Back in the Conference Room at Stargate Command, Daniel sat quietly thinking about the Neonans. He felt sorry for them. All they wanted was some social contact with others. Perhaps it would be a good idea to introduce them to some of the gentler civilizations SG-1 had encountered.
"So, anyone have any comments or thoughts to share?" Jack asked.
"I think it's obvious that the Neonans are a peaceful, generous people and I think we should move forward in establishing an alliance with them," Daniel suggested.
"Aren't we jumping the gun a bit on this?" Sam countered. "After all, looks can be deceiving."
"They've given us no reason to doubt their motives," Daniel argued.
"I must admit, General O'Neill. They have shown no signs of aggression, and they appear to have no weaponry or defense system," Teal'c added.
"I hate to be the one to play Devil's advocate here," Sam said tensely, "But, these people were supposedly so evil that God flooded their world to kill them. Isn't it entirely possible that they are hiding something? Perhaps they have developed some other means of defense or even some advanced type of assault weapon that we can't recognize?"
"Consider the focus of their society, Sam," Daniel responded. "Everything about them: their mannerisms, their beliefs, their attitudes. They abhor violence and they don't accept death; in fact, they dedicate their lives to pursuing the satisfaction and joy of life!"
"I'll admit, they present themselves well," Sam conceded. "I'm just not convinced we should take them at face value."
"Well, I don't know what to say," Daniel replied, annoyed. "You've just spent 20 minutes on a planet you know very little about and though there is no evidence to warrant it, you come to the conclusion they are some kind of threat."
"Daniel….You're right. I haven't spent enough time with these people, but that is precisely the reason I am suspicious. I don't know them. You of all people should be able to appreciate that," Sam answered. She leaned toward him and placed her hand on his to calm him. "I'm not the enemy, Daniel."
"They're not either, Sam," Daniel responded. "I've read their history, I've spent time with Tatarina… I know they are a peace-loving people. What can I say to convince you all?" Agitated, Daniel rose from his seat and began pacing back and forth.
"Daniel, Tatarina is not Sha're and this planet is not Abydos," Jack said gently.
"This isn't about that!" Daniel said angrily.
"Okay, Daniel, what is it about?" Jack answered.
"It's about trust and looking for the good in people," Daniel began. "How can we expect people to trust us, when we don't show them that same trust?"
"There's trust and there's common sense, Daniel. They go hand in hand. You don't discard one for the sake of the other," Jack explained. "My common sense tells me that something is not right. I'm not saying they're evil or anything. I just think we should take the time to check things out… you know, get to know them better. Slowly."
"That's just it, Jack," Daniel objected. "They are a simple people. Their interests are in art, music, and the things it takes to enjoy life. There is nothing else. They want nothing more than to be our friends. You're just spooked because you don't understand the ascension process or the joining of two souls."
"You're right, Daniel. I don't understand them," Jack said earnestly. "It makes no sense whatsoever to me, and it would to you too if you just sat down and looked at it with your eyes instead of your heart! Honestly Daniel, they tell you you've got Tatarina in a jar and to set her free; to entice you to do this they tell you that letting her loose will grant you wisdom, eternal life and power beyond imagination… doesn't this sound a bit like Aladdin and the magic lamp?"
"It's real, Jack." Daniel folded his arms across his chest. He was losing patience. "You saw Tatarina for yourself. What more do you need?"
"This just doesn't sound right," Jack answered.
"You just don't understand the customs, that's all," Daniel replied. "Listen, before I appeared to you in my ascended form, did you ever believe ascension was possible? or that I'd ever return?"
"Of course not Daniel, but we had proof of the Ancients before that…"
"And these are the same Ancients that designed this way of life on Neona," Daniel explained.
"It just sounds too bizarre, not to mention dangerous," Jack argued.
"You just don't understand," Daniel shot back.
"Okay. I can't believe I'm saying this, but here goes—explain it to me. Tell me what the deal is with these urns," Jack answered.
Daniel smiled and sat down eagerly. "It's all about blending and ascension. It's a process. As I understand it, breaking the first seal releases the spirit and begins the bonding process between the chosen one and the one who sleeps, thereby beginning the initial courtship that unites the two souls in marriage. Once the second seal is broken, the marriage ceremony begins and the promises and blessings are bestowed upon the couple who are seen as a bonded unit. Wisdom, power, and eternal life are among the many blessings that are given as rewards for the chosen one's strength of character as demonstrated by his proven fidelity, integrity, and love."
