Violence, potential trigger for sexual violence!
“Jack?” The archeologist looked up from his notes, eyebrows raised. As though he didn’t know exactly what was up.
“Time’s up. Pack up all this stuff.” Jack waved around with his P-90, indicating the mess of notes, pictures and books on the grass next to the group of pillars with inscriptions Daniel’d spent the last six hours analyzing.
“Jack, I don’t think you understand the meaning of this. This is our first real clue to the Ancients. These inscriptions, they speak of a—”
“Ah.” Jack frowned at him. “Daniel, I’m not in the mood for a discussion. Pack up, we can come back here later. Until then, you can analyze the stuff you already copied. Which looks like a lot.”
Daniel opened his mouth, undoubtedly to contradict him again, and Jack scowled. “We’ve been here for over six hours. The trip back to the gate’s gonna take at least three. So pack up.”
The archeologist folded his arms and narrowed his eyes. “You know, sometimes I wonder if you do this just to annoy me. We can take the window back in another six hours, you could just radio camp that—”
“No, Jack, don’t you see? This could be the key. This wall speaks of technology, a ship that’s beyond anything we’ve ever seen before. And it’s supposed to be here.”
“You’re defying a direct order.”
“I suppose I am.” Daniel straightened and glared at him. Well, this was new. “Come on, Jack. You could return and just leave me and Sam here. We’ve been on this planet before. There’s nothing here to warrant full armed security.”
Jack turned impatiently. “Carter!”
Twenty meters away, Sam jumped up and looked at him, then came trudging over.
“Pack up, we’re gonna leave.”
“What? No, sir.”
Jack’s brows climbed. “No, sir?”
She paled and swallowed visibly. “With all due respect…sir.”
Jack smirked inwardly. One of these days he’d have to teach her that adding sir or with all due respect didn’t nullify insubordination. “Wasn’t I still in charge last time I checked?” He looked from her to Daniel, then back to her.
“Sir.” Her voice was small. “I just managed to access a hidden panel in the inscription wall. If I can connect that to our computers and bypass—”
“Oh, for crying out loud.” Jack frowned at her, and she fell silent. “We’ll come back. There’s no way I’m leaving you two out here on your own to study these damn rocks. So let’s all go back and gather a science team. You can return, and spend days out here if you want.” He scowled at them. “And in case you confuse this for an optional request, let me clarify. It’s not.”
Sam’s shoulders slumped. “Yes, sir.” Then she turned to pack up. Well, at least somebody still remembered the command structure.
“Jack.” Daniel still looked unwilling to follow his order. “You know as well as I do, it’s not a priority for us to send a science team back here to investigate. Even if we had the resources. As it is, it might take months before we can return, and who knows if this will still be here then.”
“Listen, Daniel.” Jack rubbed his temples. “Maybe we’ve gotten a bit off course lately. Understandable, with our efforts at finding information about the Ancients. But in case you’ve forgotten, our mission is not to explore and study every rock we find. We need to find allies and technology. I see neither of those things here. Do you?”
Damn, he’d had a headache ever since they’d stepped through the gate this morning, and the boredom of the past few hours had only added to it.
“Jack, what’s six more hours?” Daniel sighed. “The next team isn’t scheduled to leave until tomorrow, so we wouldn’t even be delaying anything.”
“For what purpose?”
“If that ship’s still here, and we can find it, you would get the technology you’re searching for.”
“If that ship is out there?” Jack frowned. “You know, if is exactly what we can’t keep wasting our time on.”
Daniel rolled his eyes. God, he was getting ready to throw another argument at him, wasn’t he? At this rate, they’d spend the next six hours standing here discussing this.
“Fine.” His mood dropped. Why did he even bother trying to reason with Daniel? Though, if they actually found the technology he described, that might be worth a second look. “Six more hours. But if you haven’t found it by then, we’re leaving.”
He turned and marched over to Sam. She organized her doohickeys and carefully placed them in transportation boxes. “Carter.” Her head snapped up at his voice. “Unpack again.”
Her beaming smile made his stomach flip-flopped. Now, if he’d known he’d get this reaction, Daniel wouldn’t even have needed to waste his breath on an argument.
He smirked. “Don’t get too carried away. In six hours we’ll leave. No discussion.”
Heart pounding, Sam watched as Jack trudged away from them towards the forest in the distance.
“Sir!” He turned. “Where are you going?”
“Back to the gate. Somebody’s gotta inform camp before they declare us missing.”
She straightened. “That’s a three hour walk at least.”
“Yeah, well, at least it’ll give me something to do. You just keep an eye on each other.” He winked at her.
“Understood, sir. Have fun.”
Grinning, he turned his back to her. “Yeah, sure, ya betcha. And you, knock yourself out. Go bonkers with your, um, little doohickeys.”
She focused her attention back on her computer. It had only been a couple of days since they’d decided to try dating. So far, it seemed to be going so well. Nothing had really changed in their working relationship, except he seemed to be smiling at her a lot more, cracking jokes and trying to make her laugh.
She loved sharing his bed at night, even though they hadn’t slept together yet. Last night, when his kisses had turned heated, she’d definitely wanted to take the next step.
His consideration melted her heart. If only she knew how to tell him she wanted to take it further.
She took out the device she’d just packed and reconnected all the cables to the circuits on the pillar.
Hours or minutes passed by. She wasn’t sure, but when she heard steps behind her, she knew it couldn’t have been five hours yet.
“Well, you were fast.” She turned, smiling, expecting Jack.
Her heart stopped. A Jaffa warrior stood before her, almost a head taller than her. Sam reached for her weapon.
Too late. She gritted her teeth against a scream when the discharge of a lightening gun hit her. Then all went black.
“Ugh.” Groaning, Sam turned over on the cold floor. Every bone in her body ached, the movement shooting thousands of needles up her spine. “Oh, God.”
