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There's A New God In Town
"...There's talk on the street, its there to remind you
That it doesn't really matter which side you're on.
You're walking away and they're talking behind you.
They will never forget you till somebody new comes along..."
"New Kid In Town"
Performed by the Eagles
Written by Don Henley/Glenn Fry/J.D. Souther
Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c continued to walk behind Casey and Sam. Jack glanced at the lilac sky again. Shuddered slightly. "So seriously, these Depo shots, they're guaranteed, right?" he asked Sam.
"Well, as far as normal human sperm go, yes," Sam replied, casting a grinning glance at Casey. Who winked in return.
"Not making me feel any better, Carter," Jack groused.
"At least you need not worry that Daniel Jackson will impregnate you, O'Neill," Teal'c said.
Daniel looked over at the Jaffa. How in the hell did he manage to pop off with lines like that and never crack a smile?
"Say what?" Casey asked, stopping and whirling around to face the men. "Just what in the hell have you three been talking about?"
"O'Neill was beleaguering Daniel Jackson concerning the news that he is no longer sterile," Teal'c replied.
Now it was Jack's turn to stare at the Jaffa. 'Beleaguering'? What the hell kind of word is that? "You have got to leave that online thesaurus alone," he muttered.
"I see," Casey said. "So he thought maybe Daniel would get him preggers, eh?" She raised one meticulously arched eyebrow at her husband. "And yet I wasn't allowed to say one word about his pain-in-the-ass comments...which apparently he's been thinking about anyway."
"Oh, hell no!" Jack declared immediately.
"It wasn't like that," Daniel said simultaneously. He shot another look at Teal'c. Something had to be done about that Jaffa's sense of humor...it was getting totally out of hand!
"O'Neill was teasing Daniel Jackson," Teal'c explained. "To which Daniel Jackson responded that O'Neill should 'bite him'. From there the conversation ensued, intimating that Daniel Jackson is now so fertile as to have spermatozoa in his blood as well as his semen."
Sam burst into giggles.
Casey stared at Teal'c with a look of utter horror on her delicate features. "I so don't want to know anymore."
"I believe that the offspring they created was some type of mutant, and was named, 'DJ'. For Daniel Junior, I must assume," Teal'c continued, as if the slender seer hadn't spoken. "It was nurtured in O'Neill's chest cavity until it emerged."
She blinked once. Closed her eyes, opened them again. Yep, that looked like Teal'c. She slowly advanced, her P90 aimed at the large man. She poked his abdomen with the muzzle...twice.
Teal'c remained as still as a statue, although his dark eyes were full of laughter.
"You are a very strange man, Teal'c of Chulak," Casey said slowly, lowering her weapon.
"It has also been determined that if Immortality revived Daniel Jackson's ability to produce sperm, then the already healthy sperm of O'Neill are possibly even more...potent," the large man continued, his cheek twitching.
Sam stopped giggling, stared at Jack.
Casey studied her alien friend. "Yeah, well if that's true, Jaffa, then your perfect, genetically engineered sperm are probably even more potent than Jack's. Don't spit anywhere, Teal'c. Don't need you leaving half a dozen kiddies behind. What will happen if you piss is anyone's guess. I don't suggest you do it in the water, who the hell knows what kind of life forms might emerge."
For one moment not a sound was heard...not one of the team even breathed. Four pairs of eyes stared at the slender seer. Teal'c's face registered his shock, just milliseconds before his teammates howled with laughter.
"I would say that since neither Sam, Gracie, nor I have wound up pregnant yet, the Depo shots are doing their job," Casey said, grinning broadly. "Although, we might want to send MALPs back to the planets we've visited, just to make sure there weren't little ones left behind."
Daniel reached out, drew her into his embrace. "You're too much," he chuckled, still trying to catch his breath.
The air seemed to shimmer around them for just a few seconds. The sky took on a deep, purple hue as the sun continued to dip lower in the sky, just barely above the horizon.
"Let's go campers. I'd like to have camp set up before midnight," Jack said, leading the way. "Teal'c, take the six."
