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 The Devil In the Details

Chapter 12

Thursday 0250 hours

"Somewhere around here," Casey said, pointing to Jupiter. "He doesn't want to go too far, I think he can still monitor what's going on from there."

"Let's go see what we can find," Colonel Ronson said. "Major Gant, let Thor, the Tok'ra, and the SGC know that we're going for a little ride. Should be back within thirty minutes."

"Yes, sir."

Casey stood beside Teal'c, holding tightly to his hand, drawing comfort from the large man's presence.

"Do you know what you wish to say?" Teal'c asked quietly.

"What I wish to say? Where do I begin," Casey replied dryly. "What I need to say to get Zeus to play the game our way? Not really."

"You must appeal to his vanity, to his ego."

"Typical," she said.

"You must also make him believe that you are sincere."

She looked up at her friend. "Do I look like an actress to you?"

"I believe you can be whatever you wish to be. I believe that Daniel Jackson has commented on the fact that you would be a most accomplished actress. He believes your beauty outshines all others."

She blushed slightly. "Yeah, well Daniel sees me through the eyes of love, not the way I really am."

"I believe that it is you who do not see yourself as you truly are," Teal'c said kindly. "Do not doubt yourself, Casey Jackson. You have proven again and again that no matter the task that awaits you, there is the strength within you to succeed."

"Thanks, T," she whispered, laying her head against his chest. She smiled when his arms went around her. "You're a good friend."

"As are you."

"We'll be making the jump to hyperspace in just a minute," Colonel Ronson informed them.

"Okay," Casey replied. "Is it possible to know what...um...frequency...to use?"

"I can send out a message on all frequencies, and wait for a reply."

"Can you limit the range of that message? As in keep Ba'al from hearing?"

"I think so," Major Gant said.

Casey nodded. "Good. What one snake doesn't know won't spin his sorry ass up." The others on the bridge chuckled loudly. She watched as the stars became nothing more than a blur, the blues and whites, yellows and reds that shimmered outside of the windows as the Prometheus entered hyperdrive. She wished that she had Daniel's talent for diplomacy, his way with words. She took a deep breath. She had to get this right!


A  A  A  A  A  A


"I have located the identification number for Lord Yu's flagship," Thor announced. He was working from one of the consoles in the engine room.

Daniel was standing beside the other, watching the glowing lights that the little alien had instructed him to monitor. As long as those lights were on, there was a very large Asgard fleet behind Thor's ship. "Let's hope this works."

"I agree, Doctor Jackson. Communication is open," Thor said quietly.

"This is Doctor Daniel Jackson, on the Asgard ship Beliskner. I wish to speak to Lord Yu. Who is the Goa'uld Anu, the first to set foot on the First World. Possibly the first to take a human as host. The first to gather humans as slaves," Daniel said calmly, succinctly.

Minutes ticked by. It seemed that Yu was not going to answer. "Perhaps the code I have used is no longer valid," Thor said quietly.

"Maybe," Daniel replied, his heart beating hard and fast. This was their best hope of stopping Ba'al. Without Yu's...interference...there would be little that the Tau'ri could do. With the help of Thor and the Tok'ra, and by exposing the Prometheus, the best that they could hope to accomplish would be to buy enough time for General Hammond to get as many people through the 'gate to safety as possible. Then Cheyenne Mountain would be destroyed. If Ba'al wanted the Stargate, he'd have to dig a mountain of rubble off of it.

Suddenly Lord Yu appeared on the large view screen. He looked Daniel over, then turned his attention to Thor. "You are interfering."

Daniel fought the wave of nausea that swept over him. Memories of the mission during which he played the part of Yu's lo'taur filled his mind. He pushed them away. He didn't have time to deal with the feelings of anger and shame that accompanied the images flashing behind his eyes.

"Not at all," Thor replied. "Lord Ba'al has positioned ships above sixteen Tau'ri cities, in geosynchronous orbit. They are less than fifty kilometers above the planet's surface. I believe this is direct violation of the Protected Planet's Treaty."

Yu grimaced slightly. "Why do you tell me this?"

