TITLE: The Search
AUTHOR: Debi C
DATE: February 2001, revised April 2002
CATEGORY: Pre-Slash, Action/Adventure, Hurt/Comfort
SPOILERS: Children Of The Gods
PAIR: No actual pairing, contact w/ Daniel/other
SEASON/SEQUEL INFO: Second season
SUMMARY: On a routine expedition the Team is attacked and Captain Carter and Doctor Jackson disappear
WARNINGS: Violence, nudity, male/male contact and non-consensual sexual situations.
DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate(II) Productions, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions and Gecko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copywrite infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author. Thanks to Madeline for beta reading. The song The Last of the Mohicans is from the movie of the same name and stars Daniel Day Lewis. I think it fits this fic.
Theme from "The Last Of The Mohicans," by Clannad Lyrics
Hope is your survival
A captive path I lead
No matter where you go I will find you
If it takes a long long time
No matter where you go I will find you
If it takes a thousand years
(Mohican) Nachgochema Anetaha Anachemowagan
No matter where you go I will find you
In the place with no frontiers
No matter where you go I will find you
If it takes a thousand years
(Cherokee) Hale wú yu ga I sv Do na dio sv I Wi ja lo sv Ha le wú yu Do na dlo sv
No matter where you go I will find you
If it takes a long long time
No matter where you go I will find you
If it takes a thousand years
No matter where you go I will find you
In the place with no frontiers
No matter where you go I will find you
If it takes a thousand years
No matter where you go I will find you
THE SEARCH Chapter 1: THE CAPTURE
O'Neill slowly woke up. Something was terribly wrong. He was laying in the dirt, he hurt all over and he didn't know where he was or why he was there. It was quiet, too quiet and he had a headache. As his senses returned, he turned his head to look around.
There was the Stargate, behind him. It was nonfunctioning now, through it he could see sky and trees, but he remembered that it had brought him and his team here to a so-called uninhabited planet. Canting his head more to the right, he saw the unmoving form of Teal'c sprawled on the ground. Forcing himself to move, Jack rolled over and managed to sit upright. The large Jaffa warrior was lying on his back in an unnatural and uncomfortable looking position. His other two team members, Captain Samantha Carter and Doctor Daniel Jackson, were nowhere to be seen. The Colonel got to his hands and knees and crawled towards his remaining team-member. When he got to Teal'cs side, he checked the big man for life signs. His pulse was strong and his breathing was good. As Jack put his hand on the Jaffa's shoulder, Teal'c opened his eyes and blinked up uncomprehendingly at him.
When the big man had sat up and got oriented, he looked at his team chief. "Where are the others, O'Neill?" Obviously he wasn't going to be any help in figuring out the mystery.
"Don't know." Jack helped steady his friend in sitting up. "I woke up and it was just you and me." He rubbed his face with both hands. "Daniel and Carter were both with us, right?"
"Yes, they were with us as we came through the Chappa'i." Teal'c slowly got to his feet and reached for his staff weapon. "Some force then struck us down." He frowned at the effort of remembering as he extended a hand to his Colonel to help him get up.
"Well, where are they?" O'Neill asked frustratedly as he climbed to his feet, dusting off his fatigue uniform and picking up his automatic weapon. He walked around in a circle looking intently at the dusty, dry ground. "Can you tell anything by these tracks?"
Teal'c joined the Colonel. He knelt down and looked around, casting for sign. There were some depressions in the soft ground. "Here. Here is where Captaincarter and Danieljackson lay when we fell." He indicated some marks in the smooth dirt. "And here is where they were picked up." He continued over to a brush filled depression. "And here are their packs and weapons."
O'Neill followed the Jaffa's lead. The two men picked up the abandoned gear. "Did someone carry them off, or were they... 'beamed up' or what?
Teal'c returned to the marks on the ground fartherest away from where they had awakened. He squatted down and looked closely at the marks. "Here are footprints of soft-soled shoes. Someone carried them...to there." He indicated an area of disturbance on the ground. "A craft was used to transport them away."
O'Neill followed Teal'c to the area where all loose dirt and debris had been blown away. The ground itself appeared to have been burned. He knelt down and touched the scorched dirt markings. "I've never seen tracks anything like this." He looked up at the big warrior. "What kind of craft is it?"
"It travels on a pad of air. I do not know your name for it." Teal'c looked thoughtful. "But it leaves no tracks, only these markings at the start and the end of the journey."
O'Neill stood with his hands on his hips, looking around for nonexistent answers. "Why? Who would take them, I mean only Carter and Daniel? Why not us?"
"I cannot say. Perhaps... they did not want us." Teal'c looked around. "This is not a goa'uld transportation device O'Neill. Someone else did this." Jack looked at him. Teal'c thought a moment, then continued speaking. "They could have been taken by someone who does not know or care who they are."
"You mean they were kidnapped!" Jack was beginning to get angry. "Why?"
"Yes, O'Neill, stolen." Teal'c stood up. "There are beings that would take Danieljackson and Captaincarter for their value alone."
"Why? What 'value', what kind of value?" The Colonel looked at his remaining team member. "And so why not take us?"
Teal'c turned to look at his leader. "I am Jaffa. Traditionally we 'belong' to the false gods, the Goa'uld. And, you are older than the others, therefore less valuable a commodity."
"I'm not that old." Jack grumbled and made a face at him when he realized what the warrior meant. "Wait a minute...you mean commodity...like property...like slaves?" He looked down at the scarred ground again. "Can you track this?"
"O'Neill. I can track them, but all indications show that this would be a large well-armed party. We two would not be enough to free them." The Jaffa shook his head unhappily.
"We need help here, don't we?" O'Neill looked worriedly in the direction that the marks led until they disappeared.
Teal'c only nodded at his Colonel.
O'Neill turned towards the Stargate. He absolutely hated this feeling of helplessness; he hated not knowing where Carter and Daniel were or what was happening to them and he definitely hated leaving without them; but they would be back and would not be alone."
The Stargate opened and two figures emerged at a quick and determined pace. General Hammond left the control room and met Colonel O'Neill as they came off the ramp. "What happened? "He demanded. "Where's Doctor Jackson and Captain Carter?"
Jack O'Neill jerked his fatigue cap off his head and angrily slapped it on his leg. "I don't know. They're gone. It was a set up! Someone took them!" He looked up at his superior officer. "Request permission to take a search team and return to the planet."
"Calm down Colonel O'Neill. What exactly happened?" The General was all too familiar with this look from his second in command.
O'Neill took a deep breath. "We exited the Stargate and bam, the lights went out. When we woke up...Daniel and Carter were gone!"
"Gone where?" The general was beginning to understand O'Neill's agitation.
"That's the problem. I don't know! Someone stole them." O'Neill almost shouted. He was becoming more frustrated. "They were just gone. Someone knocked us all out and took Carter and Jackson." He looked at his Commanding Officer and friend. "I've got to go back for them!"
The General nodded, acknowledging his Second in Command's feelings. "Jack, settle down. We can't go running off half cocked here." The General raised both his hands between himself and the emotional Colonel. "Teal'c, what's your opinion?" Hammond queried.
"As O'Neill says, We were rendered unconscious by some unknown force and when we awakened our teammates were missing." He paused. "We found sign of a craft or crafts, but agreed we were too few. We fear they were 'kidnapped', possibly by slavers. The Colonel decided we needed 'backup' and I agreed." He looked down at the General. "We are most anxious to resume the search."
"Of course you are. But we still have no idea who these kidnappers are or why they've taken our people! " O'Neill just looked at his Commanding Officer with a stony eyed glare. General Hammond made his decision and glanced up at the control room personnel. "Scramble SG-6, Search and Rescue. Priority mission."
As the sounds of his people running around in efficient organization faded into the background, General Hammond gestured O'Neill and Teal'c towards the newly arrived Dr. Fraiser and her team. "Before you leave Jack, let the doctor give you quick once over." As Jack opened his mouth to protest, Hammond waved him down. "You were rendered unconscious. Let's be sure you're all right before you leave. When the Search and Rescue team is assembled you can go." He glanced at Frazier. "Doctor, please make it quick."
"Of course, Sir." The petite brunette doctor met the Colonel with curiosity written all over her face. "Where's Captain Carter and Doctor Jackson?"
The two remaining SG-1 members allowed themselves to be led to the infirmary. Once there Dr Fraiser went straight to work. "Were you knocked out physically or did you just lose consciousness?"
