[ Chapter 1: Ruins | Chapter 2: Stranded | Chapter 3: The Feast | Chapter 4: Surprise | Chapter 5: The Challenges | Chapter 6: Hope and Worry | Chapter 7: More Competitions - and Another Surprise | Chapter 8: Choices | Chapter 9: The Party | Chapter 10: Weddings | Chapter 11: Drugged | Chapter 12: Love and Pleasure | Chapter 13: Pleasing Discoveries | Chapter 14: Fulfillment | Chapter 15: First Times | Chapter 16: A Pleasant Encounter | Chapter 17: More Pleasure | Chapter 18: Thoughts and Desire | Chapter 19: Time to Talk ]

Chapter 8: Choices
Summary: It is time to appoint the winners - and to make some choices.

After everyone in Sam's group who wanted to try the hand device had done so - and failed - Freya and Anise's group was next.

As expected, Freya/Anise was the only one among them who succeeded. Tinnok was again ecstatic that all of this was happening during his leadership. He repeated his belief that the planet certainly would have the best harvest ever, and hopefully a strong population growth as well.

Tinnok clearly enjoyed the fact that he would now be remembered always, as the one who was the leader during the visit of these strange foreigners from beyond the Ring. He proclaimed that he had asked the cooks to prepare even more delicacies for the evening's dinner, to celebrate the auspicious event.

When finally all participants in all groups had finished this last competition, Tinnok turned to the audience in order to proclaim the winners.

"The games of this 'time of the fire and light' has been fantastic! For the first time, not just one, but two participants have succeeded in the last, special competition!" Tinnok made a break as the audience cheered. "Now it is time to proclaim the winners! Joina, come up here!"

A young woman with long, black hair, very green eyes, and a kind and beautiful face walked up the steps to the platform. "I am Joina," she said, a shy expression on her face.

"Welcome, Joina. The winner of your group, the man you will spend eternity with, is Saik'an. Do you want more than one husband?"

Joina seemed to think it over, then shook her head. "No, I do not believe so."

Tinnok nodded, and beckoned at a young man with red hair that had come to stand just beside the platform. "Then you and Saik'an will belong to each other, and be joined in the ceremony tomorrow. Congratulations, both of you!"

Saik'an held out his hand, looking both happy and shy, and Joina stepped down to him, taking his hand. Together they walked to the side to make room for the next.

"Taewella, please come up here!" Tinnok called. "You are the next one."

"I'm out of here!" O'Neill said. "I know I didn't win, so there's not exactly any reason for me to hang around here and watch this boring crap!"

He had only taken a few steps before the guards - who all of them had thought to be ceremonial - barred his way with two large, ugly-looking halberds.

"None of the participants are permitted to leave until all the women have been awarded their men!" the tallest of the guards insisted.

"What? But I didn't win!" O'Neill complained.

"Some other woman may wish to chose you, as is her right. Remain!" the guard ordered, a fierce expression on his face.

O'Neill angrily turned back and went over to where he had been standing beside the other members of SG-1 and the Tok'ra. "Did you hear what he said? We can't leave! Apparently the women are allowed to pick us even if we didn't win! Why didn't they tell us?" he grumbled.

"Silence!" Tinnok shouted, an angry look on his face. "You will obey our laws, just as you have pledged to do!" He turned back to Taewella - a young woman with curly red hair and freckles - who had just been informed someone named Nittal had won her group. "Taewella, do you wish for additional husbands?"

Taewella giggled shyly, but nodded. She smiled. "Yes, I would."

"Who, then? The second in your group? Another in your group? Or someone else entirely, from any of the groups?" Tinnok asked.

"I believe... Tuan," she said.

Tinnok nodded. "The seventh in your group. Certainly, He shall be yours. Anyone else?"

Taewella shook her head. "No."

"Nittal and Tuan, come here and attend your wife-to-be!" Tinnok called, and the two men eagerly hurried to each take one of Taewella's hands as she stepped down from the platform.

