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Sand in an Hourglass

Chapter 8

As soon as Karinda and Casey had left, Mirim whisked Sam to the 'lab'. Only one Jaffa was deemed necessary to stand guard on Osiris' newest acquisition. He stood outside of the closed door. He was one of the rebels among Osiris' Jaffa. That he worked with the Tok'ra was necessary in order to reach more of his brethren. He had little interest in what they did. But he was willing to offer protection when they needed it in return for messages sent to and received from Bra'tac.

"We don't have much time," Mirim said, handing several data crystals to Sam. "Take what you can."

"Right," Sam replied. She went to work. She still struggled to understand most of the computer circuitry and lay out on Goa'uld ships...to understand it as much as she wanted to. She wanted to know everything about the way the ship and its computers worked. But she'd learned enough to be able to use one, make minor repairs, or render it completely useless.

Mirim watched, impressed by the Tau'ri's skills. She'd heard Selmak praising all of the members of SG-1, and Major Carter, in particular. She'd always believed that the Tok'ra was a bit biased, having a Tau'ri host, and that host's daughter was a member of SG-1. Now she was beginning to think that there was something to the many stories and rumors about that very special team.

Sam frowned, then pulled the last of the crystals from the device. "I think I have all that I'm going to be able to get."

"Good. We will return so that you may change your clothes. I will have Adal meet us at the ring transport with your teammates."

Relief flooded her. To know that she wouldn't be forced to sneak around on Anubis' ship half-dressed and unarmed went a long way to soothing her very raw nerves.


A  A  A  A  A  A


"Where's Casey?" Daniel asked as soon as Mirim approached, Sam at her side.

Sam couldn't look at her friend. "Karinda took her to the meeting with Anubis. It would have been...expected, and Casey might be able to pick something up," she replied.

Goddamnit to hell! He shook his head. "I hate this!" he hissed.

"Let's just get over there and get the job done," Jack said calmly. "We have to be back before that meeting is over. Anubis has to be long gone before we can make our escape from Osiris."

With a glum nod, his heart thudding with fear at the thought of his Wife being anywhere near the Goa'uld, Daniel tightened his grip on the P90 Aron had returned to him. The rings whooshed down around them, transferred them to the enemy ship. As promised, the alarms had been disabled...their arrival had gone unannounced, and unnoticed.

"Holy Hannah!" Sam whispered. The corridor they were standing in had to be twice as long as they'd ever seen on a Goa'uld ship.

"Something tells me that this is one big, honkin' ship," Jack hissed.

"Which would explain why the Tok'ra are so eager to take it out," Daniel replied.

"We must hide," Teal'c said suddenly, ducking behind the ever present, and thankfully so, support beams that lined the corridor. His teammates followed his lead. Four pairs of eyes watched from the shadows as two squads of Jaffa marched by, totally unaware of the intruders.

"We could have a bit of a problem, sir," Sam whispered, watching the retreating figures.

Jack rolled his eyes. Typical. Things only went wrong at the worst damned time. "What?"

"Sir, this ship is much larger than we realized. It's going to take longer to get to the areas where we need to go. Which means that the meeting between Anubis and Osiris might end before we're finished."

"And this would mean?"

"When the meeting is concluded, they'll go their separate ways. We could be...trapped...here," Sam explained.

Yep, that could most certainly be a problem. A big problem. Nothing like being trapped on a Goa'uld ship rigged to blow! "Oh, that's just peachy! Okay, Daniel, you and Teal'c take the top three levels. Carter and I will take the lower three. Back here in no more than thirty. Got it?"

The two men nodded. Neither spoke out loud what they were all thinking. It was bad enough that Casey wasn't with them. To split the team up further only increased the chances of being caught.

Shouldering their packs, the team split up. They had one chance to take this ship out. If they failed, Anubis would be knocking on Earth's door before anyone there could work out a defense plan. That was just not acceptable!


A  A  A  A  A  A


Daniel followed Teal'c as the large man led the way through the maze of corridors. He didn't know whether to be giddy with relief or worried sick by the fact that they'd been able to move so freely. There seemed to be very few Jaffa on the ship. Which seemed odd. He wasn't going to question the good luck, however. They'd planted just over half of their explosives. Timers were being used, and were set for one hour. They wanted Karinda's...Osiris' ship to be far enough away from the explosions to prevent any damage, but close enough that they could monitor the destruction of Anubis and his ship. 

