Disclaimer: The characters of Stargate belong to MGM but the words are mine. The characters of the Four Orders are entirely my own.
The New Dominion
AU/SG1/FO: Sam Carter's life is saved by a mysterious man but no one believes her until she brings him in as a valuable ally. Mystery shrouds him and his intentions. That's when the troubles for the galaxy begin. A new course has been charted.
Cheyenne Mountains, Colorado, had been hollowed out since 1961 as the very biggest and best bomb shelter ever. It was fully operational in 1966 and all through the Cold War; Cheyenne Mountain had focused intently on the possibility of thermonuclear bombs being send from somewhere in the Communist bloc. As the skies grew more and more crowded with satellites, they had to keep an eye on those too, tracking the enemy's spy eyes and expecting death to come from space. After the Cold War was 'declared' officially over and the Berlin wall fell other countries were given the opportunity to develop nuclear weapons so they had to keep an eye on them too.
The main focus of NORAD, always, was on the threat from other countries. It was the responsibility of their highly trained personnel to coordinate the response to any threat to North America whether coming from outside the atmosphere or inside it. It didn't matter whether they believed in China being a nuclear threat or in little green men from Mars, their job was to respond and wipe them out of North America's skies. Army, Navy, and Air Force Command all had a role here.
But there was another division in the deepest guts of the mountain that was literarily light years away from the others and cared not for thermonuclear threats or satellites in space. It carried the code name Project Blue Book but to the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the President and the Joint Chief of Staff it carried the name Stargate Command under the command of the diligent General George Hammond.
On the lowest level the General's office overlooked another room, three stories tall, at the far end of which the huge shape, flat and round like a pancake set on end, focused his eye. A shallow steel grid ramp led up to the disk, which consisted of two concentric rings inscribed with alien symbols, surrounding a gleaming iris of overlapping steel plates that completely covered the centre. Ramp and disk were set off from the rest of the room by a wide painted border of yellow and black stripes alternating with the legend KEEP CLEAR.
This was the Stargate – the portal to alien worlds, the gateway through which Hammond's teams ventured forth to gather intelligence and possibly find new weapons to fight the Goa'uld, an alien menace that had already visited Earth on numerous occasions, and taken samples of the human populace and cultures, and seeded them on distant worlds for the purpose of harvesting them later as hosts for their larvae.
The rest of the room was taken up with computer consoles and very busy personnel, deciphering signals sent by probes, running programs to try to determine how much the original coordinates of the Gate had been thrown off by the galactic drift in the millennia since the Gate was placed on Earth; more busy personnel preparing the said probes, and still more trying to keep the computers running instead of crushing from the glut of alien data.
And this was the sixth year the SGC operated. General Hammond's greatest concern now was a Goa'uld called Anubis. Apparently he had been dead for the past five thousand years but had recently returned and made a ploy for Earth on two separate occasions neither of which had worked. And if rumours were true, he would be soon coming in person and Earth had almost nothing with which to defend itself.
The Pentagon had been developing in secret and was close to completing Earth's first battleship – the Prometheus. But one ship was not going to be enough. The general had been repeatedly saying that to the President and the Joint Chief of Staff. They needed more but so far he had been ignored.
This particular night that our story begins, the flag team SG1 had made a curious discovery of a tablet written long ago by the builders of the Stargate network. On it is information on a powerful weapon that they could use to save their planet but so far they had been unlucky in locating it.
Major Samantha Carter, member of SG1, was burning the midnight oil in her lab trying to locate the builders' weapon's whereabouts but with little success.
A gentle knock on the door made her lift her head from the computer. "Come in!" she said and look who's coming in. The door opened and her commanding officer and leader of SG1, Colonel Jack O'Neill entered.
"General orders to abandon search!"
"Carter it's midnight. Go home. That's an order."
"I'm so close!" Sam replied.
"And a bad liar!" O'Neill said looking her in the eyes.
"We need to find it!"
"Yes, we do." He nodded in acknowledgement. "But we also need you to be sober not half asleep. Go home, Carter! I'll give you a lift." He added with a light-hearted voice.
"Thank you, sir but I'm fine." She replied with a smile. "I'm the driving part."
