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Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
Dirt. The smell was all around her. She opened her eyes, only to discover that she couldn't see anything. She shifted slightly, felt something beside her. Reached out...cold. Very cold.
Oh, god. Everything that had transpired in the preceding hours crashed through her mind...the mission...getting separated from Daniel and Jack...the battle with Keku's Jaffa...Teal'c and Casey killed...the ha'tak on which her lover and best friend were trapped taking off...her desperate attempt to remain free...the agonizing work of getting her two friends into the cave...
Cave! She sat up, reached into her pocket, found her flashlight. The first thing she checked was her watch. Holy Hannah! According to this, she'd been asleep for twelve hours!
Moving slowly, standing so that she could stretch over-exerted muscles that had grown stiff from lack of movement for so long, Sam checked the cave. Nothing there, no sign of anyone coming in. She gave a soft snort. If any Jaffa had found this cave, she'd be a prisoner right now.
The light coming in through the opening was golden. Probably late afternoon, early evening, she thought.
The growling of her stomach sent her in search of her pack. A few sips of water remained in her canteen. One energy bar was all that was left of her food. Moving at night was a risk, but probably less so than trying to search out water during the day. As for food...
Her stomach rumbled again. The thought that there would be at least some food in the village once again poked at her. She didn't want to steal from those people. She was on an alien planet, her mind pointed out, and she had no idea which plants were edible, and which were poisonous. She didn't have any equipment to run tests on anything that might be food...or might mean her death if ingested.
She broke the energy bar in half, tucked half back into her pack. Nibbled on the other half, so hungry that it was a physical struggle to keep from shoving the food into her mouth.
Draining the last of the water from her canteen, Sam knew she had no choice but to find a source, hopefully one nearby. There had been signs of streams or rivers where she'd trekked earlier. Staying on this side of the mountain within which she hid was probably to her advantage.
"Okay, guys, I have to find water. I'll be back before morning," Sam whispered. She wouldn't examine the need to explain her absence to her dead friends. Perhaps it was more to assure herself of her safe return.
Remaining within the dark shadows created by the setting sun, Sam peeked out of the opening. She couldn't see anything. Didn't hear anything. She slowly crawled out, dragging her pack along, her eyes moving over the terrain as she rose to her feet. Never allowing her gaze to remain focused in one place for too long, she shrugged her pack onto her shoulders.
P90 gripped firmly with both hands, she began her descent, sliding far more often than she actually took a step. Getting back up would certainly be a bitch, she thought, reaching out to steady herself when her boots dislodged a section of rock. At least she wouldn't be carrying Casey, or dragging Teal'c. That was something to be thankful for. Count your blessings. How often did Casey say that? She knew that the seer took her own advice. Often shared the 'list' of her blessings with her friends. A smile tugged at her lips. Being around Casey had certainly improved her outlook on life. It was no small matter that part of that improvement had been the ability to finally, at long last, admit her love for her CO; to accept his in return, without fear of being disciplined or court-martialed for the offense of loving one another.
Jack, are you okay? Casey had said that she saw Jack and Daniel captured. For a moment Sam had to stop moving, closing her eyes against the emotional pain that gripped her. "Please, Jack, please be okay," she whispered.
A A A A A A
"Okay, let's give this a shot," Jack said, after carefully keying in the coordinates that continued to flash on his screen.
The glider seemed to jerk beneath them, turned slightly, and then proceeded on the course that had been entered.
"Let's hope Keku didn't make any hyperspace jumps," Daniel said quietly. "Gliders don't do hyperspace."
"Thank you, Suzy Sunshine," Jack growled.
"Wouldn't we have felt that...shimmy...if the ha'tak had gone into hyperspace?"
Willing to grab at anything that would see them back to the planet from which they had unwittingly been removed, Jack nodded. Even if it was a long shot. How much could they actually have felt while they were crawling through air ducts and access shafts? "Yep, we've always felt it before."
"That's what I thought." Daniel studied the blackness of space above him for a moment. "You know, I get the feeling that Keku wasn't so much in a hurry to get away from the planet, he just didn't want to be caught on it."
"Any reason for that interesting hypothesis?"
Daniel smiled. Occasionally Jack would say something that revealed the influence of the college education he had received in order to become a pilot. "Something I saw when we were looking through his computer system for anything related to Ba'al. It almost looked like a chart of some sort."
