Crown Infernal

A Walk on the WILD Side...

Sad Jack Tearful Danny A last goodbye? A last look back On to a new adventure

Notes:- ~ italics between swung dashes indicate unspoken thoughts ~
~ blue text in swung dashes indicates Danny's voice in Daniel's head ~
"blue text in quotes indicates Danny speaking through Daniel"

Warnings: a little violence and minor character deaths.

Part 4

Chapter 8 - Prisoners.

When Daniel regained consciousness, he was completely disorientated. His mind seemed reluctant to consider where he might be or even who he might be. All he could take in right now was that he was lying on a hard stone floor in semi-darkness and that his head throbbed unmercifully.

That was more than enough to take in for the time being.

~ Hey Bro', what happened? ~

Danny's voice was subdued but it still rattled painfully around Daniel's skull. That recalled a little of the previous few hours to mind. He groaned. Slowly, other memories began to return. He sat up.

"Urgh, we got clubbed on the head - I think."

~ Sure hurts, Bro' ~

"Tell me about it."

~I said, it sure hurts, Bro' ~

"Ouch! It'll hurt a whole lot less if you quit shouting," Daniel groaned, "I just meant I agree with you. Ah, can you fix it?"

He felt Danny trampling, painfully, through his mind again. After a while,

~ Um, no, don't think so, Bro'. It's not like arrows. I can fix them. This havin' a body thing isn't as good as I thought it would be. Don't like pain. ~

"Welcome to the human race, Danny. You have to take the rough with the smooth, I'm afraid. Mostly it's ok, but sometimes, it really sucks."

~ I'm guessin' this is one of those times...? ~


Daniel looked around as his eyes became accustomed to the low level of light, and made the pleasant discovery that his vision was near perfect. Not that he liked what he saw.

He was in a stone-built cell some twelve feet* square. In one wall was a stout wooden door and in the opposite wall, just below ceiling level, was a long narrow opening like a letterbox. Plants growing immediately outside it suggested that the cell was mostly below ground level. The cell itself was bare of any sort of furnishings, but there was a considerable amount of detritus around the margins of the room, particularly below the 'window'. Maybe food was passed in that way?

~ Hey, Bro', where are we anyway? It kind of stinks in here. ~

"It does, doesn't it? We seem to be in some kind of a holding cell and— Urgh! Rats!"

~ Say what? ~

"Rats— running up the wall, blast them! I can't abide rats!"

Before Daniel could say more, his hand pointed at a group of the rats. They flew apart in a blinding flash and a shower of blood and fur.

"Whoa!" Daniel protested.

~ Well you said 'blast them', Bro... ~

"Ah, it's just an expression, not an instruction. We have another expression for what you did, and that's 'overkill' ".

~ Overkill? ~

"Yes, 'overkill'. Rats are only small animals. You just hit them with enough power to light up a small town. Don't you have any control over your... your lightning bolts?"

~ Don't know. Never tried ~

"Well, try now..."

A slightly smaller bolt flew from Daniel's hand into the corner of the room sending out a foul smelling shower of rotting debris. Daniel choked on the appalling stench.

~ Smaller, yeah? ~

"Much smaller, yes!" Daniel coughed, "or I will puke."

~ Is that bad? ~

"Well, not good— not 'fun'."

Danny tried again and a delicate ray of crackling blue light from one finger skewered a rat half way up the wall. It fell to floor dead and slightly smouldering.

"Brilliant, Danny!" Daniel whooped, then clutched his head, groaning. The distraction wasn't enough to make him forget the pounding ache entirely.

Following his triumph in teaching Danny to exercise a little control with his power, another thought struck him. "Danny," he began, "where do you get all this power from?"

~ Where? Everywhere, Bro' . It's all around us. Can't you see? ~

"Um, actually, no."

~ Oh. Say where are we goin' now? I don't like it in here— nothin' to do... ~

"Ah, slight problem there, Danny," Daniel responded, investigating the door. It seemed pretty solid.

"It might yield eventually to your lightning bolts, but I suspect we'd be stuck full of splinters like a porcupine if you do— So don't.

