Klorel and Herit's Mothership
Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy
Jack groaned when he woke up on a cold floor. His knees were throbbing and he was pretty sure his head had hit the floor on his way down. Blinking, he rubbed a hand over the sore spot and tried to take a look around. It was pitch black and he couldn't even see his own hand… "Uh, guys? Teal'c? Ahh! Teal'c, I can't see!"
"Same here," Daniel said.
"I am blinded as well," the Jaffa said, in a calming tone. "It will pass."
"What the hell was that?"
"A Goa'uld shock grenade. Though extremely painful, its effects are temporary."
He grimaced and sat up, patting the floor around him. "That's good to hear."
A groan sounded from his right, followed by the swishing of fabric. "Oh, hell. I feel like shit," Kershaw said. "How long until it wears off?"
"I cannot say for a human."
"Right now they're getting ready to wipe out the major cities of Earth. They'll do it from orbit, out of reach," Daniel said, all of a sudden. "Jack, I've already been through this once before. I've already seen this."
Jack sighed, rubbing his eyes. He knew they were screwed but as long as the Goa'uld didn't discover the planted C4 it wouldn't be for nothing. Daniel's yammering was getting on his nerves; what else did he expect from him? They were most likely imprisoned and couldn't see anything, so perhaps the archaeologist could wait a few minutes before expecting Jack to come up with a plan C. "Daniel, will you relax? You've been through it before, and you survived. We're just having a bad day."
"I think it's a little mo-"
"Colonel, I think I'm starting to see something," Kershaw said, interrupting Daniel.
"My sight returns as well."
Jack rubbed his hands together, pleased. "Now, that's what I want to hear. Tell me what you see."
Kershaw sighed to his right, "Um, not much. Just four walls and some blurry shapes I'm assuming are you guys."
"It appears to be a Goa'uld prison cell. There is only one door that opens from the outside and no windows. Escape is not possible."
"And now for the good news…?"
"There is none, O'Neill."
"I can't find my glasses, but I think I'm getting my sight back. I just can't recognize anything. So, um, what do you guys think they'll do with us?"
Kershaw harrumphed and got up, pacing the cell. "Execute us, maybe? The Colonel did kill Klorel, after all."
Jack didn't need a reminder of Skaara's crumpled form and didn't want to overthink his last words, so he turned towards where he thought Teal'c was sitting. "What's the usual SOP?"
"I am unsure. Earlier, when you were still unconscious, I overheard the Goa'uld Herit instruct the guards. Klorel has been placed in a sarcophagus and they are awaiting his return before executing us. However, it is possible Apophis will intervene in the meantime."
"Herit? We haven't heard that name before," Kershaw said.
"It, um, doesn't sound familiar."
Blinking, Jack realized his sight was returning as well and he looked in Daniel's direction. "Yeah well, if we get outta here alive, you can look up the name in your books. Anything else, T?"
"I believe the Goa'uld, or its host, was female."
Daniel jumped at that, his expression a mixture of hope and dread. "Could it have been Sha're?"
Teal'c looked pensive for a moment before shaking his head. "The voice did not sound familiar and there was no Abydonian accent."
"But that could have been the Goa'uld, right?"
Jack grimaced, unsure what to think. "You sure it wasn't Sha're's voice? It's got to be hard to tell with that distorted voice."
"She spoke in her human voice, Daniel Jackson."
Kershaw put her hand on Daniel's shoulder in silent support and made a face. "Did she say anything else?"
When Teal'c seemed to hesitate, Jack's curiosity was piqued. "What, Teal'c?"
"She revealed her plans for the Tau'ri homeworld and told the Jaffa that they will destroy the major cities from orbit and kill the majority of your population."
"Just like what happened in the other reality," Daniel said, huffing.
"There's more?" Jack guessed, gesturing for T to continue.
"She wished for us to witness the destruction, well aware that the Tau'ri have no spacefaring capabilities with which to defend themselves."
