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Dance of the Heart
As much as Duncan wanted to allow SG-1 to recover from the effects of their last mission, he kept them on the duty roster. Two days after all of the Immortals left Thor’s ship, the ‘freedom fighters’ on Alteria signaled that Zinder had returned.
The same teams who had gone to Alteria with SG-1 were waiting for them when they arrived in the ‘gate room, geared up and ready to go.
"Chevron one, locked," Kyle called out as the inner circle of the gate began to spin.
Casey knelt down on the floor to readjust one of the straps on her pack. Daniel looked down at her, a smile on his face. She had made love to him that morning, holding him so tightly, whispering her love so softly in his ear, her lips kissing him so sweetly, her body moving against his with such passion that there was no doubt in his mind that she was healthy and happy and totally in love with him. He reached out and stroked her hair, the blonde strands as always feeling like silk against his fingers. She looked up at him and smiled, her eyes full of love and happiness. ‘Love you, Stud Muffin.’
He grinned. ‘Love you too, Angel.’
"Chevron five, locked!"
She looked up at him, a wicked little smile crossing her delicate features. ‘Anything I can do for you while I’m down here?’ She glanced at his crotch.
‘I can think of a thing or two, but it’s not something I want…witnessed.’ He winked at her.
"All right you two, knock it off," Jack said good-naturedly. He couldn’t hear what they were ‘saying’, but the looks on their faces gave him a pretty good idea of what their ‘private’ conversation was about.
Casey blushed, stood to her feet and shrugged into her pack. Daniel helped her with the straps, letting his hands brush against her breasts. He felt more than heard her sharp intake of breath, and her eyes told him that he would pay for his boldness. His imagination began to whirl with thoughts of what she would do to him.
"Chevron seven, locked!"
"Okay SG-1, SG-6, SGI-3, you have a go. Godspeed," Duncan called down to the assembled teams.
Jack led the way, and they stepped again onto the sands of Alteria. Waiting for them were several of the village elders. It seemed that Zinder had returned to the planet, but not to the spaceport. He had shown up briefly in the tavern. Young men from the village had followed him and his men back to where they had landed, in the desert to the south of the resorts. Camels and guides were already waiting for the teams. There were several Bedouin bands who roamed the desert, they were told. The teams had donned their robes, again wearing them over their BDUs. If anyone saw them, they would appear to be nothing more than a caravan of tribesmen.
A A A A A A
In less than thirty minutes, Casey had decided that riding a camel was not on her list of most favorite things. Daniel was at ease, of course, having spent so much time in Egypt on various digs, both while he was a child and later as an archaeologist in his own right. She had been certain that she was going to fall off when the animal had stood to its feet as soon as her weight was settled on its back. She endured the swaying of the saddle that she was sitting on, holding tightly to the reins of the foul-tempered beast she had been lifted onto.
The heat was oppressive, and Casey wondered at the men who walked in the sand beside them, leading the camels. They moved and acted as if they felt nothing. Having been born to the planet probably made a difference, she thought. She wondered briefly what it would be like to have been born among a nomadic, desert people.
When the sun was at it’s zenith, the guides stopped the camels, urged them down to their knees, and encouraged the riders to dismount. Three of the men put up a temporary shelter, which offered shade for the beasts and the humans.
One of the two scouts who had gone ahead came running to where they rested. It seemed that one of the Bedouin tribes was meeting with Zinder.
"Could be he’s just hiring local talent," Major Parker said as they discussed the information.
"That would be my guess," Jack agreed. "Daniel, find out just exactly what kind of people these nomads are."
Daniel nodded, turned to their guides. After a lengthy conversation, he turned back, a frown on his face. "They’re not a very friendly bunch, and they tend to deal in slave trade. Any ‘tourists’ who wander too far from the resorts are considered fair game. Ishmael doesn’t know who they sell to, only that those taken are never heard from again."
"Peachy," Jack muttered "We’re sure to attract their attention."
"Probably," Daniel agreed. The man beside him, Ishmael, pointed to where Casey, Sam and Becca sat together, his voice raised in pitch as he spoke rapidly.
