Title: Cross My Palm with Naquadah

Author: Ted Sadler

Email: ted.sadler@ntlworld.com

Category: Humor, Romance

Season: 6

Pairing: Sam/Jack

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: none

Spoilers: Abyss, Unnatural Selection

Summary: A Close Encounter of the Lucky Kind

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).

Copyright © 2002 Ted Sadler

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Cross My Palm with Naquadah

The X-303 left the wormhole and re-entered normal space in the Pleiades Cluster. The command cabin was instantly flooded with the light of thousands of stars in close proximity - close, that is, on the grand scale of the Galaxy, but still many light years from the craft.

SG-1 instantly raised their hands to shade their eyes - all, that is, except Jack O'Neill, whose ever-present sunglasses were taken from his pocket and placed across his eyes in one fluid movement, to preserve his aura of 'ready-for-anything' leadership.

"Dim the windows, Beverley." he called across to Sam. "Scan the vicinity for other vessels, please Mr. Worf!" directed at Teal'c. "Man the phasers, Wesley." this to Jonas.

She still smiled at the names he had been calling everyone since being refused permission to name the vessel 'Enterprise'. She had played along with Beverley and Deanna, but had refused to respond to 'Seven'. "Aye captain!" replied Teal'c, the only other person to consistently enter into the spirit of the game. Star Trek was his favourite programme anyway. Sam had to admit that the Colonel and the Jaffa had been the ones to lift their spirits after the bitter encounter with the Replicators a few days before.

"There is a vessel detectable at 6000 kilometres, H bearing 45 degrees, V bearing plus 36 degrees." announced Teal'c. "It appears to be drifting without power and tumbling slowly."

"Direct the astronomical telescope at it," said Jack, "and project the image on the screen." Jonas aligned the telescope using the radar tracker and a few moments later, an oddly-shaped metallic object came into view. As it slowly rotated, a cluster of red lights attached to it came into sight and disappeared every few minutes.

Two hours later, as they approached the strange craft, the telescope showed a pattern to the red lights. "Is that writing?" asked Jack.

"I believe so, O'Neill" replied Teal'c. He magnified the screen image, and they clustered round the monitor. He read aloud "Eva the Interstellar Romany. Your Future Revealed. Personal Horoscopes. Fulfil the Secret Desires of Your Heart."

"Eva!" cried Jack. "Where have you been all my life?" Jonas and Sam looked round at him in surprise. "Carter, any signs of a response to our radio transmissions so far?"

"Nothing at all, sir." she answered. "It's probably a derelict ship, but we must check for survivors."

"Agreed." said Jack. "Teal'c, Jonas, see if you can dock to that ship with the Death Glider. It's not tumbling so fast that you can't match the velocities. I think we can assume from the use of Galactic English that the atmosphere inside will be breathable. If the hull is intact, that is. But get into space suits, just in case."

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Eva (the Interstellar Romany) was finally coming round in the control room of the X-303, her unconscious form having been safely extracted from the doomed craft by Teal'c and Jonas. Jonas removed the oxygen mask from her mouth as her eyes finally stopped blinking and stayed open, roving all over his face.

"Hello handsome!" croaked Eva, struggling to sit up. 'Hmmm, beefcake!' she thought to herself. "Don't stop now, dearie, I think I need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as well." Jonas blushed a deep red and sprang back. A noise from the other side of her makeshift bed - actually a work surface - caused her to look away from him, to take in Teal'c's impassive visage.

Her mind stepped up a gear. 'Hmmm, Jaffacake!' she nearly said out loud, licking her lips. "Have I got you boys to thank for getting me out of there?"

"Yes, ma'am." said Jonas, before Teal'c could reply. "I'm Jonas, Jonas Quinn, er, this is Teal'c and over there are Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill."

Eva saw Jack first and immediately thought she must be in Gypsy Heaven to have three such hunks tending to her needs. But she quickly revised her thoughts when Sam came into view from behind Teal'c and stood beside the Colonel. "Oh, you're married!" she exclaimed. "Your auras have just coalesced."

"What?" said Sam and Jack together, looking quickly at each other and then back to Eva.

"We're not..."

"The regs..."

"Indeed." said Teal'c, with the resigned tone of someone who'd heard this dialogue many times before.

Eva became aware that Sam and Jack were staring at her, then quickly glancing at each other, then staring again.

"Excuse me, but aren't you..."

"Elizabeth Hurley?" they asked.

"You mean that Earth girl?" said Eva. "People have said that I look like her before."

[Author's note: it's my story so I get to pick the cast, OK?]

"How did you get to be stranded in the middle of nowhere?" asked Jonas.

"Unforeseen circumstances." replied Eva. " I was travelling with the Flying Circus one minute, the next I dropped out of Hyperdrive with no power."

"Flying Circus?" said Sam. " Not..?"

"The very same!" smiled Eva. "But I'm so grateful you got me out in time. I'm good at showing gratitude. Tell your fortunes, read your palms, cook..."

The startled and delighted expressions on the crew's faces at the mention of cookery told Eva that she would be more than welcome on this ship.

