Bad Guy Rebels

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Humor, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  9 - November 7-10, 2005
Spoilers:  Enemy Mine, Ripple Effect, Memento Mori, Bad Guys
Size:  90kb
Written:  February 17-26,28-29, March 2,29-31, 2008
Summary:  SG-1 gates to a world in search of weaponry and ends up in a hostage situation where they are accused of being rebels against the government.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically.  Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “Sunshine Down”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Lissa, Irina, Melissa, Jo, Tonya, Linda, Keri!

Bad Guy Rebels
by Orrymain

“Are you going to keep sulking all night long?” Daniel asked his lover.

“I'm not sulking, I'm stargazing,” Jack refuted as he grabbed a beer from the refrigerator.

The older man had been up on the roof deck for the last two-and-a-half hours, having ignored his husband's repeated request to join him inside their home.

“You're sulking,” the younger man claimed as he leaning against the kitchen sink.

“No, Daniel, I'm enjoying some peace and quiet while gazing at the stars.  I like gazing at the stars,” Jack responded as he opened one of the cabinets and pulled out a box of Chex mix to take with him to the roof.

“Right,” the younger man responded dryly.  “Actually, uh, that's understandable.  You're on the same wavelength as a star -- silent and distant.”

“Look who's talking,” Jack accused.  “Watching the stars is  relaxing.  They don't talk back!” the older man snapped.

“Oh, you don't have to worry about that tonight, General,” Daniel stated strongly. “You've guaranteed yourself a very quiet night, all by yourself!”

“Don't put this off on me, *Doctor*.  I tried for hours to get you off of that blasted computer, but, no, it was always 'just one more minute, Jack'.  I could have traveled around the world in those minutes.”

“Why do you always have to exaggerate everything so much?” Daniel questioned incredulously as he crossed his arms, though his hold wasn't as tight as a self-hug.

“Why do you always have to be so picky?” Jack asked.

“Picky?”

“We're arguing, Daniel.  People always exaggerate when they argue.”

“And you're the expert on arguing?”

“If you don't believe me, go ask your lover,” the silver-haired man spat as he faced his life partner.

“My lover?” Daniel asked with widened eyes, straightening so that he was no longer leaning against the sink.

Turning and walking towards the dining nook, Jack clarified, “Annoying little black thing that goes everywhere with you, also known as your laptop.”

“You're exaggerating again,” Daniel claimed as he trailed after Jack, while also feeling relieved that he wasn't having to deal with his lover's unfounded jealousy streak again.

“Deal with it,” Jack said, stopping at the counter to pick up an apple that was sitting there.

“What's up your butt?” Daniel shouted, stopping about three feet away from the other man.

“My butt?” Jack questioned and then bit into the apple.  Still chewing his bite, he answered, “Not what should be.”

“Don't be crass.”

“I like being crass,” Jack retaliated a bit childishly.

“Believe me, Jack, I know, and so does everyone else who knows you,” Daniel replied antagonistically as he stood, his hands on his hips.

“Kiss my ...”

“Not tonight, that's for sure,” Daniel interrupted.  “You started this, you know.”

“All I did was try to divert your attention away from your precious computer.”

“So sorry to have inconvenienced you, but I had some research to do.  Now, if I hadn't had to do your half of the chores tonight *before* getting on the computer, I would have been done sooner.”

“Danny, I'm not ten.  I don't have chores.  I have responsibilities, and so what if I didn't do them on your timetable tonight?” Jack challenged in frustration.

“*My* timetable?” Daniel asked in disbelief.  “Excuse me, 'Oh, so full of himself tonight', but these are things we *both* agreed to do when we got done at the SGC.”

“Yes, but then some of us worked late, again.”

“Oh, not that again,” Daniel whined with rolling eyes.  “I stayed ninety-minutes because General Hammond asked me to review the negotiations with him.  Are you going to stand there and tell me that if he'd asked you to do ... whatever it is you do when not on a mission ... that you'd say 'no'?”

“Whatever it is I do?” Jack repeated, outraged by the verbal slam.  

“No one's ever sure, but it certainly doesn't involve reading your memos,” Daniel quipped angrily.

“If I thought you were serious, Daniel, I'd really get mad.”

“I'm scared,” the younger man replied mockingly.

“Why do you always do that?  Stand there, looking all-innocent, with your mouth open.  Germs can get in there.”

“Oh, please,” Daniel retorted.  “You're talking to me about germs?  Have you tried checking your side of the dresser?  Some of your stuff must be two decades old.  Its dust gives my allergies, allergies.”

“I'm going outside,” an annoyed Jack stated with restraint, heading for the patio door with his treats.

“You know I'm right, Jack!” Daniel put forth, moving quickly past the counter and into the living room.

“I know you're annoying sometimes, and this is one of those times,” the older man accused, opening the patio door and walking out.

Daniel hurried to the still-open glass door and shouted, “And you're incorrigible -- *all* of the time!”

“Now that's original!” Jack yelled back as he stood at the ladder that went up to the roof deck.

“Sometimes, he drives me nuts,” Daniel muttered as he closed the door and then went upstairs.

====

Two hours later, Jack walked into the master bedroom.  He was in a conciliatory mood until he saw Daniel in sweats, sitting up in their bed, working on the computer.

“Can't you leave that thing out of our bed?” Jack groused.

“Why?  You weren't here,” Daniel responded.

With a death glare, Jack looked at his lover.  If he'd wanted to spend the night arguing, he had a spiffy little comeback, but he didn't.  He was tired and frustrated, and tomorrow would be another day.  Quietly, he changed into his own sweats and crawled into bed, turning over onto his right side to avoid the nagging light, and the offensive object known as a laptop.

Agitated by the sound of fingers tapping the keyboard, Jack growled, “Do you *have* to keep working on that thing?”

“Fine,” Daniel replied tersely, shutting the laptop and putting it against the nightstand, after which he turned off the light and scooted down beneath the sheets, leaning over onto his left side.

“Daniel.”

“Jack.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Though not spoken with the tenderness or passion the declaration usually was, the words had been said, and the lovers' hearts still beat as one, even if they weren't communicating well at the moment or sleeping in their usual positions.

====

“Coffee?” Jack asked a bit curtly as he stood, holding the pot in his hand.

“*Now* you ask me?” the archaeologist asked, looking up at the colonel.

“Is that a 'no'?”

“No, it's a 'yes', thank you,” Daniel responded politely, glancing down at the coffee mug that was filled up halfway before his lover walked over to Teal'c, to pour him a cup.  ~I suppose I should be glad that he didn't spill it on me.~

~Ut-oh.~ Sam thought, glancing over at Daniel.

“This is gonna be a long day,” Daniel mumbled, unaware his friend was looking at him at the moment.

“What?” Sam asked quietly.

“Oh,” the archaeologist responded as he looked at the blonde, “uh, nothing.”

Unfortunately, the lovers hadn't had much success in healing their rift that morning.  A couple of attempts had been made, but an ill-timed phone call for Jack and an important theory the archaeologist had thought of in the middle of talking had made an early morning resolution impossible.  Of course, Daniel oversleeping and a lack of his usual morning coffee hadn't helped, either.  As a result, it appeared that Jack and Daniel would be participating in a verbal sparring war all day long.

“Doctor Jackson,” General Hammond said expectantly as he finally entered the conference room and sat down for the briefing with SG-1.

Ready to leave his personal troubles behind, Daniel forged full steam ahead, stating, “From our trip to the alternate reality, we learned that Athena was interested in a tablet.”

“Athena?” Jack questioned.  “Goddess of love?” he asked with a subtle look of reproach.  **You do remember what that is?** he questioned curtly via the couple's special nonverbal communication.

“Uh, no -- goddess of war,” Daniel corrected.  **I know you know what that is,** he replied.  “She was a minor player who got a little power by aligning herself with more powerful Goa'uld, like Cronus, Camulus, Svarog, and even Anubis when he was originally banished by the System Lords.  She was a rival to Qetesh, but ...”

“Qetesh?” Sam questioned.

“Uh, the Goa'uld that Vala was once a host to.  They teamed up to find the Clava Thessara Infinitas, except she double-crossed Athena.  She played a mind game with Athena, letting her think that she'd found it when she hadn't.  In some of the other realities, Athena actually lived on Earth, working for The Trust.”

“Nice fit,” Jack quipped.

Continuing as he stared down at his notes, Daniel stated, “She kidnapped Vala, believing she could lead her to the map, and then she, Athena, could decipher it.”

“Daniel, the point?” Jack questioned with a bob of his head and wide eyes.

“The point,” Daniel began sharply, “is that according to legend, the Clava Thessara Infinitas would allow he who possesses it entry to a vast storehouse of riches hidden away by the Ancients prior to their ascension.”

“What exactly is this Clava Thessara Infinitas?” Hammond questioned.

“Direct translation: 'Key to Infinite Treasure',” Daniel answered.  “Uh, a cache of Ancient wealth and weapons.  In some of the alternate realities, Athena came to Earth and tried to get information on its location from Vala.”

“So, it's a weapon?  It's a map?” Jack prodded.

“Yes,” Daniel answered, avoiding his lover's glare in favor of looking in Hammond's direction.  “When they first mentioned this, I thought it might be a hoax.”

