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"...All right now baby, it's all right now
All right now baby, it's all right now
Yeah, it's alright now..."
‘All Right Now’
Performed by Free
Written by Andy Frasser/Paul Rodgers
He had, Daniel thought, been through one hell of a day. As far as he was concerned, nothing he’d experienced before as a result of going through the Stargate could compare with the horrors he’d just endured. He was also well aware of the fact that he was one of the luckiest men in the universe. He’d descended into hell when he’d been made host to the Goa’uld, Rihat. It was only the blessing of his Immortality that had seen him freed from that particular hell. The symbiote hadn’t lived more than four hours; his best estimation of the amount of time that had passed from the moment the Goa’uld had crawled inside him, until the moment he was certain that the symbiote had died, and he was once more in control of his body, and alone in his mind.
Pulling the jeep into the driveway of the little gray house he and Casey called ‘home’, he thought he’d never seen a more beautiful sight. He glanced over at his Wife when her hand wrapped around his. Except, of course, for the woman sitting beside him.
"Are you all right?" she asked softly.
He hadn’t dared allow thoughts of safety and home...and her...to remain long in his mind, not until he was standing with Jacob Carter, dialing the DHD address for the SGC. He had spent the day focusing his energy on first escaping Rihat, and then getting off Ba’al’s ship. Here he was at last; safe, home, and with his Wife. "I am now," he replied.
She took a deep breath, shivered slightly as she blew it out. "I never want you to have to go through anything like that again."
"Me, either," he agreed. He knew that she needed to talk. And, if he were honest with himself, he needed to talk about what he’d been through as well. The only person with whom he felt comfortable enough to discuss something as...private, something as...intimate...as having his mind and body invaded was his sweet Casey. "Let’s go inside."
Giving a nod, she reached for the door handle. "I’m going to be having a little talk with Miss Eloise later. But I’m going to wait until Jack and Sam and Teal’c can be with us."
Blue eyes went wide. "What?"
"There is no excuse for what we just went through. And I intend to find out who screwed around with my download. If we’d known, if we'd been prepared, this day wouldn’t have felt like the end of the freaking world. I-" Casey broke off, took a shuddering breath, and shook her head. "I hope you realize that I’m not letting you out of my sight for the next hundred years or so."
Daniel smiled. "That suits me just fine. Keeps you in my sight as well."
"Let’s go, Stud Muffin. I need to hold you, and I can’t do that sitting in the Jeep."
The smile became a grin. No doubt he wouldn’t be able to make a move for the next few hours, or few days, without his Wife being beside him. A pleasant thought that had his heart pounding with love. He wrapped the warmth of her love around himself, took comfort from that sweet security.
He’d barely stepped through the door before Casey had turned around, and was pushing the jacket from his shoulders. When he would have put it on the peg of the coat rack, she wrapped her fists in the ends of the red scarf and tugged, pulling him closer. The jacket dropped to the floor.
There hadn’t been time, and truth be told, it hadn’t even occurred to him to button the red shirt when he’d arrived on that planet to meet Jacob Carter. He’d taken the voice modulating device off, hoped like hell he’d never see one of the damned things again, draped the scarf behind his neck for lack of knowing what else to do with it, and had been able to think of only one thing: getting home. Now, her soft fingers were moving over his chest, stopping to toy with flat nipples that stiffened instantly at her touch.
"You look so damned sexy," she whispered.
"Not what I was going for," he chuckled softly.
"I know." She smiled up at him. "Stud Muffin, you just don’t have it in you to look as over-the-top as the Goa’uld."
He grinned. "That’s a comforting thought."
"Why don’t you go sit down in the living room. I’ll be right out," she whispered again.
When the phone began ringing, they both groaned out loud.
"If that’s Jack, I’m gonna kill him," Daniel grumped, as he nearly stomped through the kitchen. Yanked the receiver from the hook, determined to let his best friend know that he had no intention of talking...not to him, not tonight. "What?" he barked.
"Oh...hello," Sam said, hesitating slightly.
He blew out a breath. "Uh...hi, Sam. Sorry about that."
Daniel ran a hand through his hair. Unlike Jack, who always found it amusing to try to interrupt whenever possible, Sam understood how much he valued his time alone with Casey. She wouldn’t call without a damned good reason. "What’s up?"
"Well, since I had the scepter, I thought I’d see how it fit into the chair, and since we got rid of the ‘brain’ for the thing, I didn’t figure it would hurt anything..." her voice trailed off.
"Sam? Are you okay?"
"Well, yeah. But...Daniel, I really need for Casey to take a look at this. Maybe she can tell us what’s going on," the major replied.
He closed his eyes. Heaved a heartfelt sigh. "We’ll be there in a few minutes."
"Thanks. And Daniel...I’m sorry."
It was impossible not to smile. "It’s okay. See you in a bit."
He hung up, turned around to look at his Wife. She was watching him, curiosity burning in her green eyes, hands in her hip pockets; which had her perfect breasts pushing out against the thin sweater she wore, begging for his attention. "Damn, woman," he hissed, his body reacting ardently to the sight.
