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 The Recalcitrant Lo'taur

 

Chapter 9

Tieel Mogba approached the planet slowly, scanning carefully for any Goa'uld vessels. It seemed that Chaahk still had only one ha'tak. There were two tel'tak that were reportedly owned by the Goa'uld who strove to once again be a System Lord. But for the moment, those and a half dozen gliders were the extent of his fleet. The ha'tak was really the only threat to his own small scout ship. Unless the Goa'uld mothership was able to scan through his shields, however, that threat was relatively small.

Rather than ring down to the planet...which could be noticed by the ha'tak that loomed like a giant pyramid above the deserted outpost that Chaahk had claimed as his own, Mogba opted to land. It would certainly make his escape much easier. He circled the stone castle, and its walled village, still invisible to the naked eye and any but the most advanced scanners.

A small meadow not more than half a day's walk would suffice for a safe landing place. Not until nearly a dozen booby traps, locks, and safety devices had been put into place did Mogba leave the craft. A softly spoken word, and the scout ship would remain invisible.

He shrugged the strap of his traveling pack over his shoulder. Held it tightly against his body with his good arm. He had every intention of liberating as much from Chaahk as possible. If he couldn't garner Daniel Jackson's forgiveness, then at least he would make profit from his adventure.

Carrying enough rations for two days, Mogba began to plan his next moves. The biggest fear was that Jackson would refuse to accompany him. After what had happened between the bounty hunter and the group of Tau'ri known as SG-1, it wasn't a baseless concern. He'd never ignored his 'gut feeling' - that 'feeling' had kept him alive when by all rights he should have walked into a trap and died. Right now his gut was telling him that getting Daniel Jackson away from Chaahk was important.

He remained in the shadows provided by trees and bushes, moving slowly and deliberately toward the keep. He would, he decided, determine the best way inside once he was there. There was always the chance that an open gate would allow him to simply walk in. Stranger things had happened...

 

A A A A A A

 

Daniel heaved a sigh. The leather pants he wore were certainly better than that damned silk kilt. And he'd been allowed to keep his own boots. The gold arm bands that circled his biceps were a bit much, he thought. And apparently he was to go shirtless. Could be worse, I suppose.

He'd been gratified to find that Udal had been true to his word. Hidden beneath the bed was the hide bag that  held all of his belongings. He'd managed to inject himself, relieved that he wouldn't have to contend with going through withdrawal on top of being lo'taur for this new Goa'uld. He'd been through withdrawal once...he had hazy memories of pain and being so sick he'd just wanted to die. Nope, no time to deal with that at the moment.

Two Jaffa came for him, and escorted him once again to the barren room where Chaahk sat on a large wooden throne.

"You will serve me," Chaahk said, as soon as Daniel was close enough.

"Sure, whatever," Daniel replied.

Chaahk studied the man standing in front of him. "Tell me of the Tau'ri."

"We whip snake asses," Daniel quipped immediately.

The Goa'uld frowned. He was certain the lo'taur was being impudent. But the words were confusing. "I do not understand."

"Snakes...you call yourselves Goa'uld. We call you snakes." Casey thinks you look like an ugly eel. He would not, however, mention his Wife to this bastard!

"You do this as an insult?" Chaahk demanded.

"Well, you do resemble a snake. Or an eel. Slimy and disgusting," Daniel replied.

"Very amusing," Chaahk said, allowing himself to smile.

"Yeah, your amusement isn't on my list of duties," was the droll response.

"Oh, but it is, Daniel Jackson," Chaahk said, his voice dropping menacingly.

"I don't do amusing. I'm an archaeologist."

"I do not know this word...'ark-ay-"

"Archaeologist," Daniel repeated, enunciating slowly. "I study ancient...um...past civilizations."

"Ah, I see," Chaahk nodded. "Tell me...do you know of the Maya? Are they strong? Do they strike terror into the hearts of their neighbors? Do they conquer the weak?"

For a moment, Daniel saw not a Goa'uld, but a man...a leader of people...desperate to know about those he'd left behind. He shook his head mentally. Blinked twice. And noted the glow in Chaahk's eyes as he waited impatiently for his answers. In that instant the leader disappeared, and the Goa'uld remained. "The Mayans built their first real settlements long after you left," Daniel said. "Around 1800 BC. I guess that really doesn't mean anything to you," he mumbled. "Let's see, that would be...um...around eight thousand years after you left. They built quite a thriving civilization once you were gone, and unable to enslave them."

