DISCLAIMER: The characters of the shows "Stargate SG-1" and "Xena: Warrior Princess" don't belong to me but the lucky guys at MGM, Showtime Productions, Gekko et al., respectively MCA Universal Studios, and Renaissance Pictures. I just borrow them for a while. No copyright infringement is intended; no profit will be made. The story, however, is mine. Please, don't archive without asking first. This is an alternative story, dealing with a sexual relationship between consenting adult women. If you are too young to read stuff like this, please go away. If it's illegal where you live; get the hell out of there. It also contains scenes of physical punishment of consenting adults yes, I know it may sound incongruous but by reading the story you will understand.
TIMELINE: Follows X:WP up until the end of season four; everything else afterwards was just a preparation to the show's finale that in my world simply can not happen. Don't be irriated to find Ephiny appearing at the end of my story her death is another thing I didn't want to happen. The timeline for SGC is more difficult to assess but it's definitively shortly before Season 5's episode: 'The Rite Of Passage' however, I simply couldn't let the dramaturgical advances of the Anubis' threat and his super soldiers slip away, so, just imagine them possible before season 7.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: English isn't my first language, so please be lenient. Special thanks go to Pam and Mary, my valiant beta readers who made this whole story a lot better. You rock, gals! Should there still be something awfully wrong please let me know and remember it's due to unapproved changes on my part only; besides I'm always grateful for every knight riding on a dictionary and armed with a red pencil (as long as s/he doesn't pick out magnified flee droppings).
Prologue: Gate Room
Colonel Jack O'Neill was standing in the Gate Room, bitching about the routine jump he and SG-1 were scheduled for. And for at least the third time this day, not counting the briefing, his second in command calmly explained why it was important, carefully keeping her annoyance with her commanding officer out of her voice and eyes.
"Preliminary tests on the samples of plant life the MALP II collected show that they have a great potential to be used as antibiotics, sir; the geological data hints at considerable reserves of naqada and the video material has the historians excited about finding a village straight out of ancient Greece, sir."
"Yadda, yadda, yadda but why do 'we' have to do this, that's what I'd like to know, Carter? It sounds boring as hell. There are other teams better qualified. Hammond could just have sent one of the geek squads."
Major Carter's face reflected nothing but bland obedience.
"No, don't say it. I know: Because after our last run-in with the Gao'uld the doc and the General want us to take it easy for a while. And an order is an order. I don't have to like it, right?"
At this moment the baritone of General George Hammond came through the speaker system.
"Permission to pass through the gate, Colonel. Report back with your preliminary security report as soon as possible, and don't forget, it's a diplomatic mission."
The Colonel rolled his eyes but nodded towards the control centre and walked up the ramp, closely followed by Teal'c, Daniel Jackson and Major Carter trailing behind.
Chapter One: The First Contact
Sam thought she felt some sort of resistance stepping through the event horizon but didn't have time to dwell on the feeling, instead following O'Neill's order to check the immediate vicinity of the gate.
Before they were more than twenty paces away, a group of a dozen women armed with bows and swords appeared as if out of nowhere. Teal'c readied his zat, O'Neill had his AK-90 aimed, Carter her 'Carter special'; and Daniel was his usual trusting self, stepping forward to introduce himself and his companions.
A young woman with light brown hair and a face full of freckles joined him and bowed to the newcomers. "Welcome to Gaia, humans from earth. We have been expecting your visit for a few days now and are deeply honoured being able to greet SG-1 as the first representatives of Earth on the Amazon homeworld. You are our reveered guests. We have orders to show you around and give you the opportunity to see that your research team will be perfectly safe with us."
She'd already half turned around to lead them out of the clearing the Stargate was situated in when Jack said, "If honoured guests are met by an 'escort' armed to the teeth, I don't want to know what kind of welcome you reserve for your enemies. But lead on, I can't wait to speak to the guy in charge."
She whirled around, stepping in his face in the blink of an eye, snarling. "Better keep your tongue in check, male, else you might lose it."
Daniel tried to get between them, as always the diplomat and talker but to no avail. Jack simply side stepped him and answered with a snarl of his own. "I'm a man and of the mind to teach you a lesson in manners, little girl."