Kershaw groaned and rubbed a hand in her eyes, "Well, she's not wrong."
"… but how would she know?" Jack mused aloud.
Teal'c inclined his head in affirmation, holding his gaze. "Her estimation of your population was specific as well. Nearing six billion."
"Maybe this ship has sensors that can scan for human life signs," Daniel suggested, shrugging.
"Perhaps the host is Tau'ri."
Jack nodded slowly, his mind already having come to the same conclusion as Teal'c. Could the Goa'uld, this Herit, be inside of Sam? Was that what Skaara meant when he talked about Jack's 'woman'? The Goa'uld would have unrestricted access to Sam's mind and could easily discover their connection and all the information they needed about Earth and… "The SGC."
"But if it was Captain Carter then why haven't they attacked earlier, Sir? And why use ships-"
"Silence," Teal'c said, raising one hand.
Jack followed his gaze to the door and figured the Jaffa's advanced hearing must have heard someone coming. Sure enough, only a moment or two later they all heard footsteps approaching. "Teal'c?"
Together, they took up positions on either side of the door before it opened. A Serpent Guard entered before the door closed again and it took Jack a moment to recognize the Jaffa. "Bra'tac?"
Bra'tac looked up and hit him in the face. "Fools! Hasshak! You doom yourselves. It is all I can do to keep you alive. Do you know all I have done to regain the trust of Apophis and join this campaign? Hm? Hm?"
"Tek ma te, Bra'tac," Teal'c said, as Jack could only look on from where he'd collapsed and nursed his jaw.
"Hello again, old friend. Your son grows strong. One day he will be a great warrior. But you should not have come."
"I stand by my friends. I believe this world may be our only hope in one day overcoming the false gods."
Bra'tac snorted derisively and shook his head. "Yes. As pathetic as that may seem at the moment, I agree."
"You do?" Daniel asked, stepping forward.
Jack was just getting up when the old Jaffa replied. "I may even have been able to save this world had you not interfered."
"Hey! What do you think we've been trying to do? It is our world you're talking about here."
"Enough, human! This is not the place to talk of these things. Apophis has ordered you all to be executed—an order I intend to disregard. Come!"
Well, when he put it that way, Jack thought as the door opened again and Bra'tac led them out of the cell. "Let's go," he said to his team.
Bra'tac stopped when they rounded the corner where another Jaffa was standing guard. He turned back to SG-1, "This is Moac. He will hand you your weapons. You will need them."
"Erm, Bra'tac, you mentioned something about saving the world. Care to elaborate on that?" Jack asked as the younger Jaffa handed him their weapons and he passed them along to his team.
He looked at him and shook his head again. "By assaulting Klorel, you have made that impossible."
Daniel awkwardly holstered his weapon and looked up. "Um, why?"
"Among the Goa'uld, a Pharaoh's power is more often challenged by their sons than by their enemies. Once we had joined battle with your world, I was prepared to lead my wing against Apophis, in Klorel's name."
"Apophis would assume your attack was ordered by Klorel and reciprocate. A daring plan!"
Bra'tac smirked at the awe and respect in Teal'c's tone. "I had hoped to drive a stake of mistrust between them. Now I fear they will bond against their common enemy."
"Teal'c said a female Goa'uld mentioned Klorel was in the sarcophagus. You put him in there?"
"Hmm, Herit. Klorel's mate. I knew letting him heal would delay their attack until he arose. Perhaps when the warships of your world attack…"
Jack scrubbed a hand over his face before letting out a deep sigh. "Oh yeah. Yeah, bad day."
"We must leave, human," Bra'tac said, signaling Moac to lead the way. "Klorel will rise soon and then the campaign begins. Once we launch, we will do what damage we can."
"Kershaw, the C4?"
She checked her watch and smirked. "A little under an hour, Sir."