A A A A A A
It was less than a quarter of a mile from the Stargate to the location of the camp set up by SG-12, where a half dozen newly 'recruited' pilots were impatiently waiting their chance to fly the F-302's; which were, at that moment, sitting on the landing strip that ran the length of the valley.
Each of the pilots had been hand picked by General Hammond, all of them exceptional men, and all of them single. It hadn't been one of his requirements, but the general felt a bit more at ease enlisting men without families into the most secret, and most dangerous, operation that the United States military had undertaken. They'd been briefed at Nellis, given a tour of Area 51, at least, those parts that dealt with the myriad of discoveries made by the SG teams, and had only been in the SGC long enough to walk through the Stargate. An experience none of them had been prepared for. Upon return to Earth, they would be assigned to the SGC, as was the crew of the Prometheus.
There'd been a bit of debate between the Joint Chiefs about who would actually control the Prometheus project. President Miller had been unwavering in his goal of keeping as much as possible in the hands of General George Hammond. Senator Sheppard had been instrumental in putting all departments of Area 51 which were researching anything brought back by the SG teams under his command as well. The president had signed the agreement immediately, knowing that there was little risk of having the wrong people making decisions as long as his Presidential Order stood, and George Hammond retained control of the SGC and anything to do with that secret facility.
The orders President Miller had added to the Roswell File guaranteed that. Oh, there might be a future president who would attempt to change things. But the careful wording of the 'rules' governing the file would prevent any real progress being made in that direction. Whoever had written that first document had been a genius, although there was no proof of exactly who had forged that order. It was merely signed 'The President of the United States'. There wasn't even a date. Given that the reports rumored to be the reason for the file in the first place were dated 1896, the possibilities were rather limited. No one believed for a moment that President William McKinley had drafted the the first Presidential order to go into the folder. He might have signed the document...but he certainly hadn't written it. So the author of that first order remained a mystery. Rather fitting, actually, when considering the contents.
The reason for the first order was every bit as unusual as the reason for the last order to fill the leather binder. It seemed that a man named John Keely had been inspired by the UFO he'd witnessed. Very few people were aware of his claims to have spoken with aliens. It was something that he'd never admitted publicly. The result, however, had been his amazing flying ship. Which had vanished, along with several others built after the announcement and successful demonstration of his invention. Only the Roswell File contained all of the facts of the matter...and the location of those 'missing' ships.
For their part, the men who had believed they were flying the most advanced craft available as Air Force pilots had taken the news that there were aliens, and spaceships, in stride. They had the best training in the world, and Colonel Ronson had been responsible for teaching them the intricacies of flying what would be, to them anyway, alien spaceships. The 'book learning' was finished. The pilots were eager to begin the real training: sitting in the cockpit of the secret F-302's.
The camp that had been set up was efficient, and the runway that the men had built for the fighters, with the aid of Tollan terraforming equipment, all sat quietly at the edge of a long, narrow valley. Surrounded by tall mountains on three sides, and a small ocean on the fourth, it was peaceful, and beautiful.
It was into this camp that SG-1 walked, calling out greetings to the men of SG-12, watched carefully by the pilots who'd only heard of this legendary team. It was one thing to be told about the beautiful female members of SG-1. It was something else again to actually see them. Several of the pilots stared openly as Sam and Casey wandered past them.
"I smell coffee!" Casey exclaimed, heading for the large fire in the center of the camp.
Sergeant Bufurd Dobson grinned when he saw the woman hurrying towards him; grabbed a tin mug and filled it, holding it out to the slender seer. "Heard you was comin', Mrs. J," he said.
"Dobs, you're a sweetheart," Casey sighed, taking the mug and sipping appreciatively.
Major Anderson rose to his feet. "Welcome to 432," he grinned.
"Lovely weather. Weird sky," Jack replied.
The major laughed. "Wait until morning. It's downright freaky at dawn!"
"I hear that," Lieutenant Rolly Baker said, giving a slight shudder. "Nothing that shade of green can be safe!"