"Yeah...I recognized the names of some of the days of the week, and of the month. And...what looked like a list of time markings." He frowned as he struggled to pull the information, the image of the chart, to the front of his mind. Closed his eyes in concentration. "If I knew what today is on the Goa'uld calendar, I might be able to figure this out. Would a glider have anything like a clock, or a calendar?"
"Most fighters have a time and date readout," Jack mused.
"Okay, then let's look for something."
"What am I looking for?"
Daniel carefully described what the possible date and time icons would look like. There were several minutes of silence. "Found it!"
"I think I did, too," Jack replied, describing the flashing numbers that had replaced the coordinate numbers on his display screen.
"That's it!" Daniel confirmed excitedly. Once again he closed his eyes in concentration. "If I'm remembering correctly, what I saw were the days that the ha'tak had been on the planet, and the times of arrival and departure."
"Like an airline schedule?" Jack asked incredulously.
"Something like that," Daniel chuckled. "I don't think Keku spends long on the planet's surface. Just long enough to load and unload."
"I have no idea."
"Carter said she wasn't picking up any signs of naquadah," Jack
mused. "Maybe it's just a place to meet up."
"That's possible. A 'neutral' planet as it were. We didn't see any other ships on the ground...but they could have been ringing supplies up to a ship that was in orbit."
"Or the supplies we saw had been ringed down, ready for pick up," Jack suggested. "Now that we've made this very fascinating discovery, what the hell difference does it make?"
"He wasn't in any hurry to get away. There was no reason for him to go into hyperdrive," Daniel explained.
"Right." Yep, anything that would see them returned without hassle to that planet was okay by him, Jack thought. Grabbing onto the hope that Daniel offered.
A A A A A A
She heard it before she saw it. The soft sound of water as it danced over rocks; quiet, lilting splashes that had her licking her lips in anticipation of quenching her thirst. Pushing more vines and the limbs of low bushes out of her way, Sam practically ran in the direction the enticing sound was coming from. Stumbled twice, barely retained her footing.
The stream was narrow, and shallow. But it was water. She dropped her pack to the ground beside her; shaking hands pulled her med kit from the pouch where she kept it. Her fingers were trembling so much she could barely pull a test strip from the small vial. She dipped it into the water, pulled her flashlight from her thigh pocket with her other hand. She glanced around. Sent up a prayer that the Jaffa had not made it this far from the village.
The test strip showed two lines of dark blue. The water was safe to drink. With a soft cry of relief, she dropped onto her stomach, cupped one hand to pull the water to her mouth, holding herself steady with the other.
Cold and sweet, the water satisfied her thirst. After drinking until she could hold no more, she wiped her mouth on the back of her sleeve. Sitting up, she looked around, trying to identify anything that might be edible. There didn't seem to be any animals, other than the lizard she had seen when she had carried Casey to the cave. The thought that even a lizard could be roasted flashed in her mind. Roasting a lizard meant building a fire. And for the moment, that was a risk she didn't dare take. She did her best to ignore it when her stomach rumbled in disagreement.
She filled her canteen; and, even though the water was cold, took a few minutes to wash her hands and face. The moon was full, and almost directly above her. It offered enough light to give her an idea of her surroundings. The plants and trees looked no different to her than the small forest she trudged through. Surely there had to something that she could eat!
Moving along a narrow path, Sam stumbled on a large patch of dark leaves. Well, in the dim moonlight they seemed particularly dark. The shape seemed familiar as well. Were the leaves edible...or was it the root of the plant that she should be looking at?
With a slight shrug or her shoulders, wincing slightly when she realized her body was still recovering from her endeavors of the night before, she pulled her knife from the sheath on her hip, and began to dig in the hard-packed dirt.
Even in the pale moonlight she recognized the shape of the tubers she had exposed. Sweet potatoes! She closed her eyes, tears of silent relief, mixed with a healthy dose of thanksgiving, dripped from her jaw.
Dropping onto her ass, Sam gave in to the emotions that she had so firmly held in check since the mission had gone to hell. She tallied every blessing, every miracle that had seen her able to get her friends to safety, and had prevented her from being caught.
"See, Carter? Piece of cake."
Her heart leapt into her throat. "Jack...uh...Colonel?"
He smiled that crooked smile that always set her pulse racing. "I knew you'd be okay. You're a trained Air Force Officer. You've been through worse because of the Goa'uld."
