DISCLAIMER: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning SG: SG1 belong to MGM, Gekko, Secret Productions etc, they are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended, absolutely none what so ever.
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Enter the Fantastic
By Elizabeth Carter
The camp was disassembled and the gear gathered. Twenty minutes later SG1 was hiking toward the location the UAV had pinpointed as the citadel of the weapon that had rendered the Goa'uld and Jaffa warriors helpless.
The road wound its way thru thickening woodlands, the trees as gnarled fingers stretched and twisted, as the bony fingers of a decrepit old woman reaching out to steal the very breath of the living. The hike thru witches-wood past the hangman's tree, was of dark foreboding, a place of twilight, a place it was rumored by the locals to be occupied by half beings. A twilight world of spirits, of ghosts, of ghouls, and banshees, and apparitions of the netherworld, of darkness and cold. A horrifying timewarp of disembodied souls lost forever in purgatory. A place of stark and strange happenings. The ground clotted with white blue mist that rose in the air, swirling about the trunks of trees as if to snuff out the tenuous life they held.
SG1 and their companion approached with hesitant care, their boots grindingpopping against the gravel road, their flashlights reflecting off the fog, in flickering shadows... they were shadows weren't they? The wind was unmerciful in its galling forcefulness, nearly lifting the four from their feet. Somewhere in the distance a church bell tolled - hollow and lonely -haunting carrying the foreboding of the darkness.
Janet sucked in a deep breath. This seemed all too familiar. She had been here and yet she knew she had never before set foot on PX596783. Yet everything here was so familiar. Too familiar.
Out of the derelict landscape, a stark hillside loomed over them. A strange and barren place where birds will not sing and animals will not go, where horses shy and dogs run with hackles raised in fright. Nothing much grows there any more. It is a dank and desolate place, where nobody stays for long. This was a place on the edge of darkness. Here people whistled bravely to themselves or try to despite a sudden dryness of the mouth, a quickening of the heartbeat. If the hairs on the back of their necks rose they would be intelligent enough to not to look back.
Janet's apprehension rose again. It was the apprehension of recognizing everything and yet having never been there. Something nagged at the back of her mind. Screamed at her to get herself and the others out of this place. Get out before something unwarranted occurred.
Before the five travelers stood an ancient ruined cathedral, reached by way of an old wooden covered bridge. As they started to move, thunder crackled above them, out of a cloudless black sky, lighting flickered in white-blue fingers against the inky firmament and the full moon pregnant with silver light. It was a warning perhaps, not to cross that bridge. But nothing would stay SG1's curiosity. Nothing would stay Sam's aroused curiosity and Janet could almost taste it.
Through the centuries past the path had become overgrown with choking foliage, they would need to walk with deliberate care, but there was truly nothing to worry about. A foot upon that first wooden plank and the bridge moaned, growing with the weight. A groan with the second step and dust fell from the floorboards to the watery darkness below...perhaps there was something to worry about after all.
But everyone knows that manifestations of the spirit world are but figments of the imagination. Everyone knows that. Don't they? 'God ... why the hell is this getting to me? I can't let this consume me. I need to be alert. Sam needs me to be alert. I can't shake this feeling. I know this place. I've been here ... Sam's been here ... '
The wind was unforgiving with its galling force biting at them whipping canvas BDUs around lean frames in chilling tantrums. Its sound a wailing dirge of sorrow and lamentation, its sudden appearance like the lighting and thunder above was uncanny and spectral. The smell of rain thick in the air, the stink of ozone as the lighting tore through the firmament. The wind as a baon sidhe's cry.
Some people don't believe in ghosts, but in certain places and at certain times the unbelievable does happen. No terror is greater than that forged by an imagination that has had its reign. Gone unchecked in the inky blackness of a storm filled night, with the wind howling; the drumming of cattails against an old wooden stump, can cause the blood to burn madly in frantic rushes from the heart. And the darkness pulls in everything, shapes and shadows... light and sound... the beating hearts... the darkness gives the mind twilight apparitions and visions from the beyond. And it gives off a powerful smell of night, damp and miserable cold. Fantasy all.
Sam had watched her beloved for the last few moments Janet was completely distracted, which was very unlike her. "Janet what is it? What's wrong?"
"Sam, call it intuition if you want" She gave a dubious look to the sinister area that had been the harbinger of the nightmare she had had several months ago. "But I have a very bad feeling about this whole thing."
Sam never discounted her lover's feelings. But a part of her justified Janet's unrest to the fact the doctor was rarely offworld.
"I've seen a lot worse then this makeshift Harry Potter world, Jan. We'll be okay."
Janet bit her lower lip. She wasn't a coward, nor was she easily intimidated but something about this place made her completely uneasy. It wasn't the construction before them that made Janet nervous; it was something she could never hope to define save perhaps a premonition of unnamed danger.
The thing with gods is, they need an audience. So, in that cause they created their own worlds for this purpose. And these gods dragged their own assortment of yes-men, toadies, and freaks along. Because even if you are an alien parasite that has delusions of godhood, you need someone to quiver in fear every time you twitch. And you needed followers to erect temples in your glory. Temples that stood like this derelict edifice before SG1 would have been the central axis point of the cult that followed a particular Goa'uld.
It was obvious the Goa'uld who had ruled this planet was gone the followers were gone. Rebels that fought a civil war were gone. But the rumor remained. It was said by Jaffa and Tok'ra alike that this world had defensive weapons that had weakened the power of the false gods. That was why the Flagship team had been sent in to find it and if possible relocate it back to Earth. Because the Intel from the Tok'ra said it was a medical weapon Janet was ordered to accompany the team to make a threat assessment as well as assess its potential as a bio-weapon.
The oddity of the dark forest seemed to be as defining a border as the Land of Light and the Land of Dark. The closer to the cathedral the team got the brighter the landscape became. The shadows gave way to a new vision. Now that the team members could see well enough all five became very very nervous. They were in the middle of a landscape that looked like what one would get if Salvador Dali and Dr. Seuss had collaborated together. It was flat, basically, Flat as Kansas. Except that someone had come along with a gigantic ice cream scoop and hollowed out deep, plunging, almost perfectly round valleys. Then the ice cream scoop piled up here and there in improbable rounded hills, one two, three scoops high. They were within twenty feet of the edge of one of the big holes. They hadn't even known it.
But as weird as this basic geography was it was what covered the hills and the land and filled the valleys that made it clear they were very, very far from home. They were trees. Like palm trees that had long serpentine trunks. Like maples or elms or oaks that at the top they suddenly sprouted robust branches. The leaves ranged from pointy, French cooking knife shapes to fans to six-pointed stars to large, flat pie plates with cutouts in the shapes of triangles or eye slits. The leaves were sea-foam green and pink and burnt orange and rain-slicker yellow. And some were mirrors that caught the morning sun's strengthening rays and seemed almost to catch fire, so that as they looked down into the nearly circular valley or back to the triple scoop mountain or at the trees swaying over head they were dazzled and blinded by glittering, reflected light.
"Definitely not in Kansas anymore boys and girls." Jack O'Neill said as he moved his dark sunglasses onto his face, then straightened his ball cap.
"This is unreal." Janet voiced as she saw her lover grinning like the Cheshire cat
"I've never seen anything like this." Sam echoed her beloved. "It's amazing."
"Yeah more weird trees," complained O'Neill. "Come on kids we have a weapon to locate we can sightsee later."
It always intrigued Sam that as much as her CO loved the fish, had a log cabin in Northern Minnesota (which was densely forested), even his house in Colorado Springs had the woodsman look to it, how he seemingly hated the woods. Hating sandy planets Sam could fully understand. She hated sandy planets. But hating the woods when you typically surrounded yourself in it on purpose wasn't logical to the scientist's mind.
And so to the cathedral they went.
