<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
Devil in the Shadows
They were in some sort of a cargo bay, Teal'c had surmised. Which meant a ship. Jack and the tall Jaffa were pacing their cells, trying to find any weakness in the bars, any way to escape. The situation seemed hopeless. Compounded by the fact that somewhere, Daniel and Casey were no doubt being tortured. To death.
When the door to the large room opened, they were all ready. And happily surprised when Casey and Daniel slipped into the room.
Daniel didn't even bother looking for controls to the locked cage doors. He simply used the Fire to open them.
"Way to go, Space Monkey!" Jack grinned. He gladly accepted the handgun that Daniel gave him.
"Are you all right?" Sam asked Casey, searching the green eyes for any signs of trouble.
"Scared, but okay," Casey replied.
Daniel took note of the reply, the specific word used, winced at the implication. He glanced at her. Those green eyes were still wide, her cheeks pale. She didn't seem to be trembling any longer, however.
"What about you?" the young blonde asked as she searched her friend's blue eyes.
"Not too bad. We aren't as interesting," Sam said, her eyes twinkling.
Daniel took Casey by the shoulders. "Talk to me, babe."
She nodded, closed her eyes. "They know we've escaped. We have to hide, now!" she whispered.
Jack led them back into the corridor. "Let's find the engine room. We can control the whole damned ship from there." He looked at Casey. "Any ideas?"
She reached out, then grinned. "You're heading the right direction, boss."
Jack's grin matched hers, and he continued down the hallway. They could hear the humming sounds of the engine and the machines that fed into it. And the sounds were growing louder. A door at the end of the corridor seemed to be the destination they sought. With a nod at Sam, the general stood back and let the team's 'gizmo expert' quietly disable the lock mechanism on the door.
Once inside the engine room, Sam raced to the control terminal. "I can cut off life support to every section but this one," she reported.
"Do it," Jack replied.
"Uh, don't we need somebody to fly this thing?" Daniel asked.
"We can do that from right here. You and Teal'c can handle helm and navigation from these controls," Sam told him. She pointed to the monitors and the corresponding keypads.
"Okay, let's make sure that nobody can get in here. Sam, can you lock the controls to the door?" Jack asked.
"Yeah, I think so…just a second…got it," Sam replied.
"How long until life support is gone out there?" Jack asked quietly.
"Not more than an hour," Sam told him.
Casey shivered, and wrapped her arms around her body, her hands on opposite shoulders. "Lousy way to die," she said softly.
Daniel glanced over at her. "As opposed to how they planned to kill you? I'd say it's a hell of a lot kinder than what they had in mind for you…for all of us."
She looked at her Husband. No one, not even their family, understood how deadly Daniel could become when she, or their children, were threatened. He had suffered greatly during his lifetime, had lost his parents as a small child, and his first wife to the an enemy he had believed already defeated. He was more than just an archaeologist now, more than a linguist or an anthropologist. He was a warrior. And he would protect his family at all costs. She walked to where he stood beside Teal'c, slipped her arms around his waist, rested her head against his shoulder. "You have always protected me," she said softly.
His arms went around her automatically, pulled her close. Her cries as those damnable hooks were put into her body, and taken out, still echoed in his ears. The intentions of that NID bastard still stood starkly in his mind. "I've always tried to protect you," he replied, just as softly. He kissed the side of her head.
"So how do we find out where we are?" Casey asked.
Teal'c brought up the navigational computer once Sam had all other controls locked out. "We are approximately one hundred light years from Gamma. It will take at least two hours to arrive there."
"Yeah, depending on how fast this tub goes," Daniel murmured.
"Give it all you've got, Danny," Jack instructed.
They all jumped when pounding on the door began to echo in the room. It sounded as if whoever was on the other side was using a stick or pole of some type to bang against the metal hatch. The sound was nerve-racking to say the least.
Casey stood in front of the door, her arms around her slender frame again. "Can't we just knock them out, and then send them to prison?" she asked.
Jack moved to stand beside her. "Casey, these people are just as bad as the Goa'uld. If they could invade Gamma and round up every Immortal, including the kids, they would," he said softly. "Sometimes the bad guys are really, really bad. And not… savable."
She nodded. The thought of the Immortal children of Gamma, two of them being Emily and Nicholas, being exposed to these…animals, left her shuddering. "I understand. It's just…what separates us from them at times like these?"