Jack. She fought to lift herself up and looked around. Jack sat on a golden bench set into the wall. The room was small, the walls solid. Pictograms were carved into the golden material all around them. The architecture rang a bell. She’d read about this in one of the older resistance reports. A Goa’uld prison cell…
Her legs shook as she lifted herself to her feet.
Jack leaned his head against the wall. “For the record, next time I give the order to leave, I’ll shoot whoever even thinks about contradicting.”
“What happened?” She closed her eyes against a stinging headache and ran her fingers across her forehead. Just to make sure she didn’t have a severe head injury.
“They surprised me as I was walking back to the gate.” He sat up. “I take it same thing happened to you?”
“Yes.” She nodded. “I didn’t even hear them approach until they were right behind me.” Damn, she’d let her guard down. They’d been on an alien planet, and when she’d heard the steps behind her, she hadn’t even for a moment assumed it might be a hostile.
Jack growled. “Luckily, this time they seem to be more interested in taking prisoners than normally, judging by the fact that we’re still alive.”
Sam stumbled over to the door and placed her palms against the golden wall next to it. Then she reached down to her hip for her knife. Nothing… Gun? Nothing. “Sir, they took my weapons.”
“Yeah.” He gave her a blank look. “I noticed that.”
She flinched. Stating the obvious had always rubbed him the wrong way. She looked at Daniel, who stirred, then back to the door. No handle, which meant it was controlled by some kind of circuit.
“Won’t open.” Jack’s voice interrupted her attempts. “I already tried it.”
“Well.” Sam scanned the wall carefully. “I assume they don’t open a door like this by hand. There must be a control panel somewhere in the wall to trigger the opening mechanism.” She felt along the wall, then came across a little panel that stuck out. “I need something to open this.”
“They took everything.” Jack leaned forward.
She looked around for a moment, then down at her feet. Maybe they hadn’t… She reached down to her ankle, and her face lit up. “No, they didn’t.” With a grin, she unsheathed the knife she carried at her ankle.
Jack’s eyes widened. “Backup knife?”
“Always be prepared for the unexpected.” She threw the words he’d used during training back at him.
Jack smirked then jumped to his feet. “You go, girl.”
The knife slid off the corner of the panel. Damn. Sam winced. The blade was too thick. She’d have to be more careful.
Daniel groaned. “What the hell happened?”
“Some Goa’uld caught us. Carter’s trying to get us out.”
Sam narrowed her eyes. The metal paneling came loose, then opened. Crystals blinked behind it. “If I can gain access to the door control and short-circuit—”
“Don’t you think it’s a bit more complicated than that?” Daniel asked, groaning as he sat up. Sam turned her head and scowled at him. “Come on.” The archeologist sighed. “This is a prison. How effective would it be if we could just open the wall on the inside and bypass the door-circuit?”
“He’s got a point, you know.” Jack grimaced.
“Yeah, well.” She carefully put the panel down on the ground. Heavy. Probably made of real gold. Unlike Earth, most planets in the galaxy had an abundance of the metal. “It doesn’t hurt to try. Maybe they underestimate our intelligence. Most species we’ve encountered so far weren’t even close to our technological level.”
She touched one of the crystals. Stinging pain jolted through her wrists, and little sparks shot off the circuit. She flinched against the pain. “Damn, I wish I knew more about Goa’uld technology. I have no clue what I’m doing.”
She reached into the small opening. If she only touched the top of the crystal, she should be fine. Maybe she could pull it out, see what happened. She tried to loosen it, to no avail.
The door next to her opened with a whizzing sound. She took a hasty step back, eyes widening.
Jack jumped up. “Well done, Carter.”
“Um, sir. I don’t think that was…” She didn’t get to complete the sentence.
Two Jaffa warriors entered, followed by a tall, dark haired man. His bronze skin glistened in the orange light radiating from the walls. His hands were folded behind his back. His face reflected arrogance as his eyes scanned them. Then his lips tugged into a self-serving smirk.
“Well, well. What have we here?” He rose his eyebrows at Sam and the open wall panel. “Who are you?”
“No, who are you?” Jack took a step toward him.
The man’s eyes glowed momentarily. Sam swallowed. A Goa’uld.
“I’m System Lord Ba’al. I claim this planet for my territory. It’s uninhabited, so who are you?” The menacing friendliness in his voice sent shivers down her spine. He eyed them one by one. Then he stopped and rested his gaze on her. She swallowed hard and looked at Jack.
Jack cleared his throat. “We’re SG-1. From a small planet near the edge of the galaxy. You probably don’t know it. Lots of water? Grim people called the Aschen claiming it for themselves at the moment?”
“I see.” Ba’al’s face darkened. He stalked around Sam, leering down at her body. Then he stood in front of her. She flinched when his hand brushed over her cheek, then along the side of her head to fist in her hair.
Trying to wriggle out of his grasp, she glared at him.
“Why don’t you tell us what you want?” Jack sounded completely calm.
Ba’al released her, and turned towards him. Sam glanced at him, thankful for the distraction. Jack signaled her to get away from the door and behind him. She hurried past the Goa’uld and stood next to him.
“What I want is for you to tell me why the Aschen are showing interest in this planet.”
Jack shrugged. “This has to be a misunderstanding.”
“Yes.” Daniel took a step forward and pushed his glasses up on his nose. “We’re not Aschen. Nor are we acting on their behalf.”
“I find that hard to believe.” The Goa’uld gave a sarcastic laugh. “You look more like Aschen spies.”
“No, no we’re really not.” Daniel sighed. “We didn’t know this planet was part of your territory. We never saw any sign of life here, and we certainly didn’t mean to intrude on—”
“What’s the name of your planet?” Ba’al paced up and down, his dark stare never leaving them. His eyes narrowed as he first circled Jack, and then walked over to Daniel to scrutinize him. None of them showed any inclination to answer him. “The Aschen are your Gods?”
