Ok, so I lied. I did have an epilogue hanging around.
I know. You're all shocked that I lied.
One year later
Jon swore as the massive creature reared up over him, wings spread wide, and mouth opening.
'Crap! No room to - '
Barely three feet across, the crack in the ancient, volcanic rock plain hemmed him in to either side with black, jagged stone. The walls of this crack were currently eight feet tall, and while he could climb them, it wasn't a quick thing to do, and the sharp edges would slice his fingers to the bone with a single slip.
It was a vicious environment, and the creatures which lived in it were a perfect match. This particular denizen was covered in scales that could handle the environment, had wings, was bigger than an elephant, and, of most concern to Jon at the immediate moment, was able to breath "fire".
Jon dove backwards and swung his shield around in front of himself, curling up his legs to get as much of his body behind the shield as possible before the -
A stream of blue flame shot out from the dragon's mouth, unerringly aimed at Jon.
The shield intercepted the stream and then Jon was rolling backwards over his shoulder and backpack, out of the path of the stream of burning cesium.
Jon rolled to his feet, carefully keeping the burning side of the shield away from his body. Several gunshot sounded off from the side and the dragon snapped its head around to the side and roared. Jon took the opportunity to move away from its sight, darting back twenty feet around a bend to a place where part of the wall of the crack had broken down, and quickly climbed out. Several more shot rang out, and the creature lost its interest in Jon and turned to the new annoyance, running across the jagged lava with short, wing-assisted jumps to cross the larger crevices.
Stealth wasn't an option any more, and Jon sprinted along the glassy surface of the obsidian-like field. He prayed he was in time. The new Asgard were tough, but the dragons had evolved to live in some of the harshest environment Jon had ever experienced.
This dragon was a newcomer to the local area, and a full adult, though still short of the truly massive size some of the oldest dragons achieved with lengths of nearly fifteen meters. This one was closer to ten meters, and covered in titanium-laced scales that let it slither along razor-sharp obsidian without worry.
And happened to shrug off most bullets.
And the damned things seemed to like the scent of Asgardians.
That had most definitely not been known when they had selected this planet for one of the colonies. The dragons had disliked humans for some reason, and had been categorized as a minor threat similar to a rhinoceros on Earth - not something you wanted to hang around or annoy, but not a major threat. And then the Asgard had come with the nearly two thousand humans, and the local dragons had gone crazy with excitement.
Jon heard another round of gunfire as he ran along the edge of the crack he had been sneaking down minutes before. The signs of the dragon were relatively clear even after just a few days - scrapes from scales and claws were evident around the edges.
Jon slowed and began peering down into the large crack. It had expanded to nearly fifteen feet deep and perhaps twenty feet across. Enough dust and rubble had collected that there was an actual floor of dirt to the crack. It was freshly ripped and torn up from the dragon's new residence.
And there, mixed in the dirt, was the dark red of blood.
Gunshots continued to sound behind him, and then the distinctive sound of a staff weapon sounded. A bit of relief flowed through him.
'The cavalry has arrived!'
Staff blasts were able to hurt the dragons even through their incredibly tough scales. Rak'en had accompanied Jon and Drew to search this area, while two other teams were searching a quarter mile on either side of them. Staff blasts weren't an instant kill to the massive creatures, but they hurt them enough to eventually drive them off or even kill them.
Jon triggered his radio. "We've found and engaged the dragon. I've found some blood in a crevice here. Setting off a flare. Support Drew and Rak'en with the dragon. I'm investigating the crevice."
He released his backpack and pulled out his climbing equipment. Pitons got hammered into the volcanic rock, and chains looped around. Jon glanced back at the battle going on between the dragon and his men. The black creature was currently circling running across the volcanic rocks, wing outstretched for balance and to aid in jumping the numerous cracks.
Rak'en was facing it down, sending blast after blast of superheated plasma at the beast. Jon couldn't see Drew, but he heard a steady stream of gunfire. Even a staff weapon didn't immediately kill the dragons - the scales were too tough and the creatures too large for that - but they did hurt it. Thirty feet short of Rak'en, the creature had enough and veered aside, diving into a crevice with a scraping that Jon could hear from over a hundred meters away.
