Length: 5500 words
Warning: This may seriously offend those with a Christian background. Major religious sacrilege.
Summary: What if it wasn't Seth that Jacob came to look for when he came to Earth looking for a renegade Goa'uld?
Note: This was written in my Sam/Jack SG1 writing days before I starting writing McKay/Sheppard. It's pretty much as I wrote it then although I couldn't resist tinkering some with it. For ribbon_purple since she asked about it. I am so going to hell for this.
Note 2: Oh. This is all there is. There's a cliffie of sorts but not sure where I was going with it. The main point is in what's here. You can ask for more, but ain't going to happen. Anyone who wants is welcome to it.
"Unscheduled off world activation," rang over the loudspeaker.
Samantha Carter looked up from her computer at the interruption. She quickly saved her work and left her lab to go to the control room. As she arrived in the room, Walter Harriman announced, "Tok'ra IDC, sir."
"Open the iris," commanded General George Hammond, who had arrived in the room half a step ahead of Sam.
Soon after the iris cleared the wormhole, Jacob Carter walked through the event horizon and strolled down the ramp. Sam hurried to the floor of the gateroom.
As she entered the room, Jack O'Neill entered from the other side of the room. "Jacob!" "Dad!" they said almost simultaneously.
Jacob laughed, "Good to see you, too!" He reached out and hugged his daughter.
George Hammond came into the room. "Jacob, good to see you. What brings you to Earth?"
"The Tok'ra asked me to look into something for them," he replied.
"The Tok'ra are asking us for something?" asked Jack, surprised. "There's a first!"
"Then let's take this to the briefing room," said Hammond. "Sergeant, call Dr. Jackson and Teal'c and ask them to meet us in 15 minutes." He turned to Jacob and Sam, "I'll give you a few minutes to catch up before we get down to business."
"Thanks, George," replied Jacob.
Daniel Jackson and Teal'c joined the group in the briefing room. They took their usual seats around the table and Daniel looked around expectantly.
"Okay, Jacob, what do you have for us?" asked General Hammond.
Jacob stood at the head of the table and addressed the group. "Well, the Tok'ra were suitably impressed with how you handled Hathor. Not that they will admit that to you directly," he said confidentially. "But she's been more than a nuisance and we're all well rid of her," replied Jacob.
"And…now….." drawled Jack, encouraging Jacob to continue his story.
"Let me show you something," said Jacob, bringing out a device that he placed on the table. He pressed a small depression in the middle and a holographic image sprang to life and began to rotate slowly.
"This is what you might call a family tree of the Goa'uld System Lords. The Tok'ra have been taking a census of the System Lords, where they have positioned themselves and who serves whom. They've come to the conclusion that they've lost track of one, Da'Skalas. He was last seen here on Earth." Jacob shrugged. "It's been quite a while but it's the only information we have."
"Da'Skalas?" Teal'c queried. "I am surprised that he would be counted among the System Lords. He was not respected by the others."
"In what way?" asked Daniel.
"Da'Skalas was, for a Goa'uld, soft. You would almost said that he was… nice," replied Teal'c, obviously searching for the appropriate descriptive.
"A nice Goa'uld?" queried Jack. "No such thing." He looked at Jacob and held up his hands. "No offense meant!"
"None taken," said Jacob. "And I don't quite understand why I've been sent to deal with Da'Skalas at this point after all these years. He hasn't made a nuisance of himself and, frankly, the information I have is so old, I don't even know if he'd be alive."
Jacob closed his eyes, when he opened them Selmak spoke, "Even I do not know what the real purpose of this task is. The Tok'ra council has not been happy with us of late and we suspect this is their way of keeping us busy and out of the way."
Sam looked at her dad in some consternation, "Why is the council unhappy? Can you tell us?"
Selmak hesitated and she knew that he and Jacob were conversing between themselves. After a moment he said, "We think it is because of Jacob's relationship with the Tauri. While the Tok'ra were pleased to have a new host for me from your world, they did not appreciate the relationships that came with it. The Tok'ra have done much over the years on their own and in secret. That secrecy makes it difficult to work well with your world."
