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The Recalcitrant Lo'taur
Dawn was breaking over the horizon when Mogba led Daniel into the meadow. They'd heard the shouts, and knew that Chaahk and his Jaffa were close behind them.
"There's nothing here,"Daniel said. He had the sinking feeling he'd been set up again. Was about to confront Mogba when he realized the man had stopped walking, and was smiling broadly.
Mogba muttered what sounded like an incantation, and immediately a small scout ship shimmered into existence.
"Huh. You bounty hunters must all shop at the same gizmo warehouse,"Daniel mused, remembering the ship that Aris Boch had hidden. What had that password been? Bark...borrow...baroque... "Barokna!"
The smaller man turned to look at his companion. "What did you say?"
Daniel smiled. "Nothing, Just remembering something. You've never met a bounty hunter by the name of Aris Boch, have you?"
"Never heard of him," Mogba replied.
The smile morphed to a grin. Well, Earth and its inhabitants might not be the center of the universe, but it appeared that a certain bounty hunter wasn't nearly as important as he believed, either!
The clanking of Jaffa armor spurred the two into action. They raced inside the small shuttle. Mogba dropped into the pilot's seat. Keyed in a sequence of commands. The ship shivered, then began to rise swiftly. Although the dampeners would slow their ascent, unless the Goa'uld and his Jaffa were within a few hundred feet of the meadow, they would hear nothing but a slight hum. With the invisibility shield in place, the warriors and their master would see nothing. Only the swaying of the tops of the trees would be a sign of the ship passing...something that could easily be dismissed as nothing more than the wind.
Within minutes the small vessel had moved from the atmosphere to the inky black of space, past a ha'tak that was sitting motionless.
"Did we really make it?"Daniel asked quietly.
"It would seem so. I will jump to hyperdrive as soon as we've cleared this solar system,"Mogba replied.
"Works for me,"Daniel replied. He looked around, and settled in the seat behind his rescuer. A hundred questions filled his mind. As well as the urge to knock the man on his ass. He'd wait until he was certain that Chaahk wasn't in hot pursuit. Then he'd hit the little bastard!
Chaahk stared at the empty meadow. Watching the swaying of the trees. Cloaked ship, he thought angrily. Someone had found him. Had found Daniel Jackson. Had taken the Tau'ri and the bracelet. He'd memorized the symbols. Had drawn them on papyrus. All he need do is locate the other bracelet, and he would have the weapon that the Ancients had hidden. "I will teach the Tau'ri a lesson in humility they will never forget," he hissed. "That is a promise, Daniel Jackson!"
"My Lord, what are your orders?"
The Goa'uld turned to look at the Jaffa who had become his First Prime. The gold of his tattoo shimmered in the early morning light. "Find Udal Sasar. I have another task for him."
The First Prime nodded, then saluted. He walked behind his master as they returned to the abandoned keep where they hid. The attack just days earlier, on the planet where Chaahk had been building his temple and a palace, had been swift and destructive. There was no certainty of which System Lord had perpetrated the act, although it seemed that the planet had once belonged to Lord Morrigan. Until his god could build his army, and his fleet, there would be no retaliation. Serving Chaahk was little better than serving Ares had been. The Jaffa longed to return to the stars of his birth, to see his family once again. Perhaps one day soon he would be able to make the journey home. If Ares had been killed so easily, then surely a 'god' as weak as Chaahk could be killed as well...
A A A A A A
Mogba turned his seat, and looked at his passenger. "I will take you to your home planet."
"Why?" Daniel asked, genuinely curious.
"Because I owe you a debt,"Mogba replied.
"Yeah, you left us high and dry,"Daniel said. "We damned near froze to death on the only planet we could get a lock on with the Stargate...er...Chappa'ai."
"Yet, you did not."
"No, we didn't,"Daniel allowed.
"Because you are blessed,"Mogba continued. "Stories are told of the magic that the Tau'ri known as SG-1 possess. There are Goa'uld who tremble in fear if they believe you are looking for them."
