[ Chapter 1: Captured | Chapter 2: Surprises | Chapter 3: The City | Chapter 4: Hiding in the Mountains | Chapter 5: The Attack | Chapter 6: Prisoners and Slaves | Chapter 7: Blended | Chapter 8: Thunderstorm | Chapter 9: Another Goa'uld - and a Tok'ra | Chapter 10: Free at Last | Chapter 11: To Earth | Chapter 12: Enemies and Friends | Chapter 13: Selmak | Chapter 14: Mates ]
Next day they started their work in the mines. They were awakened at daybreak by a loud signal. They quickly dressed and ran outside, where they followed the large group of people walking towards the mines. It was not far, and they soon arrived.
Outside the mine entrance stood a small shed with a fireplace beside it. On it, something was cooking in a huge pot. There was also a large box, which did not currently contain anything. A large cook stood beside the pot.
Sam/Jolinar and the others soon realised everyone was supposed to get into a line and slowly pass by the shed before going to work. They did as the others, and were each handed a bowl of some kind of gruel. This was apparently the breakfast everyone that worked in the mines, got.
People seemed calm, but everyone eyed the newcomers - Teal'c in particular - with some apprehension.
After eating, they handed the bowls to some slaves that would - hopefully - clean them. They were then given pickaxes, shovels, and buckets and sent down into the mines.
*The whole place...hums...tickles...somewhat like when a Jaffa walks by...or perhaps more like the signal from the Stargate.* Sam observed.
*Raw naquadah feels this way - when the mine is as rich as this one apparently is. We will still be able to distinguish the different signal from a symbiote, if we are close enough - and are 'looking' for it. The same is true for those from refined naquadah - like in staff weapons or other technology. Teal'c is behind us. Can you feel it?*
Sam concentrated for a moment. It was difficult, in this 'sea' of humming...prickling on her skin... *Yes! I can!*
They had reached the area assigned to their group and began working. They had been given a quota in number of buckets of raw naquadah ore they needed to fill before their shift was over.
The work was hard, warm, and very dirty. Sam was extremely happy for the extra strength Jolinar gave her.
At regular intervals someone would stop by and give them water to drink, but nothing else. When it was late afternoon the work was finally over for the day, and they were so hungry their stomachs hurt.
They had managed to mine enough ore, but despite Teal'c's strength, not very much in excess of the quota. It would hopefully get easier when they had more experience - not that they actually wanted said experience...
Having filled their quota, they were each given a token, which they exchanged for food after standing in line with the others.
The evening meal consisted of a bowl of some kind of vegetable soup and a thick piece of a hard, dark bread. They hungrily wolfed it down, not caring that the soup did not taste of much, and the bread was dry. It was food and they were very hungry.
Afterwards, they walked back to the village, following the line of now exhausted people. The sun had not yet set, so several of the locals went to work on small plots of land beside their huts, tending plants that would give them and their families food. It was clear that only the mine workers were given food, and barely enough, so they needed to supplement it. Very little was handed out to those that did not work, so children, pregnant women, or sick family members would have to be fed with what could be grown or scavenged.
"Jolinar suggests we begin cultivating the area behind our hut, like the others." Sam said when they were almost home.
"I don't intend to stick around long enough to grow my own food!" O'Neill said, a determined expression on his face.
"Neither do we, but we may not have a choice."
"Jolinar could well be correct." Teal'c pointed out.
"OK, then, but I'm not spending any energy on it right now. I just want to lie down and go to sleep for a month!"
"Yeah, I'm exhausted too." Daniel agreed. He turned to Sam. "How will we get things to sow - if we are going to try that?"
"We need something to trade. Perhaps we could gather something that's useful for the locals." Sam suggested. "We could fish, maybe - or Teal'c could catch some more rabbits..."
O'Neill snorted. "Yes, because it's obvious there's plenty of easily accessible food around here and those starving people are just lazy and prefer to go hungry?"
"No, not lazy...but they're probably exhausted and too weak to do anything extra. They have lost all hope and drive - having been slaves for their entire lives, probably. We haven't...yet, anyway."
"I do not need as much rest as a human. My kel'no'reem usually takes no more than an hour or so. I will be able to...hunt and gather." Teal'c said.
"I can help some too - also with the tending of a plot of land. Jolinar and I will need sleep, of course, but she gives me greater strength and stamina - and quicker recuperation. For shorter periods of time we can also take turns sleeping and get some more work done. It won't be as restful as when both sleeps, and my body will need to rest as well, but it can be done. For a while, at least. We should take advantage of it."
