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 Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

 

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take."
18th century children's prayer.

 

Chapter 1

Daniel frowned as he examined the photo. He'd been able to translate the pages from the 'record books' he'd taken from that building on...whatever planet that had been. The designation refused to come forward in his mind. He shrugged mentally, because it really wasn't important. Fleetingly thought about Illam and Dara, the children rescued from that desolate planet, smiling as he recalled their faces when they had been given their cuddly new toys during the team's last visit to the village of Free Jaffa, where the children now lived.

With a mental shake, he focused his attention on his work. The dialect that had been used on that planet seemed to be identical to what had been used on the pillars of P5R 611. Which left him to assume that the same people had been in both places. Certainly not unusual when there was a Stargate nearby. What was stumping him, he supposed, was the fact that there had been no sign of occupation...no ruins that could be associated with a village or town, no dwellings whatsoever on 611. Just the pillars, and the text that he was still struggling to decipher.

"Daniel, what if this planet was used only for ceremonies?" Jonas asked, shuffling through his notes. "Isn't there a mention of 'holy places' and 'holy days'?"

"It's entirely possible," Daniel agreed. It made sense as well, he thought, searching his own notes. Wondering why he hadn't made that 'connection' before. Possibly because of the missions he'd been on as of late...and then there was the past weekend, and all of the family who'd seemed to appear from thin air. Yep, that could definitely be considered a major distraction! "Here it is. Third pillar. Holy days are mentioned three times. Only one reference to the 'holy place', and we're left to assume that the planet, where the pillars stand, is it."

Casey bounced into the room, returning from her meeting with General Hammond. "Message for you Stud Muffin," she said, dropping a folded sheet of paper onto his desk.

"From whom?" Daniel asked, reaching for the note. Not particularly happy about the interruption. Not from Casey. She could interrupt him any time she pleased. But he was determined to solve this puzzle, and he couldn't do that if other people continued to intrude on his time...to intrude on his thoughts. Insisted on requesting his attention for other things.

"I'm assuming SG-15, since Colonel Thomas handed it to me."

He frowned slightly. SG-15, if he was remembering the Monday morning briefing correctly, had been sent to one of Olokun's planets. They were one of four SG teams that visited five planets on a regular schedule, in an attempt to aid the people of those planets in their bid for freedom. For the moment, the information they could gather from two of those planets, which apparently saw a great deal of trading among the Goa'uld System Lords, was the primary objective. The people involved in the underground rebellion were more than happy to pass on whatever they heard...in exchange for food, clothing, and medical supplies. The rebels weren't armed...at least...they weren't armed with Tau'ri guns. They were, however, amply supplied with zat'nik'tels and staff weapons. And it wasn't the Tau'ri of the SGC who were supplying them. The SGC was acting only as a go-between for the rebels who were struggling against Olokun, and the growing Jaffa rebellion. A fine line of distinction, but one that they were proudly walking.

With a silent sigh, he opened the folded slip of paper. The note was short, and to the point...

Anytime Ba'al was involved, SG-1 was alerted. There was a personal vendetta against that particular Goa'uld, and no one doubted that the premier team would exact their revenge. That the colonel had wanted to make certain Daniel knew was proof that any of the men of the SGC would gladly hold Ba'al while Daniel killed him.

Keku. Daniel frowned. Very minor god, as he recalled. He reached for one of the manuals that listed the Egyptian pantheon. His finger moved over the page he had flipped to, seeking the name...there. Yep...

"Daniel?"

He looked up to see Casey watching him, curiosity filling her green eyes. "Seems that Ba'al has a bit of hired help."

"No kidding! Who?"

He grinned as Casey dropped onto the corner of his desk, her attention riveted on him. "Keku. Also known as Kek."

The slender seer frowned. "Not ringing any bells, I'm assuming I haven't put his snake ass into the database yet."

"Keku was one of the Ogdoad."

"The what?" Jonas asked, looking up from his notes.

"The Ogdoad were eight deities worshipped in Khmunu...the Greeks called it Hermopolis. It's near El Ashmunein today. Anyway," Daniel grinned, noting the way both Casey and Jonas had sighed...a sign that he was straying too far from the answer, "they were usually depicted as humans with reptilian heads. The eight were arranged into four male-female pairs, the males associated with frogs, and the females associated with snakes. The catch is, those 'pairs' were merely the male/female form of the same god. Or goddess. Keku, for example was the male form. Keket, which is literally just the female spelling of Kek, was the female aspect."