“Love Urban legends, especially the intergalactic ones,” Jack teased, looking down at his doodling that he'd been doing during the briefing.

“While I did originally think this was all a hoax, the research Athena did is actually quite compelling.”

“Daniel,” Jack said, leaning forward.  “How exactly is it that you know what kind of research Athena did?”  ~That's probably what he was doing at home.  I thought we had an agreement about that.  This isn't earth-shattering news here.~

“Oh, uh, it came from a library on Atlantis.  Major Lorne sent it through a while ago.”

“Oh, Major Lorne,” Jack responded a bit skeptically.  ~I've wondered about that guy.  I've my suspicions that he mistreated Danny's 'toys' on that Unas planet just to draw his attention.  If he wasn't already a galaxy away, I might just have him transferred to some hole somewhere.~

“He didn't even know what it was,” Daniel expounded.  Taking a breath, he continued, “After cross referencing her research and our cartouche, I was able to generate a Gate address.”

“Possible location of the treasure,” Jack surmised.

“I'm not sure, but we sent a MALP to P4M-328, and the images it sent back are particularly interesting,” the archaeologist spoke, pulling out some pictures from the folder in front of him.  “Now, the hieroglyphs on the wall are all out of order and from various different dynasties.  At first glance, they don't make any sense.”

“It's a code,” Sam deduced, reaching over to get a better look at the photos.

“Sounds like it's worth checking out,” Hammond opined.  “SG-1, you have a go.”

As the lovers walked down the corridor at the meeting's conclusion, Jack questioned, “Major Lorne?”

“That's what I said,” Daniel affirmed, his head bowed a bit as he walked swiftly through the corridor.

“Peace offering for not keeping your toys safe on that Unas planet?” Jack questioned.

“Jack, that was almost two years ago.”

“Yes, wasn't it,” the silver-haired man snipped.

“What's wrong with you?” Daniel asked, looking at his lover.  ~It's not my fault he didn't get his chores done last night.~

“I'm just curious why you haven't mentioned this book before.”

“I didn't have time to look at it before.  Actually, before we got detoured to the other reality, I thought it was probably just a book of Ancient fairytales.”

“Myths and rumors of the ascended kind,” Jack snarked.

“Something like that, but now I think it's for real, and there could be some serious weapons out there.”

“One hopes,” Jack spoke, walking ahead of Daniel and getting into the open elevator.

~What's his problem?  He can't be jealous of Major Lorne?  He's *got* to be kidding.  Besides, Jack doesn't get jealous anymore,~ Daniel thought as he entered the elevator and stood next to his lover.  Looking over at the slightly taller man, he wondered, ~Or does he?~

====

“Carter, Daniel, enough with the primping.  Let's go,” Jack shouted, banging his hand against the wall and then following Teal'c to the gate room.

“He's a little ... grouchy today,” Sam noted.

“You noticed, huh?”

“Hard to miss,” Sam answered with a nod as she and the archaeologist headed for the exit of the gear up room.

“We had a little fight,” Daniel explained.  “Nothing serious, just Jack being Jack.”

“And you being you,” Sam said with a small, but knowing smile.

“I guess so,” Daniel responded with a hint of embarrassment in his reply.  “We'll be okay.”

“Oh, I know,” Sam replied, patting her friend's arm and then changing the subject as they walked on.

====

SG-1 walked through the Stargate to P4M-328, immediately turning on their flashlights since the room was dark.

As Daniel walked over toward the wall, he stated, “Well, I'm going to set up my camera and take some high-res stills of these glyphs.”

“Carter, give Ansel Adams there a hand,” Jack ordered, nodding towards Daniel and referencing a photographer famous for his black and white pictures, especially those taken in the Redwoods of California.  “Teal'c and I will check out the perimeter.”

“Yes, Sir.”

As Jack and Teal'c walked into a contemporary-looking hallway, Jack questioned, “Is it me, or did we just step into an architectural time machine?”

“Indeed.”

Examining the object with his flashlight, Jack stated, “This looks like a display case.  Can you read that?”

Walking over to get a better look, Teal'c studied the writing, answering that he didn't recognize the language.  Because of the displays, the two deduced that the team had transported into a museum.  Their attention was then drawn elsewhere when they faintly heard music coming from a nearby area.

Checking out the sound from behind a divider, Jack and Teal'c observed an area with high ceilings.  There were roped-off exhibits as well as some tables.  A reception was in progress, with attendees dressed in either formal attire or what appeared to be some type of uniform.

“Okay, this isn't good,” Jack whispered, nodding with his chin for Teal'c to retreat.  ~They aren't expecting us, and we weren't planning on a meet and greet.  Time to go home.~  “Go!”  Hurriedly, the teammates returned to the room where Daniel and Sam were taking photographs.  “Pack it up!” he ordered.

“What?” Daniel questioned in surprise.  ~We've barely begun.~

“Hearing problem, Daniel?” Jack asked.  “We're pulling the plug.”

“But we haven't even got started yet,” Sam responded.

“This is not a tomb,” Teal'c informed his teammates.

“It's a museum,” Jack announced.

“Well, that would explain why the hieroglyphs are all jumbled,” Daniel stated.

“And there's a pretty big party going on next door, so ...” Jack began, gesturing for his team to get their gear together.

“Right!” Daniel agreed, starting to pack his materials.  “Uh, just out of curiosity, what kind of party?”

“How should I know?  It's a party.”

“Uh, Sir, we are a first contact team, so why don't we introduce ourselves?” Sam suggested.

“She has a point, Jack.  You know, we used to do first contacts all the time,” Daniel interjected.

“And we still do, Daniel, but we need to follow protocol,” Jack replied.

“The rule book, Sir?” Sam asked incredulously, always amazed whenever the general used that kind of reasoning to explain away a decision.

“Carter, when I made the mistake of sitting in Hammond's chair, I had to deal with this all the time.  Yes, this is a first contact situation, but we have to follow protocol, which, at the moment, states that when a civilization reaches a certain level of development, we send the MALP through first to make contact.  If, and I can't stress this enough, *if* they are into the idea of extra-terrestrial visitors, then we get to go down the yellow brick road, not before.”

“That's very by the book, Jack,” Daniel mused, almost laughing at the older man having quoted the regulation as it currently stood.

“We are already here, Sir.  Maybe we could just not tell them we're alien,” Sam supposed, knowing it sounded crazy.

“Carter, are you ill?” Jack asked, rolling his eyes as he tapped on his P-90, signaling his apprehension.  “It's not gonna happen.”  With their gear packed, he ordered, “Let's get out of here.  Daniel, dial her up.”

As much as he wanted to stay and meet the locals, Daniel was well aware of the protocol.  Sometimes, he regretted the current state of fairs, preferring the old days when the protocol was less rigid.  Still, the rule were was there for a reason, so now he walked to the DHD and began to dial Earth's address, frowning when nothing happened.

“Uh, problem,” the archaeologist stated, holding up a glyph.

Jack walked over, staring curiously at the object in his lover's hand.  Sam, too, stared in disbelief as she moved forward.

“It's plastic,” Daniel revealed, letting the item drop to the floor.

Jack placed his hands on the DHD, frowning from the incorrect texture of the object.  He bent down to the base of the DHD and examined it.  Standing back up, he tilted the DHD, staring in surprise as the plastic glyphs fell to the floor.

“It's a prop,” Daniel stated, his mouth open in surprise at what he'd just witnessed.

“Okay, that's not good,” Jack observed as the team all exchanged looks.

“So, what are we going to do?” Daniel asked.

“If they found a Gate, they must have found a DHD, too, right?” the general questioned.

“We didn't,” Daniel replied.

“Well, they knew enough to build a pretty convincing replica, so they must have one lying around here somewhere,” Jack stated as the four teammates stood around the fake DHD.

“They could have just fabricated it from drawings,” the archaeologist theorized.

“If, indeed, they did possess an authentic DHD, would they not display it near the authentic Gate?” Teal'c asked.

“Good point,” Jack agreed.

“We're stuck,” Daniel sighed.

“No, we're not,” Sam refuted.  When her teammates looked at her, she reminded, “Guys, we've been through this before.  When we fail to make the scheduled check-in, General Hammond will dial in, at which point we'll ask him to send a naquadah generator and a laptop with a dialing program, or we can always dial the Gate manually.”

“Of course, we can,” Jack stated.  ~Must have left my brain on Earth.~

“We knew that,” Daniel stated, his words spoken at the same time as his lover's. ~Gawd, what did I do?  Leave my brain on Earth today?~

~I am concerned.  O'Neill and DanielJackson are not acting like themselves,~ Teal'c opined inwardly.~

“We still need a power source,” Jack stated, looking around.  “What about the MALP?”

“No,” Daniel answered.

“Seaweed?” Jack offered.

“Don't go there,” the archaeologist warned.

“Yes, let's hope it doesn't come to that,” the team leader responded.

Checking his watch, Daniel noted, “So, therefore, the next check-in is in just under six hours.”

“Six hours,” Jack groaned.

Smiling in amusement, Sam teased, “So, how about we go to the party?”  Seeing Jack's glare, she clarified, “I was just trying to ease the intensity of our situation ... Sir.”

