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Christmas/advent calendar - Day 17

It was early April, and outside spring had come, with flowers, green leaves, and hope. Inside Stargate Command there was little hope. A fleet comprised of all the ships the Free Jaffa, Tau'ri, Tok'ra, and the Lucian Alliance had been able to scramble together - and even one Asgard ship - had fought the Ori. Fought the Ori and lost, bitterly.

The Ori had then began a 'holy crusade', to 'purify the galaxy of evil'.

Vala had been found to be alive, and she had given birth to a baby girl, the Orici, who was genetically altered by the Ori to quickly grown up and then command their forces.

All attempts to destroy the Ori fleet had failed, but Vala had been rescued from the Ori - though the Orici was left behind, still leading them.

Planet after planet fell to the Ori, but on Earth, everything appeared completely normal and safe. Safe enough that O'Neill, Teal'c, and Janet/Rhiva decided it was not too risky to take a short vacation with the children, who had been cooped up inside a base - where almost all adults were stressed and overworked - for months.

SG-1 had had a few hard missions, and were currently on a couple of days stand-down, as were Janet and Rhiva. Even O'Neill had managed to get a little time off, reasoning there was little anyone in Washington could do about the Ori situation, currently.

Actually, there was little anyone could do, except wait until more information about the Ori had been gathered, and better weapons had been acquired.

"Ready to go on a trip?" O'Neill asked, smiling.

"Yaaaay!" Sam, Daniel, Martouf, and Anise exclaimed as one.

"Got all you want to bring, packed?" Janet wondered.

"It's just a few days, Janet - they don't need to bring a lot of crap," O'Neill observed.

"Don't say that! What will you do when you're sitting there in the afternoon and it's raining, and the children can't go out and play or something. It's always good to bring a few toys."

O'Neill nodded slowly. "Yeah, you're right of course. Sorry. So, ya got whatever toys ya wanna bring?"

"Yes," Anise said, with confidence.

"Why is Teal'c not here?" Daniel wanted to know.

"He's picking up the car. He'll be here in a moment."

"Car? You said we weren't going to drive all the way. Washington is so far away!" Sam complained.

"We're not driving all the way! We just have to get to the airport, okay?" O'Neill said.

"Why do we have to fly in a Tau'ri airplane? I've seen them on tv. They are unsafe!" Martouf complained.

"How else are we gonna fly there?" Daniel wondered.

"Teltac. I'm sure Malek or Jacob or someone else would be happy to bring one here, just so we can avoid the danger of Tau'ri aircraft!" Martouf insisted.

"Don't worry, honey. Airplanes are quite safe." Janet assured him. "Safer than cars, actually."

"That's not a good comparison. Cars are not safe! At all!" Martouf said.

"Sweetheart. We'll all be just fine. Okay? Are we ready to go?" she said, spotting Teal'c.

"Hm." Martouf did not look convinced, but followed the others to the car.

"Now, stay close, don't run off to look at something. Don't argue with the security people. Don't touch anything - and that goes for you, too, Daniel!" O'Neill warned. "Anise, Lantash... use host voices. All the time in the airport and on the plane - and in busses, taxis, metro, museums... and all other places with people we don't know. Okay?"

"Yeah, yeah. You've told us. Like a gazillion times before." Martouf grumbled. Lantash was very upset and nervous about the upcoming flight, and it was making Martouf irritable. Especially since he shared his symbiote's trepidation.

All the children did as they were told, and put the contents of their pockets into the trays, then put the trays on the conveyor belt together with the small bags they had brought as carry-on luggage.

Freya/Anise looked on as the conveyor belt took their things into a large box, then seemingly kept them in there.

"What is happening to my stuff, Jack?" Freya asked. "Is it being destroyed in that box?"

"No, don't worry. It comes out on the other side. Now, don't keep up the line. Do you have anything else containing metal, that you didn't put in the tray?"

Freya frowned. "My blood?"

O'Neill grinned. "You get to keep that - just go through that portal, okay? The rest of us will follow."

"It is not like the Asgard Hammer devices, is it?" Freya asked, very concerned.

"What do you mean?" O'Neill suddenly realized what she was afraid of. "No, Freya, don't worry. It's nothing like that at all. It's safe for both you and Anise."

Freya nodded, and did as he told her, eyeing the portal skeptically as she walked through it.

Martouf/Lantash studied closely what went on, and when nothing bad happened to Freya and Anise, Martouf walked through it, holding his breath. He looked very relieved when Lantash told him the portal had not attempted to harm either of them.

"Okay, we've got about two hours before the plane leaves. Anyone hungry?" O'Neill asked.

"Finding some sort of nourishment would be most agreeable to me," Teal'c answered.

"I am hungry!" Daniel said, immediately.

"So am I - and Lantash," Martouf proclaimed.

"Me, too! But I need to use the bathroom first!" Sam looked slightly desperate.

"Anise says we do not need food, but I think I would like some," Freya told them, slowly.

"I need to pee also," Martouf said.

"Okay. Bathroom trip first, then we'll find some place to eat," O'Neill decided.

"I'm not sure it's going to be easy to find healthy food here." Janet frowned as she looked at the nearby restaurants. "Perhaps we could just eat some fruit, and then wait until we get to Washington, before eating anything more?"

