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Fire of the Gods
SG-1 was examining the small building where they had located nothing more than a podium that held a computer, on which they'd found very little information. At least, not about the actual location of the weapon. There was no doubt that the weapon was on the planet, or at least had been at some point in time.
Casey was standing beside her father, the two of them training their flashlights on the cracked wall, searching for any signs of hieroglyphs or cuneiform, anything that might aid in their search. "Dad, why did you come on this mission? You saw the MALP images. You knew that there weren't any recognizable ruins. So, why?" she asked softly.
Aaron smiled. He had known his daughter for such a short amount of time. Five years. Yet he knew her well enough to know that she never asked a such a question if she didn't already suspect what the answer was. "Perhaps you should tell me," he replied just as softly.
"This weapon can only be used by an Ancient, right?"
His smile widened. "Actually, there is only one man who can operate it."
"The Chosen. He has not been the first to carry such a title, or such a burden."
"So, that leads me back to my original question. Why do you have to be here?"
"The truth? I don't know. Only that it seemed…very important…that I be with you. Not Daniel. Not SG-1. You."
She stopped, turned to look at her father. Her heart began to hammer against her ribs. "Oh, goddess, I'm going to lose him, aren't I?" she whispered hoarsely. That dark fear began to stir, squirming and stretching, ready to wrap itself completely around her heart, her mind - forever.
Aaron looked at his daughter. "I do not know, Casey. I don't have the gift of sight. I leave that to your mother and you."
'Daniel?' She fought to keep the tremor from her voice…struggled to hide the fear that gripped her heart and soul. She had to look, had to know…warn him…no, she'd do a search! Find a way to make him leave! To hell with this planet, and the supposed weapon! To hell with the Goa'uld! To hell with the Beings that had made him The Chosen! To hell with the entire freaking universe! She wouldn't risk him. Because she couldn't live without him.
'Case, what's wrong?'
Damn it! She'd panicked, blurted out what her heart, her soul screamed at her, and now he suspected. She could tell by the way he approached her, the way he tried to 'look' as he entered her mind. 'Nothing, my Heart. I just need to do a search.'
Daniel glanced across the room to where his wife stood. Something was wrong. He could sense it. She had her back to him, he couldn't see her face. His long legs made quick work of the small building, putting him at her side in just a few steps. "Angel?"
She ducked her head, blinked furiously trying to rid her eyes of the tears that already burned them. "I…uh…just need to do a quick search. See if that…being is out there," she said, the lie falling easily from her lips.
He cupped her chin in his hand, brought her head up, waited patiently for her green eyes to finally meet his. "Talk to me, Case."
Looking into those incredible blue eyes nearly broke her resolve. Just a quick glance around, then she would announce that they had to leave. "I…please…I…we have…we need to know," she whispered, once again revealing more than she realized to the man standing in front of her. Before he could respond, she closed her eyes, clung tightly to him, and reached out, looking, listening. Nearly sagged with relief when she found no danger around him. She pushed out a bit farther…"Oh, hell," she muttered.
Jack, Sam and Teal'c joined them. "Casey? What's up?" Jack asked.
Daniel still held her chin. "What's all this about?"
Her eyes flickered to her father for a moment, then back to the blue eyes that she loved so much. "I…I thought you were in danger. You're not. But…" her voice faded, and she shivered violently.
"But?" he encouraged softly.
"We don't have much time to find that weapon. There are six…no…seven…seven Goa'uld ships heading this way. They know…they know about the weapon, and they want to get to it before we do," she replied.
"Shit!" Jack hissed. "How close?"
She shook her head. "I'm not sure. Close. We have an hour, maybe two."
Nervous glances were exchanged.
Aaron smiled. "Now I understand," he said quietly. "Casey, I needed to come on this mission for you, to help you." He turned to his son-in-law. "Hold very tightly to her."
Daniel nodded, mentally adjusted his grip, physically pulled her as close to his chest as he could, his arms wrapped around her like steel bands. "I won't let go," he whispered. "I promise."
