Title: Archaeology (Table of Contents)
Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize is mine. I gain nothing of material value from this.
Note: I should mention that the wonderful acarlgeek has picked up many typos and continuity errors starting back from book III. Thank you, Clara! (and thanks to others who tell me when I miss something, too.)
Chapter 2: Anise and Freya
14 September 2000; Archaeology Office, SGC; 0930 hrs
Daniel started to walk past the office on his way to one of the linguistics offices next door when Robert's voice stopped him. "Hey, Daniel, come here," Robert said.
Coming to a stop, Daniel stuck his head in the door. "I'm just getting a book from Rick. Nyan wants me to--"
"Well, stop it and listen," Robert said, so Daniel abandoned his book search. "You're supposed to go to the embarkation room in five minutes."
"I don't know. Something about the Tok'ra. The message just said someone's coming."
"Me?" Daniel said reluctantly, because the Tok'ra rarely--if ever--came to deliver good news, and he'd been planning on spending the day cataloguing artifacts with Nyan. "Why not you?"
"Because the message was for SG-1, and I'm your boss and I say so," Robert said. "And you've always done the Tok'ra thing, not me."
Jack walked past the office. "Daniel," he barked. "Tok'ra. Now."
Daniel sighed and returned to the room of extra artifacts that no one had had time to catalogue, which doubled as Nyan's office because he was the one who ended up cataloguing them. "I have to go meet the Tok'ra," Daniel told the Bedrosian apologetically as he plucked his jacket from where he'd left it on a chair. "Sorry."
"Oh," Nyan said, looking disappointed and not a little daunted about the pile of work he'd been planning to complete that day.
From the hallway, Jack's voice yelled, "Daniel! Where the hell did you go?"
"You should go," Nyan advised, waving him out before Jack could come to drag him away.
Sam and Teal'c were both already in the 'gate room with General Hammond, watching the active Stargate, when Daniel and Jack arrived. "Receiving Tok'ra IDC," Sergeant Harriman announced from the control room. "Opening iris."
"The message I got was pretty vague, sir," Jack said.
"So was the transmission we got from the Tok'ra," the general answered.
"Now, see, I hate that," Jack complained. "In fact, the Tok'ra are starting to annoy me in general."
Sam looked at him sideways. "Sir?"
"Don't get me wrong," he assured her while Daniel thought the same thing silently, glad Jack was there to stick his foot into his mouth so Daniel didn't have to. "Your dad's great--I love him like a brother. It's just that every time they show up, it seems like it's all kinds of--"
A Tok'ra emerged from the event horizon.
Daniel, who had been expecting perhaps Martouf or Aldwin or some other operative they'd seen before, felt his eyes widen when he saw instead a considerably more attractive envoy in the form of a vaguely-clothed woman. All of a sudden, he was reminded of Skaara and Sha'uri teasing him about women, and he had to avert his gaze for a moment in an effort to stop blushing.
"The High Council of the Tok'ra sends its greetings," the new arrival said.
"Welcome," the general said, then gestured as he continued, "I'm General Hammond. Colonel O'Neill, Major Carter, Teal'c, and Daniel Jackson."
"This is Marnon," the woman said, and, to Daniel's chagrin, it was only then that he realized there was another, male Tok'ra who'd come through with her, holding a box. "You may call me Anise."
"Anise," Daniel repeated, reminded of his parents' name for a strongly-flavored seed used in some of the most intoxicating drinks back home. He couldn't remember what it was called or what it meant, though surely she was using the Goa'uld meaning of the word rather than the Latinate one...
She turned to him. "It means 'noble strength,'" she said coolly.
"I'm Daniel," he said before he could remember he'd already been introduced. "It means 'God is my judge.'"
Anise seemed surprised, but then nodded in his direction with a small smile. Daniel felt himself trying to smile back. Jack gave him a look, then told Anise, "I'm Jack. It means..." He paused.
"Gift of God," Daniel provided, thinking of the full name that Jack almost never used. Then Jack turned to stare at him, which made him realize that this was not something he should have told Jack, ever, ever, because then--
"Yes," Jack said brightly, turning back to the Tok'ra. "I am God's gift."
Sam cleared her throat. "So, Anise, Marnon," she said, matching the Tok'ra's neutral tone, "how can we help you? I assume there's something in that box."
"Inside this box are devices discovered after many years of searching," Anise said. "I anticipate that we can learn much more concerning them in collaboration with the Tau'ri."
"Why don't we take this into the briefing room," General Hammond said, gesturing them down the ramp and toward the side door.
