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Dead Men Tell No Tales
Kinsey nearly roared with anger when neither Senator Brighton nor Senator Tobin would accept his calls. A message from his assistant had alerted him to the fact that they had switched their support from one of his bills, and were now backing a very popular senator against him. Further investigation led him to the discovery that the two had been very busy covering their tracks, and very obviously distancing themselves from him. Why? What had panicked them? It couldn't have been Shepperd, that do-gooder pain-in-the-ass didn't know what was going on. He began to go through the list of his 'loyal' employees. Had one of them turned on him? The thought that the seer of the SGC had warned the two politicians of impending trouble never crossed his mind.
He was still seething when he climbed aboard his private Lear Jet. It had only returned from the first round trip just a few minutes prior to his call to get it ready to leave again. Just before the pilot alerted him to takeoff, he tried contacting his…employees…at the ranch house in Wyoming. There was no answer. His anger intensified. If those idiots were doing anything to those women…he smiled viciously…he didn't give a damn what those men did with Casey Jackson when he was finished with her. And the doctors interested in Cassandra Fraiser's abilities had him informed him that, unfortunately, they would have to conduct an autopsy on her brain to fully understand the differences. He didn't give a damn about that either. But the results of all of the…tests…that would be run on the alien and the seer would enable them to understand more about how those particular...talents...worked in the human brain. Research that leaders from other countries were also interested in. Interested in to the tune of millions of dollars. He frowned slightly. Decided that making a quick stop in Miami would be in his best interest. No doubt it would take several hours to have everything in place, but his sense of self-preservation insisted that he have a backup plan…just in case. Kinsey picked up the handset of the phone beside him. Relayed his instructions to the pilot. Listened as that man contacted the flight tower with the amended flight plan.
Satisfied that all was going as it should, the senator sat back in his seat. He would finally be able to get rid of the simpering bitch he had been married to for almost thirty years. He would no longer need her family connections, the approval of her overbearing father, that damned holier-than-thou younger brother. It had been a joy to attach the rider to the bill that would have offered grants to small clinics in several lowly populated western states that guaranteed its failure. He had made all of the expected noises about trying to push the bill through again, even as his brother-in-law had been forced to close his clinic. Which provided the perfect location for the geneticists who had been interested in Kinsey's proposals to perform their…tests. The equipment was on its way to the clinic even now. He had sent his brother-in-law on a cruise, telling him that he had earned it, and that hopefully when he returned, the clinic could once again be opened. The closure of those clinics had also afforded him ammunition to use against those senators who had voted against the bill. Anything to keep himself appearing as the every-day working man's hero. Like he actually gave a damn about the fools, the unwashed masses that were constantly whining for something.
The plans had already been set into motion. It would appear that he had been assassinated. One Colonel Jack O'Neill would go down for that, thanks to alien technology that he had…liberated…from Area 51. That was the final crowning glory of his plan. He closed his eyes. Thought about Casey Jackson. She was a very beautiful woman. And, seer or not, she was human. All he had to do was provide the right…incentive, and he could keep her around as long as he wanted her. Sexual fantasies filled his head…images of her with other women, with young men…all of them willing to do whatever he demanded of them, just as long as he kept their supply of drugs coming at regular intervals. He shifted when he became aroused. The young woman who served as the flight attendant on his jet smiled at him. He nodded. He'd have to get rid of this one. She was starting to become demanding. She knelt down in front of the senator and unzipped his pants.
A A A A A A
The Senate Oversight Committee convened, the members of SG-1, sans Casey Jackson, sitting before them once again. More questions were asked. This time, however, the questions concerned needed equipment and personnel. When Senator Shepperd banged the gavel, Stargate Command had the budget they needed to continue operations for another two years. And the promise that the program would continue to receive the funding required. Like all promises made in DC, it wasn't worth anything, but it was pleasant to hear, especially after the hassle of dealing with Robert Kinsey, and fighting for every cent they'd managed to get.
