Jack grimaced. “We don’t know it’s an ongoing disaster.”
“We do not,” Teal’c agreed. “They have said the Kabane sleep. We do not know for how long. But their use of words is ominous. Stations are not attacked, O’Neill. They are swallowed.”
Put that together with two, maybe three groups of refugees – heck, maybe more, they’d have to ask – and the overall picture was just looking worse and worse. “Train’s armored, stations are probably fortified,” Jack stated. “If this mess has been going on twenty years? A hayajiro’s probably the only guaranteed way to get from point A to point B without being munched. Only they get jumped, too. And three groups of refugees on one train….”
Daniel sucked in a breath. “You think something went wrong. Recently.”
“I think we’d better be very careful who we tell we’re not from ‘round here,” Jack said practically. “Because when things go wrong, people look for someone to blame. Anyone to blame.” He tapped his fingers together. “But we’ve got to tell somebody, so… we talk to Kurusu. And his Lady Ayame.”
“But not Dogen?” Sam gave him a curious look. “You did say he’s likely a VIP, sir. And no offense to our hosts, but based on the numbers of Kabane we saw we’ll probably need an organized expedition to go back to Keishi. With official military forces. And explosives.”
“Could well be,” Jack agreed. “But. Carter. Dogen’s trying to keep a lid on guys like Naokata. Think about trying to tell him we’re from another planet.”
“…See what you mean, sir.” Sam shrugged. “Kurusu’s bushi looked at Teal’c and barely flinched. If we told him we’re aliens – he might think we’re crazy, but he won’t want us dead for it.”
“Not being dead is one of the mission goals,” Jack started.
And stopped, because there was a scent of heaven wafting through the air. Fish, some kind of starchy-sweet that had to be a root vegetable, and who knew what for spices but they smelled nicely tangy.