"It's friggin' Fiji!"
Colonel O'Neill's startled eyes clung one second too long to the well rounded, and totally exposed backside of a sultry long-haired beauty. She padded along the inviting beach and darted smiling glances at him and his three companions.
Behind his team, the Stargate gleamed darkly in the torrid sunshine, appearing like a very un-moonlike moon gate as sea-spawned crystals fell in overlapping veils of rainbows. Short-lived, but renewed continually by restless ranks of foaming waves as each lunged high into the air, always unsuccessful in their attempt to climb over the rough stone platform the 'gate sat upon.
Major Carter's distinctive female voice drew his attention away from the local version of Venus risen-from-the-sea. Jack could hear her boots crunch sand on the vacuolated volcanic stone they all stood upon. He reddened just as he turned his face toward her, eliciting a strangled snicker from behind her.
Sam Carter smiled at his embarrassment and he just bet she had intentionally broken his stare. Well, he wasn't gonna give her the satisfaction, so he glared in the direction of Daniel Jackson, the same direction the snicker had come from. Only that worked about as well, the man's smile broadened the harder he glared.
"Teal'c, take point." O'Neill ground out, determined to regain a little dignity, "Carter, 'cover' our six. And maybe 'Doctor' Jackson can enlighten us as to why we're here?"
Daniel hopped and skipped to catch up with O'Neill's long-legged, ground-eating stride. He as well as the rest of SG-1 had experienced their CO's shortness of temper and withdrawal from them after the incident with the Reetou. In particular he knew just what a toll that must have had on this, at first glance, seemingly inexpressive man who was his friend
He, along with the rest of SG-1, had watched as Jack O'Neill had gone through the same process after the crystal entity. An event that had revealed all the guilt and pain the older man carried regarding the death of his son. Reetou Charlie had dragged their friend back down into that abyss of emotional turmoil once more. Now all of them patiently waited for him to recover and open up again.
"Ah, well, Jack. We're here to discover just how a Polynesian type culture exists. There is no evidence of...
Gaining on Jack, Daniel glanced ahead at Teal'c who strode into the scant crowd of gleaming naked bodies headed into the palm trees. The Jaffa followed a broad, well-worn path that he assumed led to a village and possibly the answers they sought.
"...any Goa'uld ever taking slaves from the South Pacific. And discovering..."
Daring to cast a peek over his shoulder at Sam, he smiled in reassurance. He remembered their conversation that had set this mission into motion. A clandestine meeting sans their CO, they decided a milk-run mission was needed; Jack had recovered from the burn on his shoulder, but not from the bruise to his soul. And, Jack being Jack pushed actively for an off-world mission. To their surprise General Hammond was most willing to fall in with their plan and grant their request to investigate this planet's cultural evolutionary paradox. Daniel wasn't about to admit this to O'Neill and neither were the others. It helped to have a general on your side when trying to deceive a cantankerous colonel.
"...just which culture this is and how it got here could give us important clues as to how the Goa'uld operate. Besides, I would love to know just what kind of cultural history could lead to forming an identical..."
"Ack, enough. I think we're here -- and you're up, Daniel."
He stepped around the colonel towards the tight group of men and women in bright-feathered capes. Thoughts of his friend and the real reasons for this mission temporarily burned from his consciousness by the anticipation of discovery.
O'Neill stood stiffly, and allowed his eyes to rove over everything, hyper-vigilant as always. Teal'c had positioned himself off to the side of the local elders, his back to the log leg of a stilted dwelling. Carter had fanned out to flank her teammates, completing the crossfire kill-zone he expected of them.
He communicated silently with Teal'c, they only had to make eye contact to agree there was no danger here. None of the natives had weapons and nowhere to even conceal any. Jack passed on this information through a discreet hand signal to Carter and watched as SG-1 relaxed. Not that anyone around them would have noticed, he and experience had taught them long ago how not to reveal their battle readiness or lack of, even Daniel was capable of that. Of course, right now, Daniel was enthralled with the native elders, and showed only excitement and pleasure to be in their presence.
Introductions were made and food was brought, all of SG-1, joined in the getting acquainted. Only he hung back and though he politely acknowledged direct attempts at communication from the natives, his heart really wasn't in this getting-to-know-you chitchat; it was all just too painful right now.
This was Daniel's show; he was the brains. Big bad Colonel O'Neill was just here to scare whom ever needed scaring. And at the moment that appeared to be no one. The further he could keep people, the safer they were.
