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Desperate Acts

Chapter 3

Yi Lin huffed a silent sigh of frustration. It was nearly one a.m., and still the sounds of lovemaking could be heard! He was crouched against the side of the house, between two large rosebushes which continued to annoy him, the thorns on the branches catching the fabric of his black shirt and pants.

There was no choice. He'd wait for thirty minutes after the sighs and moans ended. And then, regardless of the time, and the risk, he'd make his move. He'd just have to hope for the best.

He'd nearly panicked when he'd arrived an hour or so earlier. As he'd done the previous night, he'd slipped up the driveway, and onto the deck at the back of the house. The soft murmur of voices had caused his heart to pound with fear. He'd remained in the shadows, daring to peek around the corner to locate the owners of those voices. The couple had been lying on the deck, on a sleeping bag that had been spread out. Looking at the stars. They were speaking in soft whispers, he was unable to hear exactly what was being said.

It had been a relief when they'd finally risen and gone inside. He'd had enough of a glimpse of the woman to know that she was quite beautiful.

Lin sighed again. If he were married to such a woman, he would be fucking her every night as well, he admitted to himself. Another glance at his watch. One-twenty. He shifted slightly. The soft voice of the woman rose, as if she were singing. The hoarse cry of the man echoed at nearly the same time. Soft murmurs of conversation...and then...silence. He strained to hear...it sounded as if they were settling themselves on the bed. At last!

Checking his watch again, Lin took note of exactly what time it would be when thirty minutes had passed. When he checked again, the allotted amount of time had passed. Confident that the couple was asleep, he moved carefully from his hiding place. Froze in fear when a dog began barking not more than twenty feet from him.

The squeak of a door opening could barely be heard over the growling and snarling that the beast was doing, its nose pressed against the fence that marked the boundary between the two pieces of property.

"Beaverton, hush! Get in here!" a male voice commanded quietly.

The dog paused for a moment, and then growled viciously.

"Beaverton, hush! It's probably just a cat, for pete's sake. Come here!"

With a final yip, letting the trespasser know that he was fully aware of the presence of someone who didn't belong, the dog turned and trotted into the house.

Shaking from the close call, Lin slipped toward the back deck. He'd already chosen to enter the single French door farthest from the garage. There was less of a chance of any light from the house next door exposing him as he worked to pick the lock. The garage of the house on the opposite side prevented any need for worry about that particular neighbor. He'd spent the day prior practicing; unlocking every door on the floor of the hotel where he and his companions had stayed. They'd checked out an hour before the required time, asking directions to the main road that would lead them to Denver. The desk clerk would be certain to remember that, he thought. His smile held no mirth.

He patted his pocket. Could feel the two syringes. Both had been carefully filled before he'd left the car, where his companions waited in the parking lot of a church, three blocks away. The other pocket held his cell phone. Another glance at his watch.

Silently, Lin pulled the small, rolled cloth from the waistband of his black pants. Nimble fingers identified each tool by touch. He selected two. Then gently eased them into the slot made for the key that opened the door.

The lock was different from those of the hotel room doors. He fumbled for several long seconds. Sweat beaded across his forehead. There would be no chance of sedating Dr. Jackson and his wife if he was unable to gain entrance to their home! A minute passed. Then another as Lin struggled with the lock. His hands were beginning to sweat; gripping the tools became difficult.

Forcing himself to calm down, Lin rested the tools against his knee, wiped each hand against his pants in turn, drying them. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and focused on the task at hand. Failure was not acceptable!

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Ares sat on the low couch, brooding. Regardless of the fact that the Daniel he'd nearly - enjoyed - had been the Dr. Daniel Jackson of the Tau'ri group known as SG-1...who were, for all intents and purposes, his enemy...he still shivered when thinking about those blue eyes. The strong, muscular body. The cock that had made his own body go hard with desire.

"Still sulking, I see," Tem said softly. He dropped down beside the dark haired man.

"Hmmph," Ares growled. His Jaffa had borne the brunt of his frustration...the fact that the Tau'ri had gained access to his palace with such ease had him roaring in a fit of temper.

"Perhaps you just need a bit of distraction," Tem said quietly.

Dark eyes studied the man beside him. Tem had always chosen handsome hosts, Ares thought, acknowledging that the body being offered to him...because that was exactly what Tem was doing...was quite pleasing. He reached out slowly, flicked his finger over the tie that held the silk robe together.

It was an old signal, but one that Tem remembered. He stood, untied the belt of the robe, and let both slide to the floor. "So, does what you see please you, Ares?"

He looked the man up and down. "Turn around."

Tem obeyed. As soon as the dark haired man had taken him, the old loyalties would re-emerge in Ares' mind. And then, he'd be able to take advantage of the fleet that Ares owned. And the Jaffa. Warriors who were not mere boys, their training incomplete, their experience nonexistent. With no elders from whom they could learn.

