Cauterized People Chapter Eight: Rage Subsided
by ALC Punk!

There's no nightmare, this time. She just wakes, knowing something is wrong. Jack is silent behind her.

"What is it?"

"The SFs left about ten minutes ago."


He shifts, "I don't know why. They just disappeared. There was radio traffic, but I couldn't hear it."


"Something's wrong."

Great. Well, at least they were agreed. She glances at the camera in the corner. "Security room."

"Level 23."

Four floors up. "There's a stairwell somewhere in the next hallway."


They climb out of bed and stand by the door, both still wearing their boots. Sam doesn't remember why they didn't take them off, but is glad they don't have to mess with them.

"Corridor's clear."

Without need for more speech, they make their way out into the hall and down to the stairwell. Jack casually swipes a card through it, and it pops open. She raises an eyebrow, but doesn't comment. The flights pass quickly, although she wishes she had eaten lunch.

There is a strange sense of emptiness as they step out onto level 23. And they move even more carefully, stopping at the small arms locker for essential weapons.

Zat in hand, Sam knocks on the door to the security room. A muffled voice calls that it's open. "It's locked!"


Sam zats the poor Lieutenant before the door is fully opened, then moves inwards, catching her. "Sorry about that."

"She can sue you when she wakes."

"Yeah." After locking the door, she moves to stand next to Jack. "What've we got?"

"Don't know yet."

It takes a few minutes before they come across anyone. The holding cells on level 19 contain a large contingent of SGC staff. Sam eyes them.

"Hammond's missing."

A check of the camera outside his office shows him sitting inside, his hands tied in front of him.


She sighs. "I'll find a sarcophagus and raise you from the dead just to kick your ass if you do anything stupid."

"I know."

There's no need to plan, she thinks as they stop at the door and share a passionate kiss, as if branding each other. She'll go release the SGC people. He'll try to get to Hammond.

No luck wishing, either.

She encounters no one as she takes the stairs to level 19. While it bothers her, she's thankful for it. Two zats wouldn't save her from a battalion of jaffa. These corridors are also empty, and the hairs on the back of her neck raise. She's used to bustling people going about their business. Not this odd silence.

There are no guards on the door, and she becomes suspicious.

But there's nothing and no one to see, so she moves and begins picking the lock.

"Major Carter!"

Someone apparently spotted her inside the room.

"Didn't you hear? I'm AWOL. And I got a demotion to Captain."

The lock clicks open at the same time that something touches her back. "Don't. Move."


"Move away from the door and turn around. Very slowly."

Complying, Sam finds herself facing a slightly shaggy-looking, bearded man. He's cradling a

90 with confidence. "Ah, I see, you heard we had the best barbers around. Came for a bit of a shave, stayed for the hijacking?"

"Well, well, well," he smirks, "If it isn't Major Samantha Carter."

"You missed my correction, obviously. It's Captain now."

"As beautiful as ever," he runs his eyes up and down. "A little shaggy yourself there, Captain."

"I'm sorry, did I miss the introductions part of the evening?" She steps closer, slowly.

"You don't remember me? I'm hurt. Aden Corso. And you can stop right there. Come any closer and I'll shoot you in the leg."

"Oh, right. The escaped prisoner. Boy, this seems to be a theme for you. What's the matter, Aden, did you get tired of being Bruno's girlfriend in the big house?" Damn, she thinks, Jack has rubbed off on her way too much.

"Shut up." He moves, striking out at her. Quickly, precisely.

Not quick enough, since she was waiting for it. Her hands catch and hold, and she moves, spinning him into the wall and smashing her fist into the back of his neck. He goes down, choking as she drops with him, her knee finding the small of his back. "No," her tone is pleasant, "I don't think I will."

She has his weapon a moment later, and uses the butt to knock him unconscious.

Moments later, the people in the cell begin to file out. "Sam!"

"Hey, Dad." She looks up from rifling Corso's pockets. "What the hell happened?"

"I'm not entirely sure." He admits.

"Fine. Help me tie this asshole up and then we can go rescue Jack and the General."

Corso is still unconscious when they relock the cell, his hands and feet securely tied with belts, his mouth stuffed with someone's t-shirt. Sam studies the twenty or so people in the hall, then frowns, "Where's the rest of the SGC staff?"

"It's Christmas."

She blinks. "Oh. So, everyone's off. Well, at least I know how three people took over a top secret military base."

"Eight, actually."

This is getting ridiculous, but she whirls, the

90 confiscated from Corso fitting neatly to her shoulder as she stares down the barrel at the man who spoke.

Ex-Colonel Robert Makepeace is holding a gun to Jack's head. "Put the gun down, Major, and I might let Jack live."

"Might?" Her tone is almost mild.

"I'll just maim him a little." The gun shifts slightly, pointing down towards his mid-section. "Maybe bruise the family jewels a little. You didn't want kids, did you?"

Hysterical laughter pushes at her, but she ignores it, "Maybe."

"C'mon, Carter. You can't win. And if I pull this trigger, Jack bleeds out before your eyes. You don't want to risk that, do you?" And he gestures at her with the gun.

"No." Her finger squeezes the trigger. "I don't."

Makepeace falls backwards, his body slack, the gun clattering to the floor, a perfect hole in his head between the eyes.