"We just passed out Doc." O'Neill answered quickly, pulling off his outer shirt. "Can you hurry? We need to get back there and start looking." He jumped up on the exam table and stuck out his arm in her direction.
"I know you do. Now sit still and let me take your blood pressure." She quickly stuck a thermometer in his mouth and applied the cuff to his proffered arm and timed his pulse. "High."
Jack removed the instrument from his mouth. "Ya think! C'mon Doc, I don't have time for this."
"Colonel, sit still and let me finish this and it will be a lot quicker." Fraiser put the thermometer back in his mouth. "Do you have a headache?"
"Not until I realized they were gone!" He grudgingly admitted. "Then I got a headache!"
She glanced over to the next bed where a corpsman was working with Teal'c. The Medic shrugged. "He's fine, Doctor Fraiser."
Dr, Fraiser pulled out her penlight and made a move towards O'Neill's face. He gently pushed her hand away and removed the thermometer from his mouth. "I'm fine, he's fine." Jack slid off the table and stood in front of the doctor handing her the offending instrument. "We're both fine. But Daniel and Carter aren't fine. They're missing and we're leaving." He picked up his fatigue shirt and slipped it back on over his black tee shirt. Teal'c copied his movements. The corpsman just stepped back out of Teal'cs way.
Dr Fraiser, however, stood her ground. "Do you even know where to look?" She asked worriedly.
"No. But we know where to start. Then we'll follow it to the finish!" He reached down, grasped her by the shoulders and gently moved her out of his way. "Goodbye Doc."
"Colonel O'Neill," He turned at his name. "Find them!" Her last words followed them down the hall and lingered in the air.
Hours later, O'Neill was sitting on a large rock watching SG-6 set up the camp for the night. His head ached and his heart hurt. Teal'c came up behind him with a canteen. "You must rest O'Neill." He admonished his leader.
"Damn it! Where are they?" Jack O'Neill was not tired, hungry or thirsty. He was mad, worried and frustrated. "We need to keep going." He glanced over at the other team's campsite and scowled.
"Where, O'Neill?" The warrior felt the same way but was trying to keep it in perspective. "Where shall we search tonight in the dark?" He handed the water to his leader then sat down on a rock across from him. "If we continue, the tracking would only prove to be a hazardous guess."
Jack stared down at the canteen in his hand. "Yea. But why were Carter and Daniel taken?" He looked over at Tealc'. "Why them and not us?"
The dark skinned man tilted his head a moment, thinking of the two missing scientists. He spoke slowly and quietly to his friend. "Captaincarter and Danieljackson have more things in common with each other than they do with us." He shifted his position on the rock. "They are both fair skinned, they are both light haired, they are both young and they are both 'attractive'. They would both draw attention in a crowd."
The Colonel looked at him and nodded. "Then what you are saying is that someone took 'em because they're both 'pretty'?"
"It is possible." Teal'c spoke. "I believe that we are in a part of the galaxy that is frequented by slavers who capture innocents and sell them to others for their pleasure." He shook his head. "This is not unheard of even among the system lords. Occasionally the Goa'uld uses this practice as a source of hosts."
"Well, where are these sonofabitches?" Jack stood up and started pacing. "Why can't we find them and say 'Hey, those are my two geniuses and I want 'em back. You can't have them! I need 'em to save the flaming galaxy from snakes!"
"The victims are not usually sold on the planet that they are captured on, O'Neill." He replied. "Most of the time they are removed to other worlds where they are not so likely to be recognized and claimed by their people."
"And that leaves us where, Teal'c." O'Neill turned around and threw his hands up in the air. He spun on his heel to face the Jaffa.
Teal'c could only shrug helplessly. "I don't know O'Neill. I only know that we must search quickly. Perhaps we can catch up with them before the captors reach their ship."
"A ship!" O'Neill ran his hands over his face and through his short graying hair. He looked up at the Jaffa with despair. "They have a ship? "There are millions of planets out here. Where the hell am I supposed to look for them?"
"I do not know for certain, but it is a possibility." Teal'c continued on grimly. "Our best opportunity is to find them before they leave the planet."
Jack tilted his head back and looked up at the stars. They were different from the ones at home. These weren't friendly. They were cold.
THE SEARCH Chapter II: THE JOURNEY
(phrases in //...// are in an alien language)
Daniel Jackson woke up to the rocking motion of the hard floor of their cage. As he rolled over onto his back and opened his eyes he saw Samantha Carter lying next to him. He propped himself up on one arm and touched her face. The slender blond woman was breathing easily and appeared unharmed but was unconscious. As he looked around he noticed to his dismay that they were in a cage with metal bars that was balanced on some sort of trailer. It was being towed along in tandem with several others also carrying cages with captives in them.
A low moan caught his attention and he looked back down at his teammate. He moved over next to her. "Ow, what hit me?" Sam murmured in a low voice trying to focus on Daniel.
"As near as I can remember, we had just come through the Stargate and everything went black." Jackson answered her. "Some sort of force field maybe." The young man guessed.
Sam tried to sit up and the two of them together managed it by using the bars for support. "Where's the Colonel and Teal'c?" She looked around at their surroundings.
"I don't know. I haven't seen them since I came to here." He shook his head. "But I would think that they got caught in the same thing that knocked us out."
She looked back as far along the train as she could see. "You don't think...?" She looked at her companion in fear of her thoughts.
"I think that Jack being Jack and Teal'c being and Teal'c that they probably got away." Daniel shifted so that he could lean back on the bars of their cage.
"Why are you so sure?" Sam put a hand to her aching head and peered at her companion.
"Because I have to be." The slender archeologist took his glasses off and wiped his eyes; pinching his nose with his fingers. "I have to know that they are looking for us and they're going to make a dramatic entrance and rescue us." He paused looking up at her. "Because that's what Jack does."
"OK." She sat up and scooted over next to him, she tried to smile hopefully. "I like that idea. I just hope they don't take too long."
Jackson looked around at their sparse surroundings and nodded in agreement. "Me too, Sam. Me too."
The train of cages continued across the barren landscape for several more hours. Daniel and Sam rode mostly in silence, taking comfort in their close proximity to each other. As the sun started to set on the horizon the transportation slowed and then settled down lowering itself onto the dusty ground.
"That's odd." Daniel got to his knees and crawled over to the barred wall of their cage trying to peer over the edge.
"What's odd?" Sam asked. She had been almost asleep, lulled by the motion of the vehicle but the drastic change in motion had awoken her.
Daniel tried to look down between the bars. "We're in, er on a hovercraft." He moved to a different angle to try to see more but finally sat down in disappointment of not being able to see their transport better. He looked back towards her. "No wheels."
"Are you sure?" She sat up and pushed her blond hair out of her eyes. "I hate to be dense, but what does that mean to us, exactly?"
"It means Sam, that we have been captured by an advanced race." He scooted back over to lean on the bars again next to his teammate. "I initially thought that we had been picked up by some natives of a primitive to mid level culture, but this advanced technology doesn't fit that scenario."
"Why do they have us anyway?" She didn't really expect to know but the question had to be asked. "Why us and not the Colonel and Teal'c?"
Daniel shifted to find a more comfortable position. "The closest thing I have ever seen to anything like this was in Morocco on one of my parent's digs when I was little." He answered her grimly. "When I was five or six there was this caravan that came through our camp. I remember my Mother and I hiding in the tent until they were gone. My Father said that they were slavers and that they might try to grab us for the market in Arabia." He shook his head. "I remember my Mother being very skittish for several days afterwards. I went off with one of the local kids the next day and she just about had a heart attack. It was the only spanking I ever got from my Father."
"But Daniel, we've never seen any thing of this sort before." She asked suspiciously. "Why now and why us?"
"Well, you said yourself before we left; this planet was going to be farther out from the center of the Gate hub than usual. As near as I can figure, we were taken because of our physical attributes." He counted off on his fingers. "We're the two youngest, and we're fair skinned, light haired and blue eyed. In a dark skinned society we're unusual enough to be valuable." He looked up at his friend sadly. "As slaves."
"That doesn't make me feel any better, Daniel." Carter pulled her knees up to her chin.
"I'm not going to lie to you Sam. I'm sorry." Daniel looked up at her over his glasses. "We just have to get away before we're sold or separated. Once that happens we may never see each other again."
As they sat talking two of their captors had approached their cage. They were of human type, medium height but more slender than an earth human would have been. They wore flowing robes and turban like headdresses with a veil or face covering attached. They watched the two teammates as they spoke to each other for a few minutes.
