The SGC had been cleaned from top to bottom. They had turned one of the huge conference rooms on 27 into a reception area. They were all dressed up, shoes polished, uniforms pressed, medals shiny waiting in the gate room. Jack sighed. He hated diplomatic stuff. What was the President thinking? He sighed again.
Hammond had been so much better at this stuff, but nope, it was up to Jack to meet with the Veronans, and show them around. Several of the SG teams had already been to Verona. The people were pleasant, around the same as Earth technologically, but in different areas, and hated the Goa'uld just as much.

No, it wasn't like he had felt about the Ascen. Jack actually thought that an alliance with these people would work out for the best. He would just rather be fishing. Or off somewhere with Sam. Their relationship was still very new, and he couldn't get enough of her. He had been surprised when the new President had sat him down to make changes to the SGC rulebook, but hey, who was he to argue. He got what he really wanted, and his soldiers were a lot happier.

"Jack," the object of his affection said from where standing to his left, "If you sigh one more time, rank be damned, I'm going to injure you." she said and put a bright smile on her face as the gate came to life.

Jack stood up a little straighter and smiled as the delegates from Verona made their way onto the ramp. The first two on the ramp were guards, followed by the leader of the Veronans, Zambroz Achillen, and his wife, Antina. He was a smaller man, around 5'6" in height, and thin, his wife was taller than he by about 2 inches, and a good deal plumper. Both had laugh lines around their mouths, and were beaming at everyone around them.

It was funny really, looking at the people coming through the gate, you'd never know they were from a different planet. Daniel was fairly bouncing off the walls at the thought of meeting with these people. They were olive complexion, similar to people of Italian descent, most of them having dark hair, and eyes. They spoke an accented English, but did have their own language, which one of the other linguists, Dr. Reynolds, who had visited with them said was a cross between Italian, Greek, and Latin. Approximately thirty of their diplomats would be in the SGC for the evening.The Veronans were sending Ambassador Achillen, Military leaders, scientists and doctors.

Ambassador Achillen walked down the ramp to Jack. "Welcome to Stargate Command, Ambassador, I'm General Jack O'Neill. It's a pleasure having you and your people with us this evening." He said with a small bow.

"General, Thank you for having us, we are delighted to be here with you." The man said in a heavy accent.

"Please let me introduce my top team. You haven't met them yet. This is my second in command, Lt. Col. Samantha Carter."

"Beautiful, beautiful!" the ambassador said shaking her hand.

"Teal'c"

"Ah, a strong man, good handshake."

"And Dr. Daniel Jackson."

"A pleasure, Dr. Reynolds has mentioned you all many times." He said looking back at Jack. "Now, let me introduce my wife Antina." The woman smiled and shook everyone's hand. She moved slightly aside so that the ambassador could pull another couple up ahead. "My only daughter, Eviana, and her betrothed Savino Corolinos."

The couple stepped forward to shake SG-1 and General O'neill's hands. The man was tall, approximately 6'2", and lanky, but he had an air of arrogance about him, and it made Jack's shoulder blades twinge. The man, Savino, had dark, almost black, hair, long on top, short in the back, and dark eyes.

The woman extremely attractive. She was tall, at about 5'9, her body was athletic and lithe, however she had been graced with full breasts, and hips. She had soft pouty lips, almond shape eyes that were a deep chocolate brown, and long glossy chestnut hair that was currently pulled back into an elaborate twist. Eviana was wearing a satin strapless dress which hung to the ground, form fitting and slit almost to her hips on each side. The dress was a rich burgundy.

She smiled at them, "It is an honor to meet all of you. Our people are very excited to have found kinsmen across the stars. Especially those who despise the evil that tries to enslave us." She looked at each of them. "The people who have visited us, have told us of your bravery, and your ability to beat all odds."

"Well, I'd just say we've had a lot of luck, and some very good friends." Jack told her. Daniel snorted, which swung both Eviana's and Savino's attention over to him.

