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SG-6 stepped through the 'gate, looked around. Tony maneuvered F.R.E.D., which was carrying the supplies for the Immortals in hiding.
"Uh, Major, we have company," Texas said softly.
Major Parker turned to see two men and a small, black haired woman approaching slowly. Daniel had reported that talking to the group would be impossible without a linguist. So Duncan had sent one along. Parker turned to the thin, young-looking woman beside him, a nearly three thousand year Immortal named Brenna Masterson. She was also a linguist, and Dr. Jackson had chosen her specifically for this mission. "You're on, ma'am," he said softly.
The young woman nodded. "I am Brenna. Daniel Jackson, and those who were with him, have sent us. We bring food, blankets, water, warm clothing."
The woman smiled and nodded. "I am Kaitlyn. It is with much gratitude that we welcome you. What word have you from the Asgard? Daniel told us that it was possible that one named Thor could change us, so that we can leave here, and find safety among your people."
"We are waiting word now. The message went out as soon as SG-1 returned. With luck it won't be long. In the meantime, we have a field generator that can provide a dampening field around us. It will hide us from any who might be doing scans of the planet," Brenna replied.
Kaitlyn's smile widened. "I am sure Westland will be pleased to hear this. Come, we must hurry."
The group moved away from the 'gate and toward the caves where the Immortals of Prima were hiding.
A A A A A A
Kyle hurried into Duncan's office. "Thor just sent a reply. He asked for the coordinates of the planet where the Immortals are hiding. I sent them to him. He's heading there now," the young Immortal reported.
"Good. With luck SG-6 will be bringing those Immortals home within the next few hours," Duncan replied, a smile on his face. "Let me know when SG-1 checks in."
"Yes, sir," Kyle said. "They're due to check in at about 1900 hours."
Duncan glanced at the clock on his desk. Three hours. He'd call Tessa and tell her not to hold dinner. Casey's reactions to this mission had him worried. He wanted…needed…to be here when contact was made. "Thanks." He went back to the ever- growing stack of paperwork that cluttered his desk, sighing heavily. There were days when he'd like to knock George Hammond across the room!
A A A A A A
Daniel was the first to be taken. He followed the Jaffa into a throne room. He wondered briefly if Rheda had known Framone. The room, and the décor, were eerily similar. The walls were covered with medieval armor, and tapestries, many which depicted Norse myths. Interesting, he thought briefly. He had stopped to look around him; he was roughly shoved forward.
Sitting on the throne in front of him, was a beautiful woman with long blonde hair, and eyes so blue he could tell the color from across the room. Her heart shaped face was covered with a smile. "It has been a long time since one so handsome has come before me," she said in her dual voice. "Kneel before me, vow to serve me, and I might be inclined to take you as my consort."
"Uh…no thanks. Not interested. And I don't make a habit of kneeling to false gods, especially Goa'uld," Daniel retorted.
"Ke'i!" she demanded, her eyes glowing with anger, pointing to the floor in front of her throne.
"Not gonna happen, toots." Daniel pointedly looked away from her and toward the tapestry hanging on the wall beside him.
The blue eyes flashed again. "Bring him!" She rose from the throne and stalked toward a door to the side of the room.
The Jaffa grabbed Daniel by the arms and followed their queen. Once in the room, which appeared to be some sort of ancient laboratory, he was shoved to his knees. He fought to stand again, was hit across the back and shoulders with a staff weapon.
Rheda stood beside a table covered with various vials, bottles and jars. She opened a tall bottle, poured some of the contents into a cup. "Open his mouth."
Daniel began to struggle. One of the Jaffa clamped his hands around the blonde man's head, the other roughly grabbed the archaeologist's nose and held it until Daniel was forced to open his mouth to breathe. As soon as he did so, Rheda poured the crimson fluid into his mouth. The Jaffa jammed Daniel's jaw closed. Shit! That crap is the Blood of Sokar! How in the world did this bitch manage to get her hands on any? He tried to fight the effects of the narcotic. Wondered how long it would take his Quickening to deal with it. He shook his head slightly.
"Now, you are going to tell me exactly what I want to know."
"Not gonna happen. I’m not telling you anything," Daniel replied. He watched as the woman…Rheda …signaled to the Jaffa standing closest to the door. Everything in the room seemed to have a hazy aura around it.