The cathedral itself was more like a Grecian temple than Westminster Abbey. It was comprised almost entirely out of jade marble. The floor itself was huge squares of white marble caulked with gold. Marble and gold. And where the marble would end the half arch mosaic would begin. Here there were millions of perfectly joined one inch tiles of silver, of ebony, of sapphire, of emerald, of gold, all formed into huge scenes of Grecian gods warring upon other Pagan gods. No doubt a battle of the System Lords. It was if the architects were given Legos and Lincoln logs of marble and gold, gold, gold and yet more gold and told to go play. It was beautiful and garish all at the same time. A baroque wedding cake would have looked like a bland Betty-Crocker easy-bake cake in comparison to the gaudiness of this place.
The central chamber was unlike the others in that the entire room was constructed seemingly out of a single emerald gem. Directly in the center of the chamber lay a golden ark, which was not unlike the Ark of the Covenant in Hebrew tradition. Save the figures upon its top were not angelic but Goa'uld queens in rampant formation.
Machello had developed advanced technology to battle the Goa'uld. He was captured and tortured. The System Lords marked him to become a Goa'uld host, so his knowledge could be retained. Before the ceremony of implantation, he killed several Jaffa and escaped. He had created several great and terrible ways to battle the Goa'uld: body switching devices, and jelly troglodyte devices that killed the symbiote and caused the host to become separated in a schizophrenic manner. All Machello's found inventions and devices had been transferred to Area 51. It seemed that he was widespread in his distribution of his inventions as this ark seemed to be another one of his anti-Goa'uld devices.
Remembering what had happened on Cimmeria with the Hammer device, Teal's stood by watching as two of his comrades entered the small hall that lay before them.
The ark in front of the two scientists stared to hum in what could only be described as wordless mounting joy.
"Sounds like its building up some kind of charge." Daniel said slowly.
Sam Carter looked back to her lover and read her apprehension. Janet wasn't easily frightened and yet in those dark orbs fear was definitely registering. "I have a really bad feeling about this," she muttered more to herself then to Daniel.
Jack recalled the land of the Vikings as well that hum brought back some bad memories. "Right you two out of there now."
They had come this far The archeologist was hard pressed as to why they should fall back now. "Why?" He asked knowing he was the only one to be able to do so without falling out side the lines of military protocol.
"Just do it that's an order." Sometimes he just wished Daniel would stop asking dumb questions and do as he was told.
It was then the ark chose to become alive. A red beam struck Daniel with no effect. Then it hit Sam. The humming has changed pitch. The room moaned in anticipation. As the ark lit up, the room cried out in anticipation.
"Carter get outta there!" Jack screamed the order
The beam intensity increased causing Sam to scream in pain. Janet moved. This wasn't a decision, she simply ran for her lover. But both the Colonel and Janet were too late. As Sam vanished into the light, the light disengaged as if it never was.
Teal'c dodged past the stunned and staring Daniel, knocking the smaller man to his knees. The colossal man knew that his dear friend was gone. And he knew that carrying a larval Goa'uld would mean he would be treated just as Samantha had been. The manner in which Sam had vanished was not unlike the vanishing of Teal'c and Jack O'Neill when Thor's Hammer scanned them.
She didn't know where she was or how she got there. More importantly she didn't know where her mommy was. The tiny child tried to sit up but she felt as if her big brother was pinning her down to tickle her. Only there was no brother, no tickling and there was only the dim light. All in all she thought it was becoming very scary. Still she was curious as to what she saw around her.
"Mum!" She cried out in a high-pitched three year old's voice. "Mummy!" her tiny voice pleaded. When her mother didn't come she started to cry. She tried to move again but everything felt so heavy.
The weight that was upon her came from the thick heavy black vest, which was easily wiggled out of. But the vest seemed to be tied to the pants she was wearing. Investigating it the child discovered that the vest had belts and clasps. There were dozens of them. They reminded the girl of the clasps of a life vest when she went boating with Daddy and Uncle George. Unclasping one of them the blonde child discovered a strange silver snake like thing.
"Huh... its like ray-gun off of Star Trek." She said pulling the Zat-gun free. Turning it around in her hand the child shrugged and set the toy thing down then looked at the other pouch at her side. Unbuckling it and the one at her waist the blonde girl found she was more or less free.
She didn't recall playing dress up with her Daddy's old uniform like she used to but apparently she had been. She had black shiny combats boots on which she untied and tossed aside. And undid the ties at the cuffs of her trousers then she simply stepped out of the olive pants.
The child realized she was wearing only boxer shorts that were way to big as was the black long sleeved shirt she was wearing. Going back to the pants the girl knelt down and started to remove the smaller of the two the belts so that she could put it around her waist so the boxers wouldn't slip off.
"There is so much stuff!" She said to no one in particular. "No wonder it was so heavy."
"Whoa!" she said in near fear as she saw what looked like a rifle on the floor near her. She knew it was a gun, a big gun and she knew she wasn't supposed to touch it. Daddy had his guns locked up and she had touched it once and Daddy had punished her so hard and Mummy punished daddy for cleaning his rifle in front of the children. Rubbing the phantom feeling of the spanking from her bum she kicked the P90 away from her.
In her insatiable curiosity the blonde toddler started to rummage through the vest pockets, which was a lot more fun then playing with the gun. There was Kleenex's; something called foot powder and green soap. She found a compact first aid kit and bandages all of which she tossed aside. There were other packets that contained pills she tossed those too. "Boring junk."
There was a canteen, which contained water. Opening it up she took a deep draught of the wetness. Then smacked her lips just like her Daddy showed her how. Screwing the cap back on she set the container down to save for later.
The vest also contained four heavy metal balls that had a funny top on them with pins. She ignored then and started digging through the other pockets. In one pocket she found four silver packets she recognized that Daddy always had around the basement and the garage and in the trucks and cars. They were called MRE's. Setting then alongside the canteen the girl decided she would save then for later. She found a lighter but put that along side the funny balls because she wasn't allowed to touch lighters.
She found a neato walkie-talkie and a headset that again reminded her of Star-Trek both were tossed along side the other to save stuff. They would be cool to play with. Mark had a set but he never let her play with them now she had one of her own! She discovered sunglasses, a flashlight, and batteries, something she recognized that daddy always wore on his belt and even Mummy had one in her purse as a multi-use tool called a Leatherman. There was a hand-sized thing that looked a lot like a camera or her toy viewfinder. Shrugging not understanding she was holding a micro-hand recorder she tossed it aside.
There were goggles that made dark things green. "Cool!" she smirked. And put them with the other things she wanted to keep, Mark would be so jealous she found such neat stuff. In another pocket she discovered two candy bars. Her mother was just starting to teach her how to read so it took her a little while to sound out '5th Avenue.' Drawing her knees up under the large black shirt/ dress she was wearing the child started to greedily munch on the candy bars. And for a moment she forgot her fear.
"Carter!" Jack roared loudly. "Carter!"
"Jack..." Daniel said questioning or asking not even the archeologist knew for sure.
Janet felt her heart surge with a will of its own. And it was her voice that betrayed her concern and love. "Sam! Oh God Sam." Janet ran into the room her lover had disappeared from.
"Janet I don't think that is a wise idea." Daniel trailed after her.
"For crying out loud!" Jack cursed. "Danny, Doc..."
"O'Neill.... we should search the perimeter for Major Carter." Came the monotone-baritone voice of Teal'c. "She might have been transported into a labyrinth as we had been."
"Yeah." Jack murmured darkly. His dark brown eyes settled closely upon the archeologists with unvoiced accusations. Had he but listened Sam would not now been in pain or peril.
Daniel could not lift his eyes to meet either Jack or Janet.
Another half of an hour and the search of the chamber of the Ark was fruitless. Nothing turned up save for the inscriptions along the base of the Ark.
'And the Goa'uld shall pass and become as weakened as the very young.'
