Jen Gafeller

Email: Angst; Sam/Jack UST/Romance; Hurt/Comfort; Action/Adventure

Content Warnings: Sam/Jack UST/Romance; some language; Violence in the form of a short torture scene involving one of the main characters. If that sort of thing makes you uncomfortable, you might want to give this story a miss.

Season/Sequel: Season 8 – pre Threads

Spoilers: Pretty much anything that comes before Threads is open game in this one.

Summary: The team must each in their own way face some of their deepest fears when Ba'al threatens to unleash a fearsome weapon on Earth.

Status: WIP

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, Showtime / Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money changed hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. Not to be archived without permission. Feedback and constructive criticism welcome through e-mailing me at the above address. I'm poor and don't have much but my muse, so please don't sue me. )

Copyright: © 2005 Jen Gafeller

Author's Notes: I got a flash one one scene in this story and this is what came of it.This is by far my most ambitious undertaking to date. This beast is already nearly 100 pages and I'm not even to the climax of the story yet. I'll post here, but not with any regularity. But eventually I will finish this story. It's been plucking at my brain for too long not to finish it. Heck I've actually been writing the darn thing for close to 8 months now. Finishing it is sort of a pride thing now. And to my wonderful beta, Renate. Couldn't have done this without you, m'dear! You're the best!

Dedication: To my daughter, who left this world long before she deserved. You are my inspiration and my guardian angel, my Cora Beth.

Chapter One

Standing tall and forbidding in its perfect symmetry, the Stargate rolled through the symbols, each a step along the pathway to another world. Some hostile and barren, some rich and fertile with raw materials for the taking. Raw materials to be used in the construction of ships and weapons; raw materials to be used as hosts for the Goa'uld. The Goa'uld who had moved across the galaxy like a fire, sweeping all others away with a flick of their power. The creatures who had the power to control much of the inhabited galaxy, and yet could not survive without the humans they took as hosts; the humans they controlled from within their own bodies.

For many decades upon decades he had traveled through the Chappa'ai; used it to further his own twisted plans of conquest. Never had he doubted its power or his destiny in ruling over that power. He was among the Goa'uld System Lords who ruled the galaxy with iron fists; fighting amongst themselves as easily as amongst their non-Goa'uld enemies. The System Lords, through their guile and cunning, ruled over the galaxy for centuries, their technology stolen from those they conquered. Their advancements came at the price of those who fell to their armies of Jaffa foot soldiers. But now one System Lord was poised to rule over them all.

Ba'al. The System Lord who had dared to conquer all. The System Lord who dared to bring all other System Lords under his boot. Until now, his plans for conquest had gone unrealized. Until now, he had no means by which to subjugate the others; no means to bring them into line and pledge themselves to serve him and only him. But with his discovery all of that had changed. The best minds amongst his followers now worked to bring it to life. It was a weapon, of that he was sure, but what kind of weapon? Would it be as powerful as he had hoped?

They assured him they had unlocked its secrets, but they had to be sure. They needed to test this weapon before relying on it for their survival in battle. But time was short. The other System Lords had been fighting amongst themselves for so long, they had allowed their vigilance to falter. They allowed the Tok'ra to gain the upper hand once too often, and now that the Tok'ra had allied themselves with the Tau'ri people of Earth, they were even more formidable. Many had fallen before any among them had truly realized the threat: Ra, Hathor, Apophis, Sokar. System Lords who had once been thought to be invincible, now as dead as those who had once worshipped them as gods.

Those deaths had left a void in the power base of the System Lords. A void that Ba'al vowed to fill. While the others bickered and fought, he had built an army of soldiers more powerful than the strongest Jaffa army. All his army needed now was one swift, powerful strike to pave the way into their strongholds. This weapon promised to give them that tool, a way to neutralize the Jaffa armies of the other System Lords and leave their worlds ripe for the taking. However, they would only be distracted by their infighting for so long before they realized their blunder and turned their attention to him.

The test of this new weapon was poised, awaiting his order. Within hours he would know if his patience would be rewarded; he would know if his conquest of the Goa'uld System Lords could finally begin.


Brigadier General Jonathan "Jack" O'Neill sat at his desk skimming through the small mountain of memos and reports that awaited his attention. He had known going into this job that the administration would be the bane of his existence, but he hadn't truly comprehended the sheer magnitude of the job. General Hammond had once commented that if someone sneezed around the Stargate a report was generated, and in that he had not been exaggerating. Now all of those reports unerringly found their way to Jack's desk.

