A Series of Hijackings
by Dinkydow

Chapter One

Like a nuclear submarine surfacing too rapidly from the depths of a silent, black ocean, the sounds of the outside world assaulted my ears. The strident sound of beeping was the first thing I noticed. These sounds were ones that I'd always associated with the Infirmary. Somehow, I knew that wasn't the case this time, but wasn't sure just how I knew that yet. Because of my hunch that all was not as it seemed, I ignored my initial impulse to automatically open my eyes. I used the time to scan my surroundings by utilizing my other senses.

My ears continued to supply only the beeping noises. However, their slow, easy, rhythm had been replaced with a more rapid tempo. From past experience, I knew that this would inform whoever was monitoring my vital signs that I was conscious. That meant that I would be having company soon. Crap.

In a desperate attempt to make the most of the time I had left to answer some questions, I tried to move a finger. Receiving no response, I realized that I couldn't feel anything. In fact, my entire body felt like it wasn't there. That was so not a good sign. Was it? I don't think so. As in nope, not at all, no way, no how.

Feeling more alarmed now, I frantically rummaged through my most recent memories, trying to find answerers that would explain my present predicament. Nothing came to mind at first. With an effort, I tried regulating my breathing. Since I couldn't feel my chest expanding and contracting, that was hard to do. Reasoning that if I was conscious, I had to be breathing, I resolutely ordered myself to imagine that I was carrying out this task as usual. After a moment of inner debate and confusion, I was able to accomplish this and knew I had succeeded when I heard the pace of the beeps from the heart monitor slow to its previous slower rate.

Once again, I cast my mind back over the memories I had of my recent past. When I was able to hold the picture of my recent promotion ceremony in my mind, I felt a momentary flash of triumph. Using that image as a starting point, I could piece together some of the events which had resulted in my being promoted to Brigadier General. I smiled inwardly as I relived those moments of pride and excitement as President Hayes and General Hammond fastened those silver stars on my shoulders. Those memories automatically led to the events that had followed.

After pinning the stars on my shoulders, the President had proceeded to blow me away with his announcement that I'd been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by a unanimous vote of the Congress of the United States. Well, spank me rosy! I couldn't help but wonder what they'd used to blackmail Kinsey with in order to convince him to vote for something like that? Everyone knew about the mutual hatred we held for each other. The Commander in Chief must have gotten some pretty good dirt on him for that bastard to go along with awarding me the nation's highest military commendation.

According to what Hammond had said, the President had ordered him to submit his resignation as quickly as possible. All I could say about that was 'shucks, couldn't happen to a better guy'. One could only hope that something that great would happen immediately. Of course, in my reality, sweet occasions like that never ever happened and always got screwed up at the last minute.

My mind continued to process the events following the ceremony in an effort to piece together what had landed me here. Where ever that was. I could remember saying good-bye to the Asgard representatives before they beamed back to their spaceship, "The O'Neill II". They had promised to keep in touch and keep monitoring me, and my teenaged clone, John. So far, so good. No problems there.

Then the party followed. No problems there either, even though the spiked bowl of punch had pretty much left the entire staff 'swinging-from-the-Stargate' drunk. My friend, Lou Feretti, had warned me about that one, the booze in the punch that is. Even though I'd stayed away from partaking of its contents, I'd decided that the staff of the SGC had earned the right to get blitzed out of their ever-loving minds after surviving the latest attack on our home planet. Because I was their new CO, I'd arranged for an extra-large supply of hangover remedies to be available to them when they woke up. Since, I couldn't let anyone drive home drunk, I'd made arrangements for everyone to sleep it off in the safety of Cheyenne Mountain at Stargate Command.

Because I was so new to my position, I'd decided to live in my quarters on base for the next few weeks as I made all the changes necessary to ensure a smooth transition. The previous head honcho of the SGC had been a female civilian appointed by the new President by the name of Dr. Elizabeth Weir. Her reign had been short and tumultuous due to Anubis deciding to take out Earth once and for all. Thankfully, she had the balls and guts to overrule Kinsey when he tried to veto my team's mission of searching for the Lost City of the Ancients. That was when he'd gotten bawled out by his boss and told to "shut the hell up", according to Hammond.

The only thing that would've made that news any sweeter to my ears was if I could've been a fly on the wall to witness that conversation for myself. Being able to watch Kinsey get his pee-pee whacked would've been such sweet revenge. Not that he could have much of one in the first place. A pee-pee that is, considering that his balls were virtually non-existent. Compared to him, Thor's balls were the size of Teal'c's. Not that I'd been checking out the size of T's...whatever. OK, bad example. Yep, in my opinion, Kinsey was definitely a dickless wonder.

Mentally, I reviewed some of the changes I'd made with the input of Hammond and the President. I'd given Feretti a long over-due promotion to Light Colonel and made him my 2IC at Stargate Command and command of my former team, SG-1. That was an arrangement that was much more comfortable for me than having Carter in that position. Placing Feretti as her direct commander gave both of us a little space to maneuver and explore our feelings toward each other. In addition, it gave her more time to concentrate on her scientific mumbo-jumbo, which was her forte anyway. Even though being the top dog at SGC made me her CO, at least she wasn't reporting directly to me.

As for Feretti's qualifications, he'd been with the program as long as I had, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would be able to do the job admirably. Hell, he'd been there with us when Daniel and I made that first trip through the wormhole to Abydos all those years ago. By working closely together, I knew that we would get the SGC whipped into shape.

