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Desperate Acts

Chapter 8

Just as promised, Daniel woke up to the smell of fresh waffles and maple sauce. He grinned, crawled out of bed and grabbed his sweats.

"Good morning," she said softly, smiling at him. She filled a mug with fresh coffee, handed it to him, leaned up and kissed him gently.

"Good morning." Her smile had nearly blinded him. So, to get treatment like this, all he had to do was make love to her wearing leather chaps? He grinned mentally. What an interesting little tidbit of information. He stored it with the others he'd learned about her.

"Is your tux going to be ready for tonight?"

"Yep. I'm supposed to pick it up by two."

She nodded. "Cassie is going to come by to help me with my hair. I found a style I like, and Janet said that Cassie fixed her friend's hair that way."

"Okay. What time?"

"About five. I know we have to be there by six-thirty. I'll be ready, all she'll have to do is pin my hair up, and we can go. I promise."

"No worries," he replied. He'd been invited to every Air Force Ball at Peterson since becoming a part of the SGC. This was the first time he'd ever looked forward to going to what was little more than a political posturing game. It would be entertaining to watch all of those men who considered him a geek when he walked in with Casey on his arm. He sat down and tucked into a plate of waffles. He was really hungry. Another mental grin. A night of loving like he'd spent would do that to a man, he thought contentedly.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Daniel smiled as he helped her get out of the jeep. The green gown hugged her curves, the sweetheart neckline of the beaded bodice showing just a hint of his beauties. With her hair up, accentuating the elegant column of her neck, her slender shoulders bare, she looked absolutely stunning.. He'd be the envy of every man at the ball, no doubt about that.

She glanced around. "They have the Air Force Ball in a hanger?"

"Why not? The decorations are tasteful, it's large enough to accommodate a few hundred people comfortably. And it is the Air Force," he replied.

"I suppose," she said. Stood beside him as he took their invitation from his pocket. Showed her SGC badge, watched the wide eyes of the young security officers who were in charge of making certain that only those who were supposed to be attending the ball were given admittance. Sam had once explained that the SG team members held the highest clearances available.

She gasped when they stepped inside the huge building. On either side of the room dark blue drapes covered the walls. Centered on large tables on each side were ice sculptures, both of eagles in flight. Even from the distance the detail was amazing. At the far end of the room a dais had been placed, and what looked like a small orchestra was gathered, already playing softly. A generous area in front of the dais had been marked off to be used as a dance floor. The remainder of the floor space was dotted with tables, each seating six to eight people. The colorful floral arrangements on each table added not only color to the room, but the soft scent of flowers. Like the drapes, the tablecloths were dark blue.

Because they'd arrived at the scheduled time, they'd go through the receiving line, speaking to the men who were in command of the area's Air Force bases: Peterson, Buckley, Schriever, and the Air Force Academy. Daniel took her hand, stepped into line behind a young couple, the man appeared to be a lieutenant.

"Why isn't General Hammond one of the hosts?" Casey asked softly.

"The SGC is a top secret operation," Daniel replied, whispering in her ear. "So, publicly, it can't be acknowledged. I've heard him say that he'll retire the day it becomes known, because all of the public relations gives him heartburn."

She giggled softly. Busy looking around, she never noticed the looks that were tossed in her direction, approval by some of the older women, jealousy by most of the younger women, and interest from all of the men. Daniel never missed a glance. He couldn't help but stand a bit taller, his chest puffed out with pride as he stood beside her. It was worth the hassle of renting the tux, just to watch the people watching his Wife.

"Doctor Jackson, it's a pleasure to see you," Lieutenant General John Wesley smiled. "I do hope you're planning to come and give our students the benefit of your linguistic expertise again this fall."

Daniel smiled. "I'll do my best. General Wesley, I don't believe you've met my Wife. Casey this General Wesley, the Commandant of the Air Force Academy."

"How do you do," she said softly.

"I'm well, thank you," the general replied. "May I introduce my wife, Pat? Pat, this is Doctor Daniel Jackson, and his wife Casey."

The older woman greeted both of them warmly.

Next in line was Colonel Martin Thompson, the base commander for the Peterson base. He greeted Daniel just as warmly, and wives were again introduced. Colonel Jason Hardy commanded the Buckley base, and Colonel Gerald Whitmore, commander of the Schriever base were next in line. Greetings were exchanged, spouses introduced, and at last Daniel led Casey into the room.

