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Hell Hath No Fury
"My Lord, we have word that Lord Olokun approaches," The First Prime reported.
Ba'al frowned. He'd attacked Olokun weeks prior, in an attempt to weaken him enough that he'd be unable to stop any incursions into his sector. Ba'al sorely needed the resources offered by two of that System Lord's planets. He had believed his strike to have been a decisive one. It seemed that his enemy had been able to recover very quickly. There was no time to worry about just how that had happened. "When his ship is in range, destroy it."
"There are five ships, My Lord," Ryk'teal replied nervously.
"Then destroy five ships," Ba'al retorted.
"Yes, My Lord." The First Prime was worried. Taking on one mothership was risky enough, the ships being equal in size, power and armament, but to take on the additional al'kesh...he shook his head mentally. The chances of Ba'al's mothership surviving lessened in that situation. Of course, Ba'al was on the planet, so if the ship was destroyed, he'd simply build a new one...
"Wait," Ba'al said, as suspicion began to grow in his mind. Just how had Olokun known that it was he who'd attacked? He'd been very careful to leave no sign, no witnesses who could expose him as the one who'd destroyed half a dozen ships and four outposts. "Perhaps Olokun has heard of my approaching marriage, and has arrived to wish me good tidings."
"Perhaps, My Lord," the First Prime replied. The ways of gods were not those of mere Jaffa. Anything was possible.
"When he is close enough, hail him. Bid him welcome."
"Yes, My Lord."
Ba'al settled back in his throne. Waved the priest forward. "How is she?"
"She does well, My Lord," the priest reported. "She grows weary."
"Yes, I'm sure she does," the Goa'uld murmured. Casey was now twenty-five hours into the preparations. He wasn't certain he could wait the full six days required by law. He frowned. She was not a Jaffa, being prepared to join his elite, personal guard. He had no need for her to be brainwashed...had no desire for her to be brainwashed. "Tell Balathu that the rite of Purification will take place at dawn."
"But, My Lord..."
"Do not challenge me!" Ba'al threatened, his eyes glowing. "I will wash her myself, and will consummate my marriage to Casey on the Altar of Life as the sun begins its journey. Tell him!"
"Yes, My Lord." The priest bowed, then scurried away. The High Priest would be most distressed at this news, he thought.
A A A A A A
Casey fought to keep her eyes open. Every time she'd drifted to sleep, Balathu had yanked her head back, growling that she pay attention. Just as soon as she'd taken a bit of a nap, she was going to kick that old man's ass. She could blame it on temporary insanity. If she heard one more goddamned story about Ba'al and his miraculous feats of bravery, she was going to seriously hurt someone!
The chanting was nothing more than white noise to her now, the gong didn't even register in her mind. She wondered briefly how those priests could carry on for so long without going hoarse. She frowned, examined their faces. Hey, those weren't the same guys...that was a fair bit of cheating! They got to take breaks and rest, why couldn't she?
If she was going to be the consort of a god, didn't that afford her a few little perks? Like being able to tell Pickle Puss to take his preparation ceremony and shove it up his ass! Her butt was so numb it hurt. Which didn't make sense, but there it was. Glaring at the old man, she stood to her feet, stretched luxuriously.
Balathu moved forward, a frown of anger on his face. He reached for her, gasped when he suddenly found himself on his knees in front of the woman.
"You try that again, and I swear to god I'll break your arm," she hissed, applying pressure to the points Sam had taught her. The thought that her friends would be pleased at how well she'd learned self defense skittered through her tired mind.
"You must not speak!" the High Priest screeched. "You have violated the sacred rite, we must begin again!"
"Oh hell, no!" Casey growled. "I am not listening to any more of that bullshit! I'll snap and kill you and everyone else in here! Now you go tell Ba'al I'm finished playing this damned game. Then you'll bring me something to eat. And then I'm going to sleep for three or four days. After that, Daniel should be here, and he'll rip Ba'al into pieces with his bare hands!"
