Rising from the Ashes of Ascension

Chapter 32

Disclaimer: As much as I might wish, I do not own Stargate: SG1, Highlander: the Series, or any recognizable characters from either show. If I did, I wouldn't be working in the public schools system. However, any characters that are not from either show are mine and I will use and abuse them as I see fit. Everyone else will be returned eventually, for I am only borrowing for awhile, but they might end up a bit scuffed.

Warnings: Potty language, violence, and occasional sexual references

Later that night, Jack and Amanda went off to the wedding, arm-in-arm, looking absolutely smashing together while the others dressed in dark clothing sat in Jack's truck waiting for the dashing pair to signal that all was clear.

"Doughnut?" Teal'c offered the others, passing a small box around that was filled with glazed, cream-filled, and those with sprinkles.

"At this time of the night? Seriously?" Methos asked incredulously.

"One cannot have a proper stakeout without doughnuts," intoned the larger of the two, his dark eyes serious. "Certain stereotypes must be maintained."

"I would like to address that particular stereotype if I may. Now, your stereotypical donut is nothing but dough and sugar fried in fat, am I right? Now that fat gums up your arteries and goes to your brain, and you turn liberal. And the next thing you know, Barry Manilow is on the turn-table and you're not going to work and you're voting for gun control. You see what I'm saying? You see the connection? That's why I eat granola," the Old Man said mockingly.

"You don't eat granola! Unless you count beer because it was brewed from granola like things," Daniel argued as he passed around his thermos of powerful, stand on its hind legs and bark at the moon coffee.

"It's from Sledgehammer! How can you not know Sledgehammer? It was one of the great shows of the Eighties," Methos mocked his friend, mostly just to entertain himself – riling Daniel was always a great way to pass the time.

"Maybe because I spent the Eighties fulfilling a useful goal while you only fulfilled a goal to rot your mind with stupid television and spend the decade drinking yourself into oblivion," Daniel said snidely, looking at Methos with scorn.

"Drinking is never a waste of time," Methos shot back. "And don't forget the women. Many women found me to be a smashing way to pass the time."

"If you had to pay them or get them drunk to be with you, they don't count," Daniel muttered.

"I'm mortally wounded that you would think that I, of all people, would need to do that to woo a lady."

Daniel snorted.

"What is this Sledgehammer? The television networks felt the need to create visual entertainment based upon a tool?" Teal'c interrupted, always interesting in pop Earth culture; the more bizarre the better.

"That sums the show up pretty well," Methos said and then proceeded to discuss the finer points of the show.

Sam however, sat there quietly banging her head on the glass, praying that the Colonel and the immortal known as Amanda would hurry it up before she went insane from listening to the men, while repeating a mantra of "Why me? Why did I get stuck with the Three Stooges?" to herself.

By ten o'clock, when the wedding reception was still in full gear, Daniel's phone lit up. Jack was calling, telling them to meet them at the service door on the west side of the building.

They exited the truck and stole across the lawn, careful to remain in the shadows. The last thing they wanted was to be noticed by a party guest or worse, the police.

As they made it to the door, Daniel and Methos both felt the familiar rush, announcing that Amanda was near-by.

"What took you so long?" Amanda hissed as she opened up the door to let them in. "My grandmother could run faster than you four."

"You don't have a grandmother," Daniel hissed back as he slipped inside, the backpack he was wearing was weighed down by the fake statue.

"Not important," she said, waving them on in, as she stood by the door, fiddling with the electronics, making sure that the alarms would be disabled and allow them a swift exit when the job was finished.

"Where is your tie, Sir? And is that lipstick on your cheek?" Sam asked, as she handed him a pair of black gloves that matched her own (no need to leave behind any incriminating fingerprints – especially if this adventure went south) the Colonel who was standing a bit further back from the door, watching to make sure no one was near-by.

"Uh," was all Jack could say as his ears turned a faint shade of red and busied himself by pulling on his gloves.

Amanda smirked at Jack who looked as if he was strangling. "His tie is now in the possession of a very drunk bridesmaid and the lipstick is a reminder of the groom's Aunt Gertrude who thought he was the most handsome man in the room. You should have been there to see an eighty-year-old woman practically stick her tongue down his throat."