If Tem captured Casey Jackson, took her as his queen...Ares frowned. Ba'al was seeking the woman for the same reason. It would be more to his benefit if Tem had the woman. For one thing, her husband would be certain to try to rescue her. And then...he shivered slightly. Then he could capture Daniel Jackson. And free Thanatos from his imprisonment. It would be...amusing...to watch the woman when she realized that the man she loved no longer existed.

She had a temper, that feisty blonde with the big green eyes. He wouldn't mind sampling that supple body, himself. Ares wondered just how she would react, seeing Thanatos in control of the body she had loved...had risked her life to protect. His gaze moved over the body being offered to him at the moment. Perhaps he 'd keep both of the Tau'ri. The woman, a seer whose talents would be of great value, and the man, the perfect host for Thanatos. No doubt her love for Daniel would make her willing to remain at his side. If her powers as a seer were as great as they were reported to be...

Ares nearly laughed out loud. He'd help Tem capture the Tau'ri. And then he'd kill the useless Goa'uld. He would send out word that those who bowed to him would live. He would destroy those who didn't. And then, he would take the First World. Oh, yes...it would be as glorious as the days he'd spent in Sparta. He'd be the most powerful god in the universe!

Tem looked over his shoulder. Noted the smile of satisfaction on Ares' face. Did his best to hide his smile. Soon, Ares, he thought. Soon you will serve me, swearing your loyalty to me once again. None will ever forget that I am the son of Ra, and that I will rule as even my father could not!

"As I recall, you used to enjoy sucking cock," Ares mused lazily.

"Only yours," Tem replied coyly.

The dark haired man opened his own robe. "Refresh my memory further, Tem. Let me feel once again how well you can give me pleasure."

Tem turned around, sank to his knees. Ran his fingers over Ares' bare feet. Up his shins to his thighs, delighted when the cock nestled against that nest of black hair stirred to life. Gentle pressure from his hands had Ares shifting, spreading his legs farther apart. Tem remembered this body...this scent, and his own body reacted ardently.

"Enough foreplay," Ares growled. He put his hand behind Tem's head, gripped the dark hair, and forced his head down.

The moan that filled the air even as Ares' cock filled his mouth made Tem shiver. One hand went to the shaft of that cock. The other to his own throbbing member. Memories so long ago forgotten rushed forward, nights spent just like this, hidden in the temples along the Nile, stealing forbidden moments together. His ass twitched at the thought that soon his lover would take him, just as he had so many times before.

Ares closed his eyes. Tem had always been able to please him. How many times had he sat in a secret chamber, the young Goa'uld between his thighs, slurping and sucking as he was now? If Ra had ever suspected that his son was such a competent cock sucker, no doubt he would have killed him. Not that Ra was opposed to taking a warrior or a particularly comely young priest on occasion. But Tem preferred men to women. Tem was submissive. And of that, Ra would never have approved.

He could remember the night that Hathor had joined them, taking Tem between her lily-white thighs, the first woman the Goa'uld had ever had. Ares had sank into his hot, tight ass, and the woman beneath them had giggled and moaned with pleasure. Soon after that, Tem had betrayed him.

The memory of Hathor brought a frown to his face. She'd been most...persistent...in joining the two of them as often as possible. A Goa'uld with her own dreams of domination, her schemes were multiple layers of lies and promises and half-truths and betrayals. How she 'd managed to convince Tem that she was trustworthy, Ares would never know.

The warm mouth, the hand that grasped him so tightly, began to push all thought aside. The fingers that had pulled so roughly on the short dark locks began to caress instead. Would that ass be as tight, as hot as that of the first host Tem had taken? Such a handsome boy...smooth olive skin, an ass as beautiful as any woman's..."On your knees, boy, spread your cheeks," Ares said softly. Watched with satisfaction as Tem hurried to obey.

Sliding off of the couch to kneel behind his willing partner, Ares caught sight of movement near one of the pillars. He looked straight into Kinsey's eyes as he pushed into Tem's body. Held them in a cold stare of contempt as he began to thrust.

Kinsey felt cold rage move through him. There was no doubt. Not now. Tem would submit to only those he loved. Trusted. And Ares had managed to worm his way back into his god's good graces.

"Your whore watches, Tem," Ares panted. "Call him forth...let him give you pleasure, while I take you."

Tem looked over at the doorway. "Kinsey! Come!"

He was being called as if he were a dog. That thought made him shudder. No, there was no doubt now. Kinsey realized in that moment he'd been relegated once again to the position of a mere pet. His training had been complete...brutal and unforgettable. He responded without conscious thought, moving beneath the kneeling man, doing what he'd done so many times.