"And you are the respected Dr. Jackson. Dr. Reynolds felt lost without you. He felt you would have been in heaven in our temples." she grinned at him.

"Yes, he's told me they've been kept in remarkably good condition, especially since you no longer worship the gods they were designed for." he said to her a little startled. "Temples have certainly turned out to be significant in what we can find out about the Goa'uld."

"Well, we will have to make sure and get you to as many as possible." Savino started to say something to her in their native language, speaking too quickly and quietly for Daniel to really follow, but he saw Eviana frown, and he did understand when she replied to the sullen man in their language, "Well then, perhaps you should have stayed home." She turned back to Daniel, "I will be glad to set up any tours or expeditions that you wish." The couple then moved down the line toward the area set up for the reception.

Over all the reception was going rather well. The Veronan people were friendly, and extremely interested in learning more about the people of Earth, not just their technology. The best part was that they were more than willing to share all of their knowledge as well. It was like Christmas come early. The only person who didn't seem to be having a good time was Savino. He spent most of his time sneering at everything around him. Daniel kept finding his eyes drawn to the ambassador's daughter, but caught himself each time he saw the sullen man.

"What is it with that guy?" Sam said quietly coming up behind Daniel.

"I don't know..." Daniel started to say, only to be cut off by a feminine voice.

"Savino wants Evi all to himself." they turned around to see a young female Veronan grinning at them. She was petite, wearing a black cocktail dress, with her black hair curling outrageously around her shoulders. "He knows that he was incredibly lucky that her father chose him, he also knows she'll probably find a way to dump him before they can get to the altar. I'm Octavia Achillen, Eviana is my cousin. you may call me Tavia."

"We weren't trying to talk bad..." Sam stuttered.

"How can you not if you're talking about Savino? He is a pompous scatto." she said.

"Jerk" Daniel translated for Sam. "It's a pleasure to meet you Tavia, so what do you do on Verona?"

"I am a doctor. A medical doctor."

"Well General, I think that went very well." Sam said coming up behind him and wrapping her arms around his waist.

They were in his office, preparing to leave and head to his house for the next two days. The Veronans had left after extending an invitation to their world for a similar reception. Eviana had spoken briefly to Jack about setting up a special code for both worlds so that there could be travel to and from, as they were going to embark in an exchange program.

Thinking about that conversation, he turned to Sam "Did they ever say what type of position or work Eviana does for Verona?"

"No, I didn't get to talk to her too much, due to her gorilla boyfriend, why?"

"She just seemed to have a lot of information to be just the daughter of the ambassador, but she only looked about 20."

"Tavia, you know the little dark haired doctor, she told us that she and Eviana went to school together until they made their career choices. She's only 25, and already a medical doctor."

"I don't know, it's probably nothing. I didn't feel any bad about her."

"Well, stop talking about that gorgeous girl, before I get jealous," she teased, "and let's go home."

When Daniel stepped through the gate he was greeted by Eviana, Savino, and another guard. Eviana was the one that surprised him. She was wearing form fitting black pants, a wide utility belt, and military style boots. She had on a black, long sleeved jacket, with a double row of silver buttons down the front, much like a military jacket. There was a name tag on the front of her uniform which said Comandante Achillen. Her hair was pulled back in a high ponytail. Savino was in civilian clothing.

"Welcome to Verona, Dr. Jackson." she said with a smile.

"Comandante?" he asked bemused.

She gave a wider smile, and nodded, "That I am. Which is why it was supremely easy for me to make sure you had access to whatever you would like to see." She looked at the younger man in uniform with them, "Luogotenente, Give Dr. Jackson his access card."

The young man bowed to her and gave Daniel the card. "That card is your free pass Dr. Jackson. After today, you have only to ask and you can be taken anywhere. However for today, we are at your disposal. Was there anywhere specific you would like to visit?"

"Actually I was hoping to visit the temple to Neptune. That is if you don't mind, Comandante Achillen?"

