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Lost Souls

Chapter 8

Jacob held Sam in his arms. Teal'c was holding O'Neill. And Aldwin was gripping Daniel Jackson in his arms as if he was afraid the man would slip away from him. He'd been informed of the circumstances of the situation, and like Jacob/Selmak, had sworn himself to secrecy. Teal'c knew that even threat of death would not see the secret of the Immortality of SG-1 come to light from their mouths.

He laid his daughter carefully on her bed, covering her cold body with the quilt that had been folded neatly at the foot. He'd started to object when Teal'c put Jack beside her. Those two had been in love for a very long time. And thanks to the president, and one very vocal, young blonde seer, the military regulations that had kept them apart had been removed. If she was happy, he was happy. Selmak prodded him to admit that he was tickled that she'd fallen for a man like Jack, a man who often reminded him of himself. He refused to comply. He wandered back into the living room. Daniel had been placed gently on the couch. It looked as if they were all merely sleeping. If their bloody, burned uniforms could be ignored. "Are you going to need any help with anything?"

Teal'c shook his head. "It has already been two days. Tomorrow Doctor Fraiser will join me as we wait for them to wake. She will assure that they are well." And inform them that they wouldn't be going to the base for a few days. He was already dreading the anger that General Hammond's order was going to cause. Especially when he knew that as soon as his friends were up and about, he'd be joining SG-2 on the rescue mission to bring Casey Jackson home. Nothing would be said about that, of course. If Daniel Jackson had any clue of what was being done, nothing would stop him from joining the mission.

"Tell her to contact me as soon as she can." Until he heard from Sam, it was going to be difficult to really believe that his little girl wasn't really dead. In spite of the fact that Selmak had discovered myths that described the temple that Teal'c had told them about. And Beings from another plane of existence, who did not interfere, but merely observed the activities of those who lived 'beneath' them. She was certain that for whatever reason, the members of SG-1 had indeed been granted Immortality, although the Tok'ra had absolutely no ideas on what Daniel Jackson's new role as 'The One' might possibly entail.

"I will do so."

"And, thank them for all of their help. Without them..." he shook his head. Without those three people, he'd be dead, and no doubt Zipacna would have located more information about the Tok'ra than had fallen into Goa'uld hands in centuries.

"I will inform them of your gratitude," the Jaffa said calmly. He was weary. He'd kept vigil at his friends' sides for fifty-two hours. He needed to rest. The need for sleep was one disadvantage to his Immortality. Or at least, it was in his eyes.

Jacob could see that the large man was nearly asleep on his feet. "Rest, my friend. We'll speak again."

"I look forward to it," Teal'c replied.

In a second flash of light, which hopefully none of the neighbors had noticed, Jacob and Aldwin ringed back up to their waiting ship. They were needed at the new base of operations. There was much to be done. They'd have to be satisfied to wait for news of SG-1, and the fate of Casey Jackson.


A   A   A   A   A   A


"Did you hear?" Jill said excitedly when the doctor walked into the infirmary.

"Hear what?" Janet asked.

"SG-1 are back! The Tok'ra found them, and brought them home. But apparently Selmak told General Hammond that they were so exhausted that she'd been forced to sedate them to make them sleep! They wanted to come straight back here and then go for Casey. General Hammond ordered them home to rest, they aren't even going to be allowed on the base for the next three days!" the young nurse said excitedly.

Well, the SGC rumor mill was still working just fine, in spite of the tension that filled the air over the missing team members. Janet bit back her smile. "I'm sure they're all just thrilled about that."

"General Hammond actually gave orders that if Doctor Jackson shows up anywhere, he wants him sedated! That poor man. Two wives, both of them taken by Goa'uld. God, what if Casey becomes a host too?"

"Don't even think it!" Janet hissed. Her reaction surprised even herself, as well as the nurse and the two medics in the room. She knew how much Daniel worried about that very thing. How it had been part of the reason he'd been so hesitant to fly to Tacoma to find the intriguing young woman whom Fate had decreed was his Destiny. That that fear haunted him every time SG-1 walked through the Stargate.

