Title: Shadow Walkers
Season: Season Two
Category: Friendship. Drama/Angst. Action/Adventure.
Spoilers: The Tok'ra
Summary: The GenGate Challenge: Take the first and last sentence given and make a drabble or story for each character. Additional challenge to link them into one cohesive story.
The GenGate Warm Fuzzy Challenge - A Little Drab Will Do Ya
First Sentence--Jack looked down at the tangled and bloodied scraps of material he had clutched tightly in one hand.
Last Sentence--Pausing at the doorway the truth of it hit him, this was exactly how he'd always known it would happen.
First Sentence--She'd been so cold for so long now warmth had become the enemy, trying to lure Sam in so it could steal her breath.
Last Sentence--Finally sleep claimed her and this time, she didn't fight it.
First Sentence--Jaffa were trained to avoid such things and once again Teal'c found his instincts warring with the actions of the Tau'ri.
Last Sentence--Though he remained true to his warrior heritage, his heart believed it had found the path which he was destined to follow.
First Sentence--He could try to cross the clearing alone, Daniel thought, though the twisted and torn ankle would make him a pretty easy target.
Last Sentence--This was one time he didn't mind hearing the words, I told you so and was simply grateful to be alive to hear them.
Disclaimer: Stargate, Stargate SG-1 and all of its characters, titles, names, and back-story are the property of MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions, SciFi Channel, and Showtime/Viacom. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be printed anywhere without the sole permission of the author. Realize this is for entertainment purposes only; no financial gain or profit has been gained from this fiction. This story is not meant to be an infringement on the rights of the above-mentioned establishments
She'd been so cold for so long now warmth had become the enemy, trying to lure Sam in so it could steal her breath. She kept trying to fight it, to push back the pain that flared through her abdomen, while at the same time welcoming the tingle of heat that it brought, reminding her that she was alive.
But for how long? She wasn't sure how long she could cling to consciousness, nor was she even sure how long she had been left alone, surrounded by dust and blackness. Sam had to admit that with every passing moment, her concentration continued to wane, and she knew it wouldn't be long before she tumbled into the darkness.
Yet, she continued to fight. Her mind turned to her friends, her teammates. What of Daniel? The colonel? Teal'c? Had they fallen? Had they escaped?
Part of her realized that she hoped they had made it out this place, and run as quickly as they could. But the other part of her wished they were near, hoping the colonel would stand by his motto of never leaving a person behind. They wouldn't…
Then, there was a crack of light and a whoosh of air, which caused the dust to swirl around her head. Coughing, she squinted, attempting to make out the shapeless forms above her.
No...it was them. They had come. Them.
Squirming, ignoring the sharp stabs of pain that cut through her stomach, she fumbled for her sidearm, only hitting stone after stone, her weapon out of range. Her gun…
Grunting, she twisted her body as they fluttered down toward her. With a final cry, Sam grabbed her weapon and fired, obliterating the forms that screeched their manic howls of hunger.
Her energy spent, the coldness winning its battle, she slumped. Finally sleep claimed her and this time, she didn't fight it.
* * * *
Jack looked down at the tangled and bloodied scraps of material he had clutched tightly in one hand. Quietly, he pocketed the tattered clothing, and set his jaw.
Dammit, he thought, scanning the alien terrain. There was no mistaking the clothing. It belonged to Carter.
But where the rest of her was hiding happened to be a whole different story. He couldn't see squat in this mist and the fact dusk had fallen wasn't really making things any easier.
He knew. He knew not to let Carter and Daniel run off and play in that cemetery. Who the hell gets kicks over messing around with foreign alien burial sites anyway?
"They can teach us a lot about Peruvian burial practices," Daniel had said.
Frankly, Jack didn't give a flip how the aliens buried their dead. The fact they had THAT many dead was more of an issue. So, while Daniel had spouted out theories of diet and disease and Carter had went off about technological causes, Teal'c had arched his eyebrow and Jack had gotten that all too familiar bad feeling of his.
The morning hours had quickly passed into afternoon as Daniel dug deeper into the crypts and burial chambers. Jack had made sure Carter remained with him just in case Count Dracula decided to pop out of nowhere and take a bite of archaeologist for a midday snack.
