THE WAYFARER'S SONG
"Indeed," the man chained to the chair sitting in front of Anacostia said.
It was the only response he ever delivered since they brought him to the dungeon underneath the Necro Building in Fort Salem. Well, not the only one, but certainly the most annoying. Anacostia did her best at keeping her face calm and serene, but the dark-skinned man in front of her with the golden tattoo on his forehead had really started to piss her off. The tattoo was odd, a horizontal oval circle with what appeared to be a snake in its center.
Anacostia needed to get answers soon, or her next discussion with General Alder would be a little more than unpleasant. They still hadn't figured out where the man came from, or what his intentions were. She shifted her seat in her chair and leaned forward, adjusting the tight bun of braids pinned on top of her head as she did.
"Tell me again why you are here," Anacostia said, exhaling slowly.
"I've already answered that question," he said, raising an eyebrow with a high arch.
Anacostia matched his expression. "Lies, there is no such thing as a Chappa Eye." Fine, he wants to play games, we can do this.
"Chappa'ai," the man in front of her corrected, stating the name as one fluid word instead of two. "As I mentioned before, it means—"
"Stargate, so you've said." Anacostia exhaled slowly as she stretched her neck. There were other things that needed doing, and this interrogation was taking up much more of her time than originally planned.
A knock sound from behind, and Anacostia head the large metal door to the prison cell behind her slide open.
"Sergeant Quartermaine," the female soldier's voice behind her said.
"Yes," Anacostia replied with more annoyance than intended.
"General Alder would like to see you now."
Without saying a word, Anacostia rose from her seat, and exited the prison cell. She closed her eyes as she heard the door slam shut and lock behind her. As she headed down the hallway, she briefly wondered if she was trading leaving one prison cell to enter into another.
It had been a little over a week since Teal'c had found himself in his current predicament. After the woman who called herself Anacostia left, he learned two things. One, he was being held in some sort of military facility, and two, someone named General Alder was in charge. Given that he was chained to a chair in the middle of the dank cell chamber, all he could do was stare at the steel door in front of him, and wait.
He closed his eyes, and entered Kelno'reem, a meditative state much like sleep, but would allow him to reconnect with the symbiote in his belly and be prepared for whatever came next while he was imprisoned. It was harder for him to do without candles, but it had to be done. The women that brough Teal'c here had kept him awake for days. He needed to reflect, and figure out exactly how he ended up here.
Teal'c knew he was on Earth, but it wasn't the Earth he knew. Something had happened when he walked through the Stargate, and he found himself in the wilds of Colorado, or what he thought was Colorado anyway. He was preparing to follow the rest of SG-1 through the Chappa'ai, but something happened. He had heard a sound ringing in the back of his mind right before he stepped through the portal, and the next thing he knew he was alone on the side of Cheyenne Mountain, no base, no Stargate, no SG-1 team.
Was there a malfunction, perhaps? How else do you explain ending up in a world in which the military you sworn an oath to doesn't even know who you are, or much less, the Stargate program. He needed to find the others, and soon. If they were even here. As he rested, visions came to him. Teal'c smiled as he thought of his wife at home on Chulak, and his adventures with O'Neill, Carter, Daniel Jackson, and Hammond of Texas.
The tension in General Alder's office was thick enough that Anacostia could feel the pressure of it against her skin. Sarah Alder stood behind the desk; her thick braid hung over one shoulder over her dark blue uniform. She examined the staff with its oval-shaped end lying across the desk with careful precision. The Biddies, older women with white hair and grey uniforms, stood in a protective semi-circle behind Alder. They shared a link with the general, sharing both mind and life, which meant wherever Alder went, a Biddy was never too far behind. Anacostia remained silent, standing in front of the desk with her hands clasped behind her back. She was afraid to say anything unless directed. The last thing she wanted to hear was the group of Biddies behind the General click their tongues in disapproval for speaking out of turn.
"Have you made any progress with the prisoner?" Alder asked. The Biddies standing behind her looked up in perfect synchrony as she cast an arched-eyebrow glance at Anacostia.
"Not yet, ma'am." Anacostia said.
