Summary: A visit to a previously unknown world leads to a big surprise for SG-1 and one of their allies. It also forces Jack to deal with his hostility over his temporary joining with a Tok'ra symbiote.
Info: This episode is Danielized!
Author Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Feedback welcome)
Author Website: http://orrymain.com
Category: Slash, Drama, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: S6 - February 15-17, 2003
Spoilers: Cure (Danielized), New Ground (minor), Frozen (minor)
Written: May 14-16, 2017
Summary: A visit to a previously unknown world leads to a big surprise for SG-1 and one of their allies. It also forces Jack to deal with his hostility over his temporary joining with a Tok'ra symbiote.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
Most would consider the 9 p.m. hour at work as the middle of the second shift or maybe even the pre-graveyard shift. At Cheyenne Mountain, though, it was just another hour of the day. The Stargate was operational during every minute of the day and night and most all personnel rotated shifts. Some even stayed overtime due to their dedication to the job. Such was the case for Doctor Daniel Jackson, the highest ranked civilian employed at Stargate Command and the head of the Archaeology Department which really meant he was in charge of anything in that and related fields. Essentially, he was the resident cultural expert which covered an undefined broad range of ancient or otherwise alien civilizations.
On this cold and snowy evening in Colorado Springs, Daniel was working in his office, trying to make sense of some unknown writings recently recovered by SG-11. His lover and the second-in-command at Stargate Command, Jack O'Neill, referred to the writings as scribbles, which wasn't of any help to the linguist, which was another of Daniel's many skills and for which he held a PhD.
Needing a break, Daniel fixed himself another cup of coffee. He was using a brew he hadn't tasted before that was a gift from Samantha Carter, a major and astrophysicist extraordinaire assigned to SG-1. The adventurous blonde was sometimes credited with opening the Stargate, something Daniel never objected to, though Sam did her best to make sure everyone knew that her part of getting the ancient ring operational meant nothing compared to Daniel figuring out the symbols and the address theory that finally did open the door to new worlds of exploration. With their expertise in the various sciences, the two friends and teammates were often referred to as the science twins, a moniker both approved of and relished.
~Interesting,~ Daniel reviewed after tasting the brew. ~I bet Walter would like this.~
The archaeologist was referring to Sergeant Walter Davis who was the in-house expert in the control room. The man was well liked and, perhaps more importantly, trusted. Davis did his job well, which included doing the bidding of the base commander, Jack, and/or anyone else who was in charge of the Mountain during any given shift. Jack thought of Davis as a real-life version of TV's Radar O'Reilly as he had an uncanny ability in responding to various crisis and knowing what to do without being given an order.
Minutes later, Daniel entered the control room, which was vacant of human beings except for Davis who was at his post, waiting for something, anything, to happen. For technicians like Walter who worked the later and wee hours of a shift, time often passed more slowly.
"Walter," Daniel acknowledged as he put down a mug before the technician.
"Doctor Jackson," Walter responded. "What's this?"
"Harar, from Ethiopia, by way of Vienna. What do you think?" the coffee aficionado inquired as he relaxed atop the work counter to Walter's left and took another sip from his mug.
Walter lifted the mug and brought it to his nose to take in the full aroma. He smiled.
"Blueberries, actually, blueberry muffins."
"That's what I thought," Daniel responded. "I get a sense of a, a fruity wine with just a hint of earthiness thrown in. What do you think?"
The sergeant took his first taste of the coffee and let it settle. Then he took another sip and finally another.
"I agree," Walter concurred. "Where can I buy it?"
"I'm not sure. Sam gave it to me recently," Daniel answered before enjoying another sip. "I'll ask her and let you know."
"Thanks, Doctor Jackson."
Without warning, the Stargate began to activate and the klaxons blared their warning of a connection.
"What's that?" Daniel asked as he stood up and turned to face the gate room where the Stargate was located.
"Major Carter's set the computer to run addresses from the cold hit program tonight."
Sam created the program to automatically dial coordinates that did not result in a chevron lock on prior attempts. The intent was to hopefully one day make a connection where a Stargate was in existence. There could be all kinds of reasons why the connections were not previously successful including buried Stargates being unearthed and planetary shifts. The first successful use of the program occurred a few years ago and resulted in a disastrous visit to Bedrosia which was engaged in a civil war. The only good to come from it was Nyan, a Bedrosian who assisted SG-1 in their escape from the planet and who returned to Earth with them. He now worked for Daniel at the SGC.
"A cold hit?" Daniel asked. ~Wow. I love it when this happens, which isn't often enough.~ He was full of wonder, a feeling that was always present when the chance of meeting new allies existed. He calmed himself, though, since a successful address connection did not always signal an inhabitable planet or a place where life still existed. "Is General Hammond still here?"
"Get him, and Jack."
Walter acknowledged the order and immediately called Hammond and Jack to the control room.
Major General George S. Hammond was in charge of the Stargate Program at Cheyenne Mountain. He'd taken over after the original Abydos mission. From Texas, the man didn't pull any punches, but he was flexible and willing to stretch the boundaries if warranted. That endeared him to Jack, who was always a challenge for any higher ranking officer. Fortunately, the bald-headed man had a special fondness for his flagship team, SG-1. He considered both Jack and Daniel to be sons and overlooked many of their shenanigans, not because of his affection for them, but because they were often right about whatever the situation was. A widower, Hammond loved his lakeside home, fishing, and his work at Stargate Command, all of which helped him to move on with life after the death of his wife.
"Better, uh, have a MALP prepared," Daniel instructed.
With a nod, the sergeant also set about ordering the appropriate personnel to get the MALP in position.
"Doctor Jackson, what's happening?" Hammond asked upon entering the control room.
"Apparently, one the addresses in the cold hit dialing database works," Daniel answered brightly.
"Sir, Daniel, Walter," Jack greeted as he entered the room. "Are we having guests?" he asked, having heard the klaxons go off and seeing that the Stargate was now engaged.
"That could be, Colonel," Hammond responded. "What's the status on the MALP?"
"It's ready to go, Sir," Walter advised.
"Send it through."
The four men awaited the MALP to reveal their first image of the planet. A scrambled nothing at first, the picture finally cleared.
"Nighttime there, too, Sir," Jack noted about the evening-like darkness of the view.
"Is that ... it's a woman," Daniel observed.
The blonde with curly long hair looked slightly nervous and yet composed. She stared at the MALP with curiosity and only slight trepidation.
"Doctor," Hammond called out, his right hand waving through the microphone.
Daniel nodded and leaned downward a bit as he grabbed the mic with his right hand and spoke a quiet, "Hello."
The woman startled and jumped back several steps.
"Um, don't worry. I'm human. Uh, my name is Daniel Jackson. I'm an explorer from a planet called Earth."
"You're human?" the woman asked as she studied the MALP with some concern.
"I'm talking to you from Earth through that device. We call it a MALP. The long-winded version is the Mobile Analytic Laboratory Probe."
"MALP is easier," the woman agreed as her nerves calmed.
"We'd like to get to know you, I mean, your people, on your planet. What's the name of your world?"
"Pangar," Daniel repeated. "Can we visit you?"
"I am not authorized to make that decision. If you can wait, I'll contact Representative Dollen."
"Uh, yes, uh, how long do you think that will take?"
