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Hell Hath No Fury
Five days. Seven hours. Fifty two minutes. Give or take a second or two. That was how long she'd been missing. Daniel rubbed his hands over his face. Put his glasses back on, stood and stretched. SG-1 had arrived on this planet two days ago. They were talking to anyone and everyone who might have seen the trader/bounty hunter named Tieel Mogba. If what they'd been told was correct, that slimy bastard should be showing up anytime now. With luck, Casey would be with him. Teal'c was convinced that if this Mogba character had her, then he'd be certain to treat her well...Ba'al would not want the woman he'd chosen as his consort to be harmed in any way. That was a comforting thought. If she wasn't with him...he pushed that thought aside. He couldn't deal with the thought that Casey might already be at Ba'al's mercy.
The bartender who operated the dive, which the locals generously called a tavern, watched closely as the man paced the perimeter the room. Experience told him that the stranger with dark blonde hair, several days' growth of beard, and haunted blue eyes was walking the edge. It wasn't a matter of 'if' he broke. Just 'when'.
Jack watched Daniel pacing as well. Information that Ferretti's team had managed to stumble across three days ago had led them to this hell-hole...a planet too far from the nearest sun to be warm enough for any creature other than a heavily furred polar bear. The dim light made the whole damned place depressing as hell. This shithole, which reminded him of such places in the Middle East, was about as welcoming as any such pit could be; offering only rot-gut alcohol, probably siphoned from the nearest motorized craft, whatever they might be, and what passed locally for food. People who came here asked no questions. Those already here gave no answers. He bit back a smile. Except to one man. Daniel had managed to charm, wheedle, nag, and threaten nearly two dozen traders to get the information that kept them sitting here.
The door flew open, and the icy wind whipped around the room, making the flames in the braziers scattered about jump and dance. Daniel whirled to face the men who stomped noisily through the door. Recognized the newcomer in an instant. He watched as the man moved closer, until he was standing face to face with Tieel Mogba. The man who'd taken his Wife.
In a totally unexpected and amazingly quick movement, Daniel grabbed the man, wrapped one hand in the collar of the man's coat, the other around the scarred throat. "Where is she?" he demanded roughly in Goa'uld.
When the two men who'd entered with Mogba would have stopped Daniel, most likely pummeled him with those meaty fists, Jack and Teal'c were by his side in an instant.
"Do not test our patience," Teal'c hissed.
The sound of zat'nik'tels charging caught their attention. Sam stood to one side, a zat in each hand, one aimed at each of the trader's associates. Wide-eyed, the two men took a hesitant step backwards.
By now Mogba was beginning to gasp, clawing desperately at Daniel with his one good hand.
"Daniel, let him go. He can't talk if you're choking him," Jack said calmly.
"If he's hurt her, I'm going to kill him."
"You won't get any arguments from me. Now, let him go."
Daniel lessened his hold on the man's throat, but refused to release him completely. "Where is she?" he repeated.
Tieel Mogba stared into blue eyes so full of icy cold rage that he shivered. "Don't know who you're talking about."
"You took a woman from a small settlement five days ago. Where is she?"
"I did no such thing!" Mogba gasped when the hand around his throat began to tighten again. "Wait!"
"I'm listening," Daniel hissed. His fingers kept up the steady pressure. He had no qualms about snapping this son-of-a-bitch's neck. In fact, he thought, it just might make him feel a little better.
"Ba'al...Ba'al has her!"
His heart sank. The thin thread of hope he'd been clinging to...hope that this trader/bounty hunter still had Casey in his custody...snapped, leaving him breathless with fear...with pain. "Ba'al," he whispered hoarsely. Jack understood exactly what that one word, that name, meant.
The man was choking, his face turning a deep shade of scarlet as his supply of oxygen remained shut off.
"Daniel, let him go," Jack said quietly. When the archaeologist didn't respond, didn't seem to hear him, he reached over, gently pried long fingers from the man's throat. The other hand dropped nervelessly as well. He watched with disinterest as the bounty hunter collapsed onto the floor, gulping lungfuls of air. "Teal'c, find out if she was hurt before he handed her over."
Teal'c crouched beside the still panting man. "If she was harmed, we will not stop our friend from killing you."
"She wasn't! Ba'al made it very clear that she was to be unharmed. I swear it!"
"Where did Ba'al meet you?" Teal'c demanded to know.
