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22 January 2012 @ 10:41 pm
Fic: Endurance Past the Point (15 of 19)  
Summary, notes, and warnings are located in the Table of Contents.

Part 15

Jack stood silently among the several dozen personnel geared up and milling around anxiously focusing on the MALP disappearing through the event horizon.  As soon as it was out of sight, he shifted his gaze back and up to where Hammond was waiting to evaluate the incoming data.

After waiting an eternity in the space of a minute, he saw Hammond reach for the mike and his voice echoed out of the speakers.  “Colonel, all data reads normal.  There are two Jaffa visible in the immediate vicinity.  You have a go.  God speed.”

Jack nodded his thanks to the general and then turned back to the gate.  “Everyone ready?” he asked the team commanders standing near him, along with Teal’c and Daniel.  

“Yes, Sir,” came the immediate response.  

He started up the ramp.  “Then let’s go.”


~SG1~


Daniel paced restlessly in front of the gate, narrowly avoiding the equipment that the techs had set up to monitor activity in the atmosphere, looking for any sign that Ugallu or his Jaffa may be making a break for it.  They had all come through the gate nearly two hours ago.  The first teams through had made short work of the waiting Jaffa.  Twenty minutes of scouting found the direction they wanted to head and Jack had led the combat teams off at a fast pace. About half an hour later, Ferretti had radioed a request for medical assistance and the medical team had followed.  Since then, there had been no contact.  Now, it was just Daniel, Griff’s team, and the techs waiting.

“No news is good news.”  He kept muttering to himself as he walked back and forth.  No news from the base meant Sam was still okay.  He was less sanguine about no news from the other teams, but nobody had been rushed back through the gate for medical attention so far, so he walked and waited.  He understood why Jack had held him back, but it was frustratingly nerve-wracking not to know what was going on.

Daniel froze mid-step the instant he heard Griff’s radio spark to life.  Reynolds was requesting that Griff move his team up to the encampment.  They were all ready to go; a 20-minute hike and they could see the structure.  Daniel’s eyes swept the wounded being treated outside the temporary fortification and was relieved not to see Jack or Teal’c anywhere.  A glance at the medic’s faces confirmed that no one was in critical condition.  

A few minutes after they arrived, Reynolds approached to update them.  “You guys can go ahead and move in.  We’ve got the fighting contained to the far northeast corner, but it’s pretty much over.”

“Is Ugallu here?” Daniel asked anxiously.

Reynolds nodded sharply.  “Yeah, he’s here.  He’s down to just a few loyal Jaffa.  We’ll get him.”

Reynolds headed back in and Captain Griff turned to look at Daniel.  “Well, it’s pretty much your show now.  Where should we look?”

Daniel sighed as he looked at the building.  “Let’s see if we can find his throne room.”

Griff looked doubtful.  The building was rather run-down by goa’uld standards.  “A throne room?”

Daniel nodded.  “Yeah, from what Sam told me, this guy is megalomaniacal enough that he would require one wherever he is.  We’ll probably find it somewhere near the center of the building.”  They started moving toward the entrance while Daniel spoke.  “And keep an eye out for anything with writing: walls, parchment, anything.”

Already entranced with the design motif on the doorway, Daniel was only vaguely aware of Griff adding his own instructions to the team.  The captain rolled his eyes as Daniel rushed around a corner alone and he added, “And Colonel O’Neill will have my ass if anything happens to the good doctor, so please, keep him in sight at all times!”  

Daniel’s eyes scanned the walls and doorways, looking for anything to indicate significance or designate purpose.  Fortunately, the complex was not overly large and it wasn’t long before he led them into what must serve as the throne room.  It was nearly completely empty, housing only a throne, a small scribe’s desk and chair, and several ornate wall tapestries.  

Daniel started examining the few furnishings.  Nothing on the throne, no obvious significance to the tapestries, he focused on the desk.  It was really more of a table, lacking drawers, but the ink stains indicating recent use gave him a flare of hope.  

“See if there are any rooms off this one,” he instructed.  “Check under the tapestries, there may be a hidden doorway.”

It didn’t take long to discover a small, unfinished door leading into a separate room, containing a divan and several bookcases filled with volumes of various sizes.  One book lay on the couch and Daniel picked it up, opening to a random page.  It was handwritten in goa’uld.  As he perused the content and saw Sam’s name, he grew more excited.  “This is it!”  

His stomach churned as he continued skimming the page, as the connection between what he was reading and what had happened to Sam synched up in his mind.  The sadistic bastard had written it all down; he was reading lurid accounts of the torture Ugallu had inflicted on her.  He flipped back to the first page of the book; this volume started when Sam had already been his prisoner for some time apparently.  They’d have to find the one that came before this.  Looking at the hundreds of volumes to choose from, he winced.  “We need to take all of these back to the SGC.  And I need to talk to Jack as soon as possible.”

“We just got the all clear.  I can take you over there now,” Griff answered.

As they headed through the hallways, Daniel began to notice the signs of battle: abandoned weapons, bloodstains on the floor and walls, and the occasional dead Jaffa.  He heard Teal’c’s voice and looked in a room as they passed.  Teal’c was giving the Jaffa Rebellion recruitment speech to a number of disarmed Jaffa.  There’s one safe, Daniel thought.

