Episode 2 – Home is where the Heart is
18 Days in Hoag's Object
A/N Please read: This Episode has been retouched to be less...Sucky. Trust me, the original was cringe worthy. Only a few minor changes which make a load of difference :D
This is a slow episode, but it's building up for the rest of the season.
Samantha Carter: "Daniel? Is that Torren?"
Daniel Jackson: "Uhh yeah…Teyla's helping me with organizing the refugees into their separate groups and… Ow! No no no! Don't…Don't…!"
Samantha Carter: "Is there… a problem?"
Teyla Emmagen: "Yes Sam… Daniel is currently…sparring with Torren over his digital pen."
Samantha Carter: "Oh? Who's winning?"
Daniel Jackson: "Who do you think? The kid's as strong as his mom and I'm gonna need a new digipen!"
Sam always had a knack for dealing with mechanical problems. When she was a kid, she'd taken apart a ham radio along with her stereo and made a police scanner. Despite it being confiscated, that was beside the point. "Pass me that braze rod?"
Mila was much like her at the same age, Smarter than those around her, constantly wanting more and more, the only difference was that Mila worked on hyperdrives instead of police scanners. "Which one is that?"
Sam snickered and pulled the dark visor up. Mila had 4 rods in her hand, none of them the right one. "The one with the paste on top of it… it's kinda green and…"
Mila dropped the rods to the floor and grabbed one of the proper ones. "Got it!" She handed it to Sam who lay on her back reattaching the conduit's support to the wall.
The Brazing Rod wasn't exactly the best tool for the job, but lacking supplies of Trinium, it would have to do. "Put your goggles on… pass me that mask would you please?"
Wordlessly, Mila did as she was told and tapped a few buttons on her Tablet. "Alright… once we fix this we can finish off the rest of the floor while Elas and his guys get the next floor safe."
The tower they were in had taken severe damage in the final battle of Pegasus. More than one dart had crashed into the structure and the shattered walls and unstable floors were a sobering sight.
The power conduits had been their target, and very nearly had they succeeded in disrupting power to the city. Sam worked diligently when she wasn't busy with something else putting her welding skill to good use.
It was the only way she could continue like this, unsure of anything, the worry of the entire city on her shoulders, and even more, the knowledge that this really was her home now whether she liked it or not.
Finishing the last weld, Sam took a heavy breath away from the chemicals floating in the air and wiped at her brow. "Yeah?"
Mila was sitting with her knees up, much like Sam often sat when she needed to think. "Are you okay?"
Sam had learned that Mila was a surprisingly perceptive young woman, and she didn't play around with words. "What do you mean?"
"You… I dunno you're all… weird."
Sam furrowed her brow at the young woman. "Weird?"
Mila shrugged, and gave Sam a hand getting up. "Yeah… you're not the same as before."
It was obvious to everyone, but Mila appeared to be the only one tactless enough to mention it. "Yeah well… I guess I'm still getting used to this."
"You miss your planet."
It wasn't a question, but Sam still answered. "Yeah… yeah I do…" Unwilling to get emotional around her, Sam simply smiled to hide her true feelings. "Not much I can really do about it now though."
The young Traveler girl looked down at Sam and furrowed her brow. "I guess I just don't get it… I mean… a planet is huge! How can you miss it all?"
Sam laughed instantly. So curious, so smart, and yet so innocent. "It's not the whole planet I miss Mila… I guess I just miss my old home."
"I thought Atlantis was your home… that's why you stayed."
Loath to tell the girl the truth, Sam simply shrugged. "Well… yeah but I still miss Earth… I'm not regretting I came here if that's what you're thinking."
It was the truth… or at least part of it, and Mila handed Sam a cloth to wipe her face. "That's good. But…"
Mila smiled and seemed almost sympathetic. "You're sad."
No one else would dare to say as much with so little, and Sam decided to reward her boldness. "Yeah… yeah I am sad… but I'll be okay."
"You weren't married or anything… were you?"
Now feeling her cheeks blushing, she could see that Mila didn't see anything of asking her such personal questions. "Ummm… no."
Mila finally noticed Sam's discomfort and started giggling. "I'm not embarrassing you, am I?"
Sam smiled sarcastically and nodded. "A little."
