Category: Episode Tag, Angst, Hurt/Comfort
Pairings: Friendship – Jack/Daniel
Spoilers: Brief references of Shades of Grey, Learning Curve, Hathor
Rating: 13+ (adult)
Content Warnings: Rape, torture
Archive: Jackfic only
Summary: A normal mission goes awry when Jack and Daniel have to deal with religious zealots. Takes place shortly after “Shades of Grey”.
Disclaimer: Stargate Sg-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author.
Author's Note: Written for the 2007 Jackficathon. The plot bunny is at the end of the story. Also I’m taking extreme creative liberties with Puritanism (and Calvinism), Demons, and the Biblical reference of Sodom and Gomorrah and in using other existing and prior cultures/types and twisting them a bit. No other transgression intended. This version is unbetaed.
What the hell happened? Daniel thought to himself. He looked at Jack breathing hard in the other cell. The colonel’s face was mottled with black and blue marks from the looks of an apparent recent beating. These people were colder than any Goa’uld they had ever come across, including Sokar.
What exactly did we do wrong?
“We drew straws. I lost.” Daniel had turned to leave, trying to hide the hurt he still bore from this mission. The rest of the team followed, also giving Jack a look that told him he had some serious apologizing to do.
Daniel’s comment hit Jack harder than the looks from Sam and Teal’c. He’d said some awful things to Daniel, but Jack felt he was justified. It was for the good of the mission – for the greater good; even Daniel could understand that much.
But the more Jack thought about it, he reflected on the day Daniel was brought into the Stargate Program. Daniel was homeless at the time, and he expected Jack to trust him in getting them back after that first walk through the Stargate. Jack admitted that he didn’t believe Daniel could deliver, and it didn’t matter, as Jack was expecting a one-way trip.
But Daniel did deliver, and he and his team went home.
And now, after all this time, Daniel had lost his wife to the Goa’uld, almost died for the team, among other things, and most recently, watch Teal’c kill Sha’re because Teal’c was trying to protect Daniel from Amaunet, the Goa’uld who took over Sha’re.
For a civilian, he’d done more than his share.
And now, with the negotiations with the Tollans, where Daniel had spent a considerable amount of time preparing a trade agreement, Jack had, in essence, dismissed his efforts because of the greater good in catching those stealing advanced technology. Jack also realized that it had to be a tough go for him on this because of the personal feelings the rest of the team felt after the Tollans wouldn’t send a ship to rescue Jack from Edora immediately. Six to nine months just wasn’t acceptable.
He owed Daniel a lot, but so far, no efforts by Jack were met with anything less than business-related. No going to Malley’s; no beer and movies; nothing. The upcoming mission was to be a cakewalk, and that would be a good time to have a chat with Daniel. With Sam and Teal’c nearby, he could find some one-on-one moments with Daniel.
It started out as many of their missions did – a typical arrival with trees and land everywhere. Colonel Jack O’Neill noticed all the trees and would have said something, but he felt that comment had been done to death. Major Samantha Carter carried out the initial observations of the planet.
“They don’t seem to have any technology to speak of, sir,” she reported. “It’s mostly farmland, and from the amount of crops grown, I’d say the land was extremely fertile.”
“I concur, O’Neill,’ said Teal’c. “I also do not sense any Goa’uld.”
O’Neill turned to Daniel. “Opinion?”
Dr. Daniel Jackson was still scanning the area. “Um, we won’t know anything else until we meet the people, Jack. Besides, there’s always a possibility that there’s some artifacts which . . .”
Jack held up his hand to stop Daniel. “Somehow, I knew you were going to say that.” Jack sighed heavily. This place didn’t look like it would have the technology needed to defeat the Goa’uld. Jack was tired of going to planets where the technology was sparse, or, like the Tollans, so advanced that those from other worlds weren’t considered ‘evolved enough’.
Daniel looked annoyed.
“Sorry,” said Jack. “I owe you one.” So much for Jack’s self-promise to build trust with Daniel. “As long as we don’t have the same situation as we did with the Tollans . . .”
“And the chances of that happening twice are...?” Daniel demanded.
Jack looked at each of his teammates. They had the same look of curiosity on their faces, but if he said they were going back to the SGC, they would dial up the Gate and go. They’d packed for a few days’ stay – and the place looked fairly peaceful. Jack felt a gnawing sense of doom on most missions and always did in situations like this. Everything calm, peaceful - a utopia. When he least expected it, the cover of peace would be yanked off and the true atmosphere would be revealed. He would just love a chance to meet new people and work out trade agreements than to constantly have that feeling that the trap was about to be sprung.
He took one look at the Gate, then back at his team. “Let’s go make some new friends, and Daniel, you’re doing all the talking in case they don’t understand us.” After a nod of understanding, they set out to find the inhabitants.
As they followed a well-worn path, the apparent leader of the village met them before they were halfway to the town followed by a few of the village men, all of whom were carrying walking sticks.
The older gentleman was short, balding, and walking with a slight limp. His clothing, while modest, indicated that he was a person of importance. His purple cloak was attached to the main garment by an ornate pin with an obscure marking. “Uggae, barra! El balturi Ima Idu Muturi!”
The man was pointing at Teal’c and the men behind him raised their walking sticks, only they weren’t made of wood.
“Daniel . . .” Jack just knew it. The peaceful atmosphere was ruined. He hoped Daniel knew what to do in this case, and more importantly, what to say.
Daniel bowed as he responded, “Yl ne cherdu Barra. Yl ara na tenda ey dakae.” He pointed to the rest of the team. “Tau’ri.”
A look of astonishment crossed the man’s face. “Tau’ri? I haven’t heard that term in many generations. How is it that you have come to our village of Salam?”
The look of amazement was also shown on the rest of the team’s faces, as Warham was no longer speaking the strange language. Ever composed, Daniel answered, “We are peaceful explorers and have traveled through the Chappa’ai,” Daniel gestured in the direction of the Stargate.
“Chappa’ai? We do not call it that … Goa’uld word. That circle you refer to is “Kadenri” – God’s Eye. How is it possible that you are able to travel through God’s Eye … with him?” The man was suspicious. “Not many who come through God’s Eye are peaceful.” He looked suspiciously at Teal’c, focusing primarily on the gold emblem on his forehead.
Daniel glanced briefly at Jack. “We have permission to seek out our neighbors,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting to know you and to trade.” Daniel bowed again.
“As are we. Then, come – join us. We are about to partake in a midday meal.” The man bowed, and gestured for SG-1 to follow them. A large smile graced his face; it was indeed a good omen - something that his village desperately needed. The remaining men followed behind the team.
Daniel made introductions and met Warham, an Elder of the village. It was his job to oversee everything that everybody did in the village.
As they approached the village of Salam, Daniel took note of the people of P3X-452. They resembled the settlers in New England, the Puritans, who came to America in the seventeenth century for freedom of religion. For the New England Puritans, religious "freedom" or "liberty" did not imply "toleration," and they constantly struggled with diversity and cultural pluralism in ways which demonstrate that if religious freedom was the guiding principle for coming to America, it applied primarily to them. Puritan settlers executed Quaker "heretics" and carried out a near-fanatical war on those they deemed to be witches. The execution of the innocent during this time was something that was justified, because those who practiced the black arts could only be evil-incarnate. Even though they would show kindness to others, their destiny had already been determined, as they were authors of their own destruction.
