[ Chapter 1: Escape | Chapter 2: Stranded | Chapter 3: Where are we? | Chapter 4: Discoveries | Chapter 5: Finding Shelter | Chapter 6: Daily Life | Chapter 7: Strange Discoveries | Chapter 8: An Unpleasant Surprise | Chapter 9: Developments | Chapter 10: An Attack With Long-lasting Consequences | Chapter 11: Myth and Reality | Chapter 12: Breaking and Entering | Chapter 13: Rest and Results | Chapter 14: A Meeting | Chapter 15: Captives | Chapter 16: Revelations | Chapter 17: Some Explanations - and an Alliance | Chapter 18: Some Information | Chapter 19: A Dangerous Mission | Chapter 20: Prisoners | Chapter 21: A Fight - and an Escape | Chapter 22: Guests | Chapter 23: A Motel | Chapter 24: Next Day - and Travel | Chapter 25: A Pleasant Night, Followed by an Unpleasant Morning | Chapter 26: Meeting Ba'al | Chapter 27: Escape - and a Confrontation | Chapter 28: A Surprising Turn of Events | Chapter 29: Some Measure of Success ]

"There is very little food," Teal'c observed, looking at the table. "Do you think this truly is the correct place?"

"Yeah, I'm sure of it, big guy." O'Neill slapped Teal'c on the shoulder. "Unfortunately, it looks like the 'complimentary breakfast' here sucks, but I guess we should eat it since they're providing it for free. We don't have that much money left, but I suppose we can take a break and get something better to eat soon. More, too."

"It's not the best I've seen," Sam agreed. "Where are we sitting?" She had grabbed a bagel and some cream cheese, along with a cup of coffee.

"Over there." O'Neill nodded towards the corner where Argent was already seated.

"Okay. Are you coming, Martouf?" Sam asked.

"In a moment, Samantha. I do not wish to drink coffee, and that seems to be the only option. I intend to inquire in the kitchen."

"I'll go with you and talk to them," Daniel said, deciding it was probably safer in case they did not have anything to offer that Martouf knew what was - or he asked for something that was not known on Earth.

Sam nodded and walked over to the table.

She smiled at Argent. "Good morning."

"Good morning, Samantha... or do you prefer Sam?" He gave her a charming smile, very similar to Martouf's.

"Um, most of my friends call me Sam, except the Colonel, who calls me Carter... and Martouf and Lantash, who call me Samantha." She placed her food and drink on the table and sat down.

Argent nodded. "Yes, I have noticed. Would you mind if I call you Samantha? It's a very pretty name - for a very pretty woman." He smiled again.

"Ah... thanks." Sam said, feeling awkward as she realized he was interested in her. "I... well, you can call me Samantha if you like, I guess. I'm just not used to very many doing that - except Martouf and Lantash."

"Samantha, then." Argent took a drink from his cup, and made a face. "This place doesn't have anything worth eating or drinking - we should have gone to the restaurant where we ate dinner."

Sam smiled wryly, taking a bite of her bagel. "I guess we should have. This is very dry."

"We can go there now if you would like to?" he suggested. "I'm paying, if that's an issue."

"Ah, no, it's okay. Listen... I think I should tell you that I'm with someone."

"Yes, she is with me," Martouf said, realizing the meaning of the Tau'ri euphemism.

Sam and Argent turned to see Martouf/Lantash, maybe 9-10 meters away. He was carrying a glass of some sort of fruit juice, and a bowl of oatmeal. Daniel was close behind him, and O'Neill and Teal'c followed further behind, each carrying whatever food items they had ended up deeming reasonably acceptable.

Sam smiled at Martouf, who placed his food and drink on the table and sat down beside her. He put his arm around her and kissed her. She kissed him back, feeling a little self-conscious.

Argent smiled. "Well, it's good to see you have excellent taste, brother."

"Ah, so that explains why you didn't answer when I knocked on your door this morning," Daniel said.

"Yes, I was probably still in Samantha's room," Martouf agreed.

"Really, guys! You only needed one room - and you didn't tell us? You know we're short on money!" O'Neill exclaimed.

Sam looked at him, a bit bewildered and unsure what to say. "Um, sir... I..."

"My apologies, O'Neill. However, yesterday evening we had not yet mated, and I would never have been so bold as to presume she would agree to share a room with me," Martouf said.

Sam blushed and hid her face in her hands. "Do we have to talk about this now? Here?"

O'Neill grinned. "Sorry! Relax, guys. It was just too fun not to pull your leg a little. Oh, and Martouf? Little too much information, there."