Considering the views of half of the aliens encountered by SG1, 'the very young' could equally mean a more primitive level of technological advancement than a literal translation of physical age. Also following the example of Thor's Hammer, the scanning device had obviously picked up on the protein marker left in Sam from Jolinar. Which meant that Teal'c aiding in the investigation of the chamber was out of the question. The last thing they needed were two missing but hopefully not dead members of the team.
When life becomes surreal, unrecognizable it was a safe bet to go back to the basics. SG1 might be used to this odd wrap your teammates into another place, bizarre alien devices world but to Janet it was still unsettling. She was accustomed to treating staff-wounds, alien diseases, mind-altering up-graded armaments, Neanderthal pathogens, invading black holes and silver-Lego block replicators. Goa'ulds, Tok'ra and Roswell grays that were called the Asgard, but to see your love warped right out existence was almost too much to take in her stride. Wasn't there supposed to be a rule, a formula to this type of thing? The hero survives everyone else is expendable. That was the way these things were supposed to go.
The hunt for Sam was going nowhere they spent half the day searching the entire confines of the cathedral with nothing to show for it but tired feet and exhausted patience. Footsteps seemed too loud in the empty bastion, as if each step was a mortifying transgression against the taxed reserves of the heart.
Another noise, as if someone had accidentally kicked a can. Not a frightening noise. Except for the fact that no noise is innocent when every nerve in your body is stretched as tight as a guitar string.
"Probably a rat." Daniel said to Jack.
O'Neill gave him one of his sideways glances. "Come on," he said
Nothing to see. Mostly emptiness. Some humongous stone platforms, tall and massive as
marble mausoleums and amongst them seemed something of a door.
Before them a little girl huddled against the cold stone alcove trying to make herself smaller. The slight breeze feathered her straggly blonde hair around her face and shoulders. Her large blue eyes seemed to grow bigger when she spotted the two men approaching her.
Jack hoped he had shown her he meant her no harm. Moving slowly and carefully, he reached out his hand showing that it was empty and non-threatening.
"Hey there." He smiled
Blue eyes stared in wonder.
"You have a name?"
"Not telling." The toddler spat out and tried to dodge past the strange male, but he caught a hold of her.
The girl screeched, in her struggles to free herself of the powerful arms that held her. She squiggled, twisted, kicked and finally she resorted to biting his hand.
"Oww!" Jack hollered and dropped the tyke, and tried to shake the sharp pain out of his appendage. "That hurt you little sh... ."
The blonde child quickly scrambled to her feet and sprinted away but not before grabbing the Zat-gun. She wheeled around and tried to make it out of the door but came face-to-face Daniel.
The child didn't think, she reacted. She pulled the trigger on the Zat-gun. The reaction was immediate and frightening. Daniel convulsed when the tendrils of electricity surrounded his body. He went down with a cry of pain and dizziness.
The blonde child gasped and started to whimper as she stared at the fallen man.
Jack threw his arms up in mock surrender. "Hey..." he said trying to keep the calm in his voice. Hoping to gain the little child's attention. If she shot Daniel again he was dead. "Umm no one is going to hurt you." He tried to sound kind.
The child was shivering, her large blue eyes starring. "I... .I ....he....he..."
"Its okay... just put the zat down okay?" Jack moved closer.
The girl was shocked. She didn't move she didn't react she just stared.
"No one wants to hurt you."
"O'Neill!" Teal'c called out as he and Janet had heard the high-pitched scream. Then upon entering the ante-chamber they saw the fallen Daniel, Jack with his hands up and a toddler holding a gun.
The girl whipped her head around and stared. "A giant!" She cried out.
"Great, Teal'c!" Jack snapped.
The girl once more reacted to her terror. She didn't know where she was or who these men were but the giant made her tummy feel funny the man on the ground who was hit by lightening started to moan and the gray haired man was yelling again. All she knew she was very very scared. She threw the zat gun at the giant man and moved past him as quickly as her tiny legs would carry her.
Once out of the room the strangers opened up the child ran head long into another person. This one was a woman.
"He-ey." The woman turned and knelt down to her eye level. "Shhh."
"There's ... there's a giant.....and and and lots of mean men... and the giant!" Large tear filled blue eyes wept. "And...I don't ...know where my Mummy is!"
Janet turned the girl around so she was shielded from the antechamber and the others who were now coming out. The doctor put a hand up to indicate that the male members of SG1 stay back for the moment.
"We'll find her okay?" Janet soothed gently taking the trembling child into her arm and stroking the unruly locks.
Jack and Daniel watched as Janet worked her magic and calmed the terrified toddler. It was then as Daniel was getting to his feet he noticed the disarray of SG equipment and clothing that had obviously been shed.
"Jack... I think I know where that kid came from." Daniel was now on his feet, yet his eyes didn't lift from the pile of items on the floor.
The colonel followed the younger man's gaze then back to the girl who was holding on tightly to Janet Fraiser.
"Oh no way... "
"And the Goa'uld shall pass and become as weakened as the very young."
Teal'c's eyebrow rose, signifying his own amazement.
Janet had finally managed to calm the tiny child down to where she felt she could speak to her. "Hey my name is Janet. What's yours?"
The toddler wiped her runny nose on the back of her long black sleeve, and with a quivering lip she stared into the doe eyes of this very pretty lady.
"Sam....Sam...Samantha." She said in almost a tear-choked whisper.
Janet snapped her eyes up to the others
"Oh my god."
Janet cradled the tot in her arms protectively, kissing the unruly blonde mane. "Samantha, honey do you remember how you got here?"
"No." The three-year-old voice was high pitched soft and completely unlike the Samantha Carter the four had known. There was also more than just a trace of her Canadian accent which as an adult she had somewhat filtered due to the extensive moving around a Military Brat must endure. "I think I am lost. My mummy is lost she isn't here." Her large blue eyes steadied on to Janet. "Do you know where she is?"
Janet winced. Yes she knew where Rebecca Carter was, but to tell a little child that her mother has been dead for fifteen years would not go well. "Um...right now no I don't sweetie." Janet answered, her delicate hand rubbing the tiny back of the child she once called lover. Her own eyes glinted in tears of what she realized that she may have lost forever her beloved.
Jack, Daniel and Teal'c all winced in the scene before them. Their dear friend had been reduced to a child. When her blue eyes turned to them, fear was radiating in them once more.
"Jan...Janet the giant! Giants eat people!"
"Oh no no no no no no honey." Janet held Sam close to her. "Teal'c is a friend.. um is a friendly giant." She gestured for the goliath of a man to come closer. When he did Sam pulled tighter into Janet's arms and whimpered. She looked at him from her hidden location under the jacket Janet was wearing.
"I will not harm you." Teal'c said in his warmest voice. He kneeled down and held out his hand as he had once to Cassandra when he first came in contact with her.
Janet touched Teal'c hand first and smiled reassuringly. "See he's my friend."
Looking to the doe eyes of the doctor then back to the massive man before her, the three year old summoned all her courage and reached with curious fingers to touch the golden brand on his forehead. "What's that?"
Teal'c full lips pulled into a warm closed mouthed smile. "It is an adornment."
"Its kinda pretty." Samantha said. "But it makes you look like a girl."
Jack burst out laughing.
"Well only girls wear makeup. You look like a girl with the shining add...addorn'ament." Samantha justified her remark with a pouting defiant look to the gray-haired man.
Jack was laughing all the harder at the comment; even Daniel and Janet were snickering.
"Indeed I do not think I have ever been mistaken for a woman." Teal'c murmured, his ever expressive eyebrow arched up.
"Then you shouldn't wear sparkly things on your head." The blonde clearly said with a logical shrug of the shoulders.
When Jack and Daniel approached, Sam once more retreated deeper into the arms of the woman who was holding her. Here in Janet's arms, the child felt safe and even loved.
Little Samantha knew if she were by Janet she would be okay. Janet wouldn't let anything bad happen to her. The toddler couldn't explain why or how she knew, she only knew that it was so.
"Hey do you know who I am?" Jack pointed to himself.
