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Between Two Evils
Selmak agreed that if Tomas wanted another symbiote, that he would have one as soon as possible. Jacob and the others left as soon as the man was strong enough to stand on his own.
Casey walked into the commissary, sank down onto the chair beside Daniel. "Are you all right?" she asked softly.
He smiled, reached over and covered her hand with his own. "I'm fine. How are you?"
He nodded, his eyes becoming guarded. No doubt she wanted an explanation for why he hadn't told her about Talek's threats.
"I'm a little…well…" she ducked her head, her cheeks pink.
He began to grin. "You're what, Angel?"
"How about a quick trip to the supply closet? I need my fix of you," she whispered.
"I'll meet you there in five minutes," he whispered in reply. He stood to his feet, deposited his coffee cup on the tray for the dirty stoneware, then sauntered out the door, his hands in his pockets.
She stood up, about to follow him, when she caught sight of Sam sitting alone in the corner. She made her way to the table. "Hey, girlfriend. Need to talk?"
Sam looked up and smiled. "No, I'm fine. Jack is on his way up here," she said.
"You were afraid your Dad really wanted what the Tok'ra Council wanted," Casey said softly.
Sam's smile widened. "No way to keep secrets from you! How does Daniel manage?"
"He knows me, and knows how to hide them," she replied with a grin.
"Yeah, for a few minutes, I thought he had…well…turned on us. I should have known better."
"Hey, we were all thrown for a loop when he dropped that on us. And just because we've dealt with Talek doesn't mean that the remaining Council members are going to abandon this idea of his. It fits in too well with what the Tok'ra have wanted for years," Casey said.
"I know. But Dad and Selmak will be able to convince the others that the Council is wrong. Dad says there hasn't been a major Council shake-up in years."
"About time for one then, isn't it?" Casey asked, her eyes dancing. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I'm sure," Sam grinned.
"Good. I need to go see an archaeologist about an itch."
Sam giggled. "Okay. Have fun."
Casey stood to her feet, grinning wickedly. "Oh, I plan on it!"
A A A A A A
Forty-five minutes later Casey and Daniel were sitting in his office in the Center, trying to fit the pieces of a rather large stone tablet together.
"This piece has to go here," she said, gently putting the rough edged chunk of rock near the center.
"You're sure?" he asked a slight frown on his face.
"Well, if it doesn't go here, then it goes here. And if it goes here," she said, moving to the edge, "we have another dirty tablet. I swear it reads like the Hustler Forum!"
Daniel chuckled. "And just what do you know about the Hustler Forum?"
"That the guys who write in and tell about their amazing sexual prowess and escapades should be writing fiction!"
"Casey Renee! When have you ever read the Hustler Forum?"
"Ladies Nights! So who brought them in?"
She burst into giggles. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
His eyes went wide. "Little Gracie? Virgin Gracie?"
She giggled harder. "Hey, I was surprised too. The pictures were tasteless…absolutely terrible! But the cartoons and jokes were pretty funny. And that Forum was hilarious!"
He shook his head. "I knew that you women were up to more than just discussing the latest movies or books," he mumbled.
"So, it has to fit here," she said, putting the broken chunk back in the center. She skimmed the text around it. Her cheeks began to burn, the pink growing brighter as she moved the piece back to the edge. "Those people were just weird!"
Daniel began to laugh. "Okay, let's see what we have." He began to read over her shoulder.
"That is not physically possible!" she muttered.
"I dunno, that sounds kind of interesting," he said, pointing to another section of the text.
"You have got to be kidding! That's not physically possible, either!" she exclaimed.
"It is, the guy just has to be in damn good physical condition," he replied.
"Well, we know that this predates the Kama Sutra. And all of the other such Indian writings. So, is it possible that a Cardorian made it to Earth?"
"Let's not get hasty about dating it," Daniel said. "We need to have this carbon tested before we know exactly how old it is."
"Right," she murmured, examining the tablet closely. "Well, I'll be damned," she said softly.
She began to turn the pieces of the tablet upside down, putting them back together in the same way. "Check this out!"
He whistled slightly.
"Guess they did have time to bitch about him in print," she said. "This seems to be a list of everything that Dagon did after arriving."
"Somebody went to a lot of work to do this. In one direction it's nothing more than a sex manual."
"Yeah, and in the other, a list of all of Dagon's crimes against the Cardorians." She looked up at him. "You realize we have to go back to those ruins now! There's no telling what might be hidden there!"
Daniel smiled, kissed the tip of her nose. "I'll talk to Duncan about it first thing in the morning."
Casey nodded. She glanced at the clock on his desk. "I guess we should think about getting home."
"Yep. I'm hungry."
Casey pulled herself onto the worktable, sat cross-legged. "He's still alive," she said softly.
"I know, Angel."
"Nothing has changed. He still wants you. And me."
She shivered slightly. "The sooner he's dead, the happier I'll be."
