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Standing in the Dark

Chapter 3

"No, Doctor Jackson. He did not."

Daniel was stunned. He stared at the man for several long seconds, dropped his hands. "Say what?"

"No, Doctor Jackson. Nergal killed her, yes. But he did not behead her. He had her body sent back down to his…special rooms."

Daniel was already turning away, prepared to run for the stairs he knew lay at the end of this corridor. The Tok'ra operative grabbed his arm.

"She is no longer there. Another has taken her."

"Who? Where?"

Jack and Teal'c approached the two men. "Daniel? What's going on?"

The young man turned a pale face toward his friends. "This man is Tok'ra…I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name."

The man gave a small smile. He hadn't offered his name. But the anger, the pain in this man's eyes, and voice, reminded him only too well of his own recent loss. He took no offense from the man's words, or actions. "I am Talin."

"Talin here says that Nergal didn't behead Casey. He killed her, and had her taken back to his torture chambers."

"Let's go," Jack said, turning to lead the way.

"She's not there. Apparently somebody else has her."


Daniel looked at Talin. "Who has her?"

The Tok'ra looked at the three faces that surrounded him. "Come, we must hurry."

The men followed the Tok'ra down the stairs. None of them were prepared for the horrors of each room that they passed through. Blood stained every wall, every table, the floor… Daniel wondered where Casey had been tortured, how much of the blood they saw was hers, the thought making the bile in his stomach churn. He saw a piece of the blouse she had been wearing when she was taken on the floor in the third room, beneath an empty table. It was soaked with blood, but he recognized the buttons. She liked those buttons. He reached down, picked it up. Ripped the button from the material, and put it in his pocket, let the blood saturated cloth fall back to the floor. His eyes went around the room, took note of the manacles that hung from the ceiling. He closed his eyes as images of her hanging there filled his mind.

Jack had stopped when he noticed the young archaeologist bend over. It was in here. He knew with out asking. He glanced at Teal'c; the Jaffa realized the implications as well.

The Tok'ra had stopped, also aware of what was happening. He waited until Daniel was ready to move one. Talin led them to the end of the corridor, pressed his hands against the wall, and the hidden door swung open. "I do not know where this leads. Only that he injected her with something, took her, and several bottles of antidotes, and disappeared through here. Oh, yes, he killed, and dematerialized all of the prisoners down here. He killed one young black woman first, I heard him say something about a promise being made, and kept."

Teal'c was already stepping into the passage, the scope light of his P90 on. Daniel was right behind him.

"Thanks," Jack said.

The man gave a small smile and nodded.

Daniel turned around. "Better get as many of the innocent people as you can away from here. We're going to level this place."

The Tok'ra nodded once again. "Good luck."

"Persephone…this is O'Neill."

"Go ahead, general."

"Hold off those nukes until I give the order. Repeat, no nukes until you hear from me."

"No nukes until you give the order, aye-aye sir."

"How's it going up there?"

"Nergal's fleet is history. Two Goa'uld ships down, not sure which ones. Several took heavy damage. The rest have already started running. Colonel Carter and Methos pulled away as well. They'll meet up with us at the rendezvous point."

"Good. Stay put…oh, we'll have a few extra Jaffa to bring back."

"Yes, sir. Marine One is already bringing them on board."

"Okay. We'll be in contact. Oh, yeah…get a message to Sam and Methos and Duncan…tell them that Casey wasn't beheaded after all. We're on our way to find her now."

There was a slight pause. "Repeat, sir?"

"Casey wasn't beheaded. Pass the word. Make sure that SG-6 knows, too."

"Yes, sir!" There was no mistaking the happiness in the colonel's voice. "We'll be here when you're ready to bring her home, sir."

Jack grinned. "Sounds good, Jim. We'll be in touch."

Daniel suddenly doubled over. He hadn't eaten or had anything to drink in several hours, he'd been too concerned about Casey. Then…his grief had been too great to notice such things as hunger or thirst. Now his stomach was determined to rid itself of everything it didn't have.