The senators insisted on shaking the hands of the 'heroes' of the SGC, and each of them assured Daniel that anything that they could do to help locate his missing wife need only be asked. It had been difficult to remain civil, he wanted to get away from the politicians. He always felt like he needed a hot shower after dealing with them.
"They're like a damned school of sharks," the young archaeologist complained in the cab as the team headed back to the hotel.
Jack grinned. "Yeah, they are, aren't they? Hey, this is an election year. They're all posturing for the cameras. Some of them are going to use this to fight for stricter gun controls. Others are going to argue that this is proof that taking the guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens leaves only the bad guys armed. All of them are going to manipulate it to help them push their agendas."
Daniel rolled his eyes. "And in the meantime, my Wife is in danger," he retorted.
"Yeah, well, to politicians, the victim is expendable. It's the event, the situation, that the media feed off of, and that the pols keep going. It's all about control, Danny boy."
"Yeah, I know. And the wrong damned people are in control, if you ask me!"
"Couldn't agree more," Jack replied.
A A A A A A
General Hammond had left word that all of them were expected at Bolling Air Force Base by two p.m. The team had lunch together, Janet opting to have lunch in her room with Major Davis. Daniel was packing his bag, and Casey's, when the phone rang. "Yes?"
"Doctor Jackson?" The voice was female…harsh…that of an older woman.
"I'm Helen Webster. Where's my little girl?"
Daniel's smile was grim, and cold. This was the chance he had been waiting for. "I have no idea. She's been kidnapped." And you damned well know that, he thought to himself, or you wouldn't be calling me!
"Well, what are you doing to find her?" the woman demanded.
"Everything that I can. I don't see why you should be concerned. You haven't spoken to her in over ten years."
"I know, Doctor Jackson, and it just breaks my heart. She went to college, got her head filled with who knows what kind of ideas, and just deserted us. Deserted her family!" The woman sniffed, blew her nose loudly. "I'm just so worried about her!"
"Worried about her like you were when she cut her finger when she was six years old and should have been taken to the emergency room for stitches? Worried about her like you were when you took her to the doctor who molested her, every week for months at a time? Like all of the nights that you worried about her when she left the house after having put up with enough of your abuse, then coming home and sleeping in the garage because you had locked all of the doors and windows? Is that how worried you are about her?" Daniel spat.
The woman gasped. "I don't know what she told you, Doctor Jackson, but I can assure you that she was well cared for. She had a roof over her head, and food to eat, and clothes to wear. She was a difficult child, and turned into a wild, out-of-control teenager!"
Daniel snorted with disgust. "Yeah, she had so much food to eat that her stomach isn't the size it should be, because she was starved as a child. She told me about the horrible names you called her. Did you know she was a virgin when I met her? Did you know that I'm the only man my Wife has ever made love to? Do you have any idea what a sweet, beautiful, talented woman she is?" He cursed himself silently. His anger was in full control, and he was saying far more than he'd ever intended.
"Listen to me, and listen well," he said, his voice full of anger, and warning. "If you go to the media, I'll make damned sure they know what Doctor Hayling did to her. I'll see to it that you're charged with child molestation. If you attempt to contact her, I'll see to it that your life is a living hell. Do we understand each other?"
"How dare you!" Helen hissed. Not since she had been a teenager had anyone stood up to her! Not even her husband!
"I dare, because I will not let you hurt her. Not any more. You nearly destroyed her. But she's strong. Casey's a survivor. And I’m taking care of her now. I dare, because I love her. That's a concept of which you have absolutely no acquaintance!" He slammed the receiver back onto the base. Smiled contentedly. He would have preferred to have done that face to face. He picked up the phone, dialed Jack's room, and told him what had happened. Jack promised him that if they caught wind of the woman going to the local media, that he would accompany Daniel to Tacoma. He so hoped that the bitch would do just that. It had been his experience, however, that the biggest bullies were also the biggest cowards.