"Where are we supposed to sit?" Casey asked, looking around and not a little overwhelmed. She'd never in her life attended a function such as this, and was terrified of committing some social faux pas that would embarrass Daniel.

He checked the invitation. "Table seventeen-b," he replied.

"Right. And that would be where?"

He looked around, then grinned. "Probably where Jack is sitting. Looking totally uncomfortable."

As soon as they were close enough, Casey leaned over and kissed Jack's cheek.

"Hey! What was that for?" Jack asked, brown eyes wide with surprise.

"You look the way I feel," Casey replied softly.

He grinned. "You feel like a fish out of water, too?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Well, you certainly don't look it," Daniel remarked. "This is the cocktail hour, aren't you supposed to be mingling?"

Jack grunted, tossed back what was left of his drink.

Before Casey could inquire as to where Sam and Teal'c were, she saw them, standing near the back of the room, conversing with several other uniformed people. "Come on, Jack, Sam and Teal'c could probably use a rescue attempt."

The colonel grinned. "Yeah, I'm sure she's tired of talking about her doohickeys with people who understand what she's saying."

"Oh," Casey replied, slightly chagrined.

Jack closed his fingers over hers. "However, I think Danny and I could find a bit of entertainment introducing you around."

Daniel's grin matched that of his best friend. For the first time ever, he would be the one who was the envy of every man, particularly every single man, in attendance. And this year, there wouldn't be the whispers as he moved past groups of people who stood conversing, speculating on his sexual preferences.

Casey noted the glances that came their way, the eyes of several of the women focusing on Daniel. Two groups of women began to whisper among themselves. No doubt her presence at his side was being duly noted and commented upon. Too bad, she thought smugly. You had your chances. One man, standing on the edge of group of officers, his eyes focused on Daniel, a smirk on his face, caught her attention. "Who's that?"

Jack glanced over her shoulder. "Samuels. Sniveling little shit. He was transferred out of the SGC and to the Pentagon about a month after General Hammond arrived."

So that was the bastard. She met his gaze. Oh, yes indeed. He was the one. Enjoy yourself, she thought angrily. You'll pay for what you said about Daniel!




The meal had been served, and was, her companions informed her, halfway decent for a change. She'd opted for the chicken, informing Daniel that seafood this far inland wasn't a good idea. He'd laughed, and ordered the salmon anyway. The requisite speeches had been given, and the ball was officially underway. It hadn't been easy, given the size of the room and the number of people attending, but she'd kept one eye on Lieutenant Colonel Samuels. She had a thing or two to say to him, and come hell or high water, she'd have her chance!

She'd spent several minutes conversing with other wives, unable to fully commiserate with their complaints of the prolonged absences of their husbands. When Daniel was on a mission, she was right beside him! She made the appropriate comments, smiled and nodded at all the right times. Her eyes moved over the crowd of people.

There! The bastard was in the corner. He'd been watching Daniel, noting his every move. With a smile and an excuse about speaking to someone she'd just recognized, she headed toward the man who was responsible for hurting Daniel so deeply.

Casey moved closer to where Colonel Samuels was standing, three young lieutenants and a captain hanging on his every word.

"So you know Doctor Jackson personally?" the captain asked. The men were watching as the archaeologist laughed with several of the other scientists who worked in Cheyenne Mountain.

Samuels snorted. "Unfortunately. I worked with him on a classified project. He's your typical ivory tower intellectual. Weak, whiny...hell, he's gay you know."

"But he's married!" one of the lieutenants protested.

"That's the way those academicians are," was Samuels' immediate comeback. "Most of them are queers. They only marry for show. She's a trophy wife. Something pretty to hang on his arm, and to keep the Marines from kicking his ass on a regular basis." He'd seen the woman at the archaeologist's side. Had seen her looking at him, her eyes cold and full of anger. No doubt Jackson had whined to her about how 'mean' he'd been, insisting that the scientist follow the rules like everyone else. Never admitting to himself that he'd 'created' a few of the hoops he'd forced the young man to 'jump through', just to have a reason to challenge him at every turn.

Trophy wife? Oh, he so did not say that! Casey fumed. She stepped closer. Cleared her throat. "Colonel Samuels," she said quietly. She hadn't been formally introduced to the man. This was her way of letting him know that she knew exactly who he was. The ice in her gaze had all five men shivering where they stood.