He returned his focus to setting up his chains, confident Rak'en and Drew could handle themselves. They could even just play keep-away from the dragon until the others arrived. Jon had assigned a Jaffa to accompany each group for some heavy weapon support. A single staff weapon was like using a .270 rifle against a rhino - enough shots and you'll take it down, but three staff weapons with a half dozen MP5s all with armor piercing rounds would take even an adult dragon down in pretty short order. His job at the moment was to see about rescuing the snatched Asgard, or if the worst came to be, recover her remains.
That it was Sigyn, to whom he owed Cassie's life, twisted his gut even further.
With a final click he threw the chain over the edge and shrugged his backpack back on before sliding down the hardened steel chain. Ropes were nearly useless out on the obsidian fields.
Jon hit the bottom and unlatched. The obsidian walls stretched around him with the dirt and rocks providing enough loose material for a few tufts of weeds to grow. As he turned, it became evident where the dragon's lair was located - as the lava that made these fields flowed, the surface had cooled quickly, but the lava below took longer to solidify, occasionally leaving pools of lava that managed to drain away through some opening. The result was a cave.
Jon crossed to the dark hole at the base of the obsidian wall and flicked on a light. It was large enough that his light didn't expose the other side, but it wasn't a particularly powerful light either. It did show a rough ramp of broken stone leading down.
Jon knelt and touched the blood. It was dried, but unweathered. A little further in, enough blood had gathered to make a droplet that smeared as Jon pinched it.
A staff blast and burst of gunfire sounded above him, muted to his ears down in the crevice. The dragon was occupied.
Jon shone the light on the stones and slowly worked his way down into the blackness. It was another fifteen feet before he reached the floor and the light streaming in through the hole was quickly swallowed by the black rock. His light just barely gave him the hints of edges to the cavern - at least fifty feet across at this point, and it stretched beyond his light to either side.
"Less of a cave, and more of a river that emptied out," Jon muttered.
The echoes sent his voice bouncing around through the cave, but before they faded, a cry answered him from his right.
"Jon! There is a mate!"
His heart rate soared at the warning and he spun around looking for motion in the darkness. Facing a dragon out on the surface was dangerous enough - caught with one in a cave without weapons was the next thing to suicide.
If he hadn't been looking for it, he might have missed it as black shifted against black in the distance.
'Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shi-'
Jon scrambled for his MP5, releasing it from its clips, popping the flashlight onto its attachment point, and yanking the weapon to his shoulder.
The blackness of the cave seemed to be writhing to his adjusting eyes, but Jon held his fire.
"Sigyn! Can you move?"
A glint of yellow light reflected deep in the blackness.
Jon fired a burst and a roar answered. Jon flexed, ready to spring to dodge the impending charge, but it never came.
"Slowly," came Sigyn's answer from the inky darkness.
"I'll try to draw it away. You make for the entrance."
"I shall try."
Jon winced at the uncertainty of the statement. Asgard bodies were ridiculously tough and resilient. If Sigyn were so badly wounded that she could only try to go to the entrance, she was in bad shape. The echoes ruined his ability to get a sense of her state from her voice, but the Asgard were very precise in their words - if she was capable of moving, there would have been no "try."
The blackness writhed again and Jon put a single shot into the center area. A loud hiss answered him and the dragon finally came close enough that he was able to see more than a vague shape. A long, black neck came from the darkness with a yellow eye clearly reflecting back the light of his flashlight.
Jon let loose a short burst this time and this time the dragon ducked and charged forward with a roar. Jon spun and began scrambling up the rocks, ignoring the razor sharp rocks cutting at his hands as the ground shook with the creature's charge. Jon nearly flew from the opening and sprinted forward.
On the ground the weren't much faster than a person. It wasn't until they got into the air that they could strike like a black thunderbolt.
The dragon roared again behind him and Jon risked a glance backwards to see it coming up out of the hole like a serpent. The females were longer and slimmer than the males. It seemed to be hesitating to leave its hole and Jon stopped and turned back, letting loose a burst at the dragon. Steel jacket bullets wouldn't punch through the thickest scales covering their stomachs and chests, but they might wound the more lightly armored necks. Wouldn't cause serious wounds, but it would hurt at least a little.
