P4X-998

Lieutenant Gracie Satterfield glanced over toward the woods. The Jaffa guard there was not looking her way at the moment. Carefully, slowly she drew her knees up and inched her body toward Colonel Markus' back, a painful process with her hands tied behind her.

"Sir." Her voice was barely there. "SG-3, in the woods."

Markus did not reply, but the slight tensing of his shoulders told her he had heard.

Satterfield relaxed back onto her side and lay still. After a few minutes, Markus stretched as if to relieve the discomfort of his restraints, and seemed to move closer to Airman Willis, who was on his other side. Gracie imagined she heard a slight murmur. She let her eyes wander aimlessly around the clearing, past the spot where she had seen SG-3 a while ago. No one was visible now.

But they had been there. She'd seen Airman Joe Libby's face as clear as day. And then Colonel Reynolds. They'd both ducked quickly out of sight, but it was enough. It was an effort not to glue her eyes to that spot, in hopes of seeing them again.

SGC Headquarters

"Colonel Carter?" the voice on the phone said. "This is Major Kramm, topside, Colonel. I have a Major Nash here, says he just got in from Peterson."

Damn, she thought. Forgot all about him. She glanced at the clock. Right on time. "Thanks, Major. Have him sign in, then take him to the level 2 conference room. I'll be up shortly."

"Yes, ma'am."

Carter went to find Harriman. "I need a copy of the non-disclosure agreements, sergeant. Do you know where they are?"

"Yes, ma'am. I'll get them for you." Within minutes he handed her a folder and a pen.

"Thanks, Walter. I'm going to be up on level 2, in the conference room. Call me immediately if there's any word."

As she rode the elevator, Sam considered the situation. The last word from Teal'c had been that O'Neill and the other captives had been located, and the teams were moving in. That information had come through the gate with the first injured men. Teal'c wanted to keep radio silence because of the risk of being overheard. That meant they could not dial the gate and ask for updates.

She had intended for Jay O'Neill to join her in explaining his survival and introducing Major Nash to the stargate, but now Jay was on the planet with Teal'c and the rescue teams. The last thing she wanted to do was give a long involved explanation; she needed to get back downstairs as soon as possible. She would have Nash sign the non-disclosure agreement, and then take him down and show him the stargate.

She switched elevators at level 11 to ride the rest of the way up to 2.

Major Nash got to his feet as Carter entered the conference room. He was about forty, strong and fit-looking, with black hair and brown eyes. There was tension and tiredness in his features. He saluted.

She returned the salute. "Major Nash. I'm Colonel Samantha Carter. Please sit down."

When they were seated facing each other across the conference table, he started to speak, but she interrupted. "Major, I have quite a lot to explain to you, but first you will need to sign this." She pushed the folder and pen across to him.

Frowning, he opened the folder and scanned the paper inside. "A non-disclosure oath?"

"Yes. If you please, Major. I can't say anything else until you sign that."

His eyes locked with hers for a long moment. Then he picked up the pen and signed. He closed the folder and pushed it back to her. "Now what, ma'am?"

"Now, Major, you are going to be read in on the most classified project in the U. S. military." She picked up the folder and rose. "Please come with me."

Nash stood beside the silent Colonel and watched the numbers in the elevator as they descended. When they reached 20 with no signs of slowing, he began to feel slightly claustrophobic.

The elevator finally stopped at level 27. The door slid open, and Carter waved Nash out into the corridor. "Welcome to Stargate Command, Major."