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Ren Au stood to her feet when Casey knocked on the door to the VIP room where she was resting. "Please, come in."
Casey entered the room, Daniel at her side. "Daniel tells me there's something you'd like me to do," she said softly.
The dark eyes of the Tok'ra went to Daniel. "I was under the impression that you would be...unavailable...to assist us."
Her green eyes flickered to her husbands face, then focused on the visitor. "Daniel didn't understand that I was already aware of how...important...this is."
"I don't like it, and I don't want Casey doing the search," Daniel said quietly. "But she's free to do whatever she feels is right. If she does a search, I'll be there for her, whether I approve or not."
Ren Au nodded her understanding of his presence. She didn't know how the Tau'ri could possibly assist the seer, but then, she knew very little about those with the gift of sight, and not much more about the Tau'ri themselves.
"Tell me about him," Casey said, sitting down on one of the upholstered chairs beside the table. Watched Ren Au settle onto the bed.
"He is a very loyal Tok'ra. Warren has been one of our most successful agents for many years. He has been the confidant of nearly a dozen Goa'uld. He was present when SG-1 killed Hathor, although he had been unable to make contact with the other agent who worked for her. He is now serving Thoth. That particular Goa'uld was serving Anubis. We believe it was Thoth who helped create those Super Warriors."
Casey nodded. "Do you know where he was?"
"On a small planet known as Diona."
Another nod. She looked up at her husband.
"C'mere, Angel," Daniel said softly, sitting down in the other chair.
With no explanation to the woman who observed them, Casey stood up, then settled into his lap. She wrapped her fingers around his free hand.
"Be careful," he admonished in a whisper.
"Always," she replied. Then closed her eyes.
Ren Au watched, fascinated. She was quite certain that the only reason that Casey Jackson was sitting in her husband's lap was simply because she could. She would soon understand that it was far more than just love that had her in his arms.
She looked around. They were standing in a very small room. "So where are we?"
Casey shivered. "Whoever was following me before is still out there."
"I'm afraid so."
Well, wasn't that just grand! Something in the old seer's eyes told her that she was on her own when it came to this mysterious...invisible...stalker. She would just have to deal with it the best she could. Jack, Sam, and Teal'c had taught her how to defend herself. She could only hope that the knowledge would be useful...here.
"Now, what are you up to?"
"I need to find someone," Casey replied.
"It's important. I'm looking for a Tok'ra agent. He could be in great danger."
"Then look, Casey."
She closed her eyes. Concentrated on the name...the feeling of desperation that surrounded the 'image' of the man. She was becoming accustomed to the sensation of 'rushing' through space, past stars and planets and moons and nebulae...she'd have to stop sometime, and just look. But for now...
There was a sizable city on the planet, no doubt Thoth's home city. She gave a cursory look around...could see three large temples. What an ego this Goa'uld has, she thought irritably. Pretty damned big for someone who had bowed knee to Anubis!
On the far side of the city were low hills. It was toward these hills that she was drawn. Stopped near a thick copse of trees. After the last mission, having to fight through undergrowth wasn't on her list of favorite things to do, even though she would move with more ease on this plane.
It took a few seconds to realize that the trees were growing against a rocky hillside. Several of the more hearty variety were actually growing from between the boulders on the side of the cliff. And hiding the small opening to a cave. She moved slowly, taking in every detail she could.
The sound of a twig snapping behind her brought her to an instant halt. She dropped to her knees, slid back against the trunk of the nearest tree. Carefully looked around. Nearly gasped out loud when she saw a shadow moving among the trees...where she had been but a few moments ago. Her stalker, no doubt. Who the hell was this...person...and what did he...or she...want?
Another glance at the opening to that cave. She had no idea if her stalker could cause harm on the corporeal plane, and she wasn't about to risk a man's life to find out. She searched the ground for a rock, small enough to throw, large enough to make an impact. Smiled when she found two nice sized stones. The first she heaved into the woods directly behind the shadow. Watched as it turned, moved toward the sound.
Not so bright, are you, cupcake? she thought. Waited for a clear shot...hoped her aim would stay true...and hurled the second stone with every ounce of strength she could muster. She hit the shadow, and from the howl of pain, she had left a nice sized welt. "Hope it's an ugly purple bruise in the morning, asshole," she hissed.
