<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
In Your Own Backyard
"…Put our feet on the ground
Duncan looked at Daniel. "You're serious about this."
"Yes, I am," the young archaeologist replied calmly. "Look, we already know that Geb was here, or at least claimed this planet. We have the satellites in orbit. It wouldn't take much to do a full, complete scan. All we really know about Gamma is what we've found in this valley."
Jack leaned back in his chair, a slight frown on his face. "Danny has a point, Duncan. We've been so busy fighting the Goa'uld, and establishing ourselves, that we haven't really looked in our own backyard."
The Highlander looked from one man to the other. Remembered the thrill of being part of a ship's crew that had landed on what was now Florida for the first time. They weren't the first white men to land in what would become the United States of America. There were several thriving colonies to the north. But they were certainly the first to land in that particular cove. Dark eyes and a lithe, warm body flashed across his mind. For a moment he could smell the flowers that she wove in her raven hair. "I assume that you already have a particular place in mind?"
Daniel grinned, aware that he had just won the argument. "We know that there are four small oceans on Gamma. According to all the information I can find, no one has ever bothered to even do a simple orbital survey of the northern section of the continent. Which is accessible from this valley. It wouldn't have taken more than a few weeks to travel from here to the very northern-most point."
"And you think it's possible that someone did that?" Duncan asked. He frowned again when the dark blonde head nodded. "Why?"
"Fresh water. There are six lakes within fifty miles of one another," Daniel replied. "No matter where humans are, they're curious about what's around them. At least a few would have wanted to know what lay beyond this valley. If a few strong men decided to travel together, it's possible for them to have made it to the northern section, where those lakes are, in less than two weeks. There is what looks like the remains of a small river that comes down from the mountains behind us, and led almost all the way to the largest of those lakes."
Duncan raised an eyebrow.
The young man grinned unabashedly. "Sam did a few surveys from a couple of the satellites, took a few pictures for me," he admitted.
Jack bit back his grin. Daniel had managed to talk General Hammond, a seasoned military officer, into letting him have his way most of the time. The Scot didn't stand a chance!
"Even if we don't find anything, it will at least give us an idea of the area. It's one of the few truly hospitable places on Gamma, and as fast as Hope is growing, it won't be long until we'll need to…branch out," Daniel pointed out. "Besides, we could use a few days away from the…intensity."
He couldn't argue with that. Duncan would be the first to admit that SG-1 was ready for a break. Daniel and Casey especially. Again. He shook his head mentally. He had often wondered how they managed to stay sane with all that they endured. He had watched helplessly as Daniel slowly self-destructed when Casey had been dead. She had returned, thank all of the gods for that miracle, but only to be tossed into the thick of the battle immediately. She was still grieving the loss of SG-6. Hell, they all were. But Casey had been close to those men. A part of the team. He had watched her at the memorial service. She had been…still was…heartbroken by the loss. She'd had to deal with Toren. Then there was the mess with Camulus. He sighed. "Yeah, you could."
Daniel glanced at Jack. "It's going to be an easy expedition. I'd like to take my kids. Sam is interested in some of the rock formations, she says there's the possibility of finding more Orrinite."
"That would make DeMoore happy. They've been making subtle demands for more ore for the past two years," Duncan said. "Okay. I suppose Teal'c and Carly will accompany you as well?"
"SG-1 stays together," Jack said softly. Bad things happened when the team was separated. That was a lesson learned the hard way. Several times. He glanced at Daniel, cleared his throat. "We figured you and Tessa could use a vacation, as well. You haven't had one since we all went to Langara together."
The dark haired man couldn't hide the pleased grin that moved over his face. These men were his friends. But he wasn't as close to them as they were to one another. To be included in what amounted to an 'immediate family' gathering was gratifying, to say the least. "Tessa hates camping."
"So does Casey," Daniel replied.
"Yeah, but she's just as eager to make finds as you are, so she deals with it," Duncan retorted.
"Tessa would be with her best friends. And her husband," the young man said quietly.
"Let me talk to her. You can go with my blessing. Just don't plan on staying gone too long. We're going to have to face Penatil, and Methos thinks it's going to have to be soon."
The two men nodded. That was part of the reason they wanted time with their families. When the war with Penatil began, and it would be war, they wouldn't be home very much. "We thought we'd take the ATV's," Jack said.
Duncan frowned. "Jack, there is no way that I'm authorizing SG-1 to be gone for several months."
Daniel grinned. "We figure that with the ATV's, we'll be able to get where Sam and I would like to look around, in about four days. Eight days travel total. Four days there. Not even a full two weeks."
