Psycho Factor

Author: Cyclone <cyclone[at]>

sequel to Blind Date

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at or

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to Chosen of BtVS and somewhere in season seven of SG-1.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: This SGC is powerless as Major Carter's sanity hangs in the balance. Sequel to Blind Date.

Author's Note: Okay, this particular 'ship's been battering itself around in my head for a long time now.


P4C-928 had everything they ever wanted in a planet: Ideal atmospheric and temperature conditions, rich naquadah and trinium deposits for the stockpiles, some ancient ruins to keep Daniel happy, and no sign of the Goa'uld.

*I knew it was too good to be true,* one Colonel Jonathan "Jack" O'Neill scowled as he squeezed off another burst from his P90. *There had to be a reason those snakeheads left this place alone.*

The 5.7mm bullets stitched a line of bullet holes across the chest of one particularly large critter with red scales and bull horns just as it shoved another creature to the ground in its haste to reach the retreating SG-1.

Everything was fine... until nightfall. The planet -- it turned out -- was crawling with nocturnal and very hostile creatures of varying shapes, sizes, and -- apparently -- species. On the plus side, they didn't seem to care particularly who or what it was they mauled. At least half the dead or dying creatures had been attacked or trampled by the others.

He glanced over at the rest of his team, and time seemed to slow.


Sam spun at Jack's warning. One of the creatures -- this one mostly humanoid, save for its bulging eyes and waxy skin -- had gotten dangerously close.

She brought her P90 around, but the creature struck first. Barbed stingers in its wrist punctured her BDUs, and she fell back as the world seemed to dissolve around her...


"Sir!" Jack called as the iris dilated shut behind SG-1. Medics relieved Teal'c of the burden of Major Carter's unconscious form.

"What happened out there, Colonel?" General Hammond asked, concerned.

"Nocturnal hostiles, multiple species," Jack said as the first of the creatures thumped the iris. "It's the planet of Doctor Moreau over there, sir."

Hammond nodded and turned, "Lock P4C-928 out of the dialing program."

"Ah, ah, ah!" Jack held up a finger. "I recommend we nuke it, sir. Send one of those naquadah bombs... blow the whole planet to smithereens."

"You know I can't do that, Jack," Hammond replied. "Not unless that planet poses an imminent threat to Earth. That naquadah is too valuable."

"Of course, sir," Jack said sourly.

Chapter 1

Xander slowed as he walked up to Sam's house. His gaze flicked across the three somber-looking men, and he shot them a questioning look.

"Ah, hi," one of them said hesitantly. "You must be Xander. I'm Daniel Jackson. This is..."

"Jack," the older man interrupted.

"And tall, dark, and silent over there?" Xander asked, shooting a look at the third man.

"I am Murray."

Daniel nodded, "Yeah. We, ah, we work with Sam."

"Okay," Xander said. "So why are you here? I mean, I don't want to sound rude or anything... but we kinda had some private time planned tonight."

Jack coughed and said, "Well, that's the thing. Sam's... not feeling well right now."

"What happened?" Xander asked, suddenly worried.

"She's... very sick," Daniel said hesitantly.

Xander looked at Murray and said, "Maybe you can spit it out, Murray. What. Happened?"

"MajorCarter is suffering from mental illness, AlexanderHarris."


Daniel felt awkward as he led Xander through the military hospital where Sam was staying. Teal'c and Jack had had to report back to the SGC, leaving him to play babysitter.

"Sam? Sam, it's me, Xander."

Daniel resisted the urge to sigh as he watched this guy try to reach Sam. It wasn't going to work. Sam had been getting worse ever since they got back from P4C-928. She was barely responding. There was no way...


"Yeah, Sam, it's me."

Sam shook her head, closing her eyes. "No. No, you're not real. None of this is real! Not you, not the SGC, nothing!"

Suddenly, she leaped at him, muttering to herself, "Gotta get free, cut the anchors..."

"Sam... Sam!" Xander called as he held her back, but she didn't relent.

He finally pushed her back forcefully and stumbled out. He looked over at Dr. MacKenzie. "Is she usually like this?"