Then, I'd sent Carter, Teal'c and Daniel, along with Dr. Weir, down south to head up the investigative team that was checking out the Ancients' Outpost under the Antarctic ice. Between Daniel's interpretive linguistic skills, Carter's scientific abilities, and Weir's diplomatic expertise, I had no fears that they'd have that place all figured out soon. And with Teal'c along, nobody would dare mess with them.

But, I still didn't have a clue as to where I was and how I'd gotten there. All I knew was that I most definitely was not in the Infirmary at the SGC. With a sigh, I realized I wouldn't find out the answers until I opened my eyes. Initially, I was unable to do this, which scared me a little. Just what the hell kind of drugs did they use on me? Crap. As the beeping sounds of the heart monitor machine sped up, I realized I could discern the presence of someone standing beside me. Their breath tickled the inside of my ears as they spoke to me.

"You might as well open your eyes, O'Neill. We know you can hear us." Damn, just who was this jerk, anyway? His voice didn't ring any bells for me, so I redoubled my efforts to open my eyes. After a few moments, I was rewarded with the sight of a fuzzy face-shaped figure in front of my eyes.

"Very good, Jack. You don't mind if I call you Jack. Do you?" He ignored the fact that I was incapable of objecting to his unwanted familiarity and continued.

"Your ability to recover from our medications quickly is excellent. You will make a most rewarding test subject for me." I tried opening my mouth to reply, but was unable to accomplish this simple task. With an effort, I was able to grunt, which seemed to surprise my mysterious and unscrupulous companion.

"You were administered a drug soon after you were detained in order to prevent any inadvertent injuries while you were transported to our facility. Do not concern yourself with your inability to speak, as this side effect will dissipate soon. Don't you remember how you came to be our...guest, Jack?" At my look of puzzlement, he continued. I had a strong feeling that he was going to be near the top of my shit list. In fact, this asshole seemed to have a snake-like flair for the melodramatic.

"Ah, well, that's not really surprising, Jack, as temporary short-term memory loss is another one of this drug's side effects. Based on my past experiences while using this medication, you should regain more muscle control over the next thirty minutes."

Well, this asshole was right about one thing, the paralysis was slowly lifting from my muscles. Experimentally, I tried licking my lips and knew a brief moment of triumph when I felt my tongue moisten them. God, but they were dry and cracked. Now I could feel that a nasal cannula was in place, feeding me oxygen. Just how long had I been here? And where the hell was I?

"But I digress, Jack. Where are my manners? You must have a million questions about your current...situation. Am I right?" I cautiously ordered my head to nod, not trusting myself to be able to talk yet. If this guy wanted to spill the beans to me, who was I to stop him?

"You should feel honored to be our guest, Jack. Thanks to you and the foresight shown by my employer, great strides will be made toward the defense of our planet." Interpreting the look of confusion on my face correctly was all the excuse that this blabbermouth needed to continue. To my disappointment, he was interrupted and turned to speak to someone else.

"Ahh, Mr. Smith. I have good news for you. Our guest is awake and seems to be recovering from his medication quite nicely." Mr. Smith? Oh, how cliché could you get? Please. Note to self: Speak to whoever is writing this stuff and get better lines for the villains.

To my horror, suddenlya well-known face hovered over mine. Kinsey! I deliberately closed my eyes, having no other way to show the disgust I felt toward this man. Crap, I couldn't even spit on the bastard.

"Jack O'Neill. Or should I call you General O'Neill now?" purred my captor condescendingly. Since I couldn't tell him exactly what I thought of him, I opened my eyes to give him my coldest glare.

If I could only stall these guys a little longer, maybe I would have the chance to get the hell out of Dodge. Already, I could feel tingling sensations in my legs and arms that signaled the end of my paralysis. With the gradual return of sensation in my arms, I realized that an IV line was attached to my left arm. Cautiously, I licked my lips and cleared my throat, and realized it was a movement that now came easy to me. Now, maybe I could try speaking.

"General to you," I rasped. Not bad for a first try. His sneer was replaced with a frown. Ooh, didn't expect that from me, huh? Well, that's just too damn bad. My eyes followed him as he walked around my bed, scratching his chin. Then his smile returned and he chuckled.

"General O'Neill, then. Well, no matter. You are in no position to make demands of me. Unlike my former political partner, Hayes, I'm willing to take the necessary risks that will ensure the survival of the people of our planet. Too late, I discovered just how soft and easily manipulated Hayes and Weir could be. Unfortunately, for me, I made the mistake of trusting that they understood the necessity of a strong hand to control the Stargate. However, they have not triumphed, no, not at all. While it is true that my plans have suffered a slight setback, my vision will yet prevail. And I have you, General, to thank for that. Would you like to know how you will assist me, Jack? Because, you will, you know," he smirked.

Yep, the asshole was spouting typical villain-type lines. Any minute now, he'd be twirling his non-existent moustache. If I acted quiet and helpless for long enough, he'd tell me all about his 'great vision'. After that, I could devise a way to throw a little C-4 into it and blow it all to hell. I grunted by way of reply. Sure enough, that was all the encouragement he needed to boast about his 'great vision'.

"You're the key, Jack. Or at least what's inside your head is." I raised one eyebrow by way of asking him what the hell he meant by that. I had the feeling I knew where he was going with his little tirade, but figured if I could keep him talking long enough, I might have time to figure out how I could stop him.

