Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: 5 - May 30 - June 10, 2002
Spoilers: Fail Safe and minor ones for Brief Candle, Upgrades, Proving Ground, Last Stand, Summit
Written: December 25-28, 2007, January 2-8,10,13-14,28-29,31, February 1-3,15,19-20, March 29, April 9-10, 2008
Summary: SG-1 goes on an explosive mission. Will their mission succeed, and will the team still be friends after spending ten days in a small spacecraft together?
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
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) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Lissa, Carol, Linda, DC, Ali, Jo, Tonya, Irina, Melissa, Keri!
“Carter, I was doing something important,” Jack whined as he entered
the briefing room.
The major was at the foot of the table, preparing some slides to be shown during her upcoming presentation.
“Important, Sir?” the major asked, glancing up for a moment at her CO.
“Yes,” Jack responded defensively as he stood with his hands in his pockets. “I was reading my memos.”
“Which ones?” Daniel questioned, walking in and taking a seat at the table.
“There was something about okaying a reimbursement for a toaster and a few other items,” Jack said, frowning at the odd request.
“I've been waiting on that,” Sam stated anxiously. Seeing Jack's blank stare, she prodded, “Sir, Orlin,” reminding him about the alien who had used some of her possessions to build a miniature Stargate in the basement of her home. ~And people say it's dangerous to take your credit card with you to work. I left mine and home and ended up with a nice little bill after Orlin left.~
“Uh, Jack, that was months ago,” Daniel pointed out.
“That long?” Jack queried with a puzzled and innocent look on his face.
“I haven't had toast in months,” Sam sighed wistfully.
Jack just shrugged and said, “I've been busy. Carter, you can afford a new toaster.”
“A girl has bills,” Sam replied a bit coyly.
“You mean a girl just enjoys giving a colonel a difficult time.”
“A girl likes to win her bets,” Sam teased.
“Bet?” Jack questioned. “Daniel,” he challenged accusingly.
“So,” Daniel said lightly, knowing his innocent expression wasn't fooling anyone. “This is more important than memos?”
“Trust me,” Sam acknowledged seriously as she waited for General Hammond to arrive to begin the meeting.
“I'm trusting,” Jack smirked, shrugging his shoulders as he sat down.
Several minutes later, the briefing was well underway with General Hammond and all of SG-1 present.
Standing in front of a large screen that had a picture of an asteroid on it, Sam advised, “This image was generated based on satellite observations made over the last few hours. The asteroid has an irregular shape, but we've calculated its length from end-to-end to be approximately 137 kilometers.”
To his lover sitting next to him, Jack remarked, “I've seen this movie. It hits Paris.”
“Actually, Sir, it will strike somewhere in the Arctic Circle, probably Greenland or the Barents Sea.”
“And nobody knows this but us? How is that possible?” Daniel questioned.
Sam clicked the remote, the image on the screen changing to a view of the solar system as she explained, “Well, the asteroid was actually discovered by a civilian who has since been *persuaded* to keep it quiet. The reason no one else has detected it ... is that the object's path is highly atypical. It's a rogue well outside the plane of the solar system occupied by the planets and the asteroid belt. In fact, it's a fluke that anyone saw it at all. We got lucky.”
“I don't see how, in any conceivable way, this is lucky,” Daniel spoke dryly.
“Well, if this had happened seven or eight years ago, there'd be nothing we could do about it,” Sam stated. “The Stargate opens other options for us.”
“A little help from our friends?” Jack questioned.
“Yes, Sir,” Sam confirmed.
“Perhaps the Tok'ra could be of assistance,” Teal'c suggested.
“Unfortunately, they've been on the run since the Goa'uld attacked their base at Revanna. We've already sent a message asking for their help, but so far there hasn't been any reply,” Hammond revealed.
“The Asgard owe us a favor,” Jack noted.
“We could contact them through K'tau, through their Hall of Wisdom,” Daniel responded.
“According to the treaty with the Goa'uld, the Asgard cannot prevent natural disasters from occurring on protected planets,” Teal'c added.
“Hey, the Goa'uld tried to make the Tollan send a bomb through the iris. Screw the treaty,” Jack replied.
To his soulmate, Daniel stated, “Well, one of our allies will help.”
“I hope you're right; otherwise, in eleven days and sixteen hours all life on Earth will be wiped out,” Sam announced gloomily.
“You're always so positive, Carter,” Jack replied wryly.
“I try, Sir,” Sam responded.
“Colonel, let's start with the Asgard. Proceed to K'tau and see if you can make contact,” Hammond ordered. “Dismissed.”
“This will be a piece of cake: Thor likes me,” Jack boasted.
“It's driving me crazy,” Jack said as he adjusted his bootstraps while sitting down.
SG-1 was in the locker room, preparing for their trip to K'tau in a few minutes. Though only Jack and Daniel would be going to the planet, Sam and Teal'c were with them at the moment.
“What is it, Sir?”
“Sam, don't encourage him,” Daniel interjected.
Standing, Jack asked, “Encourage me?”
“Jack, when you start doing one of these crossword puzzles, you over think. Do us a favor and ... watch 'The Simpsons'.”
Jack gave his lover a mock smile and then looked at his second, saying, “It's an eight letter word meaning,” he paused thoughtfully to recall the exact definition, “smaller of a pair living together.”
“Gawd,” Daniel said, bowing his head and shaking it.
Jack saw and heard his soulmate's reaction and that of the major, who had turned her head to the side and was trying not to laugh.
Daniel put on his sunglasses and walked to his lover, and questioned, “An eight letter word?”
“Sym-bi-ote,” Daniel said with a grin, pronouncing the word very slowly and distinctly before shaking his head again, patting his partner's shoulder, and walking out.
Jack made a funny face as he stood, shocked at the crossword puzzle's answer.
“See you when you get back, Sir,” Sam said, snickering as she walked out of the locker room.
Teal'c headed for the door as well, pausing to stare at Jack, but saying nothing as he left the room.
“Oh, for crying out loud,” Jack whined to no one and then put on his sunglasses and walked hurriedly for the gate room.
Within minutes, Jack and Daniel headed for K'tau and made contact with the Asgard. Unfortunately, Thor was unavailable, leaving Jack to deal with Freyr and the Asgard High Council. The Council insisted that the Protected Planets Treaty left no room for interpretation and that there was nothing that they could do.
The colonel was angered by the Council's attitude and their apparent apathy over the impending destruction of Earth and their failure to act at the obvious treachery of the System Lords. It was the Asgard red tape that bugged Jack the most.
Recently, the Tollan had been forced to prepare a bomb that would go through the iris and destroy Earth. Fortunately, SG-1 had managed to thwart the Goa'uld plan. However, the Asgard could not proceed with any kind of action without convening a hearing of all sides. With the Tollan essentially wiped out, that would be impossible, not to mention the fact that the System Lords denied the event completely.
Back on Earth, the team met with General Hammond, and the lovers relayed the results of their meeting.
“... and after that I kind of lost my temper,” Jack admitted. ~Okay, so I sounded like a Marine drill sergeant. I had reason.~
“What exactly does that mean?” the major general asked.
“Let's just say Jack made a reference to Freyr's mother,” Daniel answered. ~Subtlety is not his niche.~
“We'll discuss Colonel O'Neill's diplomatic shortcomings later,” Hammond spoke.
~Must we?~ Jack asked, not really caring to be the subject of that particular discussion.
~I'm definitely calling in sick that day,~ Sam thought.
~Jack's diplomatic ... shortcomings could take an entire day. I have research to do,~ Daniel commented inwardly.
~I look forward to such a discussion,~ Teal'c thought as he glanced at his brother-in-arms.
The general continued, “Right now, I'd like to know what options remain.”
“I say we nuke it ourselves,” the colonel suggested.
“We have sufficiently large-yield warheads to deflect it, but we don't have a multi-stage delivery system capable of reaching the asteroid in time,” Sam responded.
“Wait a minute, what about the cargo ship that Jacob and I crashed on Revanna during the Goa'uld attack? That must still be there,” Daniel suggested, speaking rapidly.
“In how many pieces?” Jack questioned, his focus solely on his lover. ~I still feel guilty about that one; bad call on my part to let you go on that ridiculous mission in the first place.~
“Well, our understanding of Goa'uld technology has improved quite a bit. We might be able to fix it,” Sam put forth.
“How much time?” Hammond asked.
“Given the right team, maybe a couple of days,” Sam answered.
“I'll assign anyone you need, Major,” Hammond responded.
“Assuming we can fix it, how long will it take to fly back to Earth?” Daniel queried.
“Revanna's not exactly next door,” Sam answered. “Even pushing the engines past a hundred percent, it would take eight, nine days.”
“Leaving little margin for error,” Teal'c noted.
“Then let's get started. Dismissed,” Hammond ordered, standing. As the room cleared, he walked over to Jack and said, “Colonel, I have every confidence in SG-1's abilities. However, as a contingency plan, the President has ordered me to begin Alpha-team evacuations through the Gate. Major Davis will be arriving shortly from the Pentagon to coordinate.”
“Yes, Sir,” Jack acknowledged. ~Great. Davis. I shouldn't have let him out of Alaska. Good thing I'm taking Danny with me. I *so* don't need to watch Davis chasing after him.~
“If Major Carter is unable to repair the cargo ship, you will report immediately to the Alpha Site and assume command,” Hammond instructed.
“General?” Jack questioned, obviously concerned about what he'd just heard. ~I'm not liking this.~
“No debates on this one, Jack. That's an order,” Hammond said, walking away.
“Yeah,” Jack sighed quietly. ~Yep. Not liking this at all.~
“Jack, what's wrong?” Daniel asked as he and his lover walked through the corridors of the SGC.
Jack looked around nonchalantly and asked, “Daniel, an asteroid is about to turn Earth into a bad cartoon.”
“No, that's not it.”
The colonel looked at his soulmate for a moment, realizing the younger man had obviously picked up on his concern for General Hammond. He saw Teal'c a few feet ahead of them, and they were surrounded by various personnel, all working on getting SG-1, the scientific team, and the necessary equipment they'd need on the mission, ready as soon as possible. Now wasn't the time to chat about his concerns.
“I'll tell you later.”
Daniel returned the look. Something was bothering his lover, and it was something he didn't want to be overheard. He knew he'd find out later, but now he had misgivings that he hadn't had before. Suddenly, he felt a pressure on his arm that stopped him mid-step. Jack had stopped walking and was now facing him.
“It's Hammond. He's not going to go to the Alpha Site.”
Daniel's eyes searched his lover's, for what he didn't know. He'd just gotten the answer to his question. It was just something he hadn't expected. Both men had great respect for the major general, and both considered him a friend.
“Then ... I guess we have to make sure we get to the asteroid in time and detonate the bomb.”
Jack stared into the blue eyes he loved so much and smiled, agreeing, “Yeah.” Motioning towards the nearby gate room, he said, “Let's get the show on the road.”
As personnel checked and prepared the equipment that was to be sent through with SG-1 and the scientific crew, Sam saw Jack and Daniel enter the gate room and called out, “We're good to go, Sir.”
“Teal'c, show 'em the way.”
Walking up the ramp, the Jaffa smiled, extended his hand out, and stated, “This way.”
~Okay, what was that?~ Jack pondered as he watched the alien walk up the ramp and through the Stargate. ~A Jaffa tease?~
Standing near the ramp, Daniel examined the large bomb that was situated on the MALP and asked, “This, uh, big enough?”
“Packs twelve hundred naquadah-enhanced megatons,” Sam answered.
“And that's a lot?” Daniel questioned.
“This is the most powerful warhead ever created, Daniel. It's the equivalent of one billion tons of TNT.”
Looking at his lover, Jack confirmed, “That's a lot.” Just then, the colonel became aware of one of the scientists backing down the ramp. ~I don't think so, Spellman.~ He extended his arm out, making contact with the man's back. “Hey! What are you doing?”
“I'm sorry, I can't do this. I can give you a list of some very good engineers,” Spellman responded as Jack walked up onto the ramp, keeping one hand on the scientist to prevent him from bolting.
With Sam on the other side of the wavering scientist and both keeping one hand on the man's arms, Jack walked the hesitant man up towards the open wormhole, saying, “Come on, Spellman. I do this every day.”
“That's probably because you don't understand what actually happens to your body when you go through this thing. I do.”
“We need you for this mission,” Sam reminded.
“It defies the laws of physics, and you know it!” Spellman challenged the astrophysicist.
“Spellman, you're going,” Jack stated sternly, after which he and Sam pushed the engineer through the event horizon.
~That's My Jack: always the diplomat,~ Daniel mused as he followed the others through the Stargate.
“This is not one of my favorite places,” Jack spoke quietly about the planet as he and Daniel walked, various members of their party in front and behind them at the moment.
“I can't say it's one of mine, either,” Daniel admitted.
“You did look good in those pajamas, though,” Jack teased.
“They were *not* pajamas,” Daniel argued about the clothing he'd worn as the servant of Lord Yu.
“They sure looked like they were, Pajama Boy.”
“Jack, stop it.”
“Hey, we need humor right now.”
~We do?~ Daniel stared at his lover and then sighed while nodding his head in agreement. “The problem is, as ... funny as that may have been, right now I keep thinking about Lieutenant Elliot.”
“Yeah,” Jack acknowledged softly. “He had a good head on his shoulders, and he was ... brave. Geez, I hate clichés.”
“Being brave is a cliché?”
“No, I guess not.” The two men walked quietly for a minute or two before Jack added, “Elliot would have gone far. He had guts, and humor.”
Daniel smiled, seeing the humorous expression on his lover's face.
“You gave him a hard time during the scenario,” Daniel pointed out, referring to the training scenario that Elliot and the other members of his team had been put through earlier in the year to make sure they could handle the perils presented by working at Stargate Command.
“That's my point. He didn't buy the scenario. He stood up to me. He ...”
“... bent the rules?” Daniel chuckled.
“And put his team first, once he understood the importance of never leaving anyone behind.” Jack sighed, “He proved himself then, and he backed it up with his life ... here.” He looked around the area they were walking and then reiterated, “He was a good man.”
“There she is, the star of the fleet,” Jack jested upon seeing the Tok'ra vessel in the distance.
The ship was partially embedded in mud and was obviously in need of some serious repairs.
When the group reached the vessel, Teal'c opened the door and took a guard position just outside the door, his back to the flight deck as he ensured no one approached them. Meanwhile, with their weapons aimed at the ready, Jack and Sam led the way inside, with Sam checking out the cargo bay while Jack ensured the flight deck itself was clear.
“Doesn't look so bad,” Jack observed after glancing around the flight deck.
Getting down to business, Sam faced the engineers and instructed, “Okay, our first priority is auxiliary power; then it's hyperdrive and life support.”
“Right,” the second scientist, whose name was Webber, acknowledged and then walked towards the engines, with a third member of his team following him.
With the coast clear, Teal'c entered the ship, walking over to stand just behind Jack and Daniel.
“Is there a restroom?” Spellman inquired. Seeing Sam's stare and Jack turning around to look at him, he explained, “My first priority.”
Without saying a word, Sam turned and led the man to the requested restroom.
Looking around some more, Jack dauntlessly remarked, “Ah, they'll fix it up,” and headed for the cargo bay.
“I'm confident,” Daniel stated strongly, following his lover. ~They say if you think you can, you can, so maybe if we think they can, they can, and they will. I hope.~
“Me, too,” Jack agreed. ~Of course, I've been known to lie to myself before.~
“As am I,” Teal'c added, walking behind Daniel. ~If not, we will be dead, and it will not matter what I think.~
“What the heck are you reading?” Jack questioned as he looked down at his lover.
