-- Part 1 --
Sam leaned back against the wall of the whirlpool enjoying the hot liquid that bubbled around her. She bobbed lightly in the water as the jets churned bubbles around her.
A sound caught her attention and she opened one lazy eye to find the source of her interruption. She sat up a little in the water as a figure emerged from the doorway of the women's lockers. She frowned wondering who could possibly be in here this late at night. She had been enjoying the solitude of the deserted pool area and wasn't quiet ready for it to end.
As the figure moved closer Sam was surprised to find the interloper was Janet. She watched as she placed a towel on a hook before moving over to the hot tub.
"Hey, isn't it a bit late for you to still be on the base?" Sam managed as Janet stood at the top of the steps.
"Hey Sam." she said as she moved into the warm water.
"I was working on that new plant SG-9 brought back from PHX-3026. The time got away from me and I decided to stay on base for the rest of the night since Cassie is on a sleep over." Janet said sliding the rest of the way into the water letting a sigh escape as she rested back on the bench.
"What are you doing in here so late?" Janet asked.
"I couldn't sleep so I thought I would come down here. This thing looked so inviting I couldn't resist," she said with a smile.
"I know what you mean," Janet replied in a slow drawl. "After sitting over a microscope for 10 hours I am surprised I can even stand upright." Janet stretched a little before settling back against the wall.
"So when is your next scheduled jump?" Janet asked already knowing the answer but enjoying the sound of Sam's voice over the water.
"We are leaving at 1100 hours tomorrow. It shouldn't be to bad from the Intel we have the planet is inhabited by a fairly advanced species. That is compared to most we have encountered." Sam finished. It would be nice for once to step through the gate and not have the inhabitants label them as Gods, Demons, or worse. She shuddered as she flashed back on a few of their less than friendly encounters.
"You know I envy you sometimes? I enjoy my job but sometimes I wish I could look forward to seeing a new planet every time I went to work," Janet stated her voiced wistful.
Sam shifted in the water glancing at Janet as she spoke. "It definitely has its moments. Maybe if you put in a request Hammond would attach you as an observer on a few missions."
Janet gave a short laugh as she considered that conversation with the General. She had broached that subject already and his response had been very clear.
"The only way Hammond will clear me for jumps is if there is a medical emergency in an area that has been secured. He doesn't want to send medical personal on team missions because he feels it would be too dangerous." she finished with snort.
"Like the SGC has proven itself to be the safest environment for those that work here," she continued, her tone laced with sarcasm. "I mean give me a break, I think we have had almost as many close calls as all of the team missions combined."
Sam smiled at Janet's argument. She was right; the SGC had already had its share of close calls with off world intruders. She remained silent knowing that nothing she could say would serve to sooth Janet's irritation.
"The worst thing is that as much as I would like to go on a jump at this point the circumstances that would permit it make me cringe." Janet stopped resting her head back with her eyes closed as she stifled her frustration.
Sam watched her friend try and control her frustration as she relaxed. She could understand Janet's feelings and a part of her wished she could make the jumps and experience the new worlds that they saw. She had grown quiet fond of the woman across from her in the time they had been working together larger part was grateful that Janet was not exposed to many of the dangers that the team faced every trip
"Who knows, maybe Hammond will change his mind." Sam tried sound encouraging although from Janet's response she could tell neither of them found that a real possibility. "Well, I think I have been in here long enough," Sam said, rising.
Janet watched her as she moved up the steps. "Thanks for listening, Sam."
Sam turned at her words, "No problem, feel free to use me as a sounding board anytime." she said with a smile. "I'll see you later."
"I think I might come by the control room and watch the jump. Do you mind." Janet asked.
"No, not at all" Sam said surprised that Janet had asked at all.
"I guess I'll see you tomorrow then," Sam said as she headed for the showers.
Janet watched Sam's retreating form as she entered the woman's locker room. Finding Sam here had been a pleasant surprise and she felt a small smile touch her lips. It was interesting how the major always seemed to have that effect on her she thought as the smile turned into a grin. She leaned back wanting to take a few more minutes in the tub before heading for the showers.
* * * * * * * * * *
Sam hurried into the gate room. She finished buckling her a pack strap as she met the Colonel's irritated gaze.
"Nice of you to join us, Carter," he said dryly as he glanced up at the control room to signal their readiness.
"Sorry, Sir," Sam managed, hating having incurred one of O'Neill's sarcastic comments.
She followed the team up the ramp as the gate engaged. Within moment SG-1 was stepping onto another planet. The gate disengaged behind them as they paused to take in their surroundings.
Daniel and Teal'C moved slightly ahead as Carter observed the surroundings.
"Well, Major?" O'Neill said, breaking into her thoughts.
"The closest settlement was found 6 clicks to the North East, Sir," she informed him.
"Well then North East it is, let's go people." O'Neill headed off in the general direction of the town.
They were walking for a short time when a loud rumbling crack boomed through the air. The team froze in place the vibrations from the sound still running through their bodies. They had barely had time to register the sound when the ground beneath then began to buck. Within seconds they were all sprawled out trying to find anything stable to hold onto. The shaking seemed to last forever before finally slowing to tremors.
The team fought to regain their feet as they surveyed the area around them. With the exceptionhref="nolookingback4.htm"Pa of the tremors everything seemed to be the same as before.
"Is somebody going to tell me what the hell that was?" Jack finally said breaking the silence.
"I believe it was an earthquake," Daniel responded. At Jack's withering glare he wished he had let Sam take that question.
"There was nothing to indicate that this planet had an unstable environment, Sir," Carter joined in.
"Well, despite the info it apparently does. We had better head back and inform Hammond. Let him make the call on whether or not to proceed on the mission," O'Neill said as he turned to head back to the gate.
"Jack, wait. Shouldn't we at least see what condition the town we are headed for is in? I mean the people might need some assistance. We're almost there now as it is," he finished, giving Jack his usual pleading look.
"Major," O'Neill said looking over at Sam.
"Sir?" Sam responded uncertainly.
"Remember what I said to do the next time Daniel wanted to help someone?" he replied making reference to their mission to a town that had been run by a corrupt clergyman who had branded them as demons. That experience had almost cost Teal'C his life as well as the rest of the team when they had tried to assist the town in ridding themselves of the true demons.
