Old Friends, New Puzzles
Hai – Yes (Formal)
Ojii-san – Grandfather (Your Own)
Koi – Lover, Boy/Girlfriend
Kuso – Shit
-Sensei – Suffix meaning 'Teacher/Professor/Doctor'
Sugoi! – All right! Awesome!
"Are you sure about this, Daniel?" Jack asked.
"For the third time, Jack, yes, I'm sure," Daniel said, testy at having to repeat himself. "Solomon Moto is a very respected member of the archeological field; plus, his specialty is ancient Egypt."
"But how do you know you can trust him?" Jack persisted.
Sighing as he entered the elevator that would take them to the top level – where the subject of their rather heated discussion was waiting to be let into the underground base – Daniel said, "The General had him checked out; he's clean. And while Mr. Moto may be a gambler, he is an honest man."
Jack grumbled under his breath.
As the doors opened onto the surface, Daniel added, "Besides, if the translations he's here to help me with do reveal anything about the Stargate project, General Hammond gave me permission to tell him about it."
"I know – and I've already registered my compliant with George – but what I want to know is why you're so keen to tell him," Jack replied.
Daniel sighed and stepped through the open doors. "Well," he admitted. "I met Solomon Moto while I was doing my undergrad work, and since we both liked Egypt so much, we stayed in touch. Even after that whole debacle in San Francisco, we'd still talk occasionally. A few years ago, I noticed something in his voice, and his letters. His grandson lives with him, and though he used to mention Yugi all the time, now he pretty much skirts around mentioning the kid whenever I bring him up."
"So you're worried something's happened to the kid?" Jack asked.
Daniel shook his head. "Not…exactly," he said slowly, flipping his ID out to show the guard as they passed. Jack did the same and they were waved past. "I think he has a secret of his own, and it revolves around his grandson. If we tell him about the SGC, maybe I can finally get him to open up to me about what the hell is going on with him."
"So basically you want to let a civilian in on our secret all so you can guilt an old man into telling you what's going on with his grandkid?" Jack asked, slightly incredulous.
Daniel smiled sheepishly. "Actually, I do think he could be a big help around here; it's not like I want to tell him just so he'll talk to me. But if we do end up letting him know, I see no reason why I can't take advantage of the opportunity."
Jack shook his head. "You're too much, Danny."
"I know, Jack," Danny said, giving his lover a leer and making his hips sway slightly.
Jack flushed and cleared his throat. "None of that, now," he said in a low voice. "Don't want to scare the visitors." He nodded up ahead to where a spiky head of gray hair could be seen. He frowned at the smaller head of tri-colored and even spikier hair that he could see next to the elderly gentleman.
Daniel snorted. "Don't be a dick, Jack. And be nice to Mr. Moto and his grandson."
"Grandson?" Jack asked. "What; you mean that kid Yugi is here, too?" That would explain the kid with the punk rock hairdo. Teenagers…
Daniel just smiled innocently as they walked over to meet the two men. "What, did I forget to tell you?"
Jack glared at his lover.
Interesting… The thought curled through Yugi's brain.
Yami? Yugi asked, surprised to hear from his other. Yami normally remained silent when Yugi met new people, totally focused on 'feeling' them out. What's interesting?
I keep getting the strangest feelings from that Dr. Jackson, Yami said back.
Bad feelings? Yugi asked fearfully. They were almost a mile beneath the surface, in a top secret American military base. This was no place to be challenging people to Shadow Games!
Not…entirely, Yami said thoughtfully. More like when we first met Ryou.
Yugi frowned, unconsciously stroking the golden puzzle that hung around his neck. He glanced over across the room at where his grandpa was talking with Dr. Jackson, the Colonel, and General Hammond. You mean he feels like he's been possessed by something bad? he asked.
It feels eerily like that, Yami admitted. As if someone evil controlled him at some point. Though whatever it is isn't magical. And it feels…familiar.
