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Devil in the Shadows
Daniel refused to let Casey anywhere near Oatash. He walked into the room, his hands in his pockets. He made his way around the bed, stood on the side opposite from the door. "Today's the day, Oatash. You're going to die today. I’m going to rip you into pieces with my bare hands," Daniel said softly, menacingly.
"You will do nothing that would endanger this host," Oatash declared smugly.
"If that were true, Jack wouldn't have shot you yesterday. The intention was to kill you then. The fact that you didn't die was… disappointing," Daniel replied.
The deep brown eyes of the young researcher glowed. "You lie. You are weak, human. You will attempt to save this host…this pathetic woman. If you try, I will kill her, and leave the body before she is dead. Perhaps I shall take yours? Yes, that sounds like a wonderful idea."
Daniel leaned close to the young woman. "Try it. Please. Make my day."
Jacob and Anise had slipped into the room. Just as Casey had done when they injected Wade, to remove Geb from him, Daniel ignored their presence completely.
"Do you know how many of your kind we've killed? We won't stop until we've killed every damned Goa'uld in the universe!" Daniel taunted. "We've killed so many that we have a wall where they are all listed, so that we can remember their names, and know that we are more powerful than any damned snake!"
Jacob plunged the needle into the young woman's neck. She screamed in pain, Oatash swearing at them in the ancient tongue of the Langarans.
For one moment the eyes fluttered, and the young woman looked around. Her eyes and face reflected the pain.
"Sara?" Daniel asked softly.
"Sara, it's going to hurt, but we're going to get that thing out of you. Can you fight him? Can you keep pushing him away?" His voice was soft, soothing, kind.
"I'll try," she managed to say before her eyes rolled back into her head.
"I will kill this human!" Oatash threatened.
"No you won't. You'll die if you do," Daniel retorted.
The brown eyes rolled again, and Sara tried to speak. "Feels…different," she managed to whisper.
Daniel smiled at her. "It's almost over."
She nodded, closed her eyes.
Jacob continued to watch the young woman. "This Goa'uld is not very strong," he said.
"Just came out of stasis yesterday," Daniel replied.
"That would explain it," Selmak said. "I don't believe the symbiote is capable of fighting much more. The young woman is healthy, and seems to be in control now." They all watched for a few more minutes. When it appeared that the battle was over, the second injection was given, supplying the antidote to the poison that had raced through the young woman's body.
Once again Sara's eyes were open. After hours of hiding in her own mind, she ventured forth timidly. "Doctor Jackson? Is it over?" she asked, her voice quavering slightly.
"I think so, Sara. We'll do an MRI just to make sure."
"How will you…get it…out…of me?"
Anise smiled at the young woman. "Your body will simply absorb whatever tissue remains."
There was a brief look of disgust on the young face. "Then it really is dead?"
"You tell us," Jacob said kindly.
"I…I don't feel it anymore. Like it's not there. Just…me again," she reported.
Daniel smiled again. "Good. Let's get you checked out, just to make sure." He started unbuckling the leather cuffs that held the young woman restrained.
When she was freed, Sara stood up, stretched slightly. One of the nurses smiled and brought a robe toward her. When she was close enough, Sara's arm reached out toward the shorter woman. At first it appeared that she was going to hug the nurse. Suddenly the eyes flashed, and her hand closed over the nurse's neck, pulled her back against her taller frame. "Now, human, who has won? If you attempt to stop me, I will kill this woman!' Oatash spat. He moved toward the door, dragging the nurse with him.
Duncan and Jack, who had been watching in the monitoring room, were already on their way to the 'gate room. Marines and SF's were lining the corridors, waiting for the perfect shot, and the order, to take the tall blonde woman out.
Oatash passed a stand where several syringes were lying. He grabbed one, and with one hand he pulled the plunger back, filling the tube with air, then jabbed the needle into the nurse's neck. "I believe that an air bubble, particularly one this large, will kill her, will it not? And rather painfully, if I am not mistaken."
"Pull back," Daniel said to the Marine and SF guards, his voice a low growl.
"The bastard managed to fool Selmak," Jacob said quietly, seeing the look on the young archaeologist's face. "I thought the damned thing was dead, too."
