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Chapter 5

Mitchell looked around the bridge, jumped when a voice called out "Attention on deck!" He started to look for the officer who had appeared, then realized that the crew was standing at attention, waiting for him to enter the room, and return their salutes. Damn, that was a bit of a rush! He snapped off a salute, watched as the three crewmen on the bridge sat back down at their stations.

He settled into the center chair. The captain’s chair, he thought, with a mental chuckle. My chair. "All right, boys and girls, we have a date to pick up a rock…or something. Let’s not be late."

"All green across the board, sir," the helmsman reported.

"Good to hear. Navigation, know how to get us there without scratching the paint on the way?"

The navigation officer, a young lieutenant fresh from boot camp, smiled enthusiastically. She held up both thumbs. "Yes, sir! All jump coordinates have been calculated."

"Okay, let’s go."

The only difference when the ship actually began to move, as far as he could tell, was the slight vibration in the floor beneath his feet. Something, he’d been told, that would cease once the ship was free from the gravitational pull of the planet.

Just as the Prometheus had risen from its cradle in the belly of the Earth, the Daedalus began to move upward…slowly at first, then with more speed.

The engines were creating a definite roar as the ship moved into the upper atmosphere, straining to break free of its bonds. The view out of the windows on the bridge changed from light blue to inky black, broken by the twinkle of a million stars.

"Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!" Mitchell crowed, grinning from ear to ear. I'm in space. Really and truly in space! How the hell about that!

The three-fifths of SG-1 who had ringed to the ship with him, stepped into the small bridge. Jack shoved his hands into his pockets, enjoying the look of awe, and sheer joy, that covered Mitchell’s face.

Sam smiled as well.

"Impressive, isn’t it?" Jack asked.

Mitchell looked over his shoulder, his grin going wider. "That’s one word for it."

"What’s another?" Jack asked, feigning innocence.

"Well, ‘cool’ comes to mind," Mitchell replied.

"That it is," Jack nodded. "So, according to General Hammond, we’re going to pick up the Space Monkey and one of his rocks?"

"That’s what the orders say," Mitchell said. "Something about the stele being hollow, and filled with crystals."

"Data crystals?" Sam asked, intrigued.

Mitchell shrugged. "I guess."

"Interesting," Sam mused.

"Explains why he wants to bring it home," Jack agreed.

"Perhaps this stele is a piece of the weapon for which we seek," Teal’c offered.

"Let’s hope so," Sam said. "If it is, then it might be one of the more important pieces."

"I’m all for us getting the good stuff before the snakes can," Jack said. He looked at Mitchell. "How long before we get there?"

The colonel checked the readouts on the display beside his right hand. "Looks to be a couple of hours."

"I’m gonna take advantage of that time and the guest quarters," Jack announced. He looked at Teal’c. "Never knew Jaffa could be so noisy."

"They were merely celebrating," Teal’c replied, his cheek twitching noticeably.

"Very loudly," Jack retorted. "And I need sleep."

"We’ll wake you when we arrive," Sam promised.

Jack nearly glared at her. "You could have told me about the earplugs," said, his voice low.

"I could have," she grinned. "I’m going to head down to the engine room. I’d like to see how efficiently the engines are running."

"Go. Be efficient. Teal’c?" Jack asked, looking up at the Jaffa.

"I believe I will rest as well."

"You, Big Guy? I thought Jaffa were able to party all night and battle all day."

"Indeed. But we know to rest when the opportunity presents itself," Teal’c countered.

"Ya know, Radar has been a really bad influence on you," Jack grumbled. The sound of Teal’c’s chuckle followed him out of the room.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Anderson approached the spot where Casey and Daniel were working, recording the interior of the stele as carefully as possible. "Just got word from the general. The Daedalus left there a couple of hours ago. Should be here any time."

Daniel’s head came up. "The Daedalus? Not the Prometheus?"

"That’s what he said, Daedalus. Apparently everything was ready for launch, so this will be the shakedown cruise for the ship," the major replied.

The ship was commanded by Mitchell, Daniel thought peevishly. He’d prefer to keep the bastard as far away from his Wife as possible.

"General also ordered the rest of us to report back to the SGC. Figures you and the missus can handle things until the ship gets here," Major Anderson continued.

Daniel nodded. "That’s fine. We’re going to be trying to get better photos of this. Nothing else to be done at this point in time."

Cam Balinsky, who had been standing nearby, shifted slightly. "Want me to stay with you, Daniel?"

