In Lord Iblis's Secret Service
Rating: PG, maybe be PG-13 later on
paring: ensemble cast
Summary: Sometimes when everything goes bad in your life, it gets better in the weirdest way possible. Kind of a play on RDM's "everyone gets what they want in the worst possible way" comment.
Disclaimer: Battlestar Galactica and its characters are creations of Glen Larson and copywrited by Universal Studios. Stargate and its characters are creations of MGM. We make no money off this.
The Destroyer of the Gods
"Explain her duties to her," the Jaffa said as he shoved her into the barred cell. "This one had better please… There will be a ceremony tomorrow and Lord Iblis wants you presentable."
The cell door clanged and Sam Carter pulled herself up to a seated position. From the outside the cell looked like a typical Goa'ld dungeon cell. Stone walls, metal bars… they were fairly unoriginal with their planetary fortresses. But a few quick glances betrayed some subtle differences. It was brightly lit. There was a stone doorway that led deeper into the mountain and she could see the nice if not opulent furniture of living quarters. At the same time she could some very high tech features. There appeared to be some sort of drop down clear glass door built in to the cell. And there was a man there, a young man in the typical cotton pants and desert dweller long tunic of P23D12. Probably not a native resident though, she though as she looked him over. The villagers she had been mingling with when the Jaffa had come were very fair humans, blonde and red haired with blue eyes. They were very Nordic looking, truth be told, both the men and women were tall and heavily built. She had been on the short side for a woman with them. The man in the cell with her, while certainly not short by her standards, would be unusually small and slight compared to the natives of Andelia. He was also unusually dark skinned, somewhere between the olive tone of a Mediterrean dweller and the amber skin of a South east Asian. Too delicate and fine skinned for a middle easterner, and too curly haired for an Asian,he looked like a young Egyptian noble. And there's a ceremony tomorrow, Sam thought sadly, which means the poor fellow is probably here to be a host for a Gou'ld youngling. Pretty hosts were cherished. She smiled slightly. "Hi…um…"
"Are you from one of the local villages?" He held out his hand to her, and she took it. His hands were soft, which was another point that made him unlikely to be a native. He didn't smile as she stood. "Was there a contest? Did you win the honor of serving Lord Iblis?"
"No… I was at a festival." In native garb, and she was already thanking God that the Jaffa had barely searched her. She had a location transponder in her peasant dress. Colonel O'Neill, Daniel, and Teal'c likely already knew she was within the Goa'ld fortress. "They grabbed all the women and said I had to come. To serve the destroyer of gods."
Which was interesting. They had heard system lord scuttlebutt about destroyers of the gods, but it appeared to be nothing more than a legend. The Tok'ra were closed mouthed about it, even her father said it wasn't something that could be discussed.
The man smiled slightly. "Destroyer of gods…. It's nice to have a title." Then he sighed. "I'm sorry. If there's a ceremony tomorrow, I don't have a lot of time to get you up to speed."
"You're the destroyer of gods?" She wondered if the slight young man was mocking her, but she quickly shook it off as he nodded. She was locked in a cell with him, and she had learned early in her time in SG-1 that appearances could be deceiving.
"It's not as exciting as it sounds," he said softly. "So you must be a traveler, from one of the far away villages?"
"I… yes…" That was technically her cover story, and for all she knew he was a plant. And if he wasn't a plant, there was still a good chance that he was dangerous. She had no idea what being a destroyer of gods meant but it didn't sound safe. And she was locked in a cell with him. Best to stick to the cover story. " I was with some friends, we were trading, and they don't even know where I am."
"I'm sorry," the man said gently. "I know when you're chosen by contest, your family gets word from Lord Iblis's minions." He hesitated, and Sam got the impression he was both sad and annoyed. "Did they tell you anything?"
"Just what you heard," and she suddenly wished she wasn't wearing the native dress she had on. It had the transponder but it also was long and would make it difficult to run. Not that there was anywhere to go.
