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The Silent Ones

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Dedicated once again to all Jonas Quinn fans


June 24, 2004






“Tis an eerie planet,” Jack commented.  “Whoever heard of something like this?”  He motioned to the village they had just left.


“It’s not uncommon for populations of certain traits to congregate together,” Jonas said.  “Perhaps these people live together because of their common backgrounds, or even—”


“Yeah, but what I want to know is they still seemed to have a common purpose in shoving us out of there,” Jack complained.


Sam looked at Teal’c.  Teal’c, have the Gould ever spoken of a place like this?”


“No.  I am sure this planet would not have come to their attention.  These people have nothing to offer.”


“Three villages now,” Jack complained.  Jonas, I thought you were a language person.”


“I tried,” Jonas protested.  “They don’t have any way of communicating that I can see.  They don’t even have a sign language.”


“Sir,” Sam ran to catch up with the Colonel.  “If you don’t mind my saying so, it seemed as though those people could just look at each other and know what to do.”


Jonas looked at her.  “Are you suggesting psychic abilities?”


The Major looked a bit sheepish.  “Um, not really.  Just an observation.”


“No, really, Major.”  Jonas sounded enthusiastic now.  “If you’re right, we should stay, see what we can learn about them.  It would be a breakthrough in medical and psychological areas of research if we could figure out how they communicate with each other.  Colonel!  We should—”


Jonas’ voice was cut off abruptly as a body slammed into him.


From out of nowhere, they were attacked.  There was no warning.  Their attackers made no sound.


“Don’t shoot them!” Jack yelled.  “Er—unless you have to!”


Jonas could see that their attackers were from one of the villages they had visited.  They had it easy.  When walking through the woods, it’s easy to slip behind a tree—or up it—and surprise someone.  This planet was covered with forest, with occasional wide open fields.  It had made Jack and Teal’c uneasy, and their uneasiness was put to rest when the attack they had anticipated finally came.


Jonas rolled with his attacker as the man clung to his back.  Landing on the ground as he toppled off balance, Jonas twisted and punched the man hard in the jaw.  With a grunt, the man went limp.


Jack appeared to be having the time of his life.  He was punching left and right, throwing men into trees and generally seeming to be the life of a strange party.


Now they appeared to be drifting towards a large field.  There it would be easier to dispatch their attackers with more room to work with.


Miraculously, the villagers did not have weapons, yet their attack was so vicious that it soon began to cause Jack some alarm.


“Fall back to the Gate!” he bellowed.


Silently calculating the distance, Jonas realized that at a run, they could reach the Stargate in a few hours.  At most, it would be nearly a day’s journey.  They couldn’t make it unless the attack stopped.


Jonas wasn’t a fighter.  He would rather negotiate his way out of a situation rather than use his fists, but Teal’c had taught him a few things.  He used what he had learned against the villagers, then, dodging another tackling man, he started to run in the direction of the Gate.


Then everything stopped.  The world turned black.


* * *


Jonas.  Wake up.”


Rough hands took him by the shoulders and hauled him up to a sitting position.


He nearly hurled.  “Not a good idea,” he groaned.


He opened his eyes.  It was late afternoon, by the look of it.  He must not have been out for too long.  Jack was crouched beside him, an apprehensive look on his face.


“You okay?” the Colonel asked.


Jonas’ head pounded with the worst headache he had ever experienced.  He touched his temple and felt blood.


“Fine,” he lied.  “How long was I out?”


“Just a few minutes,” Jack replied.


Looking around, Jonas realized they were not in the same field.


“What happened?” he demanded as he forced himself to his feet.


Jack took his arm and steadied him, then began walking through the field, his gun at the ready.  “The natives got a little too restless,” he replied.  “No one’s seriously hurt though.  You’re the only one they really got.”


“Where are Sam and Teal’c?”


Jack pushed the long grass away with the end of his rifle as he kept walking.  “They’re making camp down here.  We couldn’t get you to the Gate.  It was too far.  Haven’t seen hide or hair of those people since they got you.  They just disappeared as soon as you went down.”