As soon as he was near enough, his hands went to ‘his beauties’, cupping them, rolling his thumbs over nipples that hardened, poking against the material with tantalizing results. "You are so beautiful," he murmured.
"In your eyes. Why are we going to help Sam?"
The mention of his friend’s name broke the reverie of lustful thoughts that had been skittering through his mind. "She put the weapon together."
"So? We got rid of the heart," Casey replied.
"Something happened...she wants you to take a look to see if you can figure it out."
"Angel, I have no idea. Let’s go."
"Uh uh. You go change first. You can wear that shirt and those pants...and this," she said, flipping the ends of the scarf at him, "for me when we get back. You are not parading through the SGC looking like this. Those women are my friends, and I’d hate to have to take a baseball bat to any of them for touching."
He laughed out loud. "Touching?"
"Daniel, there is no way in hell a breathing, red-blooded woman wouldn’t want to get her hands all over you while you’re dressed like that!"
Even though he was certain she was exaggerating any affect he might have on other women, the look of sheer hunger in her eyes did amazing things for his ego...and his libido. Down boy. "Fine, I’ll change. Could you make some coffee?"
"I can do that," she smiled. "I could use a cup myself."
"I-" Daniel broke off, turned to look out the French doors on the far side of the dining room.
"You what?" Casey asked gently. She watched him swallow, waited for him to continue. She wreathed his face with her hands, turned him to meet her gaze. "You what?" she asked a second time.
"I need to take a shower."
"Nothing happened," he said quickly, needing to reassure her that his love, and his body, remained totally hers. "...I just...I...well..."
"Want some company?" she asked, watching him carefully. Whenever she went through hell, having him hold her while the warm water rained down on them soothed her jagged nerves. She wasn’t sure that he felt the same way, however.
While his part of him was demanding that her lithe body be with him in the shower, that he needed to hold her, to feel the comfort only she could offer, another part insisted that until he had fully rid himself of the stench...the touch...of that Goa’uld, he wasn’t fit to be near. It wasn’t logical by any means, but considering what he’d gone through, Daniel figured the Fates would allow him this little irrationality. "Not this time, Angel."
"I understand," she said softly. No doubt the shower was symbolic - washing away anything he might have physically endured. "You take a quick shower, I’ll get coffee made."
He gave a sharp nod, started to move away. Felt the scarf tighten around his neck...glanced down to see it wrapped around her fists once again.
"Just one kiss?"
He smiled. "I can do that."
The breath of life. Only Daniel could kiss her this way. Elicit responses from her heart, her body, her very soul. His hands wrapped around her face, his thumbs caressing her cheeks as he gave her exactly what she needed...took from her all that she offered in return. And if she didn’t stop now, she’d have him on the floor, taking what she so desperately wanted...needed...from him. She managed to pull away, licked her lips lightly, unaware of effect the action had on the man watching her. "You should probably take that shower."
When that pink tongue traced her lips, as if savoring the taste of him, he shivered slightly. Felt his heart soar...and his cock twitch. If they didn’t get out that door soon, Sam was going to wind up waiting for a few hours. The astrophysicist wouldn’t have called if it weren’t important...the need immediate. Hence, they really needed to go...as soon as he’d showered. "Right."
Casey watched as he walked toward the bathroom. The black pants were just tight enough to hug his ass without being too tight. The flames of desire that engulfed her as she watched that amazing ass had her reaching for the counter to steady herself, the granite feeling especially cold as her fingers wrapped around the beveled edge. With a firm mental shake, she set about making a pot of coffee, then searching for the travel mugs. Wondered if she should fill the thermos as well. No, that would take two pots, and they didn’t have time for that. Travel mugs it would be. If it wasn’t too late when they finished, they could stop at Pike’s Perk on the way home.
Daniel stood under the water. It didn’t make sense, but the need to ‘wash’ the events of the day from his skin was overwhelming. Knowing that for a time, a Goa’uld...parasitic creature spawned in hell...had controlled him, had him scrubbing his skin. He closed his eyes as he washed, remembering how odd it had felt when Rihat had cupped his genitals. Not arousing...not by a long shot! But...odd. It had been his hand, his body...but...not. Every movement had been manipulated by someone...something...else. He scrubbed harder. Wishing that it would be as easy to scrub the memories from his mind.
A A A A A A
In Warehouse Two, Sam was pacing in front of the chair. The stele was just behind it...still on its side, so that any work needing to be done was unhampered by the need to move it. Doctor Lee had tested the ZPM that SG-1 had located...digging in that incredibly hot cavern...and found it completely active. Eager to learn if the ZPM would ‘activate’ the stele, the two scientists had carefully inserted the power device. They had been sorely disappointed when nothing had happened.
