"I shall begin again. Who are you?"
"Colonel Jack O'Neill US Air Force, two L's in that." Jack gasped under the pain. The knife that had so spitefully slid its way into his left shoulder caused him to spit these words; he really didn't want to tell this snake-head anything.
"What was it called?" Baal asked coldly; Jack narrowed his eyes, the Goa'ulds face had shifted somewhat before he said that, what was going on?
"I don't know and I don't care!"
"Tok'ra retain the identities of both host and symbiote. You are O'Neill, what was the name of your symbiote?"
"I don't…remember." Baal's face shifted again, like it was trying to fly off its owner's head.
"What Tok'ra secrets could a single name reveal?" Baal asked with a devilish smile on his face.
"If I knew the name I'd give you the damn name! I don't care about protecting the Tok'ra!" Jack replied, slamming his head against the grate.
"The Tok'ra have been a nuisance for centuries-" Baal's face shifted again, and this time more violently. The pain in Jack's shoulder was gone, but it had been replaced by the smoldering sensation of acid burrowing it's way through his chest.
I hate you. This is your fault! Jack thought scathingly. I'm gonna die here, you left me alone to die. I hate you!
"Kanan!" Jack bellowed. "That's a name…" But he was no longer speaking to Baal's loathsome face. As he had yelled the name Kanan in his nightmare, he had shot up in bed, dripping in a cold sweat and shouted the name into the darkness.
After shaking his head vigorously in every direction, Jack threw off his sheet and stumbled drowsily into the bathroom. A splash in the face with cold water calmed him down and he stared in the mirror for a moment, noticing how clearly the lines of agedness shown in his face.
"God, this is gettin' old."
The next morning, Jack was late getting up and had to speed to get to Cheyenne Mountain for the morning briefing, earning him several angry yells from people he cut off in his charge.
"Glad you could join us Colonel." General Hammond said in a tone fit to rival even Jack's sarcasm.
"Sorry Sir…Traffic." He explained as he lowered himself into a swivel chair. Teal'c lifted his head skyward in a sort of jaffa eye-roll. Daniel mimicked this in the earth fashion and Jack narrowed his eyes at him.
"So, where were we Major?" The General asked. Sam walked around the table once more and pointed her remote at the screen.
"The environment on P4X-949 can support human life long enough for me to get the samples I want with minimal side effects. Dr. Mackenzie agrees the trip would be safe if we only stayed for a few hours and brought oxygen tanks just in case." Jack raised his eyebrows until they nearly disappeared into his hairline.
"Can support human life long enough?" He asked with a slight edge to his voice. "What exactly does that mean Carter?" Sam pressed a button on the remote and an image of P4X-949 with its swirling purple and blue clouds appeared fully animated on the screen.
"The atmosphere of the planet is full of liquefied hydrogen molecules that-"
"Carter!" Jack said threateningly, she smiled and laughed silently.
"What I mean to say sir is the atmosphere is very very humid, almost too humid to support human life. Breathing on the planet for a prolonged period of time would cause our lungs to be over moisturized and we would essentially drown. In addition, there's a slight electro-magnetic field, but the most that could cause is a slight headache. But I believe there could be huge medical advancements in this for us sir." Jack was staring, open mouthed, at Sam and his eyes seemed glossed over.
"Uh, Jack?" Daniel asked narrowing his eyes.
"Too humid to sustain human life?"
"Only after a long time sir."
"Slight electric field?"
"Yes sir, but not dangerous."
"And you want samples of?"
"A certain cloud on the planet." Jack nodded and sighed heavily.
"General, do we have to physically go to the planet?" General Hammond looked to Sam to answer this.
"Major, can we send the M.A.L.P. or some other form of technology we posses to get the data you need?" Sam shook her head.
"No sir, not unless we teach the M.A.L.P. to dial the gate; I need actual samples of the cloud brought back to the SGC to run the tests I need." The General nodded and looked from Jack to Sam and back again and then sighed.
"I'm sorry Colonel, but the wealth of knowledge that can be had far outweighs the risks. Sg-1 will leave for P4X-949 at 0900 tomorrow morning." With that the discussion was over and Sg-1 got the rest of the day off.
"Hell, I've got to clean my locker anyway." Jack said as he and Teal'c talked in the locker room.
"O'Neill, may I ask the reason for your hesitation in taking the mission to P4X-949?" Jack sighed one of his most exhausted sighs and pulled the picture of his son off the locker door.
"I dunno Teal'c, I just have a bad feeling about this one." He replied, his voice turning somewhat bland.
"Perhaps you consumed something that did not come to an agreement with your stomach O'Neill." Jack stopped for a moment and put the photograph back in his locker. He turned slowly and narrowed his eyes at Teal'c.
"Teal'c…was that a joke?" Teal'c waited for a brief moment and then let loose one of his very rare smiles. Jack laughed aloud and continued to laugh silently at Teal'c joke attempt for a long time after. That night, Jack awoke several times each after having yelled the name of his one-time symbiote.
"Feeling alright sir?" Sam asked as she threw on her heavy pack in the gate room. Jack was rubbing his eyes and forehead with one hand and failing at tying his boot with the other.
"Yeah, I'm fine, just tired. Thanks for asking." He replied with a smile. Sam smiled back and began piling their spare air tanks onto the F.R.E.D. module. The intercom told them all to step back from the gate as it was activated, which was quite pointless as Teal'c, Sam, and Jack were nowhere near the gate and Daniel hadn't even arrived.
"Plan on coming Daniel?" Jack shouted down hall C2. Daniel didn't answer as he came jogging into the gate room still trying to attach his backpack. "Come here." Jack said in a fatherly way, helping the young archaeologist clip his bag on.
"If you do not return within the four hour limit, I'm sending Sg-3 to extract you. Good luck."