Sam began to answer when Daniel broke in, "Come on, Jack, this is a totally different situation,"
O'Neill held up his hands as he shook his head. "Fine, we'll check out the situation in the town and then its back to the gate," he said exasperatedly.
They came to the outskirts of the town within another hour. The tremors had continued as they had traveled but there were no more like the large scale one they had experienced earlier.
As they moved through the outskirts they took in the devastation around them.
"Carter, how many people reside in this town?" O'Neill asked as he looked at the toppled buildings.
"According to our data, Sir, it was a settlement of approximately ten-thousand," she answered in a quiet tone as she also surveyed the damage.
They were still a distance from the center of the community, but from their vantage-point it only looked as if the damage got worse as they moved closer.
Jack finally called the team to a halt after passing more structures in ruins; bodies were strewn about the street at various intervals. The team stopped at each to only find that there was no more they could do for that particular individual.
"Alright here is what we are going to do. Carter, you, I and Teal'C are going to continue into the city and help anyone we can. Daniel you are going to return to the gate and apprise Hammond of the situation. Tell him we could use assistance in digging out any possible survivors and medical supplies--"
Daniel interrupted him before he could finish, "Actually, it might be better if you send Teal'C back. We aren't even sure what language these people speak. You might need me to communicate."
Jack nodded kicking himself for forgetting that fact. "Right, all right Teal'C it looks like you are the man." He waved off the puzzled look the Jaffa gave him. "It means you get to go back and inform Hammond," Jack interjected before he had to deal with the question behind the Jaffa's look.
"Teal'C, Make sure they send in a geological team to find out what is going on with these tremors." She looked over at O'Neill, "It might be good to know if the worst is over," she said as he nodded.
Teal'C headed for the gate at a fast clip. He was not comfortable with leaving his teammates and wanted to return as quickly as possible.
Daniel, Sam and Jack picked through the debris. The task of finding survivors was daunting and with every dashed hope they began to believe that the entire city had succumbed to the natural disaster.
Daniel felt his heart jump as the body he was checking actually moved. He jumped back for a second letting out a small yelp.
"Sam, Jack, over here," he called as he returned to gently turn over the young man he had found.
Sam and Jack reached Daniel's side at the same time. The young man he was helping began coughing convulsively as Jack tried to raise him into a sitting position. Sam handed her canteen to Jack and he tried to get the young man to swallow some of the water.
After a few minutes he was able to speak. "What happened?" he managed in a hoarse whisper.
"We're not sure but we think it was a earthquake," Jack answered gently.
The man looked at the three of them his eyes watering from the debris he had been buried in.
"An earthquake?" he stated in puzzlement.
He looked around for the first time noting the destruction that surrounded him. He struggled to stand, not believing his eyes.
"The city is destroyed," he said in a stunned voice. He looked to the three teammates as if they had an answer to what had happened. He finally looked away back to the ruins trying to comprehend the destruction.
Daniel placed a comforting hand on the man's shoulder knowing words were inadequate. "We are trying to find any survivors, So far, you are the only one. Do you feel well enough to help us or would you like to rest?"
The man focused on Daniel. "I will help," he said firmly.
"I am Casan, thank you for aiding me," he said, holding a hand out to Daniel.
"You're welcome," Daniel replied, taking the offered hand. "This is Sam, and this is Jack," Daniel continued, deciding to forgo military titles. 'The man had already been through enough for one day without forcing him to remember a rank structure,' Daniel thought.
The team followed Casan through the ruins of the city. They found many bodies but the survivors were few and far between. They had managed to find 15 people so far most of them badly injured. Jack finally stopped the team directing them to set up a temporary first aide station.
He watched as those that were mobile helped move those that weren't. Carter used the limited supplies she had to treat the injuries. She looked over to Casan as he aided another of his people.
"Casan, don't you have some sort of emergency response services?" she asked as she looked at him.
"We are the largest city on the island and the core of our medical services and Island protection services were located here. From the destruction I would say that we are without any medical or protective services in the near future." he said.
Sam looked at him processing the information. "Island?"
Casan looked at her slightly confused. "Yes, island."
"How far away are your nearest neighbors?" she asked.
"We should be receiving assistance from the Loa Command shortly"
"The Loa Command?" she echoed his words still thinking about the fact that they were on an island.
"Yes, we are part of the Loa Command, the city was established provide a buffer between the Mauna and Loa councils. We sit at almost a halfway point between the territories of both. The Loa command monitors our well being very closely and are probably already aware of our plight."
Sam nodded at his explanation. She rose to meet the Colonel as he moved across the make shift aide station.
"Apparently we are on an island that serves as a buffer zone between two large parties," Sam was about to continue but the Colonel was faster.
"You're thinking maybe this wasn't a natural occurrence," he stated.
"I am not sure, Sir, there is not enough evidence to point to anything else, but I have a bad feeling. Most of the dead we have encountered have not appeared to have any massive physical trauma. Actually, many of them seemed almost unscathed with the exception of being dead. I thought it was odd at the time, but I pushed it to the back of my mind as we were searching." Sam finished her uneasiness growing. "Also, Sir, earthquakes on an island are very rare. Volcanoes yes, earthquakes...." Sam shook her head.
O'Neill nodded having come to trust the feelings of every member of his team.
"Alright then, Major, let's grab Daniel and start heading for the gate,"
Sam nodded spying Daniel crouched over a prone figure. She tapped him on the shoulder motioning him to follow her.
"The colonel wants us to head back for the gate."
"Why? These people need assistance," he said, waving his arms in the direction of the injured.
"Daniel, we don't have time to argue about this. Trust me," Sam felt a sigh of relief as Daniel nodded, following her as the colonel brought up the rear.
Sam was grateful that they were able to slip away without alerting Casan. Having to answer his questions would have been difficult. They picked up their pace and were on the outer edges of the city when they ran into reinforcements from the SGC.
Sam was surprised to find Janet among the personnel that had been sent. She looked over at the doctor as the colonel conferred with the team commander. She watched as Lt. Colonel Johnson nodded his agreement with O'Neill and signaled a retreat to his men.
As the teams turned and headed back to the gate, Sam fell in step beside Janet.
