Welcome to Netu
Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: 3 - November 17-20, 1999
Spoilers: Jolinar's Memories, The Devil You Know, In the Line of Duty (minor), Serpent's Song (minor), Forever in a Day (minor),
Written: March 4-6,13-14, 2021
Summary: Times are difficult when SG-1 join Martouf in a rescue mission after Sam's father is captured by Sokar. The mission literally means going to hell and experiencing some very emotional memories.
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) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s): "Forever and Always" and "Hanging Around"
Welcome to Netu
This Wednesday morning in Colorado Springs was a windy one, but it was otherwise a nice day. For Jack and Daniel, it felt good to be home. The two spent the last several days at Jack's Minnesota cabin, a necessary retreat after the death of Daniel's wife, Sha're, and a subsequent questionable experience with a woman name Ke'ra. Ultimately, the trip provided Daniel the opportunity to explain to Jack just how important the colonel was to him. Now, the lovers were closer than ever, though they still had to deal with gossips and the reality of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.
"How can you eat so much for breakfast all the time?" Daniel asked his life partner as they enjoyed the first meal of the day at his apartment.
The two men spent the night together at the apartment instead of Jack's country-like home because Daniel needed to tend to his fish. Plus, they didn't arrive back in the city until late and they were too tired to drive the extra hour from Daniel's apartment to Jack's house.
"I'm hungry," Jack mused as he continued to enjoy his full meal that included sausage, bacon, eggs, pancakes, fruit, orange juice, and coffee. "Eat up."
"No, no, uh, I'm fine," Daniel replied. He was appropriately hungry, but he was satisfied after imbibing only sausage and pancakes with his obligatory first cup of coffee. "We need to get going," he said after glancing over at the clock.
"Danny, one thing first," Jack spoke with some seriousness.
"I checked my messages earlier, and there was one from Carter."
"She's fine," Jack assured. "She said the gossip has been non-stop after we took off from the Mountain. A bunch of Marines are yapping away about us, so we may have to put on a little show for them today."
"So, uh, we come back from our vacation ... angry at each other?"
"We just need to ... argue. Think we can figure something out?"
"Oh, I'm ... I'm sure we can come up with some point of contention between us."
Jack laughed, leaned over for a kiss, and declared, "I love you, Danny."
"I love you, too."
At the Mountain, Jack and Daniel signed in appropriately and then set about their duties. Jack met with General Hammond for a half-hour to catch up on the latest and discuss upcoming mission assignments, while Daniel went to his office and reviewed the reports from other teams about cultural elements or artifacts retrieved. Some required his attention while others didn't seem to need any type of followup.
Sam walked into her friends office with a big smile and called out, "Daniel."
"Hey, Sam. How are you?"
"I'm doing good, but that's what I wanted to ask you. How are you?" the blonde asked as she walked to the man's desk and stood in front of it.
"I'm ... good. Jack and I cleared the air and, uh, well, things are good, very good."
"I'm glad. I was worried about you."
"You don't need to be, but, uh ... thanks."
"Um, did the colonel get my message?" Sam inquired, having not seen Jack as yet.
"He did. We're planning a little ... show," the archaeologist sighed, hating even thinking about the deception the two so often had to pull off in order to keep their relationship a secure secret.
"If you need me ..."
"You ... might come up in the ... conversation, but I don't know for sure. Sam, if you'd rather not ..."
"Daniel, I promised you both I'd help you, and I intend to keep on doing that for as long as it's necessary."
"It's not easy, I know."
"No, but it's just words and some flirtation," Sam reminded. "We all know the truth, so it's okay."
"Okay. Okay, if you're sure."
"Do what you have to do to stay safe," Sam asserted. She sighed and saw her friend's nod of agreement. "Okay, well, back to the grind," she said as she headed for the door. She stopped and looked back while still sporting a happy smile. "I'm glad you're back.Daniel nodded with a smile of his own and watched the woman exit his office.
Forty-five minutes later, Jack entered Daniel's office/lab on Level 18 and announced, "Showtime."
"The corridors are full of Marines and personnel," the colonel announced. "They just finished attending a briefing, so everyone is scurrying around to wherever they need to be. Did you come up something?"
"Lieutenant Tremaine," Daniel responded. "Did you read the mission report from SG-3?"
"Read it?" Jack asked with some hesitancy.
"I'm ... aware of the debate. Let's go."
The colonel and the scientist went into the corridor and walked around the corner where they saw three Marines headed their way.
"You're on," Jack whispered.
"Jack, don't you see the common sense in this?"
"Yes, and it says Tremaine should continue with SG-3."
"That's ... crazy. I'm tired of my department coming in second to some big goons who only want to show off how mean and powerful they are," Daniel claimed.
"Daniel, Tremaine is an outstanding marksman. He's shown a strong ability to strategize in tough situations, too. He's where he needs to be."
"No, he's not, Colonel," Daniel negated harshly. "He studied archaeology for two years in college and he has an aptitude for new languages. We need personnel in my department who can learn ancient languages. I can't be the only one all the time."
"You're exaggerating ... again."
"I am not."
"Daniel, every time you open your mouth, dribble comes out that I don't understand," Jack spat just as he and Daniel crossed paths with the oncoming Marines.
"Isn't that open-minded of you, Colonel ... not," Daniel responded as if angered by the comment. "The truth is that you just don't understand basic English."
"Low blow," Jack remarked.
"It's necessary for you to comprehend the language of our world," Daniel put forth, looking back and sighing. "They're out of hearing range."
"We did good."
"I guess so, but, Jack, what about Tremaine?"
With a pleased grin, the colonel informed, "I've already assigned him to SG-6 for the next six months. We agreed to review his future after that point."
"Thank you, Jack."
Jack kept smiling, knowing his lover was both surprised and happy about the big reveal.
"Keep in mind, though, we may need to pull him out from time to time for military missions. He's a top tier candidate for a leader of a Marine team."
"I understand that, but just give him a chance to prove his worth in science," Daniel requested. "Let him decide where he wants to spend his time."
The lovers stopped walking and faced each other.
"I haven't seen Teal'c yet."
"I'm gonna track him down. Lunch at 0100 hours?"
"Okay," Daniel agreed and then turned around to head back to his office.
Jack then went off in search of the Jaffa to touch bases and see what was new with his teammate.
As Jack was looking for Teal'c, the klaxons began to blare.
~No teams are due back now,~ Jack thought, doing a quick turn as he changed his destination from Teal'c's quarters to the control room on Level 28. "Who's calling?" the colonel asked the technician, who viewed his monitor in search of the answer.
Before there was a response, Sam joined Jack having heard the klaxons blare as well and having the same concern he did about the off-world teams since none of them were due to return or check in at this point in time.
Finally, the technician advised that the Tok'ra were using their GDO to contact the SGC. Jack gave the race the device roughly six months when Apophis sought sanctuary on Earth.
"Open the iris," Jack ordered. He looked at his second-in-command and quipped, "Maybe it's Dad."Jack and Sam went into the gate room to greet their guests, which turned out to be Martouf and two other Tok'ra. Martouf had the sad duty to advise Sam that her father, Jacob, was recently captured by Sokar. Martouf asked, "You are familiar with the way Sokar has assumed the persona of the entity on Earth known as the devil?" "Yeah," Jack affirmed. "Bit pretentious, don't you think?" "You must understand when I say that if Selmak is still alive, he has been sent to hell," Martouf stated, referring to the symbiote Jacob carried. "As in ..." Jack prodded. "A place of eternal suffering and damnation from which there is no return." "Let's take this to the briefing room," the colonel suggested. "So, what are we really talking about here?" he questioned as the group headed for Level 28, oddly taking the long way around, something that appeared to be Sam's idea as she led the way at first. ~Okay, Carter. You want a little alone time with this guy, is that it?~ The answer to the colonel's internal query became obvious when he found himself suddenly in front of the couple and the other Tok'ra lagging behind so much so that he couldn't even see them at the moment. ~Prearranged separation?~ Jack wondered, though he was certain there was nothing suspicious in the Tok'ra staying back so far. ~I'd guess most Tok'ra knows how this guy feels about Carter.~ Martouf answered, "Netu is a moon that orbits Sokar's home planet." "A very hot moon, I take it?" Martouf replied, "It is indeed a place where fire burns strong." Sam interjected, "But you know for sure that my father is still alive?" Martouf stopped walking, took Sam's hand in his, and responded, "I am sorry, Samantha. I know this must be difficult. Once captured, Selmak and Jacob, your father, would have been brutally tortured, but Sokar would rather see his victims suffer than die." Jack turned around, looking away for a moment, which was the most he could do to provide any privacy for Sam and Martouf. Truth be told, he wasn't sure he liked the relationship, but whatever it was, there was something that tied the two together. The bond was made through a woman named Jolinar. The female Tok'ra once entered Sam's body for a short time before she was killed by an Ashrak, or hired assassin, sent by Cronus. Jolinar was romantically involved with Martouf, who immediately sensed her essence in Sam once they met. Since that time, the two were intrigued and genuinely attracted to each other. Jack surmised his team would go on a rescue mission, but Martouf said no one had ever escaped from Netu, except for Jolinar. "Go on in," Jack told the others when they reached the conference room. He, though, went to the general's office and tapped on the door. "Sir, we have a situation." "What is it?" "The Tok'ra are here. Apparently, Jacob's been captured by Sokar and is being held in hell." "Excuse me?" "According to Martouf, it's a hot little moon that orbits Sokar's home world." Jack paused and added, "The Tok'ra are in the briefing room, along with Carter." "Get Doctor Jackson and Teal'c. I'll be there shortly," Hammond ordered. "Yes, Sir." Jack went to the desk outside of Hammond's