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A Star to Steer By

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Rex settled the last of his armor back into place, studying his reflection. The small ’fresher had some decent amenities, though the lack of sonics was an interesting signal about the local tech.

He was somewhat rested, he’d gotten a quick shower, and the Negotiator was prepared for battle. Kenobi seemed unfortunately certain that it would be a battle. Not that Rex disagreed, given how General Hammond and Selmak had taken the time for a last round of questioning before allowing him to resume hosting Kenobi. Those two had been looking for support against their own people.

Rex and his General were walking into enemy territory.

#Not quite that bad. More like contested ground.# Kenobi sounded distracted, but not tense. Well, at least one of them was relaxed. More or less.

Rex rolled his shoulders, double-checking his pauldrons. He was grateful for the armor; he’d never developed any kind of fondness for civilian clothing, and undersuits, while versatile, left something to be desired when going into formal negotiations. #Ready when you are, General.#

Kenobi sent quiet assent, reaching out with the Force as Rex picked up their escort. It was weird, not having brothers at his back, but it was hardly the strangest thing he’d run into in the last few months. Rex tried to keep the confident, bordering on arrogant walk that Jedi managed, though he was getting increasingly worried.

Kenobi couldn’t find anyone in the Force, beyond that hint of Skywalker being alive, and those two had managed conversations before from a significant distance. Since his return to Rex, Kenobi had been more open, the strict partitioning of thoughts and emotions now more lax. It made the working partnership easier and more fluid, which Rex appreciated. It also meant that if Kenobi really were worried, Rex would know it. What Rex was picking up on from Kenobi was more disquiet than anything else.

Not a surprise, considering that the Tau’ri’s troubleshooting for weird situations included ‘is this an alternate reality?’ Finding out that Kenobi had run across memories from Jack of alternate dimensions was not the sort of thing Rex had ever expected. Oh sure, the Force was weird in its own way, and as the war had dragged on, Rex had run across more cheap holonovels about alternate realities than he could shake a blaster at. He hadn’t gone looking for them, but quality entertainment had been in short supply, and he’d learned to take what downloads and datachips he could get. Alternate realities weren’t really possible. Or so he’d thought.

Neither of them liked the idea that they were not just far from Coruscant, but possibly outside of their reality altogether. Nor the fact that it seemed more and more likely.

One of the guards at the door nodded to him, holding it open. Rex walked into yet another meeting room – windowless, this time. The long table held General Hammond, what Jack and Kenobi called SG-1, Colonel Ferretti, Bald and Bitter, and about a dozen other personages. All human, though apparently that was all they had on planet.

Rex stepped over to the single empty chair, glancing around and meeting eyes. Three radiated outright hostility. All were suspicious of Rex and Kenobi. He inclined his head just a bit.

Hammond nodded. “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present General Kenobi and Commander Rex.”

Rex inclined his head. “Commander Rex, second in command of the 212th Attack Battalion in the Grand Army of the Galactic Republic.” He ceded control, feeling astonishment from the new arrivals – and amused surprise from Jack.

The General had the same nod of greeting, though Rex suspected that the Jedi pulled it off better. “General Obi-Wan Kenobi, of the Grand Army of the Galactic Republic.”

The change of eye-colour was startling. McGregor drew himself up a little bit more. “Admiral Clarence McGregor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the President.” It was interesting to watch the alien track across the collected brass as they went down the line doing introductions, from the National Security Advisor to the several aides and NID advisors. McGregor had to wonder what the alien saw. After all, once you got past the ridiculous-looking tac gear, the man didn’t look any different from some random soldier off the street.

He smothered a grin as Tara Hayes dove into negotiations, starting in with a mix of demands and interrogations. She was very, very good at her job, but to be the National Security Advisor as a woman – let alone a black woman – well, that wasn’t a job for the faint of heart. McGregor had never regretted his career path, but being a black man in the navy hadn’t been a cakewalk either.

He was trying to ignore the whole snake-wrapped-around-the-man’s-brainstem thing. There was diversity, and then there was something that made him want to take up serious drinking.

The first time a report on the Stargate program crossed his desk, he’d chuckled and tossed it aside, wondering for a moment if his aide was trying to be entertaining, or if he’d just accidentally left a gag folder in with the real work. He promptly forgot about it until the next day, when it came in again, this time stamped “urgent.” Sense of humor or no, that wasn’t something any serviceman would do this high up in the ranks.

