contributing members are (in order of appearence): gwen, nirtia, seanait, faolan, and many ideas by thor
And now "Voyage of Discovery"
A sg1database fiction
Dark humid dampness pressed in from all sides. His sides ached from the effort of moving and from the humidity. Got to get out!
Depression settled on the person. Been crawling for hours!
Barely able to see more than a few inches of the slimy walled cavern, the traveler stopped and canted his head. No sounds of water. With a heavy sigh, the traveler forced himself to move onward.
This predicament had started while having some fun exploring, but now it was a deadly game.
Was anyone looking for him? Did anyone care?
Like any true adventurer, Paolan wanted to experience as much as he possibly could. He could never settle for a life of complacence. Even in his childhood he never really quite fit in.
Have to find a way out of this somehow. Ouch! Can't think about the pain have to focus..... The last conversation he had with his father came flooding to his mind.
"Paolan, I don't understand you. Why do you have to challenge me on this? His father, Doro sighed in frustration. "You are not behaving like a Zelarian male should," placing his hand on his son's shoulder, a hint of rebuke in his tone.
"I don't want to be a dignitary father. I want to experience new things and see for myself what is beyond our world. I want to make a difference."
A sudden sharp pain snapping him back to reality, Paolan began to stumble gingerly. His mind was struggling to stay alert.
Paolan realized the walls were more define. Light was filtering though to the tunnel from up ahead. He stepped quicker, with expectation. He entered a widened cavern. The brilliance of the light blinded him for a few moments.
In the middle of the cavern was a giant egg-shaped object. It was shining with such brightness, it was the source of the light. Not only that but some sort of liquid flowed from it onto the rocks. Paolan pursed his dry lips questioning whether to touch the liquid.
Almost automatically the list of Zelarian manhood began to fill his mind. He had recounted it enough for his transgressions.
Zerlarian men are diplomats
Zelarian men are to remain under the protection of the huntresses.
Zelarian men work hard.
Zelarian men of dignified houses remain observant, and dutiful.
Zelarian men protect the house and keep themselves from danger
Zelarian men are few. They must ensure the continuance of the race
Paolan shook his head clearing the rules from his mind. He reached with his fingers for the bright yellow-white liquid. Energy surged through him.
Immediately his body surged as the liquid made its way to his veins. All at once Paolan felt power beyond his wildest dreams. Time and space no longer mattered as he was caught up in the rapture of it. Strength, he felt it returning to him a hundred fold. The brilliance emulating from the egg shape grew to blinding pulses. His body seized, arms and legs stretched out and he had no control.
In his mind, he saw images that he could not place. Four of them standing before the large round object that his people called Crom-Sol, the doorway. One a female, 3 male not unlike his own kind. The 3rd male was different. He bore a symbol that Paolan could not place.
What is this place? What am I seeing?
As quickly as it came the vision was gone. Paolan’s weary body lay unconscious on the dank, cold, and wet cavern floor.
Paolan listened to bird calls drifting around him. A cooling breeze touched his face, and the sweet smell of the underbrush filled his nostrils.
I'm in the cave right?
He opened his eyes blinking several times to clear the fuzziness of the world. Strange. I don't remember leaving the cavern. How did I get here?
Paolan sat up gazed around, it was very much like the meadows near his village. He gazed up at the skies to fix his position by the sun. The sun, was . . . not just one sun, but two minature ones. Paolan shook his head and looked again. Two suns and a strange object that looked like a moon.
"I must be dreaming!" Paolan slapped his arms with his hands desperately trying to wake himself. "This is not my world!"
In utter confusion, he tried to summon all that was left of his wits. Looking around, he surveyed the landscape, trying to get his bearings. To his left he saw a patch of dense forest, but unlike the trees he knew, these went up as high as his eyes could see. Paolan moved to investigate, being the explorer he was and to his amazement he noticed the leaves were a silver color and very soft. The bark, on the other hand, seemed as normal as any tree he had climbed in his youth.
His youth. His mind wandered back again to that last day. If only he could have made his father understand.
"You can make a difference by doing your duty," Doro replied, trying to be a sage voice of reason for his son.
How Father? By forcing me to be something I am not. We are not all the same. I have no desire to lead that life, I won't."
Those words had hurt his father deeply.
I should not have been so angry with him. He sighed as he continued surveillance of his unfamiliar surroundings.
A tingling sensation began inside him as he walked. It was not unpleasant, but it was far different than anything he'd ever experienced before. He stopped and took a few steps in a new direction and the tingling faded. He then retraced his steps and found that the sensation returned. Why not? After all none of the Zerlarian rules could possible apply here! Wherever here is?"
Paolan had trudged on for a long time. The Tingling began to be intense; he realized that it was the same as the Cavern when he'd touched the liquid. He came to an ancient pathway, which was choked by weeds. He waded in against them determined now to reach whatever called to him. Then it came into view, a triangle shaped building. Zerlarian construction tended to be low box like structures with rounded corners or rounded hubs at the ends or entrances. This triangle was amazing. The stonework, or facade of the building was a deep blue with orange accents. The sheen had faded, but still a wondrous site to Paolan.
