<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
Descent Into Hell
Daniel picked himself up, brushed the dust off his pants and shoulders. Desert. Twin suns. Lovely. They’d better be able to get the hell off this rock in the next few minutes, or they risked being cooked to death.
"We will go to Master Bra’tac. He will notify the Tok’ra, alert them of your escape,"one of the Jaffa said.
This group was convinced that Rihat was a Tok’ra. No way to explain what was happening without revealing his Immortality. He tried to keep his movements casual as he adjusted the scarf around his neck, making certain the collar that held the voice modulating device hadn’t become exposed. "That will be acceptable."
He had to smile when the Jaffa surrounded the DHD, effectively pushing him away from it and hiding what they were doing. He supposed that they either didn’t realize that he’d see the symbols when the chevrons lit up, or it was merely a symbolic way to let him know that where the Free Jaffa were hiding wasn’t something they were willing to share with the Tok'ra. He wasn’t offended, and to be honest, he’d have probably done something similar if he was dialing the Alpha or Beta site. Particularly the Beta site.
A quick stop to say hello to Bra’tac, a trip to the Tok’ra base to explain to Jacob that the Free Jaffa thought Rihat was a Tok’ra, and hopefully get a bit of backing for that little white lie, and home. He was tired. Exhausted, actually. Needed a cup of coffee or two or ten. And...as much as he hated to admit it, seeing the clone in that dress had made him think about harems and dances and Casey, and how she looked when she danced for him. Those memories, while they had been hidden, were accessible to him. Which might not have been such a good thing at that moment. Because now that the danger had passed, and he was safely on his way home, those thoughts had him horny as hell. He wanted coffee, sleep, and Casey. And not necessarily in that order.
He kept his back to the Stargate, waiting until he heard the familiar ‘whoosh’ that accompanied the opening of the event horizon. Turned and followed the Jaffa through, keeping his eyes on the man in front of him. He wasn’t certain, but he thought that he saw nods of approval from the warriors beside him. It wasn’t his intention to better the relations between the Free Jaffa and the Tok’ra. If the small act did go toward aiding the relationship between the two groups, then he could consider it his good deed for the day.
A A A A A A
It had taken time...they’d had to check every freaking room on the third level. But they found the lab. There was no doubt in any of their minds that this was where the clone had been created. The tube had to be the same thing that had been in the mission reports when SG-1 and SG-3 had taken out Anubis’ hidden lab. It was horizontal though, rather than vertical. A console with a computer terminal was situated in the center of the room. A bed-like apparatus sat nearby.
"Colonel wants this place in little pieces. Childers, plant charges on those consoles," Anderson said softly. "Dobson, Major Carter said to put a couple of charges in the ventilation shaft. Can you get in there?"
"It’s gonna be tight as tick on a dog’s ear," the southerner drawled, examining the access shaft, "but I reckon I can get in there."
"Do it." The major glanced at Jonas. The man was thin and wiry. "Quinn, go with Dobson. Baker, keep an eye on that door."
The men scattered to carry out their tasks. Anderson placed a charge on the control panel of the tube. The more pieces they could make out of this place, the better.
In just a matter of three minutes all of the charges had been put into place. Dobson and Jonas slipped back into the room, grabbing the P90’s they’d been forced to set down in order to fit into the confined space of the shaft.
"Let’s get the hell out of here," Anderson whispered, when the two men slid out of the crawl space.
"What about that clone, sir?" Childers asked.
"We’ll take a quick look around. The other teams are aware she’s here, they’ll be looking for her, too," Anderson replied.
Running back the way they had come, keeping close to the support beams that offered concealment should they need to hide, they were nearly to the intersection of corridors where they had met the clone. The ship once again shuddered, throwing them to the floor.
"That can’t be good," Lieutenant Baker hissed.
"Nope, not likely," the major agreed.
"Look!" Jonas said.
On the floor beside him, was a large bloodstain. They had no idea who had been hurt, or killed, in that spot. When the ship shook around them again, the groan of support beams under stress pulling their attention upward, the major made the tough decision. "Get close. Childers, send the signal."
"But-" Jonas protested.
"No time, Quinn. We get off this thing now, or we’re not getting off," Anderson replied. "Send the damned signal!"