“Um.” Jack held Ba’al’s gaze, face blank. “There are no Gods on our planet. Well, the Aschen sometimes think they’re Gods, but thinking you’re a God, and actually being one… Well, who am I talking to here?”
Sam swallowed hard and stared at him. How could he take this so lightly, challenging the Goa’uld this way? Wasn’t he scared?
Jack shrugged. “Hey, listen… um…” He stopped, as though he’d fogotten the guy’s name.
“Ba’al,” the Goa’uld snapped.
“Listen, Ba’al, we didn’t know this was your planet. So why don’t we just each go our separate ways? No hard feelings. I promise, we’ll leave, and you’ll never even see us again. Oh, and if you don’t mind returning our weapons to us? That’d be swell.”
Ba’al stared at him. “Impudence.” He turned to the two Jaffa. “Jaffa, kre. Take the female and get her cleaned up. She’ll make a wonderful addition to my collection of private slaves.”
Ice poured into Sam’s veins when the two Jaffa came towards her. She took a step back.
“Hey, wait a minute.” Jack stepped in front of her. “I thought we were negotiating our release.”
“Out of my way, human.” The Jaffa growled and shoved him aside.
When he reached out to grab Sam’s arm, Jack jumped forward. He twisted the warrior’s arm and brought him to the ground with a well-placed close-combat move. Before he could tackle the second one, the telltale click of a lightening gun made them all freeze. Ba’al smirked darkly, pointing the weapon at Jack.
Blood rushed in Sam’s ears. “No.” She stumbled in front of him, her hands raised in defeat. A second shot from the lightening gun might prove fatal. For him as well as her. “No, please. I’ll go with you.”
“Carter.” Jack grabbed her arm, holding her in place when she tried to step towards Ba’al. He glowered at the Goa’uld. “I’m her commanding officer. Whatever you wanna tell her, you can say to me.”
Ba’al laughed grimly. “Don’t worry, I won’t turn her into a host. I might even return her to you once I’m done with her. Provided you give me the information I want.”
Once he was done with her? Oh, God. Blood drained from Sam’s face. Surely, he was just trying to scare them. Goa’uld normally had no sexual interest in human women. They regarded them as slaves.
Ba’al circled them. “Of course, you could make it easy on her, and yourself, and just tell me why the Aschen sent you.”
“Oh, fer cryin’ out loud.” Jack rolled his eyes.
Daniel stepped forward. “Maybe we got off on the wrong foot. I assure you, we’re not Aschen spies. We’re members of a resistance on a planet called Earth. We’re enemies of the Aschen.”
“Daniel.” Eyebrows raised, Jack stared at the archeologist. Sam swallowed. Since when did they tell aliens where they were from? Or about the resistance? Yeah, Jack would have his ass for that breach of protocol.
“Jack.” Daniel turned to him. “He’s an enemy of the Aschen, and usually, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” He eyed Ba’al. “We hate the Aschen as passionately as you. Which opens up some interesting possibilities. We could help each other in the future.”
“Daniel.” Jack’s voice took on a harder edge.
“What the hell are you doing? I won’t fight one devil by teaming up with another. Besides, since when do you make decisions like this?”
“Well, the situation requires more than your sarcasm. Ba’al is one of the most powerful system lords.”
“I don’t care who he is. Or thinks he is. Over my dead body.”
“Enough!” Ba’al’s rumble echoed in the small room. Sam had to suppress a smirk. Surely, he wasn’t used to humans treating him so…ungodly. “You must take me for a fool to believe I’d fall for something as ridiculous as that. You.” He pointed at Sam. “With me.”
Sam folded her arms and glared at him. Ba’al growled and lifted the lightening gun again. “You’ll come with me, or I’ll kill them, and then I’ll take you by force.”
Chills ran down her spine. He would be capable of doing that, wouldn’t he? Maybe she should comply. If she got out of this cell, she’d be able to search for a way out. As things were, it didn’t look like they’d have a chance of escaping otherwise. “I’ll go with you.”
Jack’s grip on her arm tightened. “Sam.”
She turned and touched his arm. “I’ll be okay.” That certainly sounded more self-confident than she felt. She looked into his eyes. “I’ll be able to assess the situation.”
For an eternity, he held her gaze, then he gave her wrist a gentle squeeze. “You sure?”
“I can handle it, sir. I’ll be fine.”
“Okay. Go. But be careful. No unnecessary risks.”
She nodded. Her hand slipped out of his when the two Jaffa grabbed her, one on either side of her.
“Ba’al, I swear, if you hurt her, I’ll kill you with my bare hands.”
Jack’s threat echoed after her, and her stomach tightened when Ba’al gave a loud, arrogant laugh. The door rumbled closed behind her. Then, silence.
She was alone. All alone, with two Jaffa and a Goa’uld.
Sam flinched when the Jaffa’s grip on her naked arm tightened. Releasing an impatient grunt, he shoved her through the door into a room. She stumbled and turned, but before she could say or do anything, the heavy door slid closed.
“Let me out.” She hit the metal with her fists, but it didn’t budge. And she couldn’t even access the wall panel since they’d taken everything from her. Literally everything.
Sam looked down at the semi-transparent silk skirt barely covering her legs, then crossed her arms over her chest. The short top ending right under her breasts barely hid anything. Sighing, she leaned against the wall and looked around.
Most of the room was taken up by a large bed that stood with its head against one of the walls. Gold-trimmed boxes and small freestanding shelves holding all kinds of pompous looking decorations stood here and there about the room.
A bedroom? Well, at least they wanted her to be comfortable. Releasing a grim chuckle, she paced over to the bed. If she wrapped the blanket around herself, at least she wouldn’t feel so damn naked. She reached out, then wrinkled her nose and sniffed her arm. The scent of oils and ointments they’d spread over her skin after the bath she’d been forced to take wafted up sickeningly sweet.