Paolan's stomach protested its lack of food. And for the first time, his thirst had returned as well. He glanced around for sustenance.
"P4-2759 is a nice planet. The UAV indicated that the Stargate is located relatively close to the Pryamid." Daniel Jackson paused to look at Jack. Yep, same bored face and fidgeting fingers as always. He looked at Sam for support, but found her reading a report from the folder in front of her.
"And it is a known fact they played tiddle-winks on this planet." Both Jack and Sam jumped. Daniel grinned satisfied that he'd accomplished embarrassment. He noted that General Hammond was trying not to smirk and failing miserably.
"So what?" O'Neill countered.
"So you have a go Colonel." Hammond diplomatically interrupted.
”There are unusual energy readings, Sir." Carter regarded her papers again.
"Any danger to personnel?"
"No, Sir. I don't think so."
"Very well, then just be cautious. Dismissed."
So hungry, Paolan’s stomach continued its protest. Still nothing remotely close to what he considered food. Then again, what do you eat in a place you do not know?
Gazing to his right just passed the magnificent triangular structure, Paolan noticed a stream. Very cautiously he made his way to its banks.
It looks like water. What do I do? Do I drink it not knowing what it is? Then the thirst closed in on his throat and made his choice for him. He knelt down, cupped his hands and.......
Voices. Paolan cocked his head. Did I just hear voices? Eyes wide with concern he began to run in the opposite direction but the energy pulled him back. Why is this happening? He had no choice but to stay and hide behind a thick brush nearby. Silently he observed the scene.
"Okay kids. Teal'c you and I will do a parameter check." Already in mission mode, Jack spouted commands. "Daniel, you and Carter stay around here and see what you can find out about who we are dealing with here. And keep an eye on that energy thingy."
Daniel eyeing the amazing structure ahead of him with that lusty gaze, was already halfway to it.
"Carter, try to keep him out of trouble will ya?"
"I'll do my best sir."
"That just inspires confidence."
I know these faces. Paolan thought from behind the brush. The same four from the cavern. How is this possible? I have to know more.
"Wow, look Sam! These pictographs look like shadows or some sort of depiction of humans and creatures all shadowed. This wall is totally different everything is light and the figures are clear. This script is absolutely new to me looks like it might be based primarily on . . ." O'Neill listened as Daniel Jackson's patter faded into the recesses of the pyramid. He had that funny feeling of being watched.
"Either it is a gift or a curse." he muttered.
"O'Neill," Teal'c stated. It was not a response to O'Neill's mutterings.
"What T, buddy?"
"We are being observed." Teal'c scanned the forest intently.
"That's watched Teal'c," O'Neill followed Teal'c perusal.
"Perhaps it is an undomesticated animal."
"Are you trying to be funny T? Undomesticated? I taught you that one a long time ago. It’s wild animal, Teal'c."
"Of that I am aware." Teal'c seemed satisfied that there was no threat.
The two turned to find the rest of the team.
O'Neill shot one last glance at a patch of thick bushes. Did he see movement? No, there was a stream running behind that area. Perhaps the movement of the water caught his eye.
"Yo, Carter, Daniel. Tell me something good about this place." Jack ordered in his usual nonchalant manner. He kept looking over his shoulder.
He could not put his finger on it, but he had this eerie feeling that Teal'c was right. Someone or something was watching them. Call it paranoia or too many years of this kind of work taking its toll, but the whole mission just didn't feel right somehow.
"I haven't seen anything like this before Jack. I am going to need some time to figure out these markings. I can't be sure, but this whole temple could date back to the ancients." Daniel gestured excitedly as he spoke.
"Well, we may not have that kind of time here. So get what you can." He knew what would come next. Daniel’s indignant protests were all to predictable. There she blows.
"Daniel, Don't even start." Hoping to nip what arguments might come next in the bud. Jack turned his attention to Sam. "Carter, what did you get on those energy readings?"
A resigned Daniel, stepped back and listened to his colleague’s report.
Why do I even bother?
"Well sir, the level seems to have tapered off. As I told the General I don't think we have anything to worry about."
"Great, fantastic so we can all pack up and go home."
"Sir? We haven't even been outside of the parameter yet. The preliminary MALP telemetry showed some promising indigenous minerals and plant life." Sam offered in argument with a very puzzled look on her face. "Why the hurry?"
"Were attempting our sweep of the parameter, when I sensed we were being observed, Major Carter. I believe O’Neill felt it as well." Teal'c answered before Jack could open his mouth.
"Being watched isn't the same as being attacked now is it?" Daniel glared defiantly at Jack.
