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 All In a Day's Work

 

Chapter 3

Jack shook his head. "I have to agree with Radar on this," he said. "A snake is a snake."

"This is the first time we've seen anything that offers more than just the usual commentary on a Goa'uld," Daniel argued.

"Can you tell me that it's not just propaganda?" Jack asked quietly.

"No," Daniel sighed. "But the fact that we've never found anything like this-"

"So Zeus is better at lying," Jack interrupted.

She glanced at Daniel. Took a deep breath. She knew what she'd seen. No matter what her personal opinion of the matter might be, what she'd seen had been real. "The slaves kicked Ra off Earth because he exiled Zeus."

"Say what?" Jack asked incredulously.

"Ra was already aware of the plot against him," she said. "He knew Ares was involved. No clue what he'd have done if the slaves hadn't started turning as well."

Daniel nodded. "Three stone masons…Goa'uld from what Casey could see, were sent to help build this temple complex for Zeus. I…we-" he winked at her, "think that before Ra was kicked off the First World, the Goa'uld Empire was more…civil. At least between the members of the court."

Her heart battered against her ribs when he winked. It still surprised her at times to know that this handsome, brilliant man loved her. She forced her thoughts away from memories of being in his arms and back to the conversation. "Those Goa'uld had personal slaves. And when those slaves returned to Earth, they told the other slaves what they'd seen and heard. They talked about how Zeus treated those who worked for him…and those who served him."

"So," Daniel said, picking up the narrative again, "when Ra exiled Zeus, the already restless slaves rose up in revolt. It was the one act that unified what had probably been nothing more than occasional, and probably scattered, uprisings."

Jack looked toward the ruins, adjusted his sunglasses. "That's…that's disturbing."

"To say the least," she agreed. "It's more pleasant to think that the slaves revolted because they were tired of Ra and his cronies. To know that they may actually have revolted in protest of a Goa'uld being exiled…that they wanted Zeus to rule over them…that's just wrong."

"We're talking about people who had been slaves for generations," Sam pointed out quietly. "There were probably very few who ever dared to dream of freedom. For that matter, did any of them really understand what freedom meant? If the timeline Daniel has figured out is correct, then the Goa'uld were on Earth for centuries. For hundreds of years the humans were slaves. Any 'memories' of freedom would have been the stuff of legends and stories."

That, she thought, was as disturbing a thought as the fact that there were Goa'uld, or at least one, capable of mercy. She knew about the timeline. She'd helped Daniel and Cam - her heart dropped slightly at the thought of her lost co-worker and friend - work it out, using every bit of information they could find about the ancient past, coupled with the information held in the scrolls the Tok'ra had protected for so very long. She'd just not given consideration to the length of time the humans had been enslaved. Freedom would have been a word with little meaning to those people. The fact remained that there had been slaves who had revolted. Whether it was simply to garner better treatment, or the fire…the desire…for freedom truly burned in their hearts, there were enough to rise up against their masters.

"I believe the humans of Earth nurtured the knowledge of freedom. They would not have dared to rebel against the Goa'uld if they had not desired to be free of their yoke of slavery," Teal'c said.

"Maybe," she said, giving voice to the thoughts that twirled in her mind, "there was hope that Zeus would be easier to defeat? He was a 'god' who had shown kindness. Maybe the slaves hoped to actually gain their independence."

"I dunno," Jack said, a frown on his face. "Every group of people we've come across whose ancestors were taken from Earth seemed willing to keep the status quo, just to keep things from being worse."

"And those people have…or had…been slaves for thousands of years. They didn't know any other way of life," Sam argued.

"The only reason the Abydonians were willing to revolt against Ra was because we exposed the Jaffa," Daniel pointed out. "We showed them that the Jaffa were men, just like they were. When they realized that, it wasn't freedom they were fighting for. They were seeking revenge against the men who had brutalized them in the name of their god. A god that we proved wasn't really a god at all. That's why they rose up against Ra. Because we showed them who and what he and his Jaffa really were."

"You're saying that if we hadn't shown up-"

"Ra would still be alive, and the people of Abydos would still be slaves, mining naquadah for him," Daniel finished. "Once the mine was depleted, he probably never would have returned."

"That's another disturbing thought," Jack grumbled.

"Look, every village we've freed, either we exposed their 'god', or they were already in the throes of a revolt, or at least were aware of what was happening to them," Daniel said. 'And there have been a few villages who weren't willing…weren't ready," he amended, "to revolt against their slavery."

"The snakes rule through tyranny, by keeping the slaves afraid of them," Jack argued stubbornly.

"Now, absolutely," Daniel agreed. "But…it's possible it wasn't always that way."

