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Disclaimer: I don’t own Stargate. I don’t own any characters and all that stuff.

I’m sure that’s fairly obvious and I’m not sure how needed it is. I wrote this short story years ago, back when I was in college. I spent most of my free time on an online forum known as Gateworld. I almost got lost in there too. I think I hit 10,000 posts in like 5 months? I’ve viewed online communities with wary skepticism ever since, though a great deal of that is my own concern with being sucked back into a world so completely again. It’s a little scary.

Anyway, I wrote this story for some friends I met there. It’s got quite a few call backs to the Stargate television show and I was just starting to kick the ideas of plot and characterization around.

I find that a lot of fanfiction could be, with some work, on par with published works. Certainly, some of the stories have humor and characters and stories that could be outstanding and popular.

A problem—and simultaneous strength—of fanfiction is it’s reliance on known characters and back story to have emotional resonance. It’s a short cut and short hand for development and innovation. I consider the Star Trek Relaunch universe and Star Wars Legends novels fanfiction. Impressive and published fanfiction, but fanfiction none-the-less.

The title of this piece if THE REALM OF ROADS. This is the only time I’ve ever attempted fanfiction and I’m rather proud of the results.

So, with zero reticence or embarrassment, here’s a work based on someone else’s creation.

 “Teal’c, Jacky: you’re late.”

Madeline Teal’c rubbed her eyes and gave a non-caring glance at her friend. “It’s 0445 hours.”

Jacky O’Neill shrugged, not caring either. “We’re still here.”

“You were supposed to be here by 0435 hours.” Sam Carter sighed. Sometimes, those two were hopeless. She suspected that Teal’c got many of her bad habits from Jacky, but since Teal’c normally never said anything, it was hard to tell.

A hand stopped her from complaining further. “Let them be. It is early.”

Sam turned to face Danielle Jackson. “I suppose,” she frowned.

Jacky looked up brightly, seeing the argument was over. With a slightly benign and curious expression, she turned to Sam. “So, who else is keeping really odd hours of the morning? And why are we all dressed in green?”

“Well, let’s see.” Sam gazed over the courtyard. “There are the three musketeers, Em, Merrin, and Angelique currently fawning over the latest issue of GQ and with WT standing over there, staring at the stars, that’s it.”

“Uh, I’ve been wondering this for a bit, but does WT actually stand for anything? You know, sorta like Wendy Truly-Darling? Just curious…”

“Indeed, it does not, O’Neill.” Teal’c gazed at her friend.

“Well, I have a question.” Danielle pushed her glasses up her nose. “Why are they looking at Go’auld Quarterly?”

“Oh,” Sam blushed. “They got that… that… uh, from,” she coughed, “me, actually. It… uh… it’s got… it has a picture of Ba’al,” she finally rushed out.

Jacky gave Sam a strange look. “What is your fascination with this guy?”

Watching the exchange, Danielle gave Teal’c a nudge in the stomach and pointed to Jacky. Teal’c smiled slightly and nodded. Very softly, Danielle began to hum the tune to “I Wish I were A Lesbian,” while Teal’c sung the lyrics, equally soft.

Jacky’s eyebrows twitched slightly but before she could respond, their professor, Georgina Hammond cleared her throat, gathering the attention of everyone present. As the eight students assembled, Doctor Hammond eyed them all.

“You are all juniors at this school. With specialties and high marks in archeology and linguistics, rangers, mechanical engineering, and self-defense respectively, you have been chosen to represent you class in this years SGC program.

“SGC,” questioned Jacky, whispering to Sam.

“Stargate Centurion,” she whispered back.

Doctor Hammond continued. “As with every other class, two teams will be formed, each having a member with expertise in the areas I’ve mentioned. Jacky, Teal’c, Sam, and Danielle, you will comprise SG-1. You’re destination is a colony on P7X-359. O’Neill has been selected and will be in command of your team for the duration of this field trip. In case she is injured, Samantha is to take her place. Clear?”

“Yes, Professor,” the four friends responded in unison.

“The rest of you,” Hammond turned to Angelique, Em, Merrin and WT, “will be SG-2. Angelique has command and Em is her second. Your destination is P3X-747.”

Concluding the assignments, each member was handed a folder, containing all their mission information and a bag containing survival equipment. When they had received their gear, they all assembled in front of the Stargate.

“SG-1, you’re up,” called Hammond. “Good luck and have fun.”

As the gate dialed, Sam gaped in awe. She’d heard stories about this but she’d never imagined she actually get to go through. As the wormhole established, she touched the sapphire energy field.

“Amazing, you can actually see the fluctuations on the event horizon.”

“As fascinating as I’m sure this is,” muttered Jacky, “can we please move out?”

Above Sam’s protest and Teal’c and Danielle’s smiles, Jacky dragged her friend through the gate. Their adventure was beginning.

#

Sam stumbled out of the gate feeling as if every molecule in her body had just been flash-frozen and defrosted but not quite all the way. A hand touched her shoulder, causing her to jump slightly. It was Teal’c.