She snorted. "Care to give me an example?"
"Give me a minute," was the immediate, perfunctory reply. The smile widened. "You remembered your training, Sam. It's kept you alive. Helped you do what needed to be done. You have food, you have water. Just stick to the plan, and you'll be back at the SGC in just a few hours."
A soft breeze rustled against the leaves of the abundant foliage around her. She glanced around, certain that her commanding officer and lover had been there...her eyes went back to the tree she would swear Jack had been leaning against...right there!
Get a grip, Airman! She wiped her wet cheeks hastily, unknowingly smearing them with the dirt that covered her hands. Digging up three more of the potatoes, she carefully cleaned them off, then stuck them into her pack.
Trying to mark the area with her eyes, seeking out anything that she could use for as a landmark, Sam began the arduous trek back to the cave. She'd found water, and if the potatoes tested safe, she'd found food. Now, all she had to do was keep from being captured by Keku's Jaffa for another twenty hours, if her calculations were correct. Then she, Teal'c, and Casey could escape through the 'gate, back to the safety of the SGC. And mount a rescue mission to bring Jack and Daniel home.
A A A A A A
"I need to set this thing on autopilot," Jack said, breaking the silence that had fallen between the two men.
"Okay. Tell me what you see on your display," Daniel replied, biting back a yawn. Listened carefully as Jack tried to describe the symbols. "Wait, one that looks like a house?"
"Yeah. Well, sort of. Maybe it's supposed to be a tent with a flat roof. It has a triangle doorway. Is that it?"
He couldn't help but grin. "I doubt it. That's the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for the letter 'g'."
"Oh. No way it could autopilot?"
"I doubt it."
It had often been noted, Jack thought, that fighter pilots flew instinctively, and that they were able to fly the jets of a foreign power, even without understanding the language, or recognizing the alphabet used. He thought about the F302 he had flown. Carefully examined each of the glyphs. "I could always just start pushing buttons and see what happens."
"What if you hit eject?"
"That could definitely ruin my day," Jack replied dryly. Two symbols looked familiar. He'd seen both Carter and Teal'c use them. But when? What had they been doing when their fingers had moved over the glyphs? He began to grin. "Found it."
"Are you sure?"
"Yep. It's the glyph Teal'c always selected when he put the scout ship we borrowed from Jacob on autopilot."
"You borrowed a scout ship from Jacob?"
"I've told you about it. When Balls had you and Casey."
Yes, as a matter of fact, Jack had told him about it. About the desperate search the three had undertaken, trying to locate Ba'al, and in the process, free him and Casey from the Goa'uld's clutches. "I remember," he said softly.
Jack pushed his finger against the glass screen. The icon flashed, then filled the center of the display. He could feel the difference in the controls. "Yep, that's it!"
"Okay, now what?"
"Daniel, we're running on two hours of sleep. We both need to get some rest, or we're not going to be in any shape to do anything once we do get to that planet."
"True. What if we run into another ship...or an asteroid, or a moon or something?" Daniel asked nervously.
"I'm assuming that gliders have some sort of proximity warnings. If we get too close to anything...or something gets too close to us, we should hear alarms."
"I hope so," Daniel muttered.
"Right now, there's nothing else we can do. Our course is set. Now all we can do is wait. And hope like hell we're heading to the right planet."
He heaved a sigh. "Also true."
"Danny, I'm as scared as you are," Jack admitted quietly. "I didn't pilot that glider long...remember how close Apophis was to Earth?"
"We didn't have to do much but get off the ha'tak, and then we were caught by Earth's gravity. The Space Shuttle saved our asses."
"So now you're telling me you really don't know how to fly this thing?"
"Hey, I flew well enough to get us out of that asteroid field!" Jack protested.
"Yes, you did. I guess we should get some sleep then, huh?"
Jack smiled. The comment was Daniel's way of letting him know that the archaeologist trusted him...completely. He sent up a silent prayer that that trust wasn't misplaced.
A A A A A A
The climb back to the cave left her exhausted. The moon was low in the sky...dawn would be breaking soon. She found the opening to her place of refuge, slipped inside. She turned on her flashlight, put it on a rock beside her. The beam offered more than enough light to see by. She glanced at the opening of the cave. Given that the light was pointed toward the far wall, she didn't think there would be enough illumination to be seen outside of the cave, the opening was too narrow, and too high. She could feel her shoulders relax, knowing that she was once again safe.
