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Forever And Ever, Amen
Daniel rubbed the bridge of his nose, then put his glasses back on. He glanced over at his companion. The huge black man was asleep, his baseball cap pulled low over his brow. Across the aisle, he could see that Sam and Jack were sleeping as well.
The flight from Denver to Seattle seemed to take forever, made longer by the fact that they were chasing a Goa’uld that the NID had been making some sort of illicit deal with. It had taken the NID two weeks to finally admit that he had escaped from their custody. When the news that the alien had walked away from the supposedly secure location in Seattle had reached the SGC, SG-1 had been assigned to find and kill him. And this was one Goa’uld that wasn’t going to be so easy to kill. His name was Wepwawet, and when SG-1 had managed to destroy Seth, the ancient Egyptian 'god' of war, he had taken control of all of Seth’s holdings. During a battle on PX3-987, the team had barely escaped Wepwawet. In fact, the Goa’uld and several of his Jaffa had managed to follow them back through the Stargate, which was how he came to be on Earth. It hadn’t taken the Marine contingent long to secure the 'gate room, holding the Goa’uld and his Jaffa at bay. The iris to the gate had been sealed, and without a DHD, there was nowhere for Wepwawet to go. Gas loosed into the room incapacitated its occupants. Within minutes they were prisoners, although Wepwawet had continued to struggle. A blast from Teal'c’s zat'nik'tel had finally quelled the Goa’uld. The Jaffa were still being held in a secure location not far from Cheyenne Mountain.
When the NID became aware that Wepwawet was being held, it hadn’t taken them long to 'appropriate' him. And…as usual…the NID had screwed up; and now there was a Goa’uld running loose on Earth. Daniel wasn’t given to violence, but at times like these he agreed with Jack…anybody in the NID should be taken out and shot.
Putting his headphones back on, Daniel dialed into the local news. "…this morning the vehicle of Casey Webster was found near the entrance to the Mt. Baker National Forest. Ms. Webster is believed to have been abducted from a Tacoma mall shortly before Christmas. According to authorities, there has been no sign of the woman or her abductor. Witnesses at a Tacoma Chevron station recall seeing the woman two days before Christmas, with a man police believe to be her abductor. One of the witnesses describe the man with her as a large man with dark hair and "glowing eyes", although police dismiss this as nothing more than reflection from overhead lights. There was no reason given as to why the car had not been located earlier. In other…." Daniel bolted upright. "Oh, shit!’’ he said softly.
"Danny, feeling a bit airsick?" Jack asked, a grin on his face. He hadn’t actually been asleep, just resting his eyes and listening to the various noises that accompanied flight.
Daniel shook his head. "Wepwawet abducted a woman from a mall in Tacoma. They just found her car near Mt. Baker." Already he was searching on his laptop to find the area where the car had been located. If what he was finding was correct, it had been isolated…the perfect place to be picked up by the Goa’uld ship that had been spotted near the moon just after Wepwawet escaped.
Now it was Jack’s turn to sit upright. "Are you sure?"
"One witness reported a man with glowing eyes," Daniel replied.
Jack rubbed a hand over his face. "Yep, that would be our guy. Old Wepwhatever must have been able to make contact with that ship." Damn those NID bastards! If they had just left Wewaw to us, then this wouldn’t be happening! "Any word on the woman he abducted?"
Daniel shook his head. "If he took her…"
"I know, Danny, I know," Jack said softly. His expression became blank, and Daniel knew that General Jack O’Neill was angrier than any of the team had ever seen before.
The very fact that Jack was on this mission proved just how angry he was. Jack had been able to convince General Hammond to pull strings so that he could return to SGC, leaving Jack free to accompany the flagship team of the SGC on this mission. It wasn’t just a Goa’uld running loose, it was this particular Goa’uld. He was supposedly one of the oldest system Lords still alive, although until now he had been a very minor player, never powerful enough to become more than a nuisance to other system lords. Seth’s death had opened a door for Wepwawet, and the Goa’uld had grabbed the opportunity for ‘advancement’. His capture and the information he could have provided, willingly or unwillingly, might have turned the tide permanently in the war that raged among the stars. If NID had been able to get anything out of him, SGC would never know about it. The order to bring him in, dead or alive, had not been given easily. At this point, however, Daniel was thinking that dead would be very, very good.
