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It's Hard to Say Goodbye
It was dark, and the members of SG-1 were just too damned tired to go another step. There had been no sign of the Jaffa who had been in front of them on the path that wound its way into the deep valley, on the other side of the mountain from the now destroyed temple and laboratory bunker owned by Dagon. All of them scanned the area, looking for any signs of light or fires that might indicate the presence of the Jaffa, or anyone else for that matter. There was nothing. They moved back into the trees, found an area that was easily defensible, unrolled sleeping bags, and prepared to sleep. Daniel and Casey zipped their bags together, as did Sam and Jack. Casey insisted on taking first watch with Teal'c, claiming that she had actually managed to catnap while they had waited for the Jaffa who had been following them to move on by, so was far more 'rested' than any of the team.
Just before he went to sleep, Daniel held her, and let her do another search. She could see where one of the al'kesh ships was sitting, but not the other. It was possible that it had left the planet. The Persephone, she said, was still hiding, and the damage to the hyperdrive had been more extensive than first reported. The crew was working non-stop to get it back online. She reached out, trying to get a sense of what was happening. There was something wrong, very wrong. It didn't feel like a Goa'uld threat, although she could feel that they had been 'around' whatever it was she was sensing. So they were involved somehow. They were in no direct or immediate danger, and totally exhausted, she pulled back. She would worry about what was going on later.
She sat beside Teal'c, the warmth of his body keeping the chill away from hers. She yawned for the fifth time in as many minutes.
"You should sleep," the large man said softly.
"So should you," she replied.
"I have been trained to endure without rest," he said. "You have not."
He smiled into the darkness. He knew 'Casey-speak' as well as her husband. He also knew that short of having Jack order her to rest, she would refuse to give in to her fatigue. The smile widened when she shivered beside him. "Are you cold?"
"A little bit." A fire was not a good idea, not unless they wanted to call attention to their presence, which they didn't.
Teal'c shifted slightly, put his arm around her shoulders, and subtly guided her head to his shoulder. The position left him a bit vulnerable, true. But Casey wouldn't be able to fight sleep, and she would rest. Within minutes she was asleep against him.
He adjusted his night vision goggles, looked carefully around them. So far they had seen and heard only a few birds. If there were animals on this planet, they were keeping their distance from the strangers who walked through the forest. A quick glance at his teammates showed that they were all sleeping soundly.
After an hour, he woke Casey and insisted that she lay down with her husband and sleep. She didn't argue, and within minutes had disrobed and was curled up beside Daniel. He noted that although the archaeologist didn't wake up, he reached for his wife and pulled her close. Another hour, and he woke Jack to take the next watch. No one noticed, not even Jack, that the Jaffa's sleeping bag was as close to Casey as he could get, that need to protect his young friend evident even when he was sleeping.
A A A A A A
When the sun peeked over the top of the mountains, SG-1 was awake, dressed and ready to go. Casey was grumbling about needing coffee, and Sam was complaining about the same thing. The two women were walking together, Teal'c on the point, Jack and Daniel on their six as they continued to follow the trail into the valley.
Attempts to contact the Persephone had met with nothing but static, and Sam began to worry that there was indeed a dampening field of sorts around the planet, or at least around the area where they were, that was interfering with communications. Which meant that there was a distinct possibility that the Asgard beaming devices would be similarly jammed.
They hadn't been walking long when Jack stopped them, checked his compass, and suggested leaving the path and forging their own. "We're still heading away from that compound. Last intel reported that there was an al'kesh there. We need to find out if it's still there, and if so, what the hell it's up to."
"I agree, O'Neill," Teal'c said. "If there is another facility on this planet, it would not be far from the temple."
All eyes turned to Casey. "Take a look, Case, tell us what's out there," Jack said quietly.
Daniel laced his fingers with those of his wife. "No crazy stunts, Case, just look and then get the hell back."
"Promise," she said softly. She closed her eyes, held tightly to him, then reached out. She moved over the treetops, looking, searching, listening. Yep, there was an al'kesh. But it wasn't anywhere near what was left of the temple compound. In fact…She opened her eyes.
"We need to keep moving this way," she said. "The ship is parked near three pyramids. Only one is for parking though. One is his palace, and the other is…Fortress, it's a fortress, and it's where all of his…zombies…are kept…housed. There are a lot of them, I'm guessing somewhere in the thousands."
The faces around her paled significantly. "How in the hell are we going to take all of that out, with just a couple of bricks of C-4?" Jack asked.
"Too bad we can't just hijack the al'kesh and use it to blow the place to hell," Casey mused.
Jack grinned, looked over at Teal'c. "How hard?"
The Jaffa shook his head. "Impossible."
"Okay, so how long?"
Teal'c hid a smile. "Several hours at least. We would need to wait until the changing of the guard. Take as many of the Jaffa out as possible, and get the ship off of the ground immediately."
"Okay, we'll work out the details on the way. Let's go," Jack said. With purpose in their steps, the team began to move quickly toward their next target.
