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A Taste of Things to Come
Potter was standing in the small room that was his, watching out of the narrow window. Penatil was furious. A message had arrived, from Jordan. Everyone had heard it. Apparently that Goa'uld was orbiting above this small moon, and had attacked. That none of the bombs had hit the village was sheer good luck, he was certain. He nearly jumped out of his skin when his radio quietly beeped a special code. He pulled it from beneath the mattress of his cot. Checked the hallway to make certain no one would overhear. Then began to sing a song that he sang often, and used each time he contacted Duncan …a sea ditty that incorporated a bit of dialogue. On the second verse he keyed the radio, and began to chant.
Methos grinned. Waited until the man was finished, then held down the transmit button on his radio. "Destroy the notes and the crystals, and anything else that has the information. Then get to the woods to the south of the village."
Once again the spy replied in a sing-song voice.
The Immortal turned to Jack. "He needs at least three hours. He won't make a move until tonight."
"Okay, we settle in," Jack said. Shifted slightly in the heavy armor.
"O'Neill, if we appear to be standing guard in this area, it is doubtful that others will bother us," Teal'c said quietly.
"Lead the way, T-man," the general replied.
The armor was heavy, and uncomfortable. It was also ill-fitting for Sam, Casey, Emily, and Evelyn. Because it could become a liability for them, and in turn they could unwittingly give the group away, it was decided that they would hide in the shelter of the woods, and take out any Jaffa that did approach the small 'camp' that Teal'c had set up.
Casey was screwing the silencer onto her 9 millimeter when Emily settled beside her. The young woman attached a silencer to her own weapon, checked the magazine, then scanned the forest in front of them. "You're angry with me," Casey said softly.
"You gave up…at least, that's what I thought," Emily replied.
"I would never have given up, not willingly," the blonde Immortal replied. "Your father saved me from the darkness once. If he hadn't been there-" she broke off, shook her head. "I've fought the darkness for so long, I can't remember it not being there. It's not…a threat…right now. But I know that if anything happens to him, my grief, my…I'd be so lost, Baby. Without your father, I couldn't survive. I know that. I've always known that."
Emily nodded slowly. "Meemaw told me that; she that Daddy was all that stood between you and the darkness. I don't understand…is it because of your gift?"
"Part of it. Mostly because of the abuse that I suffered as a child growing up. I still battle those scars, Emily. Every day I fight the fears that…she…inflicted on me…burned into my soul."
"Helen Webster. The woman who adopted me," Casey explained.
"She was mean to you?"
"She did things, said things that even your father doesn't know about. Things that are so…" once again she shook her head. "Things that I can't even look at. I know the memories are there. But I've buried them so deep that I can't…see them. I can feel them. I know that they're there. I don't want to remember," she whispered.
Emily shifted closer, put her head on her mother's shoulder. "I miss you so much," she whispered. "Nicholas keeps talking about rescuing you from Penatil. When I tell him it's impossible, he just smiles, and says that impossible just takes a little longer."
Casey smiled. "If this works, he won't have to worry about it."
"I wish there was a way to let you know if it does."
She put her hand on the swell in her belly. "There is, and he'll know…understand. He and Nicholas together will be able to get the message to me."
Emily's blue eyes went wide. "How do you know that?"
"That Nicholas and Eth…that they can get a message to you."
"I hate it when that happens!"
"When what happens? Mom, you're not making sense!" Emily said.
"Sometimes I say something…something…prophetic, or of that nature," Casey explained, "But I don't realize it, have no clue what I've said."
The young woman frowned. "I remember that, now," she said softly. "Daddy always…his eyes were always so full of love…and sometimes…"
"Sometimes it was like he was laughing inside," Emily said.
"I have no doubt," Casey giggled. "He laughs at me a lot."
"He loves you."
"And I love him."
Casey pressed her lips to the top of the blonde head that rested on her shoulder. "We'll get it fixed, Emmie. I promise," she whispered. She reached up and adjusted the radio receiver in her ear.
"Heads up, we have a patrol heading this way," Sam's voice whispered.
The women hid themselves among the underbrush. The men activated the helms that would hide their faces.
"Let 'em through," Jack's voice instructed quietly.
The six Jaffa approached those that they assumed were part of another squadron. The tallest of the men, obviously the leader, stared at them, trying to determine who these particular Jaffa were. "Kel shak?" [Why are you here?]
Daniel looked at the man. "Ma'kree." [Report.]
"Tal shal mak!" [Identify yourself!]
"Daniel?" Jack whispered.
Teal'c walked to stand behind Daniel. "We must either identify ourselves as Jaffa, or we must destroy them."
"Not without giving them a chance first," Daniel said softly. He turned back to the Jaffa who waited impatiently. "Shel kek nem ron." [I too shall die free.]
