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A Taste of Things to Come
Casey opened her eyes, looked at her father. "Renegade Others. That's why he was able to remain hidden. Why he was able to build up such a large Kull army so quickly. He doesn't even have the facility to do so…yet. And these Others are the reason that Penatil was able to conquer so easily. Without their help…and urging…he wouldn't have attacked so many planets at once, and won."
Aaron's face grew hard. "Show me."
With a curt nod, Casey guided her father to the same information that Daniel had. "Daddy, you have to stop them. We can't stop Penatil if you don't."
"You worry about the Goa'uld. I will take care of the rest." The Ancient stood up. Walked over to kiss his grandchildren, and then his daughter. He looked at Daniel. "You have much more power than they suspect. You will have to call upon all of it. Even if doing so seems…dangerous. Remember, she will always save you." With a flash of light, he was gone.
Daniel contemplated what his father-in-law had said. Shuddered at the implications. How close to the 'Dark Side' was he going to have to walk?
"So do we know where he is?" Jack asked.
"Yep," Daniel replied.
"Suggestions?" Duncan asked.
"Prometheus. Lots of nice big naquadah tipped bombs," Casey replied firmly. "And we have to go to the planet to get Potter and those notes."
"Now why don't I like the sound of that?" Jack grumbled.
The teenagers exchanged glances. "That's where we come in," Evelyn said softly. "We…uh… Mom says if we die here, that we'll still be okay. I mean, not Immortal or anything…I don't think," the young woman added softly, a frown on her face that resembled her mother's. "But we knew that it might be a one-way trip for some of us."
Hearts clenched in the chests of the parents in the room. "What about the time line?" Sam asked.
Evelyn rolled her eyes. "The whole purpose of this trip is to change the timeline. You said that if you gave me any trouble about it-" she broke off, giggled, shook her head. "How weird does that sound?" The smile faded quickly. "Anyway, think about life as a refugee…a fugitive…and without Daddy and Amber."
"Amber?" Sam whispered hoarsely. It suddenly occurred to her that Amber was the only one missing. "What happened to your sister?"
More glances exchanged between the young people. "Um…she…during one of our raids for weapons…she…too many Jaffa …" Richie shook his head sadly. "One of Penatil's priests took a fancy to her," the young man continued quietly. "Last we heard, he'd gotten bored with her and had put her in a pleasure house. We're not even sure she's still alive."
Jack's face went red with rage. "Not my little girl!"
Sam had simultaneously paled. "Oh, my god," she whispered.
"If these Others are protecting Penatil, won't they take offense at seeing a Gammian warship approaching?" Methos asked dryly. "Oh, congratulations, by the way."
"You weren't thinking of trying to populate Gamma alone were you, big brother?" Wade teased.
"Ha ha. Very funny," Daniel retorted. "Not actually. This was a complete surprise."
"This baby wants to be born," Casey said, her hand moving to her not-quite flat belly.
"He's the one-" Nicholas started, then blushed brightly. "Sorry," he said, looking at Evelyn.
"Maybe you should just keep quiet," Emily said, rolling her eyes.
"I said I was sorry."
"I already knew the baby was a boy," Casey said softly. "Just like I knew that Nicholas was a boy long before the doctor was able to confirm it."
The young man grinned, stuck his tongue out at his sister. Who quite readily returned the gesture.
"Some things never change," Daniel grinned. Nicholas was constantly sticking his tongue out at Emily. Who never failed to respond in kind.
"Okay, back to my question," Methos said. Trying damned hard not to look too closely at the almost twenty-year-old Emily Jackson. She looked way too much like her mother. Had the same smartass attitude. The same sexy way of tossing her long hair. The same strength…the same fire in her eyes. That young woman was walking trouble, as far as he was concerned.
"If Daddy is doing what I think he's doing," Casey said, "we'll be the least of their problems. In fact, I have the feeling that they won't be able to protect Penatil at all when we get there…not without totally exposing themselves."
"It's a sure bet that we would have found him in the next few days," Daniel added. "And Case would have picked up on their involvement."
"Not necessarily," Duncan said. "We were going to wait to get more info on him before making a move, remember? Hoping that Potter could take care of the…situation."