Jill backed up a step, her eyes wide. "S...s...sorry," she stammered.

Janet shook her head wearily. "I'm sorry too. I guess...around here, to say certain things out loud seems to lend too much credence to them. And doing so when whatever it is...is bad...well," she shrugged.

"Doctor, we're talking about SG-1. They're...it's like they're blessed...they've been declared dead so many times, and been captured, but they always make it back home. All of them. Always," Jill said softly.

She smiled. "Good point. That SG-1 magic, as Colonel O'Neill calls it."

"Doctor Fraiser to General Hammond's office."

With a glance at the intercom, she reached out and patted Jill's shoulder. "Keep thinking good thoughts. Most of SG-1 is home. When SG-2 brings Casey home, that magical team will be back to work within a week."




"Close the door, doctor," General Hammond said when the petite woman knocked, and then stepped into his office.

"Yes, sir," she replied, doing as her CO had instructed.

"Teal'c just called. SG-1 is back. He said it should only be a few more hours. He was going to try and get some sleep, then he'll be here. He insisted that those he works with know that after a bit of Kel'no'reem,  he's ready to go again."

Janet nodded. "Yes, sir. There might be those, especially among the medical staff, who might ask questions if he were to...stay down. Especially with Casey missing. Everybody knows how close those two are."

The man allowed himself a smile. "I believe I've heard the phrase 'protective big brother' used a time or two."

She smiled as well. "And annoying little sister. She delights in teasing him. And what is amazing to me...to everyone around here... is that she gets by with it!"

"He's taking this personally. According to the report he gave, he's blaming himself for Casey even being in the situation where she was allowed to be captured," Hammond said.

"I'm sure it wasn't his fault," Janet said quickly.

"As am I, doctor. However, Teal'c is a proud man. As well as loyal almost to a fault. It will be hard enough to keep Colonel O'Neill, Major Carter, and Doctor Jackson off of the base once they wake up. It'll be damned near impossible to keep Teal'c away, and from going on this mission."

"By letting Teal'c go, you're hoping to get leverage on the rest of the team," Janet said astutely.

"It will at least buy us a day or two. I'm having guards put on the emergency exits. I have no doubt the team will attempt to get on base at least twice. The front gate once, and then sneaking in the back way."

She had to smile. The members of SG-1 were tenacious. Even more so when one of their own was missing or injured. There wasn't a force on heaven or Earth that could stop them when they put their minds to something. They'd proven that time and again. "Yes, sir."

"In the meantime, I'm sending you to Major Carter's home. I think it would be prudent for you to be there when they...wake up," the general said.

"Yes, sir. I believe it would be expected for me to do so, as well," Janet acknowledged.

"I agree. Let me know if you have any...problems."

She couldn't stop the laugh that bubbled up. "General Hammond, you've ordered SG-1 banned from the base for seventy-two hours. And Casey Jackson is still missing. There are going to be problems."

"If you need Marine back up, let me know," he chuckled.

"I will most certainly do so," she smiled.

"Good. And try to make them see reason."

"I don't know if that's possible, sir," she said softly. "It is Casey we're talking about."

He nodded. "Yes, it is." Emotions always ran high when there was a team in trouble. When that team just happened to be SG-1, the tension was so thick it could be cut with a knife. Add to that the fact that Casey Jackson had become damned near indispensable when it came to keeping the teams who embarked on missions out of harm's way, not to mention the laughter she seemed to have brought to the place, and that tension rose even higher. "You have your orders, Doctor. Dismissed."

"Yes, sir." She stood to her feet, stopped at the door. "We'll lose him if anything happens to her," she said, her voice little more than a whisper.

"I know," General Hammond said softly. "I don't want to contemplate losing either of them."

With a nod, Janet left the office. And headed topside to go sit with Teal'c, to wait for SG-1 to reanimate.