"We don't set out to hurt anyone. We try to help people. And we try to protect the Innocent. That means that the bad guys have to be taken out. It's our job to take them out." Jack knew that Casey understood. He also realized that sometimes, you just needed to hear someone else vocalize what you already knew.
She leaned her head over on her friend's shoulder. "Thanks, Jack."
He grinned, kissed the top of her head. "Anytime, Case."
"We have hyperdrive in ten…five…four…three…two…one…engaging hyperdrive," Daniel said from the helm control. They all braced for acceleration.
Casey couldn't help but giggle at the sound of the thumps outside the door. It sounded as if several bodies had landed against it when the ship jumped to hyper-drive. They could hear the voices; angry voices, full of hate.
A A A A A A
The three Marine teams walked through the 'gate and down the ramp. They were dirty, hungry, tired…and angry. They had found about two dozen rag-tag members of the NID, who had delighted in telling the Gamma teams that SG-1 was on board one of the NID ships, and probably dead, taken apart in pieces was how one of the little shitheads had put it. Those rag-tag NID members were now permanent additions to the jungle planet they had chosen to hide on.
Kyle sent the report directly to Duncan on the Prometheus. The already angry Highlander became more so.
"Get President Taylor on the line," he said, his voice low. Those who knew MacLeod realized that he was at his most dangerous when he was this calm and quiet. He smiled reassuringly at the com-tech, patted her shoulder with a large hand.
Not more than three minutes later, President Taylor's voice filled the bridge. "MacLeod. I hear you've been making some rather nasty threats," the man said.
"I haven't threatened anyone," Duncan replied. "Merely stated the facts as they are. I just wanted you to know that the NID have SG-1. If my team doesn't come home happy and healthy, you're all on your own. And I will hold you, and the US Congress personally responsible."
"You can't hold us responsible for something that a rogue agency has done! That's not-"
"Taylor, I have enough proof that you, and Bartlett before you, have done nothing to eliminate this threat. Proof that I will happily hand over to the EDA…with copies going to every major news outlet on the planet. Think about that!" Duncan motioned, and the com-tech terminated the connection.
Colonel Bradshaw was chuckling. "That'll have them running elbows to asses for awhile!"
Duncan snorted. "I'd better work on that press release. Those idiots haven't made a move to control the NID in almost four years. I don't expect them to start now."
"I hear that, sir," the colonel replied.
With a shake of his head, Duncan headed for his quarters. He thought about his friends, his family, on SG-1. Hoped that they were all right. Hoped that Casey wouldn't come home with more wounds on her already battered soul. When they did get home, he was putting them back on down time, for at least a month. Maybe he'd have Kyle set up a couple of weeks vacation for them. They had liked that resort in Langara…yeah, that's what he'd do. Lord knew they all needed a break.
A A A A A A
"I'm bringing life support systems back online," Sam said quietly. Internal sensors had indicated that there were still four life signs on the ship. Jack speculated that somehow four NID agents had made it to the cargo bay and into the containment suits stored there. The good news was that each of them had a weapon, thanks to Daniel and Casey. The bad news was that three were nothing more than stun guns, not worth anything unless they were right up against the bastards.
Jack had insisted that Sam leave only the emergency lighting on. He didn't want to give their enemy any unnecessary clues that there had been any change in the status of the ship. Keeping the enemy in the bulky suits offered the team a better chance of taking them out.
"Okay," Jack said, "Danny, you, T and I are going to go find those assholes and take them out. Ladies, we're leaving you here to maintain control of the ship. Case, you watch the monitors, let Danny know where they are in relation to us, okay?"
She nodded. "Got it."
Jack hugged Sam, gave her a kiss. "See you in a little bit, colonel."
"I'll be here, general," she replied.
Daniel wrapped his arms around his wife, pulled her close, buried his face in her silky hair. "Love you, Angel."
"Love you, too, Stud Muffin. Be careful."
"Always. You too." He kissed her, reluctantly let her pull away from him.
Sam unlocked the door. When it opened, nearly half a dozen frozen bodies fell into the room. The men pushed them back into the corridor, gave the women a wave and small, comforting smiles, and Sam sealed the door closed once again.
