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Christmas/advent calendar - Day 18

"Welcome to Washington, kids!" O'Neill smiled.

"Do we go to the museum now?" Freya asked.

"No, not until tomorrow. It's almost 7PM. The museum is closed. We're just going to go to the hotel, then get some food, before it's time to sleep."

"How can it be 7PM? It was just before 2PM when we left on the airplane, and you said it only to around 3 hours!" Freya sounded skeptical.

"There's a time difference of two hours between Washington and Colorado Springs. I can show you on a map - or Sam can explain it to you," O'Neill said.

Freya frowned, then nodded. "No, I do understand. The sun will rise later, the further to the west on the planet you go."

"Smart kid." O'Neill smiled, ruffling her hair. "Come on guys, let's get our luggage and see if we can figure out how to get to our hotel."

"Wow, 'National Air and Space Museum'! I've never been here before, but I've wanted to, often!" Daniel said.

"I've been here many times before!" Sam told him.

"I did not think you were interested in space, Daniel?" Freya wondered.

"I'm interested in the history of space ex-ploration."

"This place tells the tale of how spaceflight developed on your world?" Martouf asked.

O'Neill nodded. "Yes, and there's several old spacecraft and stuff, too! I love the place!"

"I look forward to learning more about the Tau'ri exploration of space." Teal'c said. "However, I was under the impression you had only recently become capable of travelling faster than the speed of light?"

"Yeah, and there's nothing about that in here. Officially, we're not able to do that. Remember that - all of you," O'Neill warned, in a low voice.

"Jacob told me you had merely taken a Goa'uld craft and 'slapped a US air force sticker on it and called it yours.' Is that not correct?" Martouf wanted to know.

"No!" Sam exclaimed. "We did lots more! Put on different weapons, took out some stuff..."

"Of course, if it's the X-301 you're talking about, it didn't have hyper space capability, but it did have an Apophis-call-home thingie," Daniel observed.

"Yeah, please don't remind me of that!" O'Neill groaned.

"We've constructed much better spaceships after that, based on technology we got from a vessel some Goa'uld was building here on Earth, combined with what we've learned from the Goa'uld ships we've studied... and, stuff... also something we got from the Asgaard, I think?" Sam said, not completely certain. She had followed the development of spaceships, after being de-aged, as best she could, but she was only 8, and it was not always easy. Especially since she did not have clearance for everything.

Martouf bowed his head, giving Lantash control.

"So you took technology from other species and used it to construct your own spacecrafts?" he said, remembering to use Martouf's voice.

"Yeah, well, I guess... but why reinvent stuff that others have already done?" Sam defended them.

"But that's what the Goa'uld does!" Lantash exclaimed.

"Hey, that's not fair! We invent stuff ourselves, too! It's just that we were lots behind, and needed to catch up quickly, before the Goa'uld took our planet!" Sam said, angrily.

"Okay. Stop it! Didn't you hear what I said before? About the things we were not going to discuss? If you continue, we're not going into the museum at all!" O'Neill warned.

"Sorry," Sam said, immediately.

"We'll be nice," Lantash added.

"Promise!" Daniel said.

"Yes, promise!" Freya chimed in as well.

"Your as-tra-nauthicians must be very brave," Freya observed, looking at the old Apollo lunar module. "That thing looks incredibly unsafe and dangerous."

"It's as-tronauts, and they are! But they didn't fly to the Moon in that. They used a rocket, somewhat like that one." Sam pointed. "Of course, that was a long time ago. We have space shuttles now!"

"I see." Martouf frowned, studying the rockets.

"Come, there's a whole ex-hibit about the history of flight, from the very first balloons, all the way to spacecraft. You need to know the history!" Sam said, excitedly. "It's awesome!"

"That's a good idea - then you get to see airplanes up close, and can see how they are put together," O'Neill noted. "That might help for next time we're flying."

"Even though the ones they have in here are generally quite old, and not nearly as safe as the ones we have today." Janet added, quickly, afraid the children would refuse to board a plane again after seeing the old planes up close.