Well, that's a nice ego boost, Daniel thought.
"By taking you home, I erase this debt between us,"Mogba said, motioning with his hand from himself to Daniel and back again. "I will not have to fear death at your hands."
Daniel shook his head. "You never had to fear death at our hands to begin with," he said, his voice soft. "We don't kill those who are victims of the Goa'uld. That would make us no better than them."
Mogba frowned. "How did you know-" He broke off, then nodded. "The seer."
"My Wife is very talented," Daniel said, the pride in his voice and reflecting in his eyes unmistakable. "She's the one who convinced us to help you in the first place. She also said that one day you'd help us again. I guess today is that day."
The bounty hunter grinned. "I guess it is at that."
"I won't deny that I'd like to knock you on your ass," Daniel admitted. He raised a hand when Mogba pulled back, and a look of fear flashed over his face. "I won't, don't worry. I owe you my life for getting me out of there. Without a Chappa'ai, I had no way to escape."
"These bracelets you spoke of...they are valuable?"
"I'm sure the gold is worth something," Daniel allowed. "But the engraving on the bracelets is priceless. It might be a star map."
"If I'm right, a city where the Ancients once lived."
Mogba leaned back in his seat, disappointment radiating from him. "Ruins," he scoffed. "There is never anything of value in ruins!"
"Only if you're not an archaeologist," Daniel chuckled. He saw the look of confusion on the bounty hunter's face. "Uh...archaeologist...I study past civilizations."
"Ah. Scholar," Mogba nodded.
"Then I hope you find much of value in those ruins."
"Thank you,"Daniel smiled.
A beeping noise from the control panel had Mogba turning around.
"Is anything wrong?"Daniel asked nervously.
"No. We are leaving the solar system. I will wait a few more minutes, and then we will jump to hyperdrive."
"Um...how long will it take to reach Earth?"
"Not more than four hours."
He'd been up most of the night, and the day before had been stressful as hell... The past week has been stressful as hell! "I don't mean to be ungracious, but would it be okay if I took a nap?"
Mogba chuckled. "It's okay with me. As soon as I enter the coordinates for your Earth, I plan to get a bit of sleep myself!"
Even though the bounty hunter had saved his life, and even though he didn't believe the map on the bracelets to be worth anything, Daniel wasn't taking any chances. He curled around the hide bag that held his belongings and the two Ancient bracelets. Rested his chin on the top of it. Closed his eyes and promptly fell asleep.
Watching the man for a moment, Mogba marveled at how peaceful...how innocent...Daniel Jackson looked in sleep. The men he knew and traveled with never had such a look of peace. Even in their sleep they fought against the bitter path of their lives. He turned back to the control panel. Opened the file where he kept his own star maps, then keyed in a series of coordinates. He waited until the computer responded with an affirmative code. A touch of his fingers and the bright dots of light that decorated the inky space outside the view port disappeared, replaced by ribbons of blue, and red and white. He leaned his head back against his chair. The Tau'ri were unusual people. He rather liked them, he decided. He closed his eyes, and fell asleep as well.
A A A A A A
Doctor Elizabeth Weir waited anxiously in the large, beautifully decorated parlor that served as a place for guests of the president to bide their time until he could join them, or they were taken to the Oval Office or his private quarters. In her portfolio were copious notes she'd taken, as well as the recommendations she'd come up with after her very enlightening four days at the SGC.
She smiled when she thought about the email she'd received from Casey Jackson. It seemed that all of the 'gizmo experts' of the SGC were busy trying to design an alarm system for the transporter ring, and a way to lock out any unauthorized attempts to access the device. According to the seer, there were numerous bets on how long it would take. Weir chuckled out loud when she recalled the line where the seer had promised to put five into the pot for her.
"Well, you're looking chipper!"
"Mr. President!" Weir rose immediately.
