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Blast from the Past
Methos watched as Camulus stared out the window. The lights that moved around, in what looked like an aurora, were breathtaking. But the Oldest Immortal knew that the Goa'uld wasn't seeing the spectacular light show. He trusted Casey's gift. But he didn't trust Camulus. While it might be true that the man was grieving, and from everything he had seen and heard, the man was grieving, he wouldn't grieve forever. And when his…senses…returned, he would be the same as every other Goa'uld. If he helped them take out Ptah, great. If he would help them take out Penatil, so much the better. But Methos had already warned Duncan and Jack to keep the snake out of the loop as much as possible, especially when it came to the strength of the SGC and the Colony. Both men had agreed, and Casey had been warned as well. The memory of that particular conversation brought a smile to his face. The young blonde had looked at them as if they were all children.
"Do you really think I'm stupid enough to tell him anything? I'll tell him exactly what we want him to know, what we want him to believe. Geez, you guys are just sad!" she had declared, shaking her head. Then she'd pointed out that if Methos had had to make sure that the two men in charge of the base kept their mouths shut, maybe they were both past retirement age.
He glanced up at Wade. Who was also watching the Goa'uld. He wondered if his own face reflected as much disbelief as his young friend's. During the course of their 'working relationship', the two men had become fast friends. Both loved to drink and party and carouse…when the time was right, and the risks were nothing more serious than a hangover. Something that Methos delighted in torturing Wade over.
Wade had told him that he didn't like Goa'uld, although the sector of space he was from was relatively 'Goa'uld free'. The people in that sector were too advanced to fall for the 'I-am-your-god' routine. And too independent to fall without a fight. There were plenty of planets with primitive civilizations ripe for the taking, as far as the snakes were concerned. After the incident with Nergal, the young man loathed them. And took great delight in planting seeds of unrest among other lo'taur. Methos grinned again. It was a wonder half a dozen Goa'uld didn't just suddenly keel over from untraceable poisons! Although it was possible that it could still happen.
Camulus stirred. Shifted position slightly. He could feel the stares from behind him. Knew that the men he was with didn't trust him. He had been surprised to arrive on the Hak'tyl, to find it manned by 'free Jaffa'. If Methos or Jackson's brother, or the two men who served as his keepers, didn't kill him, these Jaffa certainly would. When Methos had informed the crew that he was going with them, the grumbling had been loud…and intense. A smile touched the corner of his lips when he recalled how Methos had told them that Casey trusted him. Although the Jaffa were far from pleased, it appeared that Casey's trust would earn him passage. It seemed that the bewitching young Tau'ri was far more…influential…than she realized. She was modest…shy. That she had no idea of the power she held over men was refreshing. He thought that Cara would have found a friend in Casey. He closed his eyes in pain. Clung to her final words.
"I don't understand," she had gasped. "What happened? Why did I do that, Cam? What's wrong with me?"
"Shh…save your strength, my Beloved. I'll get you to the sarcophagus," he had said softly.
"No, you know that it will make me go mad. I couldn't stand that." She had coughed, and blood had splattered against his naked chest. "I'm sorry, Cam."
"I love you."
She had died before he could return the declaration of love. He had carried her to the sarcophagus, determined to put her inside. His High Advisor had stopped him. "My Lord, you know that her people have a…deficiency in their blood. To put her in there would sentence her to a life of madness, of paranoia, that would make your own life a living hell. There are other beautiful women eager to move into your bed. Let this one go, and choose one of them."
He had raged at the Advisor, even though in his heart he had known that the man was right. He could not save the woman he loved more than life. There would not be another woman in his bed. Not for a very long time. And never a woman like Cara!
"Cara," he whispered.
Methos and Wade exchanged a glance. Both men had heard Daniel whisper Casey's name the very same way, as thoughts of her haunted him. Methos stood to his feet, walked up to stand behind the tall Goa'uld. "We'll be at your home planet soon. You need to tell us what we're going to be coming up against."
"I am sure that Ptah has made…changes," Camulus replied.
"I'm sure he has. But you know the numbers. Where the batteries are located. Their strengths. Their weaknesses. You can also appeal to those Jaffa who served you."
"As soon as we arrive, open communications with a small outpost on the southern-most continent," the Goa'uld said.
Methos nodded. "Cross us, and I'll let Wade have you," he said softly.
Camulus glanced over his shoulder at the man who looked so much like Daniel Jackson. Watched as the blue eyes hardened. "I have no intention of crossing you." Even if he wanted, and part of him certainly did, to use this ship to reclaim what was his, then keep it and the 'free' Jaffa, he would not do so. Not knowing that Casey would be held accountable.