Samuels took one look at the anger on those delicate features, and gulped his drink. "If you'll excuse me..."

"Attack and run. Yes, that's your style. I can see that. Too cowardly to stand your ground and back up your claims. Since my Husband isn't here to defend himself, and knowing Daniel, he wouldn't bother anyway, let me clue your friends to the truth." Her voice was as cold as her green eyes. The colonel remained, frozen in place. "Daniel is brilliant, yes. He was working on his third Ph.D. by the time he was twenty-two. Did you know he speaks twenty-eight languages now? Reads probably twice that. Some of the written languages we've never heard, so speaking them is a bit...awkward," she explained, smiling sweetly, although her eyes remained cold and hard. "Weak? In what context? It can't be physically. The man is built like a Greek god. He's endured torture that you can't even imagine in your worst nightmares. I've watched him in battle, taking down the enemy single-handedly...usually trying to protect innocent people who've been caught in the middle, by no fault of their own. I've watched him cuddle a small child, reassuring her that everything was going to be all right. I've watched him comforting the elderly, holding their hand as the end comes, his skills and knowledge giving him the right words to send them peacefully into the afterlife, while a battle raged around him, totally unconcerned for his own well being."

The captain took a step backwards.

"You were willing to listen to trash, you can stay and listen to the truth!" Casey hissed. The man swallowed, and remained where he stood. "Now...where was I? Oh yes. You can't mean weak minded. First of all, there's his brilliance. That man knows more than you'll ever learn in a lifetime! He's forgotten more than you learned in all of your years in college! He has strength of will; he's ready to fight for what he believes in, even when it's not the easiest path to take, or the most popular choice to be made. His spirit is even stronger...Fate has tossed some very nasty curves into his life, but he's never given in, never given up. He lives life to the fullest, he celebrates it! And whiny? No way in hell! Determined? Absolutely. Stubborn? Without a doubt. But never whiny!"

Samuels stared at her. "He's gay."

Casey burst into laughter. "You keep telling yourself that, if it makes you feel better. Trust me, Daniel is the most virile, sexy, straight man walking the planet! He's never even been bi-curious. Tell me, do you still visit that bathhouse in Boston?"

The Pentagon colonel went ghost white. The ice in his glass began to clink when his hand started shaking. If this blonde bitch said any more, his career could be ruined!

"Don't worry, Colonel," Casey practically purred. "Unlike you, I have no stomach for telling tales out of school. Even if I do know them to be the truth."

The captain and lieutenants looked from Casey to Samuels and back again. They were intelligent men. They hadn't made it as far as they had without understanding how to read a situation. This woman knew something about the colonel, something damaging. Something very...interesting, no doubt.

Casey took a deep breath, turned to face her now attentive audience. "Colonel Samuels is so threatened by Daniel that he had to start those rumors, in an effort to deal with his inferiority complex, and his jealousy. Especially the one about Daniel being gay. I suppose it made him feel more like a man. How pathetic is that, really? Rumors are funny things. It only takes one 'retelling' to give it 'authenticity'. Even if it's an out and out lie. And they're like a nuclear weapon. Once the initial blast is over, there's still the fallout to contend with. The bitter results last for years. And the innocent are always the ones who suffer the most. The next time you're eager to share the latest gossip, which by the way, let me point out the men seem to be bigger gossips than women! But I digress. The next time you're ready to spread the latest piece of trash about someone, ask yourself this...if you heard those words being spoken about yourself, or someone you loved, how would you feel?"

All four men stood, shamefaced. And never noticed the three approaching officers until they'd surrounded Casey.

"Mrs. J," Ferretti said amiably. "We noticed you talking to Samuels, here. Thought we'd stop and say hello."

No one had to say out loud that the three majors had heard every word. Deke Anderson scowled at Samuels. "You didn't answer Mrs. J's question."

Samuels' already pale face turned whiter. "I don't remember..."

"Bathhouse. Boston. Hookers," Ferretti coaxed, a cold gleam in his eyes. "You're always willing to talk about everyone else's sex life, even when you don't know what the hell you're talking about. Seems to me you should be just as willing to talk about your own."

"Man never wants to admit he has to pay for it," Newsome drawled. "Maybe that's what has him so pissed at the Doc. That man is a regular babe magnet." The junior officers dared to grin. Newsome grinned as well. He was merely repeating what he'd heard Colonel O'Neill saying about the archaeologist.




