Stargate: SVU 2
"Oh, my God," Olivia muttered, once she stepped clear of the stargate. "We're as sure as hell not in Kansas anymore.…"
"You can say that again," Sam replied, smiling.
Once she had walked through the gate, Olivia had exchanged the concrete confines of the gate room for a large, open air marketplace that was in the center of a group of massive buildings. The buildings were built of white stone, with enormous columns, that resembled the classic Greek architecture from the ancient world. All around them walked people who were clad in togas and other scant clothing. And if they were alarmed at the sight of this group of outer-worldly travelers appearing through the stargate that stood in the center of their marketplace, they did not show it.
Olivia gazed up in wonder at the massive, multi-colored planet with rings that loomed over them in the daytime sky. The rings gleamed like gold in the sunlight. "Oh, wow…."
"P4X-459 is a moon in the orbit of a gas giant," Sam told her, as they all strode through the marketplace.
Olivia pointed at the planet above them. "That one?"
"Yep, that one, Liv."
"Welcome to Ionia," Daniel said. "If you've noticed a classical Greek influence here--that's because they're transplanted Greeks, taken from Earth several millennia ago by the Goa'uld."
"Where are the Goa'uld now?" Olivia asked.
"The theory is that they had been overthrown by the Ionians several hundred years ago," Daniel responded. "But no official record exists of a Goa'uld occupation. Since that time, they've built a thriving civilization."
"Looks just like ancient Greece," Olivia marveled, "like back on earth."
"They built what they knew, drawing on their past history," Satterfield said, as she gazed around her with a smile. "God, I love this place! It's almost like visiting living history through a time machine."
"Time travel? Been there, done that," O'Neill said, sounding bored. He glanced at Daniel and held out his hands in a broad gesture. "See? So much for me jinxing us, huh, Danny boy?"
"So you say," Daniel shot back. "But that remains to be seen."
O'Neill shook his head. "We went through the gate, and we've arrived on the other side without anything bad whatsoever happening--"
"--so far," Daniel interjected, waving a finger at him.
"Did it ever occur to you, Daniel, that you're the one who jinxes us with that persistent pessimism of yours?" O'Neill asked, annoyed.
"It's not pessimism, Jack, it's called being realistic."
"Hey, how come the Goa'uld never returned?" Olivia asked.
"Probably because they've been waiting until we showed up today to come back," Hailey dismally muttered.
"Oh, see? Huh?" O'Neill said, as he dramatically gestured at Hailey. "Now your cynicism has affected the kids, Daniel! And, thanks to you, Hailey probably doesn't even believe there's a Santa Claus anymore, as well!"
"Don't you mean Mini-Carter?" Satterfield said with a broad grin.
"I thought I told you to knock it off," Hailey told her--yet she was still laughing from the good-natured ribbing that went on between O'Neill and Daniel.
Teal'c abruptly ceased walking, almost causing Olivia to bump into him. "My apologies, Olivia Benson," he said, with a slight bow. Yet Olivia noted that, although he spoke to her, Teal'c's eyes were warily scanning the crowds.
Olivia did a quick once-over herself of the market shoppers, yet she could not see anything amiss.
"Something wrong?" she asked Teal'c in a whisper.
"I do not know," Teal'c replied. There was a look of consternation on his face.
"Sir!" Sam called, when she saw Olivia and Teal'c had stopped. "Wait up!"
"What is it?" O'Neill said, as he and the others joined Teal'c and Olivia.
"I was under the impression that I had seen something, O'Neill," Teal'c replied. "A sudden movement within the crowd. Yet, it appears to be nothing."
O'Neill nodded. But Olivia noted that he wasn't completely satisfied. "Ok, let's keep moving, then," O'Neill said. "Uh, Teal'c--you wanna bring up the rear? Just in case?"
Teal'c merely bowed his head in agreement. As they proceeded to the library, Olivia saw that, every so often, Teal'c would turn around and keep an eye on the crowd as he walked.
The Library Of History was a vast building on the edge of the city with a stunning view of the ocean. Olivia's breath was taken away by the beauty of the structure, inside which the interior was a vast gathering area with marble floors and a shimmering pool of shallow water. Giant mosaics covered the white tiled walls, depicting various famous people in Ionian history.
A lean, mature woman, looking to be in her sixties, came out from behind a counter with a smile on her face. When Satterfield saw her, she burst into a grin. "Hereta, it's good to see you again!"
"As it is good to see you, Lt. Satterfield," the librarian said. She was clad in a simple white toga with sandals.
"Hello," Daniel said, "you may not remember me, but I was here once with Lt. Satterfield and her team. I'm--"
"Dr. Jackson," Hereta said, smiling. "Of course I remember you, as well as Lt. Hailey. Welcome back."
