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His Father's Eyes
The morning had been long, and wet, and cold, and miserable, and…Jay shook his head. Hell was indeed an apt description of the place. And to get to this lovely bit of hell, they'd had to go through the Stargate. First, they'd watched as what looked like a column of water exploded into the room. Then if that wasn't enough to scare the shit out of him, Major Ferretti had ordered them up that ramp, and into that shimmering, very not wet event horizon. He wasn't certain it was an experience he wanted to repeat. Two of the pilots had actually thrown up as soon as they'd arrived. Thankfully he'd been able to swallow fast enough to prevent himself from losing his breakfast. And he didn't think he'd ever been colder…a shudder moved over his body. Okay, he'd never been as cold as he was now. Having grown up in the Rocky Mountains, that was saying something!
He was lying in the marshy grass next to Jim Winston, one of the five pilots he'd arrived at the SGC with. Water was seeping into his uniform, already cold and wet from the rain. They were supposed to be making their way back to the Stargate. But someone out there wasn't playing fair. They were using live fire, damn it! And from those freaky alien weapons no less.
"We've got about ten minutes before we're late," Jim muttered, shifting slightly.
Jay sighed as he shifted as well, trying to ignore the cold water that had found its way to his stomach. It felt as if the water was swirling past his belt and straight down to his skivvies. Which were sticking to him in a most uncomfortable manner. He pulled his mind back to the predicament he faced. Even running full out, they'd never cover the distance in time. Trying to run through the muck and undergrowth…it would take at least thirty minutes. IF whoever was firing at them took pity on them and stopped.
"Attention all SGC personnel," Ferretti's voice boomed from radios on the shoulders of each participant. "The game is over. Get to the 'gate stat. The new flyboys are going to be heading to the Daedalus ASAP. Seems the snakes are causing trouble. Move it, people!"
Hesitantly, Jay rose to his feet. When none of the odd-sounding weapons began firing at him, he took a step forward. Across a small clearing he saw two camouflaged men, those strange staff weapons in hand, running in the direction of the Stargate. "Let's go," he said, offering his hand to his companion.
"I hope like hell this isn't a trap," Jim grumbled.
Jay shook his head, droplets of water flying around him. "I don't think so. The major sounded…" He paused. He was good at picking up what a person was thinking from their tone of voice, and the words they chose to use. The major had been a bit pissy…probably because his 'game' had been interrupted. But there was something else as well. Fear. No…not fear…worry. The major was worried about something. Worried because he didn't believe the pilots were ready for whatever they were about to face? "Those guys wouldn't be running toward the 'gate if it was."
That thought brought another crashing into his mind. He and his fellow pilots were being sent to the Daedalus. They'd been informed during their briefing at the SGC that they were going to be assigned to the soon-to-be-launched ship christened 'Phoenix'. What had happened that the six of them were being immediately sent to the Daedalus? Was he truly ready to face an alien enemy…in space?
"You can do anything you set your mind to."
"Thanks, Dad," Jay murmured. He could see his father's face, the smile that let him know that his dad had the utmost faith in him. Could hear the encouragement in his father's voice. And pushed away the pang of unexpected homesickness that washed over him.
A A A A A A
The team was gathered around the table in the conference room of the Daedalus. Colonel Mitchell and the lead pilot for the F302 squadron were in attendance as well.
"We're heading right into the fire on this one," Jack said, watching the faces around him. While fear was a natural reaction to such a situation, he saw lots of determination. If that alone could save the day, this mission would be a cake walk. He sighed mentally. "Snake known as Chalk-"
"Chaahk," Daniel corrected automatically.
"Whatever," Jack replied, waving his hand in dismissal of the interruption, "This bastard just took a group of people from a village. Including all the kids. He has some warped idea that he's going to use them for sacrifices."
"Good God Almighty," Mitchell gasped.
"Let's hope He's in a helping mood today," Jack responded grimly. "This snake has been gathering up the Jaffa of several dead Goa'uld. Not too sure how loyal they're going to be to him, but chances are they're going to fight tooth and nail to stay alive. What we have to do is get to the planet where this snake is hiding, go down, and rescue those folks."
