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The Colonel's New Toys 

Chapter 3

The agreement had been that the team would ring to the bounty hunter's ship...unarmed. Colonel Ronson had argued, wanting to see the team at least carrying nine millimeter's. But Daniel, believing that to break the trust upon arrival would possibly get them killed on the spot, insisted that if they were going to negotiate with the trader, then they had to do so in good faith. Even though a part of him still wanted to kill the bastard.

Casey was clinging to Daniel's hand, Teal'c standing firmly behind her. Jack and Sam were standing close together, Sam and Casey's shoulders touching. There was no doubt that these five people were a team. A formidable one at that.

In a flash of light, they left the safety of the Prometheus, and were standing in what appeared to be a cargo bay on a ship called the Golden Dragon, among those who were more enemy than ally.

As soon as the rings had disappeared, one of the five armed men who were waiting for them roughly patted them down, searching for weapons. That his hands lingered over the breasts and hips of both women did not pass unnoticed by their male teammates.

With what sounded more like a grunt than any actual word or phrase, the man pushed them forward, as another stepped out of the bay and into an adjoining corridor. They followed without one word, well aware of the weapons that were trained on each of them. It certainly wouldn't do to have a slave trader-cum-bounty hunter aware of their secret. Staying alive and healthy was their only choice for the moment.

Led into a small room, the teammates remained as close as possible to one another. Doing so made it more difficult to grab any one of them, and easier for them to ward off any such attacks. They walked with the assurance of experience. There was no doubt in the minds of those who guarded them that if provoked, unarmed or not, this group would be damned difficult to contain.

Mogba rose from the chair where he had been sitting, at the head of a long table. Shock registered on his face. He knew these people! This was Daniel Jackson, husband of the woman he had kidnapped. The man who'd nearly killed him during their first encounter. "You are SG-1?"

"Yes," Daniel replied tersely.

The bounty hunter studied his guests carefully. He could well understand the danger that these people represented. They stood as combat-hardened warriors. That the man with graying dark hair and the man with sandy-blonde hair, and odd glass objects on his face, seemed able to communicate with just a look let him know in an instant that the two had fought many battles together. "Ba'al will be most pleased that I have...located...you."

"I'm sure he will," Daniel replied, barely able to control his hostility. Talking to the man had been bad enough. Seeing him brought back the memory of coming face to face with him in that tavern, half out of his mind with worry and grief over Casey's disappearance.

"I do not know what he wants with you, but I rather imagine it won't be pleasant," Mogba said, unable to keep from smirking.

"You don't have to do this," Daniel said. "We can help you. Get you to safety."

"Uh, clue us in, Daniel," Jack said quietly. Waited for the archaeologist to explain what was going on. He nodded approvingly when he was told of the offer the linguist had made. It was a hell of a lot better than being handed over to Ba'al!

"That is not what Ba'al wants," Mogba said, shaking his head.

Daniel glared at the bounty hunter. Noted with no small degree of satisfaction that the scarred man took an involuntary step backwards. "I don't give a damn what Ba'al wants. Tell him you couldn't find us," he growled.

Mogba shook his head. "I will not do that, Doctor Jackson. You see, you and your friends are the only chance of survival that I have. If I do not return with you, Ba'al will hunt me down. I will die most...horribly."

No matter what Casey said, this man was the reason that she had been missing for almost three months. The reason that Daniel had nearly slipped over the edge, into despair so deep that no one would have been able to reach him. The reason that the SGC had damned near fallen apart. Seeing the bounty hunter again brought all of that back...in full Technicolor. "Yeah, so? This means what to us?" Jack asked irritably, when he heard the translation.

"You have a reputation for being...difficult...to hold in prison," Mogba said slowly. "I suggest a deal."

"What sort of a deal?" Daniel asked suspiciously.

"I will hand you over to Ba'al-"

"Not liking this deal," Jack snapped as Daniel had translated.

"I will cloak as soon as I am out of range of his sensors. Then I will return. I will hide nearby, close enough that you can ring from his ship to mine," the bounty hunter finished.

The teammates exchanged glances when Daniel told them what the bounty hunter proposed. "You'll forgive me if I don't trust you," Jack drawled.

Mogba listened carefully, knowing instinctively that the archaeologist was telling him exactly what had been said. "I understand your reluctance. However, may I remind you that you are on my ship. And you are my prisoners."

"Excuse me, I thought this was a meeting...under a truce, remember?" Jack said, watching as Mogba's body guards aimed their very impressive looking weapons at him and his team.

"Proof that we can't trust the bastard," Daniel snarled.