Casey's frown deepened. "I read somewhere that frogs are associated with biogenetic experiments, and snakes are associated with DNA. That idea came from the Ancient Egyptians?"

"That's what we believe," Daniel confirmed. "Given what we've learned so far, the reptilian connection certainly fits with those 'deities' being Goa'uld."

"So who was, or is, Keku?" she asked.

"Keku was known as the God of primordial darkness, and the final hours of night, just before the dawn. He was hailed as the 'bringer-in of the light'."

Green eyes rolled in exasperation. "Those people had a god for everything, and the snakes just slithered right into those roles, didn't they?"

Daniel couldn't help but grin wider at her comment. "So it would seem."

"And he's working for Ba'al? He must be hard up for employment." Casey's disdain of the Goa'uld in general, and Ba'al in particular, colored her remark.

Jonas snickered. "Maybe Keku just wants to know what Ba'al is up to."

"Don't we all?" Daniel sighed.

"Any clue as to where we can find this snake?" Casey asked.

"The colonel and his team are trying to find that out. Seems this Keku likes to park his ha'tak on one of his planets on a regular basis."

"Okay, I'll bite. Why?"

"No clue, Angel."

"Well, have to admit, if it's sitting on a planet with a 'gate, it will make it easier to sneak on board and find out what he knows," Casey grinned.

He started, looked up at his wife. "Case?"

She shook her head, indicating that she hadn't 'seen' anything, and sighed softly. "You know we're going to do just that. There's information to be had. About Ba'al. The biggest pain-in-the-ass to ever breathe in good air. He damned near took us last fall. You know he'll try it again. To foil him, we have to know what he's up to. To know that, we have to know where he is."

She was right, and he knew it. The worst part was, he had no doubt SG-1 would be sent as soon as the planet designation was determined. Given that Ba'al was the ultimate target, that information would be arriving at any moment. Those associated with the SGC were tenacious when it came to Ba'al. The hate that wafted in the air of the facility in his name was deep, dark, and strong.

It was all Daniel could do to keep from sighing. He really wanted to see those pillars...But if he couldn't go himself, he'd send one of the best men in the archaeological department to do job. "Jonas, I'm going to request that you accompany whatever team is sent back to P5R 611. Since SG-12 was the team who went the first time, I'm guessing they'll be the team selected to return. I want close-ups of everything. And I want you to try and translate these sections," he tugged one of the folders from beneath Casey's fanny, pulled half a dozen photos from it. "You'll have a better chance of doing it if you're on-site, since these 'smudges' could be nothing more than dirt that has filled in some of the spaces."

Jonas nodded solemnly. "I'll do my best."

Daniel smiled. "Your best is as good as me being there myself."

The young Kelownan puffed with pride, a grin splitting his face from ear to ear. Praise from Daniel Jackson was to be taken to heart, because the archaeologist never handed out empty compliments. Daniel said what he meant, and meant what he said. "Thank you!"

"Just telling you the truth." Daniel couldn't help but smile at the look of happiness that covered Jonas' face. In spite of his earlier misgivings, which he now freely admitted had been based upon his own feelings of jealousy and insecurity, Jonas had proven to be one of the most apt pupils he'd ever had, learning with as much zeal as Casey; and the young man's astounding ability to quickly grasp even the most complex, and often perplexing, concepts made him almost indispensable in helping to clear out the still unstudied artifacts that continued to fill the storage rooms. Cam Balinsky relied on Jonas to help with Sumerian artifacts when Casey wasn't available. Even Beth Meyers had commented on the Kelownan's talents. Praise from her was rare, anyone lucky enough to earn such was worthy of her admiration. Daniel looked up at Casey. "Should we tell the general about this?"

"By now, General Hammond probably knows. SG-15 was heading into the briefing room when I saw them. That's when the colonel gave me the note," she replied.

"SG-1 to the briefing room."

Scowling at the speaker above them, Casey stood to her feet. "What did I say?"