"What's going on, Sam? I was under the impression some major seismic event had occurred causing many casualties. That's why the general sent a team from medical," she said, explaining her presence to Sam.
"That's what we had thought also, but if you notice there are no more tremors. If it had been a natural event the aftershocks would still be going. On top of that we're on an island. There is no way what we experienced was an earthquake," Sam continued. "It turns out that were in the middle of a buffer zone between two powers. I think we may have just experienced a breakdown of peace and the colonel has agreed with me. I think it is best if we get out of here before whoever caused the destruction we witnessed comes calling,"
Janet froze in her tracks; "There are casualties then?"
Sam grabbed her arm pulling her along. "Come on, Janet, if this is a dispute you do not want to get caught in the middle, trust me," Sam said as she increased her pace.
Janet shook her hand off as she kept up. "How can you just leave people when they need our help?" Janet asked, her disdain for that course of action clear.
"It's getting easier every time we jump somewhere we're not wanted," Sam shot back, flinching from the loathing in Janet's voice. She had no desire to get caught up in any more disputes between natives on the worlds they visited.
They finished the rest of the hike in silence. When they had reached the gate, they took time to regroup and take a head count. O'Neill and Johnson conferred with the lieutenant in charge on the rear party and the geological team.
O'Neill made his way over to Carter in a few minutes. "Looks like you were right, Carter. According to the team Hammond sent, there was no way that was a natural event. Dial up the gate so we can get out of here. We'll leave a M.A.L.P. on standby to record the next few days as well as the recording devices they set up. You can ask then to explain them, but the final word is let's get out of here,"
Sam nodded as she stepped up to the gate and began the dialing sequence. She had just engaged the gate when all hell broke loose. A loud whining noise saturated the air and Sam winced as she began setting up the signal transmitter through the gate. She signaled to the advance party that all was clear and the teams began their jump.
Sam looked around trying to pinpoint the source of the noise as she raised her weapon. A sudden movement caught her eye and she identified an incoming object that resembled a helicopter.
"Colonel," she yelled over the whine, noticing he had also located the source of the noise. Sam glanced at the gate noting the teams were entering as quickly as possible. She glanced over to Janet who was mirroring her crouched position. She was about to direct her to the gate when a new element distracted her.
There was movement in the surrounding trees and Sam once again looked to her teammates to find they had also identified the new problem. She took a position behind the dialer podium, dragging Janet back with her. She could barely hear the question as Janet took up a spot near her.
"What?" Janet yelled, noticing Sam's stance.
"We're about to have company!" Sam yelled. "Get to the gate!" she continued, trying to push Janet in that direction.
Janet glanced at the gate and then back to Sam. "I'll go when you go,"
Sam's reply was cut short as figures erupted out of the foliage. The debate on whether or not to fire was cut short as the sound of rounds piercing the air reached them. Sam immediately returned fire, taking aim at the first wave. The remaining team member managed to level the first wave of attacker but the overhead observer moved in closer and began to fire. Sam looked to the gate and realized most of the teams had already jumped and only a handful remained.
She grabbed Janet and headed for the gate. O'Neill, Daniel and Teal'C reached it just before they did. As they stepped through, she felt herself thrown to the ground by an impact from behind. She was winded for a second as she struggled to stand. As she looked up she realized Janet was frozen at the gate.
"GO!" she yelled as she continued to struggle to her feet.
Janet barely hesitated when she realized Sam was no longer beside her, She turned and found the Major lying on the steps to the gate. She was rooted to the spot her paralysis finally broken when Sam raised her head to order her through the gate.
Janet reacted without thought turning back to aid Sam. As she reached her side, she found them surrounded by the armed antagonists they had been trying to escape. Sam struggled to breathe as Janet reached out a hand to steady her while she surveyed their circumstances. As she looked into the faces behind the weapons leveled at them she found herself unsure of the outcome of this mission.
Janet froze with her hand on Sam's shoulder, uncertain of the next move to make. The gate closed with barely a sound as the soldiers moved in roughly grabbing both of the women.
Janet offered no resistance as they searched for weapons while they quickly disarmed Sam.
Commands were shouted and Janet followed Sam's lead and remained silent. A man pushed his way through the group, quickly conferring with the officer that had searched them. He jerked his head to the air as the observer landed in a clearing close to their position. He issued a terse command to the officer as he headed for the craft.
The officer turned directing two of his soldiers to take charge of Sam and Janet. They were roughly directed to the grounded aircraft. Sam winced as they were shoved inside of the craft sore from whatever had thrown her to the ground. Janet gave her a concerned look but Sam shook her head slightly not wanting Janet to draw attention to her discomfort.
The noise of the craft engines made speech impossible. Sam tried to orient herself to their path as they crossed the island. She stole the occasional glance over at Janet taking in her worried glances.
Sam was grateful when their flight ended in less than fifteen minutes. Even in a craft like this it meant they could not have traveled to far from the gate. As the vehicle set down she surveyed their surroundings. The buildings were stark and functional. Her guess would be that this was some sort of training facility. From the men manning it she would further guess the native military force used it.
They were escorted off the flight line to a building close by. Once they had entered the structure their guards directed them to empty chairs. Sam sat trying not to lean back as she looked over to check on Janet. She was impressed that the doctor was managing to maintain such an air of calm.
For Sam, occurrences such as this were beginning to become all too routine. She turned her head as she heard the door open. A tall man with jet-black hair and cool blue eyes entered. The guards visibly straightened and Sam could tell this man possessed a great deal of authority. He waved to the guards and they departed quickly.
He moved around to face Janet and Sam.
"I am Captain Marin Knorre. I am with the Loa Special Forces. We were on special maneuvers when you decided to attack the city of Damias." He paused waiting for a reaction. Sam remained motionless, but Janet began to speak before stopping herself to again follow Sam's lead.
"It was a mistake for the Mauna's to try their new weapon on this island. Usually there would be no available help for days but due to our presence we were able to respond quickly. What I want to know is how have you managed to get the portal to function so that you could enter our province?" Sam could smell his after-shave as he stepped closer. She tried not to flinch as he neared.
"We are not with the Maunas," Sam said, finally breaking her silence.
"Really, then where are you from?" he asked with a sneer.
Sam's answer was interrupted by a knock from the door. Knorre called out permission to enter.
