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I Was Blind, But Now I See

Chapter 3

It had turned bitterly cold, too cold to snow; the snow already covering the ground was hard and icy. Daniel had a fire roaring in the fireplace, the warmth added to the heat coming from the oven where the turkey was baking. Neither of them had experience with turkeys. So, following the directions in the cookbook, the two of them had managed to get the huge bird rinsed, stuffed, trussed and into the roasting pan. It was starting to smell pretty good!

Casey was once again thankful for the duel ovens. The turkey roasted in the lower oven, the extra stuffing and the sweet potatoes cooked slowly in the upper oven. The dough was mixed, the rolls rising nicely. The table was set, five place settings of Grandma Rose's china and crystal and silver, along with the centerpiece she'd picked up on Tuesday.

He surveyed the room. The table looked beautiful. The mantle boasted autumn foliage, wrapped in deep orange and red and brown ribbons. The coffee table had been emptied of the usual items; the chessboard and pieces, the Malaysian lap desk, and the iron candle sticks and their pillar candles were tucked safely in the den. The pesto dip, centered in the middle of a square green platter, surrounded by colorful corn chips, as well as dishes of olives, five varieties to be exact, a plate that held an assortment of crackers, and the platter of cookies covered the surface. "Everything looks great, Angel."

She smiled. "Thanks. I'm going to get dressed now. I won't be long."

With a nod and a smile, he dropped onto the sofa. Turned on the television. Maybe he could catch a bit of the parade. They'd showered together once the turkey had been placed in the oven. Made love again. Washed each other, giggling and playing in the water until it turned cold. She'd pulled on sweats and a tee shirt, telling him that she'd dress just before it was time for their friends to arrive. The doorbell chimed. He grinned at the thought that his musings had conjured them to his doorstep.

"Hey, Daniel," Jack said, stepping in from the cold. He held up a brown grocery bag. "I brought beer."

"Thanks, Jack," Daniel chuckled. He gave Sam a kiss on the cheek.

"Hi, Daniel. Casey told me this would be easy to make...she was right! I did it!" The woman triumphantly held up a bowl of fruit salad. "I need to get this into the fridge."

"You know the way," Daniel replied. He looked up at the large black man who waited patiently. "Happy Thanksgiving, Teal'c."

"The same to you, Daniel Jackson."

"Let me take your coats," Daniel said, happily playing the part of the host. He took the heavy winter wrappings and put them on the bed. Glanced at the closed bathroom door. "Case will be out in a minute. She's getting dressed."

Jack grinned. "Do tell."

He rolled his blue eyes. "She was wearing sweats while she got everything ready."

"Whoa!" Jack looked around the Great Room. "She went all out, didn't she?"

He let his eyes move over the room again. "Yeah, she did," he said proudly.

"Makes you wonder just how much she'll do for Christmas," the older man mused.

"Come on in. She has appetizers ready. She said to dig in as soon as you got here," Daniel said, leading the way into the living room. He poured glasses of wine for himself, Sam, and Casey, opened a beer for Jack, and filled a glass with the herbal tea that Casey had made for Teal'c.

"General Hammond called this morning," Jack said, just before popping a dip covered chip into his mouth.

"Really? About what?"

"He got a message from Senator Shepperd. Seems the good senator thinks that the NID, and Colonel Simmons in particular, are up to something. He told the general to be...alert."

"Any particulars?"

Jack shook his head. "Just a heads up that something could happen."

"Casey will give us details when she gets them," Sam said, sampling the olives.

"Indeed. The NID may be aware that she is a seer. They will not appreciate the fact that she will be aware of their activities," Teal'c said.

"Happy Thanksgiving!"

Daniel looked toward the dining room. Damned near fell off of the arm of the sofa where he was sitting. "Sweet Jesus!" he muttered.

Jack and Teal'c laughed at him, until the two men looked at their hostess as well.

The dress was emerald green...and short. Had a low sweetheart neckline that exposed a fair amount of cleavage. And like the red dress that Sam was wearing, it clung to every curve. The straps were rhinestone, and glittered against the smooth, tanned skin of her shoulders.

His reaction was exactly what she'd been hoping for. His eyes had gone wide, and then had filled with need before he'd been able to tamp it down. His gaze had moved from the top of her head, where her hair was piled in soft curls, to her feet and the black ankle strap pumps, with their three inch stiletto heels, and back again, moving over every inch of her. She smiled, walked over to where he was perched, dropped a kiss on his cheek, then rubbed the lip gloss from his skin.