The last of the C-4 was planted near the engines. He checked the diagram that Sam had drawn during their planning session, to make certain that the plastic explosives were placed exactly where she said they needed to be. "That's it," he whispered.

Teal'c nodded. "Let us return to the rings. We have very little time left."

The two men raced back through the empty corridors. Down the access shafts. Toward the ring transport. Sam and Jack arrived at nearly the same time.

"Oh, god," Daniel moaned, when he saw Sarah pacing beside the rings. Alone. He stalked toward her. "Where is my Wife?"

Sarah grabbed his arm, yanked him to the center of the rings. Teal'c, Sam, and Jack hurried to join them and the rebel Jaffa who waited. With a flick of her fingers, the ring device was activated, and the group returned to her ship.

"Take them to the holding cells for now, I have to get a message to the council," Karinda said.

"Bullshit! You'll tell me what's going on right now!" Daniel hissed.

"Ba'al," Karinda said simply.

"Oh, fuck," Daniel moaned. He looked helplessly at Jack.

"Don't worry, Danny, we'll get her back," Jack promised. His eyes were cold when they turned to Karinda. "Seems that SG-1 gets fucked by the Tok'ra every time we turn around."

"This was not planned!" Karinda responded just as icily. "I had no idea that Ba'al would be at the meeting. Anubis has never required my presence before when approaching System Lords to join him."

"Do you think he suspects you?" Sam asked automatically.

"I do not believe so," Karinda replied. "I believe that I was meant to help convince Ba'al to join us. He is the single strongest System Lord left in the sector who is not allied with Anubis."

"I don't care why he was there. That bastard has my Wife!" Daniel declared angrily. "Every time we work with the Tok'ra, Casey and I wind up separated! Something happens to pull us apart! Every goddamned time! Do you plan it this way? Is it some sick attempt to force a wedge between us? Hell, maybe you wanted Ba'al to have her again, so he could finish the job he started! Is this some fucked up way to try and force your way back into my life?"

"It's not like that," Sarah gasped. "I never wanted anything like this to happen! I'm so sorry! We'll do whatever it takes-"

"You've been damned sorry since your path crossed mine again," Daniel raged. "Words mean nothing! You can never make up for the pain you've caused! I swear to god if we don't get to her before he hurts her, I won't be responsible for what I do!"

"Easy, Danny," Jack said softly.

"Ba'al, Jack. That motherfucker damned near killed her the last time! It's going to be worse for her this time!" His blue eyes, so full of pain and anger, whipped toward Sarah again. "If anything happens to Casey, I will never love another woman! Not as long as I live!"

Teal'c placed a large hand on the agitated man's shoulder. "We will not allow Ba'al to harm Casey," he said firmly. "We will rescue her. And we will kill him."

He was shaking with anger...with fear...with frustration. His conscience was already berating him for the way he'd spoken to Sarah. He'd seen the pain in her gray eyes. She didn't deserve to be the brunt of his anger. He shook his head wearily. "I can't go through what we went through the last time."

"I have an idea," Karinda said. "You should ring to Jacob's ship now."

"What about Aron and Adal?" Teal'c asked. Those Jaffa were to have been 'killed' during SG-1's escape, their bodies sent adrift in space by the escaping team. In actuality, they'd ring to the waiting Tok'ra ship with the team.

"They are about to report to me that Ba'al's Jaffa have just taken you from me," Karinda replied. "They'll even manage to find you, and take you as well," she said, smiling at Sam.

M'zel and the other Jaffa stepped away from the rings. "We shall rejoin you when it is safe," he told Teal'c.

"I will send you on a scouting mission soon," Karinda nodded. She activated her communication device. "Selmak?"

"I am here," the voice replied immediately.

"I am ringing SG-1 to you now. They will explain. You must remain cloaked, but you must follow Ba'al's ship. I will try to do so as soon as possible."

Before the Tok'ra or his Tau'ri host could reply, Karinda activated the rings. And did her best to calm a weeping Sarah.

Jacob whirled around in the chair. "What the hell is going on?"

