Keep Your Eye on the Baal
"Think I'll turn in."
Baal started out of the room. "We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow."
Baal in "Ex Deus Machina"
President Henry Hayes
straightened his tie and swallowed hard, but the lump of apprehension
was still lodged in his throat. He leaned forward in his seat, palms
flat on his thighs - anything to keep his fingers away from the tie that
felt more like a noose than a fundamental part of a well-dressed man's
General George Hammond, retired, smiled, "Nervous, Mister President?"
"Does it show?" Hayes
shrugged and then tugged at his tie. "You know, I meet with world
leaders all the time in this office. Hell, I've even faced down some
aliens in my time - but this meeting . . ." his words trailed off and he
got up to pace, then as a thought occurred to him, he stopped and faced
his companion. "He is human . . . isn't he?"
Hammond chuckled. "Yes,
he's human - his blood is just as red as yours or mine. I should know,
I've seen it often enough - why do you ask?"
Hayes gave him a
lop-sided grin. "Just a thought, what with his Ancient powers and all.
According to what I've seen from the SGC mission reports, it wouldn't be
the strangest thing to happen by any stretch of the imagination."
"He's no alien - just a
very unusual man who happens to be your head of Home World Security."
Henry felt George's eyes
while his eyes follow him as he continued to wear a path in the
Presidential Seal carpet underneath his feet. "Heck, you even out-rank
Hayes gave him a baleful
look and stopped in front of him. "That I do - which brings us to the
topic of why the chief of Home World Security - and his secretary - are
being escorted here by the secret service in my armored limo." He
paused. "And don't tell me I told you so, George."
"I wouldn't think of it, Mister President," but George's eyes had a
suspicious twinkle in their depths.
"Even though you were
against the whole thing from the start and knew how Jack O'Neill would
react to being placed in protective custody?"
Hammond shrugged and said nothing. Come to think of it, the man
showed some sense there Henry thought.
Hayes resumed his pacing. "So, just how pissed off is he?"
"Oh, I don't know . . . I
haven't seen him since we were all medically cleared at the SGC." The
balding Texan took his time. "And it's been how long since this whole
Hayes paused in
mid-stride and cocked his head, brow furrowed, as he counted out the
days on his fingers, "Five . . . six . . . seven days?" He nodded, "Oh .
. . about a week."
"And Jack was finally allowed to go home . . . when?"
"Today?" Hayes' face fell. "Oh, I see what you mean." He slumped
into his chair, "Very pissed then."
"Very," Hammond agreed.
"You sure you don't want
to do this?" Hayes gave him a lop-sided grin, the one that had worked so
well in situations like this.
Hammond's eyes narrowed. "Are you ordering me to, Mister President?"
"No, I can't do that," Hayes sighed heavily. "This is something I
have to do, much as I don't want to."
"I'm glad to hear you say
that, Mister President. I was beginning to wonder if working in The Oval
Office had," he paused as if searching for the right words, "affected
your notion of right and wrong. I'm glad to see that I was barking up
the wrong tree."
The fact that his old
friend felt he couldn't risk offending him touched a nerve, they'd
trusted each other back when they'd served together, but now that he was
in the White House, things were different. He wished it weren't so -
unfortunately it came along with the territory.
Deflated, President Hayes
settled back into his chair and pondered how far they'd both come since
they'd been co-workers in the Air Force. The memories of that time
helped ease some of the tension he felt.
Henry attempted to
lighten the mood; God knew it would be tense enough in the near future.
"So, on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest . . ."
His reference had the
desired effect on the man sitting with him when George chuckled. "You
still use our infamous 'Pee-ohed scale'?"
"Officially? No." Hayes
shook his head and then grinned. "Unofficially? Every chance I get - and
why not? It works."
"And if it works, don't
fix it," they chorused together.
"Oh, I'd say it would be around a ten or eleven."
"That high? Let's see . . . on our scale that would mean eyes bulged
out, cursing a blue-streak and throwing crockery at the person in
question." Hayes nodded, "Can't say as I blame him. We were pretty
high-handed with him, weren't we?"
Hammond grinned. "To borrow a phrase - ya think?"
Henry held up a hand. "But not without cause," he amended.
"Mister President, with
all due respect, cut the malarkey. I don't deserve it, and neither does
Jack. You and I both owe him an apology and you know it."
Hayes opened his mouth to
interrupt and George held up a hand. "Wait, let me finish. Even though
we had a damn good reason for what we did, we still owe him that much.
And a whole lot more if you ask me."
The President grinned and
leaned forward, his fingers interlaced in front of him. "Okay, since you
brought it up, I am asking; what else do we owe him?"
"Why don't you ask him,
Mister President? Though I have an idea what he'll say . . . and it
won't be a medal, I can tell you that much. He's already got a
chest-full of 'em."
