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Christmas/advent calendar - Day 14

The Halloween party had been a great success, and soon they all agreed it was a good thing they had made such a big, fun celebration out of it. It would probably be quite a while before they had the opportunity for a party again. The Ori attacks were getting more dangerous, and it was unlikely there would be opportunity to celebrate Christmas much that year. Of course, the children would get gifts and a Christmas tree, but the adults would have to spend most of their time on the war with the Ori.

An Ori plague broke out, and started spreading across Earth, and the decision was made to send the children to live with the Tok'ra, until a cure could - hopefully - be found.

Janet and Rhiva had by now been stationed 3 month at their Tok'ra base, so they had gone back to Earth to help and try to find a cure for the plague. Malek had volunteered to join them.

"How long are we staying here, dad?" Sam asked, as they stepped away from the ring transporter platform, in the Tok'ra tunnels.

"I don't know, Sammie. We'll see," Jacob said, sounding worried.

"This is a new planet," Martouf observed. "But I noticed it's still a desert one."

"Yes, we've had to move again - all the bases, in fact. This is actually just a small outpost, with 20 people - Malek thought it was safer for you to stay here."

"Does that mean our pets aren't here?" Martouf asked.

"Yeah, sorry. They're fine, though. Phovol is taking care of them," Jacob told them. "Listen, I know this won't be the funniest place to stay for you, especially right now, but we'll think of something. Right?"

About a week passed, with the children playing in the tunnels, swimming in the pools, and now and then helping out with whatever needed doing. Jacob made sure that they did the schoolwork their teacher had given them to look at, so that took some of their time as well.

Still, it was a very small base, with little for them to do, and they were not allowed outside often - and never on their own. The people stationed there rarely had any spare time they could spend with the children, so they usually had to stay inside.

Sam sleepily stuck her head out of the childrens room, and looked at the commotion. First two Tok'ra ran past, then another, and after them came Jacob. He stopped when he saw his daughter.

"What's going on, dad?" Sam asked.

"We're going to evacuate some people. An Ori prior showed up, while one of our operatives were checking out the planet. The operative managed to hide, but we need to help the locals. They don't want to worship the Ori, so it's only a matter of time before they're attacked."

"Do you need our help?" Daniel wondered, as he stuck his sleepy-looking face out of the doorway, too.

"Or mine and Lantash's?" Martouf wanted to know, yawning mightily.

"No, you guys just go back to bed. We've got it under control." He gave them a lopsided grin. "I promise to come ask if we need you!"

Jacob stepped into the children's quarters. "Kids?"

"Hi, dad!" Sam smiled at him.

"Did you get those people saved?" Martouf wondered.

"Yeah, we did." Jacob nodded. "Moved most of'em to an uninhabited planet. We've got a few of them down with the healers, though, since the Ori prior showed up and caused some problems, when we were about to leave."

"Will they be all right?" Freya asked, worried.

"Yes, I think so. However, one of them's unconscious, and she's got a little kid, so I was thinking... could you look after him until she wakes up? It won't be long, I think. The healers are working on her now. Just - keep him occupied, I guess, so he doesn't have time to worry about his mom."

"Sure, how old is he?" Daniel said.

"About five, I think. He's a bit nervous. He's never been off world before, or met any off worlders. Seems they've not used their Stargate much, and they're also a bit... uncomfortable around Tok'ra, so you better let your hosts talk, Lantash and Anise."

"Okay," Lantash said. "We'll take care of him. What's his name?"

"That's the fun thing - his name is 'Jack'."

"Jack? Isn't that odd for someone not from Earth?" Sam wondered.

Jacob shrugged. "Not really. Selmak tells me she's met other people with names like those currently in use on Earth. That is where they're from originally, so I guess that isn't so strange."

"Hi, Jack. I'm Daniel," Daniel said, smiling at the boy, who was even younger than he was. "That's Sam over there." He pointed.

"Hi, Jack." Sam waved at the little boy.

"Hello Daniel, hello Sam," Jack said in a low voice, and bowed his head to them each. He looked shyly at them all.

"I am Martouf." Martouf made the traditional half-bow of the Tok'ra. "I am host to Lantash. He greets you as well."

"Uh, eh, thank you. Martouf. And... and Lantash."

"Hello, Jack. I am Freya, host to Anise."

"Hello, Freya, and Anise," Jack whispered, keeping some distance to the Tok'ra.

"You don't need to be afraid of us. We're kids, just like you," Martouf told him. "Our symbiotes are also children."

"Really?" Jack sounded surprised, and almost forgot he was afraid of them.

"Yes," Martouf assured him.

"Why are you here, with... with the Tok'ra? Did someone at-tack your world too?"