Since then, he’d looked forward to the pulpy misadventures that he was obligated to read and believe, but honestly, it sometimes seemed like a miracle or three that the planet was still standing. He didn’t know Hammond, but the man seemed like a steady, capable and canny leader. On top of which SG-1 had the devil’s own luck, good and bad.

McGregor didn't always agree with the President but he did respect the man. A glowing recommendation of Hammond, delivered via the White House Chief of Staff, wasn't something to be dismissed out of hand. While Hammond’s good ol’ Texas boy front seemed like it would clash with the President’s personality, apparently they were old friends. McGregor was sure there were some very interesting stories behind that, but between some of the more colorful SGC reports and the reputation the NID was developing, he was inclined not to add too much salt to things.

Tara was going to be harder to convince of this Republic’s intent and relevance, but that was also her job. Playing nice might or might not be his purview, but the National Security Advisor needed to be a hard-nosed cynic with more than a touch of paranoia.

Kenobi was handling her well – he was polite, determined, and more experienced than at least half of McGregor’s fellow brass. McGregor was impressed with the man – alien – snake – whatever.

Shit, this was only going to get weirder.

He was impressed that Kenobi had a decent handle on things, but the further they got into the diplomatic dance, the more he had to wonder. Never mind the NID’s continued attempts to get in the way of anything and everything useful. Never mind the weird not-quite-an-alliance thing that the alien-possessed former General Carter had going with Kenobi. No, the thing that made McGregor clam up and Hayes poke harder – because she had to have picked up on it, too – was Kenobi’s breadth of influence. There weren’t nearly enough evasions via authority. Not nearly enough ‘I can only tentatively discuss, will need to talk to my superiors’ going on, though there were repeated, frustrated references to the need for a full Jedi High Council, to settle some of the demands being made of him.

They didn’t have “just” a General here, any more than McGregor was “just” your ordinary grunt.

He didn’t find that odd, though. You never showed your full hand the first few rounds – another reason he was fine letting Hayes take the lead, and with letting the NID strut around shooting various feet, though he did hope they ended up mainly targeting their own.

The problem with ‘wait and see’ was, of course, the waiting bit. An hour later, and everyone was still dancing around in circles.

Well. The NID folks were hobbling, but he had to admire their determination. Couldn’t quite figure out what lit the fire under their asses, though.

A klaxon sounding jerked everyone in the room upright. “Unscheduled activation,” a man declared over the in-house speakers, strained but unhurried. Rhythmic chunking was starting somewhere, so given they were all tucked under a friggin’ mountain, that would have to be the Stargate itself.

The local SGC folks were tense in the way of people gearing up for a fight. They only relaxed when the announcement of “Friendly GDO signal identified,” came over the speakers.

Kenobi gave Hammond a wry grin, something small and humorless. “Perhaps a break is in order?”

“Not a bad idea. If anyone wants to see our Stargate in action?”

McGregor tried not to twitch. Hell yes, he wanted to see this. He also didn’t want to look like some tourist asking for a picture with Mickey Mouse. He took the time to nod to Hammond before pushing himself upright and moving with a purpose towards the door. He was pretty sure though that none of the grainy video he’d seen could be accurate for this gate opening, and they really could use a break from the diplomatic shuffle.

Most of the politicians didn’t even wait for the question to finish before they were leaping up to get out of the room and find an observation point. Obi-Wan, in the meantime, ceded control, and Rex sat back in his chair. He’d seen the damn thing up close, and given how it affected his General – well. Hells with that. He and Jack exchanged sardonic looks; both straightened as a soldier came in to whisper something to General Hammond. The General’s expression went too blank, just before he shot a faintly accusatory look at Selmak.

The Tok'ra’s eyes blazed gold, and Hammond nodded. Selmak stood, stalking out with more military to their gait than they’d ever had unless the host was in control.

#Looks like someone’s early.#

#Oh, wonderful,# Kenobi muttered. #More unhelpful brick walls.#

Rex sent a wave of not-quite-amusement right back. He was the one making the call to stand and leave the room, joining the Tau’ri at an observation window. He didn’t like the gate on general principle, but taking in potential enemies, potential allies – potential Sith – that was important, too. He kept his snarl internal as the energy flared outwards, settling back into the circle until it rippled thrice. Humans, again. One woman, two men, all of them with a haughty disdain that Selmak, in retrospect, had kept toned down.