"What will it be then?" Hayes was serious now. "Come on, tell me."
Hammond looked away and
his voice grew soft. "I don't know if we can give it to him."
"Because, he'll say he
wants his life back - to be left alone - or retire to his cabin in
Minnesota. Unfortunately, I don't think we can afford to let him do
George paused and looked
at his hands and then back up at his companion. He appeared troubled, as
if he was about to betray the trust Jack had in him. Hayes' already high
opinion of his Chief of Home World Security went up a notch. If O'Neill
inspired that kind of loyalty in an honorable man like George Hammond
then he must be something else.
His gaze was riveted on
Hammond's face as he continued to speak softly. "You don't know him like
I do, Mister President. You see, he didn't ask for all this attention.
And if you ask him why he's so danged important, he'll look at you like
you've lost your cotton-picking mind. To his way of thinking, being
saddled with the Ancient gene is a huge honkin' liability," George
paused to smile, "and if he had his say, he'd be rid of it in a
heartbeat. As for his success in fighting the Goa'uld and gaining
off-world allies like the Asgard, he puts it down to luck - or his
Completely serious now,
Hammond leveled his gaze at the powerful man sat next to him. "But the
fact is that Baal and a whole mess of his clones are still here on our
planet, holed up somewhere - planning heaven knows what kind of
mischief. The only thing I can guarantee about this particular Goa'uld
is that whatever it is that he's up to, it won't be anything good. And
chances are pretty high that it will involve Jack O'Neill."
Hayes was silent, with
only the sound of a ticking clock in the background. "So . . . what can
I offer a man like Jack, besides the sight of a groveling President?"
Hammond shrugged. "The
gratitude of a man who's had to make some damned distasteful decisions.
Mister President, be honest with him, and help him make some kind of
life for himself within the constraints of who he is and his importance
to our world."
Hayes nodded. Once again,
his friend from Texas had given him the answers he needed.
Ida Grayson, U.S. Army
First Sergeant, retired, awkwardly patted her hair into place with her
free hand as she settled back into the stretch limo. Having her arm in a
cast had played havoc with her personal hygiene and she'd learned the
hard way she could knock herself out if she forgot it was there. As if
the ache wouldn't remind her.
Seated next to her was
her boss, General Jack O'Neill. Both of them had been summoned to the
White House by the President himself and were being taken there in his
limo. To top it all off, they had a motorcade that usually accompanied
top-ranking officials and dignitaries.
She took a deep breath to
steady her nerves and then winced when the waistband of her pants dug
into her stomach. She'd put on a few pounds recently and her best slacks
didn't fit as well as they used to. Plus the awkward cast on her left
arm itched and the sling around her neck chaffed.
The pounds she blamed on
her cramped quarters and working space in the underground bunker where
she'd lived for the past week. The cast was a result of some rough
handling by Baal's goons. As for the anxiety - that could be laid at the
feet of President Henry Hayes.
She'd never been summoned
to the White House before, and as a good NCO, she'd lived by the credo
that you never volunteered for anything and avoided being noticed by
high-ranking officers. That is, unless you liked having your ass chewed
on a regular basis. After twenty-five years in the military, she had
enough scar tissue on her backside to last her a lifetime.
She'd only been allowed a
short stop at her home - just long enough to change clothes - with a
secret service agent guarding her door like she was somebody important.
Her choice of clothing had been limited by her broken arm and she'd
finally opted for a simple short-sleeved blouse and dress slacks.
Fortunately, her son
hadn't left for his college class yet, so she was able to check on him.
He said he'd missed her, but seemed to be behaving himself. At least
she'd been able to see him though.
When he'd spied the cast,
he'd had a fit, which wasn't surprising. After his initial outburst,
he'd helped her change, buttons being a bit much for her to handle
one-handed. He was a good boy despite his lack of a stay-at-home Mom.
Her job in the Army had
kept her from being there as much as she'd liked while her kids were
young, and she'd vowed that she'd spend more time with them now that she
was a civilian. Looked like that was another promise she might not be
able to keep.
According to what her
boss had told her, he'd received the same treatment and from the scowl
on his face, he hadn't liked it one bit. It made her wonder if she - no
they - would ever live a normal life again.
She glanced sideways when she heard a familiar curse.
"Crap," Jack muttered as he tugged at his tie.
"Quit squirming, sir. I'm
not gonna fix that for you again if you mess it up," she warned. "And
don't make me slap you up-side your head with this cast," she moved the
arm in question slightly and then added as an afterthought, "sir."
"'Danged tie feels like a hangman's noose," he said as he hooked a
finger under his collar and pulled at the fabric.
"Just be thankful you don't have to wear high-heels, sir," Ida
admonished. "I swear whoever invented them must've hated women."
