<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
Leap of Faith
Casey studied the contents of the briefing folder in front of her. It seemed that the UAV and the MALP had discovered a planet, or at least a city, that showed all the signs of an advanced civilization, possibly more advanced than themselves. And Duncan wanted his premier team to go on the meet-and-greet. No one on the team was overjoyed, the last such mission had been quite…unsuccessful. Although it had lead them to discover that the still virulent NID was trading Russian weapons and Colombian cocaine for naquadah, led by the former Senator Kinsey, whom they suspected of now being a Goa'uld named Ptah. Daniel had yet to come up with an explanation as to why Ptah would worry about trade, rather than just taking what he wanted.
The images that the MALP and UAV provided showed a city with what appeared to be gleaming glass and steel towers; streets that seemed to have some sort of transportation that moved down the center; and large, and very beautiful, gardens.
"Casey, tell me something," Duncan said, looking at her.
She smiled, slipped her fingers into Daniel's hand, waited for his comforting presence. She reached out. Duality. Two sides. Order. Strict adherence to…regulations. She told them what she felt. The duality worried Jack.
"Are we talking about two different groups here?" he asked.
"I think so. The two groups seem to work together…but separately." She shook her head. "I know that doesn't make sense, but that's what I feel."
"Do you feel any danger?" Duncan asked.
"No, but I do think we should be on our guard. Something is very…different…about this place. It almost has a…clinical…feel to it."
"Being on guard when meeting a new civilization is a given," the Highlander said. "But be extra careful. You won't have to use the ATVs, images show the gate to be in the center of some type of park, near the center of the city."
"I can't make out the writing on the walls in these images, although it does look like some sort of cuneiform," Daniel said. "I won't know until I can see it closer whether or not I'll be able to translate it."
"Just do your best," Duncan said. Daniel's worst was usually better than any of the other linguists' best, and he had learned that since the archaeologist had become The Chosen, many of the newly discovered languages Daniel recognized because he was able to access the knowledge of the Ascended that was still in his head. He never said anything; Daniel was as self-conscious about his abilities, knowledge, and natural talents, as Casey was her looks.
"Okay, gear up, embark in two hours."
Sam and Casey made their usual phone calls, alerting the caregivers of their children to the fact that they were leaving on a mission …definite return time unknown. The team met up in the armory, the men watching Casey carefully for any signs of trouble that might appear.
A A A A A A
P9X 429 was a beautiful place, from what they could see. The garden was indeed large, and very well cared for. The manicured grounds boasted a multitude of flowering shrubs, as well as carefully arranged flower gardens. The colors were breathtaking, and the air was full of the perfume from dozens of floral varieties. Through and around tall, full leafed trees they could see buildings nearby, tall glass structures that reflected the blue of the sky, making them appear to be floating among the clouds that they mirrored as well.
The team looked around, not seeing anyone nearby. "Okay, let's find somebody who lives here," Jack said, leading the team down the steps and away from the 'gate.
They hadn't take more than a dozen steps, following a path made up of various colored paving stones, when three small triangular shaped objects, maybe a foot long, zoomed towards them, then surrounded them, hovering about eight feet off the ground.
"Halt! This is not a shared zone! You must leave immediately!"
"Uh…could we talk to someone in charge?" Daniel asked, trying to identify the language. It sounded vaguely familiar.
"Halt! This is not a shared zone! You must leave immediately!" The three objects moved toward Daniel, Jack and Teal'c, effectively backing them away from Casey and Sam. "Halt! This is not a shared zone! You must leave immediately!"
"I'm getting a really bad feeling about this," Casey said softly.
"'Gate, now," Jack said quietly.
The team began to move back toward the 'gate. One of the objects fired an energy beam in front of Sam and Casey, stopping them where they stood. The men had been effectively backed up almost to the steps that led up to the 'gate.
"Halt! Why are you here? What business do you have with these sisters?"
