<<Previous  | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>

Lessons Learned

Chapter 8

When Jack and Sam returned an hour later, forms in hand, Mike and his crew willingly signed the documents. Jack found Daniel, managed to get him away from the others for a few minutes. "Did you tell him what we suspect?"

"Not exactly. I told about Tonane and his people, that they lived as the Salish here had lived hundreds of years ago. Well, I didn’t mention the Trinium," the young man said. "If we find anything, at least they’ll understand why the Air Force will suddenly be taking over."

"That might go a long way to keeping the peace," Jack agreed.


A   A   A   A   A   A


Casey had slipped off into the wooded area behind the vehicles...her bladder insisting it could wait to be emptied no longer. She found a secluded spot, took care of what she needed to do, and was heading back to put the roll of toilet paper into the truck when she saw it. What appeared to be the top...or bottom...of a log, sticking out of the dirt. She looked at it, cocked her head sideways.  'Heard' a soft whisper.  "Daniel! Daniel come here!"

"Where?" his voice called out.

"Behind the SUV...hurry!"

There was no fear in her voice...but there was excitement. He grabbed the camera he'd put down and hurried to find her. "What?"

"It could be nothing...but..." she pointed to the log.

He knelt down beside it, carefully examined it. "Get a shovel," he said quietly.

She nodded, raced to the spot where all of the equipment had been ‘stored’. Picked out a shovel, two hand trowels, a broom, and Daniel’s ‘dig kit’, which was an assortment of small dental picks and soft, camel-hair brushes, stored in a specially designed leather pouch.

"What’s up?" Mike asked, watching her as she loaded her arms and hands.

"I found a log."

He laughed. "Lots of those around here."

"Petrified and buried?"

The dark haired man grabbed another shovel. "Show me."

Daniel was photographing the area. He'd already set out several ‘markers’ that would note the position, the depth, and the location of the find in each picture. He moved methodically, carefully, making sure that the record was complete before the digging began.

"Let’s see what we have," Mike said, trying to keep his voice calm.

An hour later they'd uncovered the bottom of a totem pole. "It’s been here a long time," Daniel mused. "But you can still see some of the red and black paint in those grooves."

"Ceremonial, it looks like," Mike observed. By now everyone was watching the log...rather, the totem pole, unearthed. "Let’s get it all exposed. Gently, very gently!"

The digging began in earnest, the first spadefuls taken a full four feet from the pole. By lunchtime, half of it had been exposed. Sandwiches, fruit, soda, and cookies had been packed into ice chests. The group sat on the ground and ate, conversation animated as they discussed the people who'd lived in the caves, and their way of life. Daniel gulped his food down, anxious to get back to work. He stood up, put his trash into the bag that was tied to one of the door handles on the truck, dropped a kiss on the top of Casey’s head, and hurried back to the pit.

She shook her head. "You’d think he was excited or something," she grumbled, to the laughter of her companions.

"I heard that!" he called out.

It didn’t take long for the others to finish; they were all excited about their find. Jack had told Mike that until they were sure of what they were dealing with, they wouldn’t alert the tribal leaders, everyone understanding what Daniel suspected might be found.


A   A   A   A   A   A


Daniel and Bernie were in the hole, carefully brushing dirt off of the ‘face’ of the totem. Slowly a figure emerged on the log. At first glance it looked like a rope wrapped around sticks. By mid afternoon another shape was emerging, a triangle.

Mike had brought along several books about the Salish peoples, three written by other archaeologists. He sorted through them, found the one that he wanted, and hurried back out to the growing pit. He crawled into the hole, searching through pictures and drawings of totem’s found in the past. "I can’t seem to find any that use a triangular shape like that," he said.

Daniel had his suspicions on what the triangle represented. Goa’uld spaceships were shaped like pyramids. Triangles.

"Oh, my god," Bernie said softly. "It’s not a rope! It’s a snake coiled around around a man!" She pointed to the head of the snake.

All eyes went to Jack. In that moment he was once again Colonel Jack O’Neill. And he'd just assumed ‘command’ of the dig. "Talk to me, Danny," he said softly.

The young man shook his head. "I need to see it all."

"Do it."