He stayed in until he was certain she packed which annoyed her a bit. There were times he did not trust she will do what she's told especially when it came to resting.
"All packed?" He asked teasingly.
She curled her lips but nodded.
"After you, Major!" He gestured at the door. Sighing Sam exited with him at her heels. He did not leave her until they reached her car. "The night watch has orders not to let in, in case you turn around."
"We need to find it, sir! We have to pull resources."
"And we can do that too when you had a decent night sleep."
"Every minute counts."
"MAJOR!" He said raising his voice then added softly. "Someone needs to look after you even if you don't."
Sam sighed defeated. He was right. There was no need for her to get this pushy. "Thank you, sir!"
"Good night, Carter!"
"Good night, sir!" Sam got into her car and looked in the rear vision. He was still there waiting for her to depart. She shook head but started the engine. Waving him goodbye, she left the parking and headed for home. She did not however notice the black minivan that followed her.
She arrived at her place an hour later. She made a few stops on the way considering defying orders and returning to work but after careful consideration she decided it is not worth losing her job over her inner stubbornness. She took her things and got out of the car. She locked the door and put the keys in her pocket.
Rounding her car she stepped onto the boardwalk and was an inch away from taking the small path leading to her front door when someone grabbed her from behind. The attacker had already placed his hand around her throat. This was choking her but she did not give in this easily. Using her free hands she placed several hits in the abdomen of her attacker but his grip did not loosen.
Gasping already for air, she pushed to twist herself and managed but to a degree though that was enough for her to place a kick in the attacker's very sensitive area between the legs. Her attacker's grip loosened and she used the momentum to break free and breathe.
It did not last long though as another attacker came from behind and caught her hands. The first attacker then swung and hit her in the face, and then again and again. The fourth time, however he got a kick in his face. Sam was free of the attacker behind her and assumed a battle position.
The two attacked fiercely and she defended herself as best as she could but sadly the attackers were not two. Two others appeared out of nowhere, perhaps they were staying in the van but when their friends started losing ground, they came to the rescue. Sam was quickly overwhelmed.
She was lying on the ground receiving punch after punch. One of them hit her in the face and broke her nose that started promptly to bleed. After that she was lifted by one and tossed into her car smashing onto the front window. Every part of her body ached from the impact. She did not have the time to breathe though. The attackers continued their assault with fierce brutality.
A hit in the abdomen took her breath away, a hit in the face made her bleed, and then she saw a flash of steel and moments later felt it entering her body on the side. She tilted on one side and fell. The attackers gathered around her watching her bleed out. She raised a hand only to receive a powerful kick in the area of the wound that made her almost lose consciousness.
The others snickered with a cold, sinister sound. Was this to be her end? She got her answer pretty quickly though. They lifted her up again. There was another flash of steel this time in her chest. The cold blade pierced her soft skin. Her vision became blurry. This was the end. Coldness coursed through her body. A minute, two and she will be dead. She should have defied orders and stayed in the base where these brutes would have never dared come in.
Her eyes grew heavier but between the lids she saw something that made them flicker wide open. Above, past the brutes around her in the sky, she saw a light approaching with great velocity. It suddenly stopped on a cloud above her, outlining a figure of a man. And then the figure...God...,it was not landing but rather descending, like descending down a staircase.
She shook head and closed her eyes. No, this was not possible. She has already started hallucinating. She was seeing things or perhaps she was seeing an angel descend from the heavens to take her to the pearly gates. She shook that thought as she did not believe in God or gods. The likelihood of that being an ascended Ancient was almost none. Her thoughts went to Daniel but she knew he could not interfere. Maybe he's come to offer her ascension. But she was so far out that even she wanted to she would not be to focus enough for that. Her life started rushing past her eyes. There was so much she could have done and should have. Her last thoughts were of Jack and her father.
A sudden noise of commotion pushed her to open her eyes. The gloating attackers were no longer around her. She changed her position slightly and her eyes winded in surprise and shock. The figure was just reaching the ground saying something. The attackers welcomed him with a cannonade of fire shots but the figure continued its descent.