"He's terrified," Casey said softly. "Not just for himself. For his family as well."

The two men glanced at the seer. "Talk to me, Radar," Jack said quietly.

"Ba'al has his...not wife...but more than a lover," she said, staring at a spot behind the trader. "And the snake knows where his children are. He'll take them, and turn them into slaves."

"You will speak to me! Tell me what has been said!" Mogba demanded angrily.

Daniel's hatred for the bounty hunter filled his eyes as he carefully translated.

"You will be facing Ba'al. Whether or not you have a means of escape is up to you," Mogba said coldly.

"Why do I get the feeling that you'll turn tail and run?" Jack asked, through Daniel.

"Because I give my word. I am many things, Colonel. But my word is as good as gold," Mogba replied.

"Seems to me that we really don't have a choice," Daniel said, his voice as cold as that of the trader. He made certain to speak first to Jack, and then repeat what he had said to the trader.

"You are correct, Daniel Jackson. However, should you agree to this venture, I will see to it that you are armed. Weapons of the sort that aren't easily located. Small, but effective," Mogba said

"Well, since this is our only chance of getting away, I guess we're in," Jack sighed. He listened as Daniel informed their captor that he agreed to the deal.

"There is one condition," Mogba said.

"Here it comes," Daniel rolled his eyes.

"I want proof that Ba'al is dead."

"Is that all?" Jack raised an eyebrow, when Daniel finished speaking. "Let me put it to you this way, Mogba. Screw us over, and Ba'al will be the least of your worries."

The bounty hunter stared into eyes so cold and dark that it felt as if his very soul were being sucked from his body. The words were spoken just as icily. He shuddered. He walked toward one of the walls. Pressed a series of the symbols that decorated the surface, exposing a small storage locker. "These are the weapons. They must be well hidden, but their size will assure that they won't be found."

"And just exactly where are we supposed to hide them?" Jack asked. Groaned out loud when Mogba looked directly at his groin after Daniel had posed the question. "You must be kidding!"

The 'weapon' looked like nothing more than a small tube, not more than four inches long. One end had a tiny hole, from which the weapon fired. A tiny indention on the top of the tube was pressed in order to discharge the weapon. "It will not cause much damage to a ship. It will, however, leave an enemy unconscious."

Gasps filled the air when Mogba turned and fired at Teal'c. A quick, green burst of energy hissed through the air, impacted on the Jaffa, causing him to crumple to the floor. Casey dropped to her knees, checking to make certain her friend and teammate was breathing.

"Do not fear. He will regain consciousness within the hour. Nor will he suffer any residual effects from the blast," Mogba assured them.

"When this is over, I'm going to find you, and kill you," Daniel said slowly, succinctly, giving in to the dark hatred that lurked in his heart in the bounty hunter's name.

Once again Mogba shuddered. He had no doubt that the Tau'ri meant every word. He began to fear that Ba'al was not as dangerous as this man. And that making a deal with these humans had only changed the way he would die. He began to formulate his plans. As soon as Relinna was safe with him once again, he'd gather his children...and disappear. To kill him, Daniel Jackson would first have to find him.

 

 

 

Mogba allowed Daniel to send a message to the Prometheus, telling Ronson that they'd be going with the bounty hunter to try and take out Ba'al. He made certain to tell the ship's commander that if they weren't heard from within twenty-four hours, to send in the Calvary. He didn't inform Mogba of that fact.

As soon as SG-1 had been ringed aboard his ship, Mogba had sent a message to Ba'al. A reply had been received, containing the coordinates on where to meet. In little more than an hour SG-1 was staring at the Goa'uld ha'tak from the brig window of the Golden Dragon.

"Wonder where he came up with the name for this ship," Casey mused, trying to find anything to concentrate on, in an attempt to keep from thinking about what would soon be happening to them. "I thought that dragons were only found on Earth."

"Dragons are just legends," Sam replied.

Casey shook her head. "I don't believe that. Nearly every society or culture known has some sort of stories or myths about dragons. You can't tell me that it's some sort of universal myth."

Daniel smiled. "I'll have to back Case on this one. There are too many details from too many diverse places for dragons to have been merely a conjured idea. I suppose it's possible that when the Goa'uld transferred humans from earth, they took along a few dragons. We know they took just about every other animal that we know on Earth to the new settlements."

The discussion was cut short when Mogba's bodyguard opened the door. "Come," he ordered sharply.

"I think this is it," Daniel said quietly.

