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Shadows of the Heart
Daniel held her hand tightly as they took the elevator down to the eighteenth level. He was certain that all of the demons of fear had been, if not vanquished, then certainly shoved back into the corner where they couldn't bother her any longer. He smiled at her when she glanced up at him.
When she stopped and stared at the door that led into the office occupied by Julie Harwood…who was now officially Dr. Daniel Jackson's secretary…he waited with her. "I'm ready," she said softly, exhaling the deep breath she had taken.
Daniel knocked on the door, then led Casey into the small office. Julie stood up to greet them. She had on another short skirt and silky blouse, Casey noted.
"Good morning, Daniel," Julie said, a smile on her face.
"Good morning, Julie. I don't believe you've met my Wife, Casey?"
Julie had seen Casey around, of course. Had seen her at the benefit for the Museum. When the woman was dressed up, she was killer! Even dressed as she was, in military fatigues, no make-up, and her hair cascading down her back, over her shoulders, she was a very beautiful woman. "No, we haven't met."
"Casey, this is Julie Harwood. Julie, my Wife Casey."
Julie offered her hand. "How do you do, Casey?"
She forced a smile, accepted the woman's hand, pulled hers away as quickly as she could with out seeming rude. "I do well, thank you. And you?"
"Fine, thanks," Julie said. She could sense Casey's unease. Knew that if the boss's wife didn't like her, not only would her life be miserable, the job wouldn't last long. She was at a loss as to what she could, or should do, however. She'd call Carly for advice later in the day. "I've already filled your in-baskets for today," she said, looking up at Daniel.
"I thought the point of having a secretary was so that we wouldn't have to do paperwork," Casey mused quietly.
Julie burst into giggles. "That's the theory. The truth is, I'm only going to siphon off about half of what comes through. You'll still have email and other correspondence to deal with, as well as mission reports. I can only file those," she smiled.
"Okay, here's the deal," Casey said, warming up to the young woman. "When it comes to the email, I get the jokes, he gets the boring stuff."
"Done," Julie said, winking at her.
She was friendly, had a good sense of humor, and when she looked at Daniel, there wasn't any…lust, want, infatuation, in her eyes. This could work out after all. Casey smiled, and looked up at Daniel. He was watching the two women with an amused smile of his own.
"Why do I have the feeling I just set myself up to be tag teamed by you two?" he asked.
"Good looking and smart," Julie said approvingly. "Is that a drawback in handling him?"
It was Casey's turn to giggle. "Only if he's really paying attention. I just distract him with a tablet that needs to be translated."
"Ha ha," Daniel grinned. "Ready to get to work?"
Casey smiled up at him. "Yep. There are two new tablets…Cardorian."
He couldn't help but chuckle at the light that danced in her eyes. "You're the resident expert on Cardorians," he replied. Okay, learning Ancient could wait a day or two.
"Me?" she squeaked, making Julie laugh out loud.
Her eyes had widened, her mouth had dropped open, and for a few seconds all he could think about was slipping his cock past those pink lips…he shook his head mentally, forced his thoughts back on a safer track. "Yep. You. Come on, let's get to work."
Julie had caught the look of pure lust that had flashed in his eyes when he looked at his wife. Carly was right. For Daniel Jackson, no other woman existed. She gave a mental sigh. He hadn't seen her before…even though that had been a 'set-up'…why should now be any different? She only hoped that Casey realized how lucky she was to have a husband so crazy, head-over- heels in love with her.
That he would think that she was an expert at anything was enough to make her shake, though Casey knew that Daniel viewed her through the eyes of love; he wasn't the most objective person in the world, not when it came to her. Over the years she had overheard some of the comments he'd made to others about her…how beautiful she was, or sexy, or talented artistically, or the best cook he had ever known. Lately, he would tell anyone who cared enough to listen that she had earned the right to be called an archaeologist. She knew that the only reason she knew anything about archaeology was because of him.
She followed him to the elevator, glanced up at him. He was watching the level indicator, his hands in his pockets. Did he have any idea how good-looking, how sexy he was? Her pulse raced when the realization set in that the incredibly handsome man standing next to her was hers…was in love with her! She wrapped her arms around her waist, almost giddy with excitement, love, happiness.
