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"...Wanna walk from
the shadows to the sun
Just to dream on a summer night
Dream about a miracle
Looking for a miracle..."
by the Moody Blues
The event horizon opened with the usual splendor. SG-1 shifted their packs nervously. They were returning to PY2 498. It was the planet with the beautiful, white sand beaches where Daniel and Casey had exchanged their wedding vows almost ten years ago, where they had spent seventy-two incredible, mind blowing, love-filled hours for their honeymoon. Casey had gone there when Daniel had been on the mission to take out Neferteri, intending to rid herself of the emotional remnants of their relationship when she believed him lost to her; had been 'tagged' there, the implant nearly causing her to lose touch with reality. She and Daniel had been 'studied' when the team had returned to have the implant removed from their young teammate. Now, they were returning again, upon the invitation of the…people…who lived there. Assurances had been given that none of the team would be 'tagged', but doubts and worry persisted in each heart and mind.
Casey glanced at Daniel. He looked healthy, happy, totally in control; there were no traces of addiction left in his eyes. It had been almost two months since his return, after being kidnapped by Dr. Betsy Harris. The death of the woman who had caused them so much heartache had gone a long way to healing old and new wounds inflicted by her madness.
Her smile was automatic when those incredible blue eyes focused on her, when that shy smile lifted the corners of his mouth. Her heart began beating a tattoo against her ribs at the look of love that flashed over his face. Her own cheeks flushed pink, the thoughts of him that danced in her head enough to have her body burning with desire.
'What's wrong, Angel?' He had looked over at her, his breath catching in his throat to know that a woman as beautiful, as special as Casey loved him. It blew his mind. Seeing 'that' look flash in those green eyes nearly knocked him to his knees.
She struggled to bring her rampant thoughts and raging hormones under control. He was looking at her, one eyebrow raised slightly. She suspected that he knew exactly what was wrong. She bit back a smile. 'Nothing.'
He was grinning now. 'Uh huh. You're burning with Fire, Case. It's in those beautiful green eyes of yours. Makes me wonder just what you're thinking about.'
'Okay, smartass…I was thinking about you…and the shower…and Barney.' She gave a smile of satisfaction when she saw the flames leap to life in his eyes. Without another word she walked up the ramp and through the 'gate.
Amused, aroused, and totally beguiled, Daniel hurried to follow her, not willing to let his Wife stand alone on a distant planet, especially this particular planet. He arrived just seconds after she did. Too bad the icy ride through the wormhole hadn't cooled the Fire she had ignited in him. He glanced over at her. She gave him an innocent smile. He couldn't help but grin again. "Love you, Angel."
"Love you, Stud Muffin." Her eyes danced. She knew just exactly what she had done to him. Gloried in it. Delighted in it.
Little minx. She was well aware of the Fire she had set in him. They both knew that he would be exacting his 'revenge' when they returned home, a thought that had them both breathing hard for a few seconds. He winked at her, and they both moved away from the event horizon. It was time to go to work. They focused their individual thoughts on the mission.
Sam, Jack and Teal'c were through the 'gate now. The team assembled at the bottom of the steps, checked their gear one last time, gripped weapons tightly, and prepared to wait for their… hosts…to appear.
"Oh, hell," Casey murmured, as 'that' feeling began to wash over her.
"Like last time?" Jack asked softly.
"Shit! Hold tight, campers. This could get interesting," the general instructed quietly.
A A A A A A
She opened her eyes. God, what a pain…literally! She closed her eyes again, waiting for her Quickening to deal with the hammering in her head. Sitting up slowly, she felt a wall, or something just as hard and uniform, behind her back. She leaned against it. When she opened her eyes the second time, she could barely see the sprawled bodies of her teammates in the dim light that hovered near the top edges of the room. The sound of water dripping somewhere nearby filled the cold, vapid air with its echo. Daniel was lying next to her. She slid closer, crossed her legs, tugged at his shoulders so that he was propped against her, put his head on her thigh. She brushed his hair from his forehead for a few moments, then let her hand rest on his chest.