"Well, then I should explain." His expression seemed to change subtly, and she made note of it. He had the tone similar to her father's when he was being stern. He gestured to himself. "Your role is to serve me. I won't make your job more difficult than it needs to be, but I do have to warn you, the Jaffa are very strict and Lord Iblis is easily displeased." He gestured around the cell. "This is where I live. I'm not allowed to leave here ever. You will be allowed to go back and forth with supplies. The Jaffa guards will always be present, and any time you're allowed out, I will be locked in there before hand." He waved her over to the stone doorway, and pointed to a similar plexiglass and steel barred door built into the wall. "It's pretty secure. Once you're comfortable, I'll ask the guards to demonstrate it so you won't be frightened tomorrow."
"And this?" she asked as she stepped through the door. The technology was something she would examine later. She was suddenly curious about what Iblis was really up to. Goa'uld rarely kept prisoners alive, let alone gave them nicely furnished living quarters. There was a table, and some cabinets and sink as a sort of kitchenette, and a large comfortable sofa and chair with lamps and end tables. She could see a large bed tucked into an alcove and another door that appeared to be a clothes closet. In one corner of the large living room was a hanging punching bag, and the walls were covered with scrawled math equations. He was using the stone wall as a black board and she knew high level math when she saw it. Not a native then, she decided as she masked her surprise. Be careful, she added.
"This is where I live. This is where you will live." He led her over to the small table and had her sit down. "I'm sorry to be… harsh about this, but you are a prisoner here. Lord Iblis values me as a threat to the other gods. I won't complain about you but the guards will report you if you aren't quick about your duties, if you seem angry, or if they think you're trying to escape." He took a deep breath. "I have to tell you a lot of things that you may find blasphemous or upsetting. About Lord Iblis, the Jaffa, the other …. gods…. About what is expected of you."
"Why don't you start with the blasphemy?" Sam said.
"Lord Iblis is not a god. Not in the sense you think." The young man placed his hand on top of hers, and Sam was struck by how gentle he was trying to be. "There is a creature… it's difficult to describe, that's inside Lord Iblis and his rival gods. It is the one in control. The man you see walking around is just the host, and he's trapped because the god is using him. They occasionally choose new human hosts. I know this because Lord Iblis's partner Lilith chose me to be her new host." His voice shook just a little. "I felt it enter me….it was so cold and I could feel her in me, taking control from me, laughing at me." He looked at her intently. "And then I felt it panic. I saw Iblis panic and it was crawling all over inside me and Iblis was screaming at me, and Lilith was inside me, using me to scream back at him that she was trapped. After three days, it finally died inside of me. It… tore me up inside… I just figured I was going to die. But Iblis has this device… it's like magic but it's not. He calls it a sarcophagus. He put me in it…. And that was torture because I couldn't move and I could feel my insides healing and it hurt and it seemed like it would never ever end." He shook slightly and then rubbed her hand. "That's why I am the destroyer of gods. Lord Iblis is going to bring another one of his kind here. He's going to offer me as a host and when the god enters me, it will be trapped and it will die."
He was expecting her to be upset, that was obvious. No doubt the average village girl didn't handle having the reality of the Goa'uld laid out for them. The people of Andelia were fairly innocent herders and farmers who considered Iblis a benevolent god that protected them. And his words, about the contest, tickled something in her memory. The chief of the local village the Stargate was centered around, just outside the fortress, had mentioned that the young women were looking forward to a contest. It wasn't hard to fake surprise though. The young man was describing a horrific scenario, one that he had apparently replayed several times. It also explained why Iblis was slowly but surely climbing the ladder among the system lords. One of the reasons they were on Andelia was to see what had been going on and how Iblis was accomplishing it when his original territory had been fairly devoid of resources. He and Lilith had been very low in the pecking order and then about ten years ago Lilith had been mysteriously killed and Iblis had started to become a threat. Now he was in the middle of the pack and Sam realized she was looking at the main reason why.
The destroyer of gods.
"That… is upsetting but I had heard stories…" she said after a long moment. It was lucky she was in native garb. The young man seemed prepared to accept her as an innocent victim of Iblis. He clearly wasn't a native, and she needed to know more about him. She also needed to know why she was there. "What else is required of me?"