They both laughed a bit, and Mila shook her head in confusion. "I don't get your people… you've got all these weird rules and customs… I don't know…"
Curious, Sam tossed the cloth back at Mila jokingly. "Oh…? Like what?"
Before Mila could reply, Sam's headset went off and Larrin's voice cut in. "Larrin to Colonel Carter. You there Sam?"
Mila groaned and muttered. "Oh great… now I gotta find Raddy and see if he needs help."
Sam snorted and rolled her eyes, Mila certainly provided some stress relief with her shameless behavior. "Be careful! The tower's still under renovation!"
Shrugging in a nonchalant way, Mila made her way to the stairs and began her search.
"Hello! Carter? I know you're there somewhere."
Sam tapped her headset and replied quickly. "Yes! Yes Larrin, I'm here. I'm in Tower D3 working on some conduits… what do you need?"
"Daniel says he's found some information we need to know from the Outpost. He wants you, Sheppard, Marks, and me there as soon as possible."
Sam looked down to the mess of tools and welding supplies Mila left on the floor. Groaning softly, she muttered into the headset. "Eugh… Gimme a few minutes… got a little mess to clean up."
"So from what I've been able to translate, the Ancients who came to this galaxy were actually the second wave of their exploration."
Daniel had been feeling much better, and dressed in expedition style clothing, looked rather professional compared to everyone else in the room. Larrin furrowed her brow and questioned. "Ancients? You mean the Ancestors right?"
Sam across from Larrin nodded and replied for Daniel. "They go by many names, but your 'ancestors' were actually the Lanteans, an offshoot of the Alterans who were the originals."
Larrin kept her confused face and turned to John beside her. "You know this?"
John shrugged. "Vaguely…" He shook his head idly in what Sam deduced was a 'this is pointless' gesture and looked to Daniel. "Moving along?"
Daniel smiled sardonically and nodded. "Right. Well… in any case, it was the Ancients who came here… not the Lanteans." He tapped the console behind him in the conference room and an image of 2 ships came up. "This one is a Stargate Seeding ship, it's designed to go from Galaxy to Galaxy and mine the materials to make stargates and seed them on planets for further exploration."
Marks, seated beside Sam on the left side of the room scratched his eyebrow and spoke curiously. "Wait… so that ship goes between galaxies and can build stargates? How big are we talking about?"
Daniel looked at the schematics and adjusted his glasses. "Well… according this… Big." He refrained from chuckling and instead pushed forward. "In any case, that ship would be long gone by now, but it does give us 2 different things that are rather important."
Larrin smiled sarcastically back at Daniel and deadpanned. "Are you gonna tell us or do you want a cookie first?"
Sam couldn't help it and started chuckling, Seeing Daniel give her the evil eye she covered her mouth and shook her head. "Sorry."
Daniel looked to Marks and John, both whom had muted smiles. "Gang up on the smart one… very mature."
Her mission accomplished, Larrin snickered and elbowed John in the ribs. "Alright alright… calm down kiddos. Let the man speak."
And speak he did. "Right! Moving on, after the first ship seeded this galaxy with Stargates, a second ship arrived called "Destiny." "
Sam leaned forward and stared at Daniel. "It wasn't actually called Destiny… you're translating right?"
"Yes… the ship was actually called some long and nearly incomprehensible ancient name… I'm trying to be layman here."
Suddenly blushing, Sam nodded and held back the many questions she had that Daniel would probably answer anyway. "Oh… okay." Unwilling to see if the others were looking at her, she remained with her gaze towards Daniel and his work.
"The Destiny was a manned exploration ship, automatically programmed to go to the galaxies the first ship went to, and give those on board a chance to explore, the database is kinda sketchy on specifics, but we know they left a few people here who established some outposts."
Marks muttered as he looked at the schematic. "Probably resupply as well… god knows it was hell on Daedalus spending 3 weeks on frozen foods… can't imagine more than a few months on that."
'I can!" Larrin said it with a shit-eating grin, obviously annoyed with Marks' comment. "Trust me, as long as they had a few planets with edible plants and animals they were just fine."
Daniel was getting a little exasperated now and tersely spoke. "Is this a briefing or a debate?" Seeing Marks and Larrin recede slightly he toned it down. "Good. Now I've been able to deduce that the outpost does contain more information, just needs power to be able to access it. In the meantime though I can tell you that things have changed significantly from when the last recordings were made in that outpost."
