped you to escape?" I nodded. "Wasn't she the one who was known as 'Destroyer of Worlds'?"

"Yep, that's the one."

"So what does Linea have to do with this Ke'ra?"

"Ke'ra is Linea - now half her age but with all her knowledge."

"Ohh, shit."

Go earlier

...Part 1 December 2005

..Part 2 2nd - 22nd January 2006

Part 3 27th Jan - 21st Feb 2006

Go later

Part 5 25th March - April 2006

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