* * * * * *
Terry grunted sharply as his feet hit the ground a little harder than he'd expected.
He teetered a bit, waiting until he had his balance before setting down the two restless hatchlings.
Looking around, he saw Harris, but no sign of Frome.
Greg sat down, a bit dizzy from the circles the dragon had flown in before landing.
He held the small dragon tight when he realized it was fast asleep.
A shadow fell across him and he looked up to see Maj. Gorowitz flanked on each side by a large dragon.
The light glinting off their scales was a bit blinding and he realized the sparkles in the air hadn't disappeared, but that they weren't as prevalent as they had been before.
"Harris, you okay?"
"No, sir. I think I'm gonna be sick and the little guy's sleeping."
Greg lifted the dragon into the air, waiting for one of the dragons to take it, but after giving a cursory sniff, both turned and lifted back into the air.
Terry watched them go, wondering what in the world he was supposed to do with a baby dragon.
"Umm...just hold it I guess and if you lose your lunch, aim away from it in case it breathes fire or something."
Greg grinned weakly, settling the dragon in his lap and looking at the silvery shimmers flitting across its grey scales.
He wondered if all baby dragons were born grey, but figured that was more Syla's field...wherever she was.
The dragon stretched restlessly and then turned over, preferring to curve itself along the inside of his leg on the soft flowers.
Terry clicked on his radio, trying to contact the other two members of his team.
"Mason, Frome, come in. Now. Over."
"Mason here, sir."
Terry swiveled, coming face to chest with the largest dragon they'd seen yet.
"Sorry, sir, I'm behind GoldenBird."
Terry took a quick step back, carefully avoiding the Lieutenant sitting on the ground behind him as Mason ducked under the dragon's wing.
"That was...incredible. When I woke up, he did, too, and brought me here when we saw you. There are lots more mountains than we originally thought, sir."
Terry stared at the doctor for a moment before things began sinking in.
He spoke into his radio again.
"Frome, answer me. Frome!"
Greg shrugged, his head spinning as a low keening cry began to build in the small dragon.
"She had one of these and was running behind me. The whole mountain range seemed to be collapsing on us and then we were grabbed. She's not here. That's all we know."
Syla's brows drew together as she watched Gorowitz continue trying to contact Capt. Frome.
She couldn't imagine not having Nora with them.
Mentally kicking herself for her morbid thoughts, she turned to the Major.
"Sir, we're two mountains from the Gate. We flew over it before coming here..."
"We're about three mountains from Frome's last known position. I don't suppose you're able to communicate with your pet and tell him where to go..."
"No, sir. I just kinda...tag along."
Terry sighed, torn.
"She could be dead."
Syla glared at Harris, her voice sharp.
"Or her radio could've fallen and gotten crushed, she could've hit her head and is unconscious or any number of possibilities."
"Doc, you didn't see the sheer size of the rocks coming at us. If she was caught in it, she's dead."
Terry held up a hand to stop them.
"We don't know what happened. She could've been carted off to a different place on the planet and her radio fell while holding onto her carry-on. I know my two were insane-the way they twisted all over."
Syla pursed her lips, trying not to let Harris' gloom weigh on her.
"Sir, the UAV's sitting on the ground near the Gate. I suggest we go there and contact General Hammond about what happened."
"Yeah, okay. Let's make an inventory of what supplies we have and see about getting one of these big ones to look after the kid here."
Greg's eyebrow raised a bit, smiling as he wiped some of the clear slime off his legs where the dragon had curled, still moaning.
"Yes, sir. I follow you faithfully."
Greg grinned fully at the sarcastic look his CO slanted him before walking off to try and attract the attention of the dragons tending the other two small ones.
"Umm, sir, you might wanna take Slimer with you."
Syla wrinkled her nose a bit.
"Slimer? Not very flattering."
"Oh well, considering you named yours GoldenBird..."
"What's wrong with GoldenBird?"
"Doesn't look very Sesame Streetish to me..."
"He's not called GoldenBird! He's called..."
Syla froze, realizing she'd almost told him about BigBird.
If she'd done that, she'd never have been able to stop the teasing.
"You watch Sesame Street, Greg?"
"No! Of course not...my...niece watches it."
Terry listened to the bickering and gaped at them for a moment before shaking his head.
They must be really stressed to be letting it out so openly.
He walked back, picking up Slimer as carefully as he could and carried it over to the mostly blue dragon.
"Umm...think this is yours..."
The dragon looked at him, took Slimer and walked over to Harris, laying the squirming dragon in his lap.
Terry watched, his suspicion confirmed and he sighed, looking at the claws on the Mommy dragon as it hopped into the air only to come back down just behind him.
How they did that without making a sound was still incredible.
Terry walked back over, looking at the befuddled Lieutenant.
"Looks like you're a daddy, Harris. See if you can find a way to carry it while we hike and Mason, you start examining stuff to see what they eat. If we have to tote it, we better not let it starve."