"They were a primitive people," Chaahk replied. "I taught them how to farm. How to build. How to make weapons. I gave them their strength!"

"You gave them nothing," Daniel argued boldly. "You took from them. You demanded their obedience. You killed them by the thousands in your bizarre rituals. Many became slaves. You took others and condemned them to the living hell of being a Goa'uld host. But, when they were free from your brutality, they did become strong. For awhile, anyway. The civilization...the society...disappeared, although the Mayan people still exist. They just...I guess they were just absorbed into the other societies when theirs collapsed."

"Why would this happen?" Chaahk asked. His face mirrored the curiosity in his voice.

Daniel shrugged. "There are several theories. Any one of them could be correct. Maybe a combination of all of them are what brought about the end of the Mayan empire. One theory is that overpopulation brought about the collapse. Another theory is that an invasion by a larger army might have demoralized the people and scattered them throughout the region. Agricultural exhaustion and over-hunting might have brought about starvation, and the people scattered in search of food."

"Had we just been able to remain," Chaahk said sadly.

"Yeah, to keep the Tau'ri as slaves," Daniel sneered.

"I would have seen the Maya become the most powerful people on the planet!" Chaahk declared hotly. "They would have easily defeated Ra and his precious Egyptians!" the Goa'uld sneered.

"So tell me, did you worry about the slaves who worshipped you as a god? Did you feed them? Clothe them? Or just demand worship and tribute?" Daniel asked coldly.

"I offered knowledge," Chaahk replied with just as much ice in his voice.

"Maybe," Daniel allowed. "But not enough. Not enough to prevent the collapse of their entire society."

"Because I was not there!" Chaahk roared.

"That's right," Daniel jeered. "Because the slaves rebelled. They threw off their yoke of slavery to the Goa'uld, and chased your asses off the planet!"

Chaahk gave a feral grin. "You are quite pleased that the slaves rose against us."

"And defeated you," Daniel added with not a little glee. "Yes, I am."

"It will please me that you will see the Tau'ri taught their rightful place in the universe. Once again they will serve the Goa'uld. They will kneel before their gods."

Daniel chuckled. "If you really think you can do that, I wouldn't miss it for the world! Of course, a couple of things might get in your way."

"Such as?" Chaahk challenged.

"Earth is part of the Protected Planets Treaty. The Asgard protect Earth. You should ask Ba'al about that...his little stunt not too long ago brought an Asgard fleet to defend Earth." A fleet consisting of one Asgard ship, and a device that created very believable holograms, Daniel thought, still amazed that the ruse had worked. Although that bit of trickery had damned near killed him in an attempt to prevent the Goa'uld from learning about the deception. "Last I heard, several snakes were still pissed at him for damned near starting another war between the Goa'uld and the Asgard, and they attacked him. Ba'al could be dead now."

"I have no fear of the Asgard," Chaahk snorted.

"Really? Have a big fleet, do ya? The Asgard sent fifty ships. That wasn't their entire fleet." Daniel's conscience poked him slightly. He was lying...sort of. Thor's ship most certainly wasn't the entire Asgard fleet. It had been the only ship that could be spared to help the people of Earth. But if a lie kept the Goa'uld afraid of the Asgard, that was a good thing for Earth and their little gray allies. If one...just one...of the snakes decided to test that strength, it could end badly for everyone but the snakes. "And the Tok'ra were their with their fleet as well. We're allies, ya know."

He did his best to hide the emotions the comment evoked. He had a single ha'tak. Until he could defeat a stronger Goa'uld, and take over that fleet...Chaahk cursed silently, and curled his hands into fists. For the moment, he wasn't even able to defeat the weakest of the System Lords. As soon as he had the weapon that was controlled by the Ancient bracelets, he would sweep through the galaxy and reclaim what was his, and take what he wanted.

"Then there's the fact that there are a few more of us than you probably remember. About six billion Tau'ri, at last count," Daniel added. That the population of the planet was fragmented and fighting amongst themselves need not be mentioned. Nor was it important to bring up the fact that the people of planet Earth knew nothing about the Goa'uld, or the revolution that had seen the harsh taskmasters tossed out long before 'recorded' history had even begun. Hopefully this bastard wouldn't find that out any time soon.

Chaahk was frowning now.