Carter leaned over and whispered to Jackson. "Can you understand what they're saying?"
The younger man was listening intently. //"It sounds sort of familiar, not Latin or Egyptian, but an Aramaic derivative."//
He listened a few more seconds, then spoke to the pair. //"Hello, can you understand me?" //
The taller of the two looked back at him with amused eyes. //"Yes, young one. I hear you."//
Daniel tried another phrase. //"My name is Daniel Jackson, we are peaceful..." // He started to introduce himself but the man raised a hand to stop him.
//"I do not care to know your name young one. It is not important, and besides you will have a new one soon." //
//"Why have you taken us?"// Jackson tried another tact.
//"Why, you are my property now. I captured you at the great circle. I found you and your woman. I will sell you at the market to make my fortune." // The man laughed at Daniel's expression. //"She is not worth so much, I think. She is too skinny and she is not so young. But you, you are very beautiful and you will bring much at the Great Tent."//
//"Where are our friends?"// Daniel asked suspiciously.
//"One belonged to the great Gods and the other was too old. He would have been hard to train and harder to sell. So we killed them and took you".// He laughed at the young man's expression. //"But you, you will be worth much to the right buyers." // Daniel's heart sunk at this news of O'Neill and Teal'c. But he needed more information.
//"We are free people."// Daniel protested. //"You cannot sell us."//
The robed leader laughed. "//You don't look free to me. You look like two slaves on their way to be sold to the highest patron."//
//"We are a mated pair!" // Daniel said. //"We cannot be separated." // He knew he was grasping at straws but they needed to stay together. It was worth a try to convince them.
//"Huumm. That is an idea. But...I think you will bring more alone." // He laughed again. //"I have many customers who will want each of you...but not together."//
The other man looked thoughtful. //"But Boss, maybe as a breeding pair they would bring much more."//
The big man laughed again. //"I can get twice more for this one alone at the Great Tent." // He indicated Jackson. //"Besides, the quicker we separate them the easier it will be for all." // He shook his head. //"They aren't worth my trouble to find a breeder to sell them too."// He waived them off as he turned on his heel and left, his associate following closely behind him.
Daniel sighed and turned back to Sam. She had been watching the exchange silently but now demanded to know what was said.
"Unfortunately, I was right about them being slavers." The young man said. "I tried to convince him that we were a mated pair to be sold together, but he didn't buy it."
Sam was touched by Daniel's attempt. "Why not?"
"He said that you were too slender and" he looked awkwardly at the floor "He thinks you're too old to bring a high price. So we're going to be separated."
She looked a little discomforted by that but then shrugged. "Well, I am over thirty."
"Sam, I got the feeling if you were over 16 you'd be too old." He looked up at her. "Sorry."
"For what?" She tried to laugh, but it sounded hollow. "For me being too old to be of much interest a slave trader?" She shook her head. "I wish I'd have been forty or fifty. Maybe then he would have left me behind with the Colonel and Teal'c."
Daniel looked up at her worriedly. "I uh, I hope you don't mind..."
"About the pair thing? Forget it. I'd rather we stayed together." Sam acknowledged its importance to them. "It would be easier for the Colonel to find us."
"Me too. But that didn't do a lot of good either." He looked up at her. "He said we're worth more separately than as a pair." Now came the hard part. "Uh, Sam. I have to tell you. He said that he killed Jack and Teal'c."
Her heart stopped for just a moment. "Do you believe him?"
Daniel shook his head. "No, I don't. I think he just said that to discourage us." He reached out to touch her shoulder. "I'll take more than someone like them to finish Jack and Teal'c."
She nodded back at his confidence. "Yea, they're too tough to be killed by this bunch of jerks."
Later that evening after a meal of some sort of boiled oat porridge, the two teammates settled down on the floor to sleep trying unsuccessfully to get comfortable. "I guess we're not getting any blankets or anything." Sam commented wistfully as she wrapped her arms around herself.
"No, I guess our comfort is not much interest to our owner." Daniel looked over at her. She was all curled up in a ball. "What's the matter? Are you cold?" He guessed.
"Yea, getting that way." She glanced over at the sun that was almost hidden, dropping behind some far away hills. "It's almost night."
"It always gets cold in the desert." Jackson looked pensive for a minute. "This reminds me of Abydos. It probably will get down into the 40's tonight. You'd better slide over closer." He moved in her direction. "We'll be warmer together.'
She shifted across the hard flooring to get next to her friend. She leaned up against his chest as they lay down together, they huddled into a spoon position and he wrapped his arms around her shoulders. "Do you snore?" She asked him teasingly.
"I don't know. Neither Sha'uri and Jack ever complained." He answered airily.
"Well, you must not, 'Cause you know the Colonel would have told you."
"Yeah, I figured as much." As they lay together, he pulled her closer as much for his own peace of mind as hers.
"Do you really think they're still alive?" Unbidden, her eyes filled with tears.
"Yes, Sam. I really do." Daniel replied confidently. He pulled her hair away from her neck and whispered in her ear. "Jack and Teal'c are both awfully hard to kill."
"That's true." She nodded to herself. "But I bet he's really mad."
Early the next morning, Daniel woke from a fitful sleep. He had been dreaming that he was back in Kousuf's tent with Sha'uri lying in his arms. But the hair that his face was nestled in was blond and smelled of shampoo, not the desert herbs his wife had used. He looked around without moving trying to determine what had happened while they had been sleeping. There was not much movement in the camp yet and he was able to study their surroundings in more detail. Sam groaned in her sleep and tried to get more comfortable on the hard surface. She shifted and cuddled closer to Daniel. He couldn't resist placing a kiss on her exposed neck.
She rolled over in his arms and sleepily looked at him. "Daniel?"
He blushed and shifted to put some distance between them. "Sorry."
"Don't be. I'm not." She responded.
"It's just we will probably be separated soon and..." He let the sentence go unfinished.
"It's okay, Daniel. Look, you're sweet and if Sha'uri and, uh, other things...hadn't happened I probably would have made a pass at you a long time ago. I care a lot about you." She looked up at him, still in his arms. "Do you think she would have liked me?" She asked thoughtfully.
He smiled at the thought of his wife. "I didn't know anyone whom she didn't like and who didn't like her." He looked away. "She was the best person I ever knew." His expression became troubled. "I didn't deserve her. I couldn't protect her from the Goa'uld and now I can't protect you from this."
She reached up and touched his cheek. "She loved you a lot, Daniel. It wasn't your fault and neither is this. Besides, I was supposed to protect you. I'm the Air Force officer here."
He shook his head. "No Sam, it doesn't matter. That's all past. But this is now and they're going to separate us soon. We've got to have a plan."
She nodded. "The important thing is for one of us to get free. We have got to get back to SGC for reinforcements." She placed her finger on his open mouth to stop him from interrupting her. "This is obviously well organized. We have to get back to the Stargate and find out what happened to the Colonel and Teal'c. Then we've got to report back to General Hammond. If they send another team in here without intelligence, this could happen again."
Daniel agreed unhappily. "But Jack said never to leave anyone behind."
"I know, but one person won't be able to stop this." She insisted. "If you can get away, go. Find the Colonel and Teal'c. If you can't find them or they can't help us, then get through the gate."
Daniel nodded unhappily. "Whichever one of us gets the chance, it's agreed."
Later that morning, the caravan started moving again. During the day Daniel had determined that Sam needed to learn a few important words and phrases...just in case she was the one to escape. They sat head to head on the floor of their cage and Jackson patiently repeated sentences over and over for her. Sam managed to get a few sentences memorized in the next several hours. The linguist wanted her to be prepared in the case that she got free and ran into someone who would help her.
"Here. Practice it again." Daniel calmly repeated the line to his friend again. //"My name is Sam. I am a free woman. Take me to the Chappa'i. My tribe will reward you."//
"Repeat it." Daniel was very stern. "You have to know it. Don't pull a Jack O'Neill on me now."
She made a face at him, then started again. //"My name is Sam. I am a free woman. Take me to the Chappa'i. My tribe will reward you."//
"Perfect." He smiled at her efforts. "Just remember that and you should be all right.
"Right. All I have to do is escape, find friendly natives, find the Colonel and Teal'c and find the Stargate. Piece of cake. I can do it in my sleep." She made a face at him. "Give me something hard to do."