"Nah. You and Jonas can start going through the notes we have for that next clue. Now that we know for certain that this stele is the ‘companion,’ we should be able to learn where at least one other piece is hidden."

"You got it," Cam replied.

Gear was packed up, F.R.E.D. was reloaded, and with waves and calls of good luck, SG-12 and Cam left the two Jacksons in the meadow with the circle of stelai.

Daniel dropped down onto one of the exposed boulders. He supposed that this would be a good time for a quiet talk with his Wife. Once again his tongue betrayed him, his mind deserted him. He couldn’t find the words to ask the questions that burned in him. Questions to which he wasn’t certain he wanted answers.

Casey settled on the grass beside him. "Your amazing mind has done it again," she said, smiling up at him.

"Think so?" Her praise went straight to his heart, the way it always did. She had a way of complimenting his intellect…one that made that part of him seem as important to her as the color of his eyes, or the way he smiled. Two things she also commented on often.

"Know so. As long as we have you, the Goa’uld don’t stand a chance."

Her smug expression made him laugh. "You are so good for my ego."

"Just stating the facts, doctor," she grinned. She rested her head against his thigh. "I have a question for you."

He tensed slightly. "Okay."

"Were you serious about getting away for a couple of days, just the two of us?"

Now logically, if she was interested in another guy, time away wouldn’t be her first choice. Comforting himself with that thought, he let his fingers move through her hair. Soft as silk. "Yeah, I was," he said softly.

"I don’t care where we go…just as long as no one can bother us. Just you and me."

"Just you and me, Angel." His heart was thumping against his ribs. Part of him was thrilled to the core that she wanted to be alone with him. Another part worried that she would use the uninterrupted time to try to convince him to allow Mitchell to join them in bed.

She sighed happily. "You’ll talk to the general as soon as we get back to the SGC? I mean, we found one of the pieces, we’re pretty sure we know where the clue for another one is, don’t you think that should earn us a couple of days off?"

"I think so."

"Me, too."

The radio on his shoulder crackled to life. "Danny? You there?"

"Right here, Jack."

"Good. Where’s your rock?"

"It’s a stele, and it’s about a hundred feet from my current position."

"Right. Go stand beside it. Keep your hand on it. Carter says that will ensure that we get it."

"It’s laying on its side right now; it’s too wide for the rings. Need to pick it up first."

"I suppose this means you need me and the Big Guy?" Jack sighed.

"I suppose so," Daniel grinned.

"Figures. We’ll be right down."

"We’ll be right here."


Not more than two minutes later the familiar whine of approaching rings filled the air. Jack, Teal'c and Sam stood looking around.

"Nice. Lots of trees," Jack remarked. He looked at the downed stele. "This it?"


Sam was already on her hands and knees, looking inside the hollow monument. "Whoa!"

"Yeah," Casey grinned. "Awesome, huh? My Stud Muffin figured out that this one has the clue to the next piece on it."

"I think," Daniel corrected, his cheeks slightly red.

"Yeah, well if you think so, it’s so," Jack said, running his hand over the stone. "Heavy?"

"Not too bad," Daniel replied. Having Jack’s confidence in his abilities always left him with a warm glow inside. It was almost as nice as the feeling he got when Casey praised him.

"Okay, campers, let’s get this thing ready for the ride upstairs."

Teal’c’s muscles bulged as he attempted to lift the stone by himself.

"Sorry, Rocco, don’t think even you can shift this thing alone," Jack grinned.

Daniel carefully replaced the bottom piece of the stele, and the teammates arranged themselves around the monument.

It was a struggle, and twice it seemed as if they were going to have to call for help, but eventually the team had the stele standing upright once again. Jack radioed that they were ready, and in a flash of light they were surrounded by the rings. When that light faded SG-1, and the stele, were standing on the Daedalus.

Mitchell grinned at them. "That is some kind of cool, isn’t it?"

Sam grinned in return. "Wait until you experience the Asgard beaming device."

"Oh, that’s special," Casey said, rolling her eyes. "You feel like you’re being stretched out of shape, compacted into a ball, and set on fire, all at once."

"It’s over in less than a second," Sam tossed back.

"Still…it’s a long second," Casey grinned.

"Sounds like it," Mitchell agreed. "Do we need to do anything special with this thing?"

Daniel nodded. "Make certain it’s strapped down somewhere."

"If we use the anti-grav devices the Tollan gave us, we could put it on a hand truck, strap it to that, and then strap the truck to the bulkhead in the storage bay," Sam suggested.