The way his other had 'said' that last word made Yugi's eyes go wide. You mean…it feels like something from your time in Egypt? he asked cautiously, knowing his lover only ever 'sounded' like that when he was trying to chase down a ragged bit of memory in the labyrinth that was his mind.
Yes…yes it does, Yami said slowly.
Their conversation was interrupted by the four men's conversation ending. The Colonel and the General exited the room, leaving the other three – well, technically four – people alone.
"Come along, Yugi; we're going to Dr. Jackson's office now," Solomon said.
"Hai, Ojii-san," Yugi said. We'll talk later, he sent to Yami.
I'll be keeping watch, Yami sent back.
Several floors and innumerable corridors later, they arrived at Dr. Jackson's personal office. Yugi could see that it was probably normally cluttered; now a page table in the middle of the room had been cleared. On it rested half a dozen stone tablets covered with hieroglyphs.
You never said, hikari; what does the American military want with old Egyptian tablets? Yami asked curiously.
I never said because I don't know, Yugi answered distractedly, following close behind his grandfather. He didn't want anyone to ask him something and he not be aware enough to answer. Though he supposed he could always pass it off as his English not being very good.
"These are the tablets I was telling you about," Dr. Jackson was saying. He gestured to the stone on the far left. "They're laid out in order, so far as I can tell."
Studying the line of nine rectangular-shaped pieces of sandstone, Yugi shook his head. "Not quite; that one should be last," he said, pointing at the third one from the left.
Daniel blinked at him. "It should?"
Abashed – he didn't realize he'd said that out loud and he'd really been trying not to draw attention to himself – Yugi just nodded. "They've all got the equivalent of numbers on the bottom right corners; see? That one says it's the end."
Peering at where the younger man was pointing, Daniel blinked. "Huh. I never noticed that."
"Not surprising if you weren't looking for it," Yugi reassured him. "The etchings are very faint."
"Still…" Daniel shook his head. "Anyway… I didn't realize you knew hieroglyphics as well." He gave the spiky-haired youth an inscrutable look.
Yugi rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "Ojii-san's been teaching me," he excused his knowledge.
Solomon nodded, adding his own explanation to steer suspicion away. "And he's gone on digs with me before when he was younger. Curiouser than any cat, always willing to learn. I sometimes think his knowledge of Egypt is better than my own." He chuckled softly, knowing that with Yami in his grandson's life, Yugi did know more about ancient Egypt than he himself.
Daniel smiled, accepting the words at face value. God knew how many languages he'd learned on his parents' digs. "Well, that's good for us, then. If Yugi helps in the translating, you might be out of here sooner than we thought."
"I could help?" Yugi piped up. Oh, he wanted to, definitely, but the American military was funny about such things. His grandfather was a respected archeologist, but he was a college freshman.
Never mind that he knew more about ancient Egypt than probably even Dr. Jackson; they didn't know that, and wouldn't, if he could help it.
"I don't see why not," Daniel said. "And since I'm in charge of this project, what I say goes." His eyes twinkled in a smile behind his wire-rimmed glasses.
"Sugoi!" Yugi exclaimed. "Thank you, Jackson-sensei."
Jackson chuckled. "Good to see you're excited. Here, let's get you both set up."
Fifteen minutes later, Daniel, Solomon and Yugi were all set up, each translating a different tablet. Both Jackson and Solomon occasionally had to consult books to track down the odd symbol; Yugi just had to consult Yami.
See, Yami? You won't be bored after all. There'll be plenty for you to do. He sent his other a mental picture of an evil grin.
Yami frowned sourly. Oh, joy, he said dryly. You're going to make me do all the work, but you'll get all the credit. He sent his other a mental picture of him pouting cutely.
Do you want me to tell Jackson-sensei about you? Yugi asked incredulously.
Yami sighed. No, of course not, koi. And I don't really mind you getting the kudos for translating these tablets. It's just…
Just? Yugi asked, pausing in his writing.
