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The Colonel's New Toys
General Hammond took note of the worried look in Walter's eyes when he announced the visitor. An attorney. Insisting that he speak either with Dr. Daniel Jackson, or his superior. Immediately.
"He's waiting in the visitor's lounge, sir, and he claims he's not leaving until he's spoken with one of you," Walter said
"Any idea what this is about?" Hammond asked, pulling on his jacket, buttoning it carefully.
"No, sir. He refused to say. The only thing he did say was that he has a subpoena," the master sergeant replied.
A subpoena? That didn't sound good. With a frown, the general hurried toward the elevator. Wondering if there was something in the archaeologist's background that had been missed when the security check had been run on him, nearly eight years prior. He shook his head mentally. Dr. Jackson would have willingly told them if there was anything they should be aware of, any legal problems he might have had. The man was too honest to do otherwise.
SG-1 hadn't been heard from since they'd been ringed aboard Tieel Mogba's ship. He was fairly certain that the young archaeologist's quest for revenge had colored Colonel O'Neill's decision to meet with the bounty hunter. Colonel Ronson had reported that a message had arrived from the alien ship, from Dr. Jackson specifically, that the team had a chance to take out Ba'al, and would be in contact as soon as possible. There was no way to know if the short message had been coerced or not. The only thing that was known at the moment was that the ship had left, jumping to hyperspace almost immediately. The Prometheus had been attempting to follow, but the last report hadn't been promising.
Hammond paused just outside of the very stark waiting room. The attorney, a man in his early forties perhaps, sat calmly on the sofa that sat against the wall adjacent to the door. He didn't look nervous. But then, attorneys were notorious for being able to mask their emotions. With a deep breath, he stepped into the room. "I'm General Hammond. How may I help you?"
The man jumped to his feet. Offered his hand. "Dillon Pierce," the man said. "I take it Doctor Jackson is...unavailable?"
"For the moment, yes he is," General Hammond replied, shaking the man's hand. Firm grip. The attorney met his gaze steadily. That was always a good sign, he thought fleetingly. He led the man to the table that sat in the middle of the room, two chairs on either side.
"How soon will he be available?"
"I'm afraid I can't answer that," the general said honestly.
"Yes." Even if he did know when SG-1 would be walking back down the ramp into the 'gate room, he wouldn't tell this man.
"Well, you need to find a way to get him here. I have a subpoena signed by a judge in Denver. Another signed by a judge in Phoenix, Arizona." As he spoke, Pierce had been opening his briefcase. The one that the Marines had rifled through before allowing him into this most impressive structure. He handed the two documents to the general.
The documents appeared legal, but he'd have the experts in the NORAD legal department take a look at them anyway. "What's this about?"
"Paternity suit," the attorney replied quickly. "My client, Mrs. Amelia Harmstead, has a daughter, age nine. The child was diagnosed with Medullary cystic disease. It's a disease of the kidneys. What Kirsten, Mrs. Harmstead's daughter, has is rare form of this disease. It's progressing much more quickly in her. She's already suffering the first stages of complete renal failure. What the child needs is a kidney transplant. Mrs. Harmstead has just been diagnosed with Type II diabetes, and thus is not a suitable donor. Her maternal grandparents are both in poor health, thus they are also unsuitable donors. Kirsten has no siblings. The best chance for the child is to locate her father."
"I take it that Mrs. Harmstead is unsure of who the father is?" Hammond asked dryly.
"A compatibility test ran for Mr. Harmstead revealed that he is not the child's biological father. Mrs. Harmstead had a brief affair with Doctor Jackson the summer she became pregnant," Pierce said.
"I see. Then the subpoena's are for-"
"DNA testing. If Doctor Jackson is the child's father, then he has the right to know his daughter. As well as the right to help her."
"And if he's not the father of the child?"
"Mrs. Harmstead was quite adamant that he was the only other man she had been with. She and her husband have gone to great lengths to find him."
The general's internal antenna began to twitch. "I was under the impression that any healthy donor could give a kidney. So Mr. Harmstead would be able to donate a kidney just as easily."
"Yes, that's true. And he's quite willing to do so. But survival rates are the highest when the donor is from a first-degree relative, such as a father, mother, brother, or sister. Mrs. Harmstead also wishes to give Doctor Jackson the opportunity to be a father to their child, if he so chooses."