She shook her head. "I disagree. I don't think the Goa'uld have changed at all. For all we know the man he saved was important to the project. That could be the only reason Zeus saved him."

"And feeding all those slaves?" Daniel asked.

Slender shoulders moved up and back down. "Better to keep them fed than having them dropping dead before the job was finished, or to keep them from revolting. There were more slaves than Jaffa to guard them."

"He protected the people from a fierce storm," Daniel insisted.

Another frown. There really wasn't a good reason why a Goa'uld would protect mere slaves from a storm. Was there? "He just didn't want to lose his work force." If her voice as a bit sharper than she'd intended, her companions didn't seem to notice.

"Casey, you saw what the slaves on Earth did…they rose up in protest of Zeus being exiled," he said gently.

Huffing a sigh, she finally nodded slowly. "There is something different about him," she admitted.

"He's a snake," Jack said. He crushed his water bottle. "Snakes are snakes."

"Some snakes are just less poisonous, I guess." She pulled her legs up, wrapped her arms around them and rested her chin on one knee. "It's just annoying to think that we might have to recategorize the lot of them. Worse than evil, evil, not so evil, and just sorta evil."

Daniel chuckled, running his hand up and down her back. "Guess that makes them like every other civilization. There are good and bad in all of them."

The thought wasn't one she wanted to deal with. Not then. Perhaps not ever. The Goa'uld she'd 'met', been held captive by, were brutal. They had no compassion, no empathy for any living creature. They were…evil. So what if Zeus was a little 'less' evil. He was still a Goa'uld. He was still in control of a body that didn't belong to him. The host was a prisoner in his own mind, unable to do anything but watch through eyes that no longer responded to his commands. Zeus had killed and maimed and taken slaves and raped. Just because he'd shown a moment of kindness, had used food to bribe slaves from revolting, none of those things changed. "There are no 'good' Goa'uld, unless they're dead. Zeus is one thing, and one thing only. He's a Goa'uld," she said stubbornly.

"Yes, he is."

Her heart sped up, her fingers tingled when her Husband reached out and took her hand. Emotions - equal parts of love and desire - raced up and down her spine when he lifted her hand to his lips. The touch of his tongue against her skin brought another tingle…this time in her very core. "You hate the Goa'uld," she said, seeing deep in his eyes that no matter what he might argue, Daniel would never trust any Goa'uld.

"With every fiber of my being. I always will," he replied softly. "Knowing that Zeus is a little less…brutal…can help us. If we have to, we can exploit his tendency to show mercy on occasion."

Jack snorted. "After what we did to his ship, I doubt he's going to be 'merciful' to us for any reason."

"We didn't destroy it, and we could have," Casey said. "He owes us for that."

"I believe you wreaked much havoc on his ship," Teal'c said. "No doubt it was not far from being destroyed."

"Yeah, you did blow one of the hanger bays off it completely," Sam chuckled.

"Details," she huffed. Even though the thoughts of the damage she and Daniel and Jack had managed to incur still brought a smile to her lips. She'd done some of her finest sabotage in that engine room. "It was just one hanger bay."

Daniel laughed. "I wonder how long it took him to repair all of that damage."

"Days, probably," Jack said, laughing as well. "I wonder what they thought when they found that pain stick lodged against the wall."

"If they found it," Daniel replied. "If that section caught fire, they might not have found it. It would have been badly burned."

"It might have taken longer than just a few days to completely repair all the damage," Sam chortled.

"Indeed. It is most probable that Zeus will take extra precautions to prevent any other prisoners from escaping while on his ship," Teal'c said.

"Could be bad news for us, if we're ever caught again," Daniel sighed.

"Are you kidding? Zeus wouldn't allow us on his ship again," Jack grinned. "He hasn't got any idea how Casey got loose. He's not going to risk it happening again."

"So once again we got lucky, and that reputation will help us in the future." It was, she thought, a much more amusing thought than those spurred by the earlier conversation. Any time their reputation prevented their enemy from directly approaching them was a blessing.

"May SG-1 luck never run dry," Jack intoned solemnly.

"Amen," she said softly.

"So," Daniel sighed, stretching his legs out in front of him and leaning back on his elbows, "we agree that regardless of what Zeus might have done in the past, in spite of the fact that it was his exile that was…might have been," he corrected himself abruptly, with a smiling glance at his wife, "the catalyst for the slave rebellion, Goa'uld are still evil."

"Yep," Jack nodded.

"Indeed," Teal'c said firmly.

"You'll get no argument from me," Sam said.

