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Here's the second chapter of my one-off ‘Stargate: SG1’ non-crossover fic ‘Andromeda Unchained’. Chapter One is HERE

Episode rewrite of 3.01 ‘Into the Fire’ (with a later episode featuring in the final chapter). Summary: Why would Hathor devote so much effort into making SG-1 think they were in the future, right down to building a replica of the SGC, when she could just stick a symbiote into Jack? What if there was a logical reason for her actions? And what if there was a logical reason behind her habit of always speaking in the plural? Chapter titles are taken from the song ‘Andromeda Unchained’ by Anubis Gate and from the track that follows it on the album of the same name. Chapter Two is 7,400 words. Rating R.


Andromeda Unchained


Two: Perfect host for our dream


Jack advanced cautiously through the room containing the cryogenics chambers. Daniel followed close behind and Sam brought up the rear. The sound of footsteps, the heavy tread of armored Jaffa, alerted them to someone approaching and they took cover behind the installations.

Into the room, moving slowly, came Dr. Raully, Hathor, and two Jaffa. Raully was at the front, a zat in her hand, and behind her came Hathor clinging to the arm of a Jaffa almost as if she would fall if she let go. Raully saw Jack, who was looking at her over the sights of an MP-5, and immediately she put up her hands so that the zat was pointing harmlessly into the air. Simultaneously she stepped sideways to place herself between Jack and Hathor.

“Don’t shoot!” Raully cried. “We mean you no harm, Colonel O’Neill.”

One of the Jaffa started to bring his staff weapon to bear but Hathor spoke sharply, in Goa’uld, and the Jaffa raised the weapon to point upward.

“It was not Queen Hathor who prevented your departure,” Raully said. “Trofsky has betrayed us. We feared you had been slain.” For a moment Jack thought that Raully had adopted Hathor’s habit of speaking of herself in the plural. Then Raully turned her head and spoke to Hathor. “I was right,” she said. “The shield was activated to prevent their departure.”

“We apologize, Colonel,” Hathor said. “Trofsky has rebelled, disobeyed our commands, and suborned many of our Jaffa. It was no will of ours that you should be detained.”

“He tried to kill Hathor,” Raully said. “If I hadn’t had a healing device she might well have died.”

Raully had saved Hathor’s life and now had positioned herself as a human shield to protect Hathor if Jack had fired? Maybe he was wrong about her being the Tok’ra agent. Although self-sacrificing behavior would be out of character for a Goa’uld, who were a bunch of slimy backstabbers, and Raully was acting like a genuinely loyal and devoted lieutenant. Either way, he wasn’t going to shoot her, or Hathor; not right now, anyway.

“Okay, I won’t shoot,” Jack said. He stood up and moved out from behind the cryogenics chamber. “Call it a truce for the time being.”

“Our offer of a long-term truce or alliance still stands,” Hathor said. “Your assistance in recapturing our base will be received gratefully.”

“Sir, you should see this,” Carter put in. She was standing beside one of the installations looking down at the floor.

Jack went to join her. Hathor, still supported by a Jaffa and with Raully at her side, followed suit. Jack looked down and saw the orderly from whom he had taken the white suit. The man lay dead with the massive charred wound from a staff weapon in his chest.

“He was loyal to us,” Hathor said, with what sounded like genuine sorrow in her voice. “Trofsky is slaying all such. First he declared that we had been slain by the Tau’ri, to inspire all the Jaffa to pursue and slay you, but we have learned that now he is revealing the truth to those he believes to be loyal to him personally. Those who object are slain.”

“So how many does he have on his side?” Jack asked.

“All the Horus Guards, we believe,” Hathor said. “A hundred and forty warriors. The majority of the Serpent Guards are loyal to us but they number only sixty-five.”

“And Trofsky’s picking them off one or two at a time, I’d guess,” Jack said.

“It would seem so,” Hathor said, “and also he has sent most of the Serpent Guards to fight some foe outside the complex. No doubt he will place them at the forefront so that they bear the brunt of the fighting and are further weakened. We suspect that the invaders are Tau’ri. Is that correct?”

“Yeah, some of our guys came looking for us,” Jack admitted. “Now they’re trapped inside the shield and pinned down under fire. And we can’t either escape, or bring in reinforcements, unless we can take the shield down. It came as a nasty surprise to us.”

“I apologize, Colonel,” Raully said. “I was unaware of its existence when I reported your capture to the Tok’ra.”

Jack raised his eyebrows. “I guessed you were Tok’ra,” he said, “but I didn’t expect you to come clean to Hathor.”

“Our use of the healing device had already revealed that our guise as a Jaffa was false,” Raully said, this time definitely speaking of herself in the plural, “and, once we had decided to support Hathor’s claim to be Queen of the Tok’ra, there seemed no point in concealing our true identity any longer.”

