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13.

"It's soon time for your birthdays - would you prefer to celebrate here at the SGC, or in the tunnels, on Jacob's base?" Janet asked.

"Tunnels! We've been locked up here forever!" Sam exclaimed. "I mean, we've got summer break anyway, so there's no reason we have to stay here, is there?"

"I agree," Martouf said. "We also need to check on our pets - to see if Malek takes good care of them while we're gone."

"I'm sure he does," Janet reassured him.

"Can we bring Bonnie this time?" Sam wanted to know.

"No, it's still not a good place for her - I explained that last time," Janet said, patiently. "Cassie will be visiting, so she will take care of her."

"But then Cassie can't come to our birthday!" Daniel complained, unhappily.

"She'll stop by for a few hours, but she's going to visit some friends while she's here," Janet explained. "It's been a while since she was home."

"Yes - she's not visited since Christmas. Do you think she's angry with us?" Sam asked, looking worried.

"Angry? No, why would she be? She just have a lot of work - you know she is studying to become a doctor," Janet reminded them.

Daniel nodded. "Yes. Like you."

"Okay - so birthday party on Jacob's base?" Janet asked.

They all nodded.


"What are you worried about?" Sam asked, sitting down beside Martouf/Lantash.

"Nothing," Lantash said.

"You look very concerned. It can't be nothing!"

"Fine, okay. I'm worried because my birthday reminds me I'm closer to the day the nightmares start!" Lantash exclaimed.

"Nightmares? Ah, yes - because of your genetic memory." She gave him a light hug. "I'm sorry."

He nodded. "Thanks."

"It's still some time away, right?"

"Yes... a couple years. While I do have access to some things, the ma-jority of the genetic memory doesn't become acces-sible and active until we're 7-8 years."

"Okay. That's good. It's not happening yet." Sam smiled at him, reassuringly. "I will be ten this birthday, so you will be six."

"Fortunately." Lantash shuddered. "At that age... when those many memories starts to surface. It's slow at first, and comes as dreams, nightmares. Then more and more of them, until all of the memories are access-ible."

"Sounds unpleasant."

"It is... but I'm sure it's not as bad when I'm in a host." Lantash looked a bit happier, then got a bashful expression. "Even if it means Martouf will ex-perience those nightmares too."

"I'm sure he's happy for it if it means it's not as bad for you."

"Yes. He says so now." Lantash smiled.

"That's good!" Sam told him. "I have a... very vague memory of Jolinar hating it."

"Yes, and it's so much worse when you're alone in a Jaffa pouch. I'm sure it is - that's what the other, older Tok'ra have told me. I'm really grateful I grew up in a lake, with other symbiotes - and carers - to talk to." He sighed. "Of course, Jolinar got a host shortly after those memories had started sur-facing in her - while she wasn't yet mature."

They both looked up as Daniel ran into the room, looking agitated. "Are you still sitting here? We're leaving in a few minutes! Have you even finished packing?!"


"Pretty streamers and balloons!" Sam said happily, looking at the decorated mess hall.

"Wauw! That is a big cake!" Daniel exclaimed, looking at the enormous cake standing across several pushed-together tables.

"Don't forget everyone at the base wants a piece. It has to be big," Martouf reminded him.

"Can we have a slice of the cake now, please?" Anise begged, looking at Jacob.

He shook his head. "Not yet, kids. We have some games for you to play first. Janet told me you had just eaten, but if you're hungry you can have an apple?"

Anise wrinkled her nose. "An apple! No, I'm not hungry - the cake just looks de-licious!"

"Apples are good for you. 'An apple a day, keeps the doctor away'," Daniel said.

"Why would I want to keep Janet away from me?" Anise wondered. "Also, I doubt she is scared of apples. I've seen her eat them."

"That's not what it means, silly! It means you'll stay healthy and not need to go to the doctor to be cured!" Daniel told her.

"I don't get sick! I can cure myself and Freya... easily. From anything!" Anise insisted, hotly.

"We know, sweetie," Jacob smiled at her. "Come - don't you want to play tag? We've grown a big room for you to play in. Malek came up with the idea to making the game more fun by darkening the room and giving each of you a glow stick. Doesn't that sound fun?"

Martouf nodded. "It does."

"Yeah, very fun!" Sam smiled.

"How do we avoid hitting the walls when we run?" Anise asked, carefully.

"That's the beauty of it. The walls glow at a low intensity - not enough to light up the room if you get more than a few feets from them, but you can easily tell where they are. Isn't that neat?"

"Very," Daniel agreed.

"Let's go play glow-stick tag then!" Sam exclaimed, eagerly.


After playing a very energetic version of tag for some time, the children were tired and needed a break before the next high-activity game.

"Would you like to bob for apples? Or maybe play ring toss?" Janet asked, trying for some games that did not mean moving around a lot.

"Can we do a game where we just sit down and not move - just for a few minutes?" Sam asked, leaning heavily against the wall.

Janet grinned. "Absolutely! I'll get you something to drink, if you want?"

Everyone nodded. "Yes, please!"


Half an hour later, the children were no longer tired, and ready for more. The choice fell on potato sack race - something neither of them had done before.

"So we creep down in a big bag, then jump as fast as we can?" Martouf asked.

"Yes. The winner is the one that gets to the end of the room first," O'Neill said. "It's a great game. I played it as a kid. I can't understand why none of you have done it before!"

"Lack of big potato sacks maybe?" Daniel suggested, a serious expression on his face.

O'Neill grinned. "I'm sure that's the explanation. Now, are you ready?"

The children each crawled into a sack and held onto the rim of it. They nodded. "Yes!"

Martouf dipped his head, giving Lantash control.

"Okay! Three, two, one... go!" O'Neill exclaimed.

"Be careful not to fall!" Janet shouted after them, as the children eagerly jumped along at the highest possible speed.

They had only moved maybe twenty to twenty five feet when first Sam, then Daniel stumbled and fell.

Sam looked after Martouf/Lantash and Freya/Anise who were still jumping along. "How come you guys doesn't trip?"

"Luck, probably," Daniel grumbled.

"Symbiotes have much better balancing skills than humans!" Lantash shouted.

Sam got up and started jumping along again, even faster than before. "I'll still catch you!"

"Hey, wait for me!" Daniel complained, as he was getting up.

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