She carefully examined each face, noting the expressions of agreement; the anger and hatred of the Goa'uld not so hidden in each pair of eyes. They had suffered so much because of the Goa'uld. Each of them had scars on their hearts, on their very souls. Their bodies would bear the scars as well, if not for their immortality. Even monsters could have a 'soft side', she thought. Ba'al is capable of gentleness. She shoved that thought away with brute force. One or two moments of kindness could in no way make up for the centuries of cruelty that the Goa'uld had visited up on innocent people.

"Casey?" Daniel asked softly.

"A couple of acts of kindness doesn't change who or what the Goa'uld are," she said softly. "Most don't have the capacity to show even the smallest kindness."

"I suppose even ol' Beelzebub had his good points," Jack said. "Doesn't change the fact that he's The Devil."

"Exactly," she said, agreeing wholeheartedly with her CO. "I just wonder if any of the other Goa'uld know about Zeus…or at least, the moments of…kindness…he showed."

Daniel snorted. "They'd only see it as weakness."

Teal'c nodded. "Indeed. If the others were aware of his actions, they would have taunted him for being weak."

"But the slaves saw a savior in him," Casey murmured. "If he was the first to show such kindness, it must have been surprising. A 'god' who acted as benevolent as the priests declared that he was."

"Can you imagine…hoping that Zeus would take over, because he was more apt to feed you than the other 'gods'?" Sam asked. She shuddered slightly. "How awful must life have been if just one or two simple acts could cause such…devotion!"

Jack and Daniel exchanged a look. They'd seen firsthand how slaves under Goa'uld lived.

"When dealing with slaves, or attacking villages, Apophis forbade his Jaffa from removing their helms. He had no desire for those who were subservient to him to realize that his army were men as well," Teal'c said quietly.

"You didn't always obey the edict," Daniel mused quietly.

Teal'c offered a small smile. "I did not."

"You were hoping that seeing a human face would give the people the courage to rise up against Apophis," Daniel continued to theorized.

"No, Daniel Jackson. If one or two villagers struggled against the Jaffa, those actions would often encourage others to do so as well. I had no desire to use more…forceful…means to subdue the captives if I could avoid doing so."

"You wanted them to understand that humans had no chance against the Goa'uld," Casey murmured.

"Indeed. Apophis did not give the order to remain covered simply to prevent slaves from seeing a human face. Jaffa armor is created not only to protect the warrior, but to instill terror into the victims of the Goa'uld," Teal'c said.

"Which just proves how damned nasty the Goa'uld are," Jack muttered. He took a deep breath, and then appeared to shake himself slightly. "There are still a few good hours of sunlight left. Let's see how much work we can get done."

"We?" she asked, one eyebrow cocked slightly. Jack loved to tease, and she'd learned soon after her arrival at the SGC that he was fun to tease as well. He was always a good sport about it. Well, mostly. Memories of him and the Care Bear she'd 'hidden' in his office played through her mind, threatened to have her bursting into giggles. "And just what, pray tell, are you doing?"

"Making sure Carter is safe," he retorted.

"Uh huh. Well, don't snore so loud that you distract her."

"Radar, you're being insubordinate as hell. Remind me to write you up when we get home."

"Sure. I'll do that. Want me to write the report for you?"

"You wouldn't mind?" The hopeful look on his face had his companions laughing. "Just be sure to explain how totally, absolutely, undeniably insubordinate you've been. Might want to put a line or two in about your whole smartassed attitude as well."

It was impossible not to laugh. Between the serious look on his face, the twinkle in his brown eyes, and the twitch of his cheek…which indicated he was about to lose his internal struggle and join the laughter of their teammates…she was unable to hold back her own giggles. "Oh, sure. I can put that in. Right after I explain that we did all of the work while you took long naps. And snored so much you distracted Sam from her work."

Jack barked with laughter, losing the battle to remain stoic in spite of the humor of the conversation. "Radar, you're too much."

"Samantha Carter, will you require the equipment that was brought along?" Teal'c asked once he was able to stop laughing.

Sam shook her head. "I can gather samples, mark the GPS location on them, and then run the tests all at once. It'll be much easier that way."

The Jaffa nodded his understanding.

"Do not head down those stairs," Jack warned, having been told of the discovery. "Finish with that what's standing. We'll see about checking out what's down there tomorrow."

Daniel nodded his understanding.

There was no way in hell she was letting Daniel anywhere near that stairwell. When the team was together, it was easier to face the unknown. Until then…"I'll keep him above ground," she promised.

Jack studied her for a moment. "You do that, Radar."

Daniel rose to his feet. "Come on, Angel. Let's see if we can find any other random acts of kindness that Zeus might have committed."

"He's still a snake," she said.

"Yep."

"Just not 'evil evil'. Maybe more like 'mostly evil'."