Daniel watched as Jack withdrew emotionally, if not physically, from the festivities and he hoped that his explanation of his friend's behavior mollified the elders. He told them Jack was their leader and only stepped in if necessary, and hoped that they wouldn't press Jack too hard to join in. As luck would have it these people were very Polynesian in their concept of hospitality, and accepted Jack's aloofness as nothing more than his role as leader. He did worry about the oldest elder, still beautiful despite her sun-ravaged skin, her strong-boned face framed by raven black wings of lustrous hair that a younger woman would envy. She had to be ten years Jack's senior. She had taken a distinct interest in watching the leader of SG-1. And that worried him.
Sam too had noticed the scrutiny of the stately woman and Daniel explained to her that her name was Subu and she was the secondary chief of the village, and their spiritual priestess. He noticed just how sharp the native woman was when he noticed that she watched Sam watching her watch Jack, even shooting a friendly smile and nod when Sam caught her. The woman studied them all as food was placed before them, but her eyes fell more often on Jack. Deciding to ignore the interplay of observation Daniel explained that the chief was the priestess' only son. The man in question welcomed them through gestures and invited them to eat.
He continued to struggle to communicate with the elders, but Daniel knew he was beginning to win once he established that the language was rooted in a mix of Mandarin and Russo-Germanic roots. In excited tones he explained his discovery to Jack and his belief that they were descendants of a lost race of people who disappeared from the steppes of Mongolia near China. This race of people with genetic ties to a Germanic heritage vanished in the early eras of Chinese consolidation, placing their removal from Earth well within known Goa'uld harvesting of slaves and maybe even proving a direct connection to one well-known System Lord, Yu, since only he seemed to have dominion over that portion of Earth at the time.
Jack listened patiently, appearing to digest this information, and only asked him about the natives' present connection with the snakes. A predictable question from his military friend and Daniel expressed to him his conviction that the Goa'uld had long ago lost track of or abandoned this world for some reason. For so far, only vague references to demons with glowing eyes existed in what little of their legends had come to light so far in the long afternoon of exchanged information.
Having arrived close to midday, the two groups lounged well into the night; Daniel passed on more and more information as his fluency with the language increased with usage. He was somewhat surprised as the visibly alert Jack allowed Sam to slip into slumber, watched over by Teal'c who appeared to be Kelno'reem-ing. His friend usually knew what he was doing and so concentrated on their hosts.
Subu was just as watchful as O'Neill and could not help but notice this strange group's leader as his attention shifted to Erdene. She had suddenly appeared at the edge of the firelight and crawled into her son's lap, Batu shifted easily and settled his young daughter against him. The painful longing that flashed into the eyes of this aloof stranger could not be missed by any who had lost a member of their family and even less so by anyone who had lost a child. Subu had lost two daughters and one son. Batu was all of her flesh that remained among the living. She hoped that soon he would take a new wife, having lost the misnamed Cheren less than a cycle ago. Again she cursed the faceless god that deemed to name a child 'long life;' no child should be burdened so.
To see this pain in this stranger's eyes decided her -- these were good people. Their warrior leader had worried her, far more than the silent dark one, but now she knew why he stood apart. His soul grieved. And from the looks that passed between leader and dark warrior, she need not be concerned, where the leader led the dark one followed, as would the speaker and the woman.
The woman puzzled her; she was protective of the leader, but not submissive as a wife. Perhaps they were promised; perhaps their people had different customs? Warrior women existed here, even though warriors were not needed, as war had not existed here between the peoples since the time the hollow moon had been far from the sea that now cast its spray onto it. Fear of the demons forced some to take up weapons that they never use, and she hoped they never would.
Jack was more than ready when the priestess Subu signaled the end of discussions when she stood. He had noticed that she was the power behind the chief, but then she was his mother. It was only natural.
Staying silent, he listened as Daniel explained that a hut would be provided to them for the night. To express his appreciation to the elders he bowed, causing them to smile in return. Then he trailed after Daniel and his native guide toward the promised hut. He would relish getting out of the increasing wind.
"We should be safe here. But if you're volunteering to take night guard I won't object," Jack answered in response to Teal'c, he'd planned to take first watch himself. He didn't foresee any problems during the night; the brewing storm would slow down any such nefarious intentions.
Daniel's attempt to nudge Carter as he passed her hadn't escaped Jack and he stopped to offer his hand to haul her up.
"Sorry, sir. I..."
