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I Was Blind, But Now I See

Chapter 5

He'd showered, and was dressed in the clothes they'd given him; blue pants, a black tee shirt, and a blue shirt. He was about to meet with the man in charge of this very interesting operation. There was no doubt in his mind that much more went on in this place than he was being told. He also suspected that what he was about to tell them would change their entire outlook on the world...and space. Mapping space would seem...boring, in the light of the information that he held!

A soft tap on the door brought him to his feet. A young Airman and a well armed Marine were standing in the corridor. He'd been hoping that the very charming Casey Jackson would be escorting him to the briefing room.

"Mr. Ballard, General Hammond would like to speak to you."

"Lead the way," he said, giving the young man a smile. How long had it been since he'd felt this relaxed, this...free? He'd heard that there was a doctor on the premises. He hoped to be able to speak to him. And perhaps...hopefully...be totally free of any reminders of his time as a pet to an...alien...named Tem.

SG-1 was seated around the conference table when Dennis Ballard was brought into the room. General Hammond stood to greet him. "Now," the general said, after introductions had been made, "my team tells me that you're interested in telling me about Tem."

He folded his hands on the table, studied them carefully. "I want to tell you first that I'm not crazy. Even though what I'm about to tell you is a bit...far-fetched."

"Well, why don't you just tell me, and I'll decide how far-fetched it is," the general said quietly.

"I was ow-employed by a man named Timothy Gold. CEO of a corporation known as Pyxis Enterprises."

No one missed the slip. Casey had 'seen' what the men who worked for Tem had endured. Had already told them that he considered himself their 'owner', rather than just their employer. Had mentioned that the bizarre...brutal...'training' that the men suffered broke them down to nothing more than animals. She'd also informed them, before Mr. Ballard had been brought into the room, that he'd been 'trained', but not broken, and that she 'saw' another man near him, someone who had protected him.

"But this man-" he shook his head. It would be better to just spit it out. Be done with it. Say out loud what he'd suspected...had known, for years. "He's an alien."

Glances were exchanged. "Alien?" Jack asked.

"I know it sounds...I know it sounds crazy," Ballard admitted. "But, I've...seen things. Heard things. His eyes...when he's angry, they...well, they glow. It's very...disconcerting. And his voice...when he's tired, or angry, his voice..." he shivered.

General Hammond looked at Sam. Nodded slightly.

"Tem is a Goa'uld. A parasitical creature that crawls into the body of a human host, either through the mouth, then through an incision that the creature makes in the back of the throat; or on the back of the neck, again through an incision the creature itself makes; and then takes control by wrapping itself around the spinal column and implanting itself in the brain. It controls the body, although the 'host' remains...aware," Sam said quietly.

Ballard looked at the woman, his jaw hanging open. "Are you kidding me?"

Sam shook her head. "The glowing eyes and the voice are sometimes the only indications we have that a man...or woman, is a Goa'uld host. Although we do have other ways to detect Goa'uld presence as well."

"Then...then I'm not crazy?"

Casey smiled, reached over and patted the man's hand. "No, you're not."

He sat back in his chair. "When he'd ramble about his 'ships', and that he was going to rule the 'First World', I thought he was nuts. Then I when I saw his eyes, heard that voice, I thought I was nuts." He glanced at the faces around him. Thought about the absolute fury the man had been in when he'd returned to Cairo. "Why do I get the feeling that you people are responsible for his latest fit of temper?"

Grins lit up faces. "Yeah, kind of put a big kink in his plans, didn't we?" Jack sniggered.

"He was...is, furious. But that wasn't his only ship."

"We know," Daniel replied.

Dennis smiled grimly. He'd received an email yesterday. With news that he didn't believe these people would be happy to hear. News that The Rebel insisted needed to be told, to whomever he trusted. Simmons he hadn't trusted. These people he did. "They're on their way here."

"Oh, hell!" Jack muttered, tossed his pen down. He glanced at Casey. "Why didn't you pick that up, Radar?"

She shrugged. "Beats me. It's not like I have any control over what I see or don't see, you know," she said. "I don't get everything!"

"You get enough," General Hammond assured her.