"How unfortunate," Alder replied, looking to the side at one of the Biddies, who nodded in response.
The general resumed her examination of the staff, tracing her fingers carefully over the intricately carved inlays of the weapon. Several of the Biddies cast glances and nods amongst each other, then took their seats in the seating area by the large window in the back. Anacostia gulped. The silence in the room was almost worse than if the Biddies had started clicking their tongues.
Alder then picked up the staff in one hand. Anacostia took a step back in surprise. After seeing what the weapon had done—even the best Fixers in the Fort Salem infirmary were having a field day trying to heal the wounds of witches injured by the weapon during the prisoner's capture.
"Are you sure that's safe, General?" Anacostia asked. She had seen firsthand the beams of light that had shot from the weapon's oval shaped head. Last thing they needed was their General getting herself killed over the mishandling of a foreign weapon.
The general titled her head and produced a thin-lipped smile. "No, but I'm curious about this. It's unlike anything I've ever seen," she said. "You think he's part of the Camarilla?"
"It's hard to say, General," Anacostia replied. "The prisoner…hasn't exactly been forthcoming." She didn't think this was the Camarilla's doing anyway. That group's focus was on using the vocal cords ripped from the throats of slain witches for their own nefarious purposes. The man who called himself Teal'c, and the power produced by the staff, didn't seem to fit their motives.
"Dig deeper, Sergeant. I want to know who made this, if not witches," Alder said, picking the staff up and carefully laying it across her desk.
"I'm not sure if—" Several of the Biddies cast their glances straight at Anacostia, and she blinked her eyes. "—I'll see what I can do," she said.
General Alder took a seat in the chair behind her desk. "See that it is done," she said, leaning back and looking up at Anacostia.
"Yes, ma'am." Anacostia replied. She nodded once at Alder, then quickly pivoted and exited the office.
The sound of metal scraping on stone as the door to the prison cell sliding open broke Teal'c out of his meditative state. He watched as Anacostia entered, holding her hands behind her back. The dark skin of her face was thin-lipped, yet calm, just as it had been every other time she had visited to question him. The guards outside slid the door closed. Anacostia did not take her seat as usual in the empty chair. Instead, she remained standing.
"No breakfast?" he asked. Teal'c had assumed it was morning. The visits from the woman ran like clockwork.
"In a moment," Anacostia said dryly. "I have more questions for you." There was a hint of hesitation in her voice. Teal'c made a mental note of the peculiarity.
"Indeed," he said. Of course she would have more questions. There were always more questions. He had some of his own, of course, but they would have to wait until his situation had changed. Teal'c knew how to afford patience. He was practically a master at it.
Anacostia exhaled slowly and walked behind his chair. Teal'c raised an eyebrow. There was no way he was being released from his captivity. What was she doing?
"Generally it helps to face the person you're speaking to if you're going to ask a question," Teal'c said.
"True, but I don't need to face you for this."
"Hmm," Teal'c replied.
"I'm sorry," Anacostia whispered. Then, she began humming a single note at a low pitch.
"What are—" Teal'c never got to finish his question. Anacostia held his head tightly by the sides, and the sound emanating from her was the last thing he heard before his vison went awry. The pain in his temples was intense. He closed his eyes to subdue the pain.
What he saw he opened them came as a surprise.
Gone were the dank, moldy walls of the prison in which Teal'c had been confined. Instead, he was surrounded by a familiar sight—the control room in Stargate command. But what was up with the air? Why did everything look hazy?
General Hammond, a portly light-skinned man who had gone bald at the top of his head, stood next to an operator in front of the computer controls. The giant window in front of them had the blast shield open, and Teal'c could see the Chappa'ai—the Stargate-in the room below.
"General," Teal'c said. Hammond didn't acknowledge him, but instead kept talking to the operator in the chair. He waved his hand in front of the general and the operator, but neither men seemed to notice. Confused, Teal'c looked out of the window…
…and found himself standing in front of the open Stargate, holding his Jaffa staff weapon. The giant portal stood the height of the room, four times that of a normal man. The surface of the Stargate was inscribed with runes written in the language of the Ancients. Evenly spaced around the portal's outer edge were seven trapezoidal locks, the last he heard lock into place. As the lock slid into place, the interior of the gate filled with a bluish, watery glow.
