One Little Slip
by Audrey Lynne
Summary: A little Tok'ra side-trip to Earth, circa 1769 or so, before Saroosh and Martouf came along. Lantash finds his repairs to be a little off. Selmak finds herself to be a little ticked.
Note: While writing "Putting Out Fire with Gasoline," Selmak's life story as told to Jacob, I found myself wanting Lantash's POV on a particular scene. As she's telling the story, however, his POV was next to impossible to pull off, so I settled for a scenelet. The very first line was a challenge issued by myself to the Carmen Argenziano fanlist to use said line somewhere in a fic. It's meant to stand on its own as a single moment in time, but if you must know how everything went from there, they fixed the problem and everything was fine...eventually.
"We've been through so much together...and quite frankly, most of it was your fault!"
Lantash sighed. It was the tamest thing Selmak had shouted at him over their radio connection in the past few minutes. His host, Braden, had retreated and let Lantash take control rather than attempt to calm her. It was nice for Braden, but Lantash knew from centuries of friendship that Selmak was inclined to be a little excitable at times, and she had reason. Technically, it was his fault. He had been so sure the repairs they'd made to the ring device had been exact, that the coordinates they'd fed into the computer were right-but Selmak had ended up ringing down to the wrong part of the planet. An occupied part, no less.
Fortunately, Selmak was not in any immediate danger. Lantash would have simply brought her back up to the ship, but they'd had a run-in with a death glider on their way and it had damaged the rings. The remote would activate them and return Selmak to the ship, but unfortunately, she and Lantash had agreed that, given the planet's primitive level of technology, bringing the remote would be too much of a risk, which was why Lantash had stayed on board. His plan was to send Selmak down, let her do her job, and get her out. It hadn't worked out quite that way.
Selmak had given up on cursing at Lantash in Goa'uld and had switched back to just yelling at him. "Tashi, are you listening to me!" Normally, "Tashi" was an affectionate nickname, one Selmak had bestowed upon him centuries ago, but she also used it sometimes when she got short with him.
Lantash ran his hands over his face. It was supposed to be a simple mission. They were going to the Tauri planet to hopefully rescue three Tok'ra operatives who had been trapped there when they'd been attacked and their ship had crash-landed in the deserts of Egypt. It would have been a simple mission if a death glider hadn't attacked Selmak and Lantash along the way and seriously damaged the controls responsible for their means of getting to and from the planet's surface.
Lantash checked the computer readout again. By all rights, Selmak should have landed in Egypt, near the pyramids of Giza. But, though that was what the controls were set for, she hadn't. And since the controls were still "all manner of wrong," as Braden had put it, Lantash wasn't entirely sure where Selmak was. Meaning he didn't know where to ring down, with the remote, so they could both get back up.
In the meantime, Selmak's rant continued. "I told you I should have taken the remote! But, no, you were worried it might blow our cover. So I agreed with you, though I haven't the faintest clue why, and now here I am in a forest, with people in a village nearby. People who are definitely not Egyptian!"
Lantash couldn't resist poking at her a little. Though he was passionate about many things, as Braden would surely testify, Selmak was passionate enough about this for the both of them-four if they counted Braden and Selmak's host Thareesa. "That does seem to sum up your current circumstances."
Selmak made an irritated-sounding noise. "You'll be the death of me yet, Lantash."
"Let me speak with Thareesa," Lantash requested. Given her easygoing nature, Thareesa was no doubt sitting back and laughing at Selmak's utter outrage, and Lantash could have used some serenity about then.
"Oh, all right," Selmak agreed. "But I'm still furious with you."
"I'll take that under consideration," Lantash muttered dryly, too soft for the radio to pick up.
A moment later, Thareesa's lilting voice filtered through the communicator in Lantash's hand. "Lantash?"
"Hello, Thareesa." Through her, he hoped to be able to have a rational conversation and glean a little more information about what was going on while Selmak stewed. Selmak would be over it soon enough; she always was. Unless it was a case of betrayal or something else of a life-altering nature, Selmak's anger typically worked like a rocket blast-impressive but short-lived.
There was wry amusement in Thareesa's tone as she said, "I suppose you've noticed that Selmak's a touch perturbed."
Lantash played along. "Actually, I hadn't, but thank you for the warning. Do you have any idea where you are?"
"None," Thareesa replied, "but I'm not familiar with the Tauri world. There are forests, as Selmak mentioned. That suggests it's a climate that supports planet life, at least in this season, but that's hardly going to lead you to us."
She was right; it wasn't much, but at least it let Lantash rule out some places. Like Giza. "You've got the communicator. I'll try to get the tracking features that tie it into the rings back in order. If we're lucky, that will transmit me your new coordinates and I can update the computer, then either join with or bring you back to the ship."
"And if we're not lucky?" Thareesa asked.
"You might want to make friends with the locals, because it could be awhile," Lantash answered. He hoped it wouldn't be that long. Too much could go awry, more so than already had.
"In that case, ring down a little wine and chocolate," Thareesa said. "I'll need it."
Lantash laughed. White wine and high-quality chocolate from her home planet, when consumed at the same time, were Thareesa's absolute favorite vices. She always took a small supply with them on long missions, as Selmak had grown fond of the stuff herself. Braden thought of the habit as far too feminine for his tastes, so he declined their invitations to join them, but he did give in and nibble at the chocolate occasionally. Lantash really liked the chocolate. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that."
"Fair enough," Thareesa agreed. "Don't eat all my chocolate."
"I'll try to restrain myself."
"Ah...would love to chat more, Lantash, but someone's coming. Gotta stash the communicator." It was the only piece of Tok'ra technology, save a zat'nik'itel, that Selmak had on her, so they had to protect it fiercely.
"Be careful," Lantash advised, as Thareesa shut down the connection. He surveyed the computer screen again, and it stubbornly continued to insist that the rings were set for Egypt. Lantash sighed internally. 'Brae, how are we ever going to get out of this one?'
Braden tossed back a mental shrug. 'Same way we always do, my friend-with a lot of determination and a little impudence.'
Lantash smiled as he dropped down to open the control panel below and examine the crystals first-hand. 'That's the truth.'
'And, if all else fails, there's always another option.' Braden sounded entirely too mischievous.
Braden chuckled. 'Find Thareesa's wine and start drinking heavily.'