Casey watched as three red dots moved down the hallway toward the cargo bay. Four red dots were stationary there. Whoever was there was sitting still. Waiting, for what she had no idea. 'Daniel?'
'Right here, babe.'
'They're just sitting there. I don't think they know that life support is back on.'
She continued to watch. Wait…had that dot moved? Yep, all four of the dots were beginning to move around the cargo bay. 'Daniel, they're moving. Looks like they're heading for the door.'
'Daniel, the armory! Can you guys get to the armory?'
'I dunno. Let me talk to Jack.'
She waited, pulling her lip between her teeth. The four dots that had been in the cargo bay were in the corridor now. 'Daniel, that's where they're headed, I'm sure of it! You have to get there first!'
'On our way, babe. Jack thinks he knows where it is.'
She watched, checked the ship's schematic. "You're almost there. They're one level below you. They'll be coming up in the elevator to the left of the armory door.'
A A A A A A
Daniel gladly took the P90 that Jack handed him. He pulled on one of the vests, filled the pockets with extra ammo. "Case says they'll be coming off that elevator," he said, nodding to the elevator door as they slipped out of the armory.
"Let's hope we can get them all before they even get off," Jack replied.
'Daniel, they've stopped, they're going back down. I don't know where they're headed yet.'
"Shit!" the dark-blonde haired man swore.
"What?" Jack asked.
"They're going down."
"Okay, let's take the ladders." Each of them had grabbed one extra P90, and slung the weapons over their shoulders. Jack led the way to the emergency ladders. The three men slid from one level to the next.
"Casey, talk to me, babe," Daniel said.
'They're headed this way, toward us.' He could hear…feel…the sudden fear that filled her.
"They're headed for Sam and Casey," Daniel told his companions.
"Shit!" Jack swore.
The three men began to run down the corridors. If those bastards managed to override Sam's controls of the doors, the two women were defenseless. None of them believed that the agents would be moving unarmed. They slid around a corner…and stopped short. They barely had time to exchange glances before things went really bad.
Casey watched as the four dots moved ever closer. Daniel, Jack, and Teal'c had stopped. The red dots that represented them were stationary at the junction of two corridors. They weren't going to make it back to the engine room before the NID goons were at the door. She glanced over at Sam. The tall blonde was also watching the monitor. "This could get real ugly," she said softly.
"Yeah, it could," Sam agreed. "I have the controls for the door locked out, but there's the chance that they could open it with emergency codes. Let me see what I can do." Her fingers began to fly over the keypad, trying to find the relevant information as quickly as possible.
"Better hurry. They're here," Casey said. 'Daniel? Uh…they're right outside the door.' She watched as the three dots that represented her Husband and two friends finally began to move forward again. She heaved a sigh of relief when those three red dots turned the corridor just outside of that locked door.
Even through the heavy steel of the hatch, the sounds of the gunfire filled the room. One by one the four red dots blinked out.
'We're okay, babe.'
She smiled when his love softly wrapped around her. She sent hers in return. She was waiting at the door when Sam opened it. The three men stepped inside. Daniel pulled her into his arms, kissed her gently.
"Are you okay?" he asked softly.
"Scan for anymore survivors," Jack said.
"I don't think…" Sam started.
The three men exchanged glances. "Better adjust the scanners to pick up low body temps."
Casey paled. "What did you find out there?"
"Some of their crew aren't…human," Jack said, not looking at either woman.
"What do you mean, not human?" Casey asked. She looked at Daniel. He avoided her eyes as well. "Aliens?"
Daniel shook his head. "Not exactly."
Sam glanced over at the men. "Just how…low…of body temps are we talking?"
"How cold did it get out there with life support off?" Jack asked.
Sam and Casey exchanged a glance. Then nearly jumped out of their skins when sounds of banging on the door echoed in the room. "Jack…what is out there?" Sam demanded to know.
The men looked at each other. "Whatever they are, they've been…engineered. I'm thinking these people…or what used to be people…I think it might have been a volunteer thing. Anyway, they…well, they look sort of…lizardy," Jack said.
"Lizards can hibernate," Sam hissed.
"Exactly," Jack replied.
"Well, they seem to know how to manage door controls, too," Casey announced. "They're coming in!"
Daniel tossed a P90 to her as they ducked behind one of the control pillars. Sam and Jack were behind the control console, and Teal'c was on the other side of the room, also behind a control pillar, a P90 in each large hand.