A hand gripped his shoulder, and Teal'c turned his head. Colonel Jack O'Niell.
"O'Niell," Teal'c said.
"What are you waiting for, Teal'c?" O'Niell asked. His green and black SG-1 uniform was clean, but the man's hair could use some grooming. SG-1, Stargate Command 1, that was the name of their team.
"You okay?" a blonde woman, slightly shorter than O'Niell asked. Captain Samantha Carter.
"I'm fine," Teal'c replied.
"Relax, we're just going to go through, convene with Daniel on the other side, and bring the research he found back," Carter said. She was right, this was going to be an easy mission. Dr. Daniel Jackson was examining a temple related to Ancient technology and language.
Teal'c nodded at Carter.
Carter smiled in response. "Let's go," she said, slinging a bag over one shoulder. She followed O'Niell up the ramp that led into the glowing portal to the research facility that was on the other side of the Stargate.
What was he waiting for? Teal'c shook his head and began walking up the steel ramp toward the Stargate. As he did, he heard a sound that stopped him in his tracks. Why did it sound so familiar? It was a song, a sweet melody that carried along with it a melancholy undertone. He shook his head, closed his eyes, and stepped into the portal.
Teal'c opened his eyes, and found himself back in his prison cell chained to a chair. The steel manacles clasped around his wrists were starting to chafe. He felt ill, as if the symbiote in his belly had been disturbed by the experience as well. It was almost as if whatever Anacostia had done triggered a Kelno'reem state. She had let go of his head, and he could hear her breathing rapidly behind him. What had just happened? Had she seen the memory? It had played out just like it had the moments before he had arrived in this strange version of Earth.
Anacostia walked around to face Teal'c, not bothering to hide the worry in her wide-eyed expression as she sat down in front of him. He was concerned too, as only he should have been the one to be able to mentally connect with his symbiote. The woman in front of him composed herself, smoothed out the folds of her dark blue jacket, and leaned forward.
"Tell me," Anacostia began, "what do you know about witches?"
"I'm afraid I don't understand," Teal'c replied.
Anacostia lowered her head, exhaling slowly. She lifted her head, and the dark pools of her gaze stared straight into the depths of his eyes. "Let me rephrase the question, what do you know about that song?"
"And you're certain it was a witches' song?" General Alder asked. She stood at the window to her office, observing the activities of the Fort Salem grounds below. The prisoner's staff was locked in a case nearby.
For the second day in a row, Anacostia found herself in the general's office discussing Teal'c. "I'm positive," she said. "His memory was crystal clear. He heard the song, walked through some portal—"
"And ended up here," Alder finished. "How unusual."
"What should we do, ma'am?"
As they had discussed earlier, they now had two problems to solve. They had a prisoner who was definitely not from any place they knew, and a group of witches who knew a song seed unbeknownst to anyone in the United States Army.
Alder turned toward Anacostia, and stood behind the desk. "You're sure he is not a witch?" she asked.
"I'm certain of it. The Telepathy link showed me many strange things, but he is definitely not one of us."
"But he's not a civilian either," Alder replied. She closed her eyes and shook her head.
Anacostia gulped. She didn't want to mention the part where it felt like Teal'c had two souls existing inside his body. It was definitely a problem worth solving, but she was fairly certain the unknown song she heard from his memory was the more pressing matter. One problem at a time, Anacostia.
Alder clasped her hands behind her back, stepping around the front of her desk and stood directly in front of Anacostia. A pair of Biddies that had been sitting by the window joined her. Something about the flat manner of the general's stare made her skin turn cold. The Biddies standing behind the Alder mimicked general's expression in an almost perfect harmony as they stared at Anacostia. She had long since become used to the synchronous gazes the older women were so good at perfecting. However, she couldn't help but feel a bit apprehensive.
"I think it's time I meet with this…Teal'c in person." General Alder said. She remained cool and composed, her voice unwavering.
