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My Name Is Casey
He has enemies...it seems that he has angered many other System Lords. But the enemy he seems to...fear...the most are known as Tau’ri. None of the servants know of the Tau’ri. Gemeti can tell me only that they are very cunning. I think she knows more, but won’t tell me. Or perhaps...perhaps she can’t tell me. The Jaffa refuse to answer my questions, telling me that My Lord will give me whatever information I might seek...or need. Something...that something in the back of my mind...warns me against asking him. Still, if these Tau’ri are so formidable, why doesn’t he move against them...destroy them once and for all? He’s a god...he has powers, I’ve seen him use them against those who have displeased him. Or are these Tau’ri even more powerful than he is?
Casey had become adept at listening to the servants as they moved about, cleaning the rooms that Ba’al occupied, that were her home as well. She could at least hear what the latest rumors were, once she had learned which Jaffa to remain near while pacing certain corridors endlessly, hoping to hear enough snippets of conversation to piece together what was going on around her.
The latest bit of ‘news’ concerned a group of Tau’ri. She had no idea who or what these Tau’ri were. But it seemed that Ba’al had several spies whose only task was to watch for them, or listen for any information concerning them. And, apparently these spies had just reported that the most troublesome group among the Tau’ri had been seen lurking nearby.
What, if any, measures Ba’al undertook to protect himself, and those who depended upon him for their safety, she had no idea. She did know, however, that the Jaffa around her were tense, jumping at the slightest provocation, their eyes searching the shadowed corners as if expecting to find their enemy hiding there.
Wandering onto the pel’tak, she stood and watched silently. Ba’al was receiving reports from three of his spies, the small orb in his hand showing the slightly distorted face of each of the men. She wasn’t close enough to hear what was being said, but the frown on her lover’s brow was enough to let her know that whatever information they were passing on, it wasn’t good.
He sensed her...could smell the sweet scent that always accompanied her. Glanced over his shoulder to see her hesitating beside the door. He smiled, held out his free hand. Felt his heart hammer against his ribs when she smiled in return, and hurried toward him, reaching for him even before she was close enough.
As soon as his fingers closed around hers, she could feel the nervous - unsettling - feeling that had gripped her heart...caused by the apprehension that had been so prevalent among those on the ship...fading away. Ba’al was a god. She had nothing to fear. And she resolutely pushed away the annoying poking in the back of her mind that such thoughts always seemed to stir.
"I would ask you to obey me,"Ba’al said quietly.
"Always, My Beloved,"Casey swore softly.
"If I order you to remain in my quarters,"he said, for she was once again living in his rooms with him, "I expect you to do so. It will be for your safety."
Green eyes widened slightly. "We are in danger?"
"No, not exactly. But there are those who would attempt to attack me," Ba’al replied easily. "I will not risk your safety; for these enemies are quite ingenious in their ability to cause trouble."
The Tau’ri. It had to be! She’d heard again and again as the Jaffa whispered among themselves, that the Tau’ri were the most cunning of all the enemies of Ba’al. "Can’t you just...wipe them out?" she asked innocently.
Ba’al laughed. "Would that I could. They are, however, protected by a treaty between the Goa’uld and the Asgard."
"But it’s not fair that they can attack you, if you can’t defend yourself!" she exclaimed.
"I can not attack them on their world. In order to ‘wipe them out’, I would need to do so there,"Ba’al explained, with a hint of a smile. "When they are not on their protected home world, I am free to attack, or defend myself. They seem to believe sneaking aboard my ha’tak to be proof of their ability to defeat me."
She frowned. If these Tau’ri could do such a thing, perhaps they were more formidable than she had believed. Should she be worried that this enemy was powerful enough to destroy Ba’al, if they so took it into their minds to do so? "Can’t you sneak on their ships?"
The smile Ba’al gave held no mirth. "I am not yet certain that the Tau’ri own ships. They have allied themselves with the Tok’ra-"
Who were traitors, she’d been told. Those who pretended to be Goa’uld, all the while plotting the deaths of loyal Goa’uld, and attempting to bring down the Goa’uld Empire.
"-so any traveling they do is in the ships stolen by those shol’va."
"You're Ba’al,"she said firmly. "You’ll destroy them all."
He lifted her fingers to his lips, savoring her comment like fine wine. To hear such a declaration from her...when Casey had always taken pains to tell him just how defenseless he was against the Tau’ri, and their Tok’ra allies...was like music to his ears. "How you please me, Beloved," he murmured.