"He is at a high meeting, but I know he'll be eager to speak with you. Please wait."
"Listen, we can only keep the connection open for a short while. We'll ... call back in one hour. Is that okay?"
"Yes, I am sure he will be here by then. Thank you."
"Thank you. Ah, wait! What's your name?"
Smiling, the woman answered, "Zenna, Zenna Valk, Doctor Zenna Valk."
"Hello, Zenna, Zenna Valk, Doctor Zenna Valk," Daniel repeated in a light tone. "It's good to meet you."
"And you, Daniel Jackson."
"Doctor Daniel Jackson, of Archaeology, I mean, I'm a Doctor of Archaeology and Anthropology."
"I am, too."
Zenna's smile was huge as she backed away and then turned and hurried toward town.
With the event horizon closed, Daniel stood erect and smiled widely.
"Daniel, if you smile any bigger, you'll explode," Jack teased.
"New contact, Jack: that's what this Program is all about."
"He's right, Colonel. Sergeant, phone Major Carter. She'll want to be a part of this," Hammond instructed.
Hammond turned and left the control room, while Jack and Daniel also walked away, passing Hammond's office before they spoke.
"Don't you think you were a little *perky* with Zeeeeeena."
"Zenna," Daniel corrected. "Like I said, it's a new contact, Jack. That's always exciting."
"Yes, isn't it," the colonel intoned as his eyes threatened to turn green with jealousy. "You know your history, Daniel."
"Jack, there was not alarming about Zenna that we could hear. She looked and sounded perfectly normal, and safe."
"Yes, well, watch yourself. She's still a damsel."
Daniel chuckled and then said, "Oh, forgot my mug," before turning around and leaving Jack at the elevators.
~New contact, eh. Watch yourself, Dannyboy. She didn't look like a damsel in distress, but my instinct tells me she's still on the prowl.~
As the doors to the elevator, Jack stepped inside and tried to put aside his fears and focus instead on Earth making friends with those on a new world.
~Maybe they'll have some fun new weapons to play with,~ the colonel put forward as the doors shut. ~One can hope.~
"Jack, let's go!" Daniel exclaimed the next morning.
The lovers ate a hearty meal for breakfast and were now ready to head out for the Mountain and a visit to Pangar. The two, along with Hammond and Sam, felt good about their contact with Repreentative Dollen the night before. He was eager and welcoming, anxious even, to meet the Tau'ri, as earthlings were largely known throughout the universe. A time was set for SG-1 to make their first visit to the planet, and Daniel was enthusiastically awaiting the meet and greet mission.
"Danny, we have plenty of time," Jack responded calmly as he bounded down the steps of the country-like home he shared with his archaeologist.
"I know, but you never know."
"Geez, you're anxious."
Daniel sighed, "Jack, it's not the girl, it's the opportunity."
"Yeah, I know. Okay, Mister Eager, let's go."
"Jack ..." Daniel began, his hand touching his soulmate's chest and preventing the man from taking another step. "You know how I feel."
With sparkling eyes, Jack nodded and avowed, "I love you, Angel."
"I love you, my Silver Fox."
The two shared a tender kiss and then took Jack's Ford pick-up to Cheyenne Mountain for yet another new adventure.
In the gate room, Jack, Daniel, and Sam waited for the final okay for the mission from General Hammond, who was not visible in the control room.
"He's probably on the phone with the President," Sam stated, having already been told that could be a possibility.
"Or making a bet for today's big cricket match," Jack offered. He saw the disbelieving stares and expounded, "England versus the Netherlands." He shrugged at the curious expressions aimed in his direction and added, "Hey, I watch more than hockey."
"Since when?" Daniel asked, ignoring the pointed stare he received from his lover in response.
"Hey, Big T, I was wondering if you were going to join us," Jack called out when Teal'c entered the room.
"I was detained," Teal'c spoke without any further elaboration.
"Of course you were," Jack replied, not needing an explanation.
Teal'c completed SG-1 and as an alien to Earth, he was the rarity in the Stargate Program. Without his assistance and expertise with the Jaffa staff weapon, SG-1 might not have survived the second Abydos mission, the one that called for Daniel to be brought home from the planet after he chose to remain there with his Abydonian wife. From Chulak, Teal'c was the First Prime to the Goa'uld System Lord, Apophis. The tall and muscular man wore the emblem of Apophis on his forehead, a permanent reminder of his past that had to be explained away or covered whenever he left the top-security base. He'd had doubts about the beliefs of the Goa'uld and he wanted his people to be free. Until Jack beckoned him to fight for freedom with the Tau'ri, however, the Jaffa did not believe his people could defeat the powerful Goa'uld symbiotes they were forced to carry in their bellies. Strong and proud, the one-hundred-plus-year-old warrior often acted in the name of revenge, but was always loyal to his teammates and Earth.
At that moment, Hammond entered the room, immediately noticing something disturbing to him, and walked to Jack and asked, "What's that, Colonel?"
"What's what, Sir?"
"Oh, it's the usual gear for a mission: a P-90."
"Colonel, you're about to come face-to-face with a people who appear eager to make our acquaintance and become friends. Friends aren't made by waving a weapon in their faces."
"You never know, General. We've had some friends who ended up being not so friendly."
Hammond considered the remark and ordered, "Stand down with the P-90 and your staff weapon, Teal'c. Keep your zats and your Beretta, Doctor Jackson."
Reluctantly, Jack unclipped his weapon and handed it to one of the Special Forces team in the room. Teal'c also handed his staff weapon to one of the SFs.
The major general looked up at the control room and ordered, "Dial Pangar." He switched his attention to SG-1 and advised, "I know you're anxious for a positive outcome. Earth needs new friends, and, Colonel, that doesn't mean they have to have weaponry to aid in the fight with the Goa'uld."
"But it would be helpful, Sir," Jack responded with a slight lean forward in Hammond's direction.
"Of course," the general agreed. "Good luck and God speed," Hammond encouraged before leaving the embarkation room.
The team readied themselves as they waited for the final chevron to lock in place and for the mighty kawoosh to explode in front of them.
"Okay, kids, let's play nice and see if we can bring home a present for Uncle Sam."
"Jack," Daniel interrupted with a roll of his eyes.
"Just teasing, Daniel. Move out."
On Pangar, Dollen and other delegates awaited the arrival of Earth's representatives. Not all of the Pangarans were feeling positive about the meeting, though, especially one named Tegar.
"We are about to meet an alien race in person for the first time. If you are correct, they are more advanced than us and capable of being a significant threat. That gives me good reason to be on the highest alert," the man told Dollen.
Dollen responded, "Since the discovery of the temple ruins, we have had reason to believe that there are other inhabited planets in the galaxy and now, finally, we have our proof. I, for one, am relieved. The very first contact we have made is with a race of humans that seem to be very much like us."
"Maybe you trust them without suspicion, but I cannot."
"Nevertheless, Commander, we must proceed," Dollen insisted as he witnessed the formation of the event horizon. "They are sending their most respected team of representatives. No doubt the leader of this group will be a brilliant and savvy negotiator."
Tegar urged, "We must be at our best to match the challenge."
"Personally, I cannot wait to meet a man of such genius."
Just then, Jack led his team through the wormhole and onto the platform where he grinned and greeted, "Howdy, folks!"
"Doctor Jackson?" Dollen asked.
