"Ok, I just have one question Carter," O'Neill said quietly looking around him at the dirt, and few tufts of grass, "where the hell are we?""I don't know sir." Sam answered trying to read the gauges on one of her instruments. "Somehow when we went through the Stargate, it pushed us somewhere other than home.""Why would that happen?""Well, it's possible that one of the artifacts is emitting some type of pulse that lengthened the gates distance exponentially, sending us farther than..."Jack started waving his hands at her, gritting his teeth, "Getting a headache, how do we get back?""I don't know sir, I don't have any idea where we are.""Ooohhhhh.""Looks like Daniel's waking up." Jack said and bent down to assist the archaeologist to his feet.""What happened" he winced standing up.Jack sighed and walked away as Sam explained her theory to Daniel. He would understand it better anyway. All he knew is that they were going back through the gate when something went wrong. He had woken up to find himself in a very deserted area, with no Stargate. Jack looked to where Teal'c was running back to them. He had been out scouting for civilization. "I think Teal'c found something." he told the others.Teal'c joined them, and looked to O'Neill. "I have found a settlement. It is populated with what appears to be humans, and some humanoids. It appears that these people are technologically advanced, as I saw what would appear to be vessels for star travel.""Well, that's a start," Jack looked at the others, "shall we?" he said motioning in the direction Teal'c came from.
The group headed into the settlement, and looked around them in amazement. It looked like something out of a science fiction movie, and that was saying a lot for this group that had already seen so much. There looked to be some sort of port for space ships, but the whole town was laid out on dirt roads, not heavily populated. Jack saw what looked to be a bar, and several other stores for different needs."This is the oddest thing that I have ever seen, and that is saying quite a bit," Jack muttered."Where should we go sir?" Carter asked.Daniel was looking around curiously, "Everything's in English. All the signs, wording.""Well, looks like we caught a break then doesn't it? Let's try the bar, I could use a good drink, and the sign says first drink is on the house. Besides, everyone knows that the best place to get information is in the local bar, right?Bartenders love to talk." Jack said and started walking. The rest of the team followed him.The inside of the bar was dimly lit. The bartender was a scarred and scruffy old man with a cigarette clamped between yellowed teeth. There were few patrons in the place, mostly in darkened corners, looking to be making shady deals. "What can I get ya?" the man asked in a gruff voice."You have any whiskey?" Jack asked hopefully."Whiskey? 24 different types, Best I got is Woekinian strained, that good for you?"Jack looked at the others, shrugged and looked back at the man, "Sure, why not."The man picked up a bottle which had solid something or other in the bottom, and poured three fingers of the liquid into a glass, and looked at the others."Water?" Sam asked faintly, the other two nodded with her.The man grunted and got three glasses of water for them. "You end up wanting another, let me know, that'll cost you."" Actually we're looking for some information." Jack stated, trying to look smooth. The man looked at them, grunted and turned away."Keros doesn't give out information." A voice said from behind them. They turned to find a highly attractive woman behind them. "Normally, the only people asking him for information are some type of the law. Funny though, you don't look like any of the law that we see around here." She walked closer to them, and leaned on the bar. She was a shapely woman, wearing worn brown leather pants, with knee high leather boots. She had on a cream colored cotton top that laced up the front, and a brown leather vest. There was a weapon belt around her waist, which also belted above her knee to hold her gun in place. Another gun was in a shoulder holster.She had black straight hair, that hung just past her shoulders, with bangs cut at her eyebrows. Bright green eyes stared out at them, with a faint scar running down her left cheek, moving down from beneath her eye to her jawline. Not a beautiful woman, but certainly striking."We're not with any type of law enforcement agency." Daniel answered. "We're just lost, trying to get home.""Anyone who comes to the Outlands is lost, boy." She took the whiskey that the bartender offered her and drank it down." What are you looking for?" she asked and held her fingers up for the bartender to get her another drink."It's called a Stargate where we're from." Carter answered, seeing Daniel was a little miffed being called boy, and trying to prevent him from possibly insulting someone who seemed willing to talk to them. "It's circular, with symbols all around it.""Yeah, I know what you're talking about, hell, I think everyone knows what a Stargate was. Can't help you though. The Stargate on this planet was destroyed a long time ago, during the rebellion. A lot of people don't like talking about those days. A lot of people in the Outlands don't like talking period." She threw back the three fingers of whiskey again like it was nothing. "You need a Stargate, you're going to have to go to one of the Inner planets. Hire a ship, for the right price, they'll get you there." She turned and started walking away from them, back to one of the corner booths."How do we hire a ship?" Jack asked calling after her. She took a disc from a man in the shadows, handed him something in return, and looked back at them.She gestured in the direction they had seen the port in earlier, "The Starport, all kinds of ships for hire there."