When the small sphere in his hand began blinking again, Casey gently pulled her fingers free. "I can see that you’re busy. I’ll wait for you in the private dining room. You haven’t eaten since breakfast."
Another rush of love washed over him, the concern in her voice mirrored by her green eyes. "I will be there shortly, I promise."
With a nod, Casey glanced around the room. Dared to step closer, and placed a kiss on his lips. "I’ll be waiting."
For a moment he was tempted to toss the communication orb aside, carry her to the room where they so often made love now, and take her again and again. With not a little effort he reined in his rampant thoughts, and his raging body. He must deal with this threat before he could indulge with his Consort. His hope was that soon he would be able to torment one particular Tau’ri with Casey’s presence. It would be fascinating, he thought, to see how she reacted when the archaeologist was brought in as a prisoner, one of the Tau’ri who were the enemy of her Lord and Master. Very...intriguing...indeed. "Go. I won’t be long."
She caught his hand, placed a kiss on the knuckles, before turning and leaving the room.
Ba’al watched for a moment, hypnotized by the sway of slender hips beneath the silk gown she wore. When the communication orb blinked again, he returned his attention to the problems at hand.
The report was worse than he'd expected. The Tau’ri, it seemed, did indeed have their own ships. With cloaking capabilities. And they were wandering the quadrant at will. While there had been no attacks on Goa’uld ships or Goa’uld held planets, it was only a matter of time, the spy informed him.
If the cursed humans were able to cloak their ships, then they could attack at any time, anywhere they so chose. That he did the same on a regular basis, attacks carried out against other Goa’uld, was a fact that Ba’al ignored. After all, he was merely taking what he needed, from those too weak to defend themselves. It was the way of the Empire. But the humans...those damned Tau’ri...
He shook his head. He’d always been cautious when moving before, never following the same path twice, avoiding the areas that were ‘common’ among the Goa’uld. He was certain that his prudence would protect him from any attacks. Still...he’d stay here, in orbit above Nippur. It was his home planet. He would not leave it to the likes of the Tau’ri.
A A A A A A
Not all of Ba’al’s Jaffa were as loyal as they pretended to be. Messages were sent out on a regular basis, although the actual coordinates for the ship were never revealed...it wouldn’t do to have another Goa’uld show up and attack with information gleaned from the clandestine communication. However, the activities of the System Lord were known by the Free Jaffa, the Tok’ra, and as a result, the Tau’ri.
The recent, most disturbing developments, however, had been uncovered by a Tok’ra spy; secrets only known by those he had been able to alert. When the full import of what had happened was known, all attention would be focused on Ba’al.
For the moment, the Free Jaffa were aware that something was wrong. There had been no word from the Tau’ri known as SG-1; that particular group had not been encountered, nor captured. Yet the slender blonde - powerful seer and member of the famous SG-1, well known among Master Bra’tac’s Jaffa - was walking the corridors, the consort of Ba’al...and apparently happy to be so. Quite contrary to her behavior each time Ba’al had taken her prisoner before. The two facts added up to a puzzle that these particular Jaffa were determined to solve.
Two of the Jaffa stood guard, while two of their brethren slipped into the lab that had been sealed, by Ba’al himself. Neither of the men had seen the labs where Anubis had created his Kull warriors. They had, however, heard the descriptions of the equipment that had been used. What they were staring at was most certainly what had been described. Using a tool given to them by the Tau’ri, a tiny camera that fit snugly in the palm of the hand, the two carefully recorded all that they found. The next message to Bra’tac would contain the images.
It was those images that would cause near panic in the place known as the SGC. Once again, Fate would step in. The message would arrive too late to stop a carefully planned mission. It would fall to the Free Jaffa who served on Ba’al’s ha’tak to help as much as they could, without revealing themselves. Sometimes for the Tau’ri, it wasn’t what you knew, but who you knew, that would save your life.
Gemeti watched from the shadows, hidden behind the support beam. She knew that the Jaffa were not all that they seemed. Many things were not as they seemed, she sighed silently. Casey was not the same woman she had met before. Yet Lord Ba’al treated her as if she were, calling her his Consort, just as he always had. The two scientists who had worked within that room for weeks were suddenly missing; neither had been seen for three days. Nor did Ba’al seem at all concerned about their sudden absence. It was possible, the young slave supposed, that the two had simply been sent to the planet beneath the ha’tak, and no one else had been made aware of their departure. Possible...but highly improbable. Some slave or servant would have heard or seen the rings being used, would have seen the two Goa’uld leaving.
