Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 is not mine. It belongs to all respective owners, and no copyright infringement intended.
Rating: Teen. Rated Teen for graphic images, sci-fi adventure, and mild language.
Timeframe: Mid-season 6. After Abyss but before The Changeling.
Summary: As the lone survivor of a brutal plane wreck, Sam must battle the elements and her own body to survive. Will they be able to find her before she succumbs to the darkness? Or will it take a miracle to save her?
A/N: This started out as a mini idea that would help me with my anger toward Daniel for how he treated Sam when they met during Full Circle. However, I suddenly discovered, upon completion, that this was suddenly much bigger and infinitely more complicated than I had expected, full of conspiracies and secrets. It is quite likely that, at a later date, this will become an installment in a short series.
Secondly, I would like to take the opportunity to tell you all that this is NOT a Daniel/Sam ship. In fact, it's way more on the other side in regards to romance. In my opinion, Daniel is much like a brother to Sam, and he shows this brotherly love in this fic.
Anyway, hope you enjoy :)
A Friend in Need
"Sam? Sam, you have to wake up."
The voice pierced the blackness surrounding her, driving away the cloak of shackling darkness.
"Sam, please. Get up."
Sam's eyelids flickered open, wincing as the light struck her eyes, tears forming in the corners as her head suddenly sent a bolt of pain through her skull. She tentatively looked around, trying to find the source of the voice; no one was there.
Sam looked up from her position on the floor, her numb mind barely registering what she was seeing.
She was lying in the middle of the aisle of an airplane, the metal ceiling dented and crushed, jagged holes torn open, shrapnel continuing to peel off and fall to the floor with a sickening screech and clang. The seats were smashed and torn, anything, or anyone, that had been in them receiving the same treatment. Branches had forced their way through the walls and windows, skewering anything in their way. Glass littered the floor and seats, the razor sharp edges slicing whatever they had come into contact with.
Sam sat up slowly, fighting down nausea as the world spun around her, her equilibrium completely nonexistent. She propped herself against the twisted remains of a seat, breathing heavily and closing her eyes.
Something wet dripped onto her cheek, sliding down with a sickening stickiness. Sam opened her eyes, the world a little steadier, and looked over her shoulder. A girl of no more than eighteen was hanging over the side of her seat, her eyes blank and gazing eternally into death, glass shards filling her eyes, nose, and mouth with lethal shards. Her hand was hanging down, blood slowly dripping off of the fingertips. It was this that had hit Sam's head.
Sam's nausea returned and she fought it down with a cruel determination. Another sharp stab of pain flashed through her skull, and Sam hesitantly raised a hand to her temple. The second her fingertips brushed the skin, it felt as if her entire skull was on fire and she felt blood slick against her fingers.
Okay Carter, Sam thought, lowering her hand and rubbing her fingers against the floor. Inventory. What else is wrong? Feet: hurting, but nothing serious. Knees: her left knee…what was wrong with her left knee? She looked down and immediately wished she hadn't; a large piece of shattered glass had forced its way through the skin, muscle, and ligament in the back of her knee, the hard edges grinding with the bone every time she moved. Sam quickly averted her gaze, forcing herself to complete her mental checklist.
Multiple lacerations on stomach, back, arms, legs, neck, and face. Chest hurts, but nothing feels broken. Wrist probably sprained, although possibly broken.
Her mind walled itself off from her body, forming an invisible barrier between her and the pain. She wished she could just drop back into the welcoming darkness, let the warmth take her into its embrace yet again. The world around her faded, her mind going to some place less traumatic than the one she was physically in.
The smell of something burning brought her crashing back to reality, and she suddenly realized the danger that she was in. If a fire reached the gas tanks, the entire plane would explode, killing her instantaneously. And she wasn't quite ready to die yet, not matter how much she hurt.
Carter reached up with her good hand, pulling herself to her feet. She almost crumpled back to the ground when her left knee took some of her weight, but she managed to catch herself from falling all the way to the floor again.
Slowly raising her eyes, Sam searched for the emergency exit she knew had to be fairly close by. As her gaze traveled around the compartment, a chill ran up and down her spine as she finally saw and comprehended the full horror of the scene around her.
Much of the floor and the walls were splattered with blood, the mangled corpses of the passengers still partially in their seats, their seatbelts holding them in place. Most of their eyes were still open, their faces frozen into eternal expressions of horror and fear.
