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'Mildly Erotic' Fan Fiction: [This story is: Non Series Based Fan Fiction with a slightly 'adult' theme. Again, for those who may not understand, this story is not based on any regular character in either Stargate series, but on the world of the SGC as a whole. No infringement of copyright or disrespect is intended, see below. In that light, enjoy.]
"Venerable. This is Major Thomalsin of the SGC of the Tauri."
The guard that had brought them in bowed slightly and stepped back to join a handful of others off to one side.
The formal hall they were in was made of stone and rough cut timber, but there were considerable touches of technology here and there. The indirect lighting had been done by a master. A large flat viewscreen was built into one wall with no visible seam between the display and the hewn stone around it or obvious speakers anywhere nearby. On the far wall were two ominous looking large round dark objects of shiny metal that Thomalsin thought might be mounted weapons or sensors.
The handsome olive-skinned young man at the desk of dark rich wood on the slightly raised platform stared at them with clear dark eyes. He appeared to be about thirty, with a full head of dark hair and a carefully trimmed goatee that outlined his chin. He was wearing what appeared to be a leather vest with a few silver highlights of impeccable taste but none of the usual finery one would expect. From what they could see he wore no jewelry or ornament, not even a ring.
They waited. He finally spoke.
"Major. Thom-al-sin," he said slowly in a normal human voice. "I'm not familiar with an SGC team with a Major Thomalsin as its leader and four other members. Which team are you?" The mannerisms and confidence in the voice spoke volumes about the beings self assuredness in this situation.
Major Thomalsin cleared his throat and tried to sound confident as he spoke to the man he had been told was a Goa'uld. "Seventeen." He looked over at his team members. "We're SG-17."
The young man nodded thoughtfully for a second then spoke in the voice of a Goa'uld. "Ahhh, yes. Did Lieutenant Colonel Saunders finally retire? After Mr. Mansfield was killed I was impressed that Saunders was given that team. It was a good choice." The man smiled and they could see a twinkle of light in his eyes. "A very good choice."
"Ahhh." Thomalsin said. "Yes and no. He's not doing a lot of off world missions any more."
The man nodded and the symbiote spoke again. "He has earned it. A formidable warrior and explorer. Please, when you return to the SGC, give him my regards and compliments on a spectacular career." He nodded to them with an almost regal air. "Now please, introduce the rest of your squad."
"Yes, sir. I'd be delighted." Thomalsin said. "But first. Who are you?"
"Do you not know Major?" The man smiled. But it was the human which spoke again. "I am Eros. And I am all that word implies."
"The Greek god of physical love and desire?" the woman next to the Major said with some surprise.
"A distinct pleasure to meet you, Lieutenant Myers." The Goa'uld bowed without rising. "But this is scarcely a proper introduction when I have to read your name off of your uniform."
"Excuse me, sir," Thomaslin said. "This is Lieutenant Amanda Myers. Historical specialist."
Eros rose and bowed from the waist. "Charming."
SG-17 was absolutely shocked to see that he was nude other than the leather vest. He was also an excellent physical specimen in his general physique.
Thomalsin had no choice but to introduce the next member of his team. "Captain Luther Massey. Off world security specialist."
Eros stayed seated. "Captain Massey. Security." He nodded. "Excellent."
"Thank you, sir," Massey said.
Thomalsin continued. "Captain Carol Baxter. Anthropologist."
Eros rose and bowed once again. "Delighted, Ma'am."
"And this is Lieutenant Randall Hecht, a USMC liaison."
"Semper Fi my good man." Eros said with a firm expression on his face. "An honor, sir." He nodded to the marine.
Hecht bowed slightly but didn't respond.
"But I am curious. You didn't list a technologist on your team."
"That would be me, sir. I trained as a xeno-technologist on my last assignment," the Major answered.
"Excellent." Eros smiled broadly and nodded. "I am sure you have a million questions. But first, it is nearly time for our noon repast and entertainment. I insist you join me and be my guests for the meal." He stood and stepped around the desk indicating the double doors as two attendants opened them.
Thomalsin hesitated and looked at his team.
"Major. Good SGC members. I assure you. If I had intended you harm, you would already be in one of several ancient ubliets placed at convenient locations throughout the older side of this facility, a couple of which are rumored to be bottomless. Quite to the contrary, I intend to wine and dine you, and answer all the questions of yours that I can if you will do the same for me. Then, at the end of your visit, I will return you to the Chapa'ai free to go." He smiled at each of them in turn. "If anything else happens between now and then, it is fully up to you."
The anthropologist blushed in spite of herself as she felt his eyes on her.
"Now. I am told that our meal and guests await us." Eros gestured to the open doors. "Please, follow me."
Thomalsin had no choice but to follow their host.
"He's not quite what I expected for the Goa'uld ruling godhead of a plant of slaves and indentured servants," Captain Baxter whispered to Thomalsin as they walked down a long corridor of stone arches and dark wooden paneling.
But instead of the torches and braziers usually preferred by Goa'uld, Eros's buildings used them only as accent pieces. Instead, most of the rooms and passages were lit indirectly and with some artistic and a few more functional lighting fixtures. Even the furniture was more sedate and utilitarian than they were used to seeing in Goa'uld facilities.
Thomalsin nodded. "Keep your eyes open and take notes." Then he thought of something. "Doesn't Eros strike you as more of a Tok'ra than a Goa'uld?" he asked.
Baxter nodded as they walked. "The host and the Goa'uld sharing the body instead of the symbiote dominating... Yes, sir. I was wondering about that."
They noticed Eros at the end of the passage looking at them as he waited for them to catch up. "Comparing notes and first impressions?" he smiled at them. "Excellent." Then he paused. When he spoke again it was the Goa'uld voice. "Yes. Most excellent. But now...." He turned toward the huge single wooden door and raised his arms. The door opened without assistance. "Please welcome my friends of the Tauri!" The Goa'uld announced to the room.
They walked in to applause and cheers.
Eros was still all but naked, as were most of the people both around the table to eat or those serving and elsewhere in the room. The group seemed to be about sixty percent women and forty percent men, both the guests and the staff. Everybody appeared to be just as well built as Eros, but not all were absolute perfect physical specimens. Even those with full heads of gray hair and one who was standing and talking while leaning on an intricately carved cane were in fairly good shape. Of the people that were dressed, if that was the word, the outfits appeared designed to tease the viewer rather than conceal the wearer. Many of the women wore skirts of strips of cloth that revealed as much as they covered if the woman moved at all. Several of the men wore leather vests or belts and little else. But again, there were at least as many of the attendees who were totally naked as there were that were wearing anything at all.
Eros picked places for them around the table but he put Baxter and Thomalsin on each side of him at the head of the table. Then he stood and thanked everybody for honoring him and his guests with their attendance. With a nod to the musicians in one corner and the entertainers scattered around he sat and waited as one of the young women serving them poured some wine.
"I know you are on duty and should only drink water, or bad coffee, but the wine is excellent, for which I always toast my old compatriot Dionysus," Eros said lifting his cup. Then he said something in Greek, finally he instructed the woman to bring the SG team water with ice.
"Thank you, sir." The major said.
Eros then looked over at Lieutenant Myers and grinned mischievously. "And you may relax. There is no sea milt on the menu today."
The historian blinked for a second then she found the information in her memory, "Thank you, sir. That's good to know." The Major looked at her but she shook her head. "I'll tell you later."
Thomalsin nodded then looked around and noticed that those serving Eros were all nearly stunningly gorgeous young women with larger than usual breasts for the most part. Evidently Eros liked his women, and liked them stacked as well.
Eros noticed the way the major kept stealing looks at the various women. "So, you prefer the fairer sex as well?" he said. Then without waiting for an answer he grinned broadly. "A true man worthy his uniform indeed."
The food was very good, well prepared and there didn't seem to be any lack of it. It seemed to be basic peasant food with roasted meats and a dark bread that was able to soak up an entire ladle of butter per slice. The team was initially shy about digging in, but after a few minutes they did so and enjoyed it immensely.
Besides the music there were several couples dancing, a matched set of gymnasts performing, and in the opposite corner from the musicians, a magician in an elaborate cape made various items vanish or levitate.
Eros banned serious conversation but did allow and ask the occasional question about the things foremost on his guest's minds. Finally he sighed and the symbiote directly answered something Baxter asked him at the beginning of the meal.