Daniel's position put him at the back of the procession, so he waited until Anise and Marnon had followed the general out. Teal'c followed them, but before Sam did, she turned back and gave Daniel a look that he didn't have time to figure out. He was pretty sure Jack would have gotten the same look, too, except that he was her commanding officer, which meant that Jack turned around and smirked at Daniel, too. Daniel sighed and trailed after everyone into the briefing room.
Once they'd settled around the table, Anise opened the box that Marnon had brought. "These armbands were recently discovered among some ancient ruins on a remote planet," she said.
Daniel leaned forward to see her pass around what looked like an armor plate made to guard an entire forearm, with what looked like writing on it. "Those symbols," he said as Jack looked it over. "They don't look Goa'uld, or like any Tau'ri writing I've ever seen. May I...?"
Jack passed it to Sam, who held it out so they could look at it together.
"The language belongs to a race called the Ataniks," Anise explained. "Their existence and demise predates the Goa'uld."
Sam took the armband from him completely. "Ataniks," she repeated. "I think Jolinar knew about these. They're supposed to give the wearer incredible speed and strength, right?" Daniel looked up in interest.
"Yes," Anise confirmed. "Many thought it was just a myth. Still, the Goa'uld and the Tok'ra have both sought these devices for some time. The Tok'ra were very excited when I found them."
"You found them?" Jack said. Daniel found his eyes straying to the parts of her clothing that were impractical for going anywhere into the field to find artifacts and quickly looked away.
In explanation, she said, "My area of expertise is ancient cultures."
"Oh, mine too!" Daniel said, looking up.
Anise turned to him curiously. "I see." Jack turned around and gave Daniel another look. Daniel closed his mouth. "We hoped the devices would provide our operatives with a great new physical advantage in the fight against the Goa'uld."
"However...?" Jack prompted.
In answer, Anise took the armband back and started to fasten it onto her own arm. As soon as she let go, it sprang loose again. "To the best of our knowledge," she said, laying it back on the table, "the devices should work. However, something causes them to reject the Tok'ra physiology."
"Your symbiote," Teal'c guessed.
"That is a likely assumption."
"Then the device will most likely be ineffective on me, as well," he pointed out.
"Yes," she said, nodding, "which is why I brought only two. I apologize, Daniel Jackson. I had not realized SG-1 had gained a third human member. If the experiment goes well, I can bring another to collect more data."
Daniel opened his mouth, then closed it. The last times he'd interacted with the Tok'ra, he'd probably been considered to be acting as Skaara's brother or a friend to SG-1. Even the initial treaty negotiations with the Tok'ra had been started by SG-1 while he'd been at the Alpha Site. "Incredible speed and strength," he sighed.
"In the interests of the Tok'ra-human alliance, I expected you to cooperate," Anise said. "I would like to begin human trial experiments immediately."
Jack raised his eyebrows. "What's the rush?" he asked.
"If you are not willing to trust us and participate," she said coolly, putting the armband back into her box, "I will find human subjects on another planet."
Considering that the Tok'ra had supposedly never worked with unblended humans before the Tau'ri, except on rare occasion to recruit a host in secret, Daniel wondered what their relationship was with those human subjects on another planet and whether Anise saw the Tau'ri the same way. 'Subject' was an odd word to use for an ally.
The general's eyes flickered toward Jack, who seemed to be holding back another angry response about the Tok'ra but said only, "Fine."
"Do you know where Jack is?" Daniel asked, walking in to find Sam examining the fastening mechanism of the second, yet-unused Atanik armband.
"He went to the gym with Teal'c," she said. "They thought it would be easier to notice any increase in strength or speed that way. You know, I still don't know exactly what this does. I can't detect odd energy readings or even figure out how it confers anything to the wearer at all. I'm thinking that once it locks, there could be a transdermal exchange of some signal--a chemical, maybe, although where it would be stored..."
"You don't think, uh...is it possible it's the Goa'uld protein that stops the Tok'ra from using them and not the symbiote itself?"
Sam raised her eyebrows. "You're just hoping it won't work for me so you get to try it."
"A little bit," Daniel said sheepishly. "Although...I suppose if it's just a matter of the protein, then Teal'c will get it first. Jaffa don't have the Goa'uld protein in their blood, do they?"
"Nope. Their blood doesn't mix with their symbiotes'; there's an unconscious exchange of some proteins, fluids, and other chemical and electrical signals, but with very high specificity. There seems to be an affinity barrier that prevents the Goa'uld marker protein from getting through."