"Ma'am, are you sure that's wise?" Anacostia asked. Immediately, the Biddies behind the Alder hissed in disapproval while the General lifted an eyebrow.
General Alder exhaled slowly. "I need to see what you've seen." The gravitas in her tone was unmistakable.
Anacostia gulped, then reluctantly nodded. "Yes ma'am, I understand," she said. Somehow, the song she heard while poking around in the prisoner's head had something to do concerning witch magic, and that meant General Sarah Alder needed to know it.
The two women, followed by the Biddies, made their way out of Alder's office toward the dungeon.
For once, Teal'c was glad to see someone in addition to Anacostia standing in front of him. The fair skinned woman wore a dark blue uniform similar to Anacostia's, and the brown thickness of her braid was slung over one shoulder. From the way that the woman presented her cool and composed demeanor that automatically demanded deference, Teal'c knew this woman had to be the one in charge of this place.
"Sergeant Quartermaine tells me your name is Teal'c, is that correct?" the woman in front of him asked.
"Indeed." Teal'c nodded his head slightly downward. Anacostia glanced at the woman, and said nothing as she moved to stand behind his chair.
The woman in front of him inhaled deeply. "Allow me to introduce myself, I'm—"
"General Alder." It wasn't hard for Teal'c to determine her identity, based on the way Anacostia regarded the general.
"You're incredibly perceptive for someone who doesn't claim to know anything about the existence of witches."
"It is not the most unusual situation I've been in." For Teal'c, that would have been the time he found himself temporarily body swapped with O'Niell. Never again did he wish to revisit that experience.
"So I've heard," General Alder said. "Sergeant Quartermaine also tells me that you are part of the Air Force? That you work for Stargate Command, and your team is called SG-1?"
Teal'c sighed. He had repeated this information several times over ever since he found himself imprisoned. "That is correct," he said.
General Alder glanced at the two older women in gray uniforms standing on each side of her before averting her gaze back to Teal'c. "The only problem I see with that statement is that there is no such thing in our military as you've stated. Which leaves to the question, how did you get here, and why?"
Teal'c raised an eyebrow. He would love to know the answer to that question himself. He continued to regard Alder with the same amount of collected composure as the woman herself seemed to control.
General Alder exhaled slowly as she cast her eyes past his shoulder to the woman standing behind him. He noticed the women in the grey uniforms also mimicked the general's action.
"Anacostia, you may begin." Alder nodded.
Teal'c cautiously followed Alder's right arm as she reached her hand out to grip Anacostia's waiting hand. He wasn't exactly sure what was happening until Anacostia placed her other hand on his forehead…
…and Teal'c found himself once more in the Stargate portal room, getting ready to follow O'Niell and Carter through the portal to meet Daniel Jackson. Immediately, he heard the strange sound, the song...
Teal'c was once more back in his prison cell, chained to his chair. Alder had taken a few steps back, hand clutched to her chest, gasping for air.
"Impossible…" Alder wheezed as the two older women lowered her carefully into the empty chair in which Anacostia normally sat.
As if on cue, Anacostia took a couple of steps toward the general, but the women at Alder's sides looked up at her and scowled. Teal'c raised an eyebrow as they cautiously clicked their tongues at the Sergeant. Did they also just hiss? General Alder shook her hand, and waved off each of the older woman, switching her gaze between Anacostia and himself.
"General?" the sergeant next to him asked. Teal'c sensed a bit of hesitation in her demeanor.
Alder composed herself, exhaling slowly as she sat straighter in the chair. "Undo his chains, and bring him to my office. I have more questions, but I will not ask them here," she said.
"General, I would advise a bit of caution—"
The older women next to Alder hissed and clicked their tongues.
"I know what brought him here," Alder snapped. "The seed of that song is forbidden. Even I not dare touch it." Seed? Song? Did this have something to do with what Anacostia called the witches song?
"Ma'am?" Anacostia asked.
"Wayfarers. They've returned," General Alder said grimly. Teal'c had heard that name before, on one of his many travels through the Chappa'ai. An alternate Earth, much like this one, but different. Wayfarers was another name for the Goa'uld.
