New Arrivals
Author-Gadfly
Titles

Descent Into Darkness
by Gadfly

Summary:  Jim fights a losing battle. Part of A New Direction series; continues on from In Harm's Way; crossover with Stargate SG-1.

Author’s Note: Un-beta’d as usual.

Disclaimer: Jim, Blair, Simon, et al, and The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly, UPN, and Paramount. Jack and the gang belong to MGM, and the other Stargate Powers That Be. No copyright infringement is intended.

Colonel Simmons idly turned the dog tags over in his hands. The report from his technical people indicated that the tags and chain were, in reality, a sophisticated explosive device, obviously designed to kill the wearer.

But why? Why would Ellison need something like that when he went offworld? The mystery had only deepened, as far as Simmons was concerned.

Did it have something to do with his so-called Sentinel abilities? The document that Naomi Sandburg had provided had been fascinating. Even if only some of it were true, Ellison would be a very useful tool to have around.

And now Ellison had been taken, and was probably a host to a Goa’uld.

Undoubtedly, SG-1 and the rest of the do-gooders at the SGC would try to get him back.

If they succeeded, Simmons would be waiting. Smiling smugly, the NID agent put the dog tags back inside the folder and replaced the file in his desk drawer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Jaffa who had previously been holding Jim down now moved to gently help their God to His feet.

Hal’ruut stared dispassionately at the crumpled form of his former host. Without the presence of the Goa’uld in his body, there was no way that he could have survived the gaping hole the symbiote had ripped in his throat upon exiting.

He stood, getting used to the way his new host’s body moved. The torn robe fell to puddle around his feet. Taking a deep breath, Hal’ruut stretched, luxuriating in the strength and suppleness of the new body.

[Remove that from Our presence,] he commanded the Jaffa with a dismissive gesture towards the body of his former host, even as several attendants hurried forward with new garments.

At his nod, the attendants carefully dressed their God, while their Goddess looked on approvingly.

[We are pleased, Our Mate,] Mel’tak purred as she ran a hand over the strong chest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blair groaned softly as consciousness slowly returned, bringing with it a flare of agony in his right shoulder as his small movements aggravated the wound from the staff weapon blast.

Memory flooded back as he became more aware.

“Jim!” he gasped out the name and tried to sit up, only to be restrained by a gentle hand on his uninjured shoulder.

“Easy, Sandburg,” O’Neill’s voice said soothingly.

“Jack?”

“Yeah, kid, I’m here,” the Colonel said quietly. “You were lucky – the staff weapon blast didn’t hit you full-on. We found you by tracking the homing signal from your radio.”

“Where’s Jim? Was he hit? Is he okay?” Blair asked quickly, his eyes searching for his friend.

O’Neill’s silence told him more than he wanted to know.

“What happened?”

“The Jaffa took him, Blair,” O’Neill’s eyes were incredibly sad as he imparted the news.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You will submit to me, Tau’ri, Hal’ruut accompanied the thought with a vicious stab of pain along Jim’s nerve endings. I am your God. You should feel honoured to serve Me

.

You’re a snake. A parasite. And you’re certainly not a God. I will never willingly submit to you, asshole, Jim sent the thought back, bracing himself for the punishment he knew would follow.

The pain drove Jim to his knees. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the female Goa’uld watching the struggle between Hal’ruut and his new host with undisguised glee.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The atmosphere for the mission debrief was grim, to say the least. Blair had wanted to be present, but Janet had overruled him, threatening him with sedation if he even looked as though he was trying to get out of his Infirmary bed.

Hammond surveyed the four original members of his premier team as he entered the briefing room. It was painfully obvious that they were devastated by Colonel Ellison’s capture. Taking a deep, calming breath, he seated himself at the head of the table and began the debrief.

“From the top, Colonel, what happened on P22-401?”

