Wreck on the Information Highway
By: Lopaka Tanu
Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate SG-1 or any affiliated productions.
Warning: Violence, Language, Character Death.
Rating: Adult Pre-Slash, Mentioned Het.
Archive: RSD, Area 52, anywhere else ask.
Date: 3:37 PM 7/19/2005
Series: Daniel of Malksur.
Pairing: Mentions of Daniel/Sha're, Jack/Sam, Janet/Ferretti.
Summary: After the unexplainable attack on Nasia, Daniel feels like he is losing his mind. Every corner he turns has him looking over his shoulder. Previously complicated translations now are easier to understand than his own hand writing. Is it paranoia, or is someone really out to get him?
Spoilers/Timeline: Season 2 - In the Line of Duty.
The first sign they were under attack was the squeal of a death glider's engines as it dived for a strafing run. The next moment several explosions rocked the streets of the Nasian village of Urg-aught. People screamed and fled their homes in panic. Three more death gliders dove towards the village, cannons firing. People and entire buildings disappeared in the rain of fire.
Daniel hit the ground as a death glider crashed to the earth from over head. Glancing over his shoulder, he gave a half hearted smile to Major Ferretti. When the major saluted then dropped the rocket launcher, Daniel climbed slowly to his feet. His body ached from the impact in several places, the least of which was his neck.
Limping, he continued on the path he had been walking before the attack. Someone had to open the gate. Since he was the only one not holding a weapon fighting or fleeing the death gliders, it fell on him. The normally short walk to the DHD left him slightly winded from his injuries. Quickly, he pounded the symbols and hit the activation orb, or 'whatever the hell Sam called it' he mused.
The moment the gate opened, he entered the IDC code on his wrist monitor and prayed they opened the iris soon. His monitor beeped and he gave a small cry of triumph. "The gate! Get through the gate." Daniel looked up and waved his arms to get the other's attentions. "It is open, go through the gate!"
"Good work, Doctor Jackson!" Ferretti passed him dragging a gaggle of children and their mothers, shoving them roughly through the gate when they protested. He picked up his P-19 from hanging by his side, and took aim over the heads of the panicking villagers. He let off a short spray of bullets that silenced most of the screams. However, before he could speak, another wave of death glider attacks had the villagers screaming again. "God damn it! Get your stupid asses through the gate, now!"
Daniel ignored the soldier as his men began rounding up the Nasians forcefully. Turning about, he caught site of Jack and Teal'c laying cover fire for Carter as she fought with a Jaffa, several villagers and Jaffa at their feet. One of the Jaffa started to sit up, but he was the only one who saw it. "Sam, look out!"
When she didn't pay him any mind, he ran from the DHD to help her. He mentally cursed himself for not bringing the standard P-19 instead of his unreliable handgun. The shot would have been easy from the distance and the recoil wouldn't have been so bad. "Now is not the time for self recrimination."
Running, he had to jump over several fallen Nasians. Their cries of pain and fright left him cold, but he had to keep going. On the last jump before he was in comfortable range to use his handgun, his knee gave out and he crashed to the Earth beside a man. He rolled over, biting back a scream from the wrenching pain, and pointed the gun at the Jaffa.
He pulled the trigger.
With sick fascination, he watched as the Jaffa's head slammed back and nearly off where his bullet had caught him in the neck. Daniel blinked in surprise at the handgun. "What the hell did they put in these bullets?"
The man beside him groaned softly.
Daniel glanced over from his revelry to the man.
His body started to seize. Chest rising and falling twice before his body went completely slack.
Grimacing, Daniel rolled over to the man. One hand reached out to check for a pulse while he leaned over to listen for breath. Finding neither, he tilted his head to check the identity of the Nasian man.
Suddenly, the man's eyes shot open. Grabbing Daniel by the scruff of the neck, he pulled him down until their lips met.
Daniel tried to push the reanimated man away, and scream for help, but his grip was too strong. A flood of slightly warmed mass burst into his mouth from the Nasian's. His gag reflex automatically kicked in and his jaw locked. With a start, he felt something moving in the mass as it pierced the back of his throat.
He screamed. Training instincts made him react; his arms flailing into the neck of the dead man. Daniel knew he broke the corpse's neck, but it still kept a hold of him. Sick realization set in and he knew what was happening to him. The feeling of its slick body and fins slowly crawling inside him sent him into shock.
The pain of the parasite taking control completely overrode every other sensation. He felt it as his body slowly began to shut down. The creature's presence invaded his mind. "You are now mine, Dr. Jackson," said the smug voice.
Daniel blinked away the delusion in confusion. 'It hadn't been real,' he thought. The sounds of the battle still raged around him and he remained frozen against the Nasian's lips, his mouth full of blood. Jerking to the side, he spat out the metallic liquid and gagged until he could taste bile. Wiping his mouth, he stared at the man beside him.
The Nasian's lips quirked slowly in a smile before his eyes lost focus.
"It was just a dream." Shock came to him. It had just been a dream created by his mind from lack of oxygen and abject fear. There was no goa'uld in him. Closing the eyes of the now completely dead Nasian, he felt grief well up inside him. "Fare well, my friend."
The next moment the battle intensified. More death gliders came from the sky killing several of the stragglers who were too panicked to understand the possibility of escape. Two more death gliders fell from the sky in a ball of fire. One landed beside Daniel.
The resulting explosion picked him and the dead Nasian off the ground and tossed them twenty feet high, crashing towards the Stargate. Daniel slammed in to the DHD and knew no more.
Daniel came to with a scream. Hands rushing out to stop his attacker from continuing. It was with a cold gasp he realized there was no one around. He was in an isolated room of the infirmary. His body covered in sweat, the medical gown clung to him in a strangling grip.
Gasping for air, he jerked the monitor leads and bed clothes from him. He ripped the gown over his head and tossed it back to the stretcher. The squealing of the monitors had him swinging at them with his clenched fist.
The sensitive equipment flew off the cart and crashed to the floor. It gave a screech then died in a flurry of sparks.
Glancing about the darkened room, he searched for the specter from his dream. Daniel's search came back nothing. Slowly, his breathing returned to normal. About the time he felt in safe in his surroundings, the door opened setting off his adrenalin again. He shot over the bed, placing it between him and the intruder.
Dr. Janet Fraiser looked up from her medical charts at the sounds of the bed creaking to find Daniel using it as a barrier. She raised an eyebrow at his stance and nudity. "Is there something wrong with my hospitality?"
"Nope." Daniel glanced about from side to side, but kept her in his sights. "Just a little jumpy. Had a bad dream."
"That's not surprising, you've been in a fevered delirium the past two days." As she finished speaking, two nurses and Dr. Warner came rushing in to the room. Janet faced them with a surprised glance. "Is there something I can help you with?"
"The monitor feeds went dead in the infirmary." Warner gestured at the broken machines with one hand, rubbing his forehead with the other. "Seems we've had another accident."
Janet looked in askance at Daniel. "Care to explain this?"
"I thought I was being attacked." Standing up to his full height, he composed himself and cleared his throat. "The electrodes on my head felt like the Ha'kresh the Ash'rak was using." At their questioning looks, he cleared his throat again. "My dream was quite vivid."
"I would assume so." Janet checked the statistics on her charts again. "All right, Daniel, you can get back in the bed. Nurse Holsly, get a tech in here to clean this up and a replacement monitor..." she trailed off at Daniel's grunt. "Just a heart monitor, it has finger clip, no electrodes. We weren't sure if you were going to have brain damage or not. Your body temperature had risen to over one hundred, five degrees. In fact, I have you scheduled for a CAT scan for tomorrow."
"No, I think not. I am perfectly fine." Daniel stepped back from the stretcher, taking with him the gown. "If you could get my clothes, I would appreciate it."
Starting forward, Janet clenched her hand in frustration. "Don't fight me on this, Daniel. You have been very sick for several days now. We only just took you off the IV this morning."
"And I am fine now." He held out his hands, dropping the gown. Twirling around, he did a small step dance. "Just fine. No need to worry."
"Daniel," she started warningly.
"Look, I don't like hospitals, I don't like the infirmary, you know this. I'm willing to wear a portable monitor if you let me go to my office." Holding up his hand, he made a crossing gesture. "Promise not to leave the base for anything. Pinky swear!"
Janet turned to Dr. Warner. They stared at each other for a moment before he nodded once. Grinding her teeth, she nodded too. "Fine. But only after you pass a full physical given by myself. You will wear the monitor all the time for the next two days, you will not leave the base, and you will report everything that you feel in a health log, do I make myself clear?"
Grimacing, Daniel nodded. "I guess I have no choice."
Wincing, Daniel pulled up his pants and glared at Janet. "That wasn't necessary, you know."
Janet pulled off the glove, tossing it in the hazardous waste bin. Her fingers tingled from the tight constraint. Giving him a murderous look, she flexed her fingers. "It hardly suited my purposes to shove my entire fist up your..."
"You started it!" Cinching is belt shut, he winced. He pulled out the extra loop and glanced around the brilliantly lit examination room. "Are there any more of your tests, Janet?"
"Not at this time." Flexing her hand one last time, she pulled down the sleeve of her uniform and lab coat. Janet blew a curl of hair from her face. "Take it easy, you hear. I don't want you back in here in ten minutes because you got worked up over a translation."
"Finally." He adjusted the shoulder bag holding the monitor to a standard orbit under his left arm. With that in place, he checked his over all appearance in the mirror and smiled. "At least I am reasonably undamaged." Three bandages covered the left side of his face where he had impacted the side of the DHD.
"It could have been much worse. There were others caught closer to the blast who were not so fortunate." They lapsed in to silence, her filling out the charts and him checking himself out. After a minute, she glanced up at him. "Is there something wrong? I've never known you to be so vain."
Daniel frowned, his body going rigid. "I dunno. This just feels... wrong." He watched his body move, glancing over his shoulder as he turned around. "I just keep expecting something different."
"That is understandable, you suffered a mild concussion. Part of the problem with the delirium you suffered was having to wake you every so often to make sure the condition hadn't gotten any worse. We had so many new patients the damned X-Ray machines broke from all the constant use." She gave an aggravated sigh that spoke of long hours and too little rest. "The truth of the matter is I still haven't gotten the situation any where near under control. There are just too many of them."
"Would you like me to speak with some of them, help calm them down to make your job easier?" He patted the top of his head, brushing his fingers through his hair. Making a hmm sound, he smiled. "At least that is better than I thought."
Looking concerned, Janet walked closer to him. "Are you sure you feel okay? May be you hit your head harder than I thought."
"What?" Turning to her, he smiled absently. "Uh, no. I just keep thinking there should be less hair than there is." Flipping the long hair from his face, he smiled again. His face quirked a little on the left side before he started for the door. "I will meet with the people, see what I can do to calm them down, reassure them that we mean them no harm."
Still slightly wary of his condition, she nodded. "Thank you, it would be appreciated. However, before you see them, I think you should know why I have been kept so busy."
This finally caught his attention and dragged him reluctantly from his musings. There was something off about the entire situation, something surreal about it all. People seemed different, colors brighter, sensations more pleasurable. He had heard concussions did this to people, it would have become second nature by now. Too bad he was usually dead before he could enjoy these after effects of a concussion. 'There's a morbid thought.'
By now Janet had already cleaned up the exam room and was already following him out the door. The fact that he was moving slowly and kinda dazed was nothing new in her experience. Taking the lead when it seemed he wouldn't, she walked out. "In exam room four. Captain Carter, took the brunt of the explosion. There are burns on twenty percent of her body, she was lucky it won't do permanent damage. As the situation is, SG-1 is on stand down."
"That makes sense, two team members incapacitated. It doesn't really make for a good idea to replace half the team just temporarily." Daniel passed people on stretchers and in chairs, smiling at some. He recognized all of the Nasians, it was the SG personnel he was having a hard time placing. They were familiar, but their names were just out of reach in his memory and it pained him to think about it. Some seemed disappointed when he didn't stop, others just ignored him completely.
Finally, they came to the far side of the Infirmary. Janet ran her card through the scanner and the door automatically pulled back. They climbed the steps to the observation platform. She picked up the charts from the desks and looked them over, gesturing for Daniel to look out in to the room. "I converted the room in to a burn ward. There were several of the Nasians who were too injured to make the journey to the Naval Academy hospital. Sam didn't mind, in fact, she helped me design a cooling unit that sprays a sterile mist to keep them reasonably comfortable."