*Yes, Sam, but what you suggest will be very difficult unless we are fully blended. I told you so earlier.*
*Then we'll blend.*
*I am not so sure that would be a wise course of action. You are as of yet uncertain if you wish me to remain, and it is...most difficult, especially for the host, to survive on their own, mentally, when they have been fully blended.*
*I no longer have any problems when you're in control. Besides, we have no way of knowing when - or even if - we'll get away from this place. You told me there are several disadvantages to not being blended for an extended period of time, besides it being unpleasant.*
*Yes...efficiency of healing, cooperation, coordination, many things will be easier when blended. Besides being unpleasant it is also not mentally safe to continue staying in an in-between state for a very long time. Not that we would come close to that in the near future, but still...*
*You didn't tell me it could be dangerous! What do the Goa'uld do, then?*
*Well, they don't cooperate - or even acknowledge - the host, usually. They just suppress the host completely and take total control of everything. That works almost as well, but a Tok'ra would never do that.*
*Then - let's blend.*
*You are sure?*
*Tonight, then, when we can be undisturbed for the required amount of time...and Samantha?*
The symbiote's gratitude was heartfelt. She much preferred feeling welcome, to just being tolerated. She gave her host a warm hug.
"Sam?" Daniel asked his friend, who had said nothing for quite some time and now just had a somewhat silly grin plastered over her face. "Are you all right?"
Sam shook herself and returned to the outside world. "Yes, I'am fine. I was talking to Jolinar."
The others merely nodded, understanding. They were starting to get used to the idea that Sam was a host, but the fact that Jolinar had to hide most of the time here, meant they sometimes forgot about her.
"Well, I can make snares to catch rabbits and such with. I'll show you how - tomorrow evening. I'm much too tired right now." O'Neill said.
Sam suddenly remembered what they had been talking about, and focused her mind back on the problem. She turned to Daniel as he made a suggestion as well.
"We could probably make nets or just a fishing rod."
"Unless we can catch the fish quickly, that may be too time-consuming, but we can try. Tomorrow we'll see if there's a place with fish." Sam said.
They agreed to go directly to bed today. They were all in excellent shape, but not used to working in a mine.
Daniel and O'Neill fell asleep almost as soon as they lay down. Teal'c meditated - unhappy at the lack of any candles.
Meanwhile, Sam and Jolinar laid down to complete their blending before sleeping. They were both looking forward to it, albeit Sam also felt some trepidation.
Communication and healing would be smoother, and they would suddenly know much more about each other. Sharing would be the norm, and they would be keeping only certain things separate, and private. Both would know the other's thoughts, unless one actively blocked it. They would learn many of the memories and the background of each other, except what small things they wanted to keep to themselves. Deeper emotions would begin to synchronize.
Jolinar was very much looking forward to this - to no longer feel alone. She had missed the feeling of intimacy, friendship, togetherness.
This was the part that made Sam apprehensive. She was still a bit uncomfortable about sharing almost everything, but she was no longer as afraid as she had been. Jolinar assured her that after the full blending they would in some ways feel almost as part of each other, so sharing even private thoughts and memories would not feel strange or unpleasant.
To Sam, the blending in many ways felt like a fast-forward through both her own and Jolinar's memories. Though that was by no means all it was, it was merely the part that was most visible to her. Some of the things Sam thought she would be embarrassed to share, turned out not to matter.
Even though they were still separate individuals, and were able to tell whose memories belonged to whom, in some sense it felt as if they had both done, experienced, felt, wanted, all of it. There were many many memories, and much knowledge. Most of it passed by so quickly that Sam could not hang on to any one part of it. Later, it would coalesce more and feel natural and accessible. Right now it all felt a bit overwhelming and Sam felt like she was drowning under it all, loosing herself.
*Do not worry. We do stay separate individuals in most areas, though the longer we are together, the more we will be as one. We - Tok'ra - do feel strong emotions as one. While host and symbiote can disagree on minor things, it is not possible to truly love or hate someone without the other soon coming to share that feeling.* Jolinar explained.
*I...understand...* Sam said.
In truth, she felt exhausted by all the new things that were swirling in her head. She could not make head or tail of it all. What had happened millennia ago mixed together with experiences and memories only years or months old - hers and Jolinar's. She felt completely confused and would need time to process it all. For now, though, she just wanted to sleep.
Jolinar assured her it was only a matter of time before it was no longer strange and confusing to her.
Sam nodded, tiredly. She really just wanted to sleep, and moments later she dozed off.
Jolinar smiled and hugged her host warmly before she went to sleep as well.
The young man looked a little surprised, then smiled.
"Yes, my Lord Jolinar."
He hurried to her. Coming closer, she sensed the energy signature, of course. She ignored the fact and looked him over. He was very young, less than 20, and he blushed a little as he approached her, not used to this role. He was not wearing much - which was fairly normal for a lo'tar, of course. The thin, chest-revealing clothing was made of expensive silk.