Gulping slightly, Sam continued her search for the exit. Finally, she found it, the door halfway ripped off of its hinges, the edges jagged and sharp where the metal had been sheared off. She glanced down, looking to make sure she didn't step in any puddles of blood or mine fields of glass.
A young boy, looking only to be about seven or eight, lay on the floor only a few feet from where Sam had been laying when she had awoken. Both his neck and back were clearly broken, his body looking like a rag doll that had been thrown carelessly aside.
A sudden rush of sadness welled up inside of Sam, and she wondered just who the boy was. She cast her mind back, trying to remember what had happened. The last few hours were a complete blank, all she could remember was blackness, adrenaline, and fear. Hell, come to think of it, she couldn't even remember why she was on the plane. And where was the rest of SG-1? Were they here with her?
A sudden rush of heat pushed her forward a step, and Carter realized her time was up. The fire had grown, and would likely be finding the fuel at any moment. She had to get through the door before that happened, or she would have absolutely no chance of survival.
She staggered forward, limping heavily to keep her weight off of her injured left leg. Her head throbbed and pounded, feeling as if it was splitting open with every movement. Involuntarily, Sam cried out as she stumbled along, grasping at the walls or at seats – anything that could keep her upright.
Suddenly, she was falling to her knees, choking off a scream as her left knee slammed into the ground. For a moment, she thought she was going to pass out, but the feeling passed, and she was once again left with only the pain searing through her whole body.
Behind her, the fire increased in intensity and heat, burning higher and hotter with every second.
I can't do this Sam thought, sinking down to lean against the wall. I can't go any farther.
"Sam, you can't stop. You're almost there, almost out. You can't stop now." Sam's eyes flickered as she looked up, once again hearing the voice.
"And who are you to tell me what to do," she mumbled, even such a simple thing like speaking causing her head to sear more painfully, if that was even possible.
"Me," the voice said quietly, and suddenly Daniel was kneeling in front of her, stretching out a hand. "Come on, please Sam," he begged, stretching out a hand for her.
She reached up and grasped his fingers, allowing him to help her to her feet. Then he turned, and began to lead her toward the emergency exit. It felt like an eternity, the slow, painful walk to the mangled door. Finally, however, Daniel stepped through the opening and beckoned.
When she finally slipped through the hole in the side of the plane, she looked around, expecting to see Daniel close by. There was no sign of him.
"Daniel?" Sam whimpered, and staggered forward. There was no answer; she was alone.
She looked around herself, taking in her surroundings with an experienced eye.
She was on a pine tree covered slope, small patches of snow lingering around the trunks of the trees. The ground was covered with pine needles, the undergrowth growing in haphazard patterns.
She was twenty feet away from the crashed airplane when the fire found the gasoline. The plane exploded into a monstrous fireball, throwing Sam to her knees where she allowed her momentum to carry her onto her stomach. She merely lay there, not caring if the fire spread and devoured her, not caring if she died where she was laying.
If only Daniel hadn't been a hallucination, was the last thing she thought before she finally slipped down into merciful unconsciousness.
Rain began to fall, hissing and spitting as it fell on the flickering flames, quelling the fire before it got out of control. Slowly, as the sun set, the temperature began to drop, the rain turning into sleet and freezing in a layer on the ground. As the clouds moved off, taking the storm with it, the temperature continued to free fall, plunging into the negatives.
And yet, still Sam lay there, unconscious, her lips beginning to turn blue and ice particles forming in her hair and on her clothes. Her breathing began to become shallower, the cold leeching what little will to live she had still possessed.
She was teetering on the brink of life and death, the candle flickering and guttering wildly, when a form appeared through the trees. The shadowy creature knelt by her side, touching her cheek. Then, he lay down beside her, gathering her in his arms, pressing her frigid body to his own warm one.
"Sleep now Sam, they're coming."
"Sir, remind me again why Carter had to go to Vancouver tonight of all nights?" Colonel O'Neill asked, his tone and tense body making it abundantly obvious that he disapproved greatly.
General Hammond shook his head, placing his right hand on top of a stack of papers littering his desktop.
"As I've told you, Colonel, I have no idea. Senator Kinsey merely requested that she fly to Canada for the weekend. The way he worded it, he made it clear that it would not be a good idea for me to go digging, hinting that it had to do something with a classified project."
"Yes, but…doing something for Kinsey? And a classified project for the United States based in Canada?" O'Neill objected. "And correct me if I'm wrong but, don't we all have the highest level of security clearance on the face of the planet?"
"Colonel, I know, and I completely agree with you," Hammond said, cutting off the irate colonel's tirade. "We are merely going to have to sit back and wait and see what happens."
