You cannot count the years how long the light travels to that galaxy where that blue planet goes round around it's sun. It is so far away. If you have a look on it, it is almost like Earth, almost. But there is much more water. A lot of square meters are full of that. And in the middle of this, there is a city. An ancient city which is more modern than you can imagine, and which was lost for a long, long while. But it is found now, and a lot of people is living and working there. You can see the smartest and cleverest people of earth doing their job and spending their free time far away from home but no one has regret about it. Very few people have the chance to know about this place, even fewer can travel here, and much fewer can be a part of it.
Now they have a new leader for a while. Colonel Samantha Carter, USAF. It was a sudden opportunity to be the one, since the previous one is seriously injured. She hesitated for a while to accept this, but since it is temporary and she is the most suitable one, she accepted it. It was a tough decision, since she needed to leave everything and everybody she loved behind, back on earth for month. But it was a great step ahead in her career. There were days when she enjoyed her work, this was really full of adventure. She loved it. She enjoyed every moment when she could use the knowledge, the experience she got during all the years. She was proud when she could figure out the solution. And now, in this new position she was satisfied that everything is going well under her command. She knew that it will be the last one since she is 41 years old now, and this is the top, she couldn't reach any higher in her career.
She can travel home every second weekend, it is written in her mission letter. Usually events screws up the schedule, but it is so good to know, that the possibility is there. And she was counting back the days till the next one. Counting today four days remaining. She will be at home on Friday evening. As usual every morning, she had a final look on the photo of her and Jack, her husband before she left for work again. Yes, General Jack O'Neill is her husband now. She smiled at the photo and touched the wooden frame. 'I miss you so much.' - she thought, then she left the room.
She was walking through the corridor to her office when she felt a slight nausea - again.
'Shit, I will never eat Jello anymore. Or anything…' She murmured herself and hurried to the women's restroom. A stronger wave of nausea swept over her again as she leaned to the doorframe. She stepped in and she threw up everything she had inside. There was nothing much. She stood up, washed her mouth and headed to her office.
The day went quite well for Sam. Nothing important happened, everybody was back. The city was more and more quiet as the hours passed by. Dr Mackay was explaining something about his newest findings, when she felt herself extremely tired. She hardly could pay attention to his words. She stepped closer to the screen, hoping that she could shake herself out from this valley when she dropped her pen accidentally. She crouched down to pick it up and quickly stood up, when she suddenly felt dizzy. She almost lost her balance. She grabbed the edge of the big table of the meeting room. Her face was pale. MacKay had never seen her like this. He stepped to her and helped her to sit down.
- Are you ok? – he asked in concern.
- Yeah - Sam sighed in relief that she could sit down – Yes, sure. – She smiled at him.
- I am almost done, but we can finish it later – Rodney offered
- No, no – Sam said – I am ok now. I just need a glass of water. Go on, please.
Sam took some deep breath, took a bottle of water to drink a little, and stayed sitting at the table till the end of Rodney's presentation. Right after that she went in her room to get some rest. She knew that something is not ok, Probably the stomach problems caused this. She had a short shower, changed, and looked at the photo of her and Jack on the shelf. 'Sweet dreams Jack – she thought, touching the photo frame – Tomorrow I will see the doc.' She curled up in her bed and she was sound asleep in two minutes.
Sam woke up with a start – knocking. It was 5:45AM. 'Oh, god.' She heard an other knock on her door. 'Yeah, it is real, no dream.'
- Colonel Carter – she heard saying – Colonel Carter.
- Yes, - she answered with a really sleepy voice – what happened?
- Colonel Shepherd is back.
- Ok, I am there in five minutes.
Sam climbed out of the bed, and went to the bathroom, eyes still half closed. She looked in the mirror and pinned up her now long hair. She washed her face and her teeth and dressed really quickly to have a short debriefing with Shepherd.
- God morning – she greeted everybody with a smile in the meeting room.
That's why everybody liked her here. When she smiled at them everything seemed easier. Her good mood was infectious. And she knew it. Optimism, enthusiasm, curiosity, creativity, based on facts. This was one of the best part of her leading strategy.
- Hi – Shepherd stood up – Sorry for waking you up so early
- Oh, no problem. – she said and sat down – I guess a coffee could help. What have you found?
