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His Father's Eyes
"Who can say where the road goes
Where the day flows, only time…"
Daniel and Casey had just stepped off the elevator on level eighteen when a call went out for the members of SG-1 to meet General Hammond in the conference room.
"I haven't even had my second cup of coffee yet," Casey muttered, following her Husband back onto the lift.
He looped his arm around her neck. "Maybe this won't take long," Daniel said.
"It better not. Or I'm gonna have to ask the general for permission to start a pot of coffee there!"
He chuckled, knowing that Casey kept a package of Sumatra Mandheling in her purse for making during their working day. She bought other 'designer' coffees, as she referred to them, for their known 'coffee snatchers', one of whom was Janet. Those were 'hidden' in the bottom right drawer of his desk. Where, he thought, another chuckle bubbling forth, he'd always kept his stash of coffee. At one time, he thought amusedly, he'd even kept a supply of MREs there. It had afforded him the ability to continue working on whatever translation was important at the time, and not starve to death.
Jack and Sam joined them when the elevator stopped on level nineteen. It seemed that the O'Neill's had just arrived as well. No one was surprised when the car stopped again on level twenty-one, and Teal'c stepped in beside them.
"Any clue to what's up, Radar?" Jack asked.
"Nope. Psychic radio is silent at the moment," she replied.
"No alarms, so no one came through the 'gate," Sam said, watching the level indicator.
"Well, if they came through before we got here, the alarms would have been shut off by the time we signed in," Daniel pointed out.
"True," Sam conceded.
"If Hammond left orders that we were to be notified when we had all signed in, that would explain the summons just minutes after we passed security on level eleven," Jack said.
"Which indicates that anything that might have occurred did so before our duty shift was scheduled to begin," Teal'c said.
"I could take a quick look," Casey offered.
The doors of the elevator slid open. "Or, we could just go see what the general wants," Daniel countered. He didn't miss the look of exasperation tossed at him by his Wife, or the looks of understanding from his teammates. He led the way to the briefing room, both hands in his pockets, comforted by the fact that his Wife's hand was wrapped tightly around his wrist.
"You called us, sir?" Jack said, as the team entered the room.
Standing beside the table with General Hammond was a short man, and a small, dark-haired young woman.
"Shanda!" Casey squealed. She darted forward, enveloped the young woman in a hug. She turned to the husky man. "Nutesh!" He was given a hug as well.
Daniel smiled, and hurried to stand beside his Wife, offering his hand to the man who had once been Ba'al's engineer, and who had helped him and Casey escape. "Nutesh."
Jack, Sam, and Teal'c were just as eager to greet the couple; after all, the two had been more than willing to give them all the information possible concerning Daniel and Casey's escape from Ba'al, during the search for Casey…a result in her being hidden by the Triad immediately after arriving on the planet to which the group had escaped.
"What brings you to the SGC?" Casey asked. She shook her head when she realized that neither of the visitors spoke English. "What brings you to the SGC?" she repeated in Goa'uld.
Nutesh glanced down at the woman who was now his mate, then put his arm around her shoulders. "Our village was raided…many of our people taken."
"Oh, no," Sam murmured. She could remember the faces of the people who had been willing to help them, especially the children.
"Any idea who?"Jack asked immediately. He shrugged and gave a self-conscious grin when Daniel stared at him. Sam had learned Goa'uld in her quiet, efficient way. And had been more than willing to tutor him. He'd probably never be as proficient in the language as Teal'c or the Jacksons, but he'd be able to get by.
"I did not recognize the marking of the Jaffa,"Nutesh confessed. "But I was able to draw a likeness of the man who claimed to be the First Prime of…he called the Goa'uld 'Chaahk'."
Daniel groaned. "I should've killed him when I had the chance."
"Doctor Jackson?" General Hammond asked.
"It seems Chaahk attacked their village. He's the Goa'uld who had me when Tieel Mogba helped me escape."
"I remember now," Hammond nodded. "Please, let's sit down."