The psychiatrist shook his head, "This is the most response we've gotten since her condition started two days ago."

Xander looked at him pleadingly. "Can you cure her?"

"I don't know."

The one-eyed man sighed and walked away. Daniel followed him to the parking lot and rested a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Are you okay?"

"Sam's in there, thinking I don't exist. What do you think?" Xander snapped, pulling away.

"Hey, hey! I'm just trying to help," Daniel said defensively, holding his hands up placatingly. "Um, if you need someone to talk to, call me," he said as an afterthought, pulling out his notebook. He jotted down his phone number, tore out the page, and handed it to Xander

Xander shook his head in annoyance as he pocketed it. "God damn it!" he snarled. "If only it were like... like..." he froze as realization struck him. "It is like that," he murmured softly to himself, forgetting that Daniel was there.

"Like what?"

Xander didn't hear him, already bolting for his car.

"Hey, wait!"

Daniel watched as Xander's car sped away. Maybe he should tell Jack.


"Hey, Buffy, I need to talk to Andrew. I tried calling him and Giles, but they're not answering."


"They're where? What're they doing in Moscow?"


"Oh. Well, what about Willow and Kennedy? They aren't answering either."


"Rio? What happened to Sao Paulo?"


"Oh, I see. Got the number?"


"Thanks, Buff. Call ya later."


Willow's face lit up when she saw Xander waiting for her in the airport.

"Xander!" she cried as she tackled him with a hug. "So, what's this big emergency, huh?"

"Having fun in Rio, I take it?" Xander grinned as they began walking to his car.

"Yes, I was," Willow pouted for a moment. "But I'm so glad to see you! What have you been doing with yourself?"

Xander loaded the luggage in the trunk and climbed into the driver's seat. When Willow climbed in, he said, "Remember that gargle demon? The one that made Buffy think she was in a psych ward?"


"I think one of them's loose here."


In a car across the street from the airport, Jack O'Neill glowered at what he had just seen.

Or, more precisely, who.

"Harris, you lousy son of a bitch..."

Chapter 2

"Nothing?" Xander sputtered.

"Nothing," Willow shook her head. "I mean, there's traces of it at the hospital you mentioned, but that's the infection. Unless someone's concealing it magically, there isn't a glark guhl kashma'nik within a hundred miles."

"Damn it!" Xander muttered as he paced the room. "Something fishy's going on here, Will. Okay, can you dig up some info for me on someone?"

"Sure," the redhead replied, getting up and popping open her laptop. "Who?"

"Daniel Jackson."

"That's a pretty common name, Xander."

"In the Air Force," Xander said, then paused and amended, "No, wait, working with the Air Force. Look for guys with PhDs. He reminds me of Giles."

"Uh huh," Willow said as she worked her entirely non-magical magic. After a moment, she pointed, "This him?"

Xander looked at the picture and nodded, "Yeah, that's him."

"Daniel Jackson," Willow murmured as she read the information, "PhD in archaeology and anthropology, got laughed out of the community over some radical ideas."

Xander frowned in confusion, "He's an archaeologist?" His eyes widened, "Oh, crap."


Daniel knocked on the door.

"It's open!" came the muffled voice.

The archaeologist entered the apartment slowly. Xander didn't sound like someone who needed to talk, so why...?

"Turn around, slowly."

Daniel turned, then raised his hands placatingly at the loaded crossbow Xander was pointing at him.

"So, Doctor Jackson, mind explaining how an archaeologist is working on 'deep space radar telemetry'?"


Author's Note:

Y'know, if this were a TV episode, a commercial would go right about here.

But since I'm not getting paid for this and can't legally sell advertising space, I'll settle for interrupting the 'fic and annoying you for a few seconds with this otherwise utterly pointless author's note.



"I-I can explain that," Daniel said quickly. "You see, that... that... that... really is a lousy cover, isn't it? Uhh..."

"I know it has something to do with Sam's condition."

"Well, the thing is, it's kind of hard to believe."