"Because we thought maybe as his father, you could talk some sense into him," Daniel replied. "If Thor and his fleet are forced to attack, the knowledge of alien existence will cause panic among the people of the planet. They're not ready to know about...things. You remember this from the negotiations concerning the Protected Planets Treaty."

In fact, he didn't remember, Yu thought irritably. His memory was suffering as he grew older, more tired. The symbolism involved with taking the First World was no doubt what Hadu...Ba'al, he corrected himself, was after. It would place him in the position to declare himself Supreme System Lord. "Perhaps this is my wish, to see my son on the throne of the Goa'uld Empire."

"You never would have negotiated the treaty with the Asgard if that were true," Daniel countered.

"There is little I can do," Yu insisted.

"We happen to know that you've gathered a few other Goa'uld who aren't anxious to let Ba'al take control, and that you are all on your way to the First World now."

Yu jerked, his face betraying his surprise before he could conceal his emotions behind a mask of neutrality. "And just where did you hear such an interesting...rumor?"

"We have a few spies of our own, here and there," Daniel replied. Hoping that revealing that fact wouldn't come back and bite him in the ass...or get one of their spies killed. Especially when it had been Casey's gift that had given them a heads-up about the situation.

The Goa'uld sighed. It seemed that the Tau'ri had continued to learn...and were quickly mastering the intricacies of negotiation...and the inner contrivances of the Empire. He looked at the scanners again. There were more Asgard ships than what even Ba'al could defeat. "I will speak to him," Yu said quietly.

"We'll be monitoring your transmissions. Double cross us, and you won't live to tell about it," Daniel warned. Hoping that the snake would buy his bluff.

Yu didn't reply, but his eyes glowed with the anger he suppressed. His face disappeared, replaced by the black of space and the twinkle of distant stars.

"Now we must maintain our phantom fleet until Yu leaves," Thor said quietly.

"Will that be a problem?"

"I do not believe so," the little alien replied.

"Good. We have enough problems to deal with right now," Daniel muttered.

"Very true."


 A  A  A  A  A  A


"If they're out there, I can't locate them," Major Delouise reported. "There are two 'spots' that might be anomalies, but I can't be certain."

Colonel Ronson looked over his shoulder at Casey. If she said they were out there, they were out there. "Get that communication frequency opened," he ordered.

"Yes, sir. Ready to transmit," Gant replied.

Casey moved closer to the communication console. Teal'c remained beside her, his hand on her back. "This is Casey Jackson. I wish to speak to Lord Zeus."

"Keep ship to ship visuals off, unless he gets insistent," Ronson said quietly.

"Yes, sir," Gant said softly.

"This is Casey Jackson. Zeus, are you out there?" There was still no reply. She took another deep breath. "Look, I know you can hear me, because I know you're out there. Hanging just behind Jupiter. Well, we call it Jupiter, I don't know what you call it. Probably something stupid. Goa'uld are lousy at naming things."




Sitting on his pel'tak, listening to the soft voice echo around him, Zeus smiled broadly. He leaned back on the throne. Waited to see if the woman who had haunted his dreams would continue.




"Okay, here's the deal. We signed a treaty with Ba'al, mostly to hold him off while we tried to find a way to take his sorry ass out. You see, he showed up here a couple of days ago...three days...well, on Monday morning our time. He had this hologram, just marched it right into our 'gate room. Um...'gate, Stargate, you guys call it a Chappa'ai..."

Teal'c's cheek was twitching. By the time Casey finally made her request, Zeus would be more than willing to do whatever she wanted, just to stop the incessant chattering!

"Anyway, he offered to protect us. From you. Of course he demanded me in return for this 'generous' offer, even though he was planning on taking the First World for himself anyway. He has these delusions of grandeur, thinks he's all that and a bag of chips too, but he's really not. Did you know that he let Olokun take his home planet, Babylon; can you believe that? I mean Olokun can't even keep the half dozen planets he calls his from rioting against him on a regular basis..." Riots that were instigated by SG teams who visited on a carefully worked out schedule, offering training, support and supplies to the rebels determined to see their false god dead. "So really, how powerful can he be? I suppose, stacked up against the others, he might seem to be the most powerful. That's only because we took out his competition."