Casey and Alley were in the hole as well, brushing dirt away from the center of the totem. Katelynn and Annette working on what was the top of the ceremonial pole; Willis and Teal’c were digging on the other side, in order to free the totem pole from its centuries old grave. Sam was carefully recording everything. And Jack held his cell phone in hand, ready to make the call that would close this site off to any and all outsiders. Including the people the land belonged to.

It took an hour of intense work, but the pole was exposed enough that Daniel could ‘read’ it. He pointed to the bottom figure. "This is the first man to be ‘swallowed’ by the snake. He...becomes...the snake, and tries to ‘swallow’ others. I think the first part is to be taken literally, the second part is figurative." He pointed to the tiny images of people who appeared to be running. There was no need to interpret the terror on their faces. He pointed to the next face. "This man fought the snake. He tried to protect the people...see how he has his arms around them?"

"Why does the third face look like the second one?" Casey asked.

"Because it is. He continued to battle the snake."

"But it’s coiled around him," Katelynn pointed out.

"Give me an idea of what we’re looking at," Jack said.

"I’d say a Goa’uld showed up," Daniel said, pointing to the triangle. "For some reason, needed a new host, and took one. Someone saw what happened, saw the symbiote crawl into the new host. Ran to tell the tribal leader. The new host wouldn’t have behaved the same...the man wasn’t the same person, and being a Goa’uld, the snake probably demanded that the people worship him. When the second man, the leader of the people, continued to resist, keeping the people riled up against the Goa’uld, the snake chose the easy way to deal with the problem...and simply switched bodies. The leader was probably a stronger man, and continued to fight."

"It is possible that the ship was damaged, and the Goa’uld injured," Teal’c said.

Daniel nodded. "Makes sense. Which would explain all of this." He pointed to the top half of the totem pole. It looked like several snakes were coiling around the people. "If they were stranded here, the Prim'ta would have matured in the Jaffa, and needed hosts."

"Oy!" Jack said. "Please tell me the snakes left. As in...gone. No longer here."

The young archaeologist shook his head. "I wish I could." He'd been sitting on the side of the hole. He stood to his feet and began to pace. "We know that Ra imprisoned Hathor in that sarcophagus, and hid it in South America. Zipacna was probably an underling to Ra, and that’s why Ra was able to put her there."

"Wait, sarcophagus? As in the Egyptian burial coffin?" Mike asked.

"Sort of," Daniel replied absently. "We never questioned exactly why he imprisoned her."

"Uh...because she was trouble...duh!" Jack replied. He shuddered as very unpleasant memories of dealing with that particular Goa’uld pranced through his mind.

"What if the uprising against Ra started with other Goa’uld?" Daniel asked.

Teal’c nodded. "Ra would have destroyed those who stood against him. Those who left the First World escaped his wrath."

"Like Apophis?" Casey asked.

"Yes," the Jaffa replied.

"Coward," Jack snarled.

"So, let’s say that someone didn’t run. Got into a battle..." Daniel said, continuing to pace.

"And lost," Sam said, following her friend’s train of thought. "His ship was damaged, he crashed...but wouldn’t Ra have looked for him?"

"I’m sure he would have," Daniel admitted.

Casey cocked her head to one side. Images began to flash in her mind, she struggled to keep up with them.

"Incoming," Jack said softly.

"Talk to me, babe," Daniel said softly.

"Battle...several ships...most flee into hyperspace...one is badly damaged...it crashed..." she closed her eyes, concentrating as she put the images ‘in order’, tried to make sense of them. "Hide...he had to hide...host badly wounded...water...he found the river..."

"The natural habitat for the Goa’uld is water," Daniel said softly. Another thought pertaining to the water...to the river...struggled to be heard, he pushed it aside.

"Most loyal...save the Prim'ta...they would serve him..." she gasped as the images became cruel, the terror of the innocent mountain dwellers filling her mind. "Oh, god!"

He was by her side in an instant, pulled her into his arms. He backed up slowly, until he was leaning against the truck, holding her tightly. "Easy, Angel. Take it easy. Don’t fight it, don’t try to interpret it yet," he whispered. "Just let it flow."

Tears began to roll down her cheeks, as she was forced to witness the brutality of the Goa’uld. "No...no...no..." she moaned softly.

"Shh...it’s okay. You’re okay. Take a deep breath."

"Someone want to clue us in?" Willis said softly.