"You have to understand, for the past five months, I've been left out of meetings, especially those held in the middle of the night. I think he...questioned...my loyalty, but I don't think he realized that I was-" he broke off, stared at the metal sheet that hid whatever lay beyond the room-width window behind Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter. Tem had never suspected that one of his Board Members was planning his escape. If the bastard had suspected, well, he wouldn't be sitting here now. "He does horrible things... unspeakable things," he whispered.

"We know that, too," Daniel said softly. "It's okay. You're among friends. You can trust us."

He looked gratefully at the young man. Then his gaze went from Casey to Sam and back again. What he wanted...needed...to explain wasn't fit for such delicate ears.

General Hammond had noticed the glances. Understood that the man would probably be more comfortable if the women weren't in the room. "Major, why don't you and Mrs. Jackson go see about the latest MALP images."

With a nod, Sam stood up. From what Casey had been able to tell them, she didn't want to hear a first hand account of what happened to the men who worked for Tem.

As soon as the women had left the room, Ballard heaved a sigh. "Twenty years ago I used to be a computer programmer. One of the best. I also used to have a thing for girls. Very young girls. It cost me my marriage, my children, got me arrested. I was sitting in jail, waiting to be arraigned on charges of statutory rape and accessory to prostitution. A man wearing a suit that cost more than I made in a year walked into the precinct. Claimed to be my attorney. Told me that if I wanted out, I had to trust him. That my life would never be the same. But that it would be...exciting; and that I'd have a life beyond my wildest dreams."

"Tough to turn that down," Jack acknowledged.

"Especially when I was sitting there looking at jail time. Five years minimum," Ballard agreed. "So, I told him I was interested. The next thing I knew, he was taking me to JFK. We got on a Lear Jet. And then he injected me. When I...when I..." his face turned red. Telling these men what had been done to him wouldn't be easy.

"He pierced you...well, had someone pierce you," Daniel said gently. "Nipple rings, and a Prince Albert, right?"

Again Ballard's eyes went wide. "How...how did you know?"

"We have photos of Kinsey. And we have Radar," Jack explained.

Ballard's eyes had continued to flicker toward Teal'c. During the rescue and the flight, the large man had worn a woolly hat that had been pulled low on his forehead. But now, the gold tattoo was plainly visible. It had taken a few minutes to recognize the significance of the mark, it was much different than on those men that the Mas...goddamn it!! Timothy Fucking Gold! That that bastard had...created. "Jaffa! You're Jaffa!"

Teal'c inclined his head. "I was once First Prime of the false god Apophis," the large man said.

He shook his head. He now recognized the fact that these men had not been shocked by what he'd told them. That this...underground bunker...was more than just a place where the stars were charted. "So how long have you people known about all of this?"

General Hammond smiled. "We've known about Goa'uld for seven years. This...facility...has been operational for six. We've known about Tem since the first of October."

The gray haired man nodded. "So, how dangerous is he?"

Glances were once again exchanged. "He's dangerous," Daniel said. "He's also not the only one."

His face went pale. "There are more of them? Here?"

"I hope not here," Daniel smiled. "But, out there..." he waved his hand.

"Oh, god! How do we stop them? How do we stop him? That sick son-of-a-bitch thinks he can...he intends to enslave the entire human population!" Ballard exploded.

Jack grinned. "Yeah, they all want to do that."

"We have been...at war...with the Goa'uld for six years," General Hammond explained.

"Mr. Ballard, you said that you were a computer programmer," Daniel said, easing the conversation back to the man who sat beside him. "I take it that Tem wanted...or needed your skills?"

"Needed. I had...when I was in college I wrote a virus that managed to shut down nearly seventy percent of the computers on the campus network in about fifteen minutes. I was disciplined, but not expelled. It became a part of my record. When I went to work for Hartford Securities, it was as a hacker. I actually hacked into computer systems to find their weaknesses. Then I wrote programs to protect them. I wrote, or helped write, some of the most popular security software that was used at the time. My job was to make certain that no one ever managed to get into the Ma..." he broke off, his face going pale. "Into Mr. Gold's systems."

General Hammond was studying the man. "I will assume that you have kept abreast of all of the latest technical advances?"

Ballard smiled. "Yes, I have."

The Texan exchanged a look with his 2IC. It would be very convenient to have a man of Mr. Ballard's talents working for the SGC. If he could alert them when the NID tried to access classified material, which they did on a regular basis, it would be worth the hoops he'd have to jump through to offer the man the job.

