"Are we receiving a signal, sergeant?" The man watched the event horizon settle and glanced at the screen.
"It's SG-3, sir. They're coming in hot with injured." The sergeant turned to the microphone. "Medical personnel to the gateroom."
"Close the blast doors." The sergeant reached over and touched a button. The metal doors closed and the shield over the window dropped. General Landry turned to face the monitor, which showed the action occurring in the room below.
Captain...damn he really had to learn these peoples names...of SG-3 steeped through the gate first. Her hand was clasped on Dr. Jackson's arm, as if she had pulled him past the event horizon. The remainder of SG-3 and Colonel Mitchell came through the gate followed by SG-5 and Teal'c. General Landry continued watching the gate as it shut down. His eyes widened and he looked down at the shocked sergeant. He motioned up with his hand and the sergeant reached for the button that opened the blast doors.
"Where is Colonel Carter?" All the men of SG-1 looked up. Colonel Reynolds stepped forward.
"We didn't find her sir." The General nodded his head and scowled.
"Go to the infirmary and get cleaned up. Debrief in one hour." The General watched his men file out of the room. Dr. Jackson seemed to be in shock, but the General knew the medical professionals upstairs would take good care of him. The General didn't look up as he walked past his administrative aide.
"Get General O'Neill on the phone." General Landry closed the door to his office. He was not looking forward to this conversation.
General Landry was the last person to enter the briefing room. Every chair was filled and a few extras had been brought in to accommodate the three almost full SG teams. All of the military personnel stood. Dr. Jackson sat slumped in his chair, not acknowledging anything happening around him. General Landry motioned for everyone to sit.
"Colonel Mitchell, what happened out there?"
"We were taken prisoner on the second day, sir. The government is corrupt and when we showed signs of seeing through the poorly constructed façade they wanted to show us they got angry. Teal'c, Daniel and I were held in a cell with about twenty other people for the next six days, until help arrived. We were fed once a day and never allowed out of the cell. There was no interaction between the guards and us. They never asked us any questions or made any demands."
"Where was Colonel Carter?" General Landry locked eyes with Colonel Mitchell, trying to gauge the man's mental condition.
"She was separated from us immediately upon entering the prison. They knew she was in command of the mission and we assumed they wanted to speak with her. We asked about her often but they never answered. We never saw her again."
"We heard her." All eyes turned to Daniel as he spoke in a strained voice. The General's eyes widened slightly but he reclaimed his control quickly.
"What do you mean, Doctor?"
"Her screams. We heard her screams." Daniel's hands were clasped together so tightly his knuckles turned white. "She screamed for four days. It takes a lot to make Sam scream like that. We haven't heard her for the last two days." Daniel kept his eyes focused on the table.
"Colonel Reynolds, what did you find when you arrived?"
"Thanks to the intel sent by SG-1 the first day they were on the 898 we knew better then to trust the government. I had SG-5 secure the gate and stay there as back up. SG-3 and I met up with an underground resistance group working against the government a couple hours after sneaking into the capital. They helped us get into the prison. There were very few guards and they were easily subdued. We went cell to cell calling for SG-1. We found Teal'c, Colonel Mitchell, and Dr. Jackson in the third cell. Captain Martin and I worked on getting the cell door open while Lieutenant Aimes and Major Tyler finished checking cells. They returned empty handed just after we let all the prisoners out of the third cell. All the noise alerted the other guards. We could hear them coming so we back tracked and got out of there."
"Major Tyler, are you sure Colonel Carter wasn't in one of those cells?"
"Most of the cells were packed with people but we looked in each cell as we went down the hall. There was no response to our calls, sir."
"Daniel Jackson is correct in his assessment that it would take much to cause Colonel Carter to scream as she did. Is it not possible she was unable to respond to your calls?" The General looked from Teal'c to Major Tyler.
"It's possible, sir. I can't say we saw every person in every cell but we did our best with the time we had. We didn't have time to blow every door and check each face. I think I know Colonel Carter well enough to know if she'd been there she would have responded to our calls." Major Tyler sat straight in his chair as he defended his actions.
"I agree, assuming she was physically capable of answering." General Landry turned his attention away from the Major and back towards Colonel Reynolds. "Colonel, do you think another more thorough search is possible?"
"Not in the method just employed but I do think we could work with the underground resistance to over throw the government and get back into that prison. We weren't with the resistance movement long but from what I saw they're close to defeating the standing government. A little help from us and it could be over in a matter of weeks."
"Or days." All heads turned towards the door. General Jack O'Neill stood, in his dress blues, filling the entry. Everyone immediately stood and came to attention.
"At ease." Jack stepped into the room. "May I join you?"
"Of course General, that's why I called. I can't believe you got here so fast."
"Thor left me a few toys. Now what was this about over throwing a government?" Jack accepted a seat at the table vacated by some captain he didn't recognize.
"I think the only way we'll gain access to the prison is to help the resistance overthrow the current government and help them assume control. If Colonel Carter isn't being held in the prison, hopefully having their leaders in custody will help us find where she's being held." Colonel Reynolds looked back and forth between General Landry and General O'Neill.
"I'm going along." Jack's face clearly dared someone to challenge him. No one dared.
"SGs 3 and 5 along with General O'Neill leave in ten hours. I want everyone rested before you leave."
"What about SG-1? We have a right to go along." Colonel Mitchell leaned forward as spoke. "I know Teal'c and Daniel agree." Teal'c inclined his head once and Daniel nodded his vigorously in agreement.
"I think you've been through..."
"Less then Colonel Carter. The doctor gave us each a clean bill of health. We're not dehydrated and we were fed every day. They never touched us. We're tired but we won't be in ten hours. We deserve to go and she'll need us when we find her." Jack gave a subtle nod of his head indicating his agreement with Colonel Mitchell. General Landry dropped his head towards the table and then lifted his eyes to Colonel Mitchell.
"Alright but all three of you had better sleep, even if it means you get a sedative from the doctor. Is that understood?" There were more nods. "Dismissed." Everyone stood and most moved towards the door.
"Jack?" Jack turned towards Daniel.
"It's ok, Daniel."
"We left her behind."
"Not by choice and we're going back for her. She knew this was one of the risks of command. Get some sleep Daniel, we need you in top form." Daniel dropped his head and walked past Jack. Teal'c and Jack shared a silent moment of locked eyes, which said more then any words. Teal'c followed Daniel as Jack moved towards his old office to discuss the plans with General Landry and Colonel Reynolds.