The trip to the 'National Air and Space Museum' had been a great success, even if it had not convinced Martouf and Lantash that airplanes were safe. Also, unsurprisingly, the Tok'ra found the Tau'ri inventions to be primitive. Still, the children - and the adults - had all enjoyed the experience, and found it very interesting.

The weather was very nice the next day, and they spent much of the day relaxing and playing in one of Washington's many parks. In the evening, they went to see a movie - "Ice Age: the Meltdown".

"Can we have popcorn, please?" Martouf begged.

"And soda?" Sam looked at first O'Neill, then Teal'c, and finally Janet/Rhiva with a hopeful expression.

"Skittles! We've gotta have skittles!" Daniel insisted.

"Sure, of course we'll have snacks and soda!" O'Neill smiled. "What about you, Freya. Is there anything in particular you would like?"

"One of those cute, fluffy stuffed animals. Either the elephant or the brown one with a fluffy tail."

"I meant something to drink, or snacks, or something... but I guess you can have a toy instead, if you want," O'Neill said.

"I think it's supposed to be a squirrel," Janet observed. "Or maybe a rat. Would you like one of those?"

"They look insane!" Daniel insisted. "Why would you want something like that?"

Freya threw Daniel an unhappy look. "Yes. I would like a squirrel!"

"Can I have a stuffed animal too?" Sam asked.

"Lantash wants one also," Martouf told them.

"I want one too!" Daniel said, suddenly.

"I thought you said they looked insane?" Freya teased.

"Not all of them... some of them look... funny," Daniel admitted.

Teal'c raised an eyebrow at him, but did not say anything. O'Neill just grinned.

"Well... I guess you can have one each, since we're on holiday," Janet finally decided.

"So, did you like the movie?" O'Neill asked, when they came out from the movie theatre.

"Yes! It was great!" Daniel said, eagerly.

"I felt sorry for Manny, being the only woolly mammoth in the whole world. It was great he wasn't really alone," Sam mused.

"Did you really have sabre-toothed tigers on this planet? Do they exist?" Martouf asked, looking at his own stuffed version of that creature.

"They did exist, but they don't anymore. Not for many, many years," Janet told him.

"Those two possum brothers... Crash and Eddie... they were fun!" Freya said, excitedly.

Janet smiled at the children's happiness. "I'm glad you liked the movie!"

The next day they were going to the "International Spy Museum". Normally, 8 years was perhaps a bit younger than what was considered an optimal age to understand the exhibitions, given the amount of text there was to read, and the interactive displays. However, Sam, Daniel, Martouf/Lantash, and Freya/Anise were hardly typical kids, and would easily be able to read, understand, and participate in everything.

"Ohh, it says to 'adopt a cover i-dentity and learn why an agent needs one'," Martouf read aloud from a sign. "Well, I already know! I've got a few covers to choose between already! And Lantash has more!"

"It also says 'pro-ceed directly to the BriefingFilm where you'll come face to face with the real world of spying.' I really look forward to hearing how their idea compares to that of an undercover Tok'ra!" Freya said.

"Hm... 'Spies are mo-tivated for very dif-ferent reasons.'" Martouf continued reading the sign out loud. "...'What might mo-tivate you? Pa-trio-tism? Money? A com-pro-mising situation? Your own ego?' Are these people crazy? There is only one reason! Fighting evil o-pres-sors!" he said, indignantly. "Why would they think I'd do it for my own gain?"

"Some humans might... on Earth," O'Neill explained.

"Remember, they don't know about the Tok'ra and the Goa'uld, honey," Janet added, in a low voice.

"Hrmph," Martouf snorted.

"They've also got a 'School for Spies'! Maybe you can learn something you can use next time you go under-cover!" Daniel suggested.

Martouf gave Lantash control.

He spoke, thankfully hiding the distortion, despite clearly feeling insulted. "I highly doubt the Tok'ra can learn anything from the Tau'ri in these matters! We've been doing this for almost two mil-lennia!"

"I'm sure you know much better than these people," Sam said, soothingly. She gave him a hug.

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