Hello and welcome. This is the beginning of a new saga in this little universe, one that sees the beginning of a major, all-out war in the galaxy that Olivia, Sam and SG-1 wind up getting caught up in. Before we begin, let me get this out of the way:
Olivia Benson and the Special Victims Unit characters were created by and owned by Dick Wolf. Samantha Carter and the Stargate universe is owned by MGM. I am not making any money off of this story. It was written strictly for fun.
This story features characters from Stargate: SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: Universe. The 'ships are as follows: Jack/Sam, Olivia/Daniel.
Stargate: SVU 4
Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter was momentarily taken aback by the beauty that she saw before her. She had been hiking up a narrow trail through the dense woods with the others, escorted by their Rumai guides. They had spent the night in the main camp as honored guests, and at the formal soiree last night, the High Komangi, the leader of the Rumon tribes here on PJK-282, had promised SG-1 something special in the morning. And, judging from the sight that Sam beheld now, it was clear that the High Komangi had certainly delivered.
The open field before them, located at the base of the Sacred Mountain, was adorned with large white sails, attached to tall wooden poles secured into the ground, that swayed and fluttered in the breeze. They were largely featureless at first, until a particularly strong wind blew, and Sam's breath was taken away when she saw that the collection of formless white cloth had all turned into angelic figures, whose outspread wings glowed in the early morning light.
"Holy Hannah," Sam said, a smile on her face. She instinctively turned to see what Jack thought of this beautiful sight…until she realized with a slight frown that he wasn't even here. Her commanding officer and lover was back home on earth, running the SGC. This was only her second mission as the leader of SG-1, her first one off world, and not having Jack around still took some getting used to.
Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, her second in command, walked to her right side and stopped to marvel at the flowing angelic figures. "Hot damn," he muttered, captivated, "now there's a sight you don't see everyday."
"Indeed," Teal'c said with an appreciative nod. He appeared on Sam's left. "It is a most impressive sight."
"Good Grief!" Olivia Benson exclaimed. "This is beautiful! They look like angels out there!"
"That was the intent," Daniel Jackson said, as he gave the cloth sails a thoughtful gaze. "And I think they're supposed to represent us."
"Really?" Sam asked, surprised. "What makes you say that?"
Daniel just pointed at the collection of sails that made up the group of angelic figures on the field. "Count them. They're the exact same number as the personnel in SG-1. They're us."
Sam glanced back and counted the individual angels. There were seven; the same number that presently served in SG-1 these days. "You're right. It is the same number."
But Cam, who just shook his head, wasn't convinced. "You're stretching it a bit, aren't you, Doctor Jackson?"
"These were all added very recently," First Lieutenant Grace Satterfield pointed out. "See the diggings around the posts of the wooden sails? The earth still looks freshly disturbed."
"Good eye, Grace," Daniel said with a smile. "Yeah, that's another clue which tells me that these guys are supposed to represent us. Remember that the Rumai express themselves visually, through totems and various forms of artwork. What this tells me is that they see us as being their angels, their saviors."
"Well, well," Cam said with a nod. "That's mighty kind of them. But why? I mean, what do they think we've saved them from?"
They all grew silent when the High Komangi suddenly stepped out in front of the sails and waved his arms with a dramatic flourish. "To our friends, the warrior angels who defeated the Sons Of Darkness in battle, we honor you and thank you!"
A group of Rumai singers off to the side began singing in a heavenly choir that, together with the swaying, flowing angels, made for a beautiful and poignant scene. Daniel hugged Olivia as she wiped a tear from her eye.
"Oh, wow," Captain Jennifer Hailey said. She had a bashful redness in her cheeks. "This is pretty amazing…."
Sam was also taken aback by this display of affection by a group of people whom they had just met just a day ago. Yet she was also curious as to how these simple folk, who were barely out of the Bronze Age, even knew about the Sons Of Darkness, much less the battle where they were defeated that took place on a planet millions of light years away.
When she glanced at Cam, Sam saw that he was also concerned by this turn of events. "Not to put them down in any way, but they're just barely out of the cave-dwelling era, here," he asked, sotto voce. "How do they know all of this stuff?"
"Good question," she murmured. Sam strode a few steps in front of her SG-1 comrades and bowed as graciously as she could before the High Komangi. This was awkward, given the amount of gear that was clinging to her vest and green BDU. But she kept everything in place by placing her hand over her heart as she bowed. "Thank you, sir. We greatly appreciate this gesture. But may I ask, how did you come to know of this battle, and our part in it?"
The High Komangi, who was in his fifties, was the cross of a king with a medicine man within his tribe. He smiled at her from under his crown of colorful feathers. "The traders through the Chaapa'ai have told us the details of the battle," he replied. "But we knew the Sons Of Darkness were truly defeated once we saw them leave their devil's lair for good."
'Uh-oh,' Sam thought, as she glanced back and gave Teal'c a wary look. The Jaffa stood with a tighter grip on his staff weapon. "Devil's lair?" Sam urgently asked. "The Sons Of Darkness were here?"