Walking down the steps, Jack answered, "No."
"That's me," Daniel called out as he stepped down onto the ground. "I'm Daniel Jackson, and this is our ... this is Colonel Jack O'Neill, and that's Major Sam Carter, and that's ... Teal'c."
"It is a pleasure to meet you," Dollen replied. "This is Commander Tegar. He's a bit grouchy today."
Jack laughed, understanding the displeased expression on the commander's face and thinking, ~He's not so glad we're here.~
"Please come with us to our city chambers where we can talk and get to know one another," Dollen invited.
The chat between the representatives of Earth and Pangar took place in a large room that was reminiscent of a Japanese design and appeared to be more recreational than administrative. SG-1, Dollen, and Tegar all participated in the discussion that left the teammates curious. However, the discussion was interrupted when one of Dollen's assistants entered and whispered into his ear.
"If you'll excuse us for a few minutes. Something has come up that we must handle right away."
"Anything we can help with?" Jack asked.
"No, it's a minor administrative matter. We should return within ten minutes," Dollen stated, exiting the room with his assistant and Tegar.
"Okay, perfect health, they say," Jack stated in reference to a claim Dollen made during their conversation. "Looks like Kool-aid to me," he said as he held up a small bottle with a purple liquid inside that Dollen gave him during their conversation.
"Tretonin," Sam recalled as she took the bottle from her CO. "If Representative Dollen is accurate, this stuff could be valuable to us."
"Yes, long life," Jack noted.
"Uh, is it just me or did Representative Dollen seem overly anxious to get Gate addresses from us?" Daniel asked.
"Would it not be normal to want to explore if you just discovered a Stargate, DanielJackson?"
"Well, I guess the fact they thought the Stargate was only a relic does account for some of it, but he was still very focused on wanting to make connections with other worlds," the archaeologist responded. "Jack, they were excavating around the Gate when we arrived. I need to see what they're doing."
"And we need to learn more about the Tretonin, Sir," Sam advised.
"They were darn quick to give us something," Jack put forth as he took the bottle back from Sam and shook it. "In trade, Dollen said."
"Perfect health," Daniel recalled about the claim made by Dollen about the Tretonin.
"Too easy?" Jack asked.
Before anyone could answer, Dollen and Tegar returned and apologized again for their brief absence.
"We can begin a tour of our city, if you like," Dollen offered.
"Yeah, that would be great," Jack replied, though he quickly continued, "But, uh, Daniel and Teal'c would like to take a look at those digs around the Stargate. He's an archaeologist."
"So I was told, by Zenna. She is the one you spoke with."
"Yes," Daniel confirmed.
"By all means, look at your leisure and meet our people. Zenna would love to meet with you and discuss what we've uncovered. She should be at one of the excavation sites."
"Thank you," Daniel said as he stood, as did Teal'c.
"Careful what you touch," Jack warned as his lover sighed and walked away. He looked at Dollen and gave a partial smile. "Inside joke. He likes to touch things, hurts himself a lot."
"I see." Dollen, a bit confused, beckoned, "This way."
"Do you think we could talk some more about the Tretonin?" Sam queried from her seat.
"Surely," Dollen agreed as he sat back down.
Daniel and Teal'c were walking away from a dig location that was near the Stargate when a pleasant voice rang out: "Earthens!"
"Uh, Earthlings," Daniel corrected, though he did so quietly and was unheard by the woman.
As she approached, the female informed, "I am Zenna Valk, supervisor of the temple research project. It is a pleasure to meet the explorers from the planet Earth."
Zenna's smile increased as she recognized the soft-spoken aspect to the voice.
"I'm Daniel. We spoke over the, uh ..." Daniel waved his right hand and motioned behind him where the Stargate was.
"It is nice to see your face."
"And this is Teal'c. He's a member of SG-1."
"Teal'c," Zenna greeted. "Am I at correct in assuming you are Jaffa?"
"I cannot tell you how exciting this is. We have learned much from the discovery of this site, but it must pale in comparison to what you can teach us."
"It looks like you're doing great. I'm not sure we have much we can teach you about archaeology, but we'd love it if you showed us around."
"By all means. That was my intention," Zenna spoke as she began her tour. "We first discovered these ruins over a hundred years ago, and since then we've dedicated ourselves to studying the secrets the Goa'uld left behind. This area was obviously some sort of reception colonnade for greeting travelers who came through the Stargate. The real discovery was made just over here." She led the two to an opening that was off the road and down a slope. "There is an underground tunnel system that leads to the main temple."
"It is most likely a means of escape to the Stargate in case of attack," Teal'c suggested.
"That's exactly what I thought."
The three entered a room that was a bit dark and lit chiefly by lanterns and the sunlight that shone through the tunnel entrance. Zenna led the teammates to the center area.
"The writing in this chamber seems to tell the story of the Goa'uld who once ruled here. We've been attempting to decipher this section of the wall for many months, thus far with limited success."
Teal'c studied the area and advised, "It is written in a rare dialect of ancient Goa'uld, an account of the warlord Shak'ran."
Daniel explained, "He was a System Lord, who was eventually defeated by Apophis about three-hundred years ago."
"Indeed. Until his defeat it appears Pangar served as Shak'ran's home world."
"And what of the Goa'uld Apophis, the one who conquered Shak'ran?"
As the trio talked and Teal'c let her know that Apophis was recently killed, Zenna inwardly noted that the security guard walked up the stairs. It gave her the opportunity she was waiting for.
In a quieter tone, Zenna interrupted Daniel and said, "Please, I do not wish to be overheard by the Pangar security contingent. There is something you need to know about the Tretonin." She saw the guard returning and reverted to her normal tone of voice. "Please come with me and I will finish showing you the rest of the ruins." Then in a whisper she added, "I will try to talk to you later."
Daniel and Teal'c shared a concerned look before following Zenna up the stairs.
Meanwhile, Jack and Sam were continuing their discussion with Dollen and Tegar.
"Although we fully admit Tretonin is not without side-effects, we assure you the good it can do far outweighs any negative aspects," Dollen told the SG-1 contingent.
"What kind of side-effects are we talking about, exactly?" Sam questioned.
"Depends on the individual," Tegar answered. "Most people experience almost no reaction to it. Those who do merely require more regulated doses."
"We'll need a decent amount for testing," the blonde told the planet's officials.
Tegar then let it be known that they needed something in return for the Tretonin and that something were Gate addresses. Sam was prepared. It was something Stargate Command had done before when assisting races new to the ancient technology. She handed Dollen a folder that contained ten addresses to places Earth deemed safe while also being rich in terms of relics and natural resources.
Without even reviewing the file, Dollen sent up a red flag when he replied, "Well, this is a very generous offer, Major, very generous. However, based on our own studies of the writings in the temple, we have compiled a list of the names of the worlds that we would like to visit."
Jack accepted a folder from Dollen that was in a language he didn't understand. Sam recognized a few of the addresses and said she'd have to check with Daniel or use their database of Stargate addresses. That said, she quickly told Jack that the three addresses she knew were all Goa'uld home worlds and classified as off-limits.
"Yeah, fellas, you really don't wanna go here," Jack told the other men. It's not exactly a walk in the park, if you know what I mean?"
"We know that the Goa'uld are a hostile race that once ruled this planet centuries ago," Tegar responded.