"Nice shootin', Tex." Jack drawls.

"I told you not to get caught."

"No," he corrects, waggling a finger at her, "You told me not to die."

"Same difference."

"Nuh-uh," He pulls her into his arms and kisses her. "Completely different."


"Sam?" Her father touches her arm, "What about the rest?"

"Well, George is still all tied up with nowhere to go. And if Makepeace had eight people, there are still three running around, somewhere." Jack catches sight of the two SFs that had been guarding their quarters. "Er, Johnson and Smith, isn't it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good work."

The two look confused. "Sir?"

"In not telling them about Carter and I being there."

"Oh. Right, sir. It, well, they never asked." The taller replies, a slight smirk on his lips.

"We need to get armed, where's the nearest weapons locker?"

"Three corridors over and two levels down."

"Fine, you and -"

Jack shakes his head, "Look, Carter and I'll go get George." He tosses a zat to Jacob. "The rest of you get weapons and start sweeping the base. And someone needs to go take care of that poor girl we zatted in security."

"You're not going alone."

"Fine." Jack points, "You, you, and you, come with us."

The trip to the General's office is swift, and they find him as alone as he was before. And looking irritated.

"George! Look, don't get up on our account, but -"

Sam smacks Jack. "Be quiet, you."

One of the SFs who came with them quickly unties the General, apologizing for the delay.

"It's okay, son, I understand."

Jack hands the gun he took from Makepeace over to one of the SFs, "There. Go hunt up the other three."

"Yes, sir!"

While the three file out, Jack leads her over to a corner of the briefing room. It's slightly shadowed, and they both sit down with a sigh. Sam leans against him, still cradling the

90. "Well, that was..."


They sit in silence, listening as the SGC starts searching around them, eventually, they overhear Hammond on the phone. Apparently to the President, as he's relaying the all-clear (the other three were found easily enough). Neither of them really pay attention until he mentions their names.

"Mr. President, I think - Yes, I know sir. Well, sir, they could easily have escaped instead of helping. I doubt Makepeace and his friends would have even stopped them. Hell, sir, they didn't stop them from saving our necks. Yes, sir, SG-1."

More silence, then, "I think we owe them, sir... Yes, sir. I'll get that started immediately. Goodbye, sir."

Silence again, then footsteps. "I suppose you heard that."

"Sort of." Jack replies.

Hammond sighs, "The President has authorized me to inform you that you're free to go."

"Full pardons and everything?" The sarcasm is slightly lacking, but Sam figures he's tired.

"You were never up on charges, Jack."


The General sighs, "Just... stay in touch, please? Don't forget that we happen to care a hell of a lot about you, too."

"Well, thanks."

"Jack -"

"What do you want us to say, George? 'Thanks for making our lives hell'?"

"Jack." Her hand touches his arm, "Shut up."

"It's all right, Sam."

"No, it's not." She stands and reaches out, her arms wrapping around the General. It's a strangely vulnerable moment.

He hugs her back gently. "There'll be a car to take you where you want to go. And plane tickets."

"Florida." Jack holds out his hand, face grim.

Hammond shakes it, "I'll get it set up." He steps back. "Now get the hell off my base, you two."

"Yes, sir."


The sun is shining brightly on a beach in southeast Florida. Currently, the tide is out, the shells left behind rubbed smooth by the wear of the sea.

"Mark called."

Sam looks up from making a sand castle that looks suspiciously like a goa'uld deathglider, and shrugs at her father. "Did he?"

"Yeah." Jacob shifts and blinks at the alien spaceship taking mathematical shape in sand. "He sounds disturbed about the whole retirement thing. And Florida. Apparently, his wife has an aversion."

"Guess we'll have to go west, then, Carter."

She snorts and thumps a fist through her half-finished sand ship. "You just want to go to Disneyland."

"And that's bad?" Jack eyes her, suddenly distracted by the black bikini she's wearing.

"I suppose not." She shifts to kneel and then looks at him, a flush touching her skin. "Stop that."

"What?" He has his sunglasses on, and looks completely innocent.


The warning tone is enough and he flops back onto his beach chair and sighs. "Besides, I really just wanna go fishing."

"You two are a real riot, you know?" Jacob shakes his head. "Selmak and I are going to go take a nap."

"Have fun, Dad."

When he's gone, Jack glances at her again. "Why don't you wanna go?"

A shadow crosses over her face and she runs her hand through the sand, "I just... They're so normal, Jack. I don't think I can do normal anymore."

"Carter, you could never do normal. In a million years."

She snorts, "That's really comforting."

"I wouldn't want you normal."

"2.3 kids, white picket fence, a dog, a cat, a mortgage, and an SUV? Are you sure, Jack?"

"Ugh. Completely. Now come here so I can convince you properly."

She raises an eyebrow as she crawls towards him. "Convince me? And what's this going to entail?"

"I was thinking sex."

That stops her.


"I also don't want to go because I don't think I could have sex in my brother's house."

"Oh, is that all." He moves, coming off the lounge chair and tackling her into the sand. "Well, we'll just have to get a hotel, then."

"Mickey won't wait, huh?"

"Nope." He kisses her. "Neither will Minnie."