"Can't this thing go any faster?" O'Neill complained. "The Goa'uld are still on our ass!"
"Unfortunately not - the engines are only working at 25%. At best," Jacob told him. "Sam? How are the crystals looking?"
She stuck her head through the doorway behind them, looking grim. "Sorry, Dad. No spare ones for the hyperdrive, and the ones that are in there are almost burnt out."
"I may have an idea for how we can re-route the power using the good crystals we have, if we use a few of the spare crystals for the communication and the shields," Martouf said, looking thoughtful. "However, it may be dangerous, and the crystals are unlikely to hold out for long, though they may hold long enough for us to escape."
"But leaving us stranded afterwards?" Sam asked.
"Possibly, yes," Martouf admitted.
The teltac shook as a glancing shot from the alkesh behind them hit, and the communication device beeped as the Goa'uld hailed them.
"If we don't get out of here right now, it's not gonna matter anyway!" O'Neill exclaimed.
"Do it!" Jacob ordered.
Martouf nodded, and turned to go to the aft compartment.
"I'll help," Sam said, following him.
"Okay, try it now!" Sam shouted to Jacob.
He activated the hyperdrive, and at first nothing happened. Then, suddenly, the ship shuddered and they were in hyperspace. "It works!"
Relief flowed through all of them, as they escaped through hyperspace. For a while, all seemed to be going well, then there was an explosion from the crystal compartment, and their speed increased dramatically. They were hurled through space, at a completely uncontrolled speed and direction, and nothing Jacob did would make the teltac stop.
Eventually, there was another explosion from the crystals, a much bigger one, and the ship dropped out of hyperspace.
"Where are we?" Sam asked.
"Just a moment..." Jacob said, checking the instruments. He frowned as he studied the scans of the silver-glittering planet below. "We're in orbit around an unknown planet - and we're very far from any known planets, in a part of our Galaxy Selmak knows no Stargate addresses for. If there even are Stargates here."
"Can you get the ship back into hyperspace?" O'Neill asked.
"I doubt it," Martouf said, looking into the small compartment with crystals - or rather what was left of the crystals.
"Communications, then?" O'Neill looked hopeful.
"We used those crystals when we rewired the hyperdrive," Sam told him, apologetically.
"Why did you have to use those? Couldn't you have used some others, dammit?"
"No, we needed crystals that were programmed for hyperspace, and the communications crystals are the only ones - save for the hyperdrive crystals - which function in that manner," Martouf explained. "We had no choice."
"Figures!" O'Neill grumbled. "Just our luck! What other options do we have? Could we travel without hyper-drive?"
"Without hyper-drive it'll take us years to reach the nearest other star system. We've got supplies for weeks, at most," Jacob said. "Also, life support is damaged. The air will only recycle at 25%, and..."
"Stop! I get it!" O'Neill exclaimed. "We're screwed!"
"We can attempt to land on the planet, and hope it is - or was - technologically advanced. Maybe we can find what we need to repair our ship," Sam suggested.
"Unlikely. I've got nothing on short-range scanners that would indicate there's a living civilization down there..." Jacob ran the scanners again. "There does however seem to be the ruins of a very old civilization down there."
"Well, then there could be something useful down there, right?"
"Rings? Or are we landing?" Sam asked.
Jacob gave Selmak control, and she checked the scanners an extra time before answering.
"Since there are no ring transport platform down there, and we do not have a mobile one aboard right now, we would be unable to return to the ship, should we wish to do so. We will land... hopefully." She smiled wryly as she steered the teltac into the planet's atmosphere.
As if on cue, there was an explosion from somewhere on the ship, and Sam and Martouf/Lantash ran to check it out. Just as they did so, the shield around the ship flickered once, and winked out.
"What was that?" O'Neill demanded.
"The last shield crystal burned out!" Sam yelled.
"It will get hot in here - and the ride will be bumpy. Grab on to something!" Selmak warned.
From back in the ship a scream could be heard. It sounded terrified, almost inhuman.
"Crap, Daniel's awake again," O'Neill exclaimed.
The mission had been simple enough. Go to the planet Tohen, meet with the man who claimed to have information about a Goa'uld attack, and then return. Simple.
