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Treatise and Treaties
Methos had met with Ashnan; and incredibly she had agreed to arrange a meeting of the other System Lords who occupied that particular section of the galaxy. She had her own fears of Nergal, and a long-standing grudge against the ancient Goa'uld.
"Ashnan and Nergal seem to be the oldest, I haven't found any signs of their Sumerian contemporaries," Methos reported to Duncan. "I have a list of the System Lords who have agreed to this meeting. I don't know how much Daniel will be able to find on them in Earth history. I'm thinking he might want to check Terran, or even Langaran history, and see what he comes up with there."
Duncan nodded. "Good. Do you think you can incite them against Nergal?"
"Well, Ashnan is afraid of him, terrified actually, but she's still pissed at him about a few planets that he took from her a couple of hundred years ago. He's encroaching on her territory again, and I think if she thought she had the backing of the other System Lords, she'd stand up to him," Methos replied.
"Well, it's a start. If he's encroaching on her territory, maybe you can convince them that he'll do the same to all of them," Duncan said.
"It's worth a try. From what she said, none of the System Lords want to believe that humans, especially the Tau'ri, killed Geb. She's convinced that Nergal killed him. If I can feed that belief, and that fear, that's certainly going to rile up the others. I just hope that I can convince them that together they're stronger than he is!"
"Remember, the SGC entered an agreement with several System Lords to deal with Anubis. If need be, we can try that here. We can at least agree to leave them alone during their battle with Nergal, let them know that we'll be striking out at him also," Duncan said slowly. "It's too much like signing a deal with the devil, but Nergal is more than we dare take on ourselves."
"It doesn't help to know that Casey is so afraid of this guy. She hated Anubis, and Ba'al, and I know she had a healthy fear of Anubis, but nothing like what I've read in her report on Nergal. I read Daniel's addendum on her 'feeling' about something happening to one of them. I wish I could suggest that we keep SG-1 away from him for now. I'm impressed that so far the SGCI teams that are going in for recon haven't run had any problems. I suggest slowing that down, by the way. When Nergal hears about the other System Lords meeting, security is going to get tight in his palace, he'll be expecting attacks from them," Methos warned.
Again the dark headed Scot nodded. "I think we've got enough that when the time comes, we can mount a full attack. Okay, let me know when and where this meeting will be. Will you need the Phoenix?"
Methos stretched his arms above him, lowered them and put his hands behind his head. "Probably. I should probably have Casey and Daniel with me as well. Ashnan knows about my 'Consort'. She asked how my 'little Tau'ri' was dealing with her new position. I told her that the struggles continued, but they only served to excite me." He grinned broadly.
Duncan laughed. "Okay, I'll let them know. They're on a dig with two of the archaeologists from the Center, and SG-6. SGI-7 reported that the ruins were reminiscent of Hopi ruins in Arizona, Daniel wanted a closer look. They took Emily with them."
The oldest Immortal raised an eyebrow. "Is that really wise?"
"SGI-7 reported nothing more than a few rodents. SG-6 is there, and I know that Daniel and Casey have a few tricks up their sleeves. Let's face it, anyone stupid enough to threaten his wife or daughter won't live long enough to realize that Daniel is The Chosen," Duncan replied.
Methos nodded. "Good point. Okay, I'll let you know when and where this meeting is to take place. This will also give us a chance to find out who will be next on the hit list."
"Yep. Too bad we can't just take them all out at once," Duncan sighed.
"Who says we can't? If we're really lucky, they'll knock Nergal down to size, he'll knock them out, and we'll take him out. We'll have this sector 'snake-free' in no time."
The Highlander laughed again. "That would make Casey very happy."
"Make a lot of other people happy, too," Methos responded. He stood up. "I'll be in touch."
"You do that," Duncan said. He watched the lanky young/old man leave his office. Things were actually looking up for a change. So why did he feel so nervous?
A A A A A A
The ruins were a full day's ride from the gate. By the time they arrived, the sun was beginning to set. Camp was set up quickly in the fading light, and a nice fire was started to chase away the chill that the night air brought with it.
