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Another One Bites the Dust
After discussing the possibility that she might have another 'episode', Casey agreed that Jack and Teal'c, and the men of SG-6, should be alerted to what had happened. If it happened again, they needed to know how to help her.
"If it happens and you're not around, what should we do?" Tony asked Daniel, his brow knit into a frown of concern.
"If you can get her to recognize you, 'take' her to safety. Make her close her eyes until you get her into a different location," Daniel replied. It had worked well once, and if it worked it was worth doing again if the need arose.
The men nodded. "What if she doesn't recognize us?" Major Parker asked.
Daniel frowned. "Tell her that you can get her away from Nergal. That you can get her to safety."
"What about telling her we can get her to you?" Jack asked.
He nodded. "That would probably work as well. Chances are she'll recognize you."
"I really want that son-of-a-bitch dead," Tony hissed softly.
"We all do, boy," Major Parker said. He squeezed the young man's shoulder. "And it will happen."
"Case, I'm really sorry you went through all of that," Trenton said quietly.
She smiled, reached out and took the young man's hand. "Me, too. But I had to go through it. To help Tiesha. And to distract that bastard long enough for you guys to take out his fleet and his compound. Without those things, he's not as strong as he was."
"And getting weaker all the time," Jack said, satisfaction in his voice.
"Jack, what about those villagers who were waiting for Nergal to return?" Casey asked. "Did he ever show up?"
"A group of Jaffa came through the 'gate," Jack replied. "As soon as they saw the Marines, three of them turned on the others. Those three are now with Master Bra'tac. We left one SGI team there, reports so far are that no one else has showed up. And that the team is delighted to have a chance to work on their tans." Chuckles filled the air.
She nodded with satisfaction, a smile on her face. "I don't think he'll go back there. He doesn't have enough Jaffa to 'waste' on such a small group. He probably already knows there aren't enough…virgins…there anyway. Nothing else for him to take, either."
Jack nodded. "I'll pass that along to Duncan. Okay, there's a 'gate on the planet down there, we're going to ring down and use it to go to another planet. According to Unlinkil, Nergal has hidden there in the past. Last report says that of thirty planets that he controlled, he's down to ten. We're getting stretched thin team wise, but George Hammond is sending some of his teams to help."
"P3X 441 has a pre-Industrialized civilization," Daniel said, reading from his notes. "They seemed to be linked…or somehow related…to Terrans; their culture, religions, and farming methods are identical. There may be naquadah mines there, we're not certain about that yet. If there are, it's a sure bet that this is one planet that Nergal will be willing to fight for. He's now lost three other sources, he won't let this one go without a fight."
"Or he'll try to fight to get one of the others back," Jack said.
"Possibly," Daniel replied. "Both teams are going in on this one. We figure that this group may not be too happy to see strangers coming through the 'gate."
Major Parker nodded. "We stick together, boys. And, uh…nobody lets Casey out of their sight. I don't give a damn what their reasons might be, or whether or not we piss anybody off," he said, looking at Daniel.
The young archaeologist ducked his head, hid his smile. That was a very not-so-subtle way of telling him that local customs would take a back seat to his Wife's safety. SG-6 would die to a man before allowing Casey to be caught by Nergal again. "We'll try to observe all of their customs. It would be better not to offend these people if we can help it," he said quietly.
"But if they try to separate any of us, we pull out," Jack said bluntly, stopping any possible debate on the matter. "Okay, let's do this. The sooner we free these folks from Nergal, the pissier he'll be. Which will make me very happy."
The teams geared up. One Captain Deluise was able to put them down ten feet from the 'gate. Daniel punched in the coordinates for P3X 441. As soon as it was open, they walked through. And into the middle of a park, in what appeared to be fairly large town.
A A A A A A
Gasps went up from the few people near the gate as the teams made their way slowly down the steps. Men who were dressed in some sort of uniform hurriedly cleared the streets, barking orders to men and women who scampered to obey. When the streets were clear, the military group approached the 'gate…where the SG teams waited, watching the commotion with not a little unease…then stood shoulder to shoulder. They were armed with what appeared to be shotguns, all of which were aimed at those they considered to be intruders.
Daniel began to walk slowly towards the line of men.
"Stop! What business do you have in Hanya?" one of the men asked gruffly.
Daniel held his hands up and away from his body. The language was identical to the one spoken on Terra. "We come in peace. We're explorers. We also seek to destroy Goa'uld who would enslave humans."
The men shifted nervously from one foot to the other. They had heard of the 'demons' who killed the gods. Didn't know whether to be afraid of them, or pray to them for deliverance.
"You look human. But then demons can take many shapes, many forms, can they not? Take them!" Several men surged forward, the looks on their faces enough to tell the people standing on the steps exactly what they intended.
Jack fired his P90 into the air. The men froze, fear etched on their faces. "Tell them to stand back, Daniel."
"Jack, we need to show them that we mean them no harm," Daniel argued.
"Daniel, we do not have the time to be held captive here while they figure out that we're the good guys. For all we know, one of them is already contacting Nergal."
