Not Gonna Happen
Warnings: some violence and cursing
Disclaimer: This story is based on the Stargate-SG1 episode Line in the Sand. Some dialogue is taken directly from the episode. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Parts in italics are Mitchell's thoughts to himself. Thanks to gunhilda for advice given, but all faults with the story are mine alone.
As I sit near Carter's infirmary bed watching her breathe, waiting for her to open her eyes I think back to the mission to P9C-882. A village was trying to defy the Ori and SG-1's mission was to protect them. To do that Sam needed to get Merlin's phase-shifting device to make the whole village disappear. It didn't work quite right the first time and Sam was still trying when the Ori troops landed.
We're in a firefight with the Ori soldiers and they're making a move to flank us. Sam is working on that phase shifting device in the makeshift lab she's set up in the house the villagers provided her. I jog over there, realizing bitterly that we haven't covered her back properly. I take out my frustration with myself on a few Ori henchmen along the way, satisfied by the way my bullets mow them down.
Bursting into the lab, I find Sam on the ground behind her consoles and an Ori soldier looming over her with one of those staff weapon things pointed at her. I let loose with my P90, taking him out--take that you bastard--only to have my stomach drop as I hear Sam's groans and see her writhing on the ground clutching her blood-covered abdomen.
"Shit, shit," I mutter as I drop to my knees at her side. Gotta get her outta here, I think, as she looks at me with shocked, disbelieving eyes. I love how her eyes twinkle when she's working on a problem or making some wry comment--often at my expense I might add. Her enjoyment is just contagious. But now my gut clenches when I see the pain in her eyes.
Then in true Sam fashion, between pained gasps, she's telling me we can't leave Merlin's doohickey behind or blow it up like I want to so I can get her out.
"What do you want me to do?" I demand, frustrated.
"Activate it," she grits out.
Unfortunately two of the naquadah generators have gone kaput, but she begins talking me through hooking up the third and getting the machine going. I'm with her right up to the point where I've gotta find the macro thingie on her laptop and then she stops responding to my questions. "Sam? Sam!" I cry. Please let her only have passed out, I'm thinking as I hunt and peck. Then a flash and we're in the field.
Please be alive, please be alive is my mantra as I grab her wrist, frantically searching for a pulse. There's a pulse, but she's not good. She's bloody and burned and it looks like the wound is partially cauterized. I know that only means the surface bleeding has slowed and that she could still be bleeding internally. God damned Ori sons of bitches! Rummaging through the supplies in the room, I find the med kit and grab some bandages, intending to stem the bleeding. But then I see a sickening sight. There is an expanding pool of blood beneath Sam that's not coming from the wound I initially saw. I turn her on her side and see a gaping exit wound. I'm shaking a bit now. It's just adrenaline, I tell myself, but I know it's also anxiety at the thought of losing my friend. Not going there, Cam.
My friend. A geek and a fighter jock? At first glance it seemed an unlikely prospect for a friendship. I had known Sam slightly when I was flying F302s, having worked with her on some technical glitches. I found out pretty quickly that she may have been an egghead, but she knew her way around 302s from practical experience and we got along fine. I didn't really expect to be seeing her after the project wrapped up, though.
But about a year later I went down over Antarctica and who should show up at the hospital but Sam Carter? I was kind of surprised that the SGC's technical whiz would make the time for me. That's after I was aware enough to think about it. Mostly I remember emerging from a morphine fog and looking at the sweetest smile and bluest eyes.
"You're going to be ok," she said. "Thanks for your help out there."
That's what I remember of that first rather one-sided conversation anyway. I think I managed a weak nod. But Sam didn't stop with one visit; she came back to the hospital again. To be honest with myself there were times when I thought it would be easier to die. Maybe I didn't in part because I didn't want to disappoint this lady who took the trouble to show up and seemed to really want me to live. She didn't do that whole "poor you" stuff that actually made you feel worse—she just talked to me. I guess it made me feel like I might really be okay.
Anyway, once I moved into the rehab section, she continued to visit periodically to let me know I wasn't forgotten. Sure, the guys from the squadron came by at first, but their visits dropped off quickly. They were busy and they probably didn't want to be reminded of our losses and the fact that they could wind up like me someday. Heck, I couldn't blame them. I reckoned I might have done the same had our positions been reversed.
Sam would bring a book or cookies or just stop to chat. I don't think she knows how important that was to my recovery. I knew she was talented, and I had liked her when we worked together, but I didn't know how genuinely kind and thoughtful she was. Over time, we began to become friends. We're very different, but I found we had a common interest in science fiction. She'd critique the implausible science, I'd talk about the action sequences and we'd have some good laughs.