They turned to see four women advancing on them. They were tall, muscular, their ebony skin glistened, and their black hair was cut like a cap around their heads. They were dressed in black pants and low cut vests which emphasized their cleavage, and carried long staffs with deadly looking hooks at each end.
The language was an older form of Arabic. Similar to Ancient Egyptian. Daniel smiled. "We're travelers from a distance place, explorers, and we come in peace. We would like to meet your people, speak with your leaders. We wish to become friends."
The woman who had spoken turned to the others. They spoke quietly among themselves, taking in the fact that the strangers were all dressed the same, and seemed to be armed. The speaker whispered into the wide, silver band that she wore around her wrist, and obviously orders were received through what must have been a communication device. "You will come with us," she said, motioning harshly to the men. Her voice, her eyes…her entire manner softened when she turned and spoke to Casey and Sam. "You will go with Myrita. She will see to it that you are taken to safety."
Casey glanced at her husband. When she attempted to move closer to him, the woman, Myrita, held her staff horizontally between them. The guard frowned at the man. Forced to take a step back, Casey looked at him again, her eyes reflecting her fear. "Daniel! I don't want to be separated!"
He tried to take a step closer to her, was kept back by the long staffs that the female guards were carrying. The looks they gave him discouraged him from trying anything further. Even Jack and Teal'c were backing away from where Sam and Casey were standing. "I don't either, but I don't think we have a choice. Just try to get them to let you go back through the gate. We'll do the same thing."
"Love you, too, Angel. It's okay. I'm right here if you need me," he said, reaching out to her, trying to calm her fear, her worry.
"Find that way out, Colonel," Jack said softly.
"You, too, General," Sam replied in kind.
Sam and Casey nodded at their husbands, each mouthing 'I-love-you's', and followed the woman who waited impatiently. It was clear that this guard was not happy at being given the assignment to escort the two women. Casey moved closer to Sam.
Sam looked around her, took note of what direction they were going. "I don't understand why they're separating us."
"I don't get it either. I didn't understand what those things were saying," Casey said. "There's something…not right…here. That whole duality thing."
"Well, we'll get it figured out. Maybe they're just going to take us through some sort of decontamination process, and they separate men and women for the procedure," Sam suggested.
"Maybe," Casey replied. She shook her head. "All I know is that this place is split in two, I don't know where or how. And…" She cocked her head sideways. "There's dissatisfaction with the way things are, and that feeling is very strong…and growing."
The two women were led onto a moving sidewalk. There were several other women on the path, who stared with unmasked curiosity at the uniformed, and still armed, visitors. More women stepped onto the conveyor type sidewalk as they neared what looked like the center of the city. They could have been women from anywhere on Earth, or Gamma. There were women dressed in business suits, sporting either trousers or short skirts, mostly black, a few navy blue; others were wearing colorful skirts and blouses, still others were dressed in jeans or overalls.
Casey shifted a bit closer to Sam when a brunette…who had to be at least six feet tall, wearing a bright red dress…moved to stand beside her. She had glanced up, and the woman had smiled and winked at her. "Sam, notice anything …odd?" she whispered.
"Besides the fact that there are no men here?" was the whispered reply. When Sam had glanced up at the tall woman, the brunette gave an almost apologetic smile and moved away from them.
"Exactly. This is just too weird!"
The guard that was escorting them pulled them off of the walkway, Casey nearly fell when she was yanked forward by the tall black woman. Sam barely managed to keep up as the woman dragged her friend into one of the tall buildings. Like all of the buildings around it, the glass reflected the blue of the sky. Inside, the building was stark and cold. Marble floors, what looked like marble on the walls, huge round pillars covered with the same cold, white marble. Lights were recessed in the ceiling and shined brightly against the floor. They were led to a stainless-steel elevator door. The inside of the car was also burnished steel. It reminded her of an operating table.