A   A   A   A   A   A


"No way to get in there, sir," Sergeant Spencer whispered.

"Doesn't seem to be. Wonder when they decided to put guards on all the walls?" Major Newsome grumbled.

"Well, it couldn't have been us, sir. They never knew we were there."

He stared through the binoculars. All four walls were crawling with friggin' Jaffa. And so far they'd seen at least a dozen different squads wandering around. Still looking for those damned ships. Ba'al was persistent, he'd give him that. Rotten bastard. Tomorrow morning the rest of the team would arrive. Ready to do what had to be done. Less than twenty hours to figure out how the hell to get into that damned eyesore.

Cries of agony could be heard on the breeze, rising from the tiny village that sat at the foot of the hill. The Jaffa were working a couple of those farmers over pretty good, Spencer thought, training his field glasses in that direction.

"Seems old snake-face is convinced that the locals know where that fleet is," Newsome murmured.

"Yes, sir. Seems like."

The sound of approaching Jaffa had the two men scrambling. They were up the tree before the group appeared in the clearing. 

All eyes were trained on the ground. Their leaders had informed them that there were secret entrances to the castle, and it was in these that Tem's Jaffa were hiding. If they could locate those ha'shak, then discovering the location of the ships belonging to Tem would be assured. Reward would go to the Jaffa who could find the men who hid.

Newsome watched...and listened.. He understood just enough Goa'uld to know that Ba'al was getting antsy about something. And if the snake was agitated, getting to Casey Jackson would be all the more difficult.


A   A   A   A   A   A


She opened her eyes. Frowned. What in the hell was going on? She sat up, pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. What's wrong with me? Why can't I remember anything? Images, so many images...disjointed, making no sense whatsoever. A man with a cruel smile...Master. Blue eyes, a warm loving smile...who was he? Hungry. Goddess she was hungry! Her frown deepened. When was the last time she'd been fed? Been taken to...that room...been...She shivered. When was the last time she'd been raped? And why could she remember things like that, but not her own damned name?

Pulling herself to her feet, she began to pace the cell. When the sound of a key in the lock on the heavy door echoed around her, she automatically dropped to her knees, head down, waiting obediently to be told what to do...what to think.

A single Jaffa entered the room. He put a bowl of food, and a flask of water on the floor. Pulled the syringe from his pocket. Lord Ba'al had spent the last two days searching for Tem's ships himself, going over every inch of the valley to the east of them. He'd left orders that the slave was to be injected twice a day. But...well, it wasn't like she had a mind left anyway. And there were so many places where one could find privacy. And Illiana was so soft, and so eager to please...unlike this h'as, who simply laid unmoving beneath any man who took her.

She jumped when the needle entered her flesh. No! Damn it! I need to think! I have to concentrate! That damnable fog began to envelope her again. She made no sound as the man pushed her to her back, forced himself between her legs. She closed her eyes. Not allowed to look at them...never look in the eyes of those who owned her...Wrong...this was so very, very wrong! Feelings of shame washed over her. One small tear escaped, slid down the side of her face. A warning sign that went unnoticed by the man who molested her.


A   A   A   A   A   A


He couldn't breathe! God, why couldn't he breathe? His back arched as he fought to pull oxygen into his lungs. Okay, that's good. Breathing is very good. He forced his eyes open, squinted in the bright sunlight that was bursting through every window in the room. Where the hell was he? He sat up slowly, carefully. Looked around at the vaguely familiar setting. Sam's house? What the hell am I doing here?

With that silent question, every memory, every event he'd ever experienced crashed down on him. His mind was spinning as he tried desperately to make sense of everything. As suddenly as the flood of information began, it ended. He frowned as he examined... poked...checked. Everything seemed to be working properly. His mind seemed to be working...oh god! He fell back on the sofa, both hands over his face...Casey!

"Welcome back, Daniel Jackson."