Daniel rolled his eyes. It figured. She was alone...wherever she was, and she was in trouble. Her body had tensed several times, now she was nearly rigid in his arms. "Casey, get out of there," he whispered in her hear.
Ren Au continued to watch. "What is happening?"
He looked at the Tok'ra. "She's in some sort of trouble."
"How do you know this?"
"I don't understand," Ren Au said.
"Trust me, she's fighting," Daniel ground out, tightening his grip on his Wife, as if holding her closer to his own body would protect her from whatever...or whoever she was facing.
The Tok'ra scientist was fascinated. What she was observing shouldn't even be possible, yet, without a doubt the young woman ensconced in Dr. Jackson's arms was...somewhere... other that this room in the SGC.
"Just a few more minutes, Daniel," she whispered firmly. She had moved as quickly and quietly as possible toward the cave opening. The shadow moved toward the place where she had been kneeling. While her pursuer was preoccupied, she slipped into the cave. It wasn't large, about the size of a small room. In the corner, unconscious, was the Tok'ra operative. He had been wounded, she could see the blood seeping through the clothes he was wearing. There was very little time to save this man.
"Daniel? He's in a cave, a very small cave, to the north of the city. There's a thick forest right up against the hills. Where the trees are the tallest, the undergrowth the thickest, that's where he chose to hide. Getting to the opening won't be easy. He's in pretty bad shape." She wished there was something she could do to help the man, to ease his pain. But there wasn't, and she still had to get out of the cave and back to safety.
Once Daniel had acknowledged her 'report', she crept toward the cave opening. If The Shadow was smart, he would know where she was. Which meant that he could come in and confront her in the cave...or simply wait until she left. Tossing rocks wouldn't work a second time, she was certain of that.
When she had been in school, she had loved running. She'd wanted to go out for track, but hadn't been allowed to do so. She still managed to find places and times to run. It had been awhile since she had done any real running. She took a few deep breaths, unaware that as she did so, Daniel became even more worried.
Surprise was the only weapon she had at the moment. It would have to do. After marking a path with her eyes, she took another deep breath. Burst out of the cave in an abrupt eruption of movement. Felt her shoulder impact with something...or someone. She had enough time to register the incident, and shove with all of her might. Moving with as much speed as she possibly could, she headed for her 'insertion point'.
She could feel him behind her. Felt him closing in. She could see the shimmering spot where she had 'arrived', and dove for it, head first.
Casey was breathing hard, whatever she was doing, it was physically strenuous. Daniel smoothed the hair from her face. "You can do it, Case. You can make it," he whispered.
Miss Eloise was pacing nervously when the young seer reappeared. "Did you find what you needed?"
She nodded, breathing heavily. "Saw The Shadow, he damned near caught me," she replied.
"Casey, you must be very careful when you're on this plane," Miss Eloise said. "And always remember, dreams are not real. No matter how much they may seem to be."
"Something is wrong, isn't it?" Casey asked intuitively.
"Yes, Sunshine, it is. There's a force...Beings from another plane of existence...that began to stir when Daniel became The One."
"I don't like the sound of this," Casey warned petulantly.
"There are those who would like nothing better than to see The One unable to fulfill his Destiny."
"And I'm the easy target," Casey said. "We've talked about this before."
The old seer shook her head. "You're a threat to them, even on your own, because your gift continues to grow, to strengthen."
"And the stronger I am, the better able I'll be to protect The One."
"So the theory goes."
She shook her head. "Right now, I'm tired. I'll deal with this the next time I meditate."
Miss Eloise nodded. "Just don't think that things will get easier. You escaped this time. You may not be so lucky the next time."
"What happens if I'm caught?"
"I don't know, Sunshine, I don't know," the old woman answered worriedly.
Casey opened her eyes. "I don't think he's going to live much longer, and getting to him is going to be a nightmare."
Ren Au nodded her understanding. "We will do as much as we can."
"Thoth won't find him before he dies. He won't be able to betray you," the young seer said softly. "He almost died protecting your secrets. He managed to escape, before they could break him."
The Tok'ra started. The main concern of the council had been the fact that the agent might have been compromised. "I would prefer to find him before he is lost to us."
