Connections Part
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Fan Fiction Main

Connections Part Five
By Tammy K
tkukuk@netscape.net
 

RATING: PG-13
WARNINGS: Violence, some profanity
CATEGORY: Hurt/Comfort, Drama, Angst
SPOILERS: A Hundred Days, Stargate the movie, minor references to Brief Candle, The Broca Divide, Children of the Gods, Cold Lazarus, Need, Solitudes, The Serpent’s Lair
TIME FRAME: Immediately after A Hundred Days
PAIRINGS:  A little Jack/Sam UST
SUMMARY: The team’s efforts to deal with the implications of what happened to Jack on Edora are cut short when a highly advanced society with the power to read and control their victims’ minds targets the Colonel and Daniel.
DISCLAIMER: This story has been created for entertainment purposes only and is in no way intended to infringe upon any copyrights associated with Stargate or Stargate SG-1.
All original characters and situations are the property of the author.  Please do not archive without permission.
URL: http://www.crosswinds.net/~latlk/connectionsone.html

***

Jack had lost count of the number of times he woke up weeping.  The memory kept replaying all day long, over and over again.  Each time he fought to regain his bearings until finally he could not remember anything but what he had lost.

Maybe he was in hell.

Several hours later the black door opened.  The Colonel squinted, blinded by the bright light.

“It’s time to rest.” Orson said sadly as he stood before him.  The technician found O’Neill’s frantic, tear stained eyes disturbing.

“Where is Sara?”  Jack asked, dazed.

“She is not here.  You must rest now.”

“Why?”  Jack muttered, confused.

“You’ve been through an ordeal.”

“Charlie…I need to see Sara.”  Jack was getting more frantic.

“She will join you later.”  Orson said as he released the Colonel from his bounds and helped him to his feet.  Jack’s head swam briefly.  The Nekaran held him steady until it cleared.  Then he turned him around and attached the manacles as gently as he could.

“It will get easier.”  He whispered as he worked.

“Am I in the hospital?”  The Colonel’s voice was filled with fear.

“Yes.”  Orson lied to gain O’Neill’s cooperation.

“Ok.”  Jack said quietly.

A guard attached the leash and dragged him away.  Orson felt guilt about his role in Colonel O’Neill’s suffering and that surprised him.  He had never really empathized with any of his subjects before.  But most memories from the Chair were adventures or romances, not something so awful as the death of a child.  He had seen O’Neill’s tragedy unfold on the monitor and it sickened him.  As he watched the man being dragged away he wondered if the Chair was really as glorious as he had believed it to be.

Jack didn’t notice he was being led back to his stall.  It was too painful to think.  The last thing he remembered was the image of his son’s dead body lying in the hospital.

If he was still in the hospital himself he must have broken down.  No surprise there.  He needed to find Sara, make sure she was all right… What a laugh, of course she was not all right.  He wondered if she would ever forgive him for what he had done.

O’Neill didn’t fight the usual manhandling and the guards smiled wickedly when the haggard man had no smart remark for them as they threw him into his cell.

He sat up slowly, feeling the cold metal on his back as he leaned his head against the wall.  All he could think about was his gun.  Why had he left it in his bedroom where Charlie could get at it?  There was no answer.

Lost in the past, he closed his eyes, his heart shattered.

***

Carter was climbing the walls while Janet worked to finish her examination of the last of SG-3.   She felt an urgent need to do something.  The Colonel and Daniel were waiting for her to find them and all she could do was wait around for permission to leave.

Teal'c stood silently at her side.  It was back to the waiting game.

“Dr. Frasier has finished her preliminary examinations and she’s found nothing out of the ordinary.”  General Hammond said as he approached them in the hallway outside the infirmary.

“Then she’s not looking hard enough.  There has to be something there.”  Sam was getting desperate.

“I know you feel like you should be doing something, Major.  Waiting is one of a soldier’s most difficult jobs.”  The general knew that first hand.

“This is the right planet, I know it.  But every minute we wait could mean we’ll be too late when we finally decide to do something.”  Her voice was too harsh and she knew it.    So the Major lowered her eyes in apology.

General Hammond smiled.  He understood her turmoil.  Major Samantha Carter had good instincts and he knew it.  She was usually right on the money.  Maybe it was time he listened to her.

“The Doctor reported that it will be a day or two before she can complete all her tests, I’m inclined to agree with you that it may be too long to wait.  Therefore I’m going to let you take Teal'c and do some reconnaissance on Nekara.”

Sam could have kissed him.  Instead she smiled broadly and stood at attention.

“Be careful, people.  We don’t know what’s out there, so exercise extreme caution.”

Sam saluted.  “Yes sir.”

“Dismissed.”  General Hammond watched them go, willing them to find their teammates.

***

Daniel stood in the third chamber and stared at the hieroglyphics on the wall.  They told the story of one of Ra’s many conquests in graphic detail.  The linguist shivered at all the pain and suffering the Goa’uld had caused.  When he and Jack killed the leader by sending a nuclear/naquada bomb to his ship they had saved the universe many years of torture and tyranny.

By showing Solomon how to use all the tools of the Goa’uld he feared he was contributing to another reign of terror.

“We will resume in the morning.  I am impressed with your skills, Doctor.  I’m sure I can find many projects that will require your attention.”  Solomon said.

Daniel remained quiet as they led him away.

He was glad to see Jack waiting in their stall when the guard shoved him inside.  The Colonel sat silently with his back against the wall.  His face dark and serious, he seemed to be sunken into the stone.

“It’s good to see you.  I was afraid you wouldn’t be here.”  The linguist didn’t move.  He felt like he should wait for permission to sit next to his friend.

“Where’s my wife?”  The dark figure demanded, his voice dripping with hatred.

Daniel’s brow furrowed.  “What?” Was all he could manage.

“You heard me.  Where is Sara?  And who the hell are you?”

Daniel laughed self-consciously.  “Come on, Jack, knock it off.  You know who I am.”

“Humor me.”  There was no change in the Colonel’s expression.

“I’m Daniel Jackson, linguist and sidekick.  And it’s been a really long day.”

Jack examined the man, seeing nothing familiar.  “I’d say that’s an understatement, Jackson.  I just came from the hospital…my son…” He looked away, fighting back the bitter tears.  “My wife and I were at the hospital, then I was brought here.  I don’t know what happened to her.  Now spill.”

Daniel was stunned.  Jack thought it was 1993.  They hadn’t even met yet.

“Your son was killed in an accident 7 years ago.  You and your wife have since divorced.”  Daniel saw the disbelief in his friend’s eyes, but he pressed on.  “You and I are part of a military unit exploring other worlds.  Right now we are being held prisoner on one of them.”

Jack laughed humorlessly.  “Bullshit.  I’ve never seen you before.  Why should I trust you more than my own head?”