As soon as she’d slid the scepter into place on the bottom of the chair, the stele had begun to glow. A low harmonic hum had filled the air. They'd been startled, and not a little worried. It had been one thing to hope that the stele would respond to the power of the ZPM, in order to study the complex miniature crystal-data circuitry more thoroughly; something else again to know that the stele had ‘responded’ only when the other pieces of the weapon had been connected. More disconcerting was the fact that there was no physical connection between the chair and the stele to account for the activation. The most worrisome thing, however, was the fact that she couldn’t get the scepter out of the chair. It was as if it had welded itself into place.
"Did you call security?" Sam asked. "I don’t know that the containment field will be much use if this thing explodes."
Doctor Lee nodded, pushed his glasses up his nose. "They’ll have a full unit standing by, that’s what Walter said."
"Good." A group of well trained Special Forces members might well be needed to police the area if they managed to blow up the warehouse. Which the blonde astrophysicist was beginning to fear might be a very real threat.
"We need to figure out a way to be able to enlarge the field without causing such a weakening effect," Lee grumbled, looking at the generator that was powering the containment field that he and the major had been able to rig around the area where the weapon components sat.
"I know," Sam sighed.
Jack hurried through the door, Teal’c on his heels. "Carter? What the hell is going on? The whole mountain is in lockdown right now!" He stopped short when he saw the glowing symbols on the stele. "Tell me you didn’t turn that thing on!"
"I didn’t think it was possible!" Sam declared, hands on her hips. "It shouldn’t be doing anything! There’s no connection! And the ‘heart’ has been destroyed."
Jack frowned. The ‘heart’. That jeweled box had certainly had Radar freaked out; until they managed to get rid of it, Teal’c tossing it into the incoming energy of an opening wormhole. He could still hear the eerie scream that had echoed for just a second. As soon as it had been destroyed, the consensus had been that the weapon was inert...just a collection of useless pieces. Now...the weapon was activated, even without the ‘heart’. Oy...that can’t be a good thing! "When did all this happen?"
"We put the ZPM into the stele. We had hoped that maybe something would activate in the stele, just to give us a better understanding of how the components in it work. Nothing happened, which wasn’t a surprise," Sam explained. "Then I put the scepter into place on the chair...and...well..." She waved toward the stone pillar.
"So take it out," Jack said.
"I’ve already tried. It won’t come out," Sam retorted.
"Teal’c, rip the damned thing apart if you have to," Jack said, looking at the Jaffa.
With a nod of understanding, Teal’c approached the chair. Knelt down, and grabbed onto the scepter. Sparks flew when as he attempted to remove it. Grunting with exertion, he increased the pressure. Shook his head in defeat. "It will not yield, O’Neill."
"Take the ZPM out of the stele," Jack suggested.
"Be my guest," Sam replied.
"Didn’t work, huh?"
She shook her head wearily. "I was nearly electrocuted."
"So how the hell do we turn it off?"
"I don’t know," Sam sighed. "It might be...we might...this weapon may be designed so that once it’s been activated, it can’t be shut off until it’s been fired."
"Well, that’s just peachy," Jack moaned.
"I called Casey...well, spoke with Daniel," Sam said. "Maybe she can tell me something about it."
Jack nodded. Just a few minutes, she'd said. She just wanted to put the scepter with the other weapon pieces. Not more than five minutes, she’d promised. "This is the last time I let you have ‘five minutes more’ the night before a full day off," he grumped.
Sam tossed a grin at him. Knew that he meant every word.
The four people stared at the weapon. All of them worried. Moving quickly in the direction of being scared to death. They had an Ancient weapon sitting in Warehouse Two, the damned thing was on, possibly armed. And they had no clue how it worked...or how to shut it off!
A A A A A A
"I do have plans for tonight," Casey grumbled as she and Daniel rode the elevator from level eleven...having just signed back in, to the surprise of the guards there...to the surface once again. They had learned at the final check post that their teammates, as well as Doctor Lee, were waiting for them at Warehouse Two.
"I know," Daniel grinned. He was fairly certain those plans included him, the bed, and body oil. And lots of moaning. His, if he was very lucky. When it came to making love with his Wife, he was always lucky!
"We have tomorrow off," she added, tossing a warning look in his direction.
The grin went wider. "I know."
"Just don’t forget it. You’re not home until I’ve-" Her cheeks went crimson, and she dropped her gaze.
"Until what, Angel?" Daniel asked softly, his pulse speeding up as he anticipated her response.
"Until I’ve reclaimed every inch of you, kiss by kiss," she said, her glance daring him to argue with her.
He shivered slightly. Daniel was well aware of the fact that Casey needed to touch him, hold him...to prove to herself that he really had returned to her wholly...heart, mind, body, and soul. He needed to prove to her, and to himself, that he was indeed alone in his head and body, that the Goa’uld truly was gone. They would do that by embracing one another, letting their love take form in the physical act that carried them to that secret garden of pleasure. "I know, babe."