Dobson and Childers held tightly to the devices. Their teammates placed hands on their shoulders, all of the men standing in a tight circle. In a flash of light, SG-12 disappeared...just seconds before one of the support beams broke free, and crashed into the support beams on the opposite side of the corridor. It took out the wall of another room, one which didn’t have a doorway into the corridor, one very like the lab that had been marked for destruction. Not even the Jaffa who patrolled the ha’tak knew that it existed. Its existence was known only to three people...access gained through a cleverly disguised wall panel in the adjoining lab. The room wasn’t empty.
The occupant looked around warily. With purpose in every movement, the man climbed through the rubble, and hurried toward the elevator. His hand slapped the button that would take him to the second level. And a waiting escape pod.
Seconds later a group of Jaffa guiding a sarcophagus headed toward the hangar bay, and the special shuttlecraft that waited there.
Mitchell drummed his fingers against the arm rest of his chair. "How many teams are we waiting for?"
"Two sir," was the immediate reply. "SG-1 and SG-12."
The bridge crew continued to watch the battle that raged. Ba’al’s flagship had been surrounded and protected by twelve other ships, his fleet, Mitchell supposed. But four of those ships had been destroyed, and two of the attacking ships had moved closer. The gigantic ha’tak was taking some major hits, and he could see that the damage was beginning to cause fires; flames were raging in the exposed interior of the ship.
"Sir, SG-12 just signaled. They’re being beamed aboard."
"Good." He sat forward, elbows on his knees, fists beneath his chin. Come on, he thought. Sat back, flabbergasted, when the Daedalus took a hit. "What the hell was that?"
"It was a random miss, sir. Just happened to catch us," the weapons officer said.
"Was the Daedalus exposed?"
"Probably...the hit would have exposed us for the time it took the shields to absorb the energy."
"Let’s hope they didn’t see us," the colonel said. He could feel the muscles in his back begin to knot. The crew and ship were poised at the edge of a battlefield. And could possibly be pulled into a fight they didn’t have snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Especially if all of those ships out there turned undivided attention toward the Daedalus. "All weapons ready to fire on my order. Get the 302’s ready for launch."
He barely heard his orders being repeated and carried out. One of the Goa’uld ships was slowly moving toward him. "Get SG-1 onboard now!"
"Now, lieutenant. If that ship fires on us, we return fire."
Casey shook her head. "Something’s wrong."
Jack pulled himself back to his feet after being tossed to the floor, along with the rest of the team, as a result of the last hit the ship had taken. "Ya think?"
"As much as I want to find her, and find Gemeti-" Casey started.
At that moment a slight figure dashed into the corridor, nearly smashing into Teal’c. Brown eyes went wide first with astonishment, then filled with fear.
"Gemeti! We’ve been looking for you. The clone...er...the other woman who looks like me, where is she?"Casey asked, reaching out and taking hold of the woman’s arm. Could feel the slave trembling.
"She is dead. The Jaffa killed her...and they killed Lord Ba’al as well. Although his loyal Jaffa have put him into his sarcophagus,"was the quavering reply.
"Sam, let the Daedalus-" Jack started.
A flash of white light, and the five people disappeared. Another explosion, and a fireball raced through the passageway.
Jack glanced around. "Everyone accounted for?" he asked immediately.
"Yes, sir. All teams are on board," the tech replied.
"Good thing you decided that each of us should have our own transmitters," Sam said, shaking herself slightly from the sudden and unexpected transfer.
"Experience," Jack retorted, tossing her a crooked grin. Which faded when the ship shuddered. "Oh, hell. That is not good!"
As one, the members of SG-1 darted for the door. "Take care of her," Casey called over her shoulder, pointing to the slave, who stood shaking with fear.
"Return fire!" Mitchell ordered.
The massive cannons of the Daedalus roared to life, spitting a deadly response toward the advancing al’kesh.
"Arm all missiles. I want firing coordinates five minutes ago!"
"Aye, sir," the helmsman replied. The ship immediately rolled to one side, narrowly avoiding the blast that had been aimed at them.
The members of SG-1 grabbed for handholds as they stumbled onto the bridge. "What happened?" Jack asked.