Emily was curled on Daniel's lap, watching the crackling flames. "Story, Daddy," she said, laying her head against his shoulder. Casey was leaning against him, her head on his shoulder as well. He was in heaven, he thought happily. The only thing that could make this moment better would be the presence of his son.
Terry and Mike, and the men of SG-6 all smiled from their places around the fire.
"A story, huh?"
"Big story, Daddy." She gave a yawn, fought to keep her eyes open.
"Okay, Princess. Once upon a time, there was a group of very happy, peaceful people. They lived in a beautiful land, where it was warm, and there was always plenty to eat. All they had to do was obey the rules that they were given to live by-"
"What kinds of wules, Daddy? Wike not fwushing my potty?"
Mike snorted, was dangerously close to laughing out loud. The others were grinning as well - Emily's escapades of flushing things were well known on the base; details of the day she'd visited the Center were considered particularly amusing.
"I'm not sure that was one of the rules, Princess. But one of the rules was to always be kind to one another. Another was to always share," Daniel replied. He refused to look in Mike's direction. "Well, they broke those rules. So they became mortal, and had to work hard to find enough to eat, and had to build houses to keep them warm and dry. Some of the people wanted to live simply, in peace with the earth around them. Others created things that weren't good for them. Those who only wanted peace emerged into a beautiful, new world. The Great Spirit, Maasau'u, came to visit them and to test their wisdom. The people were divided into groups, each with their own leaders, whom they had chosen. Then Maasau'u placed ears of corn of different lengths in front of each leader. As each leader pushed forward to grab the biggest ear of corn the Great Spirit gave that group a name and a language. The humblest leader picked the shortest ear of corn, and the name "Hopi" was given to those people: the little ones. Hopi means to be humble and peaceful, but if the people do not live the Hopi way the name will be taken from them."
Emily yawned. "Daddy, dids Hopee little ones live here?"
Daniel smiled. "I don't know, Princess. We'll look around at all the buildings tomorrow, and we'll see if we can find the answer to that question."
Mike grinned. "Already starting her on that path to be an archaeologist, eh boss?"
"Doesn't hurt for her to learn about what Case and I do," Daniel admitted with a grin.
Texas was watching the tot, and shook his head. "I don't envy you, Doc," he said.
"Why is that?" Daniel asked.
The young man grinned. "Emily is going to be a heart-breaker when she grows up. I'll bet you'll have boys standing twenty wide and ten deep just to talk to her!"
The young archaeologist looked down at his now sleeping daughter, frowned slightly. "I don't have to worry about that for awhile."
Tony grinned. "She's two weeks away from her third birthday, Doc. I'll bet she'll come home from her first day in preschool with a list of boyfriends."
The others laughed quietly at the look of shock on Daniel's face.
Casey giggled. "Oh, Sweetheart, you'll get used to not being the most important man in her life."
"Yeah, like that's going to happen," he mumbled. "She's my baby girl, and I know how much she loves me."
Terry laughed. "Yeah, she loves you, boss. But one day she'll walk through the door with some man on her arm, and tell you how much she loves him. You'll slide right on down to second place."
Daniel shook his head. "I don't have to worry about that for a few years, thank you very much!"
"Unless she's like me," Casey retorted. "Remember Jimmy Palmer? I was six when he proposed."
The men around the fire laughed again.
"Don't you do that to me, Princess," Daniel said softly to the child sleeping in his arms.
Evan Parker smiled. "It's not so bad, Doc. My Kerry is almost fourteen now. There are boys calling day and night for her. Couple of those punks I’m going to have a long talk with. But when she's scared, or has a problem, or needs to talk, I'm the one she comes to."
Daniel smiled at the major. "Thanks, Parker."
"Anytime, Doc. We dads have to stick together, protect our little girls."
"Until she brings a guy home just like Dad. Who you will not like no matter what," Casey teased.
"Kerry is going to the University of Michigan. She won't be looking for a husband for a few years yet," Major Parker said confidently.
Casey looked over at the other members of SG-6. "Want to start a pool on when?"