The midday meal consisted of more food than the SGC commissary prepared to feed everyone on the base. They were served chicken, or what tasted like chicken, potatoes with gravy and spices, vegetables of every color and flavor, and cookies that tasted even better then they smelled. They met the Pastor, Everett, who was the authority on all matters in the village, and the head of the Theocratic Council, and Tralan, a respected member of the village and a teacher of the religious doctrine.
The cautious dialog consisted of learning of each other’s culture, and without comparing each side by side, gained enough knowledge to find out that they were kin of a different land. When it came to discussing the laws of the land, Jack responded that all citizens knew the laws, and that those ignoring those laws were given a trial and judged by their peers. The accused had the right to know his or her accuser, which law they had violated and a judge presided over the trial.
Warham explained that in Salam, the children were their most valuable resource and everything possible was in place to prevent them from being harmed, including schooling them away from the main part of the village. In his village, the people know the laws from childhood. It was a rare occasion for a villager to break any laws, especially with the punishment being severe.
Jack stated that punishment ranged from mild to severe, depending on the charge, and it was the governmental law, which the citizens obeyed. Warham explained that there was a blending of the law of the people with the law of their religion; punishments for some wrongdoings meant prostrations before the theocratic council, some were public beatings or burning at the stake, the remainder was sent to the village prison, where they were never seen again.
There were many things to trade, and while there was nothing of technological value, the Salamans were not bothered by the Goa’uld. This information would be worth more than any weapon as it would not only protect Earth but the people on other planets were the Goa’uld were still harvesting humans as slave labor. This planet could possibly make a good place to hide, if the need ever arouse.
Jack spoke quietly to Daniel, who then asked the question of Warham. “Please forgive our curiosity, but we haven’t seen any children in the area. Are they nearby?”
Many around the table had ceased talking, adding to the discomfort of the team.
“Why do you ask?” Tralan had reason to be suspicious of these strangers. His second daughter was betrothed to Everett, the head of the theocratic council, and wondered why these people were asking about children.
Noticing the intense stare by Tralan, Daniel said, “We have not seen any village that did not have children following after their parents. We were concerned.”
Warham looked at Everett, who sat at the opposite end of the table. At his nod, Warham continued, “Oh yes, we have children in our village. We had hidden them when we heard the God’s Eye open. There are many who have come through it with evil intent.”
“Thank you,” said Daniel. “I can assure you that we love our children as well and do our best to protect them.” Daniel looked at both Warham and Everett wanting their approval of his remark.
At their nods, the conversation started again. Everett stood, signaling the end of the midday meal.
After Everett left, Warham told the team that Tralan’s second daughter is betrothed to Everett and preparations were being made for the ceremony in a few days. “We are cautiously optimistic that this celebration will go well.”
At Daniel’s inquiry to the first, Tralan stiffened. “It is one reason we are suspicious of arrivals through the Kadanri. My first daughter has disappeared when the last travelers came through.”
Deciding not to press for more information, Sam and Teal’c agreed to go back through the Gate to gather the items for trade and left with Tralan to discuss items to trade.
“Sir, will you and Daniel be alright until we get back? It may take a day or so,” Carter asked.
Jack replied, “Sure, Carter. Things went well. OK, a little rocky, but still - we have to start small.”
“I’ll make sure he stays away from the children,” Daniel promised.
“I do not feel comfortable leaving you,” Teal’c said.
“Are you sensing a Goa’uld, Teal’c”? Jack asked.
In a secretive voice,
Teal’c said, “There are none here, O’Neill. But whatever
is here is malevolent.”
Warham escorted Jack and Daniel to an inn where they could stay for the night. The accommodations were modest but comfortable, and there were bowls of bread and fruit for any guest needing something to eat. Warham invited the two of them for Morning Prayer at sunrise then took his leave of them.
Jack, not having much use for organized religion, grumbled and groused about going, but Daniel finally managed to convince him to go.
The next morning at dawn, both Jack and Daniel went to the chapel for Morning Prayer. Jack nudged Daniel’s arm, and pointed. There were hundreds of children of all ages. Jack looked at every one of them. Tall and short; blonde and dark haired; boys and girls of every age were heading toward the chapel for Morning Prayer. Some took a glance at them, but quickly diverted their eyes.
Daniel saw how the children were responding to Jack, and said, “Maybe it’s not such a good idea to look at them.”
“They probably have never seen anyone like us before.”
“And maybe that’s the point. They probably don’t allow children to have contact with strangers.” Daniel grabbed Jack’s arm. “I think it’s best that you stop. We don’t know all of their rules and taboos.” Daniel was insistent. “Jack, trust me. There’s only so much diplomacy one can do if customs are ignored.”
Jack agreed, but just then he tripped and in the process of falling, accidentally pulled a young adult girl with him. The girl landed on top of a surprised Jack O’Neill.
The crowd around the girl had surrounded her and stopped. The girl’s father, Tralan, walked over to his daughter and quickly pulled her from Jack. He said, “I know you are new here. Perhaps we should have said something about our...dislike of strangers who touch our children. She is the one betrothed to Everett.”
Daniel helped Jack up off the ground. “Let me handle this.” To Tralan, he said, “I’m sorry. He tripped on this small rock. It was an accident.”
Tralan reluctantly nodded, but moved between Jack and his daughter. The gesture inferred that while Tralan accepted his apology, he wanted to make no mistake that Jack would not get near her again – accident or not.
As they took their seat in the chapel, Daniel handed him a prayer book and said, “You need to say lots of prayers, Jack. We don’t need to have these people angry with us.”
Jack sighed and pointed to the script in the book. Quietly, he said, “I hope they don’t expect me to read this.”
After the service, Jack and Daniel met up with Warham and continued their talks. Daniel, in an attempt to find out about their culture’s rules and taboos, asked about the lack of children when they arrived yet saw them at the service this morning.
“Yes, speaking of that,” Warham looked at Jack. “Our society frowns upon strangers having any contact with our children until we feel they are mature enough to deal with the complexities of the adult world.” He steepled his hands and spoke more quietly. “I should have made certain that you were escorted to the service by my personal guards.”
Jack shook his head. “It was an accident. I tripped on a rock.” He looked at Warham. “Look, My son died a few years ago, and I still miss him. Just recently, we were hosts to a culture where certain children are chosen to learn complex things and passed that knowledge on to her people. It was a great honor, but it came at a great price. The girl has no knowledge whatsoever and will live out the rest of her life oblivious to the world around her that her knowledge helped advance.”
Warham could see that Jack was truly concerned about any child and said, “As an Elder, I accept your apology. It is unfortunate that you happened to touch the one woman who is to be married soon. It could be perceived, however, that you are just like the other strangers who have come to take advantage of our children, especially the girls.”
“Wow,” Jack said, holding his hands up defensively. “I like kids, but not like that. I have no interest in having that kind of relationship with a child.”
Warham considered this, and then nodded.
Later that afternoon, Warham had brought Tralan, Jack, and Daniel into his chamber. Jack, in his own words, explained to Tralan that now that the rules were explained, he was more than happy to follow them. Jack, in turn, asked for Tralan and his wife to be present during his conversations, and to give him a warning when he over-stepped his permissions.
This pleased both Tralan and Warham.
Further in their conversation, Daniel explained to them that he was an archaeologist. He described that his job is to study people and what they did in the past from the things they left behind. Tralan hesitated, and then asked him if he would be able to assist him with the unearthing of an artifact found on the outskirts of town. “I know that it is frowned upon by Everett; he prefers that his word is the law we should abide by.”