“Mistress Carter, are you injured?”

Looking around, she saw Danielle on her back, apparently the position she had exited the gate in, staring at the gate. “Wow,” she uttered, “that was interesting.”

Jacky was resting against a stone pillar, looking as if she wanted to puke. “Tell me about it.”

Momentarily though, everyone was returned to normal and began to look around the room where they were. It was a dark room with only the eerie glow of the gate illuminating it. From what she could see, Sam saw that the gate positioned at the end of a long corridor, with pillars that rose high into the air, reaching a ceiling a hundred feet above them, while the corridor itself extended half a kilometer farther at downward slant. The pillars, walls, and steps were made of a rock and engraved with a language she had never seen before. Turning, she saw Danielle looking at the same inscriptions. A draining sound and an immediate lack of light told her that the gate was deactivated. Reaching into her pouch she pulled out a flare and snapped it. The room was one again illuminated with pale blue and red light.

She turned to Danielle. “What’d you think?”

Danielle sighed. “I don’t know. They might be some form of Egyptian or Babylonian. There’s definitely some hints of Tau’ri based classic Latin and pre-dynastic Mandarin. I’ll take some notes but I’ve never seen anything like this.” She shrugged. “It could take a while.”

Jack hoisted her weapon, a standard P90, and checked the rounds. Once she finished, she did the same for her side arms. “Ok, everyone,” she announced, “check your weapons and prepare to move out.”

Seeing Danielle’s look of protest, she finished with some impatience, “We’ll be back later, after we’ve made some rounds and secured a perimeter.”

The room echoed with the sounds of lights attaching to weapons and weapons being checked. Danielle looked at her weapon as if she’d never seen one before.

O’Neill sighed. “Safety off, point, and shoot.” She pushed the gun down. “Not at me.”

“Ah… Just out of curiosity, why do we have these? I’ve never heard of guns saving explorers before.”

Sam grinned. “Same principal as a condom; rather you have one and not need it then need it and not have one.”

Danielle blushed, uncomfortable with the metaphor. Slapping her friend on the shoulder, Sam moved to grab some gear. With that settled, the quartet moved down the hall to the entrance, a reaching arch covered with pictographs and the strange writing.

“Teal’c, take point.” O’Neill motioned to the hall.

As SG-1 traveled through the corridors of the ruins, their only light was that of their weapons and the glow-sticks on their forearms. Danielle took the time to look at the ruins. Their main course was the primary corridor but as they walked, they saw hallways that lead to different rooms. The air was completely dry, with no hint of moister.

When they had been exploring for most of the day and well into the evening, they came to a chamber with three entrances. It was a pentagon in shape with the darkness broken only by three columns of light pouring from above the separate entrances.

Teal’c stopped and frowned. “O’Neill-”

“Yeah, I know. We’re not alone.”

O’Neill held up a hand, stopping Sam and Danielle. Motioning with her hand, O’Neill directed where everyone should go. Nodding, to indicate they understood, Sam and Teal’c moved.

“Danielle, what are you doing,” hissed Jacky.

Danielle shrugged. “I don’t know what ‘this’ means,” she responded, mimicking Jack’s former hand movements. Jacky groaned.

“It means,” she growled, “to go over-” She stopped and whirled as she heard shuffles echo in the halls.

The air filled with the sounds of weapons arming and safeties being removed. Looking up, a confused Danielle saw a strange, snake-like hand weapon pointed at her face. Looking around, she saw the rest of her team had their weapons armed and pointed at another being. Uncertain as to what would happen next, she raised her hands, and looked towards Jacky.

“Uh, any ideas?”

O’Neill shot her an incredulous look. “I’m working on it.”

There was an uneasy truce between the two groups as they stood silently, neither apparently wanting to risk a firefight, at least no immediately. For an unknown amount of time, they faced off, no one moving.

Finally, a boy, presumably the new group’s leader, stepped into the fading light of the passage. His weapon was not drawn, but his hand still rested lightly on its hilt, and no one in SG-1 was under any disillusions they could make a move on him before he drew and shot them. He simply exuded a feeling of supreme confidence, not arrogance, but enough to make it clear that their feeling was not a bluff.

“We mean you no harm, but, if you move, we will attack.”

“Same here,” retorted Jacky, though the echoes in the voice sent shivers down her spine.

“Jacky,” Danielle said cautiously, “these people are from the All Systems University, System Lord sect.”

That was the most prestigious university in the known galaxies. There, the Go’auld trained to be the future leaders of their planets, learning everything from politics to combat. It was much different then their university, where everyone was a specialist.

Sam looked up. “System Lord sect? Then you’re Ba’al, the Supreme System Lord.”

The boy nodded. “And you are of the Cheyenne Complex, Stargate Centurion sect.”

“They have a Jaffa amongst them,” hissed a female voice from the shadows.