She really wanted to know all the details, since this was the most important project right now. Back on earth everybody was talking about it. If it works, a lot of things can be changed by the new technology on earth, which could bring lots of money to the Stargate programme, and it would never depend on the government in the future.
Sam opened a bottle of mineral water and stood up to step to Shepherd, who just started to explain the details.
She was focusing on the plans. She got the big picture; she just needs to have as many details now as possible. She looked from the left side of the screen and then back to the right, when she felt the now familiar feeling. 'It's a bit warm here' she thought, and she drank a little from the bottle she was holding in her hand. She put the cap back, and tried to focus again. It failed. She felt the screen moving, the whole room spinning around. She closed her eyes, forcing her to get back the strength she was loosing. She opened her eyes again – nothing changed, only a concerned look of Shepherd and MacKay was new. She wanted to tell them not to look that way, everything was ok, but she couldn't say a word. She felt dizzy, and she had a slight nausea. She took a step back to reach her chair but suddenly everything became grey and then totally black around her.
Unfortunately nobody was close enough to catch her. She fell down on the floor freely as she fainted.
Both men ran to her as she was lying on her back on the floor. MacKay shouted for the doctor. Shepherd knelt down to her, and tried to wake her up. In the meantime the doc arrived.
- Give me that box – he motioned to the paper case of the water in the corner. MacKay brought it to him – Let's put it under her legs.
Both men were shocked, as their strong boss got sick. They couldn't imagine what could have happened to her. In the meantime the doctor wiped her face with a wet towel, and Sam slowly got conscious. She opened her eyes slowly.
- Welcome back, Colonel – the doc greeted her with a smile and he wiped her forehead again. – How are you feeling?
- Wh…what happened – she asked groggily
- You fainted – the doctor answered simply and he took her hand in his – how are you feeling?
- Knocked out… – she answered weakly – It's warm here.
- It's ok, just have a rest here for a while, and when you're ready we go to the infirmary and figure out what the problem is.
- Ok – she could answer only this. She closed here eyes again and took a deep breath.
Twenty minutes later Sam was half sitting on a bed in the infirmary. Blood sample was taken, and she drank some water again. She swallowed hard and laid back. She closed her eyes, trying to get back her strength.
- Hey – the doc stepped in the room, where fortunately was only Sam's room now.
She opened her eyes and turned her head in the door's direction. When she noticed the doc, she sat up.
- Hey – she greeted him too.
- So, - he started – we will have the first results in couple of hours. Till then may I have some questions?
- Sure – she said, trying to get a comfortable position.
- Did you have breakfast?
- Um…no. – She confessed. – Actually I had problems with my stomach in the past few days.
- What exactly? – the doc asked.
- I've eaten too much I guess and I threw up couple of times.
- Anything else?
- Weakness – she realised that she had a lot of strange symptoms – actually I am sleepier than usual. I had nausea several times, and I felt dizzy.
- I see. – the doc said making notes
- I thought it was because of stress or something – she confessed, with guilt that she didn't came earlier.
- Did you have contact with the team got back last weekend?
- I don't think so…why?
They got a kind of bacterial infection from the water there. – the doc said casually. Sam's eyes lit up, she remembers this from the report. But she was a bit concerned now. She had seen strange things before - Don't worry, a simple combination of antibiotics will help.
- Ok. – she said with a smile.
- Have some rest, ok, and see you in the afternoon.
- Doctor, - she interrupted when the doc stood up – could you please give me something against nausea?
- Sure – he pulled out a box from his pocket and handed to her.
- Thank you. – she took the box - Can I go back to work?
- Jesus, you are really that workaholic – he smiled at her – let's have a deal: you can take your laptop into your quarter, and you stay in bed today, right?
- Deal – she smiled back and got up from the bed. – Thank you.
In the early afternoon MacKay decided to visit Sam in her quarter. He brought some food from the commissary to have dinner together. The rivalling between the two of them hadn't change much, but since she was his boss, he tried to be friendly with her. He knocked on her door but when there was no answer he hesitated to go in or not, but finally he opened the door. He found Carter sound asleep in her bed, curled up to her laptop. He put the tray on the table, took her laptop to put it aside and he covered her with the blanket. He smiled at her and left the room.