Every person in the room stared in shock...in horror. This far into the rite, she should not be able to speak at all! One of the priests raced forward, checked the memory device that was still on her temple.
Casey grabbed his hand. "Take that damned thing off of me...and if it hurts, I'm going to rip your dick off!"
Trembling, the man did has she'd commanded.
Balathu looked at the faces around him. If he allowed this situation to get out of control, Ba'al would see him punished! If he played along, he could report to Ba'al that the woman had surpassed expectations, so eager to learn that the priests had been forced to read more quickly, finishing in record time. She might not be complaisant during the ceremonial cleansing...but that would be Ba'al's problem, not his. "On your knees," he hissed.
"Not even if hell freezes over," Casey replied hotly.
The old man lowered his eyes. "I speak not to you, My Lady, She who has been chosen as the Consort of our god Ba'al."
The priests and priestess' still in the room did as their leader commanded. They dropped to their knees in front of Casey.
"You have proven your worth to our god by surviving the tests he has put before you. I will tell him that you have fulfilled the requirements of preparation much more quickly than was anticipated," Balathu said. He frowned, glanced at the man who slipped into the room.
"I must-" the priest stopped, stared wide-eyed at the site of Balathu, and the others, on their knees in front of the blonde woman, the High Priest's arm twisted awkwardly in the young woman's hand.
"What?" Balathu asked wearily.
"I bring a message from Ba'al. He said that he himself will perform the Purification ritual at sunrise."
Eyes widened, all stared open mouthed at the young woman. "He knows! Surely Ba'al is a great and powerful god!" Balathu exclaimed. "Quickly, prepare a meal for the Consort of Ba'al. See to it that the finest bed is ready for her to rest in."
Now this is more like it, Casey thought. She released the priest. Glanced around. She'd bet that Ba'al had cameras in here somewhere, and had been monitoring everything that was going on. To save face, he was going to speed things up. Well, to save face and try to ease the ache in his balls. Ba'al has blue balls, she thought, giggling at the errant thought. She grinned. Daniel's were probably pretty blue about now, too. This thought sent her into hysterics, her giggling bringing worried looks from those around her. Just as soon as she could get home, she'd take care of that little problem. She giggled even harder when she decided that Daniel's condition was a very large problem. Nicely large and hard and...hell...it seemed she had a bit of a problem herself! As soon as Daniel got her out of here, she'd get her itch scratched, and cure his problems as well. Ba'al would have to cure his blue balls in his harem. Or with Shanda. She really didn't give a shit which.
It was impossible not to admire her stamina, her determination. The fire that burned within her...filled those green eyes. She was in an extremely weakened state. If he were to move now...He sensed a presence...one that he'd not felt in centuries.
"You cannot interfere," he said, with feral smile.
"Nor can you. You can not draw her here. You must wait until she arrives here on her own accord," the dark haired woman replied.
"You are mistaken. Unlike you, I am not bound by such...bothersome...rules."
Oma smiled grimly. "Then by all means, attempt to draw her."
He turned to face his nemesis. She knew something, or she'd not be standing there, smiling at him like she was. He stretched the tiniest bit. Felt the mental 'sting' of being held back. Well, imagine that! Someone from a higher level was deigning to become involved! His eyes narrowed. Which could only mean that the human, this 'One', and his little seer were far more important than any of them had anticipated. How utterly delightful! "She will come to me."
"I know," Oma sighed. How she wished she could protect Casey. Could battle this Being herself.
"We have already won."
The smile Oma gave him was genuine. "No, you have not. She is much stronger than you realize. She will defeat you. And when the time has come, The One will destroy all of you."
He forced himself to remain impassive. Oma Desala never boasted. Never spoke anything other than the truth. The very fact that she wasn't hiding her meaning in the riddles she so loved bespoke of the seriousness of the situation. The first tiny seed of doubt had been planted, although he wasn't aware of it. It would be a weakness that a young seer would find and use against him. Fortunately, he wasn't aware of that, either.