"You look great, Casey," Sam grinned.

"You too!"

Jack looked from one woman to the other. Began to mutter about BDUs and a need to make them mandatory off base as well, leaving no doubts that he was most certainly affected by the way his lover and friend were dressed.

Teal'c gave both women appraising looks. "Major Carter, Casey Jackson, you are both very lovely today."

"Thanks, Teal'c," Casey smiled. She leaned over and kissed the large man's cheek.

"Uh...um...you...that's...uh...that's a new dress, isn't it?" Daniel managed to stammer.

"Mmmhmm. Sam and I bought these when we went shopping, right after we got back from Egypt," Casey replied. "Do you like it?"

"Uh...yeah," he replied. Hoped that his cock would stop twitching before somebody noticed that he had an erection.

She giggled. "Good." She looked shyly from face to face. "I was thinking that maybe, if you all want to that is, well, we could play a game or something while we wait for the turkey to finish baking. If you want to. It's no big deal if-"

Jack smiled at her. "What kind of games? Spin the bottle?"

The young blonde blushed brightly. "Not exactly," she mumbled.

Sam reached over and swatted at Jack's arm. "Behave."

The older man rolled his eyes. "Start sleeping with them, and suddenly they own you!"

"And don't you forget it!" Sam replied, her sapphire blue eyes dancing. "What did you have in mind, Casey?"

"Charades. I used to love charades," the younger woman replied, taking a crystal bowl from the oak shelf. "I wrote out some things, and I made sure that Teal'c will understand all of them, and be able to guess them...well, if they're acted out properly."

"Thank you for your consideration," Teal'c said quietly. Not at all surprised that Casey would do such a thing.

The smile that she flashed lit the room. "You're welcome. So...what do you think?"

Daniel took the bowl from her hands, picked a slip of paper. "I think you're first."

She took the folded paper, looked at it, and rolled her eyes. "Figures I'd get this one to act out!" A deep breath, and she began to give clues.

"Okay, it's a movie," Daniel said, when she made the 'universal sign' for movie making. Grinned when she nodded. She held up four fingers. "Four words."

"Second word," Sam said, watching her best friend. Frowned when Casey motioned toward Jack, Daniel and Teal'c. She watched again. "Men?"

Casey giggled, held her hand at waist high.

"Boys?"

The blonde headed nodded enthusiastically. The motions she made next had the three men stumped. She repeated the actions three times.

Sam began to giggle. "'The Boys from Brazil'?"

"Yes!"

"Whoa...wait a minute! How in the hell did you figure that out?" Jack demanded to know.

"The second word was 'boys'. Then Casey mimed putting on a bra," Sam explained.

"That's what she was doing?" Jack glared at Sam. "How in the hell did you get Brazil from bra?"

Daniel snickered. "Think about it for awhile, Jack. You'll figure it out."

Another glare, this time for the archaeologist. Although his cheek was twitching.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

She sighed as she put the last of the leftovers away. Bent over and picked up her shoes. As soon as Jack, Sam, and Teal'c had left, they had come off. Her feet were killing her. But the day had been a wonderful success. The game of Charades had been a hoot. The best part had been when Teal'c had mimed the song 'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head'. The meal had been praised and devoured. They'd spent the late afternoon and evening playing poker and eating leftovers. There wasn't a cookie to be found. Two slices of pie were all that remained. There was a bit of turkey, and a few spoonfuls of stuffing. Three dinner rolls. A cup of cranberry sauce.

"Tired, babe?"

"A little bit. It was a perfect day, wasn't it?"

"Yes, it was. I don't think I've ever seen Teal'c eat that much before. And I've seen him put away the food!"

She giggled. "I'm glad he enjoyed it."

Daniel finished loading the dishwasher while she put away the last of the crystal and china. She and Sam had washed the dishes, chattering happily while the men watched the football game. He wasn't into sports, he never had been; his studies had always taken up all of his time, not to mention the fact that he'd been skinny and geeky as a kid. But he understood the game well enough to enjoy watching it with his friends. "So what were you and Sam laughing about all afternoon?"

She glanced over at him. "Just girl talk."

"Uh huh."

"Really."

"Like what?"

"Oh, just...girl talk."

"You were talking about me and Jack."

"Well, duh."