"He was waiting above the planet. Well, actually, behind one of the moons," Mogba replied hoarsely. He rubbed his throat. "I met him there. I took the woman, ringed to his ship, collected my payment and left."
Teal'c relayed the information to Jack, watching from the corner of his eye as Daniel stood like a statue, his face pale, the pain in his eyes enough to make his own heart constrict.
"Shit!" Jack swore softly. If Ba'al had had her from the very beginning..."Let's pack it up, we're going home. We need to find out if the Tok'ra have responded to our inquiry yet."
Mogba's men moved warily, helped their employer to his feet. The look of pain in the blonde man's eyes needed no translation. It was obvious that the woman Ba'al had chosen as his consort belonged...had belonged...to this man. Mogba had no love of the Goa'uld. But he was wise enough not to move against them. If these people chose to go after the woman, they'd do so with no further help from him. He motioned toward the bar, limped slowly, leaning heavily against his bodyguard. Who had, the trader thought wryly, failed miserably at doing his job.
Jack put his hand on Daniel's shoulder. Could feel him shaking like a leaf. "We know who has her. It won't take long to find her."
He took a shuddering breath. He would not break. Not here. Not now. Not in front of the dirty rotten son-of-a-bitch who'd stolen her from him. He looked toward the long, scarred wooden bar where Mogba stood, downing the first of what would probably be several drinks. His fingers closed around the zat at his side. Without a word, he brought his hand up. Fired. Mogba screamed and crumpled to the floor.
"Daniel!" Jack managed to force the younger man's arm up, sending the second shot into the shelves behind the bar.
As if seeing Jack for the first time, Daniel shook his head slightly. Frowned as he looked at the weapon in his hand.
"Let's go home, Daniel," Jack said softly. "We need to get some sleep. Then we'll find that damned snake, and bring her home."
With a short nod, Daniel walked toward the door. Never seemed to notice when Teal'c raced to his side, wrapping the heavy arctic coat around his shoulders.
"Oy," Jack said softly. Daniel had been despondent when Casey had run away...this time seemed to be worse. He feared that his best friend was slipping away from him, to a place no one but Casey would be able to find. He glanced at Sam. Took note of the tears that stood in her eyes. No doubt she was thinking the same thing. "Let's go, honey," he said, holding out his hand.
It was the first time he'd ever used an endearment anywhere but in the privacy of her home, or his, wherever they happened to be at the time. Heartsick at what Daniel was going through, worried silly over what Casey might be enduring, Sam took the offered hand, felt the strong fingers wrap around her own. She offered no resistance when Jack tugged slightly.
A A A A A A
She'd paced Ba'al's chambers like a caged animal for hours, until she could take no more. Deciding to test Ba'al's assurances that she'd not be harmed, and that she was free to wander, she'd begun doing so. Counting every agonizing moment of her captivity. Searching, always searching for a way to escape...although she was very careful to keep her captor from being aware of that fact. No one had said a word as she strolled the corridors. So she walked. Every day. All day. She'd been walking the ship for four days now. Four long, heartbreaking, intolerable days. She'd been surprised...no, she'd been shocked...to learn that Ba'al had told her the truth. She hadn't been physically abused. She'd been treated...well...like a queen. Servants bowed when she walked passed them. Slaves cowered, unwilling to even look upon the consort of their god. Jaffa stood at attention in her presence. The clanking of their armor continued to bring a rush of fear to her heart each time she heard it. But they didn't aim their staff weapons at her...didn't beat her...didn't rape her.
It was all she could do to keep from falling apart...battling the fear that she'd never find a way to get home...a way to get back to Daniel. Daniel! Oh, god, Daniel! Her mind, her heart, continually cried out for the man she loved. She ached with the need to feel his arms around her, to hear his voice soothe her, telling her that everything would be all right.
Casey frowned as her tumultuous thoughts whirled within her head. She stepped out of the chambers where she was forced to sleep...in Ba'al's bed by his side. So far the Goa'uld had continued to allow her to wander the ship at will, although he had to know that she was looking for a way to get away from him. Of course, the fact that two Jaffa followed her everywhere she went probably had something to do with his willingness to let her pace up and down the corridors. If she could just find a way to get to one of the computer consoles...and do what? her brain asked. Damn it! Sam was the expert with that stuff. Daniel understood most of it. Teal'c...hell, he was a Jaffa, had been First Prime to Apophis, so he knew how to work the computers on a Goa'uld ship as well. She glanced over her shoulder at Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, as she'd taken to calling her 'escorts'. Too bad she couldn't just order them to send a message to the SGC. And to blast Ba'al to eternity, too.
