Author’s note: I won neither Buffy the Vampire Slayer nor Stargate. This story is currently unbetaed. It is also fairly dark and contains references to and descriptions of torture. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. Speech:
“Who’s on first.” Thought:
*What’s on second.
#I-don’t-know’s on third.# Greek:
^Who cares?^ Ancient Egyptian:
»Who’s that?« Latin:
~Who’s who?~ Telepathy:
%Who’s that in my mind?% She'ol Samawah, Iraq, November 5th 1990
He could still hear the sound of the rotor blades of the helicopter carrying the support team out in his mind. If he closed his weary eyes he could even feel thrum-thrum of the displacement of air made by the heavy blades. He lay, on his stomach in the dry, prickly shrubs, sweaty, bloody, tired, covered in small wounds from the grenade that had nearly killed him. He could feel the ancient stone bricks from the old irrigation channel dig into his ribs and hips. His ankle was throbbing painfully from when he’d twisted it. His head hurt and his helmet had a dent in it. He was quite sure scorpions didn’t climb into occupied boots, but it felt as if something was in there with his toes. He opened his eyes again. He’d been awake a solid twenty-three hours and the hour and a half he’d managed to sneak since the departure of Cromwell and his team really didn’t form a solid basis for those twenty-three hours. It had been almost three days ago that that chopper had taken off. Jack shook himself. He could not afford to fall asleep.
The Iraqi patrols were beating the bushes, firing at anything that moved. A lot of wildlife was getting lead poisoning tonight. But the problem was that he wasn’t getting away and the Iraqi’s were getting closer, despite everyhting he tried. And he was too tired to make use of their current confusion to full effect. He’d known that when he initiated his plan, deep down, he’d known. But he’d had to do something. So the two vehicles had exploded when they passed over his rigged grenades, and the man in charge of the effort to catch him, on his way home convinced that there was no way the American could still be alive, had been torn to bits, together with his bodyguards and driver.
But it had meant a renewed and more panicked search, which Jack really was too tired and hurt to completely avoid
He carried his dog-tags and wore a uniform so he couldn’t be treated like a spy and be shot or hanged. But he doubted that he would get the treatment that a normal POW would get. Normal soldiers didn’t get dropped off behind enemy lines in small, heavily armed groups. Spies did, and commandos. And a uniform could be stripped off and there were plenty of people in the Arab world even now who would believe that the USA would send an assassin to take out Saddam Hussein. *You’re in considerable trouble, Jack. You’re a married man with three kids fercryingoutloud. How do you get yourself sent on missions like this. It’s not like you speak the language or even look like an Iraqi,*
he tried to duck away deeper into the old ditch, knowing it was useless. *I’m gonna kick Frank Cromwell’s ass from Alaska to Texas, and then back again,*
he winced as a nearby bush burst asunder in fragments, struck by dozens of bullets. *Sara is gonna be so mad. I’m gonna be sleeping on the couch for weeks!*
Jack smiled as he heard an Iraqi pass him by. Their search technique was sloppy and if he was lucky, they’d not find him, allowing him to slip behind their lines and find a way to contact the Air Force, or even the Marines, and get extracted.
He heard the sound of engines and a number of vehicles drove up. They didn’t sound like armor. But then the searchlights started to strafe the countryside with their harsh glare, and the shooting died down. A search grid was set up. Someone with authority and an idea of what he was doing had taken charge of the frightened kids with the guns and Jack knew that it was only a matter of time before they found him. That left him with the choice to fight, which would result in his death or wounding and then capture, or surrender. Surrender was not something he liked thinking about. In his line of work POW’s were seldom treated well. He’d once spoken with Vice Admiral Stockdale. Stockdale had understood pretty quickly what sort of job Jack did. And after some slight hesitation, had told him a few things about how to survive torture.
Not all the SERE training Jack had received hit him as hard as those ten minutes with a man whose body was broken by torture yet whose spirit never wavered. *Survival, check. Evasion, not really possible. That leaves resistance. Do I have any information important enough to demand that I sacrifice myself?*
Jack thought about that for a few minutes before deciding that his knowledge was insufficiently detailed to allow the Iraqis to gain anything useful from him, even if he did truly break. And his surrender now, with two bullets left in his gun, might make them think he was weak and allow him a chance to escape later.