Jack had begun to develop an appreciation for the reports with short and sweet bullet points that succinctly summarized things for him. He closed the cover on one such report, written by his former second in command Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter, and rubbed his eyes wearily. He could always count on Carter to make his administrative life easier, and he certainly did appreciate it. Not that her reports weren't thorough, she just knew him well enough to summarize the "techno babble" down to a few short phrases that actually made sense.

Taking a deep breath and deciding to change gears from mission reports to memos, Jack reached for the stack recently delivered from the Pentagon and opened the top folder. In his fatigue, he barely registered what he was reading until one name reached out from the page to grab his attention. Jack straightened up in his chair, turning his full attention back to the beginning of the memo.

TO:Brig. General Jonathan O'Neill

Commanding Officer, Stargate Command

FROM:Lt. General Roger Brady

USAF Chief of Personnel

RE:Re Assignment, Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter

24 September 2004

This is to request the formal reassignment of Lt. Col. S. Carter to the research facility at Area 51. The USAF Chief of Personnel has tentatively approved this request, made by the Commanding Officer of Research and Development at Area 51, Brig. General R. Greene.

Lt. Colonel Carter is to be given command of all research and development activities associated with retrieval of artifacts and alien technologies acquired through Stargate Command.

If approved reassignment would be effective ASAP. Please review the attached proposal and respond no later than 6 October 2004.

The memo was signed by the Chief of Personnel and counter signed by General Greene from Area 51. Jack knew that Area 51 had been after Carter and her expertise for years, but this was the first time he had been in a position to either approve or deny a request to have her reassigned to that facility permanently. Jack pushed his chair back from his desk and ran his hands through his short hair, sighing deeply. This was a big step up for Carter, and one that she'd be foolish not to accept. What the hell would he do if she actually said yes?

On the other hand, did she even want to go? Honestly, Jack could see Carter being very happy getting to play with doohickeys and computers in the labs at Area 51. Since they were technically "off the books", and had been around a lot longer than the SGC, Area 51 was at the front lines for all cutting edge technology at the Air Force's disposal. Something he knew would appeal to the scientist in Carter. But since taking over as SG-1's CO, he had seen a new side to Sam Carter emerging; a side of her he had rarely seen outside her lab.

Carter had become more self assured in the field and among her purely military colleagues and SG-1 had barely missed a step since his promotion and departure from the team. Jack had been both relieved and a bit unnerved that she had replaced him on the team so easily. Not that he had wanted her to fail, by any stretch of the imagination, but still it was good to be needed and SG-1 didn't seem to need him at all.

And that would add to his already growing number of headaches; if Carter did decide to take up the offer and leave for Area 51, who in the hell would he get to command SG-1? There was no way he was going to dodge a decision about the flagship team if they were left with only 2 team members. The thought gave him pause, and for a fleeting instant he allowed himself to consider life at the SGC without Sam Carter before roughly pushing that thought, and its associated emotions and feelings, aside.

Get a grip, O'Neill. Carter'll never leave the SGC. She loves it here just as much, or more, than anyone else in this command. But as much as he tried to reassure himself, down deep he couldn't truly be certain of anything. It's not like he had ever really discussed her future with her, so for all he knew this was the dream job Carter had been waiting for the last 7 years.

Jack glanced at the last paragraph again then to the calendar on his desk. 30 September 2004 was displayed prominently right on top. Crap! The Chief needed his answer by next week, and that left Carter with little time to make her decision. One of these days he was really going to have to get better at time management.

Shaking his head, Jack rose from his chair, the memos and reports now forgotten as he made his way out into the corridor his feet taking him automatically toward the elevators and Carter's lab. It was well after 1700, but lately he had noticed Sam working in her lab later and later into the evenings. He had been meaning to ask her about it, but simply hadn't found the time for idle chat with any of SG-1. He slowed to a stop, just outside her lab doorway, allowing himself a moment of guilty pleasure at just watching her work.

Sam was in a word, beautiful. He had thought so nearly from the first moment he met her, and certainly from the moment she challenged him to arm wrestle. Jack smiled slightly to himself at the memory of young Captain Samantha Carter, her eyes blazing in fiery determination. So much had changed about her in the ensuing years, and yet even now if he looked deep enough he could still see that young Captain who had the guts enough to go head to head with him across a briefing table but who could also stand wide eyed at the base of the Stargate and marvel at its existence. He watched for a moment as she bent forward toward her laptop, her brow furrowing in concentration at whatever was scrolling across her screen.

As he watched, Sam's expression cleared to one of discovery and she suddenly began typing furiously, her fingers flying faster than he could follow. As a small smile spread slowly across her face, Jack found himself smiling in response, her obvious joy at figuring out whatever she was working on infecting him as well. He indulged for only a moment longer before he stepped the rest of the way into the doorframe and cleared this throat slightly, catching the Colonel's attention.