"You'd be surprised what I'd believe," Xander shot back dryly. "I know you can't be working on deep space radar telemetry, not with your credentials."

Daniel sighed, "W-well, it is deep space, just... not radar telemetry."

"Does it have something to do with the aliens that built the pyramids?" came a third, female voice.

They turned, and the redhead looked at Daniel, "I read your articles, Doctor Jackson, the ones everyone discredited. I'm right, aren't I?"

"I think we should sit down," Daniel suggested.

*Jack's gonna kill me for this.*


"Sounds like that awful TV show, Wormhole X-Treme," Xander muttered. "Please tell me you're not really like that."

"No, no, of course not," Daniel immediately replied. "We're not that... cheesy."

Willow, meanwhile, was logging on to "Demons, Demons, Demons" and bringing up the entry on the glark guhl kashma'nik.

"Is this it?"

"Uh, yeah," Daniel nodded, surprised. "Yeah, that's it." His mind went into overdrive again, and he nodded again in dawning realization, "Of course! If the Goa'uld were behind the legend of the Egyptian gods, then other aliens would be behind tales of demons and other creatures."

"Bzzt! That is a demon. Demons are real," Xander said. He looked at Willow, "Can you summon one so we can get the antidote?"

Willow shook her head. "I don't know. Maybe. Summoning's not really my strong point, remember?"

"Antidote?" Daniel asked.

"Yeah," Xander replied. "We ran into one before. It's got some long-term crazy juice in its stingers. Conveniently, its also got an antidote in there too."

"Oh," Daniel nodded, then frowned. Okay, he was pretty open-minded about the whole magic and summoning concept, but... "Wait, you're gonna... bring one here? To Earth? Wh-what if it gets loose? I mean, I get it. Sam's your girlfriend, but maybe-..."

"Wait, wait. She's your girlfriend?" Willow interrupted, looking at Xander in disbelief.

"What?" Xander protested, a little hurt. "Can't I have a girlfriend? You have one."

"Has she tried to kill you yet?"


Daniel held up an index finger, "Actually..."

Xander glared

Daniel coughed, "Um, anyway, wouldn't it be better to let the... uh, let us handle it? At least that way, it can't get loose on Earth."

Xander snorted, "You aren't equipped to deal with something like this. Believe me, we've seen what happens when the government tries its hand at demon-hunting. It wasn't pretty."

Daniel blinked, "Y-y-you have?"

"Yeah," Willow nodded. "It got pretty ugly."

*Who are these people?* Daniel wondered.

Chapter 3

"I still think this is a bad idea," Daniel reiterated for the umpteenth time. He'd volunteered to stick around, partly out of a sense of duty to report this to the SGC -- whether Jack and Hammond would believe him or not -- but mostly out of his insatiable curiousity.

"Oh, hush," Willow scolded. "I know what I'm doing."

Xander bit his lip. Willow's spells did have a disturbing tendency to go awry... but that was years ago. Her magic had gotten a lot more reliable since they brought back Buffy.

"Are you sure you have all the ingredients?" Xander asked.

Willow shook her head, "I couldn't get everything on such short notice, so I had to make some substitutions. But they should work."

Daniel pursed his lips at that. "Um... 'should'?"

*Great, now I sound like Jack.*


Jack, meanwhile, was fretting, trying not to stare at the phone while he awaited Daniel's report on just what the heck Xander and that redhead were doing.



There was much coughing.

"Well, that didn't work," Willow muttered, looking at the two men.

With a frown, she looked between them, "What? What?"

Xander was staring, and Dr. Jackson was pointedly looking away.

"W-W-Will, y-you're..." Xander stammered, then closed his eyes and swallowed. "Look down."

Willow looked down and eeped as she tried to cover herself.

The redhead's clothing had disappeared. And that was not the only problem.

Her shriek could be heard throughout the entire apartment complex.


"C'mon, Will, it's not that bad," Xander held his hands out placatingly, trying to calm his ages-old friend. Daniel had wisely vacated the room, and Xander was starting to wonder if he should have done the same after offering her a spare outfit.