The pain and Jon's approach was enough to pull the dragon the rest of the way out, and Jon resumed his run. He ran past his chain - too long to climb before the dragon arrived - and continued running up the crevice. After a hundred feet the female dragon stopped again and swung her head back and forth from the annoying enemy back to the cave.
There was a collapse of the wall, and Jon took the moment to climb up to the surface. He gave the dragon another burst of gunfire but it still hesitated. It was just out of sight of the cave opening, and Jon wanted to keep it that way to give Sigyn enough time to get out.
Staff blasts and gunfire echoed behind him, reminding him of the battle still going on. Jon ran toward the dragon yelling.
"Hey come and get me! Nice and juicey Jon-burger here! Come on ya' stupid lizard! So tasty!"
The dragon's head was above the level of the obsidian crevice, but still didn't come at him.
'What's it gonna take to get ya' to chase me? What is keeping you … oh.' The precise word of Sigyn came to Jon's mind: "mate." If she hadn't been certain of its relationship to the first dragon, she would have said something along the lines of "another dragon," but she had used the word "mate." She had been certain of its status because of …
That fit with the dragon's behavior of snatching Sigyn and taking her far away rather than trying to eat the Asgardian immediately.
Jon shifted and began running toward the cave entrance.
That triggered the female dragon, and it surged up over the top with a roar.
"Oh shit! Yup - momma dragon!"
Jon skidded to a halt and ran back.
It unfurled its wings and gave itself a quick flap as it began to run. With its wings to help, it could match a dog's speed, and Jon could feel the earth shaking again as he sprinted all out with ten tons of angry momma dragon following close behind.
The black rock blurred beneath his boots as he ran. A quick glance showed that it was less than fifty feet behind him and Jon found an extra burst of speed at the site of ten tons of claws and teeth bearing down. He turned slightly and sprinted as hard as he could toward another crack in the lava and leaped it. This was only a "tributary" crack to the main crevice the dragons lived in, but it was still nearly ten feet across. Jon shoved off the edge of the crack and for a brief second was weightless as he soared over the expanse.
Then he landed on the other side and fell forward, rolling over his backpack. The thought flickered through his mind that he was glad he didn't have fifteen pounds of chain and pitons still in the pack.
The dragon's teeth snapped barely a foot behind him and Jon rolled again before rolling to his feet and sprinting again.
The crack seemed to be a barrier that the dragon was satisfied to have as a barrier between her and Jon, and she roared again as he continued running but declined to continue chasing him.
Jon stopped and turned to look at the dragon, sucking in great lungfuls of air.
The dragon watched him as he panted, hands on knees, but Jon didn't begin approaching again, and it didn't seem interested in chasing him further. Jon began to hope that it would keep an eye on him long enough for Sigyn to fully escape. He couldn't check on her to see if she had actually been able to crawl out, but if he could give enough time….
A burst of staff fire sounded in the distance and the dragon picked its head up at the sound. The male dragon gave a roar and further gunfire and staff fire began to sound. Jon glanced over as well and saw the dragon, nearly a quarter mile away by this point, jump through the air toward something Jon couldn't see.
The female dragon, alarmed by the sounds of violence in the distance, spun and began running back toward her cave and young. Jon cursed and began chasing the dragon.
'Chasing a dragon?' The ridiculous act made Jon smile. 'Cassie's gonna kill me if I die after chasing a dragon on my own with just a gun.'
He pulled his gun loose and fired after the dragon, but any pain it felt didn't seem to change its mind from returning to its cave.
Jon dropped his backpack and with a running start managed to cover the ten foot gap he had cleared with room to spare just minutes before. Winded from his sprint, Jon quickly fell behind the running dragon.
'Come on Sigyn, I hope you're well out of there!'
The dragon was nearly back to its home crevice when it slowed to a stop and swung its head back and forth. Jon was two football fields back and running to catch up, and couldn't see what had slowed it. It swung back and forth twice and then spread its wings and with a flap-supported jump, cleared the twenty foot gap of the crevice and began running back away from its cave, but on the other side of the large crevice from Jon.
A second later Jon realized what had attracted the dragon when a figure broke from behind an upthrust of rock and began limping away. Sigyn.
Something about the scent of the Asgard seemed to attract the dragons. It was catnip dipped in crack to them.
