Chapter - 7 'Whoso diggeth a pit...'
Proverbs, ch. 26 v. 27.
Quinn pushed Dr. Fraiser on to the auction platform and stepped up after her. When they both turned around to face potential bidders, they saw several new arrivals at the back of the crowd. The big men were wearing some sort of armour. Jonas gave them his most encouraging smile.
"Oh, my God!" Janet breathed, all the colour draining from her face.
Four of them had a symbol like the astrological sign for Aries tattooed in the middle of their foreheads. Janet had never come across that one before. The fifth had a gold tattoo. No bids were made. The M.C.'s gavel fell and the five Jaffa approached the stage.
Jonas wasn't sure what was going on. Maybe they had a special arrangement. He stepped forward smiling broadly and held out a hand for the money. One of the armoured men grasped the proffered hand and swiftly dragged him into a fireman's lift.
"No, no! It's her you've bought, not me!" Quinn protested, his voice high with indignation and fear.
"Oh, it's you, Buster!" Janet snarled from her position over another Jaffa's shoulder.
Lieutenant Silverwolf and Teal'c led the rescue party down the steep stairway from the plateau and on to the narrow road. S.G. -1 followed the two trackers through the lush woods.
After a while, Teal'c held up his hand, and the Lieutenant left the roadway as the rest halted. Teal'c picked up a heavy branch and examined it.
"Whatcha got there, Teal'c?" the colonel asked.
"This has been used as a weapon fairly recently, O'Neill. There is blood and hair along one side."
"I do not think it belongs to DoctorFraiser, " Teal'c replied calmly. "The hairs are too short."
"Way to go, Janet!" Sam whooped.
"Whoa, Carter," O'Neill cautioned, "we don't know what he may have done to her..."
His Major's face fell in alarm. Lieutenant Silverwolf reappeared from the bushes behind them.
"It appears that the doctor got away and circled around behind her abductor," he reported. "There is no evidence of combat here, other than what Teal'c has found, and crushed leaves and branches where someone fell."
The Jaffa carried Dr. Fraiser and Quinn to a fortified building on the far edge of the town. The latter struggled and whinged all the way, despite Janet's telling him to save his energy - those carrying them couldn't understand him and wouldn't care if they could.
Jonas was particularly uncomfortable because of the box of Naquadriah, which he'd stashed inside his fatigue jacket. One corner of it was sticking sharply into his flesh as he bounced up and down over the slaver's armoured shoulder. On the plus side, the slaver carrying him hadn't noticed Quinn's hidden treasure.
The pair were taken through the gates and into a large airy hall. There they were set down inside a circle, crowded in by the five Jaffa. Quinn freaked as a series of heavy metallic rings dropped down over them.
Colonel O'Neill and co. left the woodland and followed the road through the farmland. They had not gone far when a dark shape appeared from behind the town to which they were headed. O'Neill didn't need his spyglass to recognize the dumpy shape of a teltac.
"Oh, Christ!" he exclaimed. "What's the betting that one or both of 'em are on that thing?"
Following its trajectory, they all realized it was heading for the pyramid. No doubt there would be a mothership somewhere nearby. O'Neill groaned and signalled a return. His knees were not going to appreciate a rapid slog back up the cliff, but if Janet were on board the teltac, it didn't look as if time were on their side. He'd just have to grin and bear it.
The teltac landed close to the pyramid, on the opposite side from the Stargate, and the door slid open. Quinn and Dr. Fraiser were hustled out. Jonas was still whingeing. One of the Jaffa, who had clearly had enough of his unintelligible complaints, back-handed him across the face, splitting his lip and making his nose bleed.
"Ngk!" Jonas whimpered, tears of pain starting to his eyes as he clutched his bloody nose. "What was that for?"
"I think they want you to shut the Hell up," Janet snapped with a scowl. "They aren't alone in that."