Zeus was laughing out loud. She was delightful! He was aware that she was going to make a request. He was certain he knew what it was. He was even more sure of what his answer would be.




"The thing is," Casey continued, "we're really in a bad spot here. We can't fight off his ships. The Asgard are on their way, we received word from Thor about that, but right now Ba'al has his ships sitting over sixteen of our cities. He's ready to strike, and by the time the Asgard get here, it will be too late. So here's the deal. If we have to be conquered by some damned snake...er...Goa'uld...we'd rather it be someone who isn't quite as...well...pathetic. I mean, how embarrassing to have the entire planet taken over by a snake who couldn't even fight off Olokun! That would be almost as embarrassing as losing to Olokun himself. I know you don't have a lot of ships with you. But I know you've won a lot of battles where the odds were against you. You take out Ba'al, and the First World is yours. Sort of sets you up for that entire 'Supreme System Lord' thing. Now I'm not promising that we won't fight you, and I'm not promising that we won't whip your ass eventually. But at least you'll have the crown and the reputation."




He leaned forward, stunned. Casey had just offered him the First World! Did the leaders of the planet know she was making this offer? Or was this done simply to thwart Ba'al? He was certain that she was aware of Ba'al's plans for her, and for her husband. While he would take her to his bed, would know the passion of the fiery beauty, he had no delusions of making her his consort. His seer, yes. When he tired of her, he would send her back to her husband. No doubt she would be willing to remain with him for a set amount of time in order to keep this man named Daniel alive. But he had learned. Love as deep as what he'd seen in those heart-stealing green eyes would never falter, never die.




"This deal won't be on the table for long. A couple of hours, if that long. Ba'al will take the First World, and then with the other Goa'uld whipped, and behaving like trained dogs, he'll head straight for you. Ba'al you can defeat. Ba'al and the others together, might not be so easy." She looked at Colonel Ronson, and shrugged her shoulders. "If you decide you want to help out, just give General Hammond at the SGC a shout."

Ronson watched her. "Well?"

"I'm done."

"Get us back to Earth, now!" He grinned from ear to ear. Even if Zeus detected the jump point, he'd never know just exactly who, or what type of ship, had gone into hyperdrive. He might even believe that Ba'al had put Casey on one of his other ships in an attempt to protect her, and that she'd managed to get the ship close enough to contact the enemy of her enemy.




Zeus sat back once again. "Return us to the First World. Ba'al will not take that planet."

"Yes, My Lord."

Even if the leaders of the First World capitulated to him, knelt before him in order to protect their cities, and their people, it did not mean that all of the citizens would be so inclined. He had no doubt that there would be pockets of rebels. Perhaps very large groups of rebels. What concerned him was how effective those rebels would be against his Jaffa. If three Tau'ri could nearly destroy his ship, then dozens, or hundreds of rebels would be more of an annoyance than he was willing to deal with. Well trained, well armed rebels could defeat him...and given the tenacity he'd witnessed, there was the very real threat that he could lose the First World in a short amount of time. If primitive rebels had managed to oust Ra, these more 'modern' progeny of those rebels would no doubt do the same to him.

Then there was the fact that the Tau'ri had contacted the Asgard. It was possible that the Asgard fleet would be in orbit by the time he arrived. He'd heard the rumors concerning the fact that the small gray aliens were fighting a battle against an enemy known as the Replicators. He had even heard that the war was not going well for the Asgard. Was he willing to risk the ships he had with him, ships he needed in order to maintain his holdings in the Andromeda galaxy, on the word of a rumor?

His eyes narrowed as his thoughts continued to whirl. Ba'al believed him to be far from this solar system, setting up for his first attack. To strike now would be a surprise. And ambushes were always a useful means of weakening an enemy. A strike now, just against Ba'al's ships, would render him incapable of taking the First World. Without that symbolic victory, the other Goa'uld in the galaxy would not race to his side in an attempt to garner his favor. There was even the chance that they would further weaken Ba'al by attacking him as well, in retaliation for breaking the treaty between the Goa'uld Empire and the Asgard, leaving them open for invasion from that quarter.

