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Little Green Men
The four people huddled around the fire, cups of hot tea in their hands. The night was unusually cool for this time of year. They watched the launch of the third space probe, although it was difficult to see much. The transmission from the small communications tower didn't reach far from Menefer City, they were at the very edge of the broadcast wavelength.
"Well, there goes another one," Nashwa sighed.
"You should be proud, my friend," Talla smiled. "You contributed much to this launch."
The small woman shrugged, pushed her hand through her short, dark hair. "Perhaps. All the money and time and effort being poured into the program, with no plans to ever send a manned vehicle into space! Think of what we could accomplish if we had such resources!"
The older woman smiled again. "That would precipitate all of Menefer knowing of our work. Habib was adamant that the people are not yet ready to know the truth."
Tulmet snorted. "How can the people ever be ready to learn the truth when the Conciliators refuse to allow the subject to be discussed openly?"
Paki chuckled. "It is better to move slowly, and pray for success, than to race forward and guarantee failure."
"You sound just like that old man," Tulmet muttered.
"Thank you," Paki replied, his brown eyes twinkling.
The younger man snorted again, returned his attention to the snowy picture on the view screen.
Nashwa studied her dear friend. "Have you received any more messages through the machine?"
Talla shook her head. "Not since we spoke to Dan'yel two days ago."
"Do you really believe that he…whoever he is…will really come through the Great Stone Circle on the morrow?"
"I have no reason to believe that he won't. After all, none of us expected a machine to come through the Great Stone Circle, and one did. We did not expect to hear a voice come from it, through it, to converse with us. Yet it happened. If Dan'yel says he will arrive with friends, then he will do so," Talla replied confidently.
Tulmet remained quiet as he listened to the women talking softly. He had his own concerns - worries - about what it would mean to them if this Dan'yel really did appear. How did they know that this Dan'yel would agree to remain hidden? If he did not, then they would be exposed. Habib had warned them all of the consequences should the Conciliators discover their…work. He shuddered slightly. The punishment would be severe, indeed. The loss of all of the artifacts, however, would be the most difficult to face. And there was no doubt in his mind that this cavern, and its contents, would be completely destroyed.
Paki stood, stretched, tossed the remaining dregs of his tea onto the fire. "It is time for us to go home. We have been here much later tonight than we have ever dared to stay. We must each be extremely careful as we return to our dwellings."
Talla nodded. "Indeed. Nashwa, my friend, you must leave first. Be careful."
The two women hugged, and with a bright smile and waves for the two men, the small woman slipped to the opening of the cavern. She waited long enough for her eyes to grow accustomed to the darkness of the night before she moved away, walking in the shadows, moving as noiselessly as possible.
When there was no sign of the woman, Paki hugged his two companions. "Be safe," he said softly. Then he, too, disappeared into the night.
"I will see you home," Tulmet said quietly.
The older woman shook her dark head. "No. Go on. There are a few things I wish to… finish…before I leave. I will see you on the morrow."
He studied her for a few minutes. Noted the quiet determination in her eyes. Knew from experience that arguing with her was a waste of time. "Be safe," he said at last.
She didn't see him leave, she was already walking toward The Room. She always thought of it that way. Ever since Habib had first brought her here, showed her the amazing discovery he had made. She had known, somehow, that she had become a part of something special, something amazing, something that would have ramifications for the people of Menefer long after she was dead and forgotten. Being a part of history had never been her intention. But now that she thought about it, it pleased her to know that years from now her name would be spoken with remembrance. Hopefully it would be with a blessing, and not a curse!
It took a few minutes to get the generator to run. It was probably low on fuel. She would have to bring more with her in the morning. She located the scrolls, touched them lovingly, reverently. She placed them on the worktable. Opened two of them. Tried to force understanding into her mind. She shook her head. Something told her that Dan'yel would be able to help her. The secrets to the past, the history of the people, were in these scrolls. She was sure of it.
Talla turned and stared at the machine that had been in the Room for nearly six cycles. Like she had done several times before, she stood and walked around it. Touched it. The thought that hands other than those of the Menes had built this excited her. She looked at the camera of the machine. It did not move to follow her movements around the room. The tiny red light was dark. The machine was off, dormant. She glanced at the chronometer on her wrist. She sighed, then turned off the lights, and the generator. She had spent more time on the scrolls than she intended.
