General Hammond surveyed the members of SG-1 from the head of the conference table. "You're three hours past schedule, and we've received no transmissions from you in the last two days. Does someone want to tell me what happened out there?"
Jack spoke up first. "See, General, it's kind of hard to put into words."
"Try, Colonel," Hammond said.
"Sir," broke in Sam, "Our initial contact with the aliens showed them to be a little…different from what we were expecting." She stopped, and looked imploringly at the others when Hammond gestured for her continue.
Daniel said impatiently, "They're a very highly evolved species---"
"Daniel," said Jack. "They were bugs."
Daniel gave a half shrug and turned back to Hammond. "A very highly evolved species of…bug."
"Hold on." The general held up his hand. "The images the MALP transmitted showed signs of structures and buildings similar to what we have here on Earth."
Daniel was nodding. "Yes, but they were actually ruins." He gestured vaguely to his notebook. "They probably have been for centuries."
"Sir," said Sam, "what Daniel's trying to tell you is that we found signs that there may have been human civilization in that area at one time."
"And now the area is inhabited by…?"
"Giant bugs," said Jack.
"Were you able to communicate?"
"Not exactly," Jack said, giving Daniel a meaningful look.
"Um." Daniel blinked. "They actually have a very sophisticated language system. But we, uh, had some difficulty with communication."
"Apparently we're missing a few necessary appendages," added Jack.
"They communicate through a series of…clicking sounds, created by rubbing their front pincers together." Daniel demonstrated with his forearms.
"Uh-huh," General Hammond said skeptically. He turned back to the rest of the team. "Was there any sign of Goa'uld presence, currently or in the past?" He glanced at Teal'c.
Teal'c looked back steadily. "There was none that I observed."
"No, sir," said Sam. "Their technology was farily primitive. No Goa'uld influence."
"None in the writings I translated from the ruins, either," said Daniel. He leaned forward on the table. "I think they died out from some kind of plague. There were references to both 'death' and a word that, with a Persian root, translates into something approximating 'sickness,' though its Latin form would be closer to 'orange.'"
"Orange." Jack gave Daniel a look. "Orange death?"
Daniel shrugged, and General Hammond turned his attention back to Sam. "Major Carter, exactly what kind of bug were they?"
Sam cleared her throat. "I think the closest comparison would be the potato bug."
"The potato bug."
"Yes, but several times larger, of course." She added, "The smallest of them was twice the size of me."
"Like I said, giant bugs," said Jack.
"So was there any conflict with this species? I still don't understand why you failed to return on schedule."
"Oh, no," drawled Jack. "Once they figured our boy Daniel here didn't have a clue how to speak to them, they left us alone. Pretty much."
"Sir," said Sam, "I'm afraid they saw us rather as…pets."
"Yes," she said.
"I did not enjoy the experience," said Teal'c.
Daniel cleared his throat. "From their perspective, we were inferior beings. Which," he added, "makes a certain amount of sense."
Jack gave him a look. "In bizarro world, maybe."
"Sir." Sam leaned forward on the table. "We were able to convince them finally that we were sentient beings." She nodded to Daniel. "Daniel devised a form of sign language so that we could communicate."
"It was a most unpleasant experience," said Teal'c to no one in particular. There was a momentary silence.
"Er," said Jack. "General, what Teal'c's trying to say is that the bugs were particularly fond of him."
The general sighed. "Is this something that should be included in your mission report?"
"I think we could probably skip it," Jack said.
"So you communicated with the…potato bugs, and were able to then escape."
"Something like that. Carter had to pull a little diversion--" Jack stopped. "That, uh, could probably also be skipped."