#They have their noses any higher in the air and they’re going to bump them against the top of the gate.#

Kenobi snickered a little, sending a light sensation of admonishment that had no real substance to it. In the gateroom, an imperious Selmak marched up to the new arrivals, practically radiating their disapproval of the situation. All three of the Tok'ra ignored that, their own tightly wound desires seething under pleasant masks.

The slimy, grasping feel from each of the Tok'ra made Rex and Kenobi’s skin crawl from meters away. Selmak was positively pleasant in comparison, even if not Light, per se.

#How come the more allies we get, the Darker they are?# Rex asked, watching the way the three moved. Warriors all, though they hid it well. The woman’s dress in particular was impractical, but the ribbon device she had on her hand had the look of something well-used and often worn.

#I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I’m glad our first contact was Selmak.# Kenobi’s admission was grudging, and he kept a tight lid on his growing concern. If the apparent Lightest Tok'ra ally they had met felt like a Sith from the first, what the hells were they getting into, and what were the actual Sith like?

Obi-Wan shook off the memories of Sidious, and that horrible, devouring Darkness that he had believed to be the product of centuries of planning and manipulation. #Please, Force, let them not be comparable to Sidious,# Obi-Wan muttered, probably not meaning to broadcast it to Rex. When Ventress had been an acknowledged Apprentice and consistently Dark, she’d felt worse to Obi-Wan’s senses than Selmak. The three new arrivals were also less Dark than Ventress, but by a much slimmer margin than Selmak. The possibility that true Sith were all like Sidious was almost as bad as the possibility that it would be Obi-Wan and a squad of less than two dozen troopers facing down an empire of System Lords, trapped alone in some mirror universe of their home.

Rex kept his hands at rest, despite the urge to cross his arms or rest hands on blasters he didn’t have. The new Tok’ra did not seem to be any of the kind of ally they might want. Yet between the honesty about the Tok’ra situation, and the awkward yet earnest attempt to make sure General Carter had been visibly included in the talks, Selmak seemed to be at least halfway decent.

#We’ll see,# Kenobi grumbled quietly. In mental privacy, Rex grinned. He didn’t know if his general was playing it cautious, or if the understandable disgust for some of the Tok’ra lifestyle choices was overpowering common sense, but he was confident Kenobi would find a neutral path eventually.

He went back into the meeting room and stood near his chair, not quite ready to settle at the table yet. It was interesting to watch the political maneuvering with a front row seat. Rex had heard Kenobi scornfully laugh off the title of “Negotiator” plenty of times, emphasizing that he specialized in aggressive negotiations. While Rex was willing to allow that that might be true, since he’d seen enough of it first-hand, the blithe dismissal ignored that Kenobi was damned skilled in actual diplomacy as well.

Skywalker, however, did specialize in ‘aggressive negotiations.’ Rex suspected that the man could be diplomatic when needed, but it wasn’t Skywalker’s preference, and Rex had never personally witnessed an example of it.

Sitting in on the talks with Kenobi, now, was...different. Rex couldn’t tell who was ahead in this strange contest of word-twisting that Kenobi and the Tau’ri politicians tried to weave around each other. Even more frustrating was that the locals seemed to still be looking for the maniacal laughter, or whatever their notions of ‘signs of evil’ were.

#We need to get the hell out of these negotiations and figure out what the actual situation is,# Rex growled, not bothering to hide the protective concern for his Jedi, who was still twisting himself into emotional knots over the Darkness starting to pervade the entire mountain.


Selmak ostensibly led the Tok’ra into the room, but anyone could read the shifting balance of power – Selmak was not the leader so much as the poor sap opening and holding the door for the rest.

#Not a power play I like,# Kenobi grumbled, settling into his chair.

Rex sent agreement while there was a hasty shuffle to get the newcomers placed at the table. Once seated, the woman in the center inclined her head in a regal little nod. “I am Garshaw of Belote, member of the Tok’ra High Council. With me are Lantash– ” she motioned to an intense young man to her left. Lantash was clean-shaven and short-haired, with an empty smile and the feel of downright obsession directed towards Major Carter. “–and Thoran.” The man on her right was dark-skinned and dour looking, radiating distrust and extreme caution that verged on paranoia, all hidden under a polite nod.

Compared to Selmak, there was a great deal less flex to these Tok’ra. They felt seriously unhinged, and it was playing havoc with General Kenobi’s Force senses.