What he'd learned from the information taken from Ba'al's computers, that which Ba'al had planted, as well as that which he had tried to hide, led Zeus to believe that taking the First World would require much careful planning. A simple attack, in hopes of being ensconced on the planet before the Asgard arrived, if they arrived, wasn't the way. If too many ships and Jaffa were lost during the battle for that planet, it would leave one open for attack from others just as eager to sit upon the throne of the Empire.

Two simple facts pushed forward in his mind. Word had come from his High Priest...Nergal had noted his absence, and was even now on the move. Ba'al had dared to make the son of Zeus nothing more than a lap dog. For that alone the Goa'uld deserved to be destroyed.

His decision made, he gave a feral smile. Ba'al would not take the First World. And when he was running away to lick his wounds, Zeus would return to his home, and show Nergal that he was still the more powerful of the two. There would be another opportunity to take complete control of the Milky Way Galaxy. Patience. It would take patience.


A  A  A  A  A  A


"I don't understand," Selmak said quietly. "When did the Asgard fleet arrive?"

Aldwin shook his head. "I don't know. Thor dropped his cloak about three hours ago. Then suddenly, he was surrounded by other Asgard ships."

Jacob began to chuckle. "It's all smoke and mirrors!"

"What?" Aldwin asked, a frown on his face.

"I'm betting that somehow Thor found a way to transmit what looks like, and scans like, an Asgard fleet."

'Ingenious!' Selmak crowed. 'I wonder if this idea was spurred by the Tau'ri.'

'Possibly,' Jacob replied. Probably. The Tau'ri were just full of surprises, and tended to think much differently than the older, 'wiser', more advanced races.

Aldwin was staring at the console in front of him. "If he did what I think he did, I could make it appear that we're three ships, rather than just one. We don't have the power that an Asgard ship has."

"And if the others were able to do the same thing," Selmak said excitedly, "Our half dozen ships would suddenly appear to be nearly twenty!"

The younger Tok'ra grinned. "Give me a few minutes, I'll see what I can do."


A  A  A  A  A  A


"As soon as the attack begins, we will land on the top of this mountain," Ba'al said, pointing to the map his cartographers had created of the planet beneath them. "From the information given to us by our spies, we know the basic layout of their fortress. I want four squads to ring down, and the rest to go through the Chappa'ai. That will prevent them from trying to flee through it. When you find Casey Jackson, she is to be brought to me."

"What of Daniel Jackson?" one of the Jaffa leaders asked.

"Kill him."

Ensuat shifted uneasily. There had been no time to get a message to Master Bra'tac. His message had been passed along, so there was no hope that any other rebels would be nearby. The only thing they could do, he decided, was to try and help the Tau'ri as much as possible. Only seven of Ba'al's ships had rebels among the crew. Not enough to stop the attack on the First World. He could only hope that the Asgard would arrive before the battle began.

Ba'al noticed the movement of his guard. "Something troubles you, Ensuat?"

His heart jumped into his throat. Five rebels had been discovered, their carelessness exposing them. They had remained true, denying the existence of any other rebels among the ranks. And they had died most horribly. "My Lord, it is not my place to question your wisdom."

The Goa'uld's eyes glowed. "No, it is not."

"May I beg my god's permission to speak?"

"You may speak," Ba'al replied. He was a god. But he also knew that his Jaffa, especially those of his personal guard, heard and saw things he did not. Often their council was of use to him.

"My Lord, perhaps keeping the one known as Daniel Jackson alive would be of benefit to you. Did you not say that he was making progress on the tablets your own scientists had not? He could serve you, My Lord, and his safety could lie in the hands of his wife. As long as she were to remain at your side, he might live. She would not dare to try to escape you."

Ba'al studied the Jaffa. "You have listened well. And you have watched carefully. I believe you're right. Bring Jackson to me, alive."