"Plus, we can whip your asses on our own. We've learned on our own, you see," Daniel continued. "We have armies. And those armies have weapons. We've learned how to completely defeat the Goa'uld. By making certain you can't take hosts." Once again the thought that this particular fabrication could come back and bite him...and the entire human population of Earth...in the ass, poked at him. Illusions...the entire Goa'uld Empire was based on illusions and perceptions. He was, he thought, just playing by their rules. As long as they could keep the snakes believing the lie, it gave them time to actually come up with such an advance. At least that's how he would continue to rationalize the lie to himself.

Chaahk sat back in his throne. "Enough talk of the past."

Yep, got to him, Daniel thought with peevish delight.

"Your duty will be to see to my needs."

"Sure. Which ones?"

Dark eyes glowed dangerously. "All of them."

Daniel gave a slight shudder. According to the very talkative slave who'd reminded him very much of young Nirav, this asshole didn't have a harem yet. And, it had been apparent that the young slave had been...used; he assumed by Chaahk. It had also been apparent that Chaahk's new lo'taur would be privy to the same 'special' treatment. "Ya know, I'll have to think about that." He paused. "Thought it over. No way."

"I could kill you where you stand!"

"Go for it," Daniel replied, bracing himself. If Chaahk used the ribbon device, would the same thing happen as had with Kali?

The Goa'uld jumped to his feet, then lifted his hand. The stone in the center of the device on his hand began to glow. "You will beg for my mercy!" he growled.

The first 'impact' of the beam was painful. Daniel struggled for a few seconds, then began to focus his concentration on the middle of his forehead. There...he could recognize the Goa'uld thoughts...there was a certain pattern to them. He closed his eyes, imagined a beam of blue light flowing out from that point of contact...

Chaahk felt the draw of energy. Watched with mounting horror as the yellow-white beam that flowed from the ribbon device began to turn blue where it touched the human. Slowly, that blue began to move toward him. He began to sense 'feedback', his malevolent thoughts turning back toward him. Dropping his arm, he took a step backwards, knocking against the throne. He dropped heavily into the seat.

"Didn't work the way you'd planned, huh?" Daniel asked. He had a bit of a headache, and the effort to fight against Chaahk had left him bone tired. But the knowledge that he could do...whatever it was that he'd done...boosted his spirit enough to ignore his fatigue.

"I do not understand," Chaahk muttered.

"I told you, we've learned a lot since you've been gone."

"So it would seem." Chaahk looked warily at the man he'd chosen as his lo'taur. If the human was able to resist the ribbon device, how easy would it be for him to resist becoming a host? A shudder moved over his frame at the thought that perhaps Daniel Jackson's claims were true.

"Now, about my duties-"

"You will serve me, Tau'ri. Make no mistake about that. I will kill you if you displease me."

And that's not something I can let happen, Daniel groused.

"Go...bring food and wine."

"Sure, whatever," Daniel replied. He turned, then looked over his shoulder. There was fear in Chaahk's eyes. And if he's worried enough...or scared enough, he might kill me just to be rid of me and the threat he thinks I am. Shit. He walked out of the room. He caught one of the nearby servants. "Could you point me in the direction of the kitchen?"

"Lord Chaahk wishes his meal now?" the man asked.

"Uh...yeah," Daniel replied.

With a nod, the servant motioned that Daniel should follow.

He kept track of every turn. Took note that each room seemed to be empty, or held very little. Chaahk had returned from the dead. He'd returned with nothing...and had nothing to reclaim. It would take time for him to build his strength. If another Goa'uld didn't simply destroy him first, it would be in the best interest of the SGC to get rid of this guy. He was nothing but walking trouble.

 

A A A A A A

 

Mogba watched the movement of those inside the stone wall as best he could from his position behind a large bush. He'd spent the day examining the area around the fortress. Unless there was a Chappa'ai inside the castle, there wasn't one on the planet. It wasn't unusual for a Goa'uld who was weak to choose a planet without a Chappa'ai from which to build from. It prevented any enemy from arriving unnoticed. A single ha'tak could effectively protect a planet - as long as it wasn't going into battle against an entire fleet. It had been his experience that if System Lords learned of one weaker, they would attack with all the compassion of a gan'tar...those human slaves trained in combat...whose sole motivation was to stay alive in each gladiatorial-type match they were thrown into. He'd never seen more ferocious fighters than gan'tar!