I still need to figure out what's going on with Dr. Jackson, Yami replied. Something is up with him, and I know it's connected to something that happened before I sealed the Shadow Games – I just don't know what. And it's driving me crazy trying to figure it out!
Resisting the urge to roll his eyes – after all, Yami wouldn't see it, and Dr. Jackson would, which would be bad – Yugi said, Yaammiiii… I realize that you're practically fanatical about tracking down your memories – and I completely understand – but obsessing over it won't help.
Yami grumbled and said nothing.
Besides, if you don't sense anything current about the evil feelings surrounding Jackson-sensei, there's no reason for you to worry, Yugi pointed out.
There's always reason for me to worry, hikari, Yami shot back. Especially when there's anything potentially dangerous in your general vicinity.
Overprotective spirit, Yugi complained.
Your point? Yami said dryly, a smile lurking around his mental lips.
With Yugi – and consequently, Yami – helping the two older men translate, what started out as a three-week job ending up taking only one.
Luckily for Daniel and Jack, none of the information on the tablets directly mentioned anything about the Goa'uld.
There were veiled hints, however, if one knew what they were looking for. Lines about 'invaders from beyond the stars' and 'false gods' did help to jog Yami's memory.
"They're called the Goa'uld," Yami told Yugi. He normally would have come out of the Puzzle to have this conversation, but even though they were alone in theirs and Solomon's room, Yugi assured him they were probably being watched by video camera. Yugi was feigning a nap while he and Yami conversed in his soul room, so no one would be watching them too closely.
"The Goa'uld?" Yugi asked curiously.
"Yes, a race of snake-like beings that need a host body to survive," Yami said, voice grim. "They take over humans to use as hosts and completely subvert the person's personality."
"Like Bakura did with Ryou?" Yugi asked fearfully, clutching anxiously at a stuffed panda that had somehow made its way from his soul room to end up here in Yami's about a year ago.
But Yami shook his head. "No, aibou, it's much worse. Ryou could fight Bakura, but almost no one can fight against the Goa'uld."
Yugi gasped. "No!"
"Yes," Yami countered.
"And you say Jackson-sensei is…infested with one of these Goa'uld?" Yugi asked, dread in his voice.
"No," Yami said reassuringly. "I think he might have been at one time, though. Colonel O'Neill as well, though not for as long as Dr. Jackson."
"Poor Jackson-sensei," Yugi said compassionately. "And poor Colonel O'Neill. I can't imagine what they've been through."
Yami shuddered. "I can."
Wrapping his koi into a warm embrace, Yugi kissed the top of Yami's head. "It's all right; I'm here."
"I know," Yami said warmly, snuggling up to Yugi.
A few moments passed before Yugi spoke again. "But wait – if you got rid of the Goa'uld back in Egypt, then how did Jackson-sensei get infested?"
Eyes glazing over in that way that meant he was remembering something, Yami said, "I remember the Goa'uld came in spaceships, first. No one knew what they were back then. Ra, America wasn't even a glint in our eyes back then; whole other worlds wouldn't even have entered our thoughts."
Yugi just nodded encouragingly, sensing Yami needed to talk all of this through both so as to fill him in and so he himself could understand it better.
"Once they landed, they built this metal ring. It was unlike anything we'd ever seen. The symbols were Egyptian, but the metal was completely unearthly. Nothing we had could destroy it."
"Nothing?" Yugi couldn't help but ask. "Not even magic?"
Yami shook his head and shrugged. "No one could get close enough to try that approach. They had weapons that could strike from farther away than our magic – like guns, only more deadly. And guards with those weapons were posted all around the ring."
"What was the ring?" Yugi asked.
"The ring was called the Chapa'ai. It was a gate, of sorts, to other worlds. The Goa'uld used it to bring in reinforcements." Yami sighed and averted his gaze. "Once I banished the imposters, I had the Chapa'ai buried beneath the sands."