Finally, they rounded a corner.  And here’s two, he thought as he saw Jack standing next to a tall, overdressed goa’uld, his hand tightened like a vice around the other’s upper arm.  Ugallu had been stripped of his hand device and pretty much everything else except his clothing and his hands were restrained behind his back.

Buoyed by relief that both his teammates had survived in one piece and anticipation that he might have the answers they needed in his hand, he called out, “Jack!  I think this is it.”  He held up the book.

Beneath his hand, Jack could feel the Ugallu’s tension increase.  Looks like Daniel might be on to something, he smirked inwardly.  But the goa’uld’s face when Jack looked back at him was shining with a malicious excitement.  

“Jack,” he repeated delightedly, his voice causing a chill along Jack’s skin.  He smiled widely as he eyed the colonel.  “You are the colonel!”

Jack stood still for a moment, trying not to give any reaction.  He tugged Ugallu’s arm, trying to propel him onward, but the goa’uld seemed oblivious of Jack’s intentions.  Instead, he locked eyes with Jack as he spoke.

“She called for you, you know.  When I had tortured her to near oblivion, when she was senseless with the pain.  I would be surprised if she even remembered her own name then, but she would scream for you to come help her.”  He laughed lightly.  “But you were a little late, weren’t you?”

Jack swallowed back his retort, not wanting to give this snakehead the pleasure of knowing he was getting to him.  From Carter’s report, he knew that Ugallu found almost as much enjoyment in headgames as physical torture.  

Ugallu continued to press.  “There were some times when she didn’t call for you, however.  When I was on top of her, for instance.”  He assumed a thoughtful look.  “I wonder what that could mean, Jack?”

Jack very slowly looked around the room.  Everyone within earshot had found something very interesting catching their attention in another direction.  Selective deafness, he thought.  Smart move.  He stepped into Ugallu, backing him against the wall and spoke very softly.  

“She already told me everything you did to her.  You can’t shock me, but you can piss me off, which will find you returning to Earth very, very damaged.”

Ugallu smiled at the threat, unperturbed.  “I’m sure she told everything... that she remembers.”  He took a deep breath as a look of remembered ecstasy crossed his face.  “She is quite beautiful when she’s unconscious, as I’m sure you know, Jack.  If you’re here, if she somehow managed to tell you where to find me, then she must be doing very poorly.”  He looked intently at Jack.  “Unless she’s already dead,” he added with a grin.  

Jack dragged the goa’uld away from the wall with a jerk and began striding from the room, pulling Ugallu with him.  “Nope, not dead.  She’s just fine, actually.  And now that we have you, we can put this whole little incident behind us.”  

Ugallu smiled as Jack’s reaction confirmed his suspicions.  The Tau’ri woman was dead or dying.  It was a shame, he had hoped to have her back one day.  There were so many games he had left to play with her.  He was so wrapped up in his imagined torture, that he found himself yanked backward as tried to continue walking when Jack stopped abruptly in the hallway.

“Teal’c!” Jack called.   Teal’c appeared in the doorway nearest them.  “How’s it going with the recruitment?”

“I am reasonably certain that most of these Jaffa will be most loyal assets to our cause.”

“Good, great.  Why don’t you take a team and lead them to the gate?  You can send them to Bra’tac and take this guy back to the SGC for me.  I’ll stay and supervise the cleanup.”

Teal’c observed O’Neill’s face, finding him to be on the edge of what he had heard termed ‘a spectacular meltdown.’  He nodded.  “I will see you back on Earth, O’Neill.”  Taking Ugallu’s arm roughly, he called to Ferretti who had followed Jack down the hallway.  “Major, I require your assistance in transporting this captive.”


~SG1~


Jack went back to find Daniel, wincing as the adrenaline in his system started to dissipate and the bumps and bruises of the battle started to make themselves known.  He had been lucky enough not to take any weapons fire, but several hand-to-hand engagements had left him with several strained muscles and what felt a cracked rib, but if he was lucky, was just a bruise.

He entered the room, trying to shake off both the growing pain and the emotional guilt and turmoil that Ugallu’s taunts had provoked.  He stopped for a quick word with Reynolds to make sure that the final sweep of the place was proceeding, then turned to the archaeologist.  He was leaning against the wall, flipping pages, rapidly scanning the text, and then flipping again.  Jack thought he looked a little tense.  

He slumped against the wall next to Daniel.  “Well, I hope you really do have something there, because there’s no way in hell that guy is going to do anything to help us.”

Daniel closed the book with a sigh.  Not quite looking at Jack, he answered, “If there’s an answer, it’s going to be in here, or the one before or after this one.  Ugallu’s personal diaries,” he added for clarity.

Noticing the way Daniel was fidgeting and biting at his lip worried Jack.  “So what’s wrong, Daniel?  Something’s bugging you.”