Daniel thought about that.  With the power Solomon had shown him he wasn’t sure himself.  “All I can tell you is what I remember.  We were on another planet collecting samples.  Then we were kidnapped.  Doesn’t that ring a bell?”  Daniel knew the answer before his friend spoke.

“No it doesn’t.  But you don’t look too dangerous so you may as well sit.  Keep your hands where I can see them and we’ll get along just fine.”

Daniel nodded.  He had to admit this cold, no-nonsense Jack O’Neill was intimidating.

“So why were we nabbed?”  Jack asked.  Something about the bright-eyed young man made him want to trust him.

“I don’t know for sure, but I think it has to do with our reputation as the men who killed Ra.”

“Ra?  What the hell is that?”  Jack shook his head.  If this Jackson was trying to trick him he had certainly picked a ridiculous cover.

“Ra’s an alien-it’s not really important right now, but we killed him, so we’re valuable exhibits.  You must have been affected by the Chair a lot more quickly than Solomon thought you would be.”

“You know, this babbling is not all that convincing.  You’re gonna have to try harder.”  Jack was getting tired of the stranger’s gibberish.

“Chief Solomon invented a device that makes a person believe he is reliving moments from his past.  He told me that repeated exposure would make it hard for the brain to separate the past from the present.”

“So you’re saying I was hooked up to this device?”  Jack remembered being pulled from a Chair.  He was beginning to wonder what was really going on.

Both men stopped at the growing clamor from the other side of the room.

“What’s that noise?”  Jackson wondered.

“Sounds like suppertime.”  O’Neill guessed.

“Good.  I’m hungry.”  Daniel said looking toward the noise.

Jack nodded.  He was hungry too, but judging from their surroundings he doubted they would be able to just walk up to the lunch counter and order a sandwich.

“Be ready for anything.”  The Colonel said.

They both heard the force field deactivate.

Jack moved in front of Daniel, instinctively protecting the stranger.

Suddenly two men rushed in and grabbed O’Neill.  The Colonel didn’t remember them, but they were the same two men who had manhandled him the previous night.

Doctor Jackson tried to help his friend but they shoved him aside.  He was no match for the hardened prisoners, so he followed behind Jack as quickly as he could.

The Colonel was once again dragged before Cade.  Impressed by the size of his adversary, O’Neill knew he was in for a fight.

“Leave him alone.  He hasn‘t done anything!”  Daniel yelled.

“There you are wrong, Jackson.  He challenges me.  He does not accept my authority.”

“I have news for you, I don’t even know who you are.  Why am I here and what have you done with my wife?”  Jack demanded.

The Giant laughed.  So the Chair was already affecting the Tau’ri.  Good.  That would make it so much easier to control him.

“You are here because Solomon wishes it.  As for your wife, no females were processed with you.”

Without warning, the Giant slapped Jack hard across the face.  Then he grabbed his head and forced it into the oatmeal.

Jack coughed hard as Cade let him up.  Reality was back with a vengeance.  With oatmeal clogging his eyes and nose again he kinda wished it wasn’t.  The Giant was saying something, he had to concentrate to understand the large man.

“…ready to call me your leader you can eat with us.”

Jack laughed.  “Leader…I hate to break this to you but you look like a prisoner here too.”

The Giant saw that his victim was back in the present, so he motioned to his men who threw the Colonel to the ground.

Jack sprang to his feet filled with a murderous rage.  Attacking the men who had held him, the Colonel beat them with all the fury built up over an entire day trapped in the Chair.  He hit and kicked his captors until they were unconscious.

Jackson saw the raw hatred in his friend’s eyes and it chilled him to the bone.  “Jack-that’s enough.”  He said low.  The Colonel ignored him, continuing his assault on the unconscious men.

“Jack!  Stop it before you kill them!”  Daniel finally ran to his friend’s side and caught his glance. “You won, let’s get outta here.”

The urgency in the young man’s voice made Jack give up his attack.  He grabbed a metal bowl and filled it with oatmeal.  Then he stormed away, Daniel following quickly, watching the Giant glare as they left.

Odd. He had just let them go.

Neither man said anything as they heard the force field crackle back to life.  Daniel watched his friend as he sat against the wall.  Oatmeal stuck to his face and hair, mingling with the blood from a split lip, a bloody nose, and a cut above his left eye.  The linguist grabbed their water jug and the corner of his blanket.  “Let me help you get cleaned up.”  He said as he sat next to his quiet friend.

O’Neill was wiping the sticky mess from his face, his mind racing with adrenaline.  He was sick of being a victim.  Next time he wouldn’t stop until Cade’s goons were dead.

Getting no response from his friend, Jackson wet the cloth and proceeded to clean the blood from above the Colonel’s eye.  The man flinched, his eyes fiery as he looked into Daniel’s face.

“Stay still and this won’t take long.”  Jackson held his ground against his superior.

“You should have been a nurse.”  Jack’s mood seemed to lighten a little.

“This team could certainly use a doctor.”  He wiped Jack’s lip.  The man’s eyes were suddenly far away.

Daniel was scared.

His friend had fought so hard to conquer his demons.  Now after one day in that horrible chair he was already starting to remind the linguist of the man he had met all those years ago.  He was cold and hard, withdrawing into himself, rotting away from the inside out.

“How’s the nose?”  The linguist asked.

“It’s sore, but I don’t think it’s broken.”  O’Neill answered in a monotone.

Daniel smiled.  At least that was something.

Jack had enough of his friend’s ministrations.  He waved him away and sat back against the wall.

“Alright, I guess I’m done then.”  Jackson said to himself.  He took a sip of the water and offered some to Jack.

“Thanks for the cleanup.”  O’Neill muttered, taking a long drink from the bottle.

“Anytime.”  Daniel turned his attention to the bowl of food.

“Here.”  The Colonel handed it to him.

“No-you earned it.  You should eat first.”  Jackson suddenly felt guilty.  He was hungry, but there would be nothing to eat if Jack hadn’t suffered the necessary humiliation to get it.

“Eat half.”  It sounded like an order.

Daniel looked at his friend, his drawn face burning with rage, and sighed.  Now was not the time for one of their usual arguments.  The last thing the Colonel needed was trouble from him.

“It smells wonderful.”  He wrinkled his nose.

“Don’t let that fool you, it tastes worse.”

“Yuck!”  The linguist almost gagged as the bitter food slid down his throat.

“Not exactly what Mom used to make, I know.  But keeping up your strength is top priority in a situation like this.”  Jack surveyed the area as his friend ate.  He wondered why the Giant kept letting him go.  Certainly he could have finished him all three times.

“This is really disgusting.”  Daniel forced another helping into his mouth.  The cold lump was accumulating in his stomach.