"Right," Daniel said, thinking she could have just said 'no.' "Um...can I see the armband for a minute?" Sam looked suspicious, so he rolled his eyes and explained, "I'm not going to steal it. Anise lent me her notes on the Ataniks and their language--I just want to copy down the writing on the bands."
"All right," she said, handing it over. As he started to transcribe the symbols into his notebook, she pointed out, "You know, you could always just ask Anise what it says."
Daniel stopped. "I guess I could," he said, feeling stupid. "I don't know why I didn't think of that. I'll ask her when she's done analyzing Jack's biodata."
"You do that," she said, taking the armband back. "So...what do you think of her?"
"Her host, Freya, likes writing by hand," he said, holding up Freya's notebook. It wasn't a big thing, but he liked the little reminders that the Tok'ra were influenced by their hosts. "And she studies ancient cultures. Isn't that interesting, given that they all possess genetic memory of their history--that there are people like her who deliberately study the past just like humans do?"
"Hm," Sam said neutrally, fiddling with the microscope.
"In fact," Daniel said, watching her work, "we were talking, and...do you remember that big necklace she was wearing when she arrived?"
"Hard to miss."
"It's just an ornament, but she calls it Brisingamen." Sam looked confused, so he explained, "That's the necklace of the goddess Freya. It's a Norse mythology joke. I thought it was funny."
"Ah," Sam said, changing the lens on her microscope. "So she's a goddess."
"Goddess of love, beauty, fertility," Daniel said. "And, uh...childbirth, things like that."
"Um...a little, I guess. And if you consider that anise is an ingredient in alcoholic drinks like absinthe, I guess you could say--"
"Absinthe," Sam echoed. "So beauty, sex, and mind-altering drugs."
"Is it mind-altering?"
"It's alcohol, Daniel."
"Well...I mean, the goddess thing is just the...the lore. And her name. I'm not saying the woman downstairs is one of the Vanir. We were talking about etymologies and it came up." He frowned when she huffed softly, adjusting the focus dial. "What?"
She gave him a look that he could only describe as disapproving. "You were ogling her pretty good back there. Practically falling over yourself to impress her."
Daniel felt his face heat. "Sam," he protested. "No, it's not...I wasn't falling over myself. Or ogling. I just...well, it would help if she wore more clothes," he admitted. Sam looked surprised at that answer. "It's impractical, that's all," he muttered, reddening further. "I mean, you wouldn't wear something like that to visit your father."
Sam coughed. "My...father?"
"No, I-I mean--because...the Tok'ra! You wouldn't wear...you..." And now he was picturing Sam in Anise's outfit, which was an image that was...unexpectedly, not horrifying at all, which was a bit frightening in itself and not something he wanted to think about while they were in the middle of a Tok'ra experiment. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to erase the image.
"Oh, Daniel," she said. He opened one eye to peek at her and she laughed. "And to think I forgot you're a seventeen-year-old boy."
"It's--no. No! Sam. But--her research...and...the things she studies. It's really..."
"I've got a brother," she said knowingly. "I know what guys are like."
"Well, your brother wasn't picturing you in Anise's clothes," Daniel said. Sam's eyes widened. "Not," he said feebly, "that I'm... You brought it up!"
"I did not," she said, starting to blush as well.
"Okay, I brought it up," Daniel said, "but you were asking, and I wasn't thinking about anything until you asked."
"Okay," she said.
"I'm not, now," he promised, utterly mortified. "And I don't, uh...normally...ever--"
"Yeah," she said. "Good."
"I'm going to check on Jack," he said firmly, because his face was in danger of bursting into flames. He snatched up the notebook and fled, thinking that Jack had been right: the Tok'ra always brought all sorts of trouble with them.
Neither Jack nor Teal'c was in the gym when Daniel wandered in. "O'Neill?" Major Ferretti said when he asked. "Yeah--he punched Teal'c out. Carried him to the infirmary."
There were so many things wrong with that sentence that Daniel could only say, "What?"
"Yeah, I know," Ferretti said, jerking a thumb toward the door. "Really--check the infirmary."
Daniel reached the infirmary just as Jack was telling a somewhat groggy-looking Teal'c, "I'm really sorry."
Teal'c was sitting on the side of a bed, scowling as Jack stood nearby and took a bite of what looked like an energy bar. "You are not," the Jaffa said flatly.
Jack chewed a few times, then told Janet and Anise, "He's right about that."
