||Sam stopped and listened. She had not heard any sounds, just the occasional chirp of a bird far away. She was confident that no one was following, but even she knew not to trust that confidence. As Daniel had said, they had been in far too many places that looked safe, only to be stuck without a plan B.
Daniel. She thought about him and closed her eyes. Sitting beside a tree, in a patch of dead leaves and grass, she closed her eyes. She mentally put every picture of him into her mind, concentrating on his eyes, the bright blue eyes, and his hands, long delicate fingers. He could say so much, so little, with his eyes. A look conveyed all the information she needed, all the love she knew was there. His hands traced the intricate carvings of artifacts and grazed lightly over her, making her skin dance under his touch.
Snapping her eyes open, Sam stood and looked around. There were trees, small patches of snow, and the hilly terrain that all helping to build her strength and determination that she was going in the direction. Daniel had to be all right, she had to find the Gate, and the equipment she brought, the knowledge of the DHD system, had to work.
It just had to.
She came over a hill and almost fainted. She stood still for a moment before hitting the deck, military taking full control. She was on a hostile planet, her teammate - her husband - was considered to be a POW, she could not afford to stand and look at the circular object of her dreams. It was still a ways off; about two hills were between her and the Gate.
"Oh Daniel I found it!" Sam whispered. She saw the line of pillars that they walked through when they first arrived, the ones Daniel had been studying. She let a small smile grace her lips as the thought came back. "Hold on my love."
She surveyed the best she could and scrambled down the hill, wishing for the trees to be growing here. She ducked by a stump as she crested the first hill, the Gate a bit closer. From this hill she could see the town to her right and the Gate on her left. Activity around the pillars made Sam still once more. They were men; that much Sam could make out. Whose men they were she could not tell.
Sam crept forward, looking around for the nearest patch of trees she could duck into. There was a fairly large patch to her right, farther north of the Gate. Taking her electronics, breathing in a deep breath, she went down the hill slightly and ran for the tree line, hoping the men would be gone by the time she came around closer to the Gate.
It was dark, cold, musty, and had an ominous feeling about it. The chains were tight and he could feel the blood slowly trickling down his face. Part of him was glad he could not feel any of the other injuries; part of him wished he could. His eyes were shut - why open them in the darkness that suppressed even his very soul? - and small tears slid down his bearded face.
His mind replayed the last scene. Din had had his sword ready to drill into him, yet he stood strangely motionless. He could not move even if he wanted to, only moving at the force of his body being thrown to the ground. But it was not a sword that had knocked him down; it had been one of the workers. He had looked up to see Din wear a surprised look as another man railed a dagger into his back. As he fell away, Daniel had seen Bis smiling triumphantly, moments before he too was murdered. Guards had grabbed the men, dragging them away to an underground prison, hanging them up and beating them.
Tears dripped off his chin as Daniel fell asleep, only wishing that Sam had gone and found her way to the Gate. His heart ached at the thought of her coming back and trying to find him when she got to the Gate. Sam was too good of a friend, too much his lover, and much too drilled in as a soldier, not to come back for him. He only hoped he would be there when she came.
The men milled around, but there were less of them, making Sam confident she could make a plan. She calculated into the plan for more men, in case back ups and reinforcements came along later. They were closer to her now, but still far enough for her to not be able to make out the tunics. Sam looked up to the Gate. Like most Gates, it was on a platform, a short platform with only three steps, but tall enough Sam figured she might be able to lie flat on the ground and remain unseen.
Crawling toward the base, after seeing what Sam could only equate to 'the changing of the guard,' she put her plan into motion. Her main objective was to get to the DHD, about 100 feet and at about 5o'clock from the Gate. Flattening herself against the base, she strained to hear any commotion. Edging to the side, she peered around, seeing the DHD and a few men talking. She sat back and closed her eyes, straining to hear any snippet she could.
"... But that is what I heard the other night," Guard number one said.
"Oh they are just a bunch of misguided, disloyal members of the tribe. It's a wonder nothing has happened sooner," Guard number 2 said. "But you are sure it was Din?"
"Positive. Keen just got back from town, let's ask him," Guard number one said. Their conversation died a bit as they moved away.
Sam smiled as she figured they had to be talking about the commotion that had happened two days ago. She fingered the communication device; she briefly wondered once more what happened once she left. Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard loud shouting. There was movement, and Sam edged once more to look. The Guards were now greeting another man, panting and out of breath. He said something to the group, who all exchanged glances. One of the guards looked worried.
"Dead?" he asked. "This is worse than I thought."
"Din has been our leader for many years, he has fought many battles. How can he be dead?"
Joy welled up in Sam. Din was dead, and she wondered if Daniel had his hand in it. He did not like killing people, but the fire and determination that was in his eyes the last time she saw him, made her certain he would set that aside and fight. Unto death if need be.
"This is not good... not good at all," the third Guard said.
The messenger, gaining back his breath, nodded. "There are rumors that Lord Hindil is now looking to secure his place in the council. He has already begun selecting his advisors, it is said."
Sam tried to remember who the man was. Hindil was one of the men who had not so patiently listened to her and Daniel memorize their lines. He had a scowl, even when they were riding, and then double crossed Sam and Daniel, striping them and making it appear as if they were dead. She shook her head; things seemed to be getting worse. A loud crack from the far end of the pillars directed Sam and the rest of the Guard's attention to the path and small patch of trees. The men hurried to see what happened, leaving the path from the Gate platform and the DHD clear. Sam was up and running as quickly and quietly as she could.
Reaching the control, she pulled the lower panel off, looking at the insides. She did not need to disassemble the DHD since she did not need to power up the unit. Glancing to where the Guards had fled, she quickly placed the clamps on the wires, gently pushing them around so she could get the correct connection. She looked back at the path, saw no activity, and hastily dialed Earth. It was the best feeling ever as she saw the Gate turning, locking in the glyphs. Running to a small dense bush, Sam turned the communication device on, adjusting the controls and keeping an eye on the Gate.
As soon as it burst into the established Gate, she grinned and took hold of the microphone.