Warning; I'm rating this chapter M for descriptions of violence and coarse language.



The first thing he felt was pain. His head threatened to explode with it. He tried to move and then wished he hadn't for the few seconds before he lost consciousness.

When he became aware again, the pain was still there, maybe slightly diminished. Sunlight was hot and bright on his eyelids. He tried to open his eyes and couldn't because of the glare. The skin of his face felt burnt. What…? His thoughts would not form the rest. Where…?

Nausea welled up, jerking his mind away from the questions. He tried to breathe deeply, but it turned into a gasp. His heart slammed double-time against his ribs and every beat echoed the agony throughout his body.

"Daniel!" The third time he woke, he whispered his friend's name. He thought he shouted. "Daniel," he said again, softly. A picture formed in his mind. Daniel being hit by the blast of a staff weapon…his body thrown back…hanging in the air…rotating in slow motion…arms and legs flung outward…blood spraying…falling endlessly toward the ground… Hit by the blast…blood…falling endlessly… In his memory Jack heard his own voice screaming Daniel's name an instant before pain and darkness annihilated him, too.

Remembering caused him to groan with a different kind of pain. He lay still for a long time.

The light was changing. He could open his eyes now, and he did so, carefully. He was lying on the ground, on his side, his cheek pressed against grass. An arm's length away was another face, sightless dark eyes staring into death. He recoiled instinctively, then stared. Rick Barnhart. Blood in his hair and on his forehead, and dried around his open mouth. Staff wound on his neck, shoulder and chest. Burnt flesh, starting to dry.

Crap! Rick was a good man! Shit! Jack squeezed his eyes shut and felt dampness on the lashes. Shit! Shit! Shit! Where are the rest of them!?

He tried to lift his head to look around. His hands were tied behind him, and the movement sent pain knifing through his neck and shoulder. He fell back, but not before he saw another body in SGC battle gear beyond Barnhart. Blond hair, very short. Face turned away. Either Harv Willis or Will Reiner; the only blonds. Both from SG-11.

Shit! It was a trap! Mini-Me was right! I shoulda brought a whole frickin' battalion! My own fault. If I hadn't been so pissed off over the f-king promotion… Shoulda been more careful! I wasn't even seriously thinking of coming to this place 'til Hammond made his grand announcement! No excuse…my fault, my fault! At least two dead…how many more?! Where the f-k is Daniel!

Rage and fear gave him strength, and he heaved himself up into a sitting position, ignoring the pain that clutched at him.

A clearing in evergreen woods. Sunshine. A group of natives—and JAFFA a little ways off! What the hell are JAFFA doing here? Whose are they? And four more bodies…four more! Ted Markus. Leo Anderson. Faces of the others turned away… Not Daniel. Here was not where Daniel went down.

A shout from the group; they had seen him. And then they were running toward him. The young man Jhozek reached him first—his features now twisted into sneering, harsh lines, the tattoo stark against his skin. He raised the zat in his hand, aimed it at Jack's head.