"Ok, repeat after me. //"My name is Sam. I am a free woman. Take me to the Chappa'i. My tribe will reward you. Help me. May I have some water?" //
THE SEARCH Chapter III THE ESCAPE
As the caravan traveled cross-country it left the dry desert setting of the Stargate. The path it followed entered a range of foothills where nature gradually reasserted itself with grassy meadows, creeks that ran freely and corpses of brush-like trees that grew in advantageous areas.
The two young humans sat in their cage hard at work. Daniel continued to teach Sam a few phrases of the local language, just in case. She had progressed satisfactorily but not as far as he had hoped. Sam continued to repeat the sentences to Daniel as he tried to add a few more words where he could. //"Hello, my name is Sam. I am a free person. Take me to the Chappa'i. My tribe will reward you. Help me. May I have some water?" //
"That's good Sam." Daniel nodded. "Let's try adding this." He continued. //"Have you seen my friends?"//
"Daniel, enough. I can't memorize the Gettysburg address." She ran her hand through her short cropped blond hair as if to massage her brain.
"I though you had a photographic memory?" He teased gently, smiling as he leaned back against the bars of their prison.
"That's right, 'photo' as in to see. I can memorize what I see, not what I hear, especially when it doesn't mean anything to me." She shook her head. "I wasn't that good in languages."
"Yea, well I'm just the opposite." He admitted. "I catch on quicker to sounds than sights. I guess that's why I'm a linguist, not an astrophysicist."
"Ya think!" She shook her head. "Sorry, it's addictive. I swear my speech patterns are changed forever."
"Ya, sure, ya betcha." Daniel reached over and patted her shoulder. "It's okay, Sam. We'll get out of this yet."
She nodded, her thoughts wandering to their missing teammates. "I just can't help wondering where they are, if they're okay."
"I know." Daniel replied, also thinking of their two comrades. "We specialists need our military generalists to keep us in line." He grimaced. "And out of trouble." Daniel looked around at the changing scenery. "I think that Jack would say "Okay kids. We're down but not out. What we need is a window of opportunity and if they don't give us one, then we make our own."
"Yea, we will just have to keep on our toes and recognize that window when it opens." Sam sat back up and unconsciously drew a line in the dust on the cage floor. An idea came to her. "Daniel, why can't you write what you want me to remember here on the floor?"
"OK, but if you can't read the language..."
"No, write it in English." She looked at him thoughtfully. "You know, phonetically."
He grinned at her over his glasses. "Ya know Sam; sometimes I do think you're way smarter than I am." They laughed then got back to the lessons.
The next morning, after their usual breakfast of oat-stuff, the two teammates noticed a quartet of their captors walking down the line of cages talking among themselves. The four men were each carrying ropes, a whip, a pole with a noose on the end and what appeared to be a kind of rifle. Two vehicles away from them, Sam and Daniel watched as they roughly pulled one of the occupants out of his cage and sent the captive up the line to another car. He was paired up with another captive. They appeared to be dividing the prisoners into different groups. This was the time that they had been dreading ...their imminent separation.
The group of four men approached their cage. Daniel and Sam got to their feet, facing their enemy.
//"What is the problem?"// Daniel asked loudly. //"What do you want?"//
//"It's time little one. You two sweethearts must be parted."// The man with the ropes grinned at them with yellow teeth. //"The boss has plans for you that don't include your woman. I hope you got some pleasure last night. It's the last you'll see of her." //
//"What will happen to her?" //
// "Oh, she'll be sold...after we get through with her." // They laughed among themselves. //"But she will go to the common market. You are going to the Great Tent. So you two lovers must be parted.""//
//No! You cannot separate us."// Daniel frantically tried to think of a reason. //"We must be together. We are a mated pair."//
//"He who buys you will not want such as she." // The other man with the pole laughed. //"Now, step aside little one; we don't want to hurt you." // He advanced towards Daniel and Sam. //"We only want to move you to another cage."//
The two humans moved together to the far side of their barred enclosure, Jackson moved in front of his teammate. Daniel spoke to her quietly. "Sam, they're going to split us up. If you get a chance, make a break for it. I'll try to keep their attention on me." He stayed slightly in front of her
"What about you?" She shook her head, gripping his shoulder. "I'm not leaving you!"
"Get away and go back to the Stargate." He said between gritted teeth and pushing her away. "Then you can get help and come back for me. Just like the plan. Remember!"
"Look, Sam. Don't argue. It's better that it's you. You know how to do that military survival thing." He emphasized to her. "Just remember that they keep talking about taking me to the Great Tent to sell. Look for me there. Tell Jack I'm waiting for you."
They shifted their position as two of the men opened the door and entered into the cage with them. Jackson started edging away from Carter, pulling the attention of the pair to himself. Sam remained quietly unobtrusive in her corner.
The man with the catch pole device made a grab for Daniel but the younger man managed to duck under his loop and dashed towards the next corner opposite the opening in the cage. The second man with the rope tried to grab him by the arm but the archeologist pushed past him.
The first man yelled at his partner and the two together cornered their prey in the part of the cage opposite from Sam. The third man, who had remained outside the cage to work the door, came over behind Daniel to help the others get a hand on him.
When Carter saw him leave the door unattended, she saw her opportunity and made a dash for the opening. The doorman tried to get back to close it on her but Sam hit the bars with her full weight and speed behind her. The heavy metal door slammed back on him, throwing him off balance and toppling him off the hovercrafts edge. He fell to the ground four feet below, knocking the wind out of him. Jumping off the vehicle, Carter hit the ground in full stride.
The fourth man with the weapon had been watching the struggle inside the cage from a short distance away. When he saw the woman make her escape out of the cage, he dropped into a firing position to discharge his weapon on her as she sprinted towards the wooded area.
When Sam cleared the door, Daniel saw her jump to the ground and start her run. He then made his move, grabbing the pole out of yellow teeth's hands, and using it as a club, he hit the two men with a hockey check that would have made Jack O'Neill proud. The two guards went down in front of him in a tangled heap and for a brief moment Daniel saw a clear path after Sam into the woods. He headed for the door and leaped for the ground. But the still prone doorman saw him escaping and managed to yell out to the gunman to let the woman go and stop him instead.
The gunman wheeled and fired the dart gun at Daniel just as he cleared the cell. As Jackson jumped out of the cage, he felt a stinging impact on his shoulder. He managed a few more steps but his body betrayed him and he fell face first into the dirt. As he lost consciousness, the last thing he saw was Carter making out of the clearing and into the trees, safe.
Meanwhile, Sam had made it to a corpse of trees some distance from the cages. After a few moments, She cautiously stopped to catch her breath, looking back to see if she was being pursued. From her hiding place, she could see that Daniel was down. The man with the rifle was standing over her friend's body and the two in the cage were looking out the door. The one whom she had knocked down in her flight walked over to Daniel's inert form, kicked him in the side and then rolled him over. He reached down and pulled the dart from the young man's body. Then he motioned to the gunman to help lift Daniel and put him back into the cage the two human captives had shared. The other two guards hoisted Daniel's unconscious body back into the enclosure and dumped him roughly on the floor, slamming the door to lock it. The four men then walked away together yelling angry imprecations at each other.
Her first instincts were to remain hidden in the trees and return later to try to free her team mate, but that wasn't in the plan. She knew that she had to make it back to the Stargate for reinforcements. If she could find the Colonel and Teal'c, then they could return and rescue Daniel. If she couldn't find them, she would have to get back through the Stargate to the SGC for reinforcements. Sam waited only until she had caught her breath then headed back in the direction that the caravan had come from.
Some time later the caravan's owner and his henchmen stood outside the cage that now held the only remaining human. He was yelling at the three shamefaced handlers. //"What a loss. This will cost all of you your percentages of this trip."//
//"But boss, we saved the valuable one for you!" // The failed doorman whined.
//"Do I have a lizard in my pocket fool?" // The gunman snorted. //"I saved the boy. You and those two fools there let the woman escape. I would have gotten her too if you fools could have held onto one young male."//
//"That is true my friend. Your cut remains the same."// The leader admitted glowering at the other three. //"Your inept handling of the situation may cost us dearly. If she can find their companions we may have a fight on our hands. We must call the vessel in early now. We can waste no more time collecting any more slaves. We will go tomorrow to the meeting place."//
SG1 and SG6 had traveled hard through the day. Earlier that morning, soon after decamping and continuing on, Teal'c had found the slave caravan's campsite with some suspicious markings on the ground by it. There had obviously been a struggle. The dirt some distance from the hover cars was heavily disturbed. There, Jack O'Neill found blood on the ground and a pair of metal-framed glasses, badly bent and with the lenses broken out. He knelt on the ground holding the damaged object in his hand for a full minute. Then he stood up grim faced and angry.