Before Kenobi could speak, Selmak jumped in. “Since it might not come up, their hosts are Yosuf, Martouf, and Dorik.” The new Tok’ra gave Selmak a universal look of confusion, and Rex could feel Kenobi’s guilty little snicker, combined with a tinge of ruefulness.

“General Kenobi, and Host Rex. I was under the impression you weren’t due for a few hours yet.”

Garshaw gave him a pleasant little smile that felt anything but. “Since we were due to take part in discussions, the Council decided it was best if we try to participate from the beginning.”

“And what exactly is it that you want?” grumped one of the older men, who had been one of the ones most interested in larger land craft. The notion of someone so viciously eager for the destructive might of a fleet of AT-TEs did not sit well with Kenobi or Rex.

Garshaw’s smile was a few iotas less charming for the man. “I’m rather certain our interests will not overlap. We are interested in hosts, since our numbers are limited and we do not take unwi–”

“That will not be a part of these negotiations,” Kenobi snapped. The ploy for sympathy was perhaps secondary, yet still disgusting. Rex could feel their genuine greed, and damned if the General would allow any Republic citizen – clone or otherwise – go to host that sort of Darkness.

Thoran leaned forward. “I was given to understand that there were a number of your soldiers present that were willing to be hosts.”

A burst of frustrated shame rose from Selmak, but Kenobi did not break eye contact with Thoran. “To Jedi. There has not been any discussion about the Tok’ra.”

“Then surely we will be able to have that discussion with them,” Lantash said, sounding oh-so reasonable that it made Rex’s skin crawl.

“You will not.” Rex was a little surprised to find he’d taken control, but the notion of these three sniffing around his troops was unacceptable. He winced inwardly as the three stared for a moment, and he realized that the change in eyes and voice had caught their attention in a way that even Kenobi had not. #Shit. Sorry, sir.#

#No need. One of us would be yelling it at them, and the opportunity to calm down– #

#Doesn’t change the fact that I just made them more interested.#

The feel of reassurance, protectiveness with a touch of fury curled around him as Rex relinquished control. “As my host said. You will stay away from my men. At the very minimum, they are working for the Jedi Order with legal contracts concerning their safety and mental health, and I will not surrender them to you.

Garshaw hesitated for a moment, before recovering her aplomb – along with that spine crawling sensation of mad covetousness. “We will of course respect your wishes regarding your soldiers, but we will at some point make contact with your superiors. I’m given to understand you also have a ruling Council? You must understand our position – ”

He could feel the General’s temper break again, but it was cold and aimed this time. Kenobi always did do better with a direct target. “You must understand,” he snapped, leaning back and crossing his arms with a hauteur that Rex had been aware of, but never witnessed. “You already are speaking to a Jedi Councilor. My position is that you. Will. Not. Approach. My. Troops.”

The Tok’ra looked a little appalled. The politicians looked suspicious.

Jack, of course, was the one to break the silence. “Eeeeexcuse me, but I just wanna make sure I’m connecting the dots right. You’re one of the head honchos?”

“Yes,” Kenobi bit out.

“Uh. Huh.” Jack nodded slowly, and only his squadmates seemed to be taking that blithely. “And they let you run around playing soldier?”

Kenobi flicked a cool glance over at him. “The war lasted eight years. All the Councilors have, at one time or another, taken to the field. Even Master Yoda, although admittedly that was not supposed to be a mission with active combat.”

“Really,” drawled one of Maybourne’s allies. “We’re just supposed to buy this sudden promotion of yours?”

Rex couldn’t stop a snort of disdain, and didn’t try. As an added bonus, the sudden change in eye-color unsettled several of the Tau’ri politicians, including the one who’d spoken. “SOP. If the Seps didn’t know who they were fighting, then letting them know they had not a general, but a Councilor in their grasp, would be incredibly stupid. The last time that happened, we almost lost the Councilor, and his host did lose an eye. It’s a miracle nothing worse happened.”

Kenobi sent a cold look towards the Tok’ra contingent. “My position as Councilor wasn’t relevant. As a single member of the Council, I do not have the authority to make binding legal or military agreements regarding access to Republic military resources by non-Republic worlds. That requires the full Council, and quite possibly a decision by the Senate. However, as a Jedi Councilor and a General of the Grand Army, I am the highest authority around when it comes to my troops.” Kenobi held Garshaw’s gaze. After a long moment, she twitched her head in reluctant acknowledgement. “So. Shall we continue the discussion we were having before we were interrupted?”