"Daniel, how many times have bad things happened to us because we decide to stay?" O'Neill let out a deep sigh. "Ah! Carter!" O'Neill held up his hand forestalling her argument. He raised his brows as she slowly closed her mouth. “Now, I realize we have orders to discover new technologies. So, if there is some connection with the ancients, we'll stay. I'm just warning you to be sharp."
Teal'c nodded at O'Neill and returned to guard the entrance. O'Neill accompanied him and then took off in the direction of the stream he'd seen.
Paolan scurried behind another handy bush to get a better view and watch the four he'd seen earlier. "But how... how did they get here? More or less how did I get here?" His mind went over the things his father had said to him back at home again.
"Son, you have to be a respectable Zerlarian! You can't go running around like a wild animal," Doro had said.
"But you can't and won't force me to do what I don't want to do! I've already had my manhood ceremony..."
"Well, you certainly don't act like you're 20." With that his father had stalked away and Paolan had taken off towards the cavern with the shimmering circle. Paolan felt a twinge of guilt at himself and what he had done. I mustn’t move an inch, they're coming!
"Well what do we have here?" the one with gray hair turned and asked his team members.
Jack knelt down just outside the structure to investigate the rather strange looking print imbedded in the ground. He motioned his team over.
"It appears to be a footprint, O’Neill," Teal'c offered in his usual stoic manner.
"I know that. But does it look normal to you?"
"Indeed it does not. They could be the tracks of some creature indigenous to these parts."
"Well, duh" Sometimes it didn't pay to even ask, Jack mused to himself. "Are we talking Unas here or what?"
Daniel, with his ‘I am so confused’ expression piped in. "No, that would be too small to be Unas besides there isn't anything in the writing as far as I can translate that makes any reference to a reptilian monster." Raising his eyebrows and adjusting his glasses with his index finger he knelt down to examine the strange indentation.
Making not a sound, Paolan carefully observed the team. He was fascinated by these beings. They looked so much like himself, yet they were so very different. Their teamwork and camaraderie was intriguing. On Zelaria, you would not find such a thing. Each person had their place and designated position, given to them at birth. It was expected that you fulfilled your obligation to the people. You did not deviate, it was forbidden.
Look how far it had gotten him. Here he was in a strange place probably very far from home, watching 4 completely unknown "explorers." Yes, he would call them explorers. Maybe he should have given in to his father after all. He certainly would not be in such an odd predicament if he had.
He pondered the rules once again. It frustrated him that he could not choose for himself what he wanted to be and do. For the good of the people he had always been told.
"Sir, I think we should have a look around. The UAV showed some habitation just North of here. It's a good bet that there is some life on this planet and we might be able to find out more." Sam was always thinking logistics and possibilities. Which, on more than one occasion, annoyed the Colonel to no end.
Paolan sighed quietly, but not quiet enough. He held his breathe again.
Sam turned around to look at a bush about 10 yards from the strange footprint. "Did you hear that, sir?"
"Hear what, major?"
She shook her head slightly, "Never mind, sir." Jack just shrugged as they began to walk north once more.
Paolan decided that he would follow them. Curiously, he could understand their language. They'd said that they were going to try and find a town of sorts. Well now that I'm here, I might as well take the risk in following them. He again felt a twinge of guilt. It's not what his father would have liked, but he was already well beyond that point.
SG-1 walked northwards about 10 clicks (5 miles) until they came upon a small village. Unbeknownst to them, Paolan was still following their lead. One of the villagers came out to talk to Daniel. Of course he stepped forward and offered his 'famous' speech.
"Hi, I'm uh, Daniel Jackson, this is Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter, and Teal'c. We're peaceful explorers from a place called Earth."
Paolan marveled at the site of these obviously Zerlarianoid people talking to another species of them. Suddenly a shove came from behind him that thrust him into the clearing where the team and the villagers were standing. Finally exposed, Paolan blushed heavily.
A rustle came from the reeds on the side of the river the flanked the village. SG-1 readied their weapons in case of a threat. Instead, out came a tumbling human. "Carter, Daniel?" Jack inquired wearily, but then he peered at the man a bit harder. "He looks really familiar, you know that?"
"The village leader approached the team. "Sorry about that, this ruffian has been following you for quite some distance."
"I'm no ruffian," said a slightly accented voice indignantly. Whoa, we can all speak English here. Jack marveled to himself.
"What was this boy doing following us?" Teal'c turned to the man. "Where you the one observing us at the cavern?"
"Yes," he replied. "By the way, my name is Paolan son of Doro. Of Zelaria," he decided to add, seeing as they were all on another planet. Paolan used his full title for these strangers; maybe it was because they looked so much like him. Whatever it was the village men didn't look to happy with him.
"You tried to steal our crops!" the headman accused pointedly.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, what a second, how could he steal your crops if he's been following us?" Sam asked hurriedly.
"If it was not he, then who?" the villager asked with a hint of arrogance.
