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 A Promise Kept


Chapter 8

The klaxon’s wail, along with the GDO code received, announced SG-7’s return. It wasn’t coincidence that the members of SG-1 were close enough that by the time the wormhole engaged, they were either in the control room or in the vicinity of the ramp, nor that other key personnel were loitering nearby. This was the first mission that the entire SG-7 team had gone on since Jessie’s return, and they were more than a little anxious to see how things had turned out. Not to mention there was a bit of curiosity of why Lya had shown up, and more specifically requesting SG-7’s participation in the mission. A collective sigh of relief rippled throughout the area as Spencer, Pisano, Cam and Jessie emerged through the ‘gate, and more relief was felt as they observed Jessie in animated conversation with Cam.

"Three distinctly separate deities woven into one culture…that’s not coincidence, especially since those legends have a basis here on Earth. It had to be Goa’uld interference when they were collecting slaves…if the Goa’uld didn’t populate Herboren directly, then maybe a rebellion ended up depositing those people there, or an intervention from another source, another culture…or a higher plane." That Jessie was on a roll was evident to anyone within sight or sound of her. She was nearly bouncing with excitement.

"Well, I take it the mission was a success?" General Hammond asked as he approached the group, with Jack, Sam, Daniel, Casey and Teal’c not far behind.

"Yes, Sir," Cam replied with a grin, "this one was a cake walk. Nice people, interesting cultural overtones, and not a Goa’uld in sight."

Jessie was already opening her bag, digging out the case that held the camcorder. "Daniel, you have got to take a look at the video and pictures we took. If I interpreted it correctly, their deities are Hera, Ataegina and Zywie."

That definitely caught Daniel’s attention. "Are you sure? Greek, Iberian and Slavic?"

"I thought it was a long shot at first, too, but after studying the statues and talking with the priestess, it sure seems that way." Activating the camcorder, she began pointing out the identifying details on the statues in the temple, and the two quickly became immersed in discussion.

Jack came up next to Cam, eyeing Jessie and Daniel speculatively. "You slip her an extra cup of coffee or something?"

Cam chuckled. "Nope. Like I said, the mission went perfect. It was a really neat place to visit—no stress, everyone was just really laid back. When we found the statues and Jessie realized they were like the ones here on Earth, then finding out the tales and legends were similar-"

"She turned into Daniel." Jack was grinning, having witnessed the almost manic behavior from Daniel on several occasions when something unusual manifested itself. "You didn’t let her touch anything, did you?" That comment elicited several chuckles from the group.

"There weren’t any gizmos to touch. We just did like Lya said, learned about the cultures, joined in the festivities." Cam set his pack down on the floor.

"Festivities? You got to go on a party mission?" Jack sounded slightly aggrieved.

"There was a celebration going on, the annual blessing of unions, or something like that. The women were gathering flowers to give as offerings to the goddesses and to ask for their blessings on their marriages. The priestess had Jessie join in when she found out we were engaged."

Sam and Casey were watching Jessie while they listened to Cam. "Maybe we can finagle a mission to Herboren for SG-1," Sam said as she shook her head slightly. "The mission certainly agreed with Jessie…she looks like she had a really good vacation."

Casey nodded in agreement, silently studying the young woman. There really was something different about Jessie, and it wasn’t just her enthusiastic response to her discoveries. She looked different…younger. Casey frowned. That wasn’t exactly right. It was more like a weight had been lifted from her. There was a…lightness…to her spirit that hadn’t been there before. It was almost as if a light was shining on her, bringing her out from the…

"…shadows," Casey whispered.

Jack glanced over his shoulder. "You say something, Radar?"

Casey blinked, still staring at Jessie. "Just talking out loud," she said, half distracted.

General Hammond addressed Cam. "Since I have a few things I need to attend to, take your team for the post mission physical, then we’ll debrief in an hour."

"Yes, Sir. Okay, campers, time for pokin’ and proddin’. C’mon, Jessie, you and Jackson can resume your powwow when we’re done."

Jessie handed the camcorder to Daniel while simultaneously sticking her tongue out at Cam, causing laughter to erupt from those gathered around them.

The young Colonel squared his shoulders. "Dr. Watson, need I remind you who’s in charge?"