Daniel raised his eyebrows, but it was probably a joke. Teal'c was fine, after all, and if Daniel were to be honest, he'd be feeling a little triumphant, too, if he ever managed to land a hit that hard on Teal'c. "So the armband works?" he said, approaching the bed and looking surreptitiously at Teal'c to make sure he seemed unhurt.
"Colonel, your strength is five times that of a normal human," Anise said absently, jotting a few notes.
"So, no improvement," Jack quipped. Daniel rolled his eyes and saw Janet doing the same.
"It is time to increase the number of human subjects," Anise said.
Janet looked like she wanted to say something, but then stopped and instead went to the phone. Daniel almost asked if he could be the other human subject, but managed to restrain himself.
"Teal'c?" he asked as Jack experimented with how accurately he could throw paper long distances.
"I am fine," Teal'c said, though there was still an undercurrent of unhappiness. Daniel thought part of it was his pride, but then, a lot of it probably had to do with just how gleeful Jack seemed.
Daniel had the sudden thought that, if these armbands worked and if he didn't get one, too, he'd be closer to Teal'c in physical ability than to anyone else on the team. Since Teal'c was several times stronger and faster than he was, this was not an encouraging thought. He sighed and sat down next to Teal'c to wait for Sam.
Robert glanced over at him from the other desk and said, "You know you're not actually going to be able to learn the Atanik language in the next hour."
"I know," Daniel said. "I'm just reading through the notes Anise took on their civilization--that part's written in Goa'uld." Of course, if he'd had an armband, he'd have been able to read the entire thing and learn the language documented within in about a minute. Sighing in frustration, he said, "Did you see how fast Jack could read?"
"Yep," Robert said, not looking up.
"It was really fast."
"I bet he came in here just to show off."
"Actually, I think he came in here to steal your chocolate."
Frowning, Daniel opened a drawer to find that he was missing a bar from the small stash he'd collected. "What? But how...when did he...what?"
"He was distracting you with the speed-reading," Robert explained.
Daniel fumed quietly and returned to his slow-reading.
A moment later, Robert said, "You know what I think? We should rotate these armbands among the personnel for a couple of days at a time. Then--"
"We could all read every book on base in that time," Daniel said wistfully. "And learn practically every language possible, and figure out every piece of unidentified technology in the labs without even being afraid of being hurt very badly if something backfired...oh, wow..."
"Actually," Robert said, "I was going to say that we could send people out and kill the Goa'uld, but, sure, you could read, too."
"Guess we'll have to wait until after the experiment's done, though. There could still be negative side effects."
Daniel nodded in acknowledgement. Anise said that the armbands' inscription read, 'great power.' He supposed that, when someone was physically unstoppable by most means, testing was an important step. Even now, only hours after putting the armband on, Jack had accidentally dented Daniel's desk by tapping his fingers against it and didn't seem to have noticed, too occupied in showing off his speed-reading.
"Jack doesn't even like to read most of the time," Daniel grumbled.
"It's okay, Daniel," Robert said soothingly, but he was rolling his eyes as he said it.
14 September 2000; SGC; 1600 hrs
As it was, it took him several hours, not minutes, to skim through Anise's notes on the Ataniks and barely begin to read about the language. Even then, it seemed rather incomplete.
"Anise..." Daniel said, walking toward her and noticing only belatedly that she was talking to Janet and the general. "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't mean to interrupt."
As it turned out, the gathering was rather more tense than he'd realized, and it took a moment for the general to stop scowling at Anise. Eventually, he turned away from the Tok'ra and said, "What is it, Mr. Jackson?"
"Uh...I was just wondering," Daniel said, holding out Anise's notebook. "Since Sam and Jack are both experiencing huge improvements in everything--"
"Except health," Janet said frostily.
Daniel stopped. "What?"
"Dr. Fraiser is overreacting," Anise said.
He glanced over his shoulder toward the infirmary, where he could just barely see both Sam and Jack perched on beds. They looked healthy enough, but he'd learned years ago to trust Janet when she said things like that. "Mr. Jackson?" the general prompted impatiently.
Turning back to them, Daniel said, "I'm just wondering about why the Ataniks died out if these armbands gave them such an incredible advantage over their enemies in every way with no disadvantages. Your notes say they became extinct over a period of approximately one hundred years, but you don't mention why. The time period suggests they faced a serious issue, but it's too gradual for something like a natural disaster when they could have just 'gated to a new planet."