"Buried?" Yugi asked, a sinking feeling in his gut. Jackson-sensei was primarily a linguist, but he'd gone on a lot of archeological digs…
And who knew better than they that what was past didn't always stay buried? Especially in Egypt.
"In what is today known as Giza," Yami confirmed.
"So some archeological team dug it up?" Yugi asked fatalistically.
"Most likely," Yami agreed.
"Then what would it be doing in an American military base?" Yugi asked. "It has to be here, or else how would both Jackson-sensei and Colonel O'Neill have been infested?"
"Perhaps the American military wanted to use it to go to other worlds," Yami suggested after a moment's thought. "And they didn't realize that the Goa'uld were out there. I wish I could believe that the ones I killed back in Egypt were the only ones out there, but that would be foolish. Especially since I vaguely recall that some of them – led by Ra, since they were still impersonating our gods, by the way – retreated through the Chapa'ai before I could stop them."
"Well, maybe the military didn't know where the Chapa'ai led, and when they sent people through – Jackson-sensei and Colonel O'Neill, most likely – those people ran into the Goa'uld. And now the Americans are fighting these Goa'uld on other worlds," Yugi suggested.
"That is…highly possible, aibou," Yami admitted. "From what I remember of the Goa'uld, they always tried to infest the highest ranking people around."
"Were…you…ever infested, Yami?" Yugi asked, fear clenching his gut.
Yami shook his head. "No, thank Ra – and I mean the real one, not that slimy imposter. But I had a narrow escape."
Yugi's eyes went wide. "Really?"
"Yes. My High Priest, Seth…"
"Seto's last incarnation?" Yugi interrupted.
Yami nodded and continued, "…Seth was better at sensing the Jaffa than I was…"
"Jaffa?" Yugi broke in again.
Rolling his eyes, but knowing that this time, at least, it was a legitimate question as he had yet to tell his hikari of the Jaffa, Yami said, "They were slaves that had been bred to be incubators for young Goa'uld. The Jaffa carried the young symbiotes in a pouch much like a kangaroo carries her young."
"Ew…" Yugi said, face screwing up into a grimace.
Yami nodded agreement and went back to his story. "Anyway, Seth was better at sensing the Goa'uld inside the Jaffa, and he came upon one of them – who had been masquerading as a palace servant – about to infest me, and killed her."
"And then you banished all the Goa'uld from Earth?" Yugi asked, sensing his other wanted to make a quick end to his tale.
"It was more involved than that, but yes, aibou," Yami replied.
"I feel sorry for the Jaffa," Yugi said, seemingly from out of nowhere.
Yami knew where his other was going with this, however. Yugi could feel compassion for the most damned soul; the little one loved him, did he not? "Because the Goa'uld used them as incubators?"
Yugi nodded sorrowfully. "Yes."
"It is even worse than you think, koi," Yami revealed.
"How could it be?" Yugi asked fearfully. Snuggling close to his lover, he tucked his head into Yami's neck, in need of comfort after all the terrifying information that had just been revealed.
Yami wrapped his arms around Yugi, one hand coming up to comb soothing strokes through tri-colored hair. "The Jaffa were bred especially for the purpose of carrying the symbiotes living in their pouches."
"And?" Yugi asked, not quite sure he wanted to know more.
Yami sighed and averted his eyes. "They were created in such a way as to need the symbiotes' presence in their bodies…or they died."
"No!" Yugi exclaimed, an aghast expression on his face.
Yami nodded his afraid. "I am afraid so, little one."
"That's so…cruel," Yugi said, shocked.
"The Goa'uld are that," Yami agreed, before falling into a contemplative silence.
"So…what do we do now?" Yugi asked finally. "Do we tell Jackson-sensei what we know or do we keep quiet?"
"What good would it do to tell him?" Yami asked practically. "I managed to banish the Goa'uld from Earth once, but they were not expecting opposition. If the people on this base have been fighting the false gods for years, then the Goa'uld must expect the human's resistance by now. We could not help them, most likely only hinder them. And we are neither military nor American, besides."