The Jaffa heaved a silent sigh of relief. Now, if he could only find a way to keep the rest of SG-1, and those of the SGC, alive!


A  A  A  A  A  A


Lord Yu strode to the scanners to see for himself. It was true! There were over fifty Asgard ships! There were others, of Goa'uld design, but with enough changes...Tok'ra! There were eighteen Tok'ra ships...the oldest of the Goa'uld gasped when another ship, of a design he had never seen before, settled into orbit. From the position, he assumed that it was capable of locating ships in spite of the cloaks that hid them. He walked back to his throne, dropped onto it. Not since he had stood beside Ra in battle had he seen so many ships gathered. "Contact Lord Ba'al."

"Yes, My Lord," the Jaffa replied. As soon as the link was opened, he turned and nodded.

"Ba'al, what you do will destroy us all. The Asgard showed mercy when last we battled. This time, we will not be so lucky. To attack the First World will give them the reason...the excuse...to search out and kill all Goa'uld. They will not stop until the Goa'uld Empire is in ashes."


A  A  A  A  A  A


Ba'al sat back, shocked to see Lord Yu on the view screen. "The Asgard are busy fighting another war. They have no time to worry about this insignificant planet," he growled. He hadn't planned, nor expected, to be confronted before taking the First World.

"Fool! Do you not have Jaffa who scan for enemies? Open your eyes and see what is around you!" Lord Yu exploded, his eyes glowing brightly.

The Jaffa at the console paled considerably. "My Lord-" he could barely believe his eyes. "There are many Asgard ships to our left. There are other ships to our right, they are of Goa'uld design, but they are not identified as such."

"Tok'ra," Ba'al hissed. With a grunt of irritation, he pulled himself to his feet. Shoved the Jaffa away from the scanners. And felt his heart drop to his feet.

The Jaffa who manned the weapons console looked up, a frown on his face. "My Lord, weapons refuse to come online."

What would happen next? He moved to examine the console, moved his fingers over the controls. When he entered his personal code, a message began to flash across the screen...'Have a nice day. Courtesy of the SGC'. Which could mean only one thing. Those damned annoying, pretentious Tau'ri had hacked into his computer systems! "What is the meaning of this?" Ba'al shouted, his rage making his face red.

"I do not know, My Lord," the Jaffa replied, stepping back slightly. "There has been no evidence of tampering in any of the systems."

"Another message, My Lord, from Lord Zeus," another Jaffa said, visibly nervous at further angering his god.

It seemed that just as he stood ready to take the reins of control into his hands, all was falling apart around him! "What is it that you want, Zeus?" Ba'al asked.

"I have heard what Lord Yu has said. I agree. It seems that the rumors of Asgard weakness have been in error, and greatly exaggerated. You have taken us to the very brink of destruction with your arrogance. Perhaps if we were to leave this star system immediately, we will once again be granted leniency," Zeus said, his voice brimming with anger.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Daniel listened carefully. He glanced at Thor. "Just a few more minutes," he said softly. "I have a feeling they're about to leave."

"Doctor Jackson, I am concerned that the holo-projectors may be reaching critical temperature."

He let his head drop forward. If all of those Asgard ships 'disappeared', there was a chance that the Ba'al would attack Earth in that heartbeat. He couldn't let that happen. Casey...if Casey were here, she could contact Miss Eloise..."Casey," he whispered.

"What did you say, Doctor?" Thor asked.

He cleared his throat. "Casey. I need to talk to her."


A  A  A  A  A  A


The bridge crew and their two guests had been monitoring the Goa'uld transmissions as well. Casey had softly translated, and they were all waiting with bated breath.

"Leave, Ba'al," she whispered her eyes glued to the spot that Major Delouise had declared was where that Goa'uld's ship hovered above Cheyenne Mountain. "Just leave!"

A flash of light, and Teal'c was left holding air, rather than the trembling hand of his young friend


A  A  A  A  A  A


She glanced around. Okay, she was going to take a wild guess that she was on Thor's ship. "Hello?"

