4

Chapter 9-Conclusion

Sam was sitting up in bed in the infirmary with her team—all except Daniel, who had been called back to the planet. According to Teal'c he had refused to leave until he knew she was out of danger. Probably just as well he isn't here at the moment, Sam thought, eyeing the giant bouquet of flowers from Vala and Cam that sat at her bedside. That would be sure to set off his allergies- antihistamines or no antihistamines. Red, blue and yellow yo-yos sat next to the flowers-a get-well gift from General O'Neill—undoubtedly designed to coax a smile out of her, which they did.

But the first face she had seen was Cassie's.

Sam came to with pain in her back and leg and- something up her nose? As she went to swat at it, she realized it was an oxygen cannula. She opened her eyes to see Cassandra Fraiser looking intently at her from the visitor chair.

"Hey Sam," she said, and reached over to take Sam's hand.

"Hey," Sam answered, squeezing her hand in response. She tried to shift and groaned a bit in pain.

"Don't try to move," Cassie ordered gently. "They've got a chest tube in right now. You're going to be ok." She smiled at Sam then glanced away.

"Of course, I don't know if I will. I suppose it's too much to ask for you to stop scaring me like this."

Before Sam could answer she added, "I know, I know—it's what you do. Don't mind me.

Sam looked around for her team.

"Dr. Lam kicked the team out to shower and rest, but they're fine," Cassie assured her.

Ok, if I hang out here with you for a while?"

Sam smiled wanly at her. "That would be nice."

"Ok, get some rest." Cassie kissed her forehead like Sam did to her when she was a little girl and Sam felt herself dozing off.

"Those Mantises really surprised me in the end," Monty was saying. "And boy could they move."

"I can't believe our people got the hovercraft working again so fast," Sam said.

"Apparently the Mantises hadn't damaged it as badly as it looked," said Monty. He was sitting astride a desk chair leaning his arms on the chair back.

"It's not like we had time to really check it out before they grabbed us, anyway," added Julia from the other chair.

"I am sorry I failed to realize repairs were possible. We could have rescued you much sooner," said Teal'c, standing at the foot of the bed.

"It all worked out ok in the end. Don't beat yourself up," said Sam.

"You're looking better," came a voice from the doorway.

"Daniel, you're back," said Sam. "How'd it go?"

"I think we've got a better picture of what was going on. Among other things, why that one Mantis had it in for you," he said.

Sam raised her eyebrows questioningly.

"Remember that Mantis you killed at the Gate on the Gamma site planet?" Daniel asked.

"Yeah, the one about to kill Feretti," Sam said, remembering the sickening splatter when she shot it.

"Well, it turns out that it was what he called his "nest mate"—a brother as far as I could determine. It recognized you. "

"But how?" Sam asked.

"There were other Mantises we didn't see," speculated Monty.

"Apparently it was heading toward the Gate with some others and managed to see you shoot him," said Daniel.

"So they knew who we were the whole time?" asked Julia.

"Apparently they were observing the Delta team and planning an attack. But we messed up their plans."

"We breached their perimeter in the hovercraft and they were forced to act prematurely," Teal'c surmised.

"But how did we miss it in the original surveys?" asked Julia.

"I bet they had shielding to mask energy signatures," Monty put in. "Then they activated some sort of jamming signal once they attacked us."

"I didn't get into the technical details, but that sounds right," said Daniel. Van ee toh-the one who attacked you—was a member of a team that came to warn the others and protect them from a new threat when they came out of cryo-sleep."

"A new threat—us," Sam said grimly.

"The good news is that their leadership now seems to recognize that we aren't crazed killers and they are open to discussions. And amazingly the Pentagon also has decided the same regarding them," Daniel finished.

Carolyn Lam walked over from the other end of the infirmary, clipboard in hand.

"Ok everyone- end of visiting hours. The colonel needs her rest."

"Get well, Sam," said Julia.

"Rest up, Colonel," said Monty.

"See you tomorrow, Sam," said Daniel and squeezed her hand.

Teal'c merely inclined his head at her, but she could read his intense look of caring.

They turned to go.

"Hey," Sam said.

They turned back to her.

"Good work, everyone. Thanks."

And they knew she was thanking them for a lot more than a successful mission.

As they left, Sam leaned back in bed and closed her eyes. Yeah, Cassie, she thought, it is what I do. And how lucky am I to do it with such a great team.

End