"Good idea, Major," Mitchell said. He turned to the technician standing beside the transporter controls. "Get a work party in here. Tell ‘em to bring a hand truck and…what did you call those things?"

"Anti-gravity clamps," Sam clarified with a smile.

"Yeah, those things. How many?" he asked the astrophysicist.

"I think a pair should be enough," she replied.

"Good enough. Two of those anti-grav things," Mitchell said to the tech.

"Yes, sir."

"If y’all have this under control, I need to get back to the bridge." He gave them an ear-to-ear grin. "Gotta love the sound of that!"

Jack chuckled. "Yep, does have a nice ring to it."

"Especially since it’s our ship," Casey added.

"I take it you’ve been on the bridge of a Goa’uld ship?" Mitchell asked.

"Pel’tak," Daniel muttered.

"I’m sorry?" Mitchell said.

Daniel shifted uncomfortably as all attention focused on him. "On a Goa’uld ship, the ‘bridge’ is called the ‘pel’tak’," he explained.

"Oh, right."

"You are learning Goa’uld, as required?" The question hit the air, left him cringing mentally at how snarky it sounded. Daniel glanced at Casey. If she was upset, she wasn’t showing it.

"Have an expert on the language here on the ship, the entire crew will be learning," Mitchell replied warily.

"That’s good." Another glance at his Wife. "I could write down a few of the most common words and phrases, something you could keep in the bridge in the interim. I’ll break it down phonetically, so that you’ll recognize them," Daniel offered. Casey’s soft smile of approval warmed him all the way to his toes.

"I’d appreciate that, Doctor Jackson," Mitchell replied sincerely.

"Well, I’ll get to it," Daniel said.

"This ship is laid out like the Prometheus," Jack said. "Guest quarters are in the same place."

Daniel nodded. "Sam, do you mind seeing to the stele?"

"Sure, Daniel. Go get that crib sheet made for the colonel," Sam smiled.

"Thanks. If you’ll excuse me." He hesitated for a second, waiting for Casey to follow. When she made no move to join him, he placed a kiss on her forehead, tossed a look in Mitchell’s direction, and then walked away.

"Let me guess," Jack drawled. "You need coffee."

"I wouldn’t say no to a cup," Casey replied.

"Cook makes darned good coffee," Mitchell said, a fact he had discovered during the two hour flight to the planet that was still spinning slowly below them.

"Right now, I’d drink the base sludge," Casey grumped, to the laughter of her teammates.

"I’ll see that the stele is secured," Sam said, walking toward the two SF’s who had entered the room, the requested equipment in tow. "I’ll meet you there."

"Come on, Radar. Let’s get your caffeine injection before you get pissy," Jack teased, dropping his arm around the seer’s slender shoulders. He reached out and grabbed Sam’s hand. "See you in a few minutes, major."

Sam smiled. That was as close to ‘hurry up’ as Jack would come. "Yes, sir."

"Do you require assistance, Major Carter?" Teal’c asked.

"If you don’t mind sticking around, just in case these anti-grav clamps give out, or some such thing," Sam replied.

"Very well. I shall remain with you." Teal’c watched Sam’s eyes, waiting for the flash of worry that often filled the sapphire depths if O’Neill and Casey Jackson were to be alone together. Was heartened to note that it didn’t appear.

"If you have a teabag handy, I can get a cup started for you," Casey offered.

"I would be most obliged," Teal’c replied. He pulled a teabag from the thigh pocket of his BDU pants.

"You’re as bad as the Jacksons,’ Jack groused. "Fancy-schmancy coffee for them. You’re using those ‘special blend’ teas."

"I enjoy the flavors, and the fact that the tea contains no caffeine," Teal’c replied, knowing that O’Neill hadn’t actually required a response from him.

"Radar, you've been a lousy influence on Teal’c," Jack said, shaking his head.

"I always thought you were the one who had warped him," Casey responded airily, before walking out the door.

"See what I put up with?" Jack asked of Mitchell, before he followed the seer.

"Quite a team you have," Mitchell said quietly.

Sam smiled. "Hearts entwined. According to Casey."

"And she’s never wrong," the colonel replied, with a cheeky grin.

The smile widened. "No, she never is," Sam said softly. She looked over her shoulder at Teal’c. "Ready?"


Mitchell watched for a moment before he turned to leave, as he'd intended to do moments earlier. The team camaraderie was legendary on the base. He’d heard that seeing them ‘in action’ was impressive as hell. He’d been in the military long enough to know bonds that strong had been forged in the fires of hell itself. Shuddered mentally as some of the details of the mission reports he’d read flooded his thoughts. Yeah...SG-1 had been to hell and back, numerous times. He could only hope that he and his crew would be spared such experiences.