"No Stargate?" the lead pilot - Captain Bradshaw, according to his uniform - asked.
"No," Daniel answered. "Usually a Goa'uld who feels vulnerable will choose to hide on a planet that doesn't have a Stargate. It's easier to protect, and obviously much easier to hide on."
"Right now, Chaahk has one ha'tak, or mothership," Sam added, "and about a dozen or so al'kesh."
"Al'kesh? Those are their bombers…er…mid-range bombers, right?" Bradshaw inquired.
"Yes," Sam nodded. "They can take on a ha'tak, because they're far more maneuverable. Not as much as a glider, but still, they can move faster than a ha'tak. They're also heavily armed."
"And they can carry a significant number of Jaffa troops," Teal'c added. "No doubt this Chaahk is keeping many of his troops nearby. But it would not be unusual for the majority of his Jaffa to be on the al'kesh, ready to attack at a moment's notice."
"So, armed and dangerous," Cam Mitchell surmised.
"Extremely. Paranoid, too," Daniel said.
"Have you picked up the six new pilots yet?" Jack asked.
"On our way now. General Hammond felt it would be better for us to head out, and just grab them on the way," Cam replied.
Jack nodded. "Good. I'd like to have more, but Sam, Teal'c, and I will able to fly as well."
Cam squirmed slightly in his seat. As much as he'd love to join the other pilots, his duty was to the Daedalus. His place was on the bridge of the ship he commanded.
"Colonel Mitchell, we'll be pulling the Daedalus into this fight," Jack said.
Cam jerked slightly. "Sir?"
"As soon as those fighters leave the bay, those al'kesh and that ha'tak are gonna be firing. And they're gonna be after the Daedalus as well."
He nodded his understanding. "I have a damned good crew. We can give them a good wallop or two."
Jack grinned. "I'm counting on it. It would be best if that ha'tak went first. Simply because of its size it has more guns than I want to be up against. The al'kesh are gonna be a pain in the ass as well, but if we can get rid of that ha'tak, and do it as soon as the battle starts, it just might shake those Jaffa up a bit. That would be an advantage for us."
"What about gliders?" Bradshaw asked.
"You can count on them," Jack responded. "Just no clue how many."
The young pilot nodded.
Jack looked over at Casey, and frowned slightly at the thought that formed. She'd never done anything like it before, but it couldn't hurt to ask, right?
She noticed the look on her CO's face, and the fact that he was staring at her. "Jack?"
The young seer was watching him carefully, waiting for him to speak. He debated with himself for another moment. No doubt this would piss off Daniel. But, he had to use every weapon available to him…and Casey could be that weapon. Maybe. Hopefully. "Do you think you could help with a firing solution? One that can take that ha'tak out in the first volley?"
Casey took a deep breath, slowly blew it out. "I don't know. I've never done anything like that before." She gave a mischievous grin. "But I'm willing to give it a try."
"That's all I ask," Jack smiled. He glanced at Daniel. Yep, those blue eyes had gone just a bit frosty.
"I'll have a chat with Miss Eloise, maybe she can help me," Casey said.
Daniel shifted slightly. What Jack had requested wasn't considerably dangerous…not at first look. And if Casey could give them that edge… He heaved a silent sigh, once again pushing aside the thought that his wife and her talents were being 'used'. That's her job, Danny, and she'd be the first to point it out.
"Whatever it takes, Radar," Jack said. "If we can take the ha'tak out with our first few shots, that should give the rest a thing or two to think about." He sighed with relief when Daniel seemed to relax. It probably hadn't been visible to anyone else, but he could see that the archaeologist's eyes were no longer throwing icicles his way.
"It would indeed dishearten the Jaffa to see a mothership so quickly and easily destroyed," Teal'c said.
"Then that will be our first target," Cam agreed. He glanced at Casey, gave her a smile and nod. "With luck, Mrs. Jackson will have that firing solution for the first shot."