"So, how did you like Colorado?" Hayes asked, a knowing smile on his face.
"I'm sure you've received a report concerning my visit," the negotiator replied.
"Yes, I have. George Hammond thinks you're going to be absolute gold as the head of Homeworld Security."
"He said that?"
"Word for word," Hayes confirmed, grinning broadly.
"The people at the SGC...they're amazing," Weir said.
"Yes, they are," the president replied softly. His expression changed, and he grinned widely. "I'm jealous as hell, ya know."
Blue eyes went wide with surprise. "Jealous?"
"According to George, you were in on a bit of adventure."
She couldn't hold back the snort of disbelief. "I was scared to death. And...they...those people reacted as if it happened every day. General O'Neill was a bit pale when he came flying back into the control room...to let us know that it was 'real'. Then..." Weir shook her head with the awe she still felt. "You could see the determination in their eyes, on their faces."
"I've seen that determination," Hayes nodded. It had been on every face he'd encountered when the clone of Jack O'Neill had disappeared from the mountain fortress.
"As long as those men and women are in the SGC, I think we'll be okay," Weir said quietly.
"I agree," Hayes replied.
"On that very subject..." Weir opened her portfolio. "I have some notes...observations I made during my stay, and some suggestions. Most of them are actually from the men and women who work there," she admitted.
"Really? I'd say your little trip to our secret hideout was well worth the time."
"I still have about three years of mission reports to read," Weir confessed.
"I have no doubt that you'll have them read in no time," Hayes replied. "Let's go into my office, shall we?"
Weir followed the president into the Oval Office. Sat down on the sofa opposite of the one he chose. "One of the things that came up in several conversations was routine relocations of the military personnel."
"I won't pretend to ever understand the bonds that are created between people who work together, particularly under the conditions that those people work under," Weir said. "But one of the...complaints...I suppose you'd call it, is that a team works together, coalesces into a unit...and then one or more members of that team are rotated out due to enlistment orders."
"Okay, with you so far."
"General O'Neill made a comment, and I find I totally agree with him. Only the best of the best can work at the SGC, not just because they're on the front lines of a war the public isn't even aware of, but because they have the 'edge' needed to walk through that Stargate. To face the enemy out there...in space. On other planets. He said of all the recruits sent there, only a handful have that...edge."
"I agree with his assessment," Hayes nodded.
"Rather than reassign those who have the qualities needed to work at the SGC, and rather than endanger teams as they learn to work with new personnel, it's been suggested that an assignment to the SGC be permanent, as long as the military member is enlisted in the armed forces," Weir said.
"That could create waves among a few of the generals and admirals in the Pentagon."
"Sir, after what I witnessed, I think you're not only putting those people at risk each time an assignment is changed, but as a result, you're putting the entire planet at risk."
Hayes grinned once again. "You're quite the convert, aren't you?"
Weir blushed slightly. "I suppose I am."
The president sat forward, resting his forearms on his knees. "To be perfectly honest, Elizabeth, your suggestion makes a lot of sense. The problem lies within the military itself. Rotating people to fill billets is part and parcel of military life."
"Right...I understand that each...um...'rate'," Weir said, checking her notes, "indicates the training and position of the personnel."
"So change their rates. Or add something to their particular post that makes them solely qualified to be there. And to remain there."
"I don't know that we can do that."
"Mr. President, I don't think you have a choice, not if you really want to see us remain on our feet in this war. The Goa'uld possess technology that we can't even begin to replicate yet. And in terms of the number of war machines and...personnel...they out number us too many to one, as General O'Neill said."
Hayes frowned slightly. "Let me talk to General Maynard and General Vidrine about this. If there's a way to do this, I'm sure they'll find it."
"The sooner the better, sir," Weir nodded. "Now, about the G-8 members, and the Stargate Alliance."
"Suggestions?" Hayes asked.
