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Love Conquers All
Duncan listened as Casey and Daniel described what they had seen on Darteen. He nodded slowly when Daniel suggested that the attempt to stop the slave trade there be made. "Let me talk to Jack, see what he thinks," the Scot said. "I have to agree that knowing what we do, we should at least try to stop this. We’ll discuss it later this afternoon."
They nodded, went back to Daniel’s office. Casey was busy filling out requisition forms, a task that Daniel dearly hated. He was busy trying to decipher one of the tablets that he had purchased on Alteria. It was frustrating, because the words seemed to make no sense at all.
"Babe, take a look at this. It’s a form of Ancient Egyptian, but it doesn’t make any sense."
Casey stood behind him, read the tablet, then read it out loud. "Se-vals eh't ev'as lliw Nes'och," she said softly.
He felt his blood run cold. He recognized those words. The ‘nonsense’ words that the wounded Casey had repeated over and over in his dream.
She glanced at his face. "What’s wrong, Daniel?"
"I…that’s what you said in my dream, over and over again."
She frowned. "It doesn’t make any sense."
"I know." He stared at the tablet, wrote out the translation, stared at it for several seconds. Something about it looked…odd. He wrote it again, only reversed the order of the letters. And gasped out loud.
"Chosen will save the slaves," Casey whispered, still reading over his shoulder. "Oh, my love, that’s what that nightmare was about! You had to avenge Tatiana, and you have to free the slaves!"
"Looks like," he said softly.
She hugged him tightly. "I knew there was a reason for all of that! I just knew it!"
He smiled. "Just as long as I never have to go through anything like that again!"
"You should tell Duncan and Jack about this right away. I need to get your SRFs finished." She looked down at him, kissed him when he raised his head. "I love you, Chosen," she whispered.
"Love you, my Chosen," he replied in kind. He stood up, his body protesting the depravation of her touch. "I’ll be back shortly."
"Take your time," she said, sitting back down at his desk. "I have a dozen of these to finish. Because you refuse to keep up with them."
He grinned. "That’s what I have you for."
She couldn’t help but smile. "Lucky for you."
"Very lucky," he replied, a smile on his face. He winked at her, grabbed the tablet, his pad, and headed out the door. The thought that the nightmares had started soon after he had purchased the clay piece didn't settle in her mind. Casey watched the door for a few moments, contemplating the fact that her Husband was the Champion of the Innocent, before returning to her work.
A A A A A A
The Phoenix was in orbit above Gamma, waiting for the SG teams and the Marines from the Alpha base to ring up. Duncan and Jack had agreed that the slaves on Darteen did indeed deserve to be freed, and the tablet convinced them that Daniel was just the man to do the job.
Daniel was holding the briefing, the room crowded with all those who would be going on this mission. "We don’t have a lot of information on the traders themselves," he said. "SGI-3 was able to get a good idea of the lay-out of the city. The area where the slave trading is done is in the center, surrounded on all sides by housing. We don’t know how the inhabitants of Darteen feel about the slave trade. We’re going to assume that since it’s allowed in their city that they condone it. Now, our main objective is to get the slaves in the cages freed. We’ll transport them directly to the Phoenix. We’ll do it one or two cages at a time. The traders aren’t going to be happy about this, so we can expect confrontation from them; we can expect that there will probably be heavy fighting between their guards and us. Again, we have no idea as to the numbers we’ll be facing. Nor do we know if the citizens of Darteen will get involved."
Jack nodded, then pointed to a carefully drawn map of the city. "We want to get to the trading center and set up a perimeter as soon as we get there. If we can keep anyone from getting out of or into this center, we’ll have a better chance of getting the slaves out and getting away with few or no casualties. When it comes to the traders, take them out with extreme prejudice. Without the traders, it will be difficult to restart the trade once we’ve left. I repeat, take out the traders with extreme prejudice. We have a partial list of names, and a few photos of three of the top traders. These men are your prime targets."