When that time came and went, and Daniel and Carter appeared bite-free, Jack thought maybe his hardened battle sense was on the fritz. Whatever the case may be, it didn't erase the fact that both he and Teal'c were bored.
Despite their boredom, Jack and Teal'c had kept to their patrols of the perimeter, checking in every thirty minutes to an irate Carter and Daniel.
She told him that she had everything under control. She told him that she would watch Daniel's back as they entered the underground crypt. She told him everything was clear as they started shuffling around in the catacombs.
Cursing under his breath, Jack followed Teal'c toward the entrance to the underground chambers. Pausing at the doorway the truth of it hit him; this was exactly how he'd always known it would happen.
* * * *
Jaffa were trained to avoid such things and once again Teal'c found his instincts warring with the actions of the Tau'ri.
It was forbidden for Jaffa to enter into the underground catacombs of the gods. Here, as he stood on the steps that led into the chambers, Teal'c saw the adornments that signaled this place was sacred to Chibchachum.
Stiffening, though not enough for O'Neill to notice, Teal'c studied the chambers with great care. He could see the patterns that represented Chibchachum in his high days of glory. There were pictures of laborers and miners, and those that had given their lives to the service of the mountain. But also, Teal'c recognized a distinct dialect of Goa'uld emblazoned on the walls of the chamber.
Daniel Jackson had informed him that on Earth, the god Chibchachum was one of suffering. He had been forced into exile by his fellow gods, and had become the man of many earthquakes. It was a tale similar to one that he had heard many times as a child.
Beware of the shakers, for the ground may swallow you.
To this day, those words haunted Teal'c. As did tales of the Shadow Walkers.
Upon hearing O'Neill's voice, Teal'c relaxed his shoulders, though did not waiver in his attentiveness.
"I believe this to be the resting place of Chibchachum," Teal'c told O'Neill, forcing his way down the stairs. "According to DanielJackson, he was a mythical being of great importance to your South America."
There was a pause. "Goa'uld?"
Teal'c inclined his head. "Indeed."
Though Teal'c did not understand how this information could be sweet, he allowed for O'Neill to continue his assessment. As they took out their instruments of light, or as O'Neill had instructed him "flashlights," they could not fail to take notice of offerings left for Chibchachum. There were many goods resting here that Teal'c believed would have caused Daniel Jackson to become highly excitable.
Stepping over the gifts of gold and turquoise, the two of them pushed farther into the mountain tomb, only to find piles of bone and wood, burials, which Teal'c assumed were made in honor of their god. It did not take a warrior to note the place held the stench of death.
Teal'c was about to inform O'Neill about the evilness of this place, when he felt the ground shake beneath him. Holding onto the wall for support, he turned to face his fellow warrior.
"We cannot remain. This place does not wish us here."
O'Neill did not flinch, nor did he question him. Instead, he moved past Teal'c, continuing into the darkness. "I don't wish us here, either. So, as soon as we find Carter and—"
Teal'c raised his eyebrow, certain that he heard the voice of Daniel Jackson. Charging forward, he passed O'Neill, only to find his suspicions were true. His friend lay on the ground, his legs out before him, as his eyes stared into the blackness.
Teal'c was certain his eyes were not as they should be.
"Right here," O'Neill responded. "Damn, what did you do?"
As Teal'c stepped closer, he could see the depth of the injury. His friend's ankle was clearly damaged, possibly from the shakers, and he appeared to be in great pain. On guard, Teal'c remained steady as O'Neill cared for him.
"Daniel, stay with me," O'Neill instructed. "What happened?"
"We were running from the bat people."
Daniel Jackson's comment caused Teal'c to turn, curious as to what his friend meant by those words. Yet, before he was able to question him, he heard O'Neill mutter one of his favorite "swears" as he pressed his hand to Daniel Jackson's head.
"You have a concussion." He sighed. "Perfect."
Daniel Jackson blinked at him. "Huh?"
"Nevermind." He turned, swatting Teal'c's flashlight from his vision. "Teal'c? You got a medkit in your pack?"
O'Neill motioned quickly, urging Teal'c to provide for him the kit. "Open it up, will you?"
"Sam pushed me out of the way of the bat people," Daniel Jackson murmured, shaking his head from side to side. "They were coming—coming to protect Chibchachum."
