Reckoning Part Two
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.
Colonel O’Neill woke up screaming. The incredible pain of the Goa’uld torture device had ripped through his dreams.
“Easy there, sleeping beauty.” A familiar voice penetrated his confusion.
Jack’s eyes snapped open. It took several moments for his body to understand that the torment was a figment of his imagination. “…Jacob?” The Colonel whispered hoarsely.
“Unfortunately yes.” General Carter answered.
O’Neill raised his pounding head slowly, working hard to focus on the figure next to him.
Sam’s dad stood with his arms suspended from the ceiling by thick chains. “Are you alright?” Carter asked, worried by his friend’s weak voice and haggard appearance.
The Colonel didn’t answer, lost in memories of blinding agony.
“Jack, are you in there?” Jacob asked again.
“Yeah…oh man, I have never felt anything like that before.” He rasped softly. “The snake put me inside some kind of green energy beam thingee, then he turned up the juice. It was not a pretty picture.”
General Carter smiled sympathetically. “I’ve sampled that one myself. It’s a popular Goa’uld torture device. I’m afraid both of us are in for a long trip.”
“You got that right.” Jack looked up at the chains pulling his own arms over his head. He could feel the heavy manacles digging into his wrists. “There’s one thing I can’t figure out, though. Why torture us for information if we’re gonna be stuck out here in space for the next hundred years?” O’Neill asked, still shivering with exhaustion.
“Our human civilization can only think in terms of decades, but the Goa’uld live so many times longer that their plans span centuries. It may take Apophis over one hundred years to get home, but when he does he knows his loyal servants will be waiting.”
“Swell.” Jack pulled himself up to a standing position to take the pressure off his wrists and shoulders. His muscles were still wobbly but he could feel his body getting stronger.
“Have you seen Sam and Daniel?” Jacob asked with concern.
“I think they’re ok. But Apophis has made them his favorite new slaves.” Jack answered bitterly, thinking of his friends chained to the system lord’s throne.
“That makes sense. The Goa’uld always force captured enemies to be their servants in order to prove they have been truly conquered.”
“Sounds like a wonderful system.” O’Neill stretched out to his full height working sore muscles.
Jacob noticed his friend’s clothes for the first time. “I love your new uniform. It looks like you’ve joined the circus.”
“You know that Goa’uld fashion sense.” O’Neill smiled, his head clearing. “Since we’re their newest recruits they want us to dress the part I guess.”
“Maybe Apophis’s big move will be to have you guys put on a Las Vegas review of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves as in-flight entertainment.” Carter smiled.
“Work the room for the next 100 years, now that would be brutal.” Jack couldn’t help but laugh at the image, despite his sore throat.
“I haven’t danced since Sara and I split so we’ll have to get out of here before that happens.” The thought of spending the next hundred years with the snakey system lord brought Colonel O’Neill back into military mode. “I assume this ship has some kind of self destruct button?”
“I believe all Goa’uld pyramid ships are equipped with such a mechanism.” Selmak answered this time.
“So then, ‘yes’?” Jack asked, his voice still raspy.
“Yes.” General Carter answered with a smirk.
“Good, then our plan hasn’t changed. We need to find a way to blow this tub. And if we can get off in the meantime, that’s great. But if not, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.” O’Neill’s expression melted to sad determination.
“Understood.” Jacob nodded. There was an unspoken urgency to their new situation. Apophis had shown them his power and it was formidable. He could not allow himself to betray the Tok’ra anymore than Jack could sit by until he gave up the details of earth’s defenses. They had to do something before the System Lord could break them, even if it meant sacrificing all their lives to protect their home world’s secrets.
“Now Jackson you will learn what it is to be my Lo’tar.”
Daniel had been staring into space, still shocked by the viciousness of the attack against Colonel O’Neill. “Excuse me?” He asked.
“Prepare him.” Apophis instructed his First Prime, who had returned from the dungeon.
“Wait, prepare me for what?” The linguist’s heart sank as Teal'c released his manacles.
“What are you doing?” Sam demanded, afraid for her friend, but unable to help as he was dragged from the chamber.
“Do not worry my queen. Dr. Jackson will be taught how to serve me. As will you.”
Carter didn’t like the sound of that one bit. Having Daniel in the room with her had made their situation a lot less difficult to bear. But now she and Apophis were alone, and that scared her.
Teal'c lead the way stoically. He knew the linguist had no choice but to follow because he had pledged his allegiance to the Goa’uld to save O’Neill. The Tau’ri valued each other’s lives too much to disobey. It was their most exploitable weakness.
“Is Jack going to be alright?” Daniel asked as he struggled to keep up.
“Yes.” The Jaffa answered flatly.
His friend’s disinterested tone made Jackson mad. “I can’t believe you just stood by and let your Master put him through that.”
Teal'c kept walking. He had no concern for the welfare of the Tau’ri.
“When you betrayed the Goa’uld, Jack fought harder than anyone to save you from the NID.” Daniel tried another tact. “If Maybourne had had his way they would have imprisoned you in a research facility for the rest of your life. But you know Jack, he won’t take no for an answer. Lucky for you he kept pushing until General Hammond agreed to let you join SG-1.” His tone was accusatory.
Jackson hurried to catch up to his friend and block his path. Then he raised himself up to his full height and looked directly into his dark eyes. “It was lucky for all of us.”
Teal’c’s empty glance made the linguist shiver.
He really didn’t care about them.
Apophis had destroyed four years of friendship in a single day.
“Damn it, Teal'c. You have to listen to me. You are not like the rest of these people. You know Apophis is not a god!”
The Jaffa had heard enough. He backhanded the linguist across the face sending him to the floor.
Daniel sighed. He knew the Jaffa was not responsible for his actions. The Goa’uld’s mastery of mind control was their most powerful weapon. It would take more than a few sentimental arguments to restore their friend to them.
“I’ll drop the subject for now, I guess.” Rubbing his jaw Jackson got back to his feet. “But will you answer one question for me?”
Teal'c continued to walk in silence.
“Alright… I’ll take that as a yes. What exactly does a Goa’uld Lo’tar do?”
“He provides our lord’s food and clothing, attends to his every desire."
“That’s what I was afraid of. Where are we going?”
“The harvesting chamber. There you will learn to prepare a meal for our lord.”