After Jackson finished his half he handed the bowl to O’Neill.

“Can’t argue with you there.”    The Colonel said as he took it and ate resolutely.  They had to savor every bit of nourishment they could find.  Even something as awful as this would keep them alive.

Daniel watched without speaking.  After what just happened, he felt like any encouragement he tried to offer would be hollow and halfhearted.

“Did it seem like a really long day to you?” Jack finally asked as he ate.

Jackson was startled back to reality by his friend’s sudden small talk.  “Ah…yeah…I guess it did.”  He hadn’t thought about that during the long workday, but the Colonel was right.  “This planet is probably a lot larger than Earth so it takes longer to rotate every day, creating more hours of daylight than we’re used to.”

Jack nodded.  That made sense.  It seemed like at least 36 hours since he had eaten the night before.  “So where were you all this time?”  He continued.

“Solomon had me working at a crash site-A Goa’uld pyramid ship.”

“Well isn’t that just great!  What did you find?”  Jack was angry.  They just couldn’t catch a break.

“Before I tell you about that, there’s something else you should know.  Somehow Solomon has kidnapped Garan.”

Jack shot to his feet.  His eyes blazing.

“Son of a bitch.  Is he alright?”  He growled.

“Yes he is.  Solomon reviewed his memory scans and found that we had figured prominently in the past six months, so he’s using him to ensure my cooperation.  We’re working together at the crash site.”

“At least you can keep an eye on him, that’s something.”  Jack said as he sat back against the wall.

“We found a zat and a staff weapon so far.”

“Can he use them?”

“Yes.”  Daniel couldn’t’ hide the guilt on his face.

Jack frowned again.

“There’s something else…” Jackson’s voice was not much more than a whisper.

“I can’t wait.”

“Solomon took me on a tour of the main building.  There were black doors and chairs…”

O’Neill tensed.

“He did it to teach me a lesson.  That he could get information from me anytime he wanted by invading my mind.”

“So you know I was there.”  Jack said, offering nothing more.

Daniel looked away, embarrassed that he had invaded the Colonel’s most private thoughts.  “He forced me to become part of one of your memories.”  His voice falling to a whisper.  “I saw what you went through with Charlie.”

“Damn.”  Jack closed his eyes to hide his rage.  There are some things he never wanted to share with anyone, not even his best friend.

“I’m so sorry.  I tried to pull away, but the machine held my consciousness inside your mind.  I really tried…”

“I know.”  O’Neill added, his face hard.

“Where you in that Chair all day?”  Jackson asked softly, feeling awkward.

Jack didn’t answer.  Instead he laughed, then his wet eyes snapped open.  The linguist watched with a chill.

“Did that bastard explain what the hell is going on?”

“He said they use the Chair as a form of entertainment.  People buy tickets to experience the rush of someone else’s past experiences.”

“Son of a bitch.”  O’Neill laughed.  He was becoming unhinged.  “You mean people are buying tickets to feel what I felt on the worst day of my life?”

“Yes…” The linguist whispered.

The Colonel put his head down and scrubbed shaky hands through his hair.  Looking up finally, he was cold and composed.  Jackson sat next to him.

“When I was brought back here you thought it was 1993.  Do you remember what’s happened here now?”  He asked gently.

“Yeah, there’s nothing like almost drowning in a vat of oatmeal to bring a man back to the here and now.”

“Thank goodness for that.  Solomon said that when a person is forced to use the Chair for a long period of time he begins to lose his connection to reality.  Time blurs more and more with each use until you can no longer distinguish the past from the present.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”  The Colonel shook his head.  He had really gotten himself into a mess this time.

“It must have been terrible to revisit the accident.  How are you handling it.”  Daniel was concerned for his friend’s sanity.

“I’m doing what I do best.”

“So you’re not handling it.”

“Bingo.”  Jack could do nothing else.

The linguist smiled thinly.  There would be time to deal with all this when they got home.

“ I wonder why the giant didn’t just kill us.”  Jackson finally spoke.

“Me too.”  O’Neill answered.

“Unless his job is to distract you.  Wear you down or something like that.”  The linguist suggested.

“Maybe-these nightly oatmeal baths have been putting a real cramp in my social life.”  Jack had not had much time to think about anything because of all the abuse.

Jackson nodded.  He guessed they were taking no chances with their newest star prisoner.

“Just to be on the safe side we need to post a watch.  I’ll take the first one.”  Jack said as he set the empty metal bowl aside.

“Are you sure?  You look like you could use some sleep.”

“I’m fine.  Honestly I don’t really want to close my eyes right now so don’t argue.  Save your strength.”   O’Neill tried to give his friend a reassuring smile, but it felt forced.

Daniel pulled a blanket over himself and curled up on the cottony straw.

“Try to get some rest.  I’m afraid you’ll need it.”  Jack said quietly.

***

Sam and Teal'c were putting the finishing touches on their off-world disguises.  Carter wore a brown oversized sweater with tan slacks and Teal'c chose black slacks and a black sweater.  Each also wore a pair of glasses to help conceal their features.  Sam even added a shoulder length brown curly wig.

Janet supplied a tasteful black headband to cover Teal’c’s tattoo.  She stood back and looked at them when they were finished dressing.

“Well?”  Major Carter asked, hesitating.

“You both look like nerds.”  She laughed.

“I guess I’ll have to take that as a compliment.”  Sam smiled too.

“But the disguises should keep you out of trouble.  I don’t know if I’d recognize you at first glance.”

“Good.  That’s what I wanted to hear.  Thanks for the help.”  The Major led the way into the hall.

“Bring them home.”  Janet said softly as she watched her friends walk away.

The two remaining members of SG-1 returned to the armory to select a few weapons. Sam concealed a small baretta in her canvas bag and Teal'c tucked a knife into his boot.

“Ready?”  The Major asked, anxious to get started.

“I am.”  Teal'c answered.

“Alright.  Let’s go find them.”

Carter was the first one into the gate room.  This time she would be leading the charge and it felt good.

As the chevrons locked into place, she was determined to find her friends.  The Colonel would not have to wait three months for her to rescue him this time.

They stepped through the shimmering gate, with no idea what they would find.

***

“…Charlie…don’t….”  Jack rolled absently in his sleep, gripped by memories of the past.

Daniel was roused from his own daydreams by the Colonel’s agitated cries.  “Jack….”   He said quietly.

“…no…” The Colonel’s voice was rising.  His hand’s reaching out to conquer an invisible enemy.

Jackson cursed under his breath.  He touched his friend’s shoulder to calm him.  O’Neill instinctively grabbed the strange hand and tensed for a fight.

“It’s me, Jack.  You’re dreaming!”  Daniel whispered harshly as he struggled to pull away.