"I was a full active Goa'uld for many years. I served Lord Bastet for a time quite long ago. But then one of her other planet-regents was killed in one of the endless power struggles among the lesser Goa'ulds and I decided to simply remove myself from that game." Then he fell silent and for a minute his eyes were far away. When he spoke again it was the host. "Eros is neither a true Goa'uld as you are familiar with them. And neither is he Tok'ra. He is simply no longer part their world and their wars and feuds. First he went back to Greece, then elsewhere off-world, then finally, here." He sipped his wine, and continued. "Also, we do not tolerate outside hostilities to come here. We have various devices that disable Goa'uld weapons to one degree or another."
Eros glanced up at the wall. Thomalsin followed his eyes to one of the dark globes built into the wall.
"Are you a safe house for Goa'uld who have been dethroned and are now... renegades?" Thomalsin asked him.
"You mean like Hathor?" the symbiote answered and continued. "No. The System Lords would eventually track them here." The human finished the answer after a short pause. "They may come here for a short time. But then they must leave. And the System Lords know this. So while even Nirrti did come here, she received only food and drink and a brief rest, then she left. As did the others that have sought refuge here."
"But then how do you get new larval Goa'uld for your Jaffa?" Baxter asked him.
The human answered this one too. "We have very few Jaffa here. When their larva matures and must be replaced we can acquire some prim'tah through what you would call a 'black market'."
Thomalsin started to ask another question but he was silenced by Eros.
"Now, now Major. Enough of that." He gestured with his eating utensil that was something of a bladed fork, "We should eat."
As the meal progressed, the entertainment also progressed, and soon the SG team noticed that where the dancers had been dancing now they were much closer and more involved. All it could be called was foreplay set to music. The two male gymnasts were already beyond foreplay with each other and their two women partners as well as they moved into ever more complicated and intimate positions.
Eros himself seemed to be almost bored with both the food and the entertainment. But when a somewhat older dark haired woman with a voluptuous figure began dancing around the magician while removing his cape, Eros turned his full attention to her and even commented to his guests that he found her fascinating and told them about who she was and what she did when she wasn't entertaining.
The point of the show seemed to be to see if the magician could continue to perform his rather basic tricks while the woman, named Alcina, worked to distract him with ever more intrusive and sexual actions. When she began to perform fellatio on him, the SGC team became very self conscious.
"What's the matter?" Eros asked them in the host voice. "Is not sexuality part of life? And a very enjoyable part at that?" Then he smiled. "Ahh, yes, you have accepted the ideals espoused by those ashamed of who they really are and where they came from." His smile broadened even further. "That... I can change."
"But..." Baxter started to object.
"Only if you allow it. Submission and permission are extremely erotic, if I may use the term." Eros said with a finger in the air. "No one here is forced into anything they do not desire. No one is engaged in activity without their consent. And everyone is free to come and go as they choose." He looked at Captain Baxter. "Even you."
"I don't..." She began, then didn't say anymore.
As they were watching Alcina bent over from the waist and backed onto the magician's erect penis while the man was levitating a bottle to pour wine into a glass. Thomalsin tried to make a command decision for all of them and nodded toward the performers while he spoke to Eros. "We really shouldn't engage in extra-curricular activity like that on duty."
The Goa'uld answered him. "Miss Baxter is an Anthropologist. It would seem to me that close study of our culture would be required for her."
"But that wouldn't mean..."
"Here, Sex is as much a part of life as anything you can name on your Earth."
Thomalsin wasn't prepared to debate the Greek god of sex over his team's mission objectives so he let it go for now and turned his attention back to the dessert that had been placed in front of him.
Eros was still watching Alcina who was now back on her knees in front of the man. In another minute the magician nodded while still pulling scarves from a vase. The woman turned to Eros with a questioning look on her face.
"I'm afraid our guests do not understand what you are asking. Please. Indulge yourself and I will explain it to them for next time." Eros said to her.
She got up and resumed taking his erect member in standing intercourse. It wasn't long and their mutual expression assured the audience that the act had reached its logical conclusion.
Eros applauded and turned his attention back to his guests. "Please, please. If you desire anything else, just ask." He gestured to a woman standing nearby. "More sweet olive cake major?"
"No. Thank you. It was delicious, but I try not to eat too many desserts."
Eros nodded. "Ah, the PT test must be coming up."
"Yeah. I need to stay in shape."
"Then tomorrow you shall join my Spartans in a round of calisthenics." Eros said. "You will learn many things about fine food and staying in shape! But first, we shall adjourn to the audience chamber where you shall see how my world is run in person." He picked up his glass as he stood up and saluted the performers and musicians. "Excellent once again. As say all of us."
The people in the room echoed the sentiment followed a second later by the SG team.
After the meal the group broke up and the people went about their business. The SG team was greeted once again by various ones who welcomes them heartedly and thanked them for visiting their world. Eros gathered them together and begged them to come as official observers for his project for the afternoon.
The major said they would be delighted.
Eros led them and several of the guests out another door and down a short wide hall to a large assembly room. There was a flag hanging on one wall with Greek and Egyptian characters on opposite ends and a stylized bow with three arrows of different colors above what appeared to be a bed of straw or grass. On opposite walls, as in the first hall, there was a built in view screen and the shiny dark orbs here and there.
"What's it say?" Thomalsin asked Captain Baxter nodding up to the flag.
"The Greek letters say 'Love from Chaos'. The hieroglyphs say.... well, it comes out as 'Thoth should party more.'"
"You're kidding," Thomalsin said with a smirk, then he glanced at her. "You're not. I know."
Eros took his position standing behind a rather plain lectern under a wooden relief that depicted ordinary scenes of village life with a heavy emphasis on socializing and other pleasures. Off to one side two men and three women sat closely together engaging in a group embrace nearly oblivious to the world around them. On a bench in the back corner, a man who was obviously intoxicated sat watching the goings on with mild amusement. Others filed in quietly and found places to observe as they could. The team members noticed that once again while the people here were varied in age and occupation, most of them appeared to be in good shape and health.
In a moment, a few armed soldiers of the type they had met near the gate walked in and stood to one side.
"You must think us quite Epicurusistic. Or do you prefer hedonistic?" Eros asked with something of a smirk on his face. "It is no matter. As you will see, everything we need done, gets done, including Justice." He indicated the SG team to take seats on a bench along the far wall.
In a few minutes an older man with a shaggy mane of silver hair entered and stood at attention to one side of the dais. He made a speech about the Spirit of Justice and how a millennium of service had made Eros the wisest among them. He bid everybody rise and pay honor to Eros, which they did by standing and bowing slightly, then they were all seated.
The older man spoke again. "Venerable. First come is Ulverias Hahvas, Flantor Markus, and others complaining of serious promise unfulfilled against Shenetta Journ and her sister Delnetta." The parties stood as they were named.
"Approach." Eros said with all seriousness in his voice.
Five men and two women walked to the front of the room and lined up.
Two of the men were all but nude, they had been part of the group that was embracing when the Eros entered the room. The third had on a heavy apron of leather and thick cloth, another was wearing a wide leather belt with several tools hanging from it while the last wore a type of coveralls, also with several tools hanging from them.
One of the women was significantly older than the other but it was obvious they were closely related. The younger was wearing one of the more modest outfits the SG team members had seen anybody in since they arrived. Her blouse covered most of her upper body and the lower portion was almost a full skirt that only gave a hint of her lower legs when she moved. The older woman wore one of the skirts of cloth strips, except her skirt showed signs of wear and age where those that had been wearing the same sort of thing in the other room eating had looked newer and cleaner.
"Proceed," Eros said to the man in the tool belt.
"Yes, Ven'ble. Shenetta promised us each time with her to do with her and her sister for work. She did so in front of witnesses at market. We worked, for three days. But they do not agree now to do for us."
Eros listened gravely and carefully watched the reactions of the others in front of him. Then he turned to the women. "Shenetta. Is what Ulverias says true?"
The older woman looked at Eros, then she looked at the floor. "It is true."
"Why have you made your agreement to be a lie?"
"I did not!" Shenetta said. "Delnet, she took back her promise to me and them."
Eros turned his attention to the other sister. "Delnetta? Have you done this as your sister claims?"
Delnetta didn't look at Eros. "No."
Eros leaned back in his chair.
The SG team watched as Eros reached into into his vest and produced a small Goa'uld hand device, he put it on his right hand and extended it to Delnetta. Major Thomalsin braced himself for what was to come, but it wasn't needed. The small device glowed slightly, but there was no blast of plasma or pulsating waves of energy that would rip apart the woman's mind.
When Eros spoke again it was the symbiote. "Now, Delnetta, what forces you to lie to me?"
Delnetta still didn't look directly at Eros, but she did glance up at him and shivered visibly. "I didn't want to have sex with them..... I .... I don't enjoy it with men."