Blue eyes scrutinized him. "Are you a grandpa? Grandpa Carter has gray hair just like you."
Jack stared opened mouthed. Now it was Teal'c that burst out in a baritone laughter. His joviality brought a smile to the uncertain child.
"Noooo." Jack said exaggeratingly. "I am not a grandpa."
"You look like one." The blonde child was stubborn.
"But I am not." The man folded his arms over his chest.
Daniel clapped his hand over his friend's shoulder. "Well his name is Colonel Jack O'Neill. And my name is Daniel Jackson." The archeologist said in a warm tone. "And we're friends okay. We won't hurt you."
Blue eyes looked up to Janet as if to confirm the words that had been spoken to her. When she saw Janet smile the child started to trust. But her hold on Janet was not loosening its grasp. It was clearly evident that Samantha would not be easily separated from the doctor.
Out of the almost instinctual habits a lot of adults have to ruffle a child's hair, Jack moved to do so to the small girl in Janet's arms, which caused the girl to almost force more of her body into her hero's arms. He flashed a warm comforting smile and didn't lift his eyes from the miniature Samantha Carter when he spoke. "Okay we gotta find out what happened to our little friend here to see if we can't reverse it."
Sam turned to Janet and cupped her hands over the other's ear whispering. The doe-shaped eyes flashed in surprise then understanding.
"Um okay....Come with me and we'll see if we can't um... find a little girl's room." Janet shrugged and stood taking the three-year old by her tiny hand looked to the colonel.
"You know...er...I think we past the little girl's ...er room on the way in...a bush right around the corner near the entrance to this place." Jack pointed his thumb over his shoulder.
"Yeah I think your right." Janet nodded thankful the Colonel caught on to the code then lead her new charge out of the citadel to the shrubbery that was in front of the entrance.
Once the two left he turned back his attention to the rest of SG1. "Come on Danny... there's gotta be a way to fix her."
"I'll keep looking." Daniel looked to where Janet and the three-year-old Sam had disappeared. "Jack what if we can't reverse this?"
O'Neill stabbed Daniel in the chest with his finger. "That's not an option got that? We are not going to leave her like that." O'Neill sucked in a deep breath. "Its time we pay her back. She's always been there for us, always making things work, fixing things. She needs us and we're gonna' be there for her got that? I am not accepting failure. So you start looking. We are going to find away to get her back."
Daniel nodded, as did Teal'c. Both men owed a lot to Samantha Carter. Her intelligence, her ingenuity her tenacious indomitable sprit had pulled their lives out of the fire more then once. Now it was time to remit. It was time to bring Sam back from being lost.
Jack went outside to check on the doctor and his dear friend. It was hard on him to see the woman he was in love with turned into a child. He knew this had to be killing the doc. He knew of Sam and Janet's relationship. Once more he did all he could to protect it, by feigning ignorance. And though he knew the two were head over heels in love with one another it never outwardly showed. Hell he was more transparent in his love for Sam then either of them. His affection was just as much against regulations as it was for Sam and Janet to be together. And because he was so much in love with Sam he wanted her to be happy, and Sam's happiness meant that she was to be with Janet.
He saw Janet kneeling down by the three year old Samantha and though a large part of him was more then concerned for his 2IC he privately chuckled, he thought Sam made an adorable toddler. Her blonde hair was unruly and reminded him of the seed heads on thistles. Her sapphire eyes were large and impossibly blue and looked as if she came off an anima cartoon. He thought her absolutely cute.
"Are you hungry?" Janet said concern making her voice sound very motherly.
The blonde nodded. "Yeah." Then blue eyes shot up as if she recalled something. "Oh! Um there are MREs in that room. My daddy has MREs when we go camping and on way too long car rides. Sometimes he calls them C-rations...but we aren't near the sea. They are silver packets and there... and there...and there. ..is food in them." Sam smiled, pleased with herself that she remembered the name. "I found it in that really heavy vest. It had all kinds of neato stuff in em'"
"Oh well I have some with me." Janet said as she reached into one of her vest pockets and pulled out one of the packets.
Sam leaned forward with complete contentment with herself and her new hero she dug into one of the pouches near Janet's chest and took out one of the candy bars she knew that would be there from the vest she had found early.
"Hey how did you know that was there!" Janet said as she had forgotten all about the candy.
Sam simply shrugged. "Just did."
"Well I think maybe you should eat something a little good for you Honey."
Jack giggled to himself. "You know she always starts with dessert." He commented as he sat down next to the two women.
"Doc.. . how is she?"
"Sir, I want to get her back to Base to make sure. I can do a cursory check up but I'll need to run a full battery of tests to make sure.
"Tests?" Sam frowned as she ripped open the candy bar. "I'm pretty good at tests." She said with the complete confidence that children have in themselves.
"Oh really so how smart are you Goldilocks?"
Sam gave O'Neill a baffled look. "My name isn't Goldilocks."
"Yeah but hey I always wanted to call you that." Jack shrugged.
Again Sam gave him a quirkily expression of puzzlement. "You're sooo weird." She said in pure three-year-old candidness.
"Yeah I've been told that." Jack shrugged indifferently. "So just how smart are you anyway?"
The child shrugged. "Just smart. My Mum says so. I like to figure things out. Its fun."
If there was a religion children believed it was the spoken words of their mothers. After all Mother was the name of God on the hearts and lips of all children.
'God you're a geek even in dippers.' Jack muttered to himself. "Okay so what's two plus two?"
"Four." Sam said quickly.
Both adults looked at each other.
"Okay lucky guess." Jake shrugged. "How about four plus four?"
"Um...eight." Sam said. "I like these games. My Mum and I play'em all the time."
"Really?" both Janet and Jack said at the same time.
"Sure its fun for every right answer I get a marble to put in the correct cup and for wrong answers I don't get a marble. But if I want a second chance I can give my Mummy a marble and she shows me a drawing...but she calls them a die.. a..um...dio.." the child sighed "Diagram yeah that's it." Sam smiled. "My Mum is a phys'ao'sissst."
"No wonder." Jack rolled his eyes but Janet wrapped her ward into her arms.
"Okay miss smarty pants. What is four times four?" Jack smirked.
"Sir she is only three!" Janet protested.
"Sixteen." Sam said flashing a smile.
"Wow. That's ah...really good!" Jack was impressed.
So was Janet. Indeed she was extremely impressed so much so that she had almost forgotten that her lover was in school far before her years dictated. She seemed to recall that Sam was in the fifth grade when she was what five years old.
"Okay how about this one I'll bet you'll never get it!" Jack was gloating.
Sam folded her arms over her chest and waited.
"You like balloons right?" Jack smiled.
"Oh sure. Orange ones. I like orange it's my favoritest color of all." Sam perked up, though she still wouldn't let go of her hold on Janet. Indeed she cuddled deeper into very pretty woman's arms.
"Okay look I have to go back in there but I want you to think about this." Jack having once been a father was surprised how easily it was to fall back into that mode. 'Keep the kid distracted as scary things are going on mode'. It was an age-old parents' trick. "You see two helium balloons, they're both orange okay?"
"Well they are floating next to each other at the ends of their strings that are tied to a table. The facing surfaces of the orange balloons are separated by 2 centimeters. You blow through the opening between the two orange balloons. What happens to the balloons? Do they move close together, away from each other or don't move at all?"
Janet scowled. "Sir I am sorry but that is way too advanced for her. Sir she is only three!"
"It will keep her distracted right? Besides this maybe the only time I'm smarter then Carter." He gave a lopsided grin. Then he ruffled the child's blonde's hair. "Just think about it squirt."
The three year old Sam was still extremely reluctant to leave or go far from 'her' Janet's side. So when Janet rose Sam went to her side quickly and took hold of her hand in an astonishing display of possessiveness. The actions so reminded the two of Cassie's first reaction to Sam that immediate comparisons ensued.