As General Hammond and Janet stared at the Tok'ra from both sides, Anise said, "We have never determined the cause of the fall of the Ataniks. However, it is unlikely that the armbands are at fault when we consider the number of factors we do not understand about their civilization."
"Well, okay, but isn't a lack of understanding grounds for further study before beginning human trials?" Daniel said.
"I do not believe there is anything else that could be learned without human trials," she said. "The Tok'ra have studied them extensively."
"Extensively--since you just recently found them, you mean," Janet said. "Is there a reason you won't let us participate in the research as anything other than your subjects? What's the rush, anyway?"
The general narrowed his eyes. "That's a good question," he said. "What is the rush? And don't give me that bunk again about giving these to your other human allies," he added when Anise opened her mouth to answer. "You don't have other human allies--you didn't even think unblended humans could be useful to you when we made contact with you a couple of years back. Or did you mean you only use humans as test subjects?"
"Of course not, General," Anise said. "But the suggestion that these devices are harming your personnel is poorly supported, while we have collected incredible data clearly demonstrating their positive effects."
"I wouldn't say poorly supported," Janet said. "These armbands have released a virus into Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter's systems--"
"In order to access the human physiology," Anise insisted as Daniel's eyes widened.
"According to Anise's speculation," Janet said. "What I'm seeing is elevated body temperatures and a dangerous amount of adrenaline and endorphins in Major Carter's blood. Once I complete blood work on Colonel O'Neill, I am confident it will show the same. Until we know more about the physical effects of this virus, I say we remove them and we run more tests to make sure that these changes are not permanent or damaging."
"General," Anise protested.
"No, I'm sorry," the general said. "If there's one thing I've learned in my time here, it's that there's nothing wrong with a little prudence when dealing with alien devices."
Daniel followed them into the infirmary and leaned back against the wall, folding his arms as Jack and Sam both hopped down from their beds.
"Based on Dr. Fraiser's recommendations," the general told them, "I've decided to stop the experiment temporarily."
"What?" Sam said.
"Why?" Jack said.
"I believe the armbands may be having a narcotic effect," Janet said. "It's just a precaution."
"We'd like to get a better read on exactly what these things are doing to you," the general said. "Please take the armbands off."
"But," Sam said, almost in a whine. "General..."
"I'd rather not do that, sir," Jack said.
Daniel narrowed his eyes, studying them both. Jack, perhaps, might have protested to show that he was annoyed, but Sam would normally have pulled the armband off when ordered. If she'd had an objection, she'd have stood at attention and said it respectfully. Something was wrong.
Sure enough, the general said, more firmly, "Are you refusing to comply with a direct order?"
Neither of them moved for a few moments, and it suddenly occurred to Daniel that, should they choose to resist, no one here could stop them. Fortunately, Jack raised his arm, still looking annoyed, and reached for the catch on the armband. Sam followed suit. Daniel relaxed.
"Ah...General?" Jack said, still tugging on the device.
"Colonel?" the general said.
Jack lowered his eyebrows, his expression confused. "Having a hard time complying, sir."
Daniel straightened from where he'd been standing against the wall to see Sam look up in alarm. "I can't..." she said, then made a face and strained her fingers harder, as if trying to rip it apart by brute force. "This mechanism isn't releasing. And I can't even...what is this material, anyway?"
"Ah, well," Jack said, giving up. "Looks like they're there to stay."
When General Hammond looked suspicious, Sam added, "We really can't get them off, sir." Now that the fact had been established, however, she didn't look too unhappy about it.
"General," Janet said stiffly, glaring at Anise, "I'd like to see them in the lab and try to get those armbands off."
"Colonel O'Neill, Major Carter," the general said, "follow Dr. Fraiser and comply with any and all of her orders. Is that understood?"
Both of them seemed a little disappointed, but Jack said, "Yes, sir." As they all began to follow Janet out of the room, Jack added to Daniel, "Ah, stop scowling so hard, Danny. Your face'll get stuck that way," and clapped a hand on Daniel's back.
The next thing Daniel knew, he was flying forward and slamming into the doorframe on the way to the floor.
"Oh, god," Jack's voice sounded from somewhere overhead.
"Get away from him, Colonel," Janet snapped. A hand touched his back. "Daniel?"
Daniel rolled over with a wince, clutching his shoulder where he'd hit the wall while his back felt like a Jaffa had punched him. Jack had frozen halfway down as if to help him up while Sam looked stunned. "Ow," he said, mostly because he'd been too winded to say it earlier. He rubbed his arm and decided he was going to be hitting Jack as hard as he could, just as soon as the man stopped being ridiculously strong.
