The Stargate on Vorash opened with a whoosh, the displacement wave shooting out and then spiraling back, leaving a bright blue, watery light in its wake. The three people at the Stargate waited expectantly for something, or someone, to come through, trying to be as patient as possible, but not being entirely successful. Their waiting came to a quick end when almost as soon as the Stargate opened, five people came through. Jacob Carter/ Selmak led the way, followed closely by his daughter, Samantha, and Teal'c. Behind them were the two Tok'ra that had accompanied Jacob/Selmak through the Stargate to the Tau'ri home world.
"Have you learned anything more?" Jacob asked the Tok'ra waiting for them at the bottom of the Stargate.
One of them, the only female of the three stepped forward, her pale tunic billowing around her slim figure. "No, we have not. The Tok'ra Council is waiting to speak with you." She beckoned them forward, and they made their way to the hidden transport ring that would take them to the secret crystal tunnel base hidden deep underground.
As they walked through the crystal corridors, Sam became increasingly nervous. Something wasn't right. None of the Tok'ra would look at them; they all faced the ground as Sam, Teal'c, and Jacob passed them by. It was as if the Tok'ra were afraid to look at her and Teal'c.
Upon reaching the Council Chambers, two Tok'ra guards armed with zat guns allowed Jacob to pass, but blocked Sam's and Teal'c's entrance into the chamber beyond. Jacob turned to say something to the guards when they informed him of their orders before he could open his mouth.
"Only you are allowed to see the Council, Selmak. All non-Tok'ra are now forbidden, as a security precaution."
"Beren," Selmak tried to reason with the guard. "You know who these two are. They are not a security risk. I give you my guarantee. And beyond that, I'm sure there are many members of the Council who will as well."
The guard shook his head. "I have my orders, sir. They come from Garshaw herself. Now, if you please, Selmak, the Council is waiting for you."
Jacob turned to his daughter and her friend. Both of their faces mirrored his confusion. SG-1 had always been...well, maybe not exactly welcome in the Tok'ra Council Chambers, but most definitely allowed to argue their case. Why had things suddenly changed in the very short time since their last visit?"
Sam nodded, not really understanding, but she figured that the sooner her father spoke to the Council, the sooner they would all leave to rescue the Colonel and Daniel. She watched her father's retreating back, worry etched in her brow. She'd seen the puzzlement on her father's face as well. Sam was not stupid; she knew her father was just as confused over the Tok'ra's behavior as she was. She replayed everything that had happened since she, Teal'c, and her father were led from the Stargate to the Council Chambers. All of the Tok'ra they had passed had looked away. At first, Sam had thought it was due to fear. Fear over all that was happening between teh Goa'uld System Lords. But now she did not thing it was fear at all. They weren't afraid to look at us, so much as they were reluctant to, Sam thought to herself. They know something and did not want to give it away in their facial expressions. Then it hit her like a ton of bricks, and Sam immediately sat down on the cold floor with a t thud.
Teal'c looked over at his team member in concern. He heard Major Carter hit the floor and took in her slumped appearance. "Major Carter, are you ill?" he asked bluntly but quietly, so the guards wouldn't overhear their conversation.
"I don't know, Teal'c," she responded just as quietly for the same reason. "I'm getting a really sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I think I know what's going on here, and I don't like it one bit." She looked up at Teal'c, her eyes wet with unshed tears. "Did you notice how now one would look at us as we came here?"
Teal'c nodded. "Indeed. The Tok'ra appear to be more secretive that ususal."
Sam ran her fingers through her short blonde hair, a tell-tale sign that she was very nervous. "I don't think they're going to help us rescue Daniel and Colonel O'Neill, and they're not sure how to tell us because they don't want to hurt the alliance they have with us."
Teal'c tilted his head, giving Major Carter's theory some careful thought. She has a point, he said to himself. "The Tok'ra, most times, are reluctant to help us, only doing so out of sheer necessity, or all other options being discarded."
"Or to use us," Sam added bitterly, her mind suddenly flashing from their trip to Netu, and the arm band incident, and Daniel's infiltration of the Goa'uld summit, just to name a few.
Teal'c nodded in agreement. "They are going to tell JacobCarter their decision not to aide us in rescuing O'Neill and DanielJackson..."
"And hope that we take it better coming from him," Sam finished Teal'c's thought. She got up and began to pace back and forth, anger radiating from her. How many times have Colonel O'Neill and Daniel saved the Tok'ra? Too numerous to count. And this is how the Tok'ra repay them? Livid, Sam stopped pacing and seriously considered marching into the Council Chambers and giving the Tok'ra a piece of her mind. Then through her anger, a quick fleeting thought raced through her mind, calming her. She knew what she had to do to get Daniel back safe and sound.
"Screw the Tok'ra," Sam said, sounding suspiciously like O'Neill. She turned to her teammate. "C'mon, Teal'c. We've got better things to do that stand around here waiting for the Tok'ra to give us some sanctimonious bullshit about why they can't help us. I know somewhere else we can go to the get he help we need." She started to march her way to the ring transporter that would bring them back to the surface of Vorash, and then to the Stargate.
Jacob caught up to his daughter and Teal'c just as they were about to step on to the ring transport platform. "Sam," he called gently, hoping to break the news to her as easily as possible. He was completely unprepared for her response, and it shocked him to his very core.
"Save it, Selmak," Sam spit out. "I know the Tok'ra aren't going to lift a finger to help the Colonel and Daniel. And after all they've done for you..." Sam trailed off. She focused her blue gaze on her father, letting him see her disappointment and anger. "Next time you guys have a problem, don't come to us." With that, she and Teal'c stepped onto the platform, activating the rings, and they were transported to the surface.
Jacob closed his eyes and sighed in deep regret. Not only had the Tok'ra just lost their greatest allies in their fight against the Goa'uld, but he had a feeling that he had just lost his daughter as well. Turning slowly from the ring transporter, he tried to decide how to break the news to the Tok'ra council. Somehow, he thought, I don't hink this was the response they were expecting.
The first thing Jack was aware of when he woke up was how much it hurt his head. Again. The second was that he was lying face down on a soft pallet. The third was that his hands and feet were bound. And the fourth was that it was very, very cold wherever he was. Grunting with extreme effort, Jack managed to flip himself over on to his back, so he could get a better look around. The room was similar to the type of holding cell he and the rest of SG-1 had been held in on Zeus's mother ship, only much colder, and this time he had something soft to lie on. He could hear Daniel's wheezing to his right, and turned to check on the archeologist. Seeing not apparent injuries to his friend, and noting that he also had his hands and feet tied together, he attempted to wake him up.
"Daniel," he called. "Daniel, wake up."
Daniel groaned at the voice interrupting his dream. He was with Sam, on a beach somewhere. He was pulling her arm, threatening to toss her in the ocean to get her wet, and she was pulling away from him, wanting to just sit and read her book and stay dry. Both of them were laughing, happy as can be.
"DANIEL!" There was no mistaking the voice now, or the fact that what Daniel was experiencing was a dream.
"Jack, did you really have to do that? I was really enjoying my dream," Daniel said.
"You can dream about Carter all you want when we get out of here and back home," Jack admonished the younger man, watching him blush bright red. "But we have to get out of here."
"Uh, Jack," Daniel said, "how?" He held up his hands to indicate the heavy, metal handcuffs.
Jack thought for a moment then said, shrugging, "I got nuthin'. Go back to your dream."
Daniel blushed furiously. "It wasn't that kind of dream," he quickly informed his friend.
"Uh-huh," Jack replied knowingly, a sparkle in his eyes. He just loved teasing Daniel.
"Well, it wasn't," Daniel insisted.
"You know, you're being a real ass!"
"Well, you're being a real...boogerhead."
"Boogerhead? That's the best you can come up with?"
"It's an off day."
Before Jack could elaborate, the door to their cell opened, and it was déjà vu all over again. Aphrodite was standing before them, with an escort of armed Jaffa. But this time, all of the Jaffa bore the mark of Anubis.
"What's going on?" Jack demanded. "I thought you were fighting against Anubis?"
Aphrodite shook her head. "You humans understand so little. My father was the one fighting against Anubis. However, my brother and I..." She shrugged her shoulders and smiled, as if to say, 'oh well'.
"What did Anubis offer you for your loyalty?" Daniel asked.
"My brother has now become Anubis' second in command. Ares rules in Anubis's absence."
Aphrodite smiled seductively. "You, Daniel Jackson. I get you."
Sam Carter didn't dial home on the Vorash DHD. What would have been the point? Just to tell Hammond that the Tok'ra had once again screwed over the Tau'ri? Besides, there was no one on Earth who could help them. And, if Teal'c and I do return home, there's no guarantee that we'll be able to rescue Daniel and the Colonel, Sam said to herself. The government may decide it's too great a risk. No, going home is pointless. However, Sam didn't hesitate to start pressing buttons on the DHD. She knew exactly where she was going. She dialed up P9X-771, also known as Krimm.
"Major Carter, to what purpose does returning to Krimm serve?"
Not looking up from the DHD Sam answered, "They created the Goa'uld, Teal'c, but the Goa'uld do not control them. And, the Krimm are highly advanced genetic engineers making biological weapons."
"I do not believe they will willingly create a biological weapon to use against the Goa'uld for us," Teal'c tried to reason with her.
Sam looked up, determination in her blue eyes, trying her very best to hid the fear she felt throughout her body. "Then we will make them." She pressed the final symbol, the point of origin of Vorash, then placed her palm on the orange orb in the center, triggering the activation of the wormhole. With Teal'c on her heels, she jumped through the wormhole to a planet she had sworn she'd never have anything to do with ever again.
Sam and Teal'c were greeted by the Krimm, energy weapons pointed in their direction, as they cam through the Stargate. Sam stopped and returned the friendly greeting, her P-90 facing the leaders of the group of Krimm. Teal'c, standing just behind her, was covering her with his staff weapon. No one moved. The Krimm faced the members of SG-1, anger and resentment on their faces.
"Why have you returned?" one of the Krimm demanded. Sam remembered his name was Charek, and he served as the Krimm's head military commander. "You and your kind are not welcome here." He stepped forward, his weapon still pointed at Sam and Teal'c.
Sam snorted in response. "We're not exactly thrilled to be back here, either. But you have something we want. A biological weapon to fight the Goa'uld."
"We possess no such weapon," Charek said quickly. Way too quickly for Sam's liking, confirming her suspicions.
"Yeah, and that would be a lie," Sam called his bluff. "Look, here's the deal. You give us a biological weapon to destroy the Goa'uld, and we won't tell anyone where the Goa'uld came from." She stared hard at Charek, her intense gaze boring in to him, letting him know exactly what her statement meant. Letting other worlds know where the Goa'uld came from, how they came about...they'd all come knocking at the Krimm's door, out for blood. It would be the end of the Krimm.
Sam watched as Charek took a deep breath, inhaling and exhaling loudly. He closed his eyes and lowered his head, so that if his eyes were open they'd be staring at the ground. His back rounded, his shoulders slumped. It was the picture of a man defeated. "Why?" he asked quietly. "What could be so important to you to make you come back here for a weapon?"
"Anubis has Colonel O'Neill and Daniel as his prisoners. We intend to get them out," Sam stated matter of factly. "And you are going to help us by giving us what we need." Sam stepped off the platform leading down from the Stargate and made her way down to Charek. "You owe me," she said quietly, dangerously, making sure only Charek could hear. Making sure he knew that she knew he was the one who had tried to kill her.
Daniel could not think of a worse fate than what Aphrodite had planned for him. It made him grow cold with fear, his stomach queasy, his head ache, his breathing increase towards hyperventilation. He was shaking, from anger as well as fear. She couldn't possibly do this to him. It was inconceivable. He couldn't allow it. But, there he was, all tied up, with no way to stop her. And there Aphrodite stood over him, a Goa'uld in her hands, about to make Daniel her mate.
He tried to talk her out of it, saying he would make a terrible mate, that he wasn't nearly as good looking, or athletic, or strong as other men. He told her he'd fight the Goa'uld until they both died. Still, she did not change her mind. So then Daniel screamed. Long and loud, hoping someone, anyone, would come rescue him. Hoping Jack could get free and come get him. Hoping Sam and Teal'c had somehow infiltrated the mother ship, would hear him and come running. Sam, oh god, no, Daniel thought. What's this going to do to her? I have to get out of here. I can't let Aphrodite do this. But, fate was not on Daniel's side today. Aphrodite lowered the Goa'uld to his side and stepped back, watching with an evil smile on her face. The Goa'uld slithered up Daniel's arm, causing him to wince at its touch. It made it's way around behind his neck and there it penetrated at the brain stem. Daniel screamed in pain and fear, knowing that this was the end of Daniel Jackson, and the start of a new Goa'uld and host. Thankfully, it was over quickly. Ten minutes after the Goa'uld fist entered Daniel's neck, Daniel's eyes glowed brightly, and he sat up, no the Goa'uld Adonis.
"My love," Adonis said in the distinctive Goa'uld voce that sounded as if more than one person was speaking at once. "It is good to be back. And this new host..." He looked down, admiring Daniel's body, and smiling. "It is a good choice. He is young and strong. And handsome."
"And together," Aphrodite said, coming to stand beside Adonis, taking his hand and smiling up at him. "Together we will overthrow Anubis and rule in his place." With that, she reached up and kissed him passionately.
Jack O'Neill was angry. Very, very angry. His best friend had been taken to god knows where, with god knows what being done to him, and here Jack was, just sitting around, handcuffed, in a cold, dark room, not able to help him. Or protect him. I promised Carter I'd watch out for him, Jack thought, shaking his head. I'm totally letting her down. I just hope she doesn't kill me too painfully.
"Nah," Jack said out loud to the empty room. "She's sure to make it really hurt."
Jack lay back on the hard, cold floor, becoming lost in his thoughts. He really hoped Daniel was okay. He had been taken by Aphrodite almost an hour ago. Well, at least it seemed like an hour ago; Jack couldn't be sure. There was no way to tell time in this dark room. All he knew was that Aphrodite had been promised Daniel if she helped Anubis. For what, Jack wasn't sure, but he had a pretty good idea. A very good idea, and the very thought of it turned his whole body cold. She's going to make him a host, Jack thought. And there's nothing I can do to stop it. Daniel's going to become the one thing he fears the most. If we ever rescue him, I'm not sure he'll ever be able to get through the things he's sure to do as a Goa'uld. Jack shook his head and sighed. I wish Carter were here. She'd be able to figure a way out of here and plan to rescue Daniel. She wouldn't let anyone harm Daniel this way.
"Alright, think Jack," Jack ordered himself. "There has to be a way out of here and back to the SGC." Jack forced himself to leave behind thoughts of Daniel's fate and turn to thoughts of escape and getting back home.
First, Jack knew, he had to get these handcuffs off of him. He glanced around the cell, hoping to find something to force them open, or a way to grease up his wrists so his hands would just slide right through. No luck. There was nothing in the cell, no furniture, no metal instruments, not even a bucket of water for drinking. I could call for a guard, and then try to overpower him when he arrives, Jack thought, but dismissed the idea almost as quickly as it came to him. The Jaffa were more than likely to send more than one guard, making it more easy for them to overpower him than he to overpower them. The only solution Jack saw was to wait it out, hoping that an opportunity would present itself for him to escape. And if one didn't, he knew it would only be a matter of time before Carter and Teal'c came storming in. He knew Carter wasn't about to leave anyone behind, least of all Daniel.
Jack propped himself up against one of the cold, metal walls, and turned his thoughts to what he was going to do once he got back home. Have a barbeque, he decided quickly, nodding his head to himself. One giant barbeque. He'd invite his team, of course, and the doc and Cassie, Hammond and his family, maybe a few others from the SGC. He'd ask Teal'c to invite Rya'c and Bra'tac. Maybe, if he were in a particularly good mood, he'd invite Jacob. Burgers, I'd have lots of burgers, he thought to himself. Cheeseburgers, bacon, mushrooms, onions. And barbeque chicken. Maybe even a hot dog. Jack knew Cassie liked hot dogs at least as much as he did, maybe more.
As Jack added french fries and onion dip to a never-ending list of food, the door to his cell swung open and four armed Jaffa entered, their staff weapons pointed at the commander of SG-1. "On your feet, human," the Jaffa leader sneered. "Your presence is requested by our new god."
"What, so soon? She must not be very good at torture if she wants me so soon after taking Daniel. Or is it that I'm just to darned irresistible?" Jack tried to joke, batting his eyes coquettishly at the Jaffa. Unfortunately, the Jaffa didn't get the joke. Sighing, Jack awkwardly climbed to his feet, since his hands were of no use to push himself up, and followed the Jaffa out of the cell, two in front of him, two behind. They led him down a dark hallway, twisting and turning around corners as they made their way to what Jack figured was Aphrodite's chambers.
He entered a well lit room, but that was the only welcoming thing about it. It was steel gray in color and extremely cold. There was only one piece of furniture in the room, and ugly metal chair, reminiscent of a dentist's chair. Looking at that chair, Jack got a sick feeling in his stomach. That chair reminded him of a similar one from his days as a POW in Iraq. A torture chamber chair. Jack knew, with complete certainty, that he was going to be placed in that chair. He knew he could handle it, having handled torture before. He just prayed that Daniel had been able to handle it. There was a hissing sound from his right, and Jack turned, watching as another door opened and Aphrodite entered the room, bringing with her things...instruments...that made Jack shiver, but not due to the cold room. He knew what they were fore. Oh, poor Daniel, Jack thought sadly, getting a good look at what Aphrodite was bringing closer and closer to him. Where is he?
"Where's Daniel?" Jack demanded of Aphrodite. "What have you done with him?"
Aphrodite looked at him, giving a sly smile of satisfaction. "I have made him better," she informed Jack. "I have made him so much more. He is now fit to be my lover."
Daniel entered the room from the same door as Aphrodite. One glance at him and Jack knew he was no longer the shy, innocent archeologist that Jack had come to regard as a younger brother. He possessed a more confident walk, his head held high, his strides even and measured. He looked at Jack and Jack watched in horror as Daniel's eyes glowed. "Strap him in to the chair," Daniel ordered the Jaffa in his multi-toned Goa'uld voice.
Jack felt himself propelled forward and nearly fell flat on his face as two of the Jaffa shoved him in the direction of the metal chair. He regained his balance, not wanting to give them the satisfaction of seeing him falter. They forced him down into the chair and touched some crystals on the side, activating a locking mechanism. Jack felt metal bands encapsulate his arms, legs, chest, and forehead, hold him to the chair. He couldn't turn his head, but he watched Daniel out of the corner of his eye, and the Goa'uld in his friend perused the instruments Aphrodite had brought in. Short and long, blunt and sharp, electrical and manual, the Goa'uld in Daniel took his time deciding on the first instrument of torture. Smiling, he picked up one that looked to Jack like a scaled down version of a staff weapon. Probably something designed to give an electrical shock, Jack thought in his sarcastic tone. Sweeeeet.
"Now," the Goa'uld in Daniel said, eyes gleaming in happiness and anticipation, "the fun begins."
Teal'c had never seen Major Carter this driven before. Or this angry. At this moment, he was holding her back, arms wrapped around her, keeping her from lunging at the Krimm head scientist, Maltar, and ripping his head off quite forcibly, as she had already threatened to do on numerous occasions.
"Major Carter, calm down," Teal'c tried to reason with her. "This is not helping O'Neill or DanielJackson."
At the mention of DanielJackson, Teal'c felt Major Carter go limp in his arms, giving up all of the fight within her. She hung her head in both embarrassment and acknowledgement that he was right. "I know," she said softly. "But I can't help it. We don't have a lot of time, and the Krimm are working too slowly."
"Scientist Maltar and his team are working as quickly as they can," Teal'c said gently. "We must be patient."
Sam pulled away from him and turned to face him, smiling wryly. "You mean I must be patient." In response Teal'c only raised an eyebrow. "I know, I know," Sam said as much to let Teal'c know she agreed with him as to admonish herself. "It's just hard, all this waiting around. I just want them back. Now, before something happens to them and it's too late."
"The sooner you stop yelling at the Krimm scientists and let them get to work, the sooner they will have a weapon for us and the sooner we can rescue O'Neill and DanielJackson," Teal'c pointed out, not unkindly.
Sam nodded her head. "You're right, Teal'c." She turned to Maltar. "I am sorry I lost my head there. I'm just afraid for my friends. Is there anything I can do to help you?"
Maltar put a large hand on Sam's shoulder and squeezed gently. "I understand. But no, there is nothing you can do to help me, other than to leave me alone so I can get back to work. Perhaps I can arrange a tour of our city for you and Teal'c to pass the time?"
Sam shrugged and ran her fingers through her hair. "Sure. Anything's better than just waiting around."
Sam and Teal'c started to leave Maltar's lab. Just as they reached the door, the bioengineer called out to them. "I will create a biological weapon for you. I only hope it isn't too late to save your friends. I met Daniel Jackson on your last visit here. I liked him very much."
"Maltar, maybe there can be an alliance between our people," Sam said hopefully.
Sam stared at the streets of the Krimm's capital city Hashed, a city that reminded her of the New York City set from the movie The Fifth Element, complete with incredibly tall, futuristic looking buildings and levels upon levels upon levels of traffic, consisting of hovercrafts. She and Teal'c were currently in the Krimm equivalent to a taxi, making their way to Hashed's history museum, to try to get a feel for the history of the Krimm and their relationship with the Goa'uld.
Krimm was a planet with major cities scattered throughout its two continents. On the northern continent, each city was surrounded by mountains and cliffs, and on the southern, deserts. The Stargate was found outside the city of Hashed, at the base of the Morlian Cliffs. The place where Sam had nearly been killed. On their first visit to Krimm, SG-1 had not seen any of the cities, only the immediate area surrounding the Stargate. They had had no idea how advanced the Krimm really were. Now, as Sam stared out the hovercraft's window and took in the sights all around her, she realized that the Krimm were much more scientifically and technologically advanced than even the Tollans had been. An alliance was probably a good idea, even though they had tried to kill her. The benefits to Earth were much greater than her own personal demons surrounding this place.
"Teal'c," Sam said softly, still staring out the window. "What if we're too late to save them?"
"You must believe that we won't be," Teal'c stated picking up Sam's hand and giving it a squeeze.
"But what if we are?" Sam persisted, not really in the mood for Jaffa optimism. "I don't know if I can handle losing Daniel again."
"You are in love with DanielJackson." Teal'c made it a statement of fact, not a question.
"Yes," Sam replied without hesitation.
"Then you must trust in your love for him to bring him back."
Sam turned from the window and looked at Teal'c her eyes wet, tears threatening to fall. "I just hope his love for me is strong enough to keep him alive long enough for me to bring him back."
The alarm system at the SGC went off, alerting General Hammond to the control room. Someone was accessing the Stargate from off-world. Hoping desperately it was Major Carter and Teal'c, Hammond made his way to the control room as fast as he could. As he climbed the stars and stepped over to one of the monitoring stations, one of the techs on duty informed him that the signal was from the Tok'ra. Glad that it was a friend, but disappointed that it wasn't from SG-1, Hammond ordered the iris to be opened, and he went down to the Gateroom to greet their guests.