His eyes were glaring with an aggressiveness that rivalled any Gao'uld System Lord. His right hand fell on the slender woman's arm and before he knew how he was sprawled on the ground at least five feet away. The Jaffa warrior reacted on instinct; trying to eliminate the threat to his best friend but also found himself on the ground, face first, next to the Colonel.
Now, Daniel instinctively drew his sidearm, levelling the barrel of his gun at their young escort. The other women surrounding them already had their weapons at the ready, when a low female voice demanded. "Stand down."
The women immediately lowered their weapons and took two steps back. A tall woman stepped passed Carter, clad in a strange set of leathers and armour, long black hair with red highlights flowing freely down her back.
The young woman lowered herself on her right knee, her right fist went straight to her heart, and her eyes found the ground. "Aria, what did I tell you about the proper conduct towards our guests?"
"I'm sorry, your highness."
"Do I have to repeat my question?"
"No, your highness. You told me to be courteous and not to react on the men's aggressiveness, mistress. I'm sorry; my instincts got the better of me. It won't happen again."
"Never make promises you can't keep, Aria. Now, how many times did I tell you not to follow your instincts alone?"
"At least one time too many, your highness. Please have me punished for disobedience and stupidity."
The last word brought a smile to the taller woman's face.
"Report to me after sundown. It will be marked in your record but there's no need for a public punishment. I congratulate you on the moves you used; they were fast and efficient without exerting yourself. Report to the guest palace and then go to the weapons' mistress. Tell her that your training is to be advanced another level. I'll take over."
The young woman was on her feet faster than lightning. "Wait, young one. Didn't you forget something?"
"Yes, your highness, I'm sor I know; don't be sorry, try to improve." Aria turned to Jack and Teal'c who now were back on their feet. "Colonel O'Neill, Master Teal'c, I apologise for my lack of discipline. I should not have taken your innocent remark as an insult. I'm sorry that I attacked you."
Jack was only glowering at her but the Jaffa raised an eyebrow and said. "Apology accepted, young warrior."
Now the raven-haired women turned towards the rest of the newcomers. "Welcome to Gaia. I apologise for the incident. For the young and wounded sometimes it's hard to see beyond the obvious. I hope it won't hamper our future relations.
"I know you must have a lot of questions. We pose no threat to you. Give us the benefit of the doubt and soon you will have your answers."
Meanwhile Daniel had his composure back and his revolver put away in its holster. "Your majesty, I'm sure it was just a misunderstanding, that will be easy for us to put behind us."
"That's good to hear, Doctor Jackson, but I'm not the Queen, I'm merely her Consort."
There were a few whispered remarks among the escort and some very unwarriorlike giggles the imposing woman silenced with a simple look.
Samantha Carter found herself strangely drawn towards her and instead of staying back as she usually did in situations like this, waiting for a technical problem to present itself, she now stepped forward and asked.
"How did you know in advance that Colonel O'Neill would act more aggressively than normal?"
"Yeah, how did you know? Or do you think all men are nothing but aggressive?" Jack piped in.
The tall woman gave him a genuine smile that eased his tension. "No, Colonel. Aggressiveness is not genuinely connected to a person's sex. However, one of the side effects of the energy shield protecting Ath the Stargate is to increase the testosterone level in humanoids considerably. It's only temporary but nevertheless not to be disregarded."
"So, the resistance I felt when leaving the wormhole was some sort of iris?" Sam asked, already intrigued by the possible mechanics of something like this.
"It serves the same purpose, yes, Samantha Carter. There soon will be time for you to consult with our scientists. Please forgive my impoliteness; my name is Xena. I'm the Consort to the High Queen of Amazonia. I'll escort you to the guest palace where the Queen is waiting to discuss the terms of your stay on our planet.
"We'll go the long way round to give you a view of our village from above though I suppose you already know what to expect. Tarah, you and your unit can return to the training grounds. Your help no longer is needed; get some sword drills in."
The young blonde to whom she had spoken opened her mouth to say something in protest but then thought better of it, saluted by bringing her right fist to her heart and then answered. "Yes, your highness."
"You speak of scientists and energy shields but our preliminary reports didn't show any kind of advanced technology." Daniel finally said.
