Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate or any of the characters you recognize. I'm just borrowing them for entertainment. There is no monetary gain and no copyright infringement intended. The lines of dialog you recognize are from the show, the rest you don't recognize are from me. Thank you Gategirl7 for being such an amazing Beta and helping me figure out the direction to finish out the story in. You Rock!
Thank you everyone that is still reading. I have a good direction on this now so I hope to keep updating a couple of times a month until we're finished!
Chapter 28 Strange Bedfellows
Jack woke with a start. Sam's weight was warm on his side, her head on his chest. The fur blanket had fallen down around his waist. None of those things had startled him. What had brought him so abruptly back to alertness was the feeling of eyes on him. Years of black ops training kept him from moving or giving indication that he was awake as he carefully slit his eyes to see who had come into the room.
"O'Neill" Thor's voice connected with his ears about the time his eyes found the little alien. Sam tensed and came instantly awake. She didn't move right away. He was impressed with her and how much her instincts had honed. She'd come awake only a moment after he did. However, he was not impressed with the naked alien staring down at his naked girlfriend. Jack quickly pulled the covers over them and kept an arm pressing Sam against him.
"Look, Carter," Jack said, keeping his voice light. "We have company."
"Thor," Carter greeted. Her voice was laced with more amusement than he'd have thought.
"The council will be ready for you in 30 of your minutes. I will transport you all to the Hall when it is time." With that their little visitor was gone. Jack felt shaking at his side. He turned his head to find that Sam was laughing against his side, her face turned up to his in expectation.
"I guess I'm a little more used to Thor not observing our social conventions," she pointed out when he only raised an eyebrow at her. It was sort of funny if a bit awkward Jack had to admit. He let a smile lighten his features.
"You get used to that, do you?" he questioned wryly.
"I'm not sure 'used to' is the term I'd use, but you get desensitized to it," Sam explained, leaning up on her elbows to give him a quick kiss.
"You seem awful chipper this morning, Samantha," Jack pointed out. He wasn't sure what to make of her lighter mood but he hoped that their activities from last night and again this morning had something to do with it.
"All the revelations are out of the way and now we do something about the replicators," she informed him, rolling away to reach for her clothes. He admired the way her muscles played under her skin. She was probably the most beautiful woman he could imagine. For him she was the perfect combination of beauty and skill.
"Let's have breakfast first," Jack suggested, climbing out of bed as well so they could collect the rest of the team and get started kicking Replicator butt. He was amused when he glanced over and noticed Sam watching him dress. She caught his eyes. Her guilty flush made him smirk. He couldn't help the swell of pride that went through him at the thought of such a young beautiful woman finding him hard to look away from. As a matter of fact, it sort of made his day
Jack was still feeling up from his morning with Sam as the team finished breakfast and Thor appeared. Sam and the little alien had started rambling science almost right away. Jack followed along. He understood more than he was willing to admit, but the more they talked, the more they went over his head with the technical science of their plan.
Jack had been relieved when Thor had finally stated that they had all the information they needed and were done using the brain scanner thing on Sam. He was ready to get moving forward. All the emotion and past events weighed on everyone. SG1 excelled at being in the field, right in the thick of action and that is where they needed to be.
As they hashed out the plan to take down the Replicators Jack paused. "Would you mind repeating that?" Jack asked as Sam laid out what they needed him to do. He was having trouble processing. Now he knew why she didn't look that relieved when they'd taken the wires off of her and she'd turned to him telling him that they had a plan.
"Sir, we need you to look into a device very much like this one," Sam told him, pointing at the almost solid 3D projection of what looked to Jack like a supped up, stone aged version of a View-Master.
"And that thing will suck my brains out?" He knew he was being difficult, but putting his head into the thing did not seem like a sound plan to him.
"No, Colonel," Sam had her patient voice on. She'd never learned that no matter how slow she talked, he was still going to be difficult. Well at least there were some things that didn't change no matter how far in the future she was actually from. "It will deposit the repository of ancient knowledge into your mind. That knowledge will spiral out and you will be able to tell the Asgard how to build a weapon to use against the replicators. Then they will build a big one and we'll use the gates to kill all of the replicators at the same time."
He didn't like it. When he heard a throat clear behind him Jack didn't hesitate or even turn around. "No, Daniel, we've had this discussion and we are not having it again," Jack snapped. He didn't feel like listening for the 5th time to Sam explaining to the young man why he couldn't be the one in the head sucker.
