A/N: Well, this is it. The journey is over. Thanks to everyone for sticking with me through my second story. You've been so kind. Again, a special thanks to sbz, who is the world's best beta reader. I hope the ending satisfies. :0)
Warning! In case of fire do not use elevators. Use water.
Oh, and minor shippiness ahead.
Do Not Go Gentle
Awareness came slowly. At first there was only pain. All other sensations were clouded behind its curtain. There was a heaviness in her chest, she couldn't feel her limbs… and behind it all she hurt. She embraced the pain, though. Death couldn't be this miserable. It was a good sign. She tried to fall back into the void, but a high pitched sound pushed its way into her mind. She focused on it, but couldn't make sense out of it.
Sam tried to run her tongue across her dry lips, but found there was something hard in the way that prevented her from closing her mouth. She clamped her teeth against it and turned her head. The small movement sent her mind a whirl and nausea into her gut.
Talking. Muffled voices nearby hovered at the edge of her awareness. Something soft brushed her forehead and a female voice pushed through the cloudiness. The words were garbled, but the voice had a soothing effect.
A man's voice joined it and Sam felt the tension that had been building inside her wash away completely.
She felt herself falling back into the blackness.
When she woke again, the first thing she felt was panic. Where was she? She had to get away! They would kill her if she didn't! They would make her walk until she gave in to her injuries. Then they'd run her through or shoot her full of arrows like they had the man who'd run. She had to get up. She had to walk!
The sound of her own voice shocked her.
"She thinks…still… mountains." A man's voice drifted in and out. She couldn't place it. The words confused her.
"I got that." A different voice.
Sam fought to open her eyes. The pain washed over her again, but she knew she had to get moving. She couldn't seem to move her arms or legs, though.
"Sam…" the first voice said. A light weight settled over her hand. Her skin warmed underneath it. "… safe. Relax."
Safe? She furrowed her brow and couldn't suppress a quiet whimper of pain.
"Go… doc… here," said the second voice.
The weight lifted from her hand.
"Carter," the voice said. "…. home. Get… sleep… order."
Some time later, she drifted back to the surface. The pain was less and she was able to settle on a high pitched sound. She focused on it. A beeping.
She cracked open her lids and fought to bring things into focus. They wavered and dipped. She shut her eyes again. She breathed in deep and opened them.
This time, the room came into view and she felt relief wash through her. She was in the infirmary.
Carter dragged her eyes toward the beeping and found a heart monitor sitting on a cart nearby. Next to it sat her CO, his mouth downturned and shoulders slumped. He was twisting the fingers of a latex glove together and hadn't noticed she was awake yet.
"Hi," she whispered. Her voice cracked on the single word. Her mouth was dry.
The Colonel's head shot up and he sat straighter. His brown eyes settled on her and the corners of his mouth lifted into a lazy smile. "Hi," he said. His eyebrows lifted. "How ya feeling?"
It took Sam a moment to assess her body before she answered. "Like you'd think," she said.
He nodded and jumped down off the cart to stand beside her bed. "You gave us quite a scare."
"How long have I been out?"
He shrugged. "A couple days." He tapped his fingers against the top of the mattress and then his eyes met hers. It held for a few seconds. Sam wasn't surprised by the emotion that she saw in them. Still, without words, he relayed to her how close she'd come to dying.
Then he cleared his throat and took a step back, his features relaxing to a playful smirk. "Teal'c and Daniel left not long ago."
She nodded weakly and ran her tongue across her dry lips.
He held up a finger. "Be right back." He disappeared from sight.
Sam felt more than a twinge run through her gut. She pressed her palm against it and closed her eyes. When she opened them the Colonel came back into view. He held something in his hand but she couldn't make it out in her wavering vision until he was close enough to hold a straw to her lips.
"Small sips," he said.
She took a couple drags on the straw and then he put the cup down on the tray next to her bed.
"How much do you remember?" he asked.
Sam furrowed her brow and tried to think back. "I remember Apophis on the way, shooting the console for the rings…" she fought to bring back those last moments, but finally shook her head. "That's all."
He sat on the edge of the bed. "The rings exploded and there was fighting." He grinned and sat up with exaggerated pride. "We won."
She gave a brief smile. "I figured."
He nodded. "Apophis arrived and Kailan helped us get to the gate."
Vague images of climbing rocks flitted through her mind. "We left them to Apophis?"
Jack's frown returned. "There wasn't anything we could do," he said.
She pursed her lips. "Any plans to go back?"
"We dialed the gate yesterday and it wouldn't connect. We think Apophis has probably gained complete control by now."
Sam shook her head. "All of those people…" An idea hit her. "Thor."
Jack's eyes narrowed. "Can't help us."
"What do you mean, he can't help us?"
He sighed. "Something to do with the Asgard treaties with the Goa'uld."
Sam drew in a quick breath and shifted a bit to relieve the pain. "I don't understand. I thought it was a protected planet. Apophis shouldn't have even been able to attack."
"Technically, he didn't attack," Jack said. "Technically, he was invited by the planet's leadership."
