Rating: PG, some violence and mild language
Summary: Sometimes what happens in the field has repercussions
Spoilers: Season 9 in general, mostly for: Off the Grid and The Scourge.
A/N: This story was inspired by a friend on a thread I post on; if I tell you what she wanted it would spoil the story. Thanks for the inspiration minigeek, I hope it's what you wanted.
DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. We have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the authors. Not to be archived without permission of the authors And anyone else who now owns the series.
Jack had just arrived in Colorado Springs; he put his key in the door to Daniel's house where he always stayed when he was in town. He knew Daniel wouldn't be home as SG1 was away on a mission; but were due back in a few hours. He finally had some spare time and chose to spend it with his friends and old teammates. He made himself comfortable and unpacked before giving Hank a call to let him know he'd be visiting.
A few hours later Jack was strolling the halls of the SGC making his way to Hank's office. Hopefully he would meet up with Daniel, Sam and Teal'c, after they finished their post mission briefing and medical check-ups.
Jack knocked on the door before entering. "Hey Hank, how's it going?" Jack didn't like the look on Hank's face and started to worry. "What happened?"
"Jack, before you jump to conclusions, we don't know anything yet. SG1 is overdue, but you know as well as I do that it could be nothing."
"Have you contacted them?" Jack asked with apprehension in his voice. True he had been on the other side of the gate many times in the same situation, not able to contact the SGC, but everything working out. It was harder now sitting in a nice comfortable office waiting for word.
"Yes Jack we tried, but we didn't get any reply. I'm getting a rescue team ready if we don't receive word within the next hour." Hank told Jack, trying to put his old friend at ease.
"Look Jack, you're welcome to wait in my office if you like."
"No, thanks Hank but I'd prefer to wait in the briefing room, where I can keep an eye on the gate."
"Suit yourself Jack, if you need anything just ask one of the airman."
"Thanks Hank, but I think I can make my way around the base." Jack said, then exited Hank's office and made his way to the observation window.
It seemed like it took forever to get SG3 ready and waiting at the gate, now that things were in place, Jack could only hope and pray that they would work out. Before the gate had engaged, Jack was in the control room standing next to Hank.
"SG1 this is the SGC, do you read?" Hank asked through the microphone trying to contact the delayed group. Long moments passed before a reply was heard.
"Yes General, this is Jackson…we're on our way…and taking fire!" Everyone could hear the unease in Daniel's voice and the sound of gunfire in the background.
"SG3 is geared up and ready, do you their assistance?" Hank asked.
"Just have them hold the gate Sir, we're not far." Daniel said out of breath.
"You've got it son, SGC out." Hank then ordered SG3 to head out and provide cover at the gate.
Jack watched and listened to everything that was going on, he found it odd that Daniel was doing all the talking and he hadn't heard from any of the others. It just didn't sit well with him.
Moments after SG3 had exited the gate, it began to activate then the wormhole formed and the iris closed automatically.
"I'm receiving an IDC Sir, its SG3's." Harriman informed Landry.
"Open the Iris." Landry ordered. "SG3 what's your status?"
"We're holding the gate opened as ordered Sir, I've contacted Jackson…They should be here any moment Sir." Colonel Reynolds said loudly into his radio over the sound of gunfire.
The view from the malp only showed a small area, nothing much could be seen on the screen but some of SG3 firing into the distance.
"Cover them! Cover them!" Was yelled over the microphone as more shots were heard, this time coming from SG3.
"Get the medics ready!" Reynolds yelled at the malp.
Jack was feeling more tense than he ever had, even as leader of SG1. His jaw tightened as he heard what was going on, but didn't know what exactly to expect. His heart pounded as he anxiously waited staring at the screen. Then it happened, in a split second there was a ripple in the event horizon; Jack looked up and saw Daniel coming through with Mitchell having one arm draped across his shoulder.
"Medics! We need medics over here!" Daniel yelled as he helped Mitchell sit down on the ramp then turned to watch the event horizon.
Jack found himself running down the stairs to the gate room passing Landry on the way. "Daniel where's…"
Just then the event horizon rippled again, Jack looked up and saw Teal'c carrying Sam over his shoulder, followed by the members of SG3, Reynolds backing in last yelling for the iris to be closed.
Jack's face paled, as he took in the sight of Sam's unconscious bloody body draped over Teal'c's shoulders. He was then pushed out of the way by the medics rolling a gurney over to the ramp. He saw Teal'c gently placed her on the gurney and watched as she was rushed out of the room.
The effects of shock were evident on Jack's face and in a quiet voice; he asked, "What happened?"
"Yes I'd like to know that too, but I think they need to get to the infirmary first Jack." Hank said putting his hand on Jack's shoulder and motioning him to move out of the way as another gurney was brought in the room and the medics going to Mitchell.
"I'm okay, I can walk." Mitchell said irritated holding a bandage to his forehead.
"You will get on the gurney and let them escort you to the infirmary." Landry said firmly.
"Yes Sir." Mitchell said then slowly got up and hopped onto the gurney.
After Mitchell was rolled out of the room Jack looked at Daniel then at Teal'c, "Are you two alright?"
"Yea Jack, I'm fine." Daniel answered still trying to catch his breath.
"I too am unharmed O'Neill, the blood you see is not mine." Teal'c said in a low voice showing his sorrow.
"Generals," Colonel Reynolds began as he saluted Jack and Landry.
"Ah yes Colonel, why don't you get your men ready and we will debrief in an hour." Landry said, pulling Jack back so SG3 could get off the ramp and get cleaned up.