The Immortal bit back a grin. Jack had told him and Wade of Casey's shocking 'revelation' to Camulus, that her life was forfeit if he crossed the Tau'ri. It seemed that Camulus did care for her. Even if he never admitted it to himself. "Good. Because if they don't kill you before they execute her, I certainly will. And I've learned a great deal over the past five thousand years. I can be very…creative."
The Goa'uld fought back a shudder. He glanced at his companion from the corner of his eye. He hadn't been completely convinced that Methos wasn't Goa'uld. And right now he was certainly sounding like one. Was it possible…he shook his head. The shol'va would have killed him already if that were the case. He smiled briefly. Of course. She had entered his mind as well. Had determined his…trustworthiness.
"Methos, we approach the planet," one of the Jaffa, the Old Man's 'First Prime', said quietly.
"Thank you, Prius," Methos replied. "Open communications with the outpost on the southern-most continent."
Wade moved to stand near the two men. When Camulus turned to look at him, his gaze never wavered. "I held my brother while he screamed his grief once over her loss once. I will not do so again."
The Goa'uld started. "Then Doctor Jackson understands the depth of my grief."
"Which is the only reason that he believes you," Wade replied.
Camulus gave a sharp nod of understanding. "Ordell, report!"
There were several seconds of tense silence. "My Lord Camulus?"
"Yes, Ordell, it is I."
"We were told that Ptah killed you, My Lord! I…we knew that this could not be true! Your men await word from you, My Lord. They will be pleased to destroy the intruder in your name!"
Camulus smirked at Methos. "You will wait until I arrive. Do not tell anyone that you have heard from me."
"No one, Ordell!"
"Yes, My Lord."
"I will be with you soon."
"We await your arrival, My Lord."
Methos turned to Jaffa at the helm. "We'll all be wearing transmitters. If there's any trouble, get us out of there. And if it's trouble he's caused, kill him. Slowly."
Once again Camulus fought down a shudder as the Jaffa looked at him. He wondered what Cara would have to say about the predicament he now found himself in. She would probably find the entire situation amusing.
The men left the pel'tak, and met up with two squads of heavily armed Jaffa. The two Tau'ri guards were there as well. In a flash of light, and a whoosh from the rings, they descended to the planet below them.
Ordell was waiting, kneeling before his god as soon as he had determined that it was he who entered the compound. "My Lord Camulus, welcome."
"Tell me what has transpired in the past week," Camulus demanded, striding toward the computer terminal. He quickly determined the state of his fleet, and the current readiness of the outposts.
Ordell looked nervously at Methos, Wade, and the Jaffa that stood at attention behind them. And the presence of two who were obviously Tau'ri was most unsettling. "My Lord, these…men?"
"Allies. You need know nothing else," Camulus barked.
The Jaffa lowered his eyes and head in deference. "Yes, My Lord."
"Now, what has Ptah done?"
"He has moved into your palace, My Lord, and demanded that the Jaffa there swear loyalty to him. But he does not seem eager to kill any that…anger him," Ordell reported. "He has brought in only a handful of his own men."
"Is Nefrim with Ptah?"
"Yes, My Lord. He seems to be Ptah's second-in-command."
"Good. He doesn't know about the outposts?"
"It does not appear that way. He has not arrived to make inspection, nor contacted any of the outposts. That is why we were certain that rumors of your death were false," Ordell replied.
"Good. Contact all outposts. Tell them to move toward the palace. I do not want Ptah to know that we advance him, make that plainly understood!"
"Yes, My Lord." Ordell began to send the message.
Camulus turned to Methos. "It would seem that Ptah does not have a large army. Or he would have brought them and taken control of the outposts. If he isn't aware of them, it is because my Jaffa have not told him of their existence."
"I'm certain he would suspect that they were here," Methos mused.
"Perhaps not. I will kill Nefrim myself."
Methos shook his head. "General O'Neill wants him taken into custody."
Camulus' eyes flashed with anger. "He is responsible for the death of my Beloved!" the Goa'uld roared.
"And his host is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Tau'ri. When the host has been dealt with, Nefrim will certainly be handed over to you," Methos replied calmly.
He struggled to reign in his anger. Green eyes flashed across his memory…a soft smile. No, he would not be responsible for her death as well. He finally managed a curt nod. He turned back to his Jaffa. "The message?"
"Has been sent and acknowledged by all outposts," was the response.
"I will lead these Jaffa myself," he announced. He looked at Methos, daring the Immortal to counter his command. The slim man simply watched him. "Let us go. I want Ptah dead by the time the sun sets over my palace!" he said.
