Reckoning Part Three
By Tammy K
WARNINGS: Violence and Profanity
SPOILERS: Exodus, Enemies, The Devil You Know, minor Small Victories, Emancipation, Nemesis, Tangent, Children of the Gods, Holiday
TIME FRAME: Immediately after Exodus: end of Season 4/beginning of Season 5 as a replacement for Enemies.
PAIRINGS: a little Jack/Sam UST
SUMMARY: The team and Jacob Carter are trapped on Apophis’ ship in uncharted space.
DISCLAIMER: This story has been created for entertainment purposes only and is in no way intended to infringe upon any copyrights associated with Stargate or Stargate SG-1.
All original characters and situations are the property of the author. Please do not archive without permission.
AUTHOR’S NOTES: This is an alternate version of Enemies. There is some overlap, but it involves a more in-depth confrontation with Apophis.
“General George Hammond of the Tau’ri, would you like to add your voice to our tribute?” Ren’al asked.
George was stirred from his private thoughts by the mention of his name. “Ah, thank you councilwoman. I would be honored.” He rose and walked to the center of the room where an ornate golden circle adorned the floor.
“Colonel Jack O’Neill, Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Daniel Jackson and Teal'c of SG-1 and General Jacob Carter and Selmak of the Tok’ra are dear friends of mine. I have witnessed their dedication and courage first-hand on many occasions. Certainly all five are totally committed to winning the battle against the Goa’uld. They have sacrificed much toward this end. Unfortunately they may all have given their lives to the cause today.”
The General stopped and looked at Janet with a sad smile. The doctor smiled back through tear streaked cheeks. “We can ask no more of them now.” He continued.
Looking over the Tok’ra lining the edges of the great hall Hammond was struck by looks of admiration and concern. He was grateful for their support.
“When the Stargate program began over five years ago, we had no idea what we would find in the far reaches of space. In fact, the only other planet an earthling had ever walked on before was our own moon. But what we discovered was a universe beyond our wildest dreams. Now we are members of an intergalactic community of freedom fighters and it is a pleasure to work with all of you to maintain that alliance. As I honor our own people for their commitment to the continued safety of Earth, I also salute all of you for your courage and determination.”
The General watched as a young man suddenly rushed to Ren’al’s side. Moments later she followed him out of the room with a sense of urgency. His instincts told him to follow the Tok’ra councilwoman.
Hammond turned back to his audience. “Thank you for your kindness here today, both Doctor Frasier and I are very appreciative.”
He bowed to the men and women surrounding him and left the chamber with Janet following close behind him.
The Colonel looked at each of his three friends in turn. “Well?” He asked, waiting for the usual suggestions. Then he remembered the C-4 bulging in his pocket.
“Carter, could we just blow it up?”
“Sir?” Sam asked, evaluating the simple solution.
“I broke open a crate of C-4 in the supply room” The Colonel took a pack of the explosive out of his pocket and showed it to his 2IC. “This should be enough to take out whatever alien technology is standing in our way.”
Major Carter nodded. “If we set the charges to disable the hyper-drive about 12 minutes before the self-destruct mechanism destroys the ship, we should have enough time to disembark and outrun the blast wave.”
“But what if the replicators figure out what we’re doing? Couldn’t they just disable it?” Daniel asked anxiously.
“Carter…could they?” Jack turned back toward the Major.
“It’s possible, sir.”
“They would be monitoring the ship’s systems. I don’t know if they’d just let the ship destroy itself.” Jacob added, suddenly concerned himself that their plan was doomed to fail.
Colonel O’Neill looked at the remains of Apophis’ body, lying in a gory heap. They had to stop the replicators at all costs, even if that meant someone staying behind to ensure the ship’s destruction.
“Could you show me how to set the self destruct?” He asked General Carter.
Jacob examined his friend for a moment. “Sure, why?”
“If the bugs find a way to Earth we’ll have a whole planet of that.” O’Neill pointed to the system lord’s remains. “It’s my job to make sure that can’t happen.”
“You’re talking about staying behind and activating the timer at the last second aren’t you?” Daniel frowned.
“There has to be another way.” Jackson continued, unwilling to accept the Colonel’s sacrifice.
“What? I’d love to hear one.” O’Neill asked, wishing he could think of something else.
Everyone looked around the room, desperately searching for an alternative.
Sam’s eyes lit up. “Did you say there was an entire crate of C-4 in the cargo bay?”
“Yeah, maybe more. Grenades and ammo too.” Jack thought for a moment, then he knew exactly what she was getting at. “And it’s not even the Fourth of July.” He smirked.
Major Carter nodded. “If we set a timer on the C-4 and included all explodable ordinance we should be able to destroy the engine room even if the self destruct mechanism is compromised.”
“And a chain reaction would destroy the entire ship.” Jacob added approvingly.
“You’re sure about this, guys?” O’Neill asked, concerned that they were only looking for a way to save his sorry butt at the expense of the entire universe.
“Yes sir, I am. And the replicators would have no reason to suspect it because C-4 is so simplistic that they probably couldn’t conceive of it as a threat.”
