Standard disclaimers apply. Thanks to Krypto for the beta.
Spoilers: bare minimum for both series—"Rose" from series 1 and season 5-ish of SG1.
Jack O'Neill took a few steps backward away from the brush when he heard Daniel Jackson calling his name in the distance.
It was an excited "Jack! Jack!" not a 'we're under attack' sort of hollering of his name, which was a nice change of pace. Either Daniel had actually gotten something useful to why they were here, or he'd found something that was only interesting to Daniel. After years of having the little mouth-breather on the team, he figured he had better odds of it being the second one.
Either was fine. He was in need of someone to bounce his own little discovery off of. Because this one was… out there. And he said this as someone who traveled through wormholes and fought evil parasitic aliens for a living.
Daniel slid down the hillside in his haste, almost knocking over an unsuspecting baby pine he'd had his eye on all afternoon. "Hey, watch the shrub! That's my Christmas tree in a couple of years!" And of course, the archeologist just looked at him like he was nuts. "No, really. I have the mission proposal already worked out!"
Catching his breath, Daniel shook his head. "Right. 'Sir, I'd like to go back to the potentially hostile planet and collect a Christmas tree.' Hammond'll go for that."
Jack grinned, pleased with himself. "Spoils of war."
Hammond would chuckle, hand the folder back to him and order him to shred it before the oversight committee thought he was serious. 'But I am serious, sir,' he'd say, batting his eyes.
Arm slung over his weapon, Jack tried not to laugh out loud. His overactive imagination was about the only thing that got him through some of these more tedious trips. "Whada ya got for me, Daniel?" Might as well just get to what had the little nerd's underpants all in a wad.
Frowning, the archeologist looked around, some of the urgency running out of him. "Where's Sam and Teal'c?"
Jack shrugged casually. "Not here." Why was Daniel still looking around? He'd said they weren't here. "Ok, fine, they're off looking for those weird energy readings she found when we first got here. She started doing the techno babble thing and I got bored, so I decided to… check out the plant life,"
Removing his glasses, Daniel began wiping the dust from them with a handkerchief. "Uh, yeah. Right." Why did that sound completely Jack-like, and yet un-Jack-like all in the same breath? "Anyway, YES, Nirrti has a presence here. I can't say if she's here herself, the locals have only seen her Jaffa. But her ship is around here somewhere; a kid wandered too far in the forest and found a 'giant golden temple' last week. Of course he can't actually TAKE us there, because he only found his way back to the village by chance and doesn't remember how he got there or back."
And….Jack wasn't listening. He was looking over his shoulder, back. "Yeah…that's great…" his voice trailed off in distraction. It wasn't the normal Jack 'ok, I'm bored, lets move on to the next thing' sort of distraction either.
Putting his glasses back on, Daniel frowned. "What's up?"
Thoughtfully, Jack glanced at Daniel, and then walked back towards the bushes. "Oh, I found a little something," he said with excessive casualness. "We might have bigger problems than Nirrti. I'm thinking Ball, maybe. Which'd REALLY ruin my day."
Fiddling with the arm of his glasses, Daniel winced. "Ba'al."
Jack rolled his eyes. Daniel was such an anal retent sometimes. "That's what I said. Ball."
There was a smirk on the younger man's face; the linguist in him was enjoying this. "Ba'al. There are two distinct yet juxtaposed 'ah' sounds in his name."
Just to show how unamused he was, Jack hoisted his locked weapon as he made a face at the archeologist.
Holding up his hands in defeat, Dr Jackson took a few steps back. "Ok, ok. Ball it is then."
Jack lowered the gun. "Thank you." He winked. "I wouldn'ta shot ya anyway. You're not worth the paperwork."
But, back to the problem at hand…As if Nirrti wasn't a big enough pain already. The only question was, were they working together in some common cause, or were they working against each other? Sometimes you needed a chart to keep the Goa'uld affiliations straight. It was on the base intranet, now. They were printing one out several times a day for a while there.
Following, Daniel Jackson frowned, thinking over something the children had told him. "I don't know. Maybe. There was some guy. Apparently when he came into town, the children were the only ones he'd talk to. He asked them how they were feeling, checked them over with some 'magic wand' device, and then got serious. He said everything was going to be just fine, and then he picked a fight with a Jaffa."
Stopping just beyond the edge of the brush, Jack turned back to Daniel and gave a fake shiver. "Ooh, intrigue for breakfast."
Daniel looked past his friend to the thick vines tangled in the bushes. Looked like a fine bit of natural camouflage if he did say so himself. "So what do you have?"
Jack grinned, digging an arm through the tangled vines and branches. "Daniel, my friend. I present to you…" he yanked as hard as he could, pulling the vines away from his discovery. "A HUGE conundrum."
