Jack snatched up his phone before the first ring was finished, hoping that it was the call he'd been anxiously awaiting.
"Hello again, Jack," said Maybourne's voice.
"What have you got?"
"What, no hello? I'm hurt."
"Maybourne, we don't have time for this. Daniel doesn't have time for this. Have you found anything or not?"
"Yes, I have. First of all, I have a name: Major Raymond Howell. He's stationed in D.C. but is presently on leave. He is supposed to be on vacation in sunny Florida, but I'd hazard a guess that he's a great deal closer to your location. My sources tell me that he is directly involved in Jackson's kidnapping and is personally overseeing the operation, which I have also learned is somewhere just outside of Denver. I guess they didn't want to risk transporting Jackson too far."
"It is believed that the people who took Jackson have in their possession a Goa'uld memory recall device."
Jack let out a curse. That was so not good news. "Do you have any idea where outside of Denver they are?"
"I'm afraid not. It took a bit of doing just to get that. I'm not as connected as I used to be. Maybe I'll try getting back into the game a bit more. You never know what might happen in the future. If I find out anything else about Jackson, I'll contact you."
"All right. If you don't get me here, call my cell. I'm sure you've got the number." Jack paused. "Thanks, Maybourne."
"My pleasure. I think I like the idea of you owing me a favor."
"I'll repay the favor by not shooting you dead the next time I see you."
Maybourne chuckled. "Fair enough."
Jack hung up the phone and went to Hammond's office.
"We've got a name, sir. Major Raymond Howell, stationed out of D.C."
"Howell? All right, I'll pass that on. Let's see what can be dug up on the man."
"Sir, it's very important that Major Howell not be aware that we know about him. If he suspects that we've ID'd him, he may get spooked and make a run for it. There's no telling what would happen to Daniel then."
"What would you suggest?"
"Let Carter do some digging on the Internet and see what we can find out on him," Jack replied. "If we can't track him down that way, we'll think of something else."
The general nodded. "All right. Did you learn anything else?"
"Two things, one good, one bad. The good thing is that Daniel is being kept someplace near Denver."
"That is good news. It'll mean a quicker and easier extraction when the time comes. What's the bad news?"
"It looks like these people do have one of those memory recall things."
Hammond was silent for a long moment, his expression troubled. "Do you think they've used it on him yet?"
"I don't know, sir. If Daniel was injured in the crash, they may have to wait till he partially recovers, especially if he has a head injury, which is likely, judging by where the blood was found in his car."
"I guess, then, that all we can do is hope that we rescue Doctor Jackson before they have a chance to use that device."
"Yes, sir," Jack agreed, knowing that was a slim hope at best.
"What is the problem?" Major Howell asked Roy, whose real name was Lieutenant Andrew Newman.
Newman looked up at the camera through which the major was watching. "He's fighting it, sir."
"I thought you said that would be impossible with that drug in his system."
"It should be, but he's still managing to do it. Every time I try to get him to remember beyond the conscious memories he already has of the dream, his heart rate, blood pressure and respiration go up, and he grows agitated. Sir, according to what we learned, Doctor Jackson has a deep-seated fear that he will be taken over by the Goa'uld genetic memories like he was in the dream. If that fear is strong enough, it would counter the effects of the drug, and no amount of pushing would be able to get past it."
"I don't like what you're telling me, Lieutenant."
"I'm sorry, sir. Let me try one more thing." Newman turned back to Daniel. "Daniel? Are you afraid that the memories of the Goa'uld will take control of you?"
A vague expression of fear touched Daniel's otherwise calm features. "Yes. I don't want to be a Goa'uld. They made Sha're a Goa'uld. They made her do terrible things. I did terrible things when I was a Goa'uld in the dream. I killed Teal'c. I hurt Sam and Jack. I-I murdered millions of people. I can't let that happen for real. I'd rather die first. I made Jack promise to kill me if it happened."
"Daniel, you don't have to worry. That isn't going to happen. The only memories we want are of the weapons and other technology that you built. That's all. All the bad stuff, the evil memories, won't come out. You trust me, don't you?"
