Chapter Ten Summary: - Their first off world mission with their new member is a routine meet and greet... which, of course, goes badly wrong. Daniel comes to a decision about his feelings for Kataya.
Pairing: Daniel/Other Rating:PG
"Italics" - Symbiote/Host or Telepathic communication
SG-1 was in trouble. Serious trouble.
What had started out as a routine meet-and-greet had quickly turned into a battle with the locals. They had managed to retreat into the hills and find an easily defensible area, provided their enemies did not bring an army. No one was quite sure what had set the whole thing off. Whatever it was, it had sure gone to hell fast when it started to go.
Daniel was puzzled. The meeting had been going well even if it had barely started. Suddenly one of the officers had declared that they were spies of the Larcnans. The fact that a Jaffa was amongst their party was proof enough. The Larcnans, it seemed, still worshipped the old gods. The two countries had not been on good terms for over three hundred years. That still did not explain why the officer, Kirksen, had decided they were involved. They had never been here before today. He sighed deeply and then wished he hadn’t. His ribs, at the very least, were cracked, as he had fallen on some rocks coming up this hill. No one else was hurt.
Jack O’Neill was in a quandary. This was their first mission with their new member. She was just sitting on the ground now, doing absolutely nothing. He was going to have to say something to her. Damn it, he so did not want to do this. She wasn’t in their military. Her status was basically the same as Teal’c’s. He had never had to come down on Teal’c for doing nothing though. Well, brooding about it wasn’t going to get it done. He started to climb wearily to his feet when a soft voice beside him stopped his upward movement.
“Don’t do it, Jack,” Daniel said quietly.
Jack plopped back down, “Do what, Daniel?”
“Don’t speak before you think this through. We don’t know enough about their ways yet to judge them hastily. She may have been doing something we could not see, you know.”
“How do you always know what I am thinking, Daniel? I know you don’t read minds,” Jack said, in a rather annoyed voice. He took his ill temper out on his friend by glaring at him.
Daniel smiled wearily, and began ticking his reasons off on his fingers as he told him, “One; I know you very well. Two; you are very predictable. Three; although you like her on a personal level, you still are not sure she is a good soldier. And, if those three are not enough, there is still number four; you were muttering under your breath. That tends to give your thoughts away, you know.” Daniel cocked his head and smirked at him.
“Okay, if you are so perceptive and knowledgeable, then what was going on back there? She barely raised her weapon,” Jack groused. “What am I supposed to think about that? What is there to figure out? She did not do anything. I do not need a liability like that hanging around my neck, Daniel.”
“Well, I am not sure myself, but I suggest you ask her before you jump to the wrong conclusions and end up making an ass of yourself. If it ends up that I am wrong, and she really was not doing anything, like you are saying, then you can yell at both of us,” Daniel told him firmly. “I am just saying not to jump the gun, Jack, that is all.”
“You seem pretty sure about her, Daniel, want to tell me why?” Jack asked him.
Daniel sighed, and then glanced over at Kataya where she rested some distance from them. It was as if she was putting as much space as possible between them. He did not know why, but he thought it was all part of whatever it was they did not know, or understand yet. “Jack, did you notice that as soon as you called for a rest, she pulled her circlet out, put it on, and sort of collapsed over there—away from all of us?” Daniel asked.
“I noticed she sat down, and is not helping Teal’c and Carter get the perimeter checked out to see if this is our best bet for a defensible position. You are injured, and I am keeping watch, as well as trying to figure out a plan to get us out of here,” Jack said tersely.
“Well, I noticed when she put it on,” Daniel said emphatically. “I have watched her do it before, too. Usually all the stones glow for a short while before they fade. Every so often, one will glow for a little bit longer, but that appears to be normal, from what I can tell. That seems to be the way it always reacts to her.”
“Yeah? So? What do glowing rocks have to do with our situation?” Jack asked, his tone indicating he was becoming more irritated by the minute.
“Well, when she put it on and sat down, the only stones that were glowing were the topaz and the diamond. I have noticed that the topaz is slowly becoming brighter.” He sighed. “Whatever she was doing back there, it drained her energy level pretty bad. I think she is sitting down and staying there because she literally does not have the energy to move. At least, I don’t think she did at first, but I hope that by now she is better. I am suggesting you ask her, not yell at her, that is all,” Daniel used his best placating voice. The one that almost always worked with Jack.
Jack contemplated Daniel’s words, and then decided that he could be right. Although it had not looked like she was doing anything, they really didn’t know enough about her to know for sure. He turned back to Daniel, “All right, but if you are wrong, I will let Carter strap your ribs,” he threatened.
Daniel smiled slightly, “Deal.”
Getting up to go help Teal’c and Carter, Jack decided to drop the subject for now. Maybe he would just wander over shortly and tactfully ask her how she was feeling. Yeah, he could do tactful, couldn’t he? Well, then again, maybe he should have Carter find out what was going on. He nodded to himself. That made more sense; Carter would do it much better than he could. That problem solved he turned his mind to the next one. At the moment, it was the more important of the half a dozen facing them.