For a moment, he thought he could feel the symbiote in his belly express its dissatisfaction.
"It seems we have found ourselves entangled concerning a mutual enemy." General Alder had returned to her cool and composed demeanor, something for which Anacostia was grateful. Whatever had happened in the dungeon, whatever she had seen, had shaken Alder down to her core—and General Sarah Alder did not frighten easily.
"Indeed," Teal'c said. Anacostia had offered him a chair when they entered the general's office, but he preferred to remain standing with his hands held behind his back. She understood completely. The man had been held captive for almost a week as a Fort Salem prisoner.
"General, I apologize, but what exactly did you mean that Wayfarers have returned?" Anacostia asked.
Alder shook her head and sighed, then turned to face the back window of her office. The Biddies were all gathered on the far side of the office, engaged in their own activities. "An old foe," the general began, "an ancient enemy, older than the Camarilla, and practically a myth among the witches from my time."
"The Goa'uld," Teal'c said.
Anacostia raised an eyebrow. "The Goo-ah-what?"
Teal'c kept his hands behind his back and turned to face Anacostia. "The Goa'uld. In my travels, they have gone by many names. Your General Alder called them Wayfarers." He gestured toward the general, who was still staring out the window.
"I'm sorry, but—"
Several of the Biddies looked up from where they sat and hissed at Anacostia. How dare she interrupt something so important. It took every bit of effort for Anacostia not to roll her eyes.
"Sergeant Quartermaine, please take a seat." Alder turned around to face both her and Teal'c. "Both of you. There is a lot to explain."
"Indeed," Teal'c said. He nodded toward the Biddies. "But should they be here?"
General Alder leaned forward as she sat at her desk chair. "The Biddies go where I go."
"I see." Teal'c response was contemplative. Anacostia didn't need to use her telepathy to know that he was curious, yet understanding of the general's relationship with the women. She and Teal'c sat down in the chairs on the front side of the desk. Teal'c remained almost expressionless. How could the man remain so calm? she wondered.
If General Alder picked up on Anacostia's concern, she didn't seem to notice. "Back to the matter at hand," The general said. "The Wayfarers. It's been centuries, but from what I can remember, it was rumored they could travel through space and time. Sometimes, even realities. I never understood how they could do it until I heard the song seed. However, it is not a witches' song."
"Let me finish, Sergeant. The reason our friend here heard that song was because if there are Wayfarers here, then they weren't calling to him."
"Ma'am?" Anacostia tilted her head slightly and raised an eyebrow. She was a bit confused. The song was heard through her trip in the memory of the man sitting next to her, so why wouldn't these Wayfarers—
"They were calling to him." Alder gestured with one hand to their guest's midsection.
Teal'c nodded slightly toward the general. "So, you know," he said quietly.
Alder leaned back in her chair. "I had my suspicions."
"General, I don't follow," Anacostia said. Suspicions about what?
Alder sighed. "Teal'c, would you mind showing her?"
Teal'c slightly furrowed his brow at the general, then exhaled slowly as he nodded in agreement. He pulled his shirt slightly up, revealing a large X-shaped scare across his stomach.
Anacostia raised a hand to her mouth. "By the Goddess, what—"
"My symbiote pouch," Teal'c said. "It's what keeps me alive. The Goa'uld—what you call Wayfarers here. They use humans such as myself as hosts using this." He then reached inside the scar with one hand, and in moments later, pulled out a snake-like creature.
Anacostia's eyes widened in surprise. The thing that Teal'c held in his hand had a mouth that spilt open like a venomous flower. Its skin—if one could even call it that—was yellow to the point of almost appearing jaundiced. The creature looked disgusting, and she could feel bile building in the back of her throat the longer she stared at it.
General Alder cast a stony-eyed stare at the man. "Put it back," she said. Teal'c complied, and pulled his shirt over the scar.
"That thing lives inside you?!" Anacostia exclaimed. "General, we need to get him to a Fixer."
"There is no need for that," Teal'c said. "The symbiote is part of my immune system. Much like your Biddies are to your General, so this thing lives inside me to sustain my own life."