Hammond took his place behind the base's security personnel, their weapons pointed at the unshielded wormhole, just in case it was a trick and it wasn't the Tok'ra coming through. But, it was. Hammond watched with apprehension as Jacob and two other Tok'ra made their way down the ramp. Major Carter and Teal'c were not with them.
"George, it's good to see you," Jacob said amicably, extending his hand. Hammond did not take it.
"Jacob," he said, anger just below the surface of his words. "Maybe you can tell me why I have not been able to contact the Tok'ra for over two weeks and why my officers are not with you?"
Jacob narrowed his eyes in confusion and rubbed his balding head. "We were attacked by Anubis almost two weeks ago. We were busy setting up another base. And what do you mean, your officers? None of your people were with us."
"The hell they weren't. Seventeen days ago you took Major Carter and Teal'c back with you through the Stargate. I haven't seen or heard from them since," Hammond practically yelled at his friend.
"Sam's missing?" Jacob asked worriedly.
"Last I knew she and Teal'c were with you. What happened, Jacob?" Hammond demanded.
Sighing deeply Jacob said, "The Tok'ra Council denied your request to help find Jack and Daniel. Sam got angry and she and Teal'c left. I assumed they came back here."
"Well they most certainly did not."
"Then were did they go?"
Both men stared at the Stargate, hoping the answer would jump into their minds.
Jack had to be dragged back to his cell. He couldn't stand on his own two feet he was in such excruciating pain. He heard the cell door open and felt himself being shoved into the room, and falling flat on is face. The floor was hard and cold, but what else was new? Jack thought. He lay there, hoping the Jaffa would just leave him alone and go away. He was afraid that if he moved they would decide he was well enough for more. He definitely didn't want more.
After the Jaffa left, Jack counted to fifty, then attempted to roll himself over onto his back. It hurt, more than he had thought possible. Every muscle, every body part. He hurt in places he didn't even know he had. But what hurt him the most was the fact that it had been Daniel who had tortured him.
Well, not Daniel, really, Jack admitted to himself. The Goa'uld inside Daniel did this to me. Danny-boy's just an innocent victim in all of this. I hope, that if we ever do rescue him, he doesn't remember any of this. It will kill him. I'm just glad it's me and not Carter who's here.
Jack slowly stretched his arms up over his head, trying to determine how injured he was and how easily he could move about. After a few inches he had to stop, the pain shot down his arms so fast he cried out. Rolling onto his side, Jack curled into the fetal position, hoping to minimize the pain he had just caused himself. He lay there, on the floor, shaking slightly, soon drifting off to sleep.
"It's been three weeks! When are you going to have something for us to use against the Goa'uld?" Sam demanded of Maltar, anger barely kept in check.
"A few more days. One week, the longest," Maltar said gently. "You're a scientist as well, Sam. You know these things sometimes take time." Maltar tried to be as patient as possible. He knew that it must be hard for Sam to have to wait to rescue the man she loved. He could see the suffering in her eyes every time he saw her. He desperately wished that she could make this weapon for her faster so she could rescue Daniel Jackson and be happy.
Sam nodded reluctantly, backing off. "I know. I'm sorry if it seem like I'm rushing you, or don't appreciate what you're doing for me. I just...I miss him. And he could be hurt..."
Maltar left his worktable and came over to Sam. "Forty years ago, our world was in a civil war. My wife was taken prisoner. I didn't think I would ever see her again." Sam looked up at him and saw the understanding in his eyes. "She was held captive by the side I opposed for almost three years. When the war ended, she was released. It took a long time for her to come back to me, to be the woman I had fallen in love with and married. She never quite returned to the same woman as before she was captured, but I love her and she still loves me just the same." Sam looked down at the ground, tears threatening and she didn't want Maltar to see. Maltar gently took Sam's chin into his hand and lifted her face, to stare at her eyes. "Don't give up hope, Sam. You will find and get him back."
Before Sam could answer Charek entered Maltar's laboratory, searching for Major Carter. "Major Carter, may I have a work with you?"
Sam looked over at Charek and nodded. "Just a moment, Charek. We can talk outside." Turning back to Maltar, Sam said her goodbyes. "I should get going and leave you to your work. Thanks for being so patient and understanding with me."
"I promise, Sam, I will have this finished for you in one week. Perhaps, after you rescue your friends, you and Doctor Jackson would care to return and have dinner with me and my wife?" Maltar offered.
Sam nodded, smiling slightly. "I think both he and I would like that."
Outside of the laboratory Sam met up with Charek who was pacing back and forth, impatiently waiting for her. Upon seeing Sam, Charek ceased pacing and came to her, stopping right in front of her. "I understand you will be leaving soon to rescue your friends," he stated more than asked. Sam nodded, knowing there was more to his statement. "I would like to come with you." He brushed his dark brown hair out of his eyes, standing at attention in front of her. "I respectfully offer you my services, Major Carter."
"I'd be lucky to have you along, Charek. You are welcome to join us."
"Once you have the weapon Maltar is creating, where will you go? Do you even know where your friends are? Which Goa'uld has them?"
Sam shook her head dejectedly. "I'm not really sure. I have a good idea to who has them, but that's about it. I'm working on a plan, but it all comes down to luck and who's willing to help me. Now, if you don't mind, I need some time to fine tune my plan. I'm going to head over to your history museum and just walk the halls. It helps to keep me calm and focused. Can you let Teal'c know where I am if he comes looking for me?" Charek nodded. "Thanks. See you soon."
Sam took a taxi hovercraft across the city to the history museum. Once there, she walked the halls, looking at depictions of the way of life before the Goa'uld entered into the picture. Sam had no doubt that Maltar would come up with a biological weapon, some kind of contagion or something, that would work to kill the Goa'uld. The people of Krimm were so much farther advanced than the people of Earth. However, there was one problem that Sam faced, a problem she wasn't sure if she could find a solution to. Getting the weapon that would kill the Goa'uld and rescue Daniel and the Colonel was easy. Knowing whom they were with wasn't hard, but finding out where they were was going to be hard. She had no idea where Daniel and Colonel O'Neill were being held. There were literally millions of billions of planets out there, Sam knew; she had calculated the coordinates to many of them. The rest of SG-1 would be on any of them.
Sam saw the only way to find Daniel and the Colonel was to ask someone where they were. But who? Her one possibility kept running itself over and over in Sam's head. She wasn't quite sure if she was willing to accept it, but she knew she didn't have a lot of options. "To find a Goa'uld, you need a Goa'uld," Sam said to herself. "The Tok'ra won't help us, so that leaves the Goa'uld themselves." Sam stopped walking the halls of the museum and looked up at the exhibit she had come to. It depicted a long ago battle between Goa'uld System Lords, specifically between Anubis and Lord Yu. And then Sam knew it was a sign, a sign that her idea had been right from the beginning. "Lord Yu," she said out loud, slowly, the wheels turning in her head. "We ask Lord Yu, like I thought."
Adonis awoke and stretched his limber muscles as far as they would go. His love, Aphrodite, had chosen well with this new host. He was young and strong, in fine physical condition. The only drawback, however, was mental. The mind of the host would not give up. He fought hard every moment he could. But, Adonis was stronger; he would prevail, and the host would fade away. Noting of the host will survive.
He looked over to his left, watching his love still asleep in the bed. She really was the most beautiful woman Adonis had ever laid eyes on. Except for Sam. Narrowing his eyes, Adonis knew where that thought had come from. The host, this Daniel Jackson, was at it again, attempting to slowly chip away at the control Adonis kept over him. You're at it early today, I see, Adonis thought to his host.
Today, tomorrow, and forever, until I have my body back and my life back, Daniel thought back at the Goa'uld.
Then forever it is, Adonis answered mentally, before ignoring further comments form the host. He knew that in a matter of weeks, possibly even days, he would have full control over the host, and the annoying commentary from Daniel Jackson would be over. Deciding to try and hurt the host, Adonis let him know exactly what was planned for Jack O'Neill that day, letting Daniel see exactly what Adonis was going to do to Jack, using Daniel's body. Outraged, Daniel tried to fight back, to take control, but without success.
"You're lost in thought, my love," a warm, sensuous voice said at his side, distracting him from his mental conversation with his host. Turning to his left once again, Adonis now looked into the green eyes of his love, Aphrodite. He leaned over and kissed her long and hard on the lips, letting Daniel Jackson experience the kiss as well, knowing it would hurt him since his mind was filled with love for this Sam Carter.
"I am thinking about all of the wonderful things we can do to Jack O'Neill today," Adonis answered. "We have yet to use the memory recall device on him, and he has been a prisoner for over three weeks now. I think it is about time we start torturing him mentally as well as physically, don't you?"
Aphrodite smiled at him, a dark, evil smile, full of understanding and love for the man before her. "Time indeed," she agreed.
Charlie. All visions of Charlie. They were torturing him with Charlie, and it was working. Memories, wishes, dreams, all involving Charlie. Jack prayed it would end, either by the Goa'uld stopping or his death. He didn't care which. He just wanted it to end. It was th worse kind of torture. The physical he could tune out, he knew that kind of pain would eventually ease. But the mental pain? The feelings brought on by the death of his son, and his actions and responsibility towards it? That would never go away. It was something he had learned long ago that he could never escape from. Come with on a small scale, yes. But this was no small scale, being constantly bombarded with pictures of Charlie in his mind with no end in sight. No, Jack O'Neill prayed for a swift death.
He didn't know how long Adonis and Aphrodite kept this up. Time could no longer be measured. Jack barely remembered something Carter had once said, about time not really being constant but relative, but Jack was too tired to try to remember what Carter had said, or to really care. He just wanted it to end. And, when it finally did, he promptly fell asleep, more from his body's desire to deal with the stress of seeing Charlie than from actual exhaustion.
He didn't remember being taken from the chair, didn't remember being hauled to his cell or thrown to the ground. He didn't remember the Jaffa leaving and locking him back up. He didn't remember a thing about his experience in his sleep. Thankfully, he didn't dream about his torture. What he did dream about was a happy time in his life. In his dream it was hockey night, the first game of the Stanley Cup finals, they had just saved Teal'c from being brainwashed by Apophis, and Jack had invited the rest of SG-1 over to watch the game on his big screen TV. Daniel had brought over a couple of pizzas and Carter had come bearing beer, lots and lots of beer. They had all had a little too much to drink, except for Teal'c, and some of the childhood and teenage embarrassing stories had made it out into the open. Most of the pizza had been eaten, all of the beer been swallowed, and Jack had fallen asleep on his lounge chair. Teal'c had crashed on the floor. And somehow Daniel and Carter had managed to squeeze together and fall asleep on his small couch. It had been a good time, then, one of the few that SG-1 experienced.
Jack slept on, not wanting to wake up and leave the comforting haven of his dream. He had no idea that Adonis was standing in the doorway to his cell, observing him, planning his next torture with glowing eyes.
Lord Yu looked back and forth between his advisor and Major Samantha Carter of the Tau'ri, trying to decide which viewpoint he would take. His advisor was telling him to decline helping the Tau'ri and to kill them right here. Major Carter was asking for his help to rescue her friends and destroy Anubis. In fact, she was practically begging, and this gave him pause. He knew Major Carter; he knew all of SG-1, and had helped them against Anubis and Nirrti in the past. He knew them to be honorable, even admired Colonel Jack O'Neill a little. And Daniel Jackson. The archeologist had infiltrated Yu's inner sanctum and tricked everyone into believing he worked for Lord Yu in an attempt to kill all of the System Lords. In Yu's book, that took a lot of courage, something that should be learned from, not destroyed.
Holding up a hand to stop his advisor speaking to the Tau'ri commander, Lord Yu addressed her and her team. "Once you find where your friends are being held, how do you intend to retrieve them. For that matter, how do you intend to destroy Anubis?" He folded his arms across his chest, his red, black, and gold Chinese robes billowing around him.
Sam took a deep breath and ran her fingers through her hair, yet again displaying her nervousness. Well, this seems promising, she thought to herself. "I have a weapon, a biological contagion, that will attack Goa'ulds within hosts by disrupting their bonding process and killing the Goa'uld, leaving the host unharmed."
Yu's eyes widened. He had not known that there was anything that could disrupt the bond between host and Goa'uld. And for that matter, he definitely did not think the Tau'ri had access to that kind of weapon, or the advancement to create one themselves. "You would use that weapon on all Goa'uld. Why should I help you, if you will turn around and use that weapon on me?"
Sam shook her head. "I have no intention of using the contagion on you, Lord Yu. I only wish to rescue my friends. The contagion is for Anubis, and those Goa'uld who stand between me and my friends."
"If you help us destroy Anubis, then you would be the System Lord with the most power," Teal'c pointed out, trying to further their case with Lord Yu. He stepped up next to Major Carter. "That puts you in a position to rule the System Lords."
"I must admit, the idea is intriguing," Lord Yu admitted. "To destroy Anubis..." Yu stroked his goatee in thought. He didn't need to think for long. "I will agree to help you, if I have your assurance that you will not use this contagion against me."
Sam nodded, stepping forward, and then bowed to Lord Yu. "I believe we can make a deal. If you help us rescue Daniel and Colonel O'Neill, we will not use the contagion on you. However, be warned that if you attack Earth, the Tau'ri will use whatever means necessary to defend themselves." She looked deep into Yu's eyes, trying to get her point across. There can be peace between them, as long as neither attempts to harm or subjugate the other.
"As the ruler of the System Lords, I will do whatever I can to keep Earth a protected planet. I can not guarantee your safety on other planets," Lord Yu agreed.
Satisfied, Sam smiled. "I believe we have a deal, Lord Yu." She was proud of herself. With very little effort she had secured Yu's help in rescuing the rest of SG-1 and destroying Anubis, as well as ensuring Earth retained its protected planet status. As the Colonel would say, I'm on a roll.
That night, Sam, Teal'c, and Charek sat in their guest chambers, going over their plan to rescue Daniel and Colonel O'Neill. The more Sam discussed her plan with Teal'c, the more she thought it would never work. Too may things could go wrong resulting in, best case scenario, them being captured as well, worst case they get killed. Sam began to wonder if her feelings for Daniel were affecting her ability to think and plan straight. Sam was very afraid that something had happened to him, that she wouldn't get her Daniel back the same as before, if at all. That last thought hurt the most. Sam wasn't sure if she could deal with Daniel dying again. At least last time she'd had some small comfort in the fact that he had ascended had gone somewhere where he had been able to continue to help. But now? If he died, he died and there was no way for him to come back. I can't lose him again, Sam thought to herself. He's the most important person in my life, my best friend, the man I love. And I haven't told him these things yet. I need him alive so I can tell him.
"Major Carter?" Teal'c questioned softly. "Major Carter, are you paying attention?"
Sam looked up abruptly and faced Teal'c. "Huh? What?"
"Did you not hear Charek's last suggestion?" Teal'c asked her.
Sam shook her head. "I'm sorry, Teal'c. My mind was wandering for a moment here. What were you guys saying?"
Instead of answering Major Carter's question, Teal'c asked, "Were your thoughts of DanielJackson?" Major Carter nodded. "Do not worry. We will rescue him and O'Neill."
Sam sighed deeply. "Will we? Teal'c, I'm going over this plan and all I see are holes in its design, places where many things can go wrong. What if my feelings for Daniel are affecting my judgment, my ability to come up with a feasible play, my ability to lead..."
Teal'c put a comforting hand on Sam's shoulder. "I do not believe that is so, Major Carter. I do believe that your feelings are affecting your judgments, but not in the way you think. Requesting help from the Krimm, creating an alliance with Lord Yu...indeed, these are choices you would not have made had DanielJackson not been captured. Your feelings for him have greatly influenced your choices. However, I do believe they are the correct choices. They may be the only way to rescue DanielJackson and O'Neill." Sam looked up at Teal'c, saw him tilt his head and lift his eyebrow. "Besides, your plan has less...holes...in it than many of O'Neill's plans," he said.
Sam smiled at the Jaffa's attempt at a joke. "I guess you're right, Teal'c. I'm just really afraid that something is going to go wrong with my plan and I'm going to lose Daniel. Again."
"You must believe that we will not."
Sam nodded, coming back to herself. "Okay, this will work. We'll sneak on board Anubis's mothership while he is busy fighting Lord Yu. The boarding team will consist of me, you, Charek, and two of Charek's men. We can enter through the cargo bay disguised as a supply ship. One of Charek's men will stay with the ship while the rest of us make our way to where Daniel and the Colonel are being held, break them out, and get back. The trick is to not get caught."
"When will we use the contagion?" Teal'c asked her.
"I wasn't planning on actually using it at all. It was just for leverage."
Teal'c nodded in understanding, but Charek did not. "Leverage?" Charek asked, confused.
"I figured Lord Yu would be more inclined to help us if he thought his life was in danger if he did not. I never had any intention of fighting Anubis personally during our rescue," Sam informed him.
"Then why not just let Lord Yu think you could kill him with a contagion? Why go through all the trouble of going to Krimm and getting us to make a contagion?"
"If you're going to bluff, be prepared for the other side to call you on it," Sam explained. Charek looked even more confused than before. "Remind me to get Colonel O'Neill to teach you about poker, Charek. It's an old Earth military trick. You make your enemy think you're going to do something to get them to go the way you want them to go. But, just in case they don't fall for it, you better be prepared."
Charek nodded. "I think I get it now."
"I want the contagion in case we do run into Anubis, but I'm not going to go looking for him to use the contagion. Our first priority is to rescue Daniel and Colonel O'Neill." Sam turned to Teal'c. "Are the layouts of all the motherships basically the same?" Teal'c nodded an affirmative. "Good. Then we know the exact way to the holding cells where Daniel and the Colonel should be. Now, Lord Yu has agreed to engage Anubis in battle and will fight as long as he is able without taking too much damage, or until we're off Anubis's ship, whichever comes first. In the event that he has to retreat before we're finished, it is going to be much harder for us to get off the mothership. Once again, the contagion comes into play. We can always use that to secure our escape."
"What if Doctor Jackson and Colonel O'Neill are already dead?" Charek asked, voicing what was on all of their minds.
"Then we leave," Teal'c said matter of factly. "We would have no reason to remain on Anubis's ship."
"And what if they were made hosts to the Goa'uld?"
"Then we use the contagion on them to save them," Sam said, leaving no room for argument.
The Stargate hidden deep within the Cheyenne Mountain Complex came alive. Warning sirens echoed through the halls, and the Iris was closed. General Hammond and Jacob Carter/Selmak raced into the control room, hoping to receive confirmation that this was Major Carter and Teal'c, finally checking in after being gone one month.
"Receiving SG-1 IDC, Sir," Simmons said to General Hammond.
"Open the Iris!" Hammond shouted at Simmons angrily. Simmons complied, not saying anything. He knew the General wasn't angry with him; he was actually angry with Major Carter and Teal'c.
"Sir, I'm receiving a radio transmission."
"Let's hear it."
"General Hammond? This is Major Carter," the voice from the other side of the wormhole said.
"Major, what the HELL is going on? Where ARE you? Why have you not checked in in over a MONTH?" Hammond shouted at her.
Jacob could picture his daughter cringing on the other side. She was curling up into herself, suddenly becoming quiet and afraid. She had never handled being yelled at well. He put a hand on his friend's shoulder, attempting to calm him down. "Sam, what happened to you and Teal'c after you left Vorash?" he asked gently, trying to smooth the way.
"We went to Krimm," Sam stated.
"Krimm? Why?" General Hammond asked, now more curious than angry. Why would they go back to a place that didn't want them, that had tried to kill Major Carter?
"Because they had the biological weapon I need to rescue Daniel and Colonel O'Neill," Sam answered.
"So you're on Krimm now?" Hammond asked.
"No, Sir. We're not on Krimm. We're on Lord Yu's home planet," Sam said carefully.
"LORD YU?" Hammond bellowed. "How'd HE get into this?"
"We went there to ask for his help, Sir. He knew where to find Anubis, and is going to provide a battle distraction so Teal'c and I can sneak aboard Anubis's ship, with the help of a few of the Krimm."
"Major..." Hammond said warningly.
"Don't worry, Sir. We know what we're doing. We should be back soon with both Daniel and Colonel O'Neill."
"Major, when you do get back, we're going to have a long talk."
"Yes Sir. Carter out." The wormhole disengaged, and the Stargate was quiet.
Jacob turned to his friend. "Don't be too hard on her, George. She just wants to get her teammates back. Especially Jack."
Hammond looked over at Jacob, confusion in his blue eyes. "What do you mean, especially O'Neill?"
Jacob sighed. "I know it's really against regulations, but I figure you can handle it. Sam has feelings for Jack. I can tell. A father knows these kinds of things about his daughter."
For a split second Hammond didn't know how to react. Then he burst out laughing. Jacob looked at him as if he'd lost his head. "What's so funny, George?"
"You don't really know your daughter as well as you think you do, Jacob. It's not O'Neill she has feelings for. It's Doctor Jackson."
"You're kidding, right?" Jacob asked. Hammond shook his head. "Holy Hannah!"
Hammond laughed again, this time at Jacob's reaction. "C'mon, Jacob, let's go get something to eat in the commissary and I'll explain it all to you."
Jack didn't know how much more of this torture he could take. He had no idea how long he'd been a prisoner, how long this Adonis, in the body of Daniel, had been torturing him. He only knew that he was slowly losing the battle; he was almost ready to give up and give in. And Anubis had yet to make an appearance in the torture. Jack was dreading when he would show up. He knew what Adonis was capable of, now, but had no idea what Anubis was capable of, and that scared him.
The coldness of the floor was welcoming to his heated body. For hours, Adonis had mentally tortured him with memories of his team getting into trouble, with memories of his team getting hurt. When Jack had been nearly unconscious, Adonis had switched to the physical. Electric shock torture, designed to deliver increasing amounts of pain. Jack's skin felt like it was on fire and every muscle hurt just thinking about it. The cold floor helped.
Where's my rescue party? Jack thought to himself. It has to have been weeks, probably months. Where are they? Carter and Teal'c know my first rule: never leave a man behind. And there are two of us here, counting Daniel. And I know how much Carter loves Daniel; she won't leave hi here. So, where are they? And how are we going to help Daniel? He and I were just starting to get things back to the way they were well before he ascended, before I became jealous of his relationship with Carter. Joking with him when we were first captured, it felt like old times again.
Jack sighed and pulled himself into a ball to try and lessen the pain. The pain was more mental now, more about how he'd let Daniel down, lost his friend, than the physical pain coming from his body. Slowly, he drifted off into a restless sleep plagued with nightmares.
Lord Yu led the attack against Anubis's mothership, his smaller attack ships firing nonstop at Anubis's ship, hoping to breach the force shield and allow the infiltration team in. Lord Yu spared only a moment of thought for Major Carter and her team, wishing them luck, then turned back to directing his army against Anubis.
"There, right there. See it, Teal'c?" Sam asked, pointing to something on the monitor inside the small cargo ship they were flying.
"Indeed," Teal'c agreed.
"See what?" Charek asked from over Sam's shoulder, trying to understand what was on the monitor.