O'Neill took his cue and left the General's office, still fuming. She wasn't going to be back until Thursday, which meant that all of their missions had been temporarily put on hold. It just wasn't fair.
Most of the people that were wandering the hallways carefully avoided the angry colonel, the majority of them recognizing the pissed look on his face. Jonas, however, who had not been around the infamous Colonel Jack O'Neill as much as most personnel on the base, didn't know to avoid the man when he was in one of his 'moods'.
"Colonel!" Jonas called out down the hallway. Teal'c, who was standing beside him, attempted to dissuade the younger man, but the other alien merely darted past the Jaffa, touching O'Neill on the elbow to get his attention. "Teal'c and I are headed to the Commissary, wanna join us?"
"No," O'Neill replied curtly.
"Uh, okay," Jonas said, slightly taken aback. "Is everything alright?"
"Oh yes Jonas, everything is just dandy," Jack replied. "It's just that we got our mission scrubbed because Carter decided to go gallivanting off for some stupid reason just because Senator Kinsey asked a favor of her." O'Neill said this all very fast and in one breath and, when at the end of his rant, he stopped to catch his breath.
"Oh," was all Jonas said.
"Colonel O'Neill, I believe that it is most unnecessary for you to become so worked up about this small thing," Teal'c replied. "Major Carter will have returned in four days, at which time we will complete our mission to P3X-406. I believe you are merely angry about this because she is doing something Senator Kinsey asked of her."
O'Neill stood there, gaping at his stoic and straight-faced friend, looking very much like a fish out of water.
"No, that is NOT the reason!" Jack exclaimed, crossing his arms. "Why would you think such a thing?"
Teal'c merely raised an eyebrow, and O'Neill glowered at him.
"I'm going home to bed," Jack grouched. "I'll see you two in the morning."
"Good night!" Jonas called out at O'Neill's retreating back. He looked quizzically at Teal'c, who merely gave him the Jaffa version of an eye roll.
Jack slammed his front door shut, turning it and locking it behind him before kicking off his shoes. He plopped down in front of his TV, flicking on the power. The news channel came on, and he stood up, moving into this kitchen to find himself something to eat.
As he was waiting for his dinner to finish warming up in the microwave, Jack turned, his gaze falling on the TV screen again. The woman reporter was talking about an attempted armed robbery at a gas station. Jack was just about to turn away, when something she said caught his attention.
"On a slightly different note, we would like to bring you an update on the crashed airplane that had left Colorado Springs at one o'clock this afternoon, headed for Vancouver."
Jack froze, the glass he was holding suspended in the air not moving even an inch, his eyes glued to the TV screen.
"Due to an unexpected storm and an apparent explosion, rescue workers have not managed to locate the exact position, or reach the fallen airplane as of yet, but authorities are warning the public that the conditions do not look good.
According to the last radio transmission sent by the crew before the crash, an engine malfunction caused overheating, which in turn somehow started a fire on the left wing. The wing fell apart, forcing the plane to enter into a spiraled nosedive before they managed to land.
A few locals who have cabins up in the Wyoming Rocky Mountains outside of Casper have phoned in, claiming to have seen and heard an explosion earlier this evening. Rescue workers are hoping to begin a sweep of the last known location of the airplane soon, but negative temperatures and freezing rain have forced them to wait until the morning.
Officials have begun investigating the data that they received from the plane prior to its crash, and John Lowden claims that he believes that the engine was sabotaged, causing the crash.
We'll have more information on this story as the situation develops."
The glass shattered as it fell to the ground. O'Neill ignored it as he picked up his phone and dialed the SGC.
"Get me General Hammond," he said curtly, barely keeping a rein on his emotions, both fear and worry battling deep inside of him. The line went dead for a moment, then he heard General Hammond's voice on the other side.
"General, the airplane Carter was on crashed," Jack said with no preamble and without even waiting for Hammond to announce himself.
"Slow down son, what?" General Hammond asked, disbelief in his voice.
"Sir, the plane that Carter was on crashed earlier this afternoon," O'Neill repeated, although this time slower and much clearer. "I just saw a report on it on the news."
"Any news of survivors yet?" Hammond asked O'Neill, his tone sounding worried
"No sir. Apparently it's extremely cold up in the area, and it's been raining and likely snowing up there as well. Because of that, apparently they don't want to risk sending out Search and Rescue teams."
"I see. Do they know where the plane crashed?" Hammond asked.