Hammond sat back in his chair. He was adding two plus two. But he wasn't coming up with four. Something was off about the entire situation. He had no doubt that there really was a little girl in need of a kidney transplant. The judges whose names graced the subpoenas in his hand wouldn't have signed otherwise. "If this little girl is in such dire need, I would think that a transplant right away would be in her best interest. The man she has known all of her life...I assume Mr. Harmstead has been in the picture that long...?"
"Then the man Kirsten has believed to be her father should be the one to help her."
"I understand what you're saying, General. I know that the thought of one of your men giving up a kidney is frightening. But it's very possible to live a long and healthy life with one kidney. And to give life to his own daughter, well, I just can't see how Doctor Jackson could refuse. Especially when his gift would increase her chances of survival exponentially."
He figured that that statement was a bald faced lie. Advances in the medical field had made kidney transplants damned near routine. There wasn't the rejection rate that had plagued the recipients in the beginning of the transplant era. Hammond had the feeling that Amelia Harmstead wanted more than just one of Dr. Jackson's kidneys. If he were the child's father, she could demand that he pay, or help pay, what must be astronomical medical bills. Plus child support for what, nine years, thirteen if the little girl went to college. No doubt she would seek back child support as well. He hoped he was wrong. But being suspicious had kept him alive. His gut instinct hadn't failed him yet, and it was telling him that this woman was nothing more than a barracuda, lying in wait for some poor sap like Daniel Jackson. If she had had an affair with him, then she knew that Daniel was a most giving, caring person, and she'd no doubt take full advantage of that fact.
Then the thought that allowing anyone outside of the SGC, anyone other than Dr, Fraiser, access to Daniel Jackson's DNA could expose who he was...what he was, came crashing down. There had to be a way around this! He'd speak to Dr. Fraiser. And the president.
"General, it's imperative that you contact Doctor Jackson immediately. If he fails to appear for DNA testing in two days, he'll be in contempt of court. And I'll see to it that a warrant is issued for his arrest."
The general leaned forward. He wasn't above showing the cards in his hand, just a bit, not in a situation as serious as this. "Son, I'd be careful who you try to threaten. At this moment contact with Doctor Jackson is not possible. When he returns, I'll tell him about this matter. I will also see to it that he retains his own counsel. Being forced to jump through legal hoops at the whim of a distraught mother is somewhat of an...inconvenience. Especially when a perfectly suitable donor is available, and willing. I'm also going to discuss the matter with the president, as the work that Doctor Jackson does is highly classified and extremely critical, and any absences could have...unfortunate...repercussions."
Pierce swallowed. "President? Of the United States?"
"Yes. Doctor Jackson and his wife are personal friends of the president. I'm certain that President Miller will be most interested in this...situation." It wasn't a lie. Not really. President Miller had a soft spot in his heart for Casey Jackson especially. The general noted that Pierce was looking decidedly uncomfortable. Following his instincts, he pushed just a bit more. "I'm certain that an...investigation...will be conducted, to ascertain that Mrs. Harmstead's motives are purely in the interest of her child."
The attorney paled significantly. Amelia Harmstead was already asking about child support laws, and the process of filing for back support. Without a doubt when...if...Dr. Jackson was proven to be the child's biological father, the woman would be determined to get all that she could. He studied the uniformed man sitting calmly across from him. There was absolutely no doubt that the general suspected what the mother was up to. The general was also correct in stating that any healthy person could be a donor. Little Kirsten needed a kidney. It would be better if her biological father was that donor. But it wasn't absolutely necessary.
"If you'll excuse me, I have important matters to attend to," General Hammond said, rising to his feet, and officially ending the meeting. "As soon as Doctor Jackson arrives, he'll contact you."
"Yes, that's fine," Pierce said quietly, rising as well. He was halfway to the door before he turned and looked back at the general. "Just what do you do here?"
"Deep space telemetry," the general replied easily.
"Uh huh. Classified deep space telemetry," Pierce said, his disbelief plain in his eyes.
"That's right. Have a good day, Mr. Pierce."
