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A Taste of Things to Come
"How many, Angel?" Daniel asked softly as they 'hovered' above the planet.
"I need to move closer," she replied.
"Do it." He was already calling up the Fire, making certain that he could protect her in an instant if need be.
"Five," she whispered. "They're here. And they know that we're here."
"Bring it on," he replied gruffly.
Before she could reply they found themselves standing in the courtyard of an ancient castle. The gray stones were weathered and worn from age. Weeds grew between the paving stones beneath their feet, moss grew along the walls, along with vines of ivy and mixed vines of Clematis and Morning Glory.
"Stay behind me," he said softly, pushing her slightly. Smiled when he felt her hands at his waist, her chest pressed against his back.
"Welcome, Chosen," a voice said from one of the empty windows. A man appeared; tall, slender, his light colored hair an oddity against his taffy skin. "I am quite sorry to say that we had no clue that you would…appear."
"I'll bet. Probably puts a crimp in your plans," Daniel replied sarcastically.
"Not at all."
Casey cried out as something stabbed her in the back. She turned in time to see a woman whose dark hair and eyes reminded her of the Being in the Cave. She dropped to her knees, one hand reaching behind her, coming away covered with blood.
Shit! Not even five minutes and already they'd tried to kill Casey! The anger boiled in him as he knelt beside his dying wife. He held her in his arms. Could feel the Others gathering around him. The Fire was burning, he called up more, the heat intense and blistering his hands. He waited until they were standing close enough together, then let Casey's body fall and brought up both hands, sending twin orbs of fire into the group. He hit a man with long black hair and a woman with auburn hair that reached her waist, both of them screaming as the Fire consumed them, reaching out for companions who moved away in panic.
"Well," the taffy skinned man smiled. "Not quite as 'young' as we believed." He raised his hand, sent a stream of light toward Daniel.
The young archaeologist barely made it away from the stream. It impacted near Casey's body. "Don't you even think about it," he snarled, hurling a fireball at the man. "You leave her alone, or I'll destroy every last one of you!"
The dark haired woman's eyes widened. "You would not! How could you reach us without Her?"
"I would be more than happy to 'escort' The Chosen to the viper's pit," a voice said coldly.
The four living people in the courtyard turned to face the newcomer. Aaron Desala was livid. He'd passed on the information he'd received from his daughter and grandchildren. Had been given the task of making certain that The Chosen did not fail.
The three Others recognized the Being in their midst. Once again the taffy colored man sent a beam of power toward Daniel. "You may not interfere."
"So you believe," Aaron replied.
"To do so would bring the Council of the Elders down upon you."
"Who do you think I work for?"
Fear filled the eyes of the Beings. They vanished completely.
"Come with me," Aaron said, holding out his hand.
"Will be fine. We don't have time. We must stop them…now!"
No, there was no way…together they couldn't be defeated. Together! Daniel scooped his wife into his arms. "Let's go."
A A A A A A
Emily cried out when blood began to ooze from a deep wound on Casey's back. "Why isn't the Quickening healing her?"
The doctor, one Michael Warnke, was cutting the tee shirt from the slender body. He carefully applied pressure to the wound. Pulled his hand back when the blue sparks began to dance over her skin. "Her Quickening seems to be working just fine," he observed, giving a comforting pat to Emily's shoulder.
"This is why you wanted to be in here," Nicholas observed. Cringed at the sight of the gaping wound in his mother's back.
"Yep," Jack replied. Put his arm around Sam when she shivered. It was so hard to wait, watch the damage to their bodies, knowing that there wasn't a damned thing he could do to help his best friends.
A A A A A A
Daniel clutched Casey closer. "C'mon, Angel, wake up," he whispered as Aaron moved them to…wherever it was that they were going.
"You must stop them, Daniel," Aaron said firmly. "No matter the cost."
That didn't sound good, he thought grumpily. When they stopped just outside of a small village, his heart leapt in his chest. Hell, no! He was supposed to protect the Innocents! He couldn't fight them here! When Aaron led him to the center of the village, and no one seemed to notice, he realized that they were still on the astral plane. Maybe…
In a flash he was standing alone, Casey in his arms. Several women screamed at the sight of the man and woman suddenly among them.
A A A A A A
Bright light filled the room. "Where the hell did they go?" Jack demanded.