A A A A A A
Colonel Bradshaw ran his hand over his face. "Keep trying," he told his communications officer. "We know that they're down there. Right now, I'm going to assume that we can't reach them because they've been captured. Scan for their beaming devices."
"Scanning, sir." The young com tech took a deep breath. "I think I found them, sir."
"What do you mean, 'you think'?"
"There's some sort of interference. I can't get a complete lock on them. They're on the move, toward that al'kesh that I was able to scan for just a few seconds."
Hells bells! Were they heading in that direction as prisoners, or in order to see what was going on? Damn it! The best communication equipment known to man, and a simple jammer could totally screw up the entire system. Too bad they couldn't…he grinned. "Sherry, I want you to try and isolate the frequency that's being jammed. Or frequencies, whichever. Then, I want you to jam them, and see if we can't bring down that dampening field."
"Yes, sir!" She smiled. Nothing like jamming the jammer. If she was lucky enough, she'd be able to 'paint' the area with one full sensor sweep before being locked out again. If she were good, she'd be able to keep a frequency open so that SG-1 would be able to contact them. She began to listen, her fingers flying over the keyboard of her control station, trying to isolate each individual channel. When she picked up what sounded like a report of some sort, she immediately recorded it. "Sir, I have something. It's in Goa'uld."
"Get Rogers up here," he said, referring to the Persephone's translator and archaeologist. The man was nowhere near Dr. Jackson's league, but he could at least decipher most Goa'uld writing, and translate what they heard.
A few minutes later the short, stocky man hurried onto the bridge. "I was told my skills are needed?" he said, looking up at the much taller colonel.
"Yeah, take a listen to this." He nodded, and the tech played the recording.
Andrew Rogers moved closer to the communications console. "Can you play it again?"
The tech obliged.
"It sounds like routine chatter, just daily orders," he said finally.
"That’s nice. What kind of orders? I need to know exactly what is being said," Bradshaw said, doing his best to keep his temper under control.
Rogers looked up at the man, frowned slightly, motioned that the tech should play the tape again. "Daily patrols reporting in…no sign of the intruders…they are assumed dead…the ship must be ready for launch by tomorrow…all soldiers should be in the cargo bays by sundown." He looked at Colonel Bradshaw. "Detailed enough?"
For just a few seconds Bradshaw questioned whether or not it would be worth the disciplinary action to punch the little bastard in the face. "Yes, thank you," he said, his voice dripping icicles. "Okay people, SG-1 is still down there and on the run. We have to stop that ship, and bring our team back." He noted with satisfaction that the mention of the flagship SG team had left the translator pale.
"Sir, I think I have something. SG-1, this is Persephone, do you copy? Over. SG-1, this is Persephone, do you read? Over."
"Persephone, this is O'Neill. Nice of you to call."
Jim Bradshaw's face broke out into a grin. "Glad we could get through the static, sir. What's your situation?"
"We're on our way to the location of the al'kesh. There's a palace and a…uh…fortress there. All look like pyramids. Anyway, a bunch of Dagon's zombies are there. We need to flatten the place."
"General, I have three naquadah tipped nukes. Do you think they would do the job?"
"Well, now, I think they might. Any chance of catching a ride before you send the birds in?"
The colonel looked over at his com tech. She was shaking her head slightly. "General, we have a little problem with that right now. Chances are taking out those pyramids will cure it. Are you far enough away to be safe?"
"Roger that. We have a mountain between us and those targets."
"Understood. Let me send them a bit of a wake up call. We'll contact again in…five."
"Copy that, Persephone, we'll be waiting for your call."
Bradshaw looked around at his crew. "Okay, find those targets. I want to tell the General they're rubble when I make that call-back."
A A A A A A
Jack looked at the faces of his team and grinned. "Why don't we just take a break and have some lunch?"
Casey dropped down on the ground. "Sounds good to me. When was the last time we had to walk this much?"
Sam giggled. "Let's see, that would be when we went to the Lost City. Only I don't think we walked as far there as we have here."
"It only seemed like as much," Daniel added dryly. He looked at Casey. Two days. He hadn't been able to make love to her for two days. If he didn't get to taste her…hold her…soon, he was going to lose it!
Jack noticed the look that Daniel gave his wife, as if he wanted to devour her on the spot. He exchanged glances with Teal'c. Danny was gonna need a 'fix' soon, or he was going to start going through withdrawal. Damn! He'd never figured that this…addiction…to Casey could be so…inconvenient! One thing was for sure, there was no way that the two could ever work separately. Just keeping her in close proximity seemed to help at least a little bit.
"O'Neill, I believe I will see what is up the trail a bit farther. We may yet have to traverse it," Teal'c said, giving a subtle nod in the direction of the Jackson's.
"Good idea. Think I'll join you. Sam, want to come along?"
"I just got comfortable," she replied. She glanced over at Daniel and Casey, both of whom seemed terribly engrossed with their bootlaces. "But, I'd rather not have you go wandering off alone."