"Well we know where you'll be for a while doc." Jack smirked. He reached out once more to ruffle Sam's blonde unruly mane but the child displayed sudden shyness and clutched Janet closely.
In a display that could only be seen as maternal Janet picked up the tot and cradled her in her arms. Sam laid her blonde head against the small shoulder but would not for the life of her let go her hold of her hero.
"Janet.. . you...you's not going away?" Sam was near tears once more.
"Oh no sweety. See Colonel..."
"Jack." The gray haired man winked.
Janet cleared her throat. "Um Jack only meant that I'll be with you." Janet smiled rubbing her hand along the very small back of Samantha. "I won't go away from you. Okay? You won't be alone."
"Promise?" Sam blinked away her tears before rubbing her face.
"Yes honey I promise." Janet cradled the child tightly to her.
Jack bit back his own unrest. He was loath to see the woman he cared for, the person he felt was his closest friend since Kawalsky reduced to this child.
Trying to sound brave like her daddy always wanted her to be; Sam took in a heady steady breath of air and spoke "Okay." Blinking back her tears she still clung to Janet with unyielding desperation born out of a child terrified.
Jack looked at Janet both wincing in witnessing the proud and brilliant Sam Carter, become this lost and frightened child.
"Sir I think I need to get her back to the base to see if this had any other effects on her." Janet said as her hand as it had been every time Sam sought her embrace stroked the little back giving her much needed comfort.
The gray haired general nodded slowly. "Yeah okay. I guess we can always come back if we needed to. I'll pack up that box-thing. God I wish Carter was here to figure this crap out." The colonel grumbled.
The tiny blonde tilted her head. "Hey that's my last name, silly."
Jack swallowed hard but smiled ruefully. "Oh hey how could I forget?" he ruffled her hair, causing her to frown and shove his hand away. Why did grown-ups always do that to her? It was bad enough her mummy said her hair was unruly, but then adults came along and messed it up even more. "Hey don't forget that question about the balloons."
"I won't. I can 'member things pretty good." The child boasted.
Janet thought it was rather petty of Jack O'Neill to task Sam with a question she had no hope in understanding and could only make a lucky guess at in answering. As Jack left the petite doctor turned back to the tiny blonde. "You know you don't have to answer him if you don't want to."
"I don't mind. But will hims' get mad at me if I answer wrong? Daddy gets awfully mad if I answer questions wrong, the game isn't fun with hims. It is with my mummy, she always makes thing fun."
Janet's heart broke in hearing Sam's testimony. She knew though Jacob Carter loved his daughter he was always hard on his youngest, always pushing her; always making her feel small if she didn't succeed. Now she was small and he was still doing it and he wasn't even around. Janet would be damned if she let Jack O'Neill do the same thing. Still she had to admit she had seen him interact with Cassandra when she was little as well as few of the other alien children that came through the Stargate and they always related well to him as a child did with another child
"No honey, Mr. Jack won't get upset with you if you don't answer the balloon question. I'll bet he'll forget all about it."
Sam gave a half smirk and looked from up under her unruly bangs in a manner that was so reminiscent of her adult self that Janet felt her stomach turn a somersault and her heartstrings flutter. She had to restore her lost beloved from this child. It was breaking her heart the longer she stayed in the toddler's company. Having known Samantha Carter the 33 year old, Janet knew almost all of the blonde's mannerisms. To see them mirrored in this child was almost more than she could tolerate.
Janet turned the child in her arms. "Hey we're are going to go on a little trip okay?
SG1 had regrouped out side the citadel, as the FRED was loaded down with the ark to be analyzed back at the SGC. The five of them had marched for the better part of the morning, with Sam clinging to Janet's hand exclusively.
Jack felt something tug his jacket hem
"Mr...Jack...sir?" came a very hesitant tiny voice to his left.
Looking down he saw there a small three-year-old Sam Carter, with the largest blue eyes he has ever seen. "Hey there what's up?"
"I thought about the orange balloons." The child bit her lower lip.
"Eh?" Jack had completely forgotten about the puzzle he had given the toddler early that day "Yeah okay what about them squirt?
The entire group was now watching the child who was shifting nervously from foot to foot
"Well I thought about it...and... and um... the orange balloons are...um..." she looked to the sky as if to find the answers there. "Not moving right?"
"Right not until you blow air." Jack confirmed.
"Okay um my Mum says there a word for that... when things don't move...."
"Stagnate?" Daniel offered helpfully.
The child snapped her fingers. "Yeah that's it! Okay um. Okay...um...okay... um...cuz' the balloons are um stag--nate...um okay...the air... um moves fast it has low pressure.. I forgot what that means ... but air moves quickly my Mum says it has low pressure... but okay.. . um...okay...the air blown is lower pressure then um the air on the balloons' skin...so um...I think the balloons will move together. Is that right?"
"Oh my god!" Daniel said
"She's right" Jack commented. "How in the hell did... damn girl! "
"You said naughty words." Sam said belligerently. "Janet, he said naughty words."
"I know and around you he shouldn't." Janet gave Jack the ever patented mother's look of complete disapproval.
"How did you know that? You're a baby!" Jack ignored the comment as he stared at Sam.
"I am not! I am three!" Sam stomped her foot.
"Impressive. It seems Major Carter was always quite intelligent." Teal'c said clearly amazed at the child's grasp of physics.
"I didn't get that equation until I was in flight school! Jack murmured. "And she gets it at three! Do you know how unreal that is?"
"A child prodigy." Teal'c offered. 'It is apparent that Samantha Carter has had a keen intelligence."
"I got it right?" Sam asked Janet.
The small doctor nodded and pulled her small charge into her arms quite proud of her. "You sure did sweety."
Sam stood more proud with her balled hand upon her hips in a very Peter Pan style pose. She played science games with her mother all the time there were always so much fun and her mom would give her deep tight hugs just like Janet. Little Sam liked Janet, a lot. She liked the way she smelled, the way she made her feel safe and loved. Janet was her hero. She had made everything scary go away. Janet even made the owwies go away. The three year old loved the way Janet smiled and talked to her. Most importantly Janet made her feel like everything was going to be okay even if Mummy and Daddy weren't around.
Then Sam saw the massive ring and stopped dead in her tracks.
Janet bent down and looked at the tiny girl "Hey Sweety, you okay? Don't be afraid, I'll be holding your hand the whole way, all right? I know it looks kind of scary, but it's really a lot of fun. A good friend of mine who is very special to me loves to go through this gate all the time."
"Do... do you like going through this?" The girl blinked amazed.
"Sure I do." Janet winked. "I don't get to do it often but I think its fun."
"Okay." Sam settled herself.
Jack bent down and opened his arms. "Hey squirt I'll carry you through."
"No!' Sam said venomously. "I only want my Janet." Sam spun around and leapt into her hero's embrace and nuzzled into the warmth of safety.
"Okay, okay no problemo." Jack threw his arms up in mock surrender.
Janet's arms held the girl tightly to own body as any mother held a child. Inwardly the physician's heart was shattered. Her once and now former lover was a child, no more then a toddler. The love she had for Sam must be transformed into something far removed from what she had known. The only the thing that would not need to be altered was Janet's compassion.
Sam felt warm and safe and loved. She didn't know how why but she trusted Janet and knew without a doubt as long as she was with Janet she would always be safe and the scary darkness, the terrifying aloneness wouldn't get her. Janet wouldn't let it. She also thought Janet was very pretty and hoped when she got older she would be pretty like Janet.
Janet cradled her in her ever-capable arms and Sam rested her head upon her shoulder her thin little arm curling around Janet's neck and toyed with the dark red hair. "Okay Sweety here we go. You're very brave okay? You're brave." Janet held tight her cargo.
The three-year-old girl is sitting on a gurney, while Janet was in full gown and gloves giving her a check up. The expression on the girl's face is not happy in the slightest, and she gives every indication of wanting to be somewhere else.