Daniel half-shrugged.  “It’s just...  Sam hasn’t really shared a lot of details with me about what happened.  I mean, I could make some assumptions, but I never knew anything for sure.  This,” he gestured to the book he was holding, feeling sick as he tried to ignore the images already floating through his mind.  “This is extremely detailed, graphic...  and I just...  God, what’s Sam going to think when she finds out I’ve read this?!”

“If it does the trick, she’s going to think, ‘Hey, I’m awake and alive.’”  He waited until Daniel looked directly at him.  He hated having to ask him to do this.  “Daniel, she needs you to do this.  I’m guessing that there aren’t too many people back at the base who are going to be able to read this.”  Daniel nodded.  “And really, do you want this read by someone else?”

“No,” he answered, resigned to the fact that he would have to do this.  Jack was right, it was better to keep the details of Sam’s ordeal ‘in the family’ as it were.  

Jack saw the reluctant acquiescence on Daniel’s face.  Something he had said a minute ago nagged at Jack.  “Wait, where are the other two books you’re talking about?”

“I assume they’re in the library where I found this one.  He was apparently re-reading this one, so it was already out,”  Daniel said with distaste.  “But this one starts when she’s already been with him for a while and she’s still here at the end.”  He pulled a notebook from a pocket.  Looking at the spine of the book he held, he quickly scribbled some symbols onto a sheet of paper and handed it to Jack.  “The library’s off the throne room.  I asked Griff to have someone bring the books from there back to the SGC.  But these are the two I really need.  Go and look for books with these symbols on the bindings.  They should be the ones immediately before and after this one in sequence.  I’m going back to the SGC to start reading.”


~SG1~


After Jack saw the last of the teams return to base, was satisfied by Fraiser that no one sustained life-threatening injuries, and had a quick verbal debrief with the general, he found his way down to Daniel’s lab.  Teal’c stood quietly inside the doorway, ensuring no unnecessary interruptions and providing a sounding board when Daniel needed one.  Daniel was hunched over the three journals, the one he had found and the two Jack had tracked down and sent back through the gate earlier.  He scribbled notes in a notebook as he read through the pages.  

Jack nodded to Teal’c as he entered and closed the door behind him.  “Anything?” he asked.

Daniel answered distractedly from his desk.  “Nothing yet.  And if I’ve done the date conversion correctly, I’m almost up to when we rescued her.  Dammit,” he sighed with discouragement and turned another page.

Jack blew out a breath.  That just made some of his news seem even worse.  “Well, I was just talking with General Hammond.  The Tok’ra have submitted a formal request to take custody of Ugallu.  They’re sending Anise and some diplomats to hash out the details.”

“What is opinion on the matter, O’Neill?” Teal’c asked.

“I think they’re probably the best equipped to deal with him appropriately.  I don’t relish the idea of a goa’uld here on Earth for any reason.”  He looked over at Daniel who was nodding as he skimmed the pages.  He had perfected the art of listening with one ear while working on his own projects.  He would speak up if he had anything to say.

“Hammond also showed me the latest report from Dr. Fraiser.  She estimates that Carter has less than a day before the physical strain becomes too much.”  He felt Daniel hesitate for a second before deciding not to say anything.  “I’m not going to say something stupid like ‘read faster’ because I already know you’re doing everything you can.  I just thought you should know.”  He shrugged and headed back for the door.  “I’m going to go sit in on the Tok’ra meeting.  Maybe I can pick their brains about what’s happening.”

Jack hadn’t gotten 100 feet down the hallway before he heard Daniel’s shouting.  “Jack!  Come back.”

Teal’c’s deeper voice joined in as he stuck his head out the door.  “O’Neill.  Please return.”

Jack veered around and ran back into the lab.  Daniel was on his feet, but still bent over the journal.  “This is it.  He did it right before he left her there.”

After waiting for a minute only to find Daniel re-reading the pages in question several times, Jack impatiently asked, “How do we reverse it?”

Daniel finally looked up.  “I’m not sure.”

“Not what I want to hear, Daniel.”

“Get Jacob and Janet to come meet with us.  I need their input.  Hey, did you say Anise was here?  Grab her too.  I’ll throw together a quick translation and meet you in the briefing room in half an hour.”


~SG1~


Daniel had just finished summarizing the relevant passages describing how Ugallu had used the connection established by the hand device to plant subliminal conditioning suggestions in Sam’s mind.  Anise looked sceptical.

“I do not know that this is possible,” she remarked.

“Well, I do,” Daniel responded.  “Sha’re was able to talk to me while Amaunet was using the device.  I have no doubt that this is how he brainwashed Sam.  My question to you two is can you reverse it?”  He addressed both Anise and Jacob.

Selmak replied.  “The Tok’ra have never used any technique such as this.  Any attempt we make would be untested and most likely fail.”

Janet cleared her throat.  “I’m sorry to say this, but this is Sam’s last chance.  I really don’t think you can make it any worse.  And there is absolutely nothing I can do for her, especially not when we know for sure that this is purely mental conditioning.”

Anise still looked like she wanted to protest, but Selmak replied first, bowing to Jacbob’s wishes.  “Very well.  Anise and I will discuss the best way to perform this procedure.  We will let you know as soon as we are ready.”
 
 
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