Jolinar thoughtfully fondled his shoulder, then allowed her hand to slide to his chest. The skin was smooth and soft. There was only a slight sprinkling of hair. She decided he needed to wax it anyway.
Jolinar rose from the big bed, pulling herself up by holding on to one of the large beams keeping the canopy up. As she continued to caress him, the young man gasped and closed his beautiful, blue-grey eyes. Jolinar smiled. This would be fun!
She quickly pulled out the restraints she had borrowed from their host - the gracious 'Lord' Zefina - earlier that evening. Oh, how surprised he would be...
Quickly, while he was not paying attention, Jolinar slapped the restraints first around his left arm, then around the bedpost.
Surprised, he opened his eyes and immediately tried to pull free. He grabbed at the restraints with his right hand to try and open them. This made the other part of it close - around his right wrist. He was now completely stuck.
"Jolinar!" He warned. "What are you up to?"
She merely grinned. "Tsk...tsk...you're clearly not very obedient, are you? You are quite a bad lo'tar, do you know that? But to answer your question...all kinds of things..." She laughed, looking happy.
The young man rolled his eyes, but did not complain any further, apparently accepting his fate.
Jolinar moved closer and began touching him again, enjoying the feel of the skin on his chest. She allowed her hands to slowly slide down his back, squeezing his ass a little when she reached it. These clothes really were very thin, and she could feel the warmth from him easily through them. She repeated this a few times, then glided her hands down the back of his legs and in between them, pressing just a little, making him part them a bit. She stopped when she reached his upper inner thighs, then started over from his shoulders.
Her lo'tar gasped as she suddenly kissed him hard on the neck, then sucked a little. He leaned back against her mouth, his symbiote pressing himself against her through the skin, as best he could.
Jolinar giggled and pulled back, just enough that they could not reach her. "Naughty..."
She began undressing him as best she could without removing the restraints. The skimpy clothing he wore on the upper part of his body, she eventually decided to simply rip off. It proved satisfactorily easy. She smiled mischievously.
Her lo'tar followed her with his eyes as she went to sit on the bed, in front of where he was standing. He had an amused look on his face, mixed with lust.
Jolinar began to draw circles on his chest with her fingers, slowly moving downwards until she reached the waistband, dipping her fingers just inside and taking care not to touch his penis, which almost peaked out of his pants by now.
He made a frustrated sound and tried to move in such a way that he would get more contact, but she quickly jumped back, not allowing it yet.
"So eager..." She murmured before she giggled and again came closer, now touching his nipples. At first she just stroked them gently, then she began to massage them, rolling and squeezing them between her fingers, as they hardened.
His eyes promised retribution as she dove in and began to lick and suck where her fingers had been moments before He moaned as Jolinar's very skillful tongue teased first one, then the other of his nipples until she was satisfied they were hard enough.
Sitting up on her knees, her hands found their way to his back. One stroked him lightly through the skin, where his symbiote was, while the other kneaded first one, then the other of his buttocks. He made a small sound - somewhere between a moan and a gasp, and tried to thrust against her.
Jolinar immediately let go and gave him a naughty smile as she again rose from the bed. She studied him for a little while. It was obvious he was beginning to get frustrated. She smiled again as she leaned closer and kissed his throat, then the side of his neck, before proceeding to nibble lightly on an ear. She was enjoying this!
As she walked around him, she allowed her hand to trail his skin, touching him here and there, ending by squeezing his butt. Standing behind him, she embraced him and held him close to her for a moment, before continuing her teasing. The closeness was pleasant, soothing. She buried her face in the crook of his neck for a moment, then stepped back a little. She enjoyed this, and so did her host. It was really too bad they could not risk letting Rosha take control, but during undercover missions as Goa'uld, the symbiote usually kept control the whole time. Anything else was simply too dangerous.
Listening to a suggestion from her host, Jolinar moved to the lo'tar's side and let a hand glide lovingly down over his chest and stomach, caressing him as she went. Then further down over his pants, to cup the impressive hardness that was straining against the cloth there.
He gasped, loudly. As she began to stroke and squeeze him through his pants, he started to groan and thrust against her hand.
She let him continue for a little while, then removed her hand and grabbed his hips.
"Not yet - you really are a naughty boy. I ought to discipline you."
"Jolinar..." he panted, "...you're enjoying this far too much! Just wait until I get loose, I am going to..."
"Tsk, tsk...such insolence. You will address me either as 'mistress' or as 'my Lord Jolinar'!" She smirked at his expression. "Now, perhaps it is time to get rid of some more clothing."
She quickly loosened his pants and pulled them down to his ankles. Looking at her, he stepped out of them and kicked off his light sandals as well.
Jolinar stood back and admired his now almost naked body.
