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Twenty-Four

Chapter 11

Day Nineteen

He dropped into the chair. General Hammond and the men of SG-9 were waiting for him. He shook his head. "I need more time. Four hours at the most," he said wearily.

"I'm sorry, Doctor Jackson," the general said, "that's just not possible."

Major Farnsworth cleared his throat. "Then may I request that Doctor Jackson accompany us? He can read the tablets, and he has far more experience negotiating with alien governments than I do."

Daniel's head came up. No! No way! He knew that he had to get a couple of hours of sleep. But then he was driving to New Mexico to get his Wife!

"I believe that at this time it's our only option," General Hammond agreed. He held up his hand to hold off the protest that was forming on the young man's lips. "I know that you're anxious to go get Casey. But this is important," he added softly.

The major looked at the archaeologist. Everyone in the mountain knew what had happened. Every SG team was waiting with bated breath for her return, none particularly eager to leave on any missions that she hadn't 'cleared'. He shook his head mentally. It was amazing how one person could affect a place so much. Casey Jackson's smile, her sense of humor, her kindness…all well known by the men and women who worked in the SGC. And she was sorely missed. "Doctor Jackson, if you're willing to go, I don't think it would take more than a day to secure the treaty."

He supposed he should be flattered that he was so damned indispensable. And from what he'd translated so far, even the tiniest slip could have devastating results. He nodded slowly. "Let me take a shower and shave. I'll be ready in twenty minutes."

General Hammond nodded as well. "Good. You have full authorization to enter into any agreements that will be beneficial to the SGC, and to planet Earth," he said. "You'll leave in thirty minutes. Dismissed."

He stood in the shower, let the water run down his back. No more than a couple of days. Negotiations just couldn't last longer than that. A day's drive to get there. Three days. At the most. He wasn't sure he could make it.

Daniel stopped in the infirmary for an injection; Janet assured him that going one day would have no discernable results. SG-9 was waiting for him when he walked into the 'gate room not quite thirty minutes after the briefing.

"Gentlemen, good luck," General Hammond said. "Godspeed."

He walked up the ramp. He knew where she was. He knew that she loved him. She knew that he loved her. It would be all right. Just a few more days. He sighed, walked through the event horizon.

 

A   A   A   A   A   A

 

The liaison for the delegation of Tegerians was waiting anxiously near the Stargate. "Major Farnsworth, welcome back," a tall man with impossibly red hair said, a small smile on his face as he examined the sandy-blonde haired man standing beside the major.

"Thank you, Pallin. I would like to introduce Doctor Daniel Jackson. He is an archaeologist, and a linguist of our world. He can read the tablets that will be referred to during these negotiations," the major said.

Pallin looked again at the man, and nodded. "I must know your lineage."

This was where things could get tricky. The Tegerians attached great importance to family heritage and lineage. Hopefully they were advanced enough to understand that not all civilizations felt the same way. "I am Daniel Jackson, son of Melburn Jackson and Claire Ballard Jackson. My mother's father was Nicholas Ballard."

The frown on Pallin's face worried Daniel. "Is there no more?"

Daniel smiled. "Yes, but unfortunately I don't know anything of my family. I was orphaned when I was a small child, raised by people who were paid by the government to care for me."

"Then I grieve with you, Daniel Jackson," Pallin said, the prominent features of his face softening. "It is enough."

He heaved a mental sigh. He'd been accepted to negotiate. That's the first battle won, he thought. His mind wandered slightly as they were led from the gate, which was in the center of a large arboretum. It was beautiful. And hot. And thank goodness these people spoke Goa'uld…well, actually it was a variant of ancient Egyptian, and were willing to use the language for the negotiations. Having to learn to speak as well as read their language would have taken more time than they had!

The visitors from Earth were swept into a large conference room, and led to one of four tables that formed a small square in the center of the room. The perimeter was lined with chairs. And every chair had a person sitting in it, eager to watch the proceedings.

Major Farnsworth had insisted that Daniel be the speaker for the delegation from Earth. Daniel sat down in the center chair, the members of the team flanking him on either side. He stood to show his respect when the members of the governing body of Tegeria entered the room. He was relieved that the men with him did so as well. They had to remain standing while the lineage of the three High Councilors was recited. It took just over an hour.

As he settled back in his seat, he noted that all of the Tegerians were very tall and extremely thin - almost gaunt looking. Their skin varied in color, from a light tan to a dark bronze. So far, he'd only seen dark brown hair, or that almost blood red shade. All of them seemed to have dark eyes, the irises nearly twice the size of those of humans, which made them almost spooky looking. When the leader sat down, the other delegates sat as well.

