Sheppard was looking at Rodney, wondering if he had heard him correctly. Sam was simply not watching the monkey court that Rodney had made for them, and Daniel was wondering why he forgot to bring a decent pen so he could update his Last Will and Testament. Vala was muttering about "torture, pure, torture" with Teyla silently counting how many lifetimes it would take for her to forget about this day. Ronan was standing beside Cam, who was eying his weapon and calculating how fast the bullet would be going in order to put Rodney out of the misery he was causing everyone.

"... The Wraith are not some race that will quietly die. I should know, I have had to deal with them. Blood sucking, crazy looking men. I don't think they can even be considered men in the humanoid sense. We have had to deal with them for well over 3 years and they keep culling planet after planet. So I highly doubt that there is even one planet, as you and your... dignitaries have said. What are you dignitaries of? As I was saying I highly doubt that there is even a planet that has escaped the Wraith's eyes, as you say," Rodney said, finally concluding his long speech. Cam carefully took his finger off the trigger, and relaxed.

The rest of the team, now double in size, watched as Rodney turned and gave them a cheerful nod. Half of them groaned; the other half was oblivious to the now concluded speech. The real worry came as the Chancellor and the dignitaries looked at one another and consulted in hushed tones.

"I vote 'not good,'" Sheppard said, leaning toward Daniel.

Daniel nodded and added, "I see crispy creme personnel."

"Aw come on, I did great," Rodney said, still with a smile on his face. Sam looked at him and was sure he would die with a silly grin on his face thinking "Oh a bullet, aw that's not going to kill me." Sam smiled at the thought.

"I suggest we all retire for the night and discuss this in the morning. Your lodging has been provided," the Chancellor said, standing. He walked out, followed by the ten delegates trailing after him.

"Not good," Sheppard said once more. Hushin escorted them back to the village below, the group surprised at how deserted it had become once night had descended. They were shown into a large brick home.

"You will not be disturbed here. There are beds in the upper rooms so you can rest. The other Priests will bring some food for night meal. If you need anything, ring this bell and one of the Priests shall come," Hushin said, handing a silver bell to Cam.

"Thank you, we should not need anything. What is this place, by chance?" Cam asked, taking his vest off.

"This is the general meeting place for the Priests of the Order of Colonies. We train all the priests here and send them out. All visitors are welcomed and are housed here if they have no place to stay," Hushin replied. He bowed and left the room, lighting three candles along the way.

"I have the willies from him. I sure hope there is some good food in this place," Rodney muttered.

The group took the lit candles and went around the home, lighting more candles and lamps, exploring the place. They found six bedrooms were upstairs and a small library where Sam had left Daniel. He went around the room as if he had never seen a book before. Cam and Sheppard helped make sleeping arrangements.

"Carter and Jackson, you have your own room," Cam started, looking at the list he had made.

"Wait. Why do they get their own room? It's against regs they are even married and on the same team!" Rodney protested.

"You want to share the bed with Daniel?" Sam asked. Seeing Rodney did not invoke happy memories of their encounters.

"No. But I don't see why you should."

"Because we share a tent all the time - even before we were married sometimes - and that is not going to change."

"Continuing," Cam said, scowling at Rodney. He had never meet the man when Sam and Daniel were unmarried, but the few times he had talked to him over long range communications, he had seen why Rodney got on the scientists' nerves. "Colonel Sheppard and I will have our own rooms, Ronan and McKay and Vala and Teyla, you share separate rooms."

"Wait, that's only five rooms! You said there were six bedrooms," Rodney said.

"I'm glad you can count," Vala said, eying him. He had gotten a bit under her skin as well, which surprised Cam. "Maybe it's for your protection. You never know when these priests may want to study your brain. Or lack there-of," she added.

"Good point. Ronan, you sleep closer to the door then," Rodney said. Ronan looked at the man and huffed, walking toward the table and sat down.

~*~*~

Their meal arrived and Sam went to get Daniel. "Hey sweetie, dinner has arrived."

