Gambling on the Future, Epilogue
Word Count: 2,589
Disclaimer: I can't own anything. The pygmies and debt collectors own me.
Summary: Fish can't survive out of water. So can a gambler/conartist survive outside of the western town he almost called home? Stargate SG-1/Magnificent Seven crossover. Post season 2 of Mag 7 and probably mid season 9 of SG-1.
Author's Note: I had to take a short break after bending my brain last chapter, and then my computer decided to kill its fan and not turn on, but technically this update (the last one) is only a few hours late. :)
Teeny bit of Ezra/Inez in here again, but I think this is a fitting ending. A perfect beginning, really. :)
Home Sweet Home
"So... we're sure about this, right?" Jackson looked up at the Stargate nervously. It wasn't like he should be scared to go through it. He'd been through it plenty of times. It was something else that was worrying him. This relocation, obviously.
"Little late now for doubts, Jackson," Mitchell told him. The anthropologist-archeologist-linguist had been obsessing over this for days now. Ever since they'd evacuated the town of Four Corners, they'd been working non-stop, everyone, to get things settled. Researchers had poured over genealogies to make sure that no one who had descendents was removed from the time line. Survivors with descendents were moved to other towns, given an minor form of the cholera that supposedly wiped out the town, and a cover story that they had no choice but to believe. If they'd seen anything at all, they were assured it was a feverish delusion, and being the type of people they were, they accepted that. The other survivors were in a bit of stasis, waiting for the work to be done. The whole town and surrounding area was photographed, measured, and diagrammed so that it could be recreated perfectly on P4X-434, otherwise known as the planet Four Corners. They'd spent sometime searching for a suitable planet not on the known Stargate grid, that they could establish the new "colony" on, and it had taken a while to get it even remotely close to what it needed to be.
It was a lot of work, too much to abandon or change their minds about. "You have any other suggestions? Because I know we've asked before, but maybe now you do when you didn't before."
Jackson shook his head. "No, I don't. I just... hope we're doing the right thing."
"Well, from what we can tell, no Priors have tried to go back to the past and infect anyone else," Mitchell reminded him. "Of course, the town's been quarantined by everyone around it and looks abandoned, with a creepy full cemetery, so it's a definite turn off, but so far, it looks like things are working."
"It helps that Orin descended and that Gerrak helped us undo the Ori plague here," Jackson said, sighing a little. "It's hard to believe all the changes around here."
"Hey, we have hope now. At least we can take out their plague. That's more than we had before," Mitchell reminded him. "And you know, I think it was pretty damn impressive that SG-7 decided to give their designation over to someone else."
"Everyone knows that they tricked a Prior and saved their town, the past, and the future," Sam said, shrugging. "Between that and the reports of their exploits before that point, it's not hard to see why. We all owe them a pretty big debt, especially since we inadvertently got them all into this mess."
"For the last time, that was the Trust. That was not us. Mariner had a Goa'uld. Kor'an. If not for that, we would have only bothered Standish for a few days, gotten the ZPM from his mother, and been back before anyone even noticed we were gone," Mitchell objected.
"It cannot alter the facts, Colonel Mitchell," Teal'c observed quietly. "Our actions had many unforeseen consequences. We are not so fortunate as to be immune to the repercussions, though we are lucky in that we have gained much in the way of our allies."
"Yeah. I heard that Sheppard wants them as reinforcements for Atlantis," Mitchell muttered, shaking his head. "Did anyone tell them that?"
"Well, it kind of got mentioned," Jackson began, sharing a wince with Sam. "The seven were not so kindly disposed towards the idea that the Atlantis expedition would be interested in Ezra's ability to manipulate Ancient technology. Of course there are plenty of things he can do with that talent here in our galaxy, but admittedly, Atlantis could use it a bit more than we can."
"But the things that Ezra learned about Goa'uld technology makes him a resource here as well," Sam insisted. "We have plenty more we can learn from his adaptation to it. He has done things that even the original users had no idea the hand device was capable of. We may really need him when it comes to a full war with the Ori."
"That's assuming he's willing to be needed at all," Mitchell muttered. They gave him a look, and he shrugged. "I do remember a rather spectacular incident of him throwing all of us out of his room, don't you?"