"Daniel Jackson, orphaned son of Melburn Jackson and Claire Ballard Jackson, daughter of Nicholas Ballard," the 'greeter' intoned, stumbling somewhat over the alien names, "do you accept the responsibility of negotiating in the name of your people, the Tau'ri?"

"I accept the responsibility," Daniel replied, his voice firm, calm. He bit back a smile. His lineage, or rather lack thereof, was easily dealt with, it seemed. So no offense could be considered offered by the Tau'ri.

"We have learned that the Tau'ri have ventured forth through their Chappa'ai. That you have garnered the knowledge of many alien worlds. Tell us, do any of these worlds possess abundant life?"

The speaker was sitting to his right. He looked straight ahead, maintaining eye contact with the Tegerian leader. Until he was given permission, he'd say nothing. He relaxed when he saw the approval in those odd, black eyes, the slight nod of the head.

"Daniel Jackson, will you speak to us of this matter?" the leader said quietly.

"I will."

"Rise and speak."

He stood to his feet, turned to face the woman who'd asked the question. "You have learned that the Tau'ri have ventured forth through our Chappa'ai. That we have garnered the knowledge of many alien worlds. I will tell you yes, many of these worlds possess abundant life."

Titters of approval moved around the room.

"Nearly all of the planets possess abundant plant life, of countless varieties," he continued. "Many with medicinal qualities that are of great benefit to the people who gather and use them. Many of the societies that we have met are just beginning their journey as a people, they are quite…young." 

The woman nodded regally, returned her gaze to her leader.

Daniel sat down. He'd passed the first test. Now the negotiations would begin.

 

A   A   A   A   A   A

 

She was curled around her pillow. Wished that Daniel was with her, so that he could rub her belly. Another cramp. Oh, how she hated hell week! At least, she thought with a sigh, it would be over by the time he arrived in Los Noche. She closed her eyes, tried to sleep. Something had been poking at her since she'd fled Silver Springs. She sat straight up. "Miss Eloise!" she whispered hoarsely. She groaned softly. Why hadn't she thought to seek counsel, comfort, from the woman who guided her on her journey as a seer?

Tossing the blankets back, she put her feet on the floor, began to pace. "Miss Eloise?"

A soft glowing light filled one corner of the room. "About time you remembered me!" the old woman snapped, her displeasure quite apparent. "You nearly made a fine mess of things, young lady!"

"I'm sorry," Casey replied. "How did I mess things up?"

"You ran off! You deserted The One!"

She frowned. "I don't understand…and I know that I should have stayed, at least long enough to hear Daniel's side of things, but I was so hurt…"

The old woman sighed. "Yes, you were. Helen Webster has a lot to answer for. But thank goodness you listened to your heart! Everything will be fine, now."

Casey cocked her head to one side. "There's something going on elsewhere, isn't there…like a higher…or at least a different plane of existence."

The old woman cackled with delight. "You're every bit as smart as he is! Yes, Sunshine, there's more happening than meets the eye. The One is very powerful. Oh, he doesn't know it yet, doesn't understand what he's capable of doing now, and will be capable of doing in the future. But there are those who at least suspect. Those who don't want the Champion of the Innocent to interfere with their plans."

She shivered. That had an ominous sound to it! "Breaking us up would keep him from succeeding."

Miss Eloise nodded her white head. "Now, the next time something like this happens, talk to me!"

"The next time?" Her heart dropped just a bit. It seemed that the path of The One was going to be rocky and difficult. As his Beloved, she'd be forced to endure much heartache, she could feel that. "I promise," she said softly.

 

A   A   A   A   A   A

 

He was exhausted. If he didn't get some sleep soon, he was apt to make a mistake that could undo all of the progress he'd made.

Pallin approached him, noted that the man seemed pale, his eyes were bloodshot as well. "Daniel Jackson, are you unwell?"

Daniel looked up at the tall man. "I'm fine."

"Perhaps a longer recess is required, so that you might rest," the Tegerian suggested.

He nodded wearily. "I am…tired. I haven't slept in…" he tossed about in his mind. When was the last time he'd slept? "It's been a couple of days," he admitted.

The tall man smiled. "That you would work so diligently in order to learn our ways is commendable," he said. "Come, I will take you to your chamber, where you may rest."

He didn't even have the strength to object. There was no way he could continue negotiating, not with having to be aware of every nuance, having to repeat back every question asked of him. The longer he went without sleep, the greater the chance of a mistake. The bed was narrow, and quite long. He fell onto it and was asleep before Pallin had closed the door completely.