She turned a corner, and ran smack-dab into the snake himself. She cringed when his arms went around her, hugged her tightly.
"You have been walking the ship for hours. You must rest."
The concern in Ba'al's voice made her stare at him. "I don't want to rest," she said stubbornly. She wanted to be so exhausted that her body would shut down, taking her mind with it, offer her respite from her fears, her heartache.
"Fine. I'll walk with you." He'd watched her each day - pacing, almost running; her eyes darting this way and that, seeking escape, he was certain. His hope was that by letting her pace, to walk the passageways, she'd come to understand that she was in no danger. And that her new home, her new life, was at his side.
"I'd rather be alone."
He'd held off going directly to Babylonia. He wanted Casey to come willingly to him. Wanted her to cooperate during the preparations for the ceremony...preparations which would guarantee her compliance during the ritual cleansing itself. Knew that if she put up the least bit of a struggle in front of the group of Priests and Priestess', it could cause him no end of trouble. After all, a god should be able to control his own wife, shouldn't he? Nor had he forced himself on her, although he did insist that she sleep at his side. It had not been easy, his desire for her was great. But she'd claimed to be in the midst of her monthly bleeding. Tomorrow, the next night at the latest, he'd take her, make her his own. And at last conquer the fire that burned in him, the fire that only she could quench.
She shrugged his arm from her shoulders. Sighed heavily when he put it around her once again. He said nothing. She knew that she could try to move away from him as far, and as often, as she wanted. But she'd end up exactly where he wanted her. Besides, if she made nice, he was more apt to let her have time alone.
Casey had learned well under Jack, Teal'c, and Sam's tutelage. She'd scouted out her surroundings, taking note of everything from the locations of as well as the placement of guards, and the times that duty watches rotated. She knew where the pel'tak of the ship was located. She could go there whenever she wanted. In fact, Ba'al always welcomed her, bid her to sit with him when she decided to go there. She just couldn't do anything there. She knew where the engine room was...although that was definitely off limits. So were the weapons lockers. And the slaves quarters. Probably because she'd be able to talk a few slaves into revolting against the damned bastard.
She'd learned of the laboratories. The rooms used for meetings...or whatever the hell they were used for. The storage rooms and cargo bays had been visited as well. She'd found the kitchen, and had taken to making most of her own meals. She didn't trust Shanda not to try to poison her.
That was a situation of frustration all unto itself. The young woman did exactly what was expected of her...drawing baths for her new mistress. Brushing her hair. Rubbing scented oil into her skin. Helping her dress in the figure hugging gowns that Ba'al seemed to prefer, gowns that left her shoulders bare, save for simple, ribbon straps that held the silk in place. But she did so with hatred in her eyes.
Watching those around her, she searched each Jaffa face for recognition. For signs of rebellion...hoping to make contact with one of Master Bra'tac's spies. She watched the servants as well, not knowing who might be a Tok'ra spy.
She'd been introduced to Balathu, the High Priest; a pompous ass if she'd ever met one. Ba'al had laughed out loud when she'd told him exactly what she thought of the old man. There were several others on the ship, two she knew for certain to be Goa'uld, three she knew were not. If she could just find one ally, just one, her chances of getting off of the ship improved by at least fifty percent.
"Are you hungry?"
His voice was soft. Full of concern. Full of love. Daniel always worried about her eating enough. That thought served only to make her ache all the more for her Husband...to hear his voice. Feel the warmth of his touch. She shook her head.
"You must eat. Shanda tells me you have not been eating breakfast."
"I was never big on breakfast," she replied. She'd never really eaten breakfast until Daniel had come into her life. He'd been determined that she'd follow Janet's orders to eat three meals a day, even if she was Immortal. Daniel! I miss you! I need you! I love you! her mind cried out.
"Come. We will eat. Perhaps you wish to listen to music?"