Jonas subsided into simmering indignation as he and the doctor were escorted across the plateau towards the pyramid. A broad flight of stone steps took them up to the entrance. A cool dimly lit passageway led into the interior. The pair were taken through a dizzying maze of corridors and parked in a small gilded chamber. The First Prime, with three Jaffa in his wake, stalked off, leaving the fourth - the one who'd struck Jonas - to activate the force shield.
Quinn, resentment still smouldering, chose this moment for revenge.
"Don't do anything" Janet began as he yanked the M9 from his pocket.
Her abductor fired at the Jaffa. His shot passed nanoseconds before the shield came down. Amazingly, it hit its target. Blood splattered from the Jaffa's shoulder.
Dr. Fraiser moved smartly away from Quinn, raising her hands in submission as the First Prime returned. He turned off the force shield. Before Quinn could take aim again, another Jaffa pointed a strange snaky-looking device at him and fired. Jonas collapsed in a twitching heap as an electric blue charge sizzled through his body. The Jaffa entered and removed the side arm, then frisked Janet, but found nothing on her. The First Prime then secured the chamber and both Jaffa left.
"Oh, great," Janet muttered, looking down with loathing at the fallen Colonan. "Just... peachy!"
Chapter - 8 '...or the leopard his spots?'
Jeremiah, ch. 13 v. 23.
The rescue party plunged into the lush woodland as the teltac flew overhead. Its passage spurred them onwards along the road to the plateau. Although the heat was abating as the afternoon wore on, the long slog up the steps sapped their energy as did the crippling fear that they were already too late. O'Neill brought up the rear. He didn't want to slow the pace of his younger team members.
Major Li, taking point, peered cautiously over the edge of the plateau as he reached the top of the steps. The teltac was parked on the opposite side of the pyramid from the Stargate. Apart from a small sand lizard going about its lawful business, there was no sign of life.
As the rest of the team reached the top, they ran towards the pyramid where they would be out of sight of anyone leaving either it or the teltac. O'Neill was, by now, seriously considering joint replacement on both knees. He sent Teal'c and Lieutenant Silverwolf to reconn. the area between the teltac and the pyramid.
Teal'c immediately noticed the small amount of fresh blood just outside the teltac. He and Silverwolf followed the footprints and occasional drops of blood to the pyramid steps then summoned the rest.
"There are five Jaffa and two sets of other prints, O'Neill. From the sizes and the pattern on the soles, it would not be unreasonable to surmise that they belong to DoctorFraiser and to JonasQuinn."
"Someone has been injured," Lt. Silverwolf continued, "though probably not seriously."
O'Neill's mouth tightened into a thin, hard line. Quinn was so going to pay for this little escapade if a certain black-ops. colonel got his hands on him...
While Quinn was unconscious, Janet took the precaution of relieving him of the anaesthetic gun and the ampoules of narcotics. Having confiscated the M9, the Jaffa had searched no further but moved on to Dr. Fraiser. Presumably, as these Jaffa were unknown to her, the Tau'ri were unknown to them.
Janet contemplated how they would have appeared to the Jaffa. She and Quinn were not dressed like the natives of the planet but would Jaffa necessarily register differences in 'fashion' among those whom they considered a sub-species? Possibly not. The M9 was a bit of a giveaway though. This world, like most - all? - goa'uld controlled planets, was technologically backward. Why hadn't they - or the First Prime at least - shown any interest in it? And in how Quinn had come by it?
One answer occurred to her and she didn't like it one little bit.
Teal'c led the rescue party up the steps and into the pyramid. Grimly he noted that every few paces was another spot of blood. Once inside, O'Neill removed his shades and the group waited a little while until their eyes became accustomed to the dim light after the brilliant sunshine outside.
Cautiously they advanced along the long straight passageway into the interior. Suddenly, they heard the familiar clanking sound of marching Jaffa. There was nowhere to hide and no chance of escaping unseen. Instinctively, they pressed themselves close to the walls and waited, weapons poised...
Quinn groaned as consciousness painfully returned.
"What happened? Where am I?" he moaned.