"Please you may call me Eviana. While I am Comandante, today we are among friends." She said smiling at Savino, who didn't seem to be as glowering as before. He caught and took her hand kissing it, a smoldering look in his eyes. Daniel felt uncomfortable by the intimate gesture, so walked ahead slightly.

"So tell me Dr. Jackson," Savino started talking, his voice deep and heavily accented, "are you not married?"

Daniel stopped in his tracks, and turned to look at them, he spoke softly "I was. She was taken as a host by Apophis's queen, Amaunet. She was killed several years ago, as she was trying to kill me."

"I am very sorry Dr. Jackson." Eviana spoke quietly.

"It's in the past, I loved Sha're very much, and always will I suppose. But there's still work to be done, life to be lived."

"I do not know how I would go on without Eviana beside me." Savino intoned.

Eviana looked at him with some amusement, "I'm sure you would do quite well."

The small group reached the temple, and Daniel spent several hours investigating. It turned out that Savino was an architect, as well as part of the military regime, and spent most of his time on a small communication device. Daniel was pleasantly surprised to find that Eviana had a wealth of knowledge regarding the different temples. She told him that she had actually minored in Archaic, which was similar to Archaeology as far as he could tell. She had gone through her schooling while serving in Verona's military, and had majored in Physics. Veronan Physics was slightly different than Earth Physics, but they were similar.

They broke to have lunch at her fathers home, which was a palatial estate. Savino made himself at home, helping himself to her fathers liquor cabinet. Eviana frowned at him, but he ignored her. She sighed and turned back to Daniel. "So tell me Dr. Jackson, did you learn anything of significance from looking in Neptune's temple?"

"A little," Daniel admitted, "A lot of it I'll have to take back and translate, Teal'c is normally a big help with that."

"Teal'c?" Savino frowned, "That was the big man, the Jaff'a?"

"Yep, he's a great asset to our people."

"It is surprising that you trust someone who once served someone you call enemy."

Daniel looked at the man, 'he's trying to provoke me' he thought, "Actually, I trust Teal'c with my life, and have several times."

Eviana was looking worried, "I spoke with him at the reception." Savino looked up quickly, "He was quite respectful, I found him most sincere and intelligent."

Savino's lips tightened, and he spoke sharply to her in their native language, then left abruptly.

She sighed and turned to give Daniel a half smile. "He doesn't like the thought of me spending time with single men, I apologize."

"That's ok, I sort of caught the gist of what he was saying."

At this she looked startled, "You understand our language?"

"Actually, when you look at the different aspects it's made up from, I picked it up pretty quickly."

"You surprise me Dr. Jackson, pay no mind to Savino, he just wants us to marry as soon as possible, and doesn't accept that I am in no hurry. He also feels threatened by my position, because I outrank him. Savino is from an old fashioned way of thinking. He will get past this." she stared off for a moment, then looked at him again. "Come I will take you to our museum. You will find much to interest you there."

At the end of the day, Daniel made plans to come back the next day. He didn't think he would see Eviana again, he thought Savino would see to that. He didn't quite understand what she saw in the man, but there must be something there seeing how they were to be married. He went to bed thinking about what temple he wanted to see tomorrow.

"Tell me the truth Eviana, don't you think that Dr. Jackson is just the sexiest thing?" Tavia giggled to her. They were in Tavia's clinic, cleaning up from the day, Eviana just enjoying down time with her friend.

"Tavia!" Eviana scolded then grinned at her crazy friend, "I thought that you said that Renato was the sexiest?"

"Well he is, and I enjoy his kisses, but Dr. Jackson is quite dreamy." the small woman sighed.

"I suppose he is attractive." Eviana mused.

"Evi..." Tavia said looking at her sternly.

"Ok, ok, he's very attractive, even to the point of sexiness." She smiled at Tavia, "But it doesn't matter much, Savino and I are going to be married soon." she grimaced slightly.

