THINGS IN THE MALL
By Lorraine Anderson
The warrior followed SG-1 into the building. Immediately the female went to the right, then men to the left. While he knew almost instinctively that the female was dangerous – she walked like a warrior - he knew that his master would want him to follow the bigger group. He had been on this planet long enough that he knew he could blend in, but his prim'tah was still restless in his belly. It wouldn't be long now. It had taken him many years to get to this place; it had taken many, many years to find this chappa'ai. He wasn't going to fail his master now.
"So," Jack said to Teal'c, "what's scarier: A Jaffa warrior or a teenager in a mall?"
Teal'c picked up a shirt from a rack and looked at it critically. "I believe that a toddler at Disneyland is actually more terrifying." He turned the shirt around. "And noisier." He turned the shirt around again. "This garment appears to have no protective armor."
Jack picked the shirt out of his hand. "This garment doesn't need protective armor. These are civilian clothes."
"O'Neill. I have watched your television shows and your movies. Do not most of your civilians wear protective garments underneath these civilian clothes?" A man next to them looked up and stared.
"He's from – Africa," O'Neill said. Jack was beginning to regret this little shopping trip. "Daniel?" he said loudly.
Daniel popped his head up from the other rack. "Yes, Jack?"
"Can you help me over here?"
"Just a second."
"Please don't tell me you've found an 'Archeologists Do It Underground' shirt."
"I haven't found an archeologist shirt." He walked over to Jack. "But I did find a 'Simpsons' shirt..."
Jack grabbed it out of Daniel's hand. "Cool!"
The warrior had actually seen "The Simpsons" and had decided that if this were the typical Tau'ri family, the rest of the universe was in no threat. He had been here the last eight years, after all, and while he had avoided the news, because he knew that all governments lie, he had devoured the entertainment, thinking that this would give him insight into the Tau'ri life. He knew that Simpson's didn't seem quite real, but it seemed to be close to the type of customers he encountered as a taxi drive in New York City.
He couldn't even tell himself why he decided to move west last year. Perhaps his Prim'tah sensed a Chappa'ai, He had settled into an apartment – his needs were simple in New York, so he had saved up a bit of money, and his ID was now valid, unlike that first one he had forced that forger to make.
Running into SG-1 was luck. He had just gone to the mall to buy new clothes. If he hadn't already known that Teal'c was in Apophis' service – the warrior was in Ra's service – he would've sensed him from the particular tingling the Prim'tah gave off. He knew the Chappa'ai must be close, if Teal'c were near. Unlike him, who had the misfortune of having a scout ditch into the Atlantic Ocean.
But he bided his time. He wasn't sure why Teal'c was here; he didn't want to reveal himself until he had to. After all, Apophis and Ra were enemies. He had to watch this group to see what the situation was.
"O'Neill. I believe I should buy these." Teal'c held up some massive gold chains.
Jack winced and picked them out of his hand. "You would look like Mr. T."
"I have noticed that Mr. T seems to be a 'kick-ass' warrior. I believe that these would make me look fierce."
Jack rubbed his forehead. "You look fierce enough, Teal'c. Having molten gold poured into your forehead is proof. That's why you wear this hat." Jack touched the cap that was pulled down low on Teal'c's forehead.
"I still believe that we should find the protective armor section."
Daniel raised an eyebrow. "Teal'c, there is no protective armor section. Only police wear protective armor."
"Then how do your citizens survive?"
Daniel looked at Jack, who said "TV?"
"Teal'c, at least in this section of the world – the United States – we are mostly peaceful. Relatively few people are killed as a result of violence. Except for police and military, most people are unacquainted with warfare."
Teal'c stared at him impassively. Jack interpreted this as Teal'c's "you must be kidding!" gaze.
"He's right, T," Jack said. "In spite of what you see on Television, real life is mostly… boring."
Daniel blinked. "I wouldn't say that."
"You find shiny things under rocks. I'd call that boring."
"I'd call it fascinating."
"O'Neill. What does this have to do with my buying these chains?"
"Um… I'm only allowed to buy you civilian clothes. General Hammond would have a fit if I bought expensive neckl… chains."
"I will defer to the wisdom of General Hammond," Teal'c said gravely. "I feel there is more about this world I need to be educated about."
"I agree," Daniel said.
"Oh, yeah." Jack said.
The warrior ducked down behind a rack as Teal'c turned his direction. Television, not real? True, some television shows were called news and some were called "shows", but it all looked real. He didn't believe the story Teal'c's companions were telling him.
When he was in the service of Ra, he never would have thought to duck like a coward, but 20 years on earth had taught him caution. Perhaps too much caution. He had many quiet days in New York City, but he had seen much violence. There were some residents who were gone, courtesy of his zat.
He felt his side, reassured that the zat was in its holster.
Teal'c walked off to another counter – unfortunately, it was woman's perfume, and Daniel backed off. "O'Neill. We are being followed." Teal'c said.
Jack sighed. "Yeah. I noticed. Small guy, tattoos?"
"I believe him to be a warrior of Ra."
Jack tried to look at him with the corner of his eye. "Ra? How'd you figure?"
"I can sense him. And his forehead bears the mark of Ra."
"I can't see it."
"You must trust me, O'Neill."
Jack thought for a second, and then he motioned to Daniel, hoping that the lurking man would not catch the motion from his hiding place behind the woman's brassieres. Daniel's eyes opened wide – Jack would have to warn him about such give-aways, but he was beginning to learn – and he nodded imperceptively and moved casually back to one side, trying to look interested in woman's underpants. He inched behind the lurker..
