AN: Hello everyone, sorry for the delay. I went to Lanzarote and then to Worcester and I've had my exams. Also, I wanted to work extra hard on this chapter, I think you'll see why, I only hope that it shows.
Jack, listen to me." General Hammond stepped in the path of Colonel Jack who was currently pacing around his office. "I know you want to go now, I understand, but I cannot send my people on a mission without them being fully informed and prepared." The General glared sternly and Colonel Jack sighed. "You know that." Hammond continued calmly and Jack sighed in response.
"General, every minute we waste here, Nirrti could be leaving that planet."
I understood, for once, what the Colonel wasn't saying. "Jonas could be leaving that planet"
"I understand that, Colonel. But what we're dealing with now is no longer a simple search and rescue. It's a full blown reconnaissance mission."
"Nirrti is a powerful Goa'uld, we may face heavy resistance." Teal'c added, though I could tell the admission was painful for him. He was just as eager, if not more so, as the Colonel to go on this mission.
"We're going to need at least two hours for the UAV to complete its survey. That should give us a good idea of the resistance we're up against." The General stated, visible bracing himself for the Colonel's reply which was immediate and furious.
"In two hours Nirrti could have packed up ship and left!" His voice wasn't quite at shouting volume but his body language easily betrayed his frustration and I empathised. I didn't even know the man that was responsible for such concern from Colonel Jack, Sam and Teal'c but seeing them so upset made me wish I could do something to help.
"Look, Colonel, at the minute we are just not prepared enough to begin this mission. We have no information about the level of resistance we'll be facing, heck, Colonel Murray doesn't even have a fourth team member yet."
All eyes in the room turned to me as the General finished speaking and it was all I could do to stammer out. "I…I failed?"
I had to force the final word past a lump in my throat. It wasn't like I'd never failed before, on Kelowna I'd constantly failed to live up to everyone's expectations as a soldier but this time the idea of failing hurt. It hurt so much it was almost a physical pain in my chest and even Sam placing her hand on my arm didn't put me at ease at all.
"No. He passed." The General's tone was reluctant and it took me longer than usual to actually process what he'd said.
"He passed?" Sam repeated, her voice sounding happier than I had heard it in a while. "Well then, Colonel Murray's got his fourth team member." She frowned, exchanging confused glances with me and the other members of SG-1.
"Well, perhaps, but I don't know if I'm comfortable sending an untrained agent on such a serious mission, Major."
I don't know what caused me to act the way I did next. Maybe it was the shock of believing I'd failed coupled with the sudden bout of confusion and happiness from hearing that I'd passed. More likely however, it was due to what I perceived as the General's, perhaps understandable, lack of confidence in me and the way he was talking as though I wasn't even in the room, like I was…just a slave.
"I am here you know." I cut off Sam's reply. "I can hear you. You can talk to me if there's a problem with my abilities." The silence that followed my statement brought home to me just how far I'd stepped out of line and I meekly added "Sir."
"He's right." I frowned in surprise as the Colonel started speaking. "He's a member of Stargate Command now, Sir. We should treat him like one."
The General hadn't even glanced at the Colonel, instead his eyes had remained fixed on me, his expression a mixture of shock, anger and bemusement before he finally sighed and nodded.
"You know what, son? He's right." I saw the Colonel give a grin at this. "You can make your own decisions. Do you understand why I'm reluctant to have you on the team for this mission?" He asked I nodded.
"I understand, Sir. You're only being cautious." I said formally, drawing on every ounce of military experience I had. "I know you don't have much evidence of my previous missions but, I'm talented at search and rescue, I know what I'm doing." I assured him, sounding far more confident than I actually felt. "And, having a clone of the missing….of Jonas Quinn could give us a psychological and tactical advantage over the enemy. If we could disorientate her then that could give us enough time to attack, or I could provide a diversion while the other teams get into place." I finished, happy to see proud looks on the faces of Sam, Teal'c and Colonel O'Neill. The General however had a genuine smile on his face.
"You've come a long way, son." He smiled. "A very long way." He repeated thoughtfully before turning to Colonel Jack.
"Alright, Colonel you've now got an hour and 40 minutes to meet with SG-18 and plan your strategy. I want you in the embarkation room at sixteen hundred hours." He ordered, snapping instantly back into his role as a commanding officer.
Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill both saluted before rapidly exiting the room along with Teal'c and I moved to follow before stopping briefly and turning to the remaining person in the office.
"Thank you, General Hammond." I said sincerely before making a promise I was determined to keep. "I won't let you down"
"Alright, Quinn, time to gear up." Murray clapped me on the shoulder as he handed me a rucksack. "Your uniform's in there along with your P-90 and a pair of those semi-automatics you liked." The Colonel explained as I began emptying the contents of the bag. "Major Hawke will talk you through how to operate your radio and GDO." He continued as we both got changed.
"Major Hawke?" I questioned the unfamiliar name.
"Yeah he's…" I could hear the hitch in the Colonel's voice as he turned and saw my exposed chest littered with scars. "He's a member of SG-18 too." The Colonel continued before exhaling deeply.
"Go on." I sighed, an inappropriate smile tugging at my lips as I watched the Colonel try to contain his anger, "Just get it over with."
To my surprise the Colonel seemed relatively calm as he began speaking. "You know…if I ever meet the bastards who did that to you…" The Colonel paused as he loaded the ammunition into his gun and I took the opportunity to cut him off, not wanting to even think about my old masters and trainers.
"Can we just, not talk about it, Sir? Please?" I asked as I pulled my shirt on. "We have to focus on finding Jonas." That wasn't the real reason for me cutting him off, I would never have suggested that Colonel Murray wasn't focused under normal circumstances but, ever since the Colonel had finished his last sentence, the circumstances were no longer normal. I knew he meant well with what he said but even the mere idea of anyone from Earth returning to Kelowna was enough to make me panic and if being rude or disrespectful put that idea out of their heads, even for a little while, then, in my eyes, it was worth it.
It was the second time that day that I had heard those two words spoken when I was expecting to hear a chastisement and I hoped that Lieutenant Renshaw wouldn't get disciplined for agreeing with me.
"We don't have much time to pool the Intel from the UAV, we have to keep focused on the task at hand." She continued before pausing as the black haired man next to her began speaking.
"He doesn't need a civilian to tell him that." The words were full of anger and dislike and I frowned as I raised my eyes to meet the piercing blue ones of the speaker. I didn't recognise him which confused me, how could a man I'd never met and who didn't understand about slave culture harbour such a dislike for me?
"Lucas!" Renshaw's voice was rich with indignation as she turned on her colleague, followed quickly by Colonel Murray who rose up off the bench, pulling himself to his full height. He was still and inch or so shorter than 'Lucas' but his presence was infinitely more intimidating.
"I think you need to reconsider your tone," he paused dramatically, "Major." There was no mistaking the significance behind that word. "Quinn, this is Major Lucas Hawke of SG-18."
I simply nodded unsure of what to say faced with such hostility. On Kelowna I would have assumed the man was spoiling for a fight but I knew that that wouldn't be the case on Earth. At least, not in such a public place.
"The General let him come, huh?" Hawke was looking at me as he spoke but not even acknowledging my presence in his speech. "I'm surprised." he said, his eyebrows were raised as he looked me up and down and I could feel resentment burning in the back of my mind. "Think you handle this without breaking down? I mean, I've heard…" The man's voice began to trail off as I imagined what Colonel O'Neill would be saying to me if he knew what was happening.
"Are you just gonna stand there and take that crap, Quinn?"
"I can handle it fine." I replied coldly, hoping it was the truth.
"You'd better." was the short, threatening reply I received before Major Hawke skulked off, followed rapidly by Colonel Murray.
"Don't mind him, Quinn…" Lieutenant Renshaw said gently as she moved towards me. "He's just wary of having civilians on the team after what happened to Michael…" She trailed off shaking her head and I placed a hand on her shoulder in what I hoped was a comforting gesture.
"I hardly ever miss." I assured her. "I'd never miss a shot three times in a row. Besides…" I sighed as I loaded my semi automatics. "I'm hardly a civilian." I tried to keep the pain out of my voice as I spoke, I wasn't looking for sympathy or pity but there was no denying the feeling of resentment I got from saying those words. The whole reason for my creation was for me to be a soldier for the coalition and this stranger was accusing me of not having enough military training.