"Every report I've read, and the communiqués I've received, indicated that not one of those countries is prepared, nor willing, to actually support the Stargate Program financially or with personnel. I suggest that until they're fully vested partners in this program, that we tell them only what they need to know."
"Elizabeth, I hope you're not suggesting that we lie to them!" Hayes exclaimed, his eyes twinkling with mirth.
"Of course, not, sir," Weir smiled. "However, there's no reason for them to receive monthly reports that go into detail about the missions undertaken. A simple summary of the missions would be sufficient."
"And when they complain about the lack of details?"
"The Stargate Program is solely owned, operated, and supported, by the United States. Any missions taken by US military personnel are classified," Weir replied immediately. "And when they complain about that, we tell them that until they're as fully vested in the program as we are, they have no grounds for protesting any omissions."
"That's not going to make those gentlemen happy," Hayes warned.
"Tell them that we'll share our classified information only if they're willing to do the same. The SGC is a military base, and operates under military rule and law. If they want to give us full reports on what their bases are doing, then we'll follow suit."
"You draft the letter, and I'll sign it," Hayes promised. "Anything else?"
"In the event of an emergency, if something...unthinkable should happen, the men and women of the SGC want to know that their families will be allowed to go through the Stargate to safety. Before any politicians," Weir said. "Those people are making the sacrifices. I don't believe the request is unreasonable."
"Neither do I. I'll let you work that out with George," Hayes nodded.
"I believe that's it, Mr. President," Weir said, checking her notes.
"You're going to do a great job, Elizabeth. This is proof of that," Hayes said quietly.
"Thank you for your confidence, sir," Weir replied.
"You get everything typed up, I'll sign what needs to be signed. And I'll get back to you about that rotation thing as soon as I can," Hayes said, rising to his feet. He offered his hand.
"That will be fine, sir," Weir said, standing as well. She shook the president's outstretched hand.
"Thanks for the report."
"You're welcome, sir." She started to walk toward the door, then stopped, and turned around. "When you came back, did you feel...different?"
"About a great many things," Hayes replied.
"I don't think it's possible to go there, to see what those people do, to know about...about...everything...and not be changed," she said softly.
"I don't think so either."
"Too bad we can't take more people down there. Attitudes would change in a hurry."
Hayes smiled. "No doubt."
"Someday...someday we'll have to tell the public."
"I know. But not today."
Weir nodded. "No, not today. Not even tomorrow. But someday."
Hayes watched the blonde leave the room. He was more certain than ever that the first steps needed to be taken. He'd discuss his idea with Frances. The general was always a good judge of whether an idea would work or not.
A A A A A A
Casey was doing her best to focus on the information written on the sheet of paper in front of her. She had hoped to get at least one full entry into the database. But her concentration was shot to hell, waiting for the klaxons to begin screaming...to alert her to Daniel's return. With a sigh of resignation, she grabbed her coffee mug, and filled it with the last of the pot she'd just made. A pot of Sumatra Mandheling, to be exact. It might have been silly, but making Daniel's favorite coffee made him feel closer, somehow. Besides, when he did get back, he'd be dying for a cup of good coffee.
She wandered from Daniel's office...he always referred to it as 'their office', but everyone in the SGC had long ago tagged it 'Daniel Jackson's office'. Or 'Doc's room'. That thought brought a smile to her face. She stood just outside the door to the tiny office where Jonas worked. He wasn't there...probably off with SG-12. No doubt on their daily PT. Another sigh. Talking with Jonas would certainly have helped her to at least pass the time as she waited.
The commons room was empty as well, although someone had left the small television on. She watched CNN for a few minutes, determined that apparently nothing had changed in the world, then turned it off.
"Casey? Is something wrong?"
She turned around, and smiled at the look of concern on Doctor Beth Meyer's face. "Just getting antsy, I guess. Daniel should be home soon. I thought yesterday or today. Might be tomorrow."
Beth smiled. "Well, if you saw it, then I'm sure he'll be home today."