"You will tell me everything. Who are you?"
"Part of the team that's gonna whip your ass." He couldn't hide his grin. He was starting to sound like Casey!
She slapped him, her fingers leaving an imprint on his cheek. "Who are you?"
He glared up at her, refused to answer. Two Jaffa entered the room. They were dragging Casey between them; it was an effort not to react to the sight. He watched as they wrapped manacles that hung from chains in the ceiling around her slender wrists. Something poked at the back of his brain...something about the way she was behaving. The narcotics, however, prevented him from recognizing the feeling.
"Now, tell me, what are the symbols to enter your world?" Rheda asked, leaning close to him.
"Go to hell."
Rheda turned to the Jaffa and nodded. The man began to beat the slender young woman suspended from the chains. Bruises appeared on her sweet face as the fists of the Jaffa struck her again and again.
Daniel attempted to look away, his heart clenched with pain. One of the Jaffa grabbed his head, forced him to witness the abuse. Casey was crying out now, pain in every sound she made. "Let her go!"
"Tell me what I wish to know, and I will release her. What are the symbols to get to your world?"
He closed his eyes. Was hit again across the face. His eyes flew open at the scream that filled the room. The Jaffa had stopped beating her, and was now cutting her clothes off, the huge knife blade flashing in the light from the torches on the walls. Her eyes were wide with terror. "No! You sorry bastard! Get away from her!" He was struggling, three Jaffa held tightly to him.
Rheda leaned close, whispered in his ear. "Tell me how to get to your world, and I will stop him."
The Jaffa cut the last bit of material from her body. He glanced over his shoulder at his god. When the woman nodded, he stepped to the side, so that Daniel had a full view of what he was doing. The Jaffa put a spiked glove over his hand, closed it into a fist, pushed her legs apart with his knee, and shoved his fist inside her.
The scream that split the air chilled Daniel to the bone. "You sick bitch! I'll kill you! I'll kill you!" Tears streamed down his face.
Casey was silent now, her body hanging limply, blood oozing down her slender thighs.
"I'm so sorry, Angel," he sobbed. "I love you, only you…always you…forever…" That something began to poke harder at the back of his brain.
"I have the power to heal her. Tell me how to get to your world, and I will repair the damage done to her. Refuse, and I will have my Jaffa reach into her again and again, until there is nothing left to heal! Tell me!" Rheda demanded.
He shook his head. The Jaffa doubled his fist, shoved it inside her again. The second scream was worse than the first one. "No! Stop! Oh, god, stop!"
He looked into green eyes glazed with pain. She was going into shock. "I love you, Angel. Don't you ever forget that."
Her eyes begged him to help her.
"Tell me, and I will let her live," Rheda said, pacing in front of him now.
He shook his head again. His vision was clearing…so was his mind…"I'm not telling you a damned thing."
Furious, frustrated, Rheda hit Daniel across the face for the third time. "Take him back. Bring another." The Jaffa hurried to obey. "I will find a way to escape here," she hissed.
Daniel barely heard her words as he was dragged from the room.
A A A A A A
Casey almost giggled when she was pushed into the throne room. This bitch and Framone must have had the same interior decorator, she thought. She looked at the woman who was sitting on the throne. Daniel had told them that Rheda was using the Blood of Sokar to cause hallucinations. She'd never experienced it, but he, Sam, and Jack had been subjected to it by Apophis, when they were trying to rescue Jacob Carter on a mission long before she had joined the SGC. The upside was, she was Immortal. The narcotic affect wouldn't last long in her system. The downside…she had no clue what to expect.
"You are quite beautiful," Rheda said. "Much too beautiful to remain in the dungeon. I shall see to it that you have a room that befits you."
She said nothing.
"Are you hungry? Thirsty perhaps?" Rheda stood and moved away from her throne to stand near the young Immortal.
Still Casey refused to speak.
"I have but a simple request. Answer my question, and you shall sit at my side," the Goa'uld continued.
One blonde eyebrow went up.
"What are the Chappa'ai symbols for your world?" Rheda's lips were mere inches from Casey's ear.
Casey cocked her head to one side. "Haven't a clue," she said at last.