If only she could take another bath to get that stuff off her. She startled when the door at the far end of the room opened.
Ba’al stepped inside, his eyebrows climbing and a smirk crossing his lips when he spotted her. “Extraordinarily beautiful, now that you look like a woman.”
What a double-edged compliment. She glared at him and straightened, folding her arms. “What do you want?”
Ba’al closed the door and went to one of the tables. He eyed her, as he poured red liquid resembling wine into two of the chalices standing on a golden tray.
“All I want is answers…for now.” He picked up the goblets and stalked towards her. She swallowed hard and took a step back. When he reached one of his hands out, she hesitated and then took the chalice he offered. Either he had no regard for personal space, or he ignored hers on purpose.
“You haven’t even asked any questions yet.” She put the drink down on the shelf next to her. Like she’d drink anything this Goa’uld offered her. Least of all alcohol.
Ba’al chuckled, and his dark eyes gleamed. “Those weapons of yours. They don’t look like Aschen weapons.”
Sam glared at him. If he wanted information, she sure as hell wouldn’t give him any.
“You came through the Chappa’ai, you say?”
“Yes.” Perceptive, wasn’t he? “As you correctly stated before, we don’t live on this planet.”
“Where do you come from?” Ba’al took a step toward her and reached out to run his index finger across her arm.
Shuddering, she jerked away from his touch. “My friend already told you. Our planet is called Earth. Maybe you should have this conversation with my commanding officer rather than me.” She held her breath when the back of his hand grazed her cheek.
“I meant the address for the Chappa’ai, my sweet. Do you really expect me to believe this nonsense about an Aschen resistance?” He leaned forward, his nose nuzzling her hair, and inhaled. “The women on your planet must be magnificent indeed if you’re any indication of the standard.”
“Take your hands off me.” Her voice came out barely a hiss. Ba’al smirked, then let her go with a gracious hand gesture.
“Answer my questions, and I could be persuaded to be very forthcoming.” He sat down in a chair in the corner of the room, leaning back with his arms spread out. Something about the way he leered at her made her want to vomit.
“We didn’t lie about the resistance. Our group has been operating in the shadows for almost a hundred years. Mostly on our own planet, in efforts to free ourselves from the Aschen occupation.”
His stare intensified. Sam rubbed her palms on the silky material of her skirt, then crossed her arms again. The Goa’uld seemed to have no intention of letting her go. He also didn’t appeared to believe her. Her stomach tightened. Maybe she’d been a bit premature when she’d assured Jack she’d be able to handle this.
“What are you doing on other planets? If you were part of a local resistance, shouldn’t you coordinate most of your efforts on your own planet?” Ba’al took a sip of the red liquid.
“We’re looking for technology or allies to help us in our fight.” No reason to lie there. So far, nothing she’d said was of any value.
“Sam.” She narrowed her eyebrows at the intimate use of her name. “Wasn’t that your name, darling?”
“It’s Carter for you.”
“You don’t expect me to believe a race as primitive as yours could manage to form a working resistance, do you?”
She gave a bitter laugh and shook her head. “Look, we didn’t even know this was your planet. Besides, if we were Aschen spies, do you think we would let you capture us that easily?”
Ba’al got up and strolled towards her. “All I know is, there is no such thing as a resistance against the Aschen. Not among humans, at least.”
Sam took another step back. Her back hit the cold wall with its engraved pictograms. Damn, she’d run out of room. Now her only choice was to go from defense to offense.
Ba’al didn’t falter. “Still persisting in your lie. You’d be better off confessing that you are spies. I still wouldn’t let you go, but it would make your life a lot more pleasant.”
“I’m not—” Her breath lodged in her throat when he pulled her against his chest.
“You’re mine now. Maybe I should send a thank you note to my Aschen enemies for sending such a beautiful spy as a gift. I think you’ll make a truly wonderful addition to my harem.” His hand tangled in her hair. She tried to fight the nausea overcoming her and wanted to shift away from him. “Your hair is as golden as the sun. And your eyes… I love the fire in them.”
“Bastard.” She twisted her arm out of his grasp while at the same time using his surprise to aim her fist at his face.
Ba’al’s hand closed around her wrist in a steel-like grip. “I will forgive your insolence this time. Guard your tongue and control your temper, or I will throw you to my Jaffa warriors for entertainment. Let’s see how cooperative you’ll be after spending a few hours in their company.”
Blood drained from her face.
“You’re mine, and you’ll do as I command.”
“I belong to nobody.” She gritted her teeth against an outcry when his fingers grabbed her hair and yanked her head back.
“You belong to me. I am your God.” His gaze burned into hers. His lips tugged into a smirk of cold arrogance. Cruel and relentless. She closed her eyes. “Say it…”
She pressed her lips together. No matter what he did, she would not acknowledge him as a god. Her eyes snapped open when his warm hand wrapped around her neck, his thumb caressing her pulse point.
“I could kill you so easily. It wouldn’t take much effort to snap that slender neck of yours.” His breath slithered damp across her cheek. She didn’t dare move. No doubt he was capable of doing just that. According to resistance reports, Goa’uld were stronger than the average human man. If he wanted to kill her, he could do so in a heartbeat.
“Say that I am your God.”
She studied his face. Arrogant and self-serving—but not a killer. Killing her would get him nowhere. On the contrary, it’d mean defeat for him if he didn’t manage to break her spirit first. This man was maniacally addicted to people worshipping him. Maybe she could use that to her advantage.
“Kill me.” She glared at him, jaw clenched. “But I will never bow down to you.”
His eyes glowed briefly and his fingers around her throat tightened.
Oh, God, what if she’d misjudged him? What if he’d actually snap her neck? A smile crossed the Goa’uld’s face.