That sounded, to Jack, as if Raully was making a horrible mistake but, if they were going to ally with Hathor for the moment, this wasn’t the time to raise the point. “So, how do we shut off the shield generator?” he asked.

“It is in a concealed room behind the replica Stargate,” Hathor said. “Trofsky has placed a guard there which is too strong for our small force to overcome. With your aid, however, we should prevail.”

“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s move,” Jack said.

“Uh, Jack, Hathor looks to be injured,” Daniel pointed out. “Maybe she should find somewhere to hole up and sit this one out.”

Trust Daniel to be concerned on behalf of someone in pain, even someone he hated. Personally Jack didn’t care if Hathor dropped dead right in front of them, except in so far as it would reduce their combat strength; although that was something that had to be taken into consideration.

“I have done my best to heal her,” Raully said, “but there is a bullet lodged within her abdomen and, while it is there, the healing device has been less than completely effective. Once the situation here is resolved I was going to ask the medical staff at your base to operate and remove the bullet.”

Jack’s knee-jerk reaction was ‘Over my dead body’ but to say so out loud wouldn’t help. And, when he thought about it, he could see Janet Fraiser agreeing – even though she hated Hathor possibly as much as he did. But at least he could pass the buck and leave the decision to General Hammond. At the moment Hathor’s combat efficiency, or otherwise, was the important thing. “Daniel has a point. If you’re likely to drop dead you’d be a liability. How bad is it?”

Hathor’s eyes flashed. “I must heal Andromédē every few minutes,” she said, in her Goa’uld voice. “I used my cloaking device to reconnoitre the Gate room but had to retreat quickly as I cannot maintain the necessary concentration whilst healing. My ability to use my kara kesh is impaired. And Andromédē is very hungry but Sarah forbids her from eating as she fears it may exacerbate the damage.”

“I think I have some glucose tablets,” Daniel offered. “They’ll take the edge off the hunger but won’t put any solids into your digestive tract. That should be safe enough.” He rummaged through his pack, found a tube of the tablets, and extracted two and gave them to Hathor.

Jack noted Hathor’s use of Raully’s first name with some surprise; it was almost as if the Goa’uld Queen and the Tok’ra agent had become friends. Well, he supposed going through a tight situation together could bring about some surprising friendships; his own friendship with Daniel being a case in point. He put the thought aside and cast an assessing eye over Hathor’s body. Her robe, not the one she had worn earlier, was blotched with bloodstains. Her bikini bottoms were positively saturated with blood. There were red smears across the skin of her stomach. He winced inwardly as his gaze passed over the glowing jewel-like device with which she had, a year ago, temporarily turned him into a Jaffa. Then he turned his attention to the gun tucked into her odd arrangement of leather straps… and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up.

“It is our intention to use the Tau’ri projectile weapon, cast aside by Trofsky after he shot us, in combat,” Hathor said, reverting to her human voice. Her hand moved close to the weapon. “To slay him with it would be, if we have the expression correctly, poetic justice.”

“Queen Hathor,” Jack said, keeping his tone level so as not to startle her, “keep very still. Don’t move your hand. You’re in danger.”

Hathor froze except for her ascending eyebrows. “From what?” Raully brought her weapon to the ready position, as did one of the Jaffa warriors, and both scanned the surroundings.

“Accidental firearm discharge,” Jack answered. He would have shot Hathor himself without a qualm if she’d made any offensive moves, and he would have shed no tears if she’d been killed by Trofsky, but the thought of anyone dying from an accident with a loaded gun pushed a button right at the heart of his soul. “The gun you’re carrying is in a very unsafe state. If you even touch the trigger you could blow a hole in your stomach. Move your hand away.”

Hathor obeyed. “We do not understand,” she said. “You carry your weapons without fear.”

“There’s a thing called a safety catch,” Jack explained. “When it’s in the ‘on’ position you can carry the gun safely, no problem. When it’s off… bad things can happen. Now I’m going to remove the gun, carefully, and apply the safety. Don’t move, okay?”

“You may proceed,” Hathor said.

Jack took hold of the gun by the butt and, being careful not to snag the hammer on the straps, pulled it free. The internal safeties on a Beretta were supposed to ensure that the gun couldn’t go off in any other way than when the trigger was pulled but taking chances with a weapon wasn’t something you did twice. Once he had it clear he applied the safety and the hammer moved to the de-cocked position.

“This is the safety catch,” Jack said. He demonstrated how to flip it to ‘off’, how to apply it, and how to take it off again. “When it’s like this… it’s safe. When it’s like this… it’s not.” He put the safety on again and held the gun out to Hathor. “Carry it in this state and flip the lever only when you’re going to be shooting soon.”

“We will do as you advise,” Hathor said. “We thank you, Colonel O’Neill. You may have saved us from death or serious injury. Or, worse, we may have shot Sarah by accident.”