The attorney knew without a doubt he had been dismissed. He shivered slightly. Whatever went on here, the President of the United States was aware of it. Was friends with those who worked here, or at least Dr. Jackson. It was in his client's best interest to tread lightly in this matter. Advice that he would offer...adamantly. He suspected that it would be ignored.
A A A A A A
It was impossible for Jack to see around Casey's ass to know just exactly what was going on. However, the whispered stream of curses alerted him to the fact that something was wrong. "Radar?"
"Back up to the last cross shaft. We have to turn around. The damned cargo bay is guarded. Oh, and tell Daniel there is a Stargate there!"
He couldn't help but grin. "Daniel, Radar says there's a Stargate. That's the good news."
"What's the bad news?" Daniel whispered.
"Back up to the last cross shaft."
"Right. Then what?"
"Beats me. This is your wife's old stomping ground."
"What about that room where she stuck you?"
"What about it?"
"Big enough for all of us?"
"Remember where it is?"
"Radar?" Jack poked at one small, booted foot.
"Where's the room where you kept Daniel hidden?"
"One level above us."
"That's where we'll go."
"It's dark, and we don't have flashlights," Casey objected.
"So we'll find some," Jack replied.
"Where?" Casey asked.
"Would you please back up?" Jack huffed impatiently.
"Waiting for Sam and Teal'c."
As difficult as it was to move forward and try to remain silent, it was even more so to try to move backwards and remain silent. Casey remembered where the empty storage room was, but wasn't certain she could find it by climbing through the shafts. When she insisted that some sort of portable lighting would be needed, Teal'c agreed that it would be best not to activate any of the lights in the room. He also suggested finding an armory to locate any Goa'uld version of flashlights. To do that, the team had to leave the relative safety of the access shafts.
To make matters worse, they knew that every Jaffa on the ship not engaged in working on repairs to the damage they'd caused were searching for them. Snippets of conversation that had been overheard indicated that the internal and external sensors were still down. And Ba'al wanted the external sensors repaired first. While he was more certain of his status as the most powerful System Lord, he was not yet willing to prove that in battle, and wanted to remain 'unfound' until the time and place of his choosing.
With no other options available to them, they climbed out of the shaft at the end of one of the corridors. The team remained hidden in the shadows cast by the support beams. As one group of Jaffa moved past them, they fell silently into step behind them. Ducked into the shadows once again when another group of Jaffa could be heard approaching.
"Too bad you didn't turn the lights out, too," Casey whispered.
"Get me to an access panel, and I'll see what I can do," Sam replied with a grin.
Teal'c overheard the soft whispers. "Follow me," he instructed.
Jack and Daniel almost missed seeing the Jaffa and the two women slipping into a nearby room. "Just when the hell was I removed from command?" Jack growled.
"Just follow them, Jack," Daniel whispered. "We'll worry about who's in charge later."
"I'm the commanding officer," Jack whispered in return.
"They should have asked first."
"We were on the other side of the corridor. Right now, calling out isn't such a good idea. What were they supposed to do, send smoke signals?"
"You are a wiseass, Daniel. Must come from living with Casey."
"I've always been a wiseass, according to you."
"See, I told you so. You're a wiseass. I should know."
"You're not making any sense."
"Of course I am!"
"No, you're not." Daniel ducked into the room, watched as Jack slapped the control that would seal the door as soon as his body was clear of the opening.
"Someone mind telling me what we're doing?" Jack asked, one eyebrow cocked slightly.
"Turning off the lights. It'll be easier to get to the cargo bay if the lights are out," Casey whispered.
"We were just at the cargo bay, remember? Guys with the funky armor standing around in the way," Jack replied.
"But if we take out the lights, and make it appear as if the command came from another part of the ship, Ba'al will send the Jaffa there to look for us," Sam explained.
"You can do that?" Jack asked.
"I think so," was the absent reply. Sam's full attention was on the console in front of her.
Casey looked around. The equipment that waited on the tables that lined the walls, and in the tall cabinets, identified this room as one of the laboratories. Knowing Ba'al, what went on in this room wasn't anything good.
"Okay, I think I have it," Sam announced softly. She pushed one of the glowing icons. The lights in the room flickered, dimmed, then went out completely.
"Very good, Carter. We're in the dark," Jack groused.
"Just wait," Sam responded.