"Somewhere outside of Casper, Wyoming," Jack replied without hesitation.
"Very well. I'll contact the local authorities
"Thank you Sir," Jack said. "I'm on my way back to base right now," he added. "I'll be there as soon as I can."
"Colonel? What's going on?" Jonas asked, his face a tad whiter than normal, his eyes wide. "General Hammond just told us to meet you at the elevator and to come up and meet him in the Briefing Room when you got here."
"Well then let's go," O'Neill said gruffly, taking the lead as they filed into the elevator, Teal'c pressing the button for level 27.
"Colonel O'Neill, I do indeed believe that it will be best if you explain to us the emergency that has brought you back to base," Teal'c said, speaking up as the elevator whirred into motion, carrying them farther down beneath the mountain.
In short, brief sentences, Jack explained the situation, also including the fact that at least one person thought that the plane might have been purposefully sabotaged.
"But why would someone want to sabotage a plane headed from Colorado Springs to Vancouver?" Jonas asked, puzzlement written across his face.
"I think the more important question is, who paid Kinsey to get Sam to board that plane," O'Neill said, his eyes hardening and his jaw tightening. "That filthy little son of a bitch."
"Sam…you have to get up, you have to move."
There was that voice again. Except this time Sam recognized who it was.
"Daniel?" she murmured, opening her eyes.
"I'm here Sam," he said quietly. "Don't worry…but you have to listen to me very carefully, and promise you'll do what I tell you to."
"Good. First thing is that the plane that you were in was purposefully sabotaged. Someone wants you dead, and badly. The state authorities are only now sending any rescue teams out to find the wreckage, because it was too cold last night, and they were afraid another storm would blow into the area. But for right now, you have to move. The ones that sabotaged the plane are already almost here, planning on searching the area to make sure you didn't make it out alive. They seem to know that you have a knack for escaping death's clutches."
With that, he was gone, the world around Sam feeling empty and forlorn.
"Daniel?" she whispered, pulling herself upright. "Daniel, please don't leave me," she begged, fighting back tears. She would not cry, she would not, even if she was alone. She was an Air Force officer for goodness sakes.
Everything around her remained silent, the only sound the creaking and snapping of the trees as the ice inside their trunks snapped and popped.
Slowly, Sam got to her feet, something inside of her compelling her to do so. Even though it seemed Daniel didn't really exist, she had given him her word that she would do what he had asked of her, and she intended to keep that promise. She wasn't entirely sure that moving away from the crash site was a good idea, but something kept her moving forward.
Her journey away from the crash site was slow and arduous, painful beyond all imagining. The one thing that kept her going was her skull. She was quite positive that it was fractured and, ironic and idiotic as it might sound, she gained confidence, hope, and inspiration from the fact. As she staggered her way through the undergrowth, dodging trees that suddenly seemed to materialize out of thin air, her thoughts trailed back to SG-1 and Colonel O'Neill. He had been in a situation sort of similar at one time; he had been in enemy territory with no aide and a fractured skull. He had made it out alive and, dammit, she would too.
"How did you get through it?" she had asked.
"Sara," O'Neill had replied without hesitation, a slight note of sadness creeping into her voice.
Well now it's your turn Sam thought savagely to her CO. I am going to see you again. I have to…
Finally, her left leg gave out and she fell to the ground, gazing upwards. The stars were beginning to fade, the blackness of the sky turning into a rich, velvet blue. Sam breathed in, enjoying the fresh, clean scent of the air, tainted by the smell of her blood though it was.
In the distance, Sam could hear the faint whop, whop of a helicopter's rotors. It was in that instant that Carter suddenly realized what she had done; she had fled from the crash site, fled from any of the rescuers. They would assume everyone had died and would leave, and she would be stuck out here alone and left to die.
"What the hell have I done?" Carter whispered, tears falling from her face and freezing as they fell to the ground.
"So this is the plan," O'Neill announced, pulling on the thick winter coat and, with difficulty due to the bulky gloves he was wearing, zipped up the parka. Within seconds he was already beginning to feel hot. "We're going in with the first Search and Rescue team. They have the general coordinates of where it might be. We'll be moving hard and fast, time being of the essence. If the plane did explode, and Carter made it out, she'll have been exposed to the elements all last night, which means she probably will have frostbite at the very least. As soon as we find her, we radio Doc Fraiser, who's standing by in Casper. Any questions?"
Jonas shook his head, Teal'c inclining his body slightly to indicate the same.