Casey smiled at the use of her married name. Apparently Cam was determined to keep her at arm's length. Which suited her just fine. "I'll chat with Miss Eloise as soon as we're finished here."
Daniel had also noted the use of his Wife's married name. Managed not to smile. The poor colonel had never had a chance. Apparently Mitchell wasn't willing to let anyone make a mistake about where he stood when it came to Casey. No doubt he was still castigating himself over the 'almost kiss'. Poor bastard, Daniel thought sympathetically.
"As soon as the new pilots are on board, we need to get their butts in those fliers," Sam mused. "They'll have to settle for familiarizing themselves with the 302s, and get their first experience in battle. I hate that, but we don't have time for any mock battles."
"They won't be the first to get experience the hard way," Jack replied. "They've been through training, we can't hold their hands forever."
"But throwing them into an all-out battle before they've even wrapped their minds around what they've learned in the past…what, five hours? They've barely finished signing the non-disclosure forms. They've walked through the Stargate once…" The colonel paused, shaking her head. Training did go quickly…from arrival to 'Hell' was usually less than three hours. Not much time to fully comprehend anything. However, at the end of their training, all recruits and cadets had been through enough to be able to accept what they'd learned. But full training took seventy-two hours. Five hours? Not nearly enough, she thought worriedly. "We'll have to hope they're more ready for this than we think."
Bradshaw understood the colonel's hesitance. He'd been on the Daedalus for almost four months, and he was still wrapping his mind around the fact that aliens and spaceships were real, not just science-fiction. Five hours wasn't enough time for the new pilots to have even caught their breath from learning about the Stargate itself. Anything else was still nothing more than words to them. "We can put them in as wingmen," he suggested.
"Good idea," Jack nodded. "That will help a bit, if they're paired with a more experienced pilot."
"Well, if the Daedalus can knock out that ha'tak, and an al'kesh or two, that should help the pilots," Casey said.
"Sure hope it will shake up the Jaffa flying those Goa'uld gliders," Jack sighed. "If it does, it'll be one more thing in our favor. And we need all the favors we can get."
Mitchell glanced at his watch. "We should be close to P7R 093. As soon as those pilots are on board, we're heading…where?"
"To a little trading outpost," Daniel replied. He'd contacted Tieel Mogba as soon as the team was on the Daedalus, and had persuaded the bounty hunter-cum-spy to join them. He'd promised that whatever of value was located, Tieel was welcome to take. The one-eyed man had grinned broadly. He looked down to check his notes. "He gave me directions, coming from Earth. Hope they make more sense to your navigator than they make to me."
"Let's go find out," Mitchell said. He looked at Jack. "Permission to call the meeting adjourned, General?"
"Granted," Jack sighed. He really didn't like the whole 'general' thing. Way too much responsibility for his liking. Sometimes he wondered how General Hammond dealt with all the weight on his shoulders.
Everyone was on their feet, heading toward the bridge of the Daedalus.
A A A A A A
A small, greenish-blue planet was just coming into range when SG-1 followed Mitchell and Bradshaw onto the bridge.
"Bet those boys are gonna be glad to get outa there," Bradshaw murmured.
Mitchell chuckled. "No doubt. Major Ferretti is probably madder'n hell, though. He didn't get to torture them for seventy-two full hours."
Jack barely held back his chuckle. Ferretti was probably in a snit, all right. Although he knew that it had more to do with making sure the men who went through the training were as ready as possible to meet the Goa'uld. There was a reason SGC training was so grueling…and at times nearly unbearable. If they could survive the training, they'd survive anything the Goa'uld could throw at them. Or so the theory went. Ferretti had been part of the SGC from the very beginning. He knew what those boys would be facing. The Marine was one hell of a tough training commander. But the men and women who experienced that training never forgot what he'd taught them.
"Those pilots will owe us," Casey grinned.
Daniel smiled. "I'll be sure to tell them that."
"Don't bother," Jack said. "Ferretti will have them back in Hell as soon as this little skirmish is over."