A young soldier opened the door barely glancing at Janet or Sam before addressing his superior. "Sir, Lt. Diceson has requested your presence right away."
Knorre's displeasure at having been interrupted was evident. "Have the guards put these two in the officers barracks. No one else is to talk to them without my permission," he ordered.
"Yes, Sir," Diceson acknowledged as the Captain stalked out.
Diceson moved to the door relaying the Captain's orders. The guards hustled Sam and Janet out the door and across the small compound. No words were exchanged in the short journey to their destination.
The guards directed them into one of the buildings pausing once they had entered to open one of the rooms and push them inside. The door quickly closed the sound of a lock turning caused a knot of dread to form in Sam's stomach
She looked around the small room looking for another route of escape. There was only a small window, which she doubted either she our Janet could fit through. 'Actually Janet just might fit' she thought eyeing the smaller woman.
"What?" Janet asked as she noticed her appraising glance.
"I was thinking you might fit through that window," Sam answered.
Janet gave her a dubious look. "Let's save that as a last resort," she countered.
Sam nodded, inventorying the rest of the room. There was a bed with a stripped down mattress and a built in set of shelves connected to a desk. 'All in all not much to work with but much more comfortable than their usual accommodations she thought wryly.
Janet finally broke the silence. "So, do all of your jumps go this well?"
Sam couldn't help but grin at the sarcasm in Janet's voice. "Wasn't that you last night that complained work was getting to be too monotonous," she shot back.
"I take it back," she replied in a sober tone.
Sam gave her a reassuring look, "Don't worry, I've been in much worse. I am sure the colonel is working on Hammond right now to get back here for us."
"Actually, in all honesty I am not sure I want to face the general right now," Janet confessed.
Sam froze as she turned to look at Janet, "And why is that?" she asked slowly.
"Well, he called for a med. team, but I kind of volunteered myself. I don't think he realized what I had done until I was getting ready to go through the gate." Actually, if the look on his face was anything to go by Janet was positive she wasn't ready to face him.
"Janet, I can't believe you did that. Do you know how much trouble you are going to be in, especially since you ended up being left behind," Sam groaned.
"I would have been through the gate if you hadn't fallen down. Both of us would have been," Janet replied.
"I didn't fall down," Sam retorted hotly.
"Then what happened?" Janet asked.
"I don't know, something hit me," Sam winced as she tried to reach the spot causing her pain.
Janet's demeanor instantly changed as she took charge. "Where does it hurt?" she probed the general area Sam had been indicating.
Sam yelped as Janet's fingers brushed over a tender spot. "I would say right there," she answered through clenched teeth.
"Get your blouse off," she was interrupted by Sam's protest. "Sam, you can leave the T-shirt on, I will just lift it to where I can see so you don't have to worry about being walked in on, but I want that blouse off now." Sam began unbuttoning her Camie top, knowing that there would be no arguing with Janet. This was her domain and she would not budge when it came to the well being of anyone under her care.
Sam shrugged out of the blouse, trying not to twist too much since it increased the ache.
Janet took the blouse, discarding it to the side as she pulled up Sam's T-shirt to survey her back.
An ugly purplish bruise spread from just under Sam's shoulder blade almost to her waist. Janet began to probe it gently, but stopped when Sam's knees began to sag from her explorations.
"Sam, sit down while I take a look at this," Janet said, guiding her to a seat on the bunk.
"Well, before you ask, yeah it hurts when you touch it." The sarcasm was not lost on Janet as she continued to survey the injury.
"Well, as best I can tell it's only a deep bruise. Are you having any discomfort or pain when you breathe?" Janet continued as Sam shook her head. "Well, I don't know what hit you, but it has definitely left its mark. You should be fine in a few days, but until then it will be a little sore." She ignored Sam's look as she finished.
Janet handed Sam back her blouse, which she quickly donned, as Janet took a seat beside her. "So, how long do you think we will be here?" Janet inquired.
"I don't know," Sam answered as she took a small signaling device out of the cargo pocket of her pants.
"What are you doing?" Janet asked as she watched Sam look around the room.
"Somehow they managed to overlook this when they disarmed us. I am putting it somewhere so that they don't find it. If we manage to get out of here we'll need it to get back through the gate.
Without the signal the General will not open the iris." Sam explained as she pried open a vent and stored the device inside.
Janet looked on as Sam finished closing the vent. She took a seat on the bunk wondering what they could expect next.
Sam turned and found Janet seated on the bunk leaning against the wall. She moved across the small room taking a seat next to her friend.
"So, still ready to join up with one of the SG teams?" Sam joked.
Janet leveled a glare at her. "I'm glad you find this so amusing."
Sam sobered as she heard Janet's worry. "Janet, we'll get out of this. We always do," Sam said reassuringly as she placed a hand on Janet's knee.
The time passed slowly and as darkness began to creep in Sam stood to find the lights. She was disgusted to find they were inoperative when she flipped the switch. She wondered whether it was a result of their captors planning or the bulb was just blown.
She went back to take another look at the window over the bunk. It seemed that it would be easy enough to break open. She looked at the area in view noting that there were no guards in sight. She wondered if it was an oversight on their part or they did not thing the window was a viable option for escape. She was in the process of trying to pry open the window when she heard sounds in the hall. She quickly jumped down to a sitting position on the bunk.
The door opened a few seconds later and the lights glared on overhead. 'That answers that question' Sam thought.
Captain Knorre walked into the room followed by a solitary guard. The door closed behind them with a resounding clang.
Sam eyed the captain warily uneasy with his demeanor. Where before there had been a casual contempt there was in its place an air of carefully controlled rage. She was unsure of what had happened in the past few hours but whatever it was did not bode well for them.
"I believe when we last spoke you were about to tell me why I should believe you are not part of the Mauna invasion force," his tone was icy and at his words Sam felt a chill come over her.
Invasion force, it had gone from an attack to an invasion. She saw their chances of talking themselves out of this dwindling.
Sam stood, "Captain, I assure you we are not part of the Mauna forces, much less an invasion force. We are explorers, who came through the gate hoping to meet your people and possibly form an alliance," Sam stalled as the captain took a threatening step towards her.