"Let's go, Angel. Jonas, I'll talk to the general about this. I'd like to see you leave as soon as possible. There are two references about a 'weapon of great power'. According to what I've been able to translate, the pieces were 'tossed about the galaxy'. What we need to know is if they're still out there somewhere. Look for any text that could be a possible clue to just where these pieces were 'tossed'. It's possible the weapon could help us defeat the Goa'uld." His fear was that there would be a bit of a scavenger hunt to find the pieces of that weapon...if it really existed. If it did, beating the Goa'uld to the clues, and the weapon itself, was their only hope of survival.

Jonas nodded his understanding. "You got it, Daniel."

Wrapping his hand around his wife's soft fingers, Daniel led her out of the office, and toward the elevator. Didn't miss the shiver that moved over her from head to foot. "Casey?"

Blurry, 'incomplete' images tumbled in her mind. No flash of light had preceded them; they were just...there. Nothing offered itself as a 'reference point'. The emotions, however, were coming through loud and clear. And they weren't good. "Something tells me things are going to be very...intense...for the next few days," she said softly. 

Oh, hell. "Anything specific?" The frown that had creased his brow at her declaration deepened when she tugged her lip between her teeth. He knew for a fact she had seen something, and that she wasn't telling him everything, when she refused to meet his gaze. "Angel?"

She forced a smile. "We're SG-1," she said. "We have the magic."

And that told him absolutely nothing. It did, however, intensify his feelings of misgiving. It was never a good thing when a mission was 'intense' for SG-1. "Casey, don't try to protect me."

"I'm not," she replied softly.

"How bad?"

"The team will be split up. The weird part is, I can't see Teal'c at all."

"Maybe he's going to be on another mission?"

"I'd see that."

"There has to be an explanation."

With a sigh that signaled her own frustration, Casey tugged her hand free; wrapped her arms around her waist. A physical gesture that indicated she was feeling overwhelmed, and that his pushing was only adding to her frustration. "As soon as I figure it out, you'll be the first to know."

He leaned over, planted a kiss on her forehead. "Sorry, Angel."

She tugged her lip between her teeth again. She'd seen Sam...battling for her life. Daniel and Jack...had either been captured, or were hiding. She just wasn't sure which it was, nor where it was happening. Teal'c was completely missing from the equation. And, she suspected, so was she. Where or why, there was no clue, not even a hint.

It wasn't easy, knowing that she had an idea of what was about to happen. And that if she 'misinterpreted', the results could be disastrous. Wouldn't do her any good either, because Casey would blame herself for anything that went wrong, for any injuries incurred. It was doubly difficult because he understood how heavy the burden of that knowledge weighed on her. The weight she bore on her slender shoulders was staggering. And he was unable to help her. Daniel wrapped his arms around her, pulled her close, let his love surround her. Could only hope it would be of some comfort to her.

Casey snuggled into his embrace, breathed deeply of the familiar scent that was just Daniel. In his arms, nothing she saw could hurt them. In his arms, she was able to deal with the myriad of images and sounds. In his arms was her safety.

The elevator doors opened on level twenty-two, and Jack stepped into the car. "What's up?"

"We might have a lead on Ba'al," Daniel replied.

"Tell me that we aren't going after his ass," Jack groaned. Anytime SG-1 was near that particular snake, things went to hell in a hurry; Radar was always in danger of being snatched...and Daniel killed. Not to mention how downright grumpy both Jacksons seemed to get when they had to deal with Balls.

"Nope. After the snake who knows where Ba'al is," Casey replied cheekily.

"Good enough. I want to keep the two of you on opposite sides of the galaxy from Balls," Jack retorted.

"Why?" Daniel asked curiously.

"Because the three of you in the same proximity means trouble."

It wasn't easy to control the shiver that moved over her. The last time she'd been in Ba'al's company...what a damned screwed up situation that had been! She was still dealing with her feelings about that meeting...and how she had whored herself to get what they wanted, what they needed, from the Goa'uld.

"Next time we see him, we'll kill him," Daniel promised softly.

"Tried that. He didn't stay dead," she murmured.

"I'll make certain the next time," the archaeologist vowed. He would, Daniel decided, rip the symbiote from the body of the host and break it into pieces. See if the damned snake could return from that!