Music had always been a big part of her life. As a child, and a teenager, she'd hidden in music. For the past year, she'd used it to celebrate her life...one so full of love and happiness that sometimes she couldn't contain it. The one thing that was keeping her from going totally insane was listening to the group of women...from his harem, she had no doubt...who played what looked and sounded like harps, most of them smaller than what she was accustomed to seeing. There were also instruments that resembled guitars. The music was different...but soothing. She nodded. She could lose herself in the sounds, close her eyes and pretend she was with Daniel on some planet, meeting a new group of people. She could smell his aftershave. Feel the warmth of his fingers around hers. For a few minutes at a time, she could forget where she was...whom she was with, and dream herself to Daniel's side.
A A A A A A
General Hammond read the message a second time. For one panicked moment, he feared that Jacob Carter was playing a horribly sick joke. When the klaxons began to wail, and red light flashed against the walls of his office, reflecting from the beacons in the corridor, he sighed. Hopefully the real message was coming through this time. He hurried to the 'gate room. For the first time ever, he could say that he was disappointed to see SG-1 walking down the ramp toward him. Dr. Jackson looked horrible, his eyes dull and filled with anguish. The rest of the team didn't look much better.
"Welcome home, SG-1," the general said quietly.
"General," Jack said wearily. "We found Mogba. Ba'al has Casey."
"As soon as we know where he is-" Daniel started, stopped when the general began to shake his bald head.
"We know where he is."
"Where? How soon can we leave?" Daniel demanded, his heart hammering against his ribs as hope began to flood his being for the first time in days.
"He's en route to his home planet of Babylonia," the general said. "Tok'ra operatives report that there's a lot of activity there right now. It seems that the entire city is preparing for a celebration. And a ceremony. A..." he looked down at the paper he still clutched in his fingers. Found the section he was looking for, ignoring the request that the message contained. "A Purification Ceremony."
Teal'c and Sam both grabbed at Daniel when he collapsed to his knees.
"I take it that you understand what this ceremony consists of, and its relevance," Hammond said gently.
He could barely nod. "Casey?"
"I'm afraid so, son,"
"What?" Jack asked worriedly. "What the hell is going on? What's this 'Purification Ceremony'?"
Daniel raised tear-filled eyes to his friend. "She'll fast for six days and nights, surrounded by the Priests and Priestess' of the Temple. She won't be allowed to speak, either."
"Casey, quiet? Can't be done," Jack replied, forcing a weak grin.
The corners of his lips barely moved. "At dawn on the seventh day she'll be taken to the Holy Pool of Sacred Water. She'll be stripped, and her clothes burned. Once she steps into the water, a Priest will bathe her, symbolically 'washing away' everything that had been a part of her. He'll dunk her, hold her under for a few seconds, and when she re-emerges, she will have been 'reborn', pure and whole and fit to serve the god Ba'al."
General Hammond frowned. "This sounds as if Ba'al really does intend to take her as his consort," he said quietly, seeing the strategic advantage of such a 'performance'. No one would dare to question Casey's position, or her loyalty, after such a ceremony.
"We have to get there, sir," Jack said hoarsely. "We have to stop this!"
"Colonel, as much as I want to see Casey safe and home with us, I cannot in good conscience allow you, or any other teams, attempt an attack on a heavily fortified city. The Stargate there is continually guarded, according to the Tok'ra," the general replied.
"So we get a ride from the Tok'ra, and ring down," Jack countered, almost frantically.
It took only a few minutes to make up his mind. If any team could get to Casey, and get her out, in the middle of enemy territory, it would be SG-1. Especially when Casey was one of their own. "I'll contact Jacob," the general conceded.
Teal'c helped Daniel to his feet. "You must rest, Daniel Jackson. All of your strength will be needed for this endeavor."
He managed to nod. During the six days of fasting, of silence, Casey would be subjected to constant chanting, and the reading of the "word of Ba'al". She wouldn't be allowed to sleep, as the Priests recited every event that had occurred during Ba'al's reign. Several of the texts he'd studied mentioned the 'Finger of Ba'al', and what had been described fit the Tok'ra memory device perfectly. A little doo-dad the Goa'uld had stolen. With the device attached to their temple, resistance of the neophyte was lowered to almost nil. It was a subtle and quick way of brainwashing a man, or a woman. It happened without the...victim...even realizing it. The few sips of water she'd be allowed would no doubt be drugged, so that her already sleep deprived mind would be more receptive to their suggestions. He had to get to her before that ceremony. He had to...or he risked losing her forever! The frantic thought that he might have to hire a 'deprogrammer' flittered through his mind.