"When I learned that you had retained all that knowledge from the Ancients, I just knew that it was a sign from heaven. It was as if God himself had given me the mission to use this information to safeguard our planet and our race. I tell you Jack; it was like a divine revelation and I was confident that I'd discovered the entire purpose of my life. Which leads me to you, Jack." Kinsey was smiling that condescending smile of his again. Placing his hands on either side of me, he leaned over to look me directly in the eyes.

Without warning, I struck his nose with the flat of my palm. With a little bit of luck, the force of my blow would drive his nasal cartilage into his brain and kill him. His head snapped back and he screamed as he fell to the floor. A spray of blood spattered all over the hospital scrubs I was wearing and everything nearby. Awkwardly, I maneuvered my legs off the opposite side of the bed. Then the force of gravity did what comes naturally and pulled the rest of my body to the floor. Reaching over to my left arm, I jerked out the IV needle and threw it as far away from me as possible. I'd like to say that it flew clear across the room, but it didn't. Guess that drug stuff was still in my system. Then I ripped off the nasal cannula strap and the other wires that were attached to my chest and the heart monitor.

By now, I could hear the sounds of running feet, the clanging of an alarm, and the moans of Kinsey. Crap, that meant he was still alive and kicking. Well, on to plan B, Jack. With considerable effort, I managed to struggle to my knees. Using the bed as a support, I got to my feet and took a rapid recon of the room.

Kinsey was still on the floor and the evil doctor type was on his knees beside him. The room I was in appeared to be rectangular in shape with three dull-gray walls and a window taking up the fourth one. Their décor would probably get them a spot in the "Evil Doctor's Laboratory Monthly Gazette". Judging by the observation window, those goons wanted to keep a close eye on me. That was so not going to happen, because I was NOT going to be their latest 'lab rat'! A door was situated across the room from me. It looked to be a million miles away, because of my weakened state. In between the door and me were the bed and a bunch of fancy medical equipment.

As quickly as my weakened body allowed, I staggered around the bed, using it for support, and headed for the door. The one thing I had going for me was the surge of adrenaline in my bloodstream. I knew once that was gone, I wouldn't be able to do much. So, that meant I had to get as far away from this hellhole as quickly as possible.

That damn alarm hadn't let up yet, and I could see the figures of more men gathering in the observation room. Ignoring them for now, I continued to head for the exit as fast as my bare feet could move me. Kinsey and the Doctor didn't seem to notice that I was leaving. Needless to say, I didn't stick around for a long good-bye.

Upon reaching the door, I jerked it open. Luck was still with me, as it wasn't locked. My forward pace sent me staggering out into a hallway, right into a line of unfriendly-looking goons. Deciding I had nothing to lose, I just kept stumbling toward them, as there was no place else to go. Swinging my arms, I managed to knock a few of them down. Just when I thought I might make it after all, I felt a stinging pain in my upper back. My legs and arms turned into jelly again as I slipped to the floor to lay facedown. Damn! So close...those assholes must've darted me. Then everything faded to black


Once again, my sense of hearing returned first. Beeping. That's all I could hear. This time, I could remember everything leading up to my aborted escape attempt and could feel myself breathing. Well, that was definitely a plus in my favor. Just like before, the tempo of the beeps sped up to announce my return to consciousness.

I figured now would be the time to test the limits of my boundaries. A pinching soreness in my left arm meant that the IV had been installed again. Experimentally, I tried moving a finger. Was able to do that. One down, a bunch more to go. Next came the hand. Movement was definitely restricted there. Crap. That meant restraints. Well, duh! Wonder why they did that, Jack?

When I tried moving my legs, I ran up against the same limits. Restraints there too. Cautiously, I slitted open my eyes, but slammed them shut immediately. My eyeballs felt like an extremely bright light had seared them. I heard a groan and damned myself for not having better control. There was no way in hell that the evil Doctor wannabe could've missed that. Any minute now, I was going to have company. Moving my head to the side, I tried opening my eyes again. If the bad guys were going to show up, I at least wanted to be able to see them. Maybe I could fry their brains out with my withering glare. NOT!

"Oh, for crying out loud," I muttered. Sure enough, the Doctor guy was back. Didn't see Kinsey though. Wonder how his nose was feeling? Hope he had the mother of all headaches. That's it, Jack, think happy thoughts.

"Good morning, Jack," came a familiar sounding voice from a speaker on the wall. Lifting my head up a little, I was able to make out the figure of Kinsey peering at me through the observation room window. It looked like his nose was all taped up. His face probably looked like Ho Chi Minh's casualty report.

I laid my head back down and didn't say a word, although I was smirking and doing a victory dance on the inside. The ridiculous chant of 'I broke Kinsey's nose, I broke Kinsey's nose. Nyah, nyah, a boo-boo!' kept running through my mind. It would've been even better if I'd killed him though. That slimy, yellow-bellied, son-of-a-running-dog's voice let me know he wasn't finished talking yet.

"The gloves are off now, O'Neill. Before your vicious attack on me, I was planning to let you go after you gave us all that information. But now, I can't. Oh, and don't bother getting your hopes up that your friends will rescue you, because they won't. No one knows where you are, Jack. I've been planning something like this for years and had this underground bunker built where no one can ever find it. It was built especially to my specifications and is so well hidden that even your whore, Carter, wouldn't be able find it with her gadgets." That last remark got to me, just like he knew it would.