"For crying out loud," protested Jack. "We want to get rid of the Goa'uld as much as you all do. They should be grateful for an ally that is willing to work with them."
Jacob came back. He raised his hands in protest and laughed, "Hey! I'm on your side and so is Selmak. We both know how much more we can do together. But the Tok'ra have been fighting alone for so long they no longer know how to play well with others."
"You can say that again," said Jack, ruefully.
"Back to this Da'Skalas. What do you know?" asked Daniel.
"Not a lot, so this is mostly a needle in a haystack type of project," replied Jacob. "He was last seen in the area of Egypt, but, as Teal'c said, he was a relatively decent guy for a Goa'uld. He was known to have a small number of Jaffa around him but wasn't really into building a power base. The information indicates he would negotiate for power rather than outright fight for it."
"Then why was he considered a System Lord?" persisted Daniel.
"We're not really sure, but we think that in his negotiations he had enough information on the other System Lords that they had to respect what he could do with it. He knew enough secrets, but seemed to keep them, so they had to leave him alone since they didn't know what fail safes he had in place."
"Da'Skalas also knew more about the technology that the Goa'uld were using for both defense and survival. While they stole the original sarcophagus from others, he had made several improvements on the device and shared those improvements with others," added Teal'c. "There is mention that he had done work with the hand device to be both a tool and a weapon."
"Ah! Smart and secretive! Well, that will probably make him hard to find, especially if he doesn't want to be found," said Daniel. "Jacob, how about if you, Teal'c and I move to my office so we can do some research to see if we can find anything."
"Good idea, Dr. Jackson," added General Hammond. "Keep me informed of anything you find." He looked around at the group, "Anything else at this point?" Hearing nothing he continued, "Dismissed."
SG-1 went with Jacob back to Daniel's lab.
"Umm….. anything I can do here?" asked Jack of the others, rocking back and forth on his heels. "This is more your area than mine and I have a couple of things to do if you don't need me."
Daniel looked around abstractedly from the wall of books he was already contemplating. "Hmmm? Oh. Sorry. No, Jack, do what you need to. Sam, until we get some basic information together, not sure we need you just as yet."
She laughed, "Okay. I know when I'm not wanted." She hugged her dad and said, "I'm not going to let you work all night since this isn't a crisis. I'll stop by and get you for some dinner later."
"Good idea, Sam. And thanks!" replied Jacob with a smile.
Jack and Sam walked down the corridor toward her lab. Noticing that Jack wasn't hurrying off anywhere she cautiously asked, "Did you have something you needed to do?"
"Nah," Jack grinned. "Just wanted to get out of their hair and let Daniel do his thing." He hesitated and then plunged on, "I did miss lunch, Carter, come for some coffee with me?" Seeing Sam start to hesitate, he went on quickly. "Only if you don't have some thing-a-ma-bobbie in your lab that needs analysis or anything," he ended lamely.
Sam looked down at the floor and hesitated only a second before answering, "Sure. I need a break and they'll be in there all day. I suspect won't be able to pry them out of there without a naquadah bomb."
Jack smiled and swept an exaggerated bow. "After you, madame."
As Sam predicted, once Daniel, Jacob and Teal'c started working on the search for Da'Skalas, it was next to impossible to get them to take a break.
"Okay, guys! Time to call it a night," Sam said. It had taken her over 5 minutes to simply get their attention. "Dad!" she commanded firmly.
Jacob looked up at her and said, "Five more minutes."
"No. Now. Or you'll be here all night," she replied. She stood there with her hands on her hips.
Jacob really looked at her this time and knew she was right. "Okay. We've made some headway and we can pick this up tomorrow. After all, this guy's been quiet for so long that another couple of days isn't going to make any difference."
Daniel stretched and reluctantly said, "I guess you're right."
Teal'c said to Sam, "We have found references to Da'Skalas in some of the texts Daniel has from the area you call the Middle East. This is outside of the area of Egypt where the pyramids are and not a location where we have searched for Goa'uld before."
