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Arising early the next day, the negotiations officially commenced. Brojorn and two advisors sat down to confer with SG-7. If Jessica had thought the talks would be brief, she was sadly mistaken. Every offer was dissected down to the individual pros and cons, and each point thoroughly discussed. There were times Jessica thought she was going to pull her hair out. She was normally a patient person, but this was ridiculous. She made a mental note to discuss the cultivation of patience with Daniel and Casey, along with tips on how to help pick up the pace. It took most of the day, but the majority of the trade agreement was hammered out. Brojorn announced that there would be a celebratory dinner that evening, with the official agreement being signed the following day. Mentally Jessica was exhausted, and she was relieved when Brojorn suggested they rest the few hours before the dinner. Making their way back to their quarters, Jessica laid down and almost immediately fell asleep, the stress and mental gymnastics of the day finally catching up with her.
When they awoke, they found that Ileah had brought garments for them to wear that evening. The men had been given suede tan tunics with matching pants in a slightly darker color. Jessica had been given a lightweight ivory dress, sleeveless, with an empire waist, the bottom hem just clearing the floor. Not wanting to rock the boat at this late stage, they changed their clothes and headed to the dinner. In addition to Brojorn and his advisors, several other people were in attendance, and the dinner was pleasant and uneventful. When the meal concluded, Mitchell, Spencer and Pisano found themselves engaged in conversation with several of the higher-ranking Nandanian officials.
Just as music began to play, Brojorn made his way over to Jessica. Holding out his hand he said, "Dance with me."
Jessica hesitantly put her hand in his. "Are you sure you want to risk your feet like that?" she asked jokingly.
Leading her to the middle of the room, he drew her close, a strong arm encircling her waist, his hand cradling hers. "I’m fairly certain you are an accomplished dancer."
She smiled. "I don’t think I would use the word accomplished, but I’ll try not to step on your toes."
Thankfully the music was a slow tempo, and Brojorn led her easily in the steps. "Are you pleased with the way the negotiations went today?" he asked.
"I’m glad we were able to come to an agreement."
"This is important to you."
"Yes, it is. The naquadah will allow my people to strengthen our defenses against the Goa’uld, as well as other enemies. Being able to defend ourselves will keep us from being enslaved by them, and help us in protecting others."
"There are those within your government, though, who would try to use it to further their own desires."
Jessica frowned. "I suppose that’s true within any government. There are individuals who are self-serving, not caring about the greater good."
Brojorn tilted his head to one side, looking at her. "You enjoy your work."
"Very much so. I’m fortunate to be able to take the skills I have and put them to use helping others."
The first song ended, but immediately started into a second slow melody, and they continued dancing.
"I do have a question for you," Jessica said. "I was going through the texts and I came across a passage that explains about the different positions within your government, and who rules the people. There were two terms I was unable to translate."
Brojorn smiled. "Those terms describe the natural abilities the ruler has."
"Well, there are some Nandanians who are empathic. They have the capability to, "tune in", if you will, to a person’s emotions. This gives them a compassion, a greater understanding of another, versus a Nandanian who does not have this ability. These people hold positions of advisors and liaisons within the government. There are ones, however, who have an even more enhanced empathy."
Brojorn nodded. "Not only can we tune in to emotions, we can actually experience what another person is feeling physically."
Jessica frowned as she processed this information. "I take it only a few have this enhanced empathy?"
"What about the second?"
"The other ability, which is even more rare, is telepathy."
He smiled. "The ruler has both enhanced empathy and telepathy, the ability to read another’s mind."
"You know what another person is thinking?" she asked, her voice rising slightly.
"That, and I can also see into their memories, their past."
Jessica came to a complete stand still as the ramifications hit her.
Mitchell had been watching Jessica and Brojorn while he answered questions from one very persistent official. He definitely didn’t like how close Brojorn was holding Jessica, but since it didn’t seem to bother her, he held his ground. When he started noticing a change in her demeanor, he signaled Pisano. As Pisano walked up, Mitchell turned to the official. "This is Lieutenant Pisano. He’ll be able to answer any other questions you have." With that he extricated himself from the windbag and headed towards Jessica just as she stopped dancing, staring at Brojorn with a look that made Mitchell very uneasy.
He reached them in a few long strides. Tapping Brojorn on the shoulder, he took Jessica’s hand from Brojorn at the same time. "I hope you don’t mind me cutting in," he said as he stepped up and pulled Jessica to him, his arm slipping around her, his hand at the small of her back. Taking over the dance, he maneuvered her away from Brojorn.