"Why would you marry that scatto?" Tavia said scornfully, refilling some of her supplies, "Tell your father you won't do it. You don't have to marry him Evi."

"Yes I do, Octavia. Not only for my father. I care about Savino, he is a good match for me. He comes from a good family, he is a good soldier, handsome. If one day I am to become Ambassador, I need a match such as this one." Evi sighed again. "Now I must go, tomorrow is going to be busy. We have many projects to complete."

Daniel wasn't surprised the next day when no one was there to meet him when he came through the Stargate. He swiped his card in the machine near the gate to input the temple he would be visiting that day. Eviana had shown him how to work the machine, that way if they needed to get any messages to him, they could locate him. He headed off, away from town, towards the temple of Dis Pater, or Pluto.

Meanwhile, Eviana had her hands full, mainly with arguing with Savino. "Savino, I have no intention of seeing Dr. Jackson today. Should he need help, he has an access card, and everyone is more than willing to help him. I am very busy here," she finished pointing at her work table.

"I do not like the way he looks at you. You are my betrothed, and he smiles at you constantly." he sulked.

"The people from Earth are not that different from us Savino. They smile, they are friendly. Listen to yourself, you are being ridiculous..." she started getting fed up.

"Comandante!" they were interrupted.

"Yes?" she said looking at the young lieutenant.

"You need to see the sensors, there are ships."

She looked at Savino, and rushed from the room. They got to the sensors and looked, she input additional information. "It is Goa'uld." she said in horror.

Moving to another console she input more information, "Oh my God," she whispered. "Dr. Jackson is at the Temple Ruins for Pluto."

"So he is safe then?" Savino asked not understanding her anxiety.

"No Savino, looking at those sensor coordinates, he is most definitely not ok. They're coming in right on top of him." She moved away, taking off her lab covering, and putting her jacket on. She went to one of the cabinets to put on her utility belt and check out a weapon.

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"Where do you think? To get him of course." she looked at him and knew he was going to fight her on this, " Savino we are trying to form an alliance with these people, he is one of their top scientists, I am Comandante, I gave him authorization to go there, and I will not leave him to be taken!" she said standing straighter, "Are you coming, or staying Maggiore Corolinos?"

"Coming Comandante." he said bitterly, angry at her for pulling rank.

They hurried through the brush, and trees. They heard ships hovering in the area in front of them. They pulled up short before exiting the trees. One of the ships, bigger than a scout ship, but smaller than a mother ship was hovering in the air over a deep lake. Up ahead she saw that it was too late. Four Jaff'a had Daniel, and had just shoved one of their staffs into his stomach. Eviana could see four other Jaff'a laying on the ground dead, she felt proud of the archaeologist for not just giving in. She started taking aim at the Jaff'a who had just injured Daniel, when she heard Savino gasp. She felt a sharp pain in her back, and fell to the ground unconscious.

Eviana woke to a voice calling out to her. She looked across the room and saw Daniel manacled to a post in the ceiling. Several bruises marred his face, and his clothing was torn. Looking over to the side she saw Savino manacled in much the same way next to her, without the bruising. He was still unconscious. There was a sarcophagus in the corner of the room. "Comandante." Daniel whispered.

She rolled her head back to face him, "Dr. Jackson, I think in lieu of the situation, you may call me Eviana, and I will call you Daniel, eh?"

"Yeah, that sounds good." he said, and they both turned to look at Savino, as he groaned, coming awake.
Eviana was looking at the manacles, trying to find some sort of weakness, when she noticed her belt on a console near a view port. The door to the chamber opened and a pale blonde woman entered. Her hair ran down her back to her knees. Her eyes were a pale blue, and she wore a green toga-style gown. She spoke and Eviana saw that they were held by a Goa'uld.

"So, we come to find our husband's temple, and find slaves instead. Where is our husband?"

"No idea what you're talking about lady." Eviana said, and then wished she hadn't when the woman back handed her. It felt like she had been hit with a steel pipe.