He glanced up at the sky. Sunset was less than an hour away, by his estimation. He would use the cover of darkness to get inside the keep. He could only hope that it wouldn't take long to find Daniel Jackson. A weak Goa'uld was a paranoid Goa'uld. And they were the most dangerous of all.

The first time he'd seen the Tau'ri woman...her long blonde hair and green eyes attracting him immediately...he'd known that his life had taken a turn. He'd carried out his contract, delivering her to Lord Ba'al, who had been intent on making the woman his consort. That hadn't happened, Mogba thought with a silent chuckle, and according to his sources, the woman hadn't remained in Ba'al's grasp for long.

The second time Ba'al had hired...no, ordered...him to locate the Tau'ri known as SG-1, Mogba had been terrified to learn that they were the same as those who had nearly killed him over the woman's capture. He'd been more afraid of Daniel Jackson's wrath than Ba'al's ability to find him. So, he'd run. He'd given his word...yet he had run.

That decision, made in fear...in cowardice, his mind threw at him...had left him a haunted man. He'd lived every day in fear of once again coming face to face with SG-1...and Daniel Jackson.

This was his chance, perhaps his only chance, to make up for his cowardly actions. To be able to live in peace. Without constantly looking over his shoulder. Of hiding in terror whenever one of the Tau'ri appeared in a village or town where he happened to be staying, as he moved from village to village, town to town, planet to planet.

"I am but a humble man," Mogba whispered, "and I have made many poor choices. But grant me the ability to do this one thing, to make right one wrong."

He never noticed the star that twinkled brightly above him, flaring as if in response to his prayer.

 

A A A A A A

 

Daniel carried the heavy wooden tray...laden with meat, bread, and what little fruit he'd been able to find...back to the 'throne room' as it was referred to by the servants. He looked around for somewhere to put it. There wasn't a table to be seen.

Chaahk smirked. "Bring the tray closer."

With a nod, Daniel stepped toward the throne and started to put the tray on the floor.

"I did not bid you to do that," Chaahk hissed.

"And I'm not going to stand here holding this damned thing. It's heavy," Daniel retorted.

"You will not put it on the floor!"

"Fine," Daniel shrugged. And thrust the tray at Chaahk. He smirked when the Goa'uld reacted instinctively.

Dark eyes widened. In the blink of an eye, he was left holding the tray that bore his meal. And, he had to admit, the tray was heavy. He shoved the tray back toward the lo'taur. Who took a full step backward.

"You wanted it, you've got it," Daniel said.

"I will have you whipped for this!" Chaahk threatened.

He gave a 'who-cares' shrug. "Whatever."

Chaahk began to curse. When he'd ranted for several minutes, he glared at his lo'taur. "For too long the Tau'ri have been allowed to become insolent. I will bring an end to that!"

"Yeah, you and what army?" Daniel taunted.

The comment stopped the Goa'uld. For the moment, he was nearly as weak as a newborn babe. And as helpless, it seemed.

"Do you really believe an empire founded on slavery, and cruelty, and lies upon lies, can survive?" Daniel asked softly. "When the masters are few, and use fear and torture and death to maintain their control, the slaves will rise up and destroy those masters."

Chaahk said nothing. His dark eyes bored into Daniel.

"The Goa'uld proclaim themselves to be gods. They're not. The only 'power' they have comes from devices built by the Ancients."

"We developed the ribbon devices," Chaahk declared proudly.

"Figures," Daniel muttered. "But without that device, you're no stronger, no different than any human. That's because you're in a human host. You can't even exist without a host."

Again Chaahk refused to respond.

"You proclaim to those you conquer that you're a god. Yet you never see to it that the people from whom you demand worship...and tribute...are taken care of. Some god! Is it any wonder the Goa'uld are detested in every galaxy they infest? Is it any wonder that planet after planet, civilization after civilization slips through your grasp?" Daniel watched the dark eyes of his captor. "Tyrants are always defeated. Bullies are always defeated. Because inside they're nothing but cowards."

"I will cut out your tongue!" Chaahk growled.

"Go ahead. It won't make what I've said any less true," Daniel replied.

"Do you not fear death?"

"Not really," Daniel said. How many times had he 'died'? And, as long as his 'death' wasn't in a fashion that separated his head from his body, death wouldn't be much of a threat. Not that he'd ever let a Goa'uld know about that 'little' secret! "It's just another part of the journey in this thing we call existence."