A few seconds later alarms began to wail above them, and emergency lights began to glow. Cautiously opening the door, Jack and Teal'c stuck their heads out to examine the corridor. Not a Jaffa in sight. "Which way, Radar?"
Casey hurried out, waving a hand to ascertain that her friends were following. She ran up the corridor, took the second right. Past three intersecting hallways, another right...straight into a group of Jaffa. "Shit!"
Stunned for a moment at the sudden appearance of the five Tau'ri, the Jaffa guards hesitated just long enough for the team to turn around and run in the opposite direction.
"This way!" Casey called.
Jack glanced around. "Dead end, Radar!"
"Trust me," she panted. Trembling fingers searched, found the release mechanism. She ducked into what was nothing more than a storage closet.
"Great, now they can shoot us like fish in a barrel," Jack declared.
"I don't think so," Casey said. She squeezed past two crates. Glanced at the dim light above her, then shook her head. She'd always wondered what was kept here...
"Hey, that looks like SGC equipment," Daniel exclaimed when Casey lifted the lid on the nearest crate.
"So why didn't you tell us about this stuff sooner?" Jack wanted to know.
"I didn't know it was here!" Casey replied indignantly. "The last time I raced through here, the Jaffa were hot on my tail!"
"And they're not now?" Jack asked drolly.
"These goons aren't used to the...uh...game," she muttered.
"Look, I had to do something to keep from losing my mind. Ba'al let me wander anywhere I wanted to go...well, with the exception of the engine room. Or the armory-"
"There's a surprise," Jack chuckled.
"But I had two body guards. So, I'd see just how long I could lose them."
"What was your best time?" Sam asked, a grin on her face.
"Four minutes, give or take," Casey grinned in return.
Teal'c and Daniel had been sorting through the packs, weapons and other miscellaneous equipment. "He must not think any of this stuff is valuable," Daniel mused.
"He would not believe Tau'ri weapons to be superior. No doubt these items were meant to be traded for whatever goods he might desire."
"Trade? Goa'uld? Don't they usually just take what they want?" Jack asked, tugging a pack from the crate.
"There are places where even the Goa'uld must show restraint," Teal'c replied.
Examination of their find resulted in packs for each of them, complete with water, MREs, first aid kits, and emergency blankets. Batteries for four of the flashlights were still good, and after scrounging through two other crates, five P90s were fully loaded, with two spare clips for each of them. The crates were carefully closed again, before Casey led them to the door on the opposite end of the narrow storage area.
She watched from the crack in the door as a squad of Jaffa jogged by. Dashed out and across the corridor into another room, her teammates hot on her heels.
"Hey, isn't this Nutesh's workroom?" Daniel asked, looking around.
"Could be," Casey shrugged.
"I sent a message to the Tok'ra from here."
"I always wondered how you managed to do that," Jack drawled.
"If we could get an SOS to them..." Sam started, looking at Daniel.
"They could alert the SGC," Daniel finished.
The rattle of Jaffa armor just outside the door had the five people in the room diving for cover. The door opened, and a single Jaffa stepped inside. He gave a cursory glance around, then stepped back into the corridor.
"Uh oh," Casey said softly, when a soft 'clink' filled the air.
"I don't want to hear it," Jack warned.
"We are in a room which has been sealed from the outside," Teal'c said.
"Didn't I just say I didn't want to hear it?"
"If we open that door, they'll know we were in here. And where to look for us," Sam surmised.
"Indeed," Teal'c replied.
Casey was shining her light around the top of the walls.
"Not again," the team CO muttered.
"Have any better ideas?"
"Give me a minute." Jack frowned when four faces turned to watch him expectantly. "Wait for it...well...Okay, I got nothin'. Let's go."
A A A A A A
"My Lord, we are being hailed," one of the Jaffa reported.
It was all he could do to keep from moaning. What else could go wrong on this day? Sensors were still offline. He had no idea who had stumbled upon his ship. He did know that he couldn't allow anyone to discover that for the moment, five Tau'ri were running free, causing damage at will. Ba'al cursed himself for ever allowing Casey to have had such free run of the ship. It seemed that she'd remembered every nook, every cranny she'd discovered. "Who is it?"
"A Jaffa named Kebu. He claims to be the former First Prime of Tem," the Jaffa replied.
"Former First Prime?"
