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01 November 2011 @ 11:07 pm
Fic: Endurance Past the Point (2 of 19)  
Summary, notes, and warnings are located in the Table of Contents.

Part 2
“Kneel before Ugallu, your God.” 
Sam rolled her eyes.  “You guys really need a new writer.  That line never works.”  But that does, she thought as the butt of a staff weapon jabbed her in the back of the knees.  She fought to keep her expression neutral even as the pain of hitting the floor jolted through her body.  She could feel a wound on her back where a staff weapon had grazed her and judging by the vaguely disoriented feeling and throbbing headache, she was pretty sure that she had been zatted as well. 
She looked up at the thin, dark Goa'uld towering over her.  He was swathed in multi-colored robes of silk.  A pendant on the choker around his neck displayed the same symbol his Jaffa wore.  He looked young, at least the host body did.  But his eyes shone cold and hard; a shiver ran through her at the absolute cruelty they revealed.  He spoke as he stepped toward her.  “You are of the Tau’ri.”
She looked straight ahead and said nothing.  He grasped her hair and yanked her head back so that she was looking at him again.  He smiled coldly.  “I do not need confirmation of this.  My Jaffa have gathered enough intelligence for me to be certain of this.”  Releasing her, he strode back to a throne that was set on a raised dais and sat. 
Idly, he picked up a chain that was resting on one of the arms of the throne and rubbed his fingers along it as he stared at her.  It took her a moment to place the familiar clicking but as she looked closer, she could see he was holding her dog tags.  He spoke thoughtfully now, as if pondering aloud.  “The Tau’ri have defeated many System Lords.  If I were to control their forces, I would be able to move to my rightful place.”  She could almost see the avarice in his eyes.  “So, Samantha Carter, you will give me the information I need to make that happen.”
She scowled at him.  “Not on your life.”
He thought for a moment before replying silkily.  “Well, surely it will be your life, at the end.  Stand her up,” he instructed his Jaffa as he left his throne once again. 
The two Jaffa flanking her each grabbed her arm and yanked her roughly to her feet.  She winced as the vice grip on her left arm aggravated the wound that Janet had stitched up after their last mission.  The Goa'uld circled her slowly, examining her from head to toe.  “I did not realize that the Tau’ri allowed their women to fight.  I am quite interested to get to know you better.  Tell me, do you train with your men or separately?”
She stood silently, unsure how much of this little show was to put her off balance and how much was information he actually wanted.  He spent about half an hour spouting off ridiculous questions mostly centered around her gender until he sighed at her continuing silence.  Just as she expected to hear the order of torture, he laughed. 
“So you want to play games?  I have time,” he said.  “Something you may find yourself short of very soon.  Take her away,” he instructed the Jaffa.
She was taken to a cold, stone cell and unceremoniously thrown in.  The door closed behind, leaving almost no indication of its existence.  The room was completely empty: no furniture, no windows, nothing.  Sam sat down in a corner of the room, her back to the walls and tried to analyze her situation. 
She was obviously in some type of Goa'uld base, but not knowing how long she had been unconscious, she couldn’t even guess if she was still on P2X-791.  SG-5 wasn’t expected to report in until about six hours after they had run into the Jaffa patrol.  She had no idea whether White had managed to dial in or not.  She had seen Boarman go down and there was heavy fire all around the DHD.  It was quite possible that no one at SGC had any idea for hours that something had gone wrong.  And if she wasn’t even on the same planet... 
She pulled her knees up, wrapping her arms around her legs.  The situation was pretty dire, but not entirely hopeless.  She was still in one piece and she wasn’t bound.  Her new mission objectives:  Keep an eye out for escape possibilities and hang on until help arrives.  To this end, she pushed herself back up and began a thorough investigation of her prison, looking for any weakness.