Daniel paced the small room that he and Casey would share during their time on the Daedalus. He should be writing out that damned list, but his mind was racing with thoughts other than the Goa’uld language. He’d walked out of that room, and left his Wife alone with that bastard. He ignored the fact that Jack, Teal’c, and Sam had been there as well.

It was the right thing to do, his mind insisted. That bastard kissed her! his heart cried out. And she didn’t stop him! Wrapping his arms around his chest, he stood beside the door, contemplated racing out to find her. To demand that she stay away from Mitchell. To beg her to love him…to stay with him.

With a sharp shake of his head, both physically and mentally, he shoved aside his troubled thoughts, and sat down at the small desk. Forced his hands to stop shaking by holding them flat against the metal surface while he took several deep breaths. Searched for and found the pen he kept in his pocket. The small notebook that he was never without on a mission was taken from another pocket. He wrote quickly, sounding out each word in his head as he did so, making certain that anyone looking at them would understand immediately what he or she was hearing. Or at least, that was his intent. He could only hope his efforts to assist the crew of the new ship would be successful.

It hadn’t been intentional, at least, he thought, not consciously. That he had left the door to the room ajar meant that he heard the voices in the corridor, drawing his attention immediately from his work. He’d recognize her soft voice anywhere. And that of the colonel.

A glance at his watch told him he’d been busy creating that ‘crib sheet’, as Sam had called it, for almost thirty minutes. He rose to his feet, slipped to the door and peered into the corridor.

"I really should put you in the brig," Mitchell said, a grin on his face.

"Why?" Casey asked, her eyes going wide.

"It’s gotta be illegal somewhere for a woman to steal a man’s heart just by walking into the room." He cringed as soon as the words hit the air. He’d meant them to be teasing…something had gotten lost in the translation, he thought, watching her green eyes go wider, and her cheeks flush bright pink. "I’m sorry…that didn’t come out right," he mumbled.

While she'd sat, sipping coffee with her teammates, Cam had joined them, saying that all was under control on the bridge. He'd been very…proper. Not unfriendly, or stand-offish. Just very careful about what he said when he spoke directly to her, or responded to any of her comments. She'd hoped that the…incident…in Jonas’s office would have ended his blatant flirtation. Apparently that hope had been in vain. "Cam, I know you’re not serious," Casey said softly. 

More serious than you’ll ever know. "I was kidding, honest," he said aloud.

Images of Jay Felger’s face as he made his accusations filled her memory. A reputation as a ‘flirt’...or worse, the more vulgar ‘cock tease’...she did not need. Nor did she believe Daniel would be at all pleased if she were to be known as the SGC ‘slut’. Goddess knew she wouldn’t be able to deal with such a thing. "I think we should be…careful…about how we…um…tease…one another."

"Right," Mitchell said.

"It’s just that I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. It would break Daniel’s heart if he thought I was being…unfaithful. Probably piss him off as well," Casey continued.

"No doubt," Mitchell murmured. He reached out, brushed a stray lock of hair from her face. Noted that she immediately took a full step away from him. He let his arm drop to his side. The message was loud and clear. A message she sent before in that tiny office, remember? "I promise to keep the teasing above board. I’ll treat you the same as my buddies."

She smiled. "Don’t know if that’s a good thing or not!"

Daniel watched from the doorway. Felt equal measures of jealousy, fear, and anger rush through him. "Casey!" he called, his voice sharper than he had intended.

She turned to look at him.

"Get in here."

It was one thing to tell Mitchell that she didn’t want to upset Daniel. It was another to be treated as if she were doing something wrong. They were standing in the freaking corridor for heaven’s sake! "I’ll be there in a minute," she replied icily.

His temper flared. There was no way he was going to stand by and let this bastard steal his Wife away. He crossed the corridor in three long steps, grabbed her arm, and yanked her toward him.


"Take it easy, Jackson, we were only talking," Mitchell said, trying to defuse the situation. He didn’t think the archaeologist was the violent type…

He whirled around, his fist impacting with Mitchell’s jaw before he even realized he’d curled his fingers. Daniel stared as the colonel fell back against the wall, his hand going to his face, which was showing a definite red mark.

"Daniel Jackson, how could you?" Casey reached out to Mitchell. "Are you okay?"

"I’m fine," the colonel replied. And, if Jackson had heard what he’d said, he richly deserved the punch.