Jack came up behind Sam and added, "Sounds like a good start. Anyone for pizza?"
Jacob laughed. "I do miss pizza off world. Sure, sounds good. Sam, do you mind?"
"Not at all. Just let me order, otherwise we'll get spicy sausage and nothing else," she said cheerfully.
"Deal. You order, I'll pick up beer and meet you all at my place," said Jack. "Daniel, can you give T a ride?"
"Sure, Jack," replied Daniel, knowing he was outnumbered and had to shut down for the night.
The next morning saw Daniel, Teal'c and Jacob back at books and the computer. They didn't tell Sam and Jack much, but cheerfully quit at the end of a long day to get a meal and visit.
After several days of research, Daniel said to Jacob, "Look at this? Does this look right to you?" and pointed to a reference in a book he had been looking through.
Jacob came over and started to read the passage Daniel pointed to. He looked up in surprise and called, "Teal'c. I think we have something here."
They discussed what they had found. When Jack and Sam came by to break up the discussion for dinner, they were drawn into the discussion. Many hours later, Jack said, "Look, we're not getting anywhere further at this point. Let's call it a night and get some sleep and look at it again in the morning."
"I think it is morning," said Jacob, rubbing the back of his neck in weariness. "I'm going to sleep here on base tonight, you can go without me."
"You sure?" Sam asked, puzzled. "Not a big deal to take you with me."
"No. You go," replied Jacob. And seeing the look she gave him, he added, "Yes, I'll get some sleep. Now go."
She hugged him and said, "Okay. You win. Goodnight."
After making sure they had all left, Jacob made his way to the gateroom. He spoke to the sergeant on duty, "I need to consult with the Tok'ra for a few hours. Dial these coordinates."
The next morning, they re-assembled in Daniel's lab. They all looked weary, Jacob more than the others. Sam eyed him carefully but since he didn't seem willing to explain, she didn't ask.
"This is way over our heads at this point. We need to brief General Hammond," Jack finally decided.
"But, we aren't sure of this as yet," Daniel protested. "It's still pretty much speculation and we need more information….."
"That I don't think we're going to get," argued Jacob.
Daniel sighed. "Okay," he agreed, reluctantly.
Early that afternoon, General Hammond walked into the briefing room and asked, "Well, what do you have for me?"
Daniel stood at the end of the room and said, "We've come to the conclusion that Da'Skalas is still alive and still here on Earth. Based on the little information we had, we traced Da'Skalas from Egypt to the Middle East. There are references to a ‘man of knowledge' in several documents that are consistent with what we know."
Daniel brought up a slide on the screen. "Da'Skalas seems to have taken the persona of a local, a teacher, if you will. In fact, the name Da'Skalas is amazingly close to the ancient Greek daskalos which means 'teacher.' At that point in time, he worked his way through the Middle East attempting to raise the level of general knowledge among the common people."
"The good news is that he seems to have kept teaching and sharing of knowledge as a fundamental philosophy over all this time and we don't think he's overtly aggressive." Daniel turned to the slide and said, "This symbol seems to be associated with Da'Skalas and his teachings."
The silence was profound.
General Hammond shook himself and demanded in a tone that almost begged them to tell him they were joking, "Are you sure of this?"
"No, which is why I wasn't sure we were ready to make a report as yet," answered Daniel helplessly.
"But, there are too many pieces that seem to make more sense once you put them together," interjected Jack. "I think we've not only identified this guy but we know where he is."
"But, Jack," Sam protested, "think about what you're saying. What that means!"
"I know, I know. But nothing else makes sense with the information we have," he replied. He turned to Hammond and said, "I'd like to try something."
"And what would that be?" Hammond replied warily.
Jack outlined his plan and the others bandied about options, most of which were rejected. When they were done, Hammond said reluctantly, "Well, this will be yet another interesting conversation with the President. I'll have to get back to you on this one."
Several hours later, they met again. Hammond said, "Well, the President isn't any more comfortable with this than I am. Are you sure about this?"