"You were zatted by a Jaffa," Dr. Fraiser informed him unsympathetically.
"What?" he asked in bemused tones.
Janet brusquely filled him in with the salient details.
"So I hope you're satisfied now?" she finished acidly.
"Oh, I'm sure we can come to some agreement," he replied with great confidence, patting the naquadria still safe inside his jacket.
"You just don't get it, do you?" Janet snapped in mounting frustration. "These are not people you can bargain with. You can't bribe them. You can't threaten them. They take what they want, and if you get in the way, they'll kill you."
In the distance came sounds of staff weapons firing. And automatic fire. Janet breathed a sigh of relief. They had come for her.
Quinn's eye opened wide in alarm. Fears chased each other round his head - Jaffa? - Tau'ri? - Colonans? Whoever? They were coming for him...
In the background, the sounds of battle ceased.
Quinn reached for his pocket. Then he noticed the M9 was missing. And the anaesthetics. He looked suspiciously at Dr. Fraiser. She shrugged.
"The Jaffa..." she said, not exactly lying but not telling the whole truth either.
"You've got them, haven't you?" he demanded, advancing menacingly towards her.
She backed away as his hands reached out to grab her...
Chapter - 9 'The Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath...'
Revelation, ch. 12 v. 12.
O'Neill strode into the cell like an avenging demon once Teal'c had turned off the force field.
Jonas spun round in horror. His face collided with O'Neill's fist. A tooth flew out.
"That's for Janet!" he snarled as Quinn hurtled backwards into the cell wall.
The Colonan rebounded and met a powerful right hook.
"And that's for Daniel!"
Quinn spun completely around. Giddy lights flashed across his vision as he crashed into the wall again.
"Sir, General Hamm " Carter began, concerned but impressed nonetheless.
"Resisting arrest..." O'Neill hissed with profound satisfaction. "Bring it on, Quinn!"
Jonas was slowly sliding down the wall. One eye was rapidly closing. Jack grasped Quinn's jacket. He yanked the abductor to his feet again and smacked his face - hard - on both cheeks. O'Neill spoke quietly, yet with infinitely more menace.
"Don't you ever..." - smack - "...ever..." - smack - "...cross my..." - smack - "...path again..." - smack - "...or I will definitely kill you..."
He pulled Quinn closer until they were almost nose to nose.
"Understood?!" he barked.
He underlined the message with a powerful body blow to Quinn's solar plexus. The building itself seemed to shudder from the impact. Jonas, breathless, toppled to the floor. O'Neill shook his fist in sudden pain. He'd hit the box of naquadria...
The building continued to rumble.
"Shit!" O'Neill exclaimed. "Mother ship! ...Moving out! Li, get the naquadria. Teal'c, fetch Quinn. Let's go, folks."
They had left the cell at the double, Teal'c dragging an inert Quinn along by the collar. Now, they were half-way along a corridor approaching the T-junction with the long passageway to the entrance. The corridor that they were in formed the top bar of the 'T'.
Suddenly, squad of Jaffa appeared at the other end of the corridor. Ducking and weaving, Silverwolf, Li and Teal'c dived for the main passageway while the rest ran back around the last corner. Teal'c took a staff-weapon blast to his shoulder and had to drop Quinn along the way.
Under covering fire laid down by the Jaffa, two figures hastened across the far end of the corridor where there appeared to be another T-junction. They were richly clad, but stooped as if with great age.
S.G. -1 were gradually gaining the upper hand when one of the Jaffa threw some sort of gas grenade. It landed near the junction. The three taking cover there attempted to flee but hadn't gone many paces before unconsciousness took them. The others, further away, were less affected. They were disoriented and their legs buckled under them, but they remained semi-conscious.
The Jaffa advanced purposefully down the corridor, stepping over fallen comrades. The First Prime, bearing the marks of their previous encounter, led the way. Satisfied that the nearer group of attackers were out of the picture and could be left till later, he had two of his men drag Quinn away. He then strode purposefully up the corridor and rounded the corner, followed by two more Jaffa. There, he pointed to Dr. Fraiser.