"I didn't--are you okay?" Jack said, backing off.
"Danny?" he said incredulously in response. "Jack!"
"I want those armbands off," the general growled, stabbing a finger in the direction of the labs, "before you put any other members of your own team in the infirmary!"
Jack and Sam slunk off quietly.
"I'm okay," Daniel told Janet as he sat up carefully, though his shoulder was mostly numb.
"Does it feel broken?" she said. With some help from his other hand, he rolled the shoulder in a small circle with more effort than he wanted to admit, at which point it vigorously stopped feeling numb. "Get that examined," she ordered, helping him to his feet. "I'll be back to check on you--"
"It's okay, Janet," he said. "Just get the armbands off. Please." With a scowl in Anise's direction, he made his way back inside toward a nurse with a sense of disappointment. He'd thought he would like Anise, too, as a scientist first rather than as a spy or operative like most of the Tok'ra they'd met.
14 September 2000; SGC; 1900 hrs
Later, when Daniel was tired of holding an icepack to his shoulder (because he couldn't do any work with a hand occupied like that), Teal'c let him stop and led him to the briefing room, where Anise was alone and still reading over Jack and Sam's biodata.
"So," Daniel said, making her look up and notice them, "you said our suspicions were poorly supported."
"Yes," she said, going back to work. "They are based not on specific evidence but rather on observations that have no clear connection to your hypothesis."
"Whereas," he pressed, annoyed, "you haven't proposed a hypothesis at all."
"That is untrue, Daniel Jackson. All that I have suggested thus far--that the armbands would cause an increase in the wearer's abilities--has been true."
"I mean about getting the armbands off," he clarified.
She pursed her lips. "That may require more work," she said, and went back to her computer.
"Why didn't you tell us right away about the virus?" Daniel said angrily. "And concealing other bits of data--you told me the armbands said 'great power.'"
She paused in her work. "Yes."
"'With great power comes great responsibility and the ability to effect great consequences,'" he quoted. "Did you leave all of that out intentionally, or did you just think I wouldn't be able to work out a single sentence for myself?"
"In fact," she said, actually looking the closest to pleased or interested that he'd seen her look so far, "I was attempting to determine whether you would be able to read it on your own. I was not aware before that there were Tau'ri with such interest in knowledge."
Forcing himself to remain unmoved by what was praise and insult all at once, he said, "I'm not your test subject. And you should know that a lot of other people who might have helped study the armbands are among those of us humans with an interest in knowledge. Should we take today as a demonstration of how the Tok'ra plan to share information with us?"
Anise finally put down her data pad and looked at the two of them standing before her. "We cannot conclude that the virus will cause any physical damage, and you are making the assumption that the phrase written on the armbands applies to my experiment, while it was in fact simply a statement made by the Ataniks about their warriors."
"Well, I was going to ask the Ataniks about that," Daniel said, "but they're dead, which is what concerns me."
Finally, Teal'c spoke up to say, "What you call 'your experiment,' Anise, is nothing less than the lives of our friends."
Unfazed, she said, "It is also part of the cooperation expected by the Tok'ra High Council as part of our alliance."
"The alliance," Daniel said. "It's interesting that you should bring that up. As you may know, Teal'c and I have been heavily involved in drafting of the treaty that's currently in negotiations. In fact, if anything happens to Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter, the two of us are the ones the Tok'ra will have to deal with in order to seal any alliance between us."
Then he held his breath.
Anise pursed her lips, looking from Daniel to Teal'c standing unmoving beside him. "Are you threatening me, Mr. Jackson?"
"Are you threatening the lives of our friends?" Teal'c said. "If you are not, as you claim, then there is no cause for concern."
She closed her eyes, and when she spoke again, it was through Freya, her human host. "Please," she said gently, "excuse the scientist in Anise--"
"Being a scientist isn't an excuse for anything," Daniel snapped.
"But perhaps the Tok'ra are not overly concerned with unblended human lives," Teal'c said.
Freya looked surprised. "Of course we are. It is simply that there was no other way to test the devices without seeking help from you, our human allies."
"You couldn't have given us some time to study the devices first, or included our medical experts in your data analysis?" Daniel said. "And please don't say the Tau'ri couldn't possibly find anything that you hadn't found already."
"Daniel," Freya said, "we did believe this was the best way to proceed, that we had reached the limits of our understanding without practical experimentation--there was no malice in our actions. You must admit the Tok'ra have done much for your people, as well."