"Alright, you're new to this so we'll cut you a break," Jack returned calmly.
With great insistence, Tegar asserted, "Those are the worlds we wish to explore!"
"We believe they are significant to our history," Dollen expressed in a normal tone.
"Look, guys, we're not lying to you about this. You don't wanna go there first time out. Trust me."
Still incensed, Tegar challenged, "If you have been to these worlds and survived, can we not?"
"All I'm trying to say to you is, it would be *stupid*."
"We are aware of the risks and believe the rewards are worth the potential consequences, as you and your people obviously do, Colonel," Tegar maintained.
"Please, Colonel," Dollen pleaded. "In exchange for the Tretonin we are simply asking that you respect our wishes."
"We'll need to discuss this with our leaders," Jack responded.
"Of course," Dollen permitted.
"Carter," Jack stated expectantly as he rose. "We're going to check in with our teammates and we'll be back as soon as we can."
Jack and Sam exited the room and headed for the ruins.
"That was odd," Jack stated. "Wasn't that odd?" he asked Sam.
"Why would they insist on those addresses after we told them about the Goa'uld? They have to know the risk, if only from their own research in the temple."
"It's hinky, Carter. We need to catch up with Daniel and Teal'c," the concerned colonel stated as he increased his pace.
A few minutes later, the colonel heard his name.
"Jack!" It was Daniel calling out to the team leader. "Jack!"
"Ut oh," Jack said to Sam.
"He has that look. Something tells me he has something to tell me."
"Of course," Sam replied with a slight cock of the head.
"You know what I mean," Jack purported. "Their little tour of the dirt turned up something besides relics."
As the teammates met up, Daniel said, "Jack, I don't know what it is yet, but Zenna ..."
"The damsel?" Jack interrupted with a higher pitched tone of voice as the four walked towards the Stargate.
"She's the woman you talked to last night when the MALP came through, right?" Sam queried.
Jack drew a big breath and said, "Yeah, what about her?"
"She wants to talk to me privately, later," Daniel advised, causing Jack to use his military training not to react.
Teal'c elaborated, "She said there was something we needed to know about the Tretonin."
Two guards passed by the team, prompting the archaeologist to add, "She seemed really worried about the guards. She was going way out on a limb just talking to us about something other than Goa'uld hieroglyphs."
"Alright. You guys keep digging, see what you can find," Jack ordered. Holding up the bottle of Tretonin, he advised, "Carter and I will get this sample back to the SGC."
Daniel and Teal'c stopped walking to continue their investigation, while Jack and Sam made their way to the DHD.
Jack looked around, observing the ongoing excavation and the presence of the guards.
"They are everywhere," Jack stated quietly as Sam dialed Earth.
"I've noticed that, too," Sam replied. "And it's not just around the dig sites and relics, they were very noticeable in the city."
"Hinky, Carter, very hinky."
Sam hit the big red button at the center of the DHD and watched the kawoosh.
"The Tretonin might be worth it, Sir."
"Maybe. If they want to die, there's nothing we can do about it," Jack stated and then motioned to the Stargate as he started up the steps and was followed by his second-in-command.
Later in the afternoon, Daniel saw Zenna enter the tunnel. She was alone.
"I shall stand guard, DanielJackson."
Daniel nodded in response to Teal'c's statement and walked into the room where Zenna was making notes in her archaeological record.
"Daniel," Zenna acknowledged when she realized she was no longer alone in the chamber.
"Zenna," Daniel replied.
Zenna looked at the wall and evinced, "It's slow and painstaking. Any help you're willing to give me ..."
"Of course," the linguist responded as he looked around the room to verify there weren't any guards. "It looks like we're alone."
The woman stared at Daniel for a moment and then walked to the wall and pointed at some symbols while asking, "What do you suppose this means?"
"Uh, you said there was something we needed to know about the Tretonin."
"I'm sorry, you must have misunderstood."
"No, I think you were pretty clear." Daniel noticed Zenna was nervous and that she was looking over his shoulder. "No one's coming," he assured. "Teal'c is at the entrance to the tunnel standing guard. We can talk freely."
Nervously, Zenna returned, "I don't have anything to say."
As the woman started to walk away, Daniel stepped in front of her and stated strongly, "Listen, Zenna, if you know something ..."
"No. I don't."
Daniel sighed as he watched Zenna exit.
~She's lying. Why?~ Daniel walked up the tunnel and joined Teal'c. "That was strange."
"What did ZennaValk have to say?" the confused Jaffa inquired with concern.
"Nothing. Someone must have gotten to her. It's the only explanation. She, uh, acted like she'd never said anything to us, but she was nervous, Teal'c, very nervous."
Teal'c looked at his friend and noticed a determined expression on his face and asked, "Do you have something in mind, DanielJackson?"
"Oh, yeah. I think we need to do some more investigating ... in Zenna's tent."
Teal'c nodded and followed Daniel as they sought out Zenna and began to covertly monitor her whereabouts.
"You did *what*?" Jack asked upon returning with Sam to Pangara the next morning.
"Daniel, Carter and I get back here and instead of a friendly 'hi, how ya doin'', I find out that two of my team were caught trespassing in some private building. What the heck were you thinking?"
"I was thinking that Zenna was hiding something, and I was right."
"Jack, you would have done the same thing, and you know it," Daniel put forth. "When I tried to find out what Zenna wanted to tell us about the Tretonin, she acted like she'd never said a thing to us, but she was nervous, maybe afraid. So, I did what you would do, I found out why."
Taking a giant breath and letting out a small groan, Jack inquired, "Okay, what did you find out?"
"She's on Tretonin herself. I found the map that showed where the processing plant was located, only it's not just a plant, but a dispensary, and, Jack, they have a very interesting pool there."
"You went swimming?"
"Not by my choice."
"They have a very large tank full of Goa'uld symbiotes there."
Grimacing, Jack asked, "What?"
"The guards saw us up on the catwalk and Teal'c went to fight them. That's when one of the guards tried to tackle me. I was just standing there, too, but he lunged at me and we both fell into the tank."
"With those snakes?"
"I know. I know," Daniel acknowledged. "Believe me, when I saw one jumping in my direction, I suddenly became a speed swimmer. Fortunately, Teal'c was there to pull me out."
~Did he just say what I thought he said?~ Jack was fit to be tied. He was angrier than he'd been in a long time. He wanted to scream at the top of his lungs and let out his rage, but he couldn't do that. He calmed himself as much as possible and then asked a question, his voice strained from his emotions. "What about the guard?"
"He wasn't so lucky."
"But there was something really odd, Jack."
"Odder than you being chased by a snakehead?"
Daniel ignored the query and continued, "When we realized a symbiote went into the guard, Teal'c wanted to shoot him."
"But, Jack, the guard should have been fine, only he wasn't. He didn't move. Why? Why didn't the symbiote take over?"
"You're asking me?"
"No, but the question needs a response."
"A lot of questions need responses," Jack returned curtly. "Danny, are you okay?"
With a tiny smile and nod of his head, Daniel answered, "I'm fine, Jack."
Jack took another deep breath and then shook his head in a rapid frenzy for a second, something he did occasionally as if to shake out all the bad from his brain.
"Let's go," Jack stated, leaving the small room where the two lovers were talking and joining up with Sam and Teal'c in the large hall where they were originally given the sample bottle of Tretonin.
