Title: Bonded Through Fire - Chapter 1
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Stargate belongs to Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner. The Buffyverse belongs to Joss Whedon.
It seemed so perfect and normal at first.
That, Jack realized later, should have been his first warning.
But as he stood there in the shade of the tall trees the planet had in abundance enjoying the pleasantly warm, but not too hot, climate and watched as his team chatted happily with the aliens of PX-8293 he didn’t even try to keep in the happy sigh of contentment.
Well, technically, only Danny was “talking” to them since the natives spoke what Jack thought sounded like a Russian trying to speak French with a Jamaican accent. Their team’s mighty linguist however had assured him in excited tones that it was actually “an archaic form of Latin with minor grammatical differences and some surprising Chinese subtleties.”
He continued to refer to them as the Rusfremaicans just to annoy the space monkey.
Anyway, Danny was babbling on to who Jack was pretty sure was one of the peoples’ leaders about a possible alliance and trade agreement. Or maybe they were talking about the best way to get wine stains out of carpets. He certainly didn’t understand a word they were saying. Although, come to think of it, probably not the carpet thing. With all the forests growing super giant mutant trees they seemed to have a tendency to make everything out of wood, including the floors.
Teal’c seemed to be doing the same thing he was; standing in the shade relaxing and keeping an eye out on everyone. Well relaxing as much as the alien ever did. Jack knew that even though the Jaffa warrior seemed to be at ease he was completely aware of his surroundings and would spring into action the second any of the team was threatened. Like a cat. Except Teal’c would actually protect them instead of just glaring and going back to licking himself.
Eww. Jack shuddered. Bad mental picture. Casting his gaze around for something to get rid of the image his eyes landed on the last of his team members.
Sam, despite the language barrier had found out that the numbers and mathematical symbols seemed to be almost identical. She was currently having what seemed to be a spirited argument completely with numbers against one of the Rusfremaican scientist. Writing rapidly on their equivalent to a chalk board which was actually a pretty nifty piece of technology that recorded everything written and would clean itself completely on command.
He watched fascinated as his 2IC finished writing some sort of equation on the board, which was only slightly more legible to Jack then the language since he actually knew the numbers, and turned to her opponent. Smiling and face flushed in exertion, blue eyes flashing triumphantly, blond hair practically glowing in the midday sun.
Quickly looking away he cleared his throat. He’d have to talk to Carter about curbing those competitive impulses with the natives. Yeah.
Deciding it was safer to simply study the natives themselves Jack looked over the small town that they had found near the planet’s stargate.
On first glance, the civilization of PX-8293 seemed ages behind Earth. No spaceships, no cars, no electricity. The stargate itself seemed to be the only thing made of any sort of metal on the planet. However, Danny had found writings in the ruins on another planet a few weeks ago that indicated that the Russfremaicans had fought off the Goauld multiple time using some “great power”.
When they got to the town the inhabitants were surprisingly unsurprised to see them. But they were polite and genial if a bit stuffy and secretive at times. Most importantly, they didn’t try to attack or capture SG-1 which was always a plus in Jack O’Neils book.
Once they entered the town it quickly became clear that many of the things that looked plain and almost primitive were actually cleverly disguised advanced technology. The chalkboard thing was only one example and was considered fairly basic by the Rusfremaicans.
He really should ask Danny what the people actually called themselves at some point.
Watching a group of children play he observed the one major oddity he had noticed about these people.
They were playing with a device that looked like a wooden hula hoop but actually produced giant bubbles. Except, these bubble could be coded to form all sorts of different shapes and colors and they didn’t pop until deactivated. So the children could blow and chase around after the enormous translucent bubble things to their little hearts content.
He watched as a young boy with scraggly brown hair careful pressed certain areas around the circumference of the circle. After a few seconds of intense concentration he smiled happily, held the hula hoop in front of him, sucked in a deep breath, and blew it out hard. Out of the circle flew a surprisingly detailed translucent red and orange bird to the ‘oohs’, ‘ahhs’, and clapping of the other children. The boy blushed in happy embarrassment to the praise of his peers before the whole group took off running after the bubble bird.
Jack felt a sudden unexpected pang for Charlie.
But, back to the oddity he had noticed, it wasn’t all the children who were joyously playing amongst the trees. They seemed to be split into two groups and not the normal sort of cliques that kids tended to form either.
On one side was the “normal kids” like the ones he had been watching on the other were the “silent kids”.
Instead of playing they watched, walked around the forest, or just sat sometimes in groups but usually alone and they never said a word. All of them, boys and girls, wore loose sleeveless robes in various colors with a sash tied around the middle to hold up the excess fabric. There was also a much greater diversity amongst the “silent kids”.
The “normal kids” were all basically the same; rather tan with blonde to brown sun-streaked hair and only minor difference as can be found in a single ethnic group. The “silent kids” though somehow appeared to be all sorts of races. There were some that were similar to the Rusfremaicans but most were not.
Black hair, fair skin, brown skin, red hair, yellow skin, platinum blonde hair. It went on and on. He really wasn’t sure how it was possible because he hadn’t seen any adult Russfremaicans that weren’t the common “normal kid” breed.
But that wasn’t the only weird thing about the “silent kids”. They weren’t treated like children at all. Other children and adults alike seemed to defer to them a bit. Jack wondered idly if it was some religious thing.
As he was considering them he noticed one of the “silent kids” skipping by them. She was a cute little thing: pale skin, long red hair, huge green eyes, wearing one of those funky robes in a shade of pink that crashed rather horribly with her hair.
Jack sighed, it was idyllic here but he wished he could understand what everyone was saying so he would have at least some idea of what was going on. Maybe then he wouldn’t be so bored.
He was so caught up in his thoughts that it took him a moment to realize that the girl had abruptly stopped directly in front of him. She had her head tilted to the side and seemed to be studying him with a considering look on her face. When their eyes met she seemed to come to a decision.
Nodding her head decisively with her face set in a determined stubborn expression she approached him. He watched in bemusement as she came right up to him and pulled on his sleeve.
Some things, it seemed, were universal and he obligingly crouched down to her level with only a minor wince as his knees protested. Her expression immediately became one of worry. Quickly, Jack smiled at her in the most friendly non-threatening way he could trying to put the child at ease.
“Ya need something kid?” he asked, quite aware of the stupidity of talking to her, one of the children he had personally dubbed the “silent kids” in a language that didn’t even exist on this planet, the second the words left his mouth.
She didn’t answer, not that he expected her to, but instead seemed to contemplate him seriously for another few seconds. Peripherally, Jack was aware that a hush had descended over the clearing.
Abruptly she placed her hands over his ears and a……..something seemed to pass into his head. As he was mentally reeling from the bizarre feeling she removed her hands and placed them on his knees, infusing them with a gentle heat.
She then stepped back from him, smiled brightly, and skipped away into the forest.
It took a moment to get over his shock. But when he straightened up again there was no pain in his knees. Jack then became aware that a great number of villagers were looking at him and murmuring in surprise and alarm.
And he could understand them he realized an expression of wonder crossing his face. Every single word was as plain to him as his own regular English.
Jack looked up to his team who were all staring over at him with varying degrees of worry and confusion and said the only thing he could think of to sum up the situation.