He went over to where Teal’c was, “What do you think Teal’c? How does this area look?”
“I believe we should move higher as soon as we can. There is a supply of water a little farther up the hill. Since we do not how long we will be here, it is possible that we will find ourselves in need of the water. I suggest we move as soon as Kataya is sufficiently recovered,” Teal’c answered in his usual measured manner.
Carter came up beside them, and told him, “I agree sir. It is more sheltered higher up, and as Teal’c said, there is water there. I will see if Kat is ready to move yet.”
She concentrated on activating her link with Kataya. “Kat?”
"I am here, Sam," Kat answered promptly. “What do you need?”
"How are you doing?" Sam asked.
"Fine, thank you. I can leave whenever we are ready. Now that we are no longer running, I can continue to replenish my energy as we go forward. I have pulled enough energy to relieve the deficit I caused; therefore, I will be fine." Kat sounded tired, but not exhausted.
"Good. Teal’c and I found a better, safer spot up the hill a little farther,” Sam told her. “It is not very far. We will be walking this time, and you will not have to do anything for the rest of us.”
"How is Daniel?" Kat asked, obviously concerned about him.
“I need to check on him. I think he either busted or cracked a rib or two on those rocks," Sam replied. “He fell pretty hard, and I am fairly sure he hit his ribs on those rocks. He was holding his side, anyway, which leads me to believe that he is having some trouble with them.”
"Do what you can for him for now. When my strength has returned, I will see if I can heal them enough to at least take some of the pain away. However, in the circumstances, I do not want to use any more of my energy than I have to right now," Kat said.
"All right. I’ll let you know as soon as I am done taking care of Daniel."
"All right," Kataya responded.
“She said she can go now, sir, but I think I should look at Daniel’s ribs first,” Sam announced, after finishing her inner conversation with Kataya.
The colonel replied, surprised slightly, “He will be alright until we get settled. I checked him over, but what I really want to know is how you just talked to Kataya? I have not felt the link for quite a while.”
“No, sir, she had to shut it down to divert energy. I activated one with her,” Sam answered.
Jack looked astounded. “When did you get to where you can establish a link?”
“I have been working on it, sir. The last session I had with Merdwin, he gave me a circlet he brought through with him that he calibrated for my energy waves. He also had armbands made for both of us. Actually, he brought some for you, Teal'c, and Daniel, too, but Kat thought we would wait before seeing if you could use them. We already know Teal'c can, and both Kataya and Merdwin believe that Daniel should be able too, as well. I, um, seem to have some latent ability, possibly because of the naquadah in my blood. Anyway, the armbands seem to work well, but the circlet is still faster. I think I will just go help Daniel get up.” She turned and crept silently away.
As Jack stared after her, he realized she was wearing a circlet, very similar to Kataya's, but where purple, blue, and gold stones dominated Kataya’s, Sam's were more blue, silver, and purple. Apparently, Sam's energy patterns were in those colors. Still unsure of exactly what she had meant, though, Jack turned to Teal’c, and asked, “Do you know what in the hell she was talking about?"
“I believe so, O’Neill. Evidently, Major Carter has been able to activate a link on her own without Kataya’s help. She has been working on doing so since we started working with Kataya and Merdwin,” Teal’c informed him solemnly.
“How come nobody tells me these things?” Jack whined.
“You were present when we were discussing it the other day, O’Neill. However, the TV commercial with the scantily-clad female in it was holding your main attention.” The Jaffa bowed his head to him and noiselessly headed back to his other teammates. Jack followed muttering to himself.
As the group moved higher up the hill, Kataya walked next to O’Neill. “Colonel, I picked up some interesting impressions from Kirksen, as he pronounced his belief that we were spies sent from Larcnan. I had the distinct impression that he was looking at Teal’c and repeating the word shol’va in his mind, which as you know, is the Goa’uld word for traitor. However, whether he is trying to divert suspicion from himself to us, or if there is some other reason for his actions, I do not know. I do not believe he is Goa’uld himself, as none of us felt the presence of a symbiote. Speculation leads me to believe he is a Larcnan spy in the service of a Goa’uld.” She frowned as she considered that probability and concluded that it was, indeed, highly probable. After a moment she continued, saying, “He is probably sending military information to him. It is a probability that the Heyerians are suspicious of him for some reason, and he saw this as a way to divert suspicion from himself and at the same time prove his loyalty by finding real traitors.”
“Although I believe Kirksen is a traitor to the Heyerians, I do not at present see how the information can help us.” She continued, “Once we are settled in the camp, I need to rest. I am sorry I have been so little help in looking for a more defensible site and helping out, but I will be back to normal soon.”
Jack O’Neill cleared his throat, “Yeah, speaking of that. What exactly was it that you did back there? I know it must have been something, or you wouldn’t be so, um, tired.” Jack was, for once, diplomatic in his statement.
“We were close together, Colonel. I threw a shield up around us.”