"That's just cruel! Make them fight the Goa'uld, and then send them back to Hell?" Casey shook her head. "Lou Ferretti is a very cruel man."
Jack laughed. "He'll be thrilled to hear that."
A A A A A A
If going through the Stargate wasn't bizarre enough, being 'ringed up' to a waiting space ship was definitely enough to blow his mind. His body felt as if it were still vibrating, even though the blinding light of the rings had disappeared seconds earlier. Jay was almost afraid to move, terrified that he wasn't exactly all back together.
"Come on, Junior, we have work to do," Ferretti barked from his place beside the door.
How the hell did everyone get over there so fast? "Yes, sir," Jay intoned immediately. If I fall apart all over the floor, I'll blame you, Marine.
In spite of his fear, Jay found that his feet worked just fine, and nothing fell off as he hurried toward his comrades.
Ferretti turned to look at the six pilots for a moment. "I hate like hell to throw you into the heat of battle before you've been properly trained-"
Tormented to death, isn't that what you mean? Jay thought sulkily, tugging at his wet uniform.
"-but the Goa'uld aren't giving us much of a choice. You're going to be given a crash course on the F302. Listen carefully, and remember everything. Your life will depend on it."
The pilots exchanged worried looks.
Giving a sigh, Ferretti shook his head. "I know you think Hell is just about me getting my jollies making you miserable. But that training was designed to throw everything that you might possibly face into your path all at once. Surviving that training is the closest guarantee you'd have to making it out there," he motioned toward the window with his chin. "You're all damned good pilots. Top of your class. If you didn't have that edge we look for, you wouldn't be standing on this gen-u-wine space ship. I just hope to God that we can give you enough information in the next hour to keep you alive until the end of the day."
Jay gulped. In an instant, everything he'd been through in just the few hours on that god-forsaken planet made sense. Boot camp had been about breaking them down, hammering out the arrogance and incompetence, and building them back up as men strong enough to withstand whatever war might throw at them. The additional 'training' of the SGC was meant to give them every chance to survive any number of battles with an alien foe. The click in his mind, as this knowledge snapped into place, was almost audible. "Sir, we might not have had the full training, but we've had training from you. We should at least be able to keep ourselves out of trouble for the day."
Ferretti studied the young man. Could see in his eyes the determination. Those blue depths held the insight as to what the training on P7R-093 was meant to do. Maybe the kid hadn't endured the full seventy-two hours. But he understood its purpose. That was half the lesson the training was meant to teach. The next few hours would be all the additional training Junior would need. He could sense it. He could see it in the steady gaze that held his own eyes for that moment. He cleared his throat. "I sure as hell hope so. I don't want to face either General Hammond nor General O'Neill if I come back with broken cadets."
He couldn't hold back his grin. "If we get broken, I promise we'll let the generals know it wasn't your fault."
He stared at the young man for just a second long, then broke into a big grin. "I'll hold you to that, Junior." He punched the number for the level where the hangar bays were located. "Okay, about the 302s…"
Sam, Jack, and Teal'c were hurrying toward the hangar bay. They would have an hour, two at the most, to give the pilots as much training as possible for the fire-fight they would be thrust into. They didn't even have the option of allowing the pilots to take the craft out of the hangar to familiarize themselves with the way the fliers handled. There were similarities to a jet, but there was so much more the F302s were capable of doing. And those pilots needed to be aware of all of those abilities.
"I feel like we're sending them into hell with a plastic shield and a toy sword, and telling them to do their best," Sam muttered.
Jack flinched slightly at the mental image. It wasn't far from the truth. "They're academy trained, Carter," he said quietly.
She glanced at him, realized that for just a few seconds she'd let herself forget they were on a mission. She'd wanted comfort from her husband. Who was very much in 'general mode' at the moment. As he needed to be. She gave a sharp nod of her head. Pushed aside her personal feelings. She'd had no 'extra' training when she'd first been assigned to SG-1. Daniel hadn't even had the benefit of having attended boot camp. They'd managed to survive some damned tight places. The pilots she was about to meet had the best training…as far as flying conventional aircraft was concerned…that could be afforded them. That was an advantage for them.