It was damned tempting. When was the last time he had taken more than just a few days off? Three years ago, when Richie had been conceived, he thought, smiling at the memory of nearly two full days in bed with his wife. Tessa had danced for him there, unwinding those scarves from her body so damned slowly…He shook himself. "I'll talk to Tessa. If she wants to go, we'll be there."
He couldn't help but grin wider. Emily would be thrilled to be going on a 'mission-job' with him. And this time, his son would be with him as well. His family. His family, on an archaeological dig! Were his parents able to witness this?
A A A A A A
"Casey! I'm home!"
She smiled. Yep, as soon as he opened the door. Every time she took a day or two off, when he was finished at the base for the day, he came charging through the door, looking for her, calling for her. "Kitchen," she called out. Where she had been most of the day, restocking the freezer with homemade casseroles.
He sauntered into the room, leaned against the doorframe. "How would you like to go on a possible dig. Right here on Gamma?"
She raised one eyebrow. "You're joking, right? We have new intel on Penatil-" she broke off. "Did one of the other snakes manage to take him out?"
Daniel shook his head. "Not that I know of. But Duncan has authorized us to do some looking around north of here."
"How far north?"
"Four days by ATV."
She did a quick bit of figuring. Her green eyes flashed with the temper that she was well known for. "I am not going to be away from my babies for two weeks! Not with what we're getting ready to walk into!"
"You won't be. The kids are coming with us. Jack and Sam are bringing their girls. And if Duncan and Tessa come along, they'll be bringing Richie," he replied, grinning smugly.
"Just what did you find?" she asked him, forgetting about the cooked chicken she had been de-boning.
"Sam found some rock formations that might have more Orrinite in them," he said, walking over to the island, sneaking a piece of the chicken, popping it into his mouth.
"Uh huh. What did you find?"
She knew him better than he knew himself, sometimes. He hadn't mentioned anything to anyone, not even Sam was aware of the markings he had recognized on a large cliff in several of the images that she had taken of the area. "The caves by the Hope Lake weren't the only place where people lived," he said softly.
"Are they still there?" she asked, her eyes wide.
"I don't think so. But it seems that Cardorians might have lived here, or there rather, at some point in time." He watched her eyes light up. Could see the excitement build. He could feel that familiar rise of awe, of love, that swelled in his chest and filled him every time her love of archaeology filled her eyes, animated her sweet, beautiful face with excitement.
"Cardorian? Are you sure? Let me see the pictures! Do you have them here? You're certain that the marks are Cardorian?-"
He chuckled, reached out and put a finger against her lips to stop the excited flow of words. "Yes, I'm fairly certain the marks are Cardorian. No, the pictures are in Sam's lab right now. I haven't mentioned this to anyone," he added.
"Because I don't have a clue what we're going to find," he replied.
"But you suspect we're going to find Cardorian ruins, don't you?" she breathed.
He shrugged. "If there are Cardorian markings on a cliff wall, it sort of goes without saying that they would have been somewhere in the area."
She shook her head. "Gamma is on the other side of the galaxy from the planets where evidence of the Cardorian society was located."
"Case, we know that this planet was under Geb's rule at one time. There's no reason to believe that Dagon, or hell, even Geb, couldn't have brought Cardorians here. We know that Dagon screwed the Cardorians, big time."
"Or Cardorians really are from Earth, and they were taken to those planets by Goa'uld, like everyone else out here seems to have been," she theorized.
"Maybe we're about to find out," he said softly.
"But why not tell anyone?"
Again he shrugged. "If I mentioned it, chances are that Duncan would order a full expedition, and-"
"And we wouldn't have the time to go," she finished for him. It wasn't like Daniel to be so…greedy. To need, no…want…to be the one to make the fantastic discoveries. He was always thrilled when a discovery was made by any of the teams. He didn't care who discovered what, as long as new and interesting things continued to come through the 'gate. "Why, Daniel? Why do you need to make this discovery? Aren't you famous enough, isn't your archaeological career high enough?"
"Not my discovery, Angel," he said softly. "You're the expert on Cardorians."
Her eyes went wide. He wanted her to make the discovery! "Technically, Stud Muffin, you've already found it," she replied.
"All I saw were marks on a cliff. It's up to you to tell me if I'm right."
She wiped her hands off, walked around the island, and wrapped her arms around his neck. He had been the one to insist that she write about the digs on two separate moons of Terra. While the discoveries hadn't been earth shattering, they had proven that at some point in the distant past the people of Terra had expanded to those moons. He had been the one to encourage her to accept the request for a treatise on being Immortal. The work had been a series in two scientific journals. Any requests of information, or questions about the Cardorians he directed to her, calling her the resident expert on that particular civilization. He was the one who had listed her with the Archaeological Society, even though she wasn't degreed in the field. He told everyone that she was as capable an archaeologist as he was. If she made this particular discovery, wrote a paper on it, she would be considered an archaeologist in her own right, not just riding on the coattails of her famous husband. "I love you, Doctor Jackson," she whispered.