"Good, let's load up," O'Neill ordered, climbing into the waiting helicopter. Jonas followed him, Teal'c close behind.
"Daniel, why are you never here when I need you?" Sam whispered, her eyes closed, her back against a fallen pine tree. "Please, Daniel, I need you."
"I'm here Sam," he said, stepping over the log and settling himself next to her. His white sweater shone slightly in the rising sun, his blue eyes sparkling brilliantly without his glasses to hide them. "Sam, you need to keep moving," he urged her, looking at her intently.
"But why, Daniel?" Sam asked, slightly annoyed. "Why should I be running from the Search and Rescue teams? If I avoid them, I'll die out here."
"It's not them, Sam," Daniel told her, his eyebrows knotting together. "Please, you have to trust me. It's not the Search and Rescue."
"Then who is it?"
Daniel was silent, gazing at her thoughtfully. "I'm sorry, but I can't tell you," he finally said. "It would be considered interfering too much, I think."
"Dammit Daniel," Sam said exasperatedly.
"I'm sorry Sam," he said.
Silence fell between them, the sound of the wind whispering through the frozen trees the only sound. Finally, Sam broke the silence.
"I can't remember anything," she whispered. "I can't remember where I am, or why I'm here. And there was this little boy…I'm not sure why, but I feel like he was important. And how was I still alive when everyone else in the plane was dead, or so it seemed."
Daniel was silent for a moment longer, then he leaned back, biting his lip.
"I'm not entirely sure why you were on that plane," Daniel finally began, "but I can tell you how you survived. Call it fate, call it a deity that was watching over you, or just sheer damn SG-1 luck, but you were out of your seat when the plane crashed. I know that sounds unreasonable, but everyone who had been near the edges of the plane was killed. Whether it was flying glass, being crushed, or being skewered, all of the people who were next to the walls were killed, as you would have been had you been in your seat.
That boy that you asked me about was the reason you were out of your seat. His mother, while strapping herself into her chair, lost a hold of him, and he ran away from her. I'm not entirely sure why, but you know how young children his age are. Well, you saw him and what was happening and got out of your seat, grabbing him just before the crash.
After the plane had hit, you were thrown to the floor, the impact knocking the boy out of your arms and you unconscious. The plane flipped multiple times due to secondary explosions in the wings and tail, and after that the plane skid quite a logn ways."
"Wow," Sam gasped, slightly surprised.
Suddenly, a sudden high pitched squealing sound echoed through her hearing. Daniel seemed not to have noticed it, but her own head was suddenly sending shooting stabs of pain through her entire body.
"Sam? Dammit. Hold on," Daniel ordered, getting to his feet and crouching down in front of her. "You just have to hold on for a little longer. They're coming. Just hold on a little longer…." Daniel's voice slowly faded away, his face blurring as Sam slipped away from reality and once again into the void.
"Good luck," the pilot said as the Air Force officer jumped out of the hovering helicopter. "I hope you find your friend!" The man waved, and the helicopter rose into the air to begin its aerial search for the crashed airplane.
"Let's go, campers," O'Neill said, stepping forward quickly. The ground was covered in a layer of ice, the trees covered in icicles and the trunks in sheets of what looked like glass. A branch snapped and fell, screeching as it separated from the trunk, smashing to the ground and breaking apart.
"Wow, this isn't normal," Jack said, looking at Jonas. "What's with all this?"
"Uh, I think it's called a Flash Freeze," Jonas answered. "It's when a cold front moves in, dumping water all over the place. Then the temperature plummets, causing everything to freeze suddenly. They're not that common, but also not unheard of, especially at this altitude."
O'Neill nodded, then said, "Just watch for falling branches and icicles," he warned.
"This, I believe, is common sense, Colonel O'Neill," Teal'c said, raising an eyebrow, his eyes twinkling. Jonas chuckled and even Jack quirked his lips.
"Yeah, yeah. Alright, let's get a move on; we don't have much time," O'Neill said, all seriousness again.
The three of them set off up the slope, occasionally slipping on the frozen ground. The sun was just visible through the trees when Jonas halted for a minute, saying, "Do either of you smell smoke?"
Teal'c paused, then nodded slowly. "I do indeed believe I that I can smell smoke as well, Jonas Quinn."
"If they plane did explode, then that's likely where the smoke is originating from," Jonas said excitedly, beginning to climb once again.
O'Neill and Teal'c followed Jonas quickly, adrenaline beginning to pump through their systems. Tense excitement fill Jack as he, too, began to smell what his teammates had already sensed. But deep down, Jack was also afraid of finding the wreckage, fearing what they would find amongst the mangled remains.