"Yes, My Lord. It seems that Tem is dead."
Well, that was certainly convenient. From what he'd been able to learn, that Goa'uld had gone insane. His death was nothing more than a passing oddity...strange because he never should have returned to the Empire. Ba'al was certain that Ra had never intended for his son to leave the First World. "What do they want?"
"Kebu indicates that he and those with him wish to serve you, My Lord."
Ba'al heaved a sigh. He'd heard about Tem's Jaffa. Mere boys with little training, and even less experience. All of the Jaffa who had served the Temple of Tem had been killed in the first few days of his return, many when the ships that had been hidden on that cursed planet were destroyed by the Asgard in his failed attempt to move on the First World. He sighed again. He didn't have time to deal with children.
"He offers the ship, and all those on board to you, My Lord," the Jaffa continued.
"A ha'tak. There are ninety Jaffa, and one hundred slaves on board."
He rubbed his thumb and forefinger over his jaw. Another such ship was always welcome. The fact that the Jaffa were mere boys was of little consequence. They would continue their training, serving under his own Jaffa masters. Slaves were always useful as well. "Tell him that I accept. He will ring aboard, and bow to me."
"Yes, My Lord."
"AND FIND SG-1!"
The Jaffa cringed. "Yes, My Lord."
A A A A A A
"We can't just drop down out of the shaft, they'll take us out one at a time," Casey whispered.
"I agree. We'll have to find a way to go in through the door," Jack replied.
"I suggest taking grenades of Goa'uld design," Teal'c said. "When the door opens, we can toss them inside. Those guarding the Chappa'ai will be rendered unconscious, and we will be able to make our escape."
"Yeah, about that," Jack said, turning to Daniel and Sam. "Any ideas on where to go?"
"I can remember a few addresses," Daniel admitted.
"So can I," Sam said. "We won't have any idea of what's waiting on the other side of any wormhole we can establish."
"If it's on a planet, that's in our favor," Jack replied. "Okay, let's go. Teal'c, take point, find an armory. Quietly, kids. They're going to catch on to how we're getting around sooner or later."
The Jaffa lifted himself into the narrow access shaft. Daniel helped Casey up, then followed. Jack boosted Sam up behind the archaeologist, gave one last glance around the room, then climbed into the shaft behind her; doing as the others, and pushing his gear carefully in front of him. This time they wouldn't worry about the vent cover being replaced. The room had been sealed, and wouldn't be opened again until the Tau'ri were captured, or managed to escape the ship. By the time Ba'al and his Jaffa realized where SG-1 had been, and how they'd gotten away, the plan was to be on a planet far, far from Ba'al and his ship.
A A A A A A
Teal'c stopped when he heard the murmur of voices beneath him. Eased forward carefully, and peered through the screen at the corridor beneath him. A group of Jaffa were standing restlessly, looking this way and that, obviously upset.
"Our god is livid, and if he will strike down his First Prime, none of us are safe," the Jaffa whispered.
"If you continue to speak in such a manner, you will be next," his companion replied.
"The escaped prisoners should have been located by now. Every corridor is guarded. All of the lifts are guarded. The Chappa'ai and the ring transport are being watched as well. There is nowhere for them to escape to, even if they could reach those places. Yet, we cannot find them. The rumors must be true...the seer whom Lord Ba'al has chosen as his Consort is a much more powerful witch than he knew," the first Jaffa continued.
"Lord Ba'al is a god! There is nothing which he does not know, or is not aware!" a third voice gasped.
"If that is so, tell me why he hasn't told us where the Tau'ri are hiding," the first voice challenged. There was uncomfortable shifting among those who stood around him. "Perhaps the shol'va are not wrong, after all, eh?"
Teal'c held his breath, waiting for the bold, and foolish, young man to be struck down by his companions. That he wasn't filled his heart with hope. Bra'tac had been correct, there were those among even Ba'al's most loyal who were beginning to question. He eased forward, moving slowly so as to make no noise as he passed.
When the first Jaffa happened to glance up, he was certain that he saw something moving behind the vent cover. A careful glance at his companions to make certain they hadn't noticed where his attention had been drawn; then he shook his head. "We might as well continue looking. Even though we won't find the Tau'ri."
"What makes you say that?"