"At least you got to put Toren's name on the wall," he said softly.
"There is that," she said. "I never felt anything other than lust for him."
"I know, Angel."
"I hated that."
Daniel stood to his feet. Put one hand on either side of her. "I know." His lips found hers, and he kissed her, deeply, thoroughly. Felt the love that she poured into the action. Returned that love measure for measure.
She wrapped her arms around his neck. "Let's go home. Dinner. Bath time. Snuggle time. Play time."
"I like the way you think," he replied. The phone on the desk began to ring. Daniel kissed her one last time, then walked over to answer it. "Hello?"
"Better come on down here. We have some information about Dagon," Jack's voice said.
"We're on our way."
Casey frowned. "What?"
He shrugged. "Jack says they have some info on Dagon."
A A A A A A
Kepi was sitting at the conference table beside Sam when they walked in. Her face lit up with a smile when she saw Casey. The young blonde smiled in return.
"Our young friend here has a bit of information for us," Duncan said, smiling at the young dark-haired woman. "She overheard Sam mention Dagon, and told her that she had heard things while in his service as a slave.
"Kepi? What do you know about Dagon?" Casey asked gently.
"I know only that which I overheard," Kepi said hesitantly.
"That's all right," Sam said, equally as gentle. "What did you hear?"
Kepi glanced at the men around her, lowered her eyes to the table. "Some nights he would choose a slave to…pleasure him…when he was away from his harem. He lost many women in a battle. He wouldn't take the remaining women with him."
Knowing looks were exchanged. He lost them when the Persephone stopped his fleet from approaching Gamma.
"Go on," Sam encouraged the young woman.
"He…he chose me one night. He watched while I was bathed and…made ready…for him." Her cheeks burned at the memory.
Jack frowned. "Made ready?"
Casey blushed as well. "Most Goa'uld aren't into foreplay unless it's for their own pleasure. He wouldn't have been inclined to…not with a slave. But just taking her if she's not…ready…that can be as painful for the man as for the woman at times."
Understanding flickered over the older man's face.
Daniel noticed the blush. Wondered if Casey had been subjected to such treatment as a slave for Wepwawet. He knew of her rape the night before she killed him. He knew nothing of the other five weeks of nights that she had been a slave.
Kepi waited, watching the faces of the people who had saved her from the demon god.
"Go on, Kepi," Casey said, smiling at the former slave.
"He…he took me…" Brown eyes were flooded with shame, her cheeks blazed red from embarrassment.
Sam put her arm around the young woman's shoulders. She was pushing down her own memories of 'being prepared' - just before she was raped. "He can't hurt you, ever again," she said softly. "You're safe here."
"I am but a whore," Kepi whispered.
"No!" Casey moved from her chair beside Daniel, sat down on the other side of Kepi, took the young woman's small hands in her own slender ones. "Never a whore! Never! He raped you, Kepi. You did nothing wrong!"
A look of hope filled those deep brown eyes. They flickered around the table at the men once again.
"Never a whore, Kepi. You are a good girl," Daniel said gently, understanding that not until a man 'forgave' her, would she be able to put the memories, the guilt, the shame, behind her.
With a sigh of relief, she gave a tiny smile, her lips trembling slightly. "He did not know that I was not asleep. He…it…the pain was still with me. I closed my eyes so that he would not see that I was hurt. It…other girls said that if he was aware that they had been hurt, that it…excited him, and he would take them again, more roughly than the first time."
"Sick bastard!" Jack hissed.
"I do not think he even remembered I was in the room. His Priest came in, and said that an evil one named…" she frowned, clearly trying to remember the name. "Pen…" she shook her head.
"Penatil?" Sam asked.
Kepi nodded vigorously. "Yes! That is the name the Priest said. This evil one, Penatil, was striking at those around him. And that Dagon's…his…his…what he holds?" she looked at Sam to see if the woman understood. Smiled in return when the blonde woman smiled at her and nodded. "What he holds is in danger. Dagon said that he had more important…matters…more important matters to deal with. The Priest told Dagon that…that fucking the woman who belonged to The Chosen was not as important as protecting his lands. Dagon slapped the Priest."
"Kepi, was this before or after Sam and Casey were brought to the ship?" Daniel asked gently.
"It was several days, I think, before I saw them in his chambers," Kepi replied. "The Priest was angry. He told Dagon that he had foreseen such calamity."
"Must have been after we blew up that temple and his pyramids and zombies," Jack mused.
"Dagon said that he would take his…his prize…to his palace on Bryne, and then he would deal with Penatil." Kepi looked around. "When the Priest was looking for the ones with golden hair, he was very angry. He said that they must be sacrificed to insure that Dagon remained strong against his enemies. He told Dagon's First Prime to get the ships ready to go to war against Penatil. I know no more than this, " she said quietly.
"Kepi, thank you," Duncan said, smiling at the young woman. "Brenna says you like painting. Would you like to go paint?"
Her smile was bright with happiness. "I like to make the colors tell a story," she said shyly.
"I hear that you do that very well," the Highlander said. He motioned for the SF. "Take Kepi back to her quarters. Make sure she has all of the supplies that Mrs. Noel-MacLeod brought for her."
The young man nodded, his understanding. All of the guards had taken a shine to the young woman freed from Goa'uld slavery, the protective nature of each man brought out by her innocence. He smiled at her, then motioned that she should follow him.
Kepi gave a quick glance at Sam, noted the nod and smile. With a smile of her own, she stood and followed the guard out of the room.
"Any luck on finding out where she's from?" Casey asked softly.
"Brenna's working on it," Sam replied. "She was quite young when she was taken. She only remembers bits and pieces of her life before being a slave."
"Damned sick bastard," Jack muttered again.
"So what does this give us?" Daniel asked, a frown on his face. "Obviously that Priest figured killing Casey and Sam was the best way to get Dagon's interest back on protecting his holdings."
Jack looked at Teal'c. "How possible is it that the Priest called the shots while Dagon was dead?"
The Jaffa frowned slightly. "It is not unheard of for Priests of the Goa'uld to assume control if the Goa'uld is unable to make decisions or give orders. As Daniel Jackson has stated, if this priest was angered at Dagon's interest in Casey Jackson, ordering her and Samantha Carter to be sacrificed would have taken care of the problem. Dagon would not have been able to do anything about it, especially if the priest declared it had to be done to assure Dagon's continued 'victories'."
"If he was arguing with Dagon about what he thought the snake should be doing, I think it's a fair assumption that this Priest sent what was left of Dagon's fleet against Penatil, especially if Penty was moving on Dagon's territory," Jack said.
"Which he would be more apt to do if he knew that Dagon had just lost a majority of his ships in another battle," Daniel said. "It might have made Penatil bolder when…or if…he learned that Dagon had lost so many Jaffa, and his Zombies."
"If that's the case, Penatil has to have a spy among Dagon's people somewhere. He moved too quickly to have just heard about it through the grapevine," Sam mused.
"Hell, those snakes are spying on each other all of the time," Jack snorted.
"So who would be in a position to know what was going on, what his losses were, and get word to Penatil?" Casey asked, her brows knit into a frown of concentration.
"A most effective spy would attempt to ingratiate himself, or herself to the Goa'uld he or she was spying on," Teal'c said.
"Well, it couldn't be any of the women in the harem," Sam said.
"But it could have been a Priestess," Daniel said slowly. "We saw that he had as many priestess' as priests on the planet we knocked him down on. That they seemed to work in pairs, priest and priestess, or in groups of three priestess'. Kepi said the priest was angry, so he knew what was going on. I'm betting that the priestess who served with him was privy to the same information."
Jack nodded. "Makes sense. But how would she get the information to her boss?"
"They had to stop to get supplies," Casey pointed out.
"And couriers are easy enough to buy," Daniel added.
"So where does this leave us?" Duncan wanted to know.
"Sitting back to see what happens next," Jack replied. "If this Priest did send Dagon's fleet, or what was left of it, after Penatil, by now it's probably history."
"Priest probably is too," Casey said.
"Without a doubt. As soon as Dagon crawled out of that sarcophagus and found out what was going on, he probably had the man executed," Daniel agreed.
"I'll see what Methos can find out. I'd really like to get rid of Dagon. We know where his home planet is. We can send the Persephone to flatten that palace, hopefully with him in it," Duncan said.
The members of SG-1 nodded their agreement.
"You realize we're going to have to take Penatil on," Jack said softly. "Before he gets too big for us to knock down."
"Job security," Sam mumbled. Chuckles filled the air.
"Well, until we hear back from Methos, let's just sit tight," Duncan said.
"I could do a search," Casey said softly. "Toren is history."
Duncan smiled. "It's almost six. Let's call it a day. We can deal with the damned snakes tomorrow. Maybe we'll get lucky, and they'll obliterate each other overnight."
More laughter filled the air.
"We'll talk tomorrow. Nine-thirty. Have a nice evening, team," Duncan said. He stood, smiled at them, and left the room.
Casey stood, let Daniel lead her to the parking lot and the Blazer. "Sometimes I wish we could just have a normal, quiet life," she said softly as he drove off the base.
"Me, too, Angel."
"Maybe someday. When we're Goa'uld free."
He smiled. "Someday," he agreed. In the meantime, he thought, they would grab what moments of peace that they could. Enjoy the evenings, the days of peace and quiet in between the days and nights spent in the war against the Goa'uld. He glanced at the woman beside him. Reached for her hand, lifted her sweet fingers to his lips. As long as she was with him, he could face anything. With Her the good times were priceless. And the bad times bearable. With Her, anything was possible. Even defeating the Goa'uld.
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