Daniel nodded. "I haven't forgotten how you once sent our people to gather information from Sokar, since you'd otherwise have had to risk Tok'ra lives to do it."
"And in that instance," she pointed out, "it was Tok'ra knowledge, technology, and weaponry that completed the mission."
"Nearly at the cost of our lives," Teal'c reminded her.
"We wouldn't take full credit for that operation," Daniel said, then steeled himself. "But keep in mind that if more emergencies unexpectedly require the Tok'ra to use their human allies as subjects and not partners before the final treaty negotiations, it won't be seen in a good light by the people who need to approve this alliance."
She raised her eyebrows. "We still do not know that your friends are in any danger. Both of you understand what is at stake. You would risk a valuable relationship between our peoples because of something we did not know--something we could not have known?"
"Daniel Jackson was not speaking of the two of us," Teal'c said. "If you underestimate the respect afforded Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter by this command and its leaders, you will indeed be unpleasantly surprised."
"You've left the only two Tau'ri members of our flagship team incapacitated--" Daniel started.
"They are not incapacit--" Freya started.
"--and I don't think a Jaffa and a seventeen-year-old alien will have much influence on the treaty's approval as far as our leaders are concerned. On the other hand, there are influential people here who'd be unhappy if you harmed Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter."
"You are threatening the alliance," she said, looking honestly surprised.
"We're warning you that you'd better be doing everything you can to remove those armbands," Daniel said. "I don't care what results you want to see as a scientist. The experiment is over."
When they turned to leave, Anise said, "You cannot deny the positive effect these armbands could have on the efforts in this war--for both of us. The High Council will be displeased to hear those sentiments about Tok'ra-Tau'ri relations, Mr. Jackson."
"You should advise the High Council to cease thinking like the Goa'uld," Teal'c said, unmoved by her affronted expression. "The Tau'ri are not their inferiors. If the Tok'ra forget that, they will not be pleased with the results."
"You all agreed to my experiment," Anise pointed out.
"And you have lost control of your experiment," Teal'c countered. "If you can disagree, take the armbands off now. For if any harm comes to our friends, we will hold the Tok'ra responsible."
As they left her hearing range, Daniel let out a breath and leaned against a wall in the corridor. "I don't want to do that again," he said.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow.
"Were we just...trying to bully her?" Daniel asked uneasily. "It felt like we were."
"Indeed," Teal'c said.
"Oh," Daniel said, chewing his lip. "As long as we're clear." He snuck a glance over at his friend, but Teal'c seemed unperturbed; Jaffa society was built heavily on intimidation and strength, after all. Teal'c himself had surely climbed the ranks that way in Apophis's army to have become First Prime from the young Jaffa exiled from the wrong planet whose father had failed the wrong Goa'uld. "Anise and Freya have a good point."
"They have several."
Daniel sighed. "I just mean... Let's, uh...let's not do that too much, okay?" he said. Jack and Sam could toss people around now because they were stronger; Daniel wasn't sure how much he wanted to gang up on Anise and bully from the verbal side, either, especially since he wasn't sure who had the leverage in this game.
But Teal'c said only, "If Anise requires further motivation to find a way to remove the armbands, I will provide as much as necessary."
"Right," Daniel said, rubbing his arm. "But Janet said they've tried everything short of amputating Jack and Sam's arms to remove the bands. I don't know how much we can expect from Anise. I think she's as lost as we are."
"We can expect," Teal'c said firmly, "that she will finish what she began. She said that she expected us to trust her, and she must show that she is worthy of that trust. If we are to form an alliance with the Tok'ra, we cannot begin in a position of weakness. They may take advantage of humans and Jaffa if we allow them--it is in their nature."
"The Tok'ra are different from the Goa'uld, Teal'c."
"That remains to be seen."
Daniel shook his head. "No, Teal'c; they are. Freya was right--they've done a lot for our side. And for us specifically."
Teal'c looked down at him. "That does not make them different. It only means that they and the System Lords are on opposing sides."
"And what if they said you weren't any different from other Jaffa, except that you're on a different side?"
"Then they would be correct."
"Well...okay," Daniel said. "Still, their philosophy about hosts says a lot for their character." Except, of course, when they were desperate, like Jolinar, in which case they returned to acting like Goa'uld again. He wondered if they were desperate about something this time, too, that they were in such a hurry to start testing.
"If they are indeed different," Teal'c said evenly, "then let them show it."
Daniel supposed that was fair. He liked Martouf well enough, and Jacob and Selmak, but in general, he liked the idea of the Tok'ra more than the Tok'ra themselves.