Daniel grimaced. Then looked at his daughter. "That was the mistake, wasn't it? That was why you had to come here…now. We waited, and it allowed The Others to set things into motion that couldn’t be stopped."
"That's what Aunt Sam and Methos thought. Uncle Wade was certain that the defeat was because you tried too hard to save everyone, instead of…accepting…that some planets had to fall. You exhausted yourself, and that's what Penatil was waiting for," Emily replied.
"The attack on Gamma had started before you were back from trying to defend Langara, and then Terra," Nicholas added. "Mom was pretty tired too, the drain on both of you was immense, and you weren't getting the time to…build back up…between each battle."
"We're going to take care of this now," Jack said firmly. "No way am I…are we…letting that snake win!"
"I'll contact the Prometheus. Be ready to leave in thirty," Duncan said, rising from his chair. "Uh…care to join me?" he asked Richie. Somehow, spending time with the young man seemed damned important.
"Yeah, I would," Richie replied softly. He stood and followed his father…a man he hadn't seen in nearly twelve years.
"Let's gear up, campers," Jack said quietly. He led the group to the infirmary. Was a bit shocked to watch his daughter and godchildren handle the P90's with such ease. These kids had been hiding, and fighting, for a very long time.
Emily watched the way her father braided her mother's long hair. She wondered what he would think to know that as soon as Casey had come out of the stupor of grief his death had caused her, the first thing she had done was cut her hair as short as Aunt Sam's. That she had given in to the Darkness, given up on the fight against Penatil, deserting her children to fight a battle they weren't prepared to face…had been much too young to face. She watched their eyes…she had always watched their eyes. The depth of love there surprised her. She'd forgotten just how much they loved each other, needed each other. She could remember the whispers and giggles and moans that came from their bedroom every morning, and every night, for as long as she could remember, up until the day they had left to try to stop the Goa'uld. She hadn't seen them again until they returned to Gamma too late to stop the invasion. As far as she knew, they'd had a few brief moments on the ship together…and that had been it. The Immortals were rounded up and separated so quickly, the men killed within hours…she wasn't even sure that they'd been able to say goodbye to one another…perhaps a hastily exchanged 'I love you' in that special way of communicating that they had. The few, like her mother, who had escaped, managed to remain free for only a matter of days. But if she'd just tried…She shook her head mentally as she watched as Casey filled the pockets of her father's vest while he thumbed through his small, red journal, adding a few last minute thoughts. Had she truly forgotten what a team they were? How they functioned almost as one entity, the one entity that their two hearts created?
Nicholas was watching his parents and his sister. He knew that Em was totally pissed at their mother for giving up. At least, that's what she called it. He called it trying to live with half a soul…half a heart. Couldn't be done. Not for someone like Mom. Maybe this would help Em forgive her. After all, the two had been so close when she had been little. He shook himself. If this worked, they would return to - and remember - a much different life. Hopefully one that included both his mother and his father, alive, healthy, happy, and still as in love as they were now.
Richie entered the armory, nodded at the adults, grabbed a P90 and loaded it, then grabbed a staff weapon.
Casey raised an eyebrow.
"Don't have to worry about low ammo," he explained with a grin. "P90's are the bomb, and do the best job at tearing through the enemy. But the Staff Weapon never empties a clip."
Jack chuckled. "Good point."
"Indeed," Teal'c smiled, his own staff weapon at his side. He alternated the weapons that he carried. No one was sure what criteria the Jaffa used to determine whether he took a P90 or his staff weapon. The 9 millimeter was always in a holster on his thigh during missions. Whatever he carried, the large man was always formidable.
Methos and Wade were gearing up as well. No doubt Prius was scrambling to explain why his 'god' wasn't going to make the meeting with Morganna after all; at least, not for a few days, the Old Man thought. With luck, the bitch would assume that he was bedding a few of his newly taken 'prisoners', from a village of people he had 'conquered', who were willing to 'serve' him. He'd tried to create a reputation as a bit of a…rogue. Wade had been teasing him that it was this very 'reputation' that had Morganna eager to meet with him. With luck, he'd be able to lead the Goa'uld where he wanted her to go, just as he had led Ashnan…until her bruised ego had driven her into a fatal alliance with Nergal.