Daniel was sitting at the back of the MALP, not the least bit concerned that on top of the device was the bomb the team would be using to carry out their mission.
“Oh, uh, this?” Daniel began, holding up the book as he looked at it. “It's 'How to Fly a Teltac by Selmak of the Tok'ra'.”
“I thought you liked me ... bad,” Daniel smirked.
Jack groaned and sat down near the younger man. He looked around, watching as the scientists scurried about while trying to repair the ship.
“Bored?” Daniel questioned, seeing his lover's lost expression.
“Lots of pretty crystals over there. We could make a lovely chime out of them for the patio,” Jack spoke.
“Yep, you're bored.”
“They won't let me help,” Jack whined.
“That's probably because you're not an engineer.”
“So, the idea is to repair the ship, not make it worse,” Daniel spoke frankly.
Jack made a funny face and then sighed, “So, whatcha' reading?”
~This is going to be a long eight days,~ Daniel thought about their projected trip through space.
“Sir, if you don't mind, I'd get this done faster if you weren't ... helping,” Sam said as diplomatically as she could.
Jack considered coming back with some witty retort, but it had been a long day, and he was tired, not because he'd exhausted himself from activity, but because he was just bored stiff.
“Right,” the colonel agreed, putting down the crystal he'd picked up and then sauntering through the ship until he saw Teal'c standing at the doorway. “Any alien threats out there?”
“None,” Teal'c responded.
“Sucks, doesn't it?” Jack questioned.
“Like an egg,” the Jaffa stated.
“Like an egg?” Jack echoed. When his teammate stared at him incredulously, he responded, “Yes, of course. Eggs suck.” Jack blinked and asked, “Where's Daniel?”
Without waiting for a response, Jack turned and went in search of his lover, finding him in the same place where he'd last seen him -- at the back of the MALP. Now, though, the archaeologist had slid down to a semi-lying position. He was holding the book close to his chest, and his glasses were on the verge of falling off, having slipped to the edge of his nose.
~Beautiful, cute, sexy ... and asleep. Not fair,~ Jack observed before walking over to his lover and kneeling down.
Unable to resist, Jack gently scratched the end of Daniel's nose, chuckling when the sleeping archaeologist scrunched his nose up and made a funny face. Still, he didn't awaken.
~Geez, I want to kiss you so bad,~ Jack sighed. Unfortunately, that was definitely something he couldn't risk. There was simply too much activity going on around them for that kind of indulgence. “Daniel,” he called out quietly. **Danny, wake up.** ~Geez, I'm a jerk for trying to wake him up. I'll let him sleep,~ the colonel sighed as he started to stand up.
“You rang?” Daniel asked quietly, reaching up with his hand to pull his lover back down.
“Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you up,” Jack said.
“Yes, you did.”
“Okay, at first,” Jack chuckled. “Wanna stretch?”
“Yeah,” Daniel said.
“Ah, one thing,” the older man said with a smile.
Daniel watched as his lover pushed his glasses back up to their proper position.
“You love doing that,” Daniel mused.
“That and a lot of other things,” Jack responded as he and his lover stood up.
Leaving his book on the MALP, Daniel followed the older man to the exit of the vessel.
“Keep a sharp eye out, Teal'c,” Jack began. “Wouldn't want any termites eating the ship.”
“Ignore him,” Daniel advised.
“Sound advice, DanielJackson,” Teal'c responded, his eyes forward even as Jack looked back and gave him a mock look of hurt for a second.
The lovers walked around the ship, surveying the outer hull for a couple of minutes and then walked a bit further out. They knew they couldn't go too far, but at least they'd have a few minutes of privacy. Both knew it could be their last opportunity to touch and be touched until the mission was over and they were safely back home.
When the couple got to the tree line, Jack looked over towards the cargo ship, seeing no one outside. The entrance to the vessel, and Teal'c, was on the other side of where they were standing, so this was his chance, if he dared to take it, and he did.
With a soft smile, Jack raised his left hand to caress his lover's cheek.
Daniel closed his eyes in response, just letting the sensation of his soulmate's touch spread through his entire body.
A moment later, the soulmates kissed, each allowing their hands to roam the other's body. The kiss was long and memorable. It would have to be. They just couldn't risk more.
“Danny, I love you.”
“I love you, too, Jack.”
“Eight, nine days, Carter said,” Jack bemoaned about their estimated number of travel days to the asteroid.
“No bedrooms,” Daniel lamented about the cargo ship.
“We could tell Teal'c,” Jack stated out of the blue.
“He probably already knows,” the older man added.
Jack groaned, “We'd better save the world.”
Daniel chuckled, “I'm hopin' we do, but, uh, why?”
“Because I don't want to die with sexual frustration being at the top of my emotions list.”
“Sexual frustration?” the younger man mused.
“I want you, Angel. Crap, we didn't even make love before this mission,” Jack sighed.
“It's not like we didn't earlier, and, uh, quite ... a lot,” Daniel stated with a happy smile as he recalled their last couple of days before the mission had come up.
“Yeah, we had a good time,” Jack agreed with a bit of a prideful smirk.
“The best time,” Daniel opined.
“We'll have more,” Jack insisted, realizing he was too hung up on the past.
“A lot more,” Daniel added.
“You, me, bed, hot, hot, hot sex,” Jack stated huskily.
“Gawd, Jack,” the archaeologist responded shyly, looking back towards the ship.
“Danny, they can't hear or see us right now.”
“One more, Jack. Please, just one more,” Daniel requested, his breath short and his voice low and raspy.
Honoring his true love's request, Jack kissed the younger man, taking them both on a ride through their eternity, an eternity that just had to have more time on Earth than eight or nine days. As the kiss progressed, Daniel raised his arms to go around his lover's neck. The two got as close as they could without becoming one physically.
“Mmmm, oh, geez,” Daniel gasped, looking down at the end of the kiss.
“My Angel,” Jack spoke, kissing Daniel on the forehead. “We're gonna get this job done, Danny, and then we're going home and make love for hours and hours and hours.”
“We'll probably be too tired,” the archaeologist sighed.
“Never,” Jack said with an amused but certain smile.
Daniel grinned and said, “I'm confident.”
For several seconds, the lovers gazed into each other's eyes and then Jack brought Daniel's hands to his mouth and kissed them.
“Forever and always, Love.”
Leaning in for one last kiss, Daniel put all of his heart into their joining and then spoke, “Forever and always, Jack.”
“We'd better get back.”
Daniel nodded and the two separated, though they remained close as they walked.
“So, Danny, exactly what is that book you're reading?”
“'How to Make an Asteroid Your Friend, in Eight Days or Less' by Bruce Willis,” Daniel teased, smiling when his lover laughed.
The next day, Sam and the engineers continued their repairs, while Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c continued to keep watch and do their best to keep from being bored.
“Jack,” Daniel called out quietly as he and his lover stood in the center of the cargo ship, each on one side of the V-shaped engine console.
“I think I understand why you and Teal'c get a little ... stir crazy when we're on archaeological missions.”
“Do ya now?” Jack snarked lightly.
Daniel shrugged innocently as the two shared a smile of understanding.
“I have long been used to that feeling,” Teal'c stated as he sat in the pilot's seat.
“It's like being wallpaper,” Daniel put forth as he nodded. “I mean, uh, all we're doing is just hanging around ... like wallpaper,” he mused.
**Beautiful wallpaper,** Jack praised.
**Jack!** Daniel responded, turning around to avoid blushing.
Voices from another part of the ship filtered through the air, and the lovers heard mention of checking for something in the guidance system without having any luck. Then they heard Sam's voice.
“Okay, I guess we'll have to assume that there isn't one on board,” the major responded to the engineers as she headed onto the flight deck.
Once Sam reached his location, Jack inquired, “One what?”
~This place is still dusty,~ Daniel thought as he brushed off some lint he saw on the console. ~What am I saying?~ he asked himself incredulously. ~Worrying about dust when we're about to blow up an asteroid?~
“We're about ready to attempt an engine start, Sir.”
“Yeah, fine. Assume there isn't one, what?” Jack repeated.
“Recall device,” Sam answered.
~Didn't see that one coming,~ Daniel thought.
“The X-301?” Jack asked. Suddenly, the realization hit him. He looked over at the other scientists who had followed Sam to the deck and pointed as he queried accusingly, “That was you guys?”
“You have to admit it performed beautifully right up to the point where you and Teal'c were sent into deep space,” Webber responded.
“Yeah,” Jack laughed annoyingly. ~If we weren't about to die from an asteroid, I'd kill them both right here.~
Staring at the men, Daniel sarcastically, praised, “Nice work.”
“Carter,” Jack stated, not wanting to dwell on the issue any longer.
“Attempting engine start,” the major acknowledged as she began to engage the console that controlled engine power.
With some mechanical groaning, the engines came online, but only for a few seconds.
~Okay, when at first you don't succeed ...~ the colonel thought. Looking at his second-in-command again, he repeated, this time more lightly, “Carter?”
Sam pushed the engine start sequence again, and this time the engines remained online.
“That's got it, Sir. We're good to go,” Sam stated. “I'll repair the remaining systems on the way.” Walking a few steps towards the engineers, she instructed, “Once you get to the Revanna Gate, dial the Alpha Site. They'll be expecting you.”
“I think I speak for about six billion people when I say, uh, good luck,” Spellman replied.
Smiling and nodding, Sam responded, “You, too.”
As the three men started for the exit, Jack called out, “I'm gonna wanna talk to you guys.”
“Teal'c, try to take it easy on the engines when we take off,” Sam stated.
“Why?” Daniel inquired.
“Well I'm just slightly concerned that if we push them too hard, and they burn out before we reach escape velocity that,” Sam paused, hesitant to finish her thought after noticing her commander's raised eyebrows, “we'll come crashing back to the planet.”
With Sam smiling at him, Daniel replied, “I'm confident.”
“Me, too,” Jack agreed.
“As am I,” Teal'c added, smiling as he turned to look out the window.
“Now that we're all agreed that we're confident, Teal'c, take us out, and *don't* push the engines,” Jack stated.
“Let's just get off the ground first, Carter, and then you can push all you want,” the colonel spoke.
“Yes, Sir,” Sam said with a nod.
“How about this one,” Jack began that evening. “You don't rush in rush hour. It should be called slow hour.”
“Crawling hour,” Daniel droned.
“Or stop hour,” Sam suggested.
“Exactly,” Jack responded, gesturing with his right arm in agreement. “I could read 'War and Peace' during the *rush* hour.”
“Perhaps the word requires a different point of view,” Teal'c stated. “Is it not true that in one of your rush hours, Tau'ri are rushing around to get to their destinations?”
“Okay, maybe,” Jack replied, though he quickly added, “But you can't rush, if you can't move.”
Teal'c was still in the pilot's seat, while Sam was in the co-pilot's chair. Jack and Daniel were both seated on the floor, each on separate ends of the engine console so that, essentially, they were back to back.
“I think restroom is a bit of a misnomer,” Sam offered. “As a rule, you don't sit down to rest.”
“Speak for yourself,” Jack responded.
“Let's not go there,” Daniel interjected. Thoughtfully, he brought up, “A pineapple doesn't consist of pine or apple.”
“A starfish isn't a fish,” Jack pointed out quickly.
“True, but it lives in the water and looks like a star ... Sir,” Sam pointed out.
“Passive resistance makes no sense,” Daniel stated. “What's passive about resisting? I mean, uh, it's resistance that doesn't exist.”
“Sit-ins,” Jack chimed, referring to a popular method of protesting where the protesters simply sit down and refuse to move in order to make their point.
“That's still doing something,” Daniel stated.
“It's sitting,” Jack maintained.
“Sitting may be passive, but doing it in a public place as a protest is proactive, not passive,” Daniel refuted.
“How can sitting on my butt be doing anything?”
“Normally, it's not,” Daniel stated.
“Unless you're ... sitting-in,” the younger man argued with a smirky expression.
“Jack, no matter how you look at it, passive resistance is still an action. You do something, whatever the something is.”
“I'm not buying it, Danny.”
“Okay, well, the Civil Rights movement ...”
“How'd we get to Civil Rights?” the colonel questioned incredulously, looking over at Sam and then Teal'c in surprise.
Talking rapidly as he often did when explaining things, Daniel answered, “Between 1960 and 1975, the percentage of white students in Richmond, Virginia plummeted from forty-five to twenty-one percent. They call it 'white flight'. How do you integrate a school district that's eighty-percent black? You can't.”
“What's your point?” the older man questioned, feeling totally confused.
“White flight is a form of passive resistance: the white families fled. That's an action.”
~What?~ Jack stared at his lover, holding the gaze for several seconds. Finally, feeling totally overmatched in the discussion of passive resistance, he abruptly changed the subject, asking, “What's the most used word in the English language?”
“A,” Sam answered, trying to hide her laughter at the shift in topic.
“And,” Teal'c put forth.
“Daniel?” Jack called out.
“I don't want to rain on your parade,” Daniel answered.
“Answer the question.”
“The,” the linguist answered with a smug smile.
Jack grimaced in frustration and said, “Bet you don't know the second most used word.”
“Be,” Daniel responded. Ignoring the pout aimed in his direction, he pointed out, “I'm a linguist, Jack, remember? That wasn't really a difficult question for a philology graduate.”
“Prattling: how could I forget prattling?” Jack whined.
Daniel groaned. He wasn't prattling, and he hadn't planned on interfering with his lover's fun until Jack had insisted.
~Don't say I didn't warn you,~ the linguist advised as he devised his plan. “Well, words are my forte, Jack. Uh, take the word 'abozzo'. Now, I could try and have fun with it and say it means you're a bozo, but, of course, that isn't my style, and abozzo doesn't mean 'a colonel who is a jerk'. Instead, it means ...”
“I know what it means, Daniel. It's a rough, preliminary sketch,” Jack replied sharply. “You know, like when I ask a question that requires a brief description and get ten paragraphs on ancient history that I hadn't asked for.”
~Snippy,~ Daniel responded. “I'm glad you know so much about 'abozzo',” Jack. Uh, how do you spell it?”
“Geez, fine. A-b-o-z-z-o,” Jack answered, correctly spelling out the word being discussed.
“No, that's wrong,” Daniel responded.
“Daniel, I know how to spell, and it *is* a-b-o-z-z-o.”
“No, that's not how you spell it. Come on, Jack. Spell it.”
The game went on for two frustrating minutes, until Jack finally stood up and walked over to the other side of the flight deck. He stared down at his lover and glared harshly.
Daniel simply smiled as he looked up at the older man.
“For the last time, Daniel, 'abozzo' is spelled a-b-o-z-z-o.”
“Yes, that's correct.”
“Well, then ...”
“But I asked you to spell 'it', not abozzo,” Daniel chuckled, looking down.
Jack heard Sam snicker. She'd caught onto the game almost from the start. Even Teal'c had a smug expression on his face.
“One of these days, Daniel,” Jack threatened as he walked over to the cockpit and looked out the window. “Space, the final frontier.”
“I think that should be the Stargate,” Sam suggested.
Nodding, Jack said, “You're probably right, Carter.”
“Well, I think I'm gonna get some sleep,” Sam said, standing up.
“Me, too,” Jack sighed.
“Me, three,” Daniel agreed, standing up as well.
“You gonna be okay, Big Guy?” Jack asked the Jaffa.
“I do not require kelno'reem at this time,” Teal'c responded.
“That's a 'yes',” Jack said, patting his friend on the shoulder and then following Sam and Daniel to the slabs that posed as beds on the cargo ship.
“I'll take this one,” Daniel said, hoping up to one of the top bunks.
