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Sunday, March 30th, 2014 12:56 pm
Here is the first of my bingo prompts! This is for the Explorer square.

Summary: For Teal'c, exploring worlds through the Stargate isn't half as enjoyable as exploring Earth. Some Teal'c introspection within the framework of Urgo. Includes references to Teal'c's backstory and S1. ~1,780 words. Rated G.


...And Eat Pie


This is not what Daniel Jackson calls "commissary sludge," but the thick, rich, bitter brew that is served whenever General Hammond is expected to partake. Teal'c has no objection to the canny prudence of the servicemen who ensure that their commanding officer is not displeased, but this is the first time he himself has indulged. If this is indeed the taste of good coffee, Teal'c can only regret his failure to drink it until now. The sharp scent, the bite against his tongue, the pleasing heat that sears his mouth and throat - it all evokes childhood memories of the hot drinks his mother brewed on cold mornings, redolent with spices. His pleasure is so intense that he empties the entire carafe and blows out a satisfied breath.

"Isn't that... hot?" O'Neill manages.

Teal'c considers the question. "Extremely."


*

Teal'c, a stubborn, independent boy of six, was secretly relieved when his mother insisted on grasping his hand when he stepped through the chappa'ai for the first time in his life. The two of them were fleeing the wrath of Cronus after Ro'nac's execution, spared only by the temporary, willful blindness of certain Jaffa who grieved their First Prime's death. To Teal'c, the terror of his father's loss was only slightly greater than his fear of rushing though the mysterious, shimmering blue of the chappa'ai to step foot on another planet under a strange sun and stranger stars. He was glad they were permitted to settle on Chulak, rather than being forced to repeat that terrifying journey to a further destination.

The years passed as Teal'c moved through the ranks from child to chal'ti to trusted warrior, and by the time he was literally adorned as First Prime, travel through the chappa'ai was as routine as walking through the door of the Jaffa barracks. There was always an inherent wariness, of course, since his role demanded that he remain constantly alert to any threat to Apophis. But the act of journeying through the chappa'ai and arriving instantly on another world no longer held any fear, much less pleasure. Abrupt shifts from bright dawns to starless nights, from soft rains to burning suns, from barren rock to frozen ice - Teal'c ignored it all, paying no mind to the wonder of it. If anything, his journeys were soured by the role he was forced to play, held by Bra'tac's cautions to mask his contempt for the false god he was compelled to guard.

Then Teal'c met the Tau'ri. Intrigued first by a helpless woman's fiery defiance, then by the inherent promise of a prosaic wristwatch, and finally by a legendary symbol drawn in the dirt, he accepted O'Neill as a fellow warrior and dared to openly rebel. He abandoned Chulak and returned to Earth, finding it greatly changed from his first visit with Apophis; instead of being barely defended, it was now fiercely guarded and he was nearly killed. Only the insistence of Captain Carter and Daniel Jackson, and later O'Neill, spared him from immediate execution. His newly-declared alliance met with understandable skepticism, he was hurriedly barred in a small, bare chamber to await interrogation and judgment. As he sat calmly on the floor that night in kel no reem, he spared a fleeting thought for the irony that he might die at the hands of those he had saved.

*

Teal'c is unsure why he feels so compelled to visit the commissary. When he enters at the heels of his companions, followed by his assigned sentinel, the sight of O'Neill seated at a table, a feast of desserts that would satisfy even Nerus arrayed before him, all doubts vanish.

"Hungry," Daniel Jackson mumbles, surprisingly monosyllabic.

The three of them join O'Neill in his indulgence, and Teal'c follows his advice to sample the pie. Teal'c has eaten commissary pie before this, and it compares poorly with the fare that O'Neill has shared with him outside the SGC - the wares of Smiley's Bakery and STIR are highly superior, not to mention Boonzaaijer's Dutch Bakery. But now, as the first bite melts in his mouth, Teal'c marvels at the improvement. Perhaps General Hammond has hired new staff?

He takes another mouthful, then a third. The pie is sheer decadence, its delicate combination of sweet and tart flavors perfectly balanced. Teal'c closes his eyes to savor the sensation properly.

"It is most satisfying," he declares, and is disappointed when the team is summoned away from the feast to attend a meeting in the briefing room. Obediently, he lays down his fork and rises to his feet. A wise warrior balances pleasure with duty, after all.

He is amused when O'Neill darts back inside to snatch one last treat. He is tempted to do the same.


*

Thanks to O'Neill's staunch defense and his own struggle with the immature Goa'uld who had overtaken Kawalsky, Teal'c earned General Hammond's trust. He was eventually granted leave to join SG-1 and the Tau'ri in their journeys through the chappa'ai - the Stargate, as the SGC called it, and Teal'c soon grew to think of it that way as well. It was strange, at first, for Teal'c to follow another's command, after serving so long as a First Prime who need not answer to anyone save Apophis himself. But SG-1 functioned as a unit much like any Jaffa patrol, with the valued addition of friendship and reliance. Teal'c admitted, even if only in the stillness of kel no reem, that despite the absence of wife and son, he was actually happy.