The others shuddered slightly.

"Okay, now that we've told the gang about my night's highlights, can we get on with it?" Jack ground out.

"Yes Sir," Sam said a bit brightly before she and Methos took off for the security guards' room to disable any further alarms and cameras.

The others, with Amanda in the lead, crept through the closed off areas, past the displays of church art, a suit of armor, and statues. Finally, they made it to the hall that led to a flight of stairs that would take them to the storage areas.

There was an old-fashioned accordion style gate with a simple padlock on in to bar their way. Amanda made quick work of the simple barrier and led the group down the stairs, her stiletto heels barely making a sound on the granite staircase.

At the bottom, the encountered a heavy steel door with an electronic lock on it.

"Hum," Amanda muttered, as she pulled her tools of the trade out of the backpack she had Methos bring her; she couldn't bring it with her to the wedding in her tiny clutch. "A Trilogy Networx PDL6100 – too easy."

She busied herself by unscrewing a faceplate over the card swipe, exposing wires and circuits that led into the lock and keypad. Next she stuck a plastic card with wires coming out of it and running into a black box the size of a shoe box and then attached two alligator clips to a red and then a black wire. Humming slightly to herself, she then typed in a few commands and codes on the miniature keyboard on the box.

Suddenly the box made a rude electronic sound, causing Amanda to stop humming and quietly start cursing.

"What's taking so long?" Jack hissed as he watched for any sign that someone was about to join their party.

"Don't rush me! I'm trying to work a miracle here and even miracles take a little time," Amanda hissed back, glaring at the locking mechanism with annoyance.

Suddenly she smiled. "Oops," she said and moved one of the alligator clips to the green wire instead of the black wire.

"Oops?" Jack questioned.

"Yes, oops," Amanda said snarkily. "Even someone as great as I, in such a refined profession can have an oops-kind of moment."

"I believe that can be referred to as a plethora of equine fecal material," Teal'c quietly rumbled, raising an eyebrow slightly.

Daniel snorted. "What he said, times two."

Amanda stopped what she was doing and faced the men, her eyes flashing. "Look! I'll have you know that I am a queen among thieves and even someone as talented as I am can have an oops moment. Now do you want in the room or shall I deliberately set off an alarm and leave the three of you, plus Adam and your friend Samantha to the mercies of this city's police force?"

"Sorry Amanda dear. You're a breathtaking beauty that knows no equal and a gifted thief. Can we please get on with it? I want this over as quickly as possible," Daniel said, looking suddenly nervous. He had been wondering what the Watchers that they had noticed earlier were up too; his gut was telling him that they were near-by and up to no good - and that made him uneasy.

"That's a little better," she said in a high-handed voice and turned back to the lock.

A few more minutes passed as the Immortal thief worked her magic. Before too long, there was a low electron buzz and a series of clicks, announcing that Amanda had indeed completed her task as promised.

Teal'c pulled the door open, allowing Daniel, Amanda, and Jack free passage into the storage area.

Once inside, Daniel described the statue they were looking for, and after reminding Amanda that she was not allowed to help herself to anything else among the museum's collections, they split up to check the vast shelves in the storage room.

"If we find a crate with the Ark in it, can we keep it?" Jack joked.

"Don't be stupid Jack. You know it's kept in storage at Area-Fifty One. We saw it the last…," Daniel said then suddenly choked on his words, remembering that Amanda had no security clearance what-so-ever. He quickly checked on the beautiful Immortal who was lost in examining the treasures on the shelves.

Nope. She wasn't paying attention to their banter.

"Let's get going then," Daniel said, trying to not laugh nervously. "Not my fault," he then mouthed at Jack, who was giving him an 'are-you-out-of-your-mind' look.

Each person took a row (though Teal'c followed behind Amanda to make sure she didn't liberate a Ming vase or two), carefully checking the contents on each shelf, on either side of the aisle. Unfortunately, their progress was slowed by the enormity of the stored wealth and the fact that Jack could not refrain from touching the shiny things on display. Daniel almost smacked his friend when Jack started amusing himself with a Tibetan prayer wheel.