"Who was also Goa'uld."
Jack shook his head. "And who was embraced by the people. They chose him as their leader of their own free will." He sighed. "Thor said if he were to step in now it could threaten the security of other agreements for Asgard protected planets… including ours."
"Apophis wouldn't have even been there if it weren't for us. There has to be something we can do."
"Not at the moment. Hammond said he'd consider viable options if they ever showed themselves." Jack stood and patted her leg. "In the meantime, you have healing to do."
Sam nodded. She closed her eyes as weariness flooded her. She pushed them open again. "Thanks, sir."
"I could have died out there," she said. "Should have died."
"Nah, Carter," he said. "There's no should have anything. You fought. You won. That's the end of it." He smiled. "Good job at that, Major."
She returned the smile and allowed her lids to drift closed. "Thanks, sir." She heard a creak of metal as he jumped back up to his perch atop the cart. Then she let herself drift away.
Smoke rose over the debris of the once inhabited town. Its people were in transit to the mines after surrendering to his rule. Apophis frowned. While he'd added another planet into his fold, he'd seen SG-1 slip through his fingers again. And whose fault was that?
"Sire!" The high pitched squeal of a voice was unwelcome. He turned and saw his First Prime and another Jaffa enter the room dragging a third person between them. The man's bright red suit was torn and scuffed. The padding of his thick shoulder pads streamed out over his upper arms, which were held up and away from his body by the captors who pulled him along while he tried to keep up with their quick stride. "I do not understand!" he said, again in a shrill whine.
Apophis turned his back to the swine to stare out the window. "What is not to understand?" he asked. "I no longer require your services and your failure to deliver my prize has convinced me you are of no use to me for anything more than hard labor."
"But the mines, sire?!" The king's voice held more than a little desperation. "I cannot go there."
"You did not seem to mind it when you allowed your superior to be taken by Thor." He turned back toward the coward and granted him a small smirk.
"The people there know me for who I am now. I betrayed them. They will murder me." The king's voice held a tinge of panic.
Apophis felt sick at the man's obvious lack of Goa'uld dignity. He let his eyes flash. "Your people," the word felt bitter in his mouth, "are merely human." He shrugged. "You were able to convince them to save you once; perhaps you will manage to do so again. If not…" He shrugged.
"Lord Apophis," King Serban pleaded. "Give me another chance to prove my worth."
Apophis squared his shoulders. "You wasted the opportunity I gave you," he said. "If you are not happy with the current arrangement, I can always find another solution." He nodded to one of the two Jaffa.
The Jaffa released the king and took up his staff weapon with both hands. He turned to aim it menacingly at the king.
Serban bowed his head. "I am grateful for your leniency, my Lord," he said quickly. "I will serve you with everything that is within me. Perhaps one day you will once again find reason to call on me for assistance."
Apophis waved his Jaffa down with a frown. The man lowered the weapon and shifted it to "You are a true coward," he said.
The king lowered himself closer to the floor. "Yes, sire."
"Take him from my presence and bury him so deep in the mines there will never be a chance I will lay eyes on him again."
The Jaffa both nodded and dragged the king from the room.
Apophis removed a small orb from the folds of his robes. He held it up in front of him and a moment later he was greeted with the sight of one of his most trusted Jaffa. "Report," he said.
"We have discovered several small villages in the mountains," the Jaffa said. "The people now fill several transports and are ready to be moved to the mines. There have been a few skirmishes with local warriors, but they, too were apprehended quickly."
Apophis nodded. "Have it done before night falls."
The man nodded and the orb winked out.
Apophis turned to look again at his newest acquisition. The naquadah mines alone made the world one of the most important in his possession. It had definitely been an eventful day. He stepped closer to the window and allowed himself to enjoy the light breeze. The corners of his lips turned up.
Hidden in the shadows and ash, two men in war paint and skins moved soundlessly through the rubble. The shorter of the two glanced up and spotted the Goa'uld in the window. A frown lit his face and he drew an arrow from his quiver.
The other lay a hand across his upper arm and shook his head. "Sin nunc," the tall man whispered. He gestured to the left where several Jaffa approached.
Galek allowed the arrow to drop back into its holder and ducked down. He nodded to Kailan before they both crawled low to hide momentarily beneath a still smoldering fallen wall. His leader was right. Now wasn't the time. He closed his eyes against his frustration and pictured his village being emptied at the hands of yet another Goa'uld.
Again, he felt a hand on his arm. He opened his eyes and met Kailan's determined ones. The message in them was clear. He gave an understanding nod. Now wasn't the time, but soon it would be. Soon, this Goa'uld would learn that it was a mistake to come to this world.
"Sharauq ninanqua," he told his friend softly.
"Long live the Sharauq," Kailan repeated.
So, if you haven't figured it out, I have a sequel planned. :0) I'm not going to post it, though, until it's finished. Real life got in the way a lot for this story and it wasn't fair to make you wait so long in between chapters. Please review! You know I look forward to reading them. :0D Thanks again for taking the time to read! Until next time!