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10. An Attack With Long-lasting Consequences

 

They kept working for O'Reilly for many more days - much longer than the one week originally agreed on - picking the rest of the oranges and persimmons, and then helping out with various other minor jobs that needed doing on the farm. It would seem there was a lot that was overdue for repairs.

When they had finished, they left, still with the intent of going towards Colorado Springs and Stargate Command, to attempt to find out what was going on.

However, they had decided they needed to be even more careful than previously, despite the fact that no one thought they were even alive - that was how they wanted them to continue thinking, at least for a while longer.

"We've got almost $2000. Even after paying for extra socks and underwear and stuff - and food - it's more than enough to get us all to Colorado Springs, if we ride the Greyhound buses," O'Neill told them. "I called them, and they said it was $148 per person for the trip from Sacramento to Colorado Springs."

"That's great," Daniel said. "Of course, we first need to get to Sacramento, or some other large city where the Greyhound's stop."

"Isn't Fresno closer?" Sam asked. "I checked the map, and it looks like it's quite a bit closer."

"It's also $50 more expensive per person, which we can't afford if we wanna eat - or take a bus some of the way to the Greyhound stop," O'Neill said.

Daniel grumbled. "Damn... why didn't we just bring some of all that gold you guys said there was on the teltac!"

"Because a certain someone decided to go crazy, run off, and send us all on a trip through time and space... using an alien doughnut... or have you forgotten?" O'Neill snorted.

Jacob just grinned. "Exercise is good for you - or so Selmak claims, at least."

It was early morning, and they were slowly walking along the road, in the direction of the nearest place they could get a bus to Sacramento - or in that direction at least, as they were quite some distance from that city.


The Sun had set, and the only light came from the waxing gibbous moon, which cast a silvery sheen over the forest they were currently walking through. It was fairly cloudy, and now and then the light from the moon dimmed, as a wispy cloud passed over it.

"Perhaps we should have stayed in that small city we passed through an hour ago... 'Misty Willows', or whatever it was called... We could go back there now," Daniel said, looking uncomfortably around him. "This forest seems to be getting denser... and colder too."

"There weren't any places we could stay back there, and it's not that cold. We've slept outside before, under worse conditions. We've got blankets and we'll make a fire. We'll continue," O'Neill decided. "It can't be much longer before we're through the forest anyway."

Martouf suddenly stopped and stood as if listening. "Are there dangerous animals here? I thought I heard..."

"Now don't you start too!" O'Neill exclaimed. "There's nothing to be afraid of here!"

"Well, there are wild animals in California. Bears and mountain lions among others," Jacob said.

"I believe it sounded like a wolf," Martouf told them.

"There are no wolves in the state, and this isn't a typical area for either bears or mountain lions! Or rattlers... that's rattlesnakes - and they're asleep for the winter anyway. I suppose there could be coyotes, but I doubt it, and one of those certainly wouldn't attack all of us! Besides, you've got that zat of yours, Teal'c's got a staff, Jacob has one of the knives we got from those men that ambushed us, and Carter and I both kept a gun, so we should be good."

Martouf nodded, but did not look convinced. "Understood."


It was, perhaps, an hour later, when they all heard it.

"That's a wolf howl!" Daniel insisted.

"There shouldn't be any wolves here!" O'Neill said.

"Maybe there are now. It's been 12 years - maybe they wandered in from somewhere else?" Sam suggested, looking around her.

They heard another howl.

"Definitely wolves," Jacob observed.

"Well..." O'Neill hesitated. "They don't usually attack humans unless it's been a very cold winter with little food to find - and that can't be said to be the case here, so I still think we're safe. Besides, we've walked through this forest for several hours, and I didn't notice any really big forests when I looked on the map, so we've got to be through it soon."

They continued walking, now and then hearing the wolves. It was clear they were coming closer, and fast.

The moon was still fairly high in the sky, and cast enough light to see by, but the clouds had become denser, and now regularly obscured the moon.

A particularly large and massive cloud passed over the moon, throwing the forest into darkness. They heard a crack as if someone stepped on a dry branch, and something jumped out from the thick undergrowth, blocking their passage ahead.

A pair of red eyes glowed in the darkness, and the creature in front of them growled.

"What the fuck!" O'Neill exclaimed, taking several steps back. He pulled out his gun and fired in the direction of the growl and the red eyes, but did not hit anything.

Martouf's eyes flashed a very obvious golden-yellow in the darkness, as Lantash took over control and raised the zat'nik'tel, firing at the unknown lifeform before them, aiming at the place where he had seen the red eyes a moment before. The blue light from the weapon's discharge hit the creature, and played over it, revealing briefly a shape that was on four legs, but seemed humanoid.