John leaned forward and contributed in what he thought was a good addition. "That place was a ghost town. The plants were probably the only thing alive in there except for… whatever the hell attacked us." He looked to Daniel. "Any idea what that thing might have been?"
Daniel shrugged. "Getting to that. Before we discuss that, there is one thing that we should be aware of before anything else." The group remained silent, listening like attentive students. "The Ancients may have explored this galaxy, but they didn't change anything. They put an outpost here and there and began to explore, but they found something… I can't tell what yet, but they left before doing more than just a preliminary exploration."
That was a little surprising to Sam, but seeing that Daniel had more, kept quiet.
Larrin didn't have that method of thinking though. "Found something? And you don't know what yet?"
Daniel shook his head. "Not a clue… all I know is they decided to forgo their typical seeding humans and reorganizing planets that we've seen in Milky Way and Pegasus."
Marks sighed as he thought about it. "So we're unlikely to run into any humanoids?"
Shrugging, Daniel looked back at the screen. "Not necessarily. Hominids are a common form of evolution… but this galaxy is a lot different… Evolution was natural here… the Ancients didn't change anything to suit themselves as far as I can tell."
Now Sam couldn't resist, and she groaned dejectedly. "So basically you're saying that because the Ancients didn't do any terraforming with their Dakara Device… a lot of the planets we might encounter are going to be a lot harsher than what we're used to."
"At the core of it…yeah." Daniel sighed, but the next bit was even more confusing. "But this also means we're likely to find species we've never thought of before… We've met the Hebridians, the Re-tu, The Nox… but we're talking a galaxy where humanoid creatures were not given an unfair advantage in evolution. We could theoretically meet anything out there."
The thought was sobering, and the entire group remained silent a moment, John finally spoke breaking the silence. "So what attacked us in the outpost might not even be…normal?"
"I guess that depends on your definition of normal." Daniel knew John had seen a lot in Pegasus, but his own experience told him to keep an open mind. "There have been many theories of evolution… and I think the Ancients left this galaxy alone because of the wide diversity… It's possible we're the only humanoid beings in the entire galaxy."
Sam sighed and rubbed her face. "That's… well… I can't say whether that's a good thing or not, but at the very least it's going to be more difficult to find habitable planets."
Larrin furrowed her brow and looked to Sam "Why would we need more planets? The Mainland could easily hold us all 10 times over.
Daniel shook his head and quickly explained. "That's for sure, but a lot of the refugees we've taken in want to have their own villages separate from everyone else, and while you have your ships, I'm sure you need to resupply even if you're in the area."
Sam nodded and continued where Daniel finished. "It's not clear yet, but we're really hurting for supplies. We need more food, more building materials... it was easy enough back in Pegasus because we could get resupplied from Earth… it's not like that anymore. I've gone over our supply stores and without some form of making our own food… we'll be completely out in 2 months. Let alone the fact that it's going to take a lot of work to get enough crops going to feed all six thousand of us."
Larrin grumbled, it was a common problem to the Travelers and now she had to take her stand. "Alright… 2 months should be enough time to do some exploring. That mainland should have some kind of food and some of my smaller ships would be able to serve as transports." She turned to John. "No offense, but jumpers just aren't big enough for all the jobs we'd need to do."
John blushed ever so slightly, and Sam resisted teasing him. Not only because it would be unfair (and utterly hilarious) but she just didn't feel that comfortable around him anymore… and it hurt to admit that.
Keeping his voice stable, John added his own two bits. "Yeah well… on that note. Since we're cut off from Earth, I did a full inventory of our munitions and gear. We can outfit a full platoon or spread it out to maybe a company… I've got a full list I uhh… emailed to you… Sam."
Everyone in the room saw the tension, but none were willing to say anything about it. "Thank you…John… I'll go over it later."
A few seconds of awkwardness passed, and Larrin decided to end it. "I've got a list of my supplies too. I want to get a few ships up and exploring for new supplies since we don't have much time, but we can combine our armories at least.
Sam instantly latched on and looked to John. "That's a good idea, you should get to that as soon as possible so we can move ahead."
Larrin was surprised by her forwardness, but shrugged and slapped Sheppard on the shoulder. "Alright, Come on Sheppard. I could use a hand."
John relented easily, much too easily for Daniel and Marks's comfort. They left the control room wordlessly leaving Sam, Marks and Daniel alone.