Daniel had seen the look. Understood what it meant. Nodded slightly when he received the same glance from the general. "You already know about what we do here. How would you like to...join us...in our battle against the Goa'uld?"

The man looked at the young man, then at the general. "I...there is no way I can go out there and pretend not to know the things I know. There's no way that I can sit back, knowing that there are more of those...creatures...out there."

"We call them snakes," Jack smirked.

"Casey says they look more like an eel," Daniel grinned.

"There are forms you'd have to sign. Very binding non-disclosure forms. But I'd like for you to take a look at our computer system. And I'd like to make certain that it can't be...infiltrated...by anyone. Especially the NID," General Hammond said.

"I'd be most happy to do so."

"So, how much did you tell Simmons?" Jack asked.

"Nothing about...him...being an alien," Ballard replied. "Just the ins and outs of the corporation. I...I didn't tell him about the...special manufacturing departments. He knew about a few of them. But not all of them." He noted that they hadn't been surprised to hear about the 'special' departments. They were, however, very interested in what he knew. Once again the feeling that he could trust these people filled his heart, his mind. He took a deep breath, and began to give them detailed information on all that he knew, drawing sketches, answering questions as well as he could. These people had the means to stop that bastard. They were the only hope the planet had!


A  A  A  A  A  A


Simmons slammed the phone down. Eight field agents were dead. And his...guest...was missing. There were signs that a helicopter had landed in front of the farmhouse. He could only assume that whoever had taken Ballard had used it as a means to make a quick get away. An abandoned rental car was found at the intersection that connected the quiet country lane to the highway. So far there was no match on the prints they'd found inside.

He glanced at the transcription notes from the last 'interview' that had been held. Not a damned thing. There was nothing that he could use! A quiet knock on the door had him grumbling beneath his breath. "What?"

"Sir, this just arrived for you." Bradley Ryder carried the Fed Ex envelope into the room. Hoped that Simmons would be distracted enough that he'd be able to glimpse the contents. It was from the Cayman Islands. He'd already started a search for any agents in that area. So far there'd been no results.

"Thank you," Simmons said pointedly.

With a nod, the young man left the office. Damn! Well, he'd just have to try and work late again tonight. With luck, he'd be able to get into the office and take a look around.

Simmons dropped into his chair. Ripped open the envelope. A single sheet of paper fell onto the desk.

He felt a moment of panic. Who was watching him? And why? He forced himself to calm down. He turned to his computer. Called up his private list of agents, and their current locations. Frowned as the results came back negative. There weren't any agents in the Cayman Islands. Then who..."Maybourne!" he hissed. He had no idea how the man did it. Obviously he still had connections within the agency. Instinct told him that Harry Maybourne had a much more intricate network of spies than he could ever hope to uncover. The man had been one of the best. Which was how he'd managed to walk away from prison. And remained free...and alive. He tossed the envelope and the paper into the trash can. "Watch all you want, Harry. Right now, there's nothing to see."

And that fact made his temper flare. When Margellewski reported thirty minutes later, his ire only increased. That agent had been on the run for several hours, narrowly ditching the Marines in the van who'd followed him all the way to Denver. He'd continued to drive to Casper, Wyoming to make certain that he was no longer being pursued. And had then flown to Chicago, before catching a flight to DC. And he hadn't been successful in his mission. Casey Jackson was still safe and sound in Silver Springs.

It was no use going to the president. That fool was convinced that the SGC, SG-1, and General George Hammond were bona fide heroes. Each time that he'd attempted to make the Commander in Chief understand that the purpose of the NID was to oversee any and all agencies concerned with national security, he'd been told that the SGC was...untouchable. It hadn't helped when Dr. Jackson had managed to procure information for defensive satellites. Even though those satellites would take at least three years to build. The Senate Oversight Committee had given a green light to Hammond. He was operating as he saw fit. And that was just not acceptable. Not acceptable at all.

Simmons sat back in his chair. He'd learned well from his mentor. And even though that man had fallen from grace, his belief that the most secret program in the country should be run by the most capable intelligence agency was still valid. He wouldn't stop until the SGC was operated completely by the NID. No matter what it took.


