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Another One Bites the Dust

Chapter 2

Neither Nergal nor Ashnan were at the planet Unlinkil had indicated. That didn't mean that they wouldn't arrive there eventually. The ships cloaked, and waited. SG-1 ringed down to the planet. It was time to do a little bit of negotiating.

They ringed down just outside the city walls. From what they could see, the town consisted of several houses, with large gardens. Daniel led them to the gate. Three men stood there, wearing leather armor. They had seen the strangers arrive, in the same manner as the one who had taken so much from them.

"Interesting. The designs on those chest pieces look Scandinavian," he said softly.

"If this was one of Thor's planet's, how did Nergal take it?" Jack asked quietly.

"Good question," the young archaeologist replied. The team was close enough to the men now that they had pulled swords from the scabbards that hung across their backs.

"Halt, strangers! What reason have you to come to this keep?" The largestand apparently the oldestof the three men demanded, standing firmly in front of the gate. He eyed the teams warily, noted the odd looking…weapons. He was sure that they were weapons, his warrior's instinct told him that.

The dialect was very similar to Old Norse. Daniel recognized it easily. "We're explorers, we come in peace," he said, holding his hands out and away from his P90. "We would like to speak to your leaders. We would like to become friends…allies."

"Why would you seek to ally yourselves with us?"

"Because a Goa'uld named Nergal must be defeated," Daniel said simply, honestly.

The man started at the name. The dark haired man with glowing eyes and the voice of a demon had appeared inside the keep only a few days ago. His demands were savage, his temper quick, the punishment brutal. Already fifteen young women, very young women, had been taken. His own daughter was among them. Seven men had died trying to protect them. "You have the power to defeat this devil?"

Daniel smiled. "Yes, we do."

The man looked at him, trying to determine whether this stranger was telling him the truth.

He turned to Jack. "Have the ships move close enough that they can be seen. These people believe in Thor's Chariot. Let's show them ours."

Jack nodded and contacted the Persephone.

The men at the gate, as well as all those inside the keep cried out with fear when the two Goa'uld ships, and the dark Persephone hovered nearby.

"Those are the chariots of the devil!" The man cried.

"No, not any longer," Daniel said calmly. "We took them from the…uh...devils…and now use those 'chariots' to fight against them."

By now four older men, their long hair full of gray and silver, had joined the three who guarded the gate.

"I am Olaf," said the man who had been doing all of the talking. "These men are the elders. Lars, the eldest; Verner, his brother; Harald, and Rurik."

"I am Daniel, this is Jack, Teal'c, and Casey." The men nodded. He couldn't help but grin when they stared with unmasked interest at Casey.

"This one has the mark of the devil," the man named Rurik said, pointing at Teal'c.

"Teal'c was once a slave to one of the…devils," Daniel replied. "He helped us to escape, and chose to fight at our side. We killed the devil who enslaved him, as well as many others."

Rurik's eyes narrowed. "How do we know that you speak the truth?"

"I guess you'll just have to trust us," Daniel said. "We seek to destroy Nergal."

Lars had been listening, watching. "What would you demand of us, if Nergal is destroyed?"

"Demand of you?"

"Nergal demands food, wine…our daughters. What would you take from us?"

Daniel shook his head. "We ask for nothing. We can offer knowledge of improved farming techniques. We can offer food, medicines. We would be interested in learning about your people. We would like to become…friends."

The man nodded, and motioned for them to follow. As they passed in front of the other men who stood beside the gate, Rurik reached out and grabbed Casey, locked his arm around her throat, the other hand on her jaw, prepared to snap her neck.

"Now, devils, you will do as we say!" he shouted.

Casey responded instinctively, and was kneeling on the man's chest before he realized what had happened.

The village men looked at the team with wide, frightened eyes. "Spare us!" Lars pleaded. "We did not know that he would do this! Please, spare the lives of our families at least! We gladly offer him to you, for his insolence!"

Daniel laid a hand on the man's shoulder. "Nothing is going to happen to you or your families. Rurik was afraid, and was trying to gain an advantage. Don't worry about it." His voice was calm. His smile was genuine.

