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No Matter the Time, II...an Alternate Love Story
The ringing of the phone brought them from their peaceful slumber. Daniel reached for the annoying device, rolling to his back as he did so. She moved closer to him, the sudden absence of his body against hers leaving her cold.
She watched him frown.
"Yeah, give us time to grab a shower…right…we’re on our way." He hung up, looked down at her, his hand moving up and down her arm. "We have to go in, babe. MALP came back with images of some people in trouble. General Hammond is sending us in to help them."
She could feel the adrenaline begin to flow. This would be her second actual mission with SG-1, the first nothing more than a routine survey mission. She followed him out of the bed and into the bathroom.
Twenty minutes later they were dressed, her still damp hair pulled back in a ponytail. When they arrived at the SGC, after donning BDUs, they were sent directly to the armory, where they met up with Sam and Jack, Teal'c was already on his way to the ‘gate room.
Her second time through the ‘gate was only slightly better than the first, she spent several desperate seconds disoriented. Janet seemed to think that her trip through wormhole was somehow affected her psychic abilities.
"With us, Case?" Jack asked, his weapon up and ready.
"Yep," she replied. She brought her own P90 up in readiness, followed Jack and the rest of the team down the steps that led to and from the gate.
The village, what was left of it, was in flames. But the people that the MALP had shown running in panic were no where to be seen.Teal'c was the first to hear them…Jaffa, a large group of them, returning to the village along a narrow, wooded path.
The team hid among the trees, waiting. Casey looked at Sam, shook her head slightly, raised a finger to her lips, and then moved slowly away from the tree where she had taken cover. She lowered her slender body to the ground, moved through the low ground cover until she was directly beside the path.
Sam frowned, trying to signal Casey back to where she had been. She watched, not sure what the young blonde was doing. She could see the woman plainly, it took her a few seconds to realize that looking from the path she was completely concealed.
From where she lay, Casey was the furthest forward on the path. She held her P90 tightly. She had never fired a real weapon at a living target before. She only hoped that when the time came…here it was…they were passing her now…geez, who designed that armor anyway? Talk about weird! Okay…this was it…there…him…he was the one to take out first. She sat up, aimed, and dropped the man in the center of the group. The sound of gunfire began to ring throughout the area.
The Jaffa left alive after the first salvo looked around, saw their leader dead, and began to flounder. It was an easy task to take them out.
Jack was frowning when he finally walked toward the place where she was still laying on the ground, on her stomach. "Any reason you couldn’t wait for the order to fire?"
She shrugged. "Do they always have their leader in the center of them like that?"
The frown deepened. "No, they don’t. How did you…never mind." He turned to Teal'c. "Why wouldn’t the First Prime have been in front like usual?"
"I do not know, O’Neill," the Jaffa replied.
Daniel and Sam had joined the three of them on the path.
They were all looking at her now. "What?" she asked, annoyed and not a little shaken. It was her first real battle, after all.
"Case, why didn’t you stay put? You had a clear shot from the trees," Sam said.
She shook her head. "He had to be taken out first," she said simply.
Teal'c had been examining the bodies. "These are Ba’al’s Jaffa."
"Okay, campers, let’s head back and see if we can’t locate any of the villagers."
"What about…them…" Casey asked, motioning with the barrel of her weapon toward the dead Jaffa.
"Let ‘em rot," Jack said, already turning his back.
Something tickled the back of her mind. Began poking when she started to follow the others. "No," she said.
"Excuse me?" Jack replied.
"We have to…get rid of them…hide them," she said.
"And we would need to do this because…?"
"They aren’t alone," she whispered. She was beginning to get a very bad feeling. And that feeling flashed through her green eyes.
"Shit!" He turned and motioned to Daniel and Teal'c. "You heard the lady. Let’s get these bastards out of sight."
They didn’t hear the approach of the second patrol. Casey heard the sound of a staff weapon behind her.
"Ai'emain!" [Stand up!]
She slowly raised her hands in the air. Not good, her brain was screaming. Not good at all. She looked around, saw that the Jaffa had the rest of the team as well. She was jerked to her feet.
"Akek ya Daru," said the one who seemed to be in charge. He carefully looked over the bodies of his dead comrades, then seemed to stand a bit taller. [Take them,]
The new leader looked each of them over carefully, then signaled his men. Casey and Sam were taken in one direction, the men in the other.
"Hey, what’s going on here?" Jack demanded, a worried frown on his face as he watched three Jaffa drag Casey and Sam down the path behind them.
Daniel was torn between running after her or jumping the nearest Jaffa and killing him. His heart was pounding against his ribs, the pain almost more than he could bear. Was he about to lose Casey to the Goa’uld, just as he had lost Sha're?
Jack turned to Daniel for the translation. "Silence," Daniel said softly.
"Yeah, like that’s going to happen! Listen, we just need to know where you’re taking them," he said to the Jaffa leader. And was promptly backhanded.