There was a long silence. "T-the weapons? I-I used the weapons to kill people. I blew up Moscow. All those people, men, and women, and children who never hurt anyone." A single tear slid down Daniel's cheek. "No weapons. I can't give anyone the weapons."
Newman straightened with a sigh and looked up at the camera. "It's no good, sir. The guilt and trauma of what he did in the dream are too strong."
"All right, then we'll have to try using the memory recall device. You do have the drug we're going to use on him to control him, don't you?"
"Yes, sir, but we're going to have to wait until this other drug is out of his system. Combining the two would be too risky."
"Four to five hours, to be on the safe side. He'll probably sleep that whole time."
"Very well. I will return then."
Newman turned his attention back to the archeologist. "Daniel? We're all done now. I'm going to count to three. When I get to three, you will awaken. You will not remember what happened while you were under hypnosis. Okay, one . . . two . . . three."
Daniel came up out of the hypnosis. He looked up at Newman with heavy-lidded eyes.
"Hello, Daniel. Welcome back. I bet you're tired."
"Yeah. Can I take a nap? I don't feel so good."
Newman studied the archeologist's pale features. "Sure, that would be fine. Let's help you out of that wheelchair and lay you down."
Daniel was removed from the wheelchair and carefully laid on the bed, the men taking care not to jostle his broken ribs. Within seconds, Daniel was asleep. Newman watched him for a while, a frown on his face, then, along with the other men, left the room.
"Sir, I think I found him!" Sam said excitedly as she came into Jack's office.
"Where is he?" Jack asked.
"Well, if it is him, he's in the Hyatt Regency in Denver. He's staying there under the assumed name of Robert Combs."
"You're not sure it's him?"
"Not a hundred percent, sir. Major Howell took a flight to Miami, Florida two days ago. He checked into a hotel there, paying in advance for five days. I managed to find out that no one has seen him there since then, though it would appear, at least on the surface, that somebody is staying in the room. I then checked all the flights out of Miami to Denver that he could have been on that same day. He was not listed as a passenger on any of them. Assuming that he was traveling under a pseudonym, I made note of all the male passengers traveling alone. Judging by the class of hotel that he booked in Miami, I checked the guest lists of all the better hotels in Denver, looking for matches among the people who checked in that day. There were six. I did a background check on all six people and found that Robert Combs doesn't seem to exist. I think he's our man, sir."
"Good work, Carter. Do you know where he is now?"
"No. I got the idea to check his cell phone records for the past two days, thinking that he would be keeping in touch with whomever is with Daniel, but I came up with nothing, which means that he's probably using a phone that's not listed under his name. I do, however, have the make, model and license plate number of the car he rented at the airport. I called in a favor with a friend I have in the Denver office of the FBI, and he's going to be watching the hotel for us."
"All right, I think it's time that we take a trip to Denver. But we need to make sure nobody knows except Hammond. We have no way of knowing how big these people's ears are. The problem is that this means we can't take any weapons off the base since we wouldn't be able to get past the checkpoints without them being detected. We'll have to make due with what's available to us off-base."
Jack and Sam went to Hammond's office and told him what they'd learned. The general gave them permission to go to Denver, telling them that, if they needed backup, to let him know.
Their tension was high as SG-1 left the mountain. Sam drove her car. Jack and Teal'c were in Jack's. At home, Sam quickly changed into all black clothing. Putting her personal sidearm in the holster at her hip, she pulled her jacket over it and slipped out the back door of her house. Cutting through the backyards of several neighbors, Sam made her way to the end of the block. There, she waited. A few minutes later, Jack pulled up in a dark blue SUV he borrowed from a neighbor, who was a retired Army sergeant Jack had been friends with since before the Stargate Project. Knowing there was a chance that people were watching them, Jack had borrowed the car after he and Teal'c did the same thing Sam did to leave her house undetected. Like her, Jack was dressed all in black and was armed with the pistol he kept at home. Teal'c had the gun Jack kept in the glove compartment of his car.
The three members of SG-1 got on the road to Denver, making sure that they weren't being followed. They headed straight to the hotel where Major Howell, alias Robert Combs, was staying. They met up with Sam's FBI agent friend.