"Well, not positive, but enough to follow up on it," said Daniel looking at the others.
"We'll start discretely," said O'Neill. Looking around at the skeptical faces around him he said, "Hey! I can do discrete!"
"We'll work on this together," Daniel promised.
"All right," said Hammond. "Keep me closely informed."
They went back to Daniel's office to work on the first part of the plan. "Teal'c, we need you to help us word this properly," said Jack. He grinned, "My Goa'uld is kinda rusty and I need some help with the verbs."
Daniel grimaced. "Jack, let me do this. No matter what you think, if we're wrong it needs some extraordinary diplomacy. And even if we're right, we still need to be cautious."
"Well, I thought something straightforward like We know who you are should work," countered Jack. "If we're wrong, no one will understand the message. If we're right, then it's up to him to make the next move."
Daniel stared. "Well, ….. I guess you're right."
Teal'c helped them translate the simple phrase into Goa'uld. Despite his initial misgivings, Daniel helped them convert the document to a digital file for transmission. Jack sent the file to a contact in Washington, DC with a request to pass it on to its final destination.
They settled in to wait. None of them had any urge to leave the base to see what kind of response they would get – if a response was coming at all.
Two days later, Jack's contact sent them a response with an encrypted attachment. When they opened the file, it contained one word. They looked at Teal'c. He looked at them and said, "It says Come."
After consulting with General Hammond, who in turn consulted with the President, SG-1 and Jacob Carter left together.
They had debated about what they could take with them. Since this wasn't the usual off world mission, obvious weapons were out of the question. Teal'c and Jack found small knives they could conceal on themselves. Sam put a Zat into her kit bag. Daniel and Jacob refused to carry weapons at all.
Two long days of travel later, they came off an Air Force transport plane into a warm, sunny day. At the bottom of the stairs a distinguished gentleman walked up to greet them. "Colonel O'Neill? Welcome. I'm Ambassador Phillips." He held out his hand to Jack. Jack shook hands with the Ambassador.
Phillips turned to the group and said, "Welcome to all of you. If there is anything I can do while you are here, please let me know." He eyed the group speculatively.
Jack said, "I think we should just get this over with, if you don't mind?"
"Not at all," he replied easily but there was a question in his eyes.
"Sorry. Confidential," replied Jack easily but in a tone that told Phillips he wasn't going to learn anything else.
"I understand," said the ambassador, who obviously didn't but who had been in this position long enough to know there were times he wouldn't get an explanation. And direct orders from the President to handle this personally and discretely went a long way to stop questions.
They climbed into the waiting limo and were taken into the city. Traffic was amazingly horrendous. Jack, who had been in this city before, ignored the chaos. Sam looked out of the car window drinking in the sights.
About an hour and a half later they arrived at their destination. They climbed out of the car and Jack said, "I suspect it's not worth your while to wait for us."
The Ambassador shrugged and said, "Have someone call the Embassy when you're finished here."
They walked up to the gate and Jack handed over the document they had been sent and said to the guard, "We're expected, I think."
The guard looked at the document and said, "Wait, please." He called on his radio, "They are here."
A few minutes later, a tall solemn man came to the gate. He walked up to the group and stopped. He looked them over in silence for a full minute. "Please follow me." He turned abruptly and led them into the building.
They walked steadily for about 15 minutes. At first they walked through what obviously were public hallways, then through a door into a less ornate area of the building. They were ushered into a small but richly furnished meeting room. "I leave you here," the unidentified man stated formally. He bowed himself out.
SG-1 and Jacob Carter wandered about the room, looking at the furnishings. Sam looked at a painting and turned to Jacob and said, "This painting is a daVinci I've never seen!"
"Ah! My favorite, also," came a quiet voice from the opposite end of the room.
As one, they turned to face the man standing there. A brief pause before Teal'c said, "This is not Da'Skalas."
A second man came through the door. "Ah! A Jaffa! How resourceful of you!"
At a look from Jack, Teal'c nodded. This was Da'Skalas. Or, at the very least, a Goa'uld.