It hadn't been easy to get away from his worried friends, but after receiving a shot of the Hathor-gene serum, Daniel slipped to his office. There, sitting on his desk where he'd tossed it when the team had returned from Bodoborg, was the video camera he'd used to tape the merchants of the village. He picked it up, with the intention of placing it with the notes he'd taken while in the Viking settlement. His finger brushed the power switch, and a soft, familiar laugh filled the room. He stared at the small view screen, which allowed him to watch what he'd recorded. Casey was laughing, comparing the different types of lace she'd found...tears fell unheeded onto his cheeks when she turned toward the camera, stuck her tongue out at him, then insisted that he put the camera down and serve as translator for her and Sam.
"Would you put that thing down and get over here! You know the language, I don't. Look at these! Aren't they beautiful?" Her eyes were dancing with excitement, her smile wide and beautiful.
"Very nice," his voice replied.
"They'd be perfect under the crystal picture frames, don't you think?"
"Yeah, they would."
"Get over here! Don't make me sic Teal'c on you!"
His chuckle filled the air, just before the picture went black.
He looked up to see Sam standing in the doorway, her arms around her waist. He gasped slightly from the sudden pain that gripped him. "I miss her so much!"
Her long legs brought her into the room and to the side of her best friend in just a few steps. Sam wrapped her arms around strong shoulders that were hunched forward beneath the weight of his fear, his worry. "I know. We'll bring her home, Daniel."
"Before or after he manages to break her?"
Pain filled sapphire blue eyes. "I don't know. Before, hopefully. She's strong, Daniel. Look what she's already been through...how well she's handled each situation. As long as Ba'al isn't using the ker'nish'ta on her, there's the chance she can escape. When she does, she'll get word to us. She knows the glyphs to the Alpha site. If she can get to a 'gate, I can guarantee that's the first place she'll go."
Daniel forced a smile. "I know. She's tough. She's a fighter. Like Sha're-" His voice caught. It took several seconds before he trusted it enough to speak again. "Why is it that the women I love seem destined to be taken by Goa'uld?"
Sam didn't have an answer. All she could do was hug her best friend. "We'll bring her home," she whispered. She reached up to wipe away his tears, and then her own. And prayed that they reached Casey in time.
General Hammond summoned Jack to his office. "We have a bit of a problem."
Jack sighed heavily. "Besides the fact that Ba'al has Casey...again; that he's set to make her his consort in some ceremony that Daniel is freaked out about, what else could go wrong?"
The older man ignored the blatant insubordination. Often he allowed Jack to say the things that he couldn't, or at least shouldn't. "The Tok'ra have Sarah Gardner in custody. Karinda has been joined with someone else, and what she's had to say hasn't been good. Sarah, as Osiris, has been gathering all of Anubis's forces together; she was set to demand the same loyalty from those who bowed to him. And she set Casey up...because she plans to take over Earth. Wants Doctor Jackson at her side. It seems she's convinced that he'd be proud of her, and stay with her willingly. Not only that, but right now they can't get her to say a word. She refuses to speak to anyone but Doctor Jackson."
"Ah, crap," Jack sputtered, leaning against the door frame. "I suppose they want Daniel to come talk to her?"
"So Jacob Carter says. If you go to the Tok'ra base, he can talk to Sarah, and then SG-1 can catch a ride with them to Babylonia. You've pulled off missions just as tricky as this one. You can do it." SG-1 had embarked on missions believed to be a one-way ticket to oblivion, only to walk back into the 'gate room full of cocky pride at their success. They'd been declared dead so many times he'd lost count. Always, always, always, SG-1 returned. Even when they had to go out and retrieve a missing member of the team, they always returned...the whole team always returned.
The corners of his mouth moved upward just a bit. "That SG-1 good luck, sir."
"Whatever it is, let's hope it holds out long enough to get Casey home. I've already had three teams hit trouble on what should have been routine missions. The others are spooked, and it won't be long until COs will be requesting down time for their teams, hoping to avoid going out without Casey's 'blessing'."