Finally at the end of the fifth row Daniel finally came across the elusive naga statue – two feet in height, the upper half of the figure was a man and the lower half was of a snake, with a cobra hood behind it, signifying that it was a naga. The tag attached to it had the corresponding serial number that confirmed that this was the statue that Daniel had been looking for.

He carried it out of the stacks and to a long work bench at the front of the storage area, fighting to keep from laughing like a madman. They had found the statue with little trouble and no NID insight to swoop down and snatch their find away from them; he felt almost giddy.

Setting it down on the wooden bench, Daniel frowned deeply, examining the statue carefully, looking for a mechanism to open it up to reveal an imprisoned Goa'uld.

"Maybe if I," Daniel muttered, as he ran his fingers over the carved words along the base. "Let me get my knife," he groused and started to fish through his pockets, pulling out notebooks, keys, pens, fingernail clippers, his phone, dental floss, and other interesting but currently useless items.

"Here," Jack said and handed over his multi-tooled Swiss Army knife.

"Thank you MacGyver," Daniel muttered and took the proffered tool as Jack gave him a dirty look.

Amanda rolled her eyes, having joined the group at the table to see what Daniel was so hot and bothered about. There were so many other more expensive items to be had and he wanted some carved hunk of rock. It made her wonder if the years were finally getting to her old friend. "What are you doing now? Shouldn't we be going?"

"I just want to see if it will open," he hesitated, wanting immediate gratification to see if he was right, once again.

"Oh please," Amanda drawled and grabbed the statue out from under his hands and before anyone could stop her, she slammed the figure down, letting it shatter when it hit the floor.

"Holy…buckets!" Daniel croaked, feeling his heart seizing. If it were possible for Immortals to die of a heart-attack, he was just about to do so.

Jack and Teal'c both gave similar gasps of surprise and stared disbelieving at what the Immortal had done.

"What?" Amanda asked, looking between the three of them with an appearance of innocence.

"You are supposed to be a thief of the highest talent and you demolish a work of antiquity?" Teal'c rumbled as his one eyebrow up as far as it could possibly travel.

"We need to go and don't have time for Daniel to play Indiana Jones. He has the fake one in his backpack. Get what you need, switch them out, and let's go," she said, exasperated with the men.

"Fine," Daniel said and handed off the bag to Teal'c. "Let me see what we have…," he trailed off, carefully brushing aside shattered stone to reveal what secrets the statue had possessed before Amanda's uncouth way of uncovering them.

Pushing the debris aside, he found a jar, one much like the Isis jar that Sarah and he had encountered had back in Chicago. The difference between this and the one from Chicago was that it was made out of metal, a burnished copper and still intact, giving hope that what, or who, was in the jar was still alive.

Daniel held it up and smiled knowingly at Jack, happy to have their self-imposed mission almost complete. "Let's go," he started to say but had his words cut off by a sudden and familiar fiery, hot pain tore into his body. He looked down and saw blood blossoming across his chest, originating from two spots over his heart.

"Crap," was all he managed to choke out before his body hit the floor, dead and unable to stop the three humans, all Watchers, from ruining their op.

A/N: Well, what do you think? Crap or not? Hit the shiny review button and let me know what you think.

First off, I am sorry that I have taken SO LONG to post the next chapter. My reasons/excuses are this: it was a rough pregnancy and once Katie was here, I found out how busy you can get with a baby. Also, I hit a wall of writer's block and once that was out of the way, I was either being lazy or distracted by other things in my life. And then, real life kicked me hard in the face. Unfortunately, I have been forced to slow down my life a tad recently thanks to finding melanoma on my ankle (of all places – but I'm fine, they got it all, my ankle looks like hamburger right now). This gave me the chance to sit and think and write. So here we are! I can't promise to crank out a chapter each week, but I'll try and do better with the next chapter. Reviews and demands for more do motivate me to write.

I do want to thank you for reading my story. It is appreciated very much. Also, I want to give a big thank you to Lorilei for always being there to motivate/encourage/yell/threaten me to get working on the story. You are a dear and wonderful friend to have!