The bed where the two Jackson's had been lying was now empty. Everyone looked around, dazed and surprised…and confused.
"We can't fight Penatil without them," Nicholas said hoarsely.
"We may have to," Jack replied grimly. He glanced at his watch. Forty-five hours. That was all the time the kids had left before they had to return to their own time. Hopefully to a much better 'present' than what it was currently. If Daniel and Casey weren't back within the hour, the team would have to proceed without them. Hurry up, Danny, he thought desperately. It was never good when the team was separated.
A A A A A A
She gasped, her back arching as she pulled oxygen into her lungs. She opened her eyes, looked into the worried face of her Husband. She glanced around. "We're not on the astral plane," she said immediately.
"I didn't think we were," he admitted. "So they brought us here, somehow. Three of them. Your Dad says I have to kill them, regardless of the cost."
Casey glanced around. Understood exactly what that cost could be. "Daniel, sometimes the few must be sacrificed to save the many. Billions of lives are at stake. Including our own, and those of our children, all three of them."
He grimaced. "I don't know if I can do it, Casey. There are little kids here," he said, nodding toward a group of children who watched them intently. The youngest couldn't have been more than three, the oldest perhaps ten.
"Oh, god," she murmured. She shook her head. "You have to defeat these renegade Others," she insisted, doing her best to harden her heart against the agony that flooded her.
"Maybe I can talk them into heading for safety," Daniel mused, as if he hadn't heard her.
She wreathed his face with her hands, forced him to look at her. "They will take the battle wherever these people are. I have no idea why this village was chosen. It might be a random choice, there might be something, or someone, who would have come from this village who could be a problem for them later."
He shook his head. "They're Innocents, Case."
"Innocents have died before, Daniel. It's a tragic thing. But you have to stay focused on the big picture. Or do you want to be beheaded…want me at Penatil's side while our children live in fear, and the other Immortals suffer horribly? While the mortals are forced to serve him?"
Images of Penatil, his hands on her, danced through his mind. Once again the anger began to burn.
She could see the anger in his eyes. Not enough, she realized. He had to be on the verge of losing all control if he was going to win this fight. "I don't like the thought of Penatil between my legs…addicting himself to me…taking me…"
White hot…the anger…no, the rage was burning white hot.
"Please," she begged softly, "don't let him have me."
"Never, Angel," he swore. "I won't let that bastard touch you. Can you stand?"
"I think so."
He gently put her on her feet. He looked around, then up toward the sky. "Bring it on, motherfuckers!"
Oh, the man is totally pissed off, she thought, grinning inwardly. Daniel never swore like that… at least not since Steven Raynor! She began to send her Fire to him, felt him gently…tenderly…take it, and pull it into his own body.
The taffy skinned man, the dark haired woman, and a man with long red hair appeared in front of them. "To attempt to harm us will result in the destruction of this village," the taffy skinned man smirked.
"Sacrifices sometimes are required," Daniel replied.
The man took a step forward. "Can you really allow Innocents to be harmed?"
Daniel's reply was a white-hot fire ball the size of a basketball. He hurled it into the red haired man, something telling him that he was the greatest threat of the three.
Taffy gasped, watched his friend drop to his knees. "You are The Chosen," he shouted when another fireball entered the redhead's body, rendering him nothing more than a heap of ashes.
"Exactly!" Daniel hissed. "I am The Chosen. Champion of the Innocent. I protect those that I can. If I have to face you, and you choose to do so here, I can't change that. I can only make certain that you don't win!" Another fireball, into the woman this time.
She screamed in pain, lashed out immediately, setting fire to several of the houses around her. Barrels of water flew through the air and impacted upon two women who were doing laundry, the broken slats impaling them.
"No!" Daniel yelled. Another fireball, and the female Being was dead.
Taffy was wide-eyed with surprise. "You could have protected them!"
"And you would have struck Casey while my attention was diverted," Daniel replied. "It's just you and me. Let's leave everyone else out of this."
With a feral grin, Taffy reached out his hand, and knocked the support from the roof just above the children.
Daniel gasped. "Run!" he told the children, reaching out, using his power to hold the falling roof in place. "Run, now!"
Terrified, at first the children merely stared at him.
He glanced around, listened to the panicked cries around him. "Run! Now!"