Stunned at what he had done, Daniel whirled on his heel and stalked back into the quarters he and Casey had been assigned to.

"I’d better go," Casey sighed.

"Yeah, you’d better." Mitchell regained his feet, and decided that Jackson was the least like any scholar he’d ever met before. The man might be brilliant in his field of expertise, but he was a soldier, through and through. And, at the moment, one hell of an angry, jealous husband. And that, he sighed silently, is completely my fault.

"I’m sorry he did that."

"Don’t worry about it." Mitchell forced a smile. Wondered if he’d leave any man standing if he were married to Casey, and some jerk was chatting her up.

With a nod, Casey hurried across the corridor. If she could have slammed the door behind her, she would have. "What was that all about?"

Daniel was sitting on the bed, his head in his hands. "I’m sorry, Case."

"You should be! What on earth would possess you to hit Cam?"

He looked up at her, noted the fire in those amazing green eyes. The fact that her fists were on her hips. She was always so damned cute…and sexy…when she was pissed off. "I…he…" Daniel shrugged.

"You don’t seriously…" She paused. "Do you really think Cam Mitchell is a threat to you…to us?"

"Isn’t he?" The bitter words were out before he could stop them.

"I will not dignify that with an answer," she said, her voice cool.

"I’m sorry," he repeated, unable to say what he felt, to put into words the fear he was dealing with.

She sighed as she sat down beside him. If he’d seen Cam brush her hair back...if he’d heard what had been said...She rested her head against Daniel’s shoulder. "I’m not the one you need to apologize to," Casey said.

There was no way he could apologize. Not as long as his Wife was contemplating a...a fling...with the bastard. Even if she did want him to...participate.




With at least an hour to pass until they were back in Earth orbit, Casey found herself at loose ends. Daniel was busy working on the language notes for Mitchell and his crew. She was still upset that he’d actually hit the colonel, while a tiny part...well, maybe a bit more than just a tiny part...was smugly pleased that her husband was jealous of Cam. It was different than when he’d admitted being jealous of Jonas. Not only had there not been any ‘flirting’, Jonas was sweet, but so not her type.

And Cam Mitchell is?

The question left her stunned. Of course not! He was, however, the only man...other than Tony Sabotti, and that situation was so different it didn’t even count...who had ever flirted with her. The only man who’d ever tried to kiss her.

She leaned against the wall of the corridor. Oh, goddess! Had Daniel seen that? No, if he had, given what had happened just a little bit ago, he’d have charged into that room and...and what? She resolutely pushed aside the nagging fear that if Daniel had witnessed what Cam had tried to do, he would no doubt have kicked her out of the house and his life immediately. Daniel wasn’t the violent sort. Unless it came to her, apparently. And that very female pride surfaced again at that thought. Her man would really fight for her! She grabbed onto that feeling, held tightly to it. And decided it was in her best interest to stay as far away from Colonel Cam Mitchell as possible. Probably safer for Cam, too!

A smile on her lips, she determined to do what she had set out to do: find Teal’c. As long as they had nothing better to do, she’d take the opportunity to talk to him about his relationship with Janet. And her Dad. Or whatever it was. She suppressed a shudder, and started out again.

Teal’c was sitting in the dining hall of the ship, sipping on a cup of tea.

Casey was relieved to note that the room was empty, save for the two of them. "Hi, Teal’c."

The Jaffa looked up and smiled. "Hello, Casey."

Before she could begin speaking, three crewmembers entered the room. One thing remained consistent at the SGC, she could only hope that it would remain so on the Daedalus as well - when she and Teal’c began to practice mastaba, anyone who had been in the gym left. She was certain it was so that Teal’c couldn’t grab them and use them to help him demonstrate the moves, so that she could watch. Something that had always amused her.

She took a deep breath. "We have a little time to kill...do you suppose we could work on the next mastaba step?"

One eyebrow moved upward. "You wish to practice here?"

"There’s a gym on the Daedalus. Granted, it’s small, but we don’t need much room," she replied.

"Very well."

Casey rose to her feet. "We can talk while you whip my ass."

The Jaffa gave her a wide smile. "Indeed."




Fifteen minutes later Casey was certain she’d been out of her mind to even suggest such a thing. She dropped onto the mat, breathing hard. "Okay, I give up. I’m never going to learn that move."

"You will learn it," Teal’c replied, wiping a hand over his face. "Perhaps not as quickly as you desire."

"It shouldn’t be this difficult!"

"On the contrary. The seventh level of mastaba requires much practice in order to master the moves."