"Colonel O'Neill, Teal'c, look!" Jack's head snapped up at Jonas's words, and he hurried forward. He topped a rise, and found himself looking down at the smoldering remains of what had once been an airplane.
"My word," Jonas breathed as he surveyed the pile of scrap metal.
"Spread out. Look for any survivors," O'Neill managed to order, a knot forming in the pit of his stomach. While Jonas and Teal'c slipped and slid down the incline toward the wreckage, Jack raised the radio he'd been given to his lips, pressing the com button.
"This is Search Team 3 calling all Search teams. We have found the wreckage. I repeat, we have found the wreckage. No sign of survivors as of yet, but we have not searched thoroughly. Over."
"Understood. We are tracking your radio signal now, standby." The radio was silent for a moment, the crackled back to life. "Transport helicopter en route now. Over."
"Understood, team three out." He slipped the radio back into its casing, then slipped down the slope to join his team.
He was met by a puzzled looking Jonas, confusion written all over his open features.
"We weren't the first ones here," he said softly, looking down at the ground.
"Excuse me?" O'Neill asked, looking quizzically at the younger man.
"There were a bunch of other people here before us," Jonas said again, elaborating. "There are booted tracks and scuff marks that indicate a helicopter landed for a short time."
A sudden shout cut Jonas off, and he and O'Neill raced around the side of the slightly smoking plane, racing to Teal'c's side.
"What is it?" O'Neill asked.
"Blood," the Jaffa replied, looking up from where he had been crouching. "And I believe it to be Major Carter's."
"How can you tell?" Jonas queried.
"My symbiote became suddenly restless when I touched the drying liquid, indicating that there is naquadah present in it."
"And Sam has traces of naquadah in her blood from her blending with Jolinar," Jonas said excitedly. "You two realize what this means, right? It means she's likely still alive, at least she was not too long ago."
"Yeah. Teal'c, can you track her?" Jack asked, looking down at the long smears of drying liquid on the ground. It looked like an awful lot to him.
"I believe I can, O'Neill," Teal'c replied, standing.
Jonas suddenly spoke again. "Uh, guys? I think we may have a slight problem. The other people, the ones who got here first, seem to have found this too. There's a set of tracks over there, leading into the undergrowth."
"I believe that that is the way Major Carter went," Teal'c supplied.
"This could be a good thing. I mean, the sooner she's found the better," Jack said, his voice deceptively light.
"Maybe so, but why didn't they call in and tell the authorities they had found the wreckage? Let alone signs of a survivor?" Jonas pointed out.
"Then I guess we'd better follow them," O'Neill said, stepping forward as his heart jumped into his throat, following the direction Teal'c had pointed, his face set in a hard, emotionless mask.
If anyone had hurt her, they were going to pay.
"Well, well, well. What do we have here?" a man drawled, his voice thick with a southern accent. "Why, I do in fact believe it's the little lost princess. Don't worry honey, we're going to send you home." The man laughed and he was joined by three or four others.
Sam cracked her eyes open and looked up, her head emanating waves of pain.
"Is your head hurting a little bit? Sorry about that; we had to hit you with a high frequency shock blast so you couldn't do anything unexpected. Doesn't look like that's going to be an issue though, does it?" laughed a second man, his voice high and lilting.
"What the hell do you want?" Sam asked them, her voice rough and raspy.
"We want you dead," the first man said. "You were supposed to die in the initial crash. We hadn't even dreamed that you would have even managed to survive the explosion afterwards."
"It's a good thing Shockwave made you come out to make sure the job was finished," a third man called out.
"Yes, we had been told that you had an uncanny knack of surviving," the southern man said lazily. "Sadly, only it's a miracle a day quota, and you've already used yours up."
He raised a handgun, pointing it directly between her eyes.
"Wait, please," Sam begged, getting onto her knees and ignoring the pain radiating from her injured left leg.
"Sorry girly, but your time's up," the man said, smiled, then pulled the trigger.
Sam lunged forward, slamming into the man's knees as the gun went off, the sharp retort of the weapon echoing off of the frozen trees eerily. The man stumbled back, kicking Sam in the stomach repeatedly to get her off of him.
She peeled off of him like a leech, falling to the ground and holding her abdomen as a new source of pain blossomed in her gut. She coughed, tasting blood in her mouth, then looked up at the man again.