Eros nodded slowly. "There is no shame in that. But you shouldn't have promised what you could not fulfill."
"I know. I apologize for what I have done." She looked over at her sister. "I should not have said yes to you. Or them."
"I am still out three days work for nothing!" Ulverias said angrily. "We cleared a great tree and much brush. We moved great stones."
"We worked hard, sir." one of other men added.
"I understand. We shall make it right by you."
"Then I want gold." Ulverias said. "Nearly nine pieces."
Eros turned the glowing hand device at the angry workman. Its light brightened slightly then pulsed for a few seconds, Ulverias swayed a bit as it worked on him.
"Your pardon sir." The man said as the device dimmed.
"You are forgiven," Eros said. He turned back to Delnetta. "However, you are not. Yet." She stiffened, but nodded slowly. "How do you propose to make amends, not only with Ulverias and the others, but your sister whom your lie has shamed?"
She paused then almost whispered. "I can pay them my part in gold and copper, four pieces, even five. I will cook for them while they... visit... Shenetta."
Eros nodded then looked at Ulverias. "Is that acceptable?"
"I must check with my men," Ulverias said.
"Let them speak," Eros said to the men.
The man in the coveralls nodded. The two other men did as well, the man in the apron hesitated.
"Speak, Gavin of the village of Tharton," Eros said in the human voice.
"You know me sir?" The man said with surprise.
"Yes. Your father labored here when we expanded the hall." Eros gestured to the walls around him. "As did your grandfather in his time. Jolthur was a master woodcutter."
"You honor him by speaking his name," Gavin said. "I will agree to this in his memory."
"Excellent. Tell your father I remember him and respect him for the man his son has become." Eros bowed slightly. Then he looked at all of them. "Then it is done. Tell me, Delnetta, when shall you pay the five pieces?"
"When we get home. I do not have it with me."
"I hold you to it. Shenetta, when will you honor your part?"
"The same. They may stay with us until all are satisfied."
Ulverias and the others nodded agreement.
The old man spoke again. "As has been agreed, so be done. Eros has ruled." He looked at the group. "You may egress."
"Delnetta," Eros said as the woman turned to leave.
"Venerable?" She said with a slightly shaky voice.
"Tell me," He said with his hand slightly raised off the lectern and the hand device glowing slightly. "Why are you so despising of men?"
She looked away for a second, then looked back at him with a tear in her eye. "I do not wish to have children. If a man enters me I will become pregnant."
"Have you not taken the treatment?" Eros asked her and put his hand down by his side so she was no longer under the influence of the device.
"Yes, but it made me ill."
"Ahhh. I see. Then perhaps you should consider other ways to enjoy yourself with men." He smiled at her. "After you fulfill your obligation to Ulverias and the others, come here again and I will teach you such things."
She almost smiled. "Yes. I would like that."
"As would I."
She followed the others out.
The old man walked to the center of the room again. "Venerable. Next come is Listorn Plintos, caught stealing and so confessed."
A short man with a slight limp walked to the front.
Eros looked at him almost with pity. "Again you are before me, Listorn."
"I beg for lenience, Venerable."
"I have been my friend. I have been. This is your, fourth time here. I shall not be lenient any more."
Listorn wilted and was visibly shaking. When the Goa'uld spoke next the man almost collapsed to the floor. "For continued crimes against your fellow citizens, you will serve three full seasons in the Corps at Arms. You will act under the orders of my Chief of Arms. If you fail while in service, he shall not be so compassionate."
The leader of the soldiers stepped forward and bowed slightly to Eros.
Eros spoke in the human voice. "Take him. But be fair with him."
The soldier motioned for Listorn to follow him out.
"Listorn," The Goa'uld said firmly. "Go, and earn your honor back again."
Listorn bowed his head and didn't speak. He followed the soldiers out.
As he left, one of the women in the back began to wail.
"Step forward, Valnessie Kuls." Eros said in his Goa'uld voice.
The woman cried out again and a man next to her had to help her to the front.
Eros smiled warmly at her. "You are afraid for your son?" he asked her, she nodded through her tears. "Then be assured. Your son will not continue to be a thief. If he serves with honor all will be forgiven and forgotten."
The man who had his arm around Listorn's mother spoke softly. "But, Venerable. He has always gone back to stealing."
"I think we can change him."
"What if you can't?" the mother asked.
Eros raised his hand and the Goa'uld device glowed brightly. "In the end, I will."
There were two more cases before Eros called for a break. He thanked the SG team for their patience and assured them that it wouldn't be much longer. Then he had one of the attendants take them down a short hallway to a common area with toilet facilities and other amenities.
The team found the communal bathroom area a bit unnerving, but there were private stalls as well as other arrangements so they took turns standing guard and did their business in private.
Thomalsin spotted a bit of what seemed to be hieroglyphic graffiti carved into the sill below one of the windows. When they were finishing, he asked Baxter what it said, "It's what you'd expect to see in a Goa'uld bathroom, sir." She grinned. "For a good time call Qetesh."
He thought that was appropriate and they all chuckled about it as they returned to the 'courtroom'.
The final case was the most serious one of the day. Three women and a man were accused of badly beating two other women and one of their male kin in a fit of jealous rage, but they were being counter accused by saying it was in self-defense as the one woman attacked one of them first with a weapon. But now one of the three said she was being dragged into it after the fact and she had been an innocent bystander.
Eros listened to conflicting testimony from all sides and contradictory statements from two witnesses. Even using the Goa'uld device didn't clarify things sufficiently for a decision. Both the human and the symbiote asked questions of each and every one of the people to no avail.
Finally, the Goa'uld spoke. "I will think on this matter. We will resume here in twenty spans."
The people filed out of the room as Eros motioned the SG team to follow him to what amounted to judge's chambers just off the main corridor.
"This happens on occasion," Eros said as he reclined on a daybed like couch under a tall window. His voice sounded very human and very weary. "Even a Goa'uld can be stumped when it comes to some aspects of human behavior." He indicated for them to take chairs and be comfortable.
"That's something of a relief to know," Major Thomalsin said.
"Tell me, Major. If they had been brought before you in a situation of martial law, how would you adjudicate it?"
"I wouldn't presume to advise..."
"Nonsense, sir, you have heard the testimony and seen the evidence brought forth. What does your command training tell you?"
Thomalsin bit his lip and thought about it. "I'd seek the input from my Anthropologist and Security man."
"Very well. We have those specialists here. Speak." Eros gestured to them.
Baxter licked her lips. "Well sir, sirs. The impression I got was that they were all telling their side of the truth, and they all believed what they said."
"Yes. Exactly." Massey agreed. "But also, they were all just as guilty. I think they were all involved before the actual fight and probably goaded each other into it. And I think that at least the one witness, the young man with the mustache, was involved as well."
Eros had listened intently. "Yes. That's it. Major, you have very good people with you. Do you concur with their analysis?"
"Yes. And I believe in group punishment. It usually works."
"I have used it at times," Eros said. Then he stretched on the couch and relaxed for a moment. "And I think this is one of those times. And I have the perfect punishment for them." He glanced at the team with eyes that had just a hint of light in them. "Yes."
Back in the courtroom Eros had the old man call the people from the fight up, including the young man who had been a witness, alternating the individuals from each side as they stood in front of him.
Eros was very serious as he faced the group. He called them each by name then sat silently with a frown on his face. Something the SG team hadn't seen from him before, and it wasn't something they were eager to see directed at them either.
"I pronounce you all guilty of breaking the peace, fighting, using weapons against another citizen, telling incomplete truth, and conspiring to lie in court and various other charges." Some of the people in front of the judge seemed to want to protest the finding, but Eros silenced them before they began by raising his empty hand. "Therefore, since you have all compounded your guilt by collaborating before you appeared before me, you will all serve sentence together. And you will cooperate on it or you will be back before me." His glare assured them that their next appearance would not be enjoyable. He waited.
"Yes, Venerable." One of them said, the rest of them repeated it.
Eros told them to hold hands. They resisted until he said their cooperation started here and now. They slowly joined hands.
"The eight of you will live and work together serving our guardian force in their barracks. You will cook, clean, tend to the sick or injured, and serve them physically and emotionally, as a group, until I decide otherwise."
"Venerable... I have commitments," one of them said. Another also objected saying he had business to do.
Eros raised his hand and turned to the old man. "Elder Nnaonstin, what was the old penalty for fighting and lying to the Council of Elders?
The old man stepped forward. "Long ago, the penalty for such a fight would have been that the instigator would have been stoned, or if that party could not have been determined, both would have been banished to the Southern Wasteland, never to return to any Confederated land under pain of death."
