Rascals - Chapter 14
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A few hours later, in the briefing room.
The Tok'ra healer, Taheon, had finished his examination of the children and now reported his findings to Hammond and the others.
"I can tell you they are not clones, which we thought at first, but there are no deviations at all from the DNA on file. Also, Samantha Carter still has the naquadah Jolinar left in her, as well as protein markers. All the changes Jolinar made to her body chemistry seems to all still be there - such as heightened resistance to drugs and some diseases. It truly is as if all their bodies have simply been...de-aged. It is as if the time between their current age and their previous age simply never happened - except they have all the memories of it. For example, Doctor Jackson has his appendix again. Indeed none of them have any scars that were not there when they were children. Their telomeres are longer as well, in accordance with their current age. To sum it up; they are normal children in every way. "
Hammond nodded. "So it's as Doctor Fraiser expected. Can it be reversed?"
"No, not unless the alien machine can be made to reverse the effect."
"One thing puzzled me..." Janet said. "How come the symbiotes did not have access to their genetic memories - at first, I mean, when they all had amnesia. That should have been available to them, even if their...'normal' memories were not. Is that not correct?"
"They still only have very limited access to that. Genetic memory becomes available slowly, as the symbiotes grow up. This early they have access to very little except languages and a few other things."
"Tell us what Anise's team has found out about the device?" O'Neill demanded.
"She only has preliminary findings, but she has managed to translate some more of the texts that were found. Apparently, the population on the planet had met with some kind of catastrophe, that left them unable to procreate. There are some comments that seems to indicate they knew the dangers of long-term cloning and so they chose another way to keep themselves alive until they could find a way to cure the genetic damage. The entire population used devices such as the one you found, every time they grew old, rejuvenating themselves while their scientists worked hard on a solution. There is no obvious way to reverse the effect - indeed, there is nothing to reverse, since their bodies are as if the years never happened. However, Anise is working to determine if it can be rewired, enabling us to return our people and yours to adult-hood."
"And if she fails?" Hammond asked.
"Then only time will return them to their previous state."
"Meaning they'll have to grow up again?" O'Neill asked.
"Tell Anise we're counting on her to solve this." Hammond said.
After being examined by the Tok'ra healer, the children had gone back to sleep. Now, several hours later, they were again awake and wanted to know what the Tok'ra had found out. Janet quickly related what had been said at the debriefing.
"So we'll probably have to stay like this until we grow up again? I'll have to be a teenager again?" Daniel looked dismayed.
"I thought you liked being a kid." Sam said. "LEGO, remember?"
"Oh, I do. For a while. I don't think I want it like this."
Sam shrugged. "Suit yourself." She went to help Janet convince Yosuuf to get out of bed, so they could go and get some dinner before it was time to go to sleep again.
Lantash suddenly smiled widely. "Martouf just reminded me there's at least one good thing about this."
"Oh, and that is? Besides the toys, of course."
"Besides the toys - and they're a pretty good reason. You see, if we all have to grow up again, O'Neill won't be a rival! For me and Martouf. O'Neill will be retired before Samantha is ready to take a mate. And Martouf and I will have an excellent chance of wooing Samantha when we grow up. At least she won't worry about us not knowing each other well enough anymore!" He looked happy.
Daniel shrugged. "You're probably right. Good for you. Looks like Sam got Yosuuf to get up. Come, lets go eat!"
"Good night - sleep tight!" Janet smiled.
"We'll be back tomorrow. Remember, you can call for help if you need it." O'Neill pointed to the communications system.
"We know. Thanks."
"Good night." Teal'c bowed his head.
The door closed behind the adults. Sam immediately sat up in bed. "I'm not tired. What about you guys?"
"Not me!" Martouf proclaimed. "And Lantash is awake also."
"I'm not tired!" Daniel said. "I want to play with my new toys!"
"Yosuuf? Garshaw?" Sam inquired.
"We're not tired too!"
"Okay. Great!" Sam jumped out of bed and put on her new slippers. She looked down herself, contemplating her new batman pyjamas. She decided it would be enough to keep her warm. "Let's play!"
They spent a few hours building a large LEGO representation of a Goa'uld fortress, complete with a ha'tak that could drive around the room and be controlled via remote. The bricks were too heavy for it to be able to fly, much to their chagrin.
