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TITLE:  Death Shall Have No Dominion

AUTHOR:  Tiv'ester

E-MAIL:  tivester@lycos.com

STATUS:  Complete

CATEGORY:  Drama, angst, H/C, Daniel/Sha'uri

SPOILERS:  The Devil You Know, Forever In A Day to name two

SEASON/SEQUEL:  3rd

RATING:  PG

CONTENT WARNINGS:  Goa'uld possession

SUMMARY:  Powerful forces are manipulating events to change history itself. Can Daniel and his family survive the onslaught or will they be destroyed?

DISCLAIMER:  I do not own Stargate SG-1. Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only. No money has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:  This story references two different types of queens: Goa置ld queens and Queen Goa置lds. There is a subtle difference. In essence, a Goa置ld Queen is any queen to a pharaoh. A Queen Goa置ld is a Goa置ld capable of reproducing (like Hathor). There are a lot of Goa置ld Queens, but far fewer Queen Goa置lds. For this story, Kintac survived the explosions on Netu in 典he Devil You Know, and takes place two months after the episode 擢orever In A Day, right after 典he Devil You Know.

This story has lived on my hard drive for two years. It was originally part of a larger story. I split the story in half, the first half becoming The Battle Royal. The idea behind Loki and Angrboda痴 children came before I ever saw the Season Five episode 迭evelations. Death Shall Have No Dominion has been alphaed/betaed by quite a few over the last two years until I finally finished it. Carol, Jmas, Lex and Seanchaidh -- I really appreciate all the feedback you gave me for this story. You池e the greatest!

 

 

 

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

                                            Dylan Thomas

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

 

DAY ONE輸POPHIS HA探AK

Splendor.

Wealth.

Luxury.

Servants.

All of it meant nothing if he couldn稚 share it with his Queen.

His mate.

His love.

His Amaunet.

Apophis sat on his golden throne reflecting on the words Daniel Jackson had spoken to him on Netu. Your mate Amaunet is dead. Sorry to ruin your day. No actually, I知 wrong about that. I知 not sorry.

Not sorry? Did he not know who Amaunet was? Did he not know her position in the System Lord hierarchy? Did he not know that she once ruled supreme among the queens?

鉄he was my queen, my mate, Apophis said to himself.

The Goa置ld had established order throughout the galaxy for many millennia in order to keep the warring factions from killing each other off completely. The rules governing them had been created and accepted by legions of symbiotes long dead but not forgotten. Chief among them was the express forbiddance of harvesting hosts from other Goa置lds regimes and the sanctity of a Queen痴 choice of mates. Most broken rules were dealt with by waging battle on the perpetrator. Simple things like breaches of protocol and trespassing were considered acts of war and were met accordingly.

釘ut what is war when compared to the love of one痴 queen? he asked out loud.

Apophis devotion for Amaunet was the only reason he dared to personally travel to planets belonging to other System Lords in search of hosts that might please his queen, even planets known to be ruled by Ra. If any Goa置ld had discovered Apophis breach in protocol had occurred before news of Ra痴 death had been confirmed, Apophis and Amaunet would have found themselves hunted outcasts with more enemies than they had thought possible. Apophis risked much for her. He would exact retribution on those who would disparage her name and desecrate her memory.

鄭nd Daniel Jackson dares to mock me? Apophis thundered. 滴e does not know the depth of his insolence. How dare he insult my queen?

No, Daniel Jackson had not known what was destroyed that day. Amaunet was one of the most powerful Goa置lds in the pantheon, and Daniel Jackson was not sorry that she was dead? She was much more than a goddess! Her passing should have caused the stars to weep!

鄭nd he feels nothing, Apophis thought out loud again, his voice betraying his disgust.

And what was Daniel Jackson痴 greatest iniquity for which he would spend an eternity in horrific pain as retribution? By all appearances, he had completely disregarded the queen and had forgiven the Shol致a Teal団 for killing Amaunet痴 host葉his host whom he professed to love as if he knew what the emotion was. Slaves knew nothing of such things. They were incapable of understanding that which belonged solely to the province of the gods themselves. Apophis held no illusions on the matter. When the rumors of Amaunet痴 death reached Netu, Apophis swore vengeance on Teal団. Losing such a pleasing host was regrettable, but his queen痴 murder was at the apex of all of the Jaffa痴 sins. Teal団 would pay for his crimes with his life.

With torture

With painful torture

With slow painful torture.

Apophis would watch with great amusement and immeasurable satisfaction as Teal団 suffered.

鄭nd you will suffer, Shol致a, Apophis promised. 釘y my hands, you will know pain not imagined in your worst nightmares.

As for Daniel Jackson, Apophis had plans for him, plans which were already taking form and substance. Jackson would pay dearly for his insolence. He valued the host over the Queen? He had much to learn, and Apophis was more than eager to teach him the truth that the infuriating Tau池i had so willingly forgotten.

鄭 lesson he will not soon forget. Daniel Jackson痴 torment would make Teal団痴 pale in comparison. It was a lesson Amaunet痴 host learned all too well.

Apophis delighted in the fact that Amaunet could and did mercilessly ravage Sha置ri痴 memories. There was a wealth of information about the Tau池i. After Amaunet痴 disclosure that Jackson and O誰eill had been the instruments of Ra痴 destruction, Apophis had no choice but to avenge his enemy痴 death. Upstarts could not be allowed to challenge the Goa置ld without punishment regardless of who the Goa置ld was. All of the gods would suffer slave uprisings as a result if such an insult was not answered with brute force, and Amaunet made sure that Sha置ri knew that she was the one that had betrayed the Tau池i. Betrayed O誰eill. Betrayed her husband, her precious Dan馳el.

鄭nd she did feel the guilt, did she not, my queen? Apophis spoke aloud to his dead Amaunet. 鉄he suffered your wrath, my love.

Occasionally, Amaunet would hint at the more personally useful secrets she stole from time to time. They had enabled Apophis to gain a unique understanding of the Tau池i優aniel Jackson in particular. By the slave痴 estimation, he held the virtues deemed important to the inferior beings, bravery being one of the more important ones. Apophis himself had witnessed certain confusing aspects of the soon-to-be slave痴 character when he had been held captive at the Tau池i base. Jackson had been brave enough to confront him, even offend him, and Apophis had found that uniquely amusing. Had he been in Daniel Jackson痴 position, he would have killed his enemy. Jackson hadn稚 raised a finger against the System Lord, but the reason behind that lack of action could have easily been because the one known as Carter had claimed his attention. Apophis might never know what Jackson would have done at that moment.

But if events went according to plan, he would.

A host痴 memories could easily be used against them. Some memories Amaunet told Apophis, others she kept to herself to torment Sha置ri when the little slave became too difficult to manage. This was necessary when dominating a strong willed host. Apophis remembered his mate explaining a source of one of her more enjoyable forms of amusement. When the two of them were together, she would force Sha置ri to remember what it was like to be with her long absent husband, to let her know that she would never feel Dan馳el痴 touch again, to force her to know when Amaunet was with her Pharaoh, to experience the physical pleasures the gods shared through the Goa置ld controlled senses. Then, when her Pharaoh slept, she would force Sha置ri to compare the physical aspects of the two men in minute detail. Amaunet would comment about how lucky she was to have Apophis for a husband and how inadequate Sha置ri痴 Dan馳el was.

This amusement was tarnished once. On one occasion, Sha置ri would brook no insult against her Dan馳el. She fought back. That one time, Amaunet finally admitted to Apophis, Sha置ri let the full force of her memories be leveled at the queen, certain memories that the little slave had been hiding to comfort her when she was alone in the darkness of her mind. Amaunet was shown a very intense mental demonstration of how inadequate and lacking Apophis was in certain areas of marital concern and exactly what her Dan馳el was capable of. That was the last time Amaunet mentioned Sha置ri痴 memories.

Before she was murdered, Amaunet did comment that Apophis should strongly consider taking Daniel Jackson as a host. His knowledge of the Tau池i and his capabilities would be well worth the risk and ultimate rewards. She hadn稚 elaborated further.

That was another reason to hate that particular Tau池i.

From the time the queen took Sha置ri as a host, Apophis knew that Amaunet wasn稚 as pleased with him as she could have been. She assured Apophis that she did indeed love him, but she didn稚 know what was wrong. Apophis knew, and he knew why she would never elaborate. Amaunet was experiencing Sha置ri痴 memories, and Apophis soon realized that Daniel Jackson was disturbing their private moments together as surely as the Tau池i were disrupting Goa置ld empires. The slave痴 personal memories of Daniel Jackson were so overpowering that they were interfering with Amaunet痴 reality.

Damn him.

Apophis sat alone in his throne room. There were no slaves to cater to his whims, no Jaffa to guard him. He had wished to be alone and had given orders to that effect. The silence was almost palpable. No one had wished to be in his presence for very long since his departure from Netu. The rumors held that he had been in very bad spirits since leaving, and an angry god was dangerous to be around. The Goa置ld couldn稚 blame anyone for keeping their distance. Another source of his own displeasure with his life was his physical appearance. Gods were supposed to be beautiful and perfect. His host body had been too badly damaged by Sokar. He found his physical state was no longer appropriate to a god. The scars could no longer be removed. He had gone too long without the aid of a sarcophagus, and the traces of the scars were now embedded within him permanently.

He needed a new host.

During the early planning stages, he had briefly wondered about the choice he should make in regards to a new host. He always chose hosts wisely for himself, never letting just the beauty of the host overwhelm his decision although physical appearance was taken into great consideration. It was the information stored within intelligent minds that aided his ambition, yet he always tried to find beautiful scholars. He thought carefully. He knew which host Amaunet would desire and approve of if she were still alive.

Once, his Amaunet sat at his side. They would discuss the status of their regime, the affairs of state or about nothing important. They found each other痴 company incredibly satisfying. He was content just to be in her presence.

She was his life, his love.

She was gone. For now.

In her memory, for her amusement and as a gift, he would choose the host she had suggested.

Yes, the memory of her remained, and her idea to take Daniel Jackson as a host had gained merit. Very soon, Apophis would learn just how strong a bond could be gleaned from two powerful, mated Goa置lds when their hosts were mated as well.

溺y Pharaoh? a timid voice sounded through the throne room.

Apophis turned toward the voice. A Jaffa had entered without permission. 展hat is it? Apophis asked the frightened guard.

擢orgive me, my lord, but you wished to be informed when the Asgard appeared within sensor range. He has contacted us and said he will rendezvous with us tomorrow. There is business pertaining to the Asgard that he must deal with. Also, we will reach Abydos in another two days time.

Two days to reach Abydos. The former host痴 home world. Daniel Jackson痴 adopted home. If his ship had been running at top speed, they would have reached Abydos already. Unfortunately, there was damage that needed to be repaired, and they were traveling much slower than Apophis was comfortable with. Still, they would be on Abydos soon. Now to set his plan in motion.

鉄ummon my son, Klorel, and my First Prime. Inform the Asgard that he is welcome here and I wish to meet with him at his earliest convenience. Apophis added that last part almost out of spite. He was not in the habit of acquiescing to others, but for this particular Asgard, he would do whatever was necessary to please and appease him. 的 wish everything to be in readiness before we transport down to Abydos.

添es, my lord, and the Jaffa scampered out quickly.

Soon, all would be as it should be. And Apophis would begin taking his revenge on Daniel Jackson.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

EARTH祐GC

哲o.

鼎知on, Daniel, Jack almost pleaded. 添ou値l have fun. Warm sun, cold beer, pesky fish濫

展hat is it with you and fishing? I thought hockey was your obsession., Daniel commented as he tried to steer the conversation elsewhere. Fishing brought back too many memories for him. Fish was part of the primary diet on Abydos. At least once every few weeks, Kasuf痴 sister would visit. Since their relationship wasn稚 quite as close as siblings could hope, Kasuf would invent an important meeting or emergency he would have to go to and take his small family with him, leaving his sister behind to 砺isit other family members. Kasuf would take Sha置ri, Daniel and Skaara to a site on the river he had found as a child預 secret site where he swore he could catch more fish than at any other place on the river. They always came back with more than they could eat and would share the overabundance with their neighbors.

The memories came fast and furious. The laughter, the stories, the feeling of a close -knit family enjoying each other痴 company熔ne of the last times they had gone fishing, Skaara and Daniel had caught and Sha置ri was six months pregnant Kasuf had just won a major political victory against and they had just needed a day off from everything and everyone擁ncluding Kasuf痴 sister. They had enjoyed themselves immensely. It was one of those rare memories of being happy that he didn稚 want to add to or diminish yet by going fishing again so soon. Sha置ri hadn稚 even been dead two months, and every memory he had with her was precious. Besides, couldn稚 Jack look at his desk and see the stacks of paper that were waiting to be checked? The work was piling up!

的 love hockey, but I love to go fishing when we池e on downtime, and since we池e on downtime and it痴 not hockey season濫

添ou thought you壇 go fishing?

摘xactly. C知on. We don稚 have to go off world for a week, and if I stay at home, I知 gonna have to repaint the deck. I壇 really rather go fishing.

~~~ 

Jack wasn稚 too proud to beg Daniel to go with him. First and foremost, he needed to get Daniel away from the SGC for a while. Since their escape from Netu no, actually since Sha置ri痴 death, Daniel had closed himself off from everyone. He had buried himself in so much work, there was no time or room for him to think or feel.

Now, as Janet Fraiser had explained to him just minutes before, there was something medically wrong with Daniel and it stemmed from their ordeal in Netu. The best explanation was that Daniel hadn稚 had the opportunity to let the Blood of Sokar pass through his system before they made their great escape. The others had passed out, and the vile concoction worked its way out of them. Daniel hadn稚 been as fortunate. Somehow, by not passing out and missing that small window of opportunity, Daniel was measurably weaker and more tired. His system hadn稚 recovered from its effects because the adrenaline rush caused by the escape had allowed the potion to soak into every part of his bloodstream and anatomy. He couldn稚 sleep and his appetite was gone. And Daniel, being Daniel, always used his insomnia wisely. He worked預nd he hid from prying eyes.

As long as Daniel had work to act as a barricade against any inquiries made against something he壇 rather not talk about, be it work or health, he was going to use it. It was his way of running and hiding, and whatever Daniel had experienced before, during and after the time he had been 賭uestioned by Apophis had him running for the hills, figuratively speaking. At least he wasn稚 running, literally speaking, but Jack was determined not to let Daniel do this again. After Sha置ri痴 funeral, Daniel had entrenched himself in so much work that he forced his mind away feeling the grief that was strong enough to shut him down. Jack had allowed that to happen, and when the emotions broke through the emotional dam Daniel had built up, it hadn稚 been pleasant. Jack was grateful to have been there when it happened.

鏑ook, Teal団痴 visiting his family, Carter and Jacob are in Alaska that leaves us sitting here twiddling our thumbs with nothing to do, Jack implored him.

哲o, it leaves you here twiddling your thumbs with nothing to do. I致e got a lot of work to catch up on. Daniel emphasized his statement by pointing to his desk. 鉄ome of this was due a couple of weeks ago.

敵reat. Now it can be three weeks late. Who値l know the difference?

添our boss?

添a think he壇 notice?

滴e痴 a smart man, Jack. That痴 why he痴 a general, and he doesn稚 like waiting for paperwork.

泥aniel濫

 ~~~

Daniel knew Jack wasn稚 going to give up on this argument. If he didn稚 agree to go, Jack would be in his office every day begging him to go fishing. He wouldn稚 get any work done at all. If he gave in 徹kay. I値l go fishing.

鼎ool! I know this one spot where the fish grow this big, and he spread his hand far apart, 殿nd the濫

釘ut not tomorrow. Daniel interrupted him.

展hy not tomorrow? Jack asked. He thought he just won the argument.

釘ecause I致e got too much to do. Give me one day to catch up on the important work that can稚 be put off any longer, and we値l go the day after tomorrow. Deal? So much for keeping his Abydonian memories intact.

Jack would have to admit that the day after tomorrow sounded reasonable or so Daniel hoped. Luckily, he did. 徹kay. Day after tomorrow. And don稚 think you池e going to weasel out of going. I知 a colonel. I can make people disappear, you know.

添eah, I know. I致e heard you guys in Covert Ops are good at that. Now, will you go? I致e got work to do. Daniel waved his hand toward the door.

的知 going, I知 going, Jack said, his voice triumphant. 典rust me. You値l have fun! His voice echoed through the halls and back into Daniel痴 office.

Daniel guessed it was a good thing Jack couldn稚 hear him say, 添eah, right. Jack would have fun; there was no doubt about that.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Jack hurried down the corridor to the elevator, pressed the button for level 21, waited for the doors to open and then walked quickly to the infirmary to be met by one worried doctor and an equally worried general.

展ell? General Hammond asked his second-in-command.

滴e痴 agreed to go fishing with me the day after tomorrow. He痴 got a few things that have to be done first, but he said he壇 go. I値l make sure we get stuck at the cabin for about a week. Won稚 even let him take a laptop with us.

Both doctor and general looked relieved. Neither one of them would have to make it an order for Daniel to take some down time. 泥id you have to threaten him? Janet asked him.

哲o. I think he knows me well enough by now to just agree with the wisdom of my vast experience after putting up a token argument., Jack answered, knowing his voice held a touch of self-satisfaction in it.

的n other words, Colonel, General Hammond corrected, 塗e knew you would pester him to distraction unless he agreed to go.

撤retty much, yes, sir. Jack turned to Janet. 徹kay, now what exactly is wrong with him?

Janet sat down and opened the file on her desk. 泥aniel痴 dopamine levels are slightly elevated. I can only guess that it痴 an after-effect of the Blood of Sokar痴 hallucinogenic properties. It痴 made him agitated, and that痴 increased his physical activity. The rise is so slight that normally I wouldn稚 worry about it, but his appetite痴 gone, so he痴 not getting enough nourishment to compensate for the rise in his physical activity. I asked him to reduce his caffeine intake on the chance it might be having an adverse effect on the Blood of Sokar as well, but I haven稚 noticed that it痴 helped the situation any. He痴 working himself into exhaustion and finally dropping off into a dreamless, intermittent, exhausted sleep while his insomnia refuses to let him get the rest he needs. He knows the situation, but there seems to be some outside interference that is preventing him from getting any extra rest that he can.

The general didn稚 look relieved, but he did seem more content with the information. 典he doctor was commenting that recent events have kept SG-1 busier than usual, so Doctor Jackson hasn稚 had time to recuperate from any event before another happens. That痴 why I知 putting your team on downtime for a week, Colonel.

的s that going to be long enough? Jack asked.

的t痴 all I can give you, Jack. Doctor Fraiser can re-examine him after a week and we値l re-assess the situation then. I can稚 have an entire team down for a great length of time. You know that, but Doctor Fraiser thinks that it should be long enough for her to get a more accurate picture of what痴 going on with him.

泥oc?

徹ne week痴 R&R may not solve all of his medical problems, Colonel, Janet told him, 澱ut it might alleviate the immediate ones. He値l need complete rest, specifically濫

添eah, Doc. I致e got it. He痴 gotta eat and sleep. I値l even sing him a lullaby if that痴 the only thing that will work. I値l drug his warm milk. I値l force-feed oatmeal if I have to. You said yourself that it痴 only a slight rise, right? It should go back to normal as soon as he痴 had some rest?

的 hope so. I need you to watch him for any drastic changes in his behavior. Dopamine is very similar in effect to adrenaline. It can affect parts of the brain that control movement, emotions, and even those areas that experience physical sensations like pleasure and pain.

滴ow bad痴 that gonna be? Jack asked her.

的t could be very bad. His emotions are on a bit of a roller coaster ride. When you first returned from Netu, he was rather cheerful. Right now, he seems to be depressed. As far as movement goes, I haven稚 been able to detect anything odd, so he might not be affected in that way. Physical sensations could be greatly exaggerated or he might not feel anything at all. Also, his dopamine levels could take a nosedive and go well below normal. What I知 saying, Colonel, is keep an eye on him for the next week. The Blood Of Sokar doesn稚 seem to be leaving his system very quickly, but he should be back to his normal hyperactive self by the time you return. Doctor Fraiser didn稚 sound very confident, but sometimes that was the way she felt when dealing with some alien bacteria or illness that seemed to remain a mystery to her.

迭ight, Doc. Don稚 worry. I知 an expert at keeping an eye on Daniel. You致e never been on a mission with us. I get a lot of practice.

Doctor Fraiser could only be thankful for small favors.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

APOPHIS HA探AK

The fires placed around the throne room reflected off the gold-laden walls, helping to illuminate the room in a muted, comforting light. Apophis sat on his throne, the golden light shining around him, all a pale comparison to the scheming gleam in the System Lord痴 eyes as Klorel walked into the throne room with Kintac close behind. 添ou sent for us, Father?

Klorel knew he was his father痴 favorite child and heir to Apophis territories. Many times, Apophis had said that he showed great promise as a leader; he only needed time to gain experience. He had the ruthless nature but not the patient temperament needed to watch his plans come to fruition. Still, there was time. Gods had all the time in the world. 適lorel, Kintac, tomorrow I will meet with the Asgard Loki.

典hen you will continue with your plan to resurrect our queen? Kintac asked him.

添es. Kintac, I wish you to personally serve the Asgard when he arrives. I would not want him to think that I am insulting him by giving his care over to someone not worthy. A First Prime is the reaching hand of a god. I think Loki will be pleased by such a gesture.

鄭s you wish, my pharaoh,. Kintac bowed his head to his lord and master.

適lorel, I have a task for you as well.

添es, Father?

展hen we arrive on Abydos, I will need you to take the Jaffa Sar誕c with you and retrieve your host痴 father. As he is also father to my queen痴 host;, my plans require his assistance.

鉄ar誕c? Klorel thought for a moment. The name meant nothing to him. Of course, it was easier to remember names when his host痴 consciousness wasn稚 thrashing around trying to stop him from following his orders. This Skaara still did not understand that he was nothing. Struggling would not avail him anything. Apophis declared that the host痴 father would be brought before him. It would be so despite Skaara痴 imprisoned protests. 的 am not familiar with that Jaffa, Father. Is he one of the higher ranks?

哲o. He was one of Sokar痴 Jaffa. He tortured Varos.

Klorel closed his eyes at the thought. 添our Grand Vizier. Varos was the only Goa置ld Apophis trusted completely熔r as near to completely as any Goa置ld could come.

添es. I, myself, removed Varos from the dying host and placed him in the Jaffa that tortured him. I then destroyed Sar誕c痴 former prim稚a by my own hand as the Jaffa swore fealty to me. Varos requires re-implantation. He can only survive for a few more days within the Jaffa. If Varos time arrives sooner than expected, Sar誕c must accompany you when you seek out this slave on Abydos.

適asuf, Klorel said aloud.

展hat? Apophis asked, his voice sounding surprised at the word.

適asuf. That is the name of my host痴 father.

Apophis eyes glowed. Why had he mentioned the slave痴 name? It was unimportant, yet Klorel thought it important enough to mention? The words he told Apophis on the ha稚ak above the Tau池i home world were remembered. His host was strong. This host, this Skaara, was influencing him again. No matter. Once Kasuf was within Apophis grasp, everything else would easily fall into place.

典hen you must find this Kasuf and bring him before me. Apophis looked at them, his mouth curving into a slight smile. Whatever he was planning, Klorel didn稚 know the extent of it揺e wouldn稚 know until they were closer to Abydos, but he believed that his father痴 current ambitious undertaking had an underlying motivating factor要engeance. Once the plan was placed in motion, his father would have his queen and ultimate revenge on the Tau池i, Daniel Jackson.

No one would stop Apophis.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

DAY TWO勇ARTH祐GC

General Hammond took a rare, leisurely walk around the lower levels of the SGC. It wasn稚 often that events permitted him the luxury of a stroll. Seven of the teams, including SG-1, were on downtime. There were only three teams off world. The others were on base writing reports, doing research or on standby.

It was peaceful.

It was quiet.

It wouldn稚 last.

Hammond decided to walk toward Daniel痴 office to see how the young man was doing and, as if on cue, Hammond heard, 泥ammit, Daniel, you池e not weaseling your way out of this fishing trip.

So much for peace and quiet.

展ho says I知 weaseling? General Vidrine wants that translation SG-8 brought back with them in double quick time. Those were his words. He called me personally.

Oh, he did? Hammond thought to himself. General Vidrine didn稚 mention it to me.

鏑et one of the other scientists handle it. Jack痴 voice was getting just a tad angry, but just a tad.

展ho else around here, other than Teal団, knows how to speak Goa置ld? I致e been trying for a few years to set up classes to teach the SG teams some words other than Kree.

He had been doing that, Hammond admitted to himself. Unfortunately, everyone was always too busy to try to learn the enemy痴 language despite the fact that knowing every aspect of your enemy was the first step in defeating them. Besides, that would be another job for Daniel, and goodness knows he had enough on his plate as it was.

摘ven you don稚 make the time to learn any Goa置ld, and you have both me and Teal団 on the same team.

Hammond could hear that tense edge in Daniel痴 voice. Fraiser did say that the dopamine levels could put him on a bit of a roller coaster. Luckily, Jack knew how to calm Daniel down when things got too close. And things had been getting far too close lately.

添eah, I know, Hammond heard Jack sigh. 鏑ook, I値l talk to Hammond, see if he can set something up so we can learn enough of the snaky words to bluff our way out of a problem. After we go fishing, okay?

There was a pause, then an audible sigh. 添ou池e serious? Daniel痴 voice belied his skepticism.

添eah, I知 serious. Now about this translation Vidrine wants, give it to Rothman. He knows enough basic Goa置ld to get started, I think, and you can give him whatever notes you致e written up so he can translate the rest. Jack痴 voice had taken on that 蒼okay, you池e right, I知 a skunk, can we go now?樗 tone.

迭obert痴 swamped, too, but he does owe me a favor.

笛ust one? Jack痴 voice was teasing. Hammond knew that Daniel gave up a lot of free time to do the work the other scientists couldn稚 do. The general was going to have to do something about that. He made a mental note to tell his superiors that Doctor Jackson needed a much bigger staff.

展ell, more than one. Now Daniel痴 voice was sounding tired.

敵ood. And don稚 forget. Tomorrow. We池e going. No question. Just remember that time and fish wait for no man. There was the sarcastic colonel everyone had learned to appreciate.

迭ight, Jack.

鄭nd no laptops, either. This is a vacation. Downtime.

鼎old beer, pesky fish and no laptops. Right. Was Doctor Jackson sounding a little better? Or at least a little calmer?

Believing that the two men were about to come out of the office and knowing that they would not have wanted to be overheard, Hammond decided that discretion was the better part of valor and tried to duck out of view. Fortunately, Jack came walking out of Daniel痴 office alone, but he also caught a glimpse of the general before he could successfully move from inquisitive eyes. Together, they walked toward the elevators.

泥id you hear any of that, sir? Jack asked him.

摘nough. I値l call General Vidrine and tell him that Doctor Rothman will be taking over the translation.

鉄eems a little strange that General Vidrine called and gave Daniel orders without checking with you first, isn稚 it?

溺ore than strange, and I値l be asking him about that when I speak with him inquiring about his interest in an untranslated artifact. Any idea what it is that he痴 wanting Doctor Jackson to work on? Hammond asked him.

添es, sir, Jack answered as they entered the elevator and punched the button for level 28. 鉄G-8痴 linguist thinks it痴 a description of a weapon. At least that痴 what they致e written up in their report.

典hat one? Hammond asked. 的 was wondering what the artifact looked like. There wasn稚 a picture included in the file. What痴 Doctor Jackson痴 opinion?

滴e thinks SG-8痴 linguist is suffering from the candy dish conundrum.

The elevator door opened and the two men walked out toward the command room. 典he candy dish conundrum? What is that exactly?

Jack stopped, turned to the general, and said, 的 asked him that myself. He said that all archaeologists go through a stage where every artifact they find has some major religious or ceremonial significance. Jack stopped talking for a moment, then must have noticed Hammond痴 eyebrows rising at the archaeological references. 典hose are his words, not mine. He told me that an archaeologist could find a decorated bowl and think that the high priest used it as the divine vessel that held holy water in some major religious event, and it turns out to be nothing more than a candy dish in someone痴 house.

典he candy dish conundrum? Hammond almost laughed. Yes, that made sense. 鄭nd this particular artifact in question, what does Doctor Jackson think it is?

滴e thinks it痴 a plaque that was on a large beer barrel. It痴 the recipe.

Before Hammond returned to his duties耀o much for his stroll through the base揺e made one final comment. 鄭 man that can make moonshine strong enough to strip rust off iron discovers a recipe for beer. What are the odds?

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

APOPHIS HA探AK

It was a rare day when an Asgard came at the summons of a Goa置ld.

Apophis gazed down at the Asgard, his visitor痴 diminutive size in sharp contrast with the Goa置ld痴 towering frame, but Loki held the field with his cunning intellect. Apophis knew that he, like all Goa置lds, had to be polite to this particular Asgard, as they were with all Asgards. They were still one of the most technologically advanced races in the galaxy; and just one Asgard ship could destroy several Goa置ld ha稚aks. It would not be to his advantage to anger this particular Asgard since Loki had something Apophis wanted very much, so Apophis was polite, much to the surprise of Kintac and Klorel who stood silently nearby.

展elcome, Loki. I trust your trip was successful, Apophis commented in a friendly tone.

的t was, Loki answered. 典he Asgard concerns have been addressed, therefore my duty to them is completed for the moment. The Asgard regarded Apophis for a moment, and then said, 的 am curious about your reasons for requesting my presence here. Your message was intriguing but not very forthcoming, Your Majesty.

The words 添our Majesty were strange words to Apophis, yet they seemed to be a form of respect. Perhaps the Asgard had gleaned the title from some primitive race somewhere beyond Goa置ld influence? Or from the Tau池i? They were the Asgards newest pets. Regardless, Apophis noted the title with some interest, then said, 溺y request is simple. I wish to engage your rather unique talents for a personal matter. I will recompense you by any reward you feel adequate. Also, you will have my personal gratitude. Oh, but the sincerity was practically dripped from the System Lord痴 words. 鄭llow me to say that I found what may be your solution to my problem quite intriguing.

Acting extremely curious, Loki stepped closer to the System Lord. 溺ay I ask what this personal matter is?

溺y mate, Amaunet, was cruelly murdered. I understand that you may have the technology to reverse this. Apophis gaze did not leave the smaller alien.

Loki inclined his head, his bulbous, dark eyes closing slightly as if in deep thought about his answer. 的 have technology that can alter time, but I have experienced success only on a very limited scale. I have never utilized the device to reverse death on a sentient being before nor could I attempt to do so more than once. The device emits a powerful energy field that can be detected, and if used twice, I would be discovered. If the Asgard become aware of my experiments, I can assure you that they would stop them. However, I am willing to make such an attempt, but only once. There are parameters that must be specifically met to assure any measure of success. There may be no guarantee that the process will be successful. That you must know before we speak further.

Apophis knew from the beginning that this was a possibility. Even for the gods, sometimes dead meant dead. No coming back. No matter. He would make the attempt. 的 do realize that there are risks. I will accept them. What are these parameters?

Loki gazed thoughtfully at the Goa置ld for a moment again. An Asgard痴 stare could unnerve anyone, but Apophis was a Goa置ld with a purpose. That made him a formidable creature to behold. Finally, Loki answered, 典he body must be preserved for the device to detect the correct timing and sequence of events within the cellular structure. If a certain amount of deterioration has set in, the cellular structure will have deteriorated beyond recognition. The device will not be able to read the temporal process and thereby reverse it. There will be nothing I can do. The device痴 capabilities are only successful within a certain amount of time before decay.

典he body was buried in the Abydonian desert by the host痴 mate.

泥esert? Yes. Good. That is encouraging. The dry desert air will have preserved the material to a certain degree. May I ask when this occurred? Loki痴 gaze never left Apophis.

擢ifty-three Abydonian days ago. I have her death calculated to the exact moment if necessary. Apophis had guessed correctly that the Asgard would need to know the duration of time the host had lain in the desert sands. He had meticulously tracked that one moment in time down to the second. Yes, Teal団, I know when you destroyed my queen. It is a moment in time you will regret until the hour of your death, which I assure you will be soon. And by my hand.

Loki痴 head inclined quite possibly considering the time frame. 典hat is good. The body should still be preserved within the parameters needed to assure any success. May I ask how she died?

的 have been told that my former First Prime, Teal団, killed her. I do not know the exact manner of her death, but I would assume that the Shol致a fired a staff weapon. He was and still is quite proficient with the weapon.

Loki seemed to regard this for a moment. His eyes closed, then opened again. 典hat is unfortunate, but not insurmountable. The wound may cause a disruption of tissue that the device may not be able to reverse completely. I have one more question, Your Majesty. What level of control did Queen Amaunet enforce over the host?

Apophis eyes took on a rather proud look. 溺y queen held absolute control over the slave. She was quite accomplished.

的 mean no disrespect, but this is vital. How strong were the host and the queen?

典his is important?

的t is. There are many factors that must be considered when altering the timeline of a living creature. When considering the resurrection of a host and symbiote, there are more complications that must be dealt with.

溺y queen was exceptionally strong-willed. She was ruthless in her objectives and bore no denial of her demands. Apophis paused for a moment, then seeing that the Asgard seemed interested in knowing more, he added, 鄭maunet was born to one of the most powerful ruling bloodlines of Goa置lds. She was a queen and a goddess in her own right before joining her forces with mine. She was once consort to Amun, but left him when she discovered that the Goa置ld Chons was Amun痴 offspring with Mut, another Queen Goa置ld. She had not given Amun her permission to mate with another Queen. In another show of weakness, Amun allied his forces with Ra痴 and, like many Goa置lds who wished to ride to glory on the dregs of the most powerful System Lord in existence instead of seeking it for themselves, had changed his name to reflect his new status as a servant of Ra. He became Amun-Re. This lack of individuality and personal motivation had proven to Amaunet that her mate was less ambitious than she had expected. In disgust, she left him and joined with me. I believe that she found a mate with political aspirations equal to her own and a regime wealthy enough to suit her needs. We were well matched. There was no internal turmoil or palace deceit. There was only the Pharaoh and his Queen ruling a dynasty that grew in size each passing century. We created the Goa置ld order that exists today.

的 have heard of the impressive accomplishments of your queen, majesty, Loki said quietly. 滴er name is known among the Asgard. May I ask about the strength of the host?

Apophis thought for a moment. 典he host was strong. There were times she was able to surface, but Amaunet quickly subdued her into submission. The initial blending was difficult. The host fought, but not for long.

鏑onger than a host normally would?

添es. Amaunet had difficulties, but they were quickly dealt with. Apophis face practically beamed with pride.

鄭gain, Majesty, I mean no disrespect, but if the host was troublesome, why was she chosen?

典he host was an Abydonian slave known as Sha置ri. What attracted both my queen and me were her beauty and her spirit. Given her home planet痴 lack of technology, she should not have possessed any sophistication to fight Amaunet痴 will, yet we underestimated her. Her willfulness and propensity to fight my queen caused some difficulty, but Amaunet was well practiced in dominating a host. The host continued to fight after knowing that there was no hope of success. Soon her struggles became ineffective. She eventually weakened just as all the others. They soon learn that they are nothing. Only the Goa置ld matter. Apophis sat back on his throne, content in the knowledge that he was right. How easily slaves forgot the truth. The host itself meant nothing. It had always been that way and would always be that way. They existed as mere vessels to carry a Goa置ld, yet they thought themselves to be so much more.

Loki痴 head inclined again. Apophis found Asgard physical affectations very annoying, but he would never mention it. He couldn稚 say or do anything to annoy this Asgard. Finally, Loki said, 溺ajesty, given that both host and symbiote may be preserved in the sands of Abydos and that both were uniquely strong-willed, these facts bode well as indicators for success. However, there are circumstances present that I may not be able to reverse. I cannot guarantee a positive outcome to the experiment, but you have my assurance that I will attempt to accomplish what you ask.

的 only ask that you make the attempt. We will arrive at Abydos tomorrow. Is there anything you need in preparation?

哲o. All will be ready when we arrive. If it pleases Your Majesty, I will return to my ship to prepare the equipment needed for the task.

Apophis majestically inclined his head as if giving his permission for Loki to leave. 徹f course. Kintac is at your disposal. If you require any assistance, you need only ask.