"At the time, he did blame all of us for the apparent fusion of the hand device to his skin."
"And he wasn't happy about the suggestion that he might have some insight into the way the Prior's staff worked after the shock wave he got hit with and his ability to counter it."
"He was also annoyed by everyone fussing over him."
"And that he'd lost another one of his suits to one of our missions."
"Are we sure he agreed to go on this little trip?" Mitchell asked, looking toward the door. The seven peacekeepers should have been here by now.
"We could get Teal'c to carry him," Sam began, a small smile on her face.
"That will not be necessary, nor was it any other time you employed such a tactic," Standish said from the doorway. He had on his riverboat hat and the green suit that Mitchell had thought was ruined. Interesting. He fiddled with his cuffs. "I had intended to make a fashionably late entrance, but if my compatriots have not arrived, I fear I am too early."
"It is most good to see you upon your feet, Ezra P. Standish."
Standish managed a slight smile. "I simply must stop with these noble antics. They do not agree with me whatsoever."
"Actually, pard, they look pretty damn good on you," Tanner told him, and Standish rolled his eyes as the six other men crowded the gate room. "Who fixed the suit? Inez again?"
"The woman is a veritable goddess when it comes to fashion repair, it would seem," Standish agreed. "I shall have to thank her in person once we have resettled our dust bowl."
"That the only thing you're gonna be thanking her for, Ez?" Wilmington asked, and Standish shot him a dirty look before he continued on like nothing had happened.
"Shall we embark? I have no desire to linger here any longer. I have had enough of these underground domains to last me a lifetime."
"I believe the expression is for 'old times' sake,'" Teal'c began, and Standish yelped in protest as the Jaffa picked him up and carried him to the gate and tossed him through it. Half of the Four Corners lawmen were laughing, and the other three didn't seem to care much for SG-1's sense of humor.
Mitchell looked at Larabee. "After you?"
"It looks exactly like we left it, only we never left it," John Dunne said, shaking his head in wonder. It was a very fitting sentiment, Josiah thought, for though the buildings were familiar and the bustle of the inhabitants a sound they knew well, this was not truly the Four Corners that they had known. The SGC or perhaps the IOA had seen fit to resettle the town before the peacekeepers arrived, which was not something that he would have expected, though none of the townsfolk seemed at all out of sorts from the journey or bothered by anything in their new surroundings.
"It is singularly amazing," Josiah agreed. "Much different from the first impression one would have of this planet."
"Everything by the gate is a safety precaution," Daniel explained. "It has an iris, like the one on Earth, and there will be SG personnel there at all times."
"By that I assume you don't mean us," Larabee said, lighting up a cheroot. "I heard they're calling us SG-7 now. That title really mean anything, or we just supposed to feel included by the gesture?"
"As long as you want it to be, it's a lot more than just a name. As SG-1, we serve as a first contact team. Sheppard has a team like ours on Atlantis, and we all kind of figured that you'd end up a bit restless out here, since there won't really be anything to keep seven peacekeepers busy on an unknown planet," Daniel went on. "The gate should be monitored, but that doesn't have to be your job. We would actually like it if you came along with us from time to time."
"Really?" John Dunne asked excitedly. "To other planets and everything?"
"It won't all be peaceful like this," Mitchell warned. "We are at war, and we're still cleaning up from the last one, plus we have to worry about the war in the other galaxy getting to us. It's not going to be easy. Most of our allies have taken bad hits in the last few years. The Tok'ra are almost gone, the Asgard are having a lot of trouble, the Ancients won't do squat to help us because of their noninterference policies, and we're running out of the ones willing to violate that code."
"Sounds like our kind of odds," Buck said with a grin.
"Not mine," Ezra muttered. "I see no advantage to getting ourselves killed in a foolish crusade. Then again, this dust bowl will have even less to offer than it did before when there is no traffic between it and anywhere else."
"Oh, we're figuring on getting some trading partners going when the settlement's up and running," Mitchell added. "Probably mostly Jaffa at first."
"And that is an incentive?" Ezra scoffed at that. "Please. I should be so lucky as to never see another Jaffa, that I might not have another one manhandle me."
