19

They arrived back on Earth within the day and landed in the cabin clearing the same as they had left from. Teal'c then piloted the ship to the Nevada dessert for the scientists to work on. He called within the hour and Jack picked him up from Sams lab and brought him to the cabin.

"So what now?" Mark asked the others, Jane had grabbed him as soon as they arrived and she was clinging onto him as if she couldn't let go!

"Now we have a look at this" Sam said and drew a crystal out of her jacket. "I picked it up when I went to see if any of you were being tortured in Baals quarters" she said. Jack, SG13 and Sam all left, leaving Jon, Mark and Jane with the children.

Hours later Jack and Sam returned. Baal, the original was no longer interested in Earth, but several of his clones had, it seemed, taken a fancy to the planet and were hoping to take over, instead of the usual Goa'uld tactic though, they were taking over financially, a longer but surer route in the modern day.

The crystal proved that all of the top 100 companies world wide were owned by Baal clones, and most of the top 500 were too, there were still a couple of hold outs, but a plan of introducing symbiotes into the CEOs of the ones they did not have control of was detailed on the crystal.

The most annoying thing was that they had no idea of the exact number of clones they were dealing with! It could have been anything from the three they could prove existed to dozens.

Daniel and Bosworth were looking into it, Wells and Teal'c were on board the Daedalus watching the cabin to prevent another ship from landing, the Captain of the ship had already received a stern warning from the President for allowing them through.

Sam spent the day with the kids and then left to work on a radar system for the airspace above the cabin, to give warning when the ship was no longer in orbit.

Jack lounged about, playing with the kids and acting as if nothing could ever bother him. But Mark later found both O'Neills drinking heavily on the back porch, the elder shaking as he contemplated the near loss of his children, the younger trying to hold him together.

After all, no one could understand how Jack felt more than he himself could, Jon kept topping up his glass, and reassuring him that the kids had come through well, and it was not his fault they were in danger. He eventually helped the older man into the small cabin and laid him in the bed to sleep it off.

"Seen enough?" he asked as he headed back to the house

Mark jumped, he was sure he had not been spotted.

"Before you ask, yeah he knew you were there too, he was just in such a bad state that he didn't care"

"But you weren't?" Mark asked

"I was there, he didn't know what was happening, and to be honest I almost fell apart on the ship when the kids went missing, but even though technically I am their father, I aren't, I wanted to protect them the way I would any kids, but he" he pointed at the cabin "he was seeing Charlie all over again" he picked up the tumbler with an inch of scotch in the bottom and swallowed it.

"Get to bed, guard duty starts all over again in a couple of hours" Mark nodded and made his way to his room, Jane was already asleep, so he quietly used the bathroom and slipped under the covers, she cuddled up to him as soon as he lay still, he didn't sleep.

0o0o0o

The next few days were quiet, though no one went far from the house, the children demonstrated their new knowledge, and Sam speculated that if they could just get everyone to injure themselves the kids could absorb all they needed to know in that way, rather than the tedious method of teaching that kids usually had to go through.

No one doubted that it would work, but usual teaching methods had their uses, they taught how to learn, rather than facts, and the kids could only absorb knowledge that the 'teacher' knew, they could not take it any further without knowing how to learn. Still Sam asked for and received permission to take each of the lecturers at the academy to the cabin, each was asked to injure themselves in some way, usually a cut across their palm and the children healed them. The President himself was on site for the first several volunteers, and they were all made to sign top level secrecy documents before being allowed to see what was happening.

Within the week the children had absorbed each persons knowledge, but with it came a price.

The children had started having nightmares after their rescue, though Tilda said they had started while on the ship. They were not only absorbing knowledge but in some cases actual experiences, it wasn't until Sam recognised a nightmare that George was having as the same one her husband suffered from that she realised he was reliving Baal torturing his father, several years ago. George was pleading with Daniel to kill him when she finally woke him up.

Sam called a halt to the programme of learning while she spoke to the kids. Mark and Jane sat by while she gathered her children about her.

"When you 'learn' from people as you heal them…" she started

"Mom, don't worry, we can cope" Danielle said

"George wasn't coping well last night" she said and the other children looked at him.