Several of the guilty parties stole glances at each other.
Eros let them stew for a minute. "Do you agree to this punishment or should I convene the Elders?"
"I agree, Venerable," A couple of them said. Finally, they all said it.
"You have this evening to make your outside arrangements. I expect all of you to be in line as you are here. Holding hands. Outside the main barracks at the third stroke past sunrise." He paused. "Chief." The commandant of the guard stepped forward. "Are you familiar with your new barracks attendants?"
"Yes, Venerable. Very." The armed man said.
"I give them over to your care at the assigned time. If they do not appear, find the missing one and bring them ALL before me."
After the afternoon's courtroom sessions the team was more than ready for some down time. Eros explained that he'd show them to their quarters then he would see them again evening meal.
They walked through the complex to what Eros described as his primary living quarters. The rooms weren't as extravagant or ornate as they would have expected for a Goa'uld. But then again. Eros continued to demonstrate that he wasn't an ordinary Goa'uld.
He showed them to individual rooms off a central area that were the equivalent of a slightly old fashioned small hotel, but with certain things that showed them the curious mix of ancient architecture and technology ranging from the home-made, such as the wrought iron hinges on the doors, to Goa'uld devices.
Eros gestured to the various facilities in the rooms then outlined his plans for them for tomorrow. "I'll have one of the training masters stop by just after sunrise, if you wish, you may join them for their physical training." Eros grinned somewhat knowingly, then he continued. "I have taken the liberty of inviting the other leaders to meet you tomorrow across the courtyard at the commons."
Lieutenant Myers interrupted him. "Opposition?"
Eros smiled warmly at her. "Yes, indeed, my dear historical scientist. There is a small but quite active, and at times somewhat noisy opposition. Not only are they opposed to me, they are opposed to the Council of Elders as well."
"If they don't want you or the elders... then..." Myers paused.
"From what I can tell, they wish anarchy to reign. It wasn't all that long ago that there was nothing like a central government here. It was only after Camulus and Bastet had fought to a standstill over this system that we were able to secede as a planet and set up the basis for the government we have now. But it wasn't until I had appealed to some of those who are your allies and assure them that I was a neutral realm that I was able to enforce it. And after awhile, the System Lords lost interest in me."
"That weapon suppression technology is Tollan," Thomalsin said. "I thought they didn't share."
Eros grinned. "They don't share with lesser races. Remember, I am a Goa'uld." He grinned for another second. "And it doesn't disable any Tollan or Asgard weapons, just Goa'uld."
"How do you enforce it from orbit?" Hecht asked. "They could bombard you from a mother ship and you'd never even know who it was."
He laughed at the question. "Arrangements have been made to ensure our neutrality." He waved the question off.
"You pay tribute," Thomalsin said.
Eros shook his head. "We did. But right now, none of the System Lords claim us, so there is no one to pay tribute to." His smile returned. "Which is fine with me I assure you as this planet has rather little of value, and no naquada at all."
Their host held up his hand. "Enough questions. Dinner is in two of your hours. Please refresh yourselves and join me in the great hall."
They were left alone.
Thomalsin walked to the window and looked out.
The view was of a small meadow with several animals that looked like llamas who were doing llama type things- eating, walking around, sleeping. Beyond the pasture was a row of small houses and several out buildings. The major saw casual mix of timeless village life was once again mixed with a fair share of advanced technology as he watched a farmer pushing an anti-gravity cart loaded with baskets of vegetables along the road.
"This is an interesting place," Thomalsin said turning from the window. "But the question remains. Do we leave a living Goa'uld in charge of this place?"
Captain Baxter shook her head. "He's not really a Goa'uld like the System Lords are. And he's not really ruling either."
The major nodded. "So it seems. But still."
"I want to meet with the opposition before we decide anything." Hecht said.
Then Massey brought up another point. "If the Tollan and the Asgard and people like that are letting him be, should we interfere?"
Thomalsin nodded. "Agreed. We'll listen to the other side and do some looking around, then we'll check with the Asgard and the Tok'ra before we do anything." He took a deep breath. "Very well. Let's freshen up like we were told, then go for a walk."
Hecht opened the heavy wooden door to one of the sleeping rooms and glanced at a small dimly lit alcove with hieroglyphs and a small statue. "Captain Baxter. Isn't that.... oh... I can't think. That one woman Goa'uld."
She walked into the room and looked at the statue and the inscription. "Yes, it's Hathor. She used to be a System Lord."
"What's that say?" The marine asked gesturing at the inscription.
Baxter read it and laughed loud enough to make the others come in and look at it. She blushed a little but then she read it with a firm voice. "Don't have sex with any cow but Hathor."
The others laughed as well.
In a few minutes the team was out walking around outside along the central plaza.
It seemed that rumor of who and what they were had gotten out. As they passed by several shops and stalls one or sometimes several of the people would come out and greet them warmly in several different languages. Some of them did speak somewhat broken English.
"Welcome. Come. See." One old man said to them. "Much. Good." He repeatedly bowed and gestured for them to go into a shop with hundred of hanging baskets and other wicker ware leaving a narrow path through the building.
As he was insistent and wasn't taking 'no, thank you' for an answer, Thomalsin nodded and they followed the man into the shop.
The path through the hanging goods led far into the building and then they followed him around a bend and down a long narrow hallway, then into a small courtyard where the old man bowed some more and indicated them to proceed ahead of him.
A Jaffa in armor was standing next to a fire.
The armored man didn't say anything to them immediately. Instead, he saluted them with his arm across his chest and a slight bow. Then he indicated for them to join him.
"A drink first," the man said with a heavy accent when Thomalsin began to ask a question. "Thalapatia!" he called, then said something else in a language they had heard from several of the shops they had passed. Then they heard an answer from one of the doors around the courtyard.
After a long minute a woman wearing an apron around her waist brought out a tray with a pitcher and cups on it.
"This is she who is my wife, Thalapatia," he said with a very thick accent and odd cadence, the woman sat the tray down and bowed slightly. "Thala, warriors of the Tauri." She bowed again as Thomalsin nodded slowly.
The Jaffa passed out the cups and poured a sweet smelling rather thick drink into them. "A toast as you call it." He raised his cup to them. "To the Dead false gods."
Thomalsin raised his cup in return and the others followed suit. They sipped the liquid and winced at the terrifically sweet liquid as the Jaffa drank deeply.
"Ahhh," the man said as he sat his cup down with some force. "Now! We talk."
"You were in the service of Heru'ur," Thomalsin said to him looking at the black tattoo on the Jaffa's forehead.
"Yes, I ... Was." The man stuck out his arm. "For that I owe the Tauri a debt of gratitude." He took Thomalsin's arm in a wrist grip and held him firmly. "I am Lar-Nar. I am at your service."
Thomalsin did the introductions and the Jaffa poured them some more of the drink.
"Now, I must ask you one thing in spite of my position." He held out the pitcher. Thomalsin nodded for him to fill his cup up even though he had only swallowed a tiny bit of the stuff.
"Anything, sir." The Major said.
"Do not kill Eros."
When nobody said anything for a few seconds, Lar-Nar repeated his statement. "Warrior to Warrior, I ask you not to kill the Goa'uld named Eros of the Helenes."
"We hadn't planned on doing that, sir," Tholamsin said.
The Jaffa bowed his head slightly. "Thank you," he said. Then he looked back at them with strong eyes. "Eros is unlike any other of the Goa'uld I have ever known. My father was captain to Kalack who was First Prime of Heru'ur for many years. I saw many Goa'uld both great and small in my training and service. Eros is different." He smiled at them. "He admits he is no god."
"We've noticed that. They call him 'Venerable' instead of any of the usual titles the Goa'uld take on." Baxter said.
"Yes. It only means that he has been honored by the elders and allowed to govern with their blessing. Nothing more."
Major Thomalsin nodded. "For a Goa'uld, that is unusual."
"So I ask you. Do not kill him."
"We won't, sir."
It took a few minutes for them to find their way back to the main building and then to the great hall. Eros wasn't there yet but several of his people were. One of the elders welcomed them with high honor and much bowing and hand clasping.
They were led to a large oblong table and seated amongst some of the people they had already met who spoke at least some English There was plenty to eat and drink spread out on the table. Some of the guests were already eating without waiting for their host. One of the people near Captain Baxter said that most of the ones already eating were due out to tend various animals before dark and they didn't want to be late.
Baxter noted it as yet another example of the practicality of the civilization.
