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I Was Lost, But Now I'm Found
Ensconced in the sitting room, bowls of fruit and plates of sandwiches, as well as pitchers of tea and fruit juice sitting in the middle of the table, Daniel explained what he'd found. "There's a reference to Tem's hidden temple. And it gave coordinates."
"Can you map it?" Jack asked Sam.
"I should be able to," she replied. Within minutes her laptop was showing the exact location, and the program she had running even gave directions on how to arrive there from the hotel. After a few more minutes, entering data pertaining to the dig which unearthed the Stargate, as well as the coordinates for the temple where Osiris had hidden a ship, Daniel and Sam announced that Tem's ship was on the far side of the 'forbidden zone'. Just as Osiris' had been.
"I know it's hot," Jack said, "but Tem is probably already here. We have to beat him to that ship."
"What are we going to do with it, once we find it?" Casey asked.
"Blow it up. I'd rather keep it, but we risk exposing everything if we try to fly it away from here," the older man replied.
"If it has cloaking capabilities, it would not be noticed," Teal'c said in his usual quiet, Jaffa manner.
"We know Tem had at least one cloaking device," Sam added.
"It's likely that all of his ships were so equipped," Daniel added.
"We must allow Tem to conduct repairs before we attempt to take it from him," Teal'c said.
"If we're here for an excavation, we'd be expected to set up a camp," Daniel pointed out. "We don't need much, I'm certain we can rent what we need." He glanced at his watch. "Most of the guides are already gone for the day. I'll go down first thing in the morning and make arrangements for a guide at least."
Jack nodded. "Good. I want to be out there and digging as soon as possible. We'll set up as close as we can, without being right on top of it. Tem won't give a shit that we're there, he'll just take his ship and leave."
"So how do we make sure we're on board?" Casey asked.
"Well, we'll figure that out on the way."
A A A A A A
Tem went straight from the temple into the desert. Once the repairs were completed, he'd be free to come and go as he wished. He'd been marooned on the First World for ten thousand years. The sarcophagus that SG-1 had wondered about, worried about, had kept him healthy. He took new hosts as he felt the need, which was more often since the advent of the information age. It wouldn't do to have someone from the recent past recognize him. It was quite easy to find hosts in the clubs that he frequented. Disposing of the 'used' body had never been a problem, for he still had his zat'nik'tel.
He'd been stranded a world away from his home for several thousand years, and it had taken time to...establish himself...to build the empire that allowed him to travel at will. At first he'd been furious, plotting his revenge on Ra, but eventually his survival became a game. When he'd learned of the rebellion of the slaves, he understood that his identity as a Goa'uld must be hidden if he were to survive. He was a god. But he was not foolish enough to believe he could survive the wrath of the now free slaves. Not even on a continent that was isolated from the 'known world' when the Goa'uld fled. He spent the years studying his prey, learned about the people he'd one day enslave. Which, he was certain, would make it all the easier to enslave them. His arrogance was natural of Goa'uld, ingrained in them from their inception. He failed to see how independent the Tau'ri were, how much they valued freedom. Failed to recognize that his attempt to subjugate them would only serve to unite them in a way that could only be imagined by those who dreamed of world peace.
His departure from the land of the Pharaohs had been quick, done in secret in the middle of the night. He'd barely had time to leave the coordinates for the location of his hidden ship, a small message to himself in a small, insignificant temple; just in case his battle with Ra did not go as well as he hoped. He hadn't set foot in Egypt after fleeing Ra until 1931. He'd searched for three years, and was never able to locate the Chappa'ai. Now he didn't need it. And if his message had been received, and he was certain that it had been by now, his ships would be in orbit above this planet very soon.
A recent sandstorm had unburied part of the ship. He paced around it, his heart hammering against his ribs. Had one of these damned Tau'ri stumbled across it...he pushed the thought from his mind. They hadn't, he now had the ability to repair it, and that was all that mattered. He'd taught two of his most trusted 'board members' all that he could about crystal circuitry. They helped him to install the new, undamaged crystals. The soft hum of the engines filled the air.