"Ba'al has Casey," Jack said. "Don't let him out of your sight!"

"Damned straight I won't!" the retired general replied, his fingers working over the scanner. "Got him. He's pulling away now."

Daniel stared at the ship that was preparing to go into hyperdrive. "You can follow him, right?"

"All the way to hell if that's where he's headed," Jacob replied grimly.

"If anything happens to my Wife," Daniel said softly, his voice so cold and devoid of emotion that those around him shivered, "I suggest that the Tok'ra lose the 'gate address to Earth."

Jacob glanced up at the young man. His face was a study in fury. Even Selmak agreed that the very treaty between the Tau'ri and the Tok'ra was on the verge of disintegrating. They'd learned the hard way just how high in regard Dr. Jackson and his wife were held at the SGC. And the Tok'ra depended on the Tau'ri, and their impulsive responses to the Goa'uld, as well as their willingness to help on missions such as this one. Which had gone wrong, just as the last one had. He shook his head mentally. If they failed to retrieve Casey Jackson, the Tau'ri were damned likely to declare war on the Tok'ra as well. And if their success at taking out Goa'uld was anything to go by, it wouldn't take them long to obliterate the Goa'uld Resistance.


A  A  A  A  A  A


As soon as the door to his private chambers had closed, his hand had impacted upon her cheek. "You dared to try to escape from me!" he hissed.

She put a hand to her burning cheek. "I heard that you were running scared long before I left," she responded. Fell backwards onto the bed when his hand crashed into her again.

Ba'al wrapped his fist in long blonde hair, yanked her head back. "Know this: You are nothing. A slave. And I am your Master."

"In your dreams, cupcake," she said through gritted teeth.

He wrapped the chain around her hands, effectively tying her. Pushed her onto the bed. "Training begins now!" He strode toward a tall chest. Opened it, and withdrew the same wooden box that had held the ker'nish'ta on Tem's planet. He already knew that the Hathor drug in her system interfered with this drug. He doubled the dose.

She closed her eyes when she felt the needle sink into her flesh. Within seconds a hazy fog began to cloud her mind.

He held her face roughly with his hand. "You are mine! And you will not leave my side until I have finished with you!"

The fog was becoming difficult to fight. If only she could get to Daniel..."Daniel," she whispered.

Once again the Tau'ri's name was on her lips. Soon enough she'd forget him. Forget everything that she'd ever known. She'd be nothing more than a vessel to be used to satisfy his lust. He ripped the thin tunic from her body, leaving the heavy belt in place. Yes, she truly looked the part of a slave now.

Oh, this wasn't good! She knew that! It was so hard to think clearly! Where was Daniel? "Doan' toush me," she managed to say, her words slurred as the drug continued to work.

He had no idea what she'd said. He was certain that she was being insolent. He hit her again. The sweet smell of her skin was driving him mad. It permeated the air in the room. His body was reacting...the need almost unbearable. He shook his head slightly. No, he didn't dare take her, not until he had the antidote in his system. To prevent the host body from becoming addicted. That was a distraction he didn't have time to deal with right now. He ripped a length of cloth from her tunic, tied her feet so she couldn't attempt to get away. "I am your Master," he whispered in her ear, holding her head back with a handful of hair once again.

"No...no..." she mumbled.

"Say it, slave. You are nothing. I am your Master."

"Ma...um...mas..." she passed out as the ker'nish'ta overwhelmed her body.

Ba'al gave a feral smile to her unconscious form. "Soon, my beautiful pet, I will take you every way possible. Very soon."


A  A  A  A  A  A


Karinda stood on the pel'tak of her ship. Anubis filled the view screen in front of her. "Ba'al has stolen them! His Jaffa snuck onto my ship! My ship! SG-1 was in my holding cell! I was about to interrogate them! I would have learned the secrets of their SGC, and the shield that guards their Chappa'ai! I will have my revenge!"

Anubis tapped his fingers on the arm of his throne. "When did this happen?"

"While you were speaking to him, and I was at your side!" Nothing like pointing out that she'd been on Anubis' ship at his order, Karinda thought. "Even now the thief moves away, attempting to escape!"

"You wish to pursue him?"