"Why do we have to get
all dressed up, anyway? It's only the President," he grumbled.
"Oh, listen to you -
'only the President'," she mocked in a whining tone. "And you know
darned well why we're all dressed up."
Jack scowled and continued to worry at his neckpiece.
"Put your hands down and
let me look at you," she ordered in her best Drill Sergeant bark. "See?
You clean up pretty good, if I say so myself."
The tone worked and he
settled down, but not without shooting her a baleful glare; which she
let bounce off. It was just another of his cranky moods.
Ida had to admit he cut a
striking figure - his lean frame filled out his Class A uniform in all
the right places - and his chest was literally dripping with medals. She
recognized most of them and had to admit he must've been through the
mill - you didn't find those in the bottom of a Cracker Jack box. Before
she'd retired, she'd collected her own fruit salad, and while
impressive, it couldn't compete with his.
From his chest-full of
medals, her eyes traveled upward. The general's tanned neck made a
striking contrast to his light-colored shirt and his mouth quirked into
a half-smile that showed off his dimples. The dent between his eyes that
deepened when he was stressed looked like a canyon, and his expressive
brown eyes were obsidian hard.
As for his silver hair,
it stuck up in the back despite her best efforts to smooth it down.
She'd tried - really she had - until he'd swatted her hand away.
Ida had made a point of
walking behind him on her way to the limo - not an easy task because
O'Neill was a gentleman and had tried to walk along-side her. The few
moments when she'd accomplished her mission had been worth it though.
She'd watch his six anytime - literally and figuratively.
Oh, my, yes - her boss
made that uniform look mighty fine. If she didn't know he was already
spoken for . . . Ida squashed that thought. Time to get your mind out of
the gutter girl, he's not only your boss, he's got a woman who thinks
the world of him.
Still . . . She puffed
out a breath and fanned herself with one hand. Lordy, at the rate she
was going, she'd need a cold shower. Somehow the BDU's just didn't do
"Ida? Are you okay?"
"What?" she sputtered.
"Oh, um . . . yes. I got a little warm, that's all."
Ida bit her lip and
concentrated on the mantra she'd used as a Drill Sergeant at West Point.
'He's just another wet-behind-the-ears flyboy officer. It's your job to
teach him how to behave and hopefully, he won't embarrass you - much -
in front of the commander.'
Yep, she told herself.
That's all he is, just another officer you have to whip into shape. She
groaned and pictured herself doing push-ups . . . a lot of them -
followed by a fifteen-mile road march - with a full pack - at Fort Dix
in the dead of winter.
"Crap," she muttered and
then grimaced. Now he's got me saying it, she thought with chagrin.
The limo slowed and she
watched as the gates of the White House loomed into view. She sucked in
a breath as they opened and their motorcade crept up the drive to stop
in front of a place she'd only seen through the wrought-iron fence till
now. They'd arrived - in more ways than one.
From the scowl on
O'Neill's face she figured he wasn't looking forward to the coming
visit. But then, come to think of it, considering that it was on the
President's orders that her boss - and ultimately her too - had been
placed in protective custody, he might have a bone to pick with his
Commander In Chief.
At least she'd had some
inkling as to what was happening when her life was turned upside down;
he'd been told nothing. Instead, he'd had been hauled off without
knowing who, what, where, or why he was going. She mentally smacked her
forehead. Of course he was upset.
"We're here, sir."
Jack raised an eyebrow and growled, "Ya think?"
The writhing symbiote
screeched its outrage as Baal held it in both fists. Bringing it to his
lips, his perfectly white teeth flashed as he buried them in the neck,
and severed the head from the body where it dropped to the floor. Dark
ichor dribbled down his chin as he held the now limp body in one hand
and swallowed; its blood oozed down his throat. His tongue flashed out
as he licked the dead symbiote's life fluid from his lips.
Baal raised the hapless symbiote on high for the assembled clones.
"This one dared to defy my commands."
He threw the remains onto
the floor where he ground them into the tiles with his heel. The sound
of bones crunching underfoot was over-loud in the crowded room.
"Know you this - no one defies me and lives. To attempt it will
ensure that you end as this one - offal for my feasting." His eyes
flashed as he surveyed his clones. They looked uneasy. Good, that was
what he wanted - and expected - from them.
Anat, his blond-haired
queen stood at his side, a not-so-subtle reminder that she supported his
words and was the power behind his throne. Her slender hand reached out
to caress Baal's face and wiped away some of the dark blood from his
chin. She delicately licked the blood off her fingers and smiled
radiantly at her mate.
He returned her smile and
reveled in the offerings her gaze promised; his blood throbbed in his
veins as he envisioned their future mating.