"Yeah, I got it," he mumbled, putting the back of his hand to his bleeding mouth.
A A A A A A
Casey and Sam were taken toward a group of Jaffa, handed over, and then promptly ringed aboard a ship. She stood there, her ears ringing, her head spinning, until she was roughly shoved forward.
The major could hear the fear in her voice. "I don’t know, Casey. I don’t understand the language like Daniel does…I just don’t know," she said quietly.
The situation went from bad to worse when the two women were stripped, bathed, and dressed in nothing more than tiny bras and a bit of silk around their hips. They were taken into a large room where nearly thirty other women, dressed exactly as they were, waited fearfully.
Casey looked around. It was like a scene from a bad movie - over-the-top decoration…lots of sheer curtains hanging around the perimeter of the room…dozens of couches and chaise lounges…a long table in the middle of the room covered with baskets of fruit, large pitchers of what would turn out to be wine, and at the very end of the room, a large, gold covered throne. Nope, this isn’t good at all.
The two women exchanged looks, and sat down together on one of the unoccupied couches.
When the doors near the throne opened, all of the women rushed to the opposite side of the room.
"That can’t be a good sign," Casey murmured.
"No, it can’t," Sam agreed.
Three Jaffa came into the room, led by a man with dark hair and a neatly trimmed beard. He looked around the room, his eyes stopping on the only two blondes. He motioned toward them.
Again they were taken roughly by the arm and led toward the doors. Which led into a large, equally gaudy bedroom. The bed was extreme in its size. Lying on it, sipping from what looked like a solid gold chalice was…
"Ba’al!" Sam hissed. Reports of this Goa’uld had just started coming into the SGC, most of the information from the Tok’ra.
"Ke'i!" one of the Jaffa demanded. [Kneel!]
The women remained as they were, staring at the Goa’uld who watched them with lazy amusement on his face.
Strong hands clamped onto their shoulders, forced them to their knees. Their heads were shoved forcibly down, preventing them from any further examination of the man in front of them.
A signal of some sort must have been given, for nothing was said, but Casey was pulled to her feet and forced toward the bed, then again shoved to her knees.
Ba’al moved to sit on the edge of the bed, ran his fingers over her face. He only smiled at the look of anger and fear that filled her beautiful green eyes as she looked up at him. "Yes, she will do nicely. Very nicely indeed."
She began to shake, fearing the worst was about to happen to her. She was shocked, but not unhappily so, when she was pulled yet again to her feet, and yanked back to where she had been kneeling the first time.
She wasn’t able to see, her head had once again been pushed down, but she was assuming that Sam was going through the same…examination. When it was over, the two women were dragged back to the transporter rings.
A A A A A A
Daniel was pacing the cell in which the three men had been placed. There were about fifteen other men, obviously the missing villagers. He had been able to talk to them, learned that all of the women and children had been taken together, although the men had no idea where.
His mind was in a whirl, his heart sank into his belly and seemed destined to remain there, so full of pain it was a physical ache.
Jack and Teal'c were quietly looking for a way to escape. So far, none had presented itself.
All of the men were on their feet, waiting, when the sound of clanging doors rang throughout the subterranean dungeon. The narrow passageway in front of the cell filled with Jaffa. They raised their staff weapons. Execution…Jaffa style.
"Wait!" Daniel said, desperate to find a way out of the cell, frantic to find Casey.
The leader of the Jaffa stared coldly at him.
"The one you worship is a false god," Daniel said. "Surely you can see that."
"Uh…no. I don’t think so. We killed Ra. We killed Apophis. It’s only a matter of time before we kill Ba’al. You don’t have to go down with him. You can live free, with others who have seen the truth," Daniel said.
Several of the Jaffa were looking at him now.
"He speaks the truth," Teal'c said.
"I will not listen to a shol’va!"
Teal'c moved toward the bars of the cell."How many innocent lives have you taken, Jaffa? How many more will you take, knowing in the deepest part of your soul that the one you serve is not a god?"
Several of the Jaffa were beginning to shift restlessly. Jack looked around. "Keep talking guys, I think you’re getting through to some of them."
"Do you enjoy the killing, the raping, the destruction? Or does it sicken you, as it sickened me? I am Jaffa, and I am free!" Teal'c said.
Before the leader could respond, he was shot by one of the men beside him. Staff weapons exploded around them as the Jaffa began to battle one another. The men in the cell could only huddle on the floor and pray not to get hit by stray weapons fire. When it was over, the cell door swung open.
"This way," the young Jaffa said, smiling. "We will take you to the women and children."
Daniel translated, his heart pounding once again. Hang on, babe, I’m coming to get you, he thought desperately.
Jack grinned, slapped the young man on the back, then motioned the men into action.
Twenty minutes later the sounds of rejoicing filled the air as families were once again united. Sam and Casey, however, were not it sight.