Ferretti turned around when three-fifths of SG-1 came rushing into the hangar. "General," he said amiably, nodding at Jack.
"Boys are green, but smart enough," the Marine said. At least he'd seen to it that the pilots were in clean, dry uniforms. It was, he thought, the least he could do for them in this situation.
The six young men behind him exchanged astonished looks. For several hours they'd been hearing nothing but derogatory remarks from their trainer. Usually along the line of the most intelligent of the group being dumber than a box of rocks.
Ferretti turned to the pilots, then took a deep breath. "I wish you'd have had time to finish the course. Sometimes the snakes just refuse to cooperate. Listen to the general and the colonel, and to Teal'c. What they tell you now will save your life in a couple of hours."
So damned young! They're all so damned young! Jack grimaced at the knowledge that he had such a short amount of time to prepare these very young men on ways to survive their first encounter with Jaffa. "Everyone into a fighter," he said, barking the order more sharply than he'd intended. The men scrambled to obey. "Colonel," he said, turning to Sam. She knew the specs and abilities of an F302 as well as he did, and she could remember all the details that these pilots would need to know.
"Welcome to your crash course on the F302," Sam said, forcing a smile to her face. "The F302 is a hybrid aircraft, capable of both space flight and atmospheric flight. It's a fighter-interceptor, retro-engineered from Goa'uld technology, but entirely human built."
"Don't worry, it didn't go to the lowest bidder," Jack deadpanned. Noting that the smiles he received were small and nervous at best.
Sam barely paused when Jack spoke, although her cheek twitched slightly. "The cockpit should look familiar, as it was based on the F22. If you'll pull up the schematics on your screens, you'll see that you have four sets of engines: air-breathing jets, which all of you are accustomed to handling. You also have modified aerospikes for high altitudes, a rocket booster, and a naquadria-powered hyperspace window generator. The hyperspace window generator is only good for short bursts-"
"Because naquadria is unstable as hell," Jack interjected. He ignored the snicker Ferretti gave when the pilots turned white...or in one case, an interesting shade of gray-green. For a moment the general was afraid the kid was going to pass out.
Unstable? What the fuck is naquadria, and if it's unstable, why the fuck am I sitting on a generator that uses the shit? Jay wondered frantically, staring at the display screen in front of him.
"Don't worry, if anything happens, your cockpit is designed to be a self-contained escape pod. You'll have twelve hours of heat and air if you have to eject," Sam added, frowning at Jack. "If you're in a losing situation, use that generator to get the hell out of the way."
Jack nodded his agreement. "You won't go far, and the computer will be able to guide you back to the Daedalus. Just don't use it unless you absolutely have to. It's a little trick we have that the Goa'uld don't know about, and we'd like to keep it that way as long as possible."
"We're putting you in wingman positions to the pilots who have more experience at flying the F302s," Sam continued. "Follow your leader, and listen to what he or she is telling you. Keep your eyes and ears open."
"Now, about the gliders," Jack said. He looked over at Teal'c. "This is the man who knows about gliders. Teal'c, buddy, tell the boys what to expect."
Teal'c nodded. "You will be going against pilots with considerable experience, and much of it in battle. They are formidable, but not undefeatable. Do not allow a glider to maneuver behind you. If this happens, you must immediately take action to remove yourself from that position."
"This is where things will be different from flying a regular fighter," Jack said. "You'll have to learn to fight your instincts and do exactly what Teal'c tells you."
Again the large man nodded. "You must pull your craft into a loop, and fall into place behind the glider. You will have mere seconds to do so. Once you are behind the glider, your weapons will effectively destroy the enemy ship."
Loop? Hell, yeah! Jay fought a grin. He'd loved doing loops in his fighters, doing exactly what had been described. A frown passed over his face. How would he have to fight his instincts to do that? Another look at the display screen made the frown deepen. No doubt this fighter was going to react differently in space than a traditional fighter did in the atmosphere…He jerked his attention back to what the huge alien was saying.