Casey nearly screamed when she saw them. The…creatures…and there seemed to be a dozen or so…walked on two legs. Had two arms. But their skin was pasty white, and scales were plainly visible. Their eyes were dark red - long, black, vertical slits for irises, and they seemed to move independently of one another. Fingers ended in dangerous looking claws. And on their necks were what appeared to be gills.
"Immortals!" one of the creatures called out, the voice sounded raspy and strained, as if using its vocal cords was difficult. "We will make your deaths painless and quick if you give yourselves up to us."
She looked at Daniel, her eyes asking the question. He nodded, took her hand. She felt his comforting presence, felt him caress her as he held tightly to her. She reached out. The brain was… different. But human. Or had been at one time. She could…feel …the memories. She moved carefully, trying to find any information that would explain who these people had been, and what had been done to them. Everything was…hazy…she couldn't seem to focus on anything.
One of the creatures saw where Jack and Sam were hiding, spit toward the control console. The stench of acid burning into plastic and steel filled the air. The three men of the team had already experienced the shock of seeing what these…creatures …could do. Sam and Casey stared, their wide eyes and pale faces conveying their feelings better than words.
Jack made sure that Daniel and Teal'c were looking at him. He counted off slowly.
'Get ready babe.'
She tightened her fingers on the grip of the P90, her index finger on the trigger, ready to pull.
As soon as Jack had stood up, all five of the team members were firing. The weapons didn't have armor piercing bullets. The skin…hides…of the creatures seemed tough, it wasn't easy to kill them. For several minutes it seemed that the best they could do was keep the creatures from getting close enough to…spit…on them. Which meant that as soon as they ran out of ammo …
"Use the Fire, Daniel!" Casey cried out, firing desperately at a creature that was getting far too close for comfort.
Still firing the P90 with one hand, Daniel called up the Fire, launched a blue fireball into the one closest to them, the impact on the chest sending flesh and blood…and acid…flying. He let go of the weapon, letting it swing free at his waist, and used both hands, stopping three of the creatures as they advanced. "Send me your Fire, babe," he panted, the draw of energy, and strength, from his body wearing him down quickly.
She put her hands on his back, willed the Fire to him as quickly as she could. Time seemed to slow to a crawl. There were still five of the creatures alive. One by one they fell as Daniel continued to hit them with fireballs. When it was over, they both sank to the floor. She pulled him into her arms, cradled his head against her shoulder as he fought to catch his breath.
"Sam, get that damned door closed! T, help me drag these carcasses out of the way. Be careful not to touch that yellow stuff. How close are we to Gamma?" Jack barked, already moving.
"Fifteen minutes," Sam replied, closing and locking the door. She resumed her adjustment of the scanners.
"Okay, the bad news is, we're going to have to get to the rings. The good news is, Daniel can kill those damned things," Jack said. He glanced at the young man. "Still with us, Danny?"
"Yep," was the quiet reply.
"Okay. We wait until we're in orbit. Then we make a run for those rings. Sam, is there some way we can blow this damn ship up, rig it to go off as soon as we're safe at home?"
"I could start a feedback loop in the hyper-drive system that would build up to critical mass and explode," Sam replied.
"It would take out the entire ship?"
"Oh, yeah," she said.
Jack nodded. "Do it."
Casey watched the scanner. So far they hadn't seen any movement, even with the scanners set to detect life signs at a much colder temperature. But that didn't mean that more of the creatures weren't out there.
"Talk to me, Casey," Jack said quietly.
She closed her eyes. Caressed Daniel gently before clinging to him as she reached out, searching the ship for any signs of trouble. "Can you lock the doors to the cargo bays?"
"Yeah, why?" Sam asked.
"Do it. Make sure they can't be opened. I don't know if those…things…in there are alive…or awake…or whatever. But there are several there."
"What level are the rings on?" Daniel asked.
"Two levels up from the cargo bays," Casey replied.
"We're in orbit," Sam announced. She started the overload, locked the commands into the computer.
"Okay, kids, let's do this. We head straight there. How long will you need to program the rings?"
"Ten, maybe fifteen seconds," Sam replied.
Jack nodded. "Let's go."