Ryk'teal watched as the ships approached the planet. As he'd been instructed, he sent out a message. Waited impatiently for word back from Olokun. Neither he nor the Goa'uld who continued to move closer to Babylonia were aware of the small cargo ship, hidden by the cloak that had been stolen from Nirrti.
Jacob watched the ships warily. "Something is going on," he informed the team. "I just intercepted a message, from Ba'al's flag ship to that approaching mothership."
"So who's the uninvited guest?" Jack asked.
"Never heard of him," the colonel responded.
Daniel frowned slightly. "He's an African god, presides over death and controls the seas," he told Jack absently. He turned back to Jacob. "Olokun was supposed to attend the conference, and he allied with Yu and Bastet against Osiris when she...he...kidnapped me."
"That's the one," Jacob affirmed.
"What's he doing here?"
"No idea," Jacob replied.
"How does this affect us?" Jack asked.
"It just might help us," the general said. "I'm going to position us under Ba'al's ship, it will appear that any ring transport originates from there."
"Good idea," Sam nodded. "Maybe Olokun will believe it's Ba'al ringing down to the planet."
"Possible," her father admitted. "Get ready."
Daniel was shaking with anticipation. "I'm coming, Angel," he whispered. He tightened his grip on his P90.
"In and out, very quietly," Jack said, holding the younger man with a stare.
"I hear you," Daniel said softly. He would do nothing that would jeopardize their chances of getting Casey out of that temple.
Having been warned that the interior of the temple could be quite dark, and that the room where they were ringing into would be pitch black, the team adjusted their night vision goggles.
"Ready," Jack said quietly. The 'swish' of the rings surrounded them.
A A A A A A
The room, used for storage it appeared, was abandoned, just as the Tok'ra spy had promised. Teal'c raced toward the door. He opened it the tiniest bit. The hallway outside of the room was dark as well.
"Well?" Jack asked.
"I can see no movement," Teal'c replied.
One by one the team members slipped into the hallway. A junction fifty feet from them offered the only light. They had to turn left, the room they wanted opened to the right of the long corridor that ran the length of the lower level of the temple. Above them were the open rooms where the worship rituals of Ba'al were held six times a day. The most activity occurred there.
Teal'c remained on point, Daniel right behind him, his heart pounding with fear, with excitement. Just a few more minutes, Case, I promise, he thought happily. Just a few more minutes and she'd be back in his arms.
The sudden shuddering of the structure around them made them stop. "What the hell?" Jack hissed.
"I believe Olokun is attacking," Teal'c announced.
"We have to get her," Daniel said, a touch of panic in his voice, "before Ba'al shows up to whisk her away! You know he won't stick around here if the city is under attack!"
"Daniel's right," Jack said. "Safety off. Let's go."
Thumbs moved the safety switches on the P90's they carried. Whoever was unfortunate enough to cross their path wouldn't live to tell about it. Running now, they hurried toward the inner room where Casey was being held.
Ba'al jumped to his feet. "Report!"
"My Lord, Olokun is attacking the city," the Jaffa replied.
"Has not been fired upon." Neither the First Prime, nor his second-in-command, who stood before Ba'al, realized that Olokun had seen the transport beam, and assumed that his enemy was trying to flee through the Chappa'ai.
"Follow me. We will take my Consort, return to the ship, and deal with this mik'ta-ha!"
"Yes, My Lord." The Jaffa motioned, and his squad closed ranks around their god. Their armor clanked loudly as they ran toward the stairs that would lead them to the lower level, the very center of the temple.
Casey looked up at what sounded like thunder...felt the floor shake beneath her feet. Now this couldn't be a good thing! She was in the very center of a temple...which just happened to be made out of massive stone blocks...she whirled toward Balathu. "We need to get out of this room, and now!"