"You're here to take care of me, particularly when Lord Iblis is using me." He shrugged. "Technically you are supposed to follow my orders. Frankly, I'm not a god, or chosen by the gods, I'm just a man, and worse, I'm actually more of a prisoner here than you, but until you learn how things are, I recommend that you do as I say." His voice edged into that tone again, and she began to wonder what his background was. "Beyond the issue of god killing, where you're basically taking care of me like a child, you're here to be my companion and entertainment. Which is always hilarious." He chuckled suddenly, and Sam got the impression he wasn't quite as cool or collected as he was acting. "You're here so I don't go crazy, and so Iblis has someone he can use to keep me in line."
That was nicely ominous, Sam thought, but it was definitely a Goa'uld tactic. "What happens if I don't do what you say?"
"You seem smart," he said after a moment. "So I think I can be blunt. There's been a lot of women brought here. If they start screaming and can't take it, they get removed by the Jaffa. If they refuse to be useful, they get removed. I don't know what happens to them, but I know that a lot of them come from the nearby villages, and the new women always say that no one ever comes back."
"What about escape?" Samantha asked. He seemed bright and more sophisticated than many of those that the Goa'uld oppressed.
The question made him smile more, but it was a sad look. " I thought I'd like you," he said easily, "but please consider the risks. I've tried it many times, both with companions and alone and I've never made it out of the fortress. As far as I know, none of the women made it either. I used to try it a lot, but ultimately I ended up being tortured for days as punishment, and then thrown in the sarcophagus. Which is also days of torture. And every time I try, this prison becomes more and more inescapable. You'll see. The guards aren't even allowed into the cell unless I'm shackled to the wall. That's one of your jobs by the way, and they will kill you if you don't do it." He sighed. "I'm sorry, but escape is impossible. And you will be killed if you try."
"What about you?" She wondered.
"I am Lord Iblis's pet. The Jaffa know that he would skin them alive for seriously harming me. One time…. One of them shot me with one of those staffs…. I think I might have died. I woke up screaming in that damn box…. It went on for what seemed like years. But as soon as I was alive and well, I got to sit in on the day long execution. I'm valuable to Iblis. You…. He'll wait a week or so and I'll be doing this speech again." He leaned back in his chair. "What's your name?"
"I'm Samantha. What's your name and how long have you been here?" He looked perhaps twenty six but she knew that the Goa'ld Lilith had been dead for years. And if he was routinely using a sarcophagus for healing, it was possible he was much older than he looked.
He smiled again. "I'm Felix Gaeta… and I have no idea how long I've been here. There's been lot of pretty female companions like you, if that helps. This is not a safe job."
He felt like crap. He always felt like crap after a session in the sarcophagus. The Goa'ald had been tougher than most. He wasn't sure how long he had been out of control but it had been longer than usual.
He thought anyway. Time had just stopped… making sense to him a long time ago. He had been captured by the Jaffa and taken through the ring to their gods Iblis and Lilith and time had stopped for him. Was it five years? Or fifty? He didn't know. A look in the mirror always showed him the same sight, a man who looked twenty seven. There had been gray hair before. He remembered it, spotting it while he was living on New Caprica and putting it down to stress.
And he had two feet again. He supposed he should be grateful. He wiggled his toes. It was nice to have ten toes. But that momentary pleasure faded as the Jaffa guards lifted him out of the sarcophagus and carefully dragged him down the long stone hallway back to his cell. He had a good memory, and he knew the layout. Down the way was the laundry, and the food stores were to the left and up a stair well. He always tried to look and make sure that things hadn't changed significantly since his last time out of the cell.
It was an officer's duty to escape, after all. He had tried and failed many times, but he couldn't not look at the surroundings. The changes were minimal, new guards were the only change although he was grateful that they weren't as rough as normal. He had been dragged into his cell and propped into a seated position by a grey haired Jaffa he didn't recognize, but he wasn't planning on complaining. The Jaffa guards didn't dislike him for the most part. They respected his power, and he made a point of not complaining, but they were simply too alien. Too afraid. And they were ruled by their love of the gods.
