Genre: Hurt/Comfort; Angst
Season: Four, maybe. It's a Season Four type of story.
Spoilers: Possible small ones throughout.
Summary: Once again the SGC ignores Daniel's instincts and, once again, Daniel pays the price.
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate or any of its characters. This story is for entertainment purposes only, not for profit.
AN: This is a revised version of Pain, because there was an alternate plot that I just couldn't get out of my head!
Daniel didn't even bother trying to pull himself off the dirt floor this time when they unbarred the door to his cell. Another shock of pain ran through him, starting in his gut and spreading outward to his limbs, and he let out a sob as his muscles spasmed. He was long past caring if they heard him cry; he was long past anything but hanging on until they came. If they came.
As if hearing his thoughts, the man who'd opened his cell came and squatted down on the dirt floor by Daniel's filthy, trembling form and said, "They won't negotiate, your friends. We thought they valued you more than that. They know what you suffer, yet they leave you here." The man made a tsk-ing sound, then mused, as if to himself, "Perhaps we should have kept the woman instead."
And then he left, barring the door behind him.
Fifteen hours earlier
The Polistian minister's expression seemed to change as Daniel sipped at the sour but not altogether unpleasant drink; although the man's smile remained fixed, something dark and wary flashed behind his eyes before they took on what Daniel could only describe to himself as, what, studied nonchalance?
Hardly yet conscious that something was wrong, Daniel automatically sought out his teammates. Teal'c and Jack stood at the other end of the room chatting—well, Jack was chatting, anyway—with several dignitaries, the ceremonial head of the Polistian defense force among them, and Sam was a few yards away involved in a seemingly intense discussion with the minister of science. Daniel watched as a man with a tray approached Sam, who reached for a drink. The man turned the tray smoothly as she reached, steering one goblet into her grasp as the Polistians around her casually grabbed drinks of their own from the other side of the tray. With two goblets left on the tray, the man headed directly for Jack and Teal'c, while a young woman handed drinks to some others in between.
Daniel narrowed his eyes. Separate drinks? He looked back at Minister Gahry, who still had the same frozen smile on his face and then down at the drink in his hand and turned back to Sam, who was already sipping from her glass.
A voice in his head told him he was about to royally screw up any chance at relations with the Polistians, never mind access to their seemingly miraculous knowledge of medicinal herbs, but a more urgent voice drowned it out.
"Sam!" he shouted, more loudly than he'd intended. "Don't drink that!"
Sam, startled, pulled the goblet from her lips and looked back at him.
"Daniel?" she asked.
Conversation stopped and everyone in the room stared at him. Teal'c drew himself up as if ready to take on an army and Jack's hands grasped air as he reached in vain for the P-90 that he'd left outside the door with the rest of their weapons.
Daniel looked around feeling suddenly foolish.
"Just don't drink anymore yet, please, Sam."
"Is something wrong, Dr. Jackson?" Minister Gahry asked.
"I'm not sure," Daniel said. "Is there a reason we are being served separate drinks?"
Sam looked at the drink in her hand and back at Daniel.
The minister stared at Daniel and then laughed, and after a beat several other Polistians joined in.
"Ah, once again you have proved how observant you are, Dr. Jackson. Yes, you and your team are being served separate drinks. We've discovered that our traditional vinio is very hard on most travelers through the Great Circle, so many years ago we started serving a less, shall we say, potent, version. I hope you aren't offended." Again Gahry smiled, but, Daniel thought, the smile didn't quite reach his eyes.
Daniel noticed Jack relaxing his pose, and he saw Sam give a weak smile.
"Well, that makes sense," Jack said, reaching for one of the drinks that had been brought over as Gahry talked. The waiter offered a goblet to Teal'c, but Teal'c, who remained watchful, declined to take it.
"Uh, hold on a second, Jack, Sam," Daniel cautioned. Jack gave him a long-suffering look, but, Daniel noticed, he didn't drink.
Daniel wasn't surprised at Jack's impatience. Before they'd returned to finalize the treaty, the colonel had already expressed aggravation at Daniel's concerns about the Polistians, particularly his suspicion that they were, despite their claims to the contrary, a society striving to return to their days of military glory. All the signs were there. Yet, "what difference could it possibly make, Daniel?" Jack had asked. "We aren't giving them military technology, unless you can think of a military use for a tractor." And Daniel had to admit that that was true, that the Polistians, despite their many questions about Earth weapons and military tech, had not seemed particularly upset when SG-9 had offered them only agricultural technology in return for their medicinal knowledge and herbs.
But wasn't anyone else concerned that the people they were signing a treaty with were hiding something, that they were lying? Daniel had asked.
Apparently not, and so here they were, SG-1 instead of SG-9 at the Polistian's request, in the city's ornately decorated Great Hall, at a reception celebrating the signing of the agreement. And, here, once again, Daniel was fairly certain, they were being lied to.
"No offense taken, Minister, and I hope none is given," Daniel continued finally, "but your explanation has reminded me that perhaps we have been a little . . . rash . . . in imbibing so readily of food and drink that may not suit our slightly different anatomy."
"But certainly, Dr. Jackson, you are being overcautious?" a tall, portly Polistian—Counseler Praga— asked, with no guile that Daniel could detect. "After all, this is your team's second visit and I believe the fourth visit altogether by a team from Earth, and no one has yet become ill from the food?"