Jack didn't blink.
Daniel wondered what he was thinking. Had he said anything to help convince Jack that the Neonans were who they said they were?
"Jack?" Daniel said tentatively.
"Did what I say help?"
"Not a bit. Sorry Daniel. I know you want to break open that urn, but until we get more information, I think we should hold off on doing anything with it. Your room is quarantined and I am forbidding further access to Neona until we reach a final decision," Jack answered. "You can use the guest quarters as your own until this is resolved."
Daniel stopped at the Commissary to grab a bite to eat before heading to the guest quarters. It was funny how annoying he found it to feel hunger pains again. In the mood for something sweet, Daniel selected a generous plate of pancakes to go with his mug of coffee. After pouring gobs of syrup on his pancakes, he eagerly gobbled up his food.
"Hey Daniel," Sam said, seating herself at Daniel's table.
"Aren't you eating?" Daniel asked, taking a sip of coffee.
"Jack went out to pick up a couple of pizzas. We're going to watch a movie in his quarters. I was hoping you'd come?"
"What are you gonna watch?" he asked curiously.
"Jack wants to watch the Disney version of The Sword and The Stone, but Teal'c wants to watch Star Wars again."
"Uh, no thanks," Daniel answered. "I think I'll try to catch up on my sleep."
"Listen Daniel… I'm sorry about how things turned out at the meeting," she said apologetically. "I know you really believe in the Neonans. I sincerely hope you're right. I just want you to know that."
"If you change your mind…" Sam said hopefully.
"I'll know where to find you," Daniel answered.
He probably should have gone and made peace with Jack, but he just wasn't ready. Nothing is going to convince Jack to change his mind, Daniel reasoned. He is more stubborn than a bulldog!
Daniel closed his eyes and let images of Tatarina fill his mind. She doesn't have much time. This he knew. If Jack postponed this long enough, she wouldn't survive and there wouldn't be a decision for him to make, Daniel reasoned. He must do something before it was too late… maybe if he had acted sooner Sha're would still be alive.
Daniel glanced around the room. It was getting late and aside from the cook, there wasn't anyone else in the room. This time of night the base winds down, Daniel considered. If Daniel was going to do something, now was the time to do it…. And he knew just what to do.
"Hi Jack," Sam said, entering Jack's quarters. 'I see you're back from the pizza place. Mmm, the pizza smells delicious. Where's Teal'c?"
"Don't know. I thought he'd be here by now. Daniel coming?"
"No. He says he's tired and going to bed. I think he's still upset about Neona."
"He'll get over it. After a goodnight's rest he'll be back to his old self."
"I don't think so sir," Sam replied.
Jack frowned. "Any chance you heard back from your dad?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact I did. He said that the Tok'ra have not met the Neonans. I don't suppose you have any idea when you'll hear from Thor?" Sam asked.
"No… but maybe it would be a good idea to try contacting him again tonight," Jack considered. "Where is Teal'c? The pizza is getting cold," Jack complained.
"He should have been here by now," Sam answered. "I'll go see if he's in his quarters, sir."
"I think I'll put another call through to Thor," Jack decided.
Daniel hastily made his way to his quarters. As he approached the area, he caught sight of the guard at his door.
"Thank goodness, you're still here!" he exclaimed.
"I'm sorry Dr. Jackson; I cannot allow you to enter. General O'Neill has issued orders to enforce a full quarantine on your quarters."
"Huh? Ohhh… you think the quarantine includes me!" Daniel laughed.
"The orders specifically say all base personnel," the guard explained adamantly.
"Yes, I know. I requested it," Daniel began. "You see, I have some very sensitive artifacts in there that mustn't be tampered with."
He really didn't like lying to the guard, but this was a matter of life or death. He just couldn't let Tatarina die because Jack wouldn't accept the Neonan customs. He knew the only thing coming between him and Tatarina was Jack. Once Tatarina was freed, Daniel would have the proof needed to convince Jack and the others that the Neonan's were harmless.
