Rascals II - Chapter 11

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"Okay, there's one piece of pie left. Who wants it?" O'Neill said, holding up the paper plate with the dessert on it.

"Me, me!" Martouf said eagerly.

"You're always hungry. Do you have a tapeworm?" Daniel asked.

"I'm not hungry all the time!" Martouf scoffed. "What's a tapeworm?"

"Uh...something my grandpa said people had, if they were hungry all the time!" Daniel explained. "It's a parasite of some kind."

Martouf bowed his head, giving Lantash control.

"I don't have any parasites and neither does Martouf!" Lantash angrily flashed his eyes and completely forgot to hide the distortion. "Are you suggesting I don't take care of my host, and allow him to get infested with something?"

Mark gasped and stared at him. "What? You...you're..." He looked accusingly at Jacob. "You said you hadn't met any aliens! He's obviously not human!"

Jacob sighed deeply. "Well...we didn't so much say we hadn't met any aliens, as we let you think it..."

"Sorry." Lantash said, looking guilty. "I...kinda forgot I was supposed to hide the dis-tortion...and the eye flash, right?"

"I...uh...guess it was my fault too." Daniel said, looking at Lantash. "Sorry."

Lantash got an angry expression again for a moment, then he suddenly smiled. "I forgive you." He turned to O'Neill. "Can I have the pie now?"

"Yeah, sure. Here you go." O'Neill smiled, just happy Jacob seemed to be the one that got to explain this mess to Mark. 

For several moments Mark had just stared at Jacob, and then the others. "You let me think there were no aliens? Why?"

Jacob thought for a moment before he and Selmak could reach a decision about what to say. "Before I tell you that...Mark, do you remember me mentioning Selmak?"

"Yes, I think so. It's someone who got you into whatever it is you're working with right now...which means I'm gonna assume Selmak is either Air Force...or given the weird name...alien."

"I suppose you would say that Selmak is an alien." Jacob admitted. "An alien whom I owe my life - and without whom I wouldn't have started talking to you again."

Mark looked surprised for a moment, then anger replaced the surprise again. "Well, that's all well and good, but that doesn't explain why you haven't told me about them - why you guys have kept it a secret for the whole world, actually!"

"Did you forget what George...General Hammond...told you just before we went here? If revealing the existence of alien planets, planets we can travel to - and the past existence of aliens who had created technology much more advanced than anything we can grasp - would create chaos and probably panic on Earth, what do you think would happen if they learned there are real, live aliens out there now?"

"Okay, I guess I can understand that." Mark said, somewhat mollified. "But you could have told me, your son!" He sighed. "Are they friendly, at least, these aliens?" He nodded towards Lantash. "He's actually a kid?"

"He is, yes, and his people are our allies."

"Well, that's something, I guess."

"As for why we...I didn't tell you? It was classified, of course, but there were other reasons as well. I think I will let Selmak explain." Jacob said, half-smiling a little as he closed his eyes and bowed his head.

"Selmak?" Mark looked around.

"That would be me." Selmak said. "Hello, Mark. It is a pleasure to finally be able to talk to you. I have wanted to do so for a long time."

"Dad?" Mark frowned. "You're talking like...like, eh, Martouf does..."

"Like Lantash does, and I am not your father - though I share his feelings for you. I am very fond of you, and I do consider you and Samantha my children."

"I'm sorry." Mark shook his head. "I don't understand this at all."

"That is one of the reasons why we wanted to wait before we introduced ourselves. We wanted to give you time to come fully to terms with some of all this - the existence of alien worlds, and so on - before telling you more. We also wanted to see how you reacted, and try to figure out how you would react to learning about aliens. You seemed very sure you would not agree to sign the non-disclosure agreement, for instance. Is that still the case?"

"What? No...I'll sign. Listen...Selmak, if that's who you are. How...who...what are you? Is my dad really in there?"

"He is, don't worry about that." O'Neill smiled.

"My species is symbiotic, requiring a host in order to interact more than minimally with our surroundings. You father is my host, just as Martouf is Lantash's host." Selmak explained.

"Why would he do that? Why would anyone do that?"

"The reasons vary from person to person. Jacob was sick, as you know, and symbiotes can cure most human illnesses. I needed a host, so it was a mutually satisfactory arrangement." She smiled. "The relationship between a host and a symbiote is closer than any other."

Selmak started giving Mark a brief summary of the Tok'ra - and the Goa'uld.

Mark sat and looked out over the lake, absent-mindedly observing the children as they played in the shallow water. What he had been told was far beyond anything he had ever imagined. Science fiction had never been an interest of his, and now he was living it. He had been on a space ship, travelled to an alien planet, through an alien device. Not only that, but he had met real aliens - and learned his own father was now host to an alien resistance fighter! He slowly shook his head. It really was a lot to take in!