Jack watched Daniel’s face pale. He knew without asking what the man had said. "They’re more desirable, right?"
Daniel nodded. "Blondes are very highly prized. If the Bedouins get so much as a glimpse of Sam and Casey, they won’t stop until they have them."
"They’ll stop when they meet up with the wrong end of a P90," Tony muttered.
Jack nodded. He looked over at his wife and their young friend. "Okay, you three get the veils on, keep them on. I know it’s hot, but we can’t take the chance of them seeing your hair, or your eyes. You don’t move an inch away from any of us, got it?"
The women nodded. Thoughts of slavery and the abuse they could suffer squelched any and all objections they might have otherwise had to such an order.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in tense silence. The men and the guides watched for any sign of lurking danger. The women sat miserably on the camels, praying for night and cool air.
A A A A A A
Camp had been set up, using native-style tents. Sam, Casey, and Becca were put together in a tent near the center of the encampment. The men from the village surrounded it, laying out their sleeping blankets as close to the cloth structure as they could get. Jack ordered a perimeter set up, and the watch began.
The guides had insisted that the women stay inside the tent. Other than a necessary trip to the hastily dug latrine, which could only be made with an escort of three men and while wearing full headdress, they weren’t to show their faces outside of their temporary home. That their own teammates were so adamant about following the oppressive rules only added to their worry.
"This is just the pits," Sam complained as they ate their rations.
"You can say that again," Becca agreed. "How do women in this culture stand this kind of treatment?"
"If you don’t know any different, you would just accept it," Casey replied.
Becca nodded. "Good point. So, what do we do to pass the time?"
Casey grinned, pulled a deck of cards from her pack. "Texas Hold ‘Em. One-eyed Jacks and Deuces are wild. Twenty-five cent ante."
They were on their third hand, with Sam the obvious winner, when Casey shivered. "Daniel?" she whispered.
'Right here, babe,' he responded immediately.
"Trouble. Big trouble," she told him, shivering again. Becca and Sam were already holding their weapons, sitting tensely beside her.
There was a pause, she knew he was telling Jack. 'Stay in that tent, do you understand? Don’t come out of it, no matter what.'
'No matter what, Casey. The three of you stay put.'
She sighed. "Okay." She looked over at Sam. "He said that we’re to stay in the tent no matter what."
Sam heaved a sigh. "Right. And if they get themselves killed, what good will it do us to stay here?"
"My thinking exactly," Casey agreed.
"What if we put on robes like the men?" Becca suggested.
"That might work," Sam said, nodding slowly. "In the dark they might mistake us for young boys."
They began to search through the packs that their husbands had left with them. Within minutes they had different robes over their BDUs, and had all donned the ghoutra and `iqal that the men wore over their heads. Casey had pulled her hair back into a ponytail and wrapped it under one of Daniel’s do-rags before putting the headdress on.
The women sat near the entrance of the tent, waiting, listening.
"Any sign of them yet?" Casey asked finally.
'Not yet, babe,' Daniel replied.
She shivered again, just before the back of the tent was slit open. "Daniel!" she screamed out loud, as four dark eyed men rushed in.
For a moment the men stared at them, then the one closest to her yanked the headdress and do-rag off of her head. They grinned at one another. It was the last thing they did. Casey and Sam had already opened fire before they could move again.
Daniel and Jack raced into the tent. Daniel pulled Casey into his arms. She was shaking, but otherwise unharmed.
Weapons fire echoed to the right of them. Keeping their wives close beside them, the men slipped out of the tent and towards the battle.
It seemed as if the wave of Bedouins that appeared just over the sand dune would never stop, and Casey feared they would run out of ammunition before they ran out of enemy. Eventually, however it ended. They counted ninety-three bodies laying in the sand around them. Four were from among the villagers who had accompanied them.
Texas drew their attention to the night sky to the south of them. Zinder had just taken off. Frustrated at this second escape from them, the teams agreed to head back to the village immediately. News of the blonde women would spread quickly among the remaining Bedouin, and the men were determined to have them to safety before another attack could be mounted.
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