“Great.” Daniel frowned. “I have to tell you I’m not much of a cook.”
“While on extended space voyages, the Goa’uld ingest various fruits and vegetables. Little preparation is required.”
The linguist was relieved to hear that at least. He allowed himself to be led to one of the lower level chambers. There he saw many strange plants lining the room.
“Wow, I guess I never gave any thought to how the Goa’uld survived for such long periods of time in deep space. This place is like a traveling city.”
“All a system lord’s needs are satisfied. It is our duty to serve.”
“Right…” Daniel frowned. He looked at the long green stalks tentatively. “So I just have to pick them?”
“Correct. But first the plant must be injected with a tranquilizer, or its venom spray could prove fatal.”
Jackson blanched. The Goa’uld never did anything the easy way. “Maybe you’d better demonstrate that.” He said, backing away from the deadly plants.
“Very well.” The Jaffa removed a long needle from the supply cabinet and used it to immobilize the tall bulbous plant. Then he pulled a pear shaped orb from one of its branches. “Now you must slice the me’la fruit and prepare it for Lord Apophis.”
“Alright, I think I can handle that. How many of these ‘me’la fruit’ does he eat in a day?”
“Four, perhaps five.”
Daniel nodded. “Then I guess six would be the safe choice. Thanks for your help.” Jackson smiled, hoping to restore some emotional connection with his friend.
Teal'c did not respond. He watched absently as Daniel picked the fruit and sliced it.
“Is this what you eat?” The linguist asked as he worked.
“No. Only a system lord may eat from a me’la fruit tree. I and the other Jaffa maintain our own plants.”
“What about the slaves?”
“Like all of Lord Apophis’s servants, you and your friends will receive a plant to cultivate. If it bears fruit you will eat. If it does not you will die.”
“Oh.” He finished slicing the last of the yellow fruit, filling a jeweled bowl with the results. “Now what do we do?”
“There is a tunnel you will use to bring it to Lord Apophis either in his chambers or on the Pel’tac. No one else is permitted to touch his food.”
“Ok, lead the way.”
Teal'c pushed a symbol on the wall and a doorway appeared. Daniel followed dutifully, trying hard to memorize the route. They passed several interconnected tunnels along the way.
“It’s like a maze in here.”
“Indeed, there are passageways throughout the ship.”
Finally they arrived at the control room.
Major Carter felt the System Lord’s heavy gaze. He reached out to touch her hair and she pulled away.
“You have sworn your allegiance to me in exchange for O’Neill’s life. Or is the word of the Tau’ri worthless?” Apophis smiled as he watched his captive’s face fall. He was satisfied that the woman was beginning to understand what she had sacrificed for her commanding officer.
“No. It’s not.” Was all she said as she moved in closer to the alien and allowed him ot stroke her hair.
“Such light hair is rare throughout the galaxy.” Apophis added casually as he savored his power over his new slave. “But it is plentiful on your home world?”
Before Sam could answer a hidden door opened, revealing her friends. She watched with silent relief as Teal'c brought Daniel back to Apophis’ throne and chained him there. Their eyes met and the doctor saw that he had returned just in time.
Jackson waited for some kind of instructions.
But the system lord did not acknowledge him. Instead he continued with Carter as though nothing had changed. He touched her neck gently and Sam flinched.
“I, ah, have your food.” Daniel announced, hoping to distract the Goa’uld from his new prize, but Teal’c swatted him back to the floor.
“You will not speak to Lord Apophis unless he commands it.”
Jackson glared at his friend. “Come on Teal’c, you can’t let this go on!”
The young man was surprised when the first Prime of Apophis responded. “We all pledged allegiance to our god. You will do as he commands, as will I. Or you will suffer his wrath.”
“Very good, Teal’c. It is a lesson every Tau’ri will soon learn.” The System Lord added, releasing Sam from his grasp for the moment.
Daniel lowered his eyes. They really were at Apophis’ mercy. He hadn’t thought about what that really meant. He would have to struggle to come to terms with his new role as a Goa’uld slave.
A small party of Tok’ra representatives greeted George and Janet when they stepped out of the event horizon on Revanna. The General recognized Aldwin from his previous trips to Earth.
“Greetings, General Hammond, Doctor Frasier. We are honored by your visit.”
“Thank you Aldwin, we are equally honored by your invitation.” The General answered in perfect diplomatic terms.
The Tok’ra nodded. “Our formal celebration will not begin for several hours. Would you like a tour of our new base of operations?”
“Yes, very much.” Hammond and Frasier followed closely behind the rebel as he led them into the crystalline corridors.
“You’ve made incredible progress.” Hammond said, amazed by the size of the caves stretching into the distance.
“An advance group constructed a small series of tunnels prior to our arrival. Since then we have continued to increase our underground excavation.”
“It’s quite an architectural marvel.” Janet said, impressed by the alien technology.
They spent the next hour traveling the tunnels as Aldwin explained the contents of each chamber. Finally they came to the communications center.
“We are constantly monitoring the immediate area for any word from Selmak or SG-1. On Netu I found your people to be skilled warriors. I am hopeful that they were able to escape the blast.”
“If there was a way out, I know they found it.” Hammond answered. He had learned not to give up on Jack and his team.
“Then let us go to the ceremony to honor their courage.”
“Faster.” Teal'c pushed Sam down the hall.
The Major shot a frustrated look to her Jaffa teammate as she steadied the heavy pitcher, careful not to trip over her long robe.
Apophis followed imperiously with Daniel bringing up the rear still holding the jeweled bowl of me’la fruit. “I don’t see how Sam’s supposed to carry that jar if Teal'c keeps pushing her.” The linguist said.
“She will bear the water or her friends will go thirsty.” Apophis answered matter-of-factly.
“Our friends…are we going to see Jack and Jacob?”
“One thing you will learn Jackson is that a slave does not question his master.” The system lord flashed his eyes for emphasis.
“But I think you want me to ask questions, otherwise you wouldn’t really get to lord over me.”
“Silence! You will not speak to Lord Apophis in that manner!” Teal'c backhanded Daniel across the face, sending him to the floor. Sam put down her heavy jug and hurried to his side.
“Me and my big mouth.” The linguist whispered to his friend as she helped him to his feet. Strangely enough the bowl of fruit was still in tact.