A painstaking assessment of her cell revealed nothing.  Disheartened, she sat back down on the floor.  In her mind, she was reviewing what she had seen between the throne room and the cell.  A number of hallways and a larger number of guards meant that a random escape attempt was likely to end in recapture.  Not that she wouldn’t try if given the opportunity; she would just prefer to formulate a plan with a higher chance of success. 
“General, this better be good.  And I am talking world-in-peril type of good.  Calling me back after two days!  For crying out loud...” They heard O’Neill’s voice before seeing him as he bounded up the stairs into the briefing room.  As soon as he saw the scene in front of him, however, he stopped.
Daniel was pacing, looking drawn and anxious; Teal’c (apparently also recalled) was seated at the table watching Daniel somberly; and the general appeared to have aged ten years in the two and a half days he’d been gone.  What didn’t escape his notice was who was wasn’t there. 
“Carter,” he almost whispered.  He could hear a part of his mind saying, No, no, it’s impossible.  We’re on LEAVE; she couldn’t be hurt.  Nevertheless, he was not surprised when Daniel’s face crumpled and the general confirmed his fears with a nod.
“Major Carter was captured during an engagement earlier today on P2X-791.”  Hammond gave O’Neill an appraising glance.  For all his flippancy as he was entering, the man had obviously understood the matter had some urgency and come directly here.  Now he looked terribly out of place, standing shell-shocked in a flannel shirt, leather jacket and jeans. 
Ignoring the sick feeling in his stomach, O’Neill took his place at the table.  “What do we know?” he asked.  Daniel made as if to launch into the whole story, but Hammond cut him off and handed over a folder with the summary thus far.  Best to just give the man a few minutes to absorb the situation. 
O’Neill opened the folder and stared at the words on the first page.  He hoped that somewhere, some part of his brain was absorbing some of the relevant details; after all, the ability to process multiple things was one of the things that made him such a good field commander.  But all he could consciously think about was the last time he had seen her.  The feel of her, her scent around him as she had laughingly fallen into his arms.  That brief interlude that he had ended.  Forcing the image out of his mind as unproductive, he reread the report with a renewed intensity.
When she heard the door opening, she barely had time to jump to her feet as Ugallu and two Jaffa entered the room.  Two more stood guard just outside the doorway.  Without a word, the two inside the room grabbed her and pulled her to stand in front of the Goa'uld.  He stood there for a moment, hands clasped behind his back, studying her intently. 
“Do all Tau’ri women wear so much clothing?” he asked, his already amplified voice echoing eerily in the enclosed space.  An irritated thought crossed her mind, What is with this guy and his fascination with Earth women?  Suddenly, Ugallu moved his hands from behind him, revealing a nasty looking knife.  She tensed as he stepped toward her, her arms pulling against the iron grips of the Jaffa.
Slowly and carefully, he hooked the tip of the knife under the hem of her jacket and pulled it upward.  It must have been a very good knife; the jacket split in two with seemingly very little effort.  She continued struggling against the Jaffa holding her in place with no result other than to see Ugallu’s eyes light up with a decidedly unpleasant delight.  Opting not to give him the reaction he obviously was hoping for, she turned to mentally reciting the periodic table of elements to distract herself from what was happening.  Hydrogen, Helium...
When the knife failed to make adequate progress on the leather of her boots, he sliced through the laces and roughly pulled them from her feet ...Gold, Mercury, Thallium... and then proceeded to slice her pants from the waistband down the sides of each leg.  ...Uranium, Neptunium, Plutonium... The knife was sliding down her shirt now; she could feel the pressure against her chest. 
Having run out of elements, she reached desperately for anything else innocuous on which she could concentrate.  Hockey teams; she would pick her brain for all the hockey teams the colonel had mentioned lately.  He slid the shirt off her shoulders and it fell to the floor to join the remnants of her jacket, pants, boots, and socks.  ...Avalanche, Black Hawks, Capitals....  She stood there now clad in only a bra, a tank top that was half torn from where the knife had pressed through her shirt, and cotton panties.  Apparently pleased with his work, Ugallu stepped back to admire her.  ...Red Wings, Oilers, Sharks...
