Fic: Memories of long ago 1/?
Rating: 12? G? No violence, sex or clog dancing.
Summary: Danny and Jack have a conversation after both have been working too many hours to keep up their public images. Who are they anyway?
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters or situations and am making no money out of this.
Feedback: Does anyone want more?
1/I have mentioned the Hermitage, which is a real place. I have never been there and do not mean to insult its staff or visitors. I based the things mentioned as happening there on what I have seen at the state art gallery in Sydney. Which is also worth a look if you are in town. No honestly.
2/The discussion of the finer points of swords is as technically accurate as I can make it. See http://swordforum.com/sfu for the Sword Forum University primer on the subject.
Dr Daniel Jackson sat in his crowded office and pondered the piece in front of him. SG-3 had brought it back last week, and he wondered why it kept intriguing him. Well obviously it was reminding him of something, but where had he seen…
“The Kievian Rus.”
“Whose ruse Danny?”
“Oh Jack, didn’t hear you come in.” His friend was always turning up at random hours of the night, officially to tell him to go home, unofficially to get a mug of the best coffee on the base. It was a mixture of New Guinea and Ethiopian Highlands beans mixed especially for him. Coffee was serious business to him and had been since he first encountered it. “Russia is named after a Viking tribe called the Rus that was asked to take over ruling it because they were so much better organised and systematic than the natives.”
“Yes Jack, a Scandinavian people who…”
“I know who the damn Vikings were Danny.” The Colonel said in an exasperated tone while sipping his coffee. “Bunch of murderous thugs that attacked anything they saw.”
“They also traded over long distances and the easiest way to get from the Baltic to Byzantium, that’s Istanbul now, was…”
“Down the rivers that run from the middle of Russia north and south. Kiev sits in the overland part between them. Northern route takes you to Lithuania, south to the Crimea.”
“You studied ancient trade routes Jack?” The archaeologist said in surprise.
“I studied alternative routes in and out of the Soviet Union.” The cold war era black ops veteran replied.
They talked about it for a while, the Colonel making no particular effort to hide the fact that he had seen the ground for himself. Dr Jackson, like any linguist, tended to slip into the language that made it easiest to express himself clearly. Long experience allowed him not to do that on missions but it had been a long time since he had felt free to discuss the minutiae of living and travelling in that part of the world.
“Interesting accent there spacemonkey.” O’Neill had stayed alive in his line of work by missing very little and never dismissing anything as harmless or irrelevant until proven otherwise. His carefully cultivated air of clueless-ness made people relax and forget to hide things. Now was a good example.
“Yours is from St Petersburg isn’t it?” the civilian asked as a placeholder while he marshalled his thoughts. How could he have forgotten that a special operations soldier had to be able to talk to and blend in with the local people? Or allowed himself to relax enough to slip into the language of his younger days in the company of one who grew up with it as the tongue of his people’s enemies?
“Yeah I was taught Russian by a defector who used to give tours of the Hermitage.” Which is one of the world’s great art galleries and, in Colonel O’Neill’s opinion, a wonderful place to catch up on lost sleep. The visitor seating is comfortable and the staff and guests too snobby to think you were anything other than an ignorant savage bored by culture.
“I learned it from a trader who travelled extensively through the whole area.” Which was literally true, as was what he said next. “He was originally from Sweden though.”
“Which takes us back to the Vikings.” The Air Force officer stated.
“And the piece SG-3 brought back.” The allergy prone one responded without breathing the sigh of relief he was feeling. Still the question came ‘does he know?’ was now on the academic’s mind. “It reminds me of one found with the belongings of a merchant buried near Kiev. He probably got it on a trip to the Roman Empire – the Byzantines always called themselves that Jack and the area had been the wealthiest part of it - and they got it god knows where.”
The grey haired one of the two sipped meditatively at his coffee for a moment before speaking. His ‘I’m just a dumb grunt’ act was blown for the moment anyway, why not make an intelligent comment or two. He could always deny it later and say Danny boy must have gone to sleep and dreamt it.
“So there’s some place out there that has people from the ‘god knows where’ and you want SG-1 to go look for it?”
“It could answer some very important questions about the extent of trade in what is conventionally thought of as the dark ages Jack.” Not that the non-dark ages had been all that wonderful to live in, he thought but failed to add. Most of any given city had made the slums of modern Calcutta look like the wealthiest parts of Manhattan.
“The god that knows will not want to be our friend Daniel.” The Colonel replied while examining one of his team-mate’s swords.
“Careful with that Jack it’s…”
“Real.” The soldier interrupted, as he continued to examine the weapon. This was definitely not some $100 piece of garbage sold in a gun shop ‘for display purposes only’. He had certain fascination with killing implements, hardly unusual in his line of work. “The cheap knockoff’s have to be heavier because they’re stainless steel not hardened mild steel. And this feels, I don’t know, livelier.”
“That’s because of where the point of balance is relative to the grip.” Swords were very definitely the younger looking man’s weapon of choice, and it showed in his change of tone. “Too close to the grip and the blade feels awkward and you loose blade and tip control. Too close to the tip and it gets blade heavy and tires you out faster. The centre of percussion matters too but you won’t notice unless you strike something with it.”
“Can you actually use one of these?”
“Yes Jack.” Came the response in a tired tone. And now for his cover story as to WHY he was so good with a sword. “Its good exercise and more fun than weights. I could teach you if you like.”
“I’ll think about it in tomorrow. We will BOTH think about it tomorrow because we have both been here for WAY too long and BOTH of us are leaving the mountain and not coming back for at least 24 hours.”
“I just need to finish…”
“Uh, uh, uh, Danny boy, I’ll drop you off at your place on the way home and pick you up when you come back. I’ll order the gate guards not to let you back without me or a direct order from General Hammond.” The colonel put the sword down on the desk while he was speaking and drained the mug. He watched the other man put the sword back in its scabbard after first carefully wiping it with a mineral oil. “Valuable item I take it?”
“It’s over 1100 years old. Sort of a good luck charm.” It was home when he was home, here when he was on a mission, with him at all times otherwise. It was a good sword that had tremendous sentimental value as well.
It had been made for him by his uncle the master swordmaker, after all.