Ready to face their enemy, SG-1, and their teen-aged children, headed for the 'gate room. Emily was watching Wade. "You look so young-" she broke off, shook her head. Wade bore the scars of the war on Gamma. He had lost an eye during the worst of the ten days of fighting. His hair and goatee were more gray than black, now. At least, in her time.
He grinned. "Yeah, well, from what I understand, you're about twelve years into our future."
The young woman smiled. "Something like that." She reached up, and stroked his goatee. "We'll get the job done," she said softly. "We have The Chosen, and His Chosen."
Daniel and Casey exchanged a glance. Daniel's eyes narrowed. "Together, you cannot be defeated," echoed in his head. How often had they been told that their success depended on the two of them being together? "I tried to get her to safety," he said softly.
Nicholas nodded. "You sent us with Meemaw and Peepaw, insisted that she come to the house to say goodbye to us…I guess you'd already talked to Peepaw about taking her with us. Not giving her a chance to say no."
"I don't understand," the archaeologist said, frowning. "Together we can't be defeated."
Casey was frowning now as well. "Something, someone…" she glanced at him. "Daniel, I need to know. It's possible they've already planted 'hooks' in you."
His frown deepened. "Hooks? Who? How-" he broke off. "Can you…get them out…if they did?"
"I think so. Might give you a bit of a headache."
She nodded, closed her eyes. Moved gently toward the man she loved. Was nearly overwhelmed by his emotions: anger, fear…love. Nothing seemed out of place, there were no 'marks' on him. Perhaps The Others had been forced to wait to touch him until he was exhausted, until they were both too exhausted to notice. She caressed him gently, smiled when the soft touch was returned. "Nothing. I'm thinking they can't touch you as long as you're…healthy…rested."
"Good. I want you to check every hour or so…or if I seem…different," he said quietly. He turned to his best friend. "Don't let her excuse my behavior. If I start acting-"
"Flaky?" Jack asked with a grin.
Daniel grinned. "Yeah, flaky. Make her check."
"You got it, Danny," Jack said softly.
The teens had heard about the fabled SG-1, and how they worked together. Now they would see that magic up close and personal. The look exchanged between Jack and Daniel said much more than their words. More favors asked, more promises given, for both men.
"Prometheus standing by," Kyle's voice informed them. They ringed up in two groups, SG-1 arriving on the ship first.
The teenagers, and Methos and Wade, stood by and watched as SG-1 assumed positions on the bridge. Once again Emily was struck by the love between her parents. Watched her father's eyes as he watched her mother settle into the weapon's officer's seat. Realized that her mother knew exactly what her father was doing. Nicholas was right. They weren't just two people. They were one entity. He was The Chosen. She was His Chosen. Two parts of the whole. She began to understand the grief…the devastation her mother had felt over her father's death. Remembered Meemaw saying that Daniel Jackson had been the only thing that held the darkness that plagued her mother at bay. That without his love, his strength, all that she had suffered, all that she had seen…had done…overwhelmed her until her mind shut down beneath the weight. Goddess, we have to get this right…for Mom! She shook herself slightly. Looked over to find her brother watching her. She gave a small smile. Knew that he understood when he winked at her, flashed the smile that was so like his father's.
Daniel was stretching mentally, checking…poking…examining the Fire that flowed through his veins. Apparently he was powerful enough to take these Others out, and that was why they had felt the need to…alter him. A bit of…cheating. Which, he sighed silently, he shouldn't be surprised about. After all, these Beings were breaking every rule, every law of their existence. The question was…why? Were they like Simmons and his cohorts had been, simply interested in power, in being worshipped? Or was there another reason? The…sixth sense…that seemed to accompany his strength, was nothing at all like Casey's psychic abilities. But it was enough to let him know that there were very few Beings involved. Not more than half a dozen. And…he had to take them out. Aaron could do no more than prevent them from fleeing, and prevent any other 'higher beings' from attempting to protect the renegades. He frowned. 'Angel?'
'Can you tell me how many of The Others we're dealing with?'
'I can try.'
He met her in the meadow. "I have to take them out. I need to know how many…and if they're on that planet."