“Worse?” Raully queried. Her eyes widened. “Really?”

“You are our friend, and to lose you would grieve us deeply,” Hathor said. She changed to her Goa’uld voice. “I have had no true friends, save for Andromédē, since Egeria departed from Earth in the one hundred and twenty-ninth Year of the City.”

“Six hundred and twenty-five BC,” Daniel calculated. “Uh, you were Egeria’s friend?”

“Her daughter, and also her friend,” Hathor confirmed. She paused to pop one of the glucose tablets into her mouth. “We had some disagreements, it is true, but kept them amicable.”

Jack could see Daniel continuing this conversation all day if someone didn’t stop him before he got started. “Save it for later,” he said. “We’ve more urgent things to worry about. The shield generator, people.” He glanced at his watch. “There’ll be reinforcements coming through the Gate in… just over three hours from now. If the shield’s not down before then they’ll be stuck on the outside looking in.”

“Then we shall act at once,” Hathor said, in her human voice once more. “We cede command to you, Colonel, as you have greater experience in such matters.”

“Right,” said Jack. “How many guards are in the Gate room?”

“We saw fifteen,” Hathor said.

“All Horus Guards, I’ll bet,” Jack guessed. Hathor confirmed his suspicion. “Where’s the entrance to the generator room?” Jack went on.

“Immediately behind the false Chappa’ai,” Hathor answered. “The door is opened by the lever that, in your base, is the manual activation for the barricade you call the iris.”

“Neat,” Jack conceded. “Is there an observation gallery like in the real Gate room?”

“There is,” Hathor said, “but it is purely for show. The controls therein are mere shells and there is no blast screen.”

“Is the glass bullet-proof?” Jack asked.

“No, it is not,” Hathor said. “We saw no need.”

“Good,” Jack said, grinning. “Okay, this is what we’ll do…”

- - - - -


The window shattered and a cascade of glass shards fell to the Gate room floor. Even before the last of them had hit the ground Jack had a grenade in the air and Sam was spraying the Jaffa with hot lead. Almost simultaneously both doors of the embarkation room opened and each one revealed one of Hathor’s two Jaffa firing a blast from his staff weapon. The Jaffa immediately ducked back, out of the way of any return fire, and Daniel and Raully poked their hand weapons around the doorways and fired un-aimed shots just to keep the enemies’ heads down. Then the grenade exploded.

Sam ducked down and retreated back into the observation room while she reloaded. Jack brought up his own MP-5 and fired short aimed bursts at the survivors of the grenade blast. And then none of the hostile Jaffa were moving and Jack called out “Cease fire!” Only two of the enemy had managed to fire their staff weapons and neither of the blasts had come remotely close to scoring a hit.

It took a minute or two for Jack and Sam to descend from the observation room, work their way through the connecting corridors, and enter the Gate room. By that time the others were standing beside the bodies of the Jaffa, Hathor again being supported by one of her guards, and questioning a wounded Horus Guard who seemed to be the only survivor.

“Why did you revolt against us?” Hathor demanded. “What has Trofsky told you?”

“You… betray the gods,” the Jaffa croaked out. “If we bring your head, and those of the Tau’ri, to Heru’ur we will be readmitted to his service without punishment for our desertion.”

“Foolish one, the Tok’ra and the Goa’uld are the same people,” Hathor told him. “The Tok’ra are less cruel, and do not demand worship, that is all. And Heru’ur would accept the heads and then have you slain. He has no honor. We know this.” She turned to Jack. “What should we do with him, Colonel O’Neill? We are aware that it is not your custom to slay wounded foes yet to take him prisoner would be impractical.”

“Take his weapons, tie him up, zat him once, and stash him somewhere out of the way,” Jack said. “We can make a final decision later, once you’re back in charge of this place. But first we’d better deal with the generator. Trofsky’s guys will have heard the commotion and they might be along any minute.”

“Indeed so,” Hathor said. She gave orders, in Goa’uld, to her Jaffa and they moved to carry out Jack’s suggestion. Raully took over the duty of lending Hathor a supporting arm. Sam operated the fake iris lever and a section of wall slid open to reveal a massive turbine.

“I had planned on blowing it up,” Jack said, “but I guess you can just switch it off. But we’d better take away a few vital parts so Trofsky can’t just switch it back on.”

“That is feasible,” Hathor said. “We can show you some suitable components.” With Sam following Hathor’s directions the generator was silenced within moments and, with a pair of what Jack classified as ‘spark-plug equivalents’ in their packs, the party set off from the Gate room.

And, almost immediately, encountered a squad of Jaffa hastening to the location of the gun battle.

A short and vicious firefight ensued. When it finished the opposing Jaffa were all dead, one of Hathor’s Jaffa was down with a nasty staff weapon wound in his right thigh, and Hathor herself was on her hands and knees, looking disturbingly pale, and seemingly too weak to rise to her feet.