"Dr. Fraiser believes that the lives of O'Neill and Major Carter are in significant danger," Teal'c added more quietly. "We need Anise's cooperation in order to end this."
"Yeah," Daniel said, because he'd seen firsthand how genuinely worried Janet was, even beyond her irritation with Anise. "I understand."
15 September 2000; Gymnasium, SGC; 0730 hrs
"Again," Teal'c said.
Daniel massaged his bruised shoulder and returned to stretching. "Jack knocked you out yesterday," he complained tightly. "How come you're fine already?"
"I am Jaffa," Teal'c said simply, supporting him with one hand and gently rotating his arm back with the other.
"Yeah, I know--ow, stop," Daniel said as he felt a cramp starting to constrict his shoulder. Teal'c paused, then continued, more slowly, as Daniel tried to relax and stop resisting.
"You should have gone immediately to the infirmary upon waking," Teal'c chided.
Daniel shook his head. "No, it just tightened overnight. It's okay." Teal'c gave him a stern look. "I have full range of movement. It's not like I don't know what a bruise feels like," he pointed out, reclaiming his arm. "Thanks for helping me loosen it."
"Hey, guys," Jack said brightly from the door. "Whatcha doin'?"
Teal'c glowered at him.
"What?" Jack said, then zipped inside without seeming to have moved at all. "Ah, don't give me that look, T. I said I was sorry."
"Aren't you defying a direct order from General Hammond by being out of quarantine?" Daniel said. "And where's Sam?"
"She went looking for food," Jack said, waving a hand unconcernedly.
"The last time you went looking for food, the two of you injured seven people at O'Malley's, and that was after you put Sergeant Siler in the infirmary."
"Was it seven? I didn't count."
"You know what you sound like, Jack?" Daniel said, as irritated as he was concerned by now.
Jack disappeared in a rush of wind.
"Never mind," Daniel sighed.
Teal'c made a low, growling sound in his throat but kept his expression neutral as he handed Daniel a bashaak staff. "The first sequences. Very slowly--and hold each movement to the fullest extent that you can stretch. Begin."
When they headed out together from the locker room, they met an airman who stopped them and said General Hammond was looking for them.
They found him in his office with Anise. "It seems," the general said, his tone very controlled, "that the Tok'ra High Council just happened to receive information about a new battleship being built by Apophis. Since they've been unable to disable it themselves, and since they coincidentally received this intelligence at the same time that Anise was running her experiment, they'd like Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter to destroy it for them."
Daniel sucked in a breath. Anise was looking at the desk. "I can't believe this," he said. "I cannot believe you would do this!"
It was Freya in control this time, and she held out a placating hand. "This was not the original intention of--"
"It's funny how these unexpected emergencies just keep coming up at the perfect time, isn't it?" he said, outraged.
"I assure you," she insisted, "Anise and I did not know of this when we first came here...but you understand that Apophis is rapidly gaining power over the System Lords. If he is allowed to complete this battleship, it will assure his dominance over the galaxy."
He glanced at Teal'c and the general, who made no move to stop his words but were also not joining in.
"Anise, Freya, get out of my office," the general said. "Mr. Jackson, SG-14 is preparing right now to leave for the next stage of treaty negotiations with the Tok'ra. Since the rest of SG-1 is currently impaired, I'd like you to escort them to Vorash."
Freya had paused on her way out. Daniel's gaze flicked to her, then back to the general. "Sir?"
"Dr. Fraiser tells me that Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter's health is in grave danger," the general went on, "and that their judgment is suffering the same way as it would if they had been unknowingly drugged."
"General," Freya started again, turning around.
"I've run out of patience for this," the general said over her. "This cannot go on." Daniel swallowed and forced down a spike of panic, not knowing exactly what he was expected to do. "I'd like you to pass on this message for me."
"Sir?" Daniel repeated. The general gave him a small nod, and he started to realize that this was a political maneuver with respect to the future more than anything else. As much as he would have preferred to leave the political maneuverings to the diplomats, especially when his team might be dying...he would be useless to his team on base at the moment. "What exactly would you like me to say?"
"Close the door, son," the general said. "Freya, out."
"Daniel--" Freya said, even as she backed the rest of the way out. Daniel closed the door.
Once they were alone, the general said, "Teal'c, you stay. I need your opinion on the intelligence they gave us. Mr. Jackson, this'll only take a minute and you leave in ten. Listen carefully."
Sam Carter had never felt so alive before.