"I'll agree with that." He held out his hand; waited for her to put her fingers against his own. He pulled her to her feet when she did so.

Just a simple touch. For a moment, she was completely distracted, her gaze focused on his lips. His lower lip to be precise. She felt a rush of heat so intense that she was certain her skin had turned red. The need that followed was just as strong, and had her leaning toward him slightly, before she caught herself and wrenched her gaze away from his mouth, and his face. She cleared her throat, totally unaware of the looks of amusement from her teammates; missed the look of acknowledgement from her Husband. A look that would have told her he was feeling the same need as she. Keep your hands to yourself, my girl.

"Okay, campers. Back to work."

She watched for a moment, then smiled when Jack's fingers folded around Sam's as they made their way back up the dried riverbed. When her CO and friend glanced over his shoulder, she raised an eyebrow. She laughed out loud when he stuck his tongue out at her, and returned the gesture with zeal. Seeing her two dear friends so happy, and so very in love, gave her a tingle of warm fuzzies that reached from her heart to her toes.

"What?" Daniel asked, looking from her to the disappearing couple and back again.

"Nothing."

"Are you sure?"

"Just Jack being Jack," she smiled. The sigh that escaped was one of contentment. "I'm so happy for them."

"Me, too. Now I don't have to hear about how much they care about each other, but can't say anything," Daniel replied. "Well, Sam talked more about it than Jack ever did."

"Which is typical, women are more apt to discuss their feelings. Jack doesn't do feelings…well, most of the time, anyway. He'd certainly want to avoid talking about something he wasn't even supposed to be thinking about," she pointed out.

"True. Whenever he did say anything, it was always along the lines of 'it's just sexual tension'. Or, my favorite, 'just a case of wanting what we can't have'." Daniel shook his head slightly. "He had to believe that, I think, or he'd never have been able to work with Sam all this time."

"I'm glad that President Miller was able…and willing…to see how different the SGC is, and how the rules just don't always fit us."

"Well, I hear you were instrumental in that happening," he grinned.

She could feel the heat in her cheeks, and knew she was blushing. It hadn't been her intention to actually talk to the president. Well, actually, she'd talked at the president. The memory was as clear as if it had just happened: walking into General Hammond's office, requesting the meeting in order to speak to him regarding the 'non-frat rules' that governed the military - more specifically, that were causing a lot of heartache in the SGC. She hadn't been at the SGC more than three weeks on that day. But she'd already been aware that Jack O'Neill and Sam Carter weren't the only two people who weren't supposed to love each other, but did. Colonel Haines and Major Bates of SG-18 were in love as well. And she was certain that one of the SFs and one of the scientists had been in love as long as Sam and Jack, and their love was even more frowned upon, what with both being women.

General Hammond had listened to her, and had agreed to discuss the matter with the President. Insisting that, as the commanding officer of a base so different from any other installation that existed in the world, he had the right…the duty…to address any problems that ill-fitting regulations caused, she'd convinced the general to call the president then and there. It hadn't been difficult to tell, just from the general's side of the conversation, that he was hitting a stone wall.

 

She barely contained her sigh. If she didn't act now, the president would shoot down her ideas, the general would accept the status quo…nope, this was just too damned important! "Excuse me, sir."

Even now, she could see the shock that registered in General Hammond's blue eyes when she took the telephone receiver from his hand. Luckily for her, it was followed quickly by amusement.

"Mr. President, this is Casey Webster."

"Hello, Ms. Webster."

"The non-frat rules suck."

The president had laughed. "So George tells me."

"Seriously, do you have any idea what the men and women here at the SGC go through? And the hours…the days…they spend off world, not so conducive to healthy relationships, especially if the person they're involved with doesn't understand the military. And just who decided that the military could dictate who a person can or can't fall in love with? The heart loves who the heart loves, and love doesn't give a damn about the Pentagon or some stupid rule."

"Casey, those rules are in place for a very specific reason."

"I understand that, sir, really I do. And for the most part, I can even agree with those rules. But…you don't understand life here at the SGC. When we walk through that Stargate, we might not be coming back. When we are here…I guess we just see the world a little more clearly than people outside the SGC. And the bonds formed here…you're not going to find bonds as deep, as strong, as…emotional…as those formed among SG teams. Between all of the people who work here."

"And just what is it you think I can do?"

"You're the President of the United States! You can change the rules if you want to."

"Casey-"

"Make it an Executive Order. Make it something that effects only the SGC."

"I'll see what I can do."

"Sir, this is important. It's just as important that the people here be happy as well as healthy. There's a lot of stress in trying not to love someone you're not supposed to love but you do anyway. Besides, these people have saved the freaking planet a couple of times…they deserve any…rewards…that can be offered."