He grinned. "What'd you tell her about me?"

"That you're an egotistical, pain-in-the-ass archaeologist," she replied. "Which she told me she already knew."

"Smartass."

She giggled. "I told her that I'm crazy in love with you. Which she already knew. That you do a hundred little things a day that amaze me, make me feel so loved and wanted and...special. And she knew that too."

He wrapped his arms around her waist. "I wonder if she knows that I'm crazy in love with you. And that you amaze me every day, and that I love all the little ways you show your love for me...to me," he murmured against her hair.

"I don't know," she replied.

"Ready to take your hair down?"

"Yep."

He followed her to the bathroom. Took the hairbrush from her hand. "C'mere, Angel." He led her to the bedroom. Found the zipper to the dress, and slowly unzipped it. He carefully pulled the straps from her shoulders, slid the velvet off her breasts, to her waist, over her hips. Held the dress while she stepped out of it. He draped it over the chair. Rolled her black, sheer, thigh high stockings down, took them off of her feet. "Sit down, babe."

She got comfortable on the bed. As soon as he'd divested himself of his unnecessary clothes, he knelt behind her. Began to pull the pins from her hair. After he'd found the last one, he began to brush the long locks, letting his fingers play among the silky strands. She cocked her head sideways.

"What?" he asked immediately.

"NID," she whispered.

"Where?"

"Here."

"Silver Springs?"

She shook her head. "Here."

Oh, fuck! He dove for the nightstand. Opened the middle drawer, pulled out his 9 millimeter. "Get dressed, Angel," he whispered.

She nodded. Disappeared into her closet.

He pulled on the jeans he'd discarded the day before, found a sweatshirt and tugged it over his shoulders. He glanced at her when she reappeared, dressed in jeans and a sweater. "I'm gonna call Jack." Once again she nodded, clinging to his arm as he made his way into the den. At least whoever it is had the decency to wait until after we enjoyed our holiday, he thought peevishly.

 

 

 

The only lights on were in the two front rooms. He'd wait for an hour after they went out, he decided. If they'd stuffed themselves with turkey, they'd sleep soundly. He moved around the house again. Wished that the blinds weren't closed completely. He could see that lights were on, but couldn't see if anyone was moving in either room. He followed the deck from the double French doors to the back of the house. Tried to see past the blinds on the single French doors.

 

 

 

It had been a lovely day. She'd enjoyed the fact that she hadn't had to do all the cooking. Hadn't had to clean and make certain that the house was ready for company. Yes, sir, she enjoyed that a lot! Handing over the responsibility of the 'family dinner' to her daughter had been the best thing she'd ever done. Well, Caroline might not think so, she chuckled.

Emma Hanks stirred the baking soda into the water. Eighty-five years old...old enough to know better than to have seconds of everything! But as usual, Caroline's dinner had been excellent, and having both of her children together, with their spouses and children...well, it had been just a lovely day, and she'd suffer a little heartburn gladly. She drank the awful tasting concoction. Put the glass in the sink. Turned off the kitchen light. Stood looking at the house behind her.

When they'd extended the neighboring house, it had brought it closer to the fence that separated the yards. Her own house wasn't far from the fence, set back from the street as it was; so the two houses were closer than the others on the block. She'd worried when that deck had gone up. Not that there would be parties. But that whoever moved in might be a pain-in-the-ass and not invite her. The first time she'd met the Jacksons, she'd been thrilled. Such a sweet couple. And they knew how to throw a party! Seemed to like letting crazy old women hang around, too. That was nice of them. And she just loved letting Harriet Trumball know what delightful neighbors they were. And how Daniel was always so willing to come lend a hand when she needed it. Or that Casey checked on her if the young woman didn't see her in her garden every day. Uptight nosy old biddy anyway, she thought dismissively. Never did like that old battleaxe.

Yep, having that young couple in the house behind her had been real joy. And Casey was doing such a nice job of taking care of the yard...planting flowers and rose bushes...always so eager to learn from someone with years of experience. She frowned. Leaned closer to the window. Now wasn't that just annoying! She scurried over to the phone that hung on the wall. Punched three numbers. Damned punks anyway! Skulking around on Thanksgiving night, for pity's sake! "Yes, I'd like to report a prowler..."

 

 

 

Daniel made a quiet call to Jack. His best friend and at least a dozen Marines would be here shortly. All he had to do was keep Casey safe until they arrived. "Babe, I want you to get into the closet."