"They lived on the Devil's Lair, Colonel Carter." The High Komangi pointed up at the heavens, at the largest of four moons that orbited the planet. It was ten times larger in size than the moon in Earth's orbit, and from what Sam could see, it appeared to have its own atmosphere. "They would swoop down from time to time and prey on our people. They would hunt us as if we were animals in the wild. But that ceased when we saw the Sons Of Darkness leave the Devil's Lair, shortly after your victory over them on the Tauri home world. These avatars are our way of thanking you for freeing us from their oppression."
"And I humbly thank you once again," Sam said, as she smiled absently. Their next move was clear. They had to check out that moon, right now. "Tell me, is there a Chaapa'ai on the Devil's Lair?"
"Whenever the Sons Of Darkness attacked us, they came down in their ships," the High Komangi said. "We can not travel to the Devil's Lair through the Chaapa'ai, and nor would we wish to."
'A hidden base, with no access through the stargate,' Sam thought, as she felt her hackles arose. 'Now I really want to see what's up there!'
But something the Komangi said had caught her attention. "Why wouldn't you want to go up there, now?" Sam asked. "If the Sons Of Darkness have deserted the place, then it must be safe…."
She stopped speaking when the High Komangi began to shake his head solemnly. "Their stronghold may be deserted, Colonel Carter, but it still reeks of evil. Several of the merchants who passed through here have tried to land there, but they speak of the base still being guarded by a legion of lesser demons that were left behind be the Sons Of Darkness. A few of the merchant ships have never even returned."
'Lesser demons?' Sam wondered. 'It could be advanced tech, a mechanized anti-intruder system, or some sort of creature left behind as a watchdog of sorts. But regardless of what this could be, we really need to check it out.'
After thanking the High Komangi and excusing herself, Sam turned to walk back to her team. When she saw Cam standing with Olivia, Sam smiled slightly at the perplexed look that Cam gave her. Not for the first time did Cam display this uneasy feeling regarding Olivia. But if Liv ever noticed his discomfort towards her, she completely ignored it.
As she walked up to Cam and Olivia, the rest of the team huddled around them. "Everybody hear that exchange?" Sam asked. "He says the Sons Of Darkness were based on the largest moon up there."
"They called it the Devil's Lair," Daniel said with a nod.
"Yeah," Olivia added. "Funny how they didn't say anything about it until now."
"Just what I was thinking," Cam said with equal suspicion. "You'd think they'd mention something a lot sooner about having the Sons Of Darkness breathing right down their necks."
"Oh, I wouldn't be so suspicious of the Rumai," Daniel said. "After all, the Sons Of Darkness are long gone, now. And since they're no longer a threat, the Rumai, being a simple people, probably no longer think about them. They've got better things to worry about now, like food gathering and such."
"Besides," Grace interjected, "maybe the Rumai thought it would spoil this surprise if they told us about the Sons of Darkness base last night."
Daniel gestured at her. "Exactly. We're dealing with a completely innocent-minded group of people, here."
"Indeed," Teal'c said in agreement. "I do not believe the Rumai are a threat, either, Colonel Carter."
"But we should really investigate that moon," Sam told them.
"Agreed, Colonel," Cam replied. "It's worth checking out."
"Could be some nice alien tech left behind," Jennifer said. "Just waiting for us to get our mitts on them!"
Sam nodded. "Yes, about that. The Komangi also said that the Sons Of Darkness left behind what he called 'lesser demons' to guard the place."
"Oh, great, we can never just walk in and look around, can we?" Olivia said, annoyed. A few strands of Liv's dark brown hair stuck out in a stylish manner from under the green cap that she wore. "There always has to be this Indiana Jones-type of trap just waiting for us. Never friggin easy…."
"But, Liv, that's what always makes it so much fun," Daniel lightly told her.
Teal'c cocked an eyebrow in consternation at that remark. "Speak for yourself, Daniel Jackson."
"But if they left something to guard a supposedly deserted base," Sam started.
"Then there might really be something worthwhile left behind," Jennifer finished for her, a look of eagerness in her eyes.
"Or the Sons Of Darkness are planning on coming back," Cam countered grimly. "In which case, I really wouldn't mind meeting them. I'm still stewing over what these bastards did to Earth, and would be very happy to send more of those sons of bitches straight to hell."
Sam nodded solemnly. She knew full well what he meant. Although they had resoundingly defeated the Sons Of Darkness, along with their leader, Lord Belial, in battle in the Antarctic, they were all still living with the horrors of the aftermath of their attempted invasion of Earth, which left millions dead and most of the major cities around the world as devastated wastelands.
Since the stargate program was now outed, the Prometheus openly lent a hand with search and rescue operations all over the world. Sam had worked on many of these missions of mercy, as a part of SG-1, and seeing the result of the brutality of the Sons Of Darkness firsthand was heartbreaking for her to witness. Samantha Carter had always prided herself on being a cool-headed woman, yet the sheer amount of suffering that she saw in the blasted ruins of what was once Beijing was enough to shatter her professional reserve. The anguish had been so much to take that when she found Olivia crying in front of the burnt-out shell of what was once a children's nursery, all Sam could do was grab Olivia and hold her. Sam and Olivia had just stood there, tightly hugging each other while they both bawled their eyes out.