She smiled at them, and together they went to stand beside the first couple. It was clear that Tuan was both happy and surprised at her choice. He had attempted to win her, but had only achieved a last place. To be her second husband was far beyond anything he had dared hope for.

"They certainly have a fascinating way of arranging their marriages!" Daniel said, clearly paying rapt attention to everything that was going on. "Very different from anything I have observed in other cultures..."

O'Neill made a disgusted sound, but did not say anything else.

Tinnok smiled at the now four women and six men who had already chosen. He then turned back to face the audience and the women waiting to choose. "Then we get to Nissa... will you come up here, Nissa?"

Nissa hurried up on the platform, smoothing out her pale green dress. "I am Nissa."

"Welcome." Tinnok smiled at her. "As I am sure you already know, there are two men in your group who shares first place. That means you are allowed to choose; do you wish to take them both as your mates? Or just one of them? Or would you perhaps like to choose a different mate?"

Nissa smiled at him. "I have thought about it, and I believe I would like to choose Rian - and one more."

"Rian is one of the two men that shares first place in your group. Who else would you like to choose?"

"One of the strangers... the tall, muscular one with the symbol from the gods on his forehead. I want him as my first."

"What?" O'Neill exclaimed. "Teal'c? But he didn't even participate!"

"Yes he did, but he withdrew from the contest. That, according to our rules, is equivalent to losing. He is still a valid choice for the women," Tinnok explained, patiently.

O'Neill groaned and was about to complain further, when Teal'c shook his head and stepped forward.

"I am honored by your choice, Nissa, but please understand that I will be leaving this world with my friends as soon as the... Ring of the Ancestors again functions."

Tinnok nodded. "That is your right. Understand also, though, that no woman of this world, or belonging to a man of this world, may leave. We have too few women to permit that." He turned to Nissa. "Do you still wish him as a husband, even if perhaps only a temporary one?"

"Yes, very much so."

"Then it is decided. Next!"

Another four women had picked the man - or often men - they wanted. Only two more local women needed to choose, and then it was Freya/Anise's turn, and then Sam's.

"Jina? It is your turn," Tinnok said.

Jina had been talking to another woman, who looked identical to her, but now she ascended the steps to the platform. "Yes, Tinnok. I am Jina."

"Two men are sharing the first place in your group, which means you will choose your husband or husbands."

"Yes... and is that not also the case for my sister, Miera?"

Tinnok nodded. "It is."

"Then, may she stand here with me? We wish to make a shared decision."

"That is your right. Miera, come up here."

Miera hurried up on the platform, and hugged Jina as soon as she reached her. Miera then turned to Tinnik, but looked down shyly, and giggled. "I am Miera," she said in a low voice.

"You wish to share husbands with your sister Jina?"

"I do, yes."

"Then you must together choose at least two men," Tinnok told them.

Jina nodded. "I have a question... is it true that he..." She pointed to Aldwin. "...he is really two men, like some of the others of our guests? That he is dual?"

Aldwin blushed a little, realizing the two women might be considering choosing him and Gerim.

"Yes, he has said so, though only one of them has spoken. Aldwin, and... Gerim? Would you please confirm?" Tinnok said, looking at the Tok'ra.

"Yes, that is correct," Aldwin confirmed. *Say something!* he told his shy symbiote, and gave him a gentle 'push', as he bowed his head.

Gerim sighed and took control, raising his head. The people looking directly at him caught just the last hint of his eyes flashing. "Hello. My name is Gerim, and I am Aldwin's symbiote."

Jina had made a small jump at the eye flash, and particularly the flanged voice, but she now smiled shyly at him. "Hello, I am Jina. This is my sister Miera." She turned to Tinnok. "Since they have now confirmed they are two men, they fulfill the requirement. We officially claim them."

"Your choice has been noted. Do you wish to make any further choices?" Tinnok asked.

"No, we are satisfied. At least I hope we will be..." She giggled, then blushed as she hid her face against her sister's shoulder. Miera's face had turned an even deeper red.

"I... believe I should warn you that I intend to return to my own world when the chaapa'ai works again," Gerim said. "That is, the Ring of the Ancestors."

