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Whom the Gods Created
Sam sent the message to Thor, and to the two Gammian ships. Received replies. Colonel Bradshaw was given the go-ahead to beam over the two GMF teams who waited anxiously to rejoin SG-1 on what was so far a grand adventure. Neither team had done more than embark on survey and reconnaissance missions. They had yet to see any 'action'. The members of both teams were young, and seeking adventure. They were about to experience more than they had ever dreamed.
Casey cocked her head to one side. "They're on the move. I think he managed to signal them somehow."
"Jack, do you read?" Sam asked.
"Loud and clear. What's up?"
"Casey says the bad guys are on the move."
There was a slightly mumbled reply. Grumbling from the general, no doubt, Casey thought.
"Any idea where they are, or where they're headed?" Jack asked.
The colonel looked over at her best friend. "Any ideas, Case?"
Casey shook her head. "I'm having trouble…concentrating," the young seer admitted. Had yet to recognize the 'hum' that echoed in her head.
When Sam relayed the message, she informed the men that the two GMF teams were on board. Jack gave orders for the two teams to split up and begin searching the legs of the ship, each team was to take four. Sam and Casey were each to take command of a team. Neither were to leave until another SG team was brought aboard the ship to maintain control of the 'command center'. Duncan was contacted, and fifteen minutes later SGI-8 was on board.
The two blondes of SG-1 went over the ship schematic carefully. Sam assigned the 'left' side of the ship to Casey and SG-4, and she would take SG-5 to the right. They would meet back in the command center. After alerting Jack that they were on their way, the two teams headed into separate corridors.
Casey took a deep breath. She'd been in this type of situation before. On a ship, trying to stay out of sight, and take the bad guys out. She'd never been in charge of an inexperienced team in that type of situation. "Eyes open. We have to take these assholes out before they get us."
Four heads bobbed in understanding.
She tightened her grip on the P90 in her hands. Reached out just long enough to touch him. Smiled when his tender caress moved over her mind. "Let's go."
A A A A A A
With Sam and Casey able to take teams to search the 'legs' of the ship, Jack led Daniel and Teal'c toward the outer rim of the disk. The size of the ship was mind-boggling. And with only thirteen people available to search it, chances were the Travelers would be able to circle behind them at any time.
"Too bad we can't get those creature folks in on the search," Jack grumbled. "We're trying to cover too damned much space with too few people."
"Indeed," Teal'c agreed.
"Who says we can't?" Daniel asked. "If we can locate them, I'm certain they'd be more than happy to help."
Jack looked at his young friend. "You think so?"
"Hey, they'd be helping the Healer, wouldn't they?" the young archaeologist grinned.
"So why would anyone…these…Time Travelers, tell those folks that Casey was a 'healer'?" Jack asked.
Daniel shrugged. "I don't know. I do agree with her though, we need to find them. This little…event…tells me that they know about her, about us. About Gamma and Hope."
"From the future, or the present?"
"I have no idea."
"O'Neill," Teal'c said softly, nodding toward the intersection of the corridor they were in and another. Shadows could be seen moving against the wall. They didn't look like lizard shadows.
The men crept toward the crossing corridor. Came around the corner in time to see at least one person turning another corner. Jack signaled, and the men began to 'leap frog' toward that particular passageway, each of them taking the time to make certain that the doors they passed were locked.
A A A A A A
Sam pointed to the support pillars that lined the long, narrow corridor. Watched approvingly as the team members pressed themselves into hiding. She carefully opened the door. Found an empty room. She backed out, and when the door closed, she put a piece of duct tape on it near the floor, pressed it against the wall. If the door opened, it would pull the duct tape, making it obvious that someone had entered the room. She grinned. Casey had the best darned ideas sometimes!
With a nod to the young people, she led them to the next door. Again the team hid, waiting to come to her aid if she found an occupied room. Nothing. Another strip of duct tape. On to the next door. There were eight doors in all, and then nothing but the long corridor that led to the huge hydroponics chamber.
She sighed when they stepped inside the chamber. The blackness of space could be seen above them, around them, through the transparent glass, or what appeared to be glass, that enclosed it. Row upon row of racks, seven shelves high, each one at least fifty feet long, filled the huge area. Not one thing was growing, however. Each of the specially designed trays were empty. It appeared they had been cleaned, and then the chamber abandoned. It didn't matter that it wasn't being used. Any number of people could still hide there, quite easily. Using hand signals, Sam sent the team on a careful search.
