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In Between the Lines
Turk shuffled the cards, checked his watch. "Doc should be here shortly," he said.
Casey smiled. "Good. So he really believed it all, huh?"
The Marine nodded. "Yep. The fact that the guards on duty had no idea that this was just a trick helped. One of them actually tried to punch him in the face!"
She giggled. "Well, I hate to keep them in the dark about all of this, but we need them to think it's all real so he'll continue to think it's real." She pushed unbidden memories of another such mission, where key players, herself mostly, had been kept ignorant of the true facts.
"They'll understand. They'll be damned glad that it's not, though!"
Daniel opened the door and stepped inside the small room. "Hey, gorgeous."
"Hey, handsome," she smiled. She slid over on the cot, snuggled next to him when he sat down. "So?"
"Duncan is going to come down here with Kyle in a little bit. He's going to fake beheading you so that Kyle can get it on film. Shouldn't take more than an hour or so to get the thing ready, Kyle says. Then we do a lot of screaming and yelling, which Kyle will broadcast straight into Cammy's cell. As soon as Duncan raises the sword, the 'fixed' part kicks in, and Camulus sees you get beheaded."
"I want a small funeral…lots of lilacs. I think I want 'When I'm Gone' by 3Doors Down played," Casey giggled.
"Smartass," Daniel grinned.
"I expect everyone to say lots of nice things about me," she continued. Turk and Haberman were chuckling now as well. "You realize that the minute he sees me 'beheaded', he'll clam up. You won't get a thing out of him. As long as he believes there's a chance to save me, he'll tell you whatever he can."
Daniel nodded. "Guess I should go tell Jack to start the interrogation then." He leaned over and kissed her. "See you in a bit."
"I'll be here."
The young archaeologist grinned and left the room…through the unlocked door.
A A A A A A
Jack turned the chair backwards, sat down, leaned his arms on the back of it. "Talk."
Camulus sat forward, his arms on his thighs, his fingers laced together. "Amaterasu has ten ha'tak, ten al'kesh. Seven thousand Jaffa, give or take. Fourteen planets, three of which are rich with naquadah. She trades with Morganna frequently. She has a penchant for women and very young men. Prefers threesomes to one-on-one. Morganna has twelve ha'tak, eight al'kesh. Six thousand Jaffa the last report I received. Twelve planets, four of which are rich with naquadah. She prefers tall, dark men, although she's been known to bed several women at once. Both are very devious. Never believe a word they say."
Jack snorted. "That goes without saying," he muttered.
"They will offer peace if they believe you threaten them, until they can mobilize their armies. Amaterasu prefers straightforward attacks once the balance of power is in her favor. Morganna will try to outflank your ships or your men, catch them in a pincer-type movement."
So far Camulus hadn't told him anything that Methos hadn't already found out. "Is that it?"
The Goa'uld studied the man sitting in front of him. "Does it not bother you to kill the wife of a man who is supposed to be your best friend?"
Jack started. "Of course it does!" he spat. "But she knew going in what the stakes were."
"Perhaps she did not believe you would actually follow through," Camulus said softly.
"She should know better than that. Make an exception for one person, then you have to make allowances for everyone. Discipline breaks down."
"She is not military."
"That makes no difference," Jack replied.
"He will hate you," Camulus said softly.
"He already does," Jack said sadly. At least he hoped he sounded sad. He glanced at his watch. He and Daniel and Teal'c were due to leave the mountain and do the last of their Christmas shopping in about an hour.
Camulus leaned back, closed his eyes. "I have heard that Penatil is taking down those around him. His greatest fear is that the other System Lords will band together against him as they did against Nergal. That is why he is striking so quickly, with such viciousness. He dares not leave enough alive to come against him."
Jack sat up straight. "How many ships? Jaffa?"
"You understand that what I tell you is information I received several weeks ago. I do not know how much things have changed."
"Just give me what you have," Jack said.
The Goa'uld nodded, opened his eyes and watched the man who was his captor. "At last count, Penatil had eighteen ha'tak, and nineteen al'kesh. He has 'absorbed' the Jaffa of his enemies, so that his armies swell to at least ten thousand. He also has…specialized…warriors."