"You’re just saying that to make me feel better about getting my butt whipped," Casey retorted.

Teal’c smiled. "You are an astute pupil, Casey Jackson. You learn quickly. There are times, however, when your desire to learn, and the physical ability to accomplish new feats, are not in conjunction with one another. You will learn these new moves, in time."

"Hopefully I won’t need them before I learn them," she replied dryly. She watched as the Jaffa sat down beside her. "Teal’c, can I ask you a question?"


"Um…on Chulak…well, for all Jaffa, I suppose…are there…are there taboos regarding the number of people in a…um…relationship?"

"I do not understand, Casey Jackson."

"Well, suppose a woman loves two men. And the men are okay with that. So the three of them are in a very…special…relationship."

Teal’c frowned. He'd seen the way Colonel Mitchell looked at Casey Jackson, the desire in his eyes as he watched her, when he believed no one else was nearby. Did Casey Jackson have feelings for this man? If so, Daniel Jackson would be devastated. He was a man who loved deeply, completely. He would never willingly share his wife with another. However, Teal’c thought, he'd also witnessed the lengths Daniel Jackson would go to in order to please his wife. Would the archaeologist accept this…addition…to their marriage, in an attempt to keep Casey Jackson at his side?

"I mean, it’s okay with me, ya know? The heart loves who the heart loves, right?"

"I do not know of such a thing occurring among Jaffa."

"But you said there aren’t any strict taboos against homosexuality."

"There are none. Because love between two men, or two women, is a very rare occurrence," Teal’c replied.

"Okay, so it doesn’t happen often. I mean, it’s rare here too. Three people loving each other, I mean," Casey clarified. "I just…it’s all right with me. It’s no one else’s business, right?"

"Indeed." Teal’c was more than a bit confused. And concerned for his friend Daniel Jackson. He studied the slender seer for a moment. "Have you become…dissatisfied…in your marriage to Daniel Jackson?"

"What? No!" Casey shook her head mentally. How could Teal’c even ask that? He knew how much she loved...how much she adored...her Husband!

"Then your question is merely rhetorical?"

Casey watched the large black man beside her. He waited patiently for her response. Teal’c was unflappable in the worst of situations. This was just a simple question about his love life, for crying out loud! Maybe another tactic would work…and at least get her closer to an admission of the relationship from one of the participants. "I heard that Gracie is transferring out."

"She is," Teal’c replied. Not unaccustomed to the fact that Casey could, and often did, change subjects during the course of a conversation with almost lightening speed. "She will be doing research at a facility near the Arctic. She believes it to be a great opportunity, and one that will advance her military career."

"You and she were…close…weren’t you?" Casey asked softly.

"We merely shared a physical relationship. Nothing more," Teal’c replied honestly. "Our relationship suited our needs."

So, was Teal’c just looking for a bit of physical release? She knew that Gracie was busy, and had been on leave to visit family before her transfer date. Maybe…just maybe…his part in the threesome was nothing more than physical. Was that why her dad and Janet were okay with it? It was just a bit of kinky sex for them? But there was that damned white glow! Maybe Teal’c loved Janet, but wouldn’t say so? That would certainly be typical of the big lug. He’d keep his feelings to himself to prevent her from being hurt in any way. Of course, her brain pointed out, he could be in love with her dad. She shuddered inwardly. No way. Neither her father, nor her best friend, had any tendencies in ‘that’ direction! Both were as straight as Jack and Daniel! And two more Alpha, heterosexual males couldn’t be found than her Husband and CO! "As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters."

Teal’c continued to contemplate the possible ramifications of Casey’s question.

"I think I’ve had enough for today," she said. This little chat certainly hadn’t been illuminating. She didn’t know any more about the ‘relationship’ now than she did before. Casey stood up, reached down to caress his bald head. "I’ll catch up with you later, Big Guy."

"Indeed," Teal’c replied, almost absently. Perhaps he should speak with Daniel Jackson. If the man did not already know that his wife was…he paused. He didn’t believe Casey Jackson to be ‘in love’ with Colonel Mitchell. Perhaps she was infatuated with him. This was something that Daniel Jackson should be aware of, if he wasn’t already. Given that the archaeologist seemed almost hyper-aware when it came to his wife, Teal’c doubted that what he would impart would be a surprise.


A  A  A  A  A  A


The SGC had already been notified that the Daedalus was on its way back to Earth orbit, and that SG-1 would be ringing down within the hour, stele in tow. Cam Balinsky and Beth Meyers were already working out just where the ten-foot tall stone pillar would best be stored. All of the text Daniel needed from it had already been copied. It was decided that given its size, it would fit, for the time being, into a far corner of the ‘gate room, behind the Stargate itself. Still accessible, if need be, but out of the way in one of the few areas tall enough for the monument.