"You will address us as your goddess, or Goddess Proserpina. Do you understand?" she said holding Eviana's chin in her hand.

"You are not my God." she said. The woman dropped her chin, and looked to a large Jaff'a that had entered the room with her.

"Cor' ac, show this slave that we are her Goddess." she then turned and left the room. The Jaff'a approached the woman, unchained her and drug her from the room, leaving the two men to stare at each other in horror.

Several hours later, the Jaff'a carried her back into the room. Her face was bruised and battered. There were many lacerations, and some of her hair which was matted and bloody, had dried to her face, caught in the lacerations. One of her eyes was swollen shut. She was no longer wearing her jacket. Being left in a sleeveless black one piece outfit which zipped down the front, and tucked into her boots.

"Eviana, I am scared." Savino whispered.

Daniel looked at him angrily, the man had just seen his fiancé taken and beaten, and he was worried about himself, Daniel called to her softly, "Eviana, can you hear me?"

He heard laughing, and saw her raise her face to look at him with her good eye. "I hear you Daniel." she said and spit blood on the floor, and leaned her head back, making a small noise of pain as she moved.

"Are you ok?"

"Not really," she winced. "I'm pretty sure I have some broken ribs, and my back might scar where they whipped me, that really pisses me off."

The door opened and Proserpina re-entered the room. "Are you ready to tell us where our husband is?" she looked at the three.

"We don't know where your husband is?" Daniel answered her quietly, "The temple has been abandoned for a long time, as I'm sure you know by looking in there."

"So, it is true, he is gone from this planet." she stated and sighed. "All will not be for naught. Our son is ready for a host. Which of you will be graced?"

"Over my dead body." Eviana said coldly, only to sob when she was slapped again. Daniel was shaking his again, muttering no, again and again.

"I do not want to die," Savino whimpered.

"Savino, no!" Evi whipped her head around, causing herself pain, to look at him.

"I'm sorry Eviana, but I do not want to die. I will be strong enough to beat it, I will not be controlled. Then I will free you. You will see."

"Savino, listen, you won't be able to beat it." Daniel said quietly only to be ignored.

"Savino don't do this, not willingly! You know I can save us!" she cried. "You are betraying everything we stand for, everything our people live for!"

"Silence," Proserpina ordered. "Yes you will be a fine, strong host for our son." she motioned for a Jaff'a to come forward, reached into his pouch, pulled out an almost fully mature symbiote, and sent it into Savino's neck. He screamed in pain and passed out. "Put him in the sarcophagus, he will awaken strong and ready to stay by our side. Then we will watch him kill you." she said looking at Eviana and Daniel. Then she turned and left the room. The Jaff'a did as they were told, and then left the room.

"Daniel, I need your help." Eviana told him quietly.

"Yes."

"Listen for the Jaff'a, if anyone comes near the room, you must warn me."

"Ok." Daniel agreed, although he was confused. He watched as using her arms, she pulled her legs up. It took great strength, and agility, but he watched as she managed to pull her ankles up to her wrists. He heard her gasping in pain, and knew she could only be injuring herself worse, but then considering their options, he knew this would probably be their only shot. She reached into her boot and removed a small canister, lowered her legs back down, and took a breath. It looked like a bottle of breath freshener. She aimed it very carefully, keeping her face and hands away from the nozzle, and sprayed the chain her manacles were attached to. He saw her pull her wrists apart, snapping the chains like they were twigs. She dropped quietly to the ground.

She hurried over to Daniel, and proceeded to snap his chains as well. It seemed the canister was filled with something akin to liquid nitrogen. Quickly, and efficiently, she went to the console and grabbed her utility belt. Taking a small piece of what looked like chewing gum from one of the compartments, she went over to the sarcophagus panel, and pressed it into the crack where the doors opened. Not wasting a second, she walked back over to Daniel, grabbed his arm, and pulled him to the window port.