"It shows where there's a small hole in the force shield due to Lord Yu's forces. They were systematically firing at this one spot, while making it look random. His army is good, very good. With any luck, Anubis won't notice this and we can slip in and out," Sam explained, eyes flashing in hope, for the first time seeing a possibility that her plan for rescuing Daniel and the Colonel would work.
"Is it big enough for us to fly through?" one of the other Krimm, Peller, asked.
Sam nodded. "Just big enough, if Teal'c can hit it dead center."
Teal'c raised his eyebrow and turned to face Sam. "Do you doubt my abilities to fly this cargo ship?" he asked.
"Nah. Just trying to lighten the mood with sarcasm and a joke. Someone's gotta fill the Colonel's shoes," Sam joked.
"In that case, it's a piece of cake," Teal'c said, completely straight faced. Jaffa humor.
"Piece of cake?" Charek asked, confued.
Sam shook her head, smiling at her friend. "It's an Earth idiom meaning no problem. Teal'c was just trying to make a joke for me. Don't worry about it now. Once we're in, we make our way to where they're keeping Daniel and Colonel O'Neill, hopefully without being seen, and get them out." She ran her fingers through her hair. "Teal'c, how many Jaffa between the cargo bay and the holding cells?"
"There may be any number between twenty and one hundred," Teal'c replied automatically, never taking his eyes away from watching where he was flying.
"We've been over this fifty times," Peller pointed out frustrated.
"So we'll make it fifty-one," Sam stated gruffly, giving Peller a disgusted look. "Or as many times as I feel it will take before I know everything will go smoothly and we'll get my teammates back."
"Yes, Major Carter," Charek replied quickly, shushing Peller. "Going over the plan a few more times won't hurt."
"Fine. Charek, go over it with your men. I need to discuss something with Teal'c," Sam dismissed the Krimm. Once they had entered the cargo hold, leaving Sam and Teal'c alone at the controls, Sam slouched down in her seat and let out a breath she hadn't even realized she'd been holding
"What is on your mind, Major Carter?" Teal'c asked as he adjusted course to come closer to the hole in the shield.
"Teal'c, I need to ask you to do something for me, and I'm not sure you're going to like it," Sam started carefully.
"I may not, but I will listen to what it is," Teal'c replied in his calm, Jaffa manor.
"Whatever happens, I want you to promise me you'll get Daniel out an back home safely. No matter what happens." She turned to stare at her friend. "Please, Teal'c, promise me he'll be safe," she pleaded, her blue eyes wet with tears.
Teal'c turned from the monitor and the window to stare at his friend. He could see in her eyes how much this meant to her, how DanielJackson's safety was the only thing on her mind. He nodded. "I promise."
Sam reached out and squeezed Teal'c's arm. "Thanks, Teal'c. Knowing you've promised that makes it easier for me to go in there."
They remained silent for the next few minutes as Teal'c maneuvered the cargo ship through the small hole in the shields and down into the cargo bay of the gigantic mothership. Once they landed, Sam took a deep, calming breath, and stood up. "Okay, campers, let's go." She walked back to the cargo area to collect her weapons for the dangerous mission.
Teal'c, right behind her, couldn't help but admire the major. She had rally stepped into her leadership role with the absence of O'Neill, and was doing remarkably well. Not only was she acting like a leader, she was acting like O'Neill, who was, in Teal'c's opinion, a very superb leader. O'Neill will be very proud of Major Carter, Teal'c said to himself. She is showing the confidence and abilities of a natural leader, much like O'Neill does. She's strong in her decisions, looking at all the consequences before she chooses a course of action. I have no doubt that her plan will work.
Once Sam, Teal'c, Charek, Peller, and the other Krimm soldier, Darieum, were equipped, she motioned for Teal'c to open the hatch and let them onto the mothership. Teal'c took point, the first outside the ship, sweeping the surrounding cargo bay with his staff weapon. There was no one in the cargo bay, hopefully a sign that they had not been noticed. Charek followed Teal'c out, covering his back. Sam motioned for Peller to follow, then turned to Darieum.
"If we're not back in two hours, get out of here and meet up with Lord Yu, if you can. That's an order," Sam clarified, in case there was any doubt as to whom the leader of this mission was.
"Yes, Major Carter," Darieum responded.
Nodding, Sam left the cargo ship and joined her team in making their was down to the holding cells. Teal'c continued to take point, but Sam took up position right behind him, the spot Colonel O'Neill would normally have taken in this situation. The position reserved for the leader of the mission. Behind Sam came Peller, the one Sam wasn't sure she could trust. Bringing up the rear was Charek, in Sam's normal position, the one who looked out for everybody, the second in command.
They made their way down twisting corridors and levels toward the place where Daniel and Colonel O'Neill were being kept. They had to travel down nine levels and through half the ship, but he cargo bay they had entered was the least guarded and the one with the easiest access to the rest of the ship. The explosions against the shield and the hull of the ship occasionally rocked the mothership, making walking difficult at times, but the two members of SG-1 and the two Krimm soldiers managed to stay on their feet. They encountered no resistance on their way through the ship. This made Sam more worried than happy. She knew it worried Teal'c as well. They should have at least encountered routine patrol, or Jaffa hurrying to the glider bays. Yet, they saw no one.
Teal'c suddenly stopped holding up his arm and making a fist. A signal to halt and listen, that there may be danger ahead. Sam came up to stand next to Teal'c as they both peered around a turn. There was no one around the corner. Teal'c turned to face Sam and told her silently that he had hears something from ahead of them.
Then, from inside the walls, Jaffa came out, opening fire with their zat guns. Energy discharge blasted all around Sam and her team. They fired off a few shots with their weapons, but in all honesty they didn't have a chance; they were all hit with zat fire and knocked unconscious. Sam's last thought was of how she had failed Daniel and the Colonel.
Sam awoke to a gently slap on the cheek and someone calling out her name. "Carter, wake up." She slowly forced her eyes to open. Everything was blurry, and it was dark, but she could make out a dark shape leaning over her. Blinking rapidly a few times, she forced her eyes to focus on the dark shape, quickly discerning that it was Colonel O'Neill.
"Carter, you okay?" he asked, his brown eyes filled with worry.
Sam nodded, then instantly regretted it when a massive pain exploded in her head. She brought her right hand up to rub her temple. "Ow," she answered.
Jack smiled. Carter and Teal'c had come to rescue him, and they had brought friends. Too bad they were now all prisoners. "Well, now that you're awake, we can get this party started," he joked.
Sam smiled at the Colonel's joke, sat up with his help, and slowly looked around. The Colonel was with her, Teal'c was a few feet away, deep in conversation with Charek and Peller. She took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves.
Believing that Carter was about to ask about Daniel, Jack quickly tried to reassure her. "He's not dead, Carter. At least not technically."
"Sir?" she asked, her blue eyes staring at him in confusion.
Jack took a deep breath, ready to face Sam and her wrath. "Daniel. Aphrodite took him and made him a host for a Goa'uld named Adonis. Her lover. Daniel's a Goa'uld, Carter."
Steeling herself and her emotions, Sam climbed to her feet, swaying slightly at first but quickly regaining her composure. "Well, we have to get out of here and rescue him, too." She marked over to Teal'c and the two Krimm. "What's our situation?"
"Captured, Major Carter," Charek responded. "All of our weapons have been taken."
"As has the contagion darts Scientist Maltar had given us," Teal'c informed her.
Eyes lighting up, Sam reached down her shirt, seeming to be feeling around for something. "Uh, Carter, whatcha doin'," Jack asked, confused at her actions.
Not bothering to answer him, Sam pulled out a small, plastic case. "Still got them," she informed her teammates. She smiled brightly at Teal'c, Charek, and Peller.
"What is that?" Charek asked.
"Plan B," she said by way of explanation.
"Plan B, Carter?" Jack asked, wanting to gain access to the conversation. I mean, really, he thought, who's in charge? Me or Carter?
"Maltar gave me an oral form of the contagion as well," Sam informed them. She opened the plastic case and pulled out one pill, handing it to Teal'c. "For Daniel, in case..."
Teal'c nodded, taking the pill. "I understand."
"Understand what?" Jack asked, confused. "Carter, what the hell are you talking about?" He rubbed the back of his neck in frustration. "You come in her with two Krimm and start talking about darts and flashing around pills. What's going on? The Cliff's notes version will do."
"Okay, the Krimm created a contagion to use against the Goa'uld. It will attack the symbiote and kill it, but leave the host unharmed. Lord Yu is attacking Anubis, or was, to try to help us destroy Anubis and rescue you and Daniel. It seems the Jaffa confiscated our darts with the contagion, but overlooked the pills I carried," Sam spoke quickly.
Jack looked at Teal'c for a better explanation, but none came. The holding cell door swung open, and Aphrodite stood in its place.
"Ah, I see you have all awoken. I hope you find your accommodations most comforting," she said sarcastically. "You should plan on being here for a long time." She entered the cell and came over to stand before Sam, looking her up and down, sizing her up. "I don't really see what my lover's host sees in you, but he is fighting Adonis for control because of you." Aphrodite grabbed Sam's arm and began to pull her out of the cell. "My lover has plans for you, my dear."
"No!" Jack shouted. "Take me again!" But Aphrodite didn't even acknowledge that he'd spoken. She hauled Sam out of there before Sam could say anything to them, tell them everything would be okay, and the cell door closed behind them.
Teal'c walked over to the cell door, leaned down, and picked up the small plastic case with the contagion pill inside them. Major Carter had managed to drop the case, unseen, so that it would not be found by Aphrodite or Adonis.
"They're going to hurt her," Jack said quietly, distantly. "They're going to hurt her like they hurt me." He sat down and covered his face with his hands. "I'm just failing everybody this time around."
Teal'c looked over at O'Neill, confused. "You are not failing anyone, O'Neill," he told his friend. "We are involved in a particularly difficult mission at the moment. That is all."
Jack looked up at Teal'c and the Jaffa was surprised to see tears running down his friend's face. "Oh, really? Daniel and I got captured on my watch and Daniel was made a Goa'uld. Now you and Carter get captured trying to rescue us and they take Carter to torture her."
"O'Neill, you are a great leader," Teal'c told him.
"Some leader," Jack disparaged himself.
Teal'c knelt down in front of his closest friend, trying to look him in the eye. "You are a great leader, O'Neill. Over this past month I have seen it. In the devotion you have inspired from myself and Major Carter. In the way Major Carter has acted, the plan she has devised, some of the things she has said. She actually said 'screw the Tok'ra'."
Jack looked up abruptly at what Teal'c had just said. "Did she really say that?" Teal'c nodded. Jack smiled broadly. "Sweeeet."
"Every choice she made, she make after asking herself what you would do," Teal'c continued. "She devised this plan, questioned all the right people, voiced all the right things. She ever secured the ..approval...of General Hammond."
"How did she do this? Get the Krimm and Lord Yu to help?"
"Quite frankly, Colonel O'Neill, she blackmailed all of us," Charek said, speaking up for the first time.
Jack looked over at the two Krimm soldiers, scrunching up his nose in confusion. "Huh? Blackmail? That doesn't sound at all like Carter. She wouldn't do that. She's too...moral."
Charek laughed. "Well, that may be true, but she blackmailed us all the same. She basically told us she would alert all the enemies of the Goa'uld to the fact that the Krimm had created the Goa'uld, yet took no responsibility for this. Can you possibly imagine what would have happened to us if that secret were revealed? Our entire race would be hunted down and slaughtered. So, we had no choice but to agree to help her."
"Carter did that? She's the last person I'd picture doing something like that, except for Daniel."
"Indeed she did," Teal'c confirmed. "She also forced Lord Yu into an arrangement with us."
"Sam blackmailed him as well. She basically told him she would use the contagion on him if he didn't help us," Charek said.
Jack shook his head in disbelief. Carter running around blackmailing people? That wasn't like her at all. Come to think of it, that was much more his style. Well, at least I taught Carter something, Jack thought.
"So, how'd she get you to come along?" Jack asked the two Krimm.
"I volunteered. I admire Sam a great deal," Charek replied. "I believe that she could pull this off. Plus, I feel that I needed to make amends for trying to kill her."
Anger flared in Jack's eyes as he jumped to his feet, staring hard at Charek. "You pushed her off that cliff?" he demanded angrily.
"Yes," Charek admitted, looking embarrassed and contrite. "And I now regret doing that, for had I succeeded in killing her I would have missed out on knowing one of the bravest, kind, loving people I could ever find. I feel privileged that she trusts me with her life, after what I have done."
"Well, yeah," Jack said, not really knowing how to respond to Charek, keeping his anger in check. If Carter could trust this guy, after what he had done, then Jack could certainly try. But, of course, not guarantees.
"They knew we were coming," Peller spoke up quietly.
"What did you say?" Jack asked him.
"I said they knew we were coming," Peller reiterated, louder this time. "That's the only explanation I can come up with. They lulled us into a false sense of security by making the way here seem deserted, then attacking from a hidden corridor."
"Indeed," Teal'c agreed with the Krimm soldier. "They did know we were coming."
"How?" Jack and Charek asked at the same time.
"Someone must have told Anubis we were coming. Lord Yu perhaps?" Peller accused.
"It was not Lord Yu," Teal'c told them.
"Then who?" Peller demanded. "I know it wasn't one of us or Darieum on the cargo ship."
Teal'c did not respond other than to raise his eyebrow.
"You know who it was," Jack said quietly. "Teal'c?"
"Indeed I do. It was Major Carter," Teal'c admitted. He watched shock, anger, and confusion war for dominance on all of their faces. This was difficult for them, he knew. It was difficult for himself as well, and even more so for Major Carter.
"Teal'c, why would she do that? If we were coming here to secretly rescue them, why would she tell them we were coming?" Charek asked.
"Because she already knew," Jack answered for him, finally realizing what was going on. What Plan B really was. Or was it Plan C? Continuing his theory, Jack said, "She knew Daniel was a Goa'uld. Maybe Yu told her, I don't know. But she knew, so she told Anubis that you guys were coming..." Jack trailed off and looked to Teal'c, fear in his brown eyes. "Oh, crap," he moaned. "She's gonna trade herself for Daniel."
"Indeed, that is Plan A. Plan B is for me to get Daniel back to Earth, regardless of everyone else, and to kill the symbiote with the contagion," Teal'c confirmed.
"Please tell me there's a Plan C," Jack groaned. He knew Carter was probably the smartest person on Earth, but right now, she was acting like the dumbest person, even lower than Jack himself. A voice inside Jack tried to tell him she wasn't acting stupidly, but rather like a woman in love. A woman who was willing to risk everything, including her own life, to secure the life and safety of the one she loved. I hope someday I find someone who'd do this for me, Jack thought.
"Why didn't I know about this?" Charek demanded angrily.
"Would you have come and not interfered?" Teal'c asked him. Charek shook his head. "Then that is why Major Carter did not fully disclose her plan to you. And no," he said, turning to O'Neill. "There is no Plan C."
"There's always a Plan C, Teal'c. Carter just didn't make one, so we will. Plan C will be to get out of here, rescue both Daniel and Carter and get back to Earth in one piece. And since I'm the commanding officer, I choose the plan. And I like Plan C."
Sam was roughly pushed into a room by two armed Jaffa. She looked around, taking in the dentist like chair in the center of the room, and the metal trays beside it with the torture instruments. And the man standing beside the instruments.
"Daniel?" Sam questioned the man. In response, he smiled at her, but it was not Daniel's normal, innocent little boy smile, or the bright watt smile when he was happy. It was one of pure evil. This was no longer Daniel.
"Ah, Samantha Carter," the Goa'uld voice from Daniel said. "Welcome, welcome! Let me introduce myself. I am Adonis, the Goa'uld who has taken control of your lover. This is going to be purely for his benefit, I promise."
Sam shuddered at he sound of the Goa'uld voice coming from her Daniel. It made her want to throw up. Daniel was lost somewhere inside, and Sam wasn't sure how to get him out, or even if she could. Not right this second, anyway. Which meant that she was going to be tortured by him. Not by Daniel, Sam told herself, but by the Goa'uld using Daniel's body. It won't really be Daniel at all.
The Jaffa muscled her down into the chair, strapping her in. Grinning like a chesire cat, Adonis/Daniel picked something up off the metal trays and touched it to Sam's shoulder, and Sam's world erupted in pain.
Daniel had no idea how long Adonis had kept this up, but he knew Sam wasn't going to be able to take much more today. That's the funny thing about Sam. She could break her arm on a mission and not say anything, but if she got a paper cut back home, she'd cry like a baby, like it was the most excruciating pain she'd ever experienced. She had, apparently, held out for a long time, longer than both Adonis and Daniel had expected, but Daniel knew Sam inside and out. She was breaking, heading toward unconsciousness. And when that happened, the mental torture would begin to be inflicted by the memory recall device. Daniel suspected that the mental torture for Sam, as it had been for Jack, would be much worse than the physical.
I have to stop this, Daniel said to himself. I have to get him to leave Sam alone. Hey! he called out to the Goa'uld. Stop it. Stop hurting her!
I will not, Adonis answered him.
You must! You're going to kill her!
Stop it. Stopitstopitstopit! STOP IT! Daniel cried, attempting to gain control, crying inwardly. Crying for Sam.
Aphrodite saw Adonis's hand falter, and lower the shock prodder slightly. She stared at him, watching his face for signs. His eyes had glazed over, unfocused, as if he were seeing something that wasn't there. She knew he was fighting with the host, Daniel Jackson. Daniel was reacting to the torture of his love, fighting Adonis with everything he had. Of course, in the end, it wouldn't be enough, but right now, it was enough to disrupt Adonis's concentration.
"My love," Aphrodite said, siding up to Adonis and breaking into his internal struggle. "Why don't you stop for a while. You're going to kill her on the first time out, and what will that do? You won't have time to enjoy it, and less time hurting Daniel Jackson."
Adonis turned off the shock prodder and nodded in agreement. "You are right, my love. We should end for today and start again tomorrow." He turned to the Jaffa still in the room. "Take her to a private holding cell. I want the others to think she is dead. I want to hurt them as well."
Sam felt herself being dragged away, barely conscious. Only one thought kept running through her mind. I have to rescue Daniel, she thought. I have to get him to take a contagion pill. I promise, Daniel, I will get you free. She was thrown down onto the ground, and everything went black.
"Dammit!" Jack shouted loudly, punching the metal wall of the cell. "I can't stand this...standing around while that snake-head is hurting Carter." He flexed his hand, barely feeling the pain. I probably broke it, the thought.
"I agree, O'Neill, it is most difficult. But there is nothing we can do at the moment for Major Carter. We must effect our escape first," Teal'c tried to reason with him.
"It doesn't make me feel any better, Tee. I know what they're doing to her. I know. And it makes me very angry," Jack said quietly.
"Sam's a tough woman. I'm sure she'll escape first and come get us," Charek commented, trying to lift up O'Neill's spirits.
"Care to make a wager on that?" he joked. Then, face falling, he nodded. "I know. I've seen Carter take a lot, but some things even the toughest person can't take."
"You must believe Major Carter will prevail. She believe in you and DanielJackson, so now you must believe in her," Teal'c told him.
"I've been thinking," Peller spoke up. "I think I can work this panel away and get to the door mechanism and crosswire it so it opens."
"Your Carter equivalent?" Jack jokingly asked Charek as he watched Peller pry off the control board and begin to move round the crystals inside. Maybe things were looking up.
The physical torture had ended, but the mental was just beginning. Sam wasn't sure which was worse. Physical scars would eventually fade, the pain lessen as the torture stopped. But the mental? Adonis used the memory recall device to bring up much of Sam's past, more that even she was aware of. And once brought up, these painful memories did not go away. Sam lived through many childhood disappointments from her father, her mother's death, her life with Jonas Hanson and his death, Jolinar, Martouf and his death, Narim, the horrible trip to Netu, being imprisoned by Hathor, kidnapped and nearly killed by Adrian Conrad, nearly dying from Nirrti's experiments, and, of course, the worst memories of all. The ones where Daniel was missing, or hurt, or dying.
Once Adonis found the memories that hurt Sam the most, those related to Jolinar, Martouf, and Daniel, he replayed them over and over, forcing her to watch the most horrible memories she had. There was only so much of Daniel dying that Sam could watch before she felt she would go insane with the hurt and anguish. She screamed over and over, begging Adonis to stop. He only laughed and pressed harder, adding physical to the mental now. Finally, Sam's mind shut down to escape the pain, and she drifted into unconsciousness.
Please stop! Stop hurting Sam! Daniel pleaded with the Goa'uld.
Why do you insist on fighting me? Adonis asked Daniel. The more you fight, the more I will hurt your love.
Taking a deep breath, Daniel decided to make the ultimate sacrifice for Sam. I'll stop fighting you if you stop hurting Sam and let her and the others go.
We have a deal, Daniel Jackson. See that you keep it.
Crying inside, Daniel hoped that Sam would someday be able to forgive him for giving up. He hoped that someday she would see that he did this all for her because he loved her way too much to be the cause of her pain.
Sam woke up alone in her cold, dark cell. She began to shiver, more from fear than from the cold. She was afraid that the mental torture would begin again at any moment. Usually, one she woke up, the Jaffa would come for her and take her to Adonis and the chair. The chair. Sam hated that chair, the very thought of it make her go cold inside. She had no idea how long she had been separated from Colonel O'Neill, Teal'c, and the Krimm, how long she'd been tortured by Adonis in Daniel's body. All she knew was that she had to get out soon, or she wouldn't be able to, or be able to rescue Daniel. That was still her first priority.
Sitting up, Sam found she didn't hurt nearly as much as she usually did. Stretching slowly, she began to formulate a plan. First, she had to get out of this cell and find Teal'c with the pill. She had no doubt that he had seen her drop them as Aphrodite had taken her away. She couldn't risk them being found by the Goa'uld, their one and only chance to may be win. Once she had the pills in her possession, she'd force Adonis to take one. She wasn't sure how; she'd cross that bridge when she came to it. She knew that was her only chance of getting Daniel back, and the sooner she did it, the better their chances were to get off this ship alive.
Sam heard footsteps echoing down the hallway. Heavy metal boots. Jaffa were coming for her. Knowing now was probably the only time she'd ever have to escape, Sam forced her body into action. She hurt less that usual, and knew that next time she might not be so lucky. This was it. I'm coming to get you, Daniel, she thought, giving herself the needed force to do this. She stood up beside the cell door, awaiting the entrance of the Jaffa. No more than two Jaffa had come for her before, since she was supposed to be weak and tired, in too much pain to fight them. But not this time. This time she'd get them before they got her.
The door opened and two Jaffa entered the cell. Sam went into action, jumping behind them, grabbing one of their staff weapons as they whirled around, and shot them both as quick as she could. She wasn't quick enough, though. One of them shot her with their staff weapon. However, she was moving around so much that it did little damage, hitting her in the shoulder instead of a more deadly area, like her chest or stomach. With both Jaffa down, Sam raced out of the cell and carefully made her way down to where she knew Teal'c and the others were being held. Where the pills that could save Daniel were being hidden. She didn't notice the pain in her shoulder, or she didn't care. It wasn't important. What was important was getting those contagion pills from Teal'c so she could save Daniel. Her pain, her life, was below that.
