A couple days later, they were walking along a path near the ocean, in an area where the forest stretched almost to the beach. Some distance on the coast curved sharply, but they could not see further ahead, since a high cliff hid their view.
As they came nearer, they realized that what they had taken for low clouds - it was an overcast day - was really smoke.
"Look! There must be someone living there!" Daniel exclaimed.
"With our luck it's probably just a small forest fire;" O'Neill observed, sarcastically.
"It is not. Those prints were made by a human," Teal'c said, pointing at the sand a little to the left of where they were walking.
"You are correct," Martouf said. "A small human with no shoes on."
"A barefoot kid," O'Neill translated. "So where is it - and its parents?"
"The child walked by here less than three hours ago," Teal'c told them.
"Okay, I guess there must be someone living nearby. Let's go check it out!" O'Neill decided.
They had not gone much further before Teal'c held up his hand for them to stop. "Something is not as it should be."
"I agree," Martouf said. "There is too much smoke - and none of the normal sounds which we should be able to hear at this distance from a village, even if it is small."
Very carefully, they rounded the edge of the cliff and now there was indeed a village straight ahead. Or rather, what was left of a village.
"Death gliders," Teal'c observed. "No more than a few hours ago. At most."
"Do you think the death gliders might come back?" O'Neill asked.
"No. There is clearly no one left alive," Teal'c said.
"Jaffa?" O'Neill wondered. "Could they show up?"
"This place was already raided and any survivors taken. See? These tracks are from Jaffa boots." Martouf pointed.
"I agree. The Jaffa were leading a group of people ahead of them, people who wore different footwear - or none at all," Teal'c said.
"The villagers were taken prisoners," O'Neill concluded.
"Yes - and most likely enslaved," Jacob added.
A few fires were still burning here and there, but the village was mostly gone. Dead people were lying here and there.
SG-1 and the Tok'ra walked around the place in silence, looking at the proof of the horrible attack.
"Why would anyone do something like this? Who would do it?" Daniel wondered, shocked. "These people look as if they had very little. There was nothing to take!"
"Retribution against some real or imagined slight," Jacob suggested. "Perhaps two Goa'uld feuding over the domain."
"Here, on Earth?" O'Neill asked.
Jacob nodded. "We don't know how different it is to the one we know, but from what we've seen..."
"It's pretty different all right," O'Neill agreed, unhappily.
Finding no one alive, and little that was not destroyed by the bombardment, they left. It was not safe to stay for long. If the place was contested, the original owner might return with force.
They had passed two more villages which had been bombed as well, and here and there were other clear signs of habitation and of agriculture. They had not found anyone alive yet, though.
"Isn't this unusual?" Sam asked, checking on the fish she was cooking above the campfire. "I mean, the Goa'uld bombing several villages and killing everyone."
"Yeah, I thought they needed them to do the work. What's a god without slaves?" Daniel said.
Martouf nodded slowly, turning the sticks to avoid the bread on them burning. "It is true that the Goa'uld rarely kill everyone in an area, or on a planet, but it does happen, mainly as part of a campaign against a neighboring Goa'uld. That may be the case here. In addition, it does look as if some slaves have been taken, particularly children and young adults."
"Those that can most easily be taught allegiance to a new master," Teal'c observed.
"Exactly," Martouf said, removing one of the stick breads and evaluating it for doneness. Flour was one of the things they had found leftover in one of the villages, and they were enjoying being able to make bread.
"There's another difference here. We're on Earth," Jacob pointed out. "Even in this timeline there's probably many many more people than on other planets. The Goa'uld can afford to be less... careful about their slaves."
O'Neill sighed, putting on a threadbare shirt they had found among the ruins, before checking if his jacket was dry. He had slipped and fallen into the water earlier, while catching the fish. "Because they can easily get more. Right." Pushing the unhappy thoughts aside, he looked hungrily at the fish and bread that were cooking on sticks over the campfire. "Isn't any of the food ready yet?"
"This is mostly done," Martouf said, holding the bread out to him.
"I'll take 'mostly done'. I'm starving!" O'Neill exclaimed.
"This probably means the Goa'uld are still on Earth, don't you think? Or are they just coming here for slaves?" Sam asked, thoughtfully. "Maybe Egeria didn't succeed in stopping them from doing so in this timeline."
"Or maybe there just was never an uprising," Daniel suggested.
Jacob nodded. "That is most likely the reason. Even if the Goa'uld had come here more often to take slaves, it wouldn't have affected the planet to the point of there only being villages in North America."
"And the people in them doesn't seem to have technology above the level of the middle ages," Daniel said.
"Great!" O'Neill scrubbed his hand over his face. "So the Stargate is probably still in Egypt. And good old Ra is still in control of it."
"Wake up!" Teal'c shouted. "We are under attack. Death gliders!"
The others had all been asleep around the campfire, but now jumped up, immediately alert.
"Damn it!" O'Neill exclaimed. "They must have seen the fire!"
"Get into the forest! Hide!" Jacob called to the others.
Grabbing what they could of their things, they scrambled for the treeline and made it just as one of the death gliders fired a shot from its staff cannons, hitting the remnants of the campfire.
"We haven't seen any death gliders for days - and no villages either," O'Neill grumbled, when they were hiding in the dark, relative safety of the forest, listening to the explosions.
"Probably there is some habitation close by and these gliders were on their way there," Jacob mused.
"It was irresponsible of us to keep a fire during night time," Lantash said.
"It's still chilly at night out here by the ocean, and we hadn't seen any signs of bad guys for days. Who could have known this would happen?" O'Neill grumbled. He sighed. "But you're right. It was."
"We know you are in there! Surrender at once, or we will burn the forest!" a strong voice shouted to them.
"Some of the Jaffa are on the ground," Teal'c observed.
"And closer than expected," Jacob added.
"Thank you, I know!" O'Neill mumbled. "Let's get further inland."
"Why are they so persistent?" Daniel wondered, when they again had to change direction to avoid their Jaffa pursuers.
"I agree. It is unusual," Teal'c said.
"Naquadah!" Martouf observed. "Somewhere ahead of us."
Jacob nodded curtly. "I agree. It's a pretty strong signature."
"The Stargate?" O'Neill wondered.
"No." Jacob shook his head. "Something else."
They ran on ahead, having little option with the Jaffa following them.
"Watch out!" Sam exclaimed. "There's a ..." She stumbled through the low undergrowth, unable to stop, slipping and tumbling down the slope.
Behind her the others were sliding or rolling after her, coming to a stop at the bottom, against a wall.
"Augh, my arm!" O'Neill exclaimed. "And my back!" He let out a moan. "Guys! How are you?"
"I am fine. Mostly," Martouf observed, wincing a little when he stretched. "Possibly a cracked rib. No, according to Lantash, that is definitely a cracked rib."
"I will be well," Teal'c said, making it unclear if he was injured or not - and how much.
"Carter? Daniel? Jacob?" O'Neill called.
"Here," Sam answered, letting out a groan when she moved. "Dad? Daniel?"
"What is this?" Daniel wondered. He looked up at the high wall, the half-full moon throwing a ghostly light on the area when it suddenly appeared from behind the clouds. "It looks like the wall is going around some sort of compound."
"Dad!" Sam exclaimed when she noticed him lying nearby, not moving.
They all froze as they heard the sound of several staff weapons activating. It was followed by the flash of a Goa'uld stun grenade, and then all became black.