Hearts pounded. Nerves were stretched taut as they followed the guard, the ever present armed goons behind them. Mogba was waiting at the ring transport. He handed each of them one of the small weapons. Waited while the team carefully hid them, shielding one another from the prying eyes of their captors as they did so. Without a word, as soon as SG-1 was beside him, the bounty hunter activated the rings.

Jaffa were waiting, and immediately grabbed each of the team members, yanking arms behind backs, snapping iron manacles around wrists. SG-1 was on Ba'al's ship, and they were his prisoners. And the day started with such promise, Casey grumped silently.

The Jaffa pushed SG-1 into the elaborately decorated throne room. It was the room where Casey had sat, listening to the women from the harem play their odd, but soothing music. Dreaming herself away from the Goa'uld she detested, to Daniel's side. She shivered slightly as they were lined up in front of the throne.

Ba'al took the time to look at each face. Defiance was etched on each countenance. He determined that they'd know their place before the day was finished. No one in the room missed the softening of his features when his gaze stopped on Casey. He held out his hand. "Come to my side, Beloved."

"Go to hell," she replied, her voice shaking, as much from disgust as from fear.

The Goa'uld's eyes glowed, his face hardened. "Come to me. Now."

"And if I don't?"

"Then I will kill you."

"Take your best shot," she said, tossing her head, raising her chin. Stepping closer to Daniel's side.

"Take him!" Ba'al roared, pointing at Daniel. "Alert Ares. Tell the priests to prepare for The Taking."

"Uh, Danny?" Jack hissed.

"I think we've got a problem," Daniel replied quietly.

"What is this 'taking'?" Casey asked.

"The man that you call husband will become the host to Thanatos, the beloved of Ares," Ba'al smirked. "Tell him goodbye, Casey. Your husband will soon be dead."

"No!" Casey screamed. "Oh, god! You bastard! No!" She was struggling against the bonds that held her hands behind her back, fighting the Jaffa who held her when she attempted to follow Daniel as two Jaffa lead him away. "Daniel!"

"Plan B," Daniel said calmly, winking at her.

"Hello?" Jack said, a bit miffed. Casey's screams had alerted him to the fact that something very not good was happening.

"He's giving Daniel to Ares, to become a host," the young seer whispered, tears running down her cheeks.

"Oh, crap," Jack muttered. He began to struggle against his restraints.

Green eyes full of anguish swung toward the Goa'uld who sat smugly on the throne. "Please, let them go, and I'll stay with you."

Ba'al sat forward. Motioned for the Jaffa...who were still dragging a very reluctant, struggling Daniel toward the door...to wait. "You would do this?"

She nodded miserably. She'd do anything to protect Daniel. Anything to prevent him from being infested by a Goa'uld symbiote. Anything. "If you let Daniel go free, let them all return home, I'll-" she closed her eyes, bit back the bile that rose in her throat. "I'll stay with you."

"Free her," Ba'al ordered sharply. He held his hand out again when her restraints had been removed.

"Casey! No!" Daniel cried out.

She whirled to face him. "I have to, Daniel! I can't let them do that to you! I can't let them put one of those things in you!"

He swallowed, his jaw working. He understood what she was doing. She was buying the team...she was buying him...time to escape. But oh, god, the cost! What would she endure? There was no way that she'd be able to get her hands on any drugs to keep the bastard unconscious, and believing that she was in his arms. This time...he closed his eyes. This time the bastard would rape her. Damned near died when he watched his Wife move closer to the Goa'uld, put her hand in his. He could see from where he stood that she was shaking.

"Put them in the holding cells," Ba'al ordered absently, his eyes locked with the tear-filled green depths of the woman he loved. "Take my Beloved to my chambers."

When the room was empty save for him, and his personal guard, he looked toward the back of the room, where the bounty hunter stood, between two Jaffa. He motioned the man forward with one hand. "You have served me well. You may leave."

"And Relinna?"

Ba'al's face grew hard and cruel. "I'm certain there are those among the Jaffa who will miss her. She provided much...entertainment...for them."

His stomach rolling with fury, with disgust, Mogba fought the urge to strike out, barely managed to remain silent.

When she was led into the room, the woman could barely stand. Her face was bruised, it was obvious she'd been beaten several times. She crumpled to the floor at the trader's feet when the Jaffa released her.

"Take her and go. Should I need your...services...again, I will contact you," Ba'al said.