"Hey, gorgeous."

Twirling in a circle, she tried to locate just where Daniel's voice was coming from. "Not funny, handsome."

"Follow the lights, Angel. Hurry!"

Frantic to find any flashing lights, her eyes moved around the room. There! She ran toward it, watched it flicker out, and one a few feet beyond began to blink. As she approached, it went out, and yet another began to flicker. When she stepped into the lift, it began to descend as soon as the doors were closed.


A  A  A  A  A  A


General Hammond was sitting at his desk, the receiver of the red phone pressed against his ear. "No sir, there hasn't been any word since the Jacksons left the base."

In the Oval Office of the White House, President Tim Miller ran a hand wearily over his face. "I don't suppose that a warning would do much good at this point, would it?"

"No sir," Hammond sighed. "It would only cause wide-spread panic."

"Which is going to happen the minute that the populace learns that sixteen major cities have been destroyed."

"Sir, I suggest that you get to the bunker."

He had spent a great deal of time contemplating his actions, should the worst happen. "No, George. I can't leave, I can't run and hide. Call me cowardly, but I'd rather go out in the first attack as to live and see this planet under Goa'uld control."

"I understand, sir," the general said quietly. If the president did survive, he would be publicly executed, or infested with a Goa'uld. If faced with such a choice, he'd choose to go out fighting as well. He knew that Tim Miller would be sending out orders to every military post the US owned. And he would continue to give orders, in an attempt to save as many people as possible, until he was killed.

"George, it's been a pleasure working with you."

"For me as well, sir."

"Get those people to safety. They may be the only free Tau'ri in the galaxy in a matter of hours. And, George, one final order..." Miller said softly. He was pinning the hopes of an entire planet of people onto the shoulders of seven very special people.

"Yes, sir." He carefully replaced the receiver. Stood to his feet. The president had given him a direct order. He hated it, but given the circumstances, he understood the reasoning behind it.

Jack and Sam were still in the control room, waiting for any word from their teammates. Both looked over when the general entered.

"Bring the buses," Hammond said quietly. The SF beside the door nodded, reached for the phone. "The president insists that the three of us leave with the first group."

"Sir?" Jack asked, his eyes wide.

"He has his reasons," the general replied.

"Yes, sir," the colonel sighed. They were Immortal. And that Immortality might just prevent some really bad things from happening to the refugees they were about to take charge of.

The general turned his attention to Walter. "There will be no personnel left behind. The colonel and I are going to set the self-destruct. You'll have one hour to get everyone through the 'gate."

"Yes, sir," Walter replied. "We'll be able to do that, sir. Shouldn't take more that forty-five minutes."

"Good man. Colonel, you're with me."

Jack followed the general to the small room where nuclear bomb waited. When it went off, there wouldn't be anything left of Cheyenne mountain but a pile of boulders and dust. He felt a bit of satisfaction to know that Ba'al would never control the SGC. If they were very lucky, the son-of-a-bitch would be standing nearby when the bomb detonated.

"Colonel, insert your key," Hammond said softly.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Casey stepped off of the lift, followed the flashing lights to a room at the end of a long corridor. Raced into Daniel's arms.

"Hey, beautiful," he murmured.

"Hey, handsome," she replied. She glanced around. "This is Thor?"

"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance," Thor said graciously.

"I'm pleased to meet you as well," she said, a bit overwhelmed. She'd heard his voice several times, but had never actually met the alien.

"Casey, we have a problem," Daniel said quietly.

"So what's to know," she sighed.

"Thor says the holo-projectors that are creating that impressive Asgard fleet are getting too hot. If they overheat-"

"Goodbye, fleet, and hello slavery," she finished.

"That's about the size of it."

She realized, without him saying the words, that she was with him because he was seeking her guidance. With a nod, she closed her eyes.


"Miss Eloise?"

"I'm here, Sunshine."

"Little problem."

The old woman snorted loudly. "That's an understatement!"

"We need to keep the holo-thingy from getting too hot...if Thor doesn't know how to do it, how are we supposed to have a clue?"

