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Duncan tossed the newspaper onto the conference table. 'SG-1 Leader Shoots Beloved Pet' the bold-lettered headline read. "Not the kind of publicity we need," he said without preamble, then held up his hand when Jack opened his mouth. "I've already talked to the editor and told him that he should get all of the facts to the story before printing something like this. I told him that considering the fact Amber O'Neill had to have eighteen stitches and a tetanus shot, it was obvious that the dog was a threat, and that you were within your rights to defend your daughter on your own property. Then I mentioned the leash laws. I also talked to Robert. He's planning a little editorial of his own."
Daniel shook his head. "We can probably expect a scathing article in either the Time Magazine or the New York Post. Harriet Johnson made that threat after I talked to her about the dogs yesterday afternoon."
"I'll contact both publications, send them a little blurb about what happened here," Duncan said, jotting a note on the pad in front of him. "I'm also planning to make a phone call to Collier. We weren't given a chance to review the immigration requests for this last group that came through the 'gate as soon as we should have been. If the dogs weren't put into quarantine as required by our laws, the other dog goes down as well. Robert says that if this is the case, the Johnsons and Collier Manufacturing will be looking at some fines."
"In the meantime, we have another problem to deal with," Daniel said quietly.
"Yes, the cave-dwellers," Duncan nodded. "Are you ready to go talk to Pallas?"
"Yep. Jack and I talked yesterday, and then Casey and I discussed the same thing, and we've come up with a couple of ideas," the young archaeologist said. "Are the girls from Dagon's harem still on Regatta?"
"Yes, why?" the Highlander asked.
"Because we should send them along as well. If the point of the exercise is to increase the population…" he let the sentence trail off.
"Good idea. What about communication?" Duncan asked.
"Brenna is already working with those girls, I think she should remain with them until they 'settle in'. I did a quick check on who we have that speaks ancient Greek, and found that Brenna does speak that language as well. Rachel Spencer would be able to pick up the language of the…uh…Children, in no time, considering her study of cave dwellers. I've already typed up a list of words and phrases for her," the young man replied.
"You already speak the language. I'll have SG-1 stay there for at least a few days, just to make sure that nothing happens. Putting two diverse groups together will be stressful, and that's enough to set some folks off. Does anyone see any other problems that we should discuss?" the CIC asked.
"I think we need to let both groups know that there will be differences of opinion on religious matters, and that they must be tolerant of one another's belief's," Daniel said.
"It might not be a bad idea to find out what some of the cultural differences are before we actually put the two groups together," Sam suggested.
Daniel nodded. "I agree. Of course, this is all moot if Pallas doesn't agree."
"Good point. Okay, go talk to him, see what he says," Duncan said. He looked over at Jack "For the record, you should have shot the dog when it first snapped at Amber." With a grin and a wink, he left the room.
A A A A A A
The MALP was greeted by the Anthropoi, as they called themselves, who waved excitedly, many of them peering into the camera. Daniel grinned, and shook his head. "Looks like we'll get a warm welcome!" The 'gate closed, and they hurried to gather packs and weapons. Experience had taught SG-1 to never leave the comforts of the SGC unprepared.
The team walked into the 'gate room, watched the inner circle of the Stargate spin as each chevron locked in place. It had been awhile since they had been so relaxed before walking through the event horizon.
Pallas stood at the foot of the steps, his hands on his hips, a wide smile on his face. "Dan'yel! It is good to see you!" He smiled and nodded at the other members of the team, who returned his greeting in kind.
The dark blonde haired man smiled, accepted the offered hand. "And you, Pallas." He looked around. Half a dozen wooden huts surrounded a central work area. "You have done much, I see."
The tall man surveyed the tiny village. "This is a good place. Our crops grow well. We are happy here."
"Good, I'm glad to hear that." Daniel laced his fingers with Casey's, and followed the man to the fire that burned in a large pit. Settled on to a stool across from his host. "Pallas, we have come here to ask your help."
"You seek our help?" The man's eyes went wide. Dan'yel and his friends were gods! What could a small group of simple farmers do that would be beneficial to gods?
"Yes, we do." He looked around and the faces of the people that surrounded them. Noted that two of the women were pregnant. "There is a group of people, about forty-five in all. They need to meet others so that they can find mates for their children. They are all too closely related to one another to have healthy babies. They're very…primitive. But they're good people."
Pallas sat back. "How is our help needed?"
Daniel took a deep breath. "We would like to bring them here. I'm sure that they would wish to have their own…camp…but your people and these people could…work together. Become stronger together."
The large man frowned. "I would have to think on this."