Helping his lover to her feet, holding her with is good arm, Mogba stared at the Goa'uld. With luck, SG-1 would kill the monster. For one moment, he contemplated keeping his word to the Tau'ri. Another glance at the System Lord, and he shuddered. No, he had to flee the sector. He'd stop to gather his children, and he'd head into deep space. Never again would he look upon the System Lord known as Ba'al.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

"Well, this is cozy," Jack said, standing at the opening of the cell he had been tossed into. His words dripped with sarcasm. The fact that his hands had been freed was a blessing he wasn't going to examine too closely. Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c were in cells beside and across the corridor from him. "Everyone okay?"

"I'm okay," Sam replied from her cell.

"As am I," Teal'c said.

"Danny?"

"Yeah. Did they cut you guys loose?" Daniel said.

"Yeah."

"I guess I earned some sort of reputation the last time I was a guest here."

Jack chuckled. "Give us a few minutes, we'll have you out of there."

"Right."

"Uh, Daniel?"

"What, Jack?"

"I have a question for you."

"Which would be?"

"You never did tell us where you sent that bastard."

Daniel grimaced. "I was so damned sure he'd never get out of there. I suppose that Ryk'teal must have seen the symbols I dialed," he said quietly.

"Not answering my question," Jack complained.

"Cimmeria."

"That's right...Thor repaired the Hammer," Sam mused.

"I believe that the bounty hunter may have been responsible for retrieving the Goa'uld," Teal'c said quietly.

"Mogba?" Jack frowned. It seemed highly possible. None of Ba'al's Jaffa could have gone after him. And it seemed that the bounty hunter had several interesting 'upgrades' on his ship. He had to have gotten them from somewhere...done something to have deserved them, or the money with which to purchase them.

"Just one more reason to kill the bastard," Daniel said, his voice devoid of emotion.

"Guys, I think I have this figured out. If the beam of this weapon will penetrate the shield, I should be able to take out the controls," Sam said.

"Do it," Jack replied quickly. They had to get out of the cells, find Casey, and get the hell out of Dodge. Before the unspeakable happened.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Casey paced the familiar room. Every moment of her time here as Ba'al's prisoner rushed forward in her memory. The agony of being away from Daniel, not knowing if he'd been captured as well, if he'd been hurt...if he was looking for her. The icy cold dread of being raped. The fear of pushing her captor too far, and finding herself once again strapped to that metal web, tortured and drugged until the woman she was no longer existed; but became instead a mindless drone, doomed to serve her master until he became tired of her, and killed her. Or tried to, anyway. She shuddered at the thought of Ba'al learning the secret that the members of SG-1 held so close. A secret that only four other people on Earth knew about.

The lo'taur, a dark haired woman with gray eyes, watched her nervously. Casey had no illusions that this woman would help her. She was too afraid of Ba'al, that had been obvious when she'd been given her instructions. Nor would she be here long enough for the snake to do something very typical, something that would plant the seeds of doubt in the slave's mind. Nope, she had every intention of being out of here before the bastard showed up. It took every ounce of restraint she could muster to not look toward the bathroom, and the access shaft that was hidden there. She sighed mentally, silently studied the woman who sat on the bench across the room. If she ordered the lo'taur to get something to eat, would the slave object?

With an audible sigh, she dropped down onto one of the chairs beside the table. Pressed her shaking hands together. Ba'al had insisted that he would be joining her 'soon'. She wouldn't delude herself into believing that she'd be able to stop him from raping her. Not this time around. He'd be hell bent to dominate her, break her, take from her what belonged to Daniel alone. The minute he walked through that door...she shuddered, unable to even finish the sickening thought.

She had very little time to make an escape. And it would be difficult this time. She'd be forced to crawl through the shaft backwards, so that she was able to pull the vent back into place. To leave the vent off the shaft would give away her means of escape. It wouldn't take them long to locate her, if they scanned the ship for her body heat, among the access shafts. Ba'al wouldn't be amused, and more than likely would hand Daniel over to Ares immediately, to punish her. No doubt he'd force her to witness this 'taking' of which he'd spoken.

Another shudder. She closed her eyes. She couldn't lose Daniel. She just couldn't! If it meant staying in this room...and allowing that snake to...she shook her head mentally. Again she found that she couldn't even think the vile thought. She'd do what she must to protect the man she loved. And if the worst happened, how could Daniel ever love her again...touch her again?

Her heart was pounding with fear, her mind spinning in circles, searching desperately for that elusive rabbit. Knowing that if she didn't do something right now, she was going to be forced into that bed, and suffer humiliation and pain at Ba'al's hands. Trembling visibly, she turned to the lo'taur. "Would you bring me something to eat? I'm rather hungry."