In a few moments, they came upon Sam and Teal’c, who had found a small stream and had made a campfire.  They had even started boiling some water in a small pot over the fire.  Nearby, the roots of a large oak tree provided a small shelter.


“How are you feeling, Jonas?” Sam asked.


“Fine, thank you,” Jonas said, as he sat down beside her.  “I just have a headache.”  Too late, he realized he had spoken too soon.  He felt his stomach flip, then rushed to the side of the camp and threw up in the bushes.  After a minute, he wiped his mouth off, then returned to Sam’s side.  “And I guess I’m a bit nauseous.”


Sam looked concerned.  “Let me see.”  She reached for his head, and despite his protests explored the wound with gentle fingers.  “Open your eyes,” she said.  She looked at them, then said, “Your pupils are off, and you’re nauseous.  I’m guessing you have a concussion.  We’ll need to keep that wound clean.  I think it may require some stitches once we get back.  Do you feel tired at all?”


Jonas thought a moment, then said, “Yeah, now that you mention it, I think I am tired.”


Sam looked at Teal’c and said, “Make sure he stays awake.”  She looked back at Jonas.  “We can’t risk you drifting off into a coma out here.”


“That makes me feel better.”


Sam grinned.  “Don’t worry.  It’s probably nothing.”


“Oh, so you’re telling me not to worry?”


Jack had been sitting quietly to the side, looking out into the field and scanning the forest nearby when suddenly he jumped, whipped his gun up, and whispered, “There’s someone out there.”


Instantly, Sam went into combat mode.  Jonas was slightly slower to follow.  Teal’c had sprung into a crouch at the first sign of Jack’s agitation.


Silently, Jack made eye contact with Teal’c and Sam, using hand signals to motion the Major to stay and for Teal’c to circle around towards where Jack thought he had heard something.


Teal’c disappeared into the field while Jack advanced towards the forest a short distance away from their campsite.


A few moments later, Jonas and Sam heard some scuffling, then Jack cursed.  Sam looked as though she wanted to go in after them, but then Jack emerged from the forest.  Teal’c was following him, with an old man in tow.  Teal’c held the man by the neck, and Jonas was certain the Jaffa could have snapped the man’s spine like a piece of straw.


Jack slung his gun down from his shoulder and plopped down next to the fire, keeping an eye on the old man.  “The guy bit me,” he complained, nursing an injured wrist.


Jonas eagerly stepped towards the man.


“Hi.  I’m Jonas.”  He stuck out his hand.


The older man regarded the young historian with no fear in his face and ignored the outstretched hand.  The man appeared to be quite old.  His skin was wrinkled and mottled from years in the sun.  He was bald, and his eyes were a light blue.  His body was tiny and thin, and his bulky, earthen colored robes did not do much to hide his nearly emaciated appearance.


Jonas tried several different languages on the man, trying to get a reaction out of him.  He even tried several versions of sign language, and drew pictures in the dirt to show the man where they were from.


To the pictures, it seemed, the man had some interest.  He looked Jonas in the eye and pointed to Jonas’ crude drawing of the Stargate in earnest, yet still was silent.


“I can’t be sure,” Jonas said with a frown, “but he either knows about the Stargate or he wants us to leave.”  He looked at the man.  “Do you want us to leave?”


The old man made no reply, and only looked steadily at Jonas.  Suddenly, he started, whipping his head around to look into the woods.  Fear entered his eyes.


Lowering his voice, Jonas asked, “Is someone out there?”


The old man still said nothing, but now, he pointed at Jack’s gun, then looked to the woods again.  He pointed to Sam and Teal’c’s weapons as well, then looked into the woods.


Jack stood and muttered, “You don’t have to be a linguist to figure out this guy wants us to go confront something out there.”


“Sir?” Sam asked.  “Should we go check it out?”


Jack stood still for a moment, pondering his options, then said, “Jonas, you stay here and keep an eye on the old man.  You remember how to use that gun, right?  Don’t hesitate to use it.  Carter, Teal’c, you’re with me.  Let’s go check this out before it gets dark.”


