Rascals II - Chapter 14
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Back in the tunnels, the children had managed to get to their room without being discovered. They had returned not a moment too soon, as they had barely finished brushing sand and dust from their clothing, when Jacob stepped through the door.
"Hi, kids!" He smiled at them, a little bleakly. "Sorry for being away most of the morning, but everyone on the Council was briefed on what is going on at the SGC - and on Earth."
"What's going on? What do you mean?" Sam asked, worriedly.
"We haven't been told anything!" Anise said.
"No...but I guess it's time to tell you some of it." Jacob sighed, sitting down on the nearest bed. "You've been here almost 10 days now, and it seems as if you're staying for at least the foreseeable future."
"We are?" Daniel asked.
"Why?" Martouf added. "I mean, it's nice being home, but..."
"We miss our toys." Sam said.
"And television." Anise looked unhappy. "Cartoons. We have already watched those we brought many times."
"Well, you see...you remember Anubis?" The children all made 'duh, yeah, of course,' sounds. "Okay, he...decided to attack Earth. Now, don't worry. He didn't succeed. The good guys won."
"That's good." Sam said, relieved.
"Then why can't we go home?" Daniel wanted to know.
Jacob sighed. "Because there's this damn oversight committee. They've replaced George with someone called Weir, and closed down gate-operations until further notice. Apparently, there is some sort of international crisis - over the Antarctica treaty. Eleven other countries wants to be involved, or it will be impossible to keep the Stargate project secret. It will probably take some time to get it all worked out. Janet and Rhiva will be staying at the SGC, as will Soltof and Gimbad, for now, at least. They will be the Tok'ra representatives, and they will send reports and make sure to keep in contact with the rest of the Tok'ra, using Tok'ra long-range communications equipment to talk to our people at the outpost located nearest Earth. Fortunately, all of this will be with the permission of the SGC, so there won't be problems there."
"What about Teal'c, and Jack?" Daniel asked.
"Teal'c is staying on Earth as well, expecting gate-operations to resume again soon. Which I am fairly sure it will. The Tok'ra have told them we expect more from our ally, and I think they will pay attention. The alliance is growing stronger again, so it is not something either the Tok'ra or the SGC would want to lose."
"Jack?" Anise repeated.
"He is alive. He...had a copy of an Ancient database downloaded into his mind, so..." Jacob explained.
"Again? They need to contact the Asgard immediately!" Sam looked scared. "Or it will kill him!"
"The people at the SGC know, of course, and he's in stasis for now. He'll stay that way until they can fix him, so he's in no danger. Listen, don't worry. It will all be okay, and then you'll go back to the SGC - to Earth. For now, you're staying here with me, okay? I've gotten permission to only take short missions for as long as you're here, and Malek will make sure there's someone to look after you while I'm gone for those short missions I have to take. Okay?"
Martouf nodded slowly. "Okay - I guess."
Sam frowned. "Perhaps they need our help on Earth? To save the Colonel?"
"Yeah, we need to help Jack!" Daniel argued. "Why haven't they contacted the Asgard? Because they haven't, have they?"
Jacob sighed again. "I don't know. I think they tried, but it sometimes take a while for them to respond, if I understand it correctly. They're probably busy with something, and will come and help as soon as they can. As I said, until then, you're staying here with us. Okay? Now, is there anything you need?"
"Yes." Anise said. "Do you have a box with heati..." She was silenced by Daniel quickly putting a hand over her mouth.
"Do I have what?" Jacob looked at them, frowning. "Why did you stop her, Daniel? Let her speak."
"She means a microwave. We talked about making popcorn - so we need some corn too." Daniel sent Anise a warning look.
She glared at him, but nodded, realising it would not be a good idea to ask Jacob for a heated enclosure for their new pets. "Yes, we would like some...popcorn."
Jacob shook his head, suspecting something else was going on, but deciding not to interfere. "You're not getting a microwave!" He sighed, as Selmak reminded him the children did not have much to do here, and that they needed to find something for them to do. For now, if making them popcorn would make them happy, she thought they should consider it. "Listen, kids, it may be possible to get some popcorn made. I'll talk to the cook and see if he has some corn, or if we can get some from somewhere."