"See this is a stethoscope it will let me listen to your heart. You want to try it?" Janet placed the earpieces into the girls ears so that Sam could hear the thudding of Janet's' own heart. The child's large blue eyes sparkled in wonderment. "Here you can even hear yours." Janet set the scope over Sam's tiny chest
"Ohh! Mine is faster!" the high pitched voice squealed in excitement.
"Well you're ...um....just a little girl. Children's hearts are faster then adults."
Sam smirked. "That's neat."
Janet moved around the child's body, "Okay Honey I need you take a big deep breath then hold it. Do you think you can do that?"
"Oh yes. I can hold it for almost ten."
"Ten minutes?" Janet teased.
"Pffttt." Sam chided. "Nooooo! Ten seconds! No one can hold their breath for ten minutes you goof!"
"Are you sure about that?" Janet fell into the easy banter.
"Well yeah!" The blonde child cast a glance over her shoulders her ever-expressive blue eyes glittering. "Can you?"
"Nope." Janet winked then proceeded with the exam.
A few moments later Jack O'Neill walked into the med center. "Hey how's our little rocket scientist doing?"
"We're almost done." Janet said as she moved to take little Sam's blood. "Hurts a little bit, huh?"
The blonde was biting her lower lip and nodded.
"Well I think you're very brave." Janet whispered. She withdrew the needle and handed it to a nurse. She removed her rubber gloves then squeezed Sam's small knees causing her to jump at the tickling sensation. "See we are all done."
Sam looked over her shoulder towards Jack to whom she was starting to warm. "Hey there Goldilocks....you know um....going through all of that... I think deserves a treat." Behind him came Lieutenant Hailey.
"Hey." The small blonde offer waved. "My name is Jennifer but you can call me Jenny."
Large blue eyes went from Janet to the new comer.
"Jenny is a friend of mine." Janet said softly as she stepped closer to the younger woman.
"I have to go right now, but I will be back okay."
"Why can't I go with you?" Sam pouted she wouldn't let go her hold of Janet
"Well you can soon. But I have to go Sweety but I'll be back for you I promise. In the meantime Jenny here volunteered to look out for you and do some fun things. And even get something real to eat."
Sam clutched at Janet's white lab coat desperately. " Sammy I promise I'll come for you, but right now I am needed somewhere else. Okay? I won't be long." The softness in Janet's voice soothed the girl but her blue eyes reflected her broken heart.
Jennifer Hailey felt her heart lurch; she strove always to better the Major, out of awe and respect but to see her as a child was more than intimidating. She had been told Sam Carter the child had no memories of Sam Carter the adult woman. And Hailey should not think of her in that context. Just treat the lost child as a child.
"Hey I promise you your um.. um.."
"Janet is my bestest friend, and I love her." Samantha declared loudly.
"Oh okay your best friend. She won't be late and I am starved. I am sure they have what hot dogs and soda in the commissary you want to go scare some up?
Once more Sam looked to Janet. "Do they have blue Jello?"
The adults laughed.
"God somethings haven't changed." Jack remarked. "You know Sammy, blue isn't a flavor."
"Is so. Is so. Is so. Infinity!" Sam shot back "Besides orange is a color AND a flavor so blue can be too. Blue is so a flavor!"
"Sir?" Janet looked to the CO of SG1. "You're arguing with a three year old. You're not going to win."
"You know I have yet to win an argument with her. It was so much easier just to give her an order to shut her up."
Both women glared.
"Janet who is he talking about?" Sam tugged at Janet's lab coat.
The adults stared at each other.
Jennifer moved. "Hey kiddo we'll go get some good old junk food and crash in front of a TV in the VIP quarters watching the Disney Channel okay?"
"Please Honey go with her I wont be long. I'll be back with you in a little while." Janet encouraged.
The tot sighed heavily. "Okay. But only if I get blue Jello."
"Well, I can't tell you the method used to do it, General, but I can tell you that our personality, our memory, our conscious selves are derived from unique networks of neurons in the cerebral cortex. And Major Carter is responding to memories and experiences she had as a child. Her memory hasn't been erased, because she hasn't lived it yet. Sir she is the child she was when she was three years old."
The general looked at the small girl sitting at the table contently coloring with Lieutenant Hailey who had volunteered to look out for her. He recalled the child he once knew 30 years ago. There were times he felt as if he were Sam's father, as he was so close to her family when he was a young man. And now to see that once brilliant woman back as a small child struck him fairly hard in the heart.
"The Goa'uld died before their hosts. We know this due to a unique protein marker left in Goa'uld bodies or host bodies after a Goa'uld dies." Doctor Fraiser said as she watched her former lover playing as the child she had been turned into.
"The same protein marker that was left in Sam's body after Jolinar was killed?" Daniel asked.
"Yes." Janet sighed heavily "As with Major Carter, as these Goa'uld symbiotes died they rapidly decayed and were absorbed by the host. I ran every test we have. MRI, CAT scan, X-rays, full blood work up. There is nothing foreign. However Machello had been able to do this it is done on a genetic level. Her dopamine, endorphin, neuropeptide levels for example are normal for a child of three years of age. Indeed all tests indicate she is three years old."
"Make the Goa'uld helpless as the very young." Jackson quoted the inscription once more. "What can be more helpless then a small lost child? It appeared the only reason the Goa'uld died was that they starved to death. The Jaffa lost their symbiotes, as did the Goa'uld because they were turned into zygotes and died there were absorbed into the body. The Jaffa having no immune system and turned so young would not have survived the process. The Goa'uld had a slim chance but at three years old they were completely unable to fend for themselves. Pretty handy weapon to have around if you think about it ... .I mean turn your worst and most feared enemy into a helpless child and you win."
"Yeah well there's gotta be a reverse switch right? That body-switching thing.... the jelly-killers all could be stopped and reversed. The same has got to be here." Jack growled. "General permission to go back to.... PX59....3.." Jack stumbled over the binary code of the planet as he always did as he could never fully remember the list of numbers as easily as Carter or Daniel could.
"PX596783." Daniel supplied helpfully.
"Yeah, that place and take a better look around. We have to find something to reverse this."
General Hammond thought for a moment. "Given the circumstances I don't think its wise for Teal'c to go. Dr. Jackson you will accompany Colonel O'Neill and SG7. Doctor is Major Carter in any danger now?"
"Physically no. But I'm worried about her emotional well-being. Sir, right now Samantha Carter has no memory of who she was, or of her past. She is a three year old girl who has been traumatized. She has no understanding of what happened or what is going to happen to her."
"She seems to have bonded with you Doctor." Hammond pointed out.
Janet slipped a half smile, not one born out of cheer but the slight misty hope one clings too in a time of despair. "Yes sir. It maybe because we are close friends, or perhaps its because I am woman and not as threatening to her as the others were when she first re-encountered them."
Teal'c even looked away as he recalled the utter terror in the child's eyes when his friend screamed that he was a giant.
Jack shrugged feeling bad. "I am afraid we gave her quite a scare, sir. But I got a hand it to Carter she was feisty little bugger. You know she bit me trying to get away from me?" He was proud of his former 2IC's ability for self-defense such as it was. "Even tagged Danny here with a Zat, poor kid was completely terrified. Then the Doc shows up and seemingly makes things better. I think little Sammie has a case of hero-worship for the doc."
When Janet entered the VIP quarters little Sam looked up and ran for her. "Janet! Janet! Janet!" she squealed in the glee that was unique to toddlers and leapt up for the woman who was quickly becoming idealized as her maternal-figure.
"Hi honey." Janet picked up the small child. "Did you have a good time?"
"Yeah. I got to eat blue jello." Sam smiled widely. "And a hot dog and chips and ... and pickles... and and. And orange soda ... and. ..watermelon...and um and...." she turned to her new found friend. "Jenny what else?"
The blonde woman blushed. Which earned her Janet's questioning gaze. "Oh um...well see she never had gummy-bears before I didn't think it would harm anything."