Luck was on her side; she made it to the other holding cell without being seen. Taking a moment to thank whoever was looking out for her that there were no guards present, Sam quickly opened the cell door and stood in the doorway, half looking in and half looking down the hallway for Jaffa.
"Carter?" she heard O'Neill call out to her. "How the hell?"
"No time, Sir. We gotta move. By now Adonis knows I'm free. Teal'c, we need weapons, and I need those pills."
"There should be a weapons locker a few doors down from here, for the guards," Teal'c informed her, coming to stand next to her. She handed him the other staff weapon she had confiscated from the Jaffa who had come for her. "Major Carter, it is good to see you." Then he noticed her shoulder. "You are injured."
"It's not bad," Sam brushed him off.
Examining it closely, Jack added in a fake, British accent, "It's only a flesh wound." Sam looked at him and smiled broadly. "I don't think Teal'c knows that movie."
"Then we're going to have to force him to watch it when we get back," Jack stated. "Now, let's get back."
As Sam, Jack, Teal'c, Charek, and Peller made their way down to the weapons locker Sam outlined her plan to the Colonel. He approved, but only marginally. "I don't like the idea of you and Teal'c going alone to get Daniel. Not enough people, and no backup, and you're injured, Carter."
"We don't have a choice, Sir," Sam argued. "Someone needs to knock out the shield generators and steal a cargo ship so we can escape, or getting Daniel now will be pointless. You take Charek and Peller and do that. Trust Charek to watch your back, Sir. He will. And I need Teal'c. I don't know how those pills will work. If Daniel needs to be carried, Teal'c's the only one strong enough to do it."
"How are you going to get that snake-head to swallow that pill?" Jack asked as he strapped on a couple of zat guns and grabbed a charged staff weapon. He grabbed two radio headsets, handing one to Carter and tucking the other in his belt.
"I'm going to force it down his throat," Sam stated quietly. Too quietly. Jack became concerned. She was giving no thought to herself. Everything she had she was giving into rescuing Daniel. He just hoped she didn't collapse before it was all over and they were safely on their way back to Earth.
They split then, Sam and Teal'c going off in search of Adonis and Daniel, while Jack took the two Krimm down towards the shield generators. The shield generators were three levels down from the holding cell. Jack blazed his was down the corridors, blasting by every Jaffa search party they came to. He had no intention of being taken prisoner again and every intention of getting off this ship, with everyone else as well. No one was going to be left behind, dead or alive. Rounding a corner, energy blasts from staff weapons connected with the wall just above his head. Dropping to a crouch, he fired off, hitting three out of three with one shot each. As they came closer and closer to the shield generators, they encountered more and more resistance in the form of Jaffa. But no super soldiers. Jack knew that was significant, but couldn't afford the time to puzzle it out right now; he filed it in the back of his mind for thought later on. The Jaffa became harder and harder to overcome. More and more Jaffa seemed to come out of nowhere. They know where we're headed, Jack thought. They were expecting this. We gotta make a Plan B.
"Okay, campers, we're not going to make it to the shield generators. Is there any other way to get by those shields without destroying them from in here?" he asked the Krimm. It was hard to think, to do anything with the loud sounds of staff weapons hitting the wall they were hiding behind. He had had a headache from the torture, and this weapons fire wasn't helping. He hoped his instincts about Peller were correct, and he'd give him another option, much as Carter would have were she here, if only to get them somewhere quiet.
"I studied the technical schematics while on Yu's ship," Peller started. "I believe I can open up the shield from inside the cargo ship, but I shouldn't do it if they know where we are, or if we're not ready to leave. Otherwise, they could lock me out and our only other option would be to blow up the generators."
"Gotcha. Okay, we head for the cargo bays, find an unoccupied, unguarded ship, and lay low until Carter and Teal'c get there," Jack informed them, not at all pleased with Plan B, but not having time to come up with Plan C. Besides, this beats dying right now. He looked around, completely lost. "Well, I can't really stop someone and ask them for directions..."
"Cargo bays are that way," Peller said dryly, pointing down a corridor to their left.
"Lay on MacDuff. We'll call Carter and Teal'c when we know where we are."
"My name is not MacDuff," Peller said, annoyed.
"I know. If you were from Earth, you'd get it."
Sam and Teal'c fought their way down Jaffa infested hallways, heading as fast as they could to Adonis's chambers. The need in Sam to get Daniel was clouding everything she did, and she almost paid the price for it. She was focusing on the doorway ahead of them; the one that was being guarded buy twenty armed Jaffa. That doorway led to Adonis. Led to Daniel. Sam stood, shooting a staff weapon at the Jaffa, heedless to Teal'c's repeated shouts to get back, that there were too many Jaffa to defeat by a head on assault. Sam didn't hear him. Only one thought was running through her mind. She had to get to Daniel. I have to get to Daniel. She said to herself. He is beyond that door. I cannot let him down. I have to rescue him, to save him from the Goa'uld. I must not fail. I will not fail. I love him too much to fail him. Aim, fire, kill a Jaffa. Aim, fire, kill a Jaffa. Energy blasts whipped past Sam, thankfully none of them hit her. But twenty armed Jaffa were too many for her. Teal'c, becoming increasingly worried at Major Carter's actions, decided the had to do something to get her attention. So he leaped at Sam, pushing her to the ground just as two energy blasts hit the wall right behind where Sam had been standing. Had Teal'c not shoved her out of the way, she would have been killed. Looking up at him, thanking him silently, he nodded, and they hid around opposite corners, this time Sam paying more attention to her surrounding.
"Teal'c!" she shouted to him across the open hallway. "I think we're going to need a hostage to get out of here!"
"I agree, Major Carter!" Teal'c shouted back at her.
"On three we rush at them, blast by them, and take Adonis prisoner!" Sam told him the plan. She tossed aside her staff weapon and took out two zat guns, so she could have a weapon in both hands. Teal'c did the same, realizing that two weapons were better than one, though he much preferred the staff weapons. But in this case, two zatniketels would be the better choice.
"Indeed, I believe that may be your only course of action!"
"I'm glad you agree! Now, one, two, three!"
Sam and Teal'c ran at the Jaffa, dodging energy fire, somehow neither being hit. They took out all of the Jaffa between them and the doorway, barely registering that there were blasts coming from behind them as well. Racing through he door, Teal'c triggered it closed while Sam held both Adonis and Aphrodite at gunpoint with her zat guns.
"You will not win. You will not take this host away, and you will not get off of this ship alive," Adonis informed them calmly.
"I don't care what you think," Sam told him coldly. "I only care about what I know. And I know I'm going to take you with me. and I know I'm going to free Daniel from you."
"Right now there are armed Jaffa closing in on this room. You will not get out alive," Aphrodite said.
"Oh, we so don't have time for this," Sam said to no one in particular. Before anyone knew what had happened, Sam shot Aphrodite with one of her zat guns. "Now, you'll do as I say, or I shoot her again."
Eyes wide open, now fully registering what was happening, how determined this Tau'ri woman was to regain her friend, Adonis became afraid. He locked eyes with her, and saw right down to her very soul. This woman would stop at nothing to save the one she loved. She didn't care at all about her own life, only the life of his host. That made her dangerous, unpredictable. Adonis did not like dealing with the unpredictable.
"Teal'c, take him with you. Let's get out of here," Sam ordered, eyes still locked with Adonis.
As they left the room, they were bombarded by many armed Jaffa, too numerous to count. "Let us pass!" Sam shouted at them. "Harm us, fire upon us, and I'll kill him!" Sam warned them, pointing both of her zat guns at Adonis. Teal'c, one arm wrapped around Adonis, began dragging him through the crowd of Jaffa, the other holding a zat gun out at the ready, pointed ahead.
The Jaffa let them pass, not sure what to do. Adonis said nothing, just smiled and went willingly with Teal'c. Once past the Jaffa, he started to speak. "You won't get away with this. The shields are up; you won't get past them.
"We will if they're brought down," Sam told him pointedly.
"Ah, yes, Colonel O'Neill and the others. I figured they would try to disable the shield generators, so I sent a team down there to protect them. Your friends should be prisoners of the Jaffa by now."
Sam took a deep breath, praying that it wasn't true. If it was, then they had no hope of escape. She took out the radio headset that the Colonel had given her, and just as she was about to use it, a voice came over the set.
"Carter? Where are you? You got that snake-head out of Daniel yet?"
"Colonel? You okay?" she asked back, relieved to hear his voice.
"Yep. We got a ship, and Peller figures he can bring down the shield from here. We ran into a little trouble at the generators. What's your situation?"
It was like music to her ears. "Teal'c and I have Adonis in our possession. We're using him as a hostage. Where are you?"
"Cargo bay on level...where the hell are we, Peller?" O'Neill demanded.
"Four levels up from the shield generators," he said.
Sam looked to Teal'c for a direction. "Two levels below us," he told her.
Sam wiped the sweat off her forehead, surprised to see that it was streaked red. Blood. She must have injured her head when Teal'c pushed her out of the line of fire. Ignoring it for the moment, she responded to the Colonel. "We'll be there soon. Carter out."
Using Adonis as a hostage and shield, Teal'c and Sam passed by any Jaffa they came to, making their way down to the cargo bay O'Neill had told them he, Peller, and Charek were holed up in. Alerting the Colonel that they were outside the ship, the door opened and they rushed inside, Teal'c still dragging Adonis. The door shut behind them. Teal'c shoved Adonis down onto the floor where he pulled himself up to a wall and sat up. Sam stood over him, zat gun pointed at his head. Teal'c raced to the front of the ship, sliding into the pilot's seat. He knew O'Neill was capable of flying the cargo ship, but also knew that hey were going to need their best pilot to escape. Signaling to Peller that he was ready, Teal'c sat back in the seat and waited for his part.
Peller, sitting next to him, began fiddling with buttons and crystals, quickly getting the cargo bay doors open. "Take off right now. I'm going to drop the shields when we are right in front of them. That way, we're through before the Goa'uld have a chance to raise them again."
It was beautifully timed, beautifully executed. They were past the shields. Of course, the gliders were right behind them. "Can we go to hyperspeed?" O'Neill asked, hovering over Teal'c.
"In a moment," Peller replied. "I need to reconnect a few systems..." He got up out of his seat and made his way back towards Sam and their prisoner. He pulled open a panel and began rearranging crystals. "Major Carter, your assistance please? You probably know these systems better than I do."
Handing her zat guns to Charek, she went over to Peller and helped him get the hyperspeed engines pack on line. "I had to take them off in order to use the crystals to bypass the shield codes and get them down." Within minutes, they had hyperspeed at their disposal.
"All set, Teal'c!" Sam shouted up to him. A second later she felt the cargo ship lurch into hyperspeed. And they were away. Leaving Charek and Peller to keep watch over Adonis, Sam went back up to the front of the ship and stood next to Teal'c. "The pills," she said, holding out her hand.
Teal'c reached into a pouch on his belt and pulled out the small plastic case. "How do you intend to get him to take the pill?"
"Like I said before, I'm going to force it down his throat," Sam said coldly, taking the case and removing one tiny pill. Grabbing a canteen of water she walked slowly back to where Adonis was sitting up against the wall. Jack turned and watched her, concerned. He knew this must be hard on her, to have the one she loved turned into a Goa'uld, and to have then tortured her, all the while looking like the one she loved. And here she was, injured, but not seeming to care. All that mattered to her was saving Daniel. Jack fervently hoped that Daniel would get through this when he was well, otherwise he was afraid they'd lose Carter as well. Oh, man, Daniel, better get through this, or life as we all know it will be over. Hopefully he won't shut us out, or at least not Carter so she can help him. He's going to need al the help he can get to get past this, and Carter may be the only one who can help him.
"Now," Sam said quietly, crouching down in front of Adonis, "I'm only going to give you one chance to do this the easy way." She held up the contagion pill. "Take this willingly."
Adonis shook his head. "I will not allow you to take back this host so easily."
"Very well." Sam motioned for the Krimm to come forward, each one taking a side of his body, holding Adonis immobile so he couldn't hurt her or turn away. "Then we do this the hard way." She grabbed him by the throat, forced his mouth open, and shoved the pill down into the back of his mouth. Then she poured water down his throat, forcing him to swallow. And the pill disappeared.
"You haven't won. You only think you have," Adonis taunted them before passing out. Sam knew that when he woke up he'd be Daniel, and only Daniel. She had complete faith in Maltar and his contagion. He had told her that he wasn't sure exactly what the reaction would be, whether the symbiote's death was immediate or would take place over time. When Adonis passed out and slumped over, Sam got up and retrieved a blanket and pillow. She was determined that Daniel would wake up somewhat comfortable. She sat next to him, her back against the wall, and placed the pillow in her lap. Lifting Daniel's head, she placed it on the pillow, then covered him with the blanket. She stroked his hair off his forehead, running her fingers down his cheek. She was determined to bet here for him when he woke up.
"I figure we'd take you back to Earth with us, then send you on to Krimm," Jack explained to Charek and Peller.
"I hope Darieum got out of there okay. When we first cam eon board, we told him to wait two hours, then to leave, whether we were back or not," Charek said, thinking of his friend and fellow soldier.
"I am confident that he is well," Teal'c said. "And I am unsure as to whether we should take this ship all the way back to Earth, of if we should stop at the nearest safe planet with a Stargate and return that way."
"The ship," Jack told him. "It will give Danny-boy more time to recuperate and come back to himself without being on display at the SGC." Jack looked back into the cargo hold and watched Carter stroking Daniel's face. He was still asleep, his head still pillowed on her lap. "The less people around when he wakes up and has to deal with this the better." Jack clapped a hand on Teal'c's shoulder. "Take your time, Teal'c. Maybe we'll even drop Charek and Peller off first then return to Earth." He left them at the front of the ship and walked back to Carter and Daniel. He slid down the wall next to Carter and sat on the floor, not saying anything, waiting for her to speak first.
After a while, she did. "He has a long road ahead of him, Sir, doesn't he?" Jack nodded, waiting for her to continue. "He may never get over this."
"He will, Carter. If you love him enough, he will. Just love him."
"He won't ever be the same. He'll be haunted with memories of hurting me. He'll hate himself for what happened to me. What if it's too painful for him to be around me? What if he won't let me help in?" She turned to Jack and he saw the tears streaming down her face. "I'm afraid I'm going to lose him anyway."
Jack put his arm around Carter and she rested her head on his shoulder. "You love him, Sam. That's what counts. Don't let him push you away. Don't let him pull back. And definitely don't let him doubt your love. Start out small if you have too. Give him all he'll take, and then give him some more. He'll probably tell you he hates you, that he doesn't love you, but he's only going to do that to push you away, afraid that if he's too close to you that he'll hurt you again. Don't give up on him, but also don't expect everything to go back to the way it was before. It won't, and he won't."
Sam nodded against his shoulder. "I'm sorry for what I said to you once before, Sir. About you not being able to handle emotional situations. I was wrong. You're pretty good at this."
Jack was about to say something witty and sarcastic, to lighten the mood, then he realized that would be the wrong thing to do. It would belittle her apology and probably make her angry. So he opted for being a grown up and telling the truth. "It's actually easy when you care about the people."
Sam nodded again against his shoulder. "I'm just so tired, Sir," she murmured.
"S'okay, Sam. Just rest. Lemme take a look at that shoulder and head while you sleep."
Jack took out the first aid kit and, peeling away Carter's ruined shirt, he began to bandage her up, steadying her every now and then as she started to fall over as she fell asleep. Smiling sadly, he hoped that his kids would be okay in the end. He knew they had along road ahead of them, but that with his and Teal'c's help, they'd get through it. He would make sure of that.
Daniel Jackson stretched and winced. God, he hurt. He opened his eyes, and immediately shut them again. It was way too bright for him, wherever he was. His whole body hurt, but mostly his head. He had a pounding, drilling, hammering type of headache emanating from the base of his skull. He slowly reached behind his neck and rubbed his head gently, hoping to alleviate the pain. It didn't work.
"Daniel?" a voice enquired quietly. Jack's voice,
Daniel could sense his friend leaning over him and opened his eyes to little slits to avoid the bright light. "Jack?" he asked, his voice throaty from not being used. "Where am I? What happened?" As he spoke Daniel felt around him, registering a pillow under his head and a sleeping bag around him. Someone had tucked him in nice and tight.
"You're on a cargo ship. We're headed to Krimm to drop off two passengers, and then we're going home," Jack replied.
Daniel nodded briefly, all to aware that the pain in his head wasn't subsiding. "Where's everyone else? How long have I been asleep?" His voice was starting to even out; he sounded more awake.
"You were unconscious for five days, Daniel. You had us all very worried. As for where everyone else is, Charek and Peller are sleeping on the other side of the room. Teal'c's up front, piloting. And Carter's sitting up there with him."
"Charek and Peller? Who are they?" Daniel asked, rubbing the back of his head again.
Jack noticed Daniel rubbing his head and frowned, not knowing if that was good or bad. Maybe it meant that the Goa'uld was completely dead, and his head hurt from it. Or maybe it meant that the Goa'uld was still alive, trying to fight for dominance. "Your head hurt?"
"Yeah, a little." Daniel fully opened his eyes, now more able to withstand the bright light and turned and faced Jack. "Why are you avoiding my questions?"
"Okay then. What happened? And who are Charek and Peller?" Daniel challenged, staring directly at Jack's face.
Sighing, Jack decided he had better answer Daniel. "Charek and Peller are two Krimm soldiers who helped Carter and Teal'c rescue us. As for what happened, well...that's a really long story."
"How long?" Daniel demanded impatiently.
"Don't you remember anything?" Jack asked, laying a hand on Daniel's shoulder.
Shrugging, Daniel attempted to turn over onto his side. With a lot of help from Jack, Daniel finally lay facing him, one arm stretched out under his head, the other lying across his hip. "I remember you and I were captured by Aphrodite. She said she and Ares were working for Anubis. She..." Suddenly Daniel's pale face became even more pale, and he flopped back down onto his back, slinging one arm over his eyes. "She made me a Goa'uld," he stated quietly, the words muffled slightly by his arm. "Oh god, Jack...I hurt you. And Sam..." Daniel rolled over to his other side and curled up into a tight ball, arms holding his legs up to his chest, head tucked down at his knees. His breathing came in ragged gasps. "I hurt Sam so badly..." Jack heard him choke out.
"Daniel..." Jack began, placing a hand on Daniel's back, but removing it quickly when Daniel flinched violently away. "Daniel, I don't blame you for what happened. Carter doesn't either. She's barely left your side since we escaped. The only reason she's up with Teal'c is because I ordered her up there. To take a rest from sitting here constantly checking on you, worrying over you."
"Jack," Daniel said, his voice cracking with emotion. "Please shut up and go away."
Without another word Jack stood up and walked out of the cargo bay and up to Teal'c and Carter. They turned to face him when they felt him come up behind them. He took in their appearance before he told them anything, trying to measure how much they could take, especially Carter. Teal'c looked like...well, like Teal'c. He appeared uninjured and just as strong and stoic as ever. It did not seem that their recent battle had caused him any undo pain or suffering. Carter, however, looked like she was about to collapse. Her blonde hair was tousled, sticking out at odd angles. She looked tired, and her eyes had dark circles under them. She was thinner than before he and Daniel had been captured. Much thinner. She had a small bandage over a cut on her left temple, and her left arm was in a sling, to take the pressure off of her injured shoulder. But the most striking thing about Carter's appearance to Jack was that she looked sad, incredibly sad.
"Daniel's awake," Jack spoke softly, trying to meet Carter's eyes.
Immediately Sam jumped up out of her seat and started to hurry back to Daniel. As she passed Jack he reached out and grabbed her good arm, bringing her to an abrupt halt. She tried to break free from his grasp, but Jack just held her tighter.
"I think he needs to be alone right now. He remembered what happened and said he wanted to be alone." Jack stared right into Carter's sad blue eyes, watching them fill with tears. "He's upset right now about what happened to me and you."
"That's why I have to go, Sir. I have to let him know it wasn't his fault, that I don't hold him responsible," Sam pleaded to be let go.
"He's not going to believe you," Jack informed her gently.
"I know. But it's something he needs to constantly hear until he does believe it," Sam argued.
Jack let her go, knowing she was right, but uneasy about his decision. He was afraid that Daniel would push Carter away right now, and in the state Carter was in she would let him, and then neither of them would get through this. He watched her go, sighed, and then took her seat next to Teal'c.
"Major Carter is stronger than you think," Teal'c said, proving again how incredibly insightful of human emotions the Jaffa was.
Jack snorted and smiled at his friend. "I know. I just worry about the kids, ya know?"
"I have noticed that the actions of Major Carter and DanielJackson often force you to become frustrated or irrational," Teal'c observed.
"The phrase is 'they drive me crazy', Teal'c."
Teal'c inclined his head toward Jack, letting him know he understood the phrase, then offered to allow Jack a turn at the controls. "I will stay here with you in case you require assistance."
"I want to thank you for your vote of confidence in my piloting ability," Jack said wryly, taking control of the cargo ship.
"I have often overheard General Hammond referring to you quietly as a 'hotshot'. Once DanielJackson explained this term to me I could understand why General Hammond called you so. I must agree with his assessment, and therefore I would be negligent in my duties as protector of SG-1 if I did not monitor you as you piloted this cargo ship," Teal'c explained.
Jack laughed loudly, the first time anyone did so since he and Daniel were rescued. "Teal'c, you're becoming more and more human every day."
Sam sat down next to Daniel, frowning as she took in his position. Daniel was curled up into a ball facing the wall, shaking slightly. She reached out and began to rub his back. Instantly, Daniel tensed up underneath her hand, his shaking stopping, but he did not move away. Taking this as a good sigh, Sam continued to rub small circles up and down Daniel's back, not saying a word, just letting him know she was there. It wasn't long before Sam realized Daniel was crying silently, crying over what she didn't know for sure, but she could guess. This whole experience would be overly traumatic for him, and Sam knew that he would hate himself for what he had done to her, even though it wasn't really he who had tortured her. Daniel would still hold himself responsible because that was who Daniel was. And Sam loved him for it.
Sam had no idea how long she sat there rubbing Daniel's back as he cried, but she knew it was quite a while. She kept waiting, hoping Daniel would say something, and finally he did. He was still facing the wall, curled up away from her, and his words were so quiet and muffled that she barely heard them.
"For what?" Sam asked, just as quietly.
Daniel rolled over and faced her. She saw his beautiful blue eyes bloodshot and filled with tears. His cheeks were streaked with wet stains, his entire face pale. He looks horrible, Sam thought. He's really going to beat himself up over this. I just hope I can help him. She took her hand and brushed his sweaty hair off of his face and gently slid her fingers across his cheek. Daniel leaned into her touch and closed his eyes. A few tears leaked out of his closed eyes and Sam brushed them away with her thumb. "Daniel, why are you sorry?" she asked again.
"I tortured you," Daniel whispered, his eyes still closed, reveling in Sam's touch. How can she touch me like that after what I did to her? he asked himself.
"It wasn't you, Daniel," Sam told him. "You are not responsible for what the Goa'uld did."
"I could have fought him harder. I should have fought him harder," Daniel insisted.
"Daniel, there was nothing you could have done. I know you. You did fight, and if you could have done anything else, you would have."