General Hammond frowned when he took note of the group in the far corner of the room. His eyes scanned around him. Dr. Jackson and Teal'c were conversing with two of the Pentagon generals who'd flown out to attend the ball. Colonel O'Neill was surrounded by young fighter pilots. Feeding them a line of bullshit, no doubt, he thought, with a mental chuckle. Major Carter was talking with a group of civilian scientists. His eyes went back to the corner. There was no doubt in his mind that Ferretti, Newsome, and Anderson were protecting Casey Jackson. From Lieutenant Colonel Samuels. If he didn't miss his guess, their discussion probably had something to do with the rumors that had circulated the SGC for years...about Dr. Jackson. He debated for a moment. Should he intervene?

Jack's eyes moved around the room, even as he continued to tell the young pilots around him about the flights he'd made over Iraq during the first Gulf War. He located each of his 'kids'. Moaned mentally when he saw Samuels standing beside Casey. Who was surrounded by three SGC majors. One of whom had requested contact information for Harry Maybourne...his eyes narrowed as he focused on Samuels. Something was up, and he was going to find out just exactly what was going on. The link between the SG-1 team members was active. Teal'c glanced over at him. Jack held the gaze for just a second, then looked toward Casey. A moment later, the same routine with Sam. In less than two minutes all four of the teammates, Daniel had been alerted by Teal'c, were on their way to the corner.

Daniel was furious. He was well aware of the fact that Samuels hated him. He had no idea why, and as the feeling was mutual, he didn't really care about the reason. The bastard had no reason to turn that hatred toward Casey!

The general watched silently, oblivious now to what was going on around him. Moving quickly, closing in from three sides, the members of SG-1 approached the group conversing in the corner. He looked at Ferretti. The man wore a thunderous expression. Not a good sign. SG-1 almost there now...




Jack was the first to join the group. "Is this a private conversation, or can anyone join?"

"Hello, Colonel," Ferretti grinned. "Mrs. J was just telling these young gentlemen about Doctor Jackson, and explaining about how destructive rumors can be."

"Was she now?" Jack asked, his eyes going to Casey. She looked squarely at him, her chin going up a fraction of an inch. No way would she be backing down, he thought with a modicum of amusement. Not that he'd ever ask her to do so.

"There you are," Daniel said, stepping next to his wife, slipping his arm around her waist, tossing a warning glare at Samuels.

"So this is where everyone has been hiding," Sam said, smiling at the group. Her eyes held no warmth when they focused on Lieutenant Colonel Samuels.

Ferretti grinned. SG-1, all present and accounted for. It never failed to amaze him how the five individuals could all suddenly show up in the same spot at the same time. He glanced at Newsome and Anderson. Could read the same thing in their expressions. Things were about to get very interesting.

For his part, Samuels felt as if he'd been surrounded by hostile enemies. His once attentive audience was staring at him now, taking measure of him. Just who in the hell did they think they were? Low ranking officers, just part of the machine at Peterson Air Force Base! While he worked in the Pentagon, where the power was wielded on a daily basis! He refused to admit even to himself that his job consisted of filing reports and fetching coffee for two generals and an admiral. Not even classified reports! Just mundane matters of supplies and equipment.

"So, Casey, any particular rumor you're talking about, or just rumors in general?" Jack asked.

Casey studied her nemesis. He was looking distinctly uncomfortable. Good! she thought. The bastard should suffer as much as Daniel did! In fact, Daniel was still battling the feelings that the rumors had unleashed. "I had one particular rumor in mind," she said softly.

Daniel jerked slightly, looked at her. Then back at Samuels. Memories of the confrontations with the man raced forward in his mind. Samuels? He was the one? "Why?"

"Good question," Jack said quietly.

He looked at his best friend, unaware that he'd spoken out loud until that moment.

Samuels pulled himself to his full height. "It's not a crime to have an opinion. The last I heard, this was still a free country."

"No argument there," Jack said jovially. "The problem lies with the part about not mentioning to people that what you're saying is just an opinion. Leave that little tidbit of information out, and they tend to take what you say as fact."

"A most convenient way of spreading falsehoods," Teal'c observed, pinning the man with a stare.

