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A Storm of Shadows
Jessie found an unlikely ally after a rather intense evening in Kutkh’s clutches. She had awakened the next day, managing to make it to the bathroom before the contents of her stomach decided to make a reappearance. Her body was becoming accustomed to the drugs and substances Kutkh was using on her, and her recall memory was becoming much less clouded. The depravities she had witnessed and been a part of overwhelmed her at that point and she continued throwing up until there was nothing left but dry heaves. She broke down sobbing, gripping the edges of the toilet tightly as she did so. Instead of having time to try and extricate herself from the hell she found herself in, she had been at Kutkh’s beck and call on a daily basis. The little time she did have was spent with Candrima, whom Akari took care of when Jessie was otherwise occupied. The more she tried to figure a way out of the situation she was in, the more trapped she felt. Another wave of nausea hit her as she recalled another repugnant detail of the past night, but there was nothing left for her stomach to reject.
"Oh God, what am I going to do?" she whispered to herself. She jumped at the slight touch on her shoulder.
"Rinse your mouth with this," Akari said as she handed her a cup of cool water. A cloth in hand, she soaked it in cold water at the sink, wringing it out before gently wiping Jessie’s face. She smiled in a motherly fashion at her young charge. "I want you to take a warm shower, and no scrubbing off layers of skin when you do. You are not responsible for what happens with Lord Kutkh—he is. I’m not a fool, Miele; you were no more raised to be a gedikli than I was. I do not know what misfortune brought you to these circumstances, but there will come an opportunity for these circumstances to change. You must not lose yourself along the way, or you won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunity when it finally does present itself." Akari helped the young woman up from the stone floor. "A shower, and I’ll bring you a comfortable robe to wear, not…" she gestured to the body hugging caftan she wore, "…this." She leaned in and turned the shower on. "For a little while you can feel like yourself, instead of Kutkh’s plaything. I’ll have some broth and bread waiting for you when you’re done." Akari held up her hand as Jessie began to protest. "I understand the stress leaves you with no appetite, but you have to have something on your stomach to counteract what Kutkh gives you each evening. Trust me, I’ve been around long enough to know what goes on."
Jessie looked at the older woman for a moment. "Why do you care?" she asked softly.
Akari returned her gaze. "Because you cared about what happened to the children. Because you continue to sacrifice yourself, believing it keeps the little one out of harm’s way. Not one person who has come through here has ever done that." With that she turned and left the room.
Sam was finally able to contact her dad, and soon Jacob Carter arrived at the SGC. After listening to the entire tale, both he and Selmak agreed with the general assessment that Delek wasn’t being 100% forthcoming.
"If Delek has put out the word about Jessica, it’s been to a select few, because I had heard none of this before coming here," Jacob said, slightly incredulous at the odd turn of events.
General Hammond leaned against the table. "The problem we have right now is that we don’t have a clue as to where they’re at. The fact that Ba’al has disappeared off the radar makes me think he’s up to something, something other than having Dr. Watson in his midst."
"There have been rumors about a possible alliance between him and some other System Lords, but nothing concrete. The latest I have is he’s been keeping company with Kutkh, a minor System Lord who showed up several months ago. Apparently he has access to something Ba’al wants."
Sam handed her father the cup of coffee she had fixed for him. "Do you think Ba’al is striking up an alliance with Kutkh?"
Jacob took the cup gratefully, enjoying the heady aroma. Coffee was a luxury he had found only on Earth. "It’s always a possibility, but I doubt it. Kutkh has some ships and warriors, but his main focus seems to be human trafficking, hence his interest in Neowe and its trading. Ba’al’s interests include picking up new slaves, but that’s not his main focus. For him, I would think Neowe holds his attention more because of the weapons coming through."
"Oh!" Sam exclaimed, remembering the incident with Casey. "Dad, what is ‘tiv’ to you?"
Looking at his daughter strangely, he repeated, "Tiv?"
"After the last meeting we had with Delek, he left and we were discussing our options. I mentioned contacting you, and Casey said, ‘Jacob’s got to get tiv; it’s the only way that’ll work’. It was one of those miniature information downloads she gets, yet she doesn’t have a clue what it means."
Jacob sat quietly for several minutes, searching his memory, as well as Selmak adding to the train of thought. Suddenly a look of comprehension crossed his features. "I wonder…could she mean Tivka?"
"Someone you know?" Sam asked.
"Yeah…although I’m not sure what his connection could be to Ba’al. Let me get a hold of him, see what I can find out."
"Anything you can do, Jacob, would be greatly appreciated. Delek didn’t seem bothered waiting eight weeks until Ba’al is supposed to come back to Neowe." Hammond held Jacob’s gaze. "Too many things can happen in eight weeks."
Jacob nodded in understanding, didn’t even want to think about how distraught he would be if it were Sam instead of Jessica. Taking his cup of coffee with him, he went to see what he could dig up.
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