A A A A A A
A nagging thought continued to run through Casey's mind. The computer system of the Travelers ship that they had encountered before had needed a human interface. Since the Traveler who had surprised them in the command center spoke perfect English, a fact that was just now registering in her mind, she could only assume that the 'interface' spoke English as well. Which meant that it was quite possible that one of the creatures had been 'selected' for the job. Or…she frowned. Was it possible that when Daniel had been 'connected' to that computer system, it had sent out the information taken from his mind, and had been 'picked up' by this ship? By other ships like this? Were there other Travelers' ships out there?
"Ma'am?" Barry Palmer asked softly, watching Casey tugging her lip between her teeth.
"Is something wrong?"
"I'm not sure," she replied. Like Sam, she signaled for the young people to take cover, and she carefully opened the first door they approached. Like her best friend, she also utilized the idea of 'marking' rooms that had been searched, using her ever present roll of duct tape. Daniel often teased her about carrying it. Most certainly she'd be out of the stuff before this search was over!
By the time they had searched the second 'leg' and pod, she was starting to feel…worried. Not panicked, not yet. But something was about to go wrong. She sighed mentally. Which was nothing new. SG-1 always had missions go to hell on them.
The door to the hydroponics pod opened, and the team stepped slowly into the massive 'room'.
"I need to talk to Daniel," she said quietly. "Be damned careful, make sure this place is empty."
"Yes, ma'am" Palmer said.
'He was speaking English.'
'The Traveler…when he came into the command center. He was speaking English.'
'Probably learned it from the creatures.'
'You were an interface for their computer. It's possible that signals were sent out.'
Daniel stopped mid-stride at Casey's theory. 'That's not good.'
'I know. Sam couldn't find anything about Hope, or Gamma, or anything else in the computer that could have been taken from you. I'm thinking that it had barely had time to learn the language before Jack got you out of it.'
'This ship has a computer system.'
He frowned. 'And?'
'It has an interface. The computer can't do more than run rudimentary systems without an interface.'
'What about androids…um…Caretakers?'
'I think we should assume-'
'Casey?' His heart began to pound. "Casey? Talk to me, Angel! Casey!"
Jack turned to look at the young man. "What's wrong?"
Daniel grabbed his radio. "Palmer, this is Jackson…what's going on? Palmer?"
Frowning, Jack keyed his own radio. "Palmer, this is General O'Neill. Respond!"
A A A A A A
"Don't move," the woman said. Her violet eyes moved over each of the team members. Went back to Casey. "You are intruders."
"Not exactly. We were…invited," Casey replied, hoping she sounded more calm than she felt. Without a doubt the woman and the man standing in front of them, blocking the door, were androids. She cocked her head sideways as a new thought occurred to her. "Were all of the androids…uh…Care Takers…created …at the same time?"
The woman looked startled. "Yes."
"I thought so," the young blonde nodded slowly. Speculated that for some reason, the female androids were the 'leaders' of each group of the artificial beings that protected the Travelers. Maybe because the Traveler's were a matriarchal society? She also speculated that each group of androids assigned to each ship varied in number according to the size of the ship, crew, and the number of sleeping Travelers. "R9721. Know her?"
Violet eyes widened. "She was my instructor after my awakening."
"Yeah, well I killed the bitch. Killed her buddy, too. R7721 was reprogrammed…by me, and my Husband…my mate."
"I do not believe you."
Casey shrugged. "Doesn't matter to me whether you believe me or not. The facts are the facts."
"Why do you tell me this?"
"Just a warning. That I'm going to kill you and your buddies."
"You are merely human. You are not as strong, nor as fast as my brothers and I."
Okay, she was the only female android on board, it seemed. Take her out, and no doubt the others would be as 'lost' as 'Robert' had been when R9721 had been killed. The android had already taken their P90's. But apparently didn't realize that the zats in the holsters on their hips were weapons as well. Her fingers began to move back and forth on her belt, hopefully it would be seen as a nervous gesture, and ignored. "You really don't know anything about us. We're much different than your masters," Casey said.
"You are human."
"I'm Tau'ri," Casey replied. If the bitch didn't know that it meant the same thing, so much the better.
Violet eyes narrowed. "I do not know of this species."
"Well, we're special," Casey said slowly. "Our ancestors were…are Ancients. You know, the Beings that created the Stargates?"
"You might know them as Chappa'ai," Casey explained. Her fingers were moving closer to the zat with each pass of her hand.
Casey frowned. "Yeah, I wondered about that. Your masters have no clue what they are. Maybe they've never seen them. Maybe the Ancients knew about the Travelers and made damned sure they didn't have access to a Stargate."
"How does this make you…special?" the android demanded to know.
"Well, it makes us just a bit…better. Faster. Smarter. All that stuff." Her fingers were on the zat now. She activated it.