“Digging again, Tralan?” asked Warham. “Are you not tempting your position with the Pastor? Do you realize what will happen to your daughter if you continue?”
Tralan shook slightly, but looked at Warham. “I have found things that contradict many of the words from Everett.” His quivery voice gained strength as he continued. “There are jars and writings and other things that just don’t seem to be that of what Everett says is our past. Will you help me?”
Daniel and Jack exchanged glances. Jack knew this would be exactly what Daniel had been waiting for and gave the nod of approval. Daniel returned a quizzical look, inferring the sensitivity of the offer. A mere moment passed before Daniel nodded his acceptance to Jack.
“I’ll do my best to assist you, Tralan,” he said.
At everyone’s acceptance of the agreement, Tralan and Daniel set off for the site.
Jack walked alone back to the Stargate to send a message to Hammond.
Daniel was grateful that the climate on P3X-452 was mild; digging in very hot temperatures wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences, although he had spent many years in Egypt doing just that.
Tralan had underestimated the amount of items found at the site; it had a number of artifacts - broken clay tablets covered with Theban script, a few scraps of papyri with writing obscured by age, and a few fragmented fertility goddesses with their hands folded over enormous breasts. There were many bits of pottery that might eventually be pieced together – the pieces still showing that they were parts of the bodies of voluptuous women.
The two were developing a friendship, and Daniel chanced asking Tralan the question about his first daughter. Tralan had two daughters, Patience and Chastity, but the first refused to be married to Everett. She told her father how unclean she felt whenever Everett was around her. He knew Patience was very sensitive to the ways of the Synod, and followed them strictly, as did his other daughter Chastity. But for her to feel so strongly about Everett was unusual, and when asked, she gave him detailed accounts on why she felt that way. She understood the laws of the Synod, but had been prostrating every chance she had to be delivered from this evil man.
However, no one refuses the theocratic council, least of all Everett. No amount of pleading would change her mind, and Tralan became worried if she didn’t become his wife. Then one day, Patience didn’t return from school. The whole village looked for her and Everett had found her in a compromising position with a stranger who had passed through their village a few days earlier. It was Synod law that the theocratic council deals with instances such as this.
Everett gave Tralan a public punishment Tralan. He was tied to a post in the square and his shirt ripped off. Because it was not Tralan’s fault that Patience was seen with this stranger, Tralan received a mere 10 lashes – normally, he would have received 100, but he promised Chastity to Everett for a lesser punishment. As for Patience and the stranger – both were punished – the stranger received the 100 lashes, but Tralan never knew what punishment was given Patience, nor did he ever see her again.
Tralan, embarrassed at each artifact he handed Daniel, said, “If the theocratic council knew about these, we would indeed be punished.”
It had taken many weeks for the diggers to pick these fragments out of a thin layer of vitrified soil, now covered by centuries of sand and salt. Only an unimaginable heat source could have turned the sand to glass - and the test trenches they had dug showed that it extended for nearly a mile. They had no idea what could have caused it.
“Why? These are not of your peoples’ doing, but that of someone in the past,” said Daniel. He checked out every item on the table and found that, with a little time, the pieces could be put together, and a story of the past would be revealed; at least a small part.
Tralan nodded. “I understand – however, it is forbidden to have such items in one’s possession.”
“Tralan, right now, none of these are in anyone’s possession,” Daniel observed. “Until you turn them over to a curator, these are no one’s possessions.”
“Curator?” asked Tralan. “I don’t understand…”
“Sorry. A curator is someone who cares for the collections of the past,” Daniel explained. “The curator will manage the resources of your village, interpret and document what is found, and make it accessible to the people.”
“Then you are a curator too?”
Daniel thought a moment. Archaeologists did interpret and document findings, but it was the government who agreed or disagreed on the interpretations by the archaeologists and decided which of those objects to make available to the people of the region.
“In a manner of speaking,” he said, “however, for me personally, it’s the discovery of the find that is my main reason for doing this. I would have no influence over anyone in the hierarchy of your people to insist that these objects be seen by all.”
“Good thing,” Tralan replied. “You are but a stranger here, and your efforts would be for naught.”
There was commotion in a nearby trench. "Tralan! Look at this!" one of the diggers cried.
"What is it?” Tralan jumped down into the trench beside the man and peered at the object exposed. A tiny section of smooth white stone had appeared in the layer of compacted sand, unmistakable marks etched into its surface.
“Daniel, what do you make of this?” Tralan asked, as he pointed to the object. Daniel took up the paintbrush the worker was using and gently but swiftly teased the sand away from the white object. His progress was punctuated by ever more disbelieving expressions as the artifact was revealed.
After a moment, he held up the object - a beautifully carved small alabaster vase, embellished with the relief of a bare-breasted goddess. Probably an unguent jar, Daniel decided. The lid had been sealed with wax, but over time, the seal had deteriorated and the top came loose easily as he jiggled it experimentally. Daniel handled as gently as he could, but one of the diggers moved closer to see the object. He bumped into Daniel and the movement caused the top to come off. Then diggers began to scream.
The inhabitants of the village heard the screams, and ran toward the dig site. When they arrived, they found all the diggers’ clothes shredded and the bodies were bloodied. None of the diggers were alive. Astonishingly, Tralan and Daniel were spared death, although both of them were unconscious, their clothing was disheveled and they, too, were bloody. The two were carried to the village care facility where the nurses did their best to make them comfortable. Warham had the bodies of the diggers removed to the village morgue.
Warham ordered the village arms men to stop any further entry from God’s Eye. The people of the village, while a simple people, were not using simple weapons. Their ancestors had defeated the Goa’uld in the past, and had a cache of staff weapons that the descendants used when necessary.
And now, it was necessary.
Every time Jack opened his eyes, the room spun. Through his swirling vision he could see that he was in a cell; his jacket was gone, his shirt was open, his slacks torn and he was lying on a bed with sheets and blanket. It was the fourth time since he first woke up that way and he felt drained and bruised, and in places he never expected to be bruised.
Having seen enough, Jack closed his eyes against the throbbing in his head. The last thing he remembered was walking to the Gate to report in. How long had he been here now? A day? A week? He could not answer his own question and he did not want to think too much on the subject. But one thing was certain; his hopes of escaping were dwindling quickly. Aside from being locked in a poorly lit cell, the regular abuse meant that Jack barely had the strength to open his eyes much less use any force to overcome the guards.
And where was Daniel? Probably engrossed in a dig, he thought. It would just be like Daniel – to be so focused on what was in front of him, that he would forget that there was more to life than immersing yourself in the past of a new culture. Did Daniel even ask about him, or know where he was? Surely he’d realized by now that his friend was missing.
That last thought threw Jack into despair. The pain was almost unbearable, he didn’t know how he ended up here, and he was having bad dreams.
Daniel, this time I need you: not only for the companionship, but also to explain what the hell is going on.
Jack dreaded falling asleep again. The dreams were almost too real, while it appeared they could be something pleasurable, they seemed to be really dreams of pain.
Against all Jack’s efforts, he fell asleep. And the dream returned.
Daniel and Tralan regained consciousness that afternoon, but remained in the care facility. However, Daniel noticed that there were several arms men standing sentry at the doors. No amount of questioning of the doctors or nurses would give him answers. Their injuries weren’t severe and when the doctors approached them to tell them they could go home, Everett and Warham entered with the arms men and arrested them.