"That's our Sam for you, always thinking of something new." Daniel frowned as he searched the room for the person he knew as Sam. For some reason he kept having a hard time remembering what she looked like. Finally he thought to just focus on the people he didn't recognize. There was just one occupied bed he didn't know the inhabitant of. "That's Sam, right?"
Janet looked up from the pad, a smile quirking her lips. Glancing at the person he was pointing at, she nodded. "Yeah, that's her all right." It occurred to her that Daniel might not be joking. "Do you remember Captain Carter?"
"I think I do." Daniel frowned, placing a hand to his head. "It's kinda fuzzy, like something is blocking parts of my memory."
She slammed the charts down in anger. "Damn it, Daniel, why didn't you tell me you were suffering from memory loss? That could be signs of severe neurological trauma!" Grabbing him by the shoulder, she pushed him down in the chair and grabbed the pen light from her smock. "Let me see your eyes."
Taking a deep breath, Daniel complied, allowing her to shine the light in his eyes. He winced as it flashed over his corneas, trying to pull back from her grip. "That hurts!"
"Of course it hurts, if it didn't I would have you back on that stretcher and on the way to the academy right now." Feeling secure in her diagnosis, she let him go. "So far there are no signs of complete damage, but there might still be a little swelling in there. But just in case, I want you to write this down and everything else you have been feeling hazy on in the journal right now."
"Yes, Janet," he chimed in his best soldier voice. "Anything else, Janet?"
"As a matter of fact, yes, there is." She got a gleam in her eye that set Daniel's nerves on edge. "General Hammond is waiting on an official report of just what happened on Nasia. Since the moment Sam arrived, Colonel O'Neill has not left her side."
"Let me guess, you want me to tell him about it?"
"No, your memory can't be trusted at this time." She waved a hand towards the window. "Once you have filled out that journal, I want you to get the Colonel out of there. Take him some where to get cleaned up and ready to report on the situation. I would have had Teal'c do it, but he has been in a state of Kel No Reem for the past two days. It is the Jaffa equivalent of a healing trance."
"I am aware of what Kel No Reem is. What I didn't know was that the Jaffa was injured enough to require such an extensive amount of time in the state." Daniel's voice cracked as he finished speaking. Clearing his throat, he ignored Janet's clinical stare. "How was Teal'c injured?"
"He saved your life," she whispered. Her breathing came slowly as she backed away from him. "Um, Daniel, I want to schedule you for some tests Thursday when the machines are fixed. Until then, I think it would be best if you stayed on base and around people. I don't know what kind of effects the concussion has had just yet, and think it would be best if you were with someone who could call for help if you required it."
"Okay, I guess." Daniel grabbed the monitor bag and removed a spiral notebook from inside. He pulled the cap off the pen and began hurriedly scribbling down everything he remembered. When he was through, he looked up at Janet and smiled. "Ready to go."
"Then grab the Colonel and take him with you." She tensed as he passed her by. Waiting until he was out of the observation room, she bent over to the PA and pressed the buttons. "Colonel O'Neill, Dr. Jackson is waiting for you just outside the burn ward door. I am ordering you to get some rest, don't make me have to get the general."
The scrub clad form stood up from Carter's bed. He sent Janet a glare, then turned back to Sam. "I'll be right back, Carter."
Sam smiled, hand rubbing along the edge of her bed. "Go rest, sir. I am fine."
"Sure you are, and I'm the tooth fairy." He chuckled along with her, shivering as he did. The mists that had been keeping him cool, now seemed to freeze him.
"Colonel O'Neill, now."
Jack sent Janet another glare, but moved away from Sam's bed. "Right back, you won't even miss me."
"Go, sir. I'll be fine, I swear." She waved her armed, then lowered it again quickly as the bruised flesh cramped. Sam's body tensed as the cramp spread up in to her shoulder and through out her body. A nurse near by came over and pressed an injection through the IV. Soon she was feeling numb again. "Thank you," she murmured, unaware that Jack hadn't left yet.
A moment later the door opened and two large nurses came in, dressed in scrubs. They grabbed Jack by the arms and frog marched him from the ward.
"Hey, fellahs, I was going. Honest!" He tried to shrug them off, but only got a tighter grip for his efforts. After they passed the hermetic seal, the door closed and sanitary spray covered them. Jack grimaced as his skin tingled in the mists. "Damn cleansers!"
"Sorry, sir, but it is for the safety of our patients." The nurse on his left began removing Jack's scrubs while the one on his right pulled out Jack's clothes from a dressing bag. "Here is your uniform, sir. You can get a shower over there and change in to the clothes. They have been freshly washed and dried; your shoes polished." With that, he turned away and walked down a small corridor back to the nurse's station.
Jack glanced about the makeshift locker room as the nurse finished pulling off his clothes by jerking down his pants. "Such nice service. Just don't expect a tip."
"This is the military, sir, we don't accept them anyways." He grabbed a wash cloth and soap from a stack next to the clothes bin he deposited Jack's scrubs in. Turning back, he handed them to Jack. "Here you go, sir. Do you require any further assistance?"
"No, I'm fine, thanks. But if I should require someone to wash my back, you'll be the first one I call." Moving away, he set his uniform on a bench and moved over to the open stalled shower. The emergency shower had been converted into an impromptu wash, hot water being added by hose. Turning the nozzle, he was surprised by the amount of water pressure. "Sweet."
"Hurry up, Jack."
O'Neill spun around, dropping the soap. At the sight of Daniel, he settled down from an attack posture. "Don't walk up on a guy, Daniel, you know you can get hurt."
"What makes you think I couldn't handle you? I have been practicing you know." Daniel pulled up his hands and right leg, making a high pitched whine. "Also, I watched all three Karate Kid movies with Teal'c just last week."
Jack grimaced as he turned on the water. "Let me guess, much like an eight year-old, he wanted to practice the moves."
"Right." Sitting on the bench, Daniel winced. "Yeah, that was a trip to the infirmary I could have lived without. However, the good news is General Hammond's car has a nice shine."
"Wax on," Jack ran the soap over his belly, "Wax off," he ran the wash cloth over the same area. "Wax on, wax off! Wax on, oh yeah, wax off!"
"Oh would you cut that... Jack! I'm sitting right here!"
Daniel watched as Jack tied a double knot in his laces then stood up. "Are we going to talk about this?"
"What is there to talk about? You are all better now, Carter is still in the burn ward, I don't see the problem." Jack adjusted his uniform shirt, redoing the buttons after he discovered a missed loop.
"Don't see the problem?" Daniel stood up, shock and anger fighting for control. "I could have died. You didn't even ask about me and you don't see the problem with that?"
Snorting, Jack glanced away. "No, Daniel, I don't. So I got a little distracted, Carter needed me."
"I needed you!" Stomping up to Jack, Daniel grabbed him by the shoulders. "You are supposed to be my friend."
"I am your friend, Daniel, but I am also Carter's CO. It is my job to make sure she was okay." Jack lifted his arms and shrugged off Daniel's hands. Pushing past the other man, he started for the door. "I had to make a choice and I did. If you can't handle that, then perhaps you should rethink some things."
"And just what kind of things would those be? Our friendship? Or is this your way of saying the humoring period of grace you seemed to have developed for me over the past two years has ended?" Daniel stood there waiting in the middle of the makeshift locker room. When Jack didn't respond, Daniel snorted. "That's it, isn't it? You can't handle the fact that I'm a geek who refuses to blindly follow your orders."
"No, I can't!" Jack whirled on the man, his fists clinched in anger. With every step towards Daniel, he gritted his teeth. "You find fault with everything I do, nothing is ever good enough for you! My military training is who I am, and you enjoy throwing things like discipline, order, and regulations back in my face at every turn! Did you ever stop to think that maybe I tell you what to do, not because I am dick head like you think, but because I am tired of seeing you become a casualty on every god damned mission?"
Daniel snapped. Blood vessels in his face made him close his eyes from the pain. His composure completely shot, he twisted his hair and yanked off his glasses. "Well I have news for you, Jack, I am not in the military! I have never been, never wanted to be! And yes, I think you are a dick head at times! My injuries on missions have nothing to do with your orders. In fact, had I followed your orders like a good little soldier, Earth would have been decimated on more than one occasion!"
Throwing his hands up, Jack snarled at his friends. "Oh there you go again, just like every time we get in a fight, you misunderstand my point!"
"Then perhaps you should make it more clear!" Daniel placed a hand to his forehead, then slid it down and began rubbing his eyes. A headache had started to form from the back of his neck to the top of his head.
"For god's sake, Daniel! I care about you! I don't know how to make that more clear! Oh for the love of... let me!" Pushing Daniel's hand aside, Jack forcefully set the younger man down on the bench. "Every time I see you get hurt it kills me a little more inside."
"You have a funny way of showing that." Daniel nuzzled against Jack's hands as they gently massaged his temples.
Freezing, Jack pulled his hands back. He stared at them for a moment before taking a step back. "I told you I didn't want to leave you on Apophis' ship. You don't think I regret that? Watching those ships blow, thinking you were dying along side old snake eyes and Skarra..."
"Apophis isn't dead." Daniel winced, a sharp pain having shot down his spine. "He and Klor'el escaped as the ships blew in a Tel'tac."
Jack's breath caught in his throat. "How do you know that?"
"He sought refuge with Cronus after you blew up his ships. They are planning a much bigger strike now. To them, you are no longer just a minor annoyance. I was..." Glancing up, Daniel shook his head. "What was I saying?"
"It doesn't matter, you were just rambling." His face stonily emotionless, Jack gestured for the door. "What say we just go to the briefing already, hunh?"
"Yeah, before you stick your foot even deeper down your throat." Rising from the bench, Daniel fumed. He stormed past Jack and out the locker room door.
Jack waited until he was sure that Daniel was gone before heading to the red phone hanging on the wall. Picking up the hand set, he spoke in a husky voice. "Get me Doctor Fraiser."
Daniel walked down the hall still caught up in his own righteous indignation. How dare Jack make it out to be his fault! The man was to blame more times than he for the injuries they both sustained on any given mission. "If only I was allowed to do my job properly, Jack, I know there would be less need for your training."
Nothing but the sounds of his own footsteps on the floor answered him.
"Jack?" Daniel glanced over his shoulder. The dimly lit hallway was completely empty but for himself. "Thanks for making sure I'm not alone, ass hole!"
It suddenly dawned on Daniel that during their fight, he had forgotten to tell Jack what Janet had said. "Great, now I'm not only losing my mind, I'm also becoming forgetful. What next, incontinence?" Just to be sure, he checked the front of his pants with his hand. "Well at least that is something."
Starting forwards again, Daniel started fuming again. As he passed a junction, a flash of movement caught the corner of his eye. Daniel twisted to see who it was, hand waved in greeting.
The corridor was empty.
"Hello?" Daniel started down the hall, his eyes scanning the surface for anything unusual. "Anyone here?" More movement, this time to his left had him spinning again. He fought to control his rising panic. "Come on, whoever is there, this isn't funny!"
Tingling shot up his spine ending in his temples. Grabbing his head, Daniel cried out. Time seemed to slow down as he fell to his knees. He could hear the sounds of running water coming. Abruptly, all sensation fled and he felt like he was floating in space.
A brilliant flash crossed his vision, once, then twice. The light made him feel pain and he screamed. Shrieking, he grabbed on to something, the closest thing and held on for dear life. Muted voices flitted over his ears like they were filled with bath water.
Each time he tried to reach out and search for the voices, his body refused to cooperate. Metallic taste filled his mouth. He tried to spit it out to no avail. His spine shook from another stab and his head slammed back against a hard surface. Then all went black and the world receded once more.
Janet tightened her one armed grip around Daniel's shoulders as her other hand continued to hold the table spoon in his mouth. Tears stung at the edge of her vision while his body seized once more. His feeble grip on her pants failed once more and his eyes rolled up in his head. Finally, the seizure passed and she looked up to glare at Jack.
Jack stuffed his hands in his pants and walked down the corridor, shoving the medics aside as they rushed passed him to reach the downed man. He ignored their grunts and kept walking.
General Hammond sat his desk as Jack studied his model plane sitting on a shelf at eye level. "Jack?"
"General," Jack chimed back. His attention was drawn to the propellers of the bronze statue. Just as he was about to reach out and touch it, the General cleared his throat.