Chaahk held the tray up slightly. "Put this beside me," he said.

Daniel obeyed. "Might help to have someone find a table to bring in here." He took a large, sesame roll, and what looked like a pear, and handed both to the Goa'uld. Just to prove who's better, he thought.

Surprised at the benevolent action...it certainly wasn't servitude that had the man giving him the food, Chaahk accepted the offerings. "You truly believe that you will defeat the Goa'uld." It wasn't a question.

"Yes, I do," Daniel replied sincerely.

"Once, we were dying. We believed that Ra had found our salvation," Chaahk said softly.

The comment was proof that Chaahk was a contemporary of Ra's, possibly older than Ra had been. Could Chaahk be as old, or older, than Yu? "The humans on Earth...er...the First World," he said.

The Goa'uld nodded. "Now, I wonder if he only put off our deaths."

Daniel studied the Goa'uld for a moment. "The Tok'ra live in a harmonious relationship with their hosts. Rihat-"

"Rihat...the Goa'uld you carried?"

"Yes," Daniel nodded. Well obviously Chaahk had been listening earlier. "Just before he died, he told me that he thought the Goa'uld had made a mistake in being so brutal to their hosts. That they robbed themselves of true friendship in doing so."

Chaahk snorted with derision. "Sentimental rubbish from a dying creature."

"Maybe. Or maybe only at the end did he realize the truth. He was dying, he died, because my body rejected him, just like it does any bacteria or virus," Daniel said, his voice low and cold.

"Go to your chambers. I will not need you further this night," Chaahk said abruptly.

Yep, got him worried now. He gave a nod, and turned to walk away. Daniel was almost to the door when the Goa'uld called his name. He looked over his shoulder.

"When you translated the Ancient text in the temple, for Kali, did it mention any...devices?"

He barely hid his smile. "No. It told of a great city that had once flourished on Earth," he said. Not exactly the truth, but close enough.

The frown on Chaahk's face was severe. He had given the order that Daniel Jackson was not to be taken from Kali until the second bracelet had been found. Why had Udal brought him here, if Daniel didn't have the bracelet? He looked up to see the lo'taur watching him. "I would suppose that Kali was quite...angry."

"She was," Daniel confirmed.

"She threatened your life," Chaahk said, more to himself than to his lo'taur.

"Yes, she did." He wasn't able to hide the shudder that moved over him. Castrated and bleeding to death. Not a pleasant way to go. And he didn't think immortality would cure the 'castrated' part. He shuddered again.

That explained the spy's actions, Chaahk thought, giving a mental nod. Rather than risk that petulant bitch killing the one man who could translate the rare Ancient dialect, Udal had brought the lo'taur to him. It was an inconvenience to not have the second bracelet. Tomorrow he would learn just what the symbols on the bracelet in his possession meant. Perhaps the rest of the map could be revealed through the clues he already held. With a wave of his hand, the Goa'uld sent his lo'taur away for the night.

Daniel closed the door behind him, following the path he'd been led through earlier. He paused, leaned against the stone wall of the narrow passageway to his room, and took a deep breath. He'd pushed Chaahk, and for a moment, he'd feared that he'd pushed too far. No doubt the morning would find him examining the bracelet that matched the one hidden in his room.

Sitting on the narrow cot, Daniel leaned over slightly, his forearms on his thighs, his fingers woven loosely. If he could somehow just copy the engravings on the bracelet Chaahk held, would he actually need to steal it? He'd already examined the one from the temple. There was no way to decipher what or where the partial map might lead to. In fact, one had to know it was a map to even recognize the astrological symbols. He wouldn't make the assumption that Chaahk didn't know what he had. But as long as the Goa'uld never saw the other 'half' of the map, he'd never be able to get all the coordinates.

Leaning back, Daniel closed his eyes. Tried to remember everything he'd seen on the walls, and on the bracelet...not willing to take a chance that he wasn't being monitored. He'd managed to keep the bag hidden between his body and the wall beside the bed when he'd injected himself; he was fairly certain no one knew it existed. But it was better to play it safe. So he couldn't check his notes. He had a theory. If he was right, the map that had been etched into the gold bracelets gave the location of the Ancient's 'living city'. A city that was somehow, someway 'alive'.

