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Stepping through the gate, they were a bit surprised to find no one waiting for them. Carter wasted no time and immediately started scanning the area with the equipment she had personally modified.
Sam looked at Jack, amazement clear on her face. "Sir, the readings are almost off the scale, even with the modifications I made. This indicates naquadah in massive proportions, way beyond anything we’ve ever run across."
Well, that pretty much sealed the deal from that aspect. Looking over at Jessica, Jack asked, "You okay, Watson?"
Jessica raised her chin slightly. "I’m fine, Sir."
Turning to Mitchell, Jack said, "Lead the way then."
It didn’t take them long to reach the square. There were several people milling about, some of whom Jessica recognized. Mitchell slowed as they reached the main building.
"Jessica, why don’t you and Sam wait out here? I’d like to find out what Brojorn’s up to first."
Since she wasn’t in any hurry to face Brojorn again, she agreed.
Mitchell and Jack went inside and found Ileah in the great room. She smiled at Mitchell. "He’s waiting for you upstairs." Mitchell led Jack down the corridor and up the flight of stairs, finding Brojorn standing in the middle of the room.
"Colonel Mitchell. And this must be General O’Neill."
Jack eyed him closely, feeling a definite unease with this man’s presence.
Brojorn turned back to Mitchell. "Do you wish to have our conversation with O’Neill present, or would you rather go out onto the terrace?"
Mitchell glanced at Jack. "General O’Neill is aware of the situation. We can have the conversation here."
Brojorn nodded. "As you wish." Walking over to the side table, he poured himself a drink. Holding the decanter up in a silent question, both Mitchell and O’Neill declined. Brojorn replaced the stopper, then took a drink. "Colonel Mitchell, I realize after some reflection that my request of Jessica’s company for a night might have not been the most prudent approach to take."
"Damn straight it wasn’t," Mitchell said.
Brojorn suppressed a grin. "You do have to consider, though, with my abilities I have developed unique, shall we say appetites, over the years. I am a connoisseur of women. When a woman with Jessie’s complexity and beauty comes along, it is only natural I would wish to indulge in her." He paused for a moment. "If her job wasn’t so important to her, and her loyalty to the team not as strong, I would offer her a place by my side." Brojorn turned and walked over to the window. "However, after a more in-depth analysis of her character, I realize that it goes against her nature to couple with someone she considers to be a stranger." He watched Jessica with Sam for a moment before turning back to look at Mitchell. "Which brings me to the compromise. As a natural empath, I am able to read people, experience what they are experiencing without having to touch them. If you copulate with Jessica, I will still be able to enjoy the experience, without compromising her values."
Mitchell looked at Brojorn like he had grown two heads. "What?!?"
"You heard me Mitchell. You won’t have to "pimp" out a member of your team; you’ll get to mate with Jessie, and you’ll get the naquadah mining rights your government so desperately desires. In this way, we all get what we want."
Mitchell opened his mouth to deliver a scathing reply, but Brojorn held up his hand. "Save it, Mitchell. My patience is growing thin. I offer you a compromise. Take it, and you’ll have the mining rights, and a most pleasurable experience. Turn me down, and I guarantee your government will hand Jessica over to me one way or another just to be able to secure the naquadah. And I promise you, I will not turn them down."
"Don’tcha think you’re taking this voyeurism thing kinda far?" Jack asked.
Brojorn smiled. "No, not really. For my kind, this is a very natural activity."
"Look, Bonjour, while it may be ‘natural’ for you, it isn’t for us. There’s got to be something else we can offer you in exchange. Maybe a nice set of twins?"
"Done that, too."
"You’ve done triplets?" Jack said with a mixture of disbelief and a bit of awe.
"Jack," Mitchell said, drawing out his name. The last thing he wanted to do here was play the role of a pimp.
Jack had the good grace to look contrite. "Uh, yeah, sorry." He turned his attention back to Brojorn. "Nothing at all?"
Brojorn shook his head.
Mitchell wasn’t happy. He knew what Brojorn said was true. But how in the hell was he going to get Jessie to agree to this?
"Relax, Mitchell. When given the choice of yourself, or me, Jessie will choose you. And I can give you the advantage of knowing, in general, what she would be most responsive to. It’s the best compromise between being totally in the dark and being an empath that I can offer." Brojorn walked over to Mitchell, looking him in the eye. "Do we have a deal?"
Oh hell. This was something he had not anticipated. He looked over at Jack, who just raised his hands and eyebrows in an ‘I don’t know/not my call’ kind of gesture. Turning to Brojorn, he asked, "Are you sure there’s nothing else we can interest you in?"