Jon cursed and dropped to his knees, pulling the MP5 up to his cheek and switching the selector to single fire. There was no way he'd be able to catch up to it himself.
He took a valuable second to track his heartbeat and breathing, match its timing to his shots, and began squeezing off shot after shot.
The beast's head was relatively stable as it ran and Jon's first and second shot missed, but his third one hit the back of its neck near the base of its skull. He noted the spark and zero'd in on his retreating target and continued firing. Spark after spark noted where each bullet hit.
The dragon jerked and snapped at the air; while it slowed a little, it didn't otherwise shift from its goal. It was only fifty feet from Sigyn when Jon's clip ran empty.
He dropped the magazine and started running even as he grabbed at his belt for his spare. He couldn't jump the crevice at this point and he was forced to sprint parallel to the dragon's path back up the crevice until it would eventually become narrow enough to jump.
It would be far too late by then, but he wasn't about to give up.
A strange cry sounded from the dragon's direction and Jon glanced up from his run in time to see a small figure flying through the air, swinging a stick or something at the dragon. The figure's club met the dragon's neck and sent the multi-ton creature rolling to the side.
Jon redoubled his speed and slammed the fresh clip into his gun. If he could get close enough, there was a chance he'd be able to put some bullets through the thing's eyes. As long as whoever that was managed to keep the dragon busy until Jon could get there!
The dragon roared and scrambled to its feet and spun to meet its new adversary. Jon was a hundred and fifty meters away, but it was close enough to make out the newcomer when the dragon moved aside.
'What the hell? Asgard don't -'
But this Asgard didn't seem to know what Asgard didn't do, because it hefted what Jon could now tell was a massive hammer and charged at the dragon, bellowing a warbling yell as it went.
The dragon roared in reply and charged its new foe.
Jon saw the small figure jump into the air, a ludicrously long and high jump reaching high enough that the dragon's head tilted up as its jaws opened to snatch its prey from the air.
Instead of Asgard flesh, it was met by the massive sledgehammer.
The figure swung the huge sledgehammer straight down onto the dragon's snout. The dragon's head slammed down to the ground with a crash. Its forward momentum left it sliding forward, and the Asgard figure landed on the back of the dragon.
The dragon didn't turn to bite for its enemy, but it did roll and twist. The Asgard leaped off and landed in a crouch thirty feet away.
"Damn," Jon huffed as he ran. "They built their bodies tough, but - " Huff, huff. "Damn."
The Asgard had built themselves some pretty kick-ass bodies in a lot of ways - tougher and stronger than humans. They were still Asgard, though, and physical violence wasn't anything they had even the slightest interest in doing. In any way, shape, or form.
Or at least, that was what everyone thought.
Jon was even with the combatants but still separated by the main crevice. The Asgard and the dragon were circling each other, now. The dragon hissing but not snapping its jaws and Jon hoped the Asgard's blow had broken something. The Asgard was slowly circling, his hammer held at the ready.
Jon realized the hammer was on a handle that had to be four feet long, at least, and the hammer head was as big as the Asgard's head.
Jon desperately looked ahead for the crevice to narrow without luck, but one of the periodic collapses had happened on his side of the crevice and he spotted another wall collapse a hundred feet further on the opposite side.
"That'll do," he panted, and arrowed for the broken stone. Obsidian, or at least this alien version of it, tended to break into very sharp edges, and Jon was forced to slow on his way down. Just before he lost sight of the dragon, he saw it dart forward and the Asgard suddenly swing the massive hammer around in a blur that caught the dragon a glancing blow as it pulled away.
Jon jumped the last eight feet and ran up the crevice toward the next collapsed area. The Asgard's warcry filled the air again and a second later Jon heard an impact as the hammer met dragon. The titanium-laced scales clanged almost like an anvil and a second later a second clash was audible to Jon.
He reached the second rock collapse and began climbing up as sounds of a fully-joined battle resounded. The deep roars of the dragon mixed with the shouts of the Asgard and the resounding clang of hammer meeting scales.
Jon rolled up over the edge and started running back toward the fighters.
The fighters had closed and the Asgard was within the reach of the dragon's claws. The hammer was a blur as it smashed again and again against the massive beast's armored hide. The dragon spun and clawed at the Asgard, only to be met with a swing of the hammer against the claws. A couple hundred kilos of mass in the dragon's foreclaws backed by ten tons of body weight, though, was enough to knock back the Asgard even as the hammer strike knocked the claws aside.