The two Jaffa stepped over the inert forms of Carter and O'Neill to where she lay. Each slid a hand under an armpit and roughly pulled the limp form upright. As she rose from the floor, her floppy right arm continued to fly upwards. Something in her hand hit the Jaffa's cheek. He crumpled as the shot of etorphine took effect.
His weight, combined with Janet's, unbalanced his fellow. The other Jaffa let go. It was that or be pulled off his feet. As the doctor landed with a thump on her victim, Carter and O'Neill raised their zats and fired...
Colonel O'Neill dragged himself to the corner and peered round. He saw Quinn being dragged out of sight at the other end of the corridor. Fighting back nausea, he struggled to his feet then gave Carter and Fraiser a hand up.
"You both O.K.?" he wheezed.
"Think so, Sir," his major coughed, then barfed over the First Prime.
"Eeeuuwww! Messy, Carter!" O'Neill said, pulling a face.
"'S okay, I'll clear it up," he muttered and fired his zat again, twice. "See? No problem."
He looked over at Dr. Fraiser.
"How about you?"
Janet nodded, tears standing in her eyes.
"I'm O.K.," she whispered, "and thank you!"
Jack grinned fondly at her.
"You did good, doctor," he smiled.
Cautiously, the three made their way to the junction. Teal'c, Li and Silverwolf were just beginning to stir. They did not look well, but all declared they were 'good to go'. O'Neill insisted that Dr. Fraiser stay behind with Teal'c whose wound needed tidying up a little. With Carter taking point, the rest made their way silently up the corridor to where O'Neill saw Quinn disappear.
It was another T-junction. To the right, at the end of the short passage, was an empty room. To the left was a large well-lit chamber. Inside the chamber were several Jaffa and two goa'uld - a bent old man and a tiny woman. The old man was leaning into the sarcophagus. Of Quinn there was no sign.
The four Tau'ri stepped to the passage and opened up with P90s. In front of them a force field shimmered and shivered - but held. Behind them came the booming clang of descending transport rings. O'Neill swore.
"Back to the Stargate," he ordered, "not risking my kids' lives..."
Lobbing a grenade into the transporter room, O'Neill and his team headed for home.
General Hammond was there to welcome the team back, as was his custom. He was delighted to see Janet again and concerned for Teal'c despite his stoical demeanour. When Colonel O'Neill, the last to arrive, stepped through the event horizon - alone - Hammond gave him a piercing stare. Jack returned an insouciant smile.
"I will not ask right now, Colonel O'Neill," Hammond frowned, "but we will debrief at your very earliest convenience."
"There you are, gentlemen," Colonel O'Neill said smoothly, sliding a battered box across the briefing room table to Caleb Strong, the Colonan Defence Minister. "Sorry we couldn't bring you Quinn as well, but hey, 'two out three ain't bad'..."
"Where is the traitor, Quinn?" demanded Silas Blick of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
"Now that, I couldn't tell you, sir," O'Neill said apologetically. "He fell into the hands of some new System Lord - well, a very old System Lord, actually. We couldn't break through the force field to get our hands on Quinn - if he was, as I believe, in that chamber - and we had more Jaffa ringing down from this snakehead's mother ship, so-o-o I figured it was best to get our people out while we still could. Sorry if you have a problem with that, gentlemen?"
"Do we know who this System Lord is, Colonel?" General Hammond asked.
"No Sir," O'Neill responded gravely.
He gazed into the middle distance, eyes unfocussed. His face took on a melancholy aspect, lines more deeply etched.
"Daniel would have known," he said sadly.
Across the stillness that pervaded the room came a soft whisper.
In the pyramid, the old man's body slithered from the sarcophagus on to the floor. A Jaffa kicked away the desiccated husk which crumbled to dust within the rich garments. He looked into the sarcophagus where lay his master in his new body. The glowing eyes flew open and the lips parted in a dazzling smile..."