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4.

Afterwards, they left the briefing room to go to their assigned quarters to relax a little before the mission. Sam walked slowly behind the others, thinking. How much did she remember from Jolinar's life on Malkshur?

"Sam?" Vala had noticed she was falling behind, and waited for her. "What's up?"

"I'm just concerned I won't be able to access Jolinar's memories of this place. That - and it brings out... other memories as well."

"Of Jolinar? I do understand. I try to avoid thinking about the time when I was a host."

"No... not that. I've long since forgiven Jolinar. It's just... thinking of her, trying to remember... it makes me think of when we went to Netu. When I had to remember in order to save my Dad. Not just that - I think of him... and of other people who are no longer with us. It's..." She waved her hands, unsure what to say. "It's just, bringing forth her memories... seeing her life... it... doesn't exactly help..."

Vala was not sure she understood completely, but she knew her friend was feeling uncomfortable, and that was enough. She wanted to help, and decided to do so by trying to steer the conversation to lighter subjects.

"So... what Daniel was hinting at before Malek came in..." Vala smiled. "I do like him... don't you?"

Sam looked confused. "Daniel? Yeah, he's a good friend."

"Oh, yeah, certainly - and hot, but I meant Malek."

Sam laughed. "Malek! You're serious?"

"Of course. He's really cute - if you like Tok'ra, at least. Maybe a bit too serious... but don't you think his ass just begs to be grabbed?"

"Vala!" Sam giggled. "Yes, I can see he's kinda hot, but I really have difficulty thinking of him that way - he was Jolinar's friend. A very good and close friend, but more like a brother to her. That's colouring my view, I guess."

"Well, aren't most of the Tok'ra siblings anyway? That doesn't seem to stop them!"

"Yes... they are. Though Jolinar and Malek are actually not. Were not. Never mind. They just didn't feel that way about each other and I find myself unable to overlook that."

"OK. Fine with me." Vala shrugged, then smiled mysteriously. "That means I have one less rival!" She grinned when Sam rolled her eyes. Then she wrinkled her brow. "Ah, yes - Daniel's comment... so, how do you feel about Jack the General being married to someone else?"

"What do you mean? I'm happy for him!"

"It's just that I've seen you two look at each other as if you wanna make babies." Vala grinned. "Which, of course, is totally fine with me," she added, seeing Sam's expression.

"Whatever gave you that idea!" Sam said, looking dismayed.

"Well, I may have been mistaken, of course..." She wiggled her eyebrows.

"Completely. We're just friends," Sam said, with feeling.

"OK. Whatever." Vala shrugged.

"Listen, Vala. Yes, I do find him attractive, but that's all. We... ah, talked about it. And we're friends. Nothing more," Sam said, meaning it.

Vala could see she was telling the truth and relented. "OK. Sorry. I just hoped for a nice story... and you never truly seem interested in anyone we meet. You always stay in your lab and work, instead of going out... instead of having fun."

Sam sighed. "Yeah, well, it's just that I love my work. I don't feel I have the time for anyone in my life right now. Besides, I'm happy being single."

"Really..." Vala looked unconvinced, then grinned. "So, Colonel Carter... all work and no play... isn't that what they say on your planet?"

"Well, apparently I'm a little different here in this timeline." Sam gave her necklace a small tug.

"Yes..." Vala looked interested. "About that... do you have any guesses? Any cute, sexy Tok'ra you've ever been interested in?"

"No. Well, at least none that are still alive." Sam looked down, briefly thinking about Martouf again.

"Oh, yeah. Jack mentioned someone named Marty... so, why don't you just ask Malek about it? Don't you wanna know who you're married to? A bit afraid, perhaps?"

"Maybe. I'll ask him later."

They had by now reached their quarters and each entered theirs. After all the heat and dust down on the planet, they all looked forward to showering and changing to clean clothes.


Refreshed, they all met up in the mess hall, where Malek found them a little later.

"I forgot to say... I have contacted your families, and told them you are well. Do you wish to talk to them also? There is time before we arrive on Malkshur," Malek said.

"Eh..." O'Neill said.

They all looked at each other.

"Um... since none of us even remembered that we're married, maybe this is not the right time..." Sam said, an uncomfortable expression on her face.

Malek nodded. "I can understand that. Very well." He turned to Daniel, a twinkle in his eyes. "I talked with Anise and Freya and reassured them that you are well. They were very relieved. Also, I was to tell you that you have lost your bet. Your daughter has said her first word and it was in Goa'uld." He smiled. "It was a foolish bet to make - her genetic memory ensured that would be the case, but since you would not hear..."

Daniel just looked at him. "My daughter?" He did not know if he wanted to laugh or cry. He had a child - that he knew absolutely nothing about. He looked to O'Neill who just grinned at him.

Malek turned to Teal'c. "When I learned you were here as well, I asked Stargate Command to contact Shau'nac with information that you had been found safely." He looked to O'Neill. "Laira will be contacted as well, General O'Neill."

"Thanks," O'Neill told him.

"Shau'nac is alive?" Teal'c asked, hopeful.

"She is." Malek shook his head, still having a hard time believing all the things that were different. "It is strange that so much has changed, but I hope it is at least agreeable changes." He turned to Sam. "I also talked to Martouf and Lantash. They were very relieved to hear you have been found, unharmed. As you... probably does not remember, they - like Anise and Freya - are currently at Stargate Command, helping to catalogue the many Goa'uld tablets found on Shivalla - or P3X-835, as your people designate it. Martouf will inform Jacob that you have been found safely."

Sam just nodded. She, like the others, had been staring dumbfounded at Malek during most of what he said. "Wait... Martouf, Lantash - and Dad - they are alive? All of them?"

"Yes, as is Selmak, if you wonder." Malek looked surprised. "Why would they not be?"

"It's a long story. I'll tell you all about it later. I'm very happy to hear they're all well." Sam bit her lip. "Um... so I suppose that means I'm married to Martouf and Lantash?"

"Yes, do you not remember?" Malek shook his head. "I should learn not to ask this. You have been married for nearly 6 years. You have 3 children... but you probably do not remember them either," he realized.

"No, I don't!" Sam exclaimed. "This is going to be even more difficult than I'd expected!"

"And very confusing!" Daniel added.

"Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one in this situation!" O'Neill said, with feeling.

"What about me?" Vala asked. "No one waiting for me back there? Or am I perhaps with you, Malek?"

Malek raised an eyebrow. "No, you are not."

"Pity." She winked at him. "You're attractive, you know."

"Thank you. Though I suspect Janet would not like to share me." He smiled.

"Janet? Janet Fraiser?" Sam asked.

"She's alive too?" Daniel asked, a shocked, but happy expression on his face.

"She is," Malek confirmed. He looked to Vala and Mitchell. "In this universe the two of you are together. I take it that is not the case in the other timeline?"

"No! It is not!" Mitchell said, with finality.

"Cameron, baby!" Vala winked at him. "I always suspected you wanted me!"

"Can we focus on the mission?" Mitchell asked, hurriedly.

Malek smiled. "Get something to eat, then spend the rest of the day relaxing. You will need it, and you also have a lot to think about. We arrive at Malkshur tomorrow morning."



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