He dropped his hands. Turned his head and opened his eyes for the second time. "Hey, Teal'c," he said softly. Wait, if he was lying on Sam's couch..."Casey?"

The large man dropped his eyes, unwilling...unable to meet the intense gaze of those pain-filled blue eyes. "There is no word yet."

Seven days on that damned Goa'uld ship. A day and a half getting to Ravanna, where he had so very painfully died. Three days dead. Jesus! That bastard's had my Wife for what, eleven days? Oh, god, I have to get to her! "I gotta get to the base..."

"I'm afraid not," a soft voice said.

He looked over to see Janet Fraiser approaching him. "Why not?"

"Well, we had to come up with a cover story for your...uh...rescue. For the next...um... sixty-five hours, you and Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter are persona non grata in the mountain," the lovely doctor explained. While she'd been speaking, her hands and eyes had been making a cursory examination of her patient.

He looked up at Teal'c. Who Dr. Fraiser had not listed as being banned. "Teal'c?"

"As far as anyone else knows, Junior is still taking care of him," Janet replied.

Daniel brushed Janet's hands away, stood to his feet. "Find her, Teal'c. I can't trust anyone else. If I can't get to her..."

The Jaffa nodded solemnly. "I swear to you on the soul of my father, I will bring her home to you."

It wasn't enough. He wanted to find her, bring her home. There had to be a way to get onto that damned base and through the 'gate! They'd done it before! Surely working together ...no...let Teal'c go. It would keep the others off guard, then he could sneak...

"Don't even think about it," Janet warned. "General Hammond has increased security. There are perimeter guards, as well as a full team watching the emergency exit."

Damn it to hell! "Doesn't trust us, huh?" he asked, smiling weakly.

"Not when it comes to SG-1 determination," Janet replied.

Nearly simultaneous gasps came from the bedroom. With a warm smile, and a pat on his arm, the diminutive woman hurried to check on her other patients.


A   A   A   A   A   A


"So you're saying that General Hammond isn't going to let us go?" Jack asked, his voice rising in pitch, and in volume.

"Colonel, we couldn't take the chance that anyone would find out about your Immortality, so we couldn't bring you to the infirmary. Sending you home meant you were okay...but we had to have a reason for you not charging the doors as soon as you arrived," Janet explained calmly.

"She's right," Sam said. Her fingers were pulling apart the tissues she'd used. Coming back to life had been...emotional. Very emotional. Feelings, memories she'd buried long ago had been front and center as she struggled to come to terms with what was happening to her. "If the Tok'ra brought us home, and we weren't injured enough to be in the infirmary, then we would've been racing through the 'gate."

Daniel closed his eyes. General Hammond and Janet had come up with the perfect 'cover story'. He had to smile at the thought that the two of them should have been consulted when the former president and Joint Chiefs had concocted the very unbelievable story of deep space telemetry to explain the Stargate Command complex. "So now what?"

"I will accompany SG-2 onto the planet," Teal'c said quietly. He'd feared that revealing the plan would encourage his teammates to attempt to disobey General Hammond's orders. Now he thought that perhaps the knowledge that he was going, that the attempt was being made, would ease their minds. "Major Newsome and Sergeant Spencer have been doing reconnaissance for three days. We will bring her home."

"I hate to say this, but...well, we're all too emotionally involved in this one," Sam said softly.

Jack looked at her. "Since when does that have anything to do with anything? Casey is ours. We should be the ones going to get her!"

"Jack, we'd be willing to do anything to get to her," Sam pointed out.

"And that's a problem?" Did he really know this woman? How could she sit there so calmly and tell him...tell Daniel, that they shouldn't be the ones to bring Casey home?

"It could be if our emotions were making decisions that could put us, or her, at risk."

Damn it! He hated it when she was right! Jack shook his head. If it took someone else to point out the obvious, then he really was too emotional over the issue. He looked at Daniel.  Wondered just how much more the man could take.

