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Happy Birthday, Darlin'
She smiled. "Yep. Did you get the kids' bags?"
Daniel nodded. "Already in the jeep." He picked Nicholas up, hugged Erin with one arm, then took his son out to get him into the car seat. Casey and Emily followed.
"I'll look that recipe up as soon as I get home, and call you," Casey promised. "It is the easiest chocolate cake recipe I've found, and it's so moist and delicious it tastes like it was a lot of work!"
Erin smiled and nodded. "Good, I would like to have it baked before Amanda and Liam arrive. Amanda loves chocolate cake as much as you do."
Casey giggled. "That's a lot! She'll love this, I promise. In you go, Baby," she said, helping Emily into the car. She fastened the safety belts, then crawled into the seat beside Daniel. "Talk to you in a few minutes."
"Thank you, my darling daughter. And happy birthday," Erin replied.
With smiles and waves, the Daniel pulled the jeep away from the curb. He bit back a smile when Casey yawned. "Tired?"
"A little. I went to a wild party last night," she said, her eyes dancing.
"Do tell," he smiled.
"Yep. Rock band, cake, dinner, gifts, oh, and I got to dance with the best looking guy in the universe."
She took his hand. "Yep. He's an archaeologist. Makes my heart pound just being near him," she said softly.
He lifted her fingers to his lips. "Sounds like what happens to me when I'm near the beautiful lady I know. She owns me…heart, mind, body and soul. Forever." He glanced at her, saw her smile, the love in her eyes. He sighed happily. Maybe she would quit having those damned feelings now. He was sure that all the secrecy of the past week was what had put her on edge.
"She sounds like a lucky woman," Casey said. She traced her fingers over his jaw.
"Not as lucky as I am," he told her. "Are you…Damn! What does that idiot think-" He jerked the steering wheel, trying to avoid hitting the van that was driving on the wrong side of the street. Before he had time to react further, the van had turned and effectively blocked him from backing up. At the same time, another van appeared in front of them.
"NID!" Casey whispered. Her heart was pounding against her ribs. She glanced back at her babies, terrified for them.
"Take it easy, Angel…they can't get to Gamma that easily," Daniel said softly.
The driver of the van in front of them got out of that vehicle, pointing a gun at them. Whoever it was had on a one-piece coverall, and a large billed hat that hid the face. The build was medium in size, although from the stance it appeared to be that of a woman. A glance in the rearview mirror showed that the driver of that van was out and pointing a gun as well.
"Turn the engine off," the woman demanded.
Daniel raised both hands slowly, then reached for the ignition. "Don't argue, Case, just do what they tell you," he said quietly. "I'll take care of this." He was beginning to call up the Fire.
"Driver, out of the vehicle," was the woman's next command.
He slowly opened the door. Grunted with surprise when a needle sank into his neck. He stumbled slightly as the drug took effect almost immediately. He grabbed the side of the jeep. "What the hell do you want?"
"I want you, Danny," the woman replied. She took aim, and fired six times at Casey. The first shot shattered the windshield and impacted on her shoulder. All but one of the others found their target. That one caused damage not foreseen.
"No!" He saw Casey slump forward, her chest covered with blood. Emily was screaming, Nicholas was crying, and he struggled to move back toward the open door. He had to protect his children!
"Get in the van, Daniel, or I'll shoot those brats, too."
"You wouldn't!" He rolled his eyes, trying to remain conscious. When the woman raised her gun again, he cried out. He staggered toward the van, the man behind him helping him into the seat. He watched as the woman jabbed something into Casey's neck. He was unconscious before whoever his assailant was had returned to the vehicle.
The woman looked down at the body of the blonde. "I understand that today is your birthday. Well, Happy Birthday, darlin'," she sneered. She walked back to the front of the Jeep. Her accomplice was waiting for her.
The man looked at the woman, held his hand out. She handed him a disc. "We're through. I never want to see your face again."
"I don't need you any longer," she replied haughtily. "I hope that your wife will never know about your…indiscretions."
The man refused to answer. He walked back to his van, steeling himself against the cries of the children, forcing himself to walk past the jeep that looked as if it had been in a war zone. He didn't dare stay around now. He had his own family to worry about.
