SG-1 were running. It seemed to Sam that they'd been running a lot recently. Without looking,
she knew Teal'c was on her right, Jonas just ahead and Colonel O'Neill just behind.
Ahead of her, Jonas reached the DHD and dialled Earth. Seconds later the stargate engaged.
O'Neill's voice sounded over their radios. 'Get through the gate!'
Jonas ran through, closely followed by Teal'c. Sam was about go through when some sixth sense
made her turn. As she skidded to a halt, one of the Jaffa chasing them fired a zat blast at Jack,
hitting him squarely in the back. O'Neill went down.
'Sir!' Sam yelled, running to his side. The colonel was still conscious, and Sam knelt down and
slipped an arm under his, pulling him to his feet.
'Carter!' O'Neill snapped. 'Get to the gate!'
'Yes, sir,' she responded, still dragging him.
'No, Carter, you-'
A staff weapon blasting the ground at their feet interrupted him. They both rolled to the side,
narrowly avoiding a second blast.
'Carter!' Jack yelled. Sam looked at him. That second staff blast had clipped his leg. He was
bleeding. 'Get to the damn gate!'
Too late, the Jaffa were closing on them. Sam thumbed her radio, 'This is Major Carter!
Close the iris!'
'Major?' Hammond's voice crackled over their radios.
As Sam opened her mouth to reply, she was hit by a zat blast. She fell to the ground, hitting
her head on a rock and rendering herself unconscious.
When she awoke, she found herself on the floor of a cell. That in itself wasn't surprising, the fact
that she was alone, was.
She moved towards the bars and called, 'Hey!'
When no one responded she sat on the hard bunk on one side of the cell and waited.
An hour later the door to the adjacent cell opened and Colonel O'Neill was pushed inside. He looked rough.
As the door slammed shut behind him he limped over to the bunk in his cell and sat down heavily.
When the sound of the Jaffas' boots died away, he looked through the bars at Sam.
'There's no Goa'uld here,' he said. 'They've been on their own for about a hundred years. Guess the
Tok'ra were wrong.' He sighed and rested his head on the wall, closing his eyes. 'I'm gonna get some
sleep. Wake me if they come back, will ya?'
'What about your leg?' Sam asked.
'Its just a scratch.' He dismissed.
Sam watched him as he fell asleep. He'd been wary of taking a mission from the Tok'ra, and after the
whole Baal thing she couldn't blame him.
It had seemed simple enough. They were told that there was a lesser-known Goa'uld here, someone who
had technology the Tok'ra wanted and had – unusually – promised to share with their allies if the mission
was successful. Jack, knowing how much pressure General Hammond was under to acquire new technology,
hadn't put up too much of a fight against taking the mission.
Sam sighed and rested her head against the wall behind her, hearing General Hammond's words from ten
hours ago in her head.
'SG-1, you have a go. God speed.'
Jack nodded to Teal'c to take point and the large Jaffa moved through the gate, followed by Jonas and Major
Carter. Then he turned, threw a lazy salute in the General's direction and followed Carter up the ramp.
As they walked through the verdant forest on the planet Sam found herself watching the Colonel a little more
closely than was safe for her mental health. He was wearing the ubiquitous sunglasses, hiding his eyes from
view, but she could tell from the line of his jaw and the tightness of his fingers on the butt of his P-90 that he
Teal'c and Jonas were walking up ahead, the Kelownan holding up both ends of their conversation as the
Jaffa scanned their surroundings.
Sam sidled up to the Colonel. 'Everything okay, sir?'
'Everything's wonderful, Carter, why?'
'You look… tense,' Sam said, feeling embarrassed as she said it.
'Been keeping an eye on me, Major?' Jack said, turning his head slightly so he could look at her.
Sam had to fight hard not to blush. 'You just seemed tense, that's all,' she said, adding 'sir,' as an afterthought.
'Well, Carter, as you know, I'm not the Tok'ra's biggest fan. They're all double-crossing deceptive-' he
broke off, glancing at her, 'except your dad, of course.'
She smiled at him and he looked away.
When they reached the village they found it suspiciously devoid of Goa'uld. The people seemed nice
and hardworking. Very hardworking.
They allowed SG-1 to stay overnight, telling them that they would have to leave in the morning, so as
not to interrupt the harvest.
They gave SG-1 a large empty mud hut to share. As Jonas settled down to sleep, he remarked, 'For
people that work so hard, they live very poorly.'
As Teal'c opened his mouth to respond someone said, 'It is because of the tithe.'
Sam turned towards the shadow of the doorway and saw a young man standing there. She'd seen
him at the communal dinner where she'd noted he looked uneasy.
'What tithe?' Jack asked.
'The tithe we must pay to the priests,' said the young man, stepping into the light of the room. 'You
must all go.'
'We are departing in the morning,' Teal'c said.
The man shook his head. 'You must leave now, through the Chaapa-ai, the way you came. You have
caused great debate in the village, but now they are of one mind.'
'Not you?' Jack asked.
The man shook his head again. 'I do not believe the sacrifices are necessary. They took my wife.'
For a few moments no one spoke, then Sam said, 'Sacrifices?'
'Every year we give of our harvest to the priests, every month we give sacrificial victims to the priests.
They take everything and give nothing back!'
'What's your name?' Jack asked.
'Atal, what is it that the villagers are in agreement about?'
'They believe we should give you to the priests as sacrifice, in place of our own people.'
'You don't agree?'
'I don't think any body should be given to the priests, I believe the gods are gone and the sacrifices are
meaningless.' He paused, apparently listening, then said, 'You must go! The priests are coming for you!'
Outside, they could hear the sound of booted feet. Jack and Teal'c shared a look.
'Don't sound like priests to me,' Jack said, rising.
'Indeed,' Teal'c said, also getting to his feet. 'They sound like Jaffa.'
They moved out of the hut into the almost absolute darkness of the night, heading for the gate. Atal
melted into the darkness, his job done.
They made it about a hundred yards before they heard the Jaffa shouting to one another. All four of
them broke into a run.
Sam opened her eyes and looked over at the Colonel. He looked exhausted and she wondered how long
she'd been unconscious. She checked her watch, and discovered that, curiously, she'd been left with her
GDO, all the Jaffa had taken was her weapons.
Boy, these guys really are out of the loop, she thought. Her watch told her they'd been here for
twenty-eight hours, she'd been unconscious a long time.
She heard sounds outside the cells.
'Sir,' she called.
Jack's head snapped up. 'They'll take both of us this time.'
Four Jaffa walked into the dungeon, two moving to Colonel O'Neill's cell door and the other two
opening her own.
'Come with us,' one of them snapped.
'Actually, we're kinda busy here. Can you come back later?' Jack said.
One of the Jaffa slapped Sam across the face. 'Do not test my temper. If you speak out of turn
again, we will hurt her.'
Jack glared at him but said nothing. The Jaffa dragged them from their cells.