Taking a few steps back to really look at the thing, Daniel whistled. Yeah, conundrum was a word not normally in Jack's vocabulary, but he'd let him have the whole conundrum thing. Because really—he couldn't think up a decent reason for a large blue police box to be in a forest on P3X-973. "Haven't seen one of these since I was a kid, traveling with my grandfather."
With a nonchalant shrug, Jack sort of let Daniel mull over this new bit of intrigue. "So, I'm thinking we round up the rest of the gang, report back to Hammond our latest bit of weirdness, then see if we can find Nirrti's ship. Ten bucks says that we find our ruckus-raising friend, an answer for what Nirrti's doing to these people, AND an explanation for the funny box with the phone that isn't hooked up to anything." In demonstration, Jack opened the small door, revealing a really old-fashioned telephone.
Dried leaves crushed under the Doctor's boots and were subsequently obliterated and turned to dust beneath the armored heels of the guards flanking his rear. The sound was cyclic and hypnotic. "Ever notice the intense…sameness of all these planets? The people and the architecture are always different. But 'nature' always looks so…universal. And there are always the places that defy convention—purple trees, yellow sky, red dirt—that sort of thing. But for the most part, it's dead leaves, tall trees and ferns. Why are ferns a universal constant?"
The business end of a weapon slammed into his back. "Keep moving, you."
Frowning, the Doctor resumed his pace. Hands bound in front of him (they were THAT confident in their ability to contain him—the idiots), his unbuttoned leather jacket swung a bit as he awkwardly maneuvered the terrain to keep up with his entourage of guards and jailers.
Getting captured had been part of the plan, and all that, but really. He HATED these blokes. Jaffa were, quite possibly, the most annoying subservient race in the universe. And he'd met a lot of subservient races.
He'd even met those (idiots that they were) that worshiped the Daleks. That type of dedication had never been rewarded with anything other than 'extermination,' but there were fools everywhere who'd worship at the altar of whatever greater power was choosing to enslave them.
The thing that made the Jaffa so annoying was that they weren't meek little 'throw themselves under the train' type subs. Oh no, these were the 'fight and die in battle for you, oh glorious leader' type subs. He'd tell 'em so, but he was trying to not get shot before reaching his destination.
The Doctor looked at the two guards marching ahead of the party. Their long, spear-like weapons were held at the ready, prepared to blast him or beat him into submission, should he get out of line at any point. Their armor clicked and squealed as they moved.
The mechanical repetition sent his mind back into itself, back past his thoughts of ferns and universal constants, past his most recent visits to 1960's Dallas and the Kennedy assassination and his saving of a perfectly nice family from a watery demise on the Titanic.
All of those adventures had been distractions, designed to draw his mind from the thing that bothered him. In part, this thing bothered him BECAUSE it bothered him (he knew very well about paradoxes, and this strange fact certainly fell into the realm of paradox, but did not make it any less true, none-the-less).
Clomping down a small hill, he sighed. "I mean—really. Why in the hell should I care if one stupid human said no, I don't want to see the universe. First, she's a stupid ape. Second—she's a stupid ape. Those're two perfectly good reasons to put the whole thing out of my mind. If she wants to continue on with her stupid ape life, she's welcome to it."
Something heavy and metal rammed him between the shoulder blades. They were not amused. Good. Neither was he. "She can find herself a new job folding clothes endlessly until her impossibly tiny and stupid ape life ends in old age, or better yet, something random like walking out in front of a double-decker and getting turned to blood, guts and jelly on some London street corner."
Turning around, he looked at the tanned, hardened face of the nearest Jaffa. "I mean, what IS it with humans? She's going to spend the rest of her life eating beans on toast and shagging that immature, whining, frightened-by-life boyfriend of hers. Whom I should have killed when I had the chance, am I right? But she has free will—she can do what she bloody damned well pleases. Free will is the worst. I'm sure you lot know all about that. Better off without, I say."
He'd told himself he was better off going at it alone after the Time Wars. Since then, he hadn't been…particularly suited to company. Then he'd gone back on his own promise to himself, and invited a HUMAN onto his ship.
The Doctor ground his teeth for a moment, pondering his own stupidity. "I don't need Rose Tyler. I'm just fine on my own, see?" In a semi-comical gesture, he raised his shackled hands. "I hope that she and her idiot boyfriend are happy together. I hope--"
They'd stopped, just outside the small entrance on the side of the temple/ship thing. Single door, entirely non-descript and unceremonial (which was not typical, knowing who he was dealing with)… "Servants entrance?" he asked pleasantly. He still knew how to do it, even though it always felt awkward. But it annoyed the Jaffa—serious, dower creatures that they were—and so it was worth the emotional energy that it took to grin wickedly.
So far so good. This all meant he'd be shown to a cell, which made his job all the easier—the prison in this design of ship was seven levels below the reactor coil. After effecting an escape, he'd have the place blown to bits with very little effort involved, and he'd be back on board the TARDIS in time for tea.