She could feel the mirth when the president began chuckling. "I think I understand. I promise, I'll do whatever I can."

"Thank you, sir."

 

"Somebody had to do something," she grumbled.

Daniel reached out, pulled her into his embrace. "I'm glad you did."

"Me, too. Knowing how much they love each other, and watching them trying to ignore that love…" She shook her head. "Eventually it would have pulled the team apart."

She could see the surprise in his eyes. "You really think so?"

"I'm pretty sure," she nodded. "It was difficult enough for them…but seeing us together every day, when they couldn't be…well, each of them would have started feeling resentful. Not that anyone would have blamed them."

"No," Daniel murmured, "no one could have blamed them for that."

"And it wasn't just Jack and Sam."

"Huh?"

It was impossible not to laugh at the look of surprise and confusion. Daniel had explained to her that 'keeping his head down' and out of the private lives of those around him had been a survival tactic he'd learned as a child. It had followed him throughout his life, keeping everyone at arm's length. There were the occasional 'lapses', he'd admitted, but for the most part, Daniel chose to mind his own business. Knowing that the military frowned on romances among the ranks, he'd chosen to ignore anything he did see, not certain it was 'allowed', and certainly not willing to cause problems for people who already viewed him as annoying. "SG-18 has a couple on it now, too, ya know."

He frowned, trying to recall the members of that particular team. SG-18 had an Air Force botanist, Major Bates…Hillary Bates… "Major Bates?"

"And Colonel Haines. Shouldn't have happened, but it did. From what I've heard, they have less in common than Sam and Jack," she confided. "And then there's Lieutenant Hilderbrandt and Doctor Rawjeski."

"What?"

"You didn't know?"

Daniel shook his head.

She was aware that he barely knew the lieutenant; he'd recognize her in passing, but that was about it. According to Daniel and Sam, Doctor Rawjeski had been instrumental in helping to identify the components of the NID's 'Goa'uld killer' bombs, and the chemical used to poison the symbiotes, which killed the host as well (not that the NID seemed to give a damn.) They were still working on an antidote, she'd been told. Of course, keeping the NID away from the Stargate was a deterrent in using their bio-weapons. "Well, Stud Muffin, love is all around at the SGC. Particularly now that it's okay."

"So it would seem."

"And from the looks we're getting from Teal'c, we'd better get busy," she grinned, reaching for his hand. She felt the jolt of electricity that his touch always sparked when his fingers closed around hers.

 

A A A A A A

 

She blew gently across the stone, using the brush to whisk away the dust. Satisfied that the face of the stele was as clean as she could get it without the use of water, she placed size and location markers, and began to photograph the tall monument. The upper part would be left for Daniel, since she had no clue what language was represented. Teal'c would probably assist with the very top, given his height.

Now that the symbols and shapes had meaning - thanks to Daniel and Cam she could recognize the sounds or phrases that each mark represented - she found herself pausing to read. This particular stele seemed to be rather civic in nature; a list of rules and regulations. Most concerned the behavior expected of the worshippers who visited the temple.

"No woman shall enter the courtyard or lesser temples without proper covering," she read aloud. "Her face and hair should remain beneath her veils at all times."

Daniel was just inside the door of the hypostyle hall, with those absolutely huge columns. Apparently there was a bit of text on the wall beside the door - he thought it might have been a bit of graffiti at first. Closer examination had him declaring that it was a written record of the abandonment of the temple. Whoever had done the work, had done so quickly, and tried to put the text in a place where it would be noticed. Or so her Husband surmised. And apparently he could easily hear her from where he stood. "Huh?"

"Nothing. Stupid damned sexist rules," she muttered beneath her breath. "You know I absolutely hate the double standard thing."

"Uh huh."

She smiled. He was totally preoccupied. "It's a shame that when people came together, and began to farm and build cities, that the goddesses were abandoned, and the gods became 'all powerful'. A direct and glaring reflection of the attitudes of the men at the time. Everything became about 'ownership' and 'power'. And it's only gotten worse."

"Uh huh."

"Damned Abrahamic religions have made things about a thousand times worse. Women being treated as property, rather as thinking, feeling, sentient beings. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. When men took themselves out of the ecosystem around them…where the goddesses had placed them, I might point out…their egos grew beyond their understanding. Certainly beyond their wisdom."

"Uh huh."

"Men are, for the most part, arrogant assholes."

"Uh huh. Wait…what?"

She couldn't help but giggle at the look of confusion on his face. She laughed out loud at the look of indignation that filled his eyes.

"What the hell are you talking about?"

Pointing at the stele, she read several of the rules concerning women. Then repeated the comments he'd not actually heard.