"Why don't we continue this on the way to the infirmary Jack?" Daniel said as he grabbed Jack's elbow to lead him out of the gate room.
As Jack, Daniel, Teal'c and Landry neared the infirmary they heard Mitchell. "I said I was okay; now just leave me alone, please."
Landry was the first to head to the bed Cam was lying on, "so doctor, what can you tell me?"
The young male doctor took a step away from the bed, "he'll be fine Sir, he has a mild concussion, but I still want to keep in the infirmary for observation."
"What about Colonel Carter?" Landry asked before anyone else had a chance.
"Dr. Lam is operating on Colonel Carter right now. She had a gunshot wound to the back of her left shoulder and one in her left thigh. She lost quite a bit of blood; we had to give her transfusions and other fluid replacements. Normally we would want to stabilize her before surgery, but we had to get the bleeding stopped."
"Is she…will she make it?" Jack asked softly shocked from the news. The other members of SG1 were also waiting anxiously for the information.
"I'm not going to lie to you Sir, it was touch and go when she was brought in, given that and the stress of the surgery; it could go either way." The doctor told the five anxious men.
"Thank you doctor, let me know as soon as there is word," Landry said. "Why don't we get out of the way Jack, Daniel and Teal'c still need to clear medical before we debrief."
Jack's face was pale as he looked from Mitchell to Teal'c to Daniel. "Daniel, what the hell happened out there?"
Daniel looked and felt as shocked as Jack; he looked into Jack's eyes and felt the sting of salty tears forming in his eyes. "It…it just all went to hell," he said quietly.
"General, why don't you let me get their medical exams over with, it shouldn't take too long. Then you can deal with the debriefing," The doctor advised Jack.
Jack looked away from Daniel to the doctor, "yea, okay. I'll be waiting in the briefing room when you're done." Jack said to Daniel and Teal'c before slowly walking away, taking a last look at the doors where Sam would be brought back through.
"Yes Jack I agreed to let you sit in on the debriefing but let me handle it. Don't worry we'll get to the bottom of what happened." Hank told a very anxious Jack O'Neill.
"Yea, I know it's your command now, I just feel like I have to do something, anything to find out what happened to my team." Jack said irritation evident in his voice.
"I know its hard Jack, but they aren't your team anymore. They haven't been for some time," Hank said sympathetically.
"I know Hank, but you don't go through seven years as team and not feel like they aren't your team anymore. The bonds will always be there, you know that." Jack said irritated; then looked up to see Daniel and Teal'c entering the room.
"General Landry, O'Neill." Teal'c acknowledged both men as he entered then took a seat at the table with Daniel following him.
"I hope everything went well." Landry said to the two men.
"Yea, we're fine General, but the doctor wouldn't let Cam out of the infirmary," Daniel informed them.
"Very well then, why don't we get started?" Landry said, seeing how anxious Jack was getting.
Daniel looked at Teal'c and received a nod. "Okay, well it was supposed to be a fairly easy mission. As you know we were supposed to make contact with the natives of P3X-797, the pre mission reports stated that it was mostly an agrarian society, with possible mineral deposits of naquadah. We were to make contact and hopefully try to make a trade agreement with these people."
"Yea, Daniel I read the mission reports, get on with it will you." Jack said impatiently.
Daniel cleared his throat before continuing. "We saw a group of people ahead of us that were arguing. Sam said we should stay back out of sight for a while to figure out what was happening."
Jack saw Daniel look down at his hands and Teal'c clench his jaw. "What happened next?" Landry asked.
"Colonel Mitchell took it upon himself to disregard Colonel Carter's advice and decided to confront the group." Teal'c informed them.
The event horizon formed bringing it with it the four members of SG1.
"Well the area around the gate is well travelled, which indicates the gate is use," Daniel said looking around the area.
"Yea, well even I could figure that out Jackson," Cam answered.
Teal'c and Sam gave each other a look with Sam shaking her head. "So what do you say, we head for the village and check out the people to get a read on them." Sam said as she started to move out with Teal'c and Daniel following and Cam bringing up the rear.
They neared a large group of men that seemed to be arguing. Sam gave the signal to get down, the others followed suit with Cam crawling up beside Sam. "So what, they look like a bunch of farmers, I think we should do the old meet and greet." Cam said smiling.
"We should wait to find out what's going on before diving in there head first." Sam whispered her annoyance showing.
"Well I say we go in, and I'm going." Cam said getting up and marching towards the group.
"Damn it." Sam muttered under his breath. "You two stay back here and cover him; I'm going to provide cover from over there." Sam said pointing in the opposite direction and moving out.
"I don't like this." Daniel said to Teal'c.
"Indeed, neither do I." Teal'c answered watching as Mitchell approached the group.
"Hey guys." Cam said smiling to the bickering group. "What's going on, maybe I can help."
"Who the hell is this guy?" One of the men yelled at the others.
"I don't know, but he's sticking his nose where it doesn't belong." A second man said then pulled a gun from behind his back and pointed it at Cam's head.
"Ah nuts! Look guys I was just trying to help, I saw you were arguing and thought maybe…" Cam started but was then cut off quickly by a blow to the head; from one of the other men in the group, knocking him out,
Sam watched what was happening, not believing that Cam could get himself in so much trouble yet again. She immediately changed her radio frequency to tact 2, knowing that Daniel and Teal'c would do the same after seeing Cam knocked out. "Hold your fire guys; I'm going to draw them away from Mitchell, when the coast is clear Daniel you get Mitchell and Teal'c you provide cover for Daniel."