“Plus they’ll have the self destruct mechanism to keep them busy.” Daniel added, enthusiastic that they had found another option.
Jack gave in. “Ok, set the self-destruct for 35. Then high tail it to the cargo bay and secure a ship.
Daniel, I’ll need your help to move all that C-4 and set about a half dozen explosive charges in the engine room.
The linguist nodded.
“After we’re finished there, you can meet up with Jacob and Carter on the way to the cargo bay. I’ll pick up Teal'c and we’ll join you as soon as possible.”
“Sir?” Sam hoped her commanding officer was not planning to go after the Jaffa alone.
“You heard me Carter. If I’m not banging on the cargo bay door in 20 minutes, I want you to take command and fly everyone out of here. Then find the nearest planet with a stargate and dial the Tok’ra to get home. Is that clear?” Jack was not going to accept an argument. They just didn’t have the time.
“Yes, sir.” Sam whispered. She knew Colonel O’Neill would never risk anyone else’s life to search for their fallen comrade. But that didn’t make the thought of leaving them both behind any easier.
“Good. Then get to it, Major. We’ll see you in a few minutes.”
General Hammond followed Ren’al to a chamber filled with strange equipment. There she was conferring with a young man seated at a glowing console.
“With all due respect Councilwoman, is there something I should know?” He asked.
“General. Your presence is unnecessary.” Ren’al was surprised by the intrusion.
“I know. But you invited me for the celebration so here I am. That looks like a long range sensor.” George indicted the mechanism that had attracted everyone’s attention.
“It is. And we have just discovered a pyramid ship in the quadrant.”
Hammond sighed. “Could Tanith have given your position to the enemy after all?” He asked.
“I do not believe he knew the location of our new settlement. And one pyramid ship alone is not an invasion force.” The Tok’ra leader reasoned.
“True. Have you attempted to contact it?”
“Yes, but there has been no response. We will monitor its’ progress in hopes that it has not discovered our location.”
“And if it has?”
“Then we will be forced to destroy it.”
Colonel O’Neill and Daniel hurried toward the supply room. The corridors were filled with the sound of scurrying replicators as they consumed the vessel’s raw resources in order to reproduce.
“We’ll be lucky if there’s enough of the ship left to blow up in ten minutes.” Jack scowled.
As they turned the last corner Jackson froze. O’Neill almost ran through his friend, concentrating on the walls behind them. “Hey! Give a guy some warning!” He barked.
“Ah, you’d better tell him.” The linguist answered, pointing to the armed Jaffa blocking their path.
“Hi there, Sparky. Lookin’ for reinforcements I’ll bet.” The Colonel smirked.
“Kree!” The soldier demanded, priming his staff weapon to fire.
“Sorry, don’t speak Goa’uld.” Jack continued, his hand slowly moving up the side of his weapon. “You’ll have to do better than that.”
The Jaffa seemed confused by O’Neill’s arrogance. The Colonel took advantage of his uncertainty to push Daniel to the ground and fire his weapon square into the alien’s chest.
Taken entirely by surprise, the soldier fell to his knees before he could get off a shot, an errant staff weapon blast sizzled towards the ceiling as he collapsed on the floor.
“You ok?” Jack asked as he helped his friend back to his feet.
Daniel dusted himself off. “Yeah. Is this place getting old or is it just me?” He asked with a frown, looking at the dead Jaffa.
“Oh it’s way past ‘getting’...” O’Neill answered as he stepped over the body and continued toward the supply room.
“It’s ready.” Jacob announced after he completed the final code sequence to activate the ship’s self-destruct device.
“Good. We’d better get to the cargo bay.” Sam gripped her P-90 and led the way to the hall. She froze when she saw that the corridor was covered with replicators.
“We can’t go that way.” General Carter frowned as they retreated back into the Pel’tac chamber, surrounded by bugs.
Jack and Daniel made it to the supply room without further incident. Each loaded a pack with explosives then set a timer in the supply cabinet to blow up the rest.
As they walked toward the engine room, they passed the remnants of a final battle between Apophis’ Jaffa and the replicators. Bodies and weapons littered the corridor.
Jack couldn’t help but be amazed by the level of damage the little guys had left in their wake. How many civilizations were lorded over by the Goa’uld and their Jaffa enforcers? He assumed the bugs weren’t impressed.
A gasp from Daniel brought the Colonel back to reality. Doctor Jackson was looking into the chamber with horror.
“We’re too late.” The linguist whispered.
O’Neill looked over his friend’s shoulder. The replicators had definitely taken over. Overwhelmed Jaffa were desperately firing ineffective staff weapons at the bugs, only to be overrun. A part of him admired the enemy’s futile efforts. It was a damn shame the warriors were giving up their lives for such a lame false god.
The violent scene overwhelmed Daniel. He watched as the replicators defeated the Jaffa with little resistance. The machines’ cold efficiency scared him. How could they possibly survive long enough to get off the ship against such an unstoppable enemy?
