Chapter Thirty-nine Summary: Jack is in charge of the SGC while General Hammond is in Washington at a
meeting.  Things are not going well and he is about at the end of his rope.  The only bright spot in his world is
that Daniel, Sam, and group are due back anytime.  A couple of weeks later, SG-10 comes back to the SGC under
fire and two of their members have been captured.  There are not enough SGC teams available to mount a rescue
and it is decided to take the Special Forces teams through to the planet.  It should be good practice.  

"Italics" - Symbiote/Host or Telepathic communications
Sevesh – A Rite of Release of a Rite, Ritual, Binding, or Bonding

















Jack O’Neill sat at his desk and rubbed his face with his hands.  God, he was so tired.  In
the three weeks since Lantash and Kataya had gone through the
Sevesh, it seemed as if
his life had jumped a ride on a roller coaster; one that never even slowed down, let alone
stopped for him to get off.  

Carter, Martouf, Kataya, Daniel, and Merdwin returned briefly for the marriage ceremony
that joined Martouf, Lantash, and Carter as husbands and wife.  Two husbands in one
body.  Jack shook his head as he thought about it.  He shuddered and refused to let his
mind go any farther down that road.  

Carter had been a beautiful bride, though, and so happy it had shone from her like a
beacon, especially when she was near Martouf and Lantash.  Besides that, Jack had to
admit that it was obvious to everyone that the two of them loved her more than anything,
or anyone, in the universe.  They would do everything they could to make her happy, of
that fact, there was not the slightest doubt, and the feeling went both ways.  Jack really
thought that Carter would go through the fires of hell for those two.  Literally.  

Jack sighed, again, and rubbed his eyes.  General Hammond was in D.C. for a private
meeting with the President.  It was the third time in the last three weeks that the general
had been gone for at least two or more days, and Jack had to take command.  He had
been gone for several days this time, and during those few days, things became even
worse than they had been.  Thank whatever powers that be, the General was due back
any time.  Jack could not wait to hand the reins of control back to him.  Over and above
that, never again, would he do anything to cause the man trouble.  Well, he would
try not
to do anything that would cause him trouble.   

He missed Carter and Daniel.  He missed Kataya and Merdwin.  Hell, he even missed
Martouf/Lantash.  All five of them were on Avilion seeing to Carter’s training.  They were
due back today, as well.  Carter could take back the oversight of the marines.  Daniel
could play ambassador, intermediary, and general nursemaid to the Tok’Ra and the
Katteri.  Kataya and Merdwin could try to restrain and contain the Katteri Warriors, and
he could get a full night of sleep.  Finally.  

No more calls at three a.m. complaining that the Katteri could not sleep, so they had
taken over the commissary.  No more calls, saying that they were walking the halls and
glowing, or that they were practicing manifesting and having contests to see who could
change the fastest or growl the longest, at three in the morning.  Did they ever sleep?  He
was sure he remembered both Kataya and Merdwin sleeping.  Daniel insisted that they
slept.  So what was up with these Katteri?  Why in the hell were they not sleeping?  Why?  
Just someone please explain this to him.  He suspected that the return of Kataya and
Merdwin would turn all of them into eight hour a night sleepers.  At least, that was what
he was pinning his hopes on at the moment.  

His mind wandered onto another of the recent problems that he expected Daniel and
company’s return to curtail drastically.  Then there would be no more two a.m. calls
because the marines thought the Tok’Ra and the Katteri were moving in on the females on
the base and started a fight, after spending the evening watching the female soldiers
sitting and talking for hours to the Tok’Ra and the Katteri.  No more four a.m. calls saying
that the Tok’Ra were taking hour-long showers and using all the hot water, so the teams
returning covered in sand, dirt, mud, and/or blood, had
no, that was absolutely no, hot
water to shower in.  How did the Tok’Ra stay in the water that long without turning into
prunes?  The symbiotes might be aquatic outside the host, but the host’s bodies were
not
built to be in hot water that damn long.  There weren’t even that many Tok’Ra here, so
how did they do it?  Every team in the SGC could shower at once and never run the water
heaters out of hot water.  

He laid his head on his desk.  Please, please, please, no more calls at two a.m. from the
Tok’Ra because the marines locked the locker room doors in the middle of the night, and
they could not take their showers.  No more one a.m. calls complaining that the marines
locked the restrooms, and the Tok’Ra and the Katteri could not use the facilities.  It was
like riding herd on a group of first graders…no, kindergarteners. Comparing them to first
graders was insulting the first graders.  His groups rarely acted as well as seven year
olds.  

God, please, no more Tok’Ra waiting at his door at 07:00, to tell him that they would not
tolerate the marines on the night shift disassembling all the training weapons the Tok’Ra
were using and hiding the ammunition.  Nor did they appreciate finding the linen cabinet
empty, when they went to obtain clean linens for their beds,
after they stripped them and
disposed of the unclean linens.  If the Tau’ri expected them to conform to their system of
doing things, then they
must have that which they needed to do so.  They also would
appreciate it, if their uniforms returned from the laundry on time for them to have clean
ones.  Surely, their laundry facilities were not that poorly run?  