The Colonel’s eyes snapped open and Jackson could see the momentary confusion in his face.

“You can let go now.”  The linguist said with a wry smile, hoping to break the tension.  O’Neill continued to stare at his friend, trying to get his bearings.

“What?”  He asked with exasperation.

Daniel nodded to his arm, turning red in the Colonel’s grip.  Jack quickly released him.

“Sorry.  Even though I have no idea what I did.”

“You were having a nightmare.  I shouldn’t have touched you, but I was trying to wake you up.”

O’Neill rubbed his eyes to clear his head.  “Thanks, but next time keep your hands to yourself.”

Daniel handed him the water jug.  The Colonel took a drink then splashed some on his face.  The cool water helped wash the fuzz out of his brain.

“How do you feel?”  Jackson asked.

“Good enough I guess. What about you?”  O’Neill stretched his manacled arms over his head.  He was getting too old to sleep on the floor.

“Not bad.  I certainly needed the rest.”  Daniel surveyed the room.  Men were waking up all around them.  Some so accustomed to their surroundings that they weren’t surprised by their captivity anymore.

Solomon’s guards were already gathering up men for the Chair.  The Colonel watched in horror as rugged men were reduced to tears by the thought of another day in the torture chamber.  One man broke down, refusing to go.  A slap across the face stunned him so he could be dragged away.

“Damn.”  Jack cursed under his breath as the guards came to get him.

Jackson sprang to his feet.  He had to do something to save his friend from the continuing mental assault.  “Wait!  If we all worked together, we could beat Solomon!”  He scanned the room looking for allies, but no one would meet his eyes.

“Daniel, what are you doing?”  Jack asked, impressed by the young man’s loyalty, but concerned for his safety as well.

“You can’t go with them, not again.”  Daniel argued desperately.  But O’Neill shook his head.  He knew he had no choice, the guards had the upper hand.  Even if they resisted, they would be beaten down and he would still have to go in the end.  The Colonel had no intention of risking the life of his teammate.

“Stop it now.”  He said low

“But I know what you went through.”  Jack looked at him, wondering what he meant.

“Solomon put me in the chair that first night.”

O’Neill was angry.  “What happened next?”

“He made me relive the first time in the sarcophagus.  When I…”

“When you saved my life.  I remember.”

“It was horrifying.  I felt like I was there, dying all over again.”

Jack nodded.  He knew what awaited him.  But he had no choice.

The guard pushed Jackson aside with a smirk.

“That’s enough boys, I’m coming.”  Jack stepped forward, offering no resistance as he was manacled and leashed.

They both knew they were in big trouble.

The linguist watched helplessly as his friend met his eyes with a forced smile.

“I’ll be OK.”  O’Neill said as he was pulled away.

Jackson wondered how long the Colonel could hold out before his mind was permanently lost in the past.

Daniel sat alone for a long time, trembling. They were trapped in this sick world with no way out and he was scared to death.

***

Sam felt the cool breeze on her face as soon as she stepped through the gate.  She inhaled the crisp morning air as she waited for Teal'c to appear.  When the Jaffa was by her side she turned toward the tree-covered mountains.

“SG-3’s report said they visited a mountain community.  I guess we’ll start there.”

“Affirmative.”  Teal'c followed the Major, his mind alert, looking for anything out of the ordinary.

Sam was doing the same.  She knew they were on the right planet, she could feel it.  Now her top priority was to gather intelligence.  They needed to make contact with the local inhabitants and find out what happened to their teammates before they could formulate a plan to rescue them.

Carter sighed.  The task seemed monumental.

***

The Giant suddenly appeared in front of Daniel.

“Now who will protect you, little man?”  He asked, smiling an evil smile.

Jackson stood against the wall, bracing himself for a beating.

“We’re no threat to you.  Believe me, all we want to do is get out of here.”

“A few more days in the Chair and your Colonel won’t even recognize you.  Then both of you will be mine for the taking.”

He deactivated the force field, stepping inside before reactivating it.  Daniel knew he had nowhere to go.

“Can’t we talk about this?”  He picked up the blanket and threw it aside.  Cade smiled, grabbing Jackson by the arms.

Jackson struggled, but he knew he was no match for the big man.  The Giant threw him to the floor, pinning his arms behind his back.

“Imagine what I could do to you.  I could take anything I wanted from you or your friend.  Remember that.”

A hard knee to the kidneys accentuated his statement.  Daniel grunted, sucking in a quick breath.

Cade left him lying in a heap.  Now the linguist understood the big man’s strategy.  They were breaking Jack down day by day.  And all the Giant had to do was wait.  Then both men would be at his mercy.

***

Jack walked silently down the familiar avenue.  He looked at the tube shaped domes lining the street, examined the road, the people, the vehicles, gathering information of his own for an escape attempt.

Finally they entered the familiar structure and he found himself locked in a shower stall.  The water began to fall as soon as he had taken off his clothes.  After another wonderful shower, the door popped open and Jenna stood before him with a new black bodysuit.  “Jenna, long time no see.  How are you this fine day?”  O’Neill whistled as he pulled on his clothes.

The Colonel’s attitude amazed the young woman.  It caught her off guard.

“I am well.  How are you?”  She said.

“Oh, I’m just great.  One thing though, these uniforms…let’s try bright red, or purple tomorrow.  This basic black is so boring.”  Jack continued.

Jenna had no idea what O’Neill was talking about.

Jack smiled at her confusion.  “You didn’t answer my question yesterday.”

“I do not remember what you asked.”  Jenna said innocently.

“How did you end up with this job?”  Jack repeated.

The woman hesitated.   But something about the proud man’s attitude made her want to share her thoughts with him.

“I was brought here from my home world of Racina.  Many of our young men were put in the Chair and the Box.  Our women became vessels for the people of Nekara.”  Jenna began.

“What?”  Jack was stunned.

“They transfer their consciousness into another, more attractive body.  Then they use that body as a status symbol to attend parties and celebrations.”

“Whoa…they walk around in somebody else’s body.  That’s seriously weird.”  O’Neill looked at Jenny’s face again and it all made sense.  “So when you got your scar you weren’t good enough to be part of their little gang anymore so they demoted you to towel girl.”  Jack was disgusted.

Jenna nodded and looked down in shame.

“Don’t hang your head.  You look great, scar or no scar.”  The Colonel wished he were better at this sort of thing.  She was a very pretty girl. He just couldn’t find the right words to communicate that without stumbling all over himself.

The young woman raised her head a little at the compliment.  No one had spoken such words to her in a very long time.

“Is that a little smile there?  I thought I saw one trying to sneak out.”  Jack teased.  His bright grin was infectious and soon the girl was smiling, too.