Loki bowed his head, then turned and walked out of the throne room. Apophis watched the Asgard walk away, place his hand on the entrance of the room as he turned at the doorway and disappear from sight just as the entrance was sealed.

~~~

As Loki passed by the doorway, he placed a listening device on the door熔ne that would quickly absorb whatever color it was placed on and seemingly disappear from view. He did not leave the area. Once alone in the passageway, he brought out a small receiver unit and listened to the conversation in the room.

添ou are trusting this Asgard, Father. Are you certain of this? Klorel痴 voice sounded first.

轍uite certain. Loki has agreed to help me. If he succeeds, our queen will be returned to us. If he fails, then he will die. Kintac, make certain that you are near Loki at every moment while we are on Abydos. Should he fail us, then kill him.

徹f course, my lord. Kintac痴 voice sounded louder. Obviously, he was near the listening device.

鄭nd your other plan, Father?

溺y other plan? Apophis voice sounded almost playful, like he was teasing his son.

添es, Father, Klorel痴 voice almost sounded teasing. 典here is more to this than you have told us.

的ndeed there is, Klorel. I have plans for Daniel Jackson. And that, my son, will be told to you once we reach Abydos.

Loki heard the sounds of marching footfalls and quickly switched off the receiver. The next moment, he was enveloped in a bright light and disappeared from the passageway scant seconds before the marching Jaffa troop filed by.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

EARTH祐GC

泥amn it! Daniel exclaimed as he dropped another coffee mug. He didn稚 realize that the coffee was that hot until it sloshed over the rim. As he bent down to clean up the mess, he cut his finger on the sharp edge of the shattered ceramic mug.

泥amn it! That hurt.

He knew it was only his dopamine levels out of whack, he knew that every part of him was still trying to overcome the Blood Of Sokar. The pain hurt more than it should, the coffee felt hotter than it was, his clothes were scratching his skin, and he was utterly and totally pissed. He was tired, but too wired to sleep. He had circles under his eyes and his body screamed for rest only to find insomnia prevented him from getting any sleep. Janet痴 diagnoses were right on target.

He was a mess.

Jack was right. He needed a week away from here. He had no doubt that Janet had given Jack the idea, and for once, Daniel was grateful for his friends meddling. Jack would make him eat and sleep, and he had no inclination to fight it. Sleep was just not what it once was.

For a year, he slept beside his wife, Sha置ri cuddled safely in his arms. Happy, contented, peaceful slumber for the first time in his life. Then for three years, sleep was another means for the nightmares to attack him. He couldn稚 remember a single night passing where he slept the night through and didn稚 have any nightmares of Sha置ri being taken from him repeatedly.

Now, sleep was just a way to get from one day to the next without being awake to feel the loneliness, but the loneliness was there. It came into his dreams. The pain went deep and hadn稚 lessened. Nothing helped. Not work, not distractions, not emergencies, nothing. Everywhere he looked was a reminder of his failure to rescue his wife. Every artifact, every discovery, every success against the enemy was a testament to the fact that they had traveled to countless planets and never found her預nd when they did What was the point of any of it when the most important thing in your life was gone?

The point was the survival of the human race. What痴 one person痴 sacrifice compared to that?

Now he was really getting depressed. Seesawing dopamine levels and emotional roller coasters or so Janet had told him. And everything hurt. His eyes were hurting because the lights were too bright. His hand was hurting because he had just cut it on the broken mug. His fingers were hurting because the coffee had been too hot. His

摘nough! he almost shouted. He had to try to fight this. This depression was not going away. He tried thinking good thoughts to try to force himself to feel better, but thoughts of Sha置ri, no matter how wonderful, depressed him further since she was no longer alive. Skaara, no, he was still missing. Kasuf? He was alive. He was just a few moments away by Stargate. Kasuf had wanted him to stay on Abydos after the funeral, but Janet had not allowed it. Daniel had been suffering the after-effects of the ribbon device and Janet was worried. Despite that fact that Abydos was the only true home he had ever known, and for the first time in a very long time he felt the need to have family around, it wasn稚 going to happen. Damn Goa置lds.

Enough bad memories what was a good memory? Daniel thought for a moment Kasuf had a delicious sense of humor. He was very proper in public but loved to smile and laugh when he was alone with his family. He would tell jokes that would have everyone laughing so hard that they would start to cry. He could tell such moving stories that he would captivate an entire audience without trying. Sha置ri had said that Daniel was the only other person she had ever known that could do that.

Daniel smiled at the memory.

In a few moments, he was feeling a little better. He wasn稚 hurting as much, but he knew that it was going to take a few more days to actually feel normal again.

Yeah, a fishing trip would probably be the best thing for him. He needed to make some good memories since so many of the memories he had been collecting lately were anything but good. It wouldn稚 be like the fishing trips he used to take with Kasuf, but it could be fun if he let it.

He was determined to try.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

ABYDOS湧AGADA

I hold my good son close to me, the wound in his chest bleeding, his breath rasping.

He is dying in my arms, and I cannot help him except to be with him in his last moments.

的知 sorry, Dan馳er says.

I see his face grimace in pain. I hold him tighter, willing my strength into him. 展hy? I ask him although I knew his answer.

的 should never have taken down the barricade濫 His voice starts gasping in pain.

哲o. I told you to take down the barricade. I helped bring about the situation that split apart our family. I will not let him die thinking that he did anything wrong.

鉄orry, Dan馳er mumbles. 的致e disappointed you

I place my hand on his forehead, feeling the coldness of death already grasping him. I look up at what was once Nagada, now nothing more than smoking ruins from the demons attacks. Bodies lie dead around us. Many of my people are escaping to the mountains. I can see all that has happened, but my good son is not the cause of it. He has been too cruelly harmed by the demons to accept any blame for their actions. 添ou are the son of my heart, Dan馳er. You have never disappointed me. You have only brought me great joy. I could not be prouder of you if you were the blood of my blood. You are my son. Nothing will ever change that.

I can feel his heartbeat pounding in vain beneath my hand. Each beat pumps more of his life-giving blood from his body. Then I feel it weaken, falter.

I lean my forehead down to touch my good son痴, my hand straying to my side to feel the fatal wound Dan馳er had tried to save me from. 的 am soon to follow you, my son. But you will die knowing that in all ways important, you are my son.

Dan馳er痴 heart stops. He breathes his last breath. I am holding on to my son痴 dead body knowing that I will be dead soon. No one would come back to find us. Our bodies would never be buried with the rest of our family.

Kasuf woke.

It was the same nightmare that had haunted him more nights than he cared to remember. He knew the meaning behind it death and pain were stalking his good son. Kasuf knew it was only a nightmare, but he believed it to be prophetic. It was one prophecy that couldn稚 come true. Dan馳er had suffered enough.

The nightmares kept coming, night after night. Sleep wasn稚 the respite from daily toils any longer. The horrifying dreams followed Kasuf every night, depriving him of much needed rest.

It wasn稚 always so.

Once, he could sleep easily in his tent knowing that his son Skaara was either sleeping on the far side of the tent or staying with Dan馳er and Sha置ri in their small house. With absolute certainty, he knew the daily routine would be followed. His three children would wake early and travel to what Dan馳er called the map room and the gate room. Then, still early in the morning, they would return to the city so Dan馳er could teach the people to read the written language so long denied to them. Kasuf wouldn稚 see them at the morning meal, but the evening meal was one in which the entire family would meet. Kasuf used to smile at his good son痴 enjoyment of the evening meal. When one had no family for so long, family meals would be unheard of. What Kasuf took for granted, Dan馳er treasured.

Kasuf grew accustomed to that small ritual as well as the comfort of having his loved ones close by. It wasn稚 until his children were ripped from his life that he realized how he had come to depend on them.

That was when the first nightmares came. Those first few months waiting for some word of their safety were a torment for Kasuf. There were times he wanted to tear down the stones burying the Chappa誕i in order to contact Dan馳er just so he could hear one of his children痴 voices again, but he didn稚. Dan馳er had warned them about the dangers, about keeping the Chappa誕i covered for one year and Kasuf adhered to that request. Even when Sha置ri returned carrying her unborn child, Kasuf didn稚 unbury the gate --  much to his shame since that meant his daughter and good son only had one day together before the demons took her away again.

Nightmares soon became reality. Sha置ri was now buried near her mother. Kasuf visited the graves often, telling his wife of all the village痴 events, telling his daughter about Dan馳er痴 adventures. Nothing eased the pain of loss for him, not even sleep. The dark dreams of longing to see his wife, feel her hair run through his fingers, hear the sound of her voice in the dark of night, see her in his tent his loss of his wife still felt as if a knife was buried in his heart. Sha置ri, how he longed to hear her laugh again, hear her voice sounding with her husband and brother痴 as they discussed new discoveries they found in the buried chambers

All gone. Yet, Kasuf had to believe that his boys would return home someday. He couldn稚 bear to think of anything else.

Skaara was still lost to him to them. Dan馳er still searched for his brother and stepson

Dan馳er. His good son. It was the nightmares about Dan馳er that troubled Kasuf the most. Dan馳er held the most dangerous task of all. He resisted the demons. His tribe had destroyed many of them and their Jaffa. Kasuf痴 fears for Dan馳er were those of a father knowing that one day his sons would meet each other on opposite sides of a battlefield and the outcome would be fatal for one of them.

Those were the greatest nightmares Kasuf faced様osing another of his children to the demons. Yet he didn稚 lose hope. He believed that one day his sons would return to him but even that belief didn稚 stop the nightmares.

Yet, nightmares or no, Kasuf had duties to perform, duties that had been the responsibility of the chief elder since the early days. Before dawn came, Kasuf left his tent and walked about the city streets. He forced his thoughts away from his own troubles and concentrated on his duties and the city itself.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

VORASH裕OK坦A BASE

Vorash was an unfriendly planet, mostly desert and little greenery. Unlike other populated desert planets like Abydos, there were no ancient cities or residing civilizations. There were no ruins to marvel at or artifacts to discover. It was an inhospitable but survivable planet that had nothing to offer anyone.

No one, that is, except the Tok池a.

Deep beneath the dunes lay a myriad of tunnels built by a remarkable technology still not understood by those who hunted the Tok池a. Quickly excavated and quickly collapsible, the tunnels had lain hidden beneath the surface on many planets, all under the seeking eyes of the Goa置ld. On Vorash, the drifting sands helped to camouflage the tunnels and the continually blowing wind hid any signs of the Tok池a presence.

Inhospitable? Yes.

Practical? Definitely.

Convenient? Definitely not.

Mordecai had lived on a variety of planets since he left his position as instructor to the young and became host to Malthus, but desert planets were among his least favorite. The harsh conditions on the surface meant that they had to spend most of his time in the underground tunnels. It was a complaint he knew his symbiote was familiar with. Malthus recent experiments had lasted for several days, those days spent secluded in a laboratory watching cells split and then fail. He longed for something, anything to distract him from the tediousness of the repetition.

槽.How much longer, Malthus?

鮮ot much longer. This was my last sample. Both host and symbiote watched as the final sample deteriorated

槽.Now what? Try again?

鮮o. We have no more, and there痴 no way to get more.

Vorash was a well thought out hiding place for the Tok池a, but everything from food to equipment had to be transported there. Basic supplies were in great demand and had to be rationed out to each Tok池a. Items other than basic supplies were in even greater demand. This proved to be a difficult obstacle with the scientific community within the Tok池a commune. What was a scientist to do when an experiment had to be ran many times and not just the number of times the experimental rations allowed?

Mordecai felt Malthus frustration when his symbiote thought about the futility of running the experiment again even if he had another sample. He knew the results would be the same, and he would just be wasting precious resources. He couldn稚 reproduce the effect in a laboratory. It could only happen naturally, and there was little chance that he would ever get a viable sample to work with again. .

.Can I do anything to help?

'No. There is nothing to be done.

Mordecai 都at back within the confines of his mind and let Malthus have full control. This was a time when Malthus needed quiet to think

 ~~~

Malthus regarded his now non-existent supply of genetic material. He needed more, but the chances of obtaining any were slim. Goa置ld Queens were well protected behind their Jaffa and their Pharaohs protection. There were a few so-called royal physicians to aid matters when the sarcophagus and the healing devices weren稚 readily available for the pharaohs and the queens, but none of them could be trusted to obtain a sample. Malthus only needed a small amount of genetic material. He could filter out the host痴 portion to leave him an unsullied sample. It didn稚 even have to be fresh. It could be

Malthus sat up straight in his chair. He remembered! How could he have forgotten? There was a sample readily available to him. There was a queen buried in the desert sands of Abydos. The host痴 family had buried Amaunet there just two months earlier. Yes! He could get a sample easily from

No, he couldn稚.

Malthus remembered that Amaunet痴 host had been the wife of Daniel Jackson, and the Tok池a were now friends of the Tau池i. If he just went to Abydos and 殿ppropriated the necessary amount of genetic material, he could jeopardize that 吐riendship. It wasn稚 that Malthus really cared about the Tau池i. They were primitive and not able to understand that the Tok池a had a more important agenda that did not include catering to the Tau池i every time they needed something, but the Tok池a Council were rather fond of them, mostly because of Jacob Carter and the help they offered Selmak. Malthus would have to go to Earth and obtain permission from Daniel Jackson to exhume his wife痴 body. Barring that, he would have to go to Abydos and ask the host痴 family. Given the Abydonian痴 respect for the dead and belief of certain punishment when disturbing the dead without reason, he knew that he would be refused permission from the family, but perhaps he could persuade Daniel Jackson. After all, the man was an archaeologist. Digging up the dead was a profession with him. Surely he could have no objections to his request for such a great cause.

'.You believe that Daniel Jackson will give you permission? He searched for his wife for almost three years. She died recently. He will still be grieving

Malthus considered what his host said. Was it too soon? It didn稚 matter. They needed the genetic sample before it degraded any more. 'I値l ask politely,' he thought back to his host. 'I値l tell him as much as I can without telling him everything. He痴 a scientist. He値l understand the urgency. And if he doesn稚, I知 sure Colonel O誰eill or Major Carter will understand and explain the importance of the research, both militarily and scientifically.

.You think Colonel O誰eill could understand the scientific research? Even if he could, do you think he壇 tolerate such a request, even to a scientist the quality of Daniel Jackson?

'We have to try.' Malthus couldn稚 argue the point with his host. Even though he didn稚 like the Tau池i, he didn稚 want to deliberately hurt someone, either, certainly not an ally. Still, his research was too important to worry about the feelings of one obscure individual.

'.He痴 not just any individual, Malthus. He痴 the one who deciphered the Stargate for the Tau池i and helped kill Ra. He痴 considered exceptional by many of our allies and acquaintances, and he痴 well liked by most of the Tok池a. You壇 better be very polite when you talk to him. I don稚 think Jacob or Selmak will let you get away with hurting him

'I値l try not to hurt him, but we need that material.

'.Then I wish you luck, my friend, but if I even sense that you池e about to do something stupid or say something wrong, I値l be the one doing the talking. Understood?

塑es, I understand.'

Pushy host, Malthus thought to himself. He felt a mental 徒ick by his host and laughed. It wasn稚 the first time he was grateful for sharing a complementary pairing. Mordecai the teacher and Malthus the scientist had a congenial blending, each able to use the knowledge of the other to enhance his own studies. Mordecai might not always like the way Malthus went about his business, but he respected the scientist, and Malthus truly respected his host容ven if he did have to let Mordecai do the talking now and again. 選 promise, I won稚 force the issue, but I will get that material. Somehow.. Already anticipating success, Malthus called for his assistant. 泥onan!

Donan ran into the room expecting to see Malthus either exultant because an experiment was a success or ready to destroy the laboratory because the experiment had failed again. Instead, he found an exuberant Malthus pacing the room, talking to himself, making plans. 敵et the team together. Exhumation and containment equipment should suffice. We must go to Earth as soon as possible.

槽.Malthus, you are to meet with the Council in a few hours

The Tok池a stopped still in his tracks, his excitement only slightly abated. 泥onan, I must attend the Council meeting later today. We値l leave tomorrow and prepare for a short trip, but bring weapons. We may need them.

Donan didn稚 stop to wonder, he just turned to carry out Malthus orders. Whatever they were about to do should be an interesting excursion. All trips involving the Tau池i were interesting.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

LOKI担 SHIP

Angrboda stood silently as she watched Loki walk to his laboratory. Her mate was decidedly silent, his manner aloof and mysterious. She had been opposed to his plan of action, but Loki was determined to succeed, no matter what the cost.

From her vantage point, she could see Loki wave his hand over a wall panel. A small drawer ejected from another hidden panel. It was the location of Loki痴 more delicate technological devices. She watched as he meticulously sorted through the objects stored in orderly rows in the drawer. She could hear him muttering to himself as he searched for ah, yes. He found what he was looking for. Very carefully, he pulled two very tiny disks from the assortment. It was two tiny, almost metallic-looking disks, both miniscule when compared to the small appendage葉wo small neural implants.

In Loki痴 hands were the weapons he needed to help the plan to succeed.

Yes. The means of revenge. Subtle, easily delivered with an absolutely assured success. The hand that held the disks would destroy the one whose hand had destroyed their children.

Loki would have what he had brought them there for. He would have his long sought for revenge.

的nnocents will be harmed by our actions, she said, her voice filling the room.

的 will protect all who I am able, Loki answered as she approached him.

鄭pophis has given you his instructions, she stated.

滴e has. We are to restore Queen Amaunet to life. He is also making plans to capture Daniel Jackson. Loki placed the small disks into a protective container and then placed it with the portable equipment he would take with him to Abydos.

Angrboda had never heard Loki speak so dispassionately of another living being. His attitude toward the Tau池i was one of an indulgent parent to a recalcitrant child, but like Thor, he truly liked them. Yet, to be so cold toward one of them 泥aniel Jackson濫

泥aniel Jackson will survive. I will take all precautions to ensure that, but I cannot prevent him from being harmed. That will be necessary for us to claim vengeance on Apophis.

鄭ny harmful action endured by Daniel Jackson will provoke a negative reaction from O誰eill. That, in turn, will cause Thor to administer punishment for those actions. His punishment may prove to be more dire than we would expect.

Angrboda spoke the truth to remind Loki of the dangerous path he was walking. Revenge knew no bounds, but despite her warnings and no matter what the personal cost, Loki would gain his vengeance over Apophis. She knew this without doubt.

的 will take full responsibility for our actions. I will pay any penalty Thor wishes to impart, but Apophis will pay for his crimes. The right is ours to take. Thor will not dare argue that.

哲o, Angrboda answered calmly. Her own anger at the Goa置ld was great as Loki痴, but more reasonable minds would not see the situation as they did.. 滴e will not deny us our right. He swore before Odin and the Asgard Council that he would stand at our side and aid us in any manner necessary. We are acting without him.

They had waited for this moment for long years. Thor had deliberated over every aspect of his plan, studied every angle, considered every contingency. The opportunity had arrived. Loki was in the moment, yet he and Angrboda were alone and without help. 典hor is engaged with other concerns at the moment. Until the negotiations with the border worlds are completed, he could not leave, and we cannot wait. We must act now.

徹ur need to act now will not be questioned. Using Daniel Jackson will be. Angrboda was a very patient Asgard . Being with Loki all those ages, she had to be. She, too, had waited for this moment for centuries, but to use a Tau池i 猫oki, if permanent harm befalls Daniel Jackson濫

的t will not. My plan may not be perfect, but Daniel Jackson will survive and perhaps gain some measure of revenge himself. I know it is not within his nature to seek exactitude, but he will claim it nonetheless. And I will make restitution to him for his suffering.

Angrboda looked as puzzled as an Asgard possibly could. 滴ow will you compensate him for all that Apophis has inflicted on him and his family? On what will happen to him?

釘y returning to him what Apophis has taken.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

SGC優ANIEL担 OFFICE

Daniel looked up from the paperwork on his desk to the picture of Sha置ri sitting beside him. He wanted to reach out and touch it, but it wasn稚 a substitute for the living, breathing person he longed to hold.

敵ood Son, Kasuf痴 voice sounded from the darkness. 添ou are troubled?

Daniel turned and saw Kasuf standing in the doorway of his office. When had his good father arrived? 添es, I am. Many things have happened, Good Father, and I am not myself.

Kasuf痴 expression changed to a more compassionate gaze. 添ou grieve for Sha置ri as I do. I know that pain as well. It will never pass, yet we must learn to live with its presence. But something else disturbs you it is the Blood of Sokar that remains within you that adds to your distress. It will soon be gone, and you will again feel as yourself.

Daniel saw Kasuf fade and disappear. He rushed to the door only to find an empty corridor. 敵ood Father? Kasuf? Only empty echoes answered back.

Daniel walked back into his office and sat down at his desk. He glanced at the picture of Sha置ri sitting on his desk, saw her head turn, her eyes blink, her lips curve in the beautiful smile he longed to see again. Her gentle voice called out to him. 溺y Dan馳el?

Daniel reached out to the picture frame, but it moved away from him, shrinking away from his reach. Daniel rushed toward the frame, trying to capture it before it was gone completely, but it fled from his reach

Daniel jerked his head up. He was sitting at his desk, the last bit of paperwork scattered in front of him. He saw the clock擁t was only twenty minutes later than it had been when he last looked揺e had dozed off. He壇 be glad when the Blood of Sokar was out of his system, if not for the chance of getting a good night痴 sleep then for the absence of the unusual nightmares he壇 been having since they escaped Netu. In a few hours, he壇 be sitting in the passenger痴 seat of a truck headed toward Minnesota.

He didn稚 really want to go, but he needed the distraction, and Jack needed to feel like he was doing something. There were many uncertainties in life, but one absolute was the fact that Jack O誰eill didn稚 like feeling helpless when a friend was hurting. If it made Jack feel better, then maybe it was worth the trip.

Daniel sat there, his gaze on the picture frame that had eluded him in his dream. He reached out and took it, not allowing it to escape. Maybe the dream was a lesson of sorts. He had sought Sha置ri for three years, and she was always out of his reach. No matter how hard he tried or how far he reached, she was just out of arm痴 length.

He missed her. No amount of time anywhere was going to change that.

He felt a small tear start to form and fall down his cheek. He wasn稚 sure if the tear came from his own loneliness or from the emotional downs brought about by the Blood of Sokar. He wasn稚 sure of anything at that moment. All he knew is that he hurt, and he didn稚 know what he was hurting from.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

DAY THREE輸POPHIS HA探AK

鄭bydos, My Lord,. The First Prime watched the view screen with Apophis as the planet grew larger. 鉄hall we prepare to transport to the surface now?

Apophis thought for a moment as he gazed at the planet. It was a barren, sandy place. He didn稚 prefer to hold court over this type of planet, but Ra was never as particular. While Apophis preferred lush, verdant areas, Ra enjoyed the climates that placed harshness on the everyday lives of the people. That way, they would depend on him more for their existence. It was a false dependence, Apophis realized. Humans were highly adaptable and could thrive under almost any condition. This, he had learned through the memories of countless hosts. Ra had only the one human host, the one that he possessed when Daniel Jackson and O誰eill killed him. Therefore, Ra had little understanding of his slaves. Had he been more aware of their foibles and eccentricities, he would not have been so clumsy as to allow the Abydonians and two Tau池i to beat him. It was a fateful lesson all Goa置lds had learned from.

溺y Lord? Kintac asked a second time.

Apophis decided. 鏑and the ha稚ak at the pyramid. We will transport down. Choose four Jaffa to travel with us to the grave, and another four including Sar誕c to accompany Klorel. I want no surprises.

的t will be as you wish, My Lord,. The First Prime bowed and left to follow his master痴 bidding.

Klorel and Loki stood by quietly in the throne room as well. Both remained silent as they waited for the System Lord to give them their instructions.

添ou are certain your device will work, Apophis almost nervously asked the Asgard.

典hat it will work? Quite certain. That it will work correctly is another matter. That is dependent on the condition of your queen痴 host body, Your Majesty. The device is a derivation of one of the Ancient痴 devices. They had tried to alter time, but were unsuccessful. My research has proven that their failure was based on the parameters of their experiment. They were using a planet as a basis. Such a large-scale attempt was disastrous. The effects could not be contained within our temporal continuum and created a time loop that did not alter the timeline. However, when used on a small-scale application as you are proposing, I have had great success. But I must warn you, I have never attempted such an experiment as you have requested. There may be unseen complications that cannot be accounted for nor corrected.

How many times would the Asgard repeat himself? Apophis had been told this before. Loki had impressed upon him the fact that this had never been tried, and that the device could only be utilized for this particular use once. A second time risked discovery by the Asgard, and both Apophis and Loki wanted to avoid that by any means possible. How many then Apophis realized that the Asgard did not wish to raise the System Lord痴 hopes. There was a great chance that their mission would fail. 的 understand. You will not be held responsible should the process not be successful. I realize you are making a great sacrifice by agreeing to assist me.

哲o, Your Majesty. I make no sacrifice by returning your queen to you. I wish only to help.

If an Asgard痴 expressions could be interpreted, Apophis would almost say that Loki was acting smug要ery uncharacteristic of an Asgard. He waved his hand and dismissed Loki. He had to tread cautiously. This annoying little cretin could be the only chance Apophis had of retrieving what was his. Motioning for Klorel to come forward, he asked in a low voice, 泥o you know what you have to do, my son?

Klorel, fully understanding what his father wished but not fully understanding why, answered truthfully. 添es, Father. But what purpose does the old man serve? How can he help you retrieve our queen?

滴e is not required to help the Asgard. I need the old man to bring me my new host.

Klorel smiled at the knowledge that Apophis was interested in a change of residence. 鄭 new host, Father? Who?

With a frightening smile, Apophis answered, 泥aniel Jackson.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

NAGADA

Abydos before sunrise was the quietest moment of the day for the soon-to-be bustling town. Although the farmers would have been up and working in the fields and the herdsmen tending to the animals before the first rays of sunlight draped over the mountains, most of the townspeople would only be beginning to rouse from sleep. Waking babies would need to be tended to, morning meals cooked and others would be preparing to greet the day. The people would be awake but the town itself had a little longer to sleep.

Usually.

First, there was quiet intense profound no loud noises hiding in the darkness

The nightmarish screeching of a ha稚ak痴 braking thrusters tore apart the quiet calm. The ship landed at the pyramid the demons had returned!

City guards ran through the city streets warning that the demons were back. The militia took up arms, prepared to bravely but uselessly defend their city from the death gliders that would inevitably come

But no death gliders flew over the city.

Only one cargo ship flew from the ha稚ak, heading in the opposite direction葉oward the desert.

Skaara watched in muted fear at the danger being marched toward Nagada. Klorel was taking him and a small troop of Jaffa over the desert toward the city. He had tried to fight back, tried so desperately hard to stop the Goa置ld inside him from completing Apophis orders, but Klorel used torturous pain to subdue him. Skaara tried to influence Klorel as he did on the ha稚ak flying toward Earth a few years earlier, but it was to no avail.

Apophis will would be done.

As they entered the city, Skaara heard his name being yelled, watched in abject horror as those people he壇 known since childhood were struck down with staff weapons揺is name the last word they uttered. Skaara fought for control, just one moment of personal freedom to run away from the Jaffa, to allow one of the militia a clear shot at him, but Klorel again subdued him painfully.

'Fool,' Klorel痴 voice echoed through the blinding pain. 'You cannot stop us. Your father and the Tau池i will kneel before Apophis and our revenge against your precious Dan馳er will be enjoyable indeed.

A stabbing pain splintered through Skaara, pushing him down into the darkness, away from the terror and the bloodshed, away from the knowledge that he was helpless to protect his family and friends against the Goa置ld. When he saw his father being taken prisoner by the Jaffa, he whispered as silently as he could, hopefully too quietly for Klorel to hear him, 擢orgive me, Father, Dan馳er.

Yet Klorel heard him. 'Forgive?' the creature laughed. 'Watch as your father bows to me!

Klorel stood within the protective circle of his personal Jaffa bodyguards as Sar誕c dragged Kasuf before him and threw him to the ground. His host痴 memories about this human were very clear. Memories of listening to his stories and advice, memories of a devoted father and loving parent

The older Abydonian stared at Klorel, the hatred intense in his eyes. Hatred, and yet no fear. It seemed that fearlessness was a trait within the family. 的 know who you are. You are the demon that has infected my son, the human spat.

The Goa置ld sneered at the insolence. 的 am Klorel, son of Apophis. My father has commanded you be brought to him.

的 will not go. Your false god has no power here.

Klorel raised his hand and viciously slapped Kasuf, almost knocking him off his knees. 鼎ome or I will destroy every living creature in this city.

There was a moment of utter quiet, and then Kasuf bowed his head. Klorel quietly laughed. The human knew he had no choice. After all, the Goa置ld were in control.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

NAGADAN BURIAL GROUNDS

Apophis cursed the sand.

As the four Jaffa toiled to remove the body from its grave, the sand would fall back into the pit. It was a slow, laborious process. They never once glanced at their master, only kept shoveling the sand out of the pit as quickly as they could.

Apophis was not known for his patience.

He waited. Loki and Kintac waited quietly beside him. Apophis mind was more focused than it had ever been before. His goals were not unreachable預 simple plan in the making, a complex task to perform, a series of retributionary acts that he would personally administer. He was a very busy god. Waiting was not conducive to his good humor.

The sands were finally convinced to release their hold on the shrouded body. Once the grains had been swept away, the Jaffa carefully lifted their queen out of her grave and placed her at Apophis feet. The Goa置ld knelt beside his beloved and carefully removed the primitive burial wrappings from her face. The hair, the skin she appeared to be only sleeping. He touched her cheek, her lips yes. Just as he remembered. Beautiful.

添our Majesty, I do not wish to intrude upon this moment, but we do not have much time, Loki informed him.

Time. Time was the enemy. 徹f course. What do you require of me?

徹nly that you step back and allow me to examine the cellular degradation. I will work swiftly.

Apophis wordlessly obeyed and stepped back.

Loki motioned for Kintac to pass him one of the hand-held devices that they had brought with them. He removed a miniscule disk and watched as it activated.

展hat is that? Apophis asked.

的t is a neural implant module. It will allow me to more accurately gauge the degradation and mental activity, Loki explained as he placed the implant at the base of Sha置ri痴 skull and waited until it was absorbed through the skin. 的t will temporarily attach itself to the brain stem and will then be absorbed by the body within a few days. I will need all information possible in order to secure every chance of a successful result.

Loki swept the hand-held device over the body. After a few long moments, all of which Apophis carefully watched every move the Asgard made, he saw the hand-held device glow. Finally, Loki said, 添our Majesty, the cellular degradation is minimal. If you would have the Jaffa move her into the shuttle, I will attempt to resurrect her.

A quick jerk of Apophis hand made the Jaffa move quickly. They raised the body from the sand and carried her into the shuttle. Before Apophis and Kintac could follow, Loki stopped them. 的 must do this alone. The technology works best if there are few living beings in close proximity to the temporal device. The energy field a living creature generates could presumably interfere with the process. I would not wish to endanger the results.

Alone? Apophis wanted to be the first person Amaunet saw when she awoke, but if he had to be separated from her in order for her to awaken Of course. We will wait here. Will that be sufficient?

的t will be. I will try to be expedient, Your Majesty, but this procedure is delicate. I must take extreme precautions, and I must be allowed the time to take care in each step of the process.

的 understand, Apophis said almost patiently. In moments, perhaps minutes, his queen would once again be by his side. He could afford to be patient, but only for those few moments. He watched as the Asgard walked alone into the shuttle.

He only had to wait those few moments, maybe minutes, and then his patience would be rewarded.

溺y pharaoh, Kintac pointed beyond the shuttle, 適lorel comes.

鄭h, Apophis watched his son lead the small brigade. 典his will occupy our time until the Asgard has fulfilled his obligation.

Very quickly, Klorel and his Jaffa traversed the distance and forced Kasuf to his knees before Apophis. The Goa置ld walked slowly around Kasuf as if determining his worth. He wasn稚 pleased with the sight. 典his is the slave痴 father?

添es. Klorel grabbed Kasuf痴 chin and forced him to look up at them, reinforcing his position as a mere slave whose life was dependent on the Goa置lds good will.

滴e will further my plan well, Apophis cackled. 撤athetic slaves. They are so easily manipulated. He motioned toward the Jaffa standing behind Kasuf. 鉄ar誕c, give me your symbiote.

Without a single word of protest, the Jaffa reached into his pouch and withdrew his prim稚a. Apophis took hold of the creature, his eyes glowing in exultation. 天aros, he spoke solely to the symbiote, 添ou have served me well many years. As befitting your title and duties and your loyalty to me, I have always allowed you to choose your own host. However, I must insist you take this human as your next host. I have great need of him and of you controlling him for a short time. Will you accommodate me?

The symbiote screeched and moved its head in acquiescence. Whatever his pharaoh wanted, Varos would perform without question. He always had.

The human was much older than Apophis liked for Varos hosts, but he needed the slave for a deified purpose. So be it. Once the plan came to fruition, Varos could always choose another, and Apophis would get him any host he wanted as a reward for successfully obeying his orders.

Varos sounded one more screech, as if sounding a warning to his pharaoh. Apophis merely smiled and nodded his head. 添es, there are dangers in taking an entire family as hosts, but I accept those dangers in this case. I will have my revenge.

 ~~~

Kasuf had known fear.

Under Ra痴 rule, he had watched as his people lived and died by the god痴 whim. He witnessed the deaths of many and saw the cruel unjust punishments of even more. Ra terrorized them ruthlessly and without mercy.

Yet, at that precise moment, Kasuf would have gladly welcomed that fear to the ones he had suffered through for over three years and the one he was staring at. He壇 survived the greatest fear any parent could experience when he lost all three of his children in one helpless moment. And now, his worst nightmares were coming true.

His son no, not his son. The demon inside Skaara stared at Kasuf through his son痴 eyes with hatred and disdain. Kasuf knew that Skaara was trapped within his mind, forced to watch the spectacle of oppression about to take place. What had Dan馳er told him? The host was helpless against the power of the demon? Kasuf knew that Skaara would be unable to stop the proceedings. At least Dan馳er was not there at that moment熔ne of his sons was safe.

In one last show of defiance, Kasuf glared at the demon that stole his children from him, who placed his mate in Sha置ri, who placed his son in Skaara and who hunted Dan馳er.

He would not be subdued quietly. Kasuf swore to this to himself. He would not allow the demon an easy victory.

~~~

Loki was alone in the shuttle for the moment.

Sha置ri痴 body lay on a table-like structure. Death had not robbed her of her beauty熔r so Loki thought the humans would believe. Stories of certain humans reached even the Asgard, Daniel Jackson among them. His search for his kidnapped wife had taken on heroic, almost mythical qualities even amongst the most advanced races. There was an irony to be found in the tales that a forgotten people on a lost world were destroying the Goa置lds empire one symbiote at a time.

Without further delay, Loki activated the temporal manipulator and waited for the indicator to show its readiness. He wasn稚 absolutely certain that he would be successful, but he knew enough to surmise the outcome. The temporal manipulator was once thought to be the ultimate panacea to universal ills, but the attempts to control time on a planetary scale had proved unattainable. On a much smaller determinable use, it had worked.

It had to work now.

One last check of the neural implant showed that it was active and functioning properly. The temporal manipulator was ready. Loki was prepared. He placed the temporal manipulator at Sha置ri痴 head and stepped back.

All he could do now was wait.

Within moments, a beam emitted from the device and enveloped Sha置ri痴 body. Loki watched as the pulsating energy wave moved and danced over the human. As the light grew, it hummed ever louder, reversing the cellular degradation, reversing time within its limited realm of influence.

As he waited for the first signs of life from the dead human, he heard an agonized, piercing scream echo from outside. It was a new voice, an older voice no. With a sudden clarity of thought and realization, Loki immediately understood that his actions were now party to placing another innocent in harm痴 way. He had been too reckless to consider the bystanders he knew what had just happened.

Thor would never forgive him for that.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

Hammond loved uneventful days. Quiet, serene, almost boring he didn稚 quite know what to do with himself.