Tem moaned in ecstasy. His lover was taking him once again, after so many millennia. And his most favored pet was doing what he did so well.

Dark eyes watched, hidden in the shadows of the far alcove. It seemed that the mission undertaken by the Tau'ri had been a success. Tem and Ares would remain together, until one of them betrayed the other yet again. That would not happen, however, until both were certain that their individual standing was untouchable. It was time to send a new message to Ba'al, as he'd been instructed. Then he would send his report, and await further instructions. He slipped away, completely unnoticed by the three who grunted and moaned on the far side of the room.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Li Yin was shaking by the time the soft click of the tumblers filled the air. Finally! He glanced around, making certain that no one was near to see, then pulled the small pen light from his tool kit. Made his way through the house to the bedroom. He'd inject the man first, a struggling woman would wake her husband, and the chances of Yin succeeding would be slim to none.

Moving with the stealth of a cat, Yin stopped at the bedroom door. Used the pen light just long enough to see where Dr. Jackson was lying. He grinned to himself. Pulled both of the hypodermic needles from his pocket, flipped the protective covers away with his thumbs, not concerned about the bits of plastic or where they landed.

Lying entwined as they were, it would be possible to inject both at the same time. He took a deep breath. Focused his thoughts. Moved silently across the floor. Taking his time to make certain that his aim was true, Yin hovered beside the bed. Brought his hands down, felt the needles give as they pierced the skin, and pushed the plungers.

Daniel jerked awake, felt something prick his neck. He reached for the lamp, only to have his hand come into contact with something that shouldn't have been there...something that jumped away from his touch.

Casey awakened just as suddenly. Screamed out loud when she made out the figure of a man standing in the room next to the bed. "Daniel!"

"I'm right here, Angel," he replied, reaching for her. He was trying to get out from beneath the sheet that covered their naked bodies, his fingers finally finding and switching on the lamp. He wanted to reach for the nightstand, and the gun in the second drawer. He didn't see any weapons...just...oh christ! Hypodermic needles! That pin prick he had felt had been an injection of some sort!

This wasn't happening! She'd seen the shadows! She'd known something was wrong! She should have insisted on...on what? Why had she allowed Daniel to assure her that everything was all right? She was supposed to protect him! Why in the hell couldn't she have seen something specific? Oh, this was just not happening! Not here, not in her own home! Her eyes stopped on the needles as well, her hand went to her neck. What had that bastard done to them?

Yin watched, realized that neither were dressed. "You will have enough time to dress yourselves before the sedative takes effect," he said. Hoping that what he said was true. It would be more...convenient...if they were able to do so.

"We'll just wait here," Daniel replied, hoping that he could bluff the man into saying something helpful, something useful. Hoping that by refusing to do as he was told, he could push the intruder into moving close enough to hit him. Then he'd take the little bastard out!

"Suit yourself. I will dress you when you are unconscious."

He felt her shiver with revulsion beside him. "Turn around. You can at least offer us a bit of privacy to dress in," he said. He knew that the man would never agree to leave the room.

"I do not believe so, Dr. Jackson," Yin replied. "You will get dressed...now!"

The dark eyes that peered at them from beneath the black hood were cold. Daniel had no doubt that worse things than getting out of the bed bare ass-naked in front of the intruder could happen. "Deep breaths, Angel. Grab your clothes and get dressed," he said softly. He moved slowly, reached for his glasses. No need to clue the bad guys in to the fact that he and his Wife were Immortal.

It was nearly impossible to move, she was so frightened. She pulled the sheet with her, wrapping it around her as best she could, trying to preserve her dignity as much as possible, reaching for the clothes she'd discarded earlier.

Hoping that whatever they'd been given wasn't very strong, Daniel yanked his jeans on over his hips. If he could just get to the nightstand...His shoes! Perfect distraction! He grabbed his sneakers, sat down on the side of the bed, as close to the night stand as he could. He bent over, tying one, then rubbed his shin as if scratching it...

"Ow!" Before his hand was completely against the drawer, it was pinned to the wood drawer face by the intruder's foot.

"You will not try anything so foolish again," Yin threatened. He pulled a stiletto from his toolkit, and reached for Casey. He managed to grab her by the wrist, yanked her closer. "If you do not cooperate, I will insert this blade into your wife's beating heart."

Daniel's blood ran cold. There was no doubt in his mind that this man meant exactly what he said. He raised both hands to shoulder level. "Let her go."

"I think not. She is the key to your obedience." Yin longed to check his watch, but he dared not let his guard down. The sedative was supposed to be nearly instantaneous...why were they still conscious?

Casey cocked her head sideways. Daniel saw the movement, watched her eyelids flutter closed, and the rapid movement of her eyes that always indicated she was 'seeing' something. Information dump. Now is a hell of a time to get one, he grumped silently. "Case, are you all right?" he asked softly when those green eyes blinked open.