The first Jaffa smiled. "Because they are very clever. And they have the protection of a very powerful witch."
"Myths and fables!" one of the Jaffa spat. "Only the gods have such power!"
"You would be willing to risk your life on that belief?" the first Jaffa asked. When the man refused to answer, he nodded slowly. "Check these rooms. Then seal them. Make certain that they cannot be opened from the inside."
The group dispersed to do their leaders' bidding. He glanced again at the vent. The Tau'ri were very clever indeed. Not once did he question his decision to remain silent about what he had seen. Ryk'teal had crossed the Tau'ri witch. He was now dead. The young Jaffa had no wish to bring down a curse upon himself.
A A A A A A
The armory was small. Cramped. Especially with five bodies filling the confined space. Teal'c located a box that contained the round, Goa'uld grenades. "We must take the corridors now," he whispered.
"How close to the cargo hold are we?" Jack asked.
"It is on the opposite side of this level," Teal'c replied.
"That's good, I think," Jack said.
"It will not be easy," Teal'c warned. "The Jaffa are patrolling with great care. They will be watching the shadows closely."
"How long to find a planet?" Jack asked his two scientists.
"I don't know," Sam answered honestly. "It depends on how long it takes to find an address that will lock in."
"Okay, we know he's on the opposite side of the galaxy from where he was when Daniel and Casey went through the 'gate, does that help?" Jack wanted to know.
"Maybe," Sam said, frowning slightly. She was frantically searching her memory for 'gate addresses for the sector where Ba'al was currently hiding. "I can think of three, maybe four."
"I can think of a couple," Daniel added, "I don't know if they're the same that Sam is thinking of or not."
"We don't have a choice," Jack replied. "This is our only chance. Let's go. Stay alert. Use the zats. And let's not get caught, shall we?"
Acknowledging the nod of the team leader, Teal'c opened the door, peeked into the corridor. It was clear. He led the team toward the ever present support beams. Leapfrogging from one beam to the next, covering one another as they moved slowly toward the cargo bay, the final stages of their escape had their hearts pounding and their palms sweating. To be caught now would mean certain death. Unless Ba'al ordered their bodies dissected for study, he would then learn of their Immortality. Not a good thing. Not a good thing at all!
Two more intersecting corridors to pass, and they'd be standing at the doors of the cargo bay where the Stargate sat silently. Their hopes for survival were pinned on gaining access to that room, and finding an address that would send them somewhere...anywhere that wasn't the flag ship of a Goa'uld System Lord.
Teal'c had just cleared the first of the two junctions, Sam right behind him. Jack ran next, when the sound of Jaffa armor clanking, drawing nearer, filled the air. His hand tight around Casey's arm, Daniel raced for the relative safety of the shadows on the opposite side.
Casey glanced down the corridor as she ran beside Daniel. Met the steady gaze of Ba'al's brown eyes. She stopped, glared at her enemy, then pulled her arm free of her husband's grasp. She gave a smart military salute, then raised her fist. Extended her middle finger.
Ba'al gasped. Without a doubt the gesture was one of defiance, probably an insult as well. The hatred that filled her green eyes cut him to the quick. "Kill them. Kill them all. At once." he ordered, his voice calm. Cold.
Daniel had stopped, looked over his shoulder when Casey had jerked free. He watched her snap off a salute that would have done Ferretti proud, and then flip the bird at whoever was standing in that corridor. No one had to tell him just who that was. He reached out, wrapped his hand around her upper arm and yanked her to stand beside him.
With the Jaffa running toward them, the team dashed toward the cargo bay. Teal'c dove for the door, activating and tossing two grenades before his body hit the floor. The flash and ensuing thuds from inside let them know that the Jaffa guarding the Stargate were down.
They had opened fire as soon as the Jaffa with Ba'al had cleared the first corner. Barely made it inside the bay and closed the doors...they'd seen and heard more Jaffa running to join the battle. Jack fired the zat at the door controls.
"We don't have much time," Daniel muttered, hurrying toward the DHD. He punched in the symbols for the first address he could remember.
Chevron one...locked. Chevron two...locked. Chevron three...locked. Chevron four...locked. Chevron five...locked. Chevron six...locked. Chevron seven...failed to lock.