Sam was awake now, moving slowly as well. She sat up and looked around. "Okay, where are we?"
Casey smiled. "I think this is the room Daniel and I were in for awhile. It's just as cold as that room was, as dim. At least this time we have clothes on. Well, eventually they gave us our clothes, but it was damned cold for awhile!"
"Yep, it was. But you kept me mostly warm," a voice said softly.
She could hear the smile in the words. She looked down at him, let her fingertips move over his jaw. "Hey, handsome."
"Hey, gorgeous." He caught her hand and kissed those sweet fingers before he sat up. He closed his eyes as the room around him continued to spin. Jack and Teal'c were conscious as well, neither moving quickly.
"So why are we here?" Jack asked, looking around him.
"Probably some sort of decontamination process," Sam guessed. "Or maybe just a place for us to recover from the…uh…trip here."
"This was the second place Case and I were put," Daniel replied.
Sam shrugged. "I guess we could ask them…if we ever actually see them…whoever 'they' are."
"It's still damned cold," Casey complained. She shifted closer to Daniel, leaned against him when he put his arm around her shoulders.
"And getting colder," Jack commented. He had already walked the perimeter of the room. There was only one door, at least he thought it might be a door. And absolutely no way to open it from the inside. Wherever they were, they weren't getting out without the help of someone on the outside of the room.
"I agree, O'Neill," Teal'c said. The Jaffa was on his feet as well, examining their surroundings as closely as the dim light permitted.
Their gear was nowhere to be seen, so they had no flashlights to aid any investigation. The fact that they were unarmed was a bit disconcerting for all of them. Not knowing who…or what… they were dealing with left them all a bit on edge. Casey and Daniel felt the least fear, they had, after all, walked away unscathed from the last 'encounter'. It didn't mean they weren't just a bit uneasy about the situation in which they found themselves, and both were concerned about being 'tagged'.
They were all beginning to shiver as the temperature continued to drop. The room was small, not more than eight by eight. Five bodies should have offered a bit of heat, but it was as if their body heat was being sucked out of the air around them.
"Okay, everybody together. That corner will work. T, you sit there first. Sam, you and Casey snuggle in against the big guy. Daniel, next to your wife," Jack instructed. He eased his own tall frame next to Sam.
Cuddled together, they were able to maintain their body temperatures, as the room around them grew increasingly colder. Every breath was visible in the frigid air.
"Hey! Turn the friggin' heat on!" Casey called out. Her teammates laughed around her. She put her head back on Teal'c's strong shoulder, Daniel's head was resting on hers.
"Shouldn't we be moving around to stay warm?" Sam asked sleepily.
"Not enough room," Jack replied. He yawned, settled his head more comfortably against his Wife's shoulder.
"Do you hear that?" Daniel asked.
"Sounds like hissing to me," Casey said.
"I believe there is a gas being released into the room," Teal'c said.
"Same routine as last time," Casey sighed. She closed her eyes.
Daniel wrapped his arm around his Wife, held her hand tightly in his own. With luck they wouldn't be separated this time, as they had been the last time he and Casey had been in this room. He wasn't even aware of falling asleep.
A A A A A A
He opened his eyes. Not as much pain this time. They must have used a lower dosage of whatever it was that was used to knock them out. He sat up, took in the new environment in which he found himself. Wherever they were, it wasn't a place where he and Casey had been before. The room was large, with a high ceiling and two walls that were made of glass. At least he assumed they were. He could see the ocean beyond, tall plants that waved gently back and forth with the motion of the water; and several species of aquatic life swam by, never noticing the odd looking creatures on the floor. He surmised, from the small amount of light that filtered down, that they must be quite far below the surface. He stood up, walked toward the glass. He reached out and touched it, his fingers moving into the water. He was not completely surprised to find that the water was being held back by some sort of force field. These people must be related to Nem, and the people of Oannes, he thought briefly. He turned around. Casey was laying near one of the solid steel, or what looked like steel, walls. Jack and Sam were laying side by side in the middle of the room. Teal'c was near the other steel wall. And their gear, including weapons, was leaning against the wall near the big guy.