"Why aren't you down here, Kinsey? Afraid I'll kick your yellow ass again?" I snarled. With satisfaction, I watched as he reflexively stepped back from the window.

"No one has even missed you yet, Jack, because you sent your friends down to the base at the Antarctic. You've already been my guest here for two days. Doesn't that tell you something? No one can find you here unless I want them to. And I don't intend to let you get off easy this time. You'll leave here only after I've gotten what I want and not a minute sooner."

His words brought back the memory of leaving the mountain late Friday night. I'd been looking forward to a relaxing four-day weekend because of the federal holiday. Most of the staff at SGC were taking advantage of the extended weekend and heading out of town. Only a skeleton staff had remained on duty at the base. Crap, he was right.

He'd said that I'd been here for two days. If they'd grabbed me on Friday night, that meant today was Sunday. I'd told everyone I wouldn't be back to work until Tuesday morning, barring any emergencies. That rat bastard must've noticed that I'd been doing some thinking, because he couldn't help rubbing it in a little more.

"Getting worried, Jack? Would you like to know who's getting you after I'm finished?"

"What the hell do you want from me, Kinsey?" I growled in my most menacing tone.

"I want what's in your head, Jack. Tell me the secrets you learned from the Ancients."

"Oh, how cliché can you get? I suppose this is the part where you rant and rave about torturing me and the Spanish Inquisition. What? No comfy chair? Oh, but I forgot. 'NO one expects the Spanish Inquisition.' Go to hell, you dickhead!" The quote I'd used acted just like bullet shampoo and went way over his head. Guess he didn't watch too much British TV.

"No matter, I really didn't expect you to just give me the information. You know, your refusal just makes this a little more interesting for me. Because, I will get what I want, Jack. I always do. And when I've gotten what I want, Ba'al will get what he wants," he said with a knowing smirk. I froze at the mention of that Snake's name. Even after two years, I still hadn't gotten over what he'd done to me in his House of Horrors. The memory of it still caused my stomach to clench with fear.

"Do you know what Ba'al wants, Jack? He wants you. Imagine that. In fact, he wants you so badly that he's willing to make a deal with me. Would you like to know what it is?"

"Are you nuts, Kinsey? Making a deal with those snakeheads is suicide. They'll turn on you in a heartbeat. Those snakes were selling each other out when our ancestors were still climbing out of the trees, you moron! What the hell did that scum-sucking Snake promise you?" I shouted.

"The safety of Earth, of course. That's all I've ever wanted. Money means nothing to me anymore. It's nothing compared to having power. That's what I get out of the deal, Jack. Power. No more President Hayes. Just President Kinsey. Ba'al promised me he'd take care of it after I deliver you to him. He's orbiting our planet in his cloaked Mothership right now."

"You stupid bastard! Don't you get it? Those snakes don't keep promises any better than you do. Your little bargain will put our entire planet at risk. What's to stop him from taking over and throwing you out on your yellow ass once he has me? Huh? Did you even stop to consider that? Well, you should, because it isn't just me I'm talking about here. Everyone will lose, except Ba'al. That includes you too, Kinsey. What's to stop him from killing you once he has me? Huh? Because he will. You can count on it." My yelling had left me panting on the table. Crap! It looked like Jack was up a shit creek without a scoop and there were a whole shit-load of people in the same boat with me.

"Doctor, I suggest we get started as Jack is getting overly excited." I twisted my head to the side to get a better look at what the mad scientist wannabe was doing. With dread, I watched as he injected a syringe of clear fluid into my IV port.

Its effects were immediate. A warm tingling feeling stole over my body and I had trouble keeping my eyes open. My mind was feeling fuzzy and it was hard to think straight. I kept struggling to keep my eyes open, although I couldn't remember why it was so important that I do that. Through the drug-induced haze, I heard a voice.

"He should be ready soon, Mr. Smith."

"Good, inform me when he's ready. I have some arrangements to make." The voices faded away, and I felt like I was floating. Time was meaningless and nothing seemed real or important.

"Jack? Can you hear me, Jack? Answer yes if you can hear me." For some reason, it seemed vital that I reply. I tried nodding my head and answered.


"That's good, Jack. Now, I want you to listen to me. Your team is in trouble, Jack. Major Carter needs your help."


"Yes, Jack. She needs to know about the Ancients. Tell me about the weapon in the Antarctic. It's important, Jack."


"Major Carter needs to know about it, Jack."

"I'm...sorry, Carter, but I...can't." A part of me wanted to give them the information, but I couldn't, because I really didn't know what they were talking about. When I searched my mind for it, the information just wasn't there. Dimly, I heard a voice in the background. It sounded angry. Then, my body tingled and felt all weird again. My head started hurting and I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. Somewhere, someone groaned. Then I heard nothing.

I awoke to hear arguing. My head was pounding so much it felt like the cannons from the 1812 Overture were going off inside it. My mouth felt like something furry had crawled into it and died. Tasted like it too. Still couldn't think very clearly. I tried opening my eyes.

"Can you hear me, Jack? Answer yes, if you can hear me." Automatically, my mind supplied the answer.

"Yes..." I whispered.

"That's very good, Jack. You must listen very carefully to me, Jack. Major Carter needs you to tell me about the Ancients. Where is the weapon you used against Anubis, Jack?"