"Sir, wouldn't it be better to have these artifacts moved to a more secure location?" the guard asked.
"Not in this case, this is a short-term quarantine. I'm working in my lab at the moment and just stopped by to pick up a few necessary things. I'll only be gone for a few hours, when I return the quarantine can be lifted," Daniel explained.
"Sorry, sir," the guard refused to step aside.
This wasn't going as easily as he had anticipated.
"Listen, these are my quarters. Do you honestly think the General would bar me from my own quarters?"
"Sorry, sir. I can't let you pass."
"Fine. General O'Neill is in the middle of an important conference meeting, but I'll just go up there and interrupt. He can come all the way down here just to tell you in person that I can enter my own quarters. I'm sure he'll be very appreciative of being dragged away from an important meeting on homeland security."
The guard looked at Daniel uneasily. He was softening.
"Look soldier, I only want to run in and grab a few things. I won't be more than 5 minutes. In and out. Really quick. I promise. You can even time me! Just stand right here outside the door and keep anyone else from entering. Okay?"
The guard looked at Daniel questioningly. "5 minutes?" he asked.
"You're new here aren't you?" Daniel asked. "I'd hate to see you get into trouble for..."
"Well I suppose if they didn't want to allow you access to whatever is in your room, they wouldn't have left it in there in the first place," the guard reasoned.
"Glad to see you're not going to make me interrupt the General," Daniel replied with authority.
The guard stepped aside, allowing Daniel to pass.
There wasn't much time so Daniel grabbed a large duffle bag and stuffed some of his clothes into it. Gently lifting the urn with its glowing cover stone, Daniel carefully packed it inside the bag. After stuffing some socks, three t-shirts, and a thick woolen sweater into the bag, he zipped it closed and headed out the door.
"You're doing a fine job," Daniel said to the guard as he closed the door behind him. "Keep up the good work."
"Thank you sir," the guard replied, standing at attention.
Daniel hastily made his way to his assigned guest quarters, being careful to avoid using the corridors in which he was most likely to run into Jack, Teal'c, or Sam.
"It won't be long now, Tatarina," Daniel whispered.
"Thor! Old Buddy! How ya doing?" Jack said, happy to see his Asgard friend.
"O'Neill, I am sorry for the delay. I came as quickly as I could," Thor replied.
"I appreciate that and I won't keep you. I would just like to know what you have on the people occupying the planet PX-9994 otherwise known as Neona," Jack explained. "They seem a friendly sort. Very generous. But, I must admit, I'm not entirely convinced of their sincerity."
"The Neonans?" Thor repeated. "I am very familiar with their society and must warn you; they are not who they pretend to be."
"Very cryptic, Thor," Jack replied. "Can't you be a little more specific?"
"They pretend to be a race of humans originally displaced from your planet. They offer what they know is needed asking nothing in return. But, what they take ends up being more costly than what they give," Thor explained.
"I don't understand," Jack answered, "All they ask is friendship. They're hoping to increase their population by opening up their planet to others who might like to live there and build their life with them."
"The Neonans are not humans. They are angels. Fallen angels," Thor stated.
"Angels? As in those heavenly creatures watching over us doing God's work?" Jack asked.
"Yes and no," Thor answered. "Fallen angels are the ones who left the heavens many years ago. Led by Lucifer, one-third of the angels left the heavens and dwelt upon the Earth. They saw that the women of man were beautiful and took them as wives, who bore them children. By propagating this mixed breed, known as the Nephilim, the fallen angels attempted to destroy the pure lineage of Adam. They expected to prevent the birth of the Messiah that God had promised.
"Their presence on Earth had serious consequences upon the humans of that era. Through temptation and deception, they enticed man to reject God and his promises, and seek prominence and power instead. Godlessness led to hedonism, which led to murder, violence, theft, and all manners of evil.
"When evilness had overtaken everyone on Earth but Noah and his family, God informed Noah of his plans to destroy Earth's inhabitants. God warned Noah in time to prepare for the flood. The flood killed all Earth's inhabitants."
"The humans, the Nephilim and many fallen angels drowned in the flood. However, a small group of those fallen angels managed to escape to Neona. Their plans are, to begin again. What worked before will work again. They plan to entice others to come to their planet and join them. Their hope is, by offering a tempting paradise others will join them. But, if any man joins their society, they will not live long enough to enjoy it.