Casey jerked at the comment, then reached out. She searched around her, felt only fear. She concentrated on the one who had been doing the speaking, soothed him, tried to calm his mind. "They're terrified, Jack. Nergal has been here, not too long ago, either. I'd say within the past few days. He's using Geb's 'demon' idea to make them afraid of anyone who comes through the 'gate."
Daniel faced the men again. The weapons were still pointed at them, but so far they hadn't been fired upon. That was a good sign. "We wish to stop Nergal. We can help you, bring in friends who can help protect you. Do you want him to come back, take more of your daughters, sisters? Do you want him to strip you of all that you have? We offer food, medicines, technology…friendship."
Still suspicious, the leader gave whispered instructions, and sent one of the men running up the street. "You will drop your weapons, and come with us."
"That's not gonna happen," Jack said, shaking his head firmly, looking directly at the man who seemed to be in charge.
Casey reached out again. "Daniel, tell the man that his…daughter…that Nergal will destroy her…that he will…has…hurt her in horrible ways. Tell him that his youngest daughter is in peril of being chosen when Nergal returns."
With a nod, Daniel translated what she had said. The man's cheeks paled, and he looked over at the blonde woman who stood so calmly on the steps.
"How does she know these things? If she is not a demon, how can she know?" he demanded.
"She has a gift, she can…see things…feel things. But she is not...we are not demons. If she were a demon, why would Unlinkil save her from Nergal's torture chamber?" Daniel asked quietly, 'invoking' the name of one of the 'ancient' Terran gods. Who just happened to be an Immortal from the First Race of Immortals.
For this the man had no answer. Three women slowly approached. In an instant Daniel recognized that this was a matriarchal society, a major difference from Terra's patriarchal society.
"I am Desta. Leader of the Terrarians. Why have you come here? What evil do you seek to inflict upon us?"
Daniel took note of the name that Desta had referred to the people by. Definitely a link to the Terrans. "I am Daniel Jackson." He introduced each of the team members. "We do not seek to inflict evil upon you. Only to free you from the grasp of the false god Nergal."
Desta paled. "To speak in such a way is to bring his wrath down upon all of us! Take them!"
Casey shook her head. Her eyes flashed with anger as she spoke. "Listen cupcake, we came here to try and help you. If you don't want our help, fine. Let Nergal come back. Let him take more young women to rape and torture. Let him strip this city of everything of value. Starve to death. That's your choice. We offer you hope, and help. If you don't want it, so be it!" She strode angrily to the DHD, roughly pushing one of the armed men out of her way, that man so surprised at her actions that he could only stand and gape at her, and she began to dial Gamma.
Daniel bit his lip to keep from smiling. The other men of the SGC were ducking their heads as well, and all of them were moving away from the 'gate in preparation of it opening.
"Wait!" Desta said. Her face was still pale, and she was trembling visibly. "I will hear your words," she said to Casey.
Casey looked at the men around her. "I don't particularly feel like talking to anyone who treats me like…a threat," she said curtly.
The woman looked at the leader of the men. "Stand down, captain," she said softly.
"That's an order, Virgil," she said, cutting off his protest. She turned back to Casey. "Please, come with me. You will not be harmed, I give you my word," she said, when she saw the young woman hesitate.
"If you try to harm me, or any of these men, we will defend ourselves," Casey warned.
"I understand. You will not be harmed. They may wait here, if you so desire."
Casey looked at Daniel.
'No way, babe. We're going with you.'
Desta watched closely, understanding that somehow the woman was communicating with the man with the dark blonde hair and glasses.
"The men will come with me. Or we will stand here and talk," she said.
The woman bowed her head slightly in consent. She swept her arm toward the street behind her. "This way."
Several of the armed men fell into step behind them, somewhat disconcerted when Texas and Tony walked sideways to keep an eye on them. That the men who had come through the Chappa'ai were warriors was not in doubt.
Desta led them into a long, brown clapboard building. The ceilings were quite low, not more than seven feet. The top of Teal'c's head was mere inches from it. The room they were led into resembled a courtroom. At one end, on a low platform, was a table, behind which were three wide chairs with extremely high backs. The back of each chair was carved, different scenes depicted on each one. Sitting just in front of the table, on the floor, were four low chairs. There were sixteen low backed wooden chairs to one side of the dais, in two rows of eight, while over two dozen wide, backless benches sat opposite of the platform and its chairs. There was a space of about fifteen feet between the chairs in front of the raised platform and the benches. The woman took her place at the table, sitting in the center chair, the two women who had accompanied her sitting on either side. The man she had addressed as captain, along with three other men, sat down in front of the table.
Casey looked over at Daniel. He gave her a wink, and nodded. She smiled, then turned to face the women. Before she could speak, the door to the room opened and people began to gather. The sixteen chairs were filled with women, all of them well over forty years of age. The rest of the townsfolk, and the uniformed men, settled themselves on the benches. She looked around, took a deep breath, blew it out slowly. "We are from a planet known as Gamma. My Husband spoke the truth, we are explorers, and we come in peace. We do battle against the Goa'uld, those who claim to be gods. They are not. The Goa'uld are nothing more than parasites, ugly looking snake-like creatures. What you see is a body that they have taken over…stolen. The person…the soul…of that body becomes a prisoner in his or her own mind. Nergal is a Goa'uld."