"Of course they were," O'Neill commented off-handedly.
Daniel Jackson licked his lips. "I tried to communicate with them…Did you know Chichachum was punished down here? I think he lives in the ground. Bochia put him here."
"Bochica," Teal'c repeated. "This name holds some familiarity for me."
O'Neill paused, glancing at Teal'c as he wrapped Daniel Jackson's ankle. "You know this guy?"
"Sam said he was a Tok'ra," said Daniel Jackson before he swallowed hard, blinking a few times to keep his eyes open. "Sam…they were at war and Chibchachum was exiled. The bat people are everywhere, Jack. Hiding and watching." He winced. "They're waiting for us. Where's Sam?"
Teal'c remained firm. "We have not yet located Captain Carter."
"Sam?" Daniel Jackson called, struggling to rise. "Sam!"
"Easy there, fella," O'Neill told him, keeping their friend in place. "Sit here and be quiet. We'll scout around for Carter."
"Watch out for the bat people," Daniel Jackson warned them. "I'll watch your back."
O'Neill exchanged a nervous glance with Teal'c, before inching closer to him. "Keep checking on Daniel. I think he got knocked in the head good. As soon as we find Carter, we are packing up and then we're out of here."
"That is a wise decision, O'Neill. I do not believe we should remain in this place."
O'Neill stared at him. "Bat people?"
Teal'c did not need to speak for O'Neill to understand what he was thinking.
To their benefit, it did not take them long to find Captain Carter. She was indeed not far from them, but had been caught in one of the crumbling corners of the tomb. However, their relief did not last long.
Captain Carter was unconscious.
"Dammit," O'Neill muttered. "Why can't, for once, just once, we go on a mission were nothing bad happens?"
"Did you not say earlier that you were bored with this mission?"
"Yeah, well." O'Neill grunted, pushing some debris to the side to reach Captain Carter. "I take it back. Whoa." He paused, sitting back on his heals, holding the back of his hand to his nose. "I don't know what the hell that is but it sticks." Grunting, he shoved aside the shimmering heap and shook his head. "Daniel," he called. "Stay put. We're leaving in a few minutes and we'll break for the Gate. Teal'c, I need you out of warrior mode for a sec, and need for you to play medic."
"This is not a time for play, O'Neill."
"Oh for Pete's sake, Teal'c," O'Neill rubbed his face, as he often did when he was nervous. "Just come here."
Teal'c obliged, leaving the side of Daniel Jackson to stand behind O'Neill. By his judgment, Captain Carter needed medical attention for her wounds. The medical supplies they carried with them through the Stargate would not be enough to help her.
"Look," O'Neill told him as the two of them pushed aside another large stone. "She's torn up pretty bad on her stomach. I need for you to put pressure on the wound and stop the bleeding while I fish through this pack." He sighed. "It's a shame Carter's not here to save herself."
Teal'c agreed. Usually, on missions when they encountered danger, it was Captain Carter's experience as a field medic that assisted them when their wounds proved too great. Now, Teal'c found himself in her position, one that was of little use to a warrior of his class.
"I have applied pressure to the wound," Teal'c announced after several minutes. "I believe that we can now bandage her until she can be seen by Doctor Fraiser."
"Great." O'Neill clapped a hand on his shoulder. "I'll go check up on batboy while you finish."
Teal'c stared at him, but did not inquire about this new term given to Daniel Jackson by O'Neill. He was beginning to wonder if this was not some secret code that they shared.
Watching them go, Teal'c remained close by Captain Carter's side. After a few more minutes had passed, he was certain he would be instructed to carry her from this place, and they would make it back to the Stargate for assistance.
However, something had changed for Teal'c this day. Though he remained true to his warrior heritage, his heart believed it had found the path which he was destined to follow.
* * * *
He could try to cross the clearing alone, Daniel thought, though the twisted and torn ankle would make him a pretty easy target.
An easy target for the bat people.
Jack didn't believe him. And why should he? The idea of bat people in and of itself sounded crazy. Then again, the idea of flying goats seemed rather insane until they'd run into them on P9X-080.
Daniel still had nightmares over that incident.
"Don't go near the goats," Jack had told him. "Don't do it. If they come after you this time, I don't want to hear it."