"But-"

"Don't argue," he said softly. He pushed the side wall. Waited for the hidden spring to release. The area was small, but she'd be safe until whoever was out there had been taken down. His primary concern was her safety. And if someone from the NID was out there, it was her, and her special gift, that they were after.

"Please, be careful," she whispered.

He kissed her sweet lips, watched as she settled safely on the floor of the hidden compartment, then gently pushed the wall back into place. He turned the lights out in the den, then in the bedroom. And went into the kitchen to wait. From where he stood he could take down anyone who came in, no matter what door they chose to enter through.

 

 

 

When the call had come over the radio, he'd only been six blocks from the house where the prowler had been reported. He drove slowly. Watching carefully, trying to see into each back yard. There...someone just came out from between those two houses! Wearing dark clothes...had to be the bastard!  He grabbed his radio, reported that he'd made visual confirmation of the prowler, and that he was about to apprehend the suspect.

 

 

 

He moved around the side of the house, past the garage. The light was out in that room. Another trip to the front to check...yep. All the lights were out. He slipped down the street toward the rental car that waited. He'd warm up, wait for a bit, and then go in for the woman.

The police car cruised by slowly, the spotlight on the side catching him full on.

Son-of-a-bitch! 

The vehicle stopped, and the officer stepped out. "Just stop where you are," the young officer said, his hand on his weapon.

Shit! He stopped. Put both hands in the air. Hoped like hell the young cop wouldn't decide to frisk him! He had both the dart pistol and his .357 tucked into the waistband of his pants. He had no desire to try to explain either.

Both turned to look when a Ford F250 and a military van raced into the driveway of the dark bungalow.

Taking the chance, he grabbed for the dart pistol, fired at the police officer, and ran for his car. He didn't have time to wonder just how in the hell they'd known he was there! The fact that he was after a seer completely evaded him as he gunned the engine.

The van was in pursuit as soon as the car peeled away from the curb, narrowly missing the man who lay face down on the icy street.

"Daniel!" Jack called, pounding on the front door.

He threw the door open. "Did you get him?"

Jack shook his head. "Reynolds is on his tail now. Where's Casey?"

"Safe."

"Get her and come on. Throw some clothes in a bag. We're keeping the two of you on the base for a couple of days."

"Right."

"I have to go check on that cop."

"Go. We'll be okay," Daniel replied.

Jack jogged up the street. Gently rolled the man over. Pulled the dart from his neck. Opened his cellphone. "This is Colonel O'Neill. Contact the local PD. Have an ambulance sent to the 2700 block of Baldwin Street. There's an officer down. Looks like a tranquilizer dart."

 

 

 

When the wall moved, she held her breath. Only five people knew about this hidey-hole. Daniel, Jack, Sam, Teal'c, and herself. It hadn't been long enough for someone to have stumbled upon it accidentally.

"Babe?"

She flew into his arms. "Is it over?"

"Not yet. Get your things together. We're staying on the base for a few days," Daniel replied.

She followed him to the bedroom. Packed jeans and sweaters, underwear and pajamas. Grabbed her robe and slippers. A trip to the bathroom to pack her toiletries, and she was ready to go.

The phone began to ring. Daniel grabbed it. "Hello?"

"Daniel? What is going on over there? I saw someone on your back deck, and called 9-1-1. Did the police get there?"

He sighed, leaned against the wall. "Hey, Emma. Yeah, they did. Right now...um...they're chasing the guy." He didn't have to tell her that Marines were chasing an NID agent. "Thanks for calling like that, I appreciate it."

"Well, thank my heartburn," the old woman retorted. "If I hadn't been up to get something for the indigestion, I never would've seen him."

He laughed. "Tell your heartburn thanks."

"I'll do that. Are you and Casey all right?"

"We're fine. Probably going to be gone for a few days again."

"Well, I'll keep an eye on the place, you know that. Just be sure the basket is on the breakfast bar for the mail."

He grinned, took the basket from the cupboard and put it in place. "Will do. Thanks, Emma."

"You're welcome. I'm going to want details after I've had some sleep and you get home!"

"I'll tell you what I can."