"You are making me feel over-dressed, sweetie..."
She untied a band that allowed her large robe to fall to the floor, pooling at her feet. She stepped out of her shoes and was now only wearing her red dress. It was low-cut and tight in the upper part, but flowing in the lower. It reached to just under her knees, but had two long slits along each leg, reaching almost the top of her legs. While the dress was revealing, it was almost modest compared to what some Goa'uld wore. And it was actually quite stylish.
Her lo'tar gave her a shy smile and continued looking at her for a while, admiring the sight.
"Compared to me you're still over-dressed...mistress..."
"So I am..." She patted his ass. "I had better do something about that."
Standing so he had a clear view of her, she slowly reached behind her and opened the dress. She allowed it to slide down her body, revealing her underwear which consisted of a pair of small panties made of black lace, and a bra of a matching design and colour.
Smiling, she returned to teasing the now very aroused young man, who was drinking in her body with his eyes. His manhood got even larger and had long since peeked out of his underpants.
"My poor, frustrated sweetie..." Jolinar cooed, as she squeezed his shaft.
He muttered something between gritted teeth.
"What was that?" She moved closer, at the same time stroking his member firmly several times.
He gasped and pressed himself into her touch. "Vile temptress..."
"That was not very nice..." She stopped touching him. "...and here I was considering showing you some of my - considerable - oral skills..."
"Pl...please do..my goddess. I apologize for anything I have said!"
"That is a good slave!" Jolinar grinned, then pulled his underwear down and looked admiringly at his impressive length for a moment before she leaned in and blew gently at the tip.
She looked up at him, noticing the desperate look on his face. She moved closer and placed a light kiss on the head. The shaft actually twitched and Jolinar gently licked away the drop of wetness that glistened at the tip.
He gasped loudly at this. Satisfied with the effect she was having on him, she ran her tongue lightly along his penis, then opened her mouth and took him inside - though not deeply. He moaned, harder this time, and his eyes glazed over.
As Jolinar applied a little suction, he tried to thrust deeper into her mouth. She quickly moved back and put a hand on his thigh, controlling him. This was repeated a few times, as he grew ever more frustrated and impatient.
Suddenly, the restraints opened and fell to the ground with a 'clunk'.
Surprised, Jolinar let go and jumped back, only to see her 'lo'tar's eyes flash as he quickly pulled his underpants the rest of the way off and flung them away.
"So, Jolinar...it would seem your advantage has disappeared..."
Jolinar squealed in a combination of anticipation and apprehension as he quickly grabbed hold of her and pulled her towards him.
"Lantash! Wait...I mean..." She giggled, "...that is no way to treat your goddess, lo'tar..."
He ignored the comment and instead ripped off her underwear. Standing at the bottom of the bed, he slid his hand possessively over her ass before he grabbed hold of her hips and pulled her up to meet him.
With a groan he entered her from behind. She was tight, but also very wet. She let out a moan and wriggled a bit, indicating she really wanted him to continue.
Pulling back some, he then thrust forward again, hard, entering her almost the whole way. He began to move, faster and harder. At first he tried to hold back, just a little, but soon he was pounding into her, oblivious of anything else.
Jolinar had closed her eyes and were enjoying the intense sensations. This was not exactly how she had expected this to go, though she had of course intended to mate with him. Eventually. And she was getting incredibly horny...
Lantash thrust into her a few more times before he growled loudly and burrowed his shaft as deeply as it would go, emptying himself in her.
Jolinar collapsed on the bed, Lantash on top of her. The added sensation pushed her over and she came, moaning deeply.
They lay like that for some time before Lantash rolled over on his side, pulling Jolinar with him.
"So...is my goddess satisfied?" He asked, teasingly.
"Very. You know..." She said sleepily, "...you really should let Martouf stay in control when you're pretending to be a lo'tar."
"I know. We both lost control and forgot about everything else...but I doubt anyone accidentally entering the room would have stayed long - or made note of me being Tok'ra." His eyes glimmered from amusement.
"That is probably true..." She smiled.
Lantash gave control back to Martouf, who hugged Jolinar tightly and kissed her neck.
"You are both bad, naughty girls! But I am not complaining!" He smiled happily.
Jolinar grinned. "Rosha agreed with me that you would not mind. By the way...how did you get free? Zefina assured me those restraints were unbreakable!"
"And so they are, I'm sure. However, they are Goa'uld technology. Thought-controlled and reacts to the presence of naquadah. Lantash realised that we were able to get loose and so we did - almost - immediately. It was meant to be used on humans!"
"I see. I better tell Zefina, though they will rarely be used in a situation such as this..."
"She probably knows. I'm sure she did it on purpose. She would find it hilarious."
Jolinar grumbled something inaudible, then thought of something else.