“Be calm, Osiris.” He turned to face Teal’c. “How did you come to be among the Tau’ri?”

“I am allied with the Tau’ri as a student of the exchange program.”

“That program…” Ba’al paused to consider what was happening.

While he was in thought, Jacky spoke up. “We should lower our weapons and continue this without the threat of killing.”

Ba’al looked amused. “And if we don’t agree?”

“Then we all start shooting, there’d be blood, people dying, hard feelings; it would suck.”

Ba’al smiled widely: Jacky shuddered, Danielle flinched, Teal’c scowled, Sam tried not to stare.

“Alright then.” He removed his hand from his weapon and motioned for the others to lower their weapons. They did so, one by one stepping into the light.

“These are my companions: Osiris,” he pointed to the stunning blonde; “Yu,” he gestured to the Asian boy with a long, black beard and shaved head; “and Selmak, of the Tok’ra exchange,” he finished, indicating the young boy with sandy brown hair.

“Jacky O’Neill, Samantha Carter, Danielle Jackson, and Madeline Teal’c,” Jacky indicated herself and her teammates.

As night had no meaning within the vastness of the temple, the two groups soon decided to make camp for the night. Their only gauge of time was the light from the entrances, which had faded considerable since their stand off had begun.

Still suspicious, Jacky kept her weapon with her, holstered within easy reach.

“O’Neill, you are still armed.” Ba’al looked at O’Neill, as he placed his gear in a corner.

“Better I have my weapon ready at all times then the unsightly alternative,” retorted Jacky.

“Indeed. But that weapon… it seems you have another use for it?”

“Let me make this clear: you and I will never be friends, we will never be allies. I am only doing this because there is no other choice. I don’t trust you snakes.”

“Pity, you could have been useful.” Ba’al smirked at her.

“Tell you what, when something goes wrong, you can die and put us out of our misery.” Jacky scowled.

Danielle sighed. “Jacky, come on.”

“Danielle’s right,” Sam echoed her friend, as she eyed Ba’al.

Ba’al noticed and smiled at her. Blushing guiltily that she had been caught, Sam turned away. Jacky glared at the interaction and was about to intervene when a firm hand from Teal’c. Irate, Jacky turned to Teal’c with a questioning look.

“O’Neill, do not interfere in such matters. System Lords are not those you want as enemies.”

With obvious self-restraint, Jacky turned with Teal’c to begin setting up their camp. It was strange for her to be working with these Go’auld.

Within such close quarters, she didn’t trust them, not even with her weapon still on her. As she watched the Go’auld light the fire with their strange snake-like weapon, Jacky saw that she was the only one that appeared to be having a problem adjusting. Yu and Danielle were talking in the cornering, pointing to the walls reflecting the firelight, Osiris and Ba’al were calming having a conversation by their beds, in which Sam had begun to take part. Even Teal’c had begun a conversation with Selmak, in the native tongue of her Jaffa people. With a motion from Ba’al Osiris got up and moved over to the discussion with Danielle and Yu. They spoke in hushed whispers leaving Jacky alone in her thoughts.

Somewhere in the universe, her family was not readying for bed as they once had. Her younger brother, Charlie, was dead from a staff weapon wound a bunch of drunk and wasted Go’auld students had inflicted. Her mother had never forgiven her for not stopping it and sent her off to the Cheyenne Complex. Her three friends were the only family she had now. It was strange; her mother had never forgiven her, but years ago she had said she was still proud of Jacky, and Jacky believed her. But she had also said she could never forget losing her youngest son and that Jacky would have a better life at the university. Jacky suspected the true reason was that she reminded her mother to much of her younger brother. Unlike her mother, she could never forgive herself for not watching over her brother, but sometimes, when she was with good friends, she could forget.

“You ok?”

Jacky looked up to see Danielle’s concerned face. “I suppose; no worse then any other night.”

Danielle took a seat next to her. “That good, huh?”

“Yup,” replied Jacky with a false sense of amiability.

“Have you ever forgiven yourself?” Danielle’s question was offered so softly Jacky almost didn’t hear her.

“No. But I’m hopeful someday I can find atonement. But you should know that, we have this conversation at least once a week.”

“Yeah, but something always tells me I have to check to make sure you’re still fine.”

“Dealing with it and fine are two different things.”

This time, Danielle didn’t respond. The two friends sat in silence, watching the fire, their bodies resting against one another.

“Sara…”

Jacky turned to Danielle, surprised at the break in their silence. “What?”

Danielle turned to Jacky, but her gaze was on Osiris. “Her host, her name is Sara Gardner. She was my best friend at the institute where I studied archeology.

“When we graduated from the institute, I was accepted to the Cheyenne Complex, she was accepted to the All Systems University. I never heard from her again, though I missed her terribly. I suppose our work kept us apart; I was seemingly married to mine.”

“Then Osiris would be your mistress, which,” said O’Neill with a thoughtful expression, “would explain why you’re still in love with her. Don’t worry, something of the host must remain.”