“That’s why all those soldiers appeared to be such bad shots. They missed us all by a mile. I was wondering about that,” Jack replied and his eyes gleamed with amusement, as he remembered wondering if their entire army was so inept, while still being grateful that they appeared to be so. He chuckled aloud thinking about it and the consequences to which it would lead.
Kataya grinned at him, as she answered, “Yes, I believe many of them will be up for extra target practice. They certainly could not seem to hit any of us. I am sure that some of those soldiers are insisting that there is something wrong with their firearms.” She shrugged, continuing, “If one actually gave serious thought to it, which they will not, it is not reasonable to believe that they could truly all have been so incompetent.”
Jack nodded his head in agreement and laughed softly, “Go sit and recoup your energy while we set up. But, you do not have to isolate yourself, you know.” He offered as a way to ease his own guilt over the less than generous thoughts he’d had about her earlier.
Kataya shook her head no, as she answered, “It is safer if I do so, Colonel for I maintained the shield until just before we reached this hill. It was probably longer than was strictly necessary, however, since we do not know their capabilities, I felt it would be best to err on the side of caution. Now, however, with my energy resources this depleted, I could inadvertently pull energy from one or all of you. Normally, I would not worry about it, as the amount would be minimal, but in a combat situation, I do not want to take the chance. Unlike us, you do not know how to block it from happening. It is not usually a problem, but for now I will go over there.” She nodded to him as she set out for a secluded area she felt would be a good place to rest.
She sighed tiredly. It had very probably been very foolish to maintain the shield for so long. Eight hours of maintaining a shield around all of them, as they spread out more once they were away from immediate danger, was enough to deplete her energy levels substantially. She could have asked them to stay closer together, of course, but they were all keeping watch on a separate section around them. She, too, watched the area to her right closely as they traveled. They had each other’s backs and that was as it should be. They were good soldiers, these Tau’ri; Daniel aside, she was pleased with her decision to come here to fight with them.
“We are all set up, sir. Claymores are set around the perimeter. It seems odd, though, that for some reason Kirksen and his men do not seem to be following us,” Major Carter reported, puzzled.
Jack nodded, both his face and voice grim as he replied, “Yeah, I know. I have not seen them, since we got into these hills. I do not like it. It doesn’t feel right.”
Sam grimaced as she agreed with him, saying, “No, sir. I do not either. It feels very off to me.”
Jack made a quick decision. Jerking his head to the left, he said, “Let’s go talk to Teal’c.” They headed for the far side of the camp. Kataya was on one side. Although she was focusing on building her energy supply, Jack realized that he trusted her more now, and he knew she would hear anyone that approached. Daniel was keeping watch on another side of their camp.
“Teal’c, what is your gut feeling about this situation?” O’Neill asked, as they came up to him. “I do not like it. It makes me feel itchy,” he continued, as he made good on his words and proceeded to scratch his neck briskly.
“I, also, find it strange that they have not followed us more closely.” Teal’c was his normal stoic self, but for those who knew him well his concern was evident in the muscle that jumped in his jaw. He surprised them by continuing, “I find it ominous. The soldiers should have caught up with us by now. I cannot believe that they would find our trail hard to follow, nor do I believe that they would lose it. Neither scenario seems a likely occurrence. Therefore I can only conclude that it does not bode well for us.”
Sam and Jack stared at Teal’c for a few moments, as they assimilated his rather lengthy response. It was out of character for him, which made them both very tense. If Teal’c had that much to say, they were probably in a great deal of trouble. Jack shook himself loose from his inner thoughts and answered him, saying, “Yeah, that is what we thought. Kataya told me that she received impressions from that Kirksen guy that indicate he is a traitor. It does not help us, but it explains why he suddenly decided to try to make us out to be the bad guys. If he was trying to throw suspicion off himself, his attack on us makes sense. I am just glad it was only a small group of soldiers, and I hope the reason they are not right behind us is not that they are stopping to gather their forces,” Jack explained his thinking but frowned.
Shaking his head, his concluded, “That does not make any sense either. There are only four of us. How many soldiers do they think it would take? Of course, the fact that we managed to get completely away from them in the first place might be making them think twice about using that small a force.” He sighed deeply as he contemplated all of the reasons it could be. Obviously on edge, he continued, “Anyone have any suggestions, ideas, or theories? Anything?”
“I am afraid I don’t, sir. If he was trying to throw suspicion onto us, he should have arranged a pursuit.” Sam frowned as she gave the situation another mental going over.
“There is another option, O’Neill,” Teal’c suddenly spoke up. “If he is indeed allied with the Goa’uld, then he could be using this time to inform his master of our presence here. If this speculation is the correct explanation, I would expect to soon be set upon by the Goa'uld’s Jaffa. No doubt, Kirksen will somehow manage to acquire the information that we are with them and thereby prove our guilt. And as you are aware, all Tau’ri warriors are considered a prize, none more so than SG-1.” Teal’c brought up one of the things that they rarely mentioned. There was no doubt that anyone capturing SG-1 would receive not only high praise, but also material rewards from his superiors.