Hell, no, they did not run the laundry poorly, but the laundry personnel had no control
over what happened to it after they turned the uniforms over to the delivery personnel.    
They were the ones that the Marines were intimidating and forcing into giving up the
Tok'Ra’s laundry.  And just as soon as he caught the ones doing it, they were joining the
other half of the personnel that was already in cells.  Jeeze, the problems would stop soon
because all of the SGC personnel would be in the brig.  Well, all of the male SGC
personnel would be in the brig.  The female personnel appeared to be getting along with
the others quite well.  Too damn well, and that was half of that problem, but he could
hardly order them to be rude to the Tok’Ra and the Furling.  That would really put the cat
amongst the pigeons.  The male part of the SGC personnel were just going to have to get
used to it.  He didn't even know why they were being this way because the Furling women,
as well as some of the Tok’Ra women, were more than pleased to spend time with some of
them.  Evidentially, they never learned how to share when they were kids...oh, that's
right, they still were kids...at least judging by their behavior.

He sat back in his chair and scrubbed his face with his hands again, as his mind
continued to run through the disruptions that had taken place over the last three weeks,
usually on his watch.  Please, please, let there be no more marines waiting at 07:00, to tell
him that they would
not put up with the Tok’Ra calling them primitive, children, or
inferior.  Nor would they tolerate the Tok’Ra treating them as if they just crawled out from
under a rock, or were too stupid to understand a simple request.  And if one more Tok’Ra
looked down their supercilious nose and smirked at them, when one of the Tau’ri women
chose to sit with them during a movie in the recreation room, or at a meal, they would
not
be responsible for what they did.  

Thankfully, the Katteri and Tok’Ra males were not as possessive about their female
counterparts and considering the graceful, sensuous walk and the come-hither eyes, all
Katteri women seemed to have been born with, it was a damn good thing.  At least they
were being fairly discreet about their intermingling with the Tau’ri males, and so far, the
Tok’Ra females had been as well, at least, they were when they were not giving out black
eyes and busted lips.

He sighed deeply.  He just was not sure what to try next, and he was desperately hoping
that Daniel would be able to figure out what was up with the SGC personnel.  Because
nine times out of ten, the Marines started it.  If they kept this up, there would not be
enough soldiers to fill out the teams.  They already had more airmen and marines in the
brig, than they had total in the last five years, and poor Lieutenant Simmons spent most
of his time chasing down lost uniforms, missing sheets, ammunition, and extra keys to the
facilities.  

When the Lieutenant was not doing that, he was explaining to airmen and marines, with
injuries like blacked eyes and busted lips, that female Tok’Ra had the added strength of
the symbiote, just like their male counterparts did.  Then he had to suggest that the next
time they decided to try to kiss one, they should either be very sure the woman in
question wanted to be kissed, or be ready to duck and run.  And, as for the injuries
pertaining to the Katteri women and the Tau’ri men, he refused to discuss, or even think,
about that, and refused to give any advice at all.  

Then there was the hot tub incident.  Jack shuddered, remembering the look on the
Lieutenant’s face, as he stoically stared at the wall, as he explained to Jack that the
Tok'Ra were used to using things like that without wearing clothing.  He had not known
this fact, so he joined them, and was actually in the tub, before he realized that the
women on either side of him were, well, naked.  Completely.  He respectfully requested
that the Colonel allow him to requisition bathing suits and deliver them.  Jack expected
him to resign his commission at any time and avoided him whenever possible.  

What time was it anyway?  Why weren’t they here yet?  He was anxious to see Carter, to
see how it had gone.  Daniel and Lantash had been back and forth several times, but
neither had been more forthcoming than to say that Artereos considered that Carter was
doing well, a phrase that Merdwin had indicated, on his visits, was very high praise.  
Unfortunately, Merdwin felt that Sam needed his help more than Jack did, so he had
spent little more time on earth than Daniel and Lantash.

He heard the klaxons come to life and sprinted for the control room.  Please, pretty please,
let it be his team.  They only had five weeks left to pull their Special Assignment Teams
into some semblance of cohesive units, and all Jack could remember, was Kataya saying
that the teams would have to work perfectly together if they planned to succeed.  Their
maneuvers, moves, thinking, doing, all needed to be in perfect harmony, as if they were
one unit, not eight separate individuals.

Well, as far as he could tell, the only thing they were perfectly in tune about, was keeping
him up all night.  There were no cohesive units among them at all.  Moreover, all the
yelling he had done had worked wonders for one or two days at a time.  Then it would all
fall apart again.  

He admitted to frustration.  He could
not figure out what was wrong.  The individuals in
the groups were not having personality clashes; they made sure of that.  So all that left
was that they were uncoordinated nincompoops.  How soldiers who were experts at what
they do, suddenly became brain dead the minute you put them in the same group with a
Katteri and a Tok’Ra was beyond him.  Of course, he could not understand how a perfectly
likeable Tok’Ra (and he admitted, but only to himself, that there were a few of those), one
on one, suddenly became a jackass when he was put into the same group.  Then there
were the Katteri; they just stood back and watched, as if it was a sideshow at a circus, and
then went off and did their "
energy-gathering thing".

