Chapter 2: Arcadia
The delicious smell of freshly baked bread and the sound of children playing in the streets greeted SG-1 as they followed Giles through the village. An excited murmur spread through the populace like electricity as they walked down the winding path. Whispers of visitors from the gate filled every ear and soon every single man, woman and child knew that they were there. Children giggled and gawked at them as their pale grey eyes widen in wonder. The adults were more discrete but no less curious as they watched them with a mixture of suspicion and keen interest.
Jack and Teal'c always alert, held their weapons in ready and kept a sharp eye open for any signs of trouble; while Daniel and Carter did their diplomatic thing and pumped their guide for information. The villagers seemed harmless enough, but SG-1 had been fooled before. Jack may have been a bit paranoid, but things weren’t always what they appeared to be. Jack had learned that lesson the hard way and he be damn if he was gong to be caught off guard again. The lives of his kids depended on it and as the commanding officer it was up to him to keep them safe from harm.
“So how did you come to this planet?” questioned Daniel curiously.
Giles hesitated for a moment then finally spoke. “Well actually it’s rather a long story.”
“I’ll bet, but let just stick to the short version,” insisted Jack impatiently.
Giles absently took off his glass and wiped off a light layer of dust off the lens with a clean white handkerchief that was hidden in his pocket. “Yes...Yes of course,” he sighed resignedly and his face took on a far away look as if he was remembering something that happened a long time ago. “It’s quite embarrassing actually. Some years ago I found an ancient manuscript that was written in a language I have never seen before. It took me years to translate it, but I eventually realized that the text wasn’t written in words but in fact was a list of stargate coordinates. At the time I was quite young and therefore an idiot. I let my enthusiasm get the best of me and in a moment of pure arrogance I did something incredibly stupid. I blindly went through the gate without any knowledge of how to return to my home world.”
Daniel and Jack grimaced simultaneously. Giles’ story was painfully familiar to their first time through the gate and it served as a reminder of their own arrogance and just how badly things could have turned out for them.
“For years I traveled from planet to planet looking for a way home. Some worlds were more hospitable than others, while others were quite hostile. Eventually I arrived on Arcadia, wounded and weary from years of traveling, the people here was kind enough to take me in and tend to my injuries. But to make a long story short I fell in love with the people here and was so weary from traveling I decided to stay and make a new home for myself. And I’m glad to say that I haven’t regretted my decision once in all these years.”
Jack was impressed and reevaluated his opinion on the older man. Giles didn’t look like the type for space explorations. The man looked like he belonged behind a desk surrounded by obscured books in a library somewhere. Jack had said the exact same thing about Daniel when he first took a gander at the gangly awkward genius, but he had sourly underestimated the young archeologist and Jack didn’t attend to make the same mistake with Mr. Giles.
“That is truly a remarkable story Mr. Giles. I can’t image the wealth of knowledge you have gain from traveling through the gate for so many years,” said Daniel in admiration. He had always dreamed of traveling the universe to study different alien civilizations. The stargate program allowed him to do that to a certain extent but the US military had their own agenda and the ever present threat of the Goa’uld made that dream nearly impossible.
Daniel listened to Giles with rapt attentions as he droned on and on about the different planets he had visited and the various cultures he had studied. Jack couldn’t have cared less about the significance of water irrigation methods on agrarian societies, but Daniel seemed fascinated with the subject all the same. Carter listened with polite attentiveness-although Jack knew for a fact that she was just as bored as he was judging by the way she was fiddling with her knapsack-and Teal’c, well Jack couldn’t even guess what the other man was thinking. But for the sake of his own insanity he needed to break up this geek-fest fast before his brain turned into mush.
“So Rupe what can you tell us about the wit… err um…the medicine woman?” interrupted Jack desperately.
Giles’ eyebrow rose disapproving at the use of the nickname. “You may call me Mr. Giles, Giles or Rupert but I thank you not to call me by that ridiculous nickname.”
Jack smiled and shrugged noncommittally. “Whatever you say Rupert.”
Giles eyed him suspiciously before he responded to Jack’s question. “The princess is the King’s only daughter and youngest child among five older brothers. The people call her Oba, Arcadian for healer, which literally translates to mean ‘tool of god’. The title is not used often and it is held with some reverence among the people. Apparently there haven’t been a true Oba in over a millennium and her birth was met with a quite a bit of celebration. The Arcadians treats her like some kind of saint or messiah.” Giles snorted with amusement. “She hates it, but tolerates it only because it makes her people happy to think of her that way.”
“We were told that she could bring people back from the dead.” added Carter.
Giles creased his brow in thought, “The Arcadians have several degrees of dead. What they considered as dead may not mean the same to us. But I have seen the Princess do some amazing things. I have seen crippled man re grow severed limbs and fatal wounds heal completely.”
“How does she do it?” asked Carter suspiciously. If it wasn’t for the obvious lack of technology on the planet Carter would have suspected that the Arcadians had a device similar to a Goa’uld sarcophagus. But unfortunately she had seen nothing on the planet to support that theory.
“Frankly I haven’t the slightness clue. It still amazes me every time I see it. You would have to ask her yourself.”