The people behind her, and the women to the side of her began to whisper among themselves, their hushed voices filled with disbelief.
"We have killed many of these creatures. We will kill more. We know that Nergal has been here. We know that he will return."
"How do you know these things?" one of the sixteen women called out.
"Because we know him. Because we've been following him, trying hard to catch him," Casey replied easily.
"You are demons sent to tempt us!" one of the other women declared. "Our god Nergal has warned us of you!"
"So you like losing your young women to him? You enjoy giving him everything he demands of you; even when it threatens your children with starvation, rape, torture?" Casey asked the woman, her eyes flashing with anger once again. "Let me tell you something, cupcake, I'd much rather be at home taking care of my own babies than out here trying to help people too damned stubborn to see a chance for freedom when it's offered to them!" She turned to her teammates. "Forget it. They don't want our help. If Nergal chooses to build his new palace here, we'll just level the whole damned planet and be done with it!"
Daniel translated quietly for Jack, Teal'c, and the men of 6. All of them ducked their heads to hide their grins.
The townspeople were agitated, many calling out that the strangers were demons, who must be destroyed. Several of the women were demanding that the 'demons' be put to immediate death.
Desta, who had paled further at Casey's outburst, stood to her feet. "Silence! I have told this woman I would hear her words! I will do so!" She settled back into her chair, looked at Casey. "You say you offer us freedom. At what price?"
"We ask nothing of you. We offer you food, medicines, clothing…anything that you might need. The only thing that we would accept in return is to learn about your people, your belief's, your customs. Perhaps an agreement to mine in your hills," Casey replied.
"What must we do to gain this…freedom?"
"Take it," Casey said with a smile. "Refuse to give in to anyone who would be your masters."
"Is this not what you seek…to be our masters?"
She shook her blonde head. "We seek to be your friends, your allies. You would be our…equals."
The room filled with the loud buzz of conversation as the people turned to one another to discuss what they had just heard.
Daniel was looking at her, his blue eyes full of pride. She was a damned fine negotiator. He had no doubt that these people would throw off the shackles of slavery to Nergal.
"How many of your daughters, your sisters, has Nergal taken over the years? How much of your food, your resources go to him? When will you have the courage to stand up to him and say no more? If you are willing to do that, we are willing to help you. We are willing to provide as much protection as you might need, until he is destroyed," Casey said quietly. Firmly.
'Careful, Angel. Our resources are stretched thin right now.' Daniel admonished.
'Alpha and Beta have teams, and Marines. They'll help out. Besides, once Nergal is gone, we won't have to worry about keeping anybody here,' Casey pointed out.
Desta nodded slowly. "We must ask you to wait outside while we decide."
Casey nodded. "We'll wait at the Chappa'ai. You can send someone to tell us what your decision is."
The woman nodded. "As you wish."
Casey and Daniel turned to leave the room. The others followed.
"Well, now we wait," she sighed.
Daniel draped his arm over her shoulders. "You did a great job, babe," he said softly.
"We won't know that until we hear what their decision is."
A A A A A A
They sat down on the steps to wait. It wasn't more than thirty minutes later that Desta herself, followed by the captain and several of the uniformed men approached. "Freedom is an elusive thing. It cannot be taken and given so easily. But to be free of Nergal, and his…demands… would be a very welcome thing. We accept your offer of help. What must we do?" she asked.
Casey smiled. "In a few hours, some of our friends will arrive. They will help you to prepare in case Nergal decides to come through the Chappa'ai."
"And if he chooses to arrive in the rings of light?"
"Then they'll still be here to kill him. If we manage to kill him before he arrives, we will let our friends know, and they will leave you in peace, and freedom. Although we might visit again to discuss those mining rights."
"What if he arrives before your…friends?"
Casey looked at Daniel, who in turn looked at Jack and translated.
"We'll stay here until one of the teams gets here," Jack said.
"We will stay, so that you aren't unprotected."
Desta smiled for the first time. "Then you would battle him yourself?"
"That's what we've been doing. We're just trying to catch him," Casey said.
"You are welcome here," the woman said, her smile widening.
Casey flashed that million-watt smile. "Thanks. When Nergal arrives in the 'rings of light', where does he usually appear?"
Desta pointed to a spot near the gate. "If he does not come through the Chappa'ai, he arrives there."
Jack and Teal'c examined the area. "Ring transporter," Jack announced. "Okay, Case, explain to these folks that we're going to set up a perimeter. They're more than welcome to join us."
She explained what the men were doing, and why. Desta agreed that her own 'guardsmen' should help to keep watch.
It didn't take long to have a defensible perimeter established. The 'guardsmen' took up their positions. Trenton went back through the 'gate long enough to contact the Persephone and let Colonel Bradshaw know what was happening. And received word that Nergal was headed directly for them. Casey alerted Desta as soon as Trenton returned with the news. She shivered. The thought of seeing the Goa'uld again was enough to make her ill.
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