The two lead guards went inside, probably to inform their command of who and what they'd found snooping around the village. Well, it wasn't exactly snooping—it was rather loud, annoying and blatant questioning. This had, after all, been part of the plan. He was overdue for another, shall we say, focusing session with a certain deranged Goa'uld.
Boy, wouldn't Nirrti be surprised to see him again! Well, not really again. This would sort of be for the first time, considering this was an entirely different body this time. At least he'd come by it legitimately, though. If Nirrti had a new body, it was because she'd stolen it. Still—the business was overdue. He'd been meaning to make sure she wasn't doing any more experiments on humans, but the Time Wars had gotten in the way. No time like the present, he thought bitterly.
They were stupid, and they were humans, but they weren't cattle, the way the Goa'uld treated them. The Asgard had a treaty with the Goa'uld that the Time Lords seemed inclined to observe, so outright interference had never been permitted. However, the Doctor never really bought into some of the stupider rules of his people (he had the whole 'banishment' badge of honor to prove it, too).
Granted, his people had their own problems with the Daleks, so it wasn't like they had huge chunks of time on their hands strictly earmarked for ruining the Goa'uld's day. Which is why the Doctor did his best to muck up their plans whenever he had a free minute or two. With his people AND the Daleks gone, he was not bound by any convention or understanding between Time Lords and another first race. Of course, it also meant he tended to have less time than he may have otherwise dedicated to the problem of the parasitic Goa'uld. Which was why he had to make this explosion particularly fantastic.
As they walked back to the Stargate, Carter explained to her CO what she'd found, tracking the energy signatures from the largest hill in the area. Jack filled in with the bits about the box and the kids from the village. "That'd seem to be consistent with my findings, sir. I had the large signature, no trail, probably emanating from about where you were with the box. Then there's the smaller signature. Maybe a weapon, maybe some other kind of device. We can probably use it as a breadcrumb trail to Nirrti's ship, since that's where they were most likely taking our mysterious visitor."
Spinning around, Jack walked backward so he could talk to Teal'c. "Ever encountered anything like this before?"
The Jaffa was wearing his permanent poker face. "I have not, O'Neill." The former First Prime of Apophis didn't elaborate further or offer any sort of speculation. Good old Teal'c. Short, sweet, and to the point.
O'Neill gestured to the gate. "Dial it up, Daniel. Lets see what sort of info Hammond can drag out of the movers and shakers for us." There had to be some interested international party on Earth that had an explanation for this. It probably was too much to ask that it just be Ball, huh?
It was a little weird, and left Jack completely on-edge. Those creepy Brits at Torchwood constantly bugged them about analyzing the alien tech they brought back—he couldn't imagine that they'd be annoying American agencies if they had their own 'space exploration' program.
But—really—what was the deal with the police box?
Nirrti wasn't on the planet, which was a shame. The Doctor would have enjoyed seeing the look on the she-devil's face when he destroyed her ship and her research. There was nothing wrong with taking pleasure in the right people's pain.
In the warm, sticky air of the reactor room, the Doctor passed a hand over his forehead. He was highly tolerant to most weather, but it was so oppressive that he almost took his jacket off. The amount of heat being transferred from the currents running through the cabling connected to the generator was massive that it made the air feel as if it were boiling.
Twisting the exposed copper end of a wire around a makeshift detonation device, the Doctor gave a determined grin. He liked the explosions of late and this one promised to be magnificent. Naquadah was one of those things—incredibly resistant to a point… then it was like pure sodium hitting water—fawoosh (complete with pretty pink lights). His little packet contained just enough C4 to start the microscopic shards of naquadah also embedded in the paper wrapper, which would be more than enough to set off the reactor with fantastic 'light-up-the-night' results.
Stupid humans. Why would she follow him all around London? Why would she climb down that hole with him, knock the anti-plastic into the pit with the Nesteen Consciousness and save him…Why would she do all that, then stay with that idiot? The sex must have been fantastic. Of course, he doubted that—her idiot boyfriend looked like he was devoid of anything resembling an imagination.
It had been nearly two months by the human reckoning of time, and he was still dwelling on it.
The girl could make a man forget what he was thinking about—forget what he was doing. He almost forgot to set the timer when he was done connecting everything.
She was a girl—and a young one at that—and entirely too young for him to invest so much thought process in. But she still had the power to make him lose his place, forget his train of thought…lose track of where and when he was…
The latter part being the most important, the Doctor realized, as the vertiginous wave passed over him and pain spread from the back of his head to the rest of him. Rose Tyler made him forget about his surroundings; forget about keeping his senses on alert for evil banshee devil-women with personal cloaking devices.
The last thought before unconsciousness overtook him: all women were trouble and not to be trusted, regardless of species.
A/N: The Torchwood reference is not out of place. I have a plan ; ) Uh… I guess that's all from the peanut gallery for now. Chapter two should be out in a bit…