"Well, we know we have the right people anyway." He commented stiffly to Major Haverty and Teal'c when they reached his side.
"Danieljackson loses his glasses with regularity." Teal'c explained to the Major.
Haverty looked down at the bloody stain on the ground.
"Yea, well. He tends to bleed a lot too." O'Neill said in a strained voice. "It's definitely him."
"But what about Major Carter?" The Major asked, looking around the immediate area. "Is there no confirmation of her here?"
O'Neill started forwards towards the trail. "Not yet, but there will be."
Samantha Carter was hungry, thirsty, tired, dirty and very determined. She knew that the alien convoy had traveled a good distance from the Stargate and she had no real hope that the Colonel and Teal'c would still be there. If 'Boss' had told Daniel the truth, her two teammates would already be dead. She could feel the tears starting to form, but she would have to deal with her feelings later. Daniel was depending on her now. She would have to get back to SGC and start the search from there. All she had to go on was Daniel had said they were taking him to the slave sale at the 'Great Tent'. Holy Hannah, it was too weird to be true. But there it was, and she was his only hope of rescue and she wouldn't fail her teammate.
She traveled eastward in the direction of sunrise that morning. She wished she had the Colonel or Teal'c here to proof her celestial navigation. Hey, if she was gonna wish, why not have Thor, the Azgardian, beam her up to his ship and then swoop over and get Daniel in comfort. Now, what was that phrase Daniel had been trying to get her to memorize? //"Hello, my name is Sam. I'm a free person'.// ..who's lost and scared and wants to go home. Oh, yea, that's on earth so //'Take me to the Chappa'i and my tribe will repay you'. // Or the Tok'ra even, I'm not terribly picky. By the way, do you know the way to the Great Tent Sale? I have a friend there who's going to be the red tag special.
Darkness fell and Sam found a little stream and decided that it would be stupid not to stop and take advantage of the fresh water. After drinking her fill and washing the sweat off of her face and arms she found a soft pile of leaves caught in the exposed roots of a large blue leafed tree. As she lay back to try to get some sleep, she saw a large light streak across the night sky. Funny, she thought. She hadn't seen any evidence of common meteor strikes and it was awfully close for a miss. Then it occurred to her. It wasn't a meteor, it was a ship! She sat up and watched it. A damned big ship, too big for a death glider or its equivalent. It had to be a cargo ship. A cargo ship that had come to pick up its crew and...Cargo. She got up and started to run back in the direct she had come from, praying she was wrong, knowing she was right.
The second night out, SG6 plus one frustrated Colonel and one determined Jaffa had settled down in an area to camp. O'Neill had wanted to continue on. They had found a trail of sorts and confirmation of his teammates presence as captives of the Aliens. The trail was primarily made up of bent grass and occasionally, an area that appeared to have been swept free of debris. After hearing a description of the transport from Teal'c, SG6's commander had used the term hovercraft. That had seemed to fit the wheel-less vehicle's trail that they were following. Both of the SG1 members had argued with the younger officer, but Major Haverty had insisted on their stopping for the evening, saying that a tired search team was more likely going to miss the faint trail signs they had been following. So the tents were up, the fire built and dinner served. Jack was pacing the perimeter circle of his tent and bitching about the delay, threatening to just go on without the rest of the team.
Teal'c was seated in front of his tent finishing off his MRE and watching his team leader with concern. O'Neill was not happy, and he could not blame him. He too had wanted to continue on in the search. But as Hammond had instructed, they were committed to this team and they couldn't just pick up and leave in spite of O'Neill's threats to do just that.
Finally, his commander flopped down next to him, propping his head on his backpack. The Colonel sighed and looked up at the stars. "I don't get it Teal'c. Where could they be headed? This planet is about as backwater as they come. There's no major cities, no centers of commerce, nowhere to go to sell anything of any real value much less ...slaves."
"It is possible that they are heading to a meeting point or even a landing site." Teal'c didn't like his answers any better than he knew O'Neill would.
"That would be just peachy, wouldn't it? I..." He cut his words off short, leaping to his feet as he pointed up to the sky. "Teal'c, what the hell is that?" A large glowing object flew over the campsite. "Oh, God dammit! Don't tell me that's what I think it is!"
Teal'c quickly climbed to his feet, watching the object. "It is a ship, O'Neill." The Jaffa replied grimly as he came to stand beside his team chief. Their greatest fear was coming home to haunt them.
"Jesus, Joseph and Mary!" Jack turned and ran down into SG6's campsite. "Haverty! Major Haverty! Get your fucking ass out of your tent and get out here NOW!"
SG6 had already seen the large craft as it flew past their camp. Haverty was out of his tent and staring up at the sky with the rest of his men. "Here, Colonel O'Neill." He waited until the excited senior officer ran to him. "Yes, sir. I see it too. Is that...?"
"You bet your fucking ass, man! That is a goddamn transport ship and a goddamn big one too!" O'Neill was in full voice. "Do you want to guess what it's doing here, Haverty? Well, I already got a guess! And I don't goddamn fucking well don't like it!"
"Yes Sir." The Major knew better than to throw gasoline on this fire. "I'm sure I know what that guess is, sir. And No, Sir, I don't like it anymore than you do."
"Colonel O'Neill." Teal'c had come up behind the furious senior officer. "Colonel O'Neill, Major Haverty could not have known of this. We did not know until the ship passed over us." The Jaffa placed a hand on Jack's shoulder. "Come now, O'Neill. We must go on to the landing site."
O'Neill stopped and took a deep breath. He looked at Haverty, both fists clenched beside him, turned on his heel and started back to his tent for his equipment, the Jaffa warrior following his enraged leader.
Major Haverty stood for just a second, watching SG1 efficiently donning their gear preparing to move out with or without his team. He ached for this man who was losing his friends, his team. He murmured sorrowfully, "Sorry Colonel." Then he turned to SG6 who were all already getting ready to move. "Come on everybody. Saddle up. The bad guys are here and we're missing all the fun."
The huge cargo ship was still glowing with heat from the atmosphere when it touched down in the clearing. A hatch ramp large enough to drive a train through opened downwards. Three uniformed alien officers descended to the ground under it. The leader of the caravan waved at his Commander then approached submissively to genuflect briefly in front of him.
The Captain stood still and allowed his Head Catchman to report. It looked like it had been a good haul in spite of the reported escape of the female captive. The spirits of his ship's crew were high; this was to be their last planet fall. They would now head back to their home world to sell their cargo of human wares and collect their riches.
Major Carter had gone to plan B, giving up on A. She had to be sure of what would happen to her teammate. So, not according to the original plan, she had turned around and was heading in the direction of the huge alien ship's landing site. If her estimation of the ship's apparent trajectory was true, it should be just due south of her current position. She was trying to stay well into the tree line so as to not be seen by any unfriendlies or taken by surprise herself. Once she saw the ship, she would have a description that might be useful in determining it's planet of origin and more importantly it's next port of call.
Her concentration was broken by a loud metallic sound off to her left. It was definitely not a natural noise, not a bird or insect. She made her way through the thick undergrowth, crouched down behind the brush and started to reconnoiter the area. After a short walk and hiding behind some thorny shrubbery, she found what she had been looking for. The ship was huge. It was the classic saucer shape and had a loading ramp like a cargo ship should.
Three men in ornate uniforms came down the ramp and the 'Boss' walked up to meet them then bowed. They spoke for a short while then the crew proceeded with the loading procedure. As the work details did their jobs, Carter tried to see any markings on she ship's hull, such as a name or numerical designation. She could see some runic inscriptions but was unable to make out a complete word. The ship itself was obviously not new, as it bore some carbon scoring on the side visible to her and even an unevenness in the finish that might suggest repaired damage. As the noise of the hovercraft engine began, Sam watched the string of hovercars pulled up into the loading bay. She could just make out a lone figure in car number four. Daniel was conscious now as evidenced by his upright position and watching the proceedings with typical Jacksonian curiosity.
As the hovercrafts were pulled completely into the belly of the large mother ship and she lost sight of him, her eyes filled with unwanted angry tears. After an approximate total of fifteen minutes, the loading complete, the huge ramp retracted into its flight position. A roar shook the ground she was standing on and the leviathan shuddered and rumbled lifting its huge bulk off of the planet's surface. As the ship ascended into the planet's atmosphere, the area became strangely quiet. Then with the constancy of life, the small living sounds of the world renewed themselves to their normal level. Samantha Carter turned and trudged back down the trail that she had come on back towards the Stargate.