"Oh, hell," Jack hissed. "Fire!"
Within seconds the Jaffa were dead, smoke rising from the staff wounds that destroyed armor as well as the bodies within.
"Let's hope that they aren't expected to check in soon," Methos said, looking down at the dead men.
"We should get rid of the bodies," Wade said quietly.
Jack nodded, and the men hurriedly dragged the dead Jaffa into a pile, and covered them with quickly gathered leaves and fallen tree branches.
"Jack?" Sam's voice whispered over the radio.
"Had to take them out," his voice responded quietly.
Casey closed her eyes. The sound of the fight hadn't lasted for more than thirty seconds. She reached out and caressed him, smiled when that tender, gentle caress was returned. She glanced up at the sky. The canopy of green above them was growing darker. The sun was beginning to set. "Does Potter know where to meet us?" she asked quietly.
"He'll tell us where to meet him," was Methos' quiet reply.
The group fell silent, waiting all that they could do for the moment.
A A A A A A
Potter was not a brave man. At least he'd never considered himself to be such. He'd fought in the Revolutionary War. Had died in one of the first battles against the British. It was that death from which he awoke. He remembered well opening his eyes, seeing the man sitting casually beside a fire, watching him. Could recall the shock that had set in at first as he listened to Marcus explain why the fatal wounds he'd received had disappeared, why he was alive once again. The Roman had become his teacher…and had taught him that there were methods of fighting a war that didn't include rushing into the heat of battle on some field of death.
For decades Timothy Potter had lived a quiet life. He had avoided The Game as much a possible. Moved frequently to prevent anyone from becoming suspicious. He'd been a fur trapper, a cowboy…the real kind, not the Hollywood version. He had followed the gold from California to the Yukon to Alaska…had died many times in the quest for the shiny yellow metal. Had managed to find a bit. Had helped to build the railroad tracks across the Great Plains. He'd worked on a construction gang in San Francisco after the Great Earthquake of 1906. And always he had yearned for the simple pleasures…a home where people wouldn't question who or what he was…a wife who loved him…children.
He had been terrified when Duncan MacLeod had first approached him. He knew the man's reputation. Was certain that his time had come. Never would have guessed in a million years that the Highlander had a message of such importance. He remembered sitting in that room in a secret military base…listened as one Doctor Daniel Jackson explained who…what…Immortals really were. It had been the softly spoken words of that man's wife, however, that had made him willing to join the battle against the Goa'uld.
When MacLeod established the Gamma colony, Potter was more than willing to lend his construction skills. He had a successful construction company in Hope. Was able to provide a comfortable life for his wife Mary, an Immortal nearly a thousand years older than himself. And his beautiful little daughter Rebecca. Named after his mother. Adoptive mother, at least. He had it all… home, wife, child. He finally had his heart's desires. No way in hell was he losing them! When he'd learned of the true threat that Penatil represented, he had contacted Methos. He never spoke of the work he'd done during the Second World War. Mary had been unaware he'd even been involved in that conflict. He'd been one of the most successful Ally spies the US Army had hired. It was those skills he drew upon now.
He listened at the closed door of his room. Could hear nothing. If the Goa'uld around him, and there were at least a dozen who worked for Penatil, found his request for a room at the very end of the hall odd…or amusing, none of them let on. Experience had taught him that such a room offered the perfect view of the entire length of the hall. Something that was essential when slipping out of his room and down to the laboratory to alter the notes still not entered into the computer. He'd managed to change a bit of Hemsut's diary. Hopefully enough to render her observations and calculations useless. He was no biologist, and he'd been forced to wait, biding his time, listening carefully to those around him, in order to understand what could be changed without creating suspicion.
He opened the door just a crack. The hallway was empty. He took a deep breath. Let his 'sixth sense' examine his surroundings. He would know in an instant if he were being observed. He wasn't. As had become his 'habit', he slipped from his room and down to the kitchen where meals for the scientists and their assistants were prepared. He put water on to boil, fixed a cup of tea. Sat drinking it casually for nearly ten minutes. He knew that the Jaffa who guarded the building, inside and out, were accustomed to his late night routines. They would ignore him at this point. He had established such a reliable routine that none of them would bother with him. A cup of tea. An hour or so sitting on the floor of the dining room meditating. Another hour doing yoga exercises. Then back to his room.
Potter bit back his smile; his face remained impassive when he heard the sound of the Jaffa as he walked past the room on his patrol. In fifteen minutes he would return, going the other way. By then he would be standing, holding an asana that always looked more difficult than it was. He was literally hiding in plain sight…his presence totally unnoticed.