The older man rubbed his back gently. "It's okay, Danny. We're gonna find her."

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, grabbed his canteen. "I guess just knowing…"

Jack waited until Daniel had taken a mouth full of water, and spit. He put his hands on the young man's shoulders. "Daniel, you have to keep it together. You can fall into as many pieces as you want, once we're all back on the Persephone. With Casey."

He nodded.

"Daniel Jackson, is there a chance that she has revived by now? Would you be able to sense her?" Teal'c asked quietly.

"I don't know, Teal'c." He closed his eyes. Reached out, his heart pounding against his ribs. Nothing. She was still dead. "Talin said that whoever it was who has her injected her with something, and then took several antidotes."

"Maybe he wants her to stay dead for awhile," Jack said. "She might have revived just before he injected her."

Something began to poke at the back of his mind. Something about Nergal. And plagues. He shrugged. "Let's go find her. We'll get the answers to all of this then."

They started out again, running down the dark, narrow passage.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Wade closed his eyes and whispered a prayer of thanks when the message came through. Casey was still alive. Or, at least not beheaded. Methos explained that as long as her head was on her shoulders, there was hope. Methos sat in the captain's chair, waiting anxiously to hear word on her rescue.


Sam and Becca hugged one another, tears on their faces. "I knew she wasn't really gone," Sam whispered. "I just knew it!"


Duncan folded his arms on his desk, lowered his head to rest against them, and gave in to the tears that he had held at bay from the moment he had heard the first report of her death…her beheading. Thank god, he whispered. Thank god.


Major Parker grinned when the word came down. "Listen up, 6," he said into his radio. "Casey wasn't beheaded. She's still with us, boys!"

Jaffa who continued to fight in the name of their god Nergal were perplexed at the shouts of joy that echoed from several corners of the room.


A  A  A  A  A  A


They could see light up ahead. Daniel slid to a stop when his flashlight reflected off the wall and revealed three sets of coordinates. There were several marks that were odd, but he copied them down anyway as he carefully recorded the Stargate addresses. When they stepped out of the narrow passage, they were only a few feet from the 'gate.

"Do you think he took her to one of them?" Jack asked, pointing to Daniel's notepad.

"I don't know, Jack. But right now it's the only lead we have. If I have to go to all three of these planets and search every damned inch, I will!"

Jack clapped a hand onto Daniel's shoulder. "T and I will be right there with you, Daniel."

Daniel punched in the address for the first planet. The seventh chevron refused to engage. "Damn it!"

"Daniel, let's get back to the Persephone. We'll find her, I promise. We know she's alive. If she can communicate with you, she might be able to tell you where she is. You need rest…I need rest…T needs rest…and we need to level this freaking place," Jack said quietly.

He stared at the 'gate for a few minutes. She was alive. As long as she was alive, there was hope. Memories of other searches he had made, when she had been taken from him, filled his mind. He had found her then, brought her home. He would do it again. He nodded slowly.

"Persephone, this is O'Neill. We're ready to come up now." In a flash of white light, the three men returned to the ship.


A  A  A  A  A  A


He stepped out from where he had been hiding. He had hidden when he heard movement behind him in the tunnel. He'd thought he was being followed by Jaffa. He shifted the woman in his arms. He wished he could have heard what they were saying more clearly. Something about the demeanor of the one with those…glass objects…on his face troubled him. That man was distraught. He glanced at the ring on her hand. That man had been wearing a similar ring, he had seen the sunlight glint off of it as he punched in the coordinates. His had no stones in it, but still…He knew well what it was like to lose a lover…a wife. He glanced down at her face. When they were safe, and she was awake, he would get the answers he needed. He punched in the coordinates…the correct ones…and went through the 'gate as soon as the event horizon was stable. The palace, and the compound, exploded behind him.

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