~What? You mean we's stuck in here? ~

"For the time being, yes," Daniel responded, wincing, "and please don't shout! Sooner or later, someone will come."

~ And then we blast him, yeah?! ~

Daniel thought about it. He was beginning to see some merit in doing things Danny's way, although he still fought against it. Perhaps he could interest the kill-crazy kid in a compromise...

"We could, but only on two conditions; first, you use minimum power to do the job, and second, I'll aim and you fire. O.K.?

~ Aw, that'll take all the fun out of it... ~

"Not entirely, Danny. You see, when you kill people, that's it, they're dead, they don't get up again. No more 'fun'. If you just do enough to knock them out—"

~ Like we was knocked out? ~

"Sort of. Anyway, if you leave it so they get up, you can knock them down again— and again, and again, maybe. Do we have a deal?"

~ O.k. Anythin' to please my bro' ~

"Great! When I point and say - or think - 'shoot!', you, er, let 'em have it."

~ Could be fun at that. By the way, there's another rat on the wall... ~

Daniel pointed a finger at the rat. "Shoot!"

The rat fell dead, courtesy of a pencil thin bolt from Danny. It proved to be quite an entertaining occupation, zatting rats as they appeared through the window. The target practice was useful too. For once, Danny and Daniel were working in harmony. And it passed the time...

After a while, there came a scraping noise from outside the door as of a wooden retaining bar being slid aside.

~ Ok, Danny, now I really need you to co-operate - er, play along - here. First, we need to know how many we're up against and secondly, we have to make whoever's outside feel safe enough to come in here. If we don't, they may just bar the door again and never come back, got it? ~

~ Got it, Bro' ~

Daniel lay down near the window side of the cell. He positioned himself so he could see the door. One arm was casually out-stretched so that he could aim with the minimum amount of movement. Two guards came in, clearly unprepared for trouble. Daniel could see no more men outside, nor hear any other movement.

So far, so good. Once the guards had reached the middle of the cell, Daniel raised his hand towards the nearer one.

~ Shoot! ~

One of the guards fell to the ground, shrieking with pain. There was a neat hole right through his thigh. The other guard stood rooted to the spot in fear.

~ Shoot! ~

He joined his fellow writhing on the floor. Daniel hastily scrambled to his feet. Grabbing one of the guards' weapons, he knocked both of them out.

"Enjoy the headaches, fellas," he said savagely as silence fell.

~ Heh-heh-hey! ~

With no one in sight, he took the time to close and bar the door, then set off to explore.

It seemed a very small prison complex, just a dark narrow passageway with four doors either side and a flight of steep steps leading upwards towards daylight at the far end. His cell was one of the two furthest from the stairs.

All the other doors were barred except the one neighbouring that which he'd just left. This was quite handy, as he was able to duck inside the open doorway when half a dozen more guards came down the steps.

~ Careful, Danny, let's see what this lot are up to first. My friends are on this world - quite possibly somewhere around here - and I don't want to hurt any of them by accident. They're sort of like family ~

~ Other brothers, Bro'? ~

~ That sort of thing, yes ~

The first two guards slid the wooden bar free from the next door along on the other side. As the door swung open, the remaining four guards marched in. There was a slight altercation, then the guards came out again dragging a limp form.

Whether it was one of S.G.-1 or not, Daniel wasn't in a position to see. Whilst he didn't doubt Danny's ability to take out all six - and possibly without harming the captive - he decided that covert action would probably serve a better turn. Maybe he could find and free his friends without bringing hordes of armed guards down on him unprepared. It was what Jack would do, he felt.

As the sounds of the departing guards died away, Daniel emerged from his hiding place and listened outside the door the cell that they had just visited. He was prepared to bet that the obvious willingness to tackle the guards signalled the presence of S.G.-1 - if they'd been taken by the same natives as had captured himself. But either all was quiet within or the door was thick enough and well-fitting enough to muffle any sounds.

And then he saw the flaw in the plan. If it was S.G.-1 in there, the chances were that, given his present attire, they'd probably mistake him for one of the indigenous population and try to tackle him as well.