The members of SG-1 had dropped their packs, each of them noting the position of the tents already erected. Arranged in a three-sided square around a common area, the camp would be easily defendable, if the need arose. Reports were, however, that other than a few insects and what appeared to be tiny rodents, there were no other life forms nearby.
"Where're the ruins?" Daniel asked immediately.
Anderson pointed toward the water, which reflected the last rays of the setting sun. "Just a couple of buildings, from what we could tell. Most of it's underwater."
Daniel nodded. "I'm going to take a look."
Jack gave the archaeologist a glance. "Fifteen minutes. And don't touch anything!"
The men of SG-12 snickered loudly. Daniel's penchant for touching alien artifacts, and the chaos that could ensue, was well known within the concrete walls of the SGC.
"I'll keep him out of trouble," Casey said, following after her husband.
"You do that. And don't you touch anything, either," Jack warned.
"That's right, boss. Take all the fun out of the adventure," Casey tossed back.
With a grin, Jack settled beside the fire. "General Hammond wants a report on those ruins. Then we get to play."
"About time," one of the pilots grumbled.
"Yeah, well sorry it took so long," Jack said, giving the man a hard stare. "We woulda been here sooner, but we had a little run-in with Ba'al. Goa'uld. Cruel, arrogant and annoying son of a bitch. Found ourselves in one of those sticky situations. Sort of life and death, if you know what I mean."
The pilot had the decency to look abashed.
"Any reason we had to wait for you, sir? I mean, we could have tested the jets ourselves," another pilot said.
"First of all, the F-302 isn't a 'jet'. It's a spacecraft. You'd better get used to that right now," Jack replied firmly. "Second of all, Teal'c knows Goa'uld gliders. He knows what they're capable of doing. We need him to give us the ins and outs of what the enemy is capable of doing; how they maneuver, the way they think. If we had a couple of gliders, we'd be able to test the F-302's against them. But we don't."
"Teal'c's expertise in Goa'uld strategy will give us information, and the experience, to offer the most accurate report possible, under the circumstances," Sam added.
One young man was nodding. He'd been the fourth pilot during the battle against Mehen's gliders. "Those gliders are smooth. And with an experienced pilot, they're deadly," he said quietly.
"Doctor Jackson is going to take a look at those ruins," Jack said. "Prometheus will be here tomorrow. When Daniel's finished, we'll test those ships."
Nods of understanding moved heads up and down around the fire. One of the pilots continued to stare at Teal'c.
"Is there a problem, Captain?" Jack asked, an edge in his voice. It had been a long time since Teal'c had first arrived on Earth, literally a man without a people. He could still remember the suspicion and downright hostility that the Jaffa had been subjected to for those first weeks of the SGC.
"No, sir," the man replied, his cheeks reddening slightly. "I've never seen a real alien before," he mumbled.
"Teal'c is as human as you are," Sam said, unconsciously shifting closer to her friend. "His ancestors were taken from Earth, genetically altered by the Goa'uld. Turned into slaves, their very bodies used as receptacles for growing larvae."
Teal'c hid well the rush of appreciation that filled his heart to hear the major defending him so quickly, so vehemently. He remained silent, held the gaze of the man who' been staring at him, until the pilot lowered his eyes.
The captain shuddered. "I read the files. These Goa'uld...they're pretty twisted, aren't they?"
"Yep," Jack replied.
Another pilot held his hand up, as if asking permission to speak. "You mentioned Ba'al, sir. The same Goa'uld who took Doctor Jackson's wife hostage?"
"The very same," Jack confirmed. The question was proof that these men had read the mission reports, and were, as much as possible, as up-to-date on the situation as they could be.
"That bastard needs to go," the pilot said.
Jack couldn't help but grin. "Our feelings exactly. I'd prefer that Radar not get within grabbing distance of that snake. If Daniel gets that close..." he shook his head. "There won't be enough left to identify."
"Seems to me we should find the bastard and hold him down for Doc," Major Anderson grumbled.
"I hear that," Dobson nodded.
"We'll get that chance, gentlemen," Jack said. The conviction in his voice left no doubt that sooner or later, Ba'al would be held accountable for his actions.
