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The Price of Peace
Jack looked into the camera. "Hello, folks. Sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled programs. But we thought you should know what the NID, and the EDA are up to. Seems the NID is selling weapons to anyone who has naquadah. This could cause some serious problems, and these problems will affect all of us. Now, we're doing what we can to protect you from the Goa'uld. We're even trying to keep the NID from doing damage out here. But we can't do it alone. Until you folks make it impossible for these bastards to operate, things are just going to get worse. I suggest you all talk to your leaders and demand that something be done about this mess. Right now there's an al'kesh parked above South America. It's owned and operated by the NID. They're picking up a load of weapons, and cocaine. What happens now is up to you."
"Stand by to stand by," Casey murmured.
"Sam, contact CNN. Tell them to let the folks know they can talk to us through them. We'll check back in around an hour from now," Jack instructed.
Sam nodded, made the connection. She had just a few seconds to marvel at the myriad of ways that the SGC colony ships could communicate.
"Al'kesh on the move," Casey called out.
"Follow it, sir?" Thompson asked.
"Yeah, for now. Are you finished, Sam?" Jack asked.
"Yep. I told them we'd call back in an hour. They're already putting up numbers for viewers to call in to. And they're urging people to make sure friends and families are watching. They're going to re-run your message continuously for the next hour."
The Prometheus moved invisibly behind the former Goa'uld ship..
"They're scanning for us," Sam reported.
"I have weapons lock," Casey said.
Jack stood with his hands on his hips, a frown on his face. "Okay, Case. Arm 'em."
She armed the naquadah tipped, Scorpion class missiles that the Prometheus carried. "Missiles armed and locked."
"One at a time."
"Yes, sir," she replied. "Waiting command to fire."
"On my mark," Jack said, watching as the ship in front of them began evasive maneuvers. "Can they pick us up?"
"No way," Sam replied. "I'm not picking up any sensor scans."
"Then they're just hoping to keep us off their tail. Okay, Case…fire one…now!"
Casey's finger pushed the button. They watched the missile approach the ship. It impacted nearly dead center of the pyramid shaped vessel. The fires that resulted were extensive.
"Sam, let 'em know we're ready to take on survivors," Jack said quietly.
A flash of light lit the space around them. The ship disintegrated in a fireball that completely destroyed it.
"Holy shit!" Thompson swore softly.
Jack shook his head. "Stupid sons-of-bitches. Scan for escape pods."
Casey helped on the scanners. "Nothing."
"Okay, take us back to Earth orbit, Danny," Jack said wearily.
"You got it," Daniel replied quietly.
The second shift crew arrived on the bridge, and SG-1 happily handed over the business of keeping guard to the younger people. The scan for a second 'gate on Earth would continue.
A A A A A A
Tired, weary of heart, the team went through the chow line, and found a quiet table near the back of the mess hall. They never noticed the looks and the whispers as the crew took note that the famous SG-1 was among them.
"We should be hearing some results of your broadcast soon," Daniel said. He watched Casey push around her omelet, frowned slightly. 'Babe? You have to eat. Do you want something different?'
She looked at him, smiled and shook her head. She forced herself to take a bite. Discovered that she was hungry after all. She glanced at him, noticed the look of relief on his face when he saw her eating. 'Better?'
He smiled. 'Yep.'
"Let’s hope that we got through to them this time," Casey said.
Daniel shook his head. "After what happened when the SGC was…exposed…the NID should have been dealt with then."
She shook her blonde head. "Daniel, at that time, the people down there were having to deal with the knowledge that not only did aliens exist, but there was a group of parasites that wanted to enslave them. The NID was pretty low on their priority list right then. That group of weasels just moved a little deeper underground, corrupted politicians just a bit more quietly, and then turned attention against us, against all the Immortals. Now maybe they're ready to deal with the problem."
"The thing is," Sam said, between bites of her own omelet, "the NID doesn't have to operate from Earth any longer. If the people there shut down everything that the NID controls or operates, they'll just move to other locations."
"Kinsey has got to be one of the masterminds behind all of this," Casey said.
Jack snorted. "Kinsey is nothing but a face and a name. He's not smart enough to mastermind this. They'll use him until he's no longer worth the trouble."