"Those who listen, and then spread those falsehoods can never seem to be bothered with finding out if what they're repeating is the truth," Sam added. Her glance took in the young lieutenants, passed to the captain, then focused on Samuels.

"Why?" Daniel asked again. "What did I ever do to you?"

Samuels refused to answer. In fact, he wouldn't even look in Daniel's direction.

"You threaten him, Daniel," Casey said softly. "You're brilliant, and strong, and he hates you for that."

"He's still holding a grudge because you were on that first mission," Jack said quietly. "He'd been pestering General West to go, demanding to go actually. West had already put together the team. And had told Samuels here there was no 'room' for him. Two days later, the general agreed to let you go, after you convinced him you could get us home safely."

All eyes focused intently on the lieutenant colonel. "Jealousy? I had the shit beat out of me twice because of your jealousy?" Daniel said incredulously.

The four lieutenants and the captain shifted nervously. It was a well known military 'secret' that anyone suspected of being gay was the recipient of very quiet, very carefully planned, very un-provable attacks. Blanket parties. So that the victim could never identify his attackers. Sometimes the harassment continued until the victim left the military, by whatever means possible.

"Twice, Doctor Jackson? I was only aware of one incident," a voice said from just behind Sam.

Daniel looked over at General Hammond. "Retaliation, sir," he sighed. "I guess they weren't impressed with Jack's speech about 'blanket-parties'."

"I see."

"He damned near died that time," Jack growled. A fact of which he hadn't been aware for years. A fact that Casey had brought to light. A fact that still pissed him off...and filled him with guilt.

Samuels gulped. He'd never intended for the man to be physically harmed! He'd only wanted to discredit him, layer enough doubt on him and his abilities that General West would get rid of him. The civilian scientist never should have been placed on that team! Not in place of an Air Force officer!

Jack looked at Ferretti. "So did Harry have anything interesting to say?"

The major shifted. This was the chance to out Samuels completely. Did he really want to do that? Well, yeah, he did! Bastard deserved it! Doc had been beaten because of this slimy bureaucratic asshole. Hanging was too good for a piece of shit like Samuels. His eyes moved to Casey Jackson. Her gaze was warm, she gave him a smile. And a slight shake of her head.

Samuels waited, holding his breath. All he was guilty of doing was hiring a hooker, for god's sake! Okay, taking her to that bathhouse had been a bad idea. He'd known the reputation of the place. Couldn't admit that he had hoped that the two of them might be joined by a third interested, willing partner. Because at the time, he had been bi-curious. The only thing that had happened was a bit of sloppy sex with the hooker. The implications were there, and that was all it would take to ruin his career.

"Yes, sir, he did. Nothing worth repeating here, though," Ferretti replied.

Jack nodded. He could see that it wouldn't have bothered the Marine to drop the entire story right then and there. Hadn't missed that silent, subtle communication between Ferretti and Casey. They were taking the high road in this...she was taking the high road...the major was only following. Reluctantly if his expression was anything to judge by. He wished he could be certain he'd have done the same thing. As it was, his fists were itching to come into abrupt contact with Samuels' lying mouth. He'd never liked the slimy little shit.

"I suggest we all rejoin the rest of the guests," General Hammond said quietly. He watched with open amusement as the young lieutenants and the captain fairly ran across the room. He turned to Samuels. "You look tired, Colonel. I suggest you call it a night, and go back to your hotel room."

Without a word, Samuels pushed his glass toward Sam, and fled the room as quickly as his 'audience' had done.

General Hammond offered his arm to Casey, and led her back toward the middle of the hanger that was serving as a ball room. Her other hand was firmly wrapped by that of her husband. Teal'c and Sam fell in behind the three.

Jack raised an eyebrow. Then led the majors outside.

Samuels was standing in the parking lot, his breath coming in gasps. He'd seen his entire military career flash before his eyes.

"Just a piece of advice," Jack said, immensely pleased when Samuels nearly jumped out of his skin, a very girly-like squeal of surprise escaping from his thin lips. "If you have anything to say about Daniel Jackson, it had better be the truth, backed up by a shitload of proof!"

"He never should have gone!" Samuels hissed.

"Ya know, it's a damned good thing he did," Jack replied. "He got us home. You sure as hell wouldn't have been able to do that! And it was because of Daniel that we found out about the threat to earth! Hell, that man has saved our collective asses so many times he should be put up for sainthood! You should be on your knees kissing his feet and thanking him!"

