The power went out. Lantash, who had been sitting beside the door waiting for it to happen, felt for the right spot on the lock. Finding it, he hit it, hard. The lock made a whirring sound, then released. The door slowly swung open.
"The door is open. Hurry!" Lantash said.
Following the walls in the darkness, all of them quickly found the door and got through it. The emergency light was already back on when they hurried through the short corridor towards the exit from the cell block area, but the door out was fortunately not locked.
Usually there would be guards just outside the door, but Ren'tash seemed to have made good on his promise, and there were no guards.
They made their way through the corridors, up the stairs, managing to keep out of the way of guards and servants hurrying along to their duties. Fortunately, Ba'al had truly decorated the interior of the place exactly as Goa'uld usually did, even if this was on Earth. That meant there were statues and curtains and plenty of nooks and crannies everywhere to hide in.
"So... Ren'tash's quarters should be somewhere in this area. Perhaps down that corridor?" Sam suggested, pointing. "It looks more... opulent, somehow, than the other ones we've been through."
Martouf nodded. "I agree. The Goa'uld would live in the most extravagantly decorated parts of a palace. Of course, the lord himself - Ba'al here - will most likely have an entire wing of the palace just to his chambers, and it will be even more richly decorated than this."
They walked down the corridor. There were only two doors - one would lead to Ren'tash's rooms, the other to Joh'nar.
"Well, no way to know which one, I guess. We'll just hope that yahoo fellow isn't in his quarters," O'Neill said.
"His name is Joh'nar - and I do not sense any energy signatures," Martouf told him.
"Good. Then let's look in here first." O'Neill opened the nearest door.
"Wait! Now I sense a symbiote - behind us!" Martouf exclaimed, giving control to Lantash.
They all turned to see Joh'nar and two other men, probably his guards, appearing around the corner at the end of the corridor.
"Crap!" O'Neill dove into the room he had just opened the door to. "Get out of the way!"
They all hurried inside, as they heard Joh'nar shout orders to his men.
"Help me push something in front of the door!" Jacob told them.
Together they got a large desk moved so it blocked the entrance. It was none too soon, because someone slammed hard against it moments later.
"That's not going to hold!" Argent exclaimed, looking around for something to use as a weapon.
The others had gotten the same idea, and they began searching the room.
"Here!" Lantash said. "I've found a kara'kesh!" He began putting the ribbon device on, but before he could do so, the door into the room was destroyed by someone who was very strong.
"Joh'nar is a werewolf, aside from being a Goa'uld!" Sam remembered.
"Very correct, human slave!" Joh'nar said, his eyes flashing red in a strange mixture of Goa'uld and werewolf physiology. He effortlessly pushed the desk out of the way and stepped inside. "Do you surrender - or do I get the pleasure of killing you all?" He bared his large fangs in an evil grin.
Joh'nar signalled his two guards to step inside as well, and when they did, SG-1 and the others saw that they were both werewolves too.
Daniel transformed before them, preparing himself to fight to save his friends. Lantash finished putting on the hand device and raised it, getting ready to send a shockwave at Joh'nar. Before he could do so, Joh'nar raised his own hand device, and fired on Lantash, who only just had time to counter it.
While Joh'nar and Lantash traded shockwaves from their kara'kesh, Joh'nar's two werewolves jumped the others. Daniel fought them as best he could, and Sam, O'Neill, Teal'c, Jacob/Selmak, and Argent all grabbed whatever they could find to defend themselves with.
The fight was short, and did not end as badly as could be expected. The reason was that the hand device Joh'nar was wearing was of the standard kind, and did not fit him well when his nails were claw-like - as they were when he had transformed to werewolf shape. This meant the contact to the weapon faltered, and he failed to send off a shockwave when Lantash succeeded, resulting in Joh'nar being thrown hard against the wall.
Lantash did not hesitate, but immediately attacked, killing Joh'nar quickly.
The fight against the two remaining enemy werewolves were going badly for the others, even though Daniel and Teal'c both had managed to get some hits in. However, they were no match for a hand device, and it took little time to dispense of them with that.
"Everyone okay?" Jacob asked, when all the enemies lay dead or unconscious on the floor.
"We better get out of here - the noise from this must have called attention to us," Lantash said.
"Yes, it'll only be a matter of time before this place is swamped with Jaffa," O'Neill agreed, swaying dangerously, and grabbing hold of one of the posters of the highly ornate canopy bed.
"I... I think I got bitten..." Argent said, dread in his voice. He pulled at the ripped clothing on his right arm.
Teal'c leaned closer and looked at the wound. "Yes, I believe that is a bite."
"We don't have time for that right now! We need to find a place to hide!"
"Yes - this is Joh'nar's room, not Ren'tash's, so we should move there, quickly," Lantash said.
"How do you know?" Sam asked.
"There is no healing device in the drawer in the night table. I checked."
"Okay - move it!" O'Neill took one step, then stumbled and would have fallen, if not Teal'c had caught him. "Whoa!"
"Sir?" Sam asked, concerned.
"Jack?" Daniel wondered, worried for his team mate as well.
"Sometimes the full effect of the kara'kesh is not felt until after some time has passed," Lantash observed. "It should begin to get better now, O'Neill. Usually."
O'Neill mumbled something, and Teal'c lifted him up and carried him. "We should make haste, before someone apprehend us."