“What?”

“Well, she clearly recognized you, though she hid it well. For an instant, when she noticed you, her eyes flickered. I’d wager whatever was going through the host’s mind, her symbiote shared in it at least partially.”

Danielle looked at him. “At least that’s what Teal’c tells me,” admitted Jacky. She looked up at the ceiling of the room. “Tomorrow, I’m assigning you to work with her on translating what we’ve seen written in the gate room.”

“Oh, ok…”

 

Three days later…

“Jacky… Jacky… I’ve got it! I know who built this place!”

Groaning, Jacky rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “Danielle, do you even know what time it is?”

“Uh,” Danielle checked her watch, “0430- but that’s not point. Listen, Osiris and I stayed up all night together, trying to decipher the walls and their secrets!”

“All night!?” Jacky sighed, groaned, and stifled a yawn all at the same time.

Once roused, everyone gathered around Danielle and Osiris. Still trying to catch her breath, Danielle took a seat. Sara, or rather Osiris, watched her with keen interest. This did not escape the watchful eyes of Ba’al or Jacky, who was now awake. Whatever was going on between those two, it definitely involved all three parties.

When she had regained her breath, Danielle continued. “We were finally able to decipher the writings on the wall, thanks to Osiris being well over ten thousand years old. She didn’t recognize the language, but was able to associate sounds to the symbols.”

“So?” Jacky looked impatient. “Get to the good stuff.”

“So, we now understand who built this place,” stated Osiris calmly.

“And that would be…?”

“The Ancients,” replied Danielle and Osiris together.

For a stunned moment, everyone stood silently in the hall.

Ba’al turned to Jacky. “You realize it as well; the one place we haven’t explored-”

“I was thinking the exact same thing. SG-1: saddle up, weapons ready, prepare to move out.”

“You’re prepping weapons as well?” Ba’al looked amused. “Then you also are worried.”

“No, I’m not. I’m saying I always prepare for trouble. If we had gone and needed weapons, then you’d be dead and have saved me the trouble.”

Ba’al sighed amiably. “Still mocking me, I see.”

“Yup,” replied Jacky, just as amiably.

#

Ba’al and Jacky stood before the third and final passage that had not been explored.

“Wonder what these markings mean.”

Osiris touched them lightly, running her fingers across the surface. Standing back, she gazed over the wall. “It says, ‘We are ancient. Welcome, our places legacy.’”

Danielle peered at the wall through her glasses. Carefully, she moved past every symbol, muttering to herself.

“Actually,” she announced, “it says ‘We are the Ancients ones. Welcome to the place of our legacy.’” She turned to Osiris. “Who taught you to translate,” she jokingly asked.

“As I recall,” smiled Osiris, “it was you.”

“Whatever it says, we’re heading in.”

Silently, the two teams moved through the corridors, their weapons ready. Peaking around every corner, the team finally reached a chamber of significant size. Similar to the gate room it was smaller with more writing.

“Spread out,” ordered Jacky. Her teammates nodded and quickly checked the room for any other presences. When they had secured the hall, the group placed their weapons at their hips.

Ba’al wandered around, his hand never leaving his weapon. As he reached the circular inscription at the center of the floor, he staggered slightly. Osiris was at his side instantly. “Are you ok?”

“I’m still wondering about that.”

Together, they moved back to the entrance.

Selmak sighed and leaned against the rubble of the temple wall. “So, the Ancients built this place. That would explain the mysterious power field that’s been keeping us ill at ease.”

Osiris nodded. “It is like walking with the world spinning; possible, but hard.”

Teal’c turned. “Do you suppose they opposed the Tau’ri and Go’auld?”

“We do not interfere with the matters of corporeal creatures.”

The group whirled, weapons drawn. Facing them was a woman of magnificent features: obsidian hair, pearl white skin, coal black eyes, and features so perfect Sam would have thought she were not real.

“You call us Ancients, the teachers of roads, the gate builders; you treat us as gods.”

Yu stared closely at it. “It’s a hologram,” he realized suddenly.

“How do you know this?” Danielle was skeptical.

“Because we are gods,” replied Ba’al smugly. “God’s are all knowing.”

“Oh, you bite my-” started Jacky before Sam cut her off.

“He’s right.”

Sam’s exclamation took Jacky by surprise. “You think he’s a god?!!”

“No,” Sam said patiently. “I think it’s a hologram. There’s no shadow and the energy signature is fluctuating at a much higher frequency then those of a living being.”

Jacky stopped talking but Sam heard her mutter something about “freaking prep schools…” before she did.

Realizing that it may be important, they all gathered around and watched silently.

“The realm of Roads is within these walls, but only the chosen may enter, our children’s children with the strength of our will passed down. All others are not welcome.”

“What do you suppose that means?” Selmak turned to Teal’c.

“I do not know.”

A wave of light passed over them, leaving a tingling sensation in each o their bodies.