office, used by Sergeant Walter Davis and others from time to time. Looking at a phone on another desk in an empty office, Jack instructed, "Find Teal'c and tell him to get up here pronto." He picked up the phone and dialed his lover's office. "Daniel, change in plans. We have Sokar issues. Briefing: now." "Be right there," the archaeologist responded. ==== With everyone gathered together, the situation was reviewed with Daniel and Teal'c brought up to speed about the abduction of Jacob and Sokar's masquerade as the devil. "Of course, it makes sense. The Goa'uld impersonating the devil would naturally create a place like Netu. Netu is from the book of Am-Taut which is kind of a how-to guide on passage through the ancient Egyptian otherworld regions, and many of those regions are described as dark places with pits of fire, home to hellish monsters and the damned," Daniel stated. Martouf revealed that he had no idea how Jolinar escaped from Netu. "No one ever asked her how she escaped from an inescapable prison?" Daniel inquired. "She was found unconscious and badly injured in the teltak, a cargo ship, floating adrift in space. Her recovery was long and painful. She was encouraged to remember how she escaped, but she refused to speak of it." Sam commented that during her brief time carrying Jolinar, she had only a few scattered flashes of memories and dreams, but none of it was like the Netu she was now hearing about. Martouf advised, "The Tok'ra have technology that aids in the recall of memories, but you must be willing to use it." Jack pointed out, "Well, if we're going in on this one, Sir, we're going to need a couple more units." Silently, he opined, ~Tremaine's reassignment may have to wait for one more mission.~ Martouf negated, "A full military incursion will be impossible, Colonel O'Neill." "We do covert," Jack put forward. ~We're experts even.~ "Selmak's recovery is obviously a high priority, however, and forgive me, Samantha, but there is something larger at stake here. The Tok'ra believe that Sokar is about to launch a massive attack against the System Lords." Jack asked, "Isn't that good news?" Teal'c responded, "The chaotic and feudal disorganization of the System Lords' fragmented rule is a far more vulnerable target than that of one powerful Goa'uld." "Especially if that Goa'uld is Sokar," Martouf noted. Hammond asked, "He's really that much worse than the others?" "Well, of all the gods he picked to impersonate he chose the devil," Daniel returned. Ultimately, it was decided that SG-1 and Martouf would go on the rescue mission, especially since Martouf claimed the fate of the galaxy could depend on their success or not. "When do we leave?" Sam asked. "As soon as you're ready. If you are all sure you understand what you are volunteering for," Martouf stated. "You said hell, right?" Daniel replied. Jack responded, "Well, I'm going to end up there sooner or later. Might as well check out the neighborhood, huh?" "Colonel, prepare your team," Hammond stated. "You have an immediate go." "Yes, Sir," Jack replied, getting up after the major general stood and left the room. "Do you folks need anything from us?" he asked Martouf. "We have what we need," the Tok'ra responded. "If you'll excuse us, we'll get what we need." "Of course," Martouf responded and then motioned at his two companions to follow him out of the conference room. ==== Jack and Sam headed for the locker room to change from the blue BDUs they were wearing into their green ones for the off-world mission. Meanwhile, Daniel and Teal'c focused on getting the team's gear and weapons since they were already in their green outfits. They only needed to pick up their jackets and backpacks. It was less than thirty minutes later when the latter two entered the gate room. They looked around curiously and then focused up at the observation window where the control room was located, one floor above the Stargate. There, they saw Jack, Sam, General Hammond, and the Tok'ra. "Oops," Daniel observed. "Jack doesn't look happy." "Perhaps the Tok'ra told him something that displeases him." "Like ... what?" "We will learn that when we are told, DanielJackson." "Yes, you're right, of course." Indeed, it was only now that Martouf told the Tau'ri that they needed to go to Vorash, where a teltak would be available to them to take on the trip to Netu. He explained Netu didn't have a Stargate and people traveled there by ship only. Jack, of course, wasn't happy about just having been this. He often accused the Tok'ra of not sharing all they knew, and this just added to that belief. With the Stargate dialing the coordinates, Jack and the others in the control room walked to the gate room. **Everything okay?** Daniel asked via the couple's unique mental communication. **Just peachy,** Jack groaned in his mind. **More secrets, Danny.** At that point, he stated verbally. "Daniel, Teal'c, we'll be going to hell via teltak." Martouf felt Jack's glare intently, but calmly replied, "Yes. Netu doesn't have a Stargate." "A little something the Tok'ra didn't tell us in the briefing." "As I said, Colonel O'Neill, there will be time to discuss everything on the ship," Martouf claimed. "With all due respect, Martouf, the Tok'ra need to start telling us what they know now, not later." "Would you prefer we waste time in rescuing Jacob and Selmak by returning to your conference room and spending valuable time reviewing all we know?" "Colonel, is there a problem?" Hammond asked over the tannoy. "No, Sir. We were just ... reviewing the facts," Jack answered. "Move out." He glanced up at Hammond and gave him a 'they annoy me' look along with a shrug before heading up the ramp. ~Why do I think there will be more surprises I don't like on this mission? Why? Because we're working with the Tok'ra, that's why.~ ==== On the planet, the group walked across the desert to the teltak and immediately ringed aboard. "This ship looks familiar," Sam remarked. Martouf responded, "This is the same teltak in which Jolinar was found adrift. It was severely damaged when we found it. The essential flight mechanisms have been repaired; however, the hyperdrive engines can only be run at forty percent without too much risk." The rescue personnel went to the bridge. Almost immediately, Daniel opened a control mechanism, but, seeing Jack's pointed finger, quickly closed it. **No touching the equipment until we know what it does for sure.** **Overreaction.** **Think: Ma'chello,** Jack urged. After sitting down in one of the pilot seats, Teal'c looked over at Martouf and asked, "Is this vessel equipped with stealth capabilities?" Sam explained to a confused Martouf, "The ship we were in could make itself invisible." "Really?" Jack elaborated, "It was an upgrade. You're obviously dealing with a base model here." "Are you sure you can fly a ship such as this?" the Tok'ra asked the Jaffa. Teal'c assured, "With great proficiency." "While we are on the surface, you may have to avoid Sokar's forces." Surprised, Daniel interjected, "What, isn't Teal'c coming with us?" "He cannot," Martouf answered. "The atmosphere around the moon is impenetrable by ship. The only way to reach the surface is in the descent pods. It is how all the damned are sent to Netu by Sokar, and it is how we must also arrive if we are to convince the other denizens we can be trusted." "And there are only four pods," Sam noted. "Correct." Jack again wasn't happy at not being informed about the lack of pods on the ship. It was yet another unpleasant surprise, courtesy of the Tok'ra. "Shall we embark?" Martouf asked. Jack retorted, "By all means. To hell with us." **Gawd, Jack, do you always have to be so ... glib?** **It's who I am.** **I've noticed.** ==== As the ship maneuvered towards its destination, Jack, Daniel, and Sam settled in back in one of the rooms. "I'm ready for a delightful meal," Jack commented. "Delightful?" "I'm pretending we're at O'Malley's." "Oh, I see," Daniel responded as he kneeled on the floor and started going through a bag that contained MREs. As the archaeologist pulled a couple of the meals out and handed one to Jack, Martouf entered and explained more about Netu. "The moon was once an industrialized colony of the planet Delmak. When Sokar conquered Delmak and made it his home world, he transformed the moon's environment to suit the myths." He added that Sokar "... filled the atmosphere with barely breathable toxins, then blasted numerous holes in the moon's surface, releasing the molten core." At that point, Sam was ready to have Martouf place the memory device on her temple to see if she could recall anything about how Jolinar escaped from Netu. While the technology included being able to see the memories like holograms, the Tok'ra advised they would not be using that part of the technology out of respect for Sam, since it was possible her own personal memories could come out and not just those of Jolinar. Sam found her memories going back to her home when she was a young girl baking chocolate chip cookies. It was the moment Jacob returned home and told her that her mother was dead. It was very upsetting for her to recall that time, so Martouf gently nudged her into thinking about Jolinar solely. He talked about the last time he was with Jolinar. "The last night we spent together before she was captured by Sokar, we walked along the ridge of Noctana. There were two moons out that night." Sam could see the night in her mind. She remembered the two stayed together all night, but never discussed Jolinar leaving. It was a very pleasant memory for the blonde. "I can't remember anything else," Sam sighed. "Samantha ..." Martouf began, though his words were cut off. "Okay, kids, let's eat and get some shuteye." "Colonel O'Neill ..." "Later, Martouf," Jack insisted, concerned for his 2IC. "As you wish," the Tok'ra agreed. Sam and Martouf sat together as they ate, after which Martouf went back to the bridge to speak with Teal'c. Jack and Daniel stayed in their spots and talked in their minds for a while as they prepared to eat. **Danny, ever feel like you're an invader on your own rescue mission?** **You mean like just now?** **Man, they get intense.** **They have history; well, at least Jolinar and Martouf do.** **Yeah, but talk about feeling like an outsider ...** **Forget about it. Eat your MRE. We're at O'Malley's, remember?** the archaeologist teased. **It's a good thing I have a vivid imagination,** Jack put forth. **Sometimes, that's a good thing and sometimes ...** **Eat, Daniel. Just eat.