When he stretched out, Daniel's thoughts turned away from the bracelets, and his current predicament. And focused on blonde hair, green eyes, a warm smile, and enticing body. He could lick his lips and practically taste her sweetness. He ached to hold his Wife, to assure her that he was okay. To tell her what he'd found...to share his theory with her. She would smile at him, her eyes would light up with pride, and she'd tell him that he was 'brilliant'. "Love you, Angel," he whispered, before his eyes drifted closed, and sleep stole over him.

 

A A A A A A

 

Mogba stretched, cursing the aches and pains that came with old age. He had lived a hard life; had lost one eye and the use of one arm in a battle with a young upstart determined to become the master on his ship. He'd prevailed that day, but the price...he shook his head. He didn't know if it was luck or pity that had prevented any of the remaining crew members from attempting to take control. Rubbing his bad arm, trying to warm it a bit, he thought that just maybe those who worked for him, unlike the brash young fool who had made a fatal error in judgment, understood that his instincts would bring in far more profit than they would ever see without him. He could only hope that his instincts wouldn't fail him now.

He put the strap of his bag over his neck, to hang off his shoulder. It would be handy if he needed anything from inside it, yet leave his good hand free. Tucking his bad arm under his robe, pulling his hood over his head far enough to hide his face, Mogba used the last bit of light from the setting sun to make his way toward the gate in the tall, stone wall.

Peeking around the corner, he was surprised to find the courtyard completely empty. Whatever work had been done during the day would continue when the sun rose again, he was certain. But to have no guards... He paused, listening carefully for any sounds of movement.

Fear of being discovered, in spite of the apparent lack of inhabitants, had Mogba pressing his back against the cold stone wall. He moved slowly, not taking a step until he was certain that he could do so without making a sound. It would take time, but better to spend half the night trying to find Daniel Jackson, than rushing in and becoming the man's cellmate.

The palm of his good hand was sweaty, making it difficult to grip the haft of his knife. He held the blade between his yellow teeth, wiped his hand vigorously against his robe, then once again took the weapon in hand, ready to use in defense.

One strange fact continued to poke at him. He'd neither seen nor heard women. No soft, gentle laughter, no slender figures moving to-and-fro as they completed tasks. It was odd that this Goa'uld...Chaahk...had yet to have a harem. Or at least one or two women to serve his needs.

Mogba stopped moving when he heard the unmistakable sounds of two people coupling. Perhaps the women had just been kept inside the large castle, he thought. He dared to peek around the corner. A small lantern was sitting on a low stool. And offered just enough light for him to see the two who were in such intimate circumstances. A Jaffa, still wearing his armor, his member exposed by dropping only the chain-mail pants he wore, thrust hard and fast into the bare ass of a young man...a slave, it appeared.

His breath caught in his throat, he was about to turn and run the moment young man looked up, and met his gaze. Mogba paused when the young man merely shook his head slowly.

The young man began to moan softly, moving his hips up and down, pushing back against the body behind him. His actions caused the Jaffa to begin groaning. Large hands clamped around the young man's waist, and with a loud cry and a shudder, the Jaffa reached his climax.

Not a word was spoken as the Jaffa stepped away. The slave immediately grabbed a bottle of oil and a cloth, and began to clean the still red cock that hung between the armored legs.

Cleaned, tucked back into the cotton under garment, the Jaffa pulled up his pants. He ruffled the slave's hair, caressed his cheek, then disappeared through a door on the other side of the courtyard.

Not sure what to do, Mogba remained still. Watched as the young man cleaned himself. Rather than dressing, however, the young man looked around carefully. Then walked slowly to where the bounty hunter was hiding.

"Do you wish to take me?" the young man asked, as soon as he was close enough to speak.

What he had seen had aroused him, he'd not deny that. Mogba felt his own cock twitch at the thought. It had been months since he'd been with Relinna. No, he had a job to do first. Pleasure could come later. "No. I seek...information."

"Oh." The young man looked down at his own body. He was hard...aroused...and his partner had not taken the time to offer him relief. "I...I..." He motioned at the erection that waved between them.

Mogba watched as the young man wrapped his hand around that throbbing flesh. "Need a bit of a rub, do ya?" he grinned.

"If you don't mind. It won't take long, I promise. Then I'll tell you anything you wish to know."