Daniel sat up and drew his knees up to his chest and rested his head on them. His shoulders, then his whole body began to shake as he sobbed against his knees. "How can you stand to look at me, be around me, after what I did?"
Sam wrapped her good arm around him and drew him to her, glad to see he fell against her willingly, crying onto her shoulder. "Because, Daniel, it wasn't you. It wasn't you here," she said, tapping his head once with her index finger. "And it certainly wasn't you here," she continued, tapping his chest right where his heart was located.
"I'm forever going to have memories of you being tortured," Daniel admitted to her through his tears. "I don't know if I can live with those memories."
"But we will. And we'll make new memories," Sam assured him, taking his face in her hands and kissing him lightly, gently, on the lips. "We'll get through this, Daniel. Just don't push me away as I try to help. You can come to me no matter what you need. I'm not going to suddenly turn you away because a Goa'uld stole your body and hurt me with it."
Daniel nodded, trying to believe her. He lay his head back on her shoulder and felt Sam place her good arm around his shoulders. "It's going to be very hard," Daniel sniffed, seeming to have finished his crying.
"I know." Sam rubbed his neck gently. They sat together for a while, neither saying anything more, everything that needed to be said at the time already been said. Daniel began to yawn loudly and his eyes drifted shut. "Why don't you go to sleep, Daniel?" Sam suggested. "I'll stay here with you if you want."
Daniel left Sam's comforting embrace and lay back down in the sleeping bag, watching through half opened eyes as Sam tucked him in. So, she must have been the one to tuck me in before, he thought. Sam leaned down and kissed his forehead. As she pulled back Daniel stared into her blue eyes and he saw all of her love for him in those eyes. And it frightened him. How can she love me after what happened? Isn't she afraid to be around me? Afraid the Goa'uld isn't gone? How can she even look at me after what happened to her? God, I love her so much, but I don't know if I can be with her. I'll always see in my mind what happened to her and it will tear me up. I can't be around her. She has to go away.
"I'll be fine, Sam. You don't need to babysit me," Daniel heard himself say. "Go up front with Jack and Teal'c, or go get some sleep."
Sam looked at him skeptically, her blue eyes telling him she didn't fully believe him. "If you're sure," she said, not sounding sure herself.
Daniel nodded. "You look like you could use some rest yourself. You don't need to worry about me." This was killing Daniel inside, pushing her away, but he had to do it. He couldn't be around her, be reminded of how much he had hurt her, how he had nearly killed her. You don't kill the ones you love, and you certainly don't love the ones who try to kill you. I don't deserve her love. She'd be better off with someone else, someone who won't hurt her.
"Okay, if you're sure. I think I'll be up front with the Colonel and Teal'c. Oh, I put your spare pair of glasses in the pack near your head, in case you need them later." Sam stood up and walked to the door of the cargo hold. As she reached it, she turned around to face him. "You will call if you need anything?" she asked, her forehead drawn together in worry.
Daniel nodded from his sleeping bag, not able to speak a lie to her. Sam smiled sadly and wishing him a good sleep, she left him alone.
When Daniel woke up again he had another visitor. It wasn't Jack, or Sam, or Teal'c. It was someone he didn't know. He was sitting near Daniel and just appeared to be watching him as he slept. Feeling much better, with the headache now almost completely gone, Daniel raised his body up, propping himself up by his elbow and rummaged through the pack for his glasses. Finding them, he perched them on his nose, then stared at his visitor. The man had long dark hair that hung in his eyes and a strong, muscular body. Daniel had the vague impression that he knew this person, but couldn't place him.
"How are you feeling, Doctor Jackson?" his visitor asked.
"Better. Um...who are you?" Daniel asked cautiously.
"I am Commander Charek of the Krimm. I offered to help Major Carter rescue you when she came back to Krimm looking for help," the man said.
Daniel stared at Charek, confused. "Krimm? Why would Sam go back there after they tried to kill her?" He pulled himself up into a sitting position, never taking his eyes off the Krimm. "This doesn't make sense."
"I understand you must be very confused. I will answer anything you wish to ask," Charek offered. "It is the least I can do for Major Carter."
"The least you can do for Sam?" Daniel asked.
"She saved my life, all of our lives, on that ship. And she forgave me for trying to kill her. For that I am very grateful," Charek explained.
"Wha-what? You're the one who tried to kill her?"
Charek nodded. "Yes. But we have moved past that now."
"Maybe you have," Daniel said under his breath, but just loud enough for Charek to hear it. Charek got the message: just because Sam has forgiven you doesn't mean that I have. Or will.
"I have come to respect Major Carter as a soldier and as a person. She certainly knows how to be a leader. She convinced my superiors to help create a disease that would kill the Goa'uld but leave the host unharmed. And this plan she put together to go and rescue you..." Charek trailed off. "I only hope that one day I could be half the soldier she is. Or half as good a person."
"Sam is rather amazing, isn't she," Daniel said, lost in thoughts of her. Shaking his head, trying to rid himself of dangerous thoughts of Sam, he turned his attention back to the Krimm. "How did she convince you to help?"
"Me personally? I volunteered to come with her and Teal'c. As for getting us to create that biological weapon, well, she blackmailed us," Charek admitted sheepishly.
"Blackmailed you? That doesn't sound like Sam," Daniel said.
"With your life at stake I think Sam would do anything," Charek told him softly. "She even brokered a deal with Lord Yu to get help."
Daniel closed his eyes and sighed. What Sam must have gone through to get him back, and he couldn't be near her. He would only hurt her. He was hurting her now by pushing her away after all she had done to rescue him. But any hurt he caused now would be much less than what he could cause her if he stayed with her. She'll be much better off without me in her life, Daniel thought for the second time. I should leave the SGC.
"How'd she get injured?" Daniel managed to croak out, upset from his thoughts.
"Staff weapon. It looks worse than it actually is," Charek replied, suddenly sensing Daniel withdrawing and becoming fearful. "That woman would walk through fire for you."
Daniel heard the comment but chose not to respond to it. The less he thought about Sam the better. Instead, he chose to talk about less emotional matters. "Is there anything to eat on this ship?"
Charek nodded. "You stay put. I have orders from the high queen Sam that you are not to move around until a doctor looks at you, and she doesn't count. There's a supply of those Earth MREs. Sam says you like something called macaroni and cheese, and I think she hid all of them so Colonel O'Neill wouldn't get at them and leave you without any. I'll be right back."
Sam, Daniel's heart ached.
Three days later, and after dropping the Krimm off and pushing the hyperdrive engines to 120%, Teal'c landed the cargo ship on the runway at Peterson's Air Force Base, near Cheyenne Mountain. A medical team, complete with Doctor Janet Frasier, was waiting for them. Jack and Daniel were the first ones off the ship, Daniel leaning heavily on his friend. They hobbled over to the stretcher, where Daniel lay down and was quickly wheeled away to the depths of Cheyenne Mountain and the Infirmary. Jack stayed and waited with General Hammond for the rest of his team. In talking with both Carter and Teal'c he knew the two of them faced disciplinary action, and quite possibly, in Carter's case, a court martial, for going AWOL like they did for a whole month. Just to rescue him and Daniel. Jack knew he had to do everything in his power to make sure Carter and Teal'c weren't punished too harshly.
Sam was next off the ship, followed closely by Teal'c. Both stopped and looked at O'Neill standing with General Hammond, who did not look even the least bit pleased. Taking a deep breath simultaneously, Sam and Teal'c started forward, making their way to their superiors.
Jack saw the nervous expression on Carter's face, and even the slightly hesitant way Teal'c was walking. They were both scared of what Hammond would say or do to them. Leaning in to the General Jack said quietly, "Go easy on them, please, General. They were only doing what I taught hem."
"And what was that?" Hammond asked. Jack was surprised that there was no anger in Hammond's voice, just relief at getting his number one team back.
"Never leave anyone behind, Sir."
By that time Sam and Teal'c had reached their two superiors, both standing at attention, but neither making eye contact. The muscles in Teal'c's jaw moved, a sure sign he was nervous. Sam was discreetly chewing her bottom lip and shaking slightly.
"You two..." Hammond started. Then he surprised them all and reached out and hugged both of them at once. "I'm so glad you both are okay, and that you were successful in your mission."
"Uh, thank you, General?" Sam asked, confusion all over her face. "Uh, General, I need to breathe..."
General Hammond released Major Carter and Teal'c from his strong hold rather reluctantly. He knew he wasn't supposed to play favorites with the people under his command, but he couldn't help feeling a special fondness for SG-1, and Major Carter in particular. He liked to think of her as a daughter. If he had lost her he was sure he would have been as upset as Jacob.
"Now for the stern talking to Major, next time I expect you to contact me and apprise me of your plan prior to you actually going through with it. Understand?" he said mock-angrily, shaking his finger at her for show.
Smiling, Sam replied, "Yes, Sir."
"Now, head on down to the Infirmary, Major, and get that head and shoulder checked out."
"Yes Sir." Sam left, followed closely by Teal'c, who bowed his head in gratitude.
"Sir, if I may ask," Jack asked, bursting to ask his question. Hammond nodded, knowing what was coming. "Why didn't you bust them for their actions?"
"Because, Colonel, Teal'c technically can't be...busted."
Hammond smiled. "I got Carter in the worst way possible." He turned to Jack and said slowly so that there would be no mistaking what he said. "I told her father about her feelings for Doctor Jackson."
Down in the Infirmary Sam got a quick glimpse of Daniel before she was ushered behind a curtain by Janet and ordered to take her shirt off. Sam tried to comply and got the shirt off her right side, but couldn't move her left arm quite right in order to fully take the shirt off. Janet came around and helped her friend. She then removed Sam's bandages on her shoulder and inspected the wound.
"You know, you should have had this looked at right away," Janet admonished.
"I sort of had other things on my mind at the time," Sam replied wryly. "Like trying to dodge Jaffa patrols and stay alive."
"That's no excuse," Janet teased.
"Well, next time I'll stop and ask to borrow a Goa'uld healing device," Sam threw back.
Laughing, Janet applied antiseptic ointment and fresh bandages to Sam's shoulder, and then did the same to her head. Once Sam was all patched up, she turned to face her friend and asked, "How's Daniel?"
"Why don't you go ask him yourself?" Janet replied.
Sam took a deep breath and told Janet what had happened on the cargo ship. "He's been avoiding me. When I walked into the cargo hold, he'd leave. He won't look me in the eye. He doesn't talk to me unless I ask him something, and even then it's only a one word answer. Why's he doing this, Janet?" Sam started to cry and Janet sat down next to her friend and put an arm around her. "We talked when he first woke up and I thought he believed me when I told him it wasn't his fault, that I didn't blame him, that he shouldn't blame himself..." Sam sobbed.
"What wasn't his fault? What don't you blame him for?" Janet asked gently, trying to get to the bottom of what was upsetting her friend.
But Sam couldn't answer Janet because she was crying to hard. She just pulled away and curled up on the exam bed, sobbing loudly. Janet reached out and brushed her hand across Sam's forehead. It was hot and clammy. Concerned that there was more going on than Janet could see, she quickly left her friend, making sure to slide the curtain back into place for privacy. She marched over to her supply cabinet and began to gather together anything she would need to collect blood.
Jack walked into the Infirmary with Teal'c and looked around for Carter and Daniel. He saw neither, but did see Janet hurriedly pulling out needles and blood tubes. He maneuvered his way around doctors and nurses to get to her, Teal'c on his heels.
Janet whirled around, ready to hurry back to Sam when she nearly ran in to Colonel O'Neill. "Colonel!" she exclaimed. "Sorry, I didn't see you." She moved around him and started to make her way back to her friend-now-patient.
"Hey Doc, where's the rest of my team?" he asked.
Janet turned, hoping she could quickly answer his question and then get back to her patient. "Daniel's getting a CAT scan to make sure the Goa'uld is completely gone. And Sam is resting privately. I'm just about to do my routine post-mission blood checkup on her. Then it's your turn."
She had expected him to turn tail and run at the thought of being poked with needles, but he didn't. "If it's routine, why are you running?" he asked, suddenly very concerned. "Is there something wrong with Carter?"
Janet sighed, knowing she wasn't going to get out of this one. "I think Sam has an infection from her shoulder wound. I'm going to draw bloods and see what's what."
Jack's face fell and he fiddled with his hands. "You'll let me know if there's really something wrong, right?"
"Yes, Colonel." With that, Janet turned on her heel and practically flew to Sam.
Two hours later found Janet looking under a microscope, examining the biological contagion that the Krimm had provided for Sam and Teal'c and that had saved Daniel's life. She was deep in thought and her examination and didn't even know she had company until she heard a loud, fake cough at her side. Looking up she saw Colonel O'Neill (where the cough came from), Teal'c, and General Hammond.
"Doctor, how are Major Carter and Doctor Jackson?" General Hammond asked. "I haven't received a report yet."
"Sorry, General, but this disease from the Krimm is so interesting, I guess I got caught up in it and lost track of time," Janet apologized. "Daniel is going to be fine. The Goa'uld is completely gone. The worst thing he has is a headache. I want to keep him here for a few more hours, just to make sure nothing else shows up. As for Sam, she's developed a mild infection from her shoulder injury..." She saw panic in their faces and quickly went on to alleviate their fears. "She's going to be fine. I have her on antibiotics, and the fever is already down, and the infection should be cleared up in a couple of days."
"Can we see them, Doc?" Jack asked hopefully.
"Yeah, if they're awake. Daniel's over there," she said, pointing to her left, "and Sam's over there," she pointed to her right.
"Why didn't you put them together?" Jack asked.
"Uh, Daniel asked me not to," Janet quickly answered, avoiding making eye contact.
"Why?" Jack demanded.
Janet shrugged. "I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with his experience as a host. I think he's afraid to get close to Sam because he thinks he'll hurt her again."
"Oh for crying out loud!" Jack cried out. "That man suffers from more self-inflicted angst than one of those characters on Cassie's favorite teen drama shows. Lemme at him."
Teal'c put a restraining hand on Jack's shoulder. "Perhaps it would be best if I spoke to DanielJackson. I will not be so emotional in a conversation and, as I was with Major Carter while the two of you were prisoners, I have witnessed what she went through and would proved a better perspective on the matter."
"You're probably right, Teal'c. He wasn't real receptive to me all the times I tried to talk to him about it. I'll go check on Carter."
As the two members of SG-1 separated and went in opposite directions to carryout their missions, General Hammond turned to Doctor Frasier with worry in his eyes. "Doctor, do you have the full story, because I don't."
Janet shook her head. "I just have bits a pieces from Sam's perspective as well as Daniel's. Teal'c and Colonel O'Neill were examined by other doctors, since I was busy with the other two. I haven't had a chance to weasel any information out of them yet."
"All I know is that Doctor Jackson was made a host to a Goa'uld and the Goa'uld tortured both Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter and that the Krimm provided a drug to kill the Goa'uld but leave the host unharmed," General Hammond shared. "Neither O'Neill or Teal'c offered much when I questioned them. I have ordered them to put it all into a written report, in case they are uncomfortable talking about it face to face. They did say that neither of them saw any sign of Anubis being on board. I gather that it was a rather difficult situation for all of SG-1."
Janet, remembering Sam's teary outburst and sobbing, nodded. "I agree, General. I guess we just wait and see, and help them if we can. Daniel did mention that Anubis wasn't actually on the ship, that they were headed to meet him when Sam and Teal'c came and rescued them."
After Teal'c parted from O'Neill, Doctor Frasier, and General Hammond, he slowly walked across the room and pulled the curtain from around DanielJackson's bed, closing it behind him. He stood at the end of the bed, staring at DanielJackson as Daniel stared right back. Neither spoke for close to five minutes, just staring eye to eye, waiting for the other to break. Finally, Daniel did.
Looking away, Daniel asked the Jaffa, "How are you and the others doing? No one else was a Goa'uld and hurt their friends, right?"
"I suggested to Doctor Frasier that she examine Major Carter for the presence of a Goa'uld since she was not acting like herself during the period of time we were attempting to rescue you and O'Neill," Teal'c deadpanned.
"Wha-what?" Daniel's head shot up, eyes widened in fear. "Sam's a Goa'uld?"
"No. Nor did I make that suggestion or even consider the possibility," Teal'c informed him.
"Then why say something like that to me?" Daniel demanded, now becoming angry.
"I knew you would react to that statement, and then we could begin a conversation," Teal'c said. "I wish to discuss Major Carter and did not know of any other way to begin."
Daniel sighed and then motioned to the chair next to his bed. "Have a seat, Teal'c," he offered, knowing he wasn't going to get out for this conversation. But the Jaffa did not take the seat, instead choosing to stand as stoic as ever at the end of the bed. "What about Sam did you want to talk about?"
"I am confused as to Major Carter's actions while you were held prisoner," Teal'c started. He wasn't really confused, but decided in order for Daniel to see what he was doing to himself and Major Carter, Daniel had to realize it on his own and not be forced into it. If a few small untruths would accomplish that, then Teal'c was willing to overlook the moral aspects of lying.
"What actions?" Daniel asked, now a little curious. No one had told him exactly what Sam and Teal'c had done to get him and Jack back; he only knew some of it from Charek. But Teal'c had been with Sam the whole time, up until they were captured as well, and then again as they escaped and gone after him. Teal'c would know best what Sam had done.
"She often acted in what appeared to be an irrational manner," Teal'c started to explain.
"Sam isn't usually irrational," Daniel stated quietly.
"I did no say she was irrational, only that she appeared to be. When I reflected on her words and actions I discovered she was not irrational at all, but extremely clever."
"Give me an example," Daniel said, now very interested. He was sitting up in bed, staring intently at Teal'c, hanging onto his every word. Teal'c smiled inwardly and continued.
"We first went to the Tok'ra for help. JacobCarter was the one to inform us of your capture. While on Vorash, Major Carter came to the conclusion that the Tok'ra were not going to help us. I believe her exact words were 'Screw the Tok'ra' when we discovered this. Then we left," Teal'c said.
"She actually said 'Screw the Tok'ra'?" When Teal'c nodded Daniel chuckled softly. "That sounds more like Jack than Sam."
"Indeed," Teal'c agreed. "From Vorash Major Carter dialed P9X-771. She...persuaded the Krimm to help us."
"Charek told me on the cargo ship that she blackmailed them," Daniel informed Teal'c. "But he didn't say how."
"Indeed, she did. She informed the Krimm that if they did not do as she said she would alert other planets to the truth that the Krimm were responsible for the creation of the Goa'uld." Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "She was quite persuasive. She also persuaded Lord Yu to come to our aid and fight against Anubis, as well as created a treaty with Lord Yu that will give Earth a protected status again, and not allow the Goa'uld to take control."
"She seems to have done well," Daniel said slowly, not really sure where Teal'c was going with this conversation.
"Yes. And it was all caused by her desire to rescue you. Saving you was most important to her. I do not believe she lived one of those days without thinking about you. You were all she talked about to anyone who would listen. Her greatest fear was that we...that she...would not rescue you in time."
Daniel realized what Teal'c was trying to do, and it was working. He was feeling mighty guilty over the way he had treated Sam. She had one all of this, pushed herself to the limit, and entered dangerous territory with the Krimm and Lord Yu, all to get him back. He was about to say something, to tell Teal'c he got the point, when Teal'c continued.
"She formed the rescue plan with great risk to herself. In the original plan she was going to offer herself in exchange for you. She knew you were a host to a Goa'uld; Lord Yu had informed her as such. We allowed ourselves to be captured. She was going to offer her body for yours."
This latest statement from Teal'c, delivered in such a soft, gentle monotone, caused Daniel to cry when he fully understood what Sam had gone through, what she was willing to go through for him. All for him. He felt like such a jerk for the way he had treated her. Daniel was more afraid that Sam would hate him now after the way eh had acted, than for what the Goa'uld in him had done to her. "She must hate me," he whispered, crying hard, tears running down his face and leaving wet stains on the bed sheets.
"She does not," Teal'c reassured him. "She missed you while you were gone and informed me that she loves you."
Daniel nodded, frantically throwing the sheets off of him, yanking out his IV, and shoving his glasses onto his face all at once. "I have to go to her an apologize."
Teal'c watched as his friend raced out of his closed off cubicle and through the Infirmary to where Major Carter was being kept. Slowly, a smile spread its way across the Jaffa's face. It had been a very successful mission.
Jack pulled the curtain surrounding Carter's bed partly away, stepped in her private area, then replaced the curtain. He sat down next to her, reached out and squeezed her hand. He took in her appearance, noticing the tear stains and the red eyes. She had been crying very recently, most likely over Daniel. Once Jack saw Carter he decided he was very glad Teal'c had gone to speak to Daniel, otherwise Jack might have beaten up the archeologist for making Carter this upset. They sat silently for a long time, Jack still holding her hand, letting Carter know he was there for her for whatever she needed.
"How are you and Teal'c?" Sam broke the silence.
"We're fine. Barely any scratches. Unlike you," he replied, indicating the IV hooked up to her hand. "The Doc says that you'll be infection-free in a few days and fit for a hockey night at my house. And a barbeque. I decided on Aphrodite's ship that I was going to have a barbeque as soon as I got back home. Do you like hamburgers or hotdogs better?"
Sam smiled at the Colonel's optimistic attitude. "Cheeseburgers," she replied. Turning away from her superior she asked, "How's Daniel?"
"Thinking he's an idiot?" another voice said. Both Jack and Sam turned and saw Daniel peeking in around the curtain. He looked nervous, very very nervous. His glasses were slipping down his nose and he was biting his lower lip. "Can I, uh come in?"
Sam nodded, nervous herself. "Okay," she said softly.
Jack stood up, taking his cue to leave. "Well, I'll just leave you alone to talk and, um, other things," he said, winking at both Carter and Daniel before making his exit.
Daniel began to fidget, staring at the floor, picking his cuticles, and sweeping one foot around on the ground. "I, uh, I'm sorry, Sam. For what I was doing. I-I was an idiot. Please don't hate me," Daniel stammered out. "I was scared. Scared that, ah, I would hurt...hurt you again. Scared that you would hate me. You deserve better than me after what I did."
"Daniel," Sam interrupted gently. He looked up and saw her offering her hand. He reached out and took it, clasping it tightly like he was afraid it would slip away if he didn't hold on. Sam gave a little tug and pulled him down onto the bed with her. "Why do you think I deserve better than you?"
"Because I tortured you," he stated simply. "And because I'm going to be haunted by what the Goa'uld did. You don't need that constant reminder."
"You didn't torture me, the Goa'uld did." She dropped Daniel's hand and touched his face instead, cupping his chin and lifting his eyes up to hers. "You only hurt me when you push me away, Daniel."
"That's the last thin I want to do," Daniel stated with certainty. "Because I love you."
Though she was surprised at his blatant admission, Sam didn't let is show. "Why didn't you every say anything before?"
"I was afraid that you didn't feel the same way. I mean, you're beautiful and smart and sexy, and you could have any guy you wanted, so why would you want a clumsy geek like me? I also thought you had feelings for Jack. But Jack told me you love me. Even Teal'c told me you love me," Daniel said quickly, trying to get it all out in the open before he lost his nerve. There was hope in his bright blue eyes, hope that Sam would tell him that she felt the same way, that she always had and always will, clumsy geek and all.
