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The young woman was thrown back into the cell. Her mind had held knowledge of Casey Jackson, but nothing about Gabrielle, or whether or not the two women were actually one in the same. Her head aching, her body in pain from the beating she had received when so little could be taken from her; she crawled into a far corner. She couldn't even cry any more. She just lay there, curled into a ball, praying to die.
He read the reports again, about Hathor, her supposed murder of Geb, and the taking of one of his ships. He knew this to be a lie. He looked again at the photos of Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter O'Neill, and compared them to the images of Lady Xena, the identity Hathor had allegedly been using to hide behind. Once again it seemed that it was just one woman.
The facts that he had were that Casey Jackson and Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter-O'Neill were members of a team known as SG-1, worked from a place called Stargate Command on a planet the Tau'ri referred to as Gamma-I. He had learned that the colony on Gamma was the home of Immortals, and that SG-1 were Immortal.
New information had just been uploaded to his computer. He bit back a curse. Images of Dr. Daniel Jackson and Brigadier General Jonathon "Jack" O'Neill filled the screen. The supposed 'bounty hunters'! SG-1 had been in his palace! He looked at the image of the Shol'va, Teal'c. He wondered where the huge black man had been during their 'visit'. He laughed. If they thought they could defeat him, then they were sadly mistaken. Several of his advisors had told him that they had defeated many Goa'uld. That Geb had kept track of each System Lord that fell before SG-1 and the SGC. Three of those advisors were in his special rooms now for their insolence in suggesting that he was in danger!
He summoned one of his spies. "Take a message to those who would gather against me. Tell them that Hathor is a Tau'ri known as Samantha Carter. Tell them that they are ha'shaks to listen to her. Then tell them that if they band against me, I will destroy them all. If they will vow to serve me I will allow them to live. Go!"
The man raced from the room. His god was in a foul mood, and it wasn't uncommon for servants and slaves to die by the dozens on days when he was in such a disposition. He ringed up to a waiting al'kesh, and hurried to deliver the message.
A A A A A A
Methos sat in the captain's chair, staring out the window. They were in hyperdrive, and the lights that passed were spectacular. He wasn't seeing the incredible light show, however. He was thinking about Casey's behavior during the briefing. Something was wrong. She had said nothing. Usually she had at least a smart-aleck remark to add. Her eyes had been full of fear, but she had said nothing. He had spoken quietly with Duncan and Jack, those two men had seen the same thing he had. Jack had mentioned that once before she had refrained from giving a warning, when she knew that in spite of the danger, the mission had to happen, that they had to go on. Duncan had wanted to talk to her, demand that she tell them what she felt, what she was 'seeing', but Jack convinced him it wasn't a good idea. If she didn't want to tell them, she wouldn't, and no amount of threatening would change her mind.
He glanced down at where she sat, on the bottom step of the platform. It had been obvious that she had been crying when she had finally joined him in the 'gate room. For a few minutes he thought that perhaps she and Daniel had simply been arguing, and that was the reason she was so quiet, the reason for the tears. Intuition told him that he was wrong. He sighed. He could only hope that she would give them enough warning to keep them alive.
"My Lord, we approach the coordinates given to you by Ashnan," the Jaffa reported
"Put us into orbit above the planet," Methos replied. He looked at Casey again. She was sitting with her legs pulled close to her chest, her chin resting on her knee. Her eyes were closed, and he wondered if she were 'talking' to Daniel. When she opened them and looked up at him, giving him a weak smile, he knew that she wasn't.
Sam arrived on the Hak'tyl thirty minutes later, and twenty minutes after that, Ashnan's ship came into view. Within an hour, ten Goa'uld ships were in orbit, using the magnetic reflections off the planet to hide their 'signatures'.
Ashnan again insisted that the meeting be held on her ship. Methos ringed over with Wade and the four Jaffa who had become his 'personal guard'.
A A A A A A
Casey waited on the Phoenix. 'Daniel?'
'Right here, babe.'
'I miss you.'
'Miss you too, Angel.'
'Are you in position?'
'Yep. It's impressive, all those Goa'uld ships gathered like that.'
'Too bad we can't just blow them out of the sky and go home.'
She could hear him chuckle. 'It is tempting. But we have to get Nergal first.'
He could feel her fear. He had never known her to be this afraid before, not even before the mission to Arconia. She'd been terrified then that something bad was going to happen. This went beyond that. He'd seen it in her eyes. Felt it when she kissed him goodbye in the 'gate room only a couple of hours ago. 'Angel, are you sure you're all right?' He reached out, felt her struggle…knew she was fighting to keep something hidden from him.
Okay. Not fine. Okay. Casey-speak for 'something is bothering me that I can't/won't talk about right now'. Damn it! 'Casey, please, babe, I have to know. What's wrong?'
'I…I…don't know! I'm just so damned scared!'
He sat down, rubbed a hand over his face. Okay, a baby step, but a step in the right direction. 'Do you 'see' anything?'
The pause bothered him. He reached out again, felt that same struggle going on. 'No.'
He could sense that she was lying to him. He slammed his fist against the table in front of him, causing everyone in the room to jump; Jack and Teal'c to begin watching him carefully. "Casey…I love you, babe."
She could feel his frustration. She was pretty sure he knew she was lying. But if she told him what she thought was going to happen, he would stop the mission, and this was their only hope of getting Nergal. 'I love you, Daniel. I…please…don't ask me any more. When I can…when I have…something definite, I'll tell you.'