Marks pushed the odd moment aside and moved forward. "Daedalus is still in pieces. I don't know what the hell happened to the engines back in Pegasus, but I nearly burned out the thrusters trying to take off… guess I oughta thank god for small favors… whatever the hell happened kept us all alive…"
Sam remained silent, though Daniel scratched his chin. "I heard about that… really strange. It's like someone decided to just…" Realization dawned on Daniel, and he looked to Sam. Seeing her beg him with her eyes to not say anything, Daniel decided to try and avoid the issue. "… well… it's over now. I think maybe you should follow suit and get a full inventory of everything we have on Daedalus. Maybe we'll find something useful."
Seeing that he was eloquently being told to get the hell out, Marks nodded and sighed. "Good idea… I've got to get back there anyway. She won't get ship shape on her own." He nodded to Sam, and quickly left the room leaving Sam and Daniel on their own.
"So… you still haven't worked it out."
Sam swallowed the bite of her sandwich and groaned softly. "Leave it alone Daniel… I'm serious."
Daniel leaned back in his chair and took a sip of the Traveler equivalent of coffee, much earthier, he actually had taken quite a liking to it. "Normally I would, because I know you have plenty of other stuff on your plate. But this is different Sam and you know it."
Sam took another bite despite not being finished chewing the first. "Dawnel… a'm sear-eeus. Pweas."
Unable to resist, Daniel snickered and sighed. "I can't this time… Sam… you're my best friend. You've been my best friend for over a decade. I've always been there to listen when you're willing to talk, and you've done the same for me…" Daniel waited till Sam was almost done chewing before finishing. "… and I'm telling you right now that you're making a mistake by not dealing with it now."
Sam smiled sarcastically and considered throwing her drink in his face. He'd forgive her…eventually. "Oh really? And how exactly would you know that?"
"Because I forgave Teal'c… and it nearly killed me to take so long."
Her sandwich frozen in mid-air, Sam suddenly remembered what had happened. She set the food back down on her plate and stared at Daniel pensively. "That's not the same Daniel… this whole situation is so different that we can't base things on precedent… you yourself said this Galaxy is unlike any we've seen before."
Daniel raised a finger. "The galaxy… not the people." He took another sip of his T-Coffee as he'd been calling it and swallowed before continuing. "If I'm right and there aren't any other humans in this galaxy… then we're all there is… how long'd you say it would take to repair the wormhole drive?"
Sam didn't know exactly what Daniel was saying, but she answered his question none the less. "The conduits are going to take at least 5 months if we can get the resources we need and we keep up this level of work. The Drive itself…" Sam sighed, and thought about what Zelenka had told her. "It'll be a long time… maybe never... it's more fried than a Taco Bell chalupa."
A snort left Daniel's throat, and he rolled his eyes. "Never tried one. Fried foods and me don't agree."
Sam sighed wistfully. "I'd kill for a Big Mac…"
Daniel chuckled and put his mug down. "Well… back on topic, I don't think never… Never was when I stayed on Abydos… Never was when Kinsey shut the SGC down…Never was when…" he froze, and Sam could see the pain in his eyes. "…when I lost Sha're."
They were both silent a moment, and Sam took a deep breath before responding. "So what are you trying to tell me Daniel?"
"I'm telling you to stop surviving and start living." Daniel spoke with firm authority. "I've been down that road Sam… it's not pretty. They say a fool doesn't learn from his mistakes… but a wise person does… well there's an addendum to that too. A Genius learns from the mistakes of others."
Sam snorted softly at the vague compliment. "Are you calling me a genius?"
Shaking his head, Daniel looked her dead in the eyes. "I'm calling you a genius who's acting like a fool… and if you keep doing that… all I can hope is you end up wise."
Taking a second to follow his logic, Sam felt slightly offended. "Daniel… I need time okay? Besides everything else on the base you… you don't know the whole story."
"I can guess… and I know about Rodney so you don't have to hide it from me."
Sam had tried to hide the shock earlier, but even now she didn't want to talk about it. "What are you…" She saw Daniel use a finger to point up into the clouds, and instantly knew that somehow Daniel found out. "…how?"
"A little before that last battle in Pegasus… John came and talked to me."
Sam remained impassive…or at least as impassive as she could. "…I see."