Rheda's lovely face twisted with anger. "Bring her!"
The Jaffa used the same procedure on her as they had on Daniel, and within minutes she was gagging from the bittersweet taste of the heavily drugged wine. She rolled her eyes, trying to clear the haze that seemed to be around everything she looked at.
"Now, you will tell me the symbols to your world," Rheda said.
"Nope. Don't think so, cupcake," Casey responded. Her cheek burned from the slap she received.
"I have ways of making you talk." The Goa'uld nodded to the two Jaffa who stood beside the door. A few minutes later, they dragged Daniel into the room. He was tossed onto a nearby table, his arms and legs chained down. "Now, tell me what I wish to know, or I will mutilate him."
"I'm not telling you anything."
Rheda grabbed a knife and cut Daniel's tee shirt, pulled it from his body. His pants and boxers were next, she continued until he was lying naked. "Tell me, or I shall cut this magnificent body to ribbons."
Casey shook her head. "Not happening."
The knife moved from his throat to the top of the curly dark blonde hair that surrounded his flaccid manhood. Daniel cried out in pain.
Tears filled her eyes. Not again! She didn't have the strength to go through this again! It had been hard enough when Tiesha was the one being tortured…but to see Daniel being hurt…even if he was Immortal, the bitch was hurting him!
"Tell me the symbols to your world! I tire of asking!" The knife moved over his belly. He cried out again.
"No." She couldn't do it! She couldn't take it! Please, she begged silently, somebody help me…help us!
Rheda looked at Casey, walked around the table so that she could watch the young blonde woman. She took Daniel's manhood in one hand, and raised the knife in the other. "Tell me what I wish to know, or I shall insure that he never pleases you again!"
"Oh, god, no! Daniel! Oh, god oh god!"
Her eyes wide, her heart pounding against her ribs, her body quaking, her vision clearing, her mind screaming at her, she nodded. "I have to draw them out for you."
With a triumphant smile, Rheda moved away from Daniel, found a scroll and a quill. "Release her arms."
Once free, Casey moved toward the table. Rheda put the scroll on the surface in front of the young blonde Immortal. Casey moved one hand slowly, her fingers closed around a bottle. As quickly as she could manage, she brought it up and smashed it over the Goa'uld's head.
With a scream of anger, blood flowing down her face, Rheda shoved Casey to the floor, then lifted her hand, the ribbon device glowing.
Oh, hell, she thought irritably. This is gonna hurt.
A A A A A A
She woke up back in the cell. Sam was missing. "Daniel? Are you all right? She didn't…she cut you…"
"No, Angel, she didn't cut me. I wasn't even there. It was all in your mind. Not real, remember?"
She closed her eyes. "Then I wonder if I really hit her."
"What?" Jack moved to stand closer. "You hit her?"
"She was cutting Daniel…was going to cut…I couldn't do it. I couldn't take it again! I just couldn't-" Casey took a shuddering breath. Missed the looks of concern that passed between the two men. "So I told her I had to draw out the symbols. She brought a scroll over to the table…but I didn't give her the symbols…I swear I didn't! I grabbed a bottle and broke it over her head. The last thing I remember was the ribbon device."
"If you made her think that you were going to give her what she wanted, chances are you really did hit her," Daniel smiled.
She slipped her hand between the bars, sighed when his fingers closed around hers. 'She was going to mutilate you. She was going to cut…' She shook her head.
'I got that. She went after my anaconda, huh?'
'Yep. Twisted bitch.'
Daniel couldn't help but chuckle.
"How long have I been out?"
"About an hour," Daniel replied.
"I wonder why she wants the symbols to Gamma?" Casey mused.
Daniel frowned. Something she had said…"She's trying to find a way to escape from here!"
"I don't get it," Jack said.
"Me, either," Casey said.
"If she has been banished to this planet, it is possible that the DHD has been programmed and will not accept any of the addresses she knows," Teal'c said from his cell.
"They can do that?" Jack asked.
"I believe so," Teal'c replied.
"That's why she needs the address to Gamma. It's not one she knows!" Daniel exclaimed.
"Well, she won't get it," Jack declared confidently.
Sam was brought back in, still groggy from the effects of the Blood of Sokar. Jack was taken next.
"I just realized something," Casey said softly.
