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Moebius Squared

Melissa and I just got edits back on Moebius Squared, our SG-1 novel which is out in a few months, so I thought I'd share a piece with you. If you remember the episode Moebius, an alternate version of the SG-1 team was left in the past, in Early Dynastic Egypt, to be specific. Moebius Squared has both the AU team from Moebius and the main timeline team from just a few days after Continuum. This piece is from the first scene in the book, in which AU Teal'c brings Jack a big problem....



Egypt
2492 BC


The slanting light of very early morning danced across the water of the Nile, cutting through the last of the pre dawn fog. An ibis took flight, white wings spreading. A fish jumped.

On a dock by the riverside, shaded by a grove of date palms, a man in what appeared to be a pair of white linen boxer shorts cast a line into the river and lazily began to reel it in. Colonel Jack O'Neill, USAF retired (very retired) picked up the clay cup at his elbow and took a sip through the straw, reflecting that he was never going to get entirely used to beer for breakfast.

Not that he had complaints. It was pretty malty beer, and the straw meant that you could kind of browse over the sediments in the bottom, but it was also really good beer. For breakfast. On what promised to be a gorgeous day. This retirement thing was working out pretty well.

Of course, this was about the only hour of the day he could count on peace and quiet. Any minute Ellie would be screaming, and when Ellie was up nobody was sleeping. And then there would be Aset bustling around insisting that eggs were more breakfast than beer and that Sam had to eat eggs or she'd lose her milk, and Daniel would be charging around with rolls of paper in his hands coming up with reasons why he couldn't change Ellie, and Sam would tie Ellie on her back while she was looking at Daniel's latest plan for something or other, and there wouldn't be a moment's peace until midnight.

But for now -- blessed quiet. He could just sit here and drink his breakfast and fish.

"O'Neill?"

Jack closed his eyes. Yep. That was that. "Hey, Teal'c."

Teal'c came down the dock and regarded him solemnly. He was wearing a shenti, one of the white linen kilts that was just about the only thing Egyptian men wore most of the time, but it looked good on him. He had the height and the chest to carry it off. To look good in a shenti you really needed washboard abs.

Which was why Jack had stuck to pants as long as possible. But somewhere in the second year the only pair he had pretty much fell to pieces, and his attempts at tailoring had resulted in linen boxers and a big tunic like a kurta, which made people die laughing when they saw him. It had taken Daniel a month to explain that it was because here only eunuchs would wear anything like that. And so in the interests of avoiding misunderstandings, like being taken for two nuts short of a pound, he'd given up on the kurta unless it was really cold. The boxers were more or less the same length as a shenti, but gave a greater feeling of security.

Teal'c laid his head to the side, the necklace of links of pure gold around his neck shifting. "You are not occupied?"

"No, come pull up a piece of dock," Jack said. "It's nice and quiet."

"They are not awake at the house yet," Teal'c said, but didn't sit down. Obviously he was going somewhere important, and sitting on the dock he'd get dirt all over the back of his shenti. With his torso bare, the x of the symbiote pouch on his stomach showed starkly, and the faint scar where Apophis’s tattoo had been was suddenly visible on his forehed. "I wondered if I might speak with you alone for a few moments."

Jack frowned. Nothing good started that way. "Shoot," he said.

"I had hoped that this eventuality would not occur for many years, but I was wrong." Teal'c looked out over the river, his hands behind his back. "I hoped, when I first thought that it might be so, that I was mistaken. But I am not. And so I must come to you, and trust that you will do what is necessary when the time comes."

Jack put down the beer. "What are we talking about here?"

Teal'c lifted his head, kohl rimmed eyes a little suspiciously bright. "My symbiote is maturing."

"I don't…."

"It is maturing, O'Neill. When it does, it will be an adult Goa'uld. And it will take a host. It will find a first host of its choosing and it will force them to serve it. And I will die." Teal'c's deep voice was calm. "When it happens, when the symbiote leaves me, you must kill it so that it can harm no one."

Jack frowned. "Ok, two things. What if I'm not there when it gets ready."

"I have anticipated that," Teal'c said, his eyes on the far shore. "That is why it is best to remove it preemptively and kill it."

Jack blinked. "Won't that kill you?"

