“Transport rings all over the planet,” Dr. Jackson observed, fascinated. “Roads, small industries; god, if this is right, Chang’an has over a million people.”
“Plus point two, last census I read.” Sanzo flicked a glance over them, reading the currents of emotion. Don’t hit it straight on; they’ll know something’s up if you do. “I’m going to take a wild guess that this isn’t what you’re used to seeing.”
“To be honest? Even if worlds like this were common, information of this depth isn’t what we expected,” General Hammond said levelly.
That’s the opening I want…. “Because I work for Kanzeon?” Sanzo let a hint of a smirk touch his face. “The SGC isn’t going to attack her. And I’d like to think you’ve got more ethics than to hand over any of this to the Tok’ra without warning us first.”
Dr. Jackson swallowed. Hammond frowned. O’Neill looked dryly amused. “She’s a System Lord. Why wouldn’t we go after her?”
“Outside of her bargain with the Asgard, which I suggest you ask them about? You’ve got bigger problems,” Sanzo shot back. “Apophis, Nirrti, Ba’al, Osiris – it’d be stupid to slap Kanzeon in the face when she’s never done anything to you, or to Earth. And I really hope people in the SGC are not that stupid.”
“Kouryuu, son,” the general said compassionately, “if you go down this road-”
“You don’t want me back, General,” Sanzo cut in. I made my choice. Why the hell do you think you’ve got a right to feel sorry for it? “Like Dr. Jackson’s already guessed, a Sanzo is one of the few people Kanzeon’s allowed to directly interfere with. If she feels so inclined. You don’t need that kind of grief. Besides. I’ve seen too much, and done too much, and I have an annoying tendency to shoot people I don’t like. On Shangri-La, that works.” Terrified the acolytes, yeah, but worked. “And Goku goes where I go. Locked up under concrete and rock? He’d be miserable. And you couldn’t let him out of the Mountain. Just one accident with his limiter, and-” people would die “-you can’t cover up claws, fangs, and bad attitude.”
“And it doesn’t matter what you want,” Dr. Jackson said neutrally, “because a Sanzo is a Sanzo until he dies.”
Don’t you dare pity me! “Whatever you’re about to say, don’t,” Sanzo stated, low and dangerous. “I only have two regrets.” He held them up, a finger at a time, kote plainly visible. “I couldn’t get to the other survivors before Ni screwed them over. And I couldn’t save Koumyou.” Fingers clenched, before he brought them back down to the table. “Captain Sha wanted to come back. I brought him. I suggest you ask if he wants to stay.”
“Whatever you may or may not have done, you were a civilian,” the general stated. “Captain Sha is quite another matter.”
Sanzo eyed them, suspicious. “Why?”
Dr. Jackson cleared his throat, radiating discomfort. O’Neill’s expression was bland; a perfect mask for the :loathing: and :grim understanding: rolling off the man. “Somebody mentioned a village full of zatarcs,” the colonel said coolly.
Damn. And, how dare they. Gojyo carried enough guilt. To have to possibly face a courtroom full of people in the uniform he still respected, handing down sentence on a situation none of them had ever faced, where formerly innocent people had lost their minds, and were not coming back–
You don’t get to do that to him. If anyone shoots the kappa, it’s going to be me. “Once we knew what we’d found, I had Sha and Hakkai get Goku out of there,” Sanzo said flatly. “They had no part in what happened next.” He eyed Dr. Jackson. “Maybe I didn’t explain. We don’t work for Kanzeon. I work for Kanzeon. They work for me.”
“An Air Force officer,” O’Neill said grimly, “doesn’t stand by and watch while his associate kills civilians.” He paused. “Even if it was… unavoidable.”
Sanzo bared his teeth. “Believe me, he didn’t have time.”
Which was somehow more than he should have said; he knew that from the quick flash of :calculation: from O’Neill. But damn it, it was true.
This isn’t Shangri-La. I don’t know the laws here; I can’t protect Gojyo without violence. And if it comes to that-
“Cheep!” Hakuryuu stared toward the hall, fangs bared. :Human-scent. Arrogance and fear. Scalpels, blood, chains for monsters-from-the-‘Gate.:
“Someone’s coming,” Sanzo stated, glancing at the door. “And he’s trouble.”