"Let's do something else for a while." Lantash said, after their fourth failed attempt to make the ha'tak fly.
"What'd you like to do?" Daniel asked.
"Go exploring?" Sam suggested.
"Mister Fluffy and I would like to accompany you!" Yosuuf said. "And so would Garshaw."
They opened the door and Sam stuck her head out.
"It looks quiet."
"There's usually no guards on this floor at night unless we have important guests, are there?" Daniel said.
"No, but you can't be too careful." Sam snuck out, the others following. "Besides, Teal'c's quarters are here."
"Good thing he doesn't have Junior anymore." Daniel mused. "Or he'd not have to sleep. He'd hear us for sure."
"We'll be quiet." Sam assured him.
"What are we looking for?" Martouf wondered.
"Candy. Cookies. Soft drinks." Sam grinned. "I thought we could have a party. I know there's a room on this floor where they keep it for when there's visitors, and there must have be some leftovers from when the Langarans visited recently. Don't you remember the send-off party?" She looked at Daniel.
"Oh, yeah." He smiled widely. "That was the good stuff! Let's check."
"Did you get the plastic cups?" Sam said as she tried to open the huge plastic bottle. She found she was not strong enough to unscrew the cap.
"Yes." Garshaw said. She began putting them out on the table, one by one, in neat rows.
"Let me help you, Samantha." Lantash said. He took the bottle from her and tried opening it. He then put it down on the floor. "Hold on to the bottle, so I can twist off the cap."
Sam held onto the bottle as tightly as she could, while Lantash grabbed the cap hard. Nothing happened at first. Not giving up, he gripped so hard his knuckles turned white, and finally he was rewarded with a hissing sound coming from the bottle as he managed to open it. He looked at his hands and winced at the pain, but the damage was minimal and it only took him seconds to heal.
"Next bottle." He said.
This way they got three bottles opened, before they decided it was enough for now. They contained cola, root beer, and orange soda. Lantash carefully carried them to the table, one at a time, where Garshaw had finished putting out the cups and had begun to fill some of them with colourful liquids. She stood on a chair and poured very carefully.
"What's that you've found?" Daniel asked. He had just finished opening the last of the many bags of candy and packages of chocolate, and put the contents into plastic bowl.
"No idea. I thought it was some sort of liquid candy? Juice or syrup, perhaps?" Garshaw said. "It has pretty colours!"
"How does it taste?" Lantash asked.
"No idea. I have not tried any of it yet. I wanted to wait for the rest of you."
Lantash nodded. "We're here now."
He looked at the glass bottles on the table. The contents really did have pretty colours. Pale green, blue, brown, yellow... He took a cup and studied the content. He experimentally slushed it around a little. The liquid was blue and thick and syrup-y. He took a small sip.
"How does it taste?" Daniel wanted to know.
"Sweet. Very sweet...a little like orange, but spicy." He frowned. "It's alcoholic."
"Really?" Garshaw took a glass containing a light green fluid. She tasted it. "Mint...and yes, alcohol."
Sam joined them. "Are you guys crazy? Those are liqueurs! Alcohol! We're not supposed to drink that!"
"Says who? Neither Jack nor Janet said we couldn't!" Daniel challenged. He had found a glass with a dark brown liquid which he was sipping. "This tastes coffee-y. Ummm. It's Kahlua, I think." He checked the label on the bottle. "Yep."
"That's because they didn't know we'd find any!"
"OK, we'll only drink a little of it..." Lantash said.
"It doesn't taste very strong at all." Daniel said. "Are you sure we'll even get drunk from this?"
"We will." Lantash confirmed. "It's pretty strong. Even I will get drunk if I drink more than a little of it. I can't filter as well as when I'm an adult, and Martouf is a child too, so..."
Sam sighed. "I guess we can drink a little - as long as we just drink lots of soda and eat lots of candy to counteract it! It hits harder on an empty stomach!" She decided as she grabbed a glass of the blue liqueur together with a glass of cola. She carefully put them down in front of her, then grabbed one of the bowls of candy.
"Sounds reasonable." The others shrugged and sat down to follow her advice.
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