"'Not that bad'? I'm blue, Xander! Blue! I've been smurfed! And look at these!" she snarled, grabbing her now-oversized breasts. "Do you have any idea how uncomfortable these things are?!"

Xander coughed, "No, not a clue."

"Not to mention that was my favorite outfit! God, Kennedy loved that outfit! There's this thing she does, only when I'm wearing that out fit. She'd..." the blue witch continued ranting.

Xander's eyes glazed over at what followed.

Shaking himself back to his senses, he said, "Ah, Will?"


"Look at the bright side," he said desperately.

"What bright side?"

"You can dress up as Mystique without having to buy a costume on Halloween?" he suggested lamely. "And you finally outgrew Cordy?"


Xander rubbed his cheek as Willow's fingers twitched, an impulse away from throttling him. He shot her a sheepish look and a weak smile.

Willow finally slumped down, her energy spent, as a weak half-sob-half-giggle escaped her mouth. "Oh, God, I hope I can reverse this," she moaned.

Xander pulled her into a hug. "Hey, don't worry, Will. You've got the mojo and the brains to make it do what you want. You'll figure out how to fix it in no time."

"This is all your fault, you know," she pouted, "and I couldn't try the spell again if I wanted to. All the ingredients went up with the spell." She sighed, "I guess we're gonna have to leave it to the military after all."

Xander looked thoughtful for a moment.



"So, I think we should go back and try to capture the creature that did this, sir," Daniel finished. "It may be the only way to cure Sam."

"Where did you find this information, Doctor Jackson?" General Hammond asked.

"Would you believe... the internet?" the archaeologist said sheepishly. "There's a website that purports to catalog the traits of various types of... well... demons. It, ah, it includes what appears to be a photograph of this particular creature and lists the details I mentioned to you, including specifics about the toxin's symptoms, which are virtually identical to the symptoms Sam's exhibiting. It calls this particular species the..." he glanced at his notes, "...'glark guhl kashma'nik.'"

Hammond nodded thoughtfully and looked at Jack, "Jack, I won't order you to do this. This is... some very shaky intelligence."

"I say we go, sir," Jack said. "Teal'c?"

"I believe we should go," Teal'c nodded.

"Daniel?" Jack asked.

"Well, it was my idea, Jack. Of course I'm in."

"Then you have a go."

"I'm going too," came another voice.

Chapter 4

"Airman!" Hammond called, but Jack moved before the airman outside could respond.

"You bastard!" he pinned Xander against the wall in a chokehold as the door became subject to a pounding from the other side.

"Gak?" Xander gakked in confusion.

"Oh, don't give me that," Jack snarled. "I saw you. At the airport with that pretty little redhead."

"Uh, Jack?" Daniel interjected.

"Not now, Daniel."

"Jack, that redhead's just a friend."

Jack paused and looked at Daniel in disbelief, "Oh, c'mon. Don't tell me you buy that old excuse?" Shaking his head, he turned his attention back to Xander.

"Jack," Daniel interrupted a third time, "that redhead has a girlfriend."

That stopped him.

Jack blinked and leaned back.


He let Xander down.

"Umm... sorry 'bout that."

Xander rubbed his throat, "No harm, no foul, Colonel."

"Not yet," Hammond warned. "Who are you and how did you get in here, son?"

Xander grinned, "Magic. Name's Xander Harris. I'm going with SG-1, sir."

"Give me one good reason why I should let you."

"Because I know what you're up against," Xander replied seriously, "and you don't. From what Daniel said about that planet..."

"Daniel..." Jack glared.

Daniel shrugged helplessly, "They figured it out from some of my old articles."

"As I was saying, it sounds like a Hellmouth opened there. I've spent the last seven years or so keeping that from happening here on Earth, so I know what you'll be dealing with there."

"Like what?" Hammond asked.

"For one thing, if you kill the glark guhl kashma'nik," -- Xander had spent over an hour practicing to make sure he got the name right -- "the antidote and toxin mix, neutralizing each other. You need silver to kill a fyarl demon. Sunlight and stakes work well against vampires. I can also probably identify whatever else we run into."