The lo’taur watched as Tiria made her way from the kitchens back to the harem. Twice now Gemeti had passed the woman in the corridors, and both times the Mistress of Women had smiled at her. Never before had the dark-haired woman deigned to notice the personal slave of her Master. Gemeti suspected that Tiria had hoped to fill the position of lo’taur when Shanda had been stolen from Ba’al. That she had been chosen was nothing less than shocking. Always quiet, and able to hide herself among the women of the harem, Gemeti had managed to remain nearly untouched...a fact that Tiria hadn’t missed. When Ba’al had begun his search for a lo’taur, and had made it plain to the older woman that she would not be considered, Tiria had suggested the shy slave. Gemeti was certain it had been meant as punishment, rather than an honor. Serving Lord Ba’al personally was the most frightening thing she’d been forced to do. His moods were varied...and when he was angry, his fists could be merciless.
Sliding back further into the shadows, Gemeti watched as Casey passed by, strolling casually through the corridor, smiling brightly at all those she met.
The slave’s frown deepened. Things were not as they seemed. She just had no idea what was actually happening on her Master’s ha’tak. She would continue to watch, however, and hope that she would learn the secrets held by those around her...if only to satisfy her own burning curiosity.
A A A A A A
Ba’al hissed a sigh. Progress on his palace had slowed dramatically when Nutesh had deserted him. He needed an engineer capable of finishing the structure. While the basics had been completed, there were several terraces that required the expertise of an engineer.
He snatched up the list of Goa’uld who served him. Three of whom were now in canopic jars, punishment for trying to betray him. He continued reading, ground his teeth in sheer frustration to learn that one of the Goa’uld in stasis was indeed an engineer. The task of finding a host was now a priority.
None of the slaves were fit to be used as hosts...not now. Nor were any of the servants potential hosts. He needed to find a suitable human, and as quickly as possible. For one brief moment, he considered his Consort. Then just as quickly dismissed the idea. Not only would he not lose Casey...and certainly being taken host would render her the same as dead...the Goa’uld would most like object to being forced into the position as his lover, simply by inhabiting the body of the woman he loved.
A raid would need to be conducted...and as soon as possible. The problem, he thought with an irritated sigh, was the fact that the Tau’ri were now capable of showing up in an attempt to protect any human inhabitants of any planet he might choose. Those damnable people were becoming more of a nuisance every day!
Ba’al sat on his throne, staring at the darkness of space. Waiting for what he knew was inevitable. The tenacity of SG-1 alone would see him as their target. That he had Casey ensured that the group would once again attempt to invade his ship. The hatred between him and those people was deep...and mutual. As determined as they were to destroy him, he was just as eager to kill them, and rid the universe of their infernal interference.
A A A A A A
Casey sat in the room she shared with Ba’al, knees drawn up, her arms around her legs. The twinkling of distant stars broke up the nearly suffocating darkness of space. Out there, somewhere, were the enemies of her Lord. Tau’ri who would attempt to kill him. She frowned as the poking at the back of her mind became stronger. She was still unable to recognize the message that her brain was so frantically trying to impart. The more she ‘listened’, the more garbled that message became. Conflicting feelings coursed through her, adding to the turmoil that continued to build.
One thought was all she could focus on...and the implications frightened her.
Who am I?
A A A A A A
General Hammond read the message. As usual, the timing for such a warning was beyond lousy. He hurried into the control room. "Can you raise the Daedalus?"
Walter nodded. Even with the improved communications - thanks to the upgrades on existing satellites made possible by Tegerian technology that had been procured by Dr. Jackson - the distances of space still caused a lag in sending and receiving messages. However, the lag was much lower within the galaxy itself, thanks to the recently acquired ‘boost’ from their alien allies. Now even neighboring galaxies were relatively easy to contact now. The sergeant checked the coordinates for the Daedalus, and quickly did the calculations. They were still in the same galaxy..."Distance will cause a three minute delay in response time."
The Texan wiped a hand over his face wearily. "Do it. Tell Colonel Mitchell to keep SG-1 off Ba’al’s ship. If possible, I want that Goa’uld destroyed."
The technician gulped slightly. A message from Master Bra’tac had come in just fifteen or so minutes earlier...he’d been on a coffee break, so he’d not seen it. Whatever it was, it must be bad. Wasn’t that always the way, though? he thought.