"It just doesn't make sense," Sam responded. "He couldn't have possibly been in both places at once," Or could he? reasoning in her mind. With what she had experienced in her life Sam could not negate the possibility.
"Well, then perhaps it is you?" the man implied pointing to the team.
"It figures." Jack mumbled under his breath his patience running very low. Now what? He didn't want to stay on this planet in the first place. He distinctly remembered wanting to pack up and go home. "OH, for crying out loud! We don't even know who you people are."
Okay Daniel go ahead I know you want to....
"Jack, I don't think arguing with them is going to make us their friends," with a very long heavy sigh Daniel pinched the bridge of his nose and tried to soften their first encounter.
"What the Colonel means is that where we are from, we have plenty of crops and food. So we would have no need to take it from you. We are peaceful explorers........"
Paolan, in the midst of the group of strangers to this land, listened intently to the conversation. He could understand them. How odd. Or was it? Who could say these days? I was right. They are explorers. They are defending me so they cannot possibly be a threat. He took shelter behind the one called Daniel. He must be wise. Though Paolan was afraid, his curiosity bade him to ride this out.
"So you see, we only want to be friends," trying to be as diplomatic as possible Daniel closed the argument. And being ever observant, he noticed all the villagers wore a cloak with a large hood to shade their heads. Probably just a cultural influence, he thought. Strange though. Almost cultlike.
"Enough," shouted a frustrated voice from behind the crowd. "I am El-Nar, leader of these people." He was a very tall and stout man with an aged face that showed the harsh rigors that time had given him.
"Explain to me how you arrived on our planet," eyes directly on Jack.
"Are you the leader of this group?"
"Well if you want to be technical about it. Yeah. Colonel Jack O'Neill, U.S. Air Force," he offered El-Nar a hand, but out of sarcasm.
"We don't take well to outsiders here Colonel. Now tell me how it is you have come to our planet?"
"We came through that big round thing," O'Neill informed him.
"The Crom-sol is sacred. No one is to use the Crom-sol," El-Nar pensively glanced at his people standing near.
"I did not come through the Crom-sol." Paolan did not understand the leader's fear. The Crom-sol was not restricted on his planet, although they had long since quit using it. The leader had used the same word for the travel circle.
"Then how did you come here?"
"I was in a cavern and there was a brilliant yellow-white egg oozing liquid." Paolan stopped as the people around him gasped.
"Seize them!” El-Nar pointed to the four travelers. "We will give them to the appointed one. He will speak for Wepwawet."
Paolan trembled as the four were surrounded. The men of the group had produced various weapons. All of them very familiar to Paolan, the huntresses used such devices. These weapons fired blue-green energy from crystal packs.
"Colonel?" Paolan heard the woman speak.
"Scientists! Why do I let them talk me into staying just a little longer."
”Ah, Wepwawet was the Egyptian jackal god. Wepwawet had a dual role as a god of war and of the funerary cult, and could be said to "open the way" both for the armies of the pharaoh and for the spirits of the dead.”
"Get to it, Jackson. The point!"
”Well, Wepwawet was said to be more powerful than Anubis. So . . .”
"So he's a Goa'uld."
Paolan saw El-Nar stare hard at the strangers. Indeed they were strange. They were not acting like prisoners should act. "SILENCE! You have brought down the wrath of Wepwawet on us." El-Nar motioned for the guards to take them away.
El-Nar turned to Paolan. "You are of our brethren, we are Zelarian. You will be our guest."
Paolan swallowed hard. The travelers did not appear to be harmful toward them, and here he'd weaseled out of being a prisoner with them. These were strange thoughts, why should he care about the strangers. Suddenly his body quivered with energy just like in the cavern and he saw the four being placed in some sort of holding area that had the ritual sacrificial arena, similar to that of his planet. The scene faded, and El-Nar's concerned face came into focus.
"I'm fine, but you do not appear to be Zelarian to me."
"And why is that?"
"Well, you are male and are acting as a huntress. It is not so for the Zelarians that I know. Males are to be protected.
"Then you have crossed the divide?" El-Nar's face beamed.
"Come, I will explain to you why you have just given us hope."
While Paolan was being treated quite nicely by the villagers, SG-1 was playing helpless prisoners to them.
"Carter? Remember when I mentioned the fact that if Daniel ever persuaded me to stay and help people, shoot him?"
"Um, yes sir..." Sam was a little suspicious of her CO. Jack noticed her look and threw a sigh at Daniel.
"I was going to say now would be a good time, but... it seems we don't have our weapons!" O'Neill sighed again and slumped up against the prison's walls. "Well, this is comfy..."
"Jack?" Daniel sighed. In that sigh was a multitude of questions, but Jack decided to ignore most of them.
Villagers tossed more wood on several pyres that were placed around but not surrounding a circular arena, in the middle of the arena were posts with chains. O’Neill figured the locals were preparing for some sort of ceremony.