"About your report, I really don't think 'we were there, goa'uld came, lots of explosions, we got home, some hurt, some not,' is appropriate." Hammond sat back in his chair, tossing the single page report back on his desk. "Are you going to tell me just what the hell happened out there or do I have to get some sodium penethol?"
"No, sir, you can hold off on the bamboo shoots too." Grimacing, Jack backed away from the sculpture. He placed his hands behind his back and turned to face the older man. Despite his many attempts at delaying this and the overwhelming urge to go see Carter once again, he managed to take a seat.
"Thank you, Jack. I understand your need to see to it that your team members are well once more." Picking up the recorder, Hammond turned it to face Jack and pressed the record button. "This is General George Hammond of the SGC, beginning record of Colonel Jack O'Neill's mission report to the planet known as Nasia. You may begin when you are ready, Colonel."
Jack leaned back in his chair; tried to get comfortable by shifting about. When that failed, he leaned forward, hands on the arm rests. He couldn't find any part of the chair that made him relax so he stood again. This time he leaned against he desk and fiddled with a paper clip off of it.
Hammond cleared his throat.
"What? Oh, right, sorry." Jack leaned over to speak directly in to the recorder. "This is Colonel O'Neill, spelled with two Ls. I was on Nasia when it was attacked by the Goa'uld. Lousy snakes!"
"Perhaps you should start with why you were there in the first place." After he spoke, Hammond caught Jack smirking. "I mean the purpose of the mission."
"Right, sir. We were on Nasia to seek peaceful trade and negotiations with the locals. They had not been a Goa'uld controlled world in over three hundred years and it was a good bet the snakes wouldn't be dropping by for a visit any time soon. The local plants had an interest for Carter and... Dr. Jackson stated that the inhabitants intrigued him. He couldn't quite grasp what civilization they sprang from and the tattoos on their heads were unusual. Whatever else he said about it went past me real quick."
Pulling the clip apart, Jack tied a rubber band around the tips to make a sling shot. "There wasn't any real strategic value and any thing of value aside from possible plants was negligible. The kinda mission you give to a first time recruit or a shake down cruise after a big mission, like say Saving the world."
"Let the record stand that the President and the Command of the SGC is grateful to SG-1 for defying orders and saving our world from a Goa'uld attack. However, they did defy orders and should be grateful for the month's paid leave they were granted in return." Hammond took the sling shot from Jack before he could test a paper missile. "Now, tell us about the Nasian people. What point of interest would drive the Goa'uld to attack?"
"Frankly, sir, I don't know. If they had a spy, the reason for attacking could have been our presence. We did just kick their butts." Jack gave the recorder a smug grin. "However, that wouldn't explain why they hadn't attacked in the week we and SG-2 had been there surveying. We know they have ships fast enough to launch an assault of any kind within a day of notice. The Goa'uld aren't known for their patience in their retribution."
George leaned over and spoke clearly in to the recorder. "I dunno, Colonel, they did wait a year after finding out it was we who destroyed Ra before they attacked Earth."
"Idle speculation, sir. It takes time to amass an armada for one attack by one Goa'uld, on such an advanced target. From what Teal'c stated, they have the ability to amass a fleet a hundred times larger than what we defeated if they are inspired. And after we kicked Pop's butt, I would say they are inspired." When he finished speaking, Jack stood up from the desk and started pacing. His movements brought him to the window that looked out over the command. "Nasia was nothing to them. One ship could have taken out the entire colony, us along with it. They had a week, sir, and they didn't take advantage of it."
"Then what do you suggest is the reason behind their attack?"
"We know that they are futile in nature, petty bickering would put a dampener on any major alliances real fast." Looking down, he placed a palm flat against the surface. "Personally, sir, I don't think we were the target on this one. Nor were the Nasian people, specifically."
Hammond stood up. Walking slowly, he approached the Colonel. "Go on, Colonel."
"From the rate of the attack, the pattern of it, I would say it wasn't the real deal. Sure, there was a lotta death and destruction, but I believe it was a ploy." Jack's voice trailed off to a whisper. His mind going over the details of the attack, he tried not to let it show on his face. "Carter started getting some strange energy readings on her equipment. We tracked the source to the edge of the village. Not far in to our search we found a dead Jaffa, his neck snapped and larva removed. Before we could sound the alarm bell, the first death glider attacked. After that it is a battle haze and then we came back here."
General Hammond gently placed a hand on Jack's shoulder. "Do you remember the fight at all?"
Staring at the reflection of his superior in the glass, Jack shook his head. "I don't. The next thing I remember is coming to myself with Carter in my arms and dropping on the ramp here. I was absolutely certain Dr. Jackson was dead. We had lost our weapons. Dr. Fraiser says I suffered blunt trauma to the head from the blast."
"What made you think Dr. Jackson was dead?"
"Because in that moment, sir, I stopped caring."
Janet entered the briefing room, her uniform unkempt and hair falling from the pens that held the days old hair do. Dropping her folders on the table, she slid in to the chair and sighed with pleasure. "Feels good to get off my feet."
"We can all understand that one, Doctor." General Hammond smiled at her for a moment then his expression sobered. Looking around at Teal'c, Jack, Janet, and SG-2, he took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I am sure you are all wondering just why I have called this meeting. By now you know that two members of SG-1 have been incapacitated for the passed two days along side several hundred Nasians."
"Kinda hard to miss them lining the halls all the way to level fifteen. They avoid the barracks we set up for them until night and prefer to loiter around like hobos in the New York subway." Jack snorted at his own joke. "What," he asked when Teal'c raised an eyebrow.
"I hardly find the situation involving the Nasians amusing, O'Neill." Tilting his head, Teal'c eyed his friend with a curious expression. "Is there something the matter?"
Jack waved him off and sat back in his chair. "Nah, lets listen to what the General has to say."
"If you are through." Hammond glared at Jack pointedly before he cleared his throat and went on. "As I stated, two members of SG-1 are incapacitated. SG-1 will remain on stand down for the time being. That is not what I have called you in here for, however. Recent actions have led me to believe it is time to reassess the current status of our Flagship team." Looking to Janet, he nodded. "I believe this is where you come in."
Leaning forward, she sighed. "Yes, I'm sorry to say, but there is no other way. Major Carter's burns are significant enough to require at least three months of recovery and another three of therapy. She can remain acting head of the new technologies department for the next six months, but any field work is strictly out of the question. After that, we will have to see, but it shouldn't be a problem." She held up her hand to forestall any objections.
"I know you are upset, but that isn't the end of it." She pulled open a folder and stared at the contents with blurry eyes. Janet had to blink a few times before she could read the script. "Dr. Jackson has suffered apparent neurological damage; the results of which vary from mood swings to memory loss and a high probability of seizures. A probability that has crossed the line in to the realm of actuality. Approximately ten thirty this morning Daniel Jackson suffered a massive epileptic fit and lapsed in to a coma."
Silence reigned at the table. Even Jack was subdued by the most recent bout of information.
Hammond was the first to break the still. "Is there any news as to what the cause of this might be?"
Janet looked pensive, then shook her head negatively. "No, General, I am sorry. Any equipment we might have used to scan his cranial cavity has been sabotaged and is awaiting repair."
"What?" Jack's head shot up and he stared at her wide eyed.
Putting down her immediate response to silence him, she nodded. "At first we thought they simply stopped working from over use. Then we found several pieces of them were broken at critical junctures or completely destroyed. The portable X-ray machines we had on level twenty-three were crushed under a cargo container filled with concrete."
Ferretti, the head of SG-2, began to laugh. "What idiot stuck concrete in a cargo container? That stuff is heavy and is shipped in sacks for a reason."
"Exactly my point, Major." Janet closed the folders. "We have narrowed down the lists of suspects to one of the people in this room and the Nasians." When she finished speaking, six SF's in full battle gear and P-19's entered the room. "Each of you, aside from Teal'c, will submit to a brain scan done at the Airforce Navel Academy Hospital or you will be shot on sight. Gentlemen, I believe we have a Goa'uld among us."
"Wait a minute!" Having thought things over, Jack tried to get his mind around a concept that made his skin shiver in revulsion. "You said you believe, but you have no real proof."
"I have your report, Colonel." Pulling out a folder from her stack, she set in the center of the table. She grabbed another and set it on top. "I also have eyewitness corroboration from Dr. Jackson. He claims to have been interrogated by an Ash'rak."
Teal'c shot up from his chair, body tense. He stood in attack posture as he studied the occupants of the room. "General, you must make every effort to find this being."
Hammond remained seated, but turned his chair to face the anxious Jaffa. "Teal'c, what is the relevance of this Ash'rak? Is it some sort of torture device?"
"No," his deep voice growled in suppressed anger. "An Ash'rak is an assassin of the highest order. They are sent to do the will of the system lords. Many legends tell of their destructive prowess and their deadly nature. Much like your Chameleon, they can blend in with a normal group, not suspected in their presence even after they have attacked. They pride themselves on the ability to make their acts appear as just another natural occurrence."
"If what you say is true, it could confirm what Colonel O'Neill has theorized." Switching his attention over to the Colonel, Hammond nodded. "He believes the attack on Nasia was a ruse used to hide a more sinister attack. At the time he didn't believe we are the target, but I am more inclined to believe your escape was used as a means to bring a Goa'uld in our midst. As of now, I am ordering that the Mountain be shut down and all Nasians be placed under house arrest." Turning back to Jack and SG-2, he gave them a sad look. "I am sorry, but until we know who we can trust, I am going to have to ask you to surrender your weapons and remain with an armed escort at all times."
"But, sir, what about Dr. Jackson?" Jack stood up, and leaned over the table in his anger. "He is the one who claimed to have been with this ass rack!"
"That is out of the question. I have already confirmed for myself that any time the equipment was damaged or ceased to function, Daniel was still in his delirious stage strapped to his bed in the iso-ward." Janet started to flip through her papers. She was about to open another folder when her beeper went off. Checking the number, she cursed. "Shit! General, you will have to excuse me, Daniel has finally awakened."
Hammond tried to get her to hold on, they were still matters that needed discussing. "Can it wait? We have more to go over."
Janet shook her head as she stood, grabbing papers to leave. "Sorry, General, there is no time. Daniel's medication has been greatly increased to prevent any further seizures, however a side effect is acute psychosis and dementia. Over time we can decrease the dosage until we learn just how much he will tolerate, but without the scanning machines we can't risk it. Another seizure at this point could kill him."
"How long until they are up and running?" He was desperate by now. The looks on the faces of his people made this information all the more necessary.
"I dunno, two, may be three days at the least. Now, I am sorry, sir, but I most go!" She grabbed her papers and flew from the room leaving a stunned group behind her.
"Well, it seems we have a major situation on our hands." Hammond folded his hands on the table and leaned forward. "I have a solution that will satisfy our security and make your temporary arrest bearable." Before he continued, he glanced at Jack's chair, signaling the man to sit down.
Jack complied with an air of disgust. "Do go on, General, we are all atwitter with excitement."
"I will let the sarcasm go, Jack." He gave the second a stern look before turning to the rest. "Now, you understand your access has to be restricted. You can't have any weapons of any kind, that includes utensils from the cafeteria. Your offices will be searched as will your temporary living quarters. You will not be leaving the base anytime soon so I suggest you get comfortable. Every where you go will be monitored for security reasons, no high level areas. Any of you attempting to gain access will result in your being shot. I am sorry, gentlemen, but there is no other option I feel safe enough with. This base is the first line of defense of our planet and I will not hesitate to make sure it stays secure."
"A little late for that, General."
Daniel bent down to study the child, hand around its throat twisting the head this way and that. He glared up at the parents with burning hatred. How dare they! "You bring me the weakest of your fold, say you can offer no better!"
The father stood proudly, hand waving dismissively. His white beaded hair swung loosely reflecting the fire from the oil lamps. "You are but a minor in the Lord's service, I am his great architect."
"You are correct," Daniel stood, his face losing the constricted look of anger and he smile pleasantly. "This is the best you have to offer." Grabbing the child in his arms, he turned and headed for the door. As he passed the Jaffa leader, he smiled once more. "Kill the rest."
He walked out in to the night, the sounds of staff blasts and the screams of the dying echoing through the streets. Caressing the screaming child's face, he made it look at his face. When he knew his eyes glowed, Daniel began murmuring a calming lullaby. His fingers slid down the child's face, around its neck. Smiling, he squeezed.