“Yes, well, I think my knees and I will settle for this one,” Jack stated, sitting down on a lower bed that was right next to his lover's. He felt the cold slab of steel and then looked up at Daniel as he quipped, “On the good side, there aren't any lumps in the mattress.”
“Uh, there aren't any mattresses,” Daniel pointed out as he rested on his belly, his chin on his two hands that were joined together.
“That would explain it,” Jack replied playfully.
Sam settled in on one of the beds on the opposite side of the room. It wasn't that far, but it was one she'd picked on purpose because it would give the lovers a tiny amount of privacy, or at least the semblance of privacy.
With all three settled in, Jack spoke, “Night, Daniel.”
“Goodnight, Jack,” Daniel replied. “Night, Sam.”
“Goodnight, Daniel, Sir,” Sam responded.
“Night, Carter. *Goodnight, Teal'c*,” Jack called out in a raised voice.
“Goodnight, Jack Boy,” Teal'c responded.
Jack's head popped up as he heard Sam and Daniel chuckle.
“He's been watching 'The Waltons',” Daniel stated.
“No kidding?” Jack groused as he settled back to bed and closed his eyes. **Night, Angel. I love you.**
**Goodnight, Babe, and I love you, too.**
“Those things should be outlawed,” Jack whined as he stretched his back the next morning.
“I'll be sure and tell the Goa'uld that the next time I see them,” Daniel snarked.
“This is going to be a long trip,” Sam muttered to Teal'c.
“What was that, Carter?”
“I think I'm gonna check the engines, Sir,” Sam answered, walking away from her teammates.
“I will make sure we don't hit any logs in our road,” Teal'c spoke and then walked towards the flight deck.
“Logs in the road?” Daniel questioned.
“I think he was saying he wants to make sure we don't hit any bumps in the road,” Jack spoke, shaking his head rapidly as if to wake himself from a bad dream.
“I'm gonna ...” Daniel said, motioning towards the restroom.
“Yep, gonna be a long trip,” Jack said somewhat flippantly as he walked the flight deck.
“I have a suggestion, Sir,” Sam spoke.
The woman smiled and disappeared into the other room where the team's gear was stored.
“Any ideas?” Jack asked.
“Not a clue,” Daniel answered.
“This could keep us going the entire trip,” Sam spoke, holding up the box.
“Monopoly?” Jack questioned. “You brought a game with us?”
“Well, Sir ...”
“I'm the car,” Jack stated firmly, walking over to the center of the floor and sitting down.
“I'll be the battleship,” Sam stated, sitting down and opening the box which contained the classic version of the game.
“Uh, I guess I'll be the dog,” Daniel said, sitting down quietly.
“Teal'c, put this thing on autopilot, and get over here. What piece do you want to be?”
“I do not know this game, O'Neill.”
“Not a problem,” Jack smirked, thinking the alien would be ~easy pickin's~ for his game. “You can be the thimble.”
Walking over and looming above his teammates, Teal'c responded, “What is a thimble?”
“It's a ... armor, protection,” Jack claimed as he fumbled with the tiny piece. “Little toy pieces put this piece over their heads to protect themselves.”
Daniel let out a tiny snort as did Sam.
“Very well,” Teal'c agreed as he took his place on the floor.
“Charles Darrow knew what he was doing when he created this game,” Jack commented after collecting rent money from his lover, who had just landed on one of his railroads.
“He probably got rich from inventing this game,” Sam agreed with a tiny bit of envy in her voice.
“Actually, there is some doubt about that,” Daniel interjected.
“Doubt?” Jack asked skeptically.
Seeing the look of surprise and disbelief, Daniel responded, “I may not have played Monopoly much, but it doesn't mean I haven't read about it.”
“Oh, do tell,” Jack begged mockingly.
“Well, a woman named Elizabeth Magie patented a game similar to this one called The Landlord's Game. That was back in 1904. It had a square playing board with edges marked for properties, utilities, and even a 'Go to Jail' space.”
“Sounds like Monopoly,” Sam stated as she rolled her die.
“It caught on. By the 1920's, players tended to refer to it as Monopoly,” Daniel continued.
“Charles Darrow was a player?” Teal'c surmised.
Nodding, Daniel affirmed, “Yes. Someone had made a handmade board and taught Charles Darrow how to play. In 1935, Darrow took it to Parker Brothers and claimed it was his own creation.”
“They had to have known,” the colonel intimated about the famous board game company.
“They knew,” Daniel confirmed.
“So didn't Magie object?” Jack asked.
“They made a deal with her,” Daniel replied. “They published three other games of hers.”
“That no one remembers,” Jack chuckled. “Darrow's a millionaire, and she probably got nothing.”
“Maybe. I don't know, but it clouds Darrow's accomplishment a little. He had foresight, but I'm not sure Magie didn't deserve more credit for her role in getting the game out there in the first place.”
“I'll buy it,” Sam said as she landed on Marvin Gardens.
“It's misspelled, you know,” Jack said. Seeing his lover gaping at him, the colonel added, “You're not the only one who knows inconsequential facts.”
“I doubt it's inconsequential to the people who live in Marven Gardens,” Daniel spoke.
“What?” Sam questioned.
“The real place is spelled with an 'e', Sam, not an 'i' -- M-a-r-v-*e*-n.”
“Production error?” Sam guessed.
“Apparently,” Daniel said with a shrug as the game played on.
“I'm a free prisoner,” Jack announced as he produced his 'get out of jail free' card.
“Jack, that's another oxymoron,” Daniel informed. “If you're free, how can you be a prisoner?”
“I don't know, but I'm not in jail anymore,” Jack stated.
“Jumbo shrimp,” Sam interjected.
“What?” Jack questioned.
“Jumbo shrimp, Sir. It's an oxymoron, too,” Sam explained, setting off a round of 'Name That Oxymoron'.
“Vegetarian meatball,” Jack added.
“True lies,” Daniel put forth.
“Bitter sweet,” Sam suggested.
“Living dead,” Teal'c stated, getting stares from his teammates.
“It's those late night horror movies that he watches,” Jack surmised.
“Quiet riot,” Sam stated.
“Monopoly,” Daniel stated.
“Daniel, monopoly is one word,” Jack argued.
“Yes, but 'mono' means one and 'poly' means more than one,” the linguist explained.
“Would not oxymoron be an oxymoron?” Teal'c inquired.
“Uh, yeah it would,” Daniel confirmed. Seeing Jack's curious look, he spelled it out for him. “'Oxy' means sharp, and 'moron' means ...”
“I know what a moron is,” Jack interrupted.
“Jack, not *that* kind of moron,” Daniel chastised, shaking his head. 'Moron' means 'dull'; therefore oxymoron is an oxymoron.”
“Virtual reality,” Sam spoke continuing the game.
“Silent scream,” Teal'c added.
“Yep, it's those movies he watches,” Jack responded. “Civil war.”
“Dodge ram,” Daniel said.
“Those are good trucks,” Jack opined, though quickly adding, “Not as good as Ford, of course.”
“Midnight sun,” Daniel added.
“Alone together,” Sam said.
**I wish I was alone together with you, Danny,** Jack communicated silently to his lover.
**Jack, so do I,** Daniel replied. “Single pair,” he stated aloud, trying to keep is mind on the word game and off of being alone with Jack.
“Icy hot,” Jack added. ~I'm hot, and I need some ice.~ he thought to himself. “I need some cool water. Anyone for a drink?”
Their oxymoron game over, the team took a break for a few minutes, and then returned to their board game.
“Fourteen-thousand,” Sam put forth.
Jack looked over at the Monopoly bank, surveyed the cash he had collected, and glanced at the money accumulations of his teammates. The goal at the moment was to guess just how much fake money was in the game.
“Fourteen-thousand, eight-hundred,” Jack estimated.
Daniel studied his lover carefully and then thought about the money in the game. On the line was forty dollars, ten from each of the four players.
“Fifteen-thousand, two-hundred ... and fifty dollars,” the archaeologist speculated.
“Okay, Teal'c, it's up to you,” Jack said, smiling at the Jaffa.
Smugly, Teal'c spoke, “Fifteen-thousand, two-hundred and fifty-one dollars.”
“Fifty-one?” Daniel queried.
Teal'c nodded securely.
“It's the game shows,” Jack said.
“Indeed. I have observed that on 'The Price Is Right', the smart players never bid more than one dollar higher than the highest bid, if they believe the cost of the item to be more than any other player has guessed.”
“Okay, let's count 'em,” the colonel ordered.
Pausing their game, each player first counted their own money and recorded it so that after their bet they could complete the game. Then they divvied up the money in the bank and counted.
“Carter, what's the tally?”
“Fifteen-thousand, one-hundred and forty,” Sam announced.
Teal'c's face was crestfallen, not that anyone could really tell, while Jack still hadn't realized the winner yet. Daniel and Sam shared an expression that indicated life aboard the teltac was about to get a bit unbearable.
“I won!” Jack exclaimed. “There you go!” he said, reaching to the middle of the game board to pick up the forty dollars in cash. “Yeah!” he cheered, kissing the money before sticking it into his pockets. “Bad thing about missions is never bringing our wallets.”
“We're not supposed to bring cash, either,” Sam reminded.
“Oh, yeah. How'd we forget?” Jack questioned.
“I believe it was your suggestion of a game called poker, O'Neill,” Teal'c stated.
“Oh, yeah, that,” Jack acknowledged happily.
On their second complete day in space, SG-1 continued their Monopoly game until a winner bankrupted the other three just after lunch.
“Congratulations, Teal'c,” Sam spoke.
“Yeah,” Jack mumbled.
“Perhaps next time you will have better luck, O'Neill.”
“Right: next time,” Jack agreed.
With the game over, Sam once again checked on the engines, while Teal'c returned to the pilot's chair in the cockpit.
“We were robbed,” Jack groused to his soulmate about the game.
“No, we paid rent, lots of rent.”
“It's those friggin' red properties,” the older man sighed. **I can't wait until the day you don't have to pay rent anymore on that ridiculous apartment.**
“Probably,” Daniel acknowledged as he headed for the sleeping area. **And just for the record, Babe, I can't wait for that day either. All I want is to spend the rest of my life with you.**
“Where you going?” Jack called out, chasing after his lover, choosing not to reply to Daniel's silent declaration for fear of getting too sappy, which the circumstances wouldn't allow. “Oh, come on.”
“Have to keep in shape,” Daniel stated as he began to exercise with the hand weights he'd brought in his backpack.
“If you want exercise, I know exactly how you can get some.”
“I want an exercise I can do *now*,” Daniel clarified.
“Oh, well, okay,” Jack said. “I'll go help Teal'c.”
“Yes, Jack, you do that,” Daniel mused, earning him a challenging look from his lover. “I can fly these things you know,” he said smugly about the alien cargo ship.
“When's the last time you flew a teltac?” the younger man asked.
Jack stared thoughtfully before answering, “I hate to ruin Teal'c's fun.”
“Right,” Daniel responded dryly, though his eyes were smiling.
With a final stare at his lover, Jack headed for the cockpit to visit with the Jaffa for a while.
“A game boy?” the surprised colonel questioned.
“Video games have much to offer, O'Neill,” Teal'c responded.
Jack sat down in the co-pilot's seat, stunned as he asked, “You sneaked in a game boy?”
“I simply packed it with my gear,” the Jaffa refuted.
“Pac Man is good,” Jack commented as he tried to get a glimpse at the game that was in progress.
“I believe Pikachu is a more formidable warrior than Pac Man,” Teal'c opined.
“Yeah, he's more of an eighties' icon.” Jack twiddled his thumbs as he sat quietly for a couple of minutes, hearing the light musical tones of the game being played. “Maybe I should have brought Centipede.”
“Centipede: predaceous, mostly nocturnal arthropods of the Chilopoda class, having an elongated, flattened body composed of from fifteen to one-hundred, seventy-three segments, each with a pair of legs, the first pair being modified into poison fangs,” Teal'c defined in response. “Why would you wish to bring such a creature on board?”
“It's a game, Teal'c.”
The Jaffa raised his head slightly, thinking about his friend's comment. It didn't quite make sense, but then again, his commanding officer didn't always make sense. He gave Jack a quick look before choosing to go on with his game without making a reply.
As SG-1's third full day in space ticked onward, Daniel was in the pilot's seat, Jack in the co-pilot's chair, Sam standing behind the engine console, and Teal'c standing behind her. It was still morning, and the conversation had taken an interesting turn.
“Miracle whip?” Jack questioned. “Oh, come on,” he sneered. “What does she do?” he asked, pausing for effect. “Add some lettuce and tomatoes for spice?”
“No, Sir, it works,” Sam insisted. “Mrs. Conley has the greenest thumb I know, and she's never lost a plant that I'm aware of. She swears that using Miracle Whip to clean her plants; keeps their leaves glossy as well as keeping dust away.”
“A good soaking with the hose or in the shower works just fine,” Jack argued.
“I use a duster,” Daniel spoke with a shrug.
“A duster?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, just a ... feather duster. It gets the dust off, and it doesn't hurt them. Uh, just think of leaves as skin -- it's soft and gentle to the touch,” the archaeologist remarked casually.
“I think Miracle Whip is the way to go,” Sam insisted.
“What's with you and Miracle Whip?” Jack asked. “Do you own stock in it or something?”
“No, Sir, it's just ...”
“You like sandwiches,” Jack teased.
“Of course, but that's not it,” the major responded.
“Perhaps you just like white sticky substances,” Teal'c suggested.
Jack and Daniel exchanged a quick look of amusement, while Sam looked down, shaking her head and shrugging as she tried hard not to blush at the innuendo.
“Sam just likes unique ways of doing things.”
“No, it's not unique,” Sam spoke quietly, a thoughtful expression on her face. “I think I know why.”
“In an odd way, it reminds me of my mother.” Sam saw the nervous looks on her teammates' faces. It wasn't often she'd talked about her mother. “I remember: she used to take a cloth, a small one, and dip it in milk. Then she very gently cleaned the top of each leaf, just the top. They were beautiful, my mother's plants.” After a pause, she said, “I guess Miracle Whip reminded me of the milk.”
Teal'c placed a hand on Sam's back and said, “If one day I get a plant, I shall try your mother's system of dusting.”
Sam smiled shyly, knowing it was crazy, but she did feel better after hearing the unusual pledge.
“Well, it's not that plant cleaning isn't at the top of my priority list, though it's not,” Jack began, slapping his hands against his thighs, “but I think I'll get something to eat.”
“Again?” Daniel questioned.
“You know, Daniel, there isn't a lot to do up here,” the colonel reminded as he headed out of the flight deck.
“Good point. I'll fly the ship,” the archaeologist said, turning around to face the window, though his fingers merely tapped against the console.
“Time for another engine check,” Sam said.
“Is she going to make it?” Daniel questioned, thinking about the engines durability.
“I'm confident,” Sam said with a hesitant smile. ~Wouldn't do any good not to be.~
“Me, too,” Daniel stated. ~Will is nine-tenths of something coming true, or so I've read ... somewhere.~
“As am I,” Teal'c agreed. ~I must support my teammates.~ After a pause in which all three shared tiny smiles, the Jaffa stated, “I must kelno'reem,” and then turned and walked away.
It may not have been SG-1's most exciting moment, but they were still together, and they were still alive.
“How's it coming?” Daniel asked mid-morning of the team's fourth day into space as he sat down next to Sam on her bunk.
“I may actually get it written,” Sam spoke about the book she'd begun authoring during the trip.
“We do have lots of time.”
Sam chuckled, “I'm glad I thought to bring it. You know, the last time I had a chance to really sit down and work on a book was last year when we were wearing those armbands.”