His eyes were gleaming dangerously as he raised the gun again. This time, Sam knew there was nothing she was going to be able to do. She was lying on her back, practically paralyzed from the pain for the moment.
The man stepped forward, pressing one foot down on her injured knee. She screamed, the bone grinding against glass as he applied more and more pressure. Just as suddenly as it had come, the pressure was gone, leaving her gasping and sobbing.
"Goodbye, sweetheart," he whispered.
"Daniel, please," Sam whispered, just before a second gunshot split the air.
The first gunshot echoed through the air, sending a sudden stab of adrenaline racing through O'Neill.
"Let's go!" he yelled, taking off into a sprint, heading towards the sound of the gun.
A few seconds later, a scream rent the air in two.
"Dammit," Jack heard Jonas curse, the fear and anger evident in the tremble his voice.
And suddenly, Jack found a reserve of energy deep inside of himself that he had never known he possessed. He cracked open the lid, drawing upon his reserves and pouring it all into the driving of his legs, the sharp intakes of breath.
He burst out into a small clearing, and saw a sight that nearly stopped his heart. A man was standing over Carter, a gun pointed point blank between her eyes. She was on her back, her hair covered in blood, the ice and dirt beneath her stained crimson.
The sound of a gunshot split the air in two.
It took a second for Jack to realize that the bullet had come from his own gun, which was currently resting in his hand. A fountain of blood spurted from the man's forehead as the bullet slammed just a few centimeters above his left eye, raining down to join Sam's blood already soaking into the dirt. He was dead before he hit the ground.
O'Neill dove, covering Sam's body with his own as the other three men in the clearing opened fire into the spot he had been standing in mere seconds before.
"Teal'c, Jonas, now would be a good time!" he bellowed. Two more guns sounded, then fell silent as the three other would-be assassins fell dead in pools of their own blood.
The silence was eerie and deafening, the crackling of ice the only sound. Then, Sam moaned, her voice almost a whimper. O'Neill promptly got off of her, realizing he had probably been crushing her.
"Carter? Can you hear me?"
"Yessir," she mumbled, her words slurred with pain.
"Jonas, radio the others that we have a survivor and that she's in critical condition. Have them contact Doctor Fraiser. We need to get her back to Casper as soon as possible."
"Yes sir," Jonas answered, taking his own radio out and beginning to speak into it rapidly.
"Hold on Carter, just hold on. You're almost home."
"Thank you," Sam whispered, and then her eyes rolled back into her head as she passed out. And yet, O'Neill got the strange feeling that it hadn't really been him she had been thanking.
Jonas was sitting in the chair beside Sam's bed, his eyes closed as he merely listened to the steady beeping of the heart monitor and the faint rasp of his friend's breathing. He finally relaxed, sinking back into the infirmary chair and sighing contentedly.
"She's still sleeping?" Doctor Fraiser asked, pausing as she walked by her best friend's bed.
"Yup," Jonas replied, opening his eyes and looking up at the doctor. "She looks so peaceful," he added, glancing down.
"It's amazing, really," Fraiser said, clasping a stack of files to her chest. "She quite honestly should be in worse condition than she is. For one thing, she should have had frostbite at the very least."
"But she doesn't," supplied Jonas.
"None," affirmed the doctor. She sighed. "Hopefully Sam will be able to tell us something about what happened when she wakes up."
"Janet?" A weak voiced punctuated the quite infirmary, bringing both Fraiser and Jonas's heads snapping around to look at the woman lying in the hospital bed.
"Good, Sam, you're awake," Fraiser said, walking over so she could stand beside Sam. "How are you feeling?"
"If I said anything about how I'm feeling, I'd be lying," she finally admitted, a groan escaping her lips. "What happened?"
Jonas handed her a cup of water, which she took gratefully. "You've been unconscious for a little over two days now. You went into surgery almost as soon as you got flown into Casper."
"You had a fractured skull and bleeding in your brain, as well as mild internal bleeding and so much stuff wrong with your knee that I'm not sure we even have names for it all."
Sam smiled wryly, but grimaced immediately after.
"I'll get you something for the pain," Janet said, moving off to get some more powerful pain killers.
Sam glanced around and Jonas, seeing her movements, grinned.
"If you're wondering where Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c are, I think they're in the Briefing Room, talking to Senator Kinsey. Actually," Jonas amended, "Teal'c is probably holding O'Neill down to keep him from attacking said Senator."