"Remember when I said he was terrified?" Daniel lowered his voice, the people eating around them intent on listening and eavesdropping. "I meant it. Of all people he came to me because… well because he's very confused right now."
Feeling guilty, Sam bit the insides of her lips and nodded gently. "I know… He uhh… he went through a lot in those last few days."
"So did you… and the two of you keep building these walls around yourselves." Daniel shook his head and took his glasses off. "Listen… I don't know what happened between you two but it's obvious you're frustrated. When I came to Atlantis, John was a strong leader… these people who joined us joined us because they knew it was the right thing to do. And they had the two of you to follow and look up to.
"Now look at what's happening…Teyla's been telling me that people are scared. They're worried because they see the two of you worried."
Sam's face twitched slightly, she knew that Commanders had to give auras of invincibility to inspire those below them… and she certainly didn't look invincible right now. "Alright… say you're right… what do I do?"
Daniel shrugged. "Not my call…I don't know why the two of you are acting like this." Daniel had a damn good idea given John's admission 2 weeks ago, but he'd decided a long time ago to stay out of Sam's private affairs beyond a little advice. "But whatever it is I trust you to make the right decision… I trust you Sam."
Sam gave Daniel a small sad smile and nodded gently. "You're right… you're right…" she looked up at him now. "I'm just not sure I know how."
Another hour of welding conduit back in place, and Daniel asked Sam to take a look at some of the information he'd translated from the outpost.
So taking a position in her office, Sam began the task of deciphering what was what in the tangled mass of info.
She'd managed to get through a good amount of it fairly quickly. Mostly geological surveys and some biological testing. She tagged each bit for the proper person to go over, the majority of the data laboratory worthy.
It wasn't until 3 hours into checking it that she finally found something of interest to her. She double checked her figures, and then called Chuck into the room.
The young man entered soon after, dressed in the Traveler clothing Larrin had procured for him. It still didn't feel right to dress in her BDU's either… a constant reminder of what she had done.
In many ways Sam was jealous of the young man. He'd decided of his own accord to be here… and not only that, but he had the uncanny ability to get used to the situation and seemed to be thriving with the Travelers. "Chuck."
The man smiled softly and nodded. "Colonel."
He was so easy about all this… a whole new galaxy… new people… very few of his former friends still here… Chuck must have had some strange Canadian resistance to stress because Sam was a few hairs below snapping. "Daniel's been translating the data crystals we secured from the outpost on the mainland. I just found information on the gate system and I was wondering if…"
Chuck smiled as he sat. "If I could work it into the system so we can gate from here?"
Sam smiled, she was so glad that Chuck had decided to stick with them. "Exactly. You're the most familiar with Atlantis's gate systems and while I can work out the planetary drift and gravimetric changes, you still know more than I do about Atlantis's systems."
Normally a Sergeant wouldn't have to listen to this from a Colonel, the Colonel would rarely admit they couldn't do anything. But Chuck understood that rank was really only for dangerous situations now and nonchalantly nodded. "Sure thing… you have the data there?"
Sam tapped a button on her tablet and grinned. "Just sent it to your console." Chuck got back up, but just as he was about to turn Sam held up her hand. "Chuck wait…" She sighed softly and bit down hard. "I uhh…I know this isn't any of my business… But I'm asking as a personal question… nothing to do with the base."
Chuck's lips stretched, already knowing what Sam was going to ask. "Wouldn't have something to do with a blond Traveler who likes teasing people would it?"
Sam chuckled and motioned for Chuck to sit. "Well… not exactly." She snorted and shook her head idly. "I'm not asking you to explain Chuck… I…I just guess I wanna know if you're okay with everything that's happened. I'm going to be asking everyone since… well I mean we are alone out here."
Chuck shrugged, his demeanor almost unaffected. "No…no, I'm not okay… but I guess I am a little better off than most since I spent a lot of time with the Travelers before we left… I'd even call some of them my friends now."
Sam nodded, and smiled feeling good for the technician. "I guess that's how you and Larrin…"
Now blushing a bit, Chuck nodded. "Yeah yeah… well…it's nothing serious and if you ask her she'll say the same. The Travelers have a… well…" Chuck seemed to become nostalgic, Sam had to resist bursting out laughing. "You could call it enlightened… but it's more just they're comfortable in any situation." He shook his head as he laughed and squeezed the armrests burning off energy. "I won't lie… it's helped… but hanging out with our people has helped more to be honest… nice to talk and not have to explain what I'm talking about."
