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Picking Up the Pieces
"Well, there he is," Mitchell said, watching nervously as the Daedalus moved closer to the Goa’uld ha’tak.
"Just sitting there," Jack mused. "And not cloaked. Teal’c, any clue why the snake isn’t hiding?"
"It is safe to assume that Ba’al feels no need to do so when in orbit around his home planet," Teal’c replied.
"I can live with that," Jack said amiably.
Casey watched with growing trepidation. There had been nothing - no downloads, no whispers...other than the voice that had insisted that Daniel would need that device...nothing that would give her a reason for the fear that continued to grow in her heart, making her stomach twist into knots. It’s Ba’al. I’m just freaking out about having to deal with his slimy ass again. That’s all it is. My own fears about that damned snake have me on edge.
"We have the program you installed ready to run," the comm tech informed Sam.
"Good. When you get conformation from the ring transport room that the rings are being activated, send the signal."
"Good luck," Mitchell said quietly. He’d read the report about the mission to take out Ares. It had started just like this one. Hadn’t ended well, though. He could only hope that this particular mission would go according to plan. The colonel hadn’t been with the SGC long enough to understand that when SG-1 was involved, nothing went according to plan.
"Thanks," Jack replied, nodding his appreciation. "Let’s go, campers."
Walking through the corridor toward the elevator, the team remained in close physical proximity of one another. Casey was clinging to Daniel’s hand, his fingers wrapped just as tightly around hers. Sam’s fingers were entwined with Jack’s. The downturn of Teal’c’s thick lips was severe. Little clues that shouted out the fear that gripped the team as they prepared to throw themselves into the clutches of the enemy. The plan was to remain free, grab the artifacts, and ring back to the Daedalus. All without Ba’al knowing who had managed to breach the security of his ship. Reality had a cruel way of taking the best of plans and twisting them around.
Silently the members of SG-1 arranged themselves within the marked borders of the transport ring.
"Okay, Radar, take a look, and see if you can find that scepter," Jack said.
With a weak smile, Casey closed her eyes. Reached out, searching for the ‘feeling’ she had come to associate with the Ancient weapon. Felt herself pulled toward the Goa’uld mothership. Surprisingly, she didn’t find herself standing in front of the storage bay when she focused on that ‘feeling’. Instead, she was standing just outside of one of the labs. She peeked inside, and grinned from ear to ear. She and Daniel had spent an entire day locked in this particular room. And still sitting on the counter against the wall were three ZPM’s...dark and cold, from what she could see. "Found it!" she declared, opening her eyes.
"Tell me it will be easy to get to," Jack said.
"It’s in that lab, right where we hoped it would be," she replied.
Daniel grinned. "Are the other artifacts still there?"
"And the ZPMs, too," Casey nodded.
Sam grinned from ear to ear. "Sweet!"
Jack glanced at her, then his grin matched hers. "Yeah, sweet!"
"And you say we sound alike!" Casey grinned.
"Okay, let’s get this done, shall we? Quick in and out. We grab the doohickeys, then head for home!" Jack said, ignoring Daniel’s chuckle.
Casey looked at Daniel, waiting for the wink he always gave her just before they embarked on a mission...and nearly gasped out loud. Wrapped around his neck, the head near his throat, was a snake. Looked like a cobra, she thought wildly, not caring that she could so easily identify the creature. Her heart was pounding against her ribs. Before she could utter a sound, the meaning of what she had seen came crashing into her mind. Her cry of horror was as stifled as if an invisible hand had clamped down over her mouth.
"Do not fear what is about to occur. The One will gain much from the experience," a voice whispered in her ear.
Don’t fear what’s about to occur? Is that...Being...out of its flippin’ mind? My Husband is about to-
A gentle wave of the invisible hand that had silenced her cry, and in the space of a heartbeat, the Being was gone.
"Angel?" Daniel asked, noting the nearly wild, panicked look that had filled her eyes.
As quickly as the images...and the thoughts that had accompanied them...had occurred, they just as quickly disappeared. And the seer was none the wiser of either event happening. The information would be ‘revealed’ once again...when the time to intervene had passed. She would understand.