Ba'al had sent for her, told her that she was to serve his Consort, see to the blonde woman's every need. If the Consort made a request, she had no choice but to comply. The slave gave a slight nod. Went to the locked door and tapped. She spoke to the Jaffa guard on the other side, requesting permission to fetch food for Ba'al's Consort. The door opened, and the dark haired woman slipped through.

Waiting until she heard the unmistakable clink that signified that the door had been locked once again, Casey raced into the bathroom. Looked up at the barely noticeable ventilation vent near the ceiling. Shit! It was higher than she remembered...with a burst of inspiration, she turned on the taps, began filling the tub with water. Dragged the chair to the side of the tub, heaped it with towels. She took her boots off, not wanting to leave obvious boot prints on the fluffy white flannel. It was a bit of a stretch, but with her trusty pocketknife, she was able to pry the vent loose.

The chair was to one side beneath the now gaping opening. It wouldn't be easy to lift herself up and crawl into the confined space. She'd have to be damned quiet, too. Now, how the hell was she going to get up there, and hold onto that damned grill at the same time? She'd been so wrapped up in her task that she failed to hear the door open.

"If you wish to escape, you will need to replace the vent."

Casey whirled to face the Jaffa. He was smiling at her. She began to shake with fear. Oh hell, this was so not good! "Um..."

"Hurry. Ba'al will be here soon. In return for my assistance, I ask that you take a message to Master Bra'tac," the Jaffa said.

"O-o-okay," she stammered, her heart pounding against her ribs.

"Tell him that he must not attempt to approach this ship, at least not yet. There are those among the Jaffa who long for freedom, but Ryk'teal has spies everywhere. We must remain unseen, for the moment."

Casey smiled. "I'll tell him. And if you're jerking me around, I'll slit your throat."

The Jaffa chuckled. "I have heard of your fire. Tell Teal'c that we wish him and his Tau'ri friends well."

Suddenly lifted off the floor by large hands, Casey scrambled into the shaft. "I'll tell them," she whispered. Took the boots the still smiling man handed her. Listened as the vent was carefully put back into place. She also heard the water turned off. Let Ba'al figure out how she escaped, she thought. She wondered if he was even aware of the ventilation shafts that ran through the ship like veins that carried life giving blood. Probably not. It wasn't something that would require his attention.

Moving slowly, terrified of making any noise that would give her away, she made her way toward the holding cells.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Sam pulled the small weapon from the front of her pants, where she'd shoved it as soon as Mogba had handed it to her. She aimed at the panel on the other side of the corridor. Pressed against the tube. The fact that the beam could penetrate the shield was a miracle unto itself. Although she suspected that the speed and the frequency of the narrow beam were responsible for that ability. She sighed when the burst of energy failed to short the circuits within. It had been a long shot at best. "Damn!"

"Perhaps the shield weakens the beam," Teal'c's voice said from somewhere beside her. "We should attempt to fire at the panel at the same time."

"Good thinking," Sam replied. It was certainly better than giving up. She glanced at the cells across from her. Jack watched, his face hiding his concern, his hope. Daniel had managed to sit up, his arms still behind his back, his hands restrained. His blue eyes were guarded as well. All of them worried...afraid...that this would be the one time escape would prove to be impossible.

Twin beans focused on the panel. For a few seconds, it seemed that nothing was going to happen. Just before she could tell Teal'c to forget it, Jack added the beam from his own weapon, hitting the panel on its very edge...sparks began to fly from behind it. Moments later flames were licking around the edges, and the force fields that held the humans prisoner flickered, and dropped. The three immediately stepped into the corridor.

"Way to go, Carter!" Jack grinned, reaching out to give her a quick hug. "Now, let's go get Radar."

Sam glanced around. Why aren't there alarms? There should be alarms! Somewhere, there have to be alarms going off! She shook her head mentally. They were free...for now. They wouldn't stay that way if they couldn't find a place to hide...before the Jaffa responded to those silent but nonetheless present alarms. "We can't just go waltzing through the ship to Ba'al's quarters," she pointed out.

"No, not exactly," Daniel grinned. He turned his back toward Teal'c, let the large man remove the restraints that held his hands in place. "There are other ways to get around on this ship."

Sam grinned. "Access shafts."

Jack frowned. "What do you think the chances are of Radar making a break for it?"

"Pretty high, I'd say," Daniel admitted.

"We can't just wait around here for her," Jack said.

"If we go to the storage bays, where she and Nutesh hid me, she'll find us there," Daniel said confidently.

"One problem with that," Sam said. "We have to find a way to disable the sensors. They'll be able to monitor every move we make if we don't."

"I suggest we use the control consoles in the landing bays," Teal'c said. "They are rarely guarded."