However, they had barely arrived on the planet, before they were all captured by the Goa'uld Heka. He had tortured them for information, as many Goa'uld did, however, when he had not immediately gotten anything useful from them, he had decided on another strategy. He was infamous for his drugs and potions, and was known for combining a hallucinogen much like 'the Blood of Sokar' with the use of a ribbon device, when he interrogated his prisoners.
Heka had them all brought to his throne room, and then spent a while threatening them and taunting them, before picking Daniel as the first target. While the others had watched, Daniel had been given a potion that almost immediately made him ramble incoherently. Heka had not gotten anything useful from him - apparently the drug worked differently in Daniel than usually. Sam later speculated it might be an interaction with Daniel's allergy medication, but they did not know for sure.
Before Heka could try the potion on someone else, one of his underlings had told him he needed to see him on urgent business. Angrily, Heka had ordered his prisoners thrown back into a holding cell.
Apparently the underling had reported on an attack, for they had not been back in the holding cell for long, when they heard an explosion. Soon the whole building shook, the power went out, and the cell door opened. They had fled immediately, of course, finding their way to a teltac, and away from the planet. They had not gotten far before a Goa'uld alkesh took chase, getting them into their current predicament.
Another cry was heard from Daniel, as their teltac raced down through the atmosphere with Selmak barely in control of it.
"I shall go and tend to him," Teal'c said.
"Don't teltacs have medkits or something?" O'Neill asked, not expecting a confirmation. Teltacs were, after all, usually flown by Goa'uld or Jaffa who generally did not need medkits.
"Yes," Selmak answered, unexpectedly. "But it will contain little that can help him." She hit several buttons and swore something in Goa'uld.
"Let's take a look at it, Teal'c," O'Neill said, letting go of the hold he had on one of the panels, and almost stumbled as he made his way across the floor of the shaking ship.
Sam groaned softly as she sat up and looked around. The teltac had made a very hard landing, but not quite a crash. From what she could see, it was unlikely they would get the ship flying again without extensive repairs, though.
"Samantha? Are you all right?"
She turned her head to see Martouf coming towards her, looking worried. "Yes, I think I'm okay. Mostly, at least." She rose, swaying a little, and grimaced as she put weight on her left leg.
Martouf quickly grabbed her, steadying her. "Careful." He held his hand in front of her forehead.
"Does that even work on humans? I mean, I know you guys use it to... uh, gauge the energy signature of the symbiote... or something..."
"It works somewhat for you, because of the naquadah in your blood." He sighed. "I wish I had a healing device... I believe you have a light concussion." He knelt beside her, carefully prodding her leg. "It's not broken, fortunately, but it is badly bruised."
"Yeah, it'll probably be sore for a few days." She gently touched the back of her head. "And I think you're right about the concussion. What about you?" She coughed, the acrid smoke from burning electronics irritating her throat. She sat down on one of the crates.
"I am unharmed, except for a few minor scratches." He touched a cut on his cheek. It had already stopped bleeding, and was healing quickly.
"Good. I hope the others are okay." She looked worriedly towards the front of the teltac, and calling out, "Dad? Selmak?" She looked back, towards the other room where Daniel had been resting - and where O'Neill and Teal'c had gone moments ago, to check on him. Rubble was now blocking that door completely. "Colonel? Teal'c?" she shouted.
"Here, Samantha!" Selmak called from the pilot compartment. She came to the door, leaning against the side.
"Oh, my god! Are you all right?" Sam exclaimed as she saw blood trickle out from the cuff of Selmak's BDU, then drip from her hand. "What about my dad?"
Martouf hurried to Selmak's side, supporting her so she could sit on a crate.
"Jacob is unconscious, but will awaken soon. We were hit by part of a panel during the landing."
"Your upper arm is broken," Martouf observed, concern colouring his voice.
Selmak nodded. "Yes, but the break is not complicated, nor is the wound open. I am bleeding due to a cut in my underarm. Aside from that, I have a cracked rib, and some cuts and bruises. Nothing else. I shall be fine."
"Okay." Sam nodded, not looking convinced. She coughed again and wiped her eyes. The smoke was getting worse, stinging in her eyes as well as making her throat tickle. "We need to get the entrance to the back compartment cleared and check on the others." She was worried what they would find, but hoped her friends and teammates had not suffered worse injuries than the rest of them.