"We will be safe here," he replied calmly.
"Listen, old man, there's either an earthquake going on, or snakeface is being attacked. Either way, I am not going to just sit here waiting to be buried alive!"
The others in the room shifted uneasily at her words, many of them flickering longing gazes toward the door.
She pushed past the High Priest, and the man who'd removed the memory device. "I don't really care what you decide to do, I'm leaving!"
"You will not open that door!" Balathu roared, pointing a gnarled finger at her.
"Who's going to stop me, Pickle Puss? You?" With a snort of disgust, she hurried to the door, flung it open, only to find Ba'al standing on the other side.
"We must leave, now," he said hurriedly, grabbing her by the arm.
Ya think? she groused silently.
Ba'al hurried her up the stairs and through the temple. As they ran down wide stone steps that led up from the street, the damage the attack was having on the surrounding city was visible. Fires were burning in several places, entire neighborhoods engulfed in flames, filling the air with thick, black smoke. The sounds of screams punctuated the rumble of crumbling buildings. He'd salvage what he could, what was most important, and rebuild elsewhere.
Casey pulled her arm free of his vise-like grip. "You claim to be a god, help those people!"
"Do not test me, woman!"
"Or what, you'll kill me? Like those people are being killed? Go ahead, give it your best shot!"
He stared at her, at the fire of anger dancing in her green eyes. "What would you have me do?"
"Those people worship you! They believe in you! Instead of running like a coward, don't you think you should be defending them?"
"That is exactly what I intend to do, once I am on my ship where I can do so!"
"Oh," she replied, surprise evident in her voice. "Carry on."
His cheek twitching, he pulled her toward the rings. "See to it that those who serve within the temple are safe," he ordered the Jaffa who'd accompanied them, just before the rings came down. "And that all things important are taken to my ship."
The second-in-command saluted, and the Jaffa hurried back into the temple, calling for all to flee to safety. There were bunkers within the city, built there for just such an emergency.
Daniel shoved open the door, looked around frantically. "Where is she?"
Balathu stepped backwards. "Who are you?"
Jack followed Daniel into the room, glanced around. "Where is she?"
"I don't know," he replied. He stepped toward the High Priest. Pressed the muzzle of his P90 against the man's chest. "Where is my Wife?"
"Sholva!" one of the priests exclaimed when Teal'c walked into the room. In that moment, they knew exactly who they were facing. These men were of the infamous SG-1, from the First World.
"She is not here. She is with her Beloved, the great god Ba'al," Balathu replied.
The archaeologist frowned. She hadn't been here long enough..."The ritual, the Purification Ceremony..."
"Will be held at dawn," the old man said smugly.
He sighed with relief. There hadn't been enough time to completely break her. Casey was a fighter, he doubted seriously that this group had had much success 'preparing' her for the ritual cleansing. "Where is Ba'al?"
"I do not know," the priest replied truthfully. He suspected that his god had returned to his ship, in order to defend the city.
"Ba'al came for her, but the ceremony hasn't been performed. I don't think they've had time to brainwash her, not completely," Daniel explained quietly. "According to this priest, the purification ritual will be performed at dawn."
"Rushing things, isn't he?" Jack asked, one eyebrow raised slightly.
"A bit. I don't know how much...how much she remembers...how much they've done to her," he replied, his breath catching slightly.
"Okay, we need to get back up to the ship...more than likely that snake has run and is heading that way now. Jacob can ring us over, and we'll do the same thing we did last time."
"Let's skip the getting caught part," Sam said.
"Good plan," Jack grinned weakly. "Let's go, campers."
Teal'c led the way back out the door.
"She belongs to Ba'al now, he is her god!" Balathu called after them.
Daniel stopped, went back into the room. "She belongs to me! She'll never go to him, go with him, not willingly! No matter what he's done to her, no matter what he does to her, I'll find her, and take her home!"
The sound of Jaffa armor filled the air. Before he could escape from the room a second time, the squad filled the doorway.