“Easy there, Daniel, we can do this. Just don’t let them know you’re planning to blow their shiny butts to hell and they’ll leave you alone.” O’Neill whispered, sensing his friend’s apprehension.
Jackson nodded and took a deep breath.
Scanning the chamber, O’Neill located the hyper-drive control panel sitting prominently in the center of the room. Of course it had to be covered with replicators.
He motioned Daniel to the other side of the chamber where the linguist planted the first of six explosives Jack had prepared for him. Then he moved on.
The Jaffa were too busy fighting for their lives to care about one Air Force Colonel sneaking into the center of the room, so O’Neill hurried to his destination without even a second glance from anyone around him.
Setting the C-4 would be the easy part. But putting it inside the mechanism without stirring up trouble with the replicators was another matter. Looking around the area he didn’t know what to do. Finally he remembered how the little guys had ignored him before and he got an unpleasant idea.
O’Neill stuffed the explosives into his vest and sat on the floor with his back to the console. Then he slowly eased his way backward toward the replicators. When he felt the cold metal control panel against his back he stopped. The next move would be theirs.
Almost immediately, probing legs covered his back and shoulders, then his chest and legs. Jack sat as still as possible, careful not to give the enemy any reason to zap him as they examined his body.
Doctor Jackson looked across the chamber and gasped. Jack was covered with replicators. He was just about to drop everything and pull his teammate out of the pile of bugs when he met his friend’s eyes. The determined look stopped him in his tracks.
Only then did he realize the whole thing was part of another one of the man’s crazy plans. Over the years he had wondered about his friend’s mental stability, but this took the grand prize. The linguist hoped the older man knew what he was doing.
Jack concentrated on breathing slowly. He remembered a three year old incident when he had to achieve a state of Kel’no’Reem to save Teal’c’s life. Somehow he and Teal'c had swapped bodies and the Jaffa’s system could not sustain itself without the meditation. Using some of those techniques to stay calm, O’Neill waited patiently until the bugs were satisfied that one old man was no threat to them in all their mechanical glory.
After a minute or more the replicators hurried away, leaving the Colonel to get to work. He turned slowly until he was face to face with the hyper-drive console. Opening the sliding door he stuffed his C-4 bomb inside among the crystals and closed it again with as little noise as possible. The bugs were none the wiser.
Daniel closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he watched the replicators scurry away from his friend. Luckily he had a much easier time by the life support systems. He guessed the bugs weren’t too concerned about things like oxygen levels and ship temperature. In no time at all he had set a half dozen timers.
Next the Colonel lugged his heavy pack as close to the engine console as he could without being discovered. Setting that timer to go off at the same moment as the self-destruct, Jack buried the entire package under some fallen debris. That, in conjunction with the large pile of explosives and heavy ordinance they had left in the supply room, should be enough to set off a chain reaction that will blow the ship into a million pieces. Satisfied that the blast would also destroy the metallic creatures, he motioned to Daniel to meet him at the door.
Then he saw Teal'c.
The Jaffa was holding his own, firing into a huge, bug-covered structure at the far end of the chamber.
“Teal'c! Get out of there before you’re the main course!” O’Neill moved toward his friend.
Daniel hurried back into the chamber when he heard the Colonel’s voice. He was relieved to see Teal’c. But now what?
“You’d better go catch up with the Carters. I’ll take care of this.”
“You can’t be serious, Jack.” Jackson stepped forward, concerned for his friend’s safety. “In case you’ve forgotten, he’s not exactly your biggest fan at the moment.”
“I know how he feels about me, Daniel. But I won’t leave him behind.” O’Neill was shorter than he meant to be. His tone softened. “I’ll appeal to his sense of fair play.”
“He’s not going to come willingly. You’ll need help.” Jackson tried to reason with his commanding officer.
“Go.” This time there was no room for interpretation.
The linguist nodded sadly, hoping his friends wouldn’t kill each other. “Don’t let him break your neck.”
“Are you kidding? I’ll have the big guy eating out of my hand in no time.” Colonel O’Neill smiled, patting Doctor Jackson on the shoulder. “Be careful out there, you don’t want to end up bug chow.”
“You too.” Daniel smiled through glazed eyes.
The Colonel winked then watched his friend hurry into the corridor.
It was time to get down to business. The older man moved cautiously toward the Jaffa. “Hey Teal'c. What’s shakin’?”
The alien turned, surprised to see his commanding officer. “O’Neill. I am glad that the replicators have not destroyed you.”
Jack smiled. Maybe his friend had finally come to his senses.
“So I can do it myself!” Teal'c threw down his weapon and charged the Colonel, his face twisted with hatred.
Daniel had decided to hurry back to the Pel’tac chamber and retrace his friends’ steps. When he got there, he was surprised to see the corridor covered with bugs.
“Whoa!” He exclaimed, ducking into another chamber around the corner.
As he sealed the door he looked around the empty room for inspiration. There had to be another way out. Then he saw the raised symbol on the wall and cursed his own stupidity. Of course!
“I don’t think we have any other options.” Jacob said grimly. He and his daughter were trapped in the pel’tac chamber with replicators streaming through the hall.