Right on schedule the Jaffa returned. He didn't even look toward the dining room. Potter held the pose for a few more minutes, centering himself, drawing from the strength of his convictions, his need to protect his family. He stretched, then slipped to the doorway. Once again his senses told him that no one was about. He followed the familiar path to the laboratory, a shadow moving among shadows. He paused outside the door of one of the rooms he was forbidden to enter. He'd heard screams coming from this room…the screams of children…very young children. His blood had run cold each time the sounds penetrated the walls. He fought back the tears, silently promised peace to the little ones inside that torture chamber…very soon they would be released from the hell that a power-maddened Goa'uld and his minions had inflicted upon them.
Methos had given him a crystal just before Potter allowed himself to be 'captured'. On it was a virus that would render every computer in the room useless, and would infect any new computers brought in and connected. Just in case someone attempted to salvage anything that might remain. He slid the crystal into place. The diary, and the notes on the crystals and the Goa'uld writing pads were locked away each night. His ability to feign ignorance of the Goa'uld language had made his 'captors' careless. He carefully disarmed the alarms, opened the vault, and placed the electrical and explosive charges. He had been assured that nothing would remain of the contents of the vault once the timers detonated. Apparently Colonel Samantha Carter herself had developed the devices that would create useless pieces of the writing pads. The crystals would survive neither the electrical impulses, nor the explosions, even as small as they would be. He planted the C-4 he had managed to sneak in, carrying the explosives in a hidden compartment of his bag of belongings, around the large workroom. Set the timers. Slipped back to his room. Waited another hour. If he had been detected, they would come for him immediately.
Once again he opened his door slowly. Nothing. Eased the door closed silently. He went to the window. Could see the patrols as they moved through the courtyard. He had once infiltrated the headquarters of a Nazi SS command. He smiled grimly. He'd escaped that night without even breaking a sweat. He tucked his radio into his pocket. Once again became a shadow among shadows.
He had already picked out a spot that would be perfect for watching from, where he could make certain that his task had been carried out completely. He settled in. Checked his watch. Five more minutes.
The explosions took out the entire the lab. Which meant that several of the rooms, his included, were brought down in a burning pile of timber and furnishings. The screams of those trapped inside the rubble that had once been rooms filled the air, the shouts of those rushing to the scene of the disaster unable to drown them out. He saw Penatil running toward the building, his face a study in fury. Time to go. He slipped away, into the woods, not leaving enough of a trail to be followed.
A A A A A A
Jack was pacing the small clearing. He glanced at his watch again. It was almost four am. Still they were waiting to hear from the spy. Had he been unable to destroy the information? Had he been caught trying to do so?
The sound of an explosion from the direction of the village filled the air. Nervous glances were exchanged in the moonlight; then all eyes turned toward the village. The glow of fire against the night sky was impossible to miss. They could only hope that the spy had been able to escape.
Methos sat up. "Go ahead," he said softly, responding to the gentle vibration of the radio he carried.
Immediately the men surrounded the Old Man. What they heard confused them. "Meet me near the entrance to the land of faeries and magicians. The oldest of the doorways."
The Old Man grinned. "On our way."
"Faeries and magicians?" Daniel asked, his eyebrows moving up and down as he tried in to unravel the riddle.
"You'd have to understand a bit of the Druid beliefs," Methos replied.
The young archaeologist began to search his memory for references. He knew that the Druids did believe in faeries, and magic was part and parcel of Celtic life before the Roman invasion of Britain. The Druids always worshipped in the open, often in groves of what were considered to be sacred stands of trees. He frowned. The villages that Penatil was controlling were surrounded by forest. What one particular grove would be more…special…than the others? "I suppose you know where this grove of sacred trees is located?" Daniel said.
"More or less," was the casual reply.
"Sam, you, Case and the girls come on in," Jack said softly.
Daniel watched the edge of the clearing. Frowned when Casey and Emily didn't immediately appear. Sighed with relief when he finally saw them walking toward him.
The armor the men had been wearing was too noisy, too heavy, too much a hindrance now. They gratefully took it off, and hid it as carefully as time allowed. Teal'c was certain that another patrol would be coming through at any time. Twenty minutes after receiving Potter's communication, the team was on their way, following Methos along a narrow dirt path.
A A A A A A
Dawn was breaking over the horizon when the team slipped into the woods near the village where Penatil had taken up residence. The building that had housed the scientists and the laboratories where they had worked was nothing more than a pile of smoldering ash. Penatil was in a blind rage as three more of the village buildings burned, the Jaffa fighting the fires as best they could using water from the nearby river, the lines of 'bucket brigades' passing water as quickly as possible.
The Goa'uld paced in the village square. The women who had been housed in one of the barns huddled together, the blankets from their cots the only thing they had to wrap around their naked bodies. They were chained together, weeping as the barn where the men had been held collapsed. Those screams had stopped within minutes after the fire enveloped the old building. The young men who were being experimented upon stood motionless, their expressions blank as chaos reigned around them. The younger boys, mere slaves, cried and clung to one another, too terrified to try to escape from their brutal captors.