One of the planet's suns had already set. The rays of the second were slipping lower in the sky, as they did so they passed closer to the circle.
He could hear chimes and drums begin, and then shuffling outside of their cell.
Carter and Teal'c prepared to jump the guards. This had to be an opportunity.
The cell door opened and Carter pounced. The guard did not seem surprised at all, but he was temporarily knocked back against the open door. Teal'c grabbed the next guard knocking the weapon to the ground.
The guard Carter had tripped up recovered and sent her stumbling with a strong backhand, followed by a punch to the stomach. She sank to her knees.
O'Neill grabbed the weapon and pointed it at the guard before he could hurt Carter again. The guard laughed and advanced on Carter.
O'Neill fired the trigger, nothing.
By this time more guards had entered subduing Teal'c. The moment for escape had passed for now.
They were led to the circuit and chained to the posts.
"The appointed one will come." El-Nar informed them and they were left alone with the fading light. The villagers scurried to their homes.
"Hmm, the appointed one?" Daniel said nervously excited. "Many cultures have an appointed god or messenger that is supposedly known to..."
"Daniel!" Jack interrupted his friend before he could go on and on about different cultures and their messengers.
"What?" Daniel looked up, full of innocence.
"Duah!" Jack yelled, "Don't start with the cultures stuff, okay?"
"Sir, maybe Daniel has an idea though," Carter pointed out.
"Major!" O'Neill whined accusingly.
"Sir," she turned to face O'Neill. "All I'm saying is that Daniel might have something that could be helpful to us." Daniel, who had been studying his shoes, looked up over his glasses pointedly at Sam.
"I might?" He raised his eyebrows in surprise. "As I was saying many cultures have a messenger, like Mohammed in the Hindu culture and Jesus in our culture. A magical or mystical being come to save or deliver a message to mankind."
"So what you're saying is that these messengers might be man-loving aliens..." Sam clarified.
"Like the Ancients." Daniel dropped his head and thought for a second before he came up with an idea. "Remember Oma Desala?"
"Who could not, DanielJackson?" Teal'c responded for the first time in a while. He had been in 'a deep state' of kel'nor'eem. "She was the Ascended Being that the Tau'ri call Mother Nature." Teal'c tilted his head, as if asking a question.
"Right, what if the Appointed One is an Ancient One, like Oma Desala..."
"Or that kid that made you unconscious... what was his name? Right, Shifu?" Daniel and Sam looked at O'Neill questioningly.
"Sir? You've been listening to us?"
"How could I not, I mean we're all in.. it's a small world, after all!" Teal'c raised his eyebrow. "It's a movie. So anyway, you guys think that this messenger person.. thing is an Ascended Ancient like... Daniel?"
"Yes, Jack." Daniel confirmed softly.
"That would seem to be the conclusion, O'Neill." Jack lipped an "Oh." to the rest of the team.
The villagers started to gather around the ceremonial circle very careful not to step inside its boundaries - for it was forbidden to be within its center unless you were chosen. They all were talking in wonder amongst themselves at these strangers who had "invaded" their land.
El-Nar approached in high ceremonial garb, carrying a box or vessel of some sort.
"That's odd," Daniel remarked as he tried to make out what it was that El-Nar bore in his hands. From his view point he could only see a few of the details. It was bronze; at least that is what he thought, with familiar markings. If only he could get closer he might be able to translate them.
"Ya know Daniel, this is another fine mess you've gotten us into," Jack spat as he was tugging at the chains that bound his hands. Now he was going to be forced to ask the obvious question. Eyes rolling. "What is odd?"
"Well that box the leader, Ah El-Nar, is carrying looks like it is goa'uld. I can't make out the writings on it, but I am pretty sure it can't be good." Trying to figure a way to reason with this El-Nar, as was his way, which would result in the best possible end - no fighting, pain, or casualties. He let his head bow deep in concentration.
El-Nar approached "Violators, you will be in the presence of the "Appointed One' Prepare yourselves". He made a symbolic wave of his hand and placed the bronze vessel on a pedestal opposite the prisoners, made a solemn bow...
"Please, we are not your enemies. We are simply peaceful explorers from earth. We don't mean any harm." Passionately, Daniel pleaded to the crowd his eyes ablaze with concern.
"Silence! You are a fool." El-Nar proceeded to chant in a low drawl that could not be made out.
"Dammit, Daniel. You just had to go and piss him off," Jack yelled
"Jack, I had to try. They just don't understand," As he was explaining Daniel got a view of the box. "Uh oh,"
"What is it, Daniel?" asked Sam who was busy trying to form an escape strategy.
"Uh well, You remember I mentioned about Wepwawet being more powerful than Anubis?" I think whatever that box is holding is the key to his power."
"You sure its goa'uld?"
"Ah yeah, from what I can see at this angle, it says: The arc of the light, behold its power and beware," he raised his eyebrows and closed his eyes.