"You expect me to believe that drivel," he practically shouted. "First Damias is attacked and leveled. Your troops are found fleeing the area. Shortly after they make their escape the same type of weapons attacks our main bases. I think your troops returned to inform the command that their weapons test on Damias had been a success and to go ahead and begin full-scale operations." he stood glaring at Sam with hatred as she struggled to find a rebuttal to his logic.
"Sir--" Sam stopped as he harshly cut off her words.
"I want to know how you use the portal to return to your command," he snapped.
"Sir, I am not with the Maunas I am with--"
He cut her off abruptly, "No more. We have tape from our observer craft that shows you activating the portal. We have tried to duplicate it but nothing we send through comes back. I want to know what is happening to my men and where they are going," he bit out.
Sam knew that even if the Loa's had managed to dial correctly they would have been unable to reintegrate with the iris in place. She tried to hide her knowledge but the Captain must have seen the truth of his men's fate in her eyes.
"Was that a trap as well? Were you purposely left behind to lure my men in pursuit?" he raged.
Sam shook her head wondering how she was going to reason with a man who seemed so irrational. She took a deep breath getting ready to speak once again when she noticed his focus change to a point behind her.
He brushed by her and began showering Janet with the same questions. She stood her ground, giving many of the same answers that Sam had. His frustration mounted as he once again swung to focus on Sam.
"I want to know how we can access the portal to reach your command post," he growled.
Sam felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up at his tone. "I have told you all I know, Sir. Our people mean you no harm and do not wish to enter into a conflict with you."
The captain's face was a mask of hatred as he took in Sam's words. "I do not believe you. I think you are fully capable of leading us back to your command center."
Sam stood her ground as he approached, unwilling to be intimidated. He watched her reaction and apparently decided to try another tact as he stopped.
"You will give me the information I want," he said icily.
Sam stood rooted waiting for his next move. She was surprised when he brushed past her to roughly grab Janet. "I want the information now," he ordered.
Sam was still stunned to see Janet in his grasp much less take in his words. She took a step towards him but was barred by the lone guard. "She's a doctor she came to help the people in Damias," Sam barked out.
"She has a funny way of helping by running in the opposite direction," he retorted.
Janet stood frozen in the grasp of the captain, watching the scene play out before her. She could see a tendril of fear in Sam for the first time since their capture and it worried her. She knew the officer was on the edge of losing control and his actions were unpredictable.
"I want answers," he snarled.
"I have given you all the answers I have," Sam replied slowly.
The swiftness of the captain's actions surprised both Sam and Janet. Sam watched in disbelief as he seized the small doctor.
Sam lunged at the Captain, stopped far short of her goal as she heard the sickening crunch of breaking bone. She watched as Janet sank to her knees still in the tight grasp of Knorre.
"You bastard," her voice was rough as she struggled in the grasp of the guard.
Knorre gave her a twisted glare as he took a firmer hold on Janet's injured arm, twisting slightly.
Janet's ragged scream tore through Sam.
"STOP!!" Sam, yelled as she increased her struggles with the guard. The door opened reinforcements stepping in to subdue Sam.
"I want to know how to travel through the portal," he said, drawing his words out slowly as he increased the stress on Janet.
"I've told you everything I know," Sam grunted as she continued to struggle fruitlessly.
Knorre looked at her his displeasure with her answers evident as he began to contemplate further measures. Before he was able to act the prisoner in his hands collapsed. He weighed the options of reviving her for further use but decided against it. They had taught him in interrogation school that sometimes it was better to let the subject contemplate their future for a while. It could be best to let the Mauna solider contemplate the fate of her friend if she did not cooperate.
Knorre let Janet drop to the ground as he waved the bulk of the guard's back to the hall. He paused before Sam as he was exiting. "I will be back and I will expect the answers I want or your friend will pay the price," he promised.
As soon as she was released Sam was at Janet's side. She managed to prop her up, mindful of the injured limb that seemed to hang out of place. Sam fought for control as she tried to rouse Janet.
Sam cursed quietly as the lights shut off a short time later. Janet came around a few minutes later a short whimper signaling her consciences.
"Sam?" she replied, her words barely a whisper and laced with pain.
"Hey, glad to have you back," Sam said.
"Well, I hope you don't take this personally, but I wish I wasn't," Janet said, trying to deal with the searing pain in her shoulder.
"Janet, you're the doctor. Can you tell me where you're injured? All I know is that it sounded really bad when he did whatever it was he did," Sam continued.
Janet took a shallow breath still fighting the pain. "I think my shoulder is dislocated," Janet answered.
Sam nodded in the dark realizing a moment later that Janet could not see her actions. "Is there anything I can do?"
Janet sat trying to judge the extent of her injury through the pain. "I think you might be able to put it back into place if you follow my directions," Janet said finally.
Sam sat there, unsure of what Janet meant. "Janet, I have had first aide training, but I have no idea how to put a dislocated shoulder back into place," Sam confessed.
"It's easy, Sam," Janet assured her. "Just follow my directions and you will be fine." Janet paused, talking in shallow breaths. Every one hurt and she tried to slow her breathing.
"Sam get on your knees behind me," Janet directed.
Sam complied, kneeling behind Janet. "Ok, what next?"
"You need to bring your arms around each side. Lean your front against my back."
Sam felt Janet flinch beneath her as she made contact causing her back off immediately. "Maybe we should wait until there is someone more qualified to assist you," she said worriedly.
"Sam, the longer it is out of place the more damage there will be. It has to be reset as quickly as possibly. You can do it, Sam," Janet said reassuringly.
Sam moved back into position behind Janet, placing her arms around her so that her hands rested beneath the elbow of her injured arm. She followed Janet's directions, positioning her to pull the injured joint back into place.
The first try was unsuccessful and Janet's cry of pain was almost enough to discourage Sam from further efforts. Janet, however, would not let her quiet and within moments she had Sam ready for another try.
Sam focused on every detail Janet had directed. She did not want to have another go at this maneuver. She sent a short prayer as she put all her might into the pull and push. She felt a wave of relief as the joint moved back into place.
Janet sagged against her the small sobs racking her body, signaling the extent of her pain. Sam held her until she regained some of her composure.