“I don’t like that scenario any better,” Jack O’Neill stated.
“No doubt you do not, Colonel, but it might be preferable to the entire Heyerian army. On the other hand, we do not know how large either force is, so it could very well be a moot point as to which one reaches us first. Either way, as you Tau’ri say, we could very well be screwed,” Kataya answered quietly, startling Jack, as she silently moved up behind them.
Colonel O’Neill whirled around. “Damn it, don’t do that! Hell, you are quieter than a cat.” He stopped speaking abruptly, and his mouth opened and shut without emitting any sound. Open mouth; insert foot, he thought to himself.
Kataya grinned at him, saying with a laugh, “It is quite all right to liken me to a cat, Colonel. I do not take offense. Gwynnfar, my cat, would be pleased. She taught me to be stealthy. I agree with Teal’c. It makes sense, as there is no other reason not to pursue us. If it is true, they will find us soon. I am going to check on Daniel and see how bad his ribs are. If they are, as I suspect, broken, then Sam will have to heal him, so that he will be able to do what is necessary when the time comes.”
Sam looked stunned. “Me? I can’t heal him. I don’t have the healing device with me.”
“You do not need it, Sam, I have mine. You will use it; I will guide you.” She sighed slightly, before saying, “I had hoped we could have some sessions in the infirmary first, but this will have to do. I cannot take the chance and use my energy for healing. We may well need the Katteri-enti, and I prefer going into it with full energy levels. Let us get started. I think you will master it quickly.” She slipped away towards Daniel as quietly as she had come. Major Carter looked to her CO for orders.
He nodded to her. “Do as she suggests. It makes sense. With Daniel hurt, he is not going to be much help. If you can get him up and going again, do it.”
“Yes, sir.” Major Carter left quietly and headed for Daniel. She was nervous, but she had learned to trust Kataya’s instincts on this type of thing. If she said that Sam had the ability to do this, then she did.
Sam approached Daniel where he was sitting and quietly watching for the enemy. “Hey, Daniel, has Kataya been over here, yet?” She asked.
“She stopped and checked my ribs. She said that they are broken, and she had to get her ribbon device, but that she would be right back,” Daniel answered.
Sam smiled at him as she told him, “She thinks I can take care of those ribs for you. You are about to volunteer to be my first attempt with a Furling healing device.”
Daniel looked a little startled, but did not refuse. He nodded his head. “To tell you the truth, they seem to be hurting worse than they were earlier. I bumped them again, and I think they were just cracked before that happened.” He sighed as he contemplated the way he seemed to attract accidents. Just once, he would like to be the one that did not end up getting hurt.
Sam looked at him in exasperation. “Why did not you tell someone, Daniel? We could at least have maybe strapped them a little better.”
Daniel grinned cheekily, murmuring, “That is why I did not tell you, Sam. Your splints are famous for their torture quotient.” He chuckled and then moaned as it hurt his ribs. “I just did it a bit ago, Sam, or I would have said something,” He assured her.
Sam glared, but did not deny what he said. “Well, as soon as Kataya gets here, maybe we can make you feel a little better.”
Daniel touched her hand gently. “Thanks, Sam. You know I am just teasing you, don’t you?”
She chuckled softly. “Yes, I know.” She briefly touched him on the shoulder, as they shared a smile. “Here comes Kataya.”
“I know, Sam. I can sense her when she is near,” Daniel said quietly. Sam looked at him for a moment, thoughtful. It would not be long, she thought, before Daniel realized exactly who and what Kataya was to him. She hoped it would be soon; he deserved to be happy. She frowned, wondering what the regs would say about this relationship. Hopefully, nothing, since they were not actually in the military. And the powers that be probably would not want to upset a possible alliance partner that was, if Thor was to be believed, very powerful.
“Are you ready to begin, Sam?” Kataya broke into Sam’s reverie to ask.
Sam turned to her, but she gasped as she took in what Kataya was holding. “That is not a healing device; it is a ribbon device,” she said, dislike obvious in her voice.
“It is of Furling design, Sam. We use it for both,” Kataya assured her.
“I could kill Daniel with that,” Sam protested.
Kataya shook her head. “Put it on please, Samantha,” she requested. “I believe that you will perceive a difference in the feel, just as I do. Although I can use a Goa’uld ribbon device, I find that I dislike it intensely. I assure you that you not feel as you do when you don a Goa’uld device,” she promised quietly.
Sam gingerly took it and slid it onto her arm and hand, looking at the detail on it. Its appearance was different than that of a Goa’uld hand device. It was more delicate and the stones were different colors and sizes instead of just one large stone. The intricately woven gold was similar to the circlet. It seemed to caress her skin instead of lying on it, cold and hard, like the Goa’uld device always did. She immediately understood what Kataya meant by the difference in the feel of it.