"Okay, with any luck at all, this ship is going to blow within the hour. It might be a good idea for us to get to the other one. Can you do that?"
Bra'tac nodded and turned down another corridor. They had been walking through numerous corridors before the three Jaffa stopped simultaneously at a strange sound. Despite Teal'c's warning, Jack and his two human teammates were thrown to the ground when the ship decelerated. That alarmed Bra'tac who explained it meant Klorel had arisen already. So, the plan changed; they'd capture Klorel before going over to Apophis' ship.
On their way to the bridge, there was a moment during which the whole ship shook. Even the three Jaffa looked surprised.
"Something must have impacted the shields."
"Indeed, Teal'c is correct. Perhaps the ships of your world are attacking?"
Jack grimaced and exchanged glances with Daniel. "Um, yeah. Maybe. We better keep going though, before the C4 goes off."
It didn't take them long to reach the bridge, after which Bra'tac simply just walked in under the guise of being Klorel's loyal servant.
The team was waiting anxiously in the corridor, only a few feet away from the door. Moac was standing a little farther away to keep an eye out for any hostiles.
Klorel's distorted voice rang out, "Jaffa, kree tal! I am your god and you will feel my wrath!"
Jack's grip on his MP5 tightened when he heard Bra'tac say something about dying free. Oh no, that old coot wasn't gonna die on him before he got them to Apophis' ship! He turned back to his team, "Let's go! Daniel, watch our backs."
Teal'c stormed onto the bridge first and Jack and Kershaw followed, firing as they went. Together, they mowed down all of the Jaffa. Bra'tac collapsed on the floor when Teal'c overpowered Klorel, but not before the Goa'uld called out for reinforcements.
"Secure him," Jack ordered, before turning to Kershaw. "Lieutenant, make sure they're all dead."
At Daniel's cry, he turned around and went back into the corridor. Once there, he found Daniel on the floor with a chest wound. "Daniel!" Kneeling next to him, he tried to see how bad it was. "Oh, damn it!"
"I'll be dead anyway. Just get out of here!" He said, pushing him away.
"I am not leaving you here, Daniel."
"Get out of here! You're just going to blow up with the other ship anyway," Daniel yelled back, as he tried to pull him up. "What difference does it make? Go!"
Jack let go of him, knowing his friend was right but… God, how could he leave him behind?!
"Just go! I'll stay—and watch your back."
Damn, but he hated it when he was right. He leaned in and patted Daniel's cheek, not having a clue as to what to say. There were no words, really. Not after everything they had gone through together since that first mission to Abydos. He swallowed hard and got up. "We'll get that bastard, I promise."
"Good luck," Daniel said, before turning his gaze back to the corridor and raising his weapon.
Jack went back onto the bridge, pushing back his emotions, and shook his head at his teammates' questioning looks. "He's staying behind."
"We've got a job to do, Kershaw."
Bra'tac nodded at him, understanding and respect in his gaze. "Moac will show you the way to the transport rings."
"You're not coming with?" Jack asked, frowning.
"I have already helped capture Klorel for you," Bra'tac said, smirking. "You do not need me to escort him to Apophis, O'Neill. No, I will disable the shields, alter the course of this vessel and locate Klorel's mate before she discovers his fate. Now, go!"
Jack was torn for a moment; he knew they needed to get off this ship to stop Apophis before the C4 went off and if they failed, Apophis would still be able to attack Earth and Daniel – and possibly all of them – would have died for nothing. However, there was the possibility that Sam was the host to this Herit… he was tempted to go with Bra'tac, help search for her but then what? If he found her, she'd still be a Goa'uld and things hadn't exactly gone well when they tried to remove Kawalsky's snake – and that Asgard device on Cimmera had been destroyed by Daniel's staff blast.
And hell, even if he found her in time, it was Sam and there had been a way to safely remove the Goa'uld, then how could he possibly do all that and get them to safety before the C4 went off? He would never forgive himself if he let his emotions influence his decision and Earth paid the price. Tightening his grip on his weapon, he nodded. "Good luck."