Then the person nodded toward a group of four women that were at a smaller table nearby. They would be on duty in the barracks of the guard detachment that had been on duty for the last two days at the spacecraft landing area. The women wanted to have their dinner and get to the barracks before the soldiers arrived. By the person's tone and the way the women were behaving with each other Baxter knew they would not be handing out clean uniforms to the troops.
Baxter didn't note that information in her report.
The food was simple but plentiful, as had been lunch, with roast meat and various salads and some more of the heavy dark bread.
They ate for some time. Then they heard applause and cheering.
"Am I in time for the Baklava?" Eros shouted as he walked in with a small group of people.
"Of course, Venerable. We saved the best for you," one of the women said.
"Ah, yes, my favorite. Major! You must try this!" Eros called to him.
"Bakalava?" Thomalsin smiled. "I would love to."
"You know of it sir?"
"Of course. My grandmother made the best I've ever had. She used twice as much honey as you are supposed to."
"Wondeful!" Eros smiled. "A blessing on her for that."
Major Thomalsin thanked him for that and stood as Eros assumed his place at the opposite end of the table from the elder that had welcomed them.
Eros said he was honor bound to explain why he was delayed, and he would tell them in due course, but first the dessert. The woman brought around a large platter of the pastry. Several had been taken from it already, but there was still plenty of them and Eros insisted they try both varieties that were on it.
Thomalsin recognized the one with the nuts in it. But the other one appeared to have something else in it.
"Sadly, Major, there are no walnut trees here, but we do have another nut that is just as good," Eros said taking a small bite of one of the squares and chewing with much pleasure.
The pastry was still warm and so sticky they couldn't get it off the plate without leaving a trail. It was sweet and rich and just as sticky to eat as it was to pick up. But on the whole it was very good.
"This. It is made with. Triappen." The woman said carefully.
"I have no idea, sir." Baxter said when the major looked at her. "But it tastes pretty good."
He tried it and agreed that while it wasn't as sweet as the first one, and nothing could be, it was still very good.
After his dessert, Eros had them pass him the rest of his dinner. Then he started to explain that he had been called upon to arbitrate a marital dispute between the people that had accompanied him to dinner.
As he ate, he talked animatedly about the couple and the woman's parents and a couple of other relatives and the problem they had come to him with.
Except Eros didn't go through the story in any kind of order. He talked about the resolution to the dispute, then ran through a partial list of the players, then the history of the woman's mother who was a descendant of one of the priests of Bastet long ago. In between there were glimpses of the problem that had escalated to where the grandfather of somebody that was involved appealed to them all to take it to arbitration by the Venerable one. All the while he ate, and added comments about the roasted birds and the desserts, and the women that made them and a few other things. Then he'd go back to the story, and drink some wine, and cover part of what he'd already said, and add some more details.
Then after a few bites and another sip of wine he'd start it all again with more or less detail seemingly at random.
Later the SG team put together the story that the younger wife wanted to 'swing' with one of the other couples and some of their relatives and the husband didn't. It had become enough of an issue that they were considering separating. The entire extended family had been dragged into it as well as the friends who were swingers. In some of the outlying villages divorce was all but unheard of and left a stigma on the families involved. The grandfather, who was evidently all for a little extra-curricular activity had talked them into making the two day trip in a tracked farm vehicle and trailer to have Eros resolve the problem.
They were evidently satisfied with his solution to the problem. According to what the team was able to figure out from his rambling description, the young wife, Desralda, would get her chance to swing with the other couple with her husband's permission and his occasional participation within certain guidelines. If either broke the trust, or if he became unreasonable in restricting her, they'd be back in front of Eros or the Elders and neither would be happy with the result.
"So Eros condones cheating?" Lieutenant Hecht asked the room without looking at anybody in particular.
"That's not what I got out of it," Captain Baxter said. "She must abide by her husband's wishes as long as he... you know... meets her half way."
"An open marriage?"
Baxter shrugged then nodded. "Yeah, in a way."
The team were just getting to where they could relax and were discussing who would stand which watch while the others slept. Major Thomalsin had gone to take a shower in the stall adjacent to his room that produced something of a waterfall of barely warm water instead of a pressurized stream, but he said it would serve, when they heard a firm knock on the door.
Captain Massey answered the door with his sidearm still in its holster, but unsnapped and ready to draw. A dozen or so of the people they had seen around Eros for most of the day walked in when he opened the door. Some of them were singing or playing various musical instruments. Others were carrying trays of sweets or pitchers of various drinks.
They didn't just walk in and stand around chatting with each other, instead they danced in and began a half party half celebration of life that had to be experienced to be believed. When they discovered that Thomalsin, was showering the slightly older woman that seemed to be in charge of the group signaled for one of the curvy women that had been dancing earlier and a tall thin man with a large basket go to his room to 'see to his needs'.
To say that the major was somewhat startled when a strange woman joined him in his shower and started washing his hair with something that smelled strongly sweet would be an understatement. However, he allowed her to continue her mission as the man explained that the various lotions and creams he had were rejuvenating and that what she was using on his hair would stimulate his head and replenish his hair. The next concoction smelled of citrus.
Thomalsin nodded and whispered something akin to 'when in Rome' and bent his head down as she rubbed the stuff into his scalp. After a few minutes the man gave her a jar of something else and left them alone. The major heard the music and singing from the other room as the man opened and closed the door.
She continued to work on his hair for a minute, then stopped. "Tay me ma-yor, Vener-able said you emalakjek womem." The woman said in broken English as she rinsed the stuff out of his hair leaving his scalp feeling hot.
"Emalackjack?" Thomalsin replied. "I don't understand."
She let her hands slide down his neck to rest on his shoulders. "You. Like this." She held herself closer to him then her hands moved further.
"Yes. A lot," he said smiling down at her with a broad smile. "What is your name?"
"Name. Trenee." She smiled back.
Out in the main room, the party was going strong. There was music and dancing and a great deal of food and drink. Then some of those dancing began getting involved in other ways.
When the SG team seemed hesitant to join in with the other activities, the revelers didn't even break stride but began without them. Baxter tried to tell the others that this was a good chance to observe their behaviors when Eros wasn't around. Hecht asked if participation was part of that procedure.
"To some degree, yes, lieutenant," Baxter answered.
"Thank you, Captain. I think I'll participate" the Marine said in the best spirit of the Corps with a grin at a very curvy woman with a dark complexion and a huge smile.
When Thomalsin finally emerged from his shower, the party was a bit more mellow, but every bit as interesting as it had been earlier. He saw some of the rest of the team otherwise engaged, and deduced that the ones that weren't were in one of the other rooms. Trenee brought him a drink and a plate of the sweets. Then they danced a little to the music one of the men was playing on a multi string instrument.
"Ahhh. Major. We were...." Massey said with some embarrassment at being very out of uniform.
"I know. Let me guess. It's an anthropological case study."
"Something like that sir."
Thomalsin nodded at Trenee, "I did a little study of my own." He grinned at Massey. "I look forward to reading your reports. Detailed reports," Thomalsin added with a glance at some of the others in the room.
Later when the team was alone again they agreed to set a proximity alarm in case anyone entered the room and they all turned in to sleep. They were undisturbed until shortly before daybreak when a young member of the guards arrived to invite the major out to join their morning calisthenics.
Massey got up to answer the door, and was jolted fully awake by the screaming alarm of the motion alarm. He almost jumped to it and shut it off before answering the door. The young man explained what he was there for and extended several heavy garments that resembled a hand woven sweat suit.
Thomalsin and Hecht went to work out with the troops. The others got moving a little more slowly.
In about an hour they returned hot and sweaty but satisfied that they had proven that the Tauri weren't lacking in the physical conditioning department.
"So how was it?" Myers asked them.
Thomalsin took a deep breath and stretched his back. "Very... enthusiastic. In a Jaffa kind of way."
"That's a good word for it," Hecht said working his shoulders in circles.
"They do all their exercises naked." Hecht answered.
"I'm sorry I didn't go then." Myers grinned.
"It's not co-ed," Thomalsin said. "The girls work out with girls and boys with boys." He made a face. "Of course, I know a few that wouldn't mind that. But I need a real shower now." He stopped on the way to his room. "Alone."
Myers just laughed.
They had missed the early meal, but there was still some food available for those whose schedule prevented them from coming to breakfast with the others in the compound. The team ate what was available, then made plans for the twenty four hour check in that was due in a few hours.
"So what are your going to report?" Massey asked Thomalsin.
"That this is a most unusual situation which we are investigating further. Then I will request an additional forty eight hours for that study." He said staring into his cup of the native sweet tea.
"Do you believe that Major General Hammond would approve your extra time here?" They heard Eros ask from behind them.
