Day three on MPX-9913, the sun had stopped shining as brightly, Hushin said that it was because they were entering the other side of their moons, and winter would be soon following. Sam had spent an evening with Hushin, listening to how the planets revolved and asking how they had started to go through the Stargate. The astrophysicist in her listened as he described that, although their planet was the center of the moons that revolved around, they too revolved around the moons. Sam had explained that Earth too revolved around a central point - "The sun, it's a bright star. We have one moon, which revolves around us, as we revolve around the sun," she had said, making gestures as she talked.
Daniel had continued to read and had asked Rodney to help with some research. Rodney had protested at first until Daniel had a heart to heart with him.
"Rodney," Daniel said, already exasperated. "You have to stop being so childish about Sam and me being married. We have a child and he is better at letting life happen than you."
"I am not childish, I simply know that it is wrong," Rodney said, crossing his arms.
"Okay so it's wrong in some alternate universe, but this is the one we live in. I have loved Sam since the day she handed me coffee, but really fell in love with her the day she started to fall apart and forgot that I was ready to bandage her," Daniel said. He sighed and closed his eyes. "No other woman can make me feel so grounded, so free, so right and, yes, sometimes, so wrong. Sam and I are married. It was only natural I would fall for my best friend, fellow scientist, the girl-soldier." Daniel snapped his eyes open and looked at Rodney. "You are operating in our world for a bit now. Get over whatever you think Sam and you have. Your hating me isn't going to help us solve this mystery that the Dune's people seem to have lying around."
Slowly Rodney's defenses had come down and soon he was almost hanging his head. "I suppose it was wrong to have thought Sam would wait for me."
Daniel laughed a deep, hearty laugh. "Rodney, I would have killed you if you had tried anything with Sam. Me being in love with her would not have mattered. And if you were not dead yet, I would have told her father, and you would be long gone. Sam waits for no man; she has finally grown comfortable with having feelings and grabs life like she did when I first met her."
Rodney nodded and stuck out his hand. Daniel grasped it and saw that they had finally come to an understanding. Daniel feared it would be a while until it was resolved, but the fact that there was a common understanding was more than he could have hoped for a few minutes earlier.
Cam and Sheppard shared the evenings talking about tactics that each Colonel's had found worked with their respective flag teams. They had each had their share of odd days where they seemed to have to reinvent the wheel, but neither would give it up for anything else.
The three others, Vala, Ronan and Teyla, would spend the free time playing cards. Each would teach the others a new game and talk about their lives before, during and now that the SGC had invaded each of their lives. The others were surprised how much laughter came from the three of them during the times when the Chancellor and dignitaries were discussing things in private and after their day of negotiations.
Sam closed the door to the room she and Daniel shared, noting that the window was open and the light breeze was gently blowing the sheer curtains. She crossed the room to the bed of which Daniel sat on the edge of, peering into a book. "You know you don't have to make it cold for me to snuggle with you," she said as she buried a kiss into his neck. She slid her arms under his, and hugged him tightly.
"But I see it helps," he said as he kissed her. Closing the book, he set it aside, placing his glasses on top of them. "The more I read the more I am convinced things are not all as they seem."
Sam was going to come back with a snarky comment, but saw the seriousness in Daniel's eyes. "What's the running theory?" She slid back and he put his feet fully on the bed. Wrapping an arm around her, he pulled her to him as he lay down.
"I don't think these Priests are just Priests, and I don't think there really are Wraith-free colonies that did not come at a price," Daniel said, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"You think they are connected somehow?"
"Somehow yes. The texts say that they gave offerings to the people who brought them to this planet - very much like our favorite uber-bad guys, the Goa'uld. But then all traces of offerings are erased; it's like they stopped but the Wraith, or Wraith-like race, never punished them. That is the really strange thing. One year they are giving offerings, the next they are not even mentioning the ceremony."
Sam rested her head on his shoulder and laid an arm over his body, the other arm threading through his hair. "Well, it would not be the Wraith style to just stop coming by. We learned that from the Goa'uld. Something must have changed stopping the offerings."
"Something," Daniel said, thoughtfully. He turned his eyes toward Sam, who was thinking. "Hey, Beautiful. Let's stop making our brains come out of our ears."
She slid her eyes from space and transfixed them on her husband's, "Hey, Handsome. Now that's the best thing I have heard in a while." She kissed him softly, always somehow more exciting when he took control in the bedroom.
"These are the outlying colonies we are offering," the Chancellor said the next morning.
They had walked in to see a large panel - Sheppard marveled how it looked like the ones used in Atlantis - and a feast on the table they had been sitting at for three days. Vala had leaned over to Cam, asking if it was safe. Rodney gaffed and popped a grape size fruit in his mouth.
