Chapter One: Life is Seldom Fair
"Jack, there's been an accident."
General Jack O'Neill had been on the receiving end of these words all too often in his lifetime. They never meant anything good. This was no exception.
Despite his years in the field, suffering through his own horrendous injuries and worse yet, watching his fallen comrades, today's accident had no precedent. Nothing could have prepared him for this.
His wife and unborn child were victims of a potentially fatal motor vehicle accident. Daniel broke the news to him as gently as he could. Not that Jack gave him much time. As soon as Daniel mentioned Sam was being taken to the Air Force Academy Hospital, Jack hung up the phone. Without further ado, the two-star General, dressed in full regalia for a top level meeting at the SGC tore out of the mountain like a house afire. With no consideration of the gaping airmen he left in his wake, much less the offended bureaucrats, Jack made a beeline to the elevator with nary a word of explanation. On the way, he passed Hank Landry in the hall, mouthed "Sam, hospital", but that was all the time he could spare. He had to get to her.
Reaching his vehicle on the ground level lot, he ripped the keys from his driver's hands. Jack wasn't about to trust this trip to a green airman. He was going to break the speed limit by a good deal; the responsibility for the consequences would be all his.
Sam had been hurt before, many times. He'd rushed to her side, fearing the worst and sat through the tortuous waiting on numerous occasions over the years. Still, this was different. There was another, totally helpless, innocent life involved. Their child, their unborn child, the one they'd waited for, that child's life hung in the balance as well. His mind rebelled at the thought he could lose either one of them. Not now, after all this time, after everything they'd been through.
The jarring sound of a rapidly approaching police siren jolted the distraught husband from his morbid thoughts. Now fully alert, he glanced in the rear view mirror to find a police cruiser on his tail, clearly signaling him to pull over. It was not a surprise; it seemed he was going ninety on an expressway marked sixty-five.
Figuring a high speed chase wouldn't help Sam, Jack reluctantly slowed down and pulled to the side of the highway. Rolling down his window, he waited impatiently for the police officer to arrive. He didn't have to wait long.
"License and registration," the twenty-something officer barked out as he had so many times before.
Anxious to be on his way, Jack had the documents ready and dutifully turned them over.
"Officer, can we hurry this up?"
"General O'Neill is it?" the younger man asked. "I'm sure you have someplace very important to be, Sir, but this is a serious offense. At the speed you were going you could kill yourself or someone else." The officer was hardly in the mood for some big wig driving around like he owned the highway. Then he looked at the man's face more closely. No doubt about it, General or not, this fellow was distraught. He looked like he was ready to have a stroke.
"I realize I was speeding and the danger involved," Jack said calmly. Losing his composure wouldn't help anything, he realized. "My pregnant wife was in an accident. I'm on my way to the hospital. Please, anything you can do to help me get there would be appreciated."
Ten minutes later, with a police escort, Jack arrived at the Air Force Academy Hospital. Without delay he made his way to the emergency department. As soon as he walked through the door, he was greeted by the barely controlled chaos normally found there on a typical Friday night.
Stopping momentarily to catch his breath before speaking, he began to search for Sam.
"I'm looking for Colonel Samantha Carter," he began, "Samantha O'Neill … I mean … where is she …?" So much for a commanding presence that will get me the answers I need, he thought.
"Sir, are you a relative?" a crisply attired Air Force nurse inquired.
"I'm her husband," Jack replied, struggling to contain his anxiety.
"I see, General," the nurse acknowledged, finally taking in the stars on his uniform. "Colonel Carter is in surgery. I can arrange for you to speak with the admitting physician."
"Surgery for what?" Jack demanded.
A white coated man in his mid-thirties interrupted. "Excuse me, General, I'm Dr. Werner. I triaged your wife about half an hour ago. I think I can answer some of your questions."
Jack followed the younger man into a small consultation area. What he heard chilled him to the bone.
"The paramedics tell me it took twenty minutes to free your wife from the wreck," Dr. Werner began. "I'm afraid her injuries are severe."
"But she'll be alright?"
"I can't promise anything, Sir," the doctor admitted. "The Colonel has a broken pelvis and a closed head injury. She was unconscious when she arrived."
"And the surgery?"
"We need to relieve the pressure on the brain, stabilize the pelvis and … deliver the fetus."
The fetus, Jack thought. Sam was only six months along. It was too early, much too early to deliver a healthy newborn.
"But the baby …"
"I won't lie to you," Werner said. "It's touch and go for your wife. She'll have a better chance once the fetus is delivered, but we can't be sure how she'll respond. As for the ….baby, well, at best, he'll be extremely premature."
At best, Jack thought. At worst, they could both die.
"Are you alright, Sir?" Dr. Werner asked. Jack's distress was obvious and he looked old beyond his years.
"Oh yeah, peachy," Jack spat. "You told me my wife and baby might die. How do you think I am?"
"Sorry, Sir," Werner replied sheepishly. It wasn't often he'd had the responsibility of giving this kind of news to an Air Force General.
"No, I'm sorry," Jack recovered. "It's not your fault. How long till we know something?"
"At least another hour or so," Werner estimated. "Can I call someone for you?"
"No," Jack said. "I'll be fine."
He didn't have to wait alone.
When Dr. Werner led Jack to the waiting room, he found Daniel was already there.
"Jack, they wouldn't tell me anything," Daniel said, rushing to his side. "How is she?"
"In surgery," Jack replied. Without elaboration Jack made his way to a nearby chair and dropped into it. "The doctor said … he said she might not make it."
"Oh, God," Daniel exclaimed.
"I doubt God had anything to do with this, Daniel," Jack protested flatly. "If there were any kind of "god" this would never have happened."
Daniel stopped and looked at his friend. He didn't want to imagine what would happen to Jack if he lost Sam or the baby.
"It's not fair," Jack whispered, almost to himself. "Sam was going to see Mary."
"In prison?" Daniel questioned.
"Yeah," Jack answered, shaking his head. "That woman sets out to wreck our marriage, and Sam wants to visit her. She said she didn't want Mary to feel alone."
"Because she knew her as a kid," Daniel assumed rightly, "Jonas' little sister."
"Yeah," Jack said.
"That's the kind of person Sam is," Daniel said. "She cares about people."
"Exactly," Jack said. "A good person, doing something good and this is what she gets for it." Emotionally exhausted, Jack leaned back in his seat and loosened his tie. It could be a long wait. "They have to be alright, Daniel," he said, staring intently at his friend. "They have to be."
A/N: This is a sequel to Finding Truth. I'd planned to write it a couple months back, but I'm only now getting around to it. Hope it's not too late. I believe the story can stand on its own, but of course I'd love it if you'd go back and read the original story too!
I'm planning no more than 3-5 chapters for this story. I hope you like it.