Sam was shuffling translucent pages, reading text and feeling over the printed lines with a thoughtful frown. Daniel was poking at the temple tablet; gingerly, but poking it, going through information Sam had indeed managed to hack out of the local systems, which ha, take that, Kanzeon. And Teal’c was half-meditating over the remains of their dinner, keeping watch for any unwelcome guests to their very nice, possibly bugged, guest quarters in Kanzeon’s Heavenly Palace. Which left Jack free to pick up a pillow and bang his head against the lovingly decorated wall. Hopefully not hard enough to give himself a concussion. Though a spate of unconsciousness sounded really damn good about now.
“Does it truly invoke a sense of contentment when you stop, O’Neill?”
Smart aleck Jaffa. “At the moment, yes,” Jack grumbled. “I just – we just – argh! This? This is not supposed to happen. We’re supposed to get evil gloating, or ‘gee we forgot to mention’, or ‘too primitive’. We’re not supposed to get, ‘Oh, I’m rescuing a whole species, you want to give me a hand?’”
“The question,” Teal’c mused, “is if we aid Kanzeon Bosatsu in her attempts to rescue not only the Furling species, but her own.”
There. Right there. Teal’c had nailed it. Jack glared at the pretty wave-pattern on the wall one more time, then turned around and plopped himself back into one of the comfy chairs.
…Because of course Kanzeon had comfy chairs. She had the Sanzo Inquisition, why not?
“What the hell do I tell him?” Jack poked at a twisted bit of what looked like mandarin orange peel. “A Goa’uld thinks you’re one of her kids’ lost souls? Oh, and no matter what she thinks, you’re not human anymore?”
“It is highly likely Genjyo Sanzo is aware that he is no longer Tau’ri, O’Neill.” Teal’c looked a bit graver than usual. “If they have been in as many battles as their tales indicate, it is unlikely he has escaped serious injury. Cho Hakkai appears to have no small measure of Dr. Fraiser’s skills, and a competent healer notices such differences.”
“Yeah, well, big difference between mad scientist messing with you, and somebody yanked out your mind and put it in another body.” Here and now, Jack would allow himself a shudder. “That’s… MacKenzie would probably have a field day about conservative personality types and obsessions with purity and integrity. But there’s just something wrong about that.”
“Not in cultures that allow for reincarnation and transmigration of souls.” Daniel looked up from the tablet, intent. “She didn’t say he was Konzen, she said he had Konzen’s soul. He’s Genjyo Sanzo. That, well, pretty much fits in with the sort-of Hindu-Buddhist traditions around here. Even gods are supposed to incarnate as other lives, once in a while.”
Jack raised an eyebrow. “So what do you think we should tell him?”
“I… have no clue,” Daniel admitted. “Does it matter? I mean, next to trying to get the Tok’ra to back off so they don’t get tangled up with the Asgard. As long as Earth’s under the Protected Planets Treaty, anything that takes Asgard attention off the System Lords isn’t good.”
“It matters,” Jack stated. “You don’t lie to your own people unless there’s no choice. And he was one of ours.” He thumped the back of his head against a cushion. “Was.”
Wasn’t now, though – and that had finally let Jack put a finger on what Black Ops training had glommed onto in Sanzo’s little soul-shredding speech. Besides the whole tearing his heart apart from the inside out.
“One of the deadly sins is pride.”
That had not been a linguist talking. Not a cultural expert. Not even a geek buried in the books.
“We’ve all got blood on our hands. Some of us manage to hold onto something good anyway…. Even if we don’t deserve it. Especially if we don’t deserve it.”
Not a linguist. Not a civilian. That was a priest.
“I think I got raised too Catholic,” Jack muttered. “I don’t know what to do when somebody really believes.”