He was losing it, and he was not sure how to get it back.  He was really hoping that having
Daniel back would help matters along.  Daniel was good at reading people and situations.  
He just hoped it was them, rather than some new problem that he would have to try to
solve.  He just was
not ready to deal with a new problem.  

“Who do we have, Sergeant?”  He asked, as he entered the control room at a lope.  “It is
SG-1’s signal, sir.”

He wanted to fall to his knees, chanting, “Thank the Gods”, but he didn’t feel that would
inspire confidence in his leadership, so he restrained himself and kept to the usual
comments.  “Open the iris,” he called, although Sergeant Davis had already done so.  With
no one there to make the decision, he made it, as he often had before, and since they were
expecting them, it was not a hard call to make.  O’Neill was already at the foot of the
ramp, waiting impatiently.

He was unprepared for what he saw when the group came through.  Carter and Kataya in
full formal Katteri dress uniforms were certainly something to see.  Carter received her
rank in the Furling military this morning, before they came through and there was no
doubt that the Katteri uniform looked, well, impressive.  He wondered if they did the
carving thing on her, but he would have to wait to ask her until later.  

Merdwin, Martouf, and Daniel exited the event horizon after them, Merdwin also
impressive as hell in his dress uniform.  It was great to see all of them.  He thought that
maybe he could even kiss Lantash, well, at least Martouf.  Looking back at Carter, he
realized she didn’t look like Carter anymore.  Until she approached him.  

Eyes glowing as she walked briskly down the ramp, she came up to him and said, “Major
Samantha Carter reporting for duty, sir.”

“Well, it is about time, Carter.  We have been expecting you all morning,” Jack said, as he
grinned at everyone there.  “Daniel, it is so good to have you back,” he said, as he threw
his arm around his friend’s shoulders and squeezed him slightly.

“What is wrong, Jack?”  Daniel asked, at once.  There was no doubt in his mind or his
tone of voice that there was some problem that Jack needed help with, and the sooner the
better.  

“What makes you think anything is wrong?”  Jack questioned innocently.  

“Where is Teal’c?  Where is Jacob?  Where is Lieutenant Simmons?  Now, like I said, what
is wrong, Jack?”  Daniel pointed out the obvious fact that, normally at least one of the
men would have been there, and Lieutenant Simmons would have been in the control
room.  He also looked pointedly at the arm still firmly wrapped around his shoulders.  

“Can’t I just be glad to have you home?”  Jack asked, as he removed his arm and
proceeded to rub his hands together.

“No,” Daniel answered, bluntly.

Sam grinned at him, “Come on, sir, what is going on?”

“Nothing really, I have just been bored while you were all away.  No one to go talk to, no
one to annoy and disrupt, no one to tell jokes to, no one to watch hockey with,” Jack
rambled on while everyone looked at him, waiting for him to wind down and tell the truth.

Finally breaking under their combined stares, he blurted bluntly, “I have more marines
and airmen in the brig than we have had over the last five years.”

“Problems with integration, Jack?”  Daniel asked, sardonically.

“Yeah, I guess you could say that,” Jack answered.  “I have tried everything I know.  Teal’c
has tried; Jacob has tried.  Something isn't right.  The teams work okay part of the time,
but they aren't smooth.  We've moved people whose personality’s clash, so we aren't really
having those types of conflicts.  I was hoping you could run a little interference, Daniel.  
Find out what the real problem is.  You are good at the diplomacy stuff.”

“At least let us get settled in, Jack.”

“Hey, sure, great.  See you in, oh, thirty minutes in the training area?”  Jack sent Daniel a
small disarming smile.

“Okay, Jack.  We will meet you there.”  Daniel crumbled in the face of his friend’s obvious
need.

“Are the Katteri there, Colonel?”  Kataya asked, quietly.

“Yeah, they should be.  Everyone on a team is required to be there at this time of day,”
Jack answered.

“Okay, I guess we go there first,” Daniel said, with a sigh, already knowing what was
coming.

Nodding, Kataya said, “Then I shall go there first.  Samantha, are you going to change
first?”

“No, I think I will come with you.  I want to see you in action other than with the swords,”
Sam said cheekily.

“What makes you think I am “going into action”, as you call it?”  Kataya looked over at
her, as they both strode down the hall.

“Tone of voice.  Right now, I am glad I am not a Katteri under your command,” Sam said,
too softly for the others to hear.

“You should be,” was the succinct answer.

Stopping abruptly, she asked, “Colonel, is there an observation area?”

“Yeah, there is.  It is this way.  The area we are using is very large.  It needed to be, for
this many people.  I think they used it for heavy equipment or something.  Whatever they
used to store there, it must have been huge anyway.”

