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Dance of the Heart
Daniel was the expert on the culture, so the team depended on him to help them blend in. Once they were all in their robes, Daniel led them back toward the tavern where Zinder had been earlier in the day. He had seen the man three times now, and would be able to recognize him. Casey and Sam followed, one step behind the men. Sam had complained about the arrangement, and warned Jack not to get ideas. She and Casey joined several other women near a large brazier. Not all of the women were wearing full veils, and Casey deplored the fact she had to. It made it difficult to see clearly. The entire team agreed that all it would take for Zinder to recognize her would be one look at those green eyes, so she had relented and wore the annoying sheer fabric over her face.
At least, she thought, they were armed now. She and Sam were each carrying a zat, and the guys had zats and 9mm’s. They sat together, listened to the other women chattering, although they couldn’t understand what was being said. They talked quietly between themselves.
Daniel, Jack, and Teal'c found a table near the back, and sat down. Zinder wasn’t there, but they could wait. Daniel ordered beer for himself and Jack, and tea for Teal'c. The young man who took their order looked hard at the Jaffa. His tattoo was covered by his ghoutra, the white cloth held low by the traditional camel-hair `iqal - but his dark skin was unusual among the natives. Because of the spaceport, many strangers frequented the tavern, so nothing was said.
They listened to the conversations around them, Daniel able to quickly pick up the local dialect. It was a bastardized version of ancient Egyptian, he discovered. He jerked slightly when he heard Zinder’s name mentioned by the man sitting at the table next to them.
"Zinder has arrived with all of the goods he promised," the man said.
"Then he shall have his payment," his companion replied.
"I think that we shall wait to deliver the components he seeks. I want to fully inspect this delivery first."
"You do not trust him?"
"No. I do not. Especially when he sends his witch to muddle the minds of the dock workers. They do not even recall unloading his ship, much less what they unloaded."
Daniel translated softly. The two Tau’ri and the Jaffa exchanged a glance. "Doria Olmstead?" he whispered.
"Has to be," Jack replied. "Isn’t that just peachy. Never thought I’d be thankful that Sam and Casey have such hot tempers."
"I believe this could jeopardize the mission," Teal'c said. "It is possible that she will recognize us, and to get too near her will render us susceptible to her drug."
Jack nodded. "Let’s head back to the room…wait ‘til dark. Then we’ll head to the docks and have a little look-see. I’d like to know what kind of ‘components’ he’s trying to get."
The men stood up and left. They didn’t notice a large man in the far corner who watched them carefully. He waited until he was sure that they wouldn’t notice him, then followed them out.
Casey pulled the veil off as they walked back toward the motel. Not only couldn’t she see well with it on, it was hot to wear. She closed her eyes and let the soft evening breeze blow across her warm cheeks.
A basket of fruit crashed to the ground behind them, the owner of the stand shouting angrily. They all turned around to look, hands gripping weapons tightly. When they saw nothing, only an angry man and small boy picking up pieces of fruit, they turned back and continued on their way.
The large man, who had tossed the basket to the ground, then stepped quickly into the shadows, grimaced. It was her all right. Zinder wasn't going to be happy about this. He’d better get back and tell him. That little bitch had sent Framone right off the deep end, until his obsession with her endangered their entire business and ultimately cost him his life. Zinder was going to want some payback for all the trouble she'd caused.
A A A A A A
They were dressed in black, their hands and faces covered with greasy black face paint. They slipped outside and through the quiet streets of the sleeping village. There were several dock workers moving along the well lit pathways that led from the huge warehouse to the individual docking ports. Daniel pointed out Zinder’s ship, and they began go move toward it.
Jack and Teal'c were just inside the open hatchway when Casey began to pull her lip between her teeth. Something was wrong. She could feel it. She followed Sam, could feel Daniel just behind her.
When the entire team was on the ship, Sam turned and glanced at her. "Case?"
"I think we’re in big trouble," she said softly.
When the door to the hatchway swung shut and locked with an ear-popping clang, she shuddered.