Jacob pulled the door to the room shut. "Help me barricade it! There's Jaffa on the way!"
Sam, Argent, Teal'c, and Daniel ran to assist, after Teal'c had placed O'Neill on the bed.
Lantash rummaged around in the drawer of the night table, soon pulling something out. "I found the healing device Ren'tash mentioned!"
"Give it to me. I'll heal Jack while you figure out how to open that secret room," Jacob ordered.
Jacob set to healing O'Neill, while Lantash pushed the table aside and then moved a curtain out of the way. He began searching the wall behind it, looking for some sort of mechanism.
"Won't they realize we'll still be in here? I mean, the door's shut from the inside!" Daniel pointed out.
"Yes - unless we make them believe we foolishly attempted to flee through the window. Please open it, and make some sort of rope... perhaps from the sheets on the bed," Lantash suggested.
"Would that work? I mean, could we escape that way?" Sam asked.
Lantash thought about it for a moment. "No, almost certainly not. I glanced through the window earlier, and this part of the building is located far from the fence. There were guard towers, and an open stretch both this side of the fence, and the other. We would not make it far."
"Sounds like Ba'al's style - he's much more security-minded than most other Goa'uld," Jacob said, as he ran the healing device over O'Neill again.
"How is he doing?" Sam asked, while she pulled sheets out of a closet, in order to make a rope from it.
"Better. He just needs some rest now."
"Found it!" Lantash declared, working the mechanism and making the secret door open.
"Great!" Daniel smiled, relieved.
"Not a moment too soon! The Jaffa are at the door!" Jacob proclaimed, seconds before someone hammered at the entrance.
Sam, Daniel, and Argent finished creating a makeshift rope, and Teal'c opened the window for them. They tied the rope to the heavy bed, before letting it slide down the side of the building.
"Okay, done!" Sam said.
They all ran to the secret room, with Jacob supporting a still groggy O'Neill. Lantash pulled the table as much back into place as was possible, pulled the curtain back in place, and closed the door.
The room was large enough for all of them to fit in there without it being too claustrophobic. There was no furniture, except for one simple bench, a table with a lamp, and a chair.
Jacob helped O'Neill to lie down on the bench, then sat on the chair himself. The rest of them took seats on the floor. Outside, they could faintly hear the bumps, as the Jaffa were breaking into Ren'tash's chambers.
"That... healing device... can it stop me from becoming a werewolf?" Argent asked. Now when there was nothing to do but wait, his thoughts again returned to the bite.
Jacob hesitated, talking it over with Selmak. "I don't think so, and Selmak agrees. While it can cure or lessen some illnesses, it is much better at healing injuries. 'Werewolf-ism' - if you can call it that - is caused by a retrovirus, which literally rewrites your DNA. I think that's a bit outside what the healing device can fix on its own, unfortunately."
"I agree," Martouf said, having gotten control back from Lantash. "I don't think the healing device can do anything about it. I am sorry."
"Can you at least try?" Argent sounded desperate. "I don't want to become a werewolf!"
"Are you even sure you'll transform? I mean, does it always happen?" Sam asked.
"Almost always. If it doesn't, it kills. I would already have felt it, if that was the case. As it is... I... I believe my sense of smell and hearing is getting better..." He frowned deeply.
"I will try to use the healing device, but do not expect too much," Jacob said, getting up.
Jacob went to Argent, and activated the healing device, then ran it over his entire body, scanning him. Then one more time, before he let the device turn off. "No, I'm sorry. I may be able to halt the transformation for a little while, but that is all."
"So... I am changing," Argent said. It was not a question.
"You are, yes."
"What about a sarcophagus? Won't that cure him?" O'Neill wondered. "Like when it stopped me from becoming a Jaffa."
"It might... if used quickly enough. It's the same method that is used for the transformations - and indeed, both werewolves and Jaffa were created by Nirrti, so it is hardly surprising." Martouf looked at Argent. "If it is to have a chance of working, you should probably use a sarcophagus within the next hour, or so."
"At most," Jacob said. "Unfortunately, we cannot leave this place right now - and we don't know where Ba'al has his sarcophagus."
A loud crash from the room outside told them that the Jaffa had broken through.
"Quiet!" Martouf whispered.
They sat in silence for maybe 15 minutes, with their hearts beating rapidly in fear. Outside, the Jaffa searched the room. Daniel - and Martouf/Lantash and Jacob/Selmak - could hear the leader bark orders at his men now and then. The Jaffa assumed they had tried to escape through the window, and some had been sent after them to find them. The rest searched the room too, in case it was a ruse.
Finally, it became quiet outside. After waiting for a little while longer, they again dared to speak.
"There may be another way of curing you, Argent," Jacob said. "It's likely that the Tok'ra will be able to reverse the changes, with a combination of drugs and other treatments."
"Really?" Argent looked hopeful for the first time since he had gotten bitten.
"Yes, that is true. The Tok'ra have very skilled biochemists," Martouf assured him.
"Well, do we remain here, waiting for Ren'tash, or do we see if we can get out of here?" O'Neill said. He smiled. "I'm feeling much better now. Thanks for using that healing device on me, Jacob."
"You're welcome." Jacob sighed. "As much as I hate just sitting here, it's safer to wait for Ren'tash. When the Jaffa don't find us outside, they'll search the entire place."