“Steak,” Daniel spoke suddenly.
For a minute, the blonde was confused by the remark until she remembered that she, Daniel, and Jack 'escaped' from the SGC one night to enjoy a steak dinner at O'Malley's.
“Actually, it was two steaks.”
“Very good, thick and juicy, *not* charcoal-burnt steaks,” Daniel spoke as he thought back, licking his lips in wanton lust of something other than military ready-to-eat meals that tasted more like plastic than whatever food they were purported to be.
The two friends shared a look of lust, not for each other, but rather for tasty food. With a sigh, Sam began typing, while Daniel stood and walked over to his bunk, reaching into his backpack for a power bar.
~It's just not the same,~ the archaeologist thought as he tossed the bar back inside the pack and headed for the cockpit of the vessel.
As the day progressed, nerves began to fray. SG-1 was now almost halfway to their goal of reaching the asteroid, but the more time that passed, the more each of them thought about those they'd left behind on Earth and what could happen to them if they weren't successful with their mission. Not only that, but they were carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, literally. If they didn't pull this off, the destruction on Earth would be catastrophic.
The team prided itself on handling dangerous situations calmly, almost nonchalantly even. This was especially true for Jack, but up in space, with few distractions present, the four were left with plenty of time to think, and think, and think.
Not wanting to think anymore than he already was, the colonel sought out his lover, finding him in what had become a favorite spot for the archaeologist -- leaning up against the MALP that the bomb was sitting on.
~Somehow, that's not a comforting sight,~ Jack thought. “Whatcha' doin'?”
“SG-11 brought these back from PR3-755 a couple of years ago.”
“Years?” Jack asked, surprised, as he knelt down on his haunches to take a look. “Don't you think it's a little late to be translating them?”
“Yes, it is,” Daniel answered a bit more forcefully than Jack had expected. “The President's mandate has changed, if you recall. We don't have time any more for simple exploration. We're too busy looking for weapons of mass destruction. These,” he held out the photos of strange looking symbols, “aren't considered important. I believe the politically correct phrase these days is, they lack any 'military value'. Sure, they might contain information that could cure cancer or help us stop the ozone from disappearing into oblivion, but, hey, no big deal.”
“What was my question?” Jack asked after his lover had stopped his rant.
“Look, I'm sorry. It's not you, but this is the first opportunity I've had to work on these without being interrupted by some Goa'uld or Replicator crisis.”
“How about a break?” Jack suggested.
“I want to keep working.”
“We could do covert cuddling,” the older man whispered.
“No, we can't, and I do want to keep working on these.”
“How about a game of catch?” Jack asked, pulling out a ball that he'd brought with him.
“Jack, if I don't work on this now, when will I ever get a chance to do it again?”
The colonel looked deeply into his Love's eyes and made a sudden realization. Actually, it wasn't so sudden. He'd hated what the new political current had done to his soulmate. Things had definitely changed since the Stargate Program had begun. Exploration was taking a backseat to the acquisition of naquadah and weaponry. Worse, his once somewhat innocent and naive archaeologist had become a soldier, standing at his side in military battles more often than at walls and tablets that needed their history revealed.
The days of Jack and Teal'c being bored while checking perimeters that were as safe as Disney's Magic Kingdom were gone, replaced by days with Daniel playing the role of John Rambo in places that were more dangerous than the Middle East.
“I'm sorry, Danny. You're right. Have fun,” Jack said, smiling, both with his mouth and with his eyes.
“Thank you,” the explorer replied quietly, a sweet smile on his face, too.
Wanting his hardworking linguist to have all the peace and quiet he could get, Jack headed over to another part of the ship, where Sam was still working on her book. He tossed the ball up into the air a few times, but then began to bounce it against the wall. He had to do something, or he'd go stir crazy. He kept it up for over five minutes, not missing a beat or taking any breaks. It was driving his second-in-command out of her mind.
“Um, I'm really trying to work here,” the blonde stated as diplomatically as she could. ~I can't concentrate with that ball banging against the wall every five seconds.~
“Work. Write. Have fun,” Jack said, never even pausing his action.
Twenty minutes passed, and Jack had ignored all of his 2IC's hints to stop playing ball so close to her location. Finally, she just couldn't stand it anymore.
“Sir, with all due respect, if you don't stop doing that, I'm going to throw you out of the airlock ... Sir.”
Jack finally stopped playing and looked over questioningly at the blonde.
“Try me ... Sir.”
Jack squinted, making a funny face as he studied the major. Finally, he smirked and cocked his head, deciding he'd go to the front of the vessel and talk to Teal'c for a while.
For fifteen minutes, Jack hounded the Jaffa, trying to engage him in conversation or entice him into playing catch. Finally, Teal'c turned his chair around to look directly into his commander's face.
“O'Neill, if you do not depart this location immediately, I will be forced to perform the rite of Uan'oi mi'gow ay. It would be most unpleasant.”
Jack grimaced as he tried to interpret the strange name; then he finally understood -- 'you annoy me; go away'. With a nod, he turned and found a quiet corner near the engines to sit down in.
“So, Engine, have you the heard the one about ...”
“Daniel, it's time for bed,” Jack spoke in a hushed whisper.
“I'm so close to getting this.”
“Five more minutes,” the younger man replied, not even looking up at his lover.
“That's what you said five minutes ago, and twenty minutes before that, and two hours before that. You need your sleep.”
Daniel looked up and pointedly snarked, “Why? Do we have to be somewhere tomorrow?”
The older man stared at the younger and then sighed, “Good point. Stay -- translate.”
Jack began to walk away, heading back to the uncomfortable bunks. He had one hand stretched up behind his head so he could scratch there. Then he heard the sound of footsteps and stopped, turning around to see his archaeologist approaching.
“I can work on it some more tomorrow,” Daniel smiled.
With Sam sound asleep and Teal'c out of visual range, the lovers dared a quick but tender kiss before heading off for slumber.
“Carter, can we not talk about the engines while we're eating breakfast, if that's what this ... food can be called.”
“Sorry, Sir. What would you like to talk about?” the blonde questioned.
“Hockey, fishing ... senectitude,” the colonel answered.
“Senectitude?” Sam asked curiously.
“It means old age, Carter,” Jack stated.
“I know that, Sir. I just didn't think that you ...” Sam paused, smiling nervously at the look being directed at her.
“Why would you want to talk about being elderly?” Daniel queried.
“Just throwing it out there,” Jack said, shrugging innocently.
“I have read that there are three-hundred, thirty-six dimples in a regulation golf ball,” Teal'c stated suddenly.
“T, did you bring the clubs?” Jack asked eagerly.
“I did not, O'Neill. I was just tossing it out there,” the Jaffa responded with a hidden smile.
Jack just shook his head as the team finished eating. It was just the morning of day five, but things were already crazy, causing him to seriously wonder just how sane the team would be at the end of this mission.
Later that morning, Jack was busy cleaning his P-90 for the sixth time in the five days his team had been aboard the increasingly smaller, in their perceptions anyway, alien vessel. When breakfast had ended, the team had settled down for a bit of fun, or so it was supposed to be. The problem was that their nerves were even more on edge than they had been the day before, and Jack had had a bad reaction to something his lover had said and had gotten up and left his teammates alone on the flight deck.
Daniel walked over to the corner in which his lover had wedged himself, stopping when he was close enough so that only the two of them would hear their conversation.
“I'm sorry, Jack,” Daniel spoke, trying to catch his colonel's eyes as he spoke, but Jack refused to meet his gaze head on. “I ... I didn't mean anything by it. You know I didn't.” Feeling guilty and exasperated, he ran his hand roughly through his hair, making little spikes stick up through the path his fingers had traveled. “I talk too much; you know that.” He sighed and continued, “I know how jealous and possessive you get when I talk about ... other people. He was just the first person that popped into my head when my turn came around.” He lowered his voice even more before continuing, “Besides, you know I like my men ... man ... rough and ready.”
Jack's hands faltered momentarily on his weapon at the tone of Daniel's voice before locking the magazine in, sliding the bolt forward and securing the safety on the P-90. He placed the gun alongside the wall and looked at his Angel for the first time in two hours.
“You promised you wouldn't talk like that while we're out here. 'Rough and ready' -- geez, Danny, are you trying to kill me?”
Daniel smiled brightly at finally having gotten Jack to speak. Conversation was always the first step toward reconciliation when the two of them disagreed.
“Right. Sorry, again. Uh, I'll try to be a good boy for the remainder of the trip.”
Jack groaned and rolled his eyes as he replied, “Just promise me we won't ever play 'Twenty Questions' again.”
Daniel nodded solemnly, responding, “And, if for any reason we're forced to, I swear I *won't* ever pick another living person.”
The colonel looked over Daniel's shoulder to make sure they were still having a 'private' conversation; then lifted his right arm and smoothed the unruly tufts of his archaeologist's hair down.
As Jack went to pull away, Daniel grabbed his hand and softly kissed the upturned palm and whispered, “I love you,” against the calloused fingertips before releasing his hold.
Jack surprised the younger man by placing the hand that had just been kissed on the back of the scientist's neck, pulling him in to whisper in his ear, “Love you, too, my Angel, but if I ever hear you mention Matt Lauer's name again, I'm gonna go to the 'Today Show' studios and shoot him with a zat -- twice.”
As Daniel chuckled momentarily, Jack nipped at the tender lobe before extricating himself from the corner and striding over to the controls, where Sam and Teal'c sat.
Daniel leaned against the wall and attempted to bring his breathing under control. He absentmindedly rubbed the earlobe Jack had lightly bitten.
~Why couldn't they have built a separate cargo hold on this freakin' thing?~ Daniel asked and then released a deep breath and surreptitiously adjusted his fatigues. When he turned around to walk over to the others, he found himself treated to a spectacular view of Jack's perfect backside as he stood bent over one of the panels, a view that caused him to decide that he should stay where he was for a few minutes if he didn't want to embarrass himself. ~Forget a cargo hold, I'd settle for a broom closet right about now.~
The four team members had made it through lunch. Sam had performed yet another systems check on the engines, marveling that the teltac was still running. Then she returned to her book to do some revisions to what she'd written the day before. Daniel also returned to his efforts from the day before, working on the translations. Both were in the sleeping area, each sitting on their own bunks and both deep in concentration.
“Witness if you will ... boredom,” Jack sighed, walking to his bed and sitting down. Unfortunately, neither teammate responded. “It was a cold and quiet day in space,” he said dramatically, still not getting any reaction. “We'll play Jeopardy. I'll even provide the categories -- hockey, fishing, astronomy, 'The Simpsons', and Mary Steenburgen.”
Finally, Sam and Daniel both looked at the colonel, shaking their heads and saying in unison, “No.”
“... Sir,” Sam added when she saw the colonel's glare.
“Books and squiggly symbols can wait,” Jack argued.
“No, they can't,” the archaeologist insisted.
Unfortunately, Jack's boredom and short temper meant that he continued to torture the science twins in his attempt to get them to 'play' with him. Even their attempts to get him to bother Teal'c had been unsuccessful, something neither understood.
“I'm ordering you to close that laptop,” Jack finally demanded while standing and looming over the blonde. He turned and walked towards his lover, saying, “And you to stop that ... linguini stuff. We're going to play.”
Jack had lost it. It wasn't serious. It was more of a temporary pout and rebellion over being ignored. The bad part of it was that neither Daniel nor Sam intended to stop their work.
Seeing the team's insubordination, Jack growled and grabbed his rubber ball. He began bouncing it against the wall, causing both Daniel and Sam to become agitated. Inwardly, the colonel grinned. He was sure that a little annoyance would go a long way in convincing the other two to play for a while.
“Sir, I'd really like to ...”
“No, Sam, let's ... indulge him,” Daniel interrupted, giving his friend a tiny bob of the head and a prodding with his cerulean blue eyes. He stood up and then started to look around. “Where'd I put that?”
“Maybe it's on the flight deck,” Daniel spoke, walking into the area, staring at Teal'c without saying anything to him directly and yet passing on a message.
Jack had followed his lover, giving Sam the chance to reach into her backpack for a special something that she now needed. Of course, the timing had to be perfect, or the fallout would be disastrous.
“It must be here,” Daniel stated, looking all around. “There it is,” he said, walking over to the wall, bending over and wiggling his hips just slightly. He made sure to stay hunched over, knowing his lover would be entranced. After all, they were being forced into complete and utter abstinence during this trip, so a little 'butt', even when clothed, went a long way. ~I feel like a piece of meat doing this, but, gawd, it's fun.~
Jack was practically drooling. He didn't realize that his tongue was visible between his lips, and his eyes were big as hungry dollars in eager search of a slot machine to insert itself into, if there were such a thing as hungry dollars. His heart was beating faster than it had been. He wanted that butt sticking up in the air, and he wanted it bad.
The distraction was just enough to give Sam the chance to sneak up behind the colonel and inject him with a syringe.
Jack blinked, and then he blinked again before stating, “Daniel, I think I'll take a nap now.”
At just the right time, Teal'c stood and then moved forward just in time to catch the colonel from dropping to the hard floor. Picking him up, Teal'c carried Jack to the sleeping area and placed him on his bunk.
“We had to do it,” Sam opined.
“It was necessary,” Daniel agreed.
“Indeed,” Teal'c added.
“Just one thing,” Sam sighed.
“What's that?” Daniel asked.
“Will you visit me in Leavenworth after my court-martial?”
“I'll even bring you chocolate chip cookies,” the archaeologist teased. After a pause, he added, “He'll be okay. I'm confident.”
“Me, too,” Sam chuckled nervously.
“As am I,” Teal'c said. With a smug expression, he added, “I have done nothing but carry O'Neill to his bunk. He will be thankful.”
“Right,” Daniel responded with a bit of a glare and then looking at Sam as the Jaffa returned to the pilot's seat.
“Let's take advantage,” Sam encouraged, turning and going back to sit on her bunk. She looked across and saw the knocked-out colonel and sighed. “Daniel, I'm going to work in the cargo bay.”
Daniel nodded and started to work on his translations, only he, too, was distracted by his lover's presence. He knew it was guilt. Of course, this hadn't been his idea. It had been Janet who had given Sam one shot of a tranquilizer to use at SG-1's discretion.
“Just to make sure you don't kill him during the trip, Sam,” Janet had spoken. “Make it a good choice, though, because I'm only giving you one dose.”
~Sorry, Babe,~ Daniel sighed now as he looked down at his soulmate. He hopped off the bunk and grabbed his research. ~I think I'll go work somewhere else, too. I love you.~
Walking away, the young man chuckled. Guilt or not, he was just a little spooked by Jack's expression.
~I know, Jack -- paybacks.~
“You must have really been tired, Sir,” Sam spoke as confidently as she could several hours later when Jack awoke and began to question his sudden slumber.
“You stuck me with a needle,” Jack barked accusingly.
“Jack, it's okay; it's okay,” Daniel soothed. “It happens to all of us.”
“Daniel, I did *not* take a nap voluntarily.”
“Of course, you didn't,” the younger man spoke as if just placating his soulmate.
“All I know is that Daniel went to the flight deck to get something, and you followed him. I was working on my book,” Sam maintained, pointing over at her laptop.
“It was Little Napoleon, wasn't it?” Jack said in a low voice.
“Jack, Janet's on Earth, at the SGC,” Daniel stated.
“But her medical doodads are here, aren't they, Carter?”
“Jack, aren't you hungry?”
“Uh, Sam, would you mind?”
“I didn't say 'dismissed',” Jack growled when his 2IC disappeared from sight.
“I brought you something,” Daniel said, reaching into his backpack for another special something he'd brought. He hadn't been sure when it would come in handy, but he knew it would sooner or later. “For you.”