"Carter if I'd wanted you awake you'd have been awake. Now let's get some rest. Daniel has a long day tomorrow."
Their guide led them to a comfortable looking stilted hut reached by log-hung planks that served as wide steps, and probably seats too. Sheathed with palm leaf mats its brittle walls blocked the rising wind, offering a dry place to sleep within and an open area at the head of the steps to lounge or work.
Stepping aside, Jack glanced at the sky; clouds scudded across it to obscure snatches of stars. He stood gazing upwards as the others filed passed him to drop their packs inside. Teal'c paused beside him just long enough to relieve him of his own pack, slumped at his feet. Jacked nodded his thanks as his friend carried it inside for him.
Alone; his eyes roved over the village, lit only by a small dim moon, all of the fires were gone. He shuddered to think what a wind-driven fire could do to huts built of dry leaves. Part of him mused sadly as he remained alert for movement in the rasping toss of palms under the dim waning moon. Hours later, the first soft plops of warm rain drove him from the large roofed entrance platform leaving behind an unmoving, but vigilant Teal'c.
Sleep came swiftly; the rising violence of the storm didn't disturb those of SG-1 who slept, Jack envied them, his inner turmoil kept him from resting far longer than he'd planned. Storms must be very frequent here, as the natives had not shown any alarm. They knew much more about their own weather than he, so he rolled over and finally drifted off to sleep, the crash of the wind his last sensation.
Daniel discovered in the morning that the unconcern of the natives in regards to the weather had died in the night; today they proved restless and anxious. He was forced to deliver disturbing news to Jack as his friend stood at the edge of the village and watched the surf crash partially over the 'gate's platform. He was sure that his news would not come as a surprise, proof of incoming disaster plain enough even for himself.
"It's what they call a 'taker of lives,'" Daniel stated after standing with his back to the crashing sea, he wanted to observe his friend. "Many lives are lost during this part of the year when they come without warning. Chief Batu urges us to leave."
"Then we leave," Jack snapped before turning on his heel and headed in the direction of their hut. He cast one last command over his shoulder. "Gear up, Daniel."
Daniel felt disappointed, he wanted to stay, and he had believed that Jack wanted to stay to help these people. Though the natives had lived this way all their lives, there would be little they could do but watch this disaster unfold. Perhaps that was the reason behind Jack's bite, he saw what could happen and felt the pain of knowing that his responsibility was to protect his team, not save the native population from a natural disaster. After a searching look at the incoming storm Daniel followed his friend and commander. There is only so much one could do. But still…
SG-1 assembled in record time at the beach, but the water had risen further and Jack was afraid they had missed their opportunity, he didn't really want to leave, but his team needed to be protected. That was his job and somehow he would get them home. His heart burned at the knowledge of what would happen to the people who lived here, especially to the children.
Jack could tell that he was broadcasting his uneasyiness at the 'somehow' he had devised; he could see it in Carter's face. He refused to acknowledge her worry as he watched Teal'c wade across the surging waist-high water, a rope pulled out behind him.
He really hated that it wasn't him doing this, but logic dictated that Teal'c would have the best chance of success. He sweated out the Jaffa's emergence from the waves and watched him tie the rope to the gate. Then it was Carter's turn. Then Daniel. He breathed a sigh of relief, now only he remained. SG-1 was nearly home and safe.
Taking hold of the rope Jack pushed out into the still-raising water. At one point he was lifted off his feet and dunked under by an especially large wave, he pulled hard on the rope and inched along until he felt the steps under his knees. Climbing to his feet he looked back at the villagers. In horror he saw the lurker wave that had dunked him crash into the gathered natives and snatch the chief and a few others from the beach. He only had eyes for the small girl ripped from the chief's arms.
"Go, that's an order," he screamed over the surf noise at his team; then added an additional cryptic command. "Teal'c!"
Jack turned and dove into the water straight for the drifting girl, he was the only one close enough to prevent her being pulled into the open sea beyond the Stargate platform. Teal'c he knew would take SG-1 home and trust that his CO would get back somehow, or some when.
To reach the girl wasn't easy, and even less easy getting back to the beach. Every time he touched the sand under his sodden boots it vanished. Waves sucked it away faster then he could find purchase in it. Hands were suddenly there; natives with hand-woven ropes secured around their waists pulled them from the water. Erdene screamed for her father, her frantic pointing drew his exhausted attention to the man. He was still out there, oblivious to the fact that his daughter was now safe. Handing off the girl to her grandmother, Jack stopped just long enough to shed his boots. But he found his way blocked by a group of natives ordered by Subu to restrain him. Her estimate of his chances must have been lower than his own he thought. Successfully he evaded them and dove back into the water to save the girl's father.