They had entered an elevator and upon stopping at what should have been the deepest
part of the SGC, Jack turned to lead them down a flight of stairs and into a small viewing
room.  The area they were observing was indeed large.  

There were at least sixty people in it, and they had plenty of room for maneuvering.  The
room had both open areas and areas that had been set up to resemble both the outdoors
and the inside of a compound, such as they were expecting to find Bastet in.  Since they
could not take a chance on someone getting a glimpse of or noticing the aliens, they had
no choice but to build this inside.  

From the observation area, they could both see and be seen, so Kataya allowed Jack and
Daniel to step forward, but no one had noticed their presence.  She watched closely and
noted where each of her people were and what they were doing.  She watched, as time
and again, either Tok’Ra or Tau’ri made the wrong move, as her people watched.  At last,
she turned to Merdwin and held a very fast clipped conversation in their language.

“Colonel, they are using the intars?”  Kataya asked Jack.

“Yeah, why?”  He asked.

“Are there more here, so that you and the others could arm yourselves with them also?”  
She questioned.

“Yeah, sure.  They are in a little storage room, up the stairs and on your right.  It is on the
way into the training area,” Jack replied.

“Give one to Jacob, Teal’c, Martouf, and Daniel and set them near maximum.  Keep one
yourself, also,” Kataya said quietly, thinking rapidly about what she wanted to do.

“Why?”  Jack asked.

“Because we are about to become the Jaffa.  They have five weeks, Colonel, and they are
not doing well, as you pointed out.  Moreover, they are not doing well, because some of the
Katteri are not doing their jobs, or some of your people, or the Tok’Ra, are resisting the
link.  We are about to show them that they are, as the Tau’ri would say, canon fodder.”

“What about you, Merdwin, and Sam?”  Jack said.  

“We will use our swords, on a light energy setting.  We won’t hurt anyone,” she assured
him.  

“Okay, what is your plan?”  Jack asked, and Kataya told him her idea.  Jack, Martouf, and
Daniel were to go into the room, and just wander around for a few minutes, as if
watching.  They would alert both Teal’c and Jacob to the plan, and be sure they were
armed.  Once they had all found a strategically sound and defensible position, they would
open fire on the unsuspecting soldiers.  Take out as many Katteri as possible before they
realized what was going on and raised shields.  Any Katteri that did raise shields, the
three of them would take out.  It would be the same as if a patrol of Jaffa suddenly came
upon them when they were not expecting them.

Sam would handle the link, thus allowing them to converse with one another, so that they
were working as a unit, another way to show the soldiers inside how it should work.

Shortly, they were ready.  “Okay, let’s do it,” Jack said.  Soon Jack, Teal’c, Jacob, Daniel,
and Martouf were walking around, talking to the soldiers, none of which paid attention to
the fact that their superior officers were carrying weapons, even though this was highly
unusual.  

Nor did anyone comment on the fact that Daniel and Martouf were back.  The three
waiting outside were grim.  

It was going to be a slaughter.  Glancing at Kataya’s set face, Sam knew that when the
dust settled she, the Colonel, and her dad were going to be furious.  As the last of the men
inside found their places and stood negligently relaxed, Kataya watched as Jack suddenly
armed his weapon, turned to the nearest Katteri and soldiers and said, “Hey, guess what?  
Surprise!”  Then blew them away before rolling behind a barricade.  

The amount of people they caught off guard was amazing.  As soon as the five inside had
made cover for themselves behind the makeshift barriers they were using in the training,
Samantha gave the signal to go in and which direction each was to take.  With their
swords using energy bolts, the confusion in the training area became complete.  

When the dust settled, there were six Katteri left standing.  Three pairs and all of them
were fighting a battle for survival.  Kataya had taken on her son, Lanwin.  Gwennetha was
locked in battle with her father, and Samantha was in combat with a young Katteri named
Colwyn.  When it was completely over, Merdwin, Kataya, and Samantha were standing.  
Jack and Teal’c were unscathed, also.  Jacob, Daniel, and Martouf had come out with
minor hits.  Everyone else was down.

Kataya walked to the center of the room and stepped up onto an overturned box.  Once
the intars wore off, Kataya gave her comments and opinion; everyone knew what she said
and exactly how things stood.  There would not be one more training session, where the
Tau’ri and the Tok’Ra in their groups did not know exactly what each of them was
planning to do, or where they allowed any of their team members to wander too far from
the shield without warning them that they were about to pass beyond its boundaries.  
This was their responsibility, and they would attend to it.  If their team members were
refusing to use the link or if they continued to shut it down, they were to take it to the
team leader.  This would stop at once.  

At the end of two weeks, each and every team would be working in perfect harmony.  Any
team that was not, if it proved to be the fault of the Katteri, then they could expect and
plan to lose their rank.  They would be busted all the way to the bottom.  If they were
already on the bottom, they were back to being squires.  They had volunteered for this
assignment.  It was perhaps the most important mission they ever had, or ever would be
on, and they absolutely would
not fail.  A great deal depended on them, and she would not
take into battle, a group she could not depend on in every way.  They were Katteri-enti
Warriors, and they had better start acting like it.  End of discussion.  From that day
forward, there were no more late night eating sessions, hall wanderings, or midnight
games.