His feet stepped onto the firm ground. The attackers backed a few steps. Their hands rose again with the guns. At first nothing happened but Sam noticed, as anyone would, that the guns were glowing in red. Mere seconds later, they fell off the hands of their holders.
Sam pushed herself to stay awake and focused onto the figure. It was taller than Teal'c but with not so broadened shoulders. Actually he looked more like Jack. His clothes were not discernable but he wore a mantle that was sweeping the ground. He bore also gloves much like her attackers. He spoke again but she did not recognize the language.
Her attackers took out long knives out of somewhere. Maybe she had not seen how long they actually were. And they attacked fiercely the mantled figure who swiftly evaded the attack by jumping above them and landing behind them. They turned to him again and attacked. He deflected the attack of the first by tossing him into her garden. The second's blade passed an inch from his face before he grabbed him by the hand. A cracking sound told Sam that arm was broken.
The third skewered him though as did the fourth but this did not stop her saviour. He bent in two and staggered backwards with the two long knives still in his body and then she thought she was hallucinating again. His eyes started to glow. She feared the worst. Her rescuer was a Goa'uld. But then she noticed that the eyes weren't glowing. The best description that came to her mind was thunders.
The thunders or whatever they really were increased its intensity and soon became a blinding light. The mantled figure stood up straight. With one swift move he took the knives out of his body and threw them aside. His left hand rose and Sam saw energy, bluish energy build up like a ball. A mere second later, the bluish energy darted towards one of the attackers. His body rose up twelve, maybe fifteen feet above ground engulfed in the bluish energy. His screams pierced the night. The energy then dissipated and he fell hard onto the ground. His lifeless eyes stared at Sam.
The fourth attacker was already running. He had not bothered to go for the van. He wanted to put as much distance between him and the mantled figure. But he did not get far either. The left hand rose up again and from a single finger the bluish energy flew. Sam did not see what exactly happened to the fourth but she did not have to wait much either.
Like a lasso, the bluish energy had caught the fourth and was reeling him in back. The fourth attacker's face was turned at the mantled figure. The latter's eyes had become scarlet red but with the same thunders in it. The figure started climbing the air like he did before descending until he was at one level with his pray.
How this one screamed Sam would never forget. She had never thought a human being can produce such a sound. All she saw for certain was that the fourth body was encompassed by some dark cloud. Her strength wavered and her eyes started to close again. In the next moment, she felt her body leave the ground. And then a really weird sensation coursed through her. It felt utterly cold, like she was submerged into a tank of ice, polar water. But ironically, she felt immediately better. Her mind or soul was probably telling her body was gone and she was a free spirit, on her to way to the pearly gates or whatever lied in the thereafter.
She registered some noise. It sounded like hurrying steps. Then were other sounds that could be described as voices full of nervousness and concern. There were also sirens or so it sounded and then silence. She felt lighter than before and then she felt drifting away. This was definitely the end. She was gone, dead. Her friends were going to miss her as would her colleagues. Her dad will mourn her passing. I guess, she only wanted to know who her attackers were and the mantled figure. Maybe the latter was the Angel of Furry but he came in too late. She was already gone. Death, it appeared unsettling at first but then again there was nothing to be done either. Major Samantha Carter of the US Air Force was her name but no more. She had gone beyond.
Funny, a thought appeared, I would think death leads nowhere then why I am able to think and hear. A light appeared. It looked like it was coming at the end of a long corridor. It grew closer and it started filling in the whole horizon. Heaven seemed to be a rather dim place. There were walls, white ones. On the ceiling there was a light, a light bulb. At the front there was a glass, no a window.
To the right of this position there appeared to be a chair that was currently occupied. The person in it resembled strangely Jack O'Neill and next to him onto another chair another one sat. He looked remarkably like Jacob Carter, the father of the late Major Samantha Carter. Was this Heaven's idea of Heaven? If it was it was certainly not what any self respecting Catholic or other religious person would imagine – the boyfriend (or at least in the thoughts) and boss, and the Dad. What kind of joke was it?