He flexed his muscles. He felt weak. The truth was that he hadn't felt physically strong in so long, he didn't know what it really felt like to be well. The sarcophagus healed the injuries caused, he wouldn't have two legs if it didn't, he wouldn't be alive if it didn't heal, but he felt so awful afterward…. He hated how it made him feel. He usually didn't regain his equilibrium for a day or two, and that meant the woman Iblis chose had to help him. That was particularly humiliating especially if they were innocent. The new one seemed a little more worldly.
She was waiting by the steel enforced glass door, looking concerned. As soon as the door slid open she rushed to his side. "Are you all right?" she asked, as she tugged at the chains he was in.
"Keys… Jaffa… Keys…" he muttered. She nodded with understanding, and he wondered again where she was from. Not from the villages, that was obvious. They were usually blonde, and Iblis and his minions generally didn't pick women who were taller than he was, but Samantha seemed different from the women who usually ended up serving him. She didn't hesitate to go to the Jaffa guards and that was definitely unusual, and she was back at his side in seconds, removing the chains and shackles he was required to be in whenever he left the cell. She returned the shackles and keys to the guards and in seconds was at his side.
"Are you all right?" she asked as she knelt down beside him. "What do you need?"
She meant well, and he bit back a foul comment. " The couch… something soft…. I need help up." After the sarcophagus, he was well, he couldn't deny that, but he was unsteady on his feet. When there wasn't a woman, which was rare, he usually had to crawl to bed.
Then again, when there wasn't a woman, that usually meant he had gotten into trouble and was being punished, and that meant crawling to a pile of heaped up blankets and rags that masqueraded as his clothes. Iblis could be very petty with punishments. He'd gotten tired of living like an animal after a while. He couldn't escape without taking the woman of the week with him, and the last few had been found to displease Iblis long before he had even considered escape.
Samantha looked at him and then at the doorway leading to the quarters. "Can you help me? Or should I drag you? I can lift you but if you can't help, I might hurt you."
Smart, he thought suddenly. She reminded him of Dee and how Dee had tried to help him with things, without being condescending. "I can help…. But I can't get up without some lifting." She looked strong… but he didn't have enough coordination yet to prevent the pain of a hard fall.
"Ok," she said easily as she grabbed him firmly under the shoulders. He realized suddenly that she was wearing one of his outfits, cotton pants and a tunic, and wondered about that as she lifted him to his feet. The women almost always preferred dresses and skirts. Still, he wasn't sure he minded that as she carefully raised him up and helped him take hesitant shaky steps to the couch. He sank into it gratefully and closed his eyes for a moment. The couch was soft and warm feeling and even though he knew he needed to apologize to Samantha for the bruise on her face that he faintly recalled putting there, he just… wanted to relax. It had hurt like hell, it always hurt like hell, and it had been much more difficult to control the Goa'ald. Samantha had been bringing him water and he had…. Punched her in the face. Maybe. The Goa'ald had been very strong.
"Do you need to eat? Drink? I can make you something." Samantha said it quietly.
Sometimes it was harder when he liked them, when they were nice and trying hard to please him. "Maybe some tea. Don't be concerned… this wears off… I'm not hurt, it's like everything is so freshly healed and regrown, it just doesn't want to work right at first. There's a learning curve." He was probably being too articulate, but he wasn't in the mood to care.
"The sarcophagus regrows tissue but it doesn't have the muscle memory. You have to relearn things." She handed him a mug of hot tea and took a seat beside him. She picked up one of the sketchbooks he had left out and flipped it open to a sketch he had done from memory. Of a Raptor landing on the deck of the Galactica. Samantha looked at him. "You're not from Andelia, and this is not a Goa'uld ship."
"And you're not a trader's daughter from the far villages," he said nervously. Was it a trick, he wondered. That was new and unexpected for Iblis. "What do you want?"
Go easy, Sam told herself. If the last five days had taught her anything, it was that her companion Felix was lucky to not be raving insane, or catatonic. If the ceremony, as Iblis had called it, had been repeated as many times as she suspected, then Felix Gaeta had been stuck in an unbearable nightmare. Made worse by what she suspected, that he was not from the typical primitive off world society. "I want to help you."
He looked worriedly at her. "You want to escape, and you're smart enough to know it's going to be difficult. Where are you from? Not the colonies…"
And that was where she had to be careful. She didn't think for a minute that Felix liked Iblis or wanted to ingratiate himself but she wasn't so certain that the man couldn't be tempted. "I'm Tau'ri…. Do you know what that is?"