"Thanks." She studied the older archaeologist for a minute. "How did everyone handle the emergency yesterday? I should have come up here to check, but I guess I got caught up with other things."
"You're the wife of the head of the department, not the head," Beth replied, smiling again. "Which means you're not responsible for checking on our welfare."
"I'm part of this department, so I should at least behave like it," Casey responded.
Beth's smile turned to a grin. "You're just as stubborn as Daniel."
"So I've been told," Casey grinned in return.
"Must make arguments between the two of you quite interesting," Beth teased.
"You have no idea!"
The older woman chuckled. "Well, in answer to your question - according to Cam, we did fine. To be honest, I was terrified. I'm not sure about the others, they all seemed so...calm. Like it happened every day. Jonas and Cam had us armed and in position just minutes after General Hammond's warning," she reported.
"Good. We were lucky this time, we were fast enough to confine them to one level, and the stairwell. That might not happen the next time," Casey said.
"I spoke to Major Ferretti about additional weapons training. I want to be certain I can hit what I aim at!" Beth paused, then shook her head. "I've never liked weapons. In fact, I've always been a strong advocate for gun control. Now..."
"Now you're in the middle of an actual shooting war. That changes things drastically," Casey said gently.
"It certainly does. The only thing that kept me from running screaming down the corridors was the fact that General Hammond sounded so calm. His voice just-" She broke off, her cheeks turning crimson.
Casey took a sip of her coffee to hide her smile. Well, well, well. General Hammond has an admirer! She took another look at the woman. She didn't think Beth was quite as old as the general. Mid-to-late fifties maybe. The woman was attractive...she was a bit on the plump side...Casey almost giggled thinking about the stout general. Beth's brown eyes could fill with warmth and kindness, or harden with determination. She was one hell of an archaeologist. And a damned good administrator as well. If Beth was attracted to the general... What she needed to determine was whether or not that attraction might be reciprocated. The 4th of July holiday was approaching. She'd have to make certain that both General Hammond and Beth received...and accepted...invitations to their party. And then she'd sit back and see what happened. "The general does have a way of instilling confidence, doesn't he?"
She turned her head slightly, her cheeks still far too warm for her peace of mind. "Isn't Daniel's latest..." Beth paused, obviously searching for the correct word.
"Adventure?" Casey offered, her green eyes twinkling at the obvious change in subject.
"Okay, adventure," Beth chuckled. "It has to do with Ancient technology?"
The young seer nodded. "There are two bracelets. Each one is one half of some sort of map."
"I see. I wonder if I should get together a list of all pertinent information we have available regarding the Ancients? Most of the artifacts have at least been catalogued," Beth said.
"That's a great idea. Not sure what he might need," Casey agreed.
"I'll get right on it." Beth started to head back toward the large room she shared with the other archaeologists and anthropologists in the department. "He'll be home soon," she said, reaching out to pat Casey's shoulder.
"It's just the waiting," Casey sighed.
"I know." Beth smiled, then hurried on her way.
Aware that it would do no good to try to work on anything, Casey decided to head for the gym. Maybe she could work off a bit of frustration there. She deposited her mug on her desk, then headed for the elevator.
A A A A A A
The sound of an alarm broke through the fog of sleep. His first reaction was to reach out to shut the annoying noise off. When his hand hit a solid surface, one that wasn't supposed to be there, Daniel opened his eyes. He sat up, groaning silently at the painful kink in his neck. A quick glance around...the events of the previous days crashed through his mind. He was, at that moment, sitting on a scout ship owned by the bounty hunter Tieel Mogba. Who just happened to be the man responsible for kidnapping Casey from a Viking village and handing her over to Ba'al. And then striking a deal with SG-1 - before handing them over to Ba'al, and then abandoning them to their fate. He was also the man who had just rescued him from the clutches of the System Lord Chaahk. On a planet that had no Stargate.
"Good, you are awake,"Mogba said. "Look, Jackson."