“We’d only just arrived on the planet when it became obvious that someone was dialling in,” O’Neill began, falling back on his years of field experience to allow him to remain calm and objective during the debriefing. “I ordered the team to cover, at least until we could determine who was dialling, but we were forced to leave the MALP near the gate – there wasn’t enough time to conceal it. Once the wormhole was established, twenty Jaffa came through, followed by two Goa’uld – one male, and one female. While the female appeared young and in good health, the male seemed to be old and frail. The Goa’uld examined the MALP and the male used a communication sphere to order more Jaffa to the planet. Thirty more Jaffa came through. The Goa’uld gave them their instructions and then dialled out and left the planet. Unfortunately, none of us were in position to see the address that was dialled.”

“Were you able to determine the Jaffa’s mission?” Hammond asked, although he already had his suspicions after the Colonel’s description of the male Goa’uld.

“Yes, Sir. Ellison was able to hear most of what was said,” O’Neill nodded. “The Jaffa were tasked with obtaining males from the nearby village as potential candidates to host the male Goa’uld. They were also told to capture any male Tau’ri for the same purpose.”

Hammond nodded, his expression grim. “I see. What happened next?”

O’Neill gave a brief description of what had happened up until the team had retrieved Blair and returned to the SGC.

“Do we know which Goa’uld we’re dealing with?” Hammond asked once O’Neill had finished.

“From the tattoos on the Jaffa, I believe that they serve Hal’ruut and his Queen, Mel’tak,” Teal’c stated quietly. “Hal’ruut is not a System Lord, but is still among the more powerful of the minor Goa’uld. His mate, Mel’tak, is not a queen in the sense that she is not able to produce Goa’uld offspring, but she is known both for her vicious nature and her devotion to Hal’ruut.”

“Thank you, Teal’c,” Hammond nodded. “Do we have any idea of the location of Hal’ruut’s base of operations?”

“Unfortunately, no,” Teal’c shook his head. “Hal’ruut has always been skilful in hiding his whereabouts from other Goa’uld, especially the System Lords, hence his continued existence.”

“We can ask Bra’tac, and the Tok’ra – see if they have any ideas,” Carter offered hopefully.

“And I think that we should organise some sort of monitoring facility on P22-401, in case they go back there,” Daniel added. At the quizzical look from the General, he explained himself further. “Once Hal’ruut figures out that Jim is a Sentinel. He’ll most likely head back to P22-401 for the same reason we were there – to try and find the cache of technology.”

“As I see it, we have no choice,” Hammond stated flatly. “We need to retrieve Colonel Ellison and free him of the Goa’uld as a matter of urgency. If we cannot retrieve Colonel Ellison, I am authorising the use of whatever means are necessary to stop the Goa’uld from obtaining the technology.”

There was a long pause before O’Neill reluctantly responded.

“Understood, Sir.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hal’ruut continued to try and force Jim to cooperate.

In a desperate attempt to block out the Goa’uld, Jim alternated between mentally reciting the Ranger Creed and the US Army Code of Conduct, but little by little he could feel himself losing ground as Hal’ruut continued to batter against his mind, dragging information out piece by piece for examination.

In retaliation for his continued resistance, Hal’ruut allowed Jim to witness and even participate in every atrocity that he and Mel’tak committed against their slaves.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SG-1 had returned to P22-401 and made contact with the natives, who, while fearful of their Goa’uld, were friendly and helpful, having recognised that this was the same group who had rescued several of their young warriors from the Jaffa.

They had led the team to a temple about thirty miles from the gate – out of range of the UAT survey – and Daniel had concentrated on capturing as many of the inscriptions as possible on video. The inscriptions were a strange mix of Ancient and Goa’uld, although the Ancient script seemed to predate the Goa’uld inscriptions by several thousand years.

Returning to the SGC after secreting a modified MALP in the thick bushes on the side of the gate clearing furthest from the village, SG-1 reported their findings to General Hammond, and Blair, who had finally been released from the Infirmary earlier that day.