The primary tractor hovercraft started up and the cars were hauled into the bowels of the great ship carrying with it the lives and souls of twenty-seven sentient beings. One of them, Daniel Jackson, late of Earth, stepson of Abydos and archeologist to the stars stood, holding onto the bars of his cage, watching and waiting for the arrival of his future.
The Search and Rescue Team had also heard the ship leave planetside. O'Neill and Teal'c increased their speed and continued to lead the team towards the direction of the apparent landing site. Maybe there they could learn some small bit of information that might lead them to their missing teammates. But they walked in a somber zone of their own. SG6 stayed behind them, following at a respectful distance. As with all such teams, SG-6 SAR, they wondered if they had taken too long, been too careful, had followed the wrong sign too far. Because a failed SAR mission resulted only in tragedy, not joy.
Suddenly O'Neill and Teal'c went on alert, their weapons held up and ready. The team behind them took a defensive posture, guns up. The two experienced warriors shifted back to back, all senses alert to possible attack. Then to their surprise, a tall slender female form wearing what was left of a BDU camouflaged uniform, ran out of the trees and right into the arms of her teammates where she disappeared within the embrace of O'Neill and Teal'c.
Chapter 4 The Journey
Daniel regained consciousness slowly, trying to remember what had happened to knock him out again. His arm ached like it had been punched in the large muscle. His face also had a sore, burning feeling as if it had been scrapped raw, and his nose felt two sizes too large. He opened his eyes, discovering that it was now late morning or early afternoon, his glasses were missing and so was Sam. The cage he was riding in was still moving it's slow, deliberate way along as part of the same slave/prison caravan. He sat up gripping the bars for support and shook his head to try to clear the cobwebs. That proved to be a mistake as he almost passed out again from the pain in his head.
He sat still for a while, searching his memory for possible explanations for this new situation. He remembered making a plan with Sam for one of them to escape as soon as possible to return to the Stargate; her learning words in the dominant language of their jailers and; finally, her dash for freedom followed by his failed attempt. He must have landed headfirst coming out of the cage, which would explain his missing glasses and the damage to his face. At least Sam was free. He was sure he had seen her make it into the scrubby bunch of trees that lined the 'road' they were following.
Well, he wasn't going anywhere he wanted to fast, and dinner was still a good time off so he determined that napping was the beneficial thing to be doing to try to regain his strength. Hopefully, Sam could hook up with Jack and Teal'c in time to make a daring rescue before evening when he would have to eat boiled oat stuff again. He settled back down onto the uncomfortable spot on the floor.
Some time later, he was awakened by a loud humming, vibrating sensation. He blinked and sat up, trying to shield his lens-deprived eyes from a very large, very bright white sun that had apparently appeared over the little train of cages. Some of the other captives were screaming out their fear in their own languages, some of them crouched down in their cages, most likely praying to whatever deity seem most appropriate to them. As the ship itself came into view, Jackson sat back and canted his head upward to try to make out any familiar markings on the huge, glowing space ship. After only a few minutes, it continued to pass over the caravan and finally settled in the wide-open area of the valley. Once it landed the ship ceased glowing and the deafening noise subsided but it was still large and imposing. Its final action was to open and extend a very large ramp hatch down onto the ground. At this time three more aliens wearing uniforms but matching their captors general descriptions decanted themselves down to the planet's surface.
The Boss and his four main 'handlers' approached the other three newcomers. After the boss genuflected in front of the leader, they stood and discussed the caravan of rag-tag captives. After a short delay, more crewmen from the ship started scurrying around the landing gear and the convoy, pulling cables, activating machinery and generally making preparations for on loading the line of cages into the belly of the ship. Daniel hoisted himself up on his feet, grasping the bars for support and tried to make out details of the interior or any other information on the ship. It looked like any SGC rescue parties would be running a little late for him this time. He turned to look over at the wooded area in the direction that he thought Sam had gone, but his lack of glasses hampered him for anything beyond a blurry gaze. If anyone were there, he wouldn't know it.
In due time the engine on their little train started it's motor and proceeded to tow the line of cages up into the cargo area of the spacecraft. Daniel remained standing, gripping the cage bars for support. As he passed from out of the relatively, clean air and sunshine of the planet into the dark, dank mechanical smelling hold of the cargo ship his heart sank. He could only hope that Sam had made it back to the Stargate safely and that Jack and Teal'c were alive there. It had been an interesting life; but now it was definitely taking a turn into a different direction.
Major Samantha Carter was sitting at the campfire with her remaining teammates and SG6. She was gripping a cup of hot coffee and relating her impressions of hers and Daniel Jackson's captors. The fact the ship had left planet for places unknown had put a halt to the pursuit at this point in time. Although she knew that Colonel O'Neill wasn't so easily put off the rescue mission of his personnel, especially and including one MIA archeologist.
Teal'c hadn't recognized the markings she had been able to copy down for him. But the Jaffa had been the first to admit that he had not had much experience with other than goa'uld space craft. The next order would be to make contact with their allies to try to identify the aliens that had taken Jackson.
She glanced up across the fire to look into Colonel O'Neill's expression. He was staring into the flames, chewing on his lower lip. His initial joy and excitement at finding Sam had faded quickly when he realized that his best friend was still not only missing, but was now REALLY missing. She could almost see the wheels turning behind those dark brown eyes. He caught her looking at him and grimaced back.
"Well, Major Carter. Time to regroup and start on Plan, what is it now, D."
"Yes, sir." She nodded and put down her cup. "At least I know he was in reasonably good shape when the cages were loaded into the ship. I'm sure he was standing, watching what was going on."
"Yea," O'Neill pulled Daniel's glasses out of his top pocket. "If he'd still had these on, he might have spotted you."
"Might have." She agreed. "But he was insistent that I try to get back to the gate. He was concerned. Our captor had told him that they had killed you and Teal'c. We had made an agreement that the one who had the best chance to escape would take it, and then we would try to bring back the Calvary to rescue the other one. We didn't consider that the "hunting party" would be picked up by ship so soon." She shook her head. "We should have."
"And that would have done what, exactly?" Jack threw what was left of his cup of coffee into the fire causing the flames to hiss and spit. "You wouldn't have left him, or vice versa; you wouldn't have seen the ship's markings and gotten a description of the craft, we wouldn't have known what to think happened to you and I'd still be missing two teammates."
"O'Neill is correct." Teal'c interjected from his seat across the fire. "The information that you have will lead us to Danieljackson's destination. There are not that many space faring races. Most of them rely upon the chappa'i. We will find him."
"Wait a minute," she said, with a look of realization on her face. "I'm so stupid! " Carter almost jumped up off of the log she had been sitting on to start pacing back and forth. "He told me where they were taking him."
O'Neill did jump up to grab her by the shoulders and turn her to face him. "What are you talking about?"
She pulled out of his hands and started walking in circles. "Daniel could understand the language. He said it was a mixture of ancient Egyptian and…no it was Armenian…no Abyssinian." She saw the expressions on O'Neill and Teal'c s faces. "Well, it doesn't matter what it was. The leader said that we were going to be sold as slaves…but we were to be separated…and Daniel was going to be taken to the Great Tent to be sold. "
"Why not you too?" O'Neill asked, confusedly.
She laughed depreciatingly. "I'm too old. Evidently Daniel was more the type they prefer. I was going to the 'common sale'.
"I have heard of this place O'Neill." Teal'c put in, thoughtfully. "I have not been there, but Apophis spoke of it."
"Can you find out where it is?" Jack asked anxiously.
"Maybe the Tok'ra know." Sam put in. "They have people in a lot of places."
"Yea," O'Neill replied, hope bringing a little light to his eyes. "Sometimes they're even in the right places."
The first 'night' that Daniel spent on shipboard was just that. The cages were all left connected in the darkened hull of the great ship as it sped through unknown space. Several hours after liftoff, their normal handlers came through and fed all the captives the same boiled oat gruel that they had become accustomed to. Then they were left alone again in the dark to do whatever crying, praying or sleeping that they could manage.
The following 'morning' the lights in the bay were turned up and the ship's crew descended on them. The captives were removed from their cages and separated into several groups. A few 'specials' were immediately transferred to separate cells and left to try to figure out the method to the madness. Daniel Jackson was one of these, whether due to his escape attempt, his injuries or some other indicator he didn't know. This took several hours and when the division was completed, the crew again left them alone in their new cages and the ever-present oat gruel was served as a lunch. The crew didn't return until right before lights out to feed them and then again the lights were lowered.