By now Sam was awake, and she was able to bring up more information on the missing woman...
Office manager for Hightower Industries, a sales firm specializing in shipping containers.
There was a brief interview with one of the roommates, but there was no useful information there. She let out a sigh.
"Something wrong, Carter?" Jack asked.
"Well, at least all of her gifts were delivered," Sam said under her breath.
Sam looked over at her CO. "Sorry, sir. It says here that packages were found strewn in a parking space, along with a purse. The man who found the stuff called the police, and it was all given to the roommates."
"That’s nice. And that helps us how?"
Sam frowned. "It doesn’t, sir. But when we find her, we can tell her that her friends got their Christmas gifts."
Jack smiled, the action barely lifting one side of his mouth. "Think that will be important to her?"
"It would be to me, sir."
Jack studied his hand for a minute. "Then we’ll tell her first thing. Any ID on her?"
Sam nodded, and rattled off what little was known about the missing woman.
By the time the team arrived in Seattle, they had an idea of where to start, at least.
A A A A A A
The car had been moved, of course, and more snow had fallen, and it had been nearly two weeks since Wepwawet had managed to escape. But there were tell-tell traces that confirmed their suspicions…the Goa’uld had managed to ring up to the ship.
The ship was another concern. Although the Prometheus was now patrolling the space near Earth, the Goa’uld ship had seemingly appeared from nowhere. Within hours it had disappeared. Unless the snake-heads had some new technology that they didn’t know about, there was no way an interstellar message could have been sent from Earth and not be detected, and reach as far away as it had to have in such a short amount of time, Jack thought. Which meant that this particular Goa’uld ship had been parked in orbit for some time. Probably as soon as word got out that Weepwet had been taken into custody. Or from the Goa’uld point of view, disappeared. This just keeps getting better and better, he sulked.
They were on their way back to Colorado. Hopefully Jacob had been able to come up with some sort of information on where Wepwawet had gone.
The Tok’ra had indeed been able to find out about the Goa’uld they were chasing; but it had taken over three weeks to get enough information to have a specific planet, and with it, the ‘address’ needed for the Stargate. The planet had been abandoned for some time, but in the past Seth had used it as a 'training ground' for the humans he brought from other planets. If Wepwawet was determined to carry on as Seth, then it was a good bet that he would be there - training new Jaffa, taken from a battle with one of the other System Lords, to fight for him. SG-1 was mounting a mission to recapture Wepwawet, and hopefully rescue one Casey Webster.
A A A A A A
Casey ran as hard as she could, hearing the metallic clink of the Jaffa behind her. She dashed through the trees, and tried desperately to find a place to hide. Two fallen trees offered her hope. She wedged herself between them and tried to wiggle as far under them as she could. She tried to slow her breathing, to make it less noticeable in the quiet of the forest, closing her eyes in concentration. For the first time since her arrival, her keepers had not chained her to the long length of cord that afforded her limited movement. She could move freely enough to carry out her task of washing the endless clothes and linens of her 'gods', but no farther. However, after letting her eat and attend to her personal needs, Liotus had neglected to re-chain her. When the only others near her had been the other two slave women, Casey had eased as far from them as possible. When they weren’t looking, she took off into the forest. Unfortunately, just as she began to run, the other women began screaming, calling for the Jaffa.
She opened her eyes. And looked directly into the furious face of Liotus. Tears began to slide down her cheeks as the Jaffa roughly pulled her from her hiding place. The march back to camp seemed endless. When they reached the first of the tents, other slaves stopped working to watch as Liotus pushed her roughly. She struggled to remain on her feet.