"Who, the symbiote, or the host?" Daniel asked curtly, the words out before he could stop them. What was it about the Tok'ra that seemed to bring out the worst in him lately? Probably just his anger at them for what he and Casey had been through because of them, whether directly or indirectly.
"Both." Ren Au stood to her feet. "In light of the circumstances, I must return to our base immediately, so that a rescue effort might be undertaken."
Casey stood up, Daniel rose to his feet behind her. "Good luck," she said.
"Without your help, Warren most certainly would have died alone. There is now hope that we can bring him safely home." With a nod of her head, the Tok'ra hurried out of the room.
Daniel looked down at his wife. Knew that something had happened. And was pretty sure she wasn't going to want to talk about it. "So what happened?"
"You were breathing hard...you were running...or fighting."
She avoided his gaze. "Running. Just wanted to get back," she said vaguely.
He sighed. "Right."
There was no way she could...or would...tell Daniel that she was being stalked on the astral plane. Because if she did, he'd never let her do another search. And that little voice told her she had to defeat this unseen enemy, in order to protect him.
A A A A A A
Sarah watched the activity around her wistfully. Ren Au had left a message for her...for Karinda, actually. She understood the reasoning. It didn't make the request sting any less. While SG-1 were guests, she was persona non grata. Osiris needed to be visible and actively re-establishing himself as an independent System Lord, Karinda reminded her. Not attending the Award Ceremony and the following reception was actually a good thing, the symbiote insisted. The young woman sighed sadly. Daniel was as lost to her now as he had been when he'd left Chicago so suddenly eight years ago.
She closed her eyes. Could feel the cool breeze that wafted through the open window, played over their naked bodies as they lay on the bed in Osiris' palace...
..."You're cold," he said, his eyes full of laughter.
"What makes you think so?"
He lowered his head, flicked his tongue over her hard nipple. "That."
"How do you know it's because I'm cold?" she asked coyly.
His response was to begin kissing her, his fingers toying with her nipples, moving over the curves of her breasts...
'Stop it!' Karinda snapped.
'I'm sorry,' Sarah replied contritely.
The symbiote sighed deeply, which was felt rather than heard by her host. 'Sarah, you're stronger than this! You lived for years without even knowing where Doctor Jackson was. You managed to have a very happy and productive life.'
'Until I was taken hostage by Osiris!'
Karinda felt the surge of anger...of emotional pain. Soothed both as best she could. 'Osiris tormented you with him often, didn't he?' she asked gently.
'Almost daily toward the end,' the young woman admitted. 'He didn't plan on taking Daniel from Yu's ship. Not until he had...when he did what he did...making those slaves...and the look of hatred in Daniel's eyes...just before he...that's when he decided that he was going to capture Daniel. That he was going to take him as host.'
'Why didn't he do so as soon as you were on that shuttle?' Karinda asked.
'Because there was no physician available to tend to me. He wanted to take Daniel's body. Just because I wasn't his host didn't mean I would have been free of him.'
The Tok'ra frowned...at least, the mental image of the woman frowned. It was very rare for a symbiote to fall in love with his...or her...host. Even when a symbiote 'identified' itself as one gender or the other, taking up residence in a body of the opposite sex was not particularly unusual, nor difficult to adjust to. She'd had both male and female hosts throughout her life, even though she considered herself to be female. 'I wish to do some research,' Karinda said, almost absently, taking control and maneuvering Sarah's body toward the room where the records of the Tok'ra...and the Goa'uld...were kept.
'What are you looking for?'
'I'm not sure.' Karinda didn't like lying to her host. The young woman had been relieved to wake up from the blending to find that she wasn't alone; that emotion had been pure and strong and unfiltered. Sarah had opened herself almost immediately to her new symbiote. Another very rare behavior. At the time the Tok'ra had been certain it was because of what the woman had experienced...she was already familiar with 'sharing' her mind and body. Karinda didn't like where her thoughts were headed. Sarah had proven to be invaluable as a source of information about Osiris, and had been instrumental in helping Karinda assume his identity. But if she was right...that could change at any time...and probably sooner than later.
'Karinda, what's wrong?'
'Nothing is wrong, my dear. I'm just curious to know if Osiris is the only symbiote to fall in love with his host. I believe his time in the canopic jar may have affected him in ways that were...unexpected. Such information could be useful in the future.' Hoped desperately that her host wouldn't realize that her deception had been uncovered.
