Fiction Title: Laws of Attraction
Rating: HIGH PG-13 (for hinted sexual content, language, and torture)
Disclaimer: I own nothing! I just stole the toys out of the toy box because I loved playing with them so much!
Summary: When the events of tracking down an Ancient weapon against the Ori lead to him hungover, with her in his bed and a ring on his finger, Daniel Jackson learns the meaning of marriage and comfort from Vala Mal Duran. (Post TPTB)
Chapter Title: Chapter Two: The Mystery of the Tablet
Author's Note: Thank you all for your wonderful notes here and there! I really do appreciate it severely. Sometimes a little note is all it takes for a girl to kick her blues and feel appreciated because of the warm fuzzies! Unfortunately, not to the ooey-gooey stuff yet, and there's barely any D/V shippage in this fic, but it's hopefully still good. Hope you enjoy this next chapter!
Daniel readjusted his glasses, blinked a few times, then clicked the black button on his projector remote towards the screen behind him with unabashed glee, his archaeological nature running away with him again. "Avalon," he stated proudly, glancing at those sitting around the conference table to make sure they were all listening. "The secret was in Avalon all along, but we just didn't have the time to notice it at the time."
Glancing at the picture of the Avalon caves displayed, Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell raised a hand with a look of half-confusion, half-sarcastic. "Uh, Jackson? Weren't we just there not even a month ago? Our guys searched that place up and down, but they didn't find anything. You even poked around yourself and got the same result."
"I am in agreement with Colonel Mitchell," affirmed Teal'c with a raised eyebrow. "There appears to be nothing remarkable about the Avalon caves."
Were they really that dense? Couldn't they smell a gold mine when they saw one, right in front of their faces? Couldn't they just smell the priceless baubles waiving in the air? But then, Vala remembered, and she silently hung her head with despondent pity. Oh yes, how could she have forgotten? These were men she was dealing with, the most stubborn, blind, and overestimated gender in the history of any species in creation. How could she have forgotten that so quickly?
Rolling her eyes and voicelessly wondering how in the world such a planet came to be ruled by such a sex, she cleared her throat loudly. "Why don't you all pay attention, hmm? Daniel has something to say. You better all pay attention, or else you'll miss it."
Mitchell glanced at her and smirked. "Gee, you're in a hurry. Is that because whatever it is that Jackson's talking about has something to do with everything sparkly, or what, Miss Mal Doran?"
She chose to ignore him. "Daniel's right, you know. He wasn't the only one who saw the recording in the locket. I saw it too, and the sooner we go out and look into it, the bigger the chance that we'll get there before someone else does."
An awkward, uncertain smile spread across her Daniel's face, most likely caused by his uneasiness of her being the one to support him this go around, but he refused to let the situation go. "Hate to say it, but Vala's right; this is worth looking into. Believe me, if we don't look into it now, the Priors and the Ori will discover and destroy it before we can."
"But what exactly is it that we're talking about?" questioned Landry, his terse tone prompting Daniel to get to the point. "All I have to go on is your archaeological curiosity."
"Oh, we have more than that, General," he responded, an enthusiastic grin spreading across his face. "We have more than just that." He clicked the remote again, this time, bringing up a very familiar photograph of the tablet Vala had brought a few weeks ago. Looking as ancient and worn as it had before, this time around, a neon yellow overlay highlighted a section of the text, bringing that section into attention. Daniel pointed at it with his finger and blurted, "This is hard evidence that there was more to Avalon than we thought there was."
Mitchell tilted his head left and right, contemplating. "What exactly are we looking at?"
"Upon my first inspection of the tablet Vala gave us, I eventually managed to translate it with the code she provided, and it led us to Avalon. However, what I didn't realize was that the cipher didn't just work once: it worked twice."
Vala continued for him, glowing with pride. "When you turn the tablet upside down and read the text backwards, most of the description on it is gibberish, but the text you see on the screen says something different entirely."
"Right," he nodded, grinning. "When I first translated it, it said 'Dim drwg ar gwyryfols acha eu hynt trwodd y cartreflu am Myrddin", or 'No harm upon maidens on their way through the forces of Merlin'."
"And, this means...?"