A  A  A  A  A  A


It had taken her two hours to get ready. She'd changed her clothes no less than a dozen times. She'd finally decided on the suit. It was dark peach, the skirt was a full four inches above her knee. When the knock on the door came at precisely twelve-fifty, she pulled the blazer over her shoulders, buttoned it over the light peach camisole. Pasted a smile onto her face.

The man who was her escort had acknowledged her greeting, but hadn't said another word. She was taken to one of the uppermost levels. And into a beautifully appointed conference room...no, this was more than just a mere conference room. Before she could fully formulate an idea of where she was, an older man with dark hair, and just a touch of silver at the temples, entered the room.

"Ms. Ballard?"


"I'm Roger Taylor. I understand that you're to be my new assistant?"

She smiled. "Yes, I believe so."

"Good, good. Please, have a seat. Let's discuss your duties, shall we?"

Shannon sat down. Made certain that Mr. Roger Taylor saw a flash of inner thigh before she swiveled the chair toward the table. "So what exactly will I be doing?"

"Exactly as you're told," a voice said, from the doorway.

Her head flew around. The handsome man standing there was in his mid-thirties, his dark hair in a casual, mussed style, as if someone had just run their fingers through it. His eyes were blue... and cold. Very cold. She shivered as she watched him walk into the room. The man who'd escorted her pulled the doors of the room closed. She suddenly felt as if she couldn't breath. Something was very wrong here!

"You look very much like your father," the man continued, walking toward her slowly, like a predator about to pounce on unsuspecting prey.

She gasped. "My father? You know my father?"

Tem laughed. "Intimately."

The man's comment puzzled her, but she had no time to dwell on it. "He disappeared...he just abandoned us!"

"Well, yes, I do suppose that it would appear that way from your perspective," Tem allowed. "Not that it matters at all. The fool made certain that you had what you needed."

Another comment that had no time to settle into her brain. "Where is he?"

"That, Ms. Ballard, is the question of the hour. Where is your father?" He stopped in front of her. "I am quite displeased that he has chosen to...leave me. He was quite talented, in many ways. Until he returns to my side, you will take his place. And your training begins now."

A side door to the room opened. Seven men entered the room, all of them looking at her as if she were a piece of meat. She took a shuddering breath.

"That is a lovely suit. I would hate to see it ripped. Undress." Tem ordered.


His hand flew up, impacted on her cheek. "Take off your clothes," he said slowly, his voice emotionless.

"Oh, god, no, please-"

Again his hand crashed into her face. "Obey me!"

Trembling, terrified, she stood to her feet. Her fingers could barely work the buttons of her jacket. She put it on the chair. Closed her eyes as she slid her skirt down her legs. Took the camisole off. Stood in front of the men in her bra, panties and panty hose.

"Taylor, help her."

The man for whom she'd be working, or whom she'd assumed she'd be working, reached for her. His hands ripped the pantyhose, pulled them away from her body. Did the same with her under garments. Left her standing naked and vulnerable in front of the men who were the Board of Directors for Pyxis Enterprises. She watched, tears rolling down her cheeks, as the men began to disrobe.

Suddenly she was on the table, on her back, one man between her legs, shoving himself into her. Another man grabbed her hair, yanked her head back, forced his swelling cock into her mouth, not allowing the scream that had been working its way up from her throat to pass. No! No! No! This isn't happening! This was her dream job! This was supposed to be the start of a new life for her! That thought echoed in her head...new life...new life...cold dread wrapped around her heart. Her new life wasn't going to be anything like she'd imagined.

Tem signaled, she was roughly turned to her stomach, her legs held open. When the Goa'uld forced himself into her virgin ass, her scream echoed loudly in the sound-proofed room. When the needle pricked her skin an hour later, she'd been taken by every one of the men in the room. She could barely focus when another man entered. Her second scream of terror, of pain, echoed when her nipples were pierced. Then her labia. And then her tongue. She passed out.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Sometimes the easiest way to hide something, was to not hide it at all. Dennis Ballard sat in front of the computer. Accessed the outside line, connected to the internet. And went to his Yahoo account. There had been a message yesterday. He was hoping for another today. There was one. From 'The Rebel'. He smiled.

The smile faded, his heart dropped to his feet as he read the short message. 

'He has your daughter. Shannon is here. Training has begun.' 

He began to gasp for air. "No!" he shouted, pushing away from the desk, his eyes wide. "No!"

