Author's note: Trying to get back my writinglegs. Not beta'd; a story-in-a-day exercise. Bear with me!
Col. Sam Carter bounded out of the incoming wormhole just ahead of her teammates, Daniel Jackson and Teal'c. She felt great, and only a little sorry that the other two didn't. Sam saw Gen. Jack O'Neill at the base of the ramp and tried extra hard not to grin outright as she drew closer to him and the SFs. The wormhole closed behind them and all attention turned to her.
"Carter. I take it the mission was…spiffy?" Jack asked, his eyes doing a quick check of her person and then the others. She could see him inhale deeply and look back at her, puzzled.
"Quite, sir," Sam replied. There was a moment of silence that tickled her no end. But she was a colonel now and giggling (especially around him) was not an option. She looked up at the SGC's newest CO and saluted. "Permission to get checked out in the infirmary, sir?"
"Uh, sure. Dismissed," Jack said after another confused moment. He returned her salute; Sam surrendered her weapons and casually sauntered out of the gate room. She could hear him as she moved away. "I see – and smell - that you two didn't get the benefit of Carter's er, whatever?"
"Funny, Jack." Daniel's voice faded as she distanced herself.
Sam made it back to the briefing room before the others. She placed a mini-chocolate with a shamrock designed wrapper on the table where the team sat. Her own she held in her hand to warm, then settled in her usual spot on the right of the general's chair.
Chocolate. Just like someone's eyes. She chuckled. Then the others arrived for the debriefing. The general picked up the little chocolate and glanced at her. He silently mouthed his thanks. As she expected, his large hand immediately started to fiddle with it. Teal'c unwrapped his and popped it into his mouth after bowing gratefully to her. Daniel's would age gracefully, she mused.
Teal'c and Daniel began their mission reports. It was difficult trying not to smile; she knew her version was way different from theirs. For them it started with the rain storm with flash flooding, followed by a killer heat wave. Oh, and that she went missing for half a day. All true, mostly. They just didn't know about The Mud.
They'd barely cleared the gate when the storm erupted. Rain slashed down as Sam hurried to dial out. A spark erupted from the DHD and threw her several feet away to land in the flooded grass.
"Oh, boy…" she murmured. She heard Daniel and Teal'c shouting before passing out.
There was a roar in her head; rising and fading. The earth frothed furiously, growing into a translucent sphere that pulsed around and through her. Sam winced as shocks pricked inside her head; she could only blink up at the psychedelics.
The undulating action gradually ceased. She lay still until she had strength enough to raise her hand to rub her eyes.
"Oy," she groaned. The strange dream etched itself behind her eyelids. Oh, wait…
Sam sprang upright. She scanned the area in confusion, noting the strange aura around her. Not a dream, then. She noted gladly the absence of that damned rain. In fact, she ran her hands over herself, she was dry! But what in the world was this, a force field? Sam knelt and inched closer to the translucent barrier. She slid the palm of her hand close enough to test for heat or static; she detected none.
"Well, I can breath in it, and it's dry. Let's see…" Sam spoke softly. She cautiously stuck a finger into the surface. The next she knew, she was sprawled face down after a huge "whoosh!" and the barrier was gone. Stunned a moment, Sam couldn't help laughing: she actually popped a bubble from the inside! How cool was that!
Well, actually she wasn't cool at all.
It was getting warm, very warm and rapidly. The cloud cover had vanished; a strong heat source combined with the drying grassland to create a natural sauna. And the temperature was still climbing. Where was the gate? That's when she realized something else had happened.
A wall of trees stood high out of the ground cutting her off as far as she could see.
"What the – Teal'c! Daniel! Oh, for cryin' out loud, now what!" Sam shouted. She tried the radio without success. She was shocked by the appearance of the dense tree line where there was none before. It was like a wall. "This can't be good."
The dead radio worried her; no static or sound at all. What was doing that? Were Daniel and Teal'c ok? She stared at the impossible barrier trying to figure a way through.
The ground trembled. Sam spun around. The woods they'd seenon the MALP had changed. She was captivated by the new landscape. There was a sculptured spaceamong thetrees now, with packed earth rather than grass.
"Wow, I think it's a grotto," Sam said, taking readings from a safe distance. The transformation was a sizable rock face of golden flecked stone. "Quartz, sandstone. Very nice. This planet has a nifty sense of style," she said, laughing in spite of the strangeness.
Gurgling sounds caught her attention. A curtain of water emanating from the rock face flowed down into a pool of water. Sam gazed longingly at the new oasis as the steam grew more intense. She kept taking readings; no serious energy, but the heat register concerned her.