"Do you mind if I..." Sheppard asked as he got up and moved around the table. Coming to the map, he looked at it for a moment, and then looked back to Rodney - who had not fainted, as he had feared after eating the food. Rodney got up and came eagerly around the table.
"Um... here is Atlantis," Rodney said, stretching his finger out. Sheppard stopped his hand just as it was indicating a star cluster. "Hey," Rodney said.
"We are protecting our butts, no pointing." Sheppard hissed, turned and smiled at the Chancellor, who was not even really looking at them. Jabbing a thumb over his shoulder Sheppard asked if they could take the map into the other room.
With a short nod, and the decision to reconvene in the afternoon, the team found themselves being brought into the Weeping Room with the map being trailed behind them. As the door closed, Rodney glared at Sheppard.
"I agree with Sheppard," Cam said, Sheppard giving a small head nod and a 'thank you'. "You can't be too careful. As far as we know, we could still be entertaining the enemy."
"Actually they are entertaining us," Vala countered as she wondered to a nearby seat. "They are being quite friendly actually."
"Everyone can be friendly, until you turn around with a knife in your back," Ronan said. He managed to sound like he was growling everything.
"I think we should look at that map," Daniel said, crossing the room. "Rodney, you said that Atlantis is here?" He lightly moved his fingers around the cluster of stars on the chart.
Rodney, a bit calmer, or at least a bit more cooperative with Daniel, nodded. "Atlantis is actually this one. They were not kidding when they said that the planets they have are in the outlying places of the galaxy. Unless we have come to them via gate, there is no way the Daelalus would have found these and explored them. Maybe they really are unoccupied by the Wraith."
"Or could be unoccupied," Teyla said, stepping forward. "I understand that they are grateful for the long range communications, but to give us territory and the ability to travel farther in the same amount of time it takes now? I would think that would be an unsafe trade."
"Well, not if you need long range communications," Rodney said.
"The whole thing is a bit fishy. I wish we could look at the place beforehand. I mean it's like buying a home; you inspect it beforehand, then make an offer," Cam said.
"You don't just buy a home because it sounded good in the ad?" Rodney asked.
Sam looked at Daniel from the small table that some of the food was on. She rolled her eyes and grabbed another candy bar, hoping the few hours would pass quickly, or she would be forced to play a card game with Vala. Anything to stop the small insanity Rodney brought.
The afternoon was unproductive and Daniel had started writing his first draft of his life story, Sam filled in the blanks on a crossword puzzle she had tucked away. Vala had asked to leave and go back to the house, Hushin escorting her. The others sat as quietly as they could and listened about the agriculture of the planets, the dignitaries selling the place as if it was a vacation place. They also included how the Dunes won the colonies and had a treaty with the Wraith.
"You won them?" Daniel said, putting his pen down. "How did you win them?" He leaned over and looked at them. This could be the missing piece he had been looking for over the past few days.
"Surely a man of your talents has already read some of the history books in the library; you know the history of our people. An ancestral race we call the Cullers brought us here to Dune, giving us a new life, but still demanding some service from us. So for time we had no choice, until we found a way we could still worship those who brought us, yet not have to make sacrifices," one of the delegates said.
"Sacrifices?" Daniel asked, uneasy with the response he was sure was to follow.
"They would come to us and take those who we chose to go back to through the Stone with them. They were bestowed the great honor to be going with the gods of that time," he replied.
"Those people were tortured, killed, maybe even revived to be killed again," Sheppard said, maintaining his military mask even though he was disgusted inside.
"We found that out, and we sought a new god to whom to bring us our sacrifices to. We found them among the stars, saying they came from where the Cullers did. They could show us how to worship them, and in time become like them," the Chancellor said, taking over.
"To become like them?" Cam repeated.
"We have the authority to rule and expand our colonies. We can give our people the best life possible; this is what we offer also to any who enter treaties with us. We know you are advanced in technology, and we have an abundance of territories, so the trade is an easy one. In time I hope we can further our treaty and offer this to your rulers as well."
"Like you said, when we further the treaty," Cam said. Looking outside he sighed. "It is getting late, and we have much to discuss. Can we maybe wrap this up tomorrow, say noon-ish?"
"Well, we are looking at a big trade. It seems so simple as we sit here and talk about it, but there are things logistically we must discuss. And if we can get to the gate to talk to Earth, that would be helpful also," Cam said.
The Chancellor sat for a moment, thinking. "We can permit you access to the Stone, for a small amount of time; we are expecting visitors later tonight."
"Of course, we will be as quick and unobtrusive as possible."
The Chancellor nodded, and once more got up as the dignitaries also rose. They once more filed out, leaving SG-1 and the Atlantis team to talk about who was going where, and what their next course of action should be.