“I like your courage. You’d make an excellent queen. What do you say?” He leaned in, his mouth brushing her cheek. Sam closed her eyes when his breath fanned her skin. He smelled like myrrh, cinnamon, and something sweet she couldn’t quite define. Much like the ointments they’d put on her skin. The scent nauseated her. “I can give you power and a very long life. I’ll give you servants. I’ll place the entire galaxy at your feet.”
“Half the galaxy, you mean.” She gave him a sarcastic smile. “Half of it belongs to the Aschen.”
Rage flashed across his face. Surely, the Aschen rule over the galaxy had to be a sore spot to his ego. How did he justify his inability to defeat them to his Jaffa? Weren’t Gods almighty?
His grip on her throat tightened and she winced, gasping for air.
“I can smell your fear.” Ba’al pressed a kiss against her cheek. “Play brave and courageous all you want, but I can feel your body tremble against me.”
Yes, she was scared. But she’d never give him the satisfaction of admitting that to him.
“This experience can either be very satisfying for you…” He loosened his grip around her neck and ran his hand through her short hair, then yanked her head back again. “…or it can be unpleasant. Your choice.”
His fingers slipped under the hem of her skirt. She scowled at him. She wouldn’t succumb. He was gonna hurt her anyway, and she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of breaking.
Ba’al grinned. “So you decided to play the rebel. You know, I’ve always had a preference for wild women. It’s so much more fun to tame them, and subjugating them comes with so much more satisfaction than it does from a woman who’s already willing to serve. Wouldn’t you agree?”
He pressed his mouth to hers in a hard kiss. She yelped and tried to push him away, but his grip was too strong. His greedy tongue shoved past her lips, ran along hers. His hand in her hair prevented her from breaking contact. Disgusting.
She struggled, and did the only thing she was capable of. She bit him.
With a grunt, he snapped his head back and ran the back of his hand over his mouth. Red streaked his lips. Satisfaction flooded through her. That’s what you get for trying to force yourself on me, bastard.
“You insolent little wench.” Yanking her hair, he dragged her across the room, and threw her down onto the large bed. The air left her lungs when she landed on the mattress. Gritting her teeth against a scream, Sam kicked against his chest, then turned on her hands and knees to crawl to the other side.
Ba’al’s hands wrapped like iron clasps around her ankles, and with a forceful tug, he pulled her back onto the bed.
“No.” She fisted her hands and kicked at him. Ba’al winced in pain, then his eyes flared.
“Stop it. Woman. Stop!”
The hell she would. She managed to kick him off her, then slid out from under him. When he grabbed her arm to drag her back, she turned and slammed her fist into his eye. He tumbled backwards, giving her enough time to roll out of bed and jump up.
But he caught himself quickly, surprising her when he grabbed her nape, spun her around, and slapped her hard across the face. Head spinning, she hit the hard floor. Pain jolted through her cheek and light flashed in front of her eyes. Dazed and disoriented, she moaned. Her fingers touched her cheek. Numb. Then pain returned.
When Ba’al pulled her to her feet, she yelped and stumbled. He threw her on the mattress again, then her wrists were in his grip and something cold wrapped around them. Sam twisted, wrenched, and screamed through gritted teeth. No use.
Finally, he let go of her, panting. Tearing at her restraints, she looked up. Metal chains around her wrists connected her to the bed. He’d won.
“You bastard. Let me go. I swear I’ll kill you.” She yanked at the cuffs. The sharp metal edges cut into her flesh. She ignored the pain. He’d been too strong, and now she was helpless. Panic rolled over her like a wave. The room swam before her eyes.
“Now that’s better.” Ba’al relaxed next to her, his head resting on his elbow. His palm ran down along her collarbone and chest. “You can scream all you want, nobody will care. As your God I can do with you as I please. I can hurt you. Or please you. I can even take your life.”
“Take your filthy hand off me.” She tried to sound threatening but hitch in her voice ruined it. Writhing against her restraints, she tried to get away from him. Ba’al leaned in to her ear and pressed a hot, sloppy kiss on her neck.
Her throat constricted. “Please don’t.”
“If you persist on such stubbornness, I’ll have to hurt your friends.” He moved down her neck. “I’ll bring them here, one by one. Then I’ll kill them before your eyes.”
No. Please, no. Her stomach roiled. “Don’t…”
She’d lost. Not only was he stronger, but he held the lives of Jack and Daniel in his hands. One word from him, and his Jaffa warriors would kill them.
She closed her eyes as his left hand moved lower over her waist to her barely covered hips, then slipped into her panties.
His touch was neither soft, nor in any way pleasant. For a moment, she truly understood what women in the Aschen breeding factories went through. Her eyes stung as she struggled to move away from his hand. When his fingers moved through her folds, she froze, sobbing. Not like this… She had to do something, anything. “Please… stop.”
His lips brushed over her cheek. Slow, tender, menacing. Her throat clenched. She stood no chance against him and he knew that. Maybe, if she didn’t fight back it’d be over faster. Maybe if she complied he wouldn’t draw it out unnecessarily. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she squeezed her eyes shut.
A dream. Please let this be a dream.
She forced her breathing to slow, forced herself to relax under his touch. She was a soldier. She’d been trained for combat situations. Hand to hand combat, target shooting, strategy. She’d become good in all of them. None of them were skills that’d get her out. None of them were strong enough to make up for the weakness of being a woman.
Ba’al groped one of her breasts, licked a wet trail over her skin. Sam’s eyes fluttered open and she stared at the golden ceiling with its pictograms. Focused her eyes on a particular one. A bird. If only she were a bird. Or one of those wall carvings. Her fingers clenched the sheets above her head.
Ba’al’s hand rubbed between her legs, rough and demanding. Jack. She swallowed hard. I’m sorry.
Memories of her first month alone flashed through her mind. Back then she’d thought that, once she learned to fight and defend herself, something like this would never happen again. How ridiculously naïve she’d been.