Sarah frowned. Being the host to a Tok'ra, who believed in total cooperation between host and symbiote, and pretending to be Osiris, was all that she could have dreamed. She was still the mighty Osiris. Only this time she was able to control her body when she wanted to do so. She made as many of the decisions as Osiris as Karinda did. With luck, 'Osiris' would become the most powerful System Lord in the galaxy...only she would be the one in control. Her time with the real Osiris had taught her much. How there were ways to control the symbiote, if one was very careful. Osiris had never fully recovered from his time in the canopic jar. The poison that had been introduced into his system had seen to that. When he was...ill...he was very easy to control. She was even able to convince him that the ideas were his own. It hadn't happened often. Sarah had influenced his thoughts, flooded him with her memories of Daniel, her love for him. Convinced Osiris that Daniel Jackson would be the perfect host. Anything to make certain that the Goa'uld did whatever he could...whatever he had to do...in order to capture the archaeologist of SG-1.
Karinda remained still and silent. She too, had learned over the years. She hated 'listening in'. But had learned early with Sarah that it was necessary. As often as the young woman opened herself, she was also quite adept at hiding. Not an uncommon thing for a human who had been a Goa'uld host. It was the whispers when she was so hidden that concerned Karinda. Had she not already been suspicious, those 'thoughts' would have alerted her to the fact that something was amiss. Her host seemed to be unaware of the difference between a healthy symbiote, and one weakened in some way, one able to be manipulated. With luck, Sarah would remain unaware until she had gathered all of the information and evidence she needed.
This was not the first time Karinda had shared a body with a traitor. It was the reason she had been chosen to blend with this particular Tau'ri. There had been concern about how much the Goa'uld had influenced the mind of the woman...one who had known nothing about Goa'uld until the very moment she had been infested by one. Karinda had a reputation for being able to expose the host as a traitor, before the host was even aware that she suspected. The Tok'ra dealt harshly with miscreants. She would be safely removed from the host before...punishment...began. When...and if...she was re-introduced to the host, she would be able to tell in an instant if the...discipline...had had the desired effect. If not, the human was executed. If Sarah could be turned from the destructive path she had set herself upon, Karinda was willing to remain with the young woman. If not...then the search for a new host would begin again. The most worrisome thought that filled Karinda's mind was that Osiris had affected the human female, imprinting on her so quickly after blending, that the personality who had been Sarah Gardner was now a twisted...dangerous...combination of the arrogant Goa'uld, and the headstrong, determined young woman. And the young human might be totally ignorant of that fact.
A A A A A A
SG-1 stood at the bottom of the ramp. Sam and Jack were wearing their dress blues. Teal'c and Daniel were both wearing black suits; Teal'c had chosen a fire engine red shirt and a black and red bolo tie, Daniel was wearing a deep blue shirt and a red, blue and black striped tie. Casey was wearing a green silk sweater dress that stopped just above her knees, the soft material hugging every curve.
General Hammond approached, General Carter, who had arrived earlier in the day to escort the premier team, at his side. "SG-1, congratulations on being awarded the Tok'ra Medal of Valor. I wish I could be there for the ceremony, but seven other teams are out right now."
"We understand, sir," Jack replied.
"You have permission to stay as long as necessary."
"Should be home in time for dinner, sir," was the easy reply.
The two generals exchanged a glance. "Remember, you represent the SGC, and Earth," General Hammond admonished, his gaze locked on his second-in-command.
"Enjoy yourselves, SG-1. You've earned it."
Walking up the metal ramp in heels proved to be a challenge. Casey squealed with surprise, then giggled, when Daniel scooped her into his arms after the third time the thin heel had slid between the holes in the grating.
Jacob Carter smiled. He couldn't wait to see their faces when they found out what was going to happen...after the reception.
It seemed that every Tok'ra on the base was waiting to greet them. Several eyebrows raised questioningly at the sight of Dr. Jackson carrying his wife.
"Um...her shoes got stuck in the ramp," the young archaeologist muttered, his cheeks reddening slightly as he put Casey on her feet.