She moved through the cavern in total darkness, the fire had burned down to embers some time ago. She had no fear, she knew the stone walls, the dirt floor as well as she knew the rooms of her small house. She hesitated at the opening, scanned the meadow for anything that wasn't normally there. Seeing nothing, she slipped to the trees, carefully made her way to the road. She had already decided upon the story she was going to tell her supervisor when she reported that she would not be in for work. She had rarely missed work in the last ten years. She hoped that this fact would keep the strict, bitter faced man to whom she reported from being excessively angry. But there was no way that she could not be in the cavern when Dan'yel arrived. She smiled to herself. Tomorrow, no, today now…today she would meet a being from another planet. Let the Ministry of Aerospace continue to waste money with meaningless probes that continually failed to respond to commands once they were launched. She, and the others, had already made a discovery that would make that particular Ministry obsolete.
The man watched her carefully. She was becoming careless. Never had she stayed at the cavern so late. He had no idea what she found so interesting in those old scrolls. He knew for a fact that she couldn't read them.
He continued to follow her, waiting until the lights in her house went out before heading for his own home, and bed. Something was going on. He could feel it. All of the others were excited, more excited than he had ever seen them before. He had slipped into the cavern, to try and determine what had the group so stirred up. Had seen the machine in the room where the Great Stone Circle sat. He was still trying to determine from where they had been able to locate such a thing. None of those watching had seen it taken into the cave. He frowned. Obviously they had found another source of 'artifacts'. This group was becoming dangerous. He would put that in his report, along with the suggestion that they be taken into custody, and dealt with in the same manner as their leader. And he would argue that he should be heeded by the Committee, in spite of what their 'embedded spy' told them!
Another set of dark eyes observed as well. Watched the watcher. Could tell from the hard set of the man's jaw what he was thinking. Habib had not been the only one to find something of interest. The observer hurried to his own home, then down into a hidden cellar. "My Lord, I believe that the time is at hand. I will guide you to this…Chappa'ai…as soon as there is no chance of being discovered."
Brown eyes glowed from within. "Very good. You have done well, and shall be justly rewarded," the strange dual voice told him.
With a smile and a bow, the observer left the cellar, and hurried to his own bed. He was tired, but soon it would be over, and he would be wealthy beyond his dreams.
A A A A A A
The tension in the room was nearly unbearable. When the…machine…had appeared nearly six cycles ago, it had been taken as a true sign from the gods that they were right to search for the clues, the answers, to their origins. When the voice had greeted them, spoke with them for several minutes, the three of them in the room at the time had nearly passed out from fright, and then excitement. The voice had been male, was very kind, very…charming. He had asked if it were permissible for him and several friends to visit them. She nearly smiled as the memory of her wildly beating heart, the near hysteria that had gripped them at the thought of meeting someone from another planet, crossed her mind. At least, that is what Dan'yel had told them…that he and his friends, his people, were very much like them, that their ancestors were possibly related to the Old Ones, and that they lived far away on a planet known as 'Gamma'.
Talla paced in front of the Great Stone Circle, waiting impatiently for the arrival of…who were these people? Were they the gods themselves? Or merely messengers for the Mystic Ones? If they shared ancestry, it was possible that they were related to the gods who had brought the people of Menefer to this planet they now called their home. She glanced over at her brother, Tulmet. Envied his ability to appear so calm.
The young man may have appeared calm, but his thoughts were as tumultuous as his sister's. He was not only excited, and a bit worried, about the impending arrival of those who could be their gods, he was also concerned about one of the members of Those Who Search, the secret group of which he and Talla were active members. Sitmet was a new member, and one that Tulmet had distrusted from the first time the two men had met. He feared that the tall, quiet man was an agent, sent to infiltrate the group, gather enough information about them to have them all arrested, and the results of years of searches destroyed, or at the very least put into the hands of the Conciliators of the People.
The great circle of stone began to move, the large triangles on the outer ring lighting, clanging into place as the inner ring spun around, moving the hieroglyphs into position. A message had come through earlier, warning them to stand back from the circle of stone when it opened. What happened when the ring stopped moving took their breath away, left them speechless with awe.
Talla, Tulmet, and their friends, including Sitmet, gathered across the room from the now shimmering circle. They were about to meet the gods.
The light on the camera came on, it moved back and forth, viewing them, as they were aware. They waited, all of them barely daring to breathe. It was several long, nerve-wracking minutes later before anything more happened.
Jack was the first to step into the room, carefully walking down the steps that led to the dirt floor of the room. He looked around. Cavern. He would bet anything that the 'gate had been discovered here, and that this had become the center of all of this 'secret' activity to locate the traces of the origins that these people sought. He smiled at the group of people that waited across the room, their eyes wide, their mouths hanging open.
Daniel, Casey, Sam, and Teal'c walked through at nearly the same time. Their hosts were even more surprised when the 'gate 'closed' behind them.
"You're on, Danny," Jack said softly.
Daniel smiled at the small group, he counted seven individuals. "Hello. We're peaceful explorers from a planet called Gamma. I'm Daniel. I spoke to you through the MALP, er...this... machine, a couple of days ago," he said, hoping that he was using the correct dialect.