“Now that’s more like it.”  O’Neill felt good.  The young woman was the only source of light on this twisted world.  “Why don’t you blow this burg and start over again?”  He continued.

Jenna met the Colonel’s eyes with a start.  She had never even considered the notion that she could leave.

“I’ve been watching the parameter and I haven’t seen anything keeping a regular citizen from leaving town.  Am I wrong?”

“No…we are able to come and go freely.”  The young woman had spent her whole life serving Solomon. Nekaran’s were raised to be loyal to their leader.  Even when she was reduced to a housemaid, she had never considered leaving her home.

“Alright.  So go already!  Anywhere has to be better than here.”   Jack could see the inner turmoil on her face.  So he decided to push a little.  “You deserve to have a life. Or are you planning to spend the rest of your days handing clothes to naked old men in the shower?”  She looked like she was in the midst of a revelation.  Well it was about damn time!

Suddenly the door opened again.  Arik had the Colonel restrained in a few seconds.  “Think about it.”  O’Neill said to Jenna as he was lead away.

The Nekaran watched her newfound friend being dragged into the corridor and she thought he might be right.  She wondered if they would accept her in Sarafeen.

Arik pushed Jack down the long corridor of black doors until they came to his.  O’Neill almost laughed out loud when he saw his name on it.  ‘My own dressing room.’ He thought as they opened the door.  Soon he was back in the metal chair watching helplessly as the door closed to a pitch-black room.

***

Daniel could feel his heart racing.

Waiting five minutes after the Giant left before he dared to move, he was scared to death.

The big man’s war with Jack was getting out of hand.  Soon the Colonel would be forced to face him.

Daniel knew that in his current condition his friend was no watch for the hardened prisoner.  Cade would kill him.

“Good morning, Doctor, it’s good to see you looking rested.”

The linguist jumped, surprised by the interruption.  He looked up to see Solomon standing in front of his stall.  “With such great accommodations, how could I help but sleep like a baby.”  Daniel spat back.

The Chief ignored his venom.

“It’s time to go back to work.  Your young friend is already at the site.  Shall we go?”

Daniel rose, grimacing at his sore kidneys.  Solomon noticed and frowned.

“Are you ill?”  He was concerned.

“Ask your giant friend.”  Jackson held his sore chest.

“I will.”  He would have to remind Cade that the doctor was not to be injured.  His job was to break O’Neill, not Jackson.  “Shall we go.”

Daniel followed his captor to the waiting vehicle.  The ever-present guards reminding him that he had no choice but to cooperate.

They arrived at the crash site without incident and he embraced Garan inside the force field.

Solomon followed him in.  “Today is the day I’ve been waiting for.  Laborers have found an artifact I want you to identify for me.”

The archeologist raised his eyebrows in surprise at the notion that other workers had been here excavating all night.  The Chief must be getting anxious.  “Where is it?”  Daniel couldn’t help but be intrigued.

“Inside.  It looks quite amazing.  But there is a bit of reconstruction to be done.  It was damaged in the crash I suspect.”  The chief was eager to show off his prize.

Daniel followed him into the ship, through several corridors to the ornate chambers of whatever Goa’uld official had been aboard.  There he saw a pile of rubble covered by two slabs filled with writing.  He knew what it was immediately and his heart sank.

Solomon had uncovered a sarcophagus.

***

The long walk was making Sam anxious.  Her head spinning with worries.  What if her friends were badly injured?  It was a long walk back to the gate.  What if like on Edora the Colonel didn’t really want to be rescued?  She didn’t think she could bear that a second time.

“I believe we will find them in good condition, MajorCarter.”  Teal'c said.

“You must have read my mind.”  She smiled sadly.

“I have no such gift.  However, I can sense you are worried.  I am concerned for their safety as well.”

Sam was about to speak when she heard a noise.  Signaling Teal'c to the dense bushes on their right, Carter was soon crouching next to him in the blue sand.

“Can you see anything?”  Sam whispered, surveying the immediate area.

“Negative.”  Teal'c answered.

After five minutes of silence, Major Carter stood.  “Maybe I was hearing things.  Let’s go.”

She and Teal'c continued down the path.  Suddenly five young men ran out of the bushes and grabbed them from behind.

“Hey!  Let go!”  Sam struggled against the two men.  One pinned her arms behind her while the other searched her for valuables.  She kicked the second man hard in the knee and he fell to the ground, screaming in pain.  The first man pulled her arms tighter behind her back.  She winced at the pressure.

“What do you want!”  Carter demanded through clenched teeth.

“Whatever you’ve got.”  One of the two men holding Teal'c answered.  The third found the knife in his boot.  He approached Sam with the weapon.

“An odd device.”  He held it to her shoulder and stabbed her suddenly.  Too angry to cry out, Carter flinched at the pain.

Teal’c struggled against the two men holding him.  The Jaffa was surprised by the ease with which they keep him pinned tightly between them.

The man standing in front of Sam laughed as he searched her roughly.  Carter was getting mad.  The stab wound hurt like hell and now this creep was putting his hands all over her.  Enough was enough.  She looked him square in the eye and delivered a kick below the midsection that would have made her mother proud.

The would-be thief doubled over in agony.

“That works on any planet.”  She proclaimed proudly.  Her sudden move surprised the other men and soon Sam and Teal'c had turned the tables on their attackers.

The young man who had stabbed Major Carter grabbed her bag and rummaged through it looking for treasures.  “What do we have here?”  He smirked, holding her gun before him like a new toy.

Sam froze. Damn it, she should have never brought the weapon along.  Now one of them would probably have to get shot to get it back.

“Maybe I’ll have to try it on one of you to find out.”

“You’ve got what you wanted.  Take it and leave us alone.”  Carter answered, squaring her shoulders for a fight.

The young man laughed as he aimed Sam’s gun at her chest and prepared to pull the trigger.  The Major held her breath, bracing to take a bullet.

“Put that down before you hurt someone.”  A voice came from behind them.  The Major turned to see a distinguished looking middle-aged man walking toward them with the bearing of a leader.

The thieves dropped everything and ran away.

Carter picked up the gun and held it down in front of her, ready to fire if necessary.  Teal'c moved to her side.

“Are you alright?”  The brown-haired stranger asked.

“We are now.  Thanks.”  Sam winced at her bleeding shoulder.

“I am Marcus.”  He offered.

“I am Sarren this is Teyrll.” The Major decided it would be best to use an alias in case of trouble.

“Good to meet you.  I see you were injured.  If you come with me to our community I can help you.”

Sam hesitated.  “It looked like those thieves knew you.”  It was an accusation.

Marcus nodded.  “I am the leader of Sarafeen, a small community near here.  Those boys are the children of some of our townspeople.  They will be punished as necessary.”

“Good.”  Major Carter looked to Teal'c.  “Are you alright?”