Janet felt the relief amid the pain as her shoulder slid back into place. The practical side of her mind was calculating the recovery time without treatment. She leaned back against Sam exhausted from the ordeal.
Sam finally stood, helping Janet onto the bunk so that she could rest more comfortably. Janet curled up, protecting her injured side as best she could. Sam lay down next to her, the tears falling silently at Janet's back as she dealt with the guilt of her friend's injury.
* * * * * * * * *
Sam lay in the darkness, staring at Janet's back. She knew that Knorre would eventually return. If his previous actions were any indication, he would once again use Janet to attempt to extract information from her. She took a deep breath, knowing that they needed to find a way out of here as quickly as possible.
Janet seemed to have fallen asleep and Sam tried not to wake her as she rolled off the bunk. She made her way to the small window examining it for a latch. She sighed in frustration, as she realized the window was not made to be opened. She glanced around the room trying to find something to break it.
A movement caught her eye as she was turning back. She focused in the dark realizing a sentry was patrolling the area outside the building. She felt a temporary wave of despair, realizing she would be unable to break the window without drawing his attention.
She stepped down from the window and paced the room slowly thinking. A short time later she had reached a decision. Sam took a seat on the floor her back resting against the bunk. She considered her plan again and found it solid. One way or another when Knorre came they were getting out of here.
The night wore on and Sam drifted in and out of sleep. She snapped awake as she heard the lock turning in the door and the lights glared on. Sam stood awaiting the entry of Knorre. She didn't have to wait long as he entered the room two guards close on his heels.
"Well, I see you are awake," he began almost cheerfully.
Sam felt a small shiver run down her spine at the coldness behind his words. She continued to stand without a word, waiting for his next move.
He seemed annoyed with her lack of response as he glanced down at the Janet's sleeping form.
"I see your friend is still resting from my last visit," he taunted as he eyed Sam.
She gave no response as he signaled the guards to rouse Janet. Sam made a fruitless effort to block their path. In seconds, Janet was up, warily eyeing the Captain.
"So, here we are once again," he started as he moved closer to the two officers. "I want to know how to access your portal," he growled as he stepped nearer.
Sam stood her ground, trying not to antagonize him any further.
He zeroed in on her regardless and she tried not to flinch as he moved closer. "I know you are the one who can give me this information. The tapes tell me that much. Do not try to hide your knowledge; your friend will be the one to suffer," he promised as he turned his attention to Janet, grasping the arm he had injured the previous visit.
It was all Janet could manage to keep from crying out as the captain grabbed her. She bit her lip, the tears welling up as she heard him continue to speak.
"The injuries I inflicted last night were minor compared to what I will do now if you do not give me the information I want," he threatened as he gave Janet's arm a savage pull causing her to cry out.
Sam jumped at Janet's cry her anger growing by the minute. "That's enough!" she shouted.
He looked at her with contempt. "Are you ready to give me what I want?"
"Alright begin, I want to know how to use the portal,"
"It's not that easy. I have been studying the gate for six years and still there are times it baffles even me. If you want me to get you through it, you will have to take me there," she said with a note of defiance.
The captain cast a glance at Janet, contemplating Sam's words. He did not want to allow either of them the opportunity to escape, but he had a feeling that the blonde was telling the truth. He signaled the guards to escort the prisoners out. He sent on to have a flight readied to return them to the portal.
Sam tried to mask her relief that Knorre had decided to return them to the gate. She was sure if they could get back to the SGC any intruders on the other side of the gate would be contained. She glanced over to Janet taking in her pale features. She noticed that she was favoring her injured side and there were telltale lines of pain in her face.
Janet looked up, noticing Sam's glance. She tried to give her a reassuring look, but her heart just wasn't in it. The ache in her arm was agony; all she wanted was to lay back down and rest.
They were herded back onto the craft, which they had arrived on. The captain climbed in a few minutes later. The ride back to the gate passed quickly as Sam once again listed her options. As they landed, the guards stepped out quickly ushering the prisoners to the ground. In a few seconds, the craft departed headed back to the camp, Sam guessed.
The Captain strode up to the gate turning to look at Sam. The guards pushed the two women up to the platform. Sam heard a noise behind her and turned to find two trucks pulling up and approximately 10 soldiers piling out. Three struggled with a mass of equipment. Within minutes, they had set it up at the gate. Sam turned an inquiring gaze to Knorre.
"I did mention I was with Special forces," he said. "You didn't think I wanted to open the portal to your command to talk did you?" he finished.
Sam looked back to the equipment that had been set up knowing it was some sort of weapon aimed at the gate. All bets were off there was no way she could dial up home with a weapon pointed at the door.
Knorre looked at Carter expectantly. "I am waiting," he said with a growl.
Sam shook her head as she once again looked at the weapon they had set up. "I can't."
"You will," he said as he pulled out a weapon, aiming it at Janet.
Janet looked to Sam unsure of what to do as Sam continued to gaze at Knorre. "I will not," she said evenly.
His face contorted into a mask of rage as he raised his weapon. "You have three seconds to begin activating the portal before your friend dies."
Sam refused to look at Janet as his words weighed on her. She listened as he began counting. At three, he turned his attention to Janet.
Sam closed her eyes as a shot rang out followed by the sound of a zat blast. Her eyes snapped open as she registered the chaos around her. She looked for Knorre, finding him crouched a few feet away trading fire with his attackers.
Sam was on him in seconds. The attack from his rear surprised him and she quickly knocked away his weapon. Her rage bubbled to the surface as she pummeled him mercilessly. Around them the sounds of battle ceased as the attackers took charge.
Members of the SGC piled out of the bush, one stopping to quickly dial the gate.
Sam barely heard her name called as she continued to beat their tormentor. She felt strong arms pull her away as she struggled.
Finally, O'Neill's voice registered as well as Teal'C's presence as he firmly held her. She focused on the colonel as she angrily shook off his grip. She looked over to the spot she had last seen Janet realizing she was no longer there. She swung around surveying the area.
O'Neill had followed her gaze. "Carter, she's already through the gate. Let's go before we have any more company," he said looking around as he gently grasped her arm.
At his words, she glanced at the gate before looking back to Knorre lying prone on the ground. She nodded to the Colonel and turned to the gate. He and Teal'C moved in the same direction. She let O'Neill pass in front of her and lunged to grab his side arm. She had already turned and taken aim by the time he had realized what had happened.