Daniel managed to nod. If Selmak had been tricked, maybe it was okay to not feel like he had fucked up yet again! He and Jacob/Selmak continued to follow Oatash as he made his way toward the 'gate room. "We don't have a DHD," Daniel said, hoping to stall the Goa'uld until they could find a way out of this mess.
Sara smiled. "But you do have a way to dial the 'gate," Oatash said, not the least bit concerned.
"You'll never make it out of here alive," Daniel told her.
Sara/Oatash continued to smile. "You will not risk this one's life," he said confidently, nodding toward the nurse.
"You have to turn loose of her before you can walk through the 'gate…uh…Chappa'ai," Daniel countered.
"You will not risk using your weapons, this human might be hurt," Oatash replied.
"All we need is one clear shot," Daniel said.
Oatash searched the brain of his new host. With a low growl, Sara's body began to hunch down, hiding behind the nurse now, keeping her between him and the armed men that lined the walls around him.
"Should have kept my big mouth shut," Daniel groused.
"No, I believe he found the information needed for his protection in the mind of his new host," Selmak said. Even though she wasn't sure it was the truth, the look of anguish on Daniel's face made the small lie acceptable. "He responded too quickly for that idea to be new to him."
Again Daniel grabbed the words and held them, using them to fend off the new rush of guilt. "So now what?"
"I don't believe there is anything we can do," Selmak replied.
When Sara/Oatash entered the 'gate room, she/he continued to move, keeping the terrified nurse between her/him and any weapons.
"Damn it!" Jack muttered. "We can't take a shot without risking that nurse, and she's not Immortal!"
"You will dial as I tell you," Sara/Oatash ordered.
"If we refuse?" Duncan asked.
"This woman dies," was the calm response.
Duncan nodded to Daniel. The young dark-blond man sat down at the dialing computer, and entered each symbol as Oatash said it. "We will find you, and kill you," Daniel said, his voice as icy as his blue eyes.
Sara/Oatash laughed. "I think not, human. I am a god!"
The 'gate opened, and the Goa'uld and her/his prisoner backed slowly up the ramp. When she/he had reached the event horizon, an evil grin crossed the lovely face. The plunger was pushed down, and the nurse dropped to the metal grid beneath her feet, her body writhing in pain.
"No!" Duncan yelled, already running toward the downed woman.
Daniel sat, stunned, and stared as the Goa'uld disappeared into the shimmering surface of the open 'gate. Before the medical team could arrive, the nurse was dead. "I'll find you, you goddamned bastard!" he whispered.
Jack looked at the shocked faces that surrounded him. "Let's get ready to go, people," he said. "We have one of our own to bring home, and a Goa'uld bastard to kill."
A A A A A A
It didn't take twenty minutes for SG-1, SG-6, and Marine 2 to be geared up and ready to go. Daniel dialed the same coordinates he had before, then raced into the 'gate room to follow the three teams through the event horizon. The MALP, which had gone through only minutes after Oatash, was sent back, and the search began.
The area near the 'gate was jungle…dense and thick and full of places to hide. The computer had designated the planet R57 P45. The teams quickly renamed it Hell. It was hot, humid, and the air was full of flying, stinging insects. The bug repellent that was issued did little to offer the humans relief.
"Teal'c, take point, Marine 2, I want you spread forty-five behind him. Major, I'm putting you and the boys on our six. 1, we're not more than ten feet apart. Let's move out, people. That bastard can't have gotten far," Jack said.
Casey adjusted her pack, then slipped her hand into Daniel's. 'You'd better not be blaming yourself for this.'
He looked down at her, saw the love, and the determination in her eyes. 'I fucked up, Casey.'
She shook her head, sent her blonde braid into motion. 'Selmak told me that he had her fooled as well. If Selmak couldn't tell, how were you supposed to?'
'I'm The Chosen. I should have known.'
Casey stopped walking and looked up into the face of the man she loved. "That is just ridiculous! Yes, you're The Chosen. That doesn't mean you're some omnipotent god! You're still a man. An incredible man, but a man!"
Jack looked over at the couple. "Daniel, if I find out you're blaming yourself for this, I'm gonna kick your ass."
He had to smile. "I feel like it's my fault," he said as he started walking again, Casey's hand wrapped tightly around his own.