Markings on the wall near Casey caught his eye. He walked over, carefully stepped over his still unconscious wife and began to examine the marks. Cuneiform. Identical to what he had seen in Nem's underwater…laboratory…home…well, wherever it was where he had been held, while the creature demanded to know the fate of Omoroca. Yep...the cuneiform was Akkadian. One of the most difficult languages to read. Nem had managed to learn enough English to communicate, Daniel had never heard Akkadian spoken.
A soft moan near his feet had him crouching down, rubbing his hand over her back. He smiled when she rolled to her side and looked up at him, her green eyes wide with apprehension…fear. "Hey, gorgeous," he said softly. He continued to caress her, his hand moving slowly as he reached out to ease her fears.
"Hey, handsome," she replied. She tried to sit up, moaned again and let her body fall back against the floor. "I remember hating this part."
"I know, Angel." Daniel didn't stop rubbing her back until she sat up completely. He stood up, went back to the writing that completely covered the wall.
"Damn!" Jack wiped his hands over his face. "That is one lousy way to wake up!"
One by one the members of SG-1 sat up, and then made it to their feet.
"Daniel?" Casey asked softly, watching him in silence for several moments.
"It's Akkadian. I saw it in Nem's…place," he replied.
"Nem?" Jack asked, a deep frown on his face, searching his memory for the face…the identification that went with the unusual name.
"Yeah, the guy who made you all think I was dead so he could find out what I knew about his mate, Omoroca," Daniel replied. Even after almost sixteen years he could still remember the despair that had swept over him when Nem told him that his friends thought him dead. Could recall the fear that had gripped him when Nem had informed him that he would give the answers the alien sought, or die. At the time, he had still been looking for Sha're, so the creature's desire…need…to know, was one familiar to him.
Sam shivered. After all these years, she was still haunted by that memory…that they had left Daniel alone on that planet, at the mercy of a grief-crazed alien. Discussions over pizza and beer had ascertained that she, Jack, and Teal'c had suffered as much, perhaps more, than Daniel had during that mission. "What does it say?"
Daniel adjusted his glasses, moved to one corner of the wall, pointed to one section of the writing. "This seems to be a history, I'm assuming of this planet, there isn't any direct mention of anywhere else, at least not that I’m finding-"
"It would be kind of silly to have the history of some other planet there, wouldn't it?" Jack asked. He had his hands in his pockets, stood rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet. He was worried about the situation, and this was his way of dealing with it, for now.
"Not necessarily, not if these people came from another planet. It could be what they remember of an ancient 'homeworld', but I don't think that's the case here...anyway, this is their history. They have been enemies of the Goa'uld for…geez…eons. Because they are an aquatic people, the Goa'uld have been content to leave them alone. But the…here, this section tells about them…yep, that's Oannes…could be that the planet Nem was…is…on, was their home planet!" Daniel was becoming excited, his hands and arms in motion as he moved back and forth in front of the wall, reading. "The Oannes have the ability to survive on land, not for long, just a few hours at a time it seems, but long enough that they were able to communicate with those who lived on the land. The…hmm…they call them 'Tauran'…the people they visited… must be a form of the word tau'ri, anyway, they must have been visiting Earth when Belus was trying to enslave the people of Babylon…and Omoroca led a rebellion against him. She was killed, but the revolution took hold, growing from the seeds of unrest that she had planted…and swept through the known world. That's why the Goa'uld abandoned Earth, the number of people willing to fight made it too much trouble after Ra was defeated as well, not that long afterwards, if I'm reading these dates correctly. Not more than a few hundred years between the defeat of Belus and then the defeat of Ra." He moved to another part of the wall, scanning, reading.
