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In Your Own Backyard
Casey giggled as she looked around. Dozens of photos of the team covered the walls. There were prints of them individually, with an 'in-depth' biography posted beside each one. Another poster-sized writing explained how SG-1 of the Tau'ri SGC had saved the entire Langaran planet from certain destruction, how they had been instrumental in bringing the three separate nations together to form one unified government. One entire section was dedicated to Daniel, declaring him the Langaran hero of the century for risking his life to stop the Kelownan naquadria bomb from detonating and wiping out most of the planet. It told of his consequent Ascension, and then how he was found a year later on Vis Uban.
"Hey, check this out," Daniel said, pointing to a group of photos. They were all of Casey. And every one of them showed her in her bikini at the resort on the island where the team vacationed at whenever possible.
"Oh, god," Casey moaned. She grabbed Daniel's arm. "Why do they have to take so many pictures of my flat butt?"
He couldn’t hold back the laugh that bubbled up. "Flat? Babe, you have the finest ass in the quadrant. In any quadrant!"
She glared at him. "Oh, I do not!"
"Oh, you do so," he replied, his blue eyes twinkling.
A group of tourists entered the room, moving from exhibit to exhibit. One of the men looked at Casey, then back at the full sized photograph of her in her military gear. Excited, he grabbed his companion by the arm, pointed at her, his voice hushed, the words tumbling from his mouth. Within minutes the entire group had surrounded her, cameras flashing pictures of her.
Daniel stood back and watched. She didn't understand everything that was being said to her, but she was doing her best to smile and answer questions. He bit back a laugh when one of the curators came hurrying toward the group, clapping her hands, trying to draw their attention away from a living legend. Give it up, lady, he thought gleefully. When he saw Casey glance at him, a plea for help in her green eyes, he moved through the group, put his arm around her shoulders.
"I don't suppose there's an easy way out of here," she whispered.
"Sure there is. Right through the front door," he replied calmly.
"Doctor Jackson!" One of the women in the group gasped. She stared at him for a few moments, then began taking pictures as quickly as her camera would allow.
Jack's chuckle pulled their attention from the group of 'admirers'. "Looks like you two are the favorites."
When the group turned at the sound of his voice, recognized him and began to take pictures of him as well, his smile turned into a look of disbelief. "Hey, I'm just a regular guy. They're the special ones," he said.
It didn't take long for the tourists to realize that the entire SG-1 team was in the room. The curator apologized for the inconvenience, and then asked if they would be willing to pose for photographs and answer questions. Which they did…for nearly three hours.
They were all tired and hungry by the time they managed to escape out of a side door of the museum. "Do you think we'd get that type of recognition on Earth?" Casey asked as they strolled toward one of their favorite cafés.
"I dunno," Daniel replied.
"With all of the websites, and the articles written about us, probably," Sam surmised.
"I'll never get used to it," Casey grumbled.
Jack laughed. "Me, either. It's hard to think of myself as a hero."
"I hear that," Daniel agreed. "I'm just a man trying to do my job, to do the right thing."
The older man snorted. "Just a man, he says! Danny, my boy, you stopped being 'just a man' the day Lya told you that you were The Chosen."
The young archaeologist shook his head. "Nope. I'm no different now that I was when I walked through the Stargate with you the first time."
"Danny, you're a much different man," Jack said softly. "You were one hell of a good man then. You were damned smart too. That's all been multiplied a few hundred times."
His cheeks blazed with color. He hated people telling him how brilliant…how 'good' he was. He was smart, yes. Brilliant? Debatable. Good? Not with the things he had done, had thought. Had wanted to do. He did what he thought was right. Did the best that he could. Which often didn't seem like enough.
'You will always be my hero, my knight in shining armor…my Adonis…my god.'
He looked over at her, smiled, put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. 'You're my goddess. My temptress. My anchor.'
"Would you two stop doing that!" Jack complained. He didn't even bother to try to hide his smile.
Casey looked over at the older man. "Not as long as it bugs you," she replied.
Sam burst into giggles. "Good one, Case."
"Ha ha," Jack said. "Smartass."
A A A A A A
Lunch was eaten outdoors, the food and service impressive as always. The three couples opted to go their separate ways, Casey and Daniel were going to the art museum, Teal'c and Carly were going to check out the local winery, and Jack and Sam were going to attend a local sporting event. They agreed to meet at the hotel for dinner.
The art museum was small, seemed a bit ragged around the edges, but contained a multitude of beautiful works, and Casey immediately gravitated toward the pastoral scenes that had been done by one of the local 'masters' centuries earlier. She was carefully examining one of the largest of the group, one that depicted a family on a picnic. "Oh, my god," she whispered.
