Ba'als in Sam's Court
Warnings: some violence and cursing
Disclaimer: This story is based on the Stargate-SG1 episode Insiders. Some dialogue is taken directly from the episode. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Thanks to gunhilda for guidance, but all faults with the story are mine alone.
Sam woke with her head pounding and a crick in her neck. Trying to sit up she realized she was lying on the floor and her arms hurt because they were bound behind her. Crap, she thought.
Struggling to sit up, she spotted Malcolm Barrett and Sergeant Jones lying near her; also bound. At least if they're tied up, they must be alive, she thought with some relief. She recalled hitting the alarm after hearing gunfire and then the three of them fighting several Ba'als. Obviously we lost the fight. She started to scoot over to check on the two men when the door swung open and one of the Ba'als swaggered in.
"Get up," he said.
You try getting up with your hands tied behind your back, she growled inwardly. But she struggled to her feet as the goa'uld grabbed her arm.
Why didn't they just kill us? she thought as they headed for the door. They must need us for something. Hostages? She stepped into the corridor. Wham! She hit the opposite wall hard. What the hell? She spotted a second Ba'al in the hallway—evidently he was the one who had slammed her into the wall before she realized he was there. Sam had just regained her footing when this second Ba'al punched her in the stomach.
Sam doubled over but surprised herself by not losing her lunch. He punched her in the face as soon as she struggled upright. She banged sideways into the wall and with her hands behind her she couldn't keep her balance. She toppled to the floor.
"The great Samantha Carter at my feet," Ba'al gloated.
She couldn't quite see him through the stars dancing before her eyes, but directing her eyes toward a Ba'al shape she gasped out, "Very impressive. You need my hands tied behind my back to take me on?"
In reply, the goa'uld kicked her in the ribs. Smart Sam. Antagonize him. Too many years working with Jack O'Neill, she thought. Ba'al wasn't asking any questions so why was he doing this? Softening her up? For fun, she answered herself. He's a goa'uld, Sam. His fist was going back for another blow when the Ba'al who had come to get her grabbed his clone's arm.
"No time for that now. Besides, it's so crude," he scolded. "Come on, we have work to do and we need her conscious."
Sam didn't like the sound of that. Looking up at him as her eyes refocused, she noticed the numeral "1" on his shirt. Ba'al Number 1 took her arm in a crushing grip and led her to a storeroom.
He released her bonds as they entered the room and Sam held back a gasp of pain as her arms fell back to a natural position. Three Ba'als armed with automatic weapons stood at the far end of the room near a table where yet another one sat at a laptop computer. She noted absently the blood on one of their shirts. Must have broken his nose in the original struggle. Good.
Ba'al 1 shoved her toward the table and the Ba'al at the computer stood up. Ba'al 1 pushed her into the vacated chair. They want me to break into the computer and get the ancient addresses, she realized immediately. Like that's gonna happen.
"The access code, please," he demanded.
"You're trying to download the list of planets from the ancient database," she responded. Keep him talking, she thought, one thing the goa'uld love is to run off at the mouth. "You want Merlin's weapon for yourselves."
"A weapon capable of destroying not only the Ori but the Ancients as well…I'd say that's a pretty valuable commodity," he replied.
"I won't do it."
"This would be an inappropriate time for heroism, Colonel."
"Go ahead and kill me," Sam said tightly. "It's only a matter of time before we regain control of this level. Good luck trying to figure out the code before then."
"I would never dream of killing you," Ba'al soothed, "but I will kill the other hostages." "Start with Agent Barrett," he said sharply. He signaled his compatriot. Ba'al 3's eyes glinted as he chambered a round in his MP5.
Damn, Sam thought. I need to buy time. Landry should have had enough time to lock me out of the system, so Ba'al won't get anything, but every minute I can stall could give the SGC enough time to deal with the situation and save Barrett and Jones.
"Wait. I'll do it," Sam said. Ba'al 3 looked disappointed but paused at the doorway.
She typed her password, hit "enter" and, as she expected, "Access Denied" popped up on the screen.