"Do you wish to leave now, Master?" one of the men asked.
Tem wandered to the pel'tak. Sat down on his throne, caressed the gold and jewel-inlayed arms. So long...so very long! He was free! He could leave...images of Charles flashed through his mind. One more night...perhaps he'd ask the man to join him..."There are things that must be taken care of. We will leave tomorrow."
When the men returned to the jeep, Tem surveyed the area. They hadn't been able to actually see the ship until they were near it...to leave men here now would only bring unwanted attention to the area. There were only Bedouins in the desert anyway, and none of them would know what they were looking at. And he'd made arrangements to meet Charles again. That thought brought a shiver of lust. The ship had been safe here for millennia. It would be safe one more night.
A A A A A A
Casey sat up, her heart pounding. "We have to go...now!"
Daniel rubbed his eyes. "Go? Where?"
"To that ship. If we don't go now, he'll get away," she replied.
With a groan, he grabbed his glasses. Pulled his sweats on. "Get packed, Angel. If we're lucky, we'll be flying a ship back to Nevada." He stumbled out of the room to wake his teammates.
The hotel clerk was surprised when the group decided to check out in the middle of the night. Daniel was able to convince him that a cellphone call from a member of his wife's family had alerted them to an emergency. Jack complained that the van wasn't working properly, and that a couple of jeeps would be just fine. Within an hour they were heading into the desert. Sam had programmed her GPS unit so that they could 'follow' it to the coordinates where they believed Tem's ship was buried.
As soon as they turned off the paved road, the jeeps traveled side by side. The vehicles jumped and lurched over the sand, causing the beams of the headlights to dance and jerk, lighting up the desert in bits and pieces. It took them two hours to locate the exact coordinates. There was no need to double check, most of the ship was visible in the silvery moonlight.
"Well, we got lucky," Jack whispered. "He hasn't left yet."
"I do not see vehicles nearby," Teal'c said.
"Could he be on that thing?" the older man asked.
"It is possible," the Jaffa replied.
The lights of the jeeps were turned off, the team hoping that if anyone was on board the al'kesh that was resting in the sand, their approach hadn't been noticed. Moving like shadows across the dunes, Teal'c led the team closer to the imposing hulk of the ship.
The control for the entry hatch was located, and again the five people moved like shadows, slipping into the dimly lit corridor, then seeking shelter behind the massive support beams. Sam put her hand against the wall.
"Something is on, I can feel the vibration," she informed her teammates.
"Then the repairs have been made," Teal'c surmised.
"Casey, you saw that cloaking device in your...um...dream...vision thingy...right?" Jack asked softly.
"Okay, I want you to go with Carter and Teal'c to the engine room. See if it's there. Daniel, let's you and I go take a look around on the bridge," the colonel said.
With nods of acknowledgement, the team began to move. Daniel placed a hasty kiss on Casey's forehead before following his best friend and CO down the corridor. Teal'c led the two women toward the elevator. All of them were carrying the 9mm Beretta's that had been packed in special containers, left there until they'd checked into the hotel. Fingers caressed them nervously. There was hope that they wouldn't need the weapons. There was the sense that P90s would feel just right in their hands at the moment.
"I do not believe there is anyone on board this ship," Teal'c said quietly, as they moved through the silent ship.
"There doesn't seem to be. We know that Tem doesn't have any Jaffa...at least none here on Earth," Sam replied.
"It...feels...empty - completely empty," Casey said.
Level by level, hurrying through the corridors, hearts pounding, eyes moving constantly in order to detect the slightest movement, the three finally arrived at the engine room. Lights flickered on automatically as they stepped inside. It was both welcomed and worrisome. If there was someone on board, the light would certainly give away the presence of the intruders.