Daniel raced into the room. "What? What's wrong?"

"That bastard has my little girl! He has Shannon!"

Casey had been right behind her husband. Shannon? Ballard? Shannon Ballard? Oh, hell! In that instant all of Shannon's anger, her insecurities, made perfect sense...her father had simply vanished from her life when she'd been a child...an impressionable child. No good-byes. No explanations. Just...gone.

"Calm down," Daniel said gently. "Tell me how you know this."

"The man who helped me escape just sent me another email. He's going to train her. Just like he does all of those closest to him!" Ballard moaned.

"We have to stop him," Casey whispered.

Dennis was on his feet, his hands wrapped around the upper arms of the man standing in front of him. "Please, you have to help me get her out of there!"

Daniel carefully pulled away from the man's panicked grip. "Okay, where does he have her?"

"On that damned ship," Casey said softly, then frowned slightly. "Soon...on the ship...soon. Within hours."

Both men looked over at her. Her head was cocked to the side. "Case?" Daniel asked softly.

"It's here, Daniel. Right now. Right above us. We're out of time."

"Shit!" Daniel raced for the alarm, pulled it, setting the lights into motion, the klaxons wailing. "Let's go."

They raced to the control room. Met General Hammond and Jack there. "Doctor Jackson? What's going on?"

"Tem's ship, sir," Daniel gasped. "It's here. Now."

"Aw, crap!" Jack muttered.

"Sergeant Harriman, I need to speak to the Tok'ra. Now!" Worry creased the general's face. He stood firmly behind the sergeant, already working out in his mind the words of the plea for help he was about to send. Praying that it wasn't too late. Hoping that Tem wouldn't announce himself to a planet that would tear itself apart in fear, and in a futile attempt to defeat a much stronger foe.

"Yes, sir," Walter replied. His fingers flew over the keyboard, entering the code that Jacob Carter had sent just two days earlier. He began the dialing sequence.

Ballard was staring at the Stargate. "What the hell is that?"

"It's a Stargate," Daniel replied. He turned to the general. "Sir, it might be...faster...if we went through, and caught a ride with General Carter."

"Might make it harder for them to say no," Jack added.

General Hammond only needed a moment to debate the suggestion. "Do it. SG-1 to the 'gate room in ten. I'll alert the president. Just in case."

With a nod of understanding, Jack led his team toward the armory. If they couldn't bring back help...if they couldn't stop Tem...then it was all over for good old Planet Earth. Wouldn't that be the fucking cosmic joke of all time? All that they'd lived through, endured, the many times they'd saved Earth from the Goa'uld, all for naught because of one of the goddamned snakes that had been marooned here for ten thousand years. Yeah, really fucking funny!


A  A  A  A  A  A


She was naked. And lying on the floor. Which was ceramic tile and cold. Her body ached. She moved slowly, felt the sting of her new 'body jewelry'. She closed her eyes, moaned softly. How long had she been unconscious?

The door opened, and Bailey stepped inside. It was difficult to keep his face impassive. Her best...her only hope right now was to stay completely doped up, and as unaware of what was happening as possible. He injected her quickly. "Do whatever they ask of you. Never fight them. Never let them see how embarrassed or repulsed you are. Behave as if their every command is your heart's fondest wish," he said softly.

"I don't understand," she said thickly, her tongue swollen from the new piercing. She was trying to cover herself with her arms and hands.

"Let me see," he said gently, taking hold of her chin.

She opened her mouth. Tem was never patient enough to wait for his pets to heal 'naturally'. So he always used the healing device on them as soon as they'd been 'marked'. And he'd just finished using it on her. There would be no chance of infection, but the sting of the newness of the titanium rings in her nipples, and her labia, and the barbell in her tongue, would continue for a few days at least.

"It looks fine. You'll learn to speak with it in just a matter of days."


His eyes went hard. "Remember what I have told you. It's the only thing that will keep you alive."

The words impacted on her brain. She nodded numbly. Watched as the man left the room. She could feel a cold haze moving into her brain. She gave in to it, welcomed it as it blotted out what she'd already endured, closed her eyes, and went back to sleep.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Tem moved through the penthouse with determination...and excitement. Gathered those things that he wanted to take with him. He still hadn't made up his mind exactly where he'd establish his capital, and build his palace. Egypt had been the cradle of civilization. Regardless of what some historians believed. Yes, he should return to Egypt. Rebuild the great city of Waset. What these modern fools called Memphis. A Greek bastardization of the name. Yes, he would return Egypt to the glory it had seen under Ra's rule.