He turned his head enough to see her from the corner of his eye. She was almost bouncing. He bit back his smile, remembered discoveries that had him reacting the same way. A prayer of thanks silently left his lips that she was standing beside him, alive, healthy, happy…and that she still loved him. No doubt about that. Not after the mind-blowing wake-up call she'd given him that morning! He couldn't hold back the grin as the memory of opening his eyes to find her working his throbbing erection with that sweet mouth flashed across his mind. She had looked up at him, those eyes so full of passion, love, fire…and then she had blown his mind…sent him reeling among the stars before he was even fully awake. Before he had time to come down from the heights, she had straddled his hips, took his still throbbing shaft into her sweet, warm body, and proceeded to work him up all over again. His cock twitched in his pants, warning him to either change his train of thought, or do something about the situation.
They rode silently to the surface, that silence one of ease, familiarity, love. She reached out to caress him, felt his warm gentle touch in return.
The guards were still laughing at the joke she had told them when she had signed in not more than ten minutes earlier. She flashed a smile as she signed out, followed her Husband into the bright morning sunshine. His hands, as always, were in his pockets. She looped her arm through his.
"I like her," she said softly.
Daniel looked at her. "Really?"
She nodded. "She's…nice."
Tension he didn't even realize was there released his neck and shoulders. "Yeah, she is. Carly says she's a damned good office manager. Let's hope she can keep up with the amount of paperwork that we have to deal with."
"You would think that we wouldn't have so much paperwork, everything goes on computers, onto removable hard drives, data crystals, CD's, and all of that has to be stored as well," she said.
"It's important that everything we have, that we know, is kept somewhere, so that if something should ever happen, we can… rebuild…in just a matter of minutes, or hours, rather than weeks or months," he replied.
"Good point." She waited while he opened the door for her. Susan Whitman was just coming out of the workroom. She gave the British woman a broad smile, and received one in return.
Ten minutes later she was lost in the world of the Cardorians, speculating about their culture from the tablet on the table in front of her. Jotting down her ideas, thoughts, questions; totally unaware of how much her actions resembled those of her husband when he was working.
"Oh, this isn't good," she said softly, re-reading a particular section of text yet again.
Daniel looked over at her from where he sat beside her, translating a second tablet found on the same dig. "What?"
"Well, if I’m reading this correctly, during a time of political unrest between two warring houses of power, the 'great god Dagon appeared in his chariot of fire, angered that his children would quarrel. As punishment, those who had quarreled were taken away in chains, their pride broken, as the great god Dagon established the new order for the houses of Cardoria. Those who spoke out against the god were dealt with harshly, while the faithful were justly rewarded.'" She looked over at him. "I've looked, but I don't see anything else on this tablet about him. And I haven't seen any other references to him on any of the other tablets."
Daniel began to hurriedly skim the larger stone in front of him. "Nothing here." He sat back in his chair, a frown on his face. "If he did all of that, established a presence on the planet, you would think there would be more written about it."
Casey nodded. "You would think." She tucked her foot beneath her, leaned against the table, her fingers tracing the stone. "According to the mission reports, there weren't any standing buildings at any of the sites now listed as Cardorian. You don't think that he showed up, and then maybe somebody stood up to him, pissed him off so much he totally wiped them out?"
His frown deepened. "I don't know, Case. I do think we need to go back to all four sites and do some careful searching."
"I agree. I think it's going to have to wait, though," she said. "There's a group of people in desperate need of help. Jack is getting the mission together. We'll be leaving as soon as he's finished."
"That's the way it goes," he sighed. "I guess it's important that we help the living…what the dead have to tell us will still be there when we're ready to look for it, listen for it."
She shivered violently, sending the notes she had been taking to the floor in a cascade of yellow paper.
Her eyes were wide. "Hold me," she whispered.
Like her, he was aware that the physical contact wasn't necessary for him to 'hold' her while she did her searches. Like her, doing so gave him comfort. He laced his fingers with hers as he moved toward her. For a few seconds he was afraid of what he might find. Smiled when he found her waiting for him in that sunny meadow; beautiful, sexy, alluring…smiling at him as she held out her hand.