Jack's heart fell to his feet. "Kull or Zombies?"
"I have heard of such creatures. But no, he has none of these. He took much from Ba'al when that Goa'uld fled from our sector. In trade for a ship and a few Jaffa."
"What did he take?" Jack asked with exaggerated patience.
"The knowledge of the Kull warriors."
Jack flinched slightly. Son-of-a-bitch!
Camulus noted the reaction. This was something the Tau'ri did not know.
"How many has he got?"
"I have no idea. He would have to find a queen among the Goa'uld larva. Wait for her to mature. If he has started creating them, he cannot have more than…a dozen." He sat forward. "Is this not enough to save her?"
"It's not my decision," Jack replied. "Anything else?"
He shook his head. There wasn't anything else that he had to offer. He had stayed hidden, quietly biding his time. He had spies, of course, but their reports had been sporadic. He had been more interested in the activities of those System Lords nearest him, and by now, Methos had all of that information. "Please, do what you can. Do not let her die."
Jack was taken aback at the plea, the emotion that filled the dual voice. "Like I said, it's not my decision." He stood to his feet, tapped on the door. If nothing else, this one piece of information was worth all of the hassle of having the Goa'uld here, and of the escape attempt.
A A A A A A
Duncan and Kyle walked into the cell. "What should I do first?" the dark-haired Scot asked.
Kyle took several measurements of the room, then put up small 'markers' at regular intervals along the wall. He positioned Duncan where he wanted him, had Casey get to her knees in front of him, head down. "Okay, boss, take the swing. Just…uh…pull short, right? Whenever you're ready, just let me know."
"Damned straight!" Duncan muttered. He took a few deep breaths. Even pretending to do this was tying his stomach in knots. "Ready, Case?"
Three more breaths. He thought about how he would feel if the situation were not just 'play-acting'. Felt the anger, the tears in his eyes. He nodded at Kyle, who nodded in return, and raised the camera to his shoulder. He raised the sword, and swung, stopping short of the lovely neck just below the shining steel.
"Got it!" Kyle exclaimed.
He hissed a breath, nearly tossed the sword aside, pulled Casey to her feet and hugged her. "Are you all right?"
She smiled. "I'm fine. Just don't ask me to do this again. I nearly peed my pants when I heard that blade cut the air," she admitted.
"Me, too, honey. Okay, get it together. We'll stage the execution for tomorrow," Duncan said to Kyle. "Better be down here bright and early," he told Casey.
"I hate early mornings," she grumbled.
"I'll give you the rest of the week off."
"Ha ha! I already have it off!"
Duncan grinned. "Okay, so you can leave early. Come in, get executed, then you can go home."
She giggled again. "That sounds so funny! Okay. Give Tessa my love. If she needs to talk about what happened this afternoon, I'm just a phone call away."
"I'll tell her," Duncan replied. That Tessa had not been harmed in any way during the escape attempt was all that kept him from killing Camulus and that sniveling little linguist. She had been startled, then frightened, but not hurt. "Have a good evening, Case."
She watched the two men leave. "Okay, another hand while we wait for Daniel?" she asked Turk.
The man nodded. "Damned glad that wasn't for real," he said quietly.
"I take it that it looked real?"
"Too damned much so," Turk replied. "Okay, nothing wild, you have to work for your win! Ante up!"
She grinned, tossed a quarter onto the table, and looked at her cards. And hoped that her eyes wouldn't give her away.
A A A A A A
The three men were standing just inside the mall. "I already have her 'big' gifts," Daniel was saying. "I just wanted to get a couple of things that I know she'll enjoy. I was thinking about some really nice bath salts."
"Bath salts?" Jack asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah. She likes relaxing in the tub with the jets on, and the bath salts don't make foam like the bath oil and bubble bath do. So we'll need to stop at Bath&Body."
"Okay. Sam has been hinting around that she needs some new hiking boots," Jack said.
"Footlocker?" Daniel asked.
"Or Cabella's," was the reply. "What about you, big guy?" Jack asked Teal'c.
"Carlotta has voiced a need for a new bathrobe," the Jaffa replied.
"Okay, there are several clothing stores," Jack said.