Paolan was silently watching from the crowd. These four cannot be enemies. They surely don't act like an adversary would. Why was he spared when they were just as innocent as he.
He began to ponder what El-Nar had said, “We are Zelarians also," How was that possible. It was never written that there were others. At last not that he knew. But he had become very suspicious of his own people as of late. So many questions and yet still very few answers.
El-Nar, in his chant, opened up the arc. He took the small oval shaped object out and lifted it to the sky.
A brilliant light shown all around the arena and beyond. The power of it so intense that not one person could move, being transfixed upon it.
But Paolan in some strange turn of events could. In fact, his body surged as it had before and he felt that familiar addictive pull. It was overwhelming. As if outside of his own shell, Paolan could not fight it but only let the moment play out.
"NO!" Daniel and Sam cried out as a bright light shown from the box. The light slowly lowered itself to the ground. All the villagers bowed down, as Paolan should have been doing. Instead, he grabbed the keys to the chains and ran to SG-1. He handed them the keys in the midst of the confusion.
"Here take these and free yourselves. Your weapons are being held in that room over there," Paolan pointed to a lone cabin off on the side of the village.
"Uh, thanks," Jack muttered. With that, Paolan bowed down. These strangers act very oddly, he thought as the light ceased.
"Do you know what you've..." Daniel stopped and gazed in wonder at the small boy that stepped from the light.
"Shifu?" Sam gaped. "What are you doing here?" Shifu, the boy cared for by Oma Desala, turned to face the prisoners. With a flick of his hands, the bindings were unlocked and dropped to the ground.
"The flame burns bright, yet the darkness looms ever closer," Shifu said mysteriously.
"Nice to see you too, Shifu," Jack muttered, rubbing his sore wrists. Paolan was in utter amazement. These strangers knew the Appointed One!? They must be powerful indeed. Was this boy the almighty Wepwawet? Paolan, who wasn't really following code by completely bowing, decided that it was time for him to be brave - one of the many statutes of Zelarian culture. So he stood up and went to SG-1 and promptly asked of they were ok. Of course, Paolan tried to avoid the boy of the light. Teal'c bowed his head in gratitude.
"Thank you, Paolan."
"Thanks," both Daniel and Jack mumbled while Sam was trying to engage in a useful conversation with Shifu, but was getting nowhere. Suddenly, Shifu started to cough and shivers racked his body as he fell to the ground in a semi-seizure. Sam caught his head in order to prevent him from cracking it. Jack, Daniel, Teal'c, and Paolan went to help Sam with Shifu. The villagers raised their heads, but refused to move.
"Sir, he needs medical attention," Sam worried.
"Uh, what exactly can we do for an Ascended person?"
"O'Neill is correct. Are not Ascended beings in a higher plane, Major Carter?" Teal'c stated stoically.
"Not really Teal'c, I mean I was here," Daniel pointed out. Carter grabbed a blanket, of sorts, from her vest and spread it over Shifu.
"But we didn't ever try to heal you Daniel," Sam also pointed out.
"So, what are we going to do with him?" Jack finally asked rather irked at the idea that they couldn't help someone.
"Honestly, sir, I don't know."
Shifu's body rocked violently from side to side. He cried out, "To win is to deny at battle! Deny at Battle!"
As he screamed the fires around them sparked wildly. The sparks seemed to have a battle plan attacking the villagers sitting near the circle. A few were struck and screamed in pain. The crowd cringed seemingly fearful to leave the circle of light and yet fearful of the sparks leaping out at them.
Paolan felt the energy all around him now, but it was different somehow. He approached Shifu. Shifu's eyes glowed and he howled. Shifu flung off the blanket and raised his hand toward Paolan. A red bolt shot out at Paolan. Paolan jerked both hands up and crossed his palms facing outward. The bolt veered around him.
Shifu tossed off the restraining hand of a shocked Carter.
"Shifu?" Daniel called out.
Now the sparks of the fire turned inward toward sg-1 spitting at them. Shifu raised his hands again toward Paolan.
Paolan kept his hands crossed. He had no idea what exactly was taking place.
Shifu's eyes glowed orange again and he fired this time hitting a stone urn behind Paolan. It shattered into pieces.
Paolan backed out of the circle. He wanted no part of this! This was bizarre!
The sparking stopped and the fires settled down. Shifu turned toward SG-1. "The mind is not free, the battle has begun. Come, you will go to my master."
"Shifu. It's me, Daniel." Daniel couldn't believe what he'd just seen and heard.
"Yes, it is you. You will come, my master needs you." Shifu's face was blank.
"No way!" O'Neill began.
Shifu raised his hand and SG-1 disappeared in swirl of rocketing light, that moved from the village in the direction of the pyramid.
Paolan stood speechless watching as the light receded into the distance.
”What Just happened?"