“Well, stop it.  We stay here,” Jack responded.  “With a bit of luck, the people on this planet will never even know we were here.”

Sounds of lovers murmuring as they approached the medium-sized room attracted SG-1's attention.  Having no place to hide, the four watched as the couple kissed and then turned, intending to have some 'alone time' inside the room SG-1 was in.  Seeing the team, the couple startled, freezing in place as they stared.

“Uh, hello,” Daniel greeted, walking a couple of steps forward.  “It's okay.  We're not going to hurt you,” he said, glancing back at his teammates.  “We're peace...”

Without warning, the woman screamed and ran out of the room, her partner following quickly.

“They aren't buyin' it, Danny.  Time for a new spiel,” Jack said a bit gruffly.

Irritated, Daniel responded, “I didn't see you saying anything.”

“You want me to say something?  Fine.  You and Carter stay here,” Jack ordered.  “Teal'c, you're with me,” he instructed, taking off after the couple.

“Aside from the fact he's mad at me right now, why does he always do that?” Daniel asked in frustration as Jack and Teal'c disappeared from sight.

“I think he figures there's less of a chance of us being discovered if only he and Teal'c go after them,” Sam guessed.  With a small smile, she supposed, “And he worries about you.”

“Sweet,” Daniel replied a bit snarkily as Sam chuckled.

“Cute, actually,” Sam opined.  “It doesn't matter how much you two fight, Daniel, the general is always going to do ... uh, what he did.”

Daniel just cocked his head slightly and began to examine the room more closely. He hated being protected; yet, he loved it, too.  What amazed him even more was, as Sam had just pointed out, that even while fighting, his lover was sheltering him from danger.

~How funny are we?  I'm mad as heck at Jack for leaving me here in this room, but I'm also a little ... giddy silly about it.  He cares.  Well, he loves me, and it's that love that makes me giddy, but not giddy enough to forgive him for not doing his chores last night.  Later -- maybe.~

The archaeologist smiled, knowing that the love he and his husband shared was rich and golden.  They were just fighting, for now.  He grinned, knowing what would happen when the fight was over.

~Not to be too ... graphic, but make up sex is hot,~ Daniel thought.  The sound of Sam's shoes hitting the floor as she shifted her position drew him from his private meandering.  It was time to get back into the moment.  “Sam, you really wanted us to make first contact, didn't you?”

“Sure.  Daniel, don't you miss the old days just a little, when the majority of our missions were designed to meet new allies?”

“Yeah, I do,” Daniel sighed.

“The general's right about protocol and our standard procedures, but we're here, and we can't go anywhere,” the woman pointed out.

“So, why not meet the natives and have some fun?” Daniel surmised adeptly.

“Yeah.”

Daniel nodded, yearning for the old days himself and hoping that somehow or another, they might one day be able to resume those types of missions with more regularity.

====

Jack and Teal'c followed the couple back to the reception area where the party was going on.  After turning the corner, they stopped suddenly, seeing that the party guests were now staring at them.

~Let's try this again,~ Jack thought.  “Hi,” he greeted.

“They're rebels,” the woman Sylvana screamed.

Security men reached urgently for their weapons.

Realizing the men were about to shoot, Jack cried out, “Whoa!”  Quickly, he and Teal'c scrambled back to the corridor for cover against the gunfire.  ~Daniel and his infinite treasure of weapons.  Right.~  With his P-90 close to his vest, he urged, “Teal'c, let's not start a war, if we don't have to.”

While Jack and Teal'c remained behind at the side of the main room, the security personnel continued to fire while the crowd backed away and headed for the exit.  One of the guards hit a large display case, however, setting off the museum's alarms and causing metal grated doors to drop into place, which effectively sealed off the room, trapping them and several of the party guests inside.

--

“Maybe Jack should worry more about himself getting shot,” Daniel quipped sarcastically as he and Sam began to run down the hallway after hearing the alarms go off.

--

As Teal'c leaned up against a column, watching the people flee, Jack caught sight of a guard trying to sneak around them.  Quickly, he fired, hitting the man in the leg, disabling him right before he was about to fire his weapon at the Jaffa.

Teal'c ran over to check on the fallen man, while Jack sprinted forward into the main part of the room.  He caught sight of a guard in the process of reloading his weapon.

“Drop the weapon, and kick it over,” the general ordered at the same time that Teal'c hurried over to help him cover the group of people, the Jaffa holding two weapons out, one in each hand.

On the second floor, a man observed the action.

“I'm not gonna ask ya twice,” Jack stated with a cock of his head when the man hesitated.

The man on the second floor drew out a weapon and crouched down as he moved away.

With the crowd contained, Jack ordered them to sit on the floor.  He also noticed the couple that had discovered SG-1 hiding under a table.  Once again the woman screamed.

“Stop screaming already, and get out here,” the team leader instructed.  ~She's like fingernails rubbing against a chalk board.~  Once the twosome joined the others, Jack addressed the crowd.  “Listen up.  We're not gonna hurt anyone, but I need you to stay calm, quiet, and on the floor until we figure this out.”

“What ... what happened?” Daniel called out, having reached the party area.

“We had a little misunderstanding,” Jack answered.  ~Just like we did last night.~

“Yeah, I can see that.”

“They thought we were rebels,” the general expounded.

“What does that mean?” the younger man asked.  ~Rebels?  Us?~

“I don't know; I didn't get a chance to ask a lot of questions,” Jack answered.

“Why are all the outer doors sealed off?” Sam questioned.

“One of their guys shot that case.  He must have triggered a lockdown; and, for the moment, it would be good if it stayed that way,” Jack stated.

“Wonderful,” Daniel sighed as he raised his left hand to adjust his glasses.

“Go see what you can do,” Jack ordered his second-in-command, who walked over to a control panel to see if she could raise the metal grids.

Hesitantly, a man, who had assumed that SG-1 was a band of rebels, stood up, claiming to be the man they wanted and explaining that he was a chancellor.  He urged the 'rebels' to keep him as a hostage and let everyone else go.

“Look, I know you believe that bringing us to our knees will make you heroes, that the people will follow your lead and rise up against us, but ... but harming innocent civilians will get you nowhere,” the man argued.

“Uh,” Daniel began, walking forward with an un-amused smile and gesturing with his left hand as he spoke, “I know you're gonna find this hard to believe, but we're not rebels.  We're explorers.”

“What?” the chancellor asked.

“You see, we're from another planet.  Actually, a whole other star system, really,” Daniel explained.

“Wha...wha...wha wait!  Another planet?” the chancellor responded.

“That large ring you have back there in an exhibit?  It's called a Stargate, and it's an interplanetary transporter,” Daniel expounded as he pointed towards the back room.

“I understand,” the chancellor acknowledged.  “You don't want to make your demands to me, but, please, I implore you.  You are not gonna get what you want by hurting people.”

A voice came over a radio, interrupting the plea.  It was Lourdes Maylay, a member of the council security detail, and he wanted to talk to whoever was in charge.  The guard whose radio was transmitting the message slowly reached for the radio and handed it to Daniel.

After motioning for the chancellor to sit back down, Daniel spoke over the radio, “Hello?”

“We have a senior negotiator on his way,” Lourdes stated.  “I'd just like to let you know we're going to do everything in our power to get you what you need.”

“We don't need anything,” Daniel responded.

“I'm sorry?” the man asked, not understanding the remark.

“Look, there's been a terrible misunderstanding.  We're *not* rebels,” Daniel stated.

“Then release the hostages,” Maylay responded.

Looking at his teammates as he lowered the radio, Daniel opined, “That's not a bad idea.”

“I don't know, Daniel,” Sam surprised the others in responding, having rejoined her teammates.

“Why?” the archaeologist asked dryly.

“It doesn't matter what we say to them,” Sam replied.  “They think we're rebels. Well, we shot a security guard, and we took hostages.  If we let those people go, they're gonna come in here and kill us.”

“She's makin' sense,” Jack interjected.

“Jack, this is not how you make first contact with people,” the archaeologist responded agitatedly.

“I know it's not textbook, Daniel, but we're a little choiceless here.”

“O'Neill is correct.  We must wait for GeneralHammond to activate the Stargate,” Teal'c stated.

“Then we bolt, and those people can believe what they wanna believe,” Jack added.

“And no one else gets hurt,” Sam pointed out.

“I, too, believe that to be the best course of action,” the Jaffa reiterated.

“Okay, do you understand how dangerous this could be?” Daniel questioned his teammates, disbelieving of their current attitudes.  “This is an alien culture of which we have no knowledge.  We don't know how they're gonna handle a situation like this.  We don't know whether they're gonna wait six hours.  Once we start posing as kidnappers, there's no turning back, and if we get captured, we are hooped.”

“Hooped?” Jack echoed with curiosity.  “Daniel, who have you been hanging out with lately?”

“What?” Daniel responded angrily.

“You're not sounding like you at all,” Jack opined.

“Jack, I'm me.  I just think we're in a ridiculous situation that is getting worse by the second.”

“Hey, you're the one who wanted to come to this little paradise,” Jack argued with a hushed raised voice.