Thomalsin glanced at their host and nodded. "Yes, sir. I think he will."
"Excellent." Eros smiled broadly and picked up an empty cup and reached for the pot of tea.
Lieutenant Hecht was closest to the pot, he picked it up and held it out to pour.
Eros seemed somewhat surprised by the gesture, but he bowed slightly and thanked the man for his consideration.
"Just common courtesy, sir," the Marine replied.
"Something that is not quite so common any more. Even here," Eros answered.
Eros sipped his tea then addressed all of them as the Goauld. "Something that may be of interest to you will be happening shortly. You are invited to attend as my guests. I have arranged for you to have excellent seats for the demonstration and then a tour with me."
"Oh?" Thomalsin said. "What is it?"
"Master Bronsu is demonstrating his new water tractor to harvest salvat."
"Salvat?" Massey asked.
The human voice answered. "It's freshwater seaweed." Eros said simply. Then he made a face and continued. "It looks like green straw and tastes like it too. Raw or steamed its like chewing yarn. But they love it, and fried with sausage it's pretty good." He smiled thinly, "In fact you had some yesterday. It had the .... you'd call them chrimps, in it."
"Shrimp?" Baxter questioned.
"Yes. Shrimp. Fried with seaweed."
Hecht nodded. "I remember it. It wasn't bad at all."
Eros's smile was back. "So will you join me to see his great invention?"
Thomalsin nodded briskly. "Certainly. We'd be delighted."
"We'll leave from the southwest courtyard shortly. Please, meet me there."
The team got themselves together and asked directions to the indicated meeting place. They arrived just as Eros was greeting some of the others that would be accompanying them.
They mounted up on a large tracked vehicle that was made of metal and wood with a woven cloth roof.
Eros told them about how he got the vehicles from a surface fleet of a minor System Lord who used them to haul slaves to and from various work sites. He went into some detail about the demise of Sobek's kingdom and how he fled disguised as a slave woman to end up later as an underling to one of the others.
Captain Baxter nodded as Eros's narrative confirmed some of the Goa'uld back story they had heard from other sources. By the time he finished his talk the large rumbling vehicle had arrived at its destination next to a large lake.
The lake had been created ages ago by the former ruler of the planet by damming a small river with an enormous stone wall. Now partially silted up, it was used to grow salvat in large semi submerged fields along the shores.
Eros led the group to a viewing area on a small hill. Out in the lake they could see an older man standing in a boat next to a large machine. He stopped his work on the machine to turn and wave at them, then he bowed slightly. Eros acknowledged him and the man returned to his work.
As various parties arrived Eros introduced the team to several of the elders of various villages and tribal areas who had come to the demonstration as well. Then they got another shock about this most unusual Goa'uld.
One of the elders of a district Eros called 'Felnap' outranked Eros in the pecking order of elders.
And it was Eros himself who told them exactly how and why.
"He is one of the original royal family of Felnap and it was his great great..." Eros paused and thought quickly. "Four greats- grandfather who himself killed the First Prime of Camulus during the Great Revolt. It was shortly after that incident that I claimed this planet as a free state and began my life here ."
"That was a long time ago, my friend. And it brought us our freedom from the System Lords, for which we are still in your debt." The elder said with a slight bow. "The friendship between my house and yours has held true over all these years. And will continue as such with my son." The man introduced them to his heir, a striking young man with sharp clear eyes.
"We are honored, sir," Thomalsin said in his best diplomatic voice with a slight bow to both the father and the son.
Their discussion of the ruling class of Felnap was interrupted by the sound of the new machine firing up out in the lake. A woman and a tall thin man stepped forward to begin the narration of what their father's machine would do that the current fleet of smaller harvesters that were attached to boats did.
The new machine reminded the SGC team of a sidewheeler steamship, with the front of a combine on it that settled into the water just in front of the superstructure. It plowed through the water at a good rate, making a considerable racket accompanied with much splashing. But in just a few minutes, it had picked the plot clean where... "It would have taken an existent harvester most of the day to gather that crop in," the man said.
According to their speech, the machine picked the crop without damaging the roots any more than the current method did, stripped off the absolutely inedible side stems and leaves and compacted them for use as animal fodder, compost and even fuel for the ship, then bailed the 'good part' for use as human food. After the machine swung through an adjoining field, the inventor and his helper brought the thing to a nearby dock to show the results of their effort. Eros led the applause as the crowd walked down the hill and the inventor emerged from the cockpit of the machine.
Thomalsin, in his role as a xeno-technologist, joined Eros on a tour of the machine. The two marveled aloud at the efficiency of the operation, but both declined a sample of the freshly harvested plant saying they were looking forward to lunch through an interpreter. The inventor spoke only his native language.
The inventor, chewing a stalk of the freshly harvested bounty in the corner of his mouth thanked them profusely for their approval of his device with so much flourish the interpreter couldn't keep up. Eros bowed and thanked the man again in his language. Then the Goa'uld blessed him and his machine before they walked back down the pier.
The lunch ashore was a buffet of anything you could make with salvat, including breads, casseroles, and things that defied identification.
"So what's your favorite dish?" Hecht asked Eros when he found himself next to the Goa'uld at the serving table.
Eros glanced at him and smiled knowingly. "It isn't here," he said quietly. "But it is my duty to eat and at least appear to enjoy it."
"I see," Hecht answered and felt his respect for the man increase by several orders of magnitude. He had heard the same thing through the years from other commanders. There was a duty for the ranking officer to both appear to be 'just one of the men' and to be something above them at the same time. Usually the price paid was themselves.
Later in the vehicle going back to town Eros asked them when their check in was due.
"In about an hour, sir."
"Excellent," Eros smiled. "Will your communications work from here or should we get closer to the Chapa'ai" Eros looked around outside the vehicle and announced that they were about five or six Earth kilometers from the gate.
Thomalsin had to blink a second. "We should be in range. But it wouldn't hurt to be a bit closer."
Eros spoke to the driver of the vehicle in the local tongue. The 'truck' accelerated and turned at the next lane heading for the gate. In a few minutes the large rattling machine stopped in the clearing just down the hill from the gate. Eros had been telling them, in his way, the story about how they had moved the gate from a bombed out temple after the last battle to the hilltop so everybody could see who came through it. Which was how he heard they had arrived so quickly.
Thomalsin dialed home at the top of the hour and they checked in. Within minutes of transmitting their data and greetings from The Venerable One and the Elders they were authorized for the additional time they had requested.
"Well, Venerable. We are authorized to spend three more days here. And to negotiate a trade and visitation agreement." Thomalsin said with a slight bow.
"Excellent, Major," The Goa'uld responded with a slight grin. Then the grin broadened and the host continued. "Then allow us to continue the sight seeing with a trip through the village of Klantos, where I was born, I promise you a most delicious dinner at an Inn there. With no salvat," He said the last slightly under his breath. "It is run by my brother in law. His aunt is the, ummm ... chef."
"Very good, sir. Sounds wonderful."
Eros's laugh was heartfelt and long. "It is. Except he makes me pay in silver."
Everybody laughed as the vehicle rumbled to life.
The village was small. The Inn was old. The food was almost as good as promised. And the story of how a young man volunteered and was later accepted to be host to Eros was intriguing.
"There is no real advantage to the family, they are compensated, but they scarcely become wealthy." The Goa'uld answered. "But since I choose not to use the sarcophagus except in the most unusual circumstances, I do require a host every century or so."
The man who was Eros's brother in law nodded with some pride. "He is my elder by more than ten years, believe it or not." The innkeeper was every day of sixty years old. Eros looked to be in his thirties.
"Fascinating," Myers said as there was nothing else to say.
After a short tour of the village, short only because there was nothing much to see, they boarded the old vehicle and it rumbled down the main road back to the larger town. Eros was making plans for the next day. He wanted to show them the nearest mine, then there was the fishing fleet, and he hoped they would attend a sporting event with him. There was also a tribute to the old gods of a neighboring province that Eros thought they would find interesting.
Thomalsin had to reign in their host's enthusiasm a little by reminding him that they would really like to get out among the people as well as official functions.
"Of course," Eros said. But they could tell that he was a little disappointed.
It was well into the evening when they arrived back at the compound. They were all hot and sweaty and covered with dust and Thomalsin's uniform still had salvat stains on it.
Eros stopped them and said he had the perfect idea to refresh both their clothing and themselves. He took Thomalsin by the hand and led them through the complex to a large stone building.
"What is this?" Massey asked as a group of men and women moved in column rank out the door and down the hall.
"It says it's the Ward and Comfort." Baxter read off the sign above the door.