Sam began a careful check of the crystals, noted that those taken from Area 51 were slightly smaller, and were easily distinguished from the others around them. If they had to blow the ship up, she'd at least take those crystals back with her.
Casey pulled her lip between her teeth. When she'd 'seen' Ra's Jaffa taking the cloaking device, they'd taken it from the center console. She examined that particular piece of machinery carefully. Saw nothing that resembled the device. "It's not here," she whispered.
"What does it look like?" Sam asked.
"Like a crystal, only it was at least ten inches around. And about this tall," the young woman replied, holding her hands two feet apart.
After a careful examination of the room, the three agreed the cloaking device was not there. Without it, taking the ship was just not possible. Sam took the crystals that had been stolen from Area 51 and carefully wrapped them in two towels taken from the hotel. For which she'd left money and a note. Jack had rolled his eyes, telling her that no doubt the hotel was more than accustomed to having one or two linen items disappearing. But her honesty prevented her from just taking them...stealing them. Protected in the thick, fluffy cotton, she stuffed the crystals into her pack.
"We must disable the energy couplings," Teal'c whispered.
"Why?" Casey asked.
"Because it will...neutralize...the naquadah. It will still be damned explosive, but not radioactive," Sam explained. "It's like taking the components of an atom bomb apart, it prevents them from interacting with each other."
Nodding her understanding, she kept watch at the door while her two friends worked quickly and quietly. The soft hum of the engine that she'd perceived as soon as they were with walking distance of the ship faded away.
Emergency lights began to glow, but they were dim, and Sam admitted she didn't know how long they would remain powered. The flash of light at the end of the corridor they traveled sent them into hiding.
"Carter?" Jack's voice called softly.
"Here, sir," she said, stepping out from behind the pillar.
"What the hell happened?"
"No cloaking device. So I took back our crystals, and Teal'c and I disabled the power couplings."
"No radiation when we blow this thing," she replied.
"Got it. Okay, kids, we brought the C-4. Let's do it."
Like the special box the weapons had been stored in, one suitcase had been shielded, and was full of C-4 bricks. Sam opened her pack and pulled out the detonators.
"Best way to destroy this thing?" Jack asked, looking from Sam to Teal'c and back again.
"The naquadah will be enough to blow it completely apart. If we set the charges in the right way, we can force the explosion to basically rebury the ship," Sam said.
"How long to figure that out?"
She pulled her laptop from its carrying case. "Fifteen, maybe twenty minutes."
Daniel tugged Casey close to his side as they waited for Sam to make the calculations that were needed. He smiled when he felt her hand work its way into his hip pocket. Returned the favor, caressing her firm ass in the semi-darkness before slipping his fingers into the pocket.
"Got it," Sam whispered. She turned the laptop so that her teammates could see it. "We need to concentrate the most explosives here, here and here," she said, pointing to the schematic of the ship.
After making certain that they knew exactly where to place the bricks, the timers were all set for thirty minutes, and pushed into the explosives. After warning his 'kids' that they needed to be out of the ship in no less than ten minutes, team split up once again. Casey and Daniel raced to the level assigned to them, carefully placed the charges where Sam had told them the explosives needed to be. Finished, they ran down the corridors toward the elevator.
"It's not working!" Casey hissed, when the doors refused to open.
"Access shafts. Come on," Daniel replied, grabbing her by the hand. Two turns later they found one, and began to climb down to the level that would lead them to the entry hatch, and the safety of desert sands. "Move it, babe," he said, hurrying her along.
Fifteen minutes later they joined their waiting, and worried, friends. "You're late," Jack grumped.
"No elevator," Daniel replied simply.
"Let's go!" Jack ordered. The engines of the jeeps roared to life, and the colonel and the archaeologist careened over the dunes, trying to put as much distance as possible between them and the ship that was rigged to blow.