“Does that *really* matter right now?  We should be straight with them, not role playing the bad guys in a hostage scenario.”

“Who says they're the bad guys?” Jack challenged.  “Maybe they're the good guys, which would make us the good guys, too.”

“Jack, do you think you could focus on what's going on here, please.”
 
“You want focus?  Sure,” Jack agreed.  “Daniel, I hear ya, I do, but as much as I'd like to let these people go, we don't have a choice.  As far as I can see, these people are not gonna be open to the idea that we are peaceful aliens out on a jolly jaunt just to look around,” the team leader responded.  “We're gonna play long enough to get out of here.”

“Jack ...”

“Daniel, that's an order.”

Sighing in exasperation, Daniel raised the radio to his mouth and informed Maylay that, “I can't free them quite yet.”

“If this is some kind of mistake, I suggest you release them, now,” Maylay replied.

“Listen, one of your people has been seriously injured.  I suggest you send in medical personnel to take him out of here,” Daniel responded.

“You've sealed off the museum.  How do you expect us to get in?” the government representative questioned.

The archaeologist sighed as he thoughtfully looked over at the bars.

“You must have welding equipment, or something like that.  You can cut through the bars,” Daniel suggested.

“We'll contact you when we're ready.”

“Let's spread out and keep a close eye on them when they come in,” Jack instructed, getting nods from his team members.  “Hooped,” he muttered.  ~What is it with him?  Did he take a snark pill or something?  'Hooped'?  I wonder if Loki is messing around with our bodies, experimenting with us again.  Carter's acting odd, too.  'Hooped'?  You've got to be kidding.~

“It's a word, Jack,” Daniel snarked.  “Get over it already.”

Seeing Sam look towards he and his lover, Jack quipped, “It's a lack of caffeinated sugar.  He ran out of Twinkies.”

“Caffeinated sugar?” the blonde asked with an amused expression.

“He dunks the Twinkies into his coffee,” Jack explained with a grimace.

“I do not,” Daniel argued.  “Jack, focus.”

“How can I focus when you aren't you?” the team leader put forth sharply.

“I am, too, me!” Daniel argued.

“You're not acting like you.”

“Nor will I be anytime soon if you keep this up.”

**So I didn't take out the trash,** Jack shouted in his mind.

**Or clean off the table, or make my coffee like you usually do, which means I didn't get any, and neither will you tonight.**

**Getting any coffee?** Jack questioned hopefully.

**No.  Now *focus*.**

**Don't blame me because you overslept.  It's not like I wore you out last night,** Jack retaliated before getting back to the business at hand of watching the 'hostages' and preparing for the arrival of the medics.

====

Impatiently, Daniel waited for the government to follow through and start trying to cut through the metal bars and then send in a medical team.  It was taking longer than he thought it should.

“Jack, don't you think they should have been here by now?” the archaeologist questioned as he approached his lover.

“Oh, yeah,” the general agreed quietly as he continued to keep watch on the crowd and survey their perimeter.

“What are we going to do?”

“Wait,” Jack answered simply.

“Wait?”  Daniel bobbed his head up and down a couple of times and then added, “Right.”  He wasn't happy with the answer, but then again, what could they do anyway?  He walked over towards the crowd, feeling disgruntled about his team's current situation.  Then he heard a couple of the 'hostages' murmuring, whining about being on the floor and being uncomfortable.  “I'm sorry,” he snapped in a somewhat antagonist tone while leaning down closer to the complainers, causing the grumblers to stare at him accusingly.

“Forgive him,” Jack interjected as he looked over towards the younger man and the mumblers.  “He's on edge.”

“I am *not* on edge,” Daniel refuted sharply as he turned abruptly to face his lover.  He saw Jack's daring glare and groaned, “Okay, so I'm a little on edge.” Turning back to the grumblers, “But this isn't the Ritz, and there's nothing I can do about that, so stop whining.”

“Definitely on edge,” Jack muttered loud enough for the younger man to hear.

“I heard that.”

“I'll cancel your appointment for the hearing aid then,” Jack quipped, silently chuckling as the whiners began asking what 'the Ritz' was, causing his lover to groan and begin pacing back and forth.  ~He's so cute when he's frustrated,~ he chuckled inwardly as he changed his focus to survey the crowd for a routine check.

“Rebels,” a voice came over the radio.  “We're on our way to open the gate.”

“Finally,” Daniel groused.

“Teal'c, keep your eye on them,” the general ordered as he joined his husband in heading over towards the area where the government workers were getting reading to burn through the metal links.

~I am still worried.  This is odd behavior for O'Neill and DanielJackson.  I suspect they are not happy with each other,~ the Jaffa surmised.

====

“We managed to stop the bleeding, but you should get him to a facility as soon as possible,” Daniel told the medical personnel as the first medic walked by him several minutes later.

Without warning, the second medic touched Daniel on the chest with a laser-like device, causing a yellow electrical discharge.  The archaeologist cried out in pain and collapsed into unconsciousness.

“Daniel?” Jack called out anxiously as both he and Sam hurried forward, their weapons aimed at the medics.  ~Okay, now that's one way to get me to side with the rebels, whoever they are.~  He wished he could look at his lover, but he couldn't.  The entire team was in jeopardy.  ~Get these guys under control,and then ...~  **Danny?  Danny, can you hear me?**

While the first medic kneeled down, attempting to pull out his weapon, the second medic hurried behind Daniel, using the collapsing archaeologist as a shield while he grabbed his gun from his duffel bag.

~I don't think so!~  His eyes showing his seriousness, Jack ordered, “Let him go.” When the guard hesitated, he threatened, “Believe me, you so much as blink, and I'll blow your head off.  In fact, it would give me great pleasure to turn you into a pin cushion with lots and lots of holes.  Now, let him go.”

Frustrated at his failure, the medic lowered his weapon and let Daniel fall completely to the floor.

“Good decision,” Jack responded, gesturing to the two medics to lay down on their abdomens.  “Cover them,” he ordered his 2IC as he carefully walked over to his lover and kneeled down, checking his pulse.  **Come on, Angel.  Yeah, you're breathing -- good.**

“Sir?”

“He's okay,” Jack reported, relief in his voice.  Once Sam and Teal'c had secured the medics, the team leader looked at Sam and said, “Stay with him,” nodding down at the unconscious archaeologist.

Sam took her CO's place, checking her friend's pulse herself, just to make sure.

====

After having secured the medics, Jack took possession of the radio and sarcastically communicated, “Are you people out of your minds, or are you just plain stupid?  This is *no* way to run a hostage negotiation.”  Waiting a beat, he added strongly, “This is no way to gain our trust!”

Another man responded over the radio, saying, “My name is Quartus.  I've taken command of this operation.”

Walking towards his lover, Jack replied, “Look, we have one of your people here who needs help.  We're willing to let him go and *this* is how you repay us?”

Daniel was lying unconscious, his head resting on one of the medic's bags while Sam watched over him.

“I am the Chief Negotiation Officer for the Federal Security Council,” Quartus informed.  “I promise you things will be different.  My only concern is meeting your demands and freeing the hostages.”

“Do you think I'm an idiot?” Jack asked over the radio.  Looking down at Sam, he queried, “Does he think I'm an idiot?”  Back over the radio, he added, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”

“What?” the negotiator asked in total cluelessness.

“That's what the last guy said,” Jack snapped.  “I'm not buyin' it a second time,” he said forcefully.

“I can offer you many things, but if any of the hostages die ...”

“Just don't try any more stupid stunts,” Jack replied as he knelt down, staring at his lover.  With a beat, he added, “We don't want to hurt anyone.”

“Good, good.  If that changes, you should know that there's no escape.  We have you completely surrounded.”

“Of course, you do,” Jack responded.  ~Just have to wait for the clock to tick down.~

“He'll be okay, Sir.  This looks like a basic taser device,” Sam said, examining the object that had been used to stun the archaeologist.

“Carter, he's out like a light.”

“A basic, somewhat enhanced taser device,” Sam corrected.

“Stay with him,” Jack said, standing up to help Teal'c keep an eye on the guests.

====

Several minutes later, with Teal'c still standing guard over the natives from another part of the room, Jack was finishing up another lap of the party area.  He'd spent most of that time thinking about Daniel and their silly fight.  It was silly, and he knew it.  He also knew that fighting was normal.  There was nothing relationship-risky about their latest row, but it had been a while since their bickering at home had actually followed them on a mission, as it was doing today.

“Sir, he's waking up,” Sam called out, watching as Daniel put a hand to his eyes.

Hurrying over to his soulmate, Jack looked down and asked, “Daniel, are you okay?”

“What happened?” Daniel inquired as he sought to regain control of his senses.

“You got zapped,” Jack answered.

“With what ... bug spray?” the archaeologist asked sarcastically.

“Guess they got you confused with the local wasp,” Jack responded.

Putting on his glasses, Daniel snarked, “Thank you for that thought.  What did I miss?”

Extending out his hand and helping the younger man up, Jack answered, “Well, the real negotiator got here.  He wants to know what our demands are.”

“Mmmm.  Any ideas?”

“A jet to Springfield?” Jack joked.

