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8. Surprising Developments

"Holding cells!" Sam exclaimed.

"And a lot of them," O'Neill added. "Guess Zorn needs a lot of the drug."

On both sides of the long room they had just entered there were cells with bars, and each cell held several Denebians. They all got up and looked at the newcomers.

"You free them. Please?" Wrolla asked, looking imploringly at SG-1.

"Of course," O'Neill promised. He stepped up to the nearest holding cell. "We'll get you out."

"Isn't it strange there's no guards?" Daniel wondered.

Martouf shook his head. "No, they will be on the other side of the door to the holding cell area, but we should be careful not to make too much noise."

They all looked towards the other end of the room, where a staircase led up to next floor. The guards would presumably be up there.

"Check that out," O'Neill ordered. "As silently as possible."

Martouf nodded and walked to the stairs and up, making no sound. He held his wooden stick at the ready, should anyone attack him.

The others waited, silently and tense, while Martouf was gone. A few minutes later he returned. "There is a short corridor on the floor above, which leads to a door. Behind that door is a number of Jaffa guards."

"You sense them?" Sam asked.

Martouf nodded. "Yes. I cannot tell how many, exactly, as I believe some stand near each other. but there are at least three, probably more."

"Great. Okay, let's get these holding cells open and then see what we can do," O'Neill decided. "Carter, Martouf - I presume you can open them?"

"Yes, sir," Sam said.

Martouf nodded. "I believe so."

"Okay. Teal'c - you and I keep guard," O'Neill said.

While the others worked, Daniel and Wrolla remained with the imprisoned Denebians.

When none of the aliens had spoken for a long while, Daniel decided to try talk to them, "My friends will get you out soon."

"We hope. Our thanks," one of the Denebians said.

Daniel pushed his glasses higher up on his nose. "Do you know what's in the room at the end of the corridor? Behind the force shield?"

"Force shield?" a Denebian asked.

"Humming thing," Wrolla said helpfully.

"Yeah, it keeps people out of the room," Daniel explained.

"We keep out!" a large, azure Denebian assured him.

"We try. Lord make us go," another said, that one smallish and turquoise.

"Do you know what's in there?" Daniel asked.

"Bad place. Harms us."

"Those leave place no longer... same."

"It's where Zorn does his experiments? Where he, uh, removes whatever it is that makes you telepathic."

"Yes. Horror." The turquoise Denebian shook his head sadly.

"We'll get you out," Daniel said.

"We thank. You," another of Denebians said.

"We be caught again," the smallish, turquoise male said.

"Then why don't you fight back?"

"We not harm!" he looked horrified.

"I don't say you should harm. Just... capture the Jaffa. He doesn't have that many - and then throw Zorn off your planet," Daniel argued.

"You are... not innocent," the large blue one said, looking at him with sudden sternness.

"What?"

"You deal with... our Lord. More taken."

Daniel groaned. "Yes, that's, that's true, but that was before we knew how he made the drug. What effect it had on you. Now we know - and we won't deal with him any longer."

She stared at him, and he had the uncanny feeling of someone rooting through his thoughts and memories. "You speak truth. Good."

"We want to help you fight him. If you'll let us."

"No, no. We cannot."

A click was heard, and then all the cell doors suddenly unlocked.

"We found the sequence to open all of them at the same time," Sam said, smiling as she and Martouf|Lantash walked up to where Daniel and Wrolla were standing.

"We... are thankful," the nearest of the large blue Denebians said.

They all bowed their heads and swayed back and forth a couple times. "Yes, we thank." They all repeated.

"You got the cells open, great!" O'Neill said, returning to check what was going on.

"They are coming!" Teal'c called, just as they heard shouts from the upper floor, followed by the noise from someone fighting. "I cannot hold them back!"

The sound of an alarm was heard.

"Crap!" O'Neill exclaimed. "Listen, guys, we could really use your help, so what about you let go of your pacifism, just for a few moments and assist us in beating back the bad guys?"

"No. No."

"They'll take away your, your mind touch!" Daniel argued. "You'll be like those poor grey ones in the city."

"And we'll be killed!" Sam said.

"You may be as well, because you're with us," Martouf said.

"To fight... no. We not be us. Die better."

"Yes," the large azure one said.

"You will die as a race!" Daniel exclaimed.