“Now put your circlet on, please,” Kataya instructed calmly, as she realized that Sam had taken it off, after they moved up the hill. “Daniel, you will need to lie back so that we will have better access to your ribs,” she requested quietly. “Sam, I want you to hold your hand just above Daniel’s ribs, and then think of the sun as you did yesterday. I want you to imagine the sun’s energy coming down and into you through your circlet.” Kataya watched carefully and when the stones began to glow, she continued, “You will allow that energy to flow through your hand and into Daniel’s ribs. It will be warm and healing. The energy will swirl around the broken bones until they are knit. When they are healed, it will stop flowing.” Ten minutes later, the stones ceased glowing.
Daniel gingerly touched his ribs. “They are a little sore, but they don’t feel half as painful as they did before. Thanks, Sam, you did it,” he exclaimed.
Kataya nodded, giving praise where it was due, “She did a very fine job indeed.”
“I feel a little tired, Kataya,” Sam said, a little surprised. She had not realized it would take that much energy.
Again, Kataya nodded, explaining, “As you become more familiar with using it, you will find that it takes less energy. Without training, you are simply pulling from all of your energy reserves. We will work on it, so that you will not be affected this way the next time. I suggest you attempt to pull some energy into yourself. I will take the pain away from Daniel’s ribs.”
As Sam left to find herself a place to draw some energy, Kataya placed her hand on Daniel's ribs and slowly moved her fingers back and forth. She gasped sharply, and a grimace crossed her face. A short time later she announced, “That should do it; the pain should be gone now.”
Daniel frowned, “It is, but how did you do that?”
“I am an empath, Daniel. I transferred your pain to me. When the pain stopped hurting in me, I knew you were no longer feeling it.” She smiled at him and made to leave.
He grabbed her hand before she could go. “Thank you, Kataya.” He looked searchingly into her eyes. “There is so much I want to say to you, to tell you,” he whispered. “I am sorry I have been so recalcitrant over this. I did not understand. I still don’t completely, but I know that this feels right. I want to go forward with this, with us, if you will forgive me and agree,” he said earnestly. Taking a deep breath, he added, his voice intense and determined, “I think I love you.”
“There is nothing to forgive. You have done nothing wrong. We will talk, soon, I promise you, but now I must go. I feel the presence of the Jaffa coming closer. Please, be ready to engage the enemy, Daniel, for I will not be using a shield to protect the team this time. There is a chance I will become Katteri-enti. Please, you must fight back.”
“I will. You don’t have to worry. I know how to use my sidearm,” Daniel assured her.
She accepted his statement, picked up her P-90, and started to turn away before whirling back to face him. She pulled him to her for one hard quick kiss. “I love you, too,” she said, and then she was gone. The Warrior had replaced the lover. Daniel smiled, and pulling his weapon, followed her to face their common enemy.
“Colonel, the Jaffa are approaching. I suggest link only from now on. I am turning it over to Samantha to keep open. I only wished to let you know that I will not be using a shield to protect you. I will be engaging the enemy with you,” Kataya informed him quickly.
“How do you know that the Jaffa are almost here?” Jack asked, confused.
“I can sense them,” she replied promptly.
“Of course you can.” Jack sighed. When would he learn not to ask stupid questions?
“I have no idea, Colonel,” came the amused response.
“I need more practice at keeping my private thoughts private when this thing is active,” he grumbled.
He felt gentle amusement flowing from Kataya and grumbled some more.
“Sam, are you ready?” Kat asked her.
“Kat, I have never held a multiple link. How do I do it? I can’t…”
“You can.” The answer was implacable. “I have initiated it; all you must do is keep yours open. I have tied the others to it for now. Do not worry, Samantha, you will do very well.”
“I will do my best,” Sam responded firmly.
“You will succeed,” was the confident, earnest reply.
Suddenly, a staff blast made its way towards them, followed by the fire from a larger gun. The fight had begun.
Jack O’Neill did not like this, not one bit. It looked to be almost five to one. Teal’c was crouching low moving to a better position for firing down upon the enemy. It would also leave him more open to enemy fire. Sam had taken up a position between himself and Teal’c in a well-covered area of rocks and was firing away. Daniel, who only had his handgun and a zat, was between her and Jack. Kataya was nowhere to be seen. “Where in the hell was she?”
“I am to your far left, Colonel, on the other side of those large boulders. There is a rather wide area to be covered over here. Please keep the Jaffa occupied, for a moment, if you can do so.”
“Ah, Hell. I hate that kind of answer.” He finished his clip and shoved in another. The odds were getting better, but the Jaffa were advancing. They edged around a large outcropping of rocks, wheeling the big gun closer. “We really need to take that gun out.”
No sooner had the thought passed through his mind, than a bolt of what looked like lightening streaked toward a rocky outcropping. As Jack watched the rocks tumble down onto the Jaffa and the gun, he grinned. “Yup, Thor’s little gift was working out just fine.”
“Thank you, Colonel. I will be sure to tell Thor you are pleased,” Kataya responded to his thought.