"Listen, Jack. Where are the weapons you used against Anubis?" continued the oily voice persuasively.

"I...don't...know," I murmured softly. Once again, I really couldn't tell them, because I didn't know what they wanted.

"You said this would work, Doctor. Why isn't it?"

"It should be working. He's on the highest dosage I've ever used on a test subject. Maybe it's because of his Special Ops training."

"Nonsense. He's just stubborn. Give him another dose, Doctor. Maybe then he'll talk."

"But, it could kill him." That was the oily-smooth voice and it sounded nervous. Somehow, I thought I should recognize the other one, but my thoughts were too slippery to pin down. I tried opening my eyes. When had they closed?

"I don't care if he dies! Give it to him, Doctor!"

"No! My Master desires him alive!" boomed a gravely voice that somehow made me shiver inside.

The only person I could see in the room was a guy in a white lab coat. Everything seemed so dreamy, almost surreal. My thoughts still seemed to be bouncing around in my head like some kid's demented super ball. Since no one was asking me questions, I remained silent.

"Renek. I didn't expect you so soon." That voice had come from the guy in the observation room. By lifting my head a little, I could see him through the window. Standing beside him was big honkin' Hulk wannabe who looked like someone had pissed in his Froot Loops. Hurriedly, I dropped my head back down because the smallest movements made me feel dizzy and nauseous. The headache wasn't letting up any, either.

Swallowing rapidly, I did my best to keep from puking my guts out, but it was a battle I was destined to lose. Turning my head to the side, I retched painfully onto the sheet beside my head, but the only thing that came up was bile. Guess there wasn't anything in my stomach to puke up. The dry heaves just made it more painful, though. When I tried curling up on my side to protect my aching stomach muscles, I discovered that I couldn't move my arms from my side. Restraints? When had those gotten there?

Momentarily, my cramping muscles took my mind away from those questions. They were cramping so hard that it was hard to breathe and I could feel the puke drying on my face and in my hair. Finally, my stomach calmed down a little and I could catch my breath. Through the foggy haze in my brain, I could hear loud voices around me. They seemed to be arguing right next to my bed. When did that happen?

"You don't understand, Renek, I'm not finished with him yet. By the terms of our contract, Ba'al clearly agreed that he wouldn't get O'Neill until I was finished with him. General O'Neill hasn't told me what I want to know yet, so your Master will just have to wait." Suddenly, I heard the smack of a fist against flesh, followed by a startled yell and the sound of something hitting the wall.

"Be warned, foolish Tau'ri. My Master will not tolerate such impudence from a Has'shak fool such as you."


"Silence, Shol'va! As First Prime of my Lord Ba'al, I have come to claim what belongs to him. Jaffa, kree! Bring the Tau'ri O'Neill to me. Tal'shak! Do it!"

"No, you can't! It's too dangerous to move him now because the drug could cause irregular heartbeat and respiratory fa..." The man in the lab coat grunted as he was slapped across the room to lie next to the other guy.

My reverie was broken when I felt large, rough hands fumbling at my arms and legs, releasing the restraints. A sharp pain in my arm signaled that the IV had been jerked out. Then I felt myself being pulled roughly off the table. With one hulking guy on either side to hold me up, they dragged me toward their leader and followed him out of the room. I was still trying to get my feet under me so I could at least walk, but my legs weren't cooperating.

The rest of the trip was pretty much a blur, so I must've passed out or something, because, the next thing I knew, we were outside in the nighttime air. My captors seemed to be in a hurry, and my bare feet were taking a beating, so I didn't have the time or energy to spare for any sightseeing. Soon after the four of us clustered into a tight circle, we were surrounded by a shaft of intense white light. As five silver rings appeared around us with a high-pitched whine, my surroundings disappeared.

When the light and rings vanished, my guards started dragging me with them again. My legs still weren't cooperating, so I just let them carry my weight. Obviously, we were no longer outside. Looking blearily around me, I noticed that the walls around us were covered with gold and symbols. One part of my brain recognized it, but my thoughts will still so disordered that I couldn't quite understand what it meant. However, the sight of those walls made the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up and my stomach start cramping again.

Helplessly, I felt the bile rise once more in my throat. I tried swallowing it back down, somehow knowing that it wouldn't be a good idea of piss off my guards. But it was a lost cause. There wasn't a whole lot of anything to puke up, but the dry heaves still hurt like hell. And I was right about pissing off the guards. While one of them held me up, the one with the puke on him punched me in the stomach so hard I couldn't even breathe.

Without missing a beat, they each grabbed an arm and continued to drag me down the hallway while I struggled to catch my breath again. It seemed to take forever, but I was finally able to draw some air into my lungs. It hurt like hell though. The floor under me shook as if it were being bombarded by something. Didn't distract the guards who were dragging me, though.

My thoughts still seemed hard to hold onto as they continued to careen wildly around inside my brain like a crazed squirrel on speed. For some reason, my body seemed to be getting weaker and more uncoordinated instead of stronger. It was even getting hard to hold my head up, so I just let it sag forward. The task of drawing air into my lungs was taking all my concentration anyway, so I ignored the passing scenery. It was all probably done in the usual over-the-top gold décor anyway. The floor shook a couple more times as we continued down the hall, threatening to throw us all to the floor.