Tony laughed. "Yeah. I say by the time she's twenty, she'll be married."
The major snorted. "You don't know Kerry! She's determined to become a biologist."
"My sister was determined to become a veterinarian," Tony laughed. "She settled for marrying one."
More easy laughter filled the air. Casey stood to her feet. "Well, I need to get the Princess tucked in. Think I'll turn in myself. Who has first watch?"
"Don't worry about a watch tonight, Casey. There are enough of us, we'll take care of it," Maj. Parker said. "You just stay there with Emily."
She smiled. "Thanks, guys. See you in the morning, then." She took Emily from Daniel's arms and carried her to the waiting tent.
"I think I'll turn in, too," Daniel said, standing to his feet.
"Yeah, we have a big day tomorrow," Mike said. "I think I'll call it a night."
With quiet good-nights, the men drifted to their waiting tents. Trenton remained by the fire, having drawn the first watch.
Casey was almost asleep when Daniel crawled into the sleeping bag beside her. He had already made sure Emily's sleeping bag was zipped securely around her. He pulled his wife into his arms, smiled when she snuggled against him, her body warm and soft. He kissed the side of her face, then closed his eyes to sleep.
A A A A A A
Casey was sitting on top of the sleeping bags, Emily in front of her. She was braiding the tot's hair. When she had finished, her daughter ran from the tent excitedly.
"We dig now, Daddy!" she announced as she ran to where her father sat with the other men, drinking coffee.
"Don't you want breakfast first?" Daniel asked, a smile on his face.
Emily cocked her head to one side. "Okay."
"Damn," Tony hissed quietly, watching her.
Daniel smiled. "Spooky isn't it? She's so much like Casey sometimes it scares me!"
"And just why would that scare you?" Casey asked as she approached the fire.
"Love you, Angel," Daniel replied. The men around him laughed.
She narrowed her eyes. "Love you, too. Now answer the question."
"You can get...intense...Angel. I don't know if I can handle two of you like that," Daniel admitted.
"Oh, please," Casey retorted, rolling her eyes. "Nicholas shows every sign of being just like you, and I haven't run screaming into the hills…yet!"
He gave her a pained look. "I'm not hard to live with."
The look she gave him had their companions rolling on the ground. "Right. You should try it some time." She had intended to ask him to braid her hair. She changed her mind, caught it back and put the tie around it. He could be so annoying at times! To hear him talk, people must believe her to be a real bitch, right up there with the Wicked Witch of the East!
Daniel stood up, poured a cup of coffee for her, and took it to where she was standing. "I can braid your hair, Angel," he said softly.
"Nope. This is fine," she said stubbornly.
He sighed. It looked to be a long day. Hopefully she wouldn't be pissy the entire time. He held the mug of coffee out.
She took the mug, sipped gratefully. "Thanks," she mumbled.
"You're welcome." He turned and walked back to the fire.
She rummaged through one of the bags, found a box of granola bars. "Here, Baby. You can have a crunchy bar while I get your breakfast." She tore the wrapping open, and handed it to her daughter. More searching, and she found two packets of instant oatmeal. She glanced around her. With a sigh, she pulled the entire ziplock bag of packets out and carried it toward the fire. "There's plenty here if any of you would like some oatmeal," she said softly.
"Thanks, Case, but we already had the obligatory MRE," Tony said.
She glanced at Daniel, raised an eyebrow. "Daniel?"
"I ate with the guys," he replied.
With a nod, she tossed the ziplock bag back toward the pack. There was always a pan of plain water boiled, just in case someone needed some. She carefully opened the foil package, poured some water inside. She took a plastic spoon from her pocket and stirred it gently. "Sit down, Baby," she instructed.
"Here, let me," Daniel said. He took the package. "Come on, Princess. I'll hold this for you," he said.
She shook her head slightly, fixed her own oatmeal, and sat down beside her husband and daughter.
'What are you so pissed about?'
Casey struggled not to roll her eyes. 'Nothing.'
'Uh huh. What the hell are you so pissed about?'