They headed for the Starport, feeling a bit dejected. Even if they were able to find someone with a ship, where would they come up with money to pay them? They wandered around not knowing where to start.
"O'Neill, look over there." Teal'c said pointing."Isn't that one of those Goa'uld scoutships the Tok'ra are so fond of?" Jack said incredulously."It sure is." Carter said feeling a little better. Daniel walked back up to him, having tried to talk to one of the locals about ships for hire, he was shaking his head at them to show he hadn't had any luck."Let's go check it out." Jack said heading that way. The door to the ship was open, and there was no sound coming from inside. "No harm in looking around is there?" he said and went quietly into the ship. Teal'c quirked his eyebrow and followed."Sir, I'm not sure that's such a good idea.""Probably not." he said instantly going still as he felt the barrel of the gun against his temple, and the clicking of the hammer being pulled back. He started to raise his hands in a non-threatening manner."I would suggest you all entering very slowly now, and you big guy, I'd feel much better with your hands on your head." Daniel and Sam entered the ship to see the woman from the bar who had spoken to them. She had one gun against Jack's head and the other pointed at Teal'c. Just then a teenage boy came around the corner."Whoa" he said and pulled his gun to aim at them. "Everything ok here?" he asked the woman."Everything will be just fine, as soon as I find out why these people were coming onto my ship." She said not lowering her weapon."We recognized the make of ship, just wanted to check it out. We had no idea it was yours." Jack spoke calmly."Are the guns absolutely necessary?" Carter asked, her hands in the air."Archamedes, keep your gun on these people will you? I'm going to check them for weapons." She quirked her eyebrow at Jack, like she expected an argument. Jack just shrugged."Sure thing boss." the boy said pushing glasses up on his nose.She quickly and efficiently removed their weapons, even their backups, that most people missed. Then grouped them against the wall. "Now isn't that more cozy. I know I feel more comfortable."She folded her arms over her chest and looked at them. "Am I just supposed to believe that out of all the ships in this Starport, you happened to walk onto mine? Who do you work for?" she asked coldly. "Crachow? Dorning?""I swear to you. We really have no idea what you're talking about." Daniel stated. "Look we were on our way home through the Stargate. Something happened and we ended up here. Teal'c found the settlement, we came into town, you directed us to the Starport. We didn't know what to do once we got there. We saw your ship and recognized it as a Goa'uld scoutship, and here we are." he babbled at her. She quirked an eyebrow at him, reminding him of Jack.Jack sighed, "Daniel, shut up."
The boy called Archamedes spoke up, "I believe him boss.""Thank you Archamedes, because you're a great judge of character, " she said sarcastically, "shall we mention my personal favorite, Juno." At this Archamedes flushed a brilliant red, started mumbling about checking the engines, and made a hasty retreat. "Well, at this point, I can either choose to believe you, or shoot you all." At the indignant looks on their faces, "Hell, it wouldn't be illegal, you were entering my ship without permission. Turns out it's your lucky day, shooting you involves blood and disposing of bodies, and we just finished cleaning this girl." she said running a hand lovingly over the back of the chair. "You can go, don't forget your stuff." She dismissed them, and headed to her main console."Great, thanks." Jack muttered and started picking up his weapons. As the group re-armed themselves they looked around."The modifications that have been made to this ship are amazing." Carter said her eyes lighting up.The woman paused at the console looking at them. "Thanks.""You did this?" Carter asked."Yep, me and Archamedes. Kid might not be able to judge people for shit, but the boy is a great mechanic."Teal'c looked at the woman, "Do those stairs lead to some type of weapons?""Yeah, the laser cannons are nice, but we rigged a simple gun turret on top with class three oscillators. Instead of just feeding in coordinates, you manually aim, and shoot. Just some good old fashioned gun fighting, that does the trick sometimes." She said continuing to enter information."What would you consider as payment to take us to the nearest Stargate?" Daniel asked.She grinned, "I don't do passengers.""What do you do?" he asked still a little perturbed for being referred to as boy earlier."I find the hard to find, for people willing to pay. I acquire things, that people can't get anywhere else.""You're a criminal." Daniel said. "Not that it's a bad thing" he said swiftly seeing her eyes narrow."Look, there has to be something we can offer." Jack said, "We really need to get home. Couldn't you just drop us off, on your next job?""That's all I need, it getting around that I'm doing favors." she muttered. "Alright, I'll think of something you can do, or trade me for. But just so we're clear, I'm in charge around here. You can't handle that, get off my ship now." They noticed she was looking at Jack as she said this."Crystal clear." Jack assured her."Well then, I'm Captain Talis Starling. Welcome to The Serendipity."