Again, the Goa'uld walked around and around her, viewing her from all angles.  ...Rangers, Flyers, Maple Leafs...  She jumped suddenly when she felt his fingers brush up her arm then continue across her collarbone and concentrated on controlling her breathing. ...Wild, Bruins, Flames... All this time, he did not say a word. 
His fingers started to move down her left arm when they encountered the bandage on her upper arm.  Ripping the gauze away, he looked intently at the neat line of stitches that marked the healing cut.  Grinning maliciously, he firmly pressed a finger against the stitches.  Unwillingly, she gasped in pain and tears came to her eyes. 
Still silent, he dropped his hand and stalked out of the cell, the two Jaffa releasing her and following. 
The door closed as it began to dawn on Sam that whatever had just happened was over, for now at least.  Face burning with humiliation that she could no longer ignore, she hurriedly gathered her clothes together with shaking hands, trying to salvage anything she could.  He had done a fairly thorough job and the best she could do was to slip her jacket back on and spread her pants over her legs as she laid down on the hard floor.  She was now shaking all over, adrenaline letdown combining with fear of what would happen the next time she saw Ugallu.  She balled her t-shirt up to make a pillow and curled up as tight she could.  In addition to feeling violated and exposed, she was also very cold.
As she drifted into a restless sleep, she wished desperately that the rest of her team was there with her.  Not just for company and someone to share the watch; Ugallu’s behavior was so unlike other Goa'uld that they had encountered.  She could hear Daniel launch into a lecture theorizing on how his fascination with humans (or human women) had developed.  Teal’c would calmly inform them of the manner in which this type of behavior would be viewed by the System Lords.  And the colonel would tell them to shut up already, the guy was a creepy bastard and leave it at that. 
Although it was difficult to tell the passage of time (her watch had been taken from her while she was unconscious), it was perhaps the next morning when a Jaffa entered her cell.  Again she noticed two standing guard just outside the door.  He threw a bundle of cloth at her where she sat against the wall.  “Our Lord Ugallu requests that you wear this.”
She shook out the cloth to see that it was a long tunic.  She shook her head.  “I don’t accept gifts from insane false gods.”
The Jaffa leaned down, striking her across the cheekbone.  “You will not disrespect my lord again.  You will put that on, or I will put it on you,” he said with a sneer suggesting which option he would prefer. 
Although she wanted to fight, to exert some type of control, she recognized that this was not likely to be a fight she’d win.  Better to conserve her energy for the time being.  “I’ll put it on.” 
The Jaffa stepped back and watched her as she slipped it over her remaining clothing.  Then he turned and left.  It wasn’t until the door closed behind him that Sam realized that, so far, not one of these visits had included food or water.
Daniel wearily made his way down the mostly deserted corridor.  Checking his watch confirmed that it was well into the middle of the night.  Sam had been missing for three days now, he realized.  Coming to Teal’c’s quarters, he knocked softly, not wanting to disturb his friend if he was performing kel-no-reem.  They had all been working very long days and Teal’c had been traveling to different Jaffa rebel bases to gather intelligence on recent Goa'uld activities.  Almost immediately, however, he heard Teal’c’s deep voice.
He opened the door and stepped in.  “Hey Teal’c.”  The Jaffa was sitting in a meditative position with candles lit around him.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
Teal’c shook his head.  “I am finding it difficult to achieve the necessary relaxation.  Your visit is a welcome distraction.”  He looked closely at his friend.  He had no doubt that Daniel had been working for at least 18 hours and the exhaustion showed clearly in his face.  “You look tired, Daniel Jackson.  You should rest.”
“Yeah, I was on my way.  I just wanted to ask if you’ve seen Jack since he got back?”
Teal’c inclined his head.  “No, I have not.”
Daniel grimaced.  “Neither have I.  He hasn’t stopped by once to check on my progress or talk or... anything.”  He sighed.  “I’m going to go find him.  You wanna come along?”