Lars nodded slowly. "Come, we would hear what you have to say about defeating this devil named Nergal."

Daniel held out his hand, and with a smile, Casey took it and rose to her feet. Rurik, his eyes wide and full of fear, remained on the ground until the strangers were inside the city walls.

They took in their surroundings, noted that all of the men were armed with swords. Other than a blacksmith's stall, there wasn't a source for any other weapons. These people were simple farmers. They had a few animals, some that looked like sheep. Probably kept for the wool they supplied. Casey noticed the distinct lack of young women. There were several little girls. Half a dozen women in their early twenties. But not one between fourteen and nineteen.

"That rat bastard!" she hissed under her breath.

Her teammates turned and looked at her.

"He's rebuilding his harem. He took almost all of their food supplies. They aren't going to make it through the winter without help," she replied.

Daniel nodded, his jaw working at the thought of Nergal and what he was no doubt doing to those young women…girls. He turned to Lars. "We'll see to it that you have enough food for the winter. I promise, we'll try to return those he has taken from you."

The man's eyes grew wide. "How did you know that our food supplies are low, that we face starvation?"

He looked at his wife, and smiled. "My wife is a…seer. She can sense…and see things."

Lars nodded his understanding. Then went to stand directly in front of Casey. He knelt down in front of her, timidly took her hand. "Please, can you tell me if my daughter is…Is my Nissa being harmed? Is she…alive?"

Casey looked at Daniel for the translation.

"He wants to know if his daughter Nissa is alive, or being harmed," he said softly.

Her eyes filled with tears. She knew that by now Nissa had probably been raped. Brutally. "How long has she been gone?"

Daniel asked the question, received an answer. "Nearly two weeks."

She closed her eyes. Reached out. Searched for a frightened young woman named Nissa. She had never attempted to do anything like this before, wasn't certain that she could. She could feel him...the evil that surrounded him...she continued to reach...there…oh, dear goddess, she was so young! Her face was bruised, her mind…she tried to soothe the terrified girl. She looked at Daniel and slowly shook her head. "He…he raped her…she's…she was terrified, and when he took her so roughly …I don't know that she'll ever be 'right' again."

Daniel winced. How was he supposed to tell this man that his daughter had been so badly hurt? Lars looked at him expectantly. "Nissa…she's been hurt. Terribly hurt. She's terrified, and-" He broke off at the look on the man's face. Lars understood exactly what had happened to his daughter.

The man stood to his feet, his cheeks pale. One of the women pushed through the crowd to stand at his side, took his hands in hers. He looked down at her, softly repeated what Daniel had said. She looked from Lars' face, to Daniel's, to Casey's and back again. Tears began to roll down her taut cheeks, her lips trembled, and a soft moan escaped from her throat. "We will join you in your battle against this devil," he said, his voice strained.

Daniel translated, and Jack nodded. "I want to tell them that we're leaving a ship here to protect them. When Nergal returns, we'll destroy him," the young archaeologist said, his voice calm, firm.

"Daniel, we can't tell them that! We can't make promises that we can't keep!"

"Jack, I am not leaving these people unprotected! Besides, he's already been here twice. He'll be back!"

"Not if he knows that he's already take everything of value. He'll be looking for other planets, other villages."

"Daniel, are there any other villages nearby?" Casey asked softly.

Both men turned to look at her. "Lars, are there other villages…towns, where Nergal could go and…take…from?" Daniel asked.

"There are four others. I do not know if the devil has made demands of them as well," the man replied.

Upon hearing the translation, Casey reached out. She shook her head. "He's only hit two of them, this one and one other. Daniel's right, he'll be back. He doesn't have many Jaffa left, and these villagers are no match for them."

Jack studied them for a moment, finally nodded. "Tell them, Daniel."

"Lars, one of those ships will be staying, when Nergal returns, we will destroy him," Daniel told the man.

The villagers looked on with guarded expressions. They wanted to believe that these strangers could stop the one that they called the devil. But Nergal was powerfulmore powerful than anything they had ever witnessed before.

"We'll get him," Daniel said softly.

Lars again nodded slowly.

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