When my escorts finally stopped, I was breathing in noisy, wheezing gasps. After they let go of my arms, I slumped to the floor onto my knees. Proudly, I tried my best to keep my face off the floor by propping myself up into a sitting position. Even that little action cost me and my breathing became even more ragged and labored. From the way that black and gray splotches were dancing in front of my eyes, I knew something was horribly wrong. Wait a minute, hadn't that doctor said something about how moving me could be dangerous?

My heart seemed to be pounding so hard that my eardrums were in danger of bursting. The feel of a cold floor on my face made me aware that I'd lost the battle to remain upright. My arm hit the floor with a smacking sound when someone turned me over. This left me staring at the ceiling. A dark shape moved into my range of vision and I heard him speak in a deep echoing voice that filled me with a gut-wrenching fear.

"What is the meaning of this, Renek? O'Neill was to be brought to me alive."

"My Lord Ba'al. The Tau'ri Shol'va used a dangerous drug to interrogate him. He has been dealt with as you ordered."

"No matter, Renek," he replied as he bent over me and caressed my cheek with one hand.

"What a pleasure it is to see you again, Jack O'Neill with two L's. You will not escape me so easily this time. This, I promise you." He must've noticed that I could hardly draw any air into my lungs at all now and was breathing in short agonizing gasps.

"Jaffa, kree! Take him to the sarcophagus." Then my eyes widened as a blinding white light that brought a strange feeling of comfort invaded my senses and consumed everything. Charlie...!


When I opened my eyes, I was still surrounded by a glowing white light, but somehow, it didn't seem as comforting as what I'd experienced before. Turning my head slightly to the side, I could see that I was lying on my back in a rectangular box. The grating sound of stone rubbing on stone above my head provided me with a clue as to my whereabouts. Moving my head back to look upwards, I could see the top of my box splitting open. Memories came flooding back and made me gasp out loud. Ba'al! I was in his sarcophagus again. Did that mean I'd died? Ya think? Crap. That gutless bastard, Kinsey, had killed my ass. Just wait till I get my hands on him!

Beyond the open lid, I could make out two dark figures looking down at me. Squinting my eyes, I tried to make them out, although I had the sinking feeling that I already knew their identities.

"The Tau'ri, O'Neill, lives, my Lord." That must be one of his Jaffa, probably his First Prime.

"Excellent, Renek. Have him prepared and brought to me in my chamber." Considering that I still heard it in my nightmares, I had no trouble recognizing that voice. There was no doubt in my mind that it belonged to Ba'al, a snakehead that made most Goa'ulds seem like a walk in the park.

Two hulking guards pulled me roughly out of the box just in time for me to see him walk out the door with his First Prime. This is so not a good thing. Jack, you're really in deep shit this time. Just who's going to haul your sorry ass out of the fire this time?

In hindsight, I realized that I'd seriously misjudged the tenacity of my enemies when I thought that I'd be relatively safe if I stayed on Earth. I'd made the erroneous assumption that the umbrella of protection provided by being in the good graces of President Hayes would be enough to discourage any of the homegrown bad guys from trying to grab me. To further complicate matters, I'd believed Thor's promise that the Asgard would watch out for me. My present circumstances were a painful illustration of what could happen when you underestimated the intelligence and hatred of your enemy. The promise of protection from the President and the little gray guys hadn't been worth squat.

Evidently, my guards thought I had an important appointment to keep with His High Royal Snakiness, because they didn't waste any time dragging me out of the room and into the hall. From the faint vibration I could feel in the floor, I guessed that I was aboard one of his ships and we were in hyperspace. The walls around me were covered in the usual 'kneel-before-your-god' gold décor. Couldn't these guys be a little more original in their decorating?

Glancing down, I discovered I was dressed in a chillingly familiar costume of matching brown pants and long-sleeved shirt. The floor under my feet felt cold. Guess their clothing allowance for prisoners didn't cover shoes. For once, I didn't annoy the hell out of my Jaffa companions with my witty repartee, knowing I needed to conserve my strength for the coming confrontation. I was so not looking forward to this. Crap.

Nervously, I plastered a fake smirk on my face, practicing for when I would have to make it look convincing for Ba'al. This wasn't an easy task because of the memories I held of all those times he'd tortured me to death. They were so fresh in my mind that it almost seemed like it had happened yesterday. Trying my best to prepare by emptying my mind, I felt a strange numbness settle over my body. It almost felt like I wasn't really there. The last time I'd felt that way was when I was recovering from my last visit with this particular Snake.

Dr. Janet Fraiser had called it psychic numbing and assured me that it was actually quite healthy. She'd said it was the mind's way of dealing with experiences that were too painful to remember without going completely bonkers. Well, I guess whatever the hell I was walking into certainly qualified on all counts. Only trouble was, once the real pain started, I knew that this so-called psychic numbing wouldn't help at all. Nope, not one bit.

As we rounded a corner, I could see that my guards were leading me toward an open door. Gee, three guesses as to who was behind door number one, and the first two don't count. Turning to one of my guards, I started my song-and-dance number, hoping the Snake waiting for me would buy it. Somehow, I knew he wouldn't be fooled by my flippant, devil-may-care attitude, but I had to try.

"If you don't mind. I'd prefer to pick door number two," I commented with a smirk. The response was immediate, as well as painful. His First Prime, Renek, greeted me at the door with his fist. This guy just did not have a sense of humor, I thought as I was dragged before the Head Snake. Hopefully, he hadn't broken my nose.