The Goa'uld led the way through a narrow hallway. It opened onto a hanger bay, where dozens of gliders waited. A small troop transport vehicle was also sitting there.
Methos looked around. "I suppose you have shields that will prevent Ptah from seeing, or detecting, our arrival?"
"No," Camulus responded shortly. He began to stride toward a glider. Felt the men close in behind him. A subtle warning, but a warning nonetheless. He moved toward the transport. "But by the time Ptah sees us coming, it will be to late."
Wade followed the two men onto the craft, sat down beside the men from the SGC. He was certain both had to be scared as hell among all of the enemy Jaffa, but neither showed any emotion at all. Nor did their eyes lose sight of the Goa'uld that they were charged with guarding.
A A A A A A
Casey let the water flow over her face. Dagon was dead. Toren was dead. The nightmare that had begun when Dr. Steven Raynor had raced through the 'gate in order to return to P3R 899 was over. She had told Daniel that Steven had…broken, and that his death was release from his terror. His blue eyes had remained troubled, even though he had hugged her and thanked her for the information.
Sam's voice broke through the sound of the water as it splashed on the tiles, and the thoughts that moved through her head. "Yeah?"
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, why?" She looked over at her best friend.
"You just look a little…" Sam shook her head slightly. "The past couple of months have been brutal."
"Just slightly. After not hearing anything about Dagon for so long, I guess I was hoping he was already…gone," Casey admitted. "His death…no, Steven's death," she said, correcting herself, "is going to haunt Daniel. Just like Osiris' did, well, Sarah's."
Sam nodded. "I figured it would."
"Now we get to deal with Camulus! Why couldn't he have waited until after Christmas?"
"Because that would have been the considerate thing to do?"
She giggled. "Well, he can sit and wait for a few days. I'm having Christmas with my children, my family and my friends. I will not let that Goa'uld cheat us, any of us, of this holiday! We need it just too damned much!"
Sam grinned. "I hear that, girlfriend. So, who's your secret buddy this year?"
"One of the new SF's. I don't think she's been here very long. I thought I'd get her a gift certificate for Silver Scissors. That's not too personal, in an impersonal sort of way, is it?"
"I think it's a great idea. I have nurse Hachet."
Casey giggled again. The woman's name wasn't actually Hachet, but every SG team referred to her in that manner. Many complained that she should never have become a nurse, her touch was anything but gentle. Having her draw blood was an exercise in pain, which left bright purple bruises. Rumor had it that she didn't really want to be on Gamma, that she didn't like Immortals. Why she had applied for the position if those were her true feelings, no one seemed to know. "Get her a book on how to draw blood."
"That's what Jack suggested when I told him that she was my secret buddy this year."
"Daniel says that if we tell everybody, it's not very secret."
Sam laughed. "Yeah, well, that's part of the fun!"
"I guess men just don't get it," Casey mused. She wrapped a towel around her slender frame, walked toward the lockers. Squealed out loud at the sight of balloons taped to the closed door. "I think my secret buddy just struck!"
Sam ran towards her, pulling a towel around her own slim frame. "Wow! I'd say so!"
Casey excitedly sorted through the ribbons and streamers, found a large card. "Merry Christmas, Your Secret Buddy," she read. She opened the envelope, exclaimed over the very cute Santa Claus. "Oh, wow!" she said softly. "It's a gift certificate for Waldenbooks!"
"That is a nice gift," Sam agreed. "So what are you going to get? Romance novels?"
Casey giggled. "No. I'll use this for a couple of volumes of poetry. The real kind, not like the stuff that I write."
"Casey, the 'stuff' you write is real poetry," Sam said gently.
She glanced at her friend, shrugged slightly. "Not really."
Sam sat down on the bench that filled the center of the wide aisle between the two rows of lockers. "Okay, explain the difference to me."
"Real poetry is written by poets, people who have…training, to write."
"Is that possible?" Sam asked, raising a blonde eyebrow slightly
"To be 'trained' to write?"
"Journalists are," Casey replied.
"Not many journalists write poetry," Sam pointed out. "Casey, I've read poetry. Yours qualifies."
She blushed, shook her head slightly. "I just write down…feelings."
"What do you think other poets do?"
Sam stood up and opened her locker. She knew that Casey was very modest about her talents. She also knew why the young Immortal couldn't accept that what she did was…good. One day, the colonel thought. One day her best friend would finally recognize her own self-worth. "Well, I know you'll enjoy those volumes of poetry immensely."
A bright smile lit Casey's face. "Yep. Maybe I can even get Emily interested in poetry." She pulled on her clothes, put the gift certificate into her purse. Maybe she could talk Daniel into stopping by the strip mall where the bookstore was located, on the way home.
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