Part 10: Control Issues
Kuk tilted his head, listening to some small noise that caught his attention. There it was again—rhythmic, pounding. He couldn’t quite place it. And no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t seem to separate it from the innocuous noises of nature that assaulted him day and night. And there was that smell, too. Animals. Filthy desert creatures gathered nearby, fouling the air with their waste! Perhaps he would send out a hunting party in the morning to eradicate them all. He clutched his head in pain as the sounds of the night pounded in his ears.
As Blair and the SG team approached Kuk’s palace, Blair desperately tried to calm his frantically beating heart. The white noise generators had allowed them to sneak in—he certainly didn’t want to give them away now. Kuk must not have good control over the Sentinel abilities yet. Jim would’ve heard his Guide’s pounding heartbeats for sure at this range. Blair also wondered if Jim could even smell odorless fox urine. He hadn’t told the colonel that they’d never really tried that kind of stimulus before. Blair had taken an educated guess based on what he knew of Jim’s abilities. It was hard enough getting Jim to do any kind of test, let alone a ‘sniff-the-animal-urine’ one.
Kuk was at the end of his rope. Jim was loving every minute of it. Sandburg’s spirit guide had joined the party and now the three of them were doing everything in their power to break Kuk. The alien hadn’t slept well in days. Jim was constantly talking to him in his mind, feeding his fears. The slightest sound made Kuk jump out of his skin now. Jim also made sure he zoned out as often as possible. He was careful not to take it too far when doing things to Kuk physically. After all, Jim wanted to have a healthy body to go back to. His main goal was to weaken the Goa’uld mentally and emotionally. It was working. Perhaps in another day or so, he could take his body back.
A group of priests and guards suddenly walked into Kuk’s throne room. He was furious. “Leave me! I didn’t summon you!”
They looked at each other and smirked. One stepped forward—apparently the leader of their little gang. His voice dripped with sarcasm. “Forgive us, Great God of Darkness. We needed to talk to you about a slight change in management.”
“What are you talking about?”
Jim didn’t like it. He wasn’t ready for these idiots yet.
“We’ve been thinking. We do all the work and you sit around here hiding all day. Now is that fair? We think maybe we could get better use out of that mirror than you. Don’t we boys?” The others smiled in anticipation.
Jim knew most of a Goa’uld’s power lay in the belief of his followers in his godhood. That’s why Jaffa obeyed them so eagerly. If all the Jaffa ever revolted, they’d probably be able to take out their masters. But they wouldn’t because they believed their lords were all powerful. Far from it. From Kuk’s memories Jim had seen some of them. They relied heavily on technology to maintain the illusion of godhood. In general, they were an effeminate, weak bunch of tyrants. What was funny was that Kuk had bought into his own press—he thought he was really a god. He didn’t know how to fight physically and it never occurred to him that his “loyal” high priests and guards would turn against him. The whole idea was foreign to him. But these guys weren’t Jaffa—they’d betray their own mothers to make a profit. “Kuk! I need control of my body!”
“You can’t fight these guys. I’ve been trained for this sort of thing. You don’t have the strength, either. You’re thoughts are incoherent, all over the place. I don’t know about you, but I want to live.”
Kuk couldn’t seem to make up his mind what he wanted. He was so tired. So tired of everything—fighting Jim, trying to build a kingdom, suppressing a part of himself that had once fought against the kind of creature he’d become. “I…I don’t know. I’m so tired. Maybe death wouldn’t be so bad. I could have peace from the chaos of my thoughts, be with Naufri once more.”
“Do you really want to be killed by a bunch of lowlife scumbags? The Great God of Darkness shot by the lowest criminal element like a common man? Would Naufri be honored to be by your side then? I thought you had some pride.”
Kuk bristled at the idea, the delusional part of himself rising up. He was a god! No lowly human lice would kill him. But… He didn’t have the power, the strength. Maybe he could kill a few of them by himself before they reached him, but not all or even nearly all of them. He did not know how to fight them on their level. His host did. “Do it. Do it before I change my mind!” Kuk relaxed his hold over the body and felt himself drift away.