Firmly, safely in his embrace, Casey began to move quickly toward the 'sound' that had caught her subconscious attention. The people she had seen before were seeking shelter from a storm the likes she had never seen before. What little they had was already gone, destroyed in the gale force winds and rain that beat down upon the dry, thirsty ground. It was almost a blessing that there were no crops in the barren fields, for the tender plants would not have survived the brutal force of the rain. She moved back a bit, could already see the clouds beginning to break up.
Daniel watched her face, the slight frown, the look of sorrow, and worry, that flashed over her delicate features. When her fingers tightened against his, he gently returned the pressure, reassuring her of his presence; held her more tightly in that meadow.
She opened her eyes. "We have to talk to Jack and Duncan. Those people I was telling you about? Well, they finally got some rain. The trouble is, it took out what little they had. They have nothing now. If we don't help them, they won't survive," she said softly.
Daniel kissed her fingers, then let go of her to walk to his desk. He picked up the phone. "Duncan? Yeah, get Jack and Sam and Teal'c. We have a couple of problems…yeah, we're on our way."
She was on her feet waiting for him. "You realize this means we'll miss the Open House at the school. Emily will be upset."
"Maybe not, Angel. Maybe we can get things set up in the next couple of days. If nothing else, we can come home for the Open House and then go back. We'll be there. I promise," Daniel said quietly. Missing the school event would not only be hard on Casey, it would hurt Emily as well. He wanted neither of them dealing with unnecessary heartache. Especially when there were solutions available. He rested his arm on her slender shoulders, smiled when her arm wrapped around his waist.
A A A A A A
The rest of the team was already in the conference room when they walked in. Duncan turned in his chair to watch them enter. "Okay, what's up?"
Daniel glanced at Casey. "First off, we need to go to…" he glanced again at his wife.
"P5X 115," she said softly.
"Okay, why?" Duncan said, quickly sorting through the list of missions planned for the week.
"They were suffering from a drought, they needed food, medical supplies," she said.
The Highlander nodded. He remembered her 'report'. "And?"
"I'll have to look again to see if it's over. But they were hit by a terrible storm. Those people had very little. Now they have nothing."
"Oy!" Jack exclaimed.
"Yeah," Daniel said quietly.
"Okay…food, water, medical supplies, tents, general camping gear, generators, blankets," Duncan called off each item as he wrote it down. "Anything else?"
"We'll have to wait and see what sizes for clothes," Sam mused.
"That will at least take care of their immediate needs," Daniel said. "We can assess further what other requirements they might have when we get there."
Duncan nodded. "Okay. I'll call SG-6 and Marine 2 to start getting some sleds loaded to take through. I'll have Kyle send the MALP while you gear up. We'll need to know how far from the 'gate these folks are. Give me a weather report, Case," he said, grinning at her.
She giggled, reached for Daniel's hand. She caressed him softly just before she reached out. Her heart wrenched in sorrow for the people she could see. "The storm is over…oh no! They've lost several…I can see six bodies. Oh…oh god…they can't even get to them to bury them!"
Heavy silence hung in the air for a few seconds as the team mentally registered the fact that they were going into a disaster zone.
"Let's get these folks taken care of," Jack said quietly. Anything and everything else could wait…for now.
Without another word, the members of SG-1 were on their feet and heading to the armory. Duncan hurried to the control room, calling out orders for a MALP and a UAV.
Casey stood still while Daniel braided her hair. Her fingers were shoving the armor-piercing bullets that were standard issue with their P-90's into the magazines that waited on the table in front of her, as quickly as possible. When he pulled on his vest, she filled the pockets while he tied a do-rag on his head. Jack, Sam and Teal'c looked on with amused…and indulgent...smiles as they gathered their own gear.
Duncan came into the room. "First MALP images show nothing around the 'gate. I've already called up for the ATVs. UAV should be in the air now. I'm sending four sleds through as soon as 6 and 2 have them ready. They'll be behind you, so give them a heads-up if there's anything they need to be aware of."
Jack nodded, fastened his P90 to his vest, slapped a magazine into it and looked at his team. "Okay, let's go."
"Kyle, I need a fix on those people," Duncan called up as he entered the 'gate room with SG-1.
"East by south-east. Looks like three…no…five. Five klicks. Images are also showing some major flooding north of the 'gate. I have no idea if that will have any impact on you," the young Immortal replied, looking down at the team standing at the foot of the ramp.
"Okay, SG-1, you have a go. Godspeed," the Scot said softly. "Jack!"