Teal'c nodded. "I can see how you would say that, but I once considered it an honor to be a Jaffa warrior." Anacostia had no idea was a Jaffa was, but from the way Teal'c spoke about it, she could tell it was something that used to hold meaning.
Alder finally spoke, breaking the silence. "My concern is that if they are truly returned, and they stretched across realities to bring you here, then their power has truly grown."
"Or they found the Chappa'ai on this world, and have figured out how to use it."
It was almost as if the two of them were having a conversation without her being there. However, Anacostia was not going to have any of it. "So what do we do?" she asked.
"If the Wayfarers brought Teal'c here, then they did so for a reason," Alder said. "We either locate this Stargate, or prepare to make a stand here."
"Are you sure there is a threat?"
"We're witches, Sergeant Quartermaine. There's always a threat."
Anacostia tilted her head as she received an incoming telepathy communication from one of the other Sergeants.. "General," she said, "we need to go to the briefing room…and we might want to bring Teal'c along."
Teal'c was surprised to see that he wasn't the only man in the briefing room. A tall, fair-skinned stood in the center of the room next to a wide oval table. The man's height nearly matched his own. He had broad shoulders underneath a beige uniform and sported a close-cropped haircut. Several women, he guessed they were officers, stood positioned around the table's backside. Even so, it was readily apparent to Teal'c that the person in charge was the person standing next to him, General Alder. Anacostia stood on her other side. The Biddies stood behind the three of them.
The man strode confidently over to the front of the room to stand in front of a polished slab of marble hanging on the wall. The slab was almost as tall as the man, and stretched double his arm span. Its surface adopted a faint glow as the man strode over to it.
"Witchfather, show us what you've found on the scrying glass," General Alder said to the man. He nodded and the glow on the scrying glass shifted to reveal a scene that was all too familiar for Teal'c. Rows of men, wearing leather plated armor, and helmets made of gold and shaped like snakes.
"Who are they?" Anacostia asked with wonder.
Teal'c sighed, "Jaffa warriors of the Goa'uld…"
"The weapons they carry are similar to the ones we found on you,"
"They are Jaffa warriors, Sergeant Quartermaine," Teal'c said, pointing at the foreheads of the approaching men. "See the symbol on their head? It matches mine. They serve the one who calls himself Apophis."
General Alder raised an eyebrow. "An Egyptian god?"
Teal'c understood her skepticism. "Not a god," he said, clearing his throat. "A myth. The Goa'uld from where I come from adopted the names of several mythical deities to further their expansion across the galaxy."
"Pardon?" General Alder asked. Several of the Biddies in attendance, some
Teal'c nodded his head toward the general. "You were not wrong about them being able to travel time and space."
Anacostia blinked her eyes. "I can't believe this," she said. "What are they doing here?"
As if on cue, the Jaffa warriors in the scrying glass stopped their march. One of them, a fair-skinned man in the front row with brown hair, took a step forward, and turned his head. Everyone took a step back. It was if the man's gaze was looking straight into the room where they were all standing.
"Bring us the one from Chulak," he said. "He is the key to us reclaiming the world that is rightfully ours. Apophis will be lenient to those who submit." Then, the scrying glass shimmered before going dark.
Anacostia failed to hide her shock. "How did they?" she asked.
General Alder took a step toward the scrying glass. "Witchfather?"
The Witchfather shook his head. "I don't know!" he exclaimed.
Teal'c watched as everyone in the room carried on excited conversations with those immediately next to them. The Biddies behind him carried on with their hissing and clicking of tongues. The cacophony of confusion was chaos, pure and simple. He knew the dangers, and he was sure the women in the room knew how to fight. But they were all acting like children. There would be no hope for them to safely defend this place, or for him to find a way home, if he allowed this to continue.
Teal'c took a step forward. "All of you need to stop. The Goa'uld are not known for showing mercy to their captives." The room went silent. He turned to face General Alder. "Although I'm sure they would love to figure out how to use your witches as hosts."
Alder snorted, "I'll be damned if I let that happen."
"General?" Anacostia asked.