He said nothing. There was nothing he could say. As much as it galled him to admit it, O'Neill was right. The hatred he'd felt for the scientist writhed and burned. The little bastard had been lucky, that was all! Just luck! Some people got all of the breaks. And the rest, like himself, and to sweat blood in an attempt to get a few steps ahead. It wasn't fair!

"Don't be too anxious to visit the SGC," Jack warned. "Your reception will probably be less than warm."

Samuels had no doubt of that. By the end of the week, everyone within the concrete walls of the SGC would know exactly who had started the rumor that Daniel Jackson was gay. And why the rumor had been started. Pride alone would prevent him from returning to Cheyenne Mountain ever again.

"Gentlemen, shall we return to the party? I haven't had my chance to dance yet," Jack said smoothly.

Each of them tossing such looks of contempt at Samuels that he physically flinched; Ferretti, Newsome, and Anderson followed Jack back inside.

"I really wanted to punch that asshole," Ferretti complained.

"I hear that, Lou," Jack replied. He still wanted to punch the bastard. It was probably a good thing he'd be going home with Sam at the end of the evening. Left to his own devices, it would have been too easy to have stopped at the hotel for a little 'chat'.

"Mrs. J took him down," Deke grinned. "By the end of the night, everyone here will know exactly what happened."

"It seems to me," Newsome said quietly, "that the only people eager to believe and repeat that rumor were those who had something against Doc."

"You're probably right, Mark," Jack said just as quietly. "Doesn't matter who said what, or who believed what. The fact of the matter is the lies were being spread, and Daniel suffered for it." In more ways than one, he thought irritably.

"Sure wish Doc would have said something," Ferretti grumbled. "We could have taken care of that shit a long time ago."

"That's not his way," Jack pointed out.

"No, sir, it's not," Deke agreed. "Doctor Jackson is one hell of a man, and any professional soldier would be damned proud to have him beside them in the heat of battle."

He couldn't help but grin. Opinions hadn't been so high during that first mission. Or even for the first few months after he'd returned from Abydos. Oh, the men had been grateful that he'd been able to get them home. But...Daniel had still been a geek to them. It had taken time for the archaeologist to come to terms with the military way of doing things. He argued over and about everything. Still did, actually. And most of the time, Jack thought, he'd been right. Daniel had earned every ounce of respect given him.




The orchestra that had been playing the entire evening...except during the speeches, when the musicians had a chance to eat their own meals, no doubt...struck up a popular love song. Daniel held her in his arms, moving to the music. "So, feel better?"

She could hear the smile in his words. "Much, thank you."

"It wasn't a big deal."

She shook her head. Knew that it had been a very big deal to him, although he'd never admit it out loud. "It was to me."

"My tiger," he smiled.


"Thank you."

"You're welcome. You've stood up for me, defended me so many times, you've done so much for me...I...I wanted to do something for you," she replied shyly.

"Oh, Casey," he said softly. "Having you in my life, your hand in mine, knowing that you love me, that's all I need, Angel. All I'll ever need, or want."

"Forever, Daniel; I'll be with you, standing beside you, my hand in yours, loving you with all that I am, forever."

Love so deep, so warm, so intense that it rocked him, washed over him in waves. "Love you," he whispered.

"Love you, too."

They'd never know about the comments made as those around them watched the couple dance. The love in their eyes, reflected on their faces, was there for the entire world to see.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Ren Au frowned as she waited for Jacob to finish reading the report. "If Ares does succeed in killing Ba'al, it will send a shock-wave through the empire," she said, when he'd put the reading device on the table.

"Those still rebuilding after their battles with Anubis will capitulate quickly," Selmak mused.

"We have a spy among Ba'al's servants. I believe we should warn him of Ares' plans," Ren Au said.

Malek leaned forward, put his elbows on the table, tented his fingers together. "It seems that Ares has no fear of any reprisals. He believes himself invulnerable."

"We must convince him otherwise," Delek replied. "If we can learn of his battle plans, they can be disseminated to the other System Lords."

"I believe that can be handled," Ren Au replied.

"I am most concerned about the information from our spies among Ba'al's followers. He has once again sent for Tieel Mogba," Selmak said quietly.

"I agree," Malek nodded. "We should send word immediately. To hesitate now could mean a repeat of what was endured just a few short weeks ago."