"She knows we're Immortal."
Daniel grimaced. "Which means we have to get out of here."
"There does not appear to be any escape, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said.
"Where there's a will, there's a way," Daniel replied.
It seemed an eternity before Jack was dragged back into the dungeon and tossed into the cell beside Daniel. Teal'c was zatted before he was taken.
"Baby, are you okay?" Jack asked softly, when he had fully recovered from the drug he had been given. He had been subjected to the same torture as Daniel, watching the woman he loved hideously, brutally attacked. Just as Daniel had done, he continued to refuse to give the 'gate address as the narcotic effects wore off.
"I'm fine, Jack. Are you okay?" Like Casey, Sam had been tortured with threats against Jack. Unlike Casey, she hadn't spent several days being tortured, and watching a friend being tortured. She had continued to fight as her Quickening overtook the effects of the Blood of Sokar.
"She's going to take us all together when she's finished with Teal'c," Casey whispered, a shudder moving over her body. "It's going to become difficult to know what's real and what isn't."
"Peachy," Jack groused.
"Wait! I have an idea! We just have to make sure that T knows before they come for us again. I think I know how to do that," Casey said excitedly. "We need a word, or a phrase, something that we can use. So that we'll know if one of us really is being tortured, or if it's just a hallucination."
"Good idea," Sam said, nodding.
"Okay, it has to be something out of the ordinary," Daniel said. "Something we wouldn't normally think of, or say."
"Like what?" Jack asked.
"But it has to be easy to remember," Casey warned.
"Something simple," Sam said.
"Like…uh…DEFCON 1? War against the bitch?" Jack suggested.
The others exchanged looks. "Okay," Sam said. "Looks like we agree. We'll tell Teal'c as soon as they bring him back."
"Okay, if we're really being tortured, we'll call out DEFCON 1. If we don't hear that, we'll know that it's just a hallucination," Jack said. The others nodded.
It was almost an hour and a half later when Teal'c was returned, dragged unconscious between two large Jaffa.
Casey caught her breath. "Oh, god, what did she do to him?"
"Teal'c? Come on, buddy, talk to me," Jack called.
"Teal'c? Wake up, T," Daniel said.
Sam and Casey added their voices, calling to the still unconscious Jaffa.
A A A A A A
Four Jaffa entered the dungeon. Daniel and Casey were taken from their cells. "Don't let her get to you!" Jack shouted after them.
'This could get ugly.'
'I know, Angel.'
'Love you, Daniel.'
'Love you, Casey.'
Rheda was waiting in a much larger room. The walls were lined with shelves; which held a multitude of books and scrolls, scientific equipment, and three shelves were lined with small ceramic jars. "I will not be as merciful this time," she warned, her eyes flashing. "I will have the answers I seek!"
"Don't hold your breath, cupcake," Casey muttered. She wasn't surprised when she was slapped.
"Insolence! I will kill you!"
"You would not believe how many freaking snakes we've heard that from!" Casey retorted. Again the Goa'uld's hand impacted on her cheek.
'Casey, shut up!'
'Why? She's gonna do what she's gonna do. I might as well have a little fun while I'm suffering!'
Daniel had to bite back the smile that threatened to cover his face. And Jack accused him of being a snake-baiter!
"You have spirit," Rheda admitted. She walked around the young Immortal, looking at her carefully. She turned suddenly to Daniel. "This woman means a great deal to you."
He returned her gaze steadily, but said nothing.
"We shall see just how much you are willing to let her suffer." Both Casey and Daniel stood just a bit taller, their resolve lighting their eyes. Rheda began to laugh. "Better still, I shall see just how much you will suffer while she is…taken."
Daniel jerked slightly. 'Nothing she can do, or have any of her minions do, can change how much I love you, Angel.'
'I know. I just don't know if I can handle it. I'm afraid, Daniel!'
'Afraid of what, Casey?'
'Afraid that it will…break me! I've hurt you so much…I don't know-'
Casey was jerked forward, Rheda's hand wrapped around the material of her BDU shirt. "I shall enjoy watching my favorites with you."
Two men were brought into the room. They were wearing simple loin-clothes around their waists. Rheda walked to them, caressed their faces with her hands. She whispered to them, then pointed to the bed where Casey had been tossed. Both men looked at the beautiful Immortal and smiled. Both were becoming aroused as well.
