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Standing in the Dark
Duncan, Sam, Methos, Wade, Becca, and SG-6 were standing at the bottom of the ramp when they came through. Their smiles were enough to light the room, and they all eagerly waited their turn to greet her.
Sam was the first to move. She raced up the ramp and grabbed Casey in a hug, not easy to do considering that she was still in Daniel's arms. "I knew you weren't really dead! I just knew it!"
"To be honest, girlfriend, I was pretty sure I was going to be," Casey admitted softly, hugging her best friend tightly.
Daniel put her on her feet, and the men of SG-6 surged forward to greet her.
Wade put a hand to her cheek, the other on his brother's shoulder. "I am pleased to see you, little sister," he said softly. "You are well?" he asked Daniel.
"I'm fine, now," Daniel replied, touched at the display of genuine concern from his brother.
Methos hugged her, called her 'Brat'. To which she repeated her threat of sending him 'to the moon'.
"So what did you do to piss him off that much?" Duncan asked, trying hard to smile and not cry with relief that she was really home alive. He pulled her tight against his chest when he hugged her.
Her cheeks paled, and she lowered her eyes. "He did…horrible things, Duncan. Some of them he did to me, some of them-" her voice broke, she shook her head. "He wanted me to submit to him. I couldn't. I wouldn't. He had the sword, he was ready to bring it down…" she shrugged. "I don't know why he didn't."
Everyone in the room flinched at her words. Her eyes, ever expressive, told more of the horrors she had endured than her words.
Daniel, who had his arm around her slender shoulders once again, felt the tremors that had started the instant she began talking about him. "Let's go see Doctor Montigue. We have a long debrief, babe. It's not going to be easy."
A A A A A A
The doctor cleared them all in record time. Casey took time to remove the apparatus that Nergal's housekeeper had given her, then went into the doctor's private office. He spoke with her for a few minutes, then made a phone call. Dr. Blackstone arrived, and had gone in to talk to her for nearly an hour. SG-1 and 6 paced nervously outside the infirmary door. Duncan merely leaned against the wall, trying to control the anger, the fear that welled up inside him. Daniel's hands clenched and unclenched, his jaw worked, his blue eyes filled with worry; it took all the strength he possessed to keep from striking out.
When she emerged, it was plain that she had been crying. Gwenyth was beside her. "Is it all right if Doctor Blackstone sits in on this?" she asked softly.
Daniel knew only a bit; just a fraction of what his wife had suffered. His heart was breaking. He wasn't sure that he could actually sit and listen to what she had endured.
"It's fine, Casey," Duncan replied just as softly.
A A A A A A
The teams - as well as Methos, Wade, and Becca, along with Dr. Blackstone - sat down in the conference room. Duncan had Jack, Major Parker, Sam, and Methos give their reports first. When they were finished, tension so heavy it was palpable filled the air.
"Casey, if you would rather do this alone, just you and me in my office…" Duncan offered.
Dr. Blackstone spoke up. "I've already encouraged Casey to give this report in as…normal…of conditions as possible."
"If she'd rather not-" Daniel started, afraid that it was going to be as difficult for him to hear, as it was for her to tell.
"I think I should do this," Casey said softly. "Gwenyth says I'm going to…react strangely…to what might seem like just…ordinary things. Just for awhile. I need to do this…I need for you…" she reached out and grabbed Daniel's hand. He gripped her slender fingers tightly. She felt his calming, soothing mental caress. "I need for you to know that I'm not crazy, just a bit…shell shocked."
Duncan nodded. "Okay, Casey. Take your time, honey." He settled back in his chair, and tried to steel himself for what he was about to hear.
"If I might," Gwenyth said. She opened the large bag she had brought with her, and pulled out two boxes of tissues. She slid them onto the table. "Now, I don't want any of you men thinking that you're too tough to cry. I have only heard a fraction of what Casey…suffered. Trust me, you will cry. Let it out. If you don’t, you won't be doing yourself any favors."
Daniel's heart dropped to his stomach. This was going to be bad.
"Well, Methos put me in an escape pod," Casey said softly. "When it opened, I…I closed my eyes when I heard the lock activate. I was hoping that I'd either see some of the guys from the Phoenix, or Daniel on the Persephone. I knew I wouldn't, but…I hoped. He…I screamed when I saw him…I guess I was just…I don't know, anyway I screamed. He reached in and grabbed the front of my jacket and yanked me out. He…uh…he slapped me…hard…sent me flying into the wall. Then he hit me again. I don't remember anything after that until I woke up on a…table."