Daniel moved his flashlight, playing the beam of light over the crumbling outer wall of the building. "Nothing here," he complained.
"You are not going inside, not until it's light enough to see what we're doing," Casey told him, her hands wrapped around his arm firmly.
He glanced down at her, grinned widely. "Afraid of me getting hurt?"
"Afraid of me getting into trouble with Jack if something happens," she replied easily, her voice and eyes teasing him.
"How perfectly self-preserving," he teased back.
"That's how it works, Stud Muffin. I protect you to keep my butt out of a sling."
He lowered the flashlight, glanced toward the camp. Reached out with one arm and pulled her close. "So, Mrs. Jackson, what do you think about the news that we'll have that family someday?"
"Relieved. Surprised...well, sort of surprised. Very, very happy," she murmured in reply, snuggling against his chest as his arms wrapped her in his embrace.
"Me too, Angel."
"Just knowing...I..." she looked up at his face, hidden in shadows in the twilight. "It doesn't hurt now," she whispered.
"I know, Case. I was hurting too."
She pressed her face against his throat. "Someday."
"Someday," he agreed.
"It's been an interesting week," she said.
Daniel snorted. "That's one word for it."
"At least we've ended on a high note. Ba'al is nowhere in sight, your status as a father has been determined, we know that we can have a family someday, and we're on a mission that should be a cake-walk."
"Always the optimist," he smiled.
"Better than being a pessimist."
"Did you bring it?"
"Bring what? Oh. Yeah. Three vials."
She shook her head. "I haven't 'seen' anything. But you know as well as I do that could change in a minute."
"Also true," he sighed. "Let's get back to camp. We need to get the tent up."
"I hate pitching a tent in the dark," she complained.
"It won't be completely dark. That fire is big enough to put out a fair amount of light."
"It's still not putting it up in daylight."
He knew exactly why she was complaining. During a mission to examine ruins on another planet, they'd waited until well after dark before erecting their tent. Neither of them had paid much attention to the area Jack had chosen to camp in, and to be fair, the nest of snakes hadn't been evident during the day because of the heavy layer of fallen leaves and thick vines. He'd cleared the spot for their tent as best as he could, in the dark not noticing the dozen or so holes that would have alerted him to the possibility of underground habitation by some creature or another.
They hadn't been in their sleeping bags for very long when they felt the movement beneath them. Luckily the snakes, while large...most of them well over five feet long, were non-venomous. A fact that had done little to calm his hysterical Wife. Casey had screamed almost nonstop for five minutes, practically walking on air when they crawled out of the tent to find dozens of snakes emerging from a deep nest, directly beneath their nylon floor. Using their collapsible shovels, her teammates had scooped up snakes and moved them out of the campsite. Casey had been too terrified to do more than stand near the fire, tears running down her cheeks, her arms wrapped tightly around her slender waist, shaking so hard it was visible.
Jack and Teal'c had helped Daniel pick the nylon structure up and move it. Casey had slept the remainder of the night on top of him, unable to lay on the ground at all. He hadn't minded. Even then it had taken nearly two hours for her to calm down enough to attempt to sleep. No one said a word about her reaction. Each of them noted that it seemed to be the only fear over which she had little control. After that, the members of SG-1 were careful to make certain that their resident seer didn't have any unexpected run-ins with reptiles of the slithering sort.
When the couple walked back into camp, hand in hand, Jack looked up and nodded. "Let's get set up. Anything nearby we should know about?"
Deke Anderson was well aware of the mission that had revealed Casey's fear of snakes. He glanced at the men who looked from the colonel to him, curiosity burning in their eyes. The pilots didn't know Casey, hadn't worked with her, didn't respect her. No way would he mention something that she considered a 'ridiculous phobia', as he'd heard her blushingly refer to it, one that she struggled valiantly to control. Until those men understood the 'line-up' at the SGC, they weren't part of the 'family'. "Not a thing to worry about," he replied.
Daniel gave a silent sigh of relief, understanding exactly what Jack's question had been in reference to. "Where?"