Sam drew a deep breath, and realized that Chuck was right. "That's good… I want you to tell me of any problems you might have though… there's only 11 of us here and we've got to stick together."
Smiling, Chuck got up and nodded. There was a hint of…something. Maybe suspicion, but nothing overt or threatening. Perhaps it was just care. "Will do. I'll go take a look at those gate addresses. Any luck and we'll find a nice tropical paradise."
Sam laughed as Chuck walked out into the control room. She took a second to think, and got back to the tablet.
After the Gate Addresses and Galactic Locations, there was a very detailed report on something the Ancients found when they were exploring. Something about a new form of life that they found… exciting.
Sam tried to get deeper into the file, but found that it was written in a strange variation of the Ancient she'd picked up over the years
She tried to make heads or tails of it, but the words were all jumbled up. Running a quick diagnostic and analysis, it became clear that the file was damaged and would require repair.
Tapping her headset, Sam called the only person who might be able to help her with this. "This is Colonel Carter to Daniel Jackson. Please come in."
Daniel's voice was comically confused. "Hello? Sam you there?" The sound of a babbling child made Sam giggle.
"Daniel? Is that Torren?"
"Uhh yeah…Teyla's helping me with organizing the refugees into their separate groups and… ow! No no no! Don't…Don't…!"
Sam now started stifling her laughs. She could only imagine what was going on in the office Daniel had taken for himself. "Is there… a problem?"
Teyla's voice came in amidst muffled grunts and Daniel's yammering. "Yes Sam… Daniel is currently…sparring with Torren over his digital pen."
"Oh? Who's winning?"
Daniel's voice came in again after admonishing Teyla for laughing. "Who do you think? The kid's as strong as his mom and I'm gonna need a new digipen!"
"Well you can come up and borrow one of mine, but I have to steal you for a few minutes."
"Oh? What's up?"
"There's some information here I think might be useful, but it's in code. I was hoping you could give it a look see."
"Yeah yeah! I'll be up in a few…just uhh… gimme a few minutes. Gotta find a video to keep this kiddo occupied."
"Good plan, I'll be waiting."
Sam smiled just thinking of how the oddest circumstances gave her exactly the thought processes she needed.
She'd gone to everyone, and everyone seemed to be waffling. Radek and Esposito were working and teaching the Traveler Scientists what they knew, but she didn't see the same passion in their eyes she had before.
Dusty and Drake had gone to visit Vega in the infirmary, and their joking had a sad element to it… a sort of resignation Sam knew only too well. Carson was still resentful, but burying himself in work to avoid thinking about how he never had a choice in the matter.
Even the spaztastic Laura Cadman seemed beaten, her voice cheerful but… an edge. Something Sam didn't like to see.
It had taken awhile to work up the courage - along with a shot or two of some blue slivovitz from the bottle Drake had gifted her but she'd never admit it - but here she was, a big blanket under one arm, drinks and snacks in the other. The tank top and pajama bottoms finished off the ensemble.
Sam walked up to the door and took a deep breath. She knew he was in here, and seeing her would be the last thing he'd expect. The last time she'd been in this situation she'd promised herself to keep her wits about her… but then again the last time she was here to check up on him… not to ask for some company.
The chime rang twice, and a few seconds later John appeared at the door. His hair was ruffled, and his eyes tired. He wore one of his BDU shirts in an open style exposing the center of his chest and black sweatpants "Uhh Sam."
Sam nodded, and decided to try and act aloof. "That's what they call me." She gave a wide grin, obviously fake but she hoped he didn't call her out on it.
John narrowed his eyes and looked at the items in her hands as well as her relative state of undress. The fact that she was wearing her hair loose was the biggest change… "Uhh… headin' to a slumber party?"
"Well… you could say that. I uhh…" Sam bit her lips then bowed her head. "I actually remembered you telling me once that you had the Futurama DVDs. And I was wondering…"
Understanding, John shifted his weight onto one foot and then to the other. "Oh, Uh… well… Sam I… I thought we…"
"I-I know… I uhh… I was wrong."
The look in John's eyes scared Sam, it was frightening to see him suddenly become confused… even more than admitting she was wrong. "Sam… wha… what are you saying?"
