The Men From the Gate

Disclaimer: No, as much as I wish, Santa hasn't given them to me yet.

A/N: Ok, so, here's the epilogue. It's short and sweet and just sets up the sequel, which I probably will begin working on next week, but no promises!!


"Would you care to explain just how this happened to take place?" Ba'al asked, as he swept his hand to indicate the destruction around him.

"My lord," Arl'ec, the Jaffa in charge of the outpost security answered. He was kneeling on one knee, with his hands resting on the upturned knee and his head bowed in deference to his god – his very angry god. "There's no explanation . . ."

"No," Ba'al interrupted him, coldly and calmly, "you are right about that, at least. There is no explanation."

"Yes, my lord," Arl'ec agreed. "It won't happen again, my lord."

"You're right about that too," Ba'al replied, with a cold smile, as he turned and paced towards the guards that were standing at his back. "It won't happen again," he repeated as he reached out for the guard's staff weapon, turned and shot Arl'ec all in one smooth move. "I am sure of that," he added, as he un-emotionally watched the Jaffa fall down.

"You," he said, as he turned to the outpost's second, "you're in charge now."

"Yes, my lord," Faru't said, with a nod, as he stepped forward with barely a glance at his fallen comrade.

"Get rid of that," Ba'al said to his guards with a snap of his fingers. He then turned back to Faru't and asked, "What happened?"

"My lord," Faru't said, as he turned and followed Ba'al, as the former System Lord started to walk towards the damaged out post. "The Tauri team, SG1, somehow managed to surprise us and they got past our security . . ."

"Somehow?" Ba'al cut in frostily. "Does that mean you don't know how they got past you?" He asked silkily and menacingly and without waiting for an answer, he continued, "I'll tell you how they got past you: you've become complacent and careless. You've fallen into a routine and haven't bothered to change your patrol times in weeks. SG1 might be a thorn in my side, but they are quite . . . capable. It would be child's play for them to study you and slip past your laughable excuse for security."

He took a deep breath and controlled the impulse to kill every Jaffa involved in this . . . fiasco. Unfortunately, while that may satisfy him momentarily, it wouldn't solve anything and he'd be out a whole squadron of soldiers – granted not very competent soldiers, but soldiers that he needed. Since the fall of the System Lords and the Jaffa uprising (something else laid at the Tauri's feet), finding competent Jaffa had become increasingly difficult since they now wanted to be masters of their own fate and were no longer content following their former gods.

"But I am sure you will not be repeating that mistake, will you?" he asked smoothly with a small smile.

"No, my lord," Faru't nodded, after swallowing hard.

"Good," Ba'al said, as he walked into the outpost. "So, what was the damage?"

"They managed to download all the information from the lab's computer," Faru't started to answer, only to be interrupted by Ba'al's muttering.

"Of course they did," he said with a frown. "I'd have been surprised if Samantha Carter hadn't copied all the information." She might be a mere human, but there's no denying she's an exceptionally gifted one.

"Yes, my lord," Faru't agreed.

"What else?" Ba'al asked, when Faru't didn't immediately continue.

"The maturation chamber, my lord," Faru't said, slowly; he knew how much the former System Lord had invested in that chamber.

"What about it?" Ba'al asked, though he was pretty sure he knew the answer.

"They blew it up, my lord," was Faru't subdued answer.

"Of course they did," Ba'al repeated, and for a moment, he looked more like the devil than the he god he purported being. "How bad is it?" he asked, but again, he knew the answer.

"Completely destroyed, my lord," Faru't said, more confidently than before, since it seemed he wasn't going to be killed like Arl'ec was.

Ba'al tersely nodded at the news; he hadn't expected anything less. The extent of the damage SG1 had inflicted on his, supposedly, secret outpost was becoming more apparent the further into it he walked.

"How is it," he started to ask, so calmly and softly, that Faru't, who had relaxed, tensed up again, "that SG1 was allowed to not only sneak in, but also sneak out, after causing such damage?"

"My lord," Faru't said and paused, when his voice shook; and after a few seconds to gather his thoughts and garner his courage, he continued. "We discovered them as they were leaving," it had been an accident, but there was no need to mention that, "we pursued them and we were sure we'd corner them once they reached the outside. But,"

"Let me guess," Ba'al said when Faru't hesitated; "some of them were waiting outside, hiding in the forest and turned your ambush on its head?"

"My lord," Faru't nodded agreement with Ba'al's assessment. "We did injure Jackson as they were fleeing."

"Did you?" Ba'al asked, quietly, with a small and not pleasant smile. "That is good news. Did he die?"

"It was a serious injury," Faru't temporized, as he didn't know whether Jackson had died or not. "We followed them into the forest . . ."

"But you lost them?" Ba'al interrupted yet again. The abject incompetence of these fools was wearing on him and he just wanted this sorry excuse of a report to be done with. The impulse to kill them all was growing and the only thing staying his hand was the knowledge that he couldn't afford to lose any soldiers – no matter how incompetent they might be.

"Yes, my lord," Faru't agreed quietly. "We think Jackson might have escaped through the Gate; we know at least two of them stayed behind – one of them was Mitchell, the other was an unknown one. But he was good; we tracked them for a few days before we were sure we'd lost them."

"A new addition to SG1?" Ba'al murmured, the only thing in that report that was news to him. "Of course he was good; he wouldn't be with SG1 if he wasn't. Leave me," he abruptly dismissed the Jaffa when he reached what had been the maturation chamber.

He didn't notice when a relieved Faru't departed; all he could see was the complete devastation of what had taken him years to put together. The fury and hatred he felt in that moment for the accursed SG1 was unprecedented; however much he'd wanted them dead in the past was nothing compared to the strength of his feelings now.

It had taken him years to get all the pieces of his plan in place and he was not going to let an upstart bunch of humans ruin it when he'd come so far. Besides, however big a blow this might be, it didn't change a thing. The wheels had already been set in motion and there was nothing SG1 or anyone else could do about it. By the time Samantha Carter and the rest of SG1 figured it out, and he didn't really doubt they'd figure it ou, what his plan was, there'd be nothing they could do about it.

Yes, the end was close, not as close as he'd like but he could be patient for a while longer. He'd waited this long already, what were a few more months. And then he'd have SG1 and the rest of the Tauri at his feet, worshipping him as the god he was. And as a bonus, he'd have the pleasure of finally seeing Jack O'Neill broken – with his world finally conquered and his team annihilated, there'd be nothing for the man to fight for. Death might be too kind for the old general, though; maybe a more fitting punishment would be to see his beloved Samantha turned into Ba'al's queen. Yes, keeping O'Neill alive to see his world turned into the center of Ba'al's new empire and his loved ones dead or in Ba'al's service might be enough payment for all that human had cost him.