Paolan was utterly shocked, awed, and terrified all at the same time. A plurethia of feelings engulfed him. These strangers were supposed to be helping him and the people here, yet they were in league with that Shifu person/thing! But wait, they were having a hard time keeping him under control and they went to wherever against their will! he thought. The villagers were frightened, but it was obvious that they weren't going to deny the Appointed One. Their leader, El Nar, stood out and addressed his people.
"See! I have told you that the strangers were evil! Did you see the Appointed One's reaction to them?!" he cried triumphantly. "He had come to take the evil ones from us! HAIL THE APPOINTED ONE!!!"
"Hail!" the townspeople yelled back. Paolan was all alone, on a strange world in which he didn't know the customs of. No matter how many times El Nar said that he and Paolan were of the same brethren and therefore were the same, Paolan could not say it was true. Their customs were different, their clothes, and styles were different and he was all alone. The only strange in the village, the outcast. Not even the team from that planet... Earth, was there to help him. Well, if they weren't going to help the team then Paolan would. Maybe then he would bestow honor upon his family name. Paolan scoffed at the villagers who were turning away to go home or cleaning up, but they acted as if nothing had happened!
"I will find and help them if the villagers won't. First, I'll need a nap and a shower. Then I'll pack my stuff, grab some food and be on my way towards the temple of the Crom-Sol by early morning tomorrow!" Paolan convinced himself.
Inside, he thought himself as a coward, but he pushed it all aside and found the very small brave part of him that distinctly said that saving these aliens was correct and just. Paolan sighed inwardly. He had an early start tomorrow, so he'd better turn in early. The headman had already said that Paolan could stay the night in his home. He would ask where he could take a shower; have dinner, and a bed. Into the headman's house he went.... and out again he came many minutes later.
As it happened, the word 'shower' was a slang/swear word of types, so he'd almost gotten himself thrown out of the house until he'd explained what a beyla was - their word for shower. Paolan thought his life was hard, what about the strangers with the man Daniel and Teal'c?
*Thud!* SG-1 hit the ground unceremoniously with a pain-induced thump. Of course, Jack was complaining.
"God! That hurt! The least he could have thrown us into was a nice comfy bed... or two. Maybe three or four...."
"That was incredible!"
"Glad you find being dumped on the ground so great, Carter."
"No sir, that fact that Shifu and his cloud of, well, energy was able to suspend us over all that ground..."
"Major!" O'Neill put his hands on his head where it happened to be slightly bleeding. "I've gotta headache. Which means no quantum babble!"" he warned his 2IC.
"Yes, father, sir."
Daniel cleared his throat. "I say we find some place to sleep." At his words, 4 sleeping bags popped out of thin air to rest beside each team member. Daniel only appeared to be remotely surprised. "Uh, guys? Did you see that?"
"Indeed I did, DanielJackson."
"That's just wrong on sooo many levels..." Jack warned as he suspiciously checked his bag for booby traps of any kind when a phone rang. Carter looked down to find your average house phone sitting at her feet. She picked up the phone and answered it.
"Hello?" she said cautiously into the receiver. "Ah sir? It's for you..."
"For me?" O'Neill said skeptically. He took the receiver from Sam anyway. "Helloooo?" A voice came over the phone and he straightened slightly in amazement. "General Hammond sir? Why are you calling me on a telephone? Shifu told you to? Why?" He listened to an explanation while receiving very odd looks from the rest of SG-1. "Okay, yes sir, bye." Jack hung up and shook his head a little. Directly after O'Neill put the phone back on the hook, it too vanished with a pop.
"Is that not you'd call strange, O'Neill?"
"Teal'c, that's waaay more than just strange, that's positively creepy weird!"
Paolan took off the next day at midmorning. He remembered that the light containing the team and the Appointed One had been going towards the Crom-Sol and the egg thing. Paolan made off the general area. Yes, he was afraid, very afraid. The Appointed One would punish him dearly, eventually. He took a deep breathe and took his first steps towards finding the Earth team and, hopefully, rescuing them. Suddenly he stopped and recalled the earlier conversation with his father again.
"You have to be a dignitary..... You can't go running around like a wild animal..." his father had said. Paolan wanted to explore places, not be a dignitary like all the other men in his village.
No! he thought with passion. I will not be a dignitary... I want to be an... explorer! With new vigor, Paolan resumed his march to the forest to the Crom-Sol to find some team of people that he didn't even know.
Daniel was listening half-heartedly to the ramblings of the team as they questioned their surroundings. He didn't even notice the phone call with Hammond. Instead, his mind was filled with questions about Shifu. Why now of all times did he show up? Last he knew he was a ball of light heading through the Stargate to rejoin Oma. He would stay under her very guarded care. To top it off what was the deal with his turning on them like that? It was like he did not even care about who they were. He racked his brain for answers, but none seemed to come. He slouched down in a secluded corner of the room and lowered his head.
"I'm here, and now the baby's here too, now you have to push!"