Bra'tac "hm'ed" before turning around and running off, while Jack let Moac lead the way to the transport rings, with Kershaw and Teal'c in the middle with Klorel, while he brought up the rear.
It had taken her longer than expected but in the end, Sam finally disabled the shields. The crystal technology amazed her and made it more difficult to accomplish. However, she was pretty confident that she'd managed to do it without it tracing back to her. Not that it mattered; with any luck, she'd be gone before anyone even realized the shields weren't working.
Sam had put her bundle of things aside while working on the bowels of the ship, but getting a mild electrical shock from the crystals made her realize she'd forgotten the healing device that belonged to Herit. The device was about the size of her palm and while she hadn't used it, she figured it could come in handy while she was on the run.
She went back to her chambers to retrieve it and, while there, decided to grab some more clothes and enough food to last her a week. She wrapped it up tightly and wore it like a backpack underneath her cloak. Once finished, she moved back to the mirror and touched up her hair and makeup. After righting her clothes and the cloak, she took a deep breath and headed for the gate room.
There were still four Jaffa guarding the stargate, much to Sam's dismay. She'd hoped they would be gone, what with the attack on Earth and everything. She straightened her back and tried to look as regal as possible as she entered the room.
"You," she said, looking at two of the Serpent Guards, "remove the nu techet her ta'ami."
"My Lady," the bigger Jaffa said, eyes darting from her to the white orb suspended in the gate's center, "we cannot."
Damn. She gritted her teeth and decided to take a leaf from Klorel's book. "How dare you defy me?!"
The Jaffa visibly winced but made no move to carry out her orders. "Apophis himself commanded us to guard the chaapa'ai and not remove the nu techet her ta'ami, to prevent anyone from establishing a connection."
"Insolence! I am your Goddess and you will do as I please," Sam said with narrowed eyes. "I am my father's ȧṭen and s'heni of this vessel: I command you to carry out my order, before I find someone else who will and be forced to punish you for your defiance!"
Turning around, Sam saw Bra'tac had entered the gate room. Damn it. What did he want? Had Apophis or Klorel sent him? Had he or one of them discovered the truth? "Bra'tac," she said slowly. "What brings you here?"
"I was searching for you, my Lady."
"I am leaving." Sam paused, searching her mind for an explanation. Finally, she improvised, "Klorel wishes for me to visit Amaunet and relocate her. The Tau'ri were roaming free this vessel for far too long before you captured them, Bra'tac. They could have discovered her location if they accessed our systems."
"Tchaas Bra'tac," the bigger Jaffa said, stepping forward. "Apophis commanded us to guard-"
He raised his hand, cutting him off. "My Lady, I came to inform you that Klorel is momentarily aboard Apophis' vessel and he will return shortly. As your mate's First Prime, I will accompany you to visit the Goddess Amaunet."
God damn it! Instead of venting her anger and frustration, Sam simply smiled and reluctantly agreed. "Very well. We must leave at once."
"Remove the nu techet her ta'ami," Bra'tac barked at the four Serpent Guards.
Sam stepped up to the DHD and dialed the coordinates Klorel had entrusted her with and stepped aside as the gate activated. How the hell was she going to make a getaway when Bra'tac was with her? She lowered her gaze and looked at the hand device on her wrist, where it glinted in the light of the event horizon and she knew there was just one way to take care of this problem.
She could only hope there wasn't anyone waiting on the other side of the wormhole or things might really get complicated…
Suddenly, Jack saw the rings appear in front of him as their white light faded. Whoa. He leveled his MP5 when the transport rings receded into the floor. Just in time too, because he was faced with a bunch of angry and armed Jaffa. He could almost feel the tension in his teammates when Apophis stepped forward.