Jack pointed to an area to the east of the camp, where no tents had been erected as of yet. It was obvious that the small patch of land had been prepped for just that, however. "Right there."
Experience had made pitching tents, even in the dark, a task done quickly and efficiently. Within fifteen minutes three tents were reflecting the light from the fire.
One of the men of SG-12 watched carefully after Daniel and Casey had said their goodnights, and disappeared into their tent. He'd been witness, unintentional of course, to their lovemaking on R7Y 379. He would never forget that planet, for several reasons. Mostly because it was there where Ba'al's Jaffa captured Casey for the first time. But what he'd witnessed had stuck in his mind. Whenever his team was working with SG-1, he hoped to be able to watch the couple again.
Teal'c hadn't missed the almost hungry look the young man tossed in Casey's direction. While many of the men of the SGC harbored a secret crush on the slender seer, most were quite subtle about their attraction. Sergeant Childers, however, seemed almost incapable of looking at her without the interest flaring noticeably in his eyes. The Jaffa was well aware of the fact that Casey's eyes would see no other man but Daniel Jackson. He would, however, continue to observe the situation. If he felt it was necessary, he would have a talk with the young man.
A A A A A A
Zeus paced the pel'tak. His sources informed him that Ares was hiding in this sector. They'd also provided proof that his foolhardy son was in league with Ba'al; was in fact, subservient to the older Goa'uld. His ire continued to grow at the thought of Ares bowing knee to anyone but him. Hera had tried to warn him...had even suggested killing the war-mongering fool. But he hadn't listened, believing she simply wanted one of her own sons to be given the prestige of being the heir of Zeus.
He had chosen Ares. Out of all of the symbiotes he'd fathered, Ares was the one he'd selected to call his son. To kill him would suggest that he'd made a poor decision. Oh, it was true that he had. But Zeus had more than his fair share of pride. And that pride would never allow him to admit, by his words or by his actions, that he'd ever made a miscalculation.
Maia watched from her place beside the throne. She'd been relieved when her Master had learned that the one he wished her to seduce...and kill...had not been on the planet. Her relief had been short-lived, however. Zeus had been furious, and had hit her twice as a result, simply because she'd been the nearest target for his wrath.
To allay his temper, his lo'taur, Althea, had determined that their god needed something more pleasurable to think about. So she'd arranged for an orgy of sorts. Maia had been forced to 'perform' with several of the Goa'uld in service to Zeus, for his pleasure. He'd laughed and drank, and every woman in his private harem had been fucked at least once. When he'd grown bored watching his favorite whore with those who served him, he'd demanded her attention for himself. She and Althea had followed every command, offered themselves to one another, and to him, as he bid them, until he was satiated, and slept.
She'd been left exhausted, sore, and humiliated. She could deal with the shame of being a whore, as long as it was her god that she served. But when she'd been forced to do such...wicked...things with the other Goa'uld...she shuddered imperceptibly. Her mind had nearly shut down from all that she'd endured that night. Zeus insisted that escape from him was impossible. Even attempting to escape would mean her death. Death, however, held no fear for the slave now. She would welcome its cold, dark embrace, if it were the only way to end her painful, shameful existence.
Two of the Jaffa on the pel'tak watched their god pace as well. While on Thracia, enjoying a few hours of time to themselves, they'd overheard the priests of the Temple of Ares complaining about being usurped from their positions of power. The priests had also speculated that it was only a matter of time until the shol'va, whose numbers continued to grow, and who seemed to have infiltrated the ranks of every known Goa'uld army, including that of Ares, would have spies and traitors among those who served Zeus.
The two Jaffa had managed to trap one of the priests in a blind alley, had questioned him until they were certain he'd told them all that he knew. Then they'd killed him. No one, least of all Zeus, would care that one of the heavy-handed priests of Ares had come to a bitter end. What they'd learned made them determined to find the one known as Master Bra'tac.
A A A A A A
Casey settled beside Daniel, her head on his shoulder, his arm around hers, holding her tightly. Something began poking the back of her mind; too small, too quiet to be noticed consciously. But it was there.