Jack had his say next, and he was just as scathing.  Every soldier learned exactly how
things were going to be.  It was not too late for them to find replacements, and if they did
not replace them, and their performance did not get better, it would not matter, because
they would be dead.  He had never seen such poor maneuvering and tactics.  Their
performance stunk, and they were a disgrace to their uniform.  

Each and every one of them was aware of who their team members were, there was no
excuse for not listening to the link and staying within the shield as much as possible.  
This was
not a game they were playing.  They were going to battle a formidable enemy,
against which they would need every advantage they could find.  If they were fighting the
link, ignoring the shield parameters, or in any way fighting their fellow team members
they damned well better stop and start working as a cohesive group.  It was a long speech
for Jack.  There were no more locked toilets, missing sheets, disassembled firearms, lost
uniforms, or fights over women.

Jacob took his turn and even if he had not used English, they would have gotten the
meaning, just by the tone and gestures.  What in the hell was the matter with them?  It
was obvious they had been completely incognizant to what was going on around them.  
Since when had they become so negligent, careless, and oblivious to the world around
them that they did not even notice when someone that normally did not carry a firearm
was suddenly armed?  How could eight people surprise them so completely that every one
of them, had this been for real, were now “dead or dying”?  This mission could mean the
difference between the Tok’Ra surviving, or being wiped out.  They damned well better
start thinking about that, instead of whatever else was on their minds.  

The best chance they had was in co-operating and learning to function as if the group was
a single entity.  That meant listening to the link and doing what the leaders of their
groups told them.  They needed to pull their heads outta their butts and pay attention.  
Furthermore, each and every one of them was going to wipe the words
primitive, children,
and inferior
from their vocabulary.  “If I hear one more Tok’Ra call one more Tau’ri any
one of those three words, I will personally see to it that you are hit with zat blasts every
time the word comes out of your mouths.”  He made his threat in English, so they were all
aware of it.  In turn, the Tok’Ra, too, became more considerate of the others and soon were
part of cohesive fighting units.  

Merdwin, Daniel, Sam, Martouf, and Teal’c stood back, watched, and listened.  It was a
lesson the units did not forget.  Eight people had taken out over sixty armed soldiers and
warriors.  It was humbling.  Of course, the attackers had their intars near max while the
defenders were on a lighter level, but for practice, it had shown exactly where the
problems were.  Moreover, they addressed those problems and found out where their
teams were stumbling.  The same answer turned up in every team.  They did not trust
that the link did not give everyone else a line directly into their mind and therefore, their
thoughts.  A few forced entries by the Katteri holding the links open and they no longer
fought the very simple, obviously non-invasive, link.  

It took about a week before the groups were working in harmony.  Soon, they came to
enjoy the sight of Kataya and Samantha walking around, giving pointers, working with
them to make each group more cohesive and in tune.  At the end of the two weeks, the two
women were favorites, and there were many memories of laughter and fun, as well as
hard work, sweat, and even tears.  

Now, it was just practice until the day of the planned attack.  Never again did anyone
succeed in taking them by surprise.  Mock battles were long and hard fought and many
times neither side could seem to win.  Often, Sam or Kataya would intervene to tip the
balance to one side or the other.




The klaxons blared, and the signal came through.  It was SG-10, and they were under
heavy fire.  Only two came through, yelling for them to close the iris.  Staff blasts followed
them, and an airman was injured.  The iris closed, and they could hear the Jaffa, or their
weapons fire hitting it.  

Jack O’Neill and General Hammond listened to the tale of a surprise arrival of Jaffa and a
minor System Lord.  They had thought the planet in question free from Goa’uld influence.  

“Sir, there had been no instance of a System Lord being there for centuries.  Evidently,
this one is trying to make a name for himself; he is amassing long abandoned planets to
build his power base without interference.  When his army has grown large enough, no
doubt he will confront the System Lord he has sworn allegiance to, whoever that might
be.  That is what we overheard when we were scouting to see if there was any way to
rescue Martin and Stevenson, the team members that have been captured,” Major
Johnson reported.

“Do you know if they are dead or alive, Major?”  General Hammond asked.   

“They were not dead, sir, they were very much alive, but they were being tortured.  Ellen
Stevenson was hurt pretty bad, and it looked like they were um, maybe going to, um,” the
Major’s voice dwindled and he swallowed convulsively.  “We really tried, sir, but there just
wasn’t any way to rescue them without reinforcements.”

“I take it the four of you had split up?”  Jack asked.

“Yes, sir, we separated into two teams.  Martin and Stevenson were talking to the villagers,
finding out about the history, where the ruins were, and what was in them.  They had no
warning that Jaffa were anywhere near, and they had no chance to escape or defend
themselves.  It all happened too quickly.  We, that is, Lieutenant Harris and I, were doing
some mineral surveys.  Normally, Stevenson would have done that, but it had sounded
like there was some stuff she should see.  We happened to almost run into a small Jaffa
patrol, and that’s how we found out that the other two had been captured in the village.”  