Ren Au smiled indulgently. Just as Casey had done with Jacob Carter and Selmak, the young Tau'ri had charmed her. "You look lovely, Mrs. Jackson."
Casey blushed. "Thank you."
"I greet you in the name of all Tok'ra, and bid you welcome to this place which we call our own," the leader intoned solemnly. She spread her arms wide. "We open our arms and our hearts to those who have served so well. Welcome to you, Blessed Heroes of the Tok'ra."
Every Tok'ra in the large cavern room stood with arms outstretched. "Welcome, Blessed Heroes," rang out.
Five faces registered their surprise. Jacob/Selmak stepped forward. "We are a people without a home, rebels who must move constantly to avoid detection, to prevent our capture at the hands of our enemy, the Goa'uld. Our lives are hard, our pleasures few as we battle each day. Ceremonies, pomp and circumstance, celebrations have given way to the daily struggle to find sufficient resources with which to live," Selmak intoned
Daniel listened quietly, understanding for the first time that these people were the Resistance. Their cause more important to them than their own lives. The Tok'ra treated SG-1, and any other SG team who worked with them, no differently than they treated their own people. Demanded from the Tau'ri no more than what they expected from their own operatives.
Casey glanced at the faces of her teammates. Recognized the signs of sudden understanding. It wouldn't make it any easier to deal with, when the Tok'ra dealt with their Tau'ri allies in such an off-hand manner. But the understanding would be there.
"There are times, however, when it is important to stop, and examine what we have accomplished, to allow ourselves to celebrate our victories. And so we do so today, acknowledging that without the help of the Tau'ri, who stand against the Goa'uld as our allies, many of the victories we have shared would never have occurred," Selmak continued.
Ren Au stood beside Jacob. "This day we have chosen to honor five individuals without whom the defeat of our mortal enemy, Ra, and the Goa'uld System Lords Apophis, Hathor, Seth, Sokar, Belus, Osiris, and Anubis would not have occurred. Countless villages and towns have been freed from Goa'uld tyranny, the human inhabitants free for the first time in centuries, because of the determination of these warriors." She turned to face SG-1. "In the name of all Tok'ra, those who stand here today, those who battle throughout the galaxy this day, and those who have died in the war against the Goa'uld, I declare that Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Daniel Jackson, and Mrs. Casey Jackson of the Tau'ri, and Teal'c of Chulak, be awarded the Tok'ra Medal of Valor."
Five Tok'ra stepped forward, each holding a small, wooden box. The top of each box was lifted, revealing a beautiful silver star, a three-dimensional representation that seemed to shimmer from within. Thin blue and silver ribbons were attached to each star, allowing the symbol to be worn around the neck.
The five SG-1 team members stood silently as the ribbons were tied. When the Tok'ra had stepped back, all eyes went to Colonel O'Neill. It was obvious they were waiting for him to say something.
Jack glanced around nervously. No one had mentioned he was supposed to make a speech, for crying out loud! "Um...thanks. These are..." he pulled the Silver Star up so that he could look at it. "These are darned pretty! Thanks!"
Daniel grinned, and shook his head. "We appreciate this gesture, and we're honored to accept such a prestigious award from our allies, the Tok'ra."
"What he said," Jack nodded.
"Our efforts both separately and in joint missions have let the Goa'uld know that we won't be defeated, that we will die before we allow them to subjugate us," Daniel continued. "Thank you for the most distinguished honor of being the first Tau'ri to ever be awarded the Tok'ra Medal of Valor."
Patting the back of one hand on the palm of the other, the Tok'ra began to applaud. Jacob grinned broadly. "It's been a long time since we've had anything to celebrate. There is food and drink available, let us eat and drink, and speak of our victories," Selmak said.
Ren Au and Jacob led the way. When no one else moved, Daniel stepped away from the Stargate, understanding that the guests of honor were expected to follow the Tok'ra Council members, and lead the rest of the Tok'ra to the reception. The team fell in behind him, and then the others closed in behind them.
The room had been created with crystals, the walls shimmering blue. A table that looked as if it were made of stone, but was actually another crystal creation, was laden with food. Chairs of various styles had been scattered throughout the room, offering a place to sit if one so wished.