"I disagree," Daniel replied. "When the Marines took back the SGC, most of the top NID agents, and several of the 'bosses' were killed. I'm thinking that Casey is right. They're operating more like criminals…not concerned with the protection of Earth. They're looking for profit. And that's Kinsey."
"Kinsey wanted power, too," Jack reminded them.
"He's pretty damned powerful now if he's calling the shots for the NID," Casey replied.
They finished eating, each of them lost in thought. The NID had always fought against the Goa'uld, not caring how they killed the parasitic aliens, only that they were dead. They were ruthless in their search for better, faster ways of achieving this goal. They cared nothing about any 'innocent bystanders'. But now…now they were dealing with an entirely different sort of entity. One with no scruples. And no discernable goal. Making them an unknown. And an unknown enemy was the most deadly kind.
Casey was curled against Daniel's side, her head on his shoulder. Sleep was slow in coming. She breathed deeply of his scent, felt his chest move slowly with each breath he took. Her hand rested against his ribs, she could feel his steady heartbeat. She thought about what she knew about the former Senator. He was a slime ball. He was opportunistic. She could feel that he was the one behind the current trouble. But was he smart enough alone to set up this scheme, or did he have help? And why did he need so much naquadah? She had no answers. And that was what they needed…quickly.
The planet was covered with ice and snow. She recognized it…R3X 114. She watched as a group of men crawled through a hole in the ice. It was easy to see that they were lowering themselves into a cavern of some sort. She could hear the sound of…machinery. It sounded like heavy machinery. Drills. The type used for mining. They turned, saw her standing on the ridge, began to fire their weapons at her. Staff weapons! She watched a group of Jaffa move toward her. She looked again at the hole in the ice. She saw Kinsey poke his head out, look at her and laugh. Just before he disappeared back into the mine, his eyes began to glow. She could still hear him laughing. She turned to run, trying to get to the 'gate before pursuing Jaffa could catch up to her.
She sat up, her heart pounding, her pulse racing, a fine sheen of sweat covering her body.
"Angel?" Daniel asked sleepily, awakened by her sudden movement. His hand reached for her, moved up and down her back soothingly.
"Oh, god, Daniel, I think I saw something!" she gasped, still breathing hard.
He sat up beside her, turned on the light. Her eyes were wide, and full of fear. She was trembling as well. He put his arms around her, pulled her close. "It's okay, Angel, I'm right here. Whatever it is, we'll deal with it, I promise."
"Goa'uld! Kinsey is Goa'uld!" she said, then shivered. "We have to go back to R3X 114. They are mining there!"
He didn't bother to ask if she was sure. She hadn't been wrong yet. "Okay, let's take a quick shower, get Jack and let him know." He knew that a warm shower would help to calm her down…she was shaking like a leaf in the wind.
She nodded, let him lead her to the small bathroom. She clung to him beneath the warm water until the tremors in her body finally passed. He held her tightly, whispering his love in her ear.
Daniel had a message sent to Jack and Sam's quarters, and one to Teal'c's. They met back in the mess hall, each of them holding a cup of coffee in their hands.
"Case had a…nightmare…dream…whatever," Daniel said, as soon as they were all seated.
"Oh, sweetie, are you all right?" Sam asked immediately, reaching for the slender young woman's hand.
Casey smiled. "I'm fine. But I'm pretty sure it was information that we've…needed."
"What was it, Case?" Jack asked.
She explained what she had seen and heard. "I think you'd better send Bra'tac to check it out, and tell him to be careful," she said. "There might be more ships there now. I have no idea who this Goa'uld is, nor do I know if all of the NID agents are Goa'uld now or not. Whoever it is, he…or she…is smart enough to use the information in their heads to get what he…or she… wants. Naquadah. And lots of it. I don’t know why so much, unless it's just to try and control as much as possible, to make the others come to him…or her."
"Do you think you can remember where this mine is?" Jack asked.
"I think so. It was sort of on the other side of this…canyon…from where the Stargate is. Almost ninety degrees from the 'gate," she replied.
"Casey Jackson, did you see that tattoo of the Jaffa?" Teal'c asked.
She closed her eyes, brought the images back into the front of her mind. She concentrated. There! She studied it for a few seconds. "It looked like this," she said, using ketchup to draw on a napkin.