Casey looked around. Cold and clinical. And not one man in sight! She reached out…uneasy, desperate to feel Daniel's gentle, calming touch. She closed her eyes, a tiny smile lifting the corners of her mouth when she felt his presence envelope her. She sent her love to him, slowly, tenderly, smiled more when his love was returned. It wrapped around her like a warm, soothing blanket.
The elevator stopped, and their guide…their guard…led them down a long hallway. Near the end was a set of wide, double glass doors. Inside they could see a comfortably furnished room. The doors opened automatically as they approached.
"The Lady will see you now," the guard said. With a crisp nod of her head, she left them alone in the room.
"I have no clue what she just said," Casey whispered.
The two women looked at their surroundings. Three deep, white sofas, piled high with pillows of palest yellow and light peach, were arranged in a 'u' formation in front of a wide, marble fronted fireplace. The fireplace faced those wide glass doors, and was flanked by windows that stretched from the floor to the high ceiling above. A dark blue, floral rug covered the marble floor beneath the sofas. On one side of the room, adjacent to the fireplace, was what looked like a wet bar, all chrome and white wood, and five white barstools, upholstered with a pale peach floral fabric, faced it. Glass shelves against a mirrored wall behind the bar reflected the light in the room, and it danced through the crystal glassware, throwing prisms of colored light against the white walls. Tall, chrome torchiere lamps were placed around the room, their light focused on the white ceiling above them.
A double door on the wall opposite of the bar opened, and a beautiful woman with black hair that flowed down her back in ringlets, and eyes that were the darkest purple Casey had ever seen, walked toward them. She was wearing a gown and robe of light lavender, the chiffon material floated behind her. "So, you are the two who appeared through the Chappa'ai," she said, her voice much deeper than her appearance would indicate.
Sam and Casey glanced at one another. The tall blonde nodded slightly, and Casey took a deep breath. "I’m sorry, we don't understand your language." She shook her head, and pointed to her lips. "Do you speak Goa'uld?"
The woman frowned slightly. She raised her arm, and adjusted something on the silver armband that covered her arm from wrist to elbow. She smiled again, and motioned that the two women should be seated.
Nervously, the two SG-1 women perched on the edge of one of the sofas. They took comfort from one another, their slender bodies close to each other. The dark haired woman took note of this. She also noted the looks that the two exchanged. They had been together for some time, she decided.
A few uncomfortably silent minutes later, the double glass doors opened, and a woman with short brown hair that curled around her neatly starched collar, and a curvaceous body, entered the room. "You sent for me, My Lady?"
"Yes. It seems that our…visitors…do not speak Dovinian. See if you can find a language that they understand," the black haired woman replied.
The brown haired woman looked at the two blondes on the sofa for the first time. Felt her heart jump against her ribs. Both women were beautiful. But the slender blonde was absolutely stunning! Never had she seen a woman with such beautiful green eyes. She let her glance flicker to the Lady. No doubt the leader had already set her sights on the exquisite young beauty. She sighed inwardly, smiled at the visitors, and began to seek common communication ground. "Do you understand what I am saying?" she asked slowly.
Casey looked at the young woman, cocked her head to the side slightly, shook her head and shrugged. "Do you speak Goa'uld?"
"I speak the language of the gods, yes," she replied. The glance that the two blonde women exchanged puzzled her. The young woman smiled at the visitors. "I am Rai. I will be your translator during your stay in Dovinia Minor."
Casey's return smile lit the room. "I'm Casey…Casey Jackson. This is my best friend Samantha Carter-O'Neill. We're from a planet called Gamma. Our original home was a planet called Earth."
Rai turned to the woman and translated, then faced the visitors again. "This is The Lady, leader of our people. You may address her as My Lady."
Casey and Sam both nodded, exchanging another glance.
The Lady watched, wondering if these visitors were somehow communicating telepathically. What an interesting discovery that would be, if it were true. What a delightful addition to the genetic library that would be!
"We would like to know where you took the men who were with us," Sam said, looking directly at The Lady.
Rai translated. Waited for the answer. "Men are not allowed on this side of the city wall. They were taken to be with their own kind."