“What is the meaning of this?” Daniel asked as his hands were bound behind him. “What have we done?”
As Tralan’s hands were also bound, Everett, head of the theocratic council, said, “I’m most disappointed in you, Tralan. I thought you were one of our most prominent citizens.” He shook his head at the man. “I fear your daughter’s betrothal is now null and void. You are not the example we choose to have in our society. I will not marry a woman who has been violated.”
“I don’t understand,” said Tralan. “I have done nothing wrong! My daughter has done nothing wrong!”
“On the contrary,” Everett responded, and pointing to Daniel continued, “You tell us that your friend tripped - on a rock – and that’s why he touched Chastity.”
“It was an accident.”
“I saw the incident with my own eyes,” said Everett. “Your friend was looking at Chastity and had a look of lust about him. I’m certain he tripped on purpose.”
“Everett, please – be reasonable,” begged Tralan. “I was walking next to Jack and his eyes were focused on me, not Chastity. And you saw the rock he fell on!”
“You are making excuses for these strangers, Tralan?” Everett asked suspiciously. “Am I to also assume that you made the same excuses for the previous stranger who compromised your daughter?”
Tralan shook his head as if to dismiss the memory. “My daughter, where is she? May I see her one last time?” he pleaded
Warham shook his head. “That would not be wise, Tralan. She is in the care facility and is…not well enough to see you.”
“But...but we discussed this...he understood and accepted Jack’s apology!” Daniel pleaded.
“Yes, yes,” Everett said with a dismissive wave of his hand.
“What happened to have us arrested?” This just wasn’t making any sense to Daniel.
“Your friend was seen having extremely...personal...relations with the young woman, Charity, my betrothed,” the Everett said. “We cannot tolerate that in our village, and I cannot marry a woman who has been violated by the very people asking for our trust.”
“Chastity? She did...No, she wouldn’t! She is a fine young woman!” Tralan pleaded.
“So you say.”
“Jack wouldn’t do that! He’s not like that at all!” Daniel said. “He’s very protective of all children.”
“Our proof says otherwise.” With that, Daniel was led to the prison. However, Everett looked at Tralan and said, “Apparently, you are a very bad example for your other daughter. I thought you would learn the first time.”
“But she did nothing wrong! Tralan insisted. “And I did my best to follow your instructions.”
“Your best just wasn’t good enough,” Everett said, and Tralan was taken to another part of the village.
Daniel’s head was reeling. Jack wouldn’t do that. He was on the way to the Stargate to give his report to Hammond. What happened? How could they say Jack did this? Was this whole incident a setup?
Daniel was put into an identical cell next to Jack’s. The bars were thick and evenly spaced. There was a pitcher and a cup on the table and in the corner, was a small room with a door. The council at least provided some comforts. Jack was looking down at the floor, disheveled, disoriented and drenched in sweat.
O’Neill slowly looked up at Daniel, closed his eyes, and returned to looking at the floor.
“Jack! What happened?” Daniel pleaded. This was not Jack. He already looked like they’d won – whoever ‘they’ were. “It’s only been one day! Please! Talk to me!”
Quietly, Jack said, “It doesn’t matter, Daniel.”
Daniel paced the cell. “Yes, it does! Tell me what happened.”
Jack slowly shook his head. “I’d rather not.”
The older man remained focused on the floor. He had shut Daniel out.
Everett focused his attention on Daniel. He watched the exchange between these two men with irritation. Everett was stocky and his rotund face was surrounded by a red cloak which matched the anger on his face. It did nothing to assure Daniel. Neither did the symbol, which hung around his neck – it was the same symbol that was seen in the pin on Warham’s cloak. Daniel tried not to stare at the symbol: he’d seen it before, but couldn’t remember where.
“You will get him to repent! It is imperative that he understand the gravity of the crime he has committed,” preached Everett. “If you fail, we will have to take matters into our own hands.”
“Repent? Repent for what? And what is the punishment for the crimes he has supposedly committed?” Daniel asked. “We are strangers, peaceful explorers; we were hoping that our two peoples could trade and become allies.”
Everett walked closer to Daniel’s cell. “Until he confesses, that’s not very likely. His punishment will be torture of the vilest kind until he repents, and you shall witness each and every moment.”
“If you do not,” said Everett coolly, “if you even avert your eyes for just a moment, he will receive a more severe session than before.”
“That’s not fair!”
“To you, probably not,” said the theocratic leader, adjusting his cloak, “but it is imperative that he cooperate. Should he not cooperate, we will break him – and you … well, you will receive the same punishment as Tralan.” Everett gauged Daniel’s facial expression. “Perhaps using you will assist us in achieving retribution.”
“Retribution? Is this a religious offense? And does he not get a trial?”
“There is no need for a trial. We just need to have the word of another respected member of the village.” Everett bellowed.
“How does the word of just one person condemn him? Does he not right to speak in his own defense?”
Everett shook his head. “There is so much you need to learn about our culture. I am told you are an archaeologist – that alone assumes you know something about other cultures.”
“Yes, that’s true,” admitted Daniel, “however, I learn from the people who have gone before. We are still in that learning phase – your people and mine.”
“Just another excuse,” said Everett. “Tralan had no excuse. He knew the rules and he is, even now, receiving his punishment.”
“Which is?” asked Daniel.
“His punishment is none of your concern,” Everett explained. “Since you are strangers, you are given the opportunity to come to terms with your crimes.” He pointed at Jack. “You will get him to repent. His life and yours depend on it.”
With that, he left the prison, leaving Daniel furious. Great, more people who feel they can justify anything in the name of religion. He found that thought annoying on any planet because it gave faith such an undeserved bad name. In this case, however, it looked like it was going to be more than annoying, it was going to be downright dangerous. He didn't like the idea of 'trial' and 'retribution' one little bit. Time was obviously of the essence.
Jack remained unresponsive to Daniel’s pleas for conversation. There was nothing Daniel could say to Jack to get his friend to break his silence.
When their keepers brought dinner, it surprised Daniel that it was more like their first meal than bread and water he’d been expecting. Jack barely glanced at the food.
Daniel was hungry and the food smelled delicious, but he didn’t want to eat without Jack joining him. He tried, yet again, to reach Jack.
“Jack, let’s sit near each other, or at least as near as these prison bars will allow.” The smell of the food was making Daniel hungrier. “It’s not like home, but it smells great.”
He picked up his dish and sat by the cell bars. “Come on, Jack. Join me.”
O’Neill gave Daniel a pained look, but made the attempt to stand to get his dish. Jack couldn’t steady himself long enough to walk, so he crawled to the table, brought the dish to the floor, and slowly moved closer to Daniel.
Daniel was stunned. What had they done to Jack that made walking so difficult?
Jack finally inched his back up against the bars of the cell. He gingerly placed his back on them for support then picked up his fork.
Daniel touched his shoulder lightly to let him know that he was here and would do everything he could to help him, but the touch made Jack jump away from the bars. “Daniel. Don’t. Hurts.” It wasn’t said in anger, but with exhaustion.
“Sorry.” He moved himself to have his back supported by the bars as did Jack. At least they were closer than they were before, and maybe Jack could relax a little; perhaps answer a few questions.
But first, Daniel wanted to make sure Jack ate something. The questions could wait a little longer.