While Carter and Teal’c concentrated on checking in with Bra’tac and the Tok’ra, to see if there was any news of Jim, Daniel and Blair retreated to Daniel’s office to begin translating the images he had brought back from the temple.

O’Neill had taken it upon himself to keep Daniel and Blair supplied with coffee and food while they worked. He enlisted Teal’c’s help when it came to dragging the two of them out of the office and off to get some sleep each night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hal’ruut staggered into his bedchamber, clutching at his head, trying to block out the sights and sounds that were causing his agony.

[What troubles you, Our Mate?] Mel’tak had followed him, concerned for her mate.

[Sounds….light…everything too bright…too much!] Hal’ruut gasped, cowering in a darkened corner of the room.

[You are troubled by your senses?] Mel’tak asked, her eyes going wide with surprise.

[All of them. The clothes against my skin…feels like it’s scraping layers of skin off every time I move…the smells…make me want to vomit…and nothing tastes as it should…] Hal’ruut told her, his voice a hoarse whisper.

[What does your host say of this?]

[Nothing! He withdraws, making me fight him for every scrap of information.] Hal’ruut snarled as he detected his host’s enjoyment of his discomfort.

[Are you still unable to control him, Husband?] Mel’tak was shocked. Her eyes narrowed as she began to consider that perhaps Hal’ruut was finally reaching the end of his usefulness to her. While it was true that she had been his dedicated ally for several millennia, lately she had been considering how much more enjoyable ruling on her own would be.

[Can’t concentrate...] Hal’ruut wheezed painfully. [This problem with my senses continually distracts me…and it worsens daily.]

A vague memory tugged at Mel’tak’s awareness. [Senses…all five senses heightened…] she broke off suddenly, a smile beginning to form on her face. It was not a pleasant sight. [Could it be that your host is a Trak’tah, Beloved?] Perhaps Hal’ruut would continue to be useful, after all.

[A Trak’tah!] Hal’ruut was stunned into silence for a long moment. [Of course! That is the only possible explanation!] Armed with this new knowledge, the Goa’uld prepared yet another assault on his host’s mind.

Jim withdrew desperately into the deepest reaches of his consciousness, horrified that the Goa’uld had finally figured out what he was. He vowed to himself to continue to do everything that he could to keep Hal’ruut from using his senses to gain access to whatever the technology was that Teal’c had mentioned, but even as he mentally retreated from the Goa’uld’s latest attack, he knew that he was rapidly running out of time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Opening his eyes, Jim found himself surrounded by the familiar blue jungle, although the foliage was sparser than he remembered, and there was an undefinable sense of malice surrounding him.

A movement behind him caused him to turn.

“Incacha!” he said the name softly, relieved that it seemed that he would have help in his fight against the Goa’uld’s control.

“Enqueri,” Incacha greeted the Sentinel, his expression grave. “This refuge will only hold for a limited time, my friend. Your battle must still be fought with the snake.”

Jim closed his eyes in despair, knowing the truth of the Shaman’s words.

“I’m just so tired, Incacha. I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.”

“Take heart, Enqueri,” Incacha told him, laying a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Nowhere is it written that you must fight alone. Your Guide and his companions have not given up their search for you.”

“I just hope that I can hold on long enough for them to find me,” Jim said quietly as more movement at the edge of the clearing drew his attention.

A large snake entered the clearing and began to stalk him.

“I just hope I can hold on,” Jim whispered, backing slowly away from the snake.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SG-1 continued to explore every available avenue in their efforts to locate Hal’ruut. So far, the results had been discouraging.

As Blair and the rest of SG-1 maintained their unrelenting search for Jim’s location, Blair’s dreams were haunted by a blue jungle where a black jaguar struggled desperately against the suffocating coils of a huge, vicious snake.

A silver-grey wolf continued to frantically try to reach the jaguar, but no matter how hard it ran, it never seemed to get any closer.

Slowly, but surely, the jaguar was losing the fight. Time was running out.

The End