“You are correct, I do enjoy your inquiries. But now you see they come at a price.” The system lord smiled.
“I’ll try to be more selective then.” Daniel nodded to his captor as Sam picked up her jar and the trip continued.
The linguist couldn’t help but be excited in spite of his split lip. They were going to see their missing friends. And if the men needed water that meant they were still alive.
Relief washed over Major Carter as well. She had been so worried about both her dad and the Colonel. The promise of a reunion gave her hope.
Finally Teal'c stopped in front of a sliding metal door, entered the code to open it and pushed the Major inside.
Careful not to spill any of the precious fluid, Sam recovered her balance quickly. Only then did she see her father and Colonel O’Neill chained in the center of the cell.
“Hey Carter.” O’Neill gave her his best smile.
“Hi, sir.” Major Carter noticed her commanding officer’s raw voice and overall weakness and it gave her a shiver. She could still hear him screaming whenever she closed her eyes.
Jack couldn’t help but notice the Major’s body revealed under her sheer silk robe. It made his heart sink. He often forgot about Carter’s unique vulnerability in the field. The thought that Apophis and his snake heads were leering at his second in command was infuriating for more reasons than he could ever admit, but the fact that it might go further than that scared him to death.
Sam turned to her father, “Hi Dad, are you ok?” She whispered, not wanting to share the private family moment with her captors.
“I’m fine. Selmak will keep me strong. How are you?” He asked, looking at his daughter’s pale face.
“Good, now that I know you’re alright.” She dipped a jeweled cup into her pitcher and helped her father drink.
He accepted it gratefully. “Thanks.”
“The Colonel said Apophis had taken you as a slave.” General Carter’s eyes burned. Seeing the revealing costume his daughter was being forced to wear he was afraid it would be a lot more than that…if it wasn’t already.
“Yes, dad. Daniel too. But that’s all.” She answered, reading his mind.
Jacob only nodded. He had to find a way to get them out of here before the system lord decided to make Sam his queen.
Major Carter moved to her commanding officer. “How do you feel, sir?”
“Oh, the usual. But I’ll let you in on a little secret; being suspended from the ceiling is really good for the lower back. You wouldn’t happen to have a bottle of whiskey in that pitcher would you?” Jack smiled. “I could really use a drink.”
Sam laughed, gently holding the jeweled cup to her commanding officer’s lips. “I’m afraid not, or I’d join you.” She whispered.
The water was warm and brackish, but it felt so good washing over the Colonel’s raw throat.
“Forget the whiskey, that may be the best drink I’ve ever had.” He smiled. “Thanks.”
The Major nodded, then bowed her head; suddenly feeling embarrassed and exposed.
“Chin up, Carter, we’re not done yet.” O’Neill rasped.
Sam looked into his eyes and they shared a moment of tenderness. His determination strengthened her resolve.
The Major took a deep breath and offered both men another drink. After a long swallow, Jack cleared his throat and turned to the Goa’uld.
“Alright snakey, what’s the game?”
Apophis laughed imperiously. “You amuse me human. I will enjoy watching Teal’c extract information from you until his symbiot has matured. Then you will take your place at my side when the Goa’uld makes you its’ host.”
Jack laughed too. “Let me tell you something, my lord, I’ll open an airlock and jump into space before you will ever put that snake in my head.” He whispered wickedly. “Maybe I’ll even take you with me.”
“Your defiance is impressive. Perhaps I will have you brought back to the Pel’tac where you can spend the next few hours screaming for your life.”
O’Neill couldn’t help but shiver at the possibility of another assault inside that green tower of light. It was unthinkable.
“You do what you like.” The Colonel quipped turning away to hide the fear in his eyes. He noticed Daniel for the first time. At least they were all still alive.
“Daniel, I see you’ve been promoted. What are they paying overdressed butlers these days?”
“It’s the benefits. You should see the 401-K.” Jackson quipped in return. It was his way of letting Jack know that he had not given up hope on their escape.
“I’m a paid vacations man myself.” The Colonel answered with a knowing smile.
“Enough! Attend me, Lo’tar!” The System Lord commanded.
Daniel had no choice but to comply. He stood before his new master, head bowed, holding the jeweled bowl in front of him.
“Lo’tar, don’t tell me they’ve given you a wacky new name too.” O’Neill added, annoyed at the spectacle being staged for his benefit.
Apophis turned to Sam. “Attend me, my woman.”
She put the pitcher on the floor and stood before her new master, head bowed as well.
“Your servants have pledged their allegiance to me.” The System Lord smiled.
“Yeah right.” Jack answered matching his enemy’s grin.
“They swore themselves to me in order to save your life.”
Damn. That son-of-a-bitch had used him against his own people. Jack closed his eyes, enraged.
Apophis had hoped for precisely that reaction. “Is that not correct, Lo’tar?” He turned to Daniel.
“Yes.” The linguist whispered, his voice cracking with emotion.
“My future queen, did you not pledge yourself to me to save your former master?”
“Yes I did.” She answered painfully. She knew there had been no other choice to keep them all alive, but she still couldn’t bear to look at her commanding officer.
“See O’Neill. They have willingly become my servants. Just as Teal'c before them.”
Jack steeled his resolve and flashed a wicked smile at his captor. “You guys must have one hell of a strange dictionary if you call that willingly. But I expect my people to do whatever it takes to stay alive, even if that means cozying up to a slimy parasite like you in the process.” O’Neill looked from one team member to the other for emphasis. He wanted his friends to know that he expected them to play their roles as slaves until he could find a way out of this mess. And he needed to tell them that he didn’t hold any of it against them.
“They will do whatever I decree.” The System Lord decided it was time for a demonstration. “Attend me!” He commanded looking at Daniel and the bowl.
The linguist sighed. Then he did what Teal'c had trained him to do and knelt on the floor holding the bowl above his head with both hands while keeping his eyes glued to the ground. It was degrading to be sure, but the Colonel had just ordered them to do whatever it took, so he would have to be a good little slave and play along.
“Woman Kree!” Sam looked to her father and her commanding officer chained and helpless in the center of the room and she knew what she had to do.
Sam stepped forward and took a slice of me’la, offering it to the System Lord. He smiled, looking directly into Colonel O’Neill’s eyes as he wrapped his lips around the sweet fruit.