Daniel's fingers tightened over hers. He'd seen the torture rooms. Had seen the tables, with their restraints, stained with blood. Jack cleared his throat, Teal'c clenched his hands on top of the conference table; they too had seen the rooms, could envision her being held there. The men of SG-6 shifted uncomfortably.
"I was strapped down…even my head. I…I know he had drugged me, I don't know how long I was out, but my vision was all blurry, and I had a metallic taste in my mouth. I was scared to death; you know me, when I'm scared or nervous, the smart ass just slips right out." Uneasy chuckles filled the air. "He asked if I was Gabrielle or Casey…so…the smartass in me told him my name was Vengeance and I was going to kick his snake ass. I told him I was going to make him pay for the little girl he raped, and he…he started laughing, and asked me which one. He said he'd had hundreds, thousands of little girls." She shivered.
Every man in the room shifted, full of anger that this man would laugh about hurting innocent little girls. Every man who had a daughter was even more disgusted.
"Well, he did the 'I am your god' routine, and I made my usual smartass remarks, and he slapped me…it made my ears ring. Well, I could tell that the Quickening was healing the mark he left on my face…he had this look in his eyes…like a kid with a new toy…only…demented. He…uh…" her face flushed and she lowered her eyes. "He started…well…he…" She took a deep breath. "He started pinching and twisting my…uh…breasts…bruising them…ripped my shirt open…watched the Quickening heal them…"
Daniel hissed a breath, sickened at the thought of that monster touching her. She was holding so tightly to him now that he was concerned that she was cutting off blood circulation in her fingers. He said nothing about the pain in his own fingers, allowing her to grip his hand as hard as she needed.
"He has a real thing for knives…when he was finished…he…uh…grabbed this huge knife and stabbed me…in the stomach. When I revived he started cutting me, over and over…everywhere. There wasn't an inch of me that he didn’t cut. Some of the wounds weren't completely healed and he'd cut them open again. I don't know what happened…one minute I was lying there, being cut, the next I woke up in a cell." She tried to pour a glass of water from the pitcher in the middle of the table, but her hands were shaking too badly to do so. Daniel poured the water for her, his own hands shaking nearly as much. She took a few sips from the glass, which he helped her hold, then another deep breath. "Whenever his Jaffa came for me, they zatted me. I woke up hanging…from my wrists. He started asking questions, how to get through the gate, how many troops we have, where they are, all the codes, that sort of thing. He…uh…well…he threw knives at me…until he killed me again. The next time I woke up, I was strapped into a chair. He had Tiesha Taylor strapped to a table."
Everyone jumped at the mention of the young SF. She had been killed on a mission that had gone bad almost as soon as the team had walked through the 'gate.
"Yeah, it seems that Geb found Tie, and put her in a sarcophagus. She told me she didn't know how many times he had killed her. I'm not sure, but I think she might have been in his dungeons when we were there. I don't know if he would have kept her somewhere else. Evidently, Nergal was even worse to her. I told her to hang on, that help was on its way. She begged me to make sure he killed her, and left her dead. She knew that she wasn’t…right… any longer. He…well, when I wouldn't tell him anything, he killed us both, sort of a temper tantrum. He dumped me back in my cell. My clothes…there was so much blood …and it had dried…there was a blanket on the floor, so I just took off the clothes and put the blanket around me. I didn't even know that he had ripped part of my blouse off until I took it off…I was zatted, and then put back in that damn chair… and it…started all over…" She closed her eyes, tears ran down her cheeks. "He…uh…he stripped her…and…he…he had these… things… they looked like…well…they looked like…" she looked at Gwenyth and shook her head.
"Dildoes?" Gwenyth asked gently. She had already heard a bit of this part of the horrors of Casey's imprisonment.
Casey nodded. "Except there were…tiny metal blades all around them. He…Oh, god…" she began to sob. Daniel pulled her into onto his lap, held her tightly, smoothed her hair, let her cry against his shoulder.
"We don't have to do this," Duncan said, his face pale, his eyes wet with tears.