Once again Taffy was unprepared for the reaction. He reached out his hand, lifted Casey from the ground. Grunted with shock when a fireball impacted on his side. He glanced at Daniel, realized the children had moved, and The Chosen's full attention was on him. He tossed the slender blonde against one of the buildings, then set it aflame around her.
"Casey, you have to get away from there," Daniel called to her, his eyes still on his enemy. "Come on, babe, move it."
Every inch of her body ached, and she was certain that she had several broken bones, including a cracked rib or two. The smell of the fire around her filled her nostrils.
'Move it, Angel. I know it hurts like hell, but you have to get away from the fire. Move, Casey!' Daniel demanded.
She gasped as she tried to slide away from the wall. Pain, red-hot and excruciating filled her mind. She screamed.
Taffy began to laugh. "You have to decide, Chosen. Which will it be, save your Beloved, or destroy me?"
With a growl of anger, Daniel whirled to fully face his opponent. His vision narrowed, a blood red haze surrounded everything he looked at. He raised his hand.
"Kill me, and this entire planet will go up in flames," Taffy hissed.
"Then we'll burn together!" He let loose the Fire that had been burning his fingertips. The ribbon was bright white, and he smiled when the Being screamed with pain as it impacted on his body.
The ground began to rumble beneath his feet. Somehow, that Being, or those Beings, had been able to tap into the molten core of the planet. They would allow nature to do most of their dirty work for them, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions would devastate the face of the planet. And he and Casey had to get off of this rock before that happened.
"Daniel…finish it!" Casey gasped. She watched as Daniel stepped closer to the Other Being… the Fire flowing from his hands too bright to look at.
He could feel the Darkness move toward him. He wanted this Being to suffer…and he wanted him to suffer every injury that his Beloved had. He threw the Being against a barn wall with all of the force the could muster.
Taffy hit the wall, slid to the ground. His corporeal body was in great pain. There was much damage. He needed to move away from this plane of existence if he was going to survive. He screamed again when he felt a 'force' that clamped onto him…refused to let him go. A third scream cut the air when the rage-maddened Chosen pulled him into the air and slammed him into the ground. He was dying, and he knew it. His eyes went wide when The Chosen approached him. Kicked him viciously.
He could only whimper in pain.
"Get on your feet!" Daniel snarled. He reached down and grabbed the battered, bleeding man by the back of the neck, jerked him upright. Let his other fist impact on the man's face. This man…this Being…was responsible for all of the hurt his Beloved suffered now, and in the very twisted future that his children endured. He hit him, again, and again.
Her voice cut through the anger, the red haze that filled his mind. He let go of the body…the man had died sometime during the beating. He shook his head slightly. Forced the anger away. Felt the darkness back away from him as well. He turned around. She hadn't managed to get more that two feet from that burning wall. And it was about to collapse on top of her.
Daniel raced to where she lay crumpled on the ground, swept her into his arms, and dove for shelter behind a wooden cart. He landed hard, his leg twisted beneath him. He heard the snap of the tibia as well as felt the immediate pain. He cried out.
"Just broke my leg," he gasped.
The tremors in the ground had increased. "We need to get out of here," she whispered.
"Not at the moment."
The people of the village, still in shock from the battle of the gods they had just witnessed, were beginning to grasp the situation they were in. Many were running into buildings on the verge of collapse.
"No! Get them out of there!" Daniel said, sweat beading up on his lip.
"I don't know the language," Casey replied, her eyes darting around, watching the destruction, trying to find a way out.
A A A A A A
A flash of light, and they were sitting on the infirmary floor.
"Daddy?" Casey said, just before she fainted.
"Daniel?" Jack asked, his eyes wide.
The archaeologist gasped in pain. "Give me a minute," he grunted. Casey had already been gently lifted onto one of the beds…Nicholas had taken her from Daniel almost as soon as they had appeared.
Emily knelt down beside him. "Daddy, what happened?"
"The Others. Five of them. Dead now. Killed a village full of people," he said, breathing hard. "Tried to help them…no time. Earthquakes. They…The Others, set the village on fire."
"That can't be acceptable behavior," Jack said dryly.
Daniel managed a weak grimace. "No, it can't be."
Aaron appeared in the room. "You have done well, Chosen. There will be an…inquiry…into the events that occurred today."