"Few hundred years? Sounds like more than 'not that long'," Jack commented.
Daniel spared the man a glance. "Not long in the grand scheme of things," he explained. "Not long when you're talking about creatures who can live for thousands of years."
"Oh, yeah, right," Jack said. He was looking as bored as he felt. He hated missions like this, where all he did was sit around watching Daniel with his rocks or Sam with her doohickeys! Or where they cooled their heels waiting for some leader or another to finally meet with them. Rather rude, too, invite somebody to visit, then knock them out and leave them just hanging around, he thought peevishly.
Casey walked up behind Daniel. She didn't recognize the cuneiform symbols. Like all cuneiform, she found the writing beautiful. She was sure that the man standing beside her had greatly influenced her appreciation for ancient languages, especially the written ones. She put her fingertips on the wall. "This is where they chose to hide when the Goa'uld turned their attention to them after losing Earth," she said softly, her eyes slightly unfocused…she was 'seeing' the immigration to this world. "They weren't in danger of becoming hosts, or even slaves, but they were at risk of being totally annihilated."
Daniel ran his fingers over the marks, reading as quickly as he could. "You're right. The Oannes chose this planet because of the small amount of landmass. It had a Stargate, and very little usable land. So the Goa'uld wouldn't be able to amass armies here. They built their city, deep enough that the Goa'uld weapons couldn't reach them, and have lived here ever since."
"Very good, Doctor Jackson," a deep voice said. The accent was pronounced, but the words understandable. No one had heard the door open.
The team turned toward the door where their visitor, host rather, now stood. The creature, male it appeared, looked very much like Nem, with the exception of the coloring. This creature was more green as opposed to Nem's blue. He was wearing a simple one-piece garment of shimmering silver, it seemed to change colors as he moved…first blue…then green…then silver again. Daniel stepped forward. "We're…honored…that you wished to meet with us," he said.
The creature bowed its head slightly. "We learned a great deal observing you. When we were informed that you are The Chosen, and she who was tagged, your Mate, we were sure that you would be able to help us."
Daniel cast a glance at Jack. "Uh…what kind of help?"
The creature shook its head, the long tendrils of what looked like thick, green moss that hung down his back, moved to and fro. "We must first insure that you can help us before we divulge our need."
Jack raised an eyebrow. "How can we know if we can help you if we don't know what the problem is?"
The creature ignored Jack, and moved closer to Daniel and Casey. "When we observed you, we learned of one who was interested in machinery."
Casey unwittingly glanced at Sam. "What about her…er…this one?"
"She is with you, yes?" The creature hadn't missed the action; he turned and walked toward Sam. "You understand the dynamics of power conversion, yes?"
"Well…yes…I guess so," Sam said slowly.
"You would be able to repair a machine that uses the salinity of the oceans that surround us to create the power sources that we need?"
"I don't know," the astrophysicist answered. "I would have to see the machine first."
The creature studied her for a minute, then nodded. Without another word, he turned and left the room.
"That was…weird," Jack said.
"They're in danger," Casey said, closing her eyes. "The…machinery…that provides their power was built by those who first came here…engineers, scientists…Over time the knowledge of how to build such machines has been…lost. They don't understand how to repair them. I don't think they even understand how to use some of the equipment that they have."
Daniel had already pulled a camcorder from his pack. "I want to get these walls on disc. This information could be useful to us."
Jack rolled his eyes. "How can the history of a people too dumb to fix their own power source be important?"
"The history of these people is just as…valid…as our own," Daniel replied, glancing over his shoulder with a frown. "Just because they don't understand the mechanics of the machinery around them doesn't mean that they aren't more advanced than us. How many people in the US, or even Gamma, for that matter, can repair their car…or one of their appliances? Fewer and fewer people are choosing careers in mechanics, plumbing, electrical wiring, things like that. If the people on Earth, or at least the 'industrialized' countries aren't careful, they could end up in the same situation as the Oannes." He checked the batteries, attached the spotlight, and began to record the thousands of lines of cuneiform.