"What do we do? Hammond needs a place to stay!" Daniel said. "He can't stay in the bag!"
"Hammond?" Sam frowned.
"You've named it Hammond?" Martouf stared at him, then laughed.
"Yes, he reminds me of General Hammond." Daniel explained, a little annoyed.
"How do you know it is male?" Anise wondered.
"It looks male." Daniel insisted.
"Wait...your lizard?" Anise scoffed. "It is not just your lizard. It is mine too. And Freya's, and Martouf's, and Lantash's...and Sam's."
"Never mind the lizard! What about the poor snake? We need to get her out of the bag!" Sam said. "I need to find a good name for her."
"What about Janet?" Anise suggested.
"Janet? Why would you name it after Janet?" Martouf wondered.
"Janet is pretty, and so is the snake," Sam said. "That's a great name, Anise!"
"Girls are crazy," Martouf commented.
"Yep, I agree," Daniel said.
Sam rolled her eyes at them.
"I remember...there are some fish tanks in the biology lab. Perhaps not all are in use?" Anise suddenly said.
"Do you think they will let us borrow one or two of them?" Sam asked.
"I thought we had agreed not to tell anyone?" Martouf said.
"We're not telling anyone...we're going there later, when most people are asleep," Sam suggested. "Dad had some job he needed to do right now, so he's not in his quarters. I know he's got a naquadah-powered heat pad. We'll borrow that."
"Won't he know?" Daniel sounded worried.
"Nah, I don't think he uses it on the base. He told me he had gotten it after flying for three days in a defective teltac - it got gradually colder until he had to get up and walk around just to keep warm. He brings it every time now." Sam explained.
"Oh, yeah, I remember," Martouf said. "He was furious when we got home! He blamed Tock'hav - he's one of the technicians. I don't think they talk still!"
"Well he said he was not going on any long missions while we're here, so he won't need it. I say we borrow it," Daniel said, smiling.
They had managed to find a relatively large fish tank which was not in use, and had carried it to their quarters without anyone discovering them. It had taken some time, and one of them had been the look-out, but they had succeeded.
It even had a divider, which could be moved, so the two pets could get one part each. The enclosure was now set up, with the heating pad placed so it heated part of each side, keeping the tank pleasantly warm. The children had poured a layer of sand over the whole bottom, and added a rock for each of the creatures to bask on. Then, as an afterthought, they had also added some soft grass, deciding the sand would be too hard to sleep on. They even had a hide for each animal, made out of half a food container with an opening cut out.
"Do you think sand works for bottom material?" Daniel looked speculatively at the enclosure they had set up.
"They lived on sand, so why not?" Sam said. "Besides, they have the grass, too."
"They need water, though. Where's the water bowls?" Daniel said.
"Here. I filled them!" Anise said, as she gingerly walked towards them with two very full bowls.
"Hey! You're dripping water all over the place!" Sam warned.
Anise scoffed, but did not deign to answer her.
"What about food?" Lantash suddenly said. "They're probably hungry after being in that bag for so long. What do you think they eat?"
"Rodents? Insects?" Sam suggested.
"Fruit? Berries?" Daniel offered. "Veggies, perhaps?"
Anise wrinkled her brow. "The lizard may eat that, though it probably prefers insects and worms. Snakes are purely car-ni-vorous - they only eat meat."
"Berries and ve-ge-tables we can get in the mess hall, but where do we get rodents and insects?" Lantash said, despairingly.
"I am running a long-term ex-periment in be-ha-vioural science, using mice." Anise told them. "We can take some of those."
"Um, the ex-periment is no longer yours, is it? We should ask...uh...whomever." Sam said.
"I do not care who thinks it is their ex-periment now! The mice are I, and I can feed them to my pets if I want to!" Anise insisted.
Sam looked as if she did not believe that to be the case, but shrugged anyway. "Okay, so we snatch some berries or veggies from the mess, then grab a few mice from...your lab. Do you think the lizard can eat small mice, perhaps, instead of insects?"
"Yeah, why not?" Anise said, shrugging.
"Okay, let's go get some food for them then." Lantash got up and started towards the door.
"Uh, it's already past midnight. We'll just get a lot of questions if they meet us out now. We better wait until tomorrow." Sam insisted.
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