A/N: The more of this I write, the more I hate the title. I'm considering changing it to "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" or something else Oz related before trying to get it posted on other sites. Any and all suggestions are welcome. This chapter was really hard to write, but I think it was worth it. Hope you enjoy.
Major Samantha Carter regained consciousness back in cell. It was the same cell that SG-1 was in before the rest of her team returned through the Stargate. Although now, with only one person in it, the space seemed much larger. There was still enough light coming through the cracks in the wall for her to make out Teal'c's massive shoe prints by the door and the pile of Kleenex Daniel had left in the corner. She was tired and sore. God, was she shore. It felt like everything inside her had been squeezed or pulled. She shuddered when she realized that was exactly what may really have happened.
Use your head, Carter," Sam's voice echoed strangely in the stone room. She hated being alone. At least when she was stranded on the Prometheus people came to visit. True, they were figments of her imagination brought on by a concussion, but still it was company. "Okay, what do they want?" Sam was talking out loud to herself. She knew it was ridiculous, but she needed to hear something, even if it was her own voice. The silence was driving her insane. "Why just me? They sent the rest of SG-1 somewhere else, but they kept me here. They had already done something to me when we were first captured. I didn't start out in this room with the rest of my team. Colonel O'Neill said they brought me here later. So what do they want just me?" Sam asked herself.
She needed to rest. She needed to lie down for a while. Sam decided to take off her jacket and crumpled it up behind her head. She wanted to curl up in the dirt and go to sleep, but she was afraid of waking up on that table again, or even worse, of not waking up at all. "If they wanted me dead, they probably would have done it by now." Then again, maybe they want to experiment some more first. Sam said to herself, not wanting to give voice to the thoughts that were beginning to enter her mind.
There were sounds coming from outside her cell. Footsteps! They were coming for her again. "Not this time boys." Carter said as she braced herself against the wall opposite the door. She wasn't going anywhere without a fight.
One of the creatures entered the cell, cocked its head and stared at her. If it had eyebrows, she swore they would now be raised. It walked toward her, then came to a stop inches from her face. The green skin was a deep emerald green in the fading light of the cell. Its yellow eyes appeared a deep orange. It was taller than her by a few inches, fairly proportional to human physiology, everything but the hands. The hands were huge. The creature raised a hand towards her. One finger was the length of her face. It placed the tip of the finger at the top of her head, and moved it down, tracing an invisible centerline down the length of her body. When it reached her navel, it stopped. Carter fought to control her breathing. "Find out what it wants," she could practically hear Daniel's voice in her head.
The creature lifted her shirt slightly and knelt down, inspecting her navel. "Guess you weren't invited to the first party," joked Sam nervously. The creature didn't respond. "Can you hear me?" She asked. Again, she received no response from the alien. Sam took a chance and touched the hand that was poking at her stomach. Instantly the creature was on its feet and the hand she touched was pinning her against the wall before she had time to react. "Hey! Whoa, I'm sorry. I–" Sam tried to say. The other hand came up to her head and covered her face. It was then that she smelled it. The fragrance was foreign, yet familiar, and she felt the darkness creeping in. 'Not this time,' thought Carter as she fought hard not to inhale. Her muscles relaxed, she felt herself pool onto the cell floor; felt the creature pick her up, felt herself being carried out of the cell, felt everything, heard everything, but couldn't move. "Here we go again." Thought Sam.
Colonel Jack O'Neill, Teal'c, and Dr. Daniel Jackson came through the gate. Once again descending on the planet O'Neill had called Oz. "You know," Jack said, "I liked this place a whole lot better the first time."
"These are the same conditions we encountered on our previous visit to this planet, O'Neill." Teal'c said in his flat manner. Jack just looked at him. Sometimes Teal'c just didn't get his sarcasm.
"The circumstances were a lot better before, Teal'c," explained Daniel.
"Indeed." Replied Teal'c.
"Let's go boys. Follow the yellow brick road." Jack ordered as he led the way, partially because it was his job to take point and partially because he didn't want his companions to see the concern on his face. 'Like they don't know I'm worried,' he thought. But still, he was a Colonel in the United States Air Force, and he was a guy. Meaning he must remain in control at all times.
This time Sam was aware of her surroundings. She was back in the lab. Her clothes were being removed; she felt the cold metal of the table against her bareback. She was a prisoner in her own body. Their hands were all over her body. She tried to concentrate so she could remember what was being done to her. There were five sets of hands, one on each leg, on each arm, and one on her stomach. Something cold was placed over her navel. "It's just a belly button," she said to herself. "Get over it."