If Osiris managed to kill Ba'al, he wouldn't have to worry about that Goa'uld constantly trying to undermine him. Of all of the System Lords, only Ba'al had been a serious threat to his plans. "Very well."

"Thank you, My Lord," Karinda replied, hoping that Osiris sounded just humble enough.

"I will wait here. When you have reclaimed what is yours, return. Together we will shall discover what secrets the Tau'ri know. No doubt the information will aid us as we reclaim the First World."

"It was my wish to present you with the that knowledge, a gift of my esteem for you!" Karinda said, hoping that she was sulking the same as Osiris would have done.

"You are a faithful Goa'uld, Osiris. I shall reward that faithfulness. For now, go and take back what was stolen from you."

With a nod, Karinda motioned to close the communication channel. She stormed toward her quarters. Jaffa jumped to stay out of her way. Good, they all believed the story. Adal and Aron had been quite convincing, begging her not to kill them as they explained how Ba'al's Jaffa supposedly overpowered them.

Once within the privacy of her rooms, she sank onto the bed. And tried to console Sarah, who continued to weep as if her heart was broken. Which, the Tok'ra thought wearily, it was.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Cold. She was cold. And uncomfortable. And...tied? In an instant her predicament came crashing back into her memory. Ba'al! That bastard had managed to 'buy' her from Osiris, and she was on his ship, and oh, god, how was Daniel ever going to find her now? Tears began to roll down her cheeks as she realized that it was possible that Karinda...as Osiris, wouldn't be able to pursue Ba'al. Which meant that the Tok'ra, and the SGC, would have to rely on spies and other sources of information to learn where the Goa'uld was. Which could take...weeks! There was no way that she could fight him for that long. Not if he was using that drug! If any rescue took longer than a few days, well, there wouldn't be much left to rescue.

She curled into a ball on her side. Ba'al wasn't stupid. If he understood that more of the drug would be needed, he wouldn't hesitate to use as much as necessary to accomplish what he wanted. Which was making her a mindless slave, capable only of instant obedience. Even with her Immortality, she wouldn't be able to overcome large, regular doses of the drug. He'd win. And if...when...he discovered she was Immortal...She shivered at the thought of the horrors that awaited her.

When Ba'al had captured her the first time, she hadn't felt as hopeless, as utterly defeated as she did now! She wasn't on a planet this time, where her teammates could storm the castle and free her. It was possible that they weren't even aware she was 'missing'. Which meant that Ba'al would be gone before they knew...and that meant...oh, god, she was truly lost this time! With a moan of absolute heartache, she began to cry.

The lo'taur said nothing as she watched the woman on the bed; naked and weeping as if her heart was breaking. She understood the fear, the terror, of being captured. She'd seen it many times. Had endured it once herself. She shuddered when the thought that this woman could one day replace her flittered across her mind. Her Master seemed obsessed with this woman. Tau'ri, she'd heard him say. Perhaps she should remind Ba'al of how loyal she was, how faithful she'd always been...how willing to indulge his every...appetite. She turned and quietly left the room. She had much to do before her Master awoke from the sarcophagus. In her worry to hold her Master's favor, she conveniently forgot that she had no choice but to obey him. All she could think about was remaining Ba'al's favorite. Life would be...difficult...were she to lose her status as most favored.


A  A  A  A  A  A


General Hammond read the message twice. Ran a hand over his face. He'd be damned lucky to keep Dr. Jackson and Casey working here as civilian consultants, never mind keeping them on SG-1! Casey had told them that the mission was going to be 'intense'. She hadn't mentioned being captured again.

He frowned. During a conversation with Teal'c, when they were planning her rescue the last time Ba'al had captured her, the Jaffa had mentioned that he believed it was possible that Casey had no 'sight' when it came to her own well being, that foreknowledge of any events that included her alone seemed...unattainable. That she could see only when others were involved. Was that what had happened...again?