Casey gave Daniel a quizzical glance. "What?"
"Are you okay?"
"We’re getting ready to play hide-and-seek on Ba’al’s ship," she retorted. "Does that answer your question?"
Jack shifted slightly. "Radar, anything you need to share with us?"
"Yeah...if that bastard manages to grab me this time, don’t take so freaking long to stage the rescue," she snapped.
Daniel grimaced. Reached out to cup her cheek gently, felt her press her soft skin against his callused palm. He alone knew how much being Ba’al’s captive...both times...had affected his Wife.
Teal’c snorted softly. "We will endeavor to remain free ourselves, should you be captured. As long as Ba’al remains in place, we shall mount a rescue for you immediately."
Chagrined, Casey put a hand on Teal’c’s arm. "Thanks. It’s just that he makes me so pissy...and if I see him, I’ll kill him. If I kill him, I’ll have all those Jaffa to contend with. I can’t do that alone, ya know."
Jack tossed her a crooked smile. "Why don’t we just avoid the heartburn. Nobody gets caught. And we don’t kill Balls until we’re on our way out."
"Sounds like the best plan yet," Sam agreed nervously. Casey was worried about something, even if she didn’t have the particulars.
Looking at Daniel again...a fear she couldn’t explain lurking in her heart, sending tendrils of sheer panic through her entire body...Casey wrapped her hands in the front of his shirt, pressed her body against his. She kissed him, the movements taking him by surprise.
Whenever her sweet lips came into contact with his own, nothing else mattered. Daniel wrapped his arms around his Wife, kissed her back with all of the passion she was exhibiting.
"Uh...Radar?" Jack asked, not a little perplexed.
She pulled away slowly. "Remember that voice thing," she whispered.
"I promise," Daniel responded in kind.
"Radar?" Jack repeated.
Casey turned to her CO. "I’m sorry...I just...I couldn’t...I had to..." She looked down at the floor. When her gaze moved back up, her eyes were filled with tears. "I don’t know!" she whispered vehemently. "No details. Only that Daniel needs that device."
And that bothers the hell out of her. Jack cleared his throat, his heart aching for the young seer. "You see what you see, Radar."
"Indeed," Teal’c said softly. "You will tell us what we need to know, when the time is appropriate."
"Oh, I hope so," Casey sighed.
"You’ve never failed us," Sam smiled encouragingly.
The team shared a ‘group hug’, and then Jack cleared his throat a second time. "Ready?"
Four heads moved up and down in affirmation.
"Send us over," Jack told the technician, who had watched the entire scene play out, not understanding the bonds that connected the five individuals heart to heart, creating an entity that made even the gods stand in awe.
In a flash of brilliant white light, SG-1 disappeared from the Daedalus.
The rings had barely disappeared when five bodies dove for the shadows provided by the ever present support pillars. Breathing heavily, the team scurried around a corner, found a dark corner to hide in, just as alarms began to wail overhead.
"Way to go, Selmak," Sam murmured.
Jack took enough time to toss a grin at her. "Radar, you know this ship. Do you remember where that room was?"
"Take point. Teal’c, watch our backs. Let’s go. I want this done in under an hour," Jack ordered.
Moving as silently as shadows, Casey led SG-1 toward one of the shafts that would offer the quickest way to the laboratory room where she and Daniel had been locked in, translating a tablet to while away their time as Ba’al’s ‘guests’.
The clanking of Jaffa armor filled the passageway behind them. The sound never failed to stir within them a modicum of panic, even if they were well hidden.
"This way," Casey whispered.
One by one, the team crawled into the repair shaft. Teal’c pulled the vent back into place; watched as a squad of Jaffa ran by, looking for the intruders who had suddenly appeared on the ha’tak.
Ba’al rose from his throne. "Find whoever would dare to appear on my ship unannounced and uninvited!" Brown eyes went hard, and flashed the eerie yellow light of a Goa’uld in anger. Experience had given him an idea of just who the intruders were. He would, however, 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!
"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 was right however...
The team climbed up the access shaft, moving slowly in order to prevent their P90’s from banging against the walls of the narrow enclosure. "Not much farther," Casey whispered over her shoulder.
