SG-1 together with Martouf/Lantash, Freya/Anise, and Aldwin/Gerim had arrived on P35-259 earlier that day. They were now exploring the ruins that SG-7 had discovered a week ago.
It had originally been a vast complex covering at least a square mile. Several roofs had collapsed and the larger halls were overgrown, but many smaller rooms and chambers were still intact with beautiful inscriptions written in ancient Goa'uld. There were many artifacts and pieces of technology scattered across the complex.
It was clear that the original owners had left in a hurry.
Stargate command had immediately recognized the significance of the find and after a brief consultation with the Tok'ra it had been decided to dispatch SG-1 together with a team of Tok'ra scientists.
Anise/Freya had been an obvious choice because of their joint expertise in archeology and ancient Goa'uld. Sam had expected to see her father, Jacob, because of Selmak's fluency in ancient Goa'uld, but unfortunately they were currently on a mission of their own. Instead Martouf/Lantash and Aldwin/Gerim had voluntered their services.
Sam had had a flash of Jolinar's memories and had remembered that while Martouf/Lantash worked primarily as an emissary for the Tok'ra council, they had a solid scientific background. They often assisted the Tok'ra scientists with the analysis of all sorts of alien technology, Goa'uld and otherwise. Aldwin/Gerim had joined the team primarily to provide additional security.
SG-1 and the Tok'ra had quickly set up camp, and had begun exploring the ruins. The writing was in a very obscure dialect of Goa'uld and it was quite difficult to read even for the Tok'ra.
Daniel and Freya/Anise worked full time translating the writings, while Martouf/Lantash and Sam examined the technology. Aldwin, O'Neill, and Teal'c set up and guarded a perimeter around the others.
They saw nothing of the local population the whole day, except for one or two glimpsed of a scout, who quickly vanished.
It was evening, and they had just returned to their camp after checking in with the SGC.
"Does the Tok'ra know anything about the people of this world?" O'Neill asked, as he sat down on a rock beside their campfire.
Martouf shook his head. "Very little. We know that this world is called 'Rubicon', and that a Goa'uld once ruled them."
"From what we have learned from the tablets we have found, the Goa'uld owning this world seems to have been Dionysos. We believe he had a queen named Trivia, when he was here," Anise explained.
Daniel nodded. "Yes, so the people is probably of Roman origin."
"Dionysos? That's the guy that likes wine and parties, right?" O'Neill asked.
"Yes," Daniel agreed. "God of wine, ritual madness, ecstasy, orgies..."
"Uh, that's interesting..." O'Neill frowned.
"Dionysos is indeed fond of wine - as well as any and all other kinds of drugs and hallucinogens, including aphrodisiacs. He is a minor, unimportant Goa'uld, famous - or rather infamous - only for his orgies. He is very far from being at the level of Lord Min, though." Anise sighed. "In any case, his queen is more worrying."
"Trivia," Daniel said. "In Roman mythology, she was a minor goddess, known to haunt crossroads and graveyards. She's known for sorcery and witchcraft."
"Nice." O'Neill grimassed. "Especially together with that other fellow."
"We did not know she had been allied with Dionysos at that time. Her choice to do so is strange, and of concern. She had a rather... unusual reputation, for a queen," Anise told them.
"Queen... as in breeding queen?" Sam asked.
Anise nodded. "Yes. It is strange she would ally herself with an unimportant player like Dionysos. A breeding queen can easily find a System Lord to ally herself with, if she does not wish to remain independent."
"Um, love?" O'Neill suggested.
Anise scoffed. "Hardly. Trivia had long experimented with the code of life of her subjects, humans in particular. If she allied with Dionysos, then the people living here must have provided her with a particularly interesting set of test subjects.
"We have actually found some indications of that in the writings," Daniel said.
"Lovely. Any idea what she did to them?" O'Neill asked.
"No. She probably killed the ones she had experimented on when her project was completed," Anise said.
"So, those gadgets you found earlier... did you say that they were used for weather forecasts, Carter?" O'Neill asked, wanting to change the subject.
"Not weather forecasts. They are for monitoring, not just the meteorological conditions of the planet, but also the conditions of the space around it," Sam corrected.
O'Neill shrugged. "Whatever... why were they doing it? The snakes aren't usually that interested in something like that."