Daniel awoke with his hand clenched around the wrist of a nurse crying out. The child's shrieks had bled to her cries of pain as he had woken. It took him a moment to realize he should probably let her go. Then it took him another few moments to realize why.
When he did release the woman, three other nurses, two men and one woman ran in to the room. They spread out, ready to defend their fellow from his attacks.
Daniel had no intentions of harming her. In fact, he was as surprised by his actions as her. They stared at one another for a moment before he laid his head back against the pillow and stared up at the ceiling. These dreams had to get under control soon. From then on, he completely ignored them.
The door opened and Janet walked in, harried as usual. Her expression bordered on homicidal. They had informed her of Daniel's actions while she walked down the hall. "Daniel."
"Janet," Daniel spoke in the same inquiring tone. Without lifting his head, he waved an arm. "What happened?"
"I was just about to ask you the same question. What is the last thing you remember that doesn't seem like a dream?" Slowly, she came over to stand so he could see her and not startle him.
"Walking down the hall. I could have sworn someone was following me but every time I looked around there was nothing. After that, everything kind of goes Pink Floyd on me." He allowed her to check his pulse at his wrist, sighing when she tisked.
"Your pulse is a little unsteady and you feel warm to the touch. We had to put you on a few new drugs, Daniel. Seizure suppressants. You will experience more of these 'Pink Floyd' moments, I'm afraid." She ran a hand down the side of his face, checking for swelling at the lymph nodes in his neck. "You don't seem to have an infection. At least not one that your body is fighting."
"May be I am just aroused. There is a beautiful woman in the room and it has been a while since I last... Ow, I guess that means no." Rubbing his temple, he smiled at her. "Actually, I have been having headaches. So, you say I am on seizure suppressants; I take it my little episode in the hallway wasn't just a complete mental break down?"
Janet shook her head no. "Afraid not. It might have been easier if it actually was." Checking the time, she sighed and pulled over a stool to perch upon. When she had settled on top, she clasped her hands together and stared him down. "Okay, here is the deal. We have a slight situation with the base and your condition doesn't help those matters one bit."
"How can I help, Janet?" Sitting up, he eased his sore back up against the pillows. He winced a couple times, trying not to cry out as his body settled. After he was sure the spasms had stopped, he opened his eyes and smiled at her, pained.
"As you can probably guess, you are not going anywhere for a while. This is for more than just the medical reasons of keeping you under observation. There are some security concerns as well." Reaching in to her coat, she pulled out a candy bar and tossed it to Daniel. "Here, get your blood sugar up, I don't want you passing out."
"Thanks, I've been craving one of these." He ripped open the filmy wrapper with his teeth and spit it out on the floor. Laughing at her disapproving stare, he bit the end off the candy bar. Daniel chewed loudly, making many noises of enjoyment.
"You are welcome. Now, back to business. What can you tell me about the Ash'rak?"
Daniel grabbed his throat, gagging on the candy bar. So busy with trying not to breath anymore candy bar, he missed Janet's calculating stare. When he finally caught her and had gotten himself under control, he glared at her. "If you are looking for the Ash'rak, I suggest you do so else where. The lion does not lie down beside the sheep."
"We know this already, Daniel. We know the attack on Nasia was a cover for the attack of the Goa'uld. We also know that this Ash'rak followed us back through the gate. What we don't know is the pattern of which to track it by or if the host is among our own or the Nasians." Hands clenching her smock, she leaned forward. "Anything you can tell us about it, Daniel, anything at all?"
Daniel didn't realize his hands were shaking until he felt the candy bar drop in his lap. He stared at it with grim fascination, tears blurring his vision. Starting to speak, he cleared his throat. "I... uh, don't know much about them. They hide in plain sight, only revealing themselves to their employers and those targeted for assassination. Usually they interrogate those they have targeted before killing them with a Ha'kresh. A small, ring shaped device worn over the middle and ring fingers with a palm attachment that holds the Chivra crystals used to power it."
"What if the Ha'kresh isn't visible, how else can we tell who might be an Ash'rak?" Janet tensed at his panicked look.
"Usually when one is trying to kill you is a pretty good indication." Daniel laughed at his own morbid joke, trailing off when it fell flat. "I don't know. You have a CAT scan or X-ray machine. Anything that can be used to scan the skull is a possibility."
"What if those aren't available?" She was unprepared for his violent reaction to her question.
Daniel exploded out of the bed, jumping back to keep it between him and her. "Why are you asking me these questions? Did the Ash'rak get through the gate? Are you accusing me of something?"
Having fallen off her stool, she used it to stand up and lean against. "Yes, Daniel, now you know why this is very important. Now what would an Ash'rak do once it had infiltrated the SGC?" She raised a hand to show that she had nothing in it and lowered it several times to calm him down as she spoke.
"Okay." Daniel raised his hands and stepped up to the bed again. "Okay." Not climbing in to the bed, he leaned against it. "More than likely, it has abandoned the previous host. They do not require their host to be pretty like most Goa'ulds. It will have chosen one who was unharmed or hurt the least so that it may accomplish its goals. Depending on accessability, the perfect host would be..." He trailed off, slumping against the bed.
"Daniel!" Janet rushed around the other side of the bed to grab him before he slid to the floor. Holding him up, she eased him back up on to the mattress. "This is very important, stick with me for just a little longer. What would be the perfect host?"
"I don't know." He shook his head as he fell back against the bed. "What are you talking about?" Blinking in confusion, Daniel tried to focus on her face. "Who are you, where is Sha're?"
"Sha're?" Her words fled her as she tried to remember why that sounded familiar. "Who is Sha're?"
"My wife. Where is she? Why am I back at Cheyenne Mountain?" His voice continued to grow lower until it was barely a whisper. After another deep breath he sank back in to unconsciousness.
"Damn it!" Janet left him lying on the bed and headed back for the door. Sliding her key card through the scanner, she stormed out of the iso-ward and into the make shift locker room.
Two male nurses walked passed her and into the iso-ward. They set Daniel right upon the bed and covered him up. Checking his vitals and the IV line, they helped him settle in.
Janet looked over the clip board at Hammond. "It's in there, but I can't access it. He's slipping faster than we thought, I don't know how much longer he has."
"Did he give you any information that Teal'c didn't know? Anything we could use to hunt this damn thing down?" Looking through the observation room window on the burn ward, Hammond waited patiently.
"It has to be one of our own. I don't know which of them though." She followed his line of sight to focus on Jack holding Sam's hand. "From what he said, the goa'uld took one of them so that it could continue its mission. Any of them would be able to gain the access necessary."
"Then we will simply have to watch them all until we can be sure."
General Hammond waited with baited breath as the iris opened. A moment later SG-4 came rumbling down the ramp and he let it out. Leaning over, he spoke in to the microphone. "SG-4, welcome back report to level sixteen for post mission check ups, the Infirmary is over loaded with refugees."
"Yes, sir!" Major Rhion saluted the General as he walked down the steps. In his hand he held up a large papyrus scroll. "Sir, we have something I think Dr. Jackson should take a look at."
"Can it wait?"
"Sorry, sir, but the locals want it back soon." Walking towards the sealed doors, Rhion continued speaking. "They said it was a history of how the Goa'uld were driven from their world. It might hold some valuable information."
George thought on not allowing them, but if what Dr. Fraiser said about him was true, then they might not get another chance. Pressing the button, he reluctantly agreed. "Very well, have one of your people take it to the infirmary, and have them hand it to Dr. Fraiser personally. Tell her I said it was okay."
"Right." Rhion moved to follow his team out of the gate room. He caught up with Lieutenant Aster and handed the scroll to her. "Make sure Dr. Fraiser gets this. Tell her that General Hammond says it is okay for Dr. Jackson to study it."
Watching them go, Hammond began to wonder just how things had gotten so bad so quickly for his flagship team. Some times it seemed only they could perform the miracles this place inspired. A doorway to another world, exploring the galaxy and may be beyond, fighting alien gods for their very freedom. The mere idea was so fantastic he could barely contain his excitement at times.
Then there were times like this. When one remembers there is always a price for freedom, for the miracles. That not everything so wonderful might be worth the price of its existence.
However they all knew the risks before they even stepped through the gate. That was the hard part, sending the people through knowing you may never see them alive, or worse, getting them back only to watch them die slowly and violently. One of the brightest stars of the SGC was about to go out, and he hoped and prayed they were strong enough to survive the fall out.
With a final, wary glance at the gate, George walked back to his office and closed the door. He had a phone call to make.
Samantha Carter peered through drug clouded eyes at the man who had been her CO for little more than a year. They had been so much for each other and the others that she sometimes got their histories confused. Not the memories, but the fact that she wasn't always a part of their lives. He had informed her of the decision made by their CO and CMO about her status. Not that she was surprised, in fact, she was relieved, having thought it would be longer.
However, that being over now, he was still troubled by something that hadn't been there before. Reaching out a hand despite the tensing pain of her burns, she touched his hand to get his attention. "What is it, sir?"
"Nothing, Carter, just get some rest." He tried to effect a goofy grin, but her glared made him stop. "Okay, fine, have it your way. The cafeteria has stopped serving lime jello. Happy?"
"Sir," she said with little patience. She was hurt, she could get away with being snappy at him. Just blame it on the pain and the drugs.
"It's nothing, Carter, just drop it."
His angry reaction led her to believe it was one of three things. Either their situation was getting to him, not likely, it had only been three days; his command was being question, again not likely because no one gets blamed for Goa'uld attacks; or the final and most dangerous, the team was in trouble. Following a hunch, she watched him intently for any reaction. "Colonel, where is Daniel?"
Jack froze. "He's around."
'Ah ha, pay dirt!' "What is wrong with Daniel?"
He avoided her eyes, choosing to look at the ceiling instead. "He's a geek, Carter."
"No, sir," when that failed, she tried another tactic. "Jack."
This time he looked her square in the eyes. She rarely if ever used his first name. It was like Daniel respecting authority... and that was the root of the problem. "He's no longer on the team, Captain. Now drop it, will ya."
"I can't do that, sir, you have to explain this. Why is Daniel not on the team? Does it have to do with why he hasn't visited me since we got here?" The oxygen in the room suddenly made her feel light headed, removing her from all feelings. Blinking slowly, she turned away from Jack and focused on the observation room window.
Despite the burn ward being brighter than the control room, figures were visible through the observation window. A visibly recognizable figure stood back dropped against the far wall, watching through the window into another ward. Janet was watching over another patient.
Sam knew Janet would keep a close watch on her most at risk patient, so why was she only keeping an eye on the one room and not the burn victims. It came to her as if through a haze. "Daniel's dying, isn't he?"
"What?" Jack frowned at her. Sitting forward, he squeezed her hand. "Who told you that?"
"I guessed." Her voice held a dreamy tone as she continued to drift through the pain and medicine. "Janet isn't here with us, she's watching over someone. She's given up hope for whoever it is." Holding her free hand up, she pointed at the observation room window. "I can see her over there."
Twisting to look over the back of his chair, Jack squinted to get a better look. "So she is. What is the matter with that?"
"Doesn't it bother you that Daniel is dying?" Sam tried giving him a reproving look, but a yawn caught her up. Taking a deep breath, her eyes started to water up.
"It would, if Daniel were dying. But he's not, so drop it." Jack leaned forward in his chair to brush the hair off her face. He smiled fondly at her. "Hey," he spoke, voice low, "you stop worrying about things that are beyond our control. Daniel is going to be just fine. It is you we should be focusing on now. Your recovery is all that matters now."
"It isn't right." Carter fought hard not to cry, but the tears welled up again. "Daniel doesn't deserve to die."
"Oh for god's sake, Carter, would you stop? Just stop! Daniel isn't going to die!" He noticed the Nasians and nurses were staring at him and he scowled. "Mind your own business!"
"Colonel, if he is going to die, I don't want to be the last memory I have of him flying through the air and crashing head first into the DHD after having saved my life. Oh, god, I saw him hit that and knew instantly he wasn't going to recover. People have suffered far less head injuries and died, sir." She started rambling on, tears streaking down her face. Carter knew that it was probably the medicine that made her so emotional, but it was the honest truth. She didn't want this to be the last time she knew he was alive and hadn't gone to see him. "Jack, please, get Janet."