“What happened? Were you hit?” Jack asked.

Raully was using her healing device. “She put up a defensive shield,” she told Jack, “and then collapsed. It lasted just long enough to save me from a staff blast.”

“Andromédē is unconscious,” Hathor said. “I cannot control her body in this state.”

“I shall restore her soon,” Raully said. “Do not move until she is awake – and not quickly even then.”

“Uh, Jack,” Daniel said, “there’s something badly wrong. I’m no medical expert but I’ve had enough training to know that a bullet lodged in the intestinal tract shouldn’t be having this much effect after she’d been treated with the healing device. She’s bleeding internally. I bet she passed out because her blood pressure dropped too low. And that has to mean that the bullet, or part of it, is in the wall of a major artery. When she exerts herself it moves and rips the wall further open. If it’s the abdominal aorta, and it rips all the way through, she’ll be dead in minutes.”

Jack winced. He didn’t feel anything like as much hatred for Hathor, by this time, as he had felt earlier. In fact he had to admit that on the basis of this mission, without remembering what she’d done when she tried to take over the SGC, he’d have developed a degree of respect for her. “If we leave her somewhere, and Trofsky’s Jaffa find her, she’s dead,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve any alternative but to take her along with us and just try to make things as easy for her as we can.”

“If we can get her back to the SGC Janet will fix her up,” Sam said.

“That’s all we can try to do,” Jack said.

“We are awake,” Hathor said, “and feel stronger. Sarah, tend to Bron’ac. Our symbiote can continue the healing from this point.”

“If you are sure…” said Raully.

“We are,” Hathor said. “We would appreciate assistance in regaining our footing.”

Jack offered her his arm. Her eyebrows rose as she took it and, still unsteadily, rose to her feet.

“We thank you, Colonel O’Neill,” Hathor said, “and we thank you, Daniel Jackson and Captain Carter, for your concern. Again we express our regret for our previous actions. If we had recognized your true worth at that time we would have acted very differently.”

“Right, we get it,” Jack said. “As soon as your Jaffa can walk we’d better be on our way. I want to get out of here before any more of Trofsky’s guards turn up. And then we’ve another battle to fight. Try not to drop dead on us, okay?”

- - - - -


They crouched in the undergrowth, sheltered behind trees, and looked out over the clearing that surrounded the Stargate. “Uh-oh,” Jack said. “This doesn’t look good.”

Trofsky’s forces were in full control of the area. The sentry guns were undamaged. A large body of Horus Guards surrounded a smaller group of prisoners. Eight SG team members, including Colonel Makepeace, and a larger number of Serpent Guards. Jack took the time to count the Serpent Guard prisoners and came up with twenty-eight. He couldn’t get a hard count on the Horus Guards but estimated their number at close to one hundred.

“I don’t think we can take on that many, sir,” Sam said, “unless we synchronize our attack with the arrival of the reinforcements.”

“Ya think?” Jack said. “Even then we’re going to have problems. The Gate activation will tip off the Jaffa and they’ll be ready. The incoming force will take heavy casualties and we can’t lay down enough covering fire to make much difference.”

Trofsky was clad in the full armor, minus the helmet, of a Jaffa First Prime. He appeared to be interrogating Makepeace, who was kneeling and appeared to be bound hand and foot, although Trofsky’s angry yells weren’t intelligible from where SG-1 was hiding. It didn’t seem as if the interrogation was achieving anything. Trofsky kicked Makepeace in the face, causing Jack to clench his fists in impotent rage, and then turned away and began to issue orders. In response the Horus Guards split up. Half of them marched off in the direction of the pyramid complex and the remainder stayed to guard the prisoners.

“Now that’s more promising,” Jack said. “It’s still a tough proposition but it’s doable. Especially if we can get some of the prisoners free.” He thought for a moment. “How many zats have we scavenged?”

“Eleven, sir, plus Raully’s and the two Jaffa’s,” Sam answered.

“Raully, could you use Hathor’s cloaking device?”

“I don’t know. I have never used one,” Raully said.

“It is simple enough,” Hathor told her. “We could instruct you in a matter of minutes.” She passed the device over to the Tok’ra agent. “We believe we see your plan, Colonel O’Neill, and we approve.”

“What about your, whatchacallit, kara kesh?” Jack said. “If you’re not up to using it Raully might as well have it. Or Carter. She tried one out before and managed to use it.”

“I don’t think so, sir,” Sam said. “I managed to get Kendra’s to work, yes, but I wouldn’t feel confident enough to use Hathor’s in actual combat. Not without practice.”

“It is more complicated than the cloaking device,” Hathor said. “We required half a day’s practice to become proficient in its operation and, in the early stages, we made errors that could have been hazardous in a combat situation. Are you familiar with the kara kesh, Sarah?”