Brojorn smiled. "No, Mitchell. I have my choice of plenty of females to indulge in any fantasy I could imagine; it is Jessica in particular who holds my interest." He took another drink from his glass. "So? What’s your answer?"
Mitchell sighed. Praying that lightening wouldn’t strike him, and that Jessica could forgive him, he looked at Brojorn and quietly said, "Yes."
"A wise choice," Brojorn replied, and then turned his attention to Jack. "You, O’Neill, are either the most patient, or the most masochistic person I have ever run across."
Jack kept his expression impassive, not quite sure what Brojorn was talking about.
He walked back over to the window, looking down at Sam and Jessica. "How long have you desired her, O’Neill? How many years now?"
"What are you…"
Brojorn held up his hand. "Do not insult me by pretending not to know what I’m talking about. And this ‘non-fraternization’ order, whose bright idea was that, anyway? Someone who wasn’t getting any, and didn’t want anyone else to, either?" He glanced back at the women. "The sad part is, she desires you as much as you desire her, yet neither of you have had the courage to do anything about it." He went and sat back down at his desk. "That ends tonight."
Brojorn looked at him like he was a slow child. "Tonight, after dinner, Mitchell and Jessica will engage in sexual relations, as will you and Samantha."
"Now wait just a minute here…"
"I find the unresolved tension between you and Colonel Carter irritating. I will make it easy on both of you. Your coupling will be added as an unwritten stipulation to the trade agreement, the same as Mitchell and Jessica. Comply, everyone’s happy, and you may begin mining. Refuse, and I will still get my pleasure from Jessica when Kinsey delivers her." Jack took two steps towards Brojorn. "And no, I have had no contact with Kinsey, but I know of him. He is an example of the worst kind of Tau’ri." He leaned back in his chair. "It’s really simple, O’Neill. Just…say…yes."
Jack looked at the man sitting so calmly behind the desk. Casey had said she didn’t sense anything bad, just unexpected. Then how come he felt like he was making a deal with the devil? And what in the hell was Sam going to think?
"Don’t worry about Samantha and Jessica. I will explain the situation to them."
Jack tried to consider their options, before coming to the realization that there weren’t any. Swallowing against the tightness in his throat, he stared at Brojorn. Time slowed as he took a breath.
And with that one word, he altered the course they had been on, and started them toward their true destinies.
Jessica and Sam were making small talk with some of the villagers when Mitchell and Jack emerged from the building. They weren’t sure how to react when Mitchell said, "Brojorn wants to talk to you both," and nothing more.
"Colonel?" Jessica said.
"We’ll talk when y’all are finished." Mitchell replied.
Oh crap. When Mitchell’s Southern accent slipped out, it was a surefire stress indicator. Sam looked at Jack, and he just nodded. Glancing at each other, Jessica and Sam went into the building and made their way up the stairs. They found Brojorn seated at his desk, and he stood as they entered the room.
"Jessica, Samantha, please come in and sit down." Once they had done so, he asked, "Would you like something to drink?"
"No, thank you," Jessica said.
Sam shook her head, and was trying hard to keep her mind blank, however, she couldn’t help but notice that this guy was gorgeous. She wasn’t sure what she had expected, but it certainly wasn’t this. Brojorn caught her eye and gave her a slow, sexy smile, and it irritated Sam to feel the heat rise in her cheeks.
Brojorn came and sat on the edge of his desk, facing them. "First of all, I want to apologize for any distress I caused you, Jessica. I am used to women finding the prospect of spending time with me to be a pleasant idea. I did not stop to think that, with you considering me a stranger, this proposition would upset you. Which brings me to the compromise I referred to in my message." He paused for a moment, but Jessica remained silent. "I want to experience you, and I get what I want. However, I’m willing to let you choose how this will happen. You can either spend tonight with me, as I originally proposed, or you can choose to spend tonight with Colonel Mitchell."
Jessica frowned. "I don’t understand."
Brojorn grinned. "I’m empathic, Jessie, remember? I can experience what another person is feeling; I don’t have to be touching them to tune in to it. I figured you might feel more comfortable with someone you knew, hence I offer you a choice."
"And if I refuse?"
"I think you already know the alternative, given that rather unpleasant visit you had last night."
Jessica took some slow, deep breaths. She chose her words carefully, considering what was at stake. "While I’m extremely flattered by your offer, having sex with a stranger goes against everything I was taught by my parents, everything I believe in. If I absolutely must choose either you or Mitchell," ‘dear God, I can’t believe I’m about to say this,’ "then it would have to be Mitchell."