Jack grinned as he took possession of the single serving box and exclaimed, “Froot Loops!”
“Let's eat,” the archaeologist chuckled.
“I know she jabbed me with that needle.”
“Let it go, Jack,” Daniel requested.
“Just as long as she knows that I know, and you know that I know, too, because I do ... know, Daniel.”
“Right,” the archaeologist acknowledged, smiling as he led them back to Jack's cement slab of a bunk.
“No,” Daniel stated forcefully the next morning.
“Yes,” Jack insisted with equal force, wondering if the fact that they were arguing before 0800 hours meant that they'd be strangling one another by 2000 hours.
“*They would not!*” the younger man argued.
“*They would so!*” the older man maintained in a raised voice.
Daniel gritted his teeth and looked imploringly at the third member of this discussion.
“O'Neill is correct, DanielJackson. A group of cavemen would indeed be capable of defeating a group of astronauts in a battle to the death, if taken to an uninhabited planet similar to the cavemen's home environment,” Teal'c stated just as seriously as if he'd been talking about the Jaffa rebellion.
“How can you say that, Teal'c?” Daniel asked incredulously. “The astronauts could devise a plan of attack; organize their numbers for a mass assault, observe the cavemen to figure out their weaknesses ...”
“Ah, but you see, Daniel, that's where the fault in your logic lies,” Jack interrupted. “Brains aren't everything. The cavemen have superior strength, knowledge of the terrain, tool-making skills and, well, they're *cavemen*, for crying out loud.”
“Indeed,” Teal'c agreed, the Jaffa, as always, being a man of few words but absolute conviction.
“I ... you ... how ... argh!” Daniel growled and then stomped off to the navigational controls.
Sam glanced up at the archaeologist as he stood in front of the view screen with his arms crossed tightly over his chest. She could see the small muscles in his jaw flex as he fought down the urge to scream at the colonel and Teal'c in sheer frustration. She knew that being cooped up in such an enclosed space for six days wasn't helping matters any. Tempers had had a tendency to flair quickly over the last couple of days and would no doubt grow worse over the next few days it would take to get to the asteroid.
The major just sat back and allowed the three men to go to their separate corners, so to speak, and calm down. Even Teal'c's eyebrow had been working overtime during this latest verbal sparring match.
Sam shook her head slightly, thinking, ~Cavemen versus astronauts -- they must really be losing it.~ The major had to push down her laughter. ~There was one little detail they had forgotten, though. It really didn't matter in the long run which side won, since without any women both sides would become extinct in just a few short decades. So there!~
By the end of their dinner meal that night, the team had spent most of the day either bickering or avoiding one another.
~Time for my secret weapon,~ Jack thought as he sat in the co-pilot's chair. “Carter, how are the engines?”
“I just checked them a few minutes ago. They're as good as can be expected,” Sam answered.
“They're holding together?”
“I'm not worried about them today; at least, not any more than I've been. Sir, we're lucky this thing is still in one piece. In two days, it might be another story.”
“But tonight, we're good to go.”
“And if something does happen to the engines?” Jack asked.
“There wouldn't be much we could do,” Sam sighed.
“Writing of doom on the wall sort of stuff?” the colonel queried.
“I'm not sure I'd put it that way, but, yes,” the major responded.
“Teal'c, you're the designated driver,” Jack smirked about the non-drinking alien, confusing everyone when he disappeared into the sleeping area and then returned with two bottles of whiskey. He saw the surprised look on everyone's faces and explained, “Look, we need a break. I've been threatened with being thrown out an airlock and have already been tranq'd by one of the Doc's sleepy drugs. We're all at one another's throats, and I don't think it's us.”
“It's the situation,” Daniel stated.
“And we need a diversion. This is it. Sit,” Jack said, sitting down in the middle of the flight deck. He waited expectantly for Daniel and Sam to join him, smiling when they did. “That's more like it.”
“If the engines die, it's too late to fix them and still get there on time,” Sam sighed.
“And we really don't want to drug you again,” Daniel smirked with a smile.
“Are we just going to drink?” Sam asked.
“Let's have some fun,” Jack suggested.
“Relieve the tension,” Daniel clarified.
“Save me from being court-martialed,” Sam teased, drawing a stare from the colonel.
The teammates decided on the drinking game called 'I Never'. One of them would make a statement about something they'd never done. Anyone who had done or experienced the statement had to take a drink. It would be a race to see who would be the last one standing, or rather, the last one conscious.
“Start us off, Daniel,” Jack requested.
“Okay, well, uh, I've never served in the military.”
“You work for the military,” Sam tried to argue.
“My paycheck doesn't come from any branch of the service,” Daniel replied a bit smugly, having decided he might as well get into the game to the best of his ability.
Jack and Sam took their first shot of whiskey.
“Oh, yeah,” Jack said, shaking his head with vibrancy as he enjoyed the taste of the liquor.
“I've never figured out how to work the Stargate,” Jack smirked. “Nor do I want to, I might add,” he chuckled.
Daniel and Sam both took a drink of their whiskey.
“Okay,” Sam acknowledged, seeing the two men looking at her. “I've never died more than once.”
Though Jack glared at her for the reminder, Daniel took his shot glass and quickly downed his drink, saying, “I really don't want to think about that.” Then he shocked his lover and friend by taking another shot. “Did I say I really didn't want to think about that?” Thoughtfully, he said, “I've never been snaked.”
Jack took three shots as he said, “I *really* don't want a reminder of that frozen bimbo witch.”
After Sam took her drink, Jack stated, “I've never gotten kidnapped by an Unas.”
Once Daniel was done downing his whiskey, Sam took her turn, saying, “I've never had an alien princess fall for me.”
Daniel quickly took a drink, but Jack hadn't raised his glass.
“Uh, Jack -- Kynthia?”
Jack glared, but he didn't really object to another drink, so he filled his shot glass and enjoyed another spot of the alcoholic beverage.
Continuing the thought from the previous statement, Daniel said, “I've never grown really old because of cake.”
“For crying out loud!” Jack exclaimed, downing his shot. “Enough about Kynthia. New topic.”
“We're waiting,” Daniel said.
“Sir?” Sam called out after a minute.
“It's your turn.”
Jack stared at the two people sitting with him and said defensively, “I knew that.” He paused and then broke out into a grin. “I've never had long hair.”
“Gawd,” Daniel said, reaching for his glass, smiling when Sam also drank a shot.
“I've never participated in snake-baiting,” the blonde chuckled when her turn came around again almost thirty minutes later.
Both men stared at each other, but then both shrugged and drank their obligatory drink.
“Professionally, I've never had anyone believe me the first time,” Daniel stated.
A bit sheepishly, both Jack and Sam drank their shots of whiskey.
The colonel swayed back and forth for a moment and then said, “I've never watched 'The Gilmore Girls'.”
Sam hesitated, but then drank a shot.
“I knew it,” Jack cackled, but then his laughter stopped when he saw his lover also take a drink. “Huh?”
“There was nothing else on,” Daniel admitted. “It's really not that bad,” he giggled.
~Love him when he giggles,~ Jack thought with seductive thoughts. ~Love him when he doesn't giggle. Just love him, period.~
Since the theme had switched to TV, Sam smiled at her commanding office and said with conviction, “I've *never* watched ‘The Simpsons’ ... naaaaaked.”
Immediately, Jack took a drink.
“You've *got* to be kidding,” Daniel stated as he looked at his soulmate.
“Just once,” Jack confessed.
“Okay, well ... wait,” Daniel said, pausing to look at Sam. “How'd you know that?”
“It was just a guess.”
“A guess?” the archaeologist challenged.
“Yeah,” Sam said, bobbing her head up and down.
The archaeologist turned to face his lover and asked accusing, “How did she know that?”
Jack reached over, putting both hands on his lover's shoulders, and said calmly, “Danny, she guessed.” He stared into the other man's eyes and communicated, **I promise. She just guessed. I love you. You're drunk and jealous. Let's get drunker.**
Daniel suddenly grinned and said, “Okay, Jackie Boy,” after which he took a drink of whiskey just for the heck of it.
~Love him when he giggles naked. Love him when he's jealous. Love him naked. Mmmm, love him,~ Jack opined as the game played on.
One full bottle of whiskey down and half of another gone, Sam was pretty giggly when her turn rolled around.
Blushing and giggling both, she said quietly so Teal'c couldn't overhear, “I've never had a crush on my best friend.
“Well, technically ...” Daniel began.
“...iel,” the younger man completed for his intoxicated lover.
“Thank you,” Jack responded. “What was I going to say?”
“I don't know, but I want a drink,” Daniel said, taking a shot more for the liquor than admitting to the statement put forth by Sam. “Uh, I've never been so hooked on 'General Hospital' that I'd get someone to fill me in so I wouldn't miss the next episode.”
Jack gave the other man a very dirty look as he drank his shot.
“Holy Hannah!” Sam exclaimed.
“Hannah smannah,” Jack said, dismissing the remark. “It was Sara's favorite soap, and she made me watch it with her when I was on medical leave.” Seeing the humorous looks on the others' faces, he whined, “It's not my fault! It's a...addi...a... it's addic...”
“...tive,” Daniel completed.
“'Tive' isn't a word,” Jack snarked.
“Neither is 'addic',” Daniel pointed out before the game continued.
The drunken teammates were down to the end of the second bottle with just enough for three drinks remaining. Their words were being slurred, and they were giggling quite a bit. They couldn't sit still, all of them swaying or moving as they attempted not to fall over. At the moment, they were attempting to solve a problem -- whose turn it was, the three unable to remember who had given the last statement.
Suddenly, a deep voice thundered through their giddiness, saying, “I have never behaved in such a juvenile manner.”
Jack sat back, staring up at the Jaffa. Daniel blinked several times as his head suddenly dropped to his chest. Sam just smiled. In perfect unison, the trio emptied the last of the whiskey and drank it.
“Ja...aaaack, I ...”
“I'll join you.”
“Me, too,” Sam stated as the game players all attempted to stand up.
“I do not believe standing would be wise,” Teal'c advised, though none of his teammates listened to his words. He watched as the three stood briefly and then dropped to the floor. “Indeed, I was right.”
The next morning, their seventh in space, started out a bit rocky with Jack, Daniel, and Sam suffering what were easily the worst hangovers of their lives, but the colonel had come prepared for that, too, bringing along a few supposed remedies, including some banana shakes, sugar cubes, and even the Chinese kudzu herb. That, along with lots of water and working out, had the team pretty much back in sorts, functionally, by lunchtime.
Sam spent most of the afternoon checking out the engines and doing calculations as a follow up. Really, she just didn't want to be around noise.
Daniel, too, wanted to just enjoy the quiet. He left his research behind to return to a book he'd brought with him to read.
Teal'c simply kept to himself, remaining on the flight deck for the better part of the day.
Jack, though, had a bad reaction to the silence. It was driving him crazy. The four members of SG-1 had traded nods throughout the day, but that was about it. His ears were ringing from the quiet. He wondered if maybe the bickering of the day before was better than the stillness of today. Maybe he shouldn't have done his 'I Never' cure all. It did cure the arguing, but now no one wanted to talk at all.
Though they'd played along, and pretty willingly at that, both Daniel and Sam were a bit miffed that they'd been suckered into getting so drunk. While they weren't angry enough to argue about it, it was another reason why both had kept to themselves all day.
The colonel didn't regret his action. The team had needed a strong release, and the game had been the perfect solution. The deafening quiet, though, was another matter. Of course, it was really just one voice he really wanted to hear, the voice that made his heart sing and his blood flow with passion and meaning.
Silence when things were good between the lovers wasn't a bad thing. They'd spent hours in absolute quiet, but it was a quiet of companionship and peace. Oftentimes, Jack would be reading one of his space magazines, while Daniel wrote in his journal, or maybe the archaeologist would nap, his head on his lover's lap, while Jack watched some sporting event in silence, not wanting to disturb Daniel's sleep.
Those were happy, contented silences, not like the awkward, tentative quiet of the moment. Jack knew his lover was upset with him, but he also knew it wasn't a serious rift.
While resting on what could laughingly be referred to as his bunk with his eyes closed, Jack thought about those quiet times and how tender they were, and he reflected on the beauty of his lover, both inside and out. Daniel was so much more than he deserved.
That's why this silence was bothering the older man; it brought forth his inner fears.
During his more morose times, Jack wondered how long he and Daniel would really have together. More to the point, he speculated when his youthful soulmate would move on to younger and greener pastures. Though he knew in his heart that that was never going to actually happen, he'd still think about it, and sometimes it would eat away at him.
~No, Danny loves me too much to throw away all we've shared,~ Jack thought.
Even with that silent acknowledgement, when he was feeling particularly old or exceptionally ignorant about his Love's latest archaeological find, Jack would allow himself a momentary side trip to Dumpsville. He never let his mind drift in that direction for too long though; it was just one of those nasty, self-defeating things that sneaked up on him fast and hard sometimes.
“A kiss for your thoughts,” Daniel spoke quietly and tenderly.
The sound of his lover's voice instantly drove any sense of melancholy out of Jack's entire being.
“If only,” Jack replied as he opened his eyes and was greeted by the delicious sight of Daniel lowering himself down to lie fully on top of him.
“Danny?” Jack heard himself gasp as their bodies came in contact from ankle to chest.
Jack felt the puff of warm air against his lips when Daniel shushed him and didn't even bother to suppress the shiver that vibrated under his skin at the intimacy of that one simple act.
“Teal'c's kelno'reeming so he's, for all intents and purposes, dead to the world for the next hour, and I've already asked Sam to keep her eyes on the road, unless it's a life or death emergency, for ten minutes. What you did for us, as a team last night, was the perfect solution, but now we need our own ... perfect solution. So, unless you have any objections, I'm going to kiss you senseless for the next,” Daniel made a show of checking his watch, “nine minutes and twenty-five seconds, starting now.”
The archaeologist didn't wait to see if his lover had any objections, he just began kissing the man he loved more than life itself, a decision that Jack whole heartedly went along with.
“Daniel, how about a break?” Jack asked much later that night, sitting down next to lover by the bomb-laden MALP.
Sam and Teal'c were engaged in conversation that sounded like it would last awhile, which gave the colonel the opportunity he'd been waiting for.
The archaeologist put down his book, ready for a brief break.
“You have that look,” Daniel stated.
“The 'I'm so in love with you, I can't stand it look'?”
“No, the 'I'm up to something' look.”
The two chuckled and then the older man pulled out his surprise, saying, “You must be going through withdrawal.”
“Oh, gawd,” Daniel said, practically gasping at the sight of a box of four chocolate truffles. “Jack ...”
“Can't have my Danny chocolate deprived for long. Tonight seemed like the right time.”
“We'll share,” Daniel said with the look Jack recognized as being the 'I love you so much and will forever' look. “Uh, Jack, what about ...”
“I knew you'd do that.”
“Have a guilt trip over chocolate,” the older man replied, shaking his head. “I have a second box. I'll pull it out later; there's one for each of us.”
“I love you,” Daniel spoke.
“Forever and always, Angel,” Jack said, risking a quick kiss.
Happily, the soulmates enjoyed their chocolate treats and quiet time together. Later, Jack surprised Sam and Teal'c with the second box, leaving the entire team smiling, at least for the moment.
On the middle of the eighth day, Teal'c was sitting at the navigational controls and pondering many things: whether the Jaffa would ever know freedom, whether the Goa'uld would ever truly be defeated, whether SamanthaCarter would ever find a man interested in her who wouldn't die soon after their meeting, and whether that small, secret smile which O'Neill and DanielJackson shared on many occasions had a meaning?