The explosion rumbled through the air, shook the ground. They stopped to look back, watched the fires that were burning, and were then snuffed out as the sand that had been hurled into the air settled back down on top of what was left of the ship. Jack flipped open his cell phone. Made a brief call. A 'clean up crew' would be in the area within a matter of hours. Anything left of the ship would be crated up, and sent to Area 51. And the Pentagon would have a ready excuse for the exercise. One that would leave the Egyptian government no choice but to allow the procedure to occur. And none the wiser about what had really happened.
"Now what?" Sam asked. "Do we wait for Tem to show?"
Casey cocked her head sideways. "We can't take him on...not here."
Jack nodded. "I agree with Casey. No doubt Tem has...friends...in the local government. A face-off here could get ugly."
The young seer shook her head. "We have to let him proceed."
"With what, and why?" Daniel asked.
Slender shoulders moved up and down. "I don't know. I only see him...leaving...and we follow," she admitted.
Jack frowned. It hadn't taken him long to learn that Casey's 'feelings' were never wrong. Sometimes damned inconvenient. Or annoying. But never wrong. He sighed. "Okay, we go home."
The sun was peeking over the horizon as the team turned back onto the highway. They'd head straight for the airport.
A A A A A A
Tem watched Charles walk away. He'd spent a rapturous night in the man's arms, his body responding again and again to the masterful touches. He sighed. It was probably better this way. He didn't dare allow an...outsider...to know about his plans now. There was too much risk in doing so, and breaking Charles wasn't something he'd want to do. He glanced at Kinsey. The man was still asleep, having obeyed every command, joining into the... festivities...with such fervor that he'd made two pairs of eyes roll several times. Soon. Soon the man would take his place at his Master's side. And in his Master's bed.
The Goa'uld sighed. Pulled himself to his full height. It was time to go. Time to meet up with his fleet, and conquer this planet, take his rightful place as the god of the First World. He gave instructions to the board members who waited patiently. They'd been feverishly working through the night, making certain that no detail had been overlooked. Pyxis Enterprises would continue to operate as always, and the 'special' departments reported that all manufacturing orders would be delivered on time. "Let us leave. Our time has arrived," he announced calmly. His heart was racing. His pulse pounding in his veins. At last. At long last. Soon, Ra, he thought grimly, soon you will pay for abandoning me. Soon you will bow before me!
The sedan was waiting at a red light. One of the passengers was signing documents to initialize last minute procedures, and didn't notice when two jeeps turned onto the avenue in front of it. He'd have recognized the occupants had he been looking.
Kinsey watched the vehicles. Two men and a woman in the first jeep. A man and a woman in the second jeep. Somewhere in the back of his brain recognition flared. But could find no outlet to his conscious mind. So he watched them, until they were out of sight. And said nothing.
A A A A A A
Jack took care of changing the tickets, made certain that they had seats for flights that would take them all the way to Colorado Springs. That magical SG-1 luck was with them, they were able to board a flight bound for New York forty minutes after arriving at the airport.
Exhausted, they were asleep in their seats before the plane even took off. The flight attendants tucked blankets around them, eased pillows behind their heads.
One of the businessmen in first class checked his email. Followed the instructions carefully with his response. He checked his watch. He'd arrive in Washington, DC in plenty of time for his meeting. He closed his eyes. Some things a man never forgot. And never forgave. And when the time was right, retribution was his. It had been a long twenty years. He'd endured much. But his time had finally arrived.
A A A A A A
Tem stared at the sand dune. Gone! The ship was...gone! His attention was pulled to the sky by the sound of helicopters. He watched as they landed near the place where his ship had once sat. Instinct honed over centuries kicked in. No doubt the men in those helicopters had seen the black jeep sitting in the middle of the desert floor. But they had no idea who he was. "Take me back to Cairo!" he hissed. He had no idea who had betrayed him. But as soon as he discovered who the traitor was, he'd exact his revenge!
"I haven't lost yet!" he hissed angrily. "I will still rule this planet! I am a god! I am Tem!"
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