"What does that accomplish?" Jack asked angrily.
"The elimination of man. It has been said, that man, ultimately, will be elevated above the angels. In fact, man will judge them," Thor continued. "Their intent is to wipe-out human existence, ultimately defeating God, and claiming the Earth and heavens as their own."
"So, we should just refuse their invitation to move in and the threat is avoided," Jack reasoned.
"It's not that simple," Thor informed.
"It never is, is it?" Jack said sarcastically.
"Tell me, have you opened any of their urns?"
Daniel quickly placed the duffle bag on the bed and slowly unzipped it. Carefully pushing his clothing aside, he reached deep inside for the urn.
"This is it, Tatarina!" he said excitedly.
He lifted the urn out of the bag and placed it on the dresser nearby. Daniel looked at it half expecting Tatarina to appear. He glanced around the room, but everything remained quiet and still.
He returned his gaze to the urn. It too seemed to be lacking something. What? he wondered. He stared into the wide, green painted eyes that had previously connected to his soul; now, they seemed dull and flat. They lacked…life.
Was it too late? Was Tatarina…gone?
Daniel ran his fingers along the delicate features of the face on the urn. It felt cold and rough. Had she left without saying good-bye? There was no sign of life. Even the cover stone no longer glowed.
Daniel took the urn and held it against his chest. A single teardrop ran down his face and fell upon the cover stone of the urn.
"What?" Jack asked.
"Have you opened any of their urns?" Thor repeated.
"Uh… no… well, maybe… just a little bit," Jack answered, unsure.
"If you open an urn, you open an invitation for death," Thor warned.
Urns? What's with the urns? Jack wondered. "May I ask how?" he said sarcastically.
"Each urn is sealed with two seals," Thor explained. "The top section is sealed and covered with a stone; it is meant to be opened first. By removing the cover stone, the top seal is broken and an invisible gas is released. The Neonans will tell you, it is the Spirit of the Sleeping One that is released, but in reality, it is no Spirit. It is a scentless gas that permeates the skin and affects the brain. The physical response to this gas is nearly undetectable, but clearly evident within the first 8 hours of contact. It is not life threatening or permanent, but deadly nonetheless."
"Not life threatening, but deadly?" Jack said with disbelief, "Thor, I would think that 'life threatening' falls into the category of 'deadly', wouldn't you?"
"One does not die from the invisible gas and it doesn't cause any damage to the internal organs or remain in the body. However, releasing the gas is like springing a bear-trap. It alerts the hunter of its prey. The cover stone begins to glow and the fallen angel appears. The fallen angel convinces their prey that they have been 'asleep' and are waiting upon their intended, to release them from their urn," Thor explained. "They will cajole, beg, plead, order, and threaten to get what they want," Thor warned. "Don't visit that planet under any conditions."
"Too late, been there done that," Jack replied. He knew these characters were too good to be true. How can Daniel fall for this so easily? He knew. Daniel was well…Daniel. He'd save a barracuda from extinction.
"What's next?" Jack asked, bracing himself for the worst because it obviously wasn't going to get any better.
"If you've removed the cover stone and broken the first seal, you have a problem," Thor said.
"I can sense that," Jack responded.
"The cover stone reads and records the personal cell structure of whoever breaks the seal, in the process sealing that person to one specific fallen angel," explained Thor. "No one else may touch the urn once the gas is released and once the gas is released, the testing begins."
"Testing? for what? Does this have something to do with elevated pheromones?" Jack asked folding his arms across his chest. Oddly enough, this actually was beginning to make sense.
"Elevated pheromones are one of many physical changes caused by the gas," Thor answered. "It also sets off the conditions that make the first test possible."
"What test!" Jack was growing impatient.
"Elevated pheromones draw the sexual attentions of the members of the opposite sex. The test is one of sexual fidelity, or rather, faithfulness," Thor explained.
"This explains a few things," Jack mumbled. "What does it mean when the pheromone levels drop and return to normal?"
"It means that the first test is over," Thor answered.
"How many tests are there?" Jack asked.
"There are three tests in all. Each subsequent test is designed to require more of a commitment than the one before," Thor continued.