"I understand," she said softly. She closed her eyes. Took the strength that she needed from him, slowly, gently, as he opened himself. They flew past the stars, past planets. Back to the dark place, the small moon where Penatil was beginning to set up his camps, preparing to build a palace as his geneticists worked on the NID formula for Immortality. She moved around the darkness, seeking to find a way through it. She hesitated. "Daniel, if we go…in there…" she motioned to what appeared to be a dark cloud, "they'll know that we've found him, that we know about their involvement."
"Not good, huh?"
She cocked her head sideways, listened carefully. "I'm not sure. I don't think…it seems to me that Penatil isn't anywhere near prepared to strike out, won't be for some time, and that's what they need…why they're hiding him. So that he has the time, uninterrupted time…to build Kull warriors and decipher the NID notes."
"If we move now, will it force them to…interfere…more than they already have?"
"I don't know. I’m not sure that they can…not without exposing themselves. The Ancients were a 'lower level'. Becoming involved when Simmons was on the loose was…beneath The Committee. The Others are a few steps higher on the evolutionary scale, so to speak. And these…actions…will be of interest to those much higher."
"You said that there were those on higher levels who were stretching their cosmic muscles," he reminded her softly.
"This could have…interesting…repercussions," she allowed.
"It's going to bring scrutiny from very high up. And it could cause a shake-up on the Committee."
"Unless that's exactly what they're after," Daniel said.
She shrugged. "It's possible. Daddy said that anyone can ascend to any level. But I'm not sure that those who are…created…on a particular level are allowed to 'move up'."
He frowned. "Jealousy? Ambition?"
"Two of the baser emotions," she pointed out.
"Yeah. I just thought that beings who were Ascended had moved beyond all of that."
"No," she said, shaking her head. "They just aim higher, and their emotions are more…powerful."
He sighed. "Okay, so do we go ahead and look?"
"You're The Chosen," she said softly. "This is a decision only you can make."
Damn it! He hated being in this position…being forced to make decisions without having all of the information he needed! He studied the dark area, knowing that Penatil was hidden there. Hidden by Beings who should know better than to interfere! He frowned, took a deep breath. "I could use some help here, Angel," he said finally.
Casey looked around. "Right now, right here, the only thing you can do is take on The Others who are involved. It would make it easier to take out Penatil when the Prometheus is close enough. It would also more than likely bring more of The Others into the game, an attempt to exact revenge on you."
"How long do you think your Dad will be?"
"I honestly don't know," was her quiet reply.
"We'll wait until we're closer. Then I'll take them out. And any others of the group that show up," he decided. Hating the idea of attacking beings of a higher plane…even if he did have the strength…the power to do so. Even if they were helping a Goa'uld. It just seemed…wrong.
She glanced around. Had felt a…tremor. Her father, no doubt. "Let's get back, then," she said softly.
In the meadow she wrapped her arms around his neck, kissed him. He locked his arms around her, drew from her gentle strength. He had to overcome his own…hang-ups, before he could battle these Beings successfully. Was that what they were counting on? His…awe…of Beings on higher planes of existence? The…respect…he'd been taught by Oma to have of these 'superior' Beings?
"They're helping Penatil," she said quietly. "They're directly responsible for the deaths of billions of Innocents. The enslavement of Immortal women and six Immortal men. The gods and goddesses only know what terrors the Immortal children are facing! Think of Amber O'Neill in a whorehouse. Your children living as fugitives…refugees. Think of him taking me."
Anger began to burn in him, white hot and dangerous. These Beings were indeed responsible for those…future…horrors. "I can do it," he whispered.
"Good. Because you'll only have one chance. You'll have to hit them hard and fast if you're going to defeat all of them," she warned.
He nodded. "Let's go."
His kiss was brief, but passionate. She watched him move away, then opened her eyes.
"I'll be able to tell you when the time comes," she said softly.
Daniel nodded his understanding. He glanced sideways to see the teenagers standing near Jack. Evelyn had her head on his shoulder. He smiled, nodded, giving his children permission to join him. They did so eagerly, Emily holding onto his arm the way that Casey always did.
"You know, I've been thinking," Jack said slowly. "If the Asgard, and the Tollan, and even the Nox are in danger, and all of those planets, do you think a little 'heads' up' might be in order?"