Daniel's eyes followed the pointing finger. A smile broke out, making his blue eyes light up with joy. Looming in front of them, in all its beauty, was the planet Earth. "I'm home!"
"Yes, you are," Mogba replied.
"I don't know how to thank you,"Daniel said, his voice full of sincerity.
"No thanks are necessary,"Mogba insisted. "What I have done is only a small part of what I have owed you...for the grief, and the misfortune...my previous actions have caused you."
"When Goa'uld are involved, a man doesn't always have a lot of choices,"Daniel said quietly.
"No, he does not,"Mogba agreed. "Even fewer when his mate and children are at risk from those Goa'uld."
He nodded, examining the face of the trader. The man had lived a hard life; his scars and the lines on his face were evidence of that. "I hate the Goa'uld," he said.
"As do I."
"Then join us. Work with us to defeat them,"Daniel suggested.
"And how would I do this? I am not a brave man, Jackson. I would not eagerly enter into battle against a stronger enemy."
Daniel smiled. "You're a bounty hunter. And you're able to hear things...to learn things that might be useful to us. Information about the Goa'uld, or those who work for or with them."
Mogba smiled in return. "I do have my ways of learning many things."
"That skill could be an advantage for us."
"And what would this advantage be worth to you? A man must eat," Mogba said, grinning slyly.
"I'm sure my superiors could find some way of compensating you for any help,"Daniel replied. He moved his arm, and felt the restriction of the gold band around his bicep. Pulled both bands from his arms. A hand to his throat confirmed that the slave collar was still in place as well. He fumbled for a moment, found the clasp, and released it. He handed the items to the bounty hunter. "Consider these a down payment."
Mogba accepted the gold trinkets, then opened his bag and took out a Goa'uld communication orb. "I have modified this just slightly. It is more...secure...than it was. I will program in the necessary information, and it will contact me, and me alone," he offered.
"That would be acceptable,"Daniel nodded. He watched as the bounty hunter took a small panel off the orb. Wasn't at all sure what the man had done to it. But the orb glowed for a moment, then went dark again. He accepted it when Mogba handed the device to him.
"Now, my friend Jackson, tell me how I am to get you into your fortress."
The smile turned to a frown. "Wow. I just realized I have no idea what frequency to use to contact the SGC."
"The we perhaps have a problem."
"Maybe," Daniel nodded.
At that moment a voice came from the control panel. "This is the Earth ship Prometheus to unidentified ship. Who are you, and what do you want?"
Daniel grinned from ear to ear. "Problem solved."
Mogba stared at the console for a moment, then looked at his passenger. "I would say you are a man blessed by the gods, my friend."
"I wouldn't argue," Daniel admitted. "Is there a way to respond to them?"
"Of course. I will let you speak to your people." Mogba touched the control panel. "Talk, Jackson," he whispered.
"Colonel Ronson? This is Daniel Jackson. I'm with Tieel Mogba. He just rescued me from Chaahk's compound."
There was a pause. "Doctor Jackson? Mrs. J said you'd be back any day now," Ronson's voice replied. "That ship is small enough, just have your friend head into the aft docking port."
"Will do." Daniel relayed the instructions.
"I am not going to find myself a prisoner on your ship, am I?"Mogba asked dryly.
He wouldn't say it wasn't tempting. After all, SG-1 had found themselves prisoners when they'd ringed to Mogba's large ship...when they were all supposed to be operating under an agreed upon truce. He shook his head. "No, you won't. I give my word."
"Your word is good enough for me," Mogba replied.
The response was surprising. Especially considering the history between them. It left Daniel humbled. And more certain than ever that Casey had been right in her assessment of the bounty hunter.
When the hatch of the small scout ship opened, a squad of armed Marines were standing by.
"It's okay, fellas, he's a friend," Daniel said, as soon as his boots hit the metal grating of the hanger bay. To a man, the weapons were lowered.
Mogba stepped out cautiously behind him.