"Are they safe? Are they being harmed? May we talk to them?" Casey asked, the questions tumbling from her lips, her heart pounding against her ribs.
Again they had to wait for the translations. "We do not know how they are being treated. They are men, after all, and men are violent, unpredictable creatures. Communication with men is not allowed." Rai wondered about these women. Did they really interact with men? Willingly?
The two Tau'ri shared a look. This wasn't shaping up to be a very good mission. Not at all.
A A A A A A
Daniel, Jack and Teal'c were disarmed, and led quickly through the garden, to what looked like a back alley. They were shoved through a narrow steel door in an impressive wall, both in height and thickness. The guards who had escorted them to this place had refused to answer any questions, they didn't respond to the men at all. All three of the tall women seemed relieved to be rid of them as they closed the door.
The door slammed shut behind them, and they were faced with two options. Remain on the narrow landing, or follow the metal-grate steps into the darkness. They turned on their flashlights, as none of their other gear had been taken, and began moving downward.
Daniel smiled when he felt Casey's touch. She was frightened, he could feel it, turning the smile to a frown, and he did his best to soothe that fear. Her love wrapped around him, filling his heart and his soul. He sent his in return, smiled when she held to him for just a few seconds.
"Damn, I wish we had Casey with us," Jack muttered. "I'd like to know what's down there, good or bad!"
"I wish she was with us, too," Daniel replied. And not just for his Wife's special ability to sense danger. He wanted her at his side so that he could see for himself that she was all right. It never failed! It seemed that for the past year, every mission they went on, something was always coming between them. Whenever they walked through the Stargate, something always managed to separate them. He reached out again, just to reassure himself that she was there, not even enough of a touch that she would feel it. She was. He could feel the tension in her mind. What was happening to her? He sighed. If she needed him, she would call for him. And he would find his way to her, one way or another.
The steps ended on what looked like a brick street. Flashing their lights around, it looked as if they were standing on a corner in a small town, one that had for some reason been buried, and from all appearances, deserted. Recent memories of another buried town filled their minds, and the men were instantly on guard. They followed the sidewalk, for what seemed to be several blocks. When they came to a place where the street branched off in two directions, and they had to decide which way to go, they tried their best to determine where they were in relation to the 'gate.
"Okay, best guess, we're moving parallel to that park now," Jack said. "I'm thinking it's directly above us."
"I agree, O'Neill."
Daniel nodded. "Okay, let's head in the direction they took Sam and Casey. See what we find there," he suggested.
"Eyes open," Jack said, leading the way. It felt as if they were walking through an alley at night, and they were all just as uneasy as if they were, especially now that they were unarmed. They hadn't gone far when Jack motioned for them to halt. The three men knelt together in the shadows. "Sam, can you hear me?" Jack asked quietly into his radio. "Sam? Come on, baby, talk to me." Static was the only response.
"They must be jamming the signal," Daniel said.
"Ya think?" Jack asked irritably. "Have you heard from Casey?"
Daniel shook his head. "Not really. She's reached out a couple of times, nothing more than that. She's scared, but so far she hasn't said anything."
The older man nodded. "Okay, let's just keep moving for now." He glanced around, the tiny hairs on the back of his neck beginning to stand up.
"O'Neill, I believe we are being observed," Teal'c said quietly.
"Yeah, I feel it too. Daniel?"
The men looked around, shining their flashlights up and down, illuminating bits and pieces of brick walls and boarded up windows. But they couldn't see anyone…or anything…that might be watching them. Jack stood to his feet, and began to move forward once again.
When they saw the light ahead, they immediately slowed and flattened themselves against the wall. There were a dozen or so crates, they looked like old-fashioned apple boxes, stacked against one of the walls. The men of SG-1 hid behind them, and looked out at the brightly-lit street. Several shops appeared to be open, and people…well, men anyway…dressed mostly in what looked like overalls and thermal shirts, moved up and down the street. There was a café directly across from them, and they watched as about two dozen men sat eating. It was quite apparent that several were 'couples'.