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After 3 days of the kind of meals that they'd all missed, Eva felt really at home on board. She flirted mercilessly with Jonas and Teal'c, but was more cautious with Jack. Her saucy comments to him coincided with an almost tangible back pain inflicted by the daggers emanating from Sam's eyes.

Between meals, Eva often got 'her boys' to show her round the ship and explain its workings. Sam and Jack exchanged amused glances when Jonas returned from a couple of trips with his hair tousled and his shirt buttons done up in the wrong holes. After Jonas announced how tired he was and took himself off to the sleeping quarters, Eva walked across to Teal'c, and took his unresisting hand in hers. "T, honey, I want you to make love to me in the galley." she purred.

For a change, Teal'c raised his left eyebrow and asked, "Why the galley?"

"I have a casserole to cook, and the oven timer's broken." she replied, leading him off. He looked over his shoulder at Sam and Jack and shrugged nonchalantly.

"Sir, would you make love to me in the galley if I asked?" said Sam, with a sly smile.

"Casserole or roast, Major?" replied Jack with a grin.

"No, sir, the egg timer's broken. Sir, remind me not to let you stand watch alone." sighed Sam. "Or volunteer to do the dishes, either."

"No worries, Carter." replied Jack softly. "I want to live..."

The casserole was excellent, despite their misgivings. Teal'c took three helpings.

After the meal was cleared away, Eva said that she would like to "do something special" for Sam and Jack, as she felt she owed them something too. The relief on their faces when she offered to tell their fortunes was a joy to behold.

She eventually persuaded Sam that at the very least, she should look upon the experience as a bit of harmless fun, and not an exercise in the metaphysics of perceived personal time travel. Sam and Jack took up their seats side by side at the table, opposite Eva.

"Now hold hands, I'm going to be able to see so much more for the two of you together." announced the Romany. Jack held out his hand and Sam shyly placed hers in it. Teal'c and Jonas looked on in the background with interest.

She started dealing the Tarot cards. Looking up at them, she began to announce their fate. "You will become famous on Earth." Glancing at Jack, she continued, "Women around the world will dream about you, wanting to lose themselves in your arms as they soothe away your worries. They will write stories about you, laced with angst and life-threatening injuries."

"Angst?" said Jack, as his smile was replaced by a frown.

"With a capital 'G'. By the bucket load. Unending." said Eva. Looking at Sam, she continued, "Men by the thousand will adore you, dreaming you are dancing close to them, whispering the Laws of Thermodynamics in their ears."

Dealing more cards, she murmured "Your sense of duty and honour is strong, so strong. It will keep you from fulfilling your hearts' desires for years to come."

Although Sam didn't believe in this ritual, she sat back in surprise and shock, and looked at Jack's impassive face, her heart racing. 'How can he remain so calm?' she thought, and then told herself that she was being ridiculous. 'This charlatan is making it all up. It's a game.'

Taking up the cards, Eva replaced them on the green tablecloth with a small crystal ball, the only other personal possession she had on her when she arrived on board. "Give me your free hands." she said. Sam and Jack reached across hesitantly and Eva took a hold of them.

"The sphere can see into your pasts, seek out your worries and lets me soothe them." Eva's brow wrinkled in concentration. She seemed to be going into a trance. Suddenly both she and Sam uttered sharp cries and sat up quickly, moving backwards from the table in horror. Jack let go of their hands and clutched at his temples, his face screwed up in pain. He got up quickly and walked hurriedly out of the control room.

Jonas and Teal'c ran across to steady the two women as they stood up uncertainly. "Major Carter!" cried Teal'c. "What is wrong?"

"Ba'al... murdered him and then revived him, time after time after time." Sam stammered. "He never told us. He just said he was tortured and placed repeatedly in a Sarcophagus. How could he keep that from us?" She started to get up and her instinct was to find Jack, but the others persuaded her to give him some time alone. Eva sat down and despite the close attentions of Jonas and Teal'c, had nothing to say.

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Two hours later, Sam approached the store room one deck below where the Colonel had chosen to have his bunk, rather than in the general sleeping quarters. His frequent nightmares had made it the obvious thing to do, rather than waking the others night after night.

Jack awoke from a doze, turning away from the wall to see who had entered. Sam slid the door closed and walked across the room under the dim ceiling light.

"Carter?" said Jack. "Look, I'm sorry about..."

"Move over." said Sam, firmly, slipping off her shoes and sitting on the bunk.

"Carter, what are you doing?"

"Coalescing." she replied, lying alongside and placing her arm round him.

"Don't talk. Don't apologise. Just love me as much as I love you, Jack."

Hours later, Jack finally plucked up the courage to ask, "Where do we go from here, Sam?" as he lay behind her. She turned to face him and grasped his hand.

"Wherever we want to, with whatever it takes. I thought she was just playing around with us, talking about us being apart for years, but after we saw... I just knew I had to change the future for us."

'That's what you think, dearie.' mused Eva, gazing at the couple in her crystal from her room on the deck above. 'Mission accomplished.'

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