"Great. I suppose I have to stand trial?" Daniel said.
"I doubt it," the Ancient grinned. "However, I do believe that The Others will be under a bit of pressure to do some 'housecleaning'."
It suddenly occurred to him that Shifu, Sha're's son…the son of Apophis and Amaunet was with The Others. "The boy…Sha're's son…"
Aaron frowned. "I do not believe him to be involved in this. He fully understands the dangers of allowing one's anger, hatred…to take control. Oma taught him well."
With a sigh, Daniel closed his eyes, nodded. Knew in his heart that if forced into a confrontation with the boy…no, he would be a man by now, at the rate he matured and grew…he would do what was needed to protect Casey and Emily and Nicholas…and the baby his wife carried. The baby! His eyes flew open. "She was tossed against a wall pretty hard…the baby…please tell me that the baby is all right," he moaned.
Dr. Warnke issued orders, and the infirmary was cleared. Daniel was put onto one of the beds as the Quickening continued to heal him. Casey's body was alight with the blue sparks of her Quickening. The doctor had moved a portable sonogram machine to her bedside, prepared to perform an ultrasound to check the condition of the fetus in Casey Jackson's womb.
Daniel was lying on his side watching. The pain was gone, the healing complete in his body. If she lost this baby, she'd be devastated. Even knowing that they'd have another son, if the slips Nicholas had made were any indication, would not lessen the loss of this child.
The doctor exposed her belly, tugging her BDU pants lower on her hips, with help from the nurse. A large dollop of goop, and then he pressed the scope against her. Moved it around. Smiled. "Baby looks fine. Heartbeat is nice and strong…and steady."
He let loose of the breath he hadn't even been aware he was holding. "Thanks," he murmured.
So damned tired. He wasn't even aware of falling asleep.
A A A A A A
"Well, if Penatil is no longer protected, he shouldn't be too hard to take out," Jack said, leaning against the wall in the ring transport room. His own 'sixth sense' was telling him to keep SG-1 together. And that they needed to ring down to the planet first.
"Scans show that he has most of his Jaffa and ships down there with him," Sam pointed out.
"Can we get a message to Potter, have him gather the notes, any crystals that have the data on them?" Jack asked Methos.
"Not that I know of," the Old Man replied "He contacts Duncan when he's able. That's the only communication." He didn't mention that he did know that Potter had a radio with him. When the time was right, he would contact the man. Not until. The safety of the spy required restraint on the part of his 'handler'. And Methos had plenty of restraint, cultivated over centuries.
"Shit!" the general hissed.
Casey and Daniel walked into the room. "The baby is fine," Casey smiled at the question in every pair of eyes.
"Case, take a look, tell me what we're up against," Jack said quietly.
She nodded, closed her eyes. Met Daniel in the meadow.
"We've fought a hard battle. Daniel, what you might have to do…"
He frowned. "Like what?"
"Remember when I told you that you were powerful enough to destroy a planet?"
He paled. "Oh, god! There are villages down there!"
"I know, Daniel. But Penatil, and nearly all of his Jaffa are down there. All but three of his ships. If we can take him out-" she broke off. "In war, there are innocent casualties. I hate it, Daniel, I absolutely hate it. But how many worlds will be saved? How many children will…" she paused, closed her eyes. "Oh, that sick bastard!"
"What?" he demanded.
"He's already using them…he found the notes on the control experiments. He's…" she shuddered. "Daniel, free them," she said softly. "Stop their pain. Stop the shame those young women feel as he and his Jaffa use them, abuse them…hurt them."
"We have to go down there first," he said firmly. Penatil he intended to kill personally.
"Let's take a look, Angel."
She took the strength she needed from him, moved lower over the planet. Winced when they discovered his 'harem'…several of the girls weren't even sixteen yet! All of them naked, all of them chained to narrow cots that were in turn bolted to the floor of the barn that was their prison.
The men were being held in another barn. It had been days since they'd been fed, or given water. Nearly a dozen had been beaten so badly that death was only hours away. The teenage boys were being held in one of the houses, the mind control devices implanted. The younger boys were being used as simple slave labor.
"It seems he's looking for more subjects," Daniel said softly, pointing to a group of Jaffa marching along a road, heading for another village.