Knorre looked up in time to see Sam take careful aim at his head. He traded looks with her as she pulled back the hammer on the 45.
Sam, Teal'C, and O'Neill stepped through the gate and into the SGC. Sam paused long enough to shove O'Neill's weapon into his startled hands. She stalked down the ramp, bypassing the general without a word as he cleared his throat to speak.
Hammond looked at her retreating back with surprise as he turned to demand an explanation from O'Neill.
O'Neill held his hands up as he followed closely in Sam's wake. "Sir, if you could, I'll handle this," he said as he passed by.
Hammond turned his attention to Teal'C as he came to a halt in front of him.
"What is going on Teal'C?" Hammond demanded.
"I believe Major Carter is upset, General," he answered calmly.
Hammond started to clarify his question but decided against it. Something had happened and he knew regardless of what he asked the Jaffa was unlikely to give him the answers he wanted if Teal'C didn't want to answer.
"Make sure Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill know that I want them in briefing room two in twenty minutes for a post mission briefing," Hammond ordered.
Teal'C nodded as he left the gate room. He knew it would probably take that long for the Colonel to get the Major to the briefing. He wondered what O'Neill would say when he posted his mission report.
O'Neill followed in Carter's wake at a fast clip. He finally caught up to her a short distance from the infirmary.
"Carter, Carter!" he finally reached out to grasp her arm and was surprised when she stopped and spun around, shaking him off.
"What do you want, Colonel?" her voice was icy and sent a chill through O'Neill.
"We need to talk about what happened before we jumped?"
"There's nothing to talk about Colonel," Sam replied evenly.
"The hell there isn't, Major," Jack tried to lower his voice as they gained looks from personnel in the corridor.
"How long had you been back on the planet, Sir?" Sam asked.
Jack was caught off guard by her question. "What?"
"How soon did you return to the planet?" she repeated.
"We used the monitoring stations the geological team had left to check the area when they activated the gate. We were able to pinpoint a time when there were no troops in the area and we jumped. Within minutes of jumping, returning troops boxed us in. We had only been there about 2 hours when you arrived. Why?"
"When they were demanding the gate be activated, why didn't you attack then?" she questioned.
"We were waiting for the best opportunity. We didn't know exactly what the troop situation was. I didn't want to expose our position until I knew what was going on," he finished, trying to figure out where she was going with this.
"He had a gun to her head for minutes. Why did you wait so long to fire?" her words were barely above a whisper, but O'Neill could feel the anger radiating off her in waves.
"Carter, I made the best decision I could in a bad situation," he tried to explain. He reached out to grasp her shoulder and was surprised when she gave him a forceful shove. He stumbled back hitting the wall more stunned from her actions than the impact itself. O'Neill straightened up about to reply when Teal'C interrupted them.
"Colonel, Major, the general has ordered both of you to report to briefing room two in ten minutes for the post mission briefing," he said as he watched his friends continue to trade glares.
"Fine, I'll be there," Carter said as she spun on her heel and continued her journey to the infirmary.
O'Neill stood there still trying to comprehend the events of the past hour. He looked over to Teal'C who merely raised an eyebrow as he looked back.
"This is not the Sam Carter I know," O'Neill said speaking more to himself than Teal'C.
"Indeed, it would appear that Major Carter has been altered by her experience on the planet. What do you intend to report to General Hammond about the minutes before we returned through the gate?"
"I wish I knew," O'Neill said as he turned to make his way to the debriefing room.
Sam slowed as she stepped into the infirmary. Most of the beds were taken up by returning team members. She looked around for a nurse or doctor. She managed to catch Lt. Jakes as he moved out from behind a curtain.
"Lt. Jakes," Sam called out as she approached the nurse.
"Major Carter, are you here to be seen?" he asked.
Sam shook her head; "I wanted to check on Dr. Fraiser. I don't see her in any of the beds," she said as she looked around again.
"Dr. Delaney put her in the on-call room so that she could have some privacy. As you can tell, we‘re a bit swamped at the moment from the last mission," he said, waving to the occupied beds.
Sam nodded understanding. "Do you know what her condition is?" she asked.
Jakes gave her a long look before answering. "I'm not supposed to give out patients status, Major, but just between you and me, she will be fine. Delaney sedated her after he set the shoulder so that she could get some rest not to mention to give her a little pain relief," he added, wincing in sympathy as he remembered the injury.
"Would you like to see her? I am sure Dr. Delaney wouldn't have a problem with that," he asked.
Sam wavered for a moment before shaking her head. "No, I have a post mission briefing I am about to be late for," she answered. Sam stopped herself to ask a final question before she left. "Jakes, do you know who is taking care of Cassie since Janet is out?" she asked hoping he had an answer.
Jakes nodded. "Dr. Jackson went out to stay at her house when she didn't return from the jump," he answered.
Sam nodded, relieved that Daniel was with Cassie. She had just realized as Jakes spoke his name that she had not seen him since stepping back through the gate. She berated herself knowing that normally she would not of missed that detail. "Thank you Lt. I'll be back later when you are not so busy," Sam promised as he gave her an acknowledging smile. Sam left the infirmary headed for the debriefing with the General. She was not looking forward to facing the colonel again and felt her anger begin to resurface as she neared the briefing room.
Sam entered to find only O'Neill and Teal'C present. She took a seat without looking at the colonel.
A few minutes later the general walked in; they snapped to attention, taking their seats as he gave them a, "As you were." Hammond looked to Sam first. "Major, I would like you to begin the debriefing beginning with the capture of Major Fraiser and yourself," Hammond ordered.
Carter nodded as she began her narrative of their ordeal. She moved through the interrogation by Captain Knorre, stumbling as she described Janet's assault. She cleared her throat and continued to outline the events leading up to their appearance at the gate.
O'Neill broke in as she reached the point where Knorre had threatened to execute Janet. He covered the rest of the events up to their return through the gate.
Sam leveled the same look at him she had used when he had lied about stealing technology from the Tollans. Jack ignored her as he continued finishing with their return. He looked at Hammond awaiting any questions.
"Recommendations, Colonel?" Hammond asked.