"He'll understand once he gets to know you." Renshaw assured me but I simply shrugged with one shoulder as I altered the strap on my P90.
"Doesn't matter." I replied and Renshaw looked at me curiously.
"It really doesn't to you, does it?"
"As long as he doesn't let it interfere in the mission." I started as I stood up, "The only thing that matters is the successful completion of the mission." It was only when I turned back to look at the Lieutenant, that I noticed the saddened look on her face and I frowned as I tried to understand what was upsetting her. "Success is all that matters…" I quoted the lesson that had been drilled into me on Kelowna, "Isn't that right?"
"From what we've seen, Nirrti has touched down in a Ha'tak vessel here." Sam pointed to a position on the map we were all stood in front of. "It's approximately two miles from the Stargate and three miles from a small village located here." My eyes followed the Major's finger to where she pointed on the map.
"SG-2's report and the UAV both show that the village is of a low level of technological and scientific advancement."
"Then Nirrti isn't there to steal technology." Lieutenant Renshaw surmised and Major Sam nodded her approval.
"That's right. We have to assume she's either interested in something native to that planet, similar to naquadria found on Kelowna, or the natives of the planet themselves."
"Given the proximity of her Ha'tak vessel to the village, the latter seems the most likely probability." Teal'c stated and I saw the other personnel in the room nod in agreement.
"SG-2 reported no Jaffa guarding the Stargate on their arrival or departure from the planet." Colonel O'Neill picked up where Sam had left off. "We should expect little resistance en route to Nirrti's ship meaning we can keep up a good pace."
"Then what?" Colonel Murray prompted and O'Neill shrugged.
"We'll deal with the resistance. Get in, grab Jonas and get out. Hopefully bag ourselves a Goa'uld on the way out." He spoke nonchalantly but his expression was serious and showed that he wasn't prepared to be argued with on that matter.
Major Hawke however either didn't pick that up or had decided to put his opinion across regardless. "Look, I hate to say it but we can't tiptoe around the issue." The man took a deep breath before continuing, "There's a chance Jonas isn't going to be there." He stated and I had to admire his courage, even if I didn't like him, as he fixed those piercing blue eyes unwaveringly on Colonel O'Neill.
"He's right, Jack." Colonel Murray said placatingly, quickly coming to the defence of his subordinate as he observed the rising fury within Colonel O'Neill. "If he's not there we can't afford to loose focus. Any of us." He glanced over the room and again everyone nodded, albeit a little reluctantly this time.
"There's a still a village full of people in danger from that Goa'uld." Sam stated and I could tell it was a conscious effort for her to keep her voice steady.
"But, retrieving Jonas is our first priority." The Colonel said firmly and this time even Hawke didn't argue. "Does everyone understand?"
"Yes Sir." I replied in time with everyone else, grateful to have something to say in this meeting, no matter how small. I could only hope that my contribution to the mission itself would be something more substantial. If I'd known at the time just how substantial it would be then I might have been more careful about what I hoped for.
I'd only met the General once or twice and I still don't know what inspired me to ask him what I did yet, as I stood to attention in front of him, Neill sat by my feet I was almost sure I'd made the right decision.
"Of all the questions I was expecting to hear today, that was the last thing that crossed my mind." Hammond smiled and bit my lip nervously as I shifted my eyes to the ground. Maybe I had made a mistake after all.
"I'm sorry, Sir." I mumbled.
"Look at me son." The older man ordered but his voice was soft and concerned and I gingerly lifted my gaze to meet his. "Despite how it might seem, I don't like seeing people afraid of me."
I didn't know how to react to his self-depreciating humour and I was nervous to press the issue of my question. Luckily, I didn't need to as the General seemed to sense my apprehension and he gave me a warm smile.
"As for Neill here, I know two little girls who'd just love to give him a home." I smiled at this before suddenly realising the impact of his words. I didn't want Neill taken away from me. "For a little while at least." He finished and I exhaled a sigh of relief.
"Thank you Sir." I couldn't stop the smile from spreading across my face.
"Maybe I should be thanking you." Hammond replied, "My granddaughters have been spoiling for a puppy of their own, this will give them the opportunity to prove to their mother that they're capable of looking after one."
"I'm glad Neill and I could be useful to you, Sir." I replied.