With a resigned sigh, Jack hung his head in defeat. "All right, Carter, I'll do it. But then after that, no more. You are still injured yourself. You need your rest."
Sam smiled gratefully at him. "Thank you, sir." She watched him stand up and walk to the exit.
He smiled at her one last time before disappearing through the door.
Keeping an eye out, she waited a minute before he came in to view through the observation window. The figure of the Colonel met up with the one of Janet, apparently startling her. Janet seemed reluctant to divulge any thing to the Colonel and Sam frowned. After a brief round of arguing, Janet looked out the window to Sam and said one word. At that, Jack seemed to lose all fight.
Feeling all hope drain from her, Sam curled up on her side and held the pillow close. She stared at the monitor with unblinking eyes, ignoring the tears as they came. A few minutes later, Jack appeared at her side once more.
He placed his hand on her back. Not saying a thing, he took a seat on the edge of her bed. Jack felt it hard to breathe let alone to form a coherent thought. After what felt like an age had passed, he looked down at her. "Janet says you can see him once you've had some rest."
Placing a hand to her mouth, Sam muffled the gasps by biting her fist.
Daniel awoke to the sound of the security door opening. This time he had been dreaming he was back on Abydos. Sha're had been there as well. She was pregnant and calling his name, but he couldn't reach her. He was thankful for whatever intrusion had interfered with the nightmare.
Janet entered the room, a pleasant smile on her lips and a scroll in her hand. Holding it up, she waved it at him. "Got something here for you, Daniel."
"Thanks, I think. As much as a welcome distraction this will be, I have to ask, why are you letting me work in the Infirmary?" Grinning, he took the scroll from her before she could raise any protest. The seal easily opened, having only been a string with a button. Delicately, he slowly unrolled it. "This is amazing."
Grateful for the distraction, Janet came to stand beside him so she could get a glimpse of the scroll too. Holding out a finger, she pointed at the central characters. "What does that say, it isn't like anything I've seen you work on."
"That's because I haven't, at least not here. It's a regional dialect of Ancient Hindi, probably along the Ganges about six thousand years ago. This tells of Nirrti fight with Kahli the Destroyer over a man with large genitals." Smiling tritely, Daniel exhaled slowly. "It is a little exaggerated, but the bare facts are there."
"Well what exactly does it say?" Janet did nothing to hide the obvious fact of her excitement.
"It says he was a great lover and both women wanted him as their own. They fought, many died, and the man disappeared before they knew what happened..." He trailed off as he continued to read the scroll. After a time, he made a thoughtful sound. "It seems the rivalry was so great, that Ra put up a barrier between their territories, a sorta demilitarized zone. This planet was one of those in that buffer and thus has been abandoned ever since. I always wondered what set those two off."
Janet grew concerned as he started to rub his forehead. "What makes you think that they weren't naturally enemies?"
"They were twins, identical twins. Two queens from the same litter. Their hosts, at one time, were also identical twins. That made them rivals, but not bitter enemies. However, time and many years of jealous rage separated them. Eventually, Kahli took another host and in the eyes of Nirrti, that was the final unforgivable sin." Yawning, Daniel stretched his arms wide. He finished with a moan of pleasure.
Smiling, Janet took the scroll from him. She patted him on the shoulder. "Time for you get some more sleep."
"I think you are right. These dreams have really gotten me beat." Daniel laid back against the pillows on his bed, exhaustion claiming what remained of his strength and will. "I'll just take a little nap."
Smiling, Janet reached over and turned off the over head lamp above the bed. The soft sounds of the monitor and Daniel's breathing filled the darkened room. She headed for the door, pausing one last time to stare at him before walking through and letting it close behind her.
Something tugged at the edge of Daniel's senses. He shifted in bed, trying to wipe away at the perceived irritant. His hand came in to contact with something and he shifted again. This time the irritation could be felt on his skin and he slapped at it again. "Go away."
"By the order of the System Lords, Jolinar of Malksur, you will die."
Daniel's eyes shot open, his mouth hanging open in a silent scream. Strong hands twisted around his neck. He tried to fight the Ash'rak off, hitting at the being standing over him. All his movements slowly came for not. Brilliant flashes of light he knew were caused by the lack of oxygen flitted across his vision.
Lethargy spread through him, weakening his limbs. It became too much to even move his head about as the Ash'rak continued to choke the life from him. With one last ditch effort, he pulled the IV needle from his arm and slammed it into side of the Ash'rak's face.
The assassin released him and Daniel fell back against the bed coughing, struggling for breath. He tried to crawl away, but a pair of hands on his shoulders held him back. Shrieking, Daniel flailed his arms wildly, hitting whoever was in range.
"Daniel, calm down!"
He homed in on the voice and lashed out in fear and anger.
"Damn it! Someone get the damned back ups online now!" Janet's voice filled the dark room. Suddenly, a lighter flicked in to existence. "Put that out, you moron! Do you want to blow us all to hell?"
"Sorry, Dr. Fraiser, thought I could help."
"Ferretti, what the hell are you doing down here?" She squinted as the blue emergency lights kicked on.
Pocketing his lighter, Ferretti looked around at the chaos of the iso-ward. "General felt you might need the help. He sent me and SG-6 to help out with the Nasians. I heard a commotion in here and decided to investigate."
"Fine. We are around open air tanks. I suggest, that unless you want to join Captain Carter in the burn ward, you keep the open flames to yourself." She wanted to yell at him further, but Daniel had started to surge against the nurses holding him down. "Daniel, calm down!"
"Stev nostas li'ack!" He pointed towards Ferretti repeatedly. "Stev nostas! Stev nostas!"
Growling, she nodded at the nurse approaching with the needle. "This is for your own good, Daniel. I'm sorry." Taking the needle, she squirted the end. "Pull down his pants and swab the hip." When her orders had been completed, she injected the needle and pressed the injector. Pulling out the needle, she tapped the area. "Calm down, Daniel."
Daniel surged twice more before he slipped back in to a delirium. They pushed him back in the bed and piled on the restraints.
Ferretti looked down at Daniel with a grimace. "Are you sure those things are completely necessary?"
"Until we can get some sorta semblance of control and Daniel back in his right state of mind, I am not taking any risks." Janet signed off on the papers of his chart before taking one last look at Daniel. She checked his eyes and noted his vitals. "Thankfully the Infirmary has its own independent emergency generator."
"Yeah, thankful for that." Ferretti followed her from the room, watching her seal the door with her pass key. "Look, Doc, if there isn't anything I can do here, then perhaps I can go, you know."
"Actually, there is something you can do for me, Major. Follow me." Janet led him through the halls of the infirmary past gurneys and stretchers loaded with blissed out Nasians. She shook her head at all the medicine they had to waste just to keep them calm. If they didn't watch it, by the time they sent them through the gate there would be an entire population drugged to the gills. 'Much like our own,' she mused.
He followed her in to her office at the end of a narrow hall and shut the door behind them. The moment he turned the lock, he found himself thrown against the steel door. Janet was in his arms and shaking silently.
Resting her head on his shoulder, she continued to fight back on the exhausted sobs. "What caused the outage?"
"The power mains were cut, all six of them." Rocking slowly, he guided her to sit on the edge of her desk. "A maintenance crew were working on the surface level when they struck the lines."
"You don't think it was an accident?" Janet allowed him to remove her tie and stethoscope. Reaching up, she pulled the pins from her hair and shook it out.
"No, too convenient." Ferretti pressed his lips to her neck, kissing slowly up her jaw line. "I think we have a security breach. So does the General."
"He didn't really send your team to assist in the infirmary, did he?" Grabbing his head, she forced him down to her breast.
"Oh, he did, but I just thought I would come check up on you personally. Oh yeah!" His hands traced up her thighs, pushing up her skirt.
"You do realize we could lose our commissions if we get caught?" Throwing her head back, she arched over the desk.
"You ask me that every time we do this." He gasped as her leg wrapped around him and slid down his back. "And the answer is always the same. I don't give a fuck!"
General Hammond stood at his window, hands folded behind his back. Staring down at the control room, he tracked the frantic movements of the techs as they sought to get the gate back online. Time was running out for his containment teams and the news from the surface wasn't any better. The President wanted an update on the situation and he couldn't give him one.
Quite frankly put, he had no damned idea what was going on.
Signs pointed to sabotage everywhere he looked. Too many accidents to account for coincidence, yet too many simultaneous accidents to point towards one perpetrator. It was confusing and chaotic and he knew that someone was directly responsible for it all.
With his top two teams out of commission and out on suspicion, there was almost no one he could rely upon at this point in time. That is why he had come to the decision he had and called in the person who was now waiting on his response. It was one hell of a situation and he didn't like it one bit.
"Well, General, I am waiting." Major Harry Maybourne sat waiting patiently, head cocked to the side with a slight smirk.
"I am deciding just what I should tell you, Major. At this point in time I am inclined to trust you, but that doesn't mean I should. The NID has proven itself ruthless in the past and I will not have an inquisition like we did last month."
"I understand completely, General. If there is anything I can do for you, just let me know."
Biting back on his better judgement, Hammond turned around and faced the commander of Area 51. "As of four days ago, we might have had a goa'uld infiltration of our base. Since then there have been several accidents that point to signs of blatant sabotage. We are illequipped to deal with the Nasian situation and keep security on our own personnel who may be the one infected. I require a scanning device to detect Naquadah even in minute amounts and have been made aware your people are working on just such tech."
Leaning forward, Harry grinned. "Really. Your sources are better than I had thought. We are working on one, but it is only in the first stages of testing. Any readings would be almost guaranteed to be inaccurate."
"Don't bullshit me, Major, I know all about the mining mission reports you have proposed to the panel." Sitting at his desk, Hammond leaned forward to match Maybourne's stance. "Thanks to the over zealous actions of the base maintenance personnel, we don't have the energy to power up a light bulb on more than three of the thirty-five levels, let alone run a portable X-ray machine. The infirmary's generators are in full use keeping our guests comfortable while healing. Our own are being deployed to just keep life support and computers active. Now, I know your device has an internal power source and is portable. Get it here, fast."
"You do understand I will have to bring in my people to use it, right?" Gathering up his briefcase and hat, he stood. "Just to be clear, I will be bringing the scientists in charge, three assistants and a contingent of guards to ensure the safety of both the project and the personnel."
"That is something I understood before I even picked up the phone." He sighed with regret and waved the Major away. Picking up the phone, he hit the zero, four, and then one buttons. "Colonel O'Neill please. Tell him that General Hammond requests his presence and that of Dr. Janet Fraiser."
"Yes, sir. Right away."
"I protest, sir, I vehemently protest!" Jack stood up from the table the moment Major Maybourne entered the briefing room. "What the hell is that slug doing here?"
"Nice to meet you again, Colonel." Smiling, Harry took off his hat and gestured for three men to follow him, one in a lab coat and two SFs. "General, this is Dr. Myron Volkiz, he is in charge of the Naquadah device."
"A pleasure, general." His Russian accent made his words clipped and trite.
After nodding to the man, Hammond scanned the four men. "Where is it?"
Myron held up a tiny sphere with four lights on top. "Very crude, but very effective. The scanner will light up in the direction of even the slightest amounts of Naquadah. It senses the radiation given off by the decay of the material. The more refined, the better chances given from a distance. We have already ran a scan on the body of Major Kowalski. The dead symbiot's Naquadah levels were most impressive."
"You animals!" Jack surged to his feet only to be stopped by the SFs' weapons being trained on him. "General, let me kill the bastard!"
"Sit down, colonel!"
"That is an order, Colonel O'Neill!" Sitting up in his chair, Hammond adjusted his uniform. "They had the permission of his family. Now sit down!"
"Yes, sir!" Jack glared at the men, but resumed his seat.
"Now, if you will allow me to demonstrate on the Jaffa." Myron pressed a small button on the bottom of the sphere and aimed it at Jack. However, the light facing away from him activated. Turning the sphere, the corresponding light, all in the same direction, lit up.
In the direction it sensed sat Teal'c. Scowling, he raised an eyebrow at the device. "It appears to have succeeded."
"As if there were any doubt." Myron turned off the device with the same button and put it back in his pocket. "General, I have also taken the liberty of bringing along the wall sensors to be installed at key junctures. When tied into the security system, they will automatically lock down the area for ten corridors in every direction, sealing the goa'uld in."
"Along with anyone else trapped with the damned thing. General, there is no need for this. We can find the little snake all on our own." Jack turned pleading to Hammond.