After Daniel made the introductions of the rest of SG-1, he asked about information pertaining to Mount Tanis.
Hereta's response was to gesture for all of them to follow her as she began walking. "The fabled stronghold of Neith, yes. Dr. Jackson, you don't actually believe that Mount Tanis truly exists, do you? The supposed epic battle in the heavens between the goddess Neith and the god Ra was nothing more than a legend, a metaphor for the battle between good and evil that's been told by off-worlders like yourselves for generations."
"We're just trying to settle a bet, that's all," O'Neill told her.
"May you win," Hereta said, as she gestured at a bookshelf. "What you seek is on the bottom left shelf--at the very end."
Olivia was stunned to see that, instead of regular books, the shelves were filled with scrolls. When Satterfield removed what Hereta pointed out, she brought it over to a table and unrolled it.
Olivia leaned over to Sam and whispered, "I guess it would be too much to ask if these guys had internet access, huh?"
Sam shook her head as she chuckled at what Olivia said. "No, don't start this again, Liv…."
"Start what?" Olivia said with an innocent shrug. "I'm just saying…."
"Um, we've got a problem," Satterfield announced, as she gestured at the unrolled scroll on the table. "It's blank…."
Hereta scowled as she examined the scroll. "That is most unusual! This should be the scroll you require."
"Could it be misplaced on the shelf, perhaps?" Daniel suggested.
"That is highly unlikely," Hereta replied sounding insulted at the very thought. Yet she still looked through the shelf in any case. She stood up with a frown. "It is not here. Excuse me, I must check the records."
As the librarian left them, Daniel shot O'Neill an 'I-told-you-so' look. "And now, here comes the bad luck…."
O'Neill shook his head at him. "It's just a misplaced scroll, Daniel. They probably got it in the back, someplace, that's all. Lighten up."
"It's not the first time something like this has happened here," Satterfield added. "Somebody probably has it out in the reading area."
"There," O'Neill gestured at Satterfield. "See? Nothing to worry about."
"Nothing to worry about?" Daniel asked, shaking his head. "Jack, if that particular scroll is being used right now, then that means that there's somebody else here who may also be looking for the location of Mount Tanis."
O'Neill's countenance abruptly shifted to that of concern. "Oh crud…."
"Uh-oh," Olivia muttered, as she exchanged an anxious look with Sam.
Janet Fraiser nodded hello at a few people whom she knew as she briskly made her way through the corridors of Stargate Command. Janet didn't mean to be rude by running past them, but she really didn't want to miss the procedure that was about to take place in the main operating room.
She would have already been there, if it were not for a last minute medical emergency involving Sergeant Harriman. From what Sergeant Siler and others on the scene had told Janet, it appeared that Harriman had tripped and fallen down a flight of stairs while the good sergeant had been ogling one of the new female civilian technicians in the gate room. Harriman denied it, of course--but the bright shade of red that his face had turned told Janet that a shapely young woman had indeed been the cause of his accident.
Fortunately, Walter didn't suffer any permanent injuries--except the major blow to his pride, of course. Janet suspected that the poor guy would no doubt be the brunt of jokes in the gate room for quite some time to come, now.
When she entered the operating room, Janet saw General Hammond was seated behind the glass booth, speaking to a balding man in a suit with glasses. Dr. Rodney McKay, a Canadian national whose scientific genius almost gave Sam Carter's a run for her money, stood impatiently on the operating room floor.
"Sorry, Rodney," Janet said. "Got delayed by a medical emergency, which--fortunately--turned out to be nothing."
"Very well…I suppose," Rodney said, letting out a heavy sigh--which made it sound as if he bore the weight of the entire world on his shoulders. "Our patient isn't going anywhere, anyway."
Janet glanced at the frozen man in the stasis tube in the center of the room. Officially listed as one of the Disappeared--one of many of the thousands of people who had been abducted right from earth by Neith's minions--he was an Army soldier stationed in Hawaii. Because he was military, this man, Corporal George Ellis, was chosen to be the first to be awakened.
Janet understood the reasoning behind choosing Corporal Ellis--just in case something went wrong, it would be a military man taking the risk, rather than one of the many civilians who were presently trapped in stasis--but that didn't mean she liked it any better. Still, McKay was one of the best experts they had in the field of alien technology. Recalled from an extended assignment in Russia, McKay had been able to quickly decipher the basic Goa'uld programming that would safely revive a subject in the stasis tube--although he had done this while using computer simulations; this procedure they were about to attempt would be his first actual, real-life revival.
If it worked, then this process would be used on the rest of the slumbering Disappeared in what the upper brass had referred to as the Awakening Project. Janet's presence was needed so she could keep an eye on the Corporal's vital signs. A glance at the heart/lung monitors--which McKay had hooked up to the stasis tube--showed Corporal Ellis was stable, if in a very deep sleep.