The Jaffa warrior straightened in the pilot's seat and turned to look into the back of the vessel currently under his control. Sam was barely visible as she sat in the corner of the cargo bay, reading. Teal'c stood and walked towards the bay, intending to start a conversation with the major when he paused to look to his left, where the sleeping bunks for his other two teammates were. There, both O'Neill and DanielJackson were asleep.
Suddenly, O'Neill sat up and slung his legs off the side as if to rise. When he moved forward, however, the top of his head brushed against DanielJackson's hand as it dangled limply off of his bunk. As soon as the two made contact, the archaeologist murmured in his sleep and flexed his fingers through the colonel's hair.
In response, O'Neill simply smiled in the way that made Teal'c ponder some more, especially when he observed how the colonel proceeded to sit passively and allow himself to be 'petted' for a few seconds before arising and walking unsteadily in the direction of the bathroom.
Deciding to forego his conversation with the major, Teal'c turned back around, returned to the pilot's seat and sat down, staring into space as he continued to ponder yet even more.
Huddled with her laptop while glancing over at the groaning engines, Sam was doing some pondering herself. She'd been very proud of the amount of work she'd completed on her latest scientific work that related to the process of creating and sustaining holograms as a means of both education and experimentation. Of course, as always, she had to be careful not to cross the boundaries of confidentiality, using only information that had been cleared by the Pentagon.
Then Sam looked around the cargo ship, and her mind began to wander until she thought about Martouf, the Tok'ra who had fallen in love with her. As sadness enveloped her, she regretted never having given the relationship a fair chance. There had always been a reason or some excuse for not believing in her feelings or being willing to examine what they meant.
The scientist closed her laptop and leaned her head back against the wall, smiling as she remembered the man's blue eyes. For a moment, she wondered if his eyes were bluer than Daniel's. Then she decided she'd better not think about Daniel's alluring blue eyes or risk the wrath of her CO, who would probably figure out what she'd been thinking about somehow.
Sam thought some more about Martouf, his gentle voice warming her as she reflected. Her regret grew and with it, so did her sadness.
Deciding that pondering dead lovers wasn't such a good thing, Sam opened her laptop and quickly began typing what she hoped would be the final chapter of her book.
That afternoon, Jack was pondering his sexual frustration. The close quarters were getting to him. He was sure that had Daniel not initiated their short make-out session the night before that he would have exploded, especially after their chocolate fest later that night. Finally, he decided he needed to work off his sexual frustration.
Since the only equipment brought on board was a jump rope and the hand weights that his lover had brought with him, the colonel decided on a basic exercise regime, not unlike what SG-1 had done in their hangover recovery operation. He held nothing back in this session, however, sweating so much from his exercise that he had no time to ponder anything at all.
Daniel, however, sat on his bunk practically salivating at his pondering, all of which was focused on his extremely sexy Silver Fox. As his shirtless lover did sit-ups, the archaeologist had a wonderfully delicious view of his abdominal muscles. He watched as they tightened and relaxed with Jack's efforts. Daniel let out a little gasp, smacking his lips together as he pictured himself kissing the skin he was seeing.
A couple of minutes later, Jack was skipping rope, something that probably wasn't the smartest thing for him to be doing with his bad knees, but he really needed to work off his tension, so he figured a few minutes of jumping rope wouldn't hurt.
**I think making out last night was a mistake,** Daniel communicated.
**It reminded me of what we're missing, and I *want* what we're missing!**
**Angel?** Jack responded, relieved the reason wasn't as bad as he'd feared.
**I suggest starting with a jog around the ship, then some push-ups, and ...**
Nodding as his lover continued to lay out an exercise session, Daniel hopped out of his bunk and began to work off as much of his 'need' as he could.
After breakfast on the ninth day, Jack sat on the edge of his bunk and chanted internally, ~One more day, and we'll blow that rock to kingdom come. Then I'm taking my beautiful archaeologist home and loving him until smoke rolls out of his ears.~
Across the room, Daniel stood against the wall in complete and total agreement, looking like he'd heard what was meant to be an internal thought.
Jack sighed and shouted, “Carter, how much longer?”
Appearing in the doorway several seconds later, Sam responded, “Sir, we're lucky to have gotten this far. These engines are barely holding together.”
“Carter, that's *not* what I want to hear.”
“Tomorrow, I think,” Sam said.
“Sam, it *has* to be tomorrow,” Daniel reminded.
“I know,” Sam sighed, turning around and returning to her task of nurse-maiding the fatigued engines along.
“One more day,” Jack said softly as he looked over at the other man.
“We'll get there,” Daniel spoke. With a smile, he added, “I'm confident.”
“Mister Positive,” Jack snarked half-heartedly.
“It's better than the alternative,” the younger man responded with a nod to emphasize the essence of his remark.
Jack bobbed his head up and down a couple of times and then leaned back against the cold, hard wall as he whined, “Daniel, one more day is about all I can take on this tub anyway.”
With a smile, the younger man spoke assuredly, “You've survived much worse, Jack. You're bored; we all are to some extent, but being here, with all of us, hasn't really been as bad as we've sometimes made it out to be.”
“You're right, again,” Jack agreed. “Daniel, don't you ever get tired of being right?”
“No,” Daniel chuckled as he turned and headed for the cargo bay to see if Sam needed any help.
“Geeks,” Jack mused and then groaned as he searched for something else to do for a while.
On the tenth day from their departure from Revanna, SG-1 closed in on the asteroid. While it took a little longer than expected, Sam was just relieved the engines hadn't failed. After contacting the SGC with their status, Sam, seated in the co-pilot's chair, briefed her teammates.
“All right. Thirty-nine minutes before impact, the asteroid will reach the fail safe position. Once it's past that point, it'll be too close to Earth for the explosion to deflect it.” The major looked at her watch and stated, “That leaves us three-and-a-half hours.”
Standing near the engine console, Daniel asked, “So, we just drop off the bomb and, what?”
Sam turned on a holographic screen that displayed a rotating graphic of the asteroid and answered, “Our scan shows that the asteroid is pock-marked with impact craters and fissures. We fly the ship into the deepest crater we can find at a right angle to its current trajectory. The crater itself should help direct the explosive force of the bomb like a rocket nozzle. When we're a few meters above the surface, we ring down the MALP with the bomb.” Sam concluded by saying, “Then we land and two of us go EVA,” and then turning off the screen.
Gesturing to Sam and himself, Jack ordered, “That would be you and me.”
“We walk the MALP down into one of the fissures at the bottom of the crater to focus as much of the blast as possible. We set the timer, and then we get out of there,” Sam added.
“Piece a cake,” Jack replied a bit dubiously.
“There is one other thing,” Sam stated. “We're about to pass through the Leonids. It's a cometary trail that Earth passes through periodically. The shields should help protect the ship, but anyone caught outside is gonna have to find cover, and fast.”
Just then, the vessel began to shake and make loud noises.
“What was that?” Jack asked.
“I'm having difficulty with the sub-light engines,” Teal'c announced as he continued to pilot the ship.
“Yes, you are,” Daniel agreed dryly.
“Sir?” Sam spoke, her tone indicating she wanted the man to accompany her to the engine area.
Jack hit the panel of the console, glancing at Daniel, as he turned and followed Sam.
Studying the engine crystals, Sam noted that the engines were overloading. At that moment, an electrical discharge erupted, tossing Sam to the floor.
Jack stared at his downed second for a moment and then knelt down to check on her, pleased when she was just a bit shaken up, though he was worried that she had hit her head on the hard floor.
Teal'c walked in, having left Daniel at the helm, and reported, “The sub-light engines have shut down.”
~Just what we need,~ Jack groaned internally.
Suddenly, Daniel called out, “Big asteroid problem here!”
As the three teammates returned to the flight deck, Sam suggested, “Try using maneuvering thrusters to slow us down.”
“I am. It's not working,” Daniel reported as he got out of the seat, moving over to the co-pilot's chair.
After sitting down and checking things out for himself, Teal'c acknowledged, “DanielJackson is correct. Maneuvering thrusters appear to be insufficient.”
“They're all we've got,” Sam sighed.
The cargo ship continued to drop towards the asteroid. All four members of SG-1 were anticipating a nasty crash landing.
“Any time now,” Jack stated.
“Thrusters are in full reverse, O'Neill,” Teal'c replied.
“We're coming in a lot faster than we should be,” Sam noted.
“Yes, we are,” Daniel agreed in the same tone of voice he'd used to agree with Teal'c's earlier statement.
“Faster than we should with thrusters at maximum. Ninety meters per second. Eighty. This rate of deceleration isn't gonna cut it. We're gonna hit,” Sam informed the three men.
Seconds later, when they hadn't yet crashed, Jack questioned, “What happened?”
“We're inside a deep crater. Fifty meters per second. Forty. Thirty,” Sam answered. A few seconds later, she advised, “We stopped descending.”
“Carter?” Jack questioned a bit urgently.
“I'd better check the engines,” the blonde responded, getting up and heading for the cargo bay.
Jack sighed and then joked, “I think they do it better at Six Flags.”
“Do what better?” Daniel asked in surprise at the comment.
“The death drop. That was pretty tame,” the colonel opined about their decline inside the crater.
Daniel just stared and turned to look at the window, shaking his head slightly at the craziness of his lover.
Back at the SGC, Major Paul Davis sat at a computer station and concluded a call with his contacts at NASA.
The major looked up at General Hammond and called out, “Sir?” When Hammond, who was standing at the front of the control room talking with Sergeant Walter Davis, turned to face him, the major informed, “We just got a message from NASA. According to their latest calculations, SG-1 has crashed into the asteroid's surface at over sixty meters per second.”
“Do they have confirmation?”
“No, Sir,” Davis responded. “It's an estimate based on the ship's last known position and trajectory.”
Hoping against hope, the major general asked, “Any chance of survivors?”
Shaking his head, Major Davis responded, “At that velocity Sir, it's ... it's very unlikely.”
Hammond didn't move, though his eyes moved downward. He had enormous faith in his flagship team. Not only were they Earth's last and greatest hope, but they were also his friends. More importantly, they were family.
“Sir,” Paul Davis called out. He stood and walked over to Hammond, stating, “If this is true and the mission is down ... we're out of options. It's time to call the President.”
Sergeant Davis looked on in disbelief as the two officers exchanged looks of resignation. No one could believe things had gotten so far.
“You're right, Major, but don't count SG-1 out just yet,” Hammond said as he turned around and headed for his office. ~I'll never count them out. They'll find a way. I'm confident of that.~
Having checked the engines, Sam reported the sub-light drive was down, after which Teal'c noted that shields and communication were also out.
“It might be easier to list what is working,” Daniel stated.
“The bomb?” Jack asked.
“Is good to go, Sir. If it comes right down to it, we can detonate it right here,” Sam answered. Looking at the archaeologist, she inquired, “What's our position?”
“Well, personally I'm against it,” Daniel responded.
~Oh, that's good,~ Jack thought.
~DanielJackson has told a joke. Perhaps one day, he will learn to appreciate jokes from my culture,~ Teal'c thought privately.
~Daniel, please. The colonel is bad enough,~ Sam sighed inwardly.
“If you want to know where the ship is, we're about five meters above the surface at the bottom of the crater,” Daniel stated, finally answering the major's query.
“The rings will be functional at that distance,” Teal'c pointed out.
After Sam activated the rings and transported the bomb to the surface, Jack and Sam headed to suit up. Sam, however, faltered in her step, the result of her earlier head injury. As a result, the colonel ordered her to remain on the ship with Daniel while he and Teal'c took care of positioning the bomb and activating it.
A few minutes later, Jack and Teal'c prepared to go on their EVA.
“Depressurizing airlock,” Teal'c stated as he worked the lock.
Over the radio, Sam informed, “Sir, once you're off the ship you'll experience very little gravity, but the asteroid's surface is mostly iron, and your boots are magnetized, so you shouldn't go spinning off into space.”
“Oh, that's very reassuring there, Carter. Thank you very much,” Jack responded sarcastically.
**Jack, be careful.**
**This'll be a cinch, Danny.**
**A piece of cake?**
**Cupcake, even,** the older man teased at the same time that Teal'c announced he was opening the outer door.
On the asteroid surface, Jack took the remote which controlled the MALP, on which the bomb was on. Carefully, the colonel and the Jaffa went deeper into the crevice, trying to get as far down as they could. When they couldn't go any further, Jack armed the weapon for two hours and then began to head back for the cargo ship.
Meanwhile, on the teltac, Sam was in the process of making a startling discovery. She'd been concerned because the ship's approach to the asteroid was faster than it should have been. Upon checking, she also realized that the asteroid's gravitational field was stronger than anticipated, which meant that the core of the asteroid had to be comprised of a material much heavier than nickel and iron.
The major's suppositions were temporarily halted when a loud thud was heard outside the ship.
“So, what was that?” Daniel asked with concern.
“We're passing through the Leonid's way sooner than I expected,” Sam answered. With urgency, she spoke into the radio, “Colonel O'Neill, what's your position?”
“We're almost out of the cave,” Jack answered.
Sam advised her CO and Teal'c to stay put, telling them about the meteors that were currently hitting the surface and the ship. Then she and Daniel worked swiftly to try and get the shields back up, or to at least get some power. Nothing worked, though, and then a meteor hit caused a hull breech, venting atmosphere into the teltac.
After a third meteor made contact with the ship, Sam spoke, “Daniel, we can't survive in here much longer.”
“Do we have extra suits?” Daniel asked desperately.
“No, just the two.”
The two scientists stared at each other for a moment, and then Daniel muttered, “Escape.”
“Escape pods,” Daniel stated excitedly as he headed for the pods that were by the bulkhead which divided the flight deck from the cargo bay.
“I hope these haven't been damaged,” Sam spoke as she opened the pod she'd be using.
“I'm confident,” Daniel stated as he got inside his pod. ~I'm too nervous not to be.~
“Me, too,” Sam stated. “Daniel ...”
“We'll make it, Sam,” the archaeologist asserted.
“Just in case ...”
“Just in case,” Daniel agreed, the words of a warm friendship and deep caring going unspoken except for in their hearts.
A moment later, the two pods closed, encasing Daniel and Sam inside of them.
**Jack, can you hear me? Jack? Jack, answer me.** The archaeologist sighed, realizing that the couple's silent communication wasn't working right now. **Just in case, Jack, you're ... everything to me, and I ... I love you.**
**Danny?** Jack called out for the fifth time in the last two minutes. ~Crap,~ I hate it when this thing doesn't work. Finally, over the radio, he spoke, “Carter, Daniel, this is O'Neill, please respond. Carter!”
By the time Jack and Teal'c had the ship in their sights again, the meteor shower had stopped. However, they still weren't able to reach Daniel or Sam over the radio. They hurried to the ship and opened the airlock, Jack calling out constantly to the other two members of the team. Based on the readings, the two realized a hull breech had occurred. Inside the ship, they looked around for their teammates, knowing they had to be there somewhere.
**Jack? Come on, Jack, focus!** Daniel called out.
For some reason, the special link between the two was a bit cloudy at the moment; still, Jack could have sworn he'd heard his lover's call. He looked around the flight deck and then stared at the escape pods.
**Danny?** Jack called out, walking to the pods at the same time Teal'c was wondering what the colonel was thinking. Pounding his boot into the pod three times, Jack then put his left hand on the escape pod. **Danny, do you hear me?**
**Gawd, finally,** Daniel replied.
**She's in the other pod, on my right.**
**Ah, for looks, give me three thump replies.** Once his lover had done as requested, Jack turned and told Teal'c, “They're in the escape pods!”