"I know," Yugi said in a small voice.
"You just want to help," Yami said knowingly.
"It's stupid, I know," Yugi admitted. "They probably don't even need our help."
"It is good that you want to help them, though," Yami replied. "Never feel bad about wanting to help, koi. It is your greatest strength."
"My greatest strength?" Yugi asked, uncomprehending.
"You care for all those around you, even those you have not met," Yami replied softly. "Being able to care so much is an asset in life."
One side of his mouth lifting up in a crooked grin, Yugi said, "It's not hard to care about people who are saving the world…and consequently, me." He gave his other a knowing look.
Yami flushed in appreciation and ducked his head bashfully.
"So you're done with the translating?" Jack asked his lover.
"All done," Daniel confirmed, a satisfied smile on his face. "Much sooner than I thought we would be, too."
"That Yugi kid was really a lot of help, then, I take it," Jack stated more than asked. He'd spent the past week listening to Daniel marvel at Yugi's command of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
"Yeah…" Daniel sighed. "I almost wish we could hire him full-time."
"Instead of his grandfather?" Jack asked.
Daniel nodded. "Yugi would be a real help; he seems to have a real knack with languages. But I'm pretty sure the Joint Chiefs – and the Air Force – would have something to say about hiring a college freshman."
"A Japanese college freshman, at that," Jack agreed. "What with that movie coming out recently, Pearl Harbor is on everyone's minds."
"Mm-hm. Still, since he helped so much this time, if we ever need an outside translator, I'm sure the General would be willing to have him over again," Daniel said.
"And so would you, I'm sure," Jack said dryly.
Daniel smiled. "Yeah, it's great to talk with someone who understands ancient Egyptian."
Jack frowned. "You talk to Kasuf and S'karra all the time, Dannyboy," he pointed out.
"Yeah, but Yugi, for all that he isn't American, is still from Earth," Daniel told him. "I loved living on Abydos, but the culture is completely different."
"Like the clothes, and the weather, and the solar system…" Jack said teasingly, wanting to keep Daniel from falling into the blue funk he fell into whenever he thought about his 'home away from home' and his late wife, Shau'ri.
Daniel couldn't keep from snorting at his lover's antics. "And they don't have hockey, beer or pizza, either," he added dryly, a wicked grin lurking at the corners of his lips.
Jack put a hand to his heart in dismay. "Horror of horrors!"
"Only half an hour until we can go," Yugi said aloud, as much to reassure himself that they were almost on their way home as to reassure Yami of the same fact.
Yes, indeed, Yami replied. His mental 'tone' was distracted, and Yugi could sense that his other was descending into a state of brooding only five-thousand-year-old spirits could reach.
Yami? Yugi prodded at the mental shields keeping his lover's thoughts separated from his own. What's wrong?
Yami mentally shook himself and tried to force a smile. It's noth–
And don't tell me it's nothing, Yugi interrupted him. I know you.
Yes, you do, Yami said, tone lightening. I just do not wish to plague you with my worries.
And I do not wish for you to be alone in your worrying, Yugi returned smartly. He lay down on the institutionally gray bunk and closed his eyes, feigning sleep so that he and Yami could continue their conversation face to 'face'.
Once Yugi had made his way over to Yami's soul room, he plopped down on the mentally fabricated 'bed' next to his lover. "Give, Yami," he said, one arm coming up to encircle the other's waist. "What's on your mind?"
Yami sighed heavily and leaned gratefully into his hikari's touch. "Remember I mentioned the Jaffa?" he asked.
Yugi nodded, knowing his other would sense the action even inside the Puzzle.
"Remember yesterday when we met up with Dr. Jackson in the cafeteria?" Yami continued. "He was talking to that blonde woman and a tall, dark man with an unusual tattoo on his forehead."
"Hai, I remember," Yugi said. "That tattoo didn't look a normal tattoo. It looked like it was made out of real gold, Yami. It must have hurt to have it done." His face scrunched up in a sympathetic frown, much as it had when he'd first heard about Malik's tomb-keeper 'initiation'.