** ==== Eventually, Jack settled down on the bench-like area he was sitting on previously. Fortunately, it was just long enough to accommodate his height. Daniel, however, chose to climb up above a long chest that was next to his lover's spot. He tossed a blanket atop the chest before getting atop it. He looked down at Jack smiled. "What are you grinning about?" Jack whispered. "I'm on top." Jack laughed and replied cautiously, "For the moment, yes. We'll see who's on top after the mission." The archaeologist's grin remained as he turned over to relax on his back, as his lover did as well. Both attempted sleep, achieving it to varying degrees as the night moved forward. ==== Unable to sleep as the wee hours of the morning appeared, Sam quietly went to Martouf who was sleeping near her and said she wanted to try the device again. "I should have said this earlier. I know my personal relationship with Jolinar is a source of discomfort for you," Martouf stated. He continued, "I would just like you to know, it has always been my belief that Jolinar kept her experience on Netu a secret because she believed it might come between us. I don't want you to hold anything back for the same reason. You don't have to protect me." With that said, the Tok'ra applied the memory device to Sam's temple once again. This time, Sam recalled Jolinar being tortured with a pain stick. She screamed, awaking Jack and Daniel. "Shut it off! Shut it off!" Sam shouted. "Do it!" Jack ordered as he slowly sat up. After Martouf turned off the device, Sam gasped, "I saw someone. A dark figure; I think it was Sokar. The pain was ..." "I am sorry," Martouf expressed with sincere regret. "The memory technology can provide very realistic sensory recall." Still agitated by the torture she sensed Jolinar experienced, Sam agreed to allow the memory device to be used on her again, only on a lower setting. She recalled Jolinar on a vessel like the teltak she was on now. There was a fire and it was hard to breathe. That was all she could bring to the surface. She expressed doubt she could remember anything helpful to the group. Martouf, however, insisted she must continue to try. At that point, Jack butted in with, "Hey, Marty. A word?" He and Martouf stood and walked to the next room. "You're pushing a little hard, don't ya think?" Martouf answered, "There is not much time left." "It's her father. She knows the stakes." "If she does not remember Jolinar's method of escape, I will not ask any of you to accompany me down to the surface." "Why?" Jack asked curiously. "Because anyone who goes down there will likely not return." "But you're going to go?" "I will attempt to locate Selmak and communicate any relevant information to you. You will then return to Vorash and relay it the Tok'ra." "And leave you and Jacob down there to, what ... rot?" Jack questioned pointedly. Martouf began, "With no means of escape ..." Jack interrupted, "All right, first of all, Carter's not going to let you go without her. Secondly, I won't let it happen; thirdly, Jolinar escaped." "But if Samantha cannot recall how ..." "Uh, uh, I know, I heard you, and forgive the bravado, but it's been done before. It can be done again." "I do not think it is a good idea, but if you insist on going ..." "I insist." ==== As Jack and Martouf talked, Daniel arose and approached Sam, sitting down at her side. "You going to be okay?" "Yeah. It's just so confusing. Images and faces; fragments of thoughts and feelings. There was a Goa'uld on Netu, not Sokar. He was, um ... let's just say he was less than attractive. I know his name; I can't find it, but I get this horrible, sick feeling when I remember him." "Something happened between him and Jolinar." Sam nodded and responded, "Something worse than the torture and pain. Something Jolinar never wanted Martouf to find out about." "Something ... personal?" "I think so," Sam responded quietly. "Daniel, what if she betrayed him?" "Then maybe their relationship wasn't what Martouf thinks it was." "Or me? I mean, I sense Jolinar's feelings. Everything I know says she genuinely cared for Martouf." "What are you going to do when you find out what it is for sure?" "If I find out, and right now, that's a big if." Sam sighed, "I don't know, Daniel. I don't want to hurt him." "Maybe you won't have to," Daniel replied. "Maybe everything's all jumbled up." "My senses could be wrong." Daniel looked at his friend and both knew they were being over optimistic and the odds were that when the truth was discovered, it might not be what anyone wanted to hear. ==== After the memory recall, no one could go back to sleep. They talked or sat in silence until shortly after dawn when Teal'c announced the ship was near Netu. That prompted Martouf to remove the memory device from Sam's temple and instead place it behind her ear in the hopes it would not be seen by any of the denizens. Jack gave Sam a pistol, prompting Martouf to argue that if they went down to the surface and were discovered with weapons, people would not believe they were sent there by Sokar. For the moment, the colonel agreed to blend in, but he refused to be unarmed. He tucked his pistol in the back of his pants, concealing it with his jacket. To stay in communication with Teal'c, Martouf revealed a small device that fit in the palm of his hand and had some type of blue crystals running horizontally across it. Jack took the device and immediately began playing with it, even as the group headed for the bridge. Per the Tok'ra, the device should penetrate the atmosphere, allowing for easy contact with the Jaffa as long as the ship remained in orbit. As Martouf worked the pod controls, Daniel entered the bridge and casually glanced out the window at the red moon below. "That's uh ... that's still a long way down." Martouf responded, "The pods are launched at a great velocity." "And that's supposed to make me feel better, or ...?" "They are equipped with heat dampening shields and anti-gravity wave generators that will slow our descent." "So, smooth sailing all the way, right?" Jack asked, getting a negative response from the Jaffa that did nothing to ease his mind. With the pods opened, Jack, Daniel, Sam, and Martouf entered them and turned around to face the interior of the ship. Seconds later, Teal'c closed the pod doors and launched the four pods into space. Like space capsules and shuttles on Earth did, the pods plummeted through the atmosphere, the outer shields of the pods protecting those inside from burning up. ~This would be so cool, if I could see outside,~ Jack thought as he felt the turmoil of the pod and the atmosphere. ~Dad always wanted me to be an astronaut,~ Sam reminded herself. ~I guess this would be how an astronaut feels when returning to Earth.~ ~Oh, uh, let's see. I'm an archaeologist, anthropologist, and linguist. I'm a peacemaker, negotiator, and, well, I guess now I'm a spaceman. I hope this thing doesn't land me on my head," Daniel sighed.
Finally, the four pods landed on Netu. In the process, communication with Teal'c was lost.==== On Netu's surface, Jack stumbled out of his pod. The heavy winds blew his short silver-gray hair all about. Gasses emitted from holes in the surface, and the sky looked dark and dingy. Red hot lava appeared in streaks down the close-by mountains. ~Okay, this looks like hell to me.~ Jack spun around, looking for signs of his teammates. "Carter? Daniel?" Daniel responded, "Over here!" Jack joined Daniel, Sam, and Martouf, and they wasted no time in moving towards the tunnels that would take them below Netu's surface. The noise from the wind and other planetary convulsions were so loud that the four couldn't speak to one another without shouting, so for the most part, they remained silent until reaching their destination. ==== "Here," Sam shouted at the tunnel entrance. The blonde led the way inside, the noise of the surface still loud. The tunnel itself was as dark and heated as the surface of Netu. Fires were roaring in various spots. "My lungs are burning," Daniel complained about the gaseous air he was breathing. "Well, at least it's a dry heat," Jack returned. Just then, Teal'c used his radio to contact the colonel, relieved when communication was finally established. "Yeah, Teal'c, we're in one piece. Hang tight; we'll be in touch," Jack replied as he sat down in front of a skull with the palm-sized device given to him by Martouf. After a brief conversation, the rescue team followed Sam through one of the tunnels that was familiar to her which she asserted should lead them, "... to the underground remains of the old colony. It's one of the only inhabitable places left." After a while, Daniel asked, "Is it me, or is it actually getting hotter in here?" Jack replied, "Uh, little of both, probably." A minute later, the rescuers found themselves in a cavern that appeared to have several levels. The fires were everywhere. "Wow. It's certainly not Emerald City," Jack remarked. The team walked forward when denizens approached and surrounded them. "Howdy folks. We're, ah, new in these parts. I know that's hard to tell, but it's true. Carter?" he called out, hoping she might have something to say that would help them. Sam suddenly had a memory in which Jolinar kissed a Goa'uld passionately. The name came to her mind at last. "Bynarr!" the blonde exclaimed. "What does that mean?" Daniel asked. Sam answered, "It's the name I couldn't remember." She looked at the people and explained, "We've come to see Bynarr." At that moment, a strange man arrived. His face was hidden by a mask that hung down even below his neck. He asked who the newcomers were. "People of little consequence; pay no attention to us," Jack returned. "Kneel before me!" "Who's this guy?" One of the people named Kintac answered, "He is Na'onak, First Prime to Bynarr, Lord of Netu." Sam spoke, "We've come to see Bynarr." Na'onak responded, "You will not. Banish them to the surface!" Pulling out his pistol and cocking it, Jack refuted, "I don't think so. Back off. Back off a little there, folks." Hit by a ribbon device, Jack went down. Sam pulled out her weapon and fired it a man approaching them, but he kept on coming, apparently unfazed. A denizen grabbed Sam and another held onto Martouf, while Daniel was forced to his knees. "Who asks for me by name?" Bynarr questioned in his Goa'uld voice. "I do! I'm Samantha Carter, host of Jolinar of Malkshur," Sam replied. Bynarr ordered the group taken to the pit after taking their weapons from them. The team was thrown down a ramp into the pit that contained several prison cells. The trap door above them was quickly locked by a guard. As they looked around, the rescuers wondered why so many weapons were visible since Sokar supposedly didn't allow any. Yet, they'd already seen the ribbon device and a staff weapon. However, Sam informed, "Bynarr is Sokar's appointed leader. He is permitted a hand device and one staff weapon for his First Prime." Sam also said she believed Bynarr was the one who helped Jolinar to escape, though she hesitated in explaining her belief. Martouf, however, got the picture and became visibly saddened by the knowledge. "I'm sorry," Sam expressed sincerely. "Look, he's the key. Now, Bynarr may not have knowingly helped Jolinar, but I'm sure he must know how she escaped." All of a sudden, Jacob's voice was heard and Sam saw him sitting nearby. She and the others hurriedly went to his side as he leaned against the bars of another cell. The injured man reported that his symbiote was dying. Immediately, Martouf gave him a small bottle with green liquid in it, which Jacob drank some of and then coughed weakly. Daniel removed his jacket and gave it to Sam for her to use in making her