Janet nodded in a very mother like fashion and when Sam laid her head on her shoulder all protests about tummy aches wafted out the door. "I got sticky so we had to go wash up." Sam said apologetically. "Jenny let me borrow one of her shirts cuz' its smaller then other stuff but its still awfully big."
Sam was wearing an olive jump suit with the cuffs rolled up and pinned as were the sleeves but at least the three year old fit the Hailey's clothing better then the former Major Carter's. On her little feet were tube socks as there were no shoes small enough for her. Cassandra had been given the task of going shopping for Samantha as well meeting with General Hammond's daughter to pick up hand-me-downs from his youngest granddaughter Kayla.
"Honey there is someone who wants to meet you, he's my boss...my Commanding Officer...okay."
"Are you coming?" Blue eyes stared into brown.
"That's my cue to leave." Hailey said. "I am going with Colonel O'Neill with SG7 to see if we can't find away to reverse this."
Janet only nodded.
"See you around kiddo." Jennifer said as she passed the threshold.
With her head still laying on Janet's shoulder, the toddler waved a weak goodbye. To gesture that was almost universal of small children Sam tucked her body tightly into Janet's embrace and with one hand to make herself feel more secure she took a lock of the red-brown hair and intertwined her tiny fingers into it. She was once more safe.
There was a slight rapping on General Hammond's door he smiled welcomed the visitors in. He had been off base when SG1 had come back with the toddler Sam Carter and so he hadn't seen her save through the TV monitor. To him it was all too surreal, as he had known Sam as a baby, a toddler and a young willful teen.
Now this child was here, the same tyke he had known 30 years ago. Flashing his best non-threatening I am a grandpa smiles George Hammond came around his desk and looked into the large blue eyes of little Samantha Carter.
"Sammy this is...my boss...General Hammond."
"Hi there." He said in his warmest voice. A part of him wanted this girl to remember him but the impossible blue eyes only stared.
"Are you Uncle George's daddy?" she asked finally.
General Hammond blinked. "What?"
Sam leaned boldly forward and pushed the chubbiness of the General's face around with her very tiny hands. "My daddy's bestest friend, his name George. Uncle George. You look a little like him only you have more tummy and a lot less hair. Uncle George isn't bald. But he has smiling eyes like you."
Proud George Hammond chuckled loudly taking the fear out of Janet as to Samantha's sudden behavior. "Well I used to know your Uncle George, we are kind of related." He chuckled again.
"Uncle George and Daddy are Lieutenants in the Air Force." Samantha further explained.
"My Janet is Air Force too. Are you Air Force?" Samantha blinked.
"Sure am. Are you going to be Air Force when you grow up?"
"No I am going to be a motorcycle racer. I saw a race with my brother Mark. They were sooooo cool. I want to ride a motorcycle when I get older." Sam said in the absolute way that children have, believing it utterly to be so. "Or maybe a doctor like my Janet. Girls can be doctors not just nurses."
George Hammond forced a warm smile, he remembered this version of Samantha Carter and knew the woman she became, and he also knew of the struggles in her life especially after her mother died. Rebecca Carter was always a buffer between this brilliant child and her father who even to George's mind was pushing too hard. Jacob was fortunate he hadn't pushed Samantha out of his life as he had his son.
"They sure can." Hammond said locking eyes with his CMO. 'Sometimes I think 'girls' make the best doctors."
Sam glowed because this chubby man had just complemented her Janet. Janet had quickly become the center of her universe just as she had been for her adult self.
Three months would pass with no answers as to reversing the effects of Machello's machine. It was upon one of these days that Jack O'Neill actually had been able to talk Samantha Carter into going fishing.
'Figures you have to be three to do this with me rather then that beautiful adult woman...'
"Do you want me to help you put that minnow on the hook?"
"I can do my self!" Sam who had become known as Sammy declared with defiance. She wanted to show 'Uncle' Jack she was a big girl. She took the squiggling minnow and her hook and pinned it then displayed her success to her new friend.
Jack grinned and rubbed her golden locks, which got her to scowl. "Hey you're a pro." He chucked then reaffixed the bait to the hook so it wouldn't fall off. He then showed her how to cast a line and wait for the bobber to go down.
Ten minutes later.
"Jack?" She said
"This is really boring!" She looked up to him from under blonde unruly bangs.
"Well this is a part of fishing." Jack winked.
"But it's boring. Can't we do something fun?" Sam pleaded.
"You don't think this is fun."
"What's fun?" He held his hand up "Let me guess working in the lab with your. ..um...Janet or Four-Foot-Nine."
"Her name is Jenny." Sammy said sternly. "Yeah the lab is lots of fun with all kinds of neat stuff. Jenny is super smart. I might be like her when I grow up."
Jack frowned a little, that comparison was just so strange to hear it almost seemed ludicrous.
"WE are 'sper-menting on a golden box. Danny calls it an ark. Jenny said I am good at puzzles so I get to help 'figure things out. Its fun."
"Geek in dippers." Jack playful chided his tiny charge.
"I am a big girl I don't wear dippers!" Sammy snapped her ever expressive face scowled.
'I am teasing you. Hey you're the one who called me grandpa."
"But you have gray hair."
"Yeah yeah yeah." Jack rolled his eyes. "Here I got you blue jello in little cup."
"Yummy!" Sammy dropped her rod in the bottom of the boat and gave her new adopted uncle an all-encompassing hug.
'Great the only time I get a hug from you is when you're a baby...' he hugged her back, as he would have his own son or Cassandra when she was younger. Samantha had forgotten all about her rod and started to devour her treat.
A moment later she got tapped on her shoulder. "Hey Goldilocks I think you got something on your line."
The blue jello was dropped and Samantha turned her attention to the immature fishing pole she had been give by her uncle Jack and clapped her tiny hands together.
"What do we do!?"
"Reel it in!" Jack echoed in the same excited voice.
Sam did as she was told and reeled the line in just as Jack instructed her too and fought with the fish. Jack noticed the child's poll was bending almost in a complete circle what ever she had caught, was large and was threatening to break the pole in half. With his help they managed to reel in and net a ten-pound large mouth bass, which was clearly going to be the record for the day. Once they had the fish in the boat, Sammy threw her arms around Jack and kissed him on the cheek
"Whoopee! My Janet is going to be so 'esited! I caught a bigger fish then you!"
"Yeah about that..."
"Its so cool. Fishing isn't so boring. But fish are still slimy, and stinky."
Jack grinned. "See I told you it was fun. See this is fun, not all that science stuff...."
"I like it" Samantha said her blue eyes wide. "Janet makes it fun like my mum used to and so does Jenny and Cassie."
Jack was wise enough to back off. A child could become extremely defensive when it came to their favorite people and the things they enjoy doing. And he had learned that little Samantha Carter was an exceptionally sensitive child though very willful. He started to wonder if the adult version was as sensitive, but managed to hide it behind all the military bravado.
Despite his best efforts Jack could not catch a large fish then his very young companion. That of course did nothing for his already bruised ego. For six years he had had tried to get Sam Carter to go fishing with him and she always declined. When she did she was three not thirty-three. And she catches a massive ten-pound bass his largest was four. Not a good day for his ego. But on another note, this version of Sam was completely free and warm spirited. He couldn't help the 'daddy' nature in him as he had shown little Cassandra, the lost child that called himself Charly or the other kids he had encountered. He saw himself becoming exceptionally protective over her.
It was growing into the late afternoon and fishing had lost its appeal to the child once more whose attention span when it came to such activity waned greatly. So it was decided to pack things up and call it a day.
Along the way from the lake to Janet's house Jack stopped for gas and to get sodas for him and his charge. While he was in the store paying for his purchases, young Sam Carter decided to see what was in the glove box. She was more then shocked to see a service revolver inside. She took it out and looked at wondering why uncle Jack had such a weapon in his truck. There was another thing in the glove box that drew her attention. The gun was set down and the military dagger withdrawn. Sam had seen a few knives in her short life but not one with a black blade.