"Sir, I'm sorry, I didn't see you there."

"Not a problem Colonel, you were apparently busy," Jack replied, waving his hand in the general direction of her desk and laptop.

"Yes, sir. I was actually working on the anti-grav generator SG-6 discovered on P5Y-326 during their last mission. You see, initially I presumed it worked using a subspace field, not unlike our hyperdrive engines, but that wasn't working, so I started experimenting with the ratio of…"

"Yes, sir, sorry," Sam replied somewhat sheepishly, her excitement at figuring out this particular puzzle still shining brightly in her eyes. Jack would've been blind to miss it.

"So, you figured it out, yes?"

"Yes, sir! If I'm right and these simulations pan out, we could be looking at a technology that could revolutionize our X-302 and X-303 projects."

"Great, Carter. Keep me apprised."

"I will, sir," Sam replied and began to turn back to her laptop, but not before she got a quick look at Jack's face and was surprised to see an expression that she had come to equate with Jack feeling uncomfortable about something, his eyes crinkling slightly at the corners; his lips pursed into a hard, thin line; his eyes wandering restlessly over her lab, not settling in any one place for long.

"Was there something else you wanted to see me about, sir?"

Now that look had blossomed into all out panic and Sam found she was suddenly sorry she asked. Whatever it was, the General wasn't happy about it.

"Ah, actually Carter, I got a memo today."

Sam waited expectantly for several seconds, but when Jack seemed unwilling to elaborate she pushed ahead. "Yes, sir. I would imagine you get quite a few memos everyday."

"Yeah. More than I ever thought possible. I don't know how old George ever put up with all of it, to be honest with you."

Sam smiled at the sentiment. "No, sir."

The silence stretched again, and Sam was beginning to become a bit nervous.



"The memo?"

"Oh, yeah. That," Jack sighed, shoving his hands deeply into his pockets before continuing. "It was from the Pentagon. Chief of Personnel to be exact. They want me to sign off on a reassignment."

Sam could tell from Jack's demeanor the last thing he wanted to do was approved the request, but she still wasn't sure why he was bringing it to her. "Ah, I see. So, what're you going to do?"

"See that's just it, I don't know," Jack said exasperatedly, waving his hand in the air for emphasis. "I mean, it's a good career move and all, but…"

"Sir, who are we talking about, anyway?"

"Oh, right. Um…you actually."

"Me, sir? The Chief of Personnel sent a memo about me?"

"Yeah, actually. Wants you reassigned to Area 51. Commanding Officer of Research and Development."

"Not again," Sam sighed.

Jack didn't seem to notice her reply and barreled ahead. "It would be a big step up for you, Carter. Pretty much guarantee you'd make full bird in the minimum time allowed….wait, again? What'd you mean "again"?"

"Sir, General Greene has been after me to take that command for two years now. Maybe longer."

"He has?" Two years? Why the hell didn't she take it?

"Yes, sir. And before you ask, I didn't take it because I'm very happy right where I am, sir."

How does she do that? "Ah, I see. Well, I'm not so sure General Greene will be willing to take no for an answer this time. When the Chief of Personnel endorses an assignment, it generally happens, Carter."

Sam's nonchalance at the situation suddenly faded as she faced the very real possibility that she might be unwillingly pulled away from the SGC. The thought of actually having to pack up and move away from her friends and job to the deserts of Nevada seemed less than appealing.

"Oh. Can you get me out of it, sir?"

Jack felt a wave of relief crash over him as he realized that Sam hardly wanted to take this assignment, and in fact had been turning it down for two years. So that eliminated one worry but left another larger one. The Chief of Air Force Personnel had signed off on this new assignment, and that would be much more difficult to circumvent. But he had to be one hundred percent sure staying at the SGC was something she wanted because if he went head to head with the Chief of Personnel over this, that bridge would likely be irrevocably destroyed and Carter would have zero chance of ever taking the position.

"Are you sure? Ya know you might not get another chance like this. Command of a whole legion of eggheads and more doodads to play with than you'd have time for? Isn't that at least a bit tempting?"

Sam threw him a wry smile. "Yes, sir, it is tempting. You know how much I love hanging out with the other eggheads. But really sir, I'm right where I want to be."

"Alright, if you're sure, I'll see what I can do about this whole thing. I'll make a few phone calls tomorrow morning."

"Thank you, sir."

"Don't thank me yet. We'll see what happens tomorrow."