He finished his second clip and popped the third in. He heard gunfire from a P-90 on his left and grinned to himself; the little cat was using the weapon as if she had been born holding one. She had a group of Jaffa pinned down over there, but she had too wide an area to cover. He needed to move that way more.
“Sir, you have two Jaffa coming in on your near left. Neither Kat, nor I, are in a position to get a clear shot at them. They are coming around those rocks just to your left, and they will come out just behind you.” Sam sent as she, too, emptied another clip. Teal’c’s staff was firing almost constantly. Daniel had grabbed his zat in one hand, his weapon in the other, and was putting both to good use.
Jack turned to engage the first Jaffa, but never got the chance. A wall of wind hit the first one and sent him backward down the hill. The second Jaffa was not caught in it, but by then Jack was ready for him. It did not take Jack long to dispose of him, but the Jaffa had managed stab him in the side. “Jeeze, that hurt, but he didn’t think it was anything more than a flesh wound. They were losing the battle. They were taking out Jaffa, but not enough; there had been more than he thought. Damn, he hated it when they were captured.”
“We will not be captured, O’Neill,” he heard Teal’c answer his stray thought. At the same time, Sam detonated the claymores as more Jaffa began to climb toward them. He saw a staff blast that was heading straight toward him suddenly spin away, scorching his sleeve instead of hitting him. Well, he was glad he was wrong about her, and now that he had seen that sword in action, he realized that they were a lot more than just pretty colors. They were very versatile and, best of all, deadly.
He looked over towards the area Kataya had been hidden in and saw that she had moved closer to him, into an area where he could now see her. She grinned and saluted him after she sheathed her sword. He smiled grimly back, acknowledging that Thor had been correct in his appraisal of her as an adept, experienced, and highly trained warrior. That was twice during this battle that she had stepped in and aided him, while still managing to defend her own position.
Then, he did not have any more time to think of that, as he realized that the Jaffa had stopped firing at them, and had turned their weapons and were firing towards something to his left and to the front of them. His heart leapt into his throat. Daniel had made his way over to Jack, as there seemed to be more Jaffa on his side of the hill. He felt him tense from five feet away.
Jack suddenly realized why the Jaffa were looking and firing at the tree line. Heyerian soldiers had come up on the left flank and behind them, effectively sandwiching the remaining Jaffa in between SG-1 and themselves. It did not take much more fighting for the Jaffa to realize that they had lost the battle. Some of them began a disorganized retreat leaving behind their dead. What few were still putting up a resistance would soon be gone, captured, or dead, as well. Jack did not much care about the retreating Jaffa, since it appeared that another threat was replacing them; it looked like a good portion of the Heyerian army had arrived. To top it off, his side hurt like hell. This day just could not get much better, he thought sardonically.
“I do not believe they are here to do battle with us, O’Neill,” Teal’c observed calmly.
“God, I hope you are right, Teal'c,” Jack responded. “We could use a break today.”
They heard a shout from the ranks of the Heyerian Army, as the last Jaffa fell. “Colonel O'Neill, I am General Alver of the Heyerian Home Guard. The Prime Minister sent us to find and help you, once we were sure that Kirksen was in fact a spy for the Larcnans. Please, we are not here to harm you.” A short, somewhat stocky individual left the relative safety of the armed men and walked towards the area where SG-1 stood awaiting him. “Your team is, indeed, extremely formidable, Colonel,” he commented as he came within normal speaking distance. “To have held off that many Jaffa for as long as you and your Warriors did is quite a statement of recommendation,” he paused slightly and then with a wry smile he completed his reply, “Or a warning of caution. To approach such Warriors with ill intent is obviously a folly which no sane person would attempt.”
Jack hesitated. “I feel no intent to deceive, Colonel. I believe his words are true. He is being honest and sincere,” Kataya swiftly noted.
Jack responded proudly to the General, “Yes, they are very good soldiers. Nevertheless, the cavalry was a welcome sight. Thank you.”
“You are welcome, Colonel. Did any of you sustain any injuries?” General Alver asked.
Jack looked over his team. He had a scorch mark on the arm of his BDU’s, and there was the cut in his side that he had received from the Jaffa; the others looked grimy and tired, but fine. “I think we are all in one piece,” Jack responded quickly, since he did not want to bring attention to his own injuries. He had underestimated his teammates.
“Except for your knife wound, sir,” Sam spoke up just as quickly as the Colonel had and she nodded toward his side just for good measure.
Jack shook his head, brushing her comments off, telling her, “It is just a flesh wound, Carter. Nothing serious, nothing to worry over.”
“We should check it out, Colonel,” Kataya answered him firmly. “There appears to be blood soaking through your jacket from the wound on your side, a circumstance that is hardly ‘nothing’,” she pointed out. There was an implacable note in her voice and Jack found himself unwilling to deny her statements.
General Alver took the opportunity Jack’s silence afforded him by turning toward his men, and shouting for a medic. Two soldiers immediately separated from their comrades and ran toward the group. The General turned back to SG-1, although he directed his comments to O’Neill, “Our medical personnel are very well trained, I assure you, Colonel. After they have examined and treated your injury, if it is acceptable to you, we will begin the return journey to the capital. The Prime Minister is most anxious that this affair may have caused damage to the budding relations between our two worlds,” he told him earnestly. It was obvious that the man was frank and honest in his words.