"Did you guys fill each other in?" Jack asked.
"Yes, Sir," Sam answered. She looked at her science twin and asked, "Daniel, are you all right?"
"I'm fine, thanks," Daniel replied.
"Sir," Sam called out, nodding towards Dollen and Tegar as they entered the room.
Upset, Tegar quickly interrogated, "Would you care to tell us what you were doing in the Tretonin facility?"
With equal ire, Jack retaliated with, "You wanna tell us why you have a pool full of Goa'uld symbiotes?"
"You have betrayed our openness with you," Dollen accused.
"Openness?" Jack asked incredulously. "You're raising Goa'ulds! When were you gonna tell us that?"
Dollen answered, "The symbiotes are a critical component to making Tretonin."
"Excuse me?" a surprised Sam spoke.
"It is a complicated process, one which is better explained by our scientists. Quite frankly, we intended to tell you how the Tretonin was made, eventually. We just wanted to first assess how you might react," the representative explained.
"Not well," Jack responded with some force.
"I don't know why you're taking such offense. You've told us yourselves the Goa'uld are mortal enemies who've enslaved countless humans. Where is the harm in using them to enhance our quality of life?" Tegar questioned.
"Do you really understand the risks involved?" Daniel queried.
"We have been using the same method to produce Tretonin for nearly thirty years," Dollen argued. "We take every precaution possible to protect our people."
"How were these symbiotes procured?" Teal'c asked.
"Yeah, for people who haven't mastered Gate travel, you sure got a lot of 'em," Jack pointed out.
"Listen, we want to be your friends, but we can't share information with you until you give us answers," Daniel advised. "Representative Dollen, you accused us of betraying your openness, but can you really say you're being totally open with us?"
"We have already told you everything that is necessary," Tegar claimed.
Dollen looked at Daniel and realized he had to come clean with the team.
"Tegar, they are right. There is no reason to keep more secrets." The leader requested, "Please come with me. We will go to our medical facility and you will see all there is to see and learn about the Tretonin."
Jack shared a glance with his team and nodded as they silently followed Dollen and the still reluctant Tegar.
At the medical facility, SG-1 walked with Dollen and Tegar down a long corridor.
As the group walked, Dollen spoke about the issue at hand, saying, "The drug was developed, and is now manufactured and administered, here, and since its use has spread to more of the general population, we've implemented other treatment centers throughout Pangar as well. Now, through here is the reason we were able to create Tretonin in the first place. The symbiotes were not procured through Gate travel." He led everyone through a doorway and continued, "Our symbiotes are all bred, here, in captivity."
SG-1 came to a collective halt as they stared at a tank on the far side of the room in which a large Goa'uld was clearly ready to spawn.
"A queen," Teal'c observed.
"No kiddin'," Jack responded.
The members of SG-1 were stunned and had a lot of questions, but first, Dollen took them to a treatment room where the guard who had a symbiote go inside him was still unconscious. Dollen asked if there were anything they could do to help the man.
"What's his condition?" Sam inquired.
"Well, his lower brain functions seem to be intact, his breathing and heart rate are normal, but he is completely unresponsive to any stimulus."
"That doesn't make sense," the major responded.
"Teal'c?" Jack called out, gesturing for him to explain how the symbiote joining worked.
"Prior to the process of incubating Goa'uld symbiotes using Jaffa, the blending between Goa'uld and host had only a one in two chance of success. Jaffa were created for the very reason of improving the ability of the symbiotes to take human hosts."
"So the fact that this symbiote was raised in a tank could explain the coma-like state," Sam surmised.
"To the best of my knowledge, a failed blending results in death to both Goa'uld and host. This man is very much alive."
"Our understanding is that this is a typical reaction to contact with Goa'uld offspring," Dollen stated.
Teal'c returned, "A Goa'uld offspring is born with the intellect and knowledge of the queen who bore it. Normally, the fully developed personality would emerge, allowing the symbiote to control the host immediately upon blending."
Seeing how confused Dollen was, Jack elaborated, "Glowing eyes, cliché behavior, evilness, that kind of thing."
As they continued to brainstorm, Sam suggested contacting the Tok'ra. She then had to let the Pangarans know who the Tok'ra were.
"Basically, they're an offshoot of the Goa'uld who oppose them philosophically in every way," Sam stated.
"You propose to bring these Goa'uld here," a surprised Dollen questioned.
Sam assured, "They're very different. They co-exist with their hosts in a much truer symbiotic relationship."
Jack rolled his eyes as his own dark memories of being implanted with a Tok'ra symbiote thundered through his mind. It had not been a pleasant experience for the colonel, even though his life was saved in the process.
"They are, in fact, allies," Teal'c asserted.
Eventually, Dollen agreed to having the Tok'ra visit Pangara. As they waited, the team continued to talk and review their situation.
"Any ideas?" Jack asked.
"I think we have to wait for the Tok'ra," Sam responded.
"My favorite people," the colonel sighed.
"Jack, it's going to be a while before the Tok'ra arrive. I'd like to talk with Zenna and maybe help her with some of the translations."
"Feeling guilty, are we?"
"She was scared; I'm sure of it."
"Yeah, right," Jack replied uncertainly. "Go ahead. Teal'c, go with him. Maybe you can help with whatever they find in that temple," he added. ~And you'll be a good chaperone.~
With Teal'c waiting outside, Daniel tapped on a box near the open flap of Zenna's tent. Zenna was at her table, reviewing her notes. Hearing the knock, she turned and saw the archaeologist.
"Hello again," Daniel greeted.
"Uh, I, uh, have an admission to make. I suppose you heard that Teal'c and I tracked down the Tretonin facility?"
"Yes, I heard."
"Long story short, we found the facility after I went through your things. I apologize, but I didn't see another choice at the time."
"I know what you did. I saw you," the woman admitted.
"You did ... and you didn't try and stop us?"
"No, I wanted you to know. In some ways, I'm glad you did what you did. In others, I'm disappointed you were so willing to betray me."
"Betray? That's a, a very strong word. Zenna, you came to us first and once you did, we had to know what was happening before we could share any information with your government."
Nodding, Zenna admitted, "I should have told you outright. I was afraid. Tretonin is not available to everyone in Pangar yet. Taking it is a privilege, one that can be revoked."
"I hope I didn't get you in trouble."
"No, you didn't, but if you'd like, you could make it up to me."
"Help me finish the translations in the tomb."
"Actually, I was going to offer to do that anyway."
"I am not surprised," Zenna responded.
Daniel motioned toward the open flap and waited for Zenna to rise and walk with him and Teal'c to the chamber.
As the two archaeologists and Teal'c worked in the underground chamber, they talked about Zenna's need for the Tretonin and her fear that it might one day not be available and she would die. She admitted to hoping a new queen could be found.
"I know it's not the answer, but it could buy us a little more time until another option is available. This has been my life's work. My father's life's work," Zenna stated.
"Your father," Daniel echoed.
Zenna expounded, "My father was the one who found the jar that contained the queen. He was attempting to remove a section of the temple ruins for further study when he literally stumbled into the chamber. Of course, he had no way of knowing that his discovery would eventually doom so many people."
"The result is not his fault."
"No," Zenna agreed softly.
