Page 43

    Martouf looked at the drawing.
    "They are like the Goa'uld, with both full size beings and symbiotes?"
    Jolinar shook her head, neither noticing the sharp looks exchanged by Sam and Jack.
    "When Shanfota, fighting by my side, turned and tried to kill me, I saw this exact creature underneath his skin. He did not speak, and he seemed to have the same structure as Shanfota, but it was as if the skin just wasn't thick enough to disguise the outline of the scales. Or the third eye, here. I could just make it out under the skin on his forehead. It was as was growing inside him. Making him a sentient egg, perhaps. Once I saw it in him, I was able to see it in others and was able to kill three of them just as they turned to kill me. I caught them off guard. One, I beheaded, and the insides that spilled out were not what should have been there. Instead of just blood, there were small, curled bodies that looked like larval versions of the small creatures that had been born on the first planet on which I encountered them. Because of the battle around me, I was not able to get a closer look, but I promise you, this is the creature that was inside them."
    Sam was horrified and curious at the same time.
    "So, they've allied with the Goa'uld?"
    Jolinar shook her head.
    "They were killing Jaffa as well. I think some of their armies had begun to kill each other, too. I believe they hid inside my people for a long time. Some were acting oddly, but I thought perhaps it was because it was a first true battle for many of their hosts."
    Sam's eyes were wide.
    "We need to find out how they infest and spread. It may have been a cousin to this species rather than the same one, but regardless, sir, this could be a very big threat for our people as well, considering how many planets we're exploring now."
    Jack had gone very still.
    "You said they were acting oddly. How oddly and in what way?"
    Jolinar looked him in the eye, not liking the thoughts she saw there.
    "They ate many things high in nutritional content that we do not eat. Odd plants and animals without preparing them in any way."
    "Raw? Bloody raw?"
    Jolinar nodded slowly.
    Jack bit his lip, thinking.
    "What about the blood itself? A particular fondness for it?"
    Jolinar cocked her head.
    "Not particularly. Simply in addition to everything else."
    Jack swore under his breath.
    "Almost had her."
    Sam grinned for a moment.
    "Sir, I seriously doubt Nurse Morhs is an alien."
    Jack looked at her.
    "Easy for you to say. She wasn't taking your blood everytime you breathed. I've ordered a full background check on her and that will be my midnight reading tonight."
    Sam snorted.
    Jack took the paper from Jolinar.
    "We'll run copies of this. If we find one, we'll bring them in alive so we can see if there's a way to communicate..."
    "I knew you would do that. You will bring them to your planet for study and end your race. If I am right, Tau'ri, they breed by the thousands. The one you would bring back would spread quickly."
    "So what...we just shoot anyone on sight that might or might not be one of these things? All that will do is get innocent people killed as paranoia builds. We need a way to detect them inside someone as well as kill them when they're in the open like this. That means information. I definitely think this is something the Tok'ra and the Tau'ri need to be working on together."
    Martouf nodded.
    "I agree. Jolinar may not be the only one to have seen them. If you will give us copies, we will transmit them to our operatives..."
    "And if they have been infested? We will simply alert them."
    "Jolinar, we must trust our people. We will watch for symptoms, and everyone will submit to scans."
    Janet took over, catching Jack's eye.
    "Sir, I think we should set up a mandatory MRI and Ultrasound schedule for all SGC personnel, not just those who go through the gate. We can't take the chance with both these and Goa'uld infestation possible."
    "I agree."
    Jolinar relaxed only briefly.
    "You are almost allies with the Asgard, perhaps you should go to Cimmeria and..."
    Jack enjoyed a moment of pure gloating at the surprise in Martouf's eyes.
    "You don't know 'em?"
    Martouf looked warily at Jack, knowing he was about to lose face.
    "I know them, but they are cautious when it comes to the Tok'ra."
    "Oooh...well, Carter and Daniel are the ones that met Thor, Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet. Took a liking to us when we helped them fight Heru'hur and get him and his army off Cimmeria."
    Martouf's jaw was gaping open a bit in shock that the Tau'ri had helped one of the more advanced races that wouldn't even talk with them except when necessary.
    Jolinar had a blank look on her face.
    "Daniel is not supplying me with any memories on this. He mentioned you were almost allies, but as soon as you began talking, he stopped. He will not answer my questions. Why?"
    Janet had turned her chair around and was tapping away on her computer, trying not to laugh.
    Her face abruptly turned to stone and she started a line of swearing that caught Jack off guard and, as Daniel took over, caused him to laugh even harder than Jack's slight manipulation of the facts had made him laugh before.
    Jack hopped up and looked over Janet's shoulder expecting her to push him away with a "confidentiality" warning, but instead she slumped against him, frustrated beyond bearing.