The Sumerians had already had a thriving civilization when he'd arrived with Ra. He'd been here when the first group of people gathered along the Nile and began to farm, and build villages, having traveled up the river from deep in Africa. How easy it had been to awe them. To be worshipped as gods. They'd left for a time, Ra had been fighting Yu to prevent him from taking control. When he'd returned, Ra had brought with him all of the Goa'uld who had sided with him. And they'd become the gods of these people, these humans. Who were much better hosts than the Unas. Much better slaves. Life had been good. Until Ra had become so damned self-important. Deeming himself the god not just of the human slaves, but of the other Goa'uld as well. He'd heard the grumbling. And had determined that he'd much rather be the most powerful, than one who served. So he'd betrayed his father. And had paid dearly for that betrayal. But now...

He shook himself, focused his thoughts on what he must accomplish today. The past was over, finished. Forgotten. "Bailey!"

The servant hurried into the room. "Yes, sir?"

"Find a suit for Kinsey. He will take his place on the Board tonight."

"Yes, sir."

"And see to it that my newest pet is available for the party. I want her clean and ready."

"Yes, sir."

"We will ring to my ship the first thing in the morning."

His heart began to pound. If that ship was here, there was no way for the human population of Earth to defeat Tem! "Yes, sir."

"Go, you have your orders," Tem said, dismissing the man. He hadn't seen the look of sheer terror that had filled those hazel eyes for just a moment. If he had, no doubt he'd have recognized the goat who wandered among his many sheep. The traitor for whom he'd been searching for weeks now. The man who'd betrayed him long ago.

Bailey hurried to his room. Took his satchel, and raced to the rooftop. He had one chance to get a message sent. Hopefully it wouldn't be intercepted by the ship that hung in space directly above him. It only took a matter of seconds. He continued to watch the darkening sky. Prayed to what true gods there were that the one remembered as his dear friend would be able to respond, and soon!


A  A  A  A  A  A


Jacob grumbled as he led SG-1 and their...guest, through the tunnels. Why was it that this group caused trouble, and then expected the Tok'ra to get them out of it?

'That's not fair, Jacob,' Selmak chided. 'They located Tem on their planet. They've been working desperately to stop him. And look how many Goa'uld have been killed by them...by SG-1 alone!'

'I thought they were impetuous and out-of-control,' he responded.

'I never said out-of-control,' Selmak argued.

Aldwin came running up the tunnel toward them. "Selmak! A message! From the First World! It just came in." He moved closer to Jacob, whispered in his ear. "The message was short. 'Arik tree-ac te kek'." [We do not surrender, even in death.]

"Take Colonel O'Neill and the others to their quarters, I must take care of this at once!" Without asking permission, Selmak seized control of the body she shared with the Tau'ri general, and raced toward the control room.

'Hey!' Jacob objected.

'Jacob, this could be very important. There was an agent left there nearly forty years ago-'

'Whoa, did you just say forty years ago?'


'And were you ever going to tell me that the Tok'ra had been lurking around Earth?'

'Not if it didn't come up.'

'Well it just did!'

'Jacob, we don't have time for this right now!' Selmak sighed.

He shook his head. Well, the mental image of himself shook his head. Sometimes the old girl could still shock the living shit out of him! And they would most definitely be talking about this particular lapse in information flow!

Aldwin led the team to a cavern room, surrounded by open sleeping alcoves. "I beg your forgiveness, but I have duties I must attend to. I am certain that Selmak will return shortly."

"Yeah sure, you betcha. Don't mind us. It's just our entire freaking planet we're worried about. As in Goa'uld on the damned doorstep," Jack groused.

"Jack," Daniel said quietly. "Let's not offend the people we're here to ask help from."

The older man rolled his eyes, gave a grunt of displeasure.

Casey had dropped down onto one of the chairs that surrounded the stone table. After what she and Daniel had suffered because of the Tok'ra, she wasn't comfortable around them. Being on their...base...made her downright nervous. She wrapped her arms around her narrow waist. Looked around the very alien room. Wished she was back at home in Silver Springs. You could take the girl off Earth, but you couldn't take Earth out of the girl, she thought briefly.