As he studied the wall, Daniel frowned and asked, "Teal'c, this temple was built by Shak'ran, right?"
"Then why does this section of the fresco mention Ra?"
"Who's Ra?" Zenna questioned.
"Ra was a powerful System Lord, brother of Apophis. He, too, is dead," Teal'c stated proudly.
"Well, according to this, Ra used to live here."
"How is that possible, DanielJackson?" the Jaffa asked.
"Maybe ..." Daniel continued reading and then suggested, "Maybe Shak'ran captured this world from Ra in battle and built this temple on top of whatever Ra had here before." He read a portion of the writings on the wall. "Teal'c, this mentions a poison, or tomb, for one of Ra's enemies. It ... okay, hold on." He walked over to another section of the mural and read, "Here lies ... Egeria, betrayer of the Goa'uld. May she ... suffer ... for all ... eternity."
"Egeria was reported to be dead," Teal'c pointed out.
"Apparently, she's not which means," Daniel paused and looked at Teal'c with a pained expression. "Teal'c, the queen the Pangarans are breeding is not Goa'uld. She's the queen of the Tok'ra, the original queen."
"The Tok'ra?" Zenna questioned, confused by the conversation. "What does this mean?"
"It means ... we have to find Jack. I'm sorry, Zenna. We have to go find our friends."
In a flash, Daniel and Teal'c left the perplexed female scientist alone in the tomb.
As he walked, Daniel clicked his radio, and called out, "Jack? Jack, come in."
"Daniel, having fun?"
"No. Jack, we need to talk."
"Yeah, we do," the colonel agreed. "Let's meet in that large conference room where we had the first sit down with the Pangarans. I'm sure they won't mind giving us some privacy there."
"We're on our way. Daniel out."
"Jack, the queen is a Tok'ra."
"What are you talking about?" Jack asked as he sat down on the top step.
"Just what I said. It's not a Goa'uld, it's the origin of the Tok'ra, Egeria."
"This could be a problem," Jack stated.
From her seat at the table, Sam asked, "Are you sure?"
"The writings in the chamber are extremely clear," Teal'c responded.
"Apparently, Ra used this planet as his base of operations in this sector of the galaxy. Later, centuries later, a Goa'uld named Shak'ran captured the planet and ran Ra out."
"Must have been some battle," Jack replied.
"The question is: do we tell Malek and Kelmaa?" Sam put forth.
"Malek's here?" Daniel questioned.
"Made my day ... not," Jack returned about the Tok'ra he'd first met at the beginning of the year on the Alpha Site.
"We haven't met her before, either, but she came with Malek to help the queen."
"Okay, well, we have to tell them for a lot of reasons," Daniel asserted.
"Why?" Jack asked, not questioning the opinion but asking in more of a devil's advocate position.
"Well, for one thing, it's the right thing to do. Egeria is Tok'ra and she belongs with her ... children. For another, if we don't tell them, the Pangarans will continue to use Egeria to ... create children for the soul purpose of manufacturing Tretonin. Third, she's old, and she doesn't deserve to die like this."
"Human rights?" Jack asked.
"Any living creatures rights," Daniel corrected. "She's being held captive, Jack, and it's our responsibility to give Egeria her freedom. Isn't that what we've been fighting for all these years?"
With a nod, Jack declared, "We have to tell them, and if push comes to shove ..."
The unspoken conclusion of Jack's remark was noticeable to his team. No one wanted to think of the worst case scenario.
"Did you guys learn anything we should know?" Daniel inquired.
"In retrospect, what we learned supports what you've said," Sam began. "Malek and Kelmaa examined the queen and the injured guard and haven't been able to figure out what was going on. They considered that the queen chose not to pass on her knowledge to her progeny which essentially meant the symbiote was a blank slate."
"How long has she been here?" Daniel inquired.
Sam answered, "According to the Pangarans, they began using her for medical experiments over fifty years ago. She's been breeding symbiotes to make Tretonin for more than half that time."
"They're spawning her to death," Jack spoke with amazing sympathy for Egeria. "She's very old, Daniel. They may not have meant to, but they've murdered her by forcing her to have all these ... kids." He paused and asked, "Do you know how she does it? On her own. Can you imagine that?"
"Jack, I don't make it habit to think about how a Tok'ra queen gets pregnant."
"By herself," Jack stated.
"According to Malek, the symbiote queens are able to fertilize their own eggs. It is essentially an asexual process," Sam related.
"Do you ..."
"Jack! Let's stay focused."
"Yeah," the colonel agreed with his lover. "Y'know, those Tok'ra don't care how she's being use."
"What do you mean?" Daniel asked in concern.
"Your buddy Malek claims the Pangarans use of the queen for something, what word did he use, yeah, beneficial isn't morally objectionable to him. I just don't get that."
"I guess it's not always easy to understand another culture."
"Well, I don't even like the Tok'ra," Jack stated. He looked at his 2IC and said, "Sorry, Carter. Jacob's an exception," he said as he referred to the major's father who blended with a Tok'ra symbiote years ago and was now one of their leaders.
"No problem, Sir."
"The thing is, it bothers me, so why doesn't it bother them?" Jack put forward.
No one had an answer to the colonel's question.
"There's something else you two should know," Sam stated. "We contacted SGC earlier."
"Did Janet analyze the Tretonin?" Daniel asked.
"Yeah, and it's not good news," Jack responded. "If they don't keep taking the Tretonin, they're all going to die."
"I don't understand."
"According to the Doc, it does cure what's ailing you, but then the drug barges into the bloodstream and takes over."
"Janet says the drug suppresses the human immune system. The so-called cure isn't permanent and then the immune system stops working, so the only way to survive is to keep taking the Tretonin."
"Their trade is worthless," Jack clarified. "Maybe Colorado Springs could live, but there's not enough for coast to coast survival."
"They don't have enough for here," Daniel noted. "Zenna told us it's considered a privilege to take Tretonin. She's one of the lucky ones, but that's also why she backed away from telling us the truth. She was scared someone would find out and they'd take her Tretonin allotment away."
"Is there no way to reverse the process?" Teal'c inquired.
Shaking her head, Sam explained, "Janet says it's impossible and once the queen dies, it's just a matter of time before anyone taking Tretonin will die, too."
Sam also told Daniel and Teal'c how the Pangarans came to rely on the queen and develop Tretonin. It was sixty years ago when they found the chamber beneath the temple. Inside, they located a sealed canopic jar containing a living female symbiote. From their research, they knew about the Goa'uld's good health, never suffering from illness or disease. They took advantage of the situation and once the queen gave birth, they started experimenting on her offspring.
"Peachy," Jack interjected dryly. ~I don't like those little swimmers, but I dislike using kids as lab rats, even if the kids are ... snakeheads.~
Sam continued, "It was just a matter of time until they developed Tretonin. They knew there were issues with it, but they assumed they would find a way to counteract the side effects, so they kept taking it."
"Doesn't that Tegar fella remind you of someone?" Jack asked his team.
"Actually, he looks a little like ... Commander Rigar," Daniel observed hesitantly.
"Rigar?" Jack echoed as he attempted to place the name.
"Cold dialing hit, pain sticks, cages, torture ..." Daniel listed, trailing off at the end.
"Geez, they must be relatives," Jack sighed as he compared Pangar's Tegar with Bedrosia's Rigar.