"She’s psychic," Sam explained. "Daniel has learned how to help her when the images...what she sees, is...disturbing, or becomes overwhelming."

Mike and the others watched as Sam, Jack, and Teal’c automatically moved closer to the young woman, offering their silent support with their presence. Bernie watched as Daniel tenderly ran his hand up and down the blonde woman’s back, his other arm locked around her waist, holding her against his body, supporting her.

Casey wept for several long minutes, before she took a shuddering breath. "I think I have it," she said softly.

"Tell me what you have," Jack said softly, firmly.

"There was a battle...just like Daniel thought. The ship was damaged, and it did crash. Out there," she said, pointing to the valley. "The Goa’uld was badly injured, but before the host died he managed to gather nearly two dozen of the Prim’ta."

"Prim’ta?" Bernie asked, a frown on her face.

"Larval Goa’uld. Jaffa carry them in their pouches until they mature," Sam explained.

"Gross!" Annette shuddered.

"They went into the river?" Daniel asked.

She nodded. "He...hid...the Prim’ta. I’m assuming he had some way of communicating with them. His ship was damaged, his Jaffa dead, his host was dying, he was so tired...he collapsed beside the river. When a man came to the river to get a drink...he...he...the snake went into him. The man’s son saw the entire thing...they tried to kill him...but he was too strong...and he'd...he found the...dead...host...took the ribbon device, and the zat, and...the leader nearly killed him...he waited...took the leader, left the other man to bleed to death..." she shivered. "He did such horrible things to them!"

"Is that ship still out there?" Jack asked.

"No. He managed to get his sarcophagus off...but the ship was destroyed."

"I’ll get some equipment up here," Sam said immediately. "If that sarcophagus is still around here..."

"It’s not," Casey told her friend.

"When the Prim’ta matured, they took hosts from among the people as well, didn’t they?" Daniel asked.

"Yes...I guess so." She frowned. The interpretation felt wrong. But she had no other information that seemed to fit into the puzzle. "They...very young...young people...betrayed ...him. They contacted Ra. He sent them into exile...they were allowed to take their...slaves...with them."

"Tonane’s ancestors," Jack said flatly.

Again the blonde head moved up and down. "But he...the Goa’uld who crashed here, he went into hiding."

Mike had been flipping pages in the book, not even looking at them. When he glanced down at the page he'd opened, his blood ran cold. In that moment he began believing in Fate. "Uh... Danny...maybe you should look at this."

Daniel looked at his friend’s pale face, and then at the book. "Shit! Umai-hulhlya-wit, I’m not sure I pronounced that correctly," he said, glancing up apologetically. "According to the myths, he was a large snake who lived in space, and when he saw the Earth being created, he came down to look. Chacopa and Chacomat, who were brothers, were in charge of creating the Earth, and when they realized that Umai-hulhly-wit was destroying all that they'd made, they constructed an enormous brushwood enclosure for him to coil up in. It took three days for all of him to crawl inside. The humans, in the meantime, had begun to panic, because of all of the destruction, and so set fire to the enclosure. Supposedly the snake’s blood boiled, turned to steam, and caused him to explode."

"Translation?" Jack asked.

The young man shrugged, pushed his glasses up. "I'd say it’s a story of the battle to defeat Ra...Chacopa and Chacomat could have been other Goa’uld, whose names the people telling the story didn’t know...then the humans setting fire to the ‘enclosure’ could be the rise of the slaves...the reference to the snake’s blood boiling, turning to steam and exploding could be a description of his actual defeat, and his escape...or exile, depending on how you want to look at it, from Earth."

"But how'd a story about an Egyptian god’s defeat wind up in North American native folk lore?" Mike asked.

"Whoever the Goa’uld was that crashed here, he hid from Ra, managed to escape him, but I’m thinking that somehow he was able to keep up with what was going on. He was getting information from someone," Daniel said. "He told the story to his people."

"His people?" Willis snorted.

"That’s the way they work," Jack said. "They walk in, declare to to any and all that they’re gods, and settle in and take over."

"And you think this...Goa’uld...is still around?" Alley asked.

The SG-1 exchanged glances. They'd just learned the ‘how’ of the presence of the Goa’uld Harry Maybourne had warned them about. Now they needed the ‘where’, in order to find his snake ass.

<<Previous  | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>

SciFi Topsites