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In Your Own Backyard
Many memories in this mind…painful memories…much guilt. This one will be most easy to break…
Oh, god, that smell! Urine. Blood. Feces. Pain. Fear. Anger. He had never realized that emotions…feelings…had a smell. He knew now. He tried to roll over, groaned as his brutally beaten body protested. Yep, felt like another broken rib. Damn that hurt! Experimentally he flexed and curled his hands. Or tried to. No fingers broken, but definitely bruised. God his back hurt! They had hit him so many times that he had finally passed out from the pain.
Stop yer bitchin', airman! Name, rank! O'Neill, Jack. Major. Yeah, that sounded about right. Didn't it? Time to open his eyes. He could barely see through the slits that formed as the bruises and welts that covered his face continued to swell. Dirty white walls. Dirt floor. Wooden bars that prevented him from simply crawling out through the windows. Oh, fuck! He was still in this goddamned Iraqi hellhole! He put one bruised hand to the side of his head. What the hell had he been dreaming about? Whatever it was, it had been pleasant. Blonde hair. Sapphire blue eyes. Saucy smile. One hell of an attitude. He chuckled, which started a coughing fit that wracked his battered body. Okay, so which of the strippers from that last night before the mission was he remembering? Stripper? No, that didn't seem right. The woman in his dreams had been smart…brilliant. Funny. Beautiful.
The sound of approaching voices forced him to at least sit up. Not an easy thing to do, considering. The door of the hut opened. He could barely see the dirty uniforms of the Iraqi guards. They pulled him to his feet, half-dragged, half carried him back to that room with the blood splattered walls and floor.
"Keep on keepin' on, O'Neill!" a voice called from somewhere to his right. Followed immediately by screams of agony.
Yeah. Keep on keepin' on. Stay alive. Just stay alive. Tall order, given where he was.
Shoved through another door. Dropped onto a chair. They didn't even bother tying him this time. He was in no shape to escape. So they thought. Given half a chance, he was out of here!
"Good morning, Major O'Neill." The voice belonged to whoever was sitting behind that damned spotlight. Just a shadow.
"It'd be better if I had a cup of coffee," he replied. The fist across his face was not unexpected. Something poked the back of his mind. What the hell language was that? Arabic. Iraqi version…um…Farsi. Yeah. That was it. Sounded…strange, though. Hell, it was all he had heard for the past five months. He should be used to it by now.
"I would be happy to arrange for you to have coffee. And a nice, hot breakfast. Eggs and a large beef steak, and toast perhaps?"
"Sure. Sounds good."
"First, we need a little information from you."
"Not happening, Skippy. I'm not telling you anything." Once again a fist impacted on his jaw. That loosened a tooth! Made the headache from hell worse, too.
The sounds of sudden, alarmed shouting filled the air. He was grabbed roughly, hurried back across the compound, tossed into the narrow hut that served as his prison cell. He moaned slightly as his body crumpled into a battered heap on the dirt floor. He could taste the filth as his face grazed the ground.
How about that…today's 'session' hadn't even lasted five minutes. He could just lounge by the pool, call room service, watch a bit of TV for the rest of the day. Sounded great. He closed his eyes. Yeah, that sounded just great. Not even the racket…the flurry of activity outside of his window…could keep him conscious…
He opened his eyes. Shit! Another day in paradise! Or was this still the same day? Shadows to the right of the door. Late afternoon. Fuck. Same day. At least he had been able to dream about that beautiful blonde again. He cocked his head, listened. Sure was quiet out there.
It took every ounce of strength he could muster to crawl toward the window. He sat on the dirt panting, sweat pouring off his body. A quick glance around told him that the daily delivery of watery rice gruel hadn't arrived yet. He frowned. Usually at midday the bottom half of the door opened and a wooden bowl was shoved inside. Occasionally a jug of fetid water accompanied the 'meal'. He never liked to think about what kind of diseases lurked in the warm liquid as he drank it down. Even the thought of that disgusting water had him licking his dry, cracked lips.
Fifteen minutes passed before he was able to pull himself up and look out into the compound. Bodies were strewn across the square tract of dirt, dark patches of blood beneath them. He dropped back down to the ground. Damn! What was going on? Was there a rescue operation going on? They wouldn't leave without examining every hut, every room…would they?
"Here! I'm in here!" he cried out, his voice rasping from his parched throat. "I'm here!"
Silence. This is not good, he thought morosely. If the guards were dead, then he wouldn't even get shitty water every couple of days. No water…not a good thing. He was in bad enough shape that he knew he wouldn't last more than two, three days at the most.
Dying in a hellhole prison in Iraq. Not what he had signed up for when he joined the Air Force. At least the team had accomplished the mission objective. Three known terrorists linked to al Queda were no longer breathing. That would put a hurt on the group for some time to come…the three assassinated men had been key players, as well as providing the bulk of financial support for the terrorist organization. He had taken great pleasure in sighting in the ugly face of one Muhammad Obar Jahafy, and planting a single piece of lead between his beady eyes.
He curled up on his side. He had to get out of here. But he needed to rest, just a little bit. So damned tired…
Pain…intense pain. Excruciating, unbearable pain. He cried out.
"If you would simply cooperate, this…punishment…would not be necessary," a voice said.
"Torture," he gasped. "Not punishment!" Again the wires that were connected to the clips on his nipples were touched to the car battery. He screamed.
"If you will admit to your crimes as a spy against the government of Iraq, we will see to it that you receive adequate medical attention. You will serve a prison sentence, and then you will be allowed to return to your home. I am quite sure that your family will forgive you for what you have done," the voice said soothingly.
"O'Neill, Jonathan. Major, US Air Force. 69-4-141."
