An alien in America
I am an alien. I was not before; I was the first prime of Apophis. I was husband to Dray’c and father to Ry’ac. I had earned the respect of my peers. I knew my place. Yet, in the space of a heartbeat I betrayed all to gain hope. After more than a millennia, the Tau’ri once more walked amongst us. The seeds of the slave race had in ancient times rose up against their oppressors; the Chaap’ai had been closed and they had gained freedom. Their story was a secret known only to the Priest Caste, hidden from the slaves and dregs which populated the stars in service of the Goa’uld. As First Prime, I knew the sign of the homeworld so I would be able to better serve my lord and master, Apophis. To know of the Tau’ri would ferment rebellion; all knowledge of the Tau’ri had to be squashed. I had been taught as such and, as such, compromised. If the Tau’ri had thrown off the yoke of slavery might not the Jaffa?
So here I am amongst the Tau’ri or as they prefer me to call them Americans. They call their world America and their God is a King called Clinton who maintains their loyalty by holding them with purse strings. I do not understand.
I stand outside their place of eating. I am the bravest of my caste yet when I enter this room I feel undressed. The Americans will all look at me and their expressions will be rife across their faces. They are as children; they have not been taught to school their emotions. The gamut runs from excitement to abject fear, distaste to intrigue and most curiously, lust – in all its guises. It is a heavy burden to bear.
I turn, it is the youngest of my team, if not in actual age then in his naďve, guileless outlook to life. The scholar should hate me as I chose his wife for Apophis’ mate, yet he treats me as a comrade and peer. I have seen in his eyes the germ of hate then he rises above his baser feelings. I am in awe of this man. In similar circumstances, I would have ripped the lungs from my wife’s kidnapper’s body. It gives me hope.
“You don’t have to wait for one of us; you can just go in and eat.”
Oblivious to the looks thrown at us, he bounces into the eating place. I trail in his wake. I am not fearful of these men and women and I am merely tired of their continual mistrust, although I know they will never yield in their fear. Or perhaps not? DanielJackson does not fear me.
“This food is amazingly bad.” DanielJackson grins at me over his shoulder. “I’ve been on
He chooses a bright yellow substance, which looks like infected puss. Obediently I take a bowl. Perhaps it has a religious significance? I find that this Tau’ri food does not meet my needs, I am continuously hungry. The scholar exists on a drink he calls coffee, he needs little else. It is a bitter drink and, while it smells as if manna, its taste defies description. The pleasure it gives DanielJackson makes it worthy of another chance. Dutifully, I take a cup.
“Perhaps…” the scholar muses, “you should have a milky, sugary one first?”
“I am guided by your hand.”
“You see this is milk.” He holds up a jug containing what looks like white paint, which he proceeds to dilute the coffee. “And this is sugar.” Again it is white. I would kill for a dark, smooth Coo’ju ic Lai, yet I try this substance.
Determined to continue my education, the scholar places a ‘Twinkie’ and an apple on my tray. The apple is familiar. I am brave; I will eat this ‘Twinkie.’
We sit at our table. I have noticed that these Tau’ri are creatures of habit. The Airmen Tau’ri sit to the back of the room and the JarHeads sit in the far corner with their backs to the wall. The lower caste – of administration staff – sit in the middle of the room. It is evident that the lower caste has no military training else they too would watch the doors.
The coffee is just as bad as I remember.
The larval goa’uld within me squirms. A sure indication that I am poisoned.
“Kresh!” I knock the vile substance from DanielJackson’s hands. He looks up at me with wide eyes, frozen as the coffee drains across the table and pools upon the floor.
“It is bad,” I explain.
The fear leaves his eyes. “It’s an acquired taste,” he says gamely, before bouncing over to the catering staff and getting a wet cloth.
He returns with a cloth and a glass of the milk liquid. He absently hands across the milk as he mops up the spilt coffee.
“Here drink this; it might be more to your liking.” His smile is incandescent. The last planet we explored was a sun drenched desert world; DanielJackson now has a spray of freckles across his nose. He has a truly gamin grin.
“There’s these three substances: nicotine; alcohol and caffeine. Each one of them is an acquired taste. They’re all bad for you – especially in excess. Everyone I know at least indulges in one of them.”
“Why?” These Tau’ri are strange.
DanielJackson settles back in his chair, already he is sipping at the vile brew. “Mainly? They make you relax.” He jabs the tabletop with his finger to emphasise his point. “They hone your concentration.”
“Can I recommend that you learn to meditate?”
“That probably a good idea.”
He grins again and takes another drink. Have I allied myself with the fabled Lotus Eaters?
“Why do you consume this substance if it bad for you?”
He looks sheepish. “Because I’m addicted to it.”
“Hi kids.” Colonel O’Neill drops into the chair beside the scholar. “What are you addicted to?”
“Coffee.” Daniel raises his cup in salute.
“Well, if the coffee doesn’t kill you, the custard will,” O’Neill smirks.
“Are you too addicted to these substances?” I ask.
O’Neill merely looks perplexed.
“Coffee, alcohol and nicotine,” DanielJackson supplies helpfully.
“Uhm.” O’Neill is noncommittal.
I stare at the colonel—concerned. Perhaps it comes from his ears?
“Oh, for crying out loud.” O’Neill glances, furtively, to the left and to the right. Then, from his pocket he withdraws a small rectangular box. From within the box he withdraws a tube. “This is a cigarette. You… burn it and inhale the smoke.”
“And this is to make you relax?”
“Yeah.” O’Neill twirls the tube… the cigarette in his fingers. There is a gleam in his eye… a craving. Another furtive look around, then he sticks the tube in his mouth. I remain stoic as he ignites the tube. Then exhibiting great pleasure he inhales. The pleasure on his face borders on orgasmic.
The scholar smiles wryly at the colonel.
“DanielJackson, do you not indulge?”
“Smoking? Noooo.” He backs away from the blue smoke wafting in his direction. “Only if I want to cough up a lung.”
The normally tense colonel leans his elbow on the table as he nurses his cigarette between two fingers. His eyes are half lidded.
“And this too is bad for you?” I ask.
“Oh, yeah; real bad.” Inexplicably, O’Neill smiles.
“I do not understand.”
“S’okay neither do we.” O’Neill inhales again.
“Sir, smoking isn’t allowed in the canteen.” Samantha Carter joins us.
“It’s in the nature of a scientific experiment,” O’Neill says dryly. “We’re discussing vices with Teal’c.”
“Do you share this vice?” I ask the young astrophysicist.
She hems and haws, “I used to. I gave them up after I finished my thesis.” Her fingers twitch.
“Ah, thesis writing,” Daniel says sagely. “Only time in my life I’ve been tempted.”
They share a look of understanding; evidently this thesis writing requires vast amounts of relaxing.
“What of the alcohol?”
“What of alcohol?” Samantha Carter says dubiously.
“Do you not indulge in alcohol?”
She fidgets. “Occasionally.”
“So you, unlike Daniel Jackson and O’Neill are capable of withstanding these vices.”
Daniel muffles a snigger in his coffee cup. Colonel O’Neill is so wrapped up in his pleasure that he simply occupies himself with his cigarette.
“Well, you see, Teal’c,” Samantha Carter says with a seriousness that means she is insincere. “I’m a woman, we have more self control.”
“You think?” The colonel leaves his contemplation of his stick. “I have only one word to say to you…”
“Yes?” she asks rising to the bait.
DanielJackson laughs out loud, drumming his heels against the floor.
These Tau’ri are strange; never have I met a race that laughs as much.