The waterfall began to mist, spiking the humidity. Did the trees block in the heat from the clearing behind her? She aimed her device at the pool; oh, yeah, the temperature was rising.
"Why are you doing this? We don't mean you any harm! Please talk to me!" Sam called out. She hoped whoever did this had no hostile intentions. Why cut her off? And, she mused as she pulled her sweat soaked tee shirt from her pants to fan herself, did it want to roast her alive? To eat? Something above her head made her look up.
A rainbow. And not the arc one usually saw. This was inverted, with sparkling jewel tones and – Ok, she admitted; shaped like a smile? Man she hoped Daniel was getting this on camera! They'd never believe her otherwise.
"Daniel, in case you can hear me, I'm fine. There's a sauna effect going on though; the water temperature is rising," she said, then described what had gone on. "Hope you and T. are ok," Sam spoke into the radio. The temperature on the tricorder was 89F. Should have packed a bikini. "The new trees look really packed in. I'd suggest a staff blast but I it would serve. By the way, did you see that rainbow?" Silence again. Well, she had to try.
Sam untied her BDU jacket from around her waist and let it drop. Then she sat down and began to pull off her boots and socks. She knew she'd have to shed more clothing to cool off.
"Guys, listen. Clothing is beginning to be an issue. So if you happen to get in here in the next few minutes or so, act like you've seen it before, ok?" Sam said, panting a little in the humid air.
The radio clicked but no voice came through. Well, maybe they could hear some of what she was saying.
"Best not get too close just in case there are more renovations in mind. Keep the radios open," Sam said. She was barefooted, her tee shirt shed and her pants rolled to her knees. Sam had no doubt they would have to come off if this accursed steaming didn't…
Sam studied the pool. The water level had dropped, or evaporated. She saw the waterbed just below the surface now, although it didn't seem as deep as it should be. It was as if the water itself turned to mud that fast. Peering closer, she could see that it was a rather soupy --- And then she fell in!
Sam sputtered as she raised herself from the warm sludge. She knelt and ran her hands through the substance. Fine grained,with a faint herbal aroma, she thought as she fingered it. It reminded her of something. Easing out, Sam sat on dry ground and sighed as she removed her pants. A veil of scented steam suddenly enveloped her.
She took a breath of the altered air and smiled. Her toes smiled. Her hair smiled. Nice.
"You know, I think this isn't too bad. Kind of nice, really," Sam said, feeling a wonderful sense of, well, wonderfulness roll through her. "Wow, this is great…"
Movement drew her hazy attention to the ground. A lush carpet of – shamrocks? Sam blinked. Yes, they were the mythical four-leafed kind. Sam placed her hand in them and the little green leaves fluttered. She giggled at the sensation. They bent like a wave that flowed to the pool. The air had the most pleasant scent. Wow. She was feeling really lounged.
Sam climbed dazedly to her feet and began to examine her new environment, vaguely aware of the need to solve some kind of problem. She tried to see through the crystalline leaves reflecting the glittering emerald sky; not real, surely? But when her bare feet squished in the soft rim, eliciting another sigh of pleasure, the mission's purpose faded again. The hot steam clouds coated her bared skin leaving a delicious smelling sheen over her. She dipped a toe into the earth-colored mud. It tickled!
She figured there was some sort of geothermal reaction taking place underground that heated the water and helped turn the earth to mud and make this heady steam. Huh, heady.
A light buzz began in her ear or her head. Sam shook herself. Then she felt compelled to look down. How strange. Slipping off the belt she'd worn to clip her radio to, Sam inched forward. The warm, slightly effervescent mix rose over her ankles, up to her calves, and then knee high.
The sensation was invigorating and calming at once. She let her hand trail around her, making temporary tracks on the surface that gradually melted back into themselves. Sam grinned. It was bubbly and warm and kind of tickly, and she wanted more! A little ledge of shamrocks and moss poked up from the rocks right beside the trickle of water. The shamrocks were so friendly, waving like that!
"Hi, guys! Is this for me?" Sam waded to the ledge and found it would make a convenient pillow, as the ground beneath her sloped slightly. Gingerly she eased herself down, and found it a perfect spot to lay prone. Letting instinct guide her, she did just that, up to her neck in warm fragrant semi-liquid earth.
It hit her then: A mud bath! Oh, she could really get used to this...
Love to know what you think of Sam's predicament; Jack comes up again so please check back! Kindly review and thanks for reading.