"We should just go along for now," she replied. She'd sort through all of the images later, but for the moment, the feeling that doing as they were told would not cause any serious suffering was the strongest that she could recognize.

Okay, she'd seen something. It couldn't be too bad, because the panic that had filled those beautiful depths had lessened. She was still afraid...terrified from what he could see. But not panicked. A fine line of distinction, he realized, but one that he perceived immediately. "Right."

Yin listened. Wondered if he should order them to remain silent. Had anyone heard her scream? Would one of the neighbors call the police? When was that sedative going to affect them?

It hit like a ton of bricks dropping on them. Daniel fell forward onto the floor, Casey collapsed, making it necessary for Yin to grab her to keep her from hitting the floor as well. They were not to be harmed. At least, not by him or his comrades. Any - punishment - required would be meted out by Le Kwan. Who was an expert in inflicting pain.

He put the woman on the bed, took his cell phone from his pocket. "Bring the car. Do not turn on the lights. Back into the driveway."

Within five minutes Dr. Jackson and his wife were bound hand and foot, tape placed over their mouths, and deposited into the trunk of the sedan.

Yin waited until they were on the road out of Silver Springs before making the next call. Accepted the congratulations of a job well done with quiet dignity. Then settled back into the seat and promptly went to sleep.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Le Kwan was fully awake now. Even though he knew that he should return to his sleeping bag, he decided to sit out on the wide veranda, and smoke a cigarette. Li Yin had been successful. The brilliant young archaeologist who had deciphered the secrets of the mysterious 'Stargate' was tucked away in the trunk of a rental car. Which was even now speeding down a highway, on its way here.

He'd rented the house for three weeks. But he was only allowing himself, and Dr. Jackson, three days. If all he had heard about the man was correct, it wouldn't take him any longer than that. To remain on US soil only tempted fate. He and his co-conspirators were operating without the knowledge - or the approval - of their superiors. The plan was to deliver the transcription, along with the weapon, to the Prime Minister, and then divulge the methods used to achieve success.

Carefully crushing out the burning butt, knowing that the dry grass nearby would burn easily and quickly, Kwan returned to the 'work room'. Ran his fingers over the device. Twenty inches tall, and fourteen inches square, the object was covered with hieroglyphs. It was, however, the odd text on two sides that had stumped his own archaeologists for months now. There were energy readings from the device, although they were low. The scientists were convinced that it was simply due to the fact that the weapon was inactive.

He traced three of the glyphs. Power. Strength. Eternity. These were, his experts told him, indications of the scope of the weapon. Never again would China be forced to bow to the demands of other countries. He, and the Committee, would bring order where there was chaos. When all were under the rule of the greatest nation in the world, there would no longer be war, or famine. There would be an equal distribution of wealth. Among the people, that was. He and the others on the Committee, in compliance with their positions, would certainly want for nothing.

He pulled aside the black tarp, stared out the window. Glanced at the stars. It took several minutes to locate the constellations he was familiar with. When a shooting star crossed the sky, he smiled. What a fortuitous omen! All was going according to plan. His name would be remembered for the wonderful thing he'd accomplished. Statues would commemorate him. Buildings and streets and schools, entire towns would be named after him, to honor Le Da Kwan. Visions of parades filling his head, the short man strolled back to the place where his sleeping bag waited for him. It would all be reality soon. Very soon.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

He rolled his eyes. The pounding behind them was all the reminder he needed of what had transpired in his bedroom earlier. How much time had passed? And where in the hell was he? He moaned mentally when he realized he was tied...and gagged. The tape was making his face itch. When he shifted slightly, he could feel her with his fingers. There was no response when he moved his fingers over her...he thought it was her hip. She was either still unconscious, or unable to move at all. He listened. Car engine. He could smell exhaust. Well, shit! They were in the trunk of a car, he was certain of it.

Her shoulders protested when she tried to move. Great. Tied up. Trussed up like a damned Christmas turkey, it felt like. It was so damned dark! And the smell was awful! Like...car exhaust. Okay, that couldn't be good. Her heart pounding, she flexed her fingers. Felt them come into contact with denim. Daniel? Oh, please let that be Daniel!

He felt her fingers against his thigh. Reached as much as he could, moved his fingers over her. Felt her try to move closer. He groaned out load, heard her soft response. He closed his eyes and whispered a small prayer of thanks. As long as they were together, they'd be all right. Being tied and in the trunk of a car put them at a distinct disadvantage. For the moment, all he could do was hope that the chance for escape presented itself.