Jacob/Selmak turned to face Jack. "I couldn't talk them into chips and salsa, but there are some interesting dishes here, just the same. If you like hot and spicy, try that sauce over there, use a little of the bread beside it to dip," the general said with a grin.
"Lead the way, General," Jack replied.
"Actually, as the honored guests, you have to start," Jacob said quietly.
Jack gave a panicked glance at Daniel. "Right. Just dig in, huh?"
"That's right," the Tau'ri/Tok'ra replied. His grin was evidence of his enjoyment of Jack's discomfort.
Again Daniel smiled. Here was proof positive that his knowledge of the customs of dozens of cultures was needed. He stepped toward the table. There were what looked like platters, waiting off to one side. He caught Jacob's eye, looked at the stack of ceramic dishes, and back at the older man. Who gave a subtle nod. With a flourish, he handed plates to each of his teammates, then began to gather bits of the food that waited. Casey and Sam followed suit, Teal'c watching for a few moments before taking several pieces of fruit.
Jack took a small piece of the bread, spooned some of the sauce that Jacob had pointed out. Hesitantly, he dipped the brown bread, and took a bite. Holy shit! Talk about hot and spicy! This put every salsa he'd ever tried, including the stuff in that Mexican restaurant in San Antonio, to shame! "Good," he managed to gasp.
Several giggles and chuckles filled the room. Jacob took a cup and filled it with clear liquid. Handed it to the colonel. Who eyed it warily. "It's safe," Jacob promised.
He gratefully sipped at the cool water. "Thanks. I don't suppose I could get a jar of that to go?"
Jacob laughed. "I'll see what I can do."
As soon as the team had filled their plates, the rest of the Tok'ra moved forward to do the same. Freya/Anise approached Daniel. "I am pleased that you have been honored," Anise said. She smiled coyly at the archaeologist.
"Thank you." His blue eyes darted around the room. Where was Casey? What the hell was she doing over there? How in the hell had she managed to get that far from him without him realizing it? And how did he excuse himself without appearing to be a jealous husband...even though that was exactly what he was? Because Casey was standing near the far end of the table, surrounded by eight Tok'ra men, all of them laughing as they listened to her recounting her first impressions of going off world.
Anise followed his gaze with her own. "You still love her."
He started, looked at the woman beside him. "I'll never stop loving her. From the moment she became a part of my life, my heart has belonged to her, and hers to me. That won't be changing."
"She's my soul mate. The one woman in the entire galaxy made just for me."
"That's a very...romantic...view," the Tok'ra replied.
"Maybe. It's the truth," Daniel insisted. He took a deep breath. "And even if Casey weren't in my life, there would never be anything between you and I."
It was the Anise's turn to start. "How can you be so certain? I believe that we would find much sexual gratification with one another."
Daniel coughed slightly in his surprise. "I can be certain, because I'm not attracted to you. I am honored to be called your friend," he added quickly.
"You do not find me...pleasing?" Anise demanded, one eyebrow lifted in disbelief. She knew that she had not imagined the approving looks, the glances that Daniel had tossed in her direction when she visited the SGC.
"You're a beautiful woman...well, Freya is a beautiful woman," he amended, letting the Tok'ra know that he hadn't forgotten that she, Anise, was a symbiote. "But I don't feel anything for you, other than friendship."
"Friendship is not enough?"
He shook his head. "Not for me."
She remained silent, studied the slender blonde Tau'ri who had managed to fully capture Dr. Jackson's attention, and, it seemed, his heart.
"I've offended you," Daniel said softly.
She tore her eyes from the blonde, and the group of men and women gathered around her. "No, Doctor Jackson, you have not. I will not deny that I am disappointed. I know that there are those for whom love is forever."
"Jolinar and Lantesh."
"Rosha and Martouf as well. They were in love before becoming host to two of the most well known lovers among the Tok'ra," Anise replied.
"Then you do understand," Daniel said. "When I looked into Casey's eyes for the very first time, I saw...forever. When she took my hand, I felt my heart start beating for the first time since Sha're had died in my arms. The first time I kissed her, I knew that I would never desire any other woman...that only Casey could satisfy me. She's my very heart and soul, now."
"Very beautiful words, Doctor Jackson," Anise said. "And the sentiment is beautiful as well. Mrs. Jackson is a very lucky woman."