"You will not stay here for me?" Jina asked, an unhappy expression on her face. "For us?"

"I... have to leave, since I am needed elsewhere. My people fight against the evil of this Galaxy."

Jina nodded slowly. "I see. That is commendable. Perhaps you will visit us?"

"Uh, yes, I suppose we can probably... do that..." Gerim said.

"Then we will wait and see if we need other husbands. For now, we will choose only you and Aldwin," Jina decided.

As Freya and Anise had won their own group, they were allowed to choose freely among all the men who had participated, but not won. Grinning, Anise kneeled down on the platform and stretched out her hand, lightly touching Daniel's arm. "I would like to pick this one..."

Daniel blushed. "Uh, Anise?"

"He is yours," Tinnok said.

Anise rose, and gave Freya control.

"And now we are allowed to choose one more?"

"Yes, of course. Not only allowed to, but as you are two, you are required to choose at least one more mate. More if you wish to. I would prefer if you choose two more," Tinnok answered.

Smiling widely, Freya kneeled down on the platform just as Anise had done, and quickly stretched out her hand, grabbing hold of a surprised O'Neill. "Then we choose this one as well."

"What?" O'Neill managed, staring first at Freya, then at Tinnok.

"You choice is noted. Any others?" Tinnok asked.

"No, not right now..." Freya smiled naughtily, then added, "Perhaps later, if that is permitted?"

Tinnok nodded. "If the man or men agree, you may pick others later. At that time they are allowed to say no, though."

"Yeah - what about that? Don't we have anything to say? What about free will?" O'Neill complained, then looked at Daniel, who still looked somewhat shocked.

Daniel shook himself and whispered at O'Neill, "It's just pretend, don't worry about it. Actually... this is - more or less - how we had intended it. Saving Sam and Anise and Freya from the locals."

O'Neill stared at him, but could not think of anything to say. Tinnok continued talking a moment later, and they both focused on him, and his answer to O'Neill's question.

"Such is not our way." Tinnok looked slightly embarrassed. "After the old, evil gods left us, our population was greatly diminished. While it is better now, we cannot allow anyone to remain unmated. Since many more men than women are born in each generation - according to legend because the gods needed men for war and mining - it is necessary for many or most women to take more than one husband. Also, since women are few, we consider them precious, and they are allowed more choices than the men. So they choose - or allow themselves to be won. Because they are the ones that give birth to the next generation."

"Right, the Goa'uld genetically engineered them, and changed the ratio of men to women," Sam reminded the others.

"We still hope to remove this curse from our people, by breeding with offworlders. Every time foreigners arrive, we ask them to marry into our population, in order to eventually normalize our code of life," Tinnok explained. "Because of this, we are somewhat saddened that so many of you have chosen a mate within your own group. We accept it, of course." He smiled. "Now, Samantha, you are the last to have a mate proclaimed. Come up here on the platform, so we can do so."

As Freya and Anise went to pull O'Neill and Daniel to the side, Sam sighed and stepped up beside Tinnok. "I am Samantha Carter."

"Welcome, Samantha Carter. The winner of your group is actually two people, Martouf and Lantash. They will be your mates, as will be confirmed in the ceremony tomorrow. Do you wish to claim any more husbands?"

"No, no, I think that's enough," Sam said quickly.

Tinnok nodded. "Good, then accompany them to the area where the others are waiting."

Sam did so, taking the hand of a very pleased looking Martouf and Lantash.

All the couples, threesomes, and moresomes that had resulted from the contests, walked together back to the town square, in a sort of parade, while everyone else cheered and congratulated them.

On the town square, there were more cheering, and both Tinnok and the high priest, Sa'lohk, made a couple speeches about tradition, happiness, and good luck.

After that, everyone, not just those that would be married the next day, went home to bathe and change to the traditional clothing that would be worn that evening. SG-1 and the Tok'ra had been given suitable clothes as well.

Tonight would be the height of the polar lights, after which they would begin to decrease in intensity, quickly. That - and the end of the games - was celebrated with a lavish dinner and a large party.

Chapter 9: The Party