"How are his vitals?" McKay asked.
"Very good," Janet replied. She glanced at her team of nurses, who stood prepared with a defibrillator, along with other life-saving equipment. "We're ready if you're ready, Rodney."
"Then, without further ado, let's get going, shall we?" McKay turned to the glass booth, which overlooked their theater of operation. "General Hammond? We're good to go, sir."
Hammond instantly ceased his heated conversation with the balding man and nodded at McKay. "Very good Doctor," he said on the intercom. "You may proceed."
"General," the balding man angrily said, his voice overheard on the intercom, "I really must insist that you--"
"Not now," Hammond curtly said. "I want to see this."
'Whoa, glad I'm not up there!' Janet thought. 'Hammond looks about ready to kill that guy--whoever he is. Wonder what they were talking about?'
Yet once McKay placed his hands on the controls of the stasis tube, Janet instantly diverted all of her attention to what was about to happen. She kept a steady eye on the Corporal's vitals as McKay manipulated the controls of the stasis tube.
"That should do it," McKay said, as he took a step back from the tube.
"Heart rate is decreasing," Janet announced, as she stared at the monitor in alarm.
"That should be normal," McKay told her. "The computer simulations also had a slight hitch in the vitals as the tube disengaged all life support. You should see a jump back to normal right about now."
Janet nodded, as she watched both of Corporal Ellis' heart and breathing rates jump up. "He's stabilizing; breathing on his own. And he's waking up."
Just then, there was a hiss as the glass partition on the front of the tube slid open, revealing the Corporal, who began coughing as he opened his eyes. He stared around him as if in a daze.
"W-What the hell is going on?" he asked.
"You're all right, Corporal Ellis," Janet assured him. "You're safe, now."
"What happened?" he asked with a stunned expression. "Where am I?"
"All will be explained in good time. But right now, just try and relax." Janet turned to her nurses. "Let's get him out of this tube, and get him prepped for a full examination, ok?"
As her nurses hustled to help the Corporal out of the stasis tube, Janet walked over to McKay, who regarded the data that flashed on a laptop computer with a critical eye.
"Great job, Rodney," Janet sincerely said.
"Well, yeah…I mean, that goes without saying," McKay muttered, as if his genius was an obvious point. "Now we just have--what? About four thousand more people to wake up?"
"Close to five thousand; collected from all over the world," Hammond said, as he and the balding man entered the operating room. "But all in good time. Superb work, Doctor McKay; Major."
"Thank you, sir," Janet replied. She thought about the several thousand souls who still slumbered in stasis tubes both here at the SGC and at Area 51. Even if they were all from the United States, getting them back home to their families would still be a delicate operation, at best. But they were dealing here with citizens who were abducted by Neith and her minions from several different countries all over the world.
Janet shuddered at the thought of dealing with the logistics of placing these people back to their homes again, and wondered how Stargate Command would deal with it without revealing the existence of the stargate to the rest of the world.
"Doctors Frasier and McKay, I'd like to introduce you to this gentleman," Hammond said, gesturing at the balding man in the suit. "Mr. Richard Woolsey, of the NID. He'll be overseeing the awakening of the Disappeared."
"How do you do?" Woolsey said with a prim nod.
'The Awakening Project is being overseen…by the NID?!' Janet thought with shock.
Hammond must have noticed her startled look, because he abruptly said, "These orders come direct from the President himself, Major."
Janet nodded in understanding. Apparently Hammond wasn't any more happier than she was about this arrangement. "I've got to admit," Janet said, "that I don't envy the task ahead of you, Mr. Woolsey."
"It's a difficult road that lies ahead of us all," Woolsey acknowledged. "One that will bring many changes to the SGC. But it will be necessary…as well as for the best."
"If one of these changes means bringing me back from Russia full time, then I'm all for it," Rodney said gleefully.
"Yes, I've been meaning to speak to you about that very subject, Doctor McKay," Woolsey said. "Are you free for lunch?"
As Woolsey and McKay strolled out the door, chatting like a pair of old friends, Hammond merely shook his head in annoyance. "Please give me the results of your examination of Corporal Ellis ASAP, Doctor."
"Yes, sir," Janet complied, as she watched him follow McKay and Woolsey into the hallway.
'It's bad enough that the NID has reared its ugly head once more,' Janet thought, as she readied herself for the medical examination of Corporal Ellis, 'but now Rodney McKay's back here on a full time basis?! Sam is gonna blow her top when she hears this!'
"The Phantom Menace is superfluous," Teal'c somberly stated. "As are the other Star Wars prequel films."
"So speaks the expert," O'Neill grandly announced.