Casey led Shanda around the table, kept holding the young woman's hand after they were seated. The sadness and fear that the former lo'taur was feeling washed over her in waves. She was determined to offer as much solace as possible.
"Tell us what happened,"Daniel said kindly.
"This morning…early morning, just before sunrise,"Nutesh began. "Few of the villagers were even awake. Then suddenly there were voices shouting, demanding that everyone line up in the middle of the village. Jaffa seemed to be everywhere."
"These were strange Jaffa,"Shanda added. "Many bore the marks of a Goa'uld I've never seen before. Others bore the marks of Goa'uld whom we have heard were killed."
Nutesh nodded. "A few bore the mark of Bastet…I have seen her Jaffa before. The others…"
Daniel pulled a small notebook from his pocket, as well as a pen, and slid them across the table to the former engineer. "Can you draw what it looks like?"
With a nod, Nutesh carefully sketched the mark he'd seen on the forehead of many of the Jaffa who had taken their friends and family members away. He handed it back to Daniel.
"Ares," Daniel said, his voice low.
"So this Chalk guy is collecting the Jaffa of dead Goa'uld?" Jack asked.
"If other Goa'uld are not swift enough to claim that of any fallen System Lords, they can be captured by traders who sell them, and any captured ships, to the highest bidder," Teal'c said. "It is rare that this occurs."
"I don't think Chaahk had enough money to buy anything. He only had a couple of scout ships and one ha'tak when Mogba helped me escape," Daniel said.
"So, Chalk is just getting lucky, and getting to these guys first?" Jack looked from Teal'c to Daniel and back again.
Casey cocked her head to one side. "He knows…or can find the information."
"Huh? He who what?" Jack asked, the confusion in his voice mirrored on his face. Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c were unable to hide the bemused smiles that tugged at their lips.
"Tieel Mogba. He either knows about Chaahk's Jaffa, or he can find out," Casey replied.
"Wouldn't a System Lord want his Jaffa to bear his mark?" Sam asked.
"Indeed, if the Jaffa will be going into battle to defend his honor," Teal'c replied. "However, there is an advantage in using captured Jaffa to conduct raids…blame can be laid at the feet of another System Lord if the planets raided are not neutral, or are known as free planets."
"As precarious as his situation is right now, he'd be more than eager to do that," Daniel nodded.
Jack turned back to Nutesh. "How many were taken?"
"Only the strongest of the men. Any woman between fifteen and twenty-five. And all of the children."
Casey felt her blood run cold. She and Daniel had discussed Chaahk, and the myths that surrounded him on Earth. "Sacrifices?"
Daniel had paled as well. "Possibly."
"You're kidding," Jack croaked.
"Chaahk is the god of rain," Daniel explained. "His hammer represented a lightening bolt. He was said to have used the hammer to hit the clouds to make it rain. During dry years, or during a drought, young boys and girls were taken to wells and tossed in, left to drown. The idea was that they would be able to go to the heavens…only those who were sacrificed or died in childbirth were believed to go to heaven…and to beg Chaahk to beat the clouds and make it rain."
"I so hate the Goa'uld," Jack muttered. He looked over at Nutesh, who didn't seem the least offended by the conversations taking place that he couldn't understand. "Daniel believes this snake…er…Goa'uld…may be planning to sacrifice the children."
The man's face went completely white. "We have come to beg for your help…we know that those of the great SG-1 have helped many people."
"Sounds like we're building up a reputation out there," Jack sighed. He looked at General Hammond. "Sir, I'd like to recommend doing something…anything that might help."
"I agree, general," Hammond replied. He turned his attention to Daniel. "Contact Mogba. He knows where Chaahk is. And he might have an idea how many Jaffa we're looking at, and if Chaahk has been able to increase his fleet in the passed few weeks."
"Yes, sir." Daniel smiled at the couple who clung to one another's hands so tightly. "We're going to do our best to get your people back."
Shanda smiled. "I knew that the Tau'ri would help us."