Then she faltered. She had handled it, though. Back then, she’d fought off sexual advances all the time. She’d dealt with Hanson, too. Kinda. Damn, if only she could get her hands free.
The Goa’uld was manically obsessed with people worshipping him. Her eyes snapped open. “I’ll do as you say.”
The words slipped out before she had time to give it a second thought. Ba’al lifted his head, studied her through narrowed eyes.
“Please, don’t hurt me. You’re my God, and I’ll obey you.” She felt herself smile at him, lift her head, brush her lips against his chin, but somehow suddenly she seemed to be only a bystander to her own actions.
He claimed her mouth, hard and without finesse, and she opened willingly. It really wasn’t that difficult. She could trick herself into reacting the way he wanted.
Suddenly Jack was there, with her, in the room. Standing behind her, watching that other Sam kiss the Goa’uld so desperately. His hands trailed down her arms, his warm lips finding the spot right under her ear, liquefying her insides.
“I wish it could be you.” She turned her head to him, her nose brushing his cheek, feeling the hint of a scratchy shadow.
Jack wrapped his arms around her waist, pulled her closer. “It is me, Sam. Close your eyes. Let me make this right.”
She did, and then his hand slipped between her legs, his touch so gentle, so knowing. “Yes.” She clutched his wrist. His fingers stroked through her folds. Wetness pooled between her legs when one of his thumbs flicked her nipple. “Yes, please.”
“You want me to take you, Sam?”
“Yes.” She turned in his arms, cupped his cheeks with her hands and pulled him into a warm, deep kiss.
“That’s right. Submit to your God…”
Wait, what? He wouldn’t say that. Her eyes opened, and she stared at Ba’al.
She had to get out of these damn restraints. “Please. Let me touch you. I will do as you say, but let me touch you.” Her head turned, eyes drifting shut.
Jack’s hand between her legs became more insistent. He teased her entrance. “Will you let me take your body willingly now?”
As though she’d ever deny him. “Yes.”
“Say yes, my Lord.”
His chestnut eyes sparkled in the golden light. She leaned in to his lips. “Yes, my Lord.”
His thumb brushed over her clit, rough and hard, and she arched into him with a groan. Her hips writhed against him, seeking more.
“I will have so much fun with you, my beautiful.”
He reached for her wrists, tenderly brushed his thumb across them. Pain shot through her arm and she flinched.
“Shhh. Open your eyes, Sam. It’s fine. Everything’s all right.” Jack’s lips sought hers, and she did what he’d asked. She opened her eyes.
She shifted her arms. No more restraints. Her fingers tangled in the Goa’uld’s oily hair. She sighed. When he withdrew and looked down at her, she smiled. Cupped his cheeks with her hands.
And then she slammed her head up. Her forehead crashed into Ba’al’s face. At the moment of impact, she jammed her leg up, and her knee crashed into his groin. He groaned.
She shoved against his chest until he moved off her and turned onto his back, holding his nose. Not giving him a chance to recover, she straddled him, seized his wrists, and pinned them above his head. He struggled weakly, and she hurried to close the metal shackles around his wrists. Then she leaned back.
Slightly dizzy, she stared down at him and wiped the back of her hand over her mouth. His nose bled, his face pulled into a grimace. “Never ever touch me again if you want to live.”
He stared at her, then gave her an arrogant laugh. “You just sealed your fate.”
She ignored him. Something grazed her inner thigh. Something cold between the layers of his robe. She looked down. A lightning gun.
She reached down and yanked it out of its holster at the Goa’uld’s belt. He still didn’t fight against the shackles. In some kind of perverse pleasure, the system lord seemed to enjoy her revolt without considering her a serious threat. His eyes sparkled dangerously.
Yeah, if he ever got hold of her again, he’d kill her. Or worse.
Shaking, she climbed of the bed and aimed the weapon at him. Ba’al’s smile froze, then cocked his head and smiled darkly.
“Beautiful, put the zat’nik’tel down, or I’ll get real violent with you. We were just starting to get along.”
“Shut up.” Sam scowled at him. “You despicable bastard.”
“Don’t pretend you didn’t enjoy this. Your body reacted to my touch. I felt it. You liked the prospect of being taken by a God.” He chuckled. “I wonder what your friends would say if they knew how much my touch aroused—”
She discharged the weapon. Focused lightening lanced out. His body slumped into the mattress. Then silence.
Sam kept the lightening gun aimed at the unconscious Goa’uld. Two shots killed… She could kill him. It would be so easy. Nobody would ever know he’d been unarmed and unconscious. It was self-defense. Her grip on the gun tightened, then her fingers began to tremble. So easy… So damn easy. Do it. What are you waiting for?
She couldn’t do it. Teeth gritted, she let out a desperate outcry. Why couldn’t she do it? What kind of soldier was she? He’d tried to rape her, and yet she hesitated to kill him?
Had he been right? Had she actually enjoyed what he’d done?
She shifted, pressed her legs together against the uncomfortable wetness pooling there. Arousal. Oh God, he’d been right. She had enjoyed it? What the hell was wrong with her?
The silence in the room threatened to overwhelm her. Her breathing quickened. She’d kissed Ba’al. She’d allowed him to touch her and her body had responded to his roughness so easily.
“God!” Self-loathing and disgust welling up inside her. Dizzy, she leaned against the cold wall of the room.
She had to focus. Her gaze shifted to the weapon in her hand. Zat’nik’tel. So that was the actual name for it.
She had to get out of here before Ba’al woke up again and alerted his Jaffa. Surely, she wouldn’t get a second chance at this. He wouldn’t fall for the trick again. And he probably wouldn’t hesitate to make good on his threats her as soon as he came to. Which could be at any minute…
Sam pushed herself away from the wall and sneaked to the door. The thin slippers she wore at least made it easier to move without a sound. The door swished open.
