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Love Conquers All

Chapter 3

Casey had insisted on riding with Daniel. She hated riding camels anyway, but knowing what was ahead for her…for them…she wanted every second with him that she could get. She leaned back against him as they rode, his arms around her protectively.

That feeling was beginning to wash over her. For the first time ever she hesitated to warn the team. She already knew, somehow, that this…thing…had to play itself out, for whatever reason. She was pulling her lip between her teeth, unaware that she was even doing so.

Daniel glanced down at her, his heart plummeted. It was about to begin. His arms tightened around her. "I think we’re in trouble," he said softly to Jack, who rode beside them.

Jack nodded, having seen Casey’s face in the moonlight. "Time to send Ishmael and his people back."

With a few words of encouragement and thanks, Daniel told the men that SG-1 would proceed alone, and that they were to hurry back to the village. Hopefully by now SG-6 had made progress in contacting the person in charge of the docks and spaceport, and had found an ally.

They rode for another fifteen minutes before a large group of Bedouins surrounded them. Casey and Sam were immediately taken, tied hand and foot, and tossed onto the back of another camel. Daniel, Jack, and Teal'c were allowed to continue on the camels they had been riding, although they had been stripped of their weapons and gear, and their hands were tied behind them.

"You never mentioned Sam getting caught," Jack growled.

Daniel shook his head. "Zinder wasn’t interested in her, and there weren’t Bedouins around. Casey said that we had changed things."

Jack didn’t reply. His eyes kept straying to the camel where the two women rode, face down over the back of the beast. He shook his head. Sam was going to be pissed as hell.

Casey looked over at her friend. "I’m sorry, Sam. I guess we changed things too much," she said softly.

Sam smiled. "It’s okay, Casey. Besides, if we’re together, we can protect each other. If Zinder wants to take on both of us, let him!"

Casey couldn’t help but giggle. "Don’t think he has a clue what he’s in for."

They topped a hill, and below them…in a small valley…sat Zinder’s ship. They were taken directly to it, and all of them unceremoniously dumped onto the ground.

Daniel was doing a headcount of the bad guys. Not including the Bedouins, he counted ten. Of course, more could be waiting inside, or elsewhere. The three men of SG-1 were led into the ship, the two women were carried.

They were taken into a large, well-furnished room. Zinder was sitting alone near the back. He stood up, walked around the prisoners, who had been forced to their knees. He nodded, and swords were drawn and held to their necks.

"I’m going to be rid of you once and for all." He moved to the middle of the room, took a stance with his head back, his feet wide apart. He was ready to take the first Quickening.

Casey looked around, knew instinctively what she had to do. "Wait a minute," she said softly.

Zinder looked at her, waited for her to speak again.

"You aren’t very popular here," she started. "What if you had a Goa’uld System Lord to back you?"

"Casey!" Daniel hissed. "Shut up!"

She smiled over at him. Her beloved Husband had played right into her hands, helping her to convince this…criminal…to spare them all.

"You have my attention," Zinder replied.

"Look, I know Lord Ba’al…intimately, if you get my drift," Casey continued. "I really pissed him off, and if you were to take me to him…well…he’d like some payback, I’m sure."

"And your…friends?"

"Send them back through the gate…safe, unharmed…all of them," she said, looking at Sam. "I’ll go with you, no hassles, no fights."

The dark haired man gave a signal, and Casey was yanked to her feet, brought to stand just in front of him. "You’ve caused more trouble than you’re worth. But this proposition of yours is…interesting. I’ll consider it." Another wave of his hand, and they were all taken to a cell.

Daniel whirled to face Casey as soon as the guards had left. "What in the hell do you think you’re doing?"

"Saving your life!" she replied. She struggled against the ropes that held her hands behind her back. They were all still bound.

"I won’t lose you!" he said, his voice nearly breaking. "I won’t!"

She moved to stand closer, leaned her head against his chest, aching to put her arms around him. "No, you won’t, my love." He laid his cheek against her forehead.

"We don’t have a clue as to where Ba’al is," Sam said softly.

Casey smiled. "Yes, we do. Well, not really, but Zinder doesn’t exactly know that."

Jack and Daniel looked at her, their eyes wide "Care to explain that little contradiction?" Jack asked.

"Just pick a place. I can tell him that Ba’al will meet us there. If we’re really lucky, he won’t know what Ba’al looks like, and Methos can play the part!"

A grin started to work it’s way across Jack’s face. "You are a sneaky woman, Casey Jackson!"

She smiled. "Only if we’re very lucky," she replied. "I’m still going to wind up on the selling block on Darteen…I can feel it. Just make sure somebody is there to buy me before I get there. Preferably you, sweetheart," she said, looking up into haunted blue eyes.

"And Zinder?" Daniel asked.

"I’ll kill him the first chance I get," she said. "Just because of what he did to you."

The young blonde man shook his head. "Babe, I’ve already told you he didn’t do anything to me. It’s you I’m worried about."

She smiled, leaned up and kissed him gently. "You killed Framone. I’ll kill Zinder. From what I’ve seen, they were the only two of the group with any real brains. With him gone, his goons won’t know what to do. I imagine by now any of his gorillas in Alteria are already dead, if Ishmael and his men have been successful. So he’s already losing people. That should help convince him to try and make a deal with Ba’al. He’s losing influence and control. He’s getting desperate. He’ll make mistakes, and I’m going to make sure they’re fatal ones."

"What if he decides to use you like he did Doria Olmstead?" Jack asked.

Casey smiled. "That could get interesting," she admitted.

"What if Zinder knows where Ba’al is, and sends a message to him?" Sam asked.

"Then it will get really interesting."

"You’re certain that you’re going to wind up on Darteen?" Jack was watching for the return of the guards, not wanting their conversation to be overheard.

"As sure as I can be. We’ve already changed so much of Daniel’s dream, I can’t be positive," she said honestly.

Daniel pressed his cheek against her forehead once again. "I hate this, Case."

"I know, My Heart. But it has to be done. You know it as well as I do," she said softly.

"Why?" Sam asked.

The two lovers shook their heads. "I don’t know, Sam. Something happens during all of…this…something important. I just don’t know what," Casey replied.

They had no chance for further discussion. Two guards came and pulled Casey from the cell. Daniel watched her leave, his heart in his throat, his stomach in knots. ‘Be careful, Angel.’ He saw her turn and smile, and wink at him.

‘Always, my heart.’ The door closed behind her.

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