The general disregarded the sergeant completely and walked over to the Witchfather. "Where are they now?" she asked him.
The Witchfather pointed to the window on the far side of the room. "They are right outside."
Teal'c turned. The man was correct. He could see, right past the gates, a group of Jaffa warriors advancing on the fort. The room
"How did they get so close?!" General Alder was fuming.
Teal'c faced the general. Emotions in the room were tense. "Let me help you, they will either kill you or make you one of them," he said.
"After the way we have treated you—"
"We can worry about that later, General," Teal'c replied, shaking his head. "The Jaffa warriors are strong, but they die as easily as humans. They do not belong on this world. And neither do I."
Anacostia composed herself and walked over to where Alder and the Witchfather were standing. "General, your orders?"
The general stood straight and issued a command, "Gather everyone who is able, we fight for this place." Alder turned and stared at Teal'c "You said you could help us. What do you need?"
Teal'c smiled and nodded. "My staff."
Anacostia couldn't wrap her head around what was happening when she joined General Alder outside. The courtyard in front of the Fort's main building was filled with women engaged in combat. Hedges that had once been finely trimmed were now smoldering ash. Trees that formerly stood majestic now danced in fire. Smoke was everywhere, making it hard to see. Anacostia coughed, and kept up with the general.
The smoke cleared in a matter of moments, and Anacostia was better able to asses the situation. There were only a few dozen of the men Teal'c had identified as Jaffa warriors, and hundreds of witches. There was no lull in the brawl, if they didn't find their way to victory soon, the ranks of witches defending the compound were going to have to be filled with cadets. Not exactly something she was looking forward to, the President tended to frown on cadets entering battle before they were ready.
But this was an extenuating circumstance.
Never mind that, where was Teal'c?
There was a bright, purple flash, and. General Alder, and the Biddies nearby ducked. Anacostia followed their lead. One of the lieutenants further ahead went flying through the air behind them, but far too quickly to have applied the salva that allows witches to float. Looking up, Anacostia could see one of the Jaffa warriors several yards away, taking a slow step toward them.
Anacostia ran back to assess the wounds of the woman who had been struck by the blast. No wonder the witches that apprehended Teal'c were in such terrible shape. The blast from the Jaffa staff weapons were powerful—and frightening.
"Quickly, with me!" General Alder shouted. The Biddies all stood up with the general in unison, quickly forming a line. Anacostia stayed with the injured witch as they shifted their feet back and heaved their voices forward, performing one very powerful Windstrike attack that struck the Jaffa, and several others nearby. A few that were hit had dropped their staffs.
"They are stronger than they look! Get their weapons!" Teal'c shouted as he ran up to Anacostia. He was wearing the full set of camouflage gear that the unit out west who had captured him found him in.
"Where the hell have you been?" Anacostia asked. "I thought you might've run off."
Teal'c shook his head. "Never mind that. I'm here now. Besides, I promised you I would assist in defending this place. More are coming." Teal'c pointed ahead, and Anacostia could see scores more of the Jaffa warriors marching toward them.
"Let's fight!" General Alder shouted. Teal'c picked up one of the dropped Jaffa staffs and thrust it into Anacostia's open palm.
Anacostia looked down at the weapon. "How do we use these?"
"It is simple, just point and shoot," Teal'c said. He made an example by aiming and firing the weapon in his hands. The sergeant's eyes opened wide as she watched the purple beam of light strike the warrior that ran towards them,
"We're witches, we—"
"You will die if you keep that up," Teal'c interrupted, "unless you're willing to become a slave to the Goa'uld?"
"Not necessarily," Anacostia said, shaking her head.
The momentary reprieve from the fight ended as soon as more blasts from the enemy Jaffa rushed over their heads. Teal'c screamed, heading straight for the oncoming attackers. Anacostia stood, ready to fight, but took a step back when she caught sight of General Alder.
Anacostia hoisted the arm of the injured woman on the ground over her shoulder, and started pulling her back away from the general. The wind in their immediate vicinity had begun to pick up speed, whipping leaves around in a frantic manner. What concerned Anacostia as she dragged the woman away the most was when Alder's eyes went black. The Biddies next to Alder copied the general's stance. Their faces were all a mask of stern serenity with their hands held at their sides. Then, they unleashed another Windstrike.