“I have seen them in use but never used one myself,” Raully admitted. “It might be best if you keep it. But use it only in the direst need.”

“The Jaffa have their staff weapons, and Carter and I have MP5s. So, that makes thirteen spare zats and two spare pistols,” Jack said. He had counted Hathor’s M9 as a spare because he didn’t want her engaging in combat. “Raully, you’ll need to deliver them – surreptitiously – to the prisoners. Zats to the Jaffa, pistols to the SG teams. Cut them free but tell them not to move until the reinforcements start coming through the Gate or until we start shooting.”

“We would ask that we retain our pistol,” Hathor said. “It is our only means of defense other than the kara kesh.”

“Me too,” Daniel said, “and I don’t have the kara kesh option.”

Jack had meant Daniel to keep his pistol, in any case, but Hathor had raised a valid point and Jack changed his mind. “Better idea, take a zat each,” he said. “There are more of them to go around. But, Hathor, don’t you go seeking out any fights.”

“We will not,” Hathor assured him. “We recognize that to do so would imperil our lives excessively. It shall be for defense only. You shall exact our vengeance upon Trofsky in our stead.”

“Colonel, I’m not happy about leaving Hathor with no access to my healing,” Raully said. “And, frankly, I’m not sure I could sneak past the guards even cloaked. My training, other than my technical skills, is in subterfuge but not in stealth.”

“I should be able to use the cloaking device, sir,” Sam volunteered. “I’ll do that part.”

“I guess that makes more sense,” Jack agreed. He looked at his watch. “Right, we have a plan. And we have forty-five minutes to put it into action.”

“Not New York minutes, I hope,” Hathor said, using her human voice but speaking in the first person singular.

Jack couldn’t help smiling. “No, just normal ones,” he said. “General Hammond is from Texas. But it was pretty funny.”

Hathor reverted to her Goa’uld voice, spoke in Ancient Greek, and then switched to English. “That witticism was Andromédē’s,” she said. “Her spirits remain high despite everything.”

“Good to hear,” said Jack. He glanced over at the Gate. “It would be nice to be able to dial out and let Hammond know the situation,” he said. “There’s all kinds of potential for friendly fire incidents. But we’ll just have to make do. Okay, first things first. Give Carter the lesson on how to use the Invisibility Cloak. And then we move.”

- - - - -


The familiar ‘kawoosh’ formed as the Gate activated. Trofsky broke off from his most recent attempt to interrogate Colonel Makepeace, turned, and stared. He began yelling orders and the Horus Guards, who likewise had turned to face the Gate, rushed to form up in ranks ready to receive the arriving force with a barrage of fire. The sentry guns likewise traversed to aim at the Gate platform.

Jack simultaneously cursed their disciplined efficiency and was gratified to see that they’d neglected to leave anyone watching the prisoners. He could see loose bonds being slipped and a member of SG-3 leaning over to cut Colonel Makepeace’s ropes with the knife left for that purpose by Carter. It might get used for stabbing, too, if the fight ended up as hand-to-hand. But the staff cannons in the towers were likely to prove the decisive element – unless Carter could do something about that.

He rose from cover and began to move forward at a fast jog. Daniel, and Hathor’s two Jaffa, did the same; Hathor followed at a leisurely walking pace; Raully had given her strict instructions not to move any faster and to go round any obstacles instead of trying to climb over them. Even with that proviso Raully lagged well behind the others, keeping only a few yards ahead of Hathor, and glancing behind her every few seconds to check on Hathor’s well-being. Not that Jack had counted on Raully making any major contribution to their firepower anyway. He just hoped her distraction didn’t get her killed. And Hathor’s main role would be to make sure her Serpent Guards didn’t turn on the SG teams after Trofsky’s force had been neutralized. Somehow, despite their past history, Jack was pretty sure he could trust her to do that.

The Stargate’s shimmering event horizon parted and something shot out. Not the Marines Jack was expecting but an aircraft, resembling a Goa’uld Death Glider but with its wings curled in a ring around the hull. It was just the right size to fit through the Gate, with a whisker of clearance, and must have been designed for that very purpose. But going through, at flying speed, would take nerves of steel and a very fine touch. Who could it be? Another Goa’uld staging an invasion at exactly the time the reinforcements from the SGC were due? That would be one hell of a coincidence but they did happen. Or maybe the Tok’ra had had the little fighter stashed away as a secret weapon and they’d joined up with the SGC for this mission. No point in speculation, though, it was time for action.

Trofsky’s massed Jaffa stared up at the speeding fighter, raised their staffs, and a few of them loosed energy blasts that came nowhere near hitting the craft. On the towers the staff cannons rose and swiveled like World War 2 flak guns.