Jack shook his head mentally. Ba'al's death would do more than rid the galaxy of a damned Goa'uld. It would free Casey from the fear and self-recrimination that filled her eyes each and every time the snake's name was mentioned. And give Daniel the satisfaction of knowing that his wife was safe. Or as safe as she could ever be, given what they did for a living.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

General Hammond was still seated at the conference table when the members of SG-1 began to file in.

"General, I'd like to request that a team return to P5R 611," Daniel said as soon as he was inside the room. "The planet with the pillars," he explained when the general gave him a blank look.

"For what reason, Doctor?"

"There are two references to a weapon. I don't know what kind, or if it actually exists...or still exists. Several of the photos that SG-12 brought back were too blurry to make an accurate translation. Jonas Quinn could look at the pillars, do most of the deciphering of the text right there," Daniel replied.

"I'll see to it."

"The sooner, the better, sir," Daniel said, hoping that the urgency in his voice wouldn't sound like he was whining. Jack had accused him of whining to get his way. He'd never done that...at least, he didn't believe he'd ever done that. Certainly it had never been his intention; but he was more careful about how he worded his requests, and the tone of voice he used.

"They'll be on their way this afternoon," Hammond promised.

"Thank you, sir."

"What about us?" Jack asked.

"This is information gathered by SG-15," the general said, handing report notes to the team members. "If this Keku knows where Ba'al is hiding, we might be able to stop that particular Goa'uld before he tries to move against Earth, again."

Casey glanced at Daniel, gave him a smile and a look that said 'I-told-you-so'. He chose to ignore the look, although he smiled back at her.

"We're still waiting word on just where this Keku is located. From what Colonel Thomas and his team were able to discern, when Keku leaves the planet controlled by Olokun, he always returns to one specific place.

"He returns to the same planet?" Sam asked, frowning slightly.

"According to our spies," the general replied. "We feel we can trust this intel, since it was taken from conversations held with Keku's Jaffa."

"Most unusual," Teal'c said, a frown on his face as well. "Keku's Jaffa were most disloyal in revealing such information."

General Hammond gave a grim smile. "Yes, well, it would have been helpful to know which planet. But our spies were unable to get that information."

Jack frowned. "What's he doing hanging around Olly's place?"

General Hammond bit back his smile. He would never admit how much the colonel's intentional 'nicknaming' amused him. Nor would he acknowledge the fact that often the nickname became one he used privately. "From what our spies tell us, legitimate trading. Keku isn't considered enough of a threat to warrant being watched closely."

"That could certainly be to Ba'al's advantage," Daniel mused.

Sam nodded her head. "If no one suspects him of working for Ba'al, he'd be able to gather whatever supplies or information Ba'al needs."

"It is possible that this Goa'uld has been able to hide his chicanery," Teal'c said, also nodding his head in agreement. "If the priests or Jaffa of Olokun suspected treachery, Keku would be killed."

'Chicanery'? That Jaffa has got to quit messing with the online thesaurus, Jack thought. He glanced at Casey. No doubt she'd put the Teal'c up to reading it again. He'd seen the email about the 'word of the day'. He'd bet dollars to donuts that Radar was responsible for the increased usage of the oddest damned words he'd ever heard...all bouncing off the corridor walls of the SGC, used by the personnel on her impressive email list. He forced his attention back to the discussion.

"There has to be a reason he returns to the same planet," Casey murmured. She sifted through the pages of the report. Her frown matched those of her teammates. "According to this, he just sits there. That's a bit odd. I wonder why?"

"Also something we'd like to know about," the general said. "A message went out to the Tok'ra...if they know anything about this Keku, they might have coordinates for that planet."

"If they're in a talking mood," Jack muttered. And if they feel like giving us mere humans a tidbit or two of information. Anything they do send will probably be just enough to get my team into trouble.

"I'm certain they will be," Hammond replied. If he was playing on the guilt that the Tok'ra were feeling concerning the events of the last mission SG-1 undertook at their behest, then it was only his right. Daniel Jackson hadn't just gone missing, or been captured, as a result of a mission undertaken for their allies. He'd been declared dead. The general hoped to never again see the devastation that had filled Casey's green eyes. Nor did he ever again wish to see SG-1 fall apart in such a heartbreaking manner.

"How soon?" Jack asked.

