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SG-1 managed two more missions, both standard recon, before returning to R5X 395. Jack had said again during the briefing, and Duncan had backed him completely, that if the Children weren't ready to move that day, then the deal was off, a message would be sent to Brenna to pass on to Pallas, and that would be the end of it. Daniel had tried arguing, but finally consented that to allow Inagrid to put off the move again would allow her to gain the upper hand in the situation, something that Jack did not want happening. Rachel had left an hour earlier, so that she could greet the Children in their own language - learned over the course of two weeks - when they arrived. Daniel was certain that it would help ease the transition for the cave dwellers.
When the team entered the cave, their arrival heralded by four of the children, Daniel sighed with relief. Packs littered the dirt floor. Everything this group owned was ready and waiting.
"I see that you are ready to leave here," he said, smiling at the old shaman.
"The Great Spirit Mother has blessed this move," she said calmly.
Casey glanced around. Six faces were missing. "Daniel, where are those guys, the ones that Sam and I were supposed to get?"
He glanced around. "I dunno. Inagrid, the young men from the ceremony, where are they?"
"They have gone on one final hunt, to provide meat for our journey."
Daniel barely repressed the urge to roll his eyes. "That won't be necessary. When will they return?"
"I have told them that they must meet us at the Womb of the Great Spirit Mother when the sun is at its highest," was the reply.
He translated for his team. Jack nodded. "It's going to take awhile for these folks to get there, carrying all of this stuff. Might as well get started."
"We are ready to take you now," Daniel told the old woman gently. Watched as apprehension filled the dark eyes. "It will be fine, I promise."
The old woman lifted her hands in the air, chanted for a few seconds, then looked at Daniel. "We are ready."
Marine-3 was standing by, Major Culley watching carefully as the group approached. "Open it up," he ordered, one of his men ran to the DHD and began to press the symbols that would link them to P7R 801.
The cave dwellers gasped, several feel to their knees when they witnessed what appeared to be a column of water shoot out from the 'gate.
"There is nothing to fear," Daniel said quietly.
"Major, lead the way," Jack said.
The man nodded, signaled to his team, and disappeared into the event horizon.
"Just follow them," Daniel said. He watched Inagrid, noted the fear in her eyes. "The Great Spirit Mother would not allow the Children to leave, to pass through…her…uh…womb, if it was not safe." He took her hand, held it gently, led her toward the 'gate.
With a sharp nod, the old woman tottered up the steps. She put a finger against what looked like water. Gasped to find that it was not. She glanced up at the tall man beside her. Let him lead her through the 'gate.
The others began to follow slowly, glancing at the four whose first arrival had brought such change.
The gate closed, and not more than three minutes later opened again, and Daniel stepped through. "I told Inagrid we would wait for those young men and bring them through as soon as they arrived. Rachel is serving as translator for now," he said.
"I am not sitting here all day," Casey grumped. "It's too damned cold!"
"We could go back to the cave," Daniel suggested.
"I dunno, Danny," Jack said. "If Grandma Moses told them to come here, they will. They'll see all the tracks in the snow. That could panic them."
Daniel nodded his understanding. He glanced up at the sky. It was full of clouds. "I hope they have some idea of when midday is," he said.
The team settled themselves on the steps to wait, huddling together for warmth. Two hours later, Jack heaved a sigh. "Okay, we're going to that cave, and building a honkin' fire. If those bozos aren't here by nightfall, we're going home."
"Jack," Daniel objected, "we can't leave them!"
"Sure we can! They knew that we were coming back today. Grandma Moses told them to be here at the 'gate when the sun was high. They still haven't shown, and even with those clouds I can tell it's heading into late afternoon!"
The young archaeologist had to admit that Jack had a legitimate point. "We're prepared for an overnight stay. If they're not at the 'gate by noon tomorrow, then…" he shook his head. "I won't argue about leaving. With the understanding that we'll come back and try to find them in a day or so."
Jack nodded his agreement.
The large skin that covered the front of the cave was still in place, apparently too large to move. It kept the wind from blowing into the interior of the cavern. Flashlights revealed a pile of wood, and soon Teal'c and Jack had a fire roaring in the fire pit. Casey and Sam and taken the battery operated lanterns and set them around.
"Looks like the walls stayed up," Jack commented, glancing at his wife. There were nearly a dozen 'rooms', which meant that the team members would be allowed privacy.
Daniel grinned. "Looks like."
The team was settled around the fire, and when they decided that it was close to dinner time, MREs were dug out of packs, complained about, and the entrees in their foil pouches set near the red-hot coals of the fire to heat.
"I could do a search for them," Casey suggested. "It's possible that something happened. If one of them was hurt, or more than one..."
Jack frowned. "Do it."
She reached out for Daniel's hand, smiled when his warm fingers closed around hers. He kissed her deeply in the meadow before letting her close her eyes and take them above the cave where they sat with their friends and teammates.
The sun was long below the horizon, and the wind was picking up. Not a good night to be out, she thought. There! They were huddled together near the river, watching the cave. She pointed to them, Daniel nodded that he had seen them.
She opened her eyes. "They're out there, watching the cave. They must have seen us come in. They're probably scared to death of us," she added.
"Maybe," Jack said, frowning again. The tiny hairs on the back of his neck were beginning to stand up. "Case, do you feel anything…wrong?"