Jonas sat silently with the old man, feeling the late afternoon sun on his back.  His headache had finally dissipated.  The old man seemed content to sit quietly with Jonas and made no attempt to escape.


After a time, the old man began digging around in a sack that was tied around his waist.  He produced what looked like a skin of water and offered it to Jonas.


“No thank you,” Jonas replied, pushing it away.


The man insisted.


After a few minutes of trying to ward off the old man’s persistent offers of a drink, Jonas finally gave in.


“All right, all right,” he chuckled.  “What is it?”


In answer, the man took a carved wooden cup from his bag, poured some of the drink into it and offered the cup to Jonas.


Hesitantly, Jonas sniffed at its contents.  It smelled like peppermint tea.  He took a cautious sip, and noticed it even tasted like peppermint tea.


The old man watched him intently, and Jonas began to feel uncomfortable.  Pushing the cup away, he did not drink anymore.


After a few minutes, he knew something was wrong.  His thoughts seemed thick and muddled.  His limbs felt heavy.  The world started spinning.


With growing horror, he lunged towards the old man, grabbing him by the collar.  “What did you give me!” he demanded.


The old man stared at him, and Jonas imagined he saw triumph in his wrinkled face.  His limbs were getting heavier, less responsive, as when a leg or arm falls so heavily asleep it can hardly move on its own.  Still, Jonas clung to the man, angry at being deceived so quickly.  His voice no longer would respond to his commands.


With his last glimpse of consciousness, Jonas felt himself falling slowly sideways, his grip losing hold on the old man’s cloak.


* * *


As soon as Jonas was unconscious, the old man worked quickly, glad the others had not taken his bag.


He rolled the young man over and stretched his right arm out on the ground.  He took a needle from his bag and dropped it into the water that the others had been boiling over their fire.  After a few minutes, he took the needle out and screwed it onto a syringe filled with clear liquid.  The device seemed strangely out of place in the crude environment.


Carefully, he inserted it into the younger man’s arm, then once the syringe was empty, he folded the arm across the man’s chest.  Sweat was beginning to break out on Jonas’ forehead, and the old man took a clean cloth from his bag and dipped it in the cup that the man had been drinking out of.  He cleaned the cut on the historian’s temple and wiped the sweat from his brow.


The old man sat back on his heels and looked at Jonas.  Now all he had to do was wait.


* * *


Sam was the first to see them as she, Teal’c, and Jack returned from their expedition.


“Sir!” she exclaimed to Jack, motioning him forward.  She ran towards Jonas and the old man.


The old man was kneeling over Jonas, who lay sprawled on the ground, apparently out cold.  He quickly backed away as the rest of the SG-1 party approached.


“What happened?” Jack demanded.


Sam examined Jonas carefully and responded, “I don’t know, sir.  It looks like he just passed out.  Maybe from his head injury.”


Jack whirled on the old man behind him and demanded more loudly, “What happened?”  He grabbed the old man by the collar and shook him, swearing, then said, “So help me old man, if you don’t talk I’ll wring your neck!”


Surprisingly, Sam could see there was some fear in the old man’s eyes at Jack’s words.


“Sir,” she said.  “I think he can understand you, but we found out none of these people can respond.”


“Oh I think he can respond,” Jack snarled, throwing the old man down.  “Look at this.”  He pointed to the ground.


Scratched in the dirt were additional crude drawings, along with more complex drawings, obviously drawn by different hands.


“It looks like he can communicate,” Jack commented.  “I’d say that he and Jonas were chattin’ away with their little pictures, then he did something.”  He jabbed a finger at the old man.  “I wouldn’t think that a little knock on the head would have Jonas out again.”


“Sir, he was out for nearly twenty minutes.”


“Well,” Jack sighed, then turned swiftly on the old man again.  “It’s better safe than sorry.  I don’t trust these people.”


Sam shook Jonas, trying to wake him up while Jack turned to Teal’c.


Teal’c, I want you to go scout out the Stargate, see if there’s anyone guarding it and see if there are anymore of these ambushes along the way.  Radio back every half hour.  Maximum radio silence other than that.”