"He has a point," Sam said, with an almost undetectable nervousness in her voice.
"Yes, that's true," Daniel admitted. "So far everything has been fine, but. . . ."
"But. . . ?" Jack prompted.
Daniel took a deep breath and exhaled. Jack was so going to kill him.
"But . . ," Daniel continued, looking Jack straight in the eyes, ". . . but I'm afraid the fact that others have become ill from the drink here mandates that we should institute Rule 38 protocols concerning off-world substances and return to the SGC for a complete physical exam."
Jack, to give him credit, didn't blink.
"Rule 38 protocols," he repeated flatly, looking back at Daniel.
"Yes," Daniel said, steadily. "Rule 38."
Jack held Daniel's look for a moment longer and then sighed, glancing from Teal'c to Sam. Sam looked as if she were about to say something, but then closed her mouth and looked again from her drink to Daniel's.
"Right. O.K., people," Jack said, "pack it up. Minister, I'm afraid Dr. Jackson is correct on this one. I'm sure we'll be back as soon as we can. Right, Daniel?"
There was an edge to the tone of the last question, but Daniel would deal with that later. By some miracle, Jack was actually going along with him on this one, and he didn't want to waste any time in getting out of there. If he was right, the Polistians were up to something, and it wasn't good.
"Right, yes, right," he said, answering Jack, and turned back to Minister Gahry. "I offer sincere apologies on behalf of SG-1 and Earth, Minister, and I hope once we straighten this little problem out, we can return and continue our promising cultural exchange."
As other Polistians around shook their heads and murmured Of course not's and Oh, no, not at all's the minister gave a smile, but to Daniel it didn't look friendly. Rather it looked as if he'd just eaten something repulsive.
Daniel suppressed a slight shiver. He nodded at the minister and Counselor Praga and turned to go. Sam fell in beside him and they joined Teal'c and Jack by the door. The Polistians in the room made no move to follow, not even to escort them to the Gate as was their usual habit. They just stood, silently now, and watched them go.
Jack gave him a sideways glance, and Daniel knew that, finally, Jack was reading the same weird vibe in the room. Still, as they left the building and retrieved their weapons without a problem, Daniel's own certainty began to fade.
Jack placed the strap of his P-90 around his neck and patted it unconsciously, as if it were a dog. Obviously feeling more secure with his weapon in hand, he looked at Daniel and queried quietly, eyebrows raised, "Rule 38?"
Daniel shrugged, looking back through the door to make sure they were out of earshot of their hosts. "It seemed better than asking if they were trying to poison us."
"There is that," Jack agreed.
"Daniel," Sam said, tentatively, as they started to walk through the bustling town toward the nearby Stargate, "are you sure. . . ?" She let the question hang.
"No," Daniel admitted. "I'm not. But there was something about the way Gahry watched me drink, and the whole excuse for the separate drinks. . . ."
Jack stopped short as Daniel talked, almost causing Sam to walk into him.
He turned to look at Daniel. "Wait, you already drank the whatever, the stuff?"
Daniel gave an unhappy smile. "Yes, unfortunately. I think Sam did too, didn't you, Sam? So believe me, there is no one who hopes I'm wrong more than I do."
"Just a sip, sir, before Daniel stopped me"
"Crap," Jack said. "O.K., let's pick up the pace a little. I don't know if there was anything in the drinks, but Daniel is right, something is definitely a little off here."
"I concur," Teal'c said. "The Polistian ministers fail to approach us but follow at a distance. This is very unlike their previous actions. I believe the people of the city are aware that something is amiss as well, since they too seem to go to great pains to stay well away."
"I suppose it could be that our behavior—my behavior—insulted them," Daniel said, with a reasonableness he didn't feel. Yet as he spoke Daniel saw a mother pull her child from their path and shoo him inside. "Or maybe not," he added.
As they reached the DHD, they all, even Teal'c, breathed a sigh of relief. Daniel glanced back at the Polistians, wondering if they would approach and see them off with their usual ceremony, but the six men who had followed remained several yards away. He nodded to Minister Gahry and said, "Minister, we thank you for your patience in this matter, and we will contact you as soon as we follow our procedure."
"We are certain of that, Dr. Jackson," Gahry said, and this time there was no questioning the threat in his voice.
"Shit," Sam murmured under her breath.
"Dial it up, Daniel. Now," Jack said, and he, Sam and Teal'c turned to face the Polistians, hands on their weapons.
Daniel hit four symbols rapidly and was reaching for the fifth when it started. He felt a sudden chill and then a burning sensation in his limbs and then a searing pain in his gut. He gasped and went to his knees, then tried to pull himself back up to keep dialing, but he couldn't make his legs work.
He heard Jack say, "Daniel, what's the ? . . . Crap. Daniel! Carter, dial us home!"
He felt Sam step up next to him. "It'll be O.K., Daniel, we're getting you out of here," she said quietly as she reached over him for the DHD.
Daniel tried to respond, but another spasm of pain shot through him and he cried out, then slid the rest of the way to the ground and curled in on himself.
Sam hit the last three symbols and seconds later Daniel heard the whoosh of the event horizon.
"Teal'c," Jack shouted out, and a moment later Daniel felt Teal'c's strong arms lifting him off the ground. But before they could move for the Gate, another voice boomed out.
"I wouldn't leave I were you," the voice said. "Not if you wish Dr. Jackson to live."