by Rebecca Ratliff
DATE: August 2003
ARCHIVE: If I haven't submitted to your archive, please ask. (I'll say yes, I just like to know where it is.)
CATEGORY: A/U Action/adventure, angst, missing scene
SPOILERS: Avenger 2.0
SEASON/SEQUEL INFO: Season Seven. Series sequence: Abyss Novelization, Sirikat, Fields of Gold, A Nice Quiet Week in the Country, Brothers in Arms, Shadows on the Moon, Parada, Light Duty, Snowbound, Planet of the Damned, Nothing Gold, Second Chances, Shell Game, Avenger 2.1
SUMMARY: With the gate network down, O'Neill and Teal'c have to find their own transportation.
DISCLAIMER: All Stargate SG-1 characters are the property of Stargate SG-1 Productions (II) Inc., MGM Worldwide Television Productions Inc., Double Secret Productions, Gekko Film Corp and Showtime Networks Inc. No infringement of those rights is intended. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. Anybody that you don't recognize is probably mine, so if you borrow them please send me an email to let me know where they are and have them home by midnight. :)
FEEDBACK: Much appreciated.
PC2-349 was rapidly making the list of Jack O'Neill's least favorite places. As if getting stranded with a bunch of enemy Jaffa party-crashers wasn't enough, the whole damn place was infested with mosquitos from hell.
Teal'c reported, "Raknor's squad has dealt with the last of the opposition they faced. They are going to help flush the remaining enemy warriors from the swamp in hopes of taking prisoners."
"I hope they can. Ba'al's boys always jump ship as soon as they're sure they can go somewhere he can't get to them."
"Indeed. We should return to the chappa'ai, O'Neill. GeneralHammond will be attempting to contact us soon."
O'Neill reported, "The Jaffa landed the alkesh. They're sending out search patrols. Teal'c and I have organized the rebels for a counter attack."
Hammond replied, "Be advised, Colonel, Major Carter has gone to P5S-117. She's attempting to get the gate system back online."
"P5S--Teal'c, isn't that planet under Ba'al's control?"
O'Neill keyed his radio. "That's occupied territory sir."
Hammond confirmed, "Yes it is."
O'Neill asked, "What team did she take?"
Hammond said, "Major Carter didn't want to risk stranding anyone else."
What? "She went alone?!"
Hammond winced a little, but kept his own misgivings out of his voice. "Not entirely. Doctor Felger's with her."
O'Neill hid a sudden ice-cold terror behind a facade of sarcasm. "I'm inspired with confidence."
He resisted the impulse to kick the useless DHD and tried to box up his fear and frustration. This time he couldn't quite do that. All the hell he had gone through at Ba'al's hands came back as clear as if it had been yesterday. If Sam were captured--no, please God, he didn't need that image in his head.
Teal'c asked, "O'Neill, what do you intend?"
As O'Neill realized there was only one way available to get to 117, he was finally able to focus on getting the job done. "That alkesh is the only way off this rock. I'm taking it."
Teal'c nodded once and fell into step. "There are unlikely to be more than four Jaffa aboard--the pilot, the gunner, and two guards."
"Why aren't they flying close in air support for their ground-pounders? Not that I'm complaining."
Teal'c replied, "An alkesh is expensive. Jaffa lives are cheap."
O'Neill said, "It's high time somebody shot that son of a bitch."
After that, they got quiet and got down to business. Any of the enemy Jaffa who could come up with a good reason for having lost a fight and lived to tell about it might just make for the alkesh--especially if they had done things in Ba'al's service that didn't fall under the heading of soldiers following orders.
O'Neill silently flattened a mosquito as he approached the clearing where the alkesh had landed.
There were two Jaffa on guard right inside the main hatch. With a series of hand signals, he ordered zats and indicated targets. With surprise on their side, they easily dropped the door guards.
That had been the easy part. Now anyone else aboard the bomber had heard the zats. O'Neill threw a flashbang through the hatch and both men ducked inside, ready to shoot anything that moved.
The main bay was empty. Working almost by telepathy after fighting together for so long, they cleared first the cockpit then the rest of the ship.
All hell broke loose as the last two Jaffa decided to go out in a blaze of glory. For a few seconds that lasted a lifetime, there was so much energy in the air that the whole bay glowed blue. When it cleared, both the Jaffa were dead.
O'Neill looked down into the face of a kid no older than Jonathan. "God damn son of a bitch." He wasn't sure if he was damning Ba'al or himself.
"They left us no choice, O'Neill. They feared Ba'al more than death in battle." Teal'c's stoicism somehow did not hide his hatred of the senseless waste of young lives that was the reality of war.
O'Neill put it behind him and drove on, knowing all the while that one more face, one more coat of blood on his hands would haunt his nightmares. "Put 'em out and tell Raknor where to find 'em. I'll get started on the preflight."