One glance at her face let her know that she was uncomfortable. And not a little afraid. Daniel sat down beside his wife. "Are you all right?"

She forced a smile. "I'm okay."

Hmm. 'Okay'. It was obvious to him that she was scared to death. Probably worried about what freaking disaster would come between them, try their very souls as it tested the strength of their love. He wrapped his fingers around hers. "We're together, Angel. We'll be just fine."

"Until they decide there's something that only you can do. And send you off alone to face a Goa'uld determined to possess you!" The words echoed in the quiet room. And hit the newcomer who hesitated near the door square in the face.

"Hello," Sarah said softly, hesitantly.

Daniel barely managed to bite back a moan. Casey and Sarah had talked. But it didn't mean the two women were friends. Or that her presence wasn't a threat to his wife. He glanced at Casey, noted that the green eyes had become guarded. "Hello, Sarah."

"I just wanted to...I'm only here for an hour or so," she said softly. She sat down beside him. Watched as his fingers tightened around that slender hand. Fought back the images of the four days they'd spent in bed together. Osiris had pulled back and allowed her to be in control...or at least, almost in control. She'd been the one making love to him, not the Goa'uld. She'd been the one moaning in his arms. But he could never know that. The guilt would tear him apart. And the pain would destroy his wife. Friendship. That's all she wanted from him...all she could ever hope for from him. She'd hide the memories of those days together, treasure them. Remember the hours he'd loved her. Had whispered her name. Just like he'd done when they'd been together in Chicago.

Casey cocked her head to one side. Was stunned as images of Sarah and Daniel began to flicker through her mind. Images of them together...in bed...holding one another, touching one another, whispering their love to one another...making love together. She shook her head. She knew they'd slept together, for crying out loud! They'd been lovers for awhile, years before Daniel had flown to Tacoma to meet her. It didn't make it any easier to 'see'. Something about the entire 'scene' bothered her...poked at her, but she wasn't able to focus on it.

"Perhaps we should come back later," Karinda said, having moved forward when Sarah saw the look on the young blonde's face. Both host and symbiote understood just exactly what the seer was 'seeing'. The Tok'ra could only hope that the slender blonde didn't realize that what she was seeing had happened within the past year.

"Yeah, that's a good idea," Daniel replied. He hadn't missed the look of shock that had filled those amazing green eyes, or the slight gasp, or the way she'd suddenly tried to pull her hand free of his. She'd 'seen' something, and whatever it was, it wasn't good.

When the strawberry blonde had left the room, Casey gave a small sigh of relief. She couldn't have taken much more of the images that had flooded her mind. She knew that Daniel loved...had loved the woman. But it didn't make it easy to watch his former girlfriend and him together now, even if they were just talking quietly.

"Casey?" Daniel asked softly. Frowned when she shook her head, refused to meet his eyes. Whatever it was, it had to do with Sarah, he was certain of that. And now wasn't the time nor was this the place to get into that discussion. No matter how much he wanted, needed to reassure her.

Jacob Carter/Selmak hurried into the room. "We...uh...we need to talk," Jacob said, still reeling from what his symbiote had admitted to him.

"Ya think?" Jack spat. He'd known from the moment that they'd walked through the 'gate that their arrival had been...expected. And he wanted to know just what the hell the damned Tok'ra knew!

"We were aware that the missing fleet of a Goa'uld named Tem had been...activated. And that they were moving toward Earth." Jacob admitted.

Well, Jack thought angrily, that explained the fact that this visit had been anticipated! Couldn't the damned snakes have offered help? After all that he and his team had done for this group...He shook his head mentally. Next time they asked for something, he was going to urge General Hammond to tell them to fuck off!

"But that's not all of it. Forty years ago a Tok'ra ship was damaged. It limped into our...your...solar system to hide. The Tok'ra on board was curious about the planet. Did a little research and figured out that it was the First World..." Jacob said quietly.


The older man held up a hand. "This Tok'ra was a friend of Selmak's. There'd been some debate on whether or not all of the Goa'uld had actually left the First World. So Terrin decided to have a look around. He suspected that a man named Gerald Thomas was a Goa'uld. But he couldn't get close enough to be certain."