When the computer flashed the message that the Daedalus was standing by, Walter pulled the microphone closer to his face. "Daedalus, this is the SGC. Do not allow SG-1 to board Ba’al’s ship. Repeat, do not allow SG-1 to board Ba’al’s ship."
"Tell them to arm all weapons and blow his ass out of the sky," Hammond muttered.
"Destroy Ba’al and his ship immediately. Repeat, destroy Ba’al and his ship immediately." Walter punched a small clock on the console. "Three minutes for reply, sir," he told his commanding officer.
Nearly a hundred light years away, Colonel Cameron Mitchell heaved a sigh. Ran his hand over his jaw. "Comm, reply that SG-1 just ringed aboard. No way to reach them until they signal that they’re ready to return."
What the hell has gone wrong now? he wondered. The thought that this must be the bad luck before that magical SG-1 good luck kicked in crossed his mind. He could only hope that his assumption was correct. If General Hammond was ordering the immediate destruction of Ba’al’s ship, something had happened to make the System Lord too dangerous to ignore any longer.
"Any details with that message?"
"No sir, just that SG-1 isn’t to board, and that we’re to destroy the ship immediately."
"Not sure he’s even on the damned thing," Mitchell grumped beneath his breath. Obviously Ba’al’s death was the ultimate goal. Once SG-1 had returned, he’d destroy the ship...and hope like hell the snake didn’t head for that planet. He didn’t want to have to attack the settlement there. No way in hell did he want to see innocent people hurt. Not again
Hammond was pacing the control room, waiting for the response from Colonel Mitchell. Felt his heart nearly stop beating as the voice of the communication’s officer from the Daedalus filled the room.
"SG-1 aboard enemy vessel. Communication impossible. Waiting their signal to ring them back to the Daedalus."
"Damn!" the general swore softly.
"Reply, sir?" Walter asked nervously.
"As soon as SG-1 is back on the Daedalus, the orders stand. Ba’al is to be destroyed as quickly as possible."
"Yes, sir." Walter sent the message. Tapped his fingers nervously against the table top beside his keyboard.
Mitchell frowned. "Acknowledge the orders. And keep an ear on what’s going on with the team. At the first sign of trouble, get them out of there."
"Sir, we can’t," the young lieutenant reminded his CO. "They aren’t wearing the transmitters for the beaming device. They have to ring back to the Daedalus."
The sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach was enough to alert the colonel to the fact that things were about to go bad. "Right. Keep listening as much as possible."
Time seemed to stand still on board the Daedalus, and in the SGC. Both groups waited word from SG-1. Everyone hoping that the magical, blessed good luck would see the premier team through the fire one more time.
A A A A A A
Alarms began to wail. "My Lord, the transporter was just activated," one of the Jaffa reported.
Brown eyes went hard and flashed the eerie yellow light of a Goa’uld in anger. An enemy had just used the transport rings to board his ship. An enemy capable of overriding the programming on the transport device long enough to control it. Experience had given him an idea of just who the intruders were. He would know for certain soon enough. There were limited hiding places on a ha’tak...the cursed group of Tau’ri would be found! This time, there would be no escape for them! Ba’al rose from his throne. "Find whoever would dare to appear on my ship unannounced and uninvited!"
"Yes, My Lord!" Laqip raced from the pel’tak, determined to prove to his Master that he was capable of protecting the ship, as well as his god. That a god should need protection was a thought lost on him as he ran through the corridors, barking orders into the metal band around his wrist.
Stomping from the room, the heavy robe that covered his leather trousers and silk shirt swinging behind him, Ba’al turned his attention to his most prized possession. If he were mistaken about the identity of the intruders, he needed to make certain that no one could take from him what he had so long...and so cunningly...worked for. If he were right however...
The first thing he would check was the lab that held his ‘special’ equipment. Losing the devices and information held in the computers there would mean starting all over again, and he had every intention of creating his own Kull warriors. His ‘adjustments’, however, would see his army much more powerful than Anubis could ever have dreamed.
Then he would see to it that Casey was well-hidden, tucked away from whoever the intruders turned out to be. He would not lose her...especially to SG-1!
He’d not made it to the elevator before it opened, and his Consort ran toward him. The look of panic in her eyes made him ache to comfort her, even as it satisfied him. There was no doubt that she was truly, completely his. "Casey! I told you to remain in my quarters!"
"I...I just needed to make certain you were all right," she said softly, clinging to him when his arms closed around her.
With a smile, Ba’al pressed a kiss against the side of her head. "I’m fine, My Beloved. It’s you that I worry about. Now, go back-"
"Not alone! Please...walk with me?" she begged.