"I do love you," Sam told him face to face, smiling at him. "And as for the geek...you are not a geek, Daniel. And remember what I do to people who call you a geek, like that night at O'Malley's when we were wearing the super arm bands?"
Daniel looked down, blushing. He had been so embarrassed when that guy had called him a geek in front of Sam. "But I am a clumsy geek," he said softly.
"Well then I guess I'm attracted to clumsy geeks," Sam stated, no hesitation or question in what she said.
"I guess so." Neither said anything for a few moments, fully letting the conversation sink in. They had each just admitted that they loved each other. "Sam, I'm not sure, after what just happened, if I'm ready to jump into a relationship..." Daniel started nervously, afraid she would get angry and see this as pushing her away.
"Daniel, I understand. I wasn't expecting us to come home and suddenly move in together. I'll be happy right now with you as my best friend again, and then just see what happens. Can I have that? Can I have my best friend back?" Sam asked hopefully.
Daniel looked up and smiled brightly at Sam. "Yeah. I missed my best friend, too." He reached out and pulled her into a hug, being careful not to jostle her IV and injured shoulder.
Sam yawned and stretched, then rubbed her shoulders, hoping to ease the cramps that had developed from sitting for hours in front of her computer working on an update to the dialing program. This update should not have taken her hours, but her mind kept wandering from the task at hand. Her thoughts were more on Daniel and their upcoming mission scheduled for tomorrow. Sam wasn't sure Daniel, or herself for that matter, was ready for a mission. They'd only been back on Earth one week. One week wasn't nearly long enough to deal with all the crap, as Colonel O'Neill would say.
Ever since that day in the Infirmary where Daniel had finally stopped pushing her away and they had admitted their love for each other, neither had spoken about what had happened on the Goa'uld ship. Sam had not told Daniel exactly how worried she had been and what she had done or been willing to do to make sure he was safe. I never told him I was going to offer to switch places with him. I should, but I'm not sure he can handle that, especially if he won't talk to me about it yet. Which was true. Daniel hadn't said anything to her about his feelings about what the Goa'uld had done to her, or what had been going through his mind at the time. Sam knew they need to talk about this, but was afraid to force the issue, afraid Daniel would get scared and start pushing her away. Dealing with Daniel after a traumatic situation was much different than dealing with her. Sam knew, with her, you and to force the issue until she blew. Not so with Daniel. You never push him, but rather let him come to you when he's ready. If you push him he pulls away, and it takes that much longer to get past what happened.
Lost in thought, Sam didn't hear the person come into her lab and slowly walk up behind her. She had no idea he was there until hand pushed hers away and began to massage her neck and shoulders. She didn't jump at the touch; it was a familiar touch. Daniel's touch. His hands had rubbed her shoulders many times in the past.
"Hey, you're tense," he said gently.
"Mmmhmm. I've been at the computer all after noon working on the dialing program," Sam explained, closing her eyes and concentrating on what Daniel's hand were doing to her.
"Well, it's time for you to take a break. Care to join me for dinner?" he asked, pushing herd and working on a particularly tough cramp.
"Not really. I hear the commissary is serving meat loaf today. Bleh."
"I didn't mean the commissary. I thought we'd leave and go get something to eat, just you and me. I, uh, I really need to talk to you," Daniel suggested quickly, hoping she'd say yes. Something was eating away at him and he really needed to tell Sam about it and didn't want to do it with other people around. Especially people he knew. He might cry.
"I really don't feel like getting dressed up and going out," Sam said, spinning around in her chair to face Daniel. She watched his face fall in disappointment, so she decided to give a little, knowing this might be her only chance to talk to Daniel about what was really on both their minds. "How about we go to my house and pick up Chinese on the way?"
Daniel smiled brightly, his blue eyes sparkling behind those glasses. "Sounds like a plan. Are you ready to leave now, or do you need some more time with the dialing program?"
Sam reached behind her and shut off the computer. "Nah, let's go now. I'm tired of working on this thing. I'm not getting anywhere, anyway. Too much on my mind, but nothing Chinese and my best friend can't cure." Standing up, she motioned Daniel to lead the way, closing and locking her office door behind them. "Do you want to take separate cars?"
"I don't mind driving, and then picking you up tomorrow if you want to leave your can here," Daniel said. He hoped she'd agree to the offer; he wanted to spend as much time with Sam as he could.
San yawned again, but this time for show, letting Daniel thing she really was tired. "Sounds good to me. I think I'm a little too tired to drive anyway."
Later, with opened containers of chow mein, sweet and sour chicken, and pork fried rice,
Sam and Daniel sat around Sam's coffee table in the living room, the history channel droning on in the background to some program about the ancient Mayans. Neither was paying any attention to the TV; they were too busy talking to each other. Somehow they had gotten on the subject of their childhoods, both finding that there were many similarities between the two of them, despite Daniel being an orphan and Sam having a brother.
"So then I told him that if he continued to pick on me I'd let off a stink bomb in his bedroom," Sam was saying, giving Daniel a clear picture of what it was like to have an older brother.
"You could make one at nine?" Daniel asked incredulously.
"Sure. How many languages could you speak or read at nine, huh?" Sam countered.
"Ten," Daniel replied, seeing Sam's point. "Okay, so it's my turn to dazzle you with my genius, huh? Let me think...In high school, tenth grade I think, they made us read the Iliad in English class. One day my teacher caught me early in class, reading. So he came over to me to make sure I was reading the Iliad. And I was. Only it was in the original Greek. Instead of being impressed that I could read and understand ancient Greek my teacher got angry and thought I was showing him up, so he made me teach the class that day. I pointed out things many scholars didn't even realize were there, since they couldn't read ancient Greek as well as I could. It was so humiliating, but at the same time I loved it, passing on my knowledge."
Sam sucked in some noodles from her chow mein and smiled at her best friend. He really was just a geek, but Sam loved him anyway. "This was a good idea."
"This," Sam said, sweeping her arm around, indicating the Chinese food, her house, and the two of them. "We haven't done this in a while. I miss it."
Daniel put down his chopsticks and looked at the table. "I have a confession to make, Sam. I had an ulterior motive when I suggested dinner off base tonight."
"I figured as much. I was just waiting for you to bring up the subject. You can tell me, Daniel. I'm not going to run away," Sam encouraged.
"I, um, I keep having nightmares. About what I...what the Goa'uld did to you. And-and Jack. But mostly you," Daniel stammered.
Sam got up and came around the coffee table to sit next to Daniel, placing a hand on his arm. "Why haven't you told me before?" she asked gently.
"I didn't want to hurt you with it, make things more difficult for you," Daniel explained. He reached up and took her hand off his arm and held it tightly in his. "I didn't want to make you go through the pain again."
"Daniel, the point is to go through the pain together," Sam reminded him.
"I know. I just hate putting you through this. Again." Daniel turned to face Sam, still holding her hand. He took his other hand and brushed his knuckles across her cheek. "Have you hand nightmares?"
Sam was annoyed with him for turning the discussion to her, but she decided to allow it for now. If she didn't push maybe he'd return to the real subject at hand. "I had a few at first, but nothing since we returned to Earth." Grabbing is other hand she stared at him hard, dark blue eyes meeting light blue. "Daniel, I want you to listen to me. No matter what you tell me now I am not going to run away and leave you to deal with this alone. I am not going to turn my back on you. I know you are strong, that you did everything you could to fight that Goa'uld inside you."
"But I didn't," Daniel protested.
"I'm not as strong as you think. I didn't do everything," Daniel said emphatically.
"What are you talking about Daniel?" Sam asked, now confused.
Daniel dropped her hands and stood up, backing away from her and pacing back and forth on the other side of the coffee table. "I didn't fight hard enough. I didn't fight at all in the end. I gave up," he murmured as he paced. Sam heard him and jumped up, coming to stand in his path, forcing him to stop and face her. "I couldn't take your screaming. You screamed in such pain. I couldn't take it, couldn't take that I was causing you such pain. I made a deal," Daniel admitted. "I told the Goa'uld that I would stop fighting him if he let you go. I stopped fighting. I let you down." By the end of his admission Daniel was crying openly, just standing in front of Sam, clenching and unclenching his fists spasmodically.
Sam moved in and pulled Daniel into a tight embrace. "That's nothing to be ashamed about, Daniel," Sam whispered into his ear. "I'm proud of you for holding out as long as you did. And as for why you gave up...Daniel, you were doing it to save me. That's some sacrifice, not an excuse to beat yourself up."
Clinging to Sam Daniel whispered back. "Teal'c told me you were going to offer yourself to the Goa'uld in exchange for me, and I never thanked you for being willing to make that sacrifice."
"So now we're even," Sam stated, "and can move on."
Daniel pulled away from Sam, but kept hold of her hands. "Thanks, Sam." He let go with his right hand and wiped the tears form his face. "I'm sorry for turning into a blubbering idiot all over you."
"Don't worry about it," Sam said. "I've certainly done it enough to you. Now, what do you say we finish our dinner and watch some of that Mayan special on TV?" They took seats on the floor at the coffee table again, but this time both on the same side, leaning up against the couch, and each other, as they watched the TV, Daniel occasionally explaining things to Sam.
A few hours later, one Marx brothers movie down, and four beers each, Sam realized there was no way Daniel was going to drive himself home. Even had he only had one beer Sam wouldn't have let him get behind the wheel; he was such a lightweight when it came to drinking.
"See, this is why I prefer to drink with you than Jack. Jack only lets me have one," Daniel informed her. "You let me have as many as I want."
"As long as you don't puke on my white couch," Sam said wryly from the other end of said couch.
Halfway through the next movie and two more beers later, Daniel and Sam lay cuddled up on the couch, fast asleep. Daniel was on his back, his head propped up by a pillow, and Sam lay on top of him, sandwiched between his body and the back of the couch, her head resting on his chest. Daniel's arms were wrapped around her body, and one of hers draped across his chest and down his side. That was how the morning sun found them the next day. Daniel was the first one awake and he just stared down at Sam, gently brushing his hand through her hair. Slowly she began to stir, trying to burrow deeper into him before she realized were she was. Lifting her head she looked up at Daniel and smiled her million wattage smile that Daniel loved to see. Before he thought it through, Daniel put his hand behind her neck and drew her to him, kissing her deeply, and to his delight, Sam kissed him back just as passionately, twining her fingers through his short hair.
After Sam and Daniel each showered separately and quickly, and a quick stop at Daniel's house for a change of clothes, they were pulling into Cheyenne Mountain ten minutes late. Neither cared; they had just shared the most amazing kiss, the most amazing morning, and had the best sleep either of them had in a long time. And Daniel hadn't had a single nightmare. It was great, waking up with Sam in my arms, Daniel thought to himself as Sam parked his car, he being a little too hung over to fell well enough to drive. I felt very safe and very much loved. I hope that I can wake up cuddled up with Sam more often. And that kiss! She kissed me back!
They hurried down to the locker room to change into their uniforms for their mission, which they were scheduled to leave on in approximately fifteen minutes. They were late, and Colonel O'Neill and General Hammond weren't likely to appreciate that. Rushing, they pulled on their clothes, raced to the weapons locker to get their gear and weapons, and charged into the Gateroom, huffing and puffing, just in time.
"Nice of you to join us, you two," Jack commented. "You should have called us. Teal'c was getting worried."
In response, Teal'c just raised his eyebrow and gave Jack a puzzled look.
"Sorry Sir. We overslept," Sam uttered an apology.
"Just don't let it happen again," Jack teased, filing the 'we overslept' away in his brain to use for further teasing on this mission. According to the briefing yesterday this world was going to be a boring one, and he figured he'd need all the entertainment he could get. Though, he thought to himself, the last world we went to was supposed to be boring, too, and look what happened.
Beautiful. It was the only way to describe the new world SG-1 stepped on to. Beautiful, Daniel thought. The temperature was a comfortable 75 degrees, the sun was shining brightly, a slight breeze blowing, rustling the grass and trees. Wildflowers grew in abundance in the field. Absolutely beautiful. SG-1 stood and stared, peace washing over them. And then Daniel sneezed loudly, killing the tranquil moment.
"Oh no," Daniel said through a stuffy nose and around a tissue. "I forgot to take my allergy medicine."
Sam reached into her pack and pulled out a pill bottle, handing it to him without a word.
Daniel took it and said, "Thanks." He snapped open the bottle and swallowed two pills with water from his canteen. "How'd you remember my pills?"
Sam shrugged. "I always bring extra for you, just in case we get stranded and what you carry runs out."
"Always?" Sam nodded. "Since when?"
"I guess since the planet where we found the Gatekeeper," Sam said thinking. "The minute we came through the Stargate you started sneezing because of the flowers. I figured that someone better carry some anti-histamines for you, just in case."
"Really? Thanks," Daniel said, touched by her thoughtfulness.
"Yeah, couldn't have you keeping us all up at night with your sneezing if you forgot to take your medicine. Or giving away our position to the enemy," Sam said, trying to brush if off as nothing, but failing, due to her bright red blush.
"Awwwww. That's so sweet," Jack teased, hearing the entire conversation. At exactly the same time Sam and Daniel turned around and gave Jack the exact same dirty look. "Oh that is so freaky," he commented.
Sam and Daniel turned back around and continued to walk, deciding to ignore any further comments from the peanut gallery, a.k.a. Colonel Jack O'Neill. As SG-1 continued their exploration of the planet, Jack commented about the trees, while Teal'c mentioned that he observed more birds than usual. Sam and Daniel, as usual, were off in their own little geekspeak world. Jack picked up his pace and moved closer to them to try to get an idea as to what they were talking about. Not that he figured he'd understand it, anyway. Until he actually heard what they were talking about.
"What, are you crazy? Groucho's the funniest. Those eyebrows are so cool!" Sam exclaimed.
"But Harpo does all of that acting without saying a word, just using funny actions and faces," Daniel countered.
The Marx brothers? His two scientific geniuses were discussing the Marx brothers?! What had those two been doing last night? Leaning in he added, "I like Chico. He always messes up words."
Both Carter and Daniel jumped at the sound of his voice. "Colonel! I didn't hear you come up behind us."
"Apparently not. Now, what is this you tow are talking about? The Marx brothers? Where's your Discovery Channel geekspeak?" Jack asked them, adjusting his baseball cap.
"We watched some Marx brothers last night, before we fell asleep, Sir," Sam told him.
"Ah, so that's why you overslept?" Jack teased, smiling, eyes twinkling.
Sam blushed and stared at the ground, nervously running her fingers through her hair, but Daniel chose to ignore Jack. He'd gotten used to being teased by him and had therefore learned to sometimes tune Jack out. Instead, Daniel said happily, "Sam let me have six beers. She doesn't cut me off."
"I also had to drive us this morning in his car," Sam added wryly.
"Hey, you said you didn't mind," Daniel said with mock hurt, nudging her with his hip.
And then it hit Jack. Carter's nervousness. Daniel's six beers. The oversleeping. The light flirting. "Are you two finally sleeping together?" Jack asked without an hint of embarrassment.
"Jack!" "Colonel!" they both exclaimed at the same time, blushing furiously.
"Just asking. Geez," Jack said, backing up and rejoining Teal'c.
"O'Neill, was that not inappropriate to ask them?" Teal'c questioned.
"Yeah, maybe just a little," he said, pretending to think on it very hard and holding his thumb and index finger about one inch apart.
As they marched Sam and Daniel lost themselves in anything from the Marx brothers to the newest theories on black holes, while Jack tried to strike up a conversation with Teal'c about pop culture. Surprisingly, Teal'c was very knowledgeable when it came to American pop culture. Hew as downright chatty, for Teal'c that is, about heavy metal band of the 1980's. Apparently he was quite the aficionado for Bon Jovi and Motley Crue.
A few hours into their march they came upon a small village nestled in a valley between two mountain chains, on the edge of a forest, a clear lake on the outskirts. The natives caught sight of SG-1 right away, those farming on the edge of the village and groups of young children playing games, studying the newcomers as they walked by. One or two dropped what they were doing and ran down the dirt path to the center of town, calling out for Dushella.
"Friend or foe?" Jack asked Daniel as he came up to the archeologist's side.
"I don't know, but since no one has tried to shoot us or club us, I'd say they might be friendly," Daniel responded, trying to figure out how he was supposed to know if they were friendly or not after only seeing the natives for thirty seconds.
Jack looked out at the lake. "There's gotta be some good fishin' in that lake," he said dreamily. "And me without my pole." He turned to Daniel. "Do you think you can ask them if I could borrow one?"
"Why don't you ask us yourself?" an unknown voice said. They all turned from the lake and faced about ten natives, both male and female. They all wore shirts and pants or skirts of homespun cloth in earth tones, and soft leather sandals on their feet. They all seemed to show no fear and have friendly expressions on their faces. The one who had spoken was the woman in front. She smiled at them.
"You speak English?" Daniel asked.
"English?" she questioned, trying out the word.
"English. It is what we call this language," Daniel explained.
"Then yes, we speak English. It is our language," she replied.
"I am Daniel Jackson. This is Sam Carter, Jack O'Nell, and Teal'c. We came through the Stargate," Daniel introduced the team, as he usually did.
"Stargate?" the woman asked.
"The big stone ring with the pictures on it," Jack offered.
"Ah, the Tunnel. And why are you here?"
"We're explorers. We came to here to learn of your culture and environment," Daniel said before Jack could make another bad comment.
"Then you are welcome. I am Dushella, the First Elder. Please, come with me. We were about to partake of our mid-day meal. Would you care to join us?" the woman asked.
"That sounds great. Lead the way," Jack said, gesturing with his arm.
Dushella led them past the farming and through the village to the center of town. The small houses were made of wood and thatch and were placed closer together as they went from farms to town shops. Some of the small buildings had wooden signs out front advertising what was inside, such as meats, cloth, gardening equipment, etc. Each building was only one storey, and they reminded Daniel of the old settlement towns from the 1800's in the western United States. In the center of the town there was a giant field with benches, tables, and tents set up with lot and lots of food. Cooked meats, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables were scattered throughout. A young man offered each a plate. Jack grabbed his and began to pile it high with the different types of meat. Teal'c and Sam followed suit. Not feeling much like meat, Daniel went to another table and chose some fruits and vegetables. Taking a bite from something that resembled a peach, Daniel nearly died of the pleasant taste. It was the sweetest, most fulfilling fruit he had ever tasted. Running over to Sam he handed the fruit to her.
"Here, Sam, take a bite of this," he offered.
Sam took it from him and bit in, suddenly smiling as her brain registered the taste from her tongue. "God, this is amazing." She handed the fruit back to him so he could take another bite, then grabbed it back and took a second bite. A group of young women gathered around them, pointing and giggling. Sam and Daniel stopped eating the nearly finished fruit and looked at the giggling girls.
"What? Do I have something in my teeth?" Daniel asked them.
"No. You two shared the Kaylen fruit," one of the young women said, as if that was an explanation.
"Kaylen fruit? That is what you call this delicious fruit?"
The girl nodded and smiled. "This is big news."
By then a crowd had gathered around Sam and Daniel. Seeing that two members of his team were being surrounded by the natives, Jack, with Teal'c right behind him, muscled their way through the crowd to stand next to Daniel and Sam. "Okay, what did you two kids do this time?" he asked, only half joking. They'd only met the natives twenty minutes ago. How much trouble could they have gotten into? Jack thought.
"We ate a piece of fruit," Daniel stated bluntly, almost challenging Jack to find something wrong with sharing in the feast they'd been invited to.
"You ate a piece of fruit?" Jack reiterated, frowning. "That's it?"
"Yeeesss," Daniel assured him, drawing out the word.
"But they're all giggling at us, so it can't be too bad, Sir," Carter reasoned.
Suddenly Dushella pushed her way through to stand in front of SG-1 and smiled brightly at Sam and Daniel, giving each a hug and kiss on each cheek. "Congratulations. This is truly a momentous occasion. We will begin preparations for the ceremonial feast right away. I guess you two couldn't wait for a ceremony? You love will do that to you."
"What are you talking about? What did they do?" Jack asked, getting a bad feeling about this.
"They shared the Kaylen fruit," Dushella said, as if that explained everything.
"I know," Daniel replied. "What does sharing the fruit mean?"
"It means you are pair-bonded," Dushella told them. Seeing the confused look on Jack's face and the astonished looks on Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c's faces she asked, "Do you now have this custom on your planet?"
"Pair-bonded? What the hell does that mean?" Jack asked, the bad feeling getting worse and worse.
"Married," Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c all answered at once in the same monotone.
"Married?" Jack asked in disbelief.
"Married," they replied again in the same tone.
"You do not have this custom?" Dushella asked.
"No, we do, but it's different," Daniel said.
"Um, when a man and woman wish to be bonded, what we call a, uh, marriage, they often plan a big ceremony, a-a wedding. They invite family and friends and they have to recite a-a pledge in front of one of our religious leaders, or leaders of justice and-and exchange rings to make it official," Daniel explained.
"I see. We do have the ceremony as well, but not everyone can wait for one to be planned. It often takes many weeks to plan, and lasts for several days, where at the end the two wishing to be bonded share the piece of Kaylen fruit and become physically and mentally bonded," Dushella said.
"Men-mentally?" Daniel stuttered. "What does mentally bonded mean?"
"As with your physical bodies, your minds become bonded. In about one hour the bonding sets in and you will share everything that is in your minds until the day one of you dies," Dushella told them.
"Oh my god," Sam and Daniel said at the same time, fear creeping into their voices.
"Daniel? What's she talking about?" Jack asked.
"Apparently," Daniel replied to Jack, keeping his eyes locked on Sam, hers locked on his. "Sam and I performed their version of exchanging marriage vows and rings and are about to become mentally linked."
"And what does that mean in English, Daniel?" Jack demanded, now annoyed with the archeologist.
"It means that, according to these people, Sam and I are married and are now mentally linked. I'm going to hear her thoughts and she's going to hear mine. Until death," he supplied for Jack, still staring at Sam.
"Oh," Jack said, finally understanding. "Woops."
"Is the mental bond not reversible?" Teal'c asked, throwing out their only hope.
"It is not," Dushella answered. "It is permanent until one or both die."
Jack, smiling grandly, clapped Sam and Daniel each on their shoulder. "Well, kids, congratulations! If it were anyone else I'd give it only a few months, but you two..."
Sham shot Jack a withering look. "I'm glad you find this amusing, Sir."
"Well, look at it this way, Sam. There could be worse people to be mentally linked to. Can you imagine if we had been bonded to Jack?" Daniel asked. "I think I'd kill myself if I had to listen to his thoughts on the Simpsons for the rest of my life."
"You do have a point," Sam conceded, trying to find the good in this situation.
"Hey, I don't always think about the Simpsons!" Jack said indignantly. "Food, hockey, and sex, too." They all pretended he hadn't spoken.
"Though I doubt this is going to go over well at the SGC," Daniel pointed out. "But we can use it to our advantage on missions. If we split up, we'll at least know where the other is and if they're in trouble."
"Well, there isn't anything we can do about it now," Sam said shrugging, "so we just let it happen and go from there."
