Major Samantha Carter stumbled out of the Stargate, immediately pulled her weapon up and scanned the area. She blinked, her eyes adjusting to the abrupt change in light.
She heard a thump as the last part of the team was thrown out of the Stargate. She ignored it and kept watching the trees. Behind her, Dr. Daniel Jackson got to his feet and the wormhole fizzled closed.
"Sir?" she whispered into the sudden darkness. Without the wormhole's light, the previously blue tinted trees were now dark shadows against an even darker background. They had sent the M.A.L.P. through the day before, and the probe's telemetry had shown a dense forest with lots of places for the colonel and Teal'c to hide.
She peered through the darkness as Dr. Jackson came up behind her and looked over her shoulder. "I don't see them, do you?"
"No, they were right in front of me! They could be anywhere though. I can't see a thing in this darkness!"
She heard a voice behind her, "That's right, Major."
"Watch your back, Major." Colonel Jack O'Neill stood behind her, gun in his hands and a smirk on his face. Teal'c was beside him, the butt of his staff weapon resting on the ground, he just looked… bored. "We can only see as far as our gun lights."
"Yes sir." She nodded, recovering her composure and lifting her weapon. She flipped on the small light, illuminating the ground a few feet ahead of her.
"Okay, Teal'c, take point, Daniel, with me, Carter, on our six. Let's move." They started down a worn path that seemed to be the only way in or out of the gate's clearing, their lights sending small animals and night insects scuttling away.
The foursome trekked through the woods, all of them were on their toes, guns held tightly. The trees were packed together closely, like solid walls on both sides of the narrow path they were travelling. Roots and branches crisscrossed the path, making them stumble and trip and, more times than not, let out a quiet exclamation.
Suddenly a weird feeling came over Sam as if there was naquada in the area. It was so strong that she could almost taste it. It sent a shiver up her spine.
Naquada was a substance often used by the Goa'uld to make weapons. It was so much a part of their civilization, that it was in their blood. Sam had it in her blood because she was, for a short time, the host of Jolinar of Malkshur, a Tok'ra who had taken her body in an effort to escape from an assassin. Sam could sense when jaffa or Goa'uld were near.
She looked off to her left. The feeling passed and she chalked it up to nerves. "Carter!" O'Neill called back quietly.
She jumped, "Sir?" she said softly, shaking off her jitters. She decided not to tell him about her feeling.
"You're sure the UAV saw no signs of the Goa'uld here?" he asked.
"Yes, the UAV saw no pyramids, temples, or naquada mines." She tilted her head to the side, thinking. After they found that they couldn't see much with the M.A.L.P., they sent an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to get aerial surveys of the area, but with such dense forests it hadn't helped much either. "In fact, the UAV saw no signs of human life around the Stargate at all. Why?"
"Teal'c thought he heard something, it was probably a bird or an animal."
Sam's eyebrows shot up. Teal'c wasn't usually wrong about things like that. He was a jaffa which meant that he had a Goa'uld symbiote that gave him amplified senses in addition to strength and speed.
She was suddenly more alert than ever. Jittery and nervous, she strained her ears and eyes, trying to see or hear an unseen enemy that, though all of her information told her couldn't be there, her gut said was.
"Why have we come to this planet anyway? I thought you said that there were no people here?" It was the colonel again.
Sam shook her head and opened her mouth to answer, but Daniel beat her to it. "Well, no, the UAV didn't pick up any signs of human life around the Stargate, but that doesn't mean that there isn't any human life here. I mean, half of the planet is covered in trees. There could be underground communities, or just low buildings that don't go over the tree tops."
Sam jumped in. "And besides that, we need to take samples of the indigenous plants, soil, rocks, and look at the animal life. I mean, what if we end up finding naquada in the ground? Can you imagine?! A source of naquada untouched by the Goa'uld! That would be an amazing find!" She thought back to her previous feeling. She was still unsettled by it.
"Well, don't get your hopes up, Carter. We'll probably just find a bunch of uninteresting plants and animals," he said sarcastically.