“But there are too many of them out there. We’ll be overrun in a matter of seconds.” Sam answered in frustration.
“And if we stay here we’ll be blown to bits.” The Tok’ra shook his head at the impossible situation.
“Some choice.” The woman frowned, searching her mind for some other alternative.
“Anybody need a lift?”
Sam and Jacob turned quickly at the question, weapon’s drawn.
“Daniel!” Major Carter smiled at the sight of her friend.
“Where the hell did you come from?” The General demanded, clearly shaken by the young man’s sudden appearance.
“Jack and I set all the explosives, I thought the best way to catch up with you would be to start at the beginning.” The young man answered, out of breath from all the excitement.
“This may be the beginning, middle, and end of our trip if we can’t find another way out of here.” Jacob frowned. “There are too many replicators in the hall, we’ll never make it past them in time.”
“I know, that’s why I used the tunnels.” The linguist smiled coyly.
“The tunnels! That’s right!” Sam turned with a smile. Just the kind of solution she was looking for.
“Would someone fill me in?” A bead of sweat developed on Jacob’s forehead as he watched the seconds tick away on the self-destruct device.
“Apophis doesn’t want anyone else to get a look at his food before he eats it. So he had a series of tunnels created that run throughout the ship. Teal'c took me through them during my Lo’tar training.”
“Wow, now that’s paranoia.” The Tok’ra smiled. “Lead the
Colonel O’Neill and Teal'c crashed into each other in the center of the room, replicators and Jaffa battling all around them. Locking arms, both men struggled to gain an advantage. Finally Teal'c broke the hold and backhanded O’Neill across the face, sending him to the ground.
The Colonel crouched on all fours, shaking his head to focus just in time to see a bug scurrying toward him. He grabbed his P-90 and sprayed the creature with bullets until it shattered.
“Teal'c, listen to me! Apophis scrambled your brains. I don’t care what he told you, you’re a member of my team. And you’re coming with me!”
Teal'c pulled Jack to his feet and sent a jarring punch to his midsection.
“Join the Tau’ri? Never!” The alien threw his opponent back
to the ground.
O’Neill limped away to catch his breath, but the Jaffa followed and spun him around.
“Oh, and I forgot to mention, your supreme leader is dead.” The Colonel snarled as he blocked a blow from his friend and hit him hard in the pouch.
Teal'c stumbled backward, stunned by the assault. Jack pressed his advantage, attacking Junior again.
“We watched the bugs eat him for lunch. And ya know what, I didn’t shed one little tear.” Jack continued as he knocked the Jaffa to his knees.
“It has to be here!” Daniel ran his fingers over the wall, desperately searching for the out-cropping Teal'c had used to activate the door into the food chamber.
“Is there a problem?” Jacob asked, wondering why they had stopped moving.
“Maybe…I thought the door was right here. But all the hallways look the same.” Jackson answered sheepishly.
“So you don’t know which way to go.” Sam frowned.
“No.” The linguist pouted.
“Great.” General Carter sighed. They were no closer to getting
off the ship and time was running out.
Teal'c lashed out and grabbed O’Neill’s legs, pulling him to the floor. Jack winced in pain, all the while spraying the wall behind them with gunfire to clear away more approaching replicators.
“Apophis is a god. He cannot be killed!” Teal'c lunged forward and punched his commanding officer hard in the face.
“Ahhh…” O’Neill rolled away, flexing his jaw. His friend packed quite a wallop.
“Oh, he’s definitely bug food.” The Colonel wiped a bloody lip with the back of his hand. “And if we don’t soon get off this ship we’re gonna be right there with him.”
Jack knew he had to find some way to convince the Jaffa to go right now.
“Think about all this for a second. Remember when we were in the palace on Chulak and Apophis gave the order to kill everybody? You left your whole life behind to help me save those people. You did it because you knew we could beat the Goa’uld if we worked together. Nothing’s changed.”
The Jaffa shook his head. “It was a ruse to gain your trust, that is all.”
“See now, that just doesn’t make sense to me. Wouldn’t it have been easier to kill us? After all, we have dealt his majesty a few embarrassing defeats over the years. Getting rid of us right from the start would have saved him a lot of trouble.”
The large man thought about that for a moment and he could find no answer. “My Lord instructed me to use you to eliminate his enemies. That is what I did.”
Frustrated by the contractions his former commanding officer had presented, Teal'c backhanded Jack again, sending him tumbling into a group of replicators.
“Daniel, come on!” Jacob was getting agitated.
“I’m trying!” Jackson growled back at the General.
“Just pick another door!” General Carter continued.
“I would if I could find one!” Daniel yelled.
“Close your eyes and concentrate.” Sam stepped forward before the tension between the linguist and her father could erupt into a full scale argument. “Let us know what you see.”
“Alright.” Daniel took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He could see Teal'c sending him into the corridor. Watching the entire scene through his mind’s eye, the linguist focused on his own footsteps.
Suddenly a hollow clanging sound echoed through the hall.