"Stray shot exposed us," Mitchell replied, not taking his eyes from the window in front of him.
"Get us the hell out of here."
"Getting the hell out," Mitchell grinned.
"Can’t we shoot them just a little bit?" Casey asked, watching as the Goa’uld ships continued to attack one another.
"I have firing solutions for all missiles," the weapons officer called out.
Mitchell glanced over his shoulder at Jack. Raised an eyebrow.
"Don’tcha think it would be a good idea to let the snakes know we can whip their asses?" Jack asked, an expression of innocence on his face.
"A very important lesson for them to learn," Mitchell grinned. "Fire all missiles. I want hyperdrives online, and jump coordinates."
"Hyperdrives online in twenty seconds."
"I have coordinates," the helmsman said just a scant second later.
Everyone on the bridge watched as the missiles from the Daedalus closed in on the approaching ship. Two were destroyed by weapons fire from the al’kesh. Three impacted too low to do much damage. The others, however, hit the target dead center, exploding on impact, and cutting the Goa’uld ship into pieces.
Ba’al’s huge pyramid ship was beginning to move away from the planet. "Think we should stop him, boss?" Casey asked.
"Yep," Jack replied. He pulled the detonator from his pocket. Flipped open the safety shield, and pressed his thumb against the rocker switch, pushing it down.
The bright light of dozens of explosions illuminating the surrounding area had them covering their eyes until the flare had died down.
"Ka-boom," Casey said softly.
"We’ve scanned the planet below," Mitchell said. "There are at least a thousand people down there."
Jack shook his head. "And I’m betting that most of them are slaves."
"The city remains unfinished. Unless there is some intrinsic value to the planet itself, I do not believe that the other Goa’uld will bother to take it," Teal’c said quietly. "It will be of far greater value to leave it as it is...the remnants of what Ba’al had tried, and failed, to achieve."
"If he was in his sarcophagus, he didn’t make it off that thing," Jack mused.
In the heat of the battle, no one noticed the shuttle that shimmered for just a moment, before disappearing. Nor was anyone aware that a single escape pod avoided detection, heading in the direction of the planet that turned slowly beneath the gathered ships. The occupant seethed silently. He would exact his revenge for this day!
A A A A A A
Daniel found himself surrounded by Jaffa. Who were pointing staff weapons at him. Weapons that were charged and ready to fire. One shot would blow his head off! Didn’t it figure, just when things were starting to go right, something happened to screw it all up again!
Free Jaffa had no use for Goa’uld, and Tok’ra were far too closely related for the majority of former slaves. Apparently these guys don’t care about any distinction between the two groups of symbiotes, he thought worriedly. "What is this?" he asked, doing his best to sound offended; hoping that the fact that his knees were starting to knock together wouldn’t be noticed.
"Who are you?"Bra’tac demanded in return.
"I am Rihat...a...er...Tok’ra spy."
"You lie!"Bra’tac declared immediately...and loudly. "Rihat is a Goa’uld in service to Nergal, sent to infiltrate Ba’al’s inner circle of advisors."
"Master, this...man...helped us to escape,"one of Ba’al’s Jaffa insisted.
"So that he could learn our location!"Bra’tac responded harshly.
"If I may...take me to the Tok’ra. If they say that I am not one of their own, then you can do what you will,"Daniel said, hoping this impromptu and possibly foolhardy plan wouldn’t backfire on him.
Bra’tac studied him. "You are in the body of a man I know."
"Daniel Jackson. He is here."
"If you are Tok’ra, as you say, let me speak to him," Bra’tac said.
Oh, shit! Now what? As long as the device was pressed against his throat, he’d sound like a Goa’uld. To move it so he’d sound like himself would mean revealing the device. What a great fuckin’ mess this is! There was no other choice than to let Bra’tac in on the secret. "What he...and I...will say to you is not for the ears of others," Daniel said. "My life...and that of my host...are in your hands. Would I not be killed immediately if I were to attempt an escape?"
Bra’tac gave a sharp nod, then turned and stalked toward a nearby tent. "Wait here," he told his second-in-command, a young Jaffa named Rak’nor. The Jaffa who had helped Teal’c escape Heru-ur, and ultimately death at the hands of Apophis.