The leader of the armored men recognized Daniel Jackson. He smirked at the Tau'ri. He'd collect fifty measures of gold for capturing him! Visions of his family moving to a better house, becoming wealthy, flooded his mind. He raised his staff weapon. "You will come with us."
If they took him to Ba'al, he'd be closer to Casey. Besides, there wasn't a way out of this, not without being killed. Daniel lowered his weapon, held both hands at shoulder level.
Jack watched from the darkness of the corridor. "Shit! Okay, we get to the rings. We have to get on that damned ship!"
The three ran to back to the small storage room. "Dad, get us out of here!" Sam shouted into her radio. Just as the walls began to crack around them, sending clouds of dust into the air. The rings disappeared mere seconds before the room crumbled, and the entire temple collapsed into a heap of smoldering rock.
Jacob turned. "Olokun is attacking that city!"
"Yeah, we noticed," Jack coughed.
"Where are they? What happened?"
"Ba'al had already taken Casey to the ship. Daniel managed get himself caught, I have no idea if it was on purpose or not," Jack gasped.
"We need to ring over there, Dad, so we can get them..." Sam said, covering her mouth with the back of her hand as she began coughing.
They watched in horror as Ba'al's flagship pulled away, and then disappeared into hyperspace. Olokun's ship ceased firing on the hapless city beneath them, began to move closer to the planet.
"I'd say Ba'al just lost his home planet," Jacob said quietly.
"Tough shit," Jack snapped. "We just lost Daniel and Casey!"
"I am most distressed at this news," Selmak said.
"So are we!"
"Was there time to determine whether or not the preparation ritual had been completed?" the Tok'ra asked.
Sam shook her head. "I don't think it was. The priests were all standing around...they seemed...stunned...and I don't think it had anything to do with the attack. Apparently Ba'al was going to hold the Purification Ceremony at dawn...but Olokun prevented that."
"Then there is the chance that Casey Jackson has yet to be brainwashed," Selmak mused.
"We can only hope," Sam sighed.
"We must discover where Ba'al has taken them," Teal'c said in his quiet manner. His eyes were flashing with barely suppressed rage.
"There are three places he is most likely to flee to," Selmak said.
"Then let's get moving," Jack replied. His voice was flat, deceptively calm.
With a sharp nod, Jacob slid into the pilot's seat. Selmak quietly gave him the coordinates for the first planet that Ba'al was likely to run to. The highest priority to the Tok'ra council at the moment was the safe return of Casey Jackson. And now, Daniel Jackson as well. A simple, brief message was sent. One sure to cause more distress among those who waited.
A A A A A A
Daniel was chained to what looked like a spider web. This was what that bastard hung Casey from, he thought angrily. He tugged against the restraints. Found that he was unable to move. He was alone in the room. Which might or might not be a bad thing. He closed his eyes. When he'd been ringed up to the ship it was all he could do to contain his excitement. She was on board. He'd get loose, he'd find her...and then what? his brain asked tauntingly. One step at a time, he replied. One step at a time.
Ba'al followed Casey into his chambers. "Wait here, Beloved. I must see what I can to do remedy this most unpleasant situation," he said softly.
Unpleasant situation? What a perfectly benign way to describe the utter chaos of death and destruction that was raging below them. "Don't call me that. And yes, go see if you can salvage the mess you've made of things. I'm assuming that whoever is attacking is pissed off at you," she snapped.
"Do not try my patience, Casey," he said warningly, his eyes flashing briefly.
She turned to face him. "Save those people, Ba'al," she said softly, her eyes pleading. "They've done nothing to deserve the hell they're going through right now."
"I will do what I can." He left the room, hurrying toward the pel'tak. Ryk'teal met him halfway, a smile on his face.
"Good news, My Lord. The Tau'ri, Daniel Jackson, has been captured. He is even now in the holding cell, attached to the web of punishment."