This time, it was filled with black lightning.
She had only seen this happen once before. It was no less frightening, even then. Anacostia held a hand up to her eyes to shield herself from the brightness and the lightening stuck the ground in a targeted manner, dancing around the field and it plucked each of the Jaffa warriors and knocked them into submission. The wind died down, and Anacostia lowered her arm. A pair of Fixers in white uniforms rushed up to her.
"Take this woman to the infirmary," Anacostia said. She cast her gaze around the courtyard in bewilderment as the Fixers took the injured woman away. The only people left standing were witches…and Teal'c.
"What is this?" Teal'c asked as Anacostia approached the area where he and the general were standing. He bend down, picking up a small black box that was clutched in the hands of one of the dead Jaffa.
Anacostia could have sword she had seen something similar before. "General is that—"
"I'm not sure, Sergeant Quartermaine. It's much too large to belong to the Camarilla," As she examined the box in Teal'c hands, the lid popped open. The general and the dark-skinned man exchanged a pair of confused glances.
"Again I ask, what is this?" Teal'c asked. Anacostia leaned forward to get a closer look, and almost covered her mouth from the shock. Inside the box was the cut out vocal cord of a dead witch.
"This," Alder began, "is your way home."
Teal'c stood in General Alder's office, not entirely sure what to make of the events that transpired over the past few hours. The only people in the room were himself and general, the Biddies spaced out evenly across the room. Anacostia was not present.
"It appears the Wayfarers used witches magic after all," General Alder said, leaning back in her chair.
Teal'c lowered his brow as he titled his head. "I am afraid I don't follow," he said, adjusting his posture so he could sit forward on the edge of his own chair.
"The vocal cord in this box. It holds the seed to a witch's song."
"Indeed," Teal'c said, this time more as a question.
Alder shook her head and gave a slight smile. "Our power come through our voice," she said, pointing at her throat. "Our songs. The box holding this cord must be a key to how they travel to this reality."
Teal'c sighed. "So there are no Stargates in this world?" he asked. It was not unheard of, but the Ancient-built Chappa'ai were not the only means of travel the Goa'uld used in their employ. Still, it wasn't the news he wanted to hear.
"Not exactly. Look here." General Alder closed the box and picked it up. Turning it on its side, she sat the box back down. The silver and red engraving inlaid into the box caught his attention immediately. It was an etching of a Stargate. How peculiar.
"That is…interesting," Teal'c muttered.
The general nodded. "I recognized it from when Sergeant Quartermaine showed me your memories. I'm just not sure how it works." Alder traced her hand along the etching, and Teal'c could have sworn he witnessed the engraving rotate.
Impossible, but what if…
"May I?" Teal'c asked. Alder nodded and he picked up the device. Upon closer examination, it was just like the one back home, on the Earth that he knew. Using his index finger, he rotated the engraving, and watched as the red chevrons of it lit up in sequence.
That's when the song projected out from the box.
The last thing he saw before everything faded was General Sarah Alder looking at him with surprise.
"Teal'c? You okay?" the man in front of Teal'c asked. Dr. Daniel Jackson had a mess of thin brown hair and wore those peculiar optical lenses on his face. He was in a stone hallway of sorts, light from the evenly placed sconces on the walls reflected a soft glow. O'Niell and Carter had already moved on further up ahead. Teal'c blinked his eyes several times in rapid succession. He could have sworn just moments before he was in an office, talking to a woman in military uniform.
"Yes, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said. He looked behind him, and saw the Chappa'ai to Stargate Command close, the portal fading away as it was sucked into the gate's rim. He felt exhausted, as if stepping through the gate had taken weeks, instead of seconds.
"Come see this," Daniel said excitedly, beckoning with one had for Teal'c to follow. "I found research in the nearby Ancient Temple about the Goa'uld. Only here, they called them Wayfarers."
Teal'c narrowed his eyes, and followed Daniel down the hallway to catch up with the rest of SG-1.