"The slaves are going to be frightened and probably in bad shape. Get them up to the Phoenix as quickly as possible. We’ll have medical teams standing by to take care of them," Daniel said. He looked over at a group of Immortals linguists who would be accompanying them on this mission. "We don’t know how many different languages will be spoken. We figure that most of these people probably understand at least a bit of Goa’uld, so that will be the first language that you’ll use to try to communicate with them. All we need at first is to reassure them that they are not going to be harmed. Once we’ve left the planet, then we can try and determine where each of them belong."
One of the Marines toward the back of the room raised his hand. "Doctor Jackson, what if the slaves try to fight us?"
"Don’t hurt them if you can avoid it. Just keep repeating ‘we mean you no harm, we’re here to take you home,’" Daniel replied. The Marine nodded.
Jack looked around the room. "Okay folks, if there aren’t anymore questions, let’s start ringing up."
Casey was among the first group to ring up, and helped to set up the cargo bays of the ship for the arrival of the slaves. No one knew exactly how many to prepare for. Dr. Montigue…and Dr. Williams, who was also joining the mission…wanted every available space prepared. Curtains were being hung to allow examining areas which would offer privacy.
Dr. Montigue approached Casey with a request. "You’ve been a slave, understand the emotions and fears these people have. I’d like for you to tell our staff what to expect, if you can."
She nodded, looked around at the assembled medical teams. She took a deep breath, didn’t notice that Daniel, Duncan, and the rest of SG-1, as well as SG-6, had entered the cargo bay where she stood. "First off, they’re going to be absolutely terrified. Many of them probably won’t understand a word that you’re saying to them, whether it’s Goa’uld, or Terran or whatever. They’ve probably all been beaten, so if you need to touch them, move slowly, let them see that you mean no harm. Don’t raise your hand above your shoulder, a hand raised that high means a beating every time. No matter how frustrated you get, don’t raise your voice. No doubt they’ll be filthy, and hungry. Not allowing them to keep clean is a way to dehumanize them. Keeping them hungry keeps them too weak to fight, or try to escape. Give them back their dignity by not reacting negatively to the way they’ll look or smell."
Her team members and friends listened, knowing that she was speaking from experience; each of them amazed that her time as a slave had only served to make her stronger. Daniel watched her eyes, realized that this mission was bringing up memories she would rather have left buried.
"Try to feed them as soon as possible," Casey continued. "Then, offer them clean clothes, a clean place to lay down. If they want to bathe, let them…but be sure to give them privacy. Again, this is to give them back their humanity. Don’t be surprised if they don’t respond to you in any way. The longer they’ve been a slave, the longer it will take them to realize that we’re here to help them. I guess the single most important thing to remember is that these people have been horribly abused. Gentleness and kindness are your best weapons against their fears." She closed her eyes, unaware of the single tear that slid down her face. "A little kindness can mean the difference between life, and madness," she said softly, thinking about the woman who had extended kindness to her, had taught her enough of the Goa’uld language to survive, the kindness enough to keep her from descending into the madness of despair.
The people listening shuffled slightly. Many of them had never dealt with a situation like the one they faced. Several of them had questions for her.
"What if they won’t let us touch them, and they have wounds that need to be treated?"
Casey smiled. "Then don’t touch them. Give them time to adjust. Unless they’re at risk of bleeding to death, leave them alone. If they want to crouch in a corner, let them do so. Just let them know that you mean no harm. A smile, a kind word, and eventually they’ll trust you."
"What about the children? How should they be treated?"
"With as much love as possible. As with the adults, treat them with kindness, gentleness."
Dr. Montigue stepped up beside her. "I think Mrs. Jackson has given us what we need to know. Thank you, my dear. We’ll take good care of these poor souls."
Casey nodded, gratefully slipped away, heading toward the door. For the first time she noticed that her family and friends were standing there. Daniel opened his arms, she walked into his embrace, buried her face against his shoulder.
"Are you all right?" he asked softly.