She smiled. She knew that Daniel and Casey and their friends did classified work. Knew that they were gone for days at a time...sometimes weeks. Often came home looking tired and disheartened. She'd seen the shadows that haunted their eyes when they'd been gone for long periods of time. And it wasn't jet lag or simple exhaustion. Those young people were special ops. Just like her Henry had been. She might not understand all that they went through. But she understood enough. "You bet your ass you will. Tell Casey I said hello. I'm going to bed. I'm too damned old for this shit."

"Emma, you're not old."

"Bullshit. But I love you for saying that. Goodnight, Daniel."

"Goodnight, Emma."

Casey giggled. "What was that about?"

"Emma saw the prowler. She's the one who called the police," he replied. Lights from several emergency vehicles caught their attention. "Let's go, Angel."

 

 

 

Jack showed his base ID tag to the police officers who had arrived. Explained what had happened, as much as he could. "It's just a tranquilizer. He should be up and around in a couple of hours. Probably be woozy as hell for awhile."

The young officer was lifted onto the gurney, then rolled to the waiting ambulance. Just as suddenly as they'd appeared, the vehicles were gone, plunging the street back into darkness.

 

 

 

The drive to the base was done in silence, Casey clinging tightly to Daniel's hand for the entirety of the ride. General Hammond had been notified. Sam and Teal'c were waiting for them as well.

"It seems that Senator Shepperd's source was correct," the general said when Jack and Daniel had given their report.

Daniel didn't say anything, but it had been Casey's gift that had alerted them to the fact that the NID agent was outside of their house.

"I'm going to ask all of you to stay on base for the next forty-eight hours," General Hammond continued. "I have reason to believe that all of SG-1 is at risk."

"Information from the senator, sir?" Jack asked.

The Texan smiled and shook his head. "Experience. If the NID is after Casey, they'll take any of you to try to get to her."

The team exchanged looks. "Maybe this would be a good time to go on that mission to P37 R95," Sam said quietly. A simple recon mission. Nothing but ruins. Of course, even those missions had a way of turning deadly for them.

General Hammond frowned slightly. "We'll take a look at the latest MALP intel this afternoon. For now, all of you go get some rest."

Heads bobbed, and the five team members rose to their feet. For the second time in as many hours, Casey cocked her head sideways. Daniel bit back a groan. Jack and General Hammond watched her carefully.  Everyone, except for her, settled back down into their chairs.  If Radar was picking something up, the meeting wasn't over after all.

What she was seeing made absolutely no sense! None whatsoever! She frowned. Glanced at Daniel. "Give me a minute," she said softly.

He nodded, could see the frustration in her eyes as she struggled to understand this latest 'information dump', as she called the phenomenon that occurred when she had her 'visions'.

The frown deepened as she examined the images. "There's a farmhouse...not here...I'm not sure where...but...farmhouse...great danger...we need to listen..." she shook her head. "I'm sorry, it's all so...jumbled."

General Hammond was frowning as well. He looked over at his 2IC. Jack's frown was as deep as his own. His gaze moved back to the resident seer. "Does this have anything to do with the NID?"

She pulled her lip between her teeth. Nodded her head. "I need to...search," she said softly.

He'd read the mission reports. The men of SGs -12, -6 and -2 had reported what they'd observed during her 'search' while on R7Y 379. Jack, Sam, and Teal'c had reported their observations of the 'searches' undertaken while the team was on vacation. General Hammond wasn't so sure he wanted to subject the young woman to what could be potentially dangerous.

Daniel nodded. Scooted back the chair he was sitting in. "C'mere," he said softly. He glanced at the general. "Sometimes...she needs the reassurance I can give her," he explained.

The older man nodded. All of the reports had indicated that Dr. Jackson was able to offer support while his wife was...in a trance...a description of what occurred according to the men of the other SG teams. "I understand," he replied.

Casey settled in his lap. Closed her eyes when she felt his arms close around her. She took a deep breath. Hoped this wouldn't be like the 'trips' to that damned castle!

 

"Miss Eloise?"

"Right here, Sunshine," the old woman said softly.

"I see a farmhouse...and there's such danger around it! The people inside..." Casey started. Shook her head as the jumbled images continued to repeat in her mind, like a slide-show stuck in a loop.

"Look, Casey," Miss Eloise instructed.

For several seconds it felt as if she were moving through clouds. Then suddenly she was in an empty field. Staring at the farmhouse she'd seen. Two security lights, one in the front, and one in the back, offered enough illumination to see the house clearly, as well as several out buildings. There were three cars...three black sedans. She frowned, walked closer.