"What about you Sam? There are eight of them; you can't hold them off yourself." Daniel said worriedly.
"Daniel, don't worry about me, your order is to get Mitchell out of there and safely to the gate, understood." Sam said forcefully.
"Understood Daniel." Sam said a bit more forcefully.
"I will see to it, Colonel Carter." Teal'c said, not liking the situation but understanding it had to be done.
"Thanks Teal'c." Sam said into the radio, then took a big sigh before putting her plan into action.
Sam made her way to the edge of the forest standing by a large tree, then she took a rock and threw it in the direction of the group, gaining their attention, fired a couple of shots at the ground a few yards a head of them then made sure she would be seen as she ran into the forest. As she ran, she could hear and feel the shots that came close to her. She took cover behind a tree and began to return fire. She hit two of the pursuers before the others also took cover behind the trees.
"You don't know who you are dealing with! We are with the Lucien Alliance, give up now and we might be persuaded to spare your life!" One of the men yelled as he kept himself covered.
Sam took a deep breath before taking a shot in the direction of the voice, then continued shooting as she again began to run away from the area. She was doing her best to evade those pursuing her, then felt a sharp burning pain in her left shoulder. If her P90 hadn't been attached, she would have dropped it. Doing her best to fight the pain, she continued to return fire, hitting another two. She wasn't sure if they were dead or just injured, but she didn't have time to find out. Now running on adrenalin Sam managed to run away, holding tightly to her P90 with her right hand while her left arm swung uselessly at her side.
"Colonel Carter, are you alright?" Sam heard Teal'c ask over the radio. She was unable to grasp her radio to respond, and only hoped that things were going better for the rest of her team.
"We have Colonel Mitchell; he has come around and is being assisted by Daniel Jackson. I am making my way to your position."
Sam felt a bit of relief hearing Teal'c was on his way, no doubt he would be able to find her using the sound of the gun fire and the radio's locating frequency; but then again she felt worried that he may get hurt trying to help her.
Her heart was pounding and she was having trouble catching her breath, but she kept running and hiding behind trees, taking shots at anything that moved.
"Colonel Carter, I am coming upon your position." Teal'c told her quietly through the radio. Then Sam heard more gunfire, but it wasn't coming from the same direction as before, it was coming from further away. It was coming from Teal'c! Sam peered around the tree where she was hiding; she could see the men were now turning around and shooting in Teal'c's direction. She also started to shoot, and saw them start to run away; she took this as her chance to get to Teal'c. She began to run in his direction when she felt a pain rip through her upper leg bringing her down landing hard on her stomach. Fighting back the pain Sam rolled over onto her back bringing her gun up with her. Looking around she could see no targets, but could still hear gunfire coming closer.
"…then I saw Colonel Carter fall to the ground after she was shot. I made my way to her, I picked her up and headed towards the gate. I am afraid I did not have time to dress the wounds, I could hear the others coming back and decided the best course of action was to get Col. Carter back here."
"Thank you Teal'c." Landry said thinking how could such an easy mission turn out so wrong.
"So Daniel, why did it take you and Mitchell so long to get to the gate?" Jack asked.
"Well after Sam led them away, Cam came around, I tried to get him to go back to the gate with me, but he said he didn't want to leave; that we should stay in case we were needed to provide cover fire." Daniel answered still looking like he was in shock from the events.
"All right, that will be enough for now. You are dismissed." Landry said standing up and gathering his papers.
Daniel and Teal'c rose and waited for Landry to leave the room. "So Jack, how are you doing?" Daniel asked concerned.
"Huh, what? I'm okay; I'm not the one in surgery fighting for my life." Jack said the sadness evident in his voice.
"I know Jack, it's just that I know how hard you take it when one of us is injured, especially…Sam."
"Daniel, I'd be just as concerned if it was on of you two." Jack said trying to convince himself as well as Daniel.
"Shall we head down to the infirmary to wait for word on Colonel Carter?" Teal'c interjected.
Jack looked up at Teal'c and nodded his approval, he led the small group of Sam's friends and what she considered her family to the infirmary to sit and painfully wait for word.
"Jack, would you stop pacing, you're making me nervous." Daniel said from his seated position in the hall, where he waited with Jack and Teal'c.
"I can't help it Daniel, she's been in there a long time." Jack said rubbing his neck then taking a seat.
"Pacing will not make the time go any faster O'Neill." Teal'c said in a calm voice.
"I know Teal'c; it's just that I feel so helpless."
"As did I when I watched Col. Carter led the group of men away from Col. Mitchell." Teal'c said quietly.
Jack's jaw tightened hearing once again what Sam was forced to do. "I just don't understand Teal'c, how could it go so wrong so quickly?"
Jack was waiting for an answer when he saw a nurse come out of the infirmary. "Col. Carter's out of surgery and getting situated in her bed now. The doctor will be out to talk to you in few minutes." She said giving the group a slight smile.
"Thank you, very much." Daniel said, giving her a smile and watched her go back into the room he wished he could be in right now.
Jack let out a sigh and ran his hands through his hair, hating having to wait, the next few minutes having his mind running through the worst scenarios he could think of.
"General, gentlemen," Dr. Lam addressed the group as she came out of the door.
Jack jumped to feet, "Doctor, how is she?"
"She made it through surgery, but she has lost a lot of blood. The bullet to her leg caused a lot of bleeding. Luckily, it missed the femoral artery, although it did cause a lot of damage to the muscle, which accounted for the majority of the blood loss. Right now she's in critical condition, and will be until we can get her vitals stable." Lam paused, taking in the looks of the three men standing there, obviously stunned.