The CO of the team turned around.
"If it's too bad, and you have no other options, just bring them here."
Jack nodded his understanding.
A A A A A A
The storm had created havoc, caused damage, and then dissipated, all in less than an hour. The sun that was shining down on them was doing nothing more than turning the suddenly flooded area into a steam bath.
Casey crawled onto the ATV behind Daniel, settled onto the seat, then slid her hands into his pants pockets. She couldn't help but grin when she felt his body shiver slightly beneath her fingers.
It took little more than ten minutes to arrive at what had once been the site of a humble village. Very little remained; a few broken timbers, heaps of mud that at one time had been bricks and had formed simple shelters. There were only two dozen people left, after the storm. The still shocked survivors stared at the strange vehicles and those who rode them. The elders of the group exchanged worried looks. Legends told of a group of creatures who had come through the Chappa'ai, wearing helmets of metal on their heads that hid their true faces. Those creatures had brought death to those who had not escaped into the hills. If these helms were metal, it was like none that those living had ever seen.
Daniel stopped, turned off the engine; climbed off the ATV and removed his helmet. The people who were huddled together gasped to see that this…creature…looked like a man. "Hello. Please, don't be afraid," he said softly. "I'm Daniel Jackson. We're here to help you."
The man who served as the leader of the people stepped forward. He was tall, had long black hair and shining black eyes. His skin was bronzed, his shoulders broad. He moved closer to the man with light hair. Obviously this stranger was attempting to communicate. "I do not understand your words," he said slowly.
With a grin, Daniel looked over at his friends. "Greek. One of the older dialects." He turned to face the waiting group of people. "We come in peace, to help you. My name is Daniel. These are my friends."
"They are sent by the gods!" one of the older men cried out.
"To arrive as they have…they are gods!" another voice called. This announcement sent the group into near hysterics. Several dropped to their knees.
"No! Nothing like that!" Daniel exclaimed. He reached out to the man nearest him who was kneeling, took his arm and tugged him back to his feet.
"Then explain why you came here, offering your help to us, in our greatest moment of need," the leader replied.
Daniel glanced at Casey. "My Wife is a seer. She…saw the storm, realized that it had left you with nothing. So we came. Others will be here soon with water and food and blankets, some tents-"
"Tents? I do not understand," the man said.
"I'll be happy to explain…er…" he waited for the man to offer his name.
The man blushed, tapped his forehead lightly. "Forgive me, Dan'yel. In my surprise my manners have deserted me! I am called Pallas. These…tents? What are they?"
Daniel smiled. "Simple, temporary shelters…um… skini. Some are made of animal hides. Some of heavy canvas. Ours happen to be nylon."
"Ah, yes, kataskinono! Animal hides, this I understand," Pallas said. "The other words have no meaning to me."
"That's all right. You don't have to understand what they're made of to use them," Daniel chuckled.
"SG-1, this is Marine 2. What's your situation?"
Jack grabbed his radio as the people who had gathered around the team backed up again, staring at him, and the tiny black box on his shoulder. "We're at the village Turk, talking to the locals."
"Should we bring the sleds there, or are we moving them elsewhere?"
"Hang on for reply," Jack said. He looked over at Daniel. "Is it safe for them to stay here?"
Daniel sucked on his lower lip. "They wouldn't have chosen this spot if it wasn't safe," he mused.
Casey shook her head. "They've been here during drought. And I'm getting a sense that today's rainfall will be it for awhile. To be honest, I think they'd be better off somewhere else."
Sam had been taking readings of the area, the constant search for naquadah making no planet exempt. "There are some pretty high radiation readings," she said.
"How high?" Jack asked nervously.
The astrophysicist squinted up at the sun. "It's not dangerous short term, but long term could cause serious damage. I think that the sun is the source. It's possible that this planet is too close to their sun. For all we know, this drought could have been caused by a shift in the orbit of the planet. Closer to that white-hot giant. I'd have to bring the proper equipment to take readings, of course, and it would be better to-"
Jack held up his hand. "Ah, ah, ah. I only want to know if it's dangerous for them to be here."
"Long term, absolutely. I think it would be best to get these people off of this planet as soon as possible," Sam said.
"I agree," Casey said.