But exploration still left him cold. While he appreciated the camaraderie of his teammates, his primary purpose in his passages through the Stargate was to wage war against the Goa'uld and free his fellow Jaffa from their unrealized slavery. To him, their missions were little more than assignments, tasks to be undertaken in order to achieve their objection.

After a while, however, Teal'c began to appreciate that to the others on SG-1, the Stargate was not just a tool, but also a source of wonder. Daniel Jackson never stepped onto another planet without hoping for news of his missing wife, yet his eyes shone with the discovery of new cultures and languages. Captain Carter was the quintessential soldier, obeying commands and executing them smoothly; nonetheless, her sheer pleasure in scientific discovery seemed almost childlike. Even O'Neill, for all his single-minded focus on the mission, delighted in donning a space suit or flying an udajeet. The realization that his teammates coupled their dedication to the mission with the joy of exploration made him question if he, perhaps, was missing something.

With the passage of time, Teal'c decided that it was not a lack of perception on his part, but rather a different focus entirely. For the Tau'ri, at a time when their own planet could manage little more than unarmed shuttles and a difficult trip to their own moon, the opportunity to step on another planet was still new and joyous. But for Teal'c, who had traveled through the Stargate since O'Neill's grandsire was a child, such journeys were mere routine. It was the exploration of Earth - the Tau'ri's home world, which they took so much for granted - that truly enticed Teal'c.

Every time O'Neill managed to get him out of the mountain, Teal'c discovered something new about the world he had pledged to help protect. First, it was American culture and foods, O'Neill's personal totems of home and hearth. Later, Captain Carter, and especially Daniel Jackson, introduced him to the many and varied other cultures that thrived across the planet. He enjoyed delicacies and impudences of taste that the Goa'uld would have reserved only for themselves, yet were readily available to any human on Earth. He witnessed outrage and beauty, vapidity and nobility, courage and cowardice. It was freedom, that so much and so many could be indulged and tolerated. And it was glorious.

He loved Earth for its raucousness, its refusal to be tamed, even the shallowness that only the truly free can enjoy. There were surely other worlds out there that might equally delight him, but they were not the First World, with all its weight of history and triumph. How could he not love it, and desire to explore all its corners and crevices?

*

Daniel Jackson is correct to assert that the devices implanted in their brains enhances both gustation and olfaction. Their refreshment in the commissary offers ample proof of the first. Now, Teal'c finds himself breathing deeply in order to catch every last vestige of subtle scent. His senses, already more highly refined than a human's, seem almost to explode. Some smells, he acknowledges, are less than pleasant, but the experience is exhilarating and well worth it.

When Urgo reveals himself, Teal'c is disappointed. He dislikes the feeling of being controlled, even if it is only to chorus, "Hello, Urgo," with the rest of his team. He is even more displeased when he realizes that he has actually switched on the defibrillator, responding to Urgo's suggestion. Teal'c spent too long in obedient response to a master's whims to willingly obey now.

Urgo is annoying, childish, ridiculous, and persistent. Teal'c wishes him gone. Yet he feels an odd reluctance to do so, if it means losing this new enjoyment of the world.

When Major Carter's plan to eradicate Urgo fails, Teal'c must choose between Urgo's continued presence - not only the enhancement of his pleasure with Tau'ri fare, but also singing the words to a song he has never heard before and voicing an unintended defense of Urgo's actions - and risking a dangerous trip through the Stargate to confront the alien who created Urgo in the first place. As annoyed as he feels by the entity's behavior, and as much as much as he desires a return to normalcy, Teal'c cannot bring himself to actively advocate for Urgo's destruction. But he accepts General Hammond's ultimatum and agrees: "If we are to remain in service of this world, Urgo must be removed."

He cares little for Daniel Jackson's discussion with Major Carter and their argument that Urgo might have achieved sentience. He is too pragmatic to mourn the loss of a creature which, to his mind, is as parasitic as the Goa'uld... even if it does allow him greater enjoyment of Earth's pleasures.

But he does wish there was time for one more portion of dessert before they leave to confront this Rogar.


*

"I want to live," Urgo wailed. "I want to explore the universe. And I want to eat pie!"

"Who doesn't?" O'Neill sighed.

Urgo's priorities did not match Teal'c's, who would reversed the second and third on the list; but he could still appreciate the sentiment.
Sunday, March 30th, 2014 02:32 pm (UTC)
That is the most thoughtful Urgo fic I have ever read! I love old, jaded Teal'c, who finds his exploratory spirit in wonders like wrestling in rings of Jello. <3
sid: (Teal'c blue)
[personal profile] sid
Sunday, March 30th, 2014 11:19 pm (UTC)
This makes perfect sense. I think maybe the only time we ever saw Teal'c caught up in wonder off-world was on Kheb. The rest of the galaxy was all threats to be assessed and problems to be solved and objectives to be achieved.

And, thanks to Urgo, pie to be eaten. :-)