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Another One Bites the Dust
"...Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I'm gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust..."
"Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen
Casey studied Daniel's face. "You are so full of it! There is no way you've got a straight," she said, looking again at the cards on the table. Jack, Teal'c, Tony, and Texas had already folded. Trenton was out of the game, out of twenty bucks too, which was the game limit. Played out in quarters. Major Parker had opted out of the game early on, and was chewing on a straw, watching the two Jacksons with a grin on his face.
Daniel grinned. "It'll cost you two bucks to find out for sure."
She pulled her lip between her teeth. She was holding two pairs, Jacks over nines. Her eyes went once more to the cards on the table. Jack, seven, nine, five, four. Nope, no way would he have opened with just an eight and ten in his hand. He was bluffing. She counted out eight quarters and pushed them to the middle of the table. "I call."
He laid his cards out. He had a straight, seven low to Jack high. "Thanks, babe."
"When I figure out how you've been cheating, I'm so going to make you pay!" she declared, watching him triumphantly scoop the pot towards himself.
Jack snorted. "Danny? Cheat? Say it ain't so!"
"Hey, I can't help it if Lady Luck is smiling on me tonight!" Daniel exclaimed, as he happily counted his winnings.
She gathered up the remainder of her quarters. Two dollars and seventy-five cents. "I hope Lady Luck keeps you warm tonight. I certainly won't!"
He grinned at her. 'You'll miss my warm shoulder. And my arms holding you tight. And my anaconda.'
She started giggling, stuffed her change into the front pocket of her fatigue pants. 'Maybe. You'd miss my tantalizing titties.'
'Without a doubt. Can't sleep without them against my chest or my arm, or in my hand.'
'You have a fixation on boobs, don't you?'
Daniel snorted, then laughed. 'Only yours, Angel. I'm only fixated on your perfect, beautiful, delectable, delicious, tantalizing breasts.'
She giggled again. 'They'd better be the only boobs in your life!' Daniel looked at her and winked, his grin as wide as hers.
"You know, it's rude to talk when other people can't hear what you're saying," Jack complained, trying hard not to grin.
"Oh, Jack, you wouldn't be interested in our silly little conversation," Casey said. Her cheeks were just slightly flushed, and her eyes were sparkling with mirth. She stood up and stretched her slender frame. They had been playing poker for hours now.
"Right. Bet I would," he grumbled quietly. He worked his shoulders, rolled his head around to stretch his neck, looked at his watch. Damn! How much longer will Nergal just sit there? Six hours ago his ship had approached Laurel's planet. The Persephone had been the only ship in orbit at the time. Thirty minutes after the first message went out, the Phoenix and the Hak'tyl had arrived, and were now hanging in space beside them. So far, the Goa'uld hadn't moved. He was just…sitting there. Waiting. Waiting for what was anybody's guess.
"Uh oh," Casey said softly. Every man in the room was instantly alert. She closed her eyes. "Better let Methos know that Ashnan is gunning for him. She's switched sides."
Jack muttered curses under his breath. "He said he thought she was figuring out what we were doing."
"We slipped up when Sam was first introduced as Hathor…Methos didn't come up with the 'story' about Sam being taken host until right after that. He tried to convince her that he was merely trying to protect Hathor, which is why he told her that Sam had been killed. Nergal has suspected, too. It's possible-" she broke off, looked at the floor, her lip between her teeth.
"What's possible, Case?" Daniel asked softly.
"It's possible he pulled information out my head. I don't know if it's necessary to be conscious for that…procedure," she said, her voice barely audible.
"Don't you dare blame yourself!" Daniel said, his eyes flashing with concern, and a bit of anger. Leave it to Casey to come up with a way to make a bad turn of luck her fault!
"Damned straight, Casey!" Jack said.
"If it's true…" She shook her head.
"If it's true, so what?" Jack asked. "Casey, you were being tortured! If, and that's a big if, he pulled anything out of your head, then we'll deal with it. I think it has more to do with the fact that Methos and 'Hathor' are an 'item' again. Jealousy, plain and simple."
Daniel nodded. "Casey, you said that Ashnan wanted Methos for herself. Knowing that he's 'involved' with 'Hathor' again pissed her off."
"That's right, Case," Tony said. "That bitch is vindictive. If she was feeling the least bit slighted, she would switch sides just to get even with him."
Daniel stood up, walked over to where she was standing. He pulled her into his embrace. "Even if she does know, by switching sides, the other System Lords aren't going to believe her."
She shivered, looked up into those amazing blue eyes. So full of love. And concern. "Maybe. We'll have one chance to take at least one of them out. If we don't…we might not get another chance."
He nodded. "We'll get them, at least one of them. Nergal just lost two planets that supplied him with the ore he needs to build more ships. He can't fight for them, because he doesn't have enough Jaffa, or ships, to do so. We're still hitting him, babe. Every strike is making him weaker."
