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Another One Bites the Dust
SG-1 was on the bridge, waiting for Colonel Bradshaw to give the order. Coordinates for the palace were fed into the weapons computer.
"How close can we get and stay undetected?" Jack asked.
"The second that we entered the planet's atmosphere we'd be 'visible', if only because of the displacement in the atmosphere, and the build up of heat, which would give an outline of the hull," Sam said.
"So we have to stay up here," he said.
"Unless we want to take on those three ships," his wife replied.
"General, we'll be able to take that temple out from here. Those ships will see the weapons fire, but we'll be on the move one-point-four seconds after the first salvo is fired off. We move to another position, re-enter the coordinates, and fire again. We do that until we have confirmation that the palace has been destroyed," Colonel Bradshaw explained.
"How do we get confirmation?"
"We scan for it," was the reply.
Jack looked over at Casey. "Well, Case?"
She searched again, ascertained that he was still in the palace. He was. "Do it."
With a nod, he turned back to the colonel. "Level that damned place."
They watched as the laser beam shot toward the planet. The ship shuddered around them, and they were sitting in a different spot. The three Goa'uld ships were starting to move toward their last position, although none of them were firing. Another blast from the Persephone, and they moved again. The Goa'uld ships held position…obviously looking for the cloaked vessel that they were now aware of. A third blast, and again the Persephone moved.
Colonel Bradshaw grinned as he gave the order for the Persephone to park just above the Goa'uld ships.
Jack chuckled. "Doubt they'll think to look up, at this point."
"I doubt it. They'll be looking for us in one of three places now." The man had barely finished speaking when the An'kesh and two Al'kesh ships began to fire into empty space. "Report! I want to know that palace is rubble," the colonel said.
"Yes, sir. It's rubble. Still burning, too," the young lieutenant working the scanners said, a grin on his face.
"Okay, let's get ready to move. I want three bursts, aimed at those ships. We hit hyperspace no more than five seconds later. Give me count," Col. Bradshaw commanded.
"Hyperdrives on line in fifteen…ten…nine…eight…seven…"
The Persephone fired three salvos at the Goa'uld ships. All of them had their shields up…however, the people on the bridge could see that the shots had at least shaken the enemy enough to buy them time to make it into hyperspace before facing return fire.
The young lieutenant continued his count. "...six...five…four…three… two… one…"
Jack turned to the young blonde who stood beside him. "Tell me that bastard is gone, Case."
She nodded, closed her eyes, and reached out. She could 'see' the destruction of the palace. It was nothing more than a huge pile of stone and rock and burning timbers. She didn't 'feel' him. A smile spread over her beautiful face. "Nope. Can't feel that evil bastard anywhere."
Cheers broke out among the crew. Daniel hugged Casey tightly, Jack was hugging Sam. Casey reached out and grabbed Teal'c's hand, squeezed it, felt his fingers return the pressure.
"Let's go home, campers," Jack said jovially.
A A A A A A
Duncan was waiting for them when they walked through the 'gate. Word had already been spread, teams were returning home, ready to get on with the business of exploring the galaxy. Methos had destroyed Laurel's palace, and her with it. It wouldn't take long for the remaining System Lords in the sector to hear of her destruction, although with no witnesses, it could be easily blamed on the Tau'ri and the Persephone, allowing Methos' identity to remain intact. They had taken the day, and were ready to celebrate their victory.
A A A A A A
Curly's was full of SGC teams and personnel. The air was full of laughter, and hearts were lighter than they had been for weeks.
Casey was sitting in the bar, talking to Sam and Becca. To her left, two of the teams were about to begin a friendly, competitive game of darts. She watched for a minute, a smile on her face. One of the darts had red plastic fins. It hit the gray dartboard, the red turning to blood as she stared at it. She closed her eyes, shook her head slightly.
"You will tell me what I wish to know, Casey. Or I will kill her." Nergal's voice was cold, confident. "She how she tries to move away from me? She knows the pain that is coming. Tell me what I want to know, and I will not hurt her." He took the 'dildo' with it's razor sharp blades, and shoved it roughly between the young black woman's legs. Blood began to ooze from her body, her screams of pain filled the air.
"I already told you! I don't know the damned codes! They've all been changed!" she cried. She tried to turn her head away from the horrible scene. A large hand impacted across her cheek.
"You lie! Tell me!" He pushed harder on the torture device. Tiesha's shrieks became louder, filled with pain and terror.
"I don’t know! I don't know! I don't know! Goddamn you, I don't know!" she screamed.
Nergal turned to face her. "Submit, and I will let her live."