"Quinn I…" the general paused thoughtfully, indicating for me to take a seat. "I hope you didn't take what I said earlier personally. I would have said that with any soldier I haven't had field reports from. You understand that don't you?"
"Yes Sir." I replied automatically but the General's suspicious expression prompted me to continue. "I do understand, General, and I'm grateful to be working under such a wise and responsible commander."
"If all my men shared that attitude my job would be a lot easier." Hammond mused and I smiled a little.
"I know you wouldn't have your people any other way than they are now, Sir." I ventured and the older man nodded.
"Sadly…you're completely right." The General laughed.
"But, they don't…they're not…" I cursed internally as I stumbled over what I was really trying to say. Years of not expressing my feelings often made it difficult to find the words and I desperately wanted to explain to the General what I was feeling.
"Take your time." Hammond said kindly and I was once again reminded of how lucky I was to be here, how I no longer expected a blow for hesitating.
"I just wanted to thank you for…for giving me a home too." I finally choked out.
"I'm glad I did." The man smiled as he stood up and I followed suit. "Listen, you just make sure you come back to it after this mission, you hear me?" He spoke seriously and I nodded.
"I wouldn't want to go anywhere else."
"I already told you ma'am-"
"Just let me in!" The sounds of an argument outside shattered the serenity of mine and General Hammond's sentimental moment and I startled at the sound of a familiar voice, my eyes locking briefly with the General's before turning to the entrance.
"Doctor Fraiser?" Hammond called out curiously, frowning as the Doctor pushed open the door.
"General Hammond, request to join Jonas Quinn's rescue mission." She stated before the General had a chance to ask any questions.
"Sir I-" A young looking airman appeared in the doorway and General Hammond waved him back,
"It's alright airman." He said calmly before turning to Doctor Fraiser. "Request denied, Doctor."
I was shocked at the bluntness of General Hammond's tone but I knew the General would have a good reason for not allowing Doctor Janet on the team.
"Sir I should-"
"Doctor." The General's firm tone cut the Doctor off mid-protest, "I understand how you feel but I need you here, on base." He explained, "There's a chance that there will be casualties from this mission and I need you available to deal with them."
There was no denying his logic but in the face of saving someone you love sometimes logic doesn't get much of a say in matters.
"But Sir we need medical support on that mission."
"Lieutenant Renshaw is perfectly capable of providing medical support."
It seemed that I had all but been forgotten in the heated debate so it came as a shock to both of them when I timidly spoke up.
"The teams would be even…"
I wasn't sure if I should keep disagreeing with the General but I felt sorry for Doctor Janet and it would be safer having another medic on the team. "If Doctor Janet were to come…then there would be four people on each team. Just like on the other SG teams. We could split up then if necessary and it might be reassuring for Jonas, if we find to him, to have Doctor Janet there." I spoke, Neill barking enthusiastically in response to the sounds of my voice.
"Nurse Rush can handle things in the infirmary, Sir." Doctor Janet took advantage of the General's crumbling resolve.
"You know what? I'm leaving this one up to Colonel O'Neill." The General decided, "You have one hour until departure, any last minute tweaks to the mission plan I'm leaving up to the CO."
"Thank you, General!" Janet beamed before taking hold of my hand and leading me towards the exit. "Come on, Quinn, I'm going to need those puppy-dog eyes of yours." She smiled and I looked helplessly to General Hammond before turning back to look at the woman currently holding my wrist.
"But, Doctor Janet, Neill's still in the office!" Not that I understood how his eyes would help the situation anyway.
It turned out that Doctor Janet didn't need any help from me to get permission to join the mission. Colonel O'Neill seemed glad to have her on board even if he was a little startled that she'd charged into the men's locker room to confront him
"Thanks, Quinn." Doctor Janet smiled as she approached me after Colonel O'Neill had left. "You put up a good argument for me in there."
"No problem." I mumbled shyly. "It's not a lot compared to everything you've done for me."
"I don't think you realise how important this is to me if that's what you think." She replied with a hint of disbelief in her voice and I shrugged.
"Probably not." I replied honestly.