“We need these demands to make sense; I mean, something these rebels would actually say,” Daniel refuted, choosing to ignore his husband's request to visit 'The Simpsons'.

“I wasn't serious,” the general replied.

“Sometimes it's hard to tell,” the archaeologist responded.

As the two glared at each other for a moment, a man in the crowd called out, “Excuse me?  Did you really come through the ring?”

“Yes, we did,” Daniel answered.

“It's a portal, isn't it?  To other worlds.”

“Yeah.  I'd be happy to show you how it works, once we get it up and running again,” Jack answered.

“You want them to free your friends,” the man stated helpfully.

“I'm sorry, what?” Jack asked.

“Your demands.  If you want to pose as the rebels, the first thing they usually do in situations like this is ask for the freeing of their imprisoned compatriots.”

Curious, the three teammates began to walk towards the man who apparently wanted to help them.

“What's your name?” Daniel questioned, sensing sincerity in the native.

“Cicero.  I'm a researcher here at the museum, and I believe you.”

“You wanna get on the radio and explain that to the folks outside?” Jack asked hopefully.

“Oh, I've tried.  I've suspected as much for years.  I've published dozens of papers, written a book; no one listens.  My colleagues think I'm a bit of a joke,” Cicero admitted.

“Daniel, you've found a kindred spirit,” Jack teased snarkily.

Ignoring the barb, Daniel stated, “Uh, on most planets, found along with the ring, is what we call a DHD.  It's a dialing device.  It's similar to the one you have back in the exhibit.  Do you have the real one here?”

“We found fragments of it, but the one in the pyramid room is a reconstruction from some diagrams we found,” Cicero answered.

“Yeah, we know,” Jack sighed.  “That's why we're stuck.”

“Sir, if one of the fragments is the power source ...” Carter began hopefully.

“Cicero, stand up,” Jack ordered.  “I need you to take us to your lab.”

“Of course.”

“Wait a second,” Daniel interrupted.  “I'm gonna need a primer on these rebels first.”

“You'd better take notes,” Cicero suggested.

“He's an excellent student,” Jack spoke, seeing his lover glare at him.  “What?  It was a compliment.”

“Right,” Daniel replied, pulling out his notebook.

====

Once Jack and Sam had left with Cicero, Daniel walked away from the crowd and contacted Quartus.  He ran down the list of demands he'd prepared with the researcher's help, beginning with the release of other rebels.

“And after they're freed, we'd like the Viceroy to call a referendum on dissolving his government; and, finally, we wanna make a public statement on the Gaynord transmitters to address the people of this proud nation.”

“That's unacceptable.”

“Excuse me?” Daniel questioned.

“Believe me, I want this to end well for both of us, but as you should know from previous attempts at political terrorism like this, the Viceroy would rather sacrifice the hostages before bowing to such demands,” Quartus answered.

~This is crazy,~ Daniel thought as he closed his eyes.  Looking over at Teal'c, who was standing nearby, he said, “Remind me to thank Cicero for his wonderful intel.”  Talking into the radio again, he asked, “What about freeing the imprisoned rebels?”

“That'll take time.”

“Oh, um, absolutely!  We recognize that, so you ... you take all the time you need. Yeah!  You run that through the proper channels; you talk to whom you need to talk to.  We're in no rush,” Daniel stated.  ~A few more hours, and we'll be outta here.~

“I'm sure the hostages would disagree with that.”

“They're fine.  We're not gonna hurt them,” Daniel replied, his sincerity inappropriate for the conversation he was participating in.  Seeing the Jaffa give him a stern, chastising look, he more harshly added, “... unless you get cute, in which case, there's gonna be killin' and ... whatnot.”

Teal'c rolled his eyes at the supposed threat while thinking, ~DanielJackson requires further training on the art of intimidation.  I will make sure he watches 'Die Hard' when we return to Earth.~

“All right.  I'll see what I can do,” Quartus responded, ending the transmission.

“Okay, so I'm not the best terrorist in the world,” Daniel said, shrugging.

“Nor in the universe,” Teal'c responded.

“You're teasing, right?  Like a ... a Jaffa joke?”  Daniel watched his friend turn away and repeated to his retreating back, “Right?”  Nodding, he sighed and mumbled, “Right.”

====

Meanwhile, Quartus was contacted by one of the museum's night guards who had been on his rounds when SG-1 had appeared in the main room.  The man's name was Jayem Seran, and he was the one who had witnessed the confrontation between the guards and SG-1 from the second level.  He was a rather average man, but he had lofty aspirations and thought of himself as being much more capable than he really was.  He also saw the current situation as a chance for advancement.

Even as Jayem spoke with Quartus, he moved covertly through the museum, darting from one side of the corridor to the other, his arm extended with his gun pointed.  He was eager to serve, thinking of himself as the perfect inside man.

“... but I am on the inside.  I can be your ears; your eyes.”

“You know what would be the most help,” Quartus responded, wanting the night guard to do nothing.

~At last: I'm part of the action,~ Jayem thought.  “Standing by for your orders ... Sir.”

Unfortunately for the night guard, Quartus ordered him to stand down, saying, “Find a safe place.  Stay there, and wait until this whole thing is over.”

“What are you going to do?”

“That's not your concern, Guardsman.  Our plan just doesn't involve you,” Quartus responded.  “Don't get in the way.”

“Very well.  Jayem out,” the man said, lowering his weapon and walking dejectedly down the hallway for a few seconds as he complied with the order; that is, until he convinced himself that the radios had been compromised and that Quartus hadn't really meant for him to find a safe place to wait out the crisis.

The guard again raised his gun and continued stealthily through the museum.

====

“Daniel, you there?” Jack called out over his radio.

“No, Jack.  I decided to take a little trip down the Nile.  This is my answering machine.  Please *don't* leave a message.”

“So, as I was saying,” Jack began, “Cicero's lab was a strikeout, so we're headed to an archive on the other side of the building.”

“Copy that.”

“By the way, watch your step.  According to Cicero, the Viceroy needs a win here,” Jack advised seriously.

“Are we playing a game?” Daniel questioned.

“Yeah -- live or die, and we're the tokens,” Jack quipped.  “They think we're some kind of radical religious sect, and the rebels have been winning lately.  Cicero thinks the government will do whatever is necessary to come out victorious.”

“That makes sense,” Daniel responded.  “Be careful, Jack.”

“Always,” Jack replied, smiling at the warmth in his soulmate's voice.  “O'Neill out.”

~Jackson-O'Neill,~ Daniel thought.  ~And you'd better keep that six of yours safe for me.~

====

Daniel tuned into a growing argument between two women in the crowd, one of whom had been the screaming female that had run from SG-1 in the pyramid room.  The other was Sylvana.  It had been Sylvana's boyfriend who had gone to the pyramid room with the screaming female.  The women began to fight over the men, pulling each other's hair.

~I don't believe this,~ Daniel thought.  ~We don't need this.~  Irritated, he yelled, “What are you doing?  Stop it!”  The females continued to argue, much to Daniel's dismay.  He leaned over them and exasperatingly shouted, “Shut up!  Shut up!  You're hostages!  This is like a ... a life and death situation here.  Start acting like it.”

Sylvana dismissed the admonishing remark, saying, “Oh, please!  You're not rebels.  We're not deaf, you know.  Everyone in this room knows it.”

“That doesn't matter.  You're hostages.  We're your ... we're your captors!  We're heavily armed.  There are rules!  There's a whole school of etiquette to this!”  When Sylvana stopped talking but continued to glare at him, Daniel pointed his finger at her and ordered, “Don't eyeball me.”

~Indeed, DanielJackson is not himself.  I recommend a weekend fishing with O'Neill.  I do not understand what is therapeutic about this human activity, but DanielJackson and O'Neill both return from such retreats smiling.~

====

As they headed for the museum archive, Jack and Sam explained to Cicero how the Stargate worked.  He was fascinated by the device and in knowing that life existed on other planets.

“Hey, when you guys found the Gate in the pyramid, there wasn't a stash of really cool, huge honkin' advanced alien weapons, was there?” Jack asked hopefully as they turned down a long corridor.

“No, I'm afraid not,” Cicero responded.

“I didn't think so,” Jack replied with an accepting sigh.

“Sir, look,” Sam interjected as the trio came to the end of the corridor, facing a set of four large display cases.

“Is that what I think it is?” Jack asked as he looked inside the case that was directly in front of them.

“It's a Goa'uld naquadah bomb,” Sam stated.

“That's what I thought it was.”

“It looks like it's in pretty good shape,” Sam noted as she peered through the glass.  “If it's real and if the naquadah core is intact,” she paused, changing the direction of her thought as she looked over at Cicero, “I assume these cases are connected to the security system.”

Cicero confirmed Sam's assumption and told her that she couldn't access the bomb without a security card, which he didn't have.

“Carter, do your best,” Jack ordered.

“Sir, with all due respect, I'm an astrophysicist, not a cat burglar,” Sam stated coyly, even as she reached for her special set of fine tools that she always carried with her.  ~A girl never knows when she might need a file.~

“Today, you're a cat burglar.  Meow.”

Sam shrugged and knelt down to get a closer look.