Teal'c only inclined his head in answer. They had long since made their choices.
Once they jumped to hyperspace, there was nothing to do but wait for an hour and eleven minutes. Teal'c needed to sleep now that he no longer carried a symbiote, and he had quickly learned the lesson that Tau'ri warriors already knew: Sleep whenever and wherever possible.
O'Neill was glad for once that his knees were giving him hell. It was a distraction from worrying about Carter.
What kind of damn fool idea had it been for Carter to take a one-way trip behind enemy lines with nobody but that idiot Felger to watch her back? And what the hell had Hammond been smoking when he freakin' let them go?
He could almost hear his grandma. "Payin' for your raisin', aren't you now, boyo?" If this was the first installment paying for every time he'd made Hammond wish he still had hair to yank out--it damn well sucked.
Carter could have got more speed out of this crate, he was sure. But Carter wasn't here, she was marooned on a backwater mining planet with about 500 of Ba'al's Jaffa. And there was nothing he could do to get there any faster.
Methodically he rolled up his pants legs and rewrapped his Ace bandages, as tight as necessary to be sure his knees wouldn't go out from under him at a bad time. Then he stripped down his P-90 and cleaned it. Years ago that had become a zen-like action, one he no longer had to think about. After that was done, he went back to his seat in the cockpit.
O'Neill's mind went back to the night he and Carter had nearly frozen to death on that ice age planet. A couple of passionate kisses and some less than saintly intentions interrupted by a rescue...if he closed his eyes he could still feel her embrace, still taste her kiss.
That had been, in seven long years, the only time they had deliberately thrown the regs out the window. And it had probably been the only time they would.
Teal'c wakened when they came out of hyper. He waited tensely with his had near the cloaking device activation control.
"What is it, T?"
"As we come insystem, picket satellites will send a challenge to the ship's computer and await a response," the Jaffa explained.
"So things are gonna get hot if those boys got off a distress call."
"Indeed. We shall know soon."
Both warriors kept their eyes fixed on the HUD. O'Neill started scanning the Goa'uld radio frequencies. "Doesn't sound like anything out of the ordinary's going on down there."
"That is a good sign. Had prisoners of such value been taken, the planet would surely be at a high state of alert."
"Comin' up on the picket satellite," O'Neill said.
They watched in taut anticipation as they passed the satellite, expecting its guns to power up any second. When they didn't, Teal'c raised the shields in re-entry configuration and took them straight for the gate, bleeding off delta vee in streams of fire trailing off the shield's edge.
The heat of re-entry interfered with the ship's sensors. They were almost on top of their destination when O'Neill picked up the energy signatures of staff fire. "Looks like Carter lit 'em up. Hover us right over the gate and hold her steady."
Teal'c brought the alkesh to a dead stop. O'Neill powered up the guns and targeted groups of enemy Jaffa. A couple of seconds of that were enough. Someone sounded retreat and the enemy troops broke for the cover of the forest.
Teal'c set the autopilot and they headed for the rings.
Sam's eyes lit with laughter as Jack fended off Felger's boisterous greeting. "How did you manage this one, sir?"
Jack grinned, "We got tired of waiting."
Carter had Felger grab their gear while she explained what had happened. As mad as he'd been about the unholy chances the pair of them had taken, he couldn't stay angry when he heard the whole story.
"So let me get this straight. Ba'al rewrote your virus and turned it loose on the gate system?"
"Yes sir. It wasn't our fault this time," she replied, thinking back to K'Tau again.
Jack said, "Next time you decide to save the universe, take somebody along to watch your six."
She smiled, glancing up at the alkesh. "It looks like I did, sir."
"Hey, you two head back through the gate. And don't tell anyone about the alkesh. I gotta see the look on the general's face when we spring this baby on him."
"Yes, sir! Teal'c, you know how to disengage the autopilot if it takes control of the guidance system, right?"
O'Neill and Teal'c didn't lift off until Carter and Felger were safely through the stargate. Then, satisfied with a job well done, they headed for home.
Three days later they gathered at Jack's place. Jamie and Brownie were curled up asleep on the couch. Jack watched him sleep while he and Teal'c regaled Sam and Daniel with the surprise they'd given everyone at Groom Lake when they'd brought in the alkesh.
Daniel said, "So Ba'al realized what was happening with the gate system and turned it to his advantage that quickly? That's one damned smart snake."
O'Neill replied with grim satisfaction, "Not that smart. He left the gate on '117 unguarded long enough for Carter and her sidekick to fix it."
"My sidekick? My sidekick?!" Carter yelped.
Jack and Daniel cracked up laughing and even Teal'c thought it was funny.
Carter wondered how long it would take her to live this one down. Parallels with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the Bolivian army resurfaced, and she decided it didn't really matter if she had given everyone a good laugh, as long as the laughter chased the shadows from Jack's eyes.
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