father more comfortable, while off to the side, Martouf told Jack that he wasn't hopeful Jacob and Selmak would survive. As they reluctantly continued to inspect their surroundings, Daniel approached Jack and commented, "Jack, didn't that Na'onak sound familiar?" "Not really." "He did. I know that voice." "Who is it?" "I have no idea, but there was something about him. I mean, why the big face covering? I mean, here, in Netu, where the heat is ..." "Hotter than Hades? I know. Well, if you figure it out, let me know." Jack sighed as he looked over at his 2IC with her father. "Martouf doesn't think he'll live, if we don't get out of our soon." "He's pretty weak," Daniel acknowledged. "Well ... keep an eye out." "For what?" "A way out." "Oh. Okay." ==== Elsewhere, Bynarr spoke with Sokar, thanking him for sending Jolinar to him for revenge, only Sokar admitted he did no such thing. He ordered Bynarr to discover what the intruders wanted and then kill them. He was instructed to report back to Sokar in one day. After Bynarr left Sokar, the System Lord ordered a Jaffa to find the ship that brought the strangers and destroy it. ==== In the pit, Jacob found the strength to relay some of his Intel to Martouf. He advised that, "Sokar's fleet is ten times larger than we thought. He is poised to attack six key system lords. He will win." He added, "The attack was to take place two weeks from the time I was captured. That was four days ago." Not wasting time, Martouf contacted Teal'c and passed on the information. At the same time, Na'onak opened the door and removed Sam from the pit. Jack objected, but Sam suggested that she might have some success speaking with Bynarr alone. ==== Jack and Daniel sat next to each other against the cell bars. They kept an eye of Jacob, but Martouf was chiefly caring for him at the moment. "Jack, that voice. We know it," Daniel echoed from earlier. "Didn't ring any bells for me." "The stare." "Stare?" "When they took Sam out, Na'onak stayed a bit. He glared at you," Daniel put forth. "How could you tell with all that face covering?" "He was looking at you," Daniel stated. "Look, all I'm saying is there has to be a reason why he's wearing a ... a giant mask, and I think we know him." "I'll check my address book of Goa'uld nasties," the colonel quipped. "Look, Danny, I know you're probably right. You're usually right about this stuff, but I need a name. Most of all, we need to find a way out of here, and ole NannyGut ..." "Na'onak." "Whatever," Jack sighed. "He's not going to help us." "No, probably not," Daniel responded, sighing himself. "What do you think he wants with Sam?" "Nothing good, but Carter can handle herself." "Yeah ... most of the time." "I wish you hadn't said that." "Sorry. I'm, uh, gonna check on Jacob." ==== Sam met with Bynarr and told him she once carried Jolinar, which was why she knew about her. She also told him the female was dead. The conversation deteriorated from there. During the back and forth, Sam finally recalled how Jolinar escaped from Netu. While Sam wasn't Jolinar, Bynarr wanted revenge and claimed killing her would satisfy his need. Just as he was about to do away with the blonde, Na'onak killed Bynarr, stunning Sam, especially when she was quickly returned to the pit. ==== When Sam was returned, Jack and Daniel were sitting together across from Jacob and Martouf. Sam immediately went to her dad, taking his hand for a moment when she kneeled down and provided the group with important information. Sam reported, "There are transportation rings in Bynarr's quarters." "They must lead to Sokar's palace," Martouf surmised since Jacob already told them that Bynarr was Sokar's eyes and ears and reported to him regularly. "Yeah. Once there, Jolinar managed to steal a cargo ship and escaped," Sam stated. Hearing voices outside the pit, Sam told the group about Bynarr's death, surprising all of them. "What? Why?" Daniel asked. "I have no idea. Bynarr was about to kill me. Na'onak came in and shot him with a staff weapon. He didn't say a word; he just sent me back down here." Jacob opined, "The denizens will riot." Jack suggested, "This could be our shot." "To do what?" Daniel asked. "The rings go to Sokar's palace." "Hey! It's a way outta here." Jacob told the others to leave him behind, but, of course, that would never happen. Sam suggested the teltak had rings and Teal'c could beam them up. Martouf responded, "The ring transportation devices work like Stargates, only over shorter distances. They transmit a matter stream. If that matter stream is intercepted by another receiver ..." Jack interrupted, "Whoa, whoa! Simplify, please?" "If Teal'c can maneuver the cargo ship into the correct position, theoretically we should be able to transport directly aboard," Sam asserted. "Theoretically?" Daniel echoed. "How does he find the right position?" the colonel questioned. Martouf answered, "The ring mechanism has sensors that can locate other rings. Teal'c should be able to detect the coordinates." Confidently, Jack put forward, "I'll take those odds." Pulling out the communication device, Jack urged, "C'mere!" as he stood up, reached down with his right hand to take Daniel's, and pulled his archaeologist up to his feet. He handed the communication device to Daniel, after which he instructed, "Tell Teal'c the plan." Daniel watched as Jack walked a few feet away, out of sight from any incoming guards. Martouf stood quietly near Daniel, while Sam took a position to the side of one of the cell door openings. As planned, the linguist stood in the center of the open cell door, easily seen by the guards. When he spoke over the radio, a guard entered, wondering what was going on. A second guard followed. "I'm just, uh, communicating with my friend through this little communication device," Daniel told the guard. Suddenly, Jack lunged at the guard, knocking him to the ground, while seconds later, Sam attacked the second guard. The group fled through the main cell door left open by the now unconscious guards. As they walked, Daniel, who was supporting Jacob as they walked, again attempted to make contact with Teal'c. "Teal'c, this is Daniel. We need you. Do you copy?" Daniel asked desperately over the radio. "I copy." Sam led the group through the tunnels, while Daniel told the Jaffa, "Martouf says the ring device on the ship should be able to locate the path the matter stream will take." Teal'c promised, "I will be in position." The rescuers and Jacob made it to Bynarr's quarters, though the key used to activate the transporter rings was gone. Martouf smashed the cover of the wall piece where the key would go and after observing it for a few seconds said he could activate the rings, but it could take a little time. Meanwhile, guards used a battery ram as they attempted to get through the door which Jack blocked in an attempt to stop any such unwanted entry. Daniel and Sam supported Jacob as they awaited ring activation in the middle of the ring circle. Jack remained at the door, wooden clubs in his hand to use in battle if the guards were able to push open the door. Martouf continued to work on getting the rings to work. It was tense in the room, especially when Daniel couldn't raise Teal'c over the radio anymore. Eventually, Jack moved back a few feet from the door, suspecting it would break at any moment. Finally, the Tok'ra was ready, but at that precise second, Na'onak arrived and used his hand device to open the blocked door. "Kneel before Na'onak!" Kintac ordered as the team was forced down to their knees. The group was in a semi-circle with Jack on the far left next to Daniel. Jacob and Sam kneeled on the far right with Martouf actually behind and between the father and daughter. "You shall call me Na'onak no longer. From this day forth, I will reclaim my real name." The group watched as Na'onak removed his helmet and covering from his head. "Apophis!" For a moment, there was strong shock and disbelief among the rescuers. Jack glanced at Daniel while mentally asking, **Don't you ever get tired of being right?** **It was his voice.** **Yeah, I know that now.** Jack looked at the one-time System Lord and said, "You do understand we're not too happy to see you?" "Your insolence is music to my ears. When I first saw you here, I knew I had found the path out of damnation. You will be the means by which I reclaim the power and the position that is rightfully mine." "Your mate, Amaunet, is dead. Sorry to ruin your day," an insincere Daniel spoke. "No, actually, I'm, I'm wrong about that. I'm not sorry." **Danny, a little cool here, please.** **I don't think so.** "Sokar sent word to me of Amaunet's death. I did not believe it," Apophis stated. "Well, believe it. It's true." "Then it must also be true that Teal'c is the murderer." "Oh, that'd wrap things up real nice for you, wouldn't it?" Jack responded. ~Yes, he fired the staff weapon at her, but she was killing Danny.~ "Why is the Shol'va not with you?" While no one responded to the query, Kintac told Apophis that Daniel was concealing something. It was found to be the communication device. Pleased with the discovery, Apophis spoke into the device, "Teal'c, this is your god, Apophis, risen from the fires of Netu. The fate of your friends will be pleasant compared to what I have planned for you." Apophis ordered SG-1 and the Tok'ra returned to the pit. Then he made Kintac his First Prime. ==== In the pit, a physically and mentally weary Daniel sat down on the ground, as did Jacob. Sam sat behind her father, bracing him up somewhat. Jack continued to stand. Martouf, who was kneeling by Sam and Jacob, stated, "I warned you when you sent Apophis through the Gate that he could be revived using a sarcophagus. Sokar would rather see his victims suffering than dead." "He doesn't seem to be suffering much," Jack noted. As the discussion continued, Martouf put forth, "Apophis has one chance. He must convince Sokar not to kill him. If the reason is good enough, he may even be able to buy his freedom." "With us?" the now-seated colonel asked. "The information we hold, the secrets of Earth and the Tok'ra." "Isn't that special?" Jack quipped, standing back up, unable to sit still at the moment. "Any ideas?" He nodded when no one spoke. "Well, we almost got out of here once, so we can get out of here again." "Almost ... out of here," the archaeologist returned. Jack simply grimaced as the group let out a collective sigh and walked around their celled surroundings. ==== Not wasting any time in reclaiming his power, Apophis revealed himself to the denizens and promised to deliver them from Netu. "Those that follow and serve me will be led to freedom, to a new dominion, one in which the god Apophis, risen from the depths of the underworld, will rule over all that was once shared by the Goa'uld." From the pit, Apophis' words could be heard, prompting Jack to observe, "Well, this experience doesn't seem to have humbled him much." ==== Elsewhere, Sokar learned that a cargo ship was spotted and gliders chased after it. However, the teltak entered hyperspace and escaped. Sokar assumed the ship was full of spies. He had no idea the vessel held just one person, Teal'c, so he ordered his planned attack on the System Lords to be moved up to two days from now. ==== After his speech, Apophis was told that three-hundred of the denizens were dedicated to being in his service. The rest were banished to the surface, where they would either change their minds or die. Also, he was given the activation device that turned the memory disk on and off. It was discovered by Kintac and his men when they searched SG-1 and the others earlier. ==== The next thing the group in the pit knew, guards opened the door and demanded Sam go with them. "Um, I don't think so," Jack stated, resulting in Kintac shooting him in the leg. When Jack collapsed to the ground, Sam agreed to go along and left the pit while Daniel and Martouf went to Jack's side. "Most of the wound appears cauterized, but there may be bleeding beneath the surface," the Tok'ra observed. Daniel pulled out his bandana from his back pocket and wrapped it around his lover's leg, pulling it tight over the wound. He winced as Jack called out in pain. "I'm sorry, Jack." "Crap," Jack groaned. **Geez, my knee. Why the knee?