"Most of the Jaffa you will face today have not fought against the Tau'ri. That is to your advantage. Knowing of their tactics will earn you the time and position to destroy them," Teal'c was saying. "A most favored tactic is to work in tandem, two gliders against a single enemy craft. This is why it is most important that you remain with your leader. A single craft alone is doomed. Resist the urge to chase any glider that seems to be alone, for it will most likely be a trap. Remain with your leader, and you will survive."
"All of the information you need is at your fingertips," Sam said, when Teal'c took a step back, effectively returning the 'lesson' to her. "Learn where everything is, memorize as much as you can in the next couple of hours."
"Just don't blow up the hangar bay," Jack quipped. "We'll be out there with you. If you get into trouble, call out - don't be scared or ashamed if you find your ass in a sling you can't get out of."
Jay took a deep breath. He'd joined the Air Force so he could fly…not just any aircraft, but a fighter jet. This…he looked around at the control panels. It was so damned - 'Star Wars' - he thought, shuddering slightly. Stargates. Aliens. The ability to travel to distant planets in just hundredths of a second through a stable wormhole. Honest-to-god space ships. This wasn't exactly what he'd had in mind when he'd signed the contract. But damn…to fly in space! Once again the thought that his parents might have had an actual encounter with aliens poked at him. He pushed it away and turned his attention to learning as much about the fighter he was sitting in as possible.
A A A A A A
Daniel smiled when Casey's arm tightened around him, just slightly, as they watched Tieel Mogba's small shuttlecraft set down in the lowest hangar. The last time she'd seen the man, he'd been handing them over to Ba'al.
"He's on our side," Daniel whispered.
She jerked slightly. "What, are you psychic now?"
It wouldn't have been wise to let her know that what she was thinking was as clear in her eyes, at least to him, as the window in front of them. "I've been with him since he left us with Ba'al," Daniel said softly. "I talked to him a bit."
"I know. And I knew that he was going to be the one to get you away from Chaahk," Casey replied. "I just…the first time I saw him, I was so scared. He…he just grabbed me-" She broke off, turned her head slightly. "It wasn't much better the second time. I had a feeling he was going to screw us over, but I wasn't positive. All I knew was that we had to trust him then."
"Ya know, a beautiful seer once told me that things happen for a reason. What if Tieel Mogba's path crossed ours for this very day. To help us rescue those children from Chaahk?" Daniel asked.
"I think it was to save you from Chaahk. But if he helps us again, I certainly won't quibble about it."
The sound of hissing in the adjoining airlock alerted them to the fact that the bounty hunter-cum-spy was waiting to enter the control booth. Daniel nodded at the young woman who sat at the controls. "Let him in."
The door opened, and Tieel Mogba smiled broadly. "Friend Daniel!"
The man stepped forward, grasped Daniel's arm firmly with his good hand. "I have more information for you."
"I hope it's good news," Daniel sighed.
"That, I'm afraid, will be up to you to decide," Tieel replied. He glanced at Casey, then bowed slightly. "Greetings to you, Beautiful Lady."
She couldn't help but smile. Tieel was obviously capable of a great deal of charm. "Greetings to you, Tieel Mogba."
"Let's get the team together, and hear what you have," Daniel suggested.
"Lead the way," Tieel said. He fell into step beside Daniel. Noted that Casey was clinging to the archaeologist's arm on the other side. "I have been considering the approach of the planet Chaahk claims."
"Yeah, so have we. We figure there's going to be a fire fight as soon as we drop out of hyperdrive."
Tieel nodded. "Exactly. It is during that time that I will make my way to the planet. With you of course. I'm afraid I can only take three others with me."
"Don't think you're going anywhere without me," Casey warned her husband.
Daniel grinned. "Wouldn't dream of it," he chuckled.
"One of the Marines on board," Casey said. Then stopped walking.
Daniel was jerked to a halt, she was still clinging to his arm. "Casey?"