Daniel slowly slid himself over so that his back was touching Jack’s through the bars. He heard Jack’s fork hit the bowl of salad, which consisted of lettuce, carrots, celery and light vinaigrette. Jack ate slowly, because of the pain or exhaustion, Daniel couldn’t tell, but guessed it was a fair amount of both. The salad was just the right start before the dinner, which consisted of chicken, potatoes with gravy, broccoli, and for dessert, there was apple pie.
Daniel wondered why they would feed them so well if they were just going to torture Jack, and in turn, torture Daniel by having to watch their actions. He surmised that, with the good food they were given, it was a sign; this would most probably be their last good meal until the theocratic council received Jack’s confession.
But Daniel had difficulty in approaching the subject with Jack. He decided that he’d let Jack rest overnight, but that tomorrow, he had to get Jack to tell him what had happened.
Jack managed to stand up and put his dishes back on the table. He slowly made his way to the closet, washed his face, and curled up under on the blanket and sheet on the thin mattress. He was asleep almost immediately.
The dinner did him some good, and I’m sure that not talking about anything during dinner helped him as well. Daniel knew that Jack was an intensely private man, especially when it came to anything that caused him pain, be it emotional or physical.
Daniel stood and put his plate back on the table, had a drink of the water, and nestled under his own blanket. He stared at Jack, soundly sleeping, trying to find a way to get him to say what had caused all this. It didn’t take long for Daniel to see for himself.
Jack shifted uneasily in his sleep and murmured fitfully, but could not break free of the dream. Someone was with him, the same someone whose presence he had felt in the dream before. The girl? A lovely, blue-eyed, blonde-haired, soft-spoken young woman, but with a soul of fire... It couldn’t be her...
Soft fingers trailed down the side of his neck. Jack stirred, tingling with incipient desire. His partner smiled and let her fingertips move down the planes of his chest, her nails lightly scratching over his skin, sending a jolt excitement through him. She observed his reaction with satisfaction then slowly drew the blanket away; she expertly undid his clothing, exposing his nakedness, and bent over him, her tongue doing things no human should be able to do. He didn't care, awash in the most intense sea of sexual desire he'd ever experienced. He wanted to touch her, to bury himself between her beckoning thighs, to lick, taste, and possess her in the full fury of his passion. But his arms were leaden; he could only lie passively beneath her lips and hands. She would not let him finish, expertly backing off each time she felt him nearing orgasm, and each time she returned to her probing ministrations, bringing him further than he thought possible. If she didn't let him climax soon, it was going to go beyond the realm of arousal and into genuine pain.
“Jack?” Daniel had never heard anyone in this type of dream state. And while he didn’t believe anyone else was in the cell but Jack, it made him uneasy about the actions that were going on.
When Jack thought he could stand it no longer, she effortlessly swung astride him, maneuvering for full penetration. He clamped his teeth together to keep from screaming, though whether from pain or relief he could not say. His body still refused his efforts to move, except for the urgent straining toward fruition. The woman bent forward and placed her lips in the hollow of his chest, running the tip of her tongue through the hair. The saltiness of his sweat seemed to please her and she sucked harder, breaking capillaries beneath his skin.
“Jack!” said Daniel loudly. This was no dream. Something – some ONE – was in Jack’s cell. He had to stop it.
Her tongue ran full up the plane of his chest, swirled along the base of his throat, teased at his jaw line. The sensations created finally proved the critical factor and he exploded within her with a guttural cry. It seemed to Jack that his very soul was being pumped into her and, at the last moment, he heard her gasp. She seemed to orgasm herself, drawing the strength and energy from his body, and he realized with a surge of horror that she was feeding on him.
He cried out in earnest and she raised her face, hissing at him. The slitted eyes were hard and yellow, the thin lips pulled back in a grimace, the tip of her split tongue curling behind needle-like fangs. His terrified scream ripped the air as she lowered her head to his pulsing throat.
“Jack!” screamed Daniel. “Wake up!” He paced his cell. “You’ve got to wake up!”
Then Jack was quiet.
Jack awoke with a start, drenched in sweat, his heart pounding wildly, lungs straining to draw in air. The world would not stand still, the room around him rolling from side to side in a relentless motion that increased his nausea. He gulped, took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. The dream ... this was the second night in a row...
“Jack!” cried Daniel. He felt so helpless on the other side of the cell bars. “Are you alright?”
Jack woke slowly and lay for a few minutes in the sweat-soaked sheets, aching all over from the adrenalin that had exploded through his system, and finally succeeded in getting his pulse back to an acceptable level. Swinging his legs out of bed, he sat for another moment, clearing his mind. Shakily, he ran a hand over his face. Truth was, he felt awful and the aroma of the sheets was making him sick. They were sticky with something other than sweat and he grimaced in disgust. He had never done that…until this week. Something must be triggering it all, he thought as he clumsily stripped the soiled sheets from the bed and laid down fresh linen from a shelf near the closet. He'd never been plagued with an overactive imagination, but since the second day of arriving here, his night-thoughts had grown more and more vivid.
He went to the table and poured a little water onto the cloth, holding it to his face and forehead. When he took away the cloth, he looked over at Daniel, who had been waiting impatiently and expectantly for his response. “I’m ok,” he said nonchalantly, “or I will be.”
“Right,” Daniel replied, trying to be equally nonplussed. “Then tell me about the mark on your chest.”
Jack looked down and saw the small, almost round, bruise. While it didn’t hurt when he touched it, he had a brief flash of the blonde woman from his dream.
“It’s nothing,” Jack replied. “I must have fallen on something. Get some sleep.” He walked slowly back to his bed and laid down.
Daniel, knowing Jack the way he did, was unconvinced. At least he did get Jack to talk to him, and that was a start. Now if he could only find a way to sleep after witnessing what that thing – that someTHING – was doing to Jack, and at the same time, hoping that it wouldn’t seek him out as well.
The next morning brought some sun into their cells. Daniel awoke, grateful that he did not experience the creature. He noticed that Jack was still asleep, but his skin was pallid, and the bruises were more pronounced.
“So,” bellowed Everett, “have you gotten him to confess?”
Daniel was startled at his announcement. Barely awake himself, he replied, “Not yet. I’ve barely been able to get him to talk to me.”
Everett walked slowly towards Daniel. “You need to try harder. Your life depends on it.”
Getting tired of being treated as if he was responsible for all of this, he said, “What did you do to him? Seems you’ve already started on his punishment.”
The council leader glanced at Jack. “That which you see on him he has done himself.”
Everett shook his head as he walked away. “This man has evil thoughts.”
“Thoughts don’t cause bruises.” Daniel retorted with barely controlled anger.
Everett ignored him.
Two women brought in their breakfast and removed their plates from last night’s dinner.
Daniel looked at the offering – there were pancakes, syrup and bacon. I just don’t understand. Nothing is making any sense.
The smell of pancakes woke Jack up. He managed to take his plate, still rather clumsily, to sit next to Daniel.
“Jack, I know you don’t want to talk about this, but I have to know,” he said, after tasting the bacon. “What happened last night?”
The heavy sigh was unmistakable. Jack knew Daniel wouldn’t stop until he answered his question. “OK, Daniel, here it is. I’ve been having bad dreams. There. Happy now?”
“No. I’m not.”
“I don’t care. No more questions.”
The next day, the same routine: the thing would assault Jack, wake Daniel up, and Jack would look worse after each event. After each event, Daniel tried to get Jack to talk, but Jack just closed up tighter, steadfastly refusing to let Daniel in.