It was only going to get quieter, but probably not until after a very loud meeting between two members of SG-1. Colonel O誰eill was coming to the base to pick up Doctor Jackson who had worked through the night, something the colonel was more than a little upset about. Already, the archaeologist痴 roller-coastering emotions had put most of the personnel on alert. The general had asked some of the airmen to stop by Daniel痴 office occasionally to bring him food, coffee or just to check on his general welfare. The reports weren稚 good. Once he was angrily throwing coffee mugs at the wall. Another time, he was near tears. One airman said he heard laughing once, but it was the report that mentioned Daniel saying how the very weave of his uniform hurt his skin had Hammond worried.

The general smiled at the mental image of Jack O誰eill forcing a stubborn Daniel Jackson to rest and eat. Those two indomitable wills in concert with each other was a tremendous force to be reckoned with. Opposed, you致e got the makings of an apocalyptic head-on collision, and with Doctor Jackson in his current physical state, it would definitely be a week Hammond was glad he wouldn稚 have to witness, no matter how entertaining it might be.

敵eneral, Sergeant Davis called him over the intercom, 妬ncoming wormhole.

Hammond hurried to the control room. No SG teams were scheduled to return. 鉄ignal?

Davis waited a moment, then answered. 鉄G-1 signal Abydonian sub-signal. Transmission only.

Hammond reached down and activated the monitor to receive the MALP image. It was a good thing they had left one behind on Abydos. General Hammond would never forgive himself for threatening to send a bomb through but that was then. This was now. Within moments, the picture of the Abydonian gate room appeared on the screen with Kasuf standing before the MALP.

溺aster Kasuf, this is General Hammond. It痴 good to see you again, sir.

典hank you, General. Please excuse my haste, but is my good son there?

Hammond motioned to a nearby airman to call Daniel on the telephone and advise him that his presence was required in the control room. 滴e値l be here in a moment. How are things on Abydos? No trouble, I hope. Jackson didn稚 need any more trouble.

哲o, there has been no trouble. It has been quiet since my daughter died, may she rest in peace.

Kasuf痴 voice was steady, not the voice of a grieving parent. He had been able to deal with that pain well enough. 典hat痴 good, Hammond said gratefully. 典hings have been rather busy for us, your son-in-law in particular.

添ou have important tasks. It is not a simple matter to fight the Goa置ld, the Elder commented. 的 shall not keep Dan馳er long. I require his assistance on a political matter.

撤olitical? Daniel asked breathlessly as he ran into the control room. Hammond surmised that he must have run the entire way.

敵ood Son, the Council is convening in a few hours to discuss terms of a new trade agreement with our neighboring cities. I cannot cast your vote in this. Can you return home?

添es, I値l be right there. Daniel volunteered before asking the general for permission. Seeing Hammond痴 quickly permissive nod, he said, 的値l let the general tell Jack I won稚 be going fishing today.

Kasuf didn稚 answer, just nodded and stepped back.

的値l send him through the Stargate immediately, Hammond said into the microphone just as the wormhole disengaged.

鉄ergeant, dial up Abydos.

添es, sir.

Before Daniel could turn to leave, the general stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. 鄭re you feeling well enough to do this?

Daniel flexed his fingers. 迭ight now? Yes, sir. I don稚 feel too out of sorts at the moment. I should be all right for a little while.

展hat would you like me to tell Colonel O誰eill? Hammond had been the bearer of bad tidings to his second-in-command on more than one occasion, but this time would be priceless.

Daniel didn稚 have to consider an answer. It was already on the tip of his tongue. 典ell him I値l be back as soon as I can, and then we値l go catch that really big fish. Tired as he was, as wound up as he was, Daniel realized he really wanted to go back home to Abydos before going on that vacation with Jack溶ow that he was no longer adverse to the idea of going fishing. It was easier to say that Jack痴 idea of fun and his were slightly different.

典he one that痴 this big? Hammond grinned as he spread his arms apart.

徹h, you致e heard of it? Daniel returned, smiling.

As Daniel turned to leave, Hammond said quickly, 泥octor, I壇 strongly suggest you taking your weapon with you. Hammond said quickly. 鄭nd a GDO?

Daniel looked around, as if deciding what to do when Sergeant Davis opened a drawer and gave him a spare sidearm, holster and an extra SG-1 GDO that he kept in case of emergency預nd with SG-1, there were always emergencies. Daniel quickly took the items, put them in his jacket pockets, gave the sergeant and the general a thanking nod, then without further delay he rushed down to the gate room, up the ramp and through the Stargate.

鉄ergeant Davis, I have to make a phone call to Colonel O誰eill, Hammond told him.

添es, sir, the sergeant answered.

徹h, Sergeant, I don稚 know anything about extra GDOs being kept in drawers without authorization. It痴 not exactly regulation.

添es, sir, Davis smiled as he turned back to the control panel.

~~~

Daniel stepped through the wormhole onto the gate platform on Abydos. Just as he did so, he felt something fall onto the back of his neck. He reached up to brush whatever it was off, but there was nothing there. He dismissed it as his imagination. Kasuf was waiting for him, a small smile on his face. If Kasuf was smiling, that meant that the visit wasn稚 meant to be just business. Kasuf would turn it into a family trip before it was over.

敵ood Father, Daniel greeted Kasuf.

敵ood Son, I am glad you are here. There is much to be done, and time is against us.

Kasuf sounded more urgent than before. 的 thought you just needed my vote for the trade agreement. Did something else happen?

添es, Kasuf said as he brought his left hand out from his robes. Something shiny was wrapped around his fingers and palm, something very familiar. Kasuf痴 arm reached forward toward Daniel, the ribbon device flared directly at Daniel痴 forehead, dropping him to his knees in intense pain.

天aros! A familiar, disembodied voice rang though the gate room. 摘nough. I do not wish him harmed. At least, not yet.

Daniel痴 eyes blinked as the immediate pain stopped, but the lingering ache remained. The pain was too pronounced葉he Blood of Sokar was being channeled with it. His head felt like it was splitting open!

Kasuf no. It couldn稚 be! It wasn稚 Kasuf. How could Kasuf use a ribbon device unless no. Not his father-in-law, too! Not all of his family!

Daniel could barely move through the overwhelming pain. He had learned enough about ribbon devices to learn about the different settings. Some stunned, some killed, others just hurt. Obviously, the one Kasuf was holding was set to a painful stun.

的mpressive, the familiar voice said. 添ou still have some control. Yes, you have been subjected to our personal weapon several times before. You have learned to use the effects against it, haven稚 you?

Damn. It was Apophis. That痴 who owned the voice. With a mighty effort, Daniel looked up at the creature standing before him, looking down on him with disgust and some impatience. Oh, yeah. It was Apophis. Dressed in his garish red attire, he would be considered overdressed at a costume party. 添ou know, Daniel said as he moved around trying to regain complete control over his limbs, 土ou really ought to get a new tailor. The one you致e got has been dressing you like a drag queen on a bad day. He saw Apophis eyes blaze at that. 徹r maybe it痴 not your tailor, Daniel said, trying to gain control of the conversation as well. 溺aybe you just prove the old adage that you池e ugly and your mother dresses you funny.

Apophis easily walked over to Daniel and backhanded him into the Jaffa he hadn稚 realized was standing behind him. Good thing he was still kneeling on the ground or he would have landed on his backside, not that Apophis second punch didn稚 send him there immediately after it was delivered. 的 shall enjoy making you suffer, was Apophis lame threat.

The little bastard really needed to get new material. 鉄uffer? Daniel asked. 滴ave you been watching those bad B movies on the Late Show again? Right. Keep on doing as Jack always told you to do. Make jokes, good, bad and in-between. Don稚 let him know you池e scared. Hell, don稚 let him know you池e terrified.

Apophis laughed. That was never good. The Goa置ld raised his hand and waved for someone to come closer. Now what did he have in mind? Did Apophis熔h, no. Matters just got worse. From behind a column in the gate room came someone Daniel had never expected to see. It was an Asgard. Someone who was supposed to be helping Earth against the Goa置ld was working with a Goa置ld? Daniel was in big trouble.

He should have given his assignments to Robert and gone fishing.

The Jaffa standing behind him dragged him unceremoniously to his feet and pushed him forward. Daniel was forced to follow Apophis, the Asgard and Kasuf謡ho was inside Kasuf? Varos, was that his name?熔ut of the gate room. Behind him, he heard what could only be classified as a derisive snort. He turned to see more Jaffa and Skaa溶o, not Skaara. It was Klorel getting into step behind him. What next? The hosts were his family! This was the family that he would have gladly given up his life for. Now they were hosts for parasites who were going to delight in killing him or worse. Daniel knew that was going to happen. He壇 angered more Goa置lds than he wanted to think about, and Apophis had just grabbed him by using the one bait he couldn稚 resist: family.

He knew where they were taking him. As they made their way toward the small room off the main corridor, Daniel thought to himself, 'Jack, please tell me you致e decided to come here instead of waiting for me to come back. He knew it was a useless hope. He was trapped.

They entered the small room single file. In the center, it held an altar that had been used ages ago in ancient sacrificial ceremonies that had been outlawed after the fall of Ra. Blood still stained some of the stones, giving them a reddish hue, a brilliant contrast to the sand colored stone that covered Abydos. Daniel knew that those colors could be some of the last he ever saw in this lifetime.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

Hammond was almost amused at Jack痴 irritation. Almost. Just because Jack wasn稚 happy that Daniel痴 trip home had delayed the catching of the fish this big didn稚 mean that the colonel had the right to make everyone miserable傭ut he was trying. He was grumpy and growling at everyone, snapping at anyone who dared to speak. Hammond was ready to politely ask him to leave the control room and find something productive to do.

鼎olonel, why don稚 you take a break? the general suggested. 的t could be hours before we hear anything from Doctor Jackson.

添ou know he won稚 tell Kasuf about the Blood of Sokar, Jack stated bluntly. 滴e痴 gonna be yo-yoing up and down the emotional scale, and no one痴 gonna know what痴 wrong with him.

的 don稚 think you have to worry about that. Master Kasuf is a very wise man. He値l know the moment Doctor Jackson starts behaving out of character that something is wrong. He値l ask濫

鄭nd Daniel will tell him. Kasuf is the one person he値l never keep anything from.

滴e値l be fine, Jack, but you池e starting to annoy the masses. I値l let you know if we hear anything from Abydos濫

The alarm sounded at that moment, preventing any further conversation.

的ncoming signal, Sergeant Davis called out as the wormhole stabilized, grateful for any distraction from the fuming colonel. 的t痴 the Tok池a.

General Hammond nodded his agreement. 徹pen the iris.

滴ere we go again, Jack said unhappily. 擢irst, Daniel postpones our vacation, now the Tok池a are going to grace us with their presence. Life can be so much fun.

鼎olonel?

的t痴 always the same, General. The Tok池a show up, get us to do something they don稚 want to risk their own necks for, and we池e the ones that almost get killed.

哲ot necessarily, Colonel. This might just be a social call.

展ith all due respect, sir, Jack said sarcastically, 妬f I believed that, I壇 be buying swampland in Arizona.

鉄o noted, Hammond told him. 展ould you be interested in a bridge in Brooklyn?

They watched as several Tok池a stepped through the event horizon, but they only recognized two. The first was Donan, a lab assistant. The other was Malthus, a Tok池a scientist.

Oh, boy. This wasn稚 going to be fun.

~~~

摘xcuse me, General Hammond angrily interrupted his visitor. 添ou want to exhume the body of Doctor Jackson痴 wife, and you believed that he would give permission for you to do so?

Malthus could feel Mordecai痴 I told you so' speaking loud and clear in his mind. He gave his host a quick nudge as he felt Mordecai sit back and listen. He had no doubt that his host would be telling him exactly what to say and what not to say during this meeting. Mordecai, being human, had a better rapport with other humans than Malthus did; however, he was giving Malthus the chance to present his request. 敵eneral, I don稚 believe you understand the significance of having access to a濫

哲o. I don稚 believe I do understand. Hammond sat back and laced his fingers together. Resting his joined hands on the table, he said, 撤lease explain.

'.Be polite, Malthus. And humble. General Hammond does not look pleased ' Malthus took a deep breath as he tried to take his host痴 words to heart. It was better to yield to the wisdom of experience than to allow his own pride to take control of him. Mordecai would not allow him to damage the Tok池a/Earth relationship but would be granted some leeway.

敵eneral, there are only a few Queen Goa置lds in existence. There are many Goa置ld queens, they are the rulers or mates of the pharaohs, but only the Queen Goa置lds themselves have the ability to reproduce. One symbiote in one hundred thousand will be born a queen, and that one symbiote is highly sought after by all System Lords. This guarantees that a System Lord痴 bloodline will survive.

添es, we致e been briefed about Goa置ld bloodlines, Hammond said.

Jack leaned forward, his unfailing stare pinning Malthus in his seat. 展hy do you want to dig up Sha置ri?

典here is a chance that I might be able to continue my research. General, Colonel, you must understand that Goa置ld symbiotes do not have the ability to reproduce as prolifically as humans. Only queens are born with the ability, and symbiote numbers are decreasing. My small sample of genetic material is gone, and I am only one of a very few trying to discover new and varied ways to increase our numbers or affect the numbers of Goa置ld symbiotes. Without new material, I will not be able to continue my research to discover and duplicate the genetic difference that allows only queens to produce offspring.

典hat痴 it? Jack asked.

Malthus waited a moment. 'Mordecai?

Malthus could sense Mordecai weighing the options of telling the truth or keeping secrets. Finally, Malthus heard Mordecai痴 advice. '.Tell him, Malthus

'I cannot tell him about my other research.

槽.You don稚 have any choice

The silent conversation between host and symbiote lasted mere moments, so quickly that no one else in the room knew that it was happening. 哲o, Colonel. There is more. I致e also been searching for weaknesses in a Goa置ld痴 bloodline in order to find more subtle ways to defeat them.

That one statement caught the general痴 interest. 展hat do you mean? Hammond asked.

的f we can determine the distinct genetic traits present in a queen痴 bloodline, we might be able to engineer a compound that will target the symbiotes of that bloodline, thereby killing the enemy without killing any of our own people.

Jack and Hammond were silent for a moment, then Jack muttered, 鄭 smart poison. Kill the bad guys and leave the good guys standing.

添es, Malthus answered.

添ou still haven稚 answered about why you want to dig up Sha置ri, Jack reminded him.

The Tok池a took a deep breath, then said, 鄭maunet is not a rare name among the Goa置ld. The original Amaunet was a Queen and mate to Amun-Ra. There have been several powerful System Lords with that name, but nothing certain is known about the fate of the Queen herself. She seems to have disappeared in history. The Amaunet who took Doctor Jackson痴 wife濫

鉄ha置ri, Hammond corrected him.

的知 sorry? Malthus was thrown off track by the unexpected interruption. 的 don稚 understand.

泥octor Jackson痴 wife was named Sha置ri. She helped lead the rebellion against Ra on Abydos. Her father is Kasuf, the Chief Elder of Nagada, the capital city of Abydos. Her brother is Skaara who was also taken as a host by a Goa置ld named Klorel. Make no mistake. She was an innocent woman kidnapped and tortured by the Goa置ld. Let me remind you to not lose sight of the fact that we are talking about a human being whose importance cannot be understated. She痴 a lady, not a lab experiment.

'.He痴 telling you to show respect ' Mordecai痴 voice scolded.

'I can see that. Doesn稚 he realize濫

槽. Malthus, you池e casually talking about dissecting his friend痴 wife! Were you really expecting them to just hand her body over to you with smiles on their faces?

Reflecting on his words and attitude, Malthus realized that he might have appeared callous by the Tau池i. Perhaps only another scientist could wholly understand his viewpoint, but General Hammond was not a scientist, neither was Colonel O誰eill. 的知 sorry. I did not intend to belittle the tragedy that fell on Doctor Jackson and his祐ha置ri. I do realize that losing her must be difficult for him.

的t has been, Hammond said, his voice taking on an angry edge. 鉄he died two months ago, and he痴 still grieving. Your coming here at this time to ask him to exhume her so you can run tests is the height of insensitivity and shows an inhuman lack of sympathy.

Malthus did not miss the subtle message that Hammond was conveying. Just because he was a Tok池a did not mean he couldn稚 follow the rules of civility. Malthus felt Mordecai痴 nudge. He knew the timing was bad, but time was his enemy. Soon, he wouldn稚 be able to salvage any viable samples.

的 didn稚 realize that such a short time had passed since she died. I thought it had been longer.

展ell, it hasn稚, O誰eill痴 angry voice all but shattered Malthus confidence. 鄭nd we池e not letting anybody with a snake in his head hurt Sha置ri anymore. She痴 dead and buried. Let her be.

鼎olonel, as I was trying to explain濫

摘xplain? You want to dig up Sha置ri and butcher what痴 left of her because of Amaunet so you can keep playing in your lab! Try harder., O誰eill ordered.

Malthus chose his words carefully. He needed to get past Jackson痴 watchdogs first. He hadn稚 anticipated this much resistance. 典he rumors surrounding Amaunet have been varied for many millennia. As I said before, several Goa置lds have used the name. That in turn has caused problems in tracing the history and genealogy. We have tried to discover the truth, but Amaunet痴 life has always been a well guarded secret.

展e have reason to believe that Apophis queen was the same Amaunet that was mate to Amun-Ra. There have always been rumors that Amun-Re had refused to father any children with Amaunet because he feared his offspring would conspire against him. Other rumors state that they spawned more symbiotes than any other pair. Some held that Amaunet refused to have offspring with him because of his disloyalty and would only give her permission for certain queens to be impregnated by Amun-Re. Still other rumors persist that she could bring about offspring without the assistance of a male-hosted Goa置ld. There was one that stated that she was the mother of all Goa置lds, not Hathor, but that rumor has been proven false. All we do know is that Apophis and Amaunet have never produced symbiotic offspring during the time they were together, and we do know that she gave Apophis permission to mate with a few queens over the millennia. Klorel was the son of another Queen Goa置ld. We just don稚 know which.

徹ur records do not have Apophis mate positively classified as a queen, but it is more than possible. In fact, I would say that it is likely. Ages ago, the pharaohs would not divulge who the mothers of their offspring were because it was necessary that they mate with more than one queen in order to secure the highest chances of preserving their genetic line. Keeping the queens identities secret meant that other System Lords had great difficulty in determining exactly how many offspring a Goa置ld sired because none knew how many queens or which queens a pharaoh seeded. As you can imagine, these queens were and still are in very high demand. They are as sought after as planets are during a conquest. In order to hide her identity and not be hunted, Amaunet may have only claimed to be a Goa置ld queen although there is a very good chance that she was a Queen Goa置ld. A small sample of genetic material would allow me to perform tests that might identify her status and, if she was a queen and produced as many symbiotes as we think she may have, I can isolate the genetic anomaly that differentiates her bloodline from others. Once that is done, I can create a method of destroying that particular bloodline, thereby destroying her entire line.

Malthus could see the interest in the faces sitting around the conference table. A chance to destroy the Goa置ld didn稚 come along every day of the week.

鉄o, let me get this straight. Jack started counting off Malthus points on his fingers. 徹ne, you want to dig up Sha置ri痴 body. Two, you want to run tests on her to see if this particular Amaunet was a Queen Goa置ld or just your average run-of-the-mill Goa置ld queen. Three, if Amaunet was a Queen Goa置ld, you want to take Sha置ri痴 body, dissect it and run as many tests as you can until it decomposes completely. Four, you want to try to come up with some kind of chemical warfare that痴 gonna take down her bloodline because if she is the mother and grandmother of a lot of Goa置lds, you could use a smart chemical to destroy them all in one fell swoop without risking any Tok池a because I知 guessing that you池e obviously not part of Amaunet痴 bloodline. Is that about it?

添es, Colonel. That痴 it.

填h, General, you want to take this? Jack asked Hammond.

Hammond took a deep breath. Malthus had been told that generals were at a disadvantage since insubordination from them wasn稚 permitted; however, a politely worded but strongly motivated disagreement was allowed. 溺althus, I知 sure you understand that any chance to stop the Goa置ld is one that we should take under any circumstance, there was a pause, how was the general going to phrase the next part? 澱ut no matter what the benefits you could derive from taking genetic material from Amaunet, there is no way I can endorse your recommendation or approve of your plan to exhume Sha置ri Jackson痴 body. The decision to allow you to do so ultimately belongs to her family. Doctor Jackson will say no, but he wouldn稚 make such an important decision as telling you 創o without speaking to his father-in-law. Master Kasuf will deny you permission but he will ask me for my opinion since he値l be told that you came here first instead of going to Abydos. I will have to tell him that I cannot agree with your plan. I won稚 hurt Doctor Jackson further. I have no doubt that they will not give you permission. I can assure you, sir, Sha置ri will not be removed from her grave.

敵eneral Hammond, Malthus tried to begin again.

擢orget it, O誰eill interrupted him. 的 know for a fact that Daniel won稚 let you anywhere near Sha置ri痴 grave. And if you even try, Daniel won稚 be thinking of the Earth/Tok池a Alliance. He痴 gonna be thinking just how good it痴 gonna feel to pop a few bullets in you.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

ABYDOS輸LTAR ROOM

The room was secluded and chilled, dark and small. The only prominent structure in the room was the altar that took up more than one fourth of the space. It wasn稚 truly an altar for supplication to the gods so much as it was a place for ritual murder for Ra痴 entertainment. Many poor souls had been uselessly sacrificed for Ra痴 amusement, and now it would be utilized again for Apophis enjoyment. The blood stained stone seemed willing and eager to accept another victim.

Daniel was shoved further into the room. No one spoke a word, but the Jaffa bowed reverently to someone standing in the shadows. Daniel tried to see the person; the figure seemed familiar, one that Daniel was acquainted with who

The person turned toward him, eyes glowing as they looked at him

No

Daniel couldn稚 believe it. No matter what his eyes were registering, this was impossible.

It couldn稚 be!

Daniel stared in sheer disbelief. It had to be a ghost, some kind of apparition in front of him. There, in the altar room dressed in the simple ceremonial burial robe, was Sha置ri

No, not Sha置ri.

The glowing eyes it was the Goa置ld.

Amaunet was still alive.

Apophis walked over to Amaunet, reached up and gently caressed her cheek. Daniel watched in stunned silence as that monster that had ripped his family apart touched the cheek that only Daniel had a right to touch. The thought that Apophis was anywhere near his wife made Daniel痴 skin crawl. It didn稚 matter that Amaunet was in control. Sha置ri was still there, somewhere. At least, he hoped she was. If she was still alive, then that meant he had another chance to rescue her, but how could she be alive? How? He壇 buried her, watched as the sands covered her body. How could it be?

鄭s you can see, all that was taken from me has been restored. Apophis voice was smug and arrogant様ike always. 典he Asgard do have their uses, he said as he pointed toward the diminutive alien.

Daniel stared speechlessly at the Asgard, feeling the betrayal from a being that was supposed to be an ally. He turned his gaze to Amaunet, hoping beyond hope that Sha置ri was somewhere in there, still alive and fighting. Maybe she could influence Amaunet. She壇 done it before. 典hat痴 impossible. Amaunet痴 dead. Teal団 killed her. I buried her.

Apophis laugh was haughty and cruel. 展e are gods, Daniel Jackson. Should we not have power over death itself?

Daniel was disgusted by the arrogant display of false superiority. 添ou池e not a god. You池e just a snake inside the body of a scribe. You have no power over anything. You濫

鉄ilence! Apophis struck out his hand and fired his personal hand weapon at Daniel. The smile on his face showed everyone he enjoyed watching the sight of Daniel痴 body being lifted and thrown across the room into the far wall.

The ringing in Daniel痴 ears didn稚 block out the conversation in the room. 泥o not harm him much, my pharaoh, Amaunet痴 voice sounded sweetly. 典here is no sarcophagus here, and here must be the place for you to take your revenge on these slaves. He saw her gaze track to him, but he saw no hint of Sha置ri in her eyes.

He felt the Jaffa grab him and manhandle back into a standing position, and then noticed that Apophis lowered the hand device. Apophis voice seemed to claw its way through the dull ringing that was lessening. 展hy here, my love? You are most adamant on this point.

Amaunet glanced at Daniel. He knew he was staggering a bit on his feet, barely conscious, but he wasn稚 going to give them the satisfaction of seeing him pass out. He met Amaunet痴 stare, noticing that her gaze didn稚 waver from his. For some reason, he held her rapt attention.

Then there was something else something that Daniel saw something that Apophis saw. Both saw the longing reflected in her eyes. In a bastardization of Sha置ri痴 gentle voice, Amaunet declared Daniel痴 punishment. 典his planet was their home. Their strength flows from these sands. To break their spirit, we must destroy their perception of the safety they believe to be here. When they reflect on this planet, they will no longer remember it fondly. It will be the site of their domination by the Goa置ld.

Apophis nodded his agreement. 天ery wise, he commented approvingly. 鄭n ingenious method to break their spirits.

Daniel shook his head in an attempt to regain his senses. He was being held in the grip of two Jaffa. Kasuf溶o, that wasn稚 Kasuf. Daniel remembered what Apophis had called him. Varos. He was standing nearby with Ska溶o, Klorel. He had to believe that Kasuf and Skaara were helplessly watching but unable to do anything to help him. He knew that both Goa置lds were watching the goings-on with great delight.

Daniel knew that their hosts held very different opinions, but he could expect no help from them.

撤repare him, Apophis ordered, 吐or implantation.

What?

No!!

In a burst of panicked energy, Daniel jerked free of the surprised Jaffa, but it was a limited and short-lived victory. An elbow slammed into a Jaffa痴 pouch put the first Jaffa on the ground. The second grabbed Daniel around the neck and held him in a chokehold. He didn稚 anticipate any surprises and ignored Daniel痴 feet. One swift kick from the Tau池i in a sensitive area, and that Jaffa was down as well.

Two down, two to go.

Unfortunately for Daniel, the element of surprise was now lost. As he was reaching into his jacket for the pistol, the two remaining Jaffa rushed him and tackled him to the ground. With a swift and painful yank, the largest Jaffa ripped off Daniel痴 jacket while the second tore his t-shirt off him.

添ou do have spirit, Daniel Jackson, Apophis lauded over his prisoner. 的 will enjoy breaking you.

Daniel struggled harder against the Jaffa, noticing in his peripheral vision that neither the gun nor the GDO had fallen from the jacket. They were stills safely concealed. 的 don稚 think so. He continued to struggle despite the fact that their now-recovered associates joined the two Jaffa holding him. He didn稚 have a chance.

With a smirk, Apophis stated the obvious. 添ou will live ten thousand life times as my host, and I will enjoy your suffering every moment.

Daniel glanced at Amaunet and saw her eyes change. For a moment, he believed he was looking into Sha置ri痴 eyes. He saw confusion, unsteadiness. Was Sha置ri trying to stop Amaunet? 鉄ha置ri! Bene wa! There was another brief moment of recognition in her soft brown eyes, only to be replaced with the Goa置ld痴 cruel soullessness.

~~~

Amaunet watched silently, her own thoughts were of how she was going to enjoy spending ten thousand life times with her husband痴 new host. She felt her host try to fight, to surface, and she reveled in the feeling of power suppressing Sha置ri gave her. Death had not tempered the enjoyment of utter domination. She sent very vivid images of what her intentions were to Sha置ri, exactly why she wanted Daniel Jackson as host to her consort.

糎hat you enjoyed will soon be mine, Amaunet told her. She smiled at Sha置ri痴 soundless screams.

Events were moving too slowly for her. 笛affa! she ordered. 添our pharaoh ordered you to prepare him for implantation. Do so immediately!

Amaunet was not surprised to find Sha置ri still fighting. With a brief flash of pain, the symbiote forced Sha置ri into submissive silence. The host had painfully learned not to resist預t least, not to resist much. 'Your husband will submit to our will as you do. You will watch as I gain possession of what I desire.'

Instead of further concerning herself with her host, Amaunet focused her attention on the spectacle before her.

~~~

Again, Daniel struggled against the Jaffa, but it was pointless. He was lost. One Jaffa slammed Daniel痴 knee with his pain stick as a means to subdue him. The other clamped his hand over Daniel痴 mouth to keep him silent, but Daniel bit down hard, drawing blood from the Jaffa痴 hand. That earned him another hard slap across the face.

Apophis walked over to him,; his haughty, arrogant sneer was a window into his thoughts. He grabbed Daniel痴 chin in one very strong hand. 添es, I will enjoy your suffering every moment we are joined.

That deserved an answer. Daniel violently wrenched an arm free from the Jaffa痴 iron grip and slammed his fist into Apophis jaw with all the force he could muster. The Goa置ld was hardly fazed. He backhanded Daniel again, this time knocking his head against the ground, leaving his senses addled momentarily.

The four Jaffa pinned Daniel to the ground, forcing him to lie spread-eagle on his back on the sandy floor. The one holding his shoulder to the ground also grabbed his head and pressed it back forcefully into the dirt.

天aros, Apophis called for his Grand Vizier, 的 will not have my queen inconvenienced by commanding the Jaffa. This is for our amusement. Take charge of this. I must prepare for the transfer.

 ~~~

Taking his responsibility very seriously, Varos ordered, 泥o not damage him. His vantage point beside Klorel gave him a perfect view of the proceedings in which to oversee the implantation. 鄭 host must be in an acceptable state when taken by a god. Place the slave on the altar. It is only fitting that he be presented to Apophis in the traditional way.

Loki finally spoke. 鄭pophis has not subdued him with his hand device. Would that not be advisable?

哲ot any longer, Varos explained. 典he device was used on Daniel Jackson earlier. To use it again this soon may damage him beyond the healing powers of the pharaoh, and we do not have a sarcophagus to heal the damage. We will follow the old tradition in this instance.

 ~~~

As one, the Jaffa grabbed Daniel and hauled him bodily to the altar. He tried to fight, he tried to twist his way out of their clutches, but the Jaffas grips were too tight. He could barely move. Two of the Jaffa took a knife from their belts and deftly cut away Daniel痴 clothes and boots, leaving his physical appearance completely visible to be judged by his captors. After a token scuffle, they wrestled Daniel onto his back on the altar, the rough stone scratching his now bare skin. The restraints that had once held victims on the table had long eroded away, so the Jaffa physically restrained him. One had a vice-like grip on his leg, squeezing it almost to the breaking point. Another held his arm down and had clamped his hand over his mouth. He couldn稚 move or utter a word. All of his efforts went for nothing. He couldn稚 free himself.

He could see Amaunet smiling an eager, evil grin as she approached him. It was Amaunet祐ha置ri never held such a contemptible look on her face. The Goa置ld stood before him and ran her hand through his hair, across his forehead, down his chest, his stomach and lower 添es, you are still very much as I have seen in my slave痴 memories, Amaunet whispered to herself. She leaned down and whispered to Daniel, 的 have long enjoyed inspecting slaves that would serve me or become hosts. Her hand moved further, touching, exploring 擢rom the moment I took this slave for my host, I have planned for this moment. I forced Sha置ri to remember you countless times. I felt every time you touched her, every time you were with her. I found much to amuse me during the long days my pharaoh was from my side. Soon, you will belong to my pharaoh and thus to me. You will be mine, and I will find more to amuse me.

Daniel tried to jerk away from her, and the Jaffa tightened the grip on his head and forced it to the altar. 添ou cannot fight, she said in a low voice, a voice too low for anyone else to hear. 溺y pharaoh will break you of your insolence. He will take your very essence, subsume you, consume you, control you, take your memories and make you his. Then you will be mine.

溺y queen? Varos calmly called for her attention. 展e are ready.

Amaunet stood back and watched.

Held silent and motionless, Daniel heard a sound .an unusual strangling sound. Then there was a thud, like a body falling to the ground. Daniel forced himself not to think about what he was hearing. He didn稚 hear the scribe痴 body fall. He didn稚 hear the symbiote hissing. He didn稚 hear Varos move across the room to pick up the symbiote. He didn稚 see the symbiote in Varos hands as the Goa置ld laid it on the altar near his feet. He didn稚 smell the stink of it, like a moldy dead rat? He didn稚 no, he felt it. He felt a slick, slimy, slippery, disgusting something crawl up his legs and onto his stomach. The hissing became louder. He tried to move his head but was held down too tightly by the Jaffa. He could move his eyes, though, and what he saw sickened him. The symbiote was moving onto his stomach, curling up, then extending, all the time crawling slowly up toward him, the scales cutting his skin in places, each cut drawing blood that the symbiote crawled slowly through. Damn the snake. Apophis was lingering as long as he could just to make Daniel more scared than he already was. He slowly inched up Daniel痴 stomach, then his chest, then sat back on his haunches and leaned over Daniel until he was eye to eye with him. For a long moment, human and symbiote stared at each other, neither giving the other any satisfaction. Finally, the symbiote痴 head dipped a little, and then it turned and screamed at Varos.

典urn him over, Varos ordered the Jaffa.

As one, the Jaffa flipped Daniel over onto his stomach with him fighting with renewed effort every inch of the way. The Jaffa, each one far stronger alone than most people he had ever encountered, were four strong and determined to please their god. Daniel knew he didn稚 have a chance, but that didn稚 mean he would just give up and surrender to his worst enemy.

One of his moves earned one of the Jaffa a bloody nose from a flying elbow, but that was the last true hit Daniel was able to deliver. One of his arms was roughly twisted behind his back, a knee shoved into his lower spine. He barely heard Varos repeated order to 渡ot damage him! His head was held down forcibly. He couldn稚 see what was happening, but he knew. He felt the Jaffa with his knee pressed into his back move away slightly.

Oh, my God, this is really happening! His worst nightmare was coming true, this he suddenly felt the rock beneath him no. Not now. The Blood of Sokar was acting true to form, and his skin had become extra sensitive again. This was going to hurt! The slimy symbiote crawled slowly onto Daniel痴 back, again trying to increase the time to enjoy the fear growing in his new host, casually inched its way into position, reared its head back, and hissed triumphantly at the watching crowd, crowing its victory in a reptilian aria.

The guards tightened their hold on him.

Amaunet smiled.

Varos and Klorel watched.

Daniel didn稚 breathe.

Apophis struck.

God! It hurt! Daniel felt the symbiote痴 head dive into the back of his neck, felt muscle, skin and sinew shred and rip apart as it forced an entrance.

And he screamed.

He felt it wriggle its way through the wound slowly, excruciatingly slow, taking its time, moving more violently than necessary, cutting the skin with wiry scales, shredding through the muscles, its tail slapping him as it pushed its way into his neck, increasing the pain of possession as a way of punishing him for defying the Goa置ld.

And screamed.

He felt it start to roughly weave and curl its way around his spinal cord and attach itself to his brain, not caring how many muscles tore and bled. He felt its body contract and release as it moved itself into position.

And screamed.

Then came the force of the connection of the symbiote痴 mind beginning to overpower his own.

And screamed.

With a mighty effort, he yanked his limbs free from the Jaffa. Rolling to the side, he fell off the altar before anyone could catch him. He clawed at the back of his neck in a vain attempt to remove the symbiote, but it was futile. He didn稚 even know when he stopped screaming. All he knew was the unending pain, blinding pain then darkness.

~~~

Everyone痴 attention was fully on Apophis. Goa置lds changed hosts frequently, but pharaohs and queens were more reluctant to change. They, at least, had to keep the illusion of being immortal gods. Their appearance couldn稚 change very often, so when a ruler took a new host, it was a celebrated event.

In that moment, when Varos looked about the room, he noticed one small change. 展here is the body of the pharaoh痴 former host?

All looked, but there was no sign of the scribe痴 body. Only the imprint of where it had fallen when Apophis abandoned it was visible.

笛affa, kree., Varos ordered. 擢ind it.

The four Jaffa hurried out of the room, leaving the Goa置ld and the Asgard alone with their unconscious master.

Varos had seen many blendings before. They could last from a few seconds to a few hours depending on the strength of host and symbiote, and everyone present was well aware that both Apophis and Daniel Jackson were very strong individuals. They would be there a while. As the Jaffa left to search for the missing body, Varos felt a slight tug on his arm. He looked down to the Asgard.

的 will wait with the Jaffa. The pharaoh and queen must not leave until I can assess her majesty痴 condition. There may be unforeseen factors caused by the resurrection that I must monitor.

徹f course. Apophis has given orders to attend to you. If we must wait, Apophis will agree.

After Loki left, Varos turned his attention back to his pharaoh and his queen. Amaunet had sat down on the ground, a very unqueenly thing to do, and turned Apophis over onto his back. She seemed to be unconcerned with the blood that covered the pharaoh痴 back and neck or the fact that it stained her own clothes. With his head in her lap, she used gentle fingers to wipe away the sweat and sand that peppered his face, chest and arms. These were not the actions of a queen. These were the movements of the little slave host.

The newly resurrected queen was being strongly influenced by the human.

Odd, Varos had thought the host completely gone, but if the Asgard could bring back the queen, then surely reviving a mere human was an easy enough task. He had a sudden desire to find a blanket to cover Apophis, to preserve some shred of his dignity as his pharaoh took control of the human and healed the wounds, but quickly realized that it was the concern from his host for the Tau池i that was clouding his judgment. Even Klorel seemed to be worried but he was only exhibiting the worry his host had been known to express. No, they were feeling their hosts emotions, even the queen. This would be their downfall.

Varos had considered this before. Taking an entire family as hosts to a royal Goa置ld family would be disastrous.