With a sigh he rose and threw his near empty side arm out of the bushes. He run out of ammo for his M16 two hours ago. His grenades had gone with the bomb that killed the enemy CO. Two bullets were not going to change things. And he was not gonna save one for himself. *Wonderful. Just my luck that someone competent shows up to take charge just as I might get a chance at freedom. I just hope the uniform helps. And they don’t shoot me on sight. With a bit of luck this will make them underestimate me,*
Jack sighed and rose, raising his arms over his head. “Hello? I’d like to surrender now.”
BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS Iraqi prison near Najaf, November 12th 1990
If he extended his legs to the utmost and stretched his toes he could just reach the rough concrete floor and take the strain off his wrists. But that was a position that the human body was not able to maintain very long. And the muscles and tendons in his feet and toes would revolt and spasm, sending agony up his legs and into his hips. And then his weight would once again be suspended entirely from his wrists. The edges of the manacles were sharp and cut into the flesh of his arms whenever that happened. He’d try and hold on to the chains with his hands, to bear the weight that way, but after a while his fingers would cramp, or loose their grip on the links and he’d sag into the chains again. Like now. He could feel moisture run down his arms, and he knew that the scabs had broken again.
The blaring music from the speakers and the bright light shining into his face were intended to keep him from sleeping, his tormentors’ hope was that he’d crack more easily. The fact he was already sleep deprived when they caught him didn’t help. He could also do with some water and food. The occasional bucket of tepid water thrown at him wasn’t really very nourishing or enough to quench his thirst.
Besides the harshness of his incarceration his captors had other, more direct means of extracting information at their disposal. Jack’s battered face and body were proof of that.
They had used flexible plastic pipes to whip him, bastinadoed his feet and lower legs, pushed out cigarettes on his chest, hit him with electrical shocks. They’d tied him to a plank with a cloth over his face and poured water over it until he felt he was drowning. All in all he was getting a very thorough grounding in how it felt to be tortured. At least they didn’t use knives. Some of his less intelligent jailers preferred using their fists and feet, or boots and brass knuckles.
Jack had taunted them about their lack of imagination. But after the first three beatings Jack had become considerably less flippant. His tongue probed the holes in his jaw from where the heavy leather and lead cosh had slammed the teeth. His jaw ached and he was fairly certain it was broken or at the very least severely bruised.
*Never should have volunteered to learn Arabic,* he thought muzzily. He closed his eyes against the glare of the lights and thought of pleasant things. His children, playing in the garden. Faith chasing Debra, Debra giggling. Charlie playing baseball with his sisters and pouting because Faith was a better pitcher.
Faith’s face when she realized she was getting a bike for her birthday. Jack smiled. She was so much like Sara in some ways. He saw the bickering of Debra and Faith about Debra stealing Faith’s desert. It was amazing how clever that little girl was. And how sneaky.
Jack closed his eyes and dreamed of home.
BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS USS Theodore Roosevelt CVN-71, February 23rd 1991
Frank Cromwell sat looking at the floor. He leaned forward, his hands between his spread legs, hanging down. His head hung low between his shoulders. The door opened and the doctor stepped out into the corridor. Frank looked up. “And?”
The doctor shrugged. “He still won’t see you, Colonel. And considering his physical condition, I’m going to humor him.”
Cromwell sighed. “Thank you. I’ll leave then.”
“That might be wise. The very knowledge you’re out here is agitating him,” the doctor told him mildly.
Cromwell winced. “Could you let me know if his condition changes?”
The doctor shook his head. “No. You’re neither his relative nor his immediate superior and he has not given permission. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got patients to see.”
Cromwell rose, his shoulders slumped, and walked away.
BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS SG-1 BtVS The White House, Oval Office, February 21st 1991
The President was looking rather old and tired, the major who entered the Oval Office noted. He looked up and seemed to age another few years as the officer saluted.
“What news, Major Hedon?” he asked in a soft voice, leaning back in his chair.
“Mr. President, our forces have liberated a prison near Najaf. We found Colonel O’Neill, sir,” the Major reported.
There was a sigh. “I take it from your expression that he was not treated well?”
The Major shook his head. “Very badly, sir. Tortured, in fact.”
The President rubbed his forehead with one hand. “Get me all the information. I want to call his wife myself.”
The Major saluted. “Yes, sir!” turned on his heel and left. The President of the United States sat looking at the magnificent desk he worked at every day and wondered how badly this man, this man he’d sent into enemy territory to reconnoiter, to find targets to assault, was injured. How damaged he was in mind and spirit and soul. If his wife and children would know him. End Note: She’ol is the ancient Jewish concept of hell. (That is a summary of a multi-layered and much discussed concept.)