"Why don't we continue this inside?" She said, holding the door open and allowing the men in the room. She figured if they could see her that, it might be easier on them.
As Jack stepped into the room, he saw Sam's still figure lying in the bed. She looked so pale, if he didn't know by the beeps on the machine, he would have thought she was dead. There were bags of blood and IV fluids being pumped into her veins, her left arm was in a sling and her left leg was resting on a pillow under the covers.
Seeing their faces drop when they saw Sam, Lam started up her explanation again. "The reason she looks so pale is obviously due to the blood loss. We are monitoring her vitals closely and hopefully they will stabilize within the next few hours."
"Ah what about her arm?" Daniel asked the words just making it out of his mouth as he stared at his close friend.
"Well the bullet went through the shoulder blade which slowed it down enough so it didn't do much more damage. Like any other broken bone, it will take four to six weeks to heal. Given both injuries, Colonel Carter's going to be in a tremendous amount of pain, needing large doses of pain meds given her unique body chemistry followed by physical therapy before even thinking about returning to duty."
During her explanation, Jack had managed to move to Sam's bedside, he was gently squeezing her hand noticing how cold it was.
"Can we stay with her?" Jack asked with sadness in his voice, looking up waiting for her response.
Carolyn didn't know General O'Neill other than what she had heard on the grape vine, but she could see that he was taking this hard; it looked like he was taking it harder than the other members of SG1 were.
"You can sit with her for a short time, but one at a time, and try to stay out of the nurse's way." Carolyn said giving Jack a faint smile.
"Thank you doctor." Jack said.
"I think O'Neill should be the first." Teal'c said in his deep voice.
"You're right Teal'c" Daniel said, then went over to Sam's side, "I'll see you in a little bit Sam." Then he leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. Teal'c waited for Daniel taking one last look at Sam before leaving the room.
Jack watched everyone leave and was thankful that Sam was given one of the private rooms. He wasn't sure if it was because of her rank or the seriousness of her condition. All he knew was that he was glad to have some time alone with her. After the doctor and nurse left the room, Jack pulled up a chair setting it next her bed. He took her right hand in his and gently brushed her bangs off her forehead with his other.
"Hey Carter…Sam, you're safe now. How about you open those beautiful blue eyes of yours," Jack said quietly, as the emotion started to overwhelm him. He took in a deep breath as he looked at her face. She looked at peace, as she slept deeply, he hoped for her to wake soon, but felt selfish knowing that when she did wake up she would be in a lot of pain.
"Geez Sam, why did you have to go and get yourself shot? I had some plans for all of us for the next few days. Now they all seem to be shot to hell." Jack grimaced at his choice of words and shook his head.
He felt Sam stir and heard her moan. He stood leaning over the bed, "Hey there Sam, time to wake up."
He waited for her to respond and heard her moan again, he grimaced at what she must be feeling. "Come on sleepy head, time to open those brilliant eyes of yours." He could tell she was fighting to open her eyes, then he saw her trying to shift her position.
"No Sam, try to stay still." He told her squeezing her hand gently and running his hand through her hair.
"Hurts" Was all Sam could get out in a quiet voice.
"I know Sam and I'm sorry, but can you open eyes for me?" Jack said still holding her hand in his.
"Try." Sam said weakly, as she tried opening her eyes.
"That's it." Jack said with a sound of relief in his voice, when he saw her eyes open slightly.
"Hey." She said after her eyes finally focused and realized Jack was there leaning over her…holding her hand. She started looking around with a confused look in her eyes.
"Your in the infirmary Sam, do you remember what happened?"
Sam licked he lips and took a deep breath, grimacing as she did. "Cold."
Jack could also feel she was cold, "why don't I get you a blanket and let the doc know you're awake." Jack started to move away when he felt Sam grip his hand tighter, "I'll only be gone a minute Sam, I'll be right back," he said gently.
"S-stay." she said almost desperately.
"Okay, I won't go anywhere." Jack said seeing some sort of fear in her eyes. He reached for the call bell to summon a nurse, then sat on the edge of the bed and continued to look into Sam's eyes, wondering what she was thinking.
"Sam, what's wrong? Why don't you want me to go?" Jack asked with concern in his voice.
"Don't leave…don't want to die alone." Sam said so quietly Jack almost didn't hear her.
"What? No Sam, you're not dying." Jack said in a comforting tone.
"Feels like…I am." Sam said with tears starting to form in her eyes.
"Sam I wouldn't lie to you, you're not dying." Jack said as he heard the door open.
Carolyn entered the room with a nurse following her heard what Jack said.
"Colonel Carter, General O'Neill's right, the reason you're feeling that way is due to the amount of blood you lost. We are giving you blood transfusions and fluids it should help." Carolyn said looking down at Sam and giving her a smile.
"Doc, she said she was cold, and I can tell she's in a lot of pain." Jack said not taking his eyes off Sam when he moved out of the way for the doctor.
Carolyn motioned for the nurse to get some blankets while she checked Sam's vitals. "You're bound to feel cold for a while, it's also from the blood loss and shock; hopefully the warm blankets will help. Now about the pain, right now your vitals aren't stable enough for the dose I would normally give you. The morphine can suppress your respirations and until they and your other vitals come up and stabilize I'll only be able to give you a smaller dose."
"It's okay…I can manage." Sam said weakly.