Sam raced to his side, pushed the symbols again. They watched with bated breath as the inner wheel spun, and as each chevron clanged into place. One...two...three...four...five...six...again failure on the seventh.
"Here goes nothing," Sam murmured. It wasn't the most hospitable of places, if she was remembering correctly, but they would only be there long enough to dial to the Alpha site.
Again they held their breath. Nearly shouted with relief when the seventh chevron locked, and the event horizon 'whooshed' open.
Casey cocked her head to one side. "Better send a message," she said softly. "Let them know where we're going."
"Why?" Sam asked. "As soon as we get through, we'll just head to the Alpha site."
"Please, Sam," Casey said, putting her hand on her best friend's arm. "Please."
With a nod, Sam searched for the communications control. There was no need for stealth, the Jaffa knew exactly where they were. And if they didn't get through that 'gate within the next minute or so, those same Jaffa would be in the bay, and their escape attempt would be short lived.
She keyed in the frequency for the SGC. Sent a standard SOS, then attached the address for the planet where they were headed, and for the Alpha site. No doubt the general would understand that they would head there as soon as possible. Hoping that her assumption was correct, as soon as the message had been sent, it was erased, and the information contained within it unattainable for anyone who might seek to find it.
"We gotta go kids, now!" Jack said, hurrying toward the 'gate. "Sam, enough! Move it!"
Five people dashed through the 'gate, just as the door to the bay opened behind them. That SG-1 good luck held true, and the event horizon hissed closed just as Ba'al strode into the room.
He stared at the silent monument. The look in Casey's eyes haunted him. Love turned to bitter, angry hatred in that moment. He would find her. He would capture her husband as well. She would witness The Taking. And then he would break her. She would be the slave he had set out to create when he'd first met her.
A A A A A A
They all stumbled slightly as they emerged from the wormhole, cold and momentarily disoriented. The Stargate was sitting alone at the top of a cliff. Thankfully they'd emerged on the safe side. The terrain around them was rocky and formidable. The sky above them heavy with dark gray clouds. The wind that whipped around them chilled their already cool bodies, had them shivering almost instantly.
"Okay, dial us to the Alpha site," Jack said, rubbing his hands over his arms.
"Uh oh," Daniel said, as soon as he approached the DHD.
"No. No 'uh-ohs'. I don't want to hear it!" Jack growled.
Casey followed her husband. "Shit!"
Sam moved to stand behind the two. "I don't know if I can fix this," she admitted.
The round, red dome of the DHD was broken. Several pieces of the glass-like material lay on top of the exposed crystal circuitry. Jack and Teal'c approached, and looked down at the damaged DHD.
"See what you can do," Jack told Sam gently, giving her shoulder a squeeze. "Teal'c, let's look around. We're gonna need shelter from this wind. And something for a fire would be nice, too. Daniel, you stay here and help Carter. Radar, you're with us."
Nodding their understanding, the two scientists began to more closely examine the circuitry. While Daniel knew nothing about electronics or the crystals used in Ancient technology, he could read the language, and often there were marks that were similar to those used on their own equipment, marks that would let Sam know what she was looking at.
Carefully, afraid of causing more damage, the two began to pull the shattered pieces of the dome from the interior, tossed them to the ground at their feet.
Casey fell into step behind Jack, knew that Teal'c wasn't even an arm's length behind her. It was a comfort to know that her very best buddy was with her. If she couldn't be with Daniel, then Teal'c was her second choice. She knew that the Jaffa would die before allowing anything to happen to her.
"Talk to me, Radar," Jack said, breathing hard as he maneuvered over fallen boulders. He had seen what appeared to be a path, worn by who or what he didn't have a clue, and it was toward this he was heading.
"Ba'al is pissed."
"Goes without saying."
"No, really pissed. I don't think I have to worry about being his consort."
Jack stopped, turned to look at the seer. Contemplated what she had said. The bad thing about pissing off snakes, was tendency they had of getting really nasty. If Ba'al was totally pissed off at Casey..."Things just got worse for you, didn't they?"
Slender shoulders moved up and down in a familiar motion. "Probably. I suppose the next time we meet up, he'll want to finish what he started at our first meeting."
He frowned. "I suppose he'll go out of his way to find you?"