Liotus gathered all of the slaves, and had one of the Jaffa tie Casey to a tree, facing it, her arms stretched as far as possible. He was shouting angrily, although she didn’t understand many of the words. When he was at last silent, her shirt was ripped from her back. The first lash made her gasp out loud. Determined not to give in to the bastard, who now stood beating her, she gritted her teeth and tried to focus on something else, anything else. The pain was excruciating, worse even than when the hot branding iron had been pressed onto the bare flesh on her arm. She could feel the blood running down her back to her now bare backside. She bit through her lip in an attempt not to scream out.
Liotus stopped in mid-swing. "My Lord, this one was trying to escape."
Wepwawet came around to face Casey. Although he hadn’t told his wife, he did find Casey very attractive, and since his wife had left to go back to their home world, he had decided that Casey would make his nights much more…interesting. "Clean her up. Then bring her to me."
Liotus bowed. "Yes, my Lord."
Casey passed out as her hands were cut loose. Liotus pointed, and one of the Jaffa picked her up and threw her over his shoulder.
A A A A A A
Pain, unbelievable pain. It washed over her in waves, making her nauseous. She bit back on the bile that threatened to rise from her stomach. Soft hands were touching her, doing something to her back. Beaten. She had been beaten. Not even animals are treated this cruelly, she thought.
For the millionth or so time her mind demanded to know where she was. Oh, she knew she wasn’t on Earth. She had been with the other slaves when the ship had arrived, and she seen out the windows from space, watching as the planet grew larger and larger. Then she had walked through an upright ring with lots of weird writing along the edges, and after a "ride" that left her feeling icy cold and breathless, here she was, on an alien planet. Part of her understood this; another part screamed that this couldn’t be happening.
Tears slid silently down her cheeks. She hadn’t allowed herself to cry before. At first she was too busy trying to learn enough of the language to know what she was being told, an attempt to stop the open handed slaps, and the fisted cuffs across her face that came every time someone spoke to her and she failed to respond. It was difficult, especially since no one around her spoke English. But one of the older slaves, a woman near her...mother’s...age, she guessed, had taken pity on the newcomer, and had done as much as she could. For her efforts, the slave had been taken elsewhere. Casey didn’t know where Aleeta was, and now she wondered if the woman was even alive.
But now…Casey hiccupped a sob. Stop it! she demanded of herself. There is no way you’re going to let that bastard and his freak show break you! Snap out of it! So you got whipped…so what? Didn’t...Mother...say that Uncle Mikey suffered beatings as a POW in Vietnam? If he could survive, so can you, she told herself gruffly. She hastily wiped away her tears, a small groan escaping as she moved her arms.
She looked up into the eyes of the slave who was helping her. The young girl frowned slightly, and shook her head. She motioned for Casey to follow her…all of the slaves considered her a bit 'slow' because she didn’t speak the language, and so used hand signals to relay what she needed to know.
Slowly, the wounds on her back already stiff, Casey stood and followed. The young woman led her to the river near where the camp was set up. She had a small pack slung over her shoulder. The slave tugged at what was left of Casey’s clothes. For one brief instant Casey wondered what had become of her denim jacket, her tee shirt and jeans, her bra and thong, her favorite boots. She’d probably never know.
With a sigh, Casey stripped. By now she was accustomed to being stripped naked. She was just grateful that this time there was only this young girl. The looks she received from the male slaves and the Jaffa frightened her. The young woman pushed Casey toward the river.
Great, Casey thought. She’s going to drown me. Casey winced as the cold water hit her broken, bleeding skin.
The young woman plunged into the water beside her. When she reached towards Casey with what looked like a bar of soap, Casey stopped her.
"Thanks, but I’ve been bathing myself for years now. I think I can handle it."
The young woman’s frown became deeper, but she allowed Casey to wash herself, making sure that the strange woman did a thorough job. When she was satisfied, she handed Casey a small jar. Inside was a delicious smelling paste. She made motions of washing her hair.
Casey nodded and smiled, and ducked under the water. She was almost tempted to swim away, but she realized that being naked and wounded in the woods wasn’t a good idea. Besides, where the hell would she go?