"They seem to have been interested in some sort of periodic event", Daniel added. "There were some allusions to colourful flames in the sky, something that happens... yearly, perhaps?"
"Colourful flames?" O'Neill wondered.
"Presumably strong polar lights, or something similar," Anise suggested.
"Like those?" Martouf pointed to the horizon.
The sky had become dark while they had been talking, and now a glow was visible in the northern direction.
As they looked, the glow grew more intense, and crept higher up in the sky. Soon it was not just lights, but red, green, and yellow bands and ribbons that moved up and down. It was indeed polar lights - and they were very strong.
"Wow!" Sam exclaimed. "I've never seen them as intense as these! The local sun must be having a major outbreak!"
"Are we in any danger?" O'Neill asked.
"No. The atmosphere protects us. If it was dangerous, the planet would be uninhabited. If this is indeed a yearly event, then we are should be completely safe," Sam said.
O'Neill nodded. "Okay, as long as you're sure of that."
"I am," Sam assured him. "While I haven't personally seen polar lights like these, I know they can sometimes be just as strong as this on Earth."
They talked for a little longer, discussing some of the interesting finds they had made, and which they looked forward to examining closer the next day. Eventually, they all crawled into their sleeping bags and fell asleep.
The next morning, after breakfast, SG-1 went to the Stargate and checked in with the SGC. The Tok'ra went to work in the ruins, and SG-1 joined them as soon as they returned from the gate.
Freya/Anise and Daniel translated as many of the texts as they could. They had almost immediately moved to the lab where Sam and Martouf/Lantash were working, in order to help them translate the notes Trivia had made of her work.
They estimated it had been many millennia since the Goa'uld had left Rubicon and that the dialect Trivia had used had been old and obscure even then. It was clear that she wanted to keep her findings for herself.
Sam and Martouf/Lantash studied the devices they had found the day before, and confirmed that they were indeed for monitoring the planet's climate as well as the space immediately around it. There was no doubt the Goa'uld had been interested in the polar lights, and their origins. However, the relevant notes were almost incomprehensible, and soon Sam and Martouf/Lantash moved on to look at one of the other laboratories, while Daniel and Freya/Anise stayed to study the texts on the instrumentation a bit longer.
"So, how's it going, folks?" O'Neill asked. "Have you found anything good? A nice weapon, perhaps?"
He and Aldwin were taking a short break from their guard duty, to check up on the others, while Teal'c was keeping watch outside.
"No weapons, Jack, and there isn't going to be anything like that. There's nothing that looks like any of the research had that kind of applications," Daniel said, slightly absentminded, as he was studying a strange device.
"Crap, that's just typical." O'Neill sighed. He looked at the roof and frowned. "Sure this place is safe?"
"The roof partially caved in at some point, but it seems it was a long time ago, so I think we're okay," Sam told him.
"I think this device is connected to the dish-like thing we found outside - at least there is a symbol that I think is that dish..." Daniel said.
"Could that thing be a weapon?" O'Neill asked.
"No, I don't... think so..." Daniel poked at it, and suddenly it activated with a humming sound. "Whoa!"
"Watch out!" Anise pulled him away from it.
"Why do you always have to touch everything, Daniel? What did you do now?" O'Neill exclaimed.
"Sorry! Though I don't think it does much of anything!" Daniel defended himself.
Anise looked closer at it, and Sam and Martouf came and did the same.
"My best guess is that it is for weather monitoring," Sam said.
"I doubt it is harmful in any way," Anise added. "But I do not know how to turn it off."
"Then just leave it alone. If you're sure it's just for monitoring the weather..." O'Neill said.
"We are," Anise insisted.
"Fairly sure," Martouf added, in a low voice.
"Colonel O'Neill... we may not have found weapons, but we did find more information about the experiments Trivia was doing here," Anise said.
"Yes, it seems she was working on changing the ratio of males to females," Sam told him.
"What? Because Dionysis wanted more pretty female slaves?" O'Neill grinned.
Sam rolled her eyes. "No, quite the opposite. He wanted more men. Warriors... and miners, I think - though I would think he could have used women for both too!"
"Goa'uld frequently have a somewhat lower view on females and their abilities, as illogical as that is," Anise told them.
"What about Tok'ra?" O'Neill asked. "I suppose you'll say you are different?"