"I understand," Daniel replied. "There are also a number of young women that we seek homes for. They were part of a harem…whores," he said quietly. "Not by choice, but bred by an evil…man…to be such."
Those who had gathered to listen stirred slightly. "What kind of man would do such a thing?" Pallas demanded to know.
"There are creatures, known as Goa'uld," Daniel said. "They are…parasites. These Goa'uld are like…snakes. They must have a human body to survive. They take over that body, control it, leaving the man or woman a prisoner in his or her own mind. The man who did this was a Goa'uld."
Heron nodded. "I have heard stories of such creatures. And the evil that they do," he said.
"We…freed these young women, girls actually. They have no home, have no skills…"
Leda sucked in a breath. "Have they no mothers?"
Daniel shook his head sadly. "Their mothers are dead, or at least we believe they are."
Pallas looked at the small group of people he led. Their numbers were small. They faced the same difficulty that these people that Dan'yel spoke of were facing. The additional young women would allow a man to have more than one wife, and thus have more children. "I must think on this, and speak to my people," he said quietly.
"I understand," Daniel said again. "We will leave you to discuss this. Can we come back in…two hours time?"
The large man nodded. He doubted that the discussion would take that long. "That is agreeable." He stood and walked with Daniel and the rest of his friends. Watched Dan'yel work his magic on the altar that stood before the Great Ring. When they were gone, he turned to his wife and the old man who was his most trusted advisor. "Do we accept these outsiders?"
"Their ways will not be our ways," Heron said. "However, it would be…unfair, to demand that they accept our ways."
"Perhaps in time there will be a blending of ways," Leda replied.
Pallas looked at the people around him. "Our number is small. We too will face the problem of not having mates for our children. This will help to eliminate that problem."
"Dan'yel brought us to this place," one of the men said. "He would not ask this of us if he did not believe it was the best thing for us."
The leader of the group nodded. "On this I agree. Then it is settled. We will accept these people. And the young women. And we will learn to live together."
A A A A A A
Four hours later, dressed once again in their arctic gear, SG-1, returned to the cave of the Children. Inagrid had been sitting on a low stool. She rose when the Daughters of the Great Spirit Mother and their consorts entered the cave.
Daniel greeted the woman, noted with a sigh of relief that she was smiling. "Inagrid, we have found a home for you, where a small group of people wait to welcome you."
"They are also Children of the Great Spirit Mother?" she asked suspiciously.
He frowned. "I suppose so. They worship a god named Cronos," he said slowly. "They will teach you how to build shelters, and the Children will have their own camp, where they may worship the Great Spirit Mother as they always have."
The old woman studied the serious young man who sat on the dirt in front of her. She glanced again at the two blonde women. The prophecy foretold of a great change that would occur when the Daughters appeared. There could be no greater change than this! "The leaders of these people have agreed to this?"
Inagrid nodded slowly. "Then it will be so. When must we leave?"
"How long do you need to get ready?"
"It will take several days at least," the old woman replied. There were ceremonies that had to be performed. And those took time.
Daniel nodded. "We'll come back in a week…er…seven sunrises."
"We will be ready then."
Two of the young men who had been prepared to fight for the heart of the Daughters exchanged a look. The man speaking to the shaman was the reason that the ceremony had not been completed. All six of the young men had been bitterly disappointed at the outcome of that night. They had whispered among themselves after Inagrid assured the people that the Daughters would return. They had planned. They were ready. They would be with the Daughters of the Great Spirit Mother. Just as they had been promised! Keenan walked slowly toward the corner of the cave where two of his friends stood. He held out his hand, as if in greeting, letting the three sharp flints fall from his palm into Gareth's large hand.
Casey watched the exchange, and the eyes of the young men as they stood together. A shiver moved her slender frame.
"Case?" Jack asked softly.
"I think something bad is going to happen," she replied in a whisper.
"Because of the move?" the CO inquired.
"No. Because Sam and I never completed that ceremony," she said. "I don't know what, or when, but it's going to happen."
"If it involves the two of you, Teal'c and I aren't leaving you alone. Daniel has to do the translating thing, but until this is over, you don't make a move without us," Jack said.
Casey nodded, as did Sam, who had been listening to the exchange.
"What's up?" Daniel asked softly.
"Possible problems from six love-sick puppies," Jack replied quietly.
Five pair of eyes glanced toward the six young men. Six pairs of dark brown eyes stared back. "Yeah, that's trouble all right," Daniel agreed quietly. "I don't think they'll try anything until the move. That's when we'll need to watch them."
Jack nodded. "I agree. None of us make a move without the rest of the team, got it?"
Four heads nodded in understanding. "I told Inagrid that we'd be back in a week," Daniel said, pulling the hood of his parka over his head.
