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Treatise and Treaties
From their vantage point, hidden on the surface of another moon near the gas giant, the Persephone had the perfect view of the eight An'kesh class ships that hovered near the larger satellite. The Prometheus was on its way, in case it was needed.
Another ship was also on its way, two ships moving just behind it. Nergal had spies everywhere, and had learned about this meeting. He even knew what it was about. He was going to take the opportunity to send a message to the System Lords of the sector. They would submit to him, serve him, or they would die.
The trader stood in front of the throne on the Peltac of Nergal's huge ship. "I met with the System Lord Methos, my lord," the squat man reported. "He was indeed interested in buying weapons from me."
"Good. His strength?" Nergal asked.
"He had very few Jaffa on his ship. But it is a very well armed ship. He has kept all of the Tau'ri devices. I do not know if this will aid him or not. He does seem to keep a close watch on the planet Gamma, where the Tau'ri are gathered. I found this among his papers." The man pulled a wrinkled set of papers from inside his coat.
Nergal took them, glanced at them briefly. He could not read the strange writing. He glanced through the pages. His breath caught in his throat when he saw the image of her. She was holding a child, a little girl. One who looked just like her. A daughter. He looked again. The eyes were different than hers, and his memory poked at him. Where had he seen blue eyes like these before?
"My lord, I read a bit of the Tau'ri language, if there is anything that interests you there," the trader offered.
The Goa'uld pointed to the picture. "Tell me what it says about this."
Lomac frowned, studied the words. "It says that Casey Jackson and her daughter Emily recommend Silver Scissors to all of their friends."
"What does that mean?" Nergal demanded, taking the paper back from the man's hand.
"I do not know, my Lord," the trader replied. "It seems to be…they call them 'advertisements'. Merchants tell of themselves and their products or services in such a thing."
Nergal frowned. Casey Jackson. Why did that name sound so familiar? He stared at the trader. "I want to know more about this woman."
The short man nodded. "I will do my best," he said, bowing low before the powerful Goa'uld.
"I know that you will." Nergal's smile was not a friendly one.
With a shudder, Lomac left the room.
The Goa'uld went back to staring at the photograph. "So, are you Gabrielle, or not?" he asked softly. No one around him bothered to answer.
"My Lord, we approach the meeting place," a Jaffa reported.
A second Jaffa hurried into the room. "My Lord, a report from one of your spies among Burien's Jaffa." The data crystal was put into the outstretched hand.
Nergal retreated to his private chambers. And learned everything that the System Lords were up to. Including information on a newly arrived Goa'uld. Hathor. He had heard the name once or twice, but paid little attention to it. She claimed to be the one to have killed Geb, but other sources, those that he trusted, told him that the Tau'ri had killed the old fool. There were even images. Ah, Casey Jackson. Taken hostage by Methos when he took the Chel'nok from the Tau'ri. He looked again at the paper still clutched in his hand. His eyes narrowed. He smelled a rat. A beautiful blonde rat. If Hathor had been pretending to be a slave trader, it was possible she wasn't all that she appeared to be now. He searched through the information about SG-1. The images weren't as clear as he would like, but he could see her face. Colonel Samantha Carter O'Neill. He went down to the holding cell. It was time to check the validity of his information. And the prisoner in the cell was just the one to clear up the confusion.
A A A A A A
The young black woman backed away in fear. It had been days since anyone had bothered to come to the holding cells. Water and food were sent in at least once a day, but that was all. Now Nergal himself stood on the opposite side of the energy field that held her prisoner.
"I have questions. You have the answers," he said, his eyes cold. "Bring her," he ordered.
Tiesha Taylor shuddered. She knew exactly what was gong to happen. It had happened before. Whatever information he wanted from her, he would get, no matter how hard she tried to fight him. She wondered again if any of her teammates ever thought about her, wondered if they had any idea that the mission that went to hell on them, the mission where she had been killed, was also the mission that sent her into this nightmare.
She had awakened in a sarcophagus. And had been tortured to death so many times that she had lost count. Then her world became a living hell when the Goa'uld who held her prisoner was killed by this one. Nergal. He had found her to be a source of information on the Tau'ri. Of whom he had only just learned. She hoped that what he wanted wasn't about anyone in the SGC.
As the Jaffa strapped her to the machine, Nergal thrust a newspaper in front of her. "Who is this?"
Oh, god! It was Casey Jackson! She was holding a little girl! A little girl who looked enough like her to be…dear god, it was her daughter! Tiesha closed her eyes. If he wanted to know, she was going to make him work for it. If she was very lucky, she would be damaged enough that they would let her die, and end this god-awful nightmare!
A A A A A A
"Are you sure?" Methos asked quietly.
"Yes," was the tense reply.
"Alert the other ships. Tell them we stand together now, or we die together now."
Within minutes the eight al'kesh ships were on the move. Nergal had his fleet with him, but if they attacked first, something he would not expect, then they would have a slight advantage. He looked around. "Casey? Tell me something," he said softly.
