Lieutenant Colonel Sam Carter was sitting in the control room, running a diagnostic on the
gate when it began to dial in.
Beside her, Walter Harriman leaned forwards and pulled the mic to his lips. 'Unscheduled
'Sergeant, do we have an IDC?' General Landry asked from behind Sam.
For her part, Sam found herself staring into the gateroom, a dreadful feeling of foreboding
building in her stomach. There was only one team offworld: SG-12, accompanied by one
General Jack O'Neill.
'Its SG-12, sir.'
'Open the iris.'
Sam rose and walked down to the gateroom, willing herself not to run. As the gateroom
door slid open to admit her, the members of SG-12 came running down the gate, followed
by Jack O'Neill. As his boots hit the ramp, Jack looked up at Walter and yelled, 'Lock it up!'
The iris slid closed. When it was almost fully closed a jet of red light shot through the gap,
hitting Jack in the back. Before he hit the ramp, Sam was at his side catching his head in her
She was vaguely aware of Harriman calling for a medic, of people swarming around her, but
her senses didn't seem to be able to register anything but Jack. The way his eyelashes fluttered
against his cheek as he fought to open his eyes. The way he shuddered when he breathed.
'Stay with me, sir,' she whispered. 'Jack,' she said, her voice insistent, 'you're home. Look at me.'
Jack's eyes fluttered open, staring up at Sam. 'Carter?'
She smiled down at him, aware that there were tears coursing down her cheeks, falling onto
'Colonel Carter, step aside please,' Sam looked up as Dr Lam knelt down beside Jack; someone
pulled her up and out of the way. She looked around and saw it was Teal'c. Daniel, Vala and Cam
were just behind him. A tiny part of her mind registered Teal'c's hand on her shoulder; the rest of
her attention was on the medical team surrounding Jack.
'He's crashing!' Lam yelled, reaching for the crash cart, 'Clear!'
Sam flinched as Jack's body was lifted off the ramp by the shock of the defibrillator.
After shocking Jack three more times, Lam sat back on her heels. 'He's gone. I'm calling it.'
Sam found herself unable to move. Teal'c's hand felt like a lead weight on her shoulder. As the
orderlies loaded Jack's body onto a stretcher she tried to step forward, murmuring, 'Jack'. Teal'c
restrained her. She turned and looked up at him, his face was filled with sadness.
She looked at the other members of SG-1. Cam looked shocked, his eyes kept flicking to the place
where Jack had lain, Vala's face bore a similar expression. Daniel's face was white. He stepped
towards Sam, his mouth opening to speak.
'I… I have to get to my… I have to go.' She turned, feeling Teal'c's hand fall from her shoulder,
and rushed from the gateroom.
Daniel walked along the corridor towards Sam's lab, his feet heavy, his expression sombre.
He hadn't seen his friend since Jack's funeral, by all accounts she'd been closeted away in her
lab for the last two weeks, even though they were all on downtime.
He reached Sam's lab. The door was closed and a sign said, 'Do not enter. Experiments running.'
Daniel shrugged and opened the door anyway. Sam was sitting at her workbench, her
attention completely focused on the small object on the table in front of her.
'Sam?' Daniel called softly.
'I'm busy, Daniel, can you come back later?'
'General Landry sent me to tell you to go home,' Daniel said.
'I'll just finish this and I'll go home. Close the door on your way out.'
'What is it?' Daniel asked.
'Just something I kept meaning to work on.'
'Sam,' Daniel said, his tone firm.
Finally, she looked up at him. Her skin was pale and her eyes had dark circles under them.
Her hair was a mess, as though she'd been running her hand through it constantly. 'What is it,
Daniel?' she asked. He noticed her voice was slightly hoarse through disuse.
'You can't do this to yourself,' Daniel said, wincing inwardly even as the words left his mouth.
'Daniel, I could really do without the platitudes,' Sam said turning back to her work.
'Jack is gone, Sam. He would hate you doing this to yourself.'
When she didn't look up or acknowledge his words in any way, Daniel sighed and turned to
leave the room. As he reached the door he stopped and said, 'You know where I am, Sam. If
you need me.'
Sam didn't look up as he left, finding it easier to stare at the small object in her hand. Her
mind though, had been sent elsewhere by Daniel.
Jack's funeral had been… difficult for her. They'd been seeing each other for over a year and
she'd known him for a decade, but she hadn't known the majority of the people there.
The SGC memorial had been worse. She'd stood between Cam and Daniel, her eyes on the
floor, straying occasionally to the representatives of Earth's allies, standing off to one side.
Thor looked sad, insofar as that was possible.
Currently the speaker was someone from the Pentagon, saying words about Jack that had no
real relation to the man they knew. She could sense the restlessness of the SGC personnel
and see it in some of the Allies that had been close to Jack. Bra'tac was looking directly at
her, an expression of incomprehension on his face.
Yes, she thought, silently agreeing with the old Jaffa, Jack would have hated this.
Finally the suit from the Pentagon had given his place up to General Hammond. The man
looked wearier than Sam had ever seen him. His face was drawn, his eyes dull. Somehow
his presence seemed to be diminished, as though he were not really here.
Hammond spoke about Jack, rather than General O'Neill. Sam had felt those around her relax
listening to Hammond's words. She couldn't allow herself the same. She felt as though, if she
didn't stand at attention, she would collapse, here on the gateroom floor.
After Hammond came Thor. The members of SG-1 had declined to speak. Daniel had spoken at
the funeral. Sam hadn't managed it. Preferring instead to sit amid her friends and listen, letting
the dreadful day wash over her.
After the memorial she'd gone home to the house she'd recently been sharing with Jack,
whenever he was in the springs. His suitcase was still in the bedroom. She opened it and
emptied it onto the bed. Sitting there surrounded by his clothes, by his smell, until it was
She'd gotten up and picked up her work laptop, begun going through old SG-1 reports, telling
herself she needed to look through them and now was as good a time as any. His name jumping
out at her, causing pain blended with pleasure at seeing him there, alive in her reports.
She opened a report from five years ago. The mission had been recon, as so many missions were.
They had found a storeroom of alien technology. She smiled at the memory. She and Daniel had
been ecstatic, Teal'c had been stoic, and Jack had been bored out of his mind. He'd entertained
himself by bugging her, making her play I-Spy.
Then suddenly, there it was. Staring out at her across five years. 'I found a small object, somewhat
like a wristwatch in design.' There had been an inscription on the inside of the wristband. She'd
shown it to Daniel, who had told her it was a form of Latin, making the watch Ancient technology.
It said, 'Time'. Daniel had dismissed it as some kind of Ancient wristwatch.
Sam remembered now, that just after she'd submitted this report, that Daniel had come to her lab.
They'd chatted about various things, and as he'd been about to leave, Daniel had said, 'I looked that
'You know, the one on the watch. Turns out I was wrong.' She'd given him a look, thinking that
she'd have to resubmit her report, and he went on. 'Oh, it does mean 'time'. But it also could
mean two other things. One is 'passage' and the other is 'worker'. Its odd, because the actual
words for those terms aren't all that similar.' He'd turned and left and Sam had gone back to her
Now, five years later she stared at the report.
She'd requisitioned the item from Area 51, where they'd not worked on it. Now she sat in her lab,
staring down at the watch. Using knowledge she hadn't had five years ago, she'd examined it
minutely. It was a travel device. And a watch. There was only one reason she could think of for
someone to combine a device for travel and for timekeeping. And if there was any race that could
accomplish such a goal, she was willing to bet it would be the Ancients.
She knew what the device did now. And she knew how she could save Jack.