A Matter of Honor
By Eilidh

 

Everyone has an agenda; Jack knew this from years of experience and getting his knocks the hard way.  The truth was usually just a cleverly disguised lie, and chaos just another word for a mission that had gone way past being a write off, and into the realms of a nightmare. 

This was one of those missions. 

He found trade negotiations to be a bore, something that was more up Daniel’s alley, and not the type of mission that kept his attention focused and sharp.  His boredom verging on frustration, Jack rested his eyes briefly, letting the monotone conversation over a seemingly worthless device wash over him. 

“It is a matter of honor!” came the cry that instantly jerked Jack awake and had him reaching for a side arm that wasn’t there.  Quickly shaking away the dying vestiges of his nap, he searched out his team and cursed his own lax attitude when he couldn’t spot Daniel at the negotiation table.

“Crap,” he swore, grabbing for his radio and thumbing the switch sharply.  “Carter?”

“Sir, I’ve been calling you. They’ve taken Daniel from the room.”

Scanning the crowd, he quickly spotted his 2IC on the other side of the room, one hand waving to get his attention.  To her left, and a few rows forward, Teal’c was up and on the move, the thinning crowd wisely avoiding his determined stride. 

“Why?”  He asked, regretting, not for the first time, that he’d allowed the Kitmas to split his team during the talks.  Daniel, as negotiator, held center at the main table while the rest of his team had been scattered around the hall, as was their tradition with off worlders.  The Kitmas had been decimated by the Goa’uld over the centuries and become xenophobic in their dealings with off worlders.  Jack could understand their uneasiness but, despite his and Daniel’s efforts, they refused to leave the team together.  Their nervousness was mainly directed at Teal’c in his position as first prime of Apophis.  Nothing Daniel had told them about their team mate, settled the Kitmas, so Jack had reluctantly agreed to their terms.

Jack pushed passed several onlookers that were peering at him curiously, and made his way towards the negotiation table.  The Kitmas main negotiator, a weaselly man by the name of Lica, briefly met his gaze before shuffling his papers up and shoving them into a cloth bag. 

“Where is he?”  Jack demanded hotly, thumping a fist on the table.

Stilling briefly, Lica looked up and appeared to study Jack’s face before speaking. “He has been taken.”

“Where?”

“To the place of honor to be tested.”

Leaning over the man, Jack shook a fist in his face and snarled, “I don’t recall any mention of a test.”

Not paying Jack’s fist any attention, Lica rose from his chair and gathered his bag, slinging it across his shoulder.  “There was not, but honor decreed he must be tested for his transgression.”

“What the hell did he do wrong?” 

Jack barely acknowledged the arrival of the rest of his team, his anger directed solely at Lica.

“It was not he that committed the crime, Colonel, it was you.”

“What?”

“As negotiator for your people, Doctor Jackson takes on the mantle of responsibility for you and your team’s actions while on this world.  We do not trade willingly with other races, and as such, treat our negotiations with honor and reverence.  Our rules are strict, and our punishments for transgressing them are just as strict.”

“What exactly did the colonel do that would require punishment?”  Sam asked.

Not drawing his gaze away from Jack, Lica answered simply, “You fell asleep.”

Flabbergasted, Jack blinked his surprise and winced.  “And this is a crime?’

“It is.  At any time the Liege is in attendance, all attention must be directed towards him.  We explained this rule to Doctor Jackson and I distinctly recall him explaining this to you in turn.”

“Well,” Jack said hesitantly, “he may have mentioned something like that.”

“And you did not heed the warning.”

“Honestly, I didn’t think it was meant that literally.”

“What will become of Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c interrupted.

Sighing audibly, Lica turned to leave and then pointed towards a door behind the negotiation dais.  “Through there is the place of honor.  At the appointed hour, Doctor Jackson will be judged for his indiscretion and the Liege will pass down his punishment.  You will be allowed to witness the sentence being handed out.”

“No,” Jack grabbed Lica by the front of his tunic, ready to pull the man forward.  “Let me stand in his place.  I broke the rules, the punishment should be mine alone.”

“I have told you, Colonel, our laws do not work that way.”

“And I’m telling you, it’s not Daniel’s fault.”

Lica pulled Jack’s hand away and shuffled backwards, a look of fear in his eyes.  “I suggest you go to the place of honor and await the sentence.  Your friend will need your strength to endure his punishment.”

 

The End

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