Ba'al felt his heart flutter. He would crush the man, bring him battered and broken before Casey, a mindless slave who would no longer recognize her. And she'd at last turn her thoughts from him, accept her position as the Consort of her god. "Very good. See what you can learn from him. Then begin the training."
"Yes, My Lord."
Dark eyes watched from behind a support bean. If the Tau'ri was on board, then no doubt Ba'al would kill him. The h'as would have no reason to continue fighting against her god, she'd turn to him...Thoughts that shocked her...frightened her...began to form in her mind. And she allowed it to happen, examined them carefully, silently...
When the Jaffa entered the room, Daniel glared at them. "Where is my Wife?" he demanded.
"Silence, slave!" The First Prime slapped the man viciously.
He licked his lip, tasted the coppery flavor of blood. "Where is she?"
The second blow was with a fist. "You do not ask the questions, slave. You will learn your place! Your god Ba'al will know the secrets of your SGC. How many armies you have. Where they are located."
"Go to hell."
Another blow. "You will answer your god's questions."
"He's no god. He's a parasite, living in a stolen body. You don't have to serve him, remain a slave to him. You can live free-"
"Blasphemy!" Another blow.
His head was spinning, his face was beginning to ache from the repeated punches. "You can do what you want, I'm not telling you a damned thing."
Ten minutes later, barely conscious, Daniel regretted his choice of words. He'd been beaten severely, he wasn't sure how many ribs were cracked, he was heaving from the blows to his belly, and his eyes were swollen nearly shut. He cringed when he felt the poke of a needle. Oh, hell, this isn't good, he thought. Just before a dark fog began to surround him.
"Do you hear me, slave?"
"Go to hell," he muttered. A blow to his left side. He grunted with pain.
"You are nothing. You have no name. You live only because your god Ba'al allows it. You are nothing."
"Dan...Da...Daniel Jackson," he murmured past swollen, split lips. "I'm Daniel Jackson."
The subsequent blow to the side of his head rendered him unconscious. "You are nothing," Ryk'teal hissed. He looked at the box of ker'nish'ta. It had taken a considerable amount to keep Casey Jackson under the influence of the drug. He frowned, then injected a second dose of the drug into the man who hung limply, blood running into pools on the floor beneath his feet.
The man slipped away from the door. He recognized the Tau'ri. Had seem him on the ship the first time Ba'al had brought Casey on board. He recognized the name, as well. He'd heard her whisper it often enough. For the first time since he'd been a small boy, taken from his home by Ba'al's Jaffa, he dared to dream of escape. He believed that Casey would help him. In return, he must help her. But it would not do to get caught. No, he must be very careful...
A A A A A A
General Hammond dropped into his chair as Walter read the message. "Oh, god," he muttered. It seemed that when things went wrong for SG-1, they went wrong in a big way. According to Colonel O'Neill's report, Casey was believed to be all right, though still in Ba'al's custody. As was Daniel Jackson. Whether the two were together was anyone's guess, although the consensus was that they were not. Selmak believed that Casey was probably unaware that her husband was on the same ship.
All hell would break loose when she found out, the general thought with a wry smile. Everyone who worked in the mountain believed that the old adage, slightly modified, was true when it came to their resident seer...hell hath no fury like Casey Jackson when she was pissed off. If Ba'al was mistreating Dr. Jackson...well, there'd be one less Goa'uld in the universe to deal with.
He picked up the stack of mission folders. As much as he wanted to allow the teams to wait for the return of the Jacksons, as much as he understood the uncertainty that filled the hearts and minds of the SF's who walked through the 'gate with out Casey's 'blessing', he couldn't put off sending them out. "Tell Major Ferretti to gather his team and report to the briefing room," he said.
"Yes, sir," Walter replied.
When he walked into the long room, he stood at the window, stared down at the Stargate. "Bring them home, Jack," he whispered. "Before this place completely falls apart!"
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