"You aren't going to be able to break that..." he started, only to stop when he saw her spray the rest of the canister onto the window, then slammed the rest of what was left of the chains through it, making a wide hole. They looked through the hole.

"Good god, that has to be at 100 feet down!" he exclaimed.

She took two flimsy circlular patches from another compartment of her belt, attached a small disc onto both, she pushed one onto Daniel's face, covering his nose and mouth, and one onto her own. She shrugged, still digging into her belt, "I thought it was more like 150." she said her voice sounding muffled. She took some gel substance and wiped it over both of their eyes, then wrapped her belt around both of their waists and clasped it. She looked up at him through her one good eye, they could feel the ship's engines starting to fire to leave the planet.

"Did I mention I'm not real good with heights?" he muttered, "I hope you aren't planning to jump, I really don't think I could do that."

Eviana sighed, slammed her hand over the mask covering his mouth, and pushed off of the ship. Daniel's scream was covered by her hand over his mouth. He watched in terror as a stream of thick liquid shot out of the belt to attach to the ship, thickening to solidity as it hit the air. It was almost like they bungee jumped down, they hit the mud lake with a smack, and were about to bounce back up when she cut the rope-like substance leaving them bobbing under the water. That's when he realized that even though he was under the water, he could see, and he could breathe.

She motioned to him to stay under the water, and remain calm. He saw her go to the belt again, and pressed something on it. Above them he heard an explosion, as the sarcophagus blew up on board the ship that was leaving the planet. She unclasped the belt, motioned for him to stay under he water, and slowly pushed up until her head broke the water's surface. Daniel stayed where he was, trying to figure out how the hell they had gotten out of there. He was beginning to think there would be even better reasons for an alliance. These breathing masks, and the eye gel, were amazing. He had started to wonder at the length of time the mask would stay in effect, when Eviana tugged on his arm pulling him to the surface. They dragged themselves to the bank of the lake, and she laid down breathing heavily. He pulled the mask from his face, and the gel, which had turned into rubber like goggles, off his eyes. Then he laid down on the bank next to her.

"Well, I can honestly say I've had better days. Actually, I've had worse days too." he said, when his breathing was under control. "Although, I can honestly say this has been one of my strangest rescues."

Eviana looked over at him and grinned wryly, "What can I say, I aim to please." she gave a soft laugh, and cried out at the pain, all of her lacerations had started bleeding again.

"We have to get you back to the city," Daniel told her sitting up, he looked around and then back to her. "I don't want to leave you here."

"My belt, the clasp has a small communication device. Press it and it will call help to us."

Daniel found the button and pressed it. Then laid back on the ground next to Eviana to wait for help. It didn't take long for a strange hover craft to show up, the soldiers on board helped Daniel and Eviana on, they turned and headed straight for Tavia's clinic. There they were met by the doctor and the ambassador. One of the doctors that worked at the clinic checked Daniel to make sure he was ok, while Eviana was taken back into the back room.

"Dr. Jackson, please accept our most humble apologies for this horrible tragedy." the ambassador began.

Daniel looked at the man, and smiled grimly, "There is no way you could have known this would happen. I certainly don't hold you responsible for any of it. If anything, Eviana and Savino got captured trying to help me."

"What of Savino?"

"He offered himself up as host to one of the monsters." Came Eviana's cold voice, as she entered stiffly from the back room. "He betrayed our people out of fear of death."

Her father looked at her sadly, "But..." he began.

"There are no buts Father, Savino made his choice, just as I made mine when I attached the explosives to the sarcophagus he was resting in."

"You killed him?" her father asked incredulously.

"Better him than us. Although there is a possibility he will survive. I have already authorized changing all security codes." She limped over to the table where Daniel was sitting. She was clean, with ointment on her cuts. She had obviously showered, as her hair was wet and pulled away from her face. "Now, Daniel and I will head back to your home. He will stay in the visitors suite this evening, as it is late." she looked at Daniel for confirmation, he just nodded in assent.