Oâ€™Neill stepped out of the Scorpion
that had ferried them down to the planet, followed by Sam and a pair of USC officers â€“ still called marines by most people. Daniel was waiting for them on the edge of the landing platform, and he greeted Sam with a friendly hug.
â€œIâ€™m glad you guys made it,â€ he said.
â€œWouldnâ€™t miss it,â€ Oâ€™Neill said, glancing around the nearly empty landing area. â€œSo â€“ no escort?â€
â€œI told them I could lead you off the pad myself. The Hebridians are waiting inside the Space Centre,â€ Daniel said, nodding towards a large silver building to his right.
â€œWell, we shouldnâ€™t keep them waiting,â€ Sam said. â€œIâ€™m interested in what this Tollan has to say.â€
Daniel nodded, and they followed him to the building. Oâ€™Neill noted the security guards as they walked through the main doors, marking them unconsciously due to years of military experience. They were greeted shortly by a middle-aged human with a small entourage.
â€œMy name is Daâ€™er Iliov,â€ he said, â€œand on behalf of the Unified Hebridian Government I welcome you to Hebridan. I believe youâ€™ve all been here before?â€ Oâ€™Neill looked back to their marine bodyguards, who nodded.
â€œYup,â€ he said. â€œNice place.â€
â€œThank you,â€ Daâ€™er said, smiling. â€œNow, Daniel here has given me to understand that you are here to see our recent visitor?â€
â€œYes, we are,â€ Sam said. â€œWeâ€™re interested in what she has to say to us.â€
â€œAh, yes,â€ Daâ€™er mused. â€œHer enigmatic warning. Perhaps she will finally reveal something now that youâ€™ve come.â€
â€œThatâ€™s what weâ€™re here to find out,â€ Daniel said.
â€œWell, in that case I have two options to offer you,â€ Daâ€™er said. â€œYou can go rest a bit in the diplomatic suite weâ€™ve reserved for you at the Embassy Hotel down the way, or you can come with me to the Security Department right now to see our guest.â€ Oâ€™Neill looked at Sam, indicating that it was up to her.
â€œI think weâ€™ll go right now,â€ she said. â€œNo need to keep her waiting.â€
* * *
The Sun Tzu
slid gracefully out of hyperspace in orbit of Edyappa. The planet was on the fringes of the Jaffa Planetsâ€™ Alliance, but it still had a fairly impressive defence system. A web of weapons satellites orbited the planet, providing a screen against any attacking force, and a pair of Haâ€™tak
sat in high orbit with their Alâ€™kesh
Gao was not surprised, therefore, when the Sun Tzu
was immediately hailed and requested to lower her jamming so she could be scanned. He ordered his sensor officer, Lt. Commander Wong Chi, to comply, and after a few minutes the Jaffa contacted them again to welcome them to the Edyappan System. Shortly after this, they were hailed by the Woruâ€™aih
. As expected, Commander Neâ€™cham appeared on the screen.
â€œHello again, Admiral,â€ he said. â€œMy thanks to you for responding so promptly to my request. I understand you wish to take the Aschen on board?â€
â€œYes, Commander,â€ Gao replied. â€œWe will take him to Hebridan, where he will be free to lodge an official complaint against the JPA if he wishes. If the investigation proves your innocence, we will simply send him away.â€
â€œI am certain it will,â€ Neâ€™cham said, tilting his head down respectfully.
â€œIndeed,â€ Gao replied. â€œNow then, has the Aschen agreed to this? Things could become rather difficult if he will not come.â€
â€œHe has agreed to go with you,â€ Neâ€™cham said. â€œWe have him onboard now, ready for transport.â€
â€œVery good,â€ said Gao. â€œOur shields are lowered; you may transport him when ready.â€ Neâ€™cham motioned off-screen, and a matter stream quickly appeared between the two ships.
â€œTransport complete, sir,â€ Wong said. â€œWe have the passenger.â€
* * *
Daniel, followed by Carter and Oâ€™Neill, walked into the mid-sized suite that Daâ€™er had led them to inside the Security Department. He paused for a moment before noticing the door off to the side, which Daâ€™er went over to and pushed open. Daniel followed him into the room, and was greeted by the sight of a young woman, no more than thirty. Her pitch black hair was in sharp contrast to her pale skin, and the intensity of her grey-blue eyes seemed to pierce right through him. In some ways, she reminded him of Vala, whom he hadnâ€™t seen since she left to attempt to reconcile with Tomin. In others, she reminded him of his long-dead wife, Shaâ€™re. But there was something else, another air about her that he felt he should recognize but didnâ€™t: something deeply familiar.
â€œUm, hello,â€ he began, somewhat less than eloquently. â€œIâ€™m Daniel Jackson, and this is â€“â€
â€œJonathan Oâ€™Neill and Samantha Carter,â€ she said. â€œYes, I know who you are. You were famous among the Tollan.â€
â€œReally?â€ Oâ€™Neill said quizzically. â€œYouâ€™d never have guessed.â€
â€œI assure you, your likenesses were well known. The saviours of those lost on Tollan,â€ the woman replied.
â€œWait a minute,â€ Carter interjected. â€œHow could you remember us? You canâ€™t have been alive when Tollana was destroyed.â€
â€œI was not,â€ the woman admitted. â€œBut my father was. He raised me and taught me of Earth. That is how I know who you are.â€
â€œWell,â€ said Oâ€™Neill, â€œyou may know us, but we donâ€™t know you. What was your name, again?â€
â€œMy apologies,â€ she said politely. â€œMy name is Cevacel.â€
â€œCevacel,â€ Daniel said, rolling the name around in his mouth. It didnâ€™t sound familiar. â€œWeâ€™re pleased to meet you.â€
â€œThank you,â€ she replied.
â€œBut we didnâ€™t just come to say hi,â€ Carter said. â€œWe were told you had a message for us. A warning.â€
â€œYes,â€ Cevacel said, her eyes darkening. â€œYou must hear me now if you wish your people to survive.
â€œYou are all in great danger.â€