"Oh, c'mon, sir, you can't be taking this seriously, can you?" Jack protested.

"Actually," Daniel interjected, "I was gonna recommend recruiting him for the SGC."

Jack stared at Daniel, then looked back at Hammond, "He's a civilian!"

Xander whirled on the colonel and literally got in his face.

"The last time the military tried messing in this war, they took forty percent casualties. I should know. I was there. So were several of my friends. We were all civilians, we were the last ones out of there, and we all got out alive."

He straightened up and looked at Hammond, "Go ahead, General. Look it up. That red phone in your office tells me you can. It was an Army project called the Initiative, under the command of a Doctor Margaret Walsh, PhD, and, later, a Colonel McNamara, US Army."

With that, Xander disappeared, and the door finally burst open. Two airmen charged in, sidearms leveled.


"Intruder alert!" Hammond bellowed. "Put the base on lockdown!"

He looked at Daniel. "Would you care to explain what just happened here, Doctor Jackson?"


Xander and Willow were well away from the compound when she dropped the spell. She still kept up a glamour on herself, though. She hadn't had enough time to deal with the whole blue thing yet.

"Thanks, Will," Xander smiled. "Handy spell, that."

"Yeah," the redhead replied. "I'm not sure I can do it again, though. It really took a lot out of me." She looked at him anxiously, "Are you sure this was a good idea, Xander?"

Xander shook his head and said softly, "It's not a good idea, Will, but I just... I have to help Sam. I have to."

Willow studied his expression for a moment, then nodded, "I understand."


"Thank you, Mister President," General George S. Hammond said as he put down the red phone.

"So what'd you find out, sir?"

Hammond looked up, "Not much, Jack. The Initiative was funded by the NID, but beyond that... the president's going to look into it. But it'll take some time."

"Carter doesn't have time, sir."

"I know, Jack. That's why I'm giving you a go without Mister Harris."

Jack thought about that. It was better to be safe than sorry, and the NID angle certainly set him on edge... but if Harris was on the level -- and Daniel seemed to think he was -- then maybe...

"Sir, I think I can dig up some more info a bit quicker... but I'll need to go off-world first."

Hammond frowned.


The man looked up from his small garden and warily watched the familiar figure approaching his home from the general direction of the stargate.

"What are you doing here, Jack?"

"Aw, c'mon, Harry. Is that any way to greet an old friend?"

Chapter 5

"So, whaddaya know about Doctor Margaret Walsh?" Jack asked, dropping himself into a chair. Colonel Harry Maybourne (retired... sort of) had made a pretty nice home for himself, all things considered.

Maybourne frowned thoughtfully for a moment as he puttered around his rudimentary kitchen, then nodded, "Yeah, I remember her. Civilian researcher. Ran an operation out of California three or four years ago. Didn't last long, though. The whole thing went south and got her killed within a year." He popped open a cabinet and pulled out a crude-looking bottle, "Want a drink?"

"What kind?"

"Beer... I think. Brewed it myself," Maybourne replied as he poured a mug for each of them. "It's actually pretty good."

"Mmm!" Jack nodded appreciatively after taking a sip. "What was the operation on?"

"Hostile sub-terrestrials," Maybourne said, sitting down. "Walsh was a real head-case and kept most of the troops in the dark, so my moles couldn't tell me much, but that was what it was set up for."

"You had moles in your own operation?" Jack muttered in disbelief.

"Not our operation, Jack. Walsh's," Maybourne said patiently. "Kinsey and the other Congress big shots gave her a little too much free reign and swiped NID funds for it, so my superiors and I... took precautions."

"Wait," Jack frowned. "Kinsey backed this?"

Maybourne nodded.

"Okay, so what's a 'sub-terrestrial'?"

"Demons, Jack," Maybourne said, pausing to drain his mug. "Demons."

"For cryin' out loud, Harry, be serious," Jack snapped.

"It's the truth, Jack," Maybourne said, putting his mug down and leaning toward Jack. "Shoot me again if you want, but it won't make any difference."