Daniel smiled at the young man. He’d had the opportunity to speak with him, thanking him for saving Teal’c’s life. Rak’nor had sought him out later, after learning the ‘history’ between Teal’c and himself; the Jaffa unable to understand how two men who should hate one another could be best friends. Daniel had been certain that the Tau’ri had gained one hell of an ally in Rak’nor that day. He’d had the opportunity over the years to speak with Rak’nor again, and he’d always enjoyed those conversations. This day, however, saw the young Jaffa scowling at him.
Bra’tac led the way into the tent, then whirled to face his ‘guest’. "Let me speak to Daniel Jackson!"
Daniel nodded. Carefully unwound the scarf. Exposed the voice modulating device. And removed it as well. "It’s me, Bra’tac."
Dark eyes widened, then narrowed skeptically. The Jaffa master tapped his finger on the collar. "Teal’c has told me of this device. It is used during the training of your chal’ti."
"The cadets," Daniel smiled, and nodded. "Casey insisted that I had to bring this for the mission we were on."
"I was told that you were taken as a host. My Jaffa witnessed this!"
"Yes, I was," Daniel admitted. Shuddered visibly as the memory of The Taking flashed through his mind.
"The Goa’uld, Rihat, was in the canopic jar. This they knew as well."
"Yep, that was his name."
Bra’tac took a step backwards. "Was?"
"Can we sit down?" Daniel asked. "This has been a damned long day, and what I have to tell you is going to take awhile."
Bra’tac motioned to the rugs and pillows that surrounded a large, round brazier. Made himself comfortable.
"What I tell you can’t be spoken of outside of this tent."
"You have my word, Daniel Jackson. That is, if you are Daniel Jackson,"Bra’tac replied. "If you are not, I will do as I see fit."
It was all he could do to keep from rolling his eyes. Damned suspicious Jaffa! If Bra’tac didn’t believe him, things could get pretty damned...uncomfortable. There were well over a hundred Jaffa out there who hated the Goa’uld as much as he did. And if they were convinced he was lying, he’d be dead before the hour was up! Probably in a very painful way, and likely in little pieces. No coming back from that! He took a deep breath, blew it out slowly. Looked the Jaffa master in the eye. "Right after Casey and I were married, SG-1 went on a mission. It was supposed to be a routine recon. Sam...er...Major Carter...was going to run a few tests to check for naquadah, and I was going to check out the ruins. A lot more than that happened, though." Daniel launched into the story of the cavern, the Beings the team encountered, the tests he endured, and the result for SG-1.
Bra’tac listened, never once interrupting. When Daniel finished speaking, the Jaffa nodded sagely. "I had suspected that something was different," he said. "Teal’c has never been shy around his brethren. But for some time now, he has not allowed anyone to see him as he bathes. I entered his tent one morning, as he was dressing, and he turned away from me. I wasn’t paying attention, but..." The older man closed his eyes. "Now I understand that it wasn’t his actions that have bothered me; rather what I saw, but didn’t realize that I had seen."
"He doesn’t have the pouch for the prim’ta," Daniel replied.
"Solid muscle. All I could see on his chest and stomach, was solid muscle."Bra’tac said, nodding again. "Until this moment, I didn’t remember that. I knew only that Teal’c’s action was unusual. The incident sat in my heart like a burr."
"Since no one can know about this, I really do have to go to the Tok’ra now,"Daniel sighed.
"And how will we explain this to them? Can they be trusted?"Bra’tac asked. The question highlighted the ill-feelings that still persisted between the two groups.
"Jacob Carter and Selmak are aware of our...secret,"Daniel admitted.
"Of course. Major Carter is his daughter."Daniel snorted softly. "Sam, Jack, and I died helping the Tok’ra during an attack. Teal’c took care of us...and he had to explain to Jacob what was going on."
"So, do you know where the Tok’ra are?"
"I know only how to contact them,"Bra’tac responded somewhat reticently.
"That’s perfect! You can ask specifically to meet with Jacob!"Daniel exclaimed, too anxious to get home, too exhausted...although he wouldn’t willingly admit that fact...to fully comprehend what Bra’tac said.