Teal’c said nothing, only nodded once to show that he understood, then he quietly slipped into the growing darkness.


“Sir,” Sam looked at the Colonel.  “He isn’t waking up.”


Jack knelt beside Jonas, taking a visual examination.  He frowned.  “I’m no doctor, but this just doesn’t seem right.”  He touched Jonas’ forehead, then felt for his pulse.  The man’s skin seemed to radiate heat, and his pulse was racing more rapidly than normal.


“It’s possible he has an infection, sir,” Sam suggested.  She pointed to the cut on Jonas’ forehead.  The cut, however, had been healing nicely, and was now nothing more than a scratch.


“Right . . .” Jack pulled the word out slowly, emphasizing his un-assurance about Sam’s claim.  “How could an infection come along that fast?”


Sam sighed in exasperation.  “We don’t know that much about how Jonas’ body functions.  He wasn’t raised on Earth.”  She pointed to the cut on Jonas’ forehead.  “I mean, look at this, sir.  A few hours ago I thought he needed stitches.  Now it’s nothing more than a scratch.”


“I still say we tie up the old man,” Jack said.


The Colonel rummaged through their equipment for restraints.  A few moments later, the old man was neatly tied and subdued.  Sam continued to argue that Jonas’ condition was enough to have caused him to pass out.


“He did it,” Jack insisted again, pointing at the old man.  The man glared at him, and Jack shrugged.  “See?  He even has a guilty look on his face.”


* * *


The sun rose early, and with it, Jonas seemed to revive, sitting up with a confused look on his face.  Sam, who had taken the last watch, woke the Colonel.


“What happened?” Jack demanded.


“What?” Jonas seemed slightly incoherent.


“Did that old man knock you out?” Jack asked.


Jonas looked at the man, who sat on the other side of the campfire, gazing at the trio.  “I really don’t know what happened,” Jonas replied.  “All I remember is drinking something, and then nothing.”


“What did you drink?” Sam asked.


Jonas shook his head.  “I don’t remember.”


Jonas, you’ve been out all night,” Sam said.  “We haven’t been able to wake you up.  We’re just concerned that something may have happened regarding your head injury.  Concussions can be more serious than you might think.”


The historian rubbed his head, his brow furrowed.  “I honestly can’t really remember anything since last night when Teal’c left, and I remember drinking some tea, and that’s it.  That’s all I can tell you.”  Suddenly Jonas shook his head.  “It was tea.”


Sam paused.  “What?”


“You said it was water.  It was tea.  I know it was.  It was like peppermint tea.”


Sam frowned.  “I didn’t say that, Jonas.”


He waved his hand and laid back.  “It doesn’t matter.  It isn’t that important.”


Jack shifted away from the pair when his radio crackled.  Teal’c?”


O’Neill.  The Stargate is undefended.  I am an hour away from your position.”


“Okay.  Meet us at the camp.  We’ll pack up.”


 “Why?” Jonas asked.


Jack squinted at the younger man.  “What?”


“Why are we supposed to go back?”


Jonas, what are you talking about?” Sam asked.  “We obviously aren’t welcome here.”


“You’ve got that right,” Jonas agreed.  “What I want to know is why you want us to go back so soon.”


Jack felt the hair on the back of his neck raise, and he whirled to see the old man sitting behind him, staring at Jonas.


“No, we didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” Jonas went on, seeming still to be talking to Jack.  “We came here to explore.  Come on, Jack.  You know that better than anyone here.”  Jonas paused, seeing the confused looks on Sam and Jack’s faces.  “What?”


Jonas, who are you talking to?” Sam asked suspiciously.


Jonas looked around himself.  “I was talking to you, wasn’t I?”


“Uh, I don’t think so,” Jack said, taking a step toward Jonas.  “What you’re saying doesn’t make sense.”


Jack, I was just talking to you,” Jonas protested.


“You were,” Jack agreed, “but what you were saying to me had nothing to do with what I was saying to you.”


Sam approached Jonas and said, “Are you sure you’re feeling all right?”