And Carter, standing invisible at the base of one tower, opened up at the other with her MP5. In that position she was completely out of the arc of fire of the tower beside her and the other couldn’t shoot back at her without blowing the supports out from under its opposite number. She’d be much more vulnerable to the Jaffa on the ground, of course, as they wouldn’t be subject to the same restrictions and eventually they’d be able to work out where she was.

Although they had troubles of their own. The prisoners, now unguarded and with quite a few of them now armed, rose up and attacked. Bolts from the zats seared through the air and, with the targets in such close ranks, they could hardly miss. Pistol shots cracked. Several of the Horus Guards went down.

Jack halted, raised his MP5, and emptied the magazine in one long burst. He wanted to do as much damage as possible while the enemy were still in tight formation and before the prisoners closed to hand-to-hand range and got in the way. His fusillade ripped through the ranks and sent eight Horus Guards toppling. Another two dropped their staff weapons; one fell to his knees and the other staggered back clutching a wounded arm. Jack ejected the empty magazine and moved on, slapping another magazine home as he advanced, keeping one eye on the unidentified fighter aircraft to see what it did.

The tower targeted by Sam had fallen silent, the crew dead or injured, and now the odd-looking aircraft banked, turned, and dived at the surviving sentry gun with its cannons blazing. The turret exploded in a ball of flame and the fighter made another bank and turn. It passed over the melee as if it was making a strafing run but didn’t fire.

Jack deduced that the mysterious craft wasn’t part of an invasion by some other Goa’uld. An invader would have mown down Serpent Guards, Horus Guards, and SGC personnel alike. He had no time to consider the matter further; his full attention had to be on the fight. Zat beams, staff blasts, and bullets were flying every which way. He clicked the shot selector to single-shot and began to pick off targets of opportunity wherever he could be sure he wouldn’t hit someone on his own side. Of course the presence of Carter the Invisible Girl in the area complicated things; she was simultaneously the least likely person in the fight to be hit by an aimed shot from the enemy and the most likely to be the victim of friendly fire.

That thought must have occurred to Carter as she suddenly popped into visibility nearby. Three Horus Guards were charging in her direction but their startled reactions proved that this was pure coincidence. One halted, trying to bring his staff weapon to bear, while the other two continued their charge in an apparent attempt to get close and bludgeon her to the ground. A doomed attempt; Carter’s MP5 was already aimed, she had reloaded after emptying her magazine at the sentry gun, and she dropped both of the oncoming Jaffa with head shots and then killed the third with equal precision.

Jack was hoping to get a shot at Trofsky but there were too many bodies in the way. The freed prisoners had closed the range as quickly as they could, unsurprisingly as more than half of them were unarmed, and the three separate groups rapidly became a brawling mass in which men and Jaffa tried to bludgeon, strangle, or stab each other to death. And it was a very even struggle; Trofsky’s forces had taken enough losses from the initial volley from the freed prisoners, and Jack’s own devastating attack, to pretty much wipe out their original advantage in numbers. It was impossible to predict who would win. If Jack, or Sam, could get into position to shoot Trofsky that might bring a quick end to the fight. Unfortunately he was managing to keep well out of their way. And Trofsky had his own plan for a quick victory. He circled around the mob and headed straight for Hathor.

Jack saw him and tried to maneuver into position to shoot the treacherous First Prime. He was delayed by having to deal with two Jaffa breaking away from the main fight to attack him and he lost track of Trofsky for a few moments. Then something else distracted him; a party arriving through the Stargate. Jaffa, as he’d half expected after the appearance of the little fighter, but not the invading army of a System Lord; a mere five warriors. And, even though he could spare time only for a brief glance, he was pretty sure he recognized one of them. Master Bra’tac.

Of course! Jack remembered Makepeace telling him that Teal’c had ‘quit and gone home to do his own thing’. That ‘thing’ must have been to recruit some Jaffa for a rescue mission. The little Tie-Fighter knock-off must be a Jaffa craft picked up on Chulak; in fact Teal’c was probably the one flying it, as he certainly possessed the nerve and the precise touch required. And, although the force might be small, Master Bra’tac’s combat experience and skill made him the equal of a dozen regular Jaffa. Not that he was doing any fighting yet. He, and the four warriors accompanying him, could only stare down from the Gate platform at the ongoing struggle and try to make sense of the confusion.