She took his hand, lifted it to her lips, gently kissed his knuckles. "I could...sense...that damned thing inside you...when you...it...when you stood up," she said softly. She shuddered slightly. The memory of that moment was still as vivid in her memory as if she were standing there; terrified at what she had witnessed, struggling with equal measures of guilt and anger at being unable to stop what was happening. Reeling from the fact that Daniel had been made host to a Goa’uld. Could still feel the revulsion of knowing that one of the parasitic creatures was inside him, controlling his every move. "It was horrible."
"That’s one way to describe it," he replied. He let her board the bus first; settled down beside her.
"I’m sorry. That sounded so self-absorbed," she apologized. "I can’t even imagine the hell you were going through in that moment."
"I’m glad you can’t," Daniel said firmly. "I never want you to experience what I did today." He paused, stared at his feet.
He looked into green eyes that were filled with concern. "Sha’re went through that...endured being a host to a Goa’uld. She lived like that for three years. I...she was an amazing woman." As soon as the words hit the air, he cringed. Oh, hell, that didn’t come out right!
For a moment, Casey felt her world shift on its axis. Thought about the visit to Sha’re’s grave, and the ‘acceptance’ she had felt from the woman’s spirit. "To have endured what she did, to have fought so hard to save you, she had to have been amazing," she said softly.
"You’re amazing, too. You have a gift I couldn’t hope-"
Casey put a finger on his lips. "You don’t have to say that," she said softly. "I understand. You were experiencing what she had...dealing with the same fears and emotions she must have felt. It’s only natural that in that situation, you thought about her."
"My next thought was protecting you," Daniel said. "I had to hide all my memories of you, everything about you, so that...creature...couldn’t sully them. So that Rihat couldn’t ‘see’ the private moments we’ve shared."
Tears filled her eyes as her world righted itself once again. "Thank you," she whispered. "I don’t think I could have handled anyone knowing about our private moments together."
"Just you and me, Angel," Daniel said. "No one but the two of us know."
He lifted her fingers to his lips. Closed his eyes as he tasted the sweetness of her skin. No way in hell would he have ever let Rihat see the memories of her; precious moments that he cherished...and guarded jealously. Nope, no way in hell.
Rather than take a jeep from the motor pool, Daniel opted to drive their own vehicle to Warehouse Two. The better for making a quick escape, he told himself. Casey would take a look at the weapon, let Sam know what was going on, and then he was taking his Wife home. And once they were safe inside, he wasn’t even opening the door until they had to return to work.
Arm in arm, they walked into the warehouse. The shiver that moved over Casey’s slender frame as they crossed the threshold brought a frown to Daniel’s face.
Jack looked over his shoulder. "Thanks for coming," he said quietly.
Casey stared at the weapon. "That shouldn’t be happening!"
Sam, who was nearly panicked by this time, nodded slowly. "I know."
"The heart...the brain...it’s gone, right? There’s nothing left of it? You didn’t take anything out of that box did you?"
"Casey, we couldn’t find a way to open it," Sam replied, trying to reassure the seer; noting the near hysteria that had filled Casey’s eyes and voice. "There’s nothing left of it."
"That shouldn’t be on!" Casey said a second time, her eyes wider than ever.
Jack rolled his eyes. "Yeah, we’ve already figured that part out," he grumbled. The look of ire that those green eyes hurled in his direction had him clamping his mouth shut and taking an involuntary step backwards.
"She’s a bit pissed," Daniel chuckled softly.
"Yeah, picked that up," Jack said. No doubt this little crisis had interrupted the couple. He glanced at Daniel, took a step sideways to make certain he was out of swinging range...just to be safe.
Casey was walking around the stele, Sam and Doctor Lee following her closely. The glowing symbols seemed different than the carved text, although she had no idea how that could be. Maybe, she thought, it’s like an instruction manual. "Daniel, what does this say?"
Hands shoved into the pockets of his jeans, Daniel wandered over to the stele. Studied it for a moment. He’d worked on the translation of this particular stele for so long he’d practically memorized entire sections of it. "I’m not certain, but I don’t think that’s what it said when...when it wasn’t glowing. It doesn’t look familiar."
"So what does it say now?"
Kneeling beside the ancient device, head turned at an angle so that he could make out the symbols, Daniel carefully began to decipher the writing. "Um...there’s a bit here about protecting those ‘under the care of the elders’. Then it says ‘know that the power of the gods is great, and that the defender of the people will strike down any and all threats.’ That’s it."
A poke in the back of her mind so strong that she physically flinched, Casey closed her eyes to ‘listen’. The message was jumbled, she couldn’t make out the words or phrases. With a sigh, she moved toward the meadow, hoping that Miss Eloise would be lurking there.
The sun was shining brightly, warming the grass and teasing open the flowers that carpeted the ground around her. The sweet smell of honeysuckle perfumed the air, and birdsong added harmony to the setting.
Miss Eloise was nowhere to be seen.
"Miss Eloise?" Casey called, turning in a slow circle. "Miss Eloise?"
The old seer wandered across the open space. "I see you’re all home, safe and sound."
"No thanks to whoever screwed around with my download. I know it wasn’t daemons, we dealt with that problem," Casey retorted.