“Run!” Jacob yelled as replicators spilled into the chamber.
“Which way?” The linguist yelled.
“Pick one!” General Carter growled, spraying bullets into the growing swarm of machines behind them.
Jackson hurried down the right hand corridor. He scanned the walls looking for any evidence of an exit. Sam and Jacob continued to fire on their enemies, waiting for the young man to find a way out.
Damn, where is it! Daniel knew he had to do something before they were overrun. But he just couldn’t find the right symbol!
“Ahhh, son of a bitch!” Jack yelled as the bugs he had fallen into immediately went on the offensive. The first crawled onto the stunned Colonel’s right leg and sprayed it with acid. While another jumped into his hair, threatening his eyes.
O’Neill’s past experience with the awful creatures told him he had to move quickly to get rid of them or he’d be overwhelmed by their sheer numbers and that would be all she wrote.
He grabbed the bug on top of his head with both hands and ripped it free, along with some hair and scalp. Then he used the butt of his P-90 to force the other machine to release its’ grip on his leg.
Throwing both far enough that he could extend his rifle, Jack blasted them. Then he rolled away from the others, scrambled to his knees, and destroyed them all.
“I’ve never been much of a diplomat Teal'c, so I doubt I’m going to be able to come up with some magic speech to make you see the error of your ways or anything like that.” Jack started as he bushed himself off and rose to his full height. “But I know that we’ve shared some pretty hairy stuff over the past four years. When we were trapped in the X-301 you called me your brother. That wasn’t a lie or a put on. It was the real thing. So I’m asking you to remember all that and come with me now. Please.”
Breathing hard, Colonel O’Neill looked into Teal’c’s eyes. He shivered at the lack of recognition or warmth. Whatever that snakehead did to his friend, Jack finally realized he was not going to be able to fix it by himself. Instead, he had to turn his attention to getting them all off the ship before it exploded.
It was time for drastic action. But a long physical confrontation was out of the question. They didn’t have the time to spare and truthfully O’Neill wasn’t sure he could take the larger man in a real fight.
He knew he had no other choice.
“Sorry, Teal'c.” Jack whispered.
Raising his rifle, O’Neill shot his friend in the chest.
Reminding himself that it really was the only way to force the Jaffa to go with him, and that Junior should be able to heal the wound in a few hours, the Colonel hoisted an unconscious Teal'c over his shoulder in an awkward fireman’s carry. Then he hurried as fast as he could toward the cargo bay.
Jack knew he’d cut it close, hoping to persuade his friend to come willingly. Now he wondered if that wishful thinking hadn’t sealed their fate.
“The self destruct device is set to go off in less than 15 minutes.”
Sam yelled, still spraying her P-90 while working not to fall over her
“It’s now or never!” Jacob added over ear splitting weapon’s fire.
“Please be here.” Daniel whispered, his heart pounding. Finally he felt the raised symbol he was looking for. “I’ve got it!” He yelled, choked with relief.
“Thank goodness.” General Carter laughed. He was beginning to think they weren’t going to make it.
Jackson touched the mechanism and a doorway appeared. He ran through.
Sam was next. She hurried past Daniel to survey the room, gun drawn. It looked like a greenhouse. The walls lined with greenery. “Is this the room Teal'c brought you to?” She asked, moving closer to the strange plants.
One of the stalks lunged at her, wrapping itself around the strap on her P-90. She jumped back, breaking contact.
“Yea. Be careful with those. They’re poisonous.” The linguist cautioned.
“And grabby.” The Major’s eyes bulged at the killer plants. She moved carefully past them toward the door.
Daniel continued. “This is the place. It was on the cargo bay level, so the ships should be somewhere nearby.”
“They are.” Jacob answered as he closed the door behind him. “Down the hall to the left.”
They ran into the corridor just as replicators began to eat through the walls behind them.
Jack stumbled under his friend’s dead weight. “Jeez, big fella, we’re gonna have to put you on a diet.” He groaned, shifting the Jaffa on his shoulder as much as he could without dropping him.
Just then a group of replicators ate through the walls in front of him.
“Son of a bitch!” Jack growled as he fired his P-90 into the aliens.
Pieces exploded around him. O’Neill knew that he had no choice but
to charge right through the pack hoping that they were more interested
in joining their pals in the engine room than attacking him.
Sam stopped in her tracks. “That sounded like weapons fire.” She pulled her P-90 into position.
“I think you’re right, we’d better pick up the pace. We don’t have time for a firefight.” General Carter said.
“How much farther is it to the cargo bay?” Daniel asked, breathing hard.
“Just down the corridor.” Jacob answered.
The gunfire was moving in on them fast.
“Don’t you little bastards ever quit!” A familiar voice growled. Suddenly a haggard Colonel O’Neill was hurrying toward them with Teal'c on his shoulder and a swarm of replicators behind him.
“Jack, it looks like you have your hands full.” Jacob smiled.
O’Neill winced at the pun. “You got that right. I see you’ve met up with the little guys too.” He sprayed the replicators again. “Are we ready to go?”