~Okay, Samantha, how are you going to get this done?~

====

“Carter?” Jack called out a while later.

“Sir, this isn't my area of expertise.  Maybe you'd like to try?” Sam questioned.  ~It's not like picking a door lock; that's easy.  A wrong move here and, well, that's what I'm not certain about.~

“Why is everyone arguing with me today?” Jack snapped.

“Everyone ... Sir?”

“Fine,” Jack growled, gently pushing Sam to the side and then taking the end of his P-90 and smashing the glass case.

“I would have done that myself, Sir, but ...”

“But what?”

“But I was worried there might be an alarm or something that might ...”

“Go boom?” Jack asked a bit lightly.  “There isn't.”

“I see that now, Sir,” Sam responded as she pushed away some of the glass fragments and then returned to her position in front of the case.  Taking out her knife, she cut the pressure cord.  “Okay, we should be able to just take the bomb out of ... holy Hannah!” she exclaimed, falling backwards into Jack, who took several steps back as he caught his balance while also preventing Sam from falling to the floor.  “Must be a sensor,” she deduced about the metal bars that had just shot down from the ceiling in front of the display cases.

“No kidding,” Jack said as the two recovered their footing and walked back by the display case.

“We'll have to figure out a way to get through the bars,” Sam stated.

“Ya think?” Jack asked sarcastically.  Frustrated, he looked at the researcher and stated, “Cicero, we need one of those cards.  Now how can we get one?”

“You don't!” Jayem interjected, having sneaked up behind the three with his pistol aimed at them.  “Throw your guns to the floor -- now,” after which he ordered Cicero to pick up the weapons.

“Thanks! They, uh, tried to make me get them a key card,” Cicero stated as he walked over to stand next to Jayem.

Deciding he better play along, Cicero pointed one of the hand guns that he had picked up towards Jack and Sam.

“Yeah, I heard,” Jayem responded.  To Jack, he instructed, “Toss over your communicator.”

~I hate big gun wannabes.  He looks like 'Barney Fife',~ Jack thought about the popular character from an old TV comedy.  Unhooking his radio, Jack replied, “Okay, relax.  You got us.  You're in control.”

“That's right.  I am.”

Having picked up the radio, Jayem pressed the button and spoke, “Murderous rebels.  Come in, please.”

~Huh?~ Daniel thought as he stared at the radio, puzzled by the transmission.  “Speaking?”

“I have your two friends.  Let the hostages go, or I'm going to kill them,” Jayem threatened.

“Excuse me?”

“Your friends.  I have them at gunpoint.  If you don't let the rest of the hostages go, I'm gonna kill them,” Jayem reiterated quickly.

“Who's calling?” Daniel queried.

“Who I am is of no importance.”

“Oh, I disagree.”

“Tell him,” Jayem ordered, tossing the radio to Jack.

“Daniel.”

“Jack, what's goin' on?”

“Well, Carter and I we're just out for a stroll when we thought we'd stop and smell the roses,” Jack answered sarcastically.  “What do you think is going on?  Barney Fife here got lucky and got the drop on us, and I think he wants to trade.”

~Barney?~ Daniel questioned inwardly, evaluating his lover's message.  ~Okay, good: not a big threat.  Jack can handle it.~  “How do you wanna play this?”

“Well, the two of us for all those hostages doesn't seem quite fair now, does it?” Jack answered.

Jayem interrupted the conversation and took possession of the radio once again, demanding the hostages be released.

“Uh, no.”

“You heard me, right?” Jayem asked, completely surprised by the refusal.  “I ...  I'm going to kill them.”

“Yeah, but if we let the hostages go, we're all dead, so no.”

Jayem didn't quite grasp Daniel's words, believing that the 'rebels' had probably already sent for help.

~This guy has been watching too many Steven Segal movies.  Geez, he's a mouse in a lion's den,~ Jack quipped silently as he watched the guard talk to Cicero.

Ultimately, Jayem decided to hide at the end of the hallway, waiting to get the drop on the 'murderous rebels' he was certain would be trying to rescue SG-1 any second now.  Before leaving, he instructed Cicero to keep watch over Jack and Sam.

As soon as Jayem was out of sight, Cicero returned their weapons to Jack and Sam, saying, “Sorry about that.”

“It's all right.  Happens all the time,” Jack replied.

“He's a night security guard; has been since I started working here.  He would never have killed you.”

“Yeah, we got that,” Sam responded.

“He means well,” Cicero stated.

“Yeah, I'm sure he does, but we can't have him running around out there.  We'll be right back,” Jack stated as he and Sam headed after the guard.

It didn't take long before the two teammates were able to sneak up on Jayem, who was practicing getting the drop on the 'rebels'.

“He left himself wide open from behind.  That was a mistake,” Jack commented as he and his 2IC held their weapons on the man.

“Basic training,” Sam retorted in reply.

“Washout,” Jack smirked.  “Tie his hands.”

====

~This is the craziest day,~ Daniel thought to himself.  ~I swear if I die as some rebel that I'm not, knowing that Jack and I slept on our sides last night, not even facing each other, I'll kill him.~  He grimaced at the irrationality and nonsensical nature of his mental remark.  ~If he'd at least taken out the trash, we wouldn't be in this mess.  Okay, we would, but last night we would have made love instead of war.  Then again, not making my coffee this morning didn't help any.  He could have made sure I was up in time.  Okay, okay, so I hit the 'snooze' button three times.  I was tired.  He's always wanting me to get more sleep.~

As Daniel was lamenting his fight with his husband, Teal'c walked over to him and advised, “One of the hostages is a nurse.  She was able to stabilize the wounded guard.”

“Oh, finally some good news.”

Meanwhile, speaking quietly to those around him, the chancellor stated, “It is my belief these men, in fact, are not rebels, but common thieves.  Now, if we rise up against them ...”

“Excuse me, DanielJackson,” Teal'c spoke, having overheard the chancellor's comments.  He walked over to the man and zatted him, causing the chancellor to fall to his side, unconscious.

As a result of the zat blast, the same woman who had screamed upon seeing SG-1 upon their arrival, screamed again.

Sitting down on his haunches and closing the zat, Teal'c stated, “Please remain calm as we attempt to rectify this most unfortunate circumstance.”

~Listen to him,~ Daniel mused in a combination of frustration and amusement.  When his friend approached a few seconds later, the archaeologist queried curiously, “Teal'c, are you enjoying this?”

“Is there something in my actions that would cause you to think that, DanielJackson?”

“Oh, I don't know.  Maybe the look on your face just then.  Actually, uh, I thought you were close to laughing just now.”

“I have read many articles of late on the subject of not taking oneself and one's environment too seriously.  I believe this is the perfect opportunity to test out the theories those articles profess.”

“That was a theory?” the archaeologist inquired.

“It was,” Teal'c replied with a slight nod, elaborating, “Use of humor as a relaxant in tense situations.”

“Well, that's all nice and fine and everything, but, uh, I don't think they thought it was funny just now.”

“I did,” the Jaffa responded with confident eyes before walking on.

“You did?  He did.  Okay,” Daniel muttered, taking a big breath as he continued to think about just how insane this entire experience had been.  ~What's going on with this team lately?  Jack and I are behaving like children towards each other, and Teal'c is growing a sense of humor.  What's next?~

====

Back at the end of the corridor where the naquadah bomb was, Jack and Sam returned with Jayem and immediately realized that Cicero had disappeared.  Jayem was convinced the 'rebels' had killed the man.

Not particularly worried about Cicero's location at the moment, Sam focused on the display case and asked Jayem for his access card.  Naturally, the guard refused.

Jack walked forward, smirking as he said, “We don't have time for more games.  Hand it over.”  He sighed when the guard failed to make any kind of motion towards getting his card out.  “Carter.”

Sam held her weapon on the guard, while Jack began a body search.

~You know, I just don't want to do this.  Who knows where this guy has been,~ the general thought.  “I'm going to count to three; no, make that two.  If you don't hand over the card, I'm going to strip you down to your birthday suit and put you on display for all those folks to see.”

“I don't believe you.”

“Maybe you'll make the headlines on that Gaylord transmitter thingamajig.  I'm only gonna count once.  One ...t...”  Jack smiled as the man handed over the card, pulling it out of his pants.  “I'm sure the women are just as happy about not seeing your wares as you are about not having to show them.”

Jack ran the card through the key card reader device on the wall, but nothing happened.

“It needs your access code,” Sam surmised, hearing the three quick beeps of recognition from the device.

“Enter your code,” Jack ordered forcefully.

“That is a rare, priceless artifact, and if you think I'm just gonna stand here and let you steal it, you're out of your minds.  Do whatever you want to me.  I'll never tell,” Jayem responded and then looked away defiantly.

Impatiently, Jack argued, “It's not a rare and priceless artifact.  It's a bomb!  Now we don't want to hurt anyone, but we need its power source to get home, and the sooner we do that, the sooner everyone can leave.  So, what do you say?”

“You'll have to kill me first!” Jayem responded.

“Don't tempt me,” Jack replied.  “Carter, end it,” he said, giving her a covert nod.

“Yes, Sir,” Sam replied, giving Jayem a look of disregard as she studied the bomb for a few seconds and then quickly reached in just far enough to press a few of the glyphs on the activator.