"That's three hours, almost - on top of the two hours wait here... and whatever time it takes to get to our hotel! We're on vacation. The food doesn't need to be healthy," O'Neill said, then added, when he saw Janet's expression. "Not all the time, right?"

"I suppose we might make an exception, this one time..."

"What about that place?" Sam suggested.

"Yes. What that man is eating looks good." Martouf agreed, pointing at a man who was eating tacos.

"It's not polite to point, Martouf!" Sam told him.

"I don't feel like Mexican food right now," O'Neill said, "What about that grill? Steak and fries?"

"That would be acceptable," Teal'c agreed.

"Pizza?" Daniel suggested.

"We had pizza yesterday," Freya reminded him. "We can get hot dogs over there." She pointed to a food shop some distance away.

"I like pizza," Daniel said. "I can eat it every day."

Janet looked at the restaurants available. "I believe that restaurant over there would have the healthiest food." She indicated a nicer looking place.

"It looks expensive, and it probably takes them forever to make your food," O'Neill said, hoping to dissuade Janet. He really felt like steak, fries, and a beer.

Janet smiled at him, guessing what his issue was. "I'm sure they've got steaks in there too... and we're not in any hurry."

"Probably smaller steaks..." O'Neill sighed. "Okay, you win. Nice restaurant it is!"

"This airplane seems unsafe!" Martouf sounded close to desperation, clinging to the armrests. "It is shaking!"

"It's only a little turbulence, honey. Nothing to worry about!" Janet assured him.

"I've been through much worse!" Sam told him. "As a pilot in... a fighter jet."

"You can fly this airplane?" Martouf asked.

"Easily, I am sure!" Sam boasted.

"I can fly a teltac - and an alkesh. And a ha'tak," Martouf said.

"Will you teach me?" Sam asked, enviously.

"Of course!" He released his seat belt and stood up in the seat, calling out to O'Neill who sat in the seat in front of him. "O'Neill, if you ask Malek for a teltac, then I shall fly it, and we do not have to fly in primitive, dangerous Tau'ri vessels!"

"Quiet, Martouf!" O'Neill hissed. "Remember what we talked about? The things you're not supposed to mention?"

"Yes. Sorry." Martouf looked bashful.

"And sit down! During turbulence like this, you risk falling! Buckle your belt!"

Martouf nodded. "Of course." He sat down and fastened the seat belt.

They were quiet for a few minutes.

"There's really three hours before we land?" Daniel said, with a long-suffering expression.

"No, there were three hours when we left... almost. Right, Jack?" Freya asked. "Now there is probably only, like, two hours and thirty minutes?"

"Two hours and fifteen minutes," Teal'c informed them.

"My ears still feel funny," Daniel said, starting to thump his hand against his left ear.

"Her, sweetheart. Chew on this." Janet gave him a piece of chewing gum, she took from her bag.

"Can I have a piece too?" Martouf asked.

"And me?" Freya added.

"Also me?" Sam begged.

"Here you go - share it nicely." Janet gave them the rest of the package. "Oh, in the airport I got you these colouring books and crayons to pass the time." She rummaged around in the bag she had gotten at the airport. "There's a couple different kinds, so pick the one you like."

"Oh, I want the 'dragons and mythological creatures'!" Freya said, excitedly.

"Here you go." Janet smiled at her, handing her the colouring book and a box of crayons.

"What are the other ones you have?" Sam asked.

"Let's see..."

"Do you have any more with dragons?" Daniel wanted to know.

"No, sorry. They didn't have very many left to pick from, and only one left of each," Janet said, apologetically. "There's one with 'Knights and medieval castles'."

"Nah, don't want that." Daniel shook his head.

"I would like that one," Sam said.

Janet handed her the book and crayons, then held up the last two. "'Wild animals', or 'Ancient Egypt'".

"I'll take the one with animals. I don't want a book with pictures of Goa'uld and their culture!" Martouf insisted.

"But I don't want a colouring book about ancient Egypt! I know way more than the idiot who made that book!" Daniel exclaimed.

"What do you think I do?" Martouf said.

"You're an alien, you've never even been to Egypt!" Daniel exclaimed.

"Lantash's grandmother lived in Egypt for millennia! He has a bunch of her memories, and I can just have him show me anything I want to know. Better than anything humans have guessed millennia later!" Martouf insisted.

"Okay. Time to shut up now. Both of you - or you're not going with the rest of us to the museum tomorrow... and you get no dinner!" O'Neill said, angrily. "Daniel... take the book about ancient Egypt, and let Martouf have the one with the animals. I can see the names of the animals are written above them, and he probably needs to learn their names more than you do!"

Daniel grabbed the colouring book and his crayons, and stuck out his tongue at Martouf, then opened the book and studiously ignored the other boy.

Martouf snorted and took the last of the colouring books, as well as the last box of crayons, and opened the book to the first page. He looked at a picture of an animal that was called a 'kangaroo'. He was certain he had never seen one of those before, and Lantash assured him he had no knowledge of the creature either. After a short discussion about the possible colouring of the animal, Martouf gave control to Lantash, who determinedly picked a dark blue crayon and began colouring.

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