** **Lucky shot,** Daniel attempted to tease. **You'll be okay.** "Argh," Jack expressed. "Do you want to move or just ..." "No, I don't want to just lie here," Jack answered. Carefully, Daniel and Martouf helped the colonel over to a spot in front of one of the cells. Jack sat up, resting against the cold, hard bars. "Good?" Daniel asked. "As good as it's going to, ow, get for now," Jack responded. "Thanks," he said to the two men. "What do you think Apophis wants with Carter?" "Kintac found the activation device for the memory disk when they searched us," Martouf reminded. "You think he'll use that thing on her?" "She has the memories of Jolinar in her mind. There is a lot Apophis could learn from Samantha." "Yeah," Jack reluctantly agreed. "She won't give up any Intel." "Not of her volition." Martouf stood and walked over to another part of the pit, lost in his own thoughts of both his beloved Jolinar and Sam. Daniel sat down at Jack's side and offered, "Sam's okay." "And you know that how?" "We're SG-1," Daniel answered in a totally nonsensical way, which prompted both men to be amused for a moment. "This knee's going to slow me down." "Jack, you're the strongest man I know. When push comes to shove, you'll do what you have to. We'll get out of here, all of us, including Jacob ... and you." "I love your confidence." "Good, because, uh, I got it from you." The lovers shared a deep, thoughtful gaze, after which the older man let out a smile and then grimaced again from a sudden jolting pain. Daniel gently rubbed his lover's forearm and then settled back. He couldn't really do anything to make Jack feel better, but he could stay close, which was actually everything. ==== In his chamber, Apophis located the memory disk behind Sam's ear. "You used this device to access the memories of Jolinar left in your mind. That is the only way you could have known how to escape. I will use it to get you to tell me everything I want to know." "It doesn't work that way," Sam claimed. "I know how it works. When it's fully activated, it makes your memories easily accessible to your conscious mind." Apophis activated the device, resulting in Sam's mind returning to her home where she looked at photos of her mother. Sam maintained to the System Lord, "I won't tell you anything." "The Blood of Sokar will cloud your mind," Apophis advised while Kintac forced red liquid down Sam's throat. "Once under its spell, you will tell me everything." Sam's mind wandered back several years when she spoke to her father about his work having been more important to him than their family. They talked about her mother's death and how Jacob was supposed to pick his wife up, but was late. Her mother decided to take a cab home, only an accident occurred and Sam's mother was killed. Her brother was very vocal about blaming Jacob, while Sam kept her feelings to herself. The conversation replayed in her mind and Sam realized the same memories were reoccurring. She said so, even as her hallucination kept her speaking with Jacob. "Why am I stuck in this? The same memory over and over. I guess if we never had this conversation, neither one of us would be in this mess, would we? I would have gone on hating you and the military; I never would have got involved in the Stargate program. You would have died of cancer." The blonde's fabricated memory went on with Jacob claiming he was dying and only she could save him by telling him the way home to Earth. He claimed to need the iris codes. "This is not real," Sam told herself as she came out of the hallucination, frustrating Apophis. ==== As all of this was happening, Teal'c returned to Vorash and told the Tok'ra what happened. He replayed the message he'd received earlier from Apophis. "It was then that I realized they would not be able to execute the escape plan. I entered hyperspeed in order to avoid the gliders that had detected my presence." The Tok'ra Aldwin replied, "You must have run the hyperspace engines at full power in order to make the journey so quickly." "The situation was urgent." Aldwin responded, "I understand your desire to report the information concerning Sokar's planned attack against the System Lords as soon as possible. It may prove invaluable." "I have come seeking assistance in order to rescue my friends and your fellow Tok'ra. I believe it to be only a matter of time before Sokar learns that Apophis has eliminated Bynarr and therefore takes action to restore control." "Wait here," Aldwin requested. "I will consult the High Council and return shortly with a course of action." ==== "It's been a while," Daniel sighed as sat next to his life partner, the two on an opposite wall, away from the others in the pit. "Yeah, and that bothers me." Jack looked up upon hearing a noise. "Carter?" There was no response as the woman was tossed inside the pit. She was not conscious. Daniel hurried to her side and rolled her over. He tried to put her in a more comfortable position. "You! Come with us," the guard ordered Jack. "I have other plans." The guards picked up the colonel, whose leg made it difficult for him to fight at all. "Jack!" "Hold down the fort. I'll be back." "He's hurt," Daniel called out. "He can't walk." The guards ignored the words of the scientist and simply forced the colonel to limp in pain to the chambers of Apophis. Daniel's heart broke in fear for what could happen to his lover while with Apophis. He decided to focus on Sam, though in reality, it didn't help much. ==== In Apophis' chamber, the memory device was applied to Jack's temple and promptly activated. Jack struggled to not let the memory disk affect him, but even with his special ops mind control training, it took hold. He was unable to resist drinking the Blood of Sokar. His mind traveled back to a time when he and Sara were still married. He was in their backyard, having arrived home a bit late since he stopped to get a surprise for his son, Charlie. Charlie, however, surprised his dad with a water gun that was given to him by a friend. Jack didn't want his son playing with any type of gun and became upset. When the boy started to go inside, Jack called out to him. "Well, wait a minute. I got you somethin'. Come on, we'll play some catch," Jack said, holding up a new baseball mitt for his son. The hallucinated Charlie argued, "This is not what happened, Dad. You're changing everything just to make it better." Jack conceded, "I know. Can't we just play catch?" The boy in his dad's mind explained, "What really happened is you got mad at me and I went into the house. Two weeks from now, I shot myself with your gun ... your gun. We never played catch today, and we never will." Jack questioned, "Why? Why can't we just play catch?" That's when Charlie asked him how to get in touch with the Asgard. Then he switched gears and asked for the address to the planet where the knowledge of the Ancients was downloaded into Jack's mind. In his mind, Jack knew this wasn't his son. He was sad and somewhat defeated, but he refused to tell Apophis what he wanted to know. ==== Meanwhile, Sam awoke in the pit and immediately asked about her father. "He's, uh ... not so good, but he's still with us," Daniel informed his friend as he sat by her side. "Apophis said he was going to kill him." "No. He, uh ... he brought you back and took Jack." Martouf interjected, "Are you okay?" "They gave me something called the Blood of Sokar." "It is legendary," the Tok'ra stated. "A strong narcotic that can cause very realistic hallucinations." Jacob awoke and weakly called out for his daughter, who quickly went to his side with Martouf going with her. Jacob confided he believed he was going to die, but Sam encouraged him to think about his grandchildren as a motivation to survive. Daniel remained where he was, his hands on his head as he thought about Jack and what could be happening to him. He attempted to communicate silently to no avail; apparently, the Blood of Sokar blocked the mental process. He turned and listened as Sam talked to Martouf, who admitted to having been tortured in the past. "This is not like anything you could imagine," Sam stated. "Everything seems real. Feelings, sensations. It's like you're actually there in your own past, and then suddenly everything seems wrong. Your mind gets all twisted. Just don't let Apophis use Jolinar against you." Martouf asked, "How could he?" Sam pointed out, "You must be angry about what Jolinar had to do to escape from here. Martouf, she loved you." Daniel stopped looking at Sam and Martouf and faced forward for a few seconds. Then he bowed his head in deep thought and desire. ~Love. Gawd, I love Jack so much. Be okay, Jack. I need you.