She grinned back, her teeth flashing whitely in the dark. That didn't comfort her. A low hanging branch brushed through her short blonde hair, knocking off her cap. She bent down to retrieve it and found that the branch was tangled in her hair. "What the—." Her hand reached up to untangle the branch.
When she reached up, she touched, not a stick, but a hand. Her eyes widened in shock. She looked up and had opened her mouth to warn the others when the hand came down on her mouth and smothered her shout to a quiet whimper. She struggled against the hands that constrained her. She bit down on the hand over her mouth and kicked out, trying to get to her feet.
The jaffa began dragging her away. Finally, she bit down on the hand hard enough that she broke the skin and tasted blood. He jerked it away, clenching his teeth in anger. "Colonel!" she screamed at the top of her lungs. "Look—!" The hand came down again, muffling her cry.
The jaffa, tired of fighting with her, struggled to pull out his zat'nikatel. Sam realized what he was doing and fought even harder against him. He succeeded in getting it out and shot her.
The blue electricity danced over her body as she slumped to the ground, unconscious. The jaffa picked her up and walked into the night, Sam's inert body slung over his shoulder.
Teal'c stopped and held up his hand, signaling the group to stop. He cocked his head and listened. He thought he heard something behind them. He looked back. Daniel and Jack were giving him quizzical looks, but Sam was not there. "Where is Major Carter?"
Jack and Daniel looked around. "Daniel?" Jack asked.
"Jack?" Daniel asked back. "She was behind me and I didn't hear her go off the path or anything, maybe she just fell behind?"
"We should go back and make sure she didn't stop. If she fell behind she might have lost sight of us and stopped make sure she was still on the trail." Daniel nodded, but Teal'c raised an eyebrow.
"I do not believe Major Carter would let herself be left behind. I heard something behind us, maybe she met up a creature that is indigenous to this area and was attacked."
Jack looked back, "We should go back, especially if T heard something. She might need help." He started back down the path, Daniel and Teal'c following. "Carter? Carter! Come on! Answer!" he whispered frantically.
Soon Daniel took up the call in his quiet voice. "Sam? We're trying to find you!" They looked into the trees on the sides of the path, trying to find any sign that she wandered off of the path.
Again the party stopped, but this time it was because of O'Neill. "Did you hear that?" he whispered. They had come to a sharp bend in the path and couldn't see through the trees.
They all listened hard and heard a voice. "Colonel! Loo--!" The cry was cut off and all they heard was muffled shouts. It was Sam.
The colonel was about to rush forward when they heard the zing of a zat being fired. He swore quietly and jolted toward the bend, but Daniel held him back.
"What are you doing?!" he whispered fiercely. "We have to help her!" Daniel shook his head.
Teal'c nodded. "Daniel Jackson is correct O'Neill. We will be of no help to Major Carter if we too are captured."
"Right," Jack seemed to realize that there was nothing he could do and stood still. If they rushed out there to try and rescue her now, the jaffa could zat her again and that would kill her.
Daniel let go of him and he didn't move. They all stood quietly for a minute, listening to the forest, making sure that the unknown wasn't still there. They heard the sounds of someone or something pushing its way through the underbrush. After a few minutes they didn't hear anything and proceeded around the bend in the path.
Sam was nowhere to be seen. O'Neill dropped to the ground, looking for signs that she got away, but his hopes were dashed. There were scuff marks on the ground, where someone had kicked out multiple times.
Jack looked up at the other two. "Well, she put up a fight so, whoever it was, he was definitely an enemy. He had to be strong and quiet if he could get the better of Sam." Teal'c was looking at the trees on the left side of the path. "What's up, T?
Teal'c pointed to the trees and underbrush. "Her adversary went this way, presumably carrying Major Carter."
Daniel frowned. "How do you know that?"
In answer to his question, Teal'c dropped to the ground and pointed out a set of footprints. "These footprints are not Major Carter's. They are too large and deep. They are also deeper going out than they were going in, suggesting that he was carrying a considerable amount of weight."