“I have identified the breached areas of the hull. We can begin repairs immediately,” the Jaffa reported.
**We're getting you out,** Jack reported while hitting his boot twice against the pod.
**Hurry,** Daniel responded, thumping against the pod in reply, done for the benefit of Teal'c.
“All right,” Jack stated as he headed to help Teal'c with the repairs.
With the repairs completed, Jack and Teal'c got out of their space suits. Immediately, Jack went to the escape pods and opened Daniel's first and then Sam's.
“Hey, Kids, how ya feeling?”
“Uh, not bad under the circumstances,” Daniel said as he exited the pod.
“That's great. Let's go.”
“Sir, I don't think we should leave just yet,” Sam spoke as she hurried into the cockpit.
**Oh, what now,** Jack lamented as he looked over at his lover.
“Don't look at me,” Daniel stated. “Something to do with gravity or ... something.”
“It's too high, Sir, at least it's higher than it should be. I need to reconfigure the ship's sensors to determine what the core is made of.”
“Oh, here we go,” Jack whined.
“I'm sorry, Sir.”
“Aw, come on! We came, we saw, we planted the bomb. We had a little fun with a meteor shower. We went home. It's a great story!” Jack exclaimed, eager to go home. He looked at Daniel and then to Teal'c as he asked, “Isn't it?” Looking back at his lover, he questioned, **Well, isn't it?**
**I don't think Sam's seen the same movie. New cliffhanger,** Daniel responded without looking at his soulmate.
“Just a moment, Sir,” Sam said as she remained focused on her laptop. She sighed as she glanced over at her teammates. ~Sometimes I wish I didn't think of all of this stuff.~
“Carter?” Jack prompted, his head buried in the palm of his hand.
Bringing up a schematic of the asteroid to the screen, Sam spoke, “I was right.”
“This could be a problem,” Daniel stated as he took in the image.
“Indeed,” Teal'c agreed.
“I don't wanna hear it!” Jack barked, having no clue what the rest of his team was talking about since he had refused to even look at the image on the screen.
Forging on, Sam stated, “Sir, the asteroid's core is composed almost entirely of naquadah.”
“Of course, it is,” Jack sighed, resigned to what was about to happen next.
“It makes up about forty-five percent of the total mass,” Sam elaborated.
“Of course, it does,” Daniel sighed, resigned to the fact that nothing ever goes as planned.
“Naquadah does not occur naturally in this solar system,” Teal'c pointed out a bit unnecessarily.
“Which is why I never even thought to look for it. Sir, this whole thing must have been a Goa'uld setup,” the major asserted.
“... to circumvent the Protected Planets Treaty with the Asgard. It's almost unthinkable,” Daniel remarked.
“What?” Jack asked the archaeologist.
“The Goa'uld brought the asteroid here and set it on a collision course to make it look like a natural disaster,” Sam answered.
“And they knew the only way we could stop it would be with a nuke,” Daniel added, looking at the older man.
“So, what happens when that bomb goes off?” Jack questioned.
“Well, the explosion will be enhanced by the naquadah, probably to the force of a small nova. This close to the Earth, it would be enough to set the atmosphere on fire and boil the oceans,” Sam answered.
“Okay, this was not in the movie,” Jack complained. ~I hate surprise endings.~
“And if we deactivate the bomb and the asteroid goes past the failsafe point, there's no turning back. Are you absolutely sure about this?” Daniel asked, already knowing the answer.
“Well, I can't be a hundred percent,” Sam admitted.
~I never am, either,~ Daniel thought, knowing that Sam was close enough in her guess.
“We don't have a lot of choices here,” the colonel stated.
Daniel agreed, and the team began to look for other options, such as the Asgard intervening. The problem with that, was that there was no way of contacting the alien allies.
“We do if you get that radio back online,” Jack stated positively. “Teal'c, suit up.”
“Where are you going?” Daniel asked.
“To disarm the bomb,” Jack stated.
“Oh.” Daniel looked over at Sam and asked, “Do you need any help?”
“No, I've got it,” Sam responded as she began her work.
Daniel nodded and looked around the flight deck. This was the worst part of any life or death mission: waiting without having anything to do. He decided to help Jack and Teal'c get into their space suits, but after that, he was on his own until the system was fixed.
“Hey,” Jack said quietly as he emerged from the restroom.
“We don't have a lot of time here,” Daniel responded in a near whisper.
Jack knew Sam was still on the flight deck. Teal'c was close, maybe too close, but he knew his lover needed this moment. So what if the Jaffa found out about the lovers' relationship. For all he knew, Teal'c did know. In the end, the colonel decided that taking a moment with his soulmate was worth the risk.
With a smile, Jack leaned his forehead against Daniel's. It was something they often did in situations like now, when time was of the essence and they couldn't do anything much more physical.
Several seconds passed before Jack ended the connection, though he surprised his Love by bringing Daniel's hands to his mouth and kissing the palms.
“I love you, Danny.”
“I love you, so much, Jack,” Daniel replied. He took a breath, knowing they were taking too long with their good-bye. “I'll help you into your suit.”
“I like it better when you help me undress.”
“Me, too,” Daniel said with a small smile before the two got back to the business at hand.
“Good luck, Sir, Teal'c,” Sam called out just as Jack and Teal'c were ready to exit the vessel.
“Don't make any wrong turns,” Daniel mused, eliciting a chuckle from his life partner.
The archaeologist watched as his lover and teammate got into the airlock and the door closed.
**Don't worry, Love. We'll get out of this. The movie always has a happy ending,** Jack opined a minute later as he stepped out onto the asteroid.
~Not before half the population is killed,~ the younger man lamented.
“Okay, try it now,” Sam instructed a few minutes later.
“Stargate Command, this is SG-1. Do you read? Over.” After a pause, the archaeologist stated, “Nothing.”
“I don't know what else to do. The radio's working short range, but there's no way the signal can penetrate this much solid naquadah.”
“So, what?” Daniel questioned, sighing when his friend just shook her head in reply. “That's what I thought.” With a sigh, he turned around in his seat and looked out the window. All of a sudden, he chuckled lightly, “Of all the places for us to ... well, you know. I never thought it would be on an asteroid.”
The blonde walked over and sat down in the pilot's seat as she asked, “What was that thing you said on Cimmeria?”
Daniel looked at his friend as he searched his mind, going back a couple of years until he arrived at the proper reference point and acknowledged, “Oh, uh, legend goes that before going into battle, the Sioux would say that this is a ... a good day to die.”
Sam gave her friend a closed smile and replied, “We're not done yet.”
“We're not,” Daniel affirmed with a bob of his head.
“We'll think of something,” Sam replied confidently.
“Time's running out,” the archaeologist pointed out.
“I know,” Sam agreed thoughtfully.
With a smile, Daniel spoke, “I'm confident.”
“That we'll think of something or ...”
“In this case, Sam, I don't think I want the 'or'.
The friendly chuckles were interrupted by Jack's voice over the radio. He and Teal'c had reached the bomb, discovering that it had been somewhat damaged during the meteor shower. It was still counting down, and the colonel had been unable to deactivate the bomb.
“Carter, come in.”
“Confirm the deactivation code for me, will ya?” Jack asked on the hope that the answer to the latest problem was as simple as having inputted an incorrect disarming code.
As Sam stated the code, Jack inputted it, realizing it was the same code he'd entered a minute earlier.
“Yeah, that's it. Nothin'.”
“Is there a problem, Sir?” Sam asked.
“Well, there was a cave in. It seems to have damaged the keypad. It's not accepting the code. Other than that, everything's fine.”
Sam told Jack he would have to open the bomb and deactivate the bomb manually. Following her instructions, the colonel found the wires that led from the timer to the detonator. Unfortunately, Sam told him to cut the red one.
~Bad day. This is definitely a bad day,~ Jack thought as he stared at the five wires, none of which were red. “Carter, they're all yellow.”
~Okay, this isn't good,~ Daniel thought, closing his eyes just briefly before opening them and looking over at a very surprised Sam.
With less than ninety seconds to go, Jack began to randomly cut the wires. When he got to the last one, he paused, pulling back the cutters he was using.
“You know, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that this is a very poorly designed bomb, and I think we should say something to somebody when we get back.”
**Jack, just cut the freakin' wire already!**
**Testy, testy!** Jack replied. **Hey, this communication thing is working now? It didn't earlier.**
“I agree, Sir,” Sam stated at the same time, unaware of the mental exchange occurring between her two teammates.
**Jack, we don't have time for this,** Daniel advised. **And I'm glad it works, but focus!**
**I love you, Danny.**
**I love you, too, but *cut the freakin' wire* already!**
As he responded, **Dictator**, Jack cut the last wire.
“Sir?” Sam called out a few seconds later.
“We're still here,” Jack affirmed.
Daniel let out a sigh of relief while banging the back of his head against his chair a few times.
**Next time, Jack, don't hold out on me like that.**
**Hey, I didn't know if we were gonna go kaboom or not.**
**You knew when you cut the wire,** Daniel accused.
**I wasn't sure.**
**No, just a colonel,** Jack snarked. **Pretty good about our communication thing.**
**Yes, let's not wear it out,** Daniel sighed. He looked over at Sam, who was smiling. “We need options,” he stated.
“I'm not sure we have any, Daniel,” Sam spoke honestly.
“We have to try. We can't just sit here and die.”
“We could; it is an option.”
Daniel rolled his eyes and then closed them, searching his mind for an answer.
On Earth, the Stargate was engaged, potentially for the final time. With baited breath, Janet waited in the gate room. She was full of mixed emotions.
The petite redhead was leaving her daughter to an unknown but almost certain doomed fate; she was mourning the potential loss of some brave and dear friends in SG-1; and she'd been unsuccessful in convincing General Hammond to accompany the group to what could be their new home.
On the flip side, there was a new world to be established beyond the event horizon, and Janet would be a key figure in helping that world settle. She'd be needed, maybe even more than she was now. It was an adventure, and there was a small excitement in that fact.
Still, that was a small solace when Janet thought about her daughter. Facing the Stargate, she'd never felt so apprehensive about anything. In fact, even now, part of her wanted to turn and run. If her daughter would die, she would, too, by Cassandra's side. The only thing that stopped the redhead from fleeing was the obligation and duty she felt to Earth. She would be one of only a few doctors to make it through to the Alpha Site; she was sorely needed. For the good of the world's future, she had to sacrifice her personal desires and needs.
In the control room, Hammond and his staff waited with baited breath for good news. Instead, fail safe came and went with no word from SG-1. With the impact imminent, Hammond ordered the final group, which, in addition to Janet, included both Major Davis and Sergeant Davis, to go through the Stargate to the Alpha Site.
~I don't think I should go,~ Sergeant Davis thought.
“That's an order, Sergeant,” Hammond stated at the loyal technician.
“Yes, Sir,” the sergeant acknowledged reluctantly as he stood and headed for the gate room.
As he began to walk out, Major Davis turned and paused, calling out expectantly, “General.”
Looking the major in the eye, Hammond replied, “I haven't been relieved of this command, Major.”
With a nod, the man responded, “Yes, Sir.” As he shook the general's hand, he said, “Good luck,” and then went to the gate room.
Hammond stared down at the last group, seeing Janet in the lead. She'd turned around and was looking up at him. He nodded at her, seeing the sadness on her face and her struggle to remain as unemotional as possible. He saw Sergeant Davis and could tell he was struggling with the order to leave the planet. Still, he knew the man would obey the command. He saw Major Davis look up at him one more time and nodded.
“General, please come with us,” Janet called out, breaking protocol and not caring that she was doing so.
“Doctor, all of you, it's been a great pleasure serving with you. Our nation is counting on you, and those who have preceded you to the Alpha Site, to create a new world. Make it a good one; make it better; make it a ... home.” Hammond stood up a bit straighter and ordered, “Doctor, your team has a 'go' to the Alpha Site. God speed to you all!”
Janet nodded, turned quickly, and headed through the event horizon. The others followed until only Sergeant Davis stood between the Stargate and the man in the control room. He considered a quick retreat back to the control room.
“Obey my order, Sergeant.”
Walter Davis nodded and said, “Shutting down the Stargate,” after which he turned and walked through the Gate.
Hammond nodded, watched the shimmering wormhole fade and thought, ~I'm not giving up on you yet, SG-1.~
“We get communications back yet?” Jack asked, walking onto the flight deck after removing the space suit he'd been wearing.
Teal'c had taken off his suit as well and was making his way to the front of the vessel, stopping behind the engine console.
As he listened, Daniel turned around so that both he and Sam were facing Jack and Teal'c, the two scientists in front of the engine console, while the two military men were a foot or so behind it.
“Sorry, Sir. We tried. The only way would be to pull the components we used to fix the hyperdrive. It would take hours,” Sam answered.
Daniel was fidgety and frowning as his mind turned a million times per minute, in Jack's estimation. The archaeologist had even used his left fist to bang against the console a couple of times as he listened to Sam answer Jack's question.
“What, then?” the colonel queried.
“Well we have a couple of options,” Daniel began, talking extremely fast. “Number one, we give up.”
~Give up? Us? Keep talkin', Danny,~ Jack urged as he gave his lover a disapproving look.
Daniel continued, “We use what's left of power and life support to make it to the nearest unoccupied gate world. There's a small chance we'd make it. From there, we head to the Alpha Site.”
“Number two?” Jack prompted.
“We take off and hope that our radio signal can be picked up by the Asgard in time to inform them that this was a Goa'uld attack disguised as a natural disaster,” Daniel stated.
“There isn't enough time for that,” Sam refuted, glancing at Daniel.
“I know,” the archaeologist acknowledged.
“Is ... there a number three?” Jack asked hopefully.
“There's no three,” Sam responded.
“Well, maybe there is,” Daniel interjected thoughtfully, his eyes downward as he strained to verbalize his idea. “Teal'c, you said ... naquadah wasn't native to our solar system.” After getting an affirmative nod from the Jaffa, the archaeologist continued, “Now which means that the Goa'uld must have towed it through hyperspace by ship.”
“A mother ship,” Teal'c stated.
“Daniel, that's it!” Sam exclaimed, looking at her friend.
“What's it?” Jack asked.
Looking at Sam, Daniel sighed, “Well, we don't have a mother ship.”
“The effect only has to last a few seconds,” Sam pointed out.
“What only has to last a few seconds? What?” Jack questioned anxiously. ~I hate it when they do this. Darn Science Twins. Let the rest of us in on the secret, will ya?~
“Choice three, Sir,” Sam answered. “We expand the ship's hyperspace field to encompass the entire asteroid. We take it out of normal space long enough to avoid the collision with Earth.”
Sam looked over at Daniel, hoping for a positive reaction. She knew her plan was crazy, but she also knew it could work. Not getting the response she wanted, she looked back at Jack. At the same time, Daniel, too, looked at Jack, his expression one of doubt and uncertainty. Unfortunately, the archaeologist also felt like this would be their best shot at obtaining their goal.
Seeing his lover's dubious and somewhat 'spider to the fly' expression, Jack asked, “Is there a four?”
“I know it sounds farfetched, Sir, and, well it is,” Sam interjected.
“You want to ride an asteroid through Earth?” Jack asked in disbelief.
“Yes,” Daniel answered.
“To the outside observer, it would disappear on one side and reappear on the other. The problem is it would take every ounce of power we've got. The field would have to be expanded far beyond its usual envelope. It could cause the engines to explode,” Sam stated.
“Explode?” Jack asked.
“Even if we survive the engine overload Sir, we wouldn't be able to take off again. We'd have a couple of hours of life support, and that's it,” Sam replied.