Once again her eyes fluttered shut. "They're going to try something. I don’t know what, or when," she said softly.
The older man nodded. "Well, all we can do is wait, I guess."
Their meals, nice and warm, were eaten, a second pot of coffee started, and a small pan of water was waiting for Teal'c to make his tea, using clean snow that Jack and Daniel brought in from the top of the ledge.
After six rounds of poker, in which Sam had amassed the most small stones, Jack assigned guard duty, Teal'c taking the first watch, and the two couples chose 'rooms' on opposite sides of the cavern.
Teal'c watched the front of the cave. He could sense the movement on the other side of the skin that blocked the cold wind. He called out just milliseconds before a spear sliced its way through his chest. He fell backward, the shaft of the weapon standing straight up from his body. Daniel and Jack suffered the same fate as soon as they stepped into the common area. Casey screamed, and both women ran toward their fallen men, pulling the heavy spears from their bodies. It took both of them to dislodge the spear from Teal'c's body.
Before they could do anything else, the six young men were standing in a small circle around them, dark eyes glittering with lust and anger.
"Oh, hell," Casey muttered.
"Oh, yeah," Sam agreed.
The two women stood back to back, ready to take on their attackers, both sparing glances at the men who still lay bleeding on the cave floor. The three men would be waking up at any moment. They hoped.
Daniel was first, his back arching off of the ground as he took as much oxygen into his lungs as he could. He sat up, looked around in confusion for just a few seconds. Smiled grimly to see that the attention of those young men was focused on his wife and best friend. "Touch either of them and you die," he growled.
Teal'c gasped, sat up, a few seconds later Jack did as well. By now the faces of the six young men were pale with fright.
"Damn that hurt!" Jack complained.
"I can't say that I blame them for trying," Daniel said softly.
Jack looked at him, then back at the young men. Heaved a sigh. "Yeah, I know. Had to be a hell of a disappointment. Well, we have them. Let's get them out of here. There's still a chance I can sleep in my own bed tonight."
Daniel told the men to sit down, and not to move until he said that they were allowed to do so. They dropped immediately to the dirt. Teal'c kept guard on them while the others rolled up sleeping bags, repacked their backpacks, and doused the fire.
When he told them to stand up, and to follow him, he warned them that Jack and Teal'c would be behind them, and would not hesitate to kill them if they tried anything further. Frantic assurances were given that they would not displease the Daughters of the Great Spirit Mother or the men who served them.
A A A A A A
An hour later the group stepped through the 'gate.
"We were getting damned worried," Major Culley said, standing up from his place near the Stargate. "I had orders from President MacLeod to lead the team back through if you didn't get here in another hour."
"Well, seems these gentlemen had a little plan of their own. They were bent on having Sam and Casey, like they had been promised," Jack grinned. "Guess Danny forgot to mention that we're Immortal."
Culley laughed. "That would put one hell of a dent in a plan, wouldn't it?"
Jack looked around. "So how did everything go?"
"Well, Pallas greeted the old lady, and with Brenna and Rachel translating, he told them about the 'houses' that had been built for them. The…uh…Children were damned impressed. Moved right in, and then a couple of hours later there was a big discussion on how the huts had been built, and the next thing you know, those poor women were being run ragged translating for everyone. Those cave people had questions about everything, and Pallas and his folks were more than willing to teach them."
Daniel grinned. "I had hoped that would be the case. It won't take long for the Children to bring their skills up to the level of Pallas and his people."
"What about the girls from Dagon's harem?" Casey asked.
Culley grinned. "Well, ma'am, the old lady took one look at them, and declared that they would be wed to the 'great hunters yet to arrive'. Pallas didn't seem to mind at all. Two of the older girls have already been…well…married to a couple of the local guys. The men are quite a bit older, but hey, whatever works, right?"
Jack looked over at Daniel. "You did good, Danny. I think this is going to work."
"What about communication, did any of the Children seem willing to learn Greek?"
The major shrugged his shoulders. "I dunno, Doc. It was kind of hard to tell. They were all excited about everything, and for awhile it seemed like everybody was talking at once."
Daniel's grin widened. Yep, this was really going to work!
"Okay, well, if you have everything under control here, we're gonna head home," Jack said. "Report in every four SOP, call if there are any problems."
"Yes, sir," Culley replied.
A A A A A A
She was cuddled up to his side. "You saved three groups of people, Daniel. Your beautiful, brilliant mind saved them."
He could feel the heat rise in his cheeks. His heart pounded from her praise. "It was no big deal," he muttered.
She raised up on her arm, looked down at him, let her fingers trail over his jaw. "It was a very big deal. Daniel, you saved those people! They would have died out, both groups! Now they have a chance to survive, and become even stronger together. Those girls have homes now because of you." She wouldn't admit that it bothered her to know that two of the girls were 'married' to men old enough to be their fathers, taking the position of 'second wife'. They would be safe. And warm, and well cared for. That was all that she…or they…could ask for, under the circumstances.
He put his arm around her, pulled her close. "Just doing my job, Angel," he said quietly. "Let's get some sleep. I'm beat."
She snuggled closer, closed her eyes. "Love you."
"Love you too."
Sleep came softly to both of them. The kind of sleep that could only come after a job well done.
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