"Ferretti. Ferretti should go with us," she whispered.
Daniel turned to look at her. Cupped her face with both hands. "Can you see anything?"
Casey closed her eyes. Sorted through the images that had dropped into her mind. "Not really…just lots of running through passageways."
He could remember several of the corridors in the castle. Including those that lead to the dark, dank cells where he'd been held upon his arrival. No doubt that was where the children were being held. Probably the men as well. What he wasn't certain about were the women. Something he'd heard…overheard…been told…during his captivity poked at his memory. Something about the castle and Chaahk and the reason he'd not had harem slaves in residence… "Son of a bitch!"
"What?" Casey demanded, fear in her eyes.
"The women…for the harem. They won't be on the planet," Daniel hissed.
"Oh, goddess! He'll have them on that ha'tak!"
Tieel frowned. "This is troubling, indeed."
Shaking her head, Casey's eyes filled with determination. "That bastard might have just screwed up our plans, but I have every intention of screwing up his existence!"
Daniel and Tieel exchanged an amused glance. "I have no doubt of that, Angel," Daniel smiled.
"We just have to get on that ha'tak, get those women, and then blow it the hell up."
"If anyone can do that, the great SG-1 will do so," Tieel said, nodding sagely.
"Your faith in us is appreciated," Daniel mused, grinning slightly.
"It takes little faith when given the facts of the matter," Tieel replied. "The reputation of SG-1 is legendary among many traders…and bounty hunters. Most reputable bounty hunters would never go after SG-1."
Daniel's eyes went wide. "Why not?"
"And be killed for their effort? Or at the very least, left looking foolish when you escape?" Tieel shook his head. "If Goa'uld cannot hold you, then no mortal man can do so."
"I think that's a compliment," Daniel chuckled.
"Well, SG-1 does have-" Casey broke off, her head cocked sideways. She tightened her fingers around Daniel's arm as she listened to the whispers in the back of her mind. "We have to find out if there's a planet with a 'gate between us and Chaahk."
"Why?" Daniel asked.
"Because the great SG-1 is gonna need a little backup. We need SG-6, and possibly 12 as well. I think both teams are on call today," the seer replied.
Daniel sighed. "We'd better let everyone know what's going on."
"Jack is going to be nine kinds of pissed off that his plans are screwed up," Casey added.
"No doubt," Daniel chuckled.
Jack wasn't swearing out loud, but his teammates were certain he was ranting silently as he listened to the latest intel about Chaahk. It hadn't helped to learn that the closest planet with a Stargate was a full hour out of their way. It certainly hadn't helped to have General Hammond report that due to a call for help from one of the groups of people freed from Camulus, there were no SG teams available. The two teams that had been on base had been sent through to fight against Camulus' Jaffa, to keep the villagers free of Goa'uld tyranny. It seemed that SG-1 and SG-3 were on their own. "Damned snakes. They do it on purpose!"
"Of course they do," Casey retorted, just as out of sorts over the situation as her commanding officer. "Why make things easy for us?"
"Just once they could go against their nature and stay out of the way!" Jack muttered.
"Dream on, boss. Goa'uld strive to be as annoying as possible."
He gave a grunt, which could have been either exasperation or agreement.
Casey sighed. "In spite of that bastard, and a lack of help, we have to save all of those people. Shanda and Nutesh are counting on us."
"Do you think two teams can get those women off the ha'tak?" Jack asked, watching the seer carefully. He felt his breath catch in his throat when she tilted her head sideways.
"Confusion," Casey murmured. "They need…the teams need…confusion."
Sam frowned as she tried to decipher what the slender blonde had said. "If their arrival causes confusion, you mean?"
Casey's eyes focused on Sam for a moment. "They can't know where the teams come from. As long as the Jaffa are confused as to where we come from…no…as long as the Jaffa are convinced there's nowhere for anyone to ring over from, they're going to remain…confused."
"If they are 'confused' enough," Teal'c said, frowning slightly, "it will certainly slow down any reactions they might have to our presence. If they do not see us, if they do not see the Daedalus, they will believe they are dealing with simple malfunctions of the transport rings or the monitoring systems."