"No, we're just visiting," Daniel said.

"Well, someone sort of did, didn't they? Attack our planet, I mean." Sam frowned. "We're here because it's dan-gerous for us on Earth. That's our world."

"Actually, it's not really my homeplanet. Or Lantash's. Or Freya or Anise's," Martouf explained. "We just stay there."

"I see." Jack looked very confused.

He was silent for a long time, now and then looking at them, shyly.

"What's the name of your planet?" Sam asked, trying to get him to speak.


"Is it a nice place?" Daniel wondered.

"Yes, I think so." Jack sat down, just staring straight ahead of himself.

"What's wrong?"

"I'm worried about my mother, and I miss my brother. Do you think my mother will be all right?" He looked anxiously at them.

"My dad thinks so, and he's usually right," Sam said.

Jack nodded. "I hope he's right this time too." He fell quiet again.

Sam, Daniel, Martouf, and Freya looked at each other. Jacob had said to keep Jack occupied. What should they do to get the boy to talk to them?

"Are you hungry?" Martouf asked.

Jack just shook his head.

"Tired?" Sam tried.

Jack again shook his head.

"Uh, maybe... tell us about your family? How old is your brother? Is he here on the base?" Daniel asked.

Jack frowned. "Garan... that is my brother... he is 23 cycles. He is married to... to Naytha. They are on the new world. Where we are going later."

"Why aren't you with them?" Martouf wondered.

"They will very soon have a new child... mother says it makes Naytha tired, so I will not tire her... and also, I wanted to be with my mother," Jack explained slowly. He suddenly looked more enthusiastic. "We went through the stone circle to come here. Have you ever gone through that? It was very strange!"

"Yes, many times," Sam told him.

"It's cool, though," Daniel added, seeing that Jack looked unhappy when it turned out his experience was not something new or unique.

Sam suddenly frowned. "Edora... that's P5C-768!"

Daniel looked at her, also remembering. "The 'fire rain'. Laira. Jack... do you know someone called Laira?"

"Yes." He nodded. "That is my mother's name."

Sam closed her eyes. "If Jack is about five... the time fits."

"Who's your dad, Jack?" Daniel wondered. "I mean, your father."

"What are you talking about?" Martouf asked.

"I do not know my father. Mother said he had to leave. To fight the evil gods," Jack told them. "I am named for him!" He looked proud.

"I think we met your mother. Like, before you were born," Sam said.

Jack looked at them, disbelieving. "You are not that much older than me."

"We were then," Daniel told him.

"That does not make sense," Jack insisted.

"Yes it does... but I guess it's a strange story," Sam admitted.

They began trying to explain, but soon they were interrupted by Jacob. "Your mother just woke up, Jack. She's asking for you."

Next day, Laira was feeling much better, and after talking to her son, she asked to see the 'children that were living with the Tok'ra'.

"Hello, Laira," Daniel said, smiling at her. "I'm Daniel."

"Hi!" Sam waved at her. "I'm Major Samantha Carter."

Martouf and Freya stood at the back of the room, uncertain what to say or do, as they had not met Laira before. On top of that, they had been told the people from Laira's planet were apprehensive of the Tok'ra.

Laira looked at them all for a few moments, then slowly shook her head. "My son said you had met me before, before he was born. That you know his father. How can this be so? How old are you?"

"Eight," Sam said. "And yes, we've met you before. We came to trade with your people, and then there was a lot of me-te-orites. Because your planet travels through an aste-roid belt."

"One of the Tok'ra told me you had been transformed... by some sort of alien device. That you became children again. Is that really true?"

Martouf stepped forward, nodding. "Yes. We did." He made the traditional Tok'ra greeting. "I am Martouf, host to Lantash."

"Hello Martouf, and... and Lantash." Laira looked strangely at him, then frowned, as she looked towards Sam again. "Major Samantha Carter... I think I remember... that was one of the members of SG-1. Jack O'Neill's team." She shook her head again. "It is really true?"

Sam nodded. "Yes, it's true. Me and Daniel were on SG-1, and came to your planet."

"Then... then do you know why Jack never came back to see me? He promised he would." Laira suddenly looked hurt.

Sam and Daniel looked at each other, not sure what to say.

"I think he meant to, but... you know... lot's of stuff happened. We've been at war," Daniel explained.

"Yes, almost the whole time until now. We still are," Sam added.

"I'm sure Jack wanted to come visit you, though," Daniel assured her.

Laira nodded slowly, clearly not fully convinced. "Perhaps." She sighed. "How is he?"

"He's all right. He's a General now, and he's got an im-portant job in Washington," Daniel told her. "A General is a very im-portant man!"

"That is good. I am glad to hear he is well," Laira said, meaning it.

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