All the reasons didn't really matter, Jack wasn't about to let such a brilliant young mind be subject to being rewritten. He wasn't very happy about rewriting his own, but he trusted Sam and he was beginning to trust Thor and they needed him to do this and they said they could fix it as soon as he gave them the intel everyone needed.
"Ok," he finally said. "Let's get this show on the road. Next stop: brain sucking alien View-Master." The familiar flash of white light was already taking him and the rest of the team before anyone had a chance to say anything else. As the beam released them, Jack looked around the bridge of Thor's ship.
"We will arrive at the planet in 45 of your minutes, O'Neill," Thor informed them.
"Are you alright, Jack," Daniel asked. Jack glanced at the rest of the team. They were all watching him closely. "According to the Carter Network, I've done this before and it turned out OK." He thought back to the memory of him meeting the Asgard and getting his brain fixed the first time around. The time he didn't remember because it hadn't happened to this him yet. Jack resisted the urge to shake his head at the confusing time travel thing.
"Carter Network?" Teal'c inquired, an eyebrow already starting its climb.
"Better than Dish network, but less channels," Jack explained. "I guess you don't get sports, Carter. We could do some inside betting when we get home and a hockey game about now wouldn't hurt anything."
"No, Sir. I think the network is shut down from now on."
Jack smiled. That was a good thing. He never wanted to see her go under that machine again. The memories took a lot out of her. They seemed to tear her apart in some cases. He was ready to start moving forward instead of forcing her to look back. "We better get our gear and get ready," Jack pointed out. "No telling if the little guy will give us any warning before he zaps us planet side."
Jack smiled ruefully as he finished snapping his survival knife into his vest. It was about that time that Thor announced they had arrived and they should signal him when they were ready to come back aboard. That was all the warning they had before they were planet side.
"Indeed," Teal'c commented as he watched Jack roll his eyes and start to look around. That was the only sign the big guy gave of not being totally comfortable with the lack of warning they received before they ended up someplace else.
"The structure housing the repository of the ancients is this way, sir," Sam was saying. They all turned to follow her. Jack took up a position on her six with Daniel behind him and Teal'c guarding their rear.
Jack watched Sam move easily through the field. She obviously knew where she was going. He was happy that when they got back to Earth she'd be under the little guy's protection and not have to worry about the NID or Maybourne. Their entire world was about to change. The Asgard teachers would make sure that they were not attacked by the snakeheads. It was all going to be great, but Jack was going to miss her being in missions with them. It wouldn't be long until they didn't do this anymore.
"This is it." Sam had come to a stop in front of a small monument type wall. She and Daniel started looking around. Jack figured out that the thing that looked like it had hands cupping a nonexistent head was probably what he was supposed to stick his head into. Why again did you agree to this O'Neill, he asked himself.
"So this is the thing that's gonna suck my brain and make me start spouting Ancient," Jack pointed.
"Yes, Sir," Sam's face was full of emotion. "Are you sure about this?"
"Do I have another choice?" he wasn't ready and he let an edge come into his voice. Stupid question aside, he knew she was only concerned, but he wasn't in the mood right now for anyone's concern. He wanted this over with.
No one said anything for a few moments. It was like they were all trying to find another answer, but there really wasn't one and he knew it. "So what do I do, Carter?" he asked. "This is my first brain sucker machine."
"Yes, sir" she snapped her eyes back to him when he'd spoken.
"When you're ready, just put your head here," she said stepping up to the machine. Jack reached for her and yanked her back a few inches.
"Don't go getting near that thing, Carter. You are almost a national treasure. We can't have you getting your brain rewritten." His eyes met hers and he tried to say everything he couldn't right then. If this went sideways he wanted her to know it was his choice. He wasn't going to blame her.
"Yes, sir," she answered, her face quiet and serious. She'd understood his unspoken words.
Stepping up to the ancient device, Jack leaned forward, prepared to look into the holes in the wall. He couldn't' help his startled attempt to jump backwards when the 'hands' of the thing jumped out and grabbed the back of his head to pull him in. Adrenaline surged through his body. It took everything in him to ignore his instincts and not fight the machine. Lights swirled and bounced around his eyes even though he had them squeezed tight. It seemed like forever before he was let go and stumbling back into Teal'c's waiting arms.
Jack was glad of the support. His legs felt like rubber and his body felt weak. He wasn't so sure he could stand on his own. Sam and Daniel were there beside him. Sam handed him a water bottle. He gladly took it, spilling some in his mouth and some across his face to try to pull himself back to reality.
"You OK?" Daniel asked.