And then, as if the horrors committed by the Sons Of Darkness weren't enough, with China largely out of the picture as a superpower, the North Koreans attacked South Korea. All operations through the gate were suspended for the last two months as the Prometheus, along with whatever other resources the SGC could spare, helped the regular UN-allied militaries as they sought to bring that brief but vicious war to an end. SG-1 wasn't as involved in the Second Korean War as Sam would have liked to have been, due to the fact that General Hammond and the Joint Chiefs Of Staff considered them too valuable a resource to use. And so Sam and the others could only watch in dismay from the sidelines as North Korea was quickly reduced to radioactive rubble, which was the last thing the world needed to happen. Yet Sam still blamed the Sons Of Darkness for everything; she more than understood the bitter anger that many people still held towards them.
'But as much as I agree with Cam about wiping out every last one of the Sons Of Darkness, if they are still active, then we need to find out what they're up to,' Sam realized. 'The best revenge would be to stop whatever new plan they have now right in its tracks.'
"I share your feelings, Cam," Sam said, "but if we encounter any of them up there, we'll need to take them prisoner. Only way to find out what they're up to, if anything, is to interrogate them."
He nodded in understanding. "You got it."
"So what's the gate address?" Olivia asked. She then turned to Daniel and muttered, "I can't believe we're actually going to a place called the Devil's Lair."
Sam let out a half-hearted chuckle. "Yeah, well…there's the rub: there isn't a gate address. No gate up there."
"No gate?" Cam asked. "Damn, that's inconvenient…."
"I'll contact the SGC, and see what we can do," Sam said. "We may have to go home and come back here in one of the Teltac ships."
"If given the choice, Colonel, I'd prefer coming back in an Alkesh," Cam said. "It has more firepower, which we might need if we ran across anything nasty."
Sam quickly thought it over. "But an Alkesh is also much bigger, and might draw more attention than a Teltac. Besides, approaching the moon in a smaller ship will give us a good tactical advantage, anyway."
"We can easily see trouble from a mile away in a teltac," Jennifer pointed out. "But they won't be able to see us. The Teltac ships are equipped with a cloak."
Sam nodded at her. "Precisely, Captain. But let's call home, first, and see what Jack has to say about all of this. You care to dial the gate for us, Hailey?"
Jennifer smiled. "My pleasure, Colonel."
As the petite woman ran to dial the gate, Olivia grinned at Sam and said, "Jack, huh? It must be nice to be good friends with the guy in charge."
"It's always good to have friends in high places," Daniel added with a grin.
Sam felt her face go red at the verbal slip she'd inadvertently let loose. Only Olivia could trip her up like this, and she loved the woman all the more for it like a sister. "I meant Brigadier General O'Neill, all right?" she said with mock-indignation. "You happy now…huh?"
"You know me, Sam, I'm always ecstatic," Olivia said, as she gave Sam a wink. Then she did a double take at the two Lieutenant Colonels who stood before her. "Hey, look Daniel: it's Sam and Cam! Cam and Sam! If we get somebody on the team named Tam, then it will be Sam, Cam and…."
Grace could just barely contain her laughter as Daniel took Olivia by the hand and gently pulled her away from them. "All right…ok, honey," he said. "Let's leave the nice colonels alone to plan their next move, now, shall we?"
"What? Too much?" Olivia asked as they walked away with a still-giggling Grace trialing behind them. "You know you always can tell me, Daniel…."
Sam, who was also chuckling at Olivia's antics, immediately ceased when she glanced at Cam, who stood with a disapproving look on his face.
"Begging your pardon, Colonel, but may I ask why is that woman's on the team again?" he asked her. "With her attitude, I see no reason why she should even be here."
Sam glanced up at Teal'c, who suddenly loomed over Cam with a dour look on his face.
"One could say the same about you, Colonel Mitchell," the Jaffa said in a dangerous tone, just before turning his back on Cam and walking away.
"Ok, now it's official," Cam said, as he bleakly watched Teal storm away from him, "he really hates me!"
"Actually, knowing Teal'c, the fact that he's talking to you at all is a good sign," Sam said, half-jokingly. When Cam just shook his head in response, she placed a hand on his shoulder. Sam knew it couldn't have been easy for him to join an already established team like this. "Buck up, Colonel Mitchell, this is only your first mission through the gate."
"I know I pushed to join this team, sir, and it's not that I'm not grateful to be here," he said, as they started walking towards the gate. "I am. Very much so. But it's a little much to get used to at times. For one thing, I'm really not used to members of a military unit speaking up so casually like everybody does here."
"Bear in mind that Olivia, Daniel and Teal'c are not in the military," Sam reminded him. "They're not bound by the same protocols that we are. And, to answer your earlier question, Olivia is on this team because she's earned the right to be; just like you, me, and everybody else."
"And she does have the ancient gene," Cam conceded. "That makes her a valuable asset."
"But even before we discovered that fact, Olivia had proven herself many times, including saving my life," Sam told him.
Cam nodded. "I apologize if I was out of line, Colonel Carter."
Sam just shook her head. "I don't want your apology, Cam. I just want you to relax. And you can start by calling me Sam from now on."