As was usual for all Head Snakes, he was seated on a throne-like chair, looking pleased to see me. Wonder if that was one of their rules? Let's see. How would it go? 'When meeting prisoners, always sit on your throne, speak with over-used clichés, and demand that they kneel before their god.' I'd heard their standard lines so often, I already knew them by heart.

"Yeah, yeah. I know. Kneel before your god, Tau'ri scum. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Right?" Noting with satisfaction the look of surprise on the Jaffa's faces, I allowed myself a moment of triumph.

"Well, here's my line. Go to hell, you snaky-assed son of a bitch!" I growled menacingly. Their response was also immediate and predictable. A staff weapon hit the backs of my legs, and I groaned as I sank unwillingly to my knees.

"Very good, Jack O'Neill with two L's. I like my prisoners to have spirit. It makes my...work...so much more...challenging and...enjoyable," Ba'al answered with a feral smile.

"Well, as I live and breathe. If it isn't my old pal, Base Ba'al. Oh, wait. I have you to thank for that. Don't I? Well, if it's all the same to you, I'll be on my way. Can't stand long drawn-out good-byes. You know how it is, places to go and people to see," I answered as I struggled to my feet. Didn't make it far though, not with those two goons leaning on my shoulders to keep me on my knees.

"Silence, Tau'ri," thundered Renek.

"Well, you know what, big guy? Never could follow orders very well. Just ask my boss."

Movement jerked my attention back to the dangerous Goa'uld in front of me as he chuckled, low and deep. Rising from his throne, he moved down the steps toward me, eyeing me like a piece of meat. I tried to keep eye contact with him, but couldn't as he continued to circle around me like a great white shark, assessing its prey before the fatal strike. He stopped in front of me, still smiling and stroking his goatee. He chuckled again, low in his throat. God, how I hated that sound. That same evil sound had haunted my nightmares all too often.

"You have no idea how long I have waited for this moment, O'Neill. It is a pity, though, that such courage and vitality is wasted on such as you." Abruptly, he turned and returned to sit upon his throne.

"Time grows short, Colonel O'Neill. Tell me what you know about the Ancients and perhaps I can be persuaded to let you die a painless death." The smile was gone now. In its place was the deadly glare I was so familiar with.

"That's General O'Neill to you, Mr. Bocce Ba'al," I snarled between clenched teeth.

"Should that signify something to me? Perchance, your new title implies that you are even more valuable to me now than before. Hmm?"

"Bite me!" Crap. Once again I'd dug my hole even deeper by running off at the mouth.

"Ahh, but, General O'Neill. You should know by now that my methods of...persuasion...are not that...primitive." Oh yeah, I knew. As if I could forget just what his methods were when they involved pointy knives and dripping acid. Double crap.

"Oh well, to each his own, I always say," I replied, trying to shrug indifferently but it was hard to do with those two goons leaning on me. I treated each one of them to one of my patented 'withering glares' but they didn't budge an inch.

"Do you guys mind? You aren't helping my back at all, ya know. And while you're at it, cut out the 'silence Tau'ri' crap. It's so cliché."

Ya know? Jaffa just don't have any sense of humor at all. My first clue was when my nose was being ground into the floor and my mouth was bleeding. Gingerly, I probed my aching teeth with my tongue, checking for loose ones. Didn't feel like I'd lost any. Yet.

"Such spirit, O'Neill. But it is a wasted quality for you. Do not count on being rescued this time. While my ship has its shields in place, they are impenetrable by the Asgard transportation device. With the defeat of Anubis, all that was his is now mine. As for your Tau'ri friends, it is true that your primitive fighters attacked me while in orbit around your pathetic home world. However, my superior forces annihilated them all. You are all alone, Jack O'Neill, with two L's. And you are mine to toy with for as long as I wish." Once again, he stood and looked down upon me.

"Prepare him! Jaffa, kree!" he ordered as he snapped his fingers. Ya know what? Although it's a cliché, those guys really do jump when he snaps his fingers. So, I went along with my escorts as they half drug, half walked me out into the hallway and into another room.

The minute I laid eyes on it, I knew that it wasn't a fun place for Jack O'Neill to be. This room seemed to be Ba'al's version of 'Play Land' and resembled the movie sets of medieval castle dungeons. All the usual stuff was there: manacles, chains, whips, knives, and a long table complete with restraints at each end. Didn't see a spider web thingy, though. As if he really needed it with all those other toys for him to play with. In short, everything that would make a sadistic, scum-sucking, slimy-assed, snakehead like Ba'al happy. Jack O'Neill was not a happy camper. Nope, no siree, bub. Not at all.

The Jaffa version of Twiddle-Dumb and Twiddle-Dumber led me over to the table. Sure, I fought them every step of the way, but it didn't do any good because I was still recovering from the sarcophagus and feeling weak and disoriented. They threw me onto it lying face up and proceeded to restrain my hands and feet with the manacles. They even fastened an iron band around my waist. When they were finished, I couldn't move anything but my head, fingers, and toes. Those guys certainly knew their jobs and probably got a hell of a lot of practice at it. Wonder what their resumes looked like? When they stepped back, Ba'al's First Prime stepped forward and drew out a nasty-looking toad-sticker and held it near my neck with a grim smile.