Daniel, who had been standing beside her, his interest focused on the painting beside her, looked over. "What?"
"Look," she said, pointing to the 'back' of the painting. Behind the family, nearly hidden by trees, were what appeared to be several Jaffa.
"Holy shit!" Daniel said softly.
Casey was hurriedly scanning the page that described the painting, and told about the painter. "According to this, Johan Severis painted this four hundred years ago."
"There weren't any Goa'uld here four hundred years ago, according to Langaran history," Daniel said.
"Yeah, well explain that! They certainly didn't know about their Stargate until fifteen years before our first contact with them. Well, your first contact," she amended. She still shied away from talking about the first time that SG-1 came into contact with Kelowna. It had been the mission that had exposed Daniel to lethal radiation, and had resulted in his Ascension. Just the thought of him suffering as he had broke her heart.
"So either there were Goa'uld on this planet four hundred years ago. Or this painter knew about the Stargate and had gone through it." Daniel continued to study the painting. "If you don't know what a Jaffa looks like, those…figures, seem to be nothing more than trees," he mused.
"I noticed that."
He looked over her shoulder, his finger moving over the print that described the painter. "If this is a representation of the painter's family, on their property, I'm thinking that this man had a run-in with those Jaffa. Let's head to the library and see what we can find out about Mr. Severis."
She nodded her agreement.
Daniel pulled out the small notebook he never traveled without, and carefully drew out the symbol that was visible on three of the foreheads. He didn't recognize it, but he was certain that Teal'c would. He would show it to the man when they all met for dinner. "Let's go," he said quietly.
The librarian was more than happy to locate all of the information available on one of Kelowna's most famous artists. There were nearly a dozen books. The couple settled down to research the man named Johan Severis.
"According to this," Daniel said softly, "Severis was a scientist. He's credited with the first discovery of naquadria, although at the time they had no idea what it was. He ran several experiments on it…" he frowned.
He turned the pages back, and then forward. "There are at least eight pages missing. I'm assuming that they detailed some of his experiments."
Casey pushed the book she had been looking through into her husband's hands. "Check this out. According to this book, until he began painting, he was an outcast. He moved from the city to his ancestral home near the mountains. He stayed there for the remainder of his life, not even coming to the city to attend the showing of his paintings."
After a quick search, Daniel shook his head. "This is the only mention of his work as a scientist," he said, nodding at the first book. "He found something that no one wanted him to be remembered for."
"Or something that everyone wanted to forget."
"Let's check the history books." Two hours later Daniel sighed. "It's interesting that nearly fifty years seems to be…missing."
"I agree," Casey said. "And those fifty years coincide with Mr. Severis and his sudden flight from the city."
Daniel was frowning, staring at one of the books. "I think we should call Jonas. We've stumbled on to something that the people may not be aware of."
She shivered violently, then cocked her head to one side. "No. We'd better not let anyone here know what we've figured out," she said softly. "There are those who know. They don't want the story going public. It would cause too many questions, bring up old…hurts."
He leaned forward, grabbing his notebook and pen. "What can you see?"
A frown creased her brow. "Severis discovered several objects. Never the Stargate, but several data crystals, and a communication orb. He didn't know what the items were. Somehow he managed to activate the orb. He…contacted…a Goa'uld. He didn't realize that was who…what…he had contacted. He told the city leaders, they prepared a feast to welcome their newfound…friend. The Goa'uld came, and took over the city. Severis fled. Several of the city leaders did as well, but his desertion was considered heinous, because he was the one who had convinced the townsfolk that this…man…wasn’t a threat to them…" she shook her head. "I can't see any more than that."
Daniel finished writing. "Okay, so we know that at the very least Kelowna was under Goa'uld occupation four hundred years ago, give or take."
"But how, or why, did the Goa'uld leave?"
"I don't know, Angel," he admitted. "If we could find writings from that period…"
"You're the famous Doctor Jackson. See if we can get access to them."
He grinned at her, then stood and approached the librarian. The man beamed at him, told him that he was certain that there would be no problem at all with him examining some of the oldest Kelownan writings. He led the archaeologist and his wife into a room in the basement of the building. Brought out four large wooden crates.
"These are all that we have from that time," the man said. He offered gloves to each of them, which they readily donned.
With a smile and a nod, Daniel opened the first box. Found mostly personal letters of one of the leaders of the time, a few tax records, and little else. The second box held what looked like newspapers of the time. None of them mentioned Jaffa, Goa'uld, or enslavement. The third box held historical documents, treaties with Kelownan neighbors, trade agreements. Again, nothing about Goa'uld.
With a sigh, Daniel opened the fourth crate, not expecting to find anything at that point. "Well, looks like they missed one," he said softly.