"Submit, Casey. Now…or later, it will happen. If you submit to me now, I will see to it that she is cared for." He cupped her cheek with his hand, let it drift down to caress her breast.
Suddenly she was free of her restraints. She pushed against him with all of her might, struggled to her feet. Why did it feel as if there were hands reaching out to grab her? She looked around. So many people…bloodied and battered… they wanted her help…No!…let me go! Don't touch me! I can't help you! God, I can't help you!
She sank to her feet, sobs wracking her body. She couldn't help them…couldn't save them…she couldn't even save herself.
"Oh, no!" Sam hissed, watching as Casey's eyes became unfocused, and full of terror. "Get Daniel, now!"
Becca ran to find the young archaeologist. Casey's first scream split the air behind her. Conversations came to an abrupt halt. Several of the people from the teams playing darts beside her reached out to her, intending to offer comfort and support.
"No! Don't touch me!" she cried out, pulling away from them, slapping their hands away, her eyes squeezed shut, tears streaming from them. She slid to the floor, pulled her legs against her chest, wrapped her arms tightly around them. Her sobs of agony wrenched every heart in the room.
"Oh, hell," Daniel muttered as he followed Becca into the bar. He had heard Casey scream, was already on his way when the young SF met up with him. He reached out, hoping that he could do what he had done on the Persephone. 'Angel? Talk to me…tell me what's wrong.'
'Daniel? Oh, Daniel, I'm so sorry! I couldn't help them! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!'
'Shh…it's okay, babe. Everything is okay now.'
'I can't take it, Daniel, please come get me! Take me out of this horrible place!'
He sighed with relief. She was reacting the way she had before. Which meant he would be able to get her home, and through this…episode. Jack and Teal'c were at his side. "Can one of you give us a lift home? I'll have to hold her until we get there."
"Not a problem, Daniel," Jack said softly. "I'll bring the car to the door."
He nodded, then turned back to his wife. 'Angel, I'm on my way, look for me, babe. Tell me when you can see me. I'll take you home, I promise.'
She opened her eyes, looked around. It was obvious that what she was seeing was not the lounge in Curly's restaurant. Nor did she seem to recognize any of the faces that peered down at her with concern. "Daniel!" She reached out for him.
He pulled her close, scooped her into his arms. "Close your eyes, Angel. Don't look. I'm gong to take you home now," he said softly. He moved through the crowd towards the door. True to his word, Jack was waiting in the Bronco. Texas and Tony had followed them out. The two men helped him so that he was able to get into the vehicle without turning loose of his still terrified Wife. He sat back in the seat and closed his eyes. He was calling Gwenyth Blackstone as soon as she was… better.
The group inside the bar was still subdued. "If that motherfucker wasn't already dead, I'd kill him with my bare hands," a voice hissed softly.
"I hear that," another voice said.
"She's one hell of a woman," yet another voice said. "I figure I'd be a gibbering idiot in a padded room if I had to go through what she did."
"Hey, she's Casey Jackson. SG-1. Toughest SG team God ever created!"
Sam smiled, and looked up at Teal'c. He was smiling as well. "I think we should keep on celebrating. Casey would be really pissed off to find out that you let a little thing like this stop a good party."
"Hell yeah, she would!" Tony called out, having come back inside. "I'm telling you right now, you do not want that woman pissed at you! Texas, my brother, hit that jukebox. Put on Casey's favorite song!"
Within seconds, the sounds of Queen filled the air.
"...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..."
Cheers again filled the air. And every drink was raised in a toast to SG-1, and Casey Jackson.
A A A A A A
Daniel carried her into the house, straight into the bedroom.
"Is she gonna be okay?" Jack asked.
"Yeah, she'll be fine," Daniel replied. "I'm going to call Gwenyth Blackstone just as soon as she is. I figure she needs to…talk this out."
The older man nodded. He pulled the pillows together, pushed them against the headboard, helped the younger man settle back against them, Casey silent in his arms, her eyes still closed tightly.
"Thanks, Jack. We'll be all right," Daniel said softly.
"Yeah…okay. Call us tomorrow," he said. There was no need to explain why he wanted the call.
With a nod, Jack let himself out, closing the door quietly behind him.
He settled into a comfortable position, held her tightly against his chest. "Casey, it's all right, you can open your eyes now," he said, gently caressing her face with his fingertips, brushing a stray strand of hair from her cheek.
She opened her eyes. They were still haunted, full of pain and fear. "Safe now?"
Just like she had asked before. "Yeah, babe, you're safe now," he whispered.
She was still clinging to him. "No more…no more," she whispered hoarsely.
"No more, Angel, I promise."
"You want a blanket?"