Couple of hours later, she woke up and went out to find the doc. She felt really better, and she was not that kind of person who can stay in bed for too long. She headed to the infirmary. She found the doc in the room she was in the morning.
- Hi! – she greeted him.
- Hi! – the doctor said with a smile – Just a minute.
She sat down on the bed waiting for him, to print out something. She was playing with the sheet the bed was covered. The doc took the paper from the printer, stood up, and leaned to the back of the other bed.
- I've got the samples – he started with a smile and he handed it to her. – There is a simple reason why you felt sick and fainted.
Sam looked in the paper, but hasn't found anything which can give you the answer, so she looked back at the doctor confused, waiting for the answer.
- Colonel, you are pregnant.
Sam was just sitting there stunned, trying to find the real meaning of the word. For the first time it was unbelievable. Slowly she found the word on a well hidden page in her dictionary and slowly all this sunk in.
- Pr…pregnant?…Are, are you sure? - her mind started to work again – Pregnant? How? …Oh my god.
Tears were welling up in here eyes, and in the same time she was all smiles. The tears of a suddenly found happiness ran down on her cheeks.
- Yes, you are. – the doctor assured her with a smile, and squeezed her forearm gently – I read your medical file, and I am aware that theoretically you cannot conceive, but yes, you are pregnant. – He paused, watching her for a couple of seconds when he saw the realisation and the happiness in her eyes. - Congratulations!
- I'm pregnant – she repeated, wiping away the tears, and smiling the 1000 megawatt smile she was well known for. – Oh my god!
The doc sat next to her. He was watching her. It is very rarely to have the opportunity for him to tell this kind of good news like this to a woman. It was so overwhelming to see somebody this happy.
- Colonel – he asked for attention – we need to do some examination first.
Sam nodded in agreement still smiling and wiping the tears.
- Now? – she asked. She so wanted to know whether everything is ok.
- First of all ultrasound?
- Let's go.
They went to the infirmary together. Sam took off her trousers and laid on the bed. The doctor pushed up her top a little to reveal her belly. He put some gel on the scanner of the ultrasound machine and started the examination.
- Easy – he told her trying to calm her as he pushed the scanner in – Look there. Can you see this?
Tears were welling up in Sam's eyes on the realisation that she could see her and Jack's baby on the screen.
- Is that…- her voice trailed off as she followed the doc's hand on the screen, she couldn't continue.
- Yes, it is, Colonel – the doctor assured her and stopped. Sam was watching the screen and smiled through her tears.
- I assume that you are eight or nine weeks ahead now.
- Nine weeks – Sam corrected him, smiling while she was calling back when she was at home and could conceive.
While Sam get dressed, and sat back on the bed, the doc printed the picture of the screen. He handed it to her. He took it, her hands were trembling as she slowly realised that this won't be that easy as it seems fir the first time. She looked at the doctor.
- Doctor, - she started on a low voice – everything will be ok, won't it?
The doctor looked at her, trying to find the right words to calm her but not to lie.
- Look Colonel, I am not an expert, but as I read your file, the protein marker and the naquadah traces in your blood could be a risk factor. And sorry for saying that, but you are 41. – he paused, but Sam couldn't say a word, she knew that he was right. So he continued – I suggest you to go back to earth, and find a specialist. I know it won't be easy.
Sam was sitting there in silence for a while, looking down at her hands. She took a deep breath.
- Do you…do you see any chance to make it? – she asked finally.
- Sure, Colonel – he answered – I just say that according to the circumstances, you need a specialist to make sure that you and the baby will be ok.
This statement of the doctor was quite enough for her to quickly make her decision to go home. She didn't want to take any risk now.
- Thank you, doc.
They stayed there talking for a while, and then Sam went back to her quarter to take her laptop, to start to organise her leave. She was happy and scared in the same time. It was really hard for her to focus on the things she needed to cover before she leaves. She started to work on an action plan for the ongoing projects. Occasionally she stopped, thinking it over again, assigning the right people for each task. She was working hard on it, motivated by the thought that she needs to go home to do everything for her and Jack's baby. When she finished, she leaned back on her chair, and she put her hand on her belly, slightly squeezing it for the first time. It overwhelmed her. She didn't dare to think about this kind of things before. It was too painful to know that she could never give Jack what was missing in their life. Jack never talked about it either, he is not that kind of man of words, and it was easier for booth of them to bury this topic deep. But now, everything is different. They could have what they really wished deep inside but hardly could admit to themselves not to tear up the wounds of the loss of Charlie, and the diagnosis Sam got after a routine exam more than four years ago. Now she was praying for God, to let this miracle happen. She kept her hands on her belly. She wanted to feel it more, and it sounds silly, but she wanted to protect her baby.
