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The Doctor, Sam, and the other members of SG-1 sat on the stone platform supporting the Stargate as Daniel Jackson entered Earth's address into the Dial Home Device. Off in the distance, they could see a black cloud of smoke

"Huh," Major Carter said, watching the thick black smoke rise over Ba'al's compound. "You think Ba'al got out alive?"

"Hard to tell," the Doctor answered slowly, shading his eyes against the sun. "Ba'al's death wasn't fixed point in time. He could very well have made it out."

"Is it just me," O'Neill said suspiciously, "or do you not sound too upset by that possibility?"

The Doctor turned to face the human soldier. "Whatever else he is, Colonel, Ba'al is a living being. He has as much right to life as anything else in the universe."

"You can't seriously believe that," Daniel protested earnestly. "This is Ba'al we're talking about. And as I remember, you were pretty geared up to kill him when we found you back Ba'al's dungeon."

The Doctor shrugged and glanced at the Stargate. The inner ring spun as the chevrons began to light up. "I was. . . not myself. And as I remember, your allies the Tok'ra are genetically the same species as the Goa'uld. They were born because one Goa'uld queen looked at what her people were doing and said: 'No. I will not be part of this.' Do you believe that it's impossible that it could happen again?"

"And you believe Ba'al could change, if we just gave him a chance?" Carter said incredulously.

The Doctor gazed steadily back at her. "Honestly? Him? No. But I do like to hope. Hope's a good emotion. Remember that."

"There will come a time when all that is left is hope, and your people shall look to it and fight for their future and freedom," Teal'c quoted. He looked at the Doctor. "Is that not what you said to the first Shol'va?"

The Doctor grinned. "Yep. Solan, son of Karyen. Good man, that. He achieved so much."

"He was executed by Ra," Teal'c pointed out.

"He managed to start an order dedicated to freedom for the Jaffa that lasted thousands of years," the Doctor replied. "Pretty big achievement I should think. As for executed. . ." the Doctor said with a mischievous grin, "well, a programmed bio-holographic duplicate is very hard to spot unless you're looking for it, and I'm pretty sure Ra wasn't."

Teal'c blinked. "The first Shol'va . . . he lived?"

"Mmm," the Doctor confirmed, sucking his teeth. "For about fifty years after his 'execution' as I recall. Now, are you all sure that you don't want a lift in the Tardis? Much safer way to travel than by Stargate."

Sam snorted.

O'Neill took one long look at the blue box. "Yes," he said firmly, holding up a hand to pre-emptively silence Daniel and Carter.

"Oh? Are you sure?" the Doctor asked disappointedly. "I could have you back minutes after you left! We could take a detour. Go to Barcelona! Not the city Barcelona, the planet Barcelona, how 'bout it?"

"Thanks, but no thanks Doc," O'Neill declined. "I've already had enough time travel to last me a lifetime."

The Doctor blinked. "Time travel? You've-?"

"Solar Flare," Carter explained. "The Stargate dropped us in 1969."

"Ah." The Doctor nodded. "Good year."

"Er, done," Daniel declared, as the last chevron lit up and the energy wave whooshed out from the circle and then retreated.

"Right then," O'Neill said, shaking the Doctor's hand. "Nice workin' with you folks. Drop by the Earth again sometime." He gave the Doctor a sharp look. "And look after the kid. Otherwise you an' I'll be having words."

"Indeed," Teal'c agreed.

###

Stargate Command, 2010.

Lieutenant General Jack O'Neill signed his name on another requisition form and stifled a groan of frustration. He had to worry about a possible resurgence of a Goa'uld System Lord, the political manoeuvring of some of the Lucian Alliance, not to mention the myriad of problems associated with the Destiny, and what was he doing right now?

Signing forms. Hurray for paper work.

Suddenly and bizarrely, a wind picked up inside the office, scattering the paperwork, and a groaning, grunting sound like an elephant in serious distress filled the air. As O'Neill watched, a light began to flash in mid air and a tall rectangular outline began to appear. Eventually, a tall blue box stood in the centre of the General's office and a skinny man, with messy brown hair, dressed in a pinstripe suit, emerged from it.

"Colonel O'Neill!" the Doctor declared happily. "Good to see you again!"

"Doctor," the O'Neill greeted the Time Lord, rising from his chair. "To what do I owe this visit? And it's Lieutenant General now, thanks."

"Oh, just letting you know that Sam and I were doing some sightseeing in a nearby galaxy, when we came across some stranded people on an Alteran ship," the Doctor replied. He bounced forward and caught O'Neill's hand in a clasp of friendship. "We thought you'd appreciate knowing we gave them and the ship a lift home. They should be orbiting earth," he paused and checked his watch, "about three minutes from now. Sam should be with them. She decided to stay there and help with medical supplies while I delivered the news."

O'Neill grinned and slapped the Doctor on the back. "Hah! So, now that you've solved that problem, do you think you could do something about the new green jello they insist on serving in the cafeteria?"

"Sorry General, I'm a Time Lord, not a miracle worker."

"Oh well. Never mind. Say Doc, you ever been fishing?"


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