Syla stared for a moment.
"Sir, you're letting Harris keep one?"
"Just until we can figure out why they gave it to him. I carried two of 'em and I wasn't gifted with twins so lets just concentrate on getting Frome, shall we? We can...give it back later."
"I want one."
"Mason! I seriously doubt the General'll appreciate us bringing any fire-breathing dragons through the Gate."
Terry watched Mason sigh, knowing she was venting, but was annoyed with her anyway.
"Lead the way and lets hope if we get transportation again, they actually take us the correct direction."
Harris had taken off his jacket, pushing it into his pack to give some cushioning before settling Slimer into it.
"Good thing he's only about a meter long."
Syla smiled, patting GoldenBird before taking up formation march position behind her commander as they set out.
After a few steps, they realized Harris wasn't with them.
Terry rolled his eyes and turned around, looking at the Lieutenant through new eyes.
"Missing a bit of clothing there, Harris."
"Umm...yes, sir. I don't suggest sitting on the flowers, sir."
Syla met her commanding officers eyes with a grin and couldn't contain her curiosity even as the major took the lieutenant's pack, gently removing the dragon to get to the spare clothing at the bottom.
"Good thing the SGC likes to prepare the teams it's keeping offworld for extended missions."
Syla suppressed a snicker, her now gloved fingers running around the edge of the ripped material.
"I'll need to know if you start itching or have any strange symptoms in case you're allergic, but other than a slight reddening, probably caused by you pulling away from the glue-like substance the flowers secrete, you look fine. I'll want your pants, though, for analysis."
"Always knew you wanted those..."
Syla raised an eyebrow and grabbed his ear.
Terry stared at them again, as his doctor dragged the now thoroughly annoyed man as if he were a disobedient five-year-old away from the cloth still stuck to the ground.
"Behave or I'll give you some suddenly necessary vaccinations."
Greg blanched and he looked to the Major for support.
"Don't look at me. You're the one baiting NeedleWoman."
Mason looked indignant and Terry smiled inwardly.
He had some pent up tension, too...why not bleed it off a bit.
First things, first, though.
"How come he was glued and we aren't?"
"Our contact with the flowers was too brief for enough of the substance to harden. Sir, look at the bottom of your shoe. You have a lot of hardness packed there, since you kept on walking, the contact with the air lessened it's adhering qualities and didn't connect you to the ground. Harris was sitting for long enough that it touched him and hardened to him and the ground."
"Okay, makes sense. Can we get it off?"
"I'm not sure. I didn't get any results back from the lab before I went off the cliff there, so I don't know what they've found. Sir, I do know that whoever comes to this planet will probably be able to see the bits of Harris' underwear and pants there."
Greg glared at her, quickly getting into the pants the Major held out.
Mason grinned for a moment and then sobered.
"I'm serious. This "glue" for lack of a better term has been holding the Stargate there for a long time. From the marks on the ground that you can see through the glue to, I'm willing to bet the Stargate was anchored in the ground and the glue surrounded it and has been lifting it as it gathers. We haven't been here long enough to actually track it's height, but I'd guess it would take a year or two to rise every inch. Something that's strong enough to hold up a Stargate is worth taking back to use. Especially in the amounts it's secreted here. We'd need to find a way to stave off the hardening, though, so that we could store it until needed, but..."
Terry held up a hand.
"Gotcha. Harris, you done?"
"Good. Let's go. When we come back...we'll put an American Flag here to mark the pants."
Syla bit her lip to keep from laughing at the horrified look on Harris's face.
"Just think. Your boxers are preserved for all eternity here. I'll switch packs with you every other mountain if you want."
Greg stuck his tongue out at her, making Gorowitz glare at him.
"What happened? Did something de-age the two of you or something? You're whining like toddlers."
Terry glared a few minutes longer and then turned, leading the trek up the mountain.
* * * * * *
Onar sat in the limo, ignoring the roving look of the secret service agent across from him.
Mish enjoyed every minute of it, though she pronounced the man as an old perv the moment she saw him.
Within a few minutes, he would be talking to his father and he was tired of waiting for Hagar to get around to contacting them.
Surely he'd had a chance sometime in the last two days.
Arlin squirmed under his cousin's...well his cousin's Shifter's gaze.
The door opened and Kaden slid into the limo, motioning the agent out.
Two identical limos followed and led the one they occupied.
"What have you learned?"
"Not much. Angela died in a rather grotesque manner, but they aren't sure what caused it. Hagar still hasn't checked in, Peri's joining with Arlin was successful, and Tesaf managed to get two messages to me, but that was a couple hours ago. Nothing since. There's no telling what the circumstances are, now, for him."
"So essentially we're short a host, possibly no closer to finding your mother, and with Starr's investigation we're starting to have problems."
He held up a hand to ward off questions.