'Nothing like getting up, and the first thing out of your husband's mouth is about how 'intense' you are!'
'We were just teasing.'
'No you're not.'
'Who are you to tell me when I am or am not sorry?' He looked over at her, a frown on his handsome face.
'Daniel, you're treading on very thin ice.'
She had finished her cereal. So had Emily. She took the package, none too gently, from Daniel's hand, and found the trash bag. She flattened the foil, stuck them inside the large plastic bag. "Come here, Baby. Let me get this on you," she said, taking the tube of sun block from her pocket. She rubbed the cream on Emily's face, arms and hands, did the same for herself. Without another word, she grabbed her boonie, plopped it on her head, and walked toward the ruins.
Daniel, still tying his do-rag, watched her, his eyes narrowing slightly. This was supposed to be a relaxing, enjoyable time. He hadn't expected to put up with one of Casey's moods.
"Go, Daddy!" Emily said, reaching for his hand.
The others watched silently for a few minutes. Tony glanced around. "Something tells me that Casey isn't ticked off just about what Doc said."
Texas nodded. "Something's wrong."
Daniel frowned. How was it that these men seemed to know his Wife better than he did? Why hadn't he picked up that there was something other than being teased that was bothering her? Maybe it was because he had become a bit…ticked off… himself? "Casey?"
"What's wrong, Angel?"
She turned to look at him. She was standing at the edge of the cliff that led up to the remains of adobe dwellings. "Nothing's wrong." The words had no more than left her mouth than she shivered violently.
The sky was full of stars. Her body ached, there was pain between her legs, in both tender places. Her breasts were bruised and sore from his abuse. He had taken her roughly, her screams of pain and fear only seeming to add to his pleasure. He had moved inside her so hard, pushing so deep, it felt as if he were ripping her apart. She hadn't seen fourteen summers, now no man in the village would want her.
She looked down over the edge of the cliff. A glance over her shoulder gave her a glimpse of her people, gathered fearfully near Two Eagles' house. They were looking at her with pity.
Her father and uncle lay dead on the ground where they had fallen, trying to keep the tall, dark-haired man with glowing eyes from taking her into the sacred place. Her mother and grandmother were wailing, their cries having started with her first scream of pain.
She looked down over the cliff again. She could hear the whispers on the wind. "Come to us, Little Flower. We will end your suffering. Come to us…"
With a sob, she stepped over the edge.
She was shaking, tears stood in her eyes, and she stared over the cliff.
Daniel was already beside her, his hands holding her arms. "Case?"
She looked up into worried blue eyes. "Oh, Daniel, he raped her! She wasn't even fourteen yet, and he raped her!" She wrapped her arms around his neck, took comfort when his arms went around her, held her tightly. "She was so scared, so ashamed! She just…walked right off the edge of the cliff!"
Nobody needed to ask who 'he' was. Nor did anyone argue when she turned and led them back down to the foot of the cliff. It didn't take more than an hour to find the skeletal remains of the young girl.
"He must have taken the rest of the people with him. That, or they abandoned this village immediately after he left," Daniel said.
Casey was carefully brushing dirt away from the broken bones. "I swear, Little Flower, we'll get that bastard!"
"You know her name?" Daniel asked softly.
She nodded. "I was with her…was her for a few seconds," she replied.
"Doc?" Tony pointed to the top of the cliff. Two dozen or so Indians looked down at them.
"Are they real?" Texas asked softly.
Casey was staring at them. When they began to motion to her, she stood, tried to climb the rock face of the cliff.
Daniel grabbed her, pulled her against him. He glanced around, saw that Major Parker had Emily safe in his arms. The little girl was watching everything with wide eyes.
"I have to go," Casey said.
Daniel struggled to understand her. He didn't know many Native American languages, but he would bet that she was speaking an archaic form of the Hopi tongue. "No, Angel. You can talk to them, but you're staying here with me," he replied softly.
She tried to pull her arms from his firm grip. "My people wait for me!"
"Casey!" he said sharply. He grabbed her chin with one hand, twisted her head to look at him. "Look at me!"