“Yeah, I can understand where he would get that from,” O'Neill said through clenched teeth as the medic began to clean his wound.
Jack opened his mouth to say more; however, Daniel stepped forward, quickly cut him off, and did not allow what would surely be a caustic remark find the air or ear. “Excuse me, General Alver,” Daniel said, as he came forward to introduce himself. “Our introductions were cut so short you may not remember my name. I am Dr. Daniel Jackson. I was just curious as to how you discovered that Kirksen was a spy?” It was an inspired diversion. Jack would really like the answer to that question, too. The consequence of Jack staying silent was exactly what he was hoping for, so he was relieved. He just hoped he was not being premature in allowing that emotion to flood him. After all, Jack could still be Jack.
General Alver turned to Daniel, saying, “He has been under suspicion for quite some time, but there was no real proof. Oddly enough, both the Prime Minister and I had a sudden insight into what was really going on.” He laughed and it was obvious he was unsure about recounting any more of what had occurred, however he did continue, saying, “It was as if a little bird was sitting on our shoulders and whispering in our ears. I even told the Prime Minister that I could hear a voice talking to me. The feeling was so odd, strange; nonetheless, since we both experienced the incident, we both believed that we should have Kirksen followed when his men started after you. He soon called off the pursuit, but he did not return. Our scout followed him until he crossed the border between our countries. That is damning evidence, and we feel sure that we have reached the correct conclusion in believing him a spy.” He smiled a little uneasily, “I am sure that my explanation sounds strange, but I assure you we both had the same experience.”
Daniel smiled widely, “Not at all, General. You would be surprised at some of the intangible things we have witnessed. We are just glad you found out about him, and that this will prevent him doing any more damage to your country.”
“Why, thank you, Dr. Jackson. I hope that means that our two worlds will still be able to become better acquainted,” General Alver appeared both surprised and pleased with the mild response from Daniel. He began to hope that they could salvage something from this fiasco.
“I am sure that will not be a problem, General. In fact, as soon as Colonel O’Neill is ready to travel, we should go to your city and start over again. Begin on a new slate, so to speak,” Daniel offered him a charming smile.
The General nodded amiably, “That would indeed be welcome.”
The medics finished stowing there supplies and stood. “How is the Colonel’s wound?” Alver asked them.
One of the young medics gave his report, stating, “Stab wound to the right side. He has lost some blood. I do not think there will be any complications, however, it will be painful and uncomfortable for several days.”
“Very well. If you are finished here, you are dismissed,” the General released them so they could return to their squad.
“Yes, sir.” After acknowledging the command, they turned and walked back toward their unit.
“Do you feel well enough to travel, Colonel? We brought transportation. It will be a little rough, but faster that walking.”
“Thanks, we will take you up on that,” Jack nodded as he answered.
They arrived at the city and the trip was much faster than their trek out into the countryside. What had taken them several hours to accomplish, took only a couple of hours in the vehicles. After stopping to wash their hands and faces, an aide took them to the Prime Minister’s chambers.
The Prime Minister greeted them with both pleasure and apologies, saying, “Colonel. I am very pleased that you have agreed to meet with us once more. This entire incident has been most disturbing for us, and I am sure it was even more so for you. We do most sincerely apologize.”
Colonel O’Neill nodded and Daniel stepped forward into his role as diplomat and began to speak, “I am sure it was as upsetting for you, as it was for us. We are pleased that it turned out well for all concerned.” Daniel gave him the famous Jackson smile.
The Prime Minister agreed, patently relieved, and said to them, “We hope you will agree to stay the night, as I am sure you must all be exhausted, and I am told, Colonel, that you sustained an injury. Please, we promise you a delicious meal and a good night’s rest. We have put your team in the Crown Suite. There are four sleeping chambers within the suite, with two beds to each room and, of course, baths. If you prefer that you each have your own room, we would be glad to make another chamber available, also. We would be honored to supply you with clean clothing and anything else you would want or need.”
Once again Daniel spoke for Jack, replying “Thank you, Prime Minister. What do you say, Jack?” Daniel continued, mentally activating the link without even thinking about it. “We should accept, Jack. It would lessen their feeling of embarrassment and make them feel in a more equal position within the relationship.” The team stared at him. Kataya turned slightly to hide the smile wanting to spread across her face. Daniel had taken the first step on his journey to find out who and what he was.
“Go ahead, Daniel,” Jack agreed silently, but nodded his head as if giving his assent.
Daniel turned back and smiled at the Minister, “Thank you, sir. We would be both pleased and honored to accept your kind offer. The rooms you have assigned us will be fine. We would, however, need to contact our world and inform them of the change in our plans.”