The Asgard was sent sprawling backwards across the sharp rocks and Jon winced as he saw it. The Asgard never had gotten the hang of clothing, though they had adopted boots when traveling longer distances. The Asgard skin was more like a tough leather than human skin, but the sharp obsidian rocks would still slice their skin.
The Asgard didn't seem to notice, though, and rolled to his feet and charged back toward the dragon.
It reared upward and came down with both forehands at its small target. The Asgard leaped aside and swung the hammer again, smacking the side of the dragon's forearm and using the collision to send himself even further off to the side.
Jon was a hundred feet away and he sprayed a few shots the dragon's way as soon as the Asgard disappeared on the other side of the beast's bulk.
Whether he had actually hit it or not he didn't know, but the sound seemed to catch the dragon's attention, and it swung its head to look at the new threat. The dragons were cunning predators and it recognized him, Jon was certain, and remembered at least the smaller pains he had caused it.
It hissed for a second, and then it was suddenly knocked to its side toward Jon as the Asgard used the distraction to deliver a blow Jon wouldn't have imagined was possible. The ten ton creature was knocked upwards and sideways off its feet, landing with a crash.
The dragon's recovery was slower this time. It swiped with all four of its legs at the Asgard on the other side from Jon, and Jon could hear several clangs and scrapes as its claws were blocked with the hammer.
It managed to scramble to its feet as Jon reached it, skidding to a halt less than ten feet from its head.
Its head swung his way at his shout and he pulled the trigger. At full auto, the gun would empty the clip in three seconds and was not particularly accurate, but at ten feet Jon powered down on the rising gun and kept the stream of bullets focused on its head.
Its scales were much finer here, almost non-existent at the underside of the base of its jaw, and the jacketed bullets punched through the lighter armor with sprays of sparks. Blood sprayed as the head, larger than Jon himself, jerked away at the sudden pain.
Jon caught a brief glimpse of the Asgard jumping into the air, impossibly high, and then his gun clicked to empty, the bolt locking back.
The dragon snapped its jaws back down at Jon and he jumped back. It was a reflexive move, though, and the dragon's bite was off-target. Jon had noticed the eye on his side of the dragon burst halfway through his gunfire.
And before the dragon could move again, the Asgard fell from the sky like a grey meteor, his hammer a silver blur as it struck the dragon's head from above.
The air rung with the clang of metal on metal. The dragon's head was slammed down to the ground with a mighty crash.
The Asgard seemed to hang for a second as every bit of his downward motion was directed into the strike, and then gravity seemed to remember him, and he dropped to the ground in a crouch, ready to move if the dragon renewed its fight.
Jon kept an eye on the dragon's head between them, but it was motionless - the top of its head visibly crushed deeply inward by the strike.
The Asgard gazed across at Jon, his large black eyes slowly closing in a deliberate blink. Jon didn't recognize the Asgard before him. There were just twenty four of them here on Lokahi, and Jon was pretty sure they were the only colony that had Asgard with them.
"Thank you Jon O'Neill."
The voice was deeper than he remembered, but it had a familiar tone.
"Thor? When -? What -?"
The unexpected sight of his friend in an unexpected body doing things Asgardians just didn't do left Jon with more confusion than he could process.
"You have joined us?" It was Sigyn, limping up from where she had taken refuge during the battle.
Jon jumped to reach her, his surprise to see Thor in a new Asgardian body pushed back by the immediate need in front of him. Sigyn was coated in blood nearly from the top of her bulbous head to her feet. Strips of flesh hung from her body, deep gashes and punctures showed where massive claws and fangs had seized her, and her right leg was a mangled mess that Jon couldn't figure out how she was getting to move, much less support herself for her limping pace.
"Sigyn, sit down. We will get transport to get you back to the hospital. Just stay still so you don't get hurt further."
Though she slowly sat, her gaze never left Thor.
Thor dropped his hammer and stepped across to Sigyn and knelt beside her, fingers darting to a belt Jon hadn't noticed, it so closely matched his skin color. He pulled out a small device and fitted it to his hand.