"Sam? Really?" He gave her a suspicious look. "But we are military, and bound by those very same protocols that you've mentioned."
"But we're with the SGC, and you just have to roll with it, you know?"
"Roll with it?" Cam said with a grin. "I like that!"
Sam returned the grin. "General O'Neill told me that one time. I've since found that it's a pretty apt description of life in the SGC. We deal with some pretty wild stuff on a daily basis, and this free-wheeling style you see within the team is really the best way of dealing with all of it."
When they arrived at the gate, Sam was pleased to see that Hailey already had it activated and was speaking to the SGC through the MALP that was parked by the side. "Here's Colonel Carter now, sir," she said into the screen, as Sam walked up to her. "General O'Neill for you, Colonel."
"Thanks, Jennifer." Sam smiled at the familiar face who peered at her from several billion miles away on the MALP screen. "Hello, General."
"Colonel," Jack said with a slight wave. "How are things with the Rummies?"
Sam momentarily rolled her eyes upwards as she said, "Um, sir, they're called the Rumai."
Jack just shrugged easily. "Right. Whatever. So how are things going?"
As Sam began her report, which included the discovery of the abandoned Sons Of Darkness base, she inwardly took great comfort in the fact that, no matter how much change there may be, some things, such as her beloved Jack, always remained the same.
"Ok," Jacob Carter said with a weary sigh, "we're finally here. So let's see what we can see."
The vast, imposing space station that stretched out before him didn't even exist just a week ago. It was quickly constructed under the orders and watchful eye of Her Lord Empress Neith, the supreme ruler of the Netian Empire, just for this special meeting between her and the Goa'uld system lords.
After several months of intensive, all-out warfare, where the Goa'uld system lords saw their fortunes slowly decline, thanks to the might of Neith's war machine, under the guidance of her uncanny tactical skills, the surviving system lords had agreed to a meeting with Her Lord Empress in neutral space. When they couldn't agree on whose spaceship the meeting would take place on, Neith arranged to have this space station built from scratch. It was essentially a large, solid dome with docking ports for the various spaceships of the dignitaries.
The Tok'ra did its level best to try and get a spy to infiltrate the meeting, but the security was just too strict. Every person aboard the station was accounted for by the Imperial Jaffa guards commanded by To'mar, Neith's First Prime. So the Tok'ra went to the SGC for help, and they were presented with the Dragonfly.
The Dragonfly was a remote controlled device that was armed with a camera and microphone, so that it could collect both images and sound. It was just about the same size and shape as a real dragonfly, with wings that enabled it to fly around much like how the actual insect did. The Tok'ra managed to install several of these SGC devices on various cargo crates that were earmarked for the construction of the station.
Jacob checked the readings on the console before him, hoping that at least one of the Dragonflies had survived the trip to the station unharmed. There was a very good chance that this would be a massive failure, that all of the Dragonflies had been either discovered or destroyed.
'But hope springs enternal, right?' Jacob thought, as he switched on the status screen. He checked the readings, just as his daughter, Samantha, had taught him. Jacob was relieved to see that at least three of the twelve Dragonflies were still operational.
He chose one, and turned it on. Jacob was pleased to see that he had a view of what looked like one of the docking bays of the space station. He engaged the remote comtroller, which had a joystick and additional directional buttons for the camera.
The Dragonfly took off from its perch on the cargo container and zoomed around the docking bay. Jacob smiled, satisfied at how he was able to handle the Dragonfly with such ease. Then his smile vanished when he accidentally flew the Dragonfly right into a wall. The viewer and sound both cut out as the console now registered the Dragonfly as being no longer operational. "Drat!"
'Superb work, Jacob,' a gentle voice spoke from within his head. The sarcasm within the words of his 2000 year old symbiote was all too apparent. 'Just an amazing job….'
"Quiet, Selmak," Jacob grumbled, as he quickly started up another Dragonfly.
'If you destroy the remaining two,' Selmak said, 'we may still get information from this meeting by calling Neith. If it goes well for her, as I suspect it will, she may be agreeable to an interview.'
Jacob just shook his head in frustration as he launched the second Dragonfly. "You know, it's bad enough I have to put up with your snarky remarks, but…."
'What is 'snarky'?' Selmak wanted to know.
"It's what you are," Jacob told him. "Now be quiet and let me concentrate."
He got the second Dragonfly hovering in the air in the docking bay. But he realized that all of the doors were closed. "Damn it. I'm locked in here…."
'Ventilation shaft,' Selmak said.
Jacob frowned. "What about them?"
'The Dragonfly is small enough to fly through the grate, yes?'
"Oh, of course! Good thinking, Selmak." Jacob aimed the Dragonfly towards the first ventilation grate he saw, and once the device was inside the shaft, he consulted the Positioning System Display, which told him where the Dragonfly was within the station. After a few turns, Jacon grinned when he flew the Dragonfly out of a grate and into the main conference room.
Several of the Goa'uld system lords were already there, conferring among themselves. As Jacob maneuvered the Dragonfly around the room, well above the heads of the crowd, he found a good spot to land the mechanical insect. Fromt his vantage point, Jacob could efficiently view and hear everything that went on in the room.
'I am not so snarky now,' Selmak said smugly, 'am I?'