"I think the only ones who would even bother to question the intelligence would be Earth," Sam replied softy, her brow knit into a frown. "They still don't understand who Daniel really is, how powerful Casey's abilities really are."
Jack looked over Evvie's head at Richie. "You never mentioned the Shakka-"
The young man flinched slightly. "Wiped out in a matter of hours."
"Oy! Okay, we need to let Bra'tac and Rak'nor know what's going on as well."
"I concur, O'Neill," Teal'c said quietly. "We must face this threat as if it has already occurred. If we fail, what we attempt to change will still happen, or be worse."
"Don't think it could get much worse," Jack muttered. "Get the word to everyone," he instructed Sam. "Tell them to be on alert, if we need help we'll send a message."
With a nod, Sam turned to the communications station, and with Daniel's help began to compose the messages that needed to be sent. Every ally, every known colony or world with the ability to receive the encoded message, was alerted. It didn't take long for acknowledgments to begin to filter back. "Thor sends word that he'll move to Gamma to help protect it in our absence."
"Gotta love that little gray guy," Jack mused, a smile on his face.
"One more jump," Daniel said, back at the helm once again; his voice low.
"Okay, campers. This is it. Once again SG-1 is going to jump in where angels fear to tread. Jim, it's all yours," the general said, signaling that the team should relinquish controls to the ships' regular crew. He led the way to the transporter rings. "Now, understand this, whatever I tell you, you do it without question, without hesitation, do you understand? Question me once and your ass will be back here in an instant," he said to the teenagers, warning them. He looked at Nicholas. "I won't have you disobeying any orders."
"We understand," the young man said softly.
Jack studied him for a minute, looked at each of the others. His gaze lingered on his daughter. She was his child, no doubt had his attitude. He recognized her acceptance. Gave a short nod of his head. "Good. Casey, tell me what you can."
"First thing that has to happen, Daniel has to fight…destroy…The Others who are protecting that planet…er…I think it's a moon, actually. I don't know how long that will take," she replied.
"Should we head for the infirmary?" The last time the Space Monkey had fought a higher being, it had nearly killed him, Casey had died. And they would need both of their 'gifted' team members hale and hearty for the mission to the planet below.
Casey nodded, remembering the battle with Simmons. "Probably a good idea," she agreed.
"We can't ring down until this is done," Jack said. He turned to Methos and Wade. "You stay here with Teal'c. As soon as I give you the word, the two of you ring down. Try to make contact with Potter. Teal'c, see to it that they're put down somewhere safe."
The Old Man nodded his understanding. Teal'c inclined his head as well.
"What about us?" Nicholas asked.
"You wait until I tell you," was the reply.
"But-" Nicholas bit off his protest at the look in the older man's eyes. "Yes, sir," he replied.
Daniel held Casey's hand as he led her to the infirmary. Knew that the kids had fallen in behind Jack and Sam. He wasn't thrilled with the idea of them witnessing the results of what would probably be a very intense battle. While he and his Wife fought on whatever plane of existence these Beings chose as the battlefield, their bodies would suffer any and all wounds received. Which wouldn't be easy on their children.
Emily watched her parents. Could sense the power in them. Mom had to be right, those Beings had messed with Daddy. There was no way that they could have been defeated otherwise!
Nicholas leaned toward his sister. "Dad is incredibly powerful. I'm thinking that those Beings do understand what a threat he is," he whispered.
"Then you'd better tell them now," Emily whispered in return.
The young man nodded. "Mom? Um…I think the Beings you're about to face know about Dad."
Casey smiled. "Of course they know about him."
"No, Mom. They know. They know how powerful he is. And they'll do everything they can to beat him," Nicholas explained gently.
She glanced at her Husband. The Chosen. "Together, we can't be defeated."
"It's the 'together' part that worries me," Nicholas admitted.
Daniel frowned. "Thanks for the warning, son." He looked at his Wife. "I don't care what you see, or hear, or think. You stay with me."
"I promise," she replied.
"Might as well get comfortable," he said, forcing a smile. He settled onto one of the infirmary beds, pulled Casey down beside him, held her tightly.
"Don't let go," she whispered.
"Never, Angel," he whispered in reply.
She closed her eyes. Met him in that meadow. And approached the darkness that surrounded the planet.
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