"We'll bring at least one of the Marine teams to help," Jack said.
Daniel led the way out of the cave, and up the steep path that would take the team back to the 'gate. He glanced over his shoulder. Two of the six young men had followed as far as the edge of the ledge in front of the cave. Yep, definitely going to be trouble with those boys. He shook his head mentally. He couldn't say that he blamed them. He'd be damned disappointed as well.
A A A A A A
There was a message for him when he sat down at his desk. He frowned. Wondered if Jack had received one like it. With a sigh, he picked up the phone and dialed the number that Julie had written down.
Casey glanced at him as she poured coffee for both of them. She was still chilled from being out in that damned cold weather. She sat the mug in front of him, holding hers with both hands, leaned back against his desk. Smiled when he ran his hand up and down her thigh.
"Yes, this is Doctor Jackson, returning a call from Mr. Johnson," he said into the phone.
She rolled her eyes. What the hell did that man want?
"Mr. Johnson, what can I do for you?" Daniel looked up at her, winked, sipped from his coffee. "I'm sorry it happened as well…yes, I'm sure she is…After what happened last night, Mr. Johnson, I think that would probably be for the best…oh… well, I…uh…apology accepted. Thank you...Goodbye."
"What was all of that about?" Casey asked.
"Well, the Johnson's are moving. Back to Earth. Seems that Collier Manufacturing is pretty ticked off at all the bad publicity it's getting about this deal. The problem started with him, well, his wife, and they're shipping him back."
He shrugged. "That's what he said. Turn on the radio, maybe we'll hear something about it."
She nodded, walked over to the radio that sat beside the coffee maker. They sat and listened to the local news.
"…so it seems that right now, Joanie, Mayor deValicort is proposing to impose even stricter immigration laws, and it's a sure bet that they'll pass."
"Clark, if this is what it takes to protect the children of Hope, then it's what we'll have to do. According to our sources, the dog that bit Amber O'Neill was not put into quarantine as required by our laws. Whether it was a simple oversight, or an act of open defiance, we'll probably never know."
"We have word from CNN that Merriwether Industries, the only other manufacturing firm from Earth that has been granted permission to locate a facility here in Hope, has lodged a formal complaint against Collier with the Better Business Practices and Ethics Board. The spokesman for Merriwether has a legitimate point when he says that, and I'm quoting here, 'it is a slap in the face to those businesses who are working with Gamma, and within the confines of the agreed upon procedures. Collier should be held liable for any and all costs pertaining this situation'. I think we'll find that Merriwether is going to be a much better neighbor than Collier has turned out to be…"
Casey turned the radio back off, her eyes wide. "All of this over two stupid dogs?"
"It's not just the dogs, Case. That the dogs were even here exposed the fact that Collier was trying to skirt around the conditions and agreements they made with Gamma and Hope. If that's how they do business, we may not want them here. That's what this is all about."
"So you said 'apology accepted', he actually apologized?"
Daniel nodded. "He said that he had no idea that the dogs were that aggressive. He apologized for the fact that the brown one, um, I think that was Pepper, anyway he apologized for that one growling at Emily."
"What else did he say?"
He grinned. "That his wife was terribly upset at the loss of her dogs, and that he had been in meetings all morning, and it was decided that he would go back to Earth and work in the office in Houston."
"I can't say that I'll be sorry to see them go," Casey replied.
"Me, either." He stood up, rubbed his hands together. "Okay, today you learn Ancient."
"Yep." He walked over to the filing cabinet, pulled out two folders. "You know Latin. Tell me how much of this you recognize," he said, handing the manila folders to her.
She opened the top folder, found it full of images. She glanced up at him.
"Alaris…um…P4X-639," he said, turning one of the images over and checking the back for the identifying information, answering the question in her eyes.
"Doesn't ring a bell."
"That mission happened before I di…Ascended. There was an ancient device there that controlled time. Sort of. An archaeologist named Malikai was desperate to be with his dead wife again. You know, now I can understand exactly how he felt," he said softly.
Casey leaned up and kissed him gently. "I'm not that easy to get rid off," she said softly.
Daniel smiled, led her to the worktable. Within minutes they were absorbed in the translations and pronunciations of the language, Casey eager to learn, as always.
A A A A A A
Casey checked her pack. The team was staying with the Anthropoi and the Children until Rachel Spencer had a good working knowledge of the language and could continue to act as translator. The hope was that the two groups would try to learn one another's language as soon as possible. At the end of the week, they would return to the SGC long enough to add more food and water to their packs, and then would 'gate to the planet where Methos' spies insisted Penatil had his secret base. Once there, the team would proceed to destroy the laboratory, or laboratories, where the Goa'uld was creating Kull warriors. She checked to make sure she had plenty of cinnamon-apple instant oatmeal, it seemed to be a favorite. Tony…she shut off the thought immediately. She still couldn't think about the men of SG-6 without breaking into tears.