"Yes, we do," Gwenyth, replied, her own cheeks wet. She knew the young Immortal well enough to know that this was exactly what she needed to do. "Casey needs to make this report. She needs to get it out or it will fester inside until it makes her ill. It could even destroy her."
The Scot nodded.
Casey took a shaky breath.
"Take your time, Angel," Daniel whispered. "If you want to stop, or take a break, we will."
She put her head against his shoulder, gratified when she felt his arms tighten around her. "He… uh…raped her with those damned things…every way imaginable…telling me that all I had to do was give him the answers to his questions and he would leave her alone. I swear to god if I had known the legitimate codes for that day, I would have given them to him! I couldn't get him to understand that the codes change daily, and that they would have been scrambled as soon as I was captured. I tried to let on that I had been Methos' prisoner for so long that nothing I knew was of any value…there was so much blood, and Tie was screaming…and oh god I just…just wanted him to stop…" She began weeping again, clinging to the front of Daniel's shirt. After a few minutes, she took a deep breath. "Tiesha died, and he put her in a sarcophagus. You were right, Daniel. He has more than one. I saw three, and I'm sure he had others, and at least one for his own use."
Sam and Becca had already opened one of the boxes of tissues. Gwenyth had pulled several tissues from the box as well. Although none of the men were reaching for them, their eyes were wet with tears, and they were all swallowing hard. Hands were clenched, jaws were tightened as they listened.
"I'm not sure how long it was the second time Tie died before she was…revived…he left me strapped in the chair that time. I could hear others screaming…he was torturing at least two other people. He…" she shook her head, took another deep breath. "He is so twisted! He brought another man in…and…" her cheeks turned crimson. "I only had the blanket to wear… and he said that this man had taken something that belonged to him. He…he pulled me to my feet, and…he pulled the blanket away…he…he…he hung me by my wrists again…and he made…" she shuddered. "I can't do this," she whispered.
"Would you like help?" Gwenyth asked.
"Tell me, Casey, and I'll state it for your report. Is that satisfactory?"
Daniel wanted to slap the woman. Couldn't she see how this was affecting Casey? Part of his brain realized that the doctor was only doing what she knew must be done to help his wife get over her trauma, so she could move on. He knew Casey well enough to know that if she talked about this, at least once, it was less likely to haunt her. The other part knew only that his wife was in pain and he wanted it to stop.
Casey whispered into Gwenyth's ear. The woman paled, but didn't flinch.
"Nergal's prisoner had been caught with one of the women from his harem. One of the blonde women. Nergal forced the man to look at Casey and masturbate. Just before he reached his orgasm, Nergal castrated him, then allowed him to bleed to death."
"Jesus!" Jack hissed. Other gasps and curses filled the air.
Casey had hidden her face against Daniel's shoulder.
"It's okay, babe, it's almost over," he said softly, his hand moving up and down her back.
"When he had…done that," Casey said, resuming her tale, "he came over and started beating me, demanding to know everything about the SGC. I told him to go to hell, and he broke my neck. When I woke up, I was lying in the cell, naked. They must have been watching me, because as soon as I woke up, some Jaffa came for me, and they took me to this…room … Several slaves came in, and there was a bathtub, and they cleaned me up, put a silk gown on me, and took me up to his private chambers. He said that it had been 'brought to his attention' that I hadn't been given anything to eat or drink since I arrived, and he apologized for it. That son of a bitch didn't care one way or the other!"
"He couldn't torture what he wanted out of you, so he was going to try to charm it out of you," Methos said softly. He had endured torture during dark periods of his own long life. He was shocked at what she had gone through, wondered if she would be able to move past these horrors and remain the same woman she had been.
She nodded. "I hadn't eaten, or had anything to drink, and I know I had lost a lot of blood, I was so thirsty. I…I drank as much water as I could, and then I ate…he left me alone after he had eaten…and…there was a bed…and I was so tired…I shouldn't have…but goddess I was so tired…"
"Why shouldn't you have laid down, Casey?" Gwenyth asked.
Daniel winced. He knew that nothing had happened. She had been willing to die rather than let him touch her. He could only imagine how difficult it had been for her, making any kind of decision in the state of mind that she'd been in.
"But you did lie down?" the psychologist asked.