“Request permission to mount a rescue mission, sir,” Major Johnson asked.

“How many Jaffa are you talking about?  Did they come by gate or ship, and is the System
Lord there?”  Jack fired his questions at the obviously tense and upset Major.

“I don’t know for sure, sir, but probably not more than sixty or so.  The System Lord was
with them, and as far as we know they came by gate.”

General Hammond nodded, and said, “All right, Major, dismissed.  We may need to talk to
you later, so stay on base after you are checked out.”

“Sir, we can’t just leave them there.”  The two remaining members of the team looked
appalled.  “Surely there is something we can do?”  

“We will, Major Johnson, but we are not just going to go running through the gate without
a plan,” the general assured him.  “Now, go get checked out, and get some rest.”

“Request permission to join any rescue mission, sir,” The younger man said.

“Yes, sir, I would like to be part of that mission, too,” Lieutenant Harris spoke up.

“We will see what we are going to do first, and someone will let you know.  For now,
though, you need to do as the general said.  It was an order, not a request,” Jack said.

After the two men had reluctantly left for the infirmary to undergo their post mission
medical exam, the General said, “Jack, I have SG’s 3 and 6 here.  Everyone else is either
on downtime or off world.  I cannot send two teams into sixty plus Jaffa, who will no doubt
be guarding the gate, waiting on us to come for our people.  It is going to take time to
organize enough teams to try to extract them,” the general said quietly.

“Well, sir, we do have a team here, and I think they are ready for action.  In fact, I think it
would be some of the best practice they could possibly get on the use of Tau’ri weapons
and working together.  Kind of a practice session that is a little more real than we have
had before.”

“You want to take the Special Assignment Teams we have set up for the attack on Bastet?  
What if some of them are killed, Jack?  How do we explain that to Artereos, or Garshaw?"”  
General Hammond pointed out the downside.

“Merdwin is here, and he can okay it for the Katteri-enti, and Selmak and Jacob can okay
it for the Tok’Ra.  I say we at least ask them.  If they say no, then we just have to do it
ourselves,” Jack replied.

“Okay, I will call a briefing,” General Hammond agreed, “but if they say no, we drop it.  
Agreed?”

“Sure, but I don’t think they will,” Jack agreed.                         




“You sure you want to do this, Mer?  I mean, when I suggested this, I wasn’t expecting you
to go.  Are you sure this won’t give your presence here on earth away?”  Jack asked, for
what seemed to Merdwin to be the tenth time.

“I am sure, Jack.  Please stop worrying.  From what your people were able to tell us, it is
definitely not Bastet or any of her underlings.  I am going in dressed as a Tau’ri, using
Tau'ri weapons, and speaking the Tau’ri tongue, as are the rest of our people.  We have
agreed that the Katteri will throw a shield up.  Our people know how far or close they
must be to stay within the shield.  It is a good plan and it will work.  It is an excellent idea
to use the teams we have put together.  This will be a good practice session.  Stop
worrying.”

“All right, if you’re sure,” he finally agreed.  Looking at Kataya, he turned to Merdwin to
ask, “What is Kataya saying to Lanwin and Taesha?  She’s been talking to them for the
last few minutes, and they don’t look happy,” Jack said.

Looking over at them, and then seeing the mutinous look on Lanwin’s face, he
straightened and headed over to them, without answering Jack.  He was not fast enough
though; Lantash beat him to it.  As he approached the small group standing to one side
and talking quietly, he heard him say, “Lanwin, you will listen to your mother.  If she says
you are not to manifest, then you will not do so.  She is your superior officer, and you will
follow her orders.”

“I just want to know why we cannot if we need to.  Surely, it would not matter in this
instance.  It is Bastet we do not want to alert to us, not this minor player.”

“And what do you think the surviving Jaffa are going to tell their brethren across the
galaxy?  I will tell you.  If you manifest, or one of us uses a ribbon device, it will be in
Bastet’s ears before the day dawn’s tomorrow, that the Tau’ri have allied themselves
closely to not only the Tok’Ra, but to the Furling.  And if you believe she will not figure out
why, then you are not very bright, and I know that is not so,” Lantash spoke firmly to his
son.  “She is not telling you or Taesha not to manifest; it will be a standard order before
we ever enter the gate, just as our people will be reminded to use only Tau’ri weapons.  
We cannot allow ourselves to give our plans away now.”  

Lanwin nodded as he looked from his mother to his father, “You are correct, of course, and
I apologize.  I will do as you say.”

Taking a breath, Kataya said the words she really did not want to have to say, “Lanwin, I
am going to overlook you questioning me this time.  Do not ever do it again, for I will both
revoke your rank and place you under house arrest.  Do I make myself clear?”  Her voice
was stern and determined.

Looking at her, Lanwin knew that by rights, she should have already done those things.  
He had challenged a direct order.  Flushing, but knowing he was getting off lightly, he
said, “I understand completely, Commander Kataya.  It will not happen again.  Thank
you.”