Daniel was roughly chained to the wall, a strap around his head prevented him from being able to turn away. His heart was pounding against his ribs. He had felt Casey's fear. He had his own to deal with, knowing that he was about to witness his Wife being raped. He had to stop it, had to save her…just one time, just one goddamned time he had to protect her!
He started. Of course! He watched as two Jaffa began to strap Casey to a wide, low bed. 'Send me your Fire, Angel. I'm getting us out of here.'
Casey pulled her lip between her teeth. What if this meant failure? Her eyes widened. He was The Chosen! 'On its way!'
The power, the heat, began to move up and down his spine. He could feel the tingle in his hands as he pushed it toward his fingertips. There…now! He lifted his hands, which were chained above his head, aimed as best he could toward the spot where Rheda was standing. Two blue balls of fire impacted on the table beside her.
The Goa'uld whirled around to face her prisoner, her eyes wide, her mouth hanging open in shock. "You…you are human, you cannot…" she stammered, so surprised that she remained motionless as she continued to watch him.
"Yeah, I'm human all right," Daniel muttered. He concentrated, lifted himself up and wrapped his hands around the chains that held him prisoner. Twin arcs of blue lit the wall behind him, he yanked against the hot metal, managed to break the links that connected him to the chains. Freed, he lifted his hand toward Rheda, tossed another fireball at her. It brought down two shelves behind her, the books and scrolls falling to the floor. Another fireball and the test tubes on the table in front of the Goa'uld exploded in a shower of glass.
The two men who had been preparing to rape the young blonde were crouched in a far corner, terrified that this new god would take vengeance on them for what they had been about to do. The Jaffa who were still in the room were watching, backing up against the shelves. Fear filled their eyes; they were confused, certainly not willing to move and risk bringing the wrath of this much more powerful god onto themselves. Casey took advantage of their distraction to pull one hand free of the not yet tightened restraint, and unfasten the ones that held her. She slipped to Daniel's side.
He put his arm around her shoulders, pulled her close. He looked over at the wide-eyed Jaffa. "Bring my friends up here, now!" he demanded. The Jaffa rushed to obey.
Rheda stood beside the table, lifting her own hand, the ribbon device already glowing. "I am a god, you cannot harm me," she taunted, tamping down her doubts and fears. She was Goa'uld, a god, this…human…could not possibly harm her. If he had the ability to kill her, he would have done so by now.
"I'll kill you where you stand," Daniel hissed, raising his hand.
Casey put a hand on his arm. "What about the host, Daniel?" she asked softly.
Daniel glanced down at her. "Is she still there?"
She reached towards the woman who stood in front of them. "Yes. She's struggling against the Goa'uld now. I think she knows something is happening."
"Okay, get her ribbon device, and tie her up. Tight. We'll take her with us, and let the Tok'ra free her from the Goa'uld." He spoke in Goa'uld, to make sure that Rheda was aware of what her fate was to be.
"No! It cannot be done!" Rheda said. "If you attempt to harm me, this human will be destroyed!"
Casey had torn one of the sheets on the bed into strips. She was tying the Goa'uld's hands and arms behind her. "You know, a snake-head named Geb told me that once, when he was infesting my brother-in-law. Wade is fine. Working to kill more snakes. Geb is dead."
Jack, Sam and Teal'c entered the room. "What's going on, Daniel?" Jack asked quietly.
"I couldn't let her do to Case what she had planned," the younger man replied. "Teal'c, see if any of these Jaffa are interested in freedom. Sam, find out where our weapons and gear are. We're leaving here, and we're going to march this bitch right down the main street." His teammates hurried to comply. He had located the key to the manacles that surrounded his wrists, he let them drop unheeded to the floor.
Jack grinned. "So when did you start giving orders?"
Daniel glanced at his best friend. "Oh, sorry Jack."
The grin grew wider. "What he said, kids. Let's go."
Both Daniel and Jack chuckled when Casey gagged the Goa'uld. "Just so we don't have to listen to her rant about what a powerful god she is, and how she's going to kill us, yada yada yada."