"She's my Wife. That's the only reason I need to go. I'm not military. I have every right-" Daniel started. Every fiber of his being was screaming at him, demanding he haul his ass off of the chair on which he sat, get to the mountain, and through that 'gate! He'd have no problems killing every fucking Jaffa he saw, with his bare hands! Ba'al...well, that motherfucker he had special plans for! He'd seen a lot during his travels via the Stargate. He'd learned a lot. And not all of it pleasant! He looked down at the large, black hand that rested on his arm.

"I will bring her home, Daniel Jackson. You must be here, in good health, when I do so."

He understood what Janet was saying. He understood what Sam was saying. He understood what Teal'c was saying. It did not, however, make any of it easier to accept. "I can't live without her," he whispered.


A   A   A   A   A   A


Ba'al withdrew the needle from her arm. "There now, my little siren."

She watched through eyes that could barely focus. It was difficult to hold her head up. But the Master wasn't angry. That was a good thing. At least, she was pretty sure it was. When he pointed to the floor beside his feet, she dropped to her hands and knees, crawled to his side.

"Yes, very good. Tell me about Hathor."

Hathor? She searched through what little of her memory remained. Hathor...the evil creature who'd sent her to this place..."Evil...very bad," she murmured.

"Yes, slave, Hathor is very evil. Tell me what you know of her."

Again she struggled to find the answer the Master sought. She shook her head. "Don't know." The blow was swift...painful, and sent her slender frame flying backwards.

He was well aware of the fact that anything this woman might have known of his enemy was probably lost forever. But he still hadn't located those cursed ships! Word from his flag ship was that they'd be delayed in their arrival. And Yu and company could be expected at any moment. He was frustrated. He was angry. And this little bitch was a convenient outlet. He kicked her viciously. "Tell me of Hathor!"

"Forgive! Forgive! I obey!" she pleaded, frantically trying to find the information the Master demanded. She curled into a ball, trying to avoid the booted foot that continued to kick her. "Evil! Hathor is evil!"

"My Lord," a voice called from the doorway.

His attention diverted, Ba'al turned to see his First Prime approaching. "What?"

"We have finished interrogating the villagers."


He dropped his gaze. Not one of the men they questioned had survived. Three of the women had died as well. "Nothing, My Lord. They know nothing."

With a roar of frustration, Ba'al lifted his boot, had every intention of bringing it down on the head of the woman who lay weeping in pain at his feet. Felt a sudden rush of cold air move past his face that left him shivering. He stepped closer to the table where his knives lay within easy reach. There was something about this place...


First felt anger racing through her veins. Had her fist actually connected to the man's jaw, he would have been sent halfway across the room.

"Well done," Third smiled.

"We dare not leave her now," First replied. "He is becoming desperate."

"What of The One?" Second asked.

"He is alive. He will be well as soon as his friends have accomplished their task."

"But her memory-"

"Is just fine. The drugs inhibit her ability to access them, that's all," First said gently.

"They do not understand this?" Third asked, nodding toward Ba'al and his Jaffa.

"I'm sure they do," First replied. "Which is why they continue to inject their slaves, or put the drug in the water they are given to drink."

"These creatures are truly evil," Second hissed.

"They survive as they see fit," First corrected.

Second was not convinced.


A   A   A   A   A   A


Teal'c watched the city of Silver Springs pass by the window as he rode back to the base with Dr. Fraiser. The Earth city was peaceful. He'd come to enjoy his time here. He liked living on Earth. There were many places he wished to see. Daniel Jackson and he had discussed making a journey to Egypt, where the Goa'uld had ruled the Tau'ri, until the rebellion that sent the false gods fleeing back into space.

Janet glanced at her silent passenger. "Do...do you think she's...that Casey is still alive?"

He turned his head, studied the worried face of the doctor beside him. "I have no doubt that Casey Jackson is still alive."

"What you don't know is whether or not she's been...broken."