"What is that device?" The android reached to take the strange looking object.
Casey managed to step back out of the reach of the hand that stretched toward her. "It's called a zat'nik'tel."
"It is a weapon?"
"Oh, yeah." Casey pushed the trigger. Watched the android fall to the floor. Zatted the male as well. When she reached for her P90, however, the hand of the male closed around her wrist. She could feel the small bones begin to break.
The female sat up, her violet eyes filled with rage. "For this you will be punished!"
Obviously the android had sent out a distress call, not more than ten seconds later three more men…androids, Casey assumed, entered the pod. The four members of SG-4 were bound hand and foot, and the males carried them into the narrow corridor.
Casey cradled her shattered wrist, determined not to make as sound as the female grabbed her by the back of the neck.
"There are other intruders on this vessel. You will tell me where they are!" the woman hissed.
"I don't know where they are," Casey replied, gasping from the pain in her wrist, and her neck, as the android continued to squeeze. "Kill me, and they'll destroy this ship before you have time to think about it!"
"They will not do so. Humans are a weak, pathetic species. Ruled by emotion."
Oh, hell. This bitch was on a superiority ride. And it was just possible…twenty…no, fifteen, because…oh hell! The only Travelers who were human had been the man and his companions that they had encountered in the command center. No…that wasn't right…She reached out frantically. The only Travelers awake…wait… the disease…Daniel had tried to 'download' everything they had learned, in the short amount of time they had had together. There had been a disease that had killed all but twenty…or so the logs stated…what if…why couldn't she sense more…there was something familiar…oh shit. 'Daniel?'
'Casey? Oh, god, what's going on? Are you okay?'
'Um…no. Androids. I'm thinking that most of the Travelers that are awake are androids. The guy who was talking to us was human enough, I saw his aura…dark and black and not good. But I think there are a few Travelers alive on this ship. I just don't know where. I think the androids are revolting or something.'
Images began to flash through her mind, she closed her eyes to try and focus on what she was seeing, to sort through the information that was flooding her senses.
The android believed the feeble human to be unconscious. With a grunt of displeasure, she allowed the slender woman to fall to the floor. She carefully locked the door behind her. Sealed the area. And turned off life support for the pod.
'I think the virus that killed the Travelers is the same virus that they used to…clear…indigenous peoples from planets. These androids think they're superior to humans. The Travelers could be hiding from the androids.'
Daniel ran his hand over his face. 'So we don't dare shoot at anybody, until we find out what's going on?'
'Something like that. They took SG-4, I don't know where.' She sat up, still cradling her arm as the Quickening worked to heal her. She glanced around. Why did it feel colder? She took a deep breath. 'Daniel, she's cut off life support!'
Casey managed to get to her feet, tried to open the door. 'I'm locked in one of these hydroponics pods, and she's cut off life support!'
'Where are you, Angel?'
'Second leg on the left. From the command center that is.'
'I'll be there, I promise.'
'She has violet eyes, Daniel. And the men…' She closed her eyes, concentrated. 'They look like Robert.'
Robert? Who the hell…the android they had reprogrammed! 'Got it. Just relax, Angel.' He caressed her gently. Turned his attention to his best friend. "We've got problems."
Jack rolled his eyes. "Ya think? We're looking for a handful of freaking people on a ship bigger than Hope!"
"Androids. Case thinks that there were more than just a few Travelers who survived. That the virus that the others died from was…is…the same one used on planets. Seems the androids are rebelling."
The older man stared at the young blonde man. "You're making this up."
"Nope. That android bitch locked Case into one of those hydroponics pods, and cut off life support."
"Ah, hell!" Jack put his hands on his hips. "Do you know where she is?"
"Yeah. But the androids have SG 4."
"So basically we have to save the…creatures…from the Travelers and the androids, and the Travelers from the androids," Daniel said.
"Screw that! As far as I'm concerned, the Travelers deserve whatever they get."
"Genocide, Daniel. On a planetary scale. That's what those people do. What they'll do to Gamma, and Beta, and Alpha, and Terra, and Langara, and Earth…"
"Yeah, I get it," Daniel murmured. "Guess that sort of makes it easier."
"Makes what easier?"
"Don't have to worry about trying to take out just the androids. But…the Travelers…they are human, Jack. Maybe this group will be willing to change their ways…live in harmony rather than just…conquering," the young archaeologist said softly.
"Which complicates matters again, doesn't it?" Jack sighed. Daniel had always been the moral compass for the team. Even when it was…inconvenient. Which was probably the reason he was The Chosen.
"So we just zat them all, and let Casey tell us which is which…or what," Daniel continued.