"What is the second test?" Jack demanded. He knew Daniel was well on his way to the second test, if not the third.
"The second test…"
The cover stone began to glow: bright and strong. Daniel could feel the urn grow warmer and begin to quiver in his arms. He quickly placed the urn back on the dresser. Staring at the glowing cover stone, Daniel watched as the light intensified, illuminating the room as bright as day. It was nearly blinding and had a hypnotic effect on Daniel.
The room filled with the familiar scent of lilacs.
The light from the stone prevented Daniel from seeing anything but Tatarina.
"Tatarina…" Daniel called excitedly.
"Daniel, my besheret," she said, moving closer to him. "I am so glad you're here. Have you..."
"It's mine," Daniel interrupted, referring to the urn. He was so relieved to see Tatarina; he threw his arms around her and smothered her with kisses."
"Oh, my Daniel…" she murmured into his ear. "Are you ready to break the second seal?"
Without a moment's hesitation, Daniel grabbed the urn, removed the cover stone, and broke the second seal.
"Oh, Daniel, my love…you've passed the second test!" Tatarina cried, throwing her arms around him and knocking him to the floor. They held each other close kissing, hugging, and laughing with joy.
"After passing the test of fidelity, the chosen one must show the integrity of his word, the genuineness of his commitment to his beloved. The second test is a demonstration of this integrity," Thor explained. "It is an affirmation of one's intent to be true to their word. By this point, the chosen one has declared his love to the fallen angel and has promised to release his beloved from the urn; breaking the second seal is proof of his commitment to follow through on his promises to the fallen angel.
The 'test' is merely an attempt to force the chosen one to break the second seal of the urn. In reality, this does nothing in the physical realm, but spiritually it acts as a vow to the fallen angel. By pledging his commitment to the fallen angel, the chosen one is primed for the third and final test: the ultimate test."
"Daniel, my love, you have demonstrated your faithfulness and your integrity, but how much do you love me? I've waited such a long time for you, I need to know…" Tatarina pulled away from Daniel. The troubled look on her face saddened Daniel.
How could she not know how devoted he was to her? he wondered. He loved her with all his soul. He had defended her, her homeland, and their customs to his colleagues. He may have even jeopardized his job for her… that is, if he still had one when Jack gets through with him for breaking the quarantine. Daniel was fully aware that the quarantine on his room was intended for him more than anyone else.
"What can I do to convince you of my total devotion and dedication?" Daniel asked. He reached out for her, but she stepped away, turning her back.
Did he miss something? Perhaps a ritual he hadn't performed. Did she have an elder he needed to approach, to ask for her hand in marriage? Daniel didn't recall coming across anything in the tablets about that…but, you never know. Certainly, she wouldn't fault him for being ignorant of the customs of her planet, would she? He couldn't bear to hurt her.
He watched her take the urn and place it on the floor beside the bed. Carefully she replaced the cover stone and kneeled on the floor beside the urn. She closed her eyes and sat quietly.
Daniel had a seat beside her. At first, he waited for her to say something. As she sat there, He watched, admiring the delicate lines of her face and the soft curves of her lips. Though they sat inches apart, he couldn't bear the distance between them and moved directly behind her, wrapping his arms around her.
She leaned back into him, keeping her eyes closed.
It was more than he could take. He gently tilted her face up to his and pressed his lips against hers. She turned and put her arms around him, smiling.
"Daniel, my besheret, it is time for your third and final test," she announced, leaning toward the urn.
Daniel reluctantly released her.
"First you must, remove the cover stone and face your destiny," she commanded.
Daniel looked at her curiously, but did as he was told. The cover stone's glow began to fade and the room darkened.
"You must reach into the urn and retrieve what is inside," she explained.
The curvaceous shape of the urn made this request difficult for Daniel to do. His hand passed through the wide opening at the top effortlessly, however, the urn narrowed at the middle preventing him from reaching the bottom.
Tatarina watched excitedly. "You can do it, Daniel," she urged.
Not wanting to disappoint her, he pressed his hand hard against the narrow section of the urn, trying to force it passed. Determined, he wiggled his long fingers trying to locate what was at the bottom of the urn.
"There's nothing there," he complained.