Daniel wondered if the SGC, and more specifically, Sam and Teal’c, was wondering why they didn’t check in, or were negotiating for their release. He’d never felt this abandoned before, not since he was wounded on Klorel’s ship. Jack had reluctantly left him, and then, only after Daniel’s insistence.
Daniel was getting worried that if Jack didn’t start talking soon, Everett would seriously torture Jack. Jack was becoming more weak and bruised. And Everett was becoming increasingly impatient.
“Jack, please, wake up!” Daniel pleaded as he watched Everett pace impatiently.
Daniel had been trying to get Jack to wake up after a particularly bad dream, but to no affect. Everett had listened to Daniel’s pleas to Jack, but still they heard nothing from the man who had supposedly committed the most heinous offense. Obviously enraged, he left, only to return a few moments later with several large men.
Daniel was on his feet immediately. “I am making progress – I just need more time.”
Everett gave Daniel a withered look. “You’ll excuse me if I don’t believe you.”
Daniel tried to keep his voice level, but failed. “It would help, you know, if you gave him a chance to get some rest before you batter him all night.”
Everett looked at Jack’s bruised body and shook his head. “As I told you before, he has evil thoughts. However, I see you do not understand the seriousness of his offense. We are being as patient as we can, but apparently the necessity for repentance hasn’t been made a priority. No, we haven’t started his punishment, but I believe we will begin now.” And with that, several large men entered Jack’s cell and roughly pulled him from his bed. Three others entered Daniel’s cell, tied his hands behind him, and led him from the cell.
Consciousness returned slowly as Jack emerged from the darkness that surrounded him. There were two things that he noticed almost immediately. He was being carried and that his body was telling him almost pointedly that he was hurting, from the tips of his eyelashes to his toes. He made a half-hearted attempt to open his eyes and shut them almost immediately as pain shot from his eyes to his brain. Fighting down the nausea, he willed the crescendo in his head to stop, succeeding to a certain extent: enough to try thinking coherently anyway.
“Where are you taking us?” Daniel demanded.
A swift smack across his face stopped any further comments. Daniel noted that they were headed toward a medieval-looking building, the likes of which reminded him of the torture chambers of 1600’s England. Once they entered the room, it was obvious it was a place of torture. There were items in the room that were too reminiscent of the devices used during those times.
“Bind this one first,” said Everett, pointing to Daniel. The three in charge of Daniel pushed him to a tall board. Without untying his hands, his feet were lashed to the board, a large leather belt was fastened about his waist and his head fastened in the leather straps at the top of the board.
“This is to make sure you understand the seriousness of his crimes.”
“Please, I need more time,” pleaded Daniel.
Ignoring him, Everett directed the others. "Put him there,” he pointed to a different device.
The guards were only too pleased to do so – this was the one place where they could amuse themselves with a prisoner. Jack’s clothes were ripped off. He took a look at Daniel and shook his head once. Despite Daniel’s need to plea for Jack, he kept quiet. The guards continued their actions. They bound Jack’s wrists above his head with leather straps and pushed him facedown over the slanted table in the middle of the room. While one guard was fastening the strap to the chain at the end of the table, the other two took his ankles, spread them apart, and attached them by more leather straps on the base below.
Everett strutted over to Daniel. “Perhaps this will encourage him to confess. If it does not, then you will continue to endure this and other means we have at our disposal.”
Daniel saw one guard reach for a whip-like device. He remembered what little Jack had told him about the torture he’d endured in Iraq, and with Jack’s last gesture, felt that by watching and saying nothing, Everett would have his guards stop.
Each guard had his chance to strike Jack across his back, buttocks and legs. Jack didn’t cry out in pain, although Daniel wanted to, just from the observations. After what seemed to be an eternity, the guards stopped. None of the lashings were dealt hard enough to draw blood, and for that, Daniel was grateful.
It wasn’t until the first guard took off his clothes that Daniel realized their next step. Each of the other guards took off his clothes as well, and at first, spent time pleasuring each other. The first guard moved towards Jack and started to arouse him sexually.
If Daniel thought the lashings took a long time, this act seemed to take longer. When the guards were done, they got dressed and waited for Everett’s next instruction. Daniel still couldn’t figure out why Everett let these guards rape Jack when Jack was the one accused of raping a young woman. Tralan had been removed to an unknown place, and while he was not convicted of any crime, he was not even allowed a final goodbye to his daughter.
Everett summoned two women who came into the chamber and undid Jack’s bindings. He made no move except when the cloth of cold water touched his back. They cleaned him gently without embarrassment and applied ointment to the worst of the lashings on his body. Then they covered him with a cloak and asked him to stand.
Jack shakily stood, trying to find his balance. He turned around only to see Daniel tied to a board, his face lashed to a board with leather, with perfect view of the recent events. A look passed between the two men: Jack, not so much embarrassed at what he had to endure but the fact that Daniel was forced to watch; Daniel, embarrassed that he was forced to watch, but conveying the urgent need for Jack to tell him what had happened to get them both here in the first place.
Perhaps there was something perverted about Everett – he might even find some pleasure in the sexual torture of others. And Everett’s next statement confirmed it.
Addressing Jack, he asked smugly, “Now that you have experienced detention, have you a confession for me?”
Jack shook his head.
“Insolence!” Everett bellowed. “You have a weakness,” he said as he approached him. “Your friend has already endured suffering on your behalf. What will I have to do for you to repent?”
Finding his voice, Jack said quietly and with a hint of defiance, “Guess you’re just going to have to find out.”
Enraged, Everett roared, “Take them back to the prison.” He stormed out of the building, slamming every door on its hinge.
Back in their respective cells, Jack went to his bed to lie down. He was exhausted, both from the lashings and the sexual impropriety. Despite the pain on his body, in minutes he was fast asleep, breathing deeply.
The ordeal was also tiring on Daniel, though not nearly as much as it had been for Jack. He couldn’t believe how much his jaw hurt; he must have been straining in his need to keep silent for Jack’s sake. He desperately wanted Jack to talk to him, now more than ever. But as before, he felt that Jack needed some rest before peppering him with questions. Daniel promised himself that this time he wouldn’t stop until he received answers. He went to his bed for a short rest. He wished this was all a bad dream and when he woke up, it would all be gone.
Daniel awoke to a sound he couldn’t recognize at first. He sat up in bed, trying to clear his head. He wished for a cup of coffee, not only for its immediate adrenalin benefits but to have the headache subside from the lack of it.
He caught motion in Jack’s cell, and this time saw that there was someone else in the cell with him. Daniel slowly and quietly made his way to the bars. By focusing, he saw that the person was a woman. For that, he was grateful; however, the way this woman was attending him he realized it was the same one as before.
“JACK!!” Daniel was determined to get his attention. “Wake up! NOW!”
The light provided by the oil lamp wasn’t much, but for a brief moment, that which was tormenting Jack came into view of Daniel. It turned to face him, snarling. It resembled Chastity, all right, but not the innocent girl they had met almost a week ago.
The thing that was Chastity walked sultrily to Daniel. As she put her finger on his cheek, he backed away. Chastity admonished him, “You would abandon us, my love? Have we not brought you pleasure?”
Daniel did his best to remain calm. She sounded too familiar. “No. No, you didn’t.” Now it’s my turn for the bad dreams.
The Chastity thing screamed, “Insolence! You have insulted us! You will regret your actions!” It disappeared, her last words echoing in his head.