It took longer to reach Batu than he liked; and the man fought him when he did. Jack knew his strength wasn't infinite and the cool water, at first refreshing, was greedily sucking at it. Forcefully he wrapped his arms and legs around the distraught father forcing his face in the direction of the beach where his daughter stood – safe. Once the man saw the child he renewed his efforts to break free, something Jack hadn't expected; first Batu pushed him away and then began to tug him towards shore, his intent plain. Time to get to higher ground.
Jack's limbs felt like lead. Batu's burst of overpowering strength burned out halfway towards their goal and now the chief was being pulled rather than doing the pulling. Only when hands clamped onto O'Neill did he realize that they'd reached the beach where natives moved to haul them free. Screams erupted when a huge wave sucked them and their would-be rescuers back into the surf. More hands joined the men and woman who anchored the rescuers and with renewed effort all were pulled panting and retching from the water.
Gasping in the wet sand, Jack watched as Batu held Erdene's sobbing body to him, trying to literally merge with the child. A pair of legs blocked the emotional reunion and he struggled to his knees as Subu dropped to hers, face to face; she placed a hand on either shoulder and touched her forehead to his. He blinked in surprise as she declared "Crrchoo." To him the word meant nothing, but her meaning was clear, she was thanking him for the lives of her family. At her next command hands hauled him to his feet and he stumbled along into the trees, following Subu and her family.
Two brawny natives kept him on his feet as he fought his way through the rapidly flooding village onto higher ground. No one was left to fall behind; it was a group effort to reach the barren heights of volcanic stone beyond the palms. He found they moved only as fast as the slowest individual over the rough ground. Jack cried out when he tripped and fell, cutting his leg on the outside below the knee. He found himself suddenly with two more helpers who hauled him upright and nearly carried him up the sharp slippery stone at a slower limping pace.
It didn't take long to reach a large dark hole with what looked like poles sticking out of it. The poles turned out to be more like markers; slender flags at their tips snapped in the wind, he'd heard the sound long before he saw the poles. Vaguely the thought that it was a very effective system floated through the rapidly advancing fatigue. The unnatural darkness of the storm made finding this place difficult but the snapping flags unerringly led them to the cave opening.
Jack slumped onto a rock, still gripped by two of his escort and watched as the natives found and used the stone steps that descended down into the dark hole. Carefully his native helpers saw to it that he too joined the orderly group of refugees. Many hands guaranteed his safe decent.
It wasn't entirely dark down there, torches and fires dotted the long smooth tunnel, and the hole was just a section of the roof that had collapsed. It was a lava tunnel, a place large enough for a freight train, once filled with liquid stone. But the river of rock was gone and its passage had left behind a hardened empty subway tube, an unusual shelter from the raging storm outside.
Subu appeared from the mass of bodies and settled Jack against an upward curving wall that he could have sworn was made of chocolate. She eased him down onto a padded mat where he tiredly leaned back, gingerly stretching out his injured leg. His muscles ached and the cut burned. Subu did not leave, and to his embarrassment she began exposing his leg, expertly cutting his trousers away, his still unvoiced protest died on his lips at a glare from the woman crouched before him. He knew he didn't understand her words anymore than she understood his. But that look was very plain, 'Shut up, and take it like a man.' Oy.
Others took care of Batu and his daughter, and Jack watched as the pair were swiftly divested of their scant clothing and wrapped in rough blankets. Nudity here was usual and not noticed; except by Jack who was currently being cajoled from his own wet wrappings. They even took his olive drab shorts. His furiously obvious blush was soon covered by his own blanket by a grinning Subu. He was shivering by that time, yet his leg felt good. She had expertly wrapped it with something that also numbed it before she dried off his legs and even rubbed his sandy feet clean.
Jack flinched when Subu returned her attention to his feet; he'd hauled ass up the volcano bootless. His socks had protected him some, but he knew that he had a few cuts. And each one ached like hell. She smeared the same stuff she'd used on the cut, onto them, causing him to sigh in relief. But still he shivered, he hoped he wasn't slipping into shock and this was just his body's reaction to being scared to within an inch of its life.