~ ==== On Vorash, Aldwin returned to the teltak and announced he'd been ordered to Netu. With him was a powerful weapon. "I am to launch it through the atmosphere of the moon into one of the holes of its surface and down into the core. There it will force the base elements into a cataclysmic chain reaction. The entire moon will explode, taking Sokar's ship with it." Displeased, Teal'c responded, "Along with everything else on that moon." "The Tok'ra would not do such a thing unless there was no alternative. Sokar cannot be permitted to rise to a dominant power. It would end our chances of ever overthrowing the Goa'uld." "What of rescuing my friends and the Tok'ra still trapped on that world?" Teal'c asked. Aldwin maintained, "I am charged with my mission. If you intend to stand in my way, I will insist that you remain here on Vorash." Teal'c refused to leave the ship and agreed to go with Aldwin. The Jaffa was uncertain how and when he would do it, but there would be an instant, a moment when he would get the best of Aldwin and rescue his compatriots. He believed this in the depths of his soul, which is why he agreed to accompany Aldwin. As the two traveled through space towards Netu, Aldwin explained about the deadly device that was with them, "Timing will be critical. Once the weapon has been launched, it will take approximately twelve minutes before the reaction in the moon's core reaches critical mass. If Sokar has enough advance warning, he will have time to escape the range of the explosion." ==== After Jack was returned to the pit, he slid over onto his stomach, still unconscious. Daniel grabbed his shoulder, trying to turn him onto his back and wake him up. "Jack?" "No ... I don't wanna go to school. Ow!" Jack exclaimed as he awoke. Jack's instinct to fight whoever was touching him, but then he realized it was Daniel, who backed slightly. This was actually something the archaeologist was used to. A sleeping Jack always had to be awakened with great care or risk him automatically attacking the waker. The colonel, still in pain, situated himself against the cell bars where Daniel sat next to him. On the other side of the cell bars, Sam was with Jacob. "You okay?" the archaeologist asked. "No." "They, uh ... they took Martouf." "They put that blasted memory thing on me, and then they gave me something ... that reminded me of the 70s." Daniel explained, "The Blood of Sokar." "Daniel?" "Yeah?" "I'm going to pass out again," Jack said and promptly did just that. ==== Martouf was next to undergo the invasion of his mind, but he, like the others, revealed nothing. Apophis ordered Sam returned to his chambers, forcing her to kneel down directly in front of the Tok'ra. "Jolinar was your mate." The System Lord took hold of a staff weapon and warned, "Tell me the location of the Tok'ra resistance or she dies." The Tok'ra succumbed, even as Sam pleaded with him not to. She knew he was seeing Jolinar when he looked at her. Tearfully, Martouf said, "I cannot let him kill you." Moments later, he blurted out, "Entac. The Tok'ra resistance is based on the planet Entac." Apophis ordered, "Return them to the pit. Bring me Daniel Jackson." ==== Back in the pit, Martouf stumbled over to where Sam and Jacob were located and sat down. "You!" a guard said as he pointed to Daniel. "My turn on the hallucination wheel?" Daniel asked snarkily. "Come with us." "I'd rather not." Daniel looked over at Jack, who was still unconscious, when he felt a Jaffa kick him and force him up. "Alright. Be a little patient," the archaeologist argued as he stood and headed out the cell door. "It'll be okay, Daniel," Sam called out. "Sam ..." "I will," the blonde responded to the unspoken request to look after the colonel. When Daniel was out of sight and the cell locked once again, Martouf confessed that he knew it was Sam in the room and not Jolinar. He simply couldn't allow Sam to be killed. Suddenly, Sam realized the truth and asserted, "You lied." "Entac is a primitive planet. There are no Tok'ra there." "You were very convincing. I believed you." "If Apophis believes he knows the location of the Tok'ra, what does he want from Doctor Jackson?" Sam thought for a moment and then responded, "Well, he didn't ask me about the Tok'ra base. He wanted iris codes." She looked over at her commanding officer and opined, "I doubt he asked the colonel about codes or the Tok'ra." "Then what?" "I'm not sure, but I'm guessing he wants something specific from Daniel, but he won't get it." "How can you be so sure?" "Daniel's ... snarky," Sam put forth. "A lot of people underestimate him. He's a brilliant man and they think because he's ... smart, that he can't defend himself. Trust me, Martouf, Daniel can protect himself just fine." The chatter ended for a while as Sam focused on her father. ==== Jack came to and looked around, his heart beating faster with concern when he didn't see his Love. "Carter, where's Daniel?" "With Apophis." Jack looked to his left and picked up the glasses he saw lying next to the cell bars. "He must have left these here on purpose." "Maybe he ..." "Maybe nothing, Carter. He's not going to tell those snakes anything. He'd rather die," Jack groaned, still somewhat groggy. ~And rather than have to get a new pair of glasses, again, he left these behind.~ ==== Having been given the Blood of Sokar and with the memory device stuck on his temple, Daniel's mind went back to a time in his office after Sha're's funeral when he was unpacking items sent to him by her father and Jack entered to check on him. The archaeologist picked up a simple brown cup and stated, "We both drank from this cup at our wedding. I know I shouldn't have had any real hope, but uh ..." Jack responded, "Hey. You can never give up." "How about now?" "Especially not now. Sha're didn't want you to just give up, did she? As I recall, she wants you to find the boy ... find the boy." Daniel knew then something was wrong. Jack's words didn't match the truth, but the conversation moved forward. "I thought you said that you didn't believe me about Sha're sending me the message through the hand device." "I've been wrong, about a lot of things, and I know I don't always sound like I believe you, but I do believe in you. What'd you say she called the boy ... called the boy?" the colonel questioned. "A Harsesis." It became clear that Jack wanted to know where the boy was. He hounded Daniel for the location, but the response was always 'no' until finally, Daniel held his head with his hands and shouted a final, "No!" Daniel asserted, "This is not real," as the drug ceased to work on him. Then Sokar called out over a device, "Hear me, Bynarr. Why do you defy your Lord, Sokar?" Sokar was angry because Bynarr did not report to him in one day, as he was ordered to in their last conversation. At that point, Apophis hit Daniel, knocking him over, and then replied to Sokar, "Bynarr is dead by my hand. I am Apophis, and the denizens of Netu follow me." As a guard removed the memory disk from Daniel's temple, Sokar promised, "I will bring the full force of my weapons down upon you. You will die in burning hell fire." Apophis responded, "First, you will hear me." He continued, "Before you fire upon us, know this. I have tortured the intruders, three from the Tau'ri and a Tok'ra. I have learned much, including the location of the Tok'ra resistance. Bynarr was weak. He was incompetent. A Goa'uld of your superior power deserves more. I wish to serve you. I offer this information I have gathered as proof. Grant me an audience, and allow me to show my reverence to you by bowing at your feet." Sokar agreed, "I will grant you this request." As Daniel was still in the chambers, he heard the communication between the two false gods. He initiated a fight, during which he was covertly able to take possession of the communication device, taking it with him back to the pit. ==== Apophis explained his plan to Kintac, saying, "I have been planning this since the moment that I was sent here. I will convince Sokar to make me the new lord of Netu. He will come down off his throne to brand me with his seal, and when he gets close enough ..." The Goa'uld revealed a long knife, hidden in a compartment on the ornament of his forearm. That was his plan, to kill an unsuspecting Sokar with the knife. ==== The guards unloaded Daniel into the pit, causing the others to rouse. Martouf immediately went to Daniel, helping him to walk, only the archaeologist went down to his knees just across from his soulmate. "Sokar's ship is in orbit. Apophis went up to meet him. I managed to get this." "Nice," Jack replied when he saw the communication unit. "Can Sokar's ship pick up the transmission?" Sam inquired, "The signal is coded," Martouf answered. Sam, who now held the device, reached out to the ship, saying, "Teal'c, it's Carter. Come back if you can hear me." Hearing the voice of his friend, Teal'c asked Aldwin to not yet launch the bomb. "Major Carter, it is I." Teal'c was mortified when the Tok'ra ignored him and activated the weapon. "Stop!" Aldwin pointed a zat at Teal'c and continued with the launch. -- "What the heck is that?" Jack asked in response to the violent shaking of Netu just a few seconds later. "Teal'c, what's going on?" Sam asked over the communication device. "You have twelve minutes until Netu is destroyed," Teal'c told the group over the radio. "What? Why?" Sam inquired. "I am here with the Tok'ra Aldwin. He has launched a weapon into the moon's core, which will explode, destroying Sokar's ship, which is in its orbit." "The Tok'ra High Council must believe it is the only choice, otherwise they would never sacrifice us this way," Martouf put forth calmly. "We're not dead yet," Jack said as a geyser blew out more steam and fire from the ground. Sam had an idea and enlisted Daniel and Martouf to assist her, while Jack and Jacob both remained seated due to their injuries. ~Wish I could help,~ Jack bemoaned from his seated position. He hated sitting still and not being able to assist in the group's escape. He prepared himself for what would soon happen. ~Knee, standby. We're getting out of here, in spite of you.~ ==== Meanwhile, Apophis met Sokar on his ship and claimed he had useful information which he would provide if he were given control of Netu. Yet, Apophis didn't share anything specific about the Tok'ra base. "Why do you try my patience? Tell me, and I will grant you your wish and brand you Lord of the Underworld." "The Tok'ra are based on the planet Entac." Apophis was surprised when he was held down by a guard. He was stunned when Sokar told him he recently conquered Entac, a planet devoid of any Tok'ra. "Kill him. Slowly," Sokar ordered. For many minutes, Apophis underwent painful torture, until a Jaffa entered and told Sokar that Netu was under attack. At that moment, Apophis used his hidden knife to kill the First Prime. He then sliced the throat of the Goa'uld who entered to tell Sokar of the attack. Taking the Jaffa's staff weapon, Apophis fired at Sokar, but the System Lord activated his personal shield, saving him from injury. Worse in Sokar's view, Apophis actually escaped while Sokar's personal shield was activated. ==== Aboard the teltak, with just nine minutes to go before the bomb detonated, Teal'c hit Aldwin, taking the zat weapon from him. He pushed the Tok'ra into the cargo area, locking the door. ==== Sam's idea was to block off the vent with rocks and other items. Once that was accomplished, the group ran down the ramp. The vent exploded, opening the trap door above the pit which allowed the group to escape from the pit. Daniel assisted his soulmate in walking up the ramp, while Sam and Martouf helped Jacob. Jack did his best to walk on his own when he could, but the pain was great. ~What's that line in that Swayze pic? Pain don't hurt. Pain don't hurt. Pain don't hurt," Jack kept telling himself as he made his way forward. "We're on our way!" Daniel called out over the communication device. "Timing will be critical, DanielJackson. You must tell me precisely when you are ready," Teal'c replied. Aldwin heard the conversation and called out from the cargo area, "Teal'c, listen to me carefully! In order to intercept the matter stream, you must fly the cargo ship between Sokar's ship and the planet. If you do not come to a complete stop, we could miss part of the matter stream. Your friends would die, and that's only