He went over every moment of their abduction, from the prick of the needle that woke him, to feeling as if he'd been hit over the head. Something about the eyes...dark...not completely hidden by the mask...they'd had an oriental slant to them...Chinese! Oh, hell! If these bastards managed to get him and Casey out of the country...they were involved in a secret operation. It would be damned difficult for the State Department to demand their return, when trying to keep the entire Stargate program under wraps. Oh, this was not good!

Well, she couldn't do a damned thing but lay here, could she? Knowing that Daniel was beside her kept her from panicking. She managed to scoot a bit closer, although the effort left her breathless. She could feel the warmth of his body. He'd rolled a bit, putting him closer still. She began to examine the images from the information dump that had happened while that asshole was holding on to her, threatening her, threatening Daniel. She saw seven men...and if she had to take a guess, she'd guess that the men were Chinese. The table of artifacts that they were examining...and most especially the packing crate on the floor with the USA sticker on it, led to that assumption. There was one...a tall box of some sort. Weapon! They thought it was a weapon!

Heart pounding at the implications of the Chinese having a Goa'uld weapon in their possession, she examined the box as closely as the 'images' allowed. No, this wasn't a weapon. She was certain of it. They needed Daniel's expertise to translate the text on it...to open it...well, they thought to activate it. What would happen to them when those men learned that what they believed was a weapon...wasn't?

Daniel could feel the car slowing down. It was uncomfortable to be tossed around as they were. They were together. Casey was alive. They could deal with uncomfortable.

 

 

 

The black rental sedan pulled into the rest stop. It was just after four a.m. Only part of the reason for abducting their targets and transporting them in the dead of night was due to the fact that chances of getting caught were much lower. Traveling in the cooler temperatures assured that the prisoners bound and gagged in the trunk would not suffer from heat exhaustion, or worse, die from heat stroke. It did not, however, totally alleviate the need to check on their condition.

There were three other vehicles in the parking lot, and four large semi-tractors and their trailers in the area designated for the rigs. Yin pointed to a parking spot far enough away from the others that no one walking by casually would be able to see into the trunk when it was opened.

The doctors had assured his patron that the sedative would keep the prisoners unconscious for eight to ten hours. Just long enough to make the nine-hour drive from Silver Springs to Salt Lake City. Yin slid the key into the lock of the trunk. It was better to be overly cautious than to arrive with ill...or dead...prisoners.

Nothing could have prepared him for the shock of looking down into blue eyes so full of anger and hatred that he took an involuntary step backward. It could not be! They'd been driving for little more than three hours! How could he be awake? Movement behind the archaeologist informed him that the woman was conscious as well. For whatever reason, the sedative had not worked as promised. Had it become contaminated somehow? Whatever the reason, having them awake during the remainder of the journey was not preferable. He'd heard stories of those locked into trunks who'd managed to kick out the taillights of the vehicle, catching the attention of other motorists, and more troubling, law enforcement officers. It would be much better to have to wait for the two to regain consciousness once they arrived in Salt Lake City, than to have this operation exposed.

On the assumption that something might happen to the primary hypodermics, a 'backup' set had been prepared. Yin hurried to the side of the car, opened the door and grabbed the small bag that held all he'd brought with him. In a special pocket were the additional sedatives. His fingers closed around them, and he gave a mental sigh of relief.

"We are being observed," his companion said.

"You two, go and use the facilities. When you return, Cheng and I will do so."

With a nod of understanding, two of the men walked toward the low, brick building. Yin watched for a moment, then looked back down into that icy blue gaze. Pressed the needle to the man's neck, and injected him. It was necessary to lean over the man and inject the woman again. Once again it seemed to take longer than it should have for the sedative to take effect. Yin was certain that the man was memorizing his face. He shuddered. If this man were given the chance, Yin would find himself very dead. He could feel that from that frosty glare.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Jack looked at his watch. It wasn't unusual for Daniel and Casey to be a few minutes late. But half an hour? No way. Especially since this morning's breakfast get-together had been Casey's idea. He looked over Teal'c's shoulder to the parking lot. Waiting for the bronze-colored jeep to come racing up the drive.

"O'Neill, I believe something to be wrong," Teal'c said quietly.

He looked over at the Jaffa. His own gut had been telling him the same thing for nearly twenty minutes. "I agree."

"Do you want me to try calling them again?" Sam asked. Her blue eyes reflected her own worry.

"Nope." Jack signaled the waitress. "We need our check, please," he said, flashing a smile.

"You plan to go to their home?" Teal'c asked.

"Best place to start," Jack replied. The fact that neither of them were answering their cell phones bothered him. Two messages on their land line...ordering them to call him...had gone unheeded, it seemed. He suspected that they hadn't even been received. That same instinct told him that something was seriously wrong.

 

 

 

"Casey always opens the blinds as soon as she gets up," Sam commented when the F250 pulled into the driveway.