"It would take a great deal to break Casey Jackson. She is a most capable warrior. She will survive."

"To what degree?" Janet murmured more to herself than her companion.

"If Casey Jackson does not...return...I fear for Daniel Jackson." It was a softly spoken statement. It also revealed the depth of worry that the Jaffa felt for the man who was one of his best friends.

"So do I, Teal'c," she replied softly.


A   A   A   A   A   A


The men of SG-2 were preparing to leave. General Hammond had informed them that Teal'c would be accompanying them. They weren't surprised. Nor had they been surprised to learn that the general had felt it necessary to literally ban the exhausted team from the base. Without a doubt if he hadn't, Colonel O'Neill, Dr. Jackson, and Major Carter would already be through the 'gate.

A pack had been made ready for the Jaffa. Sergeant Martinson was holding it for the giant man, handed it to him when Teal'c jogged into the 'gate room. He quietly thanked the men, the seemingly small act speaking volumes to the Jaffa, and any who watched, further cementing his place among those who fought the Goa'uld from the center known as the SGC.

Canisters of BZ-3 were launched, and the men donned their gas masks.

"After you, sir," Martinson said, motioning for Teal'c to take the lead. This mission was about as personal as it could get for the tall Jaffa. He had every right...deserved...to lead the rest of them on this hopefully successful rescue mission.

As the canisters of gas had been tossed through the event horizon, a brief five-second message had been sent as well. No one knew if Ba'al had any way of tracking radio signals, or if he even bothered; Goa'uld communications had moved beyond such 'primitive' technology. But the general wasn't about to take any chances. Casey's very survival depended on these men accomplishing their mission. And they had to remain free, and alive, in order to do so.

Major Newsome and Sergeant Spencer were waiting in the underbrush. A quick signal was given, and SG-2 raced for the cave that would protect them from prying eyes and the numerous Goa'uld who continued to trample the hills and valleys on a daily basis.

"I don't know how many Jaffa Ba'al has, but he has a shitload of them here," the major groused as he and Spencer dispatched the intel they'd been able to gather.

"Getting into that stone hell-hole is going to be a bitch," the young sergeant said. "They have guards on all sides now."

"I recorded a bit of a conversation...I figured you'd be here," Major Newsome said quietly, nodding toward Teal'c.

Teal'c inclined his head in acknowledgement. Listened carefully. Frowned at what he heard. "Other System Lords are on their way here, to confront Ba'al. I do not know if they understand the reason he is here. We may assume that they do not, or there would be many more Jaffa, and more false gods on this planet."

"Then he's going to be a bit...distracted, isn't he?" Newsome said hopefully. "I mean, maybe he's not...maybe with worrying about these other snakes, he's not uh...paying so much...uh...attention...to Mrs. J."

"Or he may be angered and taking it out on her," Teal'c pointed out calmly. Or at least, he looked calm. His heart was pounding, the need to move making it damned near impossible to remain still.

"Oh, Christ," one of the men muttered.

Teal'c continued to study the photographs that Martinson had brought along. "I believe there is only one course of action."

"Head on," Major Newsome said.

The large man nodded. "If we were to use C-4 on the gate, it would serve to...disorient the Jaffa nearby."

"Not for long," Spencer argued. "It would focus their attention on that gate."

"Yes. It would," Teal'c agreed. "A group of men who were able to appear to be many more in number, could keep attention focused for several minutes. Long enough for one man to slip into the keep."

"Over the wall?" Newsome asked.

"Yes. Here," Teal'c pointed to a corner near the 'gate. "With the confusion of the battle, a single man would be able to penetrate this spot."

"And you want to be that man," the major said

"She is the wife of my best friend. It is due to my failure to protect her that Casey Jackson is now a prisoner of Ba'al."

Newsome shook his head. "Teal'c, I was there. We were all there," he said, nodding toward his men. "You didn't do anything wrong."

"Unfortunately, my heart does not believe that," Teal'c replied.