She shook her head. "Cold. Inside."
He closed his eyes, fought down the pain and panic and anger that rushed through him. "What do you need, Angel? Whatever it is, I'll get it for you."
"Help me," she whispered, tears rolling down her cheeks.
"Anyway I can," he replied.
He looked down at her. This didn’t sound right. It was if she were caught in a loop…a repeat of pain and horror in her mind. "Yes, Angel, we're safe now."
"Cold…so cold," she said sadly. She looked up at him, her green eyes still full of terror. "Safe now?"
"Yes, Angel, safe now." He was starting to shake. Something was really wrong this time, and he was totally out of his area of expertise. He carefully reached for the phone, dialed the number for the base. "This is Doctor Jackson. I need Doctor Blackstone to get to my home ASAP. Can you get that message to her?…Good. Tell her the front door is unlocked, to just come in…Thanks." He was grateful that Hope was such a small town. With luck, it wouldn’t take more than fifteen minutes for the psychologist to arrive. He could only hope that it would be before Casey sank deeper into whatever state she was in, lost in the pain and despair of her imprisonment and torture.
"Right here, babe."
"He hurt me."
"I know, Angel." His heart clenched in pain and anger at the thought of just exactly how much that son-of-a-bitch had hurt her.
"He's going to kill me."
His heart clenched again. "No way, Casey. He'll never touch you again, I promise."
"Yeah, babe, I promise."
She snuggled against him.
He wasn't sure how long it had been, but he was relieved to hear the front door open. "In here, Doctor Blackstone," he called out.
The psychologist followed the sound of his voice. "I take it that something…disturbing…has happened."
Disturbing? Down right freaking terrifying, thank you very much! How close was his beautiful, precious Wife from living in a goddamned padded room? He took a breath, and explained what had happened, starting with the first 'episode' on the Persephone.
Gwenyth nodded. "I'm not surprised, considering what she suffered. Let's take her into the living room."
Daniel managed to get off of the bed and to his feet, Casey refused to turn loose of him, and so far made no sign that she was even aware of the doctor's presence.
"Has she had nightmares?"
"Just three. The first one wasn't too bad, the other two were fairly…brutal."
"Were you able to change them?"
"Yeah, at least I was pretty sure that I had."
Gwenyth studied the young woman for a moment. "I have a feeling that most of this…problem…stems from the fact that Casey blames herself for not acting, not being able to save Tiesha, or that young woman who was killed in front of her."
"That would be Casey," he agreed. "I don't suppose you could hypnotize her, let her go back and save them," he asked.
The older Immortal shook her head. "I don't believe it would work. Her conscious mind would know the truth, it could cause more problems. No, I think what we need to do is let her kill Nergal."
"The swords in his…uh…chambers," Daniel said. "She was beating herself up because she said she didn't even try to get to them."
"Good, good. All right. I'll need you to be there with her. But out of sight…until it's time for you to 'rescue' her."
He nodded. Anything to help her, to keep her safe, to keep her…whole. "What do I need to do?"
She smiled. Casey was still clinging to him. Her eyes were still haunted, wherever she was, she was not sitting in her husband's lap, on the sofa in her living room. "Take her hand. Close your eyes. And hers."
"Angel, I need you to close your eyes again," he said softly.
"Make me safe?"
He fought back the tears. Oh, god, I hope so! "Yeah, Angel, I'm going to make you safe."
With a tiny nod, Casey closed her eyes. She wrapped her fingers tightly around his when he took her hand.
"Casey, it's Doctor Blackstone. Can you hear me?"
Again a tiny nod.
"Good. I want you to listen to my voice. Concentrate on the sound of my voice. Can you do that?" The psychologist's voice was soft, calm, soothing.
"Excellent. Now, I want you to relax. Listen only to my voice. You are safe. Nothing can touch you. Nothing can harm you. Nergal cannot hurt you, nor cause you any pain. Do you understand?"
"Yes," Casey whispered.
"You are safe. You are perfectly safe. Do you understand?"
"I'm safe," she whispered.
"Very good. Now, Casey, I want you to go back. Go back to the moment when you left Nergal's bathroom. You're dressed, and he expects you to join him for breakfast. Tell me what you see."
"He's sitting at the table. He's eating."
"Good. Casey, Nergal cannot harm you. He cannot touch you. I want you to do exactly what it is that you want to do, what it is that you need to do. Daniel, I want you to do what you need to do to rescue Casey."
He smiled up at her. "You look beautiful, Casey." He stood up as she approached the table.
She nodded, but said nothing. Her eyes went to the swords that hung on the wall. She moved toward them, slowly, keeping her eyes on him.