She nodded her head. "It’s been a long time since I thought about…that. I didn’t realize that it would still be so…clear…in my memory."
His hand moved gently up and down her back. "Being a slave never really leaves you, babe."
"I guess not."
"You’re one hell of a woman," Duncan said softly.
She lifted her head, smiled at him. "Thanks. But I couldn’t have survived, wouldn’t have survived, without Daniel."
Duncan smiled. "I doubt that."
She shook her head stubbornly. "Without Daniel, I would have been lost to pain and darkness long ago." She felt her husband’s arms tighten around her.
"You’ve saved me as often, babe," he whispered.
She didn’t answer, but her arms tightened around his neck.
Jack patted her back. "I think the two of you have saved each other."
A A A A A A
They waited for nightfall on the planet before beginning to ring down. They had found a quiet alley to ring down into, and once the first teams were down, the Marines sat up the perimeter that was needed.
SG-1 and SG-6 quietly approached the cages. Most of the slaves were asleep. Those who were awake watched with wide eyes as the strangers moved toward them.
Casey approached a cage that held a number of large, badly beaten men. She raised a finger to her lips, smiled at them, her green eyes conveying her desire to help them. They all stood to their feet, those less wounded helping others so badly hurt that they couldn't stand alone. "We wish you no harm, we’re here to take you home," she said softly. One of the men stared at her for a minute, then nodded, and spoke quietly to the others. She took the heavy bolt cutters she carried, and made quick work of the chain that held the cage door closed. Again, putting her fingers to her lips, she led the slaves into the alley. She radioed to the Phoenix, and ringed up with the now free men.
Once on board the ship, a medical team met them. The men looked from Casey to the group of white clad people and back again.
"They're friends. They’ll see to your wounds, feed you," she said. She smiled, slowly put her hand on the arm of the man who had understood her. "Don’t be afraid."
He nodded, then again translated to the others.
She looked at the medics. "Remember, gentle and kind."
The three men and two women nodded. One of the women held out her hand. The spokesman of the group grasped it firmly, followed her as she led them to the bay where they would be treated.
Casey ringed back down to the planet, heard gunfire and ran towards it. Half of the cages were empty now, those held already being ringed up to the waiting ship, the occupants of the other half were crying for help. The traders and their guards were trying to put themselves between the rescuers and the slaves. She cursed loudly. Firing at the traders and armed guards became a risk. She saw a way to circumvent the group. Tony and Texas were nearby, she signaled to them, waited until they had joined her.
"If we can get around them," she said softly "we can take those bastards out."
"Can we do it without being seen?" Texas asked.
She looked around, then grinned. She grabbed the radio on her shoulder. "Hey, Turk, you there?"
The huge Marine answered in the affirmative.
"We need to get around those assholes. We have a path, but need a little diversion."
"You got it, Casey," the Marine replied. The air was suddenly filled with flares, lighting the entire city around them.
The three made their way around the enemy position, closer to the cages. With carefully timed shots, so that it seemed as if there was only one gunman, the three began to carefully take out the traders. When attention was turned to them, the Marines and teams on the other side began to take careful aim, and more traders and guards fell to the ground.
"Casey? Get those people out of there!" Daniel’s voice demanded over the radio.
"Gotcha." With Texas and Tony providing cover, she began to unlock the cages. The alley they needed to get to was on the opposite side of the trade center. She managed to get the slaves hidden behind a collection of boxes and baskets. "Daniel? We need some cover fire."
"You got it, babe."
Again the air exploded with flares and gunfire. The slaves were terrified, but willing to follow the woman who had taken them from their cages. They were nearly to the alley when three huge guards appeared in front of them.
"No!" Casey screamed as they began to open fire with staff weapons. She launched herself in front of them, giving Texas and Tony time to bring them down. She had been hit four times before the guards were dead. Texas grabbed her body and hurried the slaves to where the rings would transport them to the ship.
"Doctor Jackson, Casey just took four staff hits. We’re taking her to the ship now," Tony reported.
"How bad?" Daniel asked.