Yami smiled slightly. "No doubt, little one. But I remember feeling something from the both of them."
Yugi froze, dread coloring his every word. "You do?"
Yami nodded reluctantly. "The woman felt like Dr. Jackson…"
"She was possessed, too?" Yugi asked, hands clenching into fists.
"I believe so. But what worries me more is what I felt from that man," Yami told him, brows knitting together in a frown.
"What?" Yugi asked fearfully, finally putting together Yami's first question with this thread of conversation. Could Yami mean…?
"He felt…like a Jaffa," Yami told him.
He did mean that, Yugi realized sadly. Kuso! Has the SGC been infiltrated by the Goa'uld?
When Yugi relayed his question to his other, Yugi was surprised to 'feel' Yami shake his head. "No, I don't think so," Yami added. "Once I felt the symbiote inside that man, I went looking for anything else. Aside from a few more people who feel like they've been possessed at one point or another, he was the only one on this base with a Goa'uld inside him."
"So…maybe he defected?" Yugi suggested off the top of his spiky-haired head.
After mulling that over for a few minutes, Yami said, "It would explain why he is trusted here. It could not have gone unnoticed – the pouch would have given him away, and I recall the other Jaffa had similar gold tattoos – and he would be a valuable resource in the SGC's war."
"Resource?" Yugi asked blankly, his naiveté in matters of subterfuge coming to the fore yet again.
"A resource of knowledge on the Goa'uld," Yami said plainly. "Being as he most likely worked for them, he could know much of their plans. He could have a great deal of information he could give the SGC to help them in their fight."
A knock at the door in the real world halted any further conversation.
"Time to go, I guess," Yugi said, before he left his lover's soul room and opened his eyes on the gray military bunker.
Talk to you once we're 'alone', aibou, Yami said, mental 'tone' tinged with mirth.
Later, lover, Yugi agreed, grabbing his duffle bag and going to answer the door. It had been fun translating the tablets – and finding out more about Yami's past was always a good thing – but things at the SGC were just too weird for his taste. Duel Monsters he could handle; aliens trying to take over the world were just a bit much.
He was so glad to be getting out of here.
Me too, koi.
"So you're not worried about the kid anymore?" Jack asked in an aside to Daniel as they escorted their Japanese guests to the surface. The 'kid' in question was busy chattering away to his grandfather in rapid Japanese and neither of them were paying their escort any attention, so he felt free to indulge in a little Danny-querying.
"Not really," Daniel said vaguely. The puzzle of Yugi Moto may not have been solved – or resolved – to his satisfaction, but he was convinced his old friend wasn't hiding anything…sinister behind his love of games and archeology. Lowering his voice, he whispered, "I mean, something is definitely going on with him...both of them…but I don't think it's anything to worry about. Yugi seems perfectly, happy, healthy, content…sane." He quirked a grin.
"Well…good," Jack said finally, not knowing what else to say. He chuckled lowly. "Wouldn't do to have a crazy teenager running around on base."
Daniel smirked. "No worse than a technically schizophrenic ex-General."
Jack blinked. "Whaaa…?"
"Jacob Carter and Selmac," Daniel murmured. "Two people; one body." He almost frowned as he thought about how eerily similar that sounded to what he'd observed of Yugi – at times the younger man would just space out, as if he was talking to someone inside his own head!
Ludicrous, Daniel told himself. If he was a Goa'uld – or even a Tok'ra! – Sam or Teal'c would have been able to sense him.
Having firmly convinced himself that he was worrying for nothing, Daniel came back to himself just in time to hear Jack growl lowly.
Jack groaned and rolled his eyes. "Daniel…" he whined.
Grinning, Daniel remained silent. Ah, Jack-baiting…my second-favorite hobby. Which often leads to my first favorite hobby.
I wonder if that supply room on level thirteen is still unmonitored?