"Let's go," Jack nodded.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Ba'al waved his hand dismissively as Ares ranted on the communications screen in front of him. "I have made my decision."

"You were to give Jackson to me!" Ares shouted.

"Must I remind you to whom you speak?"

Dark eyes flashed with anger. Ares didn't bother to hide the rage that filled him, but he said nothing more.

"I have changed my mind," Ba'al said lazily.

"Or that little whore you call a consort changed it for you," Ares taunted.

Now it was Ba'al's eyes that flashed. "Do not think that I would hesitate to destroy you!" When Ares finally bowed his head in acknowledgement, Ba'al settled back on his throne on the pel'tak. "What I do, or why I do it is no concern of yours. It will not be difficult to capture SG-1 again. I have given my word to Casey that I will free them. And I will. However, when next I hold them prisoner, Jackson will be handed over to you."

"And the others?" Ares asked.

"I have plans for them," Ba'al replied.

"I will hold you to this agreement."

"You are in no position to do more than accept what charity I offer," Ba'al scoffed.

Hatred, icy cold and black, surged through him. Ba'al would pay for the humiliation he endured, being forced to bow knee to him, Ares thought darkly.

"I have word from several of my spies on the outer reaches of the galaxy. It seems that Zeus is moving in this direction," Ba'al said, enjoying the look on the Goa'uld's face. It was plain to see that Ares harbored no secret hopes of finding an ally in his father. Understood that any meeting between the two would result in a battle. One that had been looming for millennia. "I suggest you find a quiet planet on which to hide."

"I have no need to hide!" Ares growled.

"As you say. I am quite busy, Ares. I will contact you when Jackson is ready to be transported to you." With a wave of his hand, he ordered communications between the two ships to be severed. "I am not to be disturbed."

The Goa'uld was so intent on getting to his quarters, taking the slender blonde who had tormented him for far too long, Ba'al missed the glance exchanged between two of his personal guard. Nor did he notice the silent exchange between those two, and the Jaffa who stood at attention outside of his quarters.

Ba'al never knew who hit him. When he regained consciousness, his lo'taur insisted that it had been the slender blonde, and that she'd managed to slip away from the Jaffa, using the powers she held as a witch. The woman was forced to say something, anything to hide the fact that she too had been rendered unconscious. In her mind only one person was capable of doing such a thing, for were not Jaffa known far and wide as "The Faithful Ones"?

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

She pulled her lip between her teeth. Damn it! They'd already broken out! Okay, that in itself was a good thing. But they could have left a freaking note! She sat huddled in the shaft for a moment. Would they try to make their way to Ba'al's quarters to free her? Now wouldn't that be a pain in the ass! She closed her eyes.

 

"Miss Eloise?"

"Hello, Sunshine."

She smiled. "I need a bit of help."

"I see."

"We're prisoners on Ba'al's ship. Well, sort of...I've busted free, and so have the others. We were separated. I have to find the team. Any ideas?"

"That would be interfering," Miss Eloise replied.

"Old woman, after what I went through with Dartal, you really don't want me to go there and get pissy again, do you?"

The old woman cackled. "I suppose not. Think, Casey. What would be the first thing they'd do?"

She frowned. "I have no clue. I assume that they'd try to free me."

"But wouldn't they assume that you would attempt to escape? Don't they know that you were able to move about without Ba'al knowing about it, you and that little lo'taur?"

The frown deepened. "Well, Daniel does."

"And I'm certain he'd share that information."

She heaved a sigh. "I suppose I could just find somewhere to wait, watch the corridors."

"You could do that."

"Just a hint would be nice," Casey grumbled.

"Isn't there a chance that Ba'al can see you, even if you're hidden?"

"Heat signatures, from body heat," Casey confirmed. "Sam would want to find a way to hide us...I suppose she'd have to take out all of the internal sensors, make it look like some sort of malfunction."

"And then what?"

"I have no idea," the young blonde admitted.

"You're a seer, Casey. Look. Tell me what you see."

She reached out, searching for the four people she knew so well. She could feel them, three levels down. She had no clue exactly where they were, but she could sense them. "I think I have them."

"Good. If they move, you'll know," Miss Eloise promised.

"Right."

"Hurry. You must all be together if you're to escape the ship."

"Got it. Thanks!" She took the time to give the old woman a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek before she moved away.

 

She opened her eyes. Three levels, almost straight below her. She could do this. Just stay put, she thought, wishing that her friends could hear her plea.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Slipping down corridors, remaining hidden in the shadows, using access shafts to drop the three levels to the hanger bay where several gliders were kept had been relatively easy. Daniel couldn't help glancing over his shoulder, wondering if the Beings whom Casey insisted protected him were somehow responsible for keeping any wandering Jaffa from locating them.