Miss Eloise smiled. "Daniel is The One, Casey. He has a great gift. To give, or take."

She rolled her eyes. "Thanks, that helps so much," she snapped sarcastically.

"Think, Casey!" the old seer said sharply. She reached out to cup Casey's cheek, just before she disappeared.


"Well that was a waste of time," she spat. She wrapped her arms around her waist, tears filled her eyes. "I don't know what to tell you," she whispered.

"Don't cry, Angel," Daniel whispered softly. "We'll figure it out. What did Miss Eloise say?"

"That you're The One, and you have a great gift. To give, or take."

He frowned. "Doesn't make a lot of sense."

"I know!"

Give or take. Give or take? His frown deepened. He concentrated, could feel the heat that accompanied his 'gift'. Sensations that he was able to ignore for the most part. Somehow, tossing a blue fire ball didn't seem to be a constructive way to deal with the situation...even though it might just relieve a bit of frustration.

Give or take. Just once he wished that the Beings who occupied higher planes of existence would just come out and say what they meant, rather than hiding their message in riddles. Take...no, it couldn't be that simple...could it? He began to grin.

Casey watched his face, knew that he was trying to decipher the puzzle that Miss Eloise had left him. His smile lifted her heart and her hopes. "Daniel?"

He cupped her cheek, kissed the tip of her nose. "Give or take, Casey."

Huh? Okay, she was so not in the mood to have him start spouting off more riddles. "That's what I said."

"I can give, or take."

"That's what she-" Green eyes went wide as realization set in. "Oh, no! We have no idea what it could do to you! What if it causes your body temperature to spike? What if you can't get rid of it...dissipate that heat? No way! I absolutely forbid-"

His lips covered hers. He couldn't not kiss her, not with her standing there, declaring her unwillingness to risk him, his safety, even with the fate of the very world at stake. Her love wrapped around him, warmed him, filled him completely.

As soon as his tongue moved into her mouth she knew that he would do what he had to do, would take that heat into his own body. Because he was The One. Because they were shit out of choices. She kissed him back frantically, trying to pour her very soul into him, praying that her very soul could protect him from what he was about to attempt.

He pulled away slowly, turned to Thor. "Where's the projector?"

"It is here," the little alien replied, pointing to what looked like a small box made of deep purple crystal.

With a nod, Daniel put his hand on it. Closed his eyes. He didn't have a clue how he was supposed to pull that extra heat out. Felt Casey's hand on his shoulder.

"Just concentrate on the heat. You need to pull it toward you," she said softly. Where the understanding came from, she had no idea. Only that it was suddenly...there.

Okay, if he concentrated to push the heat into his fingertips...he focused his thoughts on pulling the heat into his fingers. For a few seconds there seemed to be nothing happening. Then he felt it. Slowly at first. Just a bit of warmth. Which grew hotter. Moved through his hand, up his arm.

She watched him carefully. Sweat beaded on his forehead, his upper lip. His face and neck became flushed, his hand was cherry red. She pulled her lip between her teeth. There was no way his body could survive such a sudden climb in temperature.

"You have succeeded, Doctor Jackson," Thor said. "The projector temperature is returning to normal."

"If we can't turn that thing off soon, this could kill him," Casey murmured. She could feel the heat radiating from his body.

"As soon as we have a resolution to the crisis, I will shut off the projector," Thor promised.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Ba'al stared at the red dots that represented his enemies. Seventeen ships would stand little chance against the Asgard armada. Any of his ships not destroyed by the small gray beings would most certainly be attacked by the Goa'uld ships that had gathered. Even if he fired upon the cities of the planet beneath him, even if he took the SGC, he would not survive to declare victory.

Once again he had come within moments of his dream of being the Supreme System Lord. Once again dominion of the First World evaded his grasp. His fist came down upon the console. "Recall the ships. We will return to Nippur immediately."

He stared at the blue and white planet as it grew smaller. She was there, somewhere. He would have her. And he would rule that insignificant rock. Its only worth was the symbolism that conquering it would offer. He was not defeated yet!

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