~~~

Amaunet swept more grains of sand from Apophis hair with one hand, the other hand lying still but protectively on her mate痴 chest. He felt as she had imagined from Sha置ri痴 memories. So many times in the past, she dragged memories from her host, times of cuddling during the night, Sha置ri痴 hand lying on her Dan馳el痴 bare chest, feeling his heart beat and his chest rise and fall with each sleeping breath. 添es, my pharaoh, Amaunet whispered softly. 哲ow you have a host that will please us both. She had long endured her host痴 feelings for this man as well as her own jealousy for the depth of Sha置ri痴 and Daniel痴 relationship, both physical and emotional. Sha置ri痴 feelings would often bleed into Amaunet痴 perceptions, and Amaunet realized that despite her beliefs to the contrary, she had nothing with Apophis溶othing as strong as the emotions between the two humans. Even their physical relationship was more rewarding than anything Amaunet had ever experienced with either of her mates.

Sha置ri痴 memories had taunted her. Tenderness, gentleness, all-consuming passion, utter fulfillment, contentment, genuine selfless love

Amaunet had never personally experienced such feelings, but with both she and her pharaoh now controlling them, the humans feelings and their abilities would be theirs to explore and enjoy. Their relationship, both emotional and physical, would become deeper and stronger than before預nd the helpless hosts would endure it all and enjoy none of it.

溺y queen? Varos kneeled before her. 鄭llow us to move the pharaoh to the altar. It would be proper濫

哲o, Varos, Amaunet quietly continued her ministrations. 溺y pharaoh will stay as he is. I do not wish to disturb him. Dominating this particular Tau池i has long been a goal. Moving him at this moment could endanger Apophis life and interfere with that goal. However, my pharaoh will be pleased that you were concerned with his comfort. In an uncharacteristic move, Amaunet reached out and placed her hand on Varos arm. 的 am grateful for all that you have done for us over the years. Even now, you serve us well. Grateful? Why was Amaunet feeling gratitude? Varos was a servant. Loyal to a fault, yes, but still a servant. It was his position to obey.

的 am here to serve, my lady, Varos bowed his head. 展hat else may I do for you?

Amaunet returned her attention to Apophis. 展e wish this to be a private victory. You and Klorel should wait with the Jaffa outside. I will call for you when you are needed again. My pharaoh will also wish to have the body of his former host destroyed. It must be found.

Varos bowed and began to walk away, but Klorel didn稚 like the idea of being dismissed. 溺y queen, he began.

適lorel, your father and I have a hatred for this slave that must be satisfied. Amaunet would not be denied her final victory over the irritation she had felt for three years from her host, for her host痴 refusal to acknowledge her station as a slave, but mostly to satisfy her anger and jealousy over the two humans relationship.

的, too, must be satisfied, my queen, Klorel explained. 溺y host痴 feelings for this individual caused the near destruction of both myself and my father. The destruction of our ha稚aks and the deaths of our Jaffa have greatly diminished our standing within the System Lords.

滴is crimes against us are great, Amaunet agreed, 澱ut his punishment will be given by your father. He will force Daniel Jackson to surrender to him. His pain will be unimaginable. You will have your revenge on all the Tau池i. That I can promise you. We now have access to their knowledge. We will soon destroy them.

Klorel looked down at the man whose head was cradled in the queen痴 lap. He felt a sudden surge of great compassion and respect and something more, was that a brotherly bond? for him, but pushed those feelings back down. Those were his host痴, not his. The Tau池i should not be allowed to live, but as a host, his life would at least have a purpose. A private victory? Yes, Apophis was owed that due to the insolence he had suffered at Daniel Jackson痴 hands. Klorel would have his revenge later. 典hen I will join Varos. We will be near should you need assistance.

Amaunet痴 attention was completely devoted to her mate. She barely acknowledged Klorel as he left.

~~~

Sha置ri had been free. She didn稚 remember much except that she hadn稚 been scared or in pain, and then she was forced back into that prison she loathed. She had thought she was dead, her last sight was her Dan馳el lying beside her as she told him she loved him one last time, then

Back. In her prison. In the pain. In the horror that was a host.

She hadn稚 been able to fight back when she saw her husband brought into the altar room. She could only watch as the demons took him. Now, all she could do was be a mute witness to the demons evil.

As Amaunet continued tending to Apophis, Sha置ri silently watched through eyes she couldn稚 control. Apophis was in her husband! Everything Dan馳el knew, every secret he possessed would soon be Apophis for the taking. Dan馳el was strong, but no one could resist the demons for long. Soon, Earth would be in grave danger. If only she had been able to fight harder! If only Amaunet were still dead.

'But I am very much alive,' she heard Amaunet痴 voice ring inward, her demonic laugh chilling. 'See your husband? He is helpless before my pharaoh. Like you, he will soon learn that he is nothing.

槽.He will fight Apophis. My Dan馳el will not be defeated as easily as a demon

選nsolent! You will learn your place!' Amaunet sent fiery pain into Sha置ri whose screams were heard only by her captor while Amaunet continued her ministrations. Nothing had changed. What had happened before was going to happen again. When she had first been possessed by her demon, the pain had been unbearable. She had awakened, held hostage within her own mind, a helpless bystander of all that Amaunet chose to do with her body whether it was to extend her hand to reach for a cup of water or to destroy a life with her personal hand device. She had learned early that any attempt to fight was punished by excruciating pain. She learned to be silent, to not think about all the cruel events she was forced to witness but refused to curl up and die.

She patiently waited for those rare times when Amaunet was sleeping or distracted. During those times, she remembered what there was to live for, and her most powerful memory was her Dan馳el. She could only remember him. She only saw him twice during the first three years of her imprisonment.

Finally, the pain stopped. Sha置ri shrank back into her mind, but not so far that she couldn稚 see her Dan馳el. For this moment while Amaunet was so distracted with Apophis, touching him, exploring him, she could see her Dan馳el. She had missed gazing into his blue eyes, hearing the sound of his voice and his laughter, feeling his hand in hers. She would only see a shadow of that now. Amaunet and Apophis would talk and laugh and love, and she and her Dan馳el could only watch helplessly, mute and expressionless. They would each see the demons use their hands to destroy. This would be their existence until

She hated the demons.

~~~

Varos felt Kasuf痴 turmoil mirroring his own, only for different reasons. Kasuf believed he had failed his children. Varos believed that the emotions of the hosts would interfere with the Goa置ld's ability to govern. Recent events were unprecedented and foretold of disaster.

'Apophis has succeeded. He will emerge stronger and more powerful than before.'

'.You believe my good son so easily beaten by you? He has destroyed many of your kind. He will destroy --

塑our good son no longer exists. Only Apophis.

'.The host survives, no matter what you say. I am still here

船o you truly think your daughter is alive? It was the soul of Amaunet that was returned. Even if Sha置ri were alive, it is of no matter. She no longer exists. Daniel Jackson no longer exists, just as you no longer exist. Apophis will show the Tau池i his place. He enjoys that. If you do not fight me, I will not hurt you. I have better ways to spend my time rather than disciplining a fretful host.

'.I will fight you. I will not let you harm my children

Varos laughed. 'You can do nothing. You are nothing. My pharaoh will use Daniel Jackson痴 knowledge to defeat the Tau池i.

槽.Believe what you wish. The truth will be far different than what you believe

船o not think so, old man, Varos taunted him. 'This is the truth.' Varos put Kasuf into more pain than the human had ever known. Unlike other Goa置lds, he took no delight in tormenting his host. He usually pushed them deep within their minds so he wouldn稚 be bothered by them. This human would be different. He would not recede quietly into the nothingness.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

Malthus tried a new tact. 敵eneral Hammond濫 only to be interrupted when Mordecai decided that enough was enough. He demanded to come forward to take over the conversation for his symbiote.

敵eneral Hammond, Mordecai looked appropriately apologetic, 溺althus didn稚 mean to sound like he didn稚 care about Doctor Jackson痴 feelings or the fact that he痴 only recently lost his wife. He痴 a scientist, and sometimes he gets very focused on his research. He does understand how hard this has been for Daniel, but the opportunity that痴 presented itself isn稚 one that happens often.

添ou agree with your symbiote? General Hammond wanted to know.

的n theory, yes. In practice, in this case, no. Mordecai didn稚 look at all uncomfortable. And why should he? He壇 had to placate many people before. Sometimes Malthus just didn稚 know how to be sociable.

'.I heard that

選 wasn稚 whispering.' Ignoring further protests from Malthus, Mordecai explained. 展hat Malthus hasn稚 explained is the exact procedure used in situations such as this. If after everything is explained to Doctor Jackson and his father-in-law if they do not wish us to disturb Sha置ri痴 resting place, then that will be the end of it. However, if they feel that the procedure is not in any way disrespectful to her or disturbing her rest in any way, they may allow us to proceed. All we ask is the opportunity to present our case.

The looks on the Tau池i痴 faces weren稚 quite as angry when Mordecai spoke. Maybe they liked dealing with him more than Malthus. At least he was polite.

Hammond cleared his throat and sat forward a bit. 展hat exactly is the procedure?

Mordecai refused to give Malthus permission to surface. They were listening to him. If only Malthus had learned that a little humility goes a long way 的t is not necessary to exhume the body. All we need is an exposed area to retrieve a tissue and blood samples.

鉄o you池e saying that you池e not looking to desecrate her remains anymore? Jack asked, not truly believing this change in attitude.

哲o, Colonel. Although the body itself would yield the greatest chance of successful lab results, a genetic sample will be enough for Malthus needs. Mordecai hoped that he was being a little more reasonable.

滴ow do you get that without digging her up?  Jack demanded.

Mordecai had thought of that. 展e壇 have to dig up the grave, Colonel; however, it wouldn稚 be necessary to completely unbury her. All we need is to uncover an arm or a leg in order to obtain the tissue. I don稚 know what the Abydonian customs are in such matters濫

典hey take death pretty seriously, Jack told him. 典hey have strict rules against unburying dead bodies. The penalty is death unless it痴 sanctioned by the Council of Elders.

That was not good news. 鉄hould we bring our request before the Council of Elders? Mordecai asked.

Hammond told them the truth. 摘ven if you did, I don稚 believe that you壇 be successful. Doctor Jackson is still a member of the Council. His father-in-law is the Chief Elder. They both firmly believe in following Abydonian law, if not for themselves then for the public in general. No matter how scientifically or militarily advantageous such information would be, the act of retrieving such information would be considered a sacrilegious act. Personally, they wouldn稚 agree to it. Politically, they can稚 agree to it.

Mordecai had already guessed that, but Malthus was still holding out some hope that reason and scientific need could sway the Tau池i and the Abydonians. 釘ut we can ask? Mordecai said again.

典he general痴 right, Jack told his guest guests. 典hey won稚 let you near Sha置ri痴 grave.

鼎olonel O誰eill knows the Abydonians far better than I do, sir, Hammond said. 敵iven his friendship with them, he is far more acquainted with their customs and beliefs. I don稚 believe that you値l be allowed access to Sha置ri痴 grave. However, if you feel that you can convince them otherwise, we値l send you to Abydos. No matter what information may be gained from the procedure, I cannot agree with your requests. I can稚 give the Abydonian Council our endorsement. This will have to be taken solely under consideration of Abydonian law.

槽.Does he mean what I think he means, Mordecai? Malthus voice was hopeful.

践e means that no one from Earth will support us. If we go to Abydos, we池e on our own, and if the Council of Elders find out that we came here first and no one wanted to help us argue our case, it weakens our position.

槽.But we must try. I won稚 let this opportunity escape let me talk to them

羨ll right, but be polite. They池e not happy with you at the moment.

Malthus retook control. 敵eneral Hammond, if you would allow us to travel to Abydos, I would appreciate being allowed to present our request to the Council. They may turn us down, but we have to make the effort. Much depends on this. If we only had your agreement that this research has validity, it would carry considerable emphasis with the Abydonian government.

Hammond thought about it for a moment. 鉄ir, as a general, I have been forced to make decisions that I have loathed to make, some I致e greatly regretted. I致e given orders that I haven稚 been proud of that have sent soldiers to their death. The one decision I have the opportunity not to make is one in which I would endorse inflicting more pain on Doctor Jackson and his family. They致e been through enough, and I知 ashamed to say that the SGC and myself are somewhat responsible for some of the hardships they致e suffered. The last two months would have broken weaker men, not to mention the last three years.

敵eneral Hammond, the Earth/Tok池a Alliance濫

溺althus, I cannot in good conscience endorse your research at this time. I believe that I would never be able to endorse it. Doctor Jackson knows me well enough to know that I would never even consider such a request so soon after his wife痴 death. And since I won稚 put the weight of the SGC behind your work, I won稚 allow any of my personnel to advocate it, either. This is a matter that we cannot involve ourselves in.

Jack was the only one to have known Sha置ri for more than a few hours, but it didn稚 matter. The stories of her courage had led complete strangers to admire her tenacity. She had been a brave woman who had stolen his friend痴 heart before he even knew Daniel as a friend. To think that this Tok池a was wanting to dig her up just so he could perform some tests on her擁t was unthinkable that anyone could be that thoughtless and cruel. Oh, right. Malthus was a Tok池a. They weren稚 exactly known for their sensitivity. It was a very good thing that Daniel wasn稚 there at the moment. If he had been, there was a very good chance that Malthus would have been unconscious. Daniel would have beaten some sense into him, and it couldn稚 have happened to a more worthy Tok池a.

鉄ir, Jack got his commanding officer痴 attention, 泥aniel won稚 allow it. Kasuf won稚, either. If Malthus goes to Abydos, it痴 just going to put them through the wringer again. We can稚 do that to him. Them. Especially with Daniel痴 health being the way it is right now. We can稚 be a part of it.

Nodding his head in agreement, Hammond said bluntly, 的 think you understand our position, Malthus. No matter what may be gained, the cost is too high for us. And far too high for Daniel Jackson to pay, he thought to himself.

Malthus had expected more from the Tau池i. After all, they were the ones that were always so eager to kill the Goa置ld, but he couldn稚 fault them their loyalty to Daniel Jackson and his family. They were only protecting them. 的 understand, General. I will not mention the Tau池i, but I will try to explain my case to the Council. If you値l allow me to gate to Abydos?

鉄ir, do you really think this is a good idea? Jack asked.

Even if they wouldn稚 take the chance of angering the Abydonian allies by sending a grave-robbing Tok池a there, they couldn稚 afford to anger the Tok池a either. But exhuming the grave wasn稚 the general痴 decision to make. Turning to Colonel O誰eill, Hammond said, 展e can稚 endorse Malthus request, but neither can we make decisions for the Abydonian Council. This will be their decision ultimately. Then, to Malthus, 的値l have Sergeant Davis dial up the planet.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

ABYDOS輸LTAR ROOM

Daniel woke to a deeper darkness than he had ever experienced. He couldn稚 feel anything or move any of his limbs. He felt numb and listless. Exhaustion seemed to permeate his very bones.

Wait a minute. Wasn稚 he in pain before?

Oh, yeah. He was. He was hurting a lot the Blood of Sokar had made it all worse

詮inally awake, are you? a strangely familiar voice echoed through him.

Was that a light? Wherever Daniel was, the darkness was starting to dissipate. He could almost see the room he was in. He could definitely see part of the altar. His head was pillowed in Sha置ri痴 lap. She was gazing down at him, but the look in her eyes didn稚 seem right. There was an arrogance to her expression that didn稚 belong there. Daniel tried to reach up to her, but he still couldn稚 move. He couldn稚 move at all.

鮮o, Tau池i. You are mine to control. There was that voice again.

His arms and legs moved but not under his power. His body sat up, and the terrible truth was apparent to him. It hadn稚 been a nightmare. Damn Apophis!

銭now now what I will do to you if you defy me which I know you will. Apophis sent wave after wave of pain through Daniel. He could hear his own screams in the silent, unending torment. 羨nd if you don稚 defy me, I will have my queen place your wife in even more pain than this. You may choose which of you is punished for your insolence.

Daniel screamed despite the fact he had no voice. Wave after wave, pain upon pain, excruciating, unending torment that ripped through his soul. He could hear Apophis taunting voice inside his head揺is mental voice even altered into a two-tone mockery of what it once was.

腺ut now, you will be silent and watch. See what is mine and what I do with all that I possess.

The pain stopped, Daniel sat in an exhausted huddle in the darkness of his mind but could see what was going on around him. He didn稚 have the strength to fight back. He could only remain silent and watch.

~~~

Apophis reveled in his victory! With his new hand, he reached up and stroked Amaunet痴 cheek. It had a familiarity that he had not felt before. It was obviously an action Daniel had performed many times. It was with a devilish glee that Apophis reflected that it was an action Daniel would never perform again. With great anticipation, he sat up and kissed his queen. He could feel Daniel痴 weak struggles as he tried to break free, to stop Apophis. Apophis sent daggers of pain through his prisoner again. 'You will be silent!

溺y pharaoh, Amaunet repeated the cheek stroking motion. Was she also taunting Sha置ri at their apparent victory? 典he implantation is successful?

Apophis now blue eyes almost danced at her. 鼎ompletely successful, my queen. I have control, and soon I will have the key to destroying the Tau池i. Apophis stood, admiring his new body. Young, strong, almost healthy and very pleasing to the eye. There seemed to be something else something in the brain of his new host, some impediment that was very uncomfortable for Apophis. It could be called a rough spot that Apophis could actually feel. No matter. A sarcophagus would correct anything he couldn稚. He could see Amaunet gazing over his physique in anticipated eagerness.

典he wounds heal quickly. Does my new host please you, my love? Apophis asked quickly.

Amaunet reached out and touched her mate痴 shoulder, her hand trailing her as she walked around him, admiring him from all sides. 天ery much, my pharaoh. I believe he is a good choice for a host. With shining eyes, she gazed up at him. 添es, he pleases me.

Apophis walked around the room as if testing the fit of his new body. 添oung, strong. A small frown crossed his face. He placed his hand next to his temple. He could still feel something. There was some physical difference in Jackson痴 brain, something he壇 never sensed before. Could it be the result of their meeting on Netu? 的 believe he is still suffering from the Blood of Sokar. I will deal with his ills once we return to the safety of the ha稚ak. It will take some time to heal this body.

鄭 sarcophagus will heal it, will it not? Amaunet asked as they walked from the room.

添es, but the sarcophagus is some days travel from here. It, too, is being repaired. Our empire is in chaos, and we must bring order to it.

徹ur order, Amaunet said to herself. She saw a robe lying on the ground where had it come from? It was lying where the former host had fallen. Had the Jaffa removed it? She picked it up and helped Apophis don the robe. 典his is your former host痴 royal raiment, but it will suffice for now. It is more dignified than the meager threads your new host was wearing when he came here.

Apophis felt every fiber in the robe scratch his skin. A sarcophagus would heal him soon enough, but until then, he would have to suffer through the physical discomfort. He couldn稚 show any weakness. Not to his queen, not to his servants. 展e must make haste, my love. This planet is not safe for us.

As they hurriedly entered the small hallway, Amaunet called out, 適lorel! Varos! Your pharaoh requires you.

The two Goa置lds came as they were beckoned, followed by the eight Jaffa that had accompanied them. Sar誕c, the Jaffa that had carried Varos to his new host, was being helped by two of the others. He was weakening rapidly. As one, the Jaffa fell to their knees to pay homage to their Pharaoh and their Queen.

From their subdued vantage points, both Sha置ri and Daniel could see the two other members of their family kneel before them, themselves locked in as impenetrable a prison as they were.

擢ather? Klorel inquired. 典he implantation? It is successful? There was concern in his voice which Apophis had never heard before.

Apophis gazed down at this favorite son and wondered why his feelings for him were much more powerful than before? Pride, yes. Even love. He placed a gentle hand on his son痴 shoulder. 的 am well, Klorel. I have control over Daniel Jackson.

的f I may be so bold to say, my lord, this new host pleases us all, Varos cruel tones emerged from Kasuf痴 mouth. 的 was concerned that he would be a most difficult one to manage easily.

的 have not yet sifted through his mind, but I do know that his knowledge is quite extensive for one so young. He is stronger than any other host I致e possessed. He will be some small challenge for me, but it is a challenge I will enjoy. 'And one my mate will enjoy, as well,' he taunted Daniel again. 'Imagine her host in unmentionable agony if you do not do as I command.' He felt Daniel痴 anger and gloried in the Tau池i痴 frustration. To Varos, he said, 滴e is the Tau池i that deciphered the workings of the Chappa誕i and released the Tau池i plague on us all. Yes, Varos. Knowing I will be his punisher pleases me. The other Tau池i believe he is aiding the old man with political matters, so he will not be missed for some days. That will assure us the time needed to gather the information to infiltrate the Tau池i base. I will have dominion over the Earth.

Apophis heard Daniel yelling 渡o. Silly Tau池i. Protesting what the gods deemed fate. 'You shall never speak again, Tau池i, Apophis told him. 'You are now host to the most powerful god in existence. You are nothing. Feel that it is so.' Even worse pain tore through Daniel痴 soul. Apophis was greatly entertained by the novelty of hurting him for enjoyment痴 sake. His own enjoyment. His inner laugh drowned out the screams until they stopped completely.

Having silenced Daniel temporarily, Apophis turned his mind to other matters. He saw Loki standing in the hallway. He had completely forgotten about the Asgard. 鏑oki, you have our thanks. Any reward you name will be transported aboard your ship. For what you have returned to us, I owe you some further measure of gratitude. You may ask for any reward you wish.

Loki thought for a moment. 的f it pleases Your Majesties, I would like to ask for time to determine the viability of the procedure undertaken by the Queen. As I explained, this procedure has never been performed in such a manner, and I would like to ascertain the complete results. So I ask to travel alongside Your Majesties for several days to study the results.

Amaunet痴 look of concern couldn稚 be hidden. Her eyes widened in perceived horror that this could all be temporary. 溺y pharaoh, please, I do not wish to be parted from you again. Allow the Asgard to stay with us.

徹f course, my queen. Loki, he turned to the Asgard, 土ou have our permission to do so. Apophis was beginning to feel strange, light-headed and weak. The weakness came on him suddenly. The Blood of Sokar was still in force.

典hen I will return to my own ship and await the time when I may again speak with Your Majesties. There is one further condition I must warn you about. The queen痴 physical state may be fragile and is questionable. I would advise her not to travel through the Chappa誕i so soon after her resurrection as it could cause harm. Resting on board your ship would be advisable. Loki disappeared in a bright light, leaving the Goa置lds and the Jaffa alone.

Amaunet took her mate痴 arm and urged him toward the gate room. 添ou require rest, my love.

添es, although I do not know when I will be able to do so. However, after I rest, I will extract Daniel Jackson痴 memories from him, Apophis told his queen. 展e will return to the safety of our home and will follow the Asgard痴 advice.

Varos motioned for Klorel and four of the Jaffa including Sar誕c to prepare for departure. As they took their positions, Apophis was momentarily distracted by Sar誕c who was becoming even weaker. 天aros, if you wish, you may have a new symbiote implanted within your former Jaffa upon your return to the ha稚ak. We may find some use for him.

添es, my pharaoh. At once.

The transport rings descended, and as the first group was delivered to the ha稚ak leaving Apophis, Amaunet and four Jaffa behind. For a moment, there was silence, then the symbols on the Stargate began to light up.

Someone was coming.

笛affa! Kree! Apophis ordered loudly. 撤rotect your gods!

The remaining Jaffa formed a protective ring around their gods and waited with their weapons raised. Either someone would come through the Stargate and the royal couple would have to be defended or the transport rings would descend and take them away from any danger that might come through the vortex. The question was which event would happen first.

The wormhole formed first.

The Jaffa held their ground, waiting for the appearance of whoever would materialize.

Stepping out onto the platform of the Abydonian gate room were individuals dressed in Tok池a garb with packs of equipment strapped to their backs. There was utter surprise on their faces to be face to face with Jaffa leveling their staff weapons at them.

~~~

One moment, Malthus saw Daniel Jackson and an Abydonian woman encircled within the Jaffa. The next moment, transport rings descended, enveloped the group without them needing to fire a single round, and they were gone.

The rumble of a pyramid ship痴 launch engines caught their attention next. The hall filled with dust from the vibrating walls as the ship launched itself from the Abydonian surface.

Donan was the first to find his voice, the relief that he was still alive was apparent. 溺althus? What do we do now?

Malthus thought for a moment, stunned beyond words, but it was Mordecai that answered. 展e go back to the SGC and inform General Hammond and Colonel O誰eill that Doctor Jackson has been captured by Goa置ld.

泥id you notice the symbols on the Jaffa? Donan asked.

添es, Mordecai answered. 鄭pophis has him.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

APOPHIS HA探AK

The ha稚ak痴 throne room was a bustle of activity. Jaffa and slaves alike hurriedly readied the room for the arrival of their gods. Varos had informed them that Apophis and his queen would be arriving on the ship in moments and would undoubtedly come to the throne room first. All had to be ready for them. The throne room痴 decorations had to be perfect for the return of the gods, the guards parade ready. All the senior members of the royal household were present, ready to greet the pharaoh with his returning queen.

Even as the work was continuing, Varos and Klorel were waiting beside the throne, basking in the triumph of their victory. Many things would change. With the resurrected queen by their pharaoh痴 side and the pharaoh now having access to the one individual who could supply the Goa置ld with many secrets of the Tau池i home world, they had the opportunity to devise a secret attack against the Tau池i that would not be in violation of the Protected Planets treaty.

添ou seem worried, Varos, Klorel said quietly.

的 am, my lord. Many things have changed this day, but I am not certain that all the changes are for the best.

迭etrieving the queen was a great success. Now we have Daniel Jackson as well.

展e must take care, my lord, Varos cautioned him. 展e have taken a family as hosts. Apophis and Amaunet rule this regime. You are heir to the throne and I am the chief advisor. We hold the highest positions within any kingdom, but I do believe that our hosts emotions and memories will hinder our abilities to perform our tasks effectively.

添ou worry too much, my friend, Klorel told him. 的t is precisely the fact that we have an entire family as hosts that will give us greater dominance over them. Will Kasuf fight you if he knows that his insolence will give me reason to hurt his son? No, Varos. It is a glorious day for us. Allow yourself to enjoy the day. There is no time for worry now.

撤erhaps. Yet I do caution you, my lord, be attentive to your host. I have every reason to believe that we may have initiated a serious mistake.

A slave entered the room and stood at attention. 徹ur pharaoh, Apophis and Queen Amaunet have arrived.

As one, each Jaffa, slave and Goa置ld turned and bowed as the royal procession entered the throne room. The surprise was evident on everyone痴 faces as they saw the new host for their pharaoh. They had been told by Varos of the fact, but seeing it as truth was rather unsettling.

Kintac, approached them, bowing his head reverently but warily as he approached. The exhausted look on Apophis face was a strange site to see. The implantation shouldn稚 have been extraordinarily tiring, but events could have easily occurred that the onlookers were unaware of. 溺y pharaoh? Kintac asked, 鄭re you well?

添our pharaoh is well, and your queen lives once again. was the tired answer. 展hat is our status?

Kintac immediately took up his duty as First Prime. 展e are underway back to Netu. The repairs to the ship will be completed shortly. By your orders, your Underlords are gathered together and are ready for their audience with you. Two of them濫

添es, we will attend to our duties momentarily. Apophis felt an internal nudge. Daniel Jackson was awake again and starting to struggle. It was a familiar sensation, but one long forgotten. His last host had fought initially, but quickly surrendered to his fate. Daniel Jackson would not give up as easily. His resurgence to consciousness would have to be dealt with later, when Apophis could enjoy tormenting him at his leisure. He did enjoy hearing his new host scream. 展e will not appear before our Underlords dressed in this manner. Have them wait. Apophis was feeling the need to sit down for a moment. To rest傭ut rest would have to wait.

添es, my Pharaoh,. Kintac bowed once more as Apophis and Amaunet passed them. Apophis did notice that the Jaffa that had carried Varos for those few days was not present.

適intac, where is Sar誕c?

迭eceiving a new prim稚a, my pharaoh. As you ordered.

Of course. He was receiving a new symbiote. That was good. That

Why was he concerned with the health of a mere unimportant Jaffa again? What did a single fighter matter? These feelings of concern made no sense to him whatsoever.

~~~

The two Goa置lds walked down the corridor to a dressing chamber. There, servants attended them by dressing them in regal finery. The servants obviously approved of their lord痴 new host. They continually glanced at him and the queen, their whispers somewhat suggestive in nature. Amaunet was almost jealous but felt a perverse pleasure that she was the one to have what others could only want. It was an empowering feeling.

Once the attendants left them alone, they both felt a sharp sting. They each pressed a hand to the back of their neck, and then knew nothing more. They fell into an immediate and deep unconsciousness.

Daniel and Sha置ri stood there, not knowing what had just transpired. They were very aware that they were the ones in control at that moment, and they could no longer hear the voices of their captors. They were too stunned to even move.

溺y Dan馳el? Sha置ri痴 voice was a little shaky. She was confused. She reached out a hand and touched her husband痴 cheek. It was real enough. It wasn稚 a dream or a tormented vision her demon sometimes punished her with. 的 was didn稚 I what is happening?

添ou池e alive, Daniel answered, taking her hand in his own and bringing it to his lips, his eyes never leaving hers. 的 knew the Asgard brought back Amaunet, but he didn稚 say if you were alive again.

典he Asgard? Why did he do this?

Before Daniel could utter his own confusion, the room was bathed in a bright light. An Asgard stood in the middle of the room, seemingly unconcerned or unaffected by recent events. It was the alien Daniel had seen in the altar room on Abydos.

的 don稚 know, he said, reaching out and pulling her close, 澱ut I think he痴 going to tell us. He faced the Asgard knowing there was anger leaping from his eyes. 展ould you care to explain? Daniel asked. He hated being confused.

的 am Loki. We have not had the pleasure of meeting before, and I am distressed that our meeting now is under these circumstances.

Okay. Forget confusing. Daniel quickly moved to tower over the Asgard. He took care not to move his head quickly or too far left or right. The entrance wound was still painful despite the Goa置ld痴 famed speed-healing ability. Sha置ri stood beside him, her anger and curiosity reflected in her stance and expression. No one was going to believe this when he got home. If he got home.

鄭nd these circumstances would be what? Daniel demanded to know. 徹r can you tell us with them in our heads?

添ou need have no worry about Apophis or Amaunet, Doctor Jackson. Before I revived your wife, I implanted a micro cellular neural implant in the base of her cerebral cortex. I also implanted one in you before you materialized on this side of the Stargate. The device has been absorbed into your cerebral cortex which is the biological point of connection for the symbiote. They will remain unaware of it. With this device, I have control over the symbiotes within you. For the moment, they are in a state of suspension, perhaps what you would call hibernation. They will not know that any time has elapsed nor will they have any knowledge of our conversation. I have also blocked their access to your memories, therefore you are both safe from either symbiote gaining sensitive information. As of this moment, you are two separate beings. I will keep it so for the moment.

Typical Asgard reasoning. 鏑oki, could you please explain exactly what you池e talking about, because right now, I知 just a little confused. And what do you mean for the moment?

典he details of my motivation are very cumbersome. I would not wish to bore you濫

哲o, that痴 quite all right, Daniel commented. 撤lease, bore away. The longer you keep us here, the less time we池e prisoners in our own bodies.

溺any years ago, the Asgard and the Goa置ld were not yet engaged in open warfare but were standing on the brink of it. My children created defensive weapons against the Goa置ld should they attack Asgard outposts. My mate hid with them on Cimmeria where our son Fenrir began work on one of his weapons: the Hammer. The Goa置ld discovered the nature of their work and attacked. My mate barely escaped, our children did not. Rescue attempts only returned their bodies to us. Thor assisted in the hunt for Fenrir and helped carry him to Valhalla for burial. Jormungand痴 body was returned according to a treaty with the Goa置ld. Our daughter, Hel, died from the wounds inflicted by the Goa置lds torture devices. The Asgard threatened retaliation, but afterwards, under threat of open war with the Asgard, the Goa置ld agreed to revoke all claims to Cimmeria. Thor completed work on the Hammer, and Cimmeria became a safe haven for all sentient beings.

鄭nd this involves us how? Daniel asked.

典hor grieved with us when the Goa置ld killed our children. He swore that when the moment for vengeance arrived, he would stand at our side and aid us in any manner necessary. This he vowed before Odin and the Asgard Council. Loki looked Daniel directly in the eye. 鄭pophis was the System Lord who murdered our children. His desire to revive his mate and take you for a host offered me an opportunity. It is through you I will take my revenge.

鄭nd you want revenge for your children痴 deaths? Sha置ri asked him.

的t is our right to seek revenge, yet we are acting without Thor痴 knowledge or consent.

That explained a great many things. 鄭nd Apophis didn稚 recognize you? Daniel asked in his turn.

典o use one of your own phrases, Daniel Jackson, we all look alike to the Goa置ld, and Loki is a popular name. I was able to hide my true identity by not attempting to hide it at all.

鄭nd your revenge? Daniel wanted to know. 的 still don稚 understand how Kasuf, Sha置ri and I figure into it.

迭evenge can be subtle, Doctor Jackson. A simple happening can bring about a vengeance that will be felt for some time. The only living creature that Apophis truly cares about is Amaunet. He does not hold even his offspring in such high regard. To destroy her almost immediately after resurrecting her would harm Apophis in ways unimaginable. It would hurt him.

Loki then bowed his head. 的 must apologize for my actions, Daniel Jackson, Loki痴 voice seemed remorseful. 的 did not realize that Kasuf would be chosen as a host. For that, I am truly sorry. I did not wish him to be involved.

溺y father is a slave to the demons, Sha置ri muttered. 添ou have allowed this to happen.

的t was not intentional, Loki痴 voice sounded sincere. 的 will make what restitution I can to Kasuf for my lack of foresight.

展hat exactly is your plan, Daniel asked him.

鄭t first, my plan was to resurrect Amaunet, eliminate her and restore Sha置ri to you. Apophis would know that I was the one who destroyed that which he held most dear. I had not known that he was interested in taking you for a host, but once I was on Apophis ship, I learned that those were his intentions. Then, the thought of you being able to take a similar revenge on Apophis seemed only fair. He has done great harm to your family, and I am aware of the customs on Abydos. The husband should protect his wife and family.

Daniel and Sha置ri looked at each other and then at Loki. 鄭nd? Daniel asked.

Loki痴 head tilted as he gazed at the humans. 典he neural implants will give you an advantage no other hosts have. You will have the opportunity to torment your oppressors. As I said, neither Goa置ld has been able to access your memories although they have been able to inflict great pain. I will need to return that amount of control to them until the time is right. You can speak with them, this you know, and words can have as powerful an effect on someone as a physical blow. Once the moment arrives, I will suppress the symbiotes again. You will be able to fight back.

展hat about Skaara? Sha置ri asked.

Loki痴 head bowed. 的 will take any opportunity that presents itself in order to rescue your brother, but I am under strict rules concerning the methods of my revenge. I may take revenge on Apophis, but his offspring have not harmed me in any way.

Daniel knew the meaning behind that statement. 的n other words, you can稚 help free Skaara because it痴 against the rules.

哲o. Then, in a less-than-patient tone, Loki added, 典hat is all you need to know. I must now return control to the Goa置lds. I will be observing them and will determine the best time to strike. Very soon, all will be as it once was.

With that said, Loki disappeared in a bright light. Once Daniel and Sha置ri were alone, they felt the sharp sting in the back of their necks, and then they were dragged down into the depths of their minds to be only witnesses to the evil around them.

Apophis and Amaunet stood there,; neither remembered standing up or the precise moment Amaunet had moved into Apophis arms, but after the day痴 events, neither was willing to pursue their confusion. With a shared mystified look, they left the dressing room and walked back to their throne room. Their Underlords awaited them.鋳

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

展hat? Jack痴 voice left no room for confusion. 添ou saw Daniel in trouble and didn稚 do anything to help him?

Malthus thought quickly. He had to do what he could to help. 鼎olonel O誰eill, it was only a few moments between the time we stepped through the Stargate and when Doctor Jackson was taken with the woman and the Jaffa by the transport rings.

摘xcuse me, Jack interrupted. 泥id you say a woman?

添es. Abydonian. Young. Dark hair and eyes. Malthus waited for a response and was surprised to receive none. Finally, he said, 典he Jaffa were loyal to Apophis. I can understand his sending troops after Doctor Jackson, but what would he want with the woman?

For Hammond, the woman was important but had to be a secondary concern. 泥id you find Master Kasuf in the Abydonian gate room?

適asuf? Malthus asked.

泥aniel Jackson痴 father-in-law. He requested his presence on Abydos this morning, the general explained.

哲o, we didn稚 see anyone, Malthus answered sadly.

The angry, determined looks between the two Tau池i spoke for themselves, but Malthus and the other Tok池a didn稚 understand the language. There was nothing to be done. Arranging a rescue of Daniel Jackson would take up too many resources that neither Tau池i nor Tok池a could expend.

Hammond explained the obvious to their guests since Jack was too angry to even attempt it. 的f Apophis has taken Kasuf prisoner, then Daniel Jackson would do anything to rescue him. He may have had no choice but to surrender to the Jaffa. General Hammond had to reason his way to a less subjective decision.

鉄ir, Daniel is a pivotal member of the SGC. If we lose him濫

的 know, Colonel. Malthus, we expect the full cooperation of the Tok池a in this matter. We need to know exactly where Apophis has taken him.

敵eneral, I understand your feelings on this event, but濫

鉄ir, let me be perfectly blunt. Doctor Jackson痴 knowledge of this facility and our operations along with his own intelligence would make him a desired host or a valuable source of information. Need I elaborate further? When he didn稚 receive an answer, he was forced to attend to the one duty he hated the most. Picking up the phone, he called down into the Control Room. 鉄ergeant Davis, change all access codes and protocols immediately. Change SG-1痴 GDO signature and lock out Doctor Jackson痴 signal. Then contact Teal団 and have him return immediately. To Jack, he said, 的値l call Jacob and Major Carter myself. We値l need their help in retrieving Doctor Jackson. He hated doing this. It was almost as if he were signing Doctor Jackson痴 death warrant, but although his position demanded that he preserve the security of the base and the planet, it didn稚 mean he would sit idly by and watch the young man disappear without doing anything about it. 溺althus, you値l need to contact the Tok池a for any information they have now and how long it will take to contact your operatives I知 sure you致e placed in Apophis camp. Once we濫

敵eneral Hammond, Malthus quickly interrupted, 妬f we can locate him, we will relay the information to you, but to maneuver all of our resources and operatives into a search for Doctor Jackson would be impossible.

展hy? Jack asked, his patience definitely non-existent.

添ou must understand that our people are currently involved濫

徹h, we have to understand something the Tok池a are telling us? Jack asked in no uncertain terms, his brown eyes shooting fire, his voice flat and devoid of any friendly overtones, 添ou understand this. Daniel has done a great deal for the Tok池a, and it痴 cost him plenty. He stood up, his height towering over Malthus. 鄭nd in view of the Earth/Tok池a Alliance, we are not only anticipating your full assistance in this matter but fully expecting it. It is in your best interest to help as well as your long-term existence. Just remember that Daniel knows more about the Tok池a than you want the Goa置ld to know about.

泥octor Jackson would not surrender any information willingly, Malthus stated.

添ou think he値l have a choice if he痴 turned into a host? Jack yelled. 泥o you honestly think we壇 forget it if the Tok池a threw Daniel to the wolves?

Malthus didn稚 reply, but Donan took offense at Jack痴 insinuation. 鼎olonel O誰eill, if you are threatening濫

的知 not threatening anybody. I知 just repeating what you guys tell us every time you come here begging for help. You either help us do this or we back out of the Alliance. Your words, not ours. You find Daniel. You know where Apophis hangs out. We値l get Daniel back ourselves. We know how the Tok池a feel about selfless acts of courage or personal sacrifice.

The veiled insult did not go unnoticed. Malthus stood up straight, his gaze never leaving O誰eill痴. 鼎olonel, we have been fighting the Goa置ld for two thousand years.

添eah, and one day you might actually succeed in doing something. So far, we致e been kicking Goa置ld ass. You guys haven稚 done squat.

鼎olonel, I take great exception to your insinuation! Malthus retorted angrily.

General Hammond put up a quieting hand. 鼎olonel, stand down. Malthus, the Tok池a will help us find Doctor Jackson under the conditions in the Earth/Tok池a Alliance. You will contact your base and have them start looking. Immediately! Dismissed!

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

APOPHIS HA探AK

Varos stood beside Apophis throne. Chief advisor to the pharaoh. One step higher up the food chain than the First Prime. Amaunet stood opposite Varos with her hand on Apophis shoulder, both she and her mate dressed in very conservative formal attire. Klorel rounded out the group by standing beside Varos.

They were an impressive sight to the uninitiated.

Daniel was forced to watch as Apophis held court over his minions. Every now and then, Apophis would tire of the endless debates being held among his Underlords and start amusing himself by tormenting Daniel. There were so many ways for a symbiote to inflict pain on its host, and Apophis was using every way he knew. Daniel knew that if he had a voice, he would be hoarse from screaming. He felt battered and bruised. He only knew the random excruciating episodes inflicted on him by his uninvited guest. The only solace he had was that Apophis was suffering the effects from the Blood of Sokar and couldn稚 heal the host body. In other words, Apophis didn稚 feel very well.