"I'm sorry, Colonel, but I can't believe that. Not after everything that has been going on." Staring at Teal'c, he took a deep breath. "If most of the people on the base are to retain their freedoms to go about their work without fear of harm, we must allow the censors to be put in place. However, that severely limits your movements."
"I understand, General." Lowering his head in acceptance, Teal'c closed his eyes.
"Not necessarily." Myron pulled out a small device from his other pocket. Holding up the pen shaped device, he smiled. "I have studied the actions of the base persons. You are Jaffa, have Goa'uld in your belly?" Before tossing the pen to Teal'c, he pressed the end and a white light on it activated. "This allows you past censors."
"What if the Goa'uld gets his hands on one, smarty pants?" Jack smirked at the irritated look of the doctor.
Pulling out the sphere again, Myron turned it on and pointed it at Teal'c. All four lights came on and the device chirped. "It is an electronic pass key, all activity is monitored, not overridden. At any moment the key can be locked out and the barer locked down."
"So you make him under house arrest, is that it?" Twirling his chair, Jack played with his shirt. "Big brother wanting to keep an eye on our resident alien?"
"General, all you but have to say is yes and the wall censors are put in place. I have ten people with enough to for all thirty-five levels. We can have them put in and finished by the end of the day. They all have internal batteries and are interconnected to security net. We can monitor them on any computer." Maybourne smiled again. "Your entire base will be covered with just the minimal of fuss."
"Do it. Dismissed."
Janet stood by Jack as they watched the techs from Area 51 tie the censors into the security net. Rubbing at the back of her neck, she felt distinctly uneasy about it. There were too many ways this could be exploited in the favor of those who might not have the same noble intentions as the current command staff.
"Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea?" Jack shook his head while the techs finished the soldering.
"You're not. I also feel this is over kill, but I don't see any other choice. With the quarantine in place and the lack of power to bring in a scanning device, we can't do our jobs. The fear of being attacked has us all on edge and the general is doing his best." Janet put her hair back over her ear. "Still, I don't trust those men."
"Neither do I." Carter let the bathroom door close behind her, wincing as it brushed against her burned shoulder. Easing herself back in the wheel chair, she yelped. "Man I hate that. How much longer until I can safely leave that bed?"
"Not for two more weeks at the least. If it weren't for Daniel, I wouldn't even let you up now." Janet pushed Sam's hair from her eyes with a smile. "Cassandra asked about you last night. Do you think you will be up for a visit soon?"
"Do you think the general will allow her on base despite the quarantine?" Jack pushed Sam's chair the short distance down the hall to the iso-wards.
"I already have his permission once the Maybournettes are through to bring her. They believe that since she might still have residual traces of Naquadah in her system they will have to assign her one of them damned pass pens. Okay, here we are." Janet pulled out her key card from her pocket and swiped it through the lock. "Don't get too excited Sam, he is very ill and quick to psychosis."
"What do you mean?" Sam frowned at Janet as they entered the ward.
Patting her charge on the shoulder, Janet lead the way. "He gets delusional and forgets who he is. Last night I had to sedate him for trying to attack Major Ferretti. He kept shouting something that didn't make any sense."
Jack waited for her to open the door to Daniel's room. He watched her slide the pass key through the lock and the door start to open. "What was the Major doing here during the black out anyways?"
Before Janet could answer Jack's question, the entire ward rang with the shrill cry of the base alarms. Red lights flashed along side the emergency lights.
"What the hell?" Janet started to head to her office to call the general when the security doors slid shut. "Damn those idiots! I knew something like this would happen." She walked back to the iso-ward, teeth grinding. "I can't get to my office, the security doors have us locked in here."
"That's okay, Janet, we'll just wait it out in here with Daniel." Sam smiled happily at the blinking eyes of her best friend. Reaching out a hand, she carefully cupped his face. "Hey there, sleeping beauty."
"Sam," Daniel asked groggily.
"Yeah, it's me. Don't try to move around too much." She traced a finger over his cheek bone, smiling when he did.
"That feels nice." He frowned at his words. "Not that I am flirting with you or anything. Just, nice."
"It's okay, Daniel, I understood what you meant." Her smile slipped as his eyes lost focus on her and he frowned. "Stay with me, Daniel. I haven't gotten much time to be here. Janet is kinda being a pain about it."
Daniel smiled at her in return, but his eyes refused to maintain a lock on her. "You remind me of her."
"Rosha." Wincing, Daniel closed his eyes. His head lulled to the right and his breathing came in gasps.
"Daniel." Sam gently prodded him. "Daniel, look at me. Janet, he isn't responding."
"I told you he might not. His conscious periods are becoming fewer and far between." Taking her friend's hand, Janet eased Daniel back under the covers. "Soon he will just stop waking up all together. Once that happens, he will slip into a final coma and then drift off."
"Isn't there anything you can do?" Sam knew it was futile to ask. If there was, Janet would have already tried it and Sam understood that. Forgetting to wait for a response, she glanced about the tables that lined the bed. "What is all this?" She picked up a binder of paper covered in scrawlings. "I don't recognize any of these symbols."
"I think they are Daniel's code. That is his log book, I have been having him write down everything he experienced, from dreams to symptoms." Janet picked up another binder and began to flip through it. "The nurses must have given him others. He spends most of his waking times writing them and ignoring the rest of us."
"Wait a minute." Sam stopped flipping through the pages. Pointing at a long symbol with others inside it, she glanced up at Janet startled. "This is a Stargate address."
"Look, here it is repeated." Janet held up the page and compared it to Sam's. "They are identical."
"Again." Jack, who had been leafing through the stack beside Daniel, held up a page. He grabbed another and another. "Three so far here. The writing on the pages all looks the same. Do you think it is a symptom?"
"No. Repetitive behavior is, but nothing like this." Janet scanned the page repeatedly, marking the complete set of symbols on each of the copies. "I wonder what it says. Do you recognize the gate address?"
Sam shook her head. "No, but I am pretty sure these are goa'uld hieroglyphics. Have you asked him what it means?"
"Yes, but like I said, he ignores us in favor of writing them down." When the all clear sounded, Janet grabbed the journal and headed for the door. "I am going to take this down to the archeology department. Dr. Beltran will know what it means, Daniel taught him enough. You two say your goodbyes and then back to the burn ward."
"All right." Sam waved at Janet as she walked out of the room. Turning back to Daniel, Sam ran a hand through his hair. She gave him a bitter smile and kissed his brow. "Thank you for my life." Letting him go, she sat back in her chair and nodded to Jack.
Jack patted Daniel on the shoulder. Walking back to Sam's chair, he grabbed the handles and wheeled her out of the iso-ward.
Daniel awoke to the sound of the door closing. Blinking, he stared up at the figure at the end of his bed. "They will stop you. Your acts will not go unnoticed."
"What acts? I haven't done a thing." Smiling, the Ash'rak turned and headed back for the door. "Yet."
Daniel tried to reach for the call button. However, lethargy grew too strong for him to resist and he fell back against the bed. Gasping, the inside of his ear twitched. He could hear a rushing sound then all sound was washed away in a tide of white noise. Light headed and dizzy, he closed his eyes against the world and prayed it would be over soon.
Jack gritted his teeth against the sound of the alarms going off again. The fifth time in twenty minutes. Evidently the new alarm system was not as fool proof as expected. Two of the last four times had been techs moving Naquadah for testing. One time had been a test gotten out of control and the final time had been Teal'c. He was chasing Cassandra, who had taken his pass pen.
Turning to the General, the JCS Liaison Paul Davis, Maybourne, Janet, and the acting heads of the tech and cultural departments, he growled. "Just how much longer are these screw ups going to continue, Maybourne?"
"I expect them to be finished within the hour. However, accidents do happen, Colonel, and they delay our limited resources while we figure out where it went wrong." Harry's no longer amused expression wasn't helped by his throbbing headache. What had been a chance to be on the front lines was now turning into a complete disaster. "I do not understand why this keeps happening. There must be someone interfering with our work."
"No duh, can we say incompetence and possibly, may be, the Ass Crack?" Jack ignored the snickers of the department heads and glared at his rival. "I don't claim that all of the incidents are their fault, but most of the headaches I have been having lately are."
"And bitching at me to get it done won't accomplish these things any faster!" Stunned silence followed Harry's statement. "Sir."
"I appreciate you are under a great deal of strain. Isn't there any way we can turn them off?" Hammond tried the reasonable approach before he considered just blasting them off the walls. He knew he was going to regret it the moment he contact the Major.
Harry sighed and covered his face with his hand. "With all due respect, General, I have tried. There is no way until they are all deployed. Dr. Myron programmed a fail safe to prevent tampering while they are not connected. Once they are all deployed and the net is activated, we could press a few buttons and they could be turned off for maintenance. But until then, once they were turned on, they had to be protected. We had anticipated sabotage, therefore their individual shut down buttons were all removed."
"Then here's a thought," Jack felt smug in his own inventiveness, "why not turn them all on right now, then turn them off?"
"Because," Harry smarmed back at him in a nasal voice, "they aren't remotely linked. They have to be hard wired. It prevents people from just using a remote and turning it off. This is a security system, it is supposed to be hard to kill." Grumbling, he cleared his throat. "I'm sorry, General, but it was necessary. At this point in time, only people with the pass pens can just breeze by through the censors. Anyone else is locked in. If someone had a remote and the Goa'uld got a hold of it, then they could potentially lock us all down and have free run of the base.
"They are linked to prevent tampering of any kind. When they are activated, they will automatically seek out others of their own kind and then work in tandem. It is like cells of a living organism, if they grouped together to form a larger purpose. Damage one, and you alert the rest. They are designed as simple as possible to prevent tampering. There is no possible way to dampen the radiation produced by decaying Naquadah unless you wear six hundred pounds of lead body armor." Shaking his head from delirious laughter, Maybourne sat back and folded his arms. "Now, if you see the tin man from the Wizard of OZ come around the corner, I think a little alarm is going to be the least of your problems."
"Thank you, Major, I am sure we will keep an eye out." Hammond didn't know how he kept a straight face. They were all under stress and it must have finally gotten to him, because he had to get this meeting over before he lost all credibility with his staff. "Now, about this drawing Dr. Jackson did, what can you tell me about it?"
Dr. Beltran stood, his glasses hanging off his droopy features. He lifted a white tufted brow as he scanned his notes and translations. Clearing his throat, he began. "Uh, let me see here. According to this, these were not written by Dr. Jackson at all."
"What do you mean?" Hammond stared wide eyed at the man. "Just who the hell wrote them, Doctor?"
"To be honest, I'm not sure. They didn't sign their name and despite the similarities, this is definitely not Dr. Jackson's hand writing." He looked out over the table meeting the eyes of everyone there. "I asked for Mr. Teal'c assistance, which he gladly provided, on translating this."
"And where is Teal'c shouldn't he be here with you?"
"At this moment, Mr. Teal'c is keeping watch over the room of Dr. Jackson. I believe this will explain why." Clearing his throat again, the old scientist adjusted his glasses. "Fifth day of the twelfth cycle. Interior ruminations have discovered source of all headaches. The being is dying. Dreams correctly interpreted as memories. Same seven dreams continue to flash through my mind. Must send word through the Star Gate, warn others of plot against them."
Beltran lowered the paper and glanced at the General. "Sir, I have omitted a few words because at this time I am not exactly sure, but Mr. Teal'c seems pretty sure he knows them. They is a word I substituted for one he translated as Tok'ra, which means resistance. The seven dreams is also wrong, he claims it means the seven symbols, which would explain the gate address attached. However, it is the third and final word that has me, quite frankly, scared shitless. I didn't want to believe it, but Mr. Teal'c assures me it is so."
They had all grown still with worry, staring at the old man.
However, Hammond didn't wait for him to finish. "Thank you, Dr. Beltran, I am sure you and Teal'c did an exemplary job."
"But, sir, did you not wish to know what I found out?" Dr. Beltran shook the papers at him.
"No, and I would ask that you bring me any and all translations you have on this immediately." Leaning forward, Hammond laid his hands on top of the table. "Sargent Silar, how long until the gate is active again?"
Silar glanced at the General helplessly, afraid to ask what was on everyone's mind. "Uh, I would say no more than an hour, sir. In fact the repair team was almost finished. We are just waiting for restored power before we turn the computers back on, sir."