She peeked outside. An endless golden corridor…and another endless golden corridor at the other side. Well, at least no Jaffa in sight anywhere. Now all she had to do was find her way back to the cell. If she remembered correctly, she’d have to go right, then right again.
Heart pounding, she followed the corridors, making her way down endless hallways framed by golden walls and occasional decorative torches.
Heavy steps sounded from somewhere behind her. Sam froze and turned, listening. Jaffas. She recognized the metal clack of their boots on the solid floor. Panicked, she looked around. Nowhere to hide.
She turned right into a smaller corridor. There was a door at the end of it. Please let it open.
Sam pushed the control crystal at the side, and the door swished open. She slid inside. Behind her, the door rumbled close again.
A dead end. The room looked like a storage room with large boxes framing the walls. The steps outside grew louder. Oh God, the guards were coming to this room. Had they found her?
She raced to a stack of boxes, then squeezed herself into the small space behind them, the zat’nik’tel pressed against her chest. If it came down to it, she could still try to shoot them, and hope they wouldn’t alert reinforcements in the process.
She peeked through a small opening between two boxes. Two Jaffa entered the room. One of them pressed four buttons on a six-button control panel in the wall right next to the entrance. A code? She narrowed her eyes. Upper left, middle right, lower right, upper right.
Then he stepped to the middle. Sam’s eyes widened, when four horizontal rings shot up from the ground, enveloping the warriors in light so bright that she had to close her eyes. When she opened them again, they were gone. Vanished into thin air.
Transportation. Of course. These rings had to be transportation devices. That would explain the absence of stairs or elevators anywhere. Carefully, she straightened, then slid out from her hiding place. Only a faint circular outline on the ground marked the spot where the rings had come out of. She’d have to remember where this room was. This might be their way out.
She approached the door and, after a careful look around, left the room. The Jaffa hadn’t taken long to bring her from the cell to the bath chamber, and then to Ba’al’s private quarters. She had to be close.
After another ten minutes of aimlessly running through the corridors, she finally found the pillar with a torch that she’d remembered. That meant the door right behind it should…
She touched the door, then placed her hand over the small control crystal beside it. Nothing. She raised her eyebrows at the panel. Six buttons, just like in the other room. She’d probably need a code. Should she try the same one that she’d seen that Jaffa use just now? But what if it was wrong? The last thing she needed was an alarm going off.
She looked down. Hadn’t McKay said this zat’nik’tel opened a lock?
Maybe it was a long shot, but she didn’t have another choice. She took a step back, then lifted the weapon, aimed, and shot. Sparks flew, and lightening sizzled over the golden surface for a few moments, then the doors slid open. Yes!
She squeezed herself inside. Jack and Daniel stared at her, unmoving.
“Sir, we gotta get out of here.”
Jack jumped up. “Sure. Um.” His gaze trailed down her body, then back up to her face. He raised his eyebrows. “Carter?”
“Long story, sir.”
His face gentled. “You okay?” Gaze fixating on her cheek, he touched her arm.
Sam lifted her hand and winced when her fingers touched the side of her face. Pain shot through her head. Ba’al had hit her pretty hard. Was there a visible bruise?
“I’m fine.” She pulled away from his touch. He couldn’t touch her, not after what Ba’al had…after she had participated so eagerly. She’d betrayed him, cheated on him. Surely, he would hate her if he learned about…
He couldn’t know. Ever.
Jack studied her for a moment too long and she swallowed hard under his scrutiny. He knows something’s up. But he turned to Daniel. “All right then, let’s go. Carter, you know a way out of here?”
She nodded. “I think so, sir.”
“Lead the way.”
Quietly, they sneaked through the door and made their way along the corridor. They had almost reached a crossroads, when the loud wailing of an alarm made them all freeze. Their escape had been discovered. Ba’al had most likely regained consciousness.
Sam tried to fight the panic welling up again. If he caught them…
A warm palm on her shoulder made her turn her head. Jack. His deep chestnut eyes studied her face. “Ignore it. Keep walking. And keep the gun—”
He didn’t get to finish. As they rounded a corner they ran into two Jaffa guards blocking the way. Breath hitching, Sam jerked up the zat’nik’tel, shot first one Jaffa and then the other.
“Nice reflexes.” Jack smirked at her as he approached the unconscious warriors. He grabbed both of their zat’nik’tels and looked around before he threw one of them at Daniel. “Let’s move. I don’t want to run into more of these goons.”
“This way, sir.” She pointed in the direction the Jaffa had come from. Just one more corner… She exhaled in relief when she saw the long hallway with the storage room at the end. “There.”
They ran along the corridor. Once the doors closed behind them, Sam leaned down to catch her breath.
Jack raised his eyebrows and looked around. “Um, Carter?”
“You have to get to the middle of the room, sir.” She hurried to the wall panel. The combination. What was it again? Upper left, middle right, lower right and upper right. She pressed the buttons, then turned and raced to the middle of the room. She grabbed both Jack’s and Daniel’s arms and pulled them close against her.
Both men raised their eyebrows at her.
“If I’m right, all you need to do is stand in the middle of this circle and it should automatically—”
A bright light surrounded them, making the room disappear. Next second, they stood on a stone pedestal in the middle of a wide, open field.
“—activate and transport us away.” She released a sigh. Thank God it had worked. She’d taken a leap of faith assuming the rings would transport them back to the planet, and not just to another level in the facility.
“Wow.” Jack looked up at the sky, then down on the small stone pedestal. “Cool.”
His almost innocent enthusiasm made her smile. She sneaked a glance at him. “Pretty much.”
“You don’t suppose he would be willing to give us one or two of these?” Daniel grinned.
Jack gave him a pointed look. “Sure, let’s go back inside and negotiate it with Ba’al.”