"I will do so. It could be several hours before we receive a reply."
Hours? Several hours? Oh, hell no! He wanted to get home! Now! If Casey thought he was a Goa’uld host, she had to be going out of her mind...he had to get home, to let her know that he was all right!
"You are weary, Daniel Jackson. I can see this in your eyes. Replace the device, so that none of my men suspect, and then sleep. I will wake you when I have heard from the Tok’ra,"Bra’tac said.
He gave a disheartened nod. Carefully put the collar back in place around his neck, and wound the scarf to cover it.
"I will return."Bra’tac rose to his feet, turned at the door of the tent. "I could also send word to the SGC."
"Can you let them know that I’m...er...okay...without your people knowing?"
"Please do. Casey has to be going crazy thinking I’m a Goa’uld host."
Bra’tac frowned. "If she insisted that you carry the device, would she not be aware that you are not a host? Would not her gift of sight allow her to know that you are free from the Goa’uld?"
Daniel’s frown matched that of the Jaffa. He hadn’t thought about that. She was bright...no doubt she’d figured out what had happened. He closed his eyes, grabbing to the hope that she knew that he was snake free, and not slipping into grief-fueled despair. "I hope so," he whispered.
"Sleep, Daniel Jackson. The messages will be sent."
It wasn’t like there was anything else he could do. Unless he wanted to explain his Immortality to those who didn’t already know, he wasn’t going to be able to get near the SGC without some sort of ‘explanation’ for the fact that he was now snake-free. Once again he sent up a prayer thanking the true gods for that miracle.
Pulling the pillow he’d been sitting on beneath his head, Daniel stretched out on the rug. More fatigued than he'd realized, his eyelids began to droop, and within minutes he was snoring softly.
Bra'tac watched from just outside the tent opening. He'd lived a very long life, had seen and experienced many unexplainable things. Sometimes the unexplainable was impossible to accept. Sometimes it was exactly what it appeared to be to an old Jaffa, who had heard far too many lies: carefully constructed webs of falsehoods and fabrications.
Bra’tac sighed softly. Rihat was a Goa’uld. Of that he was certain. He was just as certain the man he had spoken with was Daniel Jackson. What Daniel had told him was difficult to believe. The memory of Teal’c’s broad chest and muscular belly, without the marks of the symbiote pouch, danced in his mind. What other explanation could there be for that? Even more difficult to believe than the Immortality of the people known as SG-1 was that the Goa’uld that had been implanted into the young archaeologist was gone...dead, Daniel claimed.
The old man sighed. He had stayed alive, had seen the birth of the Jaffa rebellion, by remaining vigilant, and not believing those who hadn't earned his trust. What he knew of the circumstances wouldn’t allow him to trust Daniel Jackson in this instance. Friendship of the young Tau’ri, however, would see him contacting the Tok’ra as promised. Bra’tac was aware that the rebel Goa’uld had a process for removing symbiotes from host bodies, when the symbiote wasn’t willing to leave. It was risky, but it was better than a life as a Goa’uld host. He owed Daniel Jackson that much.
A A A A A A
Mitchell stared out the window, watching the streaks of color and light. Part of him wanted to head straight for home. The trained military officer knew that doing so could lead any enemy who might be following...if that was even possible...straight to Earth’s doorstep. He didn’t dare slow down, or stop. Not until he was certain that those Goa’uld ships weren’t hot on his tail.
One of the 'way cool' devices on the Daedalus was a computer that projected a 3-D holographic image of stored maps of space. The navigator for the ship, a young man who looked more like he should be at home playing with his X-Box than charting the course for a space ship, could read the thing as easily as Mitchell could read a simple road map.
Mind made up, Mitchell swung his gaze toward the navigator. "We’re going to drop out of hyperspeed. Just long enough to make certain we weren’t followed. I want five jumps...random, I don’t care where we go. I want the time we travel at hyperspeed to be just as random...between five and ten minutes."
"Yes, sir. It will take me a couple of minutes to calculate," the navigator replied.
"Let’s just take a little break, you can do your calculations, and we can figure out if any of the bad guys are behind us," Mitchell said.
Only the slight vibration that could be felt in the metal plates of the floor, and the view outside of the window...now the dark of space punctuated by millions of bright stars...indicated that the ship had slowed down.
