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Fanfic, Reflections, 6/18

Chapter 6: Earth
Chapter summary: Arriving on Earth, our heroes get some surprises. What has happened to Earth and her people?
Chapter rating: PG-13.
Chapter warnings: None



There was no way of knowing what had or had not happened to Earth. The somewhat anxious group continued their trip uneventfully, and eventually approached Earth.

"I am engaging the cloak." Martouf said. "We'll be on the Tau'ri in less than one hour." He studied the read-outs on one of the screens. "There are...several ships in orbit." He looked at the members of SG-1. "All are Goa'uld ships...Hataks, Alkesh..."

Worried, they flew on. They were not detected - or perhaps no one cared, as they passed close by three Hataks.

"Any idea who's those are?" O'Neill asked.

"From the markings I would say they are..." Martouf's brow wrinkled in concern, "...Ra's!"  

"Ra!?" O'Neill gaped at Martouf. "But we killed that son of a bitch on Abydos!"

"Apparently not in this version."

"It would indeed seem many things are different here." Teal'c said.

"Ra is attacking Earth?" Sam sounded disbelieving. "Just as we're arriving? How unlikely is that!"

"The ships does not seem to be advancing. I would say these ships are just patrolling." Teal'c observed.

"Agreed." Martouf frowned at the monitor. "I'm sorry, but I detect much devastation on Earth, and the current technological level seems to be low. I fear Ra has already attacked the planet, and the Tau'ri are again his slaves."

"I guess this explains why those Goa'uld we saw, treated humans like that - they could get lots of new slaves, cheap." Sam said.

Martouf nodded. "Very likely."

-----
Everyone was quiet for the last part of the journey, contemplating what they had just learned, while they descended through the atmosphere and landed in an inconspicuous spot, hidden among the trees of a small forest.

The place was close to Cheyenne Mountain, since they hoped to learn what had happened to Stargate Command. If it had ever existed here.

They had seen a city nearby before they landed. They left their Teltac and went in the direction of the nearest inhabited area. No one that met them suspected anything; they wore the clothing they had bought on the same planet where they had acquired the Teltac. Clothing they had not expected to wear on Earth.

Martouf/Lantash wore clothes suitable for a minor Goa'uld, out with his small entourage. He even had a hand device, something he did not enjoy having to wear.

Daniel and O'Neill both wore nice, but subdued clothing, fitting of the relatively high-ranking human servants of a minor Goa'uld.

At least, they hoped it was fitting. The Goa'uld here seemed to consider humans to be of less worth than in their own universe, and they had not seen many human servants that were anything but lowly slaves. However, some humans did appear to hold posts near the Goa'uld - as far as they had seen on the last planet they had been to, which had had some Goa'uld visitors.

Also, as Lantash was pretending to be low-ranking, it was much more likely for him to have humans in many of the positions where a more wealthy Goa'uld would have Jaffa - or even other Goa'uld. Besides, there were very good reasons to always have a few humans close at hand. Many Goa'uld had enemies, and a new host could be needed.

Sam was pretending to be his lo'tar, as that seemed to be the only role a female human could have if she accompanied a Goa'uld - except sex slave, and those were normally not something you walked around with outside your palace. She wore clothing that was quite modest for a position as hers, since it also needed to be practical for travel.

Teal'c presented more of a problem, since he wore the symbol of Apophis - in gold, even - and they were currently on one of Ra's worlds. The two Goa'uld were traditional enemies, since so far back that it was likely to also be true here.

This meant Teal'c had to hide his forehead, but it would of course be obvious to any Goa'uld they met that he was a Jaffa. They had settled on a non-descript Jaffa-armor and a helmet that covered his forehead but left his face free.

The nearest city were some 20 km away, and they reached it just before sunset. It was a medium-sized city now, but it had obviously been quite large before.

From the location they had estimated it must be Colorado Springs - which was the city they had been looking for, because of the Stargate and hopefully Stargate Command - but it took them a while to find something they recognized. Large parts of the city center had been reduced to rubble from orbital bombardment, and the devastation was obvious everywhere.

Fearful and tired people, wearing clothing that was little more than rags, were hurrying about everywhere. They were returning from their work in the fields and forests outside the city.

Dirty children with large, scared eyes scurried away from the road wherever they came, peering out from behind rubble at the group.

Despite the fact that the locals were clearly not used to seeing someone like them walking here, no one addressed them, clearly recognizing them as a Goa'uld surrounded by a small group of servants.

"This is Colorado Springs!" O'Neill suddenly exclaimed, in a low voice. "I recognize those buildings over there." He shook his head. "I wasn't sure before."

Sam nodded. "It is...unreal." She frowned.

Daniel looked around. "How long ago do you think the Goa'uld attacked? 10-15 years?"

"Something like that...probably longer, though. People seem too...used to being afraid for it to be more recent..."

"Not necessarily." Lantash said, keeping his voice low. "Martouf's home planet, Setona, was re-subjugated by the Goa'uld, and it took less than 10 years  - closer to 5 years, actually - to reduce the population to a state such as this. And Setona was even more advanced than Earth, in many areas."

"OK. In any case...this is freaking me out!" O'Neill shuddered.

"Yes. It is quite depressing to see the proud Tau'ri reduced to this." Teal'c agreed.

"Perhaps we should just leave. There is clearly nothing here, and people are looking at us a bit strangely." Sam said.

"Don't you want to know what happened? Why this reality is so different?" Daniel asked, clearly interested.

"Not particularly..." O'Neill said.

"We should stay here for some time - on the Tau'ri, I mean. Since it is now one of Ra's worlds, there will be many people coming here to buy slaves, or just because it is the Supreme System Lord's world. There will be much better opportunities to gather information here than many other places." Lantash said, keeping his voice down.

"For getting info about finding a snake-queen you mean?"

"Yes...and please be careful not to say anything insulting about the Goa'uld. There could well be spies and informers listening for that." Lantash said in a low voice, quickly checking if anyone appeared to listen. "And remember - do not quarrel with me or disobey me in any way when someone else is around. I would have to retaliate - and the punishment would have to be severe."

O'Neill sighed. "Yeah, yeah...we'll remember..."

"I am also hoping to find information about the Tok'ra. I believe that would be a good place to find help, if the Tok'ra here can be convinced to trust us."

"OK, OK! We'll stay for a while!"

Lantash nodded. "We should locate the main trading capital - it's probably the same place Ra stays when he is here on the Tau'ri. That would be the place where we have the greatest opportunity to find information."

"Why don't we just ask someone?" Daniel suggested.

"I would assume most visitors to the planet already have this information. We cannot risk arousing suspicion."

"We should at least try to find out if the Stargate is here or not." O'Neill said.

"That I can answer quickly. It is not."

"And you know this...how?"

"I would have sensed it if it was anywhere near here." He looked at O'Neill. "Refined naquadah."

"Ah."


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