Daniel sagged against the bars. As he tried to calm his breathing, he tried to rationalize what he witnessed: not a Goa’uld, but a creature with a similar attitude.
He remembered, reluctantly, the seduction of Hathor; his rape; her use of Jack, making him a Jaffa, and an incubator for the children she was spawning. He shuddered at those memories.
It was then that the symbols used on the cloaks of Warham and Everett came into his mind. They were not the same nor were they the symbol for Hathor. Warham’s seemed to imply ‘protection’ or ‘safety’: Everett’s, conversely, implied something evil. He couldn’t be sure, but the symbol resembled that used by witches – one of an evil deity, called a succubus. The female form would rape men in their sleep, gathering their semen, then transform into the male form – the incubus – and impregnate virgins.
Daniel shuddered. This was his fault. He saw the Theban writing on the pottery, the images of the voluptuous women, and the jar: the small white jar. He sighed. Until he saw the female creature assaulting Jack, he hadn’t made the connection. What were the odds that something so obscure in Earth’s culture would possibly manifest itself elsewhere?
He had to talk to Jack.
Daniel rose from the floor and saw Jack panting heavily. The man’s body looked awful. This couldn’t wait.
“Jack?” Daniel asked tentatively.
“What?” asked Jack, exhausted.
“I’m very sorry, but this can’t wait.”
“What do you want from me?” Jack wearily replied, still lying on the bed. He couldn’t remember when he had hurt this much. The dreams weren’t going away. In fact, they were getting worse. He couldn’t explain what was going on, not even to Daniel. How was he supposed to explain that he had awakened in this cell, feeling like he did at this moment for days? What was he to say about the guards’ treatment and Everett’s different styles of punishment?
He vaguely remembered dialing the gate to give his report to General Hammond. At first, he was alone, but he was soon overwhelmed and being escorted by two arms men. He didn’t think he said anything that was forbidden, but he couldn’t be certain.
All he knew was that he hurt everywhere; it hurt to breath, to move, to eat, to walk – he’d been tortured before, but not like this; with a member of his team, and more importantly, a good friend present to watch his torture and degradation. He could handle the pain inflicted by these people, but the added knowledge of Daniel being forced to be there took more effort than he could afford.
Getting no further response, Daniel did the only thing he could think of. “Guard! Somebody!” he shouted.
Jack struggled up from this bed. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
He looked at his friend. “Jack, this isn’t your fault.”
“Somebody! Guard!!!” He turned to Jack. “Your dreams.”
As two arms men came into the prison, Daniel asked them, “I request an audience with Warham.”
“For what purpose?” asked one.
“I need to speak with him now, please. It’s urgent!”
The other one scoffed. “For this you call us? It is hardly an emergency.”
“But it is,” he insisted. “It will provide the answers the President of the council is looking for.”
“Why don’t you just tell the President himself?”
Daniel didn’t back down. “Because I wish to speak to Warham.”
The two guards exchanged looks, and left the prison.
“Is that a ‘yes’?”
“Daniel, what the hell were you doing?”
“Trying to help you,” he said. “Do you want your dreams to continue?”
Jack thought a moment. Despite the pain, he knew Daniel was up to something. “No.”
“Good.” Daniel nodded. “Tell me, despite the…nature…of these dreams, you didn’t cooperate, did you?”
Jack sighed. “Too late: I think I already have.”
Daniel’s head dropped to his chest. “For your sake, I certainly hope not.”
Jack, too tired to talk, went back to his bed and fell asleep.
Warham came to see the two men. Seeing Daniel’s anxious face, he dismissed the guards. When they refused, he said, “As an Elder and a magistrate, these prisoners do have the right to speak to me in private.”
As they reluctantly left, Warham asked, “This is most unusual. Why did you call me in the middle of the night?”
Daniel said, “At the site where I was assisting Tralan, there were a few objects he discovered. Would you be so kind as to bring them to me?”
“Now? Why should I do such a thing?”
“Because I believe these objects will shed some light on why Jack and I are in these cells, and why Jack is being beaten within an inch of his life.”
Warham thought for a moment. These two men came to their village with no intention of harm, yet when he looked at the older man, he saw that the only people doing the harm was his own. He saw a severely battered man whose life would soon be forfeit. Burning at the stake would be a welcome alternative for him, rather than continuing the torment brought about by the President of the theocratic council and his personal army. While he knew not exactly what was done to the older man, he had a horrible feeling it was more than just a beating.
Cautiously, he said, “What objects are you seeking?”
Daniel allowed himself a small smile of relief. He told Warham which items he needed to bring.
Warham backed away from Daniel as if the man has blasphemed. “This is highly irregular! To be seen with such objects…depicting women…like that…”
“Please,” Daniel said. “Everett will torture him and then me, and I can assure you, it is not only not his fault, but will result in others being burned at the stake for actions that are outside of their consciousness.”
“But this object – it has a depiction of a naked woman,” Warham shook his head, “and, being uncovered by Tralan’s group, with you present, is enough to make you both burn at the stake.”
“Yes, but we’re still here. Even Tralan.”
“How do you know?”
Daniel said nothing further, but waited to see what Warham would do next. He could tell the man was wrestling with keeping the stringent rules of their people or trying to prove that these strangers were telling the truth. The fact that no one had seen Tralan burn at the stake was enough for Warham.
Warham said hesitantly, “If it can be proven that he is innocent, perhaps you may be able to explain how my own niece…”
“Excuse me?” asked Daniel.
Warham looked quickly around him and then got closer to Daniel’s ear. “My niece was accused of the very thing as Tralan’s daughter. My brother was taken somewhere outside of our village. He hasn’t been seen for...” He wrung his hands nervously. “I would be personally grateful if you can determine the cause, but Everett believes you are demons and have brought a curse upon our village.”
Daniel insisted. “Please, I can read the script. I have a…theory. I require these things in order to be certain.”
Seeing that Warham was still hesitant, he asked, “Has anything like this ever happened to your village in your past?”
Warham thought. “Only once, if the story is true. There was hidden…sexual activities…in our village.”
He described a story about the unfair punishments inflicted upon the residents of the town, until divine intervention stepped in. Daniel told him that Earth had a story which was very similar theirs, the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Warham looked at Daniel and realized now what must have happened. He said, “I will go,” and promptly left the prison.
Warham brought the objects to Daniel within the hour. “I am surprised that Everett did not have me followed,” he told Daniel. “If he had, I would be joining you.”
Daniel pointed to his pin securing his cloak. “This is your protection.”
“This?” Warham looked at the pin. “It’s been handed down through the generations. How does this protect me?”
Daniel smiled. “When you recited your story earlier, I took a better look at it. You are ‘one of the blessed’.”
“And that’s why you asked for me?”
“Yes. I knew you were on our side. May I borrow your pin?”
Warham stayed in the prison that night, finding a corner in which to get comfortable. He wanted to see if Daniel was correct – that Everett was behind all the awful, evil things that have been happening to the village. Daniel had told him things could get horrific, and when they did, to be prepared for the worst. Warham chose a place where he could see all that transpired, but could not be seen by anyone. At least until he made a sound signaling his location.
Daniel looked at the jar first. It was beautiful – and the lamplight caught the carvings just right. It was quite a find, in a sinister sort of way. For a split second, it seemed that the goddess carved in the jar was looking directly at him.
He moved on to the other fragments – while there was the usual accounting record on one, there was a prayer written on another. Then a vision came to him – as if he was watching a scene on television: daily life in ancient Egypt, with all the merchants, traders, and people going about their normal business of the day. There was also a beautiful blonde woman looking at him with a look that one of a loving, but jealous, mate.