Deception. Lies. Power. Struggle. Control. She shook her head again as the words, the feelings raced through her. She began to run toward the house, the urgency she felt unexplained, at least for the moment, but very strong - spurring her forward. If only she could describe the house, the vehicles...She turned to the old woman beside her. "If I talk to them, will they hear me?"

Miss Eloise shrugged. "Try it and see."

She took a deep breath. "Daniel, I don't know if you can hear me..."

 

The team members looked at each other in surprise. This was new! She'd never spoken to them during a 'search' before!

Daniel frowned. She'd told him that she'd 'heard' his whispers, his admonishments to be careful. He put his lips beside her ear. "I hear you," he whispered.

 

An excited smile covered her face when she heard his soft whisper. "He can hear me!"

The old seer studied the young woman. Her abilities, her powers, continued to grow. Soon, The One would tap into his own strengths, his own powers. She shivered. The two together would be undefeatable!

"The farmhouse is...well, it's a farmhouse. Three black cars in the driveway, all identical. Daniel, give me a minute, I'm going to see if I can find some sort of road signs." She was jogging down the road that ran in front of the house before she realized what she was doing. She could just make out a stop sign in the moonlight. Please, she thought, let there be some sort of markings!

She had to follow the intersecting road for nearly a mile before she found a sign that identified it as State Highway 30. She raced back toward the narrow lane she'd turned from. Yes! It was a plain wooden marker, but it was a marker, the simple hand-painted letters reflecting in the moonlight. "Daniel, Vandermeer Road. It's off of State Highway 30. And before you ask, I have no idea what state."

 

Jack chuckled. "She's a smartass."

General Hammond ducked his head to smile.

Sam was hurrying toward the computer in the corner of the room. "It might be enough, sirs," she said, typing furiously. She was already requesting information from the latest satellite passes. She'd know which images she'd need soon enough.

 

For the first time she realized that there was a slight dusting of snow on the ground. She shivered from the cold. How could she be here like...this...and be cold? she wondered. Didn't have time to worry about that particular new wrinkle.

The farmhouse was probably five miles from the intersection, information that she passed on to her waiting teammates. She moved around the house, sneaking peeks in through the windows. There was no furniture in the downstairs rooms of the house. A table and four chairs in the kitchen, and it looked as if there were a few basic cooking necessities.

The front porch was deep, and the roof would be easy to walk on, to check the windows of at least two of the upstairs rooms. Maybe...She glanced around. Climbed up on the wooden railing that surrounded the porch. If she could just climb up...would have been nice if somebody had put a trellis or something nearby! She stared grumpily at the edge of the roof. Well, she'd trained for this! She turned to face the roof, gripped it tightly, and tried to pull herself up. Her fingers slipped, she nearly fell. "Damn it!"

Miss Eloise watched, her cheek twitching. She glanced up. "I'm not stupid!" she grumbled. Although she did so want to tell the young woman that she was going about the situation all wrong.

"I need on that damned roof!" she complained irritably. Gasped out loud when she found herself standing on it. She looked over at her Spirit Guide. "You could have told me!" she snapped.

"No, I couldn't have," Miss Eloise replied just as snippily. "I can guide you, not give you the answers."

"That's a damned interesting line of distinction. I suppose if I'd asked..."

"Then I could have told you."

"Hmmph!" She looked into the window. This room was empty. So was the one beside it. But she knew that someone...several someone's were here! She froze, tried to fade into the shadows that played against the clapboard when she heard the soft voices. Watched two men as they wandered around the small shed closest to the house. Guards...those men were guarding something...no...someone! Okay, let's just open the window and take a little look-see.

Carefully, afraid that any noise might alert the guards, not yet understanding that she wasn't even there as far as they were concerned, Casey opened the window and crawled through.

The security lights lit up the room enough to move through it easily. The door was closed. And locked. Well, hell! She paused, frowned slightly, turned to look at the window, and the roof beyond it. Thought about that heavy wooden gate that had closed off that freaky castle...she took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and stepped forward. Well, now, wasn't that interesting! She moved into the hallway. The door to the bathroom was open. It looked as if at least one man was staying here. The third room boasted a cot, and a sleeping body. The fourth room had a bed, a dresser, a table and two chairs, and an overstuffed chair. A man lay in the bed, his arm over his eyes.