Subu gave him a concerned look, which he tried to avoid; she needed to see to her son and granddaughter. He knew she had tended to him before even looking to her family out of some perception of gratitude. Her actions probably had more to do with his submission to her ministrations more than her bark and warning glare. The less time she spent with him the sooner she would get back to her family. He wasn't a cruel man; he understood all too well the need to protect family. He could endure small indignities to get her back to them faster.
Like a starving man he watched the family. Its center was Erdene, her earlier terror forgotten as she giggled and smiled at her father and grandmother. Jack's heart felt weighted; there had been too many reminders of his loss of late, and worst were those tantalizing tastes of the delights of having a child; which gave him too much to remember in the long sleepless nights since he had turned Reetou Charlie over to Selmac. Sometimes it was hard to recall that he wasn't all snake; that General Carter was there too. He actually liked them both, even as he was revolted by what they were.
Jack didn't know what to do when he found three pairs of eyes fixed on him. So he did the only thing he could -- he closed his. And that caused him to jump when he was touched. The touch was accompanied by a giggle. He felt something like panic; children were not safe around him. No sirree. So, he tried to pretend he was asleep. But Erdene and her childish wisdom crawled up into his lap; her head snuggled into his blanket-covered chest. A small sharp elbow hit a sensitive spot and his eyes popped open, his first sight was a dark head of hair that was the closest representative of the wiggling little body that shifted to find a comfortable position in his lap. Helplessly he looked at the small girl's family. All he got were smiles and nods. His gaze dropped down to the diminutive invader of his sorrow just as Erdene's head tilted back and her smiling face appeared; a soft little arm snaked up to his face and she commanded.
Jack had no idea what she commanded, but her warmth was helping with his shivers. She voiced her command again, only this time she reached up and slid that chubby child hand over an eye, forcing instinct to close it. Oh, sleep. She wanted him to sleep. Or she wanted to sleep? He closed his eyes and scooted down into the nest of blankets he had grown over the short time he'd sat here and stilled. Hoping to play possum and appease his small occupation of one.
Slow steady huffing in his ear woke him, the storm's steady screeching was absent. Only the quiet bustle of people around him could be heard, a soft light shown through the hole that accessed the tunnel. The breath in his ear was Erdene's father, her small body sandwiched protectively between them. She laid almost face down, her butt more on Jack and her head more on Batu. Jack smiled at the picture she presented; but was a tad startled when he found himself looking directly into Batu's very awake eyes; the man's face broke into one of the most open and welcoming smiles he'd ever experienced. In response he closed his eyes and did a Teal'c style bow, softly smiling upon opening them again. The man nodded back, they both understood, two men whose only concern was the small life the lay between them. Each would willingly die for it.
Jack didn't realize it then, but it was soon made plain to him that he had been adopted wholeheartedly into the villagers' hearts. It was clear to him that children were the center of their lives and in risking his for a child he hardly knew they recognized him as a kindred spirit. One of their own, to be succored in his time of need. Their actions over the days that followed made that abundantly clear. It had been a long time since he had been part of a family, now he belonged to a family two hundred or so strong.
Over the last few years SG-1 had been his family, a surrogate family. Each member needed the other; each would die for the other. But still, they were a pale imitation of the real deal. He wished they were with him to share this, to experience the wholehearted acceptance of these people.
With his new family he returned to see the bare sand where the village had once stood. He viewed the Stargate beyond the newly ravaged rocky beach; across the tidal pools he could see only the upper third of the great ring above the surging water. Though gestures, signs and drawings in the sand Batu and Subu told him that this was one of the great storms, the people's only enemy. Each storm took more of the land each time, and then would return just a little of it. And in a few days the water would lower, exposing the Stargate. This news relieved him, though not as much as when the 'gate connected.
At the time, only half of the 'gate was submerged, but enough that it drowned the MALP. Only half a day later it connected again, one of new experimental UAVs flew through, using only the upper portion of the arc. He stood and waved his arms drawing its and the villagers' attention. The whole of the SGC must have seen him standing in front of the entire village of waving arms through its eye. Its small body circled a few times before it flew towards the 'gate and then straight back, dipping its wings and burying itself in the sand at his feet. Those actions showed him that they knew he was there; rescue was a surety. Only the sea itself would decide when.
It took two more days before the water lowered enough to expose the DHD and the drowned MALP. Resurrecting the MALPs communication system was out of the question, it wasn't designed to survive salt water and he'd lost his own communications to the same problem. He'd spent the last almost week living in native costume, a length of cloth wrapped around his waist that draped to his knees and a pair of woven sandals, his feet were still pretty tender and he tended to limp from them and the cut. Subu subjected him twice daily to inspections; she personally tended to his wounds allowing no one else near him.