Sam joined his fire, containing the bugs behind them.
“Yes we are. The self-destruct mechanism is set. Now if we can get to the cargo bay in one piece.”
“Great! Then let’s do it.”
Daniel and Jacob took the lead while Sam and Jack fired into the replicators.
Carter saw her commanding officer’s black eye and bloody lip. “Are you alright, sir?”
“I’ll be fine once we get off this ship. Our friend packs quite a punch.”
Sam smiled, satisfied that there may be an end in sight.
“Where is it, Jacob? Teal’c’s not gettin’ any lighter.” Jack yelled again, his burden heavy on tired shoulders, while the replicators continued to move in.
“Right here!” The General answered with relief as he opened the cargo bay door.
There were two small ships docked inside. Carter picked the one closest to him and began entering the code to open the hatch.
“Is that going to be a problem?” Daniel asked.
“I don’t think so. Each pyramid ship uses one access code for every vessel on board.”
“Good, because they’re right behind us!” The linguist yelled.
General Carter took a deep breath and turned his attention to the lock.
Jackson watched nervously, willing it to open.
Jack and Sam backed into the corridor, still fighting the replicators. Daniel joined his friends, spraying weapons fire into the swarming creatures.
“What’s the hold up?” O’Neill yelled.
“The ship access panel. Jacob’s working on it now.” The young man yelled to his commanding officer.
“Work faster, we’re running out of time here!”
“Don’t you think I know that!” Jacob snapped back, his frustration at the device directed at the Colonel.
“Carter, go see what you can do. Daniel and I’ll hold’em here.” O’Neill ordered, shaking his head. Nothing was ever easy.
Sam nodded, rushing to her father’s side. “The code isn’t working?”
“No! Apophis must have had it changed.” Jacob growled.
“Now what?” The Major asked, looking back at her friends battling the replicators.
“We’ll have to open it up.” General Carter popped the faceplate off the mechanism and looked for a way to bypass the security lock.
“What’s going on back there kids?” Jack yelled.
“We’re looking for another way in.”
“Blast it.” Colonel O’Neill yelled. “We don’t have time to do a five part study.”
“I don’t think that will work, sir. The security protocols…” Sam said.
“Not now, Carter. Just blast it!” It was an order.
Jacob shook his head. Sometimes Jack O’Neill could be the biggest pain in the ass in the universe.
“Alright Jack, have it your way.” The general raised his gun.
Sam was struck with an idea. “Wait.”
“Time’s tickin’ away, Carter. Make it good.” The Colonel yelled.
“I think I can use a zat gun to disrupt the mechanism’s magnetic field. Then we should be able to bypass its’ security protocols.”
“Do it!” O’Neill had faith in his second in command’s uncanny ability to deconstruct alien technology.
Sam fired at the inner workings of the security system. The flashing light and sparks forced both father and daughter to shield their eyes. After the reaction ended, Jacob reached into the terminal and grabbed the sizzling crystals. Grimacing at the searing heat, he began reconfiguring the system.
“Dad, your hands.” Sam whispered as she watched welts appear on her father’s fingers.
“Don’t worry, it’s one of the benefits of being a Tok’ra. Selmak will take care of me.” He smiled through the pain for his daughter’s benefit as he continued to make adjustments. Whether or not he burned his hands wouldn’t make much difference if they were all blown to kingdom come.
As the General worked, Sam tore two pieces from the bottom of her skirt.
Finally the door slid open.
“THANK YOU!” Jack yelled with exaggerated relief. “Let’s get this show on the road. Daniel, you and Jacob go in and power up the ship. Carter and I will take care of the bugs out here until you’re ready to go.”
The Major quickly wrapped the silk material around her father’s singed hands.
“Thanks, I’ll be alright.”
Sam nodded and smiled then she grabbed her weapon and moved back to the corridor.
The linguist and General Carter hurried up the ramp.
O’Neill turned to Sam, who was holding her own against the replicators.
“I really need to get Teal'c off my back, if you don’t mind.”
“Go ahead, sir. I’ll be fine.”
“Great.” Jack limped up the ramp.
“Daniel, can you give me a hand back here?” The Colonel yelled to the bridge.
Jackson rushed to the portal to help Jack lower the unconscious Jaffa to the floor.
“He’s been shot.” Daniel said, worried.
“Yeah, he wouldn’t listen to reason.” Jack said, stretching overtaxed muscles. “Junior should take care of him. Tie his hands in case he’s still a little grumpy when he comes to.”
The linguist nodded. They had no choice but to treat the Jaffa as an enemy until they could find a way to clear his mind. He grabbed the first cord he could find and secured his friend’s hands in front of him. Then he hurried back to join General Carter on the bridge.
Relieved to be free of the weight on his sore shoulders, Jack ran down the ramp to help Carter hold off the replicators.
Both officers stumbled as the ship vibrated. “I assume that’s the hyper drive.” The Colonel said as he took up a position on the Major’s right.
“I hope so.” Sam answered. “Ahhh!” She exclaimed as one of the bugs suddenly jumped onto her leg.