Then came the pain, searing through her abdomen. She screamed silently, tried to fight with arms and legs that wouldn't move. Her breathing had become short and rapid. That got their attention. Sam felt fingers move to her face, probing her nostrils, and then something cold was inserted that caused severe pain. She screamed again, thrashed again. No sound escaped her lips, but this time something moved.
Her right arm dropped off the table. She expected them to drug her again. She waited for them to continue doing whatever it was they were going to do, but she didn't feel anything. There was no sound, no movement. She concentrated on breathing, on moving her fingers and toes, on opening her eyes.
When she finally managed to get her eyes to focus, the creatures were gone. Carter was once again alone. Slowly and painfully she pulled herself to a sitting position, letting her legs dangle off the edge of the table. She was nauseous, the pain in her stomach was unbearable and her head felt like it was going to explode at any minute. Thankful for her military training, she made herself get up and off the table. She headed immediately to the monitors on the far wall. She had to know what they did.
"Jack we need a plan." Said Daniel from behind him.
"We have a plan, Daniel. We are going to go in there and get Carter. Then we are going to go back to the gate and go home." Jack replied as if this rescue was going to be that simple.
Daniel continued, "Yes, Jack, that is the plan. But what I mean is we need a plan to execute that plan. We can't just walk in there and walk out with her. We're not even sure where 'there' is."
"DanielJackson is correct, O'Neill. It would be wise to formulate a plan of attack before proceeding." Teal'c added to the inquiry. Jack turned on his heals, staring back at his teammates.
"Look," said O'Neill in anger and frustration. "I don't have a master plan. I don't know how to formulate a master plan. We don't know what we're dealing with or even how many of whatever they are there is. All I know is that they brought us down this road. Therefore, this road goes to wherever they are. And wherever they are is more than likely where Carter is, and that's where we want to be." He turned away from them and continued down the yellow path.
Daniel and Teal'c remained behind a moment. "I think we just met the Wizard," said Daniel as he began to follow.
"Indeed." Agreed Teal'c as he brought up the rear and SG-1 continued on to find and rescue the missing member of their team.
The monitors refused to operate. Sam touched them all as she had before, but there was no response. "What did you do to me?" She screamed in frustration, grabbing the nearest instrument and smashing the screen before her. Seconds later, Sam realized what she had done, and stood poised ready to attack the creatures that would undoubtedly be attracted by the noise. She waited ready to fight but no one came.
She grabbed her clothes, pulling on her tank top and pants, not bothering with the rest. She did not care if these creatures saw her naked again, but something in her wouldn't let her walk the halls naked. As she clipped her belt, she doubled over in pain. Her navel and the surrounding area were bruised and raw. Steadying her breathing, Sam pulled off the belt and let her pants fall low on her hips; that seemed to ease the pain somewhat, not gone, but better. She rolled up her tank a few inches as well, just to be safe, then made her way out of the lab and back up to the chamber she had found the day before.
The corridor had been on the right, she remembered that, but there was a light coming from the left this time. Sam checked her surroundings and slowly made her way into the other room. Her breath caught inside her as she found herself face to face with a Unas. It was in a case of some type, transparent, but more than just glass. She stared at the Unas; its dead eyes stared back. It was perfectly preserved. She turned and saw more cases, many more cases, and couldn't help but feel the hairs standing up on her arms.
She made her way down the hall. Most of these species in these cases the SGC had never encountered. There was a Jaffa, Ra's by the mark on his forehead. "These creatures must have been doing this for a while," thought Sam. When she reached the last case, she froze. It was empty except for a pair of combat boots, standard issue from the SGC. So this is what they wanted with her: a trophy for their collection. "Well, I've seen enough." Said Carter as she made her way quickly out of the trophy room and back through the main hall.
Sam was now at the room she had discovered yesterday. She knew what she wanted from this room, and didn't hesitate as she ripped it from the wall. Sam heard them coming, and she waited patiently. This time she was more than ready for them. It was now or never, if she wanted to get out of here alive.
"Well that was too easy." said Daniel skeptically as they entered the main hall of the cavern. "Where is everyone?"
"Leave the pessimism to me. Okay, Danny boy?" Jack said with more than enough reasons to be worried. Daniel was right, that was way too easy. "Teal'c, you gettin' anything?"
"Nothing, O'Neill. It does not appear that the creatures are in this dwelling." Answered Teal'c.
"No, they gotta be here. This is where we were, right?" Asked Jack. He knew this was the same place; but still, there was no harm in making sure. He trusted Teal'c's memory a lot more than his own.
"This is indeed the same cavern, O'Neill, but I do not see where the Ozians could be located within it." Replied Teal'c.
"Yeah, well lets keep moving, I see a light up ahead," ordered Jack as he led the way to the lab.