"I'm locked out, so you can go to hell."
She waited for the bullet to the brain that was sure to follow that statement, comforted slightly that at least she hadn't helped him.
"Now Colonel, surely the woman who assisted me in activating the ancient device on Dakara can defeat a simple Earth security measure," Ba'al 1 said. Under other circumstances she might have challenged his representation of those events. "Again I remind you, the hostages' lives are in your hands." He sighed dramatically.
If she refused outright, Sam had no doubt he'd kill Barrett and Jones and god knew who else right away. She also knew as soon as their usefulness was over they'd be dead anyway, herself included. Time—I need time, she thought. Sam knew she should be able to hack her way into the system—she'd done it before after all—but she also knew Ba'al could not be allowed to get the addresses. She had one more idea.
"Ok. I'll try," Sam said, glaring at Ba'al.
"I thought you'd see it my way," he replied.
Working as slowly as she thought she could get away with, Sam found her way to a backdoor into the system, leaving "footprints" all over the place. She knew the SCG would be alert for such tampering and would cut off her terminal. She'd die as soon as that happened, she knew, but Ba'al would have been delayed long enough to give the security forces time to get him—them—and rescue the hostages.
Sam groaned inwardly as the download finished. They hadn't cut off her access. What the hell was Landry doing? Her plan had gone wrong and Ba'al was going to get the addresses after all. She had screwed up. But the SGC would never let the Ba'als off the base, would they?
Ba'al 1 took the disk from her and cocked his pistol, but to her surprise, instead of shooting her, he simply left the room with the other Ba'als and locked her in. Suddenly, it hit her. She knew what Ba'al was planning. I have to get a warning out—but how?
Why not use the fact that someone screwed up and hadn't locked out her terminal? But now the traitorous laptop stared blankly at her. A bit too late, she thought bitterly. Are the lights getting brighter in here? She folded her arms across the laptop, closed her eyes and rested her head on her arms briefly. Think, Sam. Her head felt like it was going to explode, but at least the nausea wasn't too bad. She sat back up and looked around the room. They would have to lock me in a file room, she grumbled to herself. Sam scanned the box labels, pulled some off the shelves and peeked inside a few. She found nothing but requisition forms and other paperwork. I suppose a plasma cutter lying around would be too much to hope for this time, she thought. The air vent might work, but without tools…
A bit later, Cameron Mitchell burst into the room, weapon drawn, to find Sam cross-legged on the floor behind some boxes. She was prying at the grate of an air vent and he saw a broken desk lamp beside her. She must have been trying to jerry rig something.
"You okay?" Cam asked, eyeing Sam's black eye and bruised face.
"Fine. We've got to stop the Ba'als." She groaned as she slowly unfolded her legs.
"That's what we're trying to do, Sam." Mitchell frowned. She looked as if she had taken a pretty good beating and he wondered if she was thinking entirely clearly.
"Cam, I mean we have to stop the Ba'als all getting together in one place. They can overcome the dampening field if they're all together." She pushed past him into the hallway. Turning to him, she asked, "You have a spare weapon?"
Ok, seems like the usual three-steps-ahead-of-everyone-else Sam, Mitchell thought. He pulled a Beretta from the back of his waistband and handed it to her. "They're releasing the symbiote poison."
"Good. I hope they do it soon," Sam said as she began to run.
Mitchell was only a step behind. As he ran he keyed his radio. "Carter thinks the Ba'als have a way out and we need to keep them apart," he said.
"Acknowledged," came General Landry's voice.
"The Ba'als are approaching the observation room on Level 16. Our team is not far from their position," said Teal'c over the radio.
Just where Sam's making a beeline for, Mitchell thought.
"Meet you there. Mitchell out."
About twenty yards from the observation room, Mitchell and Sam came upon Teal'c, Vala and several airmen crouched behind storage containers. Wisps of gas floated along the floor, and a couple of Ba'als lay dead in the corridor. Sam charged past them all to the door of the room.
Mitchell again dashed after her. "Damn it, Sam!"