She moved closer. Could feel his desperation. He needed...he wanted to talk to someone...not the man...not..."Simmons!" she said out loud. "Daniel, Simmons is involved in this."

 

"Why am I not surprised," Jack muttered.

"I have it!" Sam said excitedly. "Bedford, Pennsylvania. Vandermeer Road is about ten miles east of Bedford."

General Hammond sat back in his chair and grinned. They'd all hoped that Casey's gift would help them. And it most certainly had...she protected every person who walked through the 'gate by making certain that each team had as much information as she could give them, alerting them of any dangers that might be lurking. This...this was just icing on the cake!

 

This man was angry...ashamed...she took another step into the room. Saw his face. Oh, god! "Tem!"

 

Everyone in the briefing room jerked at the sudden cry. Daniel pulled her closer. "You're okay, Angel," he whispered. "He can't hurt you."

Jack and General Hammond exchanged angry glances. Did Simmons have Tem in custody? How in the hell had that happened?

 

She smiled when she heard the soft whisper, the familiar voice reassuring her. "Not here, Stud Muffin. But this man is...was a Board Member. And he's not happy talking to Simmons. He wants...he needs...oh, god! We have to get him out of here!" She could feel the panic rise up as she 'watched' two men; men who had dark, black shadows that clung to them. They were traveling rapidly toward the farmhouse. They would arrive in a matter of hours, and this man...if they didn't get him away from here, he'd be killed where he stood. Or returned to Tem, where he would suffer greatly before he died.

She had the information she...they needed. She turned and ran out of the room. Down the hallway. Into the empty room and out of the window. She jumped to the ground, not even thinking about the fact that she could break her neck...or at least an arm or leg. Raced to the field and the 'point of entry' where she'd arrived when she began the search. And opened her eyes.

 

"Case?" Daniel asked softly.

"It's a big farmhouse with a shed, a barn. and the metal building might have been a garage but I don't know because I didn't check any of the out buildings but there were two guys walking around guarding the place and another guy sleeping in one of the rooms upstairs on a cot I think he was like the caretaker for the prisoner or something because one of Tem's Board Members is there but I don't know why but I do know that two of his Enforcers are on the way to get him and they'll kill him if he resists or take him back to Tem if he doesn't who will just kill him anyway only slowly and we have to help him," Casey said in a rush, not stopping to take a breath.

General Hammond grinned. "I'm impressed."

Casey smiled. "That I was able to find all of that out?"

"That you were able to say all of that in one breath."

Her teammates burst into laughter, the sound filling the room. "How many words did you catch?" Sam asked Jack teasingly.

"Um...four I think...shed, barn, guards, and Tem."

"Okay, from the beginning, Case, slowly this time," Daniel said, still chuckling.

"What, I have to repeat all of that?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

No one missed the fact that the young woman was still nestled securely in her husband's embrace. No one mentioned it, either. After all that the two had endured, a bit of leniency was allowed.

"You say that we need to retrieve this man?" General Hammond asked. He was aware that the others had understood as much as he had. Her enthusiasm, coupled with the potential danger of what she'd done, made their teasing a way to let go of the tension that had filled the room, and their hearts, as they watched and waited; helpless to come to her aid if anything went wrong.

"If we don't he's going to be dead in the next few hours. He wants to talk to someone...he knows something that he's not telling Simmons. I could feel that much," she replied. "I just have no idea what it is he's hiding from the NID."

The general turned his attention to Jack. "How long would it take your team to fly to Bedford, Pennsylvania?"

"It depends on how we fly, sir," was the immediate reply.

"I'll order a Pave Hawk to be standing by. Marine 4 is on duty and will accompany you. Get geared up and ready to go," the general replied. The helicopter would get the teams to Pennsylvania quickly, and would be able to land in the front yard of the farmhouse if need be.

"Yes, sir," Jack replied. "Let's go, campers. Time to earn our pay."

Sam printed out aerial views of the farmhouse, as well as the coordinates, which she'd give to the pilot as soon as they boarded the chopper.

"How long, Radar?" Jack asked as he loaded a P90.

"Just a few hours," she replied. "I'm not sure exactly. Not more than four."

"Oy," the older man groused. If they ran into any bad weather, they'd get there at the same time, or even after Tem's 'Enforcers'.

Packs filled, weapons loaded, extra ammo in belts, vests over Thinsulate coats, the team hurried topside to be taken by van to Peterson, and the waiting helicopter.


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