“I am well.”  He nodded.

“Thank you for your hospitality.  We could use a place to stay.”  She uncocked the gun and put it back in her bag.  Teal'c retrieved his knife from the ground and put it back in his pocket.  The two teammates walked side by side behind Marcus, surveying the area in case the thieves returned.

Sam also worried that it could be a trap.  It was all pretty convenient.  But her shoulder hurt and they really needed to find someone to talk to about their missing men.  Marcus would have to do.

***

Daniel’s mind raced.  The sarcophagus was in pieces, but it could be repaired.  Now he understood the real reason for their abduction.

“I learned of this chamber when I joined with a young man from Abydos who recounted the tale of your victory.  I knew that if I could find such a magical device I would be able to control the lives of everyone on this planet forever.  Imagine my joy when we learned of this fallen ship.  Of course I began to search the galaxy for you immediately upon its’ discovery.  Now you will repair it and make my power absolute.”  Solomon explained.

“A sarcophagus is false power.  It drains your soul.”  Daniel remembered the invincibility he had felt when Shyla convinced him to continue using the chamber even after he had fully recovered from his injuries.

“You will complete the device for me.”  Solomon would hear no argument.

“You don’t know how dangerous the sarcophagus can be.  It warps a person’s perceptions, makes you feel like you are invincible when you’re just a man.”

“It resurrects the dead.  Makes the living immortal.  Imagine what that would be worth.”
Solomon’s smile dripped with avarice.

“You want to use it to make money?”  Daniel was a little surprised.

“You do not understand Nekara, Doctor.  People do not just crave entertainment, they demand it.  If I cannot provide something to stimulate their minds they will look to someone else.  And frankly, I have become too accustomed to my current status to let that happen.”

“So that’s why Jack is strapped to that chair.”  Daniel felt sick.

“Correct.  Colonel O’Neill’s colorful life will give our citizens exciting new adventures for years to come.  People are lining up to make reservations to join with him weeks in advance.  But that is not the full extent of my vision.”

“The sarcophagus will allow the citizens of Nekara to face death and live to tell about it.”  Daniel was in awe.  “But they don’t seem to want to try anything for themselves.”

“Our people have risen above the need for actual experiences to a level of shared consciousness.”  The Chief boasted.

“In other words they let people like Jack do all the suffering and watch it later from the safety of a comfortable chair.”

Solomon was amused.  “Exactly.  No one is injured.  A citizen can travel the galaxy with no danger.  It has opened the universe to us.”

“What about those it enslaves.”  The linguist asked.

“Weaker races serving the strong.  That has been the way of the universe since time began.”  The chief was filled with his own power.

“Now you sound like the Goa’uld.”  Jackson sighed.

“Repair the sarcophagus today.”  Solomon turned to leave.  The subject was closed.

Daniel stared at the pile of rubble.  There had to be a way out of this mess.

***

Jack was suddenly conscious of his surroundings again.  He had just been forced to relive his experiences on Argos-aging rapidly with little time left.  He shook off the fear.  It had happened over two years ago.

He had been repeating that all morning.  These were events from the past.  He had to focus on the present or he would lose his mind.

At least today they’d mixed it up a little.   Charlie’s accident only appeared about half the time.  Other incidents like the Argos mission, the original trip to Abydos, Edora, Antarctica, and the first trip to Chulak filled his mind.  He couldn’t help but think about the sickos sitting in the comfortable chair just behind that wall.  They were paying money to experience events he had worked hard to forget and it filled him with a murderous rage.  What he wouldn’t give to get even a moment alone with any of them.

***

Sam and Teal'c followed Marcus to a little thatch roofed community that looked a lot like Edora.

“We have made a good life outside the city.  The weather can be unforgiving, but at least the air is real.”

“What do you mean?”  Major Carter asked looking around the modest community.

“You must be travelers from another region if you do not know of Lacitta.  The domes that cover the city make it necessary to recycle the air inside.”

Sam hesitated.  She didn’t know enough about Marcus to confide in him yet.  “My mate and I have been traveling the planet.  We still have much to see.”  She smiled broadly, trying to sell the lie.

The Nekaran nodded.  “I have not seen much of our world.  I would like to hear of your travels.”

Sam nodded, wincing at the pain in her shoulder.

“First I will tend to your injured arm.”  Marcus said.

“Thank you for your assistance.”  Teal'c added.

Marcus led them to a small hut.  The Major noticed that the medical instruments were primitive, but she was satisfied that they would be effective enough to clean up her wound.

Carter removed her long sweater and sat on a wooden table.  Marcus rolled up the short sleeve of her black T-shirt and applied a clear liquid to clean the wound.

Sam flinched.  “What is that?”  She asked.

“A healing extract.  We use many cremes to cure illness.  It is one of the few arts remaining from the old times.”  Marcus was proud that they had passed down such ancient customs for generations.

“I appreciate all your help.”  The Major watched as the stocky man covered her wound with a cotton material.  Then she carefully slipped her sweater over her head and stood before him gratefully.

“Now I can show you around our village if you like.”  Marcus was enthusiastic to share his town with the travelers.

“Of course.  We would love to see Sarafeen.”  Sam and Teal'c followed the man into the largest hut in town.

To the Major’s surprise it was a computer nerve center.  She stood in awe of the advanced technology hidden inside the modest structure.

“Here is our version of the Chair.  We can link up to the city’s computer network and share their signal.”  Marcus explained as they walked.

“The Chair?”  Carter had no idea what he was talking about.

“Come with me.”  Marcus said, leading them down the aisle.  The Major tried to understand what she saw.  Men and women sitting in chairs that seemed to be hooked up to a computer monitor.  Each wore a metal headband and had a metal triangle embedded in his/her foreheads.

“Dayna is our expert.  I will let her explain it to you.”  Marcus indicated a young woman hooked up to a chair in front of them. She seemed to be mesmerized.

“What is she doing?”  Carter asked softly, noticing the metal triangle on her forehead.

“Experiencing the Chair.  It will be over soon, then she can answer all your questions.”

Suddenly Dayna’s eyes snapped open and a broad smile stretched over her face.

“Whoa…that man is amazing.”  She removed the headband and stood before her leader.

“This time a strange virus caused us to regress back to primitive man.  We were so overwhelmed by rage and passion that we attacked our best friend.  I think we could have killed him if someone had not subdued us.  Then we were imprisoned until we volunteered to take an experimental drug treatment to cure the virus.  We were so scared and frustrated not being able to communicate with the doctor, but the treatment worked, and we were cured.  It was incredible!”

Sam’s heart sank.  The woman was describing Colonel O’Neill’s experiences after they visited the Land of the Light.

“Dayna, meet Sarren and Teyrll.  They are travelers from the outer regions.”