Having spent his life in the dark alleys, the taverns filled with the low-life survivors of the galaxy, Mogba had seen many things. And he knew from watching the young man's eyes what the whore wanted. An audience. It was a simple thing. And, he sighed, if he was going to have to stand there and watch, he might just as well get a bit of satisfaction himself. He grabbed the young man's free hand, pulled him into the shadows. Slid that hand under his robe, and through the opening of his pants to his own throbbing member.

The young man grinned. And began to move both hands. Moved his hips back and forth in time with the motion he felt from this stranger.

Mogba kept his eyes on what the whore was doing...that was, after all, what was expected...desired. It didn't take the young man but a minute or so to reach his climax. The bounty hunter reached his at almost the same time.

With a smile that was both seductive and wicked, the young man licked his hands clean. He'd been taught, quite brutally, how to be a wanton slut. Now, he was unable to behave in any other manner. "You wish to ask me questions?" he whispered.

"There was a man brought here. Light hair. Blue eyes. He wears an object on his face...in front of his eyes," Mogba said, his voice low.

The young man nodded eagerly. "Daniel Jackson. He is Lord Chaahk's lo'taur. I hope that he will come to me soon. He has a beautiful body, and his-"

"Where in this...keep...is he?" Mogba interrupted, not interested in the whore's lustful fantasies. 

"I can take you to him," the slave offered.

"Why should I trust you?" Mogba demanded.

"I just gave you pleasure...let you watch me take mine. Why would I betray a lover?"

He shook his head mentally. No doubt this lad had been taken when he'd been young and had been...trained...to be what he was. That had to have warped his mind, Mogba thought. "If you signal for anyone, if you make a sound, I'll slit your throat."

The young man's light brown eyes widened. "I won't, I promise!"

"Did Chaahk do this to you?" Mogba asked, as he followed the young man up an exposed staircase.

"Do what to me?"

"Make you a whore."

The young man smiled. "No. As far as I know, Lord Chaahk doesn't even know I exist. I mean, I'm certain he's seen me, but I'm just a slave as far as he's concerned."

"Then...how...why?"

"My father sold me when I was ten years old," the young man explained. "He needed the money to pay a gambling debt. The man who bought me was quite...unkind. He taught me many things. One of those things was how to use my body to survive."

Mogba shuddered. "How did you wind up here?"

"There are no women here. Lord Chaahk has declared this fortress to be his private temple. He wishes no woman to desecrate his sanctuary. But the Jaffa who serve him need their...release. The man who is Lord Chaahk's High Priest found me, and brought me here."

"And what of Lord Chaahk, does he not need...release?" Mogba asked.

"If he does, it is not me with whom he seeks it," the young man replied. He stopped in front of a thick, wooden door. "Daniel Jackson is inside."

Mogba nodded.

The young man frowned. "You're here to take him away, aren't you?"

"And if I am?"

"If you do, my friend, Warrim, might be chosen as lo'taur. The High Priest was training him to take that position before Daniel Jackson arrived."

"And you would like to see your friend in such an...honored...place."

The young man nodded. "Warrim has always been kind to me. If he were lo'taur, he would be able to better...protect...me."

"Some of the Jaffa are cruel to you."  

The young man lowered his eyes. "Most of them," he sighed. "Very few actually take their pleasure with me as you witnessed. Most of the time..." He shook his head.

"Then I will ask you to do this. See to it that no Jaffa come this way. I will take Daniel Jackson out of the keep. And your friend will become lo'taur."

"I promise," the young man vowed.

 

 

 

Daniel wasn't sure what it was that had awakened him. He opened his eyes, tried to see in the darkness. He sat up, certain he'd heard movement. "Hello?" he called softly. Rolled his eyes. "Hello?"

A dim light came on, temporarily blinded him.

"Who's there?" Daniel demanded.

Mogba stepped away from the wall. "I vow on my life that I am here to free you," he said solemnly.

Casey's words echoed in his head..."Don't turn away from the ghost, Daniel."

"I'll be damned," Daniel muttered.

"I have a ship not far-" Mogba started.

"I can't leave here without the bracelet that Chaahk has," Daniel said, cutting off whatever his rescuer...the 'ghost' Casey had seen...was about to say.

The bounty hunter stared at the Tau'ri. "A bracelet?"

"Made by the Ancients. It has a map on it," Daniel explained.

"A map to what?" Mogba asked.

"Don't even think about it," Daniel growled.

