[ Chapter 1: Escape | Chapter 2: Stranded | Chapter 3: Where are we? | Chapter 4: Discoveries | Chapter 5: Finding Shelter | Chapter 6: Daily Life | Chapter 7: Strange Discoveries | Chapter 8: An Unpleasant Surprise | Chapter 9: Developments | Chapter 10: An Attack With Long-lasting Consequences | Chapter 11: Myth and Reality | Chapter 12: Breaking and Entering | Chapter 13: Rest and Results | Chapter 14: A Meeting | Chapter 15: Captives | Chapter 16: Revelations | Chapter 17: Some Explanations - and an Alliance | Chapter 18: Some Information | Chapter 19: A Dangerous Mission | Chapter 20: Prisoners | Chapter 21: A Fight - and an Escape | Chapter 22: Guests | Chapter 23: A Motel | Chapter 24: Next Day - and Travel | Chapter 25: A Pleasant Night, Followed by an Unpleasant Morning | Chapter 26: Meeting Ba'al | Chapter 27: Escape - and a Confrontation | Chapter 28: A Surprising Turn of Events | Chapter 29: Some Measure of Success ]

"Remind me again, what is it we're hoping to gain from this?" O'Neill asked, testily. "It's the middle of the night, I'm cold and wet - and what is he doing here with us anyway?" He glared at Argent.

They were sitting outside a large compound, which was protected by a high fence and several guards with dogs. There was a steady, cold drizzle, and the wind was picking up.

Sam rolled her eyes at O'Neill, but Jacob felt the need to answer the rhetorical question.

"Well, if this is where those werewolves go to meet with Joh'nar, and make their reports, we need to get in there and check out the place."

"I'm the only one here with any knowledge about werewolves, remember?" Argent said, sounding slightly miffed. "And we've only got a place to stay around here because I know some hunters we can stay with."

"Yeah. Werewolf hunters. How many are there of you guys?" O'Neill asked.

"Several groups just in the US - many more across the planet. It's not a local problem only, though it's only around here it's been getting worse."

O'Neill sighed. "We got that. Well, let's see if we can't find out some more about that? Any idea how to get in?"

"I got bolt cutters in my car," Argent said.

"The guards have passed by twice in the two hours we've kept watch," Martouf observed. "They seem to come around here exactly once an hour." He checked the watch they had given him. "I believe they should pass us on their next round in... 10 minutes."

"Well, then let's be ready to get in there." O'Neill rose.

They went back to the car to pick up the bolt cutters and a few other items they would need.

The guards had just passed on their round - at the exact time Martouf had predicted. They were clearly punctual, which was a good thing.

Jacob/Selmak, Daniel, and Teal'c would stay in the car, while Sam, O'Neill, Martouf/Lantash, and Argent snuck inside.

It took little time to cut a hole in the fence, in a dark spot near some large bushes. After squeezing inside, they pulled the fence closed behind them. Unless you knew where to look, it was not likely anyone would notice the hole, at least not until the sun rose, and by then they very much hoped to be out of there.

"This way... I think," O'Neill whispered, motioning for them to follow.

They hurried along the wall of the dark, foreboding building, relieved that there seemed to be no surveillance cameras on this side. It looked as if it might be the back of a little used part of the complex, so hopefully the security would be lesser here.

Shrubbery and ivy covered the wall in many places, and seemed to have been allowed to grow wild.

"That entrance, perhaps?" Martouf suggested in a low voice, pointing at a door that clearly had not been opened recently. The greenery had almost covered it.

"Nice. Let's check it out," O'Neill said.

The door was locked, of course, but there was no indication of any kind of either surveillance or alarm system. The lock was not even electronic, but a standard, old-fashioned lock that was opened with a key.

"I can handle this." Sam gave them a confident smile, and pulled a lock-pick kit out of her pocket. It was the one they had purchased earlier, when they had broken into the small laboratory, in order to get the DNA analyzer.

O'Neill and Martouf nodded, remembering the speed and skill she had shown when she picked the lock back then.

It took surprisingly little time for Sam to pick the lock. "Yes! Here we go!" She smiled, and opened the door, just enough that she could slip inside, while taking care to disturb the greenery as little as possible.

"Impressive!" Argent said, clearly meaning it.

They all hurried inside, pulling the door shut after them, Before doing so, they had done their best to restore the ivy and the thorny bush to their places. Hopefully, no one would notice anything was amiss until tomorrow.

O'Neill turned on a flashlight and let it play over the wall and the room. "This place is huge..."

"And it looks like it's used for storage. There's crates and boxes everywhere, as well as racks full of various stuff," Sam observed.

"There is naquadah nearby." Martouf said.

"What?" O'Neill turned to look at him. "Naquadah? You mean... like a Goa'uld?"

"No, it's not the energy signature of a symbiote. This is weapons-grade naquadah I am sensing. Presumably they have some of it stored in here, maybe for use in Goa'uld technology."

"He's right. I can sense it too. What if they produce the tech they sell here?" Sam suggested.

"That would make sense. There seems to be little other reason for this large a compound to be here," Martouf agreed.

"Okay, what the Hell are you guys talking about? Energy signatures? Nakve... something or other?" Argent asked, frustrated.