"Sir, at this point these inhabitants seem to have entered a major conflict. I would recommend avoiding the planet until this conflict has been resolved. I do not believe in their current state, they are a threat to us unless we were to return," O'Neill reported.
Hammond nodded, directing his gaze to Sam. "Major?"
"I agree with the colonel, Sir," Sam said.
"Very well, I will have the planet entered as such. Is there anything further you would like to share about the mission?" Hammond probed.
O'Neill and Carter both shook their heads as the General stood. "Very well, you are dismissed," Hammond ordered.
O'Neill and Teal'C exited the room ahead of Hammond and Sam took advantage of the moment of privacy.
"General?" she called, stopping him before he could exit.
"Sir I have 90 days on the books and I would like to put in a request to use some of the time," Sam requested.
"How much time are you looking at, Major?" Hammond inquired.
"I would like to take 25 days, Sir," she replied.
"That's a lot of time, Major. You have responsibilities here," Hammond countered.
"I know, Sir, but there are plenty of capable candidates from the other teams that can fill my place with SG-1 on a temporary basis, Sir,"
"Major, is this due to some kind of conflict with Colonel O'Neill?" Hammond asked the argument in the infirmary corridor having already reached his ears.
"No, Sir, I am due the time and I would like to take it, Sir."
Hammond eyed her carefully. "Very well Major, submit the papers and I will approve them."
"Yes, Sir, one other thing, Sir, I would like to submit my leave agenda to you personally, Sir, and no one else," Sam requested.
"Any particular reason, Major?" Hammond asked.
"I don't want to be disturbed unless it is official business, Sir. You know how loosely leave agendas are kept, Sir,"
Hammond nodded, "Very well, Major, I will grant your request. Submit your papers and leave me your agenda personally with a method of contact."
"Thank you, Sir, I will have them on you desk in the morning," Sam promised.
Hammond dipped his head hoping he was doing the right thing as he watched her leave.
Sam headed for her quarters in a hurry to clean up and pack. She wanted off of the base as soon as possible.
* * * * * * * * * *
Sam shoved the last of her things in a bag, glancing around the room quickly before she zipped it up. She slipped on her jacket slinging the bag over her shoulder as she left her room.
Sam made a brief stop by the infirmary to check on Janet. She found her condition unchanged as before and once again chose not to see her.
She left the base her thoughts crowing in on her as she traveled the now familiar trek to Janet's house. She pulled into the drive and had barely had time to open the car door before Cassie came bounding across the lawn to greet her.
"SAM!" she shouted happily as she wrapped her small arms around her.
Sam bent down to grasp the young girl in a bear hug. She lifted her up and held her tightly for a few minutes before she set her back down.
"Where is Daniel?" she asked as she looked around the yard.
"He's making dinner. He is using the grill. He said it was the only thing he was sure he could use when it came to cooking," Cassie added with a giggle.
Sam smiled as she reached out to rest her arm on the young girl's shoulders. "Well let's go check on him," she said as she moved toward the house.
"When is Janet coming home?" Cassie asked as they reached the front door.
Sam paused at the question and then moved on into the house. "She should be home tomorrow, sweetheart."
She could see the disappointment at her answer and gave the small shoulder a squeeze of understanding.
They stepped onto the patio to find Daniel Jackson busily grilling a variety of items. The smell made their mouths water as he turned to give Sam a happy grin.
"It's good to see you Sam. Where is Janet?" he asked as he looked behind her for the doctor.
"She's at the base. She won't be coming home until tomorrow. Can you stay until then?" Sam asked.
Daniel looked at her for a moment before answering. "Sure, no problem, " his eyes gave a questioning look though as he tried to understand why she would ask him to stay when she was here.
"Dinner smells good. What are you fixing?" Sam said trying to direct the conversation to a neutral topic.
"I barbecued d some chicken and threw on some potatoes. There's a salad in the fridge. You're planning on eating with us, right?" he said as he glanced down at Cassie.
Sam followed his gaze to find Cassie staring up at her expectantly. She looked to Daniel nodding her assent.
Daniel smiled, pleased that they would all be eating together. "Well, then why don't you two get out the plates and I will pull the stuff off the grill. It is almost done and I am starved," he said as he turned back to the grill.
Sam looked down to Cassie and felt an involuntary smile rise to her lips as Cassie gave her a grin. They quickly pulled out the plates and set the table as Daniel brought in the meal.
Dinner passed quickly as Daniel and Sam entertained Cassie. Once they had finished and cleaned up they retired to the living room to watch a little TV before Sam finally decided it was time to put Cassie to bed.
Daniel waited while Sam put his young charge to bed. He was anxious to find out what had happened on the planet after the team had jumped. He was equally interested in finding out what had happened to Janet, which had forced her to remain on base for the night.
Sam finally reappeared downstairs a short time later. She glanced at Daniel as she entered the kitchen. Daniel got up and followed her in surprised to find her rummaging around the liquor cabinet. He watched as she pulled out a green bottle and poured a healthy amount into an ice filled glass. She added a small amount of soda before turning to face him.
"Well, that looks like a pretty healthy drink," he said as he watched her take another swallow.
"I would say that was quiet observant, Daniel," Sam replied dryly.
Daniel searched for the right words as he continued to watch Sam. He had a feeling that something was different but he wasn't sure what. There just seemed to be an edge to her that had not been there before. "What happened after we jumped through the gate?" he finally asked.
Sam gave him an even look before giving him a brief outline of the events. He flinched as she described Janet's treatment at the hands of Knorre. She finished with her leave plans taking in his surprised look.
"I just thought you might want to spend time here. I am sure Janet could use a little help and I know you love spending time with Cassie," he said as he shrugged.
Sam poured another drink as she processed his words. "I think the last thing Janet needs right now is any help from me. I also think it would be better if she and Cassie were to spend some time alone while she recuperates."
Daniel stood there confused. He didn't understand Sam's logic but he could tell from the set of her body that now was not the time to probe further. "Alright, where are you planning on going?" he asked trying to prolong their conversation.
"That's personal, I am going to head to bed now, Daniel. I'll talk to you later," she said as she moved out of the kitchen.
Daniel stood there, stunned by Sam's abrupt dismissal. He was about to follow her but decided to wait until morning.
* * * * * * * * * *