"You must take him there, Casey," Aaron said. "You can find it, and you must take him there."
If her father had told her she had to sprout wings and fly she couldn't have been more surprised. "Dad, Daniel is the one who has the 'move-me-through-space' ability," she argued.
The Ancient smiled. "Yes, he does. You have the ability to take him there…mentally. I'll be able to guide you, part of the way. The rest of the journey you will have to make on your own."
"Should they…get comfortable?" Sam asked, glancing from Aaron to Casey and back again.
"Perhaps that is a wise idea," Aaron allowed, nodding slowly. There was no telling how long they might be, and physical discomfort or fatigue would influence them, possibly hinder them as they did what they must do.
Daniel led her to one of the sturdier corners of the room, settled himself into it, his broad shoulders wedged against the adjoining walls. He pulled Casey to sit between his legs, his arms going around her, holding her close.
His embrace was warm and strong and reassuring. Once again his arms felt like bands of steel around her, holding her tightly. She leaned back against him, letting his love surround her, protect her. In his arms, nothing could hurt her, nothing could harm them. As long as she was in his arms, everything would be all right.
"I have you, Angel," he whispered, pressing his lips to the side of her head.
Aaron sat down in front of the couple. "Give me your hand," he said softly.
Casey put her fingers against her father's. "I'm ready," she said. She glanced over her shoulder at Daniel. "Are you?"
"I'm ready," he replied. He pulled his wife just a bit closer, held her just a bit tighter.
Aaron nodded, closed his eyes. It had been a long time…centuries…since he had made a journey such as this. The flicker of power long dormant filled him, became strong once again.
"Teal'c, you take that side. Sam, that way. I'll take this one," Jack said quietly, motioning with the barrel of his P90. The three friends, teammates, took up defensive stances around the three people on the floor.
"Follow me, Casey," Aaron said, as he began to move up and away from the building, and his body.
She had done this same thing dozens, hundreds of times when she 'searched'. She had never 'taken' Daniel with her before. She felt his presence, like a weight pulling ever so gently against her.
Ah, yes. Ancient. That explained the familiar feel of his mind! It had been so long, so very long, that the feeling was nearly forgotten. The two who were connected…such power! The female was aware of the ships that were approaching. Must know…just a touch…The Chosen! He was the One! Must protect The Chosen One. The female…His Chosen. Of course! Those with him…friends. They stood firm to protect them as He did what must be done. Just enough power for this. Would it make a difference in this war between the Tau'ri and the creatures known as Goa'uld? It had ended the last war, completely destroying the enemy. Would this Chosen be forced to sacrifice himself as well? Or had They learned that such sacrifices were unnecessary? The Chosen knew Them! Had spent time with the Ascended. Others watching, waiting. Approaching…yes. The Triad. See how they position themselves around him! He is of great value, then. So tired! Soon…very soon, rest. So tired…
A A A A A A
Lord Yu sent for the System Lords. An ornate vat stood in the middle of the room. The brass lid was older than all of the Goa'uld assembled; highly detailed sculptures of mature symbiotes decorated every inch of it. The vat itself was glass, and there were at least a dozen of the creatures swimming inside. The tank and lid rested on a wood and brass stand; the legs of the stand were sculpted depictions of naked human beings, on their knees, their arms stretched over their heads, appearing to support the vat. The Goa'uld remained silent as the others filed in and were seated. He stood slowly, pulled the silk sleeve of his kimono to his elbow, and reached into the vat, grabbed a symbiote. "Lord Bastet," he said, nodding at the dark haired woman.
She rose to her feet, her brown eyes dancing with excitement. It had been too long since the Ceremony of the Feast had been enjoyed. She reached into the vat…withdrew her hand, full of a screeching, flailing symbiote. She went back to her chair, but remained standing in front of it. Her spies were moving among the servants and slaves of the others, learning what they could. She would remain in this alliance only as long as it took to gain control of the Ancient Weapon. Then she would wield all of the power, and become the greatest System Lord of all.