Jack sat on a wooden chair at the edge of the lake, holding a fishing pole in one hand and a cold drink in the other. So far he'd had a few nibbles but no actual bites. Yet. He sensed more than anything Daniel coming up behind him and watched out of the corner of his eye as his friend took the empty wooden chair next to his. Neither spoke, both just watching the lake and the ripples the fish were making where the fishing line on Jack's pole was submerged.
"We haven't spoken about what you went through on the Goa'uld ship," Daniel started, not quite sure how to approach the subject, figuring just coming right out and saying what was on his mind was the best way to deal with Jack.
"I know. I'm fine, Daniel. I've been through worse," Jack replied, not really wanting to talk about this.
"What's worse than your close friend torturing you?" Daniel asked quietly.
"Lots of things. Like my close friend being taken over by a Goa'uld." Jack turned to Daniel. "Listen here, Daniel, because I'm only going to say this once. You are not responsible for what happened to me. And I'm okay. I don't blame you. I'm not having nightmares about what happened and I'm past it all. Now you have to get past it. You had no control over what happened. You have to forgive yourself, or you'll go insane. Believe me. I know."
Daniel nodded. "I know. Sam said something similar to me last night. I'm trying; it's just going to take time. I just wanted to make sure you were okay."
"Just peachy," Jack said, no hint of his usual sarcasm that accompanied that phrase. They both returned to watching Jack's fishing line, sitting there in silence for a long time. "How's the mind?" Jack finally broke the silence, curiosity getting the better of him.
"It's weird," Daniel said. "But in a good way," he hastily added when he saw Jack's look of sympathy. "Sam's thoughts aren't really prominent. It's more like a constant, dull buzz in the back of my mind. I only hear her clearly if I concentrate on her." Daniel turned to Jack and smiled. "It's kind of comforting, actually, knowing I'm never going to be alone again."
"I give you guys a lot of credit. I'm not sure I could ever share everything like the two of you are going to have to do. I need my alone time, my space, especially in my thoughts," Jack commented.
"It's not like we really have a choice," Daniel pointed out.
"So share!" Jack urged loudly. "What does Carter think about? Movie stars? Sex?"
Daniel snorted in response. Yeah, that's what Sam thinks about, Daniel said to himself. Then, concentrating, he touched Sam's mind and listened to her thoughts, getting lost in her.
Jack watched his friend's eyes become unfocused and realized he was reading Carter's mind. When Daniel didn't return to their conversation he called his friend's name. No response. So he reached out and tapped Daniel on his arm. Daniel jumped, then focused his gaze on Jack.
"Sorry, I got lost in Sam's mind."
"Was she lost in some wild fantasy?" Jack only half-joked, eyes flashing in eagerness, hoping it was true and that Daniel would be very willing to share.
"Actually, no. She was mentally calculating some formula to slow down the decay rate of naquadah by chemically bonding it to radioactive uranium and making in inversely proportional to..."
"Aaahhhhh!" Jack interrupted, lifting up his hand with the cold drink. "I get the picture. Carter's mind is boring."
"Actually, I find it fascinating how she can perform these complex mathematical equations in her mind. I've always had trouble doing math mentally, but Sam does it so easily," Daniel said in awe.
"So, how are things between you two, anyway?" Jack asked, pushing aside his jealousy and trying to get Daniel to open up and talk. He hadn't been doing that much, lately.
"They're fine, Jack. We had a long talk last night and things are going to be okay," Daniel said, hoping that would be it and he could keep the rest private. Not only didn't he want to talk about his love life with Jack and get teased for it, he knew that Jack still had feelings for Sam and didn't want to hurt him. Apparently, though, he wasn't going to get out of it.
"So, is that the only reason you two overslept this morning?" Jack teased. "That you were up late talking?"
"Yeaahh," Daniel said, drawing out the word suspiciously.
"So what happened?" Jack demanded.
Daniel looked at Jack from over the wire rims of his glasses. "Why do you want to know?"
"I don't have a love life, Daniel, so I have to live vicariously through yours."
Daniel stood up, ready to end this conversation by leaving. "I don't kiss and tell, Jack," he said smiling, teasing his friend. Then he started to walk away, counting in his head. He got to ten before Jack responded.
Jack frowned, annoyed that he wasn't going to get any juicy details out of Daniel when it finally struck him what Daniel had actually said. Whirling around in the chair, straining his back and neck as he did so, Jack called out after Daniel, "Hey! Wait a minute! Come back here! You kissed her!"
Daniel paused, not looking back, and smiled. Got him, he thought. Then, without turning around, he started back to the center of the village again, laughing at Jack inside.
Sam grumbled under her breath the entire time she trudged back to the Stargate with Teal'c to contact the SGC with an update to General Hammond about their mission. This was really her commanding officer's job, but he was too busy 'fishing' and had delegated the task to her and Teal'c. Trying to keep her thoughts from straying to inventive ways of causing harm to her superior officer, she began to think about ways to slow down the decay rate of naquadah when she felt Daniel touch her mind. It was comforting, like wrapping herself in a warm blanket. At first she'd been worried about having to constantly share everything in her mind with someone, even Daniel. But she soon discovered that she only knew what Daniel was thinking or feeling if she concentrated on him. She figured it was the same for him. The rest of the time it was like a soft, ethereal presence in her mind. Sam decided that she liked it, and the fact that it was Daniel, someone she already had a deep connection with, made it even better.
Teal'c kept glancing over at Major Carter, every once and a while catching a derogatory word or choice phrase from her. He gathered enough to know she was talking about O'Neill, and laughed inwardly. He knew Major Carter would rather be testing the Kaylen fruit, trying to figure out how it initiated the mental bond between two people, but instead she had to accompany him back to the Stargate. Teal'c knew he could have reported back by himself, but O'Neill had insisted that Major Carter go with him, saying he would feel better if no one walked around alone.
Once they reached the Stargate Teal'c dialed Earth and waited for the wormhole to open. Once the displacement wave dispersed Sam sent through their access code so the SGC would know who it was. She waited a few moments for the Iris to be opened, then in front of the MALP's video camera she sent her message. "This is Major Carter."
"Major, it is good to hear your voice. How is the mission going?" General Hammond's voice came back through the wormhole and MALP.
"It is going well, Sir. We've encountered some natives of the planet. They seem very friendly and have offered to let us stay with them for a few days so we can study their culture. Daniel's in seventh heaven, Sir. They are a pre-industrial, agrarian society. They speak English, so they must have originally come from Earth, transported her by Goa'uld, but there doesn't seem to be any influence or sign of Goa'uld. In fact, they do not seem to have heard of them, and they also do not seem to fear any gods. Daniel wants to look around for ancient temples or writing to explain this. Teal'c and I have agreed to help him," Sam informed the General.
"And Colonel O'Neill?"
"He's fishing, Sir," Sam replied wryly.
Sam could hear General Hammond chuckling. "Permission granted to remain on the planet, Major. Report back tomorrow morning at 1100 hours with any relevant information you have gathered. Hammond out."
"Yes Sir. Carter out." Sam stopped transmitting and turned to Teal'c. "Well, I guess we head back to the village and help Daniel look for rocks." She made a face. "Or we could fish?"
She and Teal'c stared at each other for a few seconds then both said, "Rocks," at the same time. Neither wanted to fish with the Colonel. Searching for rocks with Daniel would probably be much less boring.
On the way back Teal'c gave in to his curiosity and asked, "Do you find the mental bond you now share with DanielJackson bothersome?"
"I thought I would, Teal'c, but actually, I don't. I find it very, well, comforting. It's not a constant thing. I mean, I feel him in my mind, feel the connection, but I don't actually know what he's thinking or feeling unless I concentrate on him," Sam tried to explain.
Teal'c nodded. "As long as it causes you no discomfort, I believe this bond could be a great benefit."
"Yeah," Sam agreed. "Me too."
That night, after the evening feast and after Jack spent all afternoon catching absolutely nothing, a young man whom Dushella had introduced as her son Kean, showed SG-1 to their guest houses. There was one for Teal'c and Jack, and one for the new bonded couple, Daniel and Sam. Jack smirked at the kids' expressions when they saw where they were staying. A one room guest house with one not very big bed. He was going to have oh so much fun teasing the hell out of them. He and Teal'c had to share a one room guest house as well, but they didn't have to share a bed.
"Shut up, Jack," a blushing Daniel said quietly so only Jack, who was standing next to him, could hear.
"I didn't say a word!" Jack protested.
"I could hear your smirk," Daniel argued, staring at the ground.
Jack laughed. "C'mon Teal'c. Let's leave Romeo and Juliet alone."
"Uh, Sir..." Sam said, giving Jack a dirty look.
"What?" he asked innocently.
"You do know that Romeo and Juliet committed suicide, right?" Daniel asked sardonically, looking at Jack over the top of his glasses.
"All right then, Lucy and Ricky," Jack amended, smiling mockingly at Daniel. Before either Daniel or Sam could respond Jack dragged Teal'c out of the guest house and across the path to theirs, explaining to Teal'c who Romeo and Juliet and Lucy and Ricky are.
"That man must be the most infuriating person I've ever met," Sam commented quietly, shaking her head in disbelief. "He sure knows which buttons to press."
"You can say that again," Daniel agreed.
Sam turned and faced Daniel, smiling shyly. "Well, this is awkward."
"Yeah. I could, um, sleep on the floor," Daniel suggested hesitantly. He didn't really want to; he wanted to wrap his arms around Sam and hold her all night. However, if Sam wasn't ready for that, then he wasn't going to push. She was definitely worth waiting for.
"No, no, it's fine. And you know what," Sam said, gaining confidence. "It's only awkward if we let the Colonel and his teasing comments get to us. It's not like we haven't shared a room or a tent together before."
"True. We're adults, not hormone-driven teenagers," Daniel added.
On that note Sam and Daniel got ready for bed. It was late, and Dushella had offered to show them around early the next morning. Daniel was determined to find something of value on this planet, if only to try to overshadow what had accidentally happened between he and Sam so they weren't mercilessly teased by everyone other than Jack. Once in bed, each on their side facing in opposite directions, their thoughts slowly drifted to each other, thereby allowing Daniel to read Sam's thoughts and vice versa.
So, you enjoyed the kiss, huh? Daniel thought to Sam in a mock macho male tone.
Sam blushed, both in her face and in her mind. You do kiss quite well, she admitted in her mind.
Don't get an inflated ego or anything, Sam retorted.
Daniel laughed out loud, then rolled over and spooned up behind Sam. "What if we just do this?" he asked her, wrapping his right arm over her waist and sliding his left arm under her neck. He nuzzled into her neck, inhaling her scent and sending her thoughts of comfort and happiness. Sam took his hands in hers and squeezed them in agreement. Soon they both were fast asleep.
Daniel was always an early riser. He wasn't sure if it was a result of his parents constantly getting up before the sun to prepare for the day's work of digging up ancient cultures, or if it was because he was afraid that all of his foster parents would think him lazy if he slept too late. So Daniel was usually the first one up (except for Jack on missions, since he took last watch and was already up) no matter where he was or what he was doing. He'd get up as soon as he woke up and begin his chores, or make breakfast, or something. Just as long as he wasn't lounging around in bed. On the other hand, Sam was the complete opposite. Daniel knew she'd have to be shaken awake and hauled out of bed and given four cups of coffee before she'd be awake enough to open her eyes. And even if she woke up in bed he'd be just fine to stay there and do nothing until forced to. Daniel smiled down in amusement a the blond head snuggled up to his shoulder, the soft feminine arms wrapped around his chest. He still couldn't believe his good luck. He had Sam in his arms. Finally. And for probably the first time in his life, Daniel was content to just lounge in bed and do nothing.
Unfortunately that was not in the card for them today. Shortly after he had awakened there came a loud knock on the door. Daniel felt and heard Sam start to stir, her response to the knock muffled by his chest, but still coherent enough for him to understand. "G'wee, iz erle," translated as "Go away, it's early."
Gently extricating himself from Sam's embrace and trying not to wake her fully, Daniel left the bed and quietly crept over to the door, opening it slightly. Jack, Teal'c, Dushella, and Kean were standing on the other side. "Morning," Daniel said pleasantly, keeping his voice down so as not to wake Sam.
"Ah, sorry to disturb you on the morning after your wedding night," Jack teased his friend, enjoying the sight of him blushing furiously. "But it's time to go exploring. How's Carter this morning?"
Daniel looked at the ground and mumbled, "Still sleeping."
"Wow, you guys must have tired each other out last night," Jack continued to tease, watching as Daniel became even more red than before. "Considering you weren't up making breakfast for everyone this morning."
Daniel looked at Jack and frowned. "For once I decided you could make your own breakfast. You, uh, you mentioned exploring?"
Realizing he'd gotten in as much teasing as he would be allowed that morning, Jack allowed the subject change. "Kean has kindly offered to show you any old rocks that you wish. So, up an' at 'em."
"Let me just go and get Sam up. I'm sure she'd either like to come or do some scientific study on the Kaylen fruit." Daniel shut the door in their face, well, mostly in Jack's face, before Jack could make another teasing comment about the situation. He walked over to the bed and just stared at Sam. She was faking sleep; after sharing a tent with her for so many years, helped her though so many nights, good and bad, Daniel knew just by looking at her when she was sleeping and when she was faking. She was sprawled out on her stomach, lying in a diagonal position across the bed, her arms and legs spread out. She breathed in and out in a deep, steady rhythm, but there was no other movement. Still, Daniel knew she was faking.
He lay down on the bed on his side, facing her, and stroked her back gently, running his hand up and down underneath her shirt. "Sam, I know how much you'd rather lie about here and be lazy, but we have work to do," he said, the same speech he'd given her on every other away mission where she wouldn't get up. Rubbing her bare skin was a new addition, though, and Daniel hoped it would get a good response.
"Mmmmmm," Sam mumbled into the pillow. "That feels nice."
"Sam," Daniel whispered, leaning down to her ear. "I know you're faking. Come on, we have to get going. Now that I know you like it, I promise I'll rub your back tonight, if you get up now."
Sighing like it was a big concession, Sam rolled over onto her back and looked up into Daniel's bright blue eyes. "I guess that's a fair trade-off." She yawned and stretched. "Just give me five minutes and I'll meet you outside.
Daniel nodded and joined the others standing outside the guest house door. "She'll be out in a few minutes," he explained hastily, turning to Kean. "So, where are these...rocks...that you're going to show me?"
"Approximately a twenty minute walk northwest of here. They appear to be an old, abandoned town," Kean said. "I used to play among the buildings as a child."
"Are there any writing on the buildings?" Daniel asked curiously, hoping for a clue as to when and where these people came from.
"Some. In a language unknown to any of my people."
As it turned out, only Teal'c and Daniel were going to accompany Kean to see the abandoned town. Jack decided he wanted to go fishing again, saying it was a sport that required more time than one afternoon to be a success, and Sam said she wanted to talk more with the people from the village and look for possible uses for the natural resources. She said she had plans to study the Kaylen fruit, however, deep down she wasn't sure she wanted to know how it worked because she wasn't sure she wanted to reverse it's effects. Sam liked having Daniel in her mind.
Teal'c was silent for the entire walk to the abandoned town, listening intently to DanielJackson question Kean about what he knew regarding this town. Kean knew very little it seemed, and Teal'c watched as DanielJackson became frustrated and started to take it out on Kean. He was about to step in when he saw DanielJackson's eyes become unfocused, gazing at something over Kean's shoulder. He watched as DanielJackson remained that way for several minutes before smiling wryly in amusement. Teal'c concluded that Major Carter must have felt DanielJackson's frustration and helped him work through it with their telepathic link.
When they reached the abandoned town the first thing both Teal'c and Daniel noticed were the Goa'uld writing on the crumbling ruins. Spreading out and looking for as much writing as they could, Teal'c and Daniel began to piece together the history of these people. Apparently, they had been brought here from another planet, not Earth according to the coordinates Daniel discovered, approximately 10,000 years ago by the Goa'uld Zeus. For their protection from Anubis, and those Goa'ulds who would use them as slaves. For some reason, neither Daniel nor Teal'c could find, Zeus had wanted to keep these people safe from Goa'uld influence. No other Goa'uld knew the location of this world at the time the people were transplanted here, saying the planet would provide whatever they needed and would protect them from any harm by destroying the Goa'uld. The planet's name was Gaea, though Daniel didn't know if it was named by Zeus when he brought the humans here, or if it was named Gaea well before. Daniel knew the name was significant, but wasn't quite sure yet why. He knew Gaea, in itself, was the Greek name for 'mother earth' and used by those who believed the Earth itself was a living organism. Was this just a coincidence, or had Zeus known something about this planet that no one else had? Continuing to read, Daniel discovered that Zeus had left a device on the planet-on Gaea, he corrected himself-for the people to contact him with in case they were ever threatened. Apparently, the natives had long since forgotten.
Teal'c found the device that would alert Zeus to any trouble there people were suffering from. "It looks like a long range communications device," Teal'c informed them. "And old model, from well before my grandfather was born. I have only heard them described in tales. This is a close representation to what I have heard."
Daniel circled the device, translating the writing on it. "There's both Goa'uld and ancient Greek, but the translations are wrong," he informed Teal'c and Kean.
"In what manner are they incorrect?" Teal'c asked.
"Well, see here," Daniel said, pointing to a Goa'uld symbol. "This means 'open' in Goa'uld. And this," he said, pointing to the Greek symbol immediately below that, "means 'on'. Which one is correct? Is this the...button to open the device or to turn it on?" He pushed his glasses back up onto his nose, stopping them from slipping off his face. "What do you think?"
"Perhaps it is one and the same," Teal'c suggested.
"Maybe," Daniel said, thinking, his gaze becoming unfocused once again. After a moment he turned to Teal'c and Kean. "Sam says to leave it alone; that she'll drag Jack up here to look at it and then let him decide what to do. In the meantime we should keep exploring."
"Agreed," Teal'c said. And then it happened. He watched the event as if it were in slow motion. Daniel began to walk past the device when he tripped over a rock and slammed into the device, his knee hitting the symbols they had just been discussing. The device began to hum, picking up in speed and intensity. Daniel had turned it on.
Teal'c listened to the hum and closed his eyes, realization hitting him hard. This was not a communications device, but rather a homing beacon. It was transmitting a signal to any nearby Goa'uld ships, asking them for assistance. Any Goa'uld. DanielJackson had just inadvertently alerted the Goa'uld to their presence, and the existence of this world.
"DanielJackson, I believe I was incorrect in my assessment of this device."
"Oh?" Daniel said, only half listening, too busy examining the device, now that it was doing something, thinking the whole time that Sam should be here to figure this out.
"Indeed. It is not a communications interface at all. It is in fact a homing beacon," Teal'c informed his friend.
Daniel's gaze shot up to face the big Jaffa, his blue eyes widening in realization. "Oh no," he moaned. "Oh noooo." He buried his face in his hands. "What have I done?"
Jack and Sam must have run the entire way, Daniel thought, since they arrived in less than fifteen minutes. He was sitting on the ground, as far away from the homing beacon as he could, his elbows on his knees, his hands covering his face. He felt Sam sit down next to him and brush her shoulder up against him. He didn't respond, too embarrassed and angry with himself and what he had done. I'm a gigantic screw-up, he thought to himself. I've just condemned these people to a life of slavery, or to death, all because I'm a giant klutz. I don't deserve her compassion or her love after this.
Don't say that, Daniel. It was an accident, Sam thought to him.
It doesn't matter. It's my fault, what's going to happen to these people.
Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe no one will hear the signal.
Daniel looked up at Sam, tears in his eyes and running down his cheeks. "You can't possibly believe that," he said quietly.
Sam shook her head and put an arm around Daniel. "No, I don't," she said gently. "But I do know that you are going to want to help these people now. And I'm here to tell you you're not alone. I will help you. And I think you know the Colonel and Teal'c well enough to know they're going to stay and help, too."
Daniel nodded. "I'm just...These people didn't ask for me to do this to them. They have no idea about the Goa'uld, or how to fight them. And as for Jack and Teal'c...and you...I've dragged you guys into this. Again. And it's my fault. Again."
Sam, not sure what to say to that, said the first thing that came to mind, the only thing that seemed right. "I love you."
Daniel smiled at her, his blue eyes sparkling, more from happiness at Sam's statement than from his sadness over what he had just started. "I love you too," he admitted.
"I know." Sam reached out and hugged Daniel tightly for a moment, then let go. "We can deal with this later. Right now there are other things to do, like getting these people help in case the Goa'uld do come."
Nodding, Daniel stood up and offered his had to Sam. She took it, and he led her back to Jack, Teal'c, Kean, and Dushella, who were all standing around the homing beacon, discussing options. When they reached the others, Sam did not let go of his hand, and
Daniel smiled inwardly to himself.
"Colonel O'Neill!" General Hammond bellowed through the MALP. "It's almost 1300! You were supposed to check in almost two hours ago!"
"Yeaaaah," Jack replied, drawing out the word. "We ran into a little problem here, Sir."
"Colonel? I thought Major Carter said everything was fine yesterday."
"It was. But, while we were searching for Daniel's rocks we...accidentally triggered a Goa'uld homing beacon. It's a good bet they're on their way now," Jack said, trying to spare Daniel the embarrassment of admitting what had happened.
"Are you sure the Goa'uld are coming?" Hammond asked.
"Not one hundred percent, Sir, but I'd place a couple hundred on..."
Jack was interrupted by Daniel. "General, it's really my fault. I can't leave these people to fight the Goa'uld on their own. I'm asking you for help for these people," he pleaded softly.
General Hammond paused, thinking this over. He wasn't sure he wanted to commit forces in a battle that they would most likely lose. However, if what Colonel O'Neill and Doctor Jackson said was true, that SG-1 was responsible for calling down the Goa'uld on these people, how could he not send help?
Before he could tell Colonel O'Neill that he'd send four SG teams through within the hour, the Colonel spoke. "Sir, what if we gather up these people and bring them to Earth. We can find them a safe home on another planet."
Both Hammond and Daniel were shocked by Jack's suggestion. This was something that Daniel would suggest, not Jack. But, no matter who suggested it, it was a very good idea in the General's eyes. It would save these people, and not endanger any more teams.
"Agreed. Do you know how many people are on that planet? Are you going to have time to evacuate them all?" Hammond asked hurriedly. "Do they need special requirements for their stay on Earth and for their new home?"
"I'm not sure, Sir. From what we've gathered, the only people on this planet are from this village and the surrounding farm area. Maybe five hundred?" Jack offered. "They haven't mentioned any other villages. Daniel?"
Daniel shook his head. "No one's said anything to me about other towns. I figure, though, if there are any others, they'd be within a day's walking distance of the Stargate, in the other directions we didn't follow." He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I can't believe this is happening."
"Daniel," Jack tried to comfort, putting a hand on the archeologist's shoulder. "It was an accident."
"Colonel," Hammond said, "gather everyone you can as fast as you can. It cold take days for the Goa'uld to get there as easily as hours."
"Understood, Sir. We'll let you know when we're ready to come through. O'Neill out." Once the wormhole had disengaged, Jack turned to Daniel. "Okay, Space Monkey, we have work to do."