"Oh, you're still snarky, Selmak," Jacob muttered, as he checked the status of his ship's cloak. It was still working at full power; his vessel was completely invisible…unless the Netian Ha'tak ships decided to launch a Seeker Wave.
'But let's worry about that when it happens,' Jacob thought wearily. 'One crisis at a time….'
When Jacob glanced up at the main display, he saw that the meeting was beginning. First Prime To'mar and Lord Battlemaster Ba'al slowly descended the steps of what looked like a grand stage.
Jacob tried to get a good look at who else was present. He saw three system lords, Camulus, Olokun and Amaterasu, along with their respective entourages. 'Lord Yu is not here…but then he need not be,' Jacob realized. 'Out of all the system lords, he still possessed a formidable army.'
"Ba'al!" Camulus barked with distaste. "How does it feel to be the lapdog of that bitch?"
To'mar glared hatefully at him, until Ba'al restrained the younger man with a hand on his shoulder. "Always knowing just the right thing to say at just the right time, eh, Camulus?" Ba'al said with an easy smile. "One would think you would know better than to show disrespect at a meeting such as this."
"If you expect us to bow down to Neith," Amaterasu said, "you are sadly mistaken."
"I expect you to listen to what my Lord Empress has to say, nothing more," Ba'al told them. "The fact that you three are even here means that you are at least receptive to that idea."
"Lord Yu apparently does not wish to hear what Neith has to say," Olokun sneered. "He did not even come!"
"And he shall live just long enough to regret that decision," a hushed female voice spoke.
Then Jacob finally saw her, and he had to admit, she was indeed a gorgeous woman; albeit one who was a deadly psychotic who presently held the better part of the galaxy in a tight grip of terror.
Neith slowly stepped down from the stage, clad in a clingy gold dress that showed off her shapely attributes. She wore an ancient Egyptian-style mask over her head and face, which melted away to reveal a sleek countenance that was framed by a mane of black hair. Her eyes were outlined in Egyptian-style eye shadow, and when she glanced at the system lords, Neith regarded them as if they were slugs.
"Well, Neith," Amaterasu said. "We are here. What is it that you wish to say to us?"
"Join me," Neith said, "or die."
'Not real big on speeches, is she?' Jacob thought.
'She shows as much restraint with her words as she does with her mercy,' Selmak commented.
Olokun stepped forward. "Do you wish to form an alliance with us?"
"No, I demand no less than your unconditional surrender," Neith replied. "Accept it under my terms, and you shall continue to live, serving under me as my generals."
Camulus barked out in laughter. He was joined by the others. "Are you insane, woman?" Camulus said, in-between his chortling. "We would rather die than serve under the likes of you!"
Neith just glanced at Ba'al and said, "My dear Lord Battlemaster, it would appear that your initial assumptions about these three were correct; they are nothing but impertinent dogs."
"What?" Amaterasu said, furious. "How dare you!"
"We dare, because we can, and we shall do what we please," Ba'al said firmly as he spread his arms in a grand manner. "The Netian Empire is sweeping across the entire galaxy. And if you would rather die than serve Her Lord Empress…then it shall be easily arranged."
The three of them, Neith, Ba'al and To'mar, all vanished just then, leaving a confused group of system lords, who all started shouting at each other in a panic.
"Holograms!" Jacob said, as he quickly reviewed the delayed footage of their sudden disappearance. "Neith and her boys were never really there!"
Then the space station began to rumble violently. Jacob's eyes grew wide when he saw a large build up of energy coming from within the station on his console's display screen. Something big and nasty was about to happen.
'Jacob,' Selmak said with his usual calmness, 'it might be a good idea for us to leave, now….'
"You got that right, old friend," Jacob said, as he powered up the engines and made a quick 180 turn away from the now-glowing space station. He switched off the cloak and diverted all power to the engines. Jacob had a sinking feeling that he would need them.
Just before his Teltac managed to jump into hyperspace, Jacob was startled by the brilliant flash of light, as bright as a supernova, that briefly erupted from behind them. Then the shock wave hit, and his ship was violently rattled, until he was finally able to make the jump.
"Woo, boy!" Jacob said, once they were safely traveling within the hyperspace corridor of light. "I'll say this for Neith, she sure knows how to throw a helluva party!"
'Will you now tell me what 'snarky' means?' Selmak asked.
Brigadier General Jack O'Neill listened intently to the briefing that Sam and the others gave him. He sat with SG-1 at the large table in the conference room, which was right outside his office. And while O'Neill was fascinated by the fact that SG-1 might have stumbled onto a former hideout that belonged to the Sons Of Darkness, he also felt somewhat annoyed of this feat. Because he was no longer with SG-1, O'Neill could not deal with this problem firsthand.
While O'Neill didn't regret taking the promotion to command of the SGC, he did miss being with SG-1 on a regular, everyday basis. And the fact that they've now got another big mystery to solve only served to make O'Neill feel antsy that he wasn't out there with them. Although they had killed Lord Belial and broken the back of the Sons, O'Neill always suspected there might be still be stragglers somewhere out there. And, in a situation like this, the surviving bad guys can sometimes be much worse than their big bad boss. Because the surviving Sons Of Darkness could well be plotting a devastating attack that was borne solely of vengeance and their rage.