And then something even more awkward was registered. Lowering the view or horizon revealed a frame, a wooden frame that looked suspiciously like the end side of a bed. Behind it, there was a small, uplifted bundle divided oddly in two peaks on a white, smooth surface. The two peaks moved sideways and revealed bare flesh – toes. Those were toes and feet, feet with toes, not peaks. The white surface could only be a blanket. But whose toes were that?
The line of the feet however reached beyond the view or horizon. Where it went could not be seen. But something on the side, which was still visible, moved as well. The blanket surface rose up and revealed partially a finger, then another and one more, and another and a fifth one. Ha, that's odd. On the opposite it was the same – five fingers. Oh, those were hands with five fingers. It was very odd.
The left hand with fingers rose up and moved towards the view or horizon. The hand blocked the view, the horizon. It was getting really odd. What sort of joke was that? Why was this someone blocking the view? The hand then passed by the view and hit something soft. What was it? And why was it registering to the senses? Can a hand with five fingers feel a soul? No, a soul doesn't have a body or shell, or whatever. But the registered brought up a feeling and the feeling was saying – soft and almost round with a hole in it. Oh, of course, it was an ear. The other hand performed the same task. There was another ear on that opposite side.
The hands started moving to the side of the ears. They fell on soft surface. Making a swirl move they reached an orifice with stalactites and stalagmites. They were hard. That was odd too. The hands continued their voyage down and fell an inch or two onto another surface. It was soft and yet solid. There was nothing interesting there so they continued until they reached two hills. They were oddly round, soft but firm. The right hand continued the voyage down while the left remained around the round hills.
The right hand now reached a crevice between two mountain sides (at least that's what it appeared to be). Exploring further down the crevice revealed a secret entrance. The entrance was moist and soft. Further in it, feeling the walls, the hand reached the end of the finger. And warmth crossed the finger and it climbed up the hand, and the continuation of the hand until it reached somewhere unseen and then...
A high pitched scream pierced the silence making the two sitting men jump to their feet. Illumination had finally hit Samantha.
"Carter!" O'Neill's voice was full of concern. His hands touched hers and her resistance diminished for a moment. "Calm down! You're fine now!"
But the voice was not soothing or anyhow reassuring. The struggle continued. The other man, Jacob came to the rescue. The two pairs of strong hands won the battle. The shaking body was restraint. Body, the word resonated. It was her body. She was not in heavens. She was still here – ALIVE! How was that possible? She was so certain she was gone and in heavens. How has this occurred? How was she still here? How? But the universe was not responding to her plea.
Another illumination hit her. If her body was here then she could use her own vocals, her voice. She could talk as the cave with the stalactites and stalagmites was actually her mouth, well the beginning away, those were her teeth not natural random formations. Her body loosened the tension. The pair of hands let go off her.
"Carter!" O'Neill called softly. The concern was still there but there was something else too – a feeling, a warm feeling. She had felt it through his touch.
The view or horizon was still there too. O'Neill had filled it alongside Jacob. And then it hit her again. It was not a view or horizon. It was sight, the sight of her eyes. She still had her body. She was definitely ALIVE unless...unless they were just a hallucination, or an illusion or they were in heavens too. Why is it so hard to tell the difference? And was there a difference at all? The eyes can easily deceive the mind too. So what was left? How can one tell the difference?
"Sam!" That was her father's voice. It was full of dreadful concern, longing and love. But if it was an illusion it would still feel that way. How to tell the difference?
And then uninvited came a flashback. Her dying eyes had slid open. Above her the mantled figure with his scary scarlet red eyes that were slowly turning into the thunder form, or energy form, or even better into a velvet blanket full of flashing diamonds, some call stars. She could easily drown into that starry ocean.
And it was then she felt cold, terribly cold, beyond hypothermia, utterly freezing the ass cold as Jack would put it. But her eyes registered the engulfing bluish energy that soon altered colour to pitch black, and then her eyes closed on their own. And she drifted away until she laid her eyes on the people starring at her right now – Jack and her Dad, Jacob.
Yes, she was definitely alive. The mysterious mantled figure had saved her life. His energy or whatever had healed her as her hands examined the places where she was struck. There were tiny scars at those places reminding it did actually happen.
"Sam!" Her father called her again. This time she looked straight at him.