"Two to the shoulder, one in the chest, one in the abdomen."
"Keep her on board, this is just about over," Daniel replied.
"Roger that," Tony said. He nodded to Texas, and the signal was given. Seconds later the group was on board the Phoenix.
Casey was taken to the nearest empty bed. The men she had rescued saw her carried in, and rushed to surround her.
"Help her," the spokesman of the group said, grabbing the first medic to pass.
The medic looked at the bed, then smiled. "She’ll be fine, trust me."
Dr. Montigue hurried over, having seen the commotion when the men charged across the room. He also smiled when he saw who was lying on the bed. "This woman is Immortal. She’ll be fine."
"Immortal? I do not understand," the man said, his agitation obvious. "Why do you not try to help her?"
The doctor slowly reached out a hand, patted the man’s shoulder. "Trust me, there is nothing that I need to do. Soon she’ll be just fine."
The man looked from the now dead woman to the doctor and back again. He didn’t understand, but if these people were convinced that she would be all right… Perhaps this was the way these strangers dealt with death. He nodded slowly, then squatted down beside the bed. His people had their own way of honoring dead warriors. This woman was a brave warrior indeed. The men around him squatted down as well. He began to chant. Sending her soul to the Great One was the least they could do for her.
Daniel entered the converted cargo bay a few minutes later, saw the group of men surrounding the bed where his Wife lay, chanting softly. He walked over to her, took her hand and lifted it to his lips. He smiled when she took a deep breath, her back arching off of the bed.
The men around them gasped, and stared at Daniel. They dropped from a squatting position to their knees, lowered their heads to the metal floor.
"Surely you are a god, to have given this warrior back her life," the spokesman said in awe.
Daniel shook his head, lifted the man to his feet. "I’m not a god. Just a man. I’m Immortal, so is my Wife," he said, nodding to where Casey lay watching them.
"But your touch…she came back to life when you touched her!" the man insisted.
"She would have come back to life without me. She…cannot die. I cannot die. There are others like us. We…it’s our job as Immortals to protect the Innocent. People like you, and the other slaves."
"Your words are difficult to understand, to believe."
"You should try it from this side," Casey said softly.
The man looked at her, then grinned broadly. "You are a great warrior. We are glad that your god has chosen to bring you back," he said.
Daniel grinned at her, his eyes dancing.
"Don’t you get any ideas, pal!" she said, fire dancing in her eyes.
"Hey, they said it, not me!"
She sat up, grabbed his arm and pulled him toward her. When he was close enough, she jabbed her finger into his chest, punctuating every word. "Do. Not. Get. Any. Ideas!"
The man watched the two, then grinned again. "She is your wife! A goddess ! Of course!"
Daniel laughed out loud at the look on his Casey’s face. "Think maybe we should just give up trying to explain this?"
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, you’d like that wouldn’t you?" She turned to the men who stood in a circle around them. "Look, we’re just Immortal…not gods…" she broke off, looked at Daniel, then smiled. "Okay, yeah, he is a god. Mine. Nobody else’s."
"I do not understand," the man said, a frown on his face. "How can he be a god to only you?"
Casey couldn’t help but giggle. "Okay, you’re right. We’ll have to try and explain this later. I need to get back down there-"
"It’s over babe, we have all the slaves, the traders are dead, and so are most of the guards," Daniel told her.
"What about the townspeople?"
"None of them seemed interested in bothering us when they saw that the traders had been taken out."
"Wonder how long it will be before more traders come in?"
"Here’s hoping," she said softly. The rescued men still stood looking at them, watching them. She jumped to her feet, gently took the spokesman of the group by the hand. "I don’t know how to explain this to you. We aren't gods. We…we don’t die the way that you do. But we can die."
The man shook his head. "It is difficult to understand."
"Just trust me. We’re not gods."
"I…we will trust you. If you are not gods, then surely the gods have smiled upon you."
Casey smiled up at Daniel. "Surely they have," she agreed softly.
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