While Jayem watched nervously, questioning the attempt to activate the bomb, Jack and Sam claimed that they had no reason to live if they couldn't use the bomb's power source to help them get home.  Sam coolly volunteered that anyone within a few miles of the museum would be incinerated.  As the timer began to count down, Jayem caved, agreeing to give them his access code.

“You made the right choice,” Jack stated after the man entered his code.

“You're insane.”

“I've been called worse,” Jack acknowledged with a wicked smirk.

“Uh, Sir.”

“'Uh, Sir', what?” Jack asked sharply, groaning at the tone he had just heard.

“I'm not sure I can turn this off,” Sam announced.

“Carter, are you telling me that you actually turned that thing on?”

“Well ...”

“Carter!”

“We needed to know if it was a real bomb, and our act needed to look convincing for Jayem,” Sam rationalized verbally.

“We needed it to look convincing?  I swear Carter, not only is Daniel not acting like himself, but neither are you.  I feel like I'm in the freakin' Outer Limits.”

“Not the 'Twilight Zone'?” Sam asked, noting that usually the general's references to the strange and odd aspects of life were symbolized by the Rod Sterling TV series.

Staring at the blonde in disbelief, the disgruntled general asked, “What's the countdown clock set to?”

“Um, an hour, give or take ... a few minutes.”

“A few minutes?” Jack repeated.  “Sweet.”  After a moment, he ordered, “Carter, think of something -- now.”

====

“Daniel, Carter and I are taking the bomb to the pyramid room,” Jack called out over the radio a couple of minutes later.

“You got it out?” Daniel asked, feeling both surprised and relieved.

“Yeah, but there's a slight problem,” Jack revealed.

“What's that?” the archaeologist asked flatly.  ~There's always a but; it's just not *the* 'butt' that I want.  Gawd, what I am thinking?~

“It's set to go off in fifty minutes.”

“Fifty minutes?” Daniel asked urgently, walking forward a few steps as if shoved by the words themselves.

“Give or take a few,” Jack added a bit sarcastically.

“Why'd you activate it?” Daniel questioned, suddenly realizing that it wouldn't have been Jack who had done it.  “Never mind.  Maybe Cicero can help to ...”

“Cicero flew the coop.  No clue where he is.”

“He must be here somewhere.”

“We can't worry about him now,” Jack stated.  “O'Neill out.”

====

Meanwhile, Cicero walked outside and was immediately surrounded by troops.

From the main hall, Daniel looked at the laptop that was connected to the security system of the museum and observed, “Teal'c, the door on the south side just opened up.”

Teal'c jogged over to investigate, while Daniel covered him with his P-90.  There, the Jaffa saw Cicero giving himself up to the government troops.

“It would appear that Cicero has escaped,” Teal'c stated.

“Wonderful,” Daniel responded sarcastically as he lowered his P-90.  ~I don't understand that.  He's on our side.  I think.~  Hitting his radio, he called out, “Jack, Cicero's outside with the troops.”

“What?

“He left.  He just left.  Why would he do that?” Daniel asked.

“I don't know,” Jack groused.  “He's one of your kind,” he sighed.  “O'Neill out.”

~Out for the count, if you keep that up, O'Neill,~ Daniel thought mentally.

====

Meanwhile, Cicero was making his case to Quartus, stating, “I know it sounds crazy, but it's true.  The pyramid ring acts as a connection point between many worlds.  Many of us have thought so for some time, but were unable to activate it, to prove it.  They aren't rebels.  They don't know anything about our world.”

“Their demands would prove otherwise, Cicero,” Quartus responded.

“I told them what to say.  I told them what to demand,” Cicero confessed.

“You did what?” Quartus questioned angrily.

“All they need is time.  Our ring is broken.  Once their friends realize they're stuck here, they'll send help.”

“Their friends?  Others are on the way?”

“Yes,” Cicero affirmed.  “They just needed to stall a bit, so I told them what to say.  I know, it maybe wasn't the best thing to do, but a chance for us to actually communicate with beings from another world?  This may be the greatest day in the history of our planet.”

====

Some time later, Daniel contacted Jack over the radio and admitted, “Guys, I'm starting to get a little worried.”

“Welcome to the club,” Jack responded.

“No, this Quartus guy has checked in with me every ten minutes like clockwork.”

“And?”

“And it's been over twenty minutes now.  The silence is starting to make me feel uneasy.  How goes it on your end?” Daniel inquired.

Looking over at Sam, the general asked, “How goes it on our end?”

“I think I have it,” Sam stated confidently.  Then she smiled nervously and added a hesitant, “Maybe.”

“Carter?” Jack asked, frustrated by the uncertainty.

“Sir, there's a seventy percent chance that if we dial manually, we'll be able to establish a connection, and there's a fifty percent chance the bomb will just go off.”

Grimacing, Jack pointed out, “That's a hundred and twenty percent.”

“Well, there's some crossover, where we establish a wormhole and it blows up,” Sam spoke.

“Carter, if I didn't know better, I'd say you weren't really here, and you were someone else pretending to be you.”

“Excuse me?” a confused Sam questioned.

“Never mind,” Jack responded.  Clicking his radio, he said, “Daniel, did you catch any of that?”

“Yeah, Sam's been taken over by an alien, and we really don't know what's going to happen.  Yeah, I heard.  Daniel out,” the archaeologist stated as he paced in front of the inhabitants.

“Snippy,” Jack opined.  “Carter, don't look at me, look at the bomb.”

~Maybe he needs to vent a little.~  Sam continued to work as she asked, “Anything wrong?”

“He's a workaholic,” Jack sighed, taking a prolonged breath before elaborating on his remark.  “Last night it was like his laptop was glued to his hip.”

“I'm sure you must be exaggerating,” Sam mused.

“Sure, take his side.  Of course, the Science Twins stick together,” Jack scowled.

“Science Twins?” Sam questioned.

“Carter, are you going to tell me that after all these years, you've never heard anyone call you and Daniel the Science Twins?”

“Actually, Sir, no, I haven't.”

Jack grimaced at the woman's sly, teasing smile and then growled, “Get that thing open.”  ~Geeks.  She's playing a game with me, and Danny -- crap -- dang geek got mad just because I didn't put the dishes in the sink.  I'm not a maid, you know.~

====

While Jack and Sam attempted to dial the Stargate, Maylay and Quartus were discussing the Viceroy's having denied the 'rebels' demands.  The hostage crisis had to be ended.

“DanielJackson, we are about to have company,” Teal'c reported, seeing the special forces of the government gathering and moving towards their location.

“Guys, we need to get out of here now,” Daniel spoke with urgency into the radio.

“Just a little bit more,” Sam called out just before the last chevron locked in place.

Just as Daniel became aware of the assault troops entering the building through the same door that Cicero had exited from, Jack called out, “Daniel, Teal'c, fall back to the Gate.  We have a connection.”

“Timing!” Daniel stated happily.  He ran over to the hostages and advised, “Okay, I wanna thank you guys for all your patience today.  I suggest you stay on the floor with your hands on your head until your police have figured out you're not the bad guys.”

At that point, glass in the ceiling broke, falling down into the room and causing some of the hostages to scream.  The assault forces began firing on Daniel and Teal'c as the teammates ran out of the room, down the corridors, and into the pyramid room.

“They're heading down the north hallway!” one of the entering troops called out.

Daniel and Teal'c rounded a corner just as the armed forces stopped to fire on them.  Jack ran over to the corner near the exit and raised his weapon, prepared to fire.

Suddenly, Daniel ran by his lover, shouting, “Run!”

As SG-1 ran for the wormhole, the assault forces cut them off, forcing the team to stop and raise their arms.  More soldiers entered the pyramid room, along with Quartus.  Quickly, Jayem walked over to Quartus, trying to speak.

Seeing the tape covering the guard's mouth, the man looked over at Jack.

“He's a talker.  Yakkida, yakkida, yakkida,” Jack said, tapping his thumb against his fingers in rapid motions.  “We got tired of listening to him,” he added, explaining the tape.

“Ow!” Jayem exclaimed.  “They've got a bomb, Sir.  It's set to go off.”

“It's okay,” Sam interjected.  “Connecting a wormhole to the Gate has depleted the naquadah core to a point where it's no longer a threat.”

“Don't believe them, Sir.  They're devious, and they speak in code to each other,” Jayem countered.

“Cicero told you who we are, didn't he?” Jack challenged Quartus.

Quartus ordered Cicero inside the building.  Once he arrived, Cicero saw the Stargate activated and was awed by it.

“Look, we never wanted to hurt anybody,” Daniel reiterated.  “We just want to go home, okay; and that ring is how we do that.  Please, just let us leave,” he implored.  “All we have to do is walk through that.  Once we're gone, it will shut down, and no one will be harmed, I promise.”

“I'm afraid I can't allow that,” Quartus responded.

Exasperated, Jack replied, “Oh, crap.  Look, we all know what you're going through.  We've all been there.  It's the unknown, not knowing if you're going to get tribbles or cylons.”  He paused, seeing the blank expressions on everyone's faces.  “Forget that.  The truth is that there are worlds and races out there that do mean you and your people harm, but we're not one of 'em, and you're lucky you ran into us before you ran into them.  Now, I will admit that our first contact was not ideal.  In fact, it could well be our worst,” he said, glancing over at his lover.