"I love you, Mrs. Jackson," he whispered in reply. He accepted the soft kiss she gave him, was eager for more when she pulled away from him. His body protested vehemently.
"I need to get this finished. Could you drive over to Amy Talmage's house and pick up Emmie?" She stepped away from him, knowing that to stand near him right now would mean more kisses, and a bit of fondling, which would start the Fire raging, and they didn't have time to get any…relief.
Oh, right. That was today, wasn't it? Amy's birthday party. The Amy who just happened to be Emily's best friend. Casey and Emmie had spent two hours at the mall searching for the 'perfect' gift. And then the young Immortal had helped her daughter wrap it, making those beautiful bows that seemed to magically form themselves on her fingers. "Sure. Where's Nicholas?"
"He's with Katie Murlow and Wilbur."
Daniel grinned. Richie MacLeod was Nicholas' best friend. Wilbur was his son's four-legged best friend. So much so that it was becoming a challenge to keep the boy from 'escaping' his own yard, and opening the gate to 'visit' his friend in the Murlow's back yard. Luckily, Wilbur was just as enamored with Nicholas, and was content to stay wherever the tot was, even with that gate standing wide open. "Park?"
"Mmmhmm. Daniel, do you think we should get Nicholas a dog?"
He frowned. "I never thought about it," he admitted.
"I know we're gone for days at a time, but Mom and Dad are here, Mom all of the time, well, almost all of the time," she amended. There were times that Erin Desala was needed as an ambassador on the Immortal Council. Mrs. Peterson was always more than happy to watch the Jackson children as well as the O'Neill girls on those occasions.
"We'd really need to think about this, Case. A dog is a big responsibility. Someone would have to keep the yard cleaned up. Then there's walking it, making sure it has enough food and water, keeping it bathed and brushed. Right now Nicholas couldn't do more than just help feed and water a dog."
"When he's older?"
"We'll see," Daniel replied. He had never had pets. A few of the foster homes where he had lived had had a dog or cat or two, but they had never been his. He'd never thought about having pets before. It was a lot of work. But maybe…when the kids were just a little older, a bit more…ready… for the responsibility of a pet, he would seriously consider getting them one.
She finished assembling the casserole, carefully arranged the crust on top, cut several slits that looked like leaves, and then added more 'leaves' cut with cookie cutters from the extra pie crust. A piece of wax paper went on top, and then aluminum foil to protect it while it was in the freezer. She took a stick-on-label, her neat handwriting filling the small space to identify the contents of the white dish, and placed it in the center of the foil that covered the casserole. Into the freezer it went, with the others that she had made that day.
Daniel watched her, took note of the weary look in her eyes. She had dropped him off at the base first thing that morning, so that she could go to the grocery store, picked him up for lunch, having already spent the morning cooking. "Dairy Queen or Tyrone's?"
"You've been cooking all day. We'll have dinner out tonight. So, Dairy Queen or Tyrone's?"
She smiled. "Want to risk taking the kids to Port Hope?" she asked, referring to the diner that was near the space port.
He grinned. "I'm willing if you are."
"Just no meals with green beans for Nicholas," she huffed. Since the infamous 'green bean incident', she hadn't been willing to risk giving the tot green beans. Not unless she had cut them into small pieces first. It seemed they weren't as tempting as an entire, whole green bean.
He laughed. Daniel had often watched his son, wondering if he had been anything like Nicholas when he had been that age. Emily was so much like Casey that it was positively spooky. Nicholas certainly looked like him…he heard the term 'carbon copy' often. He liked to think that maybe, just maybe, his son was like him in other ways as well.
Casey glanced at the clock. "If you can go get Emmie, I'll grab a quick shower. Katie said she'd have Nicholas home by five. I'll get him cleaned up and we can go."
"Sounds like a plan," he said. He took the time to kiss her, quite thoroughly, leaving them both breathless and burning, before grabbing his keys from the counter and heading back out the door.
Her heart pounding her love for him against her ribs, she watched him disappear down the hall. Just wait, she thought somewhat grumpily, her body on Fire from his touch. I'll make you pay for that tonight! Alone in the house for another twenty minutes or so, she hurriedly straightened the kitchen, and then dashed to her bathroom to take a shower.
She stood under the water, let it run down her back. A dig. The entire Jackson family. Plus friends. She smiled. It sounded like the perfect break from the heart-wrenching, soul-trying, body abusing intensity they had been facing since…since she had returned from PY2 498. Oh yeah. It sounded absolutely perfect. Which could only mean that something was about to go wrong.
<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>