Nodding, she said only, “Find your position, we are almost ready to deploy.”

Bowing once more, he left to assume his position with his group.

Merdwin changed course and headed to the ramp.  Climbing it, he addressed the Katteri
gathered in the group, “We will go in using our armbands to draw energy and set up
individual protective shields.  We will use no weapons except the Tau’ri’s firearms.  If any
of you have your ribbon or even your dagger, leave them behind.  Hand any things you
have over to Lieutenant Simmons, and he will keep them until we return.  We cannot and
will not tip off Bastet at this time and believe me, if anyone is discovered to be Katteri, she
will know before first light on her planet.”  

“We will go through first and throw a shield in front of the gate for those emerging and
then you will use individuals as they make their way to their group’s locations.  You will
throw illusionary shields that will mask the presence of the symbiote in the Tok’Ra, for it
is just as important that it is not discovered that they are amongst us.  Those Katteri that
are not in the advance guard, but are going in with your group; you will throw and
maintain the shields for your group before you enter the Chaappa’ai, and you will
maintain it.”  

“The High Priestesses among us will be helping with the shields, so they will be somewhat
stronger than they will be on our next mission.  You all need to be making mental notes of
what works and what does not, so keep in mind that the shields will be somewhat weaker
in the next mission, and take that into consideration when assessing how things are
working.  We will have a group wide meeting after this exercise to discuss this type of
thing.”

“Stay in formation as much as possible, but you must act as if you are Tau’ri, which
means that you must look for something to shelter behind if possible.  Standing and
letting their weapons fire hit your shield is not something that would pass unnoticed.  
That goes for all of you, Tok’Ra, Katteri, and Tau’ri.  You must not act as if you are behind
a shield, for we do not want them to realize that.  We will hope that we are able to take out
the guards at the gate before the rest of you come through, however, I am fairly sure that
there will be more Jaffa there than we are expecting.  You all have extra ordinance.  Be
prepared to use it.”  

“Once everyone is through the Chaappa’ai, those of you that are in the advance guard will
rejoin your team and continue to keep the shield intact.  Seconds are, as they know,
responsible for the link.  Do not drop it, no matter what.  Are you all ready?”  At their nods
of agreement, he ordered, “Katteri, attack position three and five.  Center post - take
position.  Left post - take position.  Right post - take position.  Form left flank .  Form right
flank.”  Walking back to Kataya, he and she stood in the very center of the group he had
formed into a semicircle with his few terse commands.  

Turning to O’Neill, Kataya said, “Katteri contingent is in position and ready to deploy,
Colonel.  We will advance on your order.”  She turned and faced the circle of the Stargate.  
Once the wormhole was established, they would be the first ones through.

Jacob faced the people that had suddenly seemed to remember who was in their team and
moved into position within their own group.  He smiled grimly.  They realized this was
something of a practice run for them, and their performance today would tell what they
needed to work on, and what they were doing well.  “Okay, listen up.  No ribbons, if you
have them with you, give them to Lieutenant Simmons, and pick them up when we get
back.  Use your zats and your Tau’ri weapons.”  

“Listen to the link, and follow all orders given by your group leader and the Colonel.  You
heard the previous instructions.  We do not want them to know we are shielded.  And for
heaven’s sake, if you are going in with the host in control, do not look up if or when you
change over.”  

“Remember that there will be a meeting afterwards to go over the mission.  Make mental
notes on what worked right and what went wrong.  You know who your team members are
and how you are supposed to function together.  I expect to see you all doing it and doing
it right.  All right, let’s get it done.”  

Jack stepped up onto the ramp to add his take on the mission and to give any last minute
instructions he might have.  After looking over the groups assembled before him, he said,
“Okay, people, you heard what has been said.  There is gonna be a shield around you.  It
is not foolproof, and we do not want it to be obvious.  Do not depend on it entirely; you are
all well trained soldiers, so use your skills to avoid being hit.  Once we clear the gate, we
will head for the house in which we know they were holding our people. Special
Assignment Teams one, two, and four will work to get our people out.  Teams three, five,
and seven will secure and hold the gate unless needed elsewhere.  Team six will use the
launchers to pin down what they can to keep them away from the gate and us.”

Turning to the two officers who were new to these groups, but still wanted to help rescue
their teammates, he said, “Johnson, you and Harris stay with team three.  Kataya set your
link, do not let it worry you, and whatever you do,
do not fight it.  Remember what she
explained; no one is entering your mind, but any thoughts you have that you send out,
especially if you attach emotion to it, can be heard.  All you have to do is let the
information come to you, and if you need to say something send it outward, and someone
in your team will hear you.  Is that understood?”

“Yes, sir, Colonel,” they responded, in unison.  

Moving his attention back to the rest of the groups, he asked, “Did everyone get their
orders and understand them?  Good.  Let’s do it people.”  Jack nodded to the control
room, the Sergeant input the symbols, and the gate sprang to life.  They watched as
Merdwin gave the order to ready their weapons.  At his nod, they entered the event
horizon.  When the others came through behind them, they were surprised to see the
Katteri, while having taken what cover they could, were still in a semi-formation and Jaffa
were falling as if they were targets on a practice range.