"If I had been a better shot yesterday, this wouldn't be happening, and that nurse would still be alive," Jack retorted. It was clear that he held himself responsible for that woman's demise.
"If I had insisted on those damn jars being destroyed immediately-" Daniel stared.
"No one is to blame for any of this," Casey said softly. "This is just one of those situations that went from bad to worse. It happens. The best we can do is deal with it and move on."
"Casey's right," Sam said, wrapping her fingers around Jack's hand. "We could play the blame game all day, it won't change a thing that's happened. Won't make anybody guilty, either."
"As the saying goes," Major Parker spoke up, "Shit happens. This time some really lousy shit happened."
"We'll get the mess cleaned up," Tony added.
Daniel and Jack exchanged smiling glances. It was nice to know that friends and family wouldn't allow them to wallow in self-recrimination, or self-pity. Both men tightened their hands around those of the women who loved them unconditionally, and supported them the same way.
The trees that surrounded them were tall, the trunks large and covered with vines. Low bushes and long tendrils of vines made walking difficult. Teal'c was following a path of broken leaves and disturbed foliage, obviously Sara/Oatash had come this way. The three teams moved as quickly as possible, hoping to catch up with the Goa'uld, and the innocent host he controlled.
Jack looked up at the sky. The sun wasn't visible above them, it was hidden behind the green canopy that arched sixty feet or more above their heads. Night would fall quickly when the sun set completely. "Casey, give me something," he said quietly.
She waited for Daniel's warm, comforting presence, then reached out. She stopped dead in her tracks. "Jack, we need to head back to the 'gate. Now."
"T, guys, hold up," Jack called softly. He walked to where Casey stood literally shaking in her boots. "Talk to me, Case."
"Bad. Really bad. We have one chance to make it to the 'gate. If we don't, all hell is going to break loose," she replied. Her hand was still in Daniel's, her free hand now wrapped around his wrist. She could feel them.
The tiny hairs on the back of his neck began to stand up. Daniel looked around, carefully, slowly. They were being watched. He glanced at the faces of the soldiers around him. Knew that they were all sensing it as well.
"Okay, kids. Nothing here. Let's head on home," Jack said, not too loudly, but loudly enough that whoever was watching, if he or she understood English, knew that the group was leaving.
With SG-6 now in the lead, the teams tried to hurry back to the 'gate without appearing to rush. Every sense was alert, eyes watched every shadow, every leaf that moved was taken note of. They could see the 'gate, were within a dozen yards of being there, when the whisper of darts, dozens of them from the sounds that filled the air, struck each one of the team members. Those not hit right away began to fire into the jungle, hoping to stop whoever was still shooting the darts at them.
Casey reached for Daniel, two darts in her leg, unconscious before her fingers closed around his arm. He pulled her against him as darkness surrounded him.
A A A A A A
She opened her eyes slowly, letting her Quickening deal with the god-awful pounding behind her eyes. She tried to move, but found that she was bound. She was on her side, her legs pulled up against her chest, her wrists tied to her ankles. Her vision was still a bit hazy, but she could make out bars around her. She was in a cage of some sort. She reached out for Daniel. He was still unconscious. She blinked her eyes a few times, waiting for her sight to clear. When it did, she felt the blood run cold in her veins. There was no doubt in her mind that the two men watching her, wearing tattered fatigues, were NID. They reeked of it.
"Well, the little witch is awake," the taller of the two men said. His smile was menacing. "Tell Shakney. He'll want to get started right away."
The other man nodded, and hurried out of what appeared to be a tent. She continued to look around. The tent was large, but mostly empty. The cage she was in had been placed in the center. Toward the back of the tent was a small card table and two chairs. Nothing else filled the space.
The second man returned with the man who must have been the Shakney that the first man spoke of. He glanced at her, took note that her green eyes were watching him, then nodded. "Bring her on in. Doctor Jackson is awake again as well."
Again? How long had she been out? How many times had Daniel been unconscious? Or dead? 'Daniel?'
'Right here babe. Are you all right?'
'I'm fine. I think…I think they're going to…use me…to get to you. I don't think they know that we can communicate. I don't think they know about the Fire either.'
'That's good to know. Follow my lead, Angel.'
