The Long Haul

Chapter 3: We'll give 'em back!

Meanwhile back in the clearing

By the time the trio had dug their way out under the force field, retrieved the scattered kit and set off in pursuit of Daniel, the Princess and their captors, the daylight was already starting to fade. They hurried to the edge of the clearing, easily able to follow the footprints and hoof prints in the dusty ground to the point where the raiding party and their prisoners had entered the woods.

"They've got a heck of a head start on us and it's not gonna be easy to track 'em in the dark," O'Neill declared despondently.

"Then might I suggest we avail ourselves of an advantage of our own?" Teal'c pointed toward a broad pathway over to their right.

"How is going the wrong way an advantage?" Jack looked at the Jaffa like he'd lost his mind.

"It would appear that most travelers coming through the Gate take that road," Teal'c observed. "I predict therefore that it leads to a village or some such populated area. The locals are most probably used to dealing with off-worlders. We may be able to gain intel as to who has kidnapped the Princess and where they are taking her."

"Yeah, right!" Jack looked skeptical. Raising his hand in mock greeting, he began speaking to an imaginary group of locals. "Hi there folks, you don't know us, we're from a planet a long way from here. A very good friend of ours has been kidnapped along with Princess Pain in the Ass. Since they were brought here it looks like some of your guys are responsible. Would you be so kind as to betray them?"

"Alternatively," Teal'c inclined his head in acknowledgement that his first suggestion may prove unlikely. "We may be able to obtain horses such as their leader rode. Since the rest of the marauders were on foot, we will make better time if we ride and consequently reach our quarry faster."

"Now you're talking!" Jack beamed. That was a plan he could get on board with. It would be worth the detour to be able to make up for lost time and close the gap.

"I just hope we have something the natives will consider worth bartering for," Carter put in, ever the pragmatist.

"If not, Carter, then we just 'borrow' the horses, okay?" O'Neill put 'air quotes' around the word borrow.

"You mean steal them, sir?" Sam obviously wasn't completely comfortable with that prospect.

"We'll give 'em back," Jack assured her, offended. "Once we got Daniel and the royal pain safe."

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