"Hello, Sam," the fed greeted.
"Hey, Lucas. This is Colonel O'Neill and Murray."
The man shook Jack's and Teal'c's hands. "Your suspect returned to the hotel not quite an hour ago. He's been there ever since. He matches the description Sam gave me. As she requested, I planted a tracking device on his vehicle." He handed the tracker to Sam. "It's got a range of only one mile, so don't get too far behind him."
"Thanks, Lucas. I'll take you and Pam out for a big dinner some night to pay you back."
Lucas shook his head. "Call it even, Sam." He smiled. "Just make sure you return that to me." He pointed at the device in her hand. "I don't want it coming out of my paycheck."
The FBI agent left, and SG-1 settled down to wait, desperately hoping that Howell would lead them to Daniel and that it wouldn't be too late for their friend when they found him.
Major Howell left the hotel room and got in his car. Newman had reported that Daniel Jackson was showing signs of awakening and that the drug appeared to be out of his system.
Howell was starting to get more than a little nervous. Some of the people looking for Jackson were getting a little too close for comfort. They needed to get the information out of the archeologist as quickly and possible.
Howell had decided that Jackson's body should be dumped someplace where it would be found quickly. They would leave his ID on him so that he would be immediately identified. In that way, the search for him would be stopped right away.
The major was a couple of miles from where Daniel was being kept when he ran into a huge traffic jam.
"What the hell?" Seeing a cop, he waved him over. "What's going on?"
"There's a three car pileup on the road, sir."
"Damn." He fished out his map and pointed to a spot on it. "I need to get here. Is there another route that I can take?"
The cop thought for a moment. "No, I'm afraid not, sir, not without going a good ten miles out of your way. We should have the road cleared enough to start letting cars by in about twenty minutes."
Howell cursed under his breath. "All right. Thank you." Howell toyed with the idea of taking the alternate route, but decided that, as unfamiliar as he was with the area, it would probably be better just to wait it out here. He grabbed his cell phone and made a call.
"I've been delayed," he told Newman as soon as the man got on the line. "There's a big accident that's got traffic snarled. I'm not sure how long it's going to take me to get through it. I don't want you waiting for me. The second that Jackson is ready, use the device."
"Yes, sir. What do you want us to do once we have what we need?"
"Kill him. I don't care how you do it as long as it's clean and won't leave any evidence behind that can be traced back to us. Then take his body someplace where he'll be easily found. Leave his wallet on the body. I want him to be ID'd. Once you kill Jackson, clear everything out of the place and sanitize it."
"And what if we can't access the Goa'uld memories with the device?"
Howell paused. "Same orders. We can't afford to keep Jackson any longer. We'll just have to chalk it up as a loss."
"Call me if there's a problem."
Howell disconnected the call. Seeing that the traffic wasn't moving at all, he put his car in park and turned off the engine, preparing to wait for as long as it took to get through the mess and to see whether or not their mission was going to be a success.
"Is this moving at all? It's not moving at all," Jack complained, glaring at the endless line of stationary cars ahead of them.
"On the bright side, sir, neither is Major Howell, so we don't have to worry about losing him," Sam pointed out.
"Damn. What a time for someone to get into an accident. I just hope that, while we're stuck here in traffic, someone isn't messing with Daniel's brain."
Everyone in the car fell silent, thinking about their missing teammate. They were all trying to think positively, but the fear of what was being done to Daniel was within all of them. What would they find when they got to wherever Howell was leading them? Jack made a promise to Daniel and to himself that, if it was too late to save his friend, Howell and everyone with him would pay for what they did.
'This is starting to get old,' Daniel said to himself as he yet again awoke to the view of the same white ceiling. For a few seconds, he couldn't recall what had happened this time, then it suddenly came back to him, along with a feeling of panic. He lay absolutely still. Did they succeed? Were they able to gain access to the Goa'uld memories? Daniel examined his own thoughts and feelings. He felt . . . normal. There were no Goa'uld-like thoughts, no desire for power or feelings of superiority. He was himself, Daniel Jackson. Daniel relaxed marginally. So, what did that mean?