The Goa'uld waved to the chairs around the table. "Please, be seated. I suspect this will be a long conversation. We might as well be comfortable. Please, help yourself to some refreshments."
The first man sat at the end of the table and the Goa'uld on his right. SG-1 and Jacob ranged themselves around the table. Jack sat across the table from the Goa'uld.
"I suspect introductions are in order," said the Goa'uld. "I am, as you surmised, Da'Skalas, although I have not used that name in many years. I am now known as Cardinal Stephanos Endymon."
"'Endymon' was a shepherd in Greek mythology," interjected Daniel.
"It seemed appropriate," he agreed with a nod. "And, while you may not have met, I suspect you recognize my friend, Vadim Ivanov, also known as His Eminence Pope Alexander the Ninth."
Jack said, "Well, we thought maybe you'd be, umm…. Him…." He pointed to the Pope.
Da'Skalas laughed, "Well, I was. A number of times. I was a couple of the Urban's, a Leo or two, a Stephan, and at least three of the John's. A couple others." He shrugged. "It gets boring after a while and it's nice to be able to wander around this lovely planet of yours without attracting attention."
He looked over the group, "Please, introduce me to everyone."
Jack said, "I'm Colonel Jack O'Neill, US Air Force." He waved to Daniel to go next.
"Dr. Daniel Jackson, archeologist."
"Major Samantha Carter, US Air Force"
"Ah! I suspected it would be you. SG-1," said Da'Skalas cheerily.
"Whoa, how do you know that?" demanded Jack.
"You forget. The Vatican is a nation. We find it useful to let most people forget that detail. But it gives us entrée to diplomatic circles and access to world leaders. And the Vatican Guard has its own sources. But we digress. Who are they?" he said gesturing to Jacob.
"I am Jacob Carter, US Air Force, retired," said Jacob. He shifted. "And I am Selmak of the Tok'ra."
"Tok'ra?" asked Da'Skalas. "It is good you are here," nodding acknowledgment.
"Now what?" asked Jack.
"Well," replied Da'Skalas, "Now that you've found me, what happens next is up to you."
Daniel shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He visibly debated with himself and then blurted, "How much is true? The Bible, I mean. That is, ummm, were you …" he trailed off in confusion.
"Was I Jesus?" asked Da'Skalas quietly. "Yes."
"Then that stuff with healing the sick?" asked Jack.
"A hand device, of course."
"The apostles?" asked Daniel.
"Loyal Jaffa who willingly stayed with me on this world. They were the first priests in the movement. Their descendants are among many of the church's current supporters."
"What happened to their larva?" asked Daniel delicately.
A grimace passed over Da'Skalas' face. He sighed, "That is one regret I live with. We chose not to implant the larva when they had matured. We could not be sure they would be… ummm…. compatible with our goals. The Jaffa that came with me sacrificed themselves so the plan could be carried out."
"And rising from the dead? That would be a sarcophagus?" asked Jack.
"Yes. I had been raising the level of literacy among the populace enough that they were starting to question the rights of the leaders to lead. By letting myself 'die' publicly, I took the pressure of the rest of the movement to allow the others to continue their work." Da'Skalas shrugged. "It let me move underground to continue my work."
"Then all of this," Sam waved her hands broadly, "is a lie?" Disappointment, and a bit of anger, tinged her question.
"Well, that's the interesting part," replied Da'Skalas. "While I can account for quite a number of things that I and my followers did with hand devices, the sarcophagus, and advanced medical knowledge -- so-called miracles if you will, there are a number of events that I had no part in and cannot explain."
"Ancients?" offered Teal'c.
Daniel nodded thoughtfully. "It's possible. They aren't supposed to interfere. But there may be more who think like Oma."
At an inquiring look from Da'Skalas, Daniel offered, "I was ascended for a bit. Don't remember any of it really, but some pieces have given us better understanding of the Ancients."
"Ah! That is comforting that there may be a rational explanation," answered Da'Skalas. "It's good to know that we probably aren't offending some … higher being."
