Daniel removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose, a sure sign of his frustration and exhaustion. Heb'ra possessed naquadah in abundance, but the leaders were reluctant to negotiate. It was just as well that SG1 was scheduled to return in the morning, but they still had to endure one more "state" dinner. "Jack is going to love this!"
Daniel rose from his seat, bowed to the leader and stepped through the tent flap into the sunlight. Jack sauntered over to him, slightly raised the bill of his cap and asked how the negotiations went. Daniel just shrugged back and muttered, "Not well. Even though these people seem primitive, they have everything they want and aren't willing to let off-world miners on their planet. The Goa'uld have left them alone since bringing them here; they don't have other enemies, so they don't need defense weapons. They're semi nomadic hunter-gathers just beginning to learn how to farm and don't want many possessions that they'd have to pack around. They don't even seem to need medical help. These people are incredibly healthy. We should get Janet to do some testing. There might be something on this planet that affects their health."
"So we're headed home in the morning?" Jack shuffled from foot to foot while listening to Daniel.
"Sure. They've invited us to a dinner tonight, so we need to be on our best behavior. I'll continue working to see if we can keep contact with them and maybe later they'll let us either mine or do some testing on the people."
"OK. I'll contact Hammond and let him know how things have gone so far. Go back to the tent and get some rest. You look beat."
"Yeah. It's so frustrating not to be able to get through to these people."
Raphaella pushed her hair out of her face with the back of her hand as she supervised the setting up of the banquet tables. Darned hair was always escaping her headscarf. She thought how nice it would be to have short, easy to care for hair like Major Carter. She'd never seen blond hair before as all her people had either dark brown, black, or auburn hair, like hers. She'd also never seen blue eyes before. When she first met Dr. Jackson and Major Carter she wondered if they had problems seeing with those pale eyes, but they seemed to do fine. She turned her own forest green eyes back to the task at hand and indicated with a wave of her hands where she wanted her helpers to place the tables.
She stepped outside and realized from the length of the shadows that she must go and get cleaned up and changed for the dinner that night. As the daughter of the tribal chieftain, she was responsible for seeing that the guests were pleased with the food and drink.
She returned to her tent, grabbed the leather bucket and headed for the stream to get water for her quick bath. As she rounded a corner on the path to the water she noticed the large, black man, Teal'c, standing in the middle of the path. He nodded a greeting to her as she passed him and she responded with a tentative wave of her hand. She'd never seen a black person or anyone so big before and he made her a little nervous, even though he had been quiet and seemed gentle. Finally reaching the stream, she hiked up her ankle length skirt, pulling the back between her legs and tucking it into her waistband in the front to keep it dry while she waded into the stream to fill her bucket. Just as she was bending to scoop the water, she was startled by a splashing noise. Scanning the area quickly, there were a few wild animals who came to the stream for water, she spotted Major Carter almost completely submerged in the stream. She was wearing only her panties and bra while she lathered her hair and hummed.
Raphaella loudly cleared her throat to let the other woman know she was there. Sam froze for a split second, then reached for her weapon on a near-by rock. She relaxed when she spotted Raphaella waving to her. Sam dunked herself under the clear cool water to rinse her hair, then stood up and reached for a towel near her weapon.
"Forgive me. I was not aware anyone was here," Raphaella apologized.
"That's what Teal'c was for. He was supposed to keep the men away, but I guess he didn't see a need to tell another woman I was here," Sam sat back in the water as she spoke to the chieftain's oldest daughter.
"I was coming to get water for a quick bath before the dinner tonight." Raphaella paused, deliberating whether or not to ask the question on her mind. Major Carter might see it as rude. Oh, well, she'd never know unless she asked and the Tau'ri had seemed very open to question. "What were you using on your hair? I've never seen anything that white and bubbly before."
"Oh, that was just shampoo with conditioner. It's what we use on earth to clean our hair and keep it soft. Would you like to use some? I have plenty," Sam offered.
Raphaella hesitated, but her curiosity overcame her shyness and she accepted Sam's offer of the plastic bottle.