She tightened her arms around his waist, rested her cheek against his shoulder, comforted when his arms tightened around her. "I know. But the two of them together could hold us off."
"We'll just have to see to it that they don't stay together," Jack said quietly.
A A A A A A
Methos wasn't surprised to learn that Ashnan had switched loyalties. He had suspected that she would do so, ever since her jealous threat against him. It was a good thing that he had been able to convince Laurel, Burien, and Penatil that she warranted being watched. Anything she said now would be taken as lies, coming from one that the other System Lords would view as a traitor to their 'cause'.
Sam was pacing on the Hak'tyl. They had all been aware that their charade could end at any time. They were hoping to take advantage of the System Lords for just awhile longer. Right now, not one of the Goa'uld would be able to stand against an attack from the three Tau'ri ships. But it was more important to take Nergal out first, he was the greatest threat. Waiting was always the hardest part of any battle. She remembered the nerve-wracking periods before each mission she had flown during the Iraq War. A smile crossed her face when she recalled how several of the other pilots teased her, telling her that she wore a rut in the ready-room floor waiting for the order to man her fighter. That smile widened when she thought about the Gliders that were sitting in the bays of the Hak'tyl. With them, and the F-302's from the Persephone, they could get in close and cause some real damage to Nergal's ship. Ashnan's too, now that the bitch had switched sides.
Laurel was already communicating the defection to the other System Lords. She was the most vulnerable, and the most willing to accept help from Hathor and Methos, and even the Tau'ri. She had the most to lose if these two 'new' Goa'uld were proven to be something other than what, or whom, they claimed to be. She had already dispatched spies who would be 'caught', with the information that maintained status of her two…friends. If they were lying, there would be time enough to make them pay…when she wasn't literally fighting for her very survival.
A A A A A A
Nergal sat and stared at the Persephone. Ashnan reported that Casey Jackson was alive and well, and back at the side of her husband. He should have beheaded the little bitch. Had every intention of doing so. He couldn't remember why he had instead thrust the sword through her body. He barely heard when one of the Jaffa came to him, informing him that Ashnan would have her ship in range within minutes. Why hadn't he killed her? Oh, yes. He had decided that he would continue her training, in spite of her insolence. The nanovirus. Such a wonderful 'training tool'. She should be dead. He knew that his keir'os had injected her. The man had reported to him immediately after it had been done.
He scowled. He had been on his way to her side when his palace was attacked. She would have begged him for the antidote, told him anything, promised him anything. How had she escaped him? Who had taken her from his special rooms? When he found out who the perpetrator was, he…or she…would die; very slowly…very painfully.
Nothing of his palace, or his compound, remained. Those cursed Tau'ri had destroyed it all. His harem…all those beautiful women - and girls…with it. It had been days since he had been… serviced. The girls he had taken from those lowly, little, walled villages were…unsatisfactory. They merely lay beneath him, they didn’t even struggle now. No, not pleasing at all. He could find no…gratification…in their limp bodies, their dull eyes. Stupid little bitches! Let them service his Jaffa. He had left them at the camp he had established on one of the deserted planets nearby. But he hadn't been back there in several days now. He had been busy trying to rebuild the most important part of that which he had lost…his fleet. Eventually he would replace it all. His fleet. His palace. His harem. He looked around the room. There were several new Jaffa serving him…much younger than the others. He stood up, walked to where one of the young men stood at attention, waiting for orders from his god. Nergal ran his hand over the young man's cheek. Very smooth. Very young indeed.
"Jaffa, kree!" Nergal led the young man to his private rooms. Carefully sound-proofed walls prevented any of the other Jaffa from hearing the screams as the Goa'uld satisfied his insatiable lust. As he took the young man, his mind was seeing a slender, tantalizing body, long blonde hair and green eyes. Oh yes, she would indeed be a delight to train!
A A A A A A
Ashnan sat moodily on her throne. Nergal had accepted her apology…her vow to serve him… and the tribute she had sent with it. He was demanding more, his list of 'necessities' staggering…and sickening. But she had no choice now. Angry at being spurned by Methos, in a fit of fury because Hathor had not turned out to be Colonel Samantha Carter-O'Neill, she had contacted the Goa'uld she had called enemy for centuries. She had been further angered…and shocked…when Nergal had informed her that her suspicions were incorrect, that he had learned the truth while he had held Casey Jackson prisoner.
He was insane, she thought, brooding. His insanity was going to help her become the most powerful...and feared...System Lord in the sector. She would let the Tau'ri and the 'Alliance' destroy him, and then she would take over from there. She already knew about his holdings, the planets from which she would find ore for shipbuilding, the planets that provided food, the planets that provided slaves. She would rule it all. She curled her lip in anger. Laurel would be the first to go, the weakling! Begging for the help of others…how disgusting! Methos and Hathor she would torture…until she grew bored with them. Then she would kill them.