~~~

Apophis sat back on his throne, his mate, his son and his Grand Vizier at his side. All was right with his world.

Almost.

He could feel every fiber of the robe he was wearing. The usually soft fabric was scratching. His throne was hard despite the comfort of pillows. The sounds of his people milling about were deafening. The lights were too bright. Then, everything would correct itself, and he would feel fine, but only for a moment. Then, the pain and discomfort would start up again.

Daniel Jackson痴 physical state was annoying him and needed to be regenerated, but that would take time. Time was not a luxury he had at the moment. As soon as he could be spared from the mundane routines of ruling an empire, he would have the sarcophagus brought to him. Surely it was repaired by now. Unfortunately, that moment had not yet arrived.

溺y pharaoh? Amaunet leaned over him. 鄭re you well?

Apophis pinched the bridge of his nose. How could a god get a headache? Gods do not get the Blood of Sokar. Of course. That was the only explanation. Or perhaps that small area of the brain, what was that? There was this physical spot that still bothered Apophis, like a splinter that he couldn稚 see in his finger, but the Blood of Sokar was the most troubling. He had already healed the wounds Daniel Jackson received during the initial fight on Abydos and the implantation, but he didn稚 have the ability to break down the substance溶o Goa置ld had傭ut withstanding its effects was discomforting. 典his host is still suffering from the Blood of Sokar. This body is still feeling pain at undetermined intervals, and I cannot stop it.

Varos saw that the minor Goa置lds were still listening to the bickering of two boisterous complainants and weren稚 watching Apophis. There were more entertaining scenes than a sitting Goa置ld. In any case, their concerns were petty, none so important that they should take up Apophis valuable time. 溺y lord, if you would permit me, I will hear your Underlords complaints if you wish to retire early to repair your host body.

Apophis was grateful for his Grand Vizier痴 concern for his welfare grateful? Why should a god be grateful when one of his subjects was merely performing his duty?

Perhaps taking an entire family as hosts for the ruling royal family was not a wise decision? Still, the satisfaction of revenge on Daniel Jackson was every bit as sweet as he had anticipated. He mentally stabbed at Daniel again, heard his host exclaim his agony. The use of threats against his family was an added bonus. However, he had no choice but to stay, no matter how uncomfortable he felt or how much he wished to torture his host.

哲o, Varos. I must not show any weakness. Prepare a ship for Klorel. I will send him back to Netu to bring the sarcophagus to me. Loki has said that using the Chappa誕i was dangerous to my queen, and I will not leave her behind.

典hen may I suggest that the queen retire for the night? I mean no disrespect, only concern for the queen痴 well being.

Apophis turned to Amaunet. She looked rested, but Apophis sensed a willingness to follow Varos advice. 泥o you wish to retire, my love?

的 would like to rest, only to await your attending me?

Both Goa置lds smiled. 典his day, you may have your slightest wish granted.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

ABYDOS GATE ROOM

SG-2 and SG-1 sans Carter and Daniel stood on the platform as Teal団 surveyed the area. There was no need to discuss the problem. There was no need to discuss how serious it was.

They already knew.

Jack O誰eill hadn稚 made one bad joke or one sarcastic comment since it had begun.

That meant they were in trouble.

That meant that Daniel Jackson was in danger.

Altogether, that meant that Jack O誰eill was pissed.

徹誰eill,. Teal団 returned to the platform, his expression more grim than usual, Daniel痴 clothes in his hands. He was holding the GDO and the unfired weapon that he had found in the pockets. At least Apophis didn稚 get his hands on the GDO. 的 count at least eight Jaffa. There are six other footprints evident.

的知 not gonna like this, am I?

徹ne set of prints I can identify as Kasuf痴. Another belongs to an Asgard. Three others are human, one being Daniel Jackson.

鄭sgard? Jack asked him. 添ou池e telling me an Asgard was here? Then, 展ait a minute. That only adds up to five. What about number six?

典hat set of footprints belongs to Apophis.

泥amn.

的ndeed.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

APOPHIS HA探AK

Again!

Again, affairs of state had taken precedence over Amaunet痴 personal pleasures. Another emergency between more Underlords had erupted and detained Apophis.

Reclining on a mountain of pillows on top of her bed, she tried to taunt Sha置ri but found her host conspicuously quiet. Strange but hardly surprising given the day痴 events. Amaunet had been so involved in re-establishing her presence in the last few hours, she hadn稚 had time to access the slave痴 memories concerning her husband痴 unique abilities as she once enjoyed doing

But she remembered what she had seen before.

There was something very special between Sha置ri and Daniel, something so sublime that even the most unimportant occurrences transcended its magic.

There were a few memories she did enjoy, ones that she remembered many times although she didn稚 understand them.. It was something so simple, so unimportant, so alien to her way of thinking that the strangeness haunted her.

A summer night. Bright stars against an ebony backdrop. Sands blowing on the dunes from a gentle breeze. Daniel and Sha置ri traveling to the mountains to visit their grandfather, camping by the river once the suns set. A simple tent, bedroll inside, campfire outside. Husband and wife gazing at the stars, talking about constellations, telling stories, listening to the sounds of the night. Talking becomes touching. Touching becomes urgency. Urgency becomes more. The night passing all too quickly in a loving embrace of give and take which grows into a fevered passion

A simple stone house, two rooms預 bedroom and a living area. A simple meal prepared on an open fire. A simple discussion of the discoveries made that day as they shared the evening meal. A simple conversation of nothing very important, just loving each other, spending time together.

Sleeping. Waking up long before dawn. Feeling her husband痴 arms go around her. Feeling his lips touch her shoulder as he draws her closer to him. Hearing his whispered words. Feeling his hands touching her, slowly roaming over her as she yielded to him. Awaking fully to find herself being hugged desperately against the man she loves. Turning in his arms to touch him, to love him until the sun rose

There was such a companionship and depth of emotion that Amaunet had never felt or experienced, either herself or through the memories of other hosts. She had Sha置ri痴 memories, but the host always fought her. With Apophis in Daniel Jackson痴 body, Amaunet was certain that Sha置ri wouldn稚 fight any longer熔r as hard. Everything she knew from Sha置ri, all the memories of Daniel would no longer haunt her. She now had her mate inside the host himself.

'.My Dan馳el will never submit to Apophis ' Sha置ri痴 voice murmured as she willingly communicated with her captor for the first time since their resurrection.

'Fool,' Amaunet taunted her as she started hurting her again. It gave her such pleasure to hear the little slave scream. 'You will obey me or not only will I will inflict more pain than your feeble mind can endure. Apophis will put your husband in more than he can survive. My mate will destroy your husband痴 mind, and I will force you to watch.

Sha置ri fell silent again, but only for a moment. Amaunet heard a murmur, and thought Sha置ri mumbled '.And I will be the one to curse your existence when you go before Ma誕t in the Hall of Two Truths

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

Jack couldn稚 sit still. He paced furiously around the debriefing room. Apophis had Daniel. Kasuf, too. The guards at Nagada told them that the demon inside Skaara had taken Kasuf. Any way you wanted to look at it, it stunk.

Apophis had Daniel.

And were the Tok池a being any help?

Not yet.

Their ally痴 assurances of 努e池e helping as much as we can but we池e not getting involved was wearing a little thin. They didn稚 say it out loud, but Jack knew the spiel. They had a spy in Apophis ranks, helping the Tau池i in any way to initiate a rescue operation would jeopardize that operative, the operative痴 mission was more important than one man痴 life, yadda, yadda, yadda

It was all such utter bullshit.

And it stunk.

General Hammond had already changed all GDO codes and security protocols. Although there was a good chance that Daniel was still alive, his chances of being un-Goa置lded or un-tortured were slim.

He could be compromised already.

Jack didn稚 care. He wouldn稚 give up. Daniel never did. When Jack and Carter were trapped in the Antarctic, Daniel got up from his sickbed幼oncussion and all葉o find them. He never gave up. For three years, he searched for Sha置ri and Skaara. He never gave up. Every day, he tried to get the military to see things beyond a military standpoint. He never gave up.

Jack would be damned before he let the little bastards keep Daniel. He wouldn稚 give up, either. He壇 mount a rescue mission alone if he had to. He壇 even

Jack prayed that he wouldn稚 have to kill Daniel in order to free him from a Goa置ld. It was too soon after Sha置ri, and Daniel had made that promise to his wife. Jack couldn稚 take up the mission to find the boy, he knew that already. It was too big of a job for him to take on alone even though he knew he would try his damndest to find him. It wouldn稚 be enough. It would take Daniel痴 intelligence and tenacity to find Sha置ri痴 son.

Great, Jack, he thought to himself. You just admitted to yourself that Sha置ri sent Daniel a message through the ribbon device concerning the boy being sent secretly to Kheb. Now you池e thinking that it actually happened while you致e spent the better part of two months denying it? Sheesh, you are such a schmuck, O誰eill! Admit it to yourself, get Daniel back, admit it to him, and then make an all-out effort to find the kid.

The words 擢or crying out loud! didn稚 cover it. 徹h, hell! seemed more appropriate. He should have just believed Daniel from the get-go.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

ASGARD SHIP

Loki waited. The small neural implants had allowed him to keep track of Apophis and Amaunet. Their anticipation and need for each other had grown each passing hour that a new 田risis had arisen, crises that had been generated by an imaginative Asgard. He wanted to Apophis to know the pain of a want that went unsatisfied. He would allow them a false sense of security, some time to think they had succeeded, before springing his trap.

That trap was almost ready to be sprung.

He would not allow the Goa置lds any leeway, no chance at being happy at the expense of the two hosts. All he needed to do was wait a little longer before acting.

He would have his revenge.

He activated the implants and watched the game unfold.

泥aniel Jackson, Sha置ri, Loki痴 spoke through the implants to his accomplices. 徹nly the two of you can hear me. I have separated you from the symbiotes. They will not be able to hear us communicate. They will only have limited control and can no longer hurt you, but the time for our revenge is upon us. Be ready. Do as I instruct and all will be well..

Daniel and Sha置ri, deeply buried in their tormenting hell, had no choice but to do what Loki said.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

APOPHIS THRONE ROOM

After much annoying external debating and punishable internal distractions, Apophis finally settled his Underlords' differences. He had meant to go to Amaunet痴 quarters to attend her, but his health dictated otherwise. He felt a wave of exhaustion come over him as he traversed the corridors and stopped at his own quarters after he ordered Kintac to ask Amaunet to come to him. Apophis relaxed in his luxurious suite as he waited. During those moments, he took the opportunity to explore his new host痴 mind. Daniel Jackson was known to be a Tau池i genius with a vast knowledge base. Such information could only aid Apophis plans

Where was he?

Apophis couldn稚 sense Jackson痴 mind, but he was aware of his host痴 presence. Apophis knew he was there because of all the hours of entertainment he had experienced at the slave痴 expense. Jackson痴 essence was there, but the path to his memories was unattainable.

Mentally, he was thwarted. Physically, Jackson痴 body was still suffering from that vast unprocessed amount of the Blood of Sokar. It was weakening Apophis. That could be easily dealt with by one use of the sarcophagus, but it would take at least a day for Klorel to return with it. Before he left, Klorel had promised to hasten his return, but it would still take time. Yet there was something else that difference in Jackson痴 brain that was hindering Apophis from taking full control. There was a type of blockage that Apophis could almost feel, some sort of impediment that

It was as if

Almost like

Was it possible?

There had been rumors but not any real research into the effects a hand device had on a human brain. Daniel Jackson had been subjected to one numerous times. Apophis himself witnessed Jackson痴 resistance to its effects on Abydos. Could that be the reason he couldn稚 access Jackson痴 memories at the moment or was it the exhaustion? No, that wasn稚 right. There was something physically impairing his ability to absorb Jackson痴 knowledge.

Perhaps all those reasons, but delving into Jackson痴 mind熔r the inability to do so at the moment謡as not as important as becoming reacquainted with his queen. Knowing her fascination for Daniel Jackson預 fascination born only from her host痴 desires揺e had no doubt that he could please Amaunet. Now, he needed only to be able to access whatever it was that so fascinated her.

~~~

Amaunet was beginning to wonder at Apophis delay when Kintac arrived with her pharaoh痴 request to come to his chambers. Her anticipation was dampened only by Loki痴 worries. Her return to life was brought about only through an advanced technology and even the Asgard wasn稚 sure of its viability. The resurrection could reverse itself and Amaunet would be dead again. She had what she had most wanted for three years. The thought of her pharaoh in Daniel Jackson痴 body gave her an anticipated delight as she had not felt in many millennia. Neither Amun-Re nor Apophis had incited such excitement in her before.

She tried to reach Sha置ri to torment her with the latest development but decided that actions truly spoke louder than words. She knew Sha置ri was trying to ignore her. Odd. Sha置ri was as alive as she was, just as aware. Amaunet was certain of that fact. Yet, even though the little slave would get to be with her Dan馳el despite Amaunet being the controlling consciousness, the Goa置ld felt no internal reaction to that one fact.

No matter.

There would be time for deciphering that little puzzle later.

She was about to be reunited with her pharaoh who now possessed Daniel Jackson痴 talents.

Yes, it was good to be the queen.

She rose and quickly changed into another gown, one that she knew would flatter her and a color she knew to be Apophis favorite.

~~~

Looking out from her prison, Sha置ri could hear Amaunet痴 thoughts. Some weren稚 clear, but Sha置ri could guess their content. With a delighted glee, she realized that Amaunet was anticipating an event that would never happen擁f the Asgard kept his promise to them. Apophis couldn稚 get her Dan馳el痴 memories! What Amaunet wanted was beyond her reach.

Could revenge be theirs?

~~~

It was a radiantly beautiful Amaunet who entered Apophis chambers. Dressed in an elegant red robe and a studded headdress, she looked every bit the queen she was.

Apophis watched Amaunet with delight. He loved how she glided across the room, how beautiful she looked in her red dress. Yes, she was a remarkably lovely woman. 釘eautiful, Apophis said approvingly. 鄭s always, my queen, you are the greatest jewel in our kingdom.

 ~~~

Loki痴 timing was impeccable. He activated the neural implant. In a voice only Sha置ri could hear, Loki said, 鉄ha置ri, taunt her. Make her question everything Apophis says.

~~~

鄭 jewel, my pharaoh? Amaunet asked, her smile both seductive and coy.

.A possession he may dispose of at a whim Sha置ri痴 voice sounded loud in Amaunet痴 mind.

全ilence, slave. You will not speak so of my husband.

添es, a jewel. Bright, glittering, magnificent. Apophis answered as he slowly approached her. Words had always held a certain magic between them溶o. Words had always been part of the magic between Daniel and Sha置ri this was confusing.

~~~

Loki activated the neural implant in Daniel痴 cortex. Again, in a voice only Daniel could hear, Loki instructed, 泥aniel, you must remind Apophis of Amaunet痴 true appearance. Her true nature.

 ~~~

鄭nd beautiful, Apophis repeated.

槽 Yes, Sha置ri is beautiful. A magnificent jewel. Your mate is nothing but a snake, and an ugly one at that. Snakes really aren稚

Now Jackson spoke?

漸uiet. You will not insult my queen.

槽.Yes, I will. Do you think you can stop me?

Apophis tried. Yes, he tried to put Daniel in extreme pain, but he couldn稚 reach him. What was happening? Controlling a host was never this difficult.

.See? You never listen

Apophis could not punish Daniel physically. Instead, he tormented him with words. 全ay what you will, slave, but I will be the one who touches her. You will never know that pleasure again, but you will be very aware that I will.

槽.Say whatever you want to, Apophis. I kill snakes. I don稚 touch them. And you致e never touched Sha置ri, just that bitch of a snake you call a mate

全ilence. You will say no more. Witness that I will indulge myself in what you will never know again.

Just as Apophis reached Amaunet, there was a knock on his chamber door.

~~~

Loki sent a quick message to both Daniel and Sha置ri. The news that Apophis was about to hear was not true. It was a fabrication invented by Loki himself. It would prove useful in rescuing Kasuf.

~~~

溺y pharaoh? Varos voice from the hallway interrupted what had yet to be started. 典here has been an uprising on your newly acquired planet of Qelnor. The slaves have overpowered the Jaffa濫

摘nter, Varos, Apophis commanded, the disappointment in his voice evident. His reunion with his mate had to be secondary to the demands of their regime. Both knew it, both understood it, neither liked it. Especially now when both were so eager to celebrate their reunion.

Varos entered. He had abandoned Kasuf痴 Abydonian clothes and dressed in more Goa置ldish attire. 添our pardon, my pharaoh, my queen. He received pardoning nods from both of them. 的 would not have disturbed you had the situation not been so dire.

展hat has happened? Apophis impatiently demanded to know. When other more pleasant marital concerns should be pursued, affairs of state weren稚 quite as important.

展e have received no details, my lord, only that the slaves have killed the Jaffa and taken possession of the Chappa誕i.

Rebellion? Against him? The thought was ludicrous.

~~~

Again, Loki sent the two humans a quick message to do or say anything to get Apophis to send Varos to Qelnor and to remind the two Goa置lds that they could not undertake Stargate travel at this time. Amaunet痴 resurrection and Apophis current lack of health would be reason enough to keep the two Goa置lds on the ha稚ak.

~~~

槽.So, what are you going to do? Daniel asked Apophis, his 砺oice smug. 槽.If you go there, they値l catch you and execute you, even if they think you are their god. I know a lot of hosts who壇 be willing to die just to kill the symbiotes inside them

In her turn, Sha置ri was taunting Amaunet. 槽.Neither of you can leave this ship. This is only the beginning, demon. One planet after another will defy you and declare their freedom. You will never win because this victory for the slaves will grow among all the worlds you have subjugated. They are slipping from your grasp because neither of you can leave. Only Varos can

漸uiet. I will make you pay for such insolence. But she couldn稚. Amaunet couldn稚 inflict any pain on the little slave despite the fact that Sha置ri was right. There was no other choice. 鄭pophis, Amaunet suggested. 典he Asgard has cautioned against my using the Chappa誕i. Varos can go there with a contingent of Jaffa to deal with the slaves.

~~~

Apophis quickly and quietly considered that option. 添es. I will also send Klorel once he returns with the sarcophagus.

As the Goa置ld considered it, Loki again spoke to Daniel. 泥aniel, you must convince Apophis that he must dial the Stargate. I will give you full control. You will have to send Kasuf to Cimmeria.

典he Jaffa will know, Daniel was able to whisper back without Apophis knowing. 典hey won稚 let me finish the address.

的 will deal with the Jaffa. I know you have no reason to trust me, but I will free all of you from them. Kasuf was unexpected, and for that, I am sorry. This is the most expedient way to free your father-in-law and have our revenge.

Ignoring what he could have said to the Asgard, Daniel did as he requested. '.You don稚 have anyone else here who can deal with it. You might as well kiss that planet goodbye. It痴 not as if Varos could handle the situation. You don稚 even have enough faith in him to dial the Stargate yourself. You probably think that this is one of those simple operations instead of one where both you and Amaunet see your representative off. You壇 leave that to one of your Jaffa

塑ou will be silent!' Apophis roared.

'.Yeah? Make me

Ignoring what could have been said to Daniel, Apophis did exactly what Daniel hoped he would. Interesting repeat of events. 天aros, the queen is correct. You will go there with Kintac. Have him choose Jaffa he can trust. Put down the rebellion. I will meet you at the Chappa誕i and dial the address myself.

添es, my pharaoh, Varos bowed his head and left the room in search of Kintac.

The two rulers gazed at each other. 溺y queen, would you join me at the Chappa誕i? For such an important mission, it is only fitting that both the queen and the pharaoh are there at Varos departure.

的 would be honored, my lord. Provided that we may return here afterwards with orders not to be disturbed.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

The Stargate didn稚 move.

No wormhole formed, no transmission came through, and no one stepped onto the ramp.

Major Samantha Carter sat at the control console staring down at the Stargate. She never thought she would have been called back from her leave for such a reason. The moment they received the call about Daniel痴 situation, her father went into action as General Jacob Carter and forced their way back onto an even earlier flight than Hammond had arranged. Yet, no matter how soon they landed in Colorado, it was too late. Daniel was gone, and there was no sign of where he壇 been taken.

鉄ammy? Her dad walked up and sat down next to her. 滴ow池e you holding up?

鄭pophis hates Daniel, Dad. Probably more than he hates Teal団. We don稚 know where he is or what he痴 doing to Daniel. Do you know what濫

鄭pophis reputation precedes him, kiddo. Look, I知 heading back to Vorash, and I値l light a fire under their collective backsides. We値l do everything we can to find Daniel. We致e got a lot of operatives out there. Someone will know where Apophis is.

Jacob痴 words did little to reassure Sam. 展hat if it痴 too late?

She knew Jacob hated that question. He was fond of Daniel. Hell, fond wasn稚 the right word. Daniel was like a son to him. If they were too late, there would be no choice. Daniel痴 knowledge could NOT be left with the Goa置ld. Seeing Sammy痴 worried eyes begging him for another answer was his undoing. 展e値l do what we can, Sam. If we can rescue Daniel, we will.

He didn稚 have to say what they would do if they couldn稚 rescue him. Sam already knew.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

APOPHIS HA探AK

Apophis himself quickly led the small procession to the Chappa誕i: himself, Amaunet, Varos, a few servants that always attended them once they left their personal rooms and their Jaffa guard. The troop of Jaffa that would accompany Varos was already awaiting their pharaoh痴 presence at the Chappa誕i. Once the ship dropped out of hyperspace, Apophis would enter the necessary symbols for Qelnor and send his 途epresentatives through. Then, once his duties had been dispensed with for that day, he and his queen would retire to his bedchambers.

Anyone who disturbed them would suffer his wrath.

Loki had been monitoring Apophis rush with a bemused contentment. Revenge was its own reward, but responsibility of other痴 lives was a sacred trust. He could not enjoy his vengeance should one as innocent as Kasuf be harmed further. Already, he was prevented from rescuing Skaara according to the rules of conflict the Asgard and the Goa置ld had established between them, but he would see Kasuf freed.

Again, he transmitted a message to the two captive humans. 泥aniel, Sha置ri, be ready. In a few moments, you will have control. I will remove the Jaffa and you must send Kasuf to Cimmeria. As an afterthought, Loki added, 泥aniel, I am sending you the coordinates to Cimmeria with the point of origin.

 ~~~

Daniel痴 thoughts were as confused as the situation. He was trusting a vengeful Asgard he didn稚 know to save his family from the Goa置lds. Jack would have a field day with this.

Oh, boy. Jack. Daniel wondered if anyone knew he was in trouble or was looking for him. No, probably not. His friends on Earth probably thought he was enjoying himself visiting his family on Abydos and not going fishing with Jack. When had Kasuf溶o, Varos contacted him? That morning? Sheesh, it was still the same day. It had been a long, long day.

~~~

The royal couple approached the dialing controller for the Chappa誕i side by side. Amaunet was as eager to accomplish this small task in order to attend to more important matters at hand. She placed her hand on Apophis arm as if to remind him that haste was required and was pleasantly rewarded when Apophis reached up and touched her cheek, almost caressing it as a promise of things to come.

Apophis turned to his queen, opened his mouth to say something and fell into the darkness of his mind and Daniel was in control thanks to a certain Asgard痴 impeccable timing. Daniel never let anyone in the room know that Apophis was out of communication range. Instead, he started slowly pressing symbols on the DHD to Cimmeria. He didn稚 want the Jaffa to know what he was doing before Loki did whatever he was going to do next.

Varos and the Jaffa prepared to leave, and Amaunet left the Grand Vizier with one final instruction. 迭eport your progress as soon as you are able, and take care that you return to us alive, Varos. Your services are appreciated.

Appreciated? Daniel thought those were strange words coming from Amaunet. Varos was a loyal subject, and Goa置lds weren稚 known for being appreciative.

Without warning, a bright, Asgardian light engulfed the Jaffa, and they were gone.

Many things happened at once. The servants panicked. Varos head jerked around as he tried to find the source of the disturbance. Amaunet found herself buried deep in her mind as Sha置ri was unexpectedly in control. The wormhole formed.

哲ow! Loki痴 voice sounded in their minds. 撤ush Varos into the wormhole.

Daniel grabbed Varos, the unexpected attack giving him the momentum to overpower the unsuspecting Goa置ld. Sha置ri quickly rushed to Varos other side and pushed him in the direction Daniel was aiming for葉he event horizon葉oward Cimmeria and into the waiting arms of Thor痴 Hammer.

The Goa置lds were perplexed and angry. Sha置ri could feel Amaunet痴 fear and confusion. Daniel realized that Apophis knew he was trapped and subdued by another痴 will. It was undoubtedly a new experience for the symbiotes and not to their liking. The hosts, however, were enjoying the ironic situation. It wasn稚 just that Apophis and Amaunet didn稚 like what was going on. It was racing fear. That痴 what the crawly little snakes felt.

'. Fool! ' Apophis mentally yelled to Daniel. '.You致e destroyed Varos! Look what you致e done!

'Yeah, I did a good job, didn稚 I?

Further conversation was curtailed as Daniel and Sha置ri were also enveloped in a bright light and transported away.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

CIMMERIA裕HOR担 HAMMER

The sensation of standing before a Chappa誕i in one moment and being transported behind the Hammer in the next moment was agonizing庸or Varos. Excruciatingly so. The symbiote was the one to feel the pain of the Asgard device.

Kasuf felt somewhat disoriented but no discomfort. Realizing he was once again in control of his own body, he stood up and looked around the cavern in which he壇 been unceremoniously dumped. 展here am I? He caught the faint whisper of horrified amazement from Varos. Something about the Hammer and the Asgards.

Yes, Kasuf knew of the Asgard Hammer. Dan馳er had told him of Cimmeria long ago should he ever need the information. Somehow, Apophis and Amaunet had sentenced Varos to this place? Why? Varos was a trusted advisor to them.

Unless maybe it wasn稚 Apophis and Amaunet?

What if his daughter and good son had fought the symbiotes and overcame them?

槽.Impossible! Varos screamed at him. 槽.The pharaoh and the queen would not be beaten by mere slaves. Something must have happened

Kasuf could almost feel that the symbiote didn稚 believe its own words. Perhaps this could be to his advantage? Speaking aloud again, he answered 展hat could have happened? Apophis himself chose the coordinates. He opened the Chappa誕i and then both he and his queen pushed you through it. You have failed them in some way, and this is your punishment.

.Be silent! Varos ordered. 槽.My pharaoh would not do this

添et you are here.

Varos retook control,; the pain from being transported there had worn off. He had heard enough of the human upstart. He took out his anger on Kasuf who could only scream at the torture the symbiote was inflicting. 塑ou will not speak again.

The anguish lasted for an eternity until Kasuf realized they were no longer alone. Someone had joined them, and this new person had diverted Varos attention away from Kasuf.

的 am Thor, supreme commander of the Asgard fleet. The High Council of Asgard has designated Cimmeria a safe world for developing sentient species by unanimous decree era 40.73.29. The Goa置ld System Lords were so informed. You were warned not to come here, under pain of death. For the crimes against the living host and all those you have murdered and enslaved, the sentence is death.

典his is your prison. Your technology will not function here. There are no luxuries, no worshippers, no slaves to do your bidding only basic sustenance and time. When you tire of this existence, go to the Hall of Mjolnir, and face the Hammer. There is no escape. Only the host can leave this place alive.

Kasuf watched in utter fascination as Varos realized the outcome of his fate and screamed obscenities at the hologram. Kasuf forced himself to remain silent, hoping against hope that Varos had forgotten he was there for a moment. It didn稚 forget. Immediately, Varos remembered he had an outlet for his indignation as Kasuf suffered through another onslaught of symbiotic rage. He wouldn稚 allow himself to scream because he knew that the slightest sound would anger Varos more, and it was another way to confound the demon. They seemed unable to understand when the hosts didn稚 react to their demands.

Kasuf waited impatiently for the pain to end and was almost unconscious when Varos stopped the attack. He tried to find refuge in the far corner of his mind and vaguely felt his body moving as Varos sought a means of escape, but Varos seemed shaky, less sure of himself. The demon was scared? Yes. Scared. Varos had no chance of escape he was going to die in the damp, dark cavern, and he knew he was doomed. Death was the only escape for a demon, and the demon痴 death would mean Kasuf痴 freedom.

Things were looking up.

If he only knew where his children were

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

ASGARD SHIP

One moment they were by the Chappa誕i on the ha稚ak, the next, they were standing on board an Asgard ship葉he control room, to be precise. The slaves transported there with Daniel and Sha置ri huddled together, trying to find some comfort in closeness. They had never seen an Asgard or one of their ships, but even they knew that this was a race that could challenge their gods.

泥an馳el? Sha置ri was confused, uncertain and just a little scared. Those emotions crept into her voice. 展hat is happening?

Daniel took her hand as he studied the room. It was definitely Asgard, and they were definitely alone. 的知 not sure, but I壇 guess that Loki痴 about to get his revenge.

A part of the wall slid back, revealing it to be an entrance into the next room. An Asgard entered. Daniel knew that it wasn稚 Loki, so he guessed that it was his mate. He had never seen a female Asgard before. Come to think of it, there wasn稚 any notable difference in the genders. Daniel had always wondered about that, but that was a topic for another time. He wanted answers,; he wanted the symbiotes out,; he wanted to go home,; he wanted his wife; , he wanted their lives,; he wanted to find Kasuf溶ot necessarily in that order.

泥aniel Jackson, Sha置ri, I must apologize for the manner of our meeting. I am Angrboda of the Asgard. Another Asgard joined her. 添ou are already acquainted with Loki. We have brought you here to explain what has happened and to free you of the symbiotes.

Explain?

Free them?

That was it?

的 don稚 mean to be rude, but what痴 going on now? Daniel痴 day had been bad enough. Kidnapped, beat up, Goa置lded, tortured all in all he壇 had better days, and his patience was at an end.

鏑ike I told you, Doctor Jackson. Revenge., Loki said. 的t begins. Once your father-in-law passes through the Hammer, it will destroy the symbiote within him. Varos cannot escape and his death will cause a large rift in Apophis power structure. As you may not be aware of yet, Varos is a prized advisor among the System Lords, and none have been successful in attaining his services or loyalty. The System Lords will not welcome the news that Varos was murdered by Apophis own hand.