In the ranks of the combatants Colonel Makepeace tackled a Jaffa and brought his opponent to the ground. Beyond the now prone pair Jack saw Trofsky. For a brief moment he had a clear shot and he took it. The range was too long to risk a head shot and Jack took the safer option of aiming for the center of the body. He scored a hit and Trofsky fell. Then Makepeace rose to kneel above his opponent and started to slam the Horus Guard’s helmeted head against the ground. He blocked Jack’s line of sight to the fallen First Prime and Jack wasn’t able to tell how seriously Trofsky was hurt. He hoped he’d killed him but doubted it; at that range the 9mm bullet might have failed to penetrate the Jaffa’s ornate armor. The best that he could expect was that Trofsky was wounded seriously enough to put him out of the fight for the duration. More combatants got in the way of Jack’s view and he had to abandon any idea of finishing off Trofsky. Instead he decided that his best course of action lay in linking up with Master Bra’tac’s group and letting them know what was happening. That way the new arrivals would be able to intervene, perhaps decisively, without fear of shooting the wrong targets and making things worse. Jack turned and headed for the Gate.

- - - - -


Daniel kept clear of the melee, firing his zat when he had a clear shot, and trying to watch Jack’s and Sam’s backs as best he could. He checked behind him, when he could, watching out for Trofsky’s other fifty Jaffa returning to the field; unlikely, as Daniel was pretty sure they’d been sent back to the complex to investigate the failure of the shield generator and to destroy whoever was responsible, but if they did return they would crush Hathor’s loyalists and the SGC people in short order.

Daniel also cast occasional glances at Hathor and Raully. Raully, like him, was playing only a minor role in the battle. For the most part she was acting merely as a bodyguard for Hathor. The Goa’uld Queen hadn’t fired her zat at all, as far as Daniel could see; she was contenting herself with shouting out to the Jaffa in Goa’uld. Daniel’s spoken Goa’uld wasn’t perfect but he could follow what she said well enough to tell that she was urging the Horus Guards to surrender, commanding the Serpent Guards to spare any foes who did surrender, and informing the Serpent Guards that the Tau’ri were allies and were not to be harmed. When Trofsky was shot, and fell flat, this gave Hathor additional material. So far none of the Horus Guards had obeyed her instruction to surrender and, perhaps feeling that they simply weren’t hearing her above the clamor of the combat, Hathor closed the range and drew nearer to the fray. Raully kept ahead of Hathor, continuing to place herself between the prospective future Queen of the Tok’ra and the combatants, and came within a couple of paces of where Trofsky lay.

Suddenly Trofsky moved. His hand came up holding a zat and he fired at Raully. She froze rigid and then toppled. Trofsky leapt to his feet and grabbed her as she fell. He held her in front of him as a shield and fired another shot, this time at Hathor, but she put up a shield and the zat bolt dissipated harmlessly. She raised her own zat but hesitated, obviously unwilling to risk hitting Raully, and Trofsky turned his zat to point at Raully’s head.

“A second shot will kill her, Shol’va queen,” Trofsky snarled. “If you shoot me you slay her also.”

“And if you slay her we will shatter your bones,” Hathor responded, lowering the zat but raising her left hand, holding her kara kesh, instead. “Release Raully, and surrender, and we shall spare your life and send you back to Heru’ur.”

“To be executed for my desertion,” Trofsky said. “No, I will not surrender. Now back off and let me pass or your new favorite dies.”

Daniel gritted his teeth in frustration. He was out of Trofsky’s line of sight, and could have zatted the First Prime in the back, but the metal armor would conduct the charge into Raully and, as Trofsky had said, the second shot would kill the Tok’ra woman. Hathor couldn’t use her zat, for the same reason, and Raully’s role as a human shield also prevented Hathor from using her kara kesh. One of the two Jaffa who had accompanied Hathor was still clear of the close-quarter melee but his staff weapon was far too inaccurate to be of any help in a hostage situation. For the moment Trofsky seemed to have all the cards. But if they did let him get away it was obvious what he would do; head for the pyramid, collect the rest of his Jaffa, and bring them back to wipe out the surviving Serpent Guards, Hathor, and the Earth forces.

Hathor’s jaw tightened. She took one step aside and then stopped. She spoke in Ancient Greek. “Let me deal with him, my Queen,” she said; or rather, Daniel realized, Andromeda said.

“It is a risk,” Hathor replied, in the same language, “but I see no alternative. Do it, then, Princess.” She tossed the zat to the ground and adopted a martial arts stance with her hands open and held higher than in the styles that Sam favored.

Trofsky didn’t recognize her intent. “Your hand device would kill her as well as me, fool,” he said. “Move aside.” He gestured with his zat and, just for an instant, it pointed away from Raully.

Hathor – no, Andromeda – struck like lightning. She reached Trofsky in one long stride, her hands shot out, and she seized Trofsky’s hand and arm and wrenched. He cried out and dropped the weapon. Andromeda stepped in closer, wrenching the arm around even further and pulling, and drove her forehead into Trofsky’s face. He released Raully, who slumped to the ground, and brought that arm around to strike at Andromeda. She released Trofsky’s wrist and brought up her elbow to block Trofsky’s blow. The resulting impact didn’t seem to hurt Andromeda at all but Trofsky cried out again and his fingers, as he drew back his hand, were bent in ways that suggested to Daniel that they were broken.