"It took you almost half an hour to figure out how to open the restraints. Feeling a bit slow, sweeties?"
"That's unfair! You forget your considerable skill was distracting us...also, we are both deeply in love with the both of you." He flushed before Lantash could control the reaction.
Jolinar smiled. She embraced them tightly. "As are we."
Sam woke to the sound of the morning alarm. She was slightly flustered and still aroused. Realising it was time to get up and go to work in the naquadah mines, she groaned. Taking a deep breath, she got out of bed and began putting on what little of her clothing she did not already wear. The hut was cold and windy, and the blankets they had been given were thin, so they wore most of their clothing to bed.
Sam pondered her dream as she and the others hurried to the mines - and the breakfast waiting for them there.
The dream had been very real - as if it was one of those were you re-lived something that had actually happened. She vaguely remembered recognizing the people in it, but since she still had not had time to distill all the new memories, she could not quite place them.
Jolinar was being suspiciously quiet, even though it had obviously have been her dream which Sam had shared - or perhaps her mind had pulled up a memory from Jolinar and used it for a dream? As a way of dealing with all the new information? Sam was not sure if she wanted to repeat the experience. But the dream had been hot.
Jolinar was not exactly a morning person and preferred to sleep in or at least wake up slowly and in quiet, but Sam decided she wanted some answers now, even if her symbiote was still trying to sleep.
*Mmmm...yes?* The symbiote did not sound like she wanted to talk.
*About tonight's dream...and don't you try to pretend you don't know what I'm talking about...it was yours, right?*
*Yes. It was. What do you want to know?* Jolinar sounded apprehensive.
*Is it normal to share dreams?*
*Yes, it is quite normal and happens often. Though usually not this early in a blending. It means we are a good match.*
*I'm happy to hear that...* Sam sounded faintly sarcastic. *Now, as for the content - was it something you'd experienced or just something your mind 'dreamed up' - for lack of a better term?*
Sam suddenly 'grinned'. *I think I'm envious...another thing. Why would a Goa'uld have a Goa'uld as a lo'tar? It doesn't make any sense!*
*Tok'ra, not Goa'uld...but you are correct. They would not. However, at the time we needed to talk to Zefina - an undercover Tok'ra. Since it would be...odd for two Goa'uld to travel alone together with no servants, we went as a minor Goa'uld with her lo'tar. Since there would be no Goa'uld present - only three Tok'ra - we just needed to pretend for the sake of the Jaffa and humans there. No one would be able to sense the symbiote in the Tok'ra pretending to be a lo'tar.*
*I see. OK.*
Sam was quiet for some time, mostly happy with the explanations. Something was nagging at her, though.
They ate the meager breakfast and the day's work began. Their muscles were still sore from yesterday and they were also tired. This meant the work was harder than it had been the day before. They all worked in silence, not feeling like talking and also being desperate to fill the day's quote, so they would get their evening meal.
Suddenly Sam realised what it was she had noticed in the dream.
*I recognized the man - men, I guess - who were pretending to be your lo'tar. From your memories, of course. Now, everything is coming together, and I'm no longer as confused as before. They're...your mates! And your current mates, even! Jolinar! Why didn't you tell me? I would think a little detail like that would be relevant to mention to me before blending!* Sam sounded angry. She felt Jolinar had deceived her.
Jolinar, for her part, was silent for some time, unsure of what to say.
*You are correct, of course. I do have my reasons, though... At first, you did not know if you wanted to remain my host, so I thought there was no reason to tell you, until you had decided. I did not want you to know about them - you would then have information about them to give up during torture when I had left you, and I could not allow my loved ones to be put at greater risk than absolutely necessary. I should probably have told you before we blended fully - and I am sorry about that - but I find it unlikely we will ever leave this place alive. I truly did not think we would ever be in a situation where it would matter. Besides, you do not have a mate, so I see no reason why you should complain about gaining two.*
Sam was speechless! *I guess I can agree to the first part, but saying that I should just accept whatever husband you have, as mine - and be happy? That's...preposterous! I mean, I did find him attractive in your dream, but...*
*You do not have all the information. Tok'ra...host and symbiote...share strong emotions. I told you this. We love as one. It will only be a matter of very short time before our feelings will have synchronized. By then, you will love him. It is a fact.*
Somewhat placated, but still a little shocked, Sam was quiet for some time. It was a very strange idea. Husbands. She had never been certain if she actually wanted to marry - and now, in a sense, she already had. To a man...men she had never met. She shook her head.