"Dad!" Her voice was hoarse and dry though.
"Don't talk, dear!" Jacob pleaded.
"Wha...what are you doing here?"
"Jack called saying something happened to you. I couldn't..."
"And the Tok'Ra?"
"To hell with them!" Jacob exclaimed earning a smile from his daughter.
"Thank you for being here!"
"Carter!" O'Neill moved in closer.
"You need to rest! We'll do the talking later." He said. "Jacob!"
"Yes, Jack," He then turned to Sam. "Rest, kiddo, we'll talk in the morning." He kissed her on the temple and with Jack left the room switching off the lights in the process.
Sam was alone but sleep wasn't coming to her. She tried to sit up and with some effort succeeded. Apparently being miraculously healed carried painful consequences. There was a glass of water on the night table and she drank it in one gulp.
Looking around soothed her. She was in a room in the Cheyenne Mountains. She was home at Stargate Command. She closed her eyes and her thoughts dwelled onto her rescuer. Focusing onto the evening she drifted into her memory. She reviewed the whole scene again and though it was not a pleasant experience it was rewarding.
She was now clearly seeing the image of her rescuer – brown hair and eyes, cute nose, healthy cheeks, pursed lips (from concentration she figured) and yet she was also seeing the starry background in his eyes. But it was not a reflection. They were inside his eyes, the stars. How was that possible? Actually how was any of that possible?
She clearly remembered his descending from the sky like walking down invisible stairs. She remembered also the energy blast/surge that came from his hand, the energy lasso that caught the last attacker and his late screams, inhuman screams. And then he gave her life back, he healed her.
The questions that beckoned were – who were her attackers and why did they attack him so fiercely. Why was she attacked? Did they follow her from the base parking or somewhere along the road? And if they were at base how did they stay unseen? But why her – this question was tormenting her most. Could it be the Trust? But then they did not ask her anything they just made her suffer and then killed her. Why this hostility? She can't recall doing anything in particular that deserved that? She hadn't received any threats as of late so why.
The next day, she woke up. Jack and Jacob were already in the room. They noticed she came around. Jack bolted off the room and soon returned with Janet Frasier, the base's resident doctor genius, and General George Hammond.
"Samantha!" Janet greeted her with a broad smile. "You gave us quite the scare. Now, gentlemen out!"
The three left them alone.
"Take off your...let me hear!"
Sam took off the night dress and Janet examined her. Samantha's breathing was normal.
"Does it hurt here?" Janet asked pressing on her chest, where one of the scars was. Ironically, there was no pain at all. She shook head and Janet pressed on the next sensitive spot with a scar. Again Sam shook head. "Excellent, you've made a remarkable recovery. But I still need to run a few tests."
"What a surprise," Sam said finding with great joy her voice was back to normal.
"I have to take some blood."
"Sure, go ahead," Sam said. "I did leave some on the pavement so what's a few more drops?"
"Sam!" Janet scolded her. "You shouldn't talk like that."
"But it happens to be true!"
"Yes, it does." Janet sighed. She took a needle and collected two vials of her blood. "I'll be right back." Janet left. Sam expected she was talking to the others and she wasn't wrong. She had definitely scared them.
The door opened and her father, Jack and General Hammond entered.
"Major!" General Hammond said.
General Hammond eyed the other two. Sam clearly saw the exchange of looks and frowned. What the hell was that for?
Sighing deeply, General Hammond asked. "Major Carter, I have to ask you a few questions, please answer truthfully. Did you provoke in any way the fight with the four that we found dead? And did you..."
"I beg your pardon!" Sam exclaimed interrupting the general. "Sir, what the hell is going on?"
"Major, please calm down and answer my question!"
"It's alright, Carter!"
"Oh, what the hell did I suddenly find myself in a different universe?"
The three eyed her confused.
"I did not provoke anyone sir. These four followed me home and attacked ME!"
"Major, please calm down." General Hammond begged.
"Alright, Carter, what happened?"
Sighing with deep frustration, Sam recounted the events till the moment the four were standing above her laughing sinisterly.