"No, it wasn’t daemons."
"I’ll deal with the interference problem later. Right now, we have an armed Ancient weapon, and not a freaking clue how to shut the thing off."
"Has to be fired. Once it’s activated, it will remain so, until it’s used."
Casey sighed. "That’s what I was afraid of."
"Only one can control the weapon."
"No, I didn’t say The One. I said only one can control it." Miss Eloise watched the seer for a moment. "One of them...or...one of their...descendants," she added as an afterthought.
Casey frowned. What the hell was the old woman babbling about? There were no Ancients around, certainly none in the warehouse at the moment... Her thoughts focused on one word - ‘descendant’.
"Think, Casey," Miss Eloise urged gently.
"I am thinking," the young blonde snapped. If the weapon required an Ancient, or someone with Ancient genes...she nearly smacked her forehead with her hand when the obvious answer finally clicked into place. "Jack? Because of the Ancient gene?"
The old woman smiled brightly. "That would be a good guess."
"So what do we do?"
"Without the ‘heart’, there’s no way to ‘focus’ the power of the weapon," Miss Eloise said.
"That sounds like a major problem," Casey muttered.
"Not really. Not for SG-1. Just as the components of the weapon are together, those needed to use it...the only people capable of using it...are together."
"Old woman, I am not in the mood for gibberish right now," Casey spat.
The old seer chuckled. "Interrupted, were you?"
"Yes, we were. Now, what do I tell them?"
"Just think about the problem, Sunshine. You’ll figure out what to do."
Casey nodded. "When this is over, and Daniel and I have had some time alone, the team and I are going to have a little discussion with whoever screwed this day up for us."
Miss Eloise blinked slowly. "Be careful what you say, and where you say it."
"I’m not afraid of the Big Boys," Casey retorted.
"You should be."
"I’m too damned pissed off to be afraid of them. And Daniel and I aren’t so helpless, you know."
The old woman dared to smile. "I suppose you aren’t." She paused. Remembered well the words of a visiting ‘tree’. In spite of her own misgivings, personal in nature as they were, Miss Eloise understood that Casey had every right to be furious about what she and Daniel had just experienced. Even though the old seer suspected the reason for the interference, it was just as likely that allowing her to know what would happen, to see the end result, might have garnered an even more desired outcome. If Daniel had been aware, he might have tried to learn more from the Goa’uld that had infested him...things that memories were unable to relate. And, she thought with a silent sigh, if she were correct in her assumptions, such interference might happen again, with less desirable results. That thought spurred another. Sometimes, the best intentions could lead to disastrous results. The whole reason for the non-interference rule. Might be that a little ‘reminder’ was needed. She sighed silently. Seemed that one group or another of higher level beings was swinging from one extreme to the other. Sure would be nice if they’d find that happy ‘middle’. "As I recall, you have a very powerful ally."
Powerful ally? Now what was the old woman prattling about? What ally...Oakey! Of course! Casey nearly bounced on her feet. As soon as she’d satisfied herself that Daniel was all right, she was going straight to the Quantum Mirror, and making a call. She was damned tired of being jerked around like a puppet! "Yes, I do," Casey said softly. "And I’ll let her tear this place to pieces if necessary."
"I don’t think it will come to that."
"I don’t care one way or the other," Casey replied.
"Maybe you should," Miss Eloise said gently. "You have what you need, Sunshine. Take care of that weapon. Then take care of that archaeologist of yours."
She couldn’t help but smile. "You just go find something else to do. Quit being a damned voyeur!"
Miss Eloise cackled, patted Casey’s cheek, and turned to walk away. She vanished before she’d taken half a dozen steps.
Casey opened her eyes. "We have to fire it."
"What?" Jack asked, his eyes wide.
"You’re the only one who can do that," Casey continued, her attention on the colonel. She turned to Daniel. "Without the ‘heart’, it won’t be focused. It has to be focused..."
"Aimed...like aiming a gun," Sam said, when Casey paused and looked over her; as if seeking help with what she was trying to say.
"Exactly!" Casey exclaimed, tossing a smile at the major. "That’s where you come in, Stud Muffin."
"Me?" Daniel croaked. "What am I supposed to do?"
Sam was frowning, her gaze locked on the chair. It was different than the one in the Antarctic. It wasn’t made for a human ‘interface’. Still, if Casey said that Jack could fire the thing, then he could.
"Perhaps, Daniel Jackson, your ability as The One is needed," Teal’c said calmly.
Daniel grimaced. "Okay, fine. That still doesn’t give me a clue how I’m supposed to help."
"If it needs to be focused," Sam murmured, "I think this works on a telepathic level. So the colonel should be able to control the energy enough to send it to Daniel."
"And then what?" Daniel asked, frowning. The last time he’d absorbed a large amount of energy and heat, he’d damned near died.
"Focus it...and...fire," Sam replied, shrugging slightly.