Daniel shook that vision out of his head. There was no one for him now – Sha’re was gone. She was his first and only love.
He went back to the script on the bottom of the jar. It resembled a Theban script he’d seen only once before. He mentally translated the words, and memorized them. It was going to be necessary.
A chill washed over him and he shuddered. He looked over at Jack, who was still sleeping soundly, and alone.
Then he went to the papyri. Gently, he separated each sheet, trying to put them in logical reading order, when a passage caught his eye. As he read the incantation, he realized that it was to put the demon into the white jar. He thought about that for a moment – if the creature returned to Jack this evening, he could attempt to put it back into the jar.
He was getting tired, so he put the objects under his bed and was about to go to sleep, when he was caught by the sound of labored breathing coming from Jack’s cell and a strange wet sound he couldn't quite identify. He paused, listening intently to the sound, and when he turned, he froze at the sight.
Jack was lying immobile on his bed, naked, while the long-legged woman was bent forward, her mouth sucking on his private parts like a leech. His friend struggled trying to free himself from the invisible bonds holding him. His agonized face portrayed that he knew this wasn’t a dream, but knew it was futile to awaken until she was finished.
With quickness that surprised even Daniel, he placed Warham’s pin on his shirt, grabbed the white jar and began the incantation with a steady voice. The woman that was the Chastity-creature screamed as Daniel completed the first verse. The noise woke Warham, who stayed frozen to his spot on the floor. He could not believe his eyes. The creature’s body writhed in agony and delivered an inhuman scream that brought chills to all who heard it.
And that was the whole village. The screams from the prison woke every man, woman, and child. The men gathered their arms, telling their families to lock their doors, and ran for the prison. Everett heard the screams as well. He mustered his men to turn back any villager heading for the prison, threatening burning at the stake to any who failed. His men guarding the gate heard the noise at the prison, and left their post to assist.
The SGC had repeated dialed in, but every time it connected, Everett’s men would fire into the event horizon blocking any attempt to cross. However, with the gate now unguarded, Sam and Teal’c along with SG-5 went to attempt a rescue of Jack and Daniel.
They, too, followed the noise at the far end of the village, hoping they weren’t too late.
Unfortunately for Everett, half the village men were already at the prison, and were witnessing a story unfold that was once told in story as part of their past.
With a more authoritative voice, Daniel recited the second verse. The creature made another inhuman scream and wailed, “You are killing us!”
Without noticing Jack now sitting upright in his bed, Daniel continued with the incantation. Warham noticed that Daniel was too far away from the creature and ordered the villagers to shoot at the locks to open them.
In short order, the locks were broken, and Daniel moved to Jack’s cell, never taking his eyes off the creature. He continued now with a commanding voice. The creature continued to writhe and scream, but it slowly was drawn into the jar.
The creature made one last appeal to Everett as he walked into the prison. “Save us! He is killing us! You have promised!”
The villagers, hearing that the creature was Everett’s doing, were hesitant to kill the Pastor. They still feared him, even though Everett being the cause of their suffering. Daniel, seeing the team from the SGC, excitedly pointed at Everett. “Shoot him! Kill him!” he shouted.
“Jack, none of this will stop as long as he’s alive!”
In an automatic gesture, he signaled the team to aim at Everett. They fired on him as one. Everett didn’t die easily, as he tried to conjure the remaining creatures under his power. The villagers assisted the team with their own weapons, and soon he was dead. With Everett’s life force diminished, the creature had no strength on which to draw, and finally, reluctantly, slid into the jar.
Daniel handed the jar
to Warham, who put a seal on it. While everyone smiled at their conquest,
they were confused as to why Everett was behind it.
With Everett dead and the creature put back into the jar, Tralan woke in another room. As he looked around, both of his daughters and Warham’s niece, Hope, were slowly coming out of their deep sleep they’d put under. Tralan was beyond joy to find both of his daughters alive and unharmed. Not knowing what had just transpired, the four left the room and walked toward the commotion in the other side of the prison.
Warham was delighted to see his niece, Hope, was alive and safe, and happy to see Tralan with his two daughters. The village rejoiced in the reunion of their lost members.
For the first time since they arrived, Daniel was able to be in the same room as Jack. Warham offered Jack his cloak, promised to find something else for him to wear, and ushered the remaining villagers out of the prison.
Daniel put the cloak around Jack and hugged him. “I’m so sorry,” he said, tears starting down his cheek. “This is my fault.”
Jack returned the hug. “No, it isn’t. And thanks.” Rare tears started falling on his cheeks because a friend didn’t abandon him.
With a celebration meal in full swing, Warham, Tralan, and Jack asked Daniel what exactly had happened.
“It mostly started when I noticed Warham’s pin - obscure even on Earth, but recognizable. Then the greeting – “Begone, God of Death”. I felt that was the give-away.”
Jack was puzzled. “How was that a give-away?”
Daniel looked embarrassed. “As I’m sure you were aware, I was going through several books trying to find a convincing argument for our negotiations with the Tollans.”
This time, Jack seemed to be uncomfortable.
Daniel continued. “While
it wasn’t necessary for that mission, it did provide me some distracting
reading. I frequently get ideas while perusing something off-topic.”
“Yes, but my pin,” Warham said. “What was it about that?”
“It’s all related to the Theban script, which is nicknamed “Witch’s Alphabet. It made more sense after seeing Everett’s pin, then the artifacts at the dig,” Daniel said.
“So that’s why you needed those items? You figured out what was going on and knew how to solve it?” Warham asked.
Daniel shook his head. “Not at first. It wasn’t until Everett was spouting about repenting and burning at the stake, and the other things that our culture went through about the fear of witches that it all came together.
“As far as getting the creature into the jar, that’s where I needed to trust you.” Daniel stopped for a moment and locked eyes with Jack. “I was hoping I could trust you to get those items from the dig and bring them to me, without having me go through the reasoning.”
“But what was that creature? It was Chastity, but not Chastity.”
“Everett was a necromancer – one who is able to summon Ekimmu for evil purposes. Ekimmu are always willing to serve an evil master, but they require a person’s life force to continue to serve. Normally, they are the walking dead – ones who have died a violent death. Everett found a way to take the living and pull them into a trance to provide the Ekimmu a spirit to do his bidding.” Daniel shuddered. “There’s no telling what would have happened if Everett was allowed to continue. For him to get to the point of using living people for spirits for his evil creatures means he was very close to being a force that would have been too strong to stop.”
“Much like the System Lords,” said Teal’c.
Daniel shook his head. “No, Teal’c – someone worse. Much worse.”
With trade relations finalized, the teams went home. Janet was waiting for them and had a gurney ready to take Jack to the infirmary. Jack was happy to see her and welcomed any needles and prodding she needed to do. Anything she did would never be as painful as what he just endured.
Now, if he could only get Daniel to stop apologizing.
Post Shades Of Grey
Jack and Daniel are still having issues over what Jack said about their friendship. Daniel is wondering if what Jack said contained some element of truth – that they'd never really been friends. Then they're marooned off world together (or on world) and have to rely on each other to survive till they're rescued.
3 things I'd like to see: Jack and Daniel's friendship highlighted by the end
Jack and Daniel whump (I'm an equal opportunity whumper)
3 things I don't want to see: Ship, Character death, Wimpy Daniel