What looked like a broom handle was shoved between her bound feet and hands, and her two guards carried her out of the tent and toward a tin building. She tried to look around. She thought she caught sight of two large cages, and she was sure that she had seen Tony in one of them. If she had to bet, she would say that SG-6 and the Marines were in those cages. The members of SG-1, being Immortal, had been separated. She had the feeling that they would use Sam to get to Jack as well. Teal'c, she was sure, would simply be tortured to death, the only reason being because he had at one time been Apophis' First Prime.
When they entered the building, she was dropped onto the floor. Her shoulder protested when she landed roughly on it.
"Take it easy!" Daniel demanded angrily. His face was bloody…there were dried splatters of blood on his shirt. He had already been beaten, and had healed.
"Doctor Jackson, you don't give the orders around here. I do," the man named Shakney said. He sat down in a director's chair, lit a cigarette, and studied her. "She is beautiful, isn't she? Let's see if she looks that good all over." He nodded, and the two men who had carried her in pulled the broom handle from her ropes. They untied her, then one held her as the other began to strip her.
"Leave her alone, goddamn you!" Daniel shouted, anger flashing in his blue eyes. "Get your hands off my Wife!"
"Shut up!" Shakney shouted in return. He aimed his revolver and shot Daniel in the chest.
Daniel's body sagged against the restraints that held him against the wall. Casey could feel panic building up. As long as Daniel was conscious, he could use the Fire to protect her…she pulled her lip between her teeth, then began to chant the mantra that Teal'c had used in the temple on PR3 195. She started to recite it out loud, part of her mind noting that the men were looking at her with a bit of fear, the one stripping her had stopped moving at all. If they thought...she looked at Shakney, and began to chant louder.
"I don't know what you're saying," he growled, "but you'd better shut up right now."
"Or what, you'll shoot me too?" She cringed mentally. That's right…scared or nervous, and the smartass just slipped right out.
Shakney laughed, then stood to his feet. He walked over to where the two men still held her. They had pulled her shirt off, but her tee shirt was still in one piece. Her pants were unzipped, but still on her hips. The gray haired man reached out, shoved his hand down the front of her pants, tried to force his fingers between her thighs.
Behind him Daniel gasped, his back arched, and as soon as his eyes focused, he let out a growl of absolute fury. Two blue balls of Fire landed on either side of the men who held her.
Shocked, their captor turned to face him. "Tie his hands down. Don't let him move them." The men let go of Casey's arms. She struggled as Shakney grabbed her with both hands, held her arms against her sides. "Don't wear yourself out, Beautiful. Save some of that energy for me."
As soon as the two guards were close enough, Daniel let go with two more balls of blue flame. The acrid smell of burning flesh filled the room as the fireballs impacted on their chests. One of the men looked down at the gaping hole in his body, then stared wide-eyed and slack-jawed at Daniel, just before he fell to the floor and died.
Shakney turned; paled when he saw his men on the floor, then grabbed Casey and held her between himself and the man who was chained to the wall. "Now what, sport? Can't toss any of that fire now, can you? Not without messing up this beautiful body. And that would be a shame, wouldn't it?"
'When I tell you, I want you to pull away as hard as you can, and go straight for the floor.'
"Touch her, and I swear you'll die slowly," Daniel said.
Shakney held her, one arm around her neck, holding her back against his body. The other hand began to move over her. He cupped her breasts, ran his fingers over them, then slid his hand down her belly, inside her pants once again. "Her skin is so soft," he taunted. "Makes me wonder just what that soft skin down there tastes like." He pulled his hand from between her thighs, tried to force her pants down with just one hand. When he stepped away from her the tiniest bit to push them down in the back, Daniel knew his opportunity had arrived.
Casey jerked forward as hard as she could, then dropped to the floor. Milliseconds later two fireballs exploded in…and on, the man who stood behind her. She cried out, curling into a ball on the floor, and covering her head as blood and tissue rained down around her. Terrified, sickened, she desperately brushed the bits of blood and bone off her arms, nearly clawed at her face to clear it.
"Casey? Babe, I need you to stand up. Come on, Angel, you have to unlock these cuffs," Daniel said softly, gently. "You can do it, Angel."