His heart hammered against his ribs. For so long he had waited to have her at his side, loving him as he loved her. In that moment, her hands wrapped around his arm possessively, she was everything that he had dreamed of...longed for. "Of course," he said gently. His arm settled around her slender shoulders. Her arm went around his waist, and tugged him closer. "All will be fine, My Beloved."
"Yeah, I’ll believe that when all of the noise shuts off," Casey replied drolly.
In spite of the circumstances, Ba’al found himself chuckling. "I doubt it will take long to contain the situation. Those who have boarded my ship will not be able to hide from me."
Once again the poking at the back of her mind became stronger. What Casey didn’t know was if it had to do with the invaders in particular or their ability to hide themselves. The noise of the klaxons, the lights that flashed, the fear that gripped her heart...all served to deflect her attention from those thoughts.
Ba’al escorted his Consort to his quarters. "You must remain here, My Beloved."
"I promise. Please...be careful," Casey replied.
"There is no need to be concerned for my safety,"Ba’al replied automatically. He was a god, after all! "My heart swells with my love for you when you so openly worry about me," he added softly.
"Of course I worry about you,"she smiled. "What would happen to me if you were hurt, or killed?"
The twinkle in her green eyes brought another amused chuckle. He kissed her gently. "Remain here. I will return as quickly as possible."
"I’ll be waiting."
Once the door to his quarters was closed...and locked, an expression of determination on his handsome features, Ba’al led his personal guard back to the elevators. He would check his labs, and then he would wait near the transport rings. Whoever had transported onto his ship no doubt planned to leave in the same way.
The presence of half a dozen slaves, who cowered on the floor, frightened by the noise that echoed in the corridors, halted the System Lord in his tracks. His eyes narrowed slightly. If fighting were to break out, any of those in the passageways could be wounded or killed. At the moment he had no time to spare to train a new group of slaves. Better to protect the ones he had, those who were already familiar with the routine of the ship, and their part in it. "Make certain that the slaves and servants are rounded up, and locked into their quarters."
"Yes, My Lord," Ensuat replied. He glanced around, noted that two Jaffa were hurrying down the corridor. "Jaffa, kree! Come here at once!"
The two stopped, nearly colliding with one another as they whirled around.
"Your Master wishes all of the slaves and servants to be taken below. Find the nearest patrol squad, and see that this is done!"
"As you say!"Turning on their heels, the two warriors jogged back in the direction from which they had come.
Ba’al continued to stride toward the elevators. Cursed silently when Tiria hurried toward him.
Bowing low, the Mistress of the Harem waited for permission from her god before speaking.
"What is it?"
"My, Lord, a fight has broken out in the harem. The two-"she stopped, glanced at the Jaffa who stood at attention behind her master.
"Which two?"Ba’al demanded impatiently. How many more things would he have to attend before seeing to the safety of his laboratory?
"The two who helped you...regain...your Consort, were attacked by the other Goa’uld who were taking their pleasure. I do not know why."
He heaved a mental sigh. He was certain the seeming lack of their presence on the ship had been noted. He'd warned them to remain in seclusion for a time, even after they completed the task he had set before them. Apparently, with their work finished, they had been seeking their pleasure in the harem. Why they had chosen to do so now, when before neither man had shown interest in the women kept for the pleasure of their master...he shook his head mentally. The why did not matter. He was left dealing with the results of their actions.
It would not do for the Goa’uld who had attacked the scientists to be allowed to behave in such a manner. It might not be typical behavior...usually Goa’uld as a whole were more devious about exacting revenge for perceived wrongs...but it was not completely unheard of for a group of underlings to resort to blows over one slight or another.
Anger etched on the features of his face, Ba’al turned toward the harem. He would deal with the combatants. Threatening them with a future spent in a canopic jar would net better results than threats of death. Then he would secure his lab. By that time, his Jaffa should have the intruders in custody. If not...it would no doubt be a short wait beside the transporter rings.
When he walked into the harem, the results of the fight were plain to see. The furniture had been upended, drapes that covered the walls were puddled into heaps of fabric on the cold, metal floors. Two of the walls bore the marks of laser blasts, apparently at least one of the Goa’uld had been armed with a zat’nik’tel. With the already blaring alarms, there would have been no notice of the alarm sounded by the unauthorized discharge.
Ba’al wondered briefly if any of the Goa’uld would come up missing...a result of three blasts from the weapon.