"All right, fine, be that way," Jack growled.

"What's this all about, Jack?" Maybourne asked, leaning back. "I mean really?"

Jack sighed and slumped back as well, "We... encountered someone who claims to have been a civilian that got involved with Walsh's group."

"Ahhh," Maybourne nodded. "Must be part of the so-called 'Scooby Gang.' Caused a lot of havoc with what they did. Quite a few of us were considering having them assassinated."

"Huh," Jack mused. "If they can piss off the NID, then I guess they can't be all bad."

"Hardly," Maybourne snorted. "They've got a good track record for saving the world, Jack. Only reason they weren't sanctioned."

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah. Right up there with yours, in fact. Only, they never got paid for it."


Xander opened the door and stepped back in surprise.

"Colonel. How's Sam?"

"Carter's... the same," Jack O'Neill replied. He searched the younger man's eye for deception, but found none. After a moment, he said reluctantly, "You're in."


"You'll have to leave those here," Jack said, nodding at the knife and two stakes Xander had removed at the security station.

Xander looked at him, a hard look in his eye. "We'll need those, sir. And more besides."

"We have knives in the armory, Harris."

"Not with silver-alloyed blades, sir."

Jack bit back a retort and stared at Harris, wondering if he was joking or just trying to annoy him.

It looked like neither, and somehow, that just annoyed him more, so the colonel just threw his hands up in surrender.

"All right! Fine! Whatever."


Jack quirked an eyebrow at Xander's hesitant but surprisingly skilled handling of the weapon. It was one of the MP5 intars they'd "acquired" a few years back on... what the hell was that planet called again? Jack wasn't sure he'd caught an actual name, and it was hard to remember the gibberish designations the computer spit out four years ago.

*I swear, it's like they're trying to make it hard to remember,* he griped silently.

"What's with the red crystal, sir?"

"It's called an intar," Jack replied. "It's an alien stunner modeled after a real MP5. Holds lots more shots, but nonlethal. You're the... demon expert, so you'll be taking down this gargle critter."

Xander pressed his lips together.

*Don't trust me, huh?* the younger man thought. *I get that. At least you're letting me have a sidearm.*


"Whoa!" Xander murmured as he emerged from the stargate. He caught movement out of the corner of his eye... but there was nothing.

He looked around at the deserted landscape.

"Nocturnal, huh?" he mused aloud. "Must be dealing with lesser demons here. How long 'til sunset?"

"We have approximately three hours until nightfall on this planet, AlexanderHarris," Teal'c replied.

Xander nodded as he stepped forward and squinted, searching the horizon for something -- anything -- that might give him a clue as to where the glark guhl kashma'nik might be nesting.

"What's in those ruins over there?" he asked, turning to Dr. Jackson and pointing.

"Ah, heiroglyphs," Daniel said, adjusting his glasses. "They seem to be related to ancient Egyptian, much like..."

"Daniel..." came a warning from Jack.

Daniel coughed, "Ahem, yes, of course, Jack. Ahh, the ruins have been long abandoned."

"Did you check under it? Basements, tunnels, that sorta thing?"

"We were... interrupted before we found anything. Why?"

"'Cause the glark guhl kashma'nik likes squatting in man-made structures, preferably underground. C'mon, let's check it out," he said, breaking into a jog.

Jack stared as Daniel and Teal'c followed, annoyed and wondering just when the hell Harris had taken over his command.

"Yes, let's," he said, false cheer in his voice as he, too, followed. His voice dropped as he muttered to himself, "Yeah, don't mind me. I'm not important. I'm just your commanding officer here..."

Jack comforted himself in the knowledge that Carter would never do this. She was Air Force. She knew how the chain of command worked...

Chapter 6

"Hey, I think I found something," Daniel called.

At Jack's signal, Teal'c rose and stood guard while Jack and Xander headed over to where the archaeologist crouched.

"Whatcha got?" came the question in stereo.

Xander completely missed the annoyed look Jack shot him. As did Daniel, who was busy looking at his discovery.