"We can check at Bath&Body, too," Daniel said. "They have some very nice robes in there. I got one from them for Casey about a year ago, she's still wearing it. She says it's comfortable."
"Coffee first?" Jack asked.
"Absolutely," Daniel grinned.
When they were settled at a table, large cups of coffee, or tea in Teal'c's case, in hand, they sat back to watch the last minute shoppers hurrying up and down the wide hallways.
"Doctor Montigue has that serum ready," Daniel said quietly.
"Gonna test it?" Jack asked.
The young man nodded. "He says the next time she's on her period I should see if it keeps me from having any symptoms. They're not usually too bad, but I do get the shakes," Daniel admitted. "He said it will be fairly easy to synthesize."
"Good. That will help on missions," Jack said.
"Yep. I'll stick with the real thing whenever I can, though," Daniel said, grinning broadly.
"Like we didn't already know that!" Jack responded with a matching grin. He glanced over at his young friend. "You really don't mind all this addiction stuff?"
"Nope. The perks are worth it."
"So do you feel…high…when you…uh…get your fix?" Jack asked curiously.
Daniel thought about the sensations that he enjoyed whenever he was partaking of his wife's sweet, sweet honey. "Not high exactly. I mean, I feel really good, and if…" He stopped, stared at his coffee cup.
"If what, Danny?" Jack asked quietly.
"If we…uh…meet in the supply closet, just long enough for a little…um…oral action… afterwards I feel like there isn't anything I can't do or accomplish."
Jack grinned. "Sounds like a narcotic effect to me!"
"I can live with it," Daniel grinned lazily.
"Yeah, no doubt," Jack snorted. "Okay, gentlemen. Let's get this shopping done. Where did they put the wrapping booth this year?"
"It is near the jewelry store," Teal'c replied.
"Oh, now that is just blatant advertisement!" Jack complained. "We all know that mostly men take advantage of that booth! Putting it there is just a way to say that you didn't get her something she'll really like!"
"I take it we're going to stop in the jewelry store," Daniel said.
"Yep. Might just as well. If we're going to be down there anyway," Jack replied.
"Any idea what you're going to get Sam?"
"Not a clue."
The men tossed their empty cups into the trash and merged into the mingling crowd of shoppers. Their wives would be more than pleased with the gifts that would be purchased on this shopping trip.
A A A A A A
Camulus stretched out on the cot. Casey had stopped calling out for the guards to find her husband. One of the men had sharply told her that President MacLeod had instructed them that she was to have no visitors. His heart clenched when she had gone silent, knowing that she was sitting in that cell crying; alone, frightened, and facing her death. He cursed the man who had appeared in his cell; cursed his weakness in following that little slimeball. For just those few minutes he had allowed himself to believe that she had lied to him. For his moment of weakness, she would pay with her life.
He jumped to his feet, began to pace. Surely he had given them information worth trading her life for! Why had he ever decided to come here in the first place? He banged on the door. "I need someone who can write in Tau'ri!"
The guard opened the narrow slat at eye-level on the door. "Why?"
"Just write this down," Camulus growled. "One life in exchange for another."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," the guard replied, slamming the slat closed.
He took off his shoes, then his pants. There was a single pipe that made its way along the ceiling of the room. It was near the wall, but it would suffice. He carefully pulled the cot beneath the pipe, trying to make as little noise as possible. He put the chair on top of the cot, stood on it and forced one leg of the pants over the pipe. He tied a knot; tugged and pulled as much as he could to ascertain that both the pants and the pipe would hold. He managed to make a noose out of the other leg, put it around his neck. He pulled it tight, then pushed the chair away from his feet. He was already pulling away from the host's spine. There was no way he wanted them to be able to revive him. His life for hers. A part of him struggled against what he was doing. But the love he had felt for Cara had changed him. That love had transferred easily to the slender young blonde who had shown him trust, understanding…compassion…in his time of despair. As he hung there, gasping for breath, he realized that he had gone mad. No sane Goa'uld would kill himself in order to save a human. No matter how beautiful, how charming how sweet…he was completely, absolutely mad. Just as Ba'al had been. Green eyes and a warm smile were the last things he thought about, saw with his mind's eye, before the blackness of unconsciousness surrounded him.
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