The latter had been said almost wistfully. Daniel shook his head. "I'm the lucky one, Anise. And I will never forget that fact."
Freya/Anise smiled. "She has looked over here four times now. I believe she is seeking your company," the symbiote said.
"If you'll excuse me, I'll join her. I'm sure this is all a bit overwhelming for her."
"Of course. It was a pleasure seeing you again."
"For me also." Daniel smiled, nodded, and made his way toward his Wife.
Anise watched the man walking away. Freya had insisted that Dr. Jackson might have looked, but that all men looked. There had never been any behavior that suggested he was the least bit interested...in fact, anytime the subject had been broached he had been adamant about his feelings...or lack thereof...for her. The Tok'ra had held out hope, however, that as Dr. Jackson learned more about her people, that he would be more...accepting. She watched the way he hurried toward his wife. Sighed silently. Yes, Casey Jackson was a very lucky woman.
Casey heaved a silent sigh of relief when Daniel made his way through the group of people standing around her, all of them full of questions about her gift, and how it worked. Wanting to know if she could tell them what the future held for them.
Her green eyes were full of panic. Not that anyone who didn't know her would see it. All they would see would be her smile, and the bright light of laughter that filled them. But in those green depths, visible only to the man who loved her, knew her, was her growing distress.
"Daniel!" Her voice was tinged with relief, even to her own ears.
"Hey," he said softly. He smiled at the Tok'ra that surrounded her. "What are you discussing?"
"Mrs. Jackson has been trying to explain her...gift...to us," one of the men replied.
"I don't know that it's possible to explain," Daniel said slowly.
"That's what I've been trying to tell them," Casey murmured, her face turned toward his shoulder.
He smiled, wrapped his arm around her shoulders, drew her close to his side. The gesture not only comforted his Wife, the body language spoke of his protection of her to those who looked on. "There are many things in the universe that we don't understand, can't explain, yet they exist; and we know this to be fact. Casey's gift is very much like that."
"It would be fascinating to study her," one of the women, a biochemist, sighed. "So much we might learn."
"Casey is not a specimen on a slide, to be placed under a microscope and examined," Daniel pointed out, his voice cool.
"Of course not," the woman replied. "But there must be something, some alteration of her brain chemistry that allows these...perceptions. If we could discover just what changes occurred, if any other such changes occur when she is...'searching', I believe it is called, it is possible that this ability could be...fostered...in others."
Casey shook her head. "It doesn't work that way. My...gift of sight...isn't something that can be duplicated in a laboratory. There's more to my ability than just altered brain chemistry."
"I disagree. The function of the brain is chemical and electrical. Even the slightest changes in either can have totally unexpected results," the scientist existed.
"Perhaps when the Tok'ra have found a seer of their own, you'll be able to carry out your...study," Daniel said. "If you'll excuse us, I'd like for Casey to meet the others."
She gave another mental sigh as Daniel maneuvered her past the group. "Thank you," she whispered. "I was beginning to think they were going to spirit me away and start experimenting on me!"
He glanced over his shoulder. The group was watching her, the woman still speaking animatedly about her thoughts on the subject of studying Casey. "Not as long as I'm around," he muttered.
"My hero," she smiled.
Daniel grinned down at her. "I'll be there for you always, Angel."
Karinda watched silently. Sarah had found a place near the door where she could see what was happening at the reception, but couldn't be observed herself. The young woman's thoughts were chaotic, the desire to win Daniel Jackson's affections once again the overriding focus, and fraught with emotion. Was this Sarah...or what Osiris had left in the mind of his host?
Sarah sighed. Daniel had never looked at her like that...with such love and devotion. She was certain of that. Because he had never loved her the way he loved his wife. His second wife. She shook her head mentally. Perhaps this wife wouldn't live any longer than the first one had. Another sigh, and she turned away. She needed to get back to her ship. The other Goa'uld needed to know that Osiris was now in control of all that Anubis had once claimed. Those who had 'allied' themselves with him would now serve her.
Carefully hiding her surprise, Karinda began to formulate her report. It would have to be given when the human was unaware. Difficult to do, but not impossible. She would allow Sarah to do as she wished...for the time. When she had enough evidence, was certain in her own mind, then she would leave the body, and allow her companions to deal with the woman who was on the verge of betraying them.
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