"Dealing with the Nox, you should have learned that looks sometimes can be deceiving, Doctor." She answered with a smile, leading them along a broad path through the forest. "The fact that we don't openly display our technology and that most of us prefer to handle our daily life without using it, doesn't mean that we don't have it or that we wouldn't agree to share some of it. I know you have a lot of questions but I'm a warrior not a storyteller. My Queen soon will answer your questions, even the ones you don't know you have. Be patient."
"Are you really an Amazon? I thought they were a myth." Carter said, not ready to miss out on their guide's alluring voice just yet.
"Yes, I am but not by birth as most of us are. I was adopted into the tribe a long time ago, Samantha Carter. There's something I'd like to show you. Are you afraid of heights, Samantha Carter?" The young blond just shook her head. "If you gentlemen would please continue along the path, we'll be back in a few candledrops."
Before O'Neill could call her back, Carter and the strange woman had disappeared. The men stopped dead in their tracks. "Daniel, I want some answers, now! What are these women?" He asked while they did as told.
"Amazons?" Daniel answered and shrugged his shoulder.
"There's a legend among the Jaffa that a nation of women warriors have defied the System Lords for more than two thousand years now. It is said that not even the most skilled among the Jaffa stood a chance against their skills in hand-to-hand combat or with every weapon imaginable. It's said that they are protected by one of the oldest Gao'uld, one whose name is never spoken of, one who is regarded as a traitor. It is also said that the Gao'uld Lord Bastet once trained an army of female Jaffa to finally best these women but that none of them ever returned."
"In Ancient Greece," Daniel continued the lecture, "Amazons were a tribe of fierce woman warriors. It was said that they only interacted with men to kill them or to procreate. They killed the boys and only raised the girls just like in some parts of China and Africa the girls are killed and only the boys are given a chance to grow up." Daniel saw Jack's frown and quickly returned back to his subject. "They supposedly amputated one of their breasts to make it easier to handle the bow; they lived in the forest or on the plains of Russia and Turkey. Legend has it that Hercules and Perseus both defeated them in big battles. There is also a story about Bellerophon, a half-god born to Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt and protector of the Amazons, killing the rest of them. He wanted revenge for his mother not raising him but giving him away."
"All right, already. Are they a threat?"
"I don't think so, Jack. They could have killed us a dozen times over by now. No, I think they genuinely are interested in establishing a relationship with us."
"I agree with Daniel Jackson, O'Neill."
O'Neill's face suddenly became pensive, then he said. "Wait you don't suppose that's why they want us, do you? I mean, you know, the three of us?"
Daniel looked at his friend and suddenly blushed and stammered. "You to mate with? No, no I don't think so."
The Colonel's speculations were no surprise to everyone who knew him more than a couple of candlemarks. "Well, because you know me I'm all for helping people."
Daniel's blush deepened and to save the situation Teal'c asked. "How long is a candledrop supposed to be?"
"It's the equivalent of one minute, Master Teal'c, as a candlemark is the same as an hour. The only difference to your time is that our days have 26 candlemarks." The low voice of their guide answered, standing behind them with a grinning Carter at her side.
"Where the hell have you been, Carter? I didn't authorise any escapades."
"I'm sorry, sir. Xena just took me to the treetops and showed me how to move there. It's much faster than on the ground. It was great, sir." Recognising his facial expression as disapproval, she sighed. "I'm sorry, Colonel O'Neill. It won't happen again."
"Please, also accept my apologies, Colonel. I should have known better and respected the chain of command. Next time, I will ask for your permission first. I'll see to it that I'll be adequately punished for my oversight."
Mollified and slightly puzzled by her words, O'Neill answered. "There's no need to go to such extreme measures, Xena. Apology accepted. So, did you have fun, Carter?"
"Oh, yes, sir. It was like flying. I felt I felt alive, at home, somehow."
Before Carter could drive herself crazy by dwelling on her unfamiliar feelings, they reached the edge of the forest and looked down on a long sloped plain with a small village bustling below. There were about fifty to seventy huts, built of wood and a few bigger ones made of stone. It was a scene out of a high budget Hollywood movie and everyone expected to see an army of villains ride in and destroy the peaceful atmosphere but nothing happened.