*I see. I still think I would have preferred to make the choice myself - this way it won't even be my emotions!*
*Yes, it will - they will merely have been triggered by mine. You will not be able to tell the difference. All emotions are triggered by something - does it matter these came from me originally?*
Sam thought about it for a while, as she continued chopping out ore. She still felt the faint tingling whenever they were in the mines. Briefly, she worried about whether they would be able to mine enough for all of them to eat dinner tonight, then her thoughts returned to their previous topic. The men who were now her mates.
She was by now able to go through some of the memories Jolinar had of them. They seemed like nice guys. Kind and intelligent. Martouf was certainly not bad to look at...Sam admitted to herself she might even have fallen for them on her own. It still bothered her a little to have this...pulled down over her head, so to speak. Then something else hit her.
*What if they don't want me?*
*It is possible, of course, though I do not think it is likely. You have many qualities I know they admire. You are a gentle and very intelligent person. Strong and resourceful - and you are attractive. In time, I am certain they will like, and probably love you. Do not worry about that.*
Sam 'nodded', still not convinced all would go as easily as Jolinar thought, but there were other things of greater concern right now. In all likelihood, they would never get out of this alive anyway.
They worked hard for the remainder if the day, just managing to reach the quota and thus they all got their dinner again.
"We can't keep this up." Daniel complained, as they walked back towards their hut. "We barely managed enough today - and tomorrow we'll be even weaker and more exhausted."
"Eventually we'll be stronger - we just have to get through these first days. Then it'll be easier!" O'Neill said, attempting to cheer them all up.
"The Colonel's right, Daniel. Cheer up!" Sam smiled to him, pretending to be less tired than she felt. "We'll get through this. Together. Jolinar and I will take a walk before bedtime - try to find something edible, or perhaps something we can trade for seeds and tools for farming."
"I shall do the same." Teal'c said.
O'Neill nodded. He was too tired too argue. Besides, they needed this. He knew that.
During the journey back from the mine, Sam/Jolinar had spotted a piece of string strong enough for making a trap. They now looked for a spot that would be good for setting it.
After searching for a while they found an opening. It was early evening and there was a lot of fresh grass, so they thought rabbits might soon pass here, if there were any nearby. Jolinar suggested it would be a good place for a trap.
They continued walking for some time, scouting the area and hoping to discover something useful. This also meant some hours would pass before they returned, making it possible they had caught something in their trap, and could pick it up on their way back to the village.
In the forest they found trees which would carry fruit later in the year, but it was still only early summer. Hopefully, they would have escaped the planet long before this became relevant, but otherwise it was useful knowledge.
It was not really the season for anything, except flowers - something they could not hope to trade to the hungry slaves.
*As far as I can tell, out options are for the time limited to this: capturing animals for food, fur, or feathers; gathering firewood; and gathering hay. It can all be traded, but the latter two are not worth much, even if all will need it. However, since they are worked almost to the point of exhaustion in the mines, they will lack the energy to fetch more than the bare minimum needed. We may be able to trade it to them.*
*We're not much better off there.* Sam pointed out. *We're exhausted.*
*True, but we can manage...* Jolinar allowed some adrenalin and other chemicals to flood their blood. *Better?*
*Yes. For the time being.*
They began to gather firewood, tying it together with their scarf, since they had nothing else. Suddenly, Jolinar noticed a type of grass which she recognized as being strong and flexible.
*We can use that to make durable rope - both thick and thin. It will be very useful, both to ourselves and for trading.*
*Sounds great, but it is too late to do it today. It is almost completely dark. We'll have to come back tomorrow.*
*Agreed. We should return home and get some sleep. There may well be dangerous animals in the forest.*
They hurried back towards the village, stopping on their way to check on the snare they had set earlier. They had been lucky, and a rabbit was caught in it.
The rabbit was fighting to get loose, which was clearly futile. Sam was happy they were checking the snare now, and not later when the rabbit had suffered longer.
*What do we do with the poor thing? We don't even have a knife, Teal'c has the only one.*
*We need to get one. For now, this will do.* Jolinar took control and grabbed hold of the rabbit, quickly breaking its neck.
Sam was a little shocked, but realised there had been little else to do - at least this had been a quick and painless way to kill it.
*Well, that was...efficient...*
*You did not approve. Was it the act itself, or the fact that I did it without seemingly thinking twice?*
*A little bit of both, though I understand the necessity. Mostly...I felt its soft fur and saw how cute it looked and thought of a pet I had...a cat named Schroedinger...*
*You are not alone. I, too, have had small, furry pets. Dogs, actually. I did not relish killing the rabbit, but one of us had to do it.*
They picked up the string they had used for the snare, as well as the rabbit and the bundle of firewood, before they walked the rest of the way back to the village.
The village was by now almost dark. There were only to or three lights to be seen, probably from fireplaces. They had just passed the first houses in the village when they heard a voice.
"Well, well...if it isn't one of the Jaffa-lovers..."