"Sir, I don't think Tegar is that bad," Sam opined.
"We'll see," Jack sighed, his mind going to the last discussion he'd had with Tegar and Dollen.
"We know the risks in confronting the Goa'uld, but tens of thousands of lives will be lost if we do nothing," Tegar stated.
Dollen added with hope, "Perhaps you could assist us. Now, you have faced the Goa'uld many times. Your knowledge could give us a tactical advantage."
Ardantly, Jack responded, "No. There is no tactical advantage when you're dealing with the Goa'uld." After a brief pause, he argued, "We've stayed ahead of the game only because we don't bite off more than we can chew ... usually."
Sam interjected, "Besides, we need to get you off the Tretonin, not find another source."
Dollen responded, "Our scientists have been trying for years to find a way to reverse its effects. We've made very little progress. We need more time."
"Or ... more help," the major suggested.
//End of Flashback//
"They don't want to listen to us," Jack spoke in frustration. "Maybe we should let them find out for themselves."
"They'd be slaves, or dead, in less than a year," Daniel offered.
"I'm not sure it would take that long," Sam sighed.
"Anyone have anything else to report?" Seeing two head shakes and one Jaffa stare, Jack nodded. "Okay. Time to tell Malek and Kelmaa that their great grandmama Egeria is alive and unwell."
"Malek, Kelmaa, we need to talk," Sam called out as SG-1 caught up with the two Tok'ra in the hallway of the medical facility.
"What is it you need to say?" Malek returned.
Jack and Sam looked at each other and then the colonel leaned his head towards his second and gave her a mental nudge.
~That figures,~ Sam thought. "The queen isn't a Goa'uld queen."
"Say howdy to your great, great, great, great, infinity great grandmother."
"She is dead," Kelmaa responded as she was taken aback with the news.
"It's the truth," Sam insisted. "Please understand, we had no idea who she was until now."
"It is hard to believe," Malek stated.
"Many of our historians speculated that Ra did not kill Egeria as was widely believed, but ..." Kelmaa paused and then spoke brightly, "We never dared hope that she would ever be found."
"She must be freed immediately, of course. Every moment that she is kept in this condition is an affront to the Tok'ra," Malek put forth.
~Sounds like his moral principles just did a one-eighty,~ Jack thought.
The conversation took a dubious turn when the Tok'ra told Jack and Sam that they could not identify the defective gene that was causing the issue with the Tretonin. Both Tok'ra believed the Tretonin should be working and both were without a clue on how to save Egeria or the Pangarans.
Jack and Sam returned to the meeting room and met with Dollen and Tegar to share the news that the queen was a Tok'ra and that the Tok'ra were demanding her immediate release. Naturally, Tegar was against the idea and said it would result in thousands of Pangaran deaths.
"The Tok'ra have suffered great losses in the last little while. Their numbers are severely diminished. Restoring Egeria's health may be their only hope of survival as a people," Sam advised.
"You don't have a right to keep Egeria," Daniel stated. "We'll do everything we can to help you, but you have to give them their queen back."
The group headed for the medical facility to discuss the situation with the Tok'ra, though Malek was the only one there.
"I'm sorry, but you ask the impossible," Tegar stated strongly.
"She is our queen. Her freedom is not open for negotiation," Malek insisted with equal strength.
"We deeply regret who she is, but freeing her would mean death for many of our people," Dollen noted.
"Unless, of course, you can offer an alternative," Tegar invited.
Sam pointed out, "Malek and Kelmaa are having trouble locating a particular element in the symbiotes' genetic structure. Obviously, until they do, the chances of synthesizing an antidote are slim."
"Then we have no choice," Dollen responded.
"You do not understand. Her existence is a miracle to the Tok'ra. We are also a dying race. You may lose thousands; our kind will become extinct," Malek lamented.
"Don't you understand," Daniel interjected emotionally. "Their entire race will die without a queen to bring new life. Everyone has a right to live, but the Pangarans will continue, even with the loss, and as we've said, we'll keep helping. Maybe we can find a solution, something to help, but the Tok'ra, who have fought the Goa'uld for centuries, will cease to exist. They need Egeria to survive."
"I am sympathetic to the Tok'ra, but what you are asking of us would amount to a holocaust," Tegar insisted.
"She is a sentient being. Using her in this manner is an insult to her very existence," Malek argued.
Daniel stepped forward and passionately argued, "You're enslaving her and that's as bad as being Goa'ulds yourselves. There's no difference."
Dollen was hit hard with Daniel's argument and found himself to be even more divided over the issue. However, before he or Tegar could respond, an aide entered and advised Tegar that there was a security breach in the manufacturing wing. He quickly left the room, followed by Dollen and SG-1.
In the medical facility, the symbiote Kelmaa lie dead by her host's unconscious body. The queen symbiote, at Kelmaa's request, entered the host in the hopes of keeping the queen alive. Thus, Kelmaa sacrificed her life for that of the Tok'ra queen.
As Malek and the Pangarans tended to Egeria, SG-1 gathered together and waited.
"I bet the Pangarans would give up the queen if the Tok'ra would hand over the antidote," Jack opined.
"You believe the Tok'ra are keeping the knowledge of how to save Egeria to themselves, O'Neill" Teal'c questioned.
"To get what they want? Yeah, sure."
"Sir, with all due respect, I disagree," Sam stated.
Waving a finger in Sam's direction, Jack adamantly put forth, "Carter, they're pissed off."
"Wouldn't you be?" the blonde challenged. "They just discovered that the founder of their race has been abused for the sake of medical experimentation for over fifty years."
"Oh, come on, Carter. Face it. For all their high morals and fancy preaching about," Jack raised both hands and used his fingers to indicate quotation marks, 'coexisting' with humans, we are just a ... nice place to live."
"Jack, I agree with Sam," Daniel interjected.
"That's a surprise," the colonel retorted.
Daniel sighed, "I know what you think of the Tok'ra these days, but I honestly doubt they would out and out lie about this, especially since they know thousands of Pangarans would die as a result. It goes against their nature."
"That *I* don't believe," Jack responded.
Backing up Daniel, Sam maintained, "They wouldn't lie and doom thousands of innocent people."
Pointing toward the treatment room, Jack argued, "The Tok'ra layin' on that table in there just did."
Sam and Teal'c walked several feet away, not wanting to argue with their commanding officer. Daniel, however, was a different story.
"Jack, this isn't about what happened to you with Kanan."
"I know that."
"Look, you've had a difficult dealing with the Tok'ra since Kanan ..."
"The phrase is head-napped, Daniel. He friggin' took control of my mind and didn't care squat how I felt about what his slithering hide did."
"Listen to you," Daniel pleaded. "Jack, you have to let go of this. I know you're trying. No one knows that better than me, but you can't let your experience dictate your feelings in situations like this."
"And how do I avoid that?"
"Just ... keep an open mind, okay? I'll admit we don't for sure what they, what Malek knows or not about curing Egeria or the Pangarans. Maybe you're right and he's keeping some things private, but I don't think that's the case. Garshaw runs a tight ship. You know she wouldn't approve of anything that would result in thousands of innocent people dying. That's not her style."
Jack nodded as he felt calmer inside, but also disturbed. He was desperately wanting to get beyond his bad experience while forced to carry a symbiote who essentially went rogue.