"Good. We have a generator on the way from Nellis that should be here within the hour." Turning back to Dr. Beltran, Hammond gave him a stern look. "Do you have the warning translated?"
Beltran held his head up in confidence. "Yes, sir. When I figured out it was a message of some kind, I set about it with Mr. Teal'c. If I may, sir, just what is so important about the gate. Surely you do not intend to warn these..."
"As a matter of fact, I do." Hammond knew he couldn't continue without explaining a little better, but he couldn't divulge all his secrets at this point in time. "What I am about to tell you can not go outside this room, is that clear?" He gave them another stern look before continuing. "It has come to my attention that Dr. Jackson does not have long to live. These people are his only means of survival at this point in time and that is all I am going to say. Now you all have your duties, get to it. Dismissed." He stood up and walked out the room.
Janet was the second to follow suit, along with Dr. Beltran and Sargent Silar.
Jack turned to face Major Davis and Major Maybourne. "Well, kids, I am so glad daddy know's best. But I am getting a little tired of this cloak and dagger routine. How about you?"
"I am sure the general has his reasons, Colonel." Major Davis stood from his chair and started for the door.
"You know what it is, don't you?" This time it was Harry who asked.
Davis shook his head. "Gentlemen, this is the Air Force, not the gossip fence."
"Oh don't give me that crap, Davis. Ever since you got this posting last month, you've been squeakier than a chew toy. None of my people can find a thing on you. Nothing so much as a parking violation." Standing, Harry walked over to the straight backed Major. "What is it you are hiding?"
"He's a closet case, Hare. They are so afraid of even the smallest of infractions leading to an inquiry they avoid even the simplest of temptations." Jack, having followed suit, cornered Paul on the other side. "Isn't that right, Major."
"If you are asking what I think you are asking, Colonel, I will report you immediately. I don't like being bothered with trivial matters, but questioning the sexual orientation of an officer is court martialable offense, sir." Pushing past the glaring man, Davis walked out of the briefing room.
"Well that went over well, Colonel. That man's ass is so squeaky his fuck buddy would have a hard time keeping it in. Just too bad we can't use that against him to get the information from him." Sighing, Harry sat back against the briefing room table. "My sources haven't been speaking to me since I got to this god forsaken mountain complex. Whatever your Dr. Jackson has going on has them in the dark. They don't like being left out of the loop and neither do I."
"Do you think you can get one of your people to translate Goa'uld?" Jack asked as he pulled out his wallet.
"Yeah, Dr. Rennoir is our archeologist. She doesn't usually do installations, but I figured it couldn't hurt to have her on the team doing the work on your censors. What have you got?" Harry trotted over to Jack's side to stare at what he was unfolding. "My god, Jack, is this what I think it is?"
"Yeah, I took it from Daniel's bed side. The glyph thingies are slightly different, but they are pretty much the same thing. At least the gate address is still the same." Looking around, Jack folded it back up and stuck it in his shirt pocket. "Get your girl and meet me in the commissary. I am feeling hungry."
"Will do." Harry started for the door then paused. "Oh, and get the roast turkey surprise, I hear they have real turkey today."
"No, I ordered it specially. I know what they usually serve here and I wasn't taking any chances."
Stepping through line, Jack grabbed the bowl of Strawberry Red jello and grimaced. It was not Lime Green, but it would have to do. With a resigned sigh and an eyebrow raise, he looked at his food and went to the cashier. He paid for it, complimented the chef, and walked over to his usual table. It felt empty without the other three.
However, before he could stew in his own memories for long, he was joined by Maybourne two women and four guards. Grinning, he gave them a sardonic look. "What happened to just you and the good doctor, Harry?"
"Well it has to look real, Jack. Plus, the guards go wherever my people go. You know the drill, no one by themselves. This place is a mad house." Picking at his roasted turkey, Harry salted it. "I've briefed Dr. Rennoir on the confidentiality, but she needs the document before she can translate."
"I've photocopied it. I keep the original." He pulled out the copy from his shirt and handed it over to Harry. "The original is in a safe place."
"Good, make sure you keep it just in case." Harry studied it then handed over to the woman on his right.
"Just in case what, Maybourne?" Jack didn't like to think of the Major being involved anymore.
Giving a half smile, Harry looked about. "Just in case certain people have been compromised. Need I remind you of the Hathor incident. Chemical agents used by Earth's enemies have been used in the past to influence your personnel."
Grimacing, Jack wrinkled his nose. "I remember. Almost got myself a snake, as you can recall."
"Yeah, that was a fun report to read." Harry chuckled while he ate some of the turkey. Closing his eyes, he swallowed slowly. "Man that is some good turkey. Good thing I had my people precook it. They probably wouldn't know what to do with real meat around here."
"Hey, watch yourself, they can just as easily spit in the food too." Jack smiled as he waved at the commissary ladies. "I always make it a point to be extra nice to them."
"And you're a suck up."
"Damned straight, especially if it gets me extra portions."
Putting their lunch trays on the cleaning conveyor belt, Jack and Harry looked around casually. Jack approached Harry from the side. "Well?"
"She says it will take at least a day. The symbols are close to the script she was trained with, but there is a slight difference. Something about it being the difference in slang, like English and American. I dunno, anyways, the point is she can't do a hard translation, she needs reference material and time to do it. She brought her computer with her, but it will still take time." Harry wiped his face one last time then threw the napkin on the conveyor belt.
Jack glanced over his shoulder. "So we will meet up here tomorrow for breakfast. Bring whatever you find here. If she finds out what Doc Beltran was twittering about, notify me immediately."
"You're pretty good at this take charge thing," Harry mused.
"Look, I don't like going behind the general's back, but something about this entire situation don't add up." Leaning in close, he lowered his voice even further. "He didn't seem one bit surprised about what the translation said."
"I wonder what exactly he knows." Pausing when two scientists dropped off their trays, Harry waited for them to leave. "Jack, do you think you can get in to ask Daniel himself?"
"I dunno. The last time I talked with him, we weren't exactly on friendly terms. And the last time I saw him, he was drifting in and out of it. Janet says he hasn't got much time." Noting the other's expression, he nodded. "Right, I'll get down there and stop over on my way to meet up with Carter."
"Keep me informed."
"Hey, I thought I was the colonel here."
Walking down the small corridor to the iso-ward, Jack kept an eye out for any unwanted attention. The three pronged brackets of the censors glowed on the walls reminding him of... a very sensitive part of his anatomy. Adjusting himself, he glared at the tiny red eye on the tip of the largest prong. Oh yeah, he was going to have a talk with Doc Myron.
Coming around the corner, he came up short. The entrance to the iso-ward was a flutter of activity. Overseeing the gaggle of nurses and doctors was Fraiser. Beside her was Hammond and Teal'c.
Hammond was looking almost close to breaking and Teal'c wasn't much better.
"Just what the hell is going on?" He hadn't realized he had said it out loud until they turned to look at him. Summoning his courage, he stomped up to them. "General, why are all these people here?"
"Just go back to your duties, Colonel." Hammond tried to put out a hand to guide O'Neill away, but the Colonel backed up. "Jack, please, you don't need to see this."
"Colonel O'Neill, I am in agreement with General Hammond. I do not wish for you to bare witness to these events." Teal'c stood to block Jack's view as several people came out of Daniel's room at once.
"Out of the way, T, I'm not asking." Jack shoved passed Teal'c and in to the hall. He froze in his tracks as they wheeled out their cargo.
Daniel was covered in blood from his nose and ears. With each slow breath, more blood flowed from his body. They dragged him down the hall on the gurney. At the corner a monitor squealed and the voices of the people increased frantically.
The last sight Jack had of his friend was a nurse mopping up the blood with a sheet that was already too stained with it from the floor. Turning around, he blinked at the three people standing there. "What happened?"
"Daniel suffered another seizure. Whether he had it before or after he started bleeding I'm not sure. At this point it doesn't matter which." Janet looked shrunken in on herself as she removed her stethoscope. "That was his brain wave monitor. When I came in, he'd already gone into cardiac arrest. I'm sorry, gentlemen, if you'll excuse me, I've got work I need to do." Placing a hand to her face, she slowly walked off towards the opposite end of the hall to her office.
General Hammond place a heavy hand on Jack's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Colonel, I know how much he meant to you." Letting his hand fall, the General started down the hall.
Jack was left standing their dumb struck staring at Teal'c. "How did this happen?"
"I believe Dr. Fraiser said there was most likely an obstruction in his brain stem." Teal'c tried for peaceful, but the previous events had seriously disturbed him. He had never known someone to die such a violent death from no obvious injuries.
"No," even to Jack, his voice sounded dazed. "I mean what happened here. You were standing watch over him."
"I had only just arrived when he started to seize. The nurses had informed me I was to hold him down and call for help if it happened. I did hold him down, but my strength was no match for his and he threw me across the room. Before I could arise to my feet, his heart had stopped and Dr. Fraiser was rushing in to the room." Teal'c mimicked Hammond's earlier actions by placing a hand on Jack's shoulder. "Truly, there was nothing anyone on this planet could have done to save our Daniel Jackson."
"What about else where?" Jack raised a hand to gesture towards the gate room. "There are sarcophaguses out there. We could go hijack one, may be a dozen."
"No doubt they are heavily fortified, but for Daniel Jackson I would fight the entire System Lord's collective. It would be a most honorable battle." Teal'c seemed to brighten at the thought, a smile coming to his lips.
"And a most stupid death. Don't you be going and getting any idea's, T. Daniel wouldn't want us to... Oh who am I kidding? This is Daniel I am talking about here. He's my son for Christ's sake."
Teal'c raised an eyebrow.
"I sorta adopted him on our first mission. Someone had to stand for him when he married Sha're. How was I to know it meant I was going to be named his 'honored father'..." Suddenly looking down, Jack's hands shook. "They're still out there, you know."
"Who is that, O'Neill?"
"Skarra and Sha're. They are still out there and I made a promise with Daniel to bring them home." Putting his arm around Teal'c shoulder, Jack started towards the burn ward. "Let's go inform Carter. I'm sure she'll wanna hear it from someone who cares."
Jack sat in the almost empty commissary. The silent, solemn air allowed him the time to contemplate his place in the world. Still in the same clothes from the day before, two day's growth on his face, he looked quite the sight, he knew. Night had given way to morning as he sat there thinking.
It pained him to have to let them sedate Carter, but her hysterics had damaged the bandages and threatened to tear her still mending stitches. She had calmly laid in his arms most of the night, just staring at the ceiling, letting the tears run down her face. Not even the sight of Cassandra had awakened her spirits.
He blamed it all on that damned battle. Having thought they lost Daniel on the ship had shaken the team to the core. And finally losing him now, a month later, destroyed what fragile peace they had left. Teal'c had retreated to his quarters to seek peace or some other and left Jack to his own devices. After Carter had passed out, he left her and came here.
Now he was just waiting, for what, he couldn't even remember now. It wasn't until a figure plopped down in the seat in front of him, that Jack realized several hours had passed. He blinked and focused on the man. "Ferretti, what the hell are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing, Jack. You look like hell." Taking a sip of his milk, Louis wrinkled his nose in disgust. "I can't believe you people actually drink this stuff. It tastes horrible."
"It's called two percent. If you want the good stuff anymore, you have to requisition the cow and wait two to six months to be denied." He snorted at his own joke, then shook his head. "I don't know what to do, Lou."
"It seems pretty obvious to me. Move on with your life. What's done is done, you can't bring him back." Taking another sip, Louis dropped the carton and glared at it. "Just disgusting."
"Yeah, I guess you are right, but it is going to take time." Jack took a sip from his own cold coffee and grimaced. "It feels like I just lost Kowalski to that damned snake again."
"Don't blame yourself for that one, Jack. You didn't kill Daniel and you didn't kill Kowalski, that shol'va did." Grabbing the carton, Louis stood up and started to walk away. "Just give it some time, that's all you can do."
"Time." Jack started to take a drink from his coffee again when he paused. Glancing up, he watched as Ferretti tossed his carton in the trash and walked whistling out of the commissary. Narrowing his eyes, he set the cup down. Jack got up and followed his friend. He passed by Harry on his way to the exit.
"Hey, Jack, I got that translation... Where are you going?" Harry stood there a moment watching the colonel before deciding to follow the Colonel. "Jack?"