    Not minding the action at all, he read the message on her screen.
    Her codes had been temporarily revoked.
    Jack, realizing everyone in the room probably thought he and Janet were together anyway, decided to imitate vivid imagination and leaned down to envelop her in a huge bear hug.
    He half expected her to pull away, but instead she burrowed into his arms, sighing in what he hoped was contentment.
    Then he heard Daniel start laughing and glared at him.
    He looked down into flashing eyes and watched, stunned, as Sam blew a kiss at him before wincing and he knew the moment Janet had taken back over.
    She pulled away a bit, putting public distance between them like always.
    He pulled her back a bit rougher than he intended and was rewarded with a warning glare as he whispered.
    "Thought Carter couldn't be in charge without your say-so. That means that kiss was half from you. I'll collect the other half in private."
    He then released her and walked to stand by Teal'c, enjoying the blush flaming across her cheeks and the shock in her eyes.
    He caught the approval in Daniel and Teal'c's eyes and grinned.
    Janet didn't move for a moment and then was a blur of motion as Sam took over again and began typing.
    Her codes were locked out, too.
    She started to swear when Daniel lightly hit her arm.
    Turning to him, she caught the Colonel's wagging finger in her peripheral vision.
    "Tush, Sam...gotta say Tush."
    She gave a room-wide glare, added a "Sir" for the Colonel, and started hacking.
    Daniel's eyes widened at some of the things she was doing and Jack sighed, loudly.
    "Why is it they all think a "sir" will get them out of trouble? Oh, Carter, please tell me you're not doing anything even categorically illegal since it would be a rather big black mark in the General's opinion against your being declared fit for duty Monday like he's currently intending to do."
    Sam stopped typing.
    "Monday, sir?"
    "Oh...I can use a short vacation, I suppose. I was just worried this might be a week."
    "Nup...he said Monday."
    "Thank you, sir."
    Daniel snorted.
    "Like he had anything to do with it."
    Jack glared at him.
    "I did."
    "Sure, Jack."
    Jack gave up.
    He was not going to threaten Daniel just so he'd be made to look like an idiot in front of Janet.
    It didn't matter that he'd looked like an idiot many times in front of her before.
    It was different now.
    Martouf had been studying the sketch and the Tau'ri alternately since Daniel had taken over.
    "Jolinar, is there more to this?"
    Daniel's eyes flashed.
    "Only bits and pieces that may pertain to it. I have positional intelligence for you to take back, but I cannot guarantee it's current accuracy. Small things I can write down for you to take. That was the main thing I did not want to see the Tau'ri mess up."
    "I understand."
    Martouf ignored the glare Jack sent him.
    Jolinar passed a folder of printouts to him.
    "This is everything else I was willing to risk being known."
    "Very well."
    The door to the office slammed open and then shuddered to a sudden stop as it hit Teal'c...and he didn't move.
    "What the..."
    Jack rubbed his shoulder where the door had hit him.
    That shoulder had mostly healed, but still ached.
    This hadn't helped.
    "Open this door. Now."
    Everyone moved as General Hammond entered the room, Jacob right behind him.
    "Would someone like to explain to me why two very loud alarms just sounded in my office? Alarms, I might add, that are directly tied to two specifically revoked codes no one should have been entering? More importantly, why I have had to listen to an irate Dr. Corvores for the past twenty minutes?"
    Jack knew they were dead with that one.
    The others the General had to have been expecting, but to inflict Corvores on him...they'd pay big time.
    "Sir, Jolinar had very sensitive information to pass on and refused to do it in an unsecured location. Dr. Corvores objected to us being in here."
    General Hammond directed a cold glare at Sam.
    "Capt. Carter, if you wanted access to this office, why didn't you just ask me? There was no need for cloak and dagger games. Dr. Warren has informed me he had three appointments you've disrupted by being in here."
    Janet took over.
    "Sir, I apologize for not talking to you first, but to be blunt, I didn't think you would allow me in here after having ordered for my personal belongings to be removed. I may have acted on emotion, but sir, I really think that was uncalled ...sir?"
    Hammond stared at her.
    "I ordered no such thing. This is your office. Why would I have anything removed? I simply ordered it and the database it has be made available to the current Acting Chief Medical Officer."
    Jack straightened.
    "Sir, did you order Dr. Fraiser not be allowed in here at all?"
    Hammond turned, looking at him as if he were insane.
    "Of course not. I locked out her codes knowing how difficult it would be for her to keep from working. Even if she came into here, she wouldn't be able to use the computer without using Dr. Warren's temporary codes which would result in her being removed until she was able to return to duty. This isn't a punishment. I just want everyone to have time to adjust to the current situation before getting into another one."

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