"Martouf!" Jacob exclaimed. "When I've finished eating I think we need to have a discussion. In private." He placed his cup and plate hard on the table, and sat down.

Jacob had been to the hotel reception to see if he could get sugar for his coffee, since Selmak flat out refused letting him drink it without it. He had returned just in time to hear the last few sentences.

"Dad!" Sam complained. "I'm a grown woman. This is none of your business!"

"Jacob, I assure you, my intentions towards Samantha are completely honourable..." Martouf said, getting an expression that was a strange mix of defensive and bashful. Lantash took over, and the expression became decidedly defensive.

"That's a bit late to say... after you've admitted sleeping with her!" Argent grinned, then leaned over and slapped Martouf/Lantash on the shoulder. "Sorry - I'm just joking..."

"Right... and I still want to talk to you, Martouf, Lantash," Jacob insisted, before focusing on his food.

Lantash sighed, then remembered something. He spoke, hiding the distortion. "Daniel? Why did you want to talk to me earlier? You said you knocked on my door."

"Ah... yes. There was an article in the newspaper, and a picture of Ba'al. Nothing important - just a story about a speech he had made and about how he would save people from the 'wave of crime' when he was elected."

"Nothing new, then?" O'Neill said. "That's been his plan the whole time."

"True... but I wanted to ask Martouf if he recognized any of the other people in the picture. I think one of them may be one of the werewolves that attacked us. Maybe that guy... Joh'nar, is among them?"

"There were no werewolves that were hosts among those that attacked us," Lantash said.

Daniel was digging in his pocket, and pulled out a page he had torn from the newspaper. He handed it to Lantash. "Here."

Lantash looked at it. "I do not know how Joh'nar's current host looks, so I cannot say if he is among those people... I do however recognize one of the men behind Ba'al. It is my brother."

"You brother?" O'Neill looked from Lantash to Argent.

"Another brother?" Argent asked, disbelief in his voice.

"No, not Martouf's brother. My brother... from the same clutch as me. This man..." Lantash held up the article and pointed. "He is Ren'tash, and his host is Wirran."

"Let me see." Jacob held out his hand, and Lantash gave the paper to him.

Jacob looked at the picture and nodded. "You're right. If we're lucky, he can help us. We just need to find some way to contact him."

"How long will it take to get to Colorado Springs?" Daniel asked, when they were all sitting in the minivan, ready to go.

"About seventeen hours, or maybe a bit more - that is, if we take no breaks," Argent said.

"Seventeen hours!" Daniel stared at him. "Can't we take a plane instead?"

"Not if we want to stay under Ba'al's radar. I'm pretty sure he's got people in the airports who are told to keep an eye out for us," Jacob said.

"Besides, we're almost completely out of money," O'Neill reminded them.

"You can borrow some from me, but I agree with Jacob - it's safer to drive," Argent said.

After taking short breaks every four hours or so, to eat and use the restroom, they were finally approaching Colorado Springs. It was close to midnight, and they were looking for a place to stay for the night. They were all exhausted, and needed some rest before taking on the mission of finding and getting into Ba'al's compound.

"Well, parts of the city look like itself, even if there's been a lot of changes to the stores. Weren't there supposed to be a small grocery store over there?" O'Neill said.

"Yeah, there was." Jacob agreed, remembering it from the short time he had lived in Colorado Springs, before becoming Tok'ra.

"I'm assuming we can't contact anyone here?" Daniel asked, rhetorically.

"No, that's probably a bad idea. Besides, there's very few people left here that we know more than superficially. They probably wouldn't want seven guests in the middle of the night," Sam said.

"That's true," Jacob agreed.

"What about the motel that's on your left, when you're going south on North Cascade?" Daniel asked.

"The one downtown? No, I stayed there for several weeks when Sara and I separated," O'Neill said flatly. "The place is a dump, and I can do without the reminder."

"Okay, what about the one east of Peterson?" Jacob suggested.

"Up Fountain Boulevard?" O'Neill shrugged. "Sure, why not. Though we should find somewhere to eat first - I don't think there's anything nearby."

"Good night, guys! Remember, there's free breakfast from seven o'clock, and I expect everyone there on time!" O'Neill said.

"Yeah, yeah. 'Night, Jack." Daniel yawned, and disappeared into his room.

The others said good night as well, and left to go to their respective rooms.

Jacob sent Martouf/Lantash a warning look, not completely happy that the younger Tok'ra would be sharing a room with his daughter. He did not say anything, though, as Selmak had already told him he was a fool, and that Martouf/Lantash would never harm Sam.

Chapter 25: A Pleasant Night, Followed by an Unpleasant Morning