9. The Bomb
After checking that they were alone on the small island, they had continued to the cave, leaving the men from the coastal guard as guards by their boat.
"It looks like there's a sort of tunnel going downwards from back here. It looks natural," Sam said, shining the light from her flashlight into the dark, slippery corridor at the back of the cave. "I sense naquadah from down there, so my best bet is that Selkhet hid the bomb there."
They slowly and carefully made their way down, pushing a small cart with tools ahead of them. After walking for maybe ten minutes, the walls of the tunnel became smoother.
"This was created recently," Anise said.
"Artificially?" Gibbs asked.
They continued walking for another maybe five minutes, and then they came to a small room, roughly hewn from the rock, and with water seeping down the sides. The tunnel went no further.
In the middle of the room stood a large Goa'uld bomb.
"That's it?" O'Neill asked.
"Indeed," Teal'c answered.
Gibbs checked his watch. "I'll go and contact my superiors over the radio and tell them we've found the bomb. Do you think you can disarm it?"
"I am confident we can do so," Lantash said.
"Okay, get started." Gibbs left.
McGee was about to walk up to the bomb and take a closer look, when Anise grabbed hold of him.
"Stop!" She pointed at a faint light that could be seen emanating from a number of places on the wall, starting with one near the floor, one a bit higher up, and one near the roof. The same was the case on the other side of the corridor. "Forceshield."
"Wow, a real forceshield!" Abby ran up to it and stretched out her hand, then stopped herself just short of touching it. "Is it dangerous?"
Anise shook her head. "It is not dangerous to touch, merely unpleasant."
Abby carefully touched it, then pulled her hand back quickly. "Ouch!"
"Can you turn it off?" O'Neill asked.
"Yes," Anise assured him.
"How long will it take? I mean, we're already down to about two hours before that thing blows, and I really don't want to be near it when that happens. Or if Selkhet decides to blow it a little early," O'Neill said.
"We will get to work on it immediately," Anise said. "Lantash, this type of foreceshield will be easiest to deactivate if we work together."
"Certainly. What do you want me to do?"
"Take two of the cubes of neutronium and place them on top of each other close to the wall, in such a way that they almost touch the forceshield."
"I understand," Lantash said.
"Well, I don't!" O'Neill said.
"With this type of primitive forceshield, you can push neutronium against it to briefly weaken it. If Anise sends a signal at a projector at that time, it will turn off. When all six are off, so is the forceshield."
"All right, get started."
"Samantha, it should be done symmetrically. Will you take care of the projectors on the other side?" Lantash said.
"Sure. Do I need to add neutronium blocks too?" She picked up a device similar to one of the ones Anise had just taken from the cart, but could not immediately located the other one the Tok'ra held.
"Yes, the weakening of the field would not extend across to your side," Lantash told her.
"Okay." Sam nodded.
"I would be happy to help you, Sam." Tony smiled widely at her. "With anything. Well, most anything."
"Good," Sam said, looking at him absent-mindedly. "Could you hold this?" She handed him the small device.
"Eh, of course." Tony took it.
Sam rummaged through two of the boxes containing various tools that were on the cart and managed to find the other device she needed. She looked at it for a moment. "I think I recognize this from Jolinar." She took the other small tool out of Tony's hands, and he smiled at her again.
Lantash sent Tony an unhappy look, clearly not happy with the presence of this rival. He went to cart and grabbed one of the neutronium blocks and placed it against the wall, close to the forceshield.
"Oh, you need me to place these for you?" Tony asked, grabbing one of the neutronium cubes. He let out a groan as it barely moved. "How did you...?" He looked towards Lantash, who was clearly amused, enjoying Tony's difficulties.
"Here, let me help you," Lantash said, picking up the cube and placing it against the wall on Sam's side, before returning to help Anise.
After working for maybe 15 minutes, the forceshield was down.
By then Gibbs had returned. "How is it going?"
"Slowly. We were blocked by a forceshield and has only just removed this obstacle," Anise said.
"You will still be able to disarm it in time?" Gibbs asked. "If not, I need to know. Now."
"We will," Anise said. "Do not be concerned."
Freya/Anise and Martouf/Lantash had worked on defusing the bomb for almost an hour, with the help from Sam much of the time.
The others could not do anything except for waiting, and that was making them edgy and jittery. Everything appeared to be proceeding smoothly, but it was taking a lot longer than they had hoped.
"What's taking you so long?" O'Neill asked, concern and irritation in his voice.
"This type of bomb has a great number of fail-safes. If we do not disable them all, the bomb will explode immediately." Lantash shook his head. "Ba'al is infamous for his suspicion and the intricate ways he constructs his weapons and traps."
"Lucky us," Tony grumbled. "Figures the creator of the bomb is some insane genius."