"To preserve what we are," the azure-furred alien said. She stared at them, then spoke slowly, clearly, "You must leave. Then you... will not... be harmed."

O'Neill rolled his eyes and raised his stick. "Get ready guys!" he ordered, hearing the noise of the Jaffa as they were running along the corridor above, towards the stairs.

"Wait!" Daniel exclaimed. "Wrolla - you were convinced you should help us because you had touched the mind of your brother. Why don't you let these people touch your mind? See how he felt?"

"We touch each other mind always."

"He means you should let them see your memories of that mind touch - and the feelings you and your brother experienced," Martouf explained, quickly.

"Yes. Good idea." Wrolla got a distant look, and the humans and Tok'ra present got the feeling that the Denebians were communicating silently, telepathically around them.

A horde of Jaffa spilled into the room, and went directly for SG-1 and Martouf|Lantash, ignoring the pacifist Denebians completely.

"Don't hesitate to join in if you feel like it!" O'Neill exclaimed as he ducked the blow from the nearest Jaffa and hit him hard. "Anytime is good!"

They all fought valiantly, but the battle was short, and soon Sam, Martouf|Lantash, Daniel, and O'Neill were all captives. They had bumps and bruises, but nothing worse, meaning Zorn had probably ordered his Jaffa to take them alive and without harming them too much.

Teal'c was lead down the stairs with his hands on the back, four Jaffa keeping an eye on him. After them came Zorn, dressed even more outrageously than he had been when they saw him earlier in the day.

"Fools!" he told them angrily. "I offered you life and my telepathy drug - and now you are betraying me? You are naive if you think you can produce the drug yourself!"

"That's not our plan!" O'Neill exclaimed.

"Why else did you take these natives?" Zorn asked, obviously not believing O'Neill.

"To free them so you don't torture them!" Daniel exclaimed. "Do you realize how this affects them?"

Zorn shrugged. "What do I care. They are mine to do with as I wish - as are you!" He flashed his eyes angrily. "You would do the same! Hypocrites!"

"How dare you insult the Tok'ra!" Lantash exclaimed, his eyes glowing white-yellow with anger.

Zorn scoffed. "Do not pretend you are different in this. You are only weaker, not more compassionate to the lower animals."

"We did not know the devastating effect of what you did to the Denebians! If we had, I refuse to believe anyone of the Tok'ra high council would ever have agreed to this!" Lantash insisted.

"Same for our leaders," O'Neill said. "Well, ah, most of them. I hope."

"In any case, we will not be party to this!" Daniel told Zorn.

"Fools!" Zorn exclaimed. "Jaffa kree! Kill the traitors!"

"No," the large blue Denebian said.

"No? Are you interfering? One of the pathetic peaceful natives of this world?" Zorn looked as if he did not believe what he was hearing.

"I am Grokhan, sister of Rokhan, wisest of us all."

"So what? Jaffa - kill that creature!"

Grokhan closed her eyes, and so did all the other Denebians. Moments later the Jaffa stopped in their tracks, then turned around and walked out of the room, up the stairs and further away.

"Jaffa kree! Obey me, wretched fools!" Zorn screamed furiously.

Grokhan slowly opened her eyes and smiled a toothy grin. "They cannot. They... are under control... of us. They leave palace, and go outside. Fear will prevent them... from entering palace... again."

"Awesome!" O'Neill grinned. "We'll take care of this guy." He grabbed hold of the shocked Goa'uld who did not even have time to raise his hand device in his surprise.

Teal'c grabbed Zorn from the other side, holding his left arm immovable while Lantash took the hand device off him.

"You will regret this outrage!" Zorn screamed.

"I doubt that," O'Neill told him.

"Your leaders will punish you! They will return and free me!"

"That assumes they can find you..." O'Neill grinned. "And right now I don't care about Kinsey and company."

"What about his lab? We can't let it stay intact. Someone will just start up the production of the drug," Daniel said.

"That's what's behind the door with the force shield?" O'Neill asked.

"Yes," Daniel confirmed.

O'Neill turned to Sam. "Carter - you and Marty go and get that door open. Find some way to blow the place."

"Yes, sir."

"We will leave. Share with others," Grokhan said. "Jaffa will all be outside, near entrance. No danger for you."

"Great, thanks. We've got some things to take care of here, then we'll leave too."