"Very good, Captain." Eros smiled at her. "That's a rather obscure dialect and words that aren't used very often."
"Yes Venerable. But I encountered them on P7-293-B not long ago. On the major natural moon of the planet."
"P7-293...." Eros said slowly, thinking hard. "I don't recall that designation." He blinked a couple of times then the Goa'uld spoke up. "It was called Fauotine. The moon was Mossek."
Baxter had to think about it. "Yes. That was the word I didn't understand on the landing area on the planet. It was the name of the moon."
"It was where they stored the supplies that they'd take to the base there by ship," the symbiot explained. "The transport ring system there couldn't reach the moons."
"Oh." Baxter said. "That's what we thought but we weren't sure. Thank you."
The Ward was a combination medical and training facility with various rooms dedicated to different purposes. Eros showed them a dispensary filled with both tribal remedies based on a folklore-ish mixture of herbs and tonics all the way through various Jaffa, Goa'uld and even Tollan medical supplies, then he took them through a set of classrooms that rivaled the best the SGC had to offer.
Finally, the tour ended in the lower level where they found the laundry and locker room facilities.
"Here we shall clean both you and your uniforms," Eros paused and smiled. "Inside and out. And I think I will join you." He handed his vest to one of the assistants.
"OK. I'm in." Massey said after an uneasy pause and began undressing in a corner.
The rest of the SG team was once again faced with that modesty thing, but then the Eros broke the ice with them with a statement that made them laugh and think at the same time. He looked over at the two 'Women of the Tauri' with a thin smile and said, "Regardless of how you choose to spend the night and whoever you decide to spend it with..... It increases the overall happiness factor of the Universe the more time you, and other beautiful young women, spend unclothed. So in light of that.... I heartedly approve and encourage you to join us." Then he bowed and went out to the washing facility.
After a moment Thomalsin got his face straight again and nodded at them, "What he said." Then he followed Eros out.
The external cleansing was a bath in mineral water at almost scalding temperatures and a laundering of their uniforms and under garments that left them cleaner than when they were new.
The internal cleansing was a drink that was promised to be a mild purgative, then brief meditation to a low chant by a couple of holy men, and a massage that loosened every muscle and joint in their bodies. Eros even stopped talking and fell asleep during the massage.
After the massage, the drink took hold and afterward Thomalsin had to admit he was cleansed inside and out. They rinsed off in one of those waterfall showers, then dressed in their sparkling clean uniforms. Eros was totally recharged, and proceeded to finish the history of the military organization of the planet, he had started and not finished the story several times before.
After they all thanked the staff of the center their host took his leave of them to go tend to some matters of state so the team had to inquire of their attendants as to the best route back to their quarters. The master of the center, an elderly Jaffa with an almost regal air to him clapped his hands sharply and several young trainees came running.
"Escort the Warriors of the Tauri back to the Solstice rooms. See to their needs," the master said to the cadets then he turned to the team. "I bid you a good evening. If I do not see you again, peace." He bowed, turned, and walked away silently.
Three young men and two women in the uniform of the guards greeted them with salutes and bows. The senior trainee sent one of the others running for 'night favors' while the others escorted the SGC team to their rooms.
It wasn't an overly long walk, but they would have had trouble finding their way through the complex of buildings and courtyards by themselves. At least once both Massey and Thomalisn were both sure they should have turned a different way than their escort did. But in the end they reached their rooms and the welcome relief of being able to sit and relax, and after a few minutes, take their boots off.
In a few minutes the other trainee arrived with a large crate with snacks and drinks in it. The senior trainee made something of a speech about how it was their honor to serve the Warriors of the Tauri.
Right as they were pouring the drinks, Trenee, the woman that had medicated Thomalsin's scalp the night before, walked in with another jar of the citrus stuff that had made his scalp tingle. She said that it took three treatments for the maximum benefits and indicated that he was to follow her.
"I'll get a sample of that stuff to analyze back at the base," Thomalsin said almost as an excuse to let the woman wash his hair again.
"Yes, sir," Hecht said with a straight face.
Thomalsin nodded and took a drink from the trainee who offered it. "Amuse yourselves. This won't take long." He ran his fingers through his close cut thinning hair.
"Yes, sir," Hecht repeated.
For her part, Trenee was waiting at the door to Thomalsin's room with a slight smile on her face. While the major both got his hair washed and experienced other types of recreation, the rest of the team enjoyed similar diversions well into the night.
Some distance away, Eros lay in a meditation chamber deep in a trance state even beyond that of the Jaffa's Kelno’reem meditation. With the addition of a device that the Goa'uld had discovered but could never master the use of, a 'thought reader', Eros could through the mind of his host, live the sensations of various ones of his subjects. It required absolute quiet, and Eros's inner chamber was soundproof, near total darkness, the chamber was lit only by a small oil lamp that gave a lean, slightly yellow glow, and total relaxation on his part. Right now, in his trance, Eros could almost be described comatose. Then, in that state, depending on the individual he was seeking to connect to, he could experience everything from simple direct emotions all the way through every thought and sensation the person was experiencing down to the smallest detail.
Which of his subjects to which he could achieve this connection and to what degree was dependant on Eros's personal relationship with the person. In the case of Trenee, he had had a long term, and very close relationship with her, to the point that he almost didn't need the assistance of the device to feel certain things from her. With a couple of the others, men and women almost equally, he had spent a great deal of time both in just pleasant conversation over meals, and somewhat more intimate contact as well.
Eros was now reclining on his couch, in deep meditation, with a slight smile on his face.
The morning was windy and stormy when the major and Hecht went out to join the troops in their morning athletic exercise. By the time they'd finished the run, it was raining in sheets and a 'storm alarm' had gone off in the compound for the staff and guards to tie things down and close the shutters.
By the noon meal, the main courtyard had several centimeters of water in it and one of the passages had turned into a river.
The SGC team had finished eating and was listening to Eros relate the tale of a major storm that had happened several years ago when the small panels in the dining room changed from yellowish orange to bright blue and a loud bell began ringing.
"It is an emergency with citizens." Eros said without over reacting. "Please. Remain here."
"Can we help in any way?" Thomalsin asked as Eros stood up.
"Yes. You can." The Goa'uld answered. Then he shouted at several of those in the room to prepare to receive those affected by whatever had happened.
They followed Eros at a quick walk through the complex to the courtroom. The large panels on either side of the room were now visual displays showing a map with flashing areas indicating damage. Where Eros had sat in judgment was now a command area similar to the pel'tac of a mothership. Eros operated it like an adept and in a second a hologram displayed what was happening in the center of the room.
The sensor information left no doubt as to what had happened.
"A cyclone," Massey said.
"Yes. They are unusual here, but they do happen." Eros changed the display. "Just north of here. Several small villages and farms were hit directly. It went through Harpa." He highlighted a settlement along a creek. Then the display changed to show several areas of the main complex. In the courtyard one of the large vehicles was being loaded. "The resources are nearly ready. Pardon me, I must put on my own uniform." Eros turned to them and spoke as the Goa'uld, "Lieutenant Myers. You are an EMT as well, correct?" She nodded. "Come with me."
"We'll get our gear and meet you... where?" The major asked.
"Main compound as soon as possible," Eros said walking quickly through the side door with Myers a step behind.
"Yes, sir," Thomalsin said to Eros in the same tone of voice that he would have answered the general at the base.
The team sprinted back to their rooms and gathered the gear they had available. Then they double-timed it back to the compound.
As Eros and Lieutenant Myers walked to his chambers, he explained that he could use the Goa'uld hand healing device, but it drained him severely and he hated to use it on victims only to discover they had minor injuries that didn't need it while somebody nearby was dying that he could have saved with it.
"So you want me to triage the injured?" Myers said as Eros put on an official looking vest and apron with several insignia and ornaments of rank and station with Greek and Goa'uld writing in various places. Then he handed her a small device that appeared to be a scanning unit. Myers saw symbols on it that indicated body temperature and heartbeat. Another set of displays might show broken bones but she wasn't sure. She tried to remind herself to ask Baxter what they meant.
"I hate this... thing, but it offers comfort to the people as they can see me from a distance in it." He picked up a somewhat ornate headpiece, "I'll put it on when we get there." Then he picked up the hand device that he'd use to treat the injured.
"Very impressive, sir," Myers said to his outfit.
"Thank you," Eros said with a slight bow that was surprisingly humble. Soon after Eros was ready they met one of his assistants in the passage and walked quickly toward the compound.
The storm had not let up much at all. But those that were getting ready to assist those that had taken the worst of it barely noticed the continued rain, wind, and lightning. Even though it was less than an hour after noon, it was nearly dark in the courtyard.