"It's a nice offer, Jack," Daniel said softly. "But we'll be okay…I'll be okay."
"Yeah, well, take a few minutes anyway," Jack replied just as softly. "Just be ready to run if need be."
Casey's cheeks burned, and Daniel grinned. A subtle way of saying to keep their clothes on. "We will be," the young archaeologist said.
Jack dropped his arm around Sam's shoulders, and followed Teal'c up the path.
Daniel took Casey's chin in his hand, gently brushed his lips against hers. "I need you."
"I know. I need you, too."
"I can wait. I want to make love to you. Taste you, hold you, feel you. I can't do that here."
"Just kiss me, Angel. Give me just a bit of that sweetness to keep me going."
She pressed her mouth to his, felt him run his tongue against her lips. She gasped slightly, opened to him, felt him push inside. Her hands were in his hair, holding him as she gave to him. She took comfort from him even as she gave it to him.
His tongue stroked her, tasted her, sent the Flames shooting skyward in his body. He was well aware of the fact that just kisses would buy him a few hours at most. Soon he was going to need a real fix of his sweet Angel. What a kick in the pants this was, an addiction to his Wife that manifested in physical withdrawal symptoms if he was denied access to her beautiful body for more than three days. He pushed those thoughts from his mind, concentrated on the way her mouth tasted, felt, beneath his. Although the kiss made him hard as a rock, he knew that he would be able to hold out for a few more hours. He trailed kisses over her jaw, her neck, her throat, then back to her lips, satisfied to feel her body shivering with need against him. "Hang on, Angel. Just a little while longer. We'll get to the Persephone, take a shower, and then we'll make love. I promise."
"I'll give you everything you need," she whispered in return.
The sound of running feet brought them to their own. "Jaffa, heading this way!" Jack panted quietly. Packs that had been put down in order to rest weary backs were picked up and shrugged on.
Teal'c was on the six, running nearly sideways in an effort to assure that the enemy was not advancing on their position. He opened fire twice, an attempt to buy the team just a few more precious seconds. Jack was leading the way, Sam and Casey behind him, Daniel just behind his wife.
"SG-1, this is the Persephone. Suggest you take cover, birds flying in three minutes," Colonel Bradshaw's voice filled their ears.
"Copy that, Persephone," Jack replied quietly, panting slightly as he ran. He pointed toward the downward side of the trail. The team followed him as he led them down the side of the mountain.
The discovery of the cave was purely accidental. But it gave them a safe place to hide from both the advancing Jaffa, whose armor could be heard clanking loudly behind them, and from the blast that would be occurring in a matter of seconds. Casey had done another search, and discovered they were much closer to those pyramids than she had realized. She had been upset that she could have made what she considered to be a major mistake. Jack had assured her that as tired as they all had been, the fact that she had been able to see anything was nothing short of incredible.
"Persephone, this is SG-1. Let 'em fly, Colonel," Jack said softly.
"Roger that. Birds in the air. ETA twenty seconds."
The Jaffa were getting closer. Their excited voices were enough to alert the team to the fact that their enemy knew exactly where they were hiding.
The ground rumbled beneath their feet, and a few seconds later the sounds of explosions filled the air. The Jaffa were shocked, and immediately began to run toward the sounds, all thoughts of capturing the intruders lost as they hurried toward the stronghold of their god. No doubt their presence would be required to help secure the area if they were under attack.
"Sir, I have them, five by five!" Sherry, the com tech reported excitedly.
"Get 'em up here!"
"Sir, we have bogies coming in hot and hard," the weapons tech reported.
"Get SG-1 here yesterday, and let's get the hell out of here!" Colonel Bradshaw ordered.
They had been standing near the entrance to the cave, watching the retreating figures of the Jaffa who, minutes earlier, had been determined to capture them. Then a flash of light, and they were staring at the grinning face of one of the SF's in the ring transport room.
"Colonel Bradshaw, we got 'em!" The young man said. They were filthy, they looked exhausted, but they were alive and grinning at him.
Jack slapped the young man on the back, and raced through the door up to the bridge. The rest of the team was right behind him. "What's going on?" he asked as soon as he was close enough to be heard.
"General, good to see you. We have three al'kesh moving in."
"Let's get the hell out of here."
"Getting the hell out," Bradshaw grinned. "You heard the General."
Before any of the approaching Goa'uld ships had time to get any sort of lock on them, the Persephone was in hyperdrive, and heading for home.
"General, you and the rest of SG-1 should go get cleaned up and get some rest," the colonel said quietly.
Jack grinned. "Bad, huh?"
"Worse than a gym locker, sir."
The leader of SG-1 laughed out loud. "Okay, we'll go. Let me know if those ships pursue."
Jack grabbed Daniel's arm and pulled him to the side. "Take your time, Space Monkey. If we need any of those cool blue Fireballs, I'll let you know."
Daniel grinned. "Thanks, Jack." He knew for a fact that Jack would be taking advantage of the situation as well. When the Fire burned, it burned hot!
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