Ever since her arrival at the SGC, her gift giving her insight to each and every mission, the SG teams had grown accustomed to having her 'blessing'. No one would even think of setting foot through the 'gate if Casey hadn't taken a look at the mission report first. Sometimes she'd race into the 'gate room, just as a team was getting ready to leave, with last minute warnings or instructions. Sometimes what she said didn't make sense. But experience had taught them all to heed those warnings. Every person on every team had been saved numerous times because of her.
Word had already spread through the mountain. Ba'al had her, and was planning on conducting a bizarre ceremony to make her his consort. Every team in the SGC was ready and willing to go through the 'gate to attempt a rescue mission. If will alone could get the job done, Casey would be back home within the hour. But marching through a heavily guarded gate, into a heavily fortified Goa'uld stronghold was not going to be the way to get to her. And too many people trying to ring down to the planet would only draw attention to themselves, dooming any attempt to get to the main temple, and possibly sending Ba'al into flight, with Casey beside him.
Right now, their best bet was to ring into the city, just the four of them, and sneak their way into that temple. SG-1 had gone into hell...literally, and saved Jacob Carter/Selmak. Hammond had no doubt that if anyone could bring the resident seer home, it would be that magical, mystical, oft-times irritating team.
"We'll get her, sir," Jack said quietly.
"I hope so, Jack. From what Doctor Fraiser tells me, Daniel is barely hanging on."
"He'll be fine, General." God, please let him be fine, Jack thought worriedly.
"Good. Get your team together, Colonel. I want SG-1 through that gate in thirty minutes or less."
General Hammond sank into his chair. Daniel would be furious that the Tok'ra wanted him to speak to the one person responsible for his wife's current predicament. Even more so when they used it as leverage against the team, who needed the Tok'ra's ships, or one of them anyway, to take them to Ba'al's home planet. No doubt there would be fireworks when the archaeologist found out. He'd already advised the president that if anything was said, he'd point out that it had been one of their operatives who'd caused the entire mess...again. The president had given him permission to stand firm on the matter. And to back SG-1 completely.
A A A A A A
She sat up, a fine sheen of sweat covering her body. She eased away from the man beside her, pulled on the robe that matched the sheer, silk nightgown he insisted that she wear. He'd asked her if she was still 'passing blood'. She'd informed him that she was...then, for good measure, added that the stress of the situation seemed to be prolonging her monthly period. Ba'al had frowned, but said nothing. That excuse wasn't going to protect her much longer, another day at the most. She shivered violently at the thought of the Goa'uld demanding from her, taking what belonged to Daniel, and Daniel alone.
Slipping through the dark room as quietly as possible, she made her way by feel to the large, gaudily appointed bathroom. Sank to the floor in a corner of the room, held her head between her hands. The dreams were insistent now. Becoming so real that for a few seconds after awaking, she was disoriented. There was little time left before she'd be forced to face her astral Stalker...The Shadow, as she called him in her mind. Somehow, she knew that her nemesis was a 'he'.
It was difficult to keep from screaming out loud. She had to face that damned Shadow, but she didn't dare let her guard down around Ba'al. She closed her eyes. As much as she longed to reach out to her spirit guide, to the old woman on whom she'd learned to rely, she didn't dare. Because once she'd left this plane, she wasn't sure she'd be able to return, not until the battle was finished. She needed...she wanted...Daniel beside her when she fought the battle that waited for her.
"Daniel," she whispered, tears rolling down her cheeks. "I love you so very much! I'm trying to be strong, for you. I know you're looking for me. I miss you, Stud Muffin...I miss you so much!"
Ba'al moved away from the door, stretched out on the bed, a frown on his face. He didn't understand what she said, other than the name of that damned Tau'ri. But he could understand the anguish in her voice, and in her tears. Balathu had suggested that he wait until after the Purification Ceremony to actually bed his new Consort. The old fool actually believed that he, Ba'al, would make Casey a virgin once again. Perhaps he should wait. After the ceremony, and all that it entailed, she'd be much more...receptive. If he didn't push her, he would continue to gain her trust. It was difficult, to feel the warmth of her body beside him, night after night, and be unable to sample all of that sweetness. The sweet scent of her permeated the room, the sheets...filled his lungs and his mind. His scientists had perfected the serum that would protect him from the Hathor-drug that was still strong in her. He frowned. There was something...odd...about that...