At the end of the hall where it turned towards the gateroom, both Jack and Ferretti stopped. Ferretti looked at his friend and smiled. "Something you wanted to ask, Jack?"
"Yeah, can I borrow your pen?" Walking up to his friend, Jack ripped open the blue uniform and exposed the inner pocket. Pulling out the pass pen, he clicked it off and the entire corridor exploded in noise and flashing lights.
The doors started to slide shut and Ferretti's expression went from amused to pissed. Eyes glowing, the Goa'uld picked Jack up by his shirt and tossed him aside. Ferretti started running down the hall, slipping between two security doors just before they closed.
Harry rushed to Jack's side, checking him for injuries. "My god, Jack, how the hell did you know?"
"A better question is how did it get a hold of one of these?" Jack held up the pass pen for Harry to see.
"Let me see that." Taking it from him, Harry inspected the pen from top to bottom. "This isn't one of mine. Ours has a red strip just barely visible along the side. This is solid black."
"Then someone on your team is telling secrets to the enemy. Here, help me up." Jack accepted Harry's hand and pulled himself to his feet. No sooner than he was standing then the security door where the Ash'rak had disappeared through rang from a hit. The door rang several more time from the impact of bullets. Smiling, Jack patted Harry on the back. "Looks like your little rat trap actually worked, Maybourne."
"Well, I can't take all the credit... What am I talking about, I've never been one for modesty. Of course I can. It was my idea, my style, my... flare!" Looking dazzled, Harry grinned. "Me, and me alone."
Grimacing, Jack walked over to the call box. Opening it, he pulled out the phone. "Yeah, security to level twenty-three, juncture thirty-four. We got ourselves a little snake problem. No, don't send in the exterminators! We caught ourselves a live Goa'uld. Hear?" He held up the receiver so the security personnel on the other side could hear the Ash'rak banging on the door. "Tell Hammond I am on my way to see him and prepare a live extraction team. I want this thing taken alive and unharmed." He hung up and closed the box.
Harry held up the papers he had all but forgotten about in his hand. "These are the translations she has completed. There is still more, but I figured you'd want to see this before hand."
"Give me that." Jack took the folder and flipped it open. He started to quickly scan it, then stopped completely. Glancing up at Harry, he raised an eyebrow. "Is this for real?"
"Every word of it. I swear on your mother's grave."
"She's not dead."
"She will be if you spill a word about this to her."
General Hammond stared at the monitor in shock as they stood in the control room. Jack and Harry were on one side of him while Teal'c, Janet, and Paul were on the other. The Goa'uld on the monitor continued to bang on the bars of his cell and demand they release him.
Janet deliberately refused to watch the monitor as Ferretti called her name. Adjusting her necklace, she focused on the General. "Sir, about why we are here."
"Yes, I called you all here because Sargent Silar has completed the repairs and rebooted the computer. The new generator is in place and the gate is ready to be dialed." Hammond stared at her blankly when the Ash'rak called her name again.
"Why don't you tell us the real reason you called us here, General?" Jack folded his arms and glared at his senior officer.
"What are you talking about?" Hammond started to turn towards Jack, but found his way blocked by one of Harry's guards. "What is the meaning of this?"
"Someone's been playing with the Goa'ulds, sir." Harry held up a Zat-nic-atel and pointed it at the general. "Don't you think it's about time you let us in on your little secrets?"
"Colonel, you had better explain this before I have you thrown in the brig!" Hammond started again when another gun joined the first.
"We have a part of the translation, sir. Apparently the knock to the head didn't just kill Daniel." Jack pulled out the papers from his uniform pocket and tossed it to the General. "It was killing the parasite inside him and it knew it."
"Colonel, you have it all wrong!" Janet started to move, but found herself the center of attention and four guns. Holding up her hands, she watched them carefully. "I can explain, if you will let me."
"Go ahead, start talking. And while you are at it, you can explain why the goa'uld in that cell had this pass pen." Harry produced the black pen and pressed the button to turn it on. "We recovered it from the Goa'uld. Without it, he was quickly caught in my trap. It was a clever forgery, but not one of mine. I can recognize them all by sight."
"Okay, so I can't explain that one, but I do know what is going on here with us, right now." Janet looked to General Hammond for permission. After he nodded, she took a deep breath. "Daniel Jackson, as we know him, died five days ago. What we've been keeping alive was the memory remnants of him and the symbiot. A Tok'ra by the name of Jolinar of Malksur."
"So we gathered from the translation." Jack sneered at her, rage bubbling up to the surface. "And what, you decided to help this snake get home in return for what, technology?"
"No, it wasn't like that. The snake, was already dying by the time Teal'c brought him through the gate. He sensed something was wrong and immediately told me of his reaction to Daniel. I quarantined Dr. Jackson and discover a faint, yet fading, secondary brain wave that belonged to the symbiot. It died shortly there after." She gestured at the monitor. "There is your murderer. At the time we didn't know the damned thing had snuck in. It wasn't until two days later that Daniel told me of how an Ash'rak had tortured him. With the help of Doctor Beltran, I soon learned what exactly an Ash'rak was and alerted everybody to its presence."
"And told it where it could find its mark, good one, Doc." Jack's fists clenched, ready to take her on.
"I'm sorry, sir, I didn't know. I am kicking myself because Daniel tried warning us after the blackout and I had him sedated thinking that..." she stopped to take another breath. "Thinking that it was just another remnant. He had been having flash backs of the life of the symbiot ever since he was brought in by Teal'c. When I first saw him, his eyes flashed white and he scared me. I wasn't about to touch him until he asked for my help." She pushed past the guns to the colonel. "You have to understand, I did everything I could to save him. I kept hoping that we would get the MRI back online so I could scan his brain in hopes of saving him. But there was no way."
Jack turned away from her, hands still fisted at his sides. "Then what was all the secrecy about?"
"We felt if you knew what the true cause of his dying was, you'd think it wasn't really him. We couldn't do that to you or Captain Carter." She grabbed his hand in her own, holding it to her chest. "There was no way for you to understand that, though the fatal blow had been dealt on another world, your reactions to him would have just as surely killed him in your own minds."
"So it was for our protection, right?"
"And his." Making him look at her, Janet allowed him to see the anger in her eyes. "I don't know what was happening between you two that last time, but I know it hurt him a great deal."
"I was hurting a great deal too. So you'll excuse me if I'm not all rainbows, sunshine, and light." Jack jerked his hand from her and turned away.
"If you two will take a break, we still have a little matter of the goa'uld possessing my tech." Harry held up the zat gun. "Now one of you want to tell me who has been in conference with our resident snake?"
"I honestly have no idea how it got a hold of that pass, but I will damn sure find out." Hammond reached around to grab the phone behind him. Lifting it off the receiver, he dialed a three digit code. "Get me General Strolland."
The lights in the control room flashed and an alarm went off. Sargent Davis twisted from the tablo unfolding behind him to focus on the gate. "Off-world activation. Unauthorized wormhole inbound."
"Close the iris!" The moment the wormhole was established, Jack slammed his hand down on the iris control. The metal, spiral lock slid into place over the gate.
Silar looked up from his controls at O'Neill. "Sir, I am picking up a signal, it's from the Tok'ra."
Jack turned back to Hammond accusingly. "You called them already?"
"Yes. I have the full approval of the president to seek peaceful negotiations with them." Hammond held a hand over the phone. "From the testimony given by Doctor Jackson in his final days, the president has been suitably impressed enough to open political dialogs."
"You are going to trust a snake, sir?" Jack looked at the General in shock.
"Hell no. But we are going to let a delegation from their leaders enter without weapons to retrieve the body of their fallen. Once you have confirmation of the signal, Sargent, open the iris for thirty seconds." The phone clicked and Hammond uncovered the receiver. "House Keeping." With that, he hung up.
They all turned to watch the iris unscroll open. A moment later four shadows appeared against the wormhole then formed into people. The gate shut down after they appeared. Two women and two men in dessert fatigues stood there taking in the sight of the gate room and sixteen men with guns pointed at them.
Hammond walked up to the microphone and pressed the speaker button. "Greetings, my name is General Hammond, and welcome to Earth."
The eldest, a woman with complete silver hair and a pleasant demeanor stepped forward. Slowly, she raised a hand to her chest and lowered head. "My name is Saroush, my symbiot is Selmac. We greet you in the name of the Tok'ra." Gesturing to her companions, she pointed at the woman first. "This is Anise, her host is Freya." To her right, she gestured to one older of the two men. "This is High Councilor Perseus, his host is also Perseus. And this..." Pointing to the last, she held up her hand. When he stepped forward, she chuckled. "This impatient one is Martouf, his symbiot is Lantash."
Lantash's eyes glowed as he stepped forward, ignoring the guns. "Enough of this, where is she? Where is Jolinar?" He tried to fend off Perseus' restraint on his arm, but the elder wouldn't be denied.
"Be silent, Martouf!" The elder's eyes glowed as his voice took on a base tone. When his companion nodded, Perseus turned to the window. "You must forgive him, he is merely concerned with the well being of his mate."
Jack glanced at Hammond as the older man faced him. Shrugging, he gestured up to the briefing room.
Hammond nodded. "If you will follow the guards, they will escort you to the briefing room. I am afraid the situation is not as you were lead to believe."
"Very well." Perseus' tone said he was less than pleased with this news, but he was willing to play along for now. Walking down the ramp, he walked at Saroush's side. "What have you gotten us into now, my friend?"
"It was necessary. I could not stand to see Martouf continue wasting away for his lost one. That brooding nature of his most certainly does not befit one of Lantash's exuberance." Smiling good naturedly, Saroush placed her hand around Perseus' arm and allowed him to lead her aged frame. "It is but a small service that we finally meet these Tau'ri in the same process."
"And of your other needs," he inquired in a whisper.
"We will deal with them when the time comes." At his glance, she patted his shoulder. "The time has not yet come."
"Do not wait too long, my friend." Soon they were coming down a corridor to a large, glass wall with a door that lead into the briefing room. Already inside were the five people they had seen standing behind the glass wall of the gate room. Perseus stopped short when he saw Teal'c. "The shol'va?"
Teal'c chest swelled as he smiled and growled at the Tok'ra leader. "I am."
"Most impressive." He stalked over to Hammond and held up his hand. "I am High Councilor Perseus of the Tok'ra."
Taking the hand, Hammond shook it much to the bemusement of the Tok'ra. "I am General Hammond of the SGC. Welcome to Earth." Gesturing at the people along his side of the table, Hammond pointed to each in turn. "This is our chief medical officer, Major Janet Fraiser. My second in command, Colonel O'Neill. His team member whom you know of, Teal'c. Next to him is the final member of our staff, a visiting member who helped us capture the Ash'rak, Major Harry Maybourne."
Perseus bristled at the mention of the assassin, as did the others of his party. "You did not mention this in your message. You did not mention many things in your message. Before we continue, I must insist that you produce Jolinar."
Hammond visibly paled. "You might want to take a seat for this. I don't know exactly how to put it."
"Oh cut the crap, General. Your little snakey friend is dead. In my opinion, good riddance!" Jack didn't get chance to finish before he found himself slammed against the wall by the one Tok'ra he hadn't been watching.
"You lie!" Martouf held the colonel up by his lapels, using his own shirt to choke him. Tears formed at the edge of his eyes as he snarled at the human. "Don't lie to me! Where is she?"
"He's dead!" Jack kicked out at the Tok'ra, gasping when he was released. "That damned snake took my buddy host and then died a moment later!" Shoving Martouf away, he punched the Tok'ra in the face. "He lingered in agony for four days before suffering a major seizure and finally dying last night! And it's all your god damned snake's fault!"
"That's not true!" Martouf wiped his mouth and glared from his position on the floor. "She would never take an unwilling host! We don't do that!"
"Here's a news flash, bucko, you're Goa'ulds, and Goa'ulds do do that!" Rubbing his own sore neck, Jack turned to the general. "Permission to be excused, sir?"
"Granted! Go get cleaned up!" Hammond motioned for the door.
Jack saluted, turned on his heel, then stormed out of the room.
Saroush folded her hands behind her back. Facing the SG personnel, she cleared her throat. "It appears we have both been operating under mistaken information. The matter now remains, what are your intentions towards us are at this point?"
Staring down at the grief stricken Martouf, Hammond blinked. Returning his attention to Saroush, he took a breath to clear his mind. "I have no idea."
THE END..................For Now.