"Not right now, I don't think," was the calm reply. "All I can sense is that he's at the top of the heap, but it's a precarious position at best. Until he's certain that he can maintain control over the other System Lords, he's not going to be actively pursuing us."
"Gives us time to find a way to take his ass out," Jack mumbled, continuing his trek toward the stony path. He wouldn't put his fears into words. If Ba'al captured Casey again, what she'd suffer would be...unthinkable. The best thing, the only thing to do, was to take that damned snake out...permanently. Then he wouldn't have to worry about his resident seer. At least, not as much.
She smiled. If Ba'al thought that taking them again would be easy, he was in for a surprise. The smile faded. Why hadn't she taken the opportunity to kill him? He'd been standing there, his Jaffa behind him or beside him. She could easily have lifted her P90 and taken him out. What had stopped her?
"Casey Jackson, what troubles you?"
With a start, she looked up into Teal'c's face, the concern in his eyes warming her heart. Tugged her lip between her teeth. "I didn't kill him. I had the chance. I had a clear shot. I didn't take it."
"You would have been killed," Teal'c replied kindly.
"Yeah, well, three days and I'd be just fine."
"In the meantime, Daniel Jackson would have been obliged to carry your body. A body in death is much heavier than one alive. Your presence, and your gift, were required to assist in our escape."
He spoke so matter-of-factly that for a moment she wondered how she could have doubted. Then she shook her head. "I should have shot him."
"The next time we meet him, you will," he said gently.
She put her arm around the Jaffa's waist, her head on his shoulder. "Thanks, T."
"You are welcome, Casey."
Jack had heard the entire conversation. No doubt Radar would spend the next few weeks beating herself up for not killing that damned snake. He personally hoped they never came face to face with the bastard again. He'd prefer launching a few missiles at the snake's ship and blowing it to little tiny pieces. Less chance of the bastard getting to his sarcophagus that way.
Sam hissed a sigh. Shook her head. "It looks like two of the crystals are damaged. I'm not certain of how much, because I don't have the equipment I need to run the proper tests, but it seems that there's been a power drain as well. I can't get enough of a reaction here to activate even half of the crystals. Without power, even dialing the 'gate manually is impossible."
Daniel wrapped one arm around her shoulders, gave her a hug. "We got a message out. When we don't show up at the Alpha site, they'll send someone to get us."
"Anyone stepping through that 'gate is just as stuck as we are," Sam pointed out.
"Oh, yeah," Daniel frowned. "What if we put a sign right in front of the DHD? You know that the general will send a MALP through first. That's standard procedure. If he sees the sign, and that the DHD is damaged, then they can send the Prometheus to pick us up."
Sam nodded eagerly. "That's a great idea!"
"What do you have in your pack?" Daniel asked, dropping his to the ground and kneeling beside it.
The major followed suit. MREs. Water. First aid kit. Flashlight. Emergency blanket. Small tool kit. She contemplated the tool kit for a moment.
"Nothing to leave a note with...although..." she glanced around, looking for a large enough stone to leave a short message on, one that could be propped against the front of the DHD.
"Although?" Daniel prompted.
"Would it be possible to scrape a message into one of these rocks?"
He frowned. That would certainly hold up to the elements much better than any paper or cardboard they might be able to come up with. "I think so."
She pulled the tool kit from the pack. Selected one of the larger screwdrivers. "I wonder how well it will show up."
"I have no idea. If the stone itself is dark, any 'new' scratches might be lighter," he suggested.
"Let's hope so."
"Here, let me," he said quietly. Took the screwdriver from her hand. "I know you can do it. But I have more strength in my hands," he said, seeing the look of protest on her face.
Knowing that Daniel was merely stating a fact, she nodded.
"What should we say?"
"SOS. DHD broken. They'll figure it out from there."
He nodded. It took several minutes, but they found a large stone that was nearly black with age. Together they managed to lean it against the base of the DHD. The placement of the rock was as obvious as the message on it would be.
With determination, he began to scrape the surface of the stone. This was literally their only chance of rescue. He concentrated, marking each letter carefully. Then began to trace each one, digging just a bit deeper each time. When Jack, Casey and Teal'c returned to the cliff, with the good news that they had discovered a cave, a wide river, and a large quantity of what appeared to be bushes of some sort, the message was as ready as he could make it...
SOS DHD BRK SG1
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