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In Between the Lines
Christmas Day was, as usual, sunny and warm. As soon as the gifts had been unwrapped, the five little ones were herded outside to play while their mothers and aunts put the finishing touches on the meal.
The women were chattering away in the kitchen, Casey explaining her fear, and what Thor's reply to Duncan's inquiry had been. The men relaxed in the living room, the football game on the TV nothing more than background noise for the moment.
"She's okay?" Wade asked having learned of her fears.
"She's fine," Daniel assured him. Until the next freaking disaster, he thought. He shook himself mentally. They both understood that his…position…as The Chosen meant that they would face many more challenges. And they would continue to survive, and grow stronger.
Methos was shaking his head. "I never thought I'd hear about a Goa'uld offing himself. That has to be one for the books!"
"I agree," Jack said. "I mean, they're all batshit crazy, but this went beyond that."
"I suppose it is possible," Aaron said quietly.
"What is possible?" Daniel asked.
"Casey says that she believes that the love Camulus had for this Cara was true, real…deep. I have never heard of a Goa'uld falling in love, not like that. But I suppose it is possible. I don't believe Camulus was one of the worst Goa'uld around. He seemed to prefer living quietly. Maybe he really did love that woman. Obviously he cared about what happened to Casey."
"Sam says that the Tok'ra love every bit as deeply, as passionately as we do. I guess if the Tok'ra can, the Goa'uld can," Jack said. He was, they all knew, referring to Jolinar - the Tok'ra that had infested Sam, then gave her life to save the Tau'ri - and Lantash, one of the most successful Tok'ra spies. The love the two had shared was legendary among the Tok'ra.
"Goa'uld are usually too busy trying to be the King of the Hill to spend too much time and effort in love," Methos said dryly. The men around him nodded their agreement.
"I read your report," Duncan said to the older Immortal. "How much time do you think we have?"
"A few weeks. At the most. We're going to have to find that laboratory and take it out. Which isn't going to be easy. Penatil completely destroyed Tymulus," Methos added.
"Damn, I was so looking forward to meeting him," Jack said, grinning.
"Yeah, I'm sure you were," Daniel chuckled.
"Anyway, he's focused on Jordan. Seems that right now he still has enough to hold out," Methos told them.
"Is there a way to get the other snakes together to come to his aid?" Jack asked.
"It shouldn't be too hard. Penatil has been hitting System Lords right and left, and with as much force as possible. They're starting to run scared."
"Leave you guys alone and you start talking shop?" Casey said, walking into the room.
The men chuckled. "Seems that we're gonna be pretty damned busy for awhile," Jack said.
"Job security," Sam muttered.
"First priority is to find that damned lab," Duncan sighed.
"There are three places where it could be," Methos said. "Well, there are others, but these three planets would be perfect."
"First thing tomorrow, we'll get missions lined up. We'll look until we find and destroy it," Jack said.
"And on that note, it's time for Christmas dinner," Casey said.
The meal was, as usual, spectacular. For the duration of the meal, talk focused on the success of the museum, and the upcoming opening of Tessa's gallery.
"I sent it off," Daniel announced quietly, sitting back in his chair, pleasantly stuffed with good food.
"Sent what off?" Jack asked.
Casey's eyes lit up. "The book! You finished it!" That shy smile that always made her heart flutter beneath her breast moved over his face.
"Congratulations!" Tessa exclaimed.
"It's not published yet," Daniel said.
Jack snorted. "Yeah, like that's going to be a problem!"
Duncan nodded. "Your biggest problem will be deciding which publishing house to work with."
"I can't wait to see it in print," Sam said, smiling at her friend. She and Daniel had commiserated with one another over the fact that their discoveries, his especially, would remain unknown to the respective scientific communities that they represented. Now that the Stargate, the SGC, and everything associated with it was common knowledge, both were finding the vindication…the satisfaction…that sharing their amazing finds brought.
When dessert was over, the adults sitting around the table sipping coffee, the children back outside playing happily, conversation reverted to the current problems that the SGC faced.
"I think this is going to be the last time Wade and I will be on Gamma, for awhile," Methos said quietly.
"You're being watched much closer, I take it," Duncan said.
The lanky young/old man nodded. "I need to maintain a presence on Camulus."
"He named the planet after himself?" Jack asked, then rolled his eyes. "Of course he would!"
"That's a bit…out of the way…to continue to deal with the snakes in Penty's neck of the woods, isn't it?"
Again the dark haired man nodded. "I have managed to establish several…friendships…with Goa'uld there. With Cammy's assets, I'll be able to do some serious bartering. That will help tremendously."
"What about the people?" Daniel asked softly.
Methos smiled at the young archaeologist. "I'm doing my best to improve conditions as much as possible."
Everyone at the table understood the need to protect the Innocent, and everyone also understood that for Methos to change things too much would bring unwanted scrutiny and suspicion. Right now, his acceptance as a System Lord was their best defense against the Goa'uld. Offered them the most offensive opportunities as well.
"Tomorrow, we plan our first foray into Penatil's territory," Duncan said. He wrapped his fingers around Tessa's hand.
"Let's just hope he isn't as bad as Nergal," Jack said softly.
"They're all that bad, Jack," Casey said, her voice just as soft. "Which is why we have to take the bastards out."
"You know, I've had this question for…well I think as long as I've worked with the SGC," she continued. "Why do all Goa'uld insist on being called 'My Lord'? Even the ones in female bodies?" Laughter moved around the table.
"I've wondered that myself," Sam admitted.
"Okay, we know that they have queens, is it possible that the rest are all male…drones sort of?" Casey asked.
"I doubt that they're 'gender-specific'," Daniel said.
Jack frowned. "I disagree. I think that the males we run into are definitely male. The females…female."
"How do you figure that?" Sam asked, one eyebrow raised.
The general grinned. "The males do a lot of talking and posturing. The females are just mean as hell!" More laughter filled the room.
"I don't really care," Wade said. "Just as long as we wipe them all out."
"Here, here!" Casey agreed. She raised her wineglass. "To the end of Goa'uld."
Glasses clinked against one another as the toast was drank to. Every heart longed for the day when the battle would be over, and the Goa'uld defeated. It wouldn't happen tomorrow. Not the day after. But one day it would. The children whose laughter drifted into the room on the slight breeze that moved around them would know a life free of the terror of the Goa'uld. Someday.
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