Jack, who was directly behind her, nodded his understanding.
Daniel struggled to see past Sam and Jack. Keeping Casey in sight. There had to be a reason for the kiss she’d given him, one so fraught with need and panic that he’d felt both emotions pouring into him. It wasn’t unusual for her to give him a peck on the lips before a mission, but never anything like they’d shared, standing on the ring transport of the Daedalus! Usually she at least had a premonition of whether or not the team would run into problems of a general nature. But not this time. That alone was odd. His own sixth sense for danger was beginning to poke at him. Something seemed ‘off’ about everything that had happened so far. He had no doubt that Casey hadn’t ‘seen’ anything, or she’d have told him. The only thing she’d insisted upon was that he bring the voice modulating device. She had no clue why. To tell him he needed a specific object, but not know why...that was very unusual. His gut was beginning to tell him the mission was about to go tits up. Of course, he thought, that could just be experience talking to me.
They had reached the level where Ba’al had organized laboratories for his scientists, Goa’uld and non-Goa’uld alike, to perform whatever research or experiments he demanded of them.
Casey peered cautiously from behind the vent. Seeing no evidence of Jaffa...or anyone else for that matter...she slowly pushed the grate open. Slid to the floor, and then brought her weapon up, ready to fire on any threat that appeared.
Jack followed...Sam slid to the floor behind him. Daniel gave a silent sigh of relief to see Casey looking perfectly ‘normal’, and totally focused on the job at hand. Teal’c replaced the grate, then nodded.
The door to the room was unlocked, a small blessing that none of them would question. Daniel and Sam ran around the room, grins on their faces, scooping up the prizes that they had come to claim. Unaware that two of the items had just recently come into Ba’al’s possession, and were being monitored, to prevent theft by any of the Goa’uld on the ship who weren’t as loyal to the System Lord as they professed.
Jack and Teal’c stood guard at the door...Casey continued to watch her Husband, that niggling fear neither growing stronger, nor going away. Wishing she’d either get a clue to what was going on...or whoever was tickling her senses would leave well enough alone.
"Let’s go," Sam whispered, tucking the last ZPM into the bag Teal’c had carried. The energy devices joined three tablets, two statuettes...and the scepter that was the entire reason for the mission.
The Jaffa swung the bag onto his back, then stuck his head of the door, scanning the corridor. "The way remains clear."
"That’s good news," Jack said, slipping past the large man. "Okay, back to the rings. Double time it, campers."
Before the team could reach the access shaft that would see them secretly back to the transport rings, the door of one of the other labs opened. Once again SG-1 dove for the shadowed cover of the support beams.
Two men stepped out of the room, worried looks on their faces. When the elevator at the end of the long corridor opened and a group of Jaffa spilled from it, the two stepped back against the gold, glyph-covered walls, trying...or so it seemed...to prevent themselves from being noticed.
Pulses racing, hearts battering ribs, SG-1 watched as the warriors ran past them. Nervous looks were exchanged when the Jaffa disappeared into the room the team had just exited. Did Ba’al know they were on the ship? Was he already aware of what they had taken?
The two scientists continued to watch the open door with wide eyes. Teal’c slipped from behind the pillar that had hidden his bulk, and quietly rendered the men unconscious, the thudding sounds of his weapon coming into contact with the back of their skulls sounding unreasonably loud to his teammates.
Jack pointed toward the elevator. The team ran toward the lift, all of them knowing it was a risk to take the thing, but unwilling to take the time that climbing into the access shaft would take.
Plastered against the sides of the elevator, waiting for the doors to open on whatever level it had been called to, the team waited, holding their breath, preparing for the battle that was about to begin.
Teal’c stood in the center of the car, his P90 ready. When the doors slid open, he began to fire, taking down three Jaffa who had no idea what had hit them before their eyes closed in death.
"Let’s move it!" Jack said, once again leading the way. "What level are we on?"
"Three," Daniel replied. "We need to drop down two more levels."
"Radar, find a shaft!"
Taking the lead at a dead run, Casey slid around a corner. Green eyes went wide. "Oh, hell!"
To Be Continued...
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