"The big building to the right is the communal dining hall and the one on the other side are the council chambers. The third stone building holds a part of our library and the fourth belongs to our healers. The training grounds for the warriors are further down the valley. The same goes for the laboratories and power plants." Xena explained. "We'll follow the path to the right around the village and reach the guest palace in about fifteen to twenty minutes."
For a couple of minutes they walked along in silence. Suddenly O'Neill asked. "Why did you send the escort away? Aren't you afraid that we could take advantage of you?"
She laughed the carefree laugh of a mother whose child just had said something incredibly funny and even more stupid. Carter surprised herself to find it extremely attractive. O'Neill, however, didn't react that favourably to it.
"Perhaps I should show you. Some people only learn by experience."
That only got him another heartfelt laugh. Then she answered. "Colonel, no offence meant, but one of our apprentices threw you with a simple move. Don't you think that the one teaching them should be even better able to handle anything you and your team mates have to offer?"
He took a fighting stance and growled between clenched teeth. "She took me by surprise, the young pup. That's an advantage you will not have."
"I didn't say this to mock you or hurt your pride, Colonel. I know you're a very good fighter and an even better soldier and commander, one leading with his head as well as with his heart. Use your head now; I don't want to fight you."
O'Neill didn't answer at first but then took a calming breath and said. "I apologise, Xena. Must be this hormonal thing you mentioned. Usually my temper is not this volatile."
"There's no need to apologise, Colonel. My words were much too provocative. It is I that once again has to apologise." She said with a bow of her head.
"We spend entirely too much time doing this. Let's get going, time's a-wasting; we're not getting any younger, daylight's burning."
When they rounded the next bend they came in view of a one story stone building. Large blocks had been neatly aligned, a row of marble columns in front, delicately carved. There were no doors at the big entrance to the ceiling-less patio that was dominated by a gnarled, old olive tree with two small, wooden statues in front of it. Five girls came from the side, each of them carrying a brass bowl with steaming water and a towel. "Please wash your hands. The Queen is expecting us."
Xena bowed deep when they passed the olive tree. Carter and Daniel followed suite, even Teal'c slightly moved his head; only O'Neill frowned and had to remind himself that he just wasn't at his best at the moment. They came through a reception hall with an unoccupied throne standing on a dais and then to a much smaller but very cosy room with innumerable cushions scattered on the marble floor.
A woman with golden hair was sitting at a low table, her head resting on one hand and murmuring while rapidly writing. They waited at the door to be acknowledged. O'Neill was getting impatient when finally her eyes left the parchment she had been writing on and green eyes captured Major Carter and the rest of SG-1.
The tall woman entered and bowed deeper than in front of the statues at the tree. Then she lowered herself to her right knee, laid her fist on her heart and said, her eyes half closed.
"My Queen, please, punish me for disrespecting and provoking our guests. I disrespected the chain of command by taking Samantha Carter for a walk through the treetops without asking the permission of her commanding officer and I provoked Colonel Jack O'Neill when he insinuated I would never stand a chance against his fighting skills."
"I suppose you already apologised to the Colonel?"
"Yes, your majesty. I propose an exemplary punishment in front of the whole Nation, my Queen."
"There's no need for a punishment," Carter found herself saying, "Colonel O'Neill accepted the apology. This doesn't have to go any further."
Xena turned her head towards the tall blond already three paces closer to the table. "Thank you for your words, Samantha Carter, but I broke the law and no one stands above the law, no apprentice, no guest and certainly not the Queen's Consort."
"Not even the Queen herself stands above the law, Samantha Carter. This is what makes a society strong and stable. I don't have a choice. Xena, report to me after the evening meal. There will be no public punishment and no mention of it in the records; sometimes you're taking this humble bit really too far. And now back to business.
"Welcome to Gaia, members of SG-1, I am Gabrielle, High Queen of Amazonia. Please have a seat. Would you care for some refreshments?"
At a sign from her Queen the tall warrior quietly left the room and returned shortly after with two girls in tow, carrying heavy platters with fresh fruit and drinks. She then sat down to the right of the blond woman and slightly behind her.
In the debriefing with General Hammond Daniel remarked that compared to other first contact situation the ceremonialism displayed on Gaia had been a puzzling change. It was always as if it came natural to every participant, as natural as walking and eating. Before he began to speculate on the reasons, however, a still slightly edgy Jack brought him back on track.
