The airman nodded as Sam asked to enter the room, stepping to one side and letting her open the door. She walked into the small dingy room where Lt Astor was being held but they weren't calling it that. Keeping her locked up and guarded in a dull grey room with exposed pipes and an old cot, that was at the very end of it's life in the military, was for her own protection too. Apparently.
Kristen Astor was sitting on a metal fold-up chair the same colour as her BDU's, her head in her hands. She looked up when the door was shut again, seeing Sam standing just inside the room, a deep furrow of worry across her forehead.
"I shot that Jaffa Sam."
"Anise is pretty sure."
"She's been known to lie."
"Sorry Major." Sam sat on the fragile looking cot opposite her, the old springs groaning. "I know I shot that Jaffa but no on believes me. Not even you."
"This procedure could kill you." Astor sighed.
"Major Graham tried to kill everyone in that room. I don't want to do that."
"You wouldn't have a choice."
"So, I don't really have much of a choice now do I?"
"Yes, yes you do! We don't know what will happen, we barely know anything about this, just what the Tok'ra have decided to tell us."
"You don't trust them."
"I don't trust Anise." She paused. "And I'm scared for you."
"Don't be. I'm not scared." She leant back in the chair, her backside sliding off the edge, her head hanging back. "I shot that Jaffa. I know I did and I know they'll be no….programming to remove."
"Her experiment could leave you brain damaged, leave you paralysed or a vegetable or dead."
"Everyone thinks I'm a za'tarc, a danger."
"I know you Kristen, I thought you were smarter than this, than to take a risk like this."
"I thought you were gay."
"Major." They stared each other down for a minute, both angry but not showing anything, not revealing anything. Sam looked away first and Astor lifted herself back more comfortably into her seat. "If you really thought there was any other choice you'd stop me."
"That's what I'm trying to do."
"No Sam, you're trying to convince yourself I'm not fucked either way." The words cut through. They had been close once, too close and they'd had a strained friendship ever since. Sam had forgotten how blunt she could be. She never held back. Not at work, not at home, not in bed.
"It could wear off." She rolled her eyes at herself for saying something so stupid.
"Anise said that if I didn't get my chance I'd self destruct."
"We don't know that for sure."
"We don't know anything for sure." Sam stood, turning away from her. "That's what scares you isn't it?" Astor said, "that's not like you."
"It's terrifying." Sam admitted, "but if," she was cut off by two sharp raps on the door. The Lt was being summoned. "There's still time."
"I shot that Jaffa." She said, standing up and looking Sam in the eyes. The major resisted the urge to wrap her arms around her or kiss her on the cheek. They'd never had a relationship like that but it didn't mean Sam didn't want to throw herself at her to stop her. She couldn't remember Kristen ever being this cold or resigned.
They'd both changed since first joining the SGC.
Astor walked past Sam and into the company of her guards, not looking back they led her down the corridor. Sam tired to ignore how it looked like a funeral procession. Or like Astor was being marched to a firing squad. When the door close, almost hitting her nose on the glass she jumped a touch and ran after them and followed the group, running up to the observation room as Kristen Astor was strapped into the chair before Anise, the black band tight around her forehead.
Standing behind Daniel, she looked over his shoulder, keeping out of Astor's view, watching Anise play with the controls on her device without a shred of emotion on her face no doubt. Not that Sam could tell from looking at the back of the Tok'ras head, not that she was really watching her either, she just watched Kristen's eyes and listened as she repeated, "I shot that Jaffa."
When the procedure began and Astor's brain was scanned, Sam turned away.
"I can't watch this." she breathed out as the Lt began to cry out on pain. She left the observation room, Daniel not even noticing, slipping away into the corridor and walking away from her. The cries faded as she neared the elevator, she couldn't hear the machine or the cries of pain, or the guards yelling.
She couldn't escape the gunshots though.