Shaking, tears streaming down her cheeks, she crawled to where Daniel was hanging, whimpering slightly as she pushed one of the bodies out of her way. "Where are the keys?" she asked, just as her teeth began chattering.
"On that table behind you. Take a deep breath. That's my girl," he said as she began to breathe deeply, slowly. "That's it, Angel."
She grabbed his legs, pulled herself toward him, managed to stand to her feet, and crossed the room. She had to hunt for the keys among cigarette butts, metal cups of half drank coffee, and a dozen different weapons, from brass knuckles to knives and handguns. She stopped to button and zip her pants, her hands shaking so badly she could barely use them. Her fingers closed over the keys, and she ran back to where Daniel waited.
As soon as his hands were free he pulled her against him, held her while she cried. "It's okay, Case. It's over babe. Shhh…it's okay, baby, it's okay."
She forced the tears back, took a deep, shaky breath. "I think they have 6 and the Marines in cages outside. I don't know where they have Jack or Sam or Teal'c."
"Where did they have you?"
"A tent across the compound. I think there was another tent," she said, trying to remember what she had seen as she had been carried to this building.
"Did you notice any guards?"
She closed her eyes. "Two. By the cages."
Daniel took two of the handguns, one a 9 millimeter Glock, the other a .357 Smith and Wesson. He checked to make sure both were loaded. He handed the 9 millimeter to his wife. "Okay, Angel. We have to get the teams out of here. Can you help me do that?"
He kissed her forehead. "You're an incredible woman, Casey Jackson."
"You're an incredible man, Doctor Jackson," she replied, giving him a small, trembling smile.
"Okay, let's see if we can get out of here without being noticed." He walked over to the door, opened it just a crack and looked out. He couldn't see anything at all. He shifted his position, and looked again. He could see two tents, one almost directly across from them, the other at about ten o'clock from where they stood. "How many guards were on you?"
"Just those two guys," she said, nodding toward the two dead bodies by the wall.
"How many can you sense?"
She took his hand, smiled when he caressed her so gently as he held her, both physically and mentally. She reached out, looked around the compound. "Two by the cages. Two in the tent where Sam, Jack and Teal'c are."
Daniel frowned. "Seven total. Either this is a renegade group, or they have more out there somewhere."
She closed her eyes. "Shakney wasn't in charge. Not fully. Only because his…boss…is away right now. We have to hurry, Daniel!"
"Okay, we're going to slip out of here and try to get to that tent without being noticed. Ready?"
She nodded, then followed him as he led her into the twilight of the jungle. Twice they stopped, frozen in place when the guards appeared to look in their direction. It took nearly fifteen minutes to traverse no more than thirty feet.
"Okay, Angel, I'm going to try and use the Fire to take these guys out. It's quieter," Daniel grinned.
She smiled, and nodded.
Daniel eased his way through the flap of the tent. All three of his friends had blood on their faces and clothes, but they were all conscious and seemed to be healed. Jack noticed him, and began to cough loudly.
"Water…" Jack managed to say between coughs.
The guards turned and looked at him from where they sat at the table playing cards. Their eyes widened when they saw Daniel standing on the other side of the cages, just inside the opening. Neither guard made a sound when the twin balls of blue fire impacted upon their chests, leaving them smoldering, and the two men slumped over the table.
'Case, come on in.'
She slipped inside, helped Daniel open the cages to free their friends. "There are only two guards left, but we have got to hurry. We need to find our gear, too."
"Supply tent probably," Jack said.
"Where's that?" Daniel asked.
"I dunno. Let's get 6 and the Marines free, and we'll look for it," Jack replied.
Daniel once again used the Fire to take out the guards. The sounds of gunfire would echo through the jungle, and they had no idea how close any other NID agents might be. It took less than ten minutes to find the supply tent. They took their gear, plus three crates of what appeared to be artifacts. Sam determined which way they needed to go, and they began to hurry toward the Stargate.
It was pitch black, the group was able to continue their trek unimpeded because of the night vision goggles.
Casey was getting that feeling again, and she pulled her lower lip between her teeth. Jack sent the Marines and SG-6 through the 'gate first, along with the crates they had 'confiscated'. Once again the whisper of darts filled the air. Casey almost screamed with frustration as her mind gave in to the darkness for the second time.
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