Jim looked down at his hands. YES! He was back in charge! “Well, boys. I think you’re right.” He stood up to pace, pretending to be weak and disoriented. “Someone else should be in charge.” He leaped for the staff weapon leaning against the wall. He rolled behind the throne and started firing. “The name’s Jim Ellison, Cascade PD, and I’m in charge! You’re all under arrest. Drop your weapons and put your hands up!”
They started shooting. Why did he always meet up with the crooks that wanted to do it the hard way?
Blair smiled. Before him stood a black jaguar. Jim was ok. But maybe not for long. They heard shots being fired down the hall. He hoped Jim wasn’t in the middle of it. Knowing his partner, that’s exactly where he’d be. The guys at Major Crimes called Blair a trouble magnet, but truthfully, he and Jim both seemed to have the ability to attract disaster. The jaguar turned and ran down the hall. Blair pointed at the cat and gave the “ok” signal to the others. Jack led the team down the hall. Samantha took the rear position.
When they got to the sounds, Jack moved to one side of the entranceway, Teal’c to the other. He peered around the corner to see five cultists firing at Kuk. Two of the cult members were out cold on the floor. Kuk was firing from behind his throne. So they’d had a falling out. Too bad. He nodded to Teal’c. They swung their weapons around, pointed them into the room, and started firing. They took out two guys before the others noticed they were being attacked from behind.
Jim was definitely glad to see the colonel again—and in one piece. He’d been able to keep Kuk from killing someone with his body, but he hadn’t been able to stop him from ordering it done. He’d tried not to think about what had happened to them. He hoped all of them made it, not just the colonel and the big guy. He listened for more people outside. He could hear…there was… SANDBURG! Now that he was in his own body again, he could hear his guide’s heartbeat. He was with the military team on the other side of that wall! Was that why he’d felt so much stronger, more in control? One of the criminals got off a shot that almost hit Jim. He ducked back.
Blair had peered around the corner to see Jim almost get shot—or was he Kuk? It didn’t matter. Without thinking, he took the energy weapon SGC had loaned him and charged into the room. He shot the man who’d almost hurt his partner. The man went down, unconscious. The other guard turned to aim at him, but never got the chance to fire.
Jim jumped the man from behind and slammed him to the ground. He hit him upside the head with his staff, knocking him out. “Sandburg. How many times have I told you to stay down and out of the line of fire?”
“Umm. About a million?”
“Are you ever going to listen to me?”
Jim walked over to his Guide. “I don’t know how you did it, but I’m glad you’re here.” He gave Sandburg a weary hug.
“Oh, man, Jim. There were a few times I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. I kept hoping and praying. It’s good to see you.”
SG1 stepped into the room. Jack did not look happy. He still had his weapon raised—pointed at Jim. “Step away from him, Sandburg.”
“Colonel! What are you doing?”
“That’s not your friend anymore. He’s been implanted. He ordered my team killed the first time we came here.”
“That was Kuk. That wasn’t me.”
Jack moved towards Jim slowly. “Sandburg. Don’t let him fool you. They have all the memories of their hosts. They can make you think it’s your friend you’re talking to. I know. One of my people, Kowalski, was implanted. The Goa’uld inside him fooled us into believing he was normal. He looked like our friend, talked like our friend, and acted like our friend—and then he tried to kill us.”
“No! Jim? Is it true? Were you implanted? They were shooting at you and you seemed like you… I thought maybe they were wrong somehow.” Blair took a step back.
“It’s true. About a week ago. But I’m in control.”
“Only for the moment.”
“There’s no way you’re getting back in the driver’s seat.”
Blair’s eyes widened. “Uh, what are you talking about? You never let me drive anyway.”
“Sorry. I wasn’t talking to you, Chief.”
Jim had an odd expression on his face that scared Blair. His face was pale and drawn, his eyes strange. For a moment they had almost glowed. Jim was facing him, but for some reason Blair thought he was looking at something only he could see.
Blair pulled a whistle out of his pocket before Jim noticed and blew it right next to him. Jim dropped to his knees in agony. Teal’c held his staff weapon on the dazed detective while Jack restrained him, removing his hand-weapon in the process.