Spoilers: Some S6 as context; mostly Season 8. I am projecting my own idea of an evolving arc and disclaim any prior knowledge of where TPTB may be going with this. The story is mine (for better or worse), but the wonderful Stargate characters belong to their masters: MGM, Gekko, et al (mostly for better). General content: mild swearing - kiddies probably hear worse in the schoolyard. Pairings: mostly Sam and Jack, with some interesting twists.

I'm an avid reader and have been inspired by some of the great Stargate fic already posted here. So I've decided to try telling a tale of my own. Hope you enjoy and feel free to give feedback. It just may motivate me to continue writing.

Head Trip

She wearily brushed her stray blonde hair back and looked in the mirror. A glimmer of excitement briefly flashed in her bright blue eyes. Her first solo mission. Unusual? Yes. Necessary? Of course.

She had trained and prepared for this day for as long as she could remember. He had taken her aside and explained, carefully and patiently, why this was so important. This particular mission would finally lead them to an assured defeat of the enemy. The plan was brazen in its scope and clever in its execution: a female soldier, turned spy, ready to infiltrate the leader's innermost circle. The power of a woman! She was not enamored of this charade – this need to portray herself as someone other than who she really was. But he knew her well; knew that she had the ability to pull this off seamlessly and quickly. What she would learn from this planet's leader would accelerate the defeat of the enemy itself.

The timing and disguise were crucial. Once in, gain full access to the intelligence,retrieve and record, then quickly get out.

At times he could be distant and almost cruel but she would follow him to the ends of the earth – he was her commander; she was his loyal 2IC. They made a great and formidable team. He would anxiously be waiting for her return and debriefing. It was time to move out. This seemed strange – this going it alone – no backup in the field; no visual connection to her team. She knew they were all waiting and watching from afar (as it needed to be). She adjusted her cap, and the P90 at her side, and moved through the wormhole towards her fated destination.

Jack was feeling jumpy. He couldn't shake this feeling of doom even though the day had started out encouragingly. Soon he realized that this day was of such great importance that it was up to him, as commander, to make sure nothing went wrong. Carter looked edgy, and that certainly wasn't a good sign. He walked over to her and tried some of his lame humor. She tried to laugh in reply, but the twinkle in her eyes failed to appear. Daniel and Teal'c were keeping a low profile, as instructed. This was Carter's show. Yes, Daniel was the resident diplomat but the elders on PX-435 insisted that "the woman alone" be the one to handle the initial negotiations. Their culture placed great emphasis on the power and influence of a woman when it came to treaties and peacemaking. Yet, they strangely accepted the woman as warrior also and permitted the carrying of weapons while mediations were begun. The Asgard insisted that the residents of this planet held the key to locating the enemy who, the past several weeks, had seemed to go into hiding. And, so, the plan was drawn up for Carter to go off world and extract what valuable information she could, quickly, and return to the SGC within 24 hours.

She arrived at the elders' Gate and was greeted by a rather somber group of two distinguished-looking older statesmen and four regal women, the youngest of whom would be about 60 years old. The group saluted her and led her to the "circle of wisdom" from which they would negotiate and answer her many questions. There was something about this group that added to Carter's already anxious state, but she couldn't quite define what that "something" was. She knew she had her own hidden agenda, and, the sooner she decided on the leader, the better.

It was only six hours since Carter had gone through the Gate, but the klaxons began to blare and Jack knew that something was amiss.

"It's Colonel Carter's signature, sir!"

"Then open the iris."

She stepped through, calmly, (which was a relief to the General) and nodded to him with a slight smile. He was unprepared for her rapid return. Could the mission, although risky, have been executed so well, so quickly?

Seeing that she was in sound shape, O'Neill asked her to debrief immediately. He would fill Daniel and Teal'c in later.

"Come in to my office, Carter. No need to use the conference room."

"Yes, sir!"

She followed him into his office, and prepared herself for what she had to do.

"To the point, Carter. Did you get what you went after?"

"Mission accomplished, sir" came the confident response.

A sigh of relief broke from Jack's lips, and their eyes met. Within that moment, Jack tried to convey his unspoken feelings for his former 2IC. She looked at him questioningly, and rose from her seat. He knew that they were ever the "good soldiers", never breaking the rules, and was somewhat confused as Sam approached him. Before he could say anything more, "Sam" had raised her right hand and thrust it into his forehead. The pain was blinding, but the recognition of what was happening was even worse than the pain.

Replicator Carter stood over the General as he writhed in pain, stubbornly trying to close his mind to her searching. She looked deeply into his eyes and willed him to stay with her as they traveled the recesses of his mind. This was the moment of truth! The moment she had trained for all those long months with Fifth. Their "brothers and sisters", in human disguise on PX-435, were keeping Colonel Carter occupied with a bogus treaty negotiation while she boldly gated to the SGC and captured the General's attention – literally.

O'Neill was on his knees and on the verge of collapsing – "Carter's" steely gaze refused to relinquish the vice-like grip she had on his mind. His skull felt like it was about to explode. And the images, all the images and memories of his past life, came flooding back in gruesome detail: Charlie's death; capture and torture in Iraq; Baal and his gravity chamber; Sam – no, don't go there! – Sam and the ashrak … Sam and the entity … Sam and the force field … almost losing Sam – NO – mustn't reveal these memories – mustn't reveal these feelings!

She had prepared and trained for this day for as long as she could remember. He had taken her aside, and explained, carefully and patiently, why this was so important … but Fifth had never explained the powerful feelings of love that one human being could have for another.

The General was in love with her! Of course, not her, but the real Sam Carter!

She suddenly felt a jolt of raw emotion rip through her replicated body – an electrical current so powerful that it caused her to release her hand from his forehead. She looked down at her hand as it shook uncontrollably while O'Neill crumpled to the floor. There was a stunned look on her face. Her mind was in turmoil. She felt a burning sensation in her hand and wiped it across her own eyes as if to erase the images that were transmitted to her just moments ago. She stumbled and steadied herself on the desk to keep from falling. She shook her head to clear her mind but the images of O'Neill and Carter refused to go away. Images of two people, side by side, in the midst of great dangers and assaults, often separated by great distances, yet, somehow, still connected. Images of laughter and teasing and sidelong glances of affection. Images of suffering – bearing each other's pain – worrying more for the other, than one's self. Images of longing for the other – as a human male must long for a human female.

Damnit – why didn't Fifth prepare her for this?! It was definitely not the "intelligence" they were seeking. This wasn't a mental state – it came from somewhere deeper than the mind …

At that point, RepliCarter felt a strange, strangling pain across her chest – a pain that seemed to emanate from her heart.

As her breaths became more shallow and faint, she realized that being human carried with it an immense propensity for pain, and an immense propensity for love. She collapsed next to Jack. As her replicated heart stopped beating, a tear fell from her eye.