"I uhh… I'm trying to apologize." Neither said anything for a moment, and Sam forced the words out. "I… I'm sorry I pushed you away. It was cowardly and… and I don't want to lose my friendship with you.
Gauging his reaction, Sam could see that John was deep in thought. She herself had to resist screaming at the admission she'd just made. "John...? Say something… Please."
John remained silent a moment longer, the spoke quietly. "You'll never lose my friendship… but… I think… dammit Sam…" He clenched his fists and looked away as he muttered. "I… I still don't know what I see… when I look at you."
He was talking about Rodney. Sam didn't understand exactly what had happened to John but she was coming to understand that perhaps she didn't need to. "John… we… this… this was here before Rodney…"
A wince crossed John's face, and he took a deep breath."…I… I know… and…"
Seeing that he was very uncomfortable talking about this, Sam decided to try and peel away his layers in private. "Can I come in?"
Sam could see in his eyes the pain he bore. Despite this the man gulped, and after a moment motioned with his head. "Yeah… yeah…."
He wasn't smiling, but at least now they weren't talking across a doorway.
Neither said anything as Sam laid the blanket on the ground in front of his bed where the Plasma Screen he'd snagged hung on the wall. She'd never really examined John's room before and wasn't too surprised by what she saw inside.
A few dressers, a small fridge, a comfortable bed… quite Spartan to be honest. The most eye catching thing was a model Ferris wheel on his desk. A replica of one back on Earth.
They'd spent a few days going through people's rooms…collecting spare clothes, sheets, various doodads that the expedition had left behind. Sam had locked the personal items away in a storage closet… hoping to return them someday.
Now she sat down and motioned for John to sit, when he turned he had a disc in his hand. "Season 1?"
Always one for fun…
"Yeah… makes sense… start at the beginning." It was a double sided question, and the way John's posture shrunk showed Sam he'd gotten the implication.
Sitting now 2 feet beside her, John held the remote in his hands. "... What'd you bring?"
It was an awkward subject, and now Sam could see he was actively avoiding it…maybe it was a bad idea… but Sam couldn't bring things up without his…agreement. "Uhh… I dunno actually…I just grabbed one of those snack packs from the mess... Travelers have taken over and it really has become a mess." She dumped out the snacks onto the blanket underneath them and examined it. "M&Ms…popcorn…these…" she picked up the oddly shaped red candies. "…red things…"
They both laughed softly, and their eyes met for a moment. It wasn't awkward until they held it too long, and John pulled away and clicked the remote.
The episode began, and they both shifted in their seats to be comfortable. Phillip J. Fry went about his daily life in 1999 New York… and accidentally froze himself for a thousand years. Both perceptive eyes like John's or Sam's caught Nibbler's shadow under the chair as well as his third eye in an earlier scene, but neither mentioned it.
John was the first to speak. "You know… I felt a lot like Fry when I came to Atlantis…"
Sam turned her head as she lay back against the foot of his bed. "Oh? I guess that makes sense… I remember briefing you guys and…" She snickered, recalling something. "…I remember you kept fidgeting."
John rolled his eyes and chuckled. "I told you… those Atlantis Jumpsuits chafed some…tender areas."
The both snickered, and after a little pause turned back to the TV.
On the screen, Phillip J. Fry was talking with Leela Turanga for the first time. Leela proceeded to explain that at least in the year three thousand he would be treated with dignity, then she barked at him to strip naked and get on the 'Probulator'
John groaned softly at seeing Fry hide his shame as he floated in front of the menacing looking machine. "You know… when I first came to the SGC." Seeing he was going to tell an anecdote, Sam scrunched closer, a chill in her arms and popcorn in her mouth. "…Dr. Lam put me through something like that."
Sam giggled and swallowed the popcorn. She was acutely feeling that John's room was colder than the rest of the base. "Couldn't have been that bad… I went through the same dozens of times."
Shaking his head, John noticed Sam shivering in the cold. Why she'd come with only a tank top was beyond him. "Actually I asked her that, and she said that because I spent the last few years in Antarctica I needed a more thorough examination than the rest." She shifted in his seat, apparently uncomfortable even as Fry screamed comically off screen.