Daniel grimaced, shaking his head slightly, certain SG-1 had had worse first contact encounters over the last several years.

~He's probably right,~ Jack thought, interpreting his archaeologist's expression correctly.  Looking at Quartus, he stated forcefully, “But you do not want your first foray into interplanetary relations to be a violent one.”  Walking forward and speaking as calmly but sternly as he could, he continued, “We're a peaceful people, but we do not take acts of aggression lying down.  So, you let us walk through that ring, and when and how we meet again, will be under your control.  Prevent us from leaving, and it won't be.  You can trust me on this.”

“Please, Quartus.  This is the future of our people,” Cicero begged.

“Lower your weapons,” Quartus ordered his troops.

“Thank you,” Jack said.  Still staring at his adversary, he ordered, “Carter, send the code.”

“Yes, Sir,” Sam acknowledged.  “We're clear,” she said a moment later.

“It's been swell,” Jack spoke, backing away slowly.  “Go,” he ordered his team.

Sam walked into the event horizon, followed by Teal'c, and Daniel.  Jack gave the museum one last look, and he studied Quartus' face carefully.  Then he turned around and walked through the Stargate.

“SG-1, was there a problem?” General Hammond asked from the control room.

“You could say that, Sir,” Jack answered in a raised voice as he looked up.

“We'll debrief as soon as you're ready,” the lieutenant general instructed.

“I wonder what's going to happen there,” Sam pondered as the team handed over their weapons to the armory guards and then began to exit the gate room.

“Perhaps our visit will encourage them to explore other worlds,” Teal'c remarked.

“Nothing is going to happen except for more of the same,” Jack spoke sarcastically.

“Sir?”

“I know Quartus; rather, I know his type, and I recognized that calm expression on his face when we left.  I'm betting the cover up started the moment the Stargate shut down.  They'll probably make a hero out of Barney.”

“Who is Barney?  I was not aware of anyone in the pyramid room named Barney, O'Neill,” the Jaffa responded.

“The night guard.  Jayem.  He wanted to be like ... never mind,” the silver-haired man replied, certain it would take longer to explain the reference to Teal'c than it would take to do the entire debriefing.

“Cicero knows the truth,” Daniel interjected.

“Daniel, I know he's one of yours, but he doesn't stand a chance, not with that world the way it is right now,” Jack refuted.

“He'll try.”

“He might,” Jack agreed more softly.  As Sam and Teal'c moved around a corner, he touched his lover's arm, stopping him briefly.  “He'll try, Danny, but if he doesn't go along, he'll become a victim.  I'm sorry, but I know Quartus.  His kind doesn't change because he's on a different planet.”

Jack patted his soulmate's arm and then walked forward, leaving Daniel to briefly contemplate the harsh truth of the older man's words.

====

“Jack,” Daniel called out as he entered the living room from the stairs.

“In here,” the older man responded from the kitchen.

“What are you making?”

“An old standby -- hot dogs and beans.”  Seeing his lover's stare of disbelief, Jack confessed, “Pork chops, corn on the cob, salad, and cheese bread.”

“Much better,” Daniel replied.

“Glad you approve,” Jack stated as he returned to his task.

“Jack.”

“Daniel.”

“I'm sorry about last night,” the younger man sighed.

“Me, too,” Jack replied as he slid the cheese bread into the oven to heat up.  Facing his lover, he admitted, “I have a short fuse when it comes to working at home these days.”

“I wasn't researching for work, Jack,” Daniel revealed.

“No?”

Shaking his head, the archaeologist responded, “No, and I'm not going to tell you what I was researching, either, but it wasn't work.  It was something for us.”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

“No, I meant, what were you researching?”

“You'll find out,” Daniel answered.

“Come on, Danny.”

“Later.”

“When later?” Jack questioned.

“Later is ... later,” Daniel answered with a smile.

“I wanna know now.”

“No,” Daniel said, smiling.

“Daniel, if you don't tell me now, I'll ...”

“You'll what?”

“This!” Jack stated, starting towards his lover.

Quickly, Daniel laughed and turned, running out of the kitchen.

“I'm gonna get you, Daniel!”

“*Jack, turn off the burner first!*”

“I ... oh, crap.”  Jack reversed his running, returning to the kitchen and turning off the appliances.  ~Cold pork chops?  Who cares?~ he thought as he hurried towards the stairs.  “You're *so* mine, Daniel!”

“Always, Babe,” Daniel shouted from the bedroom.

“You're gonna tell me,” Jack teased threateningly as he sprinted into the room.

“Make me,” Daniel dared.

“Deal,” Jack agreed as he walked towards his lover.

Their fight forgotten, the lovers embarked on an evening full of sparks and sizzling passion, which easily made up for the not-so-perfect food they ate later in the night.

====

“I love your skills of interrogation,” Daniel said the next morning as the lovers prepared to leave for the Mountain.

“It's all in the eyes,” Jack stated.

“Uh, no,” Daniel refuted.

“No?”

“No,” Daniel confirmed.  “That's not what did it.”

“Then what?” Jack asked, confused.

“Uh, well ... uh ...”

“Daniel!”

“That,” the younger man stated, motioning with his head.

“That?  What's that?” Jack asked.

“*That*,” Daniel answered, waving with his hand towards his husband's midsection.

Jack grinned as he retorted, “Big, hard, and probing.”

“Great probe, yes.  Oh, yeah, the best kind of probe.”

“Danny?”

“Yes, Babe?”

“How about we be late to work?” the older man inquired with a seductive Irish smile.

“Deal!” Daniel agreed as the lovers found themselves disrobed in a flash.

Unlike the cool of the morning before, this morning was hot, hot, and hotter.

====

“You have a 'go',” Hammond spoke at SG-1's next briefing.  As the team began to stand, he asked, “Before you leave, has there been any update on P4M-328?”

“We tried making a connection twice, Sir.  No luck,” Daniel sighed regretfully.

“Could it be a problem with that Gate, considering the manual redial?”

“We don't think so, Sir,” Sam answered.  “Our attempts to dial the Gate should have worked.”

“They have undoubtedly buried the Gate,” Teal'c put forth.

“So they just stuck their heads in the sand, even after everything you told 'em?” Hammond asked.

“Like an ostrich,” Jack opined.

“Actually, they don't,” Daniel interjected lightly.

“What?” the leader of the team question, glancing over at his lover.

“Ostriches don't put their heads in sand at the first sight of danger,” the archaeologist clarified.

“Yes, they do.”

“No, they don't.”

“Okay, it's at the second sign of danger,” Jack insisted.

“Actually, no.  They do swallow sand and pebbles to help grind their food, and they build shallow nests in the sand for their eggs, but they don't bury their heads.”

Jack frowned and asked, “Then why does every reference known to man say they do?”

“Well, I don't know.  Maybe seeing ostriches swallowing sand or building nests from a distance makes it look like that's what they were doing, or maybe it's because of their behavior when threatened.”

“You mean when they stick their heads in the sand?” Jack smirked.

“No, I mean when they lie down on the ground and stretch out their necks to try and be less visible.  With their coloring, it could give the appearance of burying their necks in the sand; but's it all an illusion,” Daniel claimed with a smile.

“Of course, it is,” Jack sighed.  

~This is O'Neill and DanielJackson,~ Teal'c opined approvingly as he watched the debate continue and carefully observed their facial expressions and vocal tones.

“Gentlemen,” Hammond called out, wanting to get the discussion back on track.

“I'm sorry, Sir,” Daniel apologized, lowering his head for just a moment to help himself refocus.  “Maybe they decided they needed to deal with some of their internal issues first before starting to deal with more ... universal issues,” he theorized about the people on P4M-328.

“Unfortunately, we don't have that option,” Hammond said.  “Check in every six hours,” he ordered about the team's newest mission.

“Yes, Sir,” Jack acknowledged, watching the SGC leader return to his office.

“You still don't think we'll ever hear from them again,” Daniel stated, looking at his soulmate.

“No, I don't,” Jack answered solemnly.  More brightly, he smiled and began to walk towards the door, saying, “But these folks on P78-MMJ are gonna love us.”

“How do you know?” Sam asked.

“The odds are in our favor,” Jack responded.  “Besides, you know me -- Mister Positive.”

“Right,” Daniel chuckled as he and the team continued onward in their exploration of the universe.

**I am Mister Positive, Angel,** Jack communicated.

**You are?**

**Whenever you're near me, I'm the most positive guy in the universe because I love you with all my heart.**

**Gawd, not at the Mountain, Jack,** Daniel replied, trying desperately not to blush.

**Forever and always, Danny.**

**Forever and always, My Love,** Daniel replied.  ~What's a guy to do?  Actually, I have a lot of ideas on that, and I think we'll do a few of those tonight.~

Happy and as in love as ever, Jack and Daniel joined their teammates for an old-fashioned mission, a first contact recon where they were once again the good guys in the universe.  That's what it was all about for SG-1, and it promised to be a very good day for the peaceful explorers.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~

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