"They'll leave you alone if you don't cheat," Vin said. Josiah noticed that the Jaffa in their present company took no offense to Ezra's words. He seemed, in fact, to be smiling.
"I do not cheat," Ezra insisted.
"You could set up your saloon again. This time your mother can't take it away from you."
"I do believe the saloon is in perfectly capable hands at present," Ezra disagreed. He looked at his sleeve again, pretending to adjust it even though it didn't need it. Buck had been almost relentless about teasing the gambler about the bar maid, and while it was clear that the ladies man still harbored some feelings for her, he was trying to be helpful, in his way.
"You meant what you said, right?" Nathan asked, having been quiet so far. "You're gonna teach me to be a doctor, a proper one? Full training?"
"And the degree," Carter promised. "The settlement needs a trained doctor, and every SG team has someone with at least basic medical training. You'd be an asset just as you are, but we want you to have the title you deserve as well."
Nathan smiled gratefully.
"Guess we ought to go see how things are with the folks around here," Buck began, looking at the town. "No time like the present, right, boys?"
"I am a little less inclined to rush into the town's proximity, for reasons I am sure you can grasp," Ezra said, his own gaze turning doubtful as he studied the new Four Corners.
"You're with us," Larabee told him. "No one's gonna argue with that."
"So... what first? The Clarion?" Daniel asked as they started walking into town.
"Saloon," the peacekeepers answered in unison, causing a wave of laughter to go through the group. Josiah smiled, though he kept his eye on Ezra. Chris was confident that no one would try anything against him as long as he was with the rest of them, but Ezra had his doubts. At least he also had that shield. Some of the townsfolk did give him ugly looks as they walked along, but they made it to the saloon without incident.
"Feels like home," Buck observed. "Inez, we're gonna need a round or two."
She nodded, grabbing two bottles and a handful of shot glasses that she put on the table. SG-1 grabbed a few extra chairs while she went back for more glasses. Ezra watched her for a moment and shook his head, reaching for one of the shots that Buck was busy pouring. "To our fair dust bowl."
They all smiled and raised the shot, even SG-1. Ezra downed his and found himself face-to-face with Inez. "Señorita Rocilios, I must thank you, not only for your fine work with a needle, but also for the sentiments which you bestowed upon this missive. I feel I am unworthy of such gifts—"
Inez grabbed him by the jacket collar and kissed him fiercely. Buck watched with a grin. "I reckon he's going to be busy for a while."
Josiah lifted his glass, deciding that whatever was between Ezra and Inez, it was for them to settle in private. "Be it ever so humble—"
"—There's no place like home," everyone finished with him, raising their glasses again.
"They weren't kidding," Dunne muttered. "This is so boring."
"Can't believe I'm wishing someone would come busting up this place or one of you fools would get yourselves injured just to have something to do," Jackson told them, shaking his head. He was one of the ones with the most to do, still busy with his training at the SGC. Sanchez was also there often, reading up as much on the other cultures of the universe as possible. Wilmington had expressed some disappointment in the lack of new female company of late. Larabee seemed restless, and so did Tanner.
"May I suggest, gentlemen, that we go for a ride?" Ezra asked, shuffling his cards.
"We did that. We do that every day," Dunne said, shaking his head. "I mean, I'm glad things between me and Casey are going so well, but... I can't help it. I'm bored."
"Must you be so tiresomely literal?" Ezra demanded, his own temper close to getting the better of him. He hadn't had a decent poker game in weeks. "They did say we were free to be a first contact team, did they not?"
"You're crazy, Ez," Wilmington said immediately.
"I don't know. I'm itchin' to get out and do somethin'. I've explored this planet as far as I can without disappearin' for months, and I'm ready for a change," Tanner told him. "Even when we were rescuin' SG-1 from that Ancient puzzle chamber, and Ezra was feelin' poorly, it was excitin'. New and different."
"I have learned much of the other cultures this universe has available, but I have yet to actually speak to someone from them, other than Teal'c," Sanchez added.
"What do you think, Mr. Larabee?"
The man in black was quiet for a moment, but then a slow grin spread over his face. "Saddle up, boys. Let's ride."