Jack knew that in this particular horse trade, he’d become the equivalent of window dressing, but he kept loose tabs on the power jockeying. He was paradoxically both relieved and frustrated. He’d done his part in the beginning, vouching for Kenobi and giving his estimates on weapon specs, and then all the bigwigs had lost interest in him. It was kinda nice not being responsible for the fate of Earth’s involvement with other worlds, for once, but it made him itch a little that the bigwigs were so very bad at it. Matter of professional pride, and all that. The NID were dragging their feet and flailing about, to Jack’s complete non-surprise. The military contingent had similar enough goals that they were stepping on each other’s toes, not to mention that nobody from Earth really liked having to deal with a snake.

The bulk of Jack’s attention was on the Tok'ra. Normally, he kept an eye on them anyway, because reformed or not, goa’uld.

He never would’ve thought he’d be looking at them through the eyes of personal experience. It was weird, how he could track the difference, when before, it would’ve just been a background creep-out. Selmak made the sharp divide of host and Tok'ra work – though that might be a Jacob thing. The other Tok'ra didn’t, really. Even Lantash, who’d allowed free rein for Martouf to make puppy-eyes at Sam before, was front and center now. It was all Tok'ra, almost all the time, and they gave no indication that their hosts had anything to do with their decisions. That bugged Jack on a level he didn’t really get. Also a matter of professional pride? He hoped not. He didn’t think he really wanted to sign up for the brain snake brigade.

Kenobi was making a good show of it, but it was kinda hard to make progress when everyone basically wanted all the toys and then to go home. Even the little bombshell about who Kenobi was hadn’t phased too many of the bigwigs, though Jack was incredibly grateful that it made the Tok'ra shut up and sit down for a bit. Selmak looked too innocent not to be holding back amusement, and the other three were blank-faced with embarrassment.

Jack just couldn’t quite get his head around it. One of the twelve head honchos? Sure, fine, the Jedi worked for the Republic and there was that big ass alien Senate in charge, but –

How the hell had Jack had one of the top twelve bigwigs in his head and never known it?

...and how the fuck was this his life, that he could even think sentences like that and it made sense?

They were still getting absolutely nowhere when Kenobi jerked upright, eyes going wide, before he winced. He had one hell of an expression, right between relieved beyond words, amused, and frustrated. Some of the bigwigs were sharing looks as Kenobi’s left armguard chirped, and a round bit began flashing blue.

“Excuse me,” Kenobi said tersely, shoving his chair back. He’d made it to his feet when the communicator made a different chirp, then began projecting a small, flickering...hologram?

They had holograms? Why had they not used holograms on the ha’tak? It was all in shades of blue, and kind of grainy, but the image of a clone in armor was glaring right at Kenobi. This guy’s dark hair was a little shaggy, to match a goatee, and he had some kind of tattoo or birthmark or something on his temple.

=Obi-Wan Kenobi, so help me if you’re playing dead again by the Force I am going to haul you right out of 17 and shove you in a jar until you swear to me no more life-risking shit for a least a damn week!= the man roared, almost at full volume in a voice completely different from Kenobi or any of the clones.

Jack and everyone else in the room boggled at Kenobi, who stepped away from the table with remarkable aplomb, turning his back on the bigwigs. Not that it mattered much, given the language barrier. =Anakin. This really isn’t the best time– =

=Oh I’m sorry, should I wait and com back later, or just when you’ve felt dead in the Force again?=

Com. The com that only worked over ‘short’ distances. Jack went still for a beat as cold realization washed over him.

=Excuse me?= Jack said, standing up. The hologram and Kenobi ignored him, though everyone else was looking his way. Jack circled the table, scampering over to Kenobi and peering over his shoulder. Aw, cheese, he could see the hologram tracking his arrival, the eyes moving to focus on him. Having his TV look back at him was not fun. =Is this a private chewing out, or can anyone join in?=

New Guy raked him over with a look, then looked back at Kenobi. =Who the hell is this, and why do you look like Rex instead of 17?=

Kenobi’s shoulders slumped, grief flickering across his face. New Guy winced. =Aw, hell, Obi-Wan.= His voice finally softened, going to a more reasonable level. =I’m sorry.=

