<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
A Storm of Shadows
Mitchell was not in a good mood. He had managed to get back to the mountain early, with the hopes of meeting up with Jessie before she left work. The fact that she wasn’t answering her phone was the first inkling something was not right. It was further reinforced when he came upon SG-1 in the debriefing room, Jack and General Hammond in the midst of an intense exchange of words. That they fell silent when he entered the room was not lost on him, either. The tale soon unraveled…Delek’s visit, his plight of the missing spy and data crystal, Jessie and Pisano going to Neowe, her posing as a slave with Pisano as her guard. Part of him understood why General Hammond had authorized the mission, especially if the information on the crystal was vital. Jessie’s knowledge of languages served getting her inside in a way others couldn’t. She was doing her job. The other part of him was angry…angry that she was risking her life with only one person to back her up, angry that they were helping the Tok’ra again, when in the past the Tok’ra had only used them as a means to an end. Mitchell refused to think about recent events, the drama with Calandra and the things she had been messing with, how upset Casey and her friends had been. He just kept telling himself Jessie and Pisano were going to be fine, they’d waltz in, get the crystal, get out and be back in time for dinner. He ignored the chill that ran through him when SG-1 cleared out and Hammond asked him to come to his office, the way his stomach turned over when Hammond handed him Jessie’s engagement ring, and the feeling of not being able to breathe when the older man relayed Jessie’s last words to him.
Mitchell joined Spencer as well as SG-1 in Daniel’s office. They talked about the latest developments, the results from their respective missions, their viewpoints and impressions. They passed the time together, waiting. Evening turned to night…night into morning.
The klaxon’s wail cut through the silence early that morning, alerting to an unscheduled offworld activation. The gang had reached the operations room by the time the wormhole had engaged…learned it was SG-7’s code. Delek striding through the event horizon, followed by Pisano and four children wrapped in blankets had everyone heading into the main gate room. Delek immediately launched into a tirade directed at General Hammond, demanding that Pisano hand over the crystal, going on and on about the priority of the mission. All eyes, however, were resting on the small group Pisano had gathered in front of him.
"Enough!" General Hammond bellowed at Delek, finally silencing the imbecile. He immediately turned his attention to Pisano. Noting the look on the man’s face he softened his demeanor. "Son? Where’s Dr. Watson?"
Pisano glared at Delek before swallowing hard, especially when he saw Colonel Mitchell staring at him. "She’s still on Neowe, Sir."
"And these children?" Hammond asked.
"Sir, Delek was not completely upfront with you when he described the situation on Neowe. Dr. Watson rescued these girls…they were going to have to…Ba’al was going to…" Pisano’s voice trailed off in frustration and he motioned to one of the girls, who slowly opened the blanket she had wrapped around her, revealing her costume beneath. There were a few gasps when the realization of what Pisano was trying to say sunk in. "They only speak Neowan, so I haven’t been able to communicate with them beyond gestures since Dr. Watson became separated from us."
Daniel stepped forward, having already been briefed about the prior meeting. "Casey and I can take care of the girls…find them some appropriate clothes to change into."
"Please do so, Dr. Jackson." While Casey and Daniel spoke quietly with their young charges, General Hammond addressed the others.
"Delek, Pisano, go to the debriefing room with SG-1…and SG-7," he added as he caught Mitchell’s eye.
The meeting wasn’t pleasant, especially when Delek’s omission was revealed. Pisano had the unfortunate task of relaying all events with Mitchell’s gaze boring a hole through him the entire time. That precious time had been lost while Delek delayed Pisano’s return enraged the team, and General Hammond refused to turn over the crystal until Dr. Watson was safely returned to them. Delek’s nonchalant attitude was greatly shaken when Mitchell approached him. He did not raise his voice; in fact, he was very matter-of-fact in his delivery.
"Dr. Watson happens to be my fiancée," he said calmly, the façade masking the fury he was feeling. He leaned in closer to the Tok’ra, who nervously stepped back. "If anything happens to her because you didn’t have the balls to lay out on the table what she was really walking into, I will personally…hunt…you…down." The last three words were spoken so softly, only Delek heard them.
The normally vocal Delek was at a loss for words, the cold stare from the Colonel leaving no doubt in his mind he would do exactly as he said. With the message delivered, they turned their focus to carrying out a rescue mission…hopefully before Ba’al realized exactly whom he had in his midst.
Jessie awoke slowly, the dim lighting and unfamiliar surroundings adding to a feeling of disorientation. Memories came rushing back, however, and she tentatively touched her side before looking down, feeling and seeing no evidence of her prior injury. Sitting up, she found herself in a simple room—a bed, small table and a chair the only contents. Turning to look behind her, the disorientation quickly turned to shock. The vast darkness of space, dotted by the intermittent streaks of tiny stars as they moved past, was reflected through the large portal set into the wall. Walking over to it, she grasped the ledge, feeling the slight hum of vibration from the engines beneath her fingertips. Fighting down the wave of hysteria that threatened to engulf her, two things she knew for certain—she was on her own, and she was no longer on Neowe.
Moving to the door, she was surprised to find it wasn’t locked. A short look around the nearby rooms revealed a sarcophagus, which she was certain she must have spent some time in. Voices were coming from another room down the corridor. Creeping closer, she hid behind a beam partially inset into the wall.
"You killed one of my guard."
"He fired upon my servant without provocation."
"She was fleeing."
"No, she was hurrying because I had summoned her."
"So, Kutkh, you expect me to believe it was just coincidence the slaves I purchased for my entertainment disappeared around the same time your servant was in the vicinity?"
"I have no knowledge of or interest in your slaves, Ba’al. I was merely protecting what is mine."
Jessie quietly retraced her steps back the way she came. Ba’al. Just perfect. She was stuck on a ship in the middle of God knew where, with Ba’al. And someone named Kutkh. Going by the voice quality, he was also Goa’uld. She managed to slip back into the room she had awakened in without being noticed. Sitting in the middle of the bed, she cleared her mind, engaging her near-photographic memory to try and remember if she knew anything about that name. She was fairly certain she hadn’t run across it at work. Sifting through her memories, she recalled a history class taken at the university. Putting herself into an almost self-hypnotic state, Jessie remembered studying deities from Central and Northern Asia. Kutkh…Raven god of Kamchatka and Chukotka. Revered, a key figure in creation, fertile ancestor of mankind, skills of copulation, mighty shaman, a trickster. Known for his virility. In animal traditions, Kutkh had a variety of interactions and altercations with the Wolf.
Jessie jerked out of her trance, her heart hammering in her chest. Kamchatka. Morbid fascination caused her to separate that name. Kam—Chatka. It was just coincidence Chatka was the name of the spy who had disappeared, wasn’t it? Kam…Cam. She felt goosebumps forming on her arms. Thoyetlini, the shaman from Nahane, said Cam’s guardian spirit was the wolf, and her guardian spirit was the raven. And Kutkh just happened to be the name of a Raven god known for altercations with the Wolf. Jessie closed her eyes. She prayed with every fiber of her being that it was just coincidence, but in her heart of hearts she knew it wasn’t. Thoyetlini’s prophecy had come true…she had unwittingly walked into the eye of the storm.
<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>