He sat back down, reached for a piece of fruit. It looked like an apple, and he took a bite of it. He wasn't watching her now. He was pouring water into a gold chalice.
She took the chance, grabbed one of the swords off of the wall.
He turned to face her. "You think you can kill me so easily?"
"No, I don't think killing you will be easy at all," she replied.
He moved with grace, ease…speed. The other sword was in his hand before she had time to comprehend that he had moved from the table. "Submit!"
"Never! You will never touch me…violate me…like you did that girl! Never!"
"Submit, or I will take your unholy head!"
"Try it, asshole! Just take your best shot!"
Nergal swung his sword, surprised when she blocked him. He pulled back, looked at her, swung again.
His blows were hard, each one jarred her entire body. She was so tired, still weak from days of torture. He was swinging his sword again…and again. She was beginning to back up with each parry. Duncan's words echoed in her ears. Step into his swing, the Scot told her. Prevent him from completing his move. She nodded. Nergal raised his sword, she stepped closer. He backed away, trying to swing at her. She continued to move towards him, watched as he took another step back. There! Right there! She rushed forward, thrust the sword through his body. "Die you twisted bastard, die!"
The Goa'uld fell to his knees, his eyes wide. "I will have you killed for this!" he groaned.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Heard that one before."
"You will not make it out of here alive. My Jaffa will kill you the moment you open that door," he gasped. Blood began trickle from his mouth.
She pulled her lip between her teeth.
She turned, stared for just a moment. Daniel was standing there, a zat'nik'til in his hand. With a cry of relief, she ran toward him. He pulled her close.
Daniel smiled as she threw her arms around his neck. Nergal was trying to get to his feet. The archaeologist raised the zat and fired. Three times. "Let's go home, Angel."
The smiles on both faces alerted Dr. Blackstone that they had succeeded in 'killing' Nergal. "Daniel, Casey, I want you to concentrate on my voice. Listen only to me. All you can hear is my voice. I am going to count slowly to five, and you will wake up. Everything you have seen, everything you have done, will be remembered only in your dreams. You will both feel peace now. There is no more pain. No more fear. It is over. Done. Do you understand?"
"Yes," Casey whispered.
"Yes," Daniel said softly.
"Good. I am going to count now. One…you're moving back towards me…two…you're very relaxed….three…you feel nothing but peace…tranquility…four…almost back now…still very peaceful…five. Open your eyes."
Casey looked around, saw Gwenyth sitting in a chair beside the fireplace. She took note of the fact that she was sitting on Daniel's lap, his arms around her tightly, one hand gripping hers firmly. She shook her head. "One minute I'm at a great party, the next I'm sitting here. Something tells me that I freaked out again."
Gwenyth smiled. "You'd be right. How do you feel?"
She searched her mind, her heart. "I feel…fine…peaceful."
The psychologist rose to her feet. "I do believe we're finished here. If by any chance there are any other problems, please call me."
Casey stood to her feet, Daniel did likewise. He moved to shake the doctor's hand. He had full recollection of all that had happened. The only thing he didn't remember clearly was what had happened while they talked. "Thanks, Doctor Blackstone."
"You are quite welcome."
"Yes, thank you. I’m not sure what happened, but I don't think it will be happening again," Casey said, smiling at the woman.
"I don't believe it will either," Gwenyth smiled in return, gave the young Immortal a wink
They walked the good doctor to the door, saw her off with more thanks, watched her drive away.
Daniel pulled her against him. "So, want to go back to the party?"
"Nah. I'd rather just go to bed," she said, smiling up at him.
"Tired, huh?" he asked, his eyes full of love…and a hint of amusement.
"Nope. Never said a word about being tired."
"Oh, I see. So then, just why do you want to go to bed?"
"Well, I think you could use another lesson in communicating without speaking," she said softly, her smile seductive now.
He pretended to consider this. "You know, I've always found that extra study on a subject can be very…worthwhile."
"Oh, that's good, Doctor Jackson. You're an excellent pupil."
"Teach me, Beautiful," he whispered in her ear. He scooped her into his arms and carried her into the bedroom.
The sun was beginning to peek over the horizon when they fell into satiated, happily exhausted sleep, holding one another closely.
A A A A A A
He tugged at the tarp, and the heavy load that it contained; pulled it…dragged it up the hill to the small, ramshackle cottage. His round face was beet red from exertion. Sweat dripped from his nose, his chin. Not much farther now. Soon, all would be as it was. He would resume his place. He would once again be the most feared man in the galaxy, second only to his god. No, not much farther now. He smiled at the thought of the reward he would earn for this.
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