Hitchhiker

Daniel stood at the edge of a small river on PX43-961. The planet had proven to be devoid of any signs of civilization, however they still had plans of doing some soil tests over the next few days. Looking out over the calm river they were about to wade across he absent mindedly rubbed at his stomach.

"Daniel?" Sam asked concerned.

"I'm okay." Daniel smiled.

"You've been scratching at your stomach for days."

"I've already had it check out, just a small abscess. Janet says it's probably just a small piece of shrapnel trying to work it's way out."

"Ready to get wet, Kids?" Jack asked as he joined them on the bank of the river.

"Not really, Colonel, but I do want to get a look at those foothills on the other side." Sam announced. "Might hold a Naquadah deposit."

Teal'c lifted the heavy case that had their testing equipment in it and walked purposefully out into the water. Daniel and Jack followed. Remembering that she had some hand written notes in her pocket Sam hung back a moment to fish them out and keep them dry.

"Daniel!" Jack suddenly cried.

Sam looked up in alarm. Waist deep the clear water Daniel was doubled over in obvious pain. He had his hands wrapped over his stomach. Jack helped him back to the near shore where he laid down on the sandy bank.

"Teal'c get back here," Jack ordered "get out of the water!"

Sam watched nervously as Jack ripped open Daniel's lightweight jacket and pulled up his black shirt. Jack and Sam both gasped at the raised infection on Daniel's otherwise smooth stomach.

"It's nothing." Daniel insisted. "It already looked like that, something in the water must have caused it to sting."

Jack touched hesitantly around the circular hole in the middle of the golf ball sized infection. Jack knit his brow when he thought he saw movement beneath the skin. Jack pushed harder against Daniel's stomach.

"Whoa!" Jack cried as he jumped back.

"What?" Daniel asked alarmed.

"Daniel...there's something living in there."

"What?!"

Still soaking wet Daniel paced back and forth behind the clear plastic wall of the medical quarantine room. It was in the very early hours of the morning back at the SGC and the proper medical staff was not on hand.

They hadn't even dared to run any tests yet. He'd simply been sealed away from the others in case it spread. Daniel stopped his nervous pacing as the other members of his team stepped into the room on the other side of the plastic barrier.

"Well?" Daniel asked.

"We've been check out top to bottom and no one else seems to be infected." Sam replied.

"I've put in a call to Dr. Frasier, she'll be here as soon as she can." Jack assured.

"Are you still in pain, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked.

"No...just creeped out." Daniel shuddered.

"Creeped out?" Teal'c repeated confused.

"Yeah, believe it or not I don't like having alien parasites in my stomach...no offense."

Teal'c thought about this and then gave Daniel a shallow bow.

"Do you think it was in the water?" Sam asked.

"It could have been, although I've had the infection for several weeks. We've been to three planets since then. I could have picked it up on any of them."

"SG-7 and 9 are on two of those planets." Jack said gravely. "They could be at risk too."

"At least it hasn't tried to take over my mind."

"Yet." Jack said without thinking. "Sorry."

"Let's just hope it's not breeding in there."

Sam instantly regretted her words, Daniel looked like he was about to pass out from the thought. The conversation stalled completely, but was blessedly interrupted as Janet and an assistant stepped into the room.

"Good morning, Daniel." Janet smiled. "I hear something's trying to eat you or something?"

"Something like that." Daniel agreed wryly.

"Can I see?"

Not wanted to look at the creature himself Daniel weld his eyes shut and pulled up his black shirt. Sam and Jack also turned away. Stepping up to the plastic wall Janet eyed the wound critically before standing up straight again.

"Oh, I can fix that." Janet said confidently.

"You can?" Jack and Daniel asked in bemused unison.

"Yes." Janet confirmed and turned to the nurse. "Get me a steak."

"A stake? What kind?"

"The raw kind."

The nurse gave Janet a confused look and then hurried off. Everyone else gave Janet the exact same look.

"Trust me." Janet smiled cryptically.

The nurse returned after a few minutes with a thick steak wrapped in wax paper. Janet took the offering and fearlessly opened the plastic quarantine door.

"Janet!" Sam cried in alarm.

"It's okay, he's not contagious, or dangerous."

"That's nice to hear." Daniel said with a nervous smile. "I hope you don't expect me to eat that..."

"No, lay down."

Daniel looked to Jack and he just shrugged. Daniel sighed heavily before getting up on the bed and laying down. Janet pulled up his shirt to expose the angry wound. Daniel gasped in surprise as she laid the cold slab of meat against his stomach.

"Janet..."

"It's going to be just fine, Daniel." Janet assured. "Just leave that there for a few minutes while I go get a few more things."

Janet gave Daniel another smile and left the quarantine room. Jack, Sam, and Teal'c nervously stepped into the room with Daniel. Jack looked at the raw steak and shook his head sadly.

"I think the Doc's finally lost it."

"She's probably just getting back at me for dragging her in here at three in the morning for something as mundane as an alien parasite burrowed into my skin."

The conversation died down and they just waited for Janet to return. She came back with a small metal tray that held a small pair of forceps, some gauze, and a little glass container. Snapping on a pair of latex gloves she stepped up to Daniel.

"Do I even want to know what you're going to do?" Daniel asked hesitantly.

"I think it's best if we wait till it's over for explanations."

"Fair enough."

Everyone stepped back to give her room to work. Janet picked up the forceps and then carefully lifted the steak up. Jack couldn't watch, he didn't want to know. With a quick flick of the wrist Janet pulled something out of the underside of the steak and placed it in the jar. Daniel's breath hissed sharply across his teeth as she pressed an alcohol soaked gauze over the wound.

"Keep that wound clean and it should be fully healed in a week or so." Janet announced clinically. "You can sit up."

"Wait...that's it?" Jack asked.

"That's it." Janet held up the glass jar.

Everyone but Daniel and Janet gasped in horror at the site of the creature squirming in the bottom of the jar. Daniel actually looked relieved to see it. The white leech like parasite was about two inches in length with a nasty looking set of tiny spikes around its middle. It moved around like a maggot, with its larger circular mouth sucking at the air, trying to find something to bite into.

"I want to know what planet that came from." Jack ordered. "We are i never /i going there again!"

"That could be difficult, Sir." Janet replied.

"Why?"

"It's a native." Janet smiled.

"A native...of Earth?" Sam asked in shock.

"Yes." Janet nodded.

"It's a Bot Fly larva." Daniel chuckled. "I should have thought of that. When I was in the river it started to drown so it bit me."

"A what was biting you?" Jack asked.

"A Bot Fly, they live in warm moist climates." Daniel explained. "The adult female fly catches a mosquito and lays her eggs on it, the mosquito bites the host and transfers the egg. The larva burrows under the skin and feeds off the host."

"Where in blue blazes did you pick up a Bot Fly?" Jack demanded of Daniel and then turned on Janet. "And how did you know that's what it was? I can't imagine that they are common to Colorado!"

"They aren't. Remember that post card you showed me that Daniel sent you from his vacation about a month back?" Janet smiled and pulled the card out of her pocket. "You left it in my office."

Jack took the card that had a lush rainforest on the front with bright red letters that read 'Costa Rica'. He had completely forgotten about Daniel's week long trip. Flipping the card over he read the sloppy handwriting out loud.

"'Jack, I finally found a place where the mosquitoes are worse than Minnesota.'."