"I know you all have a lot of questions. I apologise for the side effect our energy field has on most men. It will wear off within the next hour, at the latest. Among other functions, it was designed to identify men and send them back from where they came. We modified it to let you through. General Hammond certainly would have been worried if you all would have gone through the wormhole, only to reappear shortly after but without Samantha Carter. It certainly wouldn't have helped with your trust in us. I hope it wasn't damaged by the irresponsible behaviour of one of my warriors and my Consort."
Though her words obviously had been meant for O'Neill, Doctor Jackson answered. "Rest assured, Queen Gabrielle, that no harm was done. We are all looking forward to get to know you and your people better."
Gabrielle nodded and then turned her attention once again towards O'Neill. "Colonel?"
The Colonel looked into her deep green eyes and finally said. "As he said, Queen Gabrielle. No harm was done, and though it didn't look like it then, it was nothing more than a bit of banter among soldiers." He was slightly surprised by his words and his thoughts.
Though he really had meant what he said a small, the still very aggressive part of his mind relished the thought that the imposing warrior so thoroughly deferred to the visibly smaller and younger woman. Before his mind could come up with all sorts of incongruous images, he changed topic.
"You know a lot about us. How?"
"We keep an eye on your world ever since the Europeans began to unearth Egyptian History about two centuries ago. Even before we regularly checked on the old earth, our former home. When Professor Langford found the Stargate in 1927, we established a continuous surveillance of Earth's activities. Let me tell you a story to make you understand. I will not start with the beginning because it would take far too long and isn't intended for the ears of strangers. No offence meant."
"And none taken." Carter heard herself answer.
Gabrielle smiled at the blonde who looked slightly embarrassed by her words.
"The Amazon Nation once had been proud and strong, numbering in the thousands but when the Roman Empire was at the peak of its glory and its expansion, all that was left were about a dozen villages scattered all over what now is know as Greece, Turkey, and Persia. After the death of Gaius Julius Caesar, a new Queen convinced the different villages and tribes to join forces and leave this world dominated by men who were afraid of strong, independent women.
"The Queen and her Consort knew about the secret of the stone ring Queen Cleopatra had successfully hidden from Roman greed. Thanks to the Goddesses Artemis and Athena they also knew where to go. That's how the last survivors of the Amazon Nation left the old Earth to find a new home on this planet, on Gaia.
"When they stepped through Athena's Ring, the Stargate, they were greeted by a Nation of woman warriors already living there, some of them for more than 70 generations. They already had reached a technical level very similar to the one you have now; so the newcomers had a lot to learn and some of them even fell prey to the new ease of life.
"On Gaia they then had the same problems you have now: different tribes or countries fighting each other, either openly or from behind; their environment polluted to the point that some of them had begun to search for a new planet to live; attacks from the Gao'uld Though at the beginning the newcomers didn't have the knowledge their sisters had, they had sharp minds and were quick learners.
"And they had something the others had lost: a sense of community, of belonging together. They had traditions to rely on the others long since had forgotten and they had the security of knowing that their goddesses never would enslave or forsake them. They had been the missing link, and together, newcomers and natives, changed the fate of this world.
"The System Lords tried to defeat them but their Jaffa were sent back through the gate without ever setting foot on Gaia. They sent ships but their weapons couldn't breach the shield protecting our atmosphere. One day, more than thousand years ago, Bastet and Toth sent an army of female Jaffa. As they had hoped they were not rejected by the energy shield but their weapons had been disabled and all of them finally decided to stay and start a new life free from slavery."
Teal'c and Carter looked at each other and slightly shook their heads. A gesture not unnoticed by the Queen. "There aren't any Gao'uld larvae on this planet, Samantha Carter, except for the one Teal'c carries.
"With the help of Artemis and Athena they were able to create an antitoxin and undo the genetic changes the Gao'uld made. It took about two years for the body to adjust to the changes but not one of our former enemies died during the transformation. Meanwhile we improved the process, just like we also always improve and update our defensive systems. Now, it only takes half a year. We're willing to give it to you if you want it, Teal'c, but you have to know that you will lose some of your strength. Though you still would be stronger than the strongest human, it would from now on be much more difficult for your body to heal."