They had been in space for over three hours. Sam was poring over the star-charts trying to figure out where they were, and how close to home that was. Talis had put the ship on automatic pilot, and was back going through something with Archamedes. Jack was napping in one of the fold down bunks that Talis had installed in the cargo area. Teal'c was in Kel-no-reem, and Daniel was poring over some historical information that was in the ships database. He was startled out of his reading by a loud electrical pop, and some cursing.
Talis came storming into the main cabin area, soot on her cheek, her fingers singed.
"I'm sorry Talis," Archamedes was trailing behind her."Just go fix it." she said trying to be patient, closing her eyes and counting. She thought by 300 she might be calm."Everything ok?" she heard a quiet voice ask, she looked up and found a pair of startling blue eyes meeting hers."Yeah, just a slight burn." She said putting her fingers to her mouth."Let me look at that." he said getting up, "burns aren't anything to mess with." He walked over and looked at her fingers. "Hold on a minute." Daniel went to his pack and got out his first aid kit. There was some burn salve. He brought it over and spread it on her fingers."Thanks." she said looking at the salve. She gave him a small slightly crooked smile, and walked over to Sam. She pointed to a planet on the chart. "That's where we're going first, Neulon. Hopefully their gate is still intact.""What do you mean?" Sam asked. Jack and Teal'c had come from the back of the ship, to stand near Daniel. They were all listening with interest now.Talis sat down in one of the chairs, slinging her leg over the side, looking totally at ease. "About 60 years ago, there was a race of beings who portrayed themselves as gods. There was an uprising, the people followed a man called The Prophet, as more and more individuals began to believe in one god, or high creator. They believed the high creator was one that can't be seen or heard. Well when that happened, most of these 'gods' as they called themselves fled, or were destroyed. Most of the gates were destroyed with them. They were thought of as symbols of evil. There are still a few, but it might be difficult to find one. The ones that are still around are normally guarded by the Mining Union. The Mining Union pretty much run each planet. Don't worry, we'll get you to one eventually.""That's amazing. We had someone very similar to your prophet on our world a very long time ago. Our world has different religions, but mostly everyone believes in one God.""Are you one of these followers of The Prophet?" Teal'c asked."I don't believe in a god, I believe in myself." she said almost bitterly, and turned away from them.The ship approached orbit outside of the Inner Planet, Neulon. They were getting ready to ring down to the planet, and Talis was giving them some last minute instructions."Do not mention the Stargate." she said for the tenth time, "Let me do the talking. I know these people. You're liable to get yourself strung up, or put away, if you say you came through one. Don't count on me to save you if that happens. I have to deal with these people when you're gone." she looked at Archamedes. "Hold down the fort. Randa will be dropping off our special shipment in ten hours time. I plan on being back by then.""If it is there, and we get to go through, how are we paying you back?" Sam asked."Hey, if I can use bringing you here, and slip my shipment in unobserved, that'll be payment enough."The five of them transported down to the planet. they found themselves inside a terminal, much like the Starport on the last planet. A man in an orange uniform walked over to them typing on a small pad. He took Talis' identification card, scanned it and handed it back."Follow me," she said and started off. After about half an hour, they made their way over to an alien, male by the look of it, at a stand that looked to sell or lease some type of transportation. The alien looked like a cross between a human and a fish. She started speaking to him in a language they had not heard yet, but sounded strangely familiar. She was grinning up at the alien in a provocative manner."I think that's a dialect of Latin." Daniel said tilting his head, trying to make out the words.The two spoke for several minutes, finally, Talis bowed slightly, smiling at the alien. "There's good news, and bad news. Ziscasa remembers that there is a special transport area, where the leader of the Mining Union transports his minerals in and out from, and at one point there was a circle there, but no longer. They broke it down," she told them as they walked back to the ring area, "and they are selling parts of it as souvenirs. The bad news...""That was the good news?" Jack asked, and got a sour look from the woman, "Sorry.""The bad news