He blinked. "No. I'm Caprican." He looked at her. "And that means nothing to you, I can tell." He sighed. "Not that it matters… Caprica and all the colonies are so much radioactive dust. So how did you get stuck here?"
"We were investigating Iblis. We fight the Goa'uld." She hesitated. In some ways, Felix had a very sophisticated knowledge of the Goa'uld. He understood the issue of hosts, he understood that Iblis was really the parasite and not the host…. But she suspected that he knew only what he gleaned from the minds of the parasites. The political issues that concerned the system lords were not an issue to him. "We had heard about the destroyer of gods… I didn't expect to meet you… We assumed it was a weapon of some sort, not a person. But…. My people know I am here and they are working on a way out. I need your help… and I want you to come with us." Because she had more than a suspicion that Felix was more than he looked. The math on the walls represented ideas from physics that she had only considered, which meant Felix was highly educated in math, physics, and, she suspected, interstellar physics. She also suspected he had been in some sort of military. His bearing reminded her of her father.
"You might be able to get out," Felix said softly. He put his hand to his forehead as if it hurt. "I've never gotten out of the fortress. I know one of the women made it outside….but she was killed. Iblis considers me his path to becoming a system lord. He's not going to give me up easily. I don't think my quarters are monitored for sound, but they are watching us… the corridors are monitored. Just getting you out…. If there's help from the outside, maybe you can get out, but unless you have the Jaffa on your side, I'm not getting out."
Sam smiled. "Let me worry about the Jaffa."
"This armor is hot," Jack said. He tried to stretch. "What did Carter say?"
Daniel nodded. "She didn't have a lot of time but she said the plan would work but…. She wants to bring the prisoner with her. She says it's important."
Jack knew Sam wouldn't request that unless it really was important. At the same time, " It's going to be hard enough getting her out of there. We might have to carry the prisoner… he wasn't able to walk." Which didn't mean the poor bastard wasn't worth rescuing but it made things riskier.
"I talked to her briefly when I brought them food supplies. She didn't have a lot of time but she said he'd be up and about. She said he's the destroyer of gods… the sarcophagus affects his physiology differently." Daniel had that intent, interested look. "She said she was certain he was from a highly technical society. We could use that sort of advantage."
"I know…" Jack said softly. He'd had some minimal contact with Sam as well and she had said something similar. The issue was priorities. He didn't like the idea of leaving some poor bastard behind to be tortured, but the truth was that they couldn't save everyone. "It's risky if he's not well. We'll try it though. Now lets move. Its only a matter of time before someone gets wise that we didn't transfer in."
He followed Daniel down the stone corridor. They were masquerading as Jaffa and Jack was worried that someone was eventually going to realize that their forehead tatoos weren't tatooed, just cleverly drawn on. It was fortunate that Iblis was more arrogant than he was smart and his Jaffa were isolated and cowed by their fear of him. If the security in the fortress over all wasn't lax, they'd have no chance of getting Sam out. The area surrounding the cell like quarters of the destroyer of gods was probably the only area where security was tight. So tight that he and Daniel were masquerading as Jaffa. But then, he had to allow that their security procedures had the prisoners effectively controlled. The head guard had explained in detail how the male prisoner had made increasingly inventive attempts to escape, to assist the various females in escape, or to harm himself, and how that had led to some of the more extreme procedures. The man they had pulled out of the sarcophagus had been floppy dead weight for the most part, pale and sweaty as though he hurt… Which meant something was going on since Jack's own rare experience in the damn things always left him feeling unnaturally vigorous and energetic.
"He better be able to walk," he muttered to Daniel. They saluted to the watch guard and went to the chest where the prisoner's chains were held. He didn't like it, but it would attract too much attention if the prisoner was escorted without chains. Then they walked over to the barred cell. Jack kept his eye on the remaining Jaffa, sparing only a glance or two at Sam and the prisoner. The man looked better, standing at least but…. "For god's sake put some shoes on."