"I doubt we'll hear anything for a few hours. I want SG-1 to head home. Get some rest, I don't know how this mission will go down for you," the general responded. He glanced at Casey, gave nod when she shrugged and shook her head, indicating that so far, she could 'see' nothing. "Back here at oh-eight-hundred."

"Yes, sir."

"There will be a full mission briefing before you leave."

"Yes, sir," Jack replied. "Let's go team. With your permission, sir?"

"Dismissed." The general returned to his office.

"Okay, why don't I like this?" Jack asked.

"Because it's an open-ended mission?" Casey retorted cheekily. "No telling if you'll get to see the Simpsons or not."

"That could be it," the colonel grudgingly agreed, leading the way to the elevator.

"It could be worse, sir," Sam said, her sapphire blue eyes twinkling. "We could be going to P5R 611."

Daniel grinned. "I wouldn't mind. There are twelve pillars that need to be carefully examined-"

"Nothing doing. You've already requested that Jonas go with SG-12...by the way, do you think he's ready for that?" Jack asked seriously.

"He's been a two missions so far, and did very well," Daniel replied. "Granted, nothing happened, but there shouldn't be anything to worry about on this mission, either."

"He can get the job done?"

"It will be almost as good going myself," Daniel declared.

Jack nodded. Couldn't get a better endorsement than that. From every report he'd read, evaluations conducted by those who'd worked with the young alien, Jonas was a quick study, and a hard worker. He was also so damned eager to please that it could be annoying. If Daniel trusted the Kelownan to get the information about whatever weapon was being discussed, then he wasn't going to argue the point. "What's your psychic radio telling you, Radar?"

She glanced at Daniel, then focused her attention on toes of her boots.

"Radar?" Jack asked softly. He tucked a finger under her chin, raised her head, forcing her to make eye contact with him. "Talk to me, Casey."

"Intense. Very intense," Casey whispered. "And Teal'c's not going."

Teal'c jerked slightly. "Why would I not accompany you?"

The blonde shook her head. "I don't know. All I know is-" She broke off. Studied the ceiling for a few seconds.

"We need to know, Casey," Sam reminded her best friend gently.

Tears filled green eyes as they met her best friend's sapphire blue depths. "You're going to be fighting for your life. I just see...well, you're doing a lot of running and hiding. Jack and Daniel..." she shivered, barely glancing at her best friend. "Captured, I think. And Teal'c isn't anywhere around."

"What about you?" Daniel asked softly.

Slender shoulders moved up and down in that oh so familiar way. "I don't know. I don't...feel...as if I'm there either."

Jack almost groaned out loud. He didn't have to be a seer to understand that what Casey was describing was the team separated. It was never good when SG-1 wasn't together. "Any idea when all of this will happen?"

She shook her head. "I'm sorry. I keep looking, but I just see the same thing over and over again. I could-"

He shook his head. "No need, Radar. If you aren't already picking it up, it's not there."

The silence that fell over the group as they waited for the elevator was thick with tension. Once again, SG-1 was heading into the jaws of the enemy. They could only hope that the mythical, magical force that protected the team would remain firmly in place.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

When the call came over the loudspeakers, Jonas jumped slightly. He wasn't accustomed to hearing his name called in conjunction with any of the teams. He'd worked with SG-13 and SG-6, but he hadn't been assigned to any particular team as of yet.

Five minutes later, he walked into the conference room; the men of SG-12 were already seated. Heads nodded amiably in greeting, although there weren't any real smiles. Not unusual, he thought, given that they were about to be sent on a mission.

General Hammond greeted the men as he entered the room. "Mr. Quinn, Doctor Jackson has asked that you specifically return to this planet-" he checked the notes in front of him, "P5R 611. I understand that he has requested that you translate as much as possible from the pillars themselves?"

"Yes, sir," Jonas replied, swallowing quickly. He was still unsure of himself during meetings such as this. It was different when he was attending the meetings held by Doctor Meyers for the archaeological department. In that circumstance, he was a 'part' of that group. Being part of the SGC wasn't the same as being on an SG team, he understood that. He glanced nervously at the men who sat around the table. "There are several places that Doctor Jackson thinks might be filled with dirt, which is obscuring the symbols.