Jack nodded in agreement. "You see right here?" He pointed to a spot near the edge of the path, it was close to the footprints Teal'c found. "The person zatted her, not the other way around, see the indentation from her body? And here's her P90. There's no way she could have recovered from a zat blast that quickly. If she had been left, she would still be laying here, out cold."
Teal'c was still looking at the footprints. "This was a jaffa." He pointed to the pattern inside the print. "He was wearing the boots that jaffa wear into battle."
"What would a jaffa want with Carter?" O'Neill asked, incredulously.
"Well, maybe he crash landed here, knows Carter's reputation as a scientist, and wants her to fix his ship. Or maybe he is a bounty hunter and wants to collect the rather high bounty that is on her head as the last host of Jolinar of Malkshur. There are many possibilities," Daniel said, looking from Jack to Teal'c, waiting for confirmation that his theory was true.
Teal'c inclined his head. "Indeed, there are many reasons why a jaffa would want to capture any of us. In fact, she may simply be bait to get all of us."
"Well, why don't we do a little recon then and see where they took her." Jack got up and brushed his hands on the sides of his pants.
Daniel looked at him incredulously. "Shouldn't we wait? You know, get some back up? You don't know how many jaffa there are!"
Jack looked at him. "That's why we're just going to have a look. To see what we're up against."
Teal'c raised an eyebrow but said nothing. He was obviously with Daniel on this one.
"Look, we don't even know for sure that it's a jaffa! Couldn't it be someone wearing their boots who wants us to think he's a one?"
Teal'c inclined his head. "It is possible."
"See?! So come on. We aren't going to launch a rescue mission yet. We're just going to look around." He started off in the direction that the jaffa took. Teal'c followed him, recognizing that he was the commanding officer on this mission. Daniel followed more reluctantly. He was radiating disapproval like carbon fourteen radiated, well, radiation, thought O'Neill.
Daniel wasn't happy that the colonel was acting so rashly. It was almost like they had switched places. Sure he was worried about Sam and wanted to find her as soon as possible, but they couldn't rescue her if they were caught by the same jaffa!
He stumbled over a tree root, grabbing the tree to help regain his balance. If they had gone back to the SGC, instead of trekking through the woods, they could have been using a UAV to find her.
They hiked for a long time, following the jaffa's surprisingly clear path through the trees. "She…is definitely…being used…as bait," Daniel panted.
Teal'c raised his eyebrow and nodded, "Indeed."
They stopped to rest. "Really? You don't say?" Jack said sarcastically. "What kind of jaffa leaves a trail this obvious? Teal'c? Is it even possible?!"
"Yes. If the jaffa was severely injured or thought he was alone he would not be as careful," Teal'c replied.
"Or if he wanted us to follow him," Daniel added in. He was sitting on the ground, his back against one of the many trees.
They were all silent for a moment, catching their breath and sipping water from their canteens. Suddenly, a soft moaning broke the quiet. They looked at each other and peered through the trees.
They were back at the Stargate! Daniel looked at Jack incredulously. "We walked all that way, just to get back to the Stargate!" he whispered fiercely. Jack nudged him and pointed at the Dial Home Device, also known as the DHD.
There were twelve jaffa surrounding it. Sam was still unconscious, slung over the shoulder of the one closest to the Stargate. Jack could tell they wanted to get her out of there as quickly as possible.
She stirred and mumbled. One of the jaffa took out his zat and pointed it at her. Jack stiffened, it was two early! If they shot her again it would kill her! Beside him, Daniel and Teal'c were on their toes, he knew that if he said the word they would be ready.
To his relief, the jaffa holding her protested. He held out his hand and said something in the goa'uld language. Jack looked at Daniel for the translation.
"He says that…that she is too valuable to kill, that the god Apophis needs her information." Daniel looked at Jack, his eyes wide. "They're going to torture her Jack."
"I know." Of course he knew, Daniel could have hit himself on the head. They obviously weren't crash landed, and what else could they need her for? Apophis wanted Jolinar's memories and all the information on the Tok'ra that she had.
Daniel watch, an icy feeling dread settling into the pit of his stomach, as Sam was sucked through the watery vortex of the Stargate.