Mimesis
By Denny J

“There is only one thing we would be interested in trading for, colonel.”

Jack stopped walking, looking appraisingly at the man next to him.  Urngarn, leader of the Minaran people, smiled pleasantly back.  Pleasant; that was a good description of the native population of PRL-779.  Reminded him a bit of the Abydonians—warm, welcoming, knew how to throw a great party, judging by the feast they’d just been treated to.  A little more advanced, maybe, but not much more.  So why was his internal crap detector going off?  He had a feeling the ‘one thing’ Urngarn was going to ask for would be the one thing they couldn’t give him.

“And what would that be?” he asked just as pleasantly.

“We would like the symbols to the worlds you have visited through the Great Ring.”

Beep, beep, beep!  Danger, deep crap ahead!

“Why do you want gate addresses?  Are you lookin’ for someone to trade with?  ‘Cause I gotta tell ya, we can provide just about anything you’d need or want.”

Urngarn’s smile remained as pleasant as ever.  “We are like you, colonel.  We desire to explore these new worlds Daniel Jackson has told us of.”

Yes, Daniel had gotten quite carried away when Urngarn and the other elders had asked about the Stargate.  Daniel was sure the Minaran people were related to the Abydonians and had begun telling them about other cultures they’d met in their travels.  Something Jack decided they were going to have to have a talk about—reacquaint Daniel with the term ‘need to know’. 

“No offense, Urngarn, but I don’t think your people are prepared to face some of the really bad guys we’ve met out there.”

“Yes, the Goo’auld?”

“Goa’uld.  Yeah, believe me, you really don’t want to tangle with them.”

“I understand your concern, colonel, but my people are willing to take the risk.”

Yeah, but I’m not.  No way did Jack want to feel responsible for sending these people to their deaths, or at the least, to be enslaved or turned into hosts.  And he couldn’t quite shake the feeling there was another reason the Minaran wanted gate addresses.  Maybe it was just his suspicious nature, or maybe it was the voice of experience.

“Why don’t we get the rest of my team together, and we can all sit down and talk this over?”  Jack really didn’t want to continue what had turned into a negotiation without the rest of his team there to help out.  Daniel was off with Loo . . . Loon . . . whatever his name was, looking at the writing on the walls of their temple.  Sam was re-checking her gadgets, still salivating over the high readings for naquadah they’d picked up, first with the MALP and then with the doohickys she’d brought with her.  Teal’c was roaming the village, on the lookout for trouble as usual.   

“We would be pleased to discuss this with your people, colonel.  I will call the council members together.  Let us return to the meeting hall.”

Nodding his head in agreement, Jack clicked his radio.  “Carter, Teal’c, Daniel.  Meet me back at the meeting hall.  Urngarn wants to talk trade.”

Receiving acknowledgements from his three teammates, Jack turned back to his host.  “Lead the way.”

~oOo~

Jack checked his watch again, irritation rising with each second that ticked by.   Sam and Teal’c had returned ten minutes earlier and were now sitting on floor cushions surrounding a low table in the meeting hall.  His crap detector was blaring but he was determined to keep his cool in front of the council members who were conversing pleasantly with his two teammates.  He’d give Daniel another five minutes and then he was going to call again. 

At the four minute mark, he clicked his radio, just as Daniel literally stumbled into the room, accompanied by Loonybin, who reached out a hand to steady him. 

“Daniel, nice of you to join us.”  That sounded cool and calm, didn’t it?

“Thanks, Jack.  Sorry it took me so long to get back; we’d gone further into the temple than I realized.”

Daniel didn’t even have the decency to look contrite.  He did, however, look nervous, and possibly a bit pale.  He plopped down on one of the pillows and reached a shaky hand out to grasp the cup in front of him.  His escort filled it with water from a pitcher. 

“Thanks, Lunayben.”

“Perhaps we could begin our discussion of trade?”  Urngarn suggested. 

“Sure,” Jack agreed, still watching Daniel who continued to guzzle the water. 

“As I told Colonel O’Neill, we are interested in learning the symbols to the worlds you have visited through the Great Ring.  In return, we would allow you to dig up the metal you desire.”

Jack could see the subtle signs of surprise on both Carter’s and Teal’c’s faces.  Daniel, however, didn’t seem fazed at all by the request.