"I-it's an unusual dialect," he said, tracing the runes, "but it clearly refers to the 'sanctuary of the gods.' Now, as I noted last time, it was obviously some sort of temple. At first I thought it was to Ra, but as it turns out, the language is a mixture of Egyptian and Babylonian. It looks like the temple was dedicated to Marduk, who, as you know..."

"Daniel, the point?" Jack interrupted, irritation in his voice.

Daniel looked up at the pair, "Oh, um, sorry. But it looks like this was a bolthole for Marduk back in his heyday." He looked back at the glyphs, "Now, if I'm right, there should be an entire underground complex under here. I-I just need to find the glyphs describing Marduk's myth and find which of the glyphs are out of order like last time."

At that, Jack groaned, and Xander raised an eyebrow.

*So much for national security,* thought one.

*I'm missing something here,* thought the other.


They watched as the entrance ground open, revealing a stairway that led downstairs.

"Teal'c, stay here and keep watch," Xander said as he climbed down. "That staff of yours won't do much good underground."

"Indeed," Teal'c nodded.

Jack scowled.


Xander was taking point, and Jack found himself stuck with rear guard detail.

Which shouldn't be happening.

It wasn't that he particularly minded rear guard detail, but he was supposed to be the one giving orders, not Harris. He was the commanding officer here, after all... and far more importantly, this was Harris's first trip off-world.

*Still,* Jack conceded reluctantly, *the kid seems to know what he's doing. Mostly.*

"Uh, Doctor Jackson, what's that?" Xander asked, pointing at the peculiar round object resting on a pedestal.

"I'm... not sure," Daniel frowned.

"Oh, I recognize that," Jack said as he walked over and picked up the Eye of Marduk. "This looks exactly like that doohickey we ran into on P2X-338. You know, in that weird-looking pyramid?"




The ground rumbled and shook.

Xander looked around and swallowed, "Uh, sir, I think we just stepped into an Indiana Jones movie."

Jack glanced up, then at the Eye, then at the pedestal.



Author's Note:

Hi, again! Yes, it's another one of my annoying mid-chapter commercial break-style author's notes.

Who knows what that little gizmo will do for them? At the very least, it should shave around a billion dollars off their budget, judging from Hammond's comment in Politics. :-D


As the underground vault began to cave in, the three Tauri ran as fast as they could for the entrance.

Jack saw Daniel tumble out ahead of him. Suddenly, he felt Harris grab the back of his shirt and throw him forward, and he tumbled out just as fast. By then, all he could see was dust.

When the dust cleared, Teal'c looked around, "Were you unsuccessful, O'Neill?"

"Yeah," Jack muttered.

"Uh, where's Xander?" asked Daniel.

*Oh, great,* Jack thought as he looked around. *Not only does my second in command go crazy, but I lose a civilian who isn't even part of the SGC. This is not my lucky planet.*


"Ow," Xander groaned as he sat up and looked around, seeing nothing but darkness. "Where the heck am I?"

The radio the SGC had given him crackled to life, and Jack's voice emerged, //Harris! Harris, do you copy?//

He fumbled around for the radio and pushed the transmit button.

"Yeah, I'm here. A little banged up, but I'm here." Xander picked himself up off the ground and reached for his flashlight. Flicking it on, he looked around, "I'm going to try and find another exit."

//All right. Radio back every fifteen minutes, got it?//

"Yes, sir."

Teal'c's voice came next, //Be swift, AlexanderHarris. We have but two hours before nightfall.//

"Gotcha," Xander replied. He played the flashlight around the room and headed for the only other entrance. He'd walked about fifty feet down the passage when he stopped.

He listened carefully.

*Huh. Thought I heard something...*

Something snarled in the darkness.

Chapter 7

Xander whirled around, and the passageway flashed red as he fired the intar. Scarlet stun bolts spat out from the muzzle and struck the quadrupedal creature that leaped at him.

The creature landed on Xander, and he frantically writhed out from under it and scrambled backwards and to his feet. He shakily held the intar on the creature, and he blinked.

The creature was obviously unconscious.

"Well," he murmured, "that was anti-climactic."