"This is really weird," Daniel whispered. "It seems that the men and the women are separated. The women live above ground, and the men live down here."
"How do they keep…populating?" Jack asked.
"I have no idea," the archaeologist admitted. The reproductive methods of these people weren't exactly the first concern that he could think of at the moment, anyway. "Think it would be safe to introduce ourselves?"
Jack watched the men on the street for a few minutes before answering. "Guess we're going to have to, if we have any hope of finding a way back to the 'gate. You're on, Danny."
The three men stood up, waited until they were noticed. It was one of the younger men sitting at the café who saw the strangers first. He smiled brightly.
"Well, well, what have we here?" he asked, standing to his feet. He was a slender man, popular among the men of this section. The odd clothes that the strangers were wearing didn't hide their well-bulked bodies, not from his carefully trained eye.
"Uh…hello. We…uh…we're peaceful explorers. We…we'd like to know how to get back to the Stargate…the…uh…Chappa'ai," Daniel said slowly, using the same archaic dialect that had been used in the garden above them.
At his mention of the great circle, conversations around them ceased. A tall man with black hair and deep brown eyes approached them. "You know of the Chappa'ai?"
Daniel nodded. "We just came through it. We were separated from the women we were with. We need to find them, and get back to the 'gate…uh…Chappa'ai, so that we can return home."
An older man was on his feet now, his eyes wide. "Women? You have seen women?"
Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c glanced uneasily at each other. "Uh…yeah. The women we need to find are our wives, his and mine," Daniel replied, pointing to Jack.
"Wives?" the older man asked.
"Yeah, you know…marriage…matrimony…uh…our mates, " Daniel said.
The silence that had ensued upon their mention of women was now filled with the buzz of multiple conversations. The young man who had greeted them looked on with a pout on his face. Wouldn't you just know it! The best looking man he had seen in his life was married…to a woman! How perverse was that? He liked to walk on the wild side, but that was too wild even for him!
"Look, is there someone…in charge…a leader around here whom we could speak to?" Daniel asked.
The tall dark haired man nodded. "I'm Supervisor for this section. You can talk to me. I am Oskron. Welder, first class. Supervisor for Red Section 3." He offered his hand.
Daniel shook hands with the man. "I'm Daniel Jackson. Archaeologist, member of a team known as SG-1. This is General Jack O'Neill, my CO, the man in command of the team, and my friend and teammate, Teal'c," he said pointing at himself, Jack and then the huge Jaffa.
"You truly have seen women?" Oskron asked his dark eyes wide. "Are they as beautiful as the legends say?"
"Hush!" the older man growled, his eyes darting from Oskron to the strangers and back. "We do not know that these strangers are not spies sent by the Topsiders!"
"If they were, Hallet, would they make such claims? No, these men are telling us the truth. I can sense it," the leader replied.
Daniel reached into his pocket, pulled out a small leather-bound book. His journal. He stepped closer to Oskron, motioned for the older man, Hallet, to move closer as well. He opened the book and took out two photographs. One was of Casey, the other of Emily and Nicholas. He wasn't supposed to carry them, technically, but he couldn't seem to leave them in his office. "This is my wife, Casey. These are my children; my daughter Emily, and my son Nicholas."
The two men looked with wide eyes at the photographs. Oskron held them up. "Hear me! We were right! That which we have found is the truth!"
Hallet nodded. "Do you know marks?" he asked Daniel.
"I'm not sure…marks?"
The older man looked at the journal, and pointed to the writing on the open pages. "Marks. Like these."
Daniel exchanged a look with his teammates. "Show me, and I'll see if I can read it or not. There are many different languages. I do not know them all," he admitted.
The buzz of conversations grew louder as Oskron and Hallet led the strangers to the room where the books of marks that they had uncovered waited. Many of the men followed, excitement written plainly on their features. Others stood back and watched, their hearts full of fear and worry.
<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>