After checking the library's reading area, and not finding the scroll, Hereta figured that it must have been taken out, but not returned to the shelf--which meant that it still had to be in the vast records storage area, a place that was considerable in its size. The pile of yet-to-be-shelved scrolls alone was formidable. To make things go faster, SG-1 had offered to search for the scroll. As the group settled down at the vast table for a long period of digging, the casual topic of conversation had switched to movies, with Teal'c holding court regarding his opinion of the three Star Wars prequel films.
"Oh c'mon," Daniel said, as he looked through a scroll, "Phantom Menace isn't that bad, Teal'c."
"Are you kidding?" Sam exclaimed in amazement. "Have you seen The Phantom Menace, Daniel? I wanted to strangle Jar Jar Binks the moment I first saw him!"
"Me-sa bomb-bad!" Hailey abruptly said, waving her hands in an exaggerated manner. Her dead-on impression of the much maligned character caused Olivia, Satterfield and Sam to all burst into laughter. Even Teal'c had a slight smile.
"They're just movies!" Daniel said, after the laughter had died down. "You guys take them way too seriously."
"You mean the Star Wars films, or movies in general?" O'Neill asked.
"I mean movies, overall," Daniel replied. "They're just frivolous entertainment that really aren't worth any serious contemplation."
"What about Casablanca," O'Neill countered. "Wouldn't you take that seriously, Daniel?"
"Or the Maltese Falcon?" Olivia added.
"Or the Wizard Of Oz?" Sam chimed in.
"Ok, so there are some classic movies," Daniel reluctantly admitted.
"Ah, see?" O'Neill said with satisfaction. "There are works of art even in the cinema."
"And what of Star Wars?" Teal'c asked, with a cocked eyebrow. "Was that not a classic film as well?"
"I thought The Empire Strikes Back was even better," Satterfield said. "It was more deeper; it just resonated with me, you know?"
Hailey sat back in her chair and wearily rubbed her face. "The Star Wars films just aren't as good as The Matrix," she said, stifling a yawn.
Teal'c just shot Hailey a glowering look--as if she had just insulted his family.
When Hailey saw this, she gave him a sheepish expression. "Oh, um, sorry, Teal'c. I guess I'm not that much of a Star Wars fan…."
After giving it some thought, Teal'c nodded his understanding at her.
When O'Neill saw Olivia rub her eyes, he said, "Maybe we should all take a break."
"I'm still good," Daniel told him. "I'd like to keep going."
"Yeah," Satterfield chimed in. "Me, too."
"How about this," O'Neill offered. "Those of us who want to take a break now, can go right ahead."
Olivia exchanged a questioning look with Sam and Hailey, who both nodded back at her.
"I guess we can use a break, sir," Sam said. "If you don't mind?"
O'Neill waved at her. "Go ahead, Carter. You can relieve us when you get back."
Sam nodded. "See you in a half hour, sir."
When Sam, Olivia and Hailey went outside, the sun looked to be at twelve noon to Olivia. It made the sprawling ocean sparkle.
"Where's a good place to eat around here?" Olivia asked.
"Your backpack," Sam told her. "There's plenty of food and water in there. It's best not to risk eating the native food. Just in case it doesn't agree with you."
"I get it. It's sort of like being a regular tourist," Olivia said, smiling. "Don't drink the water!"
The trio sat on the narrow beach and ate MREs as they watched a flotilla of ships sail across the vast expanse of water before them. Olivia marveled at the fact that she was once more on an alien planet, enjoying the hospitality of a different culture that was quite literally alien.
After they were finished eating, Hailey noted there was still some extra time left.
"Instead of going directly back to the library, let's cut through the marketplace," Sam suggested. "See what's new."
"What do we do if we want to buy something?" Olivia asked. "I don't think they take MasterCard here, do they?"
"No, we normally just window shop, Liv," Sam told her, as they walked towards the market. "We never actually buy anything."
"Stargate Command doesn't send us several million miles into outer space just to go shopping," Hailey said.
"Not even if you see a dress that you simply must have?" Olivia asked her. "You mean to tell me you never encountered that situation before?"
Hailey just gave Olivia a surprised look as she started laughing. Olivia decided right then and there that she really liked this young lieutenant.
Sam shook her head in mock disgust. "Ugh, here she goes again…."
"I'm serious!" Olivia replied. She did a double take at a figure who was clad from head to toe in a large brown cloak. The cloak was pulled over the figure's face, shrouding it in shadows. The figure, upon seeing Olivia, meekly ducked into a doorway.
Olivia thought it odd that the person--whoever it was--was all covered up, considering what a wonderfully warm day it was today. 'Wonder if he has some kind of a medical problem,' she thought. Then, turning back to her conversation, she said, "But what if you do want to buy something, what do you do?"