The nurse returned carrying blankets; Jack moved over and helped her cover Sam. "There you go Carter, this should help." Jack said, raising his eyebrow as he called her Carter in front of the others.
Sam gave him a faint smile, just before her eyes closed. "Ah doc?" Jack said a little worriedly.
"It's okay General, she just fell asleep; she'll be doing that a lot until she gets her strength back. Which brings up the subject… that maybe you should leave for a while and let her rest."
"You know Doc, when Carter woke up she seemed very frightened; it takes a lot to scare her, I just think in her current state she might need to have someone here when she wakes up, so she knows she's not alone."
"I understand your sentiment Sir, but the Colonel needs to rest more than anything." Carolyn said trying to get her point her across.
"Look Doc, we won't bother Carter, we'll just be here when she wakes up, sitting quietly and patiently, just waiting." Jack said giving her a pleading look.
"Well okay, we'll give it a try; but if I find my patient isn't getting the rest she need…"
"Say no more Doc, if its rest she needs, its rest she'll get. So Doc, can you ask Daniel and Teal'c to come down here so I can fill them in?"
"Yes Sir, as long as you have the discussion in the hall."
"Will do Doc and thank you." Jack said giving her a slight smile before going back to claim his seat next to Sam's bed.
"So Daniel why don't you sit with Carter first, while Teal'c and I have a talk." Jack told Daniel after explaining to them the reasons for not leaving Sam alone.
"Sure Jack, I'll sit with…Carter." Daniel said smirking at Jack for the formal use of Sam's name.
Jack watched Daniel disappear into Sam's room, "Teal'c, I need to know about Mitchell; I need to know what kind of officer he is…I need to know if I made a mistake giving him the post here…I need to know if its my fault Sam's lying in that damn bed." Jack said his guilt over the situation evident on his face.
Teal'c tilted his head to the side taking a moment to think before speaking, then looked around the hall seeing it filled with personnel. "Perhaps we should have this discussion in a more private setting."
Jack followed Teal'c into his quarters and took a seat in the chair, while Teal'c sat on the bed. "So Teal'c, are you going to answer my question?"
"O'Neill, I see much promise in Colonel Mitchell, however at the moment he seems to be quite…green, as you humans put it."
"Damn, that's what I was afraid of; I put all of you in danger by assigning a green rookie to the base." Jack said quietly.
"O'Neill, are not all the new people posted to the SGC, green?" Teal'c asked looking at Jack.
"Well, yeah, I guess they are."
"And did you put him in charge of SG1?"
"Then I fail to see how you can blame yourself for anything that has happened."
"I don't know Teal'c; I just figured that if I hadn't recommended him, then this wouldn't have happened."
Jack talked with Teal'c for a while longer, finding out more about their previous missions, the things that didn't always make it into the reports. Jack ran his hands over his face before getting up and heading for the door.
"Thanks Teal'c I appreciate you being so candid."
"I only told you the facts O'Neill; there is no need to thank me."
"Yea well thanks anyway." Jack said before heading out of Teal'c's room. He had an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach, feeling responsible for what his team had gone through. He felt he had to do something, but first he had to see Sam to make sure she was alright and to try to ease some of his guilt.
Jack found himself standing at the foot of Sam's bed looking down at her sleeping form. Daniel left after Jack arrived and gave him a pat on the shoulder before he went. Now Jack was alone once again facing his regrets, one of which was right in front of him. She was now laying on her right her side, her arm resting on a pillow. Jack could see the heavy bandage on her back through the opening of her gown. He stepped closer to her side staring at the red tinged bandage His hand went to trace the edge of it, "I'm sorry Sam." He whispered, then tied the back of the gown tighter before pulling the covers up over her shoulder. Jack then turned and left the room.
After Jack closed the door, he saw Mitchell heading his way. "Where do you think you are going?"
"Oh, General Sir." Cam said straightening up, still dressed in infirmary pyjamas and a robe. "I was going to check on Sam, Sir."
"Don't you think you've caused enough problems already?" Jack said his voice as cold as ice.
"Sir?" Mitchell said confusion evident in hid voice.
"The last mission, Carter being shot. Don't you think you've done enough?" Jack said just as coldly.
"I'm sorry Sir; I never thought Sam would get hurt." Mitchell tried to explain.
"Well Mitchell, things tend to go wrong when you go running into situations you know nothing about." This time Jack's anger was showing.
"But Sir, this is SG1, I mean I've read all the mission reports, and SG1 has a knack for getting into and out of trouble." Cam said trying to explain.
"The difference being we never went looking for trouble. We knew what to expect of each other. We could rely on each other to do the right thing. You would never see any of us running into a potentially dangerous situation without trying to gather Intel first," Jack said his voice getting even angrier.
"O'Neill," Teal'c said putting his hand on Jack's shoulder, "this will accomplish nothing."
Jack looked around and noticed many eyes on him, "you're right Teal'c, what Carter needs now is her family around her. Why don't you go and sit with her a while?" Jack made sure Mitchell got his meaning before leaving.
Cam stood in the hallway and watched O'Neill walk away, "boy, I think I really screwed up this time. Teal'c, I really need to talk to Sam," Cam said his voice showing the regret he was feeling.
"I realize your need Colonel Mitchell; however Samantha's needs come first right now. Perhaps you should wait until she is stronger and able to stay awake."
"Yea, you're right Teal'c," Cam said sadly, "just let her know I'm thinking about her and would like to see her."
"I will convey your message," Teal'c told him then went into Sam's room.