"I have," Thor stated calmly. "I have set aside my duties as the leader of the Asgard and have come to join you."
White light began to glow from the device and for a long minute, Thor moved it from spot to spot over her body. Jon couldn't see any difference, but if it were healing just the most vital wounds, he might not see anything on the surface. He noted it did seem to be focusing on areas around the deepest puncture wounds.
He finally pulled his hand back and the glow disappeared.
"I have seen the wisdom and necessity of your path, and if I am permitted, I would join you."
Sigyn stared for a long moment before slowly blinking and Thor relaxed fractionally.
Thor turned his gaze up to Jon. "I have other news for you. Jack O'Neill and Samantha Carter have arrived. They bring their child with them."
Jon's smile turned into a huge grin.
"Today's a good day, after all! We saved the girl, the hero is joining our group, and friends are arriving! Only thing that could make it better is some cake!"
Thor's mouth slowly turned up at the corner.
"I believe Jack O'Neill has brought cake."
The ocean's waves lapped in the darkness while the light of the bonfire spread its warmth on the beach and the seven figures around it. Further down the beach, there was a party going on with much laughing and music, but this fire had a quieter group around it, though smiles and chuckles graced each of the people surrounding it.
Vala lay sprawled across a hammock with her feet on Daniel's lap as he rubbed her feet, slowly swaying back and forth.
Jack was leaned back against a tree, his arms and legs wrapped around Sam who sat back against his chest. A basket was on the sand next to them and in it a little girl with fine, blond curls lay in a nest of blankets, sleeping soundly, exhausted after playing with all the wonderful friends who seemed to be willing to coo and bounce and tickle her as much as she wanted. A tiny smile quirked at the side of her mouth as she slept.
Jon sat back against a snail shell nearly four feet tall, and mirrored Jack's position, wrapping Cassie in his arms. He had some cuts and a few stitches, but nothing truly serious. He hugged Cassie tighter. It had been a close thing. He nuzzled her hair, breathing in her scent.
Jack was catching them up on events back on Earth and around the galaxy.
" - so with the Jaffa stable and consolidated to an official set of planets and a governing body that seems to be popular, we have official channels that seem to keep things running smoothly. It's been getting downright dull.
He glanced over at his child sleeping peacefully and hugged Sam tighter.
"Well, work is dull. Everything else is better than ever."
Jon smiled as he recognized the deep satisfaction in Jack's tone. Even the words expressing his peace and pleasure were part of it. Truth be told, this was the goal of their lives - to protect and make sure their loved ones were happy.
"So that means when Thor beamed down into my office three weeks ago and asked me to allow him to join your colony, here." Jack shrugged. "I said of course, but he seemed nervous and insisted that he would need to seek permission from the other Asgard here. He was even delaying things on purpose, dragging his feet on finally coming. Kept coming up with stuff he said he needed to handle, but he just sat and paced for days."
Jack snorted. "I've never seen the little guy truly nervous like that."
Cassie was relaxed, but Jon could all but hear her thinking. "I suspect he's experiencing a range of emotions entirely outside his experience. We know that the Asgard didn't have emotional hormones. Even adrenaline-analogues. Humans are wildly driven by our hormones."
Jon grinned and somehow Cassie knew it. She thumped her head back against his chest. "Especially this one. Nearly every major emotion we have is related to hormones in some way. I don't know whether the Asgard never had those sorts of hormones or if they got rid of them somewhere along the way, but if they didn't have them and now they do, it's, it's," Cassie cast about for the words. "It's like a human suddenly going on a PCP trip. Maybe not quite that extreme, but close."
"Honestly, I've been amazed at how steady they are. Don't get me wrong, they're really weird - 'aliens are alien' and all that - but they're also wildly considerate of other beings. We've had to deal with a few instances of people taking advantage of the Asgard's willingness to help and defer to others, and we've slowly gotten them to realize that they don't have to do everything that's asked of them, but that's their general approach to interacting with others."
"Except for Thor, apparently," Jon said. "Damn, but he went up against a dragon all by himself with nothing but that big-assed hammer, and he was beating the snot out of it. I distracted it for him a bit, but that's really all I can claim. And that giant hammer - where'd he get that?"