"We'll barter," Sam said. "But, only very rarely. I mean, Hailey's right; the SGC doesn't send us out here to buy personal stuff, Liv."
Olivia caught sight of a seller's stall that was loaded with beautiful-looking, ornate trinkets that hung from thin rope. "What are those, necklaces?"
"Made from the teeth of the ketos," the seller, a pleasant old woman, told Olivia
Olivia marveled at the expert sculpting in the Greek letters and symbols, which appeared to be made from a pure white substance. "Ketos?" Olivia asked, puzzled.
"A sea creature," Hailey told her. "A leviathan that dwells in the deep sea. People here rarely see it unless the ketos beaches itself on land when it dies."
"Therefore making these trinkets very expensive," Sam whispered in Olivia's ear. "She'll probably want your whole backpack for it."
Olivia smiled, and was about to reply--until she saw something disturbing.
The mysterious figure in the brown cloak was back. It gazed at them from across the marketplace--then the figure once more ducked into an alleyway.
'That's not good,' Olivia thought, as she slowly turned around and placed the trinket back on its shelf. 'Let's see something….'
"We should probably be heading back," Sam said, with a glance at her watch.
"Oh, look at this one!" Olivia exclaimed, as she walked to the other side of the stall and took another necklace from its display. As Olivia held it up, pretending to admire it, she stared out past the trinket, into the marketplace.
'And there he is again,' Olivia realized, when she saw the same brown cloaked figure once again. This time, he stood in the opening of another market stall directly across from them, staring at them intently.
"Um, Liv," Sam called awkwardly, "we really should--"
"Just come and see this one, Sam. It's really nice!" she said. When Sam and Hailey strode over to her, Olivia whispered, "I think we're being followed. There's a guy in a brown cloak, just across the market from us. Look right beyond where I'm holding up the necklace."
Sam smartly stepped close to Olivia and pretended to marvel at the necklace, until she nodded. "Yeah, I see him. He's looking right at us."
Hailey went to grab her P90, but Sam stopped her with a slight shake of her head. "Bad idea, Hailey. Too many people here."
"She's right," Olivia muttered, still holding up the necklace. "Don't want to start a firefight with all these civilians around."
"I can let you have that one for the right price!" the stall seller eagerly called.
"Oh, I'm sure!" Olivia sarcastically said, sotto voce.
"I need some cover to call for backup," Sam told Olivia.
"Lt. Hailey? Come over here and admire this wonderful necklace, would you?" Olivia asked.
Hailey shyly came over and stood next to Olivia while Sam ducked in back of them and keyed her radio.
"Here, just hold this for a while and pretend to admire it," Olivia told Hailey. "Do you see him? Brown cloak? Standing in the door of that stall over there?"
"Yes, Detective Benson," Hailey said, staring at the mysterious figure as she feigned an intense exmaination of the necklace. "You act like you've done this before. I mean, having been followed by people…."
"Oh, you have no idea, sweetie," Olivia said, with a weary shake of her head. "The stories I could tell you! And by the way, Lieutenant, please call me Liv."
Hailey gave her another shy smile. "In that case, Liv, call me Jenny."
Olivia smiled back at her. "Jenny it is."
Lord Battlemaster Amun, chief of the overall armies of the Netian Empire under Her Lord Empress Neith, awoke with a start.
Thanks to a lifetime of finely honed combat training, Amun quickly sat up in bed with his hand already pulling out the zat'nik'tel that he held under his pillow. He aimed it at the intruder in his bed chambers…until he saw it was Pal'tee, his peltac commander.
Pal'tee bowed humbly. "Forgive me, my Lord Battlemaster. But you ordered to be informed the moment we arrived at Kelora."
"Then by your presence here, am I to assume that we have arrived?" Amun asked, getting out of bed.
"Yes, my Lord. We are in orbit around the planet, now. And--there is something you must see. A debris field also orbits the planet, as well."
"A debris field?" Amun asked, as he got dressed. The slave girl whom he had just spent several pleasant hours with had now finally began to stir. "Natural or man-made?"
"It appears to be the remnants of a large, space-faring vessel," Pal'tee said. "I ordered more extensive scans to be made while I came here to humbly ask that you grace us with your presence on the peltac."
Amun halted when he saw the slave girl stretch out on the bed like a sated cat. She smiled broadly at him and said, "You were wonderful, Amun."
"Really?" Amun asked.
Then he walked over and kicked the woman off of the bed. She landed hard on the floor, as she stared up at him fearfully.
"And you are still a slave," Amun firmly told her. "Spending a night in my bed will never change that. Guards!"
When two Jaffa warriors emerged in the bed chambers, Amun gestured at the woman and said, "This wench has forgotten her place. Take her to the slave quarters and give her a reeducation."