"That's not important and can be tended to, but we need to get the information out of O'Neill. This was not intended to be a long-term operation. It took too long to get in a position to get the information in the first place. We'll have to take more aggressive steps to get this done before the devices cause permanent brain damage."
"There's no actual proof they will cause anything more than severe migraines and slight hemorrhaging. A symbiote will heal the damage quickly."
"I'll entertain options now as to how to accomplish that."
Peri had carefully taken over, knowing how jittery her host was about her existence.
"We could tell SG-1 about our existence and explain our need."
"You've suggested that before."
"I still believe that even with the intrusion of the implants, they will listen and help."
"I don't think they'll help anyone that resembles the Goa'uld. You should hear the things George says about the Tok'ra to me. He doubts them and he's got reason to trust them. I can't see them giving us any slack here."
Peri silenced her father with a look.
"We are not Tok'ra or Goa'uld. Even if we were the same once, we are not the same now. I believe that from what I have read of Dr. Jackson, that even if the others will not hear us, he will. Especially as he is joined with a Tok'ra now."
Onar crossed his arms, not liking the tone in his sister's voice.
"You're not going to do anything stupid, are you?"
Kaden laughed, the sound startling his children.
"Such as trying to contact them and try out your plan, Peri. We are well aware of your tendencies and we won't tolerate them. I'll assign someone to watch you until we've finished whatever we decide to do. I appreciate that you aren't betraying us, but I also know that you won't wait for permission so I'm going to cut off this line of possibility."
"It is not necessary."
"Yes, it is. You are exactly like your mother. The entire reason we're forced to search for her is because instead of just living here, she decided to get involved. The war stopped on its own and she's still unaccounted for."
"What if she's dead?"
"I would sense it. Mated ones always do."
Onar watched the certainty in his father's eyes, letting familiar comfort wash over him.
They would find a way through this.
"About our other problem. I've contacted Col. Maybourne and the idiot has allowed the experiments to get loose. We'll need to deal with them immediately. Especially with Tesaf in the complex. He'll be going near them. I don't want to wait until he hasn't checked in. If he completes the blood tests with the doctors, great, but since there is no longer any restraint on them, the experiments will likely cause a disturbance and we cannot have the SGC learning what else has been being conducted under their noses."
Peri shook her head, not speaking since they knew she'd been against it from the beginning, when the aliens had first crashed.
Eloise had supported her, but Arlin was incredibly un-supportive of anything, too wishy-washy to make up his own mind, much less provide a counter or supporting opinion to her own.
This was going to be a difficult joining as she would wait for him to mature.
She didn't bother comparing her joining to Onar's.
Mish was anything but un-opinionated.
Unfortunately, she supported many things that Peri did not.
She knew that Bill had been shocked when he'd joined her father at the enormous amount of information he now had in his grasp though Kaden had sometimes expressed distaste for his host's penchant for weak women.
She just wished she'd been able to keep her mouth shut earlier.
She'd known they wouldn't go for it and still she'd tried to reason with them.
She wanted her mother back now and they seemed bound and determined to do things the hard way.
Onar knew the look on Peri's face, no matter what host she was in.
She didn't like what was going on.
His fondness for his sister just increased, knowing his father would see the look and assign extra security to make sure she didn't go off on one of her starts.
"Do you want me to go into the SGC, then?"
"Yes, but not without a distraction to keep anyone from looking to closely at you. I'll arrange it and you'll slip in with two others. Kill the experiments and destroy the entire section devoted to them unless it's impossible to do so without endangering Tesaf. He is your first priority. Make sure he is safe."
"Okay. Will do."
"Mish looks older than she is, but not that much older. You will need prosthetics to detract from her more...obvious attributes as well."
Onar groaned, well aware of how much trouble those attributes got his host in on a regular basis.
"Just point the way and we'll do what we need to."
"Good. We're here. Stay in the limo until everyone has cleared the entrance. Standard procedure. I'll see all of you next week."
* * * * * *
Captain Nora Frome opened her eyes, annoyed at being dragged from her rest.
She stretched, enjoying the unique sensations filtering through her entire body.
Her throat arched along with her back and she tried to figure out where she was.
Complete darkness surrounded her, but she could move so she wasn't worried.
A keening wail above her caught her attention and she tried to find purchase to climb, but though she could feel the ridges around her, she couldn't catch hold of them.
Finally, she jumped and hit a wall.
A wall that sent her on a rebound straight down and into another wall.
Something in the middle of the path she'd traveled between them felt so strange.
Fluid-like, but she didn't feel wet and jagged, nor did she feel cut.
She felt no pain.
Suddenly, the sent of blood and spilled body fluid assaulted her and she freaked, trying to find both the source and a way to get away from it.
No matter what direction she went in, she hit a wall and nothing actually blocked her progress except for them, so she was at a loss to explain her predicament.
Refusing to give up, she began probing the wall, her eyes squinting in the oppressing darkness, trying to find even a sliver of light to shed some understanding on what was happening to her.
* * * * * *