When the sledgehammer impacted on his knee, the crunch of the bones shattering filled the air just seconds before his scream did.
"You are not worthy, Jonathon O'Neill. You will be condemned to death."
The words barely penetrated the fog of pain that filled his mind. Worthy? Worthy of what? That poking at the back of his mind returned. Something was wrong. He forced himself to concentrate, to ignore the overwhelming pain of his injuries. Think, O'Neill, he told himself. What the hell is going on? He looked over at his captor. That was not an Iraqi prison guard!
The thin, pasty-white skinned man rose slowly from the chair. He could see in the eyes of his prisoner that he was beginning to doubt the illusion that surrounded him. His yellow eyes flared with anger. "You will die now!"
"Don't think so, Skippy," Jack replied. He sat up straight in the chair, his body still wracked with pain…although it seemed to be fading. His hands were still tied tightly behind him. "Give it your best shot."
A A A A A A
A bright white light flashed around him. He was lying on the ground, on his back. He mentally checked each inch of his body. No pain. That's a good thing. He slowly stood to his feet and looked around. Oh, for cryin' out loud! He was on a freakin' Goa'uld ship! He glanced around for his pack and weapon. Nowhere in sight. Okay, O'Neill, what just happened? Nothing. He could remember nothing. He had no clue which particular Goa'uld he was dealing with. No idea where his weapon was. The team! Where were the other members of SG-1?
A scream broke the silence around him, sent his heart plummeting to his feet. That was Sam! He began to run towards the sound. Those snaky, glowy-eyed bastards were hurting her, and they were going to pay for that!
The sound of several staff weapons charging behind him made him turn around. He grimaced, then dived for the shelter of one of the support beams. If he could just take one of them out and get the weapon, he'd have a better chance at taking those Jaffa out. More screams echoed around him. His blood ran cold. Sam. Daniel. Teal'c. Casey. Every one of them were being tortured. He had to save his team. He had to!
He crouched behind the pillar, ears straining to catch the sound of every movement the Jaffa made. The problem was, they knew where he was hiding. He glanced over his shoulder. If he could get down the corridor about twenty feet, there was a junction that would take him to the right. If he could find a place to hide there…if, if, if!
Jack shook his head. He was out of options. He had to save his team. He took a deep breath, shoved himself away from the wall, began to run toward that adjacent corridor. He bounced from wall to wall, making it more difficult for the Jaffa to hit him with the weapons fire that was blackening the walls behind him. He careened around the corner, slid behind the fifth of the support structures, and waited. They knew he was down here. They just didn't know where exactly. That was his advantage. His only advantage.
Waiting was never easy, whether the wait was hours, or just a matter of seconds. Okay, as soon as the last Jaffa was passed him, he'd grab him, get the staff weapon, roll to the other side of the support he was leaning against, and open fire. Simple, easy plan.
When the staff weapon opened just inches from his face, he slowly raised his hands above his head. Okay, what he needed was a plan B.
He was pushed into a large room. Bit back the bile that filed his throat at what he saw. Casey was already dead. Daniel was close to dying, so brutally beaten that the only way to identify him was by the bloody sandy-blonde hair. Teal'c was just as bruised, although he continued to struggle against the Jaffa who was hitting him with the pain stick. Sam! His beautiful Sam! Her eyes were glassy with pain and terror, her body bruised and bloody.
The door on the back of the room opened. He didn't recognize the tall Goa'uld who entered. "You realize you've pissed off the wrong people," Jack said, his voice icily calm. "Let us go now, and I'll see about getting you a nice room in our cell block. Which is much better than what will happen to you if you don't."
The Goa'uld laughed, the eyes glowing eerily. "You amuse me, General O'Neill. Now, I will amuse you." He nodded to the Jaffa standing beside Sam. Her clothes were ripped from her body. The Goa'uld dropped his robe, his cock already hard and waiting. He shoved her legs apart with one knee, and thrust into her, laughing as she screamed.
"You motherfucker!" Jack cried out, struggling against the two Jaffa who held him tightly. He shook his head angrily, tears in his eyes, as something poked the back of his mind. There was something not…right here. He could hear Casey's voice, but couldn't make out what she was saying. He looked closer at the Goa'uld. Who didn't look like a Goa'uld at all. He stopped struggling.
The…creature looked over at him…frowned deeply. "Do you not feel rage burning in your blood? I am raping your wife!"
"Yeah, sure, you betcha," Jack replied. "Just carry on. I don't mind waiting. When you're finished, we'll talk. Because that is not my wife. Those people," he said, nodding at the wall where Daniel, Casey and Teal'c remained chained, "are not my team."
With a roar of anger the creature moved away from Sam…or the woman who looked like Sam. In a flicker of lights, the room disappeared.
A A A A A A
He was standing in a cave now. He shook his head. This was getting old pretty damned fast.
A quick check told him that he was again without his pack and weapon. His mind quickly informed him that he would need neither. He could still hear Casey's voice in the back of his mind. If he could just make out what she was saying! He knew it was a warning…damn it! There was a red glow coming from…somewhere…that offered enough light to see around him, and to make out what appeared to be tunnel to his left. There was another to the right. Decision time. The tunnel to the left seemed to be narrow, it didn't 'look' as stable as the one on the right. A memory flashed across his brain. Which triggered another one. Casey's voice became loud and firm. Test! Not real!
"Okay," he said aloud. "I'm through playing your little game. You want entertainment, get the movie channel!" He found a place near one side of the cave and settled against it, crossed his arms over his chest, and closed his eyes. He could use a nap. He was damned tired for some reason.
He didn't hear the hiss of frustration, nor did he see the shadows that moved around him. Powerless against the human now, the five creatures dumped him back where they had found him.
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