She was actually looking forward to being able to do a bit of snorkeling, if only for the practice. Daniel had promised her another trip to the Caribbean, where they could spend time examining the beauty of the coral reefs.
He smiled into the darkness when she snuggled closer for the third time. They'd taken the time to orally pleasure one another, and although their muted moans had probably been heard, he knew that none of the men would say a word about those soft sounds. Daniel closed his eyes, his body sated, his mind at peace, his heart beating his love for the woman in his arms.
Childers glanced around as he made his way back from the area that had been designated for the latrine. Teal'c was still awake, talking with Major Anderson. Who just happened to have sentry duty at the moment. No one else was around, no one to see him...The young sergeant slipped closer to the tent where Dr. Jackson and his wife would be getting ready to sleep. Making love if he was very lucky.
The nylon tents were standard, run-of-the-mill tents; one- or two-man structures which could be purchased at any sporting goods store. And had three 'windows', one on each side, and one on the back. He'd heard that Mrs. J liked fresh air, and would keep the back 'window' unzipped just a bit. Which meant that the top of the nylon netted opening would offer a view into the tent.
As he moved closer, it didn't occur to him that the darkness inside would obscure his view of the inhabitants. After what he'd observed before, he had no doubt that if the archaeologist and his beautiful wife were doing the deed, he'd be able to see it.
It wasn't just the sex, although that was hotter than hell. He'd jerked off several times to the fantasy of having those sweet pink lips wrapped around his dick, doing for him what she'd done for her husband. No, it was the sacredness of what he'd witnessed. If he'd been a religious man, he would have declared to all that the Jacksons were blessed.
Moving closer still, he couldn't hold back a sigh of relief to see that the top of that 'window' was indeed open. Before he could position himself to look inside, a very large hand clamped over his mouth, its mate around the back of his neck. He offered no resistance as he was propelled backwards.
The hand on his neck dropped to his arm, although the other remained firmly over his mouth. He was pushed forward, and he moved most willingly.
"Why do you spy on Daniel Jackson and his wife?" a voice hissed.
Oh hell! It was Teal'c, and from the tone of voice, a very pissed-off Teal'c. The young sergeant nearly collapsed. He swallowed twice when the hand that covered his mouth dropped away. "It's not what you think," he said softly.
"You were attempting to spy on them. For what purpose?" The question was rhetorical, in Teal'c's mind. He believed he already knew exactly what the young man was hoping to see.
"They're different," Childers whispered.
One eyebrow moved upward. "In what way?"
"There's something...spiritual about them," he said.
"Spiritual?" Teal'c wondered if somehow the man had learned of the Immortality of Daniel and Casey Jackson.
Childers heaved a sigh. "On that freaky planet where Ba'al's Jaffa captured Mrs. J...well, the night before that happened, they slipped off to one of the other caves...to make love."
"Of this I am aware," Teal'c replied. He'd provided Daniel Jackson with the candles that had lit that small cave that night.
"I had gone down to take a leak, and coming back, I heard them," he confessed. "I really didn't mean to look, but it was the blue light that caught my attention."
He nodded, forgetting for the moment that the Jaffa couldn't see the movement in the darkness. "I didn't want to disturb them, and honest-to-god I wasn't trying to spy on them. I just...well, I guess I was a bit on edge, and I figured that blue light probably meant trouble."
"I understand," Teal'c said, his tone indicating that the young man should continue. Had he been in the same position, he thought, no doubt he would have investigated as well.
"They were...well, they were...you know, making love. This blue light was shining all around them...there were these blue sparks where they touched. It was...it was spiritual," the Childers said.
Teal'c couldn't help but notice the reverence in the sergeant's voice. "Why to you wish to spy on them again?"
"Don't you understand? Something like that...it's special. It's like...it's like getting a chance to witness a miracle!"
"You do not spy on the Jackson's to gratify your own sexual desires?"