"That's from me," Jack said. "I didn't expect it to be a real weapon, though. I saw it at a Ren Faire we went to while Thor was dragging his feet. I convinced the guy to sell it to me, and gave it to Thor, more as a joke than anything, but he took it seriously. Spent the next several days studying everything related to Norse mythology and the Thor comic books. Which is sort of weird, since it was based on the Asgard themselves in the first place. He even took it back to his ship and did his sciency stuff to it, so for all I know no one but Thor can lift it, like in the comics."
Jon laughed at the image of the real Thor modeling himself over the comic book Thor.
"Blew my mind, I'll tell you that," Jon said. "These Asgard are the gentlest beings I know, maybe next to the Nox, and then Thor came along and started laying into that dragon like he was a real life Thor of mythology."
Jon shook his head. "You guys read some of our reports on the Asgard?"
Sam nodded, but Jack shook his head. "I made it through two of yours, Danny, and gave up. I'm sure their nascent artwork is really important, but your paper on its clues to their origins and its future impact on their budding culture puts little Janet here to sleep." He reached out to touch the little basket.
"You'd better be careful Jack," Daniel returned with a lazy grin. "'Nascent?' That was almost a big word. I'm gonna corrupt you."
"Don't worry," Jack returned. "I toss 'em all into the shredder as soon as they hit my desk, now."
Sam slapped his leg. "Liar." She grinned at Daniel. "He has them set aside and he reads them to Janet to put her to sleep. Then he usually finishes it himself."
Jack muttered something Jon thought might have been "traitor" and kissed the top of Sam's head.
"Ok, so you know they did some pretty weird things when they designed their bodies," Jon continued his earlier point. "They seemed to have some pretty overblown ideas of how dangerous 'wild' environments are. So, they are three or four times as strong as humans, their skin is like a leather, their nervous system is faster than ours, their digestion systems are a mix between a nuclear reactor and a mad scientist's dream - "
Cassie interrupted with excitement. "Their digestive systems break down almost everything to nearly its constituent atoms and rebuilds the nutrients they need! It's ama-mph gugmph."
"Yes, my love," Jon said with his hand over her mouth. "Sam has read the papers, and Jack won't understand your explanation."
Jack stuck his tongue out at Jon, and Jon returned the favor.
"Anyway," Jon said, uncovering Cassie's mouth to release the giggles coming out. "The short and tall of it is that they could be super-soldiers extraordinaire if they wanted. Thor gave a great example of what they could be like. It's a very, very good thing that they're taking the peaceful route."
"Their reaction to advanced technology is fascinating too," Daniel jumped in. "Give one the option between using a rock to pound in a nail, and a hammer, and nine out of ten times they'll go for the rock. Literally. I've seen them spend hours using rocks to chips away at each other to form a hammer when there's an entire toolbox nearby. The tools they make, though, are pieces of art all by themselves! They usually don't let that behavior disrupt things that are urgent, but, well they seem to have a purposeful aversion to technology even while they casually use subspace communicators and advanced healing tools.
"It took them nearly a week to decide whether they wanted to live in caves, like literal cavemen, or build their own housing. They finally decided on housing, but I'm pretty sure that they chose that because it was more work! They are incredibly deliberate about every choice, and they've made the decision to do without advanced technology for any sort of comfort purposes. They're sticking to their decision to deliberately live like primitives!"
Vala stretched out and stroked her foot down and up Daniel's thigh.
"They aren't deliberate about everything though."
Jon could feel a blush working up his neck and he buried his nose in his wife's hair.
"What's this," Jack asked. "I don't remember anything particularly interesting coming through in reports."
Jon mentally cursed his older version. He had an instinct on how to poke a bit of fun, and yeah, he was going to find this hilarious. He hadn't had to live through it, though!
Daniel coughed. "Yes, well, I'm still writing the paper about it. I keep getting distracted, though." He turned to glare at Vala, and she bit her lip and waggled her eyebrows at him with a grin.
'Ok, she lived through it and loved every second of it. How she ever convinced Daniel to do that out on their front yard I'll never know! And Cassie said she saw them on a roof in town!'
"Come on, give," Jack chortled. He glanced over at Jon and Jon knew that Jack was somehow seeing his blush, even in the darkness.