Hearts pounding, adrenaline rushing through their bodies, eyes taking in every dead body, watching for any sign of movement, SG-1 ran to the elevator. If will alone would have made the car move faster, then it would have moved up the needed levels almost instantaneously. They ran down the corridor, the rings in sight. Sam's fingers moved over the Goa'uld lettered keys, then she ran to join her companions.
As soon as they appeared in the 'gate room, Sam ran up to the control room and began scanning. The explosion above Hope was visible to the naked eye.
Duncan's gonna have to send out a press release on this one, Jack thought. "Anything left of that thing?" the general asked wearily.
"Nothing large enough for any…thing…to live on," was the tired reply.
"What's going on?" Kyle asked. The people in the control room with him were filthy, covered with blood, and looked totally wiped out.
Jack grimaced. "Ask me tomorrow. Let's get cleaned up, see the doc, and go home."
A A A A A A
Duncan grinned at the message. It was short, to the point, but exactly what he wanted to hear. 'SG-1 home safely. All alive and well. Casey demanding vacation time.' He rearranged his face into a scowl before he entered the conference room, took note of the look on the faces of the EDA members.
"I'm sorry for the interruption. Now, where were we?" he asked as he sat down.
"You were about to tell us about this proof you have that the President of the United States, and his predecessor did nothing to halt the activities of the NID, which, I remind you again, is a US agency, and should not be considered an international… problem," the UK representative said.
"Ah, yes. In the folders that you have in front of you are copies of memos, emails and communiqués that were exchanged between various members of Congress concerning the NID-"
"Where did you get these? These are classified internal documents," the US representative said indignantly as she glanced through the material.
"Madam, when it comes to the NID, nothing is off limits," Duncan said coldly. He glanced at the UK rep. "When it comes to the NID, every nation on that planet down there is involved, because there are agents in every country, from every country."
Murmurs broke out, many of the representatives shifted nervously. "I would like to state for the record that Italy is more than happy to comply with the…requests…of the Stargate Command Colonies. In return, we would like to see trade between our country and your colony continue," the Italian representative said. She glanced around the table. "For the sake of the entire planet, I encourage my colleagues to accept the new terms of our treaty, so that we might move on to the task of shutting down the NID, and getting back to business."
The US representative looked at the faces around her. "The greatest roadblock to shutting down this organization was extraterritorial jurisdiction. It was nearly impossible to get the permission needed to hunt for rogue agents in several…allied… nations." She looked pointedly at the French representative. That man looked away uncomfortably. "I have with me copies of memos, emails, communiqués, and orders from President Taylor that prove that we were trying to shut down this group. It wasn't until President Taylor's family was threatened that the effort was effectively stopped."
"I don't care how you work out the details," Duncan said. "I just want to see results. I have messages from the leaders of Langara, Terra and the new Jaffa home world, all of which outline the problems that these governments are now facing thanks to the NID and their nefarious…and illegal…activities. All of these leaders have assured me that they will not hesitate to cut off trade and diplomatic relations with Earth indefinitely if the problem isn't dealt with swiftly and immediately."
More murmurs filled the room. "How much time will you give us?" The Spanish representative asked.
"I realize that it could take weeks to find and arrest all of the agents of the NID. We only ask that we see that activity begin immediately. When we're assured that you are serious, then diplomatic channels, and trade, will open again," Duncan replied.
The new chairwoman, a representative from Norway, nodded. "Give us twenty-four hours to get task forces set up. We'll send you updated reports every forty-eight hours. Will that be sufficient?"
Duncan pursed his lips. He knew that Methos had enough spies on the planet below him that he would know almost instantly when each government made their moves. He had already been contacted by the three liaison officers of the three corporations set to move to Gamma next week. It was a mass immigration scheduled to take six full weeks. He was as anxious to have them on Gamma as they were to arrive. The sooner this new treaty was signed, the better. He wished again for Daniel's talent in dealing with bureaucrats. The young man had a way of convincing them to do exactly what was best for Gamma while making each of them believe they were getting the best of the deal. "That will be sufficient, yes."
With another nod, the woman signed the document in front of her. The other representatives, some more slowly than others, followed suit. "I trust this means that relations with Gamma are once again on steady footing."
"Yes, Madam Chairwoman, I believe it does," Duncan replied. He gave her his most charming smile.
An hour later the Prometheus was headed for home. And Gamma had just put Earth in charge of eradicating the NID.
<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>