if Sokar doesn't blow us out of the sky." The rescuers arrived at the chambers of the deceased Bynarr and took positions inside the circle where the rings would be engaged. "Almost there, Teal'c," Daniel advised as Jack continued to lean on him like he would a crutch. "Marty?" Jack called out, anxious for the transporter rings to activate. "Now!" the Tok'ra exclaimed. Daniel anxiously called out into the device, "We're ready, Teal'c!" Right on cue, the rings activated and transported SG-1, Martouf, and Jacob to the cargo area of the teltak. "They're here! Go! Go! Go!" Aldwin nervously called out to Teal'c. As the teltak escaped harm, the red moon exploded, taking out Sokar's mother ship with it. Meanwhile, the rescuers sat down in the cargo area to relax for the first time in days. Daniel sat up on one of the storage containers, while Jack was next to it, leaning against the wall. Sam, Jacob, and Aldwin sat about a foot away, all in a row. Martouf was kneeling in front of the colonel. With the ship out of danger, Teal'c entered the cargo area and advised, "We have escaped." Jack weakly asked, "Iced tea. Air conditioning. Water," grateful when the Jaffa handed him a container of cool water. Aldwin sighed, "I'm sorry I doubted you," after Teal'c returned his zat to him. "I am as surprised as you that we survived." As Sam also gave her father some water, Jacob asked if she had any leave coming up, which she did. "I was thinking maybe we could take a little father-daughter vacation together." "That'd be great, Dad." "I hear Alaska's cold this time of year," Jacob half-teased, prompting Sam to laugh as well. "Oh, Dannyboy," Jack said. "I thought you might want these." Daniel smiled as he was handed his glasses that Jack kept in his pant's pocket after finding them on the prison cell floor. "Thanks, Jack," the archaeologist replied, happy to be able to see everything clearly again after putting them back on. "Can't leave anyone, or anything, behind," Jack quipped. "I was afraid they'd get broken." "They survived better than all of us," the colonel remarked. "Jacob, how's Selmak?" "Better. He can do his job now," Jacob responded. "How's the knee?" "Hurts like Netu," Jack responded, using the name of the destroyed moon as a synonym for hell, something he would continue to do in his lifetime. "So, Sokar and Apophis are both ... dead ... again?" Daniel poised in question. "Geez, I hope so," Jack responded. Martouf answered, "It is likely the case." "Apophis wanted to meet with Sokar," Daniel reported. "They talked when I was given that ... drug." "I saw the white light of transportation rings going from the moon to Sokar's ship before the bomb hit Netu," Teal'c stated. "That could have been Apophis then," Sam surmised. "He must be dead. They both must be." "Let us hope," Jack responded. ==== Hours later, at long last, the teltak landed on Vorash and not wanting to delay their return to Earth, SG-1 immediately went through the Stargate after saying their goodbyes Martouf, who told Sam that he hoped he would see her again soon and that perhaps they could spend some time together, something which Sam agreed would be nice. "Jacob, Hammond will want ..." "Yes, I know the protocol," Jacob, who was a general in the Air Force prior to joining the Tok'ra, replied. "I'll return to Earth with you for a few hours, but then I must come back to Vorash." "Understood," Jack responded. "Ah, your ... snake is okay with the trip?" "Selmak understands Earth's military procedures and ..." "Uh, he's really asking if it's safe, health-wise, for you to go through the Stargate before Selmak has ... healed you completely," Daniel interjected. Jack cocked his head slightly, raised his eyebrows briefly, and shrugged while sighing, "Yeah, there's that." With a smile, Jacob assured, "I will be fine. Thank you for the concern, Jack." ==== At SGC, the team and Jacob were quickly escorted to the infirmary where Janet and her team could check them out. "Full physicals," the physician ordered her personnel. "Jacob ..." "My symbiote is tending to my wounds, Doctor Fraiser. I'll be okay soon." Janet turned her attention to the leader of SG-1 and said, "In that case, Colonel, it looks like you're the worse off, so I'll begin with you." "Thanks, Doc. It's my knee." "I can see that," the redhead replied with a smile. "Help him onto the table," she requested of one of the orderlies. "You couldn't have been hit somewhere else," she teased. "That's what I said," Jack returned. "Anywhere but the knees." "Well, you were able to escape, so it can't be too bad." "You hope." "I hope." "DoctorFraiser," Teal'c stated, interrupting the conversation. "I was not on the moon with SG-1. I was on a ship, alone, most of the time." "Are you trying to get out of a full physical, Teal'c?" "Indeed." Janet chuckled and then looked over at the staff awaiting to conduct the exam and ordered, "Just the basic post-mission exam for Teal'c." "Thank you, DoctorFraiser." "You're welcome, Teal'c." Janet looked down at Jack and teased, "You've taught him well, Colonel." Jack just snickered and then grimaced from the pain. "Don't worry, I'm giving you something now to help with that." "Thanks, Doc." Jack coughed slightly. "Hey, I guess we should tell you they drugged us, Daniel, Carter, and me with something called the Blood of Sokar. Nasty stuff: made us hallucinate." Concerned, Janet turned and called out, "Marie, full tox screens on all of them ... stat." "Yes, Ma'am," Nurse Marie Hill affirmed as she went into action right away. "I'm sorry, Colonel. I'll have to hold off on giving you anything for the pain until I know what is in your system." "Yeah, I figured as much," Jack sighed and then grimaced from yet another jabbing pain. "I don't see any other injuries, but you look exhausted." "Par for the course when you've just escaped from hell." "Hang in there, Sir." "Thanks, Doc." ==== Sometime later, General Hammond entered the infirmary to check on his flagship team. He'd already spoken with Jacob, who was relaxing in a VIP room until the debriefing occurred, and he'd been advised that Teal'c was already released from medical care so wasn't present in the infirmary. "Doctor?" "General, I'm still running some tests, but they'll live," Janet said with a smile. She added, "Colonel O'Neill has an injured leg and I'd recommend light duty for the next week or so." "Very well." Hammond walked a few steps forward and essentially stood in the middle of the floor in between the hospital beds of his flagship team. "SG-1," he called out. "Forgive me, but I'm expected on an urgent call with the Secretary in five minutes. I know you're tired, but to accommodate the Tok'ra, we will debrief in two hours." Hammond nodded at Janet and hurriedly left the medical area to get to his office in time for the phone call. ==== Fifteen minutes later, Janet carried the lab results over to Sam's bed and announced, "Well, it doesn't look like that Blood of Sokar did any damage." "I don't think it does anything unless you're wearing a memory disk," Sam stated. She realized Janet didn't know about the device. "I'll tell you about it later." "Okay. You can go, Sam. Try to relax for a while, will you?" Sam just smiled as she hopped off the bed and called out, "See you later, guys," to her teammates. She was eager to go to her father and spend a bit more time with him. Next, Janet walked over to the bed of the archaeologist and spoke, "Your tox screen is fine, too. You do have a bruised knee." "Oh, that's, uh ... they kept pushing us down onto our knees. You know the false gods have a thing about kneeling before them. We ..." "Let me guess," Janet began. "You're stubborn and refuse to go down on your own, so they force you, and ..." "... ouch," Daniel completed with a tiny smile. "Okay, Daniel, you're not any worse off than usual. Get some rest. You can go." "Go?" the scientist echoed, glancing over at the next bed where the colonel was lying. "Actually, on second thought, I don't trust you to get rest on your own. I'm going to keep you here for a little while." "Okay," Daniel hastily agreed. As the doctor began to walk away, he called out, "Janet?" When she turned back to face him, he spoke, "Thanks." The petite physician nodded. While she didn't know about the love affair between Jack and Daniel, she did know they had a deep bond and whenever one was injured or hurt, the other was always nearby. It was sometimes a source of annoyance for her when she tried to tend to whomever needed her help, but she couldn't deny the genuine affection the two men had for each other. Smiling, Janet walked over to the bedside of her last patient and began reviewing her notes, the lab results, and other test returns. "Colonel, the Blood of Sokar seems to have had no lasting effect for any of you." "Swell," Jack responded. "You do have a contusion in your abdomen." "A little fight gone wrong," Jack reported. "Yes," Janet replied. "That will clear up shortly." "My knee, Doc," Jack beckoned. "Well, staff weapons aren't pretty, are they?" Janet put forth. "You have a laceration right above your right knee. We've cleaned it and stitched it up. The staff weapon did burn some of the skin, and we've treated that as well." "Doc?" "You'll be fine, Colonel. I want to see you back here in five days, and if you see or feel any signs of infection, you need to come in right away." "Yes, Ma'am." "We have crutches ..." "Uh, that's okay," Jack spoke. "I'll get by." "I had a hunch you'd say that," Janet sighed. "Colonel, you know your knees are delicate. If you don't take better care of them, it could one day be disabling. What I'm trying to say is listen to me." "Understood," Jack responded. "Normally, I'd keep you here for a day or two to monitor you myself, but I know you and your stubbornness," Janet spoke. "So, get your archaeologist and get out of my infirmary." Smiling, Jack replied, "Yes, Ma'am. Daniel, let's get out of here!" In seconds, Daniel was up and at Jack's bedside, helping him to sit up. Janet just chuckled, shook her head, and walked away while thinking, ~Of course, he doesn't need crutches. He has Daniel.~ ==== The lovers went to the mess hall and had a snack and some coffee. Oddly, they didn't talk at all about their experiences on Netu. Then Daniel returned to his office and Jack checked in with Hammond, though the major general was quite busy and didn't really have time to chat until the scheduled debriefing. After meeting up with Sam and Teal'c briefly and also with Jacob, the clock indicated the debriefing was just minutes away. The colonel went to collect his lover. “Thought I'd find you here.”
Jack entered Daniel's office and closed the door, making sure it was locked. After turning off the security camera, he walked over to his lover and took the young man into his arms, relishing the feel of Daniel's body against his own.
“I love you, too, Jack.”
The two men stood like that for two full minutes just drawing strength from their togetherness.
“Much as I don't want to move, we are due at the debriefing in a couple of minutes. Hammond wants to do it before Jacob heads back to the Tok'ra.”