"Not all men are arrogant assholes," Daniel huffed.

"No, they aren't. You're certainly not. Teal'c isn't. Jack isn't, either. General Hammond is probably the sweetest, most fair man I've ever met…besides you," she smiled. "I'd even go so far as to say all the guys at the SGC are a cut above the rest. But the others?" She blew a raspberry.

Daniel chuckled. "I suppose that if women had been the dominant species, things would be different?"

"Of course they would be! We're the mothers, the care-givers. Women are far more empathetic to all life. I don't think there would have been as many wars…if any…fought in our history if Anshar, who became Isis, who became Ishtar, who became Aphrodite, had retained their place of power in the hierarchy."

"There are women who are just as prone to violence," he insisted.

"Yes, there are. But for the most part, those women can be 'talked down'…friends can talk them out of doing something rash…or just plain stupid.. And let's face it, anyone so willing to go into battle for something as stupid as political agendas or boundary lines has got to be a bit crazy, ya know? No doubt there would have been women who would have ranted and raved and probably threatened to go to war, but for the most part, the others would have maintained the peace."

Frowning, Daniel wrapped his arms around his chest. There was no way he was ready to admit how right his wife was.

"Women don't have to prove to each other how strong we are, or have…penile…issues. We don't have to metaphorically 'whip it out' to prove it's 'bigger'. We're the talkers…women are more likely to talk an issue to death before going to war over it."

"True," he replied, his cheek twitching. "But to repeat myself…there have been a few war-mongering women throughout history, ya know."

"I know…although I think they were just responding to the actions of the men around them. They had to play the game by the rules the men put into place. I wonder just how advanced we might be now, if the reverence for the Great Spirit Mother…the worship of the goddess conducted by cave dwellers…had never fallen to the wayside because of a growing preoccupation with 'ownership' and power."

"Women can be just as power-hungry," Daniel pointed out.

"Not denying that. I just think that the goddesses could have reined in some of the more violent tendencies of mankind. Or at least worship of them could have."

"Possibly."

"You know, Native Americans never succumbed to the whole 'ownership' mindset. And to them, women were just as important as the men. I wonder why?"

"Most Native Americans," he corrected gently. "Probably because the people of the Americas were completely cut off from Africa, Europe and Asia. Although several South American cultures were very male dominated, and practiced ritual killings and slavery."

"Possibly the civilizations who were contacted by Africans?"

"That's a good supposition."

"I still think we'd be so much further…maybe as wise and advanced as the Nox or the Asgard."

"Had the Library of Alexandria survived, I’m sure we would be."

She sighed again. "Maybe, just maybe, we'll make our way back. To the place where we're all truly equal, and understand that we're part of the world around us. Maybe, just maybe, our hearts and souls will return the goddesses to their rightful places, beside the gods." She looked up to see Daniel smiling at her. "What?"

"You'd have been one hell of a Suffragette."

"Oh, ha ha."

"Seriously. You'd have probably scared the bejeezus out of most men at the turn of the century."

"I probably would have been the one responsible for bringing back the practice of burning witches at the stake," she huffed.

Daniel laughed out loud. "Oh, I'm sure there would have been men who would have thought that way. But they wouldn't have dared."

"Why not?"

"Piss you off? Have all of their dirty little secrets aired publicly? No way." He chortled louder.

She was giggling now as well, thinking of the leaders who had held control of the country at the turn of the twentieth century. Wondered just how many of those secrets would have shocked the puritanical elements of that 'modern' society.

"So, does it say anything else, or is it just a list of unfair rules?" Daniel asked, nodding at the stele.

"Well, men aren't supposed to wear old shoes into the courtyard or lesser temples. What the hell that has to do with anything, I have no clue," she snorted.

"Me, either," Daniel admitted. "Might have had something to do with keeping the floors clean."

"Doubt it. Probably wanted to make sure that only the wealthy could worship inside the temple. Can't let the poor beseech the gods for a better life, right?"

"Right." Daniel squinted toward the setting sun. "Let's call it a day."

He'd no sooner spoken than Jack's voice came over the radio, announcing that he and Sam were on their way back to camp.

"We are so joined at the freaking hip," she muttered. She smiled when Daniel chuckled beside her.

 

A A A A A A

 

Daniel and Teal'c had a cheery fire blazing by the time Sam and Jack had returned to camp. Sam had taken the time to put all of her equipment into the storage cases beside the Stargate. With Teal'c's assistance she made certain they were out of sight if someone other than SGC personnel should come through in the night.

Water in the battered old pot that Daniel carried began to boil. Instant coffee and tea filled tin cups, the soothing aroma wafting over the campsite.