The woman laughed, got into the van and drove away. She stopped at the post office to mail a thick photo package. Then she drove towards the new Gamma Space dock.
Erin fell to her knees in the kitchen. "Aaron! Oh god! Aaron!"
The blonde haired man raced to his wife's side. His blue eyes reflected his concern, his worry, as he pulled his wife into his arms. "What, my love, what is it?"
"She was right," Erin whispered, tears streaming down her face. "Casey was right!"
"Oh, my god! Mom, did you see that?"
"Yes! Call 911 now!"
"Holy shit! Carrie, did that sound like gunshots to you?"
"Yeah, it did…it sounded like it came from out front!"
"Oh shit! Call 911, honey…somebody was just shot!"
"Oh, hell! This woman has been shot! Let's see if we can calm those poor little ones…"
"Jim, this little girl's leg is bleeding…badly!"
"Oh, my…" The man looked up as the ambulance approached.
A A A A A A
Jack paced the corridor, his face a study in fury. When the local police realized who they were dealing with, he and Duncan had been called immediately. Nothing could have prepared him for what he found…Casey, still dead in the front seat, blood covering her from neck to knees, splattered on the window and the open door beside her, the dashboard in front of her; the shattered glass that seemed to cover every square inch of the front seat area; Emily, screaming in pain, her leg covered in blood, Nicholas screaming as well, crying so hard that he began to seize, his little face turning blue before the EMT's were able to get him breathing again. Duncan had looked as if he was going to be ill, Jack knew that he must have looked the same way. The only trace of Daniel was his wallet, laying in the street in front of the jeep. Duncan had ridden in the ambulance with Casey, he had ridden with the still terrified children. They had no idea who had carried off such a bold attack…in a quiet middle-class neighborhood on a lazy Sunday afternoon. All they knew was that the peace of Hope had been shattered.
Casey had revived at the scene, only to discover a hypodermic needle still in her neck. They were waiting for results of the tests that Dr. Montigue was running on the contents.
It didn't taken the Immortal physician long to confirm that it contained the nanovirus they had first encountered on PR3 291. The good news was that there was a cure for it. The bad news was that it had been mixed with a 'cocktail' of the most deadly diseases known to man. Until those diseases were cured, the nanovirus would remain virulent. The good doctor was working on a 'cocktail' of his own, a vaccine that would cure the diseases. But it was going to take time. So Casey had to remain dead. She was already submerged in the tank where she had spent almost two days the last time they'd fought against the virus.
The police report was short…damned short. There were a few known facts: Six shots had been fired. Five of them had entered Casey's body, she had been dead before the third bullet hit her. The fifth shot had hit the buckle of her seatbelt and ricocheted, grazing Emily from ankle to knee. The child's wound wasn't deep, or life threatening. It would, however, leave a scar on her leg. Nicholas had been so frightened that he screamed himself into a seizure. He was resting easily now as well. And there was absolutely no sign of Daniel anywhere. Duncan and Jack both suspected NID. Were infuriated that that bunch of the self-serving low-life's had managed to get agents to Gamma undetected. Duncan spoke with Robert deValicort. Gamma's already stringent rules for docking and disembarking at the space dock were about to become more so.
"I should have put a guard on them," Jack muttered to Sam as he paced. "When Daniel told me what Casey was feeling, I should have put a goddamned guard on them!"
"It gets worse," Duncan said, walking into the room. His anger was palpable. "Take a look at this. I wouldn't have thought to look if one of the security guards in Cheyenne Mountain hadn't run the name. He thought it looked familiar. They contacted us as soon as they made the ID. Which was about an hour ago." He tossed a DVD at Jack like a frisbee. Jack caught it with one hand. It was from the monitoring room. The Highlander was seething. Had they received the information just thirty minutes sooner, they might have been able to prevent this catastrophe from happening. He didn't blame the young guard, in fact he was thankful that the young man had been as attentive as he had been. It was just…thirty minutes! Thirty damned minutes! The timing sucked!
Jack walked over to the TV that sat in the corner of the room. He made sure that the volume was down, both of his godchildren were finally sleeping. He watched for several minutes. It was security footage of the arrivals during the immigration. "That goddamned bitch!"