He sighed. At least the aliens he had met had not been scary. It was a shock that one was living in his father's head...or neck, or whatever, but the two other aliens were little children, and behaved as such. He could not be afraid of them. Besides, his sister clearly was not, and he trusted her judgement, even if she was a child again.

Lantash was balancing on one of the handful of long tree trunks that were lying in the shallow water. Most of them were stuck in the ground near the brink, and so did not move when the children walked on them, even if the outer parts of the trunks were not supported by anything but water. Sam had been the first to step out on one of them, and was crouching at the far end of one right now, dropping small sticks in the water and seeing them float off.

Anise was sitting on a large rock, with her naked feet dangling in the water. It was a warm day, and the water was almost tepid, so the adults had decided to let her.

Suddenly, Lantash stepped on a slippery patch on the trunk. He let out a cry and flapped his arms frantically, trying to regain his balance. It was all for nothing, and moments later he fell into the water with a big splash.

"You, know, usually people take off their clothes before taking a bath." Daniel said, grinning. He was standing on a neighboring trunk that was partially floating in the water.

A very wet Lantash got to his feet, water dripping as he stared angrily at Daniel. "Very funny!" He sputtered.

"How did you manage to fall? Ate too much pie, perhaps?" Daniel continued his teasing.

Lantash's eyes flashed a strong golden-white. "The trunk was slippery. No doubt you had thrown water on it earlier!"

"It's not slippery - I can walk on it easily. See?" Daniel took a long step and now stood near the spot Lantash had been at when he fell.

"Lantash...are you okay?" Sam asked, worried. She carefully jumped from trunk to trunk to get closer.

"I am fine, Samantha. Just a little wet." He assured her, still fuming at Daniel, but mostly at his own clumsiness. He suddenly swirled around and grabbed hold of Daniel, pulling him down in the water with him.

Daniel screamed as he fell, the water splashing all over and showering both Sam and Anise with water. Sam had been in mid-jump when this happened, and her footing was not sure. She landed on the trunk, staggered for a moment - then fell beside Daniel and Lantash.

"You got my clothes wet!" Anise shouted angrily at them. "I hate getting my clothes wet! You are all to blame!"

Daniel and Lantash did not hear her, as Daniel had just pushed Lantash and they were now both fighting in the water. Sam splashed water over Daniel - who was already completely wet. "I will get you for making me fall!"

"It wasn't my fault!" Daniel defended himself.

"Okay, kids. Enough!" Jacob shouted at them from the beach. "Get in here. Now!"

Since they were already as wet as they could be, they just sloshed through the water and up on the beach. They threw each other looks that promised reprisal, but did not attempt to fight.

"Didn't you hear us?" O'Neill said angrily. "We've been yelling at you for several minutes, while you just kept fighting and pushing each other in the water!"

"I did not fight in the water." Anise told him. "It was their fault I got wet. All of them. Freya agrees with me."

The other children chose to ignore her.

"Are you angry at us?" Lantash asked, worried.

"Angry!" Jacob spat. "Why would you think..."

Janet put a hand on his arm. "Jacob..."

Jacob sighed, then gave Lantash and the others a stern look. "Did it occur to you that you could have drowned?"

"We were just worried for you, okay?" Janet added.

Lantash nodded. "Sorry." He offered.

"But the water was very shallow..." Sam began, then stopped as she saw the look on both her Dad's and O'Neill's faces. "Sorry...we will never do it again."

"Promise." Daniel added. "Now, can we go play in the water again?"

"No, you'll catch a cold. We're going back." O'Neill said, in a voice that did not invite any disagreements.

"It's time to head back anyway." Janet patted Daniel on the head. Come." She told them all.

Mark had stayed for a couple hours more, and spent some time talking to Sam after she had gotten dry clothes on. He had signed the non-disclosure agreement, and promised not to tell his wife anything. Now he just needed to come up with something he could tell her - something she would believe! Hopefully, she would soon be given clearance as well.

A couple weeks passed, and the children spent their times following class. Their teacher, Jennifer no longer found it as weird to be teaching aliens, as she had at first, but continued to find it difficult to teach children who already knew much more about most things than she did, even if they did not always remember them. Of course, that did not mean that there were not a number of normal, everyday Earth-things they did not know. Things most children their age knew, especially about contemporary culture. It remained a challenge teaching them.