Getting the stele from the ring room on level 24, to level 28, however, would be tricky. It would have to be moved on its side, to prevent it from catching on the ductwork and pipes that ran against the ceilings of the corridors. Of course that would present an entirely new set of problems, in trying to maneuver the stele through the narrow corridors, with their multiple turns and twists.

Jonas provided a simple answer to the dilemma. Have the stele ringed directly to the ‘gate room. With the proper coordinates, it could be done.

She’d had very little contact with General Hammond after her initial meeting with him, upon arriving at the SGC. Doctor Meyers stood hesitantly outside of the commanding officer’s door. She took a deep breath. Tapped lightly.


She stepped into the room. She’d only been in the office three times...the first time, right after she’d accepted the offer to work for the Air Force on a ‘secret project’, intrigued by the letter Daniel Jackson had written to her. She’d signed half a dozen forms then. The second was after her tour of the SGC, when she had been ‘formally’ welcomed by the general. The third was when she and Daniel had spoken to the general about the need for more storage space for the artifacts brought back by the SG teams. She waited until the man seated at the desk had finished writing. Absently took note that he was left-handed.

"What can I do for you...uh..." It was annoying...and embarrassing...when he was unable to recall the name of someone who technically worked for him, even if he did rarely see or speak to them.

Beth smiled. "Meyers. Doctor Meyers."

"Ah, yes. Doctor Meyers," Hammond smiled in return.

"Sir, we received the message that Daniel is returning, with a stele. We’ve run into a bit of trouble...there’s only one logical place to put it, given its height and size, and I’m afraid we can only come up with one way to do that."

"I see. What means would you use to put this stele...where?"

"Sir, we need to have it...um...," she checked her notes. There were still aspects of working at the SGC that left her speechless, and often she found herself struggling to remember the names and phrases used for many of the procedures in the military installation. "It needs to be ‘ringed down’ into the ‘gate room."

"I see."

"Cam...er...Doctor Balinsky is certain that it will fit into a corner behind the Stargate. Daniel...er...Doctor Jackson...will still be able to reach the stele if he needs to."

"I understand that the stele is hollow, and has circuitry inside?"

"Yes, sir."

"I’m sure Major Carter will want to look at this stele as well. If it has to be on its side for such an examination, I’m not certain that the ‘gate room would offer enough space to do so."

Beth frowned.

"We have two warehouses that we can utilize for just such events, and for large artifacts such as this stele. Take a team of your best to-" the general opened the middle drawer to his right, pulled out a folder. Checked it carefully. "Go to Warehouse Two. I’ll have Walter send instructions to ring the stele there."

Beth sighed with relief. "Yes, sir. Thank you."

Hammond smiled again. "You’re welcome."

With a nod, Beth nervously edged toward the door. Returned his nod of dismissal, watched for a second or two when he returned to the work on his desk, then nearly ran into the corridor. The general was a very kind man. Sweet, came to mind. And he had a nice smile. Very warm eyes. Another smile tugged at her lips, and she was totally unaware of the bounce in her step as she contemplated the Texan’s blue eyes. Giving herself a hard mental shake, she began to berate herself for her errant thoughts. Beth Meyers, get a grip on yourself! she commanded as she waited for the elevator.


A  A  A  A  A  A


The team had been called to the bridge. Daniel was still writing. "I’ll be right there. Go on, Angel."

"Don’t be too long," she said, dropping a kiss on the tip of his nose when he looked up at her. "I’m betting we’re home."

"No doubt," he mumbled. "I just have a couple more words to jot down."

"It was sweet of you to offer to do this."

He smiled up at her. Apparently he’d been forgiven for decking the man who has trying to steal her away. "Think so?"

"Know so. Five minutes. If you’re not up there in five minutes, I will come to get you!"


She shook her head, and grabbed her pack. "Five minutes."





For whatever reason, Casey was the first member of SG-1 to make it to the bridge. She glanced around. Met Cam’s gaze for a moment, then looked away.

"So, everything okay?" Cam asked quietly.

"I’m sorry that happened," she said softly. Casey rolled her eyes. "I can’t believe Daniel did that. I mean, how in the world can he consider you to be a threat? He’s the love of my life…I’ll never see or love any other man, and he knows that! He’s my Destiny for crying out loud!" She shook her head. "Men are the most exasperating creatures sometimes."