"She managed to slip through the security check because she's going by Betty Harrison. Just enough difference to throw off a check, at least for awhile, close enough to make it easy to respond to," Duncan said.
"So she got here, and I'll bet you dollars to donuts she took Daniel," Jack said.
"That's what we're figuring. She didn't do it alone. All of the witnesses reported two vans. They were all positive that a man was driving the one that penned them from behind. Two witnesses were positive that the driver of the van in front was a woman. Four weren't so sure, but said that whoever it was had been 'slight of build'," Duncan said, quoting from two of the reports.
"Do you think she's working with the NID?" Sam asked from where she sat beside Nicholas. Her face was pale, her eyes full of anger.
The Highlander shrugged. "Anything is possible. But why not take Casey, too? Every one of the NID pukes you nabbed said the 'Boss' wanted her as well."
"She wants Daniel for herself. It's possible she just double-crossed them," Jack mused.
"Well one thing is for sure, Daniel would not have left willingly," Duncan said. "I…uh…I called Wade. I figured he might want to be in on this one."
Jack nodded. "He's Daniel's brother. He has a right to know."
"How's Erin?" Duncan asked wearily, leaning against the doorframe. Aaron was pacing in the corridor, his grandchildren in one room, his daughter in another.
Jack shook his head. "She's not doing so well. She said something about 'darkness', and 'breaking point'. She hasn't left Casey's side."
Sam moaned, tears falling down her cheeks. "I knew it! I knew she'd been holding on by a thread for awhile now."
Jack and Duncan both looked at the distraught woman. "I thought she was over all that Nergal shit," Jack said.
Sam shook her head. "Nergal was just one of the straws on Casey's back. She's afraid of men, Jack, she always has been. She was afraid of them when they looked at her, when they talked to her, because she was terrified that it would hurt Daniel, or make him angry. And if she talked to them, she was convinced that it made her a cock-tease, because she had no intention of doing anything else. All of the - attention - she's getting because of who she is has her convinced that she's a step away from being a whore."
"Jesus H. Christ! Did that fat bitch have anything good to say to her, or about her?" Jack demanded angrily. His body language bespoke of a man on the verge of a violent explosion.
"It doesn't seem like it," Sam admitted. "She handled it pretty well, until Ba'al, and then Nergal. The entire…incident…with Wade didn't help. I found her…" she broke off, bit her lip, tears falling onto her cheeks. "I found her crying her eyes out in the women's locker room after one of the aerobics classes on Friday. I thought she and Daniel had been fighting or something. She…I caught her off guard, emotional…she told me that Daniel was leaving her, and that before 'it' was over, he would hate her."
Jack pulled his wife into his arms, held her tightly. Took as much comfort from her has he was giving.
"I tried to talk to her about it, convince her that she was wrong…I almost told her about her surprise party." Sam shook her head, clinging to Jack's shoulders. "There's only one way I can think of that he would leave…voluntarily…that redheaded bitch threatened the kids. And she drugged him, or he would have used the Fire to take her out."
"There are drugs that could make him very susceptible to…suggestion," Duncan said quietly. "I'm sure that biologist Doctor Betsy Harris knows exactly what they are."
"We have to find him," Sam said. "If we don't, we'll lose Casey."
Jack looked at the two children sleeping soundly. He would not let them be orphaned, in any way. Nor was Casey living in a padded room…disconnected from reality…acceptable! "We'll find him, Sam, I promise."
Teal'c and Carly raced into the room. They had been on their way to visit Rya'c when Duncan sent the message of Daniel's abduction, and Casey's…murder.
Jack and Duncan quietly told the Jaffa what they knew. Teal'c's dark eyes burned with rage. "This woman must die!" he declared. "She has forfeited her life with these actions!
"Teal'c, I couldn't agree more," Duncan replied.
A A A A A A
Perhaps she had been too hasty in letting Greg walk away like that, she thought, as she struggled to get the unconscious form of Dr. Daniel Jackson into the shipping crate. He was a well-built man, six feet tall, and those muscles were heavy. It took her nearly an hour to have him inside. The crate had an artificial environment, it was actually meant for the transportation of animals. She giggled. She had the feeling that Danny was an animal in bed. She would be finding out soon enough. That thought had her pulse racing.