She took it out of its sheath just as Jack came round the door. "Hey I got you a...." his eyes went wide when he saw the gun next to Samantha. "Jesus H. Christ! What the fuck are you doing with that!? God!" He ripped open the passenger door and snatched the gun from the seat; shaking it at the girl who was so startled she started to cry.
"I am sorry!" She whimpered out.
Jack could only picture his lost son. He saw his son in his daddy's bedroom with his service revolver. He remembered the shot that rang out. "You are never never to touch guns you got that!"
"I am sorry." Little three-year-old Sam cried. In her excitement, in the panic and rushing adrenalin she had forgotten she was holding the dagger until her hand came away bloody.
"Christ!" Jack breathed as he held the tiny bloody hand. The knife had slipped and cut Samantha's palm. From the look of it, it was very deep. He took the girl into his arms kicking himself for the hurt he had caused this innocent child.
Janet was seething.
Sam sat on the kitchen table her feet dangling as Janet saw to the grave wound. Beside the toddler was Janet's black medical bag, which was fully equipped to handle many an emergency. The knife blade had cut through several layers of flesh upon her left hand to the extent that Sam would need stitches. It had been thoroughly cleaned and a local set so Janet could suture it. She had also given Sam a heavy analgesic to deaden the pain. It would take a bit more to soothe the tears of the tiny three year old. Yet more to still the anger in Janet Fraiser.
"Of all the asinine irresponsible crap." Dark eyes pieced into Jack making him feel two inches tall. "I can't believe you allowed not only a knife to be in her reach but a gun! God what where you thinking? She could have killed herself. She's only three years old, she doesn't know better. You do!"
"Janet you have no idea..."
"If you are going to tell me how bad you feel. Save it I don't want to hear it. If this is the level of responsibility I can expect from you, then I don't want you any where near my Samantha." Janet snarled in a low chilled voice.
Jack looked down at his boots noticing that they had droplets of blood on them, droplets of Sam's blood. "I am sorry." He said softly not daring to lift his eyes to meet either Janet or Sam. "Tell me what you want me to do."
"Right now stay the hell away from her." Janet was fuming.
The only other time he had seen her react this way when Cassandra was dying and only Nirrti held the key to her survival. Pissing off a mother by endangering their children was never a good idea. And after several months of hopelessness in restoring Sam to her normal self, Janet's heart had begun to love the blonde in a whole new light. Samantha needed her. She needed a maternal figure. And that was exactly what Janet became.
When the emergency had been taken care of Janet took the girl into her arms so that Sam was straddling her lap and able to rest her head on her chest. Her long fingered delicate hand was stroking the thick golden mane. "Shh.." Janet cooed into the tearful Samantha. "Your Janet has you. You're safe now."
"Janet I... "
"Just get out of my house, I can't deal with you." Janet's voice dropped into sub-zero levels. She didn't care that he was a CO. She didn't care for rank. The soul she loved, the soul she cared for had been put in to harm's way because in her view Jack had been negligent.
The gray haired Colonel shook his head. "I am really sorry." He knew that Janet blamed him for what had happened to Carter on the planet months ago. "Please you need anything... give me a call... I never wanted her hurt." He whispered as he left the Fraiser household. Janet didn't say a word she simply continued to hold the tiny child.
The little hand had healed. The rift between Colonel and CMO remained professional and but never again crossed the lines into friendship. Janet would always do all she could to heal SG1's CO when returning from a mission with the same care and compassion but she detached from him on a personal level. With Teal'c present Janet didn't worry over the tot and Jack found himself complying with unspoken demand of supervised visitations.
The bond between child and her maternal figure grew stronger and stronger. Little Sammy fell into the easiness of acceptance that her Janet was in the like of her mother.
Daniel sat with the tot on his lap as he was showing her how to read hieroglyphs. He had turned it into a memory game in which Sam simply thought was fun. Most of the time she made up stories that went along with the cartouches, but on occasions she would remember that a certain symbol meant a certain thing. It was on one of these occasions she turned to the gentle man her large blue eyes filled with questions.
"How come my Janet is sad? She looks at a picture of her and a lady who has hair like mine and she cries."
Danny frowned. 'Boy you know how to ask the tough ones.' "Well um see that lady... she was very very special to your Janet. Actually...you and um you both have the same name. You know Samantha. But...er..."
Large blue eyes watched with intensity, as the child hung on every word spoken. Daniel rubbed the back of his neck feeling suddenly uncomfortable under the scrutiny. "Um you see she um...was taken away.... and I think your Janet just misses her quite a bit."
"Well just find her." Little Samantha said with a child's perfect logic.
"You see little one, we looked for her for eighteen months now and I think we aren't going to find her. Uncle Jack, and Teal'c, Jenny, Cassie and your er.. Janet looked pretty hard to find her and we can't. We even have special friends that tried to help out but they couldn't."
Sam looked down and sighed. "If we can't find her friend maybe we can find her a new friend. My mummy and daddy are gone, I think they are lost with Janet's friend. But Janet is kinda my new mummy so we can find her a new friend."
Daniel took in a huge breath. "Well I think we need to give Janet some time but that's not a bad idea." Daniel ruffled the four year old's hair, which gained him a frown, as she hated having her hair ruffled.
15 years later:
Samantha Fraiser came bounding in the door, stopping at the foot of the stairwell. "Mum!'' She called out "Mum!"
Janet Fraiser popped around the corner and came down the steps and watched the tall blonde young eighteen year old who was displaying a rather large smile. "What is it Honey?"
"Look! It came! I am inducted into the Stargate Academy!" She was waving a letter in the air her excitement over powering. "An SF hand delivered it as I was riding up on my Harley."
Janet came down the stairs and smiled. She laughed when Sam pulled her into her arms and hugged her. "God this is going to be so cool. Flight school and the Stargate!" She quirked a grin. "Not to worry Mum I'm still going for my doctorate in theoretical quantum physics. That's stuff is fun.... But I finally get to go through the Stargate in an official capacity! Do you know how long I've waited for this day? God Mum ever since I've read Dr. Samantha Carter's books on Wormhole theory I've wanted to explore. Now I will."
She kissed her adopted mother on the forehead "One of these days I plan on being a member of SG1... give a little mental challenge to Lt. Colonel Hailey. I love going head to head with 'Four-foot-nine' on science." The young eighteen-year-old woman was practically dancing. "One of these days I'll beat her at her own game." She boasted.
"I've waited Mum. Now I get to be apart of your world." She kissed her mother's forehead once more before sprinting half way up the stairs. "I am calling Cass, she'll love this, her baby sister in the Air Force...whoohoo!" She turned once more and smiled. "Oh and I am going out with Vicky tonight to celebrate." She raised her golden eyebrows up and down hinting at the celebrations she would be engaging in.
Janet said nothing she only smiled.
Samantha Fraiser was told she was lost on a planet just as Cassandra was. Janet Fraiser adopted her just like she had with Cassandra. She watched Sam grow and turn into a young woman. She watched her 'daughter' fall in love with a young woman who was young drama student at the university. The two had been together since Samantha was sixteen and entered college early. Janet had to admit she approved of this Vicky girl as she made Samantha happy and kept her tied to the ground, as Sam was very much like a kite soaring and always dreaming of the stars. Vicky was her kite string keeping the blonde grounded.
Janet bit her lip and wiped away a tear that gathered in the corner of her eyes. She had fifteen years ago had had to say good by to her lover and accept the child that came to her lost, scarred and needed her love. She started to force herself to think of the child as Sam's daughter and made the pain easier to bear. She was able to take that three year old into her home, into her life and become what the girl needed. Her mother.
Dr. Samantha Carter was "buried" in the wormhole with full honors. Samantha Fraiser would never know she and Dr Samantha Carter: Major of the USAF, 2IC of SG1 had been one and the same.
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