Hank was hanging up the phone when he heard a knock at the door, "come in. Hey Jack, I just got off the phone with Carolyn and she says Colonel Carter is doing much better."
"Yea, that's great news Hank, but I've come to talk about something else."
"Mitchell?" Hank said already sounding disappointed.
"Yea Mitchell. Look Hank I don't mean to tell you how to run your base…"
"But, how could you put Mitchell in that situation? Where he doesn't have to follow orders and can just go off and do what the hell he wants." Jack said exasperated.
"Look Jack, he is a Lt. Colonel in the air force and he led his own squadron, quite well from the reports I've read; and you even recommended him for the position." Hank told Jack calmly.
"Yea Hank, he was one hell of a fighter pilot and he did lead a fighter squadron, but that's a far cry from leading a specialized covert team. He was green Hank, and by all looks of it still is green. He had no right leading any team, he should have been learning from them."
"I thought was learning from them, SG1 after all is the best team out there. And actually Jack, he wasn't really in a leading position, Jackson and Teal'c are civilians and he and Carter are of equal rank…"
"Which is why he takes it upon himself to do what he wants to, because he doesn't have to follow Carter's orders. Look Hank, if he was in charge of a team made up of green recruits, you would be bringing back those recruits in body bags. He's dangerous Hank, not just to himself but also to those around him. I'm just surprised you haven't noticed by now."
"Well Jack, you know as well as I do that not everything gets put in reports." Hank said with a sigh.
"So what, you knew?" Jack asked puzzled.
"I had my suspicions especially after the incident on P6G-452, when SG1 was captured by the Lucian Alliance," Hank said shaking his head, "if the Odyssey hadn't beamed them up when they did…"
"Yea, I know, and don't you think there have been enough of those kinds of close calls?" Jack said.
Teal'c came out of Sam's room and found Cam sitting in a chair in the hall, "should you not be resting in the infirmary Colonel Mitchell?"
"So Teal'c, do you think I might be able to see Sam?" Cam asked hopefully.
"I conveyed your message to Colonel Carter and she has agreed to see you. However I would hope that you will not upset her." Teal'c said looking Cam in the eyes conveying his unease.
Cam gave Teal'c a nod then slid past him and went into the room. He saw Sam lying on her back; her head propped up on pillows and saw that she gave him a little smile as he entered. "Hey there."
"Hey there yourself, how are you feeling?" Cam asked as he approached the bed standing beside it.
Sam looked over Cam noticing that he was also attired in infirmary clothes, "Cam are you okay?"
"Me? You're wondering about me?" Cam said shocked.
"Yes, you are a member of the team and I did see you get knocked out." Sam said sounding tired, then she pointed to the chair for Cam to sit down.
"Look Sam, I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you got shot." Cam said looking down at his hands.
"It's all over with Cam and we did make it out alive." Sam said trying to sound convincing.
"Yes we did, but no thanks to me. Damn it I'm the reason you were shot aren't you the least bit angry?" Cam prodded.
"Cam, you don't want to go there, just chalk it up as another mission gone wrong." Sam said trying to hide the bit of anger that was rising.
"Yeah, another mission gone wrong; there have been a few lately hasn't there?" Cam said his voice becoming more dejected.
"You tell me Cam," Sam said seeing realization hit him.
"Yea there have, when there shouldn't have been. Geez Sam what have I been doing? I am so sorry I put you guys in those positions and almost getting you guys killed, coming too damn close this time." Cam got up suddenly and headed for the door.
"Cam, where are you going?" Sam asked with concern.
"To do the right thing Sam, don't you think it's about time?" Cam said not looking back as he exited her room.
Sam watched him leave wondering what he was up to now, but her musings didn't last long as she succumbed to sleep.
Three weeks had passed and Sam found herself trying to get into her dress blues. It was difficult with the shoulder wound still causing her pain as she tried to put her jacket on and then having to put the sling back on. She had been out of the infirmary for over a week and didn't want to go there just to get help getting dressed. At least with the leg wound, she had been allowed to wear pants, which were a hell of a lot easier to put on than stockings. Now if she could just get this damn jacket on.
"Colonel Carter, do you need assistance?" Teal'c asked from outside the door to the locker room.
Sam smiled to herself wondering how he always knew when she needed his help, "actually Teal'c, yes I could use a hand, come on in."
Teal'c entered the locker room seeing Sam sitting on the bench with her arm halfway in her jacket sleeve. He went over and sat down next to her, "Colonel Carter, there was no need for you to work so hard, you could have just asked for my assistance."
Sam gave him a smirk, "well Teal'c I don't usually go around asking men to help me get dressed."
"I am your friend Samantha and you need not feel embarrassed in asking for my help. Now shall we get your jacket on so we can make it to the ceremony?"
"Yea, thanks Teal'c, I wouldn't want to be late after all it's the reason I came in today." Sam said as Teal'c assisted her.
"Were you requested to come in for the ceremony, or is it of your own accord?"
"Actually it was a rather insistent request from General Landry." Sam said taking in a quick breath as Teal'c helped put the sling back on her arm.
"So are you still on medical leave?" Teal'c asked helping Sam stand up and straightening her jacket.
"Well, I actually talked Dr. Lam into letting me work in my lab. She reluctantly agreed as long as took rest periods and was home by five." Sam said with a slight smirk on her face.
"So then the ceremony is not the only reason for your presence here today?" Teal'c said raising his eyebrow.
Sam just smiled at him, "no, I was planning on working on one of the Ori devices."