"This is a letter from Severis to one of the city leaders…must have been written right after the arrival of the Goa'uld. He says that he had no way of knowing that the man was a…demon…and that his family had been taken as well. He suggests-" Daniel's eyes went wide.
"What?" she asked, barely daring to breathe.
"He suggests using the bomb he had built using the naquadria. Case, the Kelownans were as advanced four hundred years ago as they are now!"
"But if they used the bomb, why didn't it radiate the area?"
"Maybe they did what Jack and I did on Abydos," he said slowly. "They managed to get it onto the Goa'uld's ship."
"So what led to them reverting as a culture?"
"Fear. Technology nearly destroyed them. So, in fear, they probably outlawed and banned all technology. For some reason the story of the Goa'uld and the resulting changes in their society were taken out of their history books. Maybe by someone afraid that people would see the parallels when they started building naquadria bombs again," he theorized.
She shivered again. "And that group is still around. I think we should put these things away, and leave."
They had just finished closing up the box when a man walked into the room. "Doctor Jackson, it's an honor to meet you!"
Daniel shook the man's offered hand warily. "Thank you. And you are…?"
"Forgive me! I am Wilam Severis."
"Any relation to Johan Severis?" Casey asked immediately.
The man's smile slipped slightly. "He is an ancestor, yes."
"He was an incredible artist," the young blonde gushed. "We were just doing a bit of research on him. I wanted to know all about the man who paints such beautiful landscapes. All we could find was that he left the city when he was in his thirties, and retired to his family home. I think I know why."
Daniel bit the inside of his lip. She would lead the man anywhere she wanted him to go, and he would gladly follow!
Wilam Severis smiled. "And what is your theory?"
"A broken heart. I mean, it fits, doesn’t it? He was a successful businessman in the city, and then suddenly he leaves? Two years later he starts painting. Broken heart," she said confidently, crossing her arms over her chest.
Severis laughed. "You are quite astute, Mrs. Jackson. Oh, it was never written about, of course, but you are correct."
Casey flashed a smile at the man. "She was a woman of importance, or already married, right?"
The man leaned toward her conspiratorially. "Yes, she was married to the local magistrate. According to family gossip, she led poor Johan to the brink of suicide, promising to seek release from her 'loveless marriage', but then never doing so."
"Oh, that's just cruel," Casey replied. "Poor Johan!"
"Yes, poor Johan," Severis agreed. "Tell me, does your interest in my ancestor mean that you would be willing to view more of his work?"
She glanced at Daniel. He nodded. "There's more?"
"Tons. The man did nothing but paint for nearly forty years," Severis replied. "It's all housed right here, although it's not available for public viewing. The family retains the rights to the work, but has nowhere to store so many large canvases."
"That beautiful house is gone?" Casey asked.
"Alas, I'm afraid so."
"That is such a shame," she said, shaking her head.
Daniel was certain that he was going to erupt into laughter at any given moment. Casey was laying it on thick, and the Langaran was licking it up and begging for more! When Severis offered his arm to her, he had to duck his head and grin. He watched her slip her hand onto the man's wrist. He followed them toward the back of the basement.
"Doctor Jackson, is your interest in my ancestor also due to his art?"
"My interest is solely because Casey is interested in the artwork," he replied. Let the guy think he was doing this only for her.
Severis nodded. He could well understand Dr. Jackson being willing to do whatever it took to please the beautiful woman who walked beside him. She was breathtaking. And the perfume she wore was making him giddy and light headed. "Here we are," he announced. He turned on the light. The room was large, and dozens of canvases were stacked against the walls.
"Oh, wow!" Casey said excitedly. She raced toward one stack, stopped, turned, and smiled shyly at the Langaran. "Is it all right?"
He nodded and smiled. "Please, look all you want."
She began to carefully examine each painting. "Oh, Daniel, look! Isn't this the most beautiful garden you've ever seen?"
He moved to her side. Yep, more Jaffa in that one. And the one behind it as well. "It's very nice," he agreed.
The Langaran watched the beautiful Tau'ri, a plan forming in his head. The family fortune was…well, there was no family fortune. But if he could instigate interest in all of these musty old paintings, he was certain that he would be able to retire from the job he hated at the Institute of Learning and live comfortably for the rest of his life. "Perhaps you would like to have one of the paintings?"
Casey's eyes went wide. "Are you serious? You'd give me one?"
"Absolutely serious. To have one of my ancestor's works in the hands, and home, of two of Langara's heroes, well, what better way to honor Johan?" Severis smiled.
Daniel ducked his head again to hide his smile. And having Casey Jackson own one of the paintings would make the others worth more, wouldn't it, asshole? he thought.