Yep, something seriously wrong, Jack thought. He wandered to the garage. Peeked in the door window on the side. Jeep was sitting where it was supposed to be. Well, if the Jacksons were home, that was.

Teal'c rang the doorbell twice. The fact that the windows were open let the three nervous teammates hear it echo loudly.

"Something's wrong," Jack muttered. He searched on his key ring. It was one of these...This one. He slid it into the lock. Nope. This one. The lock clicked, and he twisted the knob, swung the door open. "Daniel? Casey?" he called out.

Sam went straight to the kitchen. The coffeemaker was cold. But it had been set up to prepare a fresh pot. She knew that it was part of Casey's 'nighttime routine'.

Teal'c peeked into the bedroom. He frowned, his trained eyes carefully taking in the room. Things were not as they should be, he was certain. The top sheet was crumpled on the floor. And Casey Jackson's purse was still on the chair. As were several discarded articles of clothing. Both cell phones were on the bedside table. If Daniel and Casey were here, then this would not be unusual. They were not present. So thus, those particular items should be missing as well.

"What'd you...what the hell?" Jack asked, stepping into the room. He pulled his foot back after feeling the toe of his shoe 'slide', which it shouldn't have done, not on carpet! Squatting down, he picked up the object he'd stepped on. Found a second one about two feet away. Stared at the plastic tips for a few seconds, a frown on his face. "Sam? What do these look like to you?" he asked.

The leggy blonde entered the room. Just as it had to Teal'c and Jack, the room screamed that something was amiss. She looked at the two pieces of plastic held between Jack's thumbs and index fingers. "Hypodermic needle covers," she said hoarsely.

"Yeah, I was afraid of that. Teal'c, check the patio door. Sam, the back door." Jack was already darting out of the room. He checked the French doors that flanked the fireplace.

"This door is fine," Sam reported.

"There is no sign of forced entry through these doors, " Teal'c said.

Jack frowned again. "Either Casey or Daniel let their abductor in, or he was able to pick the locks and not leave any trace," he said quietly. He was going to insist that Daniel stop procrastinating and have a security system installed!

"NID, or Chinese?" Sam asked softly.

"Six of one, half dozen of the other," Jack replied. "Whoever has them, it's not a good thing."

"If we get these to Janet, she might at least be able to tell us what was used."

"And that helps us how?" Jack asked.

Sam shrugged. "I don't know, Jack," she said softly. "But it's better than doing nothing."

He ran his hands over his face. "You're right. Let's go." He went back to the bedroom. Did the sheet on the floor mean that there'd been a struggle? Or had they been wrapped in it? Daniel had informed him that they slept in the nude most of the time, because they made love every night. He couldn't help but smile. The archaeologist had been bragging...one of the very few times he'd ever done so. Okay...so maybe they'd used it to cover themselves. Casey's bra was still on the chair between the two closet doors. That seemed...odd. It seemed plausible that they'd been...ordered? to get out of the bed. And dressed. So they grabbed what they could reach.

The sound of footsteps on the front porch had them racing to the window. In spite of the evidence to the contrary, three hearts pounded, hoping that it was the missing couple, returning from a walk. Both had mentioned several times that walking the neighborhood was how they dealt with the 'fallout' from their infrequent arguments. They watched the mailman fill the white metal box, then hurry back down to the sidewalk. Three hearts sank in disappointment.

"Might as well bring it in," Jack said, his voice strained. It was completely official now. Daniel and Casey were missing. He frowned down at the plastic caps in his hand. Abducted. By persons unknown. And no freaking clue as to where to start looking for them.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

General Hammond was not at all pleased to hear that his top archaeologist and the seer responsible for the safety of everyone of the SG teams were missing. When presented with the only clues available, Janet had taken the caps, and began running tests on them. There was no way of knowing what...if anything...she'd be able to learn.

"Casey called me at about ten last night. We made plans for the team to meet around nine at IHOP for breakfast," Sam said quietly. "So whatever happened, it occurred after that."

"Is there a chance that one of the neighbors might have seen anything?" the general asked. He knew that if Emma Hanks had seen anything, they'd have known about it immediately. That thought reminded him that he needed to set up an appointment to speak with her.

"I doubt it, sir," Jack replied. "There was no sign of forced entry. Either Daniel or Casey let this person, or persons, into the house...or the intruder was able to pick the lock."

Janet hurried into the room. "I have a few preliminary results. These caps were put on after the syringe was filled. There was still a drop or two on the needle itself when the caps were placed. I'd say the air had been removed, making the hypos ready to be used. It's a sedative. Well, an anesthesia actually."

"Any chance of knowing where it came from?"

The petite doctor smiled. "I think so. I've seen this before...the compound is similar to what we use in the US. But it's not exactly the same. So my first guess is, it was produced elsewhere. The FDA has a database of chemical compounds produced outside of the US. Once I get the precise breakdown, I can check that list."