“Let me just say I hope you choke on that, My Lord.” Jack growled, rattling the chains holding his arms above him. If only he could find a way to wrap his hands around the snake head’s throat.
Selmak eased Jacob’s control to help the human deal with his anger. To the Tok’ra such a scene was a meaningless display of power, but to the Tau’ri it symbolized total domination and he had learned that such powerlessness was more difficult for the humans to bear than any physical hardship.
Overcome by a tremendous sense of loss, Daniel didn’t dare look up for fear the System Lord would see his sorrow. What if they really were doomed to spend the rest of their days as slaves to Apophis?
Sam lowered her head again, ashamed to feed the Goa’uld in front of her commanding officer and her father.
Selmak was in total control now. He silently reminded Jacob that the Goa’uld savored tormenting their victims with such mind games.
O’Neill had no such protector. He burned with rage as he watched his people forced to bow and scrape. There would be hell to pay. “So this is how you guys spend your spare time, forcing slaves to feed you. No wonder we’ve kicked your butts all across the galaxy.” Jack snarled.
“And yet I am the only one in this room who is free to leave.” Apophis laughed at the emotional scene playing out in front of him. “And I shall.”
“Teal'c, remain here and continue the interrogation. Tau’ri, Tok’ra, if you value your existence you will tell me what I want to know.”
“Don’t bet on it, snakey.” Jack yelled after them, watching helplessly as his people were forced to leave with their new master.
Janet marveled at the Tok’ra meeting chamber’s beautiful walls. Covered with paintings that resembled hieroglyphics, the room shimmered with color.
“You’ve done a wonderful job here, councilwoman.” She smiled as Ren’al joined them in the center of the room. “The artwork is amazing.”
“Greetings, Tau’ri. This is our primary gathering hall, the walls recount the history of our struggle.”
“We honor your courage. Together I believe that we will defeat the Goa’uld.” The General added as he surveyed the paintings.
“As do I.” She answered, leading them to a central table filled with strange fruit. “Let us feast in celebration of that fact.”
Teal'c sneered at his captives and slowly examined a wall filled with exotic torture devices.
Jack pulled at the chains holding him in place with a new rage. “Now that we’re alone Teal'c you can cut the act. Unlock us so we can grab Carter and Daniel and get the hell out of here.” The Colonel whispered intensely, frustrated that he could do no more than that due to his damaged vocal chords.
The Jaffa ignored him.
“That’s an order.” O’Neill wasn’t having fun anymore.
“I don’t think he cares what you have to say, Jack.” Jacob countered.
“Damn it, I guess not.” He sighed.
Teal'c selected a long shock stick and turned toward General Carter. “You will tell me everything you know about the Tok’ra.”
“Not a chance.” Jacob answered before Selmak took control to shield his human host from as much of the coming torture as possible.
Teal'c touched his prisoner with the weapon and the General’s body seized with pain.
“Hey! What the hell are you doing?” Jack yelled, straining against his bonds.
The Jaffa ignored his protests, hitting the older man for a second time.
“Come on, Teal'c, wake up! We’re your friends!” The Colonel rasped, coughing at the strain.
“You are enemies of my god.” Teal'c snarled as he touched the General for a third time.
Selmak moaned in agony and slumped forward.
“That’s kinda true.” Jack desperately continued. “We are enemies of that slimey snakehead Apophis. But so are you. And…let me say this slowly so you can hear every word. He…is…NOT... a…god.”
The first prime had heard enough. He roared with anger and backhanded the Colonel hard across the face. The unexpected blow knocked O’Neill off his feet, momentum snapping him forward. “Quite a punch for someone who’s so sure he’s right.” Jack continued on the offensive as he slowly rose to his feet again, spitting blood from a split lip.
“You will not be so insolent when the symbiot I carry takes its place inside your body.” Teal'c countered, raising his voice.
The Colonel couldn’t help but smile. He was starting to get to him.
“You’re probably right about that. But then what happens to you? I don’t see a lot of spare ‘juniors’ lying around here. Is your GOD going to hang you out to dry?”
This time the Jaffa took the shock stick and held it against O’Neill’s exposed neck. He watched with satisfaction as the helpless human struggled to catch his breath.
“Teal'c stop it! Apophis wants him alive!” Jacob resurfaced to help his friend.
Teal'c hesitated, savoring O’Neill’s writhing agony for a last moment, but he knew the Tok’ra was right. He stepped away from the Colonel, certain that he would incur his god’s wrath if anything happened to his new prize.
Jack gasped for air, his swollen throat on fire again. Willing himself to stop coughing, he finally gained control of his breathing. “Jeeze…if you guys spent half as much time on training and tactics as you do on hand buzzers and exploding chewing gum you’d really be dangerous. Of course, that would be bad.” Jack whispered with a smirk, his head spinning.
Teal'c turned back to Selmak. “What is the name of the new Tok’ra base?”
“I can’t remember.” The Goa’uld answered tempering Jacob’s defiance.
Teal'c moved to hit the older man for the forth time when suddenly the room shook with a loud crash.
“Hello! What was that?” Jack asked, pulling himself back up to his full height.
The Jaffa hurried from the room without another word.
“It sounded like we hit something.” Jacob said, relieved to be finished with Teal'c for the time being.
There was another loud noise then the ship rocked again. “Or something hit US.”
“Do you recognize that design?” Daniel asked Major Carter as they both sat chained to Apophis’ throne watching an alien ship fire at their vessel on the forward view screen.
“No. I’ve never seen anything like it before.” Sam answered studying the craft.
“Silence!” The system lord commanded.
The intruder had appeared out of nowhere and Apophis hated surprises. He ordered his Jaffa to return fire, but the smaller craft had no problem maneuvering out of the path of the Goa’uld weaponry, continuing its assault.
Suddenly it changed course. Sam gasped. “It’s going to ram us.”
“Are you guys ok over there?” Jack asked, worried about his older companion as the ship continued to rumble from unseen turbulence.
“We will be fine, the torture device your friend was using is not designed to do permanent damage. Some meditation should be sufficient to rejuvenate both of us.”