It was wonderful to be clean again. She had done the best she could, but with no soap, and very little time alone to try and wash, the days of work had left her feeling more than a little disgusting. At least she hadn’t been the only unwashed slave. While they had been on the ship, they had been bathed regularly. But upon arrival on the planet, Gargantua and his minions had seemed to forget the slaves even existed, unless and until they wanted something. Even then, the personal hygiene or comfort of the slaves wasn’t considered.
Once she was properly bathed, the young woman applied more ointment to her back. Casey didn’t know what was in the salve, but it soothed the pain away almost immediately. The young slave took a comb and patiently worked the tangles out of Casey’s long hair. Next, the young woman pulled clothes out of the pack. At least that was what Casey thought the items were supposed to be. The top consisted of nothing more than a bra, a deep plunging one at that. The bottom was just a bit of silk that wrapped around her hips. Perfume was liberally sprinkled on her, and then gold bracelets were slid onto her wrists.
Casey swallowed. This was not good. She had heard Wepwawet (although she didn’t know his name, to her, he was still Gargantua) order Liotus to halt. At least, that’s what she assumed he had said, because the beating had stopped. She hadn’t been aware that the man was back in camp. She knew, without being told, that she was about to become someone’s, most likely his, entertainment. She barely quelled the shudder that ran up her spine.
The young woman led her back to the camp, and towards the large tent where Wepwawet stayed.
Casey froze, her feet unwilling to take her farther. The young slave girl turned and looked at her, that ever present frown on her face. She beckoned for Casey to follow. For the first time since her capture, Casey refused to do as she was told. She planted her feet firmly, crossed her arms over her breasts and shook her head.
"Uh uh. No way in hell am I going in there. I don’t care what you do to me, I am not going in there!"
Wepwawet stepped just outside. He had a smile on his face. "Not even if I ask nicely?"
Casey was taken aback. Granted, this wasn’t the first time she had seen his face. It was just the first time he wasn’t scowling at her. This time the look on his face made her blood run cold. She knew exactly what this man wanted from her.
He held out his hand. When Casey made no move to respond, the young slave girl slapped her across the face, and then forced her hand into his. He pulled her towards him. When she was standing against him, he brushed her hair over her shoulders, watching her face as he did so. He enjoyed the looks of terror and revulsion that crossed her delicate features.
"I have thought often of you, Tau’ri," he said softly. "Tonight I will see if you are as pleasing in the flesh as you are in my dreams."
The words were menacing to Casey’s ears.
A A A A A A
Dawn was just breaking over the horizon, the fingers of gold and orange and red pushing away the purples and violets and blues of the night. Casey lay silently beside the man who had abused her for hours the night before. Her body ached, she was sore from multiple penetrations. The bastard has stamina, she thought coldly. She shifted slightly, gasping when the wounds on her back caught against the linen on which she lay.
Wepwawet continued to snore. Next to him was the long, curved knife he had used to cut the clothes from her body, grinning like a madman as she trembled. Not even thinking now, driven by sheer will and determination, Casey cast about for something to put on. She found his shirt, and pulled it over her head. Then, moving with cat-like grace, she reached across his chest. His only response was to snort, and then to snore harder. Too much wine last night, she thought smugly. She would never know that one of the slaves, an older woman, had drugged the wine, enough to kill an ordinary human. That had been the plan, for the slave was faithful to her mistress, even when the master was not. However, Casey had refused to drink with her molester. He had only laughed, and drank the entire bottle himself. Casey couldn’t take time to think about what she was doing. She had to do it…and then run like hell.
His eyes opened wide as she thrust the knife into his abdomen, pushing and twisting with all the strength she possessed. She didn’t pause until the tip of it was protruding from his neck. She had thrust the knife into him so quickly and so violently that he had been unable to cry out. The only noise was a gurgling sound, bubbles forming in the blood that oozed from his throat. Blood began to drip from his lips. Her hand was covered with blood, it went up her forearm and nearly to her elbow. When she pulled her hand away from the knife, blood spurted from the wound, some of it splattering her.
