Chapter Nine

"Ugh...that is thoroughly disgusting."

"Jack it's just part of their culture..."

"And look where it's gotten them." Jack huffed and turned to Sam. "Carter, dial us home."

Sam hesitated to dial the Gate, knowing that Jack and Daniel were going to get into an argument over it anyway. She was not disappointed.

"Home?" Daniel asked.

"Yeah, home, before we end up on the menu."

"Jack, they aren't going to hurt us. They only eat their dead as part of funeral rights. If they killed and ate strangers I'd be dinner by now."

"How do you know that they haven't just been fattening you up?"

"Jack, you drive me insane sometimes." Daniel sighed in frustration.

"The feeling is one hundred percent mutual."

"If this cannibalism continues this entire culture is going to die. The women will become infected at a younger and younger age until they die too young to have daughters. We can't just abandon them."

Jack looked around the moon lit jungle and sighed. He was anxious to leave, this place made him nervous. Even with Carter safe from infection it unnerved him to be here. At the same time he knew Daniel was right.

"Okay, Daniel, what do we do?"

"I need to see Taja. I already tried to explain, but I'm afraid it might be too late save her. However, if I can make her understand perhaps the next generation can be saved."

"Well the first part should be easy."

"What?"

Jack pointed over Daniel's shoulder. He turned around and saw Taja was walking slowly towards them. She still held the long handled spoon in one hand, but when she caught Daniel's eye she purposefully dropped it.

To Jack's surprise Daniel's face lit up with a bright smile. He laughed in absolute relief and held his hand out to her. Suddenly Taja's pearly smile glowed in her deeply tanned face. She rushed up and threw her arms around his neck. Daniel chuckled as she kissed his cheek and released him.

"Estri, Dan'el, estri!"

"Da. You're welcome, Taja."

"Whoa, wait a minute." Jack interrupted. "What the hell is going on?"

"Problem solved." Daniel beamed. "She understood me."

"But you said you didn't have any words to explain it."

"That's the beautiful thing about language, Jack. It's far more than just words. It's a whole symphony of tone, timber, expression, it encompasses both body and mind, even soul. If you're desperate enough you can say anything to anyone...without saying a word."

Despite Daniel's elegant speech Jack remained obviously skeptical. Without even realizing that he was proving Daniel right he exchanged a glance with Sam that spoke loud and clear: 'He is clearly insane...why do we love him?'. With a smile and a barely perceivable shrug Sam replied: 'I don't know. Do we need a reason?'.

"Alright, Daniel." Jack sighed. "As long as everything worked out."

"I think so." Daniel looked down at Taja. "Taki Naquadah?"

"Da, da!"

"There you go, Jack, we can mine the Naquadah."

"Alright, we'll start in exactly..." Jack looked at his watch as if it was a calendar. "Three weeks and two days."

"What? Why wait?"

"I gave you a month to study these people, you've only been here less than a week."

Daniel's eyes lit up and he nodded excitedly. Taja saw the change in both men's demeanor and wrapped her arms around Jack's neck in a hug.

"Thanks, Jack."

"No problem." Jack shrugged. "Just promise me one thing."

"What's that?"

"Stick to a vegetarian diet."

"Oh...no can do."

"Why not?"

"The spiders here are delicious."

"I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that."

"Come on, Jack." Daniel chuckled. "Stay for dinner. Teal'c, Sam, what do you say?"

"Carter..."

"Dialing as fast as I can, Sir."