Casey pulled the camcorder from her pack and began recording the other wall. No matter what the outcome of this visit, it would help to know about the people on this planet. Daniel knew and understood this. She was sure that Jack did as well…but he loved playing the stupid military grunt. He did it, she knew, to get a rise out of Daniel. He loved 'sparring' verbally with his friend as much as Daniel did. Jack was especially apt to 'spar' when he was feeling that things were too far out of his control.
Three hours later, the walls had been carefully recorded, and the team had eaten a lunch of MRE's. Still they waited.
"Maybe we're being watched," Casey said, snuggling closer to Daniel's side. The room was growing colder again.
Sam had been frowning, her mind somewhere other than with her teammates in the underground chamber, working on the puzzle that had been put in front of her, or at least, the few pieces she had been given. "That's why it's getting colder!" she exclaimed suddenly. "Something is malfunctioning! Whatever they have that monitors and controls the environment down here isn't working right!"
Within minutes, the creature who had spoken to them earlier reappeared. Three others were with him. "Come, please hurry. The situation grows worse as we speak."
Sam was on her feet and following the creature.
"Whoa, colonel. Let's not split the team up," Jack said, frowning slightly. There was no doubt that they were being observed, this creature's arrival immediately after Sam's announcement proved that. Observation was what these creatures did. Being alone with them was not a good idea! When Casey had been alone, she had returned to Gamma with a tiny metal doohickey up her nose. One that had nearly driven her crazy. He didn't like the idea of any of them returning home with the same type of 'present', especially his wife!
"Jack, I really don’t think they brought us down here, asked for our help, just to…hurt us," Daniel objected. "Casey and I weren't hurt when we were here before."
"That's because you were together," Jack insisted. He absolutely did not want his team split up, not here! They may have been invited, it didn't mean that these creatures were trustworthy!
"These people need our help…my help," Sam said, her blue eyes pleading with her husband and CO. "I have to try and do as much as I can."
Jack looked from his wife to Daniel and back again. Knew that he wouldn't win this argument with either one of them. Knew that Sam would never be able to live with herself if something happened to these people, and she hadn't done her best to save them. "Okay. But stay in radio contact."
Sam nodded, then turned to her guide. The creature had paused, listening to the conversation, relieved when the human turned once again to follow him. He led Sam down a long corridor.
"Doctor Jackson, we understand that you are an expert on ancient cultures. Perhaps you would like to see our Archives?" one of the creatures said. It appeared that he was trying to smile.
"Yes, I'd like that very much," Daniel replied eagerly. He grabbed his pack, dropped a kiss on Casey's forehead as he walked by, and hurried to the door.
"Please, this way." The creature turned and led the young archaeologist in the opposite direction that Sam had taken.
"Well, this is…interesting," Jack grumbled. He looked around the room. No way did he want to spend the next few hours, and it would be hours, sitting here!
"We have been instructed to give you a tour of our city," the female creature said.
"Sounds like a plan to me," Jack said. He picked up Sam's gear, which had been left behind in her eagerness to get her hands on alien machinery and technology. "Casey…talk to me," he said quietly as their guides led them down yet another corridor.
"These people are desperate, and they're confident that we can help them. They thought they could deal with the problem themselves…I'm picking up that there are those who are afraid that the…leaders…waited too long to seek assistance," she reported softly. "We're not in any danger. At least, not from these people."
Jack looked at her. "But?"
"But it's possible that this…city…is about to…collapse," she replied.
"Peachy. Just freakin' peachy. Well, if anybody can fix their doohickey's, it'll be Sam," he muttered.
"Yep. If not…well, we might be swimming for awhile."
"Freakin' peachy!" the general grumbled again.
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