"I recognize this symbol," Teal'c said. "It is for the false god Ptah."
All eyes focused on Daniel. "He was known as the great architect, the god of craftsmen. There is one known creation myth that says Ptah is the Creator, that he spoke the world into existence. He supposedly spoke the other gods into being. But he was always fourth in line, after Amen, Ra, and Osiris," the archaeologist said. "In later dynasties, he was known as the god of death. Like all the Egyptian 'gods' he was depicted as a kind, generous god."
"Right. So, what's he really like?" Jack asked.
Casey giggled. "Like Ra, and Apophis, and Seth, and Wepwawet, and Osiris and Anubis, and Hathor, and Nerti, and-"
Jack grinned. "Smartass."
"So now what?" Sam asked.
"We make a little visit to R3X 114," Jack replied. "Let's get a message to Bra'tac, tell him to just look things over, we'll meet up with him there. I want to finish the scan for any Stargates. We need to know for sure if there is one in use. Let's all try and get some more sleep," he said quietly.
A A A A A A
The Prometheus had contacted CNN hourly through the night, and each time more and more people had called in demanding to know exactly what was going on, and what was going to be done about it. The EDA was demanding that the SGC Colonies, who had declared that their primary function was to protect Earth, do so. Jack made another broadcast, giving the people on the planet below all of the information they had to date, including the fact that someone was selling drugs and weapons to these NID/Goa'uld agents. The backlash that this news brought was felt immediately as ordinary citizens jammed the phone lines to demand that these sources be cut off promptly. 'Man-in-the-street' interviews showed that the people of Earth were angry, and frightened. That those among them would help their enemies made them furious. The danger lie in the fact that angry people often reacted badly when they gathered in large groups. 'Mob mentality' tended to take over, and problems were intensified. The threat of riots hung heavily in the air.
Daniel had negotiated with the members of the EDA over the current treaty that was in place between Earth and the SGC Colonies. He agreed to meet with them on board the Prometheus as soon as they wished. He asked Casey to sit in on the conference with him, she had the ability to sense when lies were being told. He also asked Sam and Teal'c to attend. The Goa'uld had taken to hiding, camouflaging their voices to further their schemes, those dealing with them unaware that they were actually doing business with a Goa'uld. If there were any on the EDA council, they needed to know about it.
Jack remained on the bridge, pacing as the scanners painstakingly swept every square mile of the planet below them. If another 'gate was found, he and Duncan, along with General Hammond and General Monroe, had already decided what they would do about it. It would be one of the riskiest missions that SG-1 had ever been on. But it was a far greater risk to allow a second 'gate to remain on the planet, as long as politicians and the NID were running the show.
The members of the EDA filed into the conference room, all of them wearing grim expressions. President Taylor had been elected as the Secretary General of the Earth Defense Alliance. He gave Daniel a hard look. "What are you doing about this?"
"Right now we're gathering what information we can find," Daniel said. "If you had done what we suggested nearly four years ago, this problem wouldn't exist."
"I wasn't on the Council at that time," the representative from Italy announced. "Just what was this suggestion?"
"We told the EDA then that the NID was a dangerous entity, and needed to be completely disbanded, and that all 'extensions' of it taken out. We were ignored. During the first round of trade negotiations, the NID tried to kidnap my wife. One of their agents managed to get her off the Phoenix. Had she not had a premonition that this would happen, thus alerting us, and preparing us for such an event, they would have succeeded," Daniel replied coolly.
"As I recall, Doctor Jackson, we told you that we would deal with the NID in the way that we saw fit," Taylor huffed.
Casey looked at the man. He wouldn't meet her eyes. 'Daniel, he's terrified of something.'
"President Taylor, have you, or your family been threatened by the NID? Is that why you're so reluctant to stop them, to move against them?" Daniel asked quietly.
The man jerked, his face paled. He glanced nervously at the Colombian representative, and then at the Russian representative. "Why would you ask a question like that?"
"Because the two men you just glanced at, with such fear in your eyes, are NID operatives," Casey replied softly.
The two men in question each flinched. Not enough that anyone other than a trained observer would notice. Everyone of the SG-1 team noticed. Sam calmly called for guards. The other representatives were asking questions, demanding to know what was going to happen, how the NID had managed to infiltrate the EDA.