He shook it off and continued on.


Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c continued scouting the ruins for alternate entrances or signs of the glark guhl kashma'nik, but so far, they were having no luck.

Their radios suddenly crackled to life, //Uh, Colonel?//

"Yeah, Harris?"

//I've got good news and bad news. Good news is, I think I found a way out. Bad news is, there's a huge community of demons between me and it.//

Jack looked at Daniel and Teal'c, "We're on our way. Just keep transmitting."


//We're on our way. Just keep transmitting.//

"Ya might wanna hurry there," Xander said, swallowing hard as he counted the spears pointed at him. He slowly raised his hands, letting the intar hang from its sling.

*Oh, boy.*


Author's Note:

Yup, another one. I keep running into these cool cliffhanger-type spots halfway through the chapters. Ah, well.

So, how ya doing? Enjoying the 'fic so far? Which of my other 'fics do you read?


Daniel struggled as the demons led him, Jack, and Teal'c through the subterranean corridors.

"Will you just listen?!" he snarled in frustration. In Latin too. He'd already gone through English, Greek, ancient Egyptian, and a dozen other languages, but so far, no luck.

"Do you understand me now?" he asked in the Goa'uld tongue.

That got their attention.


"Hey, quit pushin'!" Jack snapped as his captor shoved him into the prison cell. Teal'c was shoved in a moment after him.

"Didn't work out, huh?" Harris asked, raising an eyebrow as Jack and Teal'c were each shoved into the cell with him.

"Not quite what we'd hoped, no," Jack said, sitting down next to him.

"Where's Doctor Jackson?"

"DanielJackson is still speaking with them," Teal'c replied. "Perhaps he will convince them that we mean no harm."

"Oh, come on, Teal'c," Jack snorted, "has that ever worked?"

"Indeed," Teal'c responded. "When the people of Chartago put me through cor-ai."

Jack scowled.

No. Definitely not his lucky planet.

The door opened again, and Daniel stood there, grinning, "Hey, guys. I've convinced them to let us go."

On second thought...


He knew it was too good to be true.

"Daniel," Jack said in an even voice, "did you maybe forget to mention something?"

"W-well, Jack, we are the invaders here," the archaeologist protested. "I mean, it's perfectly understandable they wouldn't return our guns."

"Daniel, we're on a planet that's about to be swarmed by some very hostile and dangerous creatures in about..." he glanced at his watch, "...a half an hour, we still have a monster to catch, and we don't have our guns. Do you not see a problem here?"

"Well, at least they let us keep the Eye of Marduk," Daniel replied.

"And they gave us back our knives and the stunner," Xander said, handing the intar to the colonel.

"Yeah," Jack muttered. "And this is gonna hold off an onslaught of... demons?"

Xander simply drew his peculiar knife.

"I-is that knife magical or something?" Daniel asked.

"Well, yeah," Xander said as he began using it to pick his nails.

"What? Is that Excalibur?" Jack snorted.

"No," Xander rolled his eyes. "Just a few enchantments to keep it sharp and to keep it from breaking, that's all."

"So...?" Daniel prodded.

"Oh, right," Xander replied, having the audacity to look surprised, then called out, "Will!"

There was a shimmer in the air, and the redhead -- her "alterations" now reversed -- appeared.

Daniel's eyebrows shot up, as did one of Teal'c's. Jack started, bringing up the intar, "Whoa! Where'd you come from?"

"Originally? Sunnydale, California," she said, smirking at the colonel. Shaking her head, she turned to Xander asked in an amused voice, "How'd you know I was here?"

"Strawberries with a touch of lemon," Xander replied. "I've known you all my life, Will, and you still smell the same as the day I first met you. I thought you said you couldn't cast that spell again soon?"

"I couldn't," Willow replied. "And I didn't. Remember that spell I accidentally cast when I came back from England?"


"I modified it and put myself out of phase with everyone and used another spell to let me see and hear this phase."

"Okay. I'm gonna just pretend I understand that and move on," Xander said, shaking his head. "We've still got a demon to catch."