Title: The Price of Life

Author: Ted Sadler

Email: ted.sadler@ntlworld.com

Rating: PG

Summary: Everything has a price. The trader's code says so.

Spoilers: None

Status: Work in progress

Author's notes: Sequel to "The Trader's Wife". You really need to read that one first. (Click on my name and then the story)

All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.


"Are they asleep now?" asked Jack, as Sam flopped down beside him on the old couch they kept at the back of their freighter's control cabin. She leaned against him and gratefully accepted his arm round her shoulders. Huygens 4B was now nine hours behind them and another sixteen were left before arrival back on Mythor, the world they now regarded as 'home'.

"Yes, finally." she sighed. "I don't need to tell you that we're never going to have another day like that again, not even if the Earth depends on it. Jacomb's going to miss his school friends this time. I don't think we can make too many more sudden changes like this."

"Agreed." said Jack, resting his cheek softly against the top of her head. They sat for some moments like this, each concentrating on reducing their mutual stress and worry, thanks to their im'ri bonding. After eleven years together, the enhanced feelings they could sense in each other via their implanted neural nets were fully developed. Normally it made for a truly wonderful love-life, and a sense of contentment just being around each other. When Sam had given birth to their two boys Jacomb and Danil, ten and eight years ago respectively, her shared sensation with Jack at the time was a two-way flood of joy in the midst of pain, and he had wept with her while she rejoiced with him.

As the years had gone by, friends noticed how Sam and Jack seemed to anticipate each other's needs and actions. More than one had asked if they were telepathic when they did things with very few words being passed between them. They weren't, of course, but that extra closeness was apparent to all but a few. They certainly made a devastating negotiating team when working together and their small but growing 'JS Trading' empire was treated with respect by many commercial dealers and buyers. Inevitably though, as was the case with many traders, less successful competitors or clients who felt they'd lost out somehow could always find ways to extract revenge, whether by informing authorities about less-than-legal items held in warehouses, or simply stealing their stock.

But today's experience reminded them of the time during their first year together when their role as watchers abroad for the SGC had been leaked to a corrupt government, whose guards had beaten them severely on arrival through a Stargate. Sam recalled very clearly how Jack, even though he had been in greater pain, had forced himself to think and feel calm emotions next to her, easing her own suffering. The difference now was that their children came first in everything they planned and did. Their worries were not for each other as much as for their future.

"We've lost that house forever, haven't we?" asked Sam ruefully.

"Yeah." Jack grunted quietly, squeezing her more tightly for a moment.

"Pity. I liked it a lot." she continued. "It's odd how they singled out ours straight away for a search instead of isolating all the traders' quarters like they normally do."

"That's not the only thing." he replied. "You said you saw the cops arriving at the school as you left with the kids, right?"

"Yes, I went straight there after your emergency signal. We only just made it to the Freight Hopper unchallenged. I didn't hang around to see how far behind us they were. I came straight for you at the rendezvous point and we left immediately."

"Yeah, remind me not to let you launch to orbit while I'm still in the cargo bay next time."

Sam laughed and looked up at the bruise across his forehead. "Going soft on me? Feeling your age?" She felt his silent response.

"No, you're right, it is odd." he continued. "I think the rules have changed. I can't prove anything yet, but I reckon someone on Earth is behind this. The cops were very specific about the documents they said we had. No other traders knew about those." He sensed her agreement.

"I can't think of anything we've said or done in public that would give us away." she added. "And we've played the game of staying low-profile by not growing the business too much or too fast. Even though we easily could!" she added with a sigh.

Nobody had surprised her more than herself after she left the SGC to join Jack in his surveillance and spying role on foreign worlds. She loved the variety, loved being with him, loved her family, loved the challenges and discoveries. And then she revelled in actually using alien technologies in everyday life as well as adapting them for other, new uses. One day they would enjoy a good life making and selling some of the inventions she was storing up for their future. She hadn't told Jack yet that she had quietly registered a small but still dormant company called 'Doohickies Unlimited'. That was to be her present to him at the right time.

"Sam, would it upset you if we turned this situation around and took control of our own lives?" asked Jack. She pulled her head away from his and looked at him questioningly. "We'll still help Earth or anyone who can contain the Goa'uld, but on our terms. But we've got to buy some insurance against our own people as well as the more obvious enemies."

The smile in her eyes was all he needed to see.