She closed her eyes. "It's going to be rough. But I think we can do this. We might need the Prometheus and the Persephone."
He nodded. "Tell Daniel. We need to maintain our charade as long as possible."
'I'm here, babe.'
'Alert the Prometheus. We just spotted Nergal's fleet closing on us. Methos has the System Lords ready to attack him. The element of surprise is our only chance right now.'
'Damn! How did he find out?'
'He must have spies everywhere! It's going to get rough, my heart, but we're going to get out of this.'
'I'll pass that along. Be careful, Casey.'
'I will. You be careful too. I love you, Daniel.'
'Love you too, Angel.'
A A A A A A
Methos fired the first shot from the Phoenix, hitting Nergal's flagship directly. Sam was the second to fire, Ashnan third. After that, it was a free-for all that lit up space for thousands of kilometers. Surprise had been on their side, and several of Nergal's ships hadn't had shields up when they were hit.
Casey was firing everything she had, waiting anxiously for the word to fire the nukes. Finally Methos nodded, and she fired the newly designed missiles. Two al'kesh ships were destroyed. The third damaged the flagship. It began to pull away.
The Prometheus and Persephone remained cloaked on the moon's surface, watching intently, waiting to see if their presence would be required to save the Phoenix and the Hak'tyl. Both ships were taking damage, but they were too far away to see how bad it was.
Daniel paced the bridge of the Persephone. He reached out, could feel her tension, her nervousness, her fear. He soothed her, tried to keep her calm. He ached to hold her, to know that she was safe. He hated the fact that they were on different ships. He felt her reach out to him once, just a soft touch. Assuring herself that he was still nearby.
Nergal began to retreat. When the other System Lords would have pursued him, Methos pointed out that none of their ships were capable of further battle. It was agreed that the meeting would be rescheduled, and that other Goa'uld in the area would be notified, told of this battle.
Ashnan begged him to return to her home world with her, but he declined, telling her that he needed to return to his own planet, to put down a rebellion among the Jaffa. She pouted prettily, but did not change his mind. She was angry when she learned that 'Hathor' would accompany him. She smiled grimly. She was patient. She would have him for herself. Soon.
When the other ships were clear of the system, the two Tau'ri ships left the surface of the moon. They remained cloaked, but escorted the two damaged ha'tak to the planet that Methos was calling his home. Rebel Jaffa had a village there, and were willing to play the part of loyal subjects when the need arose. Maintenance teams 'gated from Gamma to the planet, and ringed aboard to begin repairs.
Wade ringed down and 'gated home to Pangeria until he was needed again. Casey and Methos ringed to the Persephone, as did Sam.
Daniel was waiting for her by the ring transport. He closed his eyes and sent up a prayer of thanks when she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. He pressed his face against her hair. "Are you okay?"
"You're sure?" He pulled away, looked into her eyes. Saw the love that burned brightly in them.
"Can we just 'gate home? I really want to check on Emily. And I really need to hold you," she whispered.
"I don't see why not, Angel," he replied softly.
Jack agreed that SG-1 and 6 would return to Gamma via the 'gate. The debrief was one of cautious celebration.
"We certainly haven't defeated Nergal, but we did deliver a blow to him. I don't know how badly we've hurt him," Methos said. "With luck, we've at least slowed him down. If the other System Lords join the Alliance, then we will be able to take him out."
"Well, he knows that they're organized against him now," Duncan said. "My guess is that he's going to start attacking them individually, in order to break them apart. It's anybody's guess as to whether or not he'll be successful."
"In a way it's good that it happened like this," Sam mused. "Those System Lords weren't really given a choice on whether or not to join the Alliance. It was forced on them, and now that they're in that position, it should be easier to convince them to attack him again."
Jack nodded. "If they can attack soon enough, then we should be able to take him out for good. Then we worry about the others. It will help if the Tau'ri don’t get involved in this."
"Well, let's call it a day. You all deserve a couple of days down. The Phoenix and the Hak'tyl aren't going to be ready to go anywhere for a few days," Duncan said. "Methos, Sam, Casey…good work."
Sam giggled. "Casey should get an Emmy or something! She's good at pretending to be the angry Tau'ri captive!"
Casey blushed. "Just trying to do my job. You and Methos were pretty darned convincing." She looked at the young/old man. "So did you use the Sectonin ring when you went to her ship?"
Methos grinned, and put two data crystals on the table. "Yep."
Duncan's grin matched his old friend's. "I take it we now have more info on the rest of those System Lords."
"At least what Ashnan has," Methos agreed. "Oh, by the way, Casey, I told Ashnan that you were part of the raiding party that freed Tony. She was not happy. She wanted to punish you. I told her that I already had. I don't think you have to worry about her…uh…coming on to you…any more."
Laughter circled the table. "You were right, Tony, the bitch is a nympho!" Casey declared.
Tony looked at her. "I told you so!" More laughter filled the room.
"Okay, go home, get some rest. It's going to get tense from here," Duncan said.
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