Jack noticed Carter entering the store. He picked up a box of , looked at Teal'c, and said loudly, "Now this is what you need. Some manly perfume to keep your enemies away." He waggled his fingers, hoping that Carter would notice. She immediately went across to the other edge of the brassiere section, and motioned Daniel to close in.
Jack put down the aftershave, and walked towards the woman's undergarments, followed closely by Teal'c, who seemed to hang onto his every word. "Of course, if you really want protection…"
They closed in on the man's position. He tried to duck down further, as if he were looking at the double Ds, when a tap on his shoulder brought him up. He glanced over his shoulder, while reaching for his zat. A quick motion from Teal'c disarmed him and placed the Zat in his own his own pocket, without alarming the other customers. "Bobbie! Old buddy. How're you doing? When did you get in?" Jack said effusively.
The man slumped slightly. "Last night," he muttered, looking up defiantly.
"Boys and Girls," Jack said. "Let's buy our purchases," he handed his shirt and Teal'c's outfits to Daniel while he herded the rest of the crowd outside the store.
"Jack?" Daniel said, looking down at the purchases.
"You'll get your money."
"I wasn't quite worried…"
"Meet you out at the car." He whispered into the other man's ear. "Don't try anything funny. Teal'c will be on to you in a millisecond."
The man glared at him, then a sudden pain contorted him and he doubled over, pressing at his prim'tah pouch. Teal'c, looked startled and said, "O'Neill, we need to go to Cheyenne Mountain, now."
Jack looked at Teal'c. He was in earnest. "Daniel. Drop the clothes. We need to go, now."
Daniel ran towards the service counter, threw the clothes at the startled clerk, and said. "Hold these for us. We need to get our friend to the hospital."
"I'll call 911," said the clerk.
"No time," Daniel yelled back. He ran toward the car, getting in just as Sam was revving the engine.
It was close to the time. His Prim'tah was ready to find a host, now. He knew that none of his captors were worthy, and he tried desperately to keep the opening closed. Teal'c was helping, and, oddly, looked at him with compassion. "But – we are enemies."
"At a time like this, we are comrades in arms," Teal'c replied. "You were in the service of Ra?"
"I am in the service of Ra."
"How long have you been here," the one called Jack said.
"About eight - years," said the man, and then winced.
"I commend your faith," said Teal'c. He glanced at Jack.
After a little amount of time – the man could tell Jack was driving fast – they approached an opening in the mounting. Waiting inside the entrance was a read-haired woman with a white coat and attendants with what the man thought were called gurneys. They placed him on one and entered an elevator, accompanied by Teal'c.
"We may need to transfer you through the Chappa'ai, to a place of safety," Teal'c said.
The man laughed. "Is there such a place in this universe?" He winced. "Will you please take me to Ra?"
"Ra is dead."
The man stared. "Gods cannot die."
"They can. I was First Prime for Apophis when we received the news. Apophis was… shaken."
"'Was' in the service of Apophis?"
"Apophis is a false god. I am in the service of General Hammond."
"Is General Hammond a god?"
The elevator door had opened. "He most certainly is not," said a commanding, overweight man.
"This is General Hammond."
"You are shol'vah?" The man looked startled, then pained, pulling his head off of the gurney. His hands lifted, and Teal'c pressed down hard on the man's pouch.
"Join us, brother."
"It's too much. I cannot." He thought back to all of his years in New York. "All of those years, Ra was dead?"
"No. Just last year," Jack said. He had arrived in the other elevator and looked questions at Teal'c.
"All of those years…" the man moaned. "I should have…" He looked at Teal'c. "Kill me."
The red-head had remained silent through this exchange, but looked fierce at the man. "Not on my watch, buddy."
The man looked at her. "You are a Tau'ri doctor?"
"Yes, I am. And I'm going to do my damndest…."
He gasped, then smiled, looking at peace. "Doctor. It is too late. I am going to die."
Teal'c, understanding, nodded, keeping a hand on the man's belly. He leaned forward. "I will honor your memory. What is your name?"
The man whispered in his ear.
"You have served honorably in the service of your god," Teal'c said loudly. "Die in peace. I will dispose of your body honorably."
The man smiled, then his eyes turned back in his head and he stopped breathing. Doctor Fraiser was about ready to shout out orders, when Teal'c's hand laid on her arm. "Doctor. His Prim'tah has killed him. There is nothing you can do."
"Doctor," said General Hammond. "Let it go."
They looked down at the body respectively.
"We should study…" Sam said.
"No." Teal'c said, forcefully. "I have promised to send this warrior to his god. May we move him to the Stargate, General Hammond?"
"You may, Teal'c," Hammond said. "But what do you have any mind?"
"The backwash of the Stargate?" Daniel guessed.
The ceremony was short. The airmen stood at honor as Teal'c said a few short words. The energy vortex took the body – and the top of the gurney. Doctor Fraiser sighed, went back to her office, and ordered another gurney.
Jack, sitting in the cafeteria, reflected on how a simple shopping trip had gone so strange. He took another sip of coffee as Daniel sat before him and set a bag on the table. Jack lifted his eyebrows.
"'Homer,'" Daniel said. "And Teal'c has his civvies, also. I slipped out right after the service and went back to the store. They still had them behind the counter."
"Did they ask what happened?"
"I told them the truth." He took a sip of water and looked up innocently. "He died of an unidentified abdominal infection, and that we sent his body home with honors." He shrugged. "If she chose to believe that it was Air Force honors, well, that's not my fault."
Jack smiled at the bag. "You got Homer." He looked up and saw Teal'c enter the cafeteria, and walk to the table soberly.
"O'Neill. I have a question."
"Shoot – I mean, go ahead."
He looked grave. "When can you arrange another trip to the mall?"