She planned everything in details. If everything goes well, she can leave on Friday morning. She called a meeting in the main meeting room. It was 7 AM, all the project and team leads were waiting for her. She stepped in, and everybody stood up.
- Good morning – she started – At ease.
She sat down with the others. They were looking at her, waiting for her to start. Everything seemed like an ordinary daily or weekly meeting. Only she knew the difference. She took a deep breath and started.
- I called this meeting – she swallowed hard. It is definitely not as easy as she thought. She wanted to shout out to the whole universe that she is pregnant, but she wanted to tell it to Jack first. And besides she had to confess to herself, she liked this job here - because I would like to announce you that tomorrow is my last day here.
She paused, as all the heads snapped up to look at her. They were surprised. She continued.
- Because of personal reasons I need to go back to Earth. – she paused again, looked around to catch the reactions and when she noted that everybody was watching her she went on – Colonel Shepherd, until further decision, you will be in charge….
The meeting was smooth. They agreed on reassignments easily. In her plan Sam covered everything for the temporary period while a higher decision comes from Earth. She thanked everybody their efforts and co-operation and she told them that it had been great to work with them. At the end of the meeting everybody stood up, still not believing that she leaves them in two days so suddenly. Colonel Shepherd turned back to her.
- Colonel, if there is anything I can help you – he trailed off as he saw the bright smile on her face
- No, thank you. – she assured him. - Don't worry, I'm ok. - She hasn't told him anything else, just smiled while she packed the signed papers together. It was quite enough for Shepherd to stop asking. – And you will be good in your new position. At home I will suggest them to make it permanent.
Sam finished all the tasks she could at the moment and organised a briefing for the next morning for the two leader teams. She enjoyed this new aspect of her work. She rarely has opportunity to hand over her job. It was interesting leading task and she was happy about the reason why she had to do this. But at the same time she was scared. She was scared about the pregnancy, whether the baby would be ok, how she could manage it and how Jack would react.
She had countless scripts in her hand how she will tell it to him. But first she needs to compose a letter to the president, the joint chiefs and the Head of Home World Security to ask immediate reassignment. It was not easy. She wrote sentences, and deleted them and wrote again. Finally everybody will get the same. Then she composed a letter to hand in her resignation in case anything fails and her request would be rejected.
She had dinner with Shepherd and Rodney. They were talking casually about work, the SGC, SG-1 and life on Atlantis. They were assured again, that Rodney has at least two thousands stories about how his brain had saved the teams life. They laughed a lot. Suddenly Sam hadn't found his behaviour so irritating – probably because she knew that she leaves tomorrow. Shepherd went to the fridge to get something for dessert – Sam asked for Jello – when MacKay just blurted out the question he so wanted to ask since the meeting.
- Why do you leave, colonel?
Sam was shocked by the question, but as she saw Rodney leaning closer to her, she leaned closer too and she couldn't hold back it anymore. She smiled at him with the 100 megawatt smile she was known for.
- I'm going on maternity leave – she said simply, still smiling and putting an other piece of mashed potato in her mouth.
She was so satisfied as she saw the info sunk in to him.
She was so happy because no matter what, she goes home to Jack, and she will be a mother if God wants her to be as well. Rodney couldn't react on this, and in the meanwhile the commissary became too crowdy suddenly. Sam smiled at him and Shepherd too. She took her jello and said good night to them and left.
She was eating her jello on the way back to her quarter. She opened the door, stepped in and sat down on her bed. She put the empty box on the bedside table and took Jack's photo in her hands. She smiled at his picture and decided to pack her things to be ready for her tomorrow leave.