Talla was the unofficial leader of the group, had been ever since Habib had disappeared. The fifty-year-old man, once a top researcher for the Center for Knowledge, had led Those Who Search for nearly twenty years. Habib had been the one to discover this cave, and the treasures, including the Great Stone Circle. It had been this amazing discovery that had led him to gather around him those who were open to the idea that the Menes People were not from the planet on which they lived; people whom he could trust implicitly. People who, like him, didn't believe the propaganda that was put out daily by the Conciliators. Talla had been his first 'recruit'. She thought briefly how thrilled he would have been to have met…aliens, real live aliens. Perhaps even gods! She stepped forward, shaking slightly. Better to greet them as gods, she thought fleetingly. "I am Talla. I bid you and your companions welcome, Dan'yel," she said quietly. She knelt down in front of the oddly dressed man. "We offer you our obedience and worship."
With a slight frown, Daniel shook his head. "We're not gods. We're human, just like you," he said. He leaned over, put a hand beneath the woman's elbow and raised her to her feet. He offered his hand, wrapped his fingers around hers and smiled. "It's nice to meet you, Talla. These are my friends; our leader Jack…Samantha, Casey, and Teal'c." He pointed to each of the team as he introduced them.
Talla had never seen fair hair, or blue eyes. Such blue eyes! Her fingers tingled where his hand had touched hers. She had spent her entire adult life working with Habib, quietly doing the research approved by the Conciliators, every spare moment used to search the nearby area for more proof of their ancestry, struggling to learn the language on the scrolls that had been found. She had never had time for a man in her life. As she gazed on the handsome face of this visitor, she knew that she had waited for a reason. It wasn't until Tulmet cleared his throat that she realized that she had been staring. "Forgive me, Dan'yel. This is my younger brother, Tulmet, one of the Scribes of the People; Nashwa, my dear friend and one of the scientists who are responsible for the probes we have sent to the nearby moons; Paki, my cousin and the best baker in Menefer; Sabola, another of the scientists of the Ministry of Aerospace; Kiki, one of the few female Scribes of the People; and Sitmet, a researcher such as myself. We…we call ourselves 'Those Who Search'."
Casey had seen the way that the woman had been looking…staring…at Daniel. She didn't know whether to be amused or upset. She decided to move a bit closer to her Husband, stood just behind his right shoulder. She smiled at the group of people who stood watching them, her smile widening as they all began to close their mouths.
Daniel turned and translated for the team, then turned back to Talla. He had been uncomfortable when the woman had stared at him, her brown eyes revealing more than she probably realized. He turned and put his arm around Casey, made the movement casually. Noted that the dark-haired woman had immediately dropped her eyes. "We would be most interested to learn about your people," he said. The mention of Menefer had sparked his imagination. He had no doubt that these people had been brought from ancient Egypt to this planet. Now all they had to do was discover which Goa'uld was responsible. "I notice that you have many scrolls here. I would like very much to see them, if that is allowed."
"What is it that you seek to know about us?" Sitmet asked. His eyes were full of suspicion. He was still trying to figure out just how this…trick…this subterfuge, had been so successfully achieved. Surely these were the people responsible for several of the 'artifacts' in the other room of the cavern, which this group of pathetic non-believers was pretending to study.
Casey frowned, then shivered. This man was big trouble. She could sense that he was hiding something, that he had a deep dislike for those who were supposed to be his friends. 'Careful, Daniel. This guy is bad news.'
'Okay.' Daniel turned to face the man. "Simple things. How you live, the names of the gods you worship, if you still worship gods. How you raise crops. What kind of crops you raise. What methods you have for dealing with your sick and injured, how you bury your dead."
Sitmet stared hard into the odd blue eyes, then turned his attention to the green-eyed beauty who stood beside the light-haired man. Her long hair was the color of sunshine. And no one could miss that she belonged to the man who spoke for the strangers…the visitors, as Talla called them. Perhaps he would be able to convince the Conciliators to spare her life, to put her into his custody, under his protection. She would be a wonderful mistress, and would certainly raise his prestige, and thus put him in line for yet another promotion…or two. Yes, he could see himself actually gaining a seat on the Committee.
Casey shivered again. She reached out to Daniel, 'tugged' gently at him, waited until he was holding her tightly, then reached out again. Dark. Cruel. Arrogant. Dangerous. She searched carefully, moving slowly so as not to alert him to her presence in his mind. He worked for the…leaders…of this place; like…police…no, more like the Gestapo. And he was just about ready to turn this group over to the local authorities. "If you're going to look at those scrolls, do it and be quick about it," she said softly. She kept her eyes on Sitmet.
"What's up?" Jack asked quietly.