"I was certain that Lady Ca'see would help," Nutesh added, blushing slightly when he glanced over at Casey.
Daniel smiled at the color that covered his wife's cheeks at the declaration. He reached for her free hand and squeezed her fingers gently.
"We'll do all that we can,"Casey promised.
"Teal'c, what are the chances of this Goa'uld attacking the village again?" Hammond asked, glancing at Casey, biting back a smile of his own at her obvious embarrassment. Like most of those working at the SGC, the general had, over time, managed a working understanding of the Goa'uld language, although he wasn't able to speak more than a phrase or two. The faith of the SGC's guests in Casey and her abilities was certainly not surprising, except perhaps to the seer herself. He pulled his attention back to the topic of the meeting.
"If he has taken those that he finds useful, I doubt that he would return," Teal'c responded. "However, it is not unheard of for a Goa'uld to decide that the few remaining villagers would make suitable slaves, and to return to gather them."
"That's what I was afraid of," Hammond sighed, glancing at his watch. Ten minutes before seven. "I'll send SG-6 and SG-10, they're the only two teams fully checked-in, as of ten minutes ago. They should be able to hold back any attack."
"Especially if they can stop the Jaffa as they come through the 'gate," Jack nodded.
"I'll send additional teams as soon as they're available. I want this problem dealt with as quickly as possible," Hammond said firmly.
"I'll contact Mogba right away," Daniel said.
"If your friends would like to stay, they're most welcome," the general continued.
Casey translated the offer.
Nutesh shook his head. "You are most kind, but we must remain with our people."
"Well, we're gonna send a couple of teams to help protect you, just in case that First Prime and his goons show up again,"Jack said.
"I do not know this word…'goon'?"Nutesh looked from Jack to Casey and back again.
"Goon…a big, mean, bully,"Casey said, in way of translation.
Nutesh gave a nod of understanding. "There were many 'goons' in the village this morning."
Sam, who had been frowning slightly, took a deep breath. "Nutesh, from what you've told us, you at least saw what happened. But how did you and Shanda avoid being taken?"
Again the stocky man's face turned red. "We had just finished the rite of marriage, and were spending the night alone in a camp prepared for us in the woods near the village. We heard the sounds of screams, heard the words of the Jaffa. We crept close, and remained hidden."
"Congratulations!" Casey beamed a smile at the two.
Daniel and Jack exchanged a look. Nutesh and Shanda were feeling more than their fair share of guilt over escaping what others in the village hadn't. Which was probably the main reason the two were even at the SGC…
Casey cocked her head sideways. "Your marriage rite…it had been postponed…"
Nutesh nodded. "The night we had planned to be married, it rained."
"It was meant to be that the two of you were spared…were able to hide in the woods," Casey continued. "Because only the two of you knew that you could contact us for help."
Nutesh started slightly. "You are certain of this?"
"Casey is a very good seer. If she says the two of you were meant to help your people, it's the truth," Daniel said softly.
The former engineer lowered his head for a moment. When he looked back up, his eyes were filled with tears. "I pray that I will succeed in helping my people."
"You've already taken a step in the right direction,"Jack said. "Coming to us for help was a good idea."
"Let's get those people guarded. General, I'll leave planning any attacks against Chaahk to you. Best time, people." Hammond rose to his feet. "I'll have SG-6 and SG-10 ordered to gear up, they can accompany Nutesh and Shanda back to their village."
Daniel explained to Nutesh that the SG teams would leave with them, and that no doubt all would be ready to leave within fifteen minutes or so.
"Doctor Jackson, you have a rapport with this Tieel Mogba. I'll leave it to you to contact him," the general said.
"Yes, sir," Daniel replied.
"Let's go, people," the general said. "We have a village to protect."
Casey sighed as she dropped into the chair behind her desk. Just when she was looking forward to a quiet day of working on the database, a freaking Goa'uld had to lose his snaky mind and cause trouble. The worst part was, that trouble involved two people who had become her friends. Both captives, just as she had been, both willing to risk their lives to help her and Daniel. "Damned inconsiderate snakes, anyway," she muttered.