"Well, it's a guess. A good one, but still a guess," said Daniel.
"Back to the original question," said Jack. "Now what?"
"Well, we may have a solution, Selmak and I," offered Jacob. Everyone turned to look at him in surprise. "I've spoken to the Tok'ra. Based on the history of the church and my knowledge of its place in Earth's development, they are willing to consider taking you in."
"The Tok'ra? They would consider such a thing?" Da'Skalas asked in amazement.
"Well, you would not be trusted for a long time," warned Jacob.
"But off world? I would be allowed to go off world?" he persisted.
"Not so fast!" interjected Jack. "Jacob, I'm not so sure we can let you do that."
"What other viable option do you have?" Jacob countered. "Leaving him here isn't an option, now that you know he's here. He hasn't really done anything wrong, besides being a Goa'uld. And the Tok'ra would like to talk to him to see if there's any relationship between his symbiote and the ones we carry."
"Cousins, maybe?" Jack speculated.
Jacob shrugged, "Who knows. We need a chance to find out."
Vadim, having kept quiet through the exchange, interrupted, speaking to Da'Skalas directly, "But what about us? You'd leave us?"
"Now, you know I'm no longer critical to the movement. I've only stayed around this long to keep my hand in. I've really been hoping for an opportunity like this ever since we learned about the Stargate from the Americans," Da'Skalas said gently.
"I know. I know. But you've been here, well, since the beginning. And it will be very different without you," protested Vadim.
Da'Skalas turned to Jacob, "May I ask to return on occasion? Or at least to communicate with Vadim and some other friends I have here?"
Jacob paused; he obviously was consulting with Selmak. Selmak spoke, "Communication should be possible. I cannot promise you will be allowed to return."
"That will have to do. Thank you for that much," replied Da'Skalas gravely. "See, Vadim? It will be no different than when I have gone traveling before. I simply will be traveling further."
"I'm sure we can provide assistance in sending messages back and forth," added O'Neill.
Vadim sighed, "We will appreciate any assistance you can provide to us."
"May we have your word that you will not try to leave without us," asked O'Neill. "We need to make arrangements for transporting you to the Stargate."
"Of course," Da'Skalas replied. "I am more than willing to make this as simple as possible."
Vadim added, "And there are several things I and the others would like to go over with you before you leave." He turned to O'Neill, "If we may have three days before you leave, it will make the transition go more smoothly. There have been plans in place for a number of years, but there are details we would like to finalize."
"That can be arranged," agreed O'Neill. "We will be as glad as you to do this discreetly."
"May we offer you the hospitality of the Vatican?" offered Da'Skalas. "We have rooms you can use and would be glad to have you stay here."
"Sorry, I think we need to go back to the Embassy," answered O'Neill. "But we would like to come back and visit, if we may."
"Of course, of course," replied Pope Alexander. "I will make arrangements with the Guard for you to have access to anything you need."
Daniel perked up at that. He asked, "The Vatican library?"
Da'Skalas laughed, "I suspected that might interest you." He turned to Teal'c and added, "There are documents from the Jaffa that accompanied me there that may be of interest to you."
"Indeed," replied Teal'c. "I will be interested to see those writings."
"Anything else right now? It's been a long trip and we need to report back," O'Neill asked the group. After seeing no response, he said, "If you would call the Embassy, they'll send a car for us."
After a round of "Good evenings" all around, they were escorted back through the Vatican maze to the same gate they entered. The waiting car took them efficiently back through the Rome traffic to the Embassy.
"Did your appointment go well?" asked the Ambassador as they entered the building.
"Well, I suppose you can say it did. We need to use your secure communications room," directed O'Neill.
Knowing he wasn't going to get any more of an answer, he led them to the secure facility.
Knowing that his communication back to the SGC wasn't as secure as he would have liked, O'Neill kept his report to General Hammond as brief as possible.