"Yes. You leave world. Quickly. Do not come back." She looked at him, bemused. "Do not... feel anger. We are grateful. Though, there is much... we need to think on. This must not repeat, but we must stay us. Who we are. Later, when you are... wiser, perhaps return."

"We'll leave," Daniel promised quickly before O'Neill could say anything.


"Get out of here! The lab is going to blow!" Sam warned as she and Martouf|Lantash came running to where O'Neill, Daniel, and Teal'c were waiting with the captured and very angry Zorn.

They ran as fast as they could, and just made it to the yard outside the palace when there was a huge explosion that caused much of the palace above the laboratory to crack and crumble.

"Could you perhaps have given us a bit more warning?" O'Neill exclaimed, when they had all picked themselves up from the ground again.

"Sorry sir," Sam said.

"There was no way to control the explosion, though I shall admit it was somewhat more powerful and fast acting than expected," Lantash said.

"Nevermind, that damn place is gone. Let's go home," O'Neill said.

A flash appeared just before them, and suddenly a man dressed in red and black stood and looked at them, an arrogant expression on his face. "Not so fast!"

"You again!" O'Neill complained. "I had hoped we'd seen the last of you!"

"Why so unfriendly, human?" Q raised an eyebrow. "Perhaps your poor unsophisticated mind thinks I am hear to punish you?" He yawned. "I ought to. You actually took the deal! What were you thinking?"

"At first we did not know Zorn destroyed the telepathy of the Denebians in order to create the drug, and even then, we didn't know how it affected them. How could we?" Sam asked.

"We've been over this, haven't we?" O'Neill said, irritated.

"Please, don't pretend you didn't know or realize how that drug was made. Or how it would affect them. It was obvious! Of course you did, you just thought you could get away with it!" He looked closely at them and then got a mock-shocked expression. "Or did you really not know? Are you that gullible? Or that stupid? Either possibility is criminal and I ought to cleanse the universe of your kind for it!"

"How dare you accuse us of both a complete lack of compassion for the Denebians and stupidity!" Lantash exclaimed hotly, his eyes flaring a strong golden white. "I would not be surprised if you're the cause of all of this!"

"My, my what a fiery one you are!" Q laughed. "Relax, my excitable mortal, you have passed the test. Barely. I am going to let you live. All your pathetic races." He pulled himself up. "But know that I think you are getting off easily and that I will keep an eye on you!"

"Wait! What about the people of this world? Did you set all this up just to test us?" Sam asked.

Q shrugged. "What if I did?"

"They suffered because of you, and you are blaming us for what we did?" O'Neill asked, outraged.

"And then you have gall to claim to be superior?" Lantash looked both offended and disgusted.

"You have no honour!" Teal'c said.

Q rolled his eyes at them. "You care about the pathetic mortals of this world?"

"Of course we do!" Daniel exclaimed.

"Very well. I guess you must feel something for your fellow pathetic mortals." Q snapped his fingers, and Zorn disappeared. "Now none of the people here have been harmed and the Goa'uld is back where he came from. A minor underling, working as a mathematician for some other Goa'uld who fancies himself important. Don't worry - neither of them has any knowledge of this world." He snapped his fingers again and disappeared in another flash of light.

SG-1 and Martouf|Lantash stood and stared at the spot Q had been in a moment ago, for a little while.

"I think we've had enough. Let's go home - I suggest pizza and beer. Movie night," O'Neill said. He looked at Martouf|Lantash. "You're welcome too, if you want."

"I..." Lantash look unsure, then nodded. "Thank you, I accept."

"Movie night is a good idea. I would like to suggest the movie," Teal'c said.

"Ah, not this time, T. As much as I like it, I can't handle Star Wars for the tenth time this month!" O'Neill said, grinning. "No, I know what we're going to watch. I taped "Simpsons", and..."

Daniel groaned loudly and Sam just laughed and shrugged at Martouf|Lantash. "Don't worry - they're always like this."

Lantash nodded, then just smiled and followed them. He did not care which 'movie' they decided on - he would learn something interesting about the Tau'ri regardless.

At least the mission was behind them, even if Q was still out there, probably watching them just as he had said. It was concerning, but not something to worry about right now.

With a last look at the strange buildings of the town, they followed the road into the forest, towards the Stargate and home.

 

THE END (of this adventure at least).

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