'And a vengeful opponent with an ax to grind can be ten times more terrifying than anything we've faced so far,' O'Neill thought glumly.
"Sir?" Sam abruptly said. She gazed at him expectantly.
'Damn, it, Jack…your mind was wandering again,' he chided himself. "Sorry Colonel, just nursing some dark thoughts about having the Sons Of Darkness running around loose."
"I don't really see what the problem is," Camille Wray said. "I mean, after all, they were defeated. What harm can they do, now?"
O'Neill wearily regarded the IOA representative at Stargate Command, who sat in the chair at the head of the table right beside him. Camille Wray was a pretty, forty-something woman of Asian descent with a name that made her sound like she should be a silent film star. She had replaced Elizabeth Weir, who was now off running the newly discovered Atlantis base in another galaxy. Sending the Atlantis Expedition on its merry way was the first order of business for the SGC when regular gate operations started up again.
With the even-tempered and kind-hearted Weir gone, O'Neill had found himself dreading her replacementy. But so far, Camille Wray wasn't as bad as O'Neill had feared she might be; however, this was the first stupid thing he'd heard her say, so Wray may well turn out to be another nit-wit bureaucrat after all.
"'What harm can they do, now?'" O'Neill gently repeated the last phrase Wray had said. Then he shook his head and added, "Famous last words…."
Sam leaned forward in her seat. "Just because an enemy is seemingly down for the count doesn't make it so, Miss Wray."
"Nor should you assume they are," Mitchell chimed in. "A rattlesnake may look dead on the ground, but that don't mean I'm gonna reach down and grab it."
Sam nodded at him. "Cam's right. It's apparent that the Sons Of Darkness are still active, and may well be up to something. We can't ignore a possible dangerous situation like this."
'Cam?' O'Neill thought, suddenly miffed. 'She's calling him Cam, now? They became good friends real quick, didn't they?'
"I realize that," Wray said. "But these remaining Sons Of Darkness may just be refugees, struggling to survive. If that's the case, then we should offer them aid."
"Why?" O'Neill sharply asked. "Lord Belial wasn't offering us mercy when he surrounded Earth with a ring of ships."
"And they created plenty of refugees right here on Earth," Olivia said darkly.
"When SG-1 goes back," O'Neill told Sam, "you're to treat the area as having a potentially hostile force."
"Yes sir," she said. "And we'll seek prisoners to bring back, if any."
"Only if they deliberately surrender themselves to you, and even then, be very careful they're not packing explosives, or whatnot. But if they put up a fight, then wipe them all out, if you have to. You may well be dealing with diehard fanatics, and prisoners aren't worth the risk, Colonel. Understood?"
She nodded. "Yes, sir."
O'Neill frowned at SG-1. "Somebody remind me why you were out there among the Rummies in the first place, again?"
"The Rumai, sir," Sam quietly corrected him.
"Right." He nodded at her. "Thank you, Carter."
"Um, we thought that PJK-282 might have a lead on the Temple Of The Dove," Daniel spoke up. "Which is the location that supposedly has information on those other bad guys, the Ori."
O'Neill nodded once more as he recalled everything. Olivia's good buddy Merlin had told her the Temple Of The Dove would be the place where they could find information on this as yet unseen enemy. Of course, when she tried to contact Merlin again while sitting in the ancient chair in the artic, the sly old fox was nowhere to be seen. There was some debate among the Joint Chiefs as to whether Ms. Benson actually spoke to Merlin when she launched the glowy squids. But everyone here at the SGC believed her, and that was good enough for Hammond and the President, who both gave their blessing for SG-1 to try and seek out this temple once gate operations had resumed again after the end of the Second Korean War.
O'Neill started to say something, when the clatter of dishes interrupted him. He glanced over and saw Vala Mal Doran was helping herself to the food spread that was on the table by the wall. Clad in green BDUs, the raven-haired woman smiled shyly at them. "Sorry! Don't mind me; just getting some of these delicious bagels!"
"What are you even doing here?" O'Neill asked, irked. He glanced at the guards who stood by the stairs and gestured at Vala. "You guys mind doing your job?"
"Yes, sir; sorry sir," one of the guards sheepishly said as they raced over to Vala. She started struggling with them when they tried to take the plate of bagels out of her hands.
"No, let her keep the damn bagels," O'Neill told the guards, "just get her out of here, please."
"Thanks so much, General O'Neill. You're a real prince!" Vala called over her shoulder, as the guards each grabbed one of her arms and hoisted her out of the room. "And good luck with the Temple Of The Dove! I hear it's even harder to get into than it is to find!"
"Um, uh…Jack!" Daniel said, as he frantically gestured at Vala. "Didn't you just hear…?"
"Guards, hold on!" O'Neill called. "Bring her back."
"Oh, yes, you're right," Vala said. "I forgot the sour cream!"
Yet she was displeased when the guards escorted her right over to O'Neill, who swiveled around in his chair to face her. "What did you just say about the Temple Of The Dove?"
"That it's even harder to get into than it is to find," Vala replied, puzzled. "Why?"