 

A   A   A   A   A   A

 

Day Twenty-one

It was almost impossible to hold back his sigh of frustration. They'd been at this for two days. Progress had been made, but it was damned slow. Fifteen 'gate addresses to worlds known to be devoid of any human or humanoid population, but rife with plant life had netted the SGC two power units, and seven medical advances. So far, access to any weapons had yet to come up. And there was no way that he could bring them up. So the diplomatic dance continued. Each party knew what the other wanted. Each determined to keep as much, give as little in return as possible.

He was back in that conference room again. They'd taken a break for lunch. He glanced at his watch as they waited for the leaders to enter the room. Come on, he thought irritably. Let's get this over with!

Once again all of the observers and participants in the proceedings rose as the leaders took their place. Thankfully, the full litany of names was not required each time the meetings reconvened. That saved an hour of time.

"Daniel Jackson, you have spoken of an enemy known to you as the Goa'uld. We also know of this enemy. To ally ourselves with a people as honorable as your own will only make both our peoples stronger. Do you seek an alliance?"

This was it! About damned time! He waited for the nod of permission before rising to his feet. "I, Daniel Jackson, have spoken of an enemy known to us as the Goa'uld. You also know of this enemy. To ally yourselves with a people as honorable as my own will only make both our peoples stronger. Do I seek an alliance? Yes."

Nods of approval around the room. The three leaders conferred quietly. "Daniel Jackson, you have studied our ways, have honored us with your presence. At this time, we would like to turn the order of negotiations over to you, and allow you to conduct this meeting in the way of your people."

His heart raced in his chest. He'd never expected this! There was a chance that he'd be back on Earth tonight! Some sleep, and then he could leave for Los Noche! He waited for the nod. Smiled when he stood. "I, Daniel Jackson, have studied your ways, and have honored you with my presence. At this time, you would like to turn the order of negotiations over to me, and allow me to conduct this meeting in the way of my people."

The leader beamed at him, then nodded, encouraging him to speak at will.

"You honor me, madam, by taking this step to learn about the ways of my people," he said carefully. "Becoming allies against the Goa'uld will indeed make both our peoples stronger. Your society has advanced farther than our own; your people are older, wiser than we are at this time. You possess…" he paused. He didn't want to just ask for the weapons. He chose his next words with the utmost of care. "You possess…tools…that allow you to produce satellites that offer protection for your planet. If you were to offer us the knowledge of these tools, and how to use them, then we too would be able to protect our homeworld. In return, we can offer the naquadah that you need for your weapons." He held his breath as the three leaders conferred once again.

"Daniel Jackson, your request is a just one. Your offer is a generous one. As allies, we must join together, come to the aid of one another. We offer you the writings that will teach you how to make the tools, and how to use them. We also offer the writings that will explain how our satellites work, so that you may protect your homeworld."

Yes! It was all he could do to stand still. "You are most generous, madam. I humbly thank you on behalf of my people."

The Tegerian leader smiled. "We will have the documents of this treaty drawn up. All that has been agreed upon will be within the words and pages of this document. Tomorrow, we will sign the first treaty between Tegeria and Earth. To celebrate this momentous occasion, there will be a banquet held in your honor."

His heart sank. Another day! Hopefully as soon as the treaty was signed he and SG-9 would be allowed to leave! "It is with great pleasure that we will attend this banquet," he said quietly. A nod from the leader allowed him to take his seat. A few minutes later the Tegerians had left the room.

"You did it! We got everything we wanted!" Major Farnsworth crowed delightedly when they were in the common area where the delegates congregated, allowed time alone to discuss the events of the meeting..

He managed a small smile. "Yeah, and with luck I'll get home some time this week!" Most assuredly the first stop he'd have to make upon returning to the SGC was the infirmary. Then…he couldn’t stop the smile that moved over his face. Then he'd get a fix of the real thing. A long, hot, wild dose of his Angel.

The major nodded. "Once everything is in writing, they'll want it to be signed right away. Then, according to their laws, we have to run the treaty to our leaders."

"Good thing we'll only have to run as far as the 'gate," one of the men quipped.

He grinned. "How soon do you think they'll have the treaty ready to sign?"

"Well, they've been making transcriptions of each meeting as soon as it has been recessed. How badly do you want to eat breakfast here?" Major Farnsworth asked, a grin on his face. "It takes forever to get a treaty, but once it's agreed upon, they want it written, signed and delivered as quickly as possible."

"Good. I can deal with breakfast in the commissary," Daniel joked.

Pallin approached the men. "Congratulations, Daniel Jackson. You performed most admirably. The banquet won't begin for several hours, if you'd care to rest?"

Sleep, yeah, he could definitely use some of that! The men agreed that rest did sound good, and followed their personal guide back to their rooms. "Hang on, Angel. I'll be there soon," he whispered, just before sleep overtook him, filled with dreams of long blonde hair, green eyes, and a warm teasing smile.


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