Mitchell glanced over his shoulder, noted that the members of SG-1, who were still standing just inside the door of the bridge, looked as if they were about to fall face first to the floor. "Seems to me y’all should take this chance to grab a nap."
Jack nodded. It could be almost an hour before the jumps were completed. Then they had to head for Earth. And that process could add another thirty minutes or more to their ‘travel time’. "I won’t argue," he said wearily. "C’mon, kids. Let’s get some sleep."
Casey hesitated, watching the navigator for a moment. Daniel was snake-free, she had no doubt of that. But where in the freaking universe he was, she had no idea. And that scared the hell out of her. She was certain she wouldn’t be able to relax, let alone sleep, until she was in his arms.
"Radar, don’t make me pull rank on you," Jack said softly.
"I can’t sleep," she whispered.
"Maybe we should have the doc give you a sedative?"
Green eyes whipped around, noted the sly grin on his face. "That’s just mean, Jack."
"But effective. You’ll at least pretend to lay down and get some rest."
When a yawn overtook her, she gave in. "Fine. I’ll lay down."
Her teammates insisted on escorting her to the quarters she shared with Daniel. Teal’c refused to leave until she’d taken off her boots and actually stretched out on the bed. As soon as the door closed behind him, she had every intention of getting up, and going back to the bridge.
Exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and in spite of her plans, Casey was asleep before the Jaffa had even stepped away from the door.
Beside the door to the quarters he'd been told were assigned to Colonel O’Neill, SG-13’s CO, Colonel Dave Dixon, leaned casually against the wall. At his feet, was the bag that his boys had found as they scoured the section of the ha’tak level assigned to them. They’d found a lot of SGC equipment, as a matter of fact, and had taken great delight in liberating it from Ba’al’s storage room. The contents of this bag, however, were the reason that SG-1 had gone on the mission in the first place. According to Mrs. J, the Doc had managed to escape, and was snake free; which was a good thing. And they, meaning the all of the teams from the SGC who had gone along for the ride, had been free to wreak havoc on the snake’s ship. That puppy blew pretty as you please, Dixon thought, a satisfied smirk on his face. Hopefully the snake had been in residence at the time.
He personally wanted to let Jack O’Neill know that the artifacts that SG-1 had risked their necks for, including the scepter that Balinsky claimed was vital to keep out of Ba’al’s hands, was right where it belonged: in the possession of the good guys. He figured that with all the premier team had been through today, they could use a bit of good news.
"Dix?" Jack asked, when he came around the corner, his arm draped casually around Sam’s shoulders. His grip tightened when she would have moved away. He didn’t give a damn who knew that they loved each other. Hell, everyone seemed to have known it before they had, or so he’d been told by various people he worked with.
"Colonel. Just thought I’d let you know we found some goodies for you." Dixon bent down, grabbed the top of the bag. "I believe this belongs to you."
Sam took the bag, tears forming in her eyes. She recognized the ‘army green’ burlap bag, with the SGC emblem printed on the front.
"Don’t know if it’s all there, you should probably take a look," the colonel continued. "We took everything from that storage room that we could carry. Mostly our stuff, it looked like. How often you been caught by Ba’al, anyway?"
Jack couldn’t help but grin. "Too damned often for my liking."
"Well, we got all the gear back, and a box of stuff that Balinsky said would keep the lab rats happy for awhile."
Sam had opened the bag, and quickly inventoried the contents. She beamed a smile at the two men. "It’s all here. All of it. Including the tablet Daniel was so interested in."
"That means we have it all, right?" Jack asked. "We have all the pieces of that Ancient weapon?"
"We have it all," Sam confirmed, nodding her head. "Thanks, colonel. Thank your team for us as well."
Dixon ducked his head, then nodded. "Just doing our job, Major."
"Well, Casey will be tickled pink. Especially if we can get these dead ZPMs working again."
"No doubt she’ll send a message to the bastard just to gloat," Dixon grinned.
"If he’s still alive," Jack drawled.
Dixon’s smile went wider. "Little pieces...that’s all that was left of that ship. We could see it from the cargo bay windows when it blew," he explained.