Daniel sensed that Apophis didn稚 like the sound of that葉he snake was moving around, tightening his hold on Daniel痴 spinal column. Sheesh, maybe the symbiotes couldn稚 hurt them in the ordinary fashion, but they could still hurt them physically. Even Sha置ri grimaced in pain. Neither symbiote was happy with the news, but Daniel was getting a perverse pleasure at Apophis annoyance.

展hat about us? Daniel wanted to know. 添ou are going to take these snakes out of us, right?

典hey will punish us, Sha置ri explained, hoping to hurry the Asgard痴 promise of freeing them. 典hey are angry at our disobedience. Once they regain control濫

典hey will not, Angrboda reminded them gently. 展e determine their freedom of movement. She approached Daniel and Sha置ri, the look in her eyes預lmost maternal? 展hat we have done was not without purpose. I regret our actions, but I hope you may appreciate the outcome. Loki will explain all to you. I have a task I must attend to. Short and to the point, but almost rude. Angrboda walked from the room.

Loki knew what task his mate had to do, but it would not deter him from his plan. 的f you would allow me a few moments longer, I will grant you both not only your liberation, but some measure of satisfaction as well. Amaunet and Apophis must remain where they are for only a few minutes longer, and these few minutes will be all that I ask of you.

Sha置ri had spent three years alone and helpless while the monster inside her used her as it would. She had no choice then, and she had no choice now but to obey the Asgard. Loki had given them both a type of freedom and was now promising them their lives back. 泥an馳el? Would he know what to do or was he as confused as she was?

Daniel痴 mind was rapidly going through their options擁t didn稚 take long. They only had the one. 鄭ll right. He looked at his wife, resignation in his eyes, fear in hers, and said, 展e値l be free, bene wa. Soon.

Sha置ri nodded her head as she moved to his side. Under the protection of her husband痴 embrace, she almost felt confident that the Asgard痴 plan might work. 展hat must we do?

Loki walked to what Daniel could only call the captain痴 chair. It wasn稚 quite up to Captain Kirk痴 standards

泥octor Jackson, Sha置ri, I must speak with Amaunet. I must therefore濫

No! Sha置ri screamed. 的 will not be a prisoner again! Her face contorted in pain as Amaunet struggled to take control. The symbiote was becoming more frustrated and annoyed, its movements painful.

擢or a very short time. That I promise. Loki waited. He壇 had very little experience with humans, but he did understand silent communication between two individuals attuned to each other. These two humans only had to share a look, exchange a nod of the head or a slight smile to let their feelings and wishes known to each other. They were worried that they would lose the precious autonomy that Loki had granted them. No, not worried. They were scared. It was when Sha置ri nodded her head and tucked her forehead against Daniel痴 shoulder that Loki recognized the sheer depth of the emotion raging inside Daniel.

With blazing blue eyes targeting Loki, Daniel said in a steely voice, 泥o what you have to do, but we want Apophis and Amaunet out of us.

的 understand. Loki picked up the neural implant痴 control module and pressed a button.

Sha置ri痴 demeanor changed abruptly as Amaunet came to the fore and shoved Daniel away.

The final confrontation was about to begin.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

General Hammond hated the feeling as if everyone was walking on eggshells. One wrong word said at the wrong moment and O誰eill practically exploded. Granted, he didn稚 raise his voice to his commanding officer, but Jack was a bundle of raw nerves.

Hammond knew that the order to declare Daniel Jackson MIA, change the protocols and lock out his GDO code was necessary and regulation. It was an expedient precaution to ensure the safety of Earth, but given Doctor Jackson痴 knowledge, ingenuity and intelligence, precautions would be useless if he had already been compromised. It was not an action that the general had wanted to order, but he had no choice.

There was still hope. Daniel had pulled off miracles before and returned to them despite staggering odds. They had no way of knowing where Daniel was, if he was alive or not, if he was Goa置lded or not. If the young man had been taken as a host

They needed another miracle.

The general walked out of his office and into the control room. It was as quiet as a tomb. No one was talking. No one was making any sudden movements. This lack of activity could be attributed to a scowling Jack O誰eill sitting in front of a computer monitor studying the symbols of all planets known to be under Apophis rule. Teal団 stood behind Jack, systematically removing the planets he knew were no longer used by Apophis. With Major Carter cross-referencing the remaining addresses with the little information about Apophis movements that the Tok池a had grudgingly supplied, SG-1 was using the process of elimination to guess where Apophis had taken Daniel.

It was another needle in another very large haystack.

鄭ny luck? he asked his first team.

Teal団 raised an eyebrow, O誰eill grunted, but Major Carter was the only one to answer. 展e致e eliminated all the planets that fell to other Goa置ld after Sokar captured Apophis as well as those that revolted once they received word that Sokar had Apophis. Heru置r took the planets that Amaunet reigned over, so we致e eliminated those as well. The only thing we are certain of is that Apophis left Netu. The Tok池a intel suggests that there are no visible preparations for his immediate return.

滴ow many planets does that leave?

Sam scrolled down the list. 典oo many. Unless the Tok池a can find out what direction Apophis is heading in, we won稚 be any closer to rescuing Daniel.

溺althus should have done something, Jack muttered. 滴e just let those Jaffa take Daniel.

Hammond understood the frustration and the worry his second-in-command was feeling. He felt it as well. The hardest task for any soldier was to do nothing while all hell was breaking loose. 鼎olonel, Doctor Jackson and the woman were taken by transport rings almost as soon as Malthus materialized in the Abydos gate room. He claims he didn稚 have time to act, and I believe he痴 being sincere.

Jack didn稚 grunt, but he did snort.

鄭nd had Malthus engaged the Jaffa and prevented them from taking Doctor Jackson, the Goa置ld would still have Kasuf. Hammond knew that nothing would stand in the archaeologist痴 way of rescuing his father-in-law, not even the United States military.

Jack sat back and crossed his arms across his chest, unconsciously mimicking Daniel痴 physical stance to keep things from getting too close. 滴e痴 just lost Sha置ri, the kid痴 been hidden away if he lost様oses Kasuf, I don稚 know what he痴 going to do. Every spare minute he痴 not searching for Kheb, he痴 gathering Intel on where Klorel might be so we can go rescue Skaara. Now he痴 been kidnapped his family痴 been ripped apart, and it痴 all Apophis fault.

展e値l find him, Jack, Hammond tried to reassure him. 展e don稚 have any other choice.

鉄ure would like to know just how we池e濫

的ncoming wormhole, the alarm sounded. 哲o signal.

鼎lose the iris, Hammond commanded.

Sergeant Davis pressed the button to do just that, but nothing happened. 典he iris is not responding, sir.

鉄end in濫

敵eneral, look. Sam couldn稚 believe the timing. A very familiar Asgard stepped through the event horizon.

As a group, they ran to the gate room.

典hor! Buddy! Jack greeted him. 笛ust the little guy we could use right now. We致e got trouble with a capital T.

The Asgard showed little reaction to Jack痴 announcement. 添ou are referring to Doctor Jackson痴 disappearance?

That one sentence produced a stunned audience. Even the usually vocal Jack couldn稚 speak.

General Hammond stepped forward as he signaled for the SF troops to stand down. 添ou know about the situation?

的 received a message from a friend. Angrboda. Doctor Jackson is with her and Loki.

Jack exhaled loudly. Their Spacemonkey had done it again. Luckily. 滴ow did she get him away from Apophis?

鄭pophis? Thor asked, his voice indicating the confusion not showing on his face. 滴e痴 involved?

鄭pophis removed Daniel Jackson from Abydos, Teal団 explained. 展e have reason to believe that his father-in-law, Kasuf, is also a prisoner. An unidentified woman was taken as well.

This seemed to be extraordinarily unexpected news. 添ou are certain of this? Thor asked them, this time his reaction more pronounced.

鄭 group of Tok池a saw several of Apophis Jaffa take Daniel and the woman by transport ring, Sam told him.

Thor stepped off the ramp. 典hen my mission to inform you of Doctor Jackson痴 location has taken an unexpected turn. I was not aware that Apophis had taken Doctor Jackson. Angrboda did not apprise me of that fact. This is most unfortunate.

No one liked the sound of that. Jack kneeled down in front of the Asgard, looking him eye-to-eye. 的 take it this is a bigger problem than we thought?

鏑ong ago, Angrboda and her mate Loki lost their three children to Apophis. He destroyed them when he discovered they were building defensive weapons against the Goa置ld. According to our treaties, Loki and Angrboda have the right to claim vengeance against Apophis. It would seem that they are either using Doctor Jackson or have enlisted his aid. Perhaps they are attempting to rescue the Abydonians.

徹r using Kasuf and the lady to force Daniel to help them, Jack finished for him. 泥aniel won稚 leave Kasuf in Apophis hands. We need help, Thor. Can you do anything?

Thor痴 expression changed. He looked worried. 的 believe Angrboda will contact me again. I will track the transmission to its point of origin and then travel there.

哲ot alone, you won稚, Jack stated simply. 鼎ome hell or high water, we池e bringing him home.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ 

 

LOKI担 SHIP

Daniel could feel Apophis stirring beneath his consciousness the moment Amaunet returned. The so-called 堵od didn稚 like being the one who was trapped and helpless. Amaunet glared at Daniel, her anger at him apparent. Neither Goa置ld was happy, and they were especially put out with the Asgard. Daniel could feel Apophis move and squeeze around his spinal cord. This couldn稚 be over with soon enough.

鄭maunet, Loki spoke from his captain痴 seat, 的 have no quarrel with you. I am offering you a chance to redeem yourself in some small measure for all the evil which you have wrought while in this host. Abydos belonged to Ra. Upon his death, ownership of the planet reverted to Daniel Jackson and O誰eill according to the laws of war. Apophis disobeyed the laws governing ownership and trespassing when he traveled to Abydos in search of hosts for you. He had no right to take people from there given that he did not know Ra痴 condition at the time. You had no right to take Sha置ri as a host. According to Goa置ld custom, Apophis will be punished for disregarding the laws. You should have surrendered this host the moment you learned of her origins. You did not. For that, you must now leave this host without harming her even though your death may be imminent. If you survive, I will send you to Chulak or, if you prefer, any other Goa置ld occupied planet.

的 prefer this host, was Amaunet痴 answer. She had chosen Sha置ri, and no small upstart of an Asgard was going to deprive her.

典hat was never an option for you, Loki admonished her.

的 will not leave, Amaunet stated firmly.

Daniel yanked Amaunet around to look at him. 添ou致e got no choice. He could feel Apophis squeezing around his spinal cord again. He resisted the urge to yell that the snake needed to get a new shtick. He was going to finish this. Immediately. Daniel, extraordinarily close to losing what little patience he was barely holding onto, turned to one of the slaves that had accompanied them. She had been cowering in a corner all that time. 添ou. He motioned her closer. He had an idea that would solve the immediate problem of getting Amaunet out of Sha置ri.

The slave, a young woman of about twenty, came forward. 添es, master? She didn稚 know how to address Apophis host in any other way.

泥o you serve your queen well? Daniel asked, the words almost choking him. How could he do this? How could溶o. He would do anything, say anything to save his wife.

The slave kneeled before Amaunet, her head remaining bowed. 的 always endeavor to serve my queen to the best of my abilities. I only hope to have found favor in her eyes.

Daniel didn稚 even try to argue against the absurdity of the statement. 展ould you be a host for Amaunet? Great, Jackson. You池e doing just great. Just hold it together a few moments longer. You池e almost there. Home free.

The slave girl looked up at Daniel, then Amaunet. 的 would be honored to serve as the vessel for my queen, but I am not worthy to serve her thus. I am only a servant.

鄭maunet痴 only a snake. She痴 not a goddess. I wouldn稚 wish being a host on my worst enemy, but I壇 do anything to get her the hell out of my wife.

 ~~~

Apophis thrashed, both mentally and physically, but he couldn稚 break through the wall the neural implant imposed. He kept hurting Daniel. He didn稚 know what his host had in mind, but it could only be detrimental to his queen. He would not lose her so soon after getting her back!

~~~

鄭maunet, Daniel didn稚 have to finish the sentence. The Goa置ld knew what she was being offered, and no one could say that Amaunet was foolish.

鼎hoose, Amaunet, Loki demanded. 添ou will not like the alternative.

Amaunet resigned herself to the fact that she was being outmaneuvered. For the moment. However, moments pass. She would wait for that moment to pass. 典his one has always served me well. I will take her as a host.

敵ood, Daniel said. Then he came close to Amaunet. She saw the signs that Apophis was moving, restricting, fighting back to no avail. The human wasn稚 dissuaded. 笛ust remember this, he whispered to Amaunet, 添ou leave Sha置ri alive and unharmed or I will rip you apart.

Amaunet痴 eyes glowed in anger. To be bested by an Asgard was bad enough, but to be outwitted by a simple Tau池i was not to be borne. There would be time for revenge later. She glanced down at the servant girl who had remained kneeling by her feet. A servant. A pitiful excuse of existence was to be her host? Not for long. For now, she would allow the servant the greatest opportunity to serve her queen by blessing her as a host. Later, she would find a proper one, one befitting her status.

Loki merely inclined his head in an agreeing nod and passed his hand over the controls on the chair痴 console. A low platform ascended from the floor and another descended from the ceiling. The two parallel 鍍ables hung suspended as if by magic, without supports of any kind. It was a type of Asgard healing apparatus. Was what they were about to do dangerous enough to warrant it?

典his will assure that Sha置ri survives, Loki explained to Daniel or was it a warning to Amaunet? 的t is designed to sustain her life functions. Normally, this healing chamber has only been used on Asgard. I have recalibrated the settings to maintain a human life. Removing the symbiotes will exhaust you, and you will both need rest soon. However, this healing chamber will allow you to maintain your strength for a short while.

~~~

Again, Amaunet had been outfoxed. She would not be able to arrange an 殿ccidental mishap to happen to Sha置ri葉hus no final parting shot as retribution to Daniel Jackson.

And her pharaoh? He couldn稚 help her. The Asgard had seen to that. But her greatest disappointment? She and Apophis had not taken the opportunity to get reacquainted. She could imagine Sha置ri痴 smug taunts but pushed those thoughts away. She壇 have her revenge soon, and it would be sweet.

Amaunet laid down on the lower platform and, knowing that her life was at stake if she faltered in any way, so she took great preparations not to damage her host. Perhaps the Asgard had a hidden agenda, but Jackson could be trusted to keep his word. The System Lords in her acquaintance had remarked on several occasions of the honor of this one particular slave. However, if she harmed his Sha置ri, no honor would stop him from destroying her.

Amaunet placed Sha置ri in a semi-conscious state so the little slave would feel nothing and slowly disengaged herself from the body. Separating from neural synapses and nerve endings was not an easy procedure unless the host was dying Amaunet felt the Asgard healing chamber take over Sha置ri痴 bodily functions as the symbiote released her. Cautiously, almost gently, she left Sha置ri Tok池a style, through the thin palette at the back of the throat. The symbiote emerged from Sha置ri痴 mouth, saw the servant girl kneeling nearby, flew towards

And never completed her trip.

Daniel grabbed up the symbiote the moment it took to the air, held it tight as he knelt beside his wife. He placed a hand under her nose, placed it against her throat to check her pulse. She was breathing. Her pulse was strong and steady.

Sha置ri was alive. And symbioteless.

Amaunet was furious! She had kept her part of the bargain!

~~~

Daniel could sense Apophis rage as well. Too bad. He was holding all the cards for once. He looked at the screaming, squiggling, squirming symbiote he held tightly in one hand. 的 said alive AND unharmed, Amaunet. She痴 alive. Let痴 see if the other holds true.

Suddenly, he felt a surge of emotion. His anger was almost out of his control. No. He had to keep his calm for a little longer. The Blood of Sokar would not be an excuse. He would maintain control of his temper. He had to.

Loki approached quietly, as if realizing that although he had convinced Amaunet to relinquish what to her was a pleasing host, it was an emotional moment. Perhaps he wasn稚 certain how the Tau池i would react to sudden moves. 典his is an Asgard healing device, Daniel Jackson. Like it痴 Goa置ld competitor, the device shone on Sha置ri brightly and slowly ebbed away. 鉄he is well. Amaunet did leave her alive.

鄭nd unharmed?

典he chamber will heal all physical destructions. She is a strong-willed individual. I believe that her mental and emotional condition will be strong as well.

They waited a few minutes for Sha置ri to regain complete consciousness. As she woke, tears brimmed in her eyes. She blinked a few times to clear them, and then she locked her eyes with those of her husband. 溺y Dan馳el. Her eyes opened wide when she saw the symbiote in his hand and, behind him, the servant still kneeling and watching them.

Daniel helped her to her feet, noticing her gaze on the symbiote. He壇 never before seen such hatred in his love痴 eyes. For the first time in three years, Amaunet was hers to do with as she pleased, not the other way around.

Daniel looked down at the kneeling servant girl, then at the symbiote. He couldn稚 do it. He wouldn稚 do it. In fluent Abydonian, Daniel asked his wife, 典his is the creature that hurt you all those times, bene wa. What sentence should she be given as punishment for her crimes? Oh, yes. Putting Amaunet痴 fate in Sha置ri痴 hands was poetic justice with a touch of irony.

Apophis was absolutely screaming! Daniel took great pleasure amidst the pain that Apophis was helpless, trapped, held impotent in a dark prison without any ability to help his mate. He could only watch and listen and scream voicelessly at his jailer.

Daniel knew what it felt like, and he held no sympathy for his enemy.

添ou said alive AND unharmed, husband, Sha置ri told him in Abydonian 典here is no such thing as remaining unharmed when a demon takes you. She has destroyed many lives, killed many people without reason, and she used my body for her own purposes without my consent. If she lives, she will only repeat her actions. On Abydos, she would be executed not only for her past crimes but to keep her from destroying any others.

Staring at the symbiote, the anger and rage exploded in Daniel. The Blood of Sokar took control of his temper. This this thing this abomination was one of the creatures responsible for ripping his family apart. With nothing but utter contempt and a quick snap of his wrist, he grabbed the symbiote behind the head and gave it a rough jerk. He held the symbiote痴 head tightly in one hand, the body in the other as its dying body jerked in its death throes. It was even more satisfying than shooting the immature symbiotes on Chulak so long ago.

Apophis screamed in anguish.

Without needing to speak a word of explanation, Sha置ri took the creature痴 head from her husband and gave it to the servant girl. She was young, not even as old as Skaara and deluded enough to believe in the non-existent godhood of the demons. Sha置ri took the girl痴 arm and raised her to her feet. 展hen the Asgard return you to the demon痴 ship, take this back to your people. Tell them that Amaunet is dead. She was a false god just like all Goa置lds. They are not to be worshipped. They should be reviled and destroyed.

Confused and frightened, the servant girl reverently took her goddess head and held it close. She couldn稚 take her eyes off the people in the room. Even the other servants who had been transported to the Asgard ship watched silently as the impossible kept unfolding before their eyes. How could gods be killed? How could such things happen? Yet, standing before them was the host body of their queen, now no longer a host. There was the host body of their god, the human now in control. Could it be?

鏑oki, Daniel pointed toward the servants and in a very crisp voice that was filled with pain, 田ould you return them, please? I think they have some stories to tell their people. And Kintac would be out of a job. Too bad.

徹f course, Doctor Jackson.

 ~~~

Angrboda watched the proceedings from the safety of the next room. Apophis now knew what it was like to lose that which he loved most. It was a revenge well worth watching.

She waited until Loki had transported the servants back to the ha稚ak before contacting Thor again. Loki knew what she was doing, but he also knew that she wasn稚 telling Thor everything.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

Jack came storming into the control room. His patience was as extinct as the dinosaurs. 鄭nything?

哲o, sir, Sergeant Davis answered. 典hor痴 letting us patch into his comm system, but he hasn稚 received any new transmissions.

滴as he tried contacting Angrboda?

摘very half hour like clockwork, sir. No reply.

泥ial tone?

哲o, sir.

釘usy signal?

哲o.

徹perator saying this call can稚 go through?

The sergeant glanced up at the colonel and shook his head. 溺ajor Carter and Teal団 are in General Hammond痴 office. We did receive a message from the Tok池a.

敵ood news?

哲ot really, sir. I just sent them the decrypted message and was about to call you. Apophis seems to have disappeared from his ha稚ak.

泥amn, Jack muttered as he rushed toward the general痴 office. He knocked on the door and breezed in without waiting for permission to enter. Sam and Teal団 were standing there, Hammond sitting behind his desk, all three looking at him as he stood in the doorway. 釘ad news, huh?

添es, sir, Sam answered. 典he Tok池a intel have no reports on Apophis location. They haven稚 heard from their agents posted in Apophis ship, but communiqu駸 to and from that site are difficult. The timing of transmissions is crucial.

展hat does Jacob think?

滴e does not know, Teal団 said. 敵eneral Carter believes that the ship would have returned to Netu and its relative safety if Apophis were aboard. However, he has also stated that their information may be mistaken.

鉄o, what do you think is going on? Is Pops taking a little sight-seeing tour of the galaxy on a rented cargo ship? Jack asked.

的t may be worse, Colonel, Hammond added. 笛acob sent me a coded message as well. It appears as if Apophis had an ulterior motive. He had been making arrangements to go to Abydos for some days before this occurred. This information came from a Tok池a contact on Netu.

鄭nd they didn稚 think that was important enough to tell us ahead of time? Anything else?

哲ot much, only that Apophis had kept his plans secret from everyone. He worked alone on this, whatever this is.

滴ow do Daniel and Kasuf fit into it? That was what confused Jack the most. Apophis hated Daniel, but why go after Kasuf? And what about the woman Malthus saw being taken with Daniel?

展e don稚 know yet, but it痴 too convenient that Apophis was there when Doctor Jackson arrived on Abydos. It seems to be濫

鄭rranged, Jack muttered loudly. 滴ow did Apophis know Daniel was going to be there? His voice trailed off.

徹誰eill? Teal団 asked at Jack痴 unusual behavior. 展hat is wrong?

泥aniel went because Kasuf asked him to go. If Apophis was controlling Kasuf somehow, then the plan may have been to capture Daniel all along. Jack wondered if Daniel would be proud of him. He wasn稚 usually given to leaps of logic the way the younger man was, but Jack had his moments.

轍uite possibly, Teal団 agreed. 泥aniel Jackson has angered a great many System Lords. They do not understand how a scholar is capable of engaging the enemy and claiming victory over them. It is an insult to be defeated by such an individual. Also, Apophis is aware that Daniel Jackson knows the location of the child. That may have been the deciding factor in capturing him.

典he kid? Jack almost shouted. 鄭ll this for the kid?

滴e is Harcesis, O誰eill. Apophis wishes the child to be his next host. As a Harcesis, the child痴 value is indeterminable. That fact taken into consideration with the animosity Apophis feels for Daniel Jackson is ample reason for the kidnapping.

釘ut we know the kid痴 on Kheb, wherever Kheb is. Why didn稚 Apophis go after any of the rest of us?

典ruthfully, sir, Sam said as she sat down, 鉄peaking from the female point of view, I think Apophis hates Daniel because he was Sha置ri痴 husband. I don稚 know what they talked about when Apophis was our prisoner, but Daniel was alone with him for a while. I do know that they spoke of Sha置ri, and I知 sure Amaunet told Apophis everything she learned from Sha置ri. I would assume that there痴 some rivalry, at least on Apophis part. Plus, Daniel wasn稚 very nice to him when he was here. I知 sure he wants to get even.

Simple, petty revenge? Why not? It was as good a reason as any.

迭egardless, Hammond pointed to the paperwork on his desk, 鍍he President has given me orders to officially cease looking for Doctor Jackson in forty-eight hours if we don稚 receive word otherwise.

敵eneral, three voices rang out in unison but were silenced by a calming raised hand.

展e won稚 stop searching. It just won稚 be an officially sanctioned search. Doctor Jackson has gone without food or sleep or rest of any kind to help search for other people in this command, and this command will do the same for him. The blunted reference to the Antarctic adventure was clear. 鏑et痴 just hope that we hear good news soon.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

ASGARD SHIP

The servants were gone, transported back to the ha稚ak, leaving the two Asgard, Daniel/Apophis and Sha置ri alone.

哲ow, free my Dan馳el, Sha置ri demanded. 鄭pophis濫

鄭pophis is ours to contend with as Amaunet was yours, Loki corrected her gently. 的 am awaiting Angrboda. She wishes to be here to see both justice and revenge visited upon our children痴 murderer. I promised to free you both, and I shall keep that promise. Doctor Jackson, did Apophis see what happened to his mate?

See it? Daniel had a raging headache from Apophis thrashing around and screams of anguish. Add that in with the Blood of Sokar flaring up uncontrollably, and he was in dire straits. Yeah, Apophis saw everything. 添es. He did. Hang on, Jackson, just a little longer

鄭nd you and Sha置ri have gained some measure of vengeance?

Ah. The chance. Loki had given them the chance to get back some of their own.

展e have, Sha置ri agreed happily. 擢or once, I am happy to see a creature die. The Goa置ld are not intelligent beings. They are cruel, heartless animals that should be destroyed. Amaunet痴 death means one less demon to kill.

Angrboda entered the chamber, her demeanor showing no signs of outward eagerness. 哲ow, we shall take our revenge on Apophis, she stated firmly. She moved her hand over a wall panel. Another Asgard healing chamber materialized, but it wasn稚 empty. Inside was the scribe, Apophis former host. Loki had made the scribe痴 body disappear from the pyramid.

展hat are you going to do? Daniel asked cautiously.

Angrboda walked over to the scribe. 典his human痴 consciousness is no more. It has moved on to the next stage. Only the body remains. We will return Apophis to his former residence without trespassing on this human. He has suffered the terrors of being a host for thousands of years. He deserves rest. She turned back to Daniel and motioned toward the healing chamber Sha置ri had risen from. 泥octor Jackson, if you would please lie on the platform, we will remove Apophis. And, she added for good measure, 田ure you of the ill-effects of the Blood of Sokar. Afterwards, we will send you to Cimmeria.

Apophis thrashed and screamed, tightening his hold around Daniel痴 spine! Daniel fell to his knees in pain. Sha置ri held tight to him, trying to keep him upright. 鏑oki, please! she begged.

展e must help him to the platform, Loki said. I will not let him suffer one moment longer. I have already let him suffer too much.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

CIMMERIA佑HAPPA但I

The Chappa誕i had been silent for all of a few hours. Earlier, one man came through the vortex and was transported to Thor痴 Hammer. Foolish. All Etons that dared to travel to Cimmeria paid the price for their folly. Still, as agreed upon with the Tau池i, a small group of hunters had been sent to the Hammer to retrieve the innocent host. Gairwyn痴 duties as mistress of the village had not allowed her to ride to the Chappa誕i to contact Midgard immediately, but a few hours might not make a difference. The Tau池i would still not be able to question the freed host until he arrived back in the village, and that wouldn稚 be until the next day.

So, with the fuss of a retrieval underway and her duties completed, allowing her the time to contact her friends on Earth, it was a surprise when Gairwyn saw two people mysteriously appear in a burst of light before the Chappa誕i: one a stranger, one a friend.

泥aniel Jackson! Gairwyn greeted him warmly. 添our arrival is as welcome as it is unexpected. I was about to contact Midgard. You were sent here by the Asgard?

Daniel seemed shaken, like he had been drugged and was fighting off the effects. 撤lease, forgive us, the woman with him said. 鏑oki freed us of our demons, but we were sent here immediately after the demon Apophis was removed from my husband. He has not had time to recover his strength.

泥emons? Gairwyn asked.

摘tons, Daniel croaked. Very slowly, he added, 敵airwyn, this is my wife, Sha置ri. Her father was possessed by an Eton as well and was sent here through the Stargate. Did the Hammer take him?

His wife? Of course. Kendra had told Gairwyn about Daniel痴 search to free his wife. By all appearances, he had found her, but she could hear the exhaustion in their voices, could see the tiredness in their eyes. These two had had a hard time of it. Informing Midgard could definitely wait a little longer. 添es. I have already dispatched hunters to the Hammer to bring him to the village. The relief she saw on their faces spoke volumes. The sight of Sha置ri wrapping her arms around Daniel痴 waist, him enveloping her in a tight embrace of relief was one Gairwyn felt privileged to see. Kendra had told her many things about being a host. The lack of physical contact, the abuse, the torture even Kendra appreciated and yearned for another human痴 touch. She would greet all her friends with a hug, and Gairwyn tried to understand. Seeing Sha置ri and Daniel cling to each other only supported what Kendra had told her. Kendra had also said that the chances of freeing a possessed human were very slim, but here stood two that the Asgard had liberated.

Miracles could happen.

典he hunters will not return until tomorrow. You are tired, Gairwyn commented. 鼎ome. You will have the hospitality of my village. Nightfall will soon be upon us. Some food and rest will help you see things more clearly.

展e do not wish to impose濫 Sha置ri started to say but was stopped by Gairwyn痴 upraised hand.

添ou won稚 be. I am honored to have you as my guests.

Exhaustion was joined with gratitude. 典hank you, Gairwyn, Daniel said. 展e壇 be grateful for your hospitality.

 ~~~

As they walked slowly into the village, Gairwyn noticed that her guests were growing wearier. Their gait was rather slow and their steps uneven. It must have been a difficult day for them. She gave orders for fire, food and shelter to be made ready for their visitors. They were, but she suspected they were extraordinarily hungry.

Gairwyn led them to the small dwelling near her own house just as a young woman was leaving. She had started a fire in the hearth and hung a kettle of stew on the tripod. Warming rocks had been placed under some blankets on the hastily made pallet, and lanterns were hung on the walls driving back the cloudy darkness.

撤lease. Sit, she told them. She didn稚 receive an argument. They sat on the pallet, their faces mirroring the exhaustion she knew they felt. Just as she began to ladle some stew into bowls, the protestations started.

敵airwyn, please, we can濫

泥aniel, you and Sha置ri are my guests. And as my guests, I will serve you. She handed them the stew and motioned for them to eat. 摘at now. We値l talk afterwards.

They did eat. With great enthusiasm. Gairwyn had been right. Their exhaustion hadn稚 affected their appetites. Regardless, the first bowl of stew was devoured in silence. The second bowl was another story. Gairwyn asked them what had happened.

It was an interesting story.

鏑oki played a joke on them. He placed a small device in us that could control the symbiotes as well as keeping them from getting any information. When we had control, we sent Kasuf here, Daniel told her. 典hen, Loki took us aboard his ship, I tricked Amaunet into trying to take another host濫

鄭nd killed her before she could, Sha置ri said quietly. 摘ven though I know it was difficult for him.

泥ifficult? Gairwyn asked? 典o kill an Eton?

鉄he was helpless, Daniel told her solemnly. 的 had hold of her, then I lost control. Maybe I should have done something else 俣

展hat could you have done that would have punished her as she deserved? Gairwyn inquired. 鄭nd have you not killed Etons before?

添es. Once I shot a tank of infant Goa置lds. Bra稚ac, a Jaffa we致e worked with, wasn稚 very happy with me, but at the time, all I could think of was all the people that would suffer because of them. I couldn稚 let that happen.

哲o, nor could you allow Amaunet to destroy more lives than she already had. Gairwyn was silent for a moment. Then, 展hat happened then?

Daniel continued the tale. 徹nce Loki had removed Apophis from me, he sent us here to find Kasuf. Loki planned it all. It was for revenge. It seems we helped him get it.

滴ow so?

鄭pophis was inside me, helpless, when I killed his mate. He couldn稚 stop me. He knew what it felt like to have something he loved taken away from him. I guess I got revenge on him for trying to destroy everything I had.

展hat of the Eton that possessed you? This Apophis? Gairwyn wanted to know.

的 don稚 know. Loki put him back in his former host he said that the host isn稚 there anymore. He痴 gone. Only his body remains.

滴e was a scribe, Sha置ri told her. 的 was able to speak to him once when Apophis and Amaunet were asleep, before he was given to Sokar. He apologized to me for everything Apophis had done. I hope he is at rest now. He was a good man and did not deserve his fate. Even my Dan馳el has only sympathy for the host. He does not blame him.

Gairwyn did not miss the look of complete pride Sha置ri gave Daniel. So much to atone for, so much forgiveness from those that had been wronged. Was it wrong for the persecuted to wish revenge on those who persecute them? Three years was a long time to wait. Hate can grow cold as the years pass, and revenge truly was a dish best served cold.

However, stew was a dish best served hot, and her guests looked like they could eat their weight in food. Gairwyn prepared to leave them alone. She suspected that they hadn稚 had a moment together since this particular adventure happened. 典here is enough stew left in the kettle for both of you. There痴 water in the pitcher and extra blankets in the chest. If you need anything, my home is there, just beyond the well. She pointed toward the house just across from the dwelling. 鄭nd I don稚 mind visitors knocking on my door at all hours of the night. Her smile lit up her face as another welcoming gesture.

典hank you, Daniel said appreciatively. 的知 sure we値l be fine.

Of course, they would. Sha置ri placed her hand over her mouth to hide a particularly large yawn. Daniel痴 eyes were blinking, trying to fight off the sleep that was beckoning him. Even though they needed the time alone, Gairwyn knew they needed sleep more. With another assurance of being ready to help them should they want for anything, she left the small dwelling, closing the door tightly behind her.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

ASGARD SHIP

Apophis eyes opened suddenly. His sleep-muddled brain took a few moments to remember exactly where he was and what had happened

Amaunet!

Grief and anger overtook him. His queen, his beloved, was dead. Dead by the hands of that slave! Murdered while Apophis could only watch in impotent horror as the Tau池i dared to destroy his queen謡hile the pathetic slave Sha置ri not only supported the killing but also urged Jackson to commit the crime.

They would both pay dearly for what they had done.

Despite his own personal horrors, he had to stay alive. He was lying on the elevated platform. The Asgard were not as interested in luxury and comfort as the Goa置ld. He was extremely uncomfortable. With an effort, he looked down at himself. He noticed familiar fingers and limbs. He had been redeposited in his former host. What? How?

Then he remembered.

It had been the Asgard痴 plan all along. He remembered the conversation Loki had held with Daniel Jackson when Apophis was trapped helplessly in the depths of the Tau池i痴 body.

It should not be. The host should be dead. No host could live after a Goa置ld had abandoned it, especially after so many thousands of years as a vessel for a god. Apophis mentally sought out the scribe, only to find himself surprisingly alone. That was impossible. For the body to be alive, there had to be a how

The Asgard.

More evidence began to belie the plan to destroy him. And the Asgard were the wielders.

Feeling stronger than he thought he should, Apophis sat up and looked around the room he was in. He had been moved. He was in a cell on board the Asgard vessel. It was small with the doorway sealed with a force shield. He wouldn稚 be able to escape that way.

Then he saw them.

Loki and Angrboda were standing silently away from the door leading into the small prison cell. They were watching Apophis. As always, there were no expressions on their faces from which to interpret their emotions. Apophis felt that he was at a decided disadvantage.

展hy have you done this? Apophis screamed at them. 的 will make you pay for what you have done to me and my queen.

Loki just stared at Apophis, his eyes never wavering. 的 have merely taken the revenge that was mine to claim as prescribed by the laws existing between the Goa置ld and the Asgard. You sought to inflict a grievous harm upon my family. The law clearly states that I am entitled to restitution for your actions against us.

Revenge?

What revenge?

How could

Then Apophis remembered something Loki Cimmeria his children

添ou dare seek revenge on a System Lord for executing traitors of the empire? Your children sought our destruction. Did you believe that such insolence would go unpunished?

Both Asgard remained silently staring at their prisoner.

迭elease me! Apophis ordered. 泥o so now and I will not kill you for your arrogance.

Neither Asgard moved.

迭elease me! he repeated.

鄭pophis, Angrboda stated firmly and unafraid, 殿ccording to standing treaties, no System Lord, either alone or in conjunction with others, may seek out the extermination of any sentient being based solely on the premise of the assumed invention of weapons that may be used on the Goa置ld as a means of defense without proof to the contrary. You are in violation of that order. Your wanton murder of our children is punishable by the Rule of Equal Judgment. Our children were the most important aspect of our lives. As retribution for their murders, you had to relinquish that which you believed most precious. Your queen.

Loki added, 鄭lso, according to those same treaties, no System Lord is allowed to harvest humans as hosts from planets not within his own regime. When you traveled to Abydos, you did not know that Ra was dead. Since no official pronouncement had been issued, you disobeyed that ruling. The System Lords did not look kindly on that.