"Well, they, don't have any, um, sexual, um, taboos," Daniel began, slowly. "They don't wear any clothes even with, um, clearly evident, um, and functional, uh, sexualorgans."
Jack laughed loudly and Sam smacked him, glancing at their baby girl, but she was giggling too.
Daniel cleared his throat. "Yes, so no cultural inhibitions when it comes to um, reproduction."
Jack was trying to hold in his laughter, but failing miserably. "So, you've got Asgard randomly deciding to, to" Jack choked, trying to hold in the laughter. "To have, hehe, sex, ha! In the middle of the, the street?" Jack was rolling back and forth as he held Sam and tried to smother his laughs into her hair. Sam was biting her lip trying to hold in similar laughs.
"No," Daniel bemoaned. "That wouldn't be too bad. We could ask them to move indoors or at least out of sight, and I'm sure they'd be happy to do so, if that were the case."
Jack's giggles weren't letting up, but Sam's curiosity let her suppress her laughter long enough to ask what the problem was then.
Cassie answered as Daniel's face turned even more red.
"Well, they decided to emphasize the 'messy' part of genetic sharing. They built into themselves an estrus cycle. For both males and females."
Sam gasped and Jack looked confused.
Jon took over the story. "Yeah, you know, estrus, dogs go 'in heat.' They set that up for themselves. Male and female. Synced up with each other to trigger. They were apparently taking some hormones to suppress, um, going into heat, until they felt they were in a stable situation."
Jon felt his cheeks burn again. "So, they stopped taking their suppression pills about two months ago."
Jack goggled at him. "So, they … what, can't help themselves? In the streets whenever they meet?"
Jon winced. "Yeah. I think they overdid the strength of the, um, urges. They do it, um, loudly, and um, publicly, and yeah, it really takes over their minds. Can't think of anything else."
It was Sam's turn to giggle and now Jack was getting a slow flush.
Vala snorted. "They screwed, fucked, sucked, pounded, banged, boinked, bonked, boffed, licked, and bumped uglies all over the city. They chased each other up and down the streets. Two-somes, three-somes, four-somes, five-somes. At one point in the town center, they were in a great big pile, all twenty-four of them, squirming and doing it all."
Vala grinned broadly at the combination of blushes, shock, and Sam's giggles.
"I'm not sure there's a surface in the entire city that didn't have an Asgard doing the messy on it at some point! Super strong. Super stamina. And the males - they really, really grow larger and the women, their boobs probably double in size!"
Sam was now the one rolling on her side in laughter, trying to not wake the baby, holding her stomach while Jack looked on in shock.
"Asgard? Sex?" His voice croaked.
"Yup," Vala cheerful confirmed. "And it lasted for an entire week! "The entire city went into shock the first couple days, but after that, quite a few people decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Didn't we Daniel!"
Daniel curled up and put his hands over his face.
"And this happens every month?" Jack gasped.
Jon shook his head, and cleared his throat. "No. After they got over it, we asked, and they said they set it up to happen once a year."
"Oh God," Jack groaned.
"It gets better," Jon said. "There are already plans for next year."
"Jack, Ja - " Sam gasped between her gales of laughter. "Sa-save up you - your vacation time! We're coming to - to visit!"
Cassie giggled. "Janet's gonna wind up with a little brother or sister! In fact, there's almost certainly going to be a baby boom here in about seven months from now."
'Jack certainly shifted from shocked to happy really quickly,' Jon thought with amusement.
Cassie looked up at him with a questioning look. Jon felt his heart melt as he looked down at his wife. They'd been quickly married before the colony had gone through the Stargate to this new world they'd christened Lokahi. A year later he was happier than he ever could have imagined.
He leaned his head down and caught her lips with his. Ten thousand times, and it still sent a thrill through him as her soft lips met his own.
When the finally parted, Jon smiled and nodded.
He looked up at the others.
"So, it just so happens that, well, we'll be contributing to that baby boom in seven months."
Congratulations quickly rang out and he met Jack's eyes. His own eyes. But he was fine with that. He, Jon O'Neill, had a perfect life, and if he shared some of that life with others, that was a good thing.
He hugged his wife and unborn child to himself.
Yes, sharing life with those he loved was a very good thing.
Even if he had the chance to do it all over again, he wouldn't change a thing.