"That was a pretty sight, wasn’t it?" Jack replied.
"Yep. I figure you probably need some rest now." Dixon shoved his hands into his pockets. "Does Mrs. J have any idea where the Doc is?"
"Nope. But you know Daniel. He’ll come waltzing down that ramp with one hell of a story to tell," Jack grinned.
"Damned straight. Probably oughta have the debrief in one of those big conference rooms, so everyone will fit."
"I’ll suggest that to the general."
Dixon started. "Yeah, about that. Think we’ll be arrested when we get back?"
"Nope. Trust me on this one. The general will be proud as hell at what we accomplished today," Jack assured his comrade.
"Sure hope so. Hate to lose the medical I have with the Air Force."
"Stop having so many kids, then you won’t need so much," Jack teased.
Dixon grinned. "Right. Tell that to my wife. She’s already singing the ‘I want another baby blues’. Kaitlin’s walking now. She figures Katie will be ready for preschool by the time the next one arrives."
Sam shook her head. She’d thought about having a family. More so now that she and Jack were able to be together without fear of losing their commissions, and being kicked out of the Air Force for fraternization. But her daydreams consisted of her, Jack, and one child. Two at the most. The Dixons had four kids. She couldn’t fathom having that many kids running around the house. And his wife wanted more? Then again...it might be fun...images of Christmas mornings and birthday parties began to dance in her head. Before her thoughts could move any further down that particular track, she cut them off.
"Birth control that works," Dixon said, almost under his breath. "That’s what I wanna find out here." It was a lament his team had heard many times.
Jack chuckled. "We’ll keep looking."
"Yeah, do that," Dixon said, giving a sheepish grin.
"Go grab some coffee, Dix," Jack said. "The briefing once we get back to the SGC will probably go into overtime."
"No doubt." Dixon gave a sloppy salute, then turned to saunter down the narrow hallway.
Sam picked up the bag of artifacts. "This will make Daniel happy. Casey, too."
"Yep, Radar will be thrilled to know that the stuff we lifted from Ball made it back into our hands."
"As soon as Daniel is home safe, we can mark this day off the calendar," Sam declared quietly.
"I agree with that. C’mon. Let’s get some rest. We’ve sure as hell earned it." He led his lover into the small room and closed the door.
Their heads had barely hit the pillows before they were sound asleep.
A A A A A A
Bra’tac took the communication orb, and settled himself on a large boulder. He could see the encampment; was nearby if he was needed, yet had privacy for the conversation he was about to have.
He waved his hand over the orb to activate it. Turned it over to key in the sequence of symbols that would allow him to connect to the orb owned by Jacob Carter and the Tok’ra, Selmak. Due to their alliances with the Tau’ri, one of the few things the two groups had in common, Jacob had insisted that communication between the two leaders be as reliable as possible. For all that the Tok’ra disliked Goa’uld technology, it was the one thing they were willing to use, in spite of their concerns. It was, Bra’tac supposed, better to use the Devil’s tool than to be unable to contact one another at all, or with communications devices that were limited in range.
"Bra’tac?"Jacob’s face was slightly distorted in the curve of the sphere.
"Jacob Carter, it is good to see you,"Bra’tac replied.
"To what do we owe the pleasure of your call?"
"Daniel Jackson arrived in my camp a short time ago. My Jaffa witnessed The Taking in which he became host to a Goa’uld known as Rihat,"Bra’tac said. He didn’t have time for dancing around the subject. He had a potential Goa’uld spy on his hands, and he wanted the situation dealt with as quickly, and as permanently, as possible.
"We were aware of him being taken as host,"Jacob said. "I’m glad he managed to escape. Ba’al’s flagship was totally destroyed."
"That is good news,"Bra’tac allowed.
"We have no idea if Ba’al was on it at the time,"Jacob reported.
"I was able to speak with Daniel Jackson. He told me a most...fantastic...story. And he claims that the Goa'uld which inhabited his body lives no longer."Bra’tac informed the Tau’ri host.
"I see. And just what was this ‘fantastic story’?"
"It concerned SG-1, a large underground cavern, and Beings he claims were from another level of existence,"Bra’tac replied.
"Did he mention any...changes...to the team after that mission?"Jacob asked cautiously.