"Are you telling us that there's a Tok'ra with Tem?" Daniel asked his eyes wide, recognizing one of the names that Tem had used...during the 60's and 70's, if he remembered correctly.

"I was the only one aware of what Terrin was doing," Selmak explained. "He sent me several private messages. As your world advanced, it became more difficult for him to follow Tem. He'd met a young man who'd been stricken with cancer. His own host was...dying. He spent three days with the young man. At the end of that time, Terrin blended with him, healed him. He reported that he was going to attempt to approach the man he believed to be the host of Tem."

"But wouldn't Tem sense the naquadah in him?" Sam asked, a frown on her lovely face.

"There is a drug, easily produced, that can mask the presence of a symbiote," Selmak replied. "We have used it to infiltrate the inner circles of several Goa'uld."

Daniel was stunned by the admission. Why hadn't they just used that drug to get a Tok'ra near Yu for that damned mission? Instead of begging him to do it...setting events into motion that had damned near cost him all that he held dear. Unless the faces of the Tok'ra operatives were becoming too well known? Or because they'd wanted him to attempt to save Sarah; knew that if given the chance he'd do just that, and thus they could bring 'Osiris' under their control?

"You've been receiving reports from this Tok'ra, and didn't think to let us know?" Jack asked, his voice full of as much anger as his eyes. In his anger, the fact that Daniel had been sent on a dangerous mission that one of their own agents could have handled eluded him.

"Actually, Colonel O'Neill, this is the first time in thirty-six years that I've heard from Terrin. I feared him dead. I couldn't send anyone to look for him, considering that he'd already been declared dead by the Council," Selmak said quietly.

"You were hoping to protect the people of Earth by taking out the Goa'uld," Daniel said softly. That much was obvious.

"That was our desire, yes," Selmak nodded. "It wasn't a mission sanctioned by the Council. They weren't even aware of it. At the time, the First World had been...forgotten...by the Goa'uld. And we wanted it to remain that way as long as possible."

"We sort of messed that up, didn't we?" the young archaeologist asked.

Selmak smiled. "Your...enthusiasm...in journeying through the Chappa'ai has caused...unforeseen...consequences. You have also defeated more Goa'uld in six years than we have in the past century. But Apophis, and Ba'al, would have returned to the First World. When Apophis walked through the Chappa'ai, and took that young woman, he knew exactly where he was. And there is no doubt that he would have attacked, and enslaved the people of Earth had you not...intervened."

"So what was that message about?" Jack asked.

"Terrin has informed me of the same thing you came to tell us. That Tem has a ship in orbit. And the remainder of his fleet is waiting nearby."

"And you're going to help us, right?" Jack noted that Selmak wouldn't meet his eyes. "You are going to help us?"

"I will do what I can. I'm sure Aldwin will accompany us-"

"You...one ship?" Jack shook his head. "That sucks, you know."

"There is someone else we can call. Tem may not be aware of the treaty that makes Earth a protected planet. But he's still a Goa'uld, and for him to attack will void that treaty," Daniel said quietly.

"Thor!" Jack grinned. "Anyway to alert his little gray butt?"

Jacob grinned. "Already done. Tem has been out of the game for a very long time. He won't be aware that the Asgard are in such a precarious position. He'll only remember that they'd nearly destroyed an entire sector before a peace treaty could be ratified between the Goa'uld Empire and the Asgard."

"We need to leave, now," Casey said softly. "If we don't, everyone on Earth is going to learn about Tem, and the Goa'uld, and the Tok'ra, and the Asgard, and all hell will break loose."

Jacob nodded. "The ship is standing by. Thor will be there, I promise."

"He'll honor the treaty," Jack said softly.

"To the letter."

Dennis Ballard had been sitting quietly, his mind in a whirl as he watched and listened. For so long he'd questioned his own sanity. To know that he'd been right, to sit among...aliens...honest-to-god aliens, on a different planet, it was almost more than he could wrap his mind around. But one other thought continued to haunt him. "I have to save my daughter," he said firmly.

"I promise, we'll get her out of there," Jack replied.

Jacob led the way to the transporter rings. He could feel Selmak's excitement...and her concern. And the guilt she felt for hiding the presence of the Tok'ra agent. He did his best to reassure her. And let her know that although he was shocked by the revelation, it in no way changed their relationship...the strong bond of friendship that had grown between them.

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