Baal's eyes flashed with
exultation tempered with the knowledge that he could not afford one
moment of carelessness in his dealings with the clones. One moment of
distraction would be all it took for one of his rivals to seize power
from him. No, his queen would have to wait until he had secured the
obedience of his clones.
He wrenched his attention
back to the present and his audience. "You exist only to serve me.
Nonetheless I know that there are those of you who continue to entertain
thoughts of my downfall."
Silence greeted this
announcement. They knew better to deny the obvious - he knew them inside
and out and their denial would mean nothing. Were he in their place, he
would do the same - it was in their nature. And who would know better
than he? After all, they were duplicates of the original - Baal.
"You will all receive an
implant that will allow you to fulfill the duties I assign you. However,
should you fail to comply with my directions, you will die."
Baal chuckled, but the
sound held no joy. "This device will be implanted in your brains, at the
base of your skull. Not the skull of your host, but your own. Should you
disobey my wishes after it has been implanted I will do . . .
Some of the clones
murmured in surprise, the smarter ones were silent and Baal watched them
with approval. They had learned that he was a force to be reckoned with.
He shared a smile with his queen and she nodded her approval. He knew
she had cataloged those who had remained silent.
"The implant will execute
my will. If not recharged on a regular basis, it will release a poison
into your bloodstream that will dissolve first your body - then that of
"For those who believe -
as did this one," he gestured to the slimy remains ground into the
floor, "that taking another host will absolve you of your allegiance to
me . . ."
He paused and surveyed
his audience. They in turn studied him for any sign of weakness.
"To take another host
will not enable you to escape my dominion, for you will carry the seeds
of your destruction within your own bodies."
He took the hand of his
queen, Anat. Together they stood on the dais and surveyed their court of
Baal look-alikes. "No one will leave this room until the device has been
He smiled as he watched
the reaction of the clones. It ranged from anger to resignation. All of
their responses, though, held the seed of calculated consideration. Even
now, he knew, each of them was bent on escaping his domination.
"Jaffa, kree! Bring him."
He watched as his Jaffa
presented one of his clones that struggled between them. "This one has
been less than successful in his assigned endeavor and received the
implant this morning. It was left uncharged to provide a demonstration
of my dominion over you." He snapped his fingers. "Observe and
For a moment there was
only silence and the sound of the clone struggling against the grip the
Jaffa had on his arms. Then the clone's eyes grew wide and he screamed.
The bubbling sound rent the air in the chamber and spoke of some
nameless terror. The duplicates exchanged troubled glances and then
riveted their eyes upon the dais and their unfortunate companion.
The captive's eyes
flashed and then dimmed. Spittle dribbled out of his now slack lips as
he hung limp between the Jaffa who held him upright. They released their
hold on him and he collapsed unmoving on the floor.
An odor of decay - and
something else - drifted from the body. Seconds later a tendril of smoke
drifted upwards as the body shriveled and then burst into flame. Its
bluish fire flared and then died away, leaving behind a pile of ashes
where the body of the clone had been.
Baal watched the tableau
with satisfaction, his clones seemed to be impressed - or at the very
least - aware of the danger he posed. "Remember this; you were created
in my own image at my direction. As such I can destroy my creation when
it suits me."
His Jaffa were loyal and
would obey him - and only him - without question. They'd already been
deployed so that all exits were blocked. The clones were completely
encircled - and had no place else to go.
"Prepare them. Let none leave until it is finished."
The doctors in their
lab-coats waited at the other end of the room as the Jaffa shepherded
the clones toward them.
Baal smiled and waved one
hand toward his Jaffa. "If any resist - destroy them."
Then he left the room
hand in hand with his queen. Reigning over his clones was tiresome and
he was in need of a diversion - one she would provide. The next phase of
his plan to dominate this world would be set into motion once his clones
had been brought to heel. The power of the Ancients would yet be his.
Original Header Information:
Title: "Keep Your Eye On The Baal"
Sequel to "Baal On The Rebound", action/adventure, hurt/comfort,
drama, buckets of angst, and some ship thrown in for good measure too.
Content Level: 18+
Season: Season 9
Spoilers: "Zero Hour", "Ex Deus Machina"
Warnings: Gratuitous mention of medals, some language,
violence, torture, and mention of body parts.
Summary: Baal isn't through with Jack.
Disclaimer: Nope, still don't own any of them.
Couldn't afford to if I did and don't have a mountain to hide them in.
Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions
do. I wrote this for entertainment and won't be making any money for it,
so please don't sue. But, if you guys want any help with scripts, or
Jack, just give me a holler.
Dedication: To our fighting men and
women and the loved ones who watch them march in harms way.
Author's Notes: Here's another Dinkyfic. Thank you to Jolene for serving as a
sounding board for this fic. She truly has an evil mind when it comes to
whumping Jack. Be very afraid. Thanks also to Linda for the beta.