The Jaffa who had taken control of those on the planet approached the men of SG-1."Ba’al is on his way. He will release the villagers, once he has demonstrated his powers as a god…a false god."
"Do you know how he plans on doing this?" Daniel asked.
"He will sacrifice two with golden hair, and tell the villagers that this is the payment for their freedom."
Daniel nearly dropped to his knees. Casey. Sam and Casey. That snake-headed son-of-a-bitch was going to kill them.
"We should not let Ba’al know that anything has changed," Teal'c said quietly to Jack, having translated the conversation for him.
Jack nodded. "Daniel, tell these folks that we have to play along. When the time is right, we’re going to take that asshole out."
Daniel nodded numbly. He turned to the villagers, and explained what was about to happen and why, and what they must do to stop Ba’al. He could see in their faces that they were frightened, and preferred to simply disappear into the forest until this nightmare was over.
"Please, one of the women he plans to kill…she is to be my wife," he said, pleading with the leaders. "We helped you, please help us."
"We must do this now, or those still loyal to Ba’al will kill us all," the young Jaffa leader said nervously.
A A A A A A
Casey and Sam were walking in the middle of a group of Jaffa. The upside was that they were back on the planet. The downside was they still didn’t have a clue what was happening. When they reached a wide, stone altar in the front of an old, decaying temple, Casey felt her heart drop.
"They’re going to kill us," she whispered.
Sam jerked, looked at the young woman beside her. "You’re sure?"
Casey nodded miserably. "Yeah, I’m sure. Sam, I don’t think it’s going to be…easy…"
The major shuddered visibly.
Both women looked at the worn stones of the altar. Dark smudges covered it. Blood. It had been covered with blood. And soon theirs would cover it as well.
The young rebel Jaffa had been able to convince Ba’al that the Tau’ri had managed to escape and kill the First Prime and more Jaffa, and as a result, had been killed themselves. Ba’al nodded, appointed a new First Prime from among the ranks of the still loyal Jaffa, and proceeded toward the temple.
Jack and Daniel, dressed like the rest of the villagers, stood to the side, waiting for the arrival of the Goa’uld. They were both armed once again, and Teal'c was hiding nearby.
"Listen to the words of your god!" The new First Prime said loudly as Ba’al ascended the steps of the temple and seated himself on what was left of the throne that waited there. "Your lives will be spared because of your sacrifice. You will serve your god, and work for him by taking the rocks that please him from the belly of this planet! Witness the power of your god!"
Casey was picked up and laid on the altar. She was struggling against the ropes that held her arms tightly against her sides.A man dressed as a priest approached the altar, chanting in a sing-song voice, a huge dagger in his hands.
This was not happening! Any minute she’d wake up and be safe and sound beside Daniel. He’d hold her in his arms and kiss away the last remnants of this nightmare, she thought. No! She would not go out like this! She continued to struggle.
Ba’al frowned, stood to his feet and approached the woman who fought his priests. He raised his hand, the ribbon device already glowing.
"Now!" Jack shouted.
The village men lifted staff weapons that had been hidden among their cloaks. The rebel Jaffa began to fire on those still loyal to Ba’al. Sam had hit the ground as soon as Jack had called out.
Daniel was running toward the altar, firing his P90 into the fray, not really caring who he hit at the moment. When he was close enough he scooped her into his arms and then dropped down behind the stones, using them for cover. He raised up enough to see Ba’al, his priests, and a group of Jaffa, including the First Prime, heading into the woods.
"Jack, he’s getting away!" he called to his friend.
Jack looked in the direction that Daniel pointed. "Teal'c, let’s cut ‘em off!"
"It’s okay, babe, I’ll be right back," he said softly. He pressed a kiss to her forehead, then jumped to his feet and followed Jack and Teal'c.
They were only seconds too late. They fired into the rings as the light became blinding, hoping to have taken out at least a few of the men who stood there.
The sounds of the battle had stopped. They made their way back to the clearing. Once again the villagers were rejoicing. Newly freed Jaffa lent their voices to the sounds of celebration as well.
Sam and Casey had been untied, and Casey raced into Daniel’s arms as soon as she caught sight of him.
For the first time he became aware of what she was wearing…or how little she was wearing, actually. He glanced at Sam, then at Jack, who was staring at the major with a small smile on his face.
"Is it always this intense?" she asked, her head on his shoulder as he held her tightly against his chest.
"Good. I think I prefer survey missions," she admitted.
"I think I prefer you on survey missions," he said, his heart still not beating normally.
"No way. If you’re getting shot at, I want to know about it," she said, pressing her lips to his neck, tasting the salt of his sweat. "We do this together."
After negotiating a treaty for mining the naquadah that was in abundance on the planet, the newly freed Jaffa promising that the village would be protected from any possible return of Ba’al, SG-1 walked back through the gate, tired…but alive and well.
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