"No…" The doctor paused thoughtfully, "Probably not. I hope you never do." She added emphatically. It was strange to see Doctor Janet so withdrawn and pensive when I was so used to her being in control. Until that moment it had always been Doctor Janet supporting me. I wanted nothing more than to repay all she had done for me but faced with the opportunity I, once again, had no idea of the right thing to say.
"I think he'll still be alive." I tried to reassure her. It wasn't the most confidence-inspiring of things but Doctor Janet seemed to appreciate it, even if she knew I was only basing my confidence on gut-feeling.
"It's hard to consider anything else." Janet admitted and I nodded.
"I wish there was some way that we could synthesize the protein for my eyes here. I'd be so much more useful if I could use my advanced vision at will." I mused and Janet shook her head.
"That chemical wasn't natural Quinn, it could have a lot of side-effects we don't know about. You can't put yourself at risk, even…even on a mission like this." Even when she was so distraught Doctor Janet was thinking of my welfare and faced with such selflessness I felt almost unbearably inadequate. "Even if you want to." She continued and I nodded solemnly but reluctantly before glancing down at the digital watch I'd been given as part of my kit.
"ETA minus four minutes. We'd better go." I stated and Janet nodded. There was so much more that should have been said in that moment but my thoughts and emotions were running too wild to be put into words and there was no action that could accurately describe the complex mix of emotions I was feeling. It was mind-boggling to comprehend how a man I'd never met could be having such an influence on my life and I wondered if I would ever be capable of inspiring the type of feelings Jonas caused in the people of this facility.
I'd travelled through the Stargate a lot of times before on my various missions in Kelowna and I was prepared for the feeling of nausea and cold and the possibility of being hurled out of the wormhole at high speed. What I wasn't prepared for was to feel totally normal. Well, as normal as one can feel after being demolecularised and travelling through a wormhole.
The planet we arrived on - P43871 was covered in dense forestry but the Stargate was placed in a clearing with a path leading to it from far into the distance. The sky was blue and clear and a sun was shining brightly although it did little to heat the air around us, suggesting that it was much further away than Kelowna's or Earth's suns.
"Teal'c, Murray, Fraiser take point, Quinn with me, Carter, Renshaw, Hawke you guys bring up the rear. Keep alert." The Colonel ordered and everyone swiftly got into position. "Keep your eyes on those trees, Kiddo, this is too easy so far." The Colonel murmured as we began walking.
"Right" I agreed. "No guards at the Stargate…unusual considering we sent a team already and a UAV."
"Exactly." the Colonel agreed seriously.
"Maybe she feels she doesn't need guards for some reason?" Sam had obviously heard our conversation as she added her input.
"The Goa'uld are most arrogant." Teal'c provided and I nodded, it made sense but I couldn't figure out what reason Nirrti would have not to worry about our arrival. After all, the Tau'ri did have a reputation of defeating Goa'ulds.
"She knows we have the power to destroy her." Colonel Murray voiced my thoughts "Or, there's at least a possibility that we might be able to."
"She must think we won't for some reason." Hawke continued the train of thought which read like a military textbook- the skill and expertise of the people I was dealing with was incredible.
"But what…" I tried to figure out the next logical step in this thinking patter before my mind finally stumbled upon a conclusion which was as terrifying as it was uplifting.
"Hostage…" I wasn't sure who had said it or whether it was just my own thoughts echoing in my head but, either way, I could tell by the expressions on the faces of my team-mates that they were thinking the same way.
"It's just speculation." Colonel Murray finally spoke, breaking the silence that had descended on the group. His tone was reluctant but reserved but determined and what he was saying was true "She might have packed up ship and gone already." This was a little less determined but there were no arguments, it was a possibility we all had to face.
I felt my hands bunching into fists at my sides as I glanced round t the faces of my team-mates. I hated this Goa'uld as much as I had hated any trainer, bar the one who killed Forty Six. I hated this Goa'uld for the misery and suffering she caused to the people who had given me so much freedom and joy.
"If she is gone…" I thought to myself as we continued to trudge forward, "If she has left, then I'll find her." I swore to myself, "I'll find her, kill her and I'll bring Jonas Quinn back to Earth. And this time I won't anyone down."
As soon as we reached our destination I could feel the atmosphere around the group shift. Stood, dwarfed in the shadow of the great Hat'ak vessel I felt as tense then as I had when I had touched the quantum mirror so many months ago.