It cried out, and growled loudly, but did not grow quiet.

Lantash did not have time to consider whether to fire at it again or not, before another growl was heard from behind them, followed by a scream.

"Daniel?" Sam yelled.

The moon appeared from behind the cloud, and in the silvery light they saw several shapes, surrounding them on all sides. The creatures looked mostly human, but their faces were different, with very pronounced brow ridges. They also had pointed ears and large fangs. Their eyes glowed red.

One of them jumped at Teal'c, and he raised the large staff he had found at the gas station weeks ago. The creature was strong, but Teal'c was very skilled with the staff, keeping it at a distance.

Lantash fired as quickly as possible at the beings, but the shots from his zat'nik'tel only stunned them briefly. It did, however, make their appearance change, as if they reverted to humans for an instant.

"Shoot them again! Kill the cursed things!" O'Neill yelled, firing at another of their attackers.

"I'm trying!" Lantash shouted back, turning quickly to shoot at another one of the creatures before it reached him.

Sam fired at one of the beings as well, hitting it, but that only showed it down a little. It would have jumped her, had Selmak not buried her knife in its throat, making it stumble and fall, clawing at the knife.

The fight continued for several minutes, before the beings suddenly turned and ran away, disappearing as quickly and as silently as they had appeared. None of them were too injured to run, clearly.

"What in the name of Netu was that?" Jacob asked, after Selmak had given him control again.

"Unknown," Teal'c said, looking with concern in the direction the creatures had left.

"I shot all of them at least once," Lantash exclaimed. "Some of them twice, even if there were some time in between. They were only somewhat slowed down by the first shot, and the second seemed to just have the effect one shot normally has. It did have another effect, though. Their appearance changed, momentarily, becoming human. I have never heard of any lifeforms such as these! Are they common on your world?"

"Of course not! What did you think? I've never even heard about something like that!" O'Neill said, angrily, then hesitated. "Where is Daniel? Crap! Carter, he was walking behind you!"

"I... haven't seem him since we were attacked." She looked around. "I heard him scream... oh, no. We need to find him! Immediately!"

"This way - I hear someone moan," Lantash told them.


"Daniel!" Sam exclaimed, falling to her knees beside her teammate and friend.

He moaned and tried to sit up. Sam and Lantash helped him. O'Neill crouched down beside them, turning on a flashlight he had fished out of his backpack.

"Are you hurt, Daniel?"

Daniel winced as he moved his arm. "In the shoulder... I don't know exactly what he hit me with, but it hurts like hell. Otherwise I'm okay, I think. Mostly."

"Let me take a look at it," O'Neill said, shining some light on the injured area. The jacket and the shirt under it was torn, and there was some blood. "Looks like... I don't know... it's not a knife wound." He shook his head. "It looks like a bite actually!"

"A bite?!" Jacob asked, disbelief in his voice.

Teal'c leaned closer to take a look. "That is a bite," he confirmed.

"A bite? What were those things!" Sam exclaimed, quickly looking around, suddenly afraid they would be ambushed again. "I mean... they were humanoid, but they had big fangs... and those glowing red eyes... and claws."

"Werewolves," Daniel said.

"Werewolves?" O'Neill scoffed. "Come on! You don't mean that!"

"Do you have a better explanation?" Daniel asked.

"Let's get that wound cleaned and bandaged - and then we had better get out of here," Jacob said.

"What are werewolves?" Lantash asked.


"Did you not say werewolves were a myth?" Teal'c asked, when Daniel had ended his explanation.

"They are! Or they're supposed to be," Daniel said.

"I don't know what those... things we ran into were, but they do seem to fit your description of werewolves pretty nicely," Jacob observed. "They were fast, faster even than a blended human... and stronger as well."

They were all back on their feet, hurrying on through the dark forest, very much on guard for more of the creatures that had attacked them earlier. Nothing happened, though, and it was almost two hours later when they exited the forest, all feeling very relieved.

Daniel's shoulder hurt, and while the wound had not bled much, the bite looked deep. They had decided it was probably better to find a doctor and have them take a look at it, so it did not get infected.

"Why would they attack us? To eat us?" Sam wondered.

"Those red eyes... that's what I think I saw before, when we had killed the men that ambushed us in the trucks," Martouf said. "It was only for a moment, but I'm certain of it now."

"So... whatever they are, they may have been observing us... and decided they had to get rid of us. Wonderful!" O'Neill snorted. "As if discovering a damn Goa'uld is trying to take over this country wasn't enough! Now we've got werewolves on our asses, too!"



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