"No, my Lord!" the woman cried, as the brutish Jaffa effortlessly hauled her away. "I am sorry! Please!"
Amun ignored the wench's pitiful cries as he and Pal'tee quickly strode to the peltac. All of the officers stood to attention as Amun took his place in the center seat and stared out at what the massive view screen had on display.
As Pal'tee had stated, it was the remnants of a large spaceship; its myriad of scattered parts strewn in orbit around Kelora. Worse yet, Amun recognized the pieces as being from a Goa'uld Ha'tak class vessel. It had obviously blown up--or was it destroyed?--while in orbit of the planet.
And there remained yet another question, the most important one of all.
Was it her Ha'tak ship?
They had come out here because all communication had been lost between Her Lord Empress Neith and the rest of the Netian Empire. And now it looked as if Amun had found out why they lost contact.
Neith was dead. And if that were the case, then Amun was the new ruler of the Netian Empire.
But only if he moved quickly.
"Best speed for Tanis," he ordered. "We are returning home."
Daniel scowled at his watch for the umpteenth time. "It's been thirty seven minutes, now. Is my time correct? You have the same thing, right?"
O'Neill stopped looking through his pile of scrolls in exasperation and made a big show of staring at his watch. "Yes, Daniel, it's been thirty seven minutes since they left for lunch. And, It's been five seconds since you've last mentioned the time! So they're a little late…big deal!"
"If they were in trouble, would they not have called in?" Teal'c asked.
"Exactly my point," O'Neill said, nodding.
"Unless something went wrong," Satterfield said anxiously.
O'Neill was startled when his radio squawked, and Sam's voice said, "Carter to O'Neill. Sir, come in, please."
O'Neill keyed his radio and replied. "Go, Carter."
"Sir, we're being followed by an unknown person wearing a large brown cloak. Liv just spotted him."
"Is he with you, now?" O'Neill asked.
"Yes, sir. He or she is directly across the walkway from us. We're in a Ketos trinket shop, about a block east of your location."
"Does he know you're onto him?" O'Neill asked, as he abruptly got up from the table.
"No sir, we're pretending to be shopping."
"All right, just hold tight, we're coming to you," O'Neill told her. Teal'c got up and grabbed his staff weapon. But when Daniel and Satterfield also stood up, O'Neill shook his head. "No, you two stay here and keep searching for that damn scroll. Teal'c and I got this."
"Ok," Daniel said, "oh, and Jack--"
"Yeah, I know, Daniel, something did go wrong on this trip," O'Neill said, annoyed. "You were right, ok? You don't have to rub it in!"
"Actually, uh, I was going to wish both you and Teal'c good luck," Daniel replied.
O'Neill was momentarily taken aback by that. "Oh. Ok, thanks."
"Um, but since you've mentioned it, Jack--"
"Can't talk, Danny, gotta run!" O'Neill ran out of the room, with Teal'c following close behind, before Daniel could start in again.
They hit the streets a few seconds later, running down the lane where the trinket shop was located. "Where did Carter say they were?" O'Neill asked. "A Kato gift shop? Didn't know there were Bruce Lee fans here."
"She said it was a Ketos trinket shop," Teal'c corrected. "The Ketos is a large, underwater leviathan which is--"
"Yeah…whatever," O'Neill muttered, as he abruptly slowed. He gestured with a nod to their right. "There they are."
Carter, Hailey and Olivia stood in a small shop filled with various ornaments. They feigned interest as the shop owner regaled them with a sales pitch regarding an ornate necklace that she was eager to sell them. But O'Neill could tell that all three SG-1 women were using the situation to keep an eye on the cloak-garbed figure who stood in the doorway across the street from them.
"There he is," O'Neill whispered to Teal'c, who nodded. O'Neill glanced warily around at the throngs of people who walked back and forth by their position. "Not a good place to mix it up. Too many people here."
Teal'c grew thoughtful for a moment. Then he said, "Perhaps we should try a more direct approach, O'Neill."
"You got an idea, T? Run with it. I'm on your six."
Teal'c nodded as he handed O'Neill his staff weapon to hold.
Then he walked right over to the cloaked figure, and politely said, "Pardon me…."
Once the cloaked figure turned towards him, Teal'c pulled out his zat gun and shot him.
The cloaked figure barely had time to react before his body was briefly covered with the electrical charge, and he was down, completely unconscious.
Teal'c had already pulled back the knocked out man's hood and was checking his cloak for weapons by the time O'Neill came up to him. "Straight to the point," O'Neill said, with a nod of approval. "I love it!"
Carter, Hailey and Olivia all came running over from the shop. "Wow," Olivia said, grinning, "that was cool!"
"You guys ok?" O'Neill asked.
Carter nodded, smiling. "You just saved us from a really nasty sales pitch sir."