“Glad to hear it.” Jack pulled on the chains holding his wrists. “I am so over this place. And what’s up with Teal'c anyway? The guy spends four years fighting the Goa’uld, but a little brainwashing and he’s Apophis’ new best buddy?”
“Do not underestimate the power of Apophis’ mind control techniques. Teal'c was extremely vulnerable to suggestion when he awakened in the sarcophagus. The System Lord merely took advantage of that to alter his perception of reality.”
“How do we alter it back?”
“I do not know.” Selmak had witnessed many such
incidents of Goa’uld mind corruption.
But he had never seen anyone break the hold.
“Swell. Well, I guess that’s secondary right now anyway. First we have to find a way out of these bracelets.” O’Neill leaned all his weight on the chains but nothing happened. He sighed.
“I agree. Allow me and my host some meditation to renew ourselves then we will assist you in planning our escape.” The Tok’ra said.
“Fair enough.” Jack nodded. For a snake Selmak was all right. The Colonel watched his comrade close his eyes, then turned his attention to the noises around them. Were they just flying through some kind of space debris, or were they under attack?
The assaulting ship pulled up at the last moment, barely avoiding a collision Sam let out a sigh of relief. She wondered what the unknown pilots had in mind.
“Shouldn’t you try to communicate with them, find out what they want?” Daniel asked.
“Silence.” The system lord commanded, his eyes glowing in frustration.
Jackson frowned, staring at the black of space through the viewscreen. The lumbering pyramid ship was no match for the faster, lighter craft, even he could see that. So the question was what kind of living beings were on board? Would their attackers be their salvation or an even more formidable enemy than the Goa’uld.
Another loud crash knocked Jack and Jacob/Selmak off their feet.
“Ah, we definitely hit something that time.” Jack said as he regained his balance.
“I agree, Colonel.” Selmak answered. “We should prepare to be boarded.”
“Selmak, buddy, I’m afraid you and I are as prepared as we’re gonna get.” O’Neill swung his wrists and the chains overhead for emphasis.
Both men looked up at the ceiling as they heard movement above them.
“What the hell is that?” Jack wondered. It sounded like something was burrowing into the ship.
Suddenly the bulkhead disintegrated and O’Neill gasped, recognizing the intruders immediately. “Son of a bitch! Replicators!” He growled.
The Tok’ra struggled frantically with his bonds as the small creatures moved closer. Every Goa’uld feared the replicators. Selmak had seen the kind of destruction they could produce and he knew he had to get away.
“Easy over there guys.” Jack whispered harshly as the first metal creature crawled down the chain holding his right wrist over his head. “The bugs only go after you if you threaten them.” He could feel their cold mechanical legs gripping his skin. “So don’t threaten them!”
Selmak didn’t seem to be listening. He shook fiercely, trying to dislodge the bug.
“Hey! Stop that or we’ll all be toast. Jacob, talk to your friend!”
General Carter took control of his body and willed it to be perfectly still. “Now what?”
“Hope they don’t decide that we look like dinner.” O’Neill closed his eyes as more and more replicators scurried into his hair and down his face on their way to the floor.
“Jeeze.” He whispered, thinking back to his first experience with them on Thor’s ship. The most important thing was to stay calm. But that was easier said than done with a dozen creepy crawling bugs walking all over your body!
Apophis grabbed the arms of his throne to prevent the sudden jolt from sending him to the floor. “What is happening?” He yelled to the Jaffa piloting the vessel.
“My lord. The ship no longer responds. We have lost control of the engines!” The technician answered hesitantly.
“What?” The system lord’s eyes flashed for emphasis. “Teal’c, Kree!”
The First Prime bowed before his god. Then he selected his three most experienced comrades and hurried to the engine room to find out what had occurred.
A chill ran down Jack’s spine as the replicators’ legs probed and prodded his body. Any one of them could release their deadly acid spray and he would be history.
Creature after creature climbed to the floor seemingly unaware that he was anything but a conveniently placed footbridge. Just when O’Neill was beginning to wonder how many were actually up there, the numbers started to dwindle.
Then he got an amazing idea.
“Jacob, I know you’re going to think I’m crazy, but I just came up with a plan that might get us out of here.”
“What?” General Carter hoped the Colonel was right because he didn’t know how much longer he could keep Selmak from losing control.
“You’ll see, just stay still.” Jack looked up into the hole created by the replicators. No more creatures were eating through the metal above him so he was gambling that the bug probing his chest was finally the last one.
It was now or never.
When the replicator made it to floor, O’Neill raised his foot and stomped down on its back as hard as he could.
The creature hissed, momentarily stunned. Thankful that the Goa’uld had forced him to remove his boots, the Colonel quickly used both feet to turn it on its’ side. Then he wrapped his toes around the alien metal.
“My god Jack, what the hell are you doing!” Jacob couldn’t believe his eyes.
“You’ll see.” Jumping up to grab the chains so he could hold his own weight, Jack used both feet to raise the bug into the air. The disoriented creature switched to battle mode, squirting acid at its enemy.
“Watch out over there.” Jack cautioned as he lifted the bug over his head, the chains cutting into his hands. Acid leaked down onto his cheek, burning through his skin.
“Damn!” O’Neill growled as he marshaled all his strength to control the squirming creature and hold his own weight. It wasn’t easy. He could feel his fingers slipping on the metal bounds.
“Careful!” General Carter was amazed by his friend’s determination.
The Colonel was too busy to answer. Finally he aligned the bug with the chain over his right wrist. More acid grazed his arm, but he held on as tight as he could. If the aliens could eat through the ship’s hull they sure as hell should be able to eat through those iron chains.
Jack put all his weight on the weakening links until one snapped. Then, with his free hand, he moved the replicator up to the chain holding his other arm until it was eaten away as well.
“Ha!” The Colonel yelled triumphantly as he hurried to Jacob’s side to repeat the process. When the chains were no longer holding General Carter, Jack threw the creature to the other end of the room.
“Now run!” O’Neill yelled as the replicator began to regain its bearings.
“That was incredible!” Carter smiled as he and the Colonel hurried into the hall. “I have to hand it to you Jack, sometimes you amaze me.”
“Hell Jacob, sometimes I amaze myself.” The Colonel stopped to catch his breath. He was relieved to see that the bug was nowhere to be found.
“So what’s next?” General Carter asked.