"Okay, be there in a moment," Daniel said, distracted. He had pulled six books down and had each opened, reading them furiously. He would pause, cross-reference and then jot something down. He realized Sam was still in the doorway and turned. "Oh I'm sorry, I guess this kind of pulled me in."

Sam smiled and crossed the floor, putting her arm around his neck and peering over his shoulder. "Anything that is going to get us safely through the week with Rodney McKay trying to piss the natives off?"

"Sweetie, these are books, not miracles," Daniel grinned. He wrapped his arms around hers and smiled up to her. "Have I told you how much I love you?"

"Hmmm, I think you were in the middle of that when we were interrupted," Sam said.

He got up; making sure no books fell and pulled her into his arms. "Well we must finish that conversation and then on to dinner." He cupped her chin and lovingly stroked her cheek. "Love you so much Samantha Jackson," he breathed as he captured her lips with his own. The kiss stole her breath and her heart if there was even a part of it that was not already his. They pulled back and smiled into each other's eyes. "May I take you out for some dinner?"

"What's on the menu?" Sam asked.

"I don't know; it's a foreign place. I think it comes highly recommended," Daniel said softly.

"A date? Daniel Jackson, you are flirting with me," Sam said as they moved toward the door.

"I will be on my best behavior, after dinner may be a different story. And I don't flirt with just any woman. I prefer mine with a wedding band matching mine and who bore my beautiful son. Have you seen her?" Daniel said, shutting the door behind them.

"She sounds familiar. I will keep an eye out."

"Be sure you do. And tell her my heart is hers."

"Only if she tells you hers is yours?"

"Naturally."

"I know exactly where she is, then. You will be dining with her tonight," Sam said quietly as they walked down the stairs.

"Perfect," Daniel said as he kissed her lightly and walked into the dining room that was already full of the others and food. "Perfect."

~*~*~

After a relaxing dinner, the group split up. Rodney went to find a suitable bedroom, Ronan refusing to go to bed so soon. Vala and Ronan sat talking to Teyla by the fireplace, while Cam, Sheppard, Sam and Daniel stayed in the dining room, Daniel bringing a few books and his notes down from the library

"I found some interesting things in these books," Daniel said as he spread the books out and consulted his notes. Sam smiled as she watched him ease into the linguist and teacher he was born to be. "As I studied them, they seem to be in Latin, or a form of Latin, a slight connection to Ancient also."

"That seems to be a recurring language. Most of Atlantis was a mystery to us until we found some base language that we could decipher everything else from," Sheppard said, settling back into the chair. "It would make sense that this place has Latin roots if that is the Ancients' language of choice. They have a Stargate too," he shrugged.

"I think you're right. Most of the established races we have met, who have some kind of human form, seems to have a story of origin," Daniel said. "I started in the beginning and found some interesting things. First they say they were brought to this planet by, 'those whose hands seemed to be life suckers, and had hunger in their eyes. Bringing us to the place of trees, they set us free to bring offerings each year to the stone altar.'"

"Sounds like the other kind of stories that we have found all over the Pegasus galaxy also, but then I am not surprised; we know most humans came from Earth," Sheppard said, raking a hand through his wayward hair. "It is curious that they say 'hands that seem to be life suckers.' That seems a bit too close to home."

"That would mean that the Wraith, or some form of the Wraith, have visited this galaxy. Maybe they followed the Ancients around," Sam said. "I know that you have found in Atlantis' logs that they were great enemies, maybe even more powerful then the Ancients."

"Okay so the Wraith brought these people here," Cam said, tapping a pen on the table as he spoke. "And they demanded offerings. Is that like the cullings that you have been seeing?" Sheppard nodded thoughtfully. "So that just means that the Wraith was here."

"So how can these people be saying they have unoccupied Wraith colonies in the Pegasus Galaxy? We know that the Wraith have blended with other races and then of course making 'runners' for their pleasure," Sam said. "For all we know these people have a bit of Wraith in them. But the questions still boil down to: Could they have defeated the Wraith that had come into our galaxy?"

"How did they do that?" Sheppard asked.

"How indeed," Daniel muttered. The four looked at one another trying to figure out what all the information meant.

 

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