"Nightmare" he said, they all nodded, Mark decided it was like being in the middle of the Midwich Cuckoos.

"We can sort it out Mom" Grace said, they all gathered around George and concentrated for a short while, when they stepped back it was as if to say 'there we fixed it'

"So what happened?" Sam asked

"We have found that we absorb more than just vocabulary if the person is closer to us… we got medical knowledge from Aunt Jane, we know how to do a lot of things you can do once we helped heal your hand, we got some tactical and weapons knowledge from Jon, and quite a bit of the ancient download that he has hidden in his mind, and we learnt a lot of things from Uncle Mark" Mark noticed that they didn't say what they had learnt and he guessed that maybe it hadn't been a lot, after all everyone else was smarter than he was, they probably only mentioned him because he was in the room.

"What about the lecturers from the Academy?" she asked

"Almost nothing," Richard said "Vocabulary but usually no application"

"A waste of time actually" Jacob told her. "We need to be able to get to know them well before we can get more… or maybe we need to be related?"

"No" Grace said "We aren't really related to Aunt Jane but we got something from her" the others nodded.

"The question is" Sam said "How well do you need to know them before you are taking memories that could be thought of as private?"

"Not a clue" Janet said "However if you want to get a few tutors in, we wouldn't object" Sam nodded and then told the kids to play.

She came and sat beside the Carter couple "What about Lizzy and Tom?" she asked "If I got some tutors for the kids would you allow them to sit in on the lessons? At least while they are here?"

"I was thinking of sending them back to school" Jane said "we can take them to your house every morning for Carol to take them and bring them back every evening"

"What about the danger?" Mark said

"Mark, I don't think our kids are close enough that they will snatch them to get to Jack and Sam, and to be honest we could be looking at years before this is all over" She was right, Jack and Sam had already been fighting this battle for over ten years, maybe it could go on for another ten?

"OK" he said "the kids go back to school" now all he had to worry about during the day was the eight tiny Jack O'Neills!

Jon came into the house at that point, he was dirty and had several scratches on his face and hands. He gestured for the adults to follow him and he made his way into the kitchen where they could watch through the hatch but talk privately.

"Several people are camped outside the perimeter" he said "I've already got rid of one camp that I could prove are working for Baal, but one camp is full of journalists, and I'm not sure what they want, and a couple of others could be just tourists, but they could be NID or Alliance, or Baal. We have to move"

"They are outside though?" Jane said

"If they coordinate an attack I can't stop them all" he said, "and if they do it once the ship breaks orbit and Sam and Jack are not here we are stuck, I don't have a stone remember, I can't use the transporter to get the kids to safety. We HAVE to go back to the SGC" Sam nodded, she and Jane went to pack while Jon watched the DEW system and Mark explained to the children what was happening.

Within an hour the kids were in the new quarters that had been made up in the huge storage room on level 25. They included eight small bedrooms, a large play room and a classroom, the only thing missing was natural sunlight.

Nurse Carol was there to help look after them, and a new nurse, David, had been employed, a thorough check on both came up clean.

The first tutor, was brought in, an old friend of the family, Sgt. Siler was well known and had volunteered to teach engineering to the kids, he was very pleased to realise that not only were the children bright but he didn't have to spend long in the infirmary when he was injured teaching them.

Other SGC personnel were assigned teaching duties, Dr Lyman was one, Daniel Jackson taught history, he was intending to teach them languages but they persuaded him to wait a while and then they would 'absorb' them direct later.

Sam, of course, couldn't teach them much that they had not already taken though she had a lot of pleasure in helping them learn how to learn and delighted in being able to hold a conversation with people who knew what she was talking about.

Jack kept to the background, he was worried that the only things the kids could learn off him were not things they should know.

Mark and Jane persuaded him to help them and together they taught the kids games that they could play, to help develop co-ordination and motor skills, not something they could absorb directly. An artificial ice rink was brought into the next storage room and all the kids delighted in learning how to skate, their father seemingly everywhere at once picking up fallers and teaching basic techniques.

All in all, their childhood continued along more normal paths, if you could call living in a top security base normal… it would be several years before they were called into action again…

The End?