Daniel looked over at his lover again, realizing how over-the-top the proposal sounded, and urged, **Come on, Jack. It's our best bet.**
“But you think this is the best shot we have at stopping this rock?” Jack questioned, verbalizing what his lover had just spoken to him mentally.
“Yes, Sir. I think so.”
**Let's just do it, Jack.**
“Well, that's the plan, then,” the colonel spoke, his tone and expression a bit lighter now that the decision had been made.
Roughly ten minutes later, Jack and Daniel were passing each other as they paced, each glancing over at Sam as she worked away at her computer. Daniel's arms were crossed, and Jack was squeezing the small ball, occasionally tossing it back and forth in his hands. Teal'c sat calmly in the pilot's seat, quietly awaiting whatever was to be.
“You know, this would be so much more fun if life really did imitate art,” Jack spoke.
Surprised by the odd statement, Daniel asked, “What do you mean?”
“You'd be Cosmos.”
“Excuse me?” Daniel asked, coming to a complete stop by the engine console on the flight deck.
“Well, Bart really, but since you're really the one getting us in trouble ...”
“*Excuse me*?” Daniel repeated, a bit more loudly this time, his hands gripping the edge of the console.
“The comet Bart discovered that hit Springfield,” Jack finally explained. “He became the cool kid, got a lot of PR, and was nicknamed Cosmos by the Super Friends in school.”
“Jack, if we're about to die, do we really need our last thoughts to be about Bart Simpson?” the younger man questioned incredulously. “Art?” he asked in utter dismay, his facial expression conveying his feelings on the subject.
Jack nodded, and the two began to pace some more, until the colonel interrupted their silence by saying, “Homer had it right, though.”
“What?” Daniel asked, making a face as he asked the question.
“When the end was near, Homer told his family everything would be okay. He said the comet would just burn up in the atmosphere and nothing bigger than a Chihuahua's head would hit the Earth.”
“That was a cartoon, Jack,” Daniel reminded pointed.
“But he was right. It burned up and became a tiny rock. It was scary.”
“Scary?” Daniel questioned in disbelief.
“Daniel, Homer was right. Homer is never right. It scared everyone.”
Daniel nodded and said, “These are the Jack O'Neill moments I will *not* miss,” after which he shook his head to ward off the entire conversation and then continued pacing.
Tossing the ball up and down a couple of times, Jack decided to put it away. The clock was ticking.
“I'm working on it, Sir.”
Jack sighed and looked over at his lover. The two shared a tender smile.
**My last thought would never be about Homer or Bart, Danny. I love you.**
Daniel smiled and replied, **I love you, even if you are Simpson crazy.**
On Earth, the SGC was empty, except for one lone man. General George Hammond stood, looking out over the Stargate. There were just four minutes left in the countdown before the asteroid would slam into the planet.
“It's been a good ride, people,” the general spoke aloud.
The words were the last ones spoken aloud. Silently, though, Hammond replayed the first time he'd seen the Stargate, almost five years ago upon being assigned to lead the SGC. He thought about his late wife, wondering if he was about to see her again. He'd spoken with his daughter and his grandchildren earlier, making sure his voice was calm, steady, and reassuring. After all, the average citizen had no idea what was about to happen, but he'd needed to hear their voices, to say 'I love you' to all of them one last time.
Three minutes to go.
Hammond continued to stare out over the large circle that had changed life as he knew it years earlier. He remembered the first time he'd met SG-1, back in 1969. He chuckled: the entire incident had seemed so incredible to the then young lieutenant. He let out a laugh upon seeing the flagship team returning from their unexpected trip back in time. All four members of SG-1 had been dressed in colorful clothes of the sixties: bell bottoms, peace necklaces, and mod glasses. They'd been amused and curious about the secret they'd just learned during their trip back in time which Hammond had kept from them. The chuckle was happy, the memory a good one. That was Hammond's laugh.
Two minutes to go as the clock ticked on.
The major general grew serious in his reflection. He'd had a good life, and he'd been fortunate to have made some good friends over the years. Still, he had to acknowledge that he was going to miss this crazy exploration through space. More than that, he was going to miss SG-1.
~You've been a pain in the mikta, Jack, but it's the best kind of pain because you care; and, you, Doctor Jackson. You're the inspiration for us all, a reminder that caring and passion can exist with science and technological advancement. Major Carter, Jacob's daughter. I do wish you'd taken Colonel O'Neill's advice and ... gotten a life. Teal'c, it has been a pleasure to become friends with a man from another planet whose ideals match many of our own. SG-1, wherever you are, good luck.~
Hammond looked over at the computer countdown, watching as it clicked down to fifty-nine seconds. He wouldn't die in the control room. Instead, he returned to his office, taking a seat at his desk. He pulled out the pictures of his wife, daughter, and granddaughters that he kept in his wallet and spoke a soulful and final good-bye to them in his heart.
In space, Sam was frantically working on the correct calculations for the 'asteroid ride' that would save Earth. She bemoaned not having more time, but the asteroid was getting dangerously close to her home world.
“Carter, I can see my house!” Jack finally exclaimed as he looked up and out the flight deck window.
“Engaging hyperdrive ... now!” the major announced. Brief seconds later, the drive shut down. Sam smiled and reported, “We're there.”
“The navigational computer confirms we have emerged from hyperspace on the other side of the planet,” Teal'c stated.
Looking through the window, Jack quipped, “Yep, plan three -- works every time.”
Hammond stared at the photographs of his family. He waited, and then he waited some more. Then he let out a tiny snort and a smile. Then he actually laughed.
“I don't know how, but SG-1 has done it again.”
Grinning, Hammond heard the phone ring. Cheyenne Mountain was about to be back in business.
In the cargo ship, Daniel was again in the co-pilot's seat, while Teal'c remained in the pilot's chair. Jack and Sam were both resting on the floor, on opposite sides of the vessel.
“So, two hours of life support, then what?” Daniel asked.
“Hammond will find us,” Jack stated assuredly.
“I'm confident,” Daniel spoke positively. ~Why not? It's been a pattern lately.~
“Me, too,” Sam added. ~Wouldn't want to break tradition now.~
“As am I,” Teal'c once again stated. ~Confidence, real or just desired, has gotten us far.~
Suddenly, an alert sounded, prompting Jack and Sam to stand and move to the forward part of the flight deck.
“Sensors are picking up a vessel approaching. It appears to be another cargo ship,” Teal'c stated.
“Goa'uld?” Sam asked the Jaffa.
“I do not know. The ship is taking up position directly above us.”
The team was relieved to see a friendly looking image appear on the view screen.
“I am Jalen of the To'kra. We received your distress call and came as fast as we could. Can we render assistance?”
Nonchalantly, Jack responded, “Well, you know, it's not like we don't have everything totally under control here, but ... sure, render away.”
“Is your vessel repairable?”
“The engines are completely shot,” Sam answered. “And our power systems are drained. We have less than two hours of life support remaining.”
“How about a lift?” Jack asked. “We'll leave this for the next tow truck.”
“Tow?” Daniel asked. “Jalen, do you have any kind of tractor capability?”
Seeing Jack's stare, the younger man muttered, “It's worth a shot; they do have all this ... unknown technology.”
“Please prepare to ring aboard our vessel,” Jalen answered, ignoring the question.
“Give us ten minutes,” Jack requested as the team began to gather their gear.
“Good idea, Jack -- giving permission for Jalen to help,” Daniel mused as he walked over to get his backpack.
“They have it on 'Star Trek',” Daniel said with a shrug.
“I believe the correct response for this situation is, DanielJackson, you have been hanging around ColonelO'Neill too much.”
In response, Daniel gaped incredulously at the Jaffa, Sam bowed her head as she tried not to laugh, and Jack grimaced as he spoke, “Teal'c, doesn't sound right coming from you like that.”
“Is the witticism not correct, O'Neill?” Teal'c questioned.
“It's correct; it's just ... never mind.”
The four members of SG-1 waited for the elevator doors to open. They'd arrived back on Earth, the Tok'ra dropping them off at Peterson Air Force Base where they'd been met by Major Paul Davis.
“Davis,” Jack greeted, the rest of the team standing a tad behind him.
“Welcome back, Colonel,” Davis said as he saluted and then nodded at the other three members of the team.
“Yeah,” Jack said, returning the salute.
“General Hammond is waiting anxiously at the base to begin the debriefing,” the major spoke, turning and leading the way towards the nearby vehicle.
Daniel could feel the bristling of his lover. Just being around Major Davis brought out Jack's Mr. Jealousy, regardless of whether or not there was a reason for it.
**Jack, last year when you and Teal'c were stranded in space, Paul worked really hard with Sam to find a way to bring you and Teal'c home.**
**Of course, he did.**
**Jack, stop it. He's just doing his job.**
**I'm not doing anything.**
**No, but you're thinking it,** Daniel stated strongly.
“Major,” Jack spoke curtly just as the major opened the door for the colonel. More quietly, he said, “Thank you.”
“You're welcome, Colonel,” the major responded, assuming Jack was being uncharacteristically polite for him having opened the door, something not really required of him at the moment, but that he'd done as a courtesy, considering SG-1 had just saved the world.
Davis drove SG-1 to Cheyenne Mountain. Once there, the group signed in. Now, they were in the second elevator that led to the twenty-sixth floor where General Hammond's office was located.
“Gotta watch 'The Simpsons',” Jack stated as he leaned back against the rear panel. “Hope Lou taped it for me.”
“I want waffles, Belgian, blueberry maybe: just waffles, with lots of maple syrup,” Daniel spoke in hopeful anticipation.
“I wish to continue my study of the Tau'ri art form known as clogging.”
Jack, Daniel, and Sam all just stared at the Jaffa, as did Major Davis.
“You want to learn how to dance?” the colonel questioned in disbelief.
“I do not,” Teal'c answered.
“But, Teal'c, you just said you wanted to study clogging,” Sam interjected.
“It is a rugged outdoor sport.”
“It is?” Daniel questioned.
“Men stand on huge logs and attempt to move it with their feet,” the Jaffa stated.
“Teal'c, that's log rolling, not clogging,” Jack corrected.
Teal'c simply raised his head slightly, undaunted by the correction, while his teammates all smiled at the misnomer.
Without realizing it, Sam's next words were spoken at the precise moment that the elevator doors opened -- “Well, I just want to curl up in bed, a nice, warm, comfy bed and twirl my toes.”
“Volunteers?” Lou Ferretti called out jovially.
Stunned, SG-1 walked slowly out of the elevator to the cheers and applause of a number of SGC personnel who lined both sides of the corridor, all the way from the elevators to Hammond's office. Words of thanks, extended hands wanting to be shaken, pats on the back, and smile after smile were given as the team walked, nodding and acknowledging their friends and colleagues.
Standing outside his office with a proud grin on his face, General Hammond greeted his flagship team by saying a hearty, “Welcome home, SG-1.”
“Thank you, Sir,” Jack replied, looking at his teammates, who were all smiling and nodding their appreciation at the welcome, even if it was a bit embarrassing.
Hammond extended his hand towards his office, inviting the team in for an unofficial family reunion of sorts and then the five, along with Major Davis, met in the conference room for the official debriefing.
“It's good to have you home,” Hammond stated when the session was done. “I'd like to give you a few days off to ...”
“No, Sir,” Jack interjected, looking at each member of his team. “Frankly, General, we just spent ten days in a tiny cargo ship. I think we'd all like a day to recoup, but then we'd just as soon get back to work.”
Hammond saw the looks and nods of agreement from Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c and responded, “Very well. I'll leave it at your discretion: twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Let Sergeant Davis know your intentions. SG-1 will return to the regular rotation in two days. Dismissed.”
“Thank you, General,” Jack said, standing.
Sam stood, too, as did Major Davis.
“So, what do you say we go to Blockbuster and rent a couple of movies, maybe 'Armageddon' and 'Deep Impact'?” Jack quipped, rubbing his hands together eagerly.
Without responding, Sam and Teal'c left the room. Major Davis let out a tiny laugh and coughed as he turned and made a hasty exit from the briefing room, too.
“You definitely know how to clear a room, Jack,” Daniel teased.
“You can thank me later. Time to go home,” Jack spoke eagerly, walking out of the conference room.
Daniel paused, thinking about what had just happened, and then called out, “Wait! You mean you asked that intentionally?” Sprinting, the archaeologist shouted out, “Jack! Jack!”
“Trying to call attention to our presence, Daniel?” Jack smirked when his lover almost rammed into him after turning the corner.
“Home,” Daniel stated simply. “And ... thank you,” he added now that he had figured out the plan.
“You're welcome,” the older man replied as the couple headed for the elevator.
As he headed for the house, Daniel realized it was a good thing that, as a fluke, he and his lover had driven their own vehicles to work a couple of weeks ago. Otherwise, they would definitely have not made it home. He wanted Jack, and he wanted him now. He glanced into his rearview mirror and groaned from want.
~Sexy Silver Fox: My Jack. I can't wait to feel you. I want to ... oops,~ Daniel thought as he realized he had ceased focusing on the road and was, instead, focused on the anticipated foreplay to come.
In the Ford truck that was close behind the slinky silver sports car that Daniel was navigating, Jack, too, was having similar thoughts. He could already feel his body reacting just from thoughts of touching his lover, let alone more intimate acts.
~I *so* don't think I'm gonna make it. Geez, I feel like I'm gonna explode. Want that Angel geek of mine soooo bad, and right this friggin' minute, too,~ Jack thought as he fought his own battle to remain focused on the road.
Up ahead, Daniel blinked as his breaths became heavier.
~Distraction. It's a law. I'm sure of it, somewhere. Don't drive when distracted. Has to be a law.~
In the truck, at the same time, Jack began to think along the same lines.
~It's for public safety. Hey, it's night out. We're still in the middle of nowhere. There's a turn up ahead. Wonder if Danny knows it? No one would ... hey, where's he ... yes!~
The 1999 Shelby-American car made the right turn Jack had been thinking about. Just three minutes later, it and the truck pulled off the road. The forty-minute drive to the country house they shared was just too long.
Daniel got out of his vehicle first and took a few steps back towards his lover's dark truck. Jack got out as quickly as he could and then began to sprint towards his lover.
The two ran for each other and began to kiss in an almost frantic manner.
“Geez, just like some friggin' fifties movie,” Jack laughed as they hurriedly worked to undress each other.
“Huh?” Daniel asked, not understanding how his lover had just compared their short jogs to each other to a stereotypical romantic movie.
“Never mind,” Jack responded, preferring to focus on the task at hand.
The two paused their need just long enough to select the most secluded area. It wasn't much, just a few shrubs near the trees, but it would work. This was a private road, still part of the Mountain technically. No one would find them there. If they did, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' wouldn't rule their lives anymore. They would be outed by the urgent needs that were currently controlling them.
There was little tenderness about the couple's first union, which was controlled by twelve days of involuntary abstinence, but their second joining was tender, fueled by their endless love for each other. Finally, they figured they'd better get home. Though a remote area, to stay longer was tempting fate.
Hand in hand, both needing showers, Jack and Daniel headed back to their vehicles.
As they stopped by Daniel's car, Jack took his Love into his arms and declared, “I love you, Daniel Jackson.”
“I love you,” Daniel replied before treating himself to another kiss.
“Now *that's* a ride no asteroid can compare to,” Jack stated.
“You're a nut, O'Neill.”
“I'm nutty for you.”
“Home,” Daniel stated quietly.
After one more kiss, the lovers headed home for more lovemaking and tender fondling. Their team had saved the planet yet again; now, it was time for them to focus their attention on their love, something they did passionately for the next twenty-four hours until required to return to the SGC.
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