"We wait unit dark tomorrow, just in case the Jaffa get a little too curious about being knocked out at the gate..."

Teal'c shook his head. "We must move now. There is no time to waste. We will set up for the attack tonight. We will attack tomorrow when the sun is high."

"Teal'c, you cut our chances...your chances...in half, or more, if we try to do this in broad daylight!" Newsome argued.

"If the other System Lords arrive, Ba'al will ring up to his ship. He will take Casey Jackson with him. And then we will have little or no chance of ever finding her. We must use every weapon we have at our disposal, and surprise is the strongest weapon we have. They will not expect an attack during the day."

The men all reluctantly agreed that the man was right.

"If we are unsuccessful, we lose not only Casey Jackson, but Daniel Jackson as well. We must not fail," Teal'c said solemnly.

The gravity of the situation settled firmly upon each of them. The major gave a short, single nod. "Okay, how do you want to do this?"




As soon as their packs and weapons were ready, the men headed toward the river. They were forced to move slowly, sticking to the undergrowth as much as possible. The sun had long set when they settled on a rise just to the west of the castle. Teal'c and Spencer, aided by their night vision goggles, slipped up to the wall, used its shadows to hide in, and carefully placed the charges on the wooden gate.

The sun was nearly at its zenith when the men of SG-2 were in position. A single, long click on the radio let them know that Teal'c was in place. He would have mere seconds to run across the road that wound in front of the high wall, throw the rope and grappling hook over, get up and over the wall, and down into the inner courtyard. It sounded impossible. Probably was. But two things were going for the Tau'ri: desperation...and the fact that an attack made in the middle of the day would have more of an affect on the Jaffa than they dared to hope.

Teal'c had learned much from O'Neill, and that man's time spent as a Black Ops agent. Watches had been synchronized. He knew when the first charges would be blown. From that moment on, there was no turning back.


A   A   A   A   A   A


"My Lord, several ships approach," one of the Jaffa announced.

Casey looked up from her place in the corner. Her Master looked...frightened. He was a god, what did he have to fear?

Ba'al looked at the man who stood in front of him. "My ships?"

"Also approach, My Lord. I do not believe they will arrive first, however. The others are within range."

He was furious. At any moment Yu, or Osiris, or Morganna, or any of the other weaklings who flocked together in an attempt to overthrow him as Sovereign of all System Lords, might ring down, would certainly send Jaffa down. If they didn't know what he was doing here, it wouldn't take them long to figure it out, especially if they bothered to question those damned villagers! In all the time that had been spent searching, that he'd personally spent searching, and still he was no closer to finding those cursed ships! He needed those ships...desperately needed those ships to demonstrate his superiority.

He opened the wooden chest that held the ker'nish'ta that was responsible for making the beautiful blonde who huddled in the corner so...responsive. He'd begun her final training, conditioning her to respond immediately to his commands, her actions as automatic as breathing. He needed at least two more days to make certain that she would not experience any...relapses. The injections would cease, and her dose of the drug would be given to her in the water she received daily. Cursed out loud. Too much on his mind, he groused. The vials, all six of them, were empty. It shouldn't have taken as much to subdue her; she'd required more injections than normal. That was the reason the vials had been emptied so quickly.

Ba'al looked over at her. That beautiful siren had been nothing but a distraction...and a maddening one at that! "Kree!"

She hesitated, the anger in his voice frightening her.


Casey crawled toward her Master, her body trembling visibly.

An explosion, muted as it was as it traveled down the twisting corridors, bouncing off of the stone walls, echoed around them.

Livid now, Ba'al hurled the box at the floor, barely missing the young woman who knelt at his feet. "Find out what is going on. Deal with it!"

"Yes, My Lord." The Jaffa nearly ran out of the room. The other guards watched him go, each of them wishing for escape as well. It would not be unexpected for one of their number were to fall to their god's wrath.

He hadn't found what he'd come here for. He would not be denied the only prize he could claim from this venture!

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