"Strange…" I thought "How things can come full-circle."
"Quinn get behind Teal'c." Colonel O'Neill ordered and I felt all my energy drain away as I turned to him, furious and indignant but knowing I would obey regardless.
"I came here to fight." I told him, almost spitefully, even as I moved to stand behind the Jaffa.
"Quinn, you said it yourself, you're a good tactical advantage. We need you to stay hidden, at least for a while." Sam spoke calmly and I nodded, feeling ashamed for even questioning the Colonel's logic.
"Nothing to be sorry about." The Colonel smiled. "We need to be ready to fight. We came here-"
"My, my…the Tau'ri." A strange voice cut Colonel off and judging by the reactions of the humans and Teal'c there was no doubt who this person was. The urge to aim my weapon was overpowering but I kept still and hidden, obscured by Teal'c's larger frame. I wasn't going to let anger ruin the chance we had worked so hard for. "It has been a while hasn't it? I'm afraid your team-mate gave up hope of you returning long ago…"
The woman's voice was like that of a Tok'ra and the mocking in it was easy to hear.
"Cut the crap." O'Neill scowled, "Where is he?" His voice was hard and cold and slightly unnerving to hear. I'd never seen the kindly, stoic Colonel so furious before.
"What makes you think he is still alive?" Nirrti smirked and I could see everyone tighten their grips on their weapons other than Colonel Jack who stood up, faking casualness.
"Because we have him right here." He smirked and I took that as my cue to step forward, standing in between Major Sam and the Colonel. The change in Nirrti's demeanour was slight but noticeable as her eyes widened and her brow creased in confusion.
"Wodan." She yelled, presumably to someone or something in the ship. "Bring out the Hok'taur."
I couldn't help but grin at this – Jonas was alive!
"You're wasting your time, Nirrti. We have the original right here." The Colonel placed a hand casually on my shoulder. "And he's more advanced than anything you could ever create."
I could feel my eyes growing darker at this as nerves and anger began to outweigh my sense of control. We had no plan for this and we could only hope things would go in our favour, it annoyed me that the Colonel was being so reckless.
"Jonas!" Doctor Janet's gasp was relieved, pained and panicked all at the same time resulting in a tone which could only be described as 'desperate'. It wasn't loud enough for Nirrti to hear of course, but it summed up pretty well everyone's reaction as Jonas Quinn was carried out of the ship over the shoulders of a Jaffa who was, in turn, accompanied by a strangely disfigured alien.
"That person is not Jonas Quinn." Nirrti sounded more like she was trying to assure herself than state a fact as she pointed at me, walking closer as she did so. Her eyes flashed white as mine shimmered black and for a moment we made eye contact and the cruelty and malice in those eyes shocked me to the core.
"Interesting…" The Goa'uld mused, seemingly having regained her composure and I reached automatically for my P90 when she took another step towards me, stopping when she snapped her fingers and Jonas was levitated into the air. My mind was racing as I tried to figure it out, the only species I had seen who could levitate people were the Ori – a mere Goa'uld wasn't capable of such a thing, surely?
"If they make any attack – snap his neck." Nirrti ordered coldly to the disfigured alien behind her who I realised must have been the one levitating Jonas and I immediately stopped reaching for my weapon. "And now, Colonel O'Neill…" Nirrti's voice was a malicious purr as she stepped closer, within touching distance,
"We have an interesting situation, don't we?" She smiled, glancing over to Jonas and nodding her head in what seemed to be an unspoken order.
"I have something you want and…" She turned back to face the Tau'ri before placing a hand under my chin, I fought not to flinch back knowing Jonas' life was in the balance. "And you have something that I want."
"No!" Sam was the first to react, in an emphatic denial. "Colonel!" She pleaded, to Jack and I presumed she wanted him not to make the trade Nirrti was offering. I myself couldn't seem to react, lost in memories of my time spent on Earth, of what…I felt tears come to my eyes at the unfairness of the situation…of what I had to lose.
"This is amazing, Jona-Quinn. Quinn, look at me, please look at me, this is incredible."
"Quinn. I want to be Quinn."
"Goddammit Quinn, I do NOT want to hear you say that. You are NOT expendable."