The colonels peered into the room, weapons ready. The Ba'als clustered together in the center of the room with matching smirks on their faces.
"Not so fast," Sam said.
If anything the Ba'al's smirked more upon seeing Sam.
At Sam's shoulder, Mitchell noticed the telltale swirl of gas entering the room.
"That's symbiote poison, Mitchell added, smirking a little himself.
The words were barely out of his mouth, though, when flash!—the goa'ulds disappeared in a beam of light.
God damn it!" Mitchell swore, swinging around in frustration and almost knocking into Carter.
He looked at Sam and decided she was quite pale. "Let's get you to the infirmary." Mitchell said, putting a hand on her arm, intending to support her. He wasn't sure she'd make it there without help.
"Cameron, I'm fine," she said, shaking off his hand. "We should check on Barrett and Jones. They were hurt when Ba'al got me."
Mitchell radioed. "This is Mitchell. We need a couple of SFs and a med team to check on a couple of personnel—probably in one of the storerooms on level 16." He looked to Carter for confirmation.
She nodded in agreement.
"Sam. Infirmary," Mitchell said.
"Fine," she sighed. She began walking with him, weaving a bit.
Sure, you're fine, Mitchell thought sarcastically. Her mind may have been working enough to figure out Ba'al's plan, but she was far from steady on her feet. A look from Teal'c indicated he'd stay back to help with the mopping up.
As he walked with Sam, Mitchell restrained himself from supporting her arm, knowing she'd want get to the infirmary under her own power. He remained within catching distance, though, just in case she passed out along the way.
"You have a concussion and some bruised ribs, but you'll be fine, Colonel," said Dr. Lam.
"Yeah, I suspected as much," Sam replied. She picked up the BDU shirt lying on the exam table but before she could put it on she spotted General Landry walking into the infirmary. She slipped off the exam table quickly, wincing a bit, and attempted an "at attention" posture.
"At ease, Colonel," he said. The general looked at Dr. Lam. "I just wanted to see how Carter and the other personnel are doing, Doctor," he said.
"Other than Airmen Jablonski and Turner—the two fatalities," Dr. Lam said, eyes dropping, "the wounded airmen will be fine. Sergeant Jones took quite a blow to the head, but he'll be out of the infirmary tomorrow."
"I wish I had figured it out sooner, sir," Sam said. "I want you to know I only cooperated as much as I did because I thought it would buy the rest of you time, and I was sure you'd cut off my computer access. But I'm prepared to face the court martial…"
Landry waved a hand dismissively. "I did something better," Landry said.
"Sir?" she asked, confused.
"We spotted the footprints you so helpfully left in the system," he replied with a grin, "so I had Walter send a fake set of addresses to your terminal to lull Ba'al into a false sense of security."
"Nice move, sir," Sam said letting out a sigh.
Landry's grin faded. "Even so, I never expected to see you alive again."
"Yeah," Sam agreed quietly, "I knew he'd kill us in the end."
"I don't really care why, I'm just glad he didn't, Sam," he said softly. Sam started a little at the rare use of her first name. She still felt awkward around this general even after more than a year. "But I want you to work on beefing up the computer security protocols. You got into the system entirely too easily for my taste," he said in his usual gruff tone.
"Right away sir."
"I insist that Colonel Carter rest for at least a day, General," Lam interposed.
Sam smiled to herself. Dr. Lam may not have had the soothing bedside manner of her friend Dr. Janet Fraiser, but she too, fiercely protected her patients. Given that she felt like hell, Sam appreciated it.
"Agreed," Landry said and walked to the door. Pausing in the doorway he turned and said, "You did well Colonel."
Sam glanced down in discomfort at the praise. She hoped he was right.
"Now I want you to lie down for a while, Colonel," Dr. Lam said, taking the forgotten BDU shirt from Sam and firmly guiding her over to an infirmary bed.
Lam made sure the colonel was actually lying down before she left the room. Sam closed her eyes almost involuntarily. She was exhausted right now but she knew she'd be replaying these events in her mind for some time.