"It appears this equipment was destroyed," observed Teal'c as they entered the lab.
"Ya think?" Said Jack sarcastically from his guard position at the door. "Anything useful over there?"
"Uh, this" said Daniel holding up a Carter's abandoned bra.
"Daniel, put that down!" Ordered Jack a little to harshly.
"Jack, just it's a bra." Said Daniel.
"It's not just a bra, it's Carter's bra. Put it down." Jack reiterated.
"Right," said Daniel as he dropped the clothing back on the counter.
"What else is over there?" asked Jack.
"Um, underwear, socks, a belt, a bunch of alien instruments..." Daniel began to list them all.
"What the hell!" blurted Jack as he turned quickly. Daniel and Teal'c joining him as a blur of green fell from above and landed hard below. "Let's move!"
Sam felt the energy from the Goa'uld ribbon device run through her. The creatures ran directly at her, not making a sound. She directed the device at them and was able to push them back. It's almost too easy to repel them she was thinking, until she was grabbed from behind. Her arm, with the device, was covered by one huge, green hand. It pulled her backwards by her arm and she heard the bone snap. "Ahh!" Sam cried out in pain.
There must have been another way in that she hadn't seen when she had searched the room. None of the creatures had gotten past her. They couldn't have. The creature threw her to the floor and she landed hard on her stomach. She cried out again, but this time the sound choked in her throat. The pain was too much; she couldn't breathe. They were coming at here again, making not sound. The yellow eyes now glowing red. She got to her knees, raised her arm as much as she could and with the power of the Goa'uld device managed to send a few more creatures flying over the edge of the cavern. But more kept coming.
"Carter, get down!" O'Neill's voice came from somewhere behind her, breaking the silence of the attack. Sam reacted before she processed what was going on. She lay on her back, not moving a muscle. Colonel O'Neill, was her only thought. Everything was slowly sinking in. The sound of weapons fire filled the room: P-90s and a staff weapon. SG-1. She felt a hand on her arm, a regular hand, and managed to turn her head.
"Daniel?" Sam asked not believing her eyes. Her lips moved, but the sound barely came out, and she knew he couldn't have heard her over the weapons fire, but he nodded all the same. Daniel moved his arms under hers, in an effort to pull her out of the way. Her head flung back onto his chest when he grabbed her right arm. Sam screamed in pain. Looking down, he saw that Sam's arm was obviously broken.
"Geez, Sam." Whispered Daniel. He tried a different approach to lifting her out of harms way, sliding his right arm under her knees and picking her up. She winced again, in pain, as her body folded from being lifted, but there was nothing else he could do. He carried her out of the room and down the hall.
Jack continued firing his weapon, though the creatures were no longer advancing on them. "O'Neill" said Teal'c, grabbing his arm and pushing his gun towards the floor. "We were successful. DanielJackson is in possession of Major Carter."
Jack had just been pulled from a trance. Revenge! That was all he saw. One look at his 2IC, his Carter, and all he wanted to do was hurt these creatures as much as they had hurt her. And he had. The creatures lay in a pile before them. Orange blood, mixed with green skin. Jack looked at Teal'c whose solemn nod told him that the Jaffa understood.
"Let's get outta here." Ordered Jack as he walked out without looking back. He set out to find Daniel and Carter.
"I can walk, Daniel." Sam insisted. He looked down at her and took in her present physical state. She was breathing hard and he knew her well enough to know she was fighting back tears. "My arms broken, not my legs." She said and even managed a smile. "Besides, I think it'll hurt less if I'm straight." Daniel nodded and lowered her to her feet. She winced at this change in position, leaving her good arm around his shoulders for support.
"Better?" Daniel asked with his voice full of concern.
"Not really." Sam admitted. Her eyes were closed, she was trying, unsuccessfully to steady her breathing.
"What did they do to you?" Asked Daniel. He went to put an arm around her waist to further assist her in walking, but stopped when he noticed her stomach was red and swollen. Something told him he didn't want to know the answer to his question.
Sam followed the line of his eyes to her stomach. Then squeezed his shoulder with her good arm to get him to look at her. "I don't know." She answered truthfully. For the first time her voice cracked. It lasted only a second before Major Carter took over for Sam, but it was long enough for Daniel to notice her fear. He resisted the urge to hug her, knowing that there was very few places he could touch without hurting her. He settled at resting his forehead against hers.
"It's over." Daniel said to Sam as Jack and Teal'c came up from behind them. Jack looked at Daniel for some kind of clue to Carter's condition, but Daniel's eyes were locked on hers. Sam nodded against Daniel's forehead and closed her eyes. Somehow she knew it wasn't over and so did Jack.