Daniel glanced over at her. "What?"
"Just complaining about the Goa'uld."
He couldn't help but grin. "Chaahk isn't going to stand a chance around you, is he?"
"I'm gonna shoot the bastard between the eyes, first chance I get," Casey huffed.
"Good." Checking his email, Daniel found a reason to smile, one that he was certain would improve his wife's disposition. "So…I have a question for you."
"You were talking about your 'bucket-list' the other day…"
She remembered the conversation. Daniel had insisted that having a 'bucket-list' wasn't necessary, given that they were Immortal. She had argued that having a list of things that she wanted to do before she died was still important, because there was a chance she could be killed in a way that Immortality couldn't revive. He'd conceded that she had a point, and had asked her what she had on her list.
"The Colorado Springs symphony is giving a concert next week. How would you like to go?" He'd checked the website for the Philharmonic Society of Colorado Springs after learning that one of Casey's bucket list wishes was to hear a 'real' symphony in person.
Green eyes began to sparkle. "Seriously?"
"Seriously," he grinned.
Casey jumped to her feet, dashed around her desk, scooted past the corner of Daniel's desk, and flopped into her Husband's lap. "I love you," she sighed.
"I love you, too," he replied, his grin going wider. "Let's see what seating is available." He opened the link provided in the email. "Hey, look, there're seats in the middle section."
"A little expensive, though," Casey murmured, her eyes immediately drawn to the list of seat prices.
"Let's not have that conversation, Angel," Daniel said.
"The one about something you want costing too much money."
She blushed slightly. "Haven't had it in awhile," she mumbled, almost apologetically.
"Which makes me happy," Daniel declared. "Two seats near the front. Center section."
Tears filled her eyes. "Thank you," she whispered.
"You're welcome," he replied in kind. "Hey, what's with the tears?" His voice was soft as he brushed a drop from her cheek.
"You give me so much…and then…just when I think I have it all, you give me more," she sighed.
His heart pounded against his ribs, the love he felt for her flooding his mind, his heart, even his body as he hugged her tightly. "I'll give you everything I can. If you want the moon, I'll find a way to get it for you."
"You would, too, wouldn't you?" She wrapped her hands around his face and kissed him tenderly. "How did I ever get so lucky?"
"I'm the lucky one," he countered.
Before she could reply, the phone began to ring. Casey scrunched her nose at Daniel and reached for the receiver before he could respond. "Jackson," she said automatically. "Oh, general!…yes, sir…yes, sir. Of course, sir. On my way."
"Nope. Something about a conference call with the president and General Vidrine," Casey replied. "Maybe we're going to get the okay to take the Prometheus or the Daedalus to the planet where Chaahk is hiding, and wipe his ass out."
Daniel nodded. "Here's hoping. If he's been building up his assets,
Chaahk may not remain in seclusion much longer."
"Typical damned Goa'uld," she sighed. She kissed him lightly before rising to her feet. "I'll be back."
She was moving away from him before he was ready to let her go. Which, he told himself, was probably a good thing. Even the most chaste of kisses from her could have the fire raging in him.
Casey bounced around Major Lou Ferretti, jumped into the lift, and pressed the button for level twenty-seven. "Where you heading, Lou?"
"Topside. Have to pick up a new pilot for the Daedalus," Lou replied, stepping in after the seer. "He'll join the current batch of pilots coming through for training."
With a nod, Casey pressed the button for level eleven, as she was standing in front of the panel.
"So what has you in such a good mood?" Lou asked, already smiling.
"We…as in Daniel and I…are going to hear the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Symphony. It's on my bucket list…to hear at least one real symphony in person. Daniel found out, so he bought tickets for the next performance."
It was impossible not to chuckle. Mrs. J could find excitement or joy or happiness in the damnedest places. And when she found that excitement or happiness or joy, her entire being seemed to light up, and she managed to spread her enthusiasm to those around her. "Not particularly fond of classical music myself. Give me good old rock-n-roll."