“I’m sure we could arrange that,” Daniel offered, and Jack felt his eyebrows leap to the top of his forehead.  This was Daniel’s idea of negotiating? 

“Daniel?”

“Yes, Jack?”

“I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

“Why not?”

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe because they’d be enslaved, slaughtered, and taken as hosts by the Goa’uld?”

“We’ve managed to hold our own against them.”

“Daniel, we’ve got more advanced weapons than the Minarans,” Sam pointed out.

“Even with their advanced weapons, the Tau’ri are still no match for the System Lords,” Teal’c added. 

“So, it’s all right for us to go exploring through the Great, uh, the Stargate, but not for the Minarans?”

Something was definitely not right here but Jack couldn’t put his finger on it.  “The answer is no, Daniel.”  They were so having a talk when they got back to the SGC.   He faced Urngarn again.  “I’m sorry, but I don’t think our leaders will agree to that.  Is there anything else you would be willing to trade for?”

Urngarn’s pleasant smile slipped only slightly.  “There is not.”

Jack was almost relieved.  He might not feel that way when Hammond found out they’d turned down a huge honkin’ load of naquadah, but he’d deal with that.  He wouldn’t want the Minaran leader to know that, though.  “We’ll need to talk to our leaders about it, Urngarn, if that’s all right with you.”

“Of course, colonel.  We will await your return and hope that your leaders will agree to a trade.”

“Thanks.  Okay, kids, time to go,” he said, standing.

~oOo~

“We’ll contact you again after we talk to our leaders,” Jack said to Urngarn as they stood in front of the gate. 

“We look forward to your return.”  The Minaran leader never lost his smile, although Jack thought it no longer looked pleasant—more like smug. 

“Daniel, dial it up.”

Daniel looked at Jack, an unnerving ‘deer in the headlights’ expression on his face. 

What in the hell is going on?

“Uh, sure, just let me, uh . . .”

“Are you unwell, Daniel Jackson?”

“No, I’m . . . I’m all right.” 

Jack could see the fine sheen of sweat beading on Daniel’s face as he nervously glanced at the symbols on the DHD.  “Carter, dial it up.” 

He walked over and grasped one of Daniel’s arms.  “You okay?”

“My stomach’s a little upset.  Maybe it was something I ate.”

Even more of a reason to go home.  If Daniel was admitting he felt sick, it must be bad.  And since when did unusual food ever disagree with him?  The rest of them weren’t sick, so maybe Daniel had been coming down with something before they’d come on this mission.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

“Let’s get you home.”  He turned back to Urngarn.  “We’ll be in touch.”  Especially if it turned out some of the food didn’t agree with Daniel. 

Jack kept his hand on Daniel’s arm as they followed Carter and Teal’c through the wormhole, the sound of his internal warning system still blaring.

~oOo~

The large wooden door creaked on its hinges as it was pushed open.  Daniel blinked as light poured into the dank, dimly lit room.  It was Urngarn, the Minaran leader. 

Daniel had given up fighting the ropes holding him securely to the chair.  He couldn’t even talk to his captors, thanks to the thick gag in his mouth.  He had no idea why he was being held prisoner; they had asked no questions nor harmed him in any way since they’d taken him from the temple. At least, not yet.  And what had happened to Jack, Sam, and Teal’c?  Were they being held as well?  For what reason?

“Well?” a voice in the shadows behind him asked.

“It went as we expected.”

“What of Oressa?”

“He will return if he is able.”

“And if he is not?”

“He knew the risks.  In any case, we have what we wanted.”

Urngarn stepped closer and Daniel tried to school his features so the man wouldn’t see the fear and uncertainty he was feeling.  Reaching behind Daniel’s head, he untied the gag and stepped back.  The ropes stayed firmly in place.

Daniel licked the corners of his mouth where the gag had cut into it, feeling his anger rise as he thought about how they had trusted these seemingly gentle people.  “Why have you done this?”

“Because we need the symbols to the worlds beyond the Great Ring.  And you will give them to us.”

“I don’t think so. My friends will search for me and they won’t give up until they find me.”

Urngarn smiled menacingly at him.  “I doubt that.  You see, they will not even know that you are missing.”

Daniel’s anger turned to shock as he watched Urngarn’s features morph into those of a familiar face—Jack. 

“Your Colonel O’Neill does not know it yet, but our trade negotiations are over.”

 

The End

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