"And then..." Sam's voice trailed off. She was not certain what to tell them as she was certain about one thing they would not believe her.
"And then what happened, Major?" General Hammond asked his forehead wrinkled.
"You wouldn't believe me, sir, even if I told you." Sam said. "I still have trouble wrapping my mind around it."
"Try me, Major!"
"Trust me, sir; it is very hard to believe."
"Tell us anyway." O'Neill argued.
"Oh, alright, but I warn you – it is really crazy." She ceded and then recounted the last part of the evening before she drifted away. The three looked at each baffled. It was clear for Sam they did not believe her. She was not surprised – who would.
And she was not wrong in her assessment as Jack said. "Um, Carter, you were delirious at that point...um..."
"I KNOW WHAT I SAW." Sam insisted.
"Major, what you are saying is impossible!" General Hammond said.
"I warned you, Sir. But that is what happened."
"Of course, Major!" But even in his voice she sensed it is a lost cause. General Hammond gestured the other two follow him outside. Sam sighed. If she could only find him again she will prove it.
But the next few hours told her it is a lost cause. The whole base thought she imagined it or hallucinated, delirious state due to the lost of blood and the near death experience and blah, blah. Even Janet did not believe her story though she could hardly explain how Samantha healed this fast. Two days were simply not enough to make such a recovery.
The day after, the psychos came, the base psychiatrist, and she positively found Sam certifiably delusional. On hand, Sam did not blame them. It did sound crazy but she remembers clearly every detail of that night. Sadly no one accepted her version.
A day later, she was out of bed and attended a ceremony where she was given a commendation of merit. It was also the day she gave her resignation. She had no desire to walk around and have people lowering their voices, and say: crazy person passing by. Jack patronized her until the moment she quit. He could hardly believe her reaction.
"This is your final decision then, Major?" General Hammond asked. "Because, if you need an extended vacation, I can arrange that. You certainly need some time off."
"It is my final decision, sir." Sam replied with firm voice though her teeth were grinding.
General Hammond lowered his eyes and sighed deeply. He did not want to lose a valuable member of his staff but she had made up her mind. "Very well," He finally said. "I'm sorry to see you go, Major." He stood up and offered a hand. "It has been an honor having you under my command."
"Yes, Sir!" Sam replied accepting the hand, then saluting she left his office to pack her things. Outside her office she found her team – the tall, stalwart Teal'c, Jonas Quinn, and Jack O'Neill.
"Major Carter!" Teal'c said with his deep voice.
Sam hugged him but said nothing.
"Major, it is a sad day you're leaving us." Jonas moved to give her a hug too.
"Thank you, Jonas!" She said and then came face to face with Jack O'Neill. "Colonel!"
Jack O'Neill however could not find the words to say. He was still shocked of her decision to leave. He was also concerned about her (or accurately her mental state). The tall tale as everyone had come to call it.
Sam wanted to hug him but stopped herself. She passed by him and entered her room closing the door behind her. Tears were flowing down her cheeks. This was a very hard decision to make. But there was no point in staying either. How could one rely on someone when no one trusted her, no one believed her. No, she shook her head; her place was no longer here.
She gathered her belongings, left the uniform behind and put her civilian clothes. She opened the door. The three were gone. She closed the door and walked down the corridor to the elevator. Turning onto the final corridor she stopped. The entire corridor was filled with her colleagues. It was a surprise farewell.
She gathered her strength and started walking again. Passing by everyone that was saying something for goodbye, she reached the elevator. General Hammond stood there with her teammates, Janet and Cassie.
"Sam!" Cassie was on her neck hugging her hard and crying. Sam felt she did not want her to leave at all. But there was no other choice, no other logical choice.
Sam hugged her back and then Cassie let go off her. Same then nodded at the general and her teammates and went into the elevator. The doors closed and she was climbing up. At the entry point she signed some papers, handed her pass and exited the base. Walking to her car, tears were falling freely down her cheeks but she did not turn, did not look back. She placed the box with her belongings at the backseat and entered into the car, started the engine and left.
She had now a different mission. She has to find the man who saved her life and prove to the others she was not crazy. That man exited she saw him and now she was going to find him though she really had no idea how.
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