General Hammond nodded. "Very good, Doctor. Do you know how long this will take?"

"A couple of hours at the most. Once the computer gives me that breakdown, it's just a matter of searching the database for it."

A couple of hours. Sam, Jack and Teal'c exchanged nervous glances. A lot of territory in hell could be covered in a couple of hours.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

When Daniel opened his eyes, the first thing he noted was the fact that he was sitting up. The second was that he was in a room where the windows had been covered with black plastic. There was no way to know if it was day or night. Wonderful torture tactic. The concept of time was one that the mind clung to in stressful situations. 'If I can just make it through this month...this week...this day...this hour' - those thoughts were the harbinger of hope. Take away that concept, or at least confuse the mind about the passage of time, and it opened the door to anxieties and phobias that might never have existed before. Which someone trained in the fine art of torture could use at his...or her...leisure.

Leather cuffs were secured around his wrists, tiny padlocks would prevent him from simply removing them. A length of lightweight, aluminum chain, he estimated it to be about twelve inches, prevented him from moving his hands any further apart. Another chain connected to it in the center, and was in turn fastened to a heavy chain around his waist. His ankles were secured to the chair legs, although at the moment he wasn't sure with what. He frowned. A yellow legal pad, two pencils and a pen were sitting on the table in front of him. Apparently they wanted him to write something. Thus the reason he had limited movement.

"Welcome, Doctor Jackson," a voice said softly. It was behind him, to his right.

"Whatever it is you want, you can forget it. I'm not going to cooperate." As soon as he spoke he realized that the tape had been removed from his mouth. He was actually glad he'd been unconscious for that. No doubt there would be spots on his face that wouldn't need to be shaved for a few days.

"I was hoping that we would be able to forego this particular...unpleasantness," the voice sighed.

Daniel was spun around, and a double pocket door, to which black plastic had been attached, slid open. He gasped out loud, anger rushing through him.

Casey was sitting in a metal folding chair. Her arms were tied behind her, stretched painfully from what he could see. Her ankles were duct taped to the chair legs. That was probably how his legs were restrained, he mused silently. The tape had been removed from her face as well. However, a leather strap went around her head, a bright red ball shoved into her mouth. Her eyes were full of terror.

"It's all right, Angel, we'll get out of this," he said softly. Watched in horror as a man wearing a black hood slapped her, hitting her with such force that her head bounced sideways.

"Each time you disobey, or prove to be uncooperative, she will be punished. If I feel that you're being less than honest with me, she will be punished. Just so there is no confusion as to my meaning, I will demonstrate..."

Somehow the owner of the voice must have signaled. Casey's shirt was cut from her body, the huge blade of the knife flashing in the light that hung above her. She hadn't grabbed her bra as they'd hurriedly dressed in front of their captor; she sat naked from the waist up. Tiny metal clamps were attached to her pink nipples. Wires were then attached to the clamps.

Oh, christ! Daniel winced when he saw the car battery that sat beside her chair. The clamps on her nipples were small. But the shock would still be substantial. The man crouched down, touched the wires to the battery.

Casey screamed behind the gag, her body arching in protest. Her eyes rolled with pain, and Daniel could see the wetness of tears on her cheeks.

"No! You goddamned motherfuckers! Leave her alone!" He was fighting the chains that held him, nearly maddened with the rage that flowed through him. The men who held him had better be long gone before he worked his way loose, he thought furiously.

"I will excuse that outburst. You were not prepared for such a display. Now that I have your full attention, we will begin."

The man who'd been speaking came into his view, carrying a box of some sort. In spite of the circumstances, curiosity raised its head.

"We have been unable to translate the text on this artifact. Considering your...experience, we are quite sure that you will be able to do so."

As much as he wanted to tell the man to go fuck himself, Daniel gritted his teeth. The box was put on the table beside the legal pad. He examined the side that faced him. Simple Egyptian hieroglyphs. If the Chinese hadn't been able to translate that, they were piss poor scholars, he thought. He had to struggle to raise his hands enough to turn the box. Felt his chair moved closer to the table. The second side was more of the same. The third...ah, so this is what had them so confused. Goa'uld. And one of the ancient dialects as well.

He took a deep breath. It would be best to translate the two sides of Egyptian first. That would give him an idea what he was looking at. He licked his lips. Dry. Damned thirsty. He dared to look over at the man. "I suppose asking that my Wife and I be given something to drink before we suffer dehydration would be inappropriate?"

The man shook his head. "It would not. Forgive me, Doctor Jackson. After your long trip here, I should have offered refreshments as soon as you were awake."

Like fucking Jekyll and Hyde, Daniel thought. Not a good thing. It meant keeping a constant eye on the guy, trying to figure out just which personality was in charge at the moment.

