Title: At What Cost? The Sequel.
Chapter: 1 of ?
Email: What Price Freedom?
Spoilers: After Fallen and Fragile Balance, but before any of the major changes inflicted by Chimera or Heroes.
Content Warnings: None
Archive: SJFic: Yes
Anywhere else: Yes
Disclaimer: Only the story belongs to me.
The lab was dark, the complex silent. There was someone in here with her. She could sense him, there, in the darkness. She could hear his breathing, slow and heavy. She felt stalked, hunted. She backed into the bank of electronic equipment that lined the wall, the most easily defensible place in this darkness. Sam Carter could feel her heart beating, almost in her throat, her fight-or-flight response keeping her on the balls of her feet.
Suddenly he was on her, his body pressing her into the switches behind her. She opened her mouth to scream, only to find it immediately covered, his tongue sweeping in and taking possession.
She found herself suffused with desire. She brought her own tongue into play, her body responding ardently to his. He was holding her hands above her head and she tried to pull them away from him, needing to touch him. He relented and released them, his hands sliding down her body, one stopping on her cheek the other cupping her breast through her uniform.
Sam slid her hands into his hair, her short nails scratching his neck and scalp. She heard Jack growl, low in his throat and felt herself moan quite unconsciously in response.
A terrified scream pierced the air.
Major Sam Carter woke abruptly, almost knocking her laptop to the floor. She wasn't in her lab, she was at home. That was Gracie screaming. Sam jumped to her feet and ran up the stairs, wrenching the first door on the left open and rushing into the room beyond.
Her daughter was sitting up in bed, screaming at the top of her lungs, her eyes closed. Sam rushed to her side and touched her daughter's arm. No response. Gracie was still asleep and locked in her dream.
Jake appeared in the doorway, looking tousled and sleepy. "She dreaming again?" He asked, yawning.
Sam held Gracie tightly, unsure of what to do. The last time Gracie had had nightmares like this was before Anubis and Baal attacked, over a year ago, and Jack had been the only one who could console her. But Jack wasn't here now. He was offworld with Daniel and Teal'c.
Suddenly Gracie stopped screaming and her rigid form went slack in Sam's arms. Sam lay the child back down on the pillow and smoothed her hair. Gracie still looked deeply troubled.
Jake came and sat down on the foot of Gracie's bed and looked sleepily at his sister. In the hallway the phone began to ring. Sam stood and moved into the hall to answer it.
"Carter." She answered out of long habit, then remembered herself and asked "Hello?"
"Major?" Sergeant Harriman. The base. Problem?
"Sergeant?" Sam asked, moving so that she could see into Gracie's bedroom.
"General Hammond is calling you in, Major. It's urgent. "
"What about Gracie and Jake?" Sam asked, "I can't just leave them here."
"The General says you should bring them, ma'am." Harriman said.
"What's going on?" Sam asked, immediately suspicious.
"General Hammond says to be here ASAP Ma'am," Harriman said, evasively.
"I'll be there in an hour," Sam said and hung up. She turned and walked back into Gracie's room, finding Jake still sitting gazing at his sister. Both children were awake now and Sam had no doubt that they'd heard her half of the conversation.
"Let's go," she said, smiling to reassure them.
Jake nodded and stood exiting the room and heading for his bedroom to dress. Gracie sat still, looking up at her mother. "What's wrong?"
"Nobody says anything's wrong, Gracie," Sam said reasonably, walking over to Gracie's closet and pulling out clothes for her daughter. "Here," she handed the girl the clothes and watched her begin to dress. "What were you dreaming about, honey? Can you remember?"
Gracie paused in the act of buttoning her blouse and nodded.
"What was it?"
"Daddy." Gracie said, her voice almost a whisper. "Daddy's hurt."
Sam stared at her daughter, who continued to dress. "You can't be sure of that, Gracie," she said reassuringly, sounding more confident than she felt.
Gracie shrugged, not looking up from buckling her shoes. Then she stood and smiled sadly at Sam. "Ready."
"Come here," Sam said, and pulled her daughter to her, hugging her tightly.
Jake appeared in the doorway. "I'm ready."
"Lets go." Sam said, rising and taking both her children's hands then heading out of the house.