A giggle bubbled up in Sam. She looked around as the two men stepped off the pedestal. With their warmth around her gone, she shivered in the chilly breeze brushing against her naked skin. God, she was still wearing the ridiculous outfit that left her almost naked. She hugged her body.
“I don’t remember it being this cold.”
Jack turned to her. “Yeah, well, last time you were wearing more than just—” His gaze trailed down her body and he swallowed visibly. Warmth flushed her cheeks when he lingered on her breasts, then on her waist. He cleared his throat. “—that.”
She flinched and rubbed her arms.
Grimacing, Jack crossed the distance between them, then placed his jacket around her shoulders. “Sorry. Here.”
She gave him a grateful smile. “Thank you, sir.”
Jack motioned towards the forest in the distance. “Alright, kids. Back to the gate, so we can—” He cut himself off and looked down at his wrist, then at Daniel and her. “Do either of you still have your watches?”
“No, the guards took mine.” Daniel scratched a hand through his hair.
“No. They took everything from me.” She shook her head.
Jack groaned. “Then we might have a bit of a problem. Let’s hope our stuff’s still where we left it, otherwise we’ll have no way of knowing what time it is.”
Crap. Their Stargate window. Blood drained from her face. She hadn’t even thought of that. Maybe they should have searched Ba’al’s ship for their weapons and equipment before leaving. “How are we going to know when to dial…?”
“I know.” Jack gave her a pointed look. “For now, let’s assume we’ll find our stuff. There’ll be a clock in your computer that we can use, Carter.”
Just once things could’ve gone their way.
Jack scanned the grass around the group of rocks they’d made camp at earlier. Those damn bastards had made sure to take every piece of technology with them. A few cables, empty boxes, and tons of Daniel’s notes remained. He kicked one of the empty boxes out of the way.
“Seriously, next time I say we’ll leave, whoever says ‘No, sir’—“
“At least I found my notebook.” Daniel beamed at them.
Jack scowled. Even Sam didn’t seem to share Daniel’s enthusiasm. For once. She was probably overthinking. But even for that, she was unusually quiet. Something was going on with her.
“So, that’s that then.” He clapped his hands together, then waved them around. “Daniel, grab your notes and anything that might point to who we are. Leave everything else. Carter, we’ll keep an eye out. I don’t want to run into Ba’al’s guards again.”
Not five minutes later, they walked in the direction of the Stargate. Without their watches and a way to determine time, they couldn’t return to Earth. If they did, they’d step through the Aschen Stargate in Powhatan. They’d be arrested, probably interrogated. It was a risk they couldn’t take.
That left them with the option to dial their current beta-site. Hopefully, someone at camp would have enough sense to dial it up and send a team through to look for them. Without the radio, they couldn’t even make contact.
Mental note. Place emergency kit on beta-site. A watch, a radio, some emergency rations. Stuff that can be easily hidden. Jack growled. As things were, they might have to stay on the beta site for a few days. He’d informed Sheppard they’d study the ruins. First thing Sheppard’d do would be to dial up this planet and check up on them. Probably send a team here.
Daniel still had his notebooks, maybe they could leave a note by the dialing device—provided Ba’al’s Jaffa weren’t swarming the area.
Jack turned his head. Next to him, Sam walked quietly, gaze on the ground, arms clutching herself. He gave her a gentle nudge and the corners of her mouth tugged up. Something was off. There was no sparkle in her eyes.
“We’ll get back home.” He gave her a soft smile.
“I know.” She nodded. Again that fake expression. What the hell was going on? What had happened after she’d left them?
Time passed. Could’ve been an hour, or maybe minutes. He wasn’t sure, and in the end, it didn’t matter.
“Jack, wait a second.” Daniel’s voice sounded almost loud compared to the silence from before. He stared into his notebook, up at some point in the distance, then back into his notebook again. “I think that’s the rock formation this text was talking about. The one close to where they hid the ship.”
Jack stared at him. Amazing how he could apparently tune out the impending reality of their situation. “Rock formation? What ship? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Well, if you had been listening to me earlier—”
“Daniel.” Jack glared at him. Worst possible time for another one of those discussions.
“The ship, Jack. The text was talking about a very technologically advanced ship. It belonged to an Ancient who settled here on this planet millennia ago. He kept his ship hidden from the tribes who used to live here to blend in. If we can find it—”
Oh, here we go again. “Assuming it’s still here, and he didn’t leave in it.”
“No, he died here. He wrote the text on the stone pillars at an old age to tell future generations about the ship. He said if they were at a stage of development where they could translate and understand the text, they’d be ready for the technology.”
“So even if we found it, then what, Daniel? Just fly it back to Earth?” Jack turned to Sam by his side, unable to hide his annoyance. “Carter, how long would that take exactly?”
Sam lifted her head. She looked confused for a moment, then shrugged. Her answer came a few seconds too late. “Anything from a few days to a couple of hundred years, sir. Give or take a few depending on the ship’s engine power, and whether it would be capable of going into hyperspace.”
“Ah.” Jack nodded at Daniel. “See? Child’s play. We’ll just find the ship and—snap—in hundred years we’ll be back home.”
“Jack.” Daniel folded his arms. “What do we have to lose? If we go through the gate now, we’ll spend God knows how many hours on the beta-site.”
“Yeah, and if we stay here, we’ll be sitting ducks for that Ba’al guy.”
Daniel sighed. “But wouldn’t he expect us to go through the gate? Besides, Ba’al has most of my notes, so he probably knows about the ship now, too. Do you really want him to find it first?”
“He has a point, sir.” Sam looked at him. “Besides, it seems we have nothing to lose right now.”
“Yeah, yeah, fine. Let’s go find your ship. But let me tell you, if it doesn’t fly, I’m gonna be pissed.”
Jack trudged in the direction Daniel had indicated. If they were gonna stay here, they’d have to make shelter. With the way Sam was dressed, they couldn’t sleep out in the open. Who knew how cold this planet would get once the sun set.