Teal’c was already getting to his feet and extinguishing the candles.  “Are you worried about O’Neill?”
Shrugging, Daniel answered, “I’m worried about all of us right now.  I just think this is a time we should be sticking together.” 
Together they walked through the complex.  After checking Jack’s office, the commissary, the briefing room and control room, they finally found him sitting in Sam’s darkened lab.  Not bothering to turn on the lights, they simply left the door open, allowing the light from the hallway to spill inside, as they took seats themselves.
It had been a long day of sitting for Jack.  Sitting through meetings with representatives of other worlds who knew nothing relevant, sitting reviewing reports of other SG teams out there finding nothing relevant, sitting staring at gate addresses wondering which, if any, could be where she was.  SG-1, as a team, was nonexistent for the time being: Sam missing, Daniel researching.  At least Teal’c was allowed to go offworld.  Hammond insisted he need Jack to stay on Earth to help spearhead the search and rescue effort, but Jack suspected that the general simply didn't trust him offworld right now.
After two plus days of all this sitting, frustration building, all Jack really wanted a six pack and his telescope, but there was no alcohol on base and he refused to leave the mountain until she was found.  So he found himself here, in her office, driven by a need to be close to her.  Like Daniel, almost every horizontal space in Sam’s lab was covered with notebooks and research materials or alien devices.  But when he looked in her top drawer he found the personal mementos, the things that she wanted with her while she worked.  A photo of the four of them, taken at some party or another.  A drawing from Cassie. Cards and photos from her brother and his kids.  He had put all these personal items away over an hour ago but still could not bring himself to leave this room. 
After several minutes of Teal’c and Daniel sitting silently, Jack finally spoke.  “Did you need something?”  His voice sounded harsh with suppressed emotion.
Daniel answered, “I briefed General Hammond a little while ago.  I’ve come up with several possible names.  One of them I think is very promising: Ugallu.”
Jack straightened a bit in his chair.  This was progress.  He knew he should feel something, excited, happy, relieved?  But it didn’t seem to crack the shell that had surrounded his heart since he’d returned from Minnesota.  It took him a few seconds to realize Daniel was still talking.
“...don’t know much about him, but we’ve sent a communication to the Tok’ra.  We’d already sent them photos of the Jaffa, but a name might help too.” 
Wonderful, more waiting.  Jack cut him off.  “Great, Daniel.  That’s great.  Now go get some sleep.  You look like hell.”
Daniel took a deep breath to bite back the antagonizing response that came automatically.  Now was not the time to rile Jack up.  “Well, that’s not all we wanted.”
Jack looked at him directly for the first time.  “What?” he asked, exasperated.  All he wanted to do was to be alone right now.  He was sitting here taking meetings and making bullshit guesses about where to search while Sam was being held captive in who knows what condition somewhere out there.  That is, if she was even still alive. 
Daniel shrugged.  “Just thought maybe you’d like to talk.”
“No, Daniel.  I don’t want to talk,” he replied caustically.  “I want to go get her.  Why don’t you come back when we talk about that?”
“Jack, this is not the time to cut yourself off, to lock yourself away in the dark.  We all miss her.  We want her back too.”
“Indeed, O’Neill, I feel Major Carter’s absence deeply.”
Jack grimaced.  “You too, Teal’c?”  He felt betrayed.  He expected to try to be all ‘let’s talk this out’ but couldn’t he at least count on Teal’c to be all stoic and silent?
“We’ll get her back, Jack,” Daniel said simply.
Jack took a deep breath, shaking his head.  “You know, Daniel, I have to wonder if this isn’t when our luck runs out.” 
“I do not believe in luck, O’Neill.  Our skill and determination will find her,” Teal’c said.
Jack tiredly nodded.  “I guess that’s what we all have to believe.”  No one commented that his delivery was less than convincing.  He sat down again.  “So tell me what we know about this guy.  What’d you say his name was? ‘Ugly’?”