As he steps thru the gate the first thing Jack notices is the frigid wind whipping around him. He scans the horizon, or at least what he can see of it in the blowing snow.
"It looks clear," he says to Sam as she steps thru behind him.
"And how far can you see exactly sir?" she asks.
He turns toward her, "Okay Carter, the next five feet or so are clear. Better?"
"I can't believe the MALP didn't pick up on the incoming storm," Daniel says, as he and Teal'c join them at the base of the stargate.
Jack frowns slightly, "Yeah; well Carter, if you bump into that damn thing somewhere around here check and make sure that it is working."
"Yes sir," she says as she pops her jacket collar up to cover her neck a little more. Teal'c looks around at the swirling snow.
"O'Neill, I do not believe we should remain long on this planet, as we are ill prepared for…this," he says moving his staff weapon in the snow at his feet.
"I agree with Teal'c, Jack. There is no telling how long this will last and I, for one, don't like the idea of freezing to death today," Daniel says, shaking a pile of snow off of his coat.
"Well…" Jack stops short as the snow begins to thin out. He looks up just in time to watch the clouds vanish from the sky, taking the snow with them. Then a moment later the wind stops and the sun begins shining.
"That puts a whole new spin on 'if you don't like the weather'…" Jack looks back at Daniel, "Now, you were saying?"
"You know Colonel, that may very well be the reason the MALP didn't warn us about the storm," Sam says moving away from the gate to get a better look at the sky, that is now the most brilliant blue. As Jack looks around them he can see the snow rapidly melting.
"And that is what worries me." He looks at Daniel, "I know you want to look around but don't wander too far for now. Carter, find the MALP. I want to send it back now along with a message for Hammond letting him know that we may have to make a quick exit stage left if this place has another climate change."
Jack watches her as she begins looking thru the nearby piles of melting snow for the MALP. Somewhere behind him he can hear Daniel and Teal'c talking, their voices fading as they get farther away. He looks around at the landscape. He can now see that the stargate seems to be in a valley that is surrounded with towering peaks on every side. Jack turns to look in the direction that Daniel decided to go, and he sees in the distance there seems to be a small building nestled at the foot of a large hill that looks like it is the start of a forest.
His radio crackles to life with Daniel's voice, "Jack, I found signs of life. I think we need to stick around for a while and see if we can find anyone."
"Give us a few minutes to take care of the MALP then Carter and I will join you." Jack turns to Sam, who has been digging the MALP out of the snow. "Need some help there Carter?"
"No, I've got it loose. Let's get it closer to the gate."
Within a few minutes the MALP is back thru the gate with the message and Jack and Sam are on their way to join the others. As they walk Sam notices that the snow is nearly all gone, leaving only a few small puddles of water scattered across the ground.
"I don't think I have ever seen something this remarkable," She says.
Jack looks at her, "Remarkable? Snow? Clearly you have never spent time in Minnesota in the winter."
"Not just the snow, Sir. But how one minute it was here and the next minute it barely looks like the ground is even wet. Like someone flipped a switch."
"Yeah and that's what worries me."
Jack stops walking and grabs his radio, "Daniel,.."
There is no response.
"Oh, Danny boy?"
The radio crackles, "Ya Jack?"
"Where the hell is this 'sign of life' you supposedly saw?"
"Well Jack, she is sitting in front of me?"
"That would help me a lot more if I knew where 'in front of you' is. And what do you mean 'she'?"
"I can't really explain that…"
"Daniel, so help me God…"
"She is a small girl."
"Human?" Sam asks.
"Kinda looks that way, but then again…"
Jack sighs, "Okay, where are you?"
"Can you see the small temple at the foot of the hill?"
"Yeah I see it."
"Well we are inside it."
"Okay we should be there soon. And Daniel?"
"No more wandering off."
As they resume walking Sam looks at Jack.
"So what do you think?"
"Well I don't think a child would be here alone. And if she is there may be something else going on. When we get there I want you to stay near the exit and keep an eye out for anything out of place."
"Right," She says, as they pick up their pace.
As they near the temple the sky begins to darken with clouds. Jack shoots a concerned look at Sam.
"The sooner we can find Daniel the sooner we can get out of here," he says.
Sam nods in agreement as they step into the temple. She stops by the door and puts her gun at the low ready as she prepares to stand guard. Jack walks cautiously down the hallway into an open room. He sees Daniel and Teal'c standing at the far end of the room at the base of what appears to be a throne. On the throne there is a small dark haired girl, who looks to be no more than ten years old, wrapped in a bright orange and red robe. Jack approaches them slowly.
Daniel turns to face him, "Jack, I can't find anyone else here."
"You can't take her home. Hammond said no more pets."
"But Jack she is all alone. I can't just leave her here."
"Oh yes you can. I said so. Now let's get going. The weather looks like it's changing again and I don't want to be stuck here in the middle of another freak storm."
"You are Jack O'Neill."
Jack and Daniel stop talking and look at the small girl, who is now standing.
"That's right. And who are you?"
She walks toward him with a gracious sway that makes her look much older.
"I am Ash'ka, queen of the Anocha."
"Well Ash'ka, it's nice to meet you. Where is your family?"
"They are gone. I am the last."
Daniel turns to Jack, "We cannot leave her alone here."
Jack looks briefly at Daniel, then back to the girl, "So how did you end up here?"
"I came here thru the Kakna to wait for you."
Daniel adjusts his glasses, "Kakna? Is that the stargate? It's…it's like a big circle, like a, like a ring."
She looks carefully at him for a moment, "Yes."
"What exactly do you mean 'to wait for us'?" Jack asks.
But before she can answer Sam enters the room.
"Colonel, you are going to want to come see this," She says quickly.
He follows her to the door. As they step outside there is a loud earth shaking rumble. They turn to find the source of the noise. The mountain that lies far beyond the temple begins to erupt, spewing a dark cloud of ash into the air. Jack looks at his team.
"Okay no more talking. Teal'c, can you carry Ash'ka?"
Teal'c bows his head slightly, "Indeed, O'Neill."
As Teal'c scoops her up Jack turns to Sam.
"Carter you take point. I'll bring up the rear. Okay people let's move."
The ash is just beginning to descend from the sky as they take off for the gate. Teal'c holds the girl close as they break into a run. She pulls part of her robe over her face as the ash starts falling thick around them. Within minutes they reach the gate and Daniel begins dialing home while Sam gets ready to send the code. As soon as the wormhole stabilizes the team goes thru.
On the other side Hammond is waiting with Dr. Frasier and her medical team. Sam collapses on the ramp as the medics rush forward to check them all for injuries.
"Colonel, what the hell happened?" Hammond asks.
But before Jack can answer Frasier speaks up, "General, you can discuss all of this in the briefing but I want to get them all to the infirmary now so we can make sure they are all in one piece."
As she finishes talking Teal'c kneels to the floor, setting Ash'ka on her feet. As she stands up her ash covered robe falls away from her face.
"And just who the hell are you?" he demands.
She raises her chin defiantly and looks him in the eyes.
"I am Ash'ka, queen of the Anocha."
Jack moves to stand beside her and puts his hand on her shoulder.
"We found her in a temple. She was the only person on that planet as far as we could tell. I couldn't leave her there once the eruption started, Sir."
"Eruption?" Hammond looks at the team closely. "Well that explains the ash," he pauses. "Major Carter, I would like you to keep an eye on her until we can decide what to do with her."
Sam nods, "Yes, Sir."