MREs were selected, and as usual for her, she tossed aside the packet intended to heat the meal, made a slit in the foil packet and nestled it among the coals.

Sam watched her for a moment. "Any particular reason you don't like these?" she asked, sliding the flameless ration heater into the pouch to warm her own meal.

Slender shoulders moved up and down. "It's chemical. What if there are tiny holes in the packs, and the chemical leaks into my food? I'll just cook the old fashioned way when I can."

"And eat it cold when you can't," Jack chuckled. "They're safe, Radar. I promise."

"Uh huh."

"Never know, Angel, any chemical leakage might actually improve the taste," Daniel teased.

She cocked her head sideways. "Hadn't thought of that." Her lips curved upwards when her companions laughed around her.

Jack settled more comfortably, then looked over at Daniel. "Find any more propaganda about Zeus?"

"Not really. We did find the civic rules." He glanced at her, a smile on his face. "Casey was a bit pissy to learn that Women's Lib hadn't reached here, yet."

"More double standard crap?" Sam asked immediately.

"Yep. Not allowed in certain areas of the temples. Not allowed in certain civic areas without a male escort…either husband or father or brother. Hair and face covered at all times." She poked at her warming meal with the toe of her boot. "Stupid laws that are still in effect in places on Earth today. And it's been how many thousands of years? Ten? Twelve? I mean, seriously, this is totally messed up."

"Some men believed they were protecting their wives and daughters," Daniel pointed out.

"Maybe those men should have asked if those wives and daughters wanted or needed protection," she argued.

"If they were raised in the society with those rules, I doubt the women realized they were being mistreated," Jack said.

She shook her head. "Not mistreated…not exactly. Just…underestimated. Men just never bothered to find out how smart and strong women really are."

"Maybe they were afraid to know how smart and strong women really are," Sam sighed. "It can be a major blow to those fragile male egos to figure out women really don't need men around."

Three pairs of eyes exchanged pained looks, and sighs filled the air.

"Well, maybe we don't need men around," Casey grinned. "But for the most part, they do have some interesting talents."

Sam chuckled. "No arguing about that!"

"Feeling like a hunk of meat, Danny?" Jack asked.

"Pretty much," Daniel admitted, although he was smiling.

"But you're a scrumptious hunk of meat," Casey teased, grinning broadly.

"Thanks…I think," Daniel grinned in return.

With their meals sufficiently warmed, the team began to eat, discussing the discoveries of the day.

 

A A A A A A

 

She snuggled down into the zipped-together sleeping bags, watched as Daniel undressed. She'd seen pictures of Michelangelo's sculpture 'David'. Seen artists' depictions of Adonis. Neither they, nor any of the men in the 'Hunk of the Month' calendars, could compare to her Husband. In her eyes, he was male perfection. When he tossed aside his boxers, giving her a perfect view of that gorgeous body, she could feel her own body stir with anticipation. She could indulge that desire, there were no threats; odds of being interrupted by invading Goa'uld were right up there with winning the lottery. The sigh that escaped from her slightly parted lips was one of delight…and lust.

"Tired, Angel?"

The concern in his voice brought a smile to her lips. No one had ever worried about her like Daniel. Nothing about her escaped his attention, or his concern. His love blazoned in every action he took to protect her, take care of her. "A bit. I need to taste you," she whispered, the desire that coursed through her strong and deep.

"What you do to me, woman," he said softly, settling beside her. He leaned toward her, his eyes revealing his own need as she moved closer, her lips meeting his in a gentle kiss.

The sensation of his tongue moving against her lips…teasing her so lovingly…had her gasping against him. When he slid into her mouth, his tongue stroking hers, the moan of delight that filled her would not be stilled. Even knowing that Sam, Jack, and Teal'c were nearby, possibly hearing the sounds of love that escaped her throat, wasn't enough to keep her silent. It was just impossible when Daniel kissed her as he was doing. Arousing her to the point that she feared exploding into flames. If the slight tremor in his shoulders as she tightened her arm around him was any indication, he was finding as much pleasure from their kiss as she was.

As was usual while they were on a mission, he didn't linger. They would pleasure one another, but they would do so as quickly as possible. She couldn't help but smile mentally. A 'quickie' for her adored Doctor Daniel Jackson meant at least thirty minutes. The average was forty-five. Gentle caresses, tender touches…all were part of their love making, regardless of what they were doing, or how little time they had.

She ran her hands over his back, the muscles strong and firm beneath her fingertips; she could feel him shiver when she gently raked her fingernails along his ribs. The throbbing of the anaconda against her thigh sent messages to her body, telegraphing his need as well as igniting the fire deep in her belly. Her well pulsed in response to those messages, began to ache with her own need.