"Bring Doctor Jackson and his wife tea, immediately."

"Water will be just fine," Daniel said quietly. Jack would be nine kinds of pissed that he'd allowed his captor to know so soon that he understood what was being said. He was following his gut. And his gut told him to slap his cards down on the table, and force this man to do the same.

Kwan jerked slightly. Said nothing at the surprising revelation that the multilingual archaeologist spoke Mandarin. That fact had not been in the dossier about him! "Very well. Shall I have food brought in as well?"

Daniel strained to look at Casey. Once again his chair was turned around. Had to be one hell of a big man behind him, he thought. Which didn't bode well for any escape attempts.

"Hungry, Angel?"

She shook her head. She was mortified to be sitting half naked as she was, terrified that Daniel would inadvertently do something that would bring more pain. The last time she'd endured such agony had been at Ba'al's hand. She wasn't eager to repeat the experience. Given the current situation, anything she might try to eat right now wouldn't stay on her stomach long enough to make swallowing worth the effort.

He could see the color in her cheeks. "Please, there's no need to hurt her. Take those damned things off of her, and cover her...please?"

Kwan looked into the blue eyes of his prisoner. "I'm afraid I cannot allow that. You must have proper...motivation."

He looked at her again. Could see the love in her eyes. She understood what he'd tried to do...appreciated it. At least, he was pretty sure she did. Water was brought in, he wasn't allowed to see the man...he assumed it was a man...who did so. He emptied the bottle of Aquafina water in three gulps. The hooded man had removed the gag in Casey's mouth, and was holding the bottle to her lips. At least she'd been given water. Maybe later she'd be able to eat a bit.

Turning toward the table and the artifact resulted in his chair swinging around. He was gently eased forward. His trained eyes moved over the hieroglyphs. Okay, it had belonged to Apophis at some point in time. He shuddered mentally. There'd been times when he'd wondered if they'd ever be rid of that damned snake! What looked like newer marks were on the second side. Yu? Lord Yu? In Egyptian hieroglyphs? Okay, that was weird! Three glyphs near the top seemed to stand alone. Strength. Power. Eternity.

Daniel glanced over at the man who watched patiently. This was a weapon. Or power source. Either one in the hands of the Chinese...not a good thing. With a sigh, he turned the box yet again. Then again, to find the 'beginning'. There it was. Within minutes he was lost in the world of translations, eager to put meaning to each mark, in spite of the harrowing circumstances.

Kwan watched. Then frowned when he realized that the archaeologist was writing all of his notes in cuneiform. "What is this?" he demanded roughly, his finger poking the paper roughly.

"I'm taking notes," Daniel replied absently. His attention was focused on the artifact.

"Your notes are unreadable!"

"Not to me."

"Do not test my patience, Doctor," Kwan threatened.

Daniel's head whipped around, he stared coldly at the man. "Or what, you'll torture my defenseless Wife again? Unless you plan to kill us, you know damned good and well that we'll be debriefed as soon as we're back at Cheyenne mountain. And I'll be able to draw your face for them, right down to the very last wrinkle!"

Kwan lifted his hand. He was shocked that this man would so willingly subject his wife to torture.

When Casey's muffled scream echoed in his ears, Daniel held his pencil between his thumb and index finger. "If you do that one more time, I'll show you what a lethal weapon a pencil can be."

"You are chained to a chair. I do not think you so capable as you believe yourself to be."

"The Goa'uld always think the same way," Daniel replied coldly. "I'm sure Simmons provided you with a list of those we've killed."

The reports that his agents had been able to take from Colonel Simmons' computer had been...interesting. There were several notations that this man, and the other members of SG-1, had a habit of coming back from the dead, surviving what no human should be able to survive, and that they were single-handedly responsible for the deaths of no less than a dozen Goa'uld. He had no idea what exactly these Goa'uld were. He did know that they were powerful. Kwan's gaze went to the box. The translation was more important than arguing with the prisoner. When he remained silent, the archaeologist went back to work.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Jeri Baker had tried to put the farmhouse out of her mind. Something was just...strange ...about the entire situation. She couldn't put her finger on it, but Mr. Kwan didn't strike her as the 'family' type.

She was turning onto the old highway before she realized what she was doing. With a mental shake of her head, she continued up the side of the hill. She was halfway there, might as well check the place out. By now, according to Mr. Kwan, the place should be packed with kids and adults.

That was odd. Two rental cars. Unless he and his friends had made multiple trips to the airport, there was no way to transport as many people as the man had intimated were coming, not in those sedans. She slammed on the breaks. The license plate on one of the cars was from Colorado! Now why would a rental car from Colorado be here?

Her stomach began to churn. This time she did turn the car around. And she headed straight for the sheriff's office. Jim would know what to do.


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