A group of Daniel's alien captors approached his cage. They were all of a type physically, dark skinned with spare build and black haired with black eyes. They were led by the 'Boss' of the caravan. With him was Jackson's regular 'keeper' who fed him and two members of the ship's crew; an officer in a very ornate uniform and a second man in a plain uniform tunic. As they approached Daniel's cage, the boss and the senior officer were in a deep discussion. //"This is the male I told you about." // The Boss indicated Jackson to the superior officer. //"He speaks our language after a fashion and he attempted an escape with a female that we captured with him."//
The Officer dressed in the more ornate uniform inspected Daniel as he sat in the cage watching them. //"Where is the female now?"//
//"She is dead, my Captain. We could not allow her to continue to live after the escape attempt."//
Daniel looked at the 'Boss' in amazement. He was certain that Carter had managed to make the tree line and freedom. Had she been hunted down while he was unconscious? Surely not!
//"Of course, you could not." // The Captain smiled and nodded his quick agreement.
The man in the plain uniform approached the cage, peering in at Daniel's damaged face. //"How s one injured, Boss."//
"//My name is Daniel Jackson. I am a peaceful traveler from the Planet Earth. I came to the world you found me on through the Stargate, the Chappa'i." // Jackson started his patented friendly spiel. The curious junior officer jumped back at his voice; startled by either his knowing their language or just that 'it' talked at all. Daniel pointed at his face. //"I was injured in my escape attempt with my partner, Samantha Carter. Someone shot me with a sleep drug."// He shook his head. //"I must have fallen on my face."//
//"So it would seem, Danieljackson."// The Captain smiled at him. //"But you are no longer a 'peaceful traveler', you appear to be a slave in the belly of my ship."//
//"So it would seem."// Daniel tilted his head to try to focus on the Captain's facial expression. //"If it is money you seek, my people would pay you for my return."//
He was disappointed to see the smile turn into laughter. //"I don't believe that I could get as good a price from your people as from my customers at the Great Tent." // The man rubbed his hands together. //You are worth quite a lot of money there, but I tell you now it is not for your command of our language."// He turned to his junior officer. //"Doctor, please have this one removed to your office and treat his injuries there. It would not be wise to allow any scarring on this face."//
//"Yes, Captain." // The Doctor made a gesture to the handler, then the group turned to go on to the next cage. The handler picked up the rope/pole and approached the cage warily.
Daniel rose to his feet and walked over to the doorway. //"It's okay. I won't try to escape."//
//"Why?" // The man was amazed at the idea.
//"Where would I go?"// Jackson commented wryly. //"I'm in the belly of a slave ship."
Daniel was secured with the pole and rope around his neck and escorted up several flights of steep metal stairs into a plain white room with a padded exam table bolted to the middle of the floor and walls bedecked with cabinets, shelves and hanging instruments. He was chained to the table by his left ankle and left alone. Jackson decided to make himself comfortable and sat himself up on the table. He proceeded to look around the room, trying to recognize the purpose and manner of use of the many instruments. Some looked like something Doctor Fraiser would have used on him. Some appeared to be more from the 'Marquis de Sade' line of medical instruments than those approved by the American Medical Association.
After some long amount of time, the 'Doctor' came into his office and proceeded to gather up instruments and put them together in a packet. When he had finished collecting things and securing them, he turned to Jackson and approached him cautiously. //"Well, all right them. Let's see what our Slave master has done to you."//
Daniel sat still, trying to be non-confrontational to this man of healing. The Doctor gently touched his face then proceeded to do a skillful, painless examination of the scrapes and bruises his patient had received. As he put pressure on Daniel's abused nose, Jackson finally jerked back and said. //"That hurts."//
//"I'm not surprised. You're lucky it's not broken. The swelling should go down in a few days. But you suffered a hematoma on your optic organ ridge. It will be bruised and painful for some time units."//
//"You mean I'll have a black eye. Yes, I figured I must."//
//"A black eye. Yes, that is a good name." // The young man smiled at Jackson. //"Your eye will indeed be black."//
//"My name is Daniel..."//
//"Yes, I know Danieljackson. But as the Captain told you, you are now a slave. Not a peaceful traveler...not anymore."//
//"Apparently not." // Daniel acknowledged. //"What is your name?"//
//"You may call me Doctor, that is my title." // The man replied. //"It will do you no good to know my name. In a few days we will never see each other again, so there is no point too know more." // The physician began to clean and treat the abrasions on his face and arms. Jackson shrugged. He knew that there were cultures that put value on a person's name. He obviously was not going to be here long enough to count. When his treatment was complete the physician continued on. //"I must now conduct your examination. I ask you, will you allow it or must I call for assistance?"//
Daniel answered positively. He had no choice after all. //"I will allow it." //
//"Good, it will be less disturbing for you if I can do it with privacy. It will not be pleasant, but I will not purposefully hurt you."//
//"I understand."// He rose from his sitting position on the table to stand up.
//"Good." // The Doctor unfastened the chain from his ankle then led Jackson into another inner room. There an open rectangular frame stood upright in the center of the room. It had cuffs suspended from chains attached at each corner. //"You must remove all of your clothes." // The young doctor instructed. //"Then I will place you in the restraints. The examination will be done by me. After it is over, you will be removed and taken to another area of the ship. I will give my report to the Captain of your appearance, condition and my judgment of your value. You will not be harmed today if you don't fight me or the device."//
Daniel stood and looked uneasily at the restraining device. //"Why must I be chained? I have said I will submit."//
The young Doctor looked up at him from his preparations and replied. //"This is for both of our protection. This device allows me to secure you. If I accidentally cause you discomfort, you cannot attempt to escape. If you hurt me, you will be injured. You may be killed. This way I can insure both of our lives." // He looked at Jackson honestly. //"If you don't agree to this, I must call the guard. You will be forced to submit. The guards will enjoy your pain. Either way, it will happen. This way I can report that you are intelligent and non-violent. The other way, I cannot report either one. You must decide which it will be."//
Jackson closed his eyes. This was not how it was supposed to be. Jack would be fighting for his life, trying to get free, to get to the ship's controls, to escape, to die with honor. He didn't want to die. He wanted to live...with honor, if possible. He knew that if he died now, then he had done nothing but die. If he lived, there was always hope that tomorrow, there would be rescue and if not tomorrow then there was always tomorrow's tomorrow. He reluctantly undressed. When he was naked, he stepped over to the device.
When the doctor started to fasten the cuffs to his wrists, Daniel had a bad time. With the clicking of the locking mechanism, his limbs started to shake...not from fear but from tension. He wanted to run, to fight, to scream. But he forced himself to stand still and allow the alien physician to finish snapping his bonds in place. When he completed his task, the doctor stood back for a second, watching and allowing the captive to put his fear back into its place. This was a brave man. This man...should not be a slave. But he was only a poor ship's doctor and he had no say in the business of the ship.
Doctor started the examination as gently as he could. His 'patient' stood tensely, with his eyes closed while he gently ran his digital extremities over the skull, down the neck and shoulders. He then came around to the front of the face, where he manually and visually examined the ears, their orifices, the swollen nasal protrusion, and the ocular organs of that peculiar blue color. He opened and peered into the oral cavity and counted the number of teeth and noted their condition. He went to the chest area, annotating the vestigial mammary glands of a healthy male and the surrounding lymph glands and muscles. Finished there, he proceeded down the abdominal musculature to the spread of the ribcage, noting texture of skin, amount of hirsuteness and its patterning as it descended to the pelvic arch and genital area. The organs were of a normal size and form, with no injury or deformity noted. From the rear, the shoulder plates were of good shape. The spine supple, in line and of common structure. The hipline was straight and strong. The gluteal musculature was well formed and firm without excess. The anal aperture was normal with normal tension in the sphincter muscle. There were some old scarring noted on different places of the torso, but all had been properly treated and the patient was sound of body. Of the extremities, the doctor could say again, that they were strong, well shaped and correctly muscled. There were more signs of old injuries, however all of these had also received good medical care and the individual had no soundness problems, though there were some minor blemishes resulting from these old wounds.
Daniel stood still, trying not to move, trying not to tremble, trying not to let his hypersensitive body become unstrung. Good to his word, the doctor was taking care not to hurt, only to examine. But the procedure itself was telling him volumes. Once in Egypt when he was very young, his father had taken him to a bazaar and he had watched the Bedouins buying and selling their magnificent horses. This was the way he had seen them examined before a sale. The animals had been secured against injuring themselves or their potential buyers. The exams had been quick, gentle and very in depth. The animals were highly valued, but no one wanted to buy a crippled or unsound horse.