"Indeed, he did."
"Well, if he told you, then he had a reason,"Jacob said. "What he told you is true, Bra’tac. I’ve witnessed their return from the dead."
For a moment, Bra’tac allowed this tidbit of information to settle into his brain. "Do you think it possible that the symbiote is dead?"
Jacob closed his eyes. When they opened, a flash of gold light let Bra’tac know that Selmak would be responding. "I believe it possible that the symbiote was unable to gain control of Daniel Jackson’s body," the Tok’ra said. "No doubt that which makes him Immortal prevented the symbiote from being able to fully blend with the host body. There’s also the matter of him being The One. We have no idea what physiological changes were made in his body to grant him the power he possesses."
The old Jaffa Master nodded slowly. "My men, those who were rebels among Ba’al’s Jaffa, believe that the symbiote lives. Daniel Jackson has a voice modulating device. Apparently Casey Jackson insisted that he carry it."
"So Daniel was able to convince them that Rihat is still alive?"
"He was. My Jaffa also believe Rihat to be a Tok’ra agent. Daniel Jackson is convinced that traveling to you, in order for the Tok’ra to be removed, will protect the secret he carries."
"I agree with him," Selmak replied. "I will send you coordinates. I will meet you there. Nothing more need be said about this."
Bra’tac nodded. "I concur."
"Sending coordinates now."
Bra’tac watched the orb, memorized the symbols that flashed, one at a time. "I will be there."
"Give me an hour," Selmak said.
"One hour,"the Jaffa agreed. He waved his hand over the orb once again, and watched as it went dark. He heaved a sigh as relief washed over him. In his heart, he'd wanted desperately to believe the young Tau’ri. To be able to put to rest the unease he’d felt about Teal’c’s atypical behavior. Experience, and far too many disappointments, had prevented him from simply accepting what he’d been told without ‘outside’ verification. He would let General Hammond know that Daniel Jackson was alive and well, and would soon return to his home.
As often happened, Fate intervened. After trying three times to connect with the SGC with no success, he concluded that the Chappa’ai in the secret Tau’ri bunker was in use. Bra’tac determined he would send the message when he and Daniel left to meet with Jacob Carter and Selmak.
A A A A A A
General Hammond watched the clock, pacing a slow circle around the conference table in the briefing room. There had been no word from the Daedalus since the SG teams had walked through the Stargate. The president had called, hoping for some word. All he could tell the CIC was that the teams had reacted as hoped, and had left within half an hour of SG-1’s arrival to garner the help they needed to free Doctor Jackson.
"General Hammond!" Walter Harriman called anxiously. "Sir, incoming message from the Daedalus.
Hammond hurried down the spiral staircase, nearly tripping in his rush to get to the control room.
"This is the Daedalus," a young female voice said. "Mission accomplished. All teams back on board safely. Doctor Jackson had already escaped the Goa’uld ship. No idea of his current whereabouts. Casey Jackson certain that the symbiote is dead. Ba’al’s flagship destroyed. No, repeat, no confirmation on death of Goa’uld."
He closed his eyes. Once again the amazing people under his command had pulled of the impossible. For the moment it didn’t matter if Ba’al was dead or alive. Dead would be better, but without his flagship, and his laboratory of horrors, he wouldn’t be creating Kull warriors any time soon. It was a worry to not know the precise location of Doctor Jackson, but if he had escaped, and was free of the Goa’uld symbiote, there was no doubt he’d be home as soon as he could arrange it. Hammond opened his eyes; nodded at Walter. "Reply that the message was received. All teams to return to the SGC best possible time. You might want to let the teams at the Alpha site know that it’s all over."
"Yes, sir." Walter began to send the messages.
The general turned to look at the military police officers who waited nearby. "With any luck, in an hour or so, you can go back to your duties elsewhere."
The men nodded, but didn’t reply. Even though those left behind had already figured out that more was going on than they’d been told, not one of them had let down their guard. As far as they knew, every man and woman who had walked through the ‘gate, or had taken over the control room, would be facing court martial, and most probably imprisonment. Having heard the message, however, the sacrifice had been worth it. Even if nobody knew exactly where Daniel was.
<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>