Tiria looked around timidly. "My Lord, if they return-"
Whirling to face his personal guard, Ba’al snapped out orders. "I will return after I have dealt with the intruders."
With a slight nod of her head, Tiria watched...with not a little trepidation...as the open walls of the harem slid closed. Listened as the lock clanged into place. While the action would prevent the servants of her Master from returning, it also imprisoned her and the women who dwelt within the walls of the harem. It was an unsettling feeling, to be locked in as she now was.
Part of his mind planning the punishment he would impose on the quarrelsome Goa’uld, Ba’al stormed down the corridor once again, determined not to be distracted from his ultimate goal: protecting his secret laboratory. His strides took him quickly from the elevator, toward the room that held all that had come to symbolize his power, in his own mind, if not in reality.
A slender figure in green army fatigues slid around a corner. "Oh, hell!"
For a moment, he was stunned into motionless, speechless stupor. His brown eyes went wide. He had seen her...Jackson had been carrying her...the front of the clothes she wore drenched with blood...she had been dead! "Casey?"
Four others careened around the corner as well. Each face mirrored the same surprise, glances exchanged contained the same message...‘this mission just went tits up.’ Staff weapons were pointed at them. And while being shot now would mean three days before they were able to retaliate, being killed was not on the agenda, and they certainly didn’t need any Goa’uld, but particularly this one, to know about their secret. P90’s were lowered reluctantly.
"Jaffa, kree! Akek ya daru!"Ba’al ordered, his eyes still locked on the beautiful blonde who watched him, her eyes full of hatred. He strode forward, even as the Jaffa raced to disarm the other members of SG-1. He grabbed her by the arm. "Take them to the holding cells."
"Daniel!" Casey cried out, as she was jerked forward, away from her husband.
"It’s okay, Angel, we’ll get out of this," Daniel replied, his words and voice calm, though his heart was pounding with fear.
"Look for the rabbit, Angel."
Before she could respond, Ba’al dragged her in the opposite direction.
"I love you, Angel!"
"I love you, Daniel!"
Ba’al nearly tossed her into the room. She was about to tell him exactly what she thought of him when movement beside the window caught her attention. Nearly slack-jawed, Casey found herself staring at...herself. "Holy Hannah!" she breathed.
The woman was wearing a sheer black silk skirt wrapped around her narrow waist. The top of the skirt rested just above her navel, with heavy gold filigree embroidery along the exposed edge and the bottom of the fabric, which completely covered her feet, and had designs going up just past the knee. The top had a scoop neckline, short cap sleeves, gold filigree embroidered on nearly every inch of the black silk, and barely covered the bottom curves of her breasts. A sheer silk wrap embroidered to match the top and skirt covered one shoulder. Well, she thought, caught between hysteria, anger, and curiosity, the bastard seems to be into the harem look. Or maybe she refused to wear those damned silk things. Casey shuddered slightly as her mind tried to comprehend the fact that she was staring her double, still not fully comprehending that she was looking at a clone.
The slender blonde moved to stand beside Ba’al, her own eyes wide with disbelief. She’d seen her image in the mirror often enough to recognize herself. The woman she was looking at was...her! Words...images...thoughts lying silently in the back of her mind began to swirl, making her dizzy as she struggled to understand what was happening.
With the rest of SG-1 in his custody, Ba’al was now able to take a breath...confront his reeling senses. It seemed that, in spite of what he had witnessed, Casey hadn’t been killed after all. He was barely able to believe his own eyes. Only the sweet scent, stronger in her than in her clone, and the obvious hatred burning in her beautiful green eyes, convinced him that his senses were not deluding him. Still..."You’re alive!" he blurted.
"Yeah, go figure," she grumbled, her focus on the woman standing beside the Goa’uld. Now she had an inkling of how Jack must have felt when confronted with Mini-me...Johnny, her mind pushed forward.
"I saw you! Jackson was carrying you...you were dead!"
Barely able to tear her eyes from the woman who was her twin, Casey glared at her enemy. Knew that she had to say something...anything...to keep him from suspecting her secret...the secret of the entire team. "Yeah, well looks can be deceiving."
"You were covered with blood. You were dead!" Ba’al insisted, his eyes narrowing slightly. He had seen his fair share of dead bodies. Recognized one when he saw it. Casey had most certainly been dead. Which meant he had yet to figure out exactly what was going on.
"Well, losing blood can make you look that way,"she stalled, trying to think of an believable lie to tell him.