After zipping her duffle bag, she laid on the bed, her hands on her belly. She slowly started to believe that she will be a mother. She was smiling on the thought that they will have a real family finally. Two minutes later the doc's words echoed in her head about her age and the naquadah, and she suddenly felt panic. What if….she didn't dare to think about it. She was never that religious, but she fell asleep praying to god and to her parents in heaven to help.
After travelling through three stargates back to earth and a long flight to DC in her uncomfortable dress blues, Sam was sitting in front of General Jack O'Neill's office in an armchair. She needed to wait, since she arrived unnoticed. It was almost noon, so she hoped that she could meet Jack soon. Her request for immediate reassignment was lying on the small table in front of her in a folder next to the test results and the printed ultrasound picture of their baby. Her hands were on her belly slightly squeezing it sometimes while she ran through the newer and newer scripts about telling Jack that she is actually pregnant. She had butterflies in her stomach, but she couldn't help it.
Suddenly Jack's door opened and somebody who she didn't know came out. There wasn't anybody waiting for Jack, so Sam took the folder, smiled at Jack's secretary for permission to go in his office. She knocked on the door and when Jack said come in, she opened it and stepped in. Jack was trying to find something in his bag when he suddenly felt a familiar person's presence in the room. He turned to her, smiled at her and closed the distance between them to pull her into his arms. He kissed the top of her head while he held her in his arms tight.
- I missed you so much – he whispered into her hair.
- I missed you too – was her reaction as she caressed his neck and his hair with her free hand.
Jack looked at her and slowly closed his eyes and the half inch gap between them and kissed her tenderly. It was obvious, nothing has changed between them. They love each other the same way. Sam relaxed in Jack's arms, kissing him like for the first time.
Jack's brain started to work as they parted for some air. He definitely didn't expect her to be here.
- What happened? – he asked, eyebrow raised in confusion – not that I am not happy that you are here, but…
- …but – Sam continued his sentence and took a deep breath to calm down – I am here to give you my request for immediate reassignment. - Before he could ask why, she handed her the folder. – Personal and medical reasons.
Jack was off guard now. He couldn't read. Personal and medical reasons – what the hell is it, is she sick or…Her father had cancer – God, don't let it be, please – he thought in panic. Sam saw it. It was written all over his face that he tries but he is not able to find out anything from the papers. He is worrying too much for that. His hands were shaking. She stepped closer, and put her hands on his and looked in his eyes. She smiled because she couldn't do anything else.
- I am pregnant, Jack.
After this sentence the world slowed down. Their eyes were still locked, he was trying to believe that he heard it right. Pregnant. He saw as the papers slipped out from his hands and then he fell down on his knees silently praying for god to let this be real. As his knees reached the ground he immediately pulled her close to him. He grabbed her jacket on her back like he was afraid of her disappearing if he wouldn't have held her like this. He buried his face into her belly while she was simply staying there, didn't know what to do at his reaction. She was stroking his hair with both of her hands.
As Jack held her tight he gripped her jacket at her back not able to let her go. He felt tears welling in his eyes on the realisation that he can have a family, a whole family again.
- Oh my god – he whispered into her jacket as he knelt in front of her, his face still buried in it.
He closed his eyes, and tears escaped from them. Sam was still caressing his hair, and the side of his face. She didn't expect this. To be honest she hasn't gone this far when he imagined telling it to him. She was so overwhelmed by this pure reaction of him. Jack slowly stood up and pulled her in his arms again.
- Jack – she whispered as he started to plant soft kisses on her hair
- Is it real? – he asked between kisses – Really?
- Yes – she answered through her tears – yes. - Jacked kissed her temple. She continued to summarize it smiling, while she stroked his hair on the back of his head and swallowed her tears. - The doc said that nine weeks, and we need to find a specialist because of my age and the naquadah, but he thinks that we could make it.
Jack was just hugging her tight, and stroking her hair while she was talking. Yes, they could make it. It is risky, but they could make it. He suddenly realised how difficult it will be, but he decided to do even the impossible to have this chance of their life. He remembered Charlie, how happy he could be, knowing that he would have a little sister or brother soon. If only he could be alive. Finally tears were flowing from his eyes. He kissed Sam again, and held her tighter to him. He hardly could speak, but he made a promise.
- This time I will do it right, Sam. – he whispered to her – I promise.
- I know – she answered fighting with her tears. – I know…