Funny, that. She'd never been particularly fond of caves. She didn't like caverns, either. Particularly caverns filled with ice. An involuntary shudder moved her slim frame as she settled onto the dirt.
"I found water," she said softly, speaking to her teammates, even though she knew they couldn't hear her. It was another funny thing, she thought, that just having Casey and Teal'c nearby, even though they were dead...for at least seventeen more hours, give or take...was such a comfort to her. She didn't feel nearly as alone with their still figures lying peacefully nearby.
She took a deep breath, blew it out. "Let's see if I managed to find food as well." Retrieving the roots from her pack, Sam pulled out the med kit as well. It didn't always work, but often using the same test strips that would determine the safety of water could also give a general idea if a plant, or any type of food offered to the SG teams when off-world, was edible. She was hoping that the moisture content of the potatoes, as she was already calling them in her mind, would give an accurate reading.
She cut one of the potatoes open. Began to gag. The smell of the tuber was absolutely disgusting! Like a cross between a wet dog, and the men's locker room. She held the back of her hand to her face, covering her nose and mouth. "Oh, that's just wrong," she groaned softly.
She started to toss the two pieces aside, determined to bury them and hope that the smell would eventually clear from the cave, when her instinct for survival, and her training, kicked in. Regardless of how the thing smelled, or even tasted, if it was safe, it was food.
"Better than eating beetles," she groused. Another shudder moved her as she recalled the days of her SERE training. And the 'meal' of edible plants and insects that could mean the difference between living and starving to death. She could still feel the scratchy sensation of swallowing two beetles. Could remember the instructor's warning not to chew them, and how two of her fellow trainees had vomited immediately after failing to heed that warning. "Yep, better than beetles." She took a breath. "Maybe."
Using the tip of her knife, she cut into the meat of the potato, forced a test strip into the slit the blade had created. One dark blue line, the other not as dark, but there. She sighed. There could be toxins unknown to the makers of the test strips, poisons that wouldn't register, but could kill her just the same. Or make her deathly ill.
"What do you guys think?" she asked her silent teammates. Her stomach chose that moment to grumble in protest of its very empty condition. She studied the potato, noted that the cut halves were already beginning to turn a bit brown, having been exposed to the air. She closed her eyes. Took a bite. Swallowed before actually chewing the soft, pulpy mass. It tasted as bad as it smelled. Her stomach began to roll in protest. She made it to her knees before the bite, and what bit of water was left on her stomach, came back up.
Wiping the her mouth with the back of her hand, Sam covered what had been the contents of her stomach with dirt. Used her knife to dig a hole to bury the potato. There were three more of the disgusting things in her pack...if worse came to worst.
Rinsing her mouth with water from her canteen, grateful for the fact that at least it was good...even a bit sweet, she stretched out, leaning back against the rock wall behind her. After a moment's hesitation, she turned off the flashlight, slipped it back into her pocket. The sun would be up soon, offering its light. She should use the time to rest. Her trek back to the cave had been harder than she had anticipated. She'd need her strength later, she was certain. Her stomach rumbled again.
Three nights...two days. She'd gone longer without food. All she had to do was wait until Casey and Teal'c had revived. Then through the 'gate to the SGC. She could do it. She'd been through a hell of a lot worse and lived to tell about it. Grimaced at that thought. SG -1 had certainly suffered during the course of the years. She'd never have believed that she would ever have memories of torture...rape...being imprisoned. And escaping. Every time. SG-1 magic.
A A A A A A
There had been no sign that anyone, or anything for that matter, had passed through the area in past few days. The Jaffa stopped. "There is nothing here. The woman could not have gotten this far without leaving a trail."
"I suggest we return and report to Huy that wherever the woman is hiding, she is not on this side of the mountains," the second said.
The third nodded his agreement. "By now, the woman may be in Huy's custody."
"There appears to be a pass there," the second said, pointing to what looked like a break in the mountains.
"It's possible the woman has gone in that direction," the first Jaffa said. He began walking, the clank of their armor letting him know that his companions were immediately behind him. The only value of the planet he trod on was its location. Far enough away from the normal routes used by the Goa'uld as they traveled from one planet to another in their pyramid ships, it was the perfect place for clandestine meetings of those who had no desire for their activities to be observed. Keku was careful to never remain longer than a few hours at a time, always leaving as soon as scans had shown that no other ships hovered nearby. Never moving quickly, never jumping into hyperdrive until he had cleared the solar system completely, thus avoiding the possibility of detection, and the unwanted interest of any Goa'uld who might be lurking in the vicinity.
