Author's Notes: I have fully written this story so no need to worry about starting it and then me getting a case of writer's block. I'll be posting one chapter per day until they are all up.
It's not necessary by any means to read my previous stories to get this one at all but if you would like to read the Sam/Jack back round of this story, I would suggest reading my short stories Content, Anniversary, and Baby's Grand Entrance.
As usual, I didn't write this to make money and have no connection with production of Stargate.
Also, just a little side point, this is my first attempt at writing an adventure based story. So I can't guarantee anything about how good it is. Scientific and medical jargon go over my head so those parts are hard for me to write and are probably severely lacking but I'm hoping that you enjoy the story, my faults withstanding.
"Hank! How are things?," Jack greeted as he walked into the General's office.
"Jack," he paused, looking down at his watch, "You're here awful early today?"
"It's Friday. I was hoping to sneak in and steal my wife for the rest of the day."
"Good luck. She's got herself a new toy to play with."
Jack grimaced dramatically. "Thanks."
Hank chuckled but before he could reply, the sound of an unscheduled off world activation had both men walking down into the control room.
"Walter, what have we got?," Landry briskly asked once they'd arrived.
"IDC coming in now, sir. It's SG-6."
Hank frowned, his bushy eyebrows furrowing together. "They aren't due back for another three hours. Open the iris."
The metal of the iris grated open, SG-6 quickly stepping on the ramp. All members seemed to be intact and accounted for.
"Major Andrews, report," Hank called over the speaker.
"Yes, sir. We've found an obelisk near the gate with Ancient writing on it. Davies says that there's a slight EM signal. We'd like to request someone with the Ancient gene to come back with us, sir."
Hank saw Jack perk up right before his eyes, looking for all the world like an eager puppy ready to go for a walk.
"I'm available." Jack smiled with a 'pick me pick me' grin on his face.
Landry raised an eyebrow. "What happened to sneaking Colonel Carter away?"
Jack tried to appear serious. "Well, as you said, she has a new toy. Wouldn't want to interrupt her fun or anything. Besides, I can go, use my magic touch, and still be back in time for dinner. No problem."
"Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that you just want to go off world."
Jack looked incredulous. "Of course not."
"Uh-huh. Go gear up and I'll let the team know."
Jack took in a deep joyful breath as the wormhole closed behind him.
Captain Davies smiled. "Good to get off world again, sir?"
Jack took in the sights. Well, if you could call it sights. There was nothing but dirt for a good mile and what appeared to be the beginning of shrubbery past that. The obelisk stood half a klick from the gate.
"Just couldn't have been a beach planet, could it?"
The group walked the short distance companionably and Jack smiled to himself at the banter between the teammates. Made him think of his own team and Jack had a sentimental moment, wishing they could go back to those days. Or not go back really, rather go out together again. His wondering thoughts took them to their destination and Jack stared at the bland stone with a sense of disappointment. The obelisk stood no more than fifteen feet tall and no wider on each side than an average man.
"This is it?"
"Okay. What do you want me to do?"
The team's linguist, Dr. Mary Burrows, moved closer to the obelisk dusting one of the sides off. "There's some writing on each side, but it's too faint to be made out. I'm thinking that the words actual light up when they've had contact with someone of the ATA gene."
Jack shrugged and put his hand on the stone. Nothing happened. "Well, there goes that idea."
Mary frowned. "Maybe if you think about lighting the words up? Sir."
Jack sighed but complied, placing his hand on one side of the stone again. He closed his eyes for about five seconds and still nothing. Peeking an eye open, he looked and simply said, "Nope."
Major Andrews looked to his team. "Any ideas?"
Jack casually walked around the stone and stopped when reaching one side and feeling a slight difference in the ground beneath his boots. Kicking some dirt away, he found he was standing on more stone. It started to light up as he stood there and Jack was about to make a comment about finding the 'on' button when he heard a familiar whirring sound. He snapped his head up but it was too late. Restraints held Jack's head firmly as bright lights filled his vision.
Jack woke up, hearing the familiar ka-woosh of the stargate.
"Oh god." He grabbed his head. "What happened?"
When no one responded, Jack opened his eyes to see four solemn faces. The events of the day slowly came back to him and all he could think was 'not again'.
Two of Major Andrews team went to help Jack stand up, but he brushed them off. "I'm fine."
"We're cleared to go through, sir."
Jack nodded, walking through the wormhole into the confines of the SGC. What the hell was he gonna tell Sam?
General Landry called through the speaker. "So, what was it, Jack?"
Jack frowned angrily. "Oh, nothing really. Just another one of those damn head-suckers. Your major here can tell you all about it."
Jack started down the ramp to leave the gate room.
"I'm going to find Sam," he shouted over his shoulder, not waiting to hear the response.
Jack didn't stop until he reached her door, his stomach churning. He'd gone to see her right before he left to let her know he was going off world. She'd smiled cheekily at his exuberance over going through the gate again. And look where it got him. She'd already banned him from ever going to Antarctica ever again. She said he hadn't been there yet without getting into trouble so she was going to make sure he never went again. Looks like Ancient devices were going to be added to the list. If there was even going to be a list anymore, Jack thought sickly.