“What was that?” Osiris looked disturbed.

“I believe we have just been scanned.” Sam read off her instruments.

“What for-” Jacky was cut off as the room lurched.

“Well,” commented Danielle, “this can’t be good.”

Osiris and Yu stated at him in disbelief. “Really?” they both responded, sarcasm laced their words.

“I think it would be prudent to leave this place,” Selmak said.

“I agree. SG-1: move out!” O’Neill hoisted her weapon to ready position.

Once everyone was assembled, they moved towards the entrance. Just as Osiris was about to exit, there was a loud groaning sound and a slab of rock slammed down, sealing the exit passage.

“Anyone have any bright ideas? Now would be the time!” O’Neill gazed around the room.

“Indeed, O’Neill, I have one.” Teal’c calmly stated, moving towards the door. “Though it may not be safe, I believe to be our only current option.” She held up a block of C4.

“Are you insane?” Ba’al stepped forward. “The blast would kill us.”

“Do you have better option?” shot back O’Neill.

Ba’al glared at O’Neill, but could not come up with a better a solution. Without replying, Ba’al stepped back, allowing Teal’c to proceed.

“Everyone take cover.” O’Neill took out a second block and tossed it to Teal’c. “Better use two, these people don’t seem to want us to leave.”

Teal’c nodded. Quickly setting the charges, she moved behind a pillar and looked to O’Neill, who nodded her head. “Fire in the hole!”

The room rocked from the explosion. Looking around the corner, Sam noticed a piece of rock lodged in the pillar she had been hiding behind. “Woah.”

The room shuddered again, sending a sharp pain through Sam’s leg. Looking down she noticed she was bleed profusely. Cursing to her self, she tried to move towards the door and stumbled. Looking around, she saw that cracks had formed due to the explosion and were now spreading.

“Everyone out, now!” Jacky stood in the blown exit, taking note as everyone passed through. Finally, there were only Sam and Ba’al missing. Looking over, he saw Ba’al helping a limping Sam towards her position.

“Come on you two; let’s go!!”

“Jacky! MOVE!” Danielle shoved her friend out of the way as the entrance finally collapsed.

Ba’al grabbed Sam and pulled her backwards just as a massive chunk of rock smashed through the floor where she had stood moments before. There was foreboding creaking sound; looking above their heads, Ba’al saw a slab of roof fall free. Hitting a pillar, it shattered, raining down on their heads.

As the rubble and dust settled, Jacky looked around. Their path was blocked. She did a quick head count, they were missing Ba’al and Sam, either trapped or dead, in the chamber the Ancient had appeared before them. Of those left, half were injured severely and unconscious, the rest were just getting back on their feet. The passage they had used to gain entrance to that room was now blocked by rubble and there was no chance that she was risking C4 again. Jacky sighed and decided to head to the gate room; they were going to need some help.

#

SG-2 stepped through the event horizon of the stargate and into the dimly lit gate room.

“Over here,” Angelique heard a voice calling her. Looking over she saw Jack, Danielle, and Teal’c in a corner along with three other people she didn’t know. She motioned for Em and Merrin to stay by the gate as she and WT went to check out the situation.

“Mistress O’Neill, what’s going on?” WT was confused. “And where is Mistress Carter?”

“Trapped,” breathed a blonde girl she didn’t recognize, “with Tobias.”

A boy placed a hand on the girls shoulder. “Osiris, rest.”

Angelique looked at Jacky. “So, what’s the situation, Colonel?”

WT looked at her. “Colonel?”

Angelique shrugged. “It’s the temporary rank doc Hammond gave her for this mission.”

“Ah.”

“Ahem,” Jacky cleared her throat. “WT, tend to the wounded. We need everyone up in 24 hours, max.”

“We can heal our bodies, tend to your people,” Osiris shrugged off assistance. “Danielle, however, requires immediate attention.”

Kneeling down, WT began to tend to the wounded. Seeing things were under control, Jacky turned to Angelique. “To answer your first question, we were exploring these ruins, encountered some Go’auld, and then the place collapsed on us. Sam and Ba’al are MIA, still alive though as far as we know.

“I called you because you’re specialties are slightly different and you can help us rescue them.”

“Or at the very least, recover their bodies,” Angelique finished her commanders thought.

The two walked down the gate room hall together.

“We know from experience that the gate room is secure, so- this is where things get interesting.”

As Jacky, Angelique, Em, and Merrin headed to the location of the accident, Jacky explained what had happened. It had taken them a day just to get out of the tunnel and back to the gate.

Em looked at the symbols on the wall, touching them gingerly. “These writings…” She turned questioningly to Jacky. “What exactly did you find here?”

SG-2, minus WT, stood in the three door chamber, where the light trickling in told it was false day, evening.

“For right now, I need to know if you can get us through that rubble, without causing another quake like the one we experienced.”