Several of the people from the dining room were loading boxes and bags in another one of the vehicles when the team got there. They saw Eros and Myers approaching from the other side.
It took only a couple more minutes and then a Jaffa got into the driver's position in the front center of the vehicle and they were off with a great deal of splashing and steaming. Just as they left the compound another vehicle that was similarly laden pulled out and followed them.
The vehicles seemed totally indifferent to high water and downed limbs as they roared through the town and then along the road heading to the village and farms damaged by the cyclone. Soon the damage became more severe. It wasn't long before they were forced to stop by people begging for assistance.
As the team and Eros dismounted, Lar-Nar the Jaffa walked up from the second truck. He was in full armor.
"Venerable. I will assist these. You will be needed in Harpa," Lar-Nar said. "I'll send those that need healing to the Ward then I will join you there."
"Good," Eros said, then he turned to the people that were all around them and spoke in a loud voice. "Lar-Nar will assist you as I would. Listen to him."
It seemed that they would. Eros and the team got back in the vehicle.
The rain was still sheeting down all around them, an occasional gust of wind would threaten to blow people and supplies out of the open vehicle.
Not far down the road the going got tougher and slower. Finally the vehicle was halted just short of town by the roof of a house that was blocking the way.
"Clear the road as you can. We'll go on foot," Eros said to the driver and the others that were with him. "We'll carry what we can."
The SG team shouldered their packs and carried what they could. Even Eros was loaded down with a huge bundle. As they walked they noticed large round chunks of ice on the ground. Some of the hailstones they saw were the size of golf balls. There was no question now. A major storm had passed through the area.
The sky was just beginning to show signs of the sun returning as they scrambled around the roof and part of a wall to get into the small village.
No sooner than they had scrambled over the ruined roof, they heard cries for help.
"In here," Hecht said pointing his flashlight into the rubble that used to be the house. "I see her."
It took several of the team and a couple of the others to get the woman out from under what used to be her kitchen. She was banged up, but didn't need the Goa'uld hand device immediately.
"She is worried about her children," one of Eros's people said. "She said the angry wind went over the fountain."
"We'll go there next," Thomalsin said. He looked at Hecht. "Can you get her back to the truck?"
"Let's catch up with Eros."
There were two more emergencies before they got to the center of the village.
The devastation showed the swirling pattern of the tornadic winds the team had seen in images on Earth. It also showed the unbelievable effects on the buildings and other objects in its path. A table near the fountain still had cups and game pieces on it, where not ten meters away a house had been leveled to its foundation.
The largest building in the village had been smashed by the storm. What remained of it threatened to crumble on the team even as they pulled survivors from it.
Eros immediately set to work on a child that had been partially crushed by a large beam that had been flung by the wind. The concentration and concern on his face as the hand device worked on the child drove any remaining doubts about the character of the Goa'uld symbiote from Thomalsin's mind. No System Lord would risk their own safety near the damaged wall to tend to something like the child of a slave race.
As the wind loosened more shingles, the major and Massey forced Eros to stop long enough for them to carry the child further into the open area. Then they went back into the ruined structure to search for others.
Myers began using the device Eros had given her to evaluate other victims and treat those she could.
Soon they were nearly overwhelmed with survivors looking for assistance. The team helped move survivors and the dead alike. It was an hour or more before the vehicles arrived. Lar-Nar said they had used staff weapons to blast through the collapsed roof and wall to get through.
Finally the rain began to let up. As the weather cleared more people crawled out from under what was left of their village. Hecht helped with crowd control and directed traffic. Another vehicle arrived to carry people out for better treatment. Lar-Nar supervised its loading and dispatched it as soon as it was full. Within minutes another arrived to take its place, and this one was pulling a large farm wagon.
A young man with a bloody shirt ran into the cleaning and began shouting about his family who had been buried when their farmhouse collapsed on them. They got the location out of him while Baxter bandaged him up. Then the major put together a rescue party. The homestead was some distance from town and they'd need some heavy equipment so they took the remaining vehicle and left for the farm.
Again they saw the randomness of the destruction. One field was unhurt, even the scare-crow was still standing, although somewhat battered by the wind, in a garden next to a small house. Less than a kilometer away the young man's family home was a pile of broken lumber.
The immediate area was ankle deep in water and debris. They walked carefully through it and began searching the site from where the man said he had crawled out of the broken structure.
No sooner than they had begun to probe into the building, they heard somebody calling out for help by repeating the young man's name.
"Over here. They're in there!" Hecht called out. He began trying to move loose boards.
They rescued some of the man's family. Then removed the bodies of two others. One of the survivors was in very bad shape, but since the weather had calmed they were able to call for an aerial vehicle, a Death Glider converted to civilian use, to take her to the village for Eros to treat.
In another area, the two officers from the SG team and one of the local guards exchanged weapon's fire with a small group of looters who were trying to carry away supplies from a coppersmith's workshop. One of the looters fired on the arriving truck of rescuers. Then one or two of his associates who had been in another damaged shop joined in with small energy weapons. Hecht immediately responded in kind and the first of the criminals was felled in his tracks. The other two thought better of things and ran up the hill into the forest.
The craftsman had been injured in the storm and was unable to defend himself when the looters took advantage of the situation. The team left two of the guards that had accompanied them to protect the shops.
In town two squads of Jaffa and guards arrived to help. But even with the extra hands it was a long day well into the night.
They set up a rough camp in a barn that was fairly solid and slept in shifts.
Eros was exhausted and no sooner than he had something to eat he fell asleep sitting up against the wall. The others rested and dried out and sipped a strong hot tea until they too fell asleep.
Before dawn most were back up and working again.
It was late the next day before they went back to the main complex. The farmers and ranchers and small-shop craftsmen were an independent lot. Once the initial emergency had been addressed, they really didn't want any outside assistance, although they deeply appreciated what was offered.
The team and various others rode back in the vehicle, once again marveling at how narrow the band of destruction was. They had gotten used to seeing trees with the limbs stripped bare of leaves in the village. Now, only a few kilometers from the path of the cyclone, the trees were back to their late summer glory of full foliage.
Now they welcomed gratefully the attention they received in the Ward and Comfort section. Most of them had small cuts and slivers of wood in their hands and arms, as well as bruises and pulled muscles. At the time, they worked through it, now every nick was demanding attention. Even Eros himself had been nursing a sprained ankle that the symbiote hadn't had time or energy to heal with the other demands on it.
They bathed and ate and drank their medication and relaxed and felt their strength returning.
"Well, sir. It wasn't the tour we had expected. But I think we saw the best of your world in the process," Thomalsin said as they walked back to the main building.
"You also saw some of the worst," Eros said nodding to Lieutenant Hecht.
"Things like that happen everywhere," the Marine said.
"Yes. They do. Unfortunately." He seemed saddened by the fact. "We do not have an extensive career criminal element, but we do have some opportunists. In fact, I am grateful you killed the man you did. He had been through the program a couple of times before and he returned to his ways each time. Now he is an example of why that isn't a good thing to do. He will be buried without honor to him or his family." Eros opened the door to the dining hall with a flourish. "We have returned." He called out to the room.
The cheers and applause wasn't as overwhelming as it had been before because some of those that would be in the room were still out tending to other duties. But they were still welcomed as heroes and Eros relished in it.
"He still has some of the traits of other Goa'uld," Baxter whispered to the major.
"Those, I can tolerate," he replied.
After the meal, the SG team went and looked up Lar-Nar the Jaffa.
"We will be leaving tomorrow and I wanted to stop by and tell you what my report will say about Eros," Major Thomalsin said after they exchanged hand clasps and other greetings.
"And that will be?"
"I will recommend that we establish normal relations with this planet and the elders and... Eros himself."
The old Jaffa squeezed Thomalsin's arm firmly. "For my people, I am honored, sir. Thank you."
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[NOTE: This Story Is FAN FICTION. This presentation carries the copyright The Media Desk, 2007. Author retains all rights, including the right of approval for further publication. STARGATE SG-1, and all images and situations affiliated with STARGATE (the movie and the TV series) are originally owned and copyrighted by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and other entities. They are used in this story without intent to harm or otherwise defame MGM, the SciFi Channel or anybody else. If either of those parties object to it, the story will be pulled immediately. The Media Desk is not in any way affiliated with MGM or SciFi. For information contact Levite. Email- drleftover[~at-]themediadesk[~dot-]com (email scrambled to screw with spammer robots), or surface mail to: The Media Desk, PO Box 1276, Dover, DE 19903 ]