"I understand. It seems that Doctor Jackson believes this should happen as soon as possible. Something about a weapon."

"Yes, sir," Jonas nodded. Timidly led the discussion on what he and Daniel had theorized, answering questions as thoroughly as that archaeologist always did.

Hammond sighed. The feeling that the SGC was once again in a race against the Goa'uld settled on his shoulders. "Major Anderson, have your team ready to move out in thirty minutes."

"Yes, sir," the major replied.

"Mr. Quinn, you'll gear up with the major and his team."

"Yes, sir."

"Very well. Dismissed."

Major Anderson had already discussed the Kelownan with the other team leaders that the young man had worked with. He wasn't a soldier, by any means, was the consensus. But he did exactly what he was told, no questions asked. He was proficient with a P90...damned few people weren't. Couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a revolver, but then, that wasn't exactly his job. If scuttlebutt was true, Doctor Jackson believed that Jonas Quinn was the most able person to do the job they had been assigned. If Doc said the kid could do the job, then the kid could do the job. Because of those facts, he'd put in a request as a team leader. His team would certainly benefit from the addition of a rock-reader.

The members of SG-12 kindly helped Jonas pack. Since they had no idea just how long they would actually stay on the planet, the major instructed his team to pack for three days. If they needed their supplies replenished, they could send a message through the 'gate.

The incentive was certainly enough to make the team anxious to get Jonas to that planet and busy 'reading' the pillars. Damned snakes, the major groused silently. Sure will be nice when the lot of them were taken care of, once and for all. Maybe this weapon that had Doc and Jonas so stirred up would make that happen.

"Okay, boys," Deke Anderson said, as his team assembled at the foot of the ramp. "Let's get our rock-reader over there and busy, shall we? There's a weapon to find."

Jonas grinned at the reference, understood (after Daniel had explained the remarks that most of the teams made about the archaeologists,) that what was said was done with respect, and usually a fair amount of affection. And, Daniel had said, even a bit of awe at times...a reference, Jonas knew, to the name "rock whisperer" that Colonel O'Neill had bestowed upon Daniel and was now used by most of the teams...earned during a mission where the archaeologist had found the location of an entire temple complex, from just looking at the obscure markings on a stele near the Stargate on the planet. He gave a silent sigh. Vowed to live up to the faith that Daniel was putting in him. Determined to prove his worth to those around him.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Stepping into the event horizon, being hurled through the wormhole to a planet light years away, was still a new enough experience to leave him slightly dazed for a few seconds. Jonas stood blinking slowly, looking around, trying to get his bearings.

"This way, Jonas," Sergeant Buford Dobson said, waiting for the young man to fall in step beside him.

"This is the team that discovered the pillars?" Jonas asked, certain that he was remembering correctly.

"Yep. All standin' out there in a meadow, purty' as ya please. Not a damned thing around 'em, nothin' nearby. Doc thinks that there might be somethin' under the surface of the ground...ruins or somethin'. Helluva lot of diggin' would have to be done, an' chances are, we wouldn't find a damned thing," Buford replied.

"But if Doctor Jackson requested that you do so..."

Buford grinned. "We'd all dig clean through this planet if that's what he wanted."

The response spoke volumes. The men and women of the SGC respected Daniel Jackson in a way that he'd never encountered before. Not even Commander Hale had netted such regard from those around him, and he was a hero of the people, as well as one of the lead Council members. Tomis Leed had been the head researcher on the naquadria project, yet none of the people working for him, or with him, were as loyal. He wondered briefly if such...affection...was a purely Tau'ri emotion. He frowned mentally when he realized he would also do anything that Daniel asked him to do...because of his respect for the man. Because of his appreciation for Daniel's intellect. And for the friendship that had been offered so shyly. "You think highly of Doctor Jackson?"

"Yes, sir. Sure do. He's got more book learnin' than I'll ever understand, and he can find the answers to some of the toughest puzzles ever put before man. He figured out the Stargate in two weeks. Beat a whole passel of scientists who'd been tryin' to figure it out for years," Buford said. "He's damned good in a fight, too. He don't turn tail and run. I've heard that he's been captured more often, tortured more than anybody else in the Mountain...and he died a couple of times before-" Buford looked around cautiously, then stepped closer. "He died a couple of times before he became Immortal. Damned lucky for us that them there sarcophagus things were nearby."