“If this ship is about to be overrun by replicators we’re gonna need some rifles. I bet the snake heads stole all our supplies when they grabbed us from Cronus’ ship. They must be stored around here somewhere.”
“You’re probably right. Follow me.” Jacob led the way toward the cargo level.
The officers hurried to the cargo bay. You could always count on Goa’uld sticky fingers. Jack thought triumphantly as he made a beeline for the first crate of P-90’s he saw. Breaking it open, he handed the first weapon to Jacob. The Tok’ra found a crate of ammunition clips and threw one to O’Neill.
Suddenly Jack felt a strange jolt. “What was that?” He whispered.
“It felt like a change in the hyper-drive.” Selmak said.
“What do you mean a change? I thought we were already in hyper-drive.” O’Neill asked, checking and loading his weapon.
“We were, but it feels faster, somehow.”
The Colonel grabbed a supply vest and filled it with clips. “I know I don’t like the sound of that.” Then he slung a second gun over his back for Sam. Jacob did the same for Daniel.
“We’d better take the bridge before the bugs eat us out of house and home.” O’Neill checked his weapon.
“And how do you propose we do that?” General Carter asked.
“The element of surprise, for one.” Jack said as he took point at the door. “Anything else we’ll have to work out on the way.”
“We’re accelerating.” The Major swore she could feel the engines surging.
“Is that possible?” Daniel asked.
“I didn’t think so. The hyper-drive has been at maximum since we were brought to the Pel’tac.” Sam was puzzled. The Goa’uld tech manuals she had studied on Vorash didn’t say anything about a pyramid ship’s ability to accelerate beyond hyper-drive.
“Then what’s happening?” The linguist frowned.
“Without looking at the engines I have no way of knowing.”
Both Daniel and Sam heard a strange sound from inside the walls.
“Oh god.” Major Carter whispered as the first metallic creature broke through into the chamber. “Replicators.”
Jack and Jacob moved deliberately down the corridors of Apophis’ ship. Suddenly the Colonel grabbed his friend and pulled him against the bulkhead.
Before the General could ask what O’Neill was doing, several Jaffa ran past them. Seemingly preoccupied, they did not notice the humans hiding in their wake.
Jack listened until the group was out of earshot. “I’m guessing they’ve discovered the bugs.” He said, looking down the corridor after the soldiers.
“Which means they’ve spread throughout the ship.” Jacob frowned. “And we’re in real trouble.”
George Hammond dutifully finished a plate of unrecognizable fruit and vegetables. Lost in thought, he had not been paying attention to the people sitting around him.
“Are you alright, General?” Ren’al asked, concerned about her quiet guest.
“My apologies, Councilwoman. I was just thinking about SG-1.”
“Of course. It is to be expected.” She rose to her feet at the head of the table.
“Let us pause to remember those who have given their lives in the struggle against the Goa’uld.”
Everyone stood and bowed their heads to think of fallen friends.
Doctor Frasier fought to hold back the tears. She wanted to believe that the members of SG-1 had managed to survive the destruction of Vorash and its’ sun, but as time passed with no word it was becoming more and more difficult to keep her faith.
General Hammond put his hand on her back to show his support. There they stood in respectful silence, each gathering strength from the other and praying for the safety of SG-1.
Daniel gasped at the cold mechanical creatures.
They were totally alien.
There was no way to negotiate with them or make them listen to reason. All you could do was destroy them before they destroyed you.
Apophis quickly activated his personal defense shield as the creatures poured into the chamber. “Jaffa Kree!” He commanded.
The warriors immediately surrounded their god, firing staff weapons to drive the replicators back. But laser blasts only served to slow their attack as the creatures re-formed moments later and charged again.
Major Carter struggled to break loose from her chains, but they wouldn’t budge. She turned to Apophis. “This won’t stop them. Staff weapons only disrupt their matrix for a few moments. We have to get out of here.”
“Sam’s right. We’ve faced the replicators before. They won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the entire ship.” Daniel moved in front of the system lord’s throne, trying to get his attention.
But the Goa’uld swatted his prisoner aside, formulating a plan of his own. He knew the vile creatures would soon overcome his soldiers. So he had to act quickly. He would leave the humans as a distraction for the replicators and escape in a cargo ship with Teal'c and any other Jaffa he could find on the way to the supply dock.
As Jack and Jacob hurried toward the main chamber, they heard staff blasts echoing through the corridor.
“Sounds like they have company.” The Tok’ra whispered as they stopped in front of the entrance.
“Sure does. We’d better get in there before Carter and Daniel run out of time.” Jack took a deep breath and braced himself for combat. “Have either of you ever tangled with these guys before?”
Jacob shook his head.
“Ok. Whatever you do don’t stop firing until the bugs are in a million pieces. Otherwise they’ll just jump back together again.”
“I am familiar with the insidious creatures that have overrun this ship and they cannot be defeated.” Selmak asserted.
“You’re wrong there, I’ve been trapped by these things twice and I’m still here. Of course the first time we gated off the ship and the second time Thor saved our bacon at the last second. But the point is we can walk away from these little guys if we use our heads. So take as many of them out as possible while we grab Carter and Daniel, then you can set the self destruct and we’ll all make a break for the cargo ship.”
“Right.” Jacob answered, his weapon ready to fire.
After they burst into the chamber, O’Neill quickly assessed the situation.
The bugs had everyone surrounded in front of Apophis’ throne. Five Jaffa were already lying on the floor, victims of the replicators. Only two remained, firing useless staff blasts to protect their false god from his just desserts.
The Colonel was relieved to see Carter and Daniel protected by the Goa’uld’s personal shield in the center of the room.
Unfortunately they were still chained to the snake’s throne as well.
“Clean off the walls, I’ll move in on Apophis!” Jack yelled above the turmoil.
The Colonel listened with satisfaction as Jacob began firing. Then he cleared a path to the center of the room as the last Jaffa fell.
“Looks like you’re in a little trouble there my lord.” Jack sneered at the all-powerful Goa’uld trapped by bugs in his own chamber.
“You will take me to a cargo ship.” The system lord commanded.
“Not gonna happen.” Jack smiled even wider. “After all the headaches you’ve given me and my people I ought to smoke your ass right here.”
“My shield is the only thing keeping your servant and your woman alive.”