"You filthy son of a bitch," O'Neill growled, his face livid as he stepped into the Briefing Room only to see Senator Kinsey sitting, calm as could be, at the large oak table. "How dare you have done what you did to Carter?" He took a step forward, threateningly, all the while glaring at the Senator with hate in his eyes.
"Colonel O'Neill," Teal'c said, "Although you are well within your rights to demand retribution for Senator Kinsey's actions, I do not believe it is wise to attack him at this time," Teal'c advised. Jack stiffened, and Senator Kinsey smiled tightly.
"Ah yes, gentlemen, I am glad you were able to make it. And where is the rest of SG-1?"
"You stupid, halfwit, lazy, jerk, coldhearted BASTARD!" yelled O'Neill. "Just to remind you, Carter is in the infirmary recovering from two major surgeries. Jonas is down there with her in case she wakes up. Oh, and do you realize who's fault this all is? YEAH! IT'S YOURS!"
"Now, now, Colonel O'Neill," Kinsey said, standing up and smiling demeaningly at the two of them. "I think you're being a bit rash and unthinking. You're obviously very upset about what happened to Major Carter."
"Yeah, and who asked her to go on the trip up to Vancouver? Who paid for her plane ticket?" O'Neill asked, his tone biting and sarcastic.
Senator Kinsey opened his mouth, then closed it again with a snap.
"I swear to you, I had no idea this was going to happen. I was merely approached by a member of the NID and, thinking that it was for some simple project, agreed to ask if Major Carter would fly Vancouver."
"Yes, well, obviously there was more to it than that. The official reports came back: the plane had definitely been tampered with, and there were most certainly people attempting to kill Carter. Do you have any idea why?" O'Neill asked, his anger abating, but only a tiny bit.
"No, Colonel, I have absolutely no idea why anyone in the NID would want to kill Major Carter. Take her for experimentation, that's pretty obvious. Taken to be used as a hostage, I could guess. But flat out murder? I have no idea."
"Right now all that we can do is be thankful that she is alive and well," General Hammond said, emerging from his office. "Thank you very much, Senator," he added, nodding in Kinsey's direction before beckoning an Airman over. "Airman Harris will escort you out."
Kinsey nodded, closing his briefcase with a small snick, then following the young man out the door.
"Sir, you can't possibly believe Kinsey's sto-"
"I don't know what to think or believe, Colonel," Hammond said, sitting down at the head of the table. "The pieces just don't add up to it being Senator Kinsey." The general sighed, then looked up at the two members of SG-1. "I'll be frank with you two; I have absolutely no idea what's going on. For now, we're just going to have to hope and pray that something like this never happens again."
"So, how are you feeling?"
"Okay. Janet has me on the really powerful pain killers."
"Yeah, I bet. So, how's life?"
"Boring. I'm already sick of these walls."
"Heh, yeah, I'm sure you are."
Silence fell between the two.
"So, do you remember anything about what happened?"
"Honestly Sir? Not much. Just bits and pieces, flashes of scenery, pain, a couple of my thoughts, that kind of thing."
"Yes Sir. It's like I was partly blacked out for the entire thing."
"Yeah well, fractured skulls can do funny things to your mind like that."
"Do you want to know how I managed it?"
"Keeping on going, pushing on even though I was hurt so badly."
"I remembered the story you told me when we were in Antarctica. You had said that you were on a mission when your parachute malfunctioned and you fractured your skull on landing."
"Yup, I remember that…both telling you and when that happened. Ouch…still makes me wince to think about it. I also seem to remember telling you that the only way I made it through was thinking about Sara."
"Yeah, I remember that too."
"I kept thinking about you, Sir."
Silence fell again, Carter looking down at her hands which were folded on her lap, O'Neill studying the tips of his boots.
"I'm glad you're safe Carter. Now get some sleep."
"Yes Sir," she answered, leaning back into the pillows a bit more.
O'Neill left the infirmary, glancing back over his shoulder in the doorway. She looked so calm and peaceful and innocent. It was times like these that he was reminded just how inappropriate his feelings really were for her. He turned and walked through the door, thankful, once again, that they had managed to save her.
As she drifted off into a peaceful slumber, Sam almost thought she saw a bright flash of light, but then it was gone as if it had never occurred. She didn't remember a thing upon waking.
A/N II: so what did you think? I'd love a review that would tell me what you thought ;) *hint hint*
A quick note on Daniel. I realize he didn't necessarily have a corporeal form but, being a form of energy, I would assume he would either a)give off heat or b)be able to give off heat, due to the fact that energy releases heat. Thanks for bearing with me :)