is that there's a new leader of the Mining Union for Neulon, and we aren't exactly friends." she said wryly. "My suggestion would be to get back to the ship as quickly as possible, move up delivery of my shipment I'm awaiting, and get the hell out of here. Did I mention quickly?" She moved with speed, making sure that they stayed with her. "Archamedes," she called over some type of communication device, "contact Randa and move up shipment as soon as possible.""Sure thing boss, what's going on?" the voice questioned."Balthazar, we're heading back.""Balthazar!" the voice squeaked.Just then a small group of men approached them, all of them heavily armed. One of the men larger than the rest, faced Talis. He was handsome, about 6'4", 250 lbs. He was dressed finely, in heavy linen breeches, black boots, a dark green brocade shirt, and a green overcoat. Dark blonde hair waved down to his shoulders, and chocolate brown eyes looked at them from a heavy fringe of eyelashes. He smiled smugly at them, "Talis Starling," his deep voice rumbled, "Imagine my surprise, when I got word that you were on my planet." He looked at her expectantly."Not that it matters Balthazar, but I didn't really know it was your planet. Last I heard, Josiah was still in charge of Neulon. We were actually just leaving.""Josiah's been gone a year now, Talis. Just didn't have the strength to keep things going. I replaced him when he ... retired. However, Far be it from me to chase you off. We haven't seen each other in so long. I don't believe I know your friends." He walked over to Sam, took her hand and kissed it. "Such a lovely companion too.""They are just travelers, Balthazar, touring the Inner Planets.""Since when did you start taking passengers Talis? The Ernestine was never used for passengers." he said dropping Sam's hand, ignoring Talis's muttered, "the Serendipity!",and walked over to Talis. He ran his hand down her scar. "It's been a long time, obviously we have so much to talk about." he told her quietly, "I insist that you stay and dine with us. Come, follow me.""Archamedes, new plan." Talis sighed, "we'll be back as soon as possible. Follow the bobbing idiot kiddies." she muttered to SG-1, and walked after the man. The rest of his entourage followed behind them.They entered a large dwelling in the center of town. Balthazar left them, and the guards led them up to two rooms. They put the men in one room, and the women in the next. They heard the doors lock behind them.
"Shit!" Talis said and sat on the bed in the middle of the room."I take it this isn't going to be a pleasurable dinner?" Sam asked quietly."Oh sure it'll be lots of fun, sort of like having your leg stitched back together, after something tries to chew it off." Talis said staring at the ceiling. She sighed, "He won't kill us, if that's what you mean. He probably won't torture us either, unless you call being in his presence torture.""What's the deal?""We were together, if you know what I mean. He decided he was in love, and wanted to settle down, blah blah blah. I let him know that wasn't the life for me. Anyway, the Serendipity was his, I won it, and some other valuable property in a game of chance. He didn't take it well. He lost his ship, property, and his bed partner. The idiot tried to stop me from leaving, I shot some of his people, shot him." she looked around herself, "He needs to get over it, he seems to be doing ok for himself.""You shot him!" a muffled voice said from the room over. There was a small window with bars between the two rooms. "We can hear everything you know! We're screwed.""We'll be fine sir. I'm sure Talis has a plan." Talis snorted at her. "You're coming up with something right? I mean, they aren't going to arrest you for shooting him are they?""No, they aren't going to arrest me, why would they arrest me? I was protecting my ship!" she said astounded at the idea, "He just wants me to suffer. He'll try to figure out if one of the guys is 'with' me, then we'll go from there. It will probably be a good idea, if you were to act like one of those guys was yours. Keep him from nosing around. Unless you're interested in the dunderhead, if so, hey we might get out of here quicker." her eyes brightening at the idea."Um, no thanks." she said."Wise choice Carter." she heard Jack yell."Yeah, probably better that way." Talis looked depressed.Balthazar made them wait for several hours, then after providing them with clothing he 'insisted' that they wear, they were escorted to dinner. The men were dressed much as he was, Sam was wearing a floaty blue gown that hit to just above her knees, it looked lovely with her eyes, and her friends were surprised at seeing her in such a girly dress. Talis was wearing an emerald colored dress that molded her shapely athletic body, emphasizing her full breasts, and ending just