The frown faded, and a smile tugged at his lips. He'd actually made her laugh during dinner. He was certain she'd been as surprised as he. The sound echoed still in his head...soft, sweet...beautiful. He'd have to search his memory for other such tales of daring-do from his youth with which to entertain her, so that he might savor that sweet sound once again, hold it in his heart like fine wine on his palate. He closed his eyes when he heard her moving through the room once again. When the bed dipped, and she remained as close to the far edge as she could, he indulged her need for privacy. Part of him understood that she was still adjusting to her new position. And that giving up all that she'd known wasn't easy. Not for a woman as passionate as she. That part struggled against the part that wanted to take her, know her completely...and now.
Shanda had watched silently, hidden among the long panels of fabric that softened the metal walls of the room. She watched every night, waiting for her god to take the blonde, to see just what special powers the woman held over him. What she might learn that would please him, make him love her once again. She'd heard the quiet sobs of the woman. Listened as she spoke, recognizing one word...'Daniel'. The young slave waited until both people in the bed were breathing slowly, asleep once more, before she moved back to her own room. She didn't understand why Ba'al hesitated to take the woman. Certainly couldn't understand why the woman resisted her god. She knew that the woman was lying to Ba'al about being in her moon time. Yet Ba'al accepted the lie. Her mind puzzled over the situation as she crawled into her bed.
He could feel her 'stirring'. Knew that she sensed his nearness. Not much longer, he thought. Soon, very soon. She would be his, to do with as he pleased. And it would please him to make a gift of her...to his esteemed colleague. It always paid well to hold one's friends close, and one's enemies closer. The gift would indebt this particular colleague. How delightful that would be. The call of his superiors tore him from his place of observation. He glanced over his shoulder. Knew They were watching. And knew that They could do nothing to stop what was about to happen. They were not allowed to interfere. Unlike he and his kind. A sardonic smile tugged at his lips. Watch all you wish, he thought gleefully. What is done, is done. She belongs to me, now!
A A A A A A
Daniel stared at Jack. "They want what?"
"Apparently Sarah has gone bananas on them, and she's refusing to speak to anyone but you."
"Refresh my memory, but isn't Sarah the one who, on her own, and trying to hide it from Karinda, if that report is true, sent the coordinates of where we were to Ba'al, so that sonofabitch could come take my Wife?"
"And they want me to talk to her?" Anger boiled in his veins. He had a thing or two to say to the woman. None of it pleasant.
"So the message says."
"And they're going to hold this over our heads; I talk to her, or we don't get a ride to Babylonia."
"Yes, it does. Sam thinks we could...borrow...one of the Tok'ra ships, and do what we need to do, then return it."
He studied his best friend's face. "She thinks Jacob will help us."
Jack rubbed a hand over the back of his neck, then shoved it back into his pocket. "Well, sort of. I guess."
He sighed. "I don't care how I get there. I just have to get there. He'll break her, Jack. She won't be able to fight against it. He'll break her, and then, she'll be like-" his voice caught, a single tear made its way down his cheek. "She won't have a snake in her head. But she won't recognize me any more than Sha're did on Chulak."
The colonel winced. He remembered the devastation in Daniel's eyes when Sha're had looked at him, Amaunet in complete control, and nothing flickered in her brown eyes but anger. "We'll get you there, Daniel, I promise."
A A A A A A
Ren Au looked at the faces of her fellow council members. "Then we are agreed?"
Delek, Malek, and Selmak nodded. The only council members who had survived the last brutal attack on their former base, they had yet to vote on who should join them to round out the council to it's customary seven members. For now, the four of them dealt with all of the problems the Tok'ra encountered, gathered all of the information sent from their numerous operatives, approved or disapproved missions. And now agreed that regardless of whether or not Dr. Daniel Jackson would speak to the woman who'd been a Tok'ra host for nearly nine months, a woman who'd become a traitor, whether due to madness or just a simple lust for power yet unknown, they'd see to it that he and the other members of SG-1 were taken to Ba'al's home planet. And they'd get the team, Tok'ra heroes in their own right, as close to the main temple as possible. So that they might rescue Casey Jackson. The victim of a scheme dreamed up by the woman now lying silently in a confinement cell.
'I'm glad they did this,' Jacob said as Selmak took them back to their quarters.
'As am I.'
'I've been thinking about Sarah,' Jacob said. 'I think we should do a bit of research on multiple personality disorders.'
'I do not believe I have heard of this,' Selmak admitted.