"Yes." Martouf went over to examine the debris, and what he could see of the door behind. A metal beam and several crates blocked the way. He carefully reached for the panel to open the door, and pressed a button. Nothing happened. He tried several others, with the same result. "The door is stuck. We need to clear the area first." He cleared his throat. "I will start working on it immediately. Not only could the others be injured and in need of assistance, but we also need fresh air in here soon." He looked at Selmak. "I assume life support is completely down?"
She nodded. "Yes, as is almost everything else. We have got emergency lightning, but that is about it."
"Understood." Martouf hammered on the door and shouted. "O'Neill, Teal'c!"
They heard someone knocking on the other side of the door, answering something. It was muffled, but Martouf listened carefully.
"Well, are they all right?" Sam asked, nervously.
Martouf nodded. "Yes, Teal'c says that he, Colonel O'Neill, and Daniel are alive and well, except for minor injuries."
"That's great!" Sam breathed a sigh of relief.
Martouf grabbed one of the boxes and attempted to move it. It did not budge. "I wonder what is in these crates? They are unbelievably heavy." He opened one of them. "Gold? There is gold in them?" He shook his head. "It is too bad there is nothing useful in them."
Sam got up, and limped over to him, supporting herself against the wall. "They're filled with solid gold?" she wondered, surprised.
"Yes," Martouf confirmed.
Sam wrinkled her brow. "They're... about four feet by two feet by two feet... if that is all gold, the boxes will weigh... 19200 pounds! Each! That's crazy! How come they have even moved at all?"
"The gravity probably fluctuated during the... landing." Martouf looked at Selmak, knowing she had done her best under bad conditions to land the teltac.
"It is all right. You can call it a crash." Selmak smiled mildly.
"In any case. There is no way for us to move the crates without an anti-gravity device," Sam concluded.
"No," Martouf admitted. He looked speculative. "There may be weapons here somewhere. A zat'nik'tel would be useful..." He started searching the room. "Ah, here." He plucked a zat'nik'tel from a drawer.
"You're going to shoot it?" Sam asked, raising her eyebrows. "Vaporize it?"
"Yes," Martouf confirmed.
"But it's a fortune! Well, on Earth, anyway!"
"If you are in any sort of economic trouble, I can easily provide you with a similar amount of gold."
"Ah, no, I'm not sure I would be comfortable taking that much money from a guy." She grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, it's a Tau'ri thing."
"I was not in any way insinuating that I was expecting any sort of, ah, favours in return." Martouf blushed briefly, before Lantash could remedy it. "I merely..."
"Relax, I know you didn't mean it like that. Just... it's a lot of gold, and I wouldn't want you to have that kind of expense."
"Really, it is nothing. Gold is a waste product from our tunnelling. Would you prefer jewels, they are much more portable? I think sapphires would suit you." He smiled at her, getting a glint in his eyes.
Sam laughed. "Okay, that's impressive, but I really don't need it. I earn more than enough to pay for whatever I need." She smiled at him. "Though I'll admit... a sapphire... now that sounds attractive."
"Then you shall have one... or a few," Martouf said. He turned and fired three shots at the crates, making them disappear. "As soon as I get back to the tunnels."
Sam stared at the spot where the crates had been a moment ago, temporarily forgetting everything else. "Doesn't that violate several conservation laws? Vaporizing that much mass, just like... poof!?"
"I'll have to admit that it is a bit complicated. If you are interested, then Lantash and I would be happy to explain the physics to you. Perhaps over dinner, when we're safely back on the Tau'ri homeworld?" Martouf suggested, smiling shyly.
She rolled her eyes a little, but smiled back at him. "Smooth... but yeah, I'd like an explanation. So you're on, mister!"
For a moment, he looked puzzled over her expression, then he grasped the meaning and nodded, pleased. "Good. I look forward to it." He lifted the beam that was still blocking access to the door aside, and then ripped open the control panel. "There is some power running through it still - I shall attempt to override the damaged circuits and open the door."
He worked at it for some minutes, then the door suddenly slid part-way open. O'Neill immediately stuck his head through and waved at them, grinning a little.
"Hi, guys! Good to see you! About time you got that door open!"