~Why'd I ever agree to that?~ the colonel reflected. ~Oh, yeah, Danny.~
"How 'bout that?" the colonel chimed as his mood shifted.
At that point, Dollen approached Jack and the team, prompting Sam and Teal'c to return to their previous spots.
"Egeria has awakened," the representative announced, after which everyone entered the treatment room.
Malek felt humbled to be before the Tok'ra queen. He urged her to save her strength, but Egeria knew her time was short. She was grateful to her host for sharing the knowledge of the Tok'ra with her.
"You are beyond my greatest hopes and dreams," Egeria told Malek, who felt uneasy with the praise.
"These are the Tau'ri, who have allied themselves with the Tok'ra," Malek spoke about SG-1.
Egeria called Sam forward and noted that her host told her that Sam and SG-1 wanted to help the Pangarans in spite of their actions to her.
"This has all been a terrible mistake, but not a malicious act," Sam told the queen.
"Nor was mine, Major Carter."
"What exactly does that mean?" Jack asked. "Sorry, Jack O'Neill, SG-1, from Earth."
"My host told me about all of you, Colonel, and how hard you've worked to save the Tok'ra and all of humanity from the Goa'uld. Thank you for your efforts."
"It was nothing," Jack responded quietly. ~Crap, I can be a jerk sometimes.~
Egeria explained her words to Malek and the others by saying, "I passed on the flawed gene that gave the drug its weakness. You were unable to construct an antidote because of the manner in which I sabotaged my young. I did it in the hope that they would ultimately prove useless to the Pangarans. I wanted to force them to abandon their research once the drug proved untenable. Instead, they continued to make it in ever-increasing quantities."
"And now they can't live without it," Sam stated.
"It is not what I intended."
"Their fate is their own doing, not yours," Malek assured. "You merely tried to free yourself the only way you could."
"They do not deserve this end, not when it can be prevented," Egeria put forth.
"You created the flaw," Sam stated as she realized what the queen was saying. "You can create the antidote that will save them."
"I will tell you what you need to know."
Relieved, Dollen spoke with sincerity to Egeria: "Thank you. On behalf of our people, please, forgive us for what we have done to you. Had we known, we ..."
"The salvation of the Pangarans shall be my final act. Such is the spirit of Tok'ra that I wish to live on," Egeria stated. She looked at Jack and added, "My host knows of some of your pain at the hands of one of my children. I apologize for him and hope that you will remember the good in the Tok'ra and our spirit."
"I'll try," Jack promised. "It's been a pleasure," the colonel heard himself say.
"Major Carter, Malek, my time is short. Here is the knowledge."
Jack backed away, leaving the scientists to do their jobs.
"Are you okay?" Daniel asked.
"She's the first symbiote I've met and liked. She's a tough old bird," Jack complimented. "She didn't do all that bad with her ... kids."
Daniel smiled, his eyes saying what he couldn't in the foreign treatment room, surrounded by various races and personnel.
Jack smiled and gave his Love a nod and for the first time, in a very long time, he didn't have a strong dislike of the Tok'ra. It wasn't that he felt overly friendly towards them, but the unspoken, deeply seeded hate and mistrust was put in neutral. He was willing to give them another shot. If they let him down again, then he'd deal with it appropriately, but at the moment, for his peace of mind and to keep Daniel happy, his internal war ebbed. If nothing else, he'd found a Tok'ra he respected, and that made a grand total of three. He didn't know if this feeling was a lasting one or if maybe he was just letting his emotions interfere with his better judgement, but for now, it was what it was, and he was okay with that.
It was still daylight on Pangara when Egeria's body, covered in a shroud, was taken home to her people. With the event horizon shut down, SG-1 prepared to return home to Earth.
"Malek says he should have a prototype of the antidote ready soon," Sam told Dollen and Tegar.
"We are grateful for his efforts, Major, and yours," Tegar responded.
"It is our hope that we will be able to repair any mistrust that may have developed between us so that we can pursue a long-lasting friendship between our people far into the future," Dollen told the SGC's flagship team.
"Well said," Jack returned. "Daniel, let's go home."
Daniel walked to the DHD and began dialing Earth. He watched with wonder, as he so often did, the explosion of the kawoosh and the subsequent blue liquid-like image the event horizon made.
Jack, Sam, and Teal'c walked casually up the steps to the platform, but before his teammates went further, Jack stopped them and said, "You guys were right, about the Tok'ra. I thought I'd come clean on that, this time."
Teal'c bowed his head and headed through the event horizon.
"Thank you, Sir," Sam spoke with a smile, appreciative of the colonel's admission and then she, too, walked into the water-like horizon.
On the ground, the archaeologist looked over at Zenna. He smiled and then he joined Jack on the platform.
"I told Carter and Teal'c and I need to tell you, too," Jack stated when Daniel reached his position. "I was wrong."
"Okay. Uh, which wrong were you thinking about?"
"She *was* a damsel in distress."
Jack turned and disappeared into the wormhole.
Agape, Daniel paused for a moment as he thought about his incorrigible soulmate. Jack was always full of surprises, even when apologizing. Daniel looked back at the Pangarans, gave a final smile with a small wave, and then walked through the Stargate.
"What a ride that was," Jack retorted a couple of hours later as he and Daniel walked inside the home they shared. "I'm not sure I like these cold hits from the computer."
"Computer's revenge?" Daniel mused.
"They want to take over the world." Jack frowned and corrected, "Make that the universe."
"Computers aren't human," the archaeologist reminded.
"The jury's out on that," Jack teased.
"You're sounding good, Jack."
"Well, I tell ya, for tonight, I'm okay. I can't promise a thing about tomorrow or next month or next year, but right now, in the moment, Kanan's history, over and done with, and I'm giving the Tok'ra a break."
"No long term promises, Danny."
"I'm not asking for any, except, well, you know."
Jack took his soulmate into his arms and declared, "I make you the longest of long term promises ever, to love you until we aren't anymore and then wherever we end up, in whatever form we end up. You are my Angel, and I love you, my beautiful falling star."
"For a man of few words, you say so much."
"You bring out the best in me, once I calm down and listen."
With bright eyes, Daniel avouched from the deepest part of his soul, "I love you, Jack O'Neill and I'm so grateful you love me, too."
"We have a big day tomorrow."
"PR2-987," Daniel acknowledged about SG-1's next mission.
"There's always a mission, Love, but more than that, there's always us."
"Gawd, you are a sweet talker tonight."
"Okay, you got me. I'm thinking a little wine, a little Godiva, and a whole lot of naked sex, and sleep by midnight."
Daniel laughed, "Maybe."
"Sometimes, Danny, your maybes are sweeter than wine. I love you."
"I love you, too."
Jack and Daniel kissed tenderly before gathering up their ingredients and heading upstairs. They were tired from two long days on Pangar and the next mission also held a big unknown so they needed to be fresh and that meant making sure they slept a good eight hours. Fortunately, that gave them a few hours to imbibe in an indulgent, passion-filled evening of romance and lovemaking. Pangar was behind them. PR2-987 was ahead of them. Right now, in their present, there was only their nation of two and no one and nothing would ever get in the way of their love.
~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
Author's Note: Please feel free to email me with your comments or suggestions; constructive criticism, things you'd like to see, etc. A chronological listing of my universe is at http://orrymain.com