"Lord Kali," Yu said.
The woman stood, smiled wickedly, and moved toward the vat. Her satin robe rustled as she walked. Like Bastet, she reached into the vat and pulled out a symbiote. She, too returned to her chair, but did not sit down. How like Yu to follow the old ways. It was plain to see that his sarcophagus no longer worked for him. He would be too easy to kill. Perhaps she would allow him to live…and serve her. Yes, that had a delicious sound to it. The oldest of the Goa'uld would bow to her, once she had the weapon on her ship. As would the others who stood here, no doubt plotting on their own. But it was she who would emerge victorious. Already her Jaffa waited on her ship for the order to seize the weapon.
The young man with black hair and blue eyes stood to his feet. His mind was already working on a plan to take this Ancient Weapon as soon as it was found, destroy these weaklings, and establish himself as the most powerful Goa'uld in the universe. His father had nearly achieved that goal. He would do much more than Apophis had ever dreamed. He took a symbiote from the vat, stood in front of his chair.
A much more civilized ceremony this time, the redhead thought briefly. Unlike the meeting where Anubis had been accepted back into the fold, only to betray them all again. She was still puzzled…and extremely displeased…over the disappearance of so many of her Jaffa, and in just the span of a few days. She had sent a small army of them to secure a planet whispered to have the whereabouts of the Lost City of the Ancients recorded within its walls. They had not returned. Three small scouting parties went through the Chappa'ai after them. They were not heard from again. So she had sent her only al'kesh to determine what had happened. When one of the patrols who had ringed down to the planet spotted Lord Yu's Jaffa in the city of the deserted planet, they had returned and quickly to report to her. They had seen the markings for which their god sought, but had not been able to move close enough to find any other writings. She reached into the vat for a symbiote, returned to stand in front of her chair. She looked at Lord Yu from beneath her lashes. Certainly the only way that her Jaffa could have been defeated was in battle with other Jaffa. Lord Yu's Jaffa were the only ones to have been on that planet. She would bide her time. Then she would take the weapon, and defeat this old one, and all of the others.
The dark-skinned man approached the vat with regal disdain for those around him. He plunged his muscular arm into the vat, seeking for the symbiote that chose to hide at the bottom, aware of what was about to take place. For centuries he had endured the humiliation of being considered nothing more than a 'minor' System Lord, confined within the borders of a small sector of space, never able to build up a large enough army, a big enough fleet to defeat the others around him. His spies informed him that even the Tau'ri considered him so little a threat that they didn't even send scouts to investigate his holdings. Soon the weapon long whispered about would be his. He would rid himself of those who had for so long held him down. He would drive the Tau'ri to their knees. His name would be hailed throughout the universe, and all would worship him. He stood in front of his chair; legs spread wide, shoulders back, his dark eyes flashing with arrogance.
Haughty brown eyes looked down the narrow nose at those around him. For too long he had found himself bending knee to other System Lords. Anubis had been defeated, freeing him from that arrangement. Never again. These pathetic examples of Goa'uld supremacy would bow to him, once the weapon was in his possession. Those who vowed to serve him, would live, so long as it benefited him. Those who didn't…he had learned well from Anubis. Death would come slowly, painfully to those who opposed him. Like Olokun, he reached for the bottom of the tank, seeking a Goa'uld with true intelligence. He returned to his chair, his stance mirroring Lord Olokun's.
The System Lords faced one another in a circle, lifted the screeching, struggling creatures in their hands high above their heads. Then ripped them in half, and began devouring them. The only sound in the room was that of flesh being ripped apart.
A A A A A A
Never before had she moved through solid rock. She followed her father, straining to keep up with him, Daniel's arms around her waist as they moved.
"I can go no farther, Daughter," Aaron said, stopping and looking over his shoulder at her. "Reach out, Casey, feel the power, focus on it."