Sam snickered at both events, and leaned her head against his bed as she wrapped her arms around her. Unwittingly she mimicked Leela's only catchphrase. "Oh lord…"
Another few laughs, and as John reached to take some M&Ms out of the bag, he noticed Sam shivering a bit. "You cold?"
A quick little nod, honesty was what Sam needed with him now. "A little… your room is a little colder than the rest of Atlantis… even on this planet."
Grimacing, John reached over his shoulder and pulled his fleece blanket off the bed. "Here…"
Scootching closer, Sam was almost touching John now as she wrapped the blanket around her leaving space for John if he so desired. He didn't move and instead kept his eyes focused on the screen.
Neither said anything, both just snickering at the screen and refusing to look at each other. It wasn't until Fry began to lament that he'd never see his family or his time again that John finally tapped the pause button and turned to Sam. Both were silent for a moment… both caught up in the irony that Fry's words of sorrow meant for them. "Sam…" He stared at her strongly, "…I know why you came down here… and…" he took a breath, waiting just a moment longer before speaking. "… and we need to… discuss this…"
"…Yeah… yeah I uhh… yeah."
John could see that Sam had made a tremendous effort to bridge this gap, and now he had to do his part. "I'm… I'm not okay with this yet Sam… I still… I still feel like I've got 2 heads squished in my own." He sighed and rubbed his forehead. "…but I'm losing it Sam… I… I can't talk to anyone… they just… they don't know… and I can't tell them."
Sam nodded softly, this was tearing her heart apart but she would not cry. "I… I know… and… I guess you and Daniel are the only ones I can talk to…" Sam smiled just to keep from sniffling. "Daniel… he's my best friend but…" She looked to John and bit the inside of her lips before whispering. "…I need that John… I… I'm not okay with this either but… I need this."
"Yeah… yeah… me too."
They both remained silent, and Sam needed to make sure John understood. "Listen…I uhh… I'm here because…. I don't want to wait too long and…" she looked at John and said everything with her sad face.
John understood that pain as well, and nodded as he replied. "Yeah…"
The silence between them was overwhelming, on the screen Fry had his head bowed and he'd given up. Leela had sympathized with him though and told him of her own sad story.
Sam knew that even though she could survive on her own… she didn't want to. John evidently didn't either as he continued nodded and waved her closer. "Come here…"
Moving slowly, Sam felt John's hands slip under the blanket and pull her into a close hug.
She still wished it could have been someone else… someone six hundred million light-years away. It hurt to think of what was to come but… but at least now she knew that John would be there for her… and she'd be there for him… "Stay."
Sam nodded, feeling John's platonic hug border on something more intimate. "Yeah…. but… just… don't kiss me."
John nodded and snuggled her closer. His hands remained on the border of intimacy. "I know… I uhh…" without specifically saying it, John agreed that this wasn't going to go anywhere… at least not yet.
Sam nodded and curled her legs up beside him. She reached over and pressed the play button on the remote as she felt John's hand pull her head in close. Bender wanted to join in and shattered Fry and Leela's intimate moment on screen, Sam snickered at the three beers Bender drank on his own to the two others watching in awe. She silently appreciated not having a robot around to ruin her close moment.
The biggest plus for her though was the knowledge that this wasn't settling… and that it didn't even necessarily have to go that way. This … this thing she had with John was for comfort… relief… and with all the rationalizations in her mind, not as inappropriate as the regs that didn't apply anymore screamed at her.
Daniel was quite excited with the information Sam had given him. Teyla had passed out long ago with Torren in the crib next to her sleeping soundly after watching Toy Story (one of the only children's movies they still had.)
The biological information was fascinating, and coming from an archeologist who knew next to nothing about biological structures, this was high praise.
There was still much more information to go through, but Daniel knew that as soon as he was finished going over this database, he'd have to ask Sam and John for a favor.
Teaser for next Episode.
Episode 3 Suspicions
21 Days in Hoag's Object
Dusty Mehra: "Anyone mind if I say I'm terrified of Volcanoes?"
Daniel Jackson: "Oh? Why is that?"
Dan Drake: "She's scared of being a Virgin Sacrifice."
Dusty Mehra: "Like you'd know!"
John Sheppard: "Hey! If you kids keep this up I'm turning this car around and we're going home!"
Dusty Mehra: "Really!"
Samantha Carter: "No Sarge, we'll just stick you with babysitting duty."