"You are giving up, my love?" she asked, challenging him.
"Is there something there?" he asked.
"What destiny do you choose?" she answered.
"I don't understand," he replied. "What is inside is my destiny?" he asked.
Daniel frowned. "The only thing in this urn is my hand."
"That is true."
"Then why did you tell me to take what is inside?" he asked. He began to remove his hand, only to find that it was stuck. "I can't remove my hand," he said.
"Your destiny is what you choose, Daniel," Tatarina explained. "Like your hand stuck in the urn, you must decide if you wish to move forward or retreat. What you choose will be your destiny. What do you choose?"
Daniel stared at the urn. "My destiny is you. You are my heart's desire," he explained.
"Then you must give me your hand," she ordered, "Show me you want to move forward and not retreat," she answered.
How was he going to get his hand out of the urn if he couldn't pull it out the way it went in? he wondered.
Daniel glanced at her, considering the possibilities. It was obvious that symbolically, the correct answer was to push his hand forward through the base of the urn indicating he wished to move forward in his relationship with her. However, his hand could move no farther without breaking his wrist or splitting the urn.
She arose from the floor and began to walk in a circle around him, keeping her full attention on him. "Do you give up so easily, my besheret?" she asked, mocking him.
"No," he answered adamantly, determined to prove his love to her.
Daniel closed his eyes and relaxed, concentrating on the urn…waiting for the answer to come to him.
Tatarina stepped behind Daniel and placed her hands on his shoulders.
Daniel felt a spark of electricity travel from her hands, through his body and down into the hand in the urn. His eyes flew open as the cover stone began to vibrate and glow once again. Instinctively, he reached for the cover stone with his free hand.
At first touch, Daniel felt the cover stone heat up, so he immediately pulled his hand away.
"No-no Daniel," Tatarina objected. "You mustn't remove your hand from the cover stone," she insisted.
Daniel opened his eyes and looked up into hers. As their eyes locked together, the desire within him to please her intensified.
"Daniel, my besheret," she said tenderly. "The test of love requires a vow of everlasting devotion…" she began.
"I promise my everlasting devotion to you, Tatarina," he said earnestly.
As he spoke those words, the urn split in two and fell to the floor.
Tatarina smiled, "The broken urn symbolizes the end and a release of your current life: a life without me. Now you must make the ultimate sacrifice. Place your hand on the cover stone," she urged.
Daniel hesistated. "The stone is hot…" he objected.
"I promise you Daniel, you won't feel a thing once your palm touches the center of the cover stone," she explained. "What you do now is show your willingness to sacrifice your temporal mortal body. Do it for me as a demonstration of your love."
"Sacrifice my temporal body? Die?" he asked in disbelief.
"It will not hurt, it will release your spirit and soul from this body so that you and I will be together in the next realm. We both will receive our new perfect bodies and be joined together for all eternity," she declared insistently. "Do it Daniel and you will pass the third and final test!" she ordered.
Daniel slowly lowered his hand onto the cover stone; the heat generated from the stone was almost unbearable. He pressed his palm against the center of the stone and a burst of red light blinded him. The room filled with thick smoke and Daniel collapsed. He grew weaker as he felt his life slip away.
The third test is the final test. It is called the 'ultimate test of love' because it demands devotion unto physical death. Since the ultimate gift of love is the sacrificial love for another, the fallen angel demands the willing self-sacrifice of the chosen one's life as a demonstration of that love. Just when it looks like the chosen one and his intended will be united forever, it all ends. The fallen angel has won the battle through deceit. Ultimately, all is lost," Thor concluded.
Jack closed his eyes. "I can't let this happen!" he said angrily. "I've got to go. Thank you Thor."
Jack tore out of the room and raced to the guest quarters, where Daniel was supposed to be sleeping.
I hope there's still time…
When he arrived, he found the door to Daniel's room wide open and Daniel lying still on the floor.
Jack rushed to Daniel's side and felt for a pulse. There was none.
Daniel woke up to the sounds of someone pounding on his door. It all hit him at once. His vision was blurry, he felt nauseous, his head hurt, and his mouth was dry. What was wrong with him? Could all this be a reaction to the bright red light and thick smoke? Where is Tatarina?