"I don't have shoes," the young man said softly as he helped Sam click the shackles on his wrists. "I'm not allowed to have shoes or socks, because having them make it easier for me to escape. And it will draw attention if I wrap my feet in anything."
It made sense. It also meant that Jack would need to be right beside the fellow when the running started. He opened the cell door and grabbed the man by the arm. "You're with me. If this goes according to plan, in about ten minutes, we're going to be off this planet."
The man nodded. "Just… if it doesn't go according to plan… please don't leave me here alive."
And wasn't that a commentary about life among the Goa'uld, Jack thought angrily. "Don't worry, kid. Now, let's get moving."
Felix had always considered his name a joke bestowed on him by social workers at the orphanage who tended to amuse themselves with cruel jokes at the expense of the children. The reality was that if something bad was going to happen, it always seemed to happen to him. That was why he couldn't quite believe how easy it was to get out of the fortress. Having the Jaffa assist him was something he had never considered, although Samantha had made sure to insist her friends weren't really Jaffa. They didn't seem like Jaffa, they seemed like professional military people and he wasn't sure what to make of that but he was beyond caring.
He took deep gulping breathes of the fresh night air and struggled to keep on his feet. The gravel stung his feet and he was wheezing like he hadn't run in years. He hadn't, of course. One of Iblis's control methods was not giving him space to exercise. He slipped and felt a strong arm grab him up.
"Don't stop now," the grey haired man shouted. "We're almost there." Felix coughed and wheezed in response but kept moving and tried to keep his eyes on the ring and not on the wailing sirens. There was a large black skinned Jaffa who was opening the gate. Felix had only seen it once before but it was embedded in his mind. As they ran, the gate generated the wormhole, and he stumbled as it began to glow like a silvery screen.
His companion lifted him off his feet and literally threw him at the watery center. It wasn't wet though, it was ice cold, a psychedelic swirl that seemed forever and instantaneous at the same time. Suddenly he was tumbling out onto a ridged metal ramp that felt for all the world like a ship deck. It even had the faint hum of electricity, he could feel it. He also heard the click of weapons readying and looked up just to see a rifle pointing at him.
"You're not SG-1," the armed, uniformed man said. Felix tried to speak but all he could do was wheeze in shock and hope that the others were following.
And as he had the thought, he could feel thumping heavy steps, of booted feet landing on metal. "Close the Iris!"
That was Samantha, Felix thought with relief as he tried to catch his breath. He felt hands grab him under his shoulders lift him to his feet. He found himself face to face with a Jaffa, a real Jaffa, he could tell, the black skinned one that had opened the gate. "You are safe here," the Jaffa said, his voice a low rumble. "The Tau'ri are the enemy of the Goa'uld." The Jaffa looked him over and turned to the grey hair pretend Jaffa and Samantha. "Major Carter, Colonel O'Neill, our companion is injured."
Felix looked down and could see blood on the metal ramp. His feet suddenly felt raw but he didn't care, not really. "It's not bad… I'm all right. Where… where am I?"
Samantha came up and put her arm around him. "This is Stargate Command. I know it's hard to believe but you're safe here. There's a doctor and you really need to get checked out."
"Yes, he does need to be checked out," sounded a new, stern voice. Felix fought the urge to jump as a uniformed man strode into the large room. Someone important, he realized as the armed soldiers and even his new found companions straightened up. The bald older man had the bearing of command. He eyed Felix and then looked at the grey haired man. "Jack, I thought we talked about this sort of thing."
Jack threw up his hands. "You know sir, this one is all on Major Carter's head." He said it good naturedly but Felix had the impression that his presence was an issue. Despite himself, he found his hands were shaking and he tried to stop it.
Samantha, Major Carter, Felix corrected himself, stepped forward. "General Hammond, this is Felix Gaeta who was being held prisoner on Andelia by the Goa'uld System Lord Iblis. I can give you a full debriefing…."
Hammond cut her off as he looked over Felix with a knowing eye. Felix reflexively drew himself to the position of attention. Hammond smiled wryly. "Yes, Maj. Carter, I expect a debriefing but clearly Mr. Gaeta here needs to be examined. Take him to Dr. Frasier and then I want all of you to see me."