Now Daniel and Sam were frowning. "If the Daedalus stays cloaked, we can get the teams on board, right?" Daniel asked.
"We have to drop the shields to use the transport rings," Sam replied. "The ship will be visible for those few seconds."
"What about the Asgard beaming devices?" Daniel inquired.
"Risky, if we don't have the correct shield frequency for the enemy ship," was the colonel's reply.
"If we can come in behind the ha'tak, so that the other vessels waiting do not see us, we can use our invisibility to our advantage," Teal'c suggested. "Any momentary visibility would be lessened by remaining hidden behind the ha'tak in relation to the other ships."
"We'll have to drop out of hyperspeed at the edge of the solar system," Sam said. "We can cloak immediately. Unless one or all of those ships are doing constant scans, they won't detect us. Even if they are, chances are that they'll just notice a blip, which could be explained away as noise or a nearby solar flare, or even a momentary glitch in their systems."
"So, we get the teams onto the ha'tak, rescue those women, then we take the ships out," Jack said, his eyes narrowing slightly. "We could take out the ha'tak without those al'kesh realizing we're anywhere near." He looked at Casey. "Talk to Miss Eloise, we really need for you to be able to give the weapons tech a good firing solution."
Casey nodded. "As soon as I can."
"During the ensuing battle with the al'kesh, Tieel will take Casey, Ferretti, and myself to the planet-" Daniel broke off. "If your ship will only hold four of us, how the hell are we going to get those children back to the Daedalus?"
Tieel gave a wide smile. "I said I could only take three others with me, in the main compartment of the ship. I have a very secure hold for transporting cargo of various types. It won't be the most comfortable of places, but it will be warm enough, and there will be enough oxygen to get the children from the planet back to the Daedalus."
"It'll have to do," Daniel sighed. No doubt what the children had already been through would make being cramped in a small cargo hold seem like nothing.
"If I take a few of the Asgard beaming devices, I could put them on any of the men we find, and then the Daedalus could just beam them back," Casey suggested.
"Teal'c, what are the chances of Chaahk showing up on that ha'tak to fight against us, once this battle starts?" Jack asked, toying with the pen he'd found on the table. The idea of taking the snake out as soon as possible was one worthy of discussion.
"Very high, indeed," Teal'c replied. "He would be most anxious to command the ha'tak during the battle."
"Good. We get those women off that ha'tak, and then blow that thing into little pieces," Jack said firmly.
"Might be worth it to make sure he's on board first," Casey suggested.
"He'd have to ring up," Sam pointed out. "We'll see when that happens."
The calculating look in Jack's eyes let everyone know what he was thinking. "Is there any way to destroy that beam?"
Sam shook her head. "We'll have just a fraction of a second to even see it. Not knowing exactly when he'd ring up would leave us guessing at best."
"What if we have someone on the ground who sees him?" Jack asked, glancing at Tieel, Daniel, and Casey.
Again Sam shook her head. "We'd still only have fractions of a second to respond. And we don't know exactly where the beam would be."
"If we know he's ringed up, we can destroy the ha'tak," Casey said softly.
"Once the battle begins, there is no guarantee that all of the Jaffa will stay to see it to the end," Tieel added. "I have just learned that the majority of Chaahk's Jaffa once served Ares. None of them are as loyal to this Goa'uld as he believes. Most simply want to return to their homes and families. If the opportunity were to present itself, I have no doubt that at least one of those al'kesh will simply…disappear. What will happen if we were to pursue, I don't know."
Once again Casey's head was tipped to the side. "Let them go," she said softly. "They'll tell the others of the Tau'ri, and Ares' defeat. And how much trouble we caused Zeus. It'll leave the others questioning the wisdom of taking us on."
"I like the sound of that," Jack grinned. "Hopefully our reputation will keep that group of snakes out of the way until we've dealt with all the sliminess in this galaxy."
"Here's hoping," Daniel sighed.
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