"I think I've found him," Casey whispered. She pointed to one of the larger houses. Moved them closer.
Penatil was listening to one of the geneticists, Potter standing beside the man, correcting the errors in translation. Trying his best to translate the notes in a manner that would make them seem useless. The fact that one of the scientists had a working knowledge of Tau'ri was making it difficult to lie completely about the information contained on the few pages of notes that Penatil had managed to save to the Goa'uld reading device. The discovery of a private diary on P7Y 4X9 had complicated matters, it seemed that Hemsut had kept track of each experiment performed. And Penatil was very interested in those experiments.
"Let's go, Angel," Daniel whispered. "We need to get down here and get him while he's still touchable."
She nodded. Moved them back to that sunny meadow. "Do you have it with you?"
"Yeah, I do."
"Just wanted to make sure. I don't know how long this will take…if it's more than a couple of days…" she shrugged.
"We'll have to send them back, I guess," she said, shrugging again. "Unless we get very, very lucky."
"Let's hope that magical SG-1 good luck stays true," he replied with a smile. He kissed her gently. "Love you."
"Love you," she whispered. She kissed his chin, pressed a kiss against his lips, then let him move away.
"He's in one of the villages. He's already started some of the control experiments, and he's…uh…he's got a harem started," Casey reported, as soon as she opened her eyes.
Jack's jaw worked as anger flooded him. "Let's take that sick bastard out!" He turned to Methos. "We'll go down first. Wait for our signal."
The dark haired young/old man nodded. "Got it."
Standing shoulder to shoulder to shoulder to shoulder to shoulder, SG-1 formed a tight circle, weapons ready. The flash of the transporter rings filled the room, and the team disappeared, reappearing near the edge of a large clearing just south of the village. Their arrival did not go unnoticed.
Teal'c took the first hit, the staff weapon blast dropping the large man to his knees. He was firing his own staff at the approaching Jaffa.
The sound of four P90's filled the air, taking down a dozen approaching armored soldiers. "Bradshaw, drop a few of those bombs just north of the village, repeat, north of the village," Jack shouted into his radio, firing at what seemed like an endless wave of Jaffa.
Within seconds explosions rocked the area. It had the desired affect of disorienting the Jaffa. The sound of the horn that called the army of Penatil together split the air.
"They're gonna set up a perimeter around that village," Jack groused. He sent the signal; Methos, Wade and the kids arrived in the 'whoosh' of the rings. "We need to find a way to breach that perimeter."
"We need to know the layout of the land around the village," Methos said.
The general nodded. Glanced at his wife. "Get what you can."
Sam nodded, contacted the ship. Opened the palm sized computer and began to examine the maps that appeared, sent from the Prometheus as it scanned the area. "There's a river to the magnetic east. It flows right through the center of the town…there's a chance we can get in that way."
Teal'c was examining the map over her shoulder. "The First Prime will place guards here, here and here," he said, pointing to the most obvious spots along the river. If they are experienced, they will also place them here and here."
"Which will make it damned hard to get through," Jack replied.
Casey glanced around. "We don't have much time. Penatil knows that we're here."
Daniel grimaced. "Yeah, the bombs probably tipped him off."
"Too bad we can't make him think that it's another Goa'uld…Jordan maybe," she said, shaking her blonde head.
Methos grinned. "Who says we can't?"
Casey grinned. "Do your Goa'uld thing, Old Man."
With a nod, the oldest Immortal keyed his radio. "Colonel Bradshaw, I need you to relay this message."
"Go ahead," the colonel replied.
"I come in the name of the great god Jordan. You have made a grave mistake in attacking the greatest of all gods. For this, you will die." The words echoed in the air, broadcast from the cloaked ship just above the village.
The team chuckled.
"What?" Nicholas asked.
"You don't speak Goa'uld?" Casey asked softly.
The young man shook his head. "No time to learn it," he replied softly.
She nodded, translated what Methos had said.
"Yeah, but won't those Jaffa report seeing Tau'ri?" Richie asked.
"Only if they were close enough to see us," Jack replied. "We need to look the part."
Within half an hour, the team, and their companions, were wearing the armor of the downed Jaffa warriors. With luck, they would be able to walk into the village and take out the Goa'uld before the real Jaffa were any the wiser.
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