And so it was with this mission. He'd specifically told Daniel and Sam not to go "nosing" around anything suspicious.
What? Did he think they were two?
Jack never really appreciated their need to go out and investigate their surroundings. How else would they have discovered the bat people?
"Okay," Jack said, meeting Daniel in the bushes. Teal'c, carrying Sam, who at least was looking a little better, soon followed them. "Daniel, I want you to dial the Gate. Don't look back. Just keep moving. Teal'c, you—"
Jack stopped, frowning, as he looked up into the night sky. Daniel heard it, too.
It was like hissing, or moaning. Daniel couldn't tell. But the pitch was increasing, and he was sure he saw something flutter over the backdrop of stars.
"Oh no," Daniel murmured, cringing as the pain flared in his head and ankle. "It's them."
"Yeah, you know, I am not so keen on meeting 'them,' so why don't we pick up the pace." Jack quickly motioned for Teal'c to crouch low, keeping Carter out of sight. "Can you make it?"
"I can," Teal'c replied.
Daniel nodded, swallowing down the cotton in his throat as he stared at the distance from where they hid, across the clearing, to the Stargate. Daniel would dial; Jack would cover him and Teal'c. Simple. They could do this.
Sucking in a deep breath, Daniel charged forward, traversing the ground as he pushed himself toward the DHD. The pain seared through his foot, and he limped on despite the throbbing, knowing he could not stop; he could not fall.
As he pushed harder, he heard the sound of gunfire in the distance, a noise that was quickly swallowed by the surge of hissing. The hissing erupted into a cacophony of frenzied howling as the creatures poured over the horizon. Daniel had promised himself not to look back, but he had, and found himself face to face with their horror.
Daniel gasped, shocked as one of the creatures broke from the herd and opened it's elastic mouth, bearing down to consume him whole. Just as Daniel caught sight of its pearly teeth and tasted its stale breath, it cried in pain, erupting into a myriad of pieces.
Daniel, mottled in its grim and filth, stood stunned. It was not until he heard Jack's voice call out to him, did he snap out of his stupor and reach the DHD. Panting hard, he refused to look at anything but the DHD, quickly dialing home with one hand as he fumbled for his GDO with the other.
Within seconds, the Gate activated and the wormhole engaged. Hearing Jack call to him to keep moving, this time Daniel obeyed and ran into the event horizon, hearing Teal'c and Jack right at his feet. All he did was blink once and found himself sprawled across the ramp.
Everything happened so fast. Doctor Fraiser and her team were on him, and he heard Sam muttering in the distance. Jack and Teal'c…General Hammond…
"Close the iris!" Jack called somewhere behind him.
Thumps…so many thumps.
Doctor Fraiser moved over to treat Sam, who thankfully had regained consciousness long enough to start yelling at everyone. Daniel settled for one of her nurses, not even bothering to protest when they helped him onto a stretcher.
"What happened?" he heard General Hammond ask as he slipped in and out of consciousness.
"We were attacked, Sir. By…"
"Bat people," Daniel finished for him.
Daniel could almost imagine General Hammond's face over that comment. "Colonel?"
"They were bat somethings, I tell you," Jack answered. Daniel closed his eyes, only briefly catching Sam's face as she was brought past him. She smiled and he returned the smile, thanking her for what she had done for him. Something he would have to do for Jack and Teal'c later. He continued to listen to Jack's voice. "They came flying out of the trees and the tombs we were evaluating."
"The Shadow Walkers are not ones to handle blithely," Teal'c informed them.
"I'm thinking we should lock this one out of the system, General," Jack said.
"No argument from me there, Colonel. Let's get you down to the infirmary."
Pressing his fingers to the bridge of his nose, Daniel sighed, allowing Jack and Teal'c's voices to drown in the sounds of the personnel hovering by the gate. The thumps continued to pound mercilessly against the iris, but the thought of their self-sacrifice did not ease his fears. As the scroll on the tomb of Chibchachum had stated, "Once you gaze into the face of the Shadow Walkers, it forever burrows into your soul, claiming you for this life and the next."
He shivered, wondering how much of the warning was myth or true. In the end, he realized, this time his curiosity was dead, and he had no desire to know. This was one time he didn't mind hearing the words, "I told you so" and was simply grateful to be alive to hear them.