“Damn it!” Colonel O’Neill growled. He used his rifle as a club and knocked the creature to the floor. Then he sprayed it with bullets until it disintegrated.
Carter flexed her knee, the sheer fabric covering her lower calf now ripped to shreds.
“Are you ok?” Jack asked.
“Yes sir. It was a quick contact.”
O’Neill nodded, reaching for a new clip.
“Look!” Sam yelled, pointing into the corridor.
“Shit!” The Colonel saw hundreds of replicators filling the hallway.
They were all sizes and shapes.
An entire army headed right for them!
“O’Neill’s C-4 did the trick. The hyper drive is down.” General Carter keyed in the final launch sequence. “Alright Daniel, power up the boosters.”
Doctor Jackson followed the steps Jacob had shown him and soon the engines rumbled to life. “They’re at maximum.” He announced.
“Great. Go get Jack and Sam.” The Tok’ra finished programming their navigational computer to guide them clear of the pyramid ship. “We’re ready to move.”
Daniel sighed with relief as he scurried to the rear.
“Fall back to the ship!” O’Neill yelled over the chaos of gunfire and charging replicators.
Sam followed her commanding officer as he backed up toward the ramp.
“They’d better be ready to go in there because we are definitely out of time!” Jack exclaimed as his heel hit the cargo ship platform.
“Judging from the sound of the engines they should be completing launch procedures any moment.” Major Carter yelled back.
Suddenly something hit the Colonel from behind that nearly knocked him off his feet. “What the hell…” He turned, braced to fire.
The older man was surprised to see Doctor Jackson lying on the floor in a heap. “Damn it Daniel, are you trying to get yourself killed?” He growled as he helped the linguist to his feet.
“The ship’s ready!” Daniel yelled as he noticed the bugs filing into the cargo bay.
“Thank the Lord! Let’s get the hell out of here, Carter.”
All three members of SG-1 ran up the ramp at full speed. O’Neill waited until Sam and Daniel were inside, then he sprayed the replicators with one last round of weapons fire and dove through the closing hatch.
“Hit it, Jacob!” The Colonel yelled as Daniel and Sam helped him to his feet.
General Carter lifted off and quickly pushed the accelerator to its’ limits.
“Well? How’s it look?” Colonel O’Neill asked as he fought his way to the control panel despite the surging ship.
“We’re at maximum velocity, Jack. But I don’t know if that’s going to be enough to clear the blast wave.”
“I have a good feeling. We’ll make it.”
Six minutes later the countdown hit zero and the flagship of Apophis’s empire exploded into a giant ball of fire. The resulting blast wave expanded into space, pulverizing everything in its path.
On the cargo vessel Jack and Daniel had strapped themselves into seats behind Jacob and Sam. Teal'c was safely restrained in the supply closet, still unconscious.
“Here it comes!” General Carter announced.
“Brace yourselves.” O’Neill dug his fingers into the armrests as the ship began to shake.
A powerful shock wave ripped through the craft like a tornado. Pelting Sg-1 with everything that wasn’t nailed down. Jack cursed as a particularly obnoxious supply crate hit him squarely on the back of the head.
“The ship’s breaking up! We’re not going to make it!” Jacob yelled over the crashing equipment.
“Think positive!” O’Neill shouted above the action, batting away a stray tool before it could hit Daniel in the face.
“Thanks!” The linguist said as he gripped the leather chair for dear life.
“Don’t mention it!” Jack answered with a cavalier smile.
“Increasing shields.” Sam announced as she re-routed power from the engines to the protective barrier.
As the ship began to vibrate from the strain, Colonel O’Neill closed his eyes, willing it to hold together.
“We can’t take much more of this!” General Carter saw nothing but warning lights on the control panel.
“Damn. Come on baby…just a little longer.” Jack pleaded under his breath.
Finally the vibrations stopped.
“Did we do it?” O’Neill tentatively unbuckled his seat belt and rubbed the newly formed welt on the back of his head.
“I think so.” Sam continued scanning the area for any residual turbulence.
“Cool. Any damage?” Jack asked, surveying the supplies scattered all over the floor.
“We lost a few protective tiles, but nothing serious.” General Carter answered having checked the system readouts.
“The doesn’t sound too bad. I seem to remember hearing from someone who was so sure we weren’t going to make it.” Jack smirked at Jacob, who nodded in deference.
“You’re right. I panicked. I’m sorry.”
“Well maybe next time you’ll try a little positive thinking.” O’Neill hopped to his feet, absolutely jovial.
“But then I might not get the last word.” It was Jacob who was smug this time.
Jack shook his head and winced. After getting them off a Goa’uld mother ship in one piece General Carter probably deserved to win that argument.
“Now that we’ve survived the explosion, does anyone know where we are?” Daniel asked, looking out the portal into space.
“Unfortunately these cargo ships are not equipped with long range scanners.” Selmak answered.
“All right, so what then?” The linguist was concerned.
“We could begin short range scans for familiar celestial objects, try to narrow it down a bit.” Jacob suggested.