Jack let out an exaggerated sigh. He was enjoying himself despite the gravity of the situation. “Your highness, let me spell it out for you again. Daniel is not my servant and Carter is not my woman. And if you know anything about the bugs you know it’s only a matter of time before they figure out a way to beat your shield and you’ll be toast. I don’t plan to wait around for that to happen. Now you can let my team go or I’ll help the replicators destroy this ship with you in it.”
“You would not end the lives of your own people.”
“They’re not gonna live much longer surrounded by replicators anyway, now are they? Trust me, a quick explosion would be a lot less painful than ending up bug chow.”
The Goa’uld looked into O’Neill’s eyes and snarled. He would not allow himself to be bested by the puny Tau’ri. Pulling a dagger from his sash, he grabbed Jackson by the hair, holding the blade to his throat.
The linguist struggled, but there wasn’t much he could do as he was still chained to the throne.
Apophis increased the pressure. “Now you will obey my commands or I will kill your servant before your eyes.”
“Don’t listen to him, Jack.” Daniel growled, angry to be the victim yet again. “He only hurts innocent women and children.”
“Come on Apophis, you don’t seriously think you can bully your way out of here.” Jacob added as he continued firing to keep the walls clear of replicators.
The Goa’uld pulled his prisoner closer for emphasis. “I have ruled systems throughout the universe for hundreds of years.”
“Then it’s about time you hang it up.” Colonel O’Neill quipped, turning to fire on a replicator closing in on him from behind.
“The only reason you’ve survived all these years is that you’ve ruled on the backs of slaves like Teal'c. Where are all your servants now, mighty Apophis?” Doctor Jackson countered, straining against the blade.
Sam noticed a line of blood trickling down her friend’s neck where the Goa’uld dagger had pierced his skin. Maybe it was time for another tact. “Let us go and we can help you repair the ship.”
“Don’t even bother trying to negotiate with this snake head, Carter. Call me crazy, but I think we may really be at the end of the line this time.” O’Neill savored the possibility of finally being rid of the deadly Goa’uld.
“But if we don’t do something soon, sir, the replicators will eat through all the primary systems and the ship’s structural integrity could be compromised.” Sam added.
Jack smiled wickedly. “I don’t know about you, my Supreme Commander, but I kinda like the idea of knowing that if we go down, you go down with us.”
“Arrogant human, do you honestly believe that you can defeat a Goa’uld system lord?” Apophis pressed the knife further into his captive’s skin.
“Yeah, I’m pretty much sure of it.” Colonel O’Neill exchanged a serious look with Jackson and the Major. It was time for a new plan.
As the System Lord concentrated on Jack, Daniel ripped off his ribbon device, and threw it to Sam.
Major Carter marshaled all her concentration as she quickly strapped the weapon to her hand.
She could feel the power building inside her body until it reached critical mass. Then she fired, hurling Apophis across the room. The sudden jolt deactivated his defense shield and sent the replicators flying.
“Way to go, Dorothy…again.” The Colonel smiled as he and Jacob sprayed the bugs now moving toward their friends, destroying them once and for all.
“Heads up.” O’Neill warned Carter as he moved close enough to free her.
The Major threw off the ribbon device. Then she extended her manacled wrists and shielded her face. Jack split the chains in one shot.
Carter was a little wobbly on her feet, her energy drained by the alien weapon.
Colonel O’Neill moved in close to help steady his second in command. “You ok, Major?”
Sam regained her balance quickly. “I’m fine, sir.” She answered, standing before Colonel O’Neill in her transparent robe.
“You’re still out of uniform.” Jack said softly.
“Yes sir.” She answered with a smile. Then she ripped off the ridiculous headpiece she had been forced to wear and threw it defiantly towards the system lord.
“You go girl.” O’Neill nodded approvingly.
The Colonel stripped off his gold tunic and handed it to his second in command. “This should help, too.” He said, closing the black utility vest over his bare chest.
“Thanks.” Sam said as she slipped into the silk shirt, relieved that it was long enough to restore her privacy.
“Sure thing, it looks better on you anyway.” O’Neill smiled warmly into the Major’s eyes. They held each other’s glance for a long time, grateful for the intimate silence.
“Guys, remember me?” Daniel said, breaking the mood.
“Danny boy, how could I forget.” Jack answered with a smirk. He couldn’t help but blush. The linguist had caught him sharing a forbidden moment of warmth with his second in command.
Two shots from his P-90 and his friend’s chains were broken.
“You ok?” The Colonel asked as he freed Jackson and helped him to his feet.
“I am now.” The young man answered, wiping the blood from his throat.
Sam hurried to her father’s side. “It’s so good to see you, Dad. Are you alright?” She asked as they embraced.
“I’m fine. And I’ll be even better when we get off this ship.” Jacob answered looking to O’Neill over his daughter’s shoulder.
“Point taken.” Jack took control of the situation. “OK people, it’s recon time. Carters-start with the instrument panel. Find out where the hell we are and what’s going on with the ship.” He paused to see a nod from father and daughter. “Daniel, you and I are heading back to the storage bay for supplies.”
“What about Apophis?” General Carter asked, watching the system lord as he began to stir.
“He wanted to be captain-let him go down with the ship.” The Colonel answered with contempt. There was no way they were taking that snakehead with them.
The System Lord opened his eyes, still dazed from the blast. “O’Neill! I will destroy you!” He decreed, pulling himself up to a seated position on the floor.
“Yeah, yeah, so you keep saying.” Jack smirked. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but your ship is in big trouble. And we haven’t passed a garage in at least a hundred million miles.
“Surrender, Apophis, and we’ll help you get to a cargo ship.” Daniel said softly.
“Whoa, I thought we were clear on this. He is NOT going ANYWHERE.” Jack’s eyes flashed with anger at the thought of extending any kind of free pass to his worst enemy.
“We can’t just leave him here to die.” The linguist whispered intensely.
“Sure we can. He’d do the same to us and you know it.” O’Neill’s patience was spiking. They did not have time for another one of their famous Jack O’Neill/Daniel Jackson debates.
The System Lord laughed. “You would allow the enemy to surrender when he is at your mercy? You are weak. Just as your wife was.”
Daniel’s face burned. When Apophis mentioned Sha’re it hit him like a bolt of lightning from beyond the grave.