She closed her eyes, stretched one slender hand out in front of her. There! It wasn't as strong as she thought it would be. In fact…"There isn't much power left."
"I know," Aaron replied. "With Daniel, and you, there will be enough. I will be waiting for you, my darling daughter." He faded from view.
"Now what?" Daniel asked.
"Now you hold on, and hope I don't take a wrong turn, and we wind up in Kookamunga, or some other such place."
Daniel chuckled. "You never were very good at reading maps."
"Ha ha. It's this way," she replied. She began moving forward again, searching for that place that she could only feel. She gave a sigh of relief when she led him into a brightly lit room.
The subterranean room was very deep beneath the surface of the planet. It was small, each wall covered completely, top to bottom, with cuneiform. And hot. Very hot. They were near the molten core of the planet.
'It's amazing!' Daniel exclaimed, looking around. Holding firmly to Casey's hand, he moved from one wall to the next, practically dragging her along.
"What is that?" she asked, pointing to a cylindrical glass chamber in the middle of the room. A small control console stood off to one side of it.
"That, I'm guessing, is the weapon."
"Oh no. Not only that, oh hell no! You are not getting into that thing! The last time you stepped into something that looked like that, you went Dell on me! Not happening! I won't let you! I don't give a damn about the Goa'uld, or the Ancients, or their damned weapons! I can't lose you! I won't lose you!" She was nearly hysterical, tears falling onto her cheeks, her body trembling.
He wrapped his hands around her face, kissed her gently. "Shh…easy, Angel, take it easy. Your dad said it was going to take both of us to use this thing. You're not going to lose me, Angel. I'm not going to lose you. We're going to figure this out. Then we're going to take out those ships. Together."
"And then we're going to go home, have dinner with our children, read a story to them, tuck them in…and then you and I are going to make love all night."
She smiled. "I'll hold you to that."
He returned her smile, kissed her again. "Okay, let's get started. How much time do we have?"
She reached out, searched the sky above the planet. "Not very much, they're very close. Like I said before, an hour, two at the most. I suggest we try to do this in an hour."
With a nod, Daniel began reading the text on the walls. "This weapon was built to protect the Ancients, and those they protected, from a great threat many millennia ago," he said, his fingers moving over the cuneiform. "I'm thinking the guys with those big black space ships."
"Okay. Just how did a weapon here take care of an entire fleet halfway across the galaxy?"
"I have no idea. But it did. According to this, it was the most powerful weapon ever constructed."
"Okay, I'll believe it. But it's not very powerful now."
He shrugged. "I'm guessing that there's enough to take out that Goa'uld fleet."
Casey wrapped her arms around his waist, laid her head against the back of his shoulder. "What we need, my gorgeous hunk of an archaeologist, is the instruction manual to this thing."
"I'm looking," he replied. He couldn't help but lean back a little. Her body was soft and warm and her sweet scent filled the room. He scanned quickly, they had little time. If the Goa'uld were arriving here, then they knew that the Ancient weapon was here. "Casey, we're pretty deep underground, aren't we?"
She shrugged. "Yeah, a few miles I'd say. Why?"
"Do you think it's possible for the Goa'uld to find this…room…from space, ring down here, and figure out the weapon?"
"I don't know," she replied. "But they can blow that building to dust, and that's where we are, with our friends."
"Good point." He continued to run his finger along the cuneiform as he read, wished that Casey could read Ancient as well.
Jack shifted on his feet. "How long will this take?" he asked Aaron, who sat staring at his daughter and Daniel, knowing that they were searching for the means to operate the weapon.
"I don't know, Jack," the Ancient replied. "Hopefully it won't take long."
"Yeah, hopefully," the soldier muttered.
Sam and Teal'c exchanged worried glances. All of them were vulnerable in this building. And they had no doubt that the Goa'uld in the approaching fleet would target the one and only building standing on the planet, especially when they realized that it was occupied.
"Come on, Danny, figure it out," Jack whispered.
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