The expression on Brojorn’s face was unreadable. "He means that much to you?"
To be honest, she hadn’t really thought about what he meant to her on a personal level, but she answered truthfully, "I trust him with my life."
Brojorn nodded. "Then it will be as you choose." He turned to Sam, and smiled. "Samantha, you truly have the patience of a saint. And while it is admirable how well you have followed the rules, there are times the rules are meant to be broken."
Sam looked at him, confused. "I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you’re talking about."
"You have obeyed the non-fraternization order for far too long. You and O’Neill are meant to be together. So, tonight, you will be."
Sam started shaking her head, a mildly panicked look on her face. "I can’t do that…"
"Oh, you can, and you will. I’ve made it part of the trade agreement, the same as Jessica and Mitchell. Comply, and your government can mine the naquadah. Refuse and, well, I’m sure you are well aware what the consequences would be if the agreement falls through. Besides, I’ve already decided to have the non-fraternization order removed, at least for the SGC. It’s the most ridiculous rule I’ve ever heard of."
"And how are you going to do that?" Jessica asked.
"I have the naquadah, don’t I? They’ll do just about anything I ask in order to start mining, and to continue mining. And with my abilities, I’ll know for sure if they are sticking to their end of the bargain." Brojorn moved around to sit back down in his chair. "So, we are agreed then? Tonight there will be a dinner, some entertainment, and then you will return to your rooms to pursue more pleasurable activities."
Neither one of them said a word. What was there to say? He clearly had his mind made up, and they both knew there was no argument they could offer that would change what he had decided. Sam and Jessica stood up to leave.
"Just one more thing. Doctor Fraiser and her team will be arriving soon to gather the samples they need from Mira’s patients. She will have a package for both of you."
They looked at him questioningly.
"The dance you learned together, I want you both to perform it tonight as part of the entertainment. Inside the package you will find your costumes and the music you used for the dance." He smiled before turning his attention back to the papers on his desk.
Jessica managed to grab Sam’s arm at the last second just as she lunged at Brojorn, intent on doing him some type of bodily harm.
"Sam," Jessica said in warning.
Brojorn’s chuckling caused Jessica to grab a hold of Sam with both hands. "While I love seeing that kind of fire in a woman, judging by how long O’Neill has denied himself, I would suggest you save your energy for this evening. You are going to need it."
The sounds from the main building, which were coming closer, caused both men to wince. While the words were unintelligible, the anger was clear. They didn’t have to wait long to find out the source—Jessica and Sam came out the door, Jessica still holding onto Sam’s arm, and Sam was obviously pissed.
Jack nudged the ground with the toe of his boot. "Done deal?" he asked as Jessica and Sam walked up.
"Yes Sir," Jessica said.
He nodded. "I’ll go and report in, have Janet get her supplies together. Carter?"
Sam looked at Jack, and he motioned for her to follow him.
As they walked off, for a few seconds there was an uncomfortable silence, and Jessica looked down at the ground. "I’m sorry," she said quietly.
Mitchell frowned. "For what?"
"For involving you in this." She looked off into the distance. "I…I just couldn’t, not with him…" Jessica jumped slightly when Mitchell reached out and cupped her face in his hands, tilting it up until she was looking at him.
"There is nothing to be sorry about," he said softly.
The warmth of his hands cradling her face had her frozen in place. They had been in close proximity before, but not like this. His gaze fell to her mouth, and for a moment she thought he was going to kiss her. Instead, he gently brushed his thumbs over her cheeks, raising his eyes back to hers as he dropped his hands.
"Sam seemed a bit upset."
Jessica nodded. "She damn near attacked Brojorn."
"I always thought she had feelings for Jack."
Jessica bit her lower lip, trying not to feel like she was betraying a confidence, even though she and Sam had never discussed it. "I’m pretty sure she does, but I don’t think she was upset about Brojorn wanting her and Jack together tonight."
"Then what was it?"
"He told us we’re part of the entertainment for this evening." The look on his face made Jessica realize he misunderstood what she meant. "Not that," she said as she gestured with her hand, "he wants us to perform a dance after dinner."
"Apparently he went poking through our memories. She and I had taken some lessons a while back, just for fun. He wants to see it in person."
Mitchell tried to keep his expression neutral as the pieces clicked together in his head. Lessons…Desert Rose…tribal and Middle Eastern dance. Oh, man, this was going to be one interesting evening.
"Everything’s going to be okay, Jessie," he said, trying to reassure her.
"I sure hope so," she said, more to herself than to him.
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