'There are psychologists and psychiatrists who don't believe it's a true mental disorder...but there are others who have documented some very interesting things,' Jacob explained. 'When a person, their psyche, suffers a traumatic event during childhood, the theory is that this creates a mental split or "dissociation" as a defense against that trauma. I'm no expert, but from what Karinda has told us, and what we've seen so far, I think we might be seeing that with Sarah. It might be the result of Osiris taking over her mind.'
'This is quite fascinating,' Selmak said. 'I believe that Samantha has provided us with ample medical information for the Tau'ri...we should see if there is any mention of this...disorder. We will also search among the known mental deficiencies and disorders known among the Tok'ra and other humans.'
Jacob stopped beside the opening to the cell. Sarah glared at him, but remained silent. Earlier, she'd been weeping quietly. Had Osiris left such an 'imprint' on her mind that he'd literally left bits of himself when he'd been removed and subsequently killed? Or had Sarah already been suffering from mental problems, which were only exacerbated by the invasion of the Goa'uld into her mind?
The one thing Jacob did know for certain, had argued against during the council meeting, was that forcing Daniel Jackson to speak to the woman would not win the Tok'ra any points among the Tau'ri. Sarah alone was responsible for his wife being in the hands of Ba'al. There was no way he'd want to even see her. Not if Karinda's reports of what had happened during the mission to destroy Anubis were true. He'd seen the archaeologist's wrath for himself. This had to be ten times worse...knowing that Sarah had sent the information on where to find Casey directly to Ba'al...deliberately; fully intending to see the woman taken captive.
'I believe we will be successful in returning Casey Jackson to Earth,' Selmak said quietly.
'You know better than that, Jacob. But I know you, my dear friend. I know that you're worried about both Casey and Doctor Jackson.'
Jacob sighed mentally. 'Yes, I am.'
'As are we all. Come, until we have a full report from Martellis, there is nothing we can do...other than this research.'
Sarah watched the man walk away. Bastard! So smug, still joined with his symbiote. All of them! Laughing at her...as she sat, alone, unable to fulfill her destiny as Osiris. She'd heard them whispering. Karinda had blended with another. Traitorous bitch! There were others in need of a host, however. She'd find one, take it into her body, and with the powers it would give her, take her rightful place. Then she'd find Daniel, and they 'd make love, and take over the First World together...as it should be...Sharp pain in the front of her head made her gasp. She rubbed her fingers along her forehead.
She looked around. How had she come to be in this room? And why was it so quiet? Where was Karinda? She searched frantically for the comfort of her symbiote, found only darkness...emptiness...and an anger that she didn't recognize. If only she could speak to Daniel! He had explained what was happening when Osiris had been taken out of her. She closed her eyes. He'd been kind, but he'd been eager to leave, to get back to his wife. Only to learn that because of her, because of Osiris, his wife had left him.
She remembered meeting Casey Jackson. Watching Daniel watch her...the love that burned there in his eyes for all to see. Casey was a beautiful woman, with a kind, generous heart. As much as she'd longed to be the one to win Daniel's heart, Sarah had to admit that seeing him so very happy was worth knowing that he was lost to her. She doubted that he'd ever be her friend, not after all of the things that had happened...
The frown deepened. Something was horribly wrong. Karinda was gone...she'd done something...something bad...she could feel it. She just wasn't sure exactly what it was. If only she could speak to Daniel...
A A A A A A
Daniel stood in the 'gate room. Watched as the inner ring of the Stargate spun around, listened to the metallic 'clang' as each chevron locked into place. When Jack had had the repository of knowledge downloaded into his brain, they'd learned that the eighth chevron permitted travel between Stargates in different galaxies. But what was the ninth chevron for? He secretly suspected that it might have to do with time travel. The Ancients had been far advanced of any species in any of the known galaxies, or known to them. How he wished he could simply dial the 'gate, go back to that morning they left to meet a group of Vikings, and prevent Casey from being taken from him.
"Everything will be all right...Even when things seem the darkest, remember that everything will be all right...everything will be all right...everything will be all right...."
Her soft voice echoed in his head. She was never wrong when she made 'predictions' like that. Never. "Everything will be all right," he whispered.
Jack turned toward his friend. "Daniel?"
He shook his sandy blonde head. "Nothing," he murmured. I'm coming for you, Angel, he thought. Just hang in there, just a little longer.
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