"I wouldn't call him a genius," O'Neill observed unhappily.
"How intelligent are they? Those aliens. The Goa'uld," Gibbs asked.
"Pretty damn smart," Sam said, glaring at the circuit that she needed to deactivate. Somehow - the solution was currently eluding her.
"Ba'al is more intelligent than most Goa'uld. Unfortunately," Anise said.
"He's a mean son of a bitch. You don't want me to tell you about him," O'Neill said. "Trust me."
"Got it!" Sam exclaimed.
"No! Don't do that!" Lantash warned.
An ominous sound came from the bomb, and then it spoke in Goa'uld. Lights on it blinked several times, but then it quieted down.
"Carter! Damnit! What did you do?" O'Neill exclaimed. "Lantash! Don't scare us like that!"
"I apologize. I feared the bomb would detonate immediately."
"It changed the time left to detonation! 15 minutes!" Anise told them.
"Didn't we have an hour just a moment ago?"
"Sorry, sir," Sam said, bashful.
"We will manage in time," Lantash said, returning to studying the bomb.
"Maybe we should move everyone else out of here?" Kate suggested.
"What good would that do?" O'Neill said. "If that thing blows, it takes out the entire western seaboard!"
"It's not that I want to rush you or anything..." O'Neill said, checking his watch. "But we're down to less than ten minutes!"
"Just a moment..." Anise said, tweaking something.
"That's it! I'll go call my superiors and tell them to contact Selkhet. We have to give her the artefact!" Gibbs said, turning to leave back up the tunnel.
"It's deactivated," Lantash said.
"You're sure?" Gibbs asked.
Lantash scanned the bomb again and nodded. "Yes, I am sure."
Everyone let out a sigh of relief.
"Fantastic!" O'Neill grinned. "I knew you could do it!"
Lantash raised an eyebrow, but did not make any comments.
"I'll go inform the Secretary of the Navy - and General Hammond - that they're not to hand anything over to Selkhet," Gibbs said and left the room.
"Well done!" Tony smiled at Sam and Freya/Anise. "You too." He nodded at Martouf/Lantash. He walked up to the very large bomb. "It's safe to touch now?"
"Yes," Anise assured him.
"It's taller than me, more than twice as long, and maybe as wide as it is high. How much does it weigh?" He pushed it experimentally, and it did not move at all.
"Depending on the exact amount of naquadah and its purity, I would estimate 3-400 tonnes," Anise said.
"Say again?!" McGee stared at them and at the bomb.
"You're kidding, right?" Tony said.
"Not at all. Naquadah is a very dense material," Anise told him.
"Just like you, Tony," Kate said, grinning.
"Very funny!" Tony snorted. "So, what? I'm guessing the bomb staying down here? We should probably throw dirt down here so no one finds it and activates it."
"We intend to take it with us. Stargate Command would most likely want the naquadah, is that not correct?" Lantash asked, looking at Sam.
She nodded. "Yes - but I agree with Tony. I don't know how we can move it. It's a good distance underground, on an island out in the ocean - and very heavy."
"It is not a problem. We brought anti-gravity devices." Lantash went to one of the boxes on the cart and picked up two gadgets, each about the size of a palm. They were oblong and smooth, except for the familiar lines seen on much Goa'uld and Tok'ra technology.
He placed one on opposite sides of the bomb and activated them, then he and Freya/Anise could easily lift it. "Shall we go?"
O'Neill grinned. "Yes, we shall."
"All right, everyone has signed the non-disclosure agreements," Daniel said.
"Great," O'Neill said. "Gibbs? I'm guessing you have no further issues handing over the artefact, the alien weapons, the Goa'uld - or the Jaffa. Dead and alive."
"No," Gibbs said. "That is, not as long as we get to see that fancy place of yours. The Stargate and all."
"Yes! Please say yes, please say yes!" Abby exclaimed eagerly.
O'Neill smiled a little and shook his head. "Okay, well, I guess that can probably be arranged."
"You're not leaving immediately, are you?" Tony asked.
"Not until tomorrow morning. General Hammond has arranged for transport." O'Neill grinned at the look on the faces of the Tok'ra. "Don't worry - this time it's much more comfortable. You'll be travelling first class - on a Gulfstream plane that's going to Peterson anyway."
"Wow, Gulfstream! They're awesome! I travelled in one last year, and..." Tony began.
"Yeah, I don't think they need to hear about that, Tony," Kate said. "The rest of us sure don't!"
Tony looked downcast, but almost immediately smiled again. "Well, if you're here tonight, then you need to go out with the rest of us. Team night. Pizza. Beer! Should be an experience for your friends - from out of town."
"I would enjoy that," Freya said.
O'Neill shrugged. "Okay. Pizza and beer it is!"