"You know where it is?"
Vala laughed. "Of course I do! Don't you?"
'Ok, wait,' O'Neill thought, 'first things first….'
He turned to Sam and said. "You and SG-1 have a go. Take a Teltac back to that moon and check it out. Contact me just before you leave, Colonel."
"Yes, sir," Sam said, as she and the rest of SG-1 all got up from the table with O'Neill.
"I want to see you in my office right now," O'Neill told Vala.
"What did I do?" Vala asked, still looking confused as the guards now hauled her into O'Neill's office. "Look, if it's about the bagels, you can have them back!"
Wray gave Vala a strange look came up to O'Neill and asked, "She's not Air Force, is she?"
"No, she's just wearing BDUs until we can get her some decent clothes," O'Neill said. "She's Vala Mal Doran."
Wray suddenly nodded in understanding. "The former Goa'uld, yes, I read about her."
Vala sat sideways in a chair, munching on a bagel as they entered O'Neill's office. "These are good even without any topping! Anybody want one?"
O'Neill leaned against his desk in front of Vala while Wray stood next to him, her hands on her hips. "So you really know the location of the Temple Of The Dove?" he asked.
"Yes, I do know," Vala said, sounding peeved. "How many times are you going to ask me?"
"Where is it, then?"
"It's better if I showed you," she answered, finishing off a bagel. She held up her remaining two bagels. "You know, I think I'll save these for later. Could I have a bag for these?"
O'Neill took the bagels and tossed them onto the floor at her feet. Then he leaned forward, which caused Vala to lean back against her chair fearfully. "See, this is what I'm talking about," O'Neill said, keeping his voice calm yet firm, "I really hate your attitude. If you knew where the Temple of the Dove was, why didn't you say anything?"
"Because I didn't know you were searching for it until now," Vala said. "You know, I've kept offering my services to you, to go out with your teams, but you've continued to ignore me and shut me out of all these meetings."
"And so you decided to just crash a meeting and pretend to have information on a subject you happen to overhear?" Wray said suspiciously.
Vala just glared at her. "Who are you, again?"
"She's the woman with a good question," O'Neill said. "How do we know you're not just giving us the runaround here, Vala? SG-1 is doing some very important work, which they risk their lives for every time they step through the gate. And I'm not about to have you put them through a wild goose chase just because you're feeling bored."
Vala just stared at him as if he were insane. "Why would I want them to chase wild gooses? Look, I am sincere when I say that I want to help you. I have retained a lot of the knowledge I had as a Goa'uld, including the location of the Temple Of The Dove, and I am offering it to you!"
"Fine. Then you can show them where it is downstairs," O'Neill said. He glanced at the guards. "Take her to the gate room, and watch her closely. Make sure she doesn't touch anything. We'll be down in a second."
Just before she was escorted out of the office by the guards, Vala paused at the door and said, "You know that it might be wise to let me accompany SG-1 when they go to the Temple Of The Dove. It's a very ancient and dangerous temple, with many deadly traps. My knowledge of the layout will be of great service to them."
"One step at a time, Vala," O'Neill said. "Find the place for us, first. Then we'll see about you tagging along."
After she left with her guards, O'Neill grunted as he retrieved the bagels he'd thrown to the floor and tossed them in the wastepaper basket.
"Do you think she really knows where this temple is, General?" Wray asked.
"That's what we're about to find out," O'Neill said, as he held the door for her. "Beauty before age."
Char'el blocked the attack with a flick of his training staff, and to his surprise, his assailant had deftly dodged the glancing blow he'd given her. But she overstepped her footing, and fell back on her butt on the padded floor.
Rather than move in for the kill, as any Jaffa would do in a situation like this, Char'el instead smiled down at his lover and said, "Very good. You are improving remarkably well."
Casey Novak just stared up at him with a weary grin on her face. Barefoot, she was clad only in scant, snug-fitting exercise clothing that allowed her arms and legs to move as freely as she needed them to. "Really?" Casey asked, as she wiped sweat from her neck. "If I'm doing so good, then how come I'm sitting down here on my ass?"
"Do not fool yourself," Char'el said, as he offered her a hand in getting up. "You have improved vastly since our first training session many weeks ago."
Before Casey could reply, they were both interrupted by the alarm klaxon, which sounded throughout the vast ship that was the Hak'tyl.
"Now what?" Casey asked.
"It would appear that we are under attack," Char'el said, as they raced out of the combat sparring room together. "Let us go see what the situation is."
When they reached the peltac, Char'el was alarmed to see an Alkesh-class spaceship on the main view screen. And it did not belong to the Hak'tyl. The Alkesh was in hot pursuit of another, smaller Teltac-class vessel.
Io'tan sat in the command chair with an anxious look on her face. "Did they see us?"
"It does not appear so, ma'am," Lennox, the peltac commander replied. "The Alkesh is still on a pursuit course with the Teltac."
Char'el stepped along side of Lennox and quietly asked, "Situation?"
"We encountered a distress call, then saw the Teltac heading straight for us," Lennox said, being careful to keep his voice down. "The Alkesh appeared soon after and gave chase."