This was the first time that Keku had left a contingent of Jaffa behind on the planet. For what reason, he didn't know. Perhaps his god expected a return of Ba'al's Jaffa. He'd heard the rumors; that Keku had deliberately shortchanged the amount of naquadah that Ba'al had demanded. He supposed that his god could be setting Ba'al up, hoping to lure him to the planet in order to attack and destroy him. The ways of the gods, after all, were not always known. However, experience had taught him that Keku preferred to hide from his enemies, rather than confront them. Tjau'kek had insisted that they would face battle soon enough; that their god was cunning, and sly, and would soon use his carefully fostered reputation to turn the tables on his enemies and soundly defeat them.
The pass they had hoped to use turned out to be a small river that wound its way through the mountains. Following the banks as much as possible, wading in the waist deep water when the water forced its way through narrow gorges, where the rock walls rose over one hundred feet on either side, the Jaffa slowly made their way back toward the village. None of them believed the woman would have come this way...not this far. It was much too treacherous a path for her to have willingly chosen it.
A A A A A A
Beeping. Damn, he hated that freaking alarm clock! Casey had said it was the only thing annoying enough to wake them in the morning. He didn't want to admit it, but she was right. His hand reached out, bumped into something...something that wasn't the nightstand, or the alarm clock. Daniel opened his eyes. Was greeted by the sight of the dark blanket of space, lit by millions of stars. What the hell? Oh, shit. "Casey," he whispered, closing his eyes as the details of his current situation filled his brain.
"How do I shut this damned thing off?" Jack growled from the front of the glider.
"Give me a sec," Daniel replied. He yawned, examined the computer screen in front of him. Found what seemed to be a control for the navigation alarm. Pressed it, and the sound ceased instantly. Wait...navigation alarm?
"Look down, Danny," Jack said softly.
Rotating beneath them was a brown and green planet. Could this really be where their unintended adventure had started? Daniel sent up a prayer. "Well, wherever it is, we're here."
The glider began to descend. "What the hell is going on?" Jack demanded, trying to regain control of the craft.
"It's still on autopilot, right?"
"Yeah, I guess so. So what's it going to do, land?"
Any answer Daniel might have made at that moment was cut off when the ship began to jump and jerk beneath them. "I don't think this is supposed to happen."
"Ya' think?" Jack snapped. "I gotta get control of this thing, or we're going to come to a very sudden, very permanent stop."
Frantically looking over Jack's shoulder, his back pressed against the top of the canopy, praying the damned thing didn't give way, Daniel tried to find the icon that would deactivate the autopilot. One 'guess' had the ship lurching, and then spinning. Another stabilized them somewhat, but they were still decelerating too quickly.
The fourth try had Jack shouting in triumph, then doing his best to regain control of the glider. A few seconds, and he was swooping down over a valley. It was not, however, the valley that held a small village, with the Stargate on a nearby ridge.
"This could take awhile," Jack admitted.
"I don't have any pressing engagements," Daniel replied drolly.
"Good. Just keep looking, will ya'?"
A A A A A A
She wasn't sure what woke her. Sam sat up, listening intently for any sounds. For just a moment, she could have sworn she heard voices...shouting voices. Trembling, she pulled her legs up to her chest, wrapped her arms around them. If there were Jaffa out there, she was on the verge of being discovered...and captured. She glanced over at the large, sunken area of the floor where her teammates lay, so still. What would the Jaffa do if they found Teal'c and Casey? Thoughts of autopsies and experiments flickered through her mind. Followed by the haggard look on Daniel's face when they'd been searching for Casey...God, she couldn't let that happen, she couldn't put him through that! She couldn't allow her two best friends to be treated with such...disrespect. Couldn't allow the Jaffa to interfere and prevent them from waking up. Sam decided in that moment that she'd have a better chance of survival if she could get away from the cave. She could keep the attention of the Jaffa on her, and with luck, they wouldn't find the cave, or her helpless friends.
Survival. Evasion. Resistance. Escape.
Her mind made up, she pulled on her backpack. Grabbed her P90. Survival. Right now, her survival depended on not getting caught. Evasion. Her only hope of not becoming a Goa'uld prisoner.