“Greetings, Dayna.”  Sam bowed slightly and smiled her brightest smile.

Dayna returned the greeting, still surging with adrenaline from her adventure.

“They would like to learn about our Chair.”  Marcus said as he stepped back, deferring to his friend.

“It would be my pleasure to show you.  We have created our own link to the city’s consciousness sharing program.  We can assess the Chair anytime we want, without waiting whole cycles for a reservation.”

“Sharing of the mind?  You mean mind reading?”  She asked.

“More than that.”  The red-haired woman laughed.  “If you access someone’s memories, you are living them.  It is amazing.”

“Citizens pay to share the memories of another?” Teal'c asked.

“Yes…you really are from another region.  Would you like to try it for yourself?”  She asked.

“No I would not.”  Teal'c answered, fearing any mind sharing would reveal his symbiot.

“You have to excuse my mate.  He is not the adventurous sort.  But I would love to try it.”  Sam stepped forward quickly to cover Teal'c’s shortness.

“Great!  It is so incredible I am sure you will be back for more.  First, we will have to apply the linking device to your forehead.”

“Alright.  I’m game.”  Sam smiled through her hesitation, it seemed like an awful machine.  But if it could lead them to Daniel and the Colonel she had no choice but to try it.

***

Doctor Jackson had laid out all the pieces of the sarcophagus.  Evaluating the damage he saw they could be easily reassembled.

Garan sat next to the linguist on the ground as he rested desperately searching for some other way.

“What will become of us, Daniel?”

“Sam and Teal'c will come.  We just have to hold on.”  He smiled.

“How will they know where to look?”  He was not convinced.

“Major Carter and Teal'c will search the whole galaxy until they find us.  I know that for a fact.”

Garan nodded hopefully.   “They returned to Edora asking about you.  I do not know if they learned anything helpful because I was taken.”

The linguist’s heart rose.  It was such a relief to hear that his friends had already begun a full-scale search.  It was only a matter of time now.  “See, I told you they would keep looking until they find us.  That’s what we do for each other.”

Garan smiled and turned his attention to the stone pieces laid out before them.  “What is this device?”  He asked.

Daniel looked at the artifact with hatred.  “It is a sarcophagus.  An alien race called the Goa’uld use it to regenerate their powers.”

“We do not know of them.”  Garan added.

“I hope it stays that way.  They have subjugated other creatures all over the universe.”  The archeologist continued.

“Using this sarcho  phagus?”

“Yes, among many other devices.  This is the most powerful because it can restore life to the dead.”

Garan looked skeptical.  “That is not possible.”

“I’m afraid it is.”  Daniel was grave.

The boy was puzzled at his friend’s reaction.  “That would be a valuable thing, would it not?”

“It should be.  But it never seems to work out that way.”  Jackson frowned.

Garan tried to smile.  It was all so overwhelming.  He didn’t understand the majority of what he saw, but he trusted Daniel to guide him on this strange world.

“After we build the sarcophagus I don’t know where we will be sent.  But don’t give up hope.  Remember how long Colonel O’Neill was on your planet before we rescued him.”

Garan nodded.  SG-1 had worked for months to save their friend.  It was comforting to remember that fact.

Finally Daniel could see no alternative.  He got up and faced the pieces of the sarcophagus.  He hoped reassembling it would buy them some time.

***

General Hammond stood in the infirmary watching through the viewing window as Dr. Frasier made the last connections to the MRI machine that would scan Robert Makepeace’s brain.  Hammond was surprised to see the Colonel visibly nervous, usually the man was cool as a cucumber.

Bob was consumed by raging emotions.   He had experienced the MRI machine before, but this time every fiber of his being resisted.  He had to find a way to get out of the room before the tests were completed. Something inside his head was ordering him to leave.  They couldn’t be allowed to check his brain or they would find it.  The most important part of his programming was the need for secrecy.  No one could know.   He couldn’t remember what or why, but he had to do something before it was too late.

As Janet began to power up the machine he stood up quickly.

“Is something wrong, Colonel?”  She asked.

Makepeace said nothing.

“Colonel.  Please sit back on the table.”

Again Makepeace didn’t respond.  Doctor Frasier saw his eyes darting from person to person like a caged animal.  Suddenly the other members of SG-3 jumped to their feet as well.  One of them had a pistol.

“Johnson, put that weapon down, NOW.”  Janet ordered.  She saw the vacant look in her patient’s eyes and she was getting worried.

General Hammond hurried into the room.

“What is the meaning of this?”  He asked.

“We will not be probed.”  Makepeace droned.  He sounded disconnected.

“You will submit to a full medical examination.  That is an order.”  The general was not kidding.

“No.  You will not find it.”  Johnson said, giving his commanding officer a gun.

“Find what?”  Janet asked.

“Sit.”  Makepeace ignored her question and motioned them to several chairs by the far wall.

George nodded to Janet and they each sat cautiously.   Hammond didn’t want to have a shoot out on his hands, so he decided to give them a little room to breathe.  Hopefully he could convince the soldiers to surrender before anyone got hurt.

***

Sam closed her eyes as she was strapped to the Chair.  Within moments Dayna had inserted a device on her forehead.  The Major winced at the momentary pain.  Suddenly something seemed to be scanning her mind.  Panic welled up inside her. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

Teal'c saw her anxiety and he came forward.

“Is there a problem, Sarren?”  He asked Sam.

“Scanning my mind.”  She whispered with a clenched jaw.

“The device must establish a connection with your mind so the joining can take place.  You are in no danger.”  Dayna reassured her.

Sam nodded, the strange feeling already dissipating.

“You are ready.  Come and sit here.”

Major Carter complied noticing the tears on the cheek of the woman in the seat next to her.

“Why is she crying?”  She asked.

“You will see.  Just relax and let your mind be carried away.”  Dayna’s voice was soothing.

She looked at Teal'c for support.  The Jaffa stood strong, ready to protect his Major if necessary.

Then the white light engulfed her.  She wanted to yell out, but she couldn’t.  She had no control.

Suddenly she was on Edora.

But she wasn’t herself.  She couldn’t think, she was aware of a pile of rocks in front of her on the ground.

She wanted to scream.  There was no way home!

How could she get home if the gate was gone?  She felt lost and alone.  It was devastating.

She had been digging for hours even after a long day of working in the fields and she was exhausted.  But she wouldn’t stop.  The only way to get back to Earth was to find that gate.

Her heart fell.  What if the Stargate was pulverized or the DHD had been destroyed?  She would have to live here for the rest of her life with no friends or family.

She thought of the SGC.  She had never really appreciated how much they meant to her before this moment.  A part of her would always be back at Cheyenne Mountain.