"No! No way," Childers declared. "I mean...yeah, watching them making love is sort of...it is arousing...but that's not...it's not why...I...I can't put into words how it was when I watched them. It was...it was so special...like...like...it was spiritual," he repeated weakly, unable to find the words to explain to the Jaffa just exactly what he had felt.
The young man would never, could never know that Teal'c did understand. The Jaffa's memory took him back to a cavern temple, where he had witnessed his friends making love on an altar. The feeling of sacredness that had filled the air around him, knowing that what he watched was very special indeed...though most of the actual act had been hidden by the flames that had danced around the altar. He frowned. He hadn't witnessed any 'blue light' that surrounded them. Nor had he ever witnessed any blue glow emitting from their tent when he knew for certain that the two were making love.
"I swear, Teal'c, I meant no disrespect," Childers whispered.
"I believe you. However, I do not want you to attempt to spy on them again. No matter how much you may wish to do so. I believe that what you witnessed was a rare occurrence, and you will not see it happen again. And if Daniel Jackson should learn that you have attempted to observe him with his wife, he would be most angry," Teal'c replied.
A sense of loss, of disappointment settled over him. As well as a healthy dose of fear. A pissed-off Daniel Jackson was every bit as dangerous as an angry Jaffa. When it came to protecting his wife, the archaeologist would be brutal. "Yes, sir," he whispered.
Teal'c turned and made his way back to the camp. Wondered again at the awe that his two dearest friends inspired in others. If ever he'd been near gods, or those blessed by the gods, he was so when in the presence of Daniel and Casey Jackson.
A A A A A A
General Hammond shook his head mentally. It seemed that the Tok'ra never contacted the SGC with good news. Most times it was with an urgent mission they wanted the Tau'ri to undertake for them, claiming that their limited numbers prevented them from being able to mount the proper response to whatever intel had spurred the action to begin with. Or, like this message, it contained bad news...some Goa'uld taking over another planet, or finding a new way to torture innocent people.
This message was more troublesome than most. It seemed that Ares' return to the galaxy hadn't been a random occurrence. Reports had filtered in from spies among Morrigan's Jaffa that Zeus had been escorted through the territory held by Lord Yu.
It also seemed that Zeus was more powerful than any of the Goa'uld they'd dealt with, at least since they'd destroyed Ra. It hadn't taken long for Apophis to move in and claim most of what had belonged to the most powerful of the Goa'uld. Cronus had taken what he could before Ba'al had arrived and swept up the rest. Which kept the three of them from being able to claim supremacy. Two of those Goa'uld were dead, and again Ba'al had moved in quickly to claim what he could. The others had managed to hold him back, although as of the last report they'd received from the Tok'ra, he was poised at the top of the heap, and the defeat of just one System Lord would see him become the so-called "Supreme System Lord" of the Goa'uld Empire. If such a thing were to happen, the Goa'uld would be united against their enemies.
The message also raised concerns that others of the Greek pantheon might decide to join the two already returned to the galaxy. While the prospect did harbor hopes of a major war among the Goa'uld, which would allow the Tok'ra and Tau'ri to manipulate the battles as much as possible...preventing any one Goa'uld from becoming too powerful, and possibly taking out the weakest among them...there was danger of the new arrivals reminding those of the Egyptian and Babylonian pantheons of the cooperation that had existed under Ra. If the Goa'uld were to work together against the Tok'ra, the Tau'ri, and the Jaffa rebels, none of them would survive.
Hammond sat back, tented his hands, pressed fingertips against his lips. He had to agree with the Tok'ra Council. Making certain that Zeus and Ares were unable to rally the Goa'uld of this galaxy together had to be the primary focus. Along with preventing Ba'al from taking any more holdings from his rivals. Job security, as Casey would say.
He shook his head. Examined the list of planets that the Tok'ra believed Zeus would be the most interested in. Each would need to be investigated, to determine just what the Goa'uld could acquire from them. And hopefully alliances with any societies existing on any of those planets could be established...a step that would frustrate the Goa'uld, and more importantly, keep those humans free from enslavement. Once again it felt as if they were racing against time itself. And the fate of every human in the galaxy hung in the balance.
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