They were surprised to learn that Rheda had maintained control with only thirty Jaffa, all of whom were more than willing to denounce the false god and be free of any other who would enslave them. There were already several among them who had been questioning Rheda's true strength for some time. Their doubt had begun to move among their comrades.
A A A A A A
The people of the village gathered in shocked silence to see Rheda bound and gagged, and being pushed and pulled by the strangers who had entered their midst only a matter of hours earlier. Ingeram ran towards them, holding a torch in his hand. Those who had followed him into the woods were with him, torches of their own held high.
"I knew that you would keep your word! I told these people, these cowards, that we had only to stand up to her and we would be free!" the young man said happily. "You have brought her here that we may execute her, have you not?"
"Ingeram, the woman that you see is just a victim, a prisoner in her own mind, her own body," Daniel explained gently. "That which is Rheda is a parasite, a creature that took over the woman. We are going to free the woman, remove the parasite."
The young man's face puckered with a frown. "I do not understand."
"Rheda is a Goa'uld. A…snake-like creature. It…crawled into the woman you see, took control of her mind, her body. The woman had no choice. We're going to remove the snake, and set the woman free," Daniel said.
"Your words are difficult to believe."
"You trusted us, believed that we could free you from Rheda," Daniel said quietly. "Trust us now. Please."
Ingeram looked from Daniel to Rheda and back again. "We get no satisfaction? No…revenge…for what this woman…this…Guld…did to us? No retribution for the lives she has taken?"
"Revenge won't bring back the loved ones you've lost. It will only add more weight to your heart," Daniel replied.
Again the young man's eyes went to the woman who had terrorized the village for the entirety of his life. "How much heavier can our hearts become?" he asked petulantly.
"The pain that you bear from the loss of loved ones will seem light compared to the bitterness left by acts of revenge," Daniel replied. "I agree that Rheda should be punished. She will be. She will be killed. But we can't condemn an innocent woman to death for acts not her own."
The villagers shifted from foot to foot, murmured among themselves. "Okay, kids, let's just move slowly. We need to get out of here before this group becomes a lynch mob," Jack said softly.
"What of them?" Ingeram asked, pointing to the Jaffa who stood silently behind Teal'c. "They also have caused much pain. Will they be allowed to go free as well?"
"These Jaffa had as little choice as the woman who Rheda infested," Daniel said. "They have been slaves to the Goa'uld all of their lives. Their parents, and their parent's parents were slaves as well. You would punish the slave for the orders of the master?"
"This is…difficult," Ingeram admitted - somewhat reluctantaly. He looked around at his friends, and those who had chosen to follow him.
"Yes, it is," Daniel agreed. "But to compound the cruelty of one…creature…with acts of cruelty of your own is not the answer."
The young men who stood with Ingeram, blocking the path, began to slowly move aside. Ingeram nodded. "We will allow you to take them."
Daniel smiled. "This proves that you are far wiser, far…better…than those who oppressed you. It proves your worthiness to govern yourselves."
Ingeram smiled in return. "Perhaps one day you will return. There is more that we could learn from you."
"That would be great, Ingeram. We would like to learn about your people, your customs, your way of life. Someday we will return," Daniel promised.
Casey cocked her head sideways. "That was the test! Not to survive the torture! It was a test to see if we would give in to the anger, the hate! That was it!" she said excitedly.
Jack grimaced. "Have to admit, if Ingeram and his friends had insisted, I might have given in. Good work, Daniel."
The young archaeologist smiled. "Just following my heart, Jack," he said quietly.
"Let's go home, campers," Jack said. He gave Rheda a gentle shove. "Let's go."
The First smiled. "This test was easy for The Chosen."
"Not much of a test at all," the Second agreed smugly.
"It seems that the Committee does not fully understand the depth of quality in The Chosen. He was the best, the only choice, but even they do not comprehend what a good man he is," the First replied. "His friends are good people as well, and listen to him when he offers council. Now the Committee understands that their hearts are indeed entwined."
"I am surprised that His Chosen isn't complaining about the test," the Third said, allowing himself a chuckle.
The First laughed lightly. "She has not yet left the planet!"
The Triad turned to watch as the others moved away, satisfied that The Chosen, His Chosen, and the friends whom they worked with understood that all Innocents deserved protection, even those who had been Goa'uld.
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