Merrin looked at the rubble. “Maybe. If we can tie the EMP generator into the gate for power, we could get a pulse that might break down the sandstone. If you’ve ever paid attention in biology, it would be like breaking down a kidney stone with high frequency sonic lasers.

“That would take a couple of days, but it’s the best, safest chance we have.”

“Why a couple of days?” O’Neill questioned.

“Well, you said you didn’t want another quake. Slow is the only way we’ll get there; otherwise, we’d risk collapsing the entire structure by breaking down its supports.

Em repeated her question, more forcefully. “Colonel, what did you find here?”

O’Neill turned to face her. “The gate builder’s greatest city.”

“You found the City of Roads, didn’t you?”

#

Ba’al groaned, pain washing over him as he regain consciousness. What had happened? The last thing he recalled was pulling Carter of the Tau’ri out the way as rocks had rained from the ceiling. That was his first thought, his second was questioning why there was light. Looking around, he saw that they were still in the room where the Ancient women had appeared to them.

Closing his eyes, he did a mental check of his health. He appeared to have healed any serious injuries and all he was currently experiencing was the severe pain coursing through his body.

He heard a groan. Turning, he saw Carter lying unconscious amidst a pile of dust and rubble. Moving over, he checked her wounds. She was in worse condition then he was: she seemed to have lost too much blood, there were abrasions all over her face and back and she had a broken ulna and femur. There was no way she was going to survive. However, after inspection, she did not appear to have any neck injures.

Ba’al stopped; there was really only one solution. He lay down beside her and turned her head towards him. Taking up a similar position beside her, he turned his head and opened his mouth. There was a slight sensation of pain and then it vanished. His host shook his head, unaccustomed to being alone with his thoughts. Gently picking up her body, he moved Sam and Ba’al to a flat bed of rock and sat down to wait.

Almost twenty-three hours later the blinking of two blue eyes alerted Ba’al’s host to her consciousness.

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine, but I feel strange.” She looked at him strangely. “What happened to your voice?”

“Uh, my symbiote went within you to heal you wounds. You would not have survived otherwise”

Sam paused for a moment. “I… see.”

There was an uncomfortable silence between them. Testing her legs, Sam got to her feet and looked around the room. “What happened?”

The host related everything he knew, which was as much as Ba’al. Stopping, Sam turned resolutely to the host. “Do you have a name?”

“Well,” said the host shyly, “my name is unimportant since it is Ba’al whom I agreed to live as but if you are interested; my birth name is Tobias Heine. But Ba’al and I have been bonded since I was born.”

“Really? I thought symbiotes couldn’t take a host until they were five months old?”

Tobias smiled kindly. “Well, they can’t control the host for some period of time; that is true. But Ba’al has resided within my since that time, only receive priority when I became twelve. But he remembers and was everything I was until then, and I will be everything he is, until the day we die.”

Sam smiled and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Come on; let’s see if we can’t find a way out of here.”

Picking up her weapon, she scanned the area quickly and found that Jackson had dropped her supply pack. Quickly moving, the two began a search of the nearby passages. After they had searched for some time, Sam stumbled. Her eyes flashed for a moment.

“I think,” she stammered, “that Ba’al is ready to leave now.”

Tobias looked at her. “Um… you know what this entails right?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Try not to take this the wrong way.” Tobias reached over and cupped her face with his hands and firmly placed his mouth on hers. Moments later, his eyes flashed and Ba’al had left Sam.

“Well, not exactly how I envisioned my first kiss, but I suppose it could have been worse.”

Ba’al shrugged, embarrassed as well. “Same here, and to think, I was subject to both parties.”

Sam giggled. “Yeah, well, we still have to find a way out of here.”

Ba’al nodded and looked at the writings on the wall. Together they searched the chambers and halls for the remainder of the day. As they journeyed, they talked, discussing the classes they took and what they wanted to do after graduation. Each had similar desires to explore the universe and discover the origins of their peoples, though their reasons were different. Ba’al wanted to unite the galaxy under one government while Sam was simply curious as to who could have built the stargate system. Finally, they gave up and agreed to make camp.

As he had finished lighting the fire, Ba’al turned to Sam. “Didn’t that lady say the Realm of Roads existed here?”

“Yes.” Sam stopped making their beds and turned. “I see where you’re going. If it’s a city, then there might be more then one way through.”

“Exactly. I just wish we had a reference for these writings. They might tell us where to look.” Ba’al gazed around the chamber.

“If Danielle and Osiris were here, they’d be able to tell us.”

At the mention of Osiris, Ba’al tensed and then relaxed. The reaction was felt by Sam, who had brushed her body against his as they made their bedding.

“So, who is Osiris to you?”

“What?” The question caught Ba’al off guard. He blushed, realizing what she meant. “No, no. She’s… uh… just a really good friend- my best, actually. Once, years ago, there was mutual interest but we didn’t pursued it and, instead, we became the best of friends.”

Sam sighed. “It would seem both Osiris and her host are taken with Danielle.”