"That’s it!" Casey agreed, nodding enthusiastically. She raced to Jack’s side, grabbed his hand and nearly yanked him off his feet, kept pulling until he followed her. She pushed him into the chair. "Just think about the energy. Visualize it. And send it to Daniel."
"Right," Jack muttered, shifting slightly in the seat. Was about to ask her just how the hell he was supposed to accomplish that when she whirled around, facing away from him.
Casey turned her attention to Teal’c. "Big Guy, open the door. Wide. Make certain there’s no one nearby who could wind up in the line of fire."
With a nod of understanding, the Jaffa jogged to the large metal door.
"Daniel," Casey said, looking at her Husband, "take the energy with one hand, send it out with the other."
Daniel frowned. Was fairly sure he understood what she meant. "You’re sure this will work?"
"Sure what will work?" In spite of the seriousness of the situation, her companions laughed out loud. She rolled her eyes, glared at the high ceiling of the building. "Not funny!"
"I’m certain now," Jack said, tossing a grin at the seer.
"Well I’m just thrilled to the core," she deadpanned.
"Good. Let’s get this done. There’s a hockey game I want to see tonight," Jack bantered. "Ready, Daniel?"
"As I’ll ever be," the archaeologist replied.
Sam, Casey, and Doctor Lee stood off to the side of the stele, behind the chair. Teal’c pushed the double metal doors completely open. He insisted that the SF’s who were just arriving remain near the road until further notice, and then joined his teammates and Lee; the four of them watching with unabashed interest.
"Okay, what do I do?" Jack asked, looking around.
"Think about the energy," Casey said softly. "Listen to the hum...let it become part of you."
"That sounds weird. And slightly dangerous," Jack countered.
"Jack, close your eyes. Think about the energy in the weapon," Casey insisted.
With a sigh, the older man complied. Jerked slightly when he felt a tingle similar to a low voltage electric shock.
"That’s it," Casey whispered. "Now, concentrate, and send it to Daniel."
He gave a slight nod. Imagined a stream of light moving from him to his best friend.
Silence filled the hangar, and for several long seconds, it seemed that nothing was going to happen.
"Holy shit!" Doctor Lee whispered hoarsely.
Just as Jack saw the energy in his mind, a thin beam of light began to move from him towards the archaeologist.
Daniel raised his hand; concentrated on pulling the light into himself. "When do I fire?"
"You’ll know," Casey said softly.
He hated answers like that, he thought irritably. Could feel the warmth of the energy as it began to move into his fingers...to the palm of his hand...to his wrist. There was more than just heat. There was something...a feeling similar to having the Goa’uld inside him, only...different. Not as invasive...not in control...but powerful. Very powerful...
When Daniel began to sway slightly, Teal’c raced forward, put his arms around the archaeologist’s chest, allowed the younger man to lean back against him. Casey dashed forward to hold Daniel’s arm up; Sam hurried to kneel beside Jack, her hands supporting the arm he had raised, the light seeming to flow from his fingers.
Doctor Lee stood back, jaw hanging open, eyes as wide as saucers as a blue haze surrounded the group. The yellow-white of the energy beam seemed all the brighter as it moved through that haze.
Now it’s getting damned hot, Daniel thought, feeling the heat of the energy move across his shoulders. He wasn’t certain...it felt as if he should be doing something else, something important...he was growing weary as the heat continued to assail his body
"When it’s time, just let it go," Casey whispered. "Give the heat a direction to move in."
Hearing the softly spoken words, Daniel lifted his other arm. The heat continued to build...the ‘power’ that accompanied it was nearly overwhelming. One hand pointing toward Jack, he continued to absorb the light. So hot...Now.... He pointed the other hand toward the open door.
In a flash of blinding light, a burst of energy shot from Jack, through Daniel, and out the door, impacting on one of the trees on the far side of the parking lot. The crack of the trunk echoed like thunder. The resounding ‘whump’ as the tree toppled to the ground shook the walls of the warehouse.
Jack slumped in the chair, and if not for Teal’c’s strength, Daniel would have fallen to the floor.
For a moment, the only sounds that could be heard were those of heavy breathing. The teammates shook themselves slightly, looking at one another in dazed confusion, not entirely sure how they’d come to be exactly where they were.
"It’s off!" Doctor Lee announced, staring at the stele. The stone pillar was no longer glowing..
Sam looked at the stele. "Get that ZPM out of it!"
The scientist raced to comply.
"Jack?" the major asked softly.
"I think you’re gonna have to drive home. I’m beat," Jack mumbled.
Daniel took a deep breath. "We didn’t destroy anything important did we?"
Casey scurried to the open door, looked around to assess any damage. "Oh, wow! Good thing we all parked on the other side. There’s a huge tree down in the parking lot!"
For all their weariness, Jack and Daniel managed to follow Sam and Teal’c to stand behind the slender seer.
"I expected more power," Jack said, slightly disappointed.
Sam’s eyebrows pulled together as she contemplated what had happened. "It’s possible that sending it to...and through...Daniel might have muted the power somewhat."