"Well, at first, I thought this was just part of the code of chivalry. You see, in all texts about the Arthurian legends mentions something to the extent of 'uphold a maiden's honor' and so forth. Knights incorporated it into everything that held meaning to them. In reality though, it doesn't matter what that phrase means because I actually mistranslated it."
"'Mistranslated'?" inquired Teal'c, curious. "Are you certain, Daniel Jackson?"
"Oh yeah," he replied proudly for the first time. "I screwed up. Big time. You see, the word in the cipher says 'forces' or more accurately, 'militia'. However, it was only when I didn't use the code that I realized what it really said: 'no harm upon maidens on their way through the home of Merlin'."
It took a moment for it to click, but when it did, Mitchell's eyes widened. Slack jawed, he did a double take and glared at the screen. "You mean to tell me that we're looking at an invitation to party at Merlin's house? The Crystal Cave?"
Teal'c immediately looked doubtful and confused, although Vala couldn't tell which was which just yet. "What is this Crystal Cave that you speak of?"
"I read that story," replied Landry, and explained, "The Crystal Cave was a book written by Mary Stewart, and it told about how Merlin becomes a wizard."
"It's been theorized that Mrs. Stewart might have been right about the cave mentioned in that trilogy, because she did extensive research on Merlin in order to write her books," added the archaeologist. "I've spent a few days rereading some of the findings she used and I'm convinced the Crystal Cave is a real place, and the coordinates the locket gave are the way there."
"But there's a catch, isn't there, Daniel?" interrupted Vala, winking at him slyly. "It says so on the inscription. There's a catch to all of it."
Reluctantly, he nodded, and sighed. "According to the legends, Merlin guarded his secrets obsessively. He had the power of foresight and precognition, which could be pretty powerful if he was forced to share them with other people. However, his one weakness was women, and after he fell in love with a woman named Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, he began to share his secrets with her. Eventually, she betrayed him, cast a sleeping spell upon him and imprisoned him for all eternity."
Landry interjected. "Right, right. So what does this have to do with us?"
"Sir, if the dialing code does lead to Merlin's stronghold, there is only one way to get whatever secrets are within it. We need to send a woman to slip past any defense Merlin might have installed to prevent any male intruders from entering."
"Correction, not just any woman," replied Vala with glee, hopping up from her chair and draping an arm around Daniel's shoulder. "You need to send me."
"I don't like it," snapped the general, glaring at the three men of SG-1 with contempt as soon as they entered his office and closed the door. "We can't trust her, can't depend on her. She's a walking disaster waiting to happen, and I will not allow her to make off with some device we can use against the Ori and watch as she fences it for a couple bucks."
Daniel nodded, but objected. "I know you don't trust her, sir. Hell, I don't trust her either, but I think this time she'll come through for us, especially if her life's on the line. She hates the Ori as much as we do, and I think for the moment, the enemy of our enemy is our friend."
Mitchell agreed whole heartedly, and the bearded man was happy he had the support. "Sir, permission to speak freely."
"She'll kick ass in there," he replied, grinning. "Jackson's right: Vala's not one for grudges, but the Ori not only tried to burn her to death--"
"--twice," added Daniel.
"--But they also tried to kill her people with a prior plague. Needless to say, she hates them as much as we do, and if there's anything she can do to help stop them, she'll do it, no questions asked."
Teal'c also acquiesced. "I concur with Daniel Jackson and Colonel Mitchell," he replied with a faint smile. "Vala Mal Doran is indeed honorable when it comes to matters of the Ori. She will prove to be invaluable on this mission."
"I can't believe what I'm hearing," cried Landry, staring at them all with a mix of shock and confusion. "You mean to tell me that you want to place the fate of this facility, not to mention the free god damned world, in the hands of a thief?"
"Oh... not just a thief," responded Daniel slyly, glancing through the window at the dark-haired woman glaring at them, "We'll trust her with this mission, but we're not that stupid to let her go alone."
"Then what are you...? Oh."
"Sir, request permission to scrounge up a team of female SG officers to go with Vala to the Crystal Cave," asked Mitchell, "including one particular one that could keep our little vixen in place."
"Yes sir, if she'll come."
"I'll recall her immediately from Area 51. Well, let's get to it, shall we?" he smiled sternly at them all. "I'll make the call. Looks like you all have yourselves a mission."
"Oooh, yay," replied Daniel, "Let's just hope she doesn't screw it up."