Sam and Teal'c hurried to the nearest console. "If I can make the entire sensor grid short out, it might take them awhile to repair it. That would give us a chance to get to the transport rings."

Jack nodded. "Do it. Daniel, you take that direction, I'll watch this way."

While their teammates quietly discussed the best possible course of action, something that would cause the maximum of damage to the sensors, Daniel and Jack watched the doors for the arrival of any unwelcome company.

Minutes ticked by, as Sam carefully began to set up feedback, hoping to burn out crystals in the columns of crystal circuitry in the main engineering room.

"Carter, want to speed things up? We're running out of good luck here," Jack whispered.

Casey heaved a sigh of relief when she saw Teal'c's broad shoulders beneath her. "Hey, big guy, wha'cha doing?"

Teal'c looked up, smiled when he saw a familiar face peering at him from behind the vent in the ceiling above him. "Hello, Casey Jackson."

"Hello."

"Daniel Jackson, I require your assistance," Teal'c said softly.

With a frown, Daniel hurried to the Jaffa's side. Watched as Sam grabbed her weapon, to keep an eye on the door he had been watching. "Teal'c we need to-"

Teal'c pointed up.

Daniel's eyes followed the dark finger. Grinned broadly. "Hey, gorgeous."

"Hey, handsome."

Teal'c laced his hands together, and lifted Daniel up so that the archaeologist could remove the vent. Jack glanced over his shoulder, saw what was going on. He stepped close enough to help Casey to the floor, before resuming his post.

As soon as the vent was replaced, Daniel moved back to where he had been standing. Sam continued to work her magic on the computer, and Casey sat down on the floor to put on her boots. She quietly relayed the message from the Jaffa, insisting that Bra'tac be notified as quickly as possible.

Teal'c was the only one to notice when the young seer cocked her head sideways. "Casey Jackson, what have you seen?"

"That dirty rotten, no good, sonofabitch!" she hissed.

Jack grimaced. From the expression of her face, one of anger mixed with a healthy dose of worry, he knew immediately which son of a bitch she was referring to. "Mogba left us."

"High and dry."

"That slimy motherfucker!"

Everyone on the team glanced at Jack. He rarely swore in such a manner. At least, audibly.

"What about the 'gate in the holding bay?"

"By now it's on his planet," Daniel replied.

"No, that doesn't feel right," Casey said, shaking her head slowly. She could see the round monument...and it wasn't a memory she was viewing, of that she was certain.

"We might as well check it out," Sam said. "Almost finished here."

"Teal'c, are there back ways around these ships?" Jack asked. Figured he already knew the answer...their luck had been too good so far.

"There are not."

"I was afraid you were going to say that. Well, I want a zat. These little things aren't going to cut it if we get into a firefight," Jack said.

With a brisk nod, Teal'c glanced around the room carefully. Hurried to one side. He examined the wall, the pressed several squares that looked like nothing more than decoration. A heavy door swung open, exposing a full armory.

"Sweet!" Jack grinned.

Sam pressed two of the icons on the screen, sending the command that Teal'c had helped her to encode. "That should do it," she said quietly.

"How do we know if it worked?" Daniel asked.

"We won't get caught," she replied immediately. Gave him a cheeky grin.

"Vents, boss," Casey said, pointing toward the shaft she had just crawled out of. "I think I can get us to the cargo bays."

"We have no other choice," Teal'c said.

"Gonna be a tight fit," Jack mused.

"Indeed."

"I don't suppose there's a way to replace the vent behind us," the colonel sighed.

"There might be," Sam said, frowning slightly. "If Casey leads, I can take the rear. If Teal'c can pull me into the shaft feet first, I can hold onto the grill, and snap it back into place. First cross shaft, we can turn around."

Daniel and Jack exchanged a glance. Both women were capable of doing the job. That fact didn't make it easy to accept. By putting Casey on point, and Sam on their six, they were exposed to the dangers of running face first into Jaffa...or being the first to find the enemy on their tail. Jack heaved a sigh. "Let's go. Slow and easy. We don't dare make any noise."

Teal'c lifted Casey up to the shaft. Assisted Daniel and Jack as well. His muscles bulged as he lifted himself into the open access, swinging his feet in first. He managed to maneuver onto his stomach.

Sam crawled onto the console, the grill, which was much heavier than it looked, firmly locked in her fingers. It was more difficult than she'd thought, trying to get into the narrow space, feet first. Teal'c was hanging out of the opening, grabbed her leg as she lifted it.