Sam glanced at her young friend at the sound of a sniffle. "Case?"
She shook her blonde head. "It's nothing," she said softly.
The tall major knew exactly what was bothering her young friend. She said nothing, but reached out and squeezed a slender shoulder.
Marine-1 and -2 were assigned to help with the move. Dr. Montigue was going as well, with the intent to vaccinate the two groups in an attempt to stave off any diseases to which the groups would expose one another, albeit unwittingly. Marine-1 and the good doctor were going to Pallas' people, and would set up camp for the Tau'ri, while Marine-2 and SG-1 went to gather the Children.
"Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the cold," Casey groused as she followed Daniel toward the steep path that would lead them to the cave. She glanced over her shoulder at the men of Marine-2, who would remain at the 'gate.
"Once or twice," he chuckled. "It shouldn't take long to get these people through the 'gate," he said.
"I hope not."
He smiled, turned and held out his hand. She put her mittened fingers against his gloved ones, he held them tightly. "Feel anything we should know about?" he asked softly.
"Just uneasy. I know those six guys are up to something, I just don't know what, or when they'll try to strike."
"Remember what Jack said. Neither you or Sam make a move without us," he replied.
When they stepped inside the cave, one look around had them confused. Nothing had been packed, nothing was ready to be moved. Inagrid stood and greeted them.
"Inagrid, why aren't your people ready to leave?" Daniel asked.
"The Great Spirit Mother spoke to me in a dream. She told me that we should not leave the place of our birth, until after we have celebrated the Spring Festival," the old woman replied.
Daniel translated quickly for the team. Jack rolled his eyes impatiently. "You understand that we can't wait here with you," he said firmly.
"But the Daughters must be here!" she said, her eyes wide.
"Inagrid, my Wife, and Jack's wife are not the Daughters of the Great Mother Spirit, they are not the women of the prophecy that you have waited for." He was beginning to feel annoyed. When they had left after the interrupted ceremony, he was certain that the old shaman understood that neither of the blonde women of SG-1 were the long awaited 'Daughters'. The last visit seemed to reflect that acknowledgement as well. What had happened in the last seven days that would have changed her mind?
"But they are! Do you not see? They arrived when the Children needed them most! They have heralded great change for us. This has been prophesied. We must wait until the Spring Festival. Then the Great Spirit Mother will bless our journey!" the old woman insisted.
"When is this festival?" Sam asked curiously, after hearing the translation.
Daniel turned to the shaman. "When is the Spring Festival?"
"When the Moon hides his face in shame for his lies, the festival begins," she replied.
"And how long does it last?"
"Until the moon shows his full face once again."
"When will the moon be new…um…when will the Moon hide his face in shame?" Daniel inquired.
"Three nights from this night," was the calm answer.
"Well, we have choice," Daniel said, after translating what the woman had said. "We can stick around for the next three days, which is pretty much what they're going to insist on, since they still believe that Sam and Casey are these Daughters of the Great Spirit Mother. Of course, they'll expect us to be here for the entire ceremony if we do stay. Or we can go home, and come back in two weeks."
"I am not staying here for two weeks!" Casey replied. "Not when I know that we'll be staying at least a week when we move them!"
"I agree," Sam said, looking around nervously. "I'd rather just come back when these people are ready."
"I'm with the ladies on this one," Jack said. "Daniel, you tell them that if they're not ready to move when we get back, the deal is off."
"Jack, these people are very superstitious. To force them to move when they feel it's not the right time, or before a 'blessing' can be given will only cause trouble in the long run," Daniel argued.
"We're not going to drag this out forever," Jack said. "Tell her we'll be back in two weeks. If they're not ready, then the deal is off."
With a sigh, Daniel turned back to the old shaman, repeated what Jack had told him. The woman gave the gray haired man a hard stare. "Tell your leader that when the Great Spirit Mother tells us it's time to go, we will go. We will not leave without her blessing!"
Daniel relayed the message.
"Oh, for crying out loud!" Jack took his ball cap off, beat his thigh with it for a few seconds, then put it back on. "Two weeks, Daniel. That's it. We have a Goa'uld running around out there cooking up those damned Kull warriors. We don't have time for this shit."
He could tell that Inagrid was not happy when he told her Jack's terms, but she gave a sharp nod of her head. He let out a sigh. "Okay, let's go." He was getting damned tired of dealing with old women. They were a pain in the ass!
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