"Kree, Jaffa!" Apophis commanded, waving his hand with his gaze on Klorel being held hostage at gunpoint. The Jaffa lowered their staff weapons at the command as his eyes glowed dangerously.
"Come, come, come," Moac urged, leading them to an adjoining room.
"If you fire upon us," Teal'c threatened, walking backwards and pulling their hostage with him, "I will kill Klorel."
Jack finally found the button to open the door as he heard Moac yelling at his false God. Just before he herded his team inside, he heard the sound of a staff weapon firing and was relieved to see it was their new friend doing the shooting – destroying the console of Apophis' ship – and the hostile Jaffa were still holding their fire. Teal'c was the last to enter the room and pushed Klorel away, towards Apopis, before Jack closed the door. He looked away when Teal'c sealed the door by firing his zat at it, the light bright in the darkened room.
"Colonel, the C4 on the other ship goes in six minutes," Kershaw reported, as if reading his mind.
"That leaves us with a little less than six minutes to find a way to destroy this one."
Teal'c smirked, "Master Bra'tac directed Klorel's vessel closer to this one before we left. If we disable the shield generator of this vessel, both will be destroyed in the explosion. Two birds with but one stone."
Jack looked to Moac, raising his brow. "Yeah? That work for ya?"
"Indeed, I concur," the Jaffa replied, "follow me."
They snuck down several corridors before they arrived at a walkway, many levels above the shield generators.
"The shield generators are far below. There, in the very bowels of the ship. We must climb down several decks, through the length of the ship. Then, taking our weapons, we must-"
Jack pulled two hand grenades from his vest, removed the pins and dropped them all the way down before Moac had even finished his sentence. Two seconds later, they exploded and the generators fell silent. "Grenades," he said by way of explanation.
"This vessel is no longer protected by an energy field."
Kershaw looked up at Teal'c's statement, "So, that's it?"
"That is it."
"I think what the Lieutenant is asking is, 'What now?'," Jack said. "How about we escape? Moac, any idea where the glider bays are from here?"
Milky Way Galaxy
Sam raised her right hand to shield her eyes from the bright sun as she walked down the steps of the stargate's platform. It only took her a moment to adjust and then she turned around, back to facing the open wormhole. There was a knot in her stomach but she knew escape was paramount to survival, both for her and her unborn child. Steeling herself, she focused all the anger from within to activate her hand device.
The event horizon rippled and Bra'tac exited the wormhole. He narrowed his eyes at her, clearly suspicious and raised his staff weapon. It made a distinctive sound when he took the safety off and aimed it at her.
"How dare you raise your weapon at me," Sam said, hitting the button on her hand device to activate her shield. "I am your Goddess!"
"You are no Goa'uld!" He yelled, before lowering his weapon with a smirk. "I have spent one hundred and thirty-three years worshipping false gods – no more!"
Sam hesitated, confused by the turn of events. "You-"
"Knew," he said, interrupting her. "Indeed. I have been observing you since the implantation ceremony. You may have fooled Apophis and Klorel, but not me. I do not know how, but somehow you overpowered the parasite within. Your behavior was uncharacteristic for a Goa'uld, although you hid it well. Most of the time. There were too many similarities between the Goa'uld Herit and that of her human host. You forget: I monitored you while you were a Tau'ri prisoner."
After turning off her shield, she stepped closer. "But you never said anything."
"I could not risk it before now, hm." Suddenly, Bra'tac dropped to one knee and laid his staff weapon across his thigh. "Your strength and stubbornness are unparalleled by any human or Jaffa I have known throughout my life. I pledge my allegiance to you, Captain Samantha Carter of the United States Air Force."
A/N: Well, that's it for now, folks! Hope you all enjoyed it. I suffer from aichmophobia, so I'll be going into hiding now, to work on finishing the sequel, and be back in a few weeks with the sequel, Only the Fit Survive. Keep an eye on my Twitter next week if you want to catch a glimpse of the cover for OtFS.