A A A A A A
Casey sat down on the ground. Glanced around as the sun beat down on them. "How are you doing?"
"I don't think I've ever walked this much in my life," Cassie moaned.
She couldn't help but grin. "Well, we normally don't do fifty mile hikes, but we've done twenty before. And that's carrying full packs!"
Cassie moaned again and dropped onto her back. "Why can't we just go home? Or go to the nearest police station and let them know who we are?"
"Cassie, we have to get the guy who ordered all of this. To do that, we have to give Daniel and the team, and your mother, time to gather evidence against him. As long as we're…missing…they can do that," she explained gently. "If they don't shut Kinsey down, he'll try again."
The teenager shivered. She didn't need to be told that if there was a next time, they wouldn't be so lucky, wouldn't be able to escape.
"Ready to go on?"
"No, but I don't have much choice, do I?"
Casey grinned. "Nope." She started walking. Began to sing her favorite hip-hop song. Soon had Cassie singing with her.
A A A A A A
Harry moved cautiously through the house. Several things had been disturbed, he could see the marks in the light covering of dust. One of the beds was still mussed, one of the two kidnapped women had been held here. He was assuming it was Casey Jackson, he thought he could smell just the hint of a sweet perfume lingering in the air, a woman's perfume.
A glance through the mail stacked on the desk let him know that he had been right about the nearby clinic. That was, without a doubt, where everyone was right now. He cut through the field between the house and the building that had once been the only clinic for fifty miles in any given direction.
The absence of any vehicles made him nervous. Fresh tire tracks marred the dirt. It looked as if whatever had made the tracks had left in a hurry. The clinic was unlocked. A horrible, familiar odor assailed him as he stepped inside the warm room. He walked past the front desk. Pushed open the door to what had been an examination room. It was empty. The next room was as well. He put the back of his hand to his face when he opened the door to a small operating room.
It was obvious the man had been dead for some time. The blood on the floor was beginning to dry. There were several footprints that tracked blood to the exit. Harry hurried back to one of the exam rooms. Found what he was looking for. Put the paper slippers over his shoes. Went back into the operating room.
If he had to guess, he'd say that one of the two prisoners had killed the man. The others, two men and a woman, from the size and shape of the bloody shoeprints, had discovered the body.
He frowned. Did this mean that a second group had taken Casey Jackson and Cassandra Fraiser? Or had they managed to free themselves? He was aware of the fact that Casey Jackson was a seer, and that she was a member of SG-1. She wouldn't be on that team if she couldn't defend herself. More than likely she had managed to get free. Maybe her guards had left her in the house alone, believing her unable to escape. She'd done just that, made her way here, killed this man, and freed the teenager.
Harry frowned, shook his head. No way, the body would have been in the reception area…unless he was in here…maybe she'd stopped him from raping the young alien woman? Well, it didn't matter how the guy had been killed. The fact was he was dead. Putting surgical gloves on his hands, the former NID agent placed a business card in the man's wallet, tucked it back in the pants that were obviously not zipped or fastened. Yep, rape had been on this man's mind before he died, Harry thought. It wasn't that he hadn't done such things. He had. Rape was an especially useful…tool. A form of torture. Most efficient when the woman being raped was screaming and crying as she was taken in front of her lover or husband. Or father. Or brother, whatever the case might be. He had managed to get a great deal of information that way. Not to mention getting his rocks off as the young woman, not more than a teenager herself, had fought and struggled beneath him.
He carefully rolled the victim slightly. Managed to wipe any fingerprints from the handle of the scalpel. Gently lowered the body back to the exact position it had been in. Only a carefully trained forensics investigator would be able to tell that the body had been disturbed. He didn't think that there were any such men…or women, in this particular part of the country. More than likely pictures would be taken, the body hauled to the nearest mortuary, and any experts brought in after the fact would be able to detect nothing from photos. And assumptions would be made; that whoever had moved the man belonged to one of those sets of footprints. He, and whichever of the prisoners had killed this poor bastard, would never be suspected.