Jolinar sighed. *Just continue. We don't want any trouble.*
Sam walked faster, when someone suddenly stepped out in front of her.
"Didn't you hear what he said?"
"Perhaps she feels she's too good to talk to us." A third man said as he joined the two others.
"I heard him, but I didn't think he was talking to me. If you'll excuse me, I'm on my way home."
"Who else would he be talking to, kresh'ta? There's no other Jaffa-lovers here."
Sam sighed. "Never mind. Good night." She tried to slip by them.
"See? She's feeling too good to talk to us. Damn arrogant bitch." He gave her a push. "And what's that? A rabbit - and you've brought us some firewood too. Good, we'll take that and let you go - but you better learn some manners!"
"You keep your hands off my my stuff!" Sam was getting seriously angry.
"Or what? It's not like you can harm us. We are strong - you and the others in your group are weak. If it were not for your Jaffa, you would not have eaten these past days."
"Yeah - even with him you're barely keeping quota. I saw it. If you fail it will not just be hard on you. We will all suffer if we don't mine enough naquadah for our Lord. He will punish us all."
"Listen, I'm sorry about that, but it's not my fault he's an evil unfair bastard. Now let me go!"
"Blasphemy! Pray that Tahil will chose to be merciful to you for saying something like that!"
The man looked like he honestly believed his god would hear them. Jolinar groaned mentally.
"I...apologize. We will endeavour to be more efficient in the future," Sam said, coached by Jolinar.
"Good, now hand over the goods and leave!"
"Are they bothering you, Captain Carter?" Teal'c wondered, from partway down the street.
Both Jolinar and Sam were immensely grateful to hear his voice.
"Not anymore, I think..." Sam looked at the three men who had gotten a fearful expression on their faces. They took one look at Teal'c who was carrying what looked like a long, thick staff over his shoulder. Then they quickly scurried away.
"Thanks, Teal'c. You have no idea how happy we are to see you." Sam smiled at him, the relief obvious on her face.
"Then it was fortunate I just happened to be returning at the same time as you. What was their quarrel with you?"
"I don't think they like newcomers - and they wanted the rabbit." Sam said, holding the dead animal up for Teal'c to see.
He nodded. "They do not appreciate a Jaffa being part of our group. I apologize for any problems my presence is causing you."
"Teal'c...you have nothing to apologize for. They're just being generally unfriendly. I'm sure they'd have found something else to complain about if you weren't here. Besides, if it weren't for you, we wouldn't have filled the naquadah quota - no food."
"That is true." He almost smiled. "I hope to be able to assist in other ways as well. I will be able to hunt and procure various other things while the rest of you sleep."
"Teal'c...you may not need sleep, but your body still needs to rest and recuperate. Working in the mines is hard work. Just...don't overwork yourself. OK?"
"I shall not." He smiled, happy about her concern for him.
Sam looked at the big animal he was carrying. "Wow, you seem to have had more luck than Jolinar and me - what is that...a small deer?"
They had now reached their hut and went inside. The others were sleeping, but awoke when they heard their friends return home.
"Teal'c...Carter..." O'Neill greeted them. "...Jolinar...found anything?"
"Yeah. We did. And we've got an idea for something we can trade, besides meat. Rope!" Sam said.
"Rope?" Daniel wondered, sleepily.
"You want people to hang themselves? I admit, this place it depressing, but..." O'Neill grinned at his own joke.
Sam ignored the comment.
"Jolinar saw some type of grass we can make sturdy rope from. Most of what they have here isn't very good. They'll need it for all kinds of stuff, so I'm sure it will trade well."
"And we have meat. Captain Carter and Jolinar captured a rabbit. I found a small kawa-deer."
"A deer. How'd you catch that?" Daniel asked, surprised.
"I had briefly seen a herd of them when we arrived. They have very bad night vision, so during night time they will not move unless they have to. I used the knife to manufacture a wooden spear. I then silently approached the deer and killed one of them with my new weapon."
"Impressive! Not that the rabbit isn't great, too, Carter." O'Neill quickly added.
"So. How do we store the meat?" Daniel wondered.
"We could either smoke it or dry it, but we would likely be able to eat what we have caught before it goes bad, so..." Sam looked at the meat.
"Do not concern yourself. I shall prepare it when I have completed my kel'no'reem." Teal'c said.
"Sounds great! Thanks, Teal'c." Sam said, suddenly feeling very tired. She handed him the rabbit and went to prepare for bed.
Next day all went as it had the other days, with the exception that they ate some of the meat in the morning. They saved some for evening and the rest they would attempt to trade for seeds for a garden.
When about half the day's shift had passed, and they were pushing the first cart-full of ore to the off-load area, something happened. Today Daniel and O'Neill were the ones to move it, while Sam and Teal'c continued mining.