"Daniel! Wake up!" Jack shouted, from the other side of the door.
Daniel heard Jack unlock the door to his room.
"Daniel, I heard you screaming… Are you okay?" Jack asked, concerned, having a seat on the end of Daniel's bed. Teal'c and Sam were also in the room but hung back a few feet behind Jack.
Daniel squinted; "Tatarina?" he asked.
"Daniel, it's me, Jack," Jack said, trying to calm down Daniel.
"You're a little fuzzy," Daniel explained. He could just about make out Jack's face.
"Here, these may help," Jack said, handing Daniel his eyeglasses.
"Oh yeah, thanks," Daniel replied sheepishly. That explained the blurriness, but he still felt a pounding headache and nauseous stomach. "Where's Tatarina?" Daniel asked.
"Tatarina?" Jack asked, glancing questioningly at Sam and Teal'c.
Sam and Teal'c looked at each other and shrugged.
"Come on, guys. Quit joking around, where is she?" Daniel insisted.
"Daniel, we don't know who you're talking about," Jack answered.
"You know her, she's from the Neonan urn. I finally released her last night. She should be around here somewhere…" Daniel said, struggling to sit up.
"Daniel, there is no one in here but Carter, Teal'c and me. There was no one in here when I came in. There was no one in here last night when we carried you back to your room," Jack explained.
"You carried me back from your room? No…" Daniel argued shaking his head.
"Last night we were all at my place having pepperoni pizza and beer. We watched a movie, you got drunk… by the way, you owe $13.50 for you share of the pizza, and we dragged your sorry butt back here for you to sleep it off," Jack explained.
"You're telling me…the trip to Neona, the past few days… last night… was all a dream," Daniel said sarcastically.
"Daniel, I have no idea what you're talking about. Where is Neona?" Jack asked.
"PX-9994 is the planet Neona, you sent me there with SG-18, where I worked for three days studying artifacts in their caves. The four of us went to Neona to meet with them after I opened an urn…" Daniel explained.
"Wait! Hold it! Please, no talk about urns. That's where I draw the line. Daniel, it was a dream," Jack insisted. "Tell him Teal'c…Carter?"
"Yes Daniel, you were with us at Jack's place last night. Don't you remember? We watched the Wizard of Oz…" Sam said gently.
"You can't tell me you don't remember a fine classic like that?" Jack added.
"No, Jack— it was real. Neona is a truly live place, Tatarina is as real as you or me," Daniel insisted.
"Perhaps last night's intoxication is causing you to believe your dream is real, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c commented. "Is this not similar to Dorothy's dream?"
"I did not 'dream up' Tatarina," Daniel insisted, growing angry.
"Dorothy didn't dream about her trip to Oz, she really went there," Jack argued.
"No, she had bumped her head and dreamt the whole thing," Sam disagreed.
"I believe Samantha Carter is correct. Aunt Em…" Teal'c explained.
"No! It's clear that the good witch of the North sent her back to Kansas. Trust me, I've watched the movie thirty-six times," Jack responded.
"Guys… Guys!" Daniel interrupted. "Who cares! We're talking about me."
"You were with us last night. Anything else was a dream," Jack replied, indignantly.
Daniel's eyes narrowed. "Well then, let me tell you: It's obvious that the trip to Oz was a dream because Dorothy's house was not left behind in Oz, where it should have been if it were not a dream."
"Nooo," Jack, shouted, covering his ears.
Daniel smiled at Jack's reaction, confidently folding his arms across his chest.
"Come'on guys, let's give Daniel some time to sleep this one off. No more beer for you young man," Jack said in a fatherly tone of voice.
"I hope you feel better soon," Sam said, heading out the door of Daniel's room.
Teal'c gave a slight bow and followed her.
"I'll have Janet pop by to check you out," Jack added, before heading out the door himself.
Oh great! Daniel thought. His head throbbed with pain; it felt like a truck ran over him. A wave of nausea washed over him; he grabbed his stomach and moaned. Could this really be the result of a hangover from last night, as Jack insisted? He wracked his brain trying to remember what really happened last night; but the pain blurred his fading memories of the beautiful red-haired angel. It hurt too much to think, so he decided to let his tired body surrender to the sleepy unconsciousness descending upon him.