December 15

15.

"Has'shaks! You are now prisoners of our Lord Bastet. Your punishment will be grave!" a Jaffa told them when they were waking up onboard some sort of transport vessel.

"Bastet?" Sam mumbled, confused.

"Punishment? For what?" O'Neill said. "We haven't done anything!"

"You have trespassed on Lord Bastet's territory, and snuck around outside her weapon's research facility!" another Jaffa said, angrily. "And you dare claim innocence!"

"Listen, we didn't know about that research facility," Daniel said, looking around the room which was only marginally better lighted than it was outside.

The nearest of the Jaffa, who seemed to be the one in control, snorted. "Of course not. Liars! You are obviously saboteurs!"

"Saboteurs!?" O'Neill exclaimed. "Are you crazy? We are..."

The Jaffa shook his head in disgust. "Liars and blasphemers!"

The Jaffa left, shutting and locking the door after them.

"This just keeps getting better and better," O'Neill mumbled, trying to find a way to sit that did not hurt. "How are you guys doing?"

"It feels like we were thrown in here pretty ungently - wherever here is. I guess I should be happy I weren't conscious for it," Daniel complained, wincing as he sat up.

"I'm more or less okay," Sam said. "Whoa! As long as I don't move my head too fast, tha tis. I suspect I got a mild concussion."

"I am unharmed, except for minor bruises. It is inconsequential," Teal'c said.

Martouf was only half-awake, but now took a deep breath, clearing his head. "I've got a cracked rib, which Lantash is healing. Aside from some bumps and bruises, I am otherwise fine."

"Dad?" Sam asked.

Jacob let out a low moan. "Not so good, I'm afraid. Concussion, broken leg, and a broken rib. Apparently the rib scratched my right lung a bit, but Selmak is on it. She'll get it fixed."

"Oh, my God, dad!" Sam exclaimed, ignoring the pain and dizziness from her concussion and crawling to his side.

Jacob gave her a weak smile. "Relax, Sammy. I told you, Selmak will take care of me."


The transport vessel landed after perhaps half an hour's flight.

"I wonder where we are?" Daniel mused.

"Near a chaapa'ai," Martouf told him. "I can sense it."

"Okay, perhaps you guys should try and pretend to be Goa'uld. We've got nothing to lose, right?" O'Neill suggested.

"I was thinking the same," Martouf said. "Jacob, Teal'c, and myself will heal fairly quickly, but the rest of you at the very least require much time to rest, and possibly medical care. Our only chances are either escape or to divert Bastet's attention."

"I'm afraid I don't think the majority of us are up for escaping, but I'd try it if there was a way. What do you think?" O'Neill asked.

Martouf considered it. "In our timeline, Bastet was an ally of Ra's. She can be treacherous, but then most Goa'uld can. She is not the worst, but she is by no means to be underestimated. She is also very dedicated to security."

"Meaning you don't think we'll find a hole we can crawl through to escape this place," O'Neill concluded.

Martouf shook his head. "No." He looked to Teal'c. "Bastet is an enemy of Apophis."

O'Neill tore a piece of cloth from his shirt and threw it at Teal'c. "Wake up!"

Teal'c opened his eyes. He had been deep in kel'no'reem. "O'Neill?"

"Put that around your head. We can't have anyone see that tattoo of yours. We'll just have to hope it was too dark when we were caught for the Jaffa to see it."

"Understood. It was unfortunate it was an enemy of Apophis who owned the land we came to."

"But not unexpected, if Ra is still the master of this world. Which I suppose he may or may not be," Martouf said. "Most likely is."

"He wouldn't let his enemies live on the planet with him. Right," Daniel said. "That makes sense."

"Someone is coming," Martouf warned. He closed his eyes and dipped his head, giving Lantash control.

He rose and stretched, relieved he had almost finished healing the cracked rib. When the door opened he flashed his eyes at the Jaffa standing outside. "How dare you fire a stun grenade at me, capture me, and lock me up in here with my human slaves? Not only that, but you were flying so badly that Lord Selmak has been hampered in his healing!"

The Jaffa outside all stared at him in shock, and after a few moments the one who had opened the door bowed deeply. "I apologize, my Lord. We did not know. It was dark, you did not speak up, and you were dressed like..."

"I will not listen to your excuses!" Lantash exclaimed. "I was still stunned from your grenade and the ungentle treatment of your brutish minions! My vessel was damaged through treason and incompetence, and we landed in that forsaken part of the world! I had to walk! I insist you take me to your Lord Bastet so I can get compensation for your insolence at least!"

"My Lord, you were - no doubt through no error of your own - trespassing on Lord Bastet's domain. We did not know that..."

The Jaffa was pushed aside by his commander. "I apologize for his lack of manners and intelligence. We will take you, Lord Selmak, and your slaves to Lord Bastet immediately."

"Good. See that my slaves are given food and medical treatment. They are both loyal and hardworking, and I do not wish to have to train replacements so soon. Sadly it is a rare combination." He walked past the Jaffa with an arrogant expression, ignoring anything further from them.


"I still don't understand that Lantash's bold strategy worked." Sam shook her head in disbelief.

"We do not yet know that it did," Teal'c observed, putting down the plate after emptying it of food.

"I hope it did. Otherwise Dad and Martouf are going to be in a very bad spot," Sam said, worriedly. "And so are we, very quickly."

"True, but at least we got food. We won't die with an empty stomach," O'Neill said, scraping his bowl to get the last of the porridge. "As plain and tasteless as it is." He moved his arm gently. "And they bandaged our wounds and gave us some sort of herbal medicine. Tasted horribly, but it helped against the pain."

"I wish they'd put us in the sarcophagus instead, but I guess they don't use that for mere slaves," Daniel remarked.

"Not unless they need to revive us after torture," Sam observed with a wry grin.

"Don't say something like that!" Daniel said.

"Sorry." Sam emptied her cup and sighed deeply. She had a bad bump on her head, and she still got dizzy if she moved too quickly. The medicine had been quite effective, though. "I wonder what was in that drug they gave us."

"I'm betting some of it was made from willow bark. It was used against pain and inflammation already in ancient Egypt," Daniel said.

Sam nodded. "Makes sense."

"We should plan for the likely eventuality that Bastet will see through Lantash's story and decide we're all scum to be eradicated. Hell, even if she believes he's a Goa'uld and not a Tok'ra, she could still decide we were up to something suspicious since we were apparently walking around near her weapon's research lab," O'Neill said.

"Yeah..." Sam looked thoughtful. "It's weird she has it here on Earth, isn't it? I wonder if she's planning to move against Ra."

"Ra is the Supreme System Lord - unless that's different here. Do you really think she'd risk working on something here, on Earth?" Daniel asked.

"Maybe Ra isn't living here. Maybe Bastet is his vassal and in charge?" O'Neill suggested.

"Possible. She probably isn't the only one then, since we passed those bombed villages," Sam said.

"Could Bastet not be doing research for Ra?" Teal'c said.

"Hiding it out in the middle of nowhere like that? I doubt that," Sam said. "Though, I guess it could be something he doesn't want his other vassals to know of."

"Quiet! Someone is coming!" Teal'c warned them.

Moments later, the door opened.