The Colombian representative laughed. "We are in the highest levels of every government of every country. You can't stop us."
"Wanna bet?" Casey replied. She looked at Daniel. He held out his hand, she placed her fingers firmly against his, held tightly. 'Don't let go.'
She reached out, felt the self-assurance, the arrogance of a man high on the 'food chain' within the organization. She searched, then smiled. "Sam, better take this down…" she began to list the names and locations of every NID agent that the man knew about. When she retreated from his mind, he slumped in his chair, unconscious. She caressed Daniel gently, smiled as he returned that caress just before pulling slowly away from her.
The others were looking at her with fear in their eyes. "H…how did you do that?" the representative from England asked. Her eyes were wide, and she was shaking visibly.
"The Beings that granted The Chosen his powers have…enhanced…my natural abilities," Casey said quietly. "I am Immortal. I was created to protect the Innocent. I was lucky enough to be endowed with certain…gifts. One of those is the ability to search the mind of an enemy."
By now all of the representatives were thoroughly shaken. "Then you can read our minds?" Taylor asked.
She shook her head. "No. I can only 'search' for information in the mind of a known enemy," she explained.
The American President smiled. "That's a nifty little tactical advantage."
Casey gave the man a small, tense smile. "Yep. It certainly is."
Sam looked up at the armed Marines who stood waiting in the room. "Take him, and that one," she said, pointing to the unconscious man, and the now shaking and sweating Russian representative. "Put them in holding cells. Search them…strip search them. Put them in infirmary pajamas. They are not to be allowed any type of utensil, pen, pencil, paper, anything that they can use to kill themselves," she said. The men nodded, saluted, and took the prisoners into custody.
"What do we tell the people of Colombia and Russia?" the Japanese representative asked.
Daniel looked at the man, then shook his head. "Ever thought about telling them the truth? The people of Colombia have every right to know that their own government is crawling with NID agents! The Russian people have the right to know that two of their highest-ranking military leaders are NID operatives. The people of that planet down there have the right to know! You are supposed to be their representatives. Not their monarchs, or keepers…or demi-gods. You should all start behaving like representatives!"
Several of the politicians rolled their eyes. They had heard this from the Dr. Jackson before. None of them were willing to hear the words, listen to what was being said. They were men and women drunk with the illusion of power, of control. A few of them actually held some modicum of actual power within their individual countries. They liked the fame, the money, the esteem…the control over others…that was part and parcel of their positions.
Daniel shook his head again. "None of you have a clue of what you're facing as a people. You have endless reports, first hand accounts, hell, all of you were witness to the attempted Goa'uld attack on Earth, yet you refuse to do anything to help yourselves."
"They're politicians, Daniel," Sam said. "They can only see their own agendas, and how each event, each decision, each vote, will affect them personally. They don't care about the people they supposedly serve."
"That's a lie!" President Taylor said loudly. He jabbed his finger on the table to emphasis every word. "I care very much about the people of the United States!"
"So much that you refused to rein in the NID when you had the opportunity during your first term in the White House, forcing all Immortals off of Earth; allowed them to become a large enough threat that they could blackmail you. Yeah, that's a lot of concern for the voting tax-payers," Sam replied sarcastically. "The NID nearly wiped out the entire Immortal community. If that had happened, you would all be Goa'uld slaves right now! You'd better be damned glad that we were able to avert that disaster!"
Three of the newest members to the EDA council eyed their colleagues with suspicion. "I believe," said the representative from South Africa, "that we should once again hold elections. I think that it is time that men and women serious about the protection of Earth be given a chance to work toward that end. When we return, I shall formally request the resignation of each and every one of you who have been on this council since the beginning!"
"I shall be happy to stand with you in this request," said the representative of Austria.
"As will I," said the diminutive representative from Holland.
Daniel and Sam exchanged smiles. "About time somebody woke up and smelled the coffee!" Sam declared.
"SG-1 to the briefing room!" Jack's voice rang over the intercom.
Daniel stood to his feet. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you'll excuse us. These SF's will escort you back to the transporter rings."
"You will keep us abreast of what is happening?" the Austrian representative asked.
The young archaeologist smiled. "I'll see that the report is sent directly to you."
The man gave a formal bow. "Thank you, Doctor Jackson."
Sam led the team out of the room.
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