The tags that she attached to the crate listed the contents as a rare Langaran bear cub, en route to Terra. According to the paper work, the crate had arrived at Gamma via the Stargate, and was to be shipped to Terra because of the Terran regulations on animals arriving on the planet. The paper also listed one B. Harrison as the keeper of the animal, required to accompany the crate to its destination.
Once the ship landed at Terra, she would open the crate, and she and Daniel would walk off of the ship with the other passengers. She had chosen this specific flight, it was completely full, and information about the customs center in Terra City reported that it was small, and large cruise ships tended to stretch the capacity of the center. The forged passports she had for the two of them wouldn't be looked at carefully. The flight would take longer than a freighter, because this was a pleasure cruise. Her options had been limited. This was the best…the logical choice. In fifteen hours they would be on Terra. She had already made arrangements to have a land rover waiting at the spaceport, and she had rented a small cabin near an abandoned mine. The man she had rented the cabin from hadn't been interested in why she wanted it, only that she was willing to pay well for it. They wouldn't be able to stay there long, her funds were limited at this point. But within three months, Danny would be hers, completely. If he ever did think about that skinny blonde bitch, he would do so with anger. She giggled. Unless she had been successful and that little bitch was dead…or at least a robotic zombie. She checked her bag to make sure she had the photos just in case. However it happened, Daniel was hers, and when he realized it, they would return to Earth, he would do whatever he decided that he wanted to do, and he would be well paid for it. She would be the one standing at his side during press conferences, speeches, society events…she hugged herself with excited anticipation.
Antigrav clamps on the crate made it easy to unload from the van. She had taken the time to wipe every surface inside the vehicle, vacuumed it carefully after running it through a carwash near the spaceport; made sure that no one would ever know that she or Daniel Jackson had ever been in it. Let Greg explain how it wound up at one of the docking bays.
She giggled again, thinking about Greg. That had been a stroke of luck, followed by pure genius. She had discovered the man fucking one of the other dock workers by accident when she had opened the door to one of the vans to investigate what she thought were the sounds of a trapped animal. The couple had been surprised, but had never seen her face. She watched, over the ensuing weeks, and with the help of a very nice digital camera with a zoom lens, took almost three hundred pictures of them, each one dated. When the company began the move to Gamma, she had walked past him one day, and dropped a disc, and a note, into his lap. He had been more than willing to…negotiate with her. He was a happily married man, with three children. He just happened to enjoy a little slap and tickle on the side. His indiscretions had given Betsy just the leverage, and thus the accomplice, that she needed.
She was sure that his wife would be quite…surprised…when she picked up her mail sometime in the next few days. That… mess…would keep Greg too busy to turn on her, rat her out to that damnable bunch on the base. She had no doubts that they would be looking for Daniel. But she had been very careful about covering her tracks. By the time they found him, he would be in love with her, both of them safely back on Earth.
"Hello," she said, flashing her best smile as she approached the loading dock. There was a bounce of happiness in her step, her eyes reflected her pleasure.
The dockworker looked at the woman. Not too attractive, not even when she was young, he decided. Been ridden hard and put away wet, he thought to himself, as he looked her over. Her face was heavily lined, her mouth seemed to be pulled down into a permanent frown. "What can I do for you?"
She handed him the sheaf of papers, led him to the crate. "He's been sedated, should stay that way for the entirety of the trip," she said pleasantly. Her smile widened at the thought that she was telling this man the absolute truth.
"Well, you'll have to stay in the hold with him," the worker replied, reading the paperwork. There were two stamps missing. He looked at the woman again. She didn't look like the sort to smuggle anything, she wasn't showing any signs of nervousness. Probably just an oversight in the office. Somebody eager to get a crate full of bear off their hands. "Just in case."
"That's fine." She forced herself to remain calm. Everything…everything…was going according to plan! If that wasn't proof that it was meant to be, what would be? Her heart was pounding, as her dream became a reality.
"Okay, sign here," he said, holding out an electronic signature pad.
She signed, smiled again, and watched as the crate was moved into the cargo bay. She followed, forced herself not to do anything that would give her away. When at last she felt the vibration of the ships engines, and the thrust that signaled take off, she ran her hand over the top of the crate lovingly. "We're together now, my darling. We'll be together always. I love you, Danny."
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