“Of course.” He nodded to an assistant standing nearby, stating, “Leila will be happy to help you in any way. We will deliver clean clothing to your suite immediately. I am sure that cleansing is high on your list of things you most wish to do at this moment.” He bowed to them as they prepared to leave the room, “I will see you in a few hours.”
They returned his bow and followed the assistant out. Jack still had not said one word aloud, but no one appeared to notice. Thank all of the Gods, if there were any out there, for Daniel and his ability to smooth things over and protect him from putting his foot too far into his mouth. It had been a long day, and it was not over yet. His side was beginning to hurt, and he still had what would probably go down in his annals as “the most boring evening of his life” to live through. Well, if he could look forward to nothing else, he could look forward to some food. Maybe they would have cake. At that thought, he pushed aside most of his gloom and became, if not exactly jovial, then at least a little bit perky.
After first going to the Stargate and informing the General of their change in plans, they finally reached their suite. The team took in the sumptuous detail. “Making up for first impressions,” Daniel suggested, with a short laugh as he dropped onto one of the sofas scattered around the room. It was certainly large…and ornate in décor. Not quite up to the Goa’uld, but tending in that direction, Daniel thought as he relaxed and contemplated his surroundings.
Jack agreed. He would be glad when tonight and tomorrow were over, and they were back at the SGC. This place gave him hives. He would break something sure as the world they lived on was called Earth. Oh, well, who needed all of these vases and knick-knacks anyway. The staff would thank him; they would have that much less to clean.
“May I see your side now, Colonel?” Kataya asked pleasantly. Her low tones brought him out of his reverie.
“Sure. It is hurting a lot more than it was,” he agreed to let her have a look. Maybe she could even do something about it. Hadn’t she taken care of Daniel’s ribs? Well, Carter did anyway, but Kataya was coaching.
Kataya raised his shirt and removed the bandage. She nodded. “You were correct in your assessment, Colonel, there is only minor damage. Would you like for Sam or me to heal that for you? It would take very little time or effort on our part and you would feel very much better, I am sure.” She raised her brows in a questioning gesture, as she glanced up at him. She finished examining the wound and replaced his shirt.
Jack sighed, but only to himself. She would heal it then; that was good. “Sure,” he responded, his voice casual. “It would probably make our meal a whole lot more enjoyable for me.”
Kataya smiled and turned to her right, saying, “Sam, I believe this would be an excellent chance for you to practice.” She handed her the ribbon device and walked to the bathroom. “I believe I will take a bath.” She smiled at them as she left the room.
“She is sneaky like a cat, too.” Jack sighed. He turned to the others. “Does anyone here know what bird it was that whispered in the Minister and the General’s ears?”
“Indeed, O’Neill, I believe it was a catbird, was it not?” Smirking, Teal’c gave them a short bow of his head, as he went to check out the sleeping chambers.
SG-1 made their way down the ramp toward General Hammond, who awaited them.
“Well, Colonel, things must have gone well. Being asked to remain overnight as the guests of honor of the Prime Minister, you must have made quite an impression. I assume everything went all right, and you were able to try out your new abilities.” General Hammond beamed at them.
“Yes, General, we were able to use our new abilities. Yes, General, we had a wonderful time,” Jack O’Neill said somewhat sardonically. “Teal’c made excellent use of his wilderness and Jaffa field training by finding us a defensible position in the hills, when we were run out of the city, before we ever entered it, by hostile soldiers. He also got in some extra target practice on the neighboring countries’ Jaffa. Excellent training situation.”
“Kataya exhausted herself by throwing up an energy shield around us as we escaped. She channeled some lightening down onto some very large rocks to take out a big honking gun and to create some Jaffa pancakes. Then she saved my life when she pushed a Jaffa down the hill with a mini-whirlwind and deflected a staff blast that was headed straight toward me. Oh, and she got to use her P-90 for the first time, as our position was about to be over-run by enemy Jaffa. Wonderful practice.”
“Carter played around with some claymores, planting them around our position, and then later, she had the pleasure of blowing up some Jaffa. She learned how to use a Furling ribbon device to heal injuries, too; she’s kinda like a walking first-aid kit, now. And she learned how to keep a multiple mind link open in the middle of a pitched battle; it was like a running commentary of who, what, where and when. Very entertaining.”
“I got accused of being a spy for the Larcnan’s, and then I was stabbed in the side by a nasty-looking knife during hand to hand combat with Jaffa-the-Hulk. I ruined another jacket when that staff blast got so close it scorched it, and then I bled all over it. To make my day complete, I was forced to listen to an old man spiel his apologies to us for having such a rough day. And, to make it even better, I got to stay around to make nice with the government types the next day. Very messy followed by very boring.”
“And Daniel—well, Daniel broke his ribs. Very much business as usual. It was just a routine meet-and-greet, General,” Jack assured him laconically.
General Hammond’s beaming face had been slowly transforming into one of stunned disbelief. He sighed loudly. No doubt about it. Things were definitely back to normal at the SGC. “Infirmary first, full debrief in one hour, people.” He could be heard muttering to himself as he stalked out of the gate room.