All thoughts of profit and treasure died in an instant. Nor would any hopes of taking the bracelet rise from the ashes. What good would a map do him if he were dead? Mogba had no doubt that Daniel Jackson would kill him in the blink of an eye. "Where is this bracelet?"

"I have no idea," Daniel admitted. He ran a hand through his hair, then settled his glasses on his face.

Sometimes, Mogba thought, Providence provided what you weren't even aware you needed. "I might know someone who does."

"Who?"

"A young slave," Mogba explained. "Pull your boots on, Daniel Jackson, we must hurry if we're to find this bracelet, and escape with our lives."

Daniel shoved his feet into his boots. Reached under the bed for the bag that held everything that belonged to him, plus the notes he'd taken, and the Ancient bracelet he'd located.

With a nod, Mogba cracked the door open. Heaved a sigh. Leaning against the opposite wall of the narrow hallway was the young slave. "What are you doing here?" he demanded in a harsh whisper.

The young man shrugged. "I wanted to make certain you weren't going to try to kill Daniel Jackson," was the quiet reply.

"He didn't," Daniel whispered. Oh, great. This is the kid who was just way too eager to give me a bath.

The young slave's eyes flared with interest when Daniel stepped into the dim light. He let his gaze drift over the bare chest, down to hips covered by leather...

The bounty hunter grabbed the young man by the arm, shook him slightly. Glared with his one good eye. "Chaahk has a special bracelet," Mogba said. "It's valuable. Do you know where it is?"

The young man smiled. "When he isn't wearing it, it is on the altar in his temple room."

"Can you show us the way?" Daniel asked.

For a moment, the young slave considered making a deal...one that would see him in the bed of the man he lusted after. A glance at the small, disfigured man changed his mind. The young whore cleared his throat softly. "Yes."

Mogba flashed the large knife he carried. "Do not make me regret trusting you. If I do, I'll have to kill you."

The color drained from the young man's cheeks. "You have my word," he whispered hoarsely. "Follow me, but not too closely. If there are guards, I'll have to distract them."

The bounty hunter nodded his understanding.

His bare feet making nothing more than a whispering sound against the rock slabs that comprised the floor, the young slave scurried down the corridor. He paused, leaned down to scratch his ankle. He glanced into the hallway, noted that the two men following him were close enough to see which direction he took.

They entered a wide corridor, lit by torches that were held in place on the walls by iron sconces. Four large doors were arranged near the center. In front of one of those doors stood a Jaffa.

"Crap," Daniel muttered beneath his breath. Watched as the young slave began to talk to the guard. Pressed himself against the wall when the Jaffa looked around carefully. Certain they'd been betrayed, he was ready to run when the slave dropped to his knees, opened the front of the Jaffa's pants, and... He closed his eyes for a moment.

Mogba pulled a small tube from his bag. Aimed at the Jaffa. No doubt the slave would be knocked out as well, and in a most...compromising...position for both of them. But it was the only way to get past that guard. He fired, the green blast lighting up the hallway for a second.

Daniel opened his eyes to see the Jaffa on the floor, the slave beside him, his mouth still around the guard's exposed cock. "Why in the hell did the kid do that?"

"He's a whore. Trained that way when he was sold at age ten," Mogba replied. "It's the only way he knows, Daniel Jackson."

There were times when he wanted to scream his frustration at the unfairness of the universe, the barbarism that existed. This was one of those times. He clamped his jaws together, followed Mogba passed the downed bodies - which he studiously avoided looking at, and into the room behind the door that was being guarded.

He should have expected it, Daniel thought. So far, his rescue-cum-escape was actually going too well.

Sitting in front of a low table was Chaahk, turning the bracelet over and over in his hands. The Goa'uld was on his feet as soon as he realized someone was in the room.

The bounty hunter never hesitated, didn't even blink when he used the small weapon to render the Goa'uld as unconscious as the Jaffa and slave.

"What the hell?" Daniel demanded.

"We do not have time to discuss the matter. Grab the bracelet! We must hurry, the Goa'uld will not remain unconscious for long. We have at least ten miles to travel before he wakes," Mogba hissed.

Daniel dashed forward, pried the bracelet from Chaahk's hand, stuffed it into the hide bag. "Let's go."

The brightest star in the sky twinkled merrily as the two...the Tau'ri and the bounty hunter...slipped out of the stone keep undetected, and made their way through a small forest toward an equally small meadow.


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