Today was the day, the water would be low enough, he knew that the 'gate would connect some time in the late afternoon and SG-1 would come for him. He just wished he had some clothes.
He sat under a canopy a few of the older boys had erected for him, their female counterparts saw to it that he rested, was fed and watered, catering to his every need. In return he was surrounded by every child in the village. It had taken him a few days to figure it out, but this was their way of showing him gratitude for saving not just Erdene, but Batu, their leader. He was more than a little humbled by such trust and took his new role seriously, as seriously as any overly large child in a group at play.
At the kawoosh of the now dry Stargate, he sighed as loudly in regret as the children around him. He stood as his teammates stepped from the blue puddle, their eyes finding him difficult to discover in his native camouflage. He probably scared the hell out of them when he proceeded to hug each in turn, smiling freely at them. He was going home, and was glad and sad at the same time. But, more glad now than sad, a decided turnaround from the way he felt when he had arrived here.
Parting from his new family was hard; neither understood the other except for where it truly mattered. And he noticed that for some reason Daniel stood well back from the hugs and kisses, the touches and offerings of food from the villagers. Even Carter stood back with a silly grin on her face. No one was willing to save him from the tender mercies of the locals it seemed.
Teal'c stayed close to him as they approached the 'gate, he knew that the big Jaffa would have many questions about what had happened here. His own constant glances back at the waving villagers and suddenly unnatural quiet appeared to have his friend worried. More worried than his still present limp caused, his alien friend remained at his side as they passed through the Chaapa'ai, the gate room and right on into the infirmary. There would be a conversation in the future between them, only its content would deal more with lives risked than lives redeemed. His redemption was for him alone to ponder.
He couldn't quite bring himself out of his retrospective mood; it only seemed to deepen. Janet Fraiser was forced to prod him, her face neutral; a sure sign of her worry for him. A sly smile from him put that to rights, and his full blown one must have made her year because she expedited his release. Only directed that the cut on his leg needed to be watched the next couple of days and a request to inform her if anything worsened on his feet; which looked to be healing nicely.
He'd have to remember that trigger the next time he really wanted to get to the showers, and into some clothes. He presented too much of a tempting target in his current native garb. Even the Doc was hard put to mask her interest. And Carter was totally hopeless, her face really must hurt from all the suppressed grinning she was doing.
His only revenge was the fact that Carter was stuck in the infirmary waiting her turn and he smirked at her on the way out to the locker room and that hot shower. His triumphant was short lived; Janet stepped up to Carter and began a little conspiratorial whispering. He was pretty sure it was just to get his goat, but you could never tell with those two.
His name floated over the shower wall just as he turned off the water, he knew the owner of the voice. Guess it was time to face the music.
"Are you okay?"
"What makes you think I'm not? Don't I look okay?" Not that Daniel could actually see him at the moment he reminded himself, so he wrapped a towel around his waist and presented himself for inspection. Way easier than arguing with the man.
"Ah, well, you don't look like a man who risked his life to save the chief's daughter." Jack withstood the protracted examination of his mostly exposed body; he paused to allow it before he moved to his locker to dress.
"And you know this how?" asked Jack, eyebrows raised in mock surprise.
"You forget; I do speak the language. Do you know what they call you?"
"No, Daniel. I don't. Do you?" Jack shook his head, still in the habit of using body language to communicate.
"No, not at first, I had to wait and look it up. It loosely translates as God Father."
"What! Crap, they don't think..." So startled was he at that, he dropped his boot to the floor with a loud thud.
"No, not that. I'm pretty sure. A better translation, at least meaning wise, would be 'father to all.'"
"Oh? Well, that was pretty much what I was there for a while. The local babysitter," he declared and smirked up at Daniel.
"It means a lot more than that to them..."
"Daniel, I have a pretty good idea of the honor those villagers gave me. As for being okay, I wasn't okay when we first arrived, but you know... I think I am now. Does that answer your question?"
"Ah, yeah. Pretty much. Except..."
"And since when do I go around canceling team get-togethers?"
"So, lets go. We're taking my truck. Ack, no argument." And with that flung over his back, Jack slipped out the door leaving behind a happily stunned Daniel, who muttered.
Original Header Information:
Title: Storm Surge