The base was quiet at this time of night. Having been informed by the sergeant that met them from the elevator that General Hammond wished to see them in the briefing room, Sam, Gracie and Jake headed there immediately. Jake and Gracie attracting smiles and greetings throughout the base.
When Sam entered the briefing room a wave of nervous energy hit her. Teal'c was sitting to the General's right, looking exhausted. The other chairs were empty.
"Have a seat, Major," General Hammond said, his voice soft.
"Hi George," Jake and Gracie chorused, and then glared at one another for having spoken.
Hammond smiled at the children and motioned for them to sit also. Gracie clambered onto Teal'c's lap and the Jaffa shifted slightly in his seat to accommodate her.
Jake took a seat next to his mother.
"General?" Sam asked, but her eyes were on Teal'c, who returned her gaze steadily. Sam could see the news wasn't going to be anywhere approaching good. Teal'c's presence here alone was anomalous. At best it meant that Jack and Daniel were in the infirmary, at worst…
"Teal'c returned an hour ago." Hammond said, as though reading Sam's mind. "He returned alone."
"Where are Jack and Daniel?" Sam asked her voice sounding steadier than it had any right to.
It was Teal'c who spoke next. "They were captured by enemy forces."
"Which enemy forces?" Jake asked, the bite in his voice resembling his father's so much it seemed to amuse Teal'c despite the situation.
Teal'c smiled softly. "I do not know, JacobO'Neill."
"Daddy's hurt, isn't he?" Gracie said, her eyes on the tabletop.
Sam noticed Hammond look sharply at the top of her daughter's head and surmised that Gracie had hit the nail on the head with that one. "How badly?" She asked, before Teal'c or the General could respond to Gracie's question.
"Badly," Teal'c said succinctly.
Sam nodded slowly. "What happened?"
"We were running for the StarGate under enemy fire. DanielJackson was struck down. O'Neill went back for him and ordered me to keep running to the gate. I hesitated…"
Sam could see it all in her mind's eye.
Jack was running his feet pounding the terrain so hard it hurt. Teal'c was just ahead of him, Daniel just behind.
There was the sound of energy weapons exploding all around them. Then Daniel screamed. Jack wheeled around.
"Daniel!" He ran back for his friend, reaching him and dragging him upright, ignoring the younger man's screams. Ahead, he saw Teal'c stop and turn, covering him. "Teal'c! Get to the gate!"
The StarGate glinted in the sun ahead of them. Teal'c was only a couple of hundred metres from it. If Teal'c could reach the gate and dial home, maybe Jack could get Daniel to the gate and through in time. If Teal'c turned back they would never make it. "Teal'c!" he yelled again, the Jaffa had not moved. Suddenly, Teal'c galvanised, he turned and ran for the DHD, smashing into it and pressing the symbols with an urgency that was quite unlike him.
Pain blossomed in Jack's lower back and he found he could move no more. He'd been hit. He fell, landing on Daniel. Looking up he saw Teal'c turn, the last symbol left unlit.
Jack reached for his radio, unable to shout loud enough to reach his friend. "Teal'c. Get help." He ordered before passing out.
Teal'c assessed the situation in a microsecond then turned and hit the point of origin symbol. Then he took cover behind the DHD and watched as DanielJackson and O'Neill were surrounded.
The gate engaged behind him, Teal'c sent through his IDC and dived into the wormhole, feeling the absolute cold engulf him as he heard them fire on the gate behind him.
"It was an unstable wormhole." Hammond was saying as Sam came back to herself. "We tried redialling but there was no response. They must have damaged their StarGate. Without help, we cannot mount a rescue mission."
Daniel Jackson sat disconsolately on the cell floor, feeling pain as his uniform peeled away from the bloody wound in the back of his thigh. A flesh wound, he had surmised. They were here because of a flesh wound. He should have tried to get up and keep running for the gate. If his years in the StarGate program had taught him anything it was that: keep running for the gate. Let Janet sort out the injuries later. Just get to the damned gate.
He looked over at Jack, who lay on the cold floor of the cell, still unconscious after four hours. Daniel had managed to staunch the bleeding, but Jack still hadn't awoken. Daniel was worried. He'd never known Jack to be unconscious so long. Something in his friend's training saw to it that he was almost always first to recover his consciousness. Yet he hadn't stirred and was breathing shallowly.
Daniel was worried.