"Thank you, Queen Gabrielle, I will think about it."
"Why are you doing this?" O'Neill finally asked. "You obviously are technically a lot more advanced than we are. You don't need us. Why do you freely offer what everyone else is denying?"
"I know it's hard to believe, Colonel, but we are neither the Tolans nor the Nox. You are right, in terms of technical knowledge we don't need you but Earth once was our home, we never forgot about it and we tried to help whenever we had a chance without your rulers ever being the wiser.
"When it became too dangerous to use Athena's gate in Egypt we built another one under the surface of the moon, from there we use some transport device to reach Earth. It's also used to monitor your development. And no, we won't teach you how to do it. When Athena died about three hundred years ago we promised her that we always would keep the secrets of her people."
"So Athena wasn't Gao'uld, she was an Ancient." Carter stated flatly.
"Yes, Samantha Carter. She was an Ancient, one of the few that chose not to rise to a new plane of existence, and she was the host of Artemis. They were a lot like the Gao'uld who call themselves Tok'ra but that's all I'm allowed to say in this context."
"She had eyes as green as yours, Queen Gabrielle, and with her long black hair and high cheekbones she looked a lot like you do, Xena." Carter said, her eyes pleading with Xena and her voice barely above a whisper.
"Yes, she did, Samantha Carter. Please be patient, now is not the time nor the place. There are some questions we can answer and some questions we will not. I know patience isn't one of your skills; I don't have much of it either. But don't forget, even the Queen doesn't stand above the laws." Xena smiled at her and got a smile back.
"There must be something you want from us." O'Neill insisted, "And you know far too much about us. How? Spying on us from the moon just doesn't do it. We're supposed to be a top secret facility, fer crying out loud."
"Top secret is a relative term, Colonel. We have our ways, and as soon as we get to know each other better, we will tell you. But you're right. We want something." Gabrielle answered. "As I said, Earth once was our home; our roots are there and always will be. We don't want to see it destroyed by the Gao'uld and we want to give our young warriors the chance to get a feeling for the home of their ancestors. We always found a way to live among you but with the help of the SGC it would be much easier."
"That's all?" Jackson asked incredulously.
"Our young ones can be a handful. It's not that easy to keep them in line, especially when they want to explore. We want them to learn more about Earth and in return we offer you the chance to learn more about us, about our life, our history, our healing, and some of our technology, the part we can freely give without breaking any promises."
"Why didn't you make contact earlier?"
"We had to wait until you were ready to learn, Colonel. Fifty or even twenty years ago your leaders never would have accepted help offered by a Nation of strong women. Even now a few of the council members think that it's too early, that we never should have allowed this contact but we think that they are wrong and that soon you will need all the help you can get." Gabrielle said gently.
"Where's the catch?" The colonel insisted.
"As I said we are a Nation of women. Not all of them were born here, some of them we brought back from visits to other planets.
"Aria, the leader of your escort came from a culture very similar to the Chavadai before Samantha Carter changed their ways, only much worse. All her life men abused her in every way imaginable and she is just now beginning to go on with her life. And she is far from being the only one. For us to teach you, you will have to live with us, share our lives."
"You want a team consisting of women only? That should not be a problem," Carter answered, "once we convince General Hammond."
"Would we be allowed to visit, to check up on the team?"
"Of course, Colonel. We only ask you to return to your own world in the evening."
"Then it's settled. I don't see any problems getting the General's approval. We will have a team for you by tomorrow morning. I'll go back to the Stargate and tell him. Perhaps one of these days I can tempt you to a friendly sparring match, Xena?"
"It would be my honour, Colonel. There's one more thing." Xena saw his shoulders tensing, but this was important. "There probably will be more than one group coming subsequently to our world. We'd like to have Major Samantha Carter and Major Janet Fraiser on the first team."
"Why?" Daniel asked, his curiosity reflected by Teal'c raising his left eyebrow slightly.
"They are friends and still make a good team. That's a rare feat. We know of their brilliance and their inherent goodness. They could be good role models for their colleagues and our young warriors. Besides, I think your second in command can't wait to once again go tree climbing with my Consort." She answered with a wink that made Carter blush slightly.
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