The trek back to the house was done on the road, it was much faster than maneuvering through that field. He opened his laptop, made a connection. Learned from a simple message that the two kidnapped women were indeed on the run. Jack had trusted him once before. Harry hated to admit to any sentimentality. Sentiment - emotions - could get a man killed. But it had meant a lot to him that Jack O'Neill had trusted him. That had been obvious when Jack had left that message for him when Major Carter had been kidnapped. Harry shook his head. That kidnapping had occurred about this time last year! He certainly hoped that a pattern wasn't being established! As much as it pained him to admit it, he admired the members of SG-1. They were truly the 'good guys'.
It wouldn't take much to find the women. He would make certain that they weren't…bothered. He could follow, assure that they were able to flee to safety. Even if Jack and the rest of SG-1 never knew that he had done so. It would be enough to know that he had done something truly…respectable.
He left the house as he had found it. Drove slowly, watching for signs of two women on foot. Frowned when the memory of two young men diving into the ditch moved across his brain. He grinned. Casey Jackson was one smart little cookie. Whistling as he drove, he watched the sides and ditches of the road.
A A A A A A
Daniel settled onto into his seat. Couldn't help but glance at the empty seat beside him. Where she should be. Closed his eyes, leaned his head back. Green eyes and that warm, beautiful, sexy smile filled his mind. He could smell her, taste her. Feel her satiny skin beneath his fingertips. He was tired. He hadn't had much sleep. Probably wouldn't sleep well tonight either. Wouldn't sleep, wouldn't rest, until she was safe and sound and in his arms once again.
"Daniel, do you mind if I sit with you?" a soft voice asked.
He opened his eyes, looked up into troubled brown ones. "Not at all," he replied softly. Held tightly to Janet's hand when she was sitting beside him.
"I want you to come to the infirmary with me as soon as we land," she said softly.
The young archaeologist nodded his understanding. He was accustomed to making love with Casey every day. Sometimes more than once a day. Since her second shot of Depo-Provera, the birth control she was taking, her periods had stopped altogether. Not that either of them were complaining. The few months she'd been with him, and had her period, she suffered with cramping. He'd always rubbed her tummy and abdomen for her, held her close. Hating the fact that she was in pain, and that he was helpless to do anything to stop it. But because of the freedom from those periods, he'd been doing his best to 'overdose' himself on her sweet pheromones. He couldn't hold back the smile that flickered over his face.
"Sam told me that you made Jack wait twice to leave on missions, just to make sure you got your…um…fix," Janet whispered, having seen the smile, and knowing what it had been about.
The smile widened. "Hey, have to do what I have to do, to keep from going into withdrawal."
"Daniel, you're just bad," Janet giggled.
"That's not what Casey says," he replied.
The small woman giggled again. The smile faded quickly. "They're really okay?"
"They're really okay," Daniel assured the petite doctor. "I don't know why she's remaining hidden. She's 'seen' something, I'm sure. Until she knows it's safe, she and Cassie will stay…out of sight."
"We didn’t make it easy for them, calling that press conference, getting the FBI involved."
"General Hammond has already talked to the president about our suspicions. By now the FBI know as well. The FBI is involved all right, but they're not looking for Casey and Cassie. Not exactly," Daniel told her.
"This could cause quite a stir," Janet warned.
"I know. I read what Harry gave Jack. This could bring down half of the Senate and at least two dozen House members. I'm sure by now they're all scrambling like hell to distance themselves from Kinsey. When Brighton and Tobin seemed to 'turn' on him, I'm sure it caused alarm bells to ring all over DC. Kinsey's going down. And we'll keep him down," the young man swore softly.
"Danny? Check your messages," Jack said, frowning at his own cell phone.