"Hak'tyl, please!" the voice of a woman pleaded over the speakers. "We are a refugee ship filled with civilians who are fleeing the Goa'uld war! We need your help! We are seeking sanctuary, a safe haven! Please, help us!"
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Casey urgently asked.
"Lennox," Io'tan called, "take us into hyperspace."
"WHAT?" Casey cried. "Are you nuts?"
Io'tan pointed at Casey. "Mind your words when speaking to me."
Casey looked as if she was about to charge the older woman in the chair when Char'el grabbed his lover firmly by the arms and held her back. "Casey, stop."
"We can't just leave those people to die!" she said hotly.
Char'el agreed with Casey. But there was a better way to approach this than to hurl insults at Io'tan. He glanced at her, bowed, and said, "Io'tan, if I may respectfully say this: It is just a lone Alkesh. We can easily dispose of it."
"Hak'tyl, they are targeting us!" the female pilot of Teltac cried. "Hak'tyl, please help…."
Her voice was cut off just as they all witnessed the Teltac ship explode upon being struck by lasers fired by the Alkesh ship.
An anguished Casey turned and buried her head in Char'el's broad chest. Char'el could only hold her helplessly. He knew they could have helped those people; they could have easily taken that Alkesh. He watched the enemy ship as it now turned and escaped into its own hyperspace portal, and a part of Char'el wanted nothing more than to hunt those civilian-killing cowards down and wipe them out.
"It no longer matters, now," Io'tan said simply. "Lennox! What are you waiting for, get us out of here!"
"What's the rush, Io'tan?" Casey said sarcastically. "There's no longer anything to run from! Or are you now afraid of your own shadow?"
"I warn you, Casey, do not overstep your bounds!" Io'tan retorted.
As Lennox called out orders to the Peltac crew to make the jump into hyperspace, Casey just shook her head and stormed out in disgust. Char'el was about to follow, until Io'tan called him.
"You would do well to instruct your lover to keep her mouth shut," Io'tan told him. "Or else I shall have her bound and muzzled in public, to show all what happens to insolent brats."
Despite the fact that he was appalled by what she had just said, Char'el simply bowed in response, then left the Peltac. Ever since Io'tan refused to allow Char'el, and the other Jaffa of the Hak'tyl, to participate in the battle for Earth, tensions between Casey and Io'tan had been strained to the breaking point. Up until now, Char'el had done his level best to try and ease the tensions, but this became hard to do when every decision Io'tan made since the battle for Earth only served to further fuel Casey's rage. And now, that last comment from Io'tan was not only insulting, but it chilled Char'el to the bone.
He found Casey angrily pacing back and forth in their quarters, still clad in her scant exercise clothes. When she saw him, she started to say something; yet she stopped. No doubt it was the look of unease in his eyes that told her something was really wrong. "What is it, Char'el?"
Char'el shut the door so that they would have privacy, then he gently told Casey what Io'tan had just told him about having her muzzled in public.
Her reaction was a lot more calmer than Char'el had expected. Casey merely took a seat in a chair and shook her head as she stared thoughtfully at the floor. Then she glanced up at him and said, "Do you see what's happening here, Char'el?"
"Only that you two need some quiet time away form each other…."
Casey shook her head as she got to her feet and stood in front of him. "No, it's gotten much worse than that, I'm afraid. Io'tan is becoming a tyrant, Char'el; one who's really no better than Neith is."
"I think you are making too much of this, Casey."
"Oh, come on, Char'el!" Casey cried. "I mean, she now wants to publicly bind and muzzle me? Why, to serve as a lesson to the rest of the people on this ship? That sounds like something Neith would do! Which makes sense, because she's just as much as killed those people aboard that Teltac!"
Char'el gently grabbed her arms. "You must calm down, my love."
"I've never been as calm as I am now," Casey replied. "And I've come to an important realization."
"Io'tan keeps making one bad decision after another, and now she wants to muzzle anybody who dares to speak out against her?" Casey shook her head. "Io'tan needs to step down as our leader, Char'el. And, if she doesn't, then we need to remove her from power."
Char'el was so taken aback that he released his grip on Casey and walked to the window. Yet the bright, flashing colors of hyperspace were of little consolation for the frenzied thoughts that ran through his head. "What you speak of has never been done, Casey."
"You mean back on Mount Tanis, with Neith," she said. "But this isn't Mount Tanis, it's the Hak'tyl, and it was supposed to be a democracy. But if democracy is threatened, it's up to the citizens to fight for it. I'm not saying she should be killed, or anything like that. She can even retain her living quarters here aboard the Hak'tyl as a private citizen. But Io'tan must be removed as leader of this ship and of its community."
"But Io'tan must be removed as leader of this ship and of its community," Casey said on the small view screen.
Io'tan paused the recording from the hidden survellance cameras that she had installed in Char'el and Casey's private quarters and sat back thoughtfully in her chair. After the blow-up on the peltac, Io'tan had retreated to her own private quarters to check up on what Casey might be saying about her, and it was a good thing that she did so.
Because Io'tan now knew that the situation with Casey was not as bad as she had thought. Instead, it was much, much worse.
'We must deal with Casey Novak,' Io'tan solemnly thought, 'and soon.'
To Be Continued...