"Yes, sir. We found the person we were looking for. He's willing to take Jacob up on an offer of hospitality." O'Neill listened for a minute. "Yes, that one surprised me too, but if you think about it, that option solves a lot of problems for us and for the locals." More listening. "He's asked for three days to tie up loose ends. I've agreed at this point." O'Neill nodded. "If you'll have transport ready for us in three days, we can come back and report fully. Otherwise, I think everything is under control."
After he broke off the connection, O'Neill sighed. "The paperwork from this one will be never ending."
He left the communications area and joined the others. "Okay, kiddies. We aren't on vacation, but I suspect we can take some down time while our friend ties up his loose ends."
"Sir. We're just going to let him leave?" asked Carter, surprised.
"Well, Jacob's right. He's obviously not dangerous and hasn't really done anything wrong. I don't see why we shouldn't let him join the Tok'ra," replied O'Neill. "Maybe he can teach some of them to be nicer."
"But, the fraud," replied Carter, heatedly. "It's unthinkable."
"And what problem do we solve if we expose it?" asked Daniel, entering the conversation.
"But, it's all based on a fake," replied Carter. "We weren't Catholic but all of Christianity is based on a lie. It's enormous!" The frustration was evident in her voice.
"First do no harm," replied O'Neill. "Sorry. Wrong motto. But you know what I mean. While the Catholic Church isn't for everyone, you know more about false gods than most, Carter. This is as benign as it gets. And, as Daniel says, we solve no problems if we expose the fraud."
"But…" Carter protested, knowing she was losing the argument.
"I would agree with Daniel," added Teal'c. "I do not know the entire story of the history of your world but, from what I have seen, this institution has done more good than harm. I will know more after I read the documents from the Jaffa."
Jacob added, "Sam, I wouldn't have offered to take him to the Tok'ra if I didn't think he would be a risk."
"Okay, okay," sighed Carter. "I mean, I know all about false gods. This just hits too close to home for me. I've never been religious, this is a bit much to take in."
"All right. Let's get some sleep and go back in the morning," said O'Neill reasonably.
"We're going to trust him?" demanded Carter.
"Well, ummm. Not really. There's a detachment of Marines watching the Vatican for anyone sneaking out. Not that there's much they can do since our friends have diplomatic immunity. They're just watching," said O'Neill. "What? You think General Hammond would let us really leave a Goa'uld running around loose?"
"You could have told us," accused Daniel.
"And ruin the surprise? If you must know, we weren't sure we could get them in place in time," explained O'Neill. "Now, off to bed."
The next morning over breakfast, Daniel and Teal'c discussed some of the things they wanted to look for in the Vatican library.
Jacob added, "I would like to spend some time with Da'Skalas, if you don't mind. I'm interested in what ‘plans' he is leaving in place. I believe his story, mostly. But I want to make sure."
"Sure. If he's really above-board, he shouldn't have any problems with that," answered Jack. "If he does have problems with it, then he won't get his three days." At Jacob's inquiring look, O'Neill replied, "There's a plan B if we need one." He had briefed Samantha Carter on those plans after the others had gone off to bed.
Jacob, Daniel and Teal'c had the Embassy driver take them back to the Vatican. O'Neill said to Samantha Carter, "Let's check out those Marines and make sure everything is ready if we need it."
"Yes, sir," said Carter. "Let me get my kit bag and meet you at the gate?"
"Five minutes," he agreed.
They met up at the front gate and walked through the city. O'Neill seemed to know where he was going without carrying a map. "Have you been here before, sir?" Carter asked.
"A long time ago. If we had more time, I'd give you the O'Neill guided tour and show you some great coffee shops and special places where the locals go." But he didn't seem to want to elaborate any further than that.
They walked on in silence. After about 20 minutes, O'Neill turned into an alley and walked up to a van parked precariously on the side of the road. He tapped a sequence on the back door and it opened a crack. "Everything ok?" he asked.
"Clear so far. Nothing we could see, but we know there are passages we won't find easily, so I'm not sure what we're watching for," replied the man in the van.
"I know. We just have to make the effort," said O'Neill. "We're not expecting trouble, but need to be prepared." As he finished speaking, a nearby explosion showered dust on them.