The firm line of the man's mouth gave Daniel all the information he needed. Whatever it was, it was bad. Three messages, all from the Tacoma News Tribune. That fucking bitch! "Should I call them?"
"Hell yes! Tell them everything, Daniel. Don't leave anything out. And be sure to mention that doctor by name. I'd like to see something done about that," the older man replied.
With a nod, Daniel dialed his cell phone. "Yes, this is Doctor Jackson. I'm returning a phone call from Melody Wheaton. Sure, I'll hold." He looked at Janet and rolled his eyes.
A few minutes later a breathless voice answered the phone. "Doctor Daniel Jackson? Disgraced archaeologist?"
Daniel winced. "Yeah, that would be me."
"I'm calling about your missing wife."
"I'm not surprised."
"I spoke to your wife's mother, Doctor Jackson. The woman called me, totally distraught, and told me that she didn't believe that you're doing enough to find her daughter, and that she suspected that you might possibly have something to do with her disappearance," the reporter said, her tone condescending, accusatory.
"I can assure you that everything that can be done is being done. I have to trust the authorities right now, let them do their job. Why would I want to harm the woman that means everything to me? Let me tell you about my Wife, Ms. Wheaton." Daniel launched into a description of Casey, listing every beautiful, amazing thing about her, then pointing out that her adoptive 'mother' didn't even have a current photograph, certainly hadn't known her daughter was married, had wanted nothing to do with Casey for over ten years.
Melody Wheaton admitted that upon visiting the Webster home, she had noticed that there were only pictures of the younger daughter, who had also been present for the interview, crying about her missing sister. When Daniel told the reporter about the sexual abuse, and that it had been confirmed by another doctor, the woman had fired questions at him about the place, the doctor's name, the approximate time the abuse had occurred.
By the time he closed his phone, he had the promise of Melody Wheaton to find out all she could about Dr. Charles Hayling and what part, if any, Helen Webster had played in the events. She also promised Daniel that for the time being, she would see to it that the local news downplayed or totally eliminated any connection between his wife and Helen and Frank Webster, and their adopted daughter Sheryl.
"That's our Space Monkey," Jack grinned, listening to Daniel explain what had been promised.
"Now I understand how you manage to get all of those treaties," Janet teased him gently.
A A A A A A
It was nearly six p.m. when the team arrived at Peterson. Daniel and Janet went to the base, where she gave him a shot of the Hathor-gene serum. Sent two vials home with him; knowing that he would leave immediately upon hearing word from Casey, and that a stop at the base wouldn't be on the top of his 'to-do' list at that moment.
When he opened the door, her absence struck him in the heart. This time, however, her things were all in place. He put her suitcase on the floor beside his. Ran his hand over the silk robe than hung on the bathroom door beside his.
A note from their feisty neighbor was waiting on the back door, telling him that the roses had been watered, and that the mail that had arrived during their absence was on the table. He smiled. Emma Hanks was in her eighties, and was the best neighbor they could have asked for. She had attended their 4th of July party, and had kept the entire group of guests in stitches listening to her stories of life during the Depression, and her own adventures as a young woman. It had been even funnier to learn that she knew Harriet Trumball, his former neighbor, and the woman who had driven him crazy with her efforts to fix him up with one of her nieces. Emma had declared the woman a nosy old battleaxe, and promised to tell her how happy he and Casey were every time the two women met at the Senior Center. He didn't have any doubts that she did exactly that. He probably shouldn't take such delight in the knowledge, but he did.
He started a pot of coffee. Glanced through the mail. Grinned when he opened the credit card bill. Casey had gone to the mall with Sam and Janet while he had been off world at a diplomatic meeting. He'd noticed the new towels and throw rugs. But hadn't said anything about them. She'd spent enough at Bed&Bath that he was certain every towel in the linen closet had to be brand new. It was about time she understood that she could get what she wanted!