"I suggest that we share all of this information," Selmak said. She couldn't help but smile mentally at the surge of surprise, and gratitude, from her host.

The others frowned. "We cannot risk the information being used...inappropriately. The Tau'ri might take it upon themselves to...alter...the situation."

"By killing Ares outright?" Selmak asked bluntly. "Please forgive me if I do not see a 'down side' as the Tau'ri would say."

"It would be best if Ares was killed by one of the System Lords," Delek pointed out.

Jacob's eyes closed, then opened again. "So put that in the report. I'm willing to bet that SG-1 would be the team to pull the assignment. And I know that Jack O'Neill is capable of taking out a target, and making it appear as if the assassin was someone more...well known," he said.

"His 'special ops' training?" Ren Au asked.

"Yes," Jacob replied.

"It would guarantee that the Goa'uld is eliminated, and would still achieve that which we wish to see occur," Malek agreed.

Ren Au looked at Delek, who gave a nod, and shrug of his shoulders. His way of letting her know that he agreed, only because there were no other options to be had. "Very well. Selmak, I will let you write the report to send to General Hammond."

With a nod of his head, Jacob agreed. "I will begin work on it right away," Selmak replied. "Particularly since SG-1 will be in grave danger if they are discovered off world."


A  A  A  A  A  A


Ba'al looked up when Tieel Mogba walked into the room. Held a small bottle in his hand. "They say that this acid can burn through the human body in less than ten seconds," he said slowly.

The bounty hunter remained silent, but warily eyed the bottle.

"I want SG-1 located. I want them brought to me."

"And how much do you offer?" Mogba asked.

"Your life. Fail me, and you and I will discover together whether the claims that accompany this acid are true."

It would be easy enough to just disappear for awhile. He had a nice little place...

Ryk'teal dragged the woman into the room. She cried out when she saw the man who was her master kneeling at the feet of the one who claimed to be the god Ba'al.

Ba'al smirked at the shock on the hunter's face. "I know everything there is to know about you. Where you do your business. Where you take your ship for repairs when you cross those you work with, or for. Where you hide."

His heart sank. "I will find them."

"You have fourteen days. If SG-1 is not in my holding cell on the fifteenth day, you will be."

Trembling, the bounty hunter rose slowly to his feet. "By your leave, My Lord."

Ba'al nodded. He turned to the Jaffa standing beside him. "Now I will speak with Ares."




On the planet below, Ares smirked with satisfaction. "Ba'al will arrive within the hour," he told Prochoros. He strapped a sheath to his leg, slid a large bladed knife into it. Pulled his robe closed. "When I have killed him, I will take his ship. You will see to the priests and the harem."

"Yes, My Lord."

"Let us hope that the bounty hunter he just sent out is successful. I am most anxious to be with Thanatos again."

The High Priest bowed. Deceit and murder. It was the only way Ares knew. Without the others to control him...he shuddered. And hurried to send a message. He could only hope that it wasn't too late.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Daniel took a deep breath, adjusted the studded leather bracelets on his wrists. He had no clue where Casey had found them. But she had. At least she'd agreed to be here. No way he could have done this without her!

Tiesha brought the camera up. "Okay, Doctor Jackson, relax. Look over at Casey, let her know you have something special for her."

Casey shivered as she watched Daniel straddle the Harley. He was wearing the leather g-string she'd found at For Lover's Only. Sam had arranged to rent the motorcycle for the night, and Tiesha had agreed that the garage would be perfect.

"Let's try it with the vest," the photographer said. She waited until Daniel was settled on the bike again, trying not to stare at that firm ass. Damn, but the man was built!

She watched, her hands pressed together, fingertips against her lips. He looked so good! Leather chaps and two days' worth of beard on his face...oh, mama!

Moving around him, telling him to look over his shoulder, Tiesha continued to snap photos. "Got it!" she declared.




Casey stood back and admired the portrait. Daniel was devastatingly sexy. It made her hot just looking at him! While her portrait was in color, she had agreed with Tiesha that the black and white looked much better for Daniel's portrait. The two were hanging side by side above the dresser. Daniel had already dubbed them the "Bad Boy Biker" and the "Fantasy Angel". She looked at the smaller photo in her hand. "Thanks, girlfriend," she whispered. Put her 'Bad Boy' in her wallet. To keep with her always.



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