Colonel Ronson stepped forward, raised an eyebrow at the archaeologist's appearance, then shook Daniel's hand. "It's good to see you, Doctor."
"It's good to be here," Daniel replied. "Colonel, this is my friend, Tieel Mogba. Tieel Mogba, the commander of the Prometheus, Colonel Ronson." My friend. I just introduced this slimy little bastard as my friend. He shook his head mentally at the incongruity of the situation. He's your friend, because he's proven himself worthy of friendship, his brain pointed out.
"Tieel Mogba, we owe you a debt of gratitude for getting Doctor Jackson home to us,"Colonel Ronson said, offering his hand to the smaller man.
Daniel nodded approvingly. It seemed that the crews of both ships had learned the Goa'uld language...Galactic Standard Language, his brain insisted...quite well.
Mogba warily shook the colonel's hand. "It was my pleasure." He looked around. The Tau'ri weren't as helpless as the Goa'uld continued to believe. And in spite of the welcome, he felt out of place among these warriors. He could sense Daniel's eagerness to return to his home. Felt a rush of homesickness himself. He longed to see the face of the woman he loved. "Now that Jackson is safe, I'll be on my way."
"Wait...don't you want to stay for awhile...have a hot meal, rest?" Daniel offered.
The smile on the trader's face was full of warmth. "I much appreciate the offer, Jackson. However, it's been some time since I've seen my family. I'd like to make certain they're well."
Daniel nodded. If Mogba had been hiding from the SG teams, no doubt he'd been on the run for months. "I understand. You're welcome here, any time." He held up the orb. "And don't be surprised if we call."
"I'll be looking forward to it," Mogba replied. He gave a nod to Colonel Ronson, then started back into the scout ship. He stopped at the hatch. "Would you please tell your wife that I'm sorry? For what happened in the past?"
"I will. I think she forgave you long ago," Daniel smiled.
"She's quite a woman,"Mogba said.
"Yes, she is."
Waving with his good hand, the bounty hunter disappeared into his ship. As soon as the personnel were safe in the hanger bay control room, the bay doors were opened, and the small scout ship rose...hovered for a moment, and then slowly moved away from the larger ship. Within seconds it had disappeared from sight.
"He seemed eager to get away," Ronson mused.
"He's been in hiding ever since he handed us over to Ba'al, and then deserted us," Daniel explained.
"From SG-1," Daniel chuckled.
Ronson chuckled as well. "I can understand why. I'll contact the SGC. They'll have to unlock the transporter rings before I can send you down."
The chuckles grew louder. "I'll let Mrs. Jackson give you the details. If I keep you up here any longer than necessary, I'll be going into hiding."
Daniel chuckled as well. "Yeah, no doubt."
A A A A A A
Klaxons began to wail. Red emergency strobes decorated the corridors with dancing ribbons of crimson light.
"Transporter ring activation. Prometheus ID code confirmed."
Casey slid her ID pass through the reader again. When the doors failed to open, she dashed for the stairwell. Shuddered slightly when she thought about the fact that it had been filled with enemy Jaffa...if only for a short time.
Taking her chances on level twenty, she tried again for the elevator. The doors slid open, revealing Jack, who was leaning against the back of the car; coming from wherever he had been. Probably hiding in one of the storage rooms to get out of paperwork, she thought with amusement.
"Danny?" Jack asked.
"I hope so."
She didn't wait for the elevator doors to open completely on level twenty-four before she was racing down the corridor. She nearly ran over Sam, who was coming from the stairwell.
Daniel was standing in the 'ring room', arms parallel to the floor...as he'd been instructed to do, being scanned by the technician on duty. Two Marines were directly in front of him, their P90s aimed at him
"Daniel!" Pushing one of the Marines out of the way, Casey leapt into the arms of her Husband.
He barely had time to brace himself before his arms were full of his Wife. Her arms were around his neck, holding tightly. He wrapped his around her, one arm around her shoulders, the other around her slender waist. Pulled her closer still.