Casey nodded. "I woke up, and he was lying beside me…not curled around me or anything… just lying up against me. I tried to get out of bed, I really needed to…you know…use the bathroom. He was…charming…I managed to get to the bathroom, and I talked to Daniel. I thought that if I faked…being on my period…that maybe he would leave me alone. He… he told me that if I…pleased him…my life would be…good…and if I didn't I would regret it. I told him to get his knives, because I wasn't going to let him touch me. He…he…" she broke off, took another sip of the water.
"This is when he raped and killed that girl, isn't it?" Daniel asked softly.
She nodded. "He called it part of my 'training'. He…Jaffa brought two girls in. He tossed one of them on the bed beside me… and he…he raped her. He…he took her…he sodomized her …and when she made a noise because it hurt…he slit her throat. The sick bastard didn't stop until he was done! Then…then..." her cheeks began to burn. "He made me take a bath with him. I pissed him off, I told him that he had been the one to kill Darilla, and he left…and I got sick, and called to Daniel, and-" she broke off, wiped the tears from her cheeks. "Once I was dressed, I was supposed to sit down and have breakfast with him as if none of…that…had happened. He told me that I had to submit…that as soon as he was finished eating, he…we …that he wanted…" she looked down. "I told him no way in hell. He grabbed a sword and told me he would kill me." She looked up into Daniel's eyes, put her hand against his cheek. "I couldn't Daniel, I couldn't let him touch me. It was better to die faithful to you than to let…pure evil…touch me! I couldn't have dealt with that! I've hurt you too many times as it is!"
Duncan and Wade both lowered their eyes.
"Shh…it's okay, Angel. Let it all go," he whispered. 'You wouldn’t have been unfaithful, Angel. Never. Nothing that he could have done would have changed the fact that you belong only to me. Nothing will ever change that. Nothing will ever change my love for you.'
'I just couldn't, Daniel. He was…I…I never would have been the same…I knew that! I couldn't…wouldn't…do that to you.'
The others waited quietly, aware that there was a private conversation being held.
She took a ragged breath. "I don't know why he didn't behead me. I had enough time to say goodbye to Daniel, and then the next thing I remember is waking up strapped to a table. One of his…keir'os I think is what he called him…injected me with something…it wasn't very long after that I heard zat fire, and then I was being injected again. Don't remember anything from then until waking up in Unlinkil's cottage."
Duncan cleared his throat. "Casey…I…you are one hell of a woman, Casey Jackson!"
"I hear that!" Tony Sabotti said softly. There were several other murmurs of agreement.
"That's my Tiger," Daniel whispered. He raised her fingers to his lips, held them there for several long seconds.
Casey looked over at Gwenyth. "So, am I going to go all schizoid, or will I survive?"
The psychologist smiled, the others in the room laughed. "To be honest, after reading what you endured on PY3-279, I think you'll survive this just fine."
"About Tiesha Taylor, is she…," Duncan asked.
"Unlinkil…set her free," Casey said quietly. "Tie told me she couldn't come home. Unlinkil and Tie had become friends, he offered again and again to take her out of there, she kept refusing. He said she knew that her mind was…going…and that she would never be able to…she had been broken."
The Scot nodded. "I'll send this information to George to put into her official record, but let's leave this information here. The team she was with would only beat themselves up over this, and it wouldn't do anyone any good. I know that George will feel the same way. So this is considered top priority classified."
"We have got to take that sick bastard out!" Major Parker said. He was shaking, what he'd just heard as bad as the stories about the prisons in Iraq…perhaps worse. And that Casey had endured such…horrors…left him furious.
"Unlinkil said that Nergal will start attacking those who attacked him, and take over what they have. We have to get him while he's down," Jack said.
Daniel looked at Methos. "How strong are all the other System Lords?"
The young/old man shrugged. "Several of them are in fairly weak positions. They don't have a lot. Even so, I imagine Nergal will hit them."
"If we can continue to encourage the defection of Jaffa, this will continue to weaken all of the System Lords," Teal'c said. "Many of Nergal's Jaffa were killed when his planet was attacked. Very few who remain alive are faithful to him. He does not yet know this."
"Well, we'll work on another plan in a couple of days. Everybody go home and get some rest. Good job people. We hit him, and we hit him hard. He may not be out, but he's certainly down. We'll get him yet," Duncan said.
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