"Whatcha doin, Red Neck? Afraid you'll miss out on some of the fun?" I smirked.

He ignored my comment and used the knife to slit my brown shirt from top to bottom, deliberately nicking the skin on my stomach just enough to make it bleed. Then, he did the same with both the sleeves and threw the tattered remains of my shirt to the floor. The cut on my stomach was stinging, my face hurt, and I couldn't help the shiver that passed over my body. Yep, it was official. Jack O'Neill was in 'a deep state of oh-shit'.

Thankfully, the Head Snake didn't keep me waiting for long. Not that I was in a hurry to get hurt. Don't get me wrong, I hate pain. In fact, I'm allergic to it. It's just that I don't do waiting well, because while I'm waiting for something to happen, no matter what it is, my mind is busily imagining all the terrible things that might occur. And my mind has a very fertile imagination. While the event is actually taking place, I can at least devise some way to deal with it, even if the only thing I can do is die. Besides, the ceiling in this room was BORING and lying spread-eagled flat on my ass left me nowhere to look but up. My first clue that His Royal Snakiness was in the room was when I heard his First Prime snap to attention.

"The Tau'ri has been prepared according to your instructions, my Lord."

Then, I heard two sets of footsteps coming toward me. Instead of turning my head to look, I just kept my eyes fixed on the ceiling. I knew who those footsteps belonged to and it sure wasn't the pizza deliveryman. There would be plenty of time for looking at my tormentors...later. I let the Snake speak first, knowing that he would. His huge, honkin' ego wouldn't let him wait.

Behind him, I could hear the sound of equipment being moved. Oh joy. Well, at least they hadn't tied my head down. By banging it against the table, I could distract myself from the pain they would inflict. Don't laugh, it really works, and I had the sinking feeling that I was going to be banging away real soon. Ba'al didn't waste any time with chitchat and got right down to business.

"One last time, O'Neill. Tell me what you know about the weapons from the Ancients."

"Afraid I can't do that, Skippy." By now, that Snake was standing right next to me, looking down into my face with that nasty, evil smile of his.

"How should we start this time? Knives?" he asked.

As he had turned his face to the side, he didn't seem to be watching me at that moment, but I knew that he was. He wanted to gauge my reaction to the various play-toys he was naming off. Therefore, I was trying to keep a poker face so as not to give anything away. But, let's face it. He knew how to get to me, as we'd danced to this music before. We both knew that it was all just part of the game. He continued rattling off ways to get me to talk, in an effort to shake me up.

"The branding iron, perhaps? No? Maybe the Tal'vic Acid...?" He smiled when he saw me cringe. I knew it was coming and I really tried to stop the flinch, but it was a purely reflexive reaction on my part. Huffing the air out of my mouth, I began to prepare myself. When things had gotten bad in the past, I'd developed the ability to zone out. It was kind of like retreating to a part of your head where the pain wasn't so bad anymore.

"Ahh. So it will be the Tal'vic Acid. An excellent choice. This acid is my own special mixture, blended so that it does not eat its way through the body too quickly. It burns just fast enough to...magnify...the agony to exquisite proportions." Yep, this guy could teach a few things to the Iraqi's. Not that I was going to provide him with a job reference. Now, he was watching me again, and held that damn bottle of liquid fire right over my chest.

"Tell me about the weapon." He upended the bottle and squeezed out a single drop.

Drip. Just like before, it began with a tickling sensation, which grew into an itch, and then erupted into a burning pain that wouldn't stop. Biting my lower lip with my teeth, I tried to prevent the moan that wanted to leave my mouth. The head banging had started.


"Where is the weapon, O'Neill with two L's? If you tell me, I will give you the antidote." Now, he was holding a bottle in each hand, knowing that it would make my silence that much harder to maintain.

"No? Very well, then."


"Arrgh!" This time I couldn't stop my outcry and banged my head again. My wrists and ankles felt raw, from jerking repeatedly against the restraints. The acid was slowly eating through my lungs and it was getting harder to breathe.

"You've already used it on Anubis. What harm can come of telling me about a useless tool that has served its purpose?"

"I...don't...know," I ground out between clenched teeth.

Oh God, it hurt! Just like before, the acid had spread to my bloodstream and I could feel it burning through my veins. I coughed and tasted blood in my mouth, so I spat it at him. Didn't hit him though, as I didn't have any umph behind it. Got to be able to breathe to spit for distance. Although it did make me feel good to see him flinch away. Then, the sneer was back on his face again.

"Tell me and I will reward you with the antidote," he continued reasonably. I just shook my head, not having the breath left to speak.

"You pathetic Tau'ri have such fragile bodies," as he set one of the bottles down on the table behind him.

"It is so easy to kill you. A little acid...." Drip. "...Here and..." Drip. "...There. And it's..." Drip. "...Over." With each pause, he chose a different spot on my torso to anoint with his most unholy potion

"Noo!" I whimpered.

"Tell me about the weapon. Then, I will stop." Shaking my head again, I only had enough breath for a whisper.

"No..." From prior experience, I knew that the end was close. The end of this session, but not the final one. I only could hope that it would all finally end soon and I would be allowed to die one last time. But, with the luck I'd been having lately...

The lighting in the room seemed to be getting dimmer and I could hear the sound of my heart thudding irregularly in my chest. It seemed to be beating slower with each passing second and my vision was fuzzy around the edges. Then the light came for me, just like before.