“Just as Danielle is taken with her,” returned Ba’al, taking a seat near the fire. Exploration of the caverns would have to wait till the next day.

Sam rested against his body. “When we get out of here, I’ll remember to tell her.”

“When…? You Tau’ri are the optimistic sort, aren’t you?”

“So what if we are?” Sam smiled playfully. Leaning her head on his shoulder, she sighed happily when he didn’t object. For a time, they were silent, each enjoying the company of the other as the fire burned in the dark. “I wish for things in my life that I can only live with if I believe that they are possible.”

“Like what?” Ba’al’s curiosity was pricked.

“I wish for someone to love and stay with, to travel to other planets, to have children, and to become someone important, more then just the sum of what I am now.

“What of you? What do you wish for in your life?”

Ba’al smiled a sad smile. “Somewhere out there, in the vastness of the universe, on a planet untouched by the wrath of time and war, my mother is preparing dinner, my eldest sister is watching over her daughter, and my littlest sister carries water from the stream for the fire and washing of cloths. I wish to see them one last time, but that will never happen. I can never return to them.”

Sam moved from her stone to sit beside him. “Do you believe you will see them again?”

“I think so, when I die. But then, I will not die for ten thousand years. I don’t know if I could wait that long.”

“Would you… if you had someone to wait with?”

“Huh?”

Sam’s comment caught him off guard.

“Would you wait, if someone waited with you?”

There was an easy silence between them, filling up the darkness around them.

“Yes,” Ba’al replied at last, “I think I could wait.”

“Good,” murmured Sam, resting her head on his shoulder. For a time, they were silent again. “What is it like, the world you came from?”

Ba’al smiled. “I come from a land of dry planes and of red rock mountains. Where the sun is brutal and the night’s cold. But it is a place of majesty and magnificence and I call it home. I think the closest you could imagine would be the safari’s of Africa, but it’s so much more then anything like that. It has not been touched by industry and we keep it that way. The sole piece of advanced technology is the stargate.”

He sighed. Looking over, he noticed Sam drifting in and out of sleep. Gently, he laid her down on her bedding and tucked her in with his.

“So,” murmured Sam as she fell into sleep, “first kiss?”

She felt Ba’al smiling. She felt a hand gently trace across her cheek bone. “Sleep,” murmured a kind voice and she felt sleep take her.

#

When Sam woke next, she turned to see Ba’al watching her. Somehow, she got the feeling that he hadn’t slept the entire night. As if understanding her puzzlement, Ba’al grinned.

“I do not require sleep, Mistress Carter; no Go’auld does.”

“Well, humans do. And while I slept, I remembered something.”

Ba’al looked over, interested.

“We might not have to translate it to understand the way to Roads. Every city usually has a visual map. There was something similar on the walls in on of the rooms we visited yesterday. But, I dismissed it then because I wasn’t looking for something like a map.”

Ba’al looked intrigued.

“Do you the Tau’ri always think while they sleep?”

Sam shrugged. “Sometimes.” She paused, remembering the night before. “Were you hitting on me last night,” she asked slowly.

Ba’al shrugged. “No more then you were me.”

“Oh,” Sam looked slightly surprised. “Then you were hitting on me.”

Leading the way, Sam finally found the room she had encountered the map in the day before. Looking around, she noticed that there had been a change in it. Moving behind her, Ba’al placed a hand on her shoulder. When she didn’t resist, he left it there and studied the wall as well.

“Look,” Sam pointed to a section on the wall, “this wasn’t like that the other day.”

“What you suggesting?”

“That this portion of the wall has changed since we’ve been here. I think it’s indicating the location of the damaged entrance. I mean, if this place truly was built by the Ancients, then they would have something to tell them where there was damage in the city.”

“It makes sense. I wonder if there are directions to the city.”

There was a low scraping sound and the map changed once again. Blocks from their present position rose up in a path. Slowly, Ba’al backed up. “Come on,” he said, slightly uncertain.

Sam nodded and picked up her weapon. A hand on her arm stopped her. “I feel as if we are being watched. Weapons would not be a good idea in a city of the Ancients.”

“You think that’s what caused the tremors the first time?”

“I would not risk it. Especially with you present. It has not been that long since your injuries healed.”

Together they made their way though the passages, following the blocks that rose from the walls. After walking for what seemed like hours, though they really couldn’t tell, they arrived at a large door.

Ba’al turned to Sam. “Any ideas?”

“Not really.”

“Ask nicely. Manners are important.” Ba’al looked clueless.

“Well, it couldn’t hurt. Could we please enter?”

A low shuddering in the walls and the door in front of them began to slowly move aside. Then, just as suddenly as it had started, the door stopped.

“Well, that didn’t go so well.” Sam sighed. Examining the door further, she turned to Ba’al. “Think you could fit through?”

It was a tight fit but after a few tries they were able to gain access to compartment beyond the door. The meager flashlight that Sam had brought hardly provided any light, but there were on or two spots where sunlight had crept in. However, it seemed it was not enough to illuminate the vastness of the space before them.