"You must trust me, Major Carter," the Jaffa said quietly.

With a nod of understanding, Sam gave a little hop, lifting her other leg, waiting to feel Teal'c's grip on her ankle. As she did so, her body flipped upside down. She narrowly missed cracking her head on the console, and almost lost her grip on the vent cover. Heart pounding, she felt herself being pulled.

Teal'c strained to pull Sam into the vent, using the fact that his body barely fit in the shaft as a means to maneuver himself backwards. It was slow going, and he was beginning to feel the pressure struggling to weaken his muscles when he noticed a definite shift in the weight he'd been holding. He continued to move backwards, feeling the lightening of his burden with every inch he gained. He knew when Sam was far enough into the shaft when she began to wiggle back toward him.

"Hold up," she whispered. Sam nearly panicked when the grill refused to lock into place. She closed her eyes, forced herself to calm down and to concentrate. It took several nerve wracking moments, but eventually she heard an audible 'click' that signaled that the metal cover had snapped into place. She sighed with relief. "Got it."

Turning as much as he could, Teal'c passed the word to Jack that he and Sam were ready to go.

"Lead on, Radar," Jack said, his voice muffled by the number of bodies in the constricting space.

Teal'c pushed himself backwards, one booted foot bumping Jack's occasionally. He kept one hand on Sam's ankle, guiding her as much as possible.

For five minutes they crawled through the shafts. "Cross shaft coming up," Casey whispered. "You should trade places with the boss, Stud Muffin."

Daniel passed the word to Jack, who informed Teal'c and Sam. He slid into the adjacent shaft, waited for his best friend to follow after his wife. Apparently she wanted the CO able to make any decisions quickly, rather than waiting for whispered messages to be passed back and forth.

"I will take the rear," Teal'c said quietly as he crawled sideways into the adjoining shaft.

Sam nodded, and crawled into the opening opposite of the Jaffa. With smile at her friend, she slid into position behind whom she thought was Jack. When she reached forward to caress his calf, she heard a familiar chuckle.

"Case wanted us to trade places," Daniel whispered. "Want me to 'pass it on'?"

Her cheeks burning with embarrassment, Sam choked back her first response. "Not necessary, thanks," she mumbled.

Daniel chuckled quietly. Several times before the question of how many times Sam and Jack traded clandestine caresses crossed his mind. There was no need for he and Casey to hide their actions from anyone. His best friends, however, were still maintaining a very discreet relationship. Habit, he presumed. He was certainly glad he didn't have to worry about such things. His need to touch his Wife at every opportunity would have driven him to indiscretion long ago, had they been forced to hide their feelings for one another from those around them.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

"FIND HER!" Ba'al roared. His head was still spinning, the lump on the back of his skull reminding him of the force of the blow he'd received. When he'd come to, it was to find his lo'taur unconscious on the floor, blood oozing from the wound on the back of her head.

The Jaffa of his personal guard mumbled about hearing sounds of a struggle within the room, opening the door only to find the young slave and their god on the floor, both unconscious from what had to have been a surprise attack. One of the Jaffa insisted that he felt only a breeze move past him, and the sweet smell of perfume. That the others had stood wide-eyed, muttering protective blessings under their breath as they seemed to jump out of the way of something unseen only added to the man's belief that what he said was truth.

Although he was certain that the fools had been caught unaware, and Casey had simply been able to lose them as she fled through the corridors, a 'game' she'd played many times while she had been with him before, the seed of doubt had been planted. As easily as she seemed to escape from him each time he held her, Ba'al couldn't help but wonder if she truly did have powers other than her ability to see the future.

"My Lord, all sensors, internal and external, are inoperative. The circuits have been destroyed in the engineering room," one of the Jaffa reported.

Another Jaffa came running toward the Goa'uld, his face pale. "My Lord, the prisoners have escaped. The force field for the detention level has been destroyed."

Ba'al closed his eyes. Casey had made her escape. And had freed the others. "They are on this ship. Find them!"

"Yes, My Lord."

Ryk'teal hurried toward his master. "I have just been informed-"

Ba'al was furious at the situation. Casey was making a mockery of him. It was his pride that struck out, the need to somehow regain control making his decisions. His arm flew across the First Prime's neck, sending the man bouncing off of the wall. He lifted his hand, powering up the ribbon device. "You have failed me for the last time!"

Ryk'teal's dying thoughts were those of finding the woman who had brought him to ruin. With his last breath, he cursed the Tau'ri woman known as Casey Jackson.


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