Jennifer had just got them through a particularly difficult session, trying to make them understand why they needed to learn about American holidays. Sam and Daniel already knew, Anise and Freya felt they were either honoring possible Goa'uld, or of no interest to them, and Martouf and Lantash were only interested in those that meant extra gifts, candy, or desserts for them. Jennifer decided to finish off the lesson with a game.

"Kids...I got an idea for a great game a couple weeks ago, and I thought we should play it today. I brought all these nice pictures of animals and plants..." She held up a couple of them. "And I thought I would use them to check how many of them you know. I realise some of you may know them under different names, so I talked to Colonel O'Neill and got him to get the Goa'uld names for them from the Tok'ra." She winked. "No excuses here for not knowing them! This way we all get to learn something! Split up in two teams - with a Tok'ra on each, and then you write down the English and Goa'uld name of the plant or animal I show you. I look through the lists afterwards, and the team that gets the most ones correct, will win." She smiled. "What do you say?"

"Okay?" Sam said, looking a little suspicious.

"What do we win?" Daniel wanted to know.

Just then, it knocked on the door.

"Yes?" Jennifer said. "Come in?"

The door opened and a somewhat haggard, but nevertheless stoic Teal'c entered.

"Miss Thompson? May I talk to the children for a few moments?"

"Sure, class was almost out for today anyway - we can do this tomorrow." She smiled at the children. "Okay?"

Teal'c gave them a quick summary of what had happened on the mission he had just returned from. It had been an emergency, and SG-1, SG-5, as well as a medical team, containing, among others, Doctor Fraiser, had been sent to extract those in danger. A film crew that was making a movie about the Stargate project had been allowed to come to, much to O'Neill's dismay.

"Jack's wounded?" Daniel asked, worried.

"Yes, but he is not in any danger. He will survive."

"Can we see him?" Sam wanted to know.

"Please?" Freya added.

"I do not believe you will be allowed down there right now, as there are other wounded as well, requiring the attention of the personnel. Soon, though. There is something else. Doctor Fraiser...Janet...was wounded as well."

"How is she?" Martouf asked, worried.

Teal'c considered how to tell them, then decided they should be told the truth. They might be children again now, but they had all been good warriors before, and he respected them. "She was badly hurt, but she is alive. Soltof insisted we contact the Tok'ra and she was taken to one of their bases. They had a symbiote in need of a host, and it has blended with Janet. The Tok'ra are confident they will both survive and make a full recovery."

Soltof/Gimbad was the Tok'ra archaeologist who had replaced Daniel Jackson on SG-1. He had now been on the team for a couple months, and was finally starting to fit in on the team.

"That is good." Sam said, relieved.

"Who is the symbiote that has blended with Janet?" Martouf wanted to know.

"I believe its...her name is Rhiva." Teal'c said.

"Rhiva is a healer. She will probably get along well with Janet." Martouf told them. "She was in the same clutch as Delek, but she is very different from him, personality-wise."

"She is, however, his favourite sister." Anise added, having taken over control from Freya. "This may be good for the Tau'ri-Tok'ra relations."

Too worried to be able to focuse on anything else, the children were finally allowed to visit O'Neill in the infirmary.

"Hi, kids." O'Neill smiled at them, then looked up at Teal'c. "T. Good to see you all." He sat up in the bed.

"Hi, Jack." Daniel said, carefully patting his knee. "I'm happy you're alive."

"Me too." Sam added, looking at O'Neill with concern.

"Does it hurt?" Martouf pointed at O'Neill's stomach, and the bandage he had there.

"Not too bad." He winced a little as he tried to straighten up, then pulled his shirt over his head.

"We were so worried!" Freya said, throwing her arms around his legs.

"Hey, don't worry. You don't get rid of me so easily." He smiled. "Listen, I just heard Janet's awake. The blending..." He grimassed a little. "It went well, apparently." He shook his head. "Now I'm going to have to get used to another one of you Tok'ra hanging around here."

"She will probably stay on the Tok'ra base for a couple weeks first, if she can even be spared." Freya said, ignoring the comment.

"What?" O'Neill frowned. "Why?"

"Rhiva is a healer at Malek's base. Unless they can find someone to take over her duties, she will not be able to leave." Martouf explained.

"A healer? Huh, well I guess they're a great match then, at least. That's something." O'Neill sighed. He found he no longer minded the idea of more Tok'ra around. He was getting used to them, and even started to like them - well, he had liked some of them for a long time, but ti think that he should end up liking the Tok'ra as a group? That thought even scared him a little. It was nevertheless the truth. He sighed again. "Well, I really hope she's allowed to come live her. I'd miss the doc, and I'd like a chance to get to know this Rhiva-chick."

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