Her green eyes finally focused on his blue ones. "Daniel?"
"Yeah, Angel, I'm here." He gave her a relieved smile.
A glance at the cliff showed it to be empty. "We have to get this little girl buried with the rest of her people," she said softly.
"Do you know where?" he asked quietly.
She nodded. "I think so."
A A A A A A
The sides of the narrow box canyon were still marked with black from staff weapons fire. Daniel estimated that there were almost thirty skeletons in a jumble of bones. Near the ground, probably done just before dying, one of the people had used his, or her, own blood to make the symbol for 'evil one'. He bit back a curse.
The bones of the young girl were carefully placed with those of the remaining villagers. Casey sighed. Whatever it was that had happened, it was over now. She could feel it. She relayed that feeling to Daniel and Major Parker.
"Let's take a look at those ruins now," she said, after they had all taken a break to cool off a bit.
The structures that were still standing seemed in reasonably good condition, but Daniel made sure that Emily stayed clear of them. He gave her a pick and a brush, and had her 'working' against a far wall, near the path that led down to the desert floor. Tony and Texas were meticulously filming and photographing the area, Casey had already found a fire pit, and was carefully digging there. Mike and Terry were working inside with Daniel, getting images of the decorated walls.
"Mommy! Lookee!" Emily ran excitedly to her mother. In her hand was what looked like a round ruby. It was the size of a golf ball.
"Holy Hannah!" Casey breathed. "Daniel! Show Mommy where you found this, Baby. Daniel!"
Emily led her mother back to the spot there the pretty red rock had been. Casey began to carefully scrape away the dirt.
"What's up?" Daniel asked as he approached them.
"Your daughter has made quite a discovery." Casey held up the ruby.
"Look at this," she said, carefully brushing the dirt from what appeared to be a scepter. "Do you think it belonged to him?"
"I've never heard of Goa'uld having anything like this, but I suppose it's possible," Daniel replied. He helped her to pull the gold staff from the ground. The top was crushed, but still he could tell that the ruby had sat inside a web of gold on top of the sixteen-inch long scepter.
"I wonder how the ruby managed to fall out," Casey mused. She held the brightly colored stone next to the gold staff. Dropped it when it began to glow. "Crap!"
"Yeah, let's keep these two pieces apart for now," Daniel said softly. He turned to Emily, who stood watching, her little eyes full of wonder. "You made a very important discovery, Princess!"
"I do-ed good!" Emily said proudly, nodding her head.
He laughed and hugged her tightly. "You did very good, Emily!"
Casey smiled and ran her hand over her daughter's head. "You're a chip off the old block, Emily. You've got archaeology in your blood!"
The tot frowned. "In my bloods?"
She giggled. "It's okay, Baby. That's a good thing."
Emily nodded and smiled. "It's a good thing!"
Daniel couldn't help but glance around. Were his parents witnessing this? Did they see that a third generation of Jacksons was starting on the path to archaeology? He hoped so. He hugged his daughter again. "Okay, let's see what else we can find."
A skeleton was found near the scepter. A leather bag was also located. It was apparent that the bag contained several items, but Daniel wanted to wait until returning to Gamma to open it, where containment fields were available if necessary.
By evening Daniel, Mike, and Terry agreed that the ruins were indeed Hopi. Apparently a group of the peaceful cliff dwellers had been brought here, either through the gate, or by ship, from Earth. Once again the questions of why, and by whom, were left for speculation.
Emily sat proudly as the team ate their dinner, the men of SG-6, and Terry and Mike, telling her what a wonderful archaeologist she was. "I'm a ark'lo'gist like my Daddy," she proclaimed.
Daniel felt tears prick his eyes. He could recall the first time he found a pottery shard. His parents had declared it the most important find of the dig. "Yep, Princess, you certainly are," he said. He leaned over and kissed the top of her head. "Love you, Emily."
"Wuv you, Daddy." She stood up and gave him a Zerbert.
With the discoveries they had already made, they agreed to head back to Gamma the following day. Daniel felt that they had all that they needed, and more than they had expected.
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