And it changed everything.
“I have a nasty habit of letting compassion color my judgement sometimes.” He snarled at the Goa’uld.
“You got that right.” O’Neill added, satisfied that the snake had overplayed his hand.
“I want to thank you for so generously reminding me of what you did to my wife. Sha’re lived in constant torment because of you. She was forced to struggle against the creature you put inside her body every second of every day.” Daniel’s eyes flashed with anger. “I let compassion for another living thing make me forget that fact for a moment, but you don’t deserve any more consideration than you gave her.”
Jack nodded in satisfaction. “Good decision.”
Apophis looked genuinely concerned for the first time. He had no more allies or cards to play.
Suddenly the System Lord heard a buzzing inside the wall. Replicators came pouring into the chamber all around him. He could do nothing but scream in agony as he was quickly overwhelmed.
“Damn, that’s gotta hurt.” O’Neill quipped with a grimace. He knew exactly what it was like to be eaten alive by the metallic creatures. But it was nothing the system lord didn’t deserve.
“We could save him.” Carter said.
“No.” The Colonel answered coldly. “We couldn’t. He’s hurt enough people. Now it’s his turn.”
“Amen.” Jacob added.
Daniel watched silently as his nemesis drew his last breath in front of him for a second time. Even though he had a nagging sense of sorrow for the loss of any life, he could not grieve for Apophis.
Maybe Sha’re would rest easier now.
The System Lord’s body was finally still. “Let’s hope we’ve seen the last of him. Jack said as he and Jacob finished handing out weapons and ammunition to their comrades.
The four fired until they had cleared the room of replicators.
“Alright people, it’s time to get to work. Daniel and I will be back in 20. If the bugs overrun this place we’ll meet up in the engine room.”
“Be careful, sir.” Sam added.
“You too. Keep your eyes open for Jaffa, although with all the bugs on board I doubt there are too many of them left.”
Jack hesitated for a moment. He couldn’t help but think about Teal'c. Was he still alive?
“We’ll find him.” Daniel said softly, reading his friend’s mind.
“Sure we will.” The Colonel mustered phony optimism.
He and Daniel hurried down the corridor, stepping over the remains of fallen Jaffa along the way.
“Those bugs are good.” Jack said as he turned over another body.
“They’re certainly thorough.” Jackson frowned kicking the side of one of the downed soldiers to check if he was still alive.
The Colonel noticed that a darkness had washed over his friend’s face.
“You’re ok with what just happened back there, right?” O’Neill asked as he led the way into the storage chamber.
“What?” The linguist had been lost in the past.
“Lord Apophis, big snakey guy, recently turned into bug chow.” Jack quipped as he lead his friend back to the crates he and Jacob had already opened.
“Oh, yeah…that…I don’t know…He got what he deserved, I guess.”
“Damn right he did.”
But she’s still gone. Daniel thought as he helped Jack gather up as much ammunition as they could carry.
“Try not to lose too much sleep over His Lordship. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.” After what the bastard did to Teal'c, O’Neill’s only regret was that he hadn’t gotten the chance to finish the job himself.
“We could have prevented it.”
“So?” Jack looked up from his work to meet the linguist’s pain filled eyes.
Daniel broke contact first, looking down at the ammunition, suddenly unnerved by his friend’s certainty. “So…nothing. No matter what I said back there, it’s not so easy for me.”
“I know.” The Colonel answered gently. “And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.”
Jackson met his friend’s eyes with a small smile, thankful that even if the Air Force officer didn’t agree with him, he did understand.
“Bingo!” Jack’s eyes brightened when he saw a box marked C-4. “Now here’s something that may come in handy.” He broke open the crate and selected a handful of the clay colored explosive along with a few detonators.
Daniel finished packing his bag of supplies and stood at the chamber door waiting for the older man.
“That should do it. We’d better get going.” Jack announced, tired of thinking about Apophis. They had given the snakehead’s fate more consideration than it deserved. And he was anxious to hear what Jacob and Carter had found.
The linguist nodded weakly. He could hear the screams of the system lord echoing through his mind and it unnerved him that he hadn’t done anything to try to save him.
But there was another side to the story.
He was also secretly glad the Goa’uld was dead.
As he and Daniel hurried toward the bridge, Jack heard weapons fire. “Let’s move, it sounds like they could use our help in there.” He yelled back to his friend as he broke into a full run.
Both men hurried into the chamber where Jacob and Sam were defending themselves against more replicators. Together the four weapons were enough to destroy them.
“Thanks.” Jacob said smoothing his tunic. “I have to tell you, I really hate those things.”
“You and me both.” Jack agreed as he surveyed the room for any new arrivals. “It looks like we’re alone for now. So what do ya know?”
“Sir, it’s incredible, the replicators have modified the engines to travel at amazing speeds. We have just reentered the known universe.” Sam explained enthusiastically.
“Wow, way to go bugs!” Jack beamed. The fates had thrown him a bone once again.
“How is that possible?” Daniel asked.
“I’m not sure. The replicators can assimilate data and technology so quickly that they are probably incredible storehouses of information.” Major Carter couldn’t help but admire the alien technology. “If we could find a way to tap into that knowledge there’s no telling what we would discover. The machines could be a valuable tool…”
“WHO EAT YOU!” Jack added, afraid the scientists were starting to think about trying to cozy up to the dangerous creatures. “Don’t forget that little detail.” O’Neill shook his head. He had to keep a constant eye on his egghead friends just to save them from their own curiosity.
“They probably probed the ship’s computers to learn the location of our universe.” Sam continued.
“See, now that’s a problem. We can’t let them get a foothold in our little piece of the galaxy or we’ll be toast.” O’Neill knew what they had to do. He turned to General Carter. “Jacob, how do we blow this tub?”
“I’ve already keyed in the self destruct sequence. All we have to do is activate it.”
“Swell, how long do you think it’ll take a cargo ship to outrun the blast?”
“10 minutes should be enough.” Jacob answered. “But there is another problem.”
“Of course there is.” Jack frowned knowingly. There was always something else.
“We will not be able to launch the cargo ship in hyper-space.” Selmak answered.
“Damn, so what are you saying?” O’Neill pressed.
“We’ll have to find a way to disable the hyper-drive
or we’re not going anywhere.”