Jack keyed his radio. "All units listen up…use only zats on any human you see. Restrain them as soon as they're down. Repeat, zats only."
"Jack? What's going on?" Sam's voice asked.
"Long story. Danny, T, and I are going to check on those…lizard folks. We'll meet you back in the command center."
"Roger that," Sam replied.
"What about Casey?" Daniel asked. His first…his only…thought was to get to her as quickly as possible.
"Okay, we'll get her, then check on the lizard people," Jack said. "Lead the way."
Using the connection that had helped him to find her several times on the Phoenix, and on other missions where they had become separated, Daniel ran toward the elevators. Hoped that they wouldn't run into anyone who might slow them down.
A A A A A A
Casey sat back against the wall beside the door. The temperature was dropping quickly, much more quickly than the oxygen seemed to be depleting, although she could tell that the air was getting…thinner. She watched as the Phoenix and Prometheus hung above Gamma, the white skins of the ships glistening in the light of the sun behind them. Neither ship could be considered 'sleek'. But both warships were damned capable of protecting the planet that turned slowly beneath them. Especially when The Chosen was on board one of them! That thought brought a smile to her lips.
Something was…wrong…she couldn't shake the feeling that someone…something…had altered the programming on the androids. The three they had…met…on that planet had been desperate to complete their mission; to protect, and to wake the Travelers. She and Sam had discussed the fact that none of the androids had seemed to realize that all of the Travelers on that ship were dead…had been dead for nearly a century. The behavior of the lavender-eyed bitch she had just met was…wrong.
She tried to reach out, to find out what was so unsettling. The 'hum' that she had felt when she beamed aboard the ship seemed louder now…more…insistent. That always meant technology of some sort. Sometimes dampening fields, or force fields of some sort.
A A A A A A
Sam led SG-5 back down the corridor toward the elevator. Glanced at the doorways as they passed them. Stopped dead in her tracks. Two of the doors had been opened. Her heart pounding her fear against her ribs, she motioned for the young people to hide. Took a deep breath, stood off to the side, her P90 ready, and opened the door. Barely bit back her scream.
Dozens of the spider-like Replicators were swarming in the room. She began to open fire, destroying the creatures as quickly as she could. Four other weapons began to echo around her as SG-5 stepped closer and joined the 'battle'.
"We have to move, now!" Sam said, running toward the elevator. She grabbed her radio. "Jack! Jack come in!"
The older man frowned as he ran, following Daniel. He could hear the panic in his wife's voice. "I'm here, baby, what's wrong?"
"Jesus! Get to the command center!"
"On our way."
Jack heaved a sigh. What the hell else could go wrong? Which freaking Goa'uld would they find skulking on this goddamned ship? He followed Daniel down the narrow corridor that led to the hydroponics pod. Watched as the young man tried to open it.
"Wait up, Danny. We have to get life support back on in there, or it will suck everything out of here," he said quietly.
Several agonizing minutes went by as the men tried to decipher the control panel. Daniel was able to read most of it, only now realizing that it was due to the time he had spent as an 'interface' for a Traveler ship, or the computer of the ship. As soon as the sequence had been correctly entered, green lights began to flicker on, one by one.
The door had been locked and programmed. Daniel wasn't about to let such a little thing stop him. He called up the Fire, and blew a whole in the door large enough to crawl through. He stuck his head into the opening.
"Hey, handsome!" Casey smiled weakly.
"I'm really tired."
"I know, babe. It's oxygen deprivation. Can you stand up?"
"I don't think so."
Daniel crawled into the room. Knelt down beside her. "We have to go, Angel. We have to get off of this ship."
"That's what I've been feeling!" She wrapped her arms around his neck and held tightly as he scooped her up, held her close.
"Teal'c, can you take her until I can get out of here?"
"Indeed." The man's strong arms lifted her from Daniel's embrace with little effort. Held her gently, safely until the young archaeologist was ready to take her again.
"Thanks, Teal'c," he said softly.
"You are most welcome, Daniel Jackson."
"They took SG-4," Casey said, coughing slightly as she took deep breaths, trying to fill her lungs completely.
"It's okay, we'll find them," Jack assured her.
The four members of SG-1 stumbled into the command center only minutes after Sam had returned, the young faces of the SG-5 team white with fear. They'd been listening to their radios, were well aware that their friends on SG-4 were now prisoners somewhere on the hulking ship that hovered above their home…their very vulnerable home.
Casey looked at them. "Don't worry. We've been in worse spots than this and lived to tell about it," she said, trying to ease their fears. "Right now, it's situation normal for SG-1."
The smiles her comment brought were small. But they were smiles nonetheless.
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