"Other villages like ours?" Dushella asked. "Yes, there are two others, one north of the Tunnel and one to the southwest. Each about an hour walk from the Tunnel. Why do you ask? Are we not providing you with enough here?"
"No, that's not it, Dushella. You and your people have been most kind and have given us everything we require," Daniel tried to explain hurriedly, so as not to offend their hosts. "It's just that we believe the Goa'uld..." He stopped at the confusion on Dushella and the other villagers' faces and tried to quickly explain the Goa'uld to them. "Beings from other worlds who enslave and murder innocent people are coming here. Now. We wish to have you come through the Tunnel to our world and then we will find you another world in time. A safer world."
"What is enslave and murder?" Kean asked.
"You don't know what slavery and murder are?" Jack asked, surprised.
The villagers shook their heads. "Those words are foreign to us," Dushella said.
Daniel frowned. How could this be? What had Zeus and Gaea taught these people? A society where there was never any slavery or murder? And now the Goa'uld were coming. I have to get these people out of here as quickly as possible, Daniel thought. Or they will be wiped out in a matter of seconds. "Slavery is forcing another human being to work for you for no pay, or for no goods, in terrible conditions. Just because they are stronger and can. And murder is the taking \of another human being's life by your own hand, because you wish to, not because you are protecting yourself or others. Do you understand?"
"I believe so," Dushella said slowly. "You say these...Goa'uld...will come here and force us to work for them, or to end our lives, even though we don not threaten them, simply because they can?"
Daniel nodded. "Exactly. That is why you must all leave. Come back with us through the Tunnel and help us find a better place for you, away from the Goa'uld," Daniel pleaded.
"But this is our home!" someone shouted out angrily. "How can you ask us to leave here and all that Gaea provides for us?"
"I'm asking you to save your lives!" Daniel shouted back. "The Goa'uld will kill you if you are here when they come!"
Loud shouting erupted in the meeting, villagers yelling at SG-1, telling them to go away so the Goa'uld would, too. Villagers angry at being asked to leave the only life they've ever known just because others may come. Daniel kept shouting back, arguing that it would be better and safer, that all this was to protect them. No one was listening to them. Then Dushella called for silence and received it.
"I am leader of this village. I believe what Daniel and the others are saying. You will all do as I say and I am saying that we must leave, not to save our lives, but to save the lives of our children, present and future." Dushella turned to Daniel. "I do not know how the other villages will respond, but I will send representatives with you, as a show of good faith. When will you leave for the other two villages?
"In a few minutes, I guess," Daniel replied.
Dushella nodded. "My son will be one of those who will travel with you. He knows the quickest routs to the other villages."
"Thank you, Dushella. You have been most helpful. How long will it take your people to be ready to leave for the Tunnel?" Daniel asked.
"In a matter of hours. Three, maybe four at the most."
Jack turned to Teal'c and Carter. "Hear that you two. You have exactly three hours to shut down that homing beacon. If you can't, then head back as fast as you can and get these people through the Stargate. General Hammond will be waiting for them," he ordered.
"Sir?" Carter questioned.
"Daniel and I will pay the other two villages a visit, and try to convince them to leave as well. Three hours Major, then get off this planet."
"With all due respect, Sir, we may have days, even months, before the Goa'uld get here," Sam pointed out.
"Or we may have one hour," Jack replied quietly. "Three hours Major. That's all the time I will allow."
"Yes Sir," Sam acquiesced, though very unhappily.
Daniel came over to Sam to say goodbye. He stared into her eyes and she stared right back, having a telepathic conversation with each other.
Don't blow yourself up trying to shut down that homing beacon.
Don't blame yourself if not everyone comes back with you.
They left it at that, no sad teary goodbyes, no passionate, possibly last kisses. It was enough.
Daniel and Jack parted company at the Stargate. Daniel and Kean went north to one village while Jack and another named Coulan went to the southwest. On their quick march, Kean asked Daniel many questions about the Goa'uld, which Daniel answered as best he could. He was too busy worrying about the Goa'uld and about Sam to give the questions and answers the best thoughts. Then Kean asked him something completely off the subject and Daniel stopped walking.
"Huh? What?" he asked Kean.
"You and Major Carter. You were not pledged to each other before you ate the Kaylen fruit?" Kean repeated.
"Oh, um, n-no. Things like this-matters of the heart-they take a bit l-longer on my world and-and Sam and I...we never discussed that. We-we weren't even sure we were in a relationship," Daniel quickly rushed through the explanation. "It's complicated."
"I have offended you by asking," Kean replied, bowing his head in apology.
"No. No, you haven't. It's just that I'm not used to discussing this with others, especially those I just met yesterday," Daniel said. "I haven't even fully discussed this with Sam?"
"And your people have nothing like this Kaylen fruit and these mind links?" Kean asked.
"No. This is a new one for us," Daniel told him.
"Then I am very sorry that our customs have interfered with yours," Kean apologized. "If there was a way to reverse the effects, rest assured, I would share it with you and Major Carter."
"I know you would. And I appreciate the offer. But his mind link is okay. Sam and I aren't nearly as bothered by it as we thought we would be." Daniel started to walk again, Kean at his side. "We actually kinda find comfort in it."
"I am glad this mistake will not keep our worlds from becoming friends, Daniel," Kean admitted.
"Me, too," Daniel agreed. Through the rest of the walk Daniel told Kean about the many different worlds he'd been to over the past seven years, embellishing here and there, and leaving out some of the more horrible experiences, such as Netu and his death from the radiation on Kelowna.
"Do you believe you are able to effectively terminate this homing beacon?" Teal'c asked Major Carter.
Sam shrugged, biting her bottom lip. "I have no idea, but I'm going to try." She knelt down beside the device and took her tools out of her pack. "But I don't really know what I'm doing and I can't read either language, so I'm going to need your help."
"I will assist as much as I am able," Teal'c informed her.
"Thanks, Teal'c. Now, the first thing I need is your help with is understanding how to open this thing up so I can see its insides. Is there a labeled hatch or catchspring or something that you can find?" Sam asked, indicating with her hand that he should kneel down next to her.
They both examined the homing beacon until Teal'c pointed to a Goa'uld symbol. "This here. I believe you are to touch this to open the device." Taking a deep breath, Sam touched the symbol with her index finger, waiting for something to happen. Like an explosion. Instead, the top part of the homing beacon swung open and she an Teal'c were staring at crystals and lights.
"Okay, that's progress. Let's get to work."
The three hour mark came and Teal'c reminded Major Carter of their orders. "Major Carter, O'Neill instructed us to leave after a time period of three hours. It has now been three hours." No response. "Major Carter, we must leave immediately." Still nothing. "Major Carter?" Teal'c questioned, leaning down and touching Major Carter's leg. The rest of her body was immersed inside the homing beacon.
"Just a few more minutes, Teal'c," Sam replied, her words muffled form the inside of the homing beacon. "I think I've nearly got it..." Then Sam's dreaded loud explosion came and sparks shot out around her, part of the metal flying off the top of the beacon. But the humming signal stopped transmitting. Sam didn't move.
"Major Carter?" Teal'c asked. No response. "Major Carter?" Not even any movement. Teal'c became worried and touched her leg again. Nothing. Dropping his pack, he grabbed each of Major Carter's legs in his hands ad pulled her out from inside the beacon. He flipped her over onto her back and looked her over, noticing minor burns on her arms, shoulders, and face. Her eyes were shut and she wasn't moving. Teal'c leaned down and listened and felt for breathing. It was there. He grabbed her wrist and felt a steady pulse. "Major Carter, can you hear me?"
Sam stirred and tried opening her eyes. It hurt. Light hurt. And her skin felt very hot. "Teal'c?" she whispered hoarsely. "What happened?"
"The homing beacon has exploded and is no longer functioning. However, you were inside at the time and are now injured," Teal'c explained calmly. "How can I be of assistance?"
Sam blinked rapidly, trying to adjust her eyes to the bright daytime light. Finally she was able to partially open her eyes. "In my pack," she replied, still whispering, "there's a pair of sunglasses. Can you give them to me?" Teal'c rummaged around and pulled out a pain of standard military issue raybans. "Thanks. That's a little better, but not much," Sam said, still hoarse, when she put the sunglasses on her face and opened her eyes fully. "I think I damaged my eyes in that explosion. Hopefully it's only temporary." She looked down at her hands. "These, too. And my throat. I think my mouth was open at the time." Using Teal'c's support, Sam stood up. "Okay, now that we shut down the homing beacon we can go back and help Dushella and her people relocate to Earth." Starting out slowly, then picking up the pace, Sam and Teal'c quickly made their way back to meet up with Dushella and her people on their way to the Stargate.
Daniel and Kean were helping the villagers they had met to gather their belongings and head quickly for the Stargate when suddenly Daniel felt a sharp pain coming from Sam, followed by nothing. As in NOTHING. Try as he might, he couldn't feel or hear Sam. Getting very worried he stopped helping a family gather together some food and shouted out loud for her, as well as in his mind. Every one around him heard and stopped what they were doing. Kean even came over to him and went to touch him when Daniel suddenly sighed in relief. He felt her again. She was in some mild pain, but she was alive and reassuring him that she was okay.
"Daniel?" Kean asked. "What has happened? Is Major Carter alright?"
Daniel nodded. "Yeah. She was injured while trying to turn off the homing beacon. But she succeeded; the beacon is shut down. However, it may have been working long enough to alert the Goa'uld, so we had better still get these people back to Earth."
"Who is this Major Carter?" one of the villagers asked.
"She is one of the people who came through the Tunnel with Daniel and warned us about the Goa'uld," Kean told him. "She is also pair-bonded to Daniel. They have shared the Kaylen fruit."
Daniel received a few congratulations from the villagers before they went back to work, packing up what they could of their meager possessions in the short time they had before they went to the Tunnel to start a scary new life somewhere else.
A little boy dropped some food right in front of Daniel as he hurried to the wagon his parents were packing up. Daniel bent down and helped the boy, who couldn't have been more than six years old, pick up the falling food and carry it over to his parents. Daniel smiled and thought about Sam, and maybe the possibility of kids sometime in the near future. He would love to have a baby with Sam and knew that she desperately wanted kids, but also knew that she was afraid to have any. She wasn't sure what the effect Jolinar and the naquadah in her blood would have on any children she carried.
Daniel felt lucky. Within a half an hour of arriving at the village everyone, all 342 members, were ready to depart for the Stargate. All believed Daniel and Kean and none were willing to risk their lives against an enemy that they could never defeat. They all marched to the Stargate in record time, even the children. Many of the elderly and very young traveled on horses or in wagons, the younger, more healthy members leading or pushing. Older children helped younger children as well as their parents. In less than an hour the entire caravan was coming up to the Stargate, the first group to arrive. Shortly thereafter, Dushella and her village arrived, without Sam and Teal'c.
"Daniel, I see you convinced Granno and his village to come as well," Dushella said coming over to him. "And you are here before us. You must have made a very convincing argument."
Granno answered for Daniel. "It was your son and my daughter who convinced me. Elia informed me that she and Kean wished to share the Kaylen fruit, and that if Kean was leaving with these strangers, then Elia was, too. And then I knew I must go s well; I wasn't willing to lose my daughter." Granno gave the young woman beside him a hug. "Besides, if there is even a chance of what Daniel says being true, it would be better for all if we did leave."
"My son and your daughter also have my blessing to share the fruit once we have settled into our new homes," Dushella agreed.
As the two villages mixed into one, Daniel dialed the Stargate and contacted General Hammond. "General," he said, "I have two of three villages here, ready to go to Earth."
"Very good, Doctor. Are the rest of SG-1 there with you?"
"No. Jack went off to the third village and hasn't come back yet. He should be here soon. So should Sam and Teal'c. They had gone back to the homing beacon to see if they could shut it down." Daniel paused and looked at his watch. "In fact, they should be here by now."
"Okay, Doctor Jackson. Start sending them through. And try to contact the other members of SG-1," Hammond instructed.
As Daniel started herding the villagers through the Stargate he mentally contacted Sam and asked her where she and Teal'c were. Sam let him know they were on their way, still a half hour away from the Stargate. Daniel asked them to hurry, worried that Sam was more seriously injured than they had originally thought. Her words and thoughts were slightly slurred, and her eyes were killing her; even with the sunglasses she was having trouble with the bright light.
Less than one hundred people had gone through the Stargate to Earth when Jack and his village arrived. There were barely two hundred people with Jack, so either it had been a very small village, or not everyone had agreed to go. Just looking at Jack's face Daniel received his answer: many had refused and had been left behind to their fate. Daniel started to dwell on that, getting ready to tell Jack that he would go and try to convince them when he felt Sam intrude on his thoughts.
What did I say before? Don't even thing about going back, Daniel, she admonished.
Knowing that she was right, Daniel nodded and agreed with her. He went over to Jack to tell him Sam and Teal'c were coming when he felt alarm in his mind. It wasn't from him, so it must be from Sam. Sam was scared, something was wrong.
Shooting at me and Teal'c! And Jaffa patrols! Teal'c says they belong to Anubis and Ares!
Get here, NOW!
We're trying. There are death gliders headed your way!
Daniel ran over to Jack to break the bad news, still trying to stay connected to Sam. "Oh for crying out loud," Jack cried, jumping into action, hurrying the villagers through the Stargate, making more and more go through at a time. While he oversaw the evacuation he had Daniel call General Hammond and alert him to the possibility that they might not make it, and that there may be staff fire through the Stargate. Needless to say, General Hammond was not pleased, but would keep the wormhole open as long as he could.
Sam and Teal'c ran as fast as they could. They were still more than ten minutes away from the Stargate, e3ven at a flat out run, which they were doing. Sam was sure they weren't going to make it back to the gate in time. The death gliders, or the Jaffa patrols would shoot them. The land was all open; there was no place to hide. Teal'c had is staff weapon out, and Sam her P90, but neither was being used. Only legs were. And they were not working fast enough.
"Teal'c, I don't think we're going to make it!" she shouted painfully at him over the loud energy blasts from the staff weapons that fired from the Jaffa patrols and the death gliders. Her throat still hurt, as did her face, hands, and especially her eyes. Now her legs hurt from running so much.
"We must keep going, Major Carter," Teal'c said in response.
Pushing themselves, they dodged energy discharges that his the ground, running in a zigzag pattern, attempting to throw off pursuit. Sam was scared, but not scared of dying at the hands of the Goa'uld. She was more scared of dying and leaving Daniel behind. Would he be able to handle it if she were gone? She knew how hard it had been for her when he as ascended; she almost didn't make it. And Daniel was not as emotionally tough as she was. She heard an energy blast pass right by her left ear, and she shifted to her right to avoid the concussion wave as it impacted on the ground in front of her. Then, to avoid one on her right, she shifted left. Then right again. Then left. Picking up the pace, she hoped to avoid one right behind her. Loud explosions all around, as energy discharge met rocks, spraying her and Teal'c with rubble. Her feet hitting the ground lulled Sam into a rhythm. Fast-er, fast-er, fast-er. She felt Daniel brush her mind, searching for her. She didn't want him to hear this, to feel this, so she blocked him out, hoping he's forgive her later. If she made it. Besides, he sharing her mind was a distraction now. She had no idea who much time had passed; it seemed like hours, but was probably only minutes. The words had changed to the beat of her feet. Get to Dan-iel. Get to Dan-iel.
And, suddenly, she was with Daniel.
She turned and began firing at the pursuing Jaffa and the death gliders in the air, missing most due to her hurt eyes. She knelt behind one side of the Stargate, Daniel on the other, covering the many villagers rushing through to escape the Goa'uld. Teal'c joined O'Neill behind the DHD, firing his staff weapon into the air. Most of the villagers had made it through; there were only about one hundred left. But it looked as if these 100, along with SG-1, might not make it back. An idea formed in Sam's mind and she and Daniel quickly exchanged a glance, then Sam was racing across the open ground, through the villagers, to the DHD.
"Sir," she said over the noise, rubbing her sore throat. "I have an idea."
"Carter?" Jack asked, firing off his P90 and killing three Jaffa coming toward the gate. "What?"
"I think I can rig up a force shield," Sam told him. "I pretty much have all the parts, and those I don't have I think I can improvise."
"And how would that help us?" he demanded, his attention divided between listening to her and keeping back the Jaffa.
"I can create a force shield around us that should, theoretically, hold them outside until we get through the gate," she continued. "I just need to set up the correct crystal points around us. Daniel and a few of the villagers can help with that."
"Is this those shield things you learned from Zeus?" he asked, now more interested.
"I thought you said they weren't ready yet?"
"I'm not sure. But it's the best idea I've got," Sam admitted.
Jack gave the idea a microsecond of thought, then nodded. "I got nuthin' better. Do it."
Sam raced back to the Stargate and grabbed Daniel and six big villagers to help her. She pulled short, blue, octagonal crystals out of her pack, praying that they were unharmed in her flight from the beacon and the resulting fight. They all seemed intact. Handing one to each villager and to Daniel she pointed to each spot on the perimeter they needed to be placed. "One there, return immediately to the center. Then I will activate the crystals."
"Should we cross our fingers?" Daniel joked, trying to lighten the mood.
"If you think it'll help," Sam said, distracted. She was to be the one to put her crystal in front of the DHD where it was needed, about thirty yards. Right in the line of fire. She couldn't ask anyone else to do that job, not if she wasn't willing to do it herself. "Okay, GO!" Each person with a crystal ran to the point Sam had shown them, stopping at eight equidistant points around the Stargate and the villagers. Quickly putting their crystals down they ran back to the center. All but Sam. As she had stood up and backed away from the crystal and the blaster fire erupting all around her, she stepped into a hole, most likely the result of a staff blast, and tripped. Great, she thought to herself, feeling the pain in her ankle. As if I don't have enough injuries. She saw the Jaffa coming closer and closer. Sam knew she wasn't going to make it unless she took the chance and activated the crystals now. She knew one of three things would happen. Number one, the crystals would work like they were supposed to, and anyone within their perimeter would be safely behind a force shield. Number two, nothing would happen and they might not make it through, and she'd most certainly be killed by the approaching Jaffa. And number three, the crystals would explode and anyone standing near them would be killed, like the Jaffa right in front of her on the other side of the crystal. And like herself. Oh well, might as well give it a shot, she thought fatalistically. She pulled a small device out of her pocket and activated the crystals. A blue shimmer encompassed the villagers and all of SG-1. The shield was working. Sam sighed and lay down, too physically and emotionally drained to attempt to get up and walk back to her teammates.
Jack, upon seeing Sam fall, motioned for Teal'c to cover him and darted out to his second in command. He wasn't about to let her die, or have to explain things to Daniel. He evaded staff weapons blasts and reached her just as she activated the force shield. The force shield that worked. Not willing to test how long it would last under heavy fire, Jack grabbed her prone body and pulled her away from the edge of the force shield. Using him as leverage, Sam stood up and he supported her as they raced/limped back to the Stargate.
Daniel had felt a brief start of alarm from Sam, then she had blocked him out. Trying his best to put her from his thoughts, he took over the evacuation, shoving scared villagers through the wormhole in an effort to get everyone through as fast as possible. Sam hadn't even been sure the force shield would work, and knew even less about how long it would hold. At last, Teal'c came up to him, followed by Jack supporting a limping Sam.
Daniel reached out and took an exhausted and injured Sam from Jack, needing to feel her and know she was alive and okay. Jack let her go, knowing that Daniel needed her right now. He motioned hat they should go through first, then Teal'c, and then finally, himself, leaving the Jaffa, the force shield, and the planet behind.
General Hammond met them at the bottom of the ramp. "Is that everyone, Colonel?" he asked.
"Yes Sir," came the tired, breathless reply.
"Well, Sir, we fought the Goa'uld and escaped by the skin of our teeth. The two most powerful Goa'uld System Lords have now teamed up to destroy us. I got to fish. Teal'c got to learn ancient Greek, and Daniel and Carter got married and can now read each other's minds. All in all, a normal few days for us."
Jack smiled at all of the bewildered expressions from the members of the SGC who were in hearing range of his comments. He led his team out of the Gateroom and down the hall to the Infirmary, chuckling to himself as he thought about how interesting this debriefing was going to be. And about how fast the money was going to exchange hands over Carter and Daniel.
Two hours later, SG-1 sat around the briefing table with Doctor Frasier and General Hammond. Teal'c had few bruises and scratches on him, but they were healing nicely. Jack's right forearm was bandaged up, cut deeply from flying shrapnel from a staff blast. He had another, smaller bandage on his left cheek, presumably from a similar blast. Daniel, surprisingly, was unharmed, not a mark on him, where he was usually the one most seriously hurt. Sam's left ankle was bandages up, sprained from her fall, her hands lightly wrapped to protect the burned skin, her face shiny from the antiseptic burn cream, and she still had sunglasses on, her eyes still sensitive to the light. Janet wasn't sure the extent of the damage to Sam's eyes, but was hopeful that it was only temporary, brought on by the trauma of the explosion and the bright lights flashing when the beacon shorted out.
Hammond turned to Jack and waited for him to begin an explanation. "Well, Sir, it seems that Ares and Anubis are tag teaming it against us now."
"How much danger are we in?" he asked his favorite team, feeling relief that they were all safe, but also dread from what they were telling him.
"Considerable," Teal'c responded. "Anubis and Ares are the strongest of the System Lords, now that Zeus is dead. Having them create an alliance will bring about a worse result than if one of them controlled all other System Lords."
"We have to get the To'ra, the rebel Jaffa, and any of our other allies to help us bring them down," Jack said quietly. "Or we'll be wiped out."
Daniel sat up straight. "That planet, the one we were just on, was called Gaea," he told everyone.
"Like mother earth?" Sam asked "As in the Gaea hypothesis?"
Daniel turned to her and smiled brightly. He should have known that she would have heard of the Gaea hypothesis and know exactly what this meant. "Yeah, I think so. Apparently Zeus brought those people to Gaea for their safety. It was written that the planet would provide for them and would protect them by destroying any Goa'uld who found it."
"Wait a minute, slow down," Jack interjected. "What's this Gaea hypnosis?"
"Hypothesis. It states that the Earth is a living organism with its own thoughts and feelings," Daniel supplied.
"So that planet we just narrowly escaped from is alive?" Jack asked skeptically. "I don't know, Daniel..."
"We have to go back and find out. It said that the planet can destroy the Goa'uld," Daniel said in earnest.
"When you are all well we can discuss a return mission. Though I share Colonel O'Neill's skepticism over this living planet, I am also open to the possibility that you are correct, Doctor Jackson. And if this planet really has the power to destroy the Goa'uld..." General Hammond stopped there, letting his words sink in. Then, hoping to break the dark could that was sitting over them, he turned to Daniel and Sam, who were sitting together, heads bend down to face the table, and the General was sure, holding hands underneath it. "Married?"
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Autors's note: This ends the first story. I have an idea for a sequel in mind. I figure I can't just leave it like this, with the two most powerful Goa'ulds joining forces and with the discovery of a possibly living planet with the power to destroy the Goa'uld. For all who read this story, I hope you enjoyed it, and look for the sequel, hopefully coming soon. Feel free to e-mail me with comments or suggestions. They may come in handy. firstname.lastname@example.org