Without waiting to see if he was actually dead, Casey slipped out of the tent. There were guards somewhere. But with luck she could slip past them and be away before the alarm was raised. There, they were near the food tent. Running in a crouch, keeping as close to the ground and other tents as she could, Casey made her way toward the river. She ran as fast as her legs would take her, following the river as it made its way downstream. When she came upon an open meadow, she didn’t hesitate to dive into the icy water. She had no desire to be out in the open, easily seen and shot at.
The water was colder in this part of the river, much colder than the water in the small side pool where she bathed, and she could feel her fingers and toes turning numb. Within a matter of minutes her entire body felt numb. Having lived in the Northwest, near the cold waters of Puget Sound, Casey knew that she had to get out of that water or die of hypothermia. She fought her way to the far bank, and gratefully crawled onto the mud.
No time to stop, she thought, forcing her body to move; grateful that the adrenaline that had started pumping through her system the moment she shoved the knife into Gargantua’s body was still flowing. She was running on what appeared to be a path when she heard a sharp noise. Terrified that she had once again been found, she dove under a large bush. And looked down into incredible blue eyes.
Casey went limp. "You…you speak…you’re American?"
The man nodded, pushing his glasses further up on his nose. "I’m Daniel Jackson. And you are-"
Casey managed a smile before she fainted.
Daniel looked at the young woman. Her blonde hair was dripping wet, she was covered in mud and…blood? Yes, that was blood. Her lower lip was swollen; it looked as if she had bitten through it. The slave tattoo on her arm was fresh, and when he pulled her into his arms, he could feel lumps across her back. He pulled her forward, rested her head on his shoulder, and looked down the back of her shirt. Oh, god, he thought, seeing the ripped flesh, some of the wounds bleeding freely. He reached for the radio on his other shoulder. "Jack, I found her."
The radio crackled. "How the hell did you do that? We’re nowhere near the camp Jacob told us about!"
"I suggest we head back to the 'gate now. She was running when I found her. Or rather, she found us. I have the feeling she escaped."
"We’ll meet you there, " was the terse reply.
Sam, who had hidden behind a large tree, lowered her P90 and stepped out as Daniel stood up. He adjusted the unconscious woman in his arms; she seemed feather light. Slaves were never fed well, he knew. From what they had been able to find out about her, she hadn’t been eating well before she was taken either. Her roommate had said something about a divorce and a "cheating bastard of an ex-husband". Whatever the reason, the woman in his arms was no burden. He was able to run behind Sam as they retraced their steps to the star gate.
"Looks like she’s been through a lot," Sam murmured as they hurried back the way they had just come.
"She’s been beaten, she’s got cuts all over her back," Daniel told his companion.
Sam flinched. At one time or another, every member of the team had been beaten. They knew only too well the pain, both the physical and the mental.
The alarm had been sounded by the time SG-1 reached the 'gate, where the Jaffa who had stood guard were still out cold, thanks to the concussion grenade tossed through just before the team arrived. They could hear the other Jaffa running up the trail.
"Dial, Carter, and make it fast," Jack ordered, standing beside Teal'c, ready to fire the instant the enemy was in site.
The Jaffa opened fire on the Tau’ri as soon as they were close enough. Jack returned fire, sending a spray of bullets into the formation. Teal'c was also firing, his staff weapon bringing down two Jaffa before they could break ranks. The seventh chevron locked, and the event horizon opened. The team scrambled through, screaming at Walter to close the iris behind them. Several thumps told them that they had been followed.
General Hammond met them in the gate room. "This is the young lady?"
Daniel nodded. "Yes, sir."
"Get her to the infirmary. Then my conference room. Ten minutes."
As Daniel carried the unconscious woman through the corridors, followed closely by his teammates, no one noticed when one of the new linguists, a man with dark hair and a prominent nose, whirled around; his eyes searching carefully, almost frantically, around him.
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