When the phone rang, he jumped with surprise. "Hello?"
"Houston Chronicle. Watch the personal ads for the day and time. We'll meet for a drink."
He didn't recognize the voice. It was feminine. Older. But he understood the message.
A A A A A A
Casey smiled at the waitress. "Thank you. Please, this is so important…if anyone should ask if you've seen us, you haven't."
"Don't worry, honey. I know just what pain-in-the-rear end over protective, possessive fathers can be."
Cassie looked sideways at Casey, then took the young seer's hand. "I won't let him touch me again! I'll cut it off first!"
The waitress gasped, her eyes wide and focused on the teenager. Casey barely bit back her own gasp of surprise, then fought the smile that threatened to spread across her face.
"I promise, sis, it won't happen…again."
The older woman stood ramrod straight. "That bastard better not walk in here, or I'll take care of that little job for you!"
For one minute Casey hoped fervently that Kinsey would walk into the diner and demand to know if anyone had seen them. Would love to be a fly on the wall if he did!
"You just wait here. I'm going to get you a ride."
"No!" Casey said, grabbing at the woman's hand. "We can't risk anyone recognizing us!"
"Honey, all these guys need to know is that you and your little sister have been abused by your daddy. They'll keep you moving, he'll never be able to find you, and not one of them will breathe a word," the waitress assured her.
She pulled her lip between her teeth. It would be much easier to accept a ride, rather than trying to steal a car. Which could get them in a hell of a lot of trouble, especially if they got caught during the attempt.
Cassie tugged her hand. "I'm so tired of walking," she whispered.
With a sigh, Casey slowly nodded.
The waitress patted each of them on the arm, went to the counter where several truck drivers sat drinking coffee and talking. She spoke quietly with two of them, then led the men to where the young women were sitting.
"Betty tells us you need a ride to Houston," the older of the two men said quietly.
"Yes, sir," Casey replied, pulling the Stetson low, trying not to look at the man too carefully, nor allow him to see much of her face.
Cassie had a bruise on her jaw, neither woman sure what had happened. Casey assumed that the teenager had started coming around before their kidnappers were ready for her to wake up. She moved closer to Casey instinctively, the strangers…the men...frightening her. She'd never been in a situation like this, where the comfort and aid of the people who had become her family wasn't readily available.
"It's okay, honey, nobody is going to hurt you any more," the man said gently.
"Grandma Rose is in Houston," Casey said, silently begging her grandmother's forgiveness for the lie. Certain that her beloved grandmother would understand.
"Well, we'll get you there."
"My truck is the red reefer, over there by the pumps. See it?"
Thankfully it was the only red truck in the parking lot at the moment. "Yes."
"Well, you two just crawl on into the sleeper. I'll be out shortly," the driver told her.
"Thank you," Casey said, her gratitude sincere.
"You betcha. Now scoot on outta here. Don't let anyone see you. If nobody knows you've been here, they won't be putting up any road blocks," the trucker said.
The waitress, Betty, pushed a white paper bag into Casey's hand. "You'll get hungry later," she said softly.
"I don't-" Casey started to object.
"Already paid for, honey," the waitress said. "Now you just go on and do what Dutch told you. I'll be praying for you and your sister."
Casey and Cassie slipped out the door. Headed toward the road as if they were going to continue walking. Managed to hide behind another eighteen-wheeler, and then climbed into 'Dutch's' truck.
"That was the biggest line of bunk I've ever heard in my life," Cassie giggled, flopping back onto the bed that filled the sleeper section of the truck cab.
"Hey, don't blame me for all of it, Little Miss 'Don't-let-him-touch-me-again'!" The two dissolved into giggles. "When we get to Houston, I'll put an ad in the paper. Daniel will probably be there before we are."
"Won't the police be watching him?"
"Wow, I hadn't thought of that," Casey admitted. "Daniel is a brilliant man. He'll think of something."
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