"'Blood on my knife', kid?" Jack was standing next to a fidgeting Xander as they waited for Teal'c and Sam to join them. There was some kind of technical issue at the Beta Site, and so Xander's first trip through the Stargate was going to be to P2X-413 - a reputedly peaceful planet. That reputation, combined with the disastrous luck of all newbies to gate travel, had Jack a little tense.
"Battle cry of the Sunnydale Survivor, Sir?" Xander responded cheekily. "Okay, I'll admit, 'dust on my stake' would be a bit more appropriate, but hopefully not particularly apt for whatever we might encounter." He cast a sideways glance at the colonel. "I note you didn't object to the twinkie bit."
Jack scoffed. "Just goes to show you've got your priorities in order."
Xander raised an eyebrow. "Dead baddies and twinkies, oh happy day?"
"Can you explain to Giles for me that that is, in fact, a valid life philosophy? He's never really gotten behind it."
"Dusty books and tea."
"Translation?" Sam's voice came from behind them, distinctly amused.
"Carter!" Jack jumped a little, covering it up with bluster. "Just explaining the difference between your average Watcher and your average Daniel."
"Tea and coffee, Sir?"
"You betcha," Jack grinned.
"Plus that whole alien/demon thing," Xander added.
"Otherwise? I feel right at home."
"I find this greatly disturbing, XanderHarris." Xander blinked. He would have sworn the sneaky Jaffa had almost smiled.
"Teal'c! You made it!" Jack espoused merrily.
"Teal'c! You made a joke!" Was Xander's somewhat warier contribution.
"Harris, don't mock your superior officer."
Xander turned puppy-eyes on Jack. "Yes, Sir, of course, Sir, never dream of it, Sir."
Jack's eyes rolled in response. "Shut your face and get to the ramp, Harris."
Xander skipped happily in decidedly non-regulation fashion. "Yes, Sir!"
The rest of the team, barring Daniel who was sequestered with his new dusty scrolls, followed more sedately. Jack tried very, very hard to ignore Hammond's quirked smile as the man watched from the gallery.
He noticed that Xander grew more tense as the gate technician went through the process of dialing the planet's address and stepped up to his side. "Don't worry, kid. Every report says the planet's a cake-walk. We go through, take a wander so that you, too, can experience the glory of the alien trees, and -barring incident - go home." He turned to face Xander fully and realized that the boy had blanched almost completely white - a true accomplishment, given his skin tone. "What is it?"
Xander closed his eyes as if praying for patience. "That's one hell of a jinx, Sir." He rolled his shoulders and met Jack's concerned gaze. "I'm just glad I had that twinkie."
"I'm so not glad I had that twinkie," Xander moaned, holding his belly and slumping against the DHD.
"Those are some damn fine trees, Sir."
"Nice and alien."
"Look kinda like oak, Sir."
Jack turned away from Sam to see both Xander and Teal'c focused on the tree-line. They'd been tromping around for a while, hoping to encounter some of the low-tech natives. Apparently the locals were very good traders, given a kind of free pass to any planet they came to. They produced some nifty woodwork and a particular variety of fur that was damned near waterproof, and basically moved from Stargate to Stargate until they'd traded the commodities of a dozen different planets for the goods needed back home - plus a substantial profit. SG-1 was near the main settlement, but had yet to encounter any locals.
"What is it, Harris?"
"These alien trees of yours. They been known to scream?"
"For cryin' out loud!"
Well, they knew where the locals were.
Now if they could only find Xander.
Jack blanched as he heard Xander's voice ring out in the clearing. The Goa'uld's attention snapped around, her Jaffa falling in before her.
"You are one ugly
little merf, aintcha?" Xander shook his head, stepping out of the trees. "Not the body - you can hear me, right? The person the Goa'uld's inside? In fact, you've got an absolutely bangin' bod. But that nasty little monster all coiled around your spine? Fugly, man."
Jack was swearing silently, signaling to Sam and Teal'c to take flanking positions. The small group of natives were still huddled together, seemingly unaware that the Goa'uld's attention had been diverted - of course, the two Jaffa who were still standing over them, staves open and ready to fire, might have been some deterrent as well.
"Who are you, impudent mortal?" The Goa'uld's voice deepened menacingly, but Xander only wrinkled his nose.
"Y'know, I get called that more often than one might think."
"Answer!" She commanded, stepping forward. Her Jaffa moved smoothly at her sides.
"Xander, if you please." He swept a dramatic bow, but never dropped his eyes from hers. "And you are?"
"A god, puny underling. I do not please
." Jack could practically see the disdain curling her lip from behind.
The Jaffa were distracted by Xander, but the three members of SG-1 were still going to be hard pressed to incapacitate them before either Xander or the captives got blasted.
"Specificity, your great and powerful Oz-ness. Which god?"
"I am Sarpanit!" She thundered, sweeping a hand out to encompass the clearing. "Mother of all!"
"Uh-huh." Xander, decidedly unimpressed, rocked on his heels. Jack swore under his breath and darted a glance at Teal'c, who shook his head. He'd never heard of her, which was pretty strange, considering she commanded Jaffa.
Sam had gotten the attention - a serious risk, but Jack couldn't fault her for it - of one of the huddled boys under Jaffa guard. It was only now that Jack realized that they were all, in fact, male, and his stomach started to sink. Xander had warned him about jinxes…
Sam signaled to the boy, who nudged his friends, and the five actually understood her quick hand-signals and began slowly inching their way in a widening half-circle away from the Jaffa.
"Do you not tremble, mortal?" Sarpanit demanded, again stepping closer. And again the Jaffa moved along with her; even the two guarding the local boys were twitching, attention divided. If Jack didn't kill the kid for this stunt, he might congratulate him on his tactics. Provided it was intentional. Of course, this was Xander - his stupider stunts usually were to some purpose.
Xander shrugged and cocked his head. "Depends. Do you have really, really big teeth? Are you capable of transforming into an eighty-foot-long snake? Can you burn the humanity out of me? Have you hunted my loved ones and slaughtered the innocent?" He smirked. "Because they scared me. But then again, they're all dead, too."
Sarpanit hissed. "I have strength and power beyond mortal ken; I will live forever!"
This time it was Xander who stepped forward. He ducked his head a little, as if sharing a secret, but his voice carried clearly to Jack. "That's what they said."
She howled and struck out, lashing him across the face, and the Jaffa brought up their weapons. The boys took the opportunity to make a run for it; when their guards would have pursued, Sarpanit stopped them.
"You beast, you fool, you pathetic slime!"
Xander, who hand been driven to the ground by the blow, gathered his knees under him and pushed himself erect. Blood trickled down his face.
"That's not very nice," he scolded. "Name-calling is a bit juvenile, isn't it?"
"You lost me my hosts, fool," she hissed, drawing herself up. "You will bear Marduk in their stead."
With the hostages gone, it was time for the rest of the team to move. Signaling to Teal'c and Sam, Jack began the assault, firing upon the two guard Jaffa.
In the chaos of gunfire and staff-blast, Jack almost missed the Goa'uld's triumphant shriek.
Instead, he swore and took off running, pounding her body with bullets as soon as he realized that Xander was back on the ground.
She collapsed, an open and empty glazed stone jar rolling away from her grasp, Jaffa thudding around her as Teal'c and Sam finished things off. Jack was stunned to realize that he was largely unhurt.
Was rolling up onto his hands and knees, vomiting?
He waited for the shuddering and heaving to end, Sam and Teal'c standing by him in equal horror. Finally, Xander collapsed onto his back and blinked blearily up at him.
"Harris, what the hell happened?"
"I bit down, Sir."
Jack turned very, very green.