"What I felt was...there was a lot of power there. If the Ancients put that weapon in the Antarctic to defend the planet, I’m sure it can. And that weapon was designed to have a human ‘interface’," Daniel added.
"If the crisis is over, can we go home now? I’m beat," Jack repeated.
"Let me call General Hammond, and tell him what we’ve done," Sam replied. The general was aware that the weapon had been activated. She certainly hadn’t planned to send the base into emergency lockdown by just putting the pieces of the weapon together. Especially given that the most important part, according to Casey, had been the ‘heart’. Regardless of her intentions, she and Doctor Lee had activated a weapon of which they had no real understanding. No doubt the general wasn’t in the best of moods at the moment. She dreaded the lecture she was certain to receive regarding the incident.
Ten minutes later, by order of the OIC, the team and Doctor Lee were on their way back into the mountain. They would give a full report, and then be allowed to leave the base. Neither Daniel nor Jack were thrilled...both wanted to do nothing more than stretch out and sleep for a bit.
A A A A A A
General Hammond was waiting in the conference room, having been called when the team reached the checkpoint on level eleven. "What in the hell is going on?" he demanded as soon as the members of SG-1 entered the room. Frowned when it seemed that Colonel O’Neill and Doctor Jackson barely had the strength to shuffle to their usual seats.
"It’s entirely my fault, sir," Sam said, standing behind the chair she normally sat in, even as her teammates settled themselves around the table. A glance at Jack and Daniel left her certain that they wouldn’t have been able to remain on their feet even if ordered to do so.
"I’m listening, Major," Hammond said.
"Doctor Lee and I were hoping that the ZPM would activate the stele, not the weapon. In fact, we didn’t believe it possible to activate the weapon...there was no connection-" Sam broke off. "No visible connection," she amended, "between the stele and the chair. And without the ‘heart’ we believed the weapon to be inert. We were only hoping to observe how the circuits in the stele worked, with the intention of learning all that we could about the miniature data crystals. If we can learn enough, we might be able to reverse engineer some of the Ancient technology."
"I see. Go on."
"Well, sir," Sam continued, "Nothing happened. We were disappointed, but not really surprised. I decided to put the scepter into place on the chair, simply to keep the parts of the weapon together. There’s always the chance that if the scepter was inadvertently separated from the rest of the weapon components, it would be packed away with other artifacts, and I have no idea how dangerous it could be on its own."
"I understand," the general said.
"That’s when the stele...activated. The symbols on the side began glowing."
"Actually," Daniel said, "the symbols were different than the carved glyphs." He was sitting forward slightly, resting his folded arms on the table and his forehead on his wrist.
"Different?" Hammond asked.
"Yes, sir. The symbols that were lit were a warning, more or less, of the power of the weapon. And an explanation of sorts for its existence. It was made to protect those...um...‘under the care of the elders’," he said, his voice slightly muffled by his arms. "I’m assuming that meant the humans who were being protected by the Ancients."
The general nodded his understanding. "And the warning?"
"Basically that it’s a powerful weapon, and will strike down any and all enemies."
"I believe the weapon capable of destroying a Goa’uld ha’tak," Teal’c said.
All eyes moved to the Jaffa. "And what makes you believe that?" Hammond asked.
"The power of the weapon was muted as a result of the energy moving through both O’Neill and Daniel Jackson. Had there been only one human to interface with the weapon, the power would have been much greater. A large, old growth pine tree was splintered like a twig when Daniel Jackson aimed the energy through the open door of the warehouse," Teal’c replied.
"Major, do you agree with Teal’c’s assessment?" Hammond inquired.
"Daniel said that what he felt was very powerful. I think that Teal’c might be correct in the theory that moving through two bodies, rather than one, did ‘mute’ the strength of the weapon. It’s even possible that Daniel’s physiology as The One absorbed more of the energy than would have occurred if Colonel O’Neill had been able to fire the weapon alone."
"And he couldn’t do this because...?"
"There was no interface for the colonel to connect with...no way for him to control the energy," Sam explained. "The energy had to be focused, and Daniel was able to do that."
"Is the weapon a threat now?"
"No, sir. The ZPM has been removed from the stele," Sam replied.
"What about the scepter?"
"Don’t know that we’ll ever get that thing out again," Jack mused. His elbow was on the table, chin in his upturned palm, his eyes closed. "Not even Teal’c could budge it."
"As long as there’s no power source, the weapon isn’t dangerous," Sam added.
"Let’s make certain it remains that way," Hammond said, frowning at Sam, and then at Doctor Lee.
Sam ducked her head, her cheeks flaming once again. Another thought moved through her mind; she berated herself for not thinking of it sooner. "There’s also the ‘missing’ piece," she said quietly.
"The ‘heart," Casey murmured.
The major nodded. "It’s possible that it was more powerful than we realized."
"Then it’s a good thing we got rid of it," Daniel mused.