Sam hadn't noticed him yet. Her mind completely transfixed by the metal box sitting in front of her, jumbles of wires spilling out of it. He had too much to lose now. He couldn't lose her and Nate. Not now.
She looked up with a smile, but quickly frowned when she saw his face.
"What happened?" Her eyes scanned over his body, looking for any apparent injuries. On finding none, she held his eyes with a sense of dread.
Jack tried to smile but knew it came out as a grimace. Walking into her lab, he said simply, "I'm three for three."
Her head tilted slightly to the left. "Jack?"
He could see her chest rising and falling faster as he reached her lab table, her mind forming what he could mean. Jack saw the second she realized it in her eyes. Right when he reached her side and put his hands on her elbows.
Sam's eyes filled with tears and she shook her head, unwilling to believe it. "No. It wasn't ...you didn't..."
"No." She put her hands on his chest, whether to push him away or pull him closer neither of them knew. "No. Why would you do that, Jack? The Asgard are gone!"
She wouldn't look him in the eye. His voice was soft as he answered her. "I didn't know it was there until it was too late."
"No," she choked out, hoping maybe if she said it enough it wouldn't be true.
"Sam, look at me." He lifted her chin with his finger. When their eyes locked, he told her firmly, "We'll find a way."
"How? The Asgard are gone. They can't remove the repository from your mind. There's no one to..."
"Sam." He placed his hands on either side of her face. Leaving no room for doubt, he said again, "We'll find a way. I will not leave you now that I am finally with you."
Her bottom lip trembled against her will, but she nodded her head anyway. "Okay."
"Good. Now c'mere."
Jack pulled her off the stool into his arms.
They were still holding each other when an airmen turned into Sam's lab with a "Sir?" On seeing the couple, the SF stammered, "Oh, I'm sorry. Sir. Ma'am."
Jack let go of his wife and turned towards the airman. "Tell General Landry I'm on my way and have Dr. Jackson paged to the briefing room."
The SF nodded and turned without a word.
Sam brushed her tears away quickly and Jack tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear.
"Let's go get this briefing over with, k? Hank's still new to all this head sucking stuff."
Sam gave him a stern look to let him know it was so not the time for jokes, but nodded anyway, determined to keep her composure.
Daniel got to the briefing room at the same time as they did and eyed Jack's BDU's curiously.
"So. What's going on?" Daniel asked, wondering what on earth he, Jack, and Sam were doing at a briefing with SG-6.
When no one else appeared to want to answer, General Landry turned to Dr. Jackson while still eying Jack and saying, "Jack went with SG-6 to a planet with an obelisk they believed to have been made by the Ancients. When he was there, he had the..." Hank paused, forming the new word cautiously, " ...repository forcibly downloaded into his head."
Daniel snapped his eyes to Jack.
He didn't look up from the table. "I know."
"I know, Daniel!"
Daniel looked over at Sam, who was also resolutely examining the briefing room table.
"What do we do?"
Sam answered. "The Asgard database. The answer has to be there."
Daniel raised his eyebrows in question. "So all we have to do is find it?"
"It's not that simple, Daniel. The wealth of information is far greater than any one lifetime's work and they didn't exactly label everything in an index for us. If we can even find the information we need, that's not to say that we'll be able to understand how to do it."
Jack had stopped listening to the conversation after his last comment to Daniel. His anger to the situation had finally caught up to him now that he had broken the news to Sam. His jaw was clenched so tight that Jack was pretty sure TMJ might be in his future. If he even had a future. Damn, he was pissed off. Stupid friggin' Ancients and their dumb legacies. Hadn't those people ever heard of warning signs? Big blinking arrows that declared, "Caution: Head-sucker ahead. Your fron may or may not turn into a pile of goo on contact!"
Knowing that now he was 'compromised' Jack would have to ask Landry to leave the base, Jack butted in, "Request permission to leave the base and get things sorted out at home, Hank."
"You know I can't let you do that, Jack. Not with what I have read about what this is going to do to you."
Daniel intervened, "Actually, sir, both times this has happened to Jack before he followed a definite pattern. It took a few days before any, uh, changes started."
"We'll return the first time I start spouting Ancient, Hank."
Sam cut in in full military mode, "Sirs, I should really be starting on the database."
Jack was clearly frustrated and very nearly rolled his eyes as he sighed. "Sam..."
"We need as much time as we can get to figure this out, sir!" Her words came out a little harsher than she had intended but she held Jack's gaze firmly.
His jaw tightened for a moment before he answered. "You'll start on it first thing tomorrow, Colonel. Forgive me if I want to go home and spend the night with my wife and son before this thing overrides my brain!"
The room was deathly quiet after Jack's outburst. Sam closed her eyes and bit her bottom lip, taking one deep breath to calm back the tears. Reaching underneath the table, she interlaced her fingers with Jack's.
Landry broke the silence. "Alright, Jack. You're free to go home tonight but I'd like you both back in the morning."
Jack nodded, no longer wanting to speak. Rising from the table, Jack and Sam walked out together, Jack still holding firmly to her hand.