"Um... it's... a long story," Sam said. "Maybe later, when..."

"I guessed that... in fact I'd expected you to say that. You guys are just one big secret! I still want the short version. Now," Argent demanded.

"Uh..." Martouf threw a glance at O'Neill.

"You found a strange chemical element in our blood, right? One you didn't recognize?" Sam said.

"Yes?" Argent looked expectantly at her in the semi-darkness.

Sam took a deep breath. "It enables us to sense this element... naquadah."

"Which is used in many kinds of technology by... this group that owns the place here," Martouf added.

"So it's something you've gotten injected to be able to track this stuff biologically?" Argent stared at them, not looking as if he believed them. "It sounds crazy."

"There's a bit more to it than that, but it does give us that ability," Martouf said.

"Hm, okay... for now. I expect you to tell me the rest of that story as soon as we're out of here," Argent demanded.

They crossed the large room, checking a few boxes here and there, and finding parts that would probably be used in the production of the small viewer they had found at the O'Reilly's, the DNA analyzer, and several other kinds of Goa'uld-inspired technology.

The corridor outside was dark and silent, and they snuck through it quickly. They found that the building they were in was connected to the next one, which turned out to contain machinery, used in industrial production.

It was almost two hours later. They had searched through parts of the complex, and found proof of Goa'uld involvement everywhere.

Some areas had locked doors, and they had not been able to break the electronic locks. Or they might have, if they had dared - the doors were connected to alarm systems, and sometimes the whole area nearby was under surveillance.

There were a few areas that were guarded, and twice they had almost been discovered, but they had managed to get away each time.

"It doesn't seem as if there's any information here about Ba'al, or where he's hiding," Sam said in a low voice, looking dismayed. "We need to find him, or at least find proof about who he is and what he's doing, if we're to convince anyone to help us."

"Maybe there is something down here?" Martouf had opened a door, and were looking down some stairs. The beginnings of a corridor could be seen down there.

"I don't have a good feeling about staying here for much longer, but I guess we can take a quick look," O'Neill said.

"If we want to find anything here, it has to be tonight. Tomorrow they'll discover someone broke in, and it'll be much harder to get in here," Argent pointed out.

"Yeah, I know," O'Neill grumbled.

They waited for a few moments, listening for anyone approaching. When they did not hear anything, they decided to risk it, and silently descended the stairs.

"I think we've finally found something!" Sam whispered, as she let her flashlight play over the room she had just entered. The door had been locked with an electronic lock, but she had managed to open it with the help of Martouf. "This is clearly some sort of office - for someone with a higher clearance."

"That sounds good! We've checked a dozen rooms, without finding any hints of where Ba'al might be," O'Neill complained.

"But we did find a couple labs that contained some very interesting stuff," Sam reminded him. "I really wish I knew what they were doing in them."

"We took copies of several of their data files, so perhaps we can find out later," Martouf said.

"There's a map over here," Argent told them, stepping closer to the table to look at it. "It's over parts of the US, with some places circled and with notes on it. I can't read the language it's in... though I think I've seen it before."

"Let me see," Martouf said.

"I think it was on the DNA analyzer... Yes, there was definitely some words in that language on it..." Argent looked thoughtfully at the map.

"It's in Goa'uld," Martouf observed. "And that is where Ba'al has his main fortress." He pointed at a spot on the map, not far from Colorado Springs. "Looks like he has a couple others as well... and there are also some other places marked."

"Figures. He'd want to be close to the Stargate," O'Neill said.

"Goa'uld? Stargate? I'm thinking you guys have more secrets than my family - and we have a lot, as we've been hunting werewolves for centuries." He looked at Martouf. "I meant... my other family."

"I understand." Martouf smiled. "I believe there is a number of things we need to explain. Later."

"Right now we should get a copy of that map... Mr. Argent, did you bring that phone of yours? The one that has a camera?" Sam asked.

"Of course. Most phones today have that, by the way." He smiled at her. "And you can call me Chris."

"Okay... Chris. Could you take some pictures of that map, then Martouf and I will check the computer and the drawers for anything useful."

"You got what you need?" O'Neill asked.

"I think so," Sam said.

"There does not seem to be anything else to find, at least not in here," Martouf added.

"Okay, then let's get out of here. Argent?"

"Coming. I just found this strange thing. What do you think it is?" He held it out towards them. It was a grey orb with a matte metallic finish, fitting in the palm of a hand.

"That is a long-range communications device," Martouf told him.

"Yeah, I see that." O'Neill sighed unhappily. "So if we hadn't found the Goa'uld writing, that would be a dead giveaway of whom we're dealing with, I guess."

"Yes, the owner of this room is probably a Goa'uld," Martouf said.

"Hm. They can't use it to spy on us, can they?" O'Neill asked.

"Not if it is the normal version of it, which it seems to be." Martouf held out his hand. "Let me look at it."

Argent handed it to him. "Here."

Martouf turned it over in his hand. "It looks like a standard model. We should be quite safe from eavesdropping. At least from this." He handed it back.

"Better put that thing back where you found it - and then let's get the hell out of here!" O'Neill said.

Chapter 20: Prisoners