Slipping. Sliding. Can't stop. I trip. Fall. Slide again.
'Get up! Run!' screams the voice in my head. 'Run! Or you're dead!'
So I clumsily obey. Thoughts flash through my head like lightning, and an array of emotions cross my face. I keep running; running through the forest; wet, cold and all alone.
"Just make it to the stargate," I tell myself. "Then you'll be safe."
But I have to keep going, have to keep pushing to stay alive.
"I'm not leaving ANY of you!" I insist.
"You may not have a choice in that matter, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c states.
"What? What're you talking about?" I ask.
"They may, in fact, kill us and set you free - to be hunted as game," comes his reply. "They are known to do this from time to time, to set an example. We have eluded them for long and caused much humiliation. Our deaths would be a welcome sight."
"But why would I be turned loose?! What's so special about me?!"
"You have lost much to them already, and seeing you suffer..."
He's cut off by the entrance of the guardsmen.
"They are ready for you now," one declares, with an evil glint in his eye and a smug smile.
We are roughly pushed out of the cell into a large open area, hands and feet still bound with chains of naquadah.
I'm brought awkwardly back to the present as I stumble over concealed tree roots, lessening my chances of survival. I stop and lean against a tree, catching my breath. I glance cautiously at the area surrounding me - strange, foreign, unknown, scary. I'm alone, so alone.
"Dear Lord, help me," I pray. "They're gone..."
My eyes glaze over whilst I whisper in a pained tone, "They're gone."
Uncomprehending what runs through my mind, I am once again taken back to the recent past, filled with cries of pain, distressed looks, and my own stunned gaze of grief. I close my eyes in anguish as I visualise my fellow team members being tortured right in front of me, out of reach and unable to be helped.
Teal'c and the removal of his prim'ta; Jack and Sam at the mercy of the ribbon device. I'm held back by smirking Jaffa until the very end - when I am shoved forward to witness my team mates' deaths up close. Tears swell in my eyes and overflow, creating watery tracks down my cheeks.
"No. No. This can't be happening."
Teal'c takes hold of my hand and gasps to me, with what is to be his last breath, "Save yourself, my friend."
Before I can answer him, I see the life slip from him, his body slumping in front of me.
"Teal'c! God, no!"
But my grief-stricken face is drawn towards Jack and Sam - they're in agony and I can't help them. I feel useless. Why can't I help them?
A huge sob cracks my voice.
"Jack! Sam! Oh, God!"
I turn in anger to my enemies, evil smiles plastered on their faces as they watch the devastation in front of them.
"Stop this!" I yell. "Please, stop this! Take me instead! But leave them! I BEG you, STOP THIS!"
"Oh no, Daniel Jackson," one replies calmly. "We have even grander plans in store for you. After witnessing the... passing... of your friends, we will enjoy your short-lived freedom and subsequent capture by our Jaffa. You will be given a marginal time advantage, before being hunted and killed like the HUMAN you are," he describes with relish.
A look of utter disbelief has fixed itself on my face at the unimaginable scene painted in my mind.
I turn to Skaara, Klorel, my eyes pleading with him that Skaara may break through.
"Skaara, don't let them do this. Please! God, stop this!"
He cocks his head slightly to one side, as if examining a bug.
"I suggest you spend your last free remaining minutes with your friends," Klorel says, his eyes flashing, reminding me there IS no Skaara.
I turn back to Jack and Sam, half-laying, half-sitting on the ground.
"Daniel," Sam manages to say, and I can hear the pain in her voice.
"I'm here, Sam. It's okay. Everything's going to be fine."
"Daniel..." Sam begins, breathless. Her arms are limp at her side - she weakly lifts them, her hands framing my face. I cover her hands with mine, holding on, reluctant to let go.
"You've been a great friend - don't forget that."
She leans forward, kisses me lightly on the cheek and sits back. She closes her eyes with a peaceful look on her face, and I know she's gone.
I bury my head in her shoulder briefly, before turning to the last one - Jack. He smiles at me, and holds my hands tight. Then he speaks...
"None of this is your fault. I don't want you to blame yourself. Now you have to save yourself - if they let you go, run like hell back to the 'gate. Do it - for me. Promise me."
I nod dumbly - my eyes unwilling to see what they've seen, my ears unable to believe what they're hearing, and my mind incapable of acknowledging what is happening.
"And Daniel?" I barely hear the hoarse whisper over the thundering in my ears. I lean forward to catch his words.
"Thanks for being my friend... Space Monkey."
At his utterance, my tears come afresh.
"It was an honour being your friend," I manage to choke out.
He smiles the smile I've seen so many times and seems to disappear inside himself. Now I'm alone.
"Jaaaaack!" I wail, holding him in my arms and rocking slowly back and forth. "My dear friend," I murmur quietly. "Farewell."
Remembering those terrible scenes has left me in despair. The pain is intense - I can't seem to stop crying. I close my eyes and put my fist to my mouth in an attempt to stop the shaking.
Suddenly, I have motivation to keep moving. I hear a staff weapon discharged and the bark of the tree I'm leaning against splinters onto my cheek. I look wildly around myself, trying to find the people who would cause me more harm. Seeing a flash of grey, and even more hateful gold, I hear the running feet.
"No, no, no, no, no, no, no," I repeat. "Not me! You won't take me as well!"
I take off - Jack made me promise and I won't let *them* get the satisfaction of killing me too. My anger takes hold.
'We didn't deserve this!' Thoughts churn like a whirlpool in my head.
The anger slows my progress to safety. This time I feel the pain just before I hear the blast. But it's not the unbearable pain I remember from the Nox world. My hand goes to my arm and I cry out in pain. But the blast only grazed my arm.
I hear another blast - this one just past my head, and I bolt stiffly down the invisible trail that will lead me to sanctuary.
My arm aches. I'm all alone. I need help. And then, there it is - the stargate. Within 100m.
Foolish in their arrogance, the assembled System Lords have left it unguarded - assured I would have been captured by now. But I won't let them.
I sprint to the DHD and punch in an address. My remote was taken so I can't give the iris code for the SGC. I stand in front of the event horizon, staring at its watery surface and remembering how many times the team and I have stepped through here. I bid my final farewell to them, take a deep breath, and step through.