While he knew of their presence, they had no idea of his whereabouts and present status. Their aim would be to escape, and as soon as he opened the door, they'd see him as just another obstacle between them and freedom - a necessary casualty...

Except that any attack upon himself would also be an attack on Danny, and no pleas of kinship would stop him from defending himself. This could all go horribly wrong.

*3.65 metres for Europeans. {g}

Chapter 9 - Crossroads... And no turning back.

Daniel was dithering. He was torn between his desire to help his friends and his fear that Danny on the rampage might do something terrible for which he, Daniel, would never forgive himself. He could feel that Danny was growing restless and keen to be having 'fun'.

While they'd been confined in their cell, Danny had been fairly calm, almost compliant. Daniel was beginning to think it possible that they might come to some sort of arrangement whereby they could co-exist amicably. They had a long way to go before that would happen though.

~ Hm - right now, my 'ascended' form would have been useful. I could've done a little invisible reconnaissance. Oh, but then, I wouldn't be able to act upon it. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn! Ah well, at least if I do run into trouble, I guess I'm a walking zat gun-come-laser canon ~

He smiled sardonically and set off along the passageway towards the steps.

Very cautiously, not wishing for another knock on the head, he peered over the edge of the entry way, which was rather like emerging from a trapdoor - minus an actual door.

He was looking out across a fairly large open space, square in shape. It was bordered by creamy-white pueblo-like buildings facing across the square. The doorways were hung with heavy drapes and the windows were dark holes in the walls.

The whole area was surrounded by a curtain wall with gateways in the centre of two opposite sides. At the four corners of the wall stood massive step pyramids with steep steps leading to a platform on the top. Daniel recoiled at the mortal remains scattered on the steps of the pyramids. These descendants of the Aztecs belonged to a different strain from the gentle Orbanians.

~ Hey Bro'. Nice people! ~

~ Actually no, they're not. ~

~ Oh good! Do I get to kill 'em then? ~

~ Maybe some of them, if you'll just keep the voice down... ~

There were no women or children in sight, just priests and warriors judging by their clothing, so this could be a religious complex with the rest of the population living outside the walls.

Looking at the wall of the prison building behind him, Daniel calculated that the rest of the building above the cells was probably a guardhouse. There was an open doorway to one side of the entry to the cells.

As there were only a few people on the far side of the square going about their business, Daniel crept up the rest of the steps and scurried into the deep shadow of a narrow alley between the prison and another building.

There were four narrow openings in the prison wall, just above ground level and half-hidden by a rank growth of scrubby plants. There were also two small windows at around eye level.

Daniel squinted through the first window. There were two guards inside.

~ Shall we blast 'em, Bro'? ~

~ Ah, no... not just yet... ~

One was standing and watching through the doorway. The other was seated on a stool,tending to his weapon.

~ What kinda weapon is that? ~

~ It's a macauitl. It's like a broad wooden sword with razor sharp flakes of obsidian set into its edges, so it can be used as either a club or a sword ~

~ Can we blast 'em now? ~

~ I guess so, but I want it done quietly. No screams. We don't want the rest of them down on us yet ~

~ Ok, Bro. Say, do you want 'em dead, or just so's they can get up again? ~

~ Oh, dead, I think ~

Daniel lined his hand up on the seated guard's neck. ~ Shoot! ~

There was a thud as the head hit the floor, followed by a clatter and a second softer thump as first the macauitl and then the rest of the body hit the floor. The second guard spun round, his face aghast at what he saw.

~ Shoot! ~

The second guard crumpled where he stood, his body landing athwart his fellow.

~ Way to go, Bro! You sure are one mean bad-assed trigger-man! ~

Daniel felt a huge rush of euphoria and power over his fellow man.

~ Yeah! I am too! That was fun! ~

He smiled triumphantly, his eyes emitting a bright blue glow.

Then the enormity of it hit him. His knees suddenly refused to support him and he slid down the wall into a heap on the ground.

~ What have I done? Oh God! What have I done...?! ~

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Crown Infernal