A A A A A A
Unless Nergal came close enough to ring troops down to the planet beneath them, SG-1 and SG-6 would not be needed. Jack had told both teams to get some sleep.
Casey was snuggled against him. Daniel kissed the top of her head, tightened his arm around her slender shoulders. She was once again trying to take the blame for something that wasn't her fault. Even if Nergal and Ashnan did know who Methos and Sam really were, even if that information had been pulled from her head using that Goa'uld device, it wasn't her fault. He had told her so, several times during the course of a discussion of the matter, over dinner in the mess hall. He didn't know if she would ever believe it.
She moved slightly, threw her arm across his waist, one slender leg moved to rest on top of his. He smiled. She had insisted on making love in the shower before they crawled into bed, telling him that in the shower they couldn't be interrupted.
He was just starting to doze off when the ship shuddered around them. It had started. "Babe, wake up. Nergal is attacking."
They pulled on their BDUs and ran toward the bridge. Casey had experience with weapons systems, Daniel had learned helm and navigation. It was true that the Persephone, and the Prometheus, differed greatly from the Goa'uld ships that they had taken. But the technology was close enough that they could be of assistance if needed.
Casey held tightly to Daniel's hand and arm as they rode the elevator to the upper level where the bridge was located. She was getting that damned nagging feeling again. The one that filled her with dread.
Daniel didn't miss the look of fear that flashed through her eyes, and reflected on the delicate features of her face. Damn it to hell anyway! I wanna retire, he thought again. I wanna retire and work at the Center and know that my wife is safe and not haunted by all these damned fears! He shook himself mentally. He knew exactly what she would say if she knew what he was thinking. She would tell him that he was The Chosen. Retirement wasn't in the cards for him. At least not yet. He watched her eyes. "Anything we need to talk about?"
She looked up at him. "Just…just a nagging feeling that something bad is going to happen. I don't know what."
He nodded. They had had a long talk about her hiding things from him. No matter what it was, no matter how bad it was, he wanted…needed…to know about it. Especially when it concerned her safety and welfare. So far she seemed to be holding up to her end of the agreement. He had to give her credit. She'd been pretty damned sneaky in what she had agreed to. She would answer any of his questions truthfully. Which meant she could still hold out on him if he didn't ask directly. He didn't like it, she knew he didn't like it, but for now he wouldn’t push the matter.
When she cocked her head sideways, he knew that she was 'picking up' something. Her hand tightened around his arm, her fingers squeezed his.
She turned haunted green eyes up at him. "Don't let go of me, please don't let go of me!"
He pulled her into his embrace. "I'm right here, Angel. I won't let go, I promise." Whatever it was, it was bad. How much more could she take? How much more would she be forced to suffer?
When the elevator stopped, and the doors opened, he tucked her arm through his and led her to the bridge. Jack watched them walk into the room, frowned when he realized that Daniel was holding her tightly, and was giving no indication that he planned to let go of her any time soon.
The dark blonde head shook slightly. "Just bad feelings," he said softly. "And…and I can't let go of her."
The older man nodded. If Daniel needed to hold onto his wife, for whatever reason, well, that was fine by him. After all they had been through, put into the same position, he wouldn't be letting go of Sam, either!
A A A A A A
At last, the battle was beginning to rage. The Phoenix, Hak'tyl, and Persephone returned fire on Nergal and Ashnan's ships. Gliders and F-302's had been launched in an attempt to drop naquadah bombs on the ships from close range. The two Goa'uld pulled away, and jumped into hyperspace, nearly pulling one of the Gliders in with them.
"Damn it!" Jack hissed. "Any clue to where they went?"
"No, sir," Colonel Bradshaw replied.
"This is getting old!" Jack declared.
Casey had loosened her death grip on Daniel's arm. Whatever the threat had been, it was passed now, or at least not as great a danger any longer. He heaved a silent sigh of relief.
The com-tech turned and grinned at them. "President MacLeod just sent a message through. He says that we should check out P5X 377. That's at eight by three by seven. Seems that some guy named…Unlinkil…just came through the 'gate, and said that's one of the places where Nergal has been hiding."
Jack grinned. Well how about that? Now they would find out if this Unlinkil was the ally he hoped he would be, or if he was setting them up. He was a pretty fair judge of character. Intuition told him that they could trust this Immortal. "Okay, tell Methos and Sam."
"What are we going to tell Laurel when she demands to know why we're leaving?" Daniel asked quietly.
"The truth. We found out where Nergal is and we're going in after him," the older man replied.
Daniel looked down at Casey's face. She smiled up at him. No bad feelings. Thank the gods!
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