“Sounds like a plan. Once we figure out where we are, we’ll start looking for a place with a gate so we can get home.” Colonel O’Neill said as he left the others to their work and limped to the storage closet so he could look in on Teal'c.
The Jaffa was still unconscious.
“Come on, Junior, don’t let me down.” Jack whispered as he loosened the straps holding his friend against the closet wall and dragged him back out into the main cargo hold.
They had to find a way to reach him.
“Councilwoman, the pyramid ship is no longer visible on our long range scanner.”
“How is that possible?” General Hammond asked, dreading some new Goa’uld super weapon.
The technician adjusted several readings and raised his head in awe. “It has been destroyed.”
“Destroyed? How?” Ren’al asked with anticipation. The loss of such a formidable symbol of Goa’uld superiority would be a great victory for the resistance.
“There is evidence of an explosion. However, it is impossible to be more specific. Very little debris remains.”
“Were there any survivors?” George moved forward to look at the screen.
“The scanner has detected a small craft, perhaps a cargo vessel.”
“Attempt to communicate with it.” Ren’al ordered, eager to learn what had happened to the pyramid ship.
“Unknown vessel, identify yourself.” The young Tok’ra ordered, broadcasting a universal signal.
General Hammond couldn’t help but hope for a miracle. Could it be SG-1?
“Did you hear that?” Daniel asked.
“What?” Jack looked back from his seat on the floor next to the Jaffa.
“Someone just tried to contact us.” The young man beamed with enthusiasm.
“Well contact them back.”
“Right.” Jacob opened a communication channel. “This is Selmak of the Tok’ra. Identify yourself.”
General Carter wished the cargo ship had more sophisticated sensors so they could determine who they were dealing with before they revealed themselves as enemies of the Goa’uld. But with such limited resources and no idea where they were, they really didn’t have any choice.
Back at the Tok’ra base George grinned from ear to ear. If Selmak was still alive then his friends were probably with him. “It’s them.” He said.
“Perhaps. But we have to be sure it is our comrade before we reveal our position.” Ren’al spoke into the mouthpiece. “Selmak, please verify your identity.”
Jack moved to the console. “And how would you suggest we do that? It’s gonna be kinda tough for him to show you his driver’s license.”
“That’s Colonel O’Neill” George exclaimed. “Jack, it’s General Hammond with the Tok’ra. Are you alright?”
“General? Don’t tell me you’ve joined the snake heads too?” O’Neill couldn’t help but smile at their incredible luck.
For once George was thankful for his second in command’s irreverence. “Not quite. Is everyone with you?”
“Sure are. We nuked Apophis AND the bugs. A pretty fine day’s work. And frankly sir, I could use a good stiff drink.”
“I’m buying!” Hammond laughed with joy.
“Excellent!” O’Neill exclaimed. “Then I’ll let you and Jacob work out the details so we can get the hell out of here.”
“Alright. See you soon.” Hammond turned to Janet and they embraced as Ren’al took over at the communications console.
Their faith in the members of SG-1 had once again been rewarded with their safe return.
Jack and Jacob shook hands triumphantly.
“See, I told you I had a good feeling.” O’Neill laughed.
“Yes you did. And for once I’m happy to give you the last word.” General Carter smiled.
Daniel and Sam embraced. They each thought back to their time chained to Apophis’ throne with a shiver. Everything had seemed so hopeless.
“We made it.” Daniel whispered.
Sam didn’t answer. She could still feel the system lord surveying her entire body.
Jacob grabbed Sam and held her close. “It’s over sweetheart.” The General whispered.
“Thank God.” Sam answered as she savored her father’s comforting
“Selmak, are you ready with the coordinates?” Ren’al’s voice crackled through the radio.
The Tok’ra took over and returned to the control panel.
“Maybe now we can finally get out of these circus costumes.” Jack said, warmly mussing Daniel’s hair.
“It couldn’t come soon enough for me.” The linguist answered, slapping the Colonel’s shoulder as they shook hands.
“I think we really smoked his Goa’uld ass this time.” Jack smirked at the thought of actually being rid of that snakehead.
Neither of his friends looked happy. There was a tension in the air.
“This one got a little bit personal, didn’t it?” Jack started softly.
Both Sam and Daniel nodded, their eyes glued to the floor. Apophis had really made them feel like slaves. They pledged their allegiance to him.
The Colonel smiled his best Jack O’Neill smile and warmly squeezed his friends’ shoulders. He knew how unnerving it could be when the enemy got inside your head.
“Chin up kids. You did good.”
His people did what they had to do. He expected no less.
“Hot fudge sundaes for everyone!”
Satisfied when that brought a smile to both teammates, Jack left the celebration to check on Teal’c.
The unconscious Jaffa was propped up against the wall where O’Neill had left him.
Junior must be working overtime on this one. Jack thought.
“Hang on, my friend.” O’Neill said aloud as he lowered himself to the floor next to the former first prime.
“We’ll get you back, I swear.” Jack didn’t know how, but there must be some way to break the Goa’uld’s spell.
And he wouldn’t rest until he found it.