Daniel nodded, and turned to the tall man beside him. "Pallas, we believe there is danger to your people here. And that the drought you've been suffering is only going to continue. We can take you to a place where you'll be able to live peacefully, and grow the food you need more easily."
The man frowned, glanced back at the people who gathered behind him. He was responsible for them, and a wrong decision could lead to them to ruin. That thought had him looking around. The storm had blown up suddenly. Never had he seen a wind so fierce. Not one hut was left standing. Six of their number had died when the storm had hurled them through the air, and then dropped them mercilessly onto the rubble of their homes. Four of them had hit the ground with such force that the rubble had collapsed on top of them. Two were already so deep in mud that there was no need to dig graves.
His father, may the gods protect his soul, had warned him that the drought only seemed to be getting worse. They had wandered for some time, seeking water, game, any plant life they could find. Two years ago they had come here. There had been game, for a time. He had sent scouts out to search for a better place to live. Only two had returned, and their reports were discouraging. So he had refused to move the people again. Moving, traveling was too hard on the old, too hard on the very young. Why risk death if there was a chance to avoid it, if only for a short time. It was difficult just trying to survive where they were, and each year their numbers continued to dwindle as the elderly died, and babies didn't survive, due to the lack of milk in the breasts of half-starved mothers. Every day the struggle became worse. His people had stopped living two years ago. Merely existing was hard enough.
Daniel watched the man, understood that what he was offering…what they were asking these people to do...was not something done easily. "I give you my word that you'll be safe. That where we can take you will be much better," he said softly.
Casey had been watching the leader as well. She reached out, gently soothed the fear from his mind. If these people were to have any chance of surviving, they were going to have to leave here. And the sooner they left, the sooner they could begin to rebuild their lives.
Pallas turned to the woman at his side. "If we stay here, we will continue to die. If we leave here, we could die."
She smiled softly. "If we are to die, then we are to die. Isn't any chance better than none at all?"
"This is why I love you," he said softly. She was always able to say out loud that which he often could not. He let his gaze drift over every one of the people of his village. "Leda speaks the truth. Any chance is better than none at all. Here we have none."
One of the older men looked at Daniel. "How will you take us to this place of which you speak? Is it near here? Will it take many days to travel? We have no provisions with which we can undertake such a journey!"
Daniel smiled. "Do you know of the Stargate…the Chappa'ai?"
"We know of it," Pallas replied, a worried frown on his face. "From it comes forth all manner of demons and evil."
"We came through the Chappa'ai and we are neither demons, nor evil," Daniel said quietly.
"How can we know this? Cannot demons disguise themselves?" an older woman asked, her voice shaking with fear.
The team exchanged worried looks. They didn't have to understand what was being said to know that there was a bit of discussion going on, and it wasn't going well.
"I suppose they could," Daniel replied. "I’m a man, just as Pallas is a man, and my Wife is a woman just as you are a woman. She is a seer, as I have already said. You have my word that you'll be safe."
The people looked from him to Casey and back again, several of them taking the time to look at Sam, Jack, and Teal'c as well.
Pallas took a deep breath. "We will die in a matter of days if we do nothing. We have no food, our well has collapsed, and we'll have not the strength to dig as deep as we must for water," he reminded his clan. He turned to Daniel. "We will go with you."
Daniel nodded, smiled encouragingly at the man. "We need to find a place for them," he said to Jack.
"Turk, contact Duncan. Get a 'gate address for a planet suitable for a small band of people," Jack said into his radio.
"Understood, general," Turk's voice said.
"Somewhere suitable for farming," Daniel said.
"Turk, tell him some place with farmland," Jack said, barely controlling the urge to roll his eyes.
"We're heading your way shortly."
"Copy, General. See you when you get here."
"Shouldn't take long," Jack replied.
Daniel turned back to Pallas. "Come on, we'll get you somewhere safe, and help you get set up."
The tall man took one last look around at what had once been his home, the home of the people who called him their archigos. They didn't even have a change of clothes to gather! He nodded.
"I'll walk with them," Daniel said quietly.
"And I'll walk with you," Casey said, slipping her hand in his.
Jack nodded. Sam crawled onto the ATV that Daniel had driven, and followed her husband and Teal'c back to the 'gate.
The group moved forward, hesitantly, following the man and the woman with the light colored hair.
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