Andromeda struck at Trofsy’s throat. She caught his windpipe between her fingers and thumb and squeezed. Trofsky gagged and brought up his damaged hand to try to free himself. Andromeda let go of his throat and arm and pushed Trofsky away. He stumbled back a pace. Daniel was tempted to zat him but guessed Andromeda would attack again and so held his fire. Andromeda tilted her body back and brought up her right leg in a kick that Daniel had seen illustrated on pottery vases two and a half thousand years old; it was the ‘shield-breaker’ kick of Pankration, the lethal martial art of the Ancient Greeks, a devastating move made even more deadly when delivered with the enhanced strength of a Goa’uld.

Trofsky was knocked back several feet. If it hadn’t been for his armor he might have been killed outright. As it was he stayed upright but doubled over, clutching at his middle, and was completely helpless as Andromeda followed up and seized him once more. She took him by the throat and the head, twisted viciously, and then held up his limp body. Her eyes flashed and she shouted out in Goa’uld.

“Trofsky is dead,” Hathor cried. “We have slain him for his treachery. Surrender and your lives shall be spared. Fight on and you shall perish.” She cast Trofsky’s corpse aside. The Horus Guards wavered and several threw down their weapons. Once a few had done so the remainder, now outnumbered and realizing that they faced a losing battle, followed suit. The fight was over.

Hathor turned to where Raully had fallen, bent over her new friend, and smiled as she saw that Raully was uninjured and was already stirring as she returned to consciousness. The smile disappeared and Hathor’s face paled. She swayed on her feet.

“Doctor Jackson,” she gasped. Her hands went to her stomach. “We feel… Help us…” Her voice cut off and she collapsed face down on top of Raully.

- - - - -


“Nice shooting, sir,” Jack said to General Hammond. He’d been surprised to find that the General had been the gunner on the plane, the ‘Needle-Threader’, although he’d already guessed that Teal’c had been the pilot.

“Indeed,” said Teal’c.

“It’s been a while since I was a combat pilot,” Hammond said, “but you don’t forget. So, Jack, what’s the situation?”

“It’s a long story, sir,” Jack began. He stopped as he saw Daniel approaching followed by Raully and two Jaffa. The Jaffa were carrying an improvised stretcher made from two staff weapons with cloaks stretched between them. Hathor lay on the stretcher, motionless, with Raully walking alongside projecting an orange beam from her healing device onto the still figure.

“Jack, General Hammond,” Daniel called. “We have a medical emergency. We need to get Hathor to the base hospital right now.”

“Doctor Jackson, are you seriously suggesting we take that Goa’uld to the base and give her medical treatment?” Hammond’s eyebrows shot up. “Why in the name of Sam Hill should we do that after what she did to us last time?”

“Please help us,” Raully begged. “She is dying. The healing device is barely keeping pace with the internal bleeding.”

“Raully of the Tok’ra,” Jack explained. “She thinks Hathor could be their new Queen.” He grimaced. “Sir, I hate to say this, but I think we ought to help her. This whole mess wasn’t Hathor’s fault. If her orders had been obeyed nobody would have gotten hurt at all.” He saw Teal’c’s eyebrow climbing. “You weren’t supposed to get shot, Teal’c. That was Trofsky’s idea. And it was him who shot Hathor. The bullet’s still in there and it’s killing her.”

“Please,” Raully begged again. “Without a Queen the Tok’ra are a doomed race. And I cannot keep this up much longer. When I run out of energy… she will die.”

“I don’t know…” Hammond said.

“I have to admit Hathor pulled her weight when we had to team up,” Jack said. “I think we should cut her some slack.”

“I was impressed by her fighting technique,” Master Bra’tac put in. “Never have I seen one of the false gods, not even Heru’ur, display such prowess at unarmed combat.”

“Oh, that wasn’t Hathor,” Daniel said. “It was Andromeda. The host,” he clarified. “She used the Ancient Greek fighting art of Pankration. Usually it was forbidden for women to learn it but some girls in royal families were taught it, for self-defense, and Andromeda was a princess.”

Jack cut to the chase before Daniel could launch into a full-on lecture covering the history and techniques of the martial art. “She handed over control to Andromeda? You’re certain?”

“Positive,” Daniel confirmed, “and I’m sure it wasn’t for the first time.”

“That is why we believe she could make a good Queen for the Tok’ra,” Raully said. “But she must live. Please, we beg you, act quickly.”

Hammond pursed his lips and thought for a moment. “Very well,” he said. “Colonel, dial the SGC and warn them to stand by for a medical emergency. I hope I don’t regret this.”

To be continued…

Disclaimer: ‘Stargate: SG1’ was created by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner and is owned by MGM Television Entertainment and Gekko Productions.

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