Scanning the message a third time, he realized that there was no word on whether or not the mission objective had been met. He had to operate under the assumption that Anubis and his ship were still on the way to Earth. With a sigh, he picked up the red phone. He had a report to make. And a recommendation as well.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Ba'al stared at the message he'd just received. Today, it seemed, everyone wished to speak to him. Lord Yu had been busy. He'd gathered six 'minor' System Lords that Anubis had apparently deemed too insignificant a risk to even bother with. Lord Yu, himself, had suffered enough losses at the hand of Morrigan, one of Anubis' newest 'allies', that the oldest among the Goa'uld was desperate to stop him. What offer would he receive from Lord Yu? And would an alliance with Yu offer the strength to defeat Anubis? He ordered his ha'tak to a halt, and a message, with his current position, sent back to Yu. Let the others come to him, if they were so anxious for a truce.

He returned to his quarters, the problem of Anubis foremost in his thoughts. He smiled grimly at the sight of the naked woman on his bed. Still unconscious. Well, he'd given her a rather large dose of the ker'nish'ta. He walked to the bed, sat down beside her. Ran his hand over her face, down the length of her body. Gently cupped a breast, ran his thumb over a pink nipple, watched it harden from his touch.

It took every ounce of strength she had not to react. She laid still, focused on her breathing...slow, steady, not too shallow. All the while her skin crawling as he touched her.

With a mental shake, he pulled his thoughts back; he had important things to do at the moment. "Shanda!"

The lo'taur hurried into the room. For one brief moment she feared that he'd sensed her activities. He would not be pleased that she dared to make arrangements without his approval. At least, not until all was in place. Then her hope was that he'd be too...distracted...to be angry with her. "Yes, My Lord?"

"As much as I enjoy seeing her naked, find something for her to wear," he said, motioning toward Casey.

"Yes, My Lord."

"I want her in the corner, on her knees. She's a slave. She will remember," he said firmly. She'd remember what being in that position meant. He'd been forced to retrain slaves before. Physical placement was as important as controlling their minds. The slave must never forget, not for one second, what they were.

"Yes, My Lord." She'd call one of the Master's Jaffa to move the woman, she decided.

He hesitated. Checked the pulse in Casey's neck. He didn't want her to regain consciousness until he was able to continue with her...lesson. He took the time to inject her again, then hurried toward the pel'tak. That was where he needed to be when Yu contacted him...as he knew would happen.


A  A  A  A  A  A


So far, Ba'al had remained unaware that he was being followed. Selmak was concerned about the fact that the Goa'uld hadn't cloaked his ship. Jacob insisted that it meant he didn't believe himself to be in any danger.

As soon as the Tok'ra freighter could get close enough, SG-1 would ring on board, find Casey, and bring her back with them. Simple enough sounding plan. It would be damned difficult to actually implement. The moment the rings were activated, alarms would go off. Jaffa would be searching diligently for the intruders. If Ba'al felt threatened enough, there was a chance he'd take a shuttle and disappear, well, if he had a shuttle, Jacob pointed out. And he'd most certainly take Casey Jackson with him.

Jacob glanced over at Daniel again. His eyes hadn't left the ship that was visible in front of them. The anger that had filled them had been replaced with a pain so deep that it was difficult to look at.

Daniel kept checking his watch; knowing that the longer Casey was away from him, the longer Ba'al had her in his clutches, the more danger she was in. And the greater her chances of being hurt...again. He felt as if they were racing against time...watching the sand in an hourglass sift ever downward, taking with it his hope of reaching her before she was brutalized for the second time at the hands of the Goa'uld named Ba'al. The Goa'uld he would kill with his bare hands, if given half a chance!

"He's slowing down," Jacob announced.

"What?" Jack asked instantly. "Why?"

"I don't know," Jacob admitted.

"Take a guess," Jack said.

"It's possible that his scanners picked us up," the older man said.

Sam shook her head. "I don't think so. He'd have to be looking for anomalies, which are difficult to detect, impossible to see if we're moving."

The cloaked Tok'ra ship slowed as well, remaining a shadow, and moving closer to the Goa'uld ha'tak.

"I think it's time to get ready, kids," Jack said softly. He put a hand on Daniel's shoulder. "We have to keep it on the down-low, if we're going to pull this off. We can't let them see us, or hear us...or find any of their buddies dead or missing."

"I understand," Daniel replied. Once Casey was safe at his side, however, any Jaffa who crossed his path, Jaffa who most probably had been with Ba'al on R7Y 379, need be wary. Those who'd been on the planet with Ba'al, and it seemed that he'd had all, or nearly all of his Jaffa there, were the bastards who'd raped his Wife...repeatedly. Payback wasn't just a bitch...it could be cold-hearted fury.