The only way a dead body could be reanimated...Of course! And no doubt that annoying group had been able to steal one from a Goa’uld killed by their hands. "A sarcophagus!"
Hey, why not? she thought desperately. "Yeah, sure, that works," she mumbled.
"I had no idea the Tau’ri had a sarcophagus at their disposal,"Ba’al continued, watching the slender blonde carefully. Perhaps she would boast about other technology stolen from other Goa’uld. Devices that might interest him, or be of use to him.
"There are a lot of things about us you don’t know,"Casey challenged.
The clone wrapped her hands around Ba’al’s arm. The poking in the back of her mind was painful now. Her heart was pounding; she felt as if she couldn’t breath. "Ba’al?" she asked softly.
For the first time since entering the Goa’uld remembered the young woman who had been waiting in his room. He looked from her, to the real Casey, who still stood near the door, just in front of the two Jaffa who had accompanied him, then back at the clone. Pulled away from her.
"What is going on?"the clone demanded.
For a moment, the notion of having two of the slender blonde to pleasure him...serve him...played across his mind. He pushed it away. Casey would never willingly join him in bed if there was another woman...even a clone of herself. And he wanted her in his arms willingly. That, he promised himself, would happen. A cruel smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. It seemed that with the capture of SG-1, he had just managed to solve two problems in one fell swoop. He would have the ‘real’ Casey at his side...willingly. And the engineer whose skills he needed would have a very...interesting...host. Ba’al had learned from his dealings with SG-1. He dared not give them time to escape him. What must be done, would be done immediately.
Casey had continued to stare at...herself. Suddenly it all made sense - the breach of security...the robbery in the med lab...the fact that her blood samples had been among those stolen... "Oh, goddess," she murmured. "Nirrti!"
He started slightly as the Goa’uld’s name left her lips. "What about Nirrti?"
"You...she...she was working on..." Casey frowned slightly as images began to dance in her mind. She sorted them impatiently. Anubis! "Oh, hell," she muttered. Ba’al was now more dangerous than any other Goa’uld that the Tau’ri were aware of. And SG-1 was stuck on his ship, as his prisoners. Oh, this was so not a good thing!
"Find Gemeti. I want Casey prepared to stand at my side. There are three canopic jars in my private laboratory. Bring them to me. Then tell the Laqip to learn what he can from the prisoners."
The Jaffa, who had been as wide-eyed at being faced with two living, breathing versions of the same slender blonde woman as the women themselves, nodded their understanding.
Ba’al turned to the clone. Cupped her cheek with his hand. "Take this one below. Destroy it."
Two matching cries echoed in the room simultaneously. "Ba’al, you’re a cold-hearted bastard!" Casey hissed.
The clone was momentarily too shocked to be able to respond. She moved woodenly when one of the Jaffa carefully took hold of her arm, and led her toward the door. Before the door opened, she turned to look at Ba’al. "I hate you," she said, her voice devoid of emotion.
"There are several matters to which I must attend,"Ba’al said quietly. "I will return very shortly."
Casey snorted. "Take your time," she snapped. Gives me more of a chance to escape from your sorry snake ass!
The smile he gave was cold. In her distress at the sudden turn of events, Casey missed the look of calculated triumph that flashed across Ba’al’s face, just before he schooled his expression into careful neutrality.
A A A A A A
The Jaffa shoved the prisoners into the cell with little regard to whether or not they remained on their feet.
"Would have been nice to have had a clue about this," Jack muttered, stumbling slightly, accepting a steadying hand from Teal’c.
"Casey doesn’t get the full daily itinerary," Daniel snapped. Jack’s attitude he did not need at the moment! Once again Ba’al had managed to capture his Wife, and he wasn’t sure whether to scream in rage or drop to his knees and weep in agony.
The older man reached out and squeezed the archaeologist’s shoulder reassuringly. "I know, Danny," he said quietly.
"She’s okay," Sam said, stepping closer to the two men, putting her hand on Daniel’s back.
"Ba’al has her...she’s not okay," Daniel spat, pulling away from his friends. Not their fault. Stop acting like an ass. He took a deep breath, tried to get a grip on the mind-numbing panic that filled him. Attempted to push away the images of Ba’al dragging Casey with him, in the opposite direction that the Jaffa were jerking and yanking the four remaining team members, that continued to whirl in his mind. "Sorry," he murmured.
Jack nodded his acknowledgement. "Still got that doohickey?"
Daniel nodded, patting the pocket of his tac-vest.