“Let us risk,” muttered Ba’al, “a little more light.”

With this he fired a flare into the high into the sky of the chamber. The pale white light of the flare reflected against massive courtyard before them.

“Carter of the Tau’ri, I give you the Ancient realm of Roads.”

It was massive. The chamber stretched as far as the eye could see and rose a hundred meters up. He smiled at her sudden intake of breath, it impressed him too. There was something in this place, that made it more wonderful then anything he had ever experienced before.

Within the columns of rocks were doors and windows. It was as if this were a city of Rome and Babylon all in one. And these were but watch towers of the city as a door loomed in the distance, high and wide enough to fit an Asgard mother ship. The stone was lit an eerie blue and, as the wonder faded to memory, the awe did not leave either. The darkness claimed the visage once more, they saw towers of the city rising sight above the ancient walls.

“Now that’s something you don’t see everyday,” breathed Sam.

Ba’al looked down at her. “Indeed. My lady, this way…” He motioned to the distance, his arms outspread.

#

“Those Go’auld bastards are really something. Even injured they all kept digging to get you both out.” Angelique looked impressed as she and the rest of SG-2 cleared away the remains of the rubble. Looking down, she saw Ba’al and Sam squinting in the bright light.

“Um, how did you find us?”

“Well, Osiris and Danielle figured this was a city so they found part of a translation that mentioned the only other entrance to the city that was reasonable. That was after we tried something else and almost brought the house down but that’s a story for another.”

Jacky extended her hand. Gratefully, Sam took it. Osiris did the same for Ba’al. Exhausted, Sam plopped down on a nearby rock. Bruised and tired, Sam’s smile was unforced and relaxed; she genuinely wanted to see her friend be at peace with Ba’al. As she watched, Jacky frowned and tried to hit Ba’al who easily avoided the blow laughing good naturedly. Well, thought Sam as Jacky fumed, at least they were starting to get along.

Turning from Jacky, Ba’al met her gaze. For a moment, his eyes held a strange look as he observed her. She smiled, understanding. While WT ran some tests to make sure she was fine, she kept eye contact with Ba’al.

“Well?” O’Neill’s question snapped her out of here revere.

“They appear to be fine. They’re both slightly dehydrated but nothing life threatening.”

Sam smiled and gazed at Ba’al; forty-eight hours ago that hadn’t been the case. As the announcement came over that she was fine, the rest of SG-1 and SG-2 came over and made it very clear how worried they had been.

“Ok, ok, everyone break it up,” Jacky came over. “We still have to file our report with the All Systems University and the Cheyenne Complex, tell them what we’ve seen.”

Ba’al nodded. Together, and all accounted for, the twelve companions journeyed back to the gate room. The return trip took them barely two hours, with Osiris and Danielle talking to one another, and Ba’al and Sam silently holding hands, much to the annoyance of Jacky.

As the group sat around the gate room, waiting until they had collected all their gear and were ready to leave, Ba’al uncertainly approached Sam.

“Um…” Ba’al fidgeted uncomfortably. “Would you care for a second date, Carter of the Tau’ri?”

Sam smiled gently. “You can command troops but you have trouble asking a girl out? You are definitely still male.” Seeing Ba’al discomfort grow, she smiled, leaning forward to kiss him on the cheek. “That’s a yes, you dumb oaf,” she whispered in his ear.

Still in shock, Ba’al could only nod. “And my name is Samantha, not Carter of the Tau’ri.” She mentioned in passing, as she released his hands from her own.

Finally recovered, Ba’al nodded slightly and returned her gentle smile. “Samantha… Sam…” He let the name roll of his tongue. “I like that name. It suites you well.”

Sam blushed, Jacky blinked, Teal’c simply watched, and Danielle was to busy talking with Osiris.

“Were would you like to visit?” His question caught her off guard.

After a moment’s thought, she had her answer. “I’ve always wanted to see the Fire Falls of Avalon.”

“When is your first leave?”

“I have some next month.”

“Then I shall see you then.”

With one last peck on the cheek, Sam joined her companions on the ramp to the stargate. Jacky punched in the symbols and activated the gate. Bounding up the stone stairs, she gave Sam a confused look. “Second date?”

Sam didn’t respond. Smiling to herself, Sam briefly touched her lips and stepped through the Stargate. Jacky threw her arms up in exasperation; sometimes, even her friends were insufferably secretive. Deciding that Danielle and Teal’c would get more information from her friend, Jacky looked back at SG-2.

“Ok, excitements over. We’re heading out.”

One by one, the remaining members of the SGC walked through the event horizon and onto their next mission, leaving Ba’al and his Go’auld schoolmates in the ruins. They would stay until a team of professionals arrived to study the site further.

Ba’al moved to the steps and sat down. His best friend, a stunning blonde named Osiris, joined him.

“So,” she prompted, “second date?”

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