"Are you okay?" he asked. Her eyes were wide, and though she opened her mouth, no sound came out. "Jessie? What’s wrong?"
"Outside," she managed to squeak out.
Mitchell was becoming more worried as each second passed. Not wanting to cause a scene, he continued to guide her to the music until they were close enough to the door, before quickly pulling her through it. Walking several feet from the building into the darkness, he finally stopped and turned to her. "What happened?"
"I asked him what those two terms meant, the ones I couldn’t translate."
"They’re the two abilities the ruler naturally possesses; empathy and telepathy."
At first, Mitchell didn’t understand what she was saying. "Explain."
"Some Nandanians are empathic, sensing another’s emotions. The rulers are even stronger empaths, being able to pick up what another feels physically. The rulers are also telepathic, able to read another’s mind, and their memories."
Mitchell’s initial reaction was that it was a bunch of BS. But then he mentally started going over things Brojorn had said during their stay, things he had taken as coincidence. With what Jessica had just told him, they started taking on a whole new meaning.
"Well, at least the negotiations are finished, and we negotiated in good faith. We’ll have to fill in General Hammond when we get back about these abilities."
Just then Pisano and Spencer came over to them, and they briefed them on this latest turn of events.
"So what are we going to do?" Pisano asked.
"Well, we’re pretty much finished here. Tomorrow we’ll sign the agreements, deliver what we’ve promised and then begin mining operations. Other than taking note of what we learned tonight, there’s not really anything else to do." They decided to call it a night, given the early schedule they had the next morning.
At daybreak, Mitchell sent Pisano and Spencer back home. He wanted to get a jump start on arranging the things listed in the trade agreement, as well as to give them a head’s up at the base about the unique talents of their new ally. Spencer still had a lot of data to go through calculating the size of the naquadah deposits, and this was vital information they needed before they could get a mining operation up and running.
Mitchell and Jessica joined Brojorn in the main building where they had originally met at the designated time. He was seated at his desk when they walked in.
"Jessica, Mitchell, come in." He set some papers to one side before turning his attention to the ones in front of him. "You slept well last night?"
Jessica was a little skittish, but she took a slow, deep breath to calm her nerves. "Yes we did," she said as she took the chair on the opposite side of the desk. Mitchell remained standing near Jessica.
"The papers outlining the agreement and allowances for both sides have been drawn up." Brojorn picked up the top page and glanced through it. "This details the right to mine naquadah from Nanda, as long as you provide the manpower and equipment to do so, and that it’s done in such a manner so as not to interfere with our settlements, lifestyle or culture." He passed the paper to Jessica and she started reading through it. Picking up the second sheet, he said, "This lists what we will receive in return for the mining rights." Jessica set the first sheet down and looked at Brojorn as he was perusing the second page. He then handed it to her. She began scanning the list as he spoke. "You may commence mining once you have provided the medical technology, scientific technology and agricultural supplies detailed in that list, as well as you spending a night in my bed."
In the ensuing silence, one could have heard the proverbial pin drop. Jessica’s brain refused to process what he had said for several seconds. She even thought that maybe she hadn’t heard him correctly. Raising her eyes to his, though, she knew by the look on his face that she had heard him just fine.
Brojorn sat back in his chair, crossing his arms. "The list, plus a night in my bed."
Jessica’s heart started pounding in her chest, and true panic began to set in.
Brojorn read her thoughts as easily as if she had said them out loud. He shook his head. "I’m not interested in rape. If that was my intention, I could have taken you any number of times before now. I want you willing; well, at least semi-willing."
Jessica felt Mitchell’s hand close around her upper arm. "We’re leaving," he said.
Brojorn looked at him and smiled. "If she doesn’t come to me, there will be no trade agreement."
Mitchell had pulled Jessica to her feet. If looks could kill, Brojorn would have been a pile of ash. Mitchell leaned over the desk, looking Brojorn in the eye. "You can take that trade agreement and shove it up your ass." Keeping a firm hold on Jessica, without another word Mitchell left the room and headed straight for the Stargate.
Jessica was basically in a state of shock. How in the hell had things turned that quick? There were several people waiting outside the building when they emerged, but one look at Mitchell’s expression stopped them from saying anything. The walk to the gate was a blur to Jessica. The one thing that penetrated her consciousness was Mitchell’s urgency to get off that planet. He dialed home, sent their code, and had them walking down the ramp before anyone had a chance to stop them.
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