"Did anyone else notice that Ba’al didn’t seem surprised to see us?" Sam asked, a frown on her lovely face.
"It did indeed seem as if he expected to find us," Teal’c mused.
"Either somebody gave him a head’s up that we were coming-" Jack started.
"Or he’s learning from our repeated appearances on his ship," Daniel concluded with a sigh.
"Well, we have made a habit of popping up here whenever we want something from him," Sam said. She tried to smile, but failed miserably.
The teammates continued to stand near the energy field that prevented them from leaving the ship’s prison cell. Hoping to hear something...anything. Things had certainly gone to hell quickly. Given their circumstances, not one of them bothered to worry about the bag of ‘stolen goods’ that had been taken from Teal’c.
Daniel put his hand on the wall, rested his forehead against his fist. Don’t piss him off, Angel, he begged silently. Don’t give him a reason to kill you.
A A A A A A
Casey paced the room like a caged animal, her heart pounding a tattoo of fear against her ribs. In the moments after Ba’al had left the room, she’d been so angry that coherent thought had been impossible. A clone! That bastard had made...created...a clone of her! How dare he? And then...She closed her eyes. That poor woman was going to be killed simply because the damned snake had decided he no longer wanted the copy. Not now that he has the original, she thought morosely.
Arms tucked around her waist, head down, she continued to play over those first minutes in the corridor...the look of shock on Ba’al’s face. Not that SG-1 was there...he’d actually seemed to expect that...but to see her. She’d realized that immediately. She berated herself for not figuring out sooner that the snake would believe she was dead...Daniel, Sam, and Jack had seen him when they’d been leaving that planet...wherever it was, the computer designation was nowhere to be found in her brain...where she and Teal’c had been killed. They could have used this to their advantage, damn it! Now...
Canopic jars! Those are used to keep...shit! Goa’uld! Oh, Goddess!
Panic wrapped around her, digging icy claws into her very soul. She had to get out of here...had to get the rest of the team out of that holding cell. They had to get off this damned ship...
Gemeti entered the room, her jaw dropping at the site of the woman who paced back and forth. She was dressed as the warrior she had been the first time the two had met. "My Lady?" she asked hesitantly.
Casey’s head flew up. "I don’t suppose you’d help me escape, would you?"
Brown eyes went so wide that the seer was certain the orbs would pop out of the slave’s head. The lo’taur shook her head slowly.
"Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you,’Casey said, trying to force a smile to lips that felt frozen. She was terrified...knowing what was about to happen...helpless to stop it. At least, in that moment. Were Bra’tac’s men still on the ship? Would they be able to help her?
I have to get out of here!
A A A A A A
Daniel grunted in pain when the Jaffa guarding him shoved a meaty fist into his belly...the ‘reward’ for daring to struggle against the inevitable beating. His wrists were wrapped in manacles, the chain connected to them lifting his arms painfully above his head. His toes were barely touching the floor. Been here, done this, he grumped silently.
The sounds of a scuffle in the corridor just outside the room in which he was hanging...more or less...alerted him to the fact that one of his teammates was being taken into one of the other ‘interrogation’ rooms.
He expected to see Ba’al stride through the door at any moment. Was surprised when the First Prime entered...identifiable by the gold emblem tattooed into his forehead...studied him for a moment, then ordered him to be unchained.
The manacles remained around his wrists, and a metal collar was fitted around his neck, a chain connected to it. Daniel fought down the surge of panic that rose when the First Prime yanked the chain, nearly knocking him off his feet. He was dragged to the elevator. Going down, he noted. Probably not a good thing, if his memory of the ship’s layout was correct.
He was taken into a hanger bay; one suspiciously devoid of any gliders. Nearly a dozen Jaffa were constructing what looked like an altar, under the supervision of a man dressed in priestly robes.
This is so not good, Daniel thought frantically, tugging slightly against his restraints. Where the hell had the warning for this been? he thought grumpily. Casey’s face, her eyes wide with panic, the way she had grabbed him, kissed him...something is screwy here. There was no way in hell Casey wouldn’t have warned the team...warned him...about this, had she seen it. When he'd asked her if she were all right, she’d seemed almost...confused. Yep, something definitely screwy going on.
Now, Daniel decided, he only had to figure out what was happening, and try to avoid it. Another glance at the altar at the far end of the room left little for him to decipher. He was about to become a Goa’uld host. The thought sent a shudder of icy cold dread that made its way from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. It was all he could do to remain silent, when he wanted to scream in absolute terror.
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