"I will die without a symbiote in any event, O'Neill. It is better that it is done in such a way that the symbiote has no chance to harm anyone else." He glanced back to the low mud brick house above the flood line, nestled among the palm trees. "It will choose from those closest to it. I do not want there to be a shadow of a chance…" His voice trailed off.

"That it could take Sam or Daniel or Aset or…."

"Or you, O'Neill. It must be done soon if there is to be no risk. That is why I am speaking with you. You are the only one who is capable of killing me." Teal'c half turned, looking down at Jack. "Will you not do this for me, my brother? Before there is any chance it harms those I love?"

Jack swallowed. "Ok," he said. "Hold on here. I have to kill the symbiote. I'm good with that. But ordinarily wouldn't you just trade up for a new, immature symbiote? Isn't that what Jaffa usually do?"

"It is indeed," Teal'c said. "And what I should do, were there any other symbiotes on the planet. But the surviving Jaffa who served Ra were herded through the Stargate, and the Pharaoh Narmer killed the immature spawn who remained as we advised. It is not possible to simply take on another symbiote." He shook his head. "I will die, O'Neill. I have known that. But I thought it would be many years before this symbiote matured." He glanced at him sideways, and the corner of his mouth quirked. "It is not difficult to forget an evil day which one expects to be many years in the future when the present is sweet."

"Yeah." It had certainly occurred to Jack that he probably didn't have as many years left to him as he would in his own time, in a world with modern medicine, but there wasn't much point in thinking about that. He was fifty five, not dead. He had quite a few good years left to him, and he meant to enjoy them. Yeah, he knew objectively he'd probably never see Ellie grown, but it wasn't like he expected to keel over tomorrow either. And Daniel and Sam were young. They'd be around for Ellie for a long time.

"It must be," Teal'c said quietly. "Swear to me that when the moment comes you will do as you must, before it can harm any other." His eyes met Jack's. "Swear it to me, O'Neill. That you will not let this Goa'uld take a host."

Jack swallowed again. "Ok," he said. "I swear. But let's think through some options before we get there, buddy."

"There are no options." A shade of impatience crept into Teal'c's voice. "There are no other symbiotes."

"On Earth," Jack said.

Teal'c's eyebrows rose. "The Stargate is buried for a very good reason."

"Yeah, but it's been buried for three years. Ra's probably gotten tired of trying it. We could dig it up for a quick recon. What are the chances he'd dial in if it were open for a couple of hours?"

"That is a grave risk for one man," Teal'c said. "It is not a good decision."

"Neither is letting you die," Jack said.


Also? I have to share my favorite line in the book, delivered by Daniel to Cameron Mitchell, "Is that a zat in your shenti or are you just glad to see me?"

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
janetlin
Sep. 30th, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
Looks great! Excited for it to come out.
jo_graham
Oct. 2nd, 2012 02:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I hope you enjoy it!
Erick Brockway
Oct. 3rd, 2012 06:16 am (UTC)
Is it here yet? Is it here yet!
I'm hooked already!
jo_graham
Oct. 3rd, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Is it here yet? Is it here yet!
Oh good! I aim to hook you! :)

It should be a couple of months -- probably between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. It's going to MGM today.
toparty1
Oct. 9th, 2012 09:51 am (UTC)
Moebius Squared
I can't wait for the book to come out. I'm absolutely itching to read it. This little snippet has made that itch almost unbearable!

Your character work for both O'Neill and Teal'c in this were perfect. I could almost see the actors doing it live. Excellent stuff.

Wish i had a puddle jumper and could go get my copy of this NOW.

jo_graham
Oct. 9th, 2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Moebius Squared
Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!
aeryn_b
Oct. 14th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
Yep, I'm hooked too. :) This is practically the only reason to unbury the gate, to save a friend. I love it. I suppose I'll have to practice patience though. Wonder if it's on preorder somewhere like Amazon or the Fandemonium site.
jo_graham
Oct. 14th, 2012 10:32 am (UTC)
They can't just let Teal'c die! And so they've got to unbury the gate and find a new symbiote.

I hope you enjoy the book. It's not up on preorder yet, at least as far as I know. Right now it's at MGM for their edits, which usually takes about a month. So I'm guessing that it will be out in early December, depending on how long MGM takes.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )