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Between Two Evils
The men continued to move toward the palace. Jack was wishing fervently that Casey was with them, so that they had at least some idea of what they were walking into. The sound of a large craft approaching brought all eyes upward, searching the sky through the treetops. A large shadow passed overhead.
"They're here," Daniel growled softly. He hadn't heard from Casey since she had told him that she and Sam were going into hiding. He was getting worried, terrified that they had been found. He could still 'feel' her, so she was alive. He just wasn't sure if she was well.
"I noticed," Jack replied. Told himself he would not respond to Daniel's anger. The man was going through withdrawal, and his wife was a prisoner of a Goa'uld. Plenty of reason to be pissed off. Hell, he was pissed off, too!
"Sorry," the archaeologist muttered.
Jack said nothing, but reached out and squeezed the young man's shoulder.
The palace was indeed large, and heavily guarded. Daniel was the first to notice the odd looking guards near the entrance gate. The men were dressed in little more than loincloths. Their white skin was mottled with purple and blue marks that looked like huge bruises. Their eyes were white as well, as if they had no irises or pupils. He shuddered as he examined the men through his binoculars. "Those must be his Zombies."
"Sure as hell look the part, don't they?" Jack replied. A shudder moved over his body as well.
"Yep," Daniel said. "Look!"
Four Jaffa were carrying what looked like a stretcher. "Is it just my eyes, or does that look like Dagon?" Jack said.
"That's him, all right," Daniel said, a grin on his face. "Casey said with luck they'd killed him."
"Yeah, they'll just stick his snake ass into a sarcophagus," Jack complained.
"True. But we should be able to get on the ship with little trouble," Daniel said.
"I agree," Teal'c said. "The Jaffa will be less…alert, while their god is dead."
"See if you can reach Casey," Jack said.
Daniel nodded. 'Case?'
'Daniel? I think we've landed.'
'Yep. Just watched them carry Dagon into the palace.'
He grinned at the excitement that filled her voice. 'In the woods to the east of the palace.'
'Sam and I are still hiding. We haven't heard any movement for awhile.'
'Hold on, Angel.' He lifted his binoculars again. 'Looks like the slaves are being taken away.'
'Daniel, there's a young woman with us, she just came in, she's hiding now as well. I won't leave her here, she helped keep us hidden while Dagon's priest looked for us.'
'We won't leave her behind. We're going to try and get on the ship.'
'No, stay where you are. We'll need the cover fire. We'll come to you.'
His grin broadened. "Case says they'll becoming to us. They're bringing the slave that helped keep them hidden. They might need cover fire."
Jack grinned as well. "Tell 'em we're ready."
'Case, whenever you're ready.'
'Okay. How many guards around the ship?'
'Well, we're almost to the door. Give me an idea which way to run.'
'To your left.'
The men tensed up when two blonde heads peeked through the opening on the side of the ship. Held their breath as the women, along with the dark haired slave, began to climb down the side of the ramp. Watched as they dropped to the ground, rolled to hide beneath the metal legs of the structure that supported the ramp.
'Don't move, babe. Two guards must have heard you hit the dirt. Stay out of sight.'
The guards looked over the side of the ramp. Seemed to be discussing what to do. Both looked toward the palace, then returned to their posts. The men all heaved silent sighs of relief.
'Okay babe, slow and easy. Stay in that brush as much as possible.'
'We see it. Okay, here goes nothing!'
The women were almost to the shelter of the woods when cries of alarm rang out, and staff weapons fire began to hit the ground around them. Sam and Casey hit the ground, taking the young slave with them, knowing that the men who waited for them would return fire.
Three Marine teams, and the men of SG-1 stood to their feet and opened fire. Jack and Daniel dashed toward the women, helped them to their feet, and then led them back toward safety.
"We gotta move, campers," Jack shouted, his hand wrapped tightly around Sam's.
Teal'c and Marine 2 continued to fire on the approaching Jaffa. The race was on to get to the 'gate, and the Tau'ri knew that there were at least two squads of Jaffa waiting there. Getting out was not going to be easy.
Daniel could smell her, and it was driving him out of his mind. The need was burning in his veins. He only hoped he could wait long enough to get to the storage closet in the Center. He glanced at her. No, she would want a shower first. He needed one as well. He stopped, grabbed her, pulled her close. "I need you, Angel," he whispered.
"Here? Now? Daniel, there are-"
His lips silenced her, his tongue pushing into her mouth. Just enough to get by, he thought, just a little sweetness to help me hang on. The sound of Jaffa armor forced him to let her go. He winked at her, then began to run, her fingers laced with his.
The rest of the group was waiting near the 'gate. They had heard the warning sound of the horn that the Jaffa used. The squads that stood near the Stargate were at full alert.
"They wouldn't expect us to come from behind them," Jack said quietly. "So we're going to move very quietly to the back of the 'gate. Casey, I want you to get to the DHD and dial for home just as soon as you can."
"Okay, kids, move out."
Moving with as much stealth as possible, the teams made their way to the backside of the giant ring. They remained hidden when the Jaffa who had been chasing them burst onto the road. All of the armored men began to scan the area carefully; moving into the brush, looking for the three women who had been bold enough to try to escape, and those who had dared to help them.
Jack signaled, and the three Marine teams took position. Daniel and Teal'c closed ranks with him. A quick glance to ascertain that everyone was where they needed to be, the general nodded. For the Jaffa, it seemed as if the clouds that filled the sky began to rain metal upon them. Nearly a dozen went down with the first volley. When they began to run for cover, Casey made her way toward the DHD, remaining as close to the ground as possible. The Marines were beginning to move forward, pinning the Jaffa behind the trees that offered a little protection from the armor piercing bullets that filled the air. Teal'c and Daniel were standing on the steps now, keeping a continual barrage of fire going while Casey dialed. Both men rolled to the bottom of the steps just before the event horizon opened.
Daniel reloaded his P90, began to fire again as staff weapons began to fill the air with fire around them. "Casey, go, now!" he shouted. Sam had already pulled the young slave to the front of the 'gate, and was heading into the shimmering circle.
Casey didn't need to be told twice. She ran toward the blue watery surface and dove headfirst just as the crack of a staff weapon firing ignited the air above her. She rolled down the ramp, pulled herself to her feet, and waited for the rest of the men to follow. Marine 1 and 3 came through. Marine 2 came through. Several tense seconds passed. Jack, Teal'c, and Daniel burst through, still firing behind them. The Marines had taken up defensive positions as soon as their feet left the ramp.
"Close the Iris!" Duncan yelled.
Two Jaffa managed to come through the 'gate before the metal iris closed. Several loud thumps echoed in the room. The two put down their weapons, not willing to take on so many armed men.
Daniel reached for Casey, wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tightly. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. Nothing happened. Poor Dagon didn't get as much as Steven did."
He chuckled. "Poor bastard."
Jack looked over at the young couple. "Go home. We'll take care of the debrief."
"Thanks, Jack," Daniel said softly.
The older man grinned. "Any time, Space Monkey. Now go."
Neither of the Jackson's needed to be told a second time. Arm in arm, they headed for the elevator.
Jack led the rest of the team and the Marines toward the conference room. The young slave was looking around, her eyes wide, her hands clinging to Sam's arm. The two Jaffa offered no resistance when the SF's led them toward holding cells.
Duncan smiled at the young woman beside Sam. "Who have we here?"
Sam smiled. "To be honest, we haven't actually exchanged names yet. She hid us in the slave's quarters, and when the priest was searching there, she managed to keep him from looking in the room where we were until we had managed to crawl under the cots. We could hear her talking to him. We couldn't make out what was being said. He didn't sound happy, and when he did come in, he only glanced around."
"It is possible that this woman was allowed to escape, that she is working for Dagon even now," Teal'c said.
"As much as I hate to, I'm going to have to agree with Teal'c," Jack said. "I'd rather not be sorry."
Sam nodded. "I understand. I just hope you're wrong."
"We all do," Duncan said. "Sam, take her to the infirmary. Have Doctor Montigue give her a thorough examination. I want to know if there are any homing devices or bombs of any type on her. Or in her. Then put her in a cell. Tell her that it's…" he frowned.
"I'll tell her it's for her safety, maybe she'll even believe me," Sam said softly.
"You and Casey can have your reports to me by the end of the week," Duncan said quietly.
The colonel nodded, then smiled at the young woman and led her away. She didn't want think that Teal'c's suspicions were correct. But she couldn't argue that there was the possibility that he was right.
When the women had left the room, Duncan turned to Jack. "Obviously the mission was a success."
Jack grinned. "Yeah. Sam killed Dagon. Hit him with a statue. I'm not exactly sure when or how, but they were able to get away from him, with the help of that slave. We saw them carry his body from the ship into the palace."
"And probably straight into a sarcophagus," Turk added.
"So we'll just operate under the assumption that Dagon is still alive. And Toren is dead?"
"Yep. Went up with that lab in the mountain," Jack replied.
"Okay. Get your reports written up. Then go home," Duncan said.
"So are any other Goa'uld going to try to come knocking on the door?" Jack asked.
Duncan shook his dark head. "Methos just sent a message. There have been several Goa'uld watching. Seems they're all rather nervous at how quickly we took the fight to Dagon, then Toren, and how much damage we were able to do in just a matter of hours. That their facilities were attacked so fast has the snakes talking, too. From what he's hearing, none of the Goa'uld are willing to risk attacking us."
"Unless they decide to work together," Jack said.
"I don't think so. Right now there seems to be one hell of a battle going on between Penatil, and two new Goa'uld…well, new to us…Jordan and Tymulus. I'll have Daniel do a search for information on them when he gets back. Right now, as long as they're fighting each other, I don't give a damn who they are. Methos seems to think that there's an all out civil war brewing, and at least a dozen Goa'uld are going to be choosing sides."
"We saw fourteen Goa'uld motherships blowing the hell out of each other," Jack reported. "Someone lost all, the others limped away, two in one direction, one in another."
The Highlander nodded. "Colonel Bradshaw sent a report. For now, we'll have to assume that those ships belonged to those three Goa'uld. I have no idea who lost and who won."
Jack stood to his feet. "We'll sort this out later. Right now we're safe, and that's what matters."
"Exactly," Duncan replied, also standing up. "Take tomorrow off, you've all earned it."
A A A A A A
The young woman refused to let go of Sam's hand. Her brown eyes were wide with panic, the same terror that filled her voice. "Please, I will obey! I will be good! I will do whatever you ask of me! Do not let the monster eat me!"
Sam brushed the dark hair from the slave's face. "It's okay…what is your name?"
"Kepi," was the nearly whispered reply.
"Kepi, I promise that you'll be all right. This is a machine. It's going to take pictures of you. You won't feel a thing. Trust me?"
Dark brown eyes held steady on sapphire blue ones. A tiny nod was the only answer.
Sam carefully pulled her hand away. "I'll be right over there," she said, pointing to the other room. "As soon as this is over, I'll take you to get something to eat. You must lay very still, can you do that?"
The table moved the young woman into the circular imaging device. Sam hurried to watch as each layer of Kepi's body was examined.
"Several old injuries. Looks like her arm has been broken at some point in time. Two ribs are showing scars as well," the tech said quietly. "There isn't anything there that shouldn't be."
"What about her teeth," Sam asked. Goa'uld had a nasty habit of hiding things where one least expected them.
"She's missing three. But there's nothing there that shouldn't be. She doesn't even have cavities."
A smile brightened Sam's face. The pleas were enough to convince her that the only think Kepi wanted from the people on Gamma was escape from Dagon. She went back into the room where the machine was slowly sliding the table free of the imager.
Kepi looked around her eyes wide with fear, her small body trembling.
"You were very good, Kepi," Sam said softly. "Very good."
A smile brightened the taffy-colored face. "I pleased you, yes?"
Sam smiled in return. "Yes, you did. Are you hungry?"
Kepi nodded shyly. "I did not eat with the others this day."
This comment brought Sam up short. "How often are you allowed to eat?"
"When we have finished with the first half of our duties, we are fed. Then we must finish our work. Then we are locked into our cells to sleep," Kepi replied, not seeming to find the conditions that she had lived under to be unusual.
Sam could feel her temper burning. Goddamned Goa'uld! Most humans treated their pets…animals…better than the snakes treated their slaves! She helped the young woman sit up. "Well, we're going to go have a nice hot meal. Then you can take a nice long shower, and we'll find a safe place for you to sleep."
The two women met up with Jack and Duncan in the corridor on the way to the commissary. "So, what did we find out?" Duncan asked.
"She's been abused. She's scared to death of being sent back to Dagon. And her name is Kepi," Sam replied. She turned to the young woman. "Kepi, this is Duncan MacLeod. He's the leader of our people."
Kepi looked up at the tall man. Gasped when he smiled at her. She dropped to her knees, put her forehead on the floor. "I will serve you, My Lord. I will do whatever you wish of me."
Duncan understood enough Goa'uld to know what the young woman said. He squatted down beside her, lifted her face with his hand. "Kepi, you are most welcome here. And you will serve no one. You are free here. We'll help you all that we can. Do you understand? If you wish to return home, then we'll see that you get there."
Sam quickly translated, watched as the brown eyes became wider and wider.
"Home? So long," she said, almost in a whisper.
"Right now, let's just worry about food, a shower, and sleep," Sam said, smiling at the young woman.
With a bright smile, Kepi stood to her feet. "Thank you," she said softly, looking at Duncan, then at Jack.
"You're welcome," Duncan replied just as softly.
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