"The guy staring at me is a government agent," Casey replied. "He's going to turn these people in, and he wants to capture us as well. I don't think we'll be getting a parade or a feast of any kind if that happens."
"We should warn them, don't you think?" Daniel asked.
"Yes, we should," Sam agreed. "If these people are taking a risk talking to us, the least we can do is to help protect them."
Jack frowned. "I hate to start choosing sides. That's bitten me in the ass a time or two."
Daniel smiled. "I think we can be fairly confident that we're not backing the wrong side here."
The older man studied his young friend for a minute, then nodded. "Do it."
He turned back to Talla, who had been watching and listening with obvious interest. "Talla, tell me about Sitmet."
The woman jerked, as did the subject of the question. "He is a researcher. He works at the same Center for Knowledge as I," she replied.
"But he has only recently joined our group," Tulmet added. He frowned at the tall man. "Why do you ask this question?"
"Because he has every intention of turning you over to the…authorities," Daniel replied.
Sitmet's dark eyes flashed with anger, and a bit of fear. How could this stranger know about him when the very people he had been working with did not? He chose to embrace the anger. "You are all traitors to the laws given to us by the Conciliators! You speak blasphemy against them when you suggest that our people were not born here, created here by the gods!"
"You weren't born here. At least - your ancestors weren't. They were born in a place called Egypt. On a planet known as Earth. The same planet where we were born. You were brought here by creatures known as Goa'uld…parasites that infest innocent human bodies. More than likely your ancestors were slaves to this Goa'uld," Daniel said.
"Lies!" Sitmet cried. "Blasphemy!"
Talla stared coldly at the man. "How can you stand here, speaking to those who have come through the Great Stone Circle, and declare that they are wrong?" She took Daniel by the arm, led him to the table where several scrolls were open. "We have been unable to read much of these, the dialect is one that I have never seen before. This one," she said, cautiously lifting one of the delicate papers, moving it closer for inspection, "is in a language I have never encountered before."
Daniel smiled. "This is ancient Egyptian," he said, pointing to the first scroll. "This one is written in Babylonian."
"You know these languages?" Talla asked, her eyes wide with surprise, and admiration.
His smile broadened. "Yes, I do. They are two of the languages I can speak and read."
"Please, what do they say?" Talla asked breathlessly. The others, even Sitmet, moved closer, most of them eager to learn what the ancient texts would reveal.
Jack settled himself on the top step, leaned back against the Stargate. It was going to be a long three hours. He pulled his cap down over his eyes. Might as well take a nap, he decided.
"Well, this is interesting," Daniel said several minutes later.
"What?" Sam asked. She had been examining the generators that offered light and heat for the cavern. They were small, thus the need for so many of them, and they resembled those that had been used in the late 1950's on Earth. If she had to make a guess, she would speculate that these people were at the same stage technologically as the people of Earth, or at least the United States, had been at during the late '50's, maybe the early 60's.
"According to this, Hathor is the Goddess who brought the people 'out of the land of sand and death, and to the green forests and cool waters of Menes'," Daniel replied.
"I thought she'd been in a sarcophagus in South America for a couple of thousand years," Sam said, frowning slightly.
"She was. Apparently she had returned to Earth after bringing a group of people, Egyptians, here. Maybe she had plans to take more people, before she and Ra had their little…um… falling out. He's the one who locked her in the stone sarcophagus, from what we were able to find out," Daniel said.
"So now what?" Casey asked.
Daniel shrugged. "It's apparent that these people aren't anywhere near ready to start any type of Stargate program of their own."
"So we just go home, leave them alone for awhile?" Casey asked.
"Probably be the best thing we could do. Just this small group knows about the Stargate, and us, they certainly aren't going to be telling anyone, not with the current political situation," Daniel mused. "Maybe we can offer to let them go somewhere else, I'm sure we could find a place for them. That would protect them from leaders who would punish them for treason," he added, glancing at Sitmet.
"We'll have to clear that with Duncan," Jack said from his spot by the 'gate. "Anything of value there, Danny?"
"Not really. Just the usual history of the planet. The Babylonian writings were done by priests Hathor had brought here from Earth. They mostly talk about her, what a great goddess she is, then her sudden disappearance. Lots of 'prophecies'. All meant to keep the people under control."
"Then let's go home, shall we?" Jack stood up. "Dial it up, Danny."
Daniel looked around. The first images from the MALP had shown the DHD. It wasn't visible now. "Talla, was there another device discovered with the…uh…Great Stone Circle?"
"Yes," the woman replied. After the warning to stand clear of the Great Stone Circle, Tulmet had suggested moving the altar to protect it. She carefully uncovered the DHD. "We do not know what this…altar…is for. It seems to be damaged."
The young archaeologist groaned. "Sam, please tell me you can fix this."
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