"Of course. Why would we subscribe to such a foolish notion? Besides, we owe everything to our queen, Egeria." Martouf dipped his head, allowing Lantash fore.
"She is, quite literally, the mother of all we became."
"Okay. So... Dionysos wanted warriors..." O'Neill said.
"Yes. He told Trivia to change the genetic makeup of the population so many more men than women were born," Sam explained.
"Trivia does not seem to have been overly interested in what he wanted done, and merely used it to cover her own projects," Lantash added.
"Sweet." O'Neill grimassed. "Okay, did you find out anything else?"
"No, not yet, but we've just started looking at some files that seems promising. Unfortunately, they're damaged, but we hope to be able to get something from them," Sam said.
O'Neill nodded. "Carry on, guys. Aldwin - there doesn't appear to be any danger on this world, so why don't you stay and help out?"
"You are certain of this?" Aldwin asked.
"Yes. Trivia had found a drug which enhances the healing abilities - of both humans and symbiotes," Sam said.
"That is impressive - and very useful!" Aldwin exclaimed.
"What is very useful?" O'Neill asked, walking into the room followed by Teal'c.
"A drug, Trivia had developed, which accelerates healing," Daniel said.
O'Neill frowned. "I thought the Goa'uld were experts on that already - and they've also got the sarc."
"Yes, that is true, but the sarcophagus has unfortunate side effects which are well known. Our natural healing abilities are impressive, but not miraculous. There are injuries that will kill a Tok'ra, especially if he is alone without a friend who can use a healing device," Anise explained.
O'Neill nodded. "Okay, I guess that makes sense. In any case, we want that drug, right? Do you know what's in it?"
"Mostly," Sam said.
"Mostly? What's that supposed to mean?" O'Neill asked.
"Well, Trivia knew, of course, but part of her... list of ingredients is missing..." Daniel began.
"Missing? Find it, then!" O'Neill exclaimed.
"We would, but part of the data crystal in question is simply too damaged. It happened when the roof caved in, unfortunately," Sam told him.
"Can't you... fix it, or something?" O'Neill wondered.
"Unfortunately, a corner of the crystal has been pulverized completely and there are hairline fractures in the rest. It was a miracle we were able to recover as much as we did," Martouf said.
"Then... isn't there a sample of it? Didn't she have, uh, I don't know... notes of her research, or something?" O'Neill asked.
Sam nodded. "Yes, quite detailed, in fact. She got the most important part of the drug from the locals of this world, actually. It seems to have been a herbal mixture of some kind, with the main part of it being from a plant that only exists on this planet. Unfortunately, any other information about those herbs or how to synthesize the drug, has been lost."
"But we could just get it from the locals then, follow the Goa'uld's instructions to make it more powerful, and then we're good to go?" O'Neill looked at them, hopefully.
"Yes, provided they still know which herbs it contained," Martouf said. "The drug's contents could have been forgotten in the very long time that has passed since Trivia worked here."
"But, if we can get that info from the natives, then we can synthesize the drug from Trivia's instructions, yes," Sam confirmed.
"Okay - I'll go report to Stargate Command. You just continue getting as much information you can," O'Neill said. "Come on, Teal'c!"
"What did General Hammond say?" Sam asked, when they all met back at the camp.
"He needed to talk to the higher-ups, but I think we can be pretty sure procuring that healing drug is going to be top-priority," O'Neill said.
"Which means we shall have to contact the local population," Anise observed.
"Yes, but they're friendly, right? It shouldn't be a problem," O'Neill said.
"We observed them watching us several times today," Teal'c told them. "They do not seem aggressive in any way."
"Very true, but that doesn't mean they're willing to give us that drug - if they even know about it anymore," Daniel said.
"I doubt they'd forget about something like that." O'Neill yawned. "Let's get something to eat and then on to bed."
"Agreed. It's getting dark... oh, and the polar lights are visible again," Daniel said.
"They seem more active than yesterday," Martouf observed.
"Wow! Yeah, no kidding!" Sam exclaimed, looking at the glow in the sky. It had crept up further than the day before, and as she watched, coloured ribbons appeared on the sky, waving up and down. They were much stronger than the night before.
"We're still safe, right?" O'Neill asked, somewhat concerned.
Sam nodded. "Yes, the atmosphere will protect us."
O'Neill shrugged. "Okay. Food, then sleep."