"It's him," the tech reported, putting the medical scanner back in its protective case.
"What's all this?" Daniel asked Jack, nodding at the armed guards - who were lowering their weapons and stepping back - and the closed black case.
"Had a little trouble while you were gone," Jack replied. "Kali thought she'd just stroll in here and take you back."
He couldn't say anything else, Casey's lips had claimed his, and he was kissing her back with as much enthusiasm as she was showing.
Only his kiss could convince her that he was home. The feel of his arms around her, like steel bands holding her against his strong, warm body. His bare shoulders beneath her arms... Wait...bare shoulders?
He couldn't help but grin when she slowly tempered the kiss. The slight frown on her face when she took a step back and looked him up and down. "Hi, Angel."
"Hi, Stud Muffin. Leather pants?"
"Better than what Kali had me in," he groused.
Green eyes glazed with lust for a moment as she envisioned her husband wearing only a silk kilt. She licked her lips. "Uh huh."
"So, what happened?" He motioned toward the rings.
"Kali showed up," Casey replied.
"Yeah, Jack said that."
Jack and Sam, who had been joined by Teal'c, were leaning against the wall, matching ear-to-ear grins on their faces.
"When you were taken by the guy Goa'uld-"
"Chaahk. It was actually one of Chaahk's spies who grabbed me. He helped me out, as a matter of fact. Got all my stuff for me," Daniel interrupted.
"Uh huh. Well, Kali didn't take your disappearance well. Showed up here in her cloaked ha'tak, madder than hell and crazier than shit, thinking she was going to make you her consort," Casey continued.
Daniel looked over his Wife's blonde head. "Is she still alive?"
Jack laughed out loud. "Only because we couldn't risk opening the doors on level twenty-four to let Radar in."
He grinned. "Okay, Angel, go on."
"We trapped the Jaffa in the stairwell, I got to piss her off a bit...and then she ran like the crazy bitch that she is."
"We'd never even considered the security risk of the transporter ring," Sam said. "So in a way, it was a good thing she did arrive that way."
"How'd you manage to trap them so quickly?" Daniel asked.
Casey, Sam, and Teal'c began to chuckle.
"Uh...I'd arranged for a 'training day'."
"We had a visitor while you were gone. Doctor Elizabeth Weir," Sam explained. "She's the new head of Homeland Security."
"She didn't have a clue about the real world when she got here," Jack added.
"Well, she does now," Casey giggled. "And she's going to be one of our most important supporters."
"That's good to know." Daniel looked around. "Is there any way I could grab a shower and something to eat? I'm starving."
"Come on, Danny. I'll fill you in on the details. Radar, go let General Hammond know our archaeologist is home."
Casey snapped off a salute. "Right." She leaned up to kiss Daniel's chin. "Twenty minutes, in the commissary."
"I'll be there," he said softly, kissing her again.
"Let's go, Lover Boy," Jack grinned.
Casey wrapped her arms around Sam's and Teal'c's waists. "So, we tell General Hammond that Daniel is home, and then eat."
"Think you can do more than just push your food around on the plate this time?" Sam teased gently.
"I think so. I'm really hungry!"
"No doubt," Teal'c said. "You have eaten little since Daniel Jackson was taken."
"And that's something we don't have to tell him. Okay?" Casey looked up at her best friend. "Okay?"
Teal'c smiled. "I doubt it would be a surprise to him to learn of your inability to eat during his absence."
"So there's absolutely no need to bring the subject up. Got it?"
The Jaffa chuckled at the fire that filled his friend's green eyes. "Got it."
Sam chuckled as well. "I wonder if he got those bracelets."
Casey shook her head, dashed back into the transporter ring room, and grabbed the bag Daniel had dropped. She opened it, sorting through the contents. "Yes! They're here!"
"Come on. Daniel will be waiting if we don't hurry up," Sam smiled.
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