To escape, she had to know just where her pursuers were, and what they were doing. Feeling a bit like a groundhog, Sam poked her head up and out of the cave. She couldn't see anyone...and if they were moving up, or down, the side of this mountain, she would most definitely see them. Given the armor that the Jaffa wore, she'd hear them as well.
She was almost to the crest of the small mountain when she heard it...the unmistakable sound of a staff weapon being discharged. She ducked automatically, throwing herself behind the nearest boulder.
Shouting voices brought her peeking around the edge of the huge rock. She could hear them, but she couldn't see them. Shit! Okay, move, Major! Her heart pounding against her ribs, she slid over the top, rolled fifteen feet, and managed to scramble behind another of the numerous boulders that covered the area.
The words sent shivers down her spine. And for just an instant, she remained frozen in response to that word.
Once again she peeked over the top of the boulder. Could just make out five fleeing figures. She brought her P90 up, using the scope to get a clearer view. Oh, God!
Three men and two women - villagers no doubt, were running for their lives, a full squad of Jaffa hot on their tails. When one of the men looked over his shoulder, she could see the absolute terror in his eyes. As well as bruises. His lip was split, and there was a cut above his eye. No doubt the others had been just as abused. Making certain that the weapon was on semi-auto, Sam targeted the closest Jaffa. Squeezed the trigger, hoping he was close enough for a kill shot.
The sound echoed around her. And stopped several of the Jaffa cold in their tracks, as one of their own tumbled head over heels, ending in a heap...and very dead. The warriors began looking around. Pointing in her direction.
A A A A A A
Jack had managed to gain enough control of the glider that he was moving just above the tree tops. It might take longer to look the planet over, but as he told Daniel, they had nothing else to do, and everything to gain if this was the planet they had started on. Which they wouldn't be able to distinguish from a high altitude fly-over.
Daniel tapped Jack's shoulder. "Look down there! Those are Jaffa!"
"Looks like they're after someone," Jack replied.
"Think we should help out?"
"I think so."
Daniel held on for dear life as Jack turned the glider, rolling it upside down, then diving toward the opening between a forest and the side of a mountain, where a group of Jaffa stood pointing toward the mountain. He vowed silently that he was never riding second seat in a glider with Jack O'Neill again.
When it rained, it poured, Sam groused, watching the glider come towards her. She fired off two more shots, taking down another Jaffa, scattering the others as they looked for cover.
The five villagers had paused; were trying to see who on the mountainside had become their benefactor.
Sam couldn't let the Jaffa get out of range, not if she was going to take them out. She had to take them out...they knew she was there...she had no choice...
"Let's hope this thing works like a strafing gun on an F18," Jack muttered. "Keep your eyes open, Daniel. I need to know the instant any of those guys decide to take aim at us."
Swooping lower, Jack opened fire. Too busy trying to keep the glider from losing too much altitude, he had no chance to see if his shots had found their mark.
Sam watched, slack-jawed, as the glider opened fire on the Jaffa. The Jaffa who had managed to survive the surprise attack were running toward the cover of the trees. For a moment, she wanted to jump up and down and cheer. Then reality hit her with full force. Whoever it was, that glider meant another Goa'uld. This was not going to be a good day, she thought wearily. She had to get back to the cave and remain hidden. And hope like hell there wouldn't be so damned many Jaffa crawling around that sheer numbers would dictate that her hiding place was discovered.
Daniel glanced over his shoulder as they moved past the mountain, Jack climbing so that he could do another 'run'. A bit of yellow...a flash of green..."Jack! That's Sam down there!"
He nearly lost control of the glider as the words shouted in his ear sank into his brain. He now knew two things. Sam was down there. Fighting for her life. And those Jaffa had every intention of capturing or killing her. No way in hell was he going to let that happen!
He wasn't certain, after all, he'd never piloted a glider...or any other fighter craft for that matter. But it seemed to Daniel that Jack was going in a hell of a lot lower than he had the first time. "Uh...Jack?"
Determination etched on every feature of his face, Jack made another pass over the Jaffa who were still cowering behind trees and boulders. Smoke from the explosions, caused by the impact of the wing canons firing, billowed into the air as he fired again, setting trees on fire, sending the Jaffa deeper for cover.
"Don't you think you should pull up a bit?"
The glider began to climb. "I'm going back, I'm gonna land this thing. We'll take them out on the ground."