"Knock, knock…hellooo," came Daniel's voice from the other side of the door.
Teal'c and Sam looked at each other, Sam having a smirk on her face. "Shall we go?" Teal'c said handing Sam her crutch.
"Lead the way."
"Finally, it took you guys long enough." Daniel said impatiently.
"Why didn't you just come in Daniel?" Sam asked.
"Because, it's the women's locker room and Teal'c told me that he's already been in there with you before," Daniel said with a puzzled look on his face.
"Yea well that was a long time ago, so are you ready to go?" Sam said knowing Daniel was going to be wondering about that statement for a while.
"In a minute, I just have to get…" Daniel said as he went around the corner and came back with a wheel chair, "this."
"What? There's no way I'm using that, I can walk just fine." Sam said her annoyance showing.
"Sorry Sam, the order came from the General himself. He said he didn't want you standing through the ceremony or spending any more time than necessary on your leg." Daniel told her in a matter of fact way, pushing the chair closer to her.
"It was an order?"
"I'm afraid so, so why don't you just have a seat and let me drive," Daniel said with a smile.
"Doesn't seem like I have a choice," Sam said as she handed Teal'c her crutch and eased herself into the chair.
Sam looked around the hallway, noticing the obvious absence of Cameron. Come to think of it, she hadn't seen nor heard from him since their talk in the infirmary, she would have to find out what was going on, but now was not the time; she would wait until after the ceremony to find out what was going on with him.
The three members of SG1 entered the gate room noticing that all eyes were on them as they took their position next to the ramp. Daniel parked Sam closest to the ramp with Teal'c and himself standing next to her. All the military personnel were dressed in their formal uniforms and all the civilians were dressed in their Sunday best. The gate room had been decorated to the nines including a red, white and blue bunting draped across the gate. A podium had set up at the top of the ramp for the obligatory speech that would ensue. Sam started to feel like she wished she were at home in bed, instead of having to sit through the pomp and circumstance of a politically inspired celebration. Sure, it wasn't everyday that Stargate Command celebrated its ten-year anniversary, but Sam would have preferred a small celebration not this blown out of proportion party.
"A-TEN-shun!" was called out as General Landry entered the room and headed for the podium. Sam was moving to stand at attention when she felt Teal'c's strong hand on her shoulder stopping her. She looked up at Teal'c in aggravation only to see him shake his head at her.
"At ease," Landry stated and gave a slight nod to Sam. "As you know, we are all gathered here today to celebrate the launch of Stargate Command ten years ago. Now having been here for only a year, I thought it might be better if we had someone here who had been here from the inception of the program to talk about it. So if you will give a hand in welcoming back General Jack O'Neill."
All heads turned to the doorway catching their first glimpses of Jack, then a sudden round of applause started as Jack entered the room and made his way to the podium. He stopped a moment to nod to his former teammates before making his way behind the podium. He put his hands up to signal the audience to stop applauding, moments later the room was silent once again.
"Thank you everyone, as you may know I am normally a man of few words but given the occasion I'm sure I can come up with a few things to say." Jack began then looked around the room at all the familiar faces and a few new ones.
"It's hard to believe that it was ten years ago that I was pulled out of retirement for the second time and brought back to this mountain. I remember the first briefing with General Hammond and the team I would be going through the gate with, General Hammond introducing me to this young wide eyed captain with a bit of a chip on her shoulder who actually challenged me to an arm wrestle." Jack looked over to Sam and saw her grinning. "Looking at you now, I think I may take you up on that offer, seeing that I may actually have a chance to win."
The audience laughed and Jack continued, "The worse thing I learned though was that this captain was a scientist, and you know how I feel about scientists. But then General Hammond told me in no uncertain terms that this captain was, how did he put it; oh yea, 'way smarter than you are Colonel'. Which I have to admit she proved time and time again to be true."
Jack looked down at his paper before continuing, "it was after this initial mission that we brought back Dr. Daniel Jackson, yet another scientist… well sort of, who had a way of talking really fast, well I guess he still does that. Now with this rather green Captain Carter and I say green, because that's the colour she turned on her first trip through the gate; and Dr. Jackson in tow we made our way to the Jaffa home planet of Chulak. Well to make a long story short, that mission went to hell, but we did come out of it with a new ally, a former Jaffa and soon to be a loyal friend. I also learned that the previously mentioned green captain turned out to be one hell of a good soldier that I could trust with my life and the lives of my team. She has also proven that she can be trusted with the lives of everyone on the base, and has proven that the world can be entrusted in her capable hands, or should I say brain. What we ended up with was SG1, a cranky old Colonel, a big scary monosyllabic Jaffa, a geeky archaeologist, linguist and a soldier, scientist, who turned out to be the best second in command I ever had."
Jack paused and looked at Sam, Daniel and Teal'c, then the audience including General Landry applauded all of SG1, including Jack.
"Well Jack for a man of few words, you sure know how to string them together." Hank said taking over the podium. "Now it's my turn, you all may have thought that the only reason you are here is to celebrate an anniversary, well you'd be wrong. As CO of Stargate Command it is my privilege to get to do jobs like this; normally I would ask the person to come up to the podium, but given her current condition I will go down those few steps to her.
Sam couldn't believe what was happening and had to be pulled out of her stupor by Teal'c gently nudging her. He and Daniel helped Sam to stand up with Teal'c giving her the crutch. Sam stood there as straight as possible with both Landry and Jack standing in front of her. "Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, it is with great privilege that I announce your promotion to Colonel, and although I enjoy doing the honour myself, General O'Neill has asked to do it, Jack."