"I agree, Doctor," Hammond said. Shuddering imperceptibly at the thought of such a powerful weapon being in the hands of anyone who didn’t understand, or care, about the ramifications of using such a device. "Now-"
"Sir, if I may," Lee said nervously. "When..." He paused, frowned, and pushed up his glasses. What he'd seen had left him so dazed that one of the most important clues to the event...the mention of Doctor Jackson as ‘The One’...escaped him completely. He took a deep breath, prepared for the general’s disbelief of what he was about to impart. "What I saw was extraordinary. Colonel O’Neill was sitting in the chair. Doctor Jackson was standing just a few feet in front of him. The colonel held his arm up...pointed at the doctor, who had his arm up as well. There was...there was a thin beam of light that moved from the colonel to the doctor. The power must have been staggering, because Doctor Jackson began to sway back and forth a bit. Teal’c ran up, held the doctor on his feet. Mrs. Jackson held the doctor’s arm up, and Major Carter held the colonel’s arm up...the beam of light was moving from the colonel’s fingers...to the doctor’s hand. Then...then there was this blue...haze...a blue haze that just surrounded all of them."
General Hammond noted the awe in the theoretician’s voice. Cassie had told them...Janet, SG-1, and himself...about the blue haze that had surrounded them when the petite doctor and he had been granted Immortality. ‘I understand," he said quietly.
Lee swallowed, his gaze moving from one face to another, then focusing on the general. "I don’t know exactly what I saw...I’d like to analyze the data from the security tapes-"
The general barely contained his smirk. "Doctor, I doubt that you’ll be able to find an explanation."
"I have no objection to you examining the security tapes," Hammond sighed. Sometimes having scientists, with their natural curiosity and that innate ‘need-to-know’ mentality, could be a problem. While he was aware of just how special Daniel and Casey Jackson were, not everyone in the mountain was privy to that knowledge. That had been a conscious decision - an attempt to prevent the NID, and any other such entities, from learning about the couple. He was certain that Doctor Lee wouldn’t find the answers he was seeking. In the event that the scientist became too wrapped up in his attempts to unravel the mystery... "Other projects will take priority, however," the general added.
"Yes, sir." Doctor Lee said. Slightly confused at the general’s attitude. Wasn’t he the least bit curious about what had happened to his premier team? Once again his gaze moved over the individual team members. Had the phenomenon occurred before? That could be the reason the general seemed so complacent about his report...Were there other security tapes that he could access, to compare the incidents? Before he could voice his questions, he was interrupted, missing the exasperated look Major Carter tossed in his direction.
"I suggest we crate the components, and put them in storage," Sam said. Her suggestion was both an attempt to stop Lee from obsessing over what he’d witnessed, and to instigate the steps needed to prevent the weapon from being activated again. "The ZPM should be kept in a safe place...Casey has already indicated that the weapon in the Antarctic, powered by a ZPM, and operated by the colonel, can protect Earth."
"I agree, major." The general turned to Daniel. "Doctor Jackson, since the individual components can be considered archaeological artifacts, I’m putting you in charge the pieces of the weapon."
It seemed, Daniel thought with a bit of amusement, that the general wanted to keep the weapon out of the hands of the physicists in the mountain. A smile tugged at his lips. "Yes, sir."
"Now, am I to understand that there was no damage as a result of...firing...the weapon?" Hammond asked.
"There’s a rather large tree that will need to be removed from the parking lot of Warehouse Two," Sam said, a bit sheepishly.
Hammond allowed himself to smile. "Considering other possible consequences of the weapon’s activation, I consider that a small price to pay."
"Sir, no disrespect, but I’d really like to lay down now," Jack said. He was barely able to remain conscious enough to follow the conversation. Wasn’t certain he’d be able to open his eyes just to stagger to the elevator.
"Very well. You’re dismissed. And this time I want the entire team off the base. You can write up your reports of the incident when you return. Day after tomorrow."
"Yes, sir," Jack replied. Managed to get his eyelids up, and tossed an accusing glance at Sam. Who ducked her head, her cheeks growing pink.
The general gathered his notes, nodded at the team, and returned to his office and the work that had been interrupted by the unexpected activation of the Ancient weapon.
"Let’s go campers," Jack said wearily.
Teal’c took his leave, wishing his teammates a pleasant evening. Dr. Lee muttered about getting the security tape from the warehouse. Jack, Sam, Daniel, and Casey took the elevator to the surface.
"Okay, anything we need to do or discuss before Daniel and I head home?" Casey asked, a playful smile tweaking her lips.
Sam grinned. "Nope, think we’ve covered everything."
"Good. I’m taking the phone off the hook, and turning the cellphones off. For the next twenty-four hours, Daniel and I are unavailable."
"What if you get a download?" Jack asked.
"I’m ignoring it," was the immediate response.
The older man smiled. "Sounds like a good idea. I think the universe can get by without us for twenty-four measly hours."
"Amen," Daniel said.
The two couples, both arm in arm, boarded the bus that would take them to the parking lot...their vehicles...and home. At last, the long, horrible day truly was over.
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