Finally, the doctor was through. He stepped back, and wiped his hands on a towel. //"I am finished Danieljackson."//
Daniel exhaled a breath he hadn't been aware of holding. //"Good. Now what?"//
//"I will have you...no." // The Doctor hesitated a second, then made a decision. //"I will take you to your new place." // He started unfastening the cuffs from his charge. He held up a collar with a thong attached to it. //"I must put this on you. Then we will go. I will secure you there and then I must report to the Captain. No one else will touch you tonight." //
//"Doctor, May I have my clothes?" // Daniel asked as he was loosed from the device.
The physician seemed to think a moment. //"I will give you some medical treatment covers. I may not give you yours back."// He bent over into a cabinet and pulled out some things that resembled hospital scrubs. //"These will cover you."//
//"Thank you." // Daniel realized that this innocent request was being granted, and that it was unusual for it to be.
The young doctor fastened a collar and leash around his throat and led Daniel out of his office and down a corridor. Jackson could see that they were being watched by some of the other handlers and guards as he was escorted by the physician to a smaller cage in a long line of cages, some of them already occupied. The human entered the enclosure, where the doctor unsnapped the thong leaving the collar in place. //"I must go now. I will have food sent." // The man then locked the barred door behind himself and he went back down the corridor that they had come from.
Left alone, Jackson surveyed his new 'place'. It was slightly narrower that the other cell, but this one had a small mattress pad in the corner to serve as a bed. There were also two containers available, one on either end of the cage. One nearest the 'bed' contained water and a scoop, the other at the far end was empty. A quick check let him guess that while it was clean now, a residual odor identified it as the residential 'facility'. All he needed now was a sign on the wall announcing 'HOME SWEET HOME". He lay down on the mattress and tried not to think of tomorrow.
SG Teams 1 and 6 came out of the wormhole into the comparative peace of Cheyenne Mountain together. Col O'Neill saw General Hammond come out of his office and down the metal catwalk that let him to the Gateroom floor. Behind him in the desert colored dress of the Tok'ra General Jacob Carter followed him closely. When the two senior officers met the returning teams, Jacob continued past O'Neill to hug his daughter and hold her close for just a second.
General Hammond stopped in front of O'Neill. "Well Colonel, I see you were partially successful at least."
"Yes, sir but not totally. Daniel has been taken off world in a space ship." He looked back at the family reunion behind him. "We were hoping to contact the Tok'ra to see if they might have any good ideas as to where he might have been taken."
Jacob and Sam had separated physically by now and the older man was giving her a visual inspection. At O'Neill's words, he turned around. "Of course Jack, if there's anything I can do..."
Major Carter glanced at her dad. "We know Daniel was okay when the ship left. I witnessed the takeoff after we managed my escape. He tried to make it out too, but he didn't get away."
"All right folks." Hammond interrupted. "Let's get you checked out then we can start the debrief in my office." He held up a hand to silence Sam. "You were missing for several days, young lady. I want Dr. Fraiser to check you over just to be sure."
Sam nodded. "Yes, Sir."
Jacob smiled at his returned daughter. "Sam, If they're traveling in space, we have a little time to spare. I will be waiting with George for your report."
O'Neill took the lead down the hall to the clinic area with a 'Let's get this over with' air about him. He delivered Carter over to their diminutive doctor and he and Teal'c went through their more abbreviated exam with other medical personnel.
By the time the three of them had been cleared, showered and changed clothes they were anxious for the briefings to begin. The teammates met in the Conference Room and were joined by Major Haverty of SG6. The two General officers joined them within moments.
Major Carter started the briefing by relating her and Daniel's experiences in the caravan, including his attempts to communicate with their captors. She described their planning for an escape attempt if an opportunity presented itself and Daniel's prepping her with the language lessons in the dominant dialect of their captors.
Jacob Carter leaned forward with his elbows on the table. With a slight change of expression, Selmac came to the fore. "Samantha, can you still remember the lessons?"
"Of course," She smiled with the memory of Daniel's earnest instruction. //"Hello, my name is Sam. I am a free person. Take me to the Chappa'i. My tribe will reward you" // She looked at Selmac/Jacob. "Did that help?"
"Yes, it did." Selmac replied. "This is a language used by a group of free traders that travel about on the edge of the old Tollan space."
"Is that where P32x-etc is?" O'Neill asked
"No, the planet you were on was farther out. But it is possible that these people are expanding their boundaries seeking both new valuables and customers."
O'Neill thought for a moment. "Then you know how to get there?"
"Yes, but by ship it is quite a long journey." Selmac/Jacob replied. He looked at Sam. "Where did Daniel say they were going to take him?"
"He said, they were taking him to the Great Tent. That it was the best place to sell slaves of his type." She made a face at her words.
Jack put his fist down on the table in front of him. "What is his 'type'? Just what does that mean, exactly?" He looked at Selmac/Jacob.
Jacob/Selmac laid his/her hands out in front of himself on the briefing table. "Colonel O'Neill, Daniel Jackson will be sold as an 'exotic'. Due to his appearance, coloration and shape, he will command a large price among certain individuals of specialized tastes on a primitive, barbaric planet. There is no law preventing his sale, therefore we will not be able to appeal to any governing body. To retrieve your friend, we will have to participate in the sale process." The older man looked directly at Jack. "We run a risk of being outbid. We will not find him unscathed. He will have been put through a very difficult process, probably drugged, and most likely physically assaulted."
"Then what are we waiting for?" He looked around the room at his co-workers. "The sooner we get there, the quicker we can get him back."
"Not necessarily, Colonel O'Neill" Jacob/Selmac interrupted. "The ship will have to travel to its home world. The sale must be scheduled. The victim processed and trained. It will be a very difficult procedure. Dr. Jackson may not survive the process, and if he does he will be much changed from the young man that you know."
"Yea, yea, I get the picture." O'Neill stood up and started pacing. "But don't go writing Danny off, Jacob, er Selmac. He's been through a hell of a lot in the past four years. Carter can tell you that. The kid's a tough one. It'll take more that these guys to break him. But..." Jack paused in front of the visiting General/Tok'ra and leaned down face to face with him. "The one thing that Daniel can count on is us! SGC doesn't quit. We don't leave our people hanging in the wind. Danny knows that we will come. If not tomorrow, then the next day. He knows that. He'll hold on, I know it and you know it." The Colonel straightened up. "So when do we leave?"
General Carter glanced over at Hammond. The SGC commander nodded. Jacob looked up at Jack. "We can leave as soon you are ready. We can gate to where my ship is; we'll fit it with supplies, then we can start to the planet. It'll be several days' flight. I'll have to get coordinates from the Tok'ra Central Command and permission from the Council."
Hammond looked over at his old friend. "Jacob, will they support us in this?"
"For one of SG1, you're damn straight they will." It was Jacob Carter who spoke this time and he had no problems with the plan. "If not, they know I'll go anyway."
"Okay, boys and girl, lets go and get packed." O'Neill started out of the briefing room. "I've got to go into town real quick to get something, and then we can get going." The door closed behind him as he exited the room
Major General Hammond watched him go, startled at his second in command's abrupt departure. Then he said in an even tone. "All right everyone else, dismissed." He remained seated as the Sam and Teal'c left after their leader, then he looked over at General Carter. "Thank you Jacob, and Selmac."
"Does he do that all the time?" Jacob asked curiously.
"Speak out, yes. Run out of staff meetings, not usually. Colonel O'Neill obviously has something on his mind."
"General Hammond," Major Haverty was also still at the table that had been vacated by SG1."
"What Colonel O'Neill said, that's the way I feel too. I'd like to go."
Hammond shook his head. "Major, if we were just using the Stargate, I'd probably approve that. But since we're relying on the Tok'ra for transportation in one ship, I'll say that you and your team should stay here." Hammond rose to leave the briefing room. "And I know that you all would like to see this through to the finish. It's the way SGC operates." He glanced at his old friend, Jacob. "And I'm damn proud of that fact. But this time, we'll let SG1 see it through alone."
"Yes, sir. I understand."
"I knew you would. Dismissed son."
As the two Generals watched the young man leave the briefing room, Carter said quietly. "You've got quite a group here, George!"
"Damn straight, Jacob!" Hammond nodded. "Damn straight."
TO BE CONTINUED....