The sparkle was definitely back in Jessie’s eyes. Walking nonchalantly to the doorway, she glanced back at Cam over her shoulder. "You gotta catch me first." With that, she took off in a dead run down the hallway, heading to the infirmary per General Hammond’s orders.

Cam scooped his pack up and tossed it to Pisano. "She didn’t just say that," Cam muttered as he walked to the doorway, before breaking into a run as he turned the corner. Jessie’s laughter could be heard echoing off the walls.

"Now that’s something I haven’t heard in a long time," Sam said.

"Insubordination?" Jack asked cheekily.

Sam rolled her eyes. "No, General. I meant…Jessie laughing."

Each of them stood there, turning that thought over in their minds, while the resident seer tried to figure out what ‘it’ was she had been sensing before, and what had made ‘it’ disappear.




Almost two hours later SG-1 and 7 were all sitting around the conference table, discussing the discoveries and studying the images projected onto the screen. While no "technology", per se, had been apparent on Herboren, no "big honkin’ guns" as Jack so helpfully described, and none discussed, the people of Herboren were open to sharing their history and culture with the Tau’ri. Plans were made to return at a later date. Jessie gathered up her notes as they were dismissed, sliding them into the appropriate folders. Cam walked over to her as she stood.

"You want to go out to dinner tonight? There’s that new place not too far from Quinn’s, or we could stop by one of the cafes if you want something lighter." Cam was still marveling at the spark that was apparent more than ever in her.

"Sure. If the restaurant is too crowded, we can swing by that place that has those great deli sandwiches."

Jack, Sam and Daniel were talking amongst themselves, so it was only Casey and Cam who witnessed what happened next. Cam leaned in to give Jessie a kiss, and just before his lips touched hers she took a step back, a strange look on her face.

"Jessie?" Cam saw the confusion in her eyes, watched as she held up her hand as if telling him to wait. She looked down, a frown creasing her forehead, before looking back up at him again. Her mouth opened then shut without making a sound. "Jessie?" he repeated, the concern in his voice causing the others to turn and look.

Looking slightly perplexed, Jessie said the first thing that came to mind. "Houston, we have a problem."




"I told you not to let her touch anything," Jack said half jokingly as Janet was finishing up her exam.

Cam gave Jack an exasperated look. "I tell ya, there were no gizmos. We all ate and drank the same stuff. I was with Jessie when Kanathia did the blessing…" Cam’s voice trailed off as he brought his hand halfway up, rubbing the pad of his thumb across his fingertips as he thought back to the ceremony.

"Uh huh. I know that look. Been there, done that. What happened?" Jack knew the feeling of realization smacking one in the face.

Cam was surprised he was having difficulty recalling specific details. He continued to rub his fingertips, trying to jog his memory. "The water…when Jessie walked up the steps out of the water, I touched her cheek." Cam looked at Jack as the light bulb came on. "That’s just freaky. Trying to remember exact details of those moments, it’s like there’s a fog, but I do remember it tingled when I touched the drops of water on her face."

"There ya go. It’s always those little things that end up biting you in the…"

At that moment Casey came around the corner with Daniel, and Jack raised his eyebrows quizzically. "Nice for you to come back, Radar. You took out of here like your pants were on fire, ignoring questions from your commanding officer…"

"Put a sock in it, Jack. Sometimes expediency outweighs rank." She turned to Cam. "The ritual the priestess performed…did you notice a change in Jessie after that?"

Cam ran his hand over his face. "From what I can remember?" His appearance was one of intense concentration. "Yeah, when she came out of the water and smiled at me, it was…the smile lit up her entire face, like she was really, truly happy."

"What do you mean, from what you can remember?" Casey worried her lower lip with her teeth, wondering if her hypothesis was wrong.

"It’s not that I can’t remember. It’s just, the details aren’t real sharp, if that makes any sense."

"I’m thinking it’s the water. He said when he touched the drops of water on her face, it tingled." Jack appeared quite pleased with himself, having found the missing link.

"Hold that thought." Casey disappeared into the examining room.

Daniel turned to Cam. "Give us a rundown of the entire ritual, from the beginning."

Cam took a deep breath, then let it out. "Jessie had gone with the other women to pick flowers as an offering to the goddess. It was like, you give a flower, you get a blessing."