She sighed when he shifted lower, his lips wrapping around a nipple so hard it hurt, his hand massaging her other breast as he suckled happily. She moaned when his mouth moved to the other nipple, the palm of his hand drying the breast he'd finished making love to. Sensations of pure bliss coursed up and down her spine, out to her fingers and toes…made even her nose tingle with delight. In spite of the dim, shadowy light it was possible to make out the love…desire…joy…on his face as he suckled. 'His beauties', she thought, with a mental giggle. She'd never understand his attraction to her breasts. As long as her body pleased him, that's all she cared about. His soft sigh of contentment when he moved his mouth back to her other breast was more than enough to ease her mind on that matter. She couldn't resist smoothing his hair. When he glanced up at her and winked with impish delight, she smiled.

Giving one last kiss to each nipple, both rosy and flushed from his attention, he raised up long enough to give her another lingering kiss - his signal to her that it was time to move on. Time, she thought, to take each other to the stars and beyond. But not before she took a few minutes to pay homage to the body that she so adored.

When he settled onto his back, she rolled to her side. With deliberate movement, she began to kiss and caress his chest, taking the time to greet his flat nipples. Smug satisfaction filled her when each nub hardened against her tongue. The semi-darkness couldn't hide the smile she saw tugging the corners of his lips upwards. His breathing became shallow, his chest rose and fell more quickly. Each sign of his arousal made her shiver with delight.

"C'mere, Angel. Let me taste you," Daniel whispered. His hands went to her hips as she shifted over him.

The soft groan of approval that left his throat when she began to lick his erection made her heart beat faster. Only she could please him this way. Only she had ever tried…ever succeeded…in making love to him orally. Feminine pride welled inside her as she nibbled the base of his turgid member. She sighed mentally with satisfaction when a low moan of pleasure vibrated against her skin as she took as much of him into her mouth as she could. Satisfaction that deepened at the way his hips automatically shifted upwards in response. She wrapped both hands around him, resting her arms on his hips, and concentrated on giving him the deepest gratification possible.

Her goal was to make him come before he could send her spiraling among the stars. What he was doing with his mouth…his tongue…was more than enough to have her panting against his taut skin. When she renewed her efforts to bring him off first, she felt him slide his fingers into her. It was a battle of wills now…each of them determined not to be the first to fall, each of them trying to make the other tumble over the edge before giving in to the demands of their own bodies.

She wasn't entirely sure what he was doing…only that it seemed that his tongue was everywhere, touching her in all of the right places at the same time. Unable to control the quiver in her thighs, she began to moan. Lights flashed behind her closed eyes, colors began to spiral in ever growing circles. With a muted cry, she leapt into the waves of pure bliss, rode them higher and higher, until she was soaring through the stars.

Now it was his turn…she'd send him on the same flight of pleasure. She slid forward, putting herself directly above his throbbing member. Moving up and down, her hands mimicking her actions; the slick, clicking sounds of her mouth and hands added to the soft grunts of pleasure that he was making. His hands continued to move over her hips, his fingers digging into firm muscles when she suckled adamantly on the head of his erection, alerting her to the fact that he was getting close…and that he was enjoying her efforts.

A few seconds later, his belly heaving beneath her, the tips of her breasts stimulated by the touch of his skin, he began to groan in completion. She took down the creamy white love he gave her, swallowing quickly. Just as he had done for her, she lovingly cleaned any trace of his orgasm from his skin.

Still trembling from her own orgasm, she dropped down beside him, ran her hand over his hip and thigh.

"Sweet Jesus," Daniel murmured.

"Good?" she asked, smiling in the darkness.

"Unbelievable."

Once she'd caught her breath, she sat up and reached for her pack. It took a few minutes to locate the pack of wet wipes. She pulled half a dozen of the moist towelettes free, three of which she handed to her Husband.

"Shit!"

She started, looked over at where he was lying, wiping himself clean. "Daniel?"

"These things are always so damned cold!"

It was impossible not to giggle…or to gasp when the cold, wet cloth came into contact with her own warm skin. "I guess we could put the package under the sleeping bags while we're making love. Maybe our body heat would warm them a bit."

Daniel's chuckle filled the air, and her heart. "Don't know that the 'lump' it would create would be worth warming them up for."

She located one of the empty zip-lock bags she always carried for trash. The used wipes went into it, then she pressed the air out and sealed it closed. With a sigh of contentment, she turned around, snuggled against his side, put her head on his shoulder. "Love you."

His arm tightened around her shoulders. "Love you, too, Angel. Sleep now. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow."

With a yawn, a caress of her hand against his chest, she closed her eyes and drifted into the arms of Morpheus.


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