"You know Teal'c is still guarding this spot. Why don't you just bathe here instead of hauling water back to your tent? I'll show you how we use the shampoo and bath gel."
Raphaella though how nice it would feel to be completely clean rather than just using a wet cloth to bathe with and she began removing her clothing. Her auburn hair spilled down past her waist in waves over her cream-colored skin as she moved toward Sam in the stream. Sam showed her how to use the gel and shampoo, which made Raphaella feel unbelievably luxurious. She loved the smell, like the flowers her mother used to pick when they camped in the hills during the spring.
The two women spoke of the inconsequential things women have bonded over for thousands of years; babies, cooking, friends, beauty routines, and men. The later subject had them both giggling as they compared stories and realized that men were much the same on both planets – incomprehensible!
When both women had completed their washing, they dressed, gathered their possessions and headed back to the temporary settlement. Sam called ahead to Teal'c to let him know she was finished at the stream. The "big guy" nodded slightly in acknowledgement and followed them back to SG1's campsite. Sam and Raphaella said their good-byes as each turned toward their own tent. Raphaella replaced the bucket and headed for her trunk of clothes. She dug through it until she found the dress she'd been looking for. It was one of the few things she still had of her mother's. It was a deep forest green, a few shades darker than her eyes, which fitted her snuggly from the high neck to her hips where it gently flared out and draped almost to the floor, just to allow the tips of her soft leather shoes to peak out. It was embroidered around the neck, wrists, and hemline in an abstract pattern with gold thread. Raphaella gently pulled it from the other clothes and cradled it, remembering how beautiful her mother looked wearing it.
She stood, removed her daily working clothes, then slid the velvet dress over her head. She slipped the pearl buttons through their loops from her neck down to her waist and also those from her elbows to her wrists. She dipped back into the trunk to find the matching golden headscarf. Reaching up she twisted her hair and wrapped it around her head, covering it with the scarf and fastening it with a golden clip. Digging one last time into the trunk, she retrieved a matching cloak and fastened it at the neck. Slipping on her shoes, she looked down, satisfied that she was properly dressed.
She headed toward the large central tent where she had spent the day preparing for the celebratory dinner. She thought about the four people from another world who had offered her people their friendship and assistance in trade for the useless metal. She smiled at the memory of the afternoon spent with Sam. There was a woman she would have enjoyed becoming friends with. Glancing to her right she noticed her father walking in her direction and she waited for him with a smile on her face.
"Daniel, come on already. You look beautiful."
"Hold on, Jack. I can't find my notebook. Can't go anywhere without…Ah! Here it is." Daniel tucked the offending item into his jacket pocket, adjusted his glasses, and grinned at Jack's impatient face. "Jack, it's just a formal dinner. What's your problem?"
"The faster we get there the faster we can leave."
"Uh, I don't think so, Jack. We need to follow the customs here and not offend these people if we ever have any chance of mining the naquadah. Sam and Teal'c will be there to keep you from getting too bored."
"Yeah, well…. Let's get a move on."
The two friends joined the other members of SG1 waiting for them outside their tent and headed to the main tent.
The entire village, about 200 people, was already seated at the tables. When SG1 entered, they all stood and bowed toward the small group in camouflage. Teal'c nodded in return, as did a red-faced Daniel. Jack looked like he'd rather be having have his teeth drilled by a replicator, while Sam smiled searching for a place to sit where she wouldn't be noticed.
Aluph, the chieftain, gestured to the front table and four empty chairs on either side of him and his daughter. The group walked up to Aluph, bowed slightly, and took the indicated seats. Daniel sat on the leader's left with Jack, while Sam sat next to Raphaella with Teal'c. Aluph, still standing, raised his goblet of wine and proceeded to give a long and formal toast to the visitors.
The evening continued in a friendly enough manner and Daniel was able to procure a promise from Aluph that SG1 could return in one month to further discuss the possibility of trade. Sam and Raphaella were able to continue finding things in common, enjoying each other's company during the evening. Even Teal'c found the man to his right to be interesting. Jack just ate.
A/N: This is my first creative writing since high school. I would appreciate any reviews, but please be constructive.