Angrboda continued the recitation. 典hirdly, since you did violate that ruling and kidnapped Daniel Jackson痴 wife, Sha置ri, he was entitled to seek revenge against both you and Amaunet according to the laws of Abydos. He claimed his right by executing Amaunet for her crimes. He acceded his right to take vengeance on you to us.

Loki again took the conversation. 添our queen is dead. Your host has been released from his mortal body. We have implanted an inhibiting neural implant directly into your symbiote body so that you will never be able to dominate another host. You were prevented from acquiring any memories from Daniel Jackson but should any memories have been transferred to you, you will retain none of them. The System Lords have been informed of your activities in regard to the taking of hosts on planets not belonging to your regime. Many planets within your regime have already come under attack from your rivals Jaffa. As the Tau池i say, to make a long story short, we have taken our revenge for our children痴 murders. Daniel Jackson has taken his revenge for your crimes against him and his wife. By this time, your Grand Vizier, Varos, may already be executed for his crimes including taking Kasuf as host. As we have said, Abydos is not within your regime, therefore no Goa置ld within your influence is allowed to take hosts from that planet.

Angrboda finished the diatribe. 的f you dare to seek further justification for what you believe to be unfounded vengeance, the Asgard will destroy you. For your own safety, you should consider this matter no longer unresolved. We will return you to Netu in due time.

Apophis knew. The Asgard had backed him into a corner. They had bested him by following the rules exactly.

He hated the Asgard.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

Tick tock

Tick tock

Tick

Tock

Each tick of the clock seemed slower than the previous one.

Tick

Tock

Jack kept glancing at his watch, wishing he could escape that slow tick-tocking menace in kel-no-reem as Teal団 was failing to do or recalibrating some electronic gadget like Carter was trying unsuccessfully to finish. Anything to try to get his mind off his worrying, even if everyone else wasn稚 having any luck either.

No transmission had been received from Angrboda.

Even Thor was becoming impatient. Twice, he had personally contacted Earth to tell them he壇 heard nothing despite the fact that the SGC was monitoring every transmission the Asgard ship received.

的 can稚 concentrate, Sam complained. 的致e just readjusted the same control three times, and it still isn稚 right.

的, too, am finding it difficult to achieve kel-no-reem, Teal団 admitted.

Jack just tapped his fingers on the console.

Tick

Tock

鉄ir, Sam tried to talk to Jack, tried to get some sort of response from him. 撤erhaps we should contact Thor again. Maybe he痴 formulated a new plan to track Angrboda.

Tick

Tock

Even Teal団 attempted to draw Jack out. 徹誰eill, Major Carter is correct. Thor has been investigating different methods of communicating with Angrboda. It is possible that he has succeeded and has not yet informed us.

Tick

Tock

Jack kept tapping his fingers.

鼎olonel?

鼎arter, we致e got some vengeful Asgard out there using Daniel to get revenge on Apophis, and Kasuf痴 mixed up in it somehow. Add all that to the fact that Daniel痴 out there without us as back-up. We don稚 know his condition because all we found were his cut up clothes on Abydos用ut that all together and you致e cooked up a pretty good recipe for trouble. Jack was getting positively huffy. Didn稚 they see how much trouble Daniel was probably in?

Teal団 unfolded his legs and stood up. Taking up his usual stance behind Jack, he said, 泥aniel Jackson has been isolated and in danger in the past. He has always returned.

添eah, yeah, more or less in one piece, Jack agreed reluctantly. Daniel managed to return from the alternate universe by using his words and his wits. It was the same with Nem on Oannes. On Klorel痴 ship. Some how, some way, Daniel always came back.

He just had to do it one more time.

The question was, could he?

The half-hour mark came. Thor痴 communication signal sounded.

添eah, Thor. Any news? Jack asked.

的 have just received a transmission from Angrboda. Daniel Jackson is alive, but he is no longer on the Asgard ship. He has been transported to a safe planet.

Jack blew out a long breath. Not quite the news he was hoping for, but better than he was dreading. 展hich one?

鉄he did not indicate the location, only that Doctor Jackson is well but needs time to recuperate.

Recuperate? It was one thing when Janet Fraiser used that word, it was another when the little alien used it. 滴e痴 hurt? There hadn稚 been much blood on the clothes no, very little.

的 do not know, O誰eill. Angrboda did not sustain the transmission for a suitable length of time to explain fully.

Sam leaned over to the microphone. 展ere you able to locate Angrboda痴 ship? We might be able to track Daniel from that position.

填nfortunately, no. Even now, her ship is in flight and has left that area. I am certain that she will tell us of Doctor Jackson痴 condition as soon as it is safe to do so. Thor痴 voice indicated that he was convinced of that fact.

Teal団, however, wasn稚 convinced. 展hat of Kasuf and the Abydonian woman that was taken with Daniel Jackson?

的 do not know. Angrboda痴 message was very brief.

This wasn稚 good.

鉄o now what do we do? Jack demanded.

的 promised you my help, O誰eill. I will keep that promise until Doctor Jackson is returned to you. I will continue to monitor for Angrboda and Loki痴 location as well as research any evidence that may lead toDoctor Jackson痴 location. I do believe that Angrboda was unable to give me any more information at this time due to pressing matters unknown to us. She will contact me again.

Thor signed off and Jack buried his head in his hands. Now he had more to worry about.

鉄ir, Sam said quickly, 泥aniel痴 safe. He may try to contact us.

Teal団 agreed. 的ndeed. Daniel Jackson is most resourceful.

Jack stood up so fast, his chair skidded back and slammed into the wall. 鼎arter, Daniel痴 recuperating. That means he痴 been hurt. If the planet he痴 on even has a Stargate, Daniel doesn稚' have his GDO. And even if he did, he値l know the signal痴 been locked out, so he wouldn稚 dial in. Then there痴 Kasuf. We don稚 know his status, but you can bet your ass that Daniel won稚 lose another member of his family to the snakeheads. Not if he has any say about it. And guess what? We can稚 help him!

展e池e doing all we can, sir, Sam pointed out.

的 know, Carter. But in case you haven稚 noticed, all we can is never good enough when it comes to Daniel.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

CIMMERIA唯EHIND THOR担 HAMMER

Kasuf could feel the fear radiating from Varos. For hours, the symbiote had searched the caves for a means of escape but found nothing.

There was water teeming with strange creatures that Kasuf assumed were the sustenance that Thor had promised was there. Amidst the exploration of the caves, Kasuf remained silent. As angry as Varos was, he had temporarily forgotten his host. He believed that no Goa置ld could hold control indefinitely妖idn稚 they have to sleep? If Kasuf waited long enough, he knew that there might be an opportunity to force them through the Hammer. For the moment, however, all he could do was be silent and wait.

Varos search was relentless. Hour after hour he walked the length of the caves. Several times, they had reached the Hammer and as yet had found no other way out. There was no way around, over or under the device. There was only through. And through meant freedom.

'Freedom? Do you truly believe that the Asgards will not kill you as well? Varos voice questioned him.

'.Thor himself said that the host may leave

'No. The Asgard will kill a host before allowing a Goa置ld to go free. If I die, then you will also.

Kasuf fell back into silence. Dan馳er had told him the truth, and he would believe his good son before the lying taunts of demons.

Again, they reached the Hall of Mjolnir. Kasuf could see the exit from the cave; yet, despite the closeness, it might just as well have been on the other side of the galaxy. Kasuf still had found no weakness in the symbiote痴 control of his body. He couldn稚 regain control and take those few steps through the Hammer.

Kasuf knew that they might be trapped behind the Hammer for a long time indeed.

Noises from the outside quietly echoed through the Hall. Kasuf strained to hear through ears no longer hearing for him alone. He heard voices. And footsteps. And the sounds of leather pounding on rock傭oots, perhaps? Moments later, five men in strange attire stood on the other side of the Hammer. They were watching him溶o, they were watching Varos.

擢riends, Varos said, his voice trying to sound pleasant but Kasuf could hear the lies and sneers behind the words, 的 am here by mistake. I would have never come to Cimmeria and violate the agreement between the Goa置ld and the Asgard. I would be grateful if you would allow me safe passage back to the Chappa誕i.

With a nod of his head, the leader of the humans directed them to enter the Hall. They passed through the Hammer unharmed, unsheathed their knives and surrounded him.

典hat is why we are here, Eton. We are to take the freed one back to the village.

Seeing that this was not an escape, Varos attacked the nearest man. He grabbed him and threw him against the wall into unconsciousness. An angry Eton was strong, perhaps even stronger than four men. They had to regroup. Before he could grab another, Kasuf felt the symbiote痴 control slip slightly.

This was Kasuf痴 chance!

He was able to retake control of his body and took two steps close to the Hammer. Then he stood completely still as Varos tried to reclaim possession. Kasuf hoped that the villagers knew that he was fighting. He tried to take another step toward the Hammer, but he couldn稚. Yet, those two seconds it took for Kasuf to take those two steps was enough for the four remaining conscious villagers to take hold of Varos and rush him toward the entrance.

He was caught up in a brilliant light as the Hammer sought out its intended victim. Kasuf could feel the symbiote痴 pain as it died, felt his own as if a thousand little knives carved through his brain and ignited every pain center in his body. He could hear the Hammer痴 death knell as it sounded throughout Varos consciousness.

Then, as the Goa置ld痴 bane eradicated the Eton, the demon痴 dying screams echoed through the cave only to be replaced by Kasuf痴 own painful, tormented screams.

As the Hammer finished its work, as Kasuf fell to the ground free of the symbiote, his only thoughts were for his children. He was alive. Were they?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

DWELLING

It was dark when Sha置ri roused from her deep sleep. Some sixth sense indicated that there were a few hours yet until dawn, but for the first time in a long time, she could embrace the darkness. Amaunet was gone, her mind her own once again, and she was free to enjoy the night.

Upon awakening, she was greeted with the one sight she had yearned to wake up to. Her Dan馳el lay there with her snuggled close. She could feel him with her own two hands. He wasn稚 just a memory. This was real! She had learned to not even hope for such a miracle. Every dream she had, Amaunet mocked and destroyed. Little by little, the demon pared away Sha置ri痴 hope that, one day, her Dan馳el would find her and destroy Amaunet. Little by little, Sha置ri nurtured the small ember of hope that she had kept hidden from the Goa置ld, nurtured and cared for it so it would never die out. That one ember was her love for her Dan馳el, and that was the one connection to her life that even Amaunet couldn稚 sever. Now, that small ember was not just a wish or dream. It was real. It had form and substance and was lying beside her sleeping soundly.

The last time Sha置ri had seen Dan馳el sleeping, his hair was long enough to fall across his eyes. She would gently move the hair away from the face she loved to look at. Now, his hair was short, more like O誰eill痴. She had no trouble seeing him.

Amaunet had stolen her away from her Dan馳el, death had separated them but it was Asgard vengeance that had brought her back. She wasn稚 going to question it, she wasn稚 going to second-guess any of it, she was just going to accept that she was alive and well and with her husband.

Second chances were rare.

Perhaps he felt her awaken, perhaps he sensed her eyes on him, but whatever the reason, Daniel woke up at that precise moment. Sha置ri had no idea what he was thinking, but had she been able to read his mind, she would have known that her husband痴 thoughts were almost mirror images of her own. Daniel was remembering the last time he woke with Sha置ri in his arms. It had been the morning of the day O誰eill痴 tissue box came through the small opening in the barricade they had built over the Stargate. They had both awakened early that morning, well before sunrise, but neither were inclined to leave the bed. In fact, there were more ample reasons to stay in bed, which they did.

Now, there they were, together. No Goa置lds. No one listening. No one chasing them. No one hurting them. Just the two of them. They were fed, comfortable and somewhat rested after a harrowing ordeal. Was it only yesterday that all of this had started?

They looked at each other silently for a moment, perhaps both finally realizing that this was real and not another dream. But what do you say to someone you致e wanted to talk to for three years but couldn稚?

Tentatively, Sha置ri痴 hand strayed to Daniel痴 hair. 添ou cut your hair, she said approvingly.

Daniel smiled. By all the true gods, but she had missed that smile! 典here痴 actually a story behind that, he answered. 笛ack would be the one to ask about it, though.

徹誰eill? Why? Not that Sha置ri had any objections to talking to O誰eill, but she could sense that her husband was just a little embarrassed over the issue. That meant there was something to laugh about, something to tease him about.

的 lost a bet, and I had to cut my hair. Jack loves telling that story.

Small talk. Idle conversation. There was so much they needed to discuss, but lying there like they were, acting as if they didn稚 have a care in the world, was more important. Morning would come soon enough and with it all the problems and concerns they would have to face. So, for that moment, they could pretend that all was right with the universe. For a little while, the Goa置lds didn稚 exist. Apophis had never entered their lives. They were safe in their little house on Abydos. Kasuf and Skaara were sleeping in Kasuf痴 tent near the village square. For a little while, she would pretend.

As she cuddled closer to Daniel, he pulled the blankets up a little more. Their warm cocoon protected them from the slight chill in the night air, but they couldn稚 be protected from everything.

滴e値l be all right, Daniel murmured quietly in response to her silent fears. 敵airwyn has sent some hunters. If Kasuf has gone through the Hammer, they値l find him and bring him to us. If he hasn稚, they値l take him through. He looked directly in her eyes and smiled. 滴e値l be all right. And we値l find Skaara and the baby. We will.

Sha置ri had to believe. After all they had been through, after all they had survived, she had to believe. There was an understanding that the search wasn稚 over yet. It would never be over until all of their family was reunited again. 鄭pophis never once mentioned the baby.

哲o. He didn稚 mention him to me either. The Goa置ld don稚 see children the way we do. They see them as weapons or a way to get more power. I guess all he sees is a potential host, not a baby.

滴e痴 my son.

鄭nd when we find him, we値l be the best parents we can be, Daniel said with a tender smile.

的 wish she started to say, then changed her mind. 的 tried no, that wasn稚 right, either. 的 am sorry, my Dan馳el. Was that what she was wanting to say?

哲o, bene wa, Daniel clasped her tighter. It felt so good being in his arms again! 哲othing that has happened was our fault. It was Apophis and Amaunet痴. And they池e gone. It痴 just us now. That was the moment that everything seemed real to her. Amaunet was gone. Apophis was who-knew-where with Loki. They were free. It really wasn稚 a dream, it was real. 的 just wish I could take away the last few years and make things good for you again.

Sha置ri could see the emotional pain reflected on her husband痴 face by the dim firelight. They had lost so much, regained so much. They both felt it. 展e cannot change what has been, bene wa. Even in my prison, I knew you loved me and were searching for me. That alone made my life bearable. I could survive anything the demons did to me. The truth spoke loudly in her whispered words. 哲o matter what they did to me.

Daniel didn稚 say 'It shouldn稚 have happened.' That went without saying. 的 would have done anything to濫

Sha置ri silenced him by placing her finger on his lips. 添ou did all that could be done, bene wa. Speak no more of this. It has happened. Now we are together. That is all that matters. They would leave the past for now. But she was right. They were together for the first time in three years.

She waited a moment, and then asked cautiously, 鼎an it be as it was before?

笛ust like before? 的 don稚 think so. I mean, I don稚 think you壇 want to see what Kasuf痴 sister has done to our house back on Abydos.

I took a moment for Sha置ri to realize that he was teasing her. Almost. 徹ur aunt? What has she done?

Looking rather sheepish, Daniel muttered, 展ell, as I understand it, whenever she visited, Kasuf had to decide whether or not to welcome her into his tent or give her another place to sleep. And since we weren稚 there and our house was standing empty, he then he added very quickly, 斗et her stay there.

的n our house? Was that anger? 擢ather let his sister be mistress of my house? Oh, yes, that was anger, pure and simple. She turned over and propped herself up on her elbows. 的 never wanted that woman in my house. I can be as good a hostess as anyone else, but for her to take over my home and I知 not there I知 going to have a long talk with Father when he returns.

Daniel couldn稚 help laughing. 鏑ook at it from Kasuf痴 point of view. It was either that or let her stay in his tent. What would you have done?

Laughing just as much, Sha置ri answered, 鄭nything to keep her out of my tent. She returned to the warmth of Daniel痴 embrace. It felt so good to laugh! Everything seemed new again! She had hope that she didn稚 have before. It was a chance at a future untainted by the demons.

Would everything else seem the same way?

There was one way to find out. 溺y Dan馳el, if I asked you for something, would you get it for me?

添ou can ask for anything, bene wa. I値l get it for you. What would you like? The sun? The moon? Sky? Stars? Planets?

Now he was teasing her again. 哲o. Something much easier to get.

鄭nything you want.

With a sly smile, she moved so she was reclining on his chest. She followed the outline of his forehead down to his nose, and then gently cupped his cheek in her palm. 鄭 daughter. That was the gift she desired. A child they created.

笛ust a daughter? Daniel asked her, his voice teasing again. 展hat if a son is what I can get you?

的値l take both, she laughed.

It was so good to hear her laugh, and it not be in a dream. 的値l do what I can to get you both, he said as he yanked the blanket over their heads.

~~~

Gairwyn had found sleeping difficult and had taken a walk. Tomorrow, she would contact the Tau池i. From the story Daniel and Sha置ri had told her, O誰eill did not know what had happened to them and undoubtedly did not realize that Daniel had been in danger all this time. He had returned to Abydos to help his father-in-law and found only danger instead.

Once her walk had taken her around the village and back to the small dwelling, she decided to check on her two special guests one last time before retiring again. She hesitated at first because she didn稚 want to wake them if they were asleep, then stopped when she heard voices coming from inside the small dwelling. She waited a respectful distance away. She hadn稚 wanted to disturb them if they didn稚 need anything. She knew that Sha置ri had been a prisoner for years and only freed from her Eton for a short time. She needed some time alone with her husband. For that reason, Gairwyn had left orders that they weren稚 to be disturbed until morning. Among other things, the two needed some rest. They were exhausted.

Then she heard the giggling.

And why not? She and her husband had been young lovers once. Young, in love, Daniel and Sha置ri were getting a second chance at life, and the Cimmerian believed that these two deserved it more than anyone she had ever met. Tomorrow, if their luck held true, Kasuf would be returned to them free of his Eton as well. That night, Gairwyn would keep a vigilant eye on the dwelling, protecting their privacy and keeping away the curious.

She could only hope that Kasuf was alive. For their sakes.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

DAY FOUR佑IMMERIA

Knock knock knock

The gentle rapping carried over the quiet breathing of the slumbering couple.

Knock knock knock

The rapping came a little louder, rousing one of the couple from a deep, sated sleep.

Knock knock knock

泥aniel? Sha置ri? Gairwyn called out quietly. 的致e brought your morning meal.

Morning?

Already?

Sha置ri opened her eyes when her sleep-muddled mind registered the word meal. She was hungry again.

The early morning sunlight streamed through the high window, scattering muted sunbeams throughout the small room. One landed squarely on her husband痴 sleeping head, highlighting the lighter colored hairs into a shorter, wispier version of the same sight Sha置ri would gaze at on early Abydonian mornings. Her Dan馳el was deeply asleep, and not just as an after-effect from the removal of the symbiote. Loki had explained to her that the healing chamber could repair the damage the symbiote had inflicted and filter out the Blood Of Sokar, but sleep was the best cure. The Blood of Sokar depleted one痴 strength if left unchecked, and once it was filtered out, the full force of that strength depletion could be felt. Basically, Daniel was sleeping off the after-effects, a situation that had been denied him on Netu. Of course, their physical display earlier in the night only helped bring about an even deeper sleep. And had greatly increased Sha置ri痴 appetite.

Knock knock knock

Sha置ri rose and wrapped a blanket around her. She hated the garish Goa置ld robes and refused to put them on. She had nothing else to wear. She hoped that problem would be remedied soon.

She moved quickly to the door and opened it as quietly as she could. She didn稚 want to disturb Daniel.

敵ood morning, Gairwyn, Sha置ri greeted her new acquaintance warmly. She had already decided she liked the village mistress. It was so heart-warming to see someone smile at her, not cower in fear of the demon. She had heard once that it takes two people to make a smile. Now, Sha置ri believed it.

敵ood morning, Gairwyn whispered in turn. She held out a basket and a large bundle. 的致e brought you food and some clothes. I hope I haven稚 presumed too much.

哲o, you haven稚. Thank you. Sha置ri was stunned. Kindness from a stranger was another event she had not witnessed nor experienced in a long time. Truly grateful, she took both bundles saying, 添ou have been very kind to us. I wish we could repay you in some way.

典here is no need. Daniel is a friend, and there is no debt between friends. If the truth were to be known, we are ever in the debt of the people of Midgard for giving us back our history and helping restore Thor痴 Hammer. A place to sleep, some food and clean clothes are hardly ample recompense for all they have done.

Sha置ri understood completely. 溺y Dan馳el would tell you that there is no debt either. He gives from the goodness of his heart. He and O誰eill also gave my people the truth with no thought of repayment. My father often said her voice trailed off for a moment. Then, 的s there any news of my father? Is he safe?

的 do not know, Gairwyn answered sympathetically, 澱ut it is still early. It may be several hours before word is heard or the hunters return, but there is a chance they will return very soon. The Asgard have carved us new paths through the forest to reach the Hammer that take much less time to travel. If the hunters had no trouble, it won稚 be long.

Minutes? Hours? Sha置ri would have to endure the fear and the worry. Even though she knew what the Hammer was, what it could do

Seeing Sha置ri痴 distress, Gairwyn quickly added, 溺y friend Kendra passed through Thor痴 Hammer. It destroyed the Eton within her. It will do the same for your father. All will be well.

擢or the three of us, I hope so. I wish my brother and son were with us. They are still prisoners.

徹nly for now. Your husband never ceased searching for you nor will he stop searching for them. He has a single-minded determination that I think is rare. Gairwyn stopped talking for a moment, as if not knowing what else to say, and then, 的s there anything else I may bring you? I know this small dwelling wasn稚 well-stocked for visitors.

Sha置ri glanced back into the small structure. Food, shelter, clothing, all were there in ample supply. Then she noticed the fire熔r lack thereof. The embers had died, and the ashes were cold.. The day promised to be warm, but the night痴 chill still bit the air. 溺aybe some wood for the fire?

徹f course. I値l leave some dry wood outside. And Sha置ri, please, ask for anything you want. The village knows you池e here, and everyone wishes to help in any way they can. Gairwyn smiled again as she walked away.

Sha置ri took her armload inside, hastily shed the blanket and donned the Cimmerian clothes. In jerkin and breeches, she was dressed more like Gairwyn and felt more comfortable than she had for a very long time. Vague memories of pillowed couches and columned halls filled her mind. Sumptuous food, servants, exquisite clothes and vast gardens were abundant in Amaunet痴 world. Yet Sha置ri took no pleasure in the Goa置ldish trappings. Desperate as she was, she could see the waste in all the grandeur. Amaunet thought she deserved to be worshipped as a goddess, Sha置ri knew better. Demons were to be destroyed, not exalted.

Enough. She would think on the demons no more.

Her hands explored the clothes more closely. Leather and cloth, they felt much different than the clothes she had worn on Abydos. She appreciated the tighter fit and the comfortable boots. Of course, no well-brought up Abydonian woman would ever be seen wearing such inappropriate attire, but as her Dan馳el had often told her, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. An interesting expression that Sha置ri knew had helped Daniel adapt to other cultures in his many travels. She understood the concept better after having seen many cultures fall at Amaunet痴 feet, but now perhaps she could see different cultures at Daniel痴 side. Learn from them, study their ways, see the hand of friendship extended and not the hand of a demon reaching out to take life away.

She could do all that now. She was free, and she was alive.

鄭pophis was right about one thing, she heard Daniel痴 voice say. 添ou are beautiful.

Daniel was smiling at her, but by the expression on his face, she could tell that Daniel had not just woken up. He had been lying there admiring the view. 釘ut your opinion is not objective, she teased. 鄭nd a husband tells his wife such things.

典rue, but a good husband means them, he teased back.

Sha置ri responded playfully by throwing his new clothes in his face. 敵airwyn brought us something more suitable to wear. She pulled the blanket off Daniel and sat down on the bed as he stood and dressed. She had her own chance to admire the view.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

展hy don稚 you get some sleep, Jack?

Jack痴 head jerked up at the unexpected voice. He didn稚 say anything, just gave Hammond a sideways look and reached for a fresh cup of coffee.

的致e convinced Major Carter and Teal団 to try to get some sleep. Why don稚 you take a break? I値l stay here and wait for Thor痴 transmission and call you when we learn anything new. Hammond sounded as worried as the rest of SG-1, but even he was reaching the end of his patience with the lack of usable information from Thor and the Tok池a. His patience for his first team and their behavior seemed unlimited at the moment, even in the face of Jack痴 unpredictable temper.

Jack drank his coffee silently, gathering his wits and his words about him. He didn稚 like the idea of disobeying the general痴 登rder, but he wasn稚 leaving. 鉄ir, if it were any one of us out there, Daniel would be here trying to figure out the answer. Well, I don稚 have any answers, but I can be here for him. Even if that痴 all I can do for him.

Stubborn man, but he was right. Nothing stopped Daniel when he was determined to find someone he cared about.

滴e can稚 lose Kasuf, too.

鼎olonel?

Jack poured another cup of coffee. He gave a wry grin when he realized that he was keeping the coffee maker as busy as Daniel usually did in moments like this. It was another way Jack could be there for him. Taking a sip, he realized that as strong as it was, the coffee wasn稚 going to be strong enough to keep him awake for much longer. The long tedious hours they壇 been waiting for more news were wearing on him. 滴e just lost Sha置ri two months ago. The baby痴 disappeared. Skaara痴 still a host. Kasuf痴 like his own father. Angrboda hasn稚 exactly told us anything about Kasuf, and if Daniel loses him

的 know. Hammond stared down at the silent console痴 blinking lights. He didn稚 have to express verbally what he feared could happen. 的致e been thinking about the identity of the woman taken with Doctor Jackson. Has he ever mentioned anyone close to the family?

Close close Jack had seen first hand how well thought of Daniel and his family were. Kasuf had earned respect for himself as a young man, and his children were included in that high esteem. All his children, even his good son. They were well liked and had many friends if Daniel痴 goodbye to the Abydonians in the gate room that fateful day was any indication. 鉄ha置ri had a few close friends and relatives that Daniel knew pretty well. But it wouldn稚 matter who it was. She痴 an innocent person mixed up in all this. Daniel would have tried to protect her when the Jaffa came. He値l try to rescue her, too. The memory of a princess trying to throw herself off a cliff only to be stopped by Daniel flashed through Jack痴 mind. Yes, Daniel had done the right thing by trying to save a life, but the results not for the first time did Jack think that maybe it would have been better if Daniel had let Shyla fall. Daniel痴 memories of the time he was addicted to the sarcophagus were scattered and confused, not quite whole. There were times when Daniel would have flashbacks of the sarcophagus, of what he said and did. He went through hell as a result of doing what his conscience dictated.

笛ack, he痴 safe. Somewhere. Hammond felt that if he said it enough times, he壇 believe it. 滴e痴 recuperating or so Angrboda told Thor.

迭ight. He痴 safe and recuperating, Jack agreed. 典hen why are we all worried?

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

CIMMERIA友OREST PATH

Swaying.

Kasuf was swaying.

For a long while, that was all Kasuf was aware of葉he gentle movement of rocking back and forth.

The pain was gone. The pain of the symbiote, the pain of the Hammer, the pain of Varos trying to take him with it as the Hammer did its work. All that was left was the echoing absence of unbearable torment.

But why was he swaying?

He forced his eyes open. He was being carried on a bier by two of the villagers who had pushed Varos through the Hammer. A third man was carrying the unfortunate man Varos had thrown against the wall over his shoulder. The fifth villager led the group along a wooded path.

His good son had been right. Cimmeria had been his deliverance. Yet were his children still prisoners?

He closed his eyes against the pain that was worse than any agony the demons could put him through and let the gentle swaying give him what comfort it could.

The swaying stopped momentarily, and Kasuf felt the bier being lowered to the ground. He felt a hand touch his forehead, and he opened his eyes to see one of the hunters looking down at him. 迭est for now, the hunter told him quietly. 展e値l be at the village soon. We値l be able to help you more there.

 ~~~

Breakfast had been as delicious as supper the night before. Warm bread, juicy meats, fruits and a warm drink that could in no way replace coffee was a welcome repast. Quiet meals were as unheard of on Cimmeria as they were on Abydos. Daniel and Sha置ri indulged themselves in happy conversation as they ate and listened to the village begin welcoming the day.

Another simple pleasure to be enjoyed.

When the meal was nothing more than mere crumbs, the couple heard a tremendous commotion outside. A violent knocking on the door brought them both to their feet as Gairwyn ran inside, surprising them even more.

典he hunters are returning! she cried happily. 典hey bring your father. Gairwyn was a very wise woman, wise enough to move out of the way as Daniel and Sha置ri ran past her.

Two hunters were assisting a third man who was having trouble walking. Two more hunters were carrying a reclining Kasuf between them.

Daniel reached Kasuf almost as soon as Sha置ri. The older man was dazed, mumbling incoherently, apologizing to anyone, no one about anything, nothing. And shivering. He was shivering, but not just because the weather was cooler than he was accustomed to. Daniel had a vague idea what Kasuf had suffered when he passed through the Hammer, but the pain he saw reflected in Kasuf痴 eyes was more than he could bear. The hosts suffered possession, deprivation, and torture預nd still had to withstand the pain of the symbiote痴 death. Daniel vowed that he was going to talk to Thor about that right after he talked with Loki.

擢ather? Sha置ri called to him but received no answer. Kasuf痴 gaze was unfocused, in pain. Sha置ri looked worriedly at Daniel. 泥an馳el? What can we do?

Without speaking a word but with sympathetic smiles, the hunters transferred custody of their charge to the two visitors. Sha置ri and Daniel gently took Kasuf痴 arms, helped him to stand up and slowly led him back to the dwelling. 鏑et痴 get him inside. He痴 cold, Daniel said. Together, they took him in, sat him by the fire and wrapped him in a blanket. Gairwyn followed them in as she ordered more warming rocks to be brought and placed near his feet. Nothing seemed to stop the shivering.

滴is coldness is also inside him, Gairwyn acknowledged. 典he death of the Eton has left him empty inside. There is not much we can do for that. However, we will do what we can for his physical comfort. The hunters told me that they had to force the Eton through the Hammer. They wrapped Kasuf as warmly as they could before bringing him back, but his resistance is not strong enough now to withstand the cold weather.

The young girl who had prepared the dwelling the night before returned with a mug of warm, weak broth. Daniel let Kasuf lean against him as Sha置ri tilted the mug to Kasuf痴 lips. He drank reflexively, the warmth of the broth releasing the iron grip the cold had on him.

More seemed to bring him out of his stupor.

He blinked.

His eyes roamed around the room. His shivering lessened. He was more alert. Suddenly, Kasuf was with them. He reached up and cupped Sha置ri痴 cheek. 溺y daughter.

Sha置ri could not believe it. Her father knew her! 添es, Father. It痴 me.

添ou are yourself again, he said. How long had he waited to say that to her? Her sweet smile was answer enough. Kasuf turned his head toward Daniel. 溺y son?. We are free?

添es, Father. We池e free. The Hammer destroyed the Goa置ld inside of you, Amaunet痴 dead and Apophis is with Loki.

鄭nd Skaara?

的知 sorry, Good Father. Apophis sent him to bring the sarcophagus. Loki more or less told us that it would be against the rules to free him. He痴 not with us.

Kasuf痴 joy and grief couldn稚 be measured. He had two of his children back, one from the dead. There was hope.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH祐GC

Hammond had cajoled, convinced and threatened Jack into resting. The piece de resistance was when Hammond pushed his chair揺is personal, private, comfortable, leather chair庸rom his office and pushed Jack into it. The colonel was asleep in a matter of minutes.

The general had also asked Doctor Fraiser to look in on Sam and Teal団. The Jaffa had finally attained kel-no-reem, but Sam was sleeping sporadically and fitfully.

Thor needed to contact them soon.

鉄ir, Sergeant Davis whispered. He didn稚 want to wake up Colonel O誰eill. Not yet, anyway. 典hor痴 contacting us.

The general quickly took the microphone. 典hor, this is General Hammond.

敵eneral, Angrboda has transmitted a brief message. She and Loki are making the final dispensation of Apophis, and she could not afford the time for a full explanation. Once their present crisis is over, she will render a full disclosure of their actions.

鄭nd Doctor Jackson? Hammond asked quickly.

鄭ll she would say is that he is well and will recover.

展ere you able to track her location?

There was a pause. 典hey are in orbit around Netu. I am aware that Apophis is ruling Netu at the moment, and there is a history of incivility between him, Loki and Angrboda. I have no doubt that he will attempt some form of revenge before they depart Netu.

History of incivility? That had to be an understatement. 典hor, I don稚 know how aware you are of this fact, but there is a history of incivility between Apophis and Doctor Jackson. If he knows where Daniel is and is still wanting revenge濫

添es, General. I have been informed of their recent history. However, Angrboda has assured me all will be well with Doctor Jackson despite the recent events. I am traveling to Netu. I will continue investigating and contact you as soon as I ascertain Doctor Jackson痴 location. And the radio was silent.

Hammond glanced over at Jack whose eyes were wide open. They were both thinking the same thing.

Apophis had hurt Daniel.

There was no word about Kasuf and the Abydonian woman that had been taken.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

CIMMERIA

The midday meal was much quieter. Daniel and Sha置ri cared for Kasuf while Gairwyn tended to everything else. Kasuf had eaten a little, but he wasn稚 very responsive to conversation. That didn稚 stop his children from trying, though. Daniel talked, telling Kasuf about unimportant, ordinary things. Sha置ri told of all the things she wanted to do once they returned to Abydos, jokingly commenting on exactly who was mistress in her own house and how her aunt wasn稚.

Kasuf finally just lay down, facing away from them. No amount of talk could elicit a response afterwards.

Gairwyn watched as the couple vainly attempted several times to get Kasuf to speak but were decidedly unsuccessful. Then, she had an idea. 鉄ha置ri, Daniel, the two of you have been inside too long. It痴 a beautiful day and the path leading down to the river is one that you might find enjoyable. She was subtly trying to get them to leave Kasuf for a while. Maybe it was a good idea, maybe not, but perhaps they壇 have more luck reaching Kasuf if they tried a different approach. No one was expecting the elder to be recovered quickly, but just to know he wasn稚 internally separating himself from his children would be a great reassurance.

They didn稚 want to leave. Not yet. It was too soon for them to leave one alone, but Daniel reluctantly agreed. 適asuf, Sha置ri and I will be outside if you need us. We won稚 be far.

泥an馳el, Sha置ri protested.

的t痴 okay. I think he needs this for a little while.

Sha置ri kissed her father痴 forehead, then took Daniel痴 hand and left the small dwelling.

As they slowly walked toward the river, Daniel stopped suddenly, a look of absolute dread on his face.

泥an馳el? What is wrong?

笛ack. He doesn稚 know what痴 happened. He probably thinks I致e been on Abydos arguing with the Council all this time. We were so busy yesterday and today, I haven稚 even thought about contacting him. He痴 going to be angry when he finds out what痴 been going on.

徹誰eill will be angry at the demons, my Dan馳el. Not at you.

Daniel wasn稚 looking forward to their first conversation. What was he going to say? Oh, hi, Jack. Sha置ri痴 alive, Amaunet痴 dead, and I had a little trouble with Apophis. How was your day?

It was all so confusing and complicated at times, simple and straightforward at others. Sha置ri was alive again, and Amaunet was dead. Kasuf taken as a host, and the symbiote killed by the Hammer. Apophis taking him as a host only to be removed and redeposited back into his former host. The poor scribe. As much as Daniel hated Apophis, he felt even more pity for the scribe. To be trapped by a monster like Apophis for thousands of years

展hen will you contact him? Sha置ri asked.

鏑ater. Today. If Kasuf feels a little better. Jack will be on his best behavior if the two of you are there.

Sha置ri thought the idea was sound. Then again, 敵airwyn is the mistress of the village, and the Chappa誕i is in her keeping. It would be rude for us to presume to take a responsibility that she might consider hers. Perhaps Gairwyn should contact O誰eill.