"I've found several songs…no, not songs…" Casey frowned for a moment, then snapped her fingers. "Musical movements. I think that's what they're called. Anyway, there are several that I've really come to enjoy. I think it's important to listen to all types of music. Otherwise, it's like going to a buffet and just eating the fried chicken. It's good, but there are so many other things to try."
"Can't say I ever thought about it that way," Lou admitted.
"I have to confess, opera is a bit difficult to get into. Not understanding the language is part of the problem, I think. But I watched an opera on PBS one night, and even though I couldn't understand what they were singing, I could still follow the story. Operas are always so damned dramatic and sad."
Lou snorted. "I believe that's the entire purpose of an opera."
"I know. But who says there can't be a happy opera?"
"Beats me. Maybe you should write one," Lou teased.
The elevator stopped, and the doors slid open. Casey turned to look at him. "Ya know, that might be fun."
"I'll warn the opera world," Lou chortled.
"Ha ha. It could turn out to be fabulous," Casey retorted.
"No doubt yours would be sensational. Have a good day, Mrs. J."
"You, too, Lou." She grinned. "See, I'm already a poet."
"You're a smartass," he snickered. He gave a wave, noting that Casey had turned and was walking toward the general's office by the time the doors were fully closed. He continued to chuckle softly. If Casey Jackson wrote a 'happy opera', he'd be in the front row to see it performed!
A A A A A A
Pulling his cap down over his head, Lou Ferretti signed for a jeep, and headed for Peterson Air Force Base. According to the file he'd been given, the last new pilot for the Daedalus was arriving…he checked his watch…about now. The young man had been told to wait at the duty office; that he would be picked up and taken to his next training assignment. It was hard to keep the grin from his face. By the time young Lieutenant Michael Graham, Jr. had been at the SGC for a week, he'd be cussing Lou's name with every breath. Not that Lou had a problem with that. Most of the other pilots from both 303 ships avoided him whenever they were planet side. It was part of the job. And also funnier than hell. Although, Lou mused, he'd been accused of having a pretty warped sense of humor. Colonel Mitchell always had a cheery hello for him…although any offers for grabbing a cup of coffee were met warily…still. It honestly hadn't been planned for those damned worms to be in the cups... He could still see the looks on the faces of those pilots when they'd chugged a big ol' swallow of that coffee…he chuckled out loud.
Sooner or later the pilots would realize that what he'd put them through was for their own good. He'd told each of them that they'd done one hell of an impressive job just surviving the SGC cadet training…that actually scoring well was icing on the cake. He was damned proud of the training that he, O'Neill, General Hammond, and Teal'c had devised. It was tough, it was thorough, and it guaranteed that anyone who completed the course would be competent in a fight against the Goa'uld. Those bastards and their Jaffa could be sneaky. Thanks to the SGC training, none of the men and women who passed would be caught unawares. Which meant those men and women had a better chance of staying alive. That was the ultimate goal. To keep the SGC personnel, including the crews of the F302s, alive and well.
Just between the first commuter rush of the morning and the second, the traffic was relatively light. He didn't figure anyone would mind if he made a little foray to the closest Starbucks. Walking in with a latte in hand always tended to put new arrivals at ease. Sort of lulled them with a false sense of security. Okay, so I have a warped sense of humor and a mean streak, he chortled to himself. He was the only one in the drive-through, and in less than five minutes was sipping on a caramel latte.
The remainder of the drive was just as hassle free. It looked as if he'd only be a few minutes late, something he'd actually planned. Keeping the pilot waiting was just Phase One of his training. Which had him grinning from ear to ear. Ferretti parked as far from the door of the duty office as possible. Just to make the new cadet walk. If he was carrying luggage, he'd be forced to try to keep up. I love my job, Lou sighed. He arranged his face into a scowl as he approached the door of the Peterson duty office.
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