“I’m fine.”  Jonas turned on Jack.  “Quit saying that.”


“I didn’t say anything!” Jack protested.


Suddenly, a light seemed to hit Sam’s face.  “Sir!” she pointed at the old man who was still staring intently at Jonas.  She then turned to Jonas.  Jonas, are you sure you’re not hearing him speak?”


Jonas furrowed his brow in concentration.  “I’m hearing your voices, Major,” he said.  He took a few steps closer to the old man.


For several long seconds, nothing happened, and then suddenly, Jonas exploded, grabbing the old man around the neck, a furious look on his face.


“Hey!” Jack shouted, tackling the historian.  He pulled him away from the man with some effort.  “What do you think you’re doing?”


“What did you do to me?” Jonas demanded.  “Get out of my head!”


To the Tauri, it appeared the old man had a smug look on his face as he stared intently at Jonas.


“Get out!” Jonas demanded again.


It took some time for Jonas to calm down after the team realized that he was not talking to them, but rather, it appeared, to the old man.


“He wants us to leave,” Jonas told Sam and Jack.  “He’s using your voices to talk to me.  It’s like you’re right here talking to me, but . . . but you’re not.  I don’t think these people have any idea of what a voice really is supposed to sound like issued from their own lips.  He’s using your voices to communicate because he doesn’t know what his own voice sounds like.”


“This planet might be a place we would want to follow up on researching,” Sam mused.  “Telepathic communication could be one of the next steps in our future communications.  Think of the advancements we could make!”


“No.”  Jonas shook his head and looked at the old man.  “He says we can’t come back.  They want to be left alone.  The last time someone came through the Stargate, many of their people were killed.”


“Who did this?” Sam asked.


Jonas shook his head, a look of anger on his face.  “Nirrti.  When did she come?”  There was a short pause, and then Jonas said to Sam, “She came when he was young, maybe forty, fifty years ago.  She experimented on his people, trying to figure out how they could communicate the way they do.  The information she left behind was enough for them to figure out how to induce a sort of temporary communication with someone who was not one of them.”  He turned to the old man.  “What did you do to me?”


The old man shook his head, and Jonas could not get an answer out of him.


When Teal’c returned, the team decided to leave the old man behind.  Jonas knew that there were others nearby who would find him.


As they set out for the Stargate, Sam exclaimed, “Everyone on this planet communicates this way.  Telepathic communication!  Can you believe it?  It’s phenomenal!”


“Indeed it is,” Teal’c commented.  “It is unfortunate we could do nothing to learn further of these people.”


“Yeah,” Jack said.  “Imagine the sort of communications our military could use if we knew how they worked.”


“And that’s precisely why they want us to leave.”  Jonas trailed slightly behind the other three members of the team as they neared the Stargate.  “We know that there is a way to communicate with them without having been a native of this planet.  That is dangerous to them.”


“Uh, yeah.”  The tone of Jack’s voice caused the rest of SG-1 alarm.  “And maybe that’s why there’s a bunch of them standing around the gate with some wicked looking weapons.”


They had neared the clearing where the Stargate was situated, and as Teal’c, Sam, and Jonas came up next to Jack, they could see what had caused Jack alarm.


Several dozen burly men stood in a ring around the Stargate, spears, arrows, and short swords in their hands.  By now, they had spotted SG-1, and faced them with menacing looks on their faces.


“They’re going to kill us,” Jonas breathed.


“Yeah, I could kind of already tell that even without you being able to read their minds,” Jack commented dryly.


“There was no one here when I came, O’Neill,” Teal’c informed the Colonel.


“It’s okay, Teal’c,” Jack said.  “Any bright ideas, people?”


Before them, the men bristled and raised their weapons.


Sam said nothing, and Teal’c raised his staff weapon, activating it with a metallic shearing sound.  Jack did likewise, raising his machine gun to his shoulder.


Jonas.  You might have to use that gun,” Jack motioned towards the handgun at Jonas’ belt.


“Sir,” Sam said, “we should try to communicate with them first.”