"I guess you’re right," Jack said. "Why didn’t you say something sooner?"
"I didn’t get 'that' feeling until you and T were already here…and it wasn’t…strong…" she said simply.
The older man reached out and squeezed her arm. "Don’t worry about it. Well, we’re locked in, might as well see what we came to see."
They made their way to the hold of the ship, backtracking several times to keep from being caught. Whatever had been on the ship, it was empty now. If Zinder had been expecting cargo, they would be in a good position to see what was being brought in. When they felt the ship began to vibrate, and then the telltale signs of taking off, they all felt a moment of panic.
"If Doria comes anywhere near these guys, we’re screwed," Sam said as they settled in for the ride.
"Which means you and I are going to have to be the ones to check out the rest of the ship," Casey said. "We don’t know where she might be."
"Concur," Sam said.
Daniel and Jack may not have been happy with the idea, but they realized that they were too susceptible to the ‘Hathor drug’ to risk leaving the hold. The men managed to get one of the doors open, and the two women slipped into a dark passageway.
"Keep talking to me, babe, so I know you’re okay," Daniel told her, just before they closed the door.
Holding tightly to their weapons, the two women slipped through the companionway to the engine room. There were two men there, both dirty and scruffy looking, playing a game of some sort.
Up a ladder to the next level, and they found living quarters, as opulent as any Goa’uld would have. They backed hastily into a room they had already discovered was empty when they heard Doria Olmstead’s voice.
"I don’t care what you say. I’m not doing it again! That perfume gives me a headache," she was saying.
"You will do as I say, or I will send you back to the pleasure house where I found you. Is that what you want?"
"God, no! Please, no!"
Casey cringed. So much for the woman doing this willingly. She glanced over at Sam. Sam nodded. They waited to see which room she was in, watched as Zinder locked her in, and then strode back the way he had come. When he was out of sight, they let themselves into the room, saw the woman lying on the bed, sobs shaking her shoulders.
"Doria?" Sam asked softly.
The woman gave a screech of surprise. "Who…what do you want? How did you get here?"
"We walked here," Sam replied dryly. "We want to help you."
The dark haired woman sat up on the bed, looked at the blonde beside her with wide eyes. "Really? You would help me…after what happened?" Casey and Sam glanced at each other. Obviously the woman recognized them, in spite of the grease paint.
Sam shrugged. "It sort of appears that you aren’t exactly doing this by choice."
"Oh, I’m not! But if I don’t do exactly what he says, he’ll take me back…I’ll die before I go back to that place!" Doria swore vehemently.
"Okay, take it easy. Case, better tell the guys we’re on our way back…with company."
"Okay." Casey looked at the woman, tried to fight down the feelings of distrust. Just because she had dark hair and eyes…‘Daniel?’
'I’m here, babe.'
‘We’re coming back, we’re bringing Doria with us.’
‘Long story short, Zinder is using her, she’s more or less a prisoner. As long as she’s not wearing that perfume, you guys are safe.’
There was a pause. 'Tie her up, and she stays tied up until we’re off the ship.'
'Jack insists, Case. T and I agree. She can use that perfume or drug or whatever on us. She can try to get sympathy from you and Sam.'
Casey looked hard at the woman who was still reclining on the bed, searched the dark eyes. She didn’t like what she saw. She leaned over and whispered in Sam’s ear. Sam glanced at the woman, then looked back and nodded. ‘Okay, on our way.’
Sam searched through her pack and took two large black plastic ties from a small bundle. She tied Doria’s hands firmly behind her.
"I don’t understand, I thought you said you were here to help me," she said, her voice shaking.
Either she was truly frightened, or an accomplished actress. Casey ripped two pieces off of the satin bedspread. One she wadded up and stuffed into the woman’s mouth, the other she used to tie around her face, to keep the gag in place. "No offense, cupcake, but I don’t trust you any farther than I can throw you."
After checking to make sure the way was clear, the two blonde women took their prisoner back to the hold.
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