The digging was going nowhere.  She was getting hungry.  What to do?  Laira and the remaining settlers had offered her a meal and shelter.  She would have to take her up on it.  There was no reason for her to starve.  Besides, how could she let Sam, Daniel and Teal'c find her dead body when they brought the cavalry to the rescue.

She left the shovel and when to the house.

There she received a warm welcome from Laira and Garan, but not the rest.  They blamed her for the loss of their loved ones through the missing gate.  And why not?  She blamed herself.

Suddenly the Major was back in the present.  She blinked until she could think clearly again.  Teal'c hurried to her side.

“I was on another planet, trapped.  It was so lonely and hopeless.”  Sam had tears in her eyes.

“You were sharing the memories of Colonel Jack O’Neill, the hero of Abydos.”  Dayna announced proudly.

Sam took her cue from the woman’s enthusiasm and smiled broadly even though she felt sick inside.  “Wow.  It was incredible.”  She was breathless.  “It seemed so real.  Like I was seeing what he saw and felt.”

“You were.  We access the memory and feed brain waves into your mind.  You and the Colonel were experiencing the same event.”

“My God. And Colonel O’Neill is hooked up to this machine somewhere?”  Sam suppressed her anger.

“Yes.  He is experiencing it too.”

Damn, she was sure the private man was in agony.  He worked so hard to keep his emotions locked away, to have them accessed by strangers would be too much to bear.

“Our society values mental stimulation above all else.”  Marcus said as he joined them.
“There is no more achievement or creation.  They feed like parasites off the minds of others.”

“That is one man’s opinion.”  Dayna added. “But others find that to be spiritually fulfilling and choose to practice those traditions here in the fresh air.”  Dayna added.

“And you allow them to do so.”  Teal'c said to Marcus.

“Our community does not discriminate against either group. All we ask is that no one is kidnapped to partake in this entertainment.  That’s why Dayna invented the memory interceptor.  So we can use the town’s resources.”

Sam nodded.

Suddenly a middle aged woman hurried to Marcus with a message.

“Chief Solomon is coming!”  She was visibly frightened.

Carter noticed Marcus straightening with fear himself, but he quickly masked his emotions.

“Who’s Solomon?”  She asked.

“The leader of Lacitta.  He sometimes visits us here.”

A large man entered the building followed by a group of soldiers.  Marcus tensed at the sight of the troops.

“Greetings, Chief.”  He smiled and touched his hand to his heart in a gesture of welcome.

The leader nodded, returning the greeting.  “Are you well, Marcus?”  He asked with the condescending tone of a man in charge.

“I am.  What brings you to Sarafeen?”

“I am planning a wondrous presentation tomorrow at the arena and I wanted to invite you and your friends.”  Solomon saw Sam and Teal'c for the first time.

“I do not remember you two from my last visit.  What are your names?”  He asked, moving in front of Major Carter.

She smiled her best innocent smile and bowed her head with respect.  “I am Sarren and this is my companion Teyrll.”

“They are visitors from the outer territories.”  Marcus added with a nervous laugh.

Solomon nodded.  “You are welcome of course.  After tomorrow’s presentation I was planning to begin an expansion of Lacitta into the outer territories.  Perhaps we will meet again.”

He was too smug, Sam thought.

Then the leader turned back to Marcus.  “Will you come tomorrow?  I always hope to have you in attendance when I unveil new technologies.”

“Of course I will be there.”  Marcus bowed his head.

“Excellent.  I will speak to you again then.”  Chief Solomon turned and left without another word.

Sam thought that he must be one of the most powerful men in the universe.  He had no need to even pretend to care about these people.  He merely came, gave his orders and left without any unnecessary communications.

“I wonder what the Chief means by new technology.”  The Major said out loud.

“Most often it involves additional subjects for the arena.  But he unveiled O’Neill and Jackson yesterday so it cannot be that simple.  I fear he may have found another way to exploit his acquisitions." ”Marcus frowned.

“Then why do you go?”  Sam asked.

“He allowed us to build our own community.  If I did not attend his special presentations he might not be so forgiving.”

“I have heard that he is using Daniel Jackson to aid in his work.”  Dayna said, clearly excited at the chance to go into Lacitta.

“The other hero of Abydos!”  Sam manufactured an impressive level of enthusiasm.  “I wonder what kind of work?”  She thought aloud.

“I do not know.”  Marcus added.

The Major frowned.  She was sure it had to do with the presentation.  So they didn’t have much time to investigate.

“If you don’t mind I’d like to sample some of that fresh air.  I’m a little light headed.”  Sam wasn’t lying.  Her head was spinning from the Chair.

“Of course.  All of Sarafeen is open to both of you.”  Marcus smiled.

“Many thanks.”  Teal'c bowed slightly and followed Sam into the open air.

“Are you alright, MajorCarter?”  Teal'c whispered as they walked down the long road.

“No, I am definitely not alright.”  Sam was still flustered by her experience.  “When I was inside Colonel O’Neill’s mind it felt like I WAS him.  It’s difficult to pull back from such a powerful mind link.”  They stopped in a wooded area and stared back into the small village.

“The machine that enables citizens to invade the minds of others is truly evil.”  Teal'c growled with anger.

“It certainly is.  But maybe we can use it to our advantage.  I think I can convince Dayna to show me how it works.  With any luck we can use it to contact the Colonel.”

“I hope you are correct.”

“Me too, Teal'c, me too.”  Carter said a prayer that they were right.

***

Daniel looked at the familiar object with contempt and fascination.  He would be dead if the sarcophagus had not brought him back from the grave, more than once in fact.  But the linguist knew that something so powerful was a danger to every living thing on Nekara.

He had finished reassembling the sliding stones that made up the cover but the only way to know if it worked was to test it.  He could not even suggest that.

“It is ready?”  Solomon asked, returning from the city.  The Nekaran was giddy with anticipation.

Daniel turned with a start.  “It’s complete.  Whether or not it will work is anybody’s guess.”

“What do you mean?”

“There are no controls to set.  It just ‘works’.  I don’t know if that power still exists within it.”  Daniel really wanted to convince his captor that the stone coffin was a waste of time.

“We shall see tomorrow.”  Solomon hurried to the sarcophagus.  ‘So much power in such a beautiful package.’  He thought as he stroked the golden lid.  It was amazing.

He turned back to Daniel, still in awe of the object.  “If you are finished here we will return to the city.”

Daniel nodded. “What about the boy?”  He asked nodding to Garan.

“He will continue to clear the debris here.  There is much work to do.”

The linguist frowned.  It would have been much easier to plan an escape if they could have stayed together.

Both men walked back to the transport vehicle silently.  Daniel was wracked with guilt.  By repairing the sarcophagus he had set a chain of events into motion that could spell disaster for the citizens of Nekara.
 
 
 
 
 

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