"She was ruthless!" Hailey commented, as she cast a wide-eyed glance back at the shop owner, who was still determined to hawk her wares at them from across the way.
Teal'c picked up the unconscious man and held him in front of O'Neill. "He has no weapons, O'Neill. Only this."
Teal'c handed O'Neill a small opaque sphere. O'Neill held it up for the women to see. "A Goa'uld communication device."
"He's working for a Goa'uld," Carter said. "But which one?"
"His forehead bears no Goa'uld tattoo," O'Neill stated. "But Jaffa spies have been known to have their tattoos removed for undercover work."
"Who do you work for?" Teal'c demanded of the man.
Yet the man was still too dazed by the zat blast to even know who he was, let alone answer Teal'c's question.
"C'mon," O'Neill said. "Let's get him back to the library. We can question him there. I don't want to leave Daniel and Satterfield alone for too long."
As they started back, O'Neill keyed his radio. "Daniel, this is O'Neill. Daniel, come in."
There was a moment of silence, and then: "Uh, yeah, Jack?"
"Just letting you know that everything's ok. We're returning with Carter, Hailey, Olivia…and a new friend. Over."
"Um, sure…Jack…that's uh, just great."
O'Neill shook his head as he smiled slightly. 'Boy, you unleash Daniel in a room filled with books and he'll just lose all track of time….'
Nacre strode through the grand court of the Palace of Her High Priestess Mut on Mount Tanis, escorted by a complement of Jaffa behind him. As servants and sycophants all hurried out of their way, Nacre felt quite like the conquering hero--and as well he should, for the measures he had taken just to get to this point, having turned a bad situation into a good one, had taken some extraordinary resourcefulness on his part.
It had been two days since had inadvertently set Teal'c and the two Tauri women loose in the private chambers of Her Lord Empress Neith. Instantly realizing that he had made a mistake that was punishable by death, Nacre quickly sought an escape--not just from the private chambers of Her Lord Empress, but also from her very sight, as well. He knew that his career--his very life with her--was over, and all he could do now was to save his own skin anyway he could.
No sooner was he free of the fracas that ensued between Teal'c and Mo'at, as well as the chase between Neith and the two Tauri women, the Royal Physician scampered away and jumped into the first ring transporter he encountered. He ringed down to the planet's surface, where he had hoped to somehow hide from his former Empress' wrath. Yet that plan changed once he had witnessed the destruction of Her Lord Empress Neith's mothership in the skies above.
Not wasting any time, Nacre ran for the stargate, only to see it being guarded by a cadre of Jaffa, who all stood looking stunned. Apparently they, too, had seen the destruction of the mothership in the skies above. Nacre strode up to the Jaffa and, in his best, authoritative voice, said: "Her Lord Empress Neith has been slain! We must report this grave news to Mount Tanis at once!"
The Jaffa, instantly recognizing his authority as the Royal Physician (and thankfully not receiving word yet about his royal screw up in Neith's chambers), took him at his word and followed Nacre through the gate to their first staging area. Gating directly to Mount Tanis was not possible--thanks to a failsafe system that was set up by Neith herself. One had to gate to a specific planet and use that gate to dial up another specific world, and each world must be visited in a very rigid order, with various checkpoints along the way.
Once they finally arrived at Mount Tanis, the hot, arid desert air blasted Nacre right in the face, making him miss the cool damp forest of Kelora. Passing through the various security check points--he was, after all, the Royal Physician--Nacre moved with ease through the courtyards of the High Priestess Mut. He had heard that Mut was somewhat more agreeable than the Lord Empress had been, and hoped to curry enough favor with her to become her Royal Physician--or whatever role that Mut saw fit for him to serve. Nacre didn't get as far as he had without knowing what do to the moment the winds of power shifted direction.
Io'tan, the loyal First Maiden to the High Priestess, glared suspiciously at Nacre and his party of Jaffa as she blocked the way to Mut's receiving room. Draped in the flowing white robes of a Holy Priestess of The Netian Empire, Io'tan held up a hand and said, "What is the meaning of this incursion, Royal Physician?"
"I wish to speak with Mut, First Maiden," Nacre respectfully said. "A dire situation has arisen which requires her attention."
"Wait here," Io'tan ordered him. She opened the door and stepped inside. After a while, she reemerged and said, "You may enter, Royal Physician Nacre, but only you. Your Jaffa must remain out here."
Entering the vast receiving room, where Mut met with her various visitors, Nacre was stunned at how many people were here--mostly young priestesses who urgently spoke amongst themselves while they watched him. Nacre would love to take any one of these lovely young ladies as a bride--yet if he played his cards right, he could very well win the hand of Mut herself. And if she sought to seize control of the Empire for herself, then Nacre would really be sitting pretty!