"I'm OK." He tried to make his voice stronger but it still sounded weak to his own ears. He glanced over to see Sam speaking into a glowing egg shaped rock. The next thing he knew they were on Thor's ship and fighting not to lose the breakfast they'd eaten. Sam hadn't prepared him for just how bad getting his head sucked by the ancient machine was going to feel. His head was already starting to pound.
"Sir," Carter was saying. He wasn't sure if she'd been trying to get his attention before. He'd spaced out a bit. She was reaching out to steady him from one side and Teal'c took the other. "Maybe you should sit down for a few minutes?" It was phrased as a question, but neither team member waited to hear his answer and they maneuvered him over to a bench set into the wall.
"How long's this going to take before I start drawing plans for the big honking bug zapper?" he asked, hoping that it would happen quickly. He wanted whatever was going on inside his head out. It was barely there at the moment, but he could feel it. It was an itch he couldn't scratch. His mind was the one thing in his world he always depended on. His instincts had saved him, his team, hell the whole damn planet for that matter. Suddenly having something taking over his thoughts was his idea of a living hell.
"We will attempt to accelerate the process, O'Neill," Thor spoke up as he climbed down from his command chair and made his way to them. "Limiting the time that you carry the knowledge of the Ancients is best to protect your mind from damage." Yeah, he didn't like the sound of that but getting it over with quickly sounded good.
"Can you do that," Sam was asking. "I didn't know that you could manipulate the outcome."
"We cannot change the process significantly, but we can speed it up and monitor brain function."
"Where do I sign up?" Jack jumped in to interrupt. He wasn't up for being a science lesson between Sam and Thor at the moment. Thor blinked at him then reached for the console next to him. Jack went from standing to sitting in what Sam had pointed out earlier was a medical pod. Thor had transported it to the bridge of the ship. He pushed himself up to a more comfortable position as the pod lit up. The tingling he felt course though his body didn't hurt, but it did leave his nerves tingling unpleasantly.
"It is done," Thor told him, coming to stand near him with the rest of his team.
"What's done?" Daniel asked. "He's got the knowledge of the Ancients in there now." Daniel pointed to Jack's head.
"No, Doctor Jackson," Thor's face was way more expressive than Jack had originally thought. It was very subtle, but he could swear the little guy had grimaced. Jack could feel his pain. When Daniel latched onto something it was never a short conversation and Daniel had that 'this is fascinating' feel to his words.
"I have configured the acceleration of the ancients' knowledge in O'Neil's brain as well as the monitoring of the process and results." Thor let them know. "You may exit the pod now. " With that he turned around and headed for the center of the bridge where his chair was.
Daniel looked like he was about to ask more questions. This time Jack was all for it. The little guy hadn't answered everything.
"Before you ask, Daniel, the last time Colonel O'Neill did this was much faster than the first time. Thor told me, when I questioned him later, that each time is different and there is no way to predict how long it will be before you start to have access to the knowledge." Sam jumped in. He could see the worry on her face, but she was trying not to show it. Teal'c looked the same way if you knew how to interpret looks.
"Anybody have a deck of cards?" Jack tossed out, wishing for something to occupy their time. He didn't really think the answer would be yes until Daniel jumped up and held a finger at them in a universal gesture of 'hang on a second."
He ran to where they'd dropped their packs after the mission. Rummaging through, Daniel wooped with joy and was back standing in front of them in a few seconds. "I threw this in my bag last week when we were supposed to go help with the evacuations of the children from PX3-091 but then we didn't go, SG2 did…" he trailed off.
"What do you have, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked curiously. They couldn't get a good look at what was in his hand with the way he was moving around and holding it close to him.
"Uno," Daniel exclaimed, holding up two decks and showing them. Jack couldn't help the snort of laughter that came out. Leave it to Daniel.
"Well deal them out," Jack instructed. "Come on, Teal'c. This is a warrior's blood thirsty game, we will teach you." Sam raised an eyebrow at them, but didn't say a word and they all found places on the bench and Daniel began placing the cards in front of them. Well there were worse ways to wait, Jack decided as he began giving Teal'c the run down on the 'rules'. He had no idea what the box said, but it was his brain being fried, so they were going to play the way Jack had grown up playing. That included stacking draw 2's and 4's and drawing until you got the card you needed. When Sam began to protest the additions to the standard rulebook, Jack shushed her. "My head may potentially explode, Carter. We're playing with my family's rules."
She looked amused with him and didn't argue, Jack counted that as a win. He looked down at his cards and sighed. Maybe this was a competition he could beat Teal'c at!