Jack didn't like the look in those blue eyes. He shook his head mentally. Messing with Danny's wife was the fastest way to get yourself killed, he thought. Maybe he should just let the man go. There'd be one less Goa'uld to have to contend with! He just didn't want to take the chance of having the archaeologist wind up a prisoner, too. Anger wouldn't overcome superior numbers.

"Alarms will go off the minute the rings are activated," Jacob reminded the team. "You'll only have a few seconds to get out of sight."

With nods of understanding the teammates stood within the circle of the ring transport. In a flash of light, they were on their way to Ba'al's ship.


A  A  A  A  A  A


When the first explosion rocked the ship, Anubis jumped to his feet. The second explosion sent him into action. The third had him racing toward the hanger bay where a small shuttle waited.

Ba'al! It had to have been Ba'al! While the three Goa'uld had been talking, Ba'al's Jaffa had been following his orders to destroy the ship! Anubis roared with absolute rage. He didn't have enough Jaffa of his own to adequately guard such a large vessel. He didn't trust his 'allies' enough to demand Jaffa from them, he wanted none that he did not trust to be so near him. When his work was complete, he'd have no need for Jaffa. But that time was not yet. He hadn't believed that any of the Goa'uld around him would be so brazen. A miscalculation that had just cost him dearly.

The Goa'uld was forced to watch as the ship he'd worked so hard to acquire, the ship that made him invincible in the eyes of the other Goa'uld, was destroyed in a series of explosions that sent it scattering in pieces through the dark of space. Ba'al would pay greatly for this!

Anubis activated the communications panel. "Report!"

"Osiris has located Ba'al's ship, My Lord," a voice said.


Coordinates flashed on the monitor in front of him. "I will be there very soon."

"Yes, My Lord."


A  A  A  A  A  A


M'zel moved silently away from the door. Well, well, well. So Anubis' spy was Osiris' First Prime! He grinned. He was certain that the Tok'ra posing as the Goa'uld could put this information to good use!




Karinda had returned to the pel'tak. Osiris would not have hidden in his quarters while in pursuit of an enemy. No doubt he would simply order the ship destroyed as soon as it came into sight. The slaves would have meant nothing to him.

'Osiris would have made an example of Ba'al,' Sarah said. Her 'voice' still quavered with emotion.

'True. But would he not also have made sure to 'recapture' what belonged to him? If only to prove that he could do so?' Karinda asked. She tried to push thoughts of Daniel Jackson further back. The mission, rescuing Casey Jackson, and making certain that SG-1 'escaped' were their priorities. When this mission was completed, she'd allow Sarah time for a 'pity party'. But not until their task was finished.

'Possibly. If there was enough value in whatever had been stolen...' she broke off. 'SG-1 couldn't be any more valuable, could they?'

Karinda 'smiled'. 'No, I don't believe so.' She stopped pacing in front of the large 'window' at the front of the pel'tak. "I want all available Jaffa ready to ring over. I will take that ship, and I will make Ba'al pay for his treachery!" she hissed.

As Karinda continued to impersonate Osiris, Sarah retreated, her heart in pieces. She would never forget the look of rage...of hatred...that had filled Daniel's beautiful blue eyes when he'd railed at her, his words as sharp and hurtful as any knife could have been. She understood that it had been his pain, his fear for his wife, that had been ranting...not Daniel. And she had no doubt that once he calmed down, he'd regret his words of anger...Daniel wasn't a man who would ever intentionally harm anyone not an enemy. Nor could she blame him for his rather uncharacteristic outburst. He was deeply in love with his wife. And that love, coupled with his fear of losing her, knowing what she'd suffered at Ba'al's hands before, fueled his anger against her...against the Tok'ra...caused him to strike out so viciously. Knowing all of this didn't change the hurt that had been caused. No doubt it would be some time before the Tau'ri, and SG-1 especially, would be willing to work along side the Tok'ra. And she feared that Daniel would never forgive her for her part, for Karinda's part, in Casey being taken captive again.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Klaxons were wailing when the rings disappeared from around them. They could hear the sound of Jaffa running toward them. Simply hiding behind support pillars wouldn't do, not this time. Two cross-corridors offered a chance of escape. Teal'c hurled his bulk into the nearest cross-section, prepared to fire upon any enemy who might be approaching. Only one squad, coming from the right. He opened fire, the weapons of his teammates joining the battle. The Jaffa had no time to respond before the armor piercing bullets did just that.