above her knees as well. It made her legs look extremely long. Their original clothing had been returned to the ship, Archamedes had confirmed this. Talis had tucked her comlink, as she called it, into the bodice of her dress."You look radiant" Balthazar told the women. He approached Sam, "Tell me lovely lady, is one of these men your escort?" there was a gleam in his eyes."Yes, actually, I'm with Jack," she said slightly nervous.Jack approached them, and put his arm around Carter, "That's right."Balthazar turned to Talis, "And tell me Talis, which of these men are you with?"Talis looked at him, knowing he wanted an excuse to cause harm to someone. "Neither, as I told you earlier, they are just passengers." She swayed seductively over to him, both Teal'c and Daniel watching her with interest. "Why are we doing this Bal? Everything was such a long time ago. Let us go. I'll take them on their sightseeing trip, and I won't trouble you again.""Talis, all you are is trouble to me. Why are you really here? You forget I know you too well.You don't take passengers. What are you dropping off or picking up from my planet?" he said putting his hands on her waist, "I think about you all of the time.""I swear Bal, these are passengers, and only passengers." she said her lips so close to his.The man ran his hand down her face,"Come let us eat," he smiled took her hand and led them through to the dining hall. They were the only ones in the room, the table had already been laden with food.
"So, here is what I have decided. We will go and finish your sight seeing mission with your passengers, then return here. We will only use the Ernestine for pleasure trips." He finished magnanimously."The Serendipity isn't a pleasure ship Bal," Talis said between clenched teeth. "It is my ship. And really there's no need for you to join us."He had them all sit and they began to eat. Talis glowered as she ate. Balthazar kept chit chatting with SG-1, acting as though they were there of their own free will. After dinner he moved them all into a room with cushions forming a circle, no actual chairs. A heady incense burned, and he had drinks poured for everyone. Jack and Sam had to sit closely together, and Jack had taken to stroking her bare arms with his hands, first to reassure her, and second to act as a couple for the psycho across the room. There was an open spot in the middle of the room. Soft music was floating through the room. Balthazar raised his glass of the thick, purple, sweet smelling drink, and toasted, "To new friends, and to old friends returning." As he drank he looked at Talis suggestively.He frowned when he saw that she wasn't drinking, the other were choking it down. "Drink up, Talis.""You know I don't like moon juice.""Right now it doesn't really matter if you like it or not, I like it when you drink it." As he watched she drank down the shot. After a few minutes of him looking around pleasantly, he looked back to Talis, happy to see her eyes becoming glazed. Jack had gone from running his hand on Sam's arm to running his hand along her thigh, and nuzzling her neck, meanwhile Sam was nibbling at his ear. Daniel's eyes were closed, and he was breathing more rapidly. The large black man was the only one who didn't seem to be affected. Balthazar shrugged that off, it would make no difference in his plans. "Talis," he said softly, getting her to focus on him, she had been looking at the man in glasses. "Talis, I want you to dance for me, and our guests."She sucked in a breath, "No" she said her voice wobbling slightly."But,Talis it's what I want. Do it for me.""No.""Talis, don't make me angry. Did I mention that Mortavo is visiting? I know that he would love to have some sport while he was here. Which one should I give him? I think he would like the younger man, don't you? Should I call for him?" he said coldly.Talis dropped her head and stood. Daniel thought he heard her mutter, "Ok new plan." Mortavo was a lover of men, and she knew that Bal would give him Dr. Jackson. She would dance, she had already started forming a plan. She started swaying to the soft music. Daniel's eyes flew open to watch her move. Her dress, while being form fitting, was actually made out of lots of separate emerald green scarves that were attached at different intervals, the music picked up speed, and so did her body. Jack and Sam were full out kissing, their hands exploring each others willing bodies.Her body was undulating and gyrating to the music, Daniel caught her eyes. She looked at him, her eyes half closed, and moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue. She looked so erotic, Daniel couldn't take his eyes off her. Balthazar saw this and frowned, he grabbed one of the scarves and pulled her to him. She turned to face him and pulled him into a deep kiss. He let go of the scarf, she rubbed her