Still, Jack didn't move much. Finally, drawing back a little, the two kissed, a deep hungry kiss that threatened to become more.
Jack sighed, “We'd better go before we get sidetracked and Hammond sends out a search party.”
The teammates walked to the conference room and soon were lost in the details of reporting what had transpired and discussing possible implications for the SGC if the Blood of Sokar were used again.
As he sat near the head of the long table in the briefing, Jack listened to Sam retell the dream she'd had on Netu and how the image of her father had wanted the address of Earth and the iris codes. He saw Jacob reach out and squeeze her hand reassuringly.
Jack was next. He told Hammond about his dream of Charlie and how Charlie wanted to know the address of the Asgard home world, or failing that, the address of the planet where Jack had the Ancient's knowledge downloaded into his brain.
“Doctor Jackson?” General Hammond prompted as he looked at the young man sympathetically.
“They wanted to know the location of the Harsesis child, the name of the place where Amaunet sent him.”
“How did you manage to get the communication device, Daniel?” Sam asked curiously.
Daniel shrugged. “I hit one of the Jaffa. He knocked me over, and as I fell, I grabbed the device.”
~Geez, Danny. You have no idea how incredible you are, do you?~ Jack gazed admiringly at his lover.
“It saved our lives,” Jacob acknowledged.
"There are a few things we might want to think about," Daniel suggested.
"Doctor?" Hammond asked, okay with whatever the cultural expert might have to say.
"Well, we know when we sent Apophis through the Stargate that the Goa'uld was dead and the host was alive." Daniel saw the questioning stares in his direction. "I mean, it looked to me like the same host was used and it was Apophis, so ... if Sokar was going to torture him over and over and keep reviving him with the sarcophagus ..."
"I know where you're going," Sam interjected. "How is it both of them are alive now? Sir, Sokar could have some advanced technology that restores life that we aren't aware of."
"That could be a problem," Jack opined.
"We'll make sure all teams are aware of this possibility in case they locate any unknown technology on their missions that may explain whatever this Sokar did," Hammond put forth. "Anything else, Doctor?"
"Yes," Daniel acknowledged. "We believe Apophis and Sokar are dead, but our own experience says we shouldn't assume that's the case. I think we need to consider their relationship."
"Relationship?" Jack queried, confused somewhat.
"Why was Apophis serving Bynarr? Did Sokar know it was Apophis pretending to be Na'onak?"
"DanielJackson, you are concerned Apophis and Sokar might have a more long term alliance of which we are not aware?" Teal'c questioned.
"Yes. I mean, did Sokar banish Apophis and get a kick out of having him serve Bynarr, or did Apophis escape, but could only get to Netu?"
"He did say we would provide his way out," Jack recalled.
"Exactly. When I was in his chambers, Sokar expected the response to his hail to come from Bynarr. When Apophis responded, there really wasn't any type of surprise reaction."
"So, Sokar had to know Apophis was on Netu, but maybe he didn't know he was Na'onak?"
"Was Na'onak another person who Apophis killed and no one realized the masquerade because of that face covering he used?" Daniel wondered.
"That might make more sense that Sokar letting Apophis rule at all, even as a servant to Bynarr," Sam opined.
"I just think we need to keep all of this in the back of our minds, for future reference."
"Which we won't need, because they're both dead," Jack stated. "We hope."
"Anything else?" the major general inquired.
"Sir, there is one thing that's bothering me," Jack admitted. "Listen, when we were forced to take that Blood of Sokar, the hallucinations all had a point to them, that being to provide Apophis with information he wanted."
"None of you gave up anything," Hammond stated.
"That's correct, General, but my point is: how did Apophis know to ask for the things he asked? Look, I can see him getting some information about Daniel from Amaunet, but how'd he know I had the knowledge of the Ancients downloaded into my brain?"
Suddenly alarmed, Sam added, "Or how did he know I was once a host to Jolinar?"
"You did tell the denizens that when we were in the cavern," Daniel pointed out. "I, uh, I don't think Apophis was there when you said that, though."
"Maybe Bynarr told him later?" Sam wondered uncertainly.
"It's possible, but I'm not confident in that," the archaeologist admitted.
"Me, either," Jack said. He looked at Hammond and stated, "Sir, I smell something shifty around here."
The looks around the table were intense.
"George, I'll take this back to the Tok'ra and see if the High Council is aware of any possible situations you should be made of aware of," Jacob stated.
"I'd appreciate that," Hammond responded. He leaned forward, his hands clasped together on the table. "The implication of your remarks, Colonel, are disturbing. Could it be this Blood of Sokar was responsible somehow in adding your own experiences to the information Apophis was after?"
"It's possible, Sir," Sam responded. She sighed, "But the hallucinations asked questions we wouldn't be asking ourselves. If we were just dreaming different situations, we wouldn't have any reason to ask the questions. Why would Daniel ask himself where the boy was? Or why would Colonel O'Neill need to ask about the planet? I know the codes. Why would my mind ask for them?" Reluctantly, the blonde concluded, "Sir, it seems to me that the Blood of Sokar intensified our experiences, but it worked with the memory disk. For Apophis to know what to ask, he had to have had known about them."
"For that matter, Sir," Jack hesitantly began. "I wouldn't be remembering my son like I did. It wouldn't happen."
**Are you okay?** Daniel questioned, understanding how painful Jack's remembrance of his son playing with a water gun and their subsequent argument would be to him. ~He won't even talk about it much. He's too wrapped up in the pain.~
"We're saying we have a, a spy here at the Mountain?" Daniel spoke cautiously.
"I think that's a possibility, Daniel," Sam agreed.
"And, if that's the case, they've been here a long time," Jack pointed out. "They'd be ... one of us."
"You mean, someone we know, not us ... us," Daniel said, using his hand to motion at everyone in the room.
"Of course, not us," Jack agreed.
"I'll have to take this to the Secretary and perhaps the President," Hammond advised. "For now, just stay sharp. Watch and listen." He sighed, "Business as usual unless I get orders to the contrary."
"Yes, Sir," Jack acknowledged.
“Okay, people, take forty-eight hours downtime,” Hammond instructed as he dismissed them. "Jacob ..."
"I must return to Vorash immediately," the man said. "Sam, I'll contact you soon and we will take that father-daughter vacation. George, you'll see she has the leave?"
"Dad," Sam responded with some embarrassment.
"I'm sure that won't be a problem, Jacob," Hammond advised. "Take care, old friend."
Sam walked with her father to the control room where Vorash coordinates were entered and the Stargate began to turn. Two minutes later, Jacob was gone and Sam prepared to head home and relax.
As for Teal'c, he returned to his on-base quarters, desiring to kelno'reem which he had not done since the beginning of the rescue mission. The meditation would refresh his body and make him strong for tomorrow and the days after.
Ten minutes later, Jack and Daniel were on their way home to Jack's house.No sooner did the lovers walk in the front door when Daniel launched himself at Jack, kissing him brazenly. Jack was just as anxious, the close call they'd had fueling his need to touch and feel every inch of Daniel, to reassure himself that his precious lover was safe and back in his arms where he belonged. They didn't even make it to the bedroom before their need took over, and they ended up making ardent love on the floor of the entranceway.
The two worked around Jack's injured knee, trying to keep it safe from their physical needs. Of course, the medicine Janet prescribed did a great job in helping out with that issue.
As they recovered, Jack stroked Daniel's back.
“Just remember, Love. That so-called dream wasn't real. Whatever your parents seemed to offer ...”The older man's words were cut off by Daniel's mouth closing over his own.
“I know, Jack. It's okay. I'm okay.”
The archaeologist let Jack's assumption about the dream be reality. He didn't really understand why his memory experience was with Jack and not his parents, which would have made more sense to him, considering what the others hallucinations were for the others. So, Daniel kept quiet, believing it to be unimportant, at least for the moment.
After dinner, the lovers drove to Daniel's apartment so he could feed and check on his fish. Then the couple relaxed on the small balcony, sitting on a blanket Daniel tossed out over the cold cement. Side by side, they simply listened to sounds of Colorado Springs on a Sunday afternoon. The temperature was in the high forties and they were slightly protected from the nine mile-per-hour breeze from the south by the balcony itself. It was still a nice day out with some clouds in the sky.
The soulmates were glad to have survived another ordeal, the worst part of which was actually what they surmised at the debriefing. Could there be a Goa'uld spy at Cheyenne Mountain, someone thought of as a responsible co-worker or even a friend? It was an unanswered query, one they might never know the answer to. Yet, it was a disturbing thought.
"Jack, can I tell you something ... weird?"
"You can tell me anything. You know that."
"Well, it's just ... all those times on Netu and even on the teltak coming and going, we were ... I mean ... never mind."
Jack smiled and turned his head to face his lover. He reached out and took the younger man's hand in his.
"We were together, side-by-side most of the time."
"It felt good, especially after we argued so much after Sha're's death."
"That's because we love each other and being together is the most important thing."
"It is," Daniel agreed. "I, uh, never really ... worried. You were there, and I knew everything would be okay."
"That's how I felt, too, and with Carter and Martouf all wrapped up in each other, that left us ... to us."
Jack put his arm around Daniel and drew him in close. They shared a few kisses and then settled in and let the city noise be their music. Neither man was in the mood to talk. Rather, they simply wanted to enjoy the quiet of their hearts and the tenderness of their love. They stayed that way until the air began to chill them uncomfortably, having reached the low thirties. The couple went inside and without saying anything strolled into the bedroom, made love, and eventually fell asleep.
For Jack and Daniel, the last few days were intense, and yet, the days were good ones. They were together, facing the opposition and working to rescue Sam's dad. Ultimately, it truly was the joy of being side-by-side the vast majority of time that made their hearts sing. That would hopefully be the case forever more.
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