Jack looked toward the left. No telling what was down that way. No doubt the assholes who were just about to come around the corner behind them would expect them to take the 'open' route. He pointed toward the corridor behind the fallen Jaffa.

Daniel's heart was pounding against his ribs like a hammer on a steel drum. If Ba'al thought he was at risk, he'd take Casey and try to escape. Over the years, the team had been on enough Goa'uld ships to have a fairly good idea where they were at, and where they were going. There were two levels where Ba'al might have his quarters. The trick was getting there to find him, to find Casey, before there were so many Jaffa that they wouldn't stand a chance. 

"Where to, Teal'c?" Jack asked quietly as the team ran down the corridor.

"He would most likely be holding her in his private chambers," Teal'c replied.

"Any clue where that is?"

The dark-skinned man nodded. "This way."

It seemed that for the moment the Jaffa on board the ship were concentrated on converging on the ring transport. They'd spread out from there, searching every room, nook and cranny until the intruders, whoever they might be, were located. The First Prime was almost relaxed as he ordered the squads in different directions. If the enemy was on the ship, they had no way to escape. Not as long as the ring transport remained guarded. He'd never fought against the Tau'ri. He had no idea how...inventive - and determined...they could be.

Teal'c found an access shaft. There were several other panels nearby as well. He pulled them all from the wall. "It will appear that ha'he...technicians...were in the midst of a repair when the alarm was sounded," he explained quietly.

If it bought them a few extra minutes, and meant less chance of getting caught in that shaft, so much the better, Jack thought. He nodded. "Let's go."

Sam glanced around, reached over and disconnected several wires. She shrugged when the three men looked at her. "Hey, repairs, right?"

With a grin, Jack pushed her toward the access shaft.

Daniel led, having a basic idea where he was going. When they arrived on the lower level, he looked around carefully, making certain he could neither hear nor see any Jaffa moving nearby. He crawled out of the shaft.

"This way," Teal'c said, landing on his feet beside the archaeologist.

When the door to the room opened, Casey was alone, sitting in a corner on the floor...as was proper for a slave. A simple slip of crimson satin covered her slender frame. Crimson, to hide the blood that would most certainly be spilled if she displeased her Master.

Daniel raced into the room. "Casey? Angel, look at me," he said softly, kneeling down beside her. He cupped her chin in his hand, tilted her head back so that he could see her eyes.

She looked up into the man's face. Blue eyes. He had blue eyes. There was something important about blue eyes...but she couldn't remember what it was.

"Christ!" Daniel hissed. He could barely see her pupils. "She's totally out of it." His heart lurched in his chest. How much of the drug had Ba'al used? Would he be forced to watch her behave like a slave once again?

Jack knelt down as well. "Casey? Can you walk?"

Her green eyes swung to the other man. Who was he? Walk? Could she walk? Sure, why not? "Okay," she managed to mumble. "Walk."

Daniel slipped his arm around her waist, pulled her to her feet as he stood up, the sudden weight of her body sagging against his almost throwing him off balance. He tried to take a step.

Okay, what did this guy want? Whoa...that was a totally freaky feeling! Legs...cool! She could feel her legs! Well, mostly just the pins and needles in them, she'd been sitting there for a long time. At least, she was pretty sure it had been a long time. It had seemed that way to her.

"She can't do it," Daniel said.

Jack grabbed the younger man's P90. "Carry her," he said. He hated to lose the advantage of another capable shooter, but right now they were shit out of choices.

He scooped her into his arms. Couldn't help but smile when she giggled. "Let's get the fuck out of here."

"Good idea," Jack replied.

Sam checked the corridor, and nodded. Still empty.

As usual, using the elevators wasn't a good idea. But they did it anyway, in an attempt to save time. How many times had decisions made in haste, under fire, turned out to be the wrong ones?

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