"Yeah, we hear that a lot," he said, giving her a crooked grin. I might as well be a ghost. She’ll never see me. He shook himself mentally. She’s married, he told himself firmly. I’ve never chased married women before, and I’m sure as hell not gonna start now! "For what it’s worth, I deserved to be hit. If the boots had been on the other feet, I’d have done the same thing."


His grin widened. "Without a doubt."

Jack and Sam wandered in, both looked at the bruise on Mitchell’s jaw, and then at Casey.

"My fault," Cam said simply. "All taken care of. No harm done."

Jack nodded his understanding. If Mitchell was dumb enough to hit on her, then he got exactly what he deserved. No doubt Radar had knocked him on his ass if that was what had happened.

Teal’c strode into the room, studied Mitchell for a moment, noted the way the man seemed incapable of taking his eyes off of Casey. While the slender blonde was busy chatting with Samantha Carter about the stele, and the import of the discovery, she did seem to glance at Mitchell from time to time. He did not know, however, if those glances meant anything.

When Daniel arrived a few minutes later, he handed half a dozen slips of paper to Mitchell. "The Goa’uld like to taunt...so I’ve put down the most frequently used phrases. It’s all written out phonetically, so I hope it will help."

"Thanks, Doctor Jackson," Mitchell said, nodding slightly.

Daniel nodded his acknowledgement. Casey remained beside Sam, and seemed content to ignore his presence, more or less. Okay, it seemed he was still in the doghouse for what he had done, after all. He’d do it again in a heartbeat if Mitchell spoke to her the way he had done.


A  A  A  A  A  A


The stele was ringed to the warehouse, and Sam and Daniel began a thorough investigation of the interior. Photographing everything as they worked, Sam began to remove the ‘circuit cards’, with the miniature data crystals. Casey had been tasked to take close-up photos of each card, and Doctor Lee, whom Sam had called as soon as she was back on the planet, was making a rough-sketched schematic of each card, and noting its location within the monument.

Teal’c watched carefully, trying to ascertain if there was any change in Casey’s behavior toward Daniel Jackson. There was, he noted, a coolness between them. Had they argued about Colonel Mitchell? Had perhaps Casey made her request, one that was met with hesitation, or even full opposition from her husband?

He still believed speaking to Daniel Jackson was the right thing to do; however, he had no desire to make a troublesome situation more so for his best friend. A second opinion in such matters was always a wise idea. O’Neill could be blunt to the point of rudeness. He was not, perhaps, the best choice. No doubt if he voiced his concerns, the colonel would pull both of the Jacksons into his office for a ‘chat’, which might possibly exacerbate the problem.

Several times during his tenure at the SGC, Samantha Carter had offered sage advice, and had been willing to listen when he needed to talk. Or, much like Daniel Jackson, would sit silently with him as he meditated, during those times when meditating alone was not desirable. He nodded silently. As soon as he could arrange it, he would speak to his teammate about his concerns.

His attention, as well as that of the others in the room, was pulled back to the stele when Daniel Jackson let out with an unexpected whoop of excitement.

"Sam, look at this! Tell me what that looks like."

The major examined the marks, which looked as if they’d been scratched into the stone cover that protected the inner workings of the stele. "Those look like..." She grinned from ear to ear. "Those look like ‘gate symbols!"

"Six of them! There are six of them!" Daniel said excitedly.

"This is where more of the weapon is?" Jack asked, studying the marks from over Sam’s shoulder.

"I can’t think of any other reason to put ‘gate symbols here," Daniel grinned.

Sam grabbed her radio. Called the control room. "Daniel, do you know which numbers these correspond to?"

"Not off the top of my head, no," Daniel admitted.

The squad of Marines that had been dispatched to prevent anyone from approaching the warehouse while SG-1 and Dr. Lee worked on the stele were standing just outside the door.

Daniel hurriedly copied the marks onto a piece of paper from the notebook in his pocket. Jogged to where the four men stood. "Could one of you get this to Walter in the control room? Tell him to dial it, and then let us know what he finds."

"You got it, Doc."

Fifteen minutes later, the jubilation was subdued. After several attempts, Walter reported that the seventh chevron refused to lock. If there had been a Stargate there, it was either gone, or inaccessible.

"I can use these to get the coordinates of the planet," Sam assured Daniel. "We still have the location for the next piece. We just have to take one of the ships to get there."

"Right," Daniel replied. Of course it wouldn’t be as easy as just ‘gating to the damned planet, he thought irritably.

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