He caught her slip. She was keeping something from him, from all of them. It was so unlike her not to warn them of impending danger! 'Babe, I'm going to trust you on this.' He closed his eyes, fighting back his own fears. Please don't let me down, he added silently, to himself.
'I promise, as soon as…as soon as I know for sure, I'll tell you.'
'Where are you?'
'On the Phoenix. Methos thought I should stay behind. Ashnan is still pissy about me being a part of Tony's rescue.'
He couldn't help but smile. 'Okay. Try to sleep, Angel.'
'Okay. I'll try. Love you.'
'Love you too, Case.'
He felt her 'move away'. He looked up at Jack. "She knows something. She's terrified, Jack; absolutely, freaking terrified. But she won't tell me what's wrong."
Jack crossed his arms in front of his chest. "The only other time she ever did this is when she knew that we had to follow through on the mission, the one about your nightmare."
Daniel shuddered at the memory. "I remember."
"Perhaps she is aware that this mission must also go forward, and to tell us what she 'sees' would cause Duncan MacLeod to stop it," Teal'c said.
"That's what I'm thinking," Jack said. "Daniel, tell her that nothing can stop the mission at this point, which is technically true. See what she says."
He nodded. "Angel?"
'I'm here, my heart.'
"Babe, you realize that nothing can stop this mission now, right? So if you have any…bad feelings about it, there's nothing we can do."
She hesitated. If there wasn't any chance for them to stop the mission…'Daniel, I think you should probably sit down.'
"Oh, god," he moaned.
"What?" Jack demanded.
"She told me to sit down."
Jack dropped into a chair. "Shit!"
"Okay, babe, I'm sitting. Tell me." He braced himself for the worst. Was not prepared at all for what he heard.
'Daniel, Nergal is on his way. There's going to be a battle. I'm…I…He's going to take me, Daniel. He wants Sam, too, but he won't be able to get her.'
"No! Oh, hell no! We're coming right now, Angel. We'll get you onto the Persephone!" he declared.
'Daniel! Listen to me! This has to happen! I don't know why! But it does! I don't know where he'll take me. As soon as I know, I'll contact you. I love you, Daniel, I will always love you, forever and ever, with all my heart. Never forget that.' She could feel the panic building, tried to stem it, tried to keep him from feeling it.
"I love you, Angel. I can't let this happen. I can't!" Her fear, and panic, only fueled to his own.
'You don't have a choice, now, Daniel. It's already started. I…Methos just signaled that I'm to join him on Ashnan's ship. I love you, Daniel. I don't know when I'll be able to 'talk' to you again. Please…please just be there!'
Tears filled his eyes. "I'll be here, Angel. I promise. I love you."
'Love you, too.'
He felt her 'move away' once more. His heart was breaking. He looked at his friends, barely able to see them through the tears. "Nergal is going to capture her. He wants Sam too, but she said he won't be able to get to her. She's on her way to Ashnan's ship now. And she said Nergal's on his way."
"Damn it! Take us up! We're going to get them off of that ship! Contact the Phoenix and the Hak'tyl and tell them to get the hell out of there!" Jack ordered.
Daniel grabbed his friend's arm. "No, Jack. We can't. This is our only hope of getting that bastard. Casey knew that. She also says this has to happen, she doesn't know why, but it has to happen." He was trying to speak around the lump in his throat, the ache in his chest so painful that it made it difficult to breathe.
Jack looked at his young friend, saw the pain…the worry…the fear in his blue eyes. He was not normally a demonstrative man, other than with his wife and daughters. However, he pulled the distraught man into a hug. "We'll find her and bring her home, don't you worry about that," he said softly.
"We have to, Jack. I can't live without her," Daniel said.
"I know, Daniel. I know."
A A A A A A
Casey followed the Jaffa into the salon where Methos waited for her. Wade was nowhere in sight. One look from the ancient Immortal, and she knew that they were being watched, or at least listened to. "I'm here. What do you want?"
Methos smiled at the anger in her words. "I wish for your company."
"I would rather be back on the Phoenix." That was certainly the truth! As long as she was on that ship, Nergal wouldn't be able to find her, take her.
"It is the Chel'nok!" Methos corrected her, trying to inject just the right amount of anger into his voice. "Come. I wish you to sit with me."
"I'm fine right here, thanks."
His eyes flashed. "Do not test my patience with you. Come!"
She hesitated, then finally walked across the room. She sat down, tried to sit as far away from him as possible. He pulled her closer, she struggled against him.
When she was finally close enough, he pushed her hair behind her shoulder, whispered in her ear. "Contact Daniel, Nergal's fleet is on the way. Ashnan caught one of his spies on her ship just about three hours ago. I convinced them that the Persephone was in pursuit of me, and that if it arrived here, we might be able to convince them to help us take him out. The vote was eight to two in favor of asking the Tau'ri for assistance."
Her heart jumped in her chest. Was this a chance to change what she had seen? Terrified to look, afraid not to, she reached out. Nearly cried out with panic when she realized that her capture was imminent. "Okay." She closed her eyes. 'Daniel?'
'Casey? What's wrong?'
'Daniel, can you get the Persephone up without these ships knowing you've been there all this time?'
'I think so, why?'
'Ashnan caught one of Nergal's spies on her ship. He's on his way. Methos convinced them that you were on his tail, and that if you arrived 'in time', you might be persuaded to join the battle against him. Eight of the ten System Lords voted to ask for your help.'
'We're on it babe. Tell Methos we'll be there in about fifteen minutes.' He turned to Jack, relayed what Casey had just told him. Using their new cloaking technology, taken from Nerti several years earlier, the Persephone 'arrived' in the solar system.
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