“Well I have a feeling that they aren’t going to listen,” Jack said.


The men started to advance further towards SG-1, their weapons raised menacingly.


Jonas.”  Jack did not move his eyes or his gun away from the advancing natives.  “Are they saying anything?”


Jonas frowned, concentrating, then raised his voice to address the men, “We don’t want to fight you.  We just want to leave.  We give you our word that we won’t come back.”


The natives hesitated, but only for a moment.


Jonas brought up his handgun, but did not cock it.  Sam raised her machine gun as well.


“Please,” Jonas said, “we mean you no harm.”


Too late, the lead men were upon them.  With a silent pounce, one of the men was on Jack, wrestling with the man for his gun.


“Don’t shoot them!” Jonas shouted.


Teal’c used his staff weapon as a club to knock away two of the natives that had neared him.  An arrow narrowly missed Sam, and she ducked, eyes wide and gun raised.


Mayhem ensued, and SG-1 began a violent hand to hand combat, desperate to get to the gate without hurting anyone.


It did not appear they would make it.


Jack broke free from the tangle of men surrounding him long enough to raise his gun in the air and fire.  The resulting burr of gunfire caused most of the natives to cower in shock.


“Move, people!” the Colonel shouted.


Sam raced up to the DHD and slammed the symbols in, activating the Stargate.  Behind her, one of the natives raised his bow and aimed it at her.  Jonas stepped between the Major and the native and raised his hand towards the man.


“No!” he shouted.  “No more!  We only want to go home.  We won’t come back.  I give you my word.”


Surprisingly, the man hesitated, then Jonas spoke to the Colonel while still facing the man.


“Colonel, Teal’c, Major, head to the gate.”


Slowly, they did as Jonas said, backing up towards the circular wormhole, guns still raised towards the natives.  Jonas did likewise, and as they all stood at the event horizon, Jonas looked at the natives and murmured, “Thank you.”  He then turned to Jack.  “Let’s go before they change their minds.”


* * *


“And that’s why we can’t go back, General,” Jonas explained.  “Any research you want done on telepathic communications will have to be done with the lab tests Dr. Frasier got from me when we arrived.”


“Well there isn’t much to say,” Dr. Frasier sighed.  “I found trace amounts of a strange drug in your blood.  It looks like after you passed out, he must have injected you with this drug in order for you to be able to communicate with them.  I couldn’t find enough in order to make out what the properties of this drug were, and I couldn’t tell you if it would work on non-telepathics.  Basically, all I can say is we’ve hit a dead end.  The drug compounds are too foreign for me to even begin to simulate them.”


“Well people, we tried,” General Hammond said, stacking SG-1’s reports in front of him.  “I’m not about to let this planet get erased from our charts, however.  Perhaps in a few years we can send another team back there.”


“General, with all due respect, I know that this form of communication could be a breakthrough for your military, but these people have been traumatized by Nirrti,” Jonas argued.  “I don’t think it would be a good idea to send anyone back there at all.”


“Your objection is noted,” the General said.  “SG-1, you are dismissed.  Take a week off.  I would suggest you get some rest after that mission.”


SG-1 dispersed from the room, and Jonas found Teal’c by his side as he walked down the halls towards his office.


Colonel O’Neill didn’t even say anything,” Jonas disapproved.


O’Neill has his reasons,” Teal’c replied.  “He knows that the General will not send anyone back, yet he is obligated to keep the Stargate open to that world because of his government.”


Jonas frowned.  “Why doesn’t anyone tell me this?”


Teal’c raised an eyebrow.  “Perhaps it is because you are seen as a permanent member of the team, Jonas Quinn.  The Tauri assume that you know these things.”


The frown on Jonas’ face increased as Teal’c’s words sunk in.  “Oh . . .”


Was he truly a member of the team now?  Only time would tell.  Jonas knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but the little things that Teal’c had noticed did seem to point to the fact that he was starting to be accepted as a permanent member of SG-1.  It would not be this one episode, however, that would prove his worth to his team.  It would take much more than that for Jonas to show them that he could contribute something to Earth.