Mut sat in a grand throne that displayed her status as the High Priestess of the Netian Empire. Clad in a more elaborate robe, with silver trimming, her long blond hair was tied behind her in a simple pony tail. Her face was bare; unlike her sister Neith, Mut did not prefer to wear a ceremonial mask. She watched Nacre with interest as he bowed respectfully before her.
"What brings the Royal Physician back to Mount Tanis?" Mut asked. "And where, pray tell, is Her Lord Empress Neith?"
"Oh, High Priestess," Nacre dramatically cried, realizing that this was his moment to shine. "It grieves me to say that Her Lord Empress Neith is dead!"
The group of young priestesses all began to chatter anxiously amongst themselves--until Io'tan commanded them all to be silent.
"It is true, High Priestess," Nacre went on, reveling at his moment in the spotlight. "For I, the Royal Physician Nacre has--"
He never got to finish, for Mut had quickly waved a signal to one of her Jaffa, who casually stepped over to Nacre and smashed him in the face with the butt of his staff weapon.
Nacre abruptly found himself lying on the floor, trying to speak through a mouthful of blood, as Mut slowly rose from her throne.
"How dare you?!" Mut angrily said, as she loomed over the dazed Nacre. Her eyes glowed fiercely down at him. "Her Lord Empress Neith is as eternal as the very cosmos! Take him to the torture chamber!"
As the Jaffa came and lifted him from the floor, Nacre tried to plead his case, but instead of words, all that came out of his mouth were broken teeth.
'This is not what I had expected to happen,' Nacre thought, as terror seized him.
The Jaffa hauled him down to the deepest, darkest dungeon within Mut's palace. Nacre's eyes grew wide in horror when he saw the various torture devices that had been arrayed around the room.
Yet just before the Jaffa were about to strap him into one of the insidious devices, Nacre heard the voice of Io'tan: "Jaffa, hol!"
The Jaffa pulled Nacre away from the torture device and held him up before Io'tan, who turned to regard a figure that stood in the shadows. When Io'tan nodded, the figure, draped in a cloak that covered it from head to toe, came forward and removed the hood.
It was Mut.
"You will tell me everything that happened," Mut told Nacre. Her unnatural eyes, distinctive only to the Goa'uld, flared brilliantly in the darkness. "I want to know how Neith died and who killed her--I want to know everything. Do you understand me, Royal Physican?"
'Man, there's never a dull moment,' Olivia thought, as she strolled back into the records storage area of the library with Jack, Teal'c, Sam, Jennifer and their prisoner. The man was now fully awake and none too happy at being SG-1's captive. Yet Teal'c, who walked behind him, kept a wary eye on the man with his staff weapon at the ready.
"Daniel, Satterfield," O'Neill called. "Hope you guys got as lucky as we did!"
As she came out from around the book shelf with the others, Olivia was startled to see both Daniel and Grace seated in chairs in the center of the room with their arms behind their backs. They both had very awkward expressions on their faces.
"Um, no Jack, we didn't get lucky," Daniel flatly replied. "In fact, you could say that our luck has pretty much made a turn for the worse…."
Olivia frowned when she realized that Daniel and Grace sat with their hands behind their backs because they had been tied like that to the chairs.
Before she could even say a word in warning, Olivia--along with the others--found herself surrounded by a group of men who all wore the same type of cloak as ther man whom they'd just captured.
The group of cloaked strangers were also armed with staff weapons, which they aimed at Olivia, Sam, Hailey, O'Neill and Teal'c. Teal'c had a disconcerted look on his face as he reluctantly lowered his own staff weapon. Olivia was stripped of her Glock and zat gun, along with everyone else within SG-1 who was still armed.
"Whoa, whoa," O'Neill said, stunned, as he held up his hands. "Who are these guys, the library police?"
"Oh, how I wish…." Daniel muttered. "But no; their boss is about to make the typical Goa'uld grand entrance right about now--just wait for it."
Just then, a sultry lean figure with a female physique emerged from behind a bookcase and regarded them all with a broad smile. She was a pretty woman with curly blond hair--yet when she spoke, her voice resonated with the possessed quality of a Goa'uld: "Why, hello again, Major Carter. It's so nice to see you again."
"Osiris," Sam said with disgust.
Olivia's eyes flared in shock when she recalled what Sam had told her about this particular Goa'uld. "Osiris? Isn't she Daniel's girlfriend?"
"Former girlfriend," Daniel amended. "And I used to date her back when she was just Sarah Gardner, not with--you know--the snake in her head…."
"Now that we all know one another," Osiris said, as she held up a ribbon device that was attached to her hand. "Why don't we all settle down and have a nice little discussion about the location of the Asgard Slayer?"
"Well," O'Neill crossly said, "this really sucks…."
To Be Continued...