Jonas had heard the stories regarding Daniel, and the other members of SG-1, and the 'magic' that seemed to keep them alive when by all accounts they should have died.

"Then there's Mrs. J. Nobody'll step foot through the 'gate less'n she's given the go-ahead," Buford continued. "She's saved our butts a time or two, givin' us a head's up about trouble before it could bite us in the ass. She wouldn't even be at the SGC if not for Doc."

That much was for certain. Casey had explained to him how she had come to be at the SGC. How Daniel had flown across the country to find her...to meet the counterpart in his own reality to the woman he'd met in an alternate reality; armed with a letter from that 'alternate' Casey, hoping it would persuade her to at least talk to him. Just the thought of other realities still made his head spin. Jonas nodded. "They're very much in love."

"Yep. He don't see no other woman but her, she ain't got eyes for any other man. Have to admit, it's kinda nice to see love like that. Gives a man hope, ya know?"

"Yes, it does," Jonas agreed. His hope was that he would find a woman among the Tau'ri who could accept him, and love him, alien as he was. Oh, he was human enough...but his world was so different...he knew that his customs seemed strange to his new friends. Just as strange as theirs were to him. Still, maybe there was someone who would see past those differences...

"Should be there in about twenty minutes," Buford said, unknowingly interrupting his companion's thoughts.

"Good." Pushing his more private thoughts aside, Jonas opened the leather portfolio that Daniel had given him, which held the photographs that the team had taken when they had discovered the pillars. "I need to start with the third pillar."

"Which one would that be?"

"Um...this one," Jonas said, pointing to the mark on a map that Daniel had sketched of the valley and the pillars, according to the information in the mission file.

"You got it," Buford agreed amiably.

His stomach began to flutter slightly. This was so very important...he didn't want to make a mistake in translation...or miss something. Jonas forced himself to breathe steadily, and to push all thoughts of failure from his mind. Daniel had faith in him. He could do this. He just had to believe in himself. That had never been a problem for him before. But, he thought worriedly, he'd never had so many people depending on him, for something so important...

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Malek frowned as he read the message. "Do we have information about this Goa'uld in the databanks?"

"I do not know," Raully replied honestly.

"See what you can find. Send whatever information we have."

"All of it?" Her eyes widened slightly.

"All of it," Malek confirmed firmly.

Jacob backed away from the door, a smile on his face. 'Guess we aren't the only ones who figure we owe SG-1...again.'

Selmak 'nodded'...more a feeling than an actual action. 'I agree. And for once, it isn't us insisting the information be shared.'

Jacob's smile widened. Aldwin had reported to Selmak when the request from George had come through. As always, they - Tau'ri host and Tok'ra symbiote - had been ready to insist that the information be sent. With as much detail as possible. For the first time, that intervention hadn't been required. 'Yeah, kind of nice, isn't it?'

'Yes, Jacob, it is. Now, where were we?'

He gave a mental sigh. 'Something about the density of the nebula causing problems for the nav scanners.'

'Ah, yes. Let us continue.'

'Don't suppose we could take a break,' Jacob suggested to his symbiote.

'The sooner this report is finished, the sooner you can lounge around. Although you'd be better served to work out a bit this afternoon.'

'I'm sixty-two years old. I should be able to lay around on my ass if I want.'

'You'll live much longer if you take proper care of your body,' Selmak insisted.

'I thought that was your job.'

'Ha ha. You're most amusing.'

'Selmak, old girl, you're learning,' Jacob chuckled.

 

 

 

Malek read the message a second time. It had been a long time since he'd heard the name of Keku. In the Goa'uld hierarchy, there had always been powerful System Lords, as well as those who were much less powerful. Keku, always a 'minor' System Lord at the best of times, had never been involved in the machinations that seemed to be part and parcel of the Goa'uld Empire.

He frowned. If General Hammond was asking about this particular Goa'uld, there was a reason. One that might prove important to the Tok'ra.

When Raully had completed her report, he would request a copy for himself. Then he would suggest to the others on the council that they seek to learn as much about the whereabouts of Keku as was possible, and what he had been doing for the past century. Preferably before the Tau'ri went out and learned what they needed to know, and upset the order of things once again.


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