Jack moved and stood in front of Sam, "Carter, it would be an honour to me if you would accept my silver eagle insignias as your own. I know they aren't shiny and brand new, but I feel they have brought me luck over the years and I would like to pass on that luck to you."
Sam looked at Jack's hand holding his silver eagles then looked up at him with a smile on her face, "it would be an honour Sir." She kept her eyes on Jack as he pinned the insignias on her, then with a wide grin on his face, he saluted her. Sam tried to return the salute and felt Teal'c and Daniel's hands supporting her as she did. She then saluted General Landry her heart brimming with happiness and pride as she took the oath.
The audience applauded and Daniel and Teal'c took turns giving her a hug. The ceremony ended with personnel and guests heading to the commissary. "Congratulations Carter," Jack said with a smile and a wink.
"Yes congratulations Colonel," Hank said smiling at her, "You surely earned it, this last incident proving just how much you deserved the promotion. I'm just sorry it took so long to go through."
"Sir?" Sam asked puzzled.
"Ah yea, I put you up for one after the wiping out the replicators, but it was too soon after your previous promotion. Then you also got a recommendation form area 51, "Jack told her.
"This may be a surprise to you, but it seems Richard Woolsey put in a good word for you, as did I after the mission where you and SG1 rescued the IOC members. This last act of bravery just proves that we were right," Hank smiled at her.
Sam couldn't hide the astonished look on her face, "you certainly earned it Sam." Daniel told her with Teal'c nodding in agreement.
"Ah thank you Sir, but I never did anything alone; I always had some back up." Sam said looking around the now fairly empty room.
"Sir, if I may ask, where is Col. Mitchell, I mean he is part of SG1 now, shouldn't he be here?"
Hank looked at the others, "could you give us a minute?" Then he looked at Sam, "why don't you sit down Col. I know you must be tired." He held her crutch as she sat back down in the wheelchair, then handed it back to her.
"Col. Mitchell came to me after he was discharged from the infirmary. He told me he thought he wasn't fit to lead a SG team."
Sam looked at him stunned, "you mean he transferred?"
"Well he did ask to be transferred, but I had a talk with him and it was decided that he should go through some extra training before returning to the SGC. Then he can be assigned as a 2IC to another team, where he can learn how to be a SG team leader."
"I'm sorry Sir, I should have been teaching him," Sam said shaking her head.
"You have nothing to apologize for Colonel; I was the one who put you in a situation where there was no clearly defined leadership. Instead of Mitchell learning from the best he tried to lead the best his way, which looking back on it now, was definitely reckless. Now that you've been promoted, SG1 is definitely yours, and as leader you can pick anyone you want to fill the fourth position on your team." Hank said with a slight smile on his face, trying to hide the guilt he was feeling.
"Well Sir, seeing as I'm going to be out of commission for a while," Sam said with a little smile, "I would like to have Cameron back on my team, he should be finished his training by then."
"Colonel are you sure? I mean it's because of him you were almost killed." Landry said surprised.
"Sir, Cam has the makings to be a good SG team member; he just has to learn patience…"
"That's not something everyone can learn Colonel."
"I'm sure with a little help from Teal'c, and Cam's drive to be on SG1, we can, ah….pound it into him," Sam said the smile on her face getting bigger.
"Well Colonel, if you think it will help, pound away," Hank said smiling himself. "Now how about we get you to the party, I'm sure there are a lot people who want to see you."
"Ah Sir, I'm in touch with SG1 all the time." Sam said to Landry as he started to push her wheel chair.
"Well you did come in a little late; I guess you didn't notice Mr. Woolsey and Mr. Lapierre." Landry said with a chuckle.
"Ah Sir, you do realize I'm wounded?" Sam said starting to get a sinking feeling in her stomach.
"Is that fear I hear Colonel?" Landry said smiling.
"You mean the big brave leader of SG1 is afraid of a few diplomats?"
"Getting shot is one thing, facing a room full of diplomats is above and beyond the call of duty Sir, especially with Lapierre there," Sam said with a light laugh.
"Now you know what I have to deal with on a daily basis," Landry said shaking his head.
"You deserve a medal for that Sir."
"Thanks for driving me home…Sir."
"Sir, is it?"
"Well you have been calling me Carter all day." Sam said with a huge smile on her face.
"Well we were on base, and I know how you are a stickler for regulations, and what kind of friend would I be if I left you stranded there trying to fight off Woolsey and that French guy. I mean does he ever shut up?" Jack said helping Sam get comfortable on the couch.
Sam chuckled, "the last time, I thought I was going to have to shoot him to get him to shut up, all in the line of duty of course."
"Well Woolsey was a surprise. I mean he seemed actually nice," Jack said astonished.
"Yea, well I guess when someone saves your life, your attitude changes towards them," Sam said with a yawn, as the days events started to take a toll on her.
Jack looked at Sam, seeing how tired and uncomfortable she looked, "look Sam, you've had a long day, you should go to bed."
"Yea, I should but I don't have the energy right now," Sam said looking down at her sling and jacket.
"Come on, I'll help you get ready for bed." Jack said helping Sam up off the couch and leading her to her bedroom.
"Just make sure you hang up my jacket, I don't want any of that good luck rubbing off of my new eagles."
A/N: Okay minigeek asked for Sam to be promoted and for Jack to give her his eagles. I left the story there, because in season 9, the writers never really let us know what was going on with Sam and Jack, so I thought I'd be just as ambiguous.