"Welcome back, Doctor Jackson."
Daniel turned his head to look at the man he knew as Roy. He said nothing, his eyes searching the other man's for some clue to what happened.
"We did not retrieve the memories, Daniel," Roy said, his voice almost gentle. Then he smiled. "You are one stubborn S.O.B., that's for sure. Even with the drug and the hypnosis, you refused to give up the memories."
"So, what's next?"
Roy's smile disappeared. "It's time for us to use the memory device. I'm afraid that I'll have to be giving you another drug that will aid us in retrieving the memories we want."
"Roy, you can still stop this. You don't have to do this."
"I'm afraid that I do, Daniel. I have my orders."
"Why? I just don't understand it. I don't understand why you, your bosses, Makepeace and the others have turned against everything that you're supposed to be upholding, thrown away your integrity, and chosen to do the things that you do. You have hurt a lot of people with your actions. You nearly wiped out an entire civilization when you took the touchstone from Madrona. Doesn't that bother you? Doesn't destroying the civilizations on other planets mean anything to you people? Or is Earth the only planet that matters to you? Are all the billions of other human lives out there in the galaxy considered expendable as long as you get what you think we need to protect Earth?"
Roy didn't reply.
"In that dream Shifu gave me, I got a good, hard look at what's inside the soul of the Goa'uld, and it is an ugly, horrible thing," Daniel continued. "They do things without regard for human life. They kill without remorse. They wipe out thousands, even millions to get what they want. They'll lie, cheat, and steal and will betray and kill their own kind. They do all those things and believe that they have the right to do so, that they're justified in doing those things. You people have lied, cheated, and stolen. You've betrayed your oath to your country and the trust that was placed in you. You have caused the deaths of who knows how many people. You've nearly committed mass murder on a planetary scale! And you think that you have the right to do so, that you're justified in doing those things. Sure, you think you're doing it for the sake of Earth, but does that really make you all that much different from the Goa'uld?"
Roy still didn't say anything. Instead, he went to the door and let in the same two guys who had been there before. Yet again, Daniel was strapped into the wheelchair and injected with some drug. The pain in his chest had returned with a vengeance, and, now, for some reason, Daniel was also feeling pain in his left shoulder. But his physical pain was nothing compared to the fear that was taking hold of him. All the times that he'd faced torture, horrible injuries, even death, he'd never felt the terror that he was now experiencing. Was this what people who were about to be made a host to a Goa'uld felt, to know that they would soon cease to be the person they were? Was this what Sha're felt as Amaunet prepared to take her? Daniel almost wished that he was about to have a Goa'uld put inside him. At least then he'd have the hope that the Goa'uld could be removed from him, as it was from Skaara. But how were they going to remove the Goa'uld he might become when there was no symbiote to take out?
Daniel was taken to another room where a table had been set up with what he guessed must be the holographic projector that would work in conjunction with the memory recall device, displaying the memories that were drawn out. Two video cameras had been set up to record everything.
'God, this can't be happening. Please, Jack. Hurry! I'm running out of time!'
Daniel could feel the drug Roy had given him taking hold. He felt like he was losing control, his will power weakening. His mind was starting to play tricks on him.
Daniel watched as Roy opened a small box on the table and took out the memory device. At the sight of the disc, Daniel remembered the second to the last time he'd seen one, when SG-1 and Martouf went to Netu to rescue Jacob. Apophis had given him the Blood of Sokar and used the memory device. He'd tried to trick Daniel into telling him where the Harcesis child was, but Daniel fought him and succeeded in keeping the memories out of Apophis' reach.
Martouf said that there was no way to specifically target certain memories with the device, that unrelated memories could surface.
Daniel's desperate mind latched onto those two words: unrelated memories.
As Roy put the memory device on Daniel's right temple and turned on the holographic projector, the archeologist began filling his mind with memories of other things, joyful times in his past: his childhood with his parents, his year with Sha're, moments of friendship and happiness, of laughter and love. He prayed that they would drown out the evilness that lie waiting in his subconscious, not knowing if it would be enough to save his soul.