Daniel was walking behind, pushing the cart. O'Neill was pulling it, when some of the other mine-workers 'accidentally' pushed their own cart into SG-1's, tipping it. Most of the ore fell out.
"Oops...so sorry. Here, we'll help you..."
They all began gathering the ore again and putting it back into the cart. However, not all went into the one it came from. The 'helpers' sneaked part of it up into their own, while the exhausted Daniel and O'Neill were not looking.
Finally, they finished picking up all they could find.
"Thanks, guys!" Daniel said, smiling a little.
"Hey...wait a minute..." O'Neill looked into the cart. "We had a lot more before..." He looked at the cart belonging to the other miners, "...and I'll bet that one wasn't as full before. You stole from us!"
"Ungrateful bastard! We helped you pick up your ore after you dropped it!"
"Yeah...because you hit us...so you could steal it!"
"You were in the way! And probably you just couldn't find all your ore again - if you even had it in the first place. Amateurs!"
O'Neill grabbed the nearest one of the offenders and were about to hit him when two large Jaffa appeared as if out of no where.
"What is going on here?"
"They are stealing our ore!" O'Neill exclaimed.
"Liar! Ungrateful cur!" The man fell to his knees before the Jaffa. "These newcomers tipped their cart out of clumsiness and dropped some of their ore. We - loyal servants of the illustrious Lord Tahil - helped these poor bastards to collect it again. We did it to ensure our great Lord gets as much of his rightful naquadah as possible. And what happens? They claim we stole their naquadah! No doubt to hide how despicably little they had mined!"
"He should talk about lying! Every word out of his mouth is a lie!" O'Neill countered, angrily.
The Jaffa looked at the kneeling man, then at O'Neill and Daniel.
"Be quiet! Lowlife scum! How dare you accuse your helpers of stealing? Get back to work - or I shall have you flogged and thrown into the pit!"
O'Neill was about to say something he would have regretted, when Daniel stopped him.
"Yes, sir. Thank you for...your leniency..." Daniel quickly said.
The two Jaffa left, as did the now grinning men with the other cart. Daniel was left standing with a fuming O'Neill and a cart which was only half full.
Having no other choice, they went to have the contents weighed and added to today's pile, before returning to the others - whom they had to tell of the events.
"I am at fault for this - both for causing the locals to feel animosity towards you and for not accompanying you just now." Teal'c sounded remorseful.
"Teal'c...it's not your fault! These people just need an excuse to pick on someone!" O'Neill exclaimed.
"Psychologically this is probably making them feel better now they have some others that are treated worse than them - someone they can mistreat." Daniel pondered.
"Ah - that's bullshit. They're just being nasty to see if they can - because we're the new guys." O'Neill hammered hard at the rock in front of him with his pick-axe. It did not help his mood.
"They have been mistreated by Jaffa for generations. I am sorry, but Teal'c is a Jaffa and since he is not in a position of power, they are punishing him for the evil they have suffered by his kind. Since we are in this together with him we share in his sins - as far as they view it." She looked at Teal'c. "It is a fact."
"Jolinar?" O'Neill asked.
"Yes. Sam agreed to let me use her voice. As you know, it is not something we usually do, as it is considered an deception. Impersonating the host."
"Don't worry. I didn't think you were Carter..." O'Neill grumbled.
"Good." She picked up her shovel. "We should return to our work."
They did, and worked as hard as possible. However, when the signal sounded, they were almost certain they did not have enough naquadah ore to fill their quota.
The weigh-in confirmed their suspicion. They had worked very hard, but were still almost 15 units short.
Grinning, the man in charge handed O'Neill three dinner tokens.
"The bastard thought it was funny!" O'Neill said angrily. "Here. You eat. I'm too tired - and too angry - to be hungry!" He handed the tokens to the others.
"No, you take one. I shall eat when we come back to the hut." Teal'c suggested.
Sam, too, tried to give back her token.
"This is ridiculous. Let's share the food now so we all get some. Then we can all eat some of the meat back home." Daniel suggested.
The others admitted his advice was sound and they shared the three bowls of soup and the bread before hurrying back home to get something more to eat. They were now very happy to have the extra meat from yesterday.
Which turned out to no longer be there when they returned. Someone had stolen it!
Sighing deeply, they all did what they had done yesterday; Daniel and O'Neill went to bed and Sam/Jolinar and Teal'c left to hunt.
Since there were many rabbits in the area, they managed to catch one each. Sam also brought some more firewood home.
This time they took the long way around the village, instead of going through it, well aware the bullies from yesterday were probably waiting for them.
Safely home, Sam/Jolinar collapsed on the bed while Teal'c prepared the meat, which they would all share the next morning.
*Yes, we should...good night.*
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