"Oh, how generous!" Casey gushed. She moved from stack to stack, examining each painting carefully. She counted thirty-seven that had Jaffa in them. "I don't know which one to choose, they're all so lovely!"
"What about this one, babe," Daniel said, holding up a large depiction of a recognizable island. In the trees were Jaffa. So the Goa'uld had taken over the entire planet, not just Kelowna.
"Oh, that is absolutely breathtaking," she said. She looked over at Severis. "Is it all right if I take this one?"
Of all of the paintings, this was the only one that seemed to have been painted somewhere other than near the large stone house that had belonged to the family. Wilam Severis had never liked it, felt that it was totally 'out of place' among the collection. To have it out of the way…"Of course. If you like it, then you must have it."
Casey gave a little squeal, bounced across the room and kissed the man on the cheek.
No way to refuse her anything now, Daniel thought gleefully.
She turned at looked at one of the smaller paintings, one that also showed the Jaffa in the background. "Oh, but I like this one too. Now I have to make up my mind which one I like better!"
His skin still tingling where her lips had touched him, Severis had only one thought on his mind. Pleasing the beautiful woman who stood in front of him. "Please, take both! They are doing nothing more than sitting in this storage room. To know that you're enjoying them would give me much pleasure."
"Absolutely," the man replied. Which earned him a kiss on the other cheek.
"Babe, we have to get back, we're meeting the rest of the team for dinner," he said quietly.
She nodded, then turned to Severis. "I don't know how to thank you!"
"Your smile is thanks enough," the man replied. That, and the fact that you have just made the rest of this crap valuable. He found a roll of brown paper, carefully covered each painting, then escorted the couple to the front door of the library. He waved at them as they walked down the steps to street level. With a nod at the librarian, he hurried back to the room where the paintings were stored. He would sort them according to size, and decide just how much he was going to charge for each one.
Nothing was said as they rode in the taxi to the hotel. There was no telling who else might know about the conspiracy to hide the history of Kelowna, of all of Langara.
"Well, I think we know what started all of the bad blood between the nations," Casey said as soon as they were in their room.
Daniel frowned at her, shook his head, then pointed to his ears. 'They might be listening, Angel.'
He pulled off his jacket. "What?" he asked out loud.
"Well, I think it was a bit of jealousy. We've visited the other nations. Never found anything as lovely as these paintings."
"Interesting theory. Although I can't help but think that there are talented artists elsewhere." He bit back his chuckle when she rolled her eyes. 'Can you sense anything?'
'Hold me.' She waited until he was in the meadow with her, holding her close to him. She reached out, searched the room carefully. "Nothing," she said after a few minutes.
He slowly pulled away from her. "Good." He unwrapped the paintings. Called the front desk and left a message for Jack and Teal'c to call as soon as they returned.
"Are these the same tattoos as the one in the museum?" she asked, looking from one painting to the other.
After consulting with his notebook, Daniel determined that the tattoos were indeed the same.
Casey dropped onto the bed. "Okay, now what?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "Obviously the librarian contacted Severis as soon as he gave us the books about Johan. Our digging into the historical documents had the man worried, I could see that as soon as he walked in."
"I just don't understand the need to keep this all a secret! These people should be proud of the fact that they freed themselves from Goa'uld tyranny."
Daniel was frowning. "You know, when Anubis had brought that ship of his here, one of the ambassadors was damned quick to come to an 'agreement' with Oily Face."
"You're thinking that it might run in the family?'
"Makes sense, doesn't it? These people supposedly knew nothing about the Goa'uld, but the minute Anubis showed up, Hale was busy trying to come to an agreement with him."
"From what I read of the report, the whole thing did manage to bring the three warring factions together."
Daniel rolled his eyes. "Not before Jack almost killed them, himself."
She giggled, then looked at the paintings once again. "I don't think that knowing about this is going to make much of a difference," she admitted.
"Maybe not," Daniel agreed. "But it does give us a heads up if some Goa'uld starts showing interest in Langara. Knowing who those Jaffa these are will help a lot."
"It's possible that that particular Goa'uld isn't around any longer," she pointed out.
"If he…or she…isn't, then that's great. If he or she still is…"
"Then that would be the Goa'uld to keep an eye on. Surely by now all of the Goa'uld are aware there isn't any naquadria left here."
"But there are a few mines with naquadah in them," he reminded her.
"If we figure out that the Goa'uld is still alive, I think we should tell Jonas. Let him decide what to do with the information," she said.
"I'll let Jack decide that," he told her. He stretched out on the bed beside her. And joined her in staring at the two paintings, and the Jaffa in the trees.
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