That sounded even better.

~~~

The daytime warmth was in stark contrast to the preceding night痴 chill. Those who watched the weather foretold of warmer days coming. Gairwyn was grateful for that. Her guests seemed to enjoy the warmer temperatures.

Looking at Daniel and Sha置ri, watching them talk together, walk together, hold hands, Gairwyn still could not believe that three years and death itself had separated them. She also knew that they could make up for lost time when they were alone, so she would have to make sure that they were alone as much as possible. It wasn稚 much, but it was something she could do for them.

Now, she was determined to do something for Kasuf.

Gairwyn had already formed a favorable opinion of the Abydonian Elder from Daniel and Sha置ri痴 description of him. Seeing how much his children cared about him only increased her positive feelings for him. There was a great deal of love in that family, and just as appearances indicated, the members had not been able to share that with each other for a very long time. It showed.

Daniel and Sha置ri痴 new clothes were more suitable to the Cimmerian climate than their Eton garb had afforded them, but Kasuf was still dressed as the Eton. Gairwyn, holding a small bundle of clothes in her arms and gathering her courage, approached the dwelling. She hoped he壇 talk to her. The only time Kasuf had spoken to her was a request to be left alone.

Well, Gairwyn didn稚 understand everything Kasuf had gone through, but she did understand pain. Time would help with the pain, but right now, maybe Gairwyn could help him in other ways.

She knocked on the door and waited. She didn稚 receive an answer. She hadn稚 expected one.

適asuf? It痴 Gairwyn. May I come in?

Again, she was met with silence.

She pushed the door open. The fire burned in the hearth, the lamps still burned on the table, but the unmoving figure lying on the pallet exuded a darkness that no light could drive away.

She sat down on a chair next to the pallet. Still, Kasuf didn稚 move.

Preparing herself to carry on a conversation with someone痴 back, she said, 的t痴 only been a few hours, but I was hoping you were awake. I致e brought you some warmer clothes. Again, no answer. 的 think my brother痴 clothes will fit. I know he wouldn稚 mind my giving them to you. I think the two of you would have been friends. You池e a great deal like him. She glanced over at him, but Kasuf痴 eyes were still closed. She knew he wasn稚 asleep.

滴e was the type of man who worried about his friends and family. He wouldn稚 wish on them the pain of seeing him suffer. When we were children, he fell out of a tree and broke his rib. I knew he was hurting, but he wouldn稚 let the pain show. Of course, I had to let him think that I didn稚 notice. That was difficult, but I did as he wished, just as your children are doing as you wish them to. But they are worried about you, which is why they are not far away. Did Kasuf痴 head move at that last sentence?

的 don稚 know what you have undergone. I will never be able to understand it, but your children can. They want to help you, but I think they could be happier for these first few days together if they knew you were healing. It would only take a few words from you, a little movement away from this bed, a fully eaten meal. This is their time to be together without worrying about the Etons, but it would be a happier time and an easier time for them with only an encouraging word from you.

Was this working? Was moving Kasuf痴 attention away from his own pain to his children痴 happiness going to rouse him from his depression at all?

Gairwyn placed the bundle of clothes at the foot of the pallet and then started to leave. Before she could take a step, Kasuf痴 voice, slightly raspy but no longer weak and tired, stopped her.

典he demon used me to betray my good son. I tricked him into coming to Abydos, and I couldn稚 stop them from resurrecting the demon Amaunet or stop Apophis from taking Dan馳er.

There was so much self-incrimination in his tone that it almost broke Gairwyn痴 heart.

添ou did not betray your son or your daughter痴 memory. The Etons used you, but the Asgard Loki was also gaining his revenge. You, Daniel and Sha置ri were only pawns. Daniel is accepting no blame for Apophis actions. Sha置ri is innocent of Amaunet痴. They will not blame themselves nor will they blame you. You must not take another痴 crimes as your own.

Kasuf痴 eyes opened. Were those tears?

的 could not stop Varos, he said.

哲ot alone, no. Gairwyn touched his shoulder and gently turned him toward her. 的 have witnessed the strength of your family. Alone, each is strong, but together you have a bond that is unbreakable. Together, you defeated the Etons that held you prisoner, and together you will return to each other stronger than before.

Something she said seemed to rally Kasuf. He even sat up, albeit slowly. 展e are strong together. We always have been, but we are not whole. My son, my grandson濫

添ou must believe that they will be found. You must never give up hope.

滴ope is a very fragile thing, Kasuf muttered to himself.

釘ut it is all we have, Gairwyn agreed quietly. 鄭nd right now, there are two young people out there hoping that you池e well or at least going to be.

Kasuf leaned his head back against the wall and sighed. 的 will try for their sake if only to give them a few moment痴 peace.

Yes! Success! Gairwyn did reach him. Maybe it was too soon to expect a total healing, but it was a first step in that direction.

徹r give them time to produce a grandchild. Was that almost a smile on Kasuf痴 face?

Gairwyn almost laughed. 適asuf, are you being rather manipulative?

That was a smile on his face. It was a weak one, but it was a smile. 典he one thing both of them wanted is a family. The demons interfered with that. I will not be another reason that prevents them from getting what they want.

添ou love your children very much.

Kasuf痴 eyes seemed to become more alert. 典hey are my life. My son, Skaara, he is the rebellious one. Always exploring, always questioning, never still. He was a leader among the other children when he was a boy. I had always hoped that he would one day help lead our people. I could not have asked for a better son to be born to me.

鉄ha置ri is even more independent than Skaara. Her bravery helped free our people from Ra. She led the rebellion that won us our freedom. In many respects, she is very much like her mother. Strong, beautiful, willful. I knew it would take a special man to win her heart.

泥aniel? Gairwyn didn稚 really ask since she already knew the answer, but she couldn稚 let an opportunity to keep Kasuf talking escape. He seemed to be more alert.

添es. Dan馳er. He is the oldest son that was not born to me, but he is mine. My father once said that Dan馳er was Earth-born but had an Abydonian soul. The Chappa誕i was what brought his soul back to us. His life was merged with ours, and three years separation has not changed that. He always put our people before himself. I could not be prouder of him even if he were born of my blood.

Gairwyn could only agree. 的 have always been impressed with him. He is not a soldier, yet he fights as one. He would risk much to save a stranger.

滴e has. One of Ra痴 soldiers killed him when he stopped the Jaffa from killing O誰eill. Ra resurrected him in his sarcophagus.

滴e is a very brave man.

添es, Kasuf said. 天ery brave. And some would say very foolish.

展ho would say that? Surrendering your own life for another is a great sacrifice that few would make.

Kasuf smiled. 鄭t that time, O誰eill and Dan馳er did not like each other. It is a long story indeed.

Long story? That would keep Kasuf talking. 的壇 like to hear it if you would tell me.

And Kasuf began the full story of Daniel and O誰eill痴 first trip through the Chappa誕i. To Abydos.

~~~

展elcome, friends, Gairwyn greeted SG-1 as they stepped through the wormhole. 的t is good to see you again.

典hank you, Gairwyn, Sam answered cheerfully. 添our message was the best news we could have hoped for. Where痴 Daniel? At Gairwyn痴 smile, Sam said, 的知 sorry. It痴 just that ever since Daniel was taken prisoner by the Goa置ld濫

添es, I understand your concern. But Daniel was not taken prisoner by the Goa置ld. He was possessed by an Eton.

That simple statement silenced the team for a few moments.

摘xcuse me, Jack interjected, more than worry tinting his voice, 泥aniel was made into a host? You didn稚 tell us that. This was not good. Not good at all.

添es. I know. I regret that I was unable to call you earlier. A great many events occurred at the same time when they arrived here, and as mistress here, it was my responsibility to tend to the most important matters first. Contacting Midgard was secondary to everything else. I meant no disrespect, and I am sorry for any inconvenience or worry this has caused you. They needed time. Gairwyn stood by her decision to allow the family some time together. After all, what could SG-1 have done for them that she herself had not done?

展ait a minute, Jack just realized what Gairwyn had said. 典hey? He really didn稚 like the sound of that. 展ho did Daniel bring with him?

Gairwyn smiled again. 滴is wife and father-in-law.

Jack just wrapped his hand over his eyes. 的 don稚 believe it. He gets taken as a host, and he manages to get another wife? Is it the Abydonian woman that was taken with him? How does he do it? He looked over at Sam and Teal団. 滴e really is gonna have a girl on every planet.

鼎olonel O誰eill, Gairwyn assured him, 鍍his wife and father-in-law are Sha置ri and Kasuf.

典hat is not possible, Teal団 objected. 鉄ha置ri is dead. However, Kasuf may be here.

Gairwyn had known that she wouldn稚 be believed immediately. 典he Eton Apophis brought back his mate Amaunet with magic created by the Asgard Loki. In doing so, he also brought Sha置ri back from the dead. Seeing the disbelief in her friends eyes, she motioned them toward the path leading to the village. 的t is a long story, and we have a long walk to the village. There is time to tell you all that has happened.

 ~~~

Even from a distance, Jack could see that the woman was Sha置ri. There was a certain tilt to the head, an angle to the posture that would have given away her identity, but it was the look in her eyes as she watched Daniel tell a story to the children surrounding them. Jack could imagine them on Abydos, with her sitting beside Daniel as he weaved a magical story to the Nagadan children.

Kasuf sat nearby. He seemed to be listening to Daniel but was distracted by darker thoughts. Just guessing, but Jack wondered if the reality that Varos had used him to betray everyone he loved and everything he protected was foremost in the older man痴 mind. He knew in his head that they were innocent of the demons evil, but in his heart felt the guilt he was in no way guilty of.

Knowing how Daniel was, Jack knew that Kasuf would feel the same way. Even from a distance, he could see the legacy of the demons deep within their souls reflected in their eyes.

Then Jack saw something he never thought he壇 see. The moment Kasuf saw Gairwyn, his eyes grew wider and he smiled. He actually smiled! And Gairwyn did too! Jack wasn稚 a matchmaker, he certainly didn稚 like them, but some small part of him was seeing something any matchmaker would pounce on. Those two liked each other! At least, they liked each other well enough to completely ignore everyone else around them.

It was so cute!

Cuteness aside, no one else had noticed them. Sha置ri痴 full attention was on Daniel. Anyone could guess that Daniel was telling stories. His hands were moving almost as fast as his mouth. The children were concentrating on Daniel and the parents were happily watching the children. All in all, everyone was enjoying themselves.

Jack, Sam and Teal団 watched as well. They didn稚 want to spoil the moment. Not yet. Besides, they wanted to hear the story.

Daniel痴 voice could be heard easily enough. It had taken on that mesmerizing, sing-song rhythm of the storyteller. 典hen, the two men looked at the bomb as it counted down, looked back at the Eton痴 Jaffa where the transport rings had ended his terror, looked back at each other and said together, 選致e got an idea. 

典hat痴 when you and O誰eill sent the bomb to Ra痴 ship? one child asked excitedly.

鏑et him tell the story! another child scolded as he hit the first child on the arm.

The children argued a little, both Daniel and Sha置ri grinning at the childish exuberance until Daniel calmed them down a bit. 滴e痴 right. We sent the bomb to Ra痴 ship using the transport rings.

鄭nd killed the Eton? a third child asked loudly.

泥id Thor build the bomb? a fourth child piped in.

Jack decided that now was the time to announce their presence to the general public. 填ncle Sam built it, he said, almost surprised at Daniel痴 surprise that his team was there. He certainly jumped when Jack spoke.

滴i, Jack, Daniel said.

滴i. Gairwyn told us you壇 been busy.

添eah. A little.

笛ust a little?

溺aybe a lot.

的壇 say a lot.

迭an into Apophis.

展e heard about that.

添ou did?

展e did.

徹h.

添eah.

Well, that saved time explaining.

Sha置ri moved beside Daniel and established herself firmly and securely under his arm. The events seemed to mirror the meeting on Abydos, Jack thought. Would she be worried that his coming would lead to Daniel痴 going?

Jack extended his hand and shook hers in greeting. 的t痴 good to see you again, Sha置ri. We never thought we would.

Sam stepped forward and hugged Daniel. 展e were worried. Malthus told us that Apophis had captured you. Not taken you as a host.

溺althus? Daniel asked.

Teal団 stepped forward and bowed his head in Sha置ri痴 direction, a sign of respect in the Jaffa culture. He had learned that a handshake was an acceptable method of greeting among the Tau池i and proceeded to follow the tradition with Daniel. 鄭 Tok池a scientist who wished to study the genetic remains of Amaunet and was seeking your permission to do so.

鉄tudy her genetic remains? Daniel asked.

泥an馳el? That would have meant being removed from my grave, would it not?

The others were surprised to hear Sha置ri speak so plainly about her death, but Daniel wasn稚. Perhaps too much had happened too quickly and he was still processing it all. Perhaps he壇 died and been resurrected one too many times to be surprised by it. All he said was, 添es, it would. Turning back to Jack, he asked, 鄭nd what made Malthus think that I would agree to anyone desecrating her grave?

添a know, we asked him the same thing.

鄭nd?

鄭nd we got the standard Tok池a bullshit answer.

Same old story. 的 guess we have a lot to catch each other up on, Daniel commented.

的 guess, Jack agreed. 敵eneral Hammond痴 gonna love this debriefing. Jack walked up to Daniel and put a hand on his shoulder. He gave him a little affectionate shake. 鄭re you okay?

Daniel nodded his head and pulled Sha置ri closer to him. 展e are. We will be. Apophis and Amaunet were removed from us, but Kasuf went through the Hammer. We池e a little more worried about him.

The small group glanced over at Kasuf. Gairwyn was sitting next to him and he was trying very hard to be polite and converse with her even if he was tired and slightly traumatized.

的t took Kendra a while to recover as well, Sam reminded him. 鉄ince he痴 awake and mobile this soon after going through the Hammer, I have no doubt he値l be fine.

的壇 say he痴 got some help, Jack observed. 典hat痴 just too cute for words.

Gairwyn noticed that they were being watched. She stood and thought that she should join them. That day, she was having some difficulties remembering that she was the mistress. 擢orgive me. My duties have me occupied with many responsibilities. I hope you will join us for our evening meal and stay the night. You would be my guests.

Sha置ri spoke up before anyone else could. 的 like that idea. I think my father does, too. We can stay, can稚 we, O誰eill?

鉄ir?

徹誰eill?

笛ack?

Jack did a quick double take at his team. 滴ey, have I said no? It痴 not like we got a decent night痴 sleep last night.

Daniel痴 eyebrows rose at that insinuation. 的知 not apologizing, he said. 展e致e been busy. You try entertaining snakes that you can稚 get rid of. It gives a whole new meaning to the term guests from hell.

典hey do know how to wear out their welcome, don稚 they? Jack observed. He didn稚 get any laughs from that statement. 鄭ll right. Bad joke. Gairwyn, since you値l have us, we値l stay.

敵ood. Our hunting season has been good this year. Since we rarely have such important guests, I値l have a feast prepared.

Feast. Jack hoped that the Cimmerians didn稚 feast like the Abydonians. He really didn稚 want to eat another giant insect again. It was difficult enough the first time.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

CIMMERIA湧IGHTTIME

Normal?

Okay, somewhat normal.

For a few moments, Jack could forget the worry of the last few days and think upon the jaunt as any other mission. It was night, it was his watch and his team slept safely around him.

That much was normal for them.

Having a Chief Elder and a recently-deceased-lady-now-alive-again was a little out of the normal range. Sheesh, Goa置lds, would-be-gods, symbiote possession, the dead coming back to life wait a minute. Maybe this was normal after all.

Jack had chosen the first watch because he was too wound up to sleep. They didn稚 really need someone to keep watch on Cimmeria葉hey were safe傭ut old habits died hard. He took careful note of his charges. Teal団 was sitting by the wall in his first truly successful kel-no-reem in three days. Sam was sleeping near the fire. Kasuf was resting very comfortably on a pallet opposite the door. What drew Jack痴 attention was the sleeping pair on a pallet nearest to the door. Daniel was spooned up behind Sha置ri, his arms around her, she holding his arms in hers. They were holding on to each other even in a deep sleep. They looked so right together.

Jack couldn稚 imagine what the two of them had been through over the last couple of days. Daniel, still grieving over losing Sha置ri, only to find her again two months after her death. Sha置ri, taken against her will by a demon, used by another one to carry a child that would have been Apophis next host, then killed and resurrected to return to the torment of being possessed by Amaunet.

He watched as Sha置ri stirred a bit, her eyes opening but not truly awake. She turned over and cuddled closer into his side. She spoke lowly in Abydonian. Daniel pulled her closer and answered back in Abydonian, a few words even Jack understood. Sha置ri laughed softly, and then in English answered, 鄭t least we won稚 be waking up in our house with father痴 sister as our guest. We will have to make sure that she understands that I am mistress of my own house.

典rust me. When we池e back home, Kasuf痴 sister will have to find another place to stay when she visits. I don稚 want her in our house, either.

敵ood, she murmured as she snuggled closer and settled down.

Soon, they were both asleep again.

Jack had watched the interchange and remembered late night mini-conversations he and Sara had held. He didn稚 know what Daniel and Sha置ri had said for the most part, but whatever it was, it made the young couple happy. Well, now they were free and together, and woe be to the one who would try to change that.

And the night wore on.

~~~

Kasuf woke to a pleasant surprise. He felt better, and he was actually hungry. The voices outside the house sounded like O誰eill and Major Carter, the noise nearer to him was Teal団 stoking the fire. His children were not there.

鄭re you well, sir? Teal団 asked him.

的 believe so. Are my children?

的ndeed. They are retrieving water from the well. Gairwyn will be bringing the morning meal shortly. Major Carter believed it best to not disturb you and allow you to rest for as long as possible.

典hat is very considerate of Major Carter, Kasuf said. I believe the rest did me good. He did feel much better.

When he heard Gairwyn痴 voice greeting Jack coming toward the small dwelling, Kasuf quickly rose and made himself look fairly presentable. He didn稚 wish to seem inconsiderate of the lady痴 kindness.

Gairwyn entered with a basket laden with bread, honey and fruit. When she saw Kasuf, the smile that had become routine since the day before was there again. 敵ood morning, she said to Kasuf.

敵ood morning.

的 trust you slept well?

添es. Thank you.

It was like watching two kids with their first crush.

Cute wasn稚 the only right word to use, but it was sweet.

Needless to say, during the morning meal, Daniel had a difficult time keeping Jack from saying anything sarcastic about the two leaders.

~~~

It was a happy day.

Sha置ri would tell interesting stories about Daniel痴 first days on Abydos despite her father痴 disapproving looks. It was not proper on Abydos for anyone to say anything improper about their spouse, but he壇 learned long ago that these two were anything but proper.

Some of the stories included Skaara, and Sha置ri痴 voice would get a little sad. At those times, Daniel would chime in with some amusing additions to the tale and get her laughing again.

Even Kasuf smiled slightly at the remembrance of former, happier times, but the pain was still there. Nothing could make it go away. Until all his children and his grandson were safely under his tent, the pain would always walk with him, and that pain subdued him.

Gairwyn was the only one that could draw him out of his shell for longer than a few minutes. She壇 ask questions about Abydos, about the customs and climate, and Kasuf found that he wanted to tell her. He just kept fumbling over the words. He stammered. He stuttered. He got completely tongue-tied.

Like the others, Daniel had noticed that Kasuf was having a few problems. The attraction between the two leaders was apparent to everyone and amused most, but given the two differing cultures, the Cimmerians were unsure of Kasuf痴 actions熔r lack thereof. For the first time in the few years Daniel had known his father-in-law, Kasuf was utterly confused and speechless.

Jack was right. It was so cute!

For most of the morning, Daniel had watched Kasuf and Gairwyn make strong attempts to talk with each other. Very strong attempts. They liked each other, but was it possible to bridge the culture gap?

Finally, the older man thought it best to ask wiser souls for advice. 泥an馳er, Kasuf whispered as he pulled Daniel aside, 土ou understand Cimmerians, do you not?

Was Kasuf playing games with him? 的 know a little of their culture. We致e spent some time here. Why? Two could play at this game.

的 wish to speak to Gairwyn, but I am not succeeding. Am I acting incorrectly?

哲o, Daniel assured him. 添ou池e just acting like an Abydonian. Back home, there are some strict divisions between men and women. Here, that痴 not the case. It痴 a different culture, and you haven稚 had time to learn about very much of it. Remember some of the difficulties I had when I first came to Abydos? If you didn稚, Sha置ri痴 been regaling my finer moments all morning.

Kasuf remembered all too well. His new son痴 ideas of male/female relationships had caused quite a stir among the Nagadans. Chores like grinding yaffetta flour were woman痴 work, but it was a task Daniel was determined to master. In fact, there was no task he wasn稚 interested in. He had explained to many that some of the chores that Abydonian women did were customarily performed by men on Earth. It was a matter of pride for a husband to not have to say that his wife did this or he never did that. He was raised with that mentality and consideration. The Nagadans soon realized that this 田onsideration extended beyond Daniel痴 family. He loved to help people no matter what the need. His selflessness soon gave some a reason to pause and reflect on their own behavior. Daniel had always dismissed the confusion as cultural differences.

Now, Kasuf found himself in the same position Daniel was in then.

展hat do you think I should do?

擢ather, I知 not exactly the most experienced at courting. Before I met Sha置ri, most of my relationships were disasters. But , Daniel continued, 的 think that if you値l just be yourself, talk to her the way you speak to us溶ot the way you speak to other Abydonians, you値l be fine.

鉄peak as if she were a member of the family? Is that proper?

Big difference in culture.

擢ather, you池e the leader of our people. In public, you have to behave in a certain manner. When it痴 just the family, you池e yourself. That痴 the person Gairwyn wishes to know.

鉄he is also the leader of her people, Kasuf pointed out. It was still a strange concept for him預 woman leading her people. 的s not her behavior different in public and private?

的壇 say so, but not to the extent yours is. With the Cimmerians, their leaders are more like private citizens than public officials. It痴 just the opposite on Abydos.

Differences in perceptions. Well, Kasuf would try and away he went, determined to strike up a conversation with Gairwyn.

Daniel saw Sha置ri and Jack walking toward him. From the looks on their faces, Daniel was positive that Jack had told Sha置ri all about the bet he壇 lost that cost him his longer hair. She was grinning like the Cheshire cat, and Jack looked too smug for his own good.

鉄hould I ask? Daniel wanted to know.

哲o, both answered in unison.

展hat was Father asking? Sha置ri could see Kasuf and Gairwyn talking and not just exchanging pleasantries. They were carrying on a conversation.

滴e was asking about Cimmerians.

Jack nudged Daniel, nodding his head toward Kasuf and Gairwyn. 鄭ll Cimmerians in general or one in particular? I知 not a mind reader, but I think they like each other.

Daniel didn稚 have to look. 的 think so, too.

展hat, no comment on that? If they really hit it off, you could end up with a new mother-in-law.

Daniel was about to make a comment on that when a bright light shone next to them, and Thor appeared. What was more surprising was that he had brought Loki and Angrboda with him.

Jack stared at the visitors for a moment. He saw Gairwyn and Kasuf approach in his peripheral vision. He keyed his mike. 鼎arter? Where are you and Teal団?

鄭t the Stargate, sir. General Hammond should be contacting us in a few minutes.

展hen he does, tell him we致e got some Asgard action going on here.

填nderstood.

Jack gave the two new Asgard his angriest look. He had no intention of being polite.

But Daniel, being Daniel, was.

鏑oki, what happened to Apophis?

展e have returned him to Netu, the Asgard answered. 展e have placed certain restrictions on the symbiote such as being unable to ever claim another host.

Sha置ri didn稚 feel safe from that news. 釘ut he is alive. He may come back for me and my husband.

滴e will not, Angrboda tried to reassure everyone but realized that she was failing utterly. She tried a different tact. 展e have spoken with the Asgard Council, and they have agreed to place Abydos under the protected status treaty. No Goa置ld or their Jaffa may ever touch Abydonian soil again. Moreover, Earth enjoys the same status, so on those two planets as well as Cimmeria, you will be safe.

Who was ever truly safe from the Goa置ld?

Angrboda had proven herself more sympathetic to the humans plight, more so than Loki despite his willingness to protect them as much as possible during his revenge. 鉄ha置ri, you and your family have suffered greatly during these past years. We cannot change that. All we could do is protect you as best as we could. You, your husband and your father are free. If we could have retrieved your brother without breaking existing treaties with the Goa置ld, we would have done so but the opportunity did not present itself.

的t didn稚? Jack asked Daniel.

Daniel shook his head. 哲o, Apophis sent him to bring his sarcophagus. He didn稚 like all the problems I was having from the Blood of Sokar.

滴e had no stamina, huh? Jack asked jokingly.

Sha置ri could almost answer that was Amaunet痴 biggest complaint.

鄭pophis is weak, Kasuf said as he joined them. 滴e uses others because he hasn稚 the courage or strength to gain his own ends.

That was a resounding insult coming from the usually polite elder.

鉄o Abydos is safe? Daniel wanted to know absolutely that his adopted people would never again be harmed by the demons.

的t is, Thor assured him. 的t is small compensation for the sacrifice your family has been forced to pay, but we felt that we owed you for all you have suffered.

Perhaps in another instance, the Asgard behavior could be considered magnanimous, but all Daniel could see was that they were acting like children whose hands were caught in the cookie jar. For his part, he might have been able to forgive the Asgard, but there were others "Thor, we池e looking for a planet called Kheb. If you could tell us where it is預nd help us free Skaara葉hen I値l say that your debt to us would be paid. Who said Daniel couldn稚 be smug and exacting at the same time?

Thor agreed. 展e have heard of Kheb, but its location was lost long ago. I will have all Asgard seek out any reference to it. We will also make every attempt to locate your brother. Agreements with the Goa置ld prevent us from openly retrieving a host, but there is nothing that precludes us from revealing their location.

Daniel saw Sha置ri shrug her shoulders but then nod her head. This might be the best chance of finding her son. Kasuf also nodded his approval of the agreement. 鄭ll right, Thor. We have a deal, he said, almost blatantly ignoring Loki and Angrboda. He understood the desire to punish Apophis but to use his family in such a way

敵ood! Jack痴 exclamation made everyone jump. 哲ow it痴 my turn. Thor, do you have any idea what he did to Daniel and his family? Jack was irate. Angry. Pissed. Madder than a wet hen. 滴e let Apophis get inside Daniel痴 head! Gave him access to enough classified information to seriously compromise濫

鼎olonel O誰eill, Loki explained. 典he neural devices I placed in Doctor Jackson痴 cerebral cortex prevented Apophis from accessing any sensitive information concerning Earth. Apophis desire to resurrect his mate and his secret obsession to possess what Doctor Jackson has were his greatest weaknesses. They allowed me濫

典o use Daniel, Sha置ri and Kasuf as a means to an end? How Machiavellian of you., Jack finished for him.

鼎olonel O誰eill, revenge was mine to take. My absolution for using Doctor Jackson was to return his wife to him. I can assure you that Doctor Jackson was never in any mortal danger.

Jack couldn稚 believe the ignorance coming from the technologically advanced alien. 泥anger? Do you have any idea what you put him through? He壇 rather be dead than be made a host. And look at what happened to Kasuf. You didn稚 do anything to protect him, did you?

適asuf was an unexpected variable in the situation. His being made a host was unfortunate, but at the time, I could do nothing for him.

泥idn稚 want to either, did you?

Thor finally spoke up. 徹誰eill, I understand and agree that Loki痴 actions were irresponsible and, in your view, unforgivable. An apology and an explanation will not condone his actions.

哲ope. No way. Maybe these folks can forgive these two濫

徹誰eill, Kasuf tried to calm the younger man down but should have known better.

哲o, Kasuf, this goes way above the helping out a friend situation. Loki and Angrboda put Earth on the line, and that痴 unforgivable.

摘arth was safe, Loki insisted. 鄭pophis could not extract any information from Doctor Jackson.

Oh? Obviously the Asgard hadn稚 thought of everything. 展hat about Varos? Jack asked. 泥id Kasuf have one of those neural implants? I mean, Kasuf knows a good deal about Earth.

The Asgard were speechless. No one had considered Kasuf痴 knowledge or what Varos might have gained during his time

And if that knowledge had been recorded in some way

泥idn稚 think of that one, did you? Jack almost taunted. It was a rare day when the technologically unadvanced could best an Asgard.

展e did not, Loki conceded. 適asuf being taken was unexpected, therefore we did not have contingencies for such a situation.

An Asgard admitting he was wrong? Definitely a day to be marked on the calendar.

Jack kneeled down so he could look eye-to-eye with Loki. 鏑ook, I don稚 care that you wanted to hurt Apophis. I would have helped. Any of us would. But you let him hurt Daniel and Kasuf, you didn稚 free Skaara, you endangered Earth and probably Abydos. That痴 not going to win you points with the peanut gallery. Capice?

Loki nodded his head. 添es. I understand

展e meant no true harm to come to anyone, Colonel, Angrboda added in her husband痴 defense. 的 would accept that we did not consider all our options.

A silent agreement was reached with that statement. Wrong decisions, good intentions and blind luck had gotten them through again.

鉄ir? Carter and Teal団 approached. 敵eneral Hammond just contacted us. We致e apprised him of the situation, and he壇 like us to return to Earth at our earliest convenience.

Jack痴 wrinkled forehead was a sign that he didn稚 believe that statement. 展hat exactly did he say, Carter?

滴e said that he痴 relieved we致e found Daniel and Kasuf, more than pleased that Sha置ri is alive, but he痴 concerned about Earth痴 security. We may have been more compromised than anyone thought.

Hammond痴 concerns were the same as Jack痴. 鄭nything else?

泥octor Fraiser wishes to ascertain the medical status of Daniel Jackson, Sha置ri and Kasuf, Teal団 mentioned. 鉄he is concerned that they may be suffering from conditions brought about by current circumstances.

Circumstances? That was a very understated way to describe the latest goings-on.

迭ight. Okay, folks. You heard what the lady said. Let痴 head 粗m up and move 粗m out! Jack gazed back at the three Asgard who were silently watching them. 哲ever again, Thor. You know we値l do what we can to help whenever you ask us, but if any Asgard betrays us like濫

的t will not happen again, O誰eill, Thor assured him. 鏑oki and Angrboda will be punished according to Asgard law.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EARTH

What a welcome home it was!

Half of the personnel at the SGC had been as close to the gate room as possible when the motley crew returned. An honor guard stood at attention by the ramp, every officer was present, even General Hammond was wearing his dress blues.

Hammond had the rare pleasure of greeting Sha置ri for the first time. He had heard of her bravery from Daniel and O誰eill, but he hadn稚 expected it to be layered beneath such a quiet strength要ery complimentary with Daniel痴 personality.

The surprise visitor was Gairwyn. Sha置ri had asked if she壇 like to accompany them to Earth and then to Abydos for a visit. She would be their welcome guest.

Jack never said a word. It seemed Sha置ri was doing all the matchmaking necessary.

It didn稚 take long for Janet to give everyone the once-over twice and proclaim them all fit and recovering. Thanks to the Asgard medical technology, Sha置ri showed no signs of distress from her death and resurrection. Kasuf was still a little shaky, but he was absorbing the symbiote and had the protein marker in his bloodstream. Janet was looking forward to testing his abilities with a healing device. Daniel痴 system was back to normal溶o more after -effects from the Blood of Sokar.

All in all, the only physical telltale signs of their ordeal were the nightmares they壇 undoubtedly suffer from and the entry wounds on the backs of their necks.

Hammond ordered that a celebration was in order, and Jack volunteered his house as the place to have it.

~~~

O誰eill痴 house was a bright, cheerful place, or so Kasuf believed it to be. All the times he had been on Earth, he had not yet grown accustomed to all the green surrounding everything. Green grass, green leaves, even green- leaf -covered mountains. And snow -capped mountains! Some very reminiscent of sights he saw on Cimmeria. Such a wondrous world of beauty and adventure, and his good son had left it behind and eagerly embraced the sandy visages of Abydos. Kasuf痴 first view of the Earth several months earlier had been at the top of Cheyenne Mountain, through the emergency escape hatch that many of the SGC personnel used to 組o on break. The sight was absolutely breathtaking. And all the other things that surrounded him容lectric lights, chocolate and coffee (Dan馳er痴 primary diet apparently), indoor facilities with hot and cold running water (an absolute must in any home, O誰eill had told him), television, rock and roll. All these wondrous devices and his good son had nothing here. Kasuf realized how barren and bereft Dan馳er痴 life must have been to have left all this behind to stay on Abydos with his new-found family.

Now, in O誰eill痴 back yard enjoying a picnic, Kasuf was struck by more differences in their two worlds. O誰eill was cooking on what Dan馳er called the 澱arbecue grill. Women cooked on Abydos. There wasn稚 a distinction between men痴 work and women痴 work on Earth as there was on Abydos. The Tau池i had advanced beyond that distinctive and dissective point.

He longed for the familiarity of home just as much as he hoped that Gairwyn would like the deserts of Abydos. O誰eill had already been making jokes about Daniel helping the two of them exchange dialing addresses just like they were phone numbers. Gairwyn didn稚 understand until Major Carter described telephones and their uses. The Cimmerian blushed like a school girl

Their original plan had been to return to Abydos the next day. Kasuf had to return to his duties,. Sha置ri wished to see her home and family again,. Dan馳er just wanted to go home for a while and enjoy being home. It couldn稚 be like it had been before. Too much had happened to all of them., Skaara and the baby were still missing. Time had been stolen from them.

At least that had been the original plan.

O誰eill had convinced them all to stay one more day. He knew where this pretty little cabin was deep in the woods where everyone could relax before heading back to Abydos.

Remembering what Daniel had told him about the original plan to take him fishing, Kasuf absently asked, 的s there a lake where we could fish nearby?

適asuf, Jack said as he spread his hands out, 的 know a lake where the fish grow this big!

 The End

 

Apophis, known as Apep: An Egyptian monster living in perpetual darkness. This snake god is the chief of the antagonists of the sun god Ra and each night he tries to stop the sun god痴 barque on his journey through the underworld. In the struggle between light and darkness, the monster is wounded by the divine entourage of Ra with knives and spears. The god Seth and the god Mehen were often depicted defending the solar barque.

Apep is the personification of darkness, evil, and chaos. Occasionally, the battle was decided in his favor, causing a solar eclipse, but his victories were of short duration for Re always triumphed in the end. Eventually, Apep was slain by Ra, who cut up his body and burned it. The Greeks referred to him as Apophis.

Amaunet: An Egyptian mother goddess, called the 滴idden One. She is the personification of the life-bringing northern wind. She belongs to the Ogdoad of Hermopolis. Within this group of gods her consort is the god Amun. She is referred to as 奏he mother who is father and in this capacity she needs no husband. Amaunet was regarded as a tutelary deity of the Egyptian pharaohs and had a prominent part in their accession ceremonies. She is portrayed as a snake or a snake-head on which the crown of Lower Egypt rests.

Loki: Loki is one of the major deities in the Norse pantheon. He is a son of the giant Farbauti (田ruel striker) and the giantess Laufey. He is regarded as one of Aesir, but is on occasion their enemy. He is connected with fire and magic, and can assume many different shapes (horse, falcon, fly). He is crafty and malicious, but is also heroic: in that aspect he can be compared with the trickster from North American myths. The ambivalent god grows progressively more unpleasant, and is directly responsible for the death of Balder, the god of light.

Loki痴 mistress is the giantess Angrboda, and with her he is the father of three monsters. His wife is Sigyn, who stayed loyal to him, even when the gods punished him for the death of Balder. He was chained to three large boulders; one under his shoulders, one under his loins and one under his knees. A poisonous snake was placed above his head. The dripping venom that lands on him is caught by Sigyn in a bowl. But every now and then, when the bowl is filled to the brim, she has to leave him to empty it. Then the poison that falls on Loki痴 face makes him twist in pain, causing earthquakes.

On the day of Ragnarok, Loki痴 chains will break and he will lead the giants into battle against the gods. Loki is often called the Sly One, the Trickster, the Shape Changer, and the Sky Traveler.

Angrboda: A giantess and the mate or mistress of the trickster Loki. Angrboda (塗erald of sorrow) spawned three monsters: the gigantic wolf Fenrir, the Midgard Serpent Jormungand, and the goddess of the death Hel. The gods abducted the children from her hall when they learned just how dangerous they were.

Excerpts From The Encyclopedia Mythica

 

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