The team barely had time to hide when fifty Jaffa came marching up the road. Apparently Penatil had spread out his men and ships among the villages that dotted this particular area of the planet. Whether this group was responding to orders to appear at the village, or the leader was merely trying to gain brownie points with his 'god' was uncertain. The Tau'ri watched silently as they passed.
Casey cocked her head to one side. Grinned at Jack's 'incoming' comment. "Penatil is on the verge of losing it big time. He's…" she closed her eyes. "He's going to head directly for Jordan, he's convinced that it is Jordan who is responsible."
"Let him," Jack replied.
She shook her head. "He's angry…and he's in the mood for revenge. He knows that Gamma can't hold out against him for very long. He's going to attack Jordan, then throw his entire fleet at us."
"Oh, hell," Daniel hissed.
Green eyes focused on blue ones. "Daniel, he can't leave here. None of those ships can leave here."
His heart fell. He had no clue how many other villages lay scattered on this small moon. Villages filled with Innocent men, women and children. He closed his eyes. Billions would die, his Beloved taken hostage by that snake…his children left orphaned and fighting a losing war against Penatil…even without the help of The Others, the Goa'uld was still a grave danger. That horrible future was still possible. It might take him longer, but he would still manage to take over most, if not all of the inhabited planets in the galaxy. No, he had to do this. He opened his eyes when he felt a hand against his. Looked into the blue eyes of his son. Flinched as images began to fill his mind…Casey, hysterical in her grief…the light gone from those amazing green eyes. Her hair…cut short…glimpses of her at Penatil's side, dressed in little more than a gauze chemise…large hands moving over her body…which lay passively…He shook his head. Felt the anger stirring. "He won't get away. Not one of those ships will survive," he said firmly.
The team resumed their journey, hurrying as much as possible, understanding that time was working against them now. They had to find Potter, get back to the Prometheus, and Daniel had to destroy the moon before Penatil could escape.
Potter stepped out of the shadows of a grove of trees when he saw the approaching group. Smiled when Methos grinned at him. "The building has been destroyed."
"Yeah, and a couple more with it," the Old man replied.
The black haired, hazel-eyed Immortal looked at SG-1. "Unless Penatil had copies of the work in his quarters, nothing remains of the notes, or the information for those experiments."
"How likely is it that he would have copies?" Jack asked worriedly.
"I don't know. He spent a great deal of time in the laboratory, just watching, listening. He also…approved…the experiments that used the children of the village. To perfect the process of collecting the plasma, so I understood." His cheeks had paled as he passed on the information.
"Let's get out of here," the general said. He reached for his radio, sent the signal that would notify the waiting ship that their mission had been accomplished, and they were ready to return.
A A A A A A
Penatil paced furiously. Jordan would pay for this! He would pay dearly for this! Obviously he had managed to get a spy among his servants…he stopped…no, that wasn't possible. The explosion had happened in the laboratory, the Jaffa on guard duty had been adamant about that. Only the scientists had access to those rooms. The scientists…and one Terran trader who was able to read Tau'ri! Something plagued him…poked at his mind about the man. He cast about, searching his memories. It had bothered him for days, ever since he had seen…
The Goa'uld closed his eyes. The Terran…Potter was his name…jerked his hand back when he had moved too closely to an open flame. The skin should have blistered. The man had refused treatment, holding his hand tightly against his body, shielding it with the other hand. Later in the day there was no mark…none at all. Immortal! The man who had been translating for them had been an Immortal! Now the failure of three of the experiments made sense!
He smiled grimly. If the Immortals thought they had won, they were sadly mistaken. He still had copies of the work on data crystals in the room that served as his quarters. Tucked safely away. He would have to start again. But he would know the secrets of Immortality! And he would create an army of Immortals…a Kull army. They would be undefeatable. And with them he would conquer the universe! "Prepare my ha'tak! We will go to Gamma and rid ourselves of those who would dare to interfere!"
"What of them, My Lord?" the First Prime asked, pointing toward the young women, the brain damaged young men, and the young boys wearing slave collars.
"Kill the males. Put the females on the ship. I will find use for them later," was the reply.
One of the young boys managed to smile as the Jaffa lined them up, not understanding that they were about to be killed. At twelve, he'd never been afraid of anything. He'd seen how much the large, clear glass beads meant to the demon. Had seen where they were hidden. He didn't know what they were, only that the demon thought they were important. The lad suspected that they were connected to the demon's power. The assumption must be correct, for only yesterday he had carefully smashed each one, then filled the leather bag with rocks, to mimic the weight of the beads. Now the demon and his followers were suffering. He would be a hero to his village for destroying the strength of the demon! That was the last thought on his young mind as the Jaffa opened fire with their staff weapons.
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