Jack wasn’t sure if he really could feel Kenobi’s grief and do-not-want-to-talk-about-this, if he was imagining it, or if he was reading it from body language. Either way, he put a hand on the Jedi’s shoulder. =I got this.= He gave New Guy a very plastic smile. =Hi! You’ve managed to call in the middle of thankfully not too tense negations, but it’s good you didn’t ring earlier. 17 had an unfortunate accident with some Sith, but your bud here is ok. Both of ’em, really, and a bunch of troopers.=

New Guy jerked at “Sith,” glancing over at Kenobi with a really concerned expression. =In the meantime,= Jack said, =if you’re actually, ya know, in the solar system? We’d really appreciate it if you keep back from the third planet out. That’d keep a lot of very cranky people from getting really nervous, since we don’t get visitors from outer space.=

=What, never?= New Guy was still concerned about Kenobi, but there was more than a touch of dry amusement as he looked at Jack.

=Not publicly, and most of the folks who might come calling aren’t exactly friendly.=

New Guy squinted at him for a moment, then his eyes changed color – at least, Jack thought they did. The all blue thing made it hard to tell. “Haat?” the host asked, skeptical and definitely sounding like a clone.

Kenobi snorted a bit of a laugh. “Elek.”

The eyes probably switched back, and New Guy shook his head. =One of these days, I want to know how you find these situations.= He crossed his arms and eyed Jack. =You do realize I’m not just going to sit here and leave Obi-Wan with you.=

=No, that’s fine, but really, we got a bunch of governments – yes, all on the one planet, we already got the looks so save it – that will get twitchy if you fly anything larger than a few meters across into orbit.=

Kenobi sighed. =You’re on the Resolute, aren’t you.=

=You think I’d come after you in just the Twilight?= New Guy’s expression hardened and he gave Jack a challenging stare. =It’s me, the Resolute, and three other starcruisers.=

From Kenobi’s exasperated eye-roll, that was just as much overkill as it sounded like. Great. Just great. Just the fantastic way Jack wanted the meeting to go.

=I take it those are the really big ships.=

=Yes,= Kenobi huffed. =Anakin, things are...a little difficult right now. The Twilight might actually be a good idea – you could make a discreet entrance and bring some surplus goods and weapons for trade and as good-will gifts. And perhaps a map.=

=Unknown Regions. It’s still a hell of a hike to Bakura, though.=

That apparently meant something to Kenobi, who nodded and finally seemed to relax a little. =You have no idea how relieved I am to hear that.=

=Uh, yeah, this Twilight thing?=

Kenobi grinned. =Spice freighter. No larger than one of your smaller commercial planes.=

Jack blinked. Space flight. On an actual plane. A plane sized plane. =Did you just say your ship was used to cart around drugs?=

New Guy grinned. =Not while we’ve had it.=

Some days, even Jack had to admit his life was weird. =O-kaaay. How soon should we expect you folks to come knocking?=

=A few hours.= New Guy went from amused to all business. =We need to sort out who’s coming and weed out the volunteers. Am I going to need a translator droid?=

=You brought Threepio?= Kenobi asked, sounding pretty surprised.

=No, and Artoo’s still sulking about that.=

Kenobi snorted. =Indeed. Bring what crew you need. We’ve allies here, though things are still...rather unsettled.=

New Guy nodded. =We’ll see you in a few hours, then.= He took the time to nod to Jack, then the hologram flickered out.

Jack could feel the weight of a lot of eyes on him. He turned around, not sure how he felt about that. The government flunkies were pale-faced and a bit bug-eyed. They were staring at Kenobi with a bit of open respect, finally – it was always amazing to Jack the difference a flashy lightshow could make with the natives. The Tok'ra, minus Selmak, were steely-eyed and on edge. Selmak was watching with a combination of fascination and poorly covered amusement, though his interest in the revealed tech was also apparent. Not a surprise, since the Republic’s tech seemed to be at least on par with the System Lords’, and carried out with a lot less pomp and circumstance and posturing.

Sam, for that matter, looked like she was maybe an inch away from grabbing Kenobi’s arm to try to figure out how the communicator worked. Danny, Teal’c, and Hammond were varying levels of unreadable and generally pissed.

Shit. Jack had also just labeled a bunch of American political bigwigs “the natives” in his head.

Not bad work for a short chat, at least. “Well.” Jack dusted off his hands. “Looks like company’s arrived. Anybody put out the welcome mat?”