As the groups began to help, it soon became obvious that Merdwin had been correct in his
suspicion and there were now more than sixty or so Jaffa.  Evidently, there had been
reinforcements during the time it had taken them to organize, just as he had expected.  
The Katteri had stood their ground, and soon the teams set to get the captives out were
advancing, while the others remained behind to hold the gate, and it was obvious the
links were functioning extremely well.  So far, there had been no mistakes.

It did not take Jack and the others long to realize that the Katteri had set up and were
maintaining shields around each individual person at this point,as per their instructions.  
Staff weapons fire, rather than appearing to be stopped by something simply appeared to
be missing its targets.  Jack almost laughed aloud at the expressions on some of the Jaffa’
s faces, but he sobered quickly.  

This was their first real battle situation, and he was almost overwhelmed with the
information that was being channeled constantly.  Seeing his problem, he heard Kataya
tell them to stop the chatter and send only pertinent information.  Then he watched as
she and Sam worked together.  It was almost as if they were one entity, knowing exactly
what the other was about to do.

He sent the information of where he wanted his group to be both by link and hand signal.  
Jaffa littered the ground and so far, they had one member of the SGC and one Tok’Ra
with injuries.  One of the Tok’Ra was giving them first aid.

Once the groups started to move away from the gate, the Katteri had thrown up group
shields, which were not so hard to maintain as the individual ones.  It did not take them
long to reach the village.  Jack’s team made its way into the house, as the other two teams
secured the perimeter and assured no Jaffa would re-enter the house to surprise the team
that had gone in after their people.  Once inside, they found only a handful of Jaffa
guarding it.

The noise of the battle had pulled all available Jaffa to it, except for these few.  Jack
wondered where the system lord was.  They had taken out the guards with almost no
trouble, and Sam was with Ellen Stevenson.  She looked to be unconscious, but alive, as
was her teammate.  Jack watched as Merdwin knelt down beside each of them and laid
his hand on them for a few seconds.  

Turning to Jack, he said, “They are both unconscious, and as severe as their injuries are,
I do not advise bringing them around.  Let us get them back to the gate.  I hope that
moving them will not aggravate their injuries.  I do not believe it will, but I can guarantee
that they would both be in agony, if they were brought to consciousness.”  Teal’c picked up
the limp form of Ellen Stephenson, while Merdwin picked up Sergeant Martin.

Suddenly, Jack stopped, “Where is Kataya?”   

“She will be finding and disposing of the System Lord,” Merdwin said, calmly.  “I will find
her and tell her to hurry.”

"Kataya, where are you?”

“Up the stairs and first room on the left.”
 Suddenly, they heard the sound of a body
hitting a wall and sliding down it, followed by three zat blasts, and then Kataya was
coming down the stairs.

Jack looked into Merdwin’s eyes, and then turned to Kataya as she indicated Ellen
Stevenson’s partially naked body, and said, “Here wrap her in this, and then let us go.  
We should head back to the gate with the injured, and we cannot leave all of these bodies
for these poor villagers to deal with either.”

“What do you suggest?”  Jack asked tersely.

Lifting her zat, she disposed of the guard’s bodies.  Shrugging, she looked into O’Neill’s
eyes, and said, “I suggest we clean up after ourselves.  It is either that, or send a team
through to clean up and help the villagers.”

“We will send a team through,” Jack said, after giving it some thought.  He supposed she
was right, and the villagers were probably in shock and needed some help.  They headed
back toward the gate where they could still hear sporadic weapons fire.  It appeared to be
a few stray Jaffa.  Nothing the teams could not handle.

“Dial us up, Daniel.  Let’s get these people home,” Jack said, as they reached the gate.  
The teams had performed in an almost perfect harmony, and the captured team members
were alive and on their way home.  All of the teams were present and accounted for with a
few injuries, none of them truly serious.  One more System Lord had bitten the dust.  It
had been a good day.  

He would think later about the killers he had seen in Kataya and Merdwin’s eyes.  Jack
O'Neill shivered and realized that he had seen the true Katteri-enti today, even without
the manifestation, but not only that, he had seen himself reflected there.  

It brought the first conversation he and Kataya ever had back to him.  “We, too, are elite
killers,” she had said.  “Do not be so hard on yourself.  Without us, the universe would be
unbalanced.  No matter how much we abhor what we have had to do, what we have
witnessed, and what we will do in the future, we both know that we are the best defense
our worlds have.  Knowing this, we will continue to kill.  Any way we have to.”  

She and Merdwin had taken one look at Ellen Stevenson and what had been done to her
and Sergeant Martin, and she had quietly left and hunted down the System Lord
responsible.  And that System Lord was now dead; as dead as Bastet would be.

TBC




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Blood of My Heart, Beloved of My Soul

Chapter Thirty-nine

Out of Chaos - Harmony