Later, when I got the SG-1 posting, I had been totally pumped about the idea of serving with her and learning from her--but then Landry told me she was at Area 51. Crap, I thought. I'm still not sure why she agreed to come back after being the head of research over there. Head of R&D was a good post for her career, after all. I'd like to think it was my legendary powers of persuasion--yeah right--but I think General O'Neill probably ordered her back at Landry's request. Her ego isn't so big that she'd think she was indispensable, though she is. Besides, if she could help she wasn't going to sit back and let others take the risks. Also, though she never said so directly, I got the impression she did less science and more paperwork than she liked at Nellis. She likes to be in the thick of things, not counting paperclips—or beakers or capacitors or whatever it is those scientists count. I had told Jackson I wanted to learn from the best and once I worked with her I realized I was more right than I knew.
But now, I'm thinking what we really need is Sam treating this wound instead of me. Ironic that the best medic on our team is the one lying here on the ground bleeding to death…Stop that!—she will be ok, just concentrate—you've got basic medic training, so get to it, Mitchell! So I gather the sterile pads, forceps, needle holder and suture thread. I start stitching the flaps of flesh back together, periodically sponging away the blood so I can see what I'm doing.
"Ungh, yah!" she cries out in pain as she comes to while I'm doing some stitching worthy of Frankenstein. Yeah, Carolyn Lam, I'm not. I hold her down, give her a shot of morphine and explain what I'm doing.
"How long was I out?" she quavers. "What's going on outside?" she asks, breathing hard. Typical Sam--staying on top of things. Dang she's tough, I think, while I continue to sew my friend together like I'm fixing a goddamn shirt or something.
She passes out again briefly when I carry her to the cot we set up for her yesterday—I think she probably only got in a catnap in between all her work on the device. I've done about all I can for her now and stand around looking out the window and feeling useless.
She shoots down my plan to get her to the gate by causing a distraction and blowing up Merlin's unreliable gadget.
"Cam, you have to face the fact that I'm going to die here," she says, her eyes bright with tears.
But I'm determined to get her off that line of thinking. "No, I don't have to face that fact because I am not gonna let it happen."
She looks up at me. "I appreciate that, but the truth is, even if you manage to create a distraction and destroy the device, you'll never get me to the gate.
"Yes, I will."
Damn it. I know she's right and she knows I know. But I'm going to find a way out of here for her. I have to.
I glance over from the window where I've been keeping an eye on the village.
Damn it, she's drifting off. I hurry over to her bed and shake her arm a little. "Hey! Carter! Wake up--no sleeping."
"My laptop…there's a file," she breathes.
"You want me to get it?" I ask.
She shakes her head. "In my personal directory…letters mostly. One to Cassie…some other people. Password's fishing."
Ah geez, she's giving up. Her breathing's getting labored. I tell her some grandma story, involving macaroons I think, (there were always macaroons at grandma's) to try to keep her going. I want to come right out and tell Sam that she helped keep me alive after Antarctica, and I intend to return the favor, but for some reason I hold back—as if that revelation is too much like a confession you'd make to someone on her deathbed. And I'm not going there. She's going to make it. "Believe you're gonna make it, Sam," I tell her.
Sam's pretty loopy from blood loss and all the morphine, but after a little urging from me she comes up with a way to save the villagers and us by using that crystal thing from the Ori weapon that damn near killed her. Poetic justice. After a false start with her speaking tecchie shorthand I couldn't follow, she talks me through hooking up the gadget, getting weaker all the time. Hang on Sam! Almost there. She's hanging onto consciousness by a thread and is in terrible pain (she turned down more morphine so she could think clearly) by the time I help her sit up.
"Aaaw!" she groans.
"You okay?" I ask reflexively.
Right. Stupid question, Cam. I've got her propped up by the shoulder as gently as possible, so she can input the right commands into her laptop. She hits the enter button and goes limp in my arms. But she's done it—the field activates. Way to go Sam. I ease her unconscious form back onto the cot, holding her hand, and pray there's still time to make good on my promise. I am not gonna let it happen.
So now I watch her sleep--a healing sleep now-- reassuring myself that she's still breathing and listening to the satisfyingly regular beep of the monitors. Dr. Lam has assured me that she'll be ok and back to SG-1, but it will take time. "It will be a long recovery, Cam," she says, touching my arm.
A Week Later
They're letting her sit up for short periods now. As different as we are in some ways, Sam's like me in that we hate to sit around doing nothing. Even in pain, she'll want to be doing something. I owe her more than she knows. The least I can do is make her recovery tolerable. I think I'll find out how soon I can bring her laptop to her, but I'll keep a close eye so she doesn't overdo. And there's a new scifi book she'll enjoy ripping apart—Oh, bad choice of words. My stomach churns a little as I flash to the sight of Sam's back ripped up by that Ori weapon. A book she can criticize—that's better. What else can I do? I remember my non-confession and my grandma story. I think I'll bake her some macaroons. She'll like that.