"You are testing my patience, O'Neill." Nirrti scowled before sneering, "You may have noticed my little Hok'taur's chest is no longer moving. Wodan has the ability to affect many things…" She explained, "Including, the windpipe." She traced a finger down my throat. "How long, I wonder…" She mused, "Can a Kelownan last without oxygen?"
And as she spoke those words I knew that really I had no choice in this. After everything the Tau'ri had done for me since my arrival on the planet, how could I not give myself up? I'd longed for so long to be useful and now I had the opportunity. None of that made me any less frightened of course but I was used to fear and it didn't sway my decision.
"I'm glad I'm here, Sam…I'm really glad I'm here."
"He asked me if I wanted to join SG-18."
"Sam…" I turned to the Major, realising now that I should have trusted my feelings earlier because now…I shook my head, blinking away the bleak thoughts - I had this moment, this one last moment if nothing else.
"Quinn…" There were no words to describe how powerless we both felt…how we all felt and I shook my head to silence her.
"Sam I-" I clenched my fists, no longer able to control the tears welling up in my eyes, "I don't know, if I ever really understood it but…" I took an intake of breath before moving to kiss the Major on the lips. "I…" I pulled back hastily before she had the chance to respond, "I think that I loved you…"
"ETA minus four minutes. We'd better go."
"Quinn…." The Major repeated, her eyes lingering on me but flickering to Jonas' limp, unconscious body suspended in the air, tinges of blue touching his face.
"Colonel O'Neill, Colonel Murray…Doctor Janet…" I began.
"We ain't going through with this!" Murray cut me off as if he could tell what I was about to say.
I shook my head in response before responding words that could barley begin to convey my emotions for these people, "Thank you." And with that, I broke away from the Colonel's hand, still clasping my shoulder and from Sam's hand squeezing my own before stepping behind Nirrti, even as Doctor Janet had to keep hold of Colonel O'Neil's arm to stop him following.
"I won't let anyone down."
"Let him go." I turned to the Goa'uld, my words commanding but my body language and tone every bit that of a submissive slave. "Please…" I begged, "You can have me just-"
My words were cut off as Wodan let go of his hold of Jonas and the Kelownan dropped limply a metre or so to the ground. I contemplated running in that split second, maybe I could have grabbed Jonas and got to the others, but I could see Wodan still staring at Jonas and Nirrti's Jaffa's staff weapon was a concern too.
"No..." I thought solemnly as I stared down at the limp form of my counterpart, "There's no way out of this one Twenty-three."
"Kree!" I suddenly felt myself picked up by the Jaffa had had carried Jonas is an ironic changing of position and I could see Nirrti backing away from the Tau'ri and towards her ship slowly.
I kept my eyes focused on Sam's blue one's not sure if was her eyes shimmering with tears or mine, until the door to the ship shut behind us.
"Put him here." Nirrti pointed to a machine in the centre of the room and the Jaffa dropped me there before standing obediently to the side of the room near Wodan.
"Now….let's have a look at you shall we…" Nirrti smiled as the machine began to light up and I was surrounded with images whilst the floor rumbled below me indicating take-off.
"You aren't Jonas Quinn, I can see that." The Goa'uld smiled to herself, "So tell me, who are you, my new Hok'taur?"
The feeling of fear, dread and complete isolation was pressing on my heart like a weight but even as my eyes met the Nirrti's I didn't falter, knowing that things truly had come full circle and that I had been useful after all, my life had had a purpose. I'd repaid all those people who had given me a short time of pleasure by reuniting them with the version of me that had a right to be in this universe. My voice was unwavering as I digested this information before answering with complete confidence.
"My name is Quinn."
AN: Sequel anyone? Anyway, I just want to thank everyone who took time to read and/or review this story and I hope you enjoyed it. I'll probably make a sequel sometime so, 'watch this space' as they say. I hope the ending didn't seem rushed, I've had this ending in mind for a long time. Special thanks to my beta Night's Darkness who made this not suck.
I'll be posting this on my website (www (dot) geocities (dot) com (forward slash) maz (underscore) kazama). Pleeeeeeaaaase go and bump the viagra spam off the first page of my guestbook. I'll love you forever if you do.
AAN: I'm now posting drafts of the seuqel to this on my livejournal (see my prfoile for the address) if anyone's interested.