"Right." Daniel was looking around, trying to catch sight of Casey...and Teal'c. Surely they were somewhere nearby. They had to be somewhere nearby!
Sam watched the glider. It wasn't going to make it. The pilot seemed to be struggling to control the craft; it wobbled precariously in the air, seemed to drop suddenly, and then plowed into the trees of the forest that lay at the foot of the mountain, not far from where she had hidden the Jaffa she had taken out.
She thought about the canon that had opened fire on the Jaffa, who, it seemed, had either been killed, or were running back toward the village. Probably to alert their First Prime of the arrival of another Goa'uld. For whatever reason, she had the opportunity to get to that glider, kill the pilot, and get that cannon. When Teal'c reanimated, he could use it to help clear the way to the Stargate...
On her feet and moving before she gave the idea any further thought, flipping the small lever that made the P90 fully automatic once again, Sam began to run toward the downed craft. The thought that the cannon would be too heavy for her to carry, that it would be impossible to get it into the cave, never lit in her mind.
Daniel crawled past the jagged edges of what was left of the canopy. Wiped the blood that dripped from him nose onto his sleeves. "What the hell was that? You call yourself a pilot, and you crash like that?"
"It's a damned glider...and I'd like to see you do better!"
"Hello...I'm an archaeologist! You're the Air Force Colonel flyboy. Fah-eye-ter Pie-oh-lit," he taunted, over-enunciating each syllable.
"I'd rather hit you, but I think my wrist is broken," Daniel grumped.
Jack looked over his shoulder. "Really?"
"Ya know, any landing that you can walk away from is a good one."
"We're not walking," Daniel pointed out, as he struggled to get his legs to obey his commands.
The two men staggered away from the smoking wreckage.
Sam slid over the small rise that led to the crash site. Stood, stunned into immobility, as she watched the two men climb from the shattered cockpit. She couldn't help but grin when she heard their banter. Tears filled her eyes, as relief washed over her in waves. She dropped to her knees. "Jack?"
He whirled around. "Sam?"
His long legs had him by her side in just a few steps. He grabbed her by the arms, hauled her to her feet and yanked her close; each movement telegraphing his relief...his worry...his fears...his love. She clung to him, allowing herself to let go of the emotions she had held in check for two and a half days. She hiccupped, then began to cry.
Daniel stood nearby, keeping watch as Sam struggled to regain control, cradling his wrist against his chest. It probably wasn't actually broken. But it still hurt like hell. "Where's Casey?" he asked softly, when the tall blonde had taken a deep breath, regained control of herself, and looked over at him and smiled.
"Um...she and Teal'c were killed. They're hidden in a cave on the other side of that mountain," she replied, pointing behind her.
His heart dropped to his stomach. "Dead?"
"It all happened so fast," Sam sighed. "I figure they should wake up sometime early tomorrow morning."
Tomorrow? If that was true, it meant that Casey had died almost as soon as she, Teal'c and Sam had left the ship...had probably been killed at the same time the ha'tak was lifting off. "How?"
"Staff weapon. Teal'c was killed first...she...she just stood up, screaming bloody murder, firing at anything that moved," Sam said quietly. "She...she was so surprised...it happened so fast..." she repeated softly.
Jack pulled her close, hugged her tightly. "Where did this happen?"
"Loading dock. Just before the ship took off. Almost as soon as the hatch closed."
Daniel held a hand over his eyes, gauging the height of the mountain, then swung his gaze back to the forest that led away from hit. "You...you brought them both here, from the loading dock?"
Sam nodded. "It's about five miles from here to the village."
The two men exchanged a look of disbelief. She had to have been damned determined to get the bodies up the side of that mountain, no matter how 'small' it seemed.
"I...I need to see her," Daniel said softly.
With a sniff and a nod, Sam pulled away from Jack's embrace. "If any of those Jaffa survived, they'll be back with reinforcements. We need to get out of sight."
"Let's go," Jack said quietly.
Sam swung around suddenly, her eyes searching rapidly. "The villagers-"
"Five people?" Daniel asked.
"They were running that way when we came around the second time," the archaeologist informed her, pointing toward the thinning trees.
"Then they got away." There was satisfaction in her voice. "Come on, we'll get to the cave."
They might not have been in the best shape, two of the members were dead, after all, but SG-1 was back together again. And that was always a good thing.
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