"A marriage blessing," Daniel stated.

"Yeah, blessing the union. When they found out we’re engaged, they invited Jessie along. Since Lya said to join in the activities, we did. When Jessie came back, the flower she had picked apparently was special. The tree that produces the flowers only does so near the top, so she really had to work at getting one. At first I thought maybe the tree was off limits or something, just because of the fuss they were making over this flower, but it turns out they were more impressed than anything. And when Jessie told them about the lady she talked to in the woods, the one who gave her a shell for the water, that seemed to seal the deal. They took it as a sign that the goddess herself was pleased and Jessie had earned her blessing. That evening, we went to the temple."

"The one in the video?" Daniel asked, more as verification.

Cam nodded. "The one with four walls, no roof…" Cam’s recollection was interrupted by an outburst from the infirmary.

"You have got to be shittin’ me!"

A look of surprise registered simultaneously on the faces of all three men. Jack rocked back on his heels. "That sounded like Jessie, but I don’t remember that vernacular being part of her vocabulary."

They waited a few moments, but all was quiet. Daniel pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "So, you were in the temple?"

Cam nodded. "Me, Jessie, and Kanathia, the priestess. There was a pool in the middle of the temple, steps at both ends. I stood at one end, Jessie at the other. Kanathia gave a blessing, Jessie walked into the water and swam to me." Cam had taken on a blank stare, obviously struggling to remember. "When she was beneath the surface…there…there was…something about the water."

They remained silent, waiting to see if he could recall what he had seen.

Cam sighed, looking up at the ceiling as he tried to pull the pieces from his memory. "It was like the color changed, but that’s not right. More like…" He gestured with his hands, searching for the right words. "There was a…a shadow…a darkness behind her in the water, like something being washed off as she swam. By the time she got down to where I was, the black stuff was at the other end, like it was going down a drain, or being compressed. The smaller it got, the darker it got. There was a sound right before it disappeared; almost like the screech of a barn owl. Jessie was coming out of the water…I wrapped the robe Kanathia had given me around her…touched her cheek. That’s when I noticed my fingers tingled where they were wet."

At that moment Casey rejoined them, directing her question to Daniel. "Did you tell them?"

"Not yet."

"Tell us what?" Jack questioned, at the same time Cam asked, "Is Jessie okay?"

Casey reached out and patted Cam on the arm. "Jessie’s fine. She’s just having a bit of a…selective…memory problem."

"And we’re fairly certain this problem stems from the ritual blessing, if the legends here on Earth correlate with the practices on Herboren," Daniel said.

Jack looked at Daniel expectantly. "Okay, enlighten us, but do it in layman’s terms so I can get it the first time around."

Daniel didn’t bother trying to hide his grin this time. "Well, Jessie was correct when she theorized the goddesses were Hera, Ataegina and Zywie. With this particular situation, though, we’re focusing more on Hera." He glanced at the notations he and Casey had made. "Hera has been depicted as a maiden, wife, and widow, representing the three phases in a woman’s life, and some places here on Earth had triple shrines built to represent those three phases together. However, in the region around Argos, there was a temple dedicated solely to Hera the Virgin. Legends say there was a spring called Kanathos, near Nauplia, where Hera renewed her virginity annually by bathing in the spring’s mystical waters. It also said she fragranced her body with a scent so sweet it filled the universe with its fragrance." Daniel adjusted his glasses. "Of course, these legends were all symbolic;, the virgin, wife, and widow dealing with the three Greek seasons of spring, summer/autumn and winter. Given the events on Herboren, however, the mystical waters of Kanathos seem to have taken on a literal meaning."

Cam looked at Daniel strangely. "You’ve lost me. What does some story about Hera turning herself into a virgin have to do with Jessie?"

Janet cleared her throat as she joined the group gathered just outside the infirmary. "Because her amnesia is limited to just one area. It appears Jessie’s memory has been wiped clean of any carnal experience she had." If the situation hadn’t been so perplexing, Janet would have laughed at the expression on Cam’s face, and even more so due to his ineloquent response.


The diminutive doctor squared her shoulders. "As it stands right now, in plain English, mentally Jessie is a virgin."

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