He held this new life in his hands, gently looking down "It's a boy" in awe at first then at realizing the implication "It's a boy"
"Daniel?" Sam nudged his shoulder arousing him from his deep thought. "Are you alright?" All of the team seemed to be watching him with concern.
"Huh? I don't know," offering a typical blank stare. The one that says ‘no I am not alright, but I have to be strong now.’
Daniel shrugged off the sense of foreboding, and turned his gaze toward the surroundings. It did not appear to be a normal jail cell; the room was too opulent for that. He watched Jack cross to an opening that served as a window.
"Nice digs. Better than Netu," O’Neill quipped.
"Yeah, Jack. I think anything would be better than that," Daniel shot back, mainly because he knew that the repartee calmed everyone. He felt anything but calm. In his mind this nice setting was just another ploy. Play nice and then smash the archeologist, at least isn't that how some of the Goa'uld operated. Apophis loved to do that number; show the wealth and niceties and then throw you into the depths of the darkest sewer he could find.
"There's no visible doors." Carter craned her neck again taking the ceiling, walls, and finally the floors in an effort to find an opening.
A shimmering light entered through the wall. Shifu emerged holding a leash seemingly attached to nothing. Then a dark shadow formed in the shape of a Jackal. The darkest inky black fur covered the creature from head to tail. Daniel had never seen anything like it. The hair-coat was absolutely devoid of highlights. The yellow-orange eyes flared brightly and then the figure changed again to that of a man, who was actually holding the leash that was around Shifu's wrist.
"Hail to Wepwawet! Lord of the Gates, the Opener of the Ways,"
"So he's the guy at ticket-master." O'Neill quipped.
"Silence!" Shifu glared and raised his hand.
"Strike not servant. I have need of these. Together these will deliver me."
"Deliver you? Just what do you mean by that?" Daniel asked.
The man smiled and vanished again taking Shifu with him through the wall.
O'Neill strode to the wall and pushed his hand against it. Receiving a shock. "ARG!"
"O'Neill, I have witnessed you do this on many occasions. Do you not learn from you miscalculations."
"That's mistakes Teal'c."
Paolan had made his way toward the pyramid, but stopped as the night sounds began to weaken his resolve. A low rumbling came from the bushes to his right. The hairs on his neck tingled. The rumbling grew and then something knocked into him.
Paolan fell hard against the ground. The rumbling sound seemed to surround him. Frantically, he crossed his wrists with his palms facing outward hoping that the magic would work again. Instead, sharp claws tore at his back.
"Ayyy! Help!" Paolan trembled with fear he could not even see his attacker as he struggled.
A light pierced the darkness, and the attack stopped. El-Nar came from the darkness holding an egg-shaped object, like that in the cavern only much smaller, small enough to fit in the man's palm.
"I saw you leave. It is not safe. The shadow creatures attack at night. You require the protector."
"I thought you hated me?"
"I don't. You insulted me, but not intended. You are the key to the Megathram. El-Nar motioned to Paolan to stand and follow.
"What is the Megathram?"
"Our battle for freedom, to be reunited with our brethren."
"I was going to the pyramid."
"You cannot, it will not help them. The way to help is to show me how you came here. We must return together to your world.
"The Key must return to open all that is locked away. El-Nar hurried his pace and disdained any further conversation.
"What is up with that kid?!" Jack was pissed. He was in a cell, with no recollection of how he got there, and Shifu was, well, messed up.
"I don't know Jack," Daniel muttered patiently.
"I thought he was raised by Oma Desala and he was your wife's kid. He's supposed to be a good guy who happens to speak in riddles... What the hell are we doing here? Carter? Teal'c?" Jack searched for answers.
"I am currently unaware of the purpose that Shifu has provided us for," Teal'c said slowly.
"Sir, maybe Shifu's odd behavior has to do something with his seizure that he had yesterday, back at the village," Sam tried to reason. Yet, reasoning didn't seem like the thing that would work. Shifu was obviously under some form of mind control - maybe from that man.
"DanielJackson, why has not Oma Desala intervened with her child's misconceptions?"
Daniel looked at Teal'c over his glasses with a raised eyebrow. "I don't know, Teal'c. I have a feeling that she doesn't know or... she's not able to. This new behavior wouldn't have been tolerated by her at all. Jack, remember how I was talking about a fine line?"
"Well this is way over that line." Jack shook his head in a 'duh' movement.
"Shifu isn't ascended," Sam pointed out suddenly. "He's a special kind of being that can travel from one plane to another. We can touch him instead of going through him because he's real in both planes."
"And this is relevant because...?" Jack prompted. He felt that Carter was on the right track, but didn't know how or why.
She shook her head at him. "Honestly sir, I don't know. I just know that it has a point somewhere along the line."
O'Neill swallowed uncomfortably. "Well, keep thinking on it, major."
"Yes sir." Jack thought to himself, What was the kid, Paolan, doing right now? Enjoying the comforts of life because they were brethren? Go figure.