body against him, he started to take his coat off, she helped him pull it halfway off. Then she grabbed the bottle of moon juice, he smiled at her lecherously. Talis took the top off, poured some into his mouth and kissed him, licking it out of his mouth. he pulled her against him again and she could feel his arousal.Moving behind him, now only clad in one scarf across her breasts, and one longer scarf covering her waist, she cracked the bottle of moon juice across his head, knocking him unconscious. The others stared at her in shock. She searched him for his weapon, and stood before them."Ok, let's go." she said brightly, and began picking up scarves, Jack and Sam were shaking their heads, trying to lessen the effects of the drug."What the hell is going on?" Jack said realizing the things he and his 2IC were doing to each other."Moon juice. It's a highly powerful drug, with aphrodisiac effects." Talis explained briefly, "Come on we have to get out of here. Luckily, he has rings in this place. I can't believe he thought I was going to have sex with him. Of all the nerve.You shoot someone once, and they think you owe them." she muttered as they ran. "Ok, these are smaller rings than the ones in the transport area. Teal'c, you Jack, and the lovely Samantha go first. Daniel and I will follow, when you get up there, get ready for immediate takeoff." She set the rings and they transported up. She looked at Daniel, and grinned, he still looked slightly dazed. "You ready boy?""I really resent being called a......" he started to complain, to be cut off by her as she grabbed him by the collar and pulled him into her, their lips pressing together. Their mouths opened, and her tongue dipped into his to taste him. She let him go, and he stared at her speechless."Hmmmm,The juice might not have affected me when it comes to the dunderhead, but you definitely stir me up Doctor." She pulled him into the rings, and they transported up.They got up to the ship, Archamedes confirming that their special shipment had arrived. Talis headed to the closed off back area that she had created when modifying the ship. Archamedes got piloted them out of orbit.
Talis came out a short while later, back in her pants, this time sporting a white tank top. Archamedes was off somewhere supposedly doing inventory, but they kept hearing a strange sound. She headed to the flight cabin, and threw Jack a bottle with some gel type pills in it. "You're all going to have a terrible headache if you don't take one of those." she told him pulling her hair back in a tie. She leaned over to adjust her boot. SG-1 had been very quiet since returning to the ship. "Look I'm sorry about all of that, I can honestly say, it doesn't normally happen.""Actually, we were trying to figure out how to say thanks," Sam said quietly, "You sacrificed your pride to get us out of their."Talis looked up at them and grinned her crooked grin, "Sacrificed my pride? I take pride in my work, tonight that was getting you out of there. I don't lose pride in taking off a few scarves, now if I had actually had to sleep with him again... ""Where'd you get that?" Daniel asked from behind her, running his finger down a scar on her right shoulder. It was a crescent moon, with a star up and to the right of it."I was branded," she said shortly. "All slaves are.""You were a slave?" He asked his forehead wrinkling."Sure was, most of the humans in this quadrant were." At their startled looks, she grinned wryly, "What, you thought that with the rebellion they were fighting for freedom for all. I was a slave of a good man, at least better than others. I saved his life, with only a few scars for a memory, he gave me my freedom. I won Archamedes from Balthazar when I won my ship. I set him free, offered him a job." Seeing the frowns on their faces, "Hey, being a slave was nothing to be ashamed of. Staying with Balthazar, that's something to be ashamed of, and I did that for awhile. Finally, got my brains to working. I got a good gig now." Her head turned quickly at the sound of a high pitched wail coming from the back of the ship.Archamedes came from the back of the ship, looking very disgruntled. "She really isn't happy being back there with me.""Do you have another slave on this ship?" Sam asked outraged at